Sunday, January 19, 2014

At Last...

I was not going green.
I was not over it.
I love them.
I love to send them.
I love to get them.
I love to see my beautiful, amazing friends and their families and how much they've grown.
I didn't send out Christmas cards this year because, well frankly, I couldn't afford it.  Secondly, I do not like being your pitiable friend who still, at this stage of life, struggles to meet the simplest milestones.
Let's be honest it gets tiresome, for you and for me.

It gets boring hearing about how after a few years of searching for a job, Randall was a partner with a start-up that was semi-maybe-possibly going somewhere when on Halloween they decided to "vote him out."  UGH.

Truthfully, it was a relief to be rid of those people...they were infuriating, but then that also means...no job...again.
It was about a month later that he found part-time work that was helping us squeak by...and I mean squeak.
It was Addi's first (and hopefully last) time as "9 year-old girl" on the angel tree at her elementary.
That was an incredibly humbling experience that I think everyone should have.
In fact, I think more people should have similar jobless experiences, you learn so much.
I will not bore you with the details but I will lend you the "What I've Learned From This" section of my journal that talks about pride, judgment and meal planning...

But folks, if you can believe it, those days are behind us!
I have a hard time believing it myself.
After praying for the same thing for 4 years you start to wonder if it will ever happen.
And then it does...it's unsettling.
it's awesome.

Randall got a sweet job with an actual real alive company.
With an actual real alive salary.
With actual real alive benefits and everything!
(This may be TMI but Randall and I haven't been to the dentist in 10 years and I haven't been to the doctor since Addi was born...not recommended I hear)

So, we're moving!
to Charlotte, North Carolina.

After spending these last few years in Utah, we've gotten all cozy and comfortable, and then, to be torn from the bosom of our family is rough.  I've gotten into a lovely routine walking with my Mother every morning, volunteering at the school on Tuesdays, temple day on Wednesdays, helping my Grandmother with genealogy on Thursdays, Piano on Fridays, Swimming everyday...  We would have loved to have been able to make it work here. There have been several opportunities that could have been awesome here in Zion but they just haven't worked out.  We will miss terribly the Sunday evenings with cousins, parties, parks, birthdays, and hanging out.  But I am brave and eternity with my family is a long time.  My Mother says that eternity will be just enough time to heal the wound of us leaving...I am possibly her favorite.

We are very excited and will be moving (they're even moving us hooray!!) out to the Confederate States of America in the next few weeks.  I will send out our new address by post.
Other good things about Charlotte are that they have the best age-group swim club in the US for Addi!
She will also be able to continue her Mandarin dual immersion at Wadell Language Academy.
It's pretty close to perfect for us, and we're tickled pink!


Here are some family photos that my sweet sister took this fall.
I was going to include some of them in the Christmas card that never was.












Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Fall Hike

The weather this fall has just been glorious!
One Saturday we went on a hike I used to do as a kid.
We could get to the trail head "the back way" from my Grandmother's back yard...aka the G mountain in Pleasant Grove.
 We'd hike up Battle Creek Canyon and there's always a treasure at the end!



 Ta Da!
I love a waterfall!
I was so tempted to get in it but I was sure I'd catch my death.
This summer though, for sure, I'll be frolicking in the spray.

 Addi was a little nervous to get in this little hole in the canyon wall...I may have mentioned that perhaps it is home to a bear family.
 And there's Mama Bear now.


There's nothing like a beautiful crisp fall hike to make you feel alive!

Halloween

Halloween was pretty low-key this year, Addi was out of town with her grandparents for most of the parties.
(Yes, since you asked, in her nearly nine years of life this is the longest we've been separated (3 nights) and SHE was the one on vacation...)
 The highlight of the season is carving the big pumpkins that grandpa grows for the kids every year.

She wanted to be a "50's Girl"

Which is great for me! minimal work on my part.
 The milkshake detail was at her request.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Last Breath of Summer

 Aaaand this is how Addi is generally found now, having moved within 2 miles of my Mom and little sisters.
Addi is loving it!
She doesn't have her own sisters you know, so she uses mine and they are happy to oblige.


 
 At the swim team awards Addi was recognized for breaking a few team records.
She'll be the pink speck way up there.


Labor Day we headed to the closest thing we have to a beach here...a tiny little reservoir with a tiny little man-made beach...Addi loved it anyway and we got to go kayaking...so that almost makes up for it.
 
 
About 5 Seconds later there was a crazy storm that blew in so our fun was sadly short-lived.

As part of our family reunion (which included a swap meet...BEST IDEA EVER! you just bring all your DI stuff to trade and take the rest to DI...it was awesome!) we had tinfoil dinners in the fire pit.
Except for a few dinner mix-ups it went really well and my little sister was in town with us too!!
She is having her first baby and we kidnapped her and took her for a sonogram.
(She missed her appointment at home and was really sad about it)
It's a Girl!!

 Here she is with Randall...who yes, since you asked always looks like he's in pain in pictures.
And no she does not look pregnant...it's a gift...my other sister and I are the same way.  For me, it makes up for my "unique" nose but my 2 other sisters are just lucky all around.

 
 That's quite a load of dinners!

Well we are officially ready for fall.
My dad slaughtered the Thanksgiving turkey a couple weeks ago and it (as you see) is HUGE!!
I have spared you the gory pictures, which I assure you are worse than my toe in the previous post, but here he is all wrapped up and ready to be frozen for Thanksgiving.
 My parents do not typically raise turkeys but 2 chicks turned out not to be chickens.
...when life hands you turkeys...

Hobble Creek

So my illustrious 1/2 marathon season was shortened.
I was going to do 3...actually 4 but then I went to Youth Conference and then I moved unexpectedly.
Sooo.... I only got 2 in but there are still a few this fall if I'm feeling really motivated...which...not really.
 Anyway, I did do Hobble Creek and I really enjoyed it...that canyon is beautiful!!
I wish I could say the same for myself in these pictures...those are some puffy britches I've got on.
 Yet again I earned  the coveted place of "finisher"
 Shortly thereafter we moved...and the piano came with us.
I tell you if we had not had all of this help it would NOT have happened!
We need to start saving now for our next move because we need to get some professionals up in here.

The only moving casualty was my toenail...it did not make it.
I'm just going to give you all a little tip.
Please wear the proper footwear while moving...especially if you're trying to move a chest freezer....by yourself.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

First Day

She's officially a Draper Dragon.

We had to change Addi's school because of her swimming schedule and as you see she is still a little damp...

I was the kind of kid who wanted a new backpack every year, but this little gal forms strange yet deep attachments to things, we're going on three years with that backpack and lunch box (thank heavens their very washable) and do not be surprised to see them on the last day of her senior year.

She is really enjoying her school and she is bearing up well with the practice/school schedule.
It will become a little easier next week though because we are MOVING!!
Yeah!
Please understand me.  We have been very lucky to stay with Randall's parents and it is because of their continued support that we can make this tiniest of baby steps forward but we are excited.

We will be renting a basement apartment that has everything we need and scarcely any more but we are very thankful to be there.  And the proximity to Addi's swim and Randall's work is ideal...so...as I said, we're excited.

Monday, August 12, 2013

I Know What You Did Last Summer

This Summer has been pretty intense. On the one hand there isn't time to be bored, but on the other, there isn't much in the way of relaxation...
 Right at the beginning of the summer I sent 6 crayon rolls to my friend in Hawaii...and have not laid a hand on my sewing machine since.

 This Spring I volunteered to help out at Stake Youth Conference, thinking that Randall and I would have a mini-vacation (yes, this is what my hopes of a vacation have come to).  
What I did not anticipate is that I would be in charge of a gigantic life-sized game of LIFE.
 So I had to develop this game for 120 youth to play at once and incorporate temporal and spiritual life lessons.  In the end it went very well, although I wish I would have made those dinky "Game of Life" posters like 10 times bigger....oh well.
  I won't explain the whole game but in these pictures you come upon your first life decision: College or Career?
Then you went to "college" or straight out into the big bad world.
I had leaders from each ward in different rooms teaching about; Marriage (chastity) Children, Car Care, Home Maintenance, Mission Prep, etc. then the kids would spin a wheel and see what life handed them.
It was really interesting to see how the kids reacted to being called to the Evanston, Wyoming Mission, or
To having 10 kids...or no children.
 In the end you were made accountable ("judged") to your bishop or a member of the stake presidency for what you did with your "life" and were rewarded accordingly. 
(candy bar-jolly rancher-pretzel)
 Like I said, though, it ended up working out well...too well one might say. 
Shortly after that I was called as the Stake Camp Director, I am still in my Primary calling for another few months though...which is good.  I am very hesitant to leave those little ones.

At the beginning of the summer we also started K-Camp.
My maiden name starts with K...thus...
Anyway, in the past we (My Mom, Sister, Sisters-In-Law and kids) did 2 or 3 all-day K-Camp events but this year we decided to do it once a week for 12 weeks.
We used the 12 Principles of Happiness from a talk by Ezra Taft Benson and focused on one each week.
This is our first one, we are decorating our t-shirts and learning about friendship.
Don't the children look happy and serene...I tell you by the end of the summer neither the children or adults were so serene.   
To do K-camp every week is just so....weekly.
  By the end they had learned all the 12 principles and painted 13 plaques 
(on which we put vinyl lettering for each principle)
that will be lashed together somehow to hang on the wall.
(Pre-lettered plaques)
 12 Principles: Repentance, Prayer, Service, Work, Health, Study, Blessings, Fasting, Friends, Music, Endurance and Goals.

Our Theme Song was My Favorite Things from the Sound of Music
All the kids kept a binder with copies of all the songs, stories, games and recipes from the camp.

This summer we decided to put Addi on a different swim team 
and it made a HUGE difference.
I mean, she's good anyway, but the coaching she got this summer was awesome!
Aaaand here are some medals and ribbons from one meet to prove it.
She qualified for the State Championship meet in 3 individual events.
(100m, 100m, & 50m Freestyle)
She swims in the 10 and under age group so she has another 2 years to compete in this age group.
We are pretty excited about what she can accopmlish.

We decided that we love this team so much that we are willing to leave every morning for practice at 5:55 to drive 20 miles and be on time for 6:30am practice! 
(I can't believe it either...I am NOT a morning person!)
This has made it so we need to move her to a school that meet the following criteria:
Must start later than 8:30am
Must have Chinese Immersion at least up to 3rd Grade
Must be within 10 miles of the pool and home.
We did find one, and by prayer and persuasion we got her in!

If doing K-Camp and Swim practice and Meets were not enough, at the same time we were rehersing and putting on a play.
A full fledged play...a MUSICAL no less!

My Mother had a dream of doing a family play and this year she made it happen!
We got the script and music from a little company online.
The Play was called, "The Real Story of Little Red Riding Hood"
You can probably guess, Red Riding Hood is snotty and the Wolf is nice.
 As you see, I was the wolf and Addi was the grandma and my mother and I (but mostly me) were wrangling 9 kids into practicing their lines and songs and remembering their blocking two to three times a week all summer! (while trying to memorize my own lines, which were not few in number)
 It turned out really cute and the kids had a lot of fun.
Believe it or not we had 2 performances with 30+ people at each...
It is a good thing I am used to making a fool of myself.


Addi was the cutest little Granny...
 
After all that to say I was D.O.N.E. was an understatement.
And the next day, I mean, the VERY next day was our Anniversary.
We haven't done anything for it yet, surprise, surprise, but maybe we'll go out for ice cream some time this week...the last week before school starts...you know with those alarm clocks going off before 6am.



 Not Pictured:
Timpanogos Half Marathon
I have been training for 1/2 marathons this summer, so far I've done one, the Timpanogos Half.  It was tons of fun my friend did the full (where you run up AF Canyon and back down) she is CRAZY!!  But I ran a little while with her husband and I saw a bunch of random people that I know, it was fun.  Fun, because I checked the results and beat them all! HA!  No, just kidding, I'm really not very fast and I didn't beat them by much.  I don't have any pictures of that one because Randall and Addi were at the State Meet but I'll get some up here of the Hobble Creek Half that I'll be running this Saturday.