Sunday, December 4, 2011

Busy, busy, busy

Two weeks from today, we will be living in a brand-spankin'-new house!  No more scraping car windows on frosty mornings!  No more children waking each other up at unearthly hours because they share a bedroom!  No more complaints from downstairs neighbors because of the exuberant, jumping 3-year-old in our family!  Yes, we are excited.
And a little overwhelmed.  December is always a busy time of year, but I think we've outdone ourselves this time.  Last week, for example, was filled with:

  • Trying to buy Cassie her Christmas present (a kitchen) on KSL classifieds.  Sounds easy, right?  Wrong.  Play kitchens are a hot commodity this time of year.  I'm happy to say I finally snagged a nice one a few hours after it had been posted.  Let me also mention here that I was totally on top of the Christmas shopping ahead of time, and had actually already bought Cassie a bike (also on KSL...for some reason we're on a tight budget this year...something about buying something really expensive in the next few weeks?).  But she kept saying that she wanted a kitchen and play food for Christmas, so we decided to buy a kitchen and sell the bike (which we also did this week).
  • Preparing for our Relief Society Christmas program, which was today.  Technically, I was released from my calling in Relief Society two weeks ago, but you've gotta finish what you start, right?  I was in charge of the program, but I really only had to finish up the last few details this week.  I spent a few of my evenings preparing musical numbers as well.
  • Passing the "baton" to the new 1st Counselor, finishing up my responsibilities, and attending some final presidency visits and a presidency meeting.  We tend to chat a lot, so this actually took a good chunk of time...
  • Practicing with my amazing friend Katie's choirs.  Katie teaches choir at a local high school and I am accompanying for her Christmas performances.  I'm accompanying for a junior high school this year as well, and I love getting the chance to practice piano and be involved with choirs.  Please note that high school choir music is WAY harder to play than junior high school choir music.  So I've also been practicing a lot.  As busy as this keeps me, I am so glad I'm doing it.  I'm a total choir nerd at heart, and I honestly get a thrill while I'm accompanying the final, polished product.
  • Packing boxes!  We are trying to pack a few boxes everyday so we aren't too stressed when our actual moving day arrives.  So far so good!  We started with aesthetic things, so our poor little apartment is looking awfully bare.  I'm especially missing the Christmas decorations and lights this year.
  • Trevor working late.  We hardly saw each other this week because one of us was gone every week night.
  • Searching for a washer and dryer.  We'll need one of each.
  • Dealing with the logistics of moving to a new place, like arranging for homeowners insurance, planning for our closing, giving our 30-day-notice, setting up utilities, etc.
  • Regular life.  You know, Joy School, hair cuts, playing hide-and-seek, teaching piano lessons, making meals, grocery shopping, cleaning bathrooms, library visits, making forts, vacuuming...
I may have presented this too drearily.  Don't worry, we are very happy around here!  Just busy.  And the next few weeks aren't going to slow down at all.  But obviously we have some wonderful things to look forward to when all is said and done.  Like a garage.  And separate bedrooms for the kids.  And Christmas!

Now, would I leave you without some pictures?  Of course not!

Here are some pictures of the inside of the house the last time we saw it, which was about two weeks ago.  Our final walk-through is this week!
The dusty floor and the fireplace

 The kitchen!  Ahh!  So excited.

Drumroll, please...I sewed!  I made a nursing cover for my sister-in law who is pregnant with twin boys, who will probably be arriving the day after Christmas!  I also made these matching car seat covers for the boys.  Everything actually turned out quite nicely, and although they aren't perfect (don't zoom in...) and they're very simple, they looked good enough that I was willing to give them away.

Thanksgiving with cousins!  We had a super fun, relaxing Thanksgiving with Trevor's family this year.  Cassie loved playing with her cousins and Benson took a liking to Savanah.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

House update

And now, for a house update (because I can't resist).  The changes are more subtle this time, but here's what's happened with our house in the last month:

And now, for a peek inside:  The entry:

Looking into the dining room: (the half wall is the kitchen island)

Standing in the dining room and looking into the great room: (the doorway on the right leads to the entry)

And the view from one of our master bedroom windows: (please ignore the scaffolding)

And some deets on upgrades:
The company we are building with was offering huge incentives when we decided to buy, so we were able to get several upgrades, many that we might not have otherwise splurged for.  Here are some that I am excited about:

  • Fireplace!
  • Maple cabinets!
  • Granite countertops in the kitchen!  
  • Beadbord doors!(Okay, enough with the exclamation points.  Just know that I'm excited about everything.)
  • Upgraded carpet
  • Laminate (fake hardwood) on the main floor
  • Loft converted into a fourth bedroom
  • Maple banister
  • Banks of drawers in the bathrooms (instead of just cabinets)
  • 2-tone paint
Advice for anyone who plans to build a house in the future:  When builders list their base price ("starting at $199,900!"), just know that you need to plan on spending several thousand more on upgrades, unless you want a very basic house.  As in, a house with no blinds, no appliances, no garage-door opener, cheap carpet, one paint get the idea.  I think the average homebuilder spends about 15% of the base cost of the home in upgrades.  It's frustrating, but I guess all builders do it to be competitive with each other. Our experience really has been good, but we knew in advance that we would need to plan on several thousand dollars in upgrades.

The Chicken and the Butterfly

Once upon a time there was a chicken and a butterfly.

They went door to door, and people gave them candy!

And they were happy.

The end.

P.S.  Do those wings look familiar?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Oh boy, I've got Joy!

Cassie started Joy School in September with a few of the children from our playgroup last year and one new friend.  The other moms and I take turns teaching the group.  I really like that the curriculum is focused on discovering "joys," or learning about the amazing characteristics of our bodies and the earth, and learning good values. The lessons are tailored very well to the kids' level, and are very easy to teach as a mother.  I don't stress about how I'm going to fill the time or how destructive the kids will be while they play.  The lesson plans are very organized and varied.  Cassie loves going to Joy School, and I know she is learning because she frequently asks me questions about the topics that are covered.  I adore listening to Cassie sing all of the songs they learn.  After the first week of lessons, I played the CD that corresponded with those lessons and was totally thrilled and surprised to watch Cassie sing along and do the actions.  I admit, I got teary-eyed.  Besides being totally adorable, it made me realize that my baby is growing up: she can remember a tune, lyrics and actions after only a few repetitions. That's my girl. :)

Our family's first ever "First day of school" photo!

All four kiddos 

Painting!  They were all so excited about their watercolors. 

 When I ask what her favorite part of Joy School is, Cassie always replies "free play time!"  Folks, I'm going to have a kid whose favorite part of school is recess. :)

Stringing Cheerio necklaces.  They were very focused.

The sad part is that we'll have to say goodbye in December!  Even if we can find a new group of Joy School-ers when we move, we will be so sad to leave Cassie's little friends.  She really has grown attached to them, and I love that she has made friends with such good kids.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Growing...and growing...

In the last month, our house has gone from this:

to this:

to this:

to this!

We get an itchin' about once a week to go see what's happening with the construction.  It is so exciting to see things progressing quickly!  They keep telling us we'll be in before Christmas, but we're trying not to hold our breath.
More great news: we met our next-door neighbors and there really couldn't be a friendlier family.  They saw us stalking our house a few weeks ago and came outside to meet us.  They will be great neighbors, and Cassie and Benson will love playing with their two children that are about the same age!  Stephanie, the wife, offered to call me whenever something exciting was happening with the construction so we would know when to drive out to see the progress.  Nice, right?  Hooray for great neighbors.
Details to come about the upgrades we chose...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Trevor's little sister got married on the Friday before Labor Day, so we spent the weekend in Idaho enjoying the festivities.  We arrived on Wednesday night and spent the next day helping with reception preparations.  It was nice to be there a day early and help with last-minute items, and Trevor was able to attend the temple with his parents and Taja on Thursday evening.  The wedding day was beautiful- you couldn't order better weather!

Waiting for the bride and groom...
 Benson with Great Uncle Wade
 Cassie LOVES her Aunt Kimmie and Uncle Rialey
Grandpa H and his girls
The favorite Uncle :)

The happy couple!  (Really, they were ridiculously happy.)

 All 6 siblings!

Cassie was pretty disappointed that Tom didn't choose her as his best man:

Trevor's parents worked hard on their yard all summer in preparation for an outdoor reception, and it looked so beautiful!  Plus, the decorations for the reception were amazing.  I was too busy rushing around to get everything ready so I didn't take any pictures of the reception.  I seriously regret it now.  It was so charming!  Here are some fun pictures Trevor's sister-in-law Becky took.

Cousins!  It's so fun to watch these girls play together.

Part of me was sad to see Taja get married: she's the last sibling on Trevor's side, and only Robert is left on my side.  I think weddings are so fun and joyful.  It was also exhausting, so I'll try to remember that part whenever I feel sad that we only have one wedding left. :)


Cassie was playing with a book of stickers, and Benson happened to be lying right there, so naturally...

It's a good thing he is such a good sport.  He didn't complain while she pushed him around to get the stickers where she wanted them, or when we peeled them all off.  I'm so glad they adore each other!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

July with Cassie and Benson

Here's what Cassie and Benson did this July:

snuggled with daddy

dipped oreos in milk- yum!

read books together

ate watermelon


played with cousins