Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Ultimate Compliment

The house-parent at the children's center relayed this conversation to me while I was volunteering today.

Apparently after I left the nursery a couple weeks ago a little boy I had been playing with turned to her and asked, "When I grow up will that lady be a grandma?"
She responded, "No...I don't think so...?"
And then he said, "Good. Because when I grow up, I want to make her my wife!"

I think there is no greater compliment to my children skills than a little boy wanting to marry me when he grows up.

I re-relayed this conversation to Steven over dinner tonight and he said, "Well that kid has good taste!"
He will surely be disappointed to find out that I am already married. ;)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Ode to my old house

For reasons unjustifiable to anyone else, my mom bought a smaller, less large-family-friendly duplex just across town and moved out of our house of almost 15 years.

I only lived in 3 houses my whole life. From birth to age 5 I lived in a house in California, then we moved into a big beautiful house in upper Springville which only lasted about 5 years, and then from age ten to now my family had lived in this cute little duplex by Art City Elementary school in Springville.

This was the house I grew up in. I met my best friend there, I buried my pet rabbit there, I had all my teenage angst and drama there, I had my first dance with Steven there...it was not just a building, it was my home.

I couldn't think of a more perfect person to go give a fond farewell to the house with, so last week my best friend Xanthe and I went to say goodbye.

My house

I was a wreck of emotions. For the past day or so I'd been breaking into ugly crying fits at the thought of leaving the house. I feel like I approve of change, until something big changes. Then it's hard. It's hard for me to think that something is permanently over in my life. I hate that feeling. 
Driving over to say goodbye I was all tears. I realized that this might be the last time I would drive this route and all I could think of was all the times I rode my bike to work at the Art City Trolley or when I learned to drive and ran that one stop sign...haha. Here is a little video of "The last drive". 

Xanthe was going to meet me at the house after she picked up her daughter Zara. :) I love my best friend. She is always there for me when I need her! And she didn't think I was silly for being so torn up about the house. She understood. She is just amazing. :) :) :) 
While I waited for Xan I took some pictures of the yard. 

I seriously have a memory associated with every foot of this property. Here, in the side yard was this great little tree with surprisingly sturdy branches! I used to climb it and read a book and people-watch. Also, one time we had to trim all the trees in our yard and my Dad let us build an awesome tree fort out of all the cut branches! It was the best fort ever. :) We played it it for days until my mom made us take the stuff to the yard waste center so the yard could look "clean" again. Whatever. A tree branch fort is always better looking than a plain old yard. 

At some point my parents added this home-made-use-at-your-own-risk swing to the tree. Before it was a piece of wood it was made out of my sister's old skateboard hung on some ropes. haha. I don't think any of us ever were very good at skateboarding, but we liked to sit on it and ride down the driveway on our bums.

This beautiful little back gate led to the backyard. I always felt like it was so romantic, like a hidden gate into the secret garden. 

The gate latch. Seriously such a cute little gate! 

Inside the little gate is this:

The garage door is always left open a crack so that our cats can come and go as they please. 

This was the little garage door opener. And no, I'm not going to tell you the combination. ;) haha. But I'll remember it forever! 

I used my old spare key and came into the entryway and immediately thought of all the dates that picked me up there, most memorably my now husband. :) 

Sweethearts dance 2007! ;) 

The living room is now bare, but it has seen years of family gatherings for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Years of story telling and "scripture and prayer time" kneeling by the fireplace. That was when you really knew it was Winter, when we were allowed to turn on the fireplace. :) Decorations adorned the hearth and the mantel and the walls. I had birthday parties here, hosted dances here, had Halloween parties here, had my going-away-to-New York party here....so many memories in this space. 

The living room windows actually saw a lot of changes themselves! When we first moved in there was no house behind us, and we could see the mountains. There was also this crazy "Upside-down tree" across the road! It was a massive old pine tree that was trimmed at the top and then grew to the ground and looked like it had fallen from the sky. 

I always secretly wanted this front room to be my room. With the high ceiling and romantic window box it was the most beautiful room in the house to me! 

There was also this awesome ceiling shelf thing that I wanted to make into a reading loft. 

I saw so many things out this front window. :) 

One of the things I saw today was Xanthe pulling up in the mini-van she now owns. Once inside we sat and talked, and I cried, and we both reminisced about the memories this house held for us. This was the only house Xanthe had ever known me in! 

Here is where the piano was. If not for this space of wall and carpet I would have never learned to play the piano. I hated piano lessons, but I made myself learn all the hymns for seminary and the rest was history. I discovered my love of singing in this house. I practiced for vocal competitions and had rehearsals with all my various singing groups in this house. Everyday was a private concert for the neighbors and then my grandparents who later lived next door. 

Then we went into the back yard and mostly talked about the cute little dwarf rabbit we shared who lived back here in the summer and with Xanthe in the winter. Oh Harvey! We miss you! 

My parents landscaped this entire yard on their own. When we moved in it was just grass. They hand-laid the patio, expanded the deck, planted flowers and trees, everything. I loved watching my parents work together in the yard.  

This little spot in the fence used to be open so we could venture into my Grandma's yard and visit whenever we wanted! Again, it was like our own little "Secret Garden". 

My pet rabbit lived under the deck and there used to be little stepping stones that led to his cage. 

Here is where his little cage sat! Ahh...I think I can still smell the rabbit poos! 

My parents installed this cute little pond which held everything from fish to snails to frogs! Nothing lived more than a season though except one super stalwart fish who ate everyone else. 

I found this little painted rock nested in the garden by the pond. A remnant of one of my sisters; a present for my Mom. 

The little pond-fountain is usually bigger; I think it was sad to see us go. 

Also left behind, our turtle sandbox. We had the best games out here with our dinosaur and monster toys! 

Somewhere near the peach tree is the final resting spot of my pet bunny Harvey. It was harder to say goodbye this time, knowing I'll likely never be able to visit his grave again. :( 

After visiting the yard we went back in  to take a last tour of the house.

The big family room was where we had all of our sleepovers and friend-parties and movie nights! Ugh...I have so many stories. The first time I held hands with a boy...the sleepover with Leslie Black and Xanthe where we stayed up all night making up a chain-story about going to classic skating and meeting the Backstreet Boys and how I had a jacket with a hundred pockets and the inside joke, "I have just the thing!" started. The movie nights where my mom would sit in the room to make sure no one was holding hands... haha. 

But of course our most vivid memory is with this window!

"THE" window!
Xanthe and Richelle Nelson and Ashley White and I had a little "TP Club" in middle school or junior high. "ETP!!" ;) We would meet up and have sleepovers at each others houses and sneak out during the night armed with toilet paper rolls and go "TP" our friends and/or enemies houses. Ohhhh the shenanigans! We were such rebels. While other kids were doing drugs or sleeping around, we were TPing. Oh for shame. ;) 
We will always remember finally getting caught while sleeping over at my house, and how my mom scared the life out of all of us when she found out. 

Sneak sneak!! 
The infamous memory of that window will haunt us forever. ;)

Next step down memory lane had to be the barbie house! My parents build this elaborate and detailed barbie house for us girls when I was only 1. It had real wallpaper and carpets and little plastic windows and doors that really locked! It is a masterpiece. Our Barbies also  had beds with little hand-made quilts, a barbie sized Christmas tree, horses, a car...everything. Our Barbie land was unbeatable! 

Introducing Zara to Barbies!

My arm looks creepy and this space is smaller than I remembered...
In this house the Barbie House lived in a perfect little cupboard under the stairs. (Harry Potter Barbies?)
It was the best place! We could go in and shut the door and play for hours without disturbing anyone or having to clean up! 

That stack of boxes holds all our barbie stuff. There is a lot. 
As soon as we opened the door Xanthe and I said, "Smells like our childhood!!" 
Who knows how many hours I spent in that little cupboard playing Barbies with my sisters. 
One time me and Elizabeth even made our Barbies have a play. We wrote a script, made them costumes and built a stage for them to perform on. Yep! That happened! 

I then, of course, had to get a picture of the stairs, and how we figured out you could climb up the back of them and grab people's legs as they came down. ;) hahaha! 

For years me and my five siblings all lived down in this basement together. Christmas morning we'd wait at the bottom of the stairs until we were summoned up to open our stockings. :) 

The girls bathroom was the only bathroom in the basement. Again, when we saw it, Xanthe and I had one memory above all the rest. 
Getting ready for dances. :) 

So, of course, we took a bathroom selfie. 

Then we looked into my bedroom growing up, with it's yellow walls that were home to all 5 girls at one point in two bunk-beds and a trundle. 

Ten points if you can make out what I wrote on my bedroom ceiling when I was 15!
It'll be there forever. ;) Mwah ha ha ha ha!! 
I had to take a picture of this ceiling vent. Every time I see it I remember the time a HUGE spider was dangling its nasty long legs out of it!! My Dad had to kill it with a shoe. It was MASSIVE. Scariest spider of life. ...that's probably when my phobia of spiders started actually...

A girls closet. Complete with lots of shoe racks. :)

Back upstairs there was just one more memorable spot on the kitchen counter where Xanthe and I once burned little paper dolls we drew and pictures of our ex-boyfriends over a scented candle. Yep! We were creepy little teenage girls. ;)
***Xanthe would like me to omit the above part about the burning things, but I'm not going to because it is true. And the truth sometimes makes you look sadistic. ;) Too bad!! XD Teehee!***

Xanthe suggested that we also go and say goodbye to our old church building, elementary school and the places we played the most when we first became best friends. 

Out on the front porch I had to pause at my favorite spot where I would sit and write in my journal. I also liked to whittle wooden sticks I found into little daggers, and I would hide them in this green plant next to the porch. I looked but couldn't find any.  

This porch was the best at Halloween! We covered it in cobwebs and draped black garbage bags over the door. It was awesome! Also there was that one year when Melissa dressed up in a creepy outfit and pretended to be a prop on the front porch and scared trick-or-treaters! 

I would alway sit in that exact spot on the porch in the evenings and write in my journal. It was my very best thinking spot! 

There is no longer a bench, and now there's a baby, but the two of us took a picture like this back when we were 16. 

The old praying-mantis cocoon is still on the porch. :) 
When giving directions to my house I'd always tell people, "It's the one on the corner with the 3 big trees."


View from the front yard. Gorgeous mountains! 
 We walked over to Art City and took a picture by the spot our little "fort" used to be. They long since chopped down our tree and put up a fence.

And here is the church building where we first became friends! The big climbing tree is still there with so many of our friend's names carved into it. 

"There's a boy in the girls bathroom!" ;) 
We walked around the school yards talking about how weird growing up is. Then we played with Zara on the playgrounds. :) 



Goodbye childhood! 
Finally we walked back to the house. It was time to say goodbye. 

As a final tribute we stood in the entryway and used the phenomenal acoustics to sing "Pie Jesu" one last time.
Best friends. Forever. :) 
And with that, it was over. 

Goodbye house, you will be missed. Thank you for all the memories. *Tear*