I had the brilliant idea last night that I should start posting on this blog again, and maybe do some redesigning. My life is crazy right now: Jake is gone, I am trying to graduate from school, and I am starting an internship this week. But I also have been able to meet many of the candidates in our upcoming elections and I feel a duty to write about it. I have had so many people ask me about these elections, I thought this would be an easy way for me to share my thoughts. Though I will also try to include posts about the kids as well. We shall see how this goes...
As part of our spring break trip we headed up to Oregon to visit Jake's mom. She was kind enough to volunteer to take on the kids for a couple of days while Jake and I took off on our own. We never went on a honeymoon and never went on a vacation as just the two of us, so we were very excited. We left on my 27th birthday for our trip to Cannon Beach. We splurged on a great hotel right on the beach, and even though it was cold we had a great time. Tropical beaches can be fun, but northern beaches are just so beautiful and peaceful. It was just what we needed. Thank you Benita and Mark!!!! On our first day we just walked up the beach and explored the town, then enjoyed lava rock massages back at the hotel (heaven!!) The next day we went to Seaside, up the road. It is the end of the Lewis and Clark trail. We have been to St Louis, which is the beginning of that trail, and now we've been to the end. We enjoyed shopping and scouring the beaches for sand dollars. We only found a few whole dollars, but we got a bucket full of 'half-dollars'. We were told it is really hard to find whole dollars because all of the birds dig them up and crack open and eat them. We also explored further up the coast and crossed into Washington for a bit before heading back. On our last day we went into Ecola State Park (right in between Cannon Beach and Seaside. We did a bit of hiking on the main trails, and then we found a little-used trail that led down to a small beach in between the cliffs. It was completely deserted and we enjoyed the serenity there. It was such a beautiful peaceful place. We ended the day at the temple in Portland before heading back to see the kids. I just put the pics in a slideshow because I had so many to share. If you slide your mouse over the pictures you will see the captions I wrote. Warning: these pictures will make you want to travel here! It was beautiful!!!
A new temple has been built in southern Arizona! It is in Thatcher, AZ. It is officially meant to serve the members of our area, as we are considered to be one of the core stakes for this temple. It is pretty exciting for all of the people here. Right now we are supposed to go up to the temple in Mesa, it takes us over 3 hours to get there so we don't go much. This temple is still a good 2 hours away, but we'll take it. Hopefully it will be much less busy than the Mesa one. It is a very small temple, but beautiful. We are excited to officially attend it after the dedication. Jake and I went up to be volunteers at the open house for a day. We sat in the front of the temple under the white tent (that won't be there when the temple is officially open) and helped people put plastic booties over their shoes. Yes there were many bootie jokes thrown around all day. It was fun to get to be involved in that event. The open house goes for the rest of this week and then next week it will be dedicated by President Monson! We haven't had the chance to take the kids up to the open house to go through the temple, but hopefully we will get up there before the end of the week!! There were no good pictures without fingers, so I had to go with what I had. That's what you get when you ask a stranger to take your picture!
So it has been quite awhile since I have written anything on this blog. It is bad because this is really the only sort of journaling/scrapbooking that I do. I hope to take pictures and posts from my blog and turn them into a family photo album, I am currently looking into companies that do that. So I need to get back on it. I have included a few recent pictures just for fun. We did get a new camera back in March, but have been having many computer issues that did not allow me to upload pictures. Now we have an external hard drive that we store our pictures on. It is safer that way anyways. This computer may be on its last leg soon. We've had it for 6 years or so. It still works though, so we probably won't get rid of it until it dies. Jaxon and Kailey have become best best friends. I am happy to say that I do feel like we were inspired in not preventing any pregnancy after having Jaxon. Before we had him we said he would be our last, but we both felt strongly that we needed to have another one soon. Maybe Kailey couldn't stand to be without her best friend for very long. They just love each other and play very well all day with minimal fighting. (Though I can't say the same about Jaxon and his older sisters.) Here he is helping give Kailey a bath:
We usually throw her in with the rest of the kids, but she usually requires much more bathing than the others (like after every meal) so she still gets a quick sink bath now and again.
These are my helpers when I was cooking up my first ever batches of strawberry jam. Strawberries were on sale for 88 cents a pound (as opposed to 2 pounds for$5) so we stocked up. I made 14 jars of jam and froze the rest. It turned out extremely well (if I may say so myself). I am starting to get a hang of this canning stuff, if only I had a garden to can from!
These pictures are specifically for my relatives with extreme culinary talents (Aunt Hope, Amber) and for my mom who made me the apron that inspired my cake. I LOVE the color purple (though I've never seen the movie) and my mom made that apron for me for my birthday. They had a cake decorating class at my church a couple of weeks ago and I decided to make a cake to match the apron. It was my first ever time working with fondant. It is a LOT harder than it looks!! This took me several hours (and that was in coming to the class with the cake already made and frosted!) But I thought it turned out alright. Me in my apron with matching hat and earrings: It was a super fun class, and hopefully I can create something nice for Mckayla and Lyla's birthday this week!
So I know that I have a lot of catch-up blogging to do, but I have become a bit of a bookworm since moving to Arizona. A friend of mine joined an online reading challenge, so I decided to join in as well. To learn about this challenge and join go HERE.
I actually challenged myself to read 'the classics' awhile ago. Because, though I wasn't able to attend school at the time, I still wanted to be educating myself. I usually feel very enriched by reading some of the classics. I have also been struck by how many of these books have influenced culture and society today. I thought it was interesting that they had a list of 'future classics' for a bonus read. I am going to share some of my recent reads that I consider to be classics (or if they are on the 'future classic' list) and would love to hear some suggestions for classics I should get in for this challenge.
Recent Classic Reads: *The Woman in White *The Count of Monte Cristo *The Jungle *The Odessy *The Hiding Place *To Kill a Mockingbird *1984 *The Great Gatsby *Animal Farm *Beowolf *Canterbury Tales *Othello * Treasure Island And some of my recent reads that are on their 'future classic list that I highly recommend: *The Life of Pi *3 Cups of Tea *The Atonement *1776 *Girl with the Pearl Earring *Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society
Suggestions from anyone????
The goal is to read 6 classics before October 31st of this year. Plus a bonus future classic if you want. My six right now are (subject to change)
1. Frankenstein - I keep seeing this on classics list, but it seems so strange to have it on there. I'm very curious about it now. 2. Fahrenheit 451 - I already own it, so I have no excuse 3. Huckleberry Finn - Same deal, I already have it but haven't read it yet 4. A Tale of Two Cities - I just have yet to read anything by Dickens and it is a shame. 5. Pride and Predjudice - Cliche I know, but it is my favorite movie, and I really should read the book. 6. Alice and Wonderland - My girls have recently become obsessed with this movie and I would like to see what the book is like. *I also would like to do the 'school classics' like Catcher in the Rye, Of Mice and Men, etc but I'll get to it someday. Bonus: I'm not sure. I am thinking of reading 'A Town Called Alice', I have had it recommended like a classic, but I am not sure if that is the full title or not. I am open to suggestions. I challenge all of you to join in the challenge and chat with me about books!!!!
Well if you are wondering where I have been take a look at this link. We are officially on the market as of December 19th, FINALLY! I have been working very hard on this house. And though there is still work to be done I am mostly done and it is showing-worthy. We have had 3 showings so far and one request to rent the house, but we'd really rather sell so we are still pursuing that avenue. We got the house on the market and left for Colorado, and I guess I'd better start with the low-light of our trip so that y'all understand where I'm coming from. After some time in New Mexico and Colorado we were heading to my mom's on Christmas Eve and between Jake's dad's and my mom's houses are several mountain ranges buried in snow. Going over one we ended up sliding off of the road and getting stuck in about 5 feet of snow. A few good samaritans tried to dig us out, but we were irretrievable we had to wait to be rescued by a tow truck. We were stuck in the snow for about 2 1/2 hours. Everyone was fine, we had food and water and gas to keep warm. The front bumper was all cracked and hanging off so the tow truck driver had to wire it on for the rest of our drive. Now the van is in the shop and I am driving a rental car. Something that sucks is that my camera was in my purse and in the accident a big bottle of water poured into my purse. It didn't spill on the floor or anything, the purse held it in. But it drowned my camera and a few other things. I didn't notice because I was a bit caught up in our being stuck in the snow. I have not been able to retrieve our pictures from the camera yet and we didn't get to take any Christmas pictures which also bites. I am hoping to get some from my mom soon. But until then we will be picture-less on this blog. That is our low-light hopefully the highlights will be coming soon.
So I am going to brag for a little bit and maybe this will explain my absence of blogging. We are trying to get our house ready to sell and on the market. Jake and I are incapable of moving into a house and doing nothing to it. We immediately start looking at where we can knock down walls. Some things we had already done, and some we started just to make the house look good for selling. We were worried that we would lose money on the house since we have only been here a year and a half and the market is bad. So we thought that if we put in some sweat equity it would help. Only time will tell. Your house is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. So here's a few of my projects that we've been working on. A lot of it was started and worked on while Jake was here and I have been doing all the finishing touches. Above is my family picture wall. It was a big blank wall that we couldn't put any furniture against because it is also a narrow walkway. So That was my idea and I like it. Below is also my own pet project. It was a tree ring that had a stump and weeds in it. So I (with Jake's help) dug it all out and filled the bottom with gravel then I (on my own I might add) put two additional rings of bricks with matching bricks that were stacked under the deck. Now we have a fireplace. I have added seating and such as well.
This is the view to the side of the front door. It is our sitting room/office and you can see into the dining room. What you don't see is a huge giant custom bookcase that we got when we thought we were going to live here forever. It surrounds our piano. And the desk is in the other corner with cabinets above. I like it. I prefer an office out in the open and not in a closed room. That's just me. We painted this pretty much right after we moved in.
This is our biggest project ever and it is done as of TODAY!!! It was pretty bad before. It had retro-brown cultured marble tub surround and sink. With matching floors and cabinets to boot. When we started we had no idea how big of a project it would be. Due to a major mold problem that was not disclosed we ended up ripping out most of the drywall and some of the insulation, not to mention the floors, marble, and cabinets. We gutted the place. That tiling was done by Jake and I (I was the official tile cutter) and all of the plumbing, cabinets, counter tops, and even the toilet is new. After a week without being able to shower in my house I took a shower in it today!! YAY! It works! Don't worry we have been bathing at friend's houses. My other shower is not quite functioning yet though. So that is our handywork. And my only finished things at this moment. I have one week left. Let's see if I can do it!!! Keep your fingers crossed.