Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Home. Part 1

*Warning: this is a  Super long post written for my posterity. You are welcome to read it, but my feelings will not be hurt if you skip this one.*

This month marks the five year anniversary of moving into our home.
I don't remember the exact day that we moved in. I just know it was before Valentines day. (Adam had promised me that we'd be out of the barn by Valentines day and we were!) In the twelve and a half years that we've been married, we've had  three houses. This one...is home.

Adam and I were both born and raised in the valley, most of our extended family members lived within a short driving distance of us and we loved being surrounded by family.  We went to great schools, had awesome friends, and lots of great opportunities and experiences there. So, when we married, we both just sort of assumed that that's where we'd live out our lives and raise our children. We were happy there.

Then, A strange thing happened  several months after our wedding day. It's a little hard to describe... I was standing in front of my classroom of first graders, teaching a lesson, when out of nowhere, the thought came into my mind "Someday you will live in a small town." And in that brief moment, I saw myself, or rather felt myself in a rural, quiet, place with cool, clean air. The moment was gone as soon as it had begun, but I couldn't deny what I'd heard and felt.
I told Adam about it after work that evening. He just grinned and said  "Cool, I like small towns". He asked if I recognized the area and I told him  that it reminded me of Taylor, a small town next to Snowflake where my grandparents lived when I was younger.

Well, life went on as usual. Work was going great for Adam, and we found some awesome physicians, who we knew could help us get our family started. The Trio eventually came along and boy, were we grateful to have family close by. We began building our second home on a street where Adam's  sister, brother and parents were also building. When we moved in, it seemed as though we had our own little utopia going on. We took turns making meals for each other, watching each-others kids,  and gathering outside every evening to visit and watch the cousins play together.  Weekends were spent taking our boats out to the lake for picnics,  and wake boarding.  It seemed as though there wasn't a care in the world for us beyond potty training, and trying to get a garden to grow.

It was during this blissful time, that a nagging feeling kept telling me not to put down roots. I loved the house we built, but I just never felt like it was mine. Our ward was filled with good people, but I never felt connected to any of them.  I was feeling restless, and the warm (HOT) weather, the traffic and crowded shopping centers suddenly started bothering me when they never had before.  I knew Adam was feeling the same way, it just didn't make sense though, when everything was going so great.

Ultimately, it was Adam who pulled out a sheet of paper one night and said "let's make a list of all the places where we could live".  
Rexburg, Heber, Pendleton, Snowflake/Taylor, Springerville, Durango......
The list went on and on. It included towns we'd visited, and driven through, Towns where Adam served on his mission, and went to collage.  Towns where friends lived, and Temples were close by. This was fun! Suddenly, it felt like someone had left the gate open and we were simply free to go. We could Go anywhere! Adam had the skills and equipment to build and work anywhere. Our kids weren't in school yet. 
Why couldn't we go? 
Eventually, we narrowed the list down to towns in northern AZ. We wanted to enjoy a cooler climate but still be close enough to our families to attend mission farewells, weddings, baptisms and enjoy holidays together.

We really liked the idea of moving to Heber. It was just 2 hours from Mesa, and had lots of beautiful pine trees. We took a day trip up there one day, and spent some time getting a feel for the economy, and looking at building lots. We found a few lots that we liked, A couple of them even had lots of big trees. (Something that I'd always dreamed of..) But after spending the day in Heber, we knew that Heber wasn't home.

Oneday a short time later, my grandma had asked if anyone in the family would be willing to help her pick up some beef that she'd had processed by a butcher in Taylor. Since I had a big vehicle, and a flexible schedule, I volunteered. I packed up the kids and a picnic and made the 3 hour drive up the mountain.  
Once I got to Taylor, I had a little time before I planned on meeting my grandma so I picked up some real estate brochures and drove around town for a bit. 
Now, for those of you who have never been to Taylor, it's not exactly the Garden of Eden. It's lush and green in the summer, but there are also a lot of weeds and aside from the cottonwoods that grow along the banks of the creeks and washes, shade trees don't usually grow on their own. There are a lot of cedar trees, and shrubs, dirt, tumbleweeds and cows. To me, it was beautiful!  I felt happy, and peaceful. I couldn't wait to get home and tell Adam about it.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Temple Blessings

We went down to valley this past weekend, to be with my sister Angela as she received her Temple endowments on Friday night, in preparation for her mission.
Angela is my youngest sister. I am so proud of her, and grateful that she has kept herself worthy to enter the House of the Lord.
It was a wonderful feeling to be in the temple with my husband, my parents, grandparents, and ALL six of my siblings.  I feel so grateful and blessed to a part of  my eternal family.

On Saturday, Adam took the kids out to Florence to spend the day with his brothers on an ALL DAY BUGGY RIDE! All-day rides aren't quite my thing, so I spent they day with my sister-in-laws doing some shopping and going out to lunch. It was such a fun day for me. A much needed "day off".  I love my Sister-in-laws and spending time with them!!
I am grateful and blessed to be part of Adam's eternal family too!

Here are a couple of pictures that Adam took with his phone while on the buggy ride:
Braunsen, Sarah, Gavin, Kayden, Eliza, Caleb


Blue and Gold Banquet

The annual Blue and Gold Cub scout Banquet was extra awesome this year because Caleb was recognized for all his achievements and for advancing from the Wolf pack to the Bear Pack. He worked hard and got all all his requirements done just in time. He even earned silver and gold arrow points and got tons of new belt loops!
Way to go Caleb!

Each of the boys were given the assignment to bring a homemade cake for a cake decorating contest.
The theme for this years Blue and Gold Banquet was "The Jungle Book". Caleb decided he wanted to make his cake into Kaa. the Snake. We came up with a plan and his cake turned out to be pretty awesome. 
He used cups to cut the centers out of two round cakes and then cut each Circle in half.

He used a cardboard template to cut one of the center circles into a  the shape of a snakes head.

He put all the pieces together and made the end  piece pointy.

After letting the first "crumb coat" of frosting chill for a bit, he frosted the whole thing green.

Caleb used fruit roll-ups to make the stripes, eyes and tongue.
He is very proud of his cake!

Caleb won the award for having the best shaped cake! Awesome!! 

New Neighbors

Adam's sister Heather, bought the little house next door!!!!
The little house next door to us foreclosed and has been vacant for quite some time. It was a little nerve racking every time someone would come over to look at it. We'd wonder, "Are they going to be our new neighbors?, Will we annoy them? Will they annoy us? Do they have kids? Are their kids Brats?
After quite a bit of negotiating, Heather and Gaelen managed to purchase it for at a great price, and will be fixing it up. Heather wants to eventually live up here once all her kids are grown, so they will be looking for renters, which leaves us continuing to wonder who our new neighbors will be, but it's nice to know that in the long run, our neighbors are some pretty awesome people!
Heather came up a couple of weekends ago to do a final walk-through and see what will need fixing up. she brought her boys along and Adam's parents and his brothers Richard and Tyler their families also came up that same weekend to do some snowmobiling.
Some of the kids went riding and some stayed home and just played with blocks and games.
I enjoyed staying home with My Sister-in-laws and getting to know my new niece Halli Jo.
I love weekends that are filled with family and fun!!

Baptism in Baghdad

On the 25th of Jan we drove over to Baghdad, AZ  for the baptism of our favorite Twins, Megan and Daniel Hulse! We stayed with the Hulse's for a few days and enjoyed every minute spent with them! It was cold and rainy the entire weekend, but that didn't spoil our fun.  We played lots of games and watched tons of movies, and spent time visiting with family!
Megan and Daniel were radiant as they entered the waters of Baptism. We are so proud of them, and their decision to be baptized.  We thought it was neat that they were baptized on a rainy day it reminded us of the words to one of our favorite primary songs.

When I am Baptized

 I like to look for rainbows whenever there is rain
And ponder on the beauty of an earth made clean again.

I want my life to be as clean as earth right after rain.

I want to be the best I can and live with God again.

 I know when I am baptized my wrongs are washed away,
And I can be forgiven and improve myself each day.

I want my life to be as clean as earth right after rain.

I want to be the best I can and live with God again.

Happy New Year

New Years Eve was a blast thanks to the Anderson's. They came up for our traditional New Year get-together. We had a fun little party with games and fireworks. We taught Heather how to play Ticket to Ride. It's one of our favorite games. She's hooked!  On New Year's day, Adam took everyone to go play in the snow on the mountains. I stayed home because I was still recovering from being sick, but they all had a great time.

Caleb  just can't get enough of snowboarding!
Heather and the kids made a snow fort!
Sarah is starting to get a hang of snowboarding too!

Happy New Year!