Category Archives: Andrea

Unto Us A Dream

Jun

4

2017

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On the 15th of May I received a text message from my mom: Uncle Bob had a stroke the evening before.

Things looked good though. They were able to get him to the hospital fairly quickly. She’d keep us up to date, but there was little we could do but wait for the time being.

On Tuesday I thought about going to visit, but with small children I determined that Wednesday would be a more likely option.

On Wednesday things took a turn for the worse though, and we were told no visitors. My mom came up from St. George.

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On Thursday they decided that life saving measures would prolong his life, but never return it’s quality. It was likely he would need high amounts of care. His wife, Robin, decided it was best to let him pass.

On Thursday afternoon I went and said goodbye. He passed away early Friday morning.


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The whole thing felt so very surreal – the whole week. With the first text I thought all would be all right. He was only 59 years old. I thought surely he’d have a road of recovery – but that recovery was imminent.

When Robin decided to let him go, I had mixed feelings. Cognitively I understood her position. I understood his, for it was his wish to not have intervening measures when quality of life would be so greatly diminished.

Still, it felt calloused to simply let him go when there was more that could be done. I wondered at the sanctity of life, the very sacred nature of that gift. When I went to say goodbye to him in the hospital his breathing was labored and thick . . . rattling. They said because without intervention he was basically slowly drowning in his own fluids. I wish I hadn’t seen that. Inside I felt a panic that I should do something for him. But there was nothing to do but watch.

And so I didn’t stay.


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His funeral was beautiful, just like his life. Stories were told of his wild and mischievous youth, of the adventures, and the development of character that brought him to be a disciple of Christ.

My favorite line from the funeral was the statement: “Do not mistake meekness for weakness.”

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I think I did that to him sometimes. I thought his kindness, his never ending supply of patience, perhaps were evidence of a weaker soul who wouldn’t stand for right. I realized at the funeral that it was never weakness, it was trust in the Lord and His timing with people’s souls.

In the days since the funeral I’ve thought a lot about Uncle Bob. It’s clear I never really knew him. I feel bad about that. I hope I will get a chance someday to remedy it.

It is painful to watch the world change. As I’ve seen the morning light on the mountains, or the hot summer weather return, I’ve thought about how this is now a world without Bob. It feels suddenly less secure than it did before – the things I’ve always counted on, things from my childhood, like the Herzog Family – those things I never considered would ever change. It brings me back to Jacob every time:

our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream.

Women’s General Meeting

May

21

2017

This year for the Women’s General Meeting I decided to take Olivia downtown to the conference center. We went to dinner first at Mimi’s and then went down to be with our sisters and listen to the words of our dear leaders. It was really neat, and I think a new tradition has been born!

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It was a cold, rainy evening.

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Some Other Beginning’s End

Oct

13

2016

We’re closing a chapter on our lives – and I’m not ignorant of the fact that it may have been the most beautiful chapter of our entire lives.

Tomorrow we’ll start moving to our new house. Tomorrow night Wyatt is going to take Olivia to the cabin for a daddy-daughter and the boys and I will stay home for one last night in our house at Meadow Downs – on Saturday we plan to sleep and be in at Somerdowns.

I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me want to cry. This house . . . this beautiful, wonderful, cozy, frustrating house. This is the house I brought each of my boys home to. The home I rocked them in, and held them as wee little babies. This is where we’ve laughed (so, so much) and cried (way too much) and fought and made up and lived all the boring beautiful moments of my children’s early childhoods.

One time I fed the missionaries. I don’t remember how the comment came about, but one of them said: “Your home has the Spirit so strong. You can feel it when you come through the door.”

(And even if it makes my non-mormon friends/readers think my house is haunted) That was the SWEETEST compliment I’ve ever been given. Ever. I’ve held onto that for all these years. I’ve thought about it so often. I’ve hoped it was true, and not just something the missionary says to all his dinner appointments. I think it’s true.

I’m not the sentimental type that can’t bear change. If I was I would never move. (Obvs.) I believe in change. I believe in growth. But this change is the strangest mix of aching longing for the beautiful past and sheer excitement for the unwritten future! The last time I felt this way was when I graduated High School. And I still feel gentle loving feelings towards the experience High School was for me, but I recognize the glorious joy that awaited me in college. I had to leave one to find the other. And now I am leaving Meadow Downs for Somerdowns. I hope who ever comes into this home next will feel the Spirit and the goodness that is embedded into these walls. I hope they find as much joy here as I did.

 

Here is a quick, and probably not comprehensive list of things we’ve done to this house:

  • Painted the front door
  • Opened the entry way, tore out the floor to ceiling railing wall thing between the entry and stairs, tore out the coat closet that made the entry impractically small and claustrophobic
  • Put in new drywall/lighting/flooring and railing in the entryway.
  • Rewired (electric) the whole house, redid the lighting in each room.
  • Rewired house for entertainment – added coaxel cabel and hardwired ethernet ports to each room, all descending to one “smart” area of home where routers, servers and drives are all located.
  • Re-sheetrocked the whole house (went right over the lath and plaster that was severly damaged).
  • Put in AC and redid/reworked/reducted the heating system.
  • Put in new flooring throughout the house (tile in kitchen, baths, entry and laundry; carpet in all bedrooms, hallways, stairs and family room in basement) except the front room where we refinished the existing hardwood floor.
  • Cut off the old metal railing to the front porch, opening the porch to the yard.
  • Repainted the whole house (multiple times over the years as tastes and needs have changed).
  • Put on new/updated trim work through out house including casing for doors and windows, window sills, base and crown, plinth blocks, etc.
  • Painted existing kitchen cabinets to update and brighten
  • Reconfigure upstairs bathrooms, remodel those baths completely
  • Installed new appliances
  • Dug hole and cut in entrance into basement for a walkout basement lined with boulders
  • Cut all basement windows to enlarge for safety. Added lots of natural light
  • Installed new cabinetry in the laundry room and basement kitchenette
  • Designed, framed, wired, ducted, rocked, painted, trimmed (basically finished) the entire basement including built in book shelves, display shelves, photo niches, and entertainment center.
  • Redid the fireplace in the upstairs living room. Pulled off the old fireplace (weird 60’s rock) and put on new tile surround and built a custom mantel.
  • Put in whole yard sprinkler system.
  • Planted trees along back fence
  • Built shed, finished inside with insulation and rock, also wired it for electric with interior light and outlets
  • Fenced entire yard, including man gates on two sides of home, and car gate on one side
  • Put in curbing around beds
  • Planted and sodded grass
  • Planted beds with various trees and perrenials
  • Built garden boxes
  • Added/installed playground
  • Built deck with scissor trussed roof
  • Installed outdoor lighting including two ceiling fans in deck and two additional zones of dimmer-lights.
  • Installed decking with trex-material, added catwalk across walkout area, and installed railing around the whole thing.
  • Installed industrial shelving in garage floor to ceiling (those shelves are coming with us though!)
  • Remodeled upstairs bathroom entirely just before we move. :D

Here’s a little peak at some of the projects we’ve done over the years. I realized as I went through photos that there are lots of projects I just didn’t take pictures of. But you can see the final effects at the end.

I Think I Think Too Much

Sep

7

2016
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Sometimes there are a billion kids at my house. On this day it was: Drake Fletcher, Emma Shaw, Kate and Chloe McGlincey, Owen and Reed Jorgensen, and Oaklee, Aiden and Dec Pugh. It’s fun for the kids to have so many friends come play.

ON Minimalism We decided we’d put our house on the market as soon as we got home from Hawaii, around May 15th. In anticipation of that I packed the basement up – books, movies, wrapping paper, art supplies, pictures . . . all gone. We weren’t any where near ready for the market when we got home. So I continued to pack – the bedrooms, the kitchen, the bathrooms and closets. Everything was gone through, donated, thrown away, and/or packed. Even the furniture. I sold the piano. I sold the beds. I got rid of the dressers. I got rid of the table. That was in June.

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Zinnias are in bloom in the yard.

Since then we’ve eaten outside on the deck or the grass on paper plates. We’ve slept on mattresses on the floor. Our individual possessions (books, toys and clothes that aren’t packed) have been stored in plastic storage bins – one per person in the family. We’ve lived with two pots and no measuring cups.

We have lived the very essence of that minimalist lifestyle that’s so en vogue right now.

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Nate, Reed and Roo at the Dino Museum.

And I think it’s DUMB!

The most surprising to me has been my books. Those were the first things to be packed as I figured they would be the easiest to go without. WRONG! So many times in these past months I’ve needed to reference books that I know I own, but can’t because they’re packed away in boxes at Jena’s house. Not just one or two books either. Lots – probably dozens – over the summer – have come up in conversation or interest, and yet I can’t go find them to clarify what ever thought or point I have. GRRR!

And I’ve found that after all these months without a functioning kitchen, all I want to do is make a meal. A real meal. Maybe even a cake! I want to paint a picture (I put my art supplies at the cabin, and have brought a few back because it was too much). So – I’m calling the whole minimalist movement out. It’s dumb. It doesn’t work for a real family. And if you think it’s cool, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

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Sunset from the town park in Oakley.

ON Adventures Back in August I told Roo – “when you’re at school I will clean the house. Then when I pick you up we can go do something fun.” He latched onto that idea like it was a blood oath! He wants me to take him on fun adventures. Trouble is . . . I’m busy. Gosh darnit! I’m always busy. But I’ve bit my tongue and taken him anyway a couple times. I’ll admit, the activity is always bombarded with my thoughts of my never ending to-do list, but I’m exercising self control and Carpe-ing the Diem out of this time with Nate and Roo. One day we went to the dinosaur Musuem, another day we went on a hike and fall drive. Good times. IMG_1458

ON Physics
Last winter scientists announced that they had detected and proved a theory of gravitational waves. The way they did this was by splitting a beam of light down two different tunnels about two miles long, and reflecting the light back to a sensor. When the gravitational wave hit, it bent the light on one side, delaying the light’s time back to the sensor by just the smallest fraction of a second. That delay in the light was the evidence of the gravitational wave bending the light. The big deal part is that the gravitational wave was detected within months of the calibration/experiment. Because they found evidence of the waves so quickly, scientists now believe that gravitational waves are probably more common than previously supposed.

So here’s what I thought when I read it, but I haven’t seen it addressed in any follow up articles to this discovery: If gravitational waves have the ability to slow down light as the light passes through them, doesn’t this then change all previous calculations of distance and time based solely on the speed of light? I mean, if you assume something is x distance away based on the speed of light which is constant, but that constant now has the ability to be manipulated by waves, and if those waves are common – isn’t it kinda like figuring out how far away down town is based on a car that travels 60 miles an hour, but now you find out that the car has been stuck in traffic the whole time? I mean, shouldn’t this change a lot of what we “know” in astrophysics at least as far as distance and time are concerned?

I love science, but it always makes me want to scream when someone tells me a scientific absolute.

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ON House Projects

The house has been on the market a little over a month. In that time we’ve had showings once or twice a day – which is a lot. But no offers. Some of the feedback we’ve gotten a few times is that they don’t like the layout of the bathroom. So yesterday Wyatt took the house off the market and today we started another project . . . a full bathroom remodel. I was praying that it wouldn’t come to this. But . . . here we go again.

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ON Habits

I’m trying to change some of my habits right now (let’s be honest, I have a lot of habits I want to change). One habit in particular I am using a friend as mentor/person to help me be accountable for the change. The other day I text her a small success I had. She text me back and said “It only takes 21 days to make a habit”

And in my head, my snarky side said “Oh bull.”

Maybe it takes 21 days to develop a bad habit. But at age 36 I can say I’ve never developed a good habit yet. I looked through my whole soul to see if I have any good habits, and guess what? I don’t. NOT ONE. IMG_1469Example: Going to church.

I’ve gone to church pretty much every single week of my entire life. Other than being out of town and out of range of a church, which happens maybe once a year, I’m at church every.single.week. And still, it’s not something I consider a habit. I still have weeks where I’m tired, overwhelmed or just plain have a bad attitude, and I don’t want to go. On those Sundays the only reason I’m there is because I willed myself to be there. But it most definitely isn’t out of thoughtless habit.

There’s lots of other things I’ve done for much longer than 21 days, and those habits have never taken either. So . . . I don’t know what to say about that other than it probably only takes 21 days to set a bad habit, but definitely not a good one.

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ON Moving

Wyatt and I finally found a house to buy. In June we found this house in Pepperwood – it was everything a person probably wants on paper – a very nice neighborhood, a large home, a big lot, the home had been remodeled top to bottom and was in great condition. But . . . there was just something off, and I couldn’t fall in love with it even though I knew I should.

Then not long after that we were driving through a neighborhood in Draper that we looked at a couple years ago. It’s in the heart of old draper, right by the Draper Park. The lots are large and the homes are old. We talked to a few residents and I don’t know, something just clicked. I knew that was the neighborhood I wanted to live in.

IMG_1486The only trouble was there wasn’t a SINGLE.HOME. in the neighborhood for sale. A few days later we went back to the neighborhood and started knocking doors. We asked if anyone wanted to sell or knew of anyone that was looking to sale. We had no luck. No one we talked to had heard any rumors of anyone wanting to move. So on Sunday we went to the ward. We cornered the bishop and asked him. He didn’t have any ideas for us either.

The next week we knocked doors again, asking if there was anyone around that wanted to sell. Finally we met a lady who told us she had just done her visiting teaching last week, and her teachee had told her they might start thinking about downsizing.

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I took Roo and Nate on a hike. We went about a half mile on the trail before turning around and coming back. I think they did awesome. No one needed to be carried.

She pointed us to the house on the corner. We went and knocked on that door. But no one was home. A few days later we went back and knocked again. This time a very sweet old lady answered the door. We introduced ourselves, told her what her VT had told us, and told her we were looking to buy in the neighborhood. She invited us in to talk. There wasn’t much time to talk that evening so we made an appointment to come back the next week.

And we talked some more. Eventually over the next couple days we settled on a price and selling conditions. We’ve been working on the purchase ever since. IMG_1500The home is nothing compared to the Pepperwood home. It’s not nearly as big, and the condition leaves a lot to be desired. The couple is very old and in frail health, so the property hasn’t been properly maintained in many years. The trim on the house is warped, rotting and falling off. The inside is . . . vintage . . . and worn. The yard is both overgrown and dead. It’s a BIG project. But we’re really excited. Both of us think in the long run it will be fantastic. But . . . we’re in for another long run. IMG_1509

ON Friendship

Last summer I never even saw Anna once. In January I wrote her a letter apologizing. That’s not the type of person I want to be – one who is too busy to make time for people who matter to me. I promised her and myself that I wouldn’t fall into that again. This summer I made time! And we got together several times. It was never a big event, in fact we just hung out at her house or Aunt Linda’s.

And Andi has been asking me to come to Colorado for years, but I’ve never gone. This year when she invited me to Chris’s birthday party, I knew I needed to go, and figured it out and went.

Hanging out with both Andi and Anna made my soul fill up. Like lungs with oxygen, it was sooooo good for me, and I left their company each time feeling joyful. IMG_1522Friends are important. And old friends really are GOLD. There’s no pretense. There’s no being something other than what I am. And I always feel like they see the best in me. Like they remember me when I was fun and adventurous, instead of the me that’s always stressed out and annoyed. And it’s soooo good to be seen that way sometimes. I need to hang out with them more often ;) IMG_1515ON the Lord

I’ve had a lot of thoughts about blessings this year as we’ve been tackling this move. Obviously my prayers have been anxious as I’ve felt such heavy needs weighing on me.

At first I felt a lot of guilt: “Heavenly Father, please bless me with more . . . while other of your children in this world go without so much.” How could I even dare to ask for more when my blessings were so grand in the first place? And how could I ask for the resources of attention from Heavenly Father when others were so desperate? Shouldn’t I instead pray “bless them?”

But then it came to me . . . my concern of asking for more, as if doing so was taking away from someone else, was a very mortal perspective. Heavenly Father is omnipotent. His resources are eternal and His ability to bless me in no way detracts from His ability to bless His other children. (And I did, and do, pray for the blessings of others in the world.)

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One day I went to get the mail, and I found a letter addressed to Calvin from the White House . . . President Obama sent Calvin a response to his letter he wrote him last summer in Scouts. *It should be noted, I’m not really a big fan of President Obama, but it was cool to receive a letter from the President of the United States.

Also, we had a regional conference on Sunday. The opening hymn was “How Firm a Foundation.”

Which, being a lifetime member of the LDS Church, is obviously one I can sing from memory. I probably haven’t popped open a hymn book for that song in 20 years. But seeing the words on the screen of the broadcast made me really pay attention to them. And the first couplet: “How firm a foundation, ye Saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in his excellent word.”

Those words pierced my heart at that moment. How exciting and comforting to know that in this world where men’s hearts truly are failing them – when people are abandoning what is right to follow the loud voices of the world – how wonderful to know that the foundation is solid. If I can develop and resolve in my faith of Jesus Christ, that foundation will not fail me. Others who are failing are not footed in the correct foundation of the gospel. They must have had “testimonies” of family expectations, or social outlets, or cultural traditions. If their faith was footed on the foundation of the Savior and his doctrines, their faith would have never failed them.

And being given that little bit of spiritual direction from Heavenly Father was then followed up by the very last words of the song:

The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, I’ll never, no never,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!

 

Mostly the words were a great comfort to me because I’ll admit, at times I’m overcome with distress for my children. I see so many friends and family members who have left the church. And the strength and welfare of my own children is constantly at the forefront of my mind. I felt very reassured by Heavenly Father that he has prepared a way and foundation for my children to have spiritual strength in this world and this time.

Captain Chris’ Swashbuckling 70th

Aug

26

2016
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Lexi made a fantastic pirate treasure cake.

The day after school started I got up bright and early (4:30 am) to catch a flight to Denver, where Andi was throwing her dad a surprise 70th Birthday party. DSC_1144

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Andi made these fantastic t-shirts for the party. And by made, I mean made.

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Lighting the candles was a hilarious endeavor as they all started flopping over and melting.

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The funniest/best part of the weekend was when I arrived. Chris didn’t know I was coming, so I snuck in through the basement. Then I went upstairs very non-chalantly and went and sat down on the couch, next to him. Then I turned to him and said something like “How’s it going?” and he completely jumped out of his skin, and we all laughed and laughed and hugged hello. And just like that, the weekend kicked off.

20160827_164120It was wonderful to spend time with Andi and her family. It’s comforting to be around people from my childhood. Its good to be back in the company of people who know me well, and never hold it against me. IMG_1388

The First Day of School

Aug

24

2016

DSC_1069On Wednesday, August 25th, we finally had to accept reality and . . . go back to school.   Of course, I think the kids were thrilled. They were awake and fully ready by 7 am – only having to wait the last hour and ten minutes until it was time to walk to the bus, in complete agony. DSC_1108

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This was Nate’s reaction when the three kids got on the bus. He was so upset to be left behind.

Finally we all walked to the bus and the three got on. I can’t believe another year has come!

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I cannot believe Olivia is now in 5th grade, her last year of Elementary school. This picture from her first day of kindergarten, seems like it was just yesterday! Now she’s the biggest kid at the bus stop!

Momento’s – Organizing the kids school stuff

Jun

15

2016

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I’m not really a “stuff” person. I have one box of letters and postcards from my childhood . . . and that’s it. No trophies, no pictures (my parent’s weren’t picture people, maybe I’m overcompensating?), no toys, no remains of my life pre-marraige (oh, wait, I also have some of my books from growing up).

This “get rid of it” attitude makes it hard to keep things when multiplied by five kids! But I wanted to keep little things from the kid’s school days -things they may want to look through some day, to give them perspective on where they’ve been, how they’ve grown, and hopefully give them a little chuckle.

So through out the year I set aside little things they bring home – a spelling test they’ve mastered, or an art project they’ve worked hard on, an award for their awesomeness – and put them into bags. Slowly those bags fill to varying degrees. And in the top back corner of a closet, I have all of the bags, accumulated, labeled, ready for the day when the kids want to sift through them.

“You should put them in books” Wyatt tells me. But I don’t want to give myself the work. Instead they are sealed in 2.5 gallon zipper bags. I think that’s enough. I have no grand illusions that my children will want to keep the stuff themselves when they are old enough and moving through life. But you never know.