Thursday, November 28, 2013

soccer wrap-up

First off...HAPPY THANKSGIVING! More on that later :)

I realized that I should probably write about the end of T's first soccer season before it up and turns into December. I've had these pictures for the entire month- his last day of fall soccer was November 2nd. I can't say that he loved every minute of every practice, but he definitely had some good times :)

Of course, fall soccer in Oregon means less than ideal weather, but we made it to every practice rain or shine (except Conference weekend and when we were in Utah). Often we busted out the tent and Charlotte and I would keep cozy under blankets while we watched from the sidelines...or play on my phone, ha.

Our little dude learned how to dribble, toe-touch the ball, kick through a "gate", pass, "outside pinky-touch", round the cones, be a team-player, not cry too much when someone steals the ball, listen to coach, and of course- score a goal! 

I love this picture. Talmage is the one sitting on the ball :)

I've learned so much about our son watching him play this sport. Some good things and some things we need to work on. But for being a three year old and trying something completely new, he rocked it :D

We will definitely do it again, either in the spring or summer this time :)

Monday, November 25, 2013

out with the old and in with the...still old- but new for us!

After five (nearly) years of marriage, two college degrees, three apartments, multiple jobs, and two children who've grown into full flegded toddler-dom we are finally moving into a house. Hallelujah.

As previously mentioned, we'll be in the house by January- but we're actually moving our stuff in the week before Christmas. And the two weeks before that are two Christmas events that I'm involved in (one for the stake and the other for our ward). It's going to be a busy month but I'm grateful for those two events because it will be the only kind of "holiday exposure" I'll get since 1. I won't be putting up Christmas decorations and 2. We probably won't even get a tree.... :( I still can't get over that one.

For the last few months, we knew we needed to move and considered all the options. We looked at bigger apartments and they were all unappealing or out of our price range. We toured a duplex that we almost caved into but the utilities cost a fortune and something seemed sketchy. We looked at town homes and nothing came up that we could see ourselves living in. Lastly, we looked into buying a house and were quickly overwhelmed. I even contacted special programs for first-time buyers and the out-of-pocket expenses were just not realistic for us. Someday I would love to buy a home, but only when we are financially prepared and know what we're getting ourselves into. When I searched for houses for rent, everything was just way too expensive. We live in a very pricey's gorgeous here, but the cost of housing is out of this world. I came to be at the the point of not caring anymore...and telling Jonathan that we would live in our two bedroom apartment forever even if we are miserable. haha...

One night was particularly rough. I don't quite remember the details but the kids were crying and moody and keeping each other awake. We were helpless and there was nothing to be done... and we stayed up until 4 am waiting for them to go to sleep.
I told Jonathan right then: "That's it. We're moving." So we sat on the couch in the wee hours of the morning and looked at housing on craigslist. This wasn't the first time we'd done fact, I requested info from several ads and every single one turned out to be a scam. But back to craigslist we went, desperate for change.

I could find nothing, and I'm pretty sure my husband and I both shed tears that night. It was brutal.

The next morning, as if by destiny, I had a Facebook message from a good friend here in Salem. She told me that she was moving back to Canada and that their house was up for grabs to good renters. She knew that I wanted to move and asked me if I'd like for her to give our names to her landlord. I nearly dropped my jaw as I read her message...and then I cried softly into my hands. I knew that Heavenly Father was aware of our family's needs. Her message had come at the perfect time, just when I was at my last straw.

We waited about a month and a half before she gave her 30 days notice and mentioned us to said landlord. The landlady, Theresa, was super nice and excited that we were interested in renting her home. She took us on a tour of the house (even though I'd been there before to visit my friend) and it all became a reality. We are gonna move! At last...

There are a few things about the house that I'm particularly excited for. The yard for one, as we've never had our own yard before. It's fenced all the way around and we're allowed to do whatever we want with it. I have a few ideas already :) Having a garage will also be nice- finally somewhere we can shove all our extra crap into! Behind the house there is lots of forest (and a Christmas tree farm) so its very serene, but still within walking distance to Winco, a natural foods store, Trader Joe's, Walgreens, and other shopping. The best part, though, is that our kids will be in their own rooms. I am sooo looking forward to this :] Like.. A LOT.

No, the house is not huge. No, it wasn't built in the last 25 years. But it is perfect for us right now, and I'm eager to make it into a home where we will be comfortable and happy :) According to my husband, it's what I'm good at! I've always loved this quote from one of my favorite bloggers:

We certainly have acquired a lot of hand-me-down and homemade things in the last five years. It will be such a new experience to put it all into an actual house. I can't hardly wait!

December will be SO INSANE, but I'm ready for it. I think.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

coming home and Halloween

Well, I've got some catching up to do. Ever since I returned home from my Grandma's funeral, blogging just seems...not important. In fact, a lot of things that used to mean a lot to me don't seem important. Like spending hours in front of the tv or browsing the internet or stuffing my face with comfort foods. I feel this sense of be with my loved ones and laugh and play and love with them as much as I can. It's a good thing, I guess...but it can also feel really empty sometimes like I'm not doing enough.

So today, I'm going to take a deep breath and record some of our family's events because if family is the most important thing, then the memories we make together are just as important :) When it all comes down to it, this is why I blog. Not to show off crafts or vent about my kids...(although those are fun to do sometimes), but to record our family's history. I'm too lazy to journal and I get hand cramps from writing a lot, so a blog is the way I do that (plus its wayyy easier to add pictures, hehe).

So. Flying home from Utah with two children. It was something else. The last time I flew, Talmage was about 8 months old and it was difficult. But since he was only one child, it wasn't totally terrible. But having two children traveling with me is something I hope I don't have to do alone ever again. I had help along the way (including a very nice gentleman who was some big-shot Alaska airlines rep), but it was still hard. I had no stroller and three bags. Charlotte was always in my arms or on my lap, and Talmage of course wanted to explore the airport hallways and not sit still for a moment. The actual flying part was okay...but I had to *constantly* entertain both kids, which was exhausting haha.

 She wasn't exactly a happy flyer the entire time...

When our plane landed in Portland I breathed a huge sigh of relief, only to discover that there was no one who could help me carry my 3 bags to baggage claim. I'm surprised my shoulders didn't snap off...that was the workout of my life. Seeing my husband waiting for me at the exit was the best thing ever.

As I got into the elevator with Jonathan, we got a call from one of our Stake presidency members. He wanted to know if I'd accept a stake assignment to help out with this year's Nativity event. I was a bit overwhelmed in that moment but of course I said yes, and so there's that... I also just received a new calling to help out with planning RS activities. We have a big one in December. My head is kinda spinning sometimes but I'm grateful to be kept busy--it keeps me going. And I like feeling that I've contributed.

My new calling will short-lived, however, because in January we are moving! more on that later.

The day after I got home, it was Halloween. I was SO excited to dress up the kids and go trick-or-treating. We went to carl's Jr down the street for dinner- quick and easy. I was way too excited to cook, ha.

Someone in our ward organized a last minute trunk-or-treat (they had a fall festival earlier in the week that I missed due to being in Utah), so we showed up to that and well, no one was there. There was one family with a big bowl of candy that said everyone came and left really quickly. I didn't expect that showing up 30 minutes late would mean that everyone would be gone...but the family practically emptied their bowl of candy into my two children's buckets. So it was a good start :)

We decided to just go trick-or-treat at the bishop's house. He lived really close to the church in a nice neighborhood. When we got there, cars were parked EVERYWHERE. Apparently this was THE place to go trick-or-treating. We parked in the bishop's driveway and said hello to his family first...

and then ventured on going door-to-door. It really was perfect place for trick-or-treating. The streets were well-lighted and every house had lots of decorations, and everyone was so nice (not scary, thank goodness...with the exception of one or two houses). I'm surprised the kids lasted for 2 hours but they loved every minute of it. We left with way too much candy and a sleepy-eyed kitty and Dash :)

Before we went home, we stopped at Trader Joe's to get their famous pumpkin ice-cream. It probably wasn't the smartest idea to indulge in ice-cream after receiving so much candy, but oh my gosh was it good. And I'm very picky about ice-cream. This stuff was grade A ;)

It turned out to be a wonderful Halloween! And now onto my most favorite holidays... :)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

all is well

My week in Utah with the kids was eventful. We saw lots and lots of family (all of my immediate family and many extended family that I got to know better), made tons of good memories, shared a few devastating ones, and were humbled by the goodness of fellow church members. It was so wonderful to be surrounded by my family (whom I haven't seen in over a year), but the circumstances were difficult. My grandma's funeral service was beautiful and lovely, but it left an emptiness inside me that is still present. I cannot seem to grasp that she's really gone...
She was so young at heart, so lively.
She had so much to do still- places to travel and people to see (me included).
She left a legacy that I will never be able to fill.

... I miss her every day.

My grandpa asked my mom, sister, and I to go through her jewelery. It felt strange to take pieces of her home, but I knew it would be what she wanted. I look at them constantly now, and try to feel her spirit. I laid them out on my bed and, one by one, tenderly placed each piece in my old jewelery box. The box was a gift from her when I was a child, and although its been highly manufactured and I see ones just like it at Goodwill all the time, I treasure it as gold. On the little glass door on the front of the box are etchings of roses- her favorite flowers. She had roses on everything- her favorite china, tablecloths, dresses, furniture, and accessories. One of the brooches I took home is a single golden rose, and it rests so delicately in my palm. When I hold it, I feel peace. I feel her beaming beside me, the lines around her smiling eyes crinkled up and her lips pressed tightly together- the face she makes before she is about to burst into tears of joy. I know that face well. My mom has the same face. And on occasion, so do I.

I miss her.

I've had friends lose grandparents before. I never understood their terrible as it sounds, I just thought at the time "At least they lived their least they got to grow old. How is that so bad?" But now I get it....they may age older on the outside, but their hearts stay young. They have a special place in one's soul.

My grandma was not very old...still so young at 72. I never even considered that she would pass away as she was the liveliest person I knew. She was always up and doing something. She and her sweetheart Frank served three church missions together. They travelled all over the world, embracing all cultures and people. Every national park or monument or tourist attraction they saw together. When we lived in Idaho, we would often come to visit her in Utah and stay in her basement. Our excuse was that we needed to "get away", but really I just wanted to see her and show her how much little Talmage had grown. Boy did she love him...and when Charlotte was born she fell in love with her, too. She always said that she wished she could see them more often but "for now, cards for every occasion will have to do."

I can still hear her voice plain as day in my head...saying something along the lines of "Sweetie. That's just how the world works." She was always very matter-of-fact about things and didn't put up with other people's crap. She knew not everyone agreed with her and she was content with that, but she still wanted to be loved by those closest to her. Few people truly understood why she was the way that she was...heck, I didn't understand until after I was married. But once I reached that point, I loved her with every ounce of my soul.

We sang "Come, Come Ye Saints" as the closing song during the funeral. I haven't been able to stop thinking of the words...

Come, come, ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear;
But with joy wend your way.
Though hard to you this journey may appear,
Grace shall be as your day.
'Tis better far for us to strive
Our useless cares from us to drive;
Do this, and joy your hearts will swell--
All is well! All is well!
Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard?
'Tis not so; all is right.
Why should we think to earn a great reward
If we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take.
Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we'll have this tale to tell--
All is well! All is well!
We'll find the place which God for us prepared,
Far away in the West,
Where none shall come to hurt or make afraid;
There the Saints will be blessed.
We'll make the air with music ring,
Shout praises to our God and King;
Above the rest these words we'll tell--
All is well! All is well!
And should we die before our journey's through,
Happy day! All is well!
We then are free from toil and sorrow, too;
With the just we shall dwell!
But if our lives are spared again
To see the Saints their rest obtain,
Oh, how we'll make this chorus swell--
All is well! All is well!

I can just hear her singing these words and bearing testimony to their truth. 
This is her song. 
She lived these words. 
On her headstone, there is single rose etched under her name.
And in the middle, the words: "All is Well."

I miss her for only a moment measured in eternity, for we will be together again.