Friday, August 28, 2009

More pictures

I guess these ones didn't go through with the last batch:

Here are the kids in front of the Salt Lake Temple. My mom works for the church, so whenever we're in town we go and meet her for lunch and enjoy Temple Square.
Here's Jack at the Dinosaur park in Odgen. It's such a fun place--nearly full size models of dinosaurs, etc. lurking everywhere!
More dinosaurs. This one was particularly creepy.
Here are Charlotte and Rachel, her cousin that lives in Logan. They had such fun playing together!
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Summer Update

So, I haven't blogged in weeks, and I haven't put pictures up in even longer. I just pulled 111 pictures off the camera. Oddly enough, we didn't take pictures of most of the fun things we've been doing--no pictures of the Swenson family trip to Moon Lake, no pictures of our excursion down the Green River on a rubber raft, nothing from the Logan Zoo or Charlotte's first water tubing adventure. Instead, this is what we have. Enjoy!

Jack did this all to himself, then came and asked me to take a picture. Who am I to refuse?

Here is a picture of Matt looking like a doctor and like a dad. I still giggle a little when he tells people he's a physician because this is the silly guy I know and it's a little weird to think of people putting their well being in his hands...
Here is Anna capitalizing on mom's ice cream cone and being totally happy about it!
Why, oh why, don't I have any clean pictures of my children? I promise that occasionally, I do groom them!
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Monday, August 3, 2009

Stupid people

Right, so the day after I left town for a vacation in UT, someone jumped our fence, broke the lock on our backdoor, and stole a bunch of stuff from our house. When Matt got home from work he found the door broken and **eek!** the front door unlocked, which the police suspect meant they had been planning on coming back for more. I'm glad Matt was there to discover it.

So we're missing some stuff. Big deal. What really makes me mad--like infantile temper tantrum rage--is that people who think that it's a good idea to break and enter actually exist. I have been pretty happy in my life thus far believing that most people are decent. Sure, the fancy rich people with expensive jewelry or sports cars make themselves targets, but we are hardly that. The stuff they made off with doesn't even add up to our $2,000 home insurance deductible. I find it tremendously disturbing that people out there think it's worth their while to break the law, violate my home, and expose themselves to potential punishment all for a handful of wii games and someone else's computer. Really?

So we feel forced to install a security system, because we want to feel safe in our beds at night. And I just know that every time that I alarm it, or forget to turn it off and send it shrieking, it's going to make me mad all over again at the stupid people who convinced me that I need it.

So in the off chance that the perpetrators are reading this (meaning that they are even literate)...fie on you!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Here are some pictures of our kids and family that our friend Kirsi--a tremendously gifted photographer--took right before we moved from Maryland.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

a houseful

Sarah and Mike with their kids, Mary-Celeste, and Matt's siblings Zak and Rose just came to visit this past weekend. We all had so much fun, and the house felt used and full and alive, which was so wonderful. Now that everyone is gone, the house is probably a bit cleaner, but it feels bigger and less friendly. Anyone else want to come and visit? :)

I've been a little suprised at how difficult the move has been for me. I know, though, that with all the moves to come in the military, I need to work on making new places feel like home as soon as possible. I know that I will miss this place tremendously in 5 years, and I'm eager to start building so that in the end, I won't regret wasted time.

So, when I meet new people and greet them with judgment and suspicion, I think of the weird and wonderful people that eventually became my best friends in other places--despite my initial suspicions that they wished me evil. Without exception, every new person I meet becomes more and more dear to me as I get to know and serve them.

I also walk through the house in disbelief and feel like everything is out of place and foreign. I miss my old window seat and the big kitchen window and the azaleas and dogwoods. But then I see the my old goofy pictures hanging on freshly painted walls, and my old battered desk in a new cozy corner, and I start to feel the beginnings of love for the new space. And when I go on vacation, I'll come back and enjoy the familiarity that snuck up on me while I was away.

The unfamiliar streets will begin to seem second nature; the new and intimidating gym will gradually fill with friends and inviting routines; the playgroup full of other people's kids will gradually begin to fill with faces like those of Grace, and Barrick, and Miriam, and all the other kids that I learned to love nearly as much as my own.

It hasn't happened yet. But I have to believe that it will.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Pictures of the new kitchen

So, I couldn't find the old pictures of the kitchen before we spruced it, but people keep asking for pictures of the updates, so here they are. We kept the cabinets, but replaced the countertops, sink, and faucets, and added a tile backsplash and cabinet hardware. My only complaint is that it is so gorgeous that I can't believe that I actually live here. :)

Matt actually built the corner cabinet because we couldn't find one pre-made to match the other cabinets. It pays to have a handy man around--the corner cabinet really pulls that distant lonely end of the counter back into the kitchen.

Needless to say, the kitchen is much less fun without friends to cook for and hang out with. Are you all absolutely sure you don't want to move to Las Vegas??
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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Quick, pictureless update

Graduation was wildly fun--lots of Matt's relatives came into town to celebrate with us, and we got to see everyone we love best before we left.  I even managed to fake my way out of a few tearful goodbyes by pretending I would see people soon.  Then, of course, I cried like a love-sick teenager in the privacy of my own car as we drove out of town.  I signed up for the military life with Matt to meet new people, see new places...kinda forgot that I couldn't just load them all up in the back of the truck when the next move came. Stinks.  

But it's not all doom and gloom here.  A list of things I love about Vegas so far: 

1.  The house is really wonderful.  Although it could be significantly improved by say, furniture and dishes, we already got lovely new tropical brown granite countertops installed.  I now spend more time than I should lovingly rubbing them with a burp cloth, but I haven't quite gotten to the point of naming them or anything, so it's all under control. 

2.  We have this giant, moon-like pointy mountain a few blocks from our house, standing separate from the nearby mountain range.  It is appropriately (though not very creatively) named "Lone Mountain" and beckons me to come clamber and dirt bike and explore.  It's a lovely reminder that despite commercialism and development, all God has to keep wildness about a place is just stick a big fat mountain in the middle.  Try moving that thing with a backhoe!

3.  The tile floor that we planned to complete in 2 days only took us 5.  Knowing that for most home improvement projects, (time actually spent) = (time planned)x3, we came in an entire day behind schedule and rewarded ourselves by showering (for the first time in.....) and going out for dinner.  And now, I have a truly awe inspiring porcelain-tiled bathroom floor.  Be sure to schedule time for an unsolicited tour should you ever be invited for dinner.  

4.  Clouds roll in over the mountains in the evenings, and although we haven't actually had rain here, we've seen it falling in the distance in streaky watercolor brilliance.  It also makes for sunsets layered with color and texture.  All completely unobstructed by any pesky trees.  

5.  The girl down the street had me over for dinner, the next door neighbors gave us gardening tips, and a lady out taking a walk gave me tips on where the good local gyms are.  I can already see that the neighborhood is friendly and that people are ready to make new friends.  

6.  Best of all, Matt is on his way back home now from picking Jack and Charlotte up from Salt Lake.  Our whole family will finally be reunited, and this house will finally begin to feel like a home.  

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Here's Jack at his fabulous baseball 4th birthday party. I have a 4 year old now???
Here is Anna being her darling self in the exersaucer.
Matt and the kids as we celebrate his birthday, after he got back from his long trip to Vegas. I'm sure that they had a good reason for being naked...
Here is Matt wearing his new "the Todd" scrub cap and a shirt that says, "Trust me, I'm a doctor." I mean, if we're going to do the over confident surgeon thing, let's be thorough.... :)
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Thursday, April 2, 2009


While Matt was away (and praise heaven, he's home now), I had to, out of necessity more than anything else, adjust my parenting strategy from "you'll obey me or else" to more of a "long suffering and gentle persuasion".  Trouble was that the "or else" part---a time out, a spanking, or revoked privileges, was never enough to conquer Jack's stubborn streak.  It literally sometimes devolved into shouting matches: "Jack, Mommy said no!" with him responding, "Mommy, but Jack said YES!"  Sound familiar to anyone? :)  Anyway, we've moved to a system in which I ask the kids to obey, explain why I want them to, and help along with them, but unless it's really important (like when Jack opened the back gate and ran off, or when Charlotte tried to wrestle the baby out of the exersaucer), I don't really use punishments.  Because they don't work. 
 I'm teeter-tottering the equilibrium between too strict and too lax--and I've gotten a couple of disapproving looks at grocery stores ("Hmpf!  I know that if that were my child, they would be under control...").  I've also, gratifyingly,  had a few people tell me they can't believe how well behaved my children were.  I blinked, cleaned my ears out a little, and looked at them suspiciously...but it's true.  I do have pretty awesome kids, and one of the big problems before was that I was just always assuming they were out to get me.  Which is, well, mainly untrue.  I'll let you know how our continued parenting battles go--let me know how you deal with the discipline teeter-totter.  

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Yesterday, Matt picked up the keys to our new house and spent the rest of the evening in little boy glee measuring things and pulling off floorboards and in general satisfying the handyman within. For which I am very grateful. There is no handywoman within me--not even a little one. I tried to paint my bedroom once in high school and it took me 3 months, and even then the only way I finished was by bribing a group of friends with pizza.

It's gray and cold here AGAIN, and on days like this, I feel like maybe I could trade all of my friends and comfort and security for friendly strangers and blue skies...

**Sorry, MD friends! I didn't mean it.....really...want to move to Vegas with me?**


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Thursday, February 26, 2009

We found a house! I went to Las Vegas during the last week in January because it was the only time I could go and still have free (= Matt was off work) babysitting. I saw nearly 20 houses over 3 days, but finally settled on this one in Northwestern LV. Here it is, in all its stuccoed glory. To satisfy the middle-westerner within, there is a neat square of grass in the middle of the backyard desert landscape, but all things considered, I actually think the spiky plants and rocks are pretty cool.
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Why didn't I take the picture?!

So, yesterday, while I was in the middle of unearthing my house from various layers of child debris in preparation for preschool, I left breakfast out on the kitchen counter. I know, rookie mistake. Next thing I know, half of the surfaces (the lower half) in my home are covered in cream cheese fingerpaint, and I catch Charlotte contentedly drawing swirls on the kitchen floor. In that moment, I was furious and incredulous, but I also had a little corner of myself that said, "you know that you're going to laugh about this someday..." Unfortunately, a much larger corner of myself started insisting that Charlotte follow me around with a dishcloth wiping walls and bookcases before I could take a picture. Now, I'm really wishing I had, because, in the grand scheme of things, it was a really cute thing for her to do. Someday, I will have a hard time convincing her that she wasn't always 16 and that I still see the finger-painting toddler when I look at her. If only I had photo evidence! Anything that you wish that you had taken a picture of, but hadn't?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

First week back

So, I realized this week just how many projects I promised myself that I would start after Christmas break. I've got a charming and willful 2 year old to potty train, a new house to find, and an old house to organize and clean from the inside out. Some updates:

Potty training: Charlotte has started ripping her diaper off at random and will only allow me to put a new one on her if coerced. She will sit on the potty for 3 seconds and then ask for treats.

house search: looks like we're probably going to enter the fascinating and terrifying world of foreclosures. Can anyone tell me why people like to trash their house before they're evicted? Are grown adults really that vindictive? Also, people in Las Vegas don't seem to believe in grass. They make up for it with an almost religious zeal for stucco.

organization: I went a little OCD and got matching containers for all the toys in my locking toy cabinet. Then, I went and printed little labels for all of them. Random visitors to my house have since been subjected to unsolicited tours of my toy cabinet.

cleaning: never realized just how dirty baseboards can get. I'm starting to wish we didn't like our landlords quite so much, and that we didn't convince friends of ours to move in after us.

It's been a fun week! A lot will be put on hold this next week while I teach Jack's preschool. Stay tuned for amusing 3 year old anecdotes from that adventure.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Here are some more random and fun pictures taken over the holidays. From the top: 1-Jack made a snowman Daddy, and snowman Charlotte, and a snowman Jack. He came in for hot chocolate before he could build Mom and Anna. 2-My brother James LOVED holding Anna. He looks tough but he's a real softie for cute kids. 3,4- Cutest children in the world!

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Anna was extremely good on the flight home from UT. Matt joked, when we got her home, that we probably could have gate checked her right along with her carseat. I laughed, took this picture, and then quickly removed the gate check tag to avoid any DCFS unpleasantries.
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Happy New Year! As promised in my Christmas letter, I am really going to try to keep my blog updated this year. With the move coming up soon, I can't afford to burn any friendship bridges, especially things like blogs that travel so nicely.

Our Christmas vacation to UT was marvelous. We saw my sister's family up in Logan, my mom and dad in Peterson, grandparents in Spanish Fork, and all of my in-laws in Riverton. We also made a fun spur of the moment late night run to the Sizzler with Jenny and her cute kids, who were miraculously well-behaved the entire time. What fun!

I spent the second half of the trip with a large and impressive blue bruise on my lip--I hit my face with a ski pole at Brighton--and I looked like I was growing half of a fuhrer mustache. Gorgeous!

In other news, Anna is trying her best to triple her body weight and has the beginnings on a double chin, Charlotte is ludicrously un-ready to potty train but wants to anyway, and Jack's collection of Lightning McQueen paraphernilia is increasing. Matt and I stayed up late rocking out in our pajamas to Guitar Hero World Tour, and now I have a messy, mainly unpacked house to reckon with. And laundry to do. And groceries to buy. And a workout to do. And a shower somewhere in all of this.

Anyone curious anymore about why my last post is dated in August??