Moving

As soon as the kids were done with school, we moved. Joe’s already been working far away for the past few months, and we had a new place to go. The house sold less than a week after we moved out, and now we are living back in my childhood home. I didn’t ever expect to move in with my parents again, but here we are. It’s a different situation: we are buying the house and adding on a new addition for my parents to live in.

Here’s one last picture of us in front of our old house.

Now we are in the heat of summer. We’ve been spending our time moving in, going to the library, swimming pool, and parks, and enjoying things nearby. Peter’s already been to basketball camp and camp with the church. He won a couple of competitions on the last day at basketball camp and was very excited about it. We also enjoyed a short hike by Timp Cave and went to Farm Country at Thanksgiving Point.

Finishing up Spring

The kids finished up soccer season. Curtis and Peter both played and did pretty well.

Curtis also completed his Arrow of Light for Webelo Scouts. Scouts has been a great place for him. He taught me how to tie knots, whittled sticks, and did a flag ceremony in front of a whole bunch of people. (If you know Curtis this is a big deal.) Henry also finished up his year as a Tiger Scout.

This happened a while ago but is kind of interesting. Zack had his extra thumb removed. It was different than I expected: he wasn’t really that concerned about it after a day or two, even refused to take pain meds pretty quick. But I think because he was trying to live normally, he was grumpy too.

And now summer has started. We kicked things off by going to the local splash pad.

Getting Through Stressful Times

Sometimes life is full of lots of good things. Other times, it’s full of lots of hard, annoying, and unfortunate ones. I’ve had a lot of both recently. We are selling our house. It’s stressful to get everything ready and keep it clean to show. Then we had a contract fall through at the last minute. I want to simply get my house sold quickly and easily, but it’s a process that is not quick and easy.

Lots of other small things happened. I get in a minor car accident, get a speeding ticket, break my dishwasher, and all the kids get pretty bad stomach flu. Adding that onto moving, and being pregnant, I’ve definitely been pushed to my limits.

For the last little while, I’ve been stressed, burned out, and feeling like life was more than I could deal with it. I thought it would help if I wrote down how I’m getting through this hard time. But the more I wrote about all my challenges in life, I also realized all the good things as well. Life is hard right now because I am working toward better things in my life.

I have a great family, with a girl coming soon. My husband likes his new job which precipitated the move. We already have a great new home to move to. Our house will sell, and we will get a good profit. I have a bright future.

Here are some things that I’ve found helpful during this time in my life to get through all the stress:

  • Take time for relaxation, to do the things I enjoy. I have enjoyed visiting wildflowers, traveling on a short vacation, and playing in puddles with my children. It doesn’t have to be big, small and meaningful are more helpful.
  • It’s okay to cry, be stressed out, worried, or grumpy. It’s impossible to have a good attitude all the time. Trying to fight with myself to get that way sometimes makes it worse. Trying to fix all my problems can make it worse. Accepting that life is hard is perfectly fine.
  • Accept other people’s offers for help. My sister came up to visit, we worked hard, got a lot done, then found out we needed to re-list the house and kept working. I valued her help so much and made a huge difference. It’s helped me to talk to others who listen to me, as long as I also don’t just complain about life. It helps to listen to others too, and keep life conversations balanced with everything in life, not just the bad things.
  • Think through problems. One day, I felt awful. When I sat down and labeled and defined what I was feeling, I was able to see that my problems weren’t as bad as I thought. I could see the possible consequences of the problems I was facing, and realized it was not all that bad when I took a wider view.

Graduation

Well, I just got notice today that my thesis passed through the final hurdle, and I’m going to graduate. I actually walked for graduation a couple of weeks ago. That was before I actually finished all my coursework, and classes are still ongoing. But I turned in my last final project a few days ago, and have completed everything I need to do to graduate.

Life got a bit crazy for the last couple of weeks. I’ve been working on getting the house ready to sell, packing to get ready to move, finishing up school, and starting a couple of design clients that I really didn’t have time for.

After working hard, the house looks pretty good, and school is done. And I’m happy about it all. I’ve learned enough at school, and want the opportunity to actually start working. But at the same time, I’m going to miss school. I enjoy learning, and I’ve had a great opportunity to meet lots of wonderful people, and work on interesting projects. I really like the routine I developed of balancing family obligations with school work. It was a good mix of everything.

Change isn’t always easy. Now that school is done, I have to take more responsibility for my career and make time for creative work. I think it’s important for my mental health to have opportunities for creative work: without it, I don’t find my life that fulfilling and enjoyable. My plan right now is to take a break from work with any expectations and start to explore creative projects that I’ve had on the back burner, things I really want to do but haven’t had time for. That’s exciting.

Spring Break

We haven’t traveled for a while and with all that’s going on in life, there are not many plans to travel in the future. A while ago, we planned a big trip out to the midwest, but then my husband got a new job and we had to cancel. I really wanted to get out, so for spring break, we went on a road trip. It’s wasn’t a big trip, but still a lot of fun. Sometimes it’s nice to go see small things that you drive by but never stop for.

First stop was out to Delta. We took a small hike up to Great Stone Face, and then went out to U-Dig Fossils. The fossils were pretty cool, although not a huge hit for our family. One kid had a hard time finding any, a couple of other children got bored quickly, and I was having a hard time keeping track of everyone and the gear, and helping split rocks. It would have been a lot better if we had Joe with us to help out, but in the end, we still got a cool collection of trilobites and had fun.

We stayed the night at the Beaver KOA. I highly recommend The Creamery in Beaver. We ate dinner there one night, and the next night we went back for ice cream. Not too expensive, very delicious, made everyone happy.

The next day, we went down to Parowan Gap Petroglyphs. I found it super awesome, my kids were so-so about it. We stopped by the dinosaur tracks on the way out, and none of my kids cared. Apparently, we’ve outgrown the dinosaur age for most of them. Next, we went to the Hidden Haven Waterfall. This was a big hit. It was challenging at the end: spring runoff made for lots of wet feet. Trying to get the two-year-old across all the stream crossing and rock scrambling was a challenge, but we all pitched in and everyone made it up. We did have one scary fall on the way back, but luckily it just resulted in a few scrapes.

We still had lots of time in the day, so we drove down to Cedar City and visited the Frontier Homestead State Park Museum. Everyone had a great time there, I had to drag kids away when I was very tired and ready to go. We stopped for dinner in Cedar too, then back to the KOA to spend the night.

Final vacation day, we finally met up with Joe and visited the Fremont Indian State Park. A super friendly ranger led us to all the good stops. We might have had a few meltdowns, but luckily it’s a pretty easy place to visit without needing to go on long hikes. And tons of cool petroglyphs and pictographs.

Our final stop of the day was Meadow Hot Springs. I love going to hot springs, and this one is pretty fun. It can get a bit crowded, so I would recommend going not on a weekend. But we did, and it was just fine.

March

We always do a leprechaun hunt on St. Patrick’s Day. I don’t know why every single holiday turns into an excuse to get lots of candy, but the kids enjoy it, so I do it.

The garden is manifesting the wonderful signs of early spring. I forget how awesome spring is, it’s a happy surprise every year.

Change

It’s warming up, the snow is melting. My flowers started blooming. I’m on this down-hill coast to finish off school: just a few thesis edits and a couple of easy classes to finish up. I’ve been reviewing all the work I’ve done over the years and making a portfolio, which has been a lot of fun. And getting ready to move, which isn’t fun when I finally tackle things like the paint that was stuck on the tile since I moved in over 8 years ago.

For Curtis’s birthday, we went to Pizza Pie Cafe, and before that, we stopped at Ogden Nature Center. With friends in tow, it wasn’t hard to convince the kids to do the roughly two-mile walk around the center, and we had a great time. The kids probably preferred stuffing themselves with pizza, but I liked the nature walk.

And as a quick update to the last post, Peter went to the final Fun Shot competition and got second place. Just a couple threes away from winning. It was fun to watch him succeed. Curtis also won a prize by reading a tremendous amount of minutes for school. I love that my kids are good readers, it makes entertaining them a whole lot easier.

Getting Ready to Leave

We were ready to stay here for a long time, so getting the house ready to sell and move is a bit bittersweet.

There are things we probably would have done differently. We did a facelift for the kitchen, and I’m already planning on changing out the knobs. (Mostly to take the new hardware with me when I move.) The greenhouse wouldn’t have been rebuilt, but probably simply taken down.

And there’s a lot that’s gone wrong. The backdoor resist repair and simply needed to be replaced. We found a small patch of moist, moldy drywall that we had to replace. Old windows take forever to repair, and so does painting, cleaning, and fixing the many things that we’ve ignored over the eight years we lived here.

I’ve been trying to enjoy the end of winter. I even went hiking by myself when no one else wanted to go. Going outside regularly helps me to love life a little more. I am very excited for warmer weather and spring coming, even if the moving situation means my garden will probably be small and in flux this year.

For the kids, they are mostly looking forward to moving soon. Peter has been finishing up basketball. We won our first tournament game, and he won the regional finals for a Fun Shot competition, resulting in yet another competition and free Jazz tickets. It was so fun to see him do so well at the shooting competition. He had a perfect strategy and kept draining threes.

Adventure

About five years ago, we were in a comfortable place. We owned a home, we had three beautiful boys who were no longer infants, my husband had a good job, and we had paid off pressing student debt. But rather than sitting and enjoying that comfortable life, I decided it was time to do more with my life and applied for graduate school.

The last few years I’ve worked on that graduate degree. And when I found another degree that I loved, I decided to not only get one Master’s degree but two. My thesis defense is Friday, and I graduate in May with those two degrees. In the middle of this, we added another baby (This baby was meant to come after I graduated, but a surprise pregnancy had me juggling a baby mid-way through my graduate program.)

Joe and I had talked about how we would no longer be tied to this place once I finished school. We would be free to look for new jobs, new places to live. But at the same time, we did love where we lived and had spent lots of effort getting our home to a good place for our family. We added walls, planted trees, fixed problems, and painted. In the last little while, it feels like we finally got our home to the place we wanted. We love our neighborhood, the kids are doing well in their schools, and we finally have fruit trees that produce fruit for us.

Life would be a little easier once I graduated in May. Comfortable again. Knowing this, we decided to add one more child. I am pregnant (on purpose this time), and we will add a baby to our family in July.

As I graduate and enter a new stage in life, I started to think about my career goals. My husband and I talked a lot about our long-term career goals. I encourage my husband to think beyond his current job, which has been great for our family but lacks any long-term potential. In the last few years, my husband has only had one pay cut, no raises.

So one day, my husband mentioned that he had a job interview for a new job about an hour south of where we live. A bit unexpected, but it was just an interview. Then the interview went really well, and he got a job offer.

We had a big decision to make. To stay where we were in a life we enjoyed, that we were comfortable in, or try something big and new.

We prayed and talked, and drove down to the new location where Joe would be working. Things weren’t perfect. The housing market is good for selling but is horrible for finding an affordable home. We would be moving to a bigger city and liked the small-town setting where we had been living. The financial aspect of it was pretty much a wash: higher income, but also a higher cost of living.

Maybe not the best choice to walk away from the comfortable life we had created for ourselves. And the timing, with a baby on the way, wasn’t great. But I couldn’t feel settled with that decision, to stay where we were.

This job was exactly the kind of job Joe wanted in his career. I would also have more opportunities to advance my own career than I ever would in my small town. And if we were going to move, it made sense to do so before our children were still young, and not teenagers who needed more stability.

Joe and I had many discussions before this about how we didn’t want to stay connected to material things, like our home. I had seen many people who would probably benefit by moving but were too connected to the place they lived to do so. We loved where we lived, and did our best to make it an awesome place for our family, to contribute to our community. But we never wanted to be too attached to it. I like the sentiment in this talk, about the ability to “walk away easily.” I never want to be so attached to any type of material possession that I cannot walk away from it in the pursuit of better things.

I’ve never liked living a comfortable life. I get bored and depressed. Lately, I’ve just felt a little stuck with my life, unsure about the future. (I came to the conclusion that maybe I just needed to travel more. Which would have been a much simpler option than moving.) This opportunity would allow us to grow our life and have a new adventure. Not be stuck in the same comfortable life. And it made sense: we could be closer to family, closer to fun places to go, have a better outlook for our careers.

Joe accepted the job. And now we are working on getting our house ready to sell, thinking about moving. This year, I will graduate school, move, have a baby. Joe will change jobs, leaving the same location he has worked in for the past nine years. I’m a lot nervous, but also a lot excited about new adventures.

Hike

We went up Beaus Canyon in Ogden to try out a new trail. It was a great little hike, we went up about a mile, cut over on Bonneville Shoreline, and had a wonderful view.

But I made one mistake. We went right around 11, and I had two kids who were starving and miserable by the end. I left the snacks in the car.