The Kitchen

It took me about a week to get all of the inside boxes unloaded and everything put away. But that was just the inside boxes. Not the boxes that were still in the garage, but it was a start. Once I was able to freely maneuver around the house without tripping over stuff, I started to get really excited about the kitchen.

When Lars first showed me the floor plan, the kitchen looked like a galley-style kitchen (which is what we’ve always had) with a place for bar stools and a tiny dining area. I was a little bit disappointed with the smallish kitchen because I was hoping for more counter space. We cook with fresh foods – from scratch – so a teeny working space is sometimes really frustrating. But no worries – we would deal with it. The thing that concerned me greatly was the tiny dining area. There’s seven of us in our family and our table is already pretty crowded. I was wanting to find a bigger table once we got to Vernal, but it looked as if our own table wasn’t even going to fit!

I didn’t really understand how it was going to work until we got the table in there. Turns out, it fits perfectly – with enough room to walk around the entire thing. I don’t think that we’ll be able to get a bigger table right now, but that’s okay.

Notice the big fridge – I feel so spoiled! We have room to spare in that fridge. And water comes out the front of it! We no longer have to bring in drinking water because it’s already there. And safe to drink. So that’s been awesome. And the dishwasher! No more hand-washing for the seven of us! I think all of us (kids included!) were most grateful for this appliance. Our cabinets are an oatmeal color with dark brown distressing around the edges and on the cabinet fronts. Lars put the pulls on right after we moved in. The counters are granite and the flooring is hardwood.


This is where the kids eat breakfast. I’m so happy to have a bar again! We had a small island in our kitchen in Logan. It only had 2 bar stools, but I loved having the kids (three at the time) right up there with me while I prepped food. I love having that again!


I can make our tortillas right at the counter – no more doing it on the table. I love that. There’s actually 18 of them, but you can’t see them all in the photo. This was taken before the pulls were put on.


Here’s the whole room –


I still need to put up pictures and decorate. I’m terrible at that part and I usually don’t do it until Lars makes me. Ha!


Hybrid Card: Hi There

For this week’s RetroSketch!


Supplies: Dear Diary by Studio Basic Designs; Layered up in You: Scallops by Lauren Grier; The Summer Papers by The Ardent Sparrow; Painted: Page Textures by Robyn Meierotto; Kraft Essentials by Karla Dudley; Hello Love by Karla Dudley

Homeward Bound

Last week, I was going through Deena Rutter’s shop and I found a kit that I just adore! It’s called Homeward Bound and it’s so fun. The papers are all slightly distressed and textured.

I made a hybrid card using Deena’s kit and this week’s RetroSketch.


Supplies: Homeward Bound by Deena Rutter; Sydney by Robyn Meierotto

And I finally got around to documenting Liv’s first tooth coming out. The journaling is pretty much taken from the blog post I did about it.


full credits in the gallery


I should start this post by saying how grateful I am for the option to homeschool. I was so scared when Lars and I started talking about it as an option when Bethany wasn’t even 4 years old. It was super frustrating at first as we tried to figure out how to do it. But we slowly started piecing together our curriculum from our favorite resources and we settled into a routine.

It turns out, homeschooling was one of the best experiences of my life. I loved it. And looking back, we realized that it really was the best thing for us, as we just made our eleventh move in twelve years. Our time in Logan would have meant 3 different elementary schools for Bethany – 6 schools total in all the moving around. I don’t even want to think about how messed up that would have been.


Right after Christmas, I started to feel a pull that I’ve never felt before. I knew exactly what it meant. And at first, I was in total denial. I think the kids felt the change, too, because things started to get hard. We had cut back on our regular schooling so that we could prepare to move. But even the little bit that we were doing was difficult to get through. The kids were antsy and restless and grumpy. Sure, we would go through phases and have a hard day or two during the school year, but this was different. For the next month, everything felt forced and unnatural. I finally sat them all down at the end of January and asked them how they would feel about trying public school once we get to Vernal.

They cried. For about a second.

After they spent a little time processing the information, Bethany started giggling. And then Liv started giggling. And then Max told me he was so excited. We were all a little nervous about the change – it’s a huge change, after all. None of them had ever been to public school before.

On the Monday morning after our move, we went as a family to get them registered for school. I had called ahead to make sure we didn’t need to have them tested or anything like that. It took a while to fill out all the paperwork for the three of them, but after we were done, the secretary took us around the school for a tour and to meet their teachers.

Later that evening, we all went school shopping! It was totally the wrong time of year, but we were able to find backpacks, lunch packs, pencils, and homework folders. I always see those back-to-school lists at the store – the ones that are grade and school specific – but the school out here says they provide everything for them. They just need a backpack, really.

Max and Olivia would start school the next day, but Bethany’s class was on a field trip all day Tuesday so she would start on Wednesday. I offered to drive them to school for their very first day, but once they found out that our house was on the bus route, they opted for that adventure instead. When it was time, I took them outside to wait. I did tear up a little when they stepped up and on the bus. The bus driver was super friendly. She knew exactly who they were and called them by name. The rest of the kids in the bus came forward to see who the new kids were. It was all very exciting!


waiting for the bus

Bethany and I spent the day at home with the babies, unpacking boxes and putting everything away. I was so nervous and excited for Max and Liv. I spent the day looking out the window or looking at the clock, waiting for them to come home and tell me all about their day.

When it was time for the bus to drop them off, I went outside to meet them. They were both grinning ear-to-ear. School was a hit. Max is actually in a class taught by two teachers. They both have young kids at home and so they each work half a day. One teaches the writing and language, the other teaches math. They go to other teachers during the week for science and art and gym. They have library days once per week – and I believe the librarian assigns them reports and projects and things.

Bethany’s first day was fantastic, too. She loves her teacher and she’s making friends really quickly.

There are some gaps in their education, but we were anticipating that. It would have been that way if they were coming from a different school, too. We’re currently trying to help close the gaps in math. Both Max and Bethany are going through the curriculum right now. We work on it a little each night, making sure they’re where they need to be.

We’re now done with week 2 of public school and we’ve got ourselves a routine. It feels good getting back to some normalcy.

So that’s our newest life change. It’s a biggie, but a good one so far.

Well hello there, Uintah Basin.

Nothing about this job change, move, or uprooting has been easy. It’s been such a pain in the butt getting all of us in Vernal together, and even after we had a closing date, things just continued to be hard.

We were told that we’d be signing the closing documents on Thursday, February 21. They were going to set up a courtesy closing for us closer to Coalville so that I wouldn’t have to drive all the way to Vernal, but we found out that it would help push things along in a more timely manner if I just drove to Vernal. So Thursday morning, I loaded all the kids up in the car at 7:30 am and headed toward Vernal. We picked up Lars at his office and drove out to our new house – about 10 minutes away.


It was the very first time I’d seen it in person and OH BOY! It was just perfect! Lars had taken pictures and sent videos, but nothing prepared me for how perfect this house is for our family! The rooms are big, the dining room is big, the bar at the counter looks like it will seat 4-5. There’s a wall in the living room for the piano. The yard is big, the area is beautiful, and I feel like the luckiest girl in the whole world.

We took the kiddos out to lunch and then went to sign papers. It was pretty fast and we were on the road by mid-afternoon. We were told that the only thing we were waiting on was the Certificate of Occupancy which we’d have by Friday at close of business so we went ahead and ordered the moving truck for Friday afternoon.

On our way out the door to get the moving truck the next day, we got a phone call. We were told that there was a problem with the closing documents. The price of the house was wrong on some of the paperwork and so we’d have to shred all the stuff we signed on Thursday and come back in to redo the closing. We were totally devastated. They were working on an early occupancy agreement for us, but they weren’t sure whether or not the sellers would allow that.  We had to make a decision. Do we drive for an hour to pick up the moving truck with the hope that the sellers will agree to an early occupancy? Or do we cancel the truck (and all of our moving help) and just try and close the next week?

We decided to pick up the moving truck and take our chances.

Once we got home, we got another phone call saying that the sellers wouldn’t agree to early occupancy. Lars was ticked. We had already transferred our down payment and the loan was good so there really wasn’t any reason for them to not agree to us moving in early. After a few phone calls, Lars found out that the seller’s realtor hadn’t relayed any of that information to the sellers. Once the sellers found out about the down payment, they said we were good to go. WHOO-HOO!

We had lots of help Saturday morning – from the community and family. We packed, loaded, and cleaned all morning long.


Last fire. I wasn’t sure if I was happy or sad about that.

My mother-in-law thought to bring up some lunch for everyone – chili, baked potatoes, sandwiches. We pulled out of Upton after that – with our ginormous U-haul, the Durango, a Suburban with a loaded trailer, and a truck with another loaded trailer.


Some of the helpers posing in the front room in the house in Upton.

We arrived in Vernal at dinner time, and with help from some of our new neighbors, we unloaded everything and started the looong process of unpacking and putting everything away.

Hybrid Card: Confidence

I have so much to catch up on now that we’re settling into our new home! I’m working on several blog posts, but I wanted to squeeze in this quick post so that I can participate in this week’s RetroSketches.


It’s based on this sketch right here:



Green Lights Ahead Collaboration by Karla Dudley and Gennifer Bursett