Thursday, October 30, 2008

Catching Up on Construction

We have feverishly been working on our house (and I have been working a lot of extra shifts to help pay for our construction), thus the lack of posts on my blog lately. I have made sure to take a lot of pictures along the way to document all the fun (??) we've been having. It's nice to actually see our house being put back together now and some progress being made since the last 2 months have mostly been destruction on the home.
Yesterday most of the framing was done (on the inside of the house), the plumber was putting in all the new pipes, the HVAC guy was measuring our house for new furnaces and duct work, the window man was verifying the sizes and styles of the windows and the french door, and the electrician is scheduled to come next week. We probably had 10 men doing different things and asking a bunch of specific questions about details of the house (like plug outlets, positioning of furniture, etc.)- let me tell you, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted in my remodel, but now I am even more confused. I just hope it all turns out okay and everything coordinates in the end.
Pardon all the pictures, I was too lazy for a slideshow.

This was our house in the middle of September
The framing for the outside of our house was completed while I was in Oregon for my grandmother's funeral.
The outside framing and roof were finished in the middle of October.We did the roof ourselves. I know this just looks like any other roof, but for me it is a thing of beauty!
Our family (especially Bruce, Dee, and Eric) helped out a lot. Even Jake got into the action and helped lay shingles and fire the nail gun.
On the evening when we were finishing up the roof, we were able to witness the most beautiful sunset (the picture doesn't do any justice for the actual event).
This is part of our kitchen/dining room
Here is our new kitchen (Alexa's former room)
Our new living room (actually it is the same as our old living room, but bigger- the place of the ladder is where the old living room ended). This will be my new master bedroom- double the size of my last bedroom and with 3 windows bringing in lots of light, walk in closet, and master bathroom- I love it!This is part of the master bathroom (the vanity will be on the right where you can see the pipes, the large shower and toilet are located at the other end of the room).This is another view of our room, entry way is on the left, the walk in closet is on the right.
Alexa's old closet, to be converted into our new food pantryHere is our entry way (yes that is a refrigerator in front of the door)- the kitchen is on the left, the living room is on the right, my bedroom and bathroom are behind me.As you come in the front door, there is a small mud room to the right, and a 1/2 bathroom.Our old kitchen is being transformed into a laundry roomOur downstairs bathroom is starting to come together- Kenn is standing in the area with the toilet and bathtub, I am taking the picture from the area with double counters/sinks.
Our downstairs family room still doesn't have much action going on (next week the window will get cut out and be enlarged).Jake standing in what will be his new room
Luke is standing in his future room

Those are the newest pictures of our house for now, but I'm sure it will all be changed by next week with all the progress that is being made. We are now in the process of picking tile, flooring, fixtures, carpet, cabinets, and paint. So much to do with so little time to do it. Unfortunately our house won't be livable until after the holidays, so we are staying with my parents until sometime in January (but at least it is going really well living with them, and my parents are bending over backwards to help us out- my mom even makes dinner for us every night, it will be hard to leave that when the time comes).

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Snow Already?????

Who would have thought we would have 4-5 inches of snow already- isn't it only October 12th? We were suppose to put shingles on our house this past week, and things got delayed until tomorrow. Talk about Murphy's Law (I would like to publicly apologize to everyone in the Wasatch front because I think this storm is our fault due to our need for good weather to work on our house). But on the flip side the kids had a blast building a snow fort, having snowball fights, and eating the snow.

Utah County Fair

Okay, so I know the fair was a month ago in September, but I was preoccupied with other things (like building a house) and just recently found my pictures for the fair. It is one of our favorite yearly traditions and we love to go visit the little farm for kids, see the stinky animals, and of course partake of the all you can eat ice cream. This year we dragged Eric along for more adult supervision for the kids (if you can call him an adult).

Molly, Kenn, and Luke


Luke and Alexa


Molly on the farm collecting corn

Jake and Luke driving the tractor

Molly brushing the sheep

At the end of the farm, kids collect money for all their hard work and get to turn it in for a healthy treat (like milk, granola bar, fruit, or cereal)

This was Eric's bowl of ice cream (I think 13 scoops plus a fat boy)

It didn't take him too long to eat the whole thing (and be sick for the rest of the night)

Luke liked the ice cream too

But his favorite thing was the goats (especially when they came and licked his hand)

And you can't go to the Utah State Fair without checking out the butter sculpture!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Here's to Running!

I have grown up my whole life HATING running! When I was in junior high and high school, running the required mile and a half were always the worse days of school for me. I thought that running was God's punishment to men. Then for some strange reason about 2 months ago, I decided running was something I was going to accomplish, so I started doing it. It was small at first (I was proud of myself if I ran for a minute and then walked for 5 minutes). I'm not much better now, but I can usually run 5 minutes and then walk a couple minutes.
I have really bad knees so it hurts to run, and I hate every minute that I am doing it- but when I'm not running, I'm wishing I were. The thing I love is the high I get after I'm done running!
About a month ago, I had the opportunity to run my 1st 5K. It was the annual Trudi Thomas Memorial 5K (for my friend Trudi who loved to run and was hit and killed by a car while running almost 2 years ago). I ran the race with my brother Eric and his friend Josh (well actually we started off together, but they quickly left me in the dust). My goal time was to get under 40 minutes so I was pleasantly surprised that my actual time was 31 minutes and 31 seconds (if I had known I was that close, I would have pushed myself a little bit more to get under 30 minutes).
I have been running 2-3 times a week, about 2-3 miles each time over the past couple months. I know it sounds stupid, but now I would like to train for a half marathon (I'm looking into the Bryce Canyon 1/2 marathon in June). I'm sort of putting this out there for everyone to know so I will have to follow through with this goal. I'll have to keep you posted on my progress along the way (if I don't chicken out). I have "running a marathon" on my bucket list of things to do before I die, so maybe in the next couple years I will be able to cross that off my list.
Here's to Running!!!
Eric, Jolene, and Josh at the Trudi Thomas Memorial 5K

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Vera Esplin Ballard 10/9/1915- 9/23/2008

This past week was bitter sweet for my family. My Grandma Vera Ballard passed away September 23, 2008 after many months of bad health- just 2 weeks prior to her 93rd birthday.

My family was able to visit Grandma up in Oregon for the last time this past Easter, and the above picture is the last picture I have of her and me (along with my girls). It was a great visit, and though my Grandma had periods of forgetfulness and confusion, when I saw her for the last time, she was totally lucent and mentally with it. I was pretty sure that when we left that day, it would be the last time I saw Grandma. One week after our visit, she broke her hip and never fully recovered after that.
My Grandpa Ballard is still alive (he is almost 95 years old himself). While Grandma was in the hospital and later a nursing home, Grandpa would take a bus/shuttle everyday to visit her and just sit with Grandma and hold her hand (many times missing meals just to be with her). Grandma would cry and beg my Grandpa to take her home, not understanding why they couldn't live together. She lost over 60 pounds these past couple months because she pretty much stopped eating. As sad as it was to have my Grandmother pass away, it is nice to know she doesn't have to go through that trial anymore.
My grandparents were married for almost 69 years, so Grandma's passing has been very hard on all of us, but especially on Grandpa- emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. It is sad to sit with him and see him tear up because of loneliness. I pray that the Lord can comfort him during this time to make this transition in his life easier.
I received the news of my Grandma's passing while I was working. I stayed for the rest of my shift (since there wasn't much I could do), and the next day my dad, my sister Michelle (and her baby Andrew), and I drove to Corvallis, Oregon. My mom and brother Eric flew up there, and the rest of my siblings (Rick, Monique, Brian, and Jannette) drove up on another day. Everyone in my immediate family was there (except Scott who is still serving in Afghanistan). It was kind of strange for all my siblings to be together without our spouses or kids (something that will most likely never happen again). It felt like one of our family trips that we took when I was a child.
It was a nice family reunion (considering the circumstances), and I was able to see many cousins and family members that I hadn't seen in years.
Top: Jolene, Jannette, Michelle
Bottom: Monique, Eric, Brian, Rick

This picture has way to many people to name, but consists of my Grandpa Ballard, his children Diann (my mom), Julia, and Val and all their families.

I will probably try to do a slide show at a later time of all the many pictures of my trip and another posting about Grandma, but for now some of the memories I want to remember about Grandma include the wonderful smell of her house (a combination of her good foods, clean laundry, and woodwork throughout the house); always having baked apples, fresh applesauce, and homemade bread; Grandma's wonderful little laugh and crooked smile; playing games like Pangandrum, Rook, Uno, and Skipbo (and Grandma cheating); many hikes to Salamander pond and the surrounding forests; and of course going to the coast (Seal Rock) and visiting tide pools and eating clam chowder. It makes me sad to think of all those wonderful memories, because now everything is changed, and the magic that we all felt whenever we visited Oregon is now gone. We love you Grandma!!!