Thursday, May 29, 2014

Taking Shape

Now that the hole has been dug, the building process can begin!
And one perfect Spring morning, it did.

Footings were framed and poured.

And the next day, basement forms began to rise.

I tried to be a grown-up about it, I really did, but I am too excited to stay dignified and aloof all of the time.
I must admit that I am giddy.

Meanwhile, the rest of us are picking rocks.  The basement excavation uncovered a lot of beautiful river rock.  The kids and I are gathering as much of the rock as possible before the basement is back-filled.  If all goes according to plan, we're going to use those rocks for the basement egress wells, flowerbeds around the property and, potentially, the fireplace surround. Natural stone work comes at a premium, but it is gloriously beautiful.  I am certainly no professional, but my own labor, and that of my slave children, is free.
We'll see what comes of it.

They are, as I speak, pouring the basement walls.
Changes every day!

Sunday, May 25, 2014


Pollen blowing and waving in the early moments of a spring storm.
The "big kids" in my new basement playing in the rain.
Soaking wet, ie: another picture of progress because I can't help it.
Big sister hiding in between dirt mounds.  Working on her book.
In the ashes of our last bonfire.  Burning Abinadi or Joan at the stake.  I didn't get details.

Late night conversations over the latest American Girl magazine.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Where There is a Hole, There Must be a Mountain

The first task was to remove the top soil and preserve it in a heap.  
(It will be put back in place when the exterior is finished.)
Our family had been away during the afternoon and when we came home, the job was done.
A mountain had been formed.

The kids immediately ran to the top.  The jumped and slid and climbed and dug into the mound of fresh, muddy earth.

Not to be left out, our one year old got right in on the action.  He started climbing, too!

Justin's first instinct was to keep the kids out of the dirt and off of the pile.
I turned to him and asked, "If you were 5 or 8 or 10 and you came home to a mountain like this in your back yard, what would you have done?"  He admitted that he would have been in heaven and he stopped pestering the girls.

Nevertheless, my first question to Brett the next morning was, "How, do you suggest, I keep the children clean this summer?'
His response was less than helpful.  He offered that I not even try.

He is probably right.
It is probably a losing battle.

We now have 10 times as much dirt mounded up around the original pile.  The kids have paths and landings, sections and areas designated for their different imaginary play.

This is going to be a dirty summer.
And we're all going to love it!

The Hole

In the olden days, I would get excited about building a house.  As time wore on, however, I became jaded.  Anytime the banker or builder or candlestick maker gave me good news--potentially the good news--I'd just shrug and say, "I'll believe it when I see it."  
Well, now I see it.

And I can still hardly believe it.

This was last week:

And here's the same place one week later:

One week and one day and we have a hole.  Not just any hole, either; this is an epic hole.  A life-changer.
Brett started on Justin's 40th birthday.  He claimed to have waited for the birthday so it could be a present.
One heck of a present!

Let's walk down inside together, shall we?

Our baby boy discovered sticks about a week ago and has one in his hand pretty much all the time...
and probably will for the next 9 or 10 years!
Let me give you a little tour.  
This, ladies and gentlemen, is our hole.  
Please feel free to look about and ask any questions you might have.  
I love talking about it, so don't feel like you're being bothersome.

To give you some scale, that bright green lawn chair is a child-size Adirondack chair on the left uppermost peak.
Someone has to supervise the work.
This is it!  I can feel it . . . er, see it.  There's no going back now!  :)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Spring Soccer

It was a step out of my comfort zone, but we just spent some time on the field for Spring Soccer.

Being a theater/music/art type of person, I am not naturally comfortable on a field or court.  I did participate in sports as a youth, but was never amazing.  I mostly enjoyed running.  When one child in particular asked for the umpteenth time to play some sport, any sport, I knew I had to break out of my comfort zone.  
I enrolled three of my girls in soccer.

Some of the days were freezing cold and we shivered as we watched the sweaty players.  Other days were perfectly beautiful and we bathed in the sunlight (or ran around in the dandelions) while our players sweated even more!

I have to say that even though it was unfamiliar territory for all of us--especially for the older girls who were on teams with kids who had been playing together since the age of three--we quite enjoyed our time.

So much so that two of them want to play again in the fall!

The third?  Well, after several games, she came to me and declared, "I don't like soccer anymore!"  When I asked why, she said, "I didn't even get a trophy!"  I assured her that she would get a trophy at the end of the season.  She was happy about that until she got the trophy.  "Plastic!" she declared.  Gee whiz.  She was much more concerned about how she looked than how she played.  Well, you can't win them all!  

She did have fun, though, and they all got good exercise, made new friends and learned the rules of soccer. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Mother/Daughter Symphony Date

Fuzzy picture, dang it!

The night before Mother's Day, my mother, sister, two oldest nieces, my eldest daughter and I all went downtown on a date.  We had dinner at a sweet little French cafe with some crazy good food like Asparagus and Wild Mushroom crepe, Lavender Salmon and . . . 
hamburger sliders.  

Go to a French restaurant and order burgers.  She is her father's daughter!  :)

Pretty girl with her amazing lamb dish.
After dinner, we ran the few blocks to the symphony.  The concert was completely fantastic and I LOVED being there with these women who are so dear to my heart.

After the symphony, went to another fancy place downtown where Grandma treated us to some incredible dessert.  I'm telling you, it was a night to remember.  I fell asleep with a smile on my face.

I wondered one time, why I was given so many daughters.  
Then I realized, it is because I have a rich legacy of good and worthy mothers.
I can pass that extraordinary gift along to four entirely new families.
The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.
A gift with a burden, but one I happily take.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Feeling a Certain Urgency

Our house has a lot of problems.
Two of the burners on my stove work.  A third works, but I have to give it a good whack first.
The sub-floor under one of the toilets is giving way.
I have no porch light.
Only one kitchen outlet is functional.
The kitchen sink is shallow and the faucet doesn't have an arch, rendering it difficult to wash big pots, pans and bowls.  With a large family, that includes most of my cookware.
The windows don't close all of the way, don't open or are continually foggy.
It isn't big enough for all of us and my books.
All of that is annoying.

But, this week, we reached a new urgency to get the house built.
There have been two mouse sightings.
Both by me.

Why, parenthetically, is it that the one with the phobia sees the trigger?

If our mouse problem isn't resolved soon, I will be moving out.
House or no.

Which is why it is a really good thing that there are stakes in my yard.
We tried to get this house built so much sooner, but have run into every problem from engineering to appraisals.  It has taken months to iron out all of the wrinkles.  Now, we are in prime building time which means our builder is busy.  We are hopeful that things will be begin moving along soon, but it all depends on his availability.  If I seen one more mouse, though, you will see him suddenly become available NOW

Because if things don't start moving quickly, my husband will continue to find me cowering and sobbing in the fetal position on top of the dryer.
And that is not a pretty sight.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Thought on a Sabbath Day

All ready for church.
A group of people were faithful to the Lord and obedient to His commandments.  They became prosperous and successful.  Then, there was the switch; instead of being grateful to the Lord for his blessings, they began to be proud of their riches.  They oppressed the poor and made a mock of sacred things.  Then comes this line:

          "And because of this their great wickedness, and their boastings in their own strength, 
they were left to their own strength." Helaman 4:13

This chilled me to the bone.  How many times have I decided that I, like a stubborn child, can do it by myself!, only to find myself really, actually trying to do it on my own?  What a devastating state in which to be!  Here I have a loving Father who wants to help me do a thing that He, in His eternal wisdom, knows I cannot do on my own and I refuse Him.  The verse goes on:

"Therefore, they did not prosper, but were afflicted and smitten, 
and driven before the Lamanites, until they had lost possession 
of almost all their lands."  Helaman 4:13

I never want to be caught in this trap.  I never want to be "left in my own strength."  I want to say, like Lehi of old, "I know in whom I have trusted."

My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; 
and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.  
He hath filled me with his love . . . 
He hath confounded mine enemies . . . 
He hath heard my cry.  
Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord and say: 
O Lord, I will praise thee forever; 
yea my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, 
and the rock of my salvation." 2 Nephi 4:19-23, 30


With spring's arrival comes garden prep time.  Over the last couple of years, I've worked hard to create a garden space out of a long-time pasture.  Using only a shovel and elbow grease, I dug and turned and dug and turned until my whole body ached.  Then, last year, my father came to the rescue and tilled my garden for me.  Last week, I began the process again.  1/4 of the way through the digging and turning of the garden with the shovel, I stopped and sent a text to my dad.

He came with his tiller and saved the day.

He did most of the work, then let the little girls hang onto the handles for a while.
We were able to get some cold weather veggies (radishes, peas) planted, too.

I am so grateful for my dad!  I hesitate to ask him for favors because he is constantly helping other people. What a legacy, though, to be known as one who is always serving Heavenly Father's children.
My dad: An instrument for good.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Beautiful Day

Yesterday was a beautiful spring day.  The temperatures soared into the 70's and our spirits soared right up with the mercury.

The day was bound to be a good one;
we signed our construction loan closing documents first thing in the morning.
There was no two ways about it, I was in an optimistic mood!

We worked and played outside the whole day.
About midday, a backhoe arrived.

I squealed.  I really think I did!  I know I clapped.  We will have a slow start this week and things are supposed to pick right up to a flurry next week.  I'm so excited; I can hardly believe the time has come to commence the building of our house!

In the evening, we had some friends over and burned the giant slash pile that has been a blight in our meadow for some time.  It was a such a fun time.  It made my heart absolutely ache for my son--his being gone was the only restraint to calling it a perfect day.

There will be more, many, many more posts about our long-awaited home.
Another summer in our trailer is no big deal because we have our great, big yard.
And we will be in a house before the next winter.