Wednesday, April 23, 2014

House-Front Fix-Up

When we bought this house last June, we knew there were quite a few things we wanted to change, and the front of the house...cosmetically, was one of them.  Last year, we mostly focused on indoor projects, like flooring and kitchen and painting.  FINALLY, this spring, we are getting to the front of the house, and it feels fantastic!  Let me show you what we've done so far:

This is the home before we purchased, sometime in late March of last year.  There is quite a bit of landscaping to the South side and back of the house, but absolutely nothing in the front.  And we hated those bushes underneath the two garage windows on the left.  And when we first moved, we both hated that shaggy tree in front of the window on the right.
 From another angle.
The first thing to go were those ugly, prickly bushes, blech.  And that shaggy tree on the right had a pretty significant hair cut.  So our poor house looked like this all winter long, ugh, I know.  We kind of had the super ugly house on the street for a while.
 I have a friend at work who is professionally re-doing her front and back yard, and she actually gave us that pavers from her back patio she had torn up, so so SO generous!  Once I got them and saw how thick they were, I knew we were going to put a raised flower bed in under these windows.

And this window also, around our not-so-shaggy tree!  Two of them, curved, there are so many harsh angles in the front of this house, so curved was the way to go.
 Kristoffer was such a sport, we did these raised paver beds right in the thick of my pregnancy gross-ness, so I was pretty much good for supervising.  Which I hated.  I'm a very hands on project person, and it killed me that I couldn't help as much as I wanted.  But he did a fabulous job!  Here is the front paver bed.
 Another angle.
Then we decided that the windows really, *really* needed some sprucing up.  There was absolutely NO window treatments or framing, so we made our own frames!  Kristoffer cut the wood, we both assembled, I painted and he hung them up.
 Here are the frames on the windows, so pretty!!!  At this point, I was really excited to actually see the changes we had been hoping for.

And then we bought some plants for our boxes!  Well, the front one at least.  This is after of course we filled them with fill dirt and a good topsoil.
 We purchased the Euonymous bushes at Home Depot and two flats of different perennials at a local small greenhouse.  They look absolutely gorgeous.  Those Euonymous bushes will fill in nicely and be about two feet high and wide, and the perennials we bought will be perfect ground cover, and maybe spill over the side of the flower bed a little, that will be so pretty!
 On the North side of the house just around the corner next to the garage, I bought two climbing clematis plants.  Hopefully they will grow up the side of the house a little, and I'm hoping we can build a small pergola/arbor to attach above the garage for them to grow on also.

And, the piece de resistance....SHUTTERS!!  We made our own shutters from narrow cut cedar fence planks that we sanded, stained and sealed, and Kristoffer mounted them the other day.  They absolutely make the house look 100% adorable!  Like the eyelashes of our house, bright eyed, open, welcoming, we LOVE them.
We are so SO happy with the changes we've made so far.  It's been a ton of work, but totally worth it, and now I don't feel like we have the ugly house on the street anymore, wohoo!  We are still planning more landscaping to the actual front yard, which will be coming soon, and we are super stoked to soften up the harsh angles on the plain front area, it will look fab. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

More Than One Choice

In the months following my father's death last June, I've had so many pondering's and musings regarding life, pre-mortal life and the eternities.  I think in a way, I've inherited my Dad's gift for pondering, I often find myself lost in thought about a very specific thing.  My Dad was always that way; growing up, it wasn't uncommon for me to see him sitting in the kitchen with his elbows propped on the table, his hands clasped in front of his chin, staring out the window in front of him.  He came out to Utah in February 2012 for Owen's first birthday, and as we drove around the city, I could see him marveling at the mountains, and at one point, I asked him if he ever thought about grandpa, his own father.  He responded with a gentle nod and, "I think about my ancestors frequently.".  That line has stuck with me, and I had never really pondered my ancestors before, but since losing my Dad, I think about him, and my other family members who have passed on quite a bit actually.

I am still healing from my Dad's long and painful journey to death.  I never knew how deeply I could be affected by something.  It has changed my life, and my perspective on quite a few things.  It has caused me to think a lot about life, pain, suffering, fairness, choice, consequence, and so many other things.  I think sometimes if he hadn't suffered so much for so long before he died, I might not have questioned the things I did about why such a good, hardworking, loving, patient, honorable, priesthood holder had to endure such a terrible end, such horrific suffering.  And it has caused me to think about the millions and millions of babies and children and grown adults who have had to endure similar horrific trials when it just doesn't seem fair.  Why sweet, innocent children are beaten by their own parents each day, why babies are abused and neglected, why the suffering seems so great for so many good people, or innocent children.  

I've pondered this concept so many times since Dad started to get sick, and as a result, I stared seeking out blogs of people in similar situations.  A few months ago, I stumbled across a blog, and the writer of this blog, a grown woman in her thirties or forties and member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints related her own quest for this answer.  She shared that as a child, she was subjected to horrific abuse in her home for quite some time, and as an adult, she often wondered why it was that she *specifically* was chosen to endure that trial.  She had a solid knowledge of knowing she chose to come to earth to be tried and tested, but her experience had rocked her to her very core, and she didn't understand why the Lord had chosen her to endure that trial specifically.  She prayed many times to know the answer to this question, and the answer she received was that she had chosen that trial.

She was impressed quite strongly that while in the pre-mortal world, she had been asked what it was she wanted to learn while here on Earth.  She told her Heavenly Father that she wanted to learn these (I don't remember) specific things associated with this (awful) trial.  She had chosen what she wanted to learn and had been given the trial that would teach her those things.  

This concept seemed so refreshing to me at the time when I read it.  Of course, I've always known that we chose to come to Earth to be tried and tested and we agreed to that suffering when we agreed to come here.  But it didn't tie up those loose ends for me...such as why certain people are chosen to endure such awfulness, and why others seem to have a seemingly....easy (dare I say) life.  I just can't imagine that our loving Father in Heaven is up there tossing whatever He pleases our way...that's just not the way we've been taught that it works.  He never forced anyone to come here to Earth, and I just don't think He's forcing whatever trials He sees fit on whoever He wants.  I think that there is more to it than that.  I love what we've been taught in church as a foundation, but there is so little that we actually know and understand about God's eternal plan, that wouldn't it be feasible to think we may have been given more than jut that one choice?

This idea made everything click for me.  It made everything make sense.  It made all of my Dad's suffering make sense, finally.  It makes all of the suffering that all those sweet, innocent children endure, make a little more sense to me.  Thinking that maybe, just maybe, we had a say in what kind of trials we would have while here on Earth.  That it's not all a big free-for-all.  Knowing that I made the choice to endure what I did, makes me feel like perhaps I can do this.  Knowing that while I don't remember choosing the trials I did, I knew what I wanted to learn, and that same spirit that chose those trials in the pre-mortal life is here in my body right now, that helps me feel like maybe I'm not a victim in everything.  That maybe I don't have to feel like I just drew the short straw and well, that's life!  Knowing that I had a choice, well, that makes all the difference to me.

I had a girl in Sunday School the other day who was pretty adamant that there is NO WAY she would have *ever* chosen the trials she has had to face.  And you know, I can respect that.  I get it.  In the midst of watching my Dad drown in his own secretions with exopthalmia (his eye bulging out of his socket) because the tumor in his head was causing so much pressure, and hearing him gurgle out his last "I love you's" to his wife and five children, I would have sided with her.  Ain't no way I would have EVER chosen THAT trial!!!  But as mortals in the midst of of enduring, it's hard to see the forest through the trees.  Having come through it, I take comfort in knowing there was more of a choice than I ever realized before, and it helps me be...OK with things...finally.  After almost one year, I am finally coming to grips with my Dad's illness and death, all because I know there's more than once choice.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Post Announcement Follow-Up

My oh my, it's been way too long since I've been posting regularly, but as you can see from my fresh new previous post, I've had good reason!

Baby number three is on it's way, and currently I'm 13 weeks along...Thank....The.....Lord.  This first trimester has been so rough.  I've made it through the worst of pregnancy, honestly, I would rather give birth, unmedicated, TWICE...rather than deal with weeks and weeks of nausea.  I did start taking vitamin B6 to take the edge off, I'm not one to really hit up the medication hard if I can avoid it, and it did help somewhat.  Still had some super rough days, mingled with a few good days.  This pregnancy has had me spinning mostly with un-predictability.   My first pregnancy, I could count on great mornings, always nauseous at night with smell aversion..predictable.  My second pregnancy, mostly good days, light nausea in the evening with headaches.  This pregnancy,  Russian roulette...decent mornings, after that, it's anybody's guess, good day, bad day, I never know..and lots of stomach, intestine cramping.  I'm still roughing with the cramping.  I haven't been able to cook a meal for almost two month, although my kids have been thrilled with that!  They've had a diet of chicken nuggets, pizza, corn dogs....all the things they only ever get from time to time.

Thankfully, I'm almost out of the first trimester, and starting to function again, I can't tell you how nice it is to be functioning and not feel half dead all day!

The kids have been so good about being good for me (relatively).  Understanding that mama needs to rest/sit down because my tummy was hurting.  Marin picked up pretty quick at the beginning and kept asking why my tummy was sick all the time.  I finally told her at 8 weeks, and she got so excited, asking all sorts of questions about if she could feed the new baby and could she hold the baby and would the baby laugh when she made faces at it, it was adorable; and then she stopped short, and got a very serious look on her face and stared at me with a furrow in her brow and said "You should tell daddy.".  I had to keep from laughing. NOW, she's asking me how the baby is going to get *out* of my tummy, aiy yai yai....I keep putting that one off for later!

My sweet, wonderful husband has been so supportive and loving.  He just showers me with kisses and tells me how much he loves me and what a great job I'm doing.  He hugs me and holds me close (but not too close, lest I barf) when I cry over having to eat one more piece of toast.  He offers to get me water after I come out of the shower having lost all of my dinner and lunch.  He kisses my bloated tummy and tells me I'm the closest to Heaven he can get when I'm carrying his baby.  I really couldn't do this without him.  I'm also so excited to start preparing for childbirth with him.  We had such an incredible experience having an un-medicated delivery with Owen, I'm praying we will be able to have another experience like that.  Such a bonding experience working together and so so so incredibly hard for something.

SO, now that the worst (hopefully) is over, I'll be able to start posting more updates of our family, pregnancy, and of course house projects, of which we have a few in the works I am super excited about!

A Little Announcement!

We are expecting a little something this Fall!

 That's right!  Baby number three is due this October, are we are all very excited, except for Marin, who is very *very* excited.
 These were tough shots to get, Owen was a maniac!
 I had a gorgeous frame given to me, so I had my hubby cut an insert to fit and I painted it with chalkboard paint, way easy, and I love it!

 This guy.  Kristoffer is such an amazing husband.  I couldn't have gotten any luckier if tried.  He is truly the best husband and father, and can't wait to meet this new little one.  He counts his richness not with dollars, but with us, and it makes me cry....especially now!

 Always there for me, always supportive and loving.
 Seriously, are these not the cutest kids?  #partialmom  But, for real, LOVE these babes.  Marin is 5&1/2, Owen just turned 3.

 They are such good friends, and they play so well together, super blessed.


 My blue eyed babies.

 Here we all are!  My amazing friend, Jess took all these pics for us.  We used to live in the same ward with her and her husband, and we still make an effort to keep in touch with them, they are just those kinds of friends.  She did such a great job of

So, the actual due date is October 19th (you know I feel about due dates though!), but considering I've delivered late with both kids, I'm planning on the same with this one.  My sister's birthday is October 23rd, and my mom's is on October 26th......who'll be placing bets, friends?