Weekend Recap • All the MEAT

This weekend Nathan was on call so he had to stay close to home. I’ve been battling an awful cold so I wasn’t up for leaving the house. So we decided it was a great weekend to process the elk meat that was given to us by our very good friends. Nathan didn’t kill an elk this year and our friends, Ryan & Tina, both killed one so since they had more meat than they could eat between the two of them they donated a bunch to us! For that we are so thankful.

Backing up a little Friday was our last day of school before break in the Lewiston School District and I had lost my voice! This cold is a butt kicker and after pushing through it all week for my students by Friday I was done. I could barely talk and my students were SO SWEET to me. They filled my cup right up with their empathy. Friday night we went to our dear friends, Adam and Brittnie, home for dinner. They cooked us quail and it was delicious.

Saturday we started grounding and packaging our elk burger. Nathan mixes it with pork shoulder for a little fat. It’s a lot of work but I love processing our own meat.

We spent a good deal of the day doing this. I popped a Costco chicken Alfredo in the oven for dinner. I walked out of the kitchen and found Grady cashed out after being up late the night before.

We ended the day watching a Christmas movie cuddled up in the living room.

Sunday we finished wrapping up the elk burger. We ended up with 140lbs of burger! We gave some to Nathan’s parents and saved a couple of pounds that Nathan is going to make into summer sausage. Nathan also spent all day making a bunch of elk jerky.

I cooked up some of the burger for dinner Sunday night and we had tacos. DELICIOUS! Nathan and I are so happy with how the burger turned out. And of course we ended the weekend cuddled up on the couch for more movies!

Love our weekends homed up together!

Now the boys and I are officially on Christmas Break. I will be documenting it all in a 10 Days of Christmas Break post so watch for that!

Without You

I feel like I just have to get it all out.

I feel like it keeps spilling out onto everything lately and people are going to start screaming at me “Get over it already!” Or “You have to focus on what you do have!” Or “You aren’t the only person who’s ever lost someone.”

Maybe that’s because it’s what I’m yelling at myself on the inside. And I feel like if I just let it all out then it will stop spilling into every post.

During the time of year that celebrates togetherness and family I can’t help but feel an emptiness. Because in the last 5 years I have lost 4 very significant people in my life. Starting in 2013 with…

Grandma Linda

This one hurt hard. Losing Grandma made death very real for the first time in my naive life. She had lung cancer and the chemo had her body so weak she caught pneumonia. It was a long and brutal two weeks. I remember the phone call a little after 10pm from my mom. I hate when the phone rings in the middle of the night. It’s never good.

“Tara! Grandma died.”

I drove to Royal Plaza minutes later to say goodbye. I remember Papa holding me and quietly whispering “You’re okay. You’re okay” over and over again like he was saying it as much to himself as he was to me.

And life hasn’t been the same since. She was one of the staples in my dad’s side of the family. When she left us our family slowly began to unravel. It’s when dad’s drinking became a coping mechanism. It’s when family gatherings no longer felt the same so we just…stopped. It’s when Papa’s health went downhill…

Papa Gene

Papa left us in 2015. He was living at the Royal Plaza. It wasn’t even 2 years without Grandma. He wasn’t doing well. His memory was fading fast and he hated people telling him what to do. An assisted living situation was hard on him.

I went to see him a couple days before he left just to sit with him. Actually, I had shown up the day prior but he had fallen in the bathroom. When I walked into his room he was laying on the floor. He said, “Hi Sis” and laughed a little. I think he was embarrassed. Since the nurses were helping him I promised to return the next day and left. I kept my promise and went to sit with him the next day. He didn’t have much to say. Such a quiet man. So we just sat. I had no idea it would be the last time I’d get to sit with him. I am so so grateful for that moment. I said “I love you Papa” and he said “I love you too hon” and I left.

Two days later at 1:00 in the afternoon my mom called.

“Tara! Papa died.”

He had fallen out of bed the night before and hit his head on the night stand. That day he went to sleep in his chair and never woke up.

It was deja vu driving to the Royal Plaza. But I got to go see him and say goodbye. I’ll never hear “Hi Sis” again and often that pricks my eye with a tear.

Losing his father was very hard on my dad. And not but 2 years later my mom would lose hers…

Papa Jim

They don’t all hurt the same. Each is as unique as the different relationships. Each intimate in their own way. I wasn’t ready to not have our cowboy on Earth, but I was ready for God to take his pain.

Papa Jim struggled with a weak heart for years. It was hard for him to breath and got to the point that he couldn’t take care of himself anymore. He hated assisted living! He hurt. Life wasn’t enjoyable anymore. God graced him with Heaven. It was May 2017.

Papa was taken to Gritman Medical Center in Moscow. Papa helped build Gritman and it’s where my Uncle Mike is treated many times during his life with ALS. So Papa felt comfortable there. He was also made to feel comfortable as his poor heart did all it could to beat. My mom called with updates all the time. 30 minutes after her last update I got the final call from her…

“Tara. Papa just died.”

(I am being 100% real my moms words were the exact same every phone call! With Papa Jim’s her voice wasn’t as urgent. It was a lot softer.)

Everything about Papa Jim’s funeral was traditional. He had an open casket with a viewing. His 8 grandchildren carried his casket to the grave site for the burial. It was beautiful.

Life felt so different. It’s hard to lose that many important people in just 3 years. My dad lost both his parents and my mom lost her dad. I lost 3 of the 4 very special grandparents in my life.

My dad struggled to cope. Addiction had grabbed hold of him.

Loved ones of an addict walk a very fine line between supporting and enabling. It’s also very confusing mixed with pounds of guilt. How to support them yet protect yourself from their disease? I don’t have the answer.

This one is still raw.

My Dad

He had fallen at home. My family will never know what he hit his head on or how he fell. We will never know the details. That’s between God and my dad. What we do know is that he had a nasty black eye and two days later we discovered he had massive brain bleeding. The bleeding had formed an enormous clot on the side of his brain. Emergency surgery discovered brain damage and resulted in some brain tissue being removed. He never left the ICU. My mom and I had to make the decision to lift his life support. We were with him when he took his last breath. My hand was on his heart when it stopped beating…

And this is our first Christmas without him. My first couple of months without him. August 1, 2018. Life will never be the same.

I didn’t write this post for sympathy. I just had to let it out. This post has been stewing inside of me. Sometimes I feel like I need somebody, anybody, just to acknowledge that I’ve experienced a great deal of loss in a short amount of time and that that’s hard.

I preach gratitude all of the time. I dive into personal development daily. I’m constantly surrounded with living in the moment and being grateful for what I have. And I live it. So at times I make myself feel like I am wrong for all my grieving.

There is no time limit on grief.

It’s possible to feel sadness and joy at the exact same time. It’s possible for a heart to hold a whole lotta gratitude even though there’s a hole in it. It’s possible to love God and trust God and wish things were different.

If you are missing someone this holiday season I want to hear about them. And I want to pray for your heart. Because Christmas time is hard without our people.


Motherhood is…Being Goofy.

My boys absolutely love being goofy! They adore silliness and love when Mom and Dad get silly with them. I make their world a little better every time I act like a goofball with them. We dance silly in the kitchen. We joke and laugh at the dinner table. We make funny faces and funny noises. And they laugh and laugh and laugh. And I know they will outgrow this, but not completely. My teenage boys will act so embarrassed by mom the goofball but they will be smiling inside. 😉

10 on the 10th: Ten Pics from 2018

If I were to describe 2018 in one word it would be CHANGE. So much lost and gained and changed.

Here are 10 pictures from 2018.

Ten. Saying Goodbye.

I said goodbye to my Asotin family to change school districts.

Nine. State Team.

Nathan made the Idaho B.A.S.S. Nation state team again but this time as pro angler! He caught this hog the last day of the tournament.

Eight. The End of Summer Bliss

The 4th of July is my favorite holiday and this last summer I feel like the 4th was the end of my summer. Shortly after the 4th shit hit the fan with my family and the rest of the summer wasn’t lazy days by the pool…but look at these American cuties!

Seven. New Camper

We bought a brand new camper and this was a highlight of the year for sure!!

Six. Joshua started 1st grade at a new school!

Five. Grady started school for the first time at a new school!

Four. Grady turned 4!

Three. The Greene Wedding

Grady got a turn to be a ring bearer in a Greene wedding. We are so honored Clay and Kaitlin asked him.

Two. Impromptu Weekend.

We got snowed in CDA and got a hotel room. Completely unplanned and one of my favorite memories of the year.

One. New Job.

I started teaching at Webster Elementary and joined a new school family!

2018 has been the hardest year of my life losing my dad in such a traumatic way. I am soo ready to kick this year goodbye and start a fresh new year!

Friday Favorites

It’s FRIDAY! Yes, Friday. I woke up this morning to my son coughing & triggering his monitor to light up, which woke me up, and I legit thought it was Saturday. I snuggled into my husband just content as can be dreaming of the coffee, PJs and breakfast we’d all share as a family and then I realized it’s NOT Saturday and not only do I have to work today but my alarm was about to go off at 4:10am so I could workout! Oy. Tough realization. But workout is complete and now I’m enjoying a cup of coffee before the workday hustle begins. At least it’s Fri-yay!

So here are some favorites coming at ya!

I found a new liquid foundation that I LOVE. It’s full coverage but light as a feather. It doesn’t clog my pores or cause breakouts. Favorite!

I’ve been slightly hooked on holiday Sixlets. I bought in the bulk bin at Winco. Might have been a mistake because I can’t stop eating them but, a favorite!

Also at Winco, in the check out aisle I picked up this special edition of People magazine. This Is Us is a favorite for sure!!

Our best friends Clay and Kaitlin Greene got their wedding photos back and this one is my favorite! The look at Grady’s face when he spotted me coming down the aisle is priceless!

Also my absolute favorite right now is my fireplace. I love when it’s all decorated for the holidays. My Snapchat followers are probably over it but it’s so pretty and I love it!

December with these two little boys is always my favorite. It’s the best celebrating Christmas with them!!! ❤️ Also. When Joshua gets all dressed up I die. 😍

And that’s a wrap for the week! We don’t have any plans this weekend but I’ve got to get my shopping done! I’m stressing which is what I wanted to avoid. Darn it.

A Day in the Life

Here is a look at a day in our life in this season.

I woke up at 4:10am and got dressed for my workout. I have Beachbody On Demand so I can stream hundreds of workouts on my computer, IPad or phone. I use my IPad. Right now I’m doing the 80 Day Obsession program by Autumn Calabrese. Working out at 4:30am is HARD but it’s fun working out with this group. They laugh a lot.

Then I showered and hit the couch for some quiet time. I drink my coffee, watch the news and blog.

At 6:30am I got the boys up and made them chocolate milk and started getting myself ready for the day. After I was dressed and ready I helped the boys get dressed and we were out the door by 7:20am. I dropped the boys off at my mom’s house and then headed to work. I stopped and grabbed a coffee from Hot Shots Expresso first. They are my FAVORITE coffee shop in town!

I get to school between 7:45am-8am everyday. This gives me a nice hour before school starts to prepare for my day ahead. 8:55am the bell rings! The kids were inside yesterday because it was so cold outside. 22 degrees seems warm enough to be outside in my opinion but I don’t make those calls. 🙂 We started our day researching more information about Hanukkah on the IPads.

The kids took notes and then they will begin their informational writing about Hanukkah.

Later in the day we made Dreidels and played a couple rounds with a friend!

School gets out at 3:30pm and teachers are contracted to stay until 3:45pm. After school I picked up the boys because Nathan had a meeting after work so he was later than normal. He’s usually home from Pullman around 3:20pm each day so he picks up the boys.

We came home and I immediately got started on dinner. I made Ree Drummond’s white chicken spaghetti.

After dinner I did the dishes while Joshua sat at the kitchen counter and did his homework.

Of course where Joshua is, Grady is. So Grady sat at the counter with Joshua to watch.

Wednesday nights are my laundry nights and Nathan’s night to do the bath and bedtime routine. So while daddy helped the boys I folded laundry.

The boys were tucked into bed by 7:30pm and I finally got to sit down for the first time. Nathan watched a cowboy movie and I browsed social media for a bit. Then by 8:15pm we were in bed! We both get up at 4am so by 8pm we are pretty spent!

And that’s what a typical weekday looks like for us!

How Expectation Will Fail You

ex•pec•ta•tion: a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.

synonym: assumption

Now we’ve all heard the saying for assume…make an ass out of u and me. But I don’t think expectation gets the proper warning.

Expectation is the strong belief that something will happen. It’s not thinking “oh if it happens great if not that’s okay.” It’s believing that something will happen! Expectation is putting it in your heart and your gut that certain situations and/or people will play out the way you believe it. The danger? We aren’t in control and when our expectations aren’t met it can be crushing.

And when you’re crushed it’s easy to turn to anger and frustration. And when you’re angry and frustrated it’s impossible to be grateful. I know I talk about gratitude a lot but it’s because I truly believe it’s the key to happiness. Gratitude can defeat anger and bitterness, frustration, depression and expectation.

So what do we do about it? We have to stop expecting life to happen a certain way and remember that we aren’t in charge. We have to trust in what’s bigger than us. The Universe. God.

I expected my Dad to be present in my life and my children’s lives. I expected him to be a wonderful Papa like I had. But he was sick and he left us. It’s easy for me to get angry at him. So angry that I fail to give him credit for all that he did do and for the man he was. I didn’t expect my dad to die at 58 years old. But I can change my heart when I let go of those failed expectations and turn to gratitude. I am grateful that his struggles are over. I am grateful that God took him home and ended his hardship. I am grateful that I have a dad who loved me so much and I never questioned how much he loved me. I always knew it. Everyday of my life I knew that my dad adored me. I am so grateful for that.

That doesn’t mean I don’t grieve. Notice I never said that gratitude replaces sadness. Because we can grieve with a grateful heart. I miss him.

I fully expected my new job to be a smooth and happy transition. And then it wasn’t. It was a rocky and hard transition. I found myself crying at my new desk the first few weeks because my expectations weren’t met. But I can’t stay there in that disappointed place. If I continue to expect my career to happen a certain way I will miss out on all the good that God has given me in this change. I am so grateful for the new people that have been put in my life. I am thankful to be a part of this big, strong school district that supports a quality education for all kids. I get to be a part of the same school district I grew up in teaching with some of my old teachers. I get to be a part of the brand new high school and all the excitement, growth and opportunity that brings. I get to work in the same school district as my kids and be fully present in their lives. I am grateful for the growth and contribution this new job is providing me.

The last couple of months have been a hard time for me. And as it slowly gets better each day and I’m able to reflect back on my struggles , I realize that I was expecting too much and not thanking God enough. I have SO much good in my life to focus on and appreciate. So much good. My babies, my husband, my mom and in-laws, my job, my home, my friends, my health, my dad and grandparents in Heaven who are waiting for me. A Father who is always with me.

Stop expecting life to happen. Live in each day and be grateful for what that day brings.


Motherhood is…A Safe Place

The look of recognition and relief when your child spots you in a crowded room. The way they cling tightly to your hand while crossing the street or squeeze tight to your leg when surrounded by the unknown. The way they run to you for comfort when they get hurt. When he crawls into your bed in the middle of the night because he had a bad dream and snuggles in close. When he crawls in your lap because emotions can be big and hard to handle so he’s looking for comfort.

One of my favorite parts of motherhood is being a safe place for my children.

Weekend Recap • A December Weekend

We just had a nice little December weekend. Full of holiday movies and treat baking and hanging out together.

Friday night was our usual pizza night. We ate in front of the TV and watched The Christmas Chronicles on Netflix.

Saturday Nathan took the new little fishing boat out on the river after working on the motor the last few weeks. The boys and I went to Walmart to buy some Christmas lights and ingredients for holidays treats. We watched The Pioneer Woman Cowboy Christmas Swap that morning and the boys (all three of them) were drooling over the different cookies!

The boat ran great for Nathan and when he got home I made an easy chicken strips and french fries for dinner. Again we ate dinner in the living room and watched “The Santa Claus.” Dinner on the weekends is fun because we get to eat in the living room with movies.

Sunday we grabbed our Walmart grocery pickup and then spent the day inside just hanging out. It was a pretty wet and cold day.

I did some baking and made Ree Drummond’s holiday haystacks.

Nathan hung the Christmas lights up on the house and surprised the boys with the light projector! Boy were they excited to see our house all light up. Daddy did good!

And just like that another weekend was over. Sunday night bedtime came too soon. This week I have my school’s holiday concert, coffee with my bestie, Nathan has a class and I have multiple staff meetings. Busy as always!

December Goals

Well, just like that another month has come and gone. November really flew by! So let’s take a look back at my goals.

Wash the damn truck.  Done. I did get my pickup washed. Unfortunately that’s one of those things that you can’t cross off your list and not have to do again for awhile. My truck already needs washed again. And I hate washing it in the fall/winter. Brr it’s so cold! Rogers Toyota offers me free car washes but they are always so busy that I never want to wait. Anyway, no more excuses. I need to wash my truck again. Hello December goals!

Start my Christmas Shopping. I’ve started! And I wanted to wrap as I buy and I have done that as well. I already have a couple wrapped presents under the tree. Winning!

Have Christmas letter & cards made and ready to mail by Dec. 1st. Fail. I did not get this done. I do know the pictures I want to use for my holiday cards but that’s about it. I need to get on this ASAP. I’ve already started receiving cards in the mail. Some people are on top of life.

Workout 3x per week. I did this! I averaged around 4x per week. I feel so much better when I work out. Physically I feel sore but non-scale victories with my strength feel so good! Emotionally and mentally I just feel better. I am so glad I’ve started working out again. I’m going to up my game this month!

Reorganize the closets. Done. Boy does that feel better.

Write a blog post 5x per week.  Also done. I’ve really enjoyed blogging every day! Writing is such a great outlet.

Soooo let’s take a look at December.

Workout 5x per week. Like I said, time to step it up. The plan is to work out M-F but if I sleep in one morning I will make it up on Saturday. I like not having to workout on the weekends though.

Say No. Yes, this is a goal for December. Think about how many things you’re asked to do in December! Will you donate to this charity? Will you give food? Will you attend this party? Will you go to this parade or this event and that event? I mean it gets CRAZY! And when it starts to feel crazy that is when stress is born and the true meaning of the season is lost. Please don’t mistake me for a grinch. I will donate to ONE cause or charity that I believe in. But I can’t stretch my pocket book too thin so there are others I will have to say no to. I will attend a Christmas party but I can’t say yes to them all or I’d never be home with my kids. The people pleaser in me struggles with saying no. It’s too easy to get overwhelmed with all that’s going on so I will say no to things so that I can cuddle up in front of the tree with my family and relax. Be quiet. Be still. Soak up the Reason.

Santa Pictures and Locomotive Park. I’ve been taking Joshua to see Ridingers Santa in the mall since he was 3 years old and last year Grady got in the picture. I would really like to get another picture with Santa this year. Maybe Grady will even sit on his lap this year. Maybe. I also want to go out to dinner and walk through the lighted train park with my mom and the kids.

Buy a 2019 Planner. I need to get a new planner and start planning the new year!

Bring on December and all the holiday cheer!