Thursday, May 31, 2012

First impressions of Utah Part II

**Post edit.  I added one last observation.  I'm not sure how I forgot it the first time....**

I really shouldn't say "first impressions of Utah" that is an overgeneralization of my already generalization. How about "First impressions of the Salt Lake Valley."

1. As a whole the people are very nice and open and friendly and trusting and I love that in the last week we have had several drop in visits from neighbors of all backgrounds and beliefs.
2. There are a lot of family friendly activities.
3. Salt Lake is a very Arts friendly city.
4. We are a couple of BYU fans in a sea of PASSIONATE Ute fans.
5. Not everyone is Mormon. In our old neighborhood only two out of six and in the six houses surrounding us now only two or three.
6. That being said there are a lot of Mormons.
7. If you buy a house in Bountiful you commit social suicide.  "Ohhhh....Bountiful....(then the person assumes you have your nose in the air.)  I have no clue what this means or why. But it did happen to me when I mentioned Bountiful. For the record, no we don't live in Bountiful. But I do know some really great people that do live in Bountiful. Who knows?
8. There are three counties that span the Wasatch Front (I think that is the right terminology.....or is that just the Salt Lake area? or is that just the Provo area? I am still learning) and they are all very different Davis County, Salt Lake County and Utah County.
9. From my short experience and hearsay Davis County is known for good schools, Salt Lake County is super crowded, and Utah County is jam-packed with Mormons.
10. Liberals are very liberal and conservatives are very conservative.
11. Salt Lake is a city FULL of diversity.  In our experience there is no shortage of diversity here.
12. There is so much to do. From sporting games to the symphony to broadway shows to parks to the aquarium to the zoo to hiking to kids museums to fun centers to malls to temple square to....you name it, this valley has it! With the exception of forests downtown (Bellingham).
13. The drivers here are nuts.  I don't think they went to the same driving school I did.  They are very rude actually. In a hurry. Don't expect any favors from someone behind a wheel.
14. Utahans LOVE Cafe Rio; and so do I.
15. Cutlers cookies make my mouth water.  I do not like peanut butter cookies.  I loathe them actually. But I can not get enough of a Cutlers peanut butter cookie. Oh man, my mouth is watering.
16. Downtown Salt Lake is a very clean and friendly place to be.
17. In Bellingham any where I went in public I was the center of attention as some sort of freak show with two babies and a pregnant belly. However, here I am one among many.
18. The sun shines EVERY day.
19. We feel safe and comfortable.
20. People who live here or were raised here really love it.
21. There are generations and generations of families that stick around.
22. Billboards.  There weren't any Billboards in Bellingham.  I miss that. I personally think they look trashy.  Especially when they are blown-up and touched-up sexy women with adverts for liposuction and beautifying plastic surgery...really, Utah??

Phew....I have learned all of that in a short five months. I'll revisit and revise the list in a year or so.

First impressions of Utah Part I

Prior to this post I need to lay out two giant disclaimers.
1. This post will be most understood by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, nicknamed "Mormons." I don't mean to confuse or push any others aside.  If you have any questions or need clarification on unfamiliar terms I over-looked please comment or email me or visit Mormon.org.
2. Aside from a year of college (which doesn't qualify as true society) I have only lived in one city for five months.  I am not claiming to be an expert in all things Utah.  Remember this is a "first impressions" post.  This is simply as I see it, the beauty of this little space of mine on the World Wide Web. If you have another opinion please do share, but keep things kind. Thanks in advance.

Without further Adieu...

When I wrote about (and later revisited) my first impressions of Bellingham, WA I wrote a lot about Canadians.
And now, in my posts about Utah I write a lot about Mormons.
Canadians in Bellingham and Mormons in Utah.  It just comes with the territory.

I have to put this out there....

"Utah Mormons":  You don't have a very good reputation among the "outside of Utah Mormons." However, having lived among you for five months now, you seem mostly normal. I think the majority of people who have that assumption have never actually really known Mormons that live in Utah. In our short experience people walk and talk and live like Mormons everywhere else in the world (and we do have some credibility to that statement.) There are just a lot more of them here.

When I informed our pediatrician in Bellingham (whom I love and miss dearly!!!) that  we were moving to Salt lake she said, "It isn't what you think it is...(she didn't know I was a Mormon myself) it is really changing and is very much a Bellingham-like community (that could be good or bad...you know what I mean Ferndaliens.)  A lot of my classmates in school have set up practice there.  It is a big hub for pediatrics and the University of Utah has a great pediatrics program."

Prior to moving to Salt Lake City we were given multiple "warnings" about living in Utah. When I would hear comments about "Utah Mormons" I would ask "what?" and "why?" and honestly, most people didn't really know.

During their latest visit to the states my father-in-law asked "How do you feel about raising your family in Utah?"  Honestly, I don't care where I raise my kids.  But I do care HOW I raise them.  I'm not concerned about them being "too sheltered" by being raised in Utah, because I won't raise them sheltered. They will be familiar with the Arts and the world. I will teach them doctrine and the why of the things we do. I will teach them about acceptance, respect, love and open-mindedness.  I will teach them about the power they have within to do great things. I will teach them that there is life outside of our community/state/country.  I will teach them to do their personal best. They will realize the importance of education to us. I'll teach them early on and help them to develop a testimony that can be their strength; something they will need even while living in Utah. I will teach them to question and to seek answers.  I won't let society be their main teacher. Just like you wouldn't in your part of the world. Although I do understand society has an impact.

I don't believe for one second that life is "harder" for a Mormon outside of Utah.  The struggles for each are different.  We really do miss being outside of Utah for various reasons. For whatever reason being around a lot Mormons has its quirks. We have already discovered that the challenges of living among so many Mormons are different from the ones living among a few. I am probably not the first to tell you that Utah is far from "Zion." In every ward around the world we have ever been in we have found a similar distribution of commitment.  Members weren't better in Scotland or Washington state or Utah...you get the point.

I try not to think about the fact that there are tons of people who believe the same as me. It makes me more judgmental and intolerant. Rather, I live what I know and have learned.  I live according to the things I have learned through life's experiences.  I live my passions.  I certainly don't have all the answers, but I live what I feel and know until I learn something better. I try to worry about myself and leave others to be.

We didn't move to Utah so that we could be surrounded by a lot of Mormons and we didn't stay away from Utah because we didn't want to be surrounded by a lot of Mormons. We simply moved here because all things considered (location, desires, interests, etc.) this was the best place for our family.

And that is how I feel about living in Utah, so far.
Stay tuned for part II. It will be more of a bullet point post.  I just needed to get this off my chest first.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day

We are completely in love with our little town here. We were very apprehensive to move to this particular suburb town in January (I had never even heard of the town before!) but quickly fell in love with it.  It suits us perfectly. The people are wonderful, it isn't fancy, it is close to everything -- but far enough away, it is small, has its own identity, great schools, and a great city government.  We did our homework.  

There is much to be said about a town that has an identity. Our little town has celebrations and city organized events for people of all ages, all year long. 

Memorial Day was great, we were impressed. 

The day kicked off with a 5k at 7:00 AM. D woke my up at 6:00 to tell me we needed to get ready to go to registration for the race...I suggested he take Vev and I would stay (in bed) with the other kids.  I'm so bummed the rest of us didn't go!  I wasn't thinking straight...  However, he and Veva had a great time. 

They came home about 30 minutes later and picked the rest of us up. 

A nice program with a speaker and flag ceremony complete with taps convened at 8:00 AM outside city hall and the city park. Following the program the entire town (and others who showed up) was treated to (a yummy) breakfast. Veva and D ate free because they ran the race, the rest of us paid a dollar. 
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After breakfast we enjoyed a show from the local bagpipers club (and no D doesn't play the bagpipes...but he does get asked that alllll the time) and a ceremonial landing from a life flight helicopter.  The kids loved taking a peek inside and learning all about it. After that we sat in a fire truck and later fished for toys. There were several activities for the kids including a rock climbing wall. 
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The city council and the youth city council ran the show and it was a great success!  We are so glad we live here and I am so glad we gave this little town a chance in the beginning (despite awful renting conditions for a little while.)

Following the celebration we did a lot of yard work and planted our garden. It was a great day. 

Memorial day is such a special holiday for us for so many reasons. It is Trish & Stephen's Anniversary, their son's birthday, a time to remember our loved ones who have passed on, and a time to celebrate and remember our veterans.  We are so grateful for those who put their lives on the line for our comfort and freedoms. All of us are not American under this roof, but we all have respect for the men and women who help to make this country great. 


You can see last years spectacular Memorial Day in NW Washington {HERE}

Lucky you, I went on a posting rampage today! See more posts below. 

Auntie Trish

Auntie Trish (D's oldest sister) was in town from New Hampshire.  We loved seeing them for a few hours. Her little boy is the sweetest babe and has a fierce growl. There is something about him that reminds me of Murdock, but I cannot put my finger on it. Their coloring?

We are so glad that three of D's siblings live in the U.S. and that even though we span from coast to coast, we get to see them about once a year. We sure miss Christine and Dave (who reside in Scotland) and wish we could see them more often.

Caiden wasn't so sure about my kids, but they had no qualms about him.
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Trish has the best heart.  I love getting random texts, messages, or emails from her. She is a great big sister to have.  She looks after the rest of us.
We love you Trishy!!
(I like to think I am the only one allowed to call her that.)

Happy Birthday to my mom!

Dear Mom, 
I wanted to be serious and sentimental, but it just wasn't happening with a two year old, a one year old and a three month old.  Nonetheless, we sure do love you and think the world of you.  Thanks for being the best mom and grandma we could possibly ask for! 

a few things about these videos...

1. I thought each take would progressively get better.  The opposite happened.
2. Three takes. Take your pick
3. Do I really sound like that?! How come our own voice seems so foreign to us?  It is not due to a lack of talking, at least for me. 
4. I hate when the video and sound are off.  If that happens to you, close your eyes or plug your ears.
5. The third video is an accurate portrayal of my life.

Happy Birthday Mom Take 1
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Happy Birthday Mom Take 2
video

Happy Birthday Mom Take 3
video

Friday, May 25, 2012

The craze of last week.

We bought a house and have moved. We're working on getting settled in. We don't prefer unordered chaos so we are working hard to bring some organization and order to the place. Boxes are still being emptied, but we hope to be finished soon!

I have so much to blog about.
I have officially had the most emotionally, physically, and mentally draining week of my life. It has been jam packed with drama and sadness and happiness. I attended the funeral of a good friend, with that I saw so many great friends I haven't seen in years. Our old landlord had me in tears. A man left the scene of an accident when he hit my parked car at Ikea (don't worry, they found him...."In textiles." It was pretty exciting as the crime scene unfolded. And I made poor Veva pee her pants twice because we had no other choice. More details on that to come.) Then I decided to potty train Dock, and we found out that we need a completely new AC and heating unit in our new house. Thousands of dollars thanks to someones neglect (Unfortunately we've had the "pleasure" of dealing with lots of dishonest people since we have moved here. It has been very disappointing.) House warming (and cooling ;) gift to ourselves! To top it off we made the most difficult decision we've made to date.


Phew....

All in a week.

I am relieved the week is over and we can clean up the messes made and move on.

I have more to blog about, too.

Things like...

My first impressions of Utah. Some good, some bad.
Veva has discovered a little fire in her belly and she is using it.
How much we love our new house, even with a few hiccups.
The crime scene at Ikea.
D's sister, Trish, and her sweet baby Caiden came to town and we got to see her for a few hours.
I painted the girls ceiling pink and I LOVE IT.
A narrative about writing and one about our colliding worlds.
And on and on...

Give me a little time and I'll be back up and running. After we have cleared the chaos.

Until then enjoy a peek of our backyard via instagram.

P.s. who is excited about the fact that Phillip won American Idol? BOYAH! I am really happy about it. If you are doubting then just watch his video below....dreamy...



Thursday, May 17, 2012

A.I.

I really hope these two are in the finale.
But if they aren't I won't complain, because I didn't vote.
And that is my rule.



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

No messing around.

Veva doesn't mess around when it comes to singing.
Anything and everything becomes a microphone.
She puts on quite the performance.
See for yourself...

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day.

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Mothers day is a holiday I love, because I love being a mother, I love my own mother and I love other mothers. Every mothers day, since my first, I have had another reason (child) to celebrate being a mother. D assured me that would not be the case next year :).

This is a blessed day dedicated to all the wonderful mothers in the world and to the amazing woman I am blessed to have as my own mother.
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Our family thinks the world of her.

We celebrated D's mum and all the other wonderful mothers in the UK {HERE}

And if you are wondering what a mothers day photo shoot looks like at our house...

Perfectly crazy.  Just the way I like it.
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On a side note, this sweet baby bird turned three months old today!
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Need a great article to read about motherhood?  Check out this one, about Feminist Mothering.
Enjoy these beautiful videos about mothers.




Thursday, May 10, 2012

{insert clever title for our trip to Idaho here...because I can't think of one.}

Last weekend we were in Idaho at my parents house.
The following took place:
- My brother & sister-in-law's baby boy was blessed.
- I picked out all the paint for my house at the local paint store in under ten minutes.  No samples. Stupid idea? Maybe. I am praying it turns out looking like the masterpiece in my head.  If you are looking for my house look for the BRIGHT red door.  You won't miss it. Go bold or go home, or go bold at home. That is my motto.
- I had Pizza Hut for the first time in years.  I can't remember the last time.
- Veva dropped her naps.  It has been the best thing that ever happened to my nights.  The worst thing that ever happened to her day.  We are still unsettled about it.
- I inspected all the rings that once belonged to my grandmas and great-grandmas and declared to my mom that I would like to inherit all of them.  Just kidding, sis.... Well I really did tell her I would like to inherit all of them, but she said that would not be okay.
- I raided my mom's jewelry closet. She let me take my favorite necklace home.  She said she hasn't worn it since the early 90's.  What can I say?
- We went to the clogging recital. I was sad and shed a couple of tears. That was once my thing.  Meaning, I used to teach there. My kids danced in the isle the entire time and thought it was the greatest thing ever.  They were mesmerized.
- Veva mowed the lawn with Grandpa and before I knew it they were having a mid-day marshmallow roast by the river.
See, I told you it was a great trip.  Or did I? Either way, it was everything I had hoped it would be. Burley is as great as ever. Enjoy some really random pictures from the trip.
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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I am not a homebody.

Some days I really wish I was a homebody, especially when I am wrestling three kids and, I am sure, making quite a scene. But even if I was, the kids aren't.  Fortunately, I need out just as much as they do. Fresh air, places to run free, and beautiful views do wonders for us! 

Today's adventure was to Temple Square. Mostly because I needed some pictures of poppies, partly because the kids can run free and somewhat because I am really sick of packing even though it had only been one day.

Outings are not always easy and more than once I think to myself, "why do I do this to myself?!" But I can't hold myself back.  I keep doing it again and again. Thank goodness, for my sanity.

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