It’s been two full weeks without internet access. Talk about a test of patience! No email, no blogs, no online shopping (that was the worst this time of year), no google maps, weather updates or CNN political ticker. I wasn’t sure I would last another day. Finally! The guy from Comcast arrived in his truck wearing boots and a hooded fur coat like Santa on his sleigh! Three hours later and a shimmy up the telephone pole (so he told me) – and we were online! Phone (unlimited long distance – hurrah!) and 8 mgs/second of high speed internet. Hallelujah!!!
So we are settling in. Slowly. Still in boxes. (I’m averaging half a box a day lately.) Not too many more to go. All three girls had a nice bout of the flu soon after arriving and we currently have Eliza quarantined from the twins as she has had a fever for three days and is battling a respiratory sytem virus (RSV). I guess part of Utah’s gift to us is an introduction to all her viral strains before the year-end. Eliza has been miserable and I can’t stand seeing her so sick.
But our home is lovely and we have been warmly welcomed to the neighborhood. We learned from the neighbors that it has been affectionately called the “Pine Tree Neighborhood” since the 1960’s because of a looming 3-story white pine with a round-about that centers the streets of our little community.
We’ve had neighbors knock on our door, bearing gifts with a very genuine welcome. Everyone has been so friendly. Many people at church (which is in walking distance!) said they had been expecting us and knew our names. The Bishop of our new ward is just a bit older than us. He and his darling family live just down the street. He came to visit our second Sunday, then invited us over for dessert and a nativity re-enactment for the kids, genuinely reaching out, introducing us to other young families in the neighborhood.
An older fellow from church knocked on our door the day of the first snowstorm. It was still snowing, he had his snowblower in tow behind his Bronco, and while handing me a home-crafted plastic-spouted container of de-icer said, “I always like to welcome the new neighbors with de-icer. You’ll need it – and it won’t eat up your sidewalk like rock salt.” And with a wave, he was off. It was the sweetest gesture. I suspect he had probably been out snow-blowing some widow’s driveway.
The movers arrived at our new home the first week of December. Not much to look at from this angle.
The first neighborhood activity we attended was the annual “Pine Tree Christmas Celebration”. It has been held yearly since 1963. The streets around the pine tree were blocked off. Two big bonfires were lit on the street. Several tables were stocked with doughnuts and hot chocolate. And Santa was situated on a white bench in front of the pine tree (wearing an earpiece so he could be clued in remotely as to each child’s name and their Christmas wish). It was a hit with our family! And seemed rather magical that night, as it was lightly snowing, and everyone was so friendly and fun to visit with.
Eliza walking home from the Pine Tree Celebration. You can vaguely see the lit pine tree in the background.
It took one good snow for me to realize we were sorely ill-equipped as a family when it came to snow gear. Virginia mad me a little soft, I must admit. (I’ll have to get over that). We haven’t ventured out into the snow too much, but couldn’t resist snow angels once we had boots, hats, mittens, and warm coats. Above is Eliza playing in the snow. She loved helping Doug shovel the walks. (He’s a purist you know – I doubt he’ll ever buy a snow blower). And we’re expecting 8-12 inches tomorrow!
This is the view of Mt. Olympus from the front of our house. From our driveway you can see some of my favorite peaks along the Wasatch Front. Little Mountain, Grandeur, Olympus and Lone Peak. The mountains make me happy.
I find myself mourning a bit every day for Virginia, our friends there, and holiday traditions like the National Christmas Tree, and the Holiday Sing-Along at Wolftrap. But I am finding great joy in family here, and I love seeing my girls scream with delight when I tell them we’re going to visit one of their Grandmas.
It’s been great to see old friends. One of our dearest friends, Kara, stocked our fridge, brought us dinner, loaned us some extra furniture, helped me unpack boxes, and watched the girls so we could make some significant headway in the “moving in” process. She has been heaven-sent.
So – without exhausting the keyboard any longer, I will just say – we have been abundantly blessed. I believe time will continue settle our minds and hearts upon a knowledge that we are in the right place at the right time.
My Mom is finishing her third round of chemo tonight and we are happy she will be past the nausea for Christmas festivities. After a couple weeks of waiting for her platelet count to rise, she is back on the treatment cycle. She continues to amaze us.
If I don’t get a chance to post anything before the 25th – Merry Christmas dear friends! We love all of you! Although I haven’t got our Christmas card out (look for something around Valentine’s Day) and I ran out of minutes on my cell phone, and we didn’t have email access – you have definitely been on our mind and in our hearts. I love that this time of year prompts us to remember the truth, love and relationships we cherish. We are so grateful for each of you and the impact you continue to have on us and our girls. Merry, Merry Christmas!