Saturday, July 30, 2016

In the kitchen, last swim lesson for the summer

I am loving all the space in our new kitchen! There's actually room for several of us to help cook and clean at the same time without running into each other. Annabelle here is making a peanut butter and banana smoothie, which all the children love. 
 While babysitting some neighbors one morning, the boys asked if they could bake some cookies and sell them out in the front yard. I reminded them that it was 100 degrees and that we didn't live in a high traffic area (I wasn't sure if we'd have any cars drive by our house), but they were determined, so I helped them get out the ingredients and gave them a recipe and they went to it with minimal help from me.

 They made these snickerdoodles that are great in high altitudes, like here in Utah, and which are a healthified recipe (we used some whole wheat flour and a less refined sugar; but they're still definitely a treat).
They turned out beautifully! And I was surprised to hear that they did in fact sell some cookies and they actually made almost $6 (they sold them for 50 cents a piece). But then they told me that almost all of that came from the next door neighbor's family who loves snickerdoodles :). 

The kids had their last swim lessons this week and they all did great and improved! They'll still get a lot of practice at our pool over the next few weeks before school starts which will be good. 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Family visits from NC, finished the Old Testament, 13th wedding anniversary

A couple of days after we moved in, Krissy's family came for a visit from North Carolina. I unpacked and organized just about everything before they got here which was a good thing. Krissy had a wedding to attend, and a dinner the day before and a reception, and Wade left before all that, he stayed for 4 days, so we watched the kiddos while she went and then Grandma Angela flew in(so she could fly back with Krissy the next week) the next day, so we had visitors for about 2 weeks. It was nice spending time with everyone and the kids enjoyed having little ones around to help with :). 
 We went to the pool almost every late afternoon which was a lifesaver in this 100 degree weather.

 Scott and I finished painting the second, and last, accent wall while they were here. And then we also got carpet put in on the stairs about half way through their visit (their was a mismeasurement so we had to reorder and wait for it to get sent in).
 Charles loved playing with baby Pierson.
 While Krissy's family were out one afternoon visiting friends, we had our friends the Hansen's over to the pool. Here are Noah and Nora snuggling up in their towels after their swim.
 While family was here I also finished the Old Testament, which is something I started back in December! It took me about 7 months and that was with reading 6 pages each day, so about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on how much note taking I had to do. I have pages and pages of notes and gospel principles and insights I gleaned from this book. Loved it! And there are so many crazy stories and lots of drama too :).
 Here's silly Ruth! She says the funniest things and loved giving people kisses.We had to teach Nora to run away from Ruth because when they were close, Ruth would often scratch, push, or pull Nora's hair; we had to really watch that one! It made me remember the craziness of that age/stage of life :).
 When the carpet was being put in on the steps, I took my kids bowling after their morning swim lesson so that their weren't 7 kids plus two adults in the house with the carpet guy. We met up with Maren and Amanda and their kids which was fun.
 Here's Nora after her swim lesson, drying off her hair :). They did a 2 week session, each morning, Monday through Thursday.
 We loved spending time with Grandma too!
 Scott and I had our 13th anniversary while they were here so we went out one night and did sealings at the temple in Salt Lake City. We had this awesome sealer who was German and took so much time and care into everything he did, explaining things and expounding on doctrine and scriptures etc. Afterward we ate dinner at Cancun Cafe (we were the only ones in the restaurant, maybe because it was 830pm), and then we got frozen custard from Nielsen's. I love this quote on marriage by F. Burton Howard (quorum of the 70):
"If you want something to last forever, you treat it differently. You shield it and protect it. You never abuse it. You don't expose it to the elements. You don't make it common or ordinary. If it ever becomes tarnished, you lovingly polish it until it gleams like new. It becomes special because you have made it so, and it grows more beautiful and precious as time goes by."
 Scott has also been working on our mudroom. I wanted a bench with crates underneath, for shoes, and a shelf with coat hooks. It's almost done and I will post pictures of the final product soon.
 We sure love family!! Thanks for coming!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Local Move

Ever since we moved back to our house in Utah that we were renting out while we were in Colorado for those nearly 2 years, we've been updating it while looking at homes in the area online. We thought we'd keep that house for a couple more years while we worked on projects(we were outgrowing it, especially the kitchen), but we finished our last major project in May, about a year after we moved back, and started looking more at houses, attending open houses and such and the market was so hot, so good for sellers and good for buyers because of the really low interest rates, that we decided to look with a realtor. If you sell and buy with this particular realtor, they don't charge commission for the sale, which was a draw because it'd save us thousands. Anyway, we started looking in June and we went out a few times looking at multiple houses, all kind of in this area, and we still thought maybe next year, until we walked through one particular house that we fell in love with. It was in our price range, and it had recently dropped in price which meant they priced it a little high at first and didn't sell so it was on the market for around 40 days when we saw it which was good for us because we could go in a little lower and ask for some inclusions (like the fridge, the barstools and the closing costs). We came home and prayed and talked and looked at a couple more houses, but still felt like that one was it. So we put our house on the market the following weekend and at the same time put an offer on the house we loved.

The first day we started showing our home we had 2 full price offers. The second day we had two more and the third day, which was Saturday, we decided to not show it and to just decide between the four offers we received, but someone still came to the house to look at it and they offered above full price. So we did a 'give us your best by the next day' addendum and we ending up not going with the highest offer (someone came in 10k more) but with one that was still higher than what we'd asked, plus they allowed us to rent the house back for 20 days for free, and they paid for closing costs etc. We also wanted to help them out because they are an older couple whose home was being taken by Udot for road widening and they lived really close by and wanted to stay in that same general area near family and friends so it was a win for both. And because they were an older couple who already had their home paid off, they could put all that down on the house so it took away some stress from us because we didn't have to worry about the appraisal coming in high enough. They also didn't ask us to fix or pay for anything which was nice and which we've heard is more common in older buyers.

We did some negotiating on the home we wanted to buy and we ended up coming in a little lower and getting those inclusions I mentioned above, plus they gave us a credit to buy a new water heater which was needed (which is weird because the house was only built in 2009 so you wouldn't think it'd need to be replaced yet, but it really did; the warm water even turned a little brown in color from the rust when we filled up a sink), to fix a garage door (we think it just needs some new tensioners) and we split the cost of putting in a mitigation system after the house was tested for radon and it came in high.

The day we got back from our trip to Washington, Scott and I closed on both homes! This has been a busy couple of months for our family. Earlier when the inspector came to that house, I picked out a new carpet I wanted installed since they had a dog and I didn't love the carpet, and once we closed, we had our new carpet installed! We went with Dream Weaver Soft Harmony, and the color was chime.
Just before we went to Bryce Canyon I started looking for free boxes on KSL (like craigslist) and they go so fast I didn't think I'd be successful, but I'd been praying about it and one morning I felt like I should get on the computer and check and I did and something had come up 10 minutes before and I gave them and was able to get enough free boxes and packaging paper and bubble wrap for our entire move! Most of the boxes were from Home Depot and Lowes which makes it nice for loading the truck up. Poor Nora has been wiped out from all the moving stuff we've been doing lately. 

We closed on a Wednesday, got the keys on a Thursday evening and that night Elisabeth and I went over to the house and painted this one black accent bedroom wall (Charles' room) the same color as the rest of the house. We wanted to get it done that night because the carpet was going to be installed the next morning. So Liz and I were there until 11pm putting on 2 coats of primer and then I came back the next morning at 6am to put on the paint, but we got it done on time and it looks great! 
We were home for a week after Bryce Canyon before we went to Washington and during that week I did a lot of packing; I tried to pack for about an hour a day that week.
Our kitchen looked something like this for days: half empty cupboards, drawers always open so I can see what still needs to go, stuff all over the counters that can be packed now, boxes on the floor, garbage bags full of packaging paper.
Once we closed that Wednesday, we kept on packing and Friday night and Saturday I started taking over my kitchen stuff since that wouldn't be in the way of the carpet guy. I was able to get almost the entire kitchen unpacked that weekend, before we even moved in on Monday night. Monday Scott took the day off and we rented a Budget truck from Home Depot and the Scott's came over and a couple of the neighbor kids (Thanks Brigham, Ben, and Jordan!) and helped us move mostly boxes, plus we moved our fridge (we have 2 now, one for the garage) and we switched the ovens, which we got permission to do before hand from the buyers because I really wanted to keep my double oven. 

That night at 6pm around 15 men/ym came over and helped us load and then unload the truck. It took about 2 hours total and we were so appreciative of all their help. They moved our bball hoop over in the back of Joe's truck which I thought was hilarious, and a little dangerous :). Love these guys! 

 I bought some food (pizza, doughnuts, cookies, fruit and juice) to say thank you. We sure love that neighborhood and that ward and all our friends there that we've known and loved for these past 9 years. They are amazing and we will miss them! But we did not move far, only a couple of miles down the road so we will still see quite a few of them regularly for game nights and book club :). 

Maren came over and took a few pictures of us in front of our old house before we left. 

Charles asked if we could dig up our ginarmous sycamore tree and plant it at our new house. This thing is like 50 feet high so we said no, but we sure love this tree and the shade it brought and the hours of fun it provided our kids and the neighbor kids in climbing on all of it's branches and swinging from it.
As we packed and then moved, I often got into the 30,000 step range on my fit bit because of all the walking and moving...normally I'm in the low 20 thousand range so it's no wonder how exhausted we were by the end. 
 Tuesday, the day after our move, Elisabeth went to girls camp with our old ward, which meant my biggest helper and babysitter was gone for the next 4 days! We missed her but we were glad she was able to go. We took a break from our unpacking and organizing and went to Chick Fil A, dressed up as cows, so that we could have free lunch :). I love their Mexican salad.  I
I finished most of my unpacking and organizing by Wednesday, though I still have a few boxes in the garage and a few down in the basement...mostly with long term food storage. I wanted to have most of it done before Scott's sister and her family arrived the following day from NC. I gave away all our boxes and packaging material, 

 Oh, and our carpet guy mismeasured the carpet needed so we are without carpet on the stairs for a week, which actually turned out being a good thing because the other accent wall we wanted painted was on those steps so we had time to paint and prime it this week, and if we had new carpet in before we moved in, they would've taken a beating Monday night when we had to haul that dolley up and down those stairs many times with the washer, dryer, beds and dressers.
And here's the new home. We love it, we love the location and the extra space and I love the kitchen which is much bigger than our last and which is where life really happens in our home. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

6 mile hike near Brighton with YW; Sunset Peak

Last Saturday, the 9th of July, I was able to accompany Elisabeth and many other young women from our ward and stake on a 6 mile hike. We hiked in Brighton up to Sunset Peak. It was a gorgeous hike and I was so happy I was able to go along with them! The 12-14 year old girls only had to go 3 miles total, but many of them, including Elisabeth went the full 6! I was so proud of them all. I was also happy that Elisabeth had just trained for that 5k with me because I know that helped her endurance. She didn't complain, just mentioned once that her calves were a little sore. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

4th of July in Washington

After our reunion in the Tri-cities in Washington, we drove onto my mom's house near Seattle. I love watching as we cross over the mountains when the land turns from brown to green and huge evergreen trees surround you on all sides! Beautiful!
Stephany brought along her selfie stick so we all hand fun taking pictures with it :).

We drove into Seattle Sunday evening and Monday morning, on the 4th of July, we went to Edmonds and did the Beat the Brackett 5k. (brakett was a man a long time ago, over 120 years, who ran this pretty fast). They have a stand-in old man Brackett who runs this at a 7 something pace and if you beat him you get a green wristband that says, "I beat Brackett".
Here we are participating in the group stretch led by a fitness instructor from SNAP fitness.
Pre-run shot. Mom, Stephany, Annabelle, Jane and Nora were our cheerleaders, everyone else ran! 

Denali, my nephew, was the only one in our group who beat Brackett! He came in at 21:12 minutes, doing 6:50 minute miles, a PR for Denali.
I came in next at 23:45, doing 7:40 min/miles which was a PR and I had to go up 3 hills, one of which was at least 1/2 a mile long, and living in Utah, where it's very flat, I don't normally train on hills. Scott snapped this at the finish line where I felt like I was going to throw up...but I didn't.
Luis came in third 25:23 doing 8:11 minute/miles
Next was Blake and Elisabeth 29:53, doing 9:38 min/miles (many thanks to Blake for staying with Elisabeth).
Angelo and Charles came in at 33:52, doing 10:55 min/miles.

And then Becca and Bella came in shortly after the boys.
I had to take a picture of my Garmin because of my PR. Everyone did so well, I was so impressed with all the kids who did it especially when we hit those big hills! Way to finish!
Later that day, Scott and I went and visited Dad. Dad was born in Mexico but became a U.S.A. citizen when I was in jr high or high school, which made him very proud. He loved America and so I brought him some USA flowers which I know he liked :). I still think about him often, and know he's near.
That night we had a family/neighborhood gathering at Blake's parents house (we went last year too). We BBQ and have desserts, visit and watch fireworks. I made this patriotic fruit pizza. We love this fruit pizza recipe and the secret is the crust which is made from a store-bought sugar cookie package that we bake, and then we cover it in a cream cheese/powdered sugar/cool whip topping and then top it with fruit.
Scott with my brothers, Luis and Lowell.
My sister's Robin and Pepa and our great niece Stephany.
Denali and Luis.
Lighting fireworks in the street. Before we started the fireworks, we pulled out our long jump rope and did that with the kids for awhile which they loved. I love jump roping too.

I don't care much for fireworks, especially lighting them, but the kids and the dad's sure loved it!

Ann, Mom and Lowell.
The next morning we packed up and headed back for home. We couldn't stay long because we had to get home so we could close on our home and the home we're buying. The move is local, in the same city, but still just as much work.
Tuesday we just drove 8 hours to Becca and Blakes and stayed the night there, woke up early and finished the drive the next morning. I stopped in West Point Utah (about an hour from home), to pick up my 60 lb bucket of honey which is turning into a annual thing; that's about how long it takes us to go through that much honey :).
Oh and just for fun, I snapped some pictures of some of our favorite snacks. When you drive you just constantly eat, especially if you're driving because it helps to keep you awake. Blueberries and seaweed were the perfect solution for me because they're still healthy and the blueberries are so fresh that they don't leave you feeling gross even if you eat a lot. We also drink lots of water, we always bring lots of apples since they travel so well, and we really liked these Aussie Bites which are full of a variety of grains and are more filling. We also had gum and tic tacs which are fun for the kids and a few other snacks including veggies straws (which aren't so nutritious but so yummy), carrots and each person had a protein bar (we like Cliff Builder and Luna Lemon Zest).
We loved spending time with family, even if it was for only a few days; we'll take whatever we can get!