Moving to the place where Sean and I met and fell in love has been fun.
We were gone long enough that there are new aspects to explore but familiar enough that it feels like home. It's also kind of fun to explain to the kids, "This is where I lived in college and we used to walk here" or "This is where Daddy lived when we were dating" while pointing to familiar places that would go overlooked in the day to day living but have a deep personal history for me.
Today (2018) I have lived here for 12 years. Chopped up a bit here and there. But that is longer than I have lived in ANY one town. So I guess it IS home. My formative years were spent in the San Joaquin Valley in California and I have deep nostalgia for my hometown. My heart will forever be on the Central California Coast. But Utah is my HOME. And it is where my kids are growing up. Making the decision to move here from Blanding was a sudden shift but it was the Next Right Thing for us.
June 2015 was epic. We moved and two weeks later my sister got married!!
I'd like to point out that I am dwarfed by my LITTLE brother and LITTLE sister here...(Auntie Varine, who was the shortest in the family, reminded me good things come in small packages.)
So much fun! (This is from their honeymoon in Thailand I think??)
I love to hear about their adventures. We love Jon. (He passed the test initially when I asked his favorite Disney movie and he said "Emperor's New Groove".) Welcome to this crazy thing we call family!
That weekend was the annual SummerFest in Logan. We loved taking the kids when they were tiny (we lived in Logan 2009-2011).
One of the new (but old) things we did was hiking. We found a trail called Hidden Haven. It's a great little hike.
Just the right length. Hike in. Eat sammiches. Hike back out. Hightail it when you feel raindrops and know you're in an area prone to flash floods. Make it down the mountain literally in front of the water. Phew!
Kids started back to school at new schools. Landon in 1st grade in a dual immersion Spanish program, Ian in 3rd at a STEM school and Charlie preK (round one).
Charlie also had hernia surgery before he started school. He was a champ about the whole thing. I think I was the most nervous about all of it. He still talks about the magical hospital socks that are amazing...
I also found this large canvas at a thrift shop and I repainted it.
You can't tell from the photo but it's about 3 feet by 4 feet. Huge. I love the way it turned out. The five Aspen trees represent our family (and no the trees are not "assigned" specifically to people). Two big ones on the outside and 3 little ones in the middle. Aspens often grow in "clones" from the same root system and are often the first replacement vegetation for fire scars. Our family is our own Aspen "clone" and have been known to grow in places where great devastation has occurred. I painted this, in part, to symbolize our strength as a family even after leaving the church we had been raised in. The biggest thing we gained is TIME. Time with one another that otherwise was spent on various other things connected to service in the church. Ironic considering all the time spent preaching about families at church. But true that we gained more time together when we stopped attending the various meetings. Leaving was hard. It left burn scars in my heart. And from those burn scars grew the most wonderful forest of Aspens. I'm proud that I could capture a little bit of that on canvas.
We also hiked the Canal Trail in Pine Valley. There was a large fire there recently and we haven't been back so I don't know if the Canal Trail was damaged. But I do know the earth will renew. In 2015 it was stunning.
"Wobble Cars" got new paint jobs:
Random blocks transformed into seasonal decor:
Old rotton chairs got a welcoming makeover:
Kid started soccer:
Halloween costumes were made:
Birthday Cakes extraordinaire:
I participated in an eye-opening, perspective-changing project that needs it's own post to explain.
November of 2015 also was a hard time because the church that I had been raised in and still had much hope for released a policy of exclusion that said children of gay parents were no longer allowed to be baptized or participate in the priesthood unless and until they were 18 and disavowed their parents' lifestyle. I have always been sensitive to LGBT issues and this one hurt. Baby blessings were not even allowed anymore under this new policy. To me, this doesn't add up. LOVE is bigger than sexuality. LOVE is bigger than these arbitrary exclusions.There was much dissonance in every direction about this issue and I mostly felt like it was sending a message of disgust that I disagree with to my core.
In 2015 we did more art seasonal and otherwise. It was a year of creation and re-creation:
An old aerial photo of Blanding with hand-drawn typography
Mixed Media Frosty painted over a practice canvas when I was getting ready to do the Aspens.
The kids even helped with these. I especially love the individual styles.
2015 was also the year Landon made Charlie a doll for Christmas (we draw names every year). He named him "Baby Landon" in honor of his brother.
And tie-dye jammies for Christmas:
In December we finished the year off with a bang with our own cupcake wars on New Year's Eve. We stayed up all night, ate way too much sugar and had a blast. The kids even made display stands.
2015 was a long year packed with lots of change.