Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Utah and Home Improvement Projects

 Well, after our Uhaul disaster (they gave us a smaller truck than they guaranteed, and threw in a tiny trailer to help, but it was still much too small; so Scott ended up having to make another trip back to Denver from Utah over the weekend to get the rest of our stuff before the next tenant was to move in; thankfully Jim Redd from our church ward here offered to go with him which we really appreciated), it was so nice to be home again with the entire family, even if the house was filled with boxes.

We had so much help when we got here which made moving-in easier, and it made us feel loved and welcomed right back into our old neighborhood. We love the people here and are happy to be back among them. I told Scott, after I went to church Sunday (he was in Denver loading up again), that it was so nice to sit in church, head in scriptures while others are reading, and not even have to look up to see who was speaking because I knew their voices...I think I smiled to myself with each new reader; I love them all! Backing up, we took off Friday night around 7pm and drove until about 11pm, in Rawlins Wyoming, where we stayed at a Hampton Inn for the night. Charles and the little girls rode with me in the van for that leg of the trip, and Elisabeth rode with Scott. Saturday morning we ate breakfast and were on the road again by 8am, this time Elisabeth was in the van with me and Charles with Scott. I wanted to make sure I always had one of them with me since they are older and were a huge help with the younger girls who needed snacks and help starting their dvds etc. We got to our home around 2pm on Saturday and several men were over within the first 15 minutes of our arrival, helping us unload and put furniture and boxes in their correct rooms. Maren, my neighbor and good friend, came over with baby Sarah and set up most of our beds, the sweetheart. Kim and her older kids came over later that day and helped me unpack for a couple of hours.
 By that night we had the living room cleared, the kitchen unpacked, and everyone's wardrobes unpacked.
 I didn't want to wake up Sunday morning to a chaotic kitchen so it was so nice to have their help so that I woke up to an orderly and clean kitchen. By the way, that eyesore of an oven is leaving this Friday and I will have a double, stainless steel oven in it's place! I can't wait! That white oven is hazardous; I remember the heating element catching on fire twice when we lived here before, which I then replaced twice! Scary!  And the previous tenants said a couple of the stove top burners were temperamental. I also just ordered a new washer and dryer since we sold ours in Denver...they won't get here for another 6 days so I may be going to a friends to do a load soon :).
 Scott got back from Denver Sunday night around 10pm. Monday morning at 740, the teens from the church and neighborhood were at our door and they unloaded everything else with the help of some of several adults as well. Scott went back to work Tuesday morning and we have been working on our mile-high list of projects :). Tuesday afternoon I was touch-up painting several rooms that needed help when I realized the house had been quiet for a good half hour. I looked out the back window and saw the little girls on the swing set and Elisabeth and Charles out in our 'garden', well, it once was a garden, but now it's more like a jungle, but they were out there with tools and a large garbage sack, clearing out weeds. We have good kids and I was touched by their thoughtful gesture to help out without being asked.
 In our master bath, it looked like someone had sprayed a cleaning solution on several areas of the wall that was not good for paint, because it turned this light blue paint into a bright turquoise on several places, so I fixed that up, and then did some spots in the master, and two other bedrooms.
 The first tenants that we had painted the kitchen and I did not like the color they choose, at all. The bottom is a tan-ish color which is fine, but then the top is a yellow that does not go well with the tan, and which looks lime green at night. So I'm in the process of choosing another color which will go better with the tan...I need to choose this week because Monday and Tuesday next week we have a guy coming to paint our entry/hallway/living room/stairs area and our family room downstairs, and he said he'd do the yellow in the kitchen for me with no extra charge if I'd get a gallon of paint that I like. So excited to have these walls done so we can unpack our family room and hang some things on the walls.
 And we're still working on the laundry room, but we're hoping to have it all done and ready by Tuesday when our machines arrive. The drywall and floors are in, Thursday we'll sand, Friday we'll texture, and hopefully Saturday we'll paint which leaves baseboards for Monday. I can't wait until it's all done! After the laundry room is done, then it'll be the hallway we're putting into Charles' room, taking out the paneled ceilings in his room and Elisabeth and Annabelle's room and putting in sheet rock, putting in another wall in Elisabeth's room because the other one is too close to the kitchen plumbing and has caused problems, and then painting those rooms. And then we'll move on to updating 2 of the three bathrooms (already updated the 3rd), extending the driveway back to the shed, and last, the kitchen. These projects, along with the new carpets we got last year, will make the whole house look quite different. We think it'll probably end up taking a year, possibly two, before we get it all done, but it'll be wonderful when it is.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Home, Father-Son Camp out, Emily's Birthday

We moved to Utah last weekend! More on that in the post Wednesday this week (hopefully, if I can get internet set up in time). For now we need to go back to the week before the move and catch up. Friday afternoon Scott flew in from Utah and the girls and I picked him up at the airport since he left his truck at our house in Utah. His flight was a little late so the girls and I had some time to visit and sing in the van, in the cell phone lot, while we waited.

 We are so happy to have Scott home. He literally is my home. Home is where Scott is, and I don't feel 'at home' when he's away. So glad to have him back! Jane took this picture; the trunk of the van was open so she leaned over her seat and snapped this :).
We went straight from the airport to pick up the kids after school.

We were home for about an hour before Scott and Charles took off for the Stake Father and Son camp out. While they were out, us girls got Thai food delivered to the house and we watched High School Musical 2 and ate popcorn and aussie licorice. 

This was Jane when Gabriella and Troy kissed at the end of the movie :).
Saturday was Elisabeth's BFF Emily's birthday and they invited several of her friends and their families to join them at the park to celebrate. We brought the whole family and had a really nice visit and the kids loved playing with friends.

Near the end of the party the girls came and told us that there were free paddle boat rides being offered for just a couple of hours that day. We all decided to go for a ride.

The following week Scott was home working from 7-530pm, kids were at school, I was taking care of normal homemaker tasks during the day, and each night we would try and spend about an hour packing together, as a family. It worked out pretty well and we got a lot done. Friday we had a moving company come over and finish off the packing (mostly bedroom and kitchen stuff) and load up the didn't all fit; Uhaul 'guaranteed' a 26' truck and then the week before called and said they didn't have a 26' truck close by so they gave us a 20' truck and a small trailer, which was not big enough. Any how, we ended up leaving a garage full of our things in CO for a night until Scott could drive the truck back(he headed back to CO about an hour after we finished unloading everything), fill it up again (with the help of friends) and then drive it back to Utah. My sweet, hard working husband drove 25 hours that weekend. He was blessed to have a friend in our church ward in Utah offer to drive back with him which made it a little better and safer. After talking to many, many friends that had similar experiences with uhaul, we decided that if we ever move again, we will not use Uhaul.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Last Week Apart

Well, last week was our last week apart from Dad before we all move to Utah. His last trip out to Utah was for 12 days, which meant he was there over Mother's Day weekend, which wasn't our favorite thing, but he was able to get a lot done on the unfinished laundry/storage room which made it better. There were several plumbing problems at the house that surfaced while he was there and so it was such a blessing to have him there to get that all taken care of. I know it was discouraging for him at times to have yet another plumbing issue to fix before he could move on with his projects, but prayers were answered in the form of loving friends and neighbors who, of their own free will and accord, would just randomly show up and spend time helping out with various projects and I know that helped lift his spirits and bring hope and light when things were looking dismal. 

While Scott was busy working on our home in Utah, the kids and I tried to live a somewhat normal schedule, keeping up with school, soccer and piano lessons but also trying to get things cleaned and organized for our move. We even packed a few boxes of books. For Family Home Evening Monday night, we had our lesson during dinner and then rode our bikes to Zinga Frozen Yogurt for our activity and dessert. We had two free frozen yogurts that we had to use before we moved so this was the perfect time :). 

Since Scott's been traveling, the kids have been really good about helping out more with things he'd normally do like extra cleaning and helping put the little girls to bed. All three of the oldest kids have been taking turns reading to Jane and Nora and taking them to bed.

Nora, for about a week, was sleeping better, even with Scott being away again, which I thought was because I bought more nightlights to put in her room, ours and the bathroom. But that didn't last long. During his second week away she started getting up again every night, multiple times a night, and coming into my room, begging to sleep with me. I would take her back until about 4am at which time I would let her climb in bed with me. Afraid I was forming a bad habit of allowing her in bed, even if it was later in the morning, I decided to just pull her blanket and pillow in when she came in the first time, and I set up a make-shift bed for her on the floor of my room.
Here's the boxes of books we packed up before Scott got home. We also took down all the wall hangings. 

Last week we also got the kids school teachers, and their piano teacher, a little 'teacher appreciation' gift since school is almost over and we're moving. We did Jamba Juice gift cards for their school teachers and a Chipotle gift card for their piano teacher. 

The weeks that Scott travels, I told the kids we could go out to dinner one night a week, that way Mom can have a break from cooking and cleaning one night :). After piano lessons Thursday night, we went to Cracker Barrel for dinner, a family favorite. I told the big kids, on the way there, that the only way we were going to eat out that night was if they promised to help out with the younger girls and be on their best behavior. They all were pretty awesome. And that was our last night without daddy!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Mother's Day

Scott was in Utah for Mother's Day this year, but the kids, on their own, stepped up to make it a special day. The night before Mother's Day I was told not to come downstairs until 730am. I told them okay, but also reminded them that I had some extra green smoothie in the fridge that I was planning on having in the morning for breakfast (it's what I have every day for breakfast, and it's been that way for 5 years). Sunday morning I heard kids getting up around 630am. I sat in bed and read my scriptures and listened as the older kids struggled  helped the younger kids get ready for church. I may have smiled knowingly a couple of times when I heard 3 year old Nora screech about not wanting to wear a particular dress; even at three, that girl has some very decided opinions about clothes and fashion. It was nice to have that hour to myself in the morning to read and get ready. 
At 730, Annabelle came in to call me down for dinner, but I noticed she looked a bit put-out. It looked like she had been crying. I asked her what the matter was and she told me that Elisabeth and Charles only made four pancakes and so they told her she couldn't have any because 2 were going to mom and then Jane and Nora, the youngest, each needed to have one. I assured Annabelle that she could have one of mine which cheered her up instantly. The dining table was all set with place mats, plates and forks, and their were strawberries along with the pancakes, and of course my green smoothie. I asked Elisabeth about there only being four pancakes and she said she forgot to double the recipe (and it looked like she made some quite a bit larger than I normally do). I cut all the pancakes in half so that everyone got some and then made some toast as well. 

Once breakfast was all cleaned up we headed to church. I taught Jane's CTR 4 class which is the smallest class in our ward with only 3-4 kids that come each week. I brought my Nativity dress ups and had the kids act out the story of Nephi, Laman and Lemuel getting the plates (scriptures) from King Laban. 

Once we finished acting out our story, the kids asked if they could 'play house', and so they did :). We built a little tent with blankets and James was Father Lehi and the girls were other members of his family :). They loved it! I don't know why I haven't ever done this before for a Primary class.
I was the narrator and King Laban.
I wanted to get a Mother's Day picture with all the kids in their church clothes, but forgot about it until after they'd all changed. And then Jane did not want to be in a picture at all, and so I told her that if she wanted a treat that night after dinner, she needed to be in the picture with us, and hence we have the reaction to that request/threat below. Mommy of the year award right here! :) Not my best mommy moment, but hey, no one's perfect, right? Next year I'll try and gently and lovingly persuade rather than threaten with no treats :).
Yeah, after that last picture above, I told her she had to look happy for it to count. So we got the one below.
And a funny face picture, without Jane because I decided at this point that if she didn't want to be in it, then it's not that big of a deal. I have so many other pictures with her that it's all good.

Both Elisabeth and Charles wanted individual shots with mom.

Scott was invited over to our friends the Scott's for a mothers day dinner (thank you Kim and Larry!) so he called later and we got to face time with him. We actually do face time with him just about every day. Elder Driscoll and Bassett stopped by before bed to take some pictures with the family (we were already in pjs), because Elder Driscoll, our British Elder, was getting transferred the following day. We'll sure miss Elder Driscoll, and Elder Bassett as we are moving this week.
And last but not least, Mother's Day dessert! Carmelitos are a personal favorite of mine. I try to justify eating them by reminding myself that they're made with chopped nuts, oats, butter and whole wheat flour...but then there is also an entire jar of Mrs. Richardson's caramel, butterscotch and white chocolate chips and brown sugar. But for mother's day, it's all good. We were good and shared with the missionaries and then I froze the leftovers and brought them over to a farewell get together my good friend and neighbor, Desi planned.
Once the kids were all in bed, I called home and talked with my mom and dad, which is something I do every week, but still, it was the perfect way to end Mother's Day. I'm so grateful for mothers who sacrifice to much for their children and others. I'm so grateful for my mom and for Scott's mom, for their dedication and hard work. I love them both dearly.

Friday, May 15, 2015

When Daddy's Gone

I miss Scott the most at night and on weekends, because that's usually when he's home with us. During the day life is pretty normal, though it was nice to have him around to help with evening rides on piano lesson day or early morning student leadership meetings, but we've been able to work it out alright. Thursday before piano lessons, since they start about 30 minutes after school is out and they are very near to the school, I took the kids to the park to play since they didn't have any homework. Normally, if they have homework, we'll drive to the library which is also close, and they'll finish their homework and then check out material.
My friend, Mine, had me and the girls over for lunch one day this past week. She made something similar to what is below. It was a grilled mozarella, pesto and tomato sandwich. I didn't have any pesto when I recreated this lunch for the family, so I substituted avocado. So yummy! I think next time I'll do the pesto and the avocado.

Friday night was family movie night. We popped up some popcorn and I gave each of the kids a big bowl along with a few pieces of Aussie Strawberry licorice. It's our fav movie night treat.
Once the little kids went to bed, the older kids and I read and/or wrote in our journals.
Lots of love for mom.

I ordered a new 5 piece suit for Charles which inluded a white shirt, tie and vest. He tried it on right away and he looked so handsome! We got it from the Black and Bianco website for $40 with shipping! Sweet deal (thanks Desi for telling me about it).
I've asked Scott to send me pictures of his progress on our unfinished laundry/storage room. His dad was able to come out for several days to help, which was so nice. Framing done:
Most of the drywall up: It's looking SO good! I can't wait til it's done!
Saturday was rainy and dark so we spent the day inside, besides my run in the morning. We cleaned and organized (nice thing about moving is all the organization and decluttering that gets done) for awhile and then we played games, watched a movie and Charles and I had a nerf gun shooting/target competition. I won!