Friday, November 16, 2012

12 of 12 - November

1 - Peter is getting more animated and talkative, and he was telling me all about his big plans for the, play a little bit, sleep, maybe do a little crying just so you don't forget about me, and repeat.

2 - A view looking down into the living room.  Boxes everywhere!

3 - Same view of the dining room.  The goal this week is to at least get the boxes put into the rooms where they belong.  I'll organize and put stuff away after that.

4 - Seth made his "All About Me" poster since he'll be the featured star student this week in his kindergarten class.  He did it all himself, with only a little help spelling some words.

5 - It's really hard to see, but behind those trees in our backyard is a baseball diamond.  The people built it for their daughter when she was playing softball, and the neighbors say they like the kids to come over and play in the summer.

6 - Lots of leaves to rake from our giant maple tree.  I actually like to rake leaves, but after raking these the next day, we may have to rethink the future of that bad boy.

7 - Mr. Super Happy!  He seldom smiles when I get out the camera, probably because he wonders why Mom's face disappears behind that strange black thing.  I made a fool of myself to get him to crack a big smile while I snapped the picture.  It was worth it.

8 - Veteran's Day was yesterday, but since that was Sunday, today was the observed holiday.  No school for the kids, and I love any excuse to put out our flag.  Thanks to all of the veterans who fought, and continue to fight, for the blessings we have of freedom.

9 - Lydia wanted to wear her crown and tutu to Target.  Who am I to say no?

10 - Here's the after shot of the living room.  Not bad for a day's work.  All of the food storage boxes are now in their rightful home in the garage.

11 - Dinner is spaghetti, roasted acorn squash (my current favorite veggie to make and eat), and bread.

12 - Feeding Peter before bed, I have a few moments to see what's new on Pinterest on my phone.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

12 of 12 - October

This edition of the 12 of 12 was a special treat because we were visiting my parents in Utah!  The first few days were Mom's annual quilt retreat, and my sisters, aunt and I came to help with the food.  I use the term "help" very loosely when I'm talking about myself since Peter took up most of my time and energy.  Then, the day before we went home, we had a party for my parents' 50th wedding anniversary.  Amazing, right?  I love and appreciate their example, and a big part of who I am today is because of them.  So, here goes:

1 - Good morning, my little pumpkin!  Almost 3 months old.

2 - This is the view from Mom and Dad's kitchen window.  Aren't you jealous?  Storm clouds rolled in and poured torrential rain on the fields of alfalfa and snow on the mountain tops.

3 - Lydia entertaining Peter with her favorite snowman toy from Grandma's toy box.

4 - Tender moment with Grandpa and Lydia.  She loves him!

5 - Grandma and Aunt Terilyn getting some smiles and coos from cute little man.

6 - My sister Terilyn with the kiddos after feeding Peter. 

7 - Oh, how I wish this little guy would take a pacifier, but I've pretty much given up trying.  He'll drift off if I hold my pinky in his mouth.

8 - Grandma holding Peter just the way he likes.  Then he can see everything!

9 - A shot of the quilt retreat.  There were 13 quilters who showed up to eat good food, make a project taught by my talented mom, and enjoy chatting and taking in the wide open beauty of Loa, Utah!

10 - Each year at the retreat is a show and tell for people to show what they've worked on over the last year.  Left to right is Terilyn, me, Gerilyn, and Mom.  We all made a quilt using the same pattern but different fabrics, and here's how they all turned out.

11 - Real men quilt!  This is my dad's show and tell, and yes he did make it all himself!  My mom keeps him busy with projects around the house, now including sewing.  He doesn't have much energy these days because of his chemotherapy, but he manages to keep busy and productive.  What a guy!

12 - My cute Aunt Nonnie is catching the quilting bug too.  Here she is binding a quilt for a special girl (I won't spill the beans since it's a Christmas gift).

Note:  No pictures of Matt and Seth this time since they flew in this day and got to Loa late afternoon.  Things got busy, and I didn't get my camera out the rest of the day.  Shame on me!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Home

What is a home?  It's a lot of things.
a residence

a place to have your mail sent to

walls and a roof to shelter us from the weather

a refuge from the world

a stage for impromptu games, plays and concerts

a safe haven to bring home new babies, school kids, and hard-working moms and dads

a warm place to lay our heads after a long, busy day

a test kitchen to feed our bellies and our souls

a backdrop for birthday parties, dinner appointments, and movie nights

a sidewalk for countless hopscotch games

a little piece of heaven on earth

After living in our lovely home for nearly nine years, we will be moving at the end of this month.  Being the sentimental person I am, I'm feeling emotional and bitter sweet about it.  Everything happened so quickly that I'm just now able to process it in my mind.

We started thinking about looking for a bigger house that would be our "forever house" and planned on doing it next spring or summer.  When Peter came along, we knew it would be a tight fit, but we would give ourselves time to find something bigger.  Then at the beginning of September, we just decided to start looking and getting our house ready to sell. 

Mostly it was Matt that brought it up, and I'm convinced he was inspired.  I totally trust his instinct about these kinds of things. 

We interviewed a few real estate agents, and before we decided on one, one of them called and told us of a house we should really look at.  It was listed as only a 3 bedroom, and we wanted a 4 bedroom so we could have an office too.  Turns out it was a 3 bedroom, plus an office, plus a bonus (translation: sewing) room.  It went on the market on September 11, we looked at it on the 13th, and it already had an offer on it.  I loved the house, and loved even more the neighbor kids coming over to play with Seth and Lydia outside.  We put in an offer too just to see what would happen, and we got a text the night of the 14th saying our offer had been accepted.  Wow!  Did that just really happen?

Now that the new house was in the works, we needed to high-tail it and get our house ready to sell.  The next two weeks were full of up-after-midnight packing, furniture-moving, painting, carpeting, and cleaning.  We listed our house on Tuesday the 25th, and after a brief bidding war between two buyers, we signed an offer the next day.  We sold our house in less than 24 hours!

Now we have a bit of down time to wait for inspections, appraisals, and financing to be completed.  Last Saturday, dare I say we were bored!  No home projects, no yard work, no pressing timeframe to get something done.  So, I've had time to think.  Think about where we're going and what we're leaving behind. 

This was our very first house.  We'd only been married for a year when we bought it.  It's the home where we brought all of our babies.  It's the ward where we grew and served and made friends that became our family away from our own families.  We learned about home ownership and gardening and working together on projects and asking for stuff for the house instead of new clothes or gadgets for Christmas.

And now we're leaving it behind.

Leaving it for something better where we'll learn new things about home ownership and gardening and working together and watching our kids grow and asking for a new bath mat instead of a new sweater for Christmas.  It will be our new home to love, while passing our current house on to someone who will love it and care for it as much as we have.

Change has always been difficult for this sentimental, non-spontaneous, emotional girl.  But this is a great change, a needed change, and I know this was meant to be just because of the way it's all worked out.  I don't know what we've done to deserve this blessing, but I'll be forever thankful for it. 
And I'm thankful for a home.

Blessing day for Peter

This past Sunday was Peter's blessing day at church.  For our friends who aren't familiar with this, after a baby is born, he or she is given a special blessing by a member of their family, usually the father, or a family friend, or a church leader.  It is similar to a christening but different than a baptism, and it is both an official presentation of the baby's name to the church members and an opportunity to give a special blessing to the baby.

Here is our own little blessing in his dapper outfit.  Mom and I sewed this together while she was here when he was born.  The vest portion is made from the leftover silk fabric from my wedding dress.  Isn't he the most handsome little guy?

"Yay!  It's my blessing day!"

"Yikes.  I'm kinda nervous.  Do I have to do anything?"

"Ooohhh, I just have to lie there?  I can do that."

"No one can resist me."'

Matt gave Peter a beautiful blessing, and I'm so thankful for his worthiness to perform this special ordinance. 

We're glad Marianne and John could come and share the day with us too.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Birthday boy Seth

"I am six today"

It's hard to believe our little big boy is 6 years old! 
birthday Lucky Charms

We were out of the house most of the day because of people looking at the house and us meeting our realtor, but he was happy to go to school and then play at the park afterward for most of the afternoon.  Dinner at Kidd Valley, a quick stop at the church for a scout court of honor, home for baths and jammies, and THEN it was time for presents and treats.  He asked when his friends were coming over for a party, and when I told him we were going to have a family party this year, he just said, "OK that sounds great."  Such an easy-going little pleaser.

Reading his birthday cards himself!

Can you tell he loves Star Wars Legos??

Yes, there are only 5 candles and yes, 3 of them are pink.  It's what's left in the house after packing up most of the kitchen.  Don't judge.

At 6 years old, Seth:
*loves to put things together...puzzles, legos, tractors, cars.
*has taken off with reading.  His kindergarten class did early reading assessments, and he tests above his grade level.
*likes to play checkers with Dad.
*tells me all about the friends he makes at school and on the bus.  He's unafraid to walk up to someone new and ask their name and if they want to play.
*is very thorough and serious about coloring.  He'll spend 30 minutes coloring in every single thing on a page in his coloring book.
*is smart, clever, a little bossy, loving and ALL BOY!

***Happy Birthday, Seth!  Your family loves you!***

Friday, September 14, 2012

12 of 12 - September

1 - Kind of a weird photo, but it feels so good to have my ankles back, as opposed to the swollen, tight imposters that took over the last few months of my pregnancy.

2 - Check out my guns!  I'll mess you up.

3 - The kids like to mix their cereals, so every morning, this is typically what the kitchen counter looks like.

4 - This is the view from the front doors of the library.  I'm so happy voters chose to keep the Cedar River Library in its current location.  It's the only public library in the country that is built to span a river.  Pretty soon we'll be able to look down and watch the salmon making their way up the river to spawn.

5 - This cute little bronze statue of a boy reading a book is a favorite of the kids at the library.  We usually go to story time at the smaller Highlands library on Tuesdays, but we'll probably start going Wednesdays because of Lydia's preschool schedule.

6 - The outside of the house is almost done getting painted.  Goodbye light-gray-that-almost-looks-lavender-on-a-cloudy-day color and hello "Weathered Shingle" with creamy white trim.

7 - A very close up of a project I'm working on, without giving too much away in case the recipient reads this post.

8 - Bye Seth!  Have a good day at school!

9 - Lydia likes to "help" when I'm in the kitchen.  Today we made chocolate waffle cookies for an after-school treat.

10 - Matt had a work function until late tonight, so dinner was mac n' cheese and nectarines.  Does it look like the kids feel cheated eating an easy dinner?  Sometimes it seems like the less effort I put into dinner, the more the kids like it.  Anyone else feel that way?

11 - Another picture with me and my little cutie Peter.  I don't know how to look normal when I take a picture of myself in the mirror.

12 - The best shot of the day.  He's a good little sleeper for just being 8 weeks old.  He wakes up a couple of times a night and goes right back to sleep.  I sure love him!  

School Days

September 5th was Seth's first day of Kindergarten, and boy was he ready and excited to go!  We got up and had a yummy breakfast and got a few things done until it was time to catch the bus just after noon.  The bus stop is just at the house across the street, so already we love the convenience!

New clothes?  Check.  Giant backpack?  Check.  Cutest cheesy smile?  Check.

Here comes the bus!

Bye, Mom!

I can't believe I didn't even cry a little bit, and I'm usually the biggest bawl baby of all.  All morning, I was prepared to lose it a little bit, but I was so happy and excited for him. 

Lydia was a little lost without him for a few hours.  The minute we walked in the house she would ask "Where's Seth" and "When is Seth coming home?" about every 10 minutes while he was gone.  I didn't quite realize how much I depended on him for her entertainment.

When we met him at the bus stop, he bounded off the bus and said school was "amazing" and that he already has two new best friends, Solomon and Emily.  It's going to be a great year!


Then on September 11, Lydia headed off to her first day of preschool.  She has a backpack "just like Seth" (minus the princesses on his) and was ready to get going.  Her new BFF Miriam is going to preschool there too, so she was excited to see her. 

 When we got there, she put her shoes in the shoe bin, hung up her backpack and was so ready to jump into things that she almost forgot to say goodbye to mom!  She loves Miss Tammy and wears her backpack around the house all day and asks when it's time to go to preschool again.

Monday, August 13, 2012

12 of 12 - August

1 - Good morning, little Peter!  He's starting to see more things, and something to the side of him was capturing his attention, no matter how many times I turned his head toward the camera.

2 - Seth loves to draw, and this is a picture of me.  Yep, that's Matt off to the side, watching the gold medal men's basketball game.

3 - I've said "no" enough times to making pancakes for breakfast, so today it was "yes!"  Here's my little helper getting ready to help flip the first Mickey pancake.

4 - I had a few free moments to make a couple of quilting passes on my latest project.  I'm starting to have second thoughts about quilting a 2" diamond grid all over the whole thing.  Too late now...I'm committed!

5 - While waiting to go to church, Seth wrote down the words to "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie."  Boy, this kid is ready for school!

6 - It was mine and Peter's first day at church since he was born, and we just stayed for Sacrament Meeting before coming home to rest.  He loves sleeping in his bouncy seat, and I checked in on him to capture his tiny fingers flashing some baby gang signs.

7 - Dinner tonight was t-bone steaks, new potatoes, corn on the cob, and a little pile of beans and squash from our garden...all cooked on the grill.  It's too hot to turn on the stove!

8 - 82 degrees INSIDE the house.  The dog days of summer are here, and those of us without A/C are feeling it!  It just means we spend more time outside on the patio.  We'll be missing these days come February!

9 - Time for bed, and Seth read us all a story.

10 - I promise I looked cuter earlier in the day before church, but I didn't think about taking a picture then.  This is after the make-up is off, and the hair is pulled back.  But the other kids were in bed, Matt was at a church meeting, and I wanted a picture of me and my little guy together.

11 - Watching the Olympics closing ceremony.  Some parts were pretty bizarre, but I did like the celebratory feeling, and the appearance by the Pet Shop Boys.  Took me back to 1984!

12 - 10:00 at night and he's ready to play.  This is the first time I've put his toys on the bouncy seat, and you can tell by his big eyes that it's quite the attraction.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Peter's Grand Entrance

A little story about the newest addition to our family via timeline:

Wednesday, July 18
- All day long I was feeling very mild and inconsistent contractions.  It's more than I'd been feeling, so I was hopeful that this might be the day!
- 8:00 pm - Matt went with the Young Men and Young Women on a hike, and I called to tell him that if there was anyone who needed to come back early, he should volunteer to go back with them rather than stay the whole time.
-10:00 pm - Still feeling contractions but I was wanting them to get going, so we decided to go for a walk.  While we were out, the contractions were stronger but still far apart.  I still thought things might pick up, so I got ready for bed to get a little rest in case we were going to be up all night.
-11:00 pm - Contractions 10 minutes apart.

Thursday, July 19
-12:00 am - Contractions 7 minutes apart.
-12:30 am - Contractions 3 minutes apart.  Let's go to the hospital!  We said goodbye to my mom and got in the car.  On the way there, I felt every bump in the road, and labor went into fast-forward-crazy-strong-contraction mode.  I couldn't tell where one ended and the next began.
-1:00 am - Reached the hospital and walked inside.
-1:10 am - Checked in and we were led to our room.  The on-call doctor was paged when they discovered I was dilated to 10 cm, but he wasn't answering.  The nurses were getting the room and equipment ready.  I just barely got myself on the bed when I needed to push.  The nurses said to try and not push (yeah right).  Five seconds later, I said, "I can't NOT push.  Here he comes!"
-1:23 am - Peter Grant Orton came into the world, slip n' slide style, with no one to catch him except the hospital bed.  The nurses looked at each other for a couple of seconds, a little bewildered that there was a baby there.  The doctor finally showed up to help finish up.  I think I should get a discount for delivering my own baby!

Peter Grant Orton
8 pounds 15 ounces
21 1/4" long

The rest is blissful brand-new-baby history.  My dear friend Carrie came to visit and brought her camera along.  I'm ever thankful to her for capturing the most tender images of little Peter just hours after being born.

My personal favorite.  I get weepy when I look at it, remembering cuddling my baby boy in a few moments of a quiet afternoon.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

12 of 12 - July

1 - No that's not the curve of the earth.  That's my 9-month pregnant belly...hopefully it'll be gone in a week!  (Posting this today on the 18th still no baby at 39 3/7 weeks along.  We're getting anxious!)

2 - Three more days until Grandma gets here - yay!

3 - My best friend these days.  I take this little fan wherever I go in the house to keep cool.

4 - I took a little rest and after a while started to hear Lydia gently playing the piano singing "I Am a Child of God."  What a nice way to wake up!

5 - The expiration date on the milk is my due date.  I'm on the home stretch!

6 - So that in February I can look back and know that sunny, cloudless days do exist in Washington.

7 - Overrun by lettuce!  Time for salads every night, and that's OK with us!

8 - Eating dinner in our new favorite place...the patio!

9 - Lydia likes to make sure she looks good, even if it's at Seth's t-ball game.  She loves getting Mom's lip gloss out of my purse.

10 - After getting prettied up, Lydia went to help Dad coach at 3rd base.  That lasted about 2 minutes before she was off to play at the playground.

11 - My favorite photo of Seth at t-ball.  Look at his cute, chubby, determined face.  Love that little boy!

12 - We went for a drive down by the lake after the game, and we were treated with a glorious sunset.  I so love living here.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Springtime on the farm

We found a perfect spring day to visit Brother Call's farm.  It's only a quick 30-minute drive, but it feels like we're in a whole different world out there.  The surrounding farms are lush and beautiful, and Mt. Rainier is close enough to touch.  He put them to work by planting squash.  He dug the hole while they dropped in the seeds.  Not sure how much "help" they were, but they were eager to work on a real farm.

Here's the part they really love to come for...such city kids!

Here's a progression of Lydia trying out raw rhubarb.  Check out the pucker on her face after she tastes it!


If we can't have our Grandpas close by, we're sure lucky to have a special guy who loves these cuties as if they were his own.  What do Grandpas do best besides give tractor rides and have a pocket full of candy at church??

Preschool Graduation

I'm working backwards to get caught up, so the most recent event was Seth's preschool graduation.  I didn't get many good photos of the whole group since it was in a dim church, but it was so cute to see all of them singing the songs they learned in class all year.  Here he is all ready for it to start!

Each child in all of the classes had their name read, and they came forward to receive their certificate and a beautiful scrapbook with parent-made pages put together by the teachers.  Seth still loves to get it out and look at it.

Seth has really loved his time in preschool.  I'm sad that the teachers retired their business at the end of this year, so our other kids won't get to attend, but I'm thankful for such a great experience, caring teachers, and the preparation he's been given to head into kindergarten.  Thank you, Mrs. Stephens and Mrs. Richards!

12 of 12 - June

1 - I don't usually take the kids with me to a doctor appointment, but they were really good as they sat and read Dr. Seuss books.  They loved hearing the baby's heartbeat too.

2 - Before we came home from the doctor, we stopped at the library.  I just love how the computer ear phones make Lydia's cheeks chunk out.

3 - One of my new favorite books "The Hundred Dresses."  We're doing a Relief Society activity based on the book and hope to collect as close to 100 dresses as we can for the local clothing bank.

4 - The new patio is in!  There's a little cleanup around the outside that needs to be done, and I'm already planning on where to put the furniture and the pots of flowers I want to plant.

5 - Going gourmet for lunch - mac n' cheese and nectarines.

6 - Sadly peony season isn't too long, so here are some of the last beauties in full bloom.

7 - But right behind the peonies are the lilies just starting to come out!

8 - This is kind of hit and miss.  She only takes a nap about every other day or every 2 days.  Makes for a happier little girl in the afternoon.

9 - Seth gets a little time in the afternoon to play some PBS games on the computer...such intense concentration!

10 - I made these freezer enchiladas, some to eat tonight and others to eat after baby's born when I don't have time to make dinner.

11 - I already mentioned how I don't like my picture taken when I'm pregnant, but here's a shadow profile at 34 weeks along during a brief period of sun coming in the kitchen window.

12 - For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to pin together a scrap quilt I'm working on.  My back was hating me later, but it's nice that it's all put together and ready to quilt on my machine.