Monday, August 31, 2009

Thinking of Friendship Today...

some wonderful friends from Texas, who came to me on my birthday as I watched my belongings be packed for our move here to the Spruces.

A very long time ago, my dad shared with me a gem of eternal truth. I wish I could remember the circumstances which surrounded our conversation, but the clear view of his kind face speaking to me these words will forever be with me,

"Katie, the things that you have in this life will be nice. But they won't matter as much as the people you come to love. Our things are so fleeting, so temporary. But relationships? They matter. They last through the eternities. They are the gifts we bring with us into eternity."

I've thought a lot about friendship today. Perhaps it is that my friends Susie and Jenna stayed with us for the weekend. I'm sure it is in part because my children are working through the newness of friendships in this new place, and also re-visiting friendships they left behind when we lived near here before. I've felt a deep sadness for the friendships I've left in our old home in Texas, and a gratitude for the comforting thoughts that friendships parted with love will remain friendships forever more.

And in all my thoughts on friendship the one my dad shared is the one that comes back. That friends are the treasures of this life, and that friendships knit in unity and love are gifts that can last forever.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Fridays Fly in Utah

Downside to Utah's educational system? Huge class size, curriculum that does not adequately challenge, funds that must stretch too far...

Upside? EARLY RELEASE EVERY FRIDAY. When I was a kid it was called "half day Friday".
I love half day Friday.
The day flies by.
My kids are around me.
It is finally the weekend.
They play with friends which means a loud and full house.
Cousins and their parents drop by to say Hi.

Hope you enjoy a lovely weekend. See you here on Monday.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Yesterday's lunch

Molly cracked the eggs.
Lucy spread the butter.
I cut the most delicious peach we have ever tasted (thank you Kelly for sharing this most lucious treat with our family).
At last minute Molly chose peanut butter and celery for our vegatable; I had forgotten how well peanut butter goes with celery.

We sat together at our table. We spoke of being home "alone" while the kids were away at school. Lucy didn't eat the eggs. We cleaned the dishes together.

It was the best 30 minutes of my week so far

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

For our Love of...

I abandonded John in the middle of unpacking boxes and took my Madi and my sisters down to the Happy Valley to support a lovely person we had never met, though we all felt we knew her very well. Stephanie recognized me as we approached the trail head, she called to me by name and I felt deeply moved that through the past year of pain and suffering and sorrow she would remember the face of a person who she has never spoken with accept through emails and blog posts. I want to be just like her in so very many ways.
Mrs. Nie is seen here after taking in the absolutely breathtaking view of Utah Valley from high atop the mountain which is home to the big white Y
This is our little hiking party; Jessa, Jenny, Madi and Me. We happened upon my dear friend Blue who had decided to support Nie and had come sans hiking buddies. We happily adopted her and visited all the way up and down the trail...
Jessa, Jenny and I enjoyed a text from sister Mandy, who could not join us but wished she could. Sisters in law were also warmly thought of. As we hiked we talked about the ways we've rallied together in our own burning tragedies. We've not had the drama or the danger of a plane crash, but other dissapointments and challenges have had to be bravely met, and we've been there for each other in those times. That is the way with families, right?
Here we are at the summit, with the Nielson family behind us and all around, cheering for their sister, fallen from the sky in flames and now rising again, like a pheonix; made stronger and more beautiful for the burning.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A year to learn how to Remember

We have adopted a "family theme" at the beginning of the school year off and on. It was a wonderful part of our year last year, so I encouraged us to continue.
John and I have observed that our we can benefit greatly from remembering many things: remembering the Lord's tender mercies in our lives, remembering our family and what it means to us, remembering the experiences we've had that have built testimony and brought miracles, remembering the words of the prophets, and most centrally; remembering our Savior Jesus Christ.
The daily act of remembering will be recorded in our new family journal, and the journal will be kept at the table. When a child is assigned to his/her dinner night they will also take a moment and record something to be remembered. Our Family Home Evenings will be sometimes centered around this idea of remembering, and we will daily work to remember in our prayers, with each other and in our personal lives.

I hope as the year unfolds, as our children remember facts, spelling words, the periodic table and other worthy things that they will also learn to remember the Savior and that He loves them, and in the practice of these things they'll come closer to Him and feel His love more abundantly in his life.

Here is to a school year full of remembering

Monday, August 24, 2009

Our First Day of School

Mason, who would have been a high school freshman in Texas, heads off to 9th grade at the Jr. High. Though Mason would protest, Mom is happy for the extra year of middle school (can you believe it, relieved for middle school? crazy I know!) Better to be the oldest than the youngest of the classes I say, especially when you are new. His confidence shaking just a bit, I know he'll have a great year.
Our pre school girls have two solid weeks until their first day, but how could we resist the photo op?
Brynley had timed her walk to school; 7 minutes with Cooper in tow. We all walked together and discussed where the kids would meet up before trekking home after a day full of learning and growth.

John joined us this morning offering waffles and a clean kitchen to start the school year off right. Tonight we welcome a new family theme with yummy dinner and dessert and a special family night.

Another school year begun.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Where is the Spruces?

I've named our new cottage/rambler "The Spruces" in honor of the massive spruce tree that sits majestically on the front corner of our property. We are located in a little nook of Salt Lake Valley, with a view of Mt. Olympus and the cock-a-doodle-doo of a rooster down the street. The story of how we found our cottage is too long to relay, but suffice it to say that a friend told a friend that a good family needed a good solid home, and a beautiful rental property became our forever abode. Here is the last installment of a week of introduction to our corner of the world. We will unbury the garage this weekend and hang pictures up 'til we run outta nails. Then it will be enough for now, and we will focus on getting kids to bed in time for early morning scriptures and bake bread for sack lunches as school begins this Monday.This is the lower half of the back yard. Won't that sport court be a great place for evening patio parties, with lights and candles strung from the trees and delicious grilled food from the barbie? Can't wait til next summer to try!
A fun view of the front porch. Someday the round columns will be square, and the white brick will be Cape Cod grey/blue...just imagine for now.
and another fun view, this time of the back patio. Small and covered in fake plastic grass, this will some day no longer be the back patio, but instead an outdoor kitchen. For now we will make it cozy with awesome outdoor sitting furniture gifted from Mom Graham, who has updated her own furnishings and is sharing her cool stuff with us!
The grand old flag, original to the home, flies proudly near the front door. These stars and stripes need serious retirement, and we will fold it appropriately and deliver it to the home's original owner, who now resides in a nearby retirement center. But we have an Old Glory of our own, and she will wave gently over The Spruces very soon.
ANd finally, a view of our Spruce back-dropping the cone flower that adorns the front flower beds. The original owner was an avid gardner, I'm told we will find hundreds of tulips budding this spring, and we already enjoy massive perennial flower beds (which need some TLC, come on DIG Design! Go sister Jessa!) and many many trees surrounding the property. Our immediate interest is in preparing a bed for vegatable plantings next spring. Mason has already torn out some garbage plants, and we are ammending the soil soon so wonderful growing conditions will be ready for tomatoes, beans and peas after the Utah winter has ended.

And now, for the good news. As of today our Texas home is under contract. The new buyers have 7 days in option wherein they could change their mind, but we extend our faith in believing the time has come for Texas to be a warm memory and for our eyes to no longer look back. Pray for a "clean close" on the property; we are so grateful for the faith you have extended in our behalf-See you here again next week!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Basement Cozy...

My studio moved from a room that was an attic to a room that is in the basement, but I'm so glad to have a place here for crafting and creating. This room is sandwiched between the family room/rec room and the children's bedrooms. I can be the bottleneck between little ones who are trying to sneak out of bed and watch tv and I can enjoy a peek at the kids playing rock bank while I craft away. I'll show you around this room more later-but my favorites in this space are the windows and the art table Molly was gifted for her recent birthday. Now my little ones and I can craft together while the big kids are away at school....
Your view of the family room and rec room area is backward, sorry. The above shot is taken so you can see the reading area, the tv watching area and if you peek real hard you can see the large storage closet that will someday soon become the laundry room. The stairs are next to that closet, and behind me in the shot is the craft room and hallway to bedrooms. I'm eager to finish out the reading area where Mason sits, and to put up my Americana memorabilia.
And here is the view from the bottom of the stairs. Sorry for the poor photography, time is fleeting for the blog these days and I shot this in a big hurry.

A little more of a peek into the house we are learning to love. Tomorrow I get to reveal some great news, and share some plans and schemes for this lovely corner of the earth.

Happy thursday!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Spruces Continued...

Please note; we didn't purchase a "wide angle" home. Instead, a charming rambler, more suited to detailed shots like the one above as opposed to "room shots" like those that follow...
The Library. My sister recommended her next door neighbor-a finish carpenter-to retrofit our library cupboard to fit our new lower ceilings. He did a smashing job. From the entrance to the room things look a little crowded, but I must say that after having spent many scripture study times in this room with our family already I love the cozy feeling of books and learning surrounding the children as they study-the room is located just off the front entrance and around the corner from the kitchen, easily situated for me to attend to the kids' studies as I work.
The Master Bedroom. Just quaint enough for our bed, nightstands, bureau and John's leather chair and ottoman-used for its adopted purpose of bunking children who are ill or of sad disposition in the middle of the night (Lucy took her turn there just last evening). I find that I miss the sunlight of our Texas house, but it is charming to view the garden from the shuttered picture window found bedside.
And John's office. Meant to be an upstairs bedroom, we have claimed this space for John's retreat. I love the shelving found to compliment John's streamlined modern desk. And notice the stack of games neatly placed? They are just the overflow from his collection-now housed in the full sized closet just out of the camera's view. Welcome home John!

Today I spent a few minutes teaching Porter how to fold towells in the den, the room that shares space with the kitchen. Molly and Lucy wanted to help, and Bryn joined in mating socks. Mason was eating (Mason is ALWAYS eating these days, when he is not talking) and Madi was tiptoeing through the freshly watered garden just outside the large sliding glass door. It felt like home to me, if only for those few minutes. Those minutes will happen more frequently and soon this place will be ours in feeling as much as finance.

more photos to come tomorrow. Hope you enjoy a peek at our new life in the Spruces.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A peek at the Spruces

the hub of the house. Large kitchen counter for baking and cooking. Seating at counter and over at the table. windows overlooking the flower gardens. Special bookcase showplace for all of John's cook books. thank you Uncle Bren for the 3 free stools, perfectly placed with the others under the counter for casual dining.

And the living room. Pictures still stacked up against the walls instead of on the walls, but you get the general gist. A few accents (like a killer chair in the corner by the curio) will be added as time goes by.

check back tomorrow for a look at the library, the office, and the master. Wednesday will reveal the studio and family room (basement cozy...) and Friday will showcase the front yard and the creative plans that stew in my little head whenever we inhabit a brand new space.

Welcome to the Spruces. Stop by any time!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Great and Terrible


*John comes home, usually, just in time for dinner dishes to be cleared. He can (once the boxes are empty and the phone service connected and the last IKEA bookshelf assembled) resume his post as bedtime helper and late evening companion

*We live in a house that (as soon as the bank will get its act together) we own. No more being house guests, no more sharing a washing machine. Bless you, sister Amanda and brother in law John, for the saintly way in which you allowed a family twice the size of your own to occupy your newly remodeled-very cool-super upscale abode with you. Our memories of this summer are rich and fun because of nights sleeping out on the upper deck and mornings of summer chores and journals at your glass kitchen table.

*We have our belongings. They are still mostly in boxes, but we have been sleeping in beds of our own for over a week now-and that feels mighty good.

*Our neighbors are amazing. We've gained pounds for all the home cooking they've brought to our door and we've shed tears over the tender love extended as Susie and Scott (the owner's whose home we have purchased) have mowed our lawn, emptied our boxes and entertained our children in their back yard pool while we claw our way out of the chaos of boxes.

*Michele, Sharon, Heather and Brittany keep the home fire burning on Pacer Way; scrubbing windows and accompanying A/C repair men into the home that we left behind at the mercy of a terrible housing market.

And now the Terrible:

*We still own a home-now empty-in Texas. This means two mortgages which means a tight budget and I have never been a capable penny pincher. Come on Dallas buyer! We are praying for your hasty arrival!

*We are still buried in boxes and that leaves me buried in the obsessed need to organize and complete. But here I am, finally, at the computer; which means I'm trying to un-bury my soul and organize my thoughts to include a life outside these new walls.

*Though coming to familiar surroundings this still is a move, and a move means change and change is always a challenge.

Thank goodness the great far outweighs the terrible. Look for some pictures tomorrow. For now just know we live at the Spruces, happy to call this new cottage our home.