Thursday, May 28, 2009

"Partial" Family Pictures

It's so hard to get everyone together in one picture. Here are some "partial" family pictures from April (2009), when we took a trip up to Salt Lake to visit Temple Square. It was a really nice, fun day-and the best part was it cost almost nothing (except food of course-and ice cream!)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sweat and Sand

Where have I been? Gosh, I don’t even know. I guess I turned 30 and entered a whole new chapter of life; or something like that. A lot has happened in the last 6 months, but I don’t even know where to begin. So I’ll start with the most recent.
We are just about finished with a project we started many years ago: the yard! Of course, it’ll always be a work in progress, but now we at least have something to work on. Several years ago we ripped out a whole bunch of dead trees and hauled off tons of garbage. Two years ago we installed a sprinkler system and completed the front yard. It’s been really nice to at least have a small piece of yard for the kids, but it’s hard to keep a constant eye on them in the front yard, with no fences. Any time they wanted to play outside I had to be right there with them. Finally, over the last few weeks we’ve completed the back yard, and even finished fencing it in!

The fence, I think, is my absolute favorite part.

But, the rest is pretty great too. We’ve got a pretty large lawn surrounded by nice curbing. There is a border around the yard of crushed rock, and dark mulch. We have the garden boxes along the back fence,

really old grape vines that we were able to save,

and the best part-aside from the fence-is a HUGE sand box. It’s really, really cool.

We’ve got our bbq in the back now-instead of the garage- up against the house, and a small deck that we actually want to use now.

I’ve made a personal mission of eliminating all wasps, and seem to be controlling it pretty good. I can’t get rid of them all, but at least they don’t attack anymore and we can eat outside, mostly in peace. We planted a couple little trees that aren’t doing anything yet, but were excited about them. I even got me a little peach tree. We were able to save some iris’s that had previously been in the yard and I planted them along one of the side fences. I have a strawberry patch along the other fence; I think it’ll be lots of fun, as long as the birds don’t eat them all. The last 3 years I’ve had to anguish over deer eating everything, but now with my fence up I can no longer blame the deer. I might actually be able to find out if I can really grow anything or not; but, with the birds, I’ll still have something to blame if it doesn’t work out, hehe.

Well, we’re super excited about our new yard. It makes it so much nicer here. I think having a yard also gives me a few extra minutes to myself; but of course I spend my extra time outside with the kids anyway.
Just before the yard project we had been working on an interior remodeling project. We added an extra bedroom in the basement. That was really cool and exciting too. But, it was a huge project and left everything displaced for a few months while we had construction garbage and tools everywhere. Quit a pain trying to keep the kids out of it. It’s so nice to be done and to look back at all we’ve done. We started with a somewhat oddly sized bedroom that had a very large storage closet attached. The storage room was almost big enough to use as a small nursery, but the only entrance was through the other bedroom. Because of wiring and framing there wasn’t a place to put a door to the room from the hall, so we decided to move the wall between the two rooms and make room for a separate entrance. It was a lot more work then I had expected! We had to tear down the wall, rip up carpet,

rewire, rebuild the wall, move one door way and add another; then, finish the new room because it had been left unfinished when it was a storage room. So, we installed insulation, put up drywall, mud and tape, wall texture, and then paint.

We didn’t install carpet, but we had a large area rug and some scraps from the other room that we pieced together to complete the floor covering. Someday we’ll add carpet? Who knows, there’s so much to do here. We could spend $100k on this house, just to fix it up. But, at least it’s a good place to live, we have what we need, we do what we can.
We really don’t even know what the future will bring. We’d like to stay here long term, but that’s going to completely depend on Johns work. He has about a year left until he gets his degree, then we hope he’ll get a better paying job. The sky’s the limit with that though; it could be anything, anywhere. Even with his current job he has a potential advancement opportunity, that may be soon, but will almost definitely require us to relocate to somewhere else in the county-could be anywhere. We wouldn’t know where until he was offered the job.
Ironically, I’d be sad to move. Our original plan-3 years ago-was to only be here long enough to fix up the house just enough to sell it. Then, time went by, and it was looking like we’d be here a lot longer. I was really depressed for a while when I felt that things weren’t going to change. I’ve been more optimistic about things now, and have actually decided that we could be happy here. We would buy the house ourselves and it would be ours, and we would make it nice. I think I’ve been fighting the fact that I live here. Until recently I’ve been living in “someone else’s” house, just until something else came along. But, now I realize this is my house too, and it’s ok to make it nice, even if I won’t be the one to stay here. It’s ok to make it nice for the “next person”, and to enjoy it while I’m here. Strangely, just changing my perspective and attitude has made a huge difference in the way I live my life.
We’re all pretty exhausted now. It’s been a long haul, and we’re ready for a break. We still have a few little things to tie up on our recent projects that sadly may never get done. The other side of the new wall we built still needs mud, tape, texture and paint,

and a few other misc things in the yard. But, we’re ready for a break, and to enjoy our work, and to enjoy the summer.

Here's our most recent family picture, we went to the Aquarium:

And, some random pictures of the kids: