Summer Love

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I don’t know about you, but I love summer. No- I Really LOVE Summer. I love the heat of the sun giving me a touch of a tan. I love BBQ’s and water fights, and popsicle stickiness covering my little boys fingers, faces and bellies. I love that the sun doesn’t go down until after nine, and it isn’t really dark until almost ten. I love that we have 19 children on our little corner and they all love to play and run all day long. I love that all the little girls adore my daughter, and she loves to paint their nails, do their makeup and play songs on her guitar for them. I love the way all the adults on our corner pull out their lawn chairs and chat all night while the kids run, watching fireworks the entire month of July. I love when friends come to visit and going to the beach or an early morning hike. I love watching the sunset with my husband, with all of it’s amazing colors that light up the sky and mountains. I think summer must be the best time of year- don’t you?

 

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Summer Is Here!!!

For the past seven months I have been going non-stop. My two biggest projects were these:

My daughter was in a Shakespeare production at our commonwealth school, and I was the producer. (Not the best photo, I know, but it’s what I’ve got. She’s the one with the green scarf.)

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And two of my children are in a choir called Millennial Choirs and Orchestra, and I’m in charge of the Youth Choirs. Here we are at the recording of our newest Patriotic CD. Can I just tell you, it’s AMAZING!!!!

 

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So with those two projects on my plate not much has gotten done. Laundry happens as a means of desperation- if you have clothes in your closet it can wait. Dishes have been kept up by my very supportive husband- thank goodness he knows me so well and puts up with my over scheduling anyway. The saddest part is family time and story time has been intermittent.

Moving on…

Shakespeare- Done! Choir Concert- Done!

SUMMER IS HERE!!! And I’ve got some pretty big plans.

Day 1: Send the boys happily to Father & Sons’ Campout. Spend some one on one time with my girl! Take a nap.

Day 2: Pedicures & Planting Flowers, Clean up my sewing room, Take a nap.

Day 3: Sew something, Anything!!!

So, that’s all I’ve got planned for sure, and I’m happy to say I’m not stressed about the rest in the least! Let the fun begin!!!

Real Love

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Today I’m in Hawaii. It’s lovely, even if it is stormy, and full of the tropical smells of the ocean. This is my fourth trip here, and one of the things I love most is the food. On our last trip we came across an amazing little restaurant called Roy’s. (My husband likes to pronounce it with a French Canadian accent, of course.) Roy’s has amazing seafood and a chocolate molten cake to die for!!! I love it!

As we were finishing up our delicious dinner a sweet older couple came into the restaurant. As I was helping kids with napkins and such I didn’t notice anything at first, but then I saw the husband help his wife sit into her chair. And not just pull out her chair, but physically lifted her up and sat her upright. It became quickly clear that she was very ill, most likely going through chemotherapy based upon her appearance, and they were having a good day.

My husband, after watching this, turned to me and said “I’d do that for you.”

Tears filled my eyes. (I’m still quite emotional as I think of the earlier scene.)

The husband proceeded to help his wife sip some water, ordered them two sodas, then feed her both cherries because she obviously loved them. He gazed at her with complete love in his eyes, enjoying every moment that they had together.

I wanted nothing more than to speak to this couple, telling them how grateful I am for the example they are to both my husband and me. I knew I couldn’t do it. I would break down in tears if I did (it has happened before as I approached a soldier), and I just couldn’t do that to their lovely evening.

Instead I will thank them here.

Thank you for loving each other so completely.

Thank you for reminding me through your actions that a marriage is more than going through the day to day, but to cherish every moment and to make each moment count.

Thank you for helping me see that this is something that I too would do, and in fact already do for my husband. But for also making it clear in my mind that it’s what I want to do for him.

Thank you for allowing me a glimpse into your life.

The Lord knows just what I need, and at the end of a long day filled with kids bickering, electronics roaring, and at the end of my rope I see a love so divine to remind me of my greater purpose. To love my husband. He gives me greater perspective. He gives me peace.

We All Make Sacrifices

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For the past nine years our family lived in Arizona. Our regular routine a few times per week over the course of the past year or more was to drive by the newly built LDS Gilbert Temple. We watched it go from open fields, to the cornerstone, to beautiful stone set in place followed by awesomely designed windows with Arizona’s heritage in mind.

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Every day that we drove past our youngest would yell “Temple!” We would all love to stop and watch this House of the Lord be built less than 10 minutes from our home.

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Our first trip to the new temple site was at the temporary Visitor’s Center. Here we saw the layout, the beautiful window above, and each of my children received a piece of the temple: a large stone wall broke on it’s way to Arizona and was given out to all who visited.

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We loved our regular “drive by’s”, always going out of our way to pass the temple to see what new bit of work had been done that day.

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Early family nights were scheduled so we could visit the Visitors Center without the crowds,

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and park days were a treat with the Temple in the background.

You could say the building of the Temple gave us greater perspective. We looked forward to it’s dedication more than anything else.

When we received the prompting to move out of state it would be fair to say we were heart broken. Our daughter would miss the opportunity to participate in the Cultural Celebration. We would miss the dedication. My hearts desires would not be fulfilled.

But why?

Isn’t that the question of the lifetimes?

I have come to realize that this is my sacrifice. I don’t understand. I won’t try to understand, that will only drive me crazy. But for some reason we were meant to miss these sacred events.

We all have sacrifices to make. Sacrifices that tear into our hearts and make us weep with pain. Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son. The Father did sacrifice His Son. So many faithful saints along the way have sacrificed their families and ease of living to follow the direction of the Lord. This article is an Open Letter to the Youth, which speaks of so much sacrifice and has prompted me to share a small bit of our experience : Open Letter to the Youth

I won’t know why our family had to miss this experience.

But here’s what I do know:

I know that I, a mere mortal, have tunnel vision, but the Lord sees all. Sometimes he asks for a 1 degree course correction, if I will only follow.

I know that the Lord knows what is right for our family, and that if I am obedient I will be blessed.

I know that the Temple of the Lord is where I can go to find greater peace and understanding.

I know that I am grateful for the opportunity I had to watch the Gilbert Temple be built, to share that experience with my children, to help them feel a greater love and appreciation for the temple.

I know that I am grateful for my dear friends who have shared a bit of their own experiences with us.

I know that I am grateful for the internet, to be able to watch the Cultural Celebration live from so far away.

I know that I am grateful to be a member of the Lord’s church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

-t

Lessons Learned

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Well this week has been a rough one. On Thursday I had a procedure. Not a big deal, but recovery is a lot harder than I thought it would be. I’ve over done it and am now paying for it. I am awake for 2-3 hours, then sleep for 4-5, maybe 6. My hubby is across the country on business, my mom came for a few days but has now gone home, and now my little sis (who is really just a kid herself) is here in the afternoons. But can I just tell you, this has been hard!

This morning I woke to a disaster, actually a two day accumulated disaster, and had a break down. How hard is it to wash your dish and put it in the dishwasher? How about picking your dropped cheerios off the floor? Or even tougher- turning off the lights? Apparently this is the stuff that takes rocket science in my house, and we haven’t quite gotten to that subject in our lessons. (Note to self- study rocket science next week.) Luckily as the day progressed, and I got a shower, things slowly went from bad to good.

So as our night wound down, pajama’s were on, teeth were brushed, and every dish was in the dishwasher, my kids got ready for their favorite ritual. Story Time. Every night we have story time and  my boys raced to picked out their books. Let me tell you they were inspired!

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My youngest chose  The Little Red Hen. I always thought of that book as being prepared. Who will help me plant the seeds? Grind the flour? Bake the bread? ‘Not me’ is everyone’s answer. But they all want to eat the bread. Remember this book? Because of my rough day it made me realize that it’s just not physical things that I need to work towards. But also my spiritual health. And my salvation. And my relationships. If I don’t want to do the hard work now I will not reap the rewards later.

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My older son’s book was a little book called Bad Kitty. The family runs out of kitty food so go through the alphabet of all the yucky food the kitty has to eat. Asparagus, Iceburg Lettuce, Yellow Squash, etc… The kitty is mean to mom, wakes the baby, draws on walls, etc…. Then suddenly mom buys good kitty food so the kitty now is nice to everyone, making up for all the bad things it did. But wait, they decide kitty needs a friend so buys a dog, which brings out the bad kitty again. Oh my goodness, this is what I feel like lately. (Partly I think it ’s the drugs they have me on, I’m all over the place.) If things are good I’m happy. But if things go wrong suddenly the Bad Kitty in my shows up. I’ve thought about this all night, and about the choices we make. Life shouldn’t be a reaction to our surroundings, but instead forward motion to being better and kinder regardless of our circumstances. I’m going to ponder this more, but I hope as I understand this better I’ll work harder and make better choices because it will make me happy in the long run.

I’m so grateful for my kids and even when it’s just story time for them it’s really a Wake Up Call for me. And I’m especially grateful for a Lord who loves me even when I act like a Bad Kitty.

-t

All Alone…

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Some people might like being alone. Sadly for me, I’m not one of those people.

Sadly because my hubby is gone one a 3 week business trip, and I’m home alone managing the fort. With three kids, a house to keep up, homeschooling to do, sports to run back and forth to, and personal business to manage, I’m Exhausted!

(And yes, that was supposed to be capitalized.)

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This man makes life bearable, and wonderful. It’s amazing how you get into the routine of life, and one little thing like going away on business just kills it!

Life has become so exhausting that I’ve even thought how lovely it would be to send my kids to public school. Just think of all the things I could do…

1. Sleep in (I think I’m dreaming with this one, but humor me, will you?)

2. Take a nap

3. Eat a proper meal

4. Paint my nails with time to let them dry (I’ve been throwing on a quick coat as I sit in my driveway and allow them to dry on the drive to wherever we are going)

5. Do the dishes before midnight

6. Practice the piano instead of just wishing I could

7. Dust said piano, along with the rest of the house

8. Sew more- like all day long

9. Finish the laundry in one sitting

10. Have a clean floor for more than 5 minutes

That was a lovely moment of daydreaming. Once I get my head out of the clouds, or rather once my husband comes home, I’ll remember why I homeschool and save this list for when they move out. Only 14 years to go. What?!?! No, I’m not counting.

In the meantime, that handsome man of mine better hurry home before I do something rash. Until he does I guess I’ll just be tired and have a messier than usual house to deal with.

As long as the trash gets taken out I can handle it.

-t

Books On My Mind

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Reading is one of my very favorite past times. The subject matter has changed drastically over the years, from Romance to Mystery to Self Help to Non-Fiction. I never could imagine what was so interesting in Non-Fiction, as it seemed it was all dates and data, things I just couldn’t keep straight in my head!

It appears that I’ve been reading all the wrong authors! The boring authors from High School who killed Non-Fiction for me. Once I realized that there was more to it I was hooked!

A few things that I do love though are the Elizabethan Era, the French Revolution and WWII.  Probably because although there’s a lot of data and dates, there are also the real life stories that make up these time periods. And there are so many great books out there that help bring these periods to life for me!

So last week we were driving home from a long month’s vacation, and I turned on Audible. Normally when I suggest a book to my hubby he scoffs at it. So when The Zookeeper’s Wife came on, and it was actually GOOD, he was in shock! Who’d have thought that I might read something redeeming? Maybe he’ll actually give my books a second look now, hmm?

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I really enjoyed this book because it was entirely unlike any other war story I’ve read. It was so unexpected! Although you know about the history, the concentration camps, the brutality of war, it’s almost an unspoken truth in this story. The focus is on helping and loving people and animals, on this families personal account outside of the Jewish world in Poland, yet choosing to enter it anyways at great cost and sacrifice to themselves.

My husband, who is a historian, especially loved the account of the Warsaw ghetto. He visited the ghetto before we were married and it really brought it to life for him. (Adding Warsaw to my list of places to see right now.)

The most difficult parts of this story for me are the brutality against children. There were moment’s we were in absolute shock over the behavior towards children. As we discussed these parts we were reminded of how lucky and grateful we are to live in the time period and places we live, to spare our children that horror.

Anyways, if you’d like to read or listen to a great, easy read on WWII, give it a try. You’ll love it!

-t

The Big Move…

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In September our family moved from our beloved home in Arizona. I’m going to miss you Arizona!!!

All the wonderful people who I call friends, but were more like familyIMG_5963 IMG_4494 IMG_6416 IMG_5128

the great weather,

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my favorite shopping malls, Blue Wasabi- my favorite sushi restaurant, the green belt across the street from my house where regular impromptu soccer, dodgeball, football and baseball games regularly were heldIMG_0917

our Annual Halloween Party, and mostly, my parents. We left them behind, but hopefully they will be right behind us. They’ve got to sell their house first. We got lucky, ours sold quickly- right before the market went back down.

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Our new home is in colder weather, much colder weather… we’ve got snow! And lots of it. It’s not as cold as Minnesota, thank goodness, and not nearly as cold as everyone said it would be, so I’m hibernating a little and loving it!

In the process of my hibernation I’m getting my sewing studio ready for sewing my favorite things: quilts and clothes! It’s been the last thing on my list. And to be quite honest, it would probably still be a mess of boxes spewing over as I madly search for something or another, except I’ve purchased a Gammill and it arrives tomorrow! I’m so excited!!!

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Purchasing this Gammill leads me into the realm of business woman- something I’ve never aspired to, as I prefer raising and homeschooling my children. But it’s coming and I’m doing it. I absolutely love to quilt, and I especially love to long-arm quilt. I can’t wait to see what this baby can do!

 

 

my home away from home, the kitchen

After we closed on our new vacation home there was tons of work to do. I searched and planned, then planned and searched for ideas of how to make this little condo into someplace I want to just come and be. All within a respectable budget, of course. 

(Budget. My least favorite word.)

We found an awesome contractor, Alan. 

Awesome because A. he’s great at what he does, and B. he put up with all my crazy ideas.

Remember this kitchen?

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Notice that the sink is right in the middle of the room. Just right of the sink is the dishwasher. 

Because the room is so small to begin with, I didn’t want a bar to separate the dining room and kitchen. 

See that door next to the stove? It leads into the family room. It also cuts off all the light from the large sliding glass door to the back. There’s also a door from the entryway into the kitchen.

I’m all about open spaces. I consider myself close to blind (it’s not really that bad but I need lots of light to see decently well) so I wanted to bring as much light and the “open” feeling to this area.

Solution: a major demolition. 

We had the sink moved, which meant drilling into the concrete to move pipes. We also got rid of the door and opted for a window. The door to the entryway is now just a doorway. Alan found an awesome farmhouse style sink (I have no idea what it’s actually called) in excellent condition at a garage sale- good thing because my budget was about gone. With new lighting and cabinets our kitchen was brought into the 21st century! 

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(The lighting makes the tile look green in this picture but it’s really shades of blue-green and aqua.)

And since we are living near the beach I wanted to give the house a ‘beachy’ feel, without the seashells. Pretty much every room has some shade of blue, but they are all a little different. 

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I still have some finishing touches to make in here, like the drapes and greenery. Otherwise I am entirely content with how this room turned out.

This weekend I’m working on drapes in my daughters room as well as the kitchen, so when I get them up I will share with you the updates. 

-t

my home away from home

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Last spring we decided to begin shopping for a new vacation home. Our old vacation home was in the mountains, and although I’ve technically overcome my phobia of bears, I wasn’t willing to take the risk. So my very sweet husband agreed to sell and get something at the beach instead.

When we were first married we lived in San Diego for three years. That’s when the housing market began going up. He was in college. We were both working full time. Basically, we were as poor as we could possibly be. Date night for us included a $5 WalMart movie we’ve seen 100 times and a bag of popcorn on our couch. But we loved every minute of it.

Until we thought about buying, that is. 

So we moved back home and bought something really cheap. It was our first house. We were terrified of the payment. But we did it anyways and I’m so glad we did. 

Fifteen years later we are in a position to buy a condo somewhere near the beach and Sea World. It’s an old condo, about 50 years old I think. The woman who owned it before us only decorated it once, I believe. So we bought low with a vision of what it could become.

Here are some pictures of what it looked like when we bought it.

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I had fluorescent lighting as a kid!  20 years ago.

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I’m not sure what happened to this stove but hopefully it found it’s way into a museum. I’ve never even seen one of these before! The rack at the bottom actually slides out in order to cook on the electric burners. 

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There was wall paper everywhere! Now I love wall paper, just not that much of it. You can’t really tell in this picture, but there is even wall paper on nearly every door frame and door. We had to replace everything!

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More wall paper. And popcorn ceilings.

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Call me crazy, but I actually love these lamps. I wish I could have kept them.

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Can you see the wall paper on the cabinets?

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I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to work with a designer with my other house so I could know how to see the vision! I knew what I wanted, and I knew enough about construction to ask the right questions, that I was able to say YES! and grab this condo before it was gone.

We’ve done a lot of work, and have a lot more to go, but we’re living it in and loving it.