...and they all lived happily ever after...

...and they all lived happily ever after...

Monday, July 11, 2016

When plumbing problems are an answer to prayers

Yeah, that title seems unlikely, right.  But hear me out.

Once upon a time last December, I got a new full time job.  This was a HUGE blessing to our family financially, but it also put a strain on my available time for household chores and the like (good thing I have slowly tempered my perfectionist cleaning tendencies over the years).  I simply didn't have as much time available as I used to have.  Now, it worked out ok because all of the kids were in school so no one was ignored or left to their own devices and I could work from home while they were learning at school, but it did mean that it was harder to fit in all the daily family tasks that needed to be done.

  One of my major concerns was our water.  You see, since we moved into this house 14 years ago, we have had big headaches with our water pressure.  I imagine that most people don't think twice about water pressure, but I promise, if it is bad, you think about it A LOT!  I knew that come summer I would be strained beyond belief to work full time each day while managing a house full of kids (although I would have Josh there to help) and also completing the laundry and dishes and cleaning and watering.  We already faced those sitcom-esque scenerios where only one person can shower at a time or else the water barely dribbles out the faucet, or if someone flushed the toilet while you were washing your hands you had to wait a minute for things to even out before you could rinse.  You couldn't do laundry and wash dishes at the same time and heaven forbid you try to run a sprinkler while using water anywhere else in the house.  It really stunk (stank?).
In the summer, water becomes a big headache for me.  It took 6 spots at 30 minutes per spot to water our front lawn and 8 to do our back not including our parking strip and side yard or our flower and vegetable gardens.  Add to that the fact that you couldn't do laundry, dishes, or showers while also watering the yard and there is NO WAY you could water more than one spot at a time and suddenly water became an ordeal.  

I didn't know how it would all get done because my attention needed to be on work much of the time.  I didn't have enough hours in a day to play water fairy and also spend the time needed on my job.  I prayed and prayed that the Lord wold help something work out, but I couldn't see an answer that would alleviate the struggle.

Jump back to December.  We decided replace our nasty, old bathroom sink and cabinet thanks to a great deal we found.  It should have been a simple procedure, but it blossomed into a mess (which happens with plumbing in our house).  The pipes refused to go back together without leaking so after much effort and lots of complaining we called our friend who does plumbing to help us out (if you don't have a friend who does plumbing, you should get one).   

While our friend was helping us address the problems, he got a glimpse of our pitiful slobber of house water and on further inspection he found that someone had installed a thingy (yes, that's the technical term) that limits the pressure of the water to somehow benefit the pipes or something (whatever) .  And inspiration struck.  Our helper said, if we removed that thingy, which he assured us we didn't need, we would greatly improve our sad dribble of culinary water.

So I crossed my fingers and hoped.  

A few weeks ago, our plumbing friend came over and he and Josh spent several hours working to cut this big metal gadget out of the pipe and then mend the pipe and put everything back together.  It wasn't fun for them (and it blossomed into a mess again -- that happens with plumbing in our house).

But when they were done, we turned on the water and 

We turned on the shower, we turned on the sprinkler, we ran the kitchen sink. then we flushed the toilet for good measure and the water kept flowing just fine.

You should have seen our children dancing through the house as we celebrated our new found water gold mine (seriously, when a house full of sprites is thrilled with spurting liquid you know things have been rough).  It was a time of much rejoicing.

But here's the thing, if Josh had been able to put the plumbing together without incident in December we never would have called our ex-plumber pal.  If we had never called him, we would not have learned that we could fix a problem we had dealt with for 14 years.  And if we had not been able to correct that problem, my life would be an unmanageable mess of work and kids and water chores.  

But God knew what I needed.  So six months before the heat of summer hit, He set things in motion to open up a path for my benefit (read that as sanity).  

He cares enough about me to bless me with plumbing problems so that I could get the answer to my prayers. That's a pretty miraculous thing.

Friday, July 8, 2016

DeMoux ladies light up the stage (at least for me)


This is exciting news for me because I loooooooooove watching my girls perform with their musical theater group.

This group is an extension of their dance class, but it is my favorite.  I love watching my girls shine as they let their personalities come out in their performance.  I've reveled in the growth I have seen from the seats while Aubrey has stretched into a lively performer.  I am watching as her little sister is beginning the exact same journey.

I happily watch these kids share song and dance all over the Salt Lake Valley during the summer months.   I am grateful for the lessons my girls learn from the working side of the stage.

Let me show you what I mean.

This is the lovely back of a ladies head shot that I took while trying to
capture my girls.  I come home with these pretty regularly.
Ok, now for the real thing.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

A quick drive to Texas

This past weekend Josh and I took a drive.

We do that sometimes.  

But we don't usually drive 1200 miles each way.

So we thought we'd give that a try (aka, Josh's baby brother lives in Roanoke, Texas with his cute wife and family and they had a new baby and we wanted to meet her and since it was summer we could schlep off without disrupting life too much and leave the kids behind with grandma -- thanks a billion, Grandma -- and so we did!).

Quick selfie for starters and we're off!

You know you like each other when you can spend nine hours a day together in the car for multiple days and still get along.  Actually, I don't mind being trapped in a steel box with this guy for extended periods of time.

Stopped halfway in Albuquerque...I'll be honest, we didn't love it.  We had some NOT AWESOME experiences there and the hotel we chose (sorry, Howard Johnson Rio Rancho, but you really did stink it up) earned a very poor review from us, which takes some effort.

However, we did get to stop by the Albuquerque LDS temple and that was fabulous -- what a gorgeous place (although I think we made the security guard nervous when we wandered onto the grounds at 9:30 pm).

We went back to the hotel where I worked a bit and Josh colored (honestly, and let me tell you, he does a BeAuTiFuL job!).

Then it was back on the road the next morning.  We drove through the town of Moriarty and had to send pictures to our Sherlock obsessed oldest daughter.

And in Memphis (still in Texas, not Tennessee...I know I'm bad a geography, but for real, it was Memphis) we found this friend hangin' out with his horse inside the Sonic attached to the gas station with the one non-gender specific bathroom (BOOM, politically correct!).  Also the bathroom was filthy, but the clerk spoke with a delicious Southern accent so I was lulled into acceptance of the place.

But then there was the sky.

I could have taken 8,436 pictures of clouds.  The sky was on point that day.  Great job, Mother Nature!

Finally, we got to the Marriot where we stayed in Roanoke and it was GREAT (except for the part where a couple of dogs started barking on our floor at 11:30 one night and the front desk eventually had to call animal control to come deal with the issue because there were no humans in the rooms -- we apparently have great luck with hotels).  We got to watch fireworks out our BIG bay window one of the nights because the track across the street did a premature 4th of July display.  I give this place a thumbs up and 3/4.  

And best of all, we got to spend a couple of days with Josh's brother, Chris, and his family.  It was 
sooooooooooo much fun to play with our niece and nephew and hold our adorable new baby niece.  Three kids, and all awesome.  

We also got to have a personal tour of Chris and Tricia's lovely new house (guided by our four year old niece so we saw all the fancy stuff like closets and stairways).  These kids are the cutest things, no wonder we love them.

We weren't all the way ready for the humid heat of Texas (well, Josh was more ready than I was having lived in Chicago for two years).  It was hot.  Same temps we left in Utah, but Utah was gentle and inviting compared to this.  

I learned to breathe my water and quit fighting my hair (happy ponytailing for me) and then all was well.

We ate real Texas BBQ (which was fabulous), and ate real Texas candy (which was just like any other candy) and then we went to Buc-ee's.  

It's a gas station.  
But it is also an institution.

That place was something else.  
Seriously, I can't explain it to you if you haven't seen it for yourself.  

And, oddly, we learned that Josh has had a Buc-ees keychain on his keyring for YEARS.  It was a Christmas gift from Logan when Logan was in pre-school (the teachers must have bought keychains in bulk while in the Lone Star State, but we never knew there was a story behind this baby).  So without knowing it, our relationship with Buc-ee's goes waaaay back!

Then more dance parties with kiddos, food from a GREAT Italian place, and a beautiful baby blessing rounded out the adventure.  (I had to steal Tricia's picture from Facebook because the pictures we took are on Josh's phone and he isn't here and I keep forgetting to download them when he is around...that's how I roll).
Honestly, is there a cuter little family out there?
We miss seeing our DeMoux relatives as often as we would like, but it was wonderful to see them on their home turf.  All too soon, it was time to head back to Utah.

But there was plenty to see on the way back too.

One more hotel room (at the same rotten hotel in Albuquerque because I'm a pre-planner which backfired but good for me this time around)

Don't be fooled by its mild mannered look, this place is a super villain!
There was no hot water this night.  For real.  At all.  
There was also no real cold water.  

There was only water breathed on softly by a dragon so it was vaguely warm. (This is the part where I tell you the sad tale of a call to the front desk clerk who relayed the message that people were working on the plumbing earlier in the day, but no one is available to look into the issue now because they have all left and are unavailable and sorry, but you'll just have to deal with it.  Grrrr.  So we opted not to shower in the luke warm flow and took our stinky selves into their otherwise tidy lobby to smell up the place during breakfast the next morning because even the next day there was still no hot water.  We showed 'em! -- in reality we were just too tired and achy to shower in un-heated H2O.   It was a long drive home.) 

Josh's hair doing its thing in the absence of a shower.
 And these guys laughed at us when we hauled our stinky selves down to breakfast.  Jerks.

And then we got home and our kids came running to the car because they missed us (it was actually very sweet).  And we took a shower.

All in all, it was a great drive.
We'll have to do it again sometime.

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