I guess you could say that I took a sabbatical. For the record, I did come across several half baked posts, that never made it all of the way.
As such, here's a really long post, with 44 pictures that depict what we've been up to in the most recent past. Not necessarily in any chronological (or logical) order mind you.
For several (many) years, we've been looking for a painting. We know exactly what we want, but just haven't been able to find it. Spanish tile and stucco walls, possibly ocean, and tons of bright bougainvillea.
This one is the closest to what we want, but it isn't right. after going to every single shop we could find, (several times in the past 3 years) we narrowed it down to a few that were maybes.
Suprisingly, this random abstract painting spoke to me, and now sits upon our wall.
Not exactly the landscape we were imagining :)
This is a really good book I've been reading. It is like, change your world good.
I had to speak in church a few weeks ago and pulled some thoughts out of it.
Along with speaking in church, I've been going through some personal and emotional healing.
Both my husband and I have. I'm a really good suppressor, and I've supressed and bunch of junk for like, my whole life. Somehow, my pandora's box opened, and I've been doing a LOT of self healing since mid-January. I found a fantastic group that has been helpful to me, and we've really had to slow down and examine our marriage and relationship, and we've had to really work very hard. My healing did involve a month of bland numbness, and a lot of "just being". I've been reading one to two books a week along with my scriptures, and have been very grateful for the healing that I've been finding. Not fun, or pretty, but slowly healing. And the good news is that we are still married!
Here are our ghetto curtains.
Yep - that is a bed sheet. High class people.
Someone yanked the curtains out of the wall somehow. It looked awesome.
And I'm glad our handyman friend could fix it for us...
My daughter and I went for a leisurely Saturday am bikeride.
Except that we ended up at a garage sale.
And we ended up buying this grill.
Grateful to our neighbor for his willingness to help me get it home since my husband was out on a run, and this was a hot garage sale item!
At some point in time (it's all a blur), we were asked to help out with the catering of a state wide single adult church conference. We had to leave by 4:15am to get there by 6:00 am.
Part of the entertainment (this is Florida folks) was when "Fluffy" was brought out for some fun pictures.
This little gal was a trooper. We were dead on our feet.
They held church in the rodeo grounds the second day. It was pretty cool to be sitting in the bleachers, receiving the sacrament, and hearing the sand hill cranes, woodpeckers, and braying donkeys and cows while we took the sacrament and contemplated the Savior's atonement for us.
Here's just a cute shot of our youngest. Both girls got new glasses and prescriptions.
And here's a picture of our dinner.
That's right, it does look like funeral fare!
Our eldest daughter was being very specific about her desires for her funeral. So, we held a plan your own funeral Family Home Evening, and enjoyed funeral potatoes, ham, and green jello for our exciting funeral themed evening. And we bought a fire chest, and planned our funeral services. Yeah, a bit morbid but prepared.
Both of our girls participated in, and received Superiors for flute solos at Solo and Ensemble in February.
During spring break (when it was beautiful and in the 80's and perfect beach weather) we headed North. And once again realized, we REALLY don't like the cold.
We spent time with my brother's sweet family. (So sweet that we didn't even take a photo with them - what is wrong with us!?)
We spent two days visiting sites in Washington DC.
Here are the girls enjoying the azalea installation at the National Art Gallery (my pick)
It was so incredibly beautiful!
On our way to the science museum, we discovered an outdoor ice skating rink. It may have been the girl's favorite. They were even nice to each other. And this photo is definitely for posterity's sake.
We visited the National Archives. There we saw the Declaration of Independence, and Bill of Rights. But we have no proof. They wouldn't let us take photos.
We also visited the Washington Monument, and the Lincoln Memorial. All in all, we walked back and forth, totalling 7 miles that day.
Outside her future home:
Lunch in the park. And no, the boots, hats, and cute scarves were not fashion accessories
Thanks to some food recommendations from my sister and her husband (foodies), we had an early dinner at Old Ebbit's Grill - right across from the White House. It was a fun venue (we were in the courtyard), and the food was great. We were very glad we'd gotten there at 5 because there was a huge line out the door by the time we left!
After spending some time touring "Dutch" country, we decided to take advantage of my brother living so close to the Canadian border, (6 hours is close right?) and we all drove up to Niagra Falls.
My brother has some great tips on how to cross over, and return to the US with a family van full of people, and no passports for anyone, but he will have to tell that story.
We were thrilled that they could see the falls with us despite not having their passports.
On our way back to my brother's home, we drove through New York, and stopped in Palmayra.
We spent some time at the Sacred Grove - the area where Joseph Smith went to the woods to pray, to ask which church to join. There he had a vision, and God the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ, appeared to Joseph. From this experience and others, he was called as a prophet of God, and the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored to the earth.
We also visited the hill Cumorah, where Joseph had been directed by an angel, and where he found golden plates which contained a history of the people and prophets who lived on the American Continent, with records dating back to 600 BC. Joseph later translated these records, and it was published as the Book Of Mormon, another Testament of Jesus Christ.
Finally, just before leaving, we were able to visit the Washington DC Temple, which is known for it's beauty.
We got home and celebrated Easter
Our traditional Ukranian Eggs decorating - some of this year's creations:
Our eldest daughter competed at State Solo and Ensemble, and received a Superior
Here she is with her phenomenal accompianist, my friend Lorette.
Lorette is pretty amazing. She put together the piano part in a day, but it would have taken me a full month of heavy practice. She recently moved into a new house and she has single handedly painted the entire thing - huge ceilings and all. I've been amazed. I showed her several faux tecnhiques, and helped her paint a wall in her entry. I came away inspired, that I too could paint my house, and I finally hit the emotional point where I was able to tackle such a project. So...for several recent weeks, these have been my projects.
Bedroom accent wall - copper penny, faux leather (plastic sheet) and sponge (filler). This was after the first time when I ragged it, but we decided that we didn't like it very much.
I also stained the chest, and the bed.
Then, I repainted, and ragged the walls again, since I didn't like how they had previously turned out.
At the end of the day, the copper wall received 5 coats of paint!
We wanted a terra cotta/spanish feel, and so I also pulled out a Guatemalan bedspread, and pained the quilt rack blue and added some bright blue accents.
Our daughter had a birthday - she postponed it so friends could come, and then the day of, only two showed up. She was pretty bummed, but had fun with those who came.
She gave me a months notice when she requested this cake.
I got to spend a fun day with these two special ladies - my counselors in the primary presidency. We started our day out with breakfast at the new Beauty and the Beast castle. It was pretty amazing. Our food just magically appeared!
And, we found some beautiful tiaras :)
Old friends came to town, and we enjoyed catching up with them at Universal City Walk
I tackled painting (and finally digging through the old boxes and pulling out pictures and decorations) our family room. Bringing it from nasty dingy brown to a bright creamy yellow.
And I had another birthday. My sweet husband made me breakfast (with Mangoes!) and decorated the room with yellow streamers, and balloons painted like bees since he gave me a beehive for my birthday.
We celebrated Mother's day this past week - so grateful for these two girls who made me a mother, and this past week has been "concert week". We've had a lot of school end of the year concerts.
And, we've battled two bouts of a cold (or something more sinister, we just chose not to go to the doctor).