Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Moving Day

I am not a person who likes change. I know that shocks those who know me well. I like consistency in my life, I like things to go as planned (which they rarely do), and I like stability.

Last summer, when my brother decided to sell the home in Mapleton I was living in, he gave me the option to buy it. The house was old and needed a lot of work, but I loved the area, my ward, and I didn't even mind the commute to work. For whatever reason, though, it wasn't the right thing and I began a frantic hunt for a new place to live.

I don't know why I stress out so much about things. They always work out. Experience has taught me this. Finding a place to live last year was no exception. After a lot of looking, one of my supervisors had a sister who was moving, and when I looked at her apartment I knew it was the place for me. There were the obvious growing pains that came with living in a new ward, but soon it felt as if I had been there forever.

Then at the end of last month I got notice that I had to renew my contract or find somewhere else to live. I chose the later and began the search once again. Just like before, everything worked out. Because of some great neighbors, I have a cute little house with a nice yard on a fantastic street and I'm even still in the same ward (avoiding more change).

We moved just about everything in yesterday. My family and a few ward members were so incredibly helpful. I can't wait to get everything unpacked and be settled in.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

24th of July

On the 24th of July, Mapleton City has a huge celebration - well, as huge as a city of 7,000 can be. We have a tradition in our family, going on 35 years, of attending the parade and all the festivities in the park, which are both packed full of people.

When I was a little girl the parade would last about 15 minutes. There were two wards in Mapleton so only 2 floats of primary children. Sometimes we would decorate grandpa's jeep and all the grandkids would pile on. We'd wave and feel so important because we were center of attention. One year mom even made us matching outfits.

The parade has always consisted of small town treasures - a volunteer fire departement, the local high school band, people who decorate tractors and bikes, and generations of families who ride together and wave. There are now almost 20 wards in Mapleton which means 20 floats of primary kids. They even still throw candy.

This morning, they added a new twist and were giving away plants instead of candy. Audrey got one and planted it with grandma. She has been checking on it and making sure it is well taken care of.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

So Happy Together!

My whole family, except for my brother-in-law, Spencer, who will be here at the end of the month, is in town. We all got together this weekend at my aunt's cabin near Oakley. This is the first time all of the grand kids have been together - 8 kids, 7 of whom are 5 years old or younger.

They had so much fun playing together. The cabin has a loft set up just for kids. There's a Wii, which my 5 year old nephew beat the pants off my sister in bowling, lots of beds, and no cool air. Isaac was so excited when he saw a bed that was just his size.

My mom, right before bedtime, attempted to gather all of them together for a picture. Look how well it worked! This is the only one that actually has all of the 8 grand kids in it.

We all stayed up entirely too late. I think the kids finally gave in somewhere between 12 and 1 and some of us stayed up until 2. My brother found this ridiculous pair of glasses and had us all laughing hard. I'm sure the late hour contributed to the hysterical laughter.

The first of the kids woke up at 4:30. The morning was beautiful and Isaac and I sat on the deck and watched the humming birds and a family of deer. He was so excited and kept pointing at everything until he finally went to sleep on my lap.

Gradually, all the kids were awake. James, who put Audrey's shoes on before bed, woke up with them still on his feet. We enjoyed breakfast together, had some fun rides on the Ranger, and played some interesting games, which the guys won.

While we got almost no sleep, we had such a good time being together. We had sweet moments during prayers, as the feeling of gratitude we all felt was expressed by whomever was praying, adult or child. We sang together, which I love. Our little family choir keeps growing and getting better as the years go by and there was such a sweet feeling present as we all sang "If the Savior Stood Beside Me", requested by Audrey.

As a family, most of the time we are physically separated by distance. However, we always remain together!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

One More Family Post...

My family has been on my mind a lot lately. I would consider ours to be pretty close. It seemed like we did everything together while we were growing up. I remember being on a date once and somehow it ended with him playing basketball with my two brothers. Ours was the neighborhood home where everyone came to play, in some cases even live.

Now we're all grown up, busy living life, which means something different for each of us. We're still close, but don't do everything together like before. Some live close, other far away, and I really can't remember the last time we were all together.

This is the last family picture we had taken. None of us were even 30 yet, Dad still had hair, more kids were unmarried than married and we only had one family member in the military.

Since that time we've added 6 more members to our family. The babies pictured are now almost 6 and the cute one in pig tails is 9. Both Jamie's and Joe's families are living where they are because of the military and they have each added two additional children. Andrea is married, has a baby and she and her husband will be heading off to medical school next fall. Josh and Angela have moved out of the home we all grew up in and their girls are both growing up so quickly and involved in so many great things.

While we haven't figured out quite how to get us all in the same place at the same time, I feel often the strength that comes from being part of a family bound together. I'm so thankful for that.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

I Miss It!!!

Today was a day for family. My sister-in-law is here for the next month from Georgia with her two boys. She and Joe adopted these two brothers in January and this is the first time most of us have met them. James is only 2 and Chase just turned 4. They are adorable boys and incredibly active. The kids had fun playing together.

It was supposed to be that our whole family would be here on the 30th when Joe and Mandy have the boys sealed to them, however, it's not going to work out.

It's been a long time since we were all together and I miss it! I miss all of us singing together. I miss the times when we reminisce about the crazy things we did growing up. I miss Fast Sunday dinners with everyone and family prayer before everyone leaves.

I hope there will be a point when everyone will come back home.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

One Crazy Week, Part Two - The 4th of July

On the 4th of July, we had a book signing in our store. I wasn't sure how it would go because it was a holiday, but it was stunning how many people came to see this author. The event was scheduled to begin at 2 pm and there were people in line before the store opened at 10 am.

These events are always pretty stressful. Because I was gone for the two days prior to the event, I felt like I was running around like a crazy woman (some of my staff will tell you I do that anyway) trying to make sure everything was ready. However, there was no need to worry. My supervisors were amazing and made sure every detail was attended to.

When the author arrived with his wife, I was so impressed at his kindness. There are several times when authors come and expect people to almost stand in awe. This was a man who easily could have been like that, but was not. He was down to earth, funny, and incredibly humble. It was pleasure meeting both of them.

The rest of the holiday was spent at my sister's apartment. She lives right across from the stadium at BYU and we were able to watch all of the Stadium of Fire. The drive there was ridiculous and my attitude was less than stellar by the time I arrived, as some could tell you. However, the long walk to the apartment calmed me down and it was fun to spend time with family.

The kids were great. Audrey danced to Miley Cyrus for a good hour and then sang the words "Stadium of Fire" repeatedly during the entire firework presentation. Brigham loved playing with Dre's brothers-in law. Any chance he gets to play swords, he takes, especially with older kids. Isaac was his usually crazy self and Haden slept through the entire event.

As you can imagine, it takes quite a while to get out of Provo after things have wrapped up. I waited almost an hour after the fireworks to walk back to my car. Brigham decided to spend the night at my house so the two of us trekked up the hill. He was a trooper and didn't even complain, although he was quite shocked that it took us "forever" to get out of the parking lot.

At the close of three very crazy days, I'm thankful for brief moments when I've been reminded how blessed I am. I took this picture of Brigham this morning as he slept. He's such a good boy. He asked me last summer before they moved to Arizona who was going to take care of me when he was gone. I told him not to worry because Heavenly Father would, and He has.

One Crazy Week, Part One...

Because I'm not as talented as some I know who can, while driving, talk on the phone, compose an email and eat a sandwich, I have several adventures that have taken place this week that I have yet to mention. The first being the whirlwind trip to Arizona.

On Wednesday I flew to Arizona by way of California. My sister and her family live in Ft. Huachuca, AZ. I must admit that it's not the most beautiful place I've ever been. However, monsoon season has brought a little more green to this desert city.

They picked me up from the airport in Tucson and we drove the hour to her house. That evening we attended Enrichment. Jamie was recently called to be the Enrichment leader and this was her first assignment. She did such a great job. Brigham and Audrey sang "If the Savior Stood Beside Me" and they were amazing (I'd still say that even if I wasn't their aunt). After we cleaned up, we headed home, had scriptures and prayers (Audrey is thankful for pink and blue bunnies) and went to bed.

We got up early the next morning, hoping to leave by 8 am to drive back to Utah. Fortunately, we were ready to go and out the door by 7am.

The kids were pretty good. Brigham kept himself entertained with movies, books and coloring. It drove him crazy when it was Audrey's turn to pick a movie as she would only watch about 3 minutes of it and he'd be stuck watching "Strawberry Shortcake" or something equally masculine.

Isaac yells when he wants something. It's not a quiet yell either. Brigham figured out that if you told him to fold his arms he would do it and be quiet for a few minutes. We spent much of the trip telling Isaac to fold his arms.

Audrey kept us entertained most of the trip with her great stories, funny conversations, and original song compositions. Jamie started writing down all the funny things she was saying. She's only 3 but thinks she's at least 15. She also managed to have to use the bathroom after we'd past the last exit for 30 miles. Let's just say we had to stop by the side of the road several times.

The drive should have taken us around 13 hours. We used the GPS system that we got my dad for Father's Day. (Honestly, I still prefer the ancient way of going to the internet to find directions, or better yet using a map.) When we got to Flagstaff, I was instructed to turn towards Los Angeles and head west. This smart GPS system had calculated the shortest distance from Ft Huachuca, AZ to Mapleton, UT was through none other than Las Vegas, NV!

The trip ended up taking 17 hours. We did get to see the Hoover Dam, which I had never seen before, experience 120 degree weather, which again was something new for me and had a moment of panic when the air conditioning stopped working in the car. However, all was well, we made it home safely and we're all looking forward to fun family times with almost everyone in town this month.