Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Our Trip Across the Country: Utah & the Inlaws

About one second after this picture, hail started to fall.  The kids are yelling at us from the van (behind) because they were worried about the storm.

Marshall's cousin of the same age through the Captain's sister.  Marshall liked her more than she liked him, I think.  He kept trying to kiss her.

Paxton and Rhoda are close in age.

Uncle Boyd sings in the MoTab.  He is awesome.

These cousins are one reason I'm happy I married into the family.  They are awesome.

Matthew is half Rhoda's age and at least as big as she is.  They had fun together.

Angela is cool and classy.  She gave me a harp lesson.

These guys, more cousins, are hilarious.  They even thought *I* was hilarious. 
It made me feel all warm inside. :)

These two should be brother and sister.  Let me count the similarities: 1) tall for their age (they are both 7); 2) lisps; 3)they've struggled with coordination issues; 4) they have similar soft, round faces; 3) similar noses; 4) adorably intelligent and loquacious.  How related are they?  2nd cousins.  Weird, huh?

I love this picture.  Marshall's arranging the music and She is singing her heart out.

Enjoying popsicles on a hot day.  We sure weren't used to the Utah heat.

Family time.  Kim, She, and Liesl holding She's sister, Claire.

Rhoda loves the piano.

Claire wearing the baby blessing gown I made for She.

And a classic Rhoda face. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Travelling Across the Country: Our stay with Grandpa

 First, a couple last pictures at our old place.

The last night in our house I let the kids sleep in the old toy cupboards.

Marshall was sick one of our last days, so he just hung around sleeping. 
He is actually asleep here.

The last time I saw Mt. Ranier.  I miss it.
So after all our very hard work getting the house ready to rent, we were lucky to enjoy a couple very relaxing days at the Captain's house across the state.  It was a good kick-off to our month of travelling.  We spent Labor Day on Grandpa's boat on the Columbia River.
Cute boating hair-dos to boot.  Strike a pose!

Cutest swimsuit ever!!!!

She was pretty content, all things considered.  This baby loves LOVES water.

She was excited to be on a boat, can you tell?

"This is the best thing EVER!!!"

Marshall and his magic glasses.  I pinned his hat to his suit because it would've blown off.  Grandpa likes to go fast.

Handsome Daddy.

She's about to jump in the cold river.

Look who likes to drive?

Letting go.  It was fun to watch him ski....

...Except Mira didn't like him to ski.

Queen Mama got Rhoda to sleep.

Another action picture of Mira at Grandpa's neighborhood pool.

See, Baby loves water!  She just wants to be in it always.

Grandpa and his son & grand kids had a blast at the pool.


Some of my most favorite people ever! 
I hesitate to post this because I have so many good friends.  There are many, many people from Lakewood who've touched my life, and whom I would love to see again.  Even if you don't find your name on this list, I probably think of and admire you.  There are SO MANY I love there, and you are one of them.  I wrote this two months ago, just before our move.  I'll publish it as if it was...

August 18th, 2013.

I've lived here five years now, and so many faces are as dear to me as family.  With less than two weeks left, though, I'm waxing sentimental.  The closer it gets, the more I feel my emotions bubbling within me, threatening to burst me at the seams.  So here is my attempt to record my friendships.  I keep a tight circle, so you'll notice that.  I also only mentioned friends who are still living here.  My list would be so much longer if I didn't!!

When we first moved here, I knew her because she loved to hold baby Mira at church.  Later, I offered to help her put together a resume.   While she was at my house, she played with Liesl, and I saw the potential in this situation.  I also had a vehicle and she didn't.  So it began.  More and more, I began to depend on her, and hopefully, I've become someone she can count on, too.  In May of 2009, she was able to come watch my kids while I underwent emergency surgery (for a ruptured tubal pregnancy) until my mom came to take over.  Now she is like a part of our family.  The kids run to greet her, even Rhoda, who really crawls to her.  Whenever she comes to babysit, she brings a big bag of toys, and she always plays with my kids.  She plays with my kids more than I do. (I should change that.)  Dani has been a humongous blessing in our lives; I only hope we've been the same to her.  Her's is the absence I'm going to feel the most because she means so much to our family.

Charlie's Safari for a birthday party made
a great lunch date for Holly and me, too.
I could talk to Holly for hours.  We met when I was assigned to visit teach her, and I feel so blessed that we became fast friends.  I don't know how she felt about it, but I loved just dropping by her house on Sunday evenings (even if she felt under dressed). We joked once that I had an unstated reoccurring appointment on the last Sunday of the month.  (Yes, I can be THAT visiting teacher, but I do it with heart!)  Our girls were the same sizes and into the same things.  When the Captain deployed, Holly had her hubby, Joe (equally awesome,) babysit so she and I could go to a movie.  Joe also assembled my girls' birthday bikes when I was large with Rhoda-belly.  Holly has a gift for making me feel special and loved, and she's especially good at keeping it real!  

Clockwise from left: Demarko, Jill, Bobbie, Lisa, Leo, Tom
Jill is the lady on the left of the picture below.  She might look quiet and unassuming, but trust me, she can talk. And we talked for hours together.  I still remember our first phone conversation.  It occurred in the heat of the 2008 presidential election when John McCain had just introduced Sarah Palin as his VP.  We talked about her.  I don't remember what we said, but I'm pretty sure that whatever it was, Jill was right.  She has this amazing gift of pointing out the humorous and/or positive things that I wouldn't notice.  She's always been forgiving of my impetuousness.  Before I had my own herd of children, we would go to the zoo together.  We also celebrated a couple Independence days, Thanksgivings, and  Christmases.  I was blessed to attend the sealing of her youngest son to her family.  She's a good friend, and I hope it's not too long before our paths cross again, especially since her son, Dillon, is in love with Mira.  They'd make a cute couple.

Bobbie is tall!  My first memory of Bobbie was when I opened my fat mouth and said something about how I was so glad I wasn't six feet tall like I wanted to be as a girl.  Bobbie, who never hesitates to say just what needs to be said, put me in my place right away by stating that she herself was six feet tall and proud of it!  Needless to say, I felt like a jerk, but for some reason (and I've always wondered why), she never held this against me.  Over the years, we became friends.  I could really talk to her for hours-- she is a vibrant person to talk to, and has so much wisdom to impart. My husband home-taught her family (most months), and I usually went with him.  Bobbie became my one-person local homeschooling support group.  I could call her for advice, help, or to vent.  I loved having her watch my kids just so we could when I picked them up, and we did that quite a bit last year.  Not only am I going to miss our conversations, but I'm also going to miss buying dinosaur stuff for her dino-crazed daughter.

Rena holding 2-day-old Rhoda "Baby Rina" (same pronunciation)
Rena lived across the street from me at our second house in the area.  I remember meeting her in the street when we were just checking out the house.  She and her husband were kind and eager to have a family with children move in.  Little did I expect how attached I would become to this little Scottish lady.  I was 20 days from delivering when we moved into the house, but she and her husband, Don, were still very excited for us.  Don was the first one to ask what name we'd stuck to the baby, and he strongly approved of it.  Rena especially took a liking to baby Marshall.  She always hoped he'd pick up on her Scottish brogue.  (I tried to pick it up, but it didn't work.)  Whenever I was having a bad night, I'd just walk across the street and sit and talk to Rena and Don.  (Don likes to tell me how his Visa stock is doing-- usually well.)  I miss living across the street from them.  I feel as if Rena and I were friends before this life, though I can't say she feels the same about me, but no matter--  I love her!  Enough to name my next baby after her, in a roundabout way.  Katarina is the Russian form of Catherine, and a more direct root for the nickname Rina.

Lisa has a pure gold heart.  She is someone I look up to so much.  Our friendship was slow to blossom, but blossom it did.  It helped that I moved a mere block away, and it helped that our kids were the same age.  It also helped that she makes the best brownies ever!  Srsly!!  But in all seriousness, she did me great service while the Captain was deployed; she felt her duty to serve and help me was equal to my husband's duty to serve the country.  She watched my kids a lot while he was gone.  As in, I can never do anything close to reciprocating.  She even watched 4-month-old Rhoda overnight when I had surgery, even though Rhoda barely knew what to do with a bottle and had to be held a lot.  And Lisa liked it!!  I decided our friendship was heaven-sent when we discovered that she served a mission with my cousin.  Her adorable sons are my son's best friends, and I know he's going to miss them.  I know I'm going to miss feeding Michael when he comes over! (wink wink)  I'm going to miss my chats with Lisa, and her food, but mostly, I'm going to miss her warm heart.

Jessica. (Jessica, I have no pictures of you!!!!!!!  How did that happen?)
Watching her grow in the church has been amazing.  Her testimony, love, and trust are cherished gifts she shares with me.  Her example of service and witnessing is a powerful testament of her strong spirit.  Jessica is going through so much right now, and it's absolutely amazing that she still finds heart to check up on me and ask how I'm doing.  I'm going to miss her friendship.

Kimberly has the loveliest southern accent.  I admire her sweet, kind spirit.  She is so kind and giving and such an angel.  She has three rambunctious boys, but she handles them so sweetly and calmly. 

Virginia.  Such a lovely lady.  She is so kind and warm.  I love talking to her and I'll miss her warm embraces.

Danny & Theresa.
Theresa and I used to walk together, and those were good times, though brief.  Danny was the springboard to many a project; he was always there for me when I needed something.

Celeste.  Kind, funny, married to someone who knew my cousins, so that makes us practically family!  I always loved talking to her.  I hope some of our kids decide to marry one another so I can have awesome inlaws like she and Bryan.

Andrea.  Generous, kind, fun to talk to, and always willing to give a hug or hold a baby.  She really helped me so much when we first got here; I swear I called her every week to ask her advice.

The one thing all of these women have in common is that they have loved and accepted me.  Looking back, it pains me to admit that these ladies have done much more for me than I every will them.  I'm reminded of President Monson's adage, people before projects-- they've lived by that, but I have not.   I look back and I think, I could have done more with my friends!  Maybe that's just sentimentality speaking, but it doesn't make the goodbye any easier.  I'm still going to miss them terribly.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The final reveal (The DIY Series, Part 4)

 First, the BEFORE pictures. 

 This  was when I first started the project. 
See the ugly wood towel ring?  And the ugly mirror?  Ugh I was so tired of those.  

And now are you ready?

Well. . . here's the mirror glued to the wall and re-framed. 
I chose a red that coordinated with the lovely ugly tub.   You can also see the nice white countertop, and the new brushed nickel towel ring, rod, and drawer pulls. 

 Here's the tub surround, which you've mostly seen.

 Gotta love a curved shower rod.  It makes so much difference!
 Oh, I've got to mention, the one big mistake I made was failing to finish sanding and painting the ceiling before I glued the tub surround.  I even caulked it first.  That was dumb.  Luckily, you can't see in the pictures, but painting last made for a sloppy job.
I also painted the tile wall.  Maybe that wasn't the best idea, but it looks nice.  What do you think of the glass tile?  I just love it.
 Here are my hands at the end of the project.  I'm in need of a good manicure, I'll tell ya!

 Oh, I almost forgot. . . the final picture!
I'm pretty happy with it!

So now, to finish this series, I just want to list a few of the tender mercies.  I really feel like Heavenly Father prepared me to do this project.  
  • Three years ago, I watched a handyman replace a corner shower in our old rental.  I guess for me, watching is how I learn, so this helped prepare me for picking and installing a new tub surround, as well as dealing with mold.
  • One year ago, I helped my brother build cupboards into a wall.  Okay, mostly I watched, but seriously, it taught me most of what I needed to know for this project.  It also provided me with some new tools like my beloved California Framer, a drywall square and sander, and it introduced me to the misery of sanding drywall.  
  • When we first moved into our house, we had to tile the kitchen backsplash.  I bought a sheet of glass tile as a sample, which I loved, but it was too expensive to do for that big job.  I saved that sample though, and when I was going through my garage, I found it just when I needed it for this project.  What's more, Lowe's still sold it.  Perfect!
  • I also just *happened* to have the exact amount of tile adhesive left from my kitchen job to do the two strips bordering my tub.  
  • I only needed one small tub of grout.  That was nice because shower-grade grout is expensive.
  • The tile was the exact widths I needed.  You'll notice from the previous post that on one side of the tub, it's only 3 tiles wide, while the other is five tiles wide.  Did I plan that?  Absolutely not.  But I am so grateful that it worked out that way.  I didn't have to cut tile, which made it easier for me.  (Some of the tile is a bit squished together.
  • The Captain pointed out that I didn't have a hole for the shower head.  That was important.
  • He also pointed out that some of the tile stuck out and even bounced when pressed.  Luckily, the adhesive was still fresh, so I pulled a bit of tile off to discover a bent, old metal corner strip that needed to be screwed down.  How did I miss that?  That would've been a major weak point had the tile dried without my fixing that.
  • My kids managed to entertain and even feed themselves and take care of the baby for days.  They ate a lot of cereal.  Thankfully, said cereal has 4g+ of fiber and is fortified.
  • The new paint was a mistint and only cost $5 for the gallon.
  • I could go on and on and on.  I felt so blessed throughout the project, but boy am I glad it's done!