Monday, April 29, 2019

Spring Break Getaway!

A little glimpse at our blog lately and you'll see that life has been a bit chaotic for the last few months.  We have been neck deep in house projects since February and we are getting ready to list our house on the market in the next couple of weeks.   It hasn't been ALL work though.  

During Spring Break, we were able to get away for a couple days to rustic cabin camping trip in West Virginia.   There were several other families we knew there, all of whom had kids Adam's age.

   None of whom had any Ellie's age (except for a boy or two), so Ellie made some furry friends... 
and spoiled Rocky a little too much! 😂


And as per usual, she made friends of all ages while she was there! 

Emma also had a great group of friends there...

All these seniors are off to grand adventures in the next few months...

One of her friends (Harlan) opened his mission call to Finland while we were there.   I loved being a part of mission call openings! 


It was great to get away from all the moving stuff for a couple days and just enjoy being outside....

and with friends...




I had fun with my friends too, however we didn't get any pictures of us together, so this one with Adam will have to do. 


Oh yeah, and the food was good too. Ellie and I mostly ate keto while we were there, but we did allow ourselves a couple small cheats.  We were in charge of breakfast, so we had a fruit and yogurt parfait bar.  I actually had some low-carb granola, but she was really excited for a taste of flavored yogurt, something she hasn't had any of in many months. 

With my birthday, Easter, and Ellie's birthday recently, we've cheated more in the last month than we have the entire time we've been on keto.  We are still 95% good, but definitely  need to get back to it in May.  

Really,  this getaway was just what we all needed.  The only thing that would have made it better is if Glen had been able to come too.  


Friday, April 26, 2019

A Little Life Update


Getting ready to move after being in one place for 20-years has been an all-consuming task for me.  So all-consuming that I teeter between never wanting to own a house again, so as to at least prevent all the house stress  and wanting to buy a house ASAP, so that I can guaranteed to be in one place for a while.   Our reality will probably end up somewhere in between those two scenarios.  In the meantime, we still need to figure out where the next place for us is.   Right now, we've got 4 reasonably good options and we need to wait for some things to happen at Glen's work before we can confidently start moving forward with any of those potential plans.  For now, all I can do is get the house ready to sell and our family ready to move...somewhere and hope and pray that the somewhere will be the right place for us.  

 Just so my kids don't forget that we have had some normal life in amongst all the household distractions these past few weeks, here's a peek of what else we've been doing.  


We had one of our favorite missionaries come back to visit...

 Elder Judkins served here 4ish years ago and it was great to see him again!   We took him to see "Amazing Grace" at the National Bible Museum.  It was a powerful performance and we were grateful for the opportunity to include him in this family outing.  


Adam used Rocky to up his seminary devotional game.   He had the balloons for an activity, made this picture into a poster....


and made this picture into a little hand-out for everyone.   But, alas, he still didn't win the devotional contest. 


Ellie and Emma had a temple trip to Philadelphia.  Adam was taking the ACT and had to miss it.  Glen and I stayed home and plugged away at house stuff.  It was probably one of the few temple trips our kids have been on when at least one of us wasn't there. 

Ellie had two of her cousins stay over one night during spring break. 

They enjoyed the time together and even Adam got in on the fun when he took Lauren on a run, since sleeping over meant that she missed her track practice. 


Easter was low-key, but good.  We didn't dye eggs, we didn't hide any candy, we didn't get any new clothes.  Emma did make these cute bunny pancakes though...

And we did have a family gathering with a delicious dinner at Pete and Mika's place...


And on the other side of the country, Cami's been taking off with her baking business...


And pretty soon....we will have all five kids (and their mom) together in one place.  It's only a quick trip and we're sad that Glen can't come too, but a little time away sounds just about perfect right now.  

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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Finally Seeing the Bluebells

We've lived in this area for 20+ years and have seen bluebells in passing, but never gone to see them specifically.  Why?  I have no idea.   I consider that  hiking and being outside in nature is a huge part of our family culture, so this makes no sense.   

Sensibleness aside...I'll blame finally seeing the light on social media.   After ogling over friends' pictures, we  finally got around to seeing them for ourselves.

We took advantage of a beautiful day in Spring Break and went to the Merrimac Farm Wildlife Management Area in Nokesville, VA and finally saw what all the fuss was about.


And we were enamored.


The trail and surroundings were lovely enough on their own...

but when we got the fields of bluebells...

it was hard not to be in awe at the beauty in the details...


 God's work is mighty and beautiful...
And I am thankful to have finally seen them in all their glory...


Oh, and I'm rather fond of the people in this post too...

Happy Spring! 

Monday, April 22, 2019

Long and Short!

For my whole life, I almost always have kept my hair long.   The reasons for this are simple--I'm lazy and don't like the upkeep that short hair requires.    I don't like going to the salon for frequent trims to keep a haircut looking fresh.  I don't like washing my hair every day.  I don't like spending time blowdrying and doing other such tedious tasks that short hair requires.   So I usually wear it long and straight.   I get it cut once, maybe twice a year at most.   I almost always let it air dry and I rarely do anything other than wear it straight down.  I don't even love ponytails, because they give me a headache.  

The only hiccup to this low maintenance hair plan of mine is that I've inherited the "early graying gene" from my mom's side of the family.   I've been fully white headed since I was about 40, and my hair grows super fast.   I'm not quite ready to embrace being white-haired quite yet, so I'm forced to at least try to keep up with the color.   

So I buy boxes of color from the drugstore and do my best to keep up with it.     My hair grows so fast though,  I usually end up with some pretty serious roots by the time I get around to coloring again.  This picture shows my hair with  just a 3-4 week growth since my last color. 

Every once in a while, though, I get the urge for something different.   I'm not sure what triggers it in me, but lately I've been itching for a real haircut and some depth to my color.  

So I did it....

I went to the salon and got color, highlights, and a new cut.  

Do I like it?  

Absolutely.

Will it inspire me to keep going to the salon more regularly? 

Doubtful.  

If my history means anything, I'm sure you can come back and check out my hair in a year, and it'll almost certainly be about as long as it was before my cut! 

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Friday, April 5, 2019

The Random Little Things



Here are a few of the random, little things that have been going on in our life lately (besides house projects):  

Emma got out of bed a few weeks ago, stepped directly on a mouse, and it bit her.   She literally lived my nightmare and I now check the floor every time I get up in the night to use the bathroom!

We watched a cute little raccoon scamper across our roof and dive INTO a hole it had clearly used before.   Inspectors found another raccoon hole on the other side of the house too. Luckily there is no damage in the attic to clean up, so we think he was just an occasional visitor.  We hired a wildlife trapper to take care of it, but there was no evidence that he came even once in the week they had the trap up, so the holes are now covered and we are just replacing the roof ASAP. 


I got a new calling.  I am now the Assistant Director of Public Affairs for our stake.  It's a fun calling that I think I will really enjoy.  I'm not sure how long I'll be able to do it though, if we end up moving this summer. 

Adam is playing rugby.  Every single game or practice there is a new tale of some horrific injury that a teammate or opponent has sustained.   So far he's only sustained bruises and scrapes.

I sent a nice, but firm letter to the bishopric kindly requesting them to send me the information for the programs earlier than Saturday.   And this past week I may have a been a little passive aggressive in my methodologies when they didn't send it before we left town (even after specifically requesting it)....



My sciatic nerve has been a little messed up since our road trip last fall.  It's been especially bad this past week or two and I am taking it easy on the exercise right now. 

I've been having fun helping to teach the middle school earth science class at our homeschool co-op.  I loved earth science as a kid and enjoyed taking a couple geology classes at BYU, so this is right up my alley. I even told people I was going to be a meteorologist most of the way through high school. It's been a little stressful now that we are in home improvement 3000, but overall I have enjoyed the challenge and distraction it is to me.   

Emma is signed up for her housing at BYU!   She'll be living with two girls from our stake and some girls she doesn't know, but who all love to cook and don't like staying up late.   She is getting very excited! 

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Before and After Home Improvement Projects

We have decided that we need to sell the house.  Glen still doesn't know where his job may or may not take us, but it's undeniable that this is the course of action we feel we are being led to do.    After living in a house for eighteen years though, this is a big to-do.

I don't like house projects.  They stress me out.  I have anxiety when it comes to making decisions.  I dread calling and dealing with workers.   I hate feeling like our house is being invaded.   It's just not my favorite thing in the world. 

  My life has been completely immersed in house stuff lately, and  weirdly I have not felt anywhere near the stress and anxiety that I normally feel with even one project.  I can only explain it that I feel like Heavenly Father is giving me strength to do what we feel like is the right thing to do right now.    I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm enjoying the process, however I definitely am not hating / dreading / avoiding it near as much as usual...so that's a good thing. 

Do you want to see a glimpse of what we've been working on? 

I thought so!   

Here's the "before" of our HALL BATHROOM.  I had already taken down the medicine cabinet, so it wasn't a true "before", but it's close.  

Here's the after....
We put in a new vanity, a big new mirror, new light fixture, a new towel rack, painted the walls, and switched out the shower curtain for a nice neutral white.   It feels fresh and nice! 

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Here's the "before" of our BASEMENT BATHROOM: 

And the "after"...
We did a new vanity, mirror, paint, and vinyl plank flooring over the old tile.   It looks great! 

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Here's the "before" of our MASTER BATH:  

Here's phase one with a new vanity, recessed medicine cabinet, paint, and vinyl plank flooring

Here it is after we glazed over the tile with white.  The shower door is still to come.
I have mixed feelings about the white tile, however it does make our bathroom seem a little bigger, so I guess it's a good thing.   I can't wait to get the new shower door installed. 

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Here's my pride and joy project--the one I was most excited about doing, even before we decided to sell the house.  I've hated this fireplace from the moment we moved in....


And now it's finally beautiful!   And I tiled over the brick myself (with Adam as my assistant)!


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We also got new railings to replace the ugly wrought iron we had before...

BEFORE 

AFTER (before staining)

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We got new windows.

BEFORE 

AFTER

I love how much easier they are to open and close now!

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We retiled the entry way.

BEFORE

AFTER

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We got new light fixtures....


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We put vinyl plank flooring over the concrete in our laundry room and added some beadboard to the unfinished walls.  It looks soooooooo different, but I weirdly never took a before picture of that ugly part of my house.


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WE've also gotten rid of a TON of stuff and have been packing up most of the rest and moving it to this storage unit.

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We are feeling like we've accomplished a lot and that we are on a good path to get it on the market in a few weeks, but we still have a few big things to go. 

PROJECTS STILL TO COME:
new roof
painting
new carpet in basement
refinish wood floors in bedroom
take care of the yard
taking care of water drainage on one side of the house

In the meantime, don't mind me if I look a little bleary eyed and seem a bit distracted.  This hasn't been quite as painful as I expected, but let's just say that we won't be rushing to buy another house anytime soon.  


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