Sunday, July 31, 2011

Don't eat at our house

Seriously.  Today was one of my worst cooking days ever.
We threw some ribs into the crockpot last night, and added some barbecue sauce - hoping for some nice barbecued ribs after church.

Because we don't know anyone here, we invited some new people over for dinner - they just moved in last night, so we figured they might be hungry.

The ribs cooked all night, and were ready when we got home from church today.  Sort of.  They got a little over cooked, and the sugar in the barbecue sauce had burned and gave it all a bitter taste.
To accompany the ribs, we made fake flakes (potatoes)  (because I found a box of them in our food storage and they needed to be used, and we liked them back when we bought them).  Once they were made, I found they were stale.  Our guests had just pulled up, and I didn't have time for a plan B.  I made gravy.

We found a box full of jello mixes yesterday - last night I made cherry jello with bananas and whipped cream - my grandmother's old standard.  There isn't a lot you can do to kill jello.  I was relieved that at least something might be edible. Fresh fruit, carrot sticks, and broccoli salad - pretty tough to kill as well.  I figured if we just stuck to the sides, we might make it through.  

I was pretty uncomfortable with the meal, but past the point of being able to do much more to salvage it, short of peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, and they had a peanut allergy.

As soon as we sat down to eat, our guests let us know that his father is a professional chef, 'no pressure they added'.

I was really embarrassed.  Really.  And uncomfortable.  

As we began to eat dinner, our guest's 3 year old began to eat.
He shoveled the meat into his mouth and to my horror - began to vomit.  Yes, at the table.  We all scattered while his parents both tried to catch it in their hands.

That's apparently what my food will do to you.

Okay.  Not really.
After throwing up, he began calmly (the only calm part) to eat again.
He merely said, 'I put too much into my mouth'.
Except, his parents were the only ones who actually understood what he said.  That's what THEY said he said.

I wonder if I should believe them?

Week 2 survival

Another week - another Sunday.
It seems like a lot has happened this week, but I honestly can't think what.

We entered phase 5 of the move this weekend.  At least that's what I'm calling it.
Phase 1 - pack.  2 into the trucks.  3 out of the trucks. 4 out of the boxes.  5 re-arrange everything that you thought you had in the right place.

That's right ladies and gentlemen - the sofa came from the family room into the front room.  The dining table went from the nook into the dining area, and the table from the dining area went into the nook.

All of the food storage that was in the garage (remember that stuff? - filled up the whole garage?)...well...we have a pretty big master bedroom.  One corner is now completely stacked to the ceiling with food storage.
We reverted to my husband's "distributed food storage plan".  He even has a nightstand made from food storage boxes.  I'll be doing some sewing quicker than I previously thought.  It works though.  Especially in Florida.  We do have to worry about hurricanes and the like here, and I'm glad to know we have what we may need should we ever have a problem.

So - the latest and greatest is that I got a calling at church today - actually 2.  Glad they are putting me to work.  I need some adult interaction during the week.

This week I got a new iphone.  2 days later I sent it back.  I found out a new one is coming out next month, so I thought I might as well wait for another month or so for the latest and greatest....
We tried out a new gymnastics gym.  Didn't like it.

Headed to the beach Friday night.  It was pretty heavenly.  We got there around 7, and stayed until 9.  Jumped waves, and played and played.  Watched the sunlight disappear.  It was so beautiful.  There were some sailboats just on the horizon, and the sun hit their sails illuminating them against the pink sky.  Pretty cool.

I found a cello teacher this week.  I'll start once the kids are back in school.  She's the principal cellist of a symphony - I'm really excited to meet her and make some personal progress.  I'm meeting on Tuesday with one of the high school teachers here - she's going to be teaching the strings program this year, and she'll be referring her students to me as a private teacher.

The girls begin piano lessons this week.  Their teacher graduated from Julliard, and got her masters from another pretty prestigious music school.  Can't wait to hear them working again on the piano.

My husband got his license this week, and finally - my biggest accomplishment  -  I think I can see my desk top!  What can I say?  It is the little things.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Beach!!!

So, we got up, took care of some chores, and headed to the beach yesterday.
Unfortunately, the camera was out of memory, and we just managed to eek out a few photos. I'm sure we'll have more to come. :)
When we got there, it had been raining so we had to wait a few minutes for the storm to clear.
It definitely cleared though. The kids didn't get sunburned, but my husband and I did. Despite lots of sunscreen.
I actually did pretty good. After an hour or so, I pulled out a floppy hat, and put on a shirt to help limit my exposure. I just forgot to hit my legs, and they got a little toasted.

We sort of took turns playing with our little one since she didn't like wave jumping, and the boogie board that we picked up in San Diego broke. My husband and oldest daughter went out snorkeling...she got hit by an unexpected wave and she lost her snorkel and goggles.
That water was like a bathtub - SO warm. It was all delicious.

After 3 hours, we decided it was probably time to go. My husband's back was getting a little toasty. It wasn't until we got home when we really saw the sunburns that we were grateful we'd left when we did.
I think we are all excited to go back. I'll be taking the kids several more times before school starts.
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Further documenting our odyssey, here's the big huge diesl moving truck that houses three grown men. It lived at our home from 6:45 am - 9:30 pm a couple of weeks ago.
I don't think that these movers will every forget us.

The surveyor did his initial appraisal of the weight of our move. He estimated us at 14,600 lbs. The movers saw all of our food storage and couldn't believe it. Then they say all of our books (slightly less than the food storage, but we definitely have at least a year's supply of books). After the movers moved all of the books and food storage from our basement, poor Joey volunteered to bring up all of the shelving - which was simply cinderblocks and planks of wood. Poor poor Joey.
The movers said we had at least 10,000 lbs that they moved from the basement.
Here's Joey's cache of cinderblocks on the front porch awaiting the truck.

Here are our movers at the end of the day. I can read minds and here, they are thinking, c'mon lady. We are SO tired of moving all of your junk, and still have to drive back to Denver and can only go 35 miles an hour, so, get your photo done cause I'm really tired and ready to go. They were very courteous and nice though, and did a great job.

In the end, the movers weighed in with all of our stuff at 19,600 lbs.
That's a lot of food storage!
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Kitty's last ride

Here are some of the most important photos from our move.
7 years ago, a black little kitty came to our home to join our family.
Our daughter INSISTED that we name her "Allengia". We had several family councils about the name, but to no avail...her name became Allengia. The rest of us mostly called her "kitty" was easier to pronounce and she recognized it.
Even though kitty was sometimes tempermental (especially during those cold snowy winter stir crazy months) she became an important part of our family. At the first opening of a can of tuna, there she would be, meowing right at your side. She learned from the girls that if she whined enough, she would almost always get what she she took to whining by the door to be let in or our.
She was a very polite kitty. She would wait to be let into the girl's room at night. Once you let her in or out, she always had a grateful 'meow' to say thank you.
She was also the mother of 11 little kittens...who we gave to other happy homes.

We were saddened to find that she couldn't make the trip with us to Florida. It almost broke a few girl's little hearts.
But then, our friend John did some painting for us while we were out of town, and kitty kept him company.
They bonded.
She would wait for him at the front door each day.
He would feed her yummy stuff she'd never dreamed of.
John is a cat spoiler, pamperer, & indulger. We were so thankful that we could send kitty to a new home where she would be loved.

We didn't take her for car rides very often, but here she is on her very last ride to her new home.

Here's kitty's new happy family. We've known these friends for almost 13 years. The latest report is that kitty is beginning to make herself at home. Though she shares the house with another cat Ephraim, they have settled into an avoidance routine which involves a little hissing and fur ruffling... We know she's definitely loved.
As for us...I'm still suffering from phantom kitty syndrome when I turn around and expect the kitty to be there. Maybe in a few years when we get another house...

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Day 5

Our cars came yesterday.  We pulled up our chairs on the back porch and watched the driver bring our cars down from the top of a semi toting 8 different cars.  Highly entertaining - who needs tv?

The kids tried out a new gymnastics gymn.  They didn't like the coach or the program.  It went from was REALLY long.  Afterwards, we grabbed something to eat and headed out to the airport to deposit our rented car.  Didn't get home til just before 11 pm.  Long night!

Got the phone service set up today...except I can't find the phones.  That's always fun!  Still searching for the kid's immunizations cause I put them in a 'special' place so that I wouldn't lose them.  That's how it goes I guess.
 Ready for another exciting new day!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Latest and greatest

We found a piano teacher - we will meet her tomorrow.  She studied at Julliard.  So great to hear my kids at the piano playing again.  They are getting ready to play for her tomorrow.

Cars should be here in 30 minutes or less.  It will be so nice to have wheels again - that are mine!
Possibly checking out a few gymnastics gymns this afternoon/evening.

Tomorrow meeting the piano teacher, getting a new license, registering to vote, & getting all of the kid's immunizations records transferred to the Florida forms so that we can register them for school.

Phew...I thought it would be easier on this end of things but my list seems to continue to grow!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sunday morning

Sunday is generally my posting day.  I should be getting ready for church, and will in a few moments.
I think I got the AC set now so that it isn't a freeze out for the family.
Yesterday afternoon I watched some lizards dancing on my back patio - scurrying about, trying to impress each other.
Friday night we hit Costco for some essentials, and last night we did our first cooking.  Homemade waffles for dinner (that's what the kids wanted).  They came out beautifully crisp - and quickly went soggy from the humidity.  It's gonna take some getting used to with this humidity.  I don't mind it, other than I'm trying to figure out why my windows are all completely wet in the mornings...and when it affects my cooking...and the sand in our kid's hourglass clumped together and stopped falling.  :)

We got more boxes unpacked yesterday, and I was able to finally clear off my kitchen counters (YAY).  We got many of the front room and office area wall hangings up, and some of the book boxes emptied into bookshelves, and most of my clothes are hanging up, but my husband's collection of tees, jeans, etc. is in a big  immovable box in the middle of our bedroom floor.

While gas may be a bit cheaper, milk, dairy, and most consumables are actually higher here.  We thought the cost of living would be cheaper, but it isn't!  Agh!

Anyways, I'm hoping to unearth the camera this afternoon and get some pictures up.  It seems like we have lots of kids in the neighborhood.  Our girls are trying to figure out how to meet other kids.  We are hoping that they can make some friends at church today.

Friday, July 15, 2011

We made it!

We finally made it on our big cross country move to Florida, and are here loving the heat.
Well...we are adjusting to it (first day), but it really isn't too bad.
The kids have their own rooms for the first time - one of them is having a tougher time in her own room tonight...we'll see if she makes it through the night (she's on our bed right now).
We just got the computer up and running, ran to the store for some staples, got people to bed, and I thought I'd at least let the world know that I am alive and still here.
I'll post some pics...once I find my camera :)

We got to our house this morning just as the moving van got here.
While we had a floorplan of the house and had a map of where everything needed to go, it just didn't work out quite that way, and there was a lot of trying to figure it out, and I'm sure most everything will end up in a different room eventually.

Anyways, we are back and we really have mostly made it through the past 2 whirlwind months.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Thank yous and a party

I should be in bed.  I should be shredding my bank statements, and lease agreements from 1998.  But my shredder overheated.
My computer will be packed in a big moving box tomorrow night.  I will have no internet come Friday.  I'm a little scared.  I'll be un-plugged for reals for like a week.
I might sneak into the library just to get an internet fix though.  We'll see if I can last.

I am so grateful for wonderful people.
On Monday, a friend showed up with lunch, and helped us pack all day.  Then his family fed us dinner, and we enjoyed fireworks with them.
On Tuesday, a neighbor stopped by to help out, and a friend brought us dinner.
Today, 3 ladies came by and helped me clean and pack my kitchen.  1 neighbor came by to help us out with some odd jobs, and another showed up, and mowed and trimmed our lawn.
After I picked the kids up from gymnastics, dinner had been left on our porch.

Thank you thank you thank you to all of our wonderful neighbors and friends!

Some ladies from church are throwing us a going away party Saturday at 6:00 at the church.  If you want to come and rob me because you know that I won't be there, you are welcome to.  The movers should have everything moved out by Friday night, and we won't be staying there. (That was just a friendly message to any perps that might be reading my blog...its late - what can I say?).
It sounds like a meat is provided, bring a sidedish/dessert potluck sort of a party.

You should come.  Even if you have to drive far.  Cause, Florida is WAY farther.  I promise.
I'm grateful for the ladies who are so giving of their time etc. to help us with this tough transition.  We've been really blessed.

Lastly.  We need to rent our house.  It isn't rented yet.  It is such a cute house.  The garden and fruit trees are going crazy (fruit on trees that have never bloomed until this year even).  We finished the landscaping.  Tomorrow we are getting 2 tons of rocks delivered to cover up the dirt where our friend just dug up all of the grass from today.  The sprinklers didn't have enough water pressure to keep it green so we are opting for rocks.  2500 sq feet, lots of storage, close to schools, bike paths, blm, and full of new carpet and paint.  What's NOT to like?  We'll be sad to leave.

I realize I'm rambling.  Back to the shredding.  Don't forget to come to our party - you are invited!!

Paint projects

On my before we leave to do list was to pick up some painted pottery projects.
We started these at the beginning of February. I thought it would be a great platter/gift for my mom's birthday (also in Feb.)
Unfortunately, I'm really a slow painter and it took about 4 sessions, and I just picked it up today. Happy belated b'day mom!

Here are the kid's masterpieces!

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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Back home

We are back home now, and really digging into the packing.  Argh... so not loving that.
I spent the entire day from 6:00 am - 1:00 am scanning music and getting wedding stuff ready for the month of July.  The good news is - all of my musicians have their music for the whole month, their checks will be sent out right after their gigs, and I found the sub that I was desperately, frantically seeking.  Phew.
My music is now all packed.  My closet is 95% finished, the study 65% finished, the bathrooms 97% finished (they just need to be cleaned), and we are making headway.

Tomorrow is the big packing day.  Moving trucks will show up at the end of the week.  Carpeting will be put in, and we will finish cleaning our home, and say goodbye.

By the way.  We did find a house...I forgot to finish my story.
We LOVED one of the houses we looked at.  It had a pool, a screened patio, garden space, and an AMAZING kitchen.  The other house was nice too, but it didn't have any of those things.  But it is in a neighborhood with some pretty amazing neighbors, and lots of kids.  And 1.4 miles from my husband's work, and .25 miles from the church.

We really prayed and struggled trying to decide which house we should rent.  While our first choice was the one with the pool and the amazing kitchen...when we prayed about it, we both felt inspired that we should choose the other home.  Guess I'm still working on trusting in the Lord, because that definitely wasn't my pick.  But, as we've continued to pray about other things concerning this move (and that house), I keep getting the answer that everything will work out, and that we just need to put our faith and trust in Heavenly Father and the answers that we've received.

Since it was pretty much a miracle that we found something to rent (2 homes actually - both of which weren't even listed), we are very grateful for the divine intervention that we've seen all along this journey.


After the funeral services and a great lunch with all of Grandpa Carl's descendents, we headed over to my parent's house to say goodbye to my siblings and their families as well.

Out of seven kids, I got to see all but one of them - that's pretty good odds - especially as 4 of us live out of state!
With my younger brother

We missed my other sister - she had to go to work before we thought of getting the camera out.
While it was a little wild and crazy, here are the rest of them/us.
(For the record - I am not showing off my guns....we have a family portrait from when we were younger, and my brother was visibly pinching me...I was just going for paybacks)

My grandparents

Little silly pants - wearing her uncle's super silly glasses.

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Just before we headed out to hunt for a home, we received the news that my husband's grandfather had passed away.
He lived a very full life and had just celebrated his 95th birthday.
He loved cookies.
Really loved them.
He was a precision machinist, a rock collector, polisher, and jewelry maker.
He was a wonderful man.
I'm so grateful for the legacy he carried on to his children, thus blessing my husband and our family.

Grandpa Carl

The great grandchildren were asked to sing at the funeral - they sang The Family is of God.
It's lyrics are:
1. Our Father has a family.
It’s me!It’s you, all others too: we are His children.
He sent each one of us to earth, through birth,
To live and learn here in fam’lies.
God gave us families to help us become what He wants us to be—
This is how He shares His love, for the fam’ly is of God.

2. A father’s place is to preside, provide,
To love and teach the gospel to his children.
A father leads in fam’ly prayer to share
Their love for Father in Heaven.
3. A mother’s purpose is to care, prepare,
To nurture and to strengthen all her children.
She teaches children to obey, to pray,
To love and serve in the fam’ly.
4. I’ll love and serve my family and be
A good example to each fam’ly member.
And when I am a mom or dad, so glad,
I’ll help my fam’ly remember:
God gave us families to help us become what He wants us to be—
This is how He shares His love,
for the fam’ly is of God.

by Matthew Neely

While we are sad to see grandpa go, we know how much he has missed Grandma Edla for the past year and a half, and we are so happy that they could be re-united once again.
We love and will miss you grandpa!

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Traveling 2

After 3 flights the next day, we got home. Stopped in and the girls said hello to the cat, my husband grabbed his jacket, and we headed out again. This time for a 6.5 hour drive. Yeah - we are seriously crazy!...we'd been up since 3:00 am
We saw lots of this:

And then were gifted some amazing sunsets as we drove west to our destination.

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Travel, Travel, Travel

We got home from the gymnastics meet around 12:00 am.
The next morning, we had a flight that left at 6:28 am. Here are the girls on their second super early morning. We had to be out the door by 5:15 again!

Just as we were fixing to take off....

This is the part where I talk about blessings.
As we've begun this whole new adventure, we have been immensely blessed.
It started out with months and months of my searching for and applying for jobs for my husband.
We went to South Carolina and he interviewed for a job which they offered to him. After the interview, my husband and I went to the temple, and as we prayed about that job, it just didn't feel right, or peaceful. As we prayed about it, we just didn't feel like this would be the right job for him, and the right place for our family.

The next week he interviewed for a job in Florida. From the very first phone call, this one just felt better.
After my husband interviewed, we fasted and prayed together as a family to know if he should accept the job if it was offered.
This experience has really provided some growth for our family - this is the first real family fast we've done together, and since it affects us all, it has been pretty important. As we talked about our impressions, and feelings after we'd fasted together, we all felt excited and peaceful about the decision.
When they offered the job, after some negotiation, we said yes.

I began spending hours online searching for housing.
Apparently, the majority of the homes in Florida for sale, are short sales or forclosures. As such, it takes on average 3-6 months to purchase a home. I stopped focusing on homes for sale, and started looking for rentals. Those options were pretty bleak. We had such a narrow list of homes to choose from. What to do?

As we traveled to Florida to house hunt, we started with a prayer as a family, and continued to ask for guidance and direction - asking for Heavenly Father's hellp in guiding us to a home that would be a good fit for our family, and possibly be an answer to someone else's prayers as well.
After 2 flights, we arrived Saturday afternoon.
We were welcomed with a deluge. A little on the scary side, but luckily my husband was driving :)
We drove around for a while. Then collapsed back at the hotel.

On Sunday, we headed to church.
Everyone was so excited to meet us. I'd made a few phone calls in the previous weeks, trying to find out about gymnastics, piano, schools etc. and talked to a few of the ladies, seeking their recommendations. Apparently, news of our coming had spread. We sat down and were immediately asked if we were the new family moving into town. Yep - that's us!

Someone had mentioned that some of the ward members were moving away, and we were introduced.
That afternoon, we stopped by their houses, and drove around the area trying to get a little more acquainted with everything.

We were appreciative of the Bishop inviting our family to dinner that evening...he rescued us from a night of frozen meat pies and pb&j.

We met with a realtor bright and early Monday morning, and spent most of the day driving around with her and viewing rental homes.
We saw so many different houses, but ultimately realized that we liked the first 2 (the church member's homes) the best.

After lunch, we grabbed our stuff and headed out to find a beach, and some fun. Enough with the houses.
Several people had recommeded a beach that let you drive right down almost to the water. We were amazed.
While it started to rain when we rolled into town, I LOVE tropical rain because it is always so WARM. Mmmmm
We splashed in the waves, and played in the ocean - it was really almost perfect. And then we started seeing lightening, and decided maybe we should get out and head back to the hotel.

We couldn't believe that the beach had driving lanes - all the way down to the water! So wild - but so nice because you don't have to haul all of your stuff for miles and miles!

State Gymnastics Meet

This past 2 weeks has been a complete whirlwind.
Last week, we traveled to a state gymnastics meet.
Our youngest daughter competed first - at 8:00 am. That meant we left our home around 5:15 am. Quite the feat for our little girls.
Here's the team with the coach just before it started

While this was our youngest daughter's second meet ever, she made some great progress from last time.
She took second place overall in her age group for the vault.
Pretty amazing!

The meet got over around 12:30, and so we went to lunch, found a place to nap for a little bit, and did some quick shopping for some books my husband needed.

At 5:00 we were ready to start again, but this time with our oldest daughter.

She received 8th overall for her vault.
While she had hoped to score a little better, we were pretty thrilled that she did so well for her first state meet!

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