Friday, April 29, 2016

A Day so Fine

During the first weekend of April, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds its semi-annual General Conference. I love this opportunity to gather and listen to the words of modern-day prophets and apostles from the comfort of our own homes. I'm even more excited by the possibility of attending in person (should we be lucky enough to secure a ticket) after our move to Salt Lake. Even so, by the end of ten hours of instruction, everyone is a bit squirmy.

Following this April's Sunday Afternoon Session, we all headed to Lake Zorinsky for some much needed communion with the outdoors.

The photos are so lovely that I don't think they need much explanation.  I'll just entitle this post: "A Day So Fine."

After arriving back at Papa Kay and NomiAnn's house, we gathered in the tree house.

The reason for our gathering: to roast smores over our substitute campfire.  (Because tree houses and real campfires are a bad mix.)

Even so, Papa Kay kept a close eye on things.

 Life just doesn't get much better.

Talia's First Gymnatics Meet

When my sister-in-law Christy has too much to do, she has a tendency to procrastibake. As for myself, I procrastiblog.

In the beginning of April, Talia competed in her very first gymnastics meet.  Held in Crete, Nebraska, she competed against other young Sokol gymnasts from the Midwest.  (If like me, you didn't know what anything about Sokol, it's a Czech organization that promotes physical fitness, culture awareness, and the most affordable gymnastics around.)  Anyway, Talia's cute team is in the red, white, and blue competition leotards.

You can see her blonde head poking out of the middle of the line in this photo.

Here she is warming up on beam. 

In competition.  She did great!

Here's Talia during her floor routine.  She worked so very hard to get her backbend kickover, and has learned lots of new tricks since, with a back handspring coming up next.

Vault was Talia's best competition event.  She placed first in her division.  Way to go, cutie!

We had a long break before dinner and the awards ceremony, so we drove a half hour back to the Lincoln Children's Museum.  This Cuckoo Construction site is my favorite.  Every fifteen minutes, all the bricks come tumbling down so you can start building again.

Eli, you make a great astronaut...

...and policeman.  The future is yours!

Here we have Policeman Eli and Firefighter Annie seeing how they measure up.

Brooklyn and Talia spent a good chunk of time training to be postal workers.

Annika pursued a second career as a vet.

Jason's new career?  Professional juggler.  His egg-juggling skills were a critical piece of our courtship, winning over my heart.

After the Children's Museum, we went to the Lincoln Capitol Building for a tour.  I thought it was pretty amazing, and the kids seemed to agree.  (By the way, I think this picture is one of the sweetest ever.)

When the tour was over, we took an elevator to the very top floor to have a look around.

I enjoyed spying on all the inhabitants of Lincoln.  Can you spot the wedding party taking pictures on the lawn?

On a clear day, you can see for miles and miles.

Annika got all tuckered out.  Jason doesn't seem to mind the chance to snuggle with his baby.

Best father ever.  Trust me.  He deserves a Congressional Medal for not strangling Annie last night at bedtime.

One more look at our State Capitol with its single tower and unicameral legislature from the outside.  Also note NomiAnn, who spent the whole day playing with us and cheering Talia on.  Thank you!

Back to gymnastics, at 7:30 pm we finally had our awards ceremony.  Talia was awarded a fifth place overall podium finish.  Congratulations, Reddi-Wip!

Just for kicks and giggles, here's the gym at the Sokol Underground Auditorium where Talia usually practices.

My favorite place to watch her practice, however, is right in our own living room.

Watch out world!  She's training a new generation.

We're so proud of you, Talia, and love watching you develop so many new skills and talents. As much fun as it is watching you perform something perfectly, I'm even more impressed as I watch you struggle--trying something hard again and again and again without giving up. We have much to learn from your bravery and persistence. Way to go!

The Work that Makes a House a Home

Putting a For Sale sign in front of a home you love is sad. We've come such a long way with our beautiful old home with the perfect address. So much progress has happened since a year ago when we "Gave a Boy a Hammer."

New bathroom subfloor, new living room ceiling, new toilet, improved plumbing, improved electrical, patched hole in Annie's ceiling--you get the idea.  Jason has worked so hard!

Remember that strange cavity we opened up and hoped to make a future linen closet?

Check!  Jason built shelves that go way back and even ran electrical so we can have light.  (Plus now it even looks organized.)

Even though the plywood floor of our attic storage space has been back for a long while, one Saturday in March I decided it would be great to throw sheetrock over the insulation since it was falling down everywhere.  An afternoon project, right?

Of course not.  It turned out that all of the rafters needed to be sistered in the process.

On the bright side, these deeper rafters allowed us to put in thicker insulation as well.  Good thing our minivans can transport a lot!

Bad news is I had a nasty run-in with the staple hammer.  I thought I'd be all awesome and independent and put up some insulation on my own, which was going great until all of a sudden it wasn't.  The bruising has gone away, but my fingernail is still black and may yet fall off.

Totally worth it for the final product, though.

Jason shows off his amazing skills.

By the way, this is what the girls' room looked like in the meantime.  Yikes!  They slept in the guestroom downstairs.

For the finishing touch, Callie and I  added some carpet that we found rolled up in the storage area.  Here's Callie hard at work--beware coming to our house for a "vacation."
Lounging on our new creation--a bit patchwork, but a definite improvement all the same.

Look at how adorably the girls decorated their new space.
 I kid you not, I think this detail may have sold the home.

Other projects: we had to relocate some decorations in Eli's room. 

The Death Star got to stay--it was just too cute to take down.

We also decided to restain our back deck.

What an improvement!

I tackled this one by myself--but not without major mishap--again.  I guess we can all see why I usually leave this stuff to Jason.

Talia helped me clean the walls in their bedroom.  Unfortunately, the growth chart for their baby dolls had to go.  Fortunately, Magic Erasers work wonders.

I ran around town like crazy looking for some new art.  Why do I never decorate until we're leaving?
In the end, I think the house looked pretty great.
Of course, I'm hoping this five-leaf clover I will bring extra good luck. One lucky leaf to get our old home completely sold, plus another lucky leaf to help us find a new one in Salt Lake.
Good news is that luck often goes hand in hand with hard work--and that we can handle.