Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Recently I keep finding myself feeling a little bit lost in our new ward and wondering why it is that we've been led here rather than someplace else. It's not that the people in our ward aren't nice or that we don't like them, but more rather that we really haven't been able to get to know anybody well enough to feel like we belong here. It's hard to explain really. We've been in our house now for almost 7 months and we started coming to this ward almost a month before we moved in and still we don't have any close friends or people we feel comfortable enough to just call and talk to or seek out in the halls. It probably doesn't help much that we were in our house less than a month when Josh and I were called to teach the Sunbeam class in primary so pretty much the only people we see and talk to regularly are a bunch of 4 year olds and a few of their parents as they pick them up after church-that's about it.
Over the last week some of those feelings have changed for me. On Saturday night our doorbell rang and when we went to the door there were two giant trash bags full of wrapped presents. They are all for the kids but there are more than a few and a couple of them had tears in the paper I had to fix as I put them under the tree so I got to see what they were-not cheap gifts to say the least. And, to top that all off, there are at least 5 gifts for each of the kids. We have 5 kids so that means that somebody really spent some money on us and were actually thinking of us as they prepared this gift. I was in awe.
Then Sunday night as we sat in the other room our doorbell rang again. We all went to answer it and this time found only a gift box on the doorstep-like a t-shirt size box. I picked it up and shook it, it sounded like it was food so we opted to open it up. It had a bunch of boxed candy-the type you'd buy at the movies-and several gift cards. I passed Josh the cards and he looked at me as he examined them and asked "did you see these"? I hadn't looked at them, just handed them to him. There were gift cards for the movie theater, Chiles restaurant and Payless Shoes. The gift cards totalled $200-who has a random $200 to spend on another family at Christmas?
Then on Monday we were called by somebody from the church and offered 2 weeks worth of groceries if we needed/wanted it. Not that we really need it right now, but it makes me wonder if they know something that we don't?
Finally, on Tuesday morning Josh was leaving for work and discovered 2 more trash bags full of gifts-3 more gifts per child. These were definitely from somebody different than the first as names are actually spelled right on all gifts.
So, we know that the gifts came from somebody at the church-we don't know anybody else here really and the people that we do know from the school or whatever, don't know where we live. It's made me stop and think the last few days. The people in our ward really are paying attention and we aren't as invisible as we thought we were. The gifts we received were thought out and actually individualized (I think somebody saw Raven's church shoe with it's sole hanging off the last few weeks and that's why we got the gift card to Payless shoes. Not that we can't afford her new ones-those are new, just a few months old, and she just destroyed them so we were making her deal with it for a bit before we replaced them). I'm actually feeling really grateful for what we've been given and that somebody else (a few families at least) was actually thinking of us. Our Christmas has been expanded by leaps and bounds thanks to somebody else's generosity and sacrifices and I am in awe for that.
Thank you to whomever you are for those gifts and thank you so much for letting us know that somebody here really does care about our family. And especially, thank you for sacrificing so much of your time and money during this holiday season-we really do appreciate it all. Maybe I'll start looking at our ward a bit differently and with a lot more love in my heart now.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Working from home dilema

Did you ever have a friend who you hung out with all the time? Who you enjoyed talking to and being with? Your kids liked playing together and got along really well? I had one of these friends and then one day she discovered a business where she could work from home (kind of) and then suddenly that's all that she talked about. Any time she called it was only to talk about her business. If I tried to talk about our kids or a play date the subject was quickly changed and we went back to her next meeting or a new product or something of the like. (if you're thinking this may be you then you're probably wrong as this person quit talking to me ages ago and doesn't want to have anything to do with me anymore).
I too, work from home and have for many years now. However, one of the first things they taught me when I got started was that you don't go chasing down your friends and family and, instead, talk to those people who are actually interested in hearing about what I have to offer. There is no friendship that is worth losing simply because they aren't interested in what I have to offer. This friend wasn't taught this concept in her business. Now, I did look into her business and even checked out some of the products and the company. They are a good company and have a lot to offer to some people, however, I don't need or use most of what they have so I didn't make a very good customer for her and, therefore, I didn't meet her qualifications to be her friend anymore.
It's sad to have to lose a good friendship over something like this. Ok, so I've probably been dwelling on this a little too much lately, but the fact is that I sometimes miss this friend and talking to and hanging out with her. I miss getting emails from her that are about her kids or her family and not about her business. I miss reading her Facebook updates about how her kids are growing or what they're doing and I'm kind of tired of reading only about her business or how to be a better business person.
A lot of home-based businesses are really pretty decent if you look into them but I think this is why they get such a bad reputation and people despise them so much. It isn't the home businesses that people dislike, it's what they do to the people who work them. It's the way that people change when they start "working from home". And it's the way that people start treating their friends when they say that they aren't interested.
I don't think that I've done this to any of my friends, but if I have then I'm really sorry (and please let me know cause I don't want something like this hanging in the air). I love Melaleuca and all that they offer to me and my family and the way that their products have changed our home, and I do talk to my friends and family about their products. However, I also understand that not everybody is ready for or interested in their products the way that I am (and if you are interested, feel free to bring it up cause I do like to talk about it-just not to the point where you don't want to talk to me anymore. I care about you and your family and what they're doing more than I care about having you purchase from my company). It is OK to say no.
So, has anybody else had this sort of experience before? How did you handle it? Did you talk to the person and have a positive outcome? Or did it bomb the way it did for me when I nicely told her I wasn't interested in hearing about her business but still wanted to be her friend?


As we approach the Thanksgiving season people everywhere are starting to think of what they're thankful for. I have been thinking of what I'm thankful for all this year, and there is so much, the list goes on. Let me see if I can start with a decent list.
-First, I am thankful that we were able to leave Australia this year. I totally loved living in Alice Springs and I loved all of the friends we made there and it was really hard for me to leave. However, I also know that it was the right move for us and that it has led us to where we are now.
-I am also thankful that we were able to stay with my parents at their house for a bit. It's been so long since I lived at home and it reinforced all the reasons why we don't go back once we move out. I love my parents but am so thankful for the distance between us and it makes me even more thankful for all the things I have, especially my own place.
-I'm very thankful to be out of and away from the Army. They were really good to us for 10 1/2 years but the time came for us to depart and I'm glad the transition was as smooth as it was and that it's done and over with. I'm so grateful to never have to deal with Army training, duty and politics ever again.
-I'm extremely grateful that the job in Ohio fell through and that they never called us back after we signed their contract. This may sound funny but it led to us being able to, instead, get this job with SNC and move to Colorado instead of Ohio. I know the job in Ohio would have been OK and that we would have survived, but I'm really glad to be so central to family and be able to see them all more often and not have it be impossible to make the trips.
-I'm thankful that we were able to find this house and be able to buy it and get into it so quickly. This house is home and everything about it is right for us. We had a really great realtor (which we randomly picked out of a realty magazine) and she became a good friend too.
-I am ever so grateful for my husband, my kids and, especially, for this baby who is growing within me. I'm thankful that this baby moves and wiggles all the time and that she's growing and developing the way she should. I can hardly wait to hold her. I love my other 5 kids and the smile they bring to me every day. I love watching them grow and mature and I really enjoy watching them learn new things and the light in their eyes. I especially love my husband. He is so good to me and our childrena and he works so hard to make sure that we don't have to struggle. I love him so much.
-I am thankful for friends and family all over the world and the support we can give each other, even from across the country or half-way around the world. Every one of you means so much to me and I don't know what I'd do without you.
-I'm really thankful for Facebook. It makes it possible for me to keep up with old friends and family and feel more like they still live nearby and not the miles apart that we actually are. Sometimes life can get lonely in a new state, city and neighborhood where you know nobody but this has made it so that those miles don't seem so far.
I know that there are so many more things that I'm thankful for but this is the beginning of my list. I hope you all get to have a safe and happy Thanksgiving and that this season will help us look more to what we have rather than what we don't. I also hope that looking at what we're grateful for will help us to be more giving during the Christmas holidays that lay just around the corner.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Heartburn is going to be the death of me

For several weeks at the beginning of my 2nd trimester I was plagued with heartburn. We're not talking any sort of normal heartburn either. This heartburn starts in my sternum and then emanates to my back and then up into my shoulders and even down my arms. It hurts and that's putting it lightly. There's no finding relief from it once it starts. Tums didn't work, a glass of milk was a no-go, all of my normal remedies, which generally take care of it, failed. This is my 8th pregnancy and never have I had heartburn like this before, ever.

Then we went searching for info online and went to the store armed with information. We picked up a different flavor of Tums (our bottle was several years old and definitely expired) and we found some Gaviscon. Between the two they covered all 3 types of heartburn relief and seemed to do the job. Then I went to the Dr and they informed me that the one product which was actually helping me (the Gaviscon) was on the unknown list for pregnancy. This was explained to me to mean that it had been tested on animals with results that weren't favorable and either there is nothing known for human consumption during pregnancy or women who have used it during pregnancy have reported abnormal or unwanted results. The basics were that they didn't recommend that I take it and they said if I continued to have issues to let them know and they'd see what they could do to help. Well, the heartburn let up so there was no need for it or anything else.

Then this last weekend it started back up with a vengeance. Saturday morning I had a bowl of cottage cheese with fruit and we headed off to rehearsal for the primary program. At 11:30 it hit me and it hit hard. We had to leave early and head home. I took some Tums, had a glass of milk, layed down, stood up, sat down, and tried every position before I finally gave up and took some Gaviscon. When it still didn't let up I decided to try a bath and as the bathwater was pouring I finally had some relief. I sat in the tub anyway and then took a nap. I got up and felt fine for awhile, had something to eat and then started to make dinner for the family. The heartburn started up again and this time it was worse than the AM. I tried everything all over again with no relief at all. I suffered through it, I cried, I changed positions, I sat in the tub 3 different times-nothing. Finally about 3:30am (yes, it really did last that long) I felt the need to vomit and it came up. The food I had eaten before 5pm was all there leading me to think that maybe this is more of a digestion problem which is causing the heartburn? Just an idea. Anyway, within about 20 minutes the pain subsided and I was able to go to sleep.

Sunday I was fine pretty much all day but I was careful what I ate and how often I ate it. Then about 10PM it started up again-I was not looking forward to another night of pain. I tried to fight it-I moved around, got up and twisted things around and even tried going for a walk around the block. By the time I got back I could feel the need to vomit again and actually looked forward to it so I could get some relief. Now, I'm not one of those people who can willingly stick my finger down my throat in order to get that result so I was trying to figure out what to do. I was leaning on the kitchen counter feeling helpless and crying while trying to think of what I could do when I had this thought. I had posted about my heartburn on Facebook and many friends responded with ideas to help and one of them was to take a spoonful of vinegar. I did try it once and the result was that everything immediately came back up-this is what I wanted tonight. I needed the relief from the pressure and it was already nearly in my throat anyway so I cleaned out the sink (the one with the garbage disposal) and got out the vinegar. I took the spoonful and waited. Nothing. I walked around the kitchen, started to pack the kids' school lunches and started to think "maybe I should drink a glass of milk-then the vinegar will make it curdle and have my result". But as I thought this I realised that the pain was gone. I waited a few more minutes and started to feel good. No more nausea, no more pain, nothing. Not exactly the result I wanted but hey, it actually worked! It was midnight by then so I went upstairs and gladly went to bed.

Cue Monday. Monday was good, I was on my regular schedule-ate food, walked Rebekah to kindergarten, ran errands, had a late lunch and then picked up kids from school. Josh came home and let me take a much needed nap and I got up in time for dinner, which I had prepped right before I layed down. As I went to the table it started up again-I'm really starting to hate heartburn. Josh suggested a giant pickle (which is essentially bathed in vinegar, right?), which sounded much better than a spoonful of vinegar, so I got one out. I ate it and waited. This time it took about 20 or 30 minutes and just as I was about to give up, the pain subsided. It actually works, I don't know how or why or what the science is behind it, but it actually works. It doesn't taste good and I don't recommend it with milk, but it works and I'm so not complaining.

So, the moral of my really long story is that heartburn is going to plague me and I'm not sure that having a baby with a head full of hair is worth the pain, but I'm so glad to have found something to work (for now anyway) to make it go away. Thank you to Regina for suggesting it (even though I doubted you at first) and I'm so glad to have had the courage to try it twice to figure it out. So next time you're having killer heartburn and you think you're going to die, give it a try and let me know if it works for you too.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Winning is Fun

Especially when you didn't know you were entered to win.

I got a phone call this morning from the vice principal at the kids' school. The only times I've ever talked to her is when there are concerns or problems about one or more of my kids so with her calling I expected the worst. So she starts out thanking us for attending the school's literacy night a couple weeks ago. This was a night where they explained to us how they grade our kids on their reading and how their program works. We wanted to go because the school and teachers have expressed concerns about all of our kids and their reading, we thought they were doing pretty good. Their program is so much different (and a little messed up if you ask me) than any other school or program we've ever dealt with and we wanted to know how it works.

Then she says "the other reason that I'm calling today.." this is where I expected to hear all about problems with one of my kids. Instead she goes on to tell me that the PTO put together a gift basket of learning games, treats and gift cards and then chose from all the parents who attended that night and our family was chosen. And those were the only reasons she was calling today. Talk about a pleasant surprise. Not only was she not calling to reprimand me as a parent (again) but she was also calling to tell us we won something nice and see when we could pick it up. This is what we got when we gotpicked it up after school:

It has a brain Quest game, Boggle, a dictionary, a Thesaurus, pretzels, gold fish, popcorn and a gift card to Barnes and Noble (there are probably some other snacks but they're buried in the basket and I don't feel like getting up to go look right now).
So we won a gift basket of nice things in a raffle we didn't know we were entered in for attending a parent information night where we learned about how our kids are expected to read at this school. For once it pays to have an unfair advantage of 4 kids, meaning 4 entries, in a raffle. For all the crap the school has given us this year, it's nice to finally have something nice for once.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

23 weeks already

So we went to the Dr yesterday, twice. I had an ultrasound done in the morning and then went back to see the Dr in the afternoon. The last time I was in for an ultrasound the tech couldn't get one view of the heart that she needed and a view of the uterus so she had to reschedule to get them again. I'm not complaining because every time they need me to come back we get to see the baby once again and get more pictures to add to her album. She's always so cute with her little hands around and above her head (see above).

This time they were able to get the views they needed of everything and we got a few more shots of cuteness in the process. I love this shot of her little legs crossed. It makes me picture her just kicking back in there relaxing and floating around. We were also able to confirm that she is, in fact, still a girl, no question about it (see money shot below). As of yesterday, she weighs approximately 1 pound and 2 ounces-she's getting there.
Is it considered porn to post a picture of your babies genitals as pictured in an ultrasound? I don't think so but wondered what everybody else thought.

So, now that things are confirmed and we know exactly who is hanging out in there, I fully plan to start going through and sorting out baby clothes and getting rid of everything boy. If, for some reason, she happens to grow some extra extremities between her legs in the next few months and comes out a boy, I guess we'll have to go shopping.

So now I'm scheduled for a fetal echo (a high tech ultrasound of the babies heart), I'm having my glucose test done next appointment and then they want me to have more blood drawn in order to test, again, for genetic disorders. All of this because I'm now 35, I declined having an amnio and have lost the last couple babies. I honestly think it's a bit much but as long as the insurance is paying for it and it isn't invasive, they can run all the tests they want and I don't care.

I am trying my best to fully enjoy this, my last, pregnancy and so far I'm doing pretty good. I love every little kick and wiggle and hiccups are the best thing ever. I don't mind some of the rough stuff like heartburn and aches and pains now because I know that this is the little girl we've been waiting for and that this is the last time I will likely be going through any of these things. I love being pregnant, aches and all, and am quite willing to wait it out and deal with it in order to meet this precious little spirit when she's ready to come out and officially join our family.

Happy Birthday to Raven!

(Photo courtesy of Chuck E Cheeses, where we celebrated her birthday as a family)

In some ways it's hard to believe that it's been 7 years now since Raven was born. In other ways it seems like it's been forever ago. It seems so long ago that we lived in Germany and had some great friends and a wonderful doctor who was so patient and cared about those he saw and the babies he delivered. It's so hard to find a Dr who measures up as we travel around.

Raven is so nice and helpful to have around some times and then there are days when she's getting into everything and sneaking anything she can find and driving me crazy. She's such a smart girl and we're so proud of her and what she is accomplishing in school and elsewhere. Raven is a great reader and many who hear her read are amazed at how well she reads (except for her teacher at school but I won't go there now). She can be a challenge some days but when it comes down to it I don't know what I'd do without her in our family.

I remember having my 2 boys and finding out I was pregnant again. I was at a point where I had too many boys in the house and I was so afraid of adding another one to the clan. I prayed and prayed that the Lord would make her a girl and I vowed (quite seriously, and I think the Lord knew I was serious) that if that baby turned out to be a boy then I was done and we would quit having our own and adopt 2 girls and call it a family. I cried tears of joy when we had her ultrasound and found out she was a girl-I was so happy. She was happy and adorable and lit up our family. She hasn't changed much in that aspect. She is mischievious and inquisitive always and, though it might drive me nuts some days, I know she's smarter for it.

Happy 7th Birthday Raven! We love you so much!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

20 weeks and counting

So, after a year of trying, losing and failing, I'm finally pregnant (again). This time it appears as though the baby is healthy and without issues and may actually make it full term. This excites me to no end. It's been a long and agonizing 20 weeks.
In the past, we were so anxious to tell family and then waited only through the first trimester to tell friends when we got pregnant. Then a little over a year ago I got pregnant and something just felt wrong. I told the Dr but he blew it off. They couldn't get a strong heartbeat but blamed it on the instruments, never saw things quite right and, again, blamed it on the machines. Then a couple days short of 20 weeks I started to spot and bleed and went to the ER to discover that our baby no longer had any heartbeat and my body was passing it out. After 3 ultrasounds by 3 different Dr's, we opted to speed things up with medication and I gave birth to a tiny, perfect but still born baby boy early in the morning on August 23, 2009. It was devistating-something I never thought I would ever have to go through. We grieved and cried but knew at the same time that it was the way things were supposed to be. We weren't meant to raise Kyle on this earth.
We moved on and decided to try again. By 6 weeks later when I went back for my follow up check (yes, they do those even when your baby wasn't born living) I was pregnant again. After a couple more ultrasounds where we saw our baby and a strong heartbeat, we decided to tell family-we were excited to be able to move on so quickly. Then, in mid-December, I started to bleed again. 11 weeks is pretty normal for miscarriage so this time nobody was concerned, except us. We wanted more answers and were concerned, knowing that we had one more little spirit that has been overly anxious to join our family for years and hoping it wouldn't take more of this loss to get her here.
We moved in January from Australia to the US and transitioned from military to civilian shortly after so we deceded to wait a little before trying again. April seemed like a good time for that but my cycle came and went with no luck. We moved again in mid-April from Arizona to Colorado and were in a hotel while we looked for a house. By early May we had a positive pregnancy test but didn't dare celebrate too soon. We moved into our new house the end of May and started getting settled. The first trimester came and went and our new insurance became effective. Insurance cards finally arrived in July and I decided maybe I should make an appointment. Josh took a couple more weeks to get me the info on Dr's we were allowed to use but I wasn't in a hurry.
See, in the military, they paid for everything without the need for a co-pay, as long as you used the military Dr's, and it was wonderful. Now we have insurance where co-pays are required and there are yearly deductables to be met and I wasn't anxious to start paying those things only to lose another baby. At 15 weeks I got the Dr info and at 16 weeks I finally made an appointment. At 18 weeks I met my new Dr and got to see my baby on ultrasound for the first time to date the pregnancy. I almost expected to see nothing in there when they started up the ultrasound but lo and behold, there was a baby. Beautifull and perfect. It had all it's fingers and toes and a strong beating heart and it was active and moving all the time. It's a little miracle!
We finally told my Mom and Dad we were expecting at a little over 17 weeks and then my in-laws at about 18-19 weeks (my mom would have had to wait too but she's a spoiler). Three days ago we had the anatomy ultrasound-the baby was still there, still wiggling (which I knew, cause I feel it all the time) and still with a strong heartbeat. And now we know that IT"S A GIRL!!!
She has all of her organs and they are where they should be, there's no sign of down's syndrom or any other defects, all blood tests have come back fine-including the genetic ones (cause I'm 35 now and they want to test everything), and, most importantly, she's growing and developing right on track. And now we're here and telling the world how excited we are to be having one more baby and our last (both a happy and sad thing all at once). My persistent little spirit, who wanted so badly not to be forgotten, can now have her physical body and join our family and I'm ever so greatful to be able to have her.
See, she's waving hello to all of you!

Do You Remember??

There are some things that, as we look back or talk about, we never forget where we were or what we were doing when you heard or saw it. Being September 11 today, the first thing we're all thinking about is the terrorist attacks that took place 9 years ago. To me, it's all so fresh in my mind and my memory that to say it happened 9 years ago seems unreal.

We were atationed in Bad Aibling, Germany at that time and we had Josiah, who was 10 1/2 months old. I had been out walking around base with him in the stroller while Josh was at work, we had gone shopping for a few things at the commissary and then come back home. I turned on the TV and thought I was watching a movie. It looked interesting so I watched for a few minutes until I realised that it was the news, not a movie. Just then the 2nd plane hit the towers. We sat glued to the TV for awhile watching and wondering just what it meant for us, being overseas and all.

As we walked around base later that day, the hummers, armed guards and guns all started coming out. The base was locked down-nobody could drive on base for a week or two. If you drove off base then you had to park off base and walk back on. They finally opened up the gates with massive inspections once a week to let cars back on (which we needed to do our big shopping trips once a week). After a month or so they set up a big tent and did inspections of every car driving on base for many more months-it may have even been a year or more. It was crazy and even a bit scary for awhile. We had just been home to see family in May that year and had no plans of another trip for another year and a half.

So that's where I was. I was in shock and awe and the world changed as we knew it.
As I ponder these events though, I think of another time and event when I can never forget where I was and what I was doing. On January 28, 1986 I was in elementary school. It was a big day and they were launching a new space shuttle-the Challenger. This time everybody was watching becuse there was a teacher on board and it was a big deal. They had it playing on the big screen in the library of the school. I was the lucky one that got to take our attendance to the office and, as I walked past the TV, I watched a replay of the explosion. All 7 astronauts died that day. It was devistating and so sad

They all had families and I'm sure that those families also remember that day and all that it had in store every year as well. It may not have been a terrorist attack or something that somebody planned as sabotage, but it put the space program back 2 1/2 years while they figured it out and regrouped and then planned and built a new shuttle to be launched.

So today, while my thoughts are on 9/11/2001, I also remember many others who have lost their lives, whether fighting for our country or furthering our knowledge. They are all disasters either way. My thoughts and prayers go out to all who have lost their lives and to their families who grieve for and miss them every day. And, especially, to all our troops who are deployed or will be deploying to go and fight for our freedoms and rights and the families who worry and miss them every day while they're gone.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Random thoughts

I don't have anything too exciting this week but thought I'd share a few random thoughts anyway. So here goes.

1. We're potty training Caleb this week. With my first 4 kids, if we took off their diapers and let them run around naked, there were constant messes everywhere. With Caleb, letting him run without a diaper=potty training. He is constantly running to the toilet and, other than some partial starts in the diaper, he hasn't really had a dirty diaper in the last 4 or 5 days. If I had known earlier, I would have been letting him run naked for months now. I'm so tired of dirty diapers and so ready for him to be potty trained.

2. In order to save myself trips to the store and the possibility (or should I say inevitability) of finding many more things I can't live without, I've started making bread. The kids usually devour white bread so I decided to try whole wheat bread this time. Not only do they eat it nearly as good, but it's also better for them and fills them up faster. So there is less bread consumed, their healthier and it's not that hard to make one loaf every day.

3. My good friend Kathy is on her way to my house right now. This part is so exciting! We haven't seen each other since she and her husband dropped us off at the airport to fly to Australia 3 1/2 years ago. We've talked on the phone, but that just isn't the same. I'm so anxious to see her kids, her newest little one and especially to spend some time hanging out with her again. I really miss living across the street from her and will miss her even more when they leave again and shortly head to Africa. Africa is so far away, I kind of wish she was sticking with her original plan of living stateside while her hubby went alone, but I also understand her need to be with him. Husbands win every time and that's completely understandable. Hopefully we'll get her blog and FB set up while she's here so that we can keep up with each other better.

4. Teaching the sunbeams at church is such a challenge. 4 year olds are rowdy and irreverent and it's so hard to teach them to be better when you hardly know them. I'd like to think that we're making some progress, but honestly I'm just finally learning all of their names. Reverent progress will come eventually, I hope.

Ok, I think that's it for today. If I remember something else then I guess it'll leave something for another post another day.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Neglected Blog

Wow, I didn't realise just how long it had been since I posted anything here until a friend of mine linked to my blog in a post on hers. So I guess it's time for a big update. Let's see if I can't make a long story semi-short here.
We left Australia and all of our friends there in mid-January. Housing was a pain in the butt but we were finally able to get out of there with minimal cost on our parts (thank goodness). We were able to sell everything with Aussie power that needed to go and even sold our truck for the price we were asking and without any issues. Everything we did leading up to our move was guided by the Lord and we knew that leaving then was what we were supposed to do. Then, 4 days before we were to fly, the Army decided that we were to change itineraries. Instead of all of us going to Denver to outprocess with Josh for two weeks, we were to change our tickets so that we all flew to California together and then the family to Phoenix with my family while Josh went on to outprocess alone. This way they could get out of paying for hotels and instead put him in barracks. And then they didn't have to pay for a rental car either and could, instead, give him a government vehicle. All of this so that the command could save a few dollars and be able to make another trip to Australia and see and do a few more things while they are there. So we changed everything and I flew from Cali with 5 kids while we said goodbye to Josh for 2 weeks.
We stayed with my parents in their camper just outside the house with my brother's camper set up next to it for the luggage. It worked out pretty well and gave us some space of our own to get away if needed, even if it was a small space. It was nice to see and stay with family again after so long.
Once Josh came back we started in on the job hunt again. The company in Tucson we wanted to work for kept getting their contract moved back until we just couldn't wait for them anymore. Then we had a solid offer from a company in Ohio. The price was decent and they would pay to move our things and us, put us up in housing for a month while we looked for a house and even give us a rental car if we needed it. We prayed about it, made a couple trips to the temple and decided to sign a contract with them, even though Ohio was far away, we knew nobody and I just plain didn't want to go. But even with all this, we felt it would be alright. We got the contract on a Friday, signed it, faxed it back over the weekend and then called Monday to make sure they got it. There was no answer all the times Josh tried to call on Monday so he sent an email too. On Tuesday we got a reply. The lady said she had received the paperwork and it was good and that as soon as their proposal was approved she would let us know a start date. Then in the next sentence she said that another company had won the bid on the other contract they were hoping for and that he should put in an application with them too. STOP, wait a minute. Didn't we just sign a contract with you? Doesn't that mean that we have a job with you? Why would we apply elsewhere? That was the last time we heard from her. Never another email, never another phone call, nothing. Start over again.
Josh put his resume out to several more companies and within about 2 weeks he had 2 more offers. One fell through but the other one did 2 interviews with him, gave him an offer, signed a contract with us (for more than the Ohio company had offered) and called him every day to update him on where the process was (this is more like it). So, off to Colorado we went. It's closer to family than Ohio, by a long shot, and the spirit told us this was a good thing for us to do. With family in Oklahoma, Arizona, California and Oregon, it puts us pretty central.
We stayed in an extended stay hotel and started house hunting. We looked at about 100 houses online and narrowed it down to around 15 we wanted to see in person. We walked through 13 houses and had already seen 3 we were interested in and could see ourselves living in. Back to prayer we went, started a pros and cons list and a discussion between us. 2 of the 3 homes were short sales. This means that the bank has agreed to take less than is owed on the house in order to get something back out of it. It also means that you're looking at 2-4 months of paperwork and waiting in order to get in. The other house was a regular sale and we could be in it in as little as 1 month. So we walked back through all 3 again, just to make sure we made the right choice. The regular sale just felt like home so we made an offer of a bit less than they wanted. The next day they accepted our offer with nearly no changes to it and we were under contract. All inspections went smoothly with the results better than anybody expected and almost no repairs necessary and 28 days later we closed, got our keys and moved into our new, and first, house. Our very own house, not the army's house, not the government's house, our house.
It's now been 2 months since we moved in, we've received all our belongings from both storage and Australia and are nearly done unpacking (400+ boxes can take a long time to unpack). This is home and we're so happy to be here, the kids started school 6 weeks ago and it's a year round curriculum. We're all starting to make friends here and it's starting to feel like we belong here, again, guided by the spirit the entire way.
So that's my catch up, I hope it wasn't too long or boring. I'm going to aim to post on here at least a couple times a week, there is so much I think to write but never get to it. I will not be a blog deserter.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A little of this and a little of that

Just a few random updates from the last week or two.

We finally got our orders last week. For those of you who don't know what that is or what it means, we're military and getting orders means that we can now schedule the packers to come, get our plane tickets, ship our car and just plain start getting ready to get moved. Coming over here we were supposed to leave and arrive here in mid-November and we didn't get orders until the day we were supposed to arrive here. That meant that we couldn't come on time and were postponed a month instead so that we arrived right before Christmas. That's how orders have always gone for us-a maximum of about 2 weeks notice to schedule everything and move. This time we got them about 3 1/2 weeks prior to our fly date, that's actually kind of nice. What would have been even nicer is to have had them in hand a month or two ago so our car could have been on it's way back and be there when we are. Oh well, such is the life of a military family. I'm happy with what we've got for now

I also took down Christmas decorations and all that last week. I think it was only 2 or 3 days after Christmas. We put them up so far before Christmas and really enjoyed them the whole time, but I now understand why some people don't put them up right away. Sometimes they just plain get in the way and clutter up the house. I love Christmas and I love the decorations but I was just plain sick of walking around them and having the living room so cluttered up with the tree and stuff. It was making me a bit claustrophobic. It's so nice to have the living room back again and be able to walk through it without walking around the couch.

Today I've been working on checking things off my to-do list. I finished the flyers to sell our truck, did a bunch of laundry, including all the kids' bedding, made the kids clean their rooms (that's a job that'll wear you out all by itself), vacuumed their rooms and the hallway, and accomplished a bunch of other online stuff i needed to do as well as making lunch and all that too. I still want to finish more laundry and do a couple more small things today so we'll see how I go.

Christmas was nice here. The kids all got heaps of stuff but this year it was mostly usable and things they can use on the plane trip home. Josh got a deep fryer, a frame to put all of his military medals into and a rock tumbler. I got a cotton candy maker, a really nice tea light wall hanging and a 6 1/2 quart slow cooker to replace my 2 quart one. It was nice to have a decent Christmas without a whole heap of expense and most of my shopping was done throughout the year instead of all at once.

Ok, I think that's my random updates for this week. I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and that your New Year is better than ever!