since I last wrote an update. May to be exact. That scares me because I know I won’t remember lots of things I want to remember. But I’ll do the best I can.
Our summer days consisted of organizing, home improvement projects, cleaning, cleaning, and more cleaning (the kids worked hard and were pretty good sports about it all)! We had an open house every Saturday afternoon (though they weren’t that successful) so we tried to keep things up during the week. Derek would take the kids somewhere while me (and sometimes Faith) stayed to show the house.
The rest of the time the kids and I were at Alabama Adventure (local water + theme park), bowling, the library, the dollar theater, Sno Biz (snow cones), or physical therapy appointments for Ashley’s recovering broken finger. The boys enjoyed a week at scout camp (with Derek there a few days too), and the girls loved their nature day camp which lasted 3 days at the state park a few miles from our house. With everyone home all summer it was tricky to keep things quiet enough for Faith to nap, so sometimes the older kids ended up playing in the basement or outside. The kids and I really enjoyed the slower summer schedule, and it’s always fun to spend time with them. The boys were able to attend Jeffrey’s best friends’ pool party a few days before we moved, so that was a good chance to say goodbye to their friends. Ashley had a few friends over for a little water play/goodbye party, and Lexie friend’s mom threw her a goodbye tea party. During the party they made a scrapbook of all the photos of them and their friends from the school year, and Lexie was thrilled when the surprise guests arrived–her first grade teacher and her 4 month baby boy.
Since the University of Utah paid for our moving expenses we didn’t have to stress about packing things up, which was a big relief. The moving company came and packed our things over 2 days, loading up the truck and hauling it to Utah along with our vehicles on the third day. Our ward friends, the Randalls, had the older kids come over all day to swim and play while they loaded the truck, which was a huge help. The movers took much longer than we all thought so Derek and I weren’t able to start patching holes in the walls and painting until late that night. When we realized our paint didn’t quite match, the paint store was closed, and our flight left the next morning we knew we were in trouble. Derek dropped me and the kids off at a nearby hotel and he spent the entire night cleaning carpets and trying to do what he could with a can of old watery paint and one small foam brush. (He would have been done sooner but the Enterprise rental battery died!) I showed the home one last time before our flight left the next morning, and then we were off to Utah.
Since the market is so bad in Alabama we decided to try offering a lease purchase option before we left. I guess that must be appealing to many people who can’t get loans right away with the new lending restrictions because we got more phone calls the week after we left Alabama than we had the whole 6 weeks our house was on the market before we left. We’ve had some interested people, but nothing solid (or desirable) has materialized yet. Though we fasted and prayed (as did our extended families) our house did not sell before we left Alabama, but we trust the Lord and we know that no matter what He has planned for us to go through (easy or tremendously difficult), He won’t leave us alone. We have some good friends who are showing our home and taking care of the yard for us. We feel very blessed.
We are all so happy to be closer to family! We’ve already put Derek’s parents to work helping with home improvement projects + watching kids, we’ve enjoyed several family get-togethers + cousin sleepovers, we’ve already hosted my parents and my brother and his kids, and my parents are coming twice more before the year is over. We love our new house, ward, and neighborhood–our neighbors are very friendly and nice, and we can walk to the park, church, and the girls’ school. It’s a great location–we have everything we need within a few miles of us.
1. Started working at the University of Utah Sept. 1st, but finally got into his new office last Monday. Loves his new job and is excited about the future possibilites for publications and valuable research.
2. Accomplished lots of home improvement/fix-it projects during the 2 weeks between our arrival and his start date at work. (We’re both so grateful for that time!)
3. Presented some research at a medical conference in Shanghai and we enjoyed our trip there together (click here to read all about it).
4. Enjoys playing flag football once a week with the guys in our ward even though (as he claims) he’s the oldest, fattest, and most out of shape guy there. =)
1. I’ve been busy unpacking, organizing, and getting kids settled with school and doctor appointments. I actually did get to scrapbook 1 page since we moved! Now that my supplies are all organized and unpacked I hope to get a few more done soon.
2. I’ve been finding creative ways to use and preserve the delicious vegetables from our garden, and the peaches and apples from our trees. We’ve shared a lot, but the harvest just seems to never end!
3. I love walking the girls to school almost every day. It’s great exercise and Faith loves the stroller ride. If the weather’s bad I’ll just drive them, and if I have time some days I’ll walk them both there and back (4 miles total).
4. I also enjoy playing volleyball with the ladies in our ward once a week. I am definitely out of shape, but I’m not the oldest lady there! Ha ha!
1. Classes this semester: Career/Tech Ed (which he actually likes), Science, English, PE (which he hates), Auto-learner (a self-paced research class he loves), Intermediate Band (loves it!), and Algebra. He and Jeffrey have a few classes together, which is nice.
2. Just found out he is first chair in the french horn section in band. Go James! He still loves his instrument and practices everyday without being asked.
3. Joined the Nature Club at school which meets twice weekly at lunch. They have a fun weekend activity coming up soon at a local park.
4. Finished reading the Book of Mormon over the summer, and started reading it again. I started the same time he did, but I’m just over half way through. I challenged him to see if we could both finish before the end of the year.
5. Has definitely shown more signs of a typical teenage attitude, being argumentative and difficult at times. Though he’s never really outright defiant, violent, or uncontrollable–he just likes to whine and complain mostly. Overall he’s a really great kid.
1. Classes this semester: Career/Tech Ed, Science, English, PE, French (which he loves), Intermediate Band (loves it!), and Algebra (also loves it). He joined the Math Counts club which meets once a week after school and he loves that.
2. Just found out he is first chair (out of 8) in the trumpet section of band. Go Jeffrey! He also loves trumpet and practices without being asked each day. He joined the Jazz Band which practices once weekly after school, and will get to play at several home basketball games and a few other fun events.
3. Enjoys hanging out with the 2 girls who live next door (along with the other kids), but has struggled with other kids at church and school teasing him. Changes are especially hard for him, and I hope when he feels settled he can reach out to someone and connect with them.
4. Has been generally pleasant and helpful around the house, and very responsible about his busy schedule and tough class load. He’s a good big brother and son.
1. Celebrated her birthday a few days after we moved in at Discovery Park in Pleasant Grove with her cousins. We were glad Derek’s brother, John, and his family could be there from Arizona. Got ballet lessons and ballet shoes + clothes for her birthday, along with some money from family and goodies from cousins.
2. Seems prone to accidents! While she, Lexie, and Derek were riding scooters to school the first week she hit a bump in the sidewalk, faceplanted on the cement, and her tooth went right through her upper lip. She went to the ER but they decided she didn’t need stitches. It’s healed up well now, but she always kicks and curses the bump whenever we walk to school. Poor girl.
3. She loves her intermediate ballet class and enjoys her activity day girls group she meets with for church once a week a few blocks away.
4. Has already made some friends at church and school, and came home with several phone numbers the other day so we can invite them over.
1. Got baptized on Saturday and was so happy to have so many cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and even a great aunt and uncle there. She and some of her cousins sang a beautiful musical number with piano and violin accompaniment.
2. Celebrated her birthday right after at the rec center swimming pool with her cousins, aunt, uncle, and grandparents. She got some money, a drama + singing+ dance class, some scriptures, and some ballet shoes for her class.
3. Loves her UpWithKids musical practice each week, and is looking forward to performing their Alice In Wonderland musical in April.
4. Was invited to a playdate with her friend, Emma, that she sits next to in her class at school. She also has some other girls she likes to play with, so she feels more comfortable at school now.
1. Had her first birthday on Monday! I can hardly believe it’s been a whole year! We combined her celebration with Lexie’s, and she LOVED eating her birthday cake. She got a new car seat and toys from grandparents, more toys from Mom and Dad, a push toy from the kids, and money from family.
2. Decided to walk (and climb…and maybe fly?) while we were in China. She was taking a couple steps at a time right before we left, so we figured she would take off while we were gone…sniff sniff.
3. Says a few words: woof, woof, woof…dah? (for dog); mama, daddy, ball, bath, baby; and she recognizes several others, like juicy, bah-bah (for bottle), the kids’ names, book, more, and bite.
4. Has been amazingly healthy her first year. Her first real cold hit her the day before we left for China. She had a low fever the night before, and spent the week we were gone with a cough and runny nose. (Sorry, Grandma!)
5. She is a more picky eater than she used to be. She LOVES hot dogs, grapes, bananas, and goldfish crakers. She will also eat mac n cheese and other pasta, organic pop tarts, peas, corn, canned peaches, chicken nuggets, and yogurt most of the time. We tried her on milk but she had several bad diapers, so we put her back on toddler formula for now.
We’re looking forward to a visit from my parents this weekend, as well as watching general conference on tv! Love you all and miss you!