Monday, July 30, 2007

Friends in the 'hood

I had an experience last night that I just have to share. My bishop lives on the corner at the end of my street, and he has several daughters who are babysitting age. I was looking for a babysitter for today, and the bishop had told me that his family would be home around 9 pm, so I was waiting and watching for them to get home. 10:30 came and went and I was about to give up, when I noticed the porch light on at their house. So at 10:40 pm I ran across the street in my bare feet. As I approached, I saw the bishop's wife on her porch swing along with a woman in our ward who has been sitting with me in RS, and my neighbor from across the street (who brought us cookies the day we moved in). They were chatting and laughing, and greeted me excitedly as I came up the walk. I was overwhelmed with the feeling of love and welcoming from these women who hardly know me. I arranged the babysitter, chatted for a few minutes, and said my goodbyes. I walked back home with the hugest smile on my face. I really feel like these women are going to be dear friends, like I could ask anything of them and they'd be happy to help out. John and I have felt since we got here that we are in the perfect house for us, and I find new evidence to support that feeling every day.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

It's Good to be Back: The Drive-In

Everyone knows how much I loved living in Spokane. At least one time every day, I think about doing something and then realize that I can't because I'm not in Spokane anymore. But there were some things we really missed while living there. Two of those things were the dollar theatre and the drive-in. Once we had kids, we realized that we wouldn't get to see many more movies in the theatre. We found out how easy it is to watch movies in the car while the kids play, eat, cry, or whatever. Well, John is off work today because Pioneer Day is a state holiday in Utah (awesome!), so we took the kids to the drive-in last night. For $18, we took the entire family, Tanner included, to see Ratatouille and Pirates of the Caribbean. We rediscovered how comfortable we are in the company of the unpretentious people who frequent the drive-in, which is actually east of our home now. (It was very strange approaching Redwood Road from the west instead of the east.)

Carter was sooo excited to find that we had taken the seats out of the van and loaded it with blankets and pillows.

The kids loved sitting outside to watch the movies when they weren't in the back of the van. (Sorry the picture's so dark.)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


You might be thinking to yourself, "Wow, Melanie hasn't posted to her blog in a long time!" No, I am not giving up blogging, which I'm sure would devastate many people. I am becoming a tried and true do-it-yourself-er, and have been very busy. Ten days ago, I posted pictures of the hole in our wall. Well, since then, the hole has been taped and mudded. The wallpaper has been removed in our living room, kitchen/dining area, stairway, and master bedroom. I have a portion of our popcorn ceiling scraped off and am hoping to finish in the next few days. We have ripped down half of the bricks above our fireplace. (I was scared to death taking a chisel and hammer to my fireplace, especially when I got the first brick out and saw the exterior bricks behind it. Luckily, John can do anything and he's got if all sheetrocked and ready to be taped and mudded.) We are almost ready to texture our walls so that we can paint and put up crown molding and new base moldings. And we haven't been here a month yet! This is very exciting to us! Here are the before and after of the fireplace:

Yes, it looks worse in the second picture! But it's going to look nice, I promise! The walls will be beige and we'll have white crown molding. We're going to build a mantle that will change the look of the fireplace drastically! Can't wait to show you...

The new ward

Sunday was my second time attending my new ward. I am so impressed! I have lived for years in Utah as a "Utah Mormon", and I have also spent years outside of Utah and experienced the church there. I have always believed that church members are friendlier and more genuine outside of Utah. If you live in Utah, no need to be offended, because I have been set straight. I have been welcomed with open arms by my new congregation. This Sunday, just like the last, I had at least 7 people lined up to introduce themselves to me when Sacrament Meeting ended. I had escorts to Sunday School and Relief Society, as well as people fighting to sit by me in both meetings. My ward is probably 70% elderly people, and Primary is so small that there is one combined sharing time for all of the kids. I have yet to see anyone my age in Relief Society because I assume they're in Primary and Young Women's. Still, I feel strangely at home sitting among these strangers. It is a wonderful feeling. I knew there would be good things about living in West Valley!

Saturday, July 7, 2007


I'm not sure if we're incredibly brave or incredibly stupid. I probably mentioned to most of you that we wanted to cut a hole in the wall between our kitchen/dining area and our living room. Well, what were we waiting for, right? Here are the pics:


This is the kitchen side of the wall. Probably not a good idea to let our 3-year-old punch holes in the wall. We'll see how that pans out for us in the future...

This is the living room side. It's already a mess because John tore down our beautiful wood paneling yesterday.


And finally, here's our wall with a huge hole in it! We are just sitting here marveling at the fact that we can carry on a conversation from the kitchen to the living room. Can you believe we did it?! After doing the finishing work on the hole and the surrounding wall, we only have to strip the wallpaper throughout the living room, kitchen & dining room, break off half of the bricks on the wall above our fireplace, scrap down our popcorn ceilings, retexture our walls, paint, put up crown and base molding, and lay our new wood floors in the kitchen/dining room. I'm sure I missed a half dozen steps in there, but you've got a good idea what we're in for.


We didn't make it to any big fireworks displays this year, but we had a great time at John's mom's house. We barbecued and hung out with family, and when it got dark, we did fireworks in the street in front of the house. The kids are the perfect age for this now. Katelyn and Carter jumped up and down over and over every time a firework went off. This was quite a few times, considering the massive box of fireworks that their grandma bought!

John took this awesome picture--he was able to catch Carter mid-air. As you can see, Carter likes to jump up and then come down on his rear end. (We try to discourage this because it looks so painful.)

Sunday, July 1, 2007


When I worked in banking, we had many upgrades in our computer systems, and each time I would help to train emloyees at other branches on the new systems. I could never understand why the older women in banking were so resistant to change. They would moan and groan about having to learn something new, and it took them forever to grasp the new programs. (This sounds mean and like I'm stereotyping, but just go with me for a minute.) Well, it seems that in the past year, I have aged a ton! I was so excited to move to Spokane. I don't think it took me long to aquaint myself with the city and get into a routine with the kids. Well, fast forward one year. If I had acted on my feelings a week ago, I would have dug my fingernails into the carpet in our Spokane house and held on for dear life. John would have had to drag me out screaming and crying. Luckily for both of us, I was more composed than that, if only slightly, and here I am in Salt Lake (West Valley, actually, but let's call it Salt Lake for now). I should feel like I've come home, since I've lived ten years of my adult life here, but I feel like a foreigner. It has now been nine days since our arrival, and I have actually gone two days without crying. We have every last box emptied and I was starting to feel at home until I ventured out to go to church this morning. We walked the block and a half to church and I survived the entire ordeal, including Katelyn crying through Sacrament meeting because she didn't want to go to Primary, and then crying through the entire building as I tried to find her class. I was fine in the nursery, where Carter clung desperately to me for the first 25 minutes. I was dealing pretty well until we walked home. I was picturing making this walk for the next five years and trying to imagine it ever feeling like home. We turned the corner and Katelyn spotted our house and yelled, "There's our house!" Walking up to our door and going inside, I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience. This is my home?

I know that things are going to get better. There are so many things that we love about our house already, even with all of the work to be done. And we are so excited to be here where we can see our family again and hang out with our old friends. I'm sure I'll find a new rhythm here, and change is always a growing experience. I just feel like I'm an old lady, bracing myself against this transition and holding onto the past as tightly as I can. I hope that I can let go a little this week and learn to love our new "home".