Monday, December 17, 2012

Happy Birthday to the one I LOVE!!

Today is CJ's birthday, the 18th.. the BIG 29. I feel sick to my stomach even saying that, he is so young. All I want to do is lay in bed all day.. and feel sorry about myself, but that would be opposite of who CJ is and what he would want me to do.. he was always on the go, and always the life of the party. So today, I am doing things for my CJ, even though every second I am crying inside. He had so much love and life in him, he rubbed off on everyone he came across. I miss that.

Last year, CJ and I were in Chicago. We woke up...  after we slept in- CJ's favorite. Then we had to hurry and make it to the breakfast... because it was getting close to lunch hours menus only (we slept pretty hard). We went to breakfast in the city, at this berry pancake place across the street, kiddy corner, from that bean thing, it was delish.. CJ always was down for a good meal, he loved his food.. Probably why we both put on "love" weight.. that is what we liked to call it, after we got married. We just walked around this city for a while before we had to get on our plane back to CA. CJ was telling me OUR game plan in life, and how he wanted to live in Chicago after he passed all of his CFA tests, so about a year, and then go to BOOTH to get his MBA. It was a school that was right behind the Fidelity Branch right downtown in the Chicago. He had it all mapped out on where we would live and how he would go to school right after work since it was so close. We went and got him a sweatshirt to motivate him.. he always wanted to learn and get better. He also talked about how we would move to Boston after that so that he could get his PHD. I loved how driven he was.. he always got what he wanted because he worked so hard. I loved watching him, I was his #1 fan and was ready for our adventure together. As soon as we came home, in CA, I got out his presents and made him smile.. because I liked to "capture moments". CJ used to fight it.. but by this point, he just embraced it and smiled for me. He turned 28.

The year before that.. CJ woke up early to go play basketball at our church, up across the street, with the guys from our ward. CJ always loved to play basketball.. I think partially because the guys in the ward thought he was an all star. I mean CJ was a stud, he did make 3 pointers for days, and he is so QUICK... he was good... I loved going to watch him play.. but these guys made him feel like he was walking on water. I laughed at him all the time. So while he was out playing.. I made a cute sign at work and strung it across out kitchen and went to get CJ's favorite Jonny Kolache's, this hole in the wall place in Salt Lake, while he was playing. I picked out all his favorites and thought I timed it perfectly for him to come home so they would still be HOT. False, he played like an hour longer... I was pacing for him to come home,  so excited for him to take a picture by my sign and surprise him with all his TREATS! Finally... he came home and we had our own little birthday party- he was surprised... "dats my BABE" I can hear him staying that to me with a huge smile and arms out, waiting for me to come in for the "real deal".  After, we headed down to Provo to hang out with his family.. CJ always loved being with his family and I loved that so much. A family man... always looking out for everyone. We all ate at his favorite mexican place El Azteca and he spent it with the people he loved most! (quoted from our blog- cj said no party... he just wanted to go to provo and hang out with his family. so that is what we did.. went to lunch with them...) For dinner we met his best friend Joe at the communal, in Provo, for their annual birthday dinner... even though we were not even that hungry.. it was the principle to go out to eat, so we ATE.. haha  He turned 27.

The birthday before that is the year I gave CJ is Boston Red Sox bowling ball. When we were dating we went to fat cats probably twice a week (a bowling place in Provo). We went enough times that we made friends with the workers and they knew us on a first name basis when we came in. So I decided I would step CJ's game up for him and get a custom bowling ball. Plus, what did I get a guy that had everything... being a poor college kid working at Macaroni Grill?? A BOWLING BALL- duh.  To top it off with the classy gift, I went streamer crazy in his room with balloons and his favorite treats. It was one I was proud of and put a happy birthday sign on his door! I thought I was a clever girlfriend. I think he even left the streamers up a couple days so I could appreciate my work. Totally unexpected.. he liked it. It was a game changer for sure. He turned 26.

I remember everything like it was YESTERDAY.. dating.. engaged.. married. It really is so unreal to me. Sometimes I just get so caught up with ONE MILLION thoughts in my head... I just have to stop and the bottom line, the ONE thing that makes sense is... I just LOVE him. I love him so much and it is really hard without him. I am so grateful that I can look back and all I really see is how happy we were together. The happiest. It is that love that will keep me going, even when I don't want to, and the light at the end of the tunnel. I know he loves me, he wouldn't go a day without telling me! I love you CJ!

Happy birthday to the one I love the MOST!! Cheers to my babe, 29!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Sister Krystal Middleton (Nydegger)

I spent a few minutes today digging through my box of mission picture in hopes of finding a few with your husband, but I came up with only two, both huge groups shots from zone conference that you probably also have a copy of. So then I spent a few minutes digging through my memory. After 8 years and two children, memories have sure faded, but my memories of Elder Rhineer are fond. I served in Leeds as an "office sister" when Elder Rhineer was AP, so I saw him fairly regularly. I was at first, somewhat intimidated by his status as AP and his all-business attitude. I felt I had to be on my best behavior when he was around. Of couse I quickly learned that my first impressions were not entirely correct. Upon getting to know him better I saw his fun-loving side. I remember joking around at the mission office regularly. I wish I had a more concrete memory to share with you. The quality that stands out most in my memory, is his kindness. He never spoke unkindly of anyone. 

It was fun to be in the mission office to see how it all worked, especially at transfer time. I had expressed to Elder Rhineer and Elder Chell that I had always wanted to serve in South Shields because it was only sister's area that included beaches. They teased me and told me it wasn't very likely. Of course the changes are directed by the spirit, and the mission pres, but I know the APs had a hand in it too... I remember seeing a mischievous grin on Elder Rhineer's face when I found out I would be finishing my mission in South Shields.