16 July 2012

And Now for Something Completely Different

As you all probably know, Ryan was hired by our church to teach Seminary last fall. (to learn more about Seminary, click the link.) As an employee of Seminaries and Institutes, Ryan has a few career paths he could head down. In Utah and a few other places, he would have the option of teaching Seminary full-time. Outside of Utah, he could coordinate volunteer Seminary teachers and teach at an Institute (for college-level students). To do that, however, you must have a Master's degree and several years experience teaching Seminary. While we were visiting Ryan's family in Colorado, a position opened up at the Institute at the University of Wyoming, in Laramie. We joked around about it, and Ryan applied, even though he doesn't have a Master's or even a full year of experience teaching.
Friday night we got a phone call asking us to take the position.
We were absolutely dumbfounded. On paper, Ryan wasn't at all qualified for the position. We were told, however, that the people responsible for making the hiring decision had felt very strongly that Ryan was the person who needed to be out there, even over other applicants with Master's degrees and experience. We feel very honored and blessed that they have so much confidence and trust in Ryan. He really does try his absolute best as a teacher, always thinking about his students and how he can help them. We took the weekend to think and pray about it, and we made sure to attend the temple to feel that greater clarity of mind. Even though Laramie is not the "ideal location" for us (no offense, Wyoming), the job is exactly what Ryan wants to be doing, and an opportunity like this probably won't come along again for several years.
By this time next month, we'll be in Wyoming! Ryan's work is paying for him to go out and find a place for us to live, they are paying for our move (including the moving company packing for us), and they are even giving us a little bonus to cover unforeseen expenses. It's all happening very quickly. The boys and I are going out to New Mexico for 10 days to visit my family, so we have very little time left in Salt Lake. I've got a long list of things I want to do before we leave!
Look out, Laramie. The Reynolds Tribe is coming to town.

15 July 2012

Trip to Colorado

We went out to Colorado to visit Ryan's family for Independence Day. Most of them hadn't met Benjy yet, so the visit served two purposes. We left Salt Lake at 5am on the 3rd. The kids slept most of the morning. We stopped at Little America so I could feed the baby. Ryan and Sam got ice cream cones (lucky!) Ryan let me drive part of the way, so I listened to Soup on my iPod to help me stay awake.
Blankie, check. Shade blankie, check.

Playing Angry Birds on the Nook

We stopped in Fort Collins so we could visit the Institute. We got the kids dressed and ready for the day there. Then we met our friend Katie during her lunch break and went to a restaurant right off campus- just like being in college again! Except, you know, with the munchkins in tow. We also visited the Reader's Cove, the independent bookstore I worked for my last semester of school. They were closing for good that week, so we bought a couple books to help them out. We also met up with our friend Mark. A productive side trip!
Down in Denver, we got to hang out with Ryan's family. Rusty and Chrissy once again opened up their home to us. They are so generous. Sam had so much fun playing with his cousins. I remember playing with my cousins as a kid, and how that always felt like the most fun ever.
To celebrate Independence Day, we took the boys to the (not-so) nearby town of Byers for their parade. I'd never been to a small-town parade before. We loved watching the fire trucks and floats drive down the main street. Sam loved the candy they threw to us. We had lunch with Ryan's mom, then all headed back to Rusty and Chrissy's. We went geocaching as a family, a first time for Ryan's mom.

Back at the ranch, we played our traditional game of SceneIt, boys against girls as always. Ryan and his brothers played video games at night after the rest of us went to bed. On the 5th we went to Heritage Square, a "family entertainment village" in Golden. They have an alpine slide, lots of carnival-style rides, and various vendors in a town square setting.
The only ride Sam really liked, not that you can tell from his expression!

Chrissy and the girls

Sam got on the Ferris wheel kicking and screaming. Eventually, though, he liked it.

Chrissy's dad owns the old-timey photo shop, Professor Goodbellows' Old-Time Portraits. If you've never done one of those photo shoots where you get dressed up in the old-fashioned clothes, you really should. It was a blast.
We were so lucky all the kids cooperated- even Benjy!

We went swimming that night. Poor Sam, he was totally terrified of the water. We made him get in anyway. He clung to my back while I swam around the pool, crying the whole time. Benjy, however, loved the water.

The next day we headed home. We spent some more time in Fort Collins before really getting on our way. This time, the kids were not as content to sit in the car. We made a long stop at Little America to have ice cream and play on the playground so Sam could get his wiggles out.

It took us almost 12 hours to get home from the time we left Denver, with all the stops we made. We were exhausted when we got home, but so happy that we made the drive. It's great to be with family!

10 July 2012

Once in the Highlands

So, I had a blast performing in Brigadoon this summer. I mean, really, Scottish accents, heather, shortbread... what's not to love? 
The theater is about 25 minutes from where we live... on a day without traffic. By a stroke of luck, one of the other cast members lived about 5 minutes from me. We drove together so we could use the carpool lane. Both of us have kids, so not wasting a ton of time driving was a big help. Alene performs with several opera groups- she is an amazing singer. I loved talking about music and kids on our drives. The whole cast was a lot of fun, with no huge ego problems. I had such a great time!
Here are some pictures for all of you who didn't get to see it. 

The Cast

Getting a little silly

Our piper- he was awesome. He actually provided his own costumes, which he mixed up a little every night. This one was my favorite.

I got to wear two costumes in the show. I hated this one! Imagine wearing a winter coat and a hat under stage lights. Whew!

Clan MacMillan. This is me and my "stage husband", and our mysterious relation, Kyrie. Skyler and I had a good time trying to make each other laugh during the funeral scene. 

 Katelyn was my backstage kindred spirit. We were the only two who could resist singing showtunes during our downtime.

Ah, the hipster glasses... so we found these backstage, in the trunk I brought from home to use during one of the songs. It is a bit of a tradition to be a little silly on closing night. These glasses were like a gift from the theater gods. I had fun hiding them backstage, in people's props... and wearing them. As we didn't know who they belonged to, I took them home as a souvenir. But when I was about 5 minutes away, the stage manager called to tell me that the glasses belonged to the improv group that performs at the theater every Saturday night. So I had to return my beloved hipster glasses. At least I got a picture!

I'm really grateful to live here in the Salt Lake valley, where there are so many opportunities to participate in the arts. I can't wait to get into another show!