Friday, February 26, 2016

Weekend Visitors

President's Day weekend brought us some very special visitors. My dear friend and old roommate, Laura, came up from AZ to visit us! Well, really they came for the Provo City Center Temple open house and to begin brainwashing their children to bleed cougar blue, but I may have implemented some arm twisting to get her to adjust her dates so we could see them before Jeff and I left town. It was a cold weekend, but we braved the temps and took everybody to temple square. We had a good time with our rowdy bunch touring the square and visitor center and checking out the Church History museum.

Sawyer tested a pew in the old tabernacle. I'm so glad our new buildings have softer seats!

The Church History Museum has a great little children's area with some neat church related toys. Here Isabelle was building her own temple...

while Sawyer showed us the proper way to ride a camel. We also made some Origami birds and tried our hand at some Bible and Book of Mormon tangrams.

Of course, we had to stop by Red Iguana for the best mole on the planet, even though there was an hour wait. We killed time by walking to a Trax station and then riding it back to the restaurant. It was a little frightening having our eight spatially challenged children walking around the train platform, but we made it safely and didn't lose a single child. Win!

Even though they were only with us a few days, Laura and I clocked hours of heart talks and stayed up way too late catching up and analyzing each other. Some things never change! After years apart, it makes my heart happy to have seen Laura twice in the past year, and now that we are less than a day drive apart, I have high hopes I will see her again soon!

Field Trip to the Bean

Isabelle's cute new preschool goes on a field trip every month. This month they went to the Bean Museum at BYU. They needed an extra driver so Sawyer and I got to tag along.

The day started with a mini lecture about some of the animals at the museum. The kids were given clues and then had to guess the animals. Isabelle picked this piece of dried scales.

Then once they had guessed the animal, we got to meet the animal! This little lizard was the strangest thing with it's fat-storing tail. We were told we could tell it was healthy because his tail was nice and plump.

The snake was a hit. Isabelle's class is made up of 9 boys and 3 girls, so reptiles are generally well received.

After the lecture, we were able to wander around the museum a bit. There has been an addition and remodel done since the last time I was here, and it feels much cleaner and more open now. By the end, Isabelle was in tears because of all the "mean animals eating the nice animals." (See zebra and lion in the background of this picture.) Sawyer, however, was is creature heaven.

All in all, a highly successful field trip, even if Izzy was a little disappointed she had to ride in my car. :)

Musical Mornings

Logan has gone to six elementary schools in five years. Savannah has been to five in four years. To say we have sampled just about every type of school and school schedule would be an understatement. However, this new school has by far the latest start time of them all! A year ago we were out the door by 6:45 am. Now we don't have to leave until 9. It's made me rethink our entire morning routine.

For the most part, I enjoy the extra time in the morning. We are able to sleep in a little, and still have plenty of time for family scripture reading and prayers, showers, breakfast, packing lunches, and (my favorite) piano practice! Both Logan and Savannah practice for a half hour each morning-- consistently! This has never happened before in the history of their piano careers, which is a really poor reflection on me as their piano teacher. Incredibly (sarcasm), they are improving faster than they ever have due to this new practice consistency. They even have time to learn a few fun songs on top of their regular lesson songs. I remember turning the corner when I was learning to play the piano and realizing that I actually enjoyed playing. I can only hope and pray they are turning their own corners now!

In other piano news, Isabelle started learning a few weeks ago. Progress is slow, but coming along. Just thought I'd document that so one day when she is asked when she started to learn, she can reference this post and say, "four years old!" (I don't know the answer to that question myself.)

Big Foot

Sawyer brought me Isabelle's shoes and asked to put them on. This isn't a first - he likes to wear any and every pair of shoes he's finds. What caught me off guard was the fact that they fit. In fact, later that day I took him shoe shopping and bought him the exact same size that Izzy wears. In other words -- my two year old and my nearly-five-year-old have the same size feet. Say what????

Snow Girl

I'm running out of things to say about the snow, but I still have more pictures! This is just more evidence of how much Savannah loves to be out in the snow. She took herself on a little hike this day, all by herself, and had a dandy old time.

Missing Piece

The other day Isabelle brought a puzzle downstairs during Sawyer's nap and asked me to make it with her. I am afraid I have been neglecting my kids a lot lately and letting house and home become more important than family. But I love my Izzy and I love puzzles, so she played the right cards to pull me away. We've had this puzzle for awhile and I've found pieces in all sorts of odd places from time to time, so I was actually pretty surprised we were only missing one piece. I've been reading a book about decluttering and as Meg kindly pointed out, incomplete puzzle = excuse to toss it! The book also emphasizes thanking your belongings for fulfilling their purpose, so thank you, mermaid puzzle, for creating this memory with my sweet girl. You'll enjoy your new home at the dump.

Got Milk?

I always love the stage that when my next-to-youngest starts preschool and I suddenly have precious hours of one-on-one time with my baby. This little partner in crime lights up my days.  He was being so silly this day, flirting with me and my camera. Of course, he had to have his sippy cup of milk within reaching radius at all times. I swear, there is some milk gene that Jeff passed on to our kids that I just don't understand. They can guzzle that stuff like there is no tomorrow. We are currently consuming nearly a gallon a day. It's unreal.


I am not the only one captivated with the snow. Savannah especially loves it, and finds every opportunity to suit up and go play. Isabelle and Sawyer are not hard to convince to join her, but Logan will not be budged. Getting that kid out in fresh air is like pulling teeth sometimes! Nevertheless, the others have spent countless hours building snowmen, snow angels, snowballs, snow forts, and snow picnics. I picked up a kid sized shovel and Sawyer has now deemed it his responsibility to shovel the driveway every time we leave the house-- even when there is nothing to be shoveled.

Welcome to the Neighborhood

Once our boxes and furniture had been unloaded, I began the long and tedious process of unpacking. Generally I find moving exciting. New neighborhood, new home, new cities to explore, new friends. But I think I must be getting old (or maybe we've moved one too many times) because I found it all very tiring and unappealing this time around. Mother nature must have sensed my restlessness and greeted us with a beautiful coating of snow a few days after moving in. Despite the pending shoveling, I was in awe of how it transformed our dirt backyard into a winter wonderland. It's not that we never saw snow in Arkansas or Oklahoma, but there it was always a novelty-- something only brought out for special occasions. Here it just fits. Snow and Utah go together.

And seeing my sleeping baby under a picture perfect snowy window... well, that just gave me the extra boost I needed to go unpack a few more boxes! (This little cot and sleeping bag was his bed for over two months during this moving process, but I am happy to report he finally has a legitimate big boy bed and is sleeping in it like a champ!)

Empty house

We stayed with Grandma and Grandpa Pendleton while between houses. With the long weekend (Martin Luther King Day), a day to close, a day to fund, and a day buffer for the moving truck, we were there nearly a week waiting for all the pieces to fall into place. During that time I was able to get the kids registered and starting school, and Isabelle in preschool thanks to a friend's recommendation. (There are definitely perks to moving to a place where you know people already!) The elementary school was awesome and let the kids start even though we didn't have an official proof of residence. Logan was even signed up for robotics club by the end of his first day, which redeemed this entire move in his book.

Finally, all the t's were crossed and i's were dotted (no thanks to me signing half our closing documents with the wrong date), and the house was officially ours! To celebrate, Sawyer and I ran around listening to our echos in the empty rooms. Stay tuned for a full tour...

Oh man, Sawyer has the most delicious choo-choo lips I've ever seen.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Home Again

Our drive from Arkansas to Utah was gratefully uneventful. Typically on road trips, Jeff does all the driving and I do all the managing of children from the passenger seat. But with two vehicles to drive, we didn't have the luxury of diving roles. We did, however, divide the children. Equipped with iPads and multiple dvd players, they did just fine. I worried about being behind the wheel that long as I have a tendency to fall asleep on long stretches, but it turned out a captivating book or podcast is all I need to stay alert for hours on end. Three days, two hotels, and five states later, we were home!

Packing Shenanigans

When we first discussed this move, we said that we would hire a full service move. The company had given us a generous stipend, and I intended to use it. But when the quote came back, we considered all the moving expenses we would acquire and decided to pack ourselves and use those funds elsewhere. So once again, for the tenth time in our marriage, I collected boxes and began the tedious task of packing up our entire home. I felt like I was making decent progress, but I hadn't touched the kitchen and was dreading it. I hate packing breakables and always end up losing one or two in each move, probably because I get sloppy and lazy with my packing. Lucky for me, I have amazing friends (some of which are also a little crazy and claim to love packing fragile items!) that swooped in one night and packed my entire kitchen! It was truly an act of love and I couldn't begin to express my gratitude for their help and friendship. They stayed late to make sure every cupboard was empty and every box taped. On top of all that, they left me hidden notes to find as I unpacked. It was such a tender reminder of home and friends as I put my dishes away in our new kitchen in Utah!

With all his usual entertainment in boxes, Sawyer found all sorts of trouble to get into. Netflix worked for awhile, but eventually his curiosity and boredom led him to all sorts of mischief. Several times I found him with a wet paintbrush or box cutter in his hand. Once he was up on the counter surrounded by candy wrappers (along with prescription eye drops, honey, and butter). I was so glad when we finally unpacked two weeks later and found him some toys!

At least some of my posterity were helpful!