Thursday, August 22, 2013

The House That Built Me

My Mom recently sold and moved out of the house we grew up in last November. At the time, I couldn't say that I was sad. I couldn't say that I felt anything really. My Mom was obviously distraught having to leave her home where she raised her children, and created so many memories. I on the other hand, was glad to see it go. 

I couldn't think of any positive feelings I had felt there. 

"Get rid of it", I thought. 

So many tragic and terrifying things happened there. So many horrible memories surfaced anytime I thought of that house. I never felt safe there; as much as I know my Mother tried, it was just haunted by it's past. I could never shake that eerie feeling I had felt ever since I was young.

So, because I was so clouded by the bad, I never remembered the good. 

Until this week, when Matt and I drove past it to see what it looked like. 

The buyer who first obtained the house from my Mom, was a "house flipper" which basically means they gut older houses and remodel them completely. We knew this, and we were all a little anxious and excited to know the house would be getting a much needed facelift. 

As we pulled up, within what felt like seconds, I found myself standing on that front porch, knocking on the door with my little family, asking the new owner if we could come in. 

That porch, where we put all of our jack o' lanterns out for Halloween.

The porch, where we would sit and talk sometimes.

The porch where my brothers and I got locked outside, because we forgot our keys. 

As the new owner welcomed us in, I instantly felt a new and fresh spirit there. I mean, I started to shake as he took us from room to room. With each new discovery, the bad memories drifted away like ambers in a fire. 

Happy memories flooded my mind. I was recalling every memory as it came to me, with each new part of the house we saw.  

That old brick wall, where our stockings were hung each Christmas. 
The fireplace glass I colored on with crayons that left a waxy residue behind.
My first, very own bedroom.
The hallway where we would play 'hide and seek' with Lady, our childhood dog.
The kitchen, where we surprised my Mom with a brand new dining table.
The basement, where I would play 'guns' with my brothers, and watch them play Final Fantasy. 
Playing in that old white car parked on cinderblocks in the backyard. 
The front yard where we took family pictures when my brothers left on missions. 
The makeshift bedroom that my Dad built, where Aaron and I had late night conversations about life. 
The broken garage door, that I drove my car into when I was 18. 
Falling asleep to the sound of the washer and dryer by my room. I knew that if it was starting, my Mom was still awake. And if she was still awake, it meant that nothing could harm me and I was safe. 
Back patio sleepovers with my friends.

The new owner would get increasingly excited to show us more, as he saw my excitement with each new change. I was able to give him a glimpse of what the house looked like before the remodel, and where things used to be. The old and the new, meeting face to face. 

It was perfect.

It was just what I needed. 

It was closure on the past. I finally let go of that chapter to my life, without even realizing how badly I needed to do so. 

It was my house, but it was the better version of it. The version I think we always saw in it. It had reached it's potential, and I couldn't have been more pleased with the outcome. 

It has new owners now. New memories to create with them. They will go to my park that I grew up going to. They will make fires on cold nights in that old brick fireplace. They will have BBQs and sleepovers on the back patio. They will take family pictures in the front yard under the large oak tree. They will love it, just like I do now.

This song really does describe my thoughts that I have been feeling. That house on 8640 South truly did build me. I am thankful to that house, for teaching me so much and showing me how truly beautiful it always was. 

"The House That Built Me" by Miranda Lambert

I know they say you cant go home again. 
I just had to come back one last time. 
Ma'am I know you don't know me from Adam. 
But these handprints on the front steps are mine. 
And up those stairs, in that little back bedroom 
is where I did my homework and I learned to play guitar. 
And I bet you didn't know under that live oak 
my favorite dog is buried in the yard. 

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it 
this brokenness inside me might start healing. 
Out here its like I'm someone else, 
I thought that maybe I could find myself 
if I could just come in I swear I'll leave. 
Won't take nothing but a memory 
from the house that built me. 

Mama cut out pictures of houses for years. 
From 'Better Homes and Garden' magazines. 
Plans were drawn, concrete poured, 
and nail by nail and board by board 
Daddy gave life to mama's dream. 

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it 
this brokenness inside me might start healing. 
Out here its like I'm someone else, 
I thought that maybe I could find myself. 
If I could just come in I swear I'll leave. 
Won't take nothing but a memory 
from the house that built me. 

You leave home, you move on and you do the best you can. 
I got lost in this whole world and forgot who I am. 

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it 
this brokenness inside me might start healing. 
Out here its like I'm someone else, 
I thought that maybe I could find myself. 
If I could walk around I swear I'll leave. 
Won't take nothing but a memory 
from the house that built me.

What happy memories do you have of our house? Please share any that come to mind, so that we can reminisce together.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Matty and Emma

The day Emma was born, Matty looked at me and said, "Thanks for giving me my best friend, Rach". 

She's now 2 1/2, and that statement is more true than I could have ever imagined.

My Emma. She is silly. She is a complete goofball and will do the funniest things to get your attention. She has a wild imagination. If she notices she did something to make you laugh, she will do it over and over again, just to get more giggles. She secretly loves a big audience. She makes friends instantly by walking up to strangers and sitting next to them. She is a daredevil. She gets distracted easily. She likes to take her time. She is an observer of the world around her.

Matty. See Above.

Matt's parents can probably attest that Emma's attributes are a direct DNA match to him. They literally are best friends.

The other day as we were driving, she was pretending to reach for the door and right as she would touch it, she would fake giggle. Then, when she noticed Matt looking back to see what she was doing, she kept doing it, only with more gusto and effort, and MORE fake laughter. 

I slapped my hand to my forehead, and sighed... "We've created another Matt." 

We both just laughed, and Matt said, "I'm sorry, you're going to have two of us now."

When he said they were going to be best friends, he was right. They are best friends. They understand each other. They can be silly together without care of who is watching. I laugh just thinking about my future with these two characters. Oh man, am I in for a lifetime of laughter and silly antics!

BFF for life!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Jessica is 9!

Happy Birthday Miss Jessica!! 

Last wednesday we went to Jessica's 9th birthday party. 9!!! Holy crap, I can't believe she's 9. 

I was able to check another Mommy accomplishment off my list: Taking the girls by myself to a swimming pool and leaving there without incident. 

Luckily for me three things came in handy:

Emma's life jacket floaty thing
The kid pool that was the same depth without another pool in sight
Grandma :)

The party was during the day, so Matt was working and couldn't make it. Emma LOVED the water and so did Charly. They both didn't want to leave! It was so much fun. I love spending time with family, and I LOVE seeing my girls have fun. Success!! We love you Jessica!

As Destiny's Child would say, "I'm A SURVIVOR!!"



I've lived in Utah most of my life. The mountains are magnificent, but have always been the backdrop of scenery for me. I have never known anything different. I definitely have not taken advantage of our mountains, so Matt and I have decided to change that!

Every weekend, we want to go on  a new family-friendly hike that we have never been on before. We also plan to take vacations to places close to us, like Moab, while we are here in Utah. It's only a few hours away, and one of the top visited places in the world! We've got some fun vacations ahead!

Last weekend, we hiked up to Rocky Mouth Falls. It's right off of Wasatch Blvd and only a 20-30 minute hike up to the waterfall. The falls weren't so huge considering it was July, but Emma and Charlotte LOVED being in nature. We took some great pictures, too. 

Next weekend we will be discovering Secret Lake up Little Cottonwood Canyon! All I did was google "family friendly hikes in Utah" and it came back with about 7 hikes we could do. So exciting!! Yay for new adventures!!

Until next week!!

The "hiking" Twistles


Before kids, I viewed Sundays as a day to be refreshed by the spirit after a long week. I so looked forward to learning something new, and feeling my testimony grow. It was a day of total relaxation from the world. I could go to church, come home and take a nap, eat some food, go for a walk through Liberty Park and come home in time to read a good book. 

After kids, I feel like I should achieve a huge reward just for getting to church, and if I'm ON TIME, I should receive a big fudge brownie when I walk through the doors. 

It is much more of a challenge to get to church with kids. The whole morning is full of diapers, dresses, and making sure we have provisions for the diaper bag. Provisions meaning, snacks, toys, books, Emma's puppy, crayons, coloring books, etc. On many occasions we have packed the crayons and not the coloring book, and oh what a fiasco that has been! Lesson learned, Do NOT pack one without the other. I feel sometimes as though we are packing for a weekend vacation when we are only gone for 3 hours.

I think though, that having kids and getting to church is obviously a bigger challenge, but the spiritual reward is still so worth it. 

I was reminded today by my loving Heavenly Father, of just how beautiful and perfect the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is. I walk through those doors, and I still feel home. It's been 5 years since I became active in the church again, and I still feel the spirit burning inside of me as strong as I did the first day I returned to church; I was sitting in the pews with my brother and his sweet wife and their little Tristan. I couldn't stop crying because the spirit was so powerful and so overwhelming.  

My conviction of the gospel is so strong, and it overwhelms my entire being when I think of how grateful I am for the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It scares me to think where my life would be today if it weren't for the Atonement.

In Relief Society today, our lesson was about Faithful, Energtetic service in God's Kingdom. President Lorenzo Snow said, 

"Knowing our religion to be true, we ought to be the most devoted people on the face of the earth to the cause we have embraced."

I thought that was a good thought to ponder on. Being a member of Christ's true church, I should be more devoted to doing His work than any other religion. I have truly embraced this life that I have chosen. It is not easy. I still struggle with many of my old addictions from the past. I still think about how much money I had, and how many nice things I owned while I was inactive. But those things only made me happy for a season. In the end, I didn't walk away from that life with any of those things. 

I feel strongly that Heavenly Father is preparing me little by little to do a great work. Matt and I both know that there is work for us to do. I think of our future and feel assured by the Spirit each time that we are on the right path. We have much to do. Though we may not know how we will accomplish it right now, we know without a doubt that God will provide a way for us to get to where we need to be. I feel ready to move on to a new chapter in our lives, and as Christ once said, "Do the work of Him who has sent me." 

I love, love, LOVE this church. It is true. It is full of light and joy. It brings hope. It is an overwhelming testament of God's love for us; that He will never leave us comfortless, He will always come to us (John 14:18)

Have a wonderful Sunday, and if you got to church today with kids in tow cleaned and ready, make yourself a fudge brownie and pat yourself on the back! You freakin' deserve it.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Lava Hot Springs

Us Esau's have a family camping trip each year in July. In the past, we have gone to Bear Lake (which I LOVE), but in recent years the water has been too high to enjoy it. Last year my family tried a new location, Lava Hot Springs. We were in Illinois for the trip last year, so we didn't experience all the crazy fun they had. 

This year, we didn't miss it, and had a great time! Emma loves her cousins and was beside herself when she realized she could play with ALL of them ALL day. 

Both girls did surprisingly well sleeping at night in the tent. I did catch Emma sleepwalking one night, which was so crazy. She was crouching on the side of the pack n' play just staring at it. Then I saw her get up, and jump into her sleeping bag and pull the covers over her. Then she was out. That girl, she is too funny. 

We went to the pool on Saturday, where they had an amazing splash area for toddlers. Emma would have stayed there all day. It was so much fun. Poor Matt had to stay out of the water because he couldn't get his incisions submerged, but he was a great sport and played with Charlotte in the shade. 

Sunday we packed up and headed to the river where we rented tubes and had a BBQ. Some of us were lucky enough to ride the river once before a heavy thunderstorm blew in and ended our river fun. We were going to wait it out, but the girls were so sleepy and after an hour of rain, it hadn't let up at all. Kind of a bummer, but it was still a good time with family. 

I got some great pictures this year, and I am so glad we were able to spend time with family. My girls have the BEST Aunts and Uncles in the world, and I feel so lucky that they will be able to bond with them as they grow up. 

Great time family! Love you!!

Soda Springs Geyser, waiting.

Emma LOVED the river. She keeps asking me if we can ride the bumpy river with waterfalls again!

waiting for the storm to pass...

Jessica is such a good mommy cousin :D

These two. They hung out a lot!

Making us some breakfast!!!

Twins... I mean mother/daughter

Mitch got cornered by Zurie!

Emma wanted me to go down the slide with her for the first time; after that she instructed me to, "stay here Mommy, stay." She happily went down all by herself after that! 

Apparently these two like to feed each other, it seems to happen every time they are together!

Smiley Ben 
Matty and me <3

Such a poser this girl!!

Can't wait until next year! Yay for successful camping trips!!

The Twistles