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Separation Anxiety

Things have changed a bit since the last time we updated:

The original plan was for us to both be on the road with our mentors/trainers for 4-6 weeks and then once we’d each finished we’d be out on the road together…finally. So mid-October we both headed out on the road with our mentors. I don’t really think either of us had any idea how hard this was going to be. The training was fine, we were both doing very well, but the separation from each other was agonizing (yeah, yeah i know that sounds dramatic, like love-struck emo teenager dramatic, but that’s how it feels).

So anywho, my mentor took her home days 2 weeks into my training, so I was able to go home for a few days and hang out with my family in Phoenix. After being home for a few hours, the reality of getting back onto that truck with a complete stranger for another 4 weeks started to seem impossible. After talking to Jacob we agreed that we would talk to our company and see if I could just wait until Jacob could get trained as a mentor and just go back out with him.

So we called and asked, and turns out we can. I stayed in Phoenix with my family, Jacob will be home in about a week or so, he’ll get his mentor training done and we’ll go back out, him as mentor, me as student. 🙂 With this new plan I’m going to be able to see him about 2 weeks earlier than I would have! I’m so excited!

Jacob’s got 200 of the 240 hours required for training to be completed. Soon, soon, soon 🙂

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The Training Continues

We’re both out on the road now with our mentors. Jacob left first and then 2 days later they found a lady mentor for me and I headed out. So far it’s pretty good. There’s nothing good about being separated from the one you love for 6 weeks but we’re trying to make the best of it.

Both of our mentors are nice. Jacob’s guy is from South Carolina and has a thick accent. My gal is energetic and patient. She’s a good teacher and likes to listen to music. The other night while I was driving she threw on some music and we both belted out some Alanis Morisette and Journey. It was random but fun. Jacob’s been getting more drive time than I have so he’ll probably be done before me.

So far Jacob’s been to Florida and Georgia. I’ve been to El Paso, and now I’m still here waiting for my mentor’s truck to be out of the shop.

I can’t explain how much I hate being separated from him. All I can say is that I can’t wait to be done with this so we can be together again.

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Hurry Up and Wait!

So we finished our truck driving school and got our CDL’s last Friday. Which was exciting. This week we had three days of orientation before we go out on the road with our mentor’s. After four weeks of getting up at 4:30 am and being exhausted, we are sitting around and waiting for a phone call. Having a break and sleeping in is great, I’m still hoping to get on the road soon. In the mean time…

We celebrated Rachel’s birthday last weekend. Lots of fun!

So much fun my eyes crossed!

What are you looking at?

We will let you all know what we are doing, when we know. Love you all,

Jacob & Rachel,

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Date Night

So lately Jacob and I have unofficially decided that every night should be date night…and so they have been. Nothing fancy, we just spend time with each other either watching a movie, playing a game, or whatever. This, I would imagine, is one of the perks of living out in the country and not being seriously involved in anything. We know this won’t last forever so we’re taking advantage of it while we can.

We’ve discovered that we have to be MUCH more picky about what movies we pick from Red Box. They are NOT all gems, and some movie descriptions make a movie out to be a crime thriller or science fiction drama – but instead it’s a stupid slasher horror film.

Also, if you’re planning on taking a hike into the wilderness (see Choose Your Own Adventure post) , don’t watch a horror film featuring a chase through the woods ending in gory death for at least 2 victims, the night before.

Other than the Red Box rough patch, ‘every night date nights’ have been the greatest thing this last month. I highly recommend applying them to your marriage, if possible. 🙂

-Rachel

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More Birthdays

This week hosted 2 birthdays for the Smith family; Jacob’s brother Josiah, and Jacob’s sister Abby. Last night we had a party to celebrate said birthdays. Josiah requested a raspberry cheesecake – for which i immediately volunteered! 🙂

The white layers are New York Style cheesecake with some lemon and the pink layers are raspberry cheesecake (made from a raspberry reduction I made and then strained to remove the seeds.

 

We all had a lot of fun. We’re really going to miss everybody!

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Choose Your Own Adventure

Last Saturday was a beautiful day and it’d been way too long since Jacob and I had enjoyed the great outdoors so we set out for the river to enjoy some fun in the sun and possibly a small hike.

On the way out we passed this old school-house and thought it was really cute.

Then, Jacob had a surprise for me. With his new job (we told you about that right? … anyway) he does a lot of driving and apparently he’d seen this look out tower.


So we climbed up it! 🙂

It was mighty tall!

And the view was awesome.

Now, you can’t see it in the pictures, and it’d be easy for me to just continue with the story, you none the wiser, but I gotta tell you…I had a death grip on those railings every bit of the way! That tower was TALL and a little shifty, not to mention there were almost no rails blocking you from falling off the sides. NOT KID FRIENDLY! As we were almost all the way back down we thought about counting all the stairs, but neither of us felt like going all the way back up. It could have been laziness, on my part it was mostly terror.

So after the beautiful view from the tower we continued on toward the river.

We made it to the river, which was really pretty and would have been pleasantly peaceful if it weren’t for the huge family off to the left (out of the picture) and the pontoon that showed up right as we got in the water. So with that, we ate our packed lunches and decided to try to find this other camp site Jacob had heard about that’s supposed to be beautiful and free [right in our price range :)] So on we went.

We found the camp site and it was indeed beautiful and free. We drove around the area, planning future camping weekends, and on the way out we saw a sign for a camping trail and excitedly stopped to investigate said trail. As you can see in the picture, we weren’t planning on, or prepared for, a serious hike. We both had swimsuits on, and not much more in the area of protection. So we set off to check it out.

We found the trail head and discovered that either way we went, it was gonna be a long hike. Without giving it a whole lot of thought (definitely not enough thought) we headed out for the shorter of the two trails, the South Loop.

As we began the hike we were really enjoying ourselves. The trail was pretty and there were lots of pretty flowers and vegetation along the way.

So as we’re enjoying ourselves on the hike we get to a part of the trail that’s really overgrown and thorny (not fun) and then shortly after we cleared that, we got to a fork in the road that wasn’t marked at all. Frustrated, we went a little ways down each path and decided to go to the left. (We both realize now that this was the point at which we should have turned back, but of course we didn’t.)

So on we went, still not too worried about the trail. A few hours later we got to a point in the trail with two signs, one for the North Loop (the 10 mile loop we opted out of) and one sign for Roby Lake. Obviously, we were once again frustrated and neither sign was any help. We had already been going for hours so the idea of going back seemed horrible and we went to the left toward Roby Lake, hoping that would be the one.

After a 1/2 mile or so down that path, and two forks, we decide that this isn’t the right one and we turn back to the same intersection with all the useless signs. It’s at this point that I start to vocalize what’s been running through my head for the last hour or so. We only have so much sunlight left. It was 3:3o when we started this hike and while the sun is still shining quite brightly, if we don’t find a way out in the next couple of hours…well, I don’t know what. As you can see…i was freaking out a little bit. Jacob and I figured that if we had already gone so long down the trail we were on, if we went on the North Loop maybe the end of the trail would be just about a mile down that way…we hoped. Either way, there was nothing else we could do but keep walking, so we did…for hours.

until we found ANOTHER fork in the road with a small sign:

The writing in Sharpie says “Big Piney Trail Camp”. Big Piney Trail was the name of the trail we started on so we figured this was a good way to go.

1/2 an hour later I started re-thinking the wisdom in following signs written in Sharpie in the middle of the forest. At this point I’m scared. I don’t want to spend the night in the forest. Oh AND, both our cell phones are still in the truck, we didn’t bother to bring those along. And the 1/2 full bottle of water we had started with was now almost empty. I knew we wouldn’t die if we didn’t get out soon, but that still didn’t bring me a lot of comfort with the prospect of spending the night in the wilderness with absolutely no provisions looming overhead.

This whole time we had been hoping to pass over a gravel road at some point because we had passed over one at the beginning of the trail and we figured we’d have to go back over to get back to the trail head.

Eventually we found the road and crossed it, following the trail on the other side. However, about a 1/4 mile in we decided that since the sun was already starting to go down, our best bet would be to go back to the gravel road and walk along that till we find the camp and possibly a car with helpful people.

So we turned around, found the road again, picked a direction to start walking and headed off. One car passed us, just waving but not stopping to help and I felt exhausted.  We both had mud all up and down our legs, our faces were weathered and every movement came with a lot of effort. Finally, a car drove up and stopped so we asked which way the Paddy Creek Campground was – the opposite way we were heading of course. So we said thank you and turned around to walk. Graciously, the gentleman told us that they were headed there and they could give us a ride if we’d like.

I’m not sure I’ve ever felt that relieved. I heaved a great sigh and said thank you with all the gratitude I could muster, Jacob tossed his huge walking stick into the woods and we piled in.

By the time we got to the campground we learned that not only were we 2-3 miles from the campground, but we had ended up making a big circle without knowing, and approached the campground from the opposite direction we had left it.

As we reached the truck all of my exhaustion set in and I began to realize just how frightened I had been the whole time. Of course, my natural reaction to all of that was just to start laughing, incessantly. It wasn’t like a raucous laughter, just a small low chuckle that I couldn’t stop.

After deciding that none of the pictures were going to come out ok, we gave up on them and headed home, thankful for the fact that we could. We looked at the clock when we got in the truck – it was just after 8:30. As we drove home, the sun went down and by the time we got home, it was dark. My own bed has never felt so good!

What you should glean from this tale:

– Don’t be stupid

– When you have hesitations about an activity, speak up before it’s too late

– Don’t venture into the woods with your swimsuit, half a bottle of water for two people, and a camera. (dumb!)

– TAKE YOUR PHONE!

– Make sure there’s a trail map – if there isn’t, DON’T go!

– Don’t be stupid! (It needed to be stated twice – trust me!)

Glad to be home!

-The Fortunate

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Oops

So the plan for today was to drive in to town, get a library card and use the libraries web access to write a post about the beautiful and delicious bread that I made yesterday.

First mistake:

We got halfway in to town and realized we hadn’t remembered to bring the laptop, proof of address (which we were going to need for the library card), and the Red Box DVD we needed to return today. So with much frustration, we turned around to get all of the above.

Second mistake:

As I sat down in a  cozy little chair in the library, ready to write this post, I realized that neither Jacob nor I had thought to bring the camera – and of course we hadn’t uploaded the pictures from the camera to the computer yet. So again, we feel like fools. In Jacob’s defense, he spent the whole of the morning outside doing physical labor and came home feeling somewhat sick. I on the other hand have no excuse other than the fact that I’m a bit of a space cadet – according to my husband.

But wait – modern technology may have just saved the day! I was so incredibly proud of myself for making this bread yesterday that I took a picture of it with my phone and sent it to at least 6 different people! ….Which means…I can email it to myself and smack it up on this here blog! Hot dang I like technology! Please excuse the poor quality of the picture!

On the camera I had some pictures of the process that got me to this point, but this will have to do. It’s whole wheat bread made with honey instead of sugar and sprinkled with Rosemary on top. Fresh Rosemary from my wonderful herb box.

Also, update on the Cilantro – Jacob’s mother found us some!!! AND…I learned that Coriander is the seed form of Cilantro. It’s incredible the things I don’t know about food and gardening.

Anyway, I’m hungry and my dear husband looks bored – plus the hour of web access we get at the library is about up. So, until next time. Be safe, make good choices.

-Rachel

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Experience

“Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.” – C.S. Lewis

This morning marks our last shift at the Weaver Inn. As our final hours dwindle down we consider our time here Mansfield, MO. Though short and riddled with obstacles, the time here was incredibly profitable. As newlyweds we were able to spend a full 2 months with each other, day in and day out. While this amount of time with your spouse brings its own challenges, the things that we’ve learned with and about each other as a result of this time have strengthened our relationship and brought us even closer together.

Upon accepting the position in Mansfield, Jacob and I began to wonder about small town life. Would we like it? Would it be quaint and cute? Maybe we’ll love it and resign to live is small towns forever. Will the people be more real, and down-to-earth? Will it encourage us to lead a more healthy lifestyle, in diet and activity?

The resounding answer to all of those questions, for us at least, was “no”.

Quaint: “Attractively unusual or old-fashioned” – Was Mansfield unusual and old-fashioned? Yes! Attractively so? … not so much. I don’t want you to think that we hate this town or that we didn’t like anyone we met here – that is not the case – we just found that, for the things we want in life, small town life just won’t work for us. We’ve met some great people and enjoyed much of our time. It’s just time for us to move on.

We’re excited to see what our next adventure will be and where it will lead us. For now, we’ll be spending the summer with his family, after that? We’ll see…

“I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

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Cupcakes

So last week this gal ordered 4 dozen cupcakes from me. She wanted them for a baby shower so she gave me the napkin she was gonna use, told me the colors she wanted and said to do polka dots. So … I wasn’t aware of any way to do polka dots without using fondant. (maybe there is a way, but I didn’t know about it – for shame). I’ve never used fondant before in my life. My sister’s got mad skills with some fondant, but me? not so much. So, I call up lil’ sis to get some pointers.

The most important thing I got from all these pointers was that I needed to make my own fondant! Apparently it tastes much better and it’s a fraction of the cost.

To this I said “Great! How the heck do you make fondant?” My loving sister, whom I called in the wee hours of the morning, graciously gave me the recipe. (It’s pretty simple actually, if you’d like the recipe let me know). Making fondant is by far the messiest thing I’ve ever done – which of course means I loved it.

Then I made the cupcakes. 2 dozen vanilla, 2 dozen chocolate

The cupcakes were yummy. They’re all made from scratch – which to me is just the way it has to be.

Keep in mind I’ve never worked with fondant before – it got quite messy. On top of that, we had a really busy weekend at the Inn so I wasn’t able to get them done as quickly as I wanted. It came down to the night before and I still needed to put all the polka dots on. I had to stay up all night just to finish: it was painful.

I needed the Coke to keep me going.

But alas, I finished them! I thought they turned out alright, I’m excited to have another fondant project so I can hone my skills.

The lady that ordered them really liked them, so I guess that’s a win!

Later on that day, Jacob’s youngest sister Hosanna came over and she and I messed around with the leftover cupcakes/fondant. It was fun.

The “J”‘s stand for Josiah (brother) he broke his leg the day prior in the middle of a soccer game. 😦 It looked pretty cool though – just sayin’

Anyway – Cupcakes were fun and I’m excited to be living near the family for the summer – I have a feeling it’s gonna be lots of fun!

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Homemade cleaning

So I like making things like this…they’re yummy and fun (even though they make me fat – Just saying). However, my desire to make things from scratch doesn’t end with baking.

Jacob and I try to use cleaning products that don’t contain a lot of chemicals as much as we can. It’s not that I think all chemicals are evil, I’d just rather not spray them all over my house if I don’t have to. (It makes sense to me). So….my lovely friend Emily let me borrow this book and it’s got all kinds of awesome recipes and instructions for making non toxic cleaning supplies. (It also has health and gardening tips too – it’s a great book)! I used the book’s recipe for an All-Purpose Cleaner and I’m really liking it so far. It’s not some magical cleaner to replace all other cleaners, but it works just as good, if not a bit better, as any other All-Purpose Cleaner I’ve used without the risk of toxic chemicals hanging out in my home (it especially creeps me out in the kitchen). Anywho, here’s how I did it:

First, I gathered my supplies

The vinegar isn’t in this picture because I forgot to grab it – I’m a little spacey.

Time for assembly:

1 tsp of Castile Soap

2 Tbsp white vinegar

1 tsp Borax

3 drops Tea Tree oil

and 2 cups hot water. Pour that all into your Spray bottle. The handy-dandy homemade funnel is optional. I’m not known for my dexterity when pouring so it seemed like a must for me.

You’re supposed to add 1/4 tsp each Eucalyptus and Lavender oil – this if for fragrance. I didn’t have any of those oils, and I like the smell of Tea Tree oil, so I just used a little bit more of that.

I like to give it a good shake, and you’re all done!

You can use this on anything but glass. Spray on, scrub, rinse off with clean, damp cloth! Ta-Da!

So far there’s been nothing that this baby hasn’t worked on! I’m excited to make something else from my book of wonders!

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