Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Seeing Orange

It just wouldn't be Halloween without a trip to the
pumpkin patch. Made it on the hayride, picked and paid for the pumpkins, and hopped in the car just in time before the rain came in earnest.

Kate found hers in the bargain bin..

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Goodbye to the House I Grew up In

If you were only given 18 months left to live how would you live it?  Sell your house, and move to the beach so you could spend your days relaxing, walking, writing some music perhaps, or working on some of your writing projects?   That's exactly the prognosis my mom was given at her last Dr. visit and this is exactly what she plans on doing about it.  In selling the house she will have the financial freedom to live her dreams, and I think that breathing in that ocean breeze will give her a few extra good years.

The house you see pictured is the house I grew up in. My parents (that's my mom in the photo there, doing the "goodbye dance") lived in it for 50 or so years and raised 6 children here. At one time or another it has been home to several foreign exchange students, a few grandchildren, multiple cousins, an uncle, various people my mom found on the street and probably a few people I don't know about. Both my grandparents died in this house. And if it weren't already packed to the gills at any given time,  my mom would add always squeeze a few more in for Sunday dinners or holidays. Thank goodness it was surrounded by a huge yard. That's where I found refuge. We (the grandkids, the internationals and I)  played soccer, football, and volleyball out in the front yard, basketball in the back. The yard was host to a few family reunions every year for potlucks and races, and the annual neighborhood Easter egg hunt. We jumped from the garage attic window onto the trampoline and slept on it in the summer nights. We built forts under the trees and miniature cities in the sandbox, with some flash flooding from the hose.

This is the last time I'll see the house like this.  It has been sold and will follow the neighborhood trend of being demolished to make way for a new McMansion.

I spent a couple of days at the house, helping my mom prepare for the big move. We unloaded closets, organizing things into piles --and that's when I wished the house could just spontaneously combust---while we were out to lunch, of course.  What to do with all that STUFF?!! That is the question.

If there are a few lessons I've learned from this literal CLEANING HOUSE experience they are:
2. LABEL EVERY PHOTO, or just throw them away.
3. DON'T LEAVE IT TO THE NEXT GENERATION TO WRITE YOUR FAMILY HISTORY. DO IT NOW! KEEP IT CURRENT! cuz no one wants to get stuck with boxes of un-labeled photos and untold stories. Comprende?!

It's why I like this whole blog thing. I can write a post once a week or so and after awhile publish it into book form and VIOLA!-- Family journal, history, with photos complete and concise.
My kids will thank me some day, if they ever find out what could have been :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

New England Trip: 30 of the 300 photos I took.

This was our visit Brandon's old mission/visit the parents on their mission/14th wedding anniversary trip. The first we've taken just the two of us since pre-kid days!! Maybe that was why it felt like the stars had aligned to make this a most wonderful trip. We flew into Boston and had a couple of days on our own and the rest of the trip we joined Brandon's parents for some first-class hospitality. So much history, so much color, so much family bonding, so much fun!!

Day One: After flying into Boston, we rented a car and drove an hour south to our hotel in Plymouth. First impression: coast on one side and forest on the other--I'm in heaven!-- And I'm loving that thick New England accent, "pahhk the caaahr in the garaaage ovah theyre." or something like that.Couldn't be Thanksgiving without Chief Massasoit.
Onboard the Mayflower.
Plymouth Rock. Then it was off to Plimoth Plantation to learn about the Pilgrims and the Indians.
Wampanoag Indian village.
Pilgrim village--all the workers are in character. Pretty fun. This guy said he was a surgeon, not by license, but by necessity.

We found this old cemetery nearby and thought we were so cool finding a hidden treasure of old old graves from the 1700's! Turns out we would find lots more of these on the trip.
Then it was back to Boston to return our rental car and take a taxi to our hotel in Cambridge.
This was the view from the 15th floor! Thank you for a 3-star hotel at a 1-star price:)!
We walked from our hotel, along the Charles River, and joined all the smart college people for dinner at Harvard or Haaahvard Square.

Day 3: Happy reunion with the parents. They came and picked us up at our hotel. Then we took the hop-on, hop-off trolley around Boston for some sweet sight seeing and walking the Freedom Trail!!!

Old North Church. It was near this spot that we had a missionary experience with the parents. An elderly gentleman approached us, saying he was "drawn to us." We got talking and he said he would like one of those "gold bibles." Mom got his name/number and sent the info to the missionaries to follow up with him. He also complimented Mom C. on the way she wore her hair. He had worked in the movie business, so he knew what he was talking about.
Dad reading the good word inside the Old North Church.
Bunker Hill monument. Brandon and I climbed all 294 steps to the top and our calves were sore for the next 3 days. Other sights along the trail: Paul Revere's house, Fanieul Hall, clam chowder at Quincy Market, Graveyards, U.S.S. Constitution, etc.
Day 4: We all enjoyed some service and worship at the Boston LDS Temple. Beautiful in every way!!!!
Went back to Boston to finish up what we didn't do the first day. Also hit Lexington and Concord. Busy, busy!!
Brandon wanted to go "where everybody knows his name."
Boston harbor cruise
Devouring the famous canolli's at Mike's Bakery , and waiting in the line down the street, to get them. Totally worth it!
Concord: House of Little Women, Louisa May Alcott.
Walden Pond.
More fun to tell the history of the battle when you're dressed up colonial-like, and more fun to hear it that way too. Lexington and Concord were so full of history. The drive follows the route of Paul Revere's Ride. We also passed Ralph Waldo Emerson's home and Nathaniel Hawthorne's. Would have definitely liked to spend more time in Concord.
Day 5: Sunday: Went to church with the parents in the Ludlow chapel. It was great to match faces to all the names we hear about from Mom and Dad C's letters. Church is true here!! Only they pronounce the prophet's name "Munsen." We spent the afternoon on a walk through the Holyoke State park, a wooded wonderland.
Side view of the parents' home in Granby.

Front view: What a great house--150 years old, full of hidden nooks, and creaky wooden floors.
Day 6: Sharon, Vermont, birthplace of Joseph Smith. Took 2 hours to get here and the drive was a feast for the eyes GORGEOUS!!! Fall in all its' glory.
The visitor center had a wonderful new movie about the life and mission of Joseph Smith. It was so well done. I felt the spirit just being there and the movie was so powerful. What a man!!!! I believe!!
We took a trail through the woods to see the remains of his grandfather's home. There was beauty all around.

It was great to have one on one time with the parents!!Even getting stuck in sluggish traffic, seemed like a blessing to have extra time to visit with them!! We made it to Yankee Candle Factory before it closed.

Our last day was a bonus. I somehow had thought all along that we were leaving Tuesday and it wasn't until I was on the plane looking at our tickets that I realized we weren't leaving until Wednesday!! Bonus indeed! Our extra day we spent shadowing Mom and Dad doing their daily mission routine. So fun. We started with a walk around the (3-5 mile) block. Look at these colors just down the street and all around!!! Fall decided to show it's best colors right before we left.

The congregational church across the street. This is the parents' front room view every day. So pretty!
We took a little drive to survey the damage from the tornado in Monson, pronounced Munsen, of course. Did a little shopping at Atkins market which was a treasure trove of fresh produce and fun treat souvenirs for the kids, like Vermont maple syrup cookies and candies.
We went to Institute class in the evening and played volleyball with the young single adults.
Had a great time getting to know them and helping them get the ball over the net:)
Mom and Dad took us to the airport early the next morning. The kids are glad to have parents again. They survived under the good care of my mom and niece. Cannon gave me a kiss and said "you're the best mom!!" Loved that. Glad to be home and glad for a trip that couldn't have been better.