Monday, October 21, 2013

Family pictures

Nick's birthday was two weekends ago, and he wanted to spend part of the day up in the mountains. Photography is a new hobby of his, and he was eager to try out some of the new camera equipment he got for his birthday. So of course I saw the opportunity to hijack the event and turn it into getting some family photos. 

We managed to look pretty civilized and borderline idyllic for some of it: 

Nick will want you to ignore the remote in his hand in this one until he has edited it.  

And for the rest of the photos we looked like the bunch of crazies that the North family really are: 

Doing big brother stuff.

Marshmallow bribes. 

I can't even tell you what's happening here.

"Stop kissing us."

Gwen wants a marshmallow too!
There were moments of that day that were filled with perfect moments in beautiful surroundings with the people we love most, and I just wanted to bottle them up and keep them forever. Then there were moments like when we discovered that Gwen was covered in tiny bugs, or Espen's misadventures in peeing in the bushes, or when I got snippy with Nick for looking at me "wrong" as I was carrying a post-pee misadventurous Espen across a stream. 

Mostly, like our picnic where we ate tasty food in beautiful surroundings while golden Aspen leaves drifted through the air around us, and it was so bitterly cold and windy we only lasted five minutes, life is a bit of both. And let's be honest, isn't this what life as a family is really all about? There's a lot of pee and poop and meltdowns and kids trying to eat the forest floor while all you're trying to do is create some beautiful memories here, people! And then there are parents getting frustrated and resorting to bribery and yelling and getting even more frustrated, because clearly those are not working. And then there's those moments when you open your eyes and realize that the kids are not cooperating for pictures because they're having so much fun exploring nature and being together that the last thing they have time for is to sit still and smile politely. And so you just look at each other and smile over your funny kid who just wants to play at gathering wood and building a campfire, and you take a picture of your little girl taking her boots off and chewing on sticks so you can remember her like this forever. And then you look at each other again and laugh at this crazy, messy, noisy happy life you have created together and know that you are the luckiest people in the world. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Goodbye to our first home

House portrait of our little home in Spanish Fork

Yesterday we signed the closing papers for the sale of our previous home. It is such a relief to have the responsibilities, both financial and practical, of owning two homes lifted off our shoulders, especially given that it has been six months since we moved into our new home. But still, it's a little bittersweet to say goodbye to that home that held our family for five years.

In the spring of 2008, Nick and I were house hunting, and happened to stumble upon a cute little community of town homes in Spanish Fork, UT. There were duck ponds, a playground and horses grazing nearby. There were a handful of basically identical houses for sale, but it was only the one tucked into a quiet corner by the ponds that made me skip up and down on the sidewalk with excitement. I just knew it was going to be our home. And about six weeks later, it was.

Our first meal in our first home - no furniture yet!

For the first few years it was just the two of us. We painted everything in sight (except our bedroom and bathroom that remain white to this day, because we could never ever decide on the color) and set about making it our very own. We hosted our first ever Christmas at home with my parents as our guests.

That little home saw us through some tough times too. Some of our darkest days as we struggled with infertility were spent there, and it's where we lived when my dad was diagnosed with cancer.

But mostly that little house was a happy home. I (finally!) graduated from college in that house. We enjoyed happy times with family and friends, and I stumbled down those stairs on two separate mornings with tears of joy in my eyes to tell Nick that I was pregnant. We brought our babies home to that house.

The nursery we decorated for our babies.

We spent holidays and birthdays and everydays in that house. It was where we really and truly became a family. We painted and built and gardened and grew that little place from a house into a home.

Gwen's blessing day. 

Now it is not our home anymore. We have a new home and are in the thick of building memories here. Tonight another little family will get the keys and unlock the door to their new home and new life. They will have their own memories and stories from their time in that little house, and I hope it will be the happy home for them that it was for us.