Friday, April 8, 2016

a trip down memory lane celebrating 39 years

Thursday was our anniversary... thirty nine years!  Doug worked until 3:30, came home quickly, changed and we were off to celebrate, not having a clue what we were going to do.  We drove a bit and stopped to look on my iPad to see what movies were playing in town.  Neither of us was hungry yet, so we thought we'd do something before going out for dinner.

We checked out the movies and decided that a movie about an Olympic Ski-Jumper, called Eddie the Eagle, sounded sort of fun.  So, we caught the matinee.  It was really a cute upbeat movie.  We didn't even get popcorn.  Just watched the movie, alone, in the theater.

When we came out of the show at 6, it was such a beautiful spring day and as bright could be.  We still were not hungry and we came up with an idea that turned out to be one of the most fun dates we have ever had!  We took a drive around the valley and drove to every home that we have lived in throughout our marriage.  It was so much fun!  We opted not to drive to them in the order we've lived in them because we wanted to see them all in daylight and we'd have gone back and forth from one end of the valley to the other.  So, we started at the north end in Richmond and headed south.  Seriously, one of my favorite dates ever!

As we went to each home, we took a picture and then drove on, but with each stop, and the drive between, we shared memories from when we had lived there!  Such a great way to celebrate an anniversary!

We did not go to Mendon because our home is no longer there.  But, we did reminisce about that second year of our marriage.  Our first year was in Idaho living on the ranch and in Malad.  The second was in Mendon, where we boths served in the YM and YW and made some lifelong friends and really got to .

Then, we bought our first home in Smithfield.  Dale was born in that home.  Kelly was conceived in that home.  We had a wonderful garden and again, made life long friends.  As we drove past, I knew that Doug's first memory would be of the woodburning stove he installed.  It was a bear to install, but it heated the whole house and he used coal!  Granola-man!  Seriously?!  He loved that stove!  We paid $42,000 for that home and our mortgage was $119!  Wouldn't that be nice today!  I remember Doug developed his gift of growing grapefruit size tomatoes in this home and canning literally 196 quarts of bottled tomatoes in one summer and salsa galore!

our first home

From there, we moved to Ohio and lived in two homes during the next two years!  Both were brand new and huge homes!  And as we drove about on our date, we remembered that money was so tight during that 1980's recession, not to mention being self-employed and having two babies with no insurance, I probably didn't take three rolls of film during that two years.  They were great homes and again... wonderful friendships were developed!  The best thing that came out of Ohio was that Kelly was born there and our friendship with Robert and Susan Hatch!  Good times!  As for the homes, both were dream homes and because people, during that recession, were literally leaving new homes and living in their cars, so, they were very affordable.  The whole motor industry areas of Ohio and Michigan were crushed at the time, so builders of spec homes were happy to have anyone in them at any price!  However, it was a very hard time to be starting a new business and we longed for our beautiful Cache Valley and family.

We came home from Ohio, with our tails between our legs after a struggling two years, and rented a little home in Richmond for a few months.  Doug's brother had purchased this home to renovate and flip it. We rented it sight unseen as a transitional stop and lived in it while his brother was doing the renovation. We were there for just the summer and, actually, I packed my sewing machine in Doug's old missionary trunk and flew to spend most of that summer and fall in a hotel room in Riverside, California with my two toddlers and the husband that I couldn't bear to be away from.  Doug trained there for his ten years of employment at Bourns while they built their new facility in Logan.  I took five pictures of it and all were just a blur because the sun was setting right behind it.   Suffice it to say that the home, today, looks nothing like the cute little home that it was that summer.

It had a huge garden that was full of ever-bearing strawberries, the largest I've ever seen!  It was also there that I made a real connection with one of my sisters-in-law. But, our most prominent memory from that home was that I had my first miscarriage alone while Doug was in California.  Our time in California, however, made it one of the most fun summers ever, frequenting Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm and other fun tourist sights!  Although we appreciated that home and Doug's brother for a landing spot after Ohio, it never felt like a home to us... being apart, the tiny size and the disconnect we felt from everything after our move home, it was a happy day when I found our next home in Smithfield.

This Smithfield home was one of our favorite homes.  It was a hundred years old with an old clawfoot bathtub, five bedrooms and a huuuuuuuge garden that was the best garden we ever had to date!  Liza was born in this home.  Doug's first memory of this home was that we saved more money in this home than we ever had. He worked so much overtime at the new Bourns facility those two years and he worked swing shift.  But, with toddlers, that was just fine, except it meant a lot of lonely nights for me, waiting after the kids' bedtime for Doug's midnight return! This home brings such happy memories of discovering our love of cross-country skiing, biking and hiking. Doug owned three snowmobiles at the time, which meant lots of winter fun and it happened to be some of the best winter snow we'd ever had those two years!  I loved decorating this home in "country" style, as it was just becoming popular.  In this home, I really developed my sewing skills, learning to sew even levis.  I also recall canning and canning and canning, even placing a newborn baby Liza on a blanket over the sink, and nursing her, while snapping greenbeans across her tiny little five pound body.  The spring/summer that Liza was born was one of the wettest on record, which came with much flooding.  The canal behind our home kept me on my toes because Kelly was two and a total nightmare to keep in check.  That summer, she was on the roof, walking a plank over the flooding canal, across the street in the elementary school.  I couldn't not take my eyes off her long enough to go potty!  It was a rough summer with our little wild child... we bought a swing, a trampoline and a sandbox, but nothing would keep her entertained as much as her "exploring"... always our little wild one, but oh, those little brown curls and big brown eyes, she was the cutest little two year old!  How I love that home to this day.  It's old porch and it was deeper than it was wide!  So much character!  Oh, it was in this house that I woke up to find that Kelly had gone into my sewing room in the night, found my scissors and given herself a haircut, as well as Quayd, Cookie Monster, the curtains, the carpet, her sheets and her baby doll. 

From there, we bought the home that Doug's mom had lived in for the past five years in Hyde Park.  This was a wonderful home.  From the outside, it looked very average in size but it was 3800 square feet, five bedrooms, two family rooms and, again, had a great garden.  I loved living across the street from the cemetery where I had a beautiful view of the Logan Temple.  The ward was awesome and we had such great neighbors!   This home had a revolving door for friends and family to come and visit, vacation and even live with us. Lots of company, lots of parties, lots of laughs and fun memories! We had six different people come and live with us in that home.  My favorite memory in that home was an Easter Sunday when we had an indoor adult easter egg hunt with one egg that lasted for hours, hiding the egg, finding it, then doing it over and over.  It was also in this home that I had another miscarriage and my hysterectomy became a necessity.

Shortly after my hysterectomy, we moved to Logan and into my favorite home ever.  We rented this home with the hopes that the owner would sell it to us.  It was a Georgian home with more character than any home we have ever lived in.  Sadly, the owners wife, who lived in California and had no desire to ever sell it, would not change her mind (until a year after we bought the home up the street! Sadness.) Oh, the fun we had in this home!  It was fabulous!  This home was actually for sale last year when we bought our current home and I'd have bought it in a heart beat if it were not for the fact that the staircase was steep and long and my foot would never have tolerated it.  It has even been renovated!  Sadness!  This home had a galley kitchen, a cute pink tiled powder room under the stairs and the master bedroom was fabulous!  Our memories of the home included Liza's broken leg on the trampoline, friends living with us, loads of parties with our neighbors and a menagerie of college age newlyweds who became life long friends and falling in love with the ward that, to this day, we still call "home".  My Grannie passed away while I lived in this home and our sweet neighbor, two doors down, born on the very same day as my Grannie, became one of my dearest friends ever.

Because the home was not for sale, and because we loved this ward so so much, and because we didn't want to rent, we wanted to find another home in the ward boundaries, we purchased a home just up the street with the intent of finding something larger soon.  However, we bought the home that we refer to as "the 980", redecorated every inch of it and fell in love with this tiny home.  And I mean tiny home!  It was probably 1800 square feet, but half the basement was one large room, in which we hosted parties with up to fifty people just fine!

If I could go back in time to any moment or time period of my life, it would be to the two and a half years that we were in this home.  Our bigs were at such fun ages.  Our family was so happy and connected.  In this home, I was neighbors and became besties with both Carol and Denise.  I served as PTA President while my kids were in elementary school in this home.  I was involved teaching organizing classes, in American Mothers, had seven callings at once, including being in the Relief Society Presidency... so involved in so many things.  I turned thirty in this home and thought that I was "General Manager of the Universe".  Although I'd done it since I was a teenager, it was also in this home that I became passionate about scrapbooking!  This was "the" perfect time in our little family.  Life was so wonderful!  We had not yet seen the challenges of raising teens.  I loved this little home and the life it represented!

  We drive past this home almost daily today.  It is sad to see the beautiful trumpet vines, shrubs and trees that we planted gone.  It was sooooo darling and a perfect little country home filled with peach and country blue country bunnies, dolls and antiquey looking decor.  I loved everything about this home!  Mostly, we loved that we "belonged" here more than anyplace we had ever lived.  The ward members were family.  Today, the majority of them have passed away, but our memories of this wonderful family will forever be cherished.

From there, Doug had a wild hair and we moved to Indiana for exactly two years, four months and eight days.    That was the hardest two years, four months and eight days of my life. We could not come home soon enough! It is such a beautiful state, but it was not home. In Indiana, we had the unique opportunity of living in an Amish Farmhouse, in between real Amish families, for two months while we looked for real housing.  It was fascinating! From there, we moved into a brand new home on the same day that the kitchen appliances were being installed and a few months later, we bought a wonderful five bedroom home, closer to town, with a HUGE 13' deep swimming pool that had been build for a scuba instructor. The home sat on a one and a half acre wooded lot with a forest and a river running at the back of it. It really was fabulous. The pool memories with the kids and a cherished few friendships were the best thing to happen in Indiana.  But, for the most part, all I could think of, every day, every minute, was getting back home to Utah!  

We came home again in December, vowing to never leave the valley again!  It was in December and Carol found a rental home for us in North Logan.  We moved into it just a few days before Christmas. We didn't care at all about the house looked like, how large or small, nothing!  We just wanted to be home!  And we loved this little home!  This home was filled with fun memories of reconnecting with friends and family after being away.  However, it was in this home that we had some really trying times.  Kelly and Dale had some real challenges during this time.  Our "perfect" little family was shattered in this home.  During this year and a half, Kelly became pregnant with Quayd and was married at age 17.  Dale graduated and went out into the world... a world that we'd never have dreamed he would choose over his upbringing and heritage.  It was rough.

Yet, as we drove past last week, and relived our memories, it was the happy memories that stood out for us.  We didn't even talk about the trials and challenges.  We talked about the great friends we served with in the Relief Society Presidency and how we became friends with them and their husbands, about the college kids who frequented our home as a refuge from school and life, the missionaries who'd served in Indiana and had become our friends afterward by staying with us here and mostly the good times we had here as we'd met our close friends, Jim and Kristy.  We also remembered some of our favorite laughs in this home! And there were plenty! Quayd was born while we lived in this home and we had an instant bond that was like none other than I'd ever imagined.

We loved that home so much and the ward, that we were not even looking to buy anything soon.  We were content...Until one afternoon, when I was at the craft store, I ran into an old friend from Smithfield who told me that they were building a new home and selling theirs. We'd been neighbors when Liza was born in 1983 and I knew the house well. Oddly, three days in a row, I ran into her.  She said, "You should come and take a look at the new kitchen we just had installed."  Out of friendship, I drove over and took a quick peek.  I walked in and knew that we belonged in that home. That night, I took Doug back.  He too, felt like we needed to purchase the home.  The next day, we made an offer and the rest was history.  We moved in on April 15, 1998 and moved out last January.  Seventeen years.  Two and half years was the longest I'd ever lived anywhere in my life.  When we bought that home, Liza was a freshman.  We figured we could live there forever with the amazing yard that we spent seventeen years planting trees and gardens and making it ours more than anyplace we'd ever been.  We loved the ward.  We loved the friends we made.  We love the memories. The memories of this home have been documented in detail for all those years, first through my work in the scrapbooking magazine and then my blog.

It's so ironic.  As Doug and I drove past this home, we snapped a quick photo and kept driving. The cute little family that bought our home have made so many changes already.  The shock of seeing that every tree in the back yard except the cherry, apple and peach trees are gone is mindblowing!  All those sixty foot trees gone!  It looks like the yard of a completely new home, not a thirty year old home.  We lived for our back yard and now it's not our back yard... at all.  So strange! They have done a lot to the home already and continue to progress with more plans.  They are loving it like we did!  That makes us so happy.  When I drive past a few of the homes that we have lived in, my heart hurts.  The Smithfield home is being loved and well-cared for!  Happiness!

In that home are the memories of Liza's high school and dating years, watching her fall in love and marry Buddy and then all of the years of the memories with the babes...from diapers to dating... school years, holidays and traditions, pool parties, neighborhood gatherings, night games, family reunions, taking care of my mother through her cancer, reconnecting with my Dad through his, marriages, surgeries, deaths, births, divorces....and many many miracles...and blessings... and... life!   Lots of laughs, some tears, tons of paint, decorating, puppies, scrapbooking, many, many memories.  We loved it and truly never saw ourselves leaving until my foot injury created a need for more main floor living.  We loved that yard and our orchard of trees and all the gallons and gallons of fruit harvested from them!  We loved the shade and the memories of the pool and gatherings in our beautiful shady back yard!  That home was home!  The longest I've ever been anytime of my life! 

If you'd have told me two years ago that I'd be back in Logan, living in this fabulous home, I'd have never believed it!  Doug calls this home "a sleeper".  To him, that was an important feature...simple and plain on the outside and a pleasant surprise to walk through and see the space, the character and the homeyness of it inside!  We had never dreamed of leaving the "fruits of our labor" in Smithfield after seventeen years.  However, true to his nature, Doug wanted to make my life easier. Most of our living in the Smithfield home was downstairs...We did most everything with the kids downstairs in the family room and I had to make several trips a day to the downstairs laundry room.

Last night, a year later, as I was moving a load of laundry from the washer to the dryer, just down the hall from our bedroom, I said, "Thank you for our new home, Babe."  I am able to function so much better here in this home with the main floor laundry and family room.  It's simplified my life immensely!  And best of all, I love every inch of this home!  It's fabulous and wonderful!

A wonderful dinner at Beehive Grill and revisiting the homes and the memories of thirty-nine years was a perfect way to celebrate our anniversary.  But, coming home to this home, where I'm happier than I've ever been (and for the most part, I'm usually very happy) brought tears to my eyes.  I was instantly reminded of this as we walked in from our evening.  We heard the kids instant hellos and "Tell us about your date! What'd you end up doing?"

The whole evening reminded me of the joy and blessings of being married to such a wonderful man, who's always provided for our family...financially and even more so with tremendous leadership and a wonderful example of keeping the commandments of God and showing unconditional love to each of us.  He truly is the perfect man for me!

And the homes...Well, we've lived in some tiny homes, some pretty spacious homes, in new homes, in old homes.  We've bought "fixer-uppers" and homes that were just right from the get-go.  But, whichever home we've lived in, we've always turned it into a home where love is spoken and filled it with love, laughter, friends and family and wonderful memories!   Doug and I have raised two families and shared one heck of a journey!  But, we both agree that our memories had nothing to do with the size of the home, the color of paint, the brick or the siding.  The memories that filled our hearts and minds, wherever we've lived, were full of joy, love and laughter!  I am blessed! 

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