Saturday, April 30, 2016

Childhood Home

Though we knew it was likely to happen, I have been feeling sad the last several weeks after getting the news that my parents were definitely moving. We moved here when I was eleven, so I have so many fond memories of this home. 
Ryan and I have moved a lot. We've been in apartments that I mostly hated for the entire year, and when we finally move I still feel sad about leaving. So leaving this home makes me just ache.

We said it couldn't be done. I was very skeptical about being able to get everything out on time, but alas, we did it! There were SO many people who have gone out of their way and spent countless hours helping my parents in so many ways. I am completely blown away at the generosity of friends, family, neighbors, ward members, gym members, preschool moms, taylor's school friends and sports teams, etc. Not counting packing, it took six full days to move everything out of there. 

Danika, Mom, Taylor, Brittney, Hannah

I have so many great memories of every room, but here are just a few a lot of my favorite places and spaces with a few of my favorite memories.

The Front Entryway: It's even more beautiful in person. We took many pictures here for school dances, weddings, family photos, and just every day life. 

I tossed my wedding bouquet off of the staircase, then Ryan and I ran off for our honeymoon.

The Family Room: We always ate Thanksgiving dinner in this room and used it as a gathering place for family news, family home evenings, and even piano recitals. Dallin was known for lifting up the grand piano's lid and banging out Rachmaninoff, no matter what hour it was. I remember, after hearing Prelude in C Sharp Minor for the 1000th time, I couldn't take it anymore, so I went outside but to no avail. I could still hear that piano going. 

The Pee Room: When we first moved here, the carpet in this room was stained with animal pee from corner to corner and smelled like a giant litter box. My parents replaced the carpet, but the name stuck and is still used to this day. A few months after the carpet was replaced, my best friend and I pleaded with my dad to let me use this storage room as a bedroom so I could have my very own. We painted it light purple ourselves and were to happy to have a secret place to retreat to for chit-chatting.

The Alcove: Every morning before school, we would be rounded up and gathered into this alcove area for family scripture and prayer. I can still hear little Dallin's sleepy voice reciting the same prayer he always said when he was so tired.

My Room: At fourteen, after Katelyn moved out, I moved from the pee room into this room and stayed until I left for college. While in high school, my dad would often come up and rub my feet to wake me up so I could get to school.

The Make Out Closet: I first asked my dad to let me use this as my room when I was determined to have my very own haha. It remained a storage closet, but Brooklyn and I would often take our barbies in there to play. We jokingly call it 'the makeout closet' though I don't know that anyone has ever actually taken advantage of the name. ;)

Bathroom: Brooklyn and I stayed up late so many nights talking in this bathroom while getting ready for bed. I used to be really scared of the dark (okay, maybe I still am a little), and so I would always wake Brooklyn to come with me if I had to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. One night, as I was washing my hands, I noticed a tiny little spider on my arm. I squealed for Brooklyn to get it off, only to find another one on my other arm. Suddenly I saw spiders all over my arms and we looked up to see a big nest of spiders on the ceiling. I nearly died and made Brooklyn sleep in bed with me. It was about two years before I went into that bathroom again...not an exaggeration.

Brooklyn's Room: One year, in high school, Danika and John lived with us for about a month and stayed in my room, so I slept in Brooklyn's room while they were there. If I tallied up how many nights I slept in my bed versus Brooklyn's bed, her bed would probably win. One night after one brutal finals week during high school, Brooklyn and I laid in her bed well past midnight and sang Disney songs at the top of our lungs because we were just so excited to be done with classes for the semester.

Also, this was Aubrey's room before it was Brooklyn's (we did a lot of moving around here), and Katelyn and I started doing our "Brand Sisters" routine every night as soon as Aubrey was in bed. I don't know how much Aubrey enjoyed it, but Katelyn and I made sure to never miss a night!

The Storage/Sewing Room: One Christmas, Brooklyn and I decided we wanted to make a quilt for our parents' bed. We hadn't really attempted much sewing before this, so we spent hours and hours in here cutting and sewing fabric pieces and arguing over everything. We kept it a secret and then presented it to our parents for Christmas. Brooklyn has it now, and we both laugh at how hideous it looks haha!

The Creative Memories Room: My mom set up shop here with all of her scrap booking supplies, and so if we ever wondered where she was, we always knew to check this room. This is the birth place of "bracita" and many great conversations including 'The Talk', and other similar topics.

The Room Without a Name: When we first moved here, this room had wallpaper around the top with ducks on it, so we used to be able to single it out that way. But those heinous ducks were stripped down pretty darn quick. Many different people have moved in and out of this room so now we don't really know what to call it. Ryan and I lived here for the summer after we were married. I slept in late and lazed about while I was pregnant with Norah. 

The Laundry Room: Besides it's strange placement in the house, this is a fabulous laundry room. It made a great place for quick outfit changes, snack sneaking/hiding, and secret & stolen kisses. Though we always rushed to slam the door closed if anyone came to the door who we wanted to impress, because with so many people living at the house, you better believe the laundry pileup was ceiling high.

The Living Room: With air hockey, ping pong, foosball, and a pool table, we had many parties in this room. Ryan and I had our wedding reception here and danced for the first time as husband and wife. 

So many days after school, I would come home and lay on the carpet in the sunshine from the big windows. 

The Kitchen: One of my favorite memories of the kitchen is when I was about fourteen. We knew that my dad had received bad news, but didn't know the extent of it. So Katelyn huddled us all up in here and we made a plan to clean the entire house while our parents were out. When they came home, they said that my dad's mom had died. Though it's a sad memory, I love remembering how Katelyn initiated the clean-up with high-fives and music. 

The Basement/School Room: This was a terribly scary place before my dad remodeled it. With linoleum floors, dim lighting, and spiders lurking in every corner, I always had to have someone go down with me to grab any food storage item. 

When my dad was remodeling, I remember that he was exhausted, overwhelmed, and already so busy. He received a lot of help from ward members and friends, but had done a great portion of it all on his own. Aubrey and I decided that we were going to help him one night. So after everyone was in bed, we snuck down and painted as much as we could. The next morning I was so excited to see my dad's reaction when he saw that his paint job was nearly finished. I don't know if he actually thought we did a great job, but his reaction was shock and appreciation, making it so worth it. 

I helped in the school room for spurts of time all growing up, but after Norah was born, I worked for my mom for almost a whole school year. 

The Back Patio: We tried to eat outside as much as we could during the summer months. My dad grilled up a mean hamburger and we would pull out tarps for a slip and slide down the hill. When my grandma lived with us, she would bring out a little candle thing to keep the mosquitos away so we could sit and chat until after dark.

The Fruit Trees: When I was pregnant with Norah and we were living with my parents, I came down here every morning towards the end of the summer and pick as many peaches as I could carry to take back up to the house and eat for breakfast.

The Backyard and Jungle Gym: I have so many great memories of the jungle gym. We created "groundies" as little kids, and it was there ever since I can remember, which is an indication of how long we've had it. We used to bring blankets and snacks out to make forts and play 'house' and sometimes slept outside on the trampoline. We hosted night games with the neighborhood kids and spent a lot of time worrying about stepping in dog poop.

I loved doting on Taylor and playing with him as a little boy. One day, I thought it would be a good idea to hoist him at the top of the swing set (??). Well, of course he fell off and I screamed and cried because I thought he had surely broken something. Luckily, he wasn't hurt, but I sure learned my lesson. 

Dallin loved mowing the lawn when we got a riding lawn mower. There used to be a well partway down the hill, but after he accidentally rammed into it while mowing, it had to be removed.

The Garden: My mom was always trying to think of incentives for us to go out and weed the garden. Being able to harvest tomatoes was incentive enough for me. I always loved sitting down as a family during spring time and making a plan for a garden during the summer.

The Field Behind the House: Dallin and Taylor had saved up their money for so long in order to buy a four wheeler. When they finally had enough, they would often take it back to the field and drive around. Taylor took me one day and we came back dusty from head to toe.

The Fire 'Pit': Brooklyn's and my group of friends all came over one summer evening and we made a campfire and played games. I belly laughed so hard all night. We put up tents and camped out down here. 

The Flat Roof: If you climb out of the bathroom window by Brooklyn's room, there is a ledge you can put a chair or a ladder to climb on top of the roof. We climbed up there all the time, but quickly learned that we would get in big trouble if we did, so we always did it secretly. I remember after climbing up there one day as a twelve-year-old, I could hear my mom calling my name from outside. I was terrified that I would get in trouble, so I jumped back down and hid in the pee room with the light off. I didn't fool her though. I just wanted to melt away when she flung the door open and turned on the light.

The Tree Swing: Just before moving here, I was playing with some friends on the tree swing. As I swung high to one end, the rope suddenly broke and I fell to the ground, right on my tail bone. If that wasn't a hint to lay off the cookies, then I don't know what it was. We always dreamed of building a tree house up there, but never got past a few stepping boards on the trunk. 

The Front Lawn: One summer, after the grass grew long, my dad mowed trails in the lawn and we played maze tag. He was always so active with us.

The Driveway: There were many bumps and pot holes in the driveway, so my dad decided to repave it with asphalt. Dallin, of course, wanted to be right there helping, so they spent hours and hours laying the asphalt and smoothing it out. The same night it was finished, it *poured* rain. I remember feeling knots in my stomach after thinking that all of their hard work was literally being washed away. Dallin loved doing hard work outside alongside my dad.

Every last room was emptied and cleaned yesterday, so everyone who was there gathered in the kitchen for one last hoorah. We toasted with Martinelli's and lingered as long as possible before locking up.

Brother Gunther, my parents' neighbor, has literally been an answer to their prayers. He has bent over backwards for them and really treated them like his own kids.

My parents are so excited to start a new era and have this house removed from their shoulders. 

Just before leaving, my mom checked the mail one last time and found a package that Katelyn had sent. It made my mom cry:

Just theee most adorable house cookies. And they tasted delicious too!

Norah didn't want to leave the house. That's exactly how I felt.

After everyone else had driven away, I let the girls play on the jungle gym one last time before leaving. 

What a beautiful, lovely childhood I had.


  1. AHHH! That was so good! The Pee room....hahaha. I think about that place all the time. The convincing, the work, the PRIVACY ;) great. I loved reading this. It's so hard to leave places like that. So sad, but how exciting for your parents. And sweet Katelyn. I love her, and all of you guys. What a beautiful home. I'm so glad you all had so much help and are done now. I bet that was a TON of work!
    Ps. I loved that story of making the quilt. And of all the sweet surprises you were apart of to help and serve others in your family. You're a great, great woman Hannah. Always have been. I love ya!

  2. Oh my goodness. What a sweet tribute! It was a beautiful house, and it housed a wonderful family. So hard to let go! I wish I would have done something like this for the childhood home I grew up in.