Saturday, January 28, 2017

Community Explorations

Oh my goodness, it feels like these pictures were taken forever ago!  Shorts and t-shirts--quite the contrast from our snowy present of boots and knit hats.  In actuality, these photos are just remnants of November.  Autumn 2016 lingered delightfully.  I remember swapping out the summer clothes just days before Thanksgiving.  Much has changed since then!

During the month of November, we checked out a library pass that let us visit some local attractions for free.  Here is Eli enjoying the changing leaves at Red Butte Gardens.

 What an adorable spot for a picnic!

One sad moment--Annika slipped and bit right through the inside of her mouth.

Quite the tough cookie, she insisted that she wanted to stay and keep playing--as long as she got to hold the animal crackers.

Gardens are the perfect place for a new perspective.

Our community exploration card also let us into Discovery Gateway, our local children's museum.  Here are Brooklyn and Eli lifting blocks...

...and their little sis.

The Lego racecars were a definite hit... was the helicopter landing pad on the roof.

While I don't have pictures, the Community Exploration Card also granted us access to the Museum of Natural History and the Leonardo.  Great news is that we won't have to wait until next November to visit again.  Over Christmas, generous family members gifted us with memberships to most of these fun places.  Thank you!

Speaking of fun places, Talia was under the weather one day in November, so we skipped school and headed to the Tracy Aviary instead.

Not every gal gets to feed an emu!

Some other pretty amazing birds.

And now this ol' bird ought to head to bed!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

No Boredom November

Jason's currently upstairs working on electrical from a crawl space that he likens to a birth canal.  Every once in a while he calls down and asks me to bring him up something like a screwdriver or utility knife.  Seems like the least I can do.  In the meantime, I might as well try to get more current on the blog.

Still slogging through November...a tough month to chronicle because we had so much fun!  Here are some pics of the kids' adventures from deep inside our O Street basement.  This K'nex contraption was impressive, especially since it was constructed without adult supervision.

Here's Annika riding her horse.

Yeah, hittin' the trail always wears me out too.

Of course, for Jason and I, hitting the trail generally means hiking.  Here we are up Big Cottonwood Canyon on Veteran's Day.  (Daddy was the horse this time.)

We were blessed with some great family visits in November as well.  Susie and Charles came down from Logan to share the weekend with us.  The weather was mild enough to eat outside.

Brooklyn decided that the hot tub was the perfect perch for reading and rays.

As is typical, we dragged our company into the mountains.  (Not that billy goats Charles and Susie are difficult to convince.)  Here we are up Porter Fork in Millcreek Canyon.

Closer to home, we enjoyed playing at the park (which is even closer to our new house)...

...and running up Memory Grove into City Creek canyon.

This picture reminds me a bit of the acrylic Jason is working on.

Back to City Creek, the last time we hiked up there the older kids hid Craisins along the path for Annika to find, just like Papa Kay would hid Tic Tacs.

On the domestic front, we made our very first batch of meat pies!

Impressive as our pies were, Christy's home-baked bread knocks your socks off.

We were so glad Aunt Christy would spend a few days playing with us (especially the fun part where she filmed Jello commentaries in our living room.)

Annie especially liked her boots.

For me, one final highlight of November was discovering beautiful Bonneville Shoreline Trail, all within running distance from our house.

Our fashionista Talia had quite a bit of rainbow fun with the hair chalk.  While I'm glad it's not permanent, she pulls off the color remarkably well.

I'll let our pictures say the rest.

At the end of the month, winter finally decided to arrive in all of its snowy glory.

We pulled out the snowsuits, and the kids have been building snowforts ever since.

There.  At last, we have matched the season. And at last, the wiring is done, so I bid you all a good night.

Sunday, January 22, 2017


I started writing this post two weeks ago, but never finished it.  Guess I really was tired!
I am WAY too tired to write anything coherent, but I don't see that changing anytime soon.  So much has happened that I want to record it anyway before I forget.  (As if I could I ever forgot all of this drama, but it's amazing how time glosses our memories.) 
It happened.  Thursday we closed, Friday we moved the biggest stuff, and Saturday we took over the boxes and most of the rest.  Half a mile from one home to the other.  Sounds simple.  Hah! 
What should have been a simple closing turned into tremendous stress and last minute drama when the bank got the purchase price (and subsequent loan amount) wrong.  Even though we informed them of their mistake way in advance, they didn't get it fixed and our closing nearly got pushed back by days.  My favorite was when they told us Wednesday night that we could still close on time if we would just wire over an extra 4K.  Fortunately Jason suggested that since it was their mistake, they should wire over the extra money instead. 
On Thursday, we awoke to the coldest weather Salt Lake has had all winter, maybe even the coldest in years.  (Fortunately it was a good deal warmer than Logan, which was 30 below.)   We dropped by the new house for a final walk-through on our way to close with the title company, only to discover water slowly dripping down from the kitchen ceiling, which was now dangling precariously.  Be still my heart!  Since the house has unoccupied for months, Jason ventured a guess that a pipe had frozen and burst.  (Spoiler alert: he was right.) 

All this was followed by some mighty quick communications with the seller (who was already at the title company) and a plumber.  She committed to pay for all the repairs, so we ventured on and bought the leaky house with the frozen pipes.  We even went out for a celebratory lunch of french toast at the Park Cafe.  (All of the kids were in Hyde Park, sledding in 23" of newly fallen snow with Grandma Susie and Christy.  Poor Charles was stuck clearing all of the huge drifts from the temple grounds.) 
We spent the rest of Thursday packing, moving over a fairly impressive load in our minivan.  On Friday morning the plumber showed up, then the heaviest stuff got moved over late Friday afternoon thanks to some hired help.  I have to say, I was pretty nervous when two guys hopped out of their car in shorts!  Quite young and presumably inexperienced, I was nervous but didn't care too much as long as they were willing to heft.  And lift they did.  We moved the fridge, washer, dryer, couches, beds, dressers, bookcases, tables, chairs, and of course, the upright piano.  (An extra $50 charge for that one.)  It would have been a daunting task under the best of circumstances, but it was SO snowy and slick.  No matter how much we shoveled and how much ice melt we put down, the stairs up to the new house were practically a death trap.  In the meantime, the back porch at Dave's house had quite literally frozen into a miniature ice rink punctuated by icicles dangling a good 24 inches.  The ice was so thick that we gave up even trying to melt it.  I still feel so very fortunate that nobody slipped and got hurt--miracles all around.

Continuing on, we were also reunited with our children on Friday when Charles, Susie, and Christy swapped their negative 28 degree weather in Logan for Salt Lake's balmy five degrees.  Too tired to build beds, we laid out mattresses and slept for the first time in our new home.  That was the good part.

In the meantime, I was doing my best to keep from feeling too overwhelmed by the house and all of the moving drama.  Before we purchased our house, I knew that there would be challenges.  Not only was there a shortage of bedrooms and no usable garage (ours is sized for a Model T), but there was no overhead lighting in the living room or the dining room.
Our first real meal--dining on meat pie by lamp light.
I knew that the main bathroom would have only a pedestal sink, that there would be a shortage of closet space everywhere, and that some of the closet doors would be broken.
  I had been so comfortable in our rental that I was reluctant to move into a home that despite whatever historical charm, would undoubtedly be cold and drafty with its abundance of single pane windows.

In actuality, our new home exceeded expectations.  Lovingly dubbed Ginny in honor of its Virginia Street location and the fact that our next door neighbor is named James Potter, she is a bit of a trouble maker, just like her red-headed namesake.  Beyond drafty in spots, the kitchen pipes froze again even after being repaired.  We had to take the doors off of our refrigerator to get it through the narrow entry.

The dryer downstairs had a gas hook-up, but our dryer was electric.
Of course, we couldn't even fit our washer and dryer into the space because the countertop was too low.   You can't actually hang more than a few clothes in the Master closet because the bar is only attached on one end and everything comes sliding off.
Most disappointingly, my nice dresser wouldn't fit up our circling stairway.

And so, it was kind of amazing that I helped haul hundreds of boxes on Saturday morning without bawling.  We were so very grateful for all the help from Charles, Christy, Susie, our good friend Aaron from our old ward and a neighbor Brian from our new.  Even with the biggest stuff already moved, there was still plenty left to do.  Once the bulk had been transferred, we all picnicked on the floor of our old house to enjoy one final meal of Pie Pizzeria.
Dining on cereal in this pic, but you get the idea.
Saturday evening our new neighbors kindly brought us over some pasta so we wouldn't have to find all our pots and pans.  Such a blessing!

On Sunday, we went to our new ward where I shared my testimony about how I knew that our Father in Heaven had answered my prayers to feel peace during this move.  Under normal circumstances, such stress would result in frustration, anger, outbursts, or cankering resentment.  Even before our move, I knew this would be challenging.  I also knew I didn't want to taint our new home with my bad attitude.  I set only one New Year's resolution--to embrace Ginny with grace and love.  Indeed, I feel like I was granted grace far beyond my own.  Peaceful and calm, I know that the serenity I felt through the chaos of this move was a divine gift.  I stand all amazed by how God can bless us with peace in even the most challenging of times.


Postlogue: I am married to a pretty incredible guy.  I can hardly believe all the improvements that he has made in just the few weeks that we have lived here.  He's swapped the pedestal sink for a vanity so we now have a place to keep the blowdryer and our toothbrushes.

He ran a new electric line for our dryer, drilling holes for conduit in the freezing cold and re-wiring the electrical panel to make space for breakers.  He redid the downstairs countertop so we could fit the washer and dryer beneath.  He stayed up all night long pulling more wire and installing track lighting in our dining room.  Then last night he pulled another all-nighter to install six can lights in our living room.  Not easy when cutting through plaster and squeezing through the dirtiest of crawl spaces imagineable!
Wiggling his way in.

Hard at work.
Like the old pack of Lucky Strikes he found?  Complete with a two cent cigarette stamp tax.


With magic skills like Harry Potter, it's no wonder Ginny loves you, Peanut Butter.