Saturday, June 30, 2012

Cinderella story...outta nowhere

One of the cool things we discovered about this house (besides that whole secret Harry Potter room) is that the front yard has a huge patch of strawberries planted there.
We didn't notice it right away though, because the berries are very small.


Why are they so small?
Because we also have these:

Gophers nibble on the berries and eat them up before they can really grow.
In just the one month we've been here, we've seen a few more gopher holes pop up in the front yard.
I don't mind that they ear the strawberries, but they're making a mess of the yard, so they have to go.



Friday, June 29, 2012

Not HGTV Worthy

Let me start by saying this is NOT about projects.
If I say it on the blog, that makes it true.



In our last house, we started out with red and black carpets and lavendar walls in the family room.
The kitchen had bright orange formica counters and the main floor carpets were baby poop brown.
It was ghastly.
My favorite neutral color pallete was perfect for the house and made it feel updated and comfortable.
(We sold the Utah house, BTW. I'll post about that later)
One thing I appreciate about this house is that all of the walls have *my* colors.
But they do need some oomph.
I LOVED my accent wall in the Utah house.


I now have a house that has some charming trim and details, but a  the spaces need something more.

This area is driving my designer wanna be brain nuts.
It is too small of a space to have it be a living room and a dining room and I don't want that anyway.
I want it to all be one living room.
It is an open space, but every wall has either a window, a radiator or a doorway and there is no focal point or natural layout for furniture.
I want the focal point to be in the 'dining' half of the room, so it pulls it all together, but every time I start mapping out furniture or plotting decor, I can't seem to find what will work to make it comfortable and modern.
I painted a border on the alcove thing/ wall and planned to do a bold accent wall on the back wall leading to the kitchen, but I'm not so sure. If I make the pattern too busy or bold, I'm hilighting what- the closet door and entry to the kitchen?
That doesn't seem right.
I'm open to suggestions, I'm begging for them, in fact.

I want this narrow room to feel like one living room.
 Eventually we'll buy furniture that fits in this space exactly and move the sofa upstairs, but the light brown chair stays because it has a high sentimental value aspect for me.   The rug will go, as will the DI coffee table for sure.
Ugh.
View from the kitchen side:


  The dark grey stripeI painted.
Wooooo...exciting.

Help.

I took that picture and figured that doing the dishes might help me to get a vision for the space.
It didn't, but I did clean up the mess.
Tomorrow, Matt and I are going to the city, just the two of us.
We plan to visit this place:

We're also  going to look into getting tickets to take the kids to see this:


Harvey is one of my favorites.
So is Jim Parsons.
I can't believe I live here.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Thrifty

I have attempted to post three times in the past two days and accidentally deleted my post and dumb blogger saves the change within a nanosecond of my deleting the post.
No, it isn't an issue that can be solved with control +Z.
It's probably not even a blogger issue, but I need to blame something.

I'm tired of rewriting the same darn post, so I'm just going to make this one quick and get it published before I hit whatever key makes it vanish forever. I know it's a user error, but this user has had enough of it.

My cousin Marla was in town this weekend, she's our first houseguest here in New Jersey.
We hit NYC, but got sick of it after a couple of hours, so we weenied out and spent the rest of the time in New Jersey.
We did hit the famous Magnolia Bakery, though.
Meh, they have nothing on Meghan's Creme Brulee cupcake from the Sweet Tooth Fairy in Utah.


She was doing a job out in DC and was able to tack on a couple of days to come and see us at the end of her trip. She lives in Japan with her sweet family and we had a great weekend hitting all of the big fancy American places like Target and Michael's.
We also ate a ton of wonderful pizza.
I think I am converting to NYC style..... so amazing.

We also hit the goodwill.
The goodwill here is nothing like the DI back in Utah. It had rack after rack of random, weird knickknacks and it just cracked me up.
I think some one got an "F" in horse painting class......

Ah, memories of that awesome trip you took to Gudeloupe........

I just want to know the back story for this one.....
"All I did was have lunch with that crazy woman and she gets all weird and MAKES ME A PLATE."
I wonder if there were cookies, or if it was just a plate to thank someone for meeting them...face to face.


Why is Obi Wan Kenobi so angry at Jesus?


Thanks Marla for soming to see us. I love you so very much and I appreciate your joyous laugh and patience with me as I wind own nerves up in a giant knot over so many silly things. Thanks for being such a great cousin and more than that, a great friend.
Matt and I both love you to bits and hope you have a safe flight back to P & J.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Park

Oh my word, it is so hot here.
Holy Cow.
You know it's just too hot when you finally give in and take your kids to the neighborhood park and they last 10 minutes.

I've seen my kids play in the snow, rain and the Arizona summer sun for hours and ten minutes of this humidity kicked their butts.
This park is just around the corner,  for those who think we're living in a concrete jungle, most of the state looks like this. There is a creek that runs through it and I plan to have some serious wading time with the kids this there. It's actually gorgeous.
It's justvery  muggy.

They say on the news it's unseasonably hot and the weekend should be better.
It feels like Texas to me and while there are people I love in Texas, it always felt like an armpit outside to me.

It's really hot and humid.
Thankfully, there are frozen yogurt places on every corner here and it's the perfet remedy for this sticky hot weather.
Salted caramel pretzel for-yo.
I know.

Dare I say I love it as much as I loved Leatherby's in Taylorsville?


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer Reading 2012

Every summer I have great plans to read a bunch of books. I envision myself out in the yard while the children play and never ever fight as I sit and devour all of the things I meant to finish reading in the winter.
I tend to get about half of my planned reading finished and considering that for the first 10 years of my being a parent, it was a challenge to get through an entire magazine, I'll go ahead and feel good about that.
This summer, I've been doing pretty well. I have been listening to some audio books as well and it's a nice distraction as I deal with all of these boxes full of stuff that I simply have no place for.
So...without further blabbering, I bring you my Summer Reading:

I started book 2 of this series the day we moved in, and haven't stopped listening to them since.
I'm on book 6, which I thought I owned, but I had to order it yesterday from Deseret Book.
I still need books 10 & 11 and I'll be sure to order those soon, because it stinks to be at a cliffhanger in the story and I have to wait 2 weeks to find out what happens.

Anyway, as I often find with series books, I think the first one was the least interesting, the second one was awfully preachy but the rest of them have been really great.

While I wait, I'm starting this one today. Love Scalzi.
We went to a book signing a couple of years back and listened to him talk and do a Q & A. He wasn't very warm and fuzzy, but then I was snapping pictures like he was Brad Pitt and I am sure that was as annoying as heck.

I finished this book:

It was better than I thought it would be. I expected to enjoy it, (who doesn't love Stephanie?) but it was a really good read. It was much deeper than I assumed it would be and she's a great writer. Her story flows really well and shares the feelings of her soul without getting preachy in any way. She's completely real in her sharing of her experience and it's very refreshing and moving.  I completely loved it.

I also finished this book:


It was fine, not really what I normally read. I'd heard so many wonderful things about this LDS author and I'm a sucker for anything related to the Titanic so I figured it would be a good read. It's not really my style, I guess. It was a pleasant book and I enjoyed it, but I'm in any hurry to read another.

There is a new Dresden that's coming out this summer, Matt and I are counting down the days for that to be released.
Harry Dresden, plus a hat....


 They also had a really great deal on a pack of the 3 audiobooks in the Kane series by Rick Riordan. he wrote the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.


 I read the first of the Kane books and didn't love it, it seemed like it was the same story as Percy Jackson, only with Egyptian figures in the story, so I didn't read the next 2 books. The deal on Amazon was so good for the audiobook set though that I figured I could give it another try, so I'll listen to that series in the background this summer.
When we take our summer road trip with all of the kids, we'll finish reading book 2 of the Beyonder's. We started it before we left and read book 1 last summer when we drove to Mount Rushmore. This year were' going to Washington DC with the kids and we'll have plenty of time to finish.

What are you reading this summer, my bloggy friends?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Secret

Today while I was unpacking upstairs I found a hidden room in our house.

We had access to what we believed was just a small crawlspace in the back of a closet upstairs and I removed the panel today to see if there was room there to store some books. I was shocked to find a good sized room hidden away behind the panel.


Okay, the ceilings are low and there are no floorboards, but it's totally a secret room.
And when we do get around to doing projects in this house, we're SO making that access panel a secret bookcase entrance to the secret room.



Cove Island

Yesterday  Matt had a work retreat in Stamford, Connecticut and we tagged along. He went his way to go and bond with his co-workers while Grey, Roe and I hit the beach.

They had a small aquarium there and the nicest youth tour guide talked to us about all of the life that the area supports. He asked us about the natural inhabitants of the Great Salt Lake and we told him that only seagulls and brine shrimp live there, it's too salty and smells like a toilet. He was as interested in that as we were in all of the cool animals that live in the marshes near the beach.

the kids with kaleidoscope eyes

The water was cold, but the kids had a bag of new sand toys and I had my floppy hat and Kindle, so we just relaxed and enjoyed the sounds of the ocean.




At one point, about 20 sailboats were on the water, all getting lessons and we watched them with awe.  It was just so peaceful and amazing to be at the beach. No wonder people pay so much money to live on the waterfront, it's the closest thing to heaven that I can imagine.

We were sad when it was time to go home, but we were also really tired.



At one point, about 20 sailboats were on the water, all getting lessons and we watched them with awe.
We were sad when it was time to go home, but we were also really tired.


I ordered pizza and we spent the evening chasing fireflies and washing the grit out of our swimsuits before sleep consumed out salty, sandy souls.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The "New" Olsons

Happy Father's Day to my Sweetums Matthew.
I love you more and more every day.
It doesn't hurt that you're hot.
:)
It was a quiet one this time, only two of the kids were home. It was still nice and you had a great day.
There were gifts.

Pirate Flux, from Jane
Have you ever played Flux? We got it for Christmas last year, it's pretty fun and almost as nerdy as Settlers of Catan.
  

The latest Nicholas Flemel book. I think this is book five.
 Matt Emma and Kate have read them, but I only read the first one.


We didn't have proper wrapping paper, but we have tons of paper from the move, so Romy decorated it.

Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. 
He started reading it today.

What sorcery is this?
It's his gift from me- the NFL Sunday ticket package for Direct TV.
 Every Sunday in thr season, every football game. 
Expect posts about scrap booking in November, when I'm hiding from this present.


There were snuggles from kids who are never going to be too big for it, I hope.

And afterwards, we all got dressed and headed out to our new ward in New Jersey. 
We were all kind of nervous.
The chapel was different. It was all blue green and there are huge windows that let in the sunshine. There were so many families with kids of all ages and a lot of people who are our age. We had a lot of really nice people introduce themselves and ask about our family, a lot of them asked if we were there temporarily because they get a lot of people who are there for internships and then when the summer or semester is over, they fly away somewhere else.
We looked at the program and saw this:

The final speaker was Matt Olson. 

We started to chuckle and remembered that we had moved into the 'other" Matt Olson's same ward. He also works for AMEX and is also LDS and for years he and Matt have been getting one another's emails from people at work. As we were smiling about that, the man behind us tapped us on the back and said "we have another Matt Olson in the ward, but his family is moving next week, that's why they're speaking today."
I nodded and said "Ah yes, there can be only one...."
The nerd joke was well received, we're going to be just fine here.

And we are going to be just fine. 

It's not going to happen overnight, but we will be okay.

At church today I felt that familiar spirit, that feeling of "home" in my soul and even though I feel like I am on another planet, that spirit embraced my heart and reminded me that home isn't a physical place. Home is where your spirit finds peace, where love is and all of those other cheese ball things you hear.
During sacrament meeting, I felt that spirit of home. I felt the comforter and I felt peace in a way I haven't felt since we stepped off the airplane in Newark a few weeks ago.

Mostly, it was great to just be there in church, to sit with those who shared my faith, who 'spoke the language' and who had more in common with us than anyone else we've come across here in this strange new place. It was great to feel that same Holy Ghost I've felt so many times in Taylorsville, to see the same light in the eyes of people that I probably took for granted in Utah. It was great to know that even if they didn't know the kids, that my children were finally meeting people who were helping them feel that familiar feeling they had been missing.
We felt safe, we felt peace, we felt normal.
Heck, I even got asked to teach Relief Society next week.
This means I can start my tradition of bringing a hug bowl of chocolate to Relief Society here, too. 
I always enjoy walking down the hall after I teach a lesson and offering candy to the husbands and seeing them light up because they never have treats in Priesthood meeting.

When I went to the foyer to find the kids after class was over, Greyson came bounding down the hall and he had the biggest smile on his face. "Mom, there are 13 Deacons in my class and NO GIRLS in Sunday School. The kids here in this ward are great because they are just as weird as me!" 

After two full weeks of holding my breath, I let myself exhale.
He had a good experience.
He knew it was going to be okay.

Romy came out of class soon after and she was grinning from ear to ear, too.
 "This is a good ward, Mom, we picked a good ward. I have two new friends already!"
Grey chimed in "Yeah, this is a good ward, we made a good choice."

And there you have it.
It's going to be okay.
I'm sure I'll have plenty more Sariah in the wilderness moments, but today was a gift and because God is such a loving father who cares about all of his children, even silly ones who move to crazy places like New Jersey, I know there will be more gifts and more good days where everything is okay.