"If you are still in the process of raising children, be aware that the tiny fingerprints that show up on almost every newly cleaned surface, the toys scattered about the house, the piles and piles of laundry to be tackled will disappear all too soon and that you will—to your surprise—miss them profoundly."
-Pres. Thomas S. Monson

Friday, October 31, 2014

My Little Haunts!

Halloween this year was so much fun.  End of term for the kids landed on Halloween, so they didn't have to go to school!  I cooked a pancake breakfast while we watched the old Disney cartoon "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow."  The kids had never heard of the Headless Horseman, so it was fun to introduce them.

We had our usual monster feast with Mummy Dogs, festive fruit, and our veggie skeleton, then we headed to Grandma's to trick-or-treat with our cousins!  Since Will's baptism is the next day, we had lots of family in town and it was an extra treat to share the holiday with them.

We hit up Valley Hills, the Ivory Homes neighborhood in our ward, and finished the night trick-or-treating in Timp Meadows.  The dads were party poopers and headed home with Will and James before we got to the last neighborhood.  There was one house at the end of our treat collecting that had what we though was a dummy sitting by the trees.  We even snuck up to it, grabbed it's arm, and I spooked Jenn thinking it was all pretend... until we turned our backs!  He jumped up and scared the daylights out of us!  It was the highlight of our Halloween and we laughed about it all night.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Week 9- Two steps forward, one step back.

Frustration. Disappointment. Exhaustion.

That pretty much sums up our week as we ripped out lots of the work we had completed in the weeks before. All of the doorways in 2 houses had to be rebuilt. Trusses are off. We ended up behind and didn't get trusses on the second house this past Saturday because we had to fix too many mistakes. 

The stair cases that we have been working on have all been installed incorrectly. The top stair being 1 inch shorter than the rest, and therefore against code. Do you know how hard it is to rip out an entire staircase? How about 3? And expensive! I'm hoping that our supervisor comes up with a better solution, and that this next week we see more steps forward and less steps backward. 

There's always an up side. These sunsets!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Abby's Temple Day

I traveled to Logan with the kids so that I could be there as Abby received her endowments in the Logan temple.  It was a gorgeous fall day, and being in the temple with family was truly a slice of Heaven.  So much goodness is found in the temple; when I'm there, all I feel is peace.  Abby is really getting close to leaving on her mission!  It's hard to believe we have under two months left to spend time with her before she goes to Santiago.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Just be "normal!"

Will is getting baptized at the beginning of November, and he is lucky enough to get baptized with his very best friend, Beckham Carter.  These two boys are a riot!  Trying to get them to be "normal" during the baptism photo shoot was nearly impossible.  When all was said and done, it's the real life silly pictures that are our favorites!  After all, this is more "normal" than what we were aiming for.

Week 8

This was the third full week of building and I am still so impressed with the progress our group is making!  The 5 houses that have lumber are all completed to subfloor, one house has all exterior walls up and is nearly done being framed on the inside, and one house is trussed and ready to be roofed!!!

We finished our first task on all of the houses this week (floor joists), and were trained to do top plate, Dallas on interior walls, and I learned how to build a staircase! I finished my first one on Saturday morning. It is such a cool feeling to see your work!

On the home front things are going well. The kids have been really good for the many babysitters they see each week. Will and Annie even act disappointed when they don't have one! Paige never cries for the sitters, but she has been punishing me. She is very clingy and cried whenever I walk out of her sight. I hope if will get better as we all continue to adjust. 

Jensen's house being trussed!

Molly Seawright, Jenna Baker and I were trained on staircases. We are the ultimate "Stair Masters!" (Molly is the one in the picture. These are the stairs in the Jensen's house).

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Few of Our Favorite Things

So much happiness is found in the little things:  
Play dates with friends.  Colorful leaves. Giggles.  Books.  Molasses cookies.  The smell of sawdust.  Slingshots.  Cousins.  Ring-around-the-rosies.  Coloring.  Sunsets.  Bikes.  Naps.  And for me- all things fall.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Week 7

Another week under our tool belts! We are starting to catch on. It tools us almost the entire first week to do floor joists on one house, and last week we finished nearly 3 houses. I'm so proud of the work we are all doing. I'm really glad we are building our home this way. It is something we will be proud of for a long time. It's good to work hard!

Our house is lot #2. It is the only one that doesn't have lumber yet, but it will soon!
I'm really enjoying all of this husband time! It's date night 3 times a week!
Working at night leaves us with some glorious views, too. 
Special thanks to Sierra this week. She came and worked an 8.5 hour shift on Saturday and allowed me to go run a relay race with my friends. We couldn't be doing this without such great family and friends!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

RRR Park City

I played hooky from the house (special thanks to Sierra for working a 9 hour day for me!) and ran around my favorite valley with my best of friends.  The mountains were on fire, and so were our legs!  To our surprise, we ended up at the front of the pack of runners, and ended up crossing the finish line at Red Rock Relay Park City FIRST!  It was an awesome moment as Breona passed the one remaining team when we were less than a mile from the finish.  Our all women's team ended up 9/213 teams!  My girls have skills!!!

I ran the same leg as last year, runner 2.  A 3.7 mile run through Charleston at a 7:20 pace, and a 10.2 mile trail run around Jordanelle Reservoir at a 9:33 pace.  I beat both my times from last year, but only by a hair!

The whole team!  Me, Jenn Robinson, Cathy Kendall, Mindy Kohler, Breona Carter, and Katie Nelson.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

TVT Children's Choir

This year we put Annie in a children's choir.  She loves to sing and I'm hoping to nurture a little performer.  Tonight was her very first performance.  It made me a little giddy to find her name in our program!  She was a bit timid, but I could see her little lips moving!  I know she knows the words because she has been walking around our house singing, "One eyed, one horned, flying purple people eater!"  After her performance she said she loves choir and the performance was awesome!  I look forward to many, many more performances in her future.
Sweet Annie Kate, you are our favorite piggy-tailed performer of all time!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Stuff of Life

This picture makes me so happy. It's not a particularly good shot. It's blurry. You can't see Paige at all.

You can, however, see the smiling face of that little boy. That little boy who, on his own accord, held his baby sister's hand and helped her cross the parking lot. He sat her down and slipped off her shoes. Then he carefully lifted her onto the trampoline where he wrestled, and tickled, and played with her. 

That boy. He is such a keeper. 

Moments like these are my most favorite kind. You can keep Disneyland and the grand gestures. Those are good, but true love, and real goodness is found in the everyday-little-fleeting-forgettable moments. As my friend Erin always says, this is the stuff of life. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Week 6- Is this real life?

As I write this, my back is sore, my legs are sore, my neck is sore, my finger tips are sore, my ankle hurts, and even my forehead hurts.  It's safe to say that nearly every square inch of my body aches.  I now know what it feels like to fall down a window well.

This happened after our group safety meeting and a few days after I nearly shot my supervisor with a nail gun.

If I make it through this without any serious injuries (or causing any to others!) it will be a miracle.

We just finished our first full time week building the houses.  Dallas and I put in just over 41 hours this week, and that doesn't include when Grandpa Kaiserman came over to help for awhile on Saturday.  Everything went smoothly and the kids are no worse for the wear.  In fact, they were disappointed on the days that they didn't have a babysitter!  Here's what the past week's work schedule looked like:

4:30-9 PM- Amy work at the Claim Jumper

4 PM- Family Dinner
4:30 PM- Annie, choir
4:45 PM- Kids at Grandma Kaiserman's, Annie dropped off by neighbor after choir
5-9 PM- Dallas and Amy work at house
(Kids both had soccer games today, but they had to miss.  Too much going on!)

4 PM- Will, cub scouts
7 PM- Amy, Young Women's
7PM- Dallas, Elder's Quorom

4:30 PM- Family Dinner
 4:50 PM- Babysitter coming!
5-9 PM- Dallas and Amy work at house

4 PM- Kristie is here to babysit!
5-9 PM- Dallas and Amy work on the house

8 AM- Kristie babysits!
8-5:30 PM- Dallas and Amy work on the house
9 AM- Annie, soccer game
9 AM- Will, soccer game

For the most part, this is what our lives for the next nine months or so will be!  This next week is the kids last week of soccer.  Typically both Dallas and I won't be working on the house together on Friday night.  Dallas only has his church meetings on every other Wednesday, so he will alternate between working on Wednesday evenings and Fridays.  It was nice having Kristie to watch the kids this weekend because we could take full advantage and get some real work in!

Everything truly went so smoothly.  I have just been praying and praying that the kids would be able to handle the changes, and so far so good.  Even Paige has been a trooper and hasn't even cried when we've left!  I am so grateful.

As far as the actual building goes...  At times it has actually felt relaxing, and at other times I've wanted to light something on fire.  We are learning a lot, and I'm already impressed at what we have already learned to do. Dallas and I have been assigned the task of the floor joists.  It is pretty time consuming.  We had about 25 hours of work finishing the joists on the house we finished on Saturday.  Hopefully the next house will go a lot faster now that we know what we are doing and have found a rhythm.

I LOVE our neighbors!  We truly could not have ended up in a better group of individuals.  We are so lucky.  I am so sad to be leaving the ward we are in now. We have such great friends here, but knowing that we are moving in by these people makes it so much easier.  By the time we move in we will practically be family!

This next week we have a lot going on and I hope all will go smoothly.  Can't wait to see more progress on these houses!

We were beat after our first long Saturday on site, but still happy!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Paigey is 18 Months!

Wow.  If I thought the first year went fast, I have been blown away by the last 6 months.  She has grown so much!  I don't really notice until I look back at photos from a few months ago.  I must admit one thing- I was in denial about how bald she is!  Now that she actually has some hair, I can really see how bald she was before!  Still, just as cute.

Paige has turned into a climber, even making it all the way up her changing table.  Just today she was getting a friend to hand her toys as she was stranded up there!  She can open and close the back gate, making her into a little Houdini (which is terrifying since it's just a big parking lot out the back gate).  She loves to color- on paper and walls, sings "ashes, ashes, down" to play Ring Around the Rosies, gives knuckles and high fives, will sneak downstairs to "ROAR!" at Will in his bed, and refuses to give most people kisses, but especially her Dad, even replying with "No" when asked so sweetly for one.  She throws many-a-tantrum, even covering her little eyes when her heart is broken!  She is a little character and fits right in with those other two crazy kids of ours.

Along with roaring, and making eerie ghost sounds, Paige says a lot of words.  She says a new word each day and has even started saying short sentences.  I love more than anthing how she says the word banana.  I can't even figure out how I could write how it sounds!  (This breaks my heart a little- I hope I don't forget!)  Here's a list of words: Scootie, ashes, down, up, boom, boo, mom, mommy, mama, dada, Will, Annie, Riley, Sariah, Grace, Grandma, bye, hi, snack, candy, cookie, treat, meow, dog, owl, hoo-hoo, yummy, please, no, all gone, finished.... and that's all I can think of for right now.

Height- 33.5" (95%)
Weight- 22 lbs 3 oz (46%)

She now has at least two inches of hair! And bed head.  ;)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Week 5- First week of work!

Saturday, September 27th, Dallas and I as well as 9 other families began the hands on work on our 10 homes. 

It was pouring rain. After an hour long meeting, we tried our best to get to work, but there was so much water that it kept tripping the breaker for the electricity. We had to quit work, but we were there long enough to learn one important thing:

We needed better clothes. 

We went home, collected our babes from the sitter, and spent the rest of the day shopping for proper clothing. Nearly $500 later, we should be set for awhile!
This is Molly Seawright and me. Don't we look tough enough to build a house?
While shopping Dallas and I were cracking up about the GIANT clothing that's out there!