Saturday, August 12, 2017

Sister week!

My parents raised us away from their families, so I always expected I would do the same. But it wasn't until to was married and had a baby that I realized how hard this can be. I am blessed to have a close family, and all we do all year is look forward to the one or two times a year we can get together.

At this phase of life, my two sisters and I all temporarily live as far east as any of us Seattle girls ever have. I'm in Columbus, Ohio, Marianne is in the Detroit area of Michigan, and Jenni just moved to Boston to go to grad school at Boston University.

When Jenni called to see if she could come visit me for a few days before her job and semester begin, I was thrilled! We arranged for Marianne to come down as well, even though she's already visited me twice since I've lived here (it's only a three hour drive for her). So it was a sister party!!! Jeff commented that he's never seen me so happy (I think he says that every time we are with my family).

The two full days involved lots of cousin time, going to my yoga class at the Y, a splash pad, talking time, Graeters Ice Cream, Jenni reading lots of books to her nieces, Asian food, Fixer Upper, photography practice, more talking time and a sisters night out.

Graeter's Ice Cream is allegedly the best ice cream Marianne has ever had, and she loves ice cream. :) So we had to try it.

The shop was cute and had these awesome old-fashioned ceiling fans on belts. The girls LOVED their sprinkle cones. I got black raspberry icecream. Yum. But I'll admit, I was mostly focused on taking pictures of the cute girls enjoying their cones.

Sister Photo-shoot!

Always fun to have a reason to get dressed up. Even if it is to go to the yard across the driveway and take a few photos. :P 

Caught on an off-moment :)

That's more like it.

Failed attempt having Elena shoot the photo from a chair by the tripod. "I can't see your faces!"

That night we did get beyond the yard and went to an Asian-fusion restaurant downtown. Not THE best we've ever had, but very enjoyable and yummy. It wouldn't be a Bement get-together without Asian food. Did I mention that our Mom covered dinner? Thank you mom!!!

Oh, avocado sushi rolls. You make my life.

I love these sisters of mine and I am SO glad they could come this week.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Skidmores in the Ohio

I just wanted to write an update for anyone who cares to know.

The short version is, we are doing really well in Ohio. We feel peace knowing we are in the right place. We feel blessed in many ways - Jeff's position is looking like it will be a great experience for his growth and future career. We feel very grateful to be in a welcoming and spiritually strong ward. I love the mom friends and regular play dates we have. I appreciate our house and the nice weather and green trees.

On a deeper level (my favorite level) I feel like the Lord has guided me out of a place of darkness to greater peace and light, and I am very thankful. Everyone I know in Arizona knows that I did not enjoy living there. Yes I complained about the awful weather, but the truth is, I was not in a good place in Arizona. Maybe my memory is foggy, but I feel like more often than not I was struggling. There are so many factors that went into that, and it doesn't really do any good to go into that here. And I believe we all have to go through those time in life, and I know that God will work all things together for our good.

I would like to share some ways the Lord specifically guided me out of that place. Before we moved I prayed a lot about being happier in Ohio. One day in the temple I kept thinking that I need to take a yoga class. I have always loved and believed in yoga but have never taken a class. And I also had impressions about practicing mindfulness. I think this actually helped me before we moved as well.  I felt so much hope associated with the move, that I think it actually helped me live in the present more while we were still in Arizona. I enjoyed our last few months there and was able to face the stress of packing and moving with strength and optimism.

Soon after moving to Columbus I made it a priority to join the YMCA and have been going to yoga twice a week. It is so good for me in so many ways, and the girls enjoy playing in child watch. Thank heaven for the Y!

As a result of doing yoga and practicing mindfulness (I started reading Mindfulness for Parents by Amber Hatch and also bought Hunter Clark-Fields daily practice yoga and meditation package) I have been more calm, less, reactive, more present with my girls and overall happier!

This has also helped be able to sort of find God again. I know he is always there and cares about us, but when a person is depressed and tired and overwhelmed it can be hard to feel it. Being more connected to myself has helped me have more meaningful prayers and receive more revelation and hope for my life. I feel so grateful for all my blessings and know the Lord is taking care of me and my family.

On that note, last night I watched this wonderful BYU devotional with some friends. Some of us decided to form a discussion group for women so we watched this and then shared our deep thoughts and personal experiences and feelings and it was like a dream come true for me. I would highly recommend it! And the talk was so beautifully validating about that feeling of being lost and in the dark, with faith inspiring principles in how to deal with it. Check it out!

So I don't mean to make it sound like life is perfect. Being unemployed for a couple months, and not getting paid for three months took a toll on our savings. Jeff started delivering Donatos pizza shortly after moving here. He is the best! With only one car this has meant me driving Jeff to and from OSU every day for work (I'm not about to be stuck at home all day). That should be changing soon, yay! So we have our challenges, but overall I just have so much peace and gratitude. Also, I'm sure my time in Arizona helped me become more patient to get through these little challenges. It helps that I know they are temporary. We are so very blessed.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Bargain finds for our new home

We are in Ohio! We are loving our rental home. It's not the dream home, and there are some annoying quirks, but overall a huge improvement from our previous place.

Biggest thing we appreciate -- more space! More space for storage and more space to live. This has allowed our home to be less cluttered than before. It also helps that I've been working on minimalism to an extent. We got rid of lots of things before and after moving.

Other good things - more natural light. A nicer kitchen. A little fenced yard. Green trees. :)

Another day when everything is ready I will do a post of the whole place. But today I wanted to share the great finds we've had!

Though Jeff graduated, we still haven't "arrived," plus he actually hasn't started working at OSU yet, so saving money is really important right now! Also, I don't think my income will ever outgrow the thrifty Mary Jane Wright side of me.

Here is what I did. I made a (long) list of all the things I wanted for our home. I prayed that we would be able to find good deals (an important step). And then I kept my eyes open. I went to thrift stores, I went to discount furniture stores. We went garage sale-ing (is that a word?) and I scrolled through craigslist and facebook marketplace (the latter is much more user-friendly) many times. And over the next two weeks we scored!

First score: this cute blue couch. It was at a garage sale for $75. Wohoo! It even has a pull-out bed. (no guarantee on how comfy it is, but you are all officially welcome to come stay with us when you visit Kirtland! :D) On that garage sale trip we also got really great toys for the girls, for next to nothing. Grandma Jane was proud of me that day!

Next, after scrolling through old, brown and black TV stands, I found this beauty on craigslist. It is brand new -- it was still in the box. The owner had bought three and was only using two. $100! Very happy with it.

The most recent find was this rug! I had been looking around and had even contacted a few people on facebook marketplace that didn't work out, but this one is new as well.  Bought it this morning for only $75!

The clock was like $12 at walmart. I need to teach Elena how to tell time, plus it's always nice having a clock on the wall. The canvas art on the side is from Lowes. It was $29.99. I saw it one day and took a picture and couldn't stop thinking about it. So I thought it was worth buying to tie our room together. I love it!

The other thing was this little shelf I wanted for our bedroom to keep all our journals and things. This was on facebook marketplace for $5. This is literally the exact shelf I was thinking of buying at walmart. And the guy delivered it! What a find!

So, there you have it, if you wait long enough, you can find what you're looking for, sometimes even new, for a super awesome price. I am quite pleased.

As Elena said, "it looks like a home!"

Friday, April 14, 2017

California Visit

I wanted to share some photos from our recent trip to California. It was a wonderful vacation for us, and much needed after Jeff successfully defended his dissertation earlier that week. Wohoo!

Great to visit the Hartvigsons and see Aunt Annie. Elena had a blast with her second cousins, or, "my friends," as she called them. It was especially fun to see Eleina Hartvigson play so well with Elena Skidmore. Name buddies! We very much enjoyed seeing everyone, eating Polly's delicious food, having lengthy breaks from parenting while the girls played happily on the farm, and dreaming of our future owning land, etc.

Here is the cute trailer we got to stay in.

Here is the view of the mountains that border the 5 acre farm. The weather and the scenery were gorgeous!

Snake adventures! This gopher snake was spotted several times around the farm while we were there. When Jewellia found it on Friday, she called Brigham and they tag -teamed it's capture. It was pretty sweet to watch, and timely that I had my camera out.

Go brother-sister teamwork!

You can probably tell, I think snakes are cool.

Look at these cute cousins!

Elena was in heaven with these kittens

The whole group :)


Outtakes from our family photo shoot.

These cuties

Abby climbing, as usual


Look at Abby's huge smile!