Monday, March 25, 2013

Anticipating Easter

The Badger and I are always looking for ways to make our family Easter celebrations more Christ-centered, exciting, and meaningful.  This year I bought an e-book from the Discover the Scriptures company called Discover the Joy of Easter that is chock-full of ideas and activities.   In the past I have not been very good at doing crafts and themed treats and stuff, but maybe since we don't have as much to do in this itty bitty house I'm getting really into all these Easter projects right now.  This evening for Family Home Evening we made bird's nests out of chow mein noodles, melted chocolate, and candy eggs.

Yesterday we had a Passover supper.  We did it yesterday because we knew for sure the Badger was going to be home and he had an important role to play in the script.  Discover the Joy of Easter has a really nice small-child friendly Passover service and we really enjoyed it.  First we had these plates with the symbolic foods on them, which were discussed in the readings, and then we ate a real meal.  It was a really wonderful experience and we definitely want to make it a tradition. 

I am really looking forward to the rest of this very special week.  Hot cross buns, stained glass windows, Croatian bread dolls, and other exciting things are on our agenda!
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Shake Shake Shake

Recently I was having a conversation with the Badger and I guess I was complaining a little about everything we were losing in the move.   He said, “Honey, life is like an Etch-a-Sketch.  You draw a pretty picture and then God shakes it up and says ‘now draw another one.’” 

I certainly felt the shake as we left our Oklahoma farm and everything we’d built up there and landed here with a very blank slate. 

And I have realized that I’m not sure what kind of picture I want to try to draw now. 

For years, we dreamed of having land and a little farm so the kids could learn responsibility and have room to romp.  Our Big Dream finally came true in Oklahoma and it was wonderful. 

So now that we’re back to a blank slate, do we go after that same dream again?  Do we try to get back on another piece of land?   Prices are a lot higher here, and we’re not sure what we can afford.   And that means we’re going to have to compromise somewhere.

This is a small town and there’s a great sense of community here.  So we could create a picture of us living right in the town and fully immersing ourselves in all the activities of the community.  If we choose that route, then do we move into one of the older neighborhoods near downtown that are 100 years old and full of charming craftsman-style houses?  Or do we buy a  house in a subdivision built sometime in the last 30 years?  Or do we build a house? 

I’ve been asking myself lots of interesting questions.   We don’t have a good track record for staying in one place very long, but we are tired of moving and we like this place enough that we’d be happy to stay here permanently.  So do we choose a house that we want to stay in until the kids are grown?  What do I want my kids to picture as “home”?   Which is more important: square footage, acreage, or attractiveness?  Do we want a fixer-upper or something that’s perfect right now? 

Here are the things I do know:  my family and my religion are the center of my life.  I want a home that is welcoming and comfortable and appealing where I can raise a family unto the Lord.  It does not need to be huge, though with a family our size I’d like at least 2000 square feet.  It does not need to be fancy—I’m perfectly happy with vinyl floors and formica countertops.  But it does need to have a good-sized kitchen that I feel happy in and lots of room for bookshelves.  I need at least some space for a garden, but it doesn’t have to be large.  And I need enough fenced, private yard for the trampoline and a swingset and some space for the kids to be outside and be kids. 

I want to paint a life for my family here that revolves around church activities and outdoor recreation in the mountains.  There is no gymnastics here, but I want the kids to have musical training and some kind of athletic activity.  I am not yet sure what options are available, but there are some interesting possibilities.

It will be fun to watch our new picture take shape.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Around the House with Junior

Junior is so fun lately.  He is happy a good deal of the day and is always cracking these fabulous grins.  We all have so much fun with him.  I've been trying for several days to get some good pictures of his million-dollar smile, but this is that age where they turn it off the minute you get out that very interesting black object and hold it in front of your face.  Here and some fun recent Junior pictures, even if they don't do him justice:

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Duration

It's been really interesting moving into this small house.  I thought our last house was a little crowded, but moving in here has made me realize just how much space we did have there.  I never had any complaints about the property there, mind you, but I did often think we were tight on space in the 1500 square foot house with six kids and a homeschool.  Now we're in 1100 square feet, I think, though it might be smaller.  Feels smaller. 

But it's only for six months.  We can make it work for six months, with the help of a storage unit.  Most of our stuff is going into storage for "the duration."  It is interesting to analyze your belongings in this way: what can you do without for six months?  Well, most of our books (and we have thousands...)  Non-essential kitchen stuff like muffin pans and waffle irons.  Home decor (why put it up when I'll just have to take it down again so soon?)  Cloth diapers.  Gardening tools (we have virtually no yard). 

What can't we do without?  The computer!  Many books.  My Kitchenaid mixer and Vitamix blender and stoneware cookie sheets and four-slot toaster.

Still debating about the sewing machine.  I was going to store it, but I'm reconsidering.

I feel like I've been plucked out of my life and dropped in an alternate universe.  It's okay, it's just very very different and I'm not quite sure how to orient myself yet.   

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Hooray for Grandparents!

My parents are so tickled to now be only a day's drive from me instead of two that they decided to come and help us with our move.  It was wonderful to see them and we so appreciated all they did, including giving Grandpa Badger a ride back home.  These pictures were taken at the home of some new friends from church who let us use their house while we were unloading and getting settled in our new place. 

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Friday, March 15, 2013

Best Buddies

During his weeks with us, Grandpa Badger developed a very special bond with Junior. 

Junior was nearly always happy when Grandpa held him.  The best thing was that Grandpa would put him to bed at night.  I'd hand him off and go deal with tired, overwrought Peanut and when she was asleep I would go back to find Junior tucked in next to Grandpa in his bed, peacefully conked for the night.  I have to say I am really missing that since Grandpa went back home.  Thank you again, Grandpa.  You are extraordinary. 
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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

From There to Here... In Pictures

We always rent Penske trucks.  Bean gets so excited when we see them because he has fond childhood memories of riding in the big yellow truck with Daddy.  He's done that waaaay too many times. 

Fish was also excited about the move.  The girls were traumatized, but not the boys. 

We were loaded to the gills. 

The car was PACKED.

There wasn't much empty space on that moving truck. 

Roo got a short turn to ride this time.  She loved it!

Here we are truckin' through western Kansas:

Happy Kansas grain silos, I love you:


Bean took these pictures of inside the car unbeknownst to me.  Grandpa is driving.  The Badger drove the moving truck the whole way.  He is a superhero.  So is Grandpa.  He may have had another driver to trade off with, but he had to listen to screaming kids for two very long days in the car.

I guess Bean got these pictures when they weren't screaming.  Hi, Peanut!

Hi, Junior!  Junior did great on the trip.  He cried for awhile one evening, but otherwise took it like a cowboy.

Hi, Rabbit.  The Rabbit did not like staying in her seat. 

Thanks for the great pictures, Bean!

Here at last!  We made it with no major incidences or damages.
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Final Days

Here are some pictures of our last few days in Oklahoma.  First, here is Grandpa jumping on the trampoline.  The Badger's wonderful wonderful father flew out from Utah to help us move.  He was a saint, and we couldn't have done it without him. 

Look at that huge yard... I'm so glad we had it for nearly three years.

This is the last time Fish had to wash eggs.  He certainly made the most of it!

Hi, Peanut!

Our fun cousins from Kansas came to see us and help us get ready to move.  Among other things, they kept the kids entertained so I could get stuff done.  We had a fabulous time with them!

My dear friend Andrea invited me and the kids to spend the night at her house on our last night after the truck was packed.  Here she is with her boys on their porch.  What amazing friends they were to us.  
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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Looking Forward

I am remembering the day we sold the chickens.  A nice man came to get them and we ran around the pasture with fishing nets scooping them up and putting them in cages to be transported to their new home.  It was kind of fun.  But then, after they had all been scooped, I found myself halfway down the pasture looking around and it was empty.  No more chickens bocking around.  Suddenly, I was very sad.

But after a few seconds, I thought of the pioneers.  When I was a kid my mom was always telling me to think of the pioneers.  It used to make me so irritated.  But it stuck, and now I think of the pioneers a lot.  The story that really gets me is the Mormon pioneers who left their homes and farms with peaches ripe on their trees to head out into an unknown life in the wilderness.  I know they suffered a lot of losses worse than peaches, but after having grown peach trees myself that one really hits home to me.  The only way they could do that was by looking forward with faith:  they had faith that what lay ahead of them was better than what they were leaving behind.

Standing there in my chicken-less pasture, I understood this on a deeper level than ever before.  The chickens were just one of a series of big losses that we were going through and if I spent time dwelling on it I was going to get very depressed.  There was only one thing to do, and that was to look forward with faith.  I had to trust God that what was ahead of me was better than what I was leaving behind.

Now I am here in my new town, which is beautiful.  I'm excited to live here, but it's going to be tough for a little while.  As I haul most of our stuff to a storage unit because I can't fit it in our little duplex there is a tremendous sense of loss as I realize just how much we had back there in Oklahoma.

But I just can't let myself dwell on that.  It will only make me miserable.  I just have to look ahead and trust that so many good things are coming our way. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Music that Helped Me Through

I have loved this song for years, but during these last few weeks as I have dealt with stress and loss and uncertainty it has meant even more to me than before.  I played it over and over again as I drove around in the car and it soothed and calmed me.

The lyrics, by Rob Gardner, are a masterful blend of the 54th chapter of Isaiah and section 122 of the Doctrine and Covenants.

My Kindness Shall Not Depart From Thee

For a little while
Have I forsaken thee;
But with great mercies will I gather thee.
In a little wrath I hid my face from thee
For a moment.

But with everlasting kindness will I gather thee,
And with mercy will I take thee ‘neath my wings,
For the mountains shall depart,
And the hills shall be removed,
And the valleys shall be lost beneath the sea,
But know, my child,
My kindness shall not depart from thee!

Though thine afflictions seem
At times too great to bear,
I know thine every thought and every care.
And though the very jaws
Of hell gape after thee
I am with thee.

And with everlasting mercy will I succor thee,
And with healing will I take thee ‘neath my wings.
Though the mountains shall depart,
And the hills shall be removed,
And the valleys shall be lost beneath the sea,
Know, my child,
My kindness shall not depart from thee!

How long can rolling waters
Remain impure?
What pow’r shall stay the hand of God?
The Son of Man hath descended below all things.
Art thou greater than He?

So hold on thy way,
For I shall be with thee.
And mine angels shall encircle thee.
Doubt not what thou knowest,
Fear not man, for he
Cannot hurt thee.

And with everlasting kindness will I succor thee,
And with mercy will I take thee ‘neath my wings.
For the mountains shall depart,
And the hills shall be removed,
And the valleys shall be lost beneath the sea,
But know, my child,
My kindness shall not depart from thee!
My kindness shall not depart from thee!

From Joseph Smith the Prophet, by Rob Gardner

Here We Are

We have arrived in our charming new mountain town and I have a moment to write a little bit. 

It is so good to see mountains again!   It makes me feel like I'm coming home.  I have deep roots in the mountains and while I was perfectly happy in the great plains when I see the mountains it's like getting a big hug. 

I like it here.  It will take a little bit of time getting used to the cold, but I'm sure we'll adapt.  Everyone seems to own a snowmobile. Maybe I'll finally get a chance to ride one. 

Our new house is very small.  It was difficult to find a rental suitable to our family when we were moving so quickly, so we ended up with a small 3-bedroom duplex with a six-month lease.  We're going to pretend we're staying in a vacation rental for a long time, and in the mean time search for a more suitable place.  It's a big change from a 2-acre farm and all our boxes have pretty much filled the house, so making it liveable is going to be an adventure. 

I will change the name of the blog, but not the URL, so you won't have to do anything to your feed settings.