Monthly Archives: June 2015

Tuesday Talk: Canoeing to a Stronger Marriage


In the world of marriage, ours is a baby; We are coming up on 2 years in October. It’s a drop in the bucket when you think about that whole forever thing. Although we haven’t been married all that long, we are also coming up on 10 years of ‘togetherness’ in October, and in the world of relationships that’s pretty significant! In this time, we have shared a lot; From travelling internationally, to road tripping, to weathering growing pains through college, we’ve seen many sides to each other’s personalities.

I believe strongly that with each new and different thing we experience together, we see new sides of each other and, as a result, grow stronger. Seeking new experiences is a great way to continue to get to know each other, even after ten years. And I hope this holds up through the decades to come. Whether it’s in setting up a tent together, moving, communicating in a foreign language, or even trying a new food we have a lot of opportunities to learn new things about each other. And, most recently, it’s in canoeing!

We bought a canoe to have around this summer and, from our first excursion with it I knew we were in for a great learning opportunity; Sure, we are learning how to canoe (how far can we go in an hour, how to pack the canoe, etc.) but, I should have known, we’re learning new things about us too.

To be successful in our canoe, we have to communicate frequently and clearly. From the moment we begin taking the 80 pound watercraft off the top of our Subaru we have to be clear with each other. If we aren’t talking about when to lift it together or which way to flip it, we end up with a bobbling, messy, and possibly dangerous unloading of the canoe. Then, if we don’t talk about how to get down the trail to the water, we end up stumbling and falling. On the water, if we don’t communicate about our destination, we travel in inefficient paths. If we don’t trust each other about what those big, gray clouds mean, we end up arguing about when to go in. And if we don’t listen to each other’s directions, we wind up out of control and being taken by the current straight into a patch of thick willows. Then, with tired arms, if we don’t talk about how to flip and load the canoe on top of the car we wind up a) laughing hysterically in the parking lot and hoping no one is watching or b) in danger of injuring ourselves as we struggle to load the thing.

Despite the fact that Alex and I both think we work quite well as a team and despite the fact that we’ve had great fun on our canoe trips thus far, all of the above-mentioned has happened already in our three canoe excursions together. But each time we unload and reload the heavy canoe, each time we lug it to the ‘put-in,’ and each time we get on the water, I notice that we are getting better.

It went from silence through the whole process to something more like:

“Ready? Lift. Okay, flip to the right. K, set it down.”

Then down to the water:

“Rock. Go to the right. Slow down. Rock, lift it.”

And on the water:

“Let’s aim for the patch of willows, then that rocky point, then the island.”

And things like, “Paddle hard on the right until I say stop.”

So, as with travelling, as with moving, as with trying new foods, new sports, new languages, I see that with this new experience our communication and, therefore, our marriage is getting stronger.

Happy Tuesday, and here’s to remembering the power of trying new things! 🙂


Grand County will always be here


The time for Big Transition number one has arrived: school ends today, and we must learn how to adjust to new and total FREEDOM. It will be tough…

Not really 🙂

But what is tough is the process of saying goodbye, realizing that we really are leaving our awesome students and staff, at least for now. This week has been a bit crazy and a bit emotional and a few tears have been shed (by me, the nostalgic one :)).

I think it’s interesting that when you get ready to leave a place, you realize with heightened clarity its many positive qualities. There have been countless times in the past three years of working with Grand County kids and families that I have stopped to appreciate the values and views, but this week especially I notice how well-behaved, funny, and kind the students at my school are; there’s almost nothing they could do in this last week that would displease me! I realize how supportive the staff is and what a beautiful view I have from the library where I work. I realize how lucky we are to have worked in a school district that values things like high school river trips and school bike day.

On the flip side of things, it seems that as we get ready to leave school people are realizing our many positive qualities, and showering us with endless compliments and encouragement, things that I didn’t even know people thought about us. And, of course, there’s no shortage of, “Ohhhh I wish I were young again.” and “Do it while you’re young, before you have kids.” and just simply, “I’m jealous.”

As we talk about leaving, it’s so easy to be excited about our next step and it’s equally easy to be excited about all the amazing things we’ve experienced in Grand County and in this school district; Whether it’s in learning to work with challenging children, helping kids love books, or floating down the river with 20 high schoolers, I’ve learned that there’s little more satisfying than working with kids. Aside from living in an outdoor playground populated with an awesome community, that lesson alone makes our three years in Grand County so worth it; we wouldn’t be going where we are going next if we’d never learned that lesson! It feels good to be ending school on a positive and satisfied note, with two whole buildings full of people encouraging us on our upcoming journey, and reminding us that Grand County will always be here.