Friday, September 14

learning new things

I mentioned in my last post that this move has been tough for us, and I suspect it will be for awhile, but I'm trying to focus on the positive.  I deal with bouts of homesickness and loneliness, but I generally don't believe in dwelling on the past when nothing can be done about it.  So, I'm here, I'm trying to make the best of it. The town we moved to is half the size of our old town, population wise.  And it definitely has much more of a country feel to it, especially the part of it that we live in.  So because of that, my kids and I are having more encounters with wildlife.

So far we've learned that Ryan is allergic to mosquitoes.  Fortunately, we have lots of mosquitoes here to teach us that.  The poor kid has been eaten alive and has some weird looking bumps on his skin to prove it.

Every morning we wake up to birds all over the house and the empty lots behind us and next to us.  And the other night I heard an owl hooting somewhere outside!

Because we live by the "stinky salt lake" (as Ryan puts it), we have plenty of flies that make their way into our house.  That's allowed me to develop a new hobby--fly swatting.  I suspect its not much longer before I can go pro.

Last week we passed a field of horses when Ryan yelled out "cows!"  I got to correct him and teach him what horses are. (Actually, there were horses in our old town too, I was kind of embarrassed that he got that one wrong!)

And this morning as Tyler was eating breakfast he noticed some mating bugs on the window.  He went and tapped the glass, trying to get them to move.  When that didn't work he resorted to banging on the glass, and finally concluded that they must be dead.  Alexis came out a few minutes later and immediately started tapping the glass, then banging on it, then came to the same conclusion.  Looks like it might be time to teach my kids about the birds and the bees...and the bugs.

Speaking of bugs, there are waaaaaaay to many earwigs for my liking out here.  We had a lot of earwigs in Sacramento when I was a kid and I've had an extreme hatred for them ever since.  I usually don't kill bugs that are outside, only the ones inside my house, but I make an exception for earwigs.  Those get killed no matter where they are.

Other things not related to wildlife:

We live down the road from an air force base, so everyone up this way is used to jets flying overhead and pretty much ignore it.  My kids still look up at every single plane that flies over and get excited about it.  Ryan always points and yells "Jet Tub!!", because he learned about jet tubs before jets and can't seem to separate the two words.

Our neighbors all have gardens and all have been very welcoming, so we've had lots of fresh veggies and lots of zucchini bread--both wonderful things!

The other night I was in Alexis' room helping her with homework while watching Tyler out the window.  There was a little dirt and gravel in the gutter in front of our house, so he would ride his bike down to the end of the cul-de-sac to get up some speed, and then hit the brakes as soon as he got to the dirt and gravel.  The bike would skid sideways, and once he'd stopped he would turn around and study the line he'd made with his bike tire.  Then he'd get back on the bike and do it all over again.  I called Jeremy in to watch it, and a look of pride came upon his face because he used to do the same thing as a kid, but had never taught Tyler to do it.  And I was proud of Tyler because after trying it the first time he decided on his own that he should probably be wearing his helmet, so he went and put it on.

And this morning was the first morning we've had before school that didn't feel extremely chaotic.  Even though I've got a schedule, our mornings still seem off, so I guess they'll just take practice.  In the meantime I'll take any morning I get that isn't too crazy.

So wish us luck as we continue to settle in and get used to our new lives here.  We miss our family and friends we left behind and talk about them everyday, but we are grateful for our new space and all the experiences we'll have here.

Wednesday, September 5

maxed out of summer

Whew.  Summer, for all intents and purposes, is over!  I have always loved summer, but this summer has been a doozy for everyone in my little family.  It's been emotionally and physically draining, and I don't think a one of us is sorry to see it go.  Also, this summer I experienced a brain malfunction unlike any I've ever experienced, even while pregnant.  You'll see hints of it throughout my retelling of the summer events.  I sure hope I find my brain again soon because I have missed it, and I'm tired of cleaning up the messes that occur when I don't think.  I guess I could spread this post out into a million little posts that would touch more on each topic, but that's not my style.  I know myself well enough to know that it would never get done, so I'm just going to lump it all together right now.  Hopefully I don't leave anything out...

This is him showing you that he's two!
June started out with Ryan's 2nd birthday.  This is great news because I honestly and sincerely believe that 2-year-olds are among God's greatest creations.  Sure, they are emotional and struggling with independence, but the cute things they do far outweigh all of that.  So I'm going to enjoy the next year before he turns three, because I do not appreciate 3-year-olds nearly as much.

Two weeks later my brother's family came to town and we went to the zoo.  It was a lot of fun to see them, yet somehow I don't have a single picture of it.  How is that possible?  That same weekend Jeremy had a birthday, and I also don't have any pictures of that.  Brain malfunction.

A week after Jeremy's birthday I had my 30th birthday.  30!  Kind of a big deal, but it got overshadowed this year by a few other bigger events.  I do have a picture of this, but only because Jeremy was in charge of the camera and his brain was working fine.

Two days after my birthday I had surgery, which I talked about in the previous post.  But before having surgery we headed up the canyon for a fun family night/picnic and so I could take a few pictures with the kids for them to keep while I was gone.

The night before surgery I dropped my kids off at my in-laws, which was very hard to do.  I've left them before, and it's always a little sad, but this time was extra hard because I knew I was going in for major surgery and the worrier in me took over.  Plus, Alexis was old enough to know what was happening, and was a little worried too. After leaving them I met Jeremy in Salt Lake for dinner before he went to a concert of one of his favorite bands, Wilco.  He's been waiting for them to come here for a long time and I was supposed to go with him originally, but then I found out that I had to drink a laxative before surgery, and I didn't want to be taking care of that business at a concert.  So I went home, drank my laxative, turned on a movie, and waited for something to happen.  Nothing did until 4 AM, which means I could have gone to the concert instead of sitting home alone, missing my kids and worrying about surgery.

Surgery at the end of June meant that July was spent recovering.  We had so many good people around us that wanted to help.  I had more help than I knew what to do with at times, and I think that's part of what made my recovery go so quickly.  I was in the hospital from Tuesday to Friday, and then Jeremy took a few days off work, and between him and my mom I had full-time help with the kids for the first week.  Then the two weeks following that I took care of them in the mornings, and in the afternoons the older two kids would go play at friends houses while Ryan and I napped. In addition to the babysitting people brought in dinner, a few breakfasts, and random snacks and treats, and constantly checked in on us to make sure we were okay.  If we would not have had all that care and attention the kids would have been in much worse shape.  Even with all that, by the end of July they were quite stir-crazy and just out of sorts because their life was a little unsettled and their mom wasn't behaving normally.  Jeremy was a true champ to step in and take over a lot of my responsibility, and even worked in a few Rhino trips with the kids.

A week and a half after surgery, Jeremy and I celebrated our 10th anniversary.  Yet another event that's kind of a big deal, but got overshadowed by other bigger events.  We did go to an outdoor concert at Thanksgiving Point that was a lot of fun, but completely wiped me out!  Again, no pictures.

By the end of July I was feeling well enough to take the kids out to do things, though I still couldn't pick any of them up, and any outing completely wore me out.  We went swimming with cousins (still, no pictures), attended a few birthday parties, and went to the aquarium in Sandy.  Look!  A picture!

August started out with a last minute thrown together birthday party for Alexis.  Good thing she has a summer birthday--water parties are usually pretty easy to plan!

Then later in the week we had Jeremy's family reunion in Great Basin National Park (that's in Nevada).  It was fun, and we actually have tons of pictures, but I'll just share one of us crowded under a canopy during a seriously cool rainstorm.

Jeremy and I were in charge of planning it this year, and despite everything else that we had going on, everything actually got done and it seemed like everyone had fun.  Though the day before we left I did a countless number of stupid things (because of my brain malfunction), including starting a pretty large fire in our grill by neglecting to take out the cooking utensils.  I wish I didn't have a picture of that...

The week of the reunion also marked 6 weeks since surgery, which was when I was technically allowed to lift heavy things.  Even now, a month later, I still love being able to pick up Ryan and snuggle him--not being able to pick him up was easily the hardest part of recovery. 

The week after the reunion is when things got REALLY crazy.  All spring and summer we had been house hunting, and in July finally had decided on a home, about an hour north of where we lived.  Making the decision to buy that house was extremely emotionally hard, and then everyday after was harder and harder as the move became a reality and I started to really realize everything that would be changing and all the things I'd have to say goodbye to.  Moving is always tough, but this seemed extra tough to me.  But we couldn't deny that the timing of everything was working out perfectly.  We had wanted to move by the time school started, and the new school district started school two weeks after our old school district, which we needed because we were homeless for a week. 

We decided to keep the town home that we lived in for the last 7 years and rent it out, and we happened to have some good friends that wanted to rent it from us.  It has been a huge, undeniable blessing to have renters fall into our laps, with no extra work from us to find them, and have them be people that you know will take care of your home.  But we needed to put in a little work to make it suitable for renters, including getting new carpet.  Jeremy and I tore out the carpet ourselves, which made for a late night but was fun to do together.

Even though we both knew that it was time for us to move, it was definitely bittersweet. That little town home has been our home for the last seven years.  I brought two of my three babies home from the hospital there, we had many milestones there, made many friends there, and experienced a lot of emotional and spiritual growth there.  It was very hard to leave, but things always change sometime, and we knew without a doubt that it was time for this change.

We said goodbye to that house 2 days before Alexis' birthday. We hadn't yet closed on the new house, so we moved in with my parents who were kind enough to open their home to us, even though they had also just moved weeks before. Then, on the 18th, Alexis turned 8 and celebrated by getting her ears pierced!  Following that, we spent several days with NOTHING to do.  It was a nice change of pace considering everything we had just gone through, and everything we had ahead of us.

Finally, the last weekend of August, we moved into our new home.  We do love our new home and all the extra space we now have, but it's going to take awhile for all of us to adjust to the change.  Last week was easily the HARDEST week I have ever experienced with the kids.  The end of summer is always hard anyway, as kids are antsy and ready to get back to school and a routine, but then you add the upheaval of a move, the uncertainty of a new school/new neighborhood/new friends, missing old friends and familiar faces, and the cumulative effects of the rest of the summer, and you have a recipe for disaster.  Constant fights, meltdowns, tears, tantrums, etc.

We ended that week with Alexis' baptism (go here to learn more), a visit from dear friends, a trip on the Rhino, and a BBQ with family.

Which brings us to today, my first real day with Alexis at school all day, Tyler at school in the afternoon during Ryan's nap, and me enjoying some much needed (and deserved) quiet downtime.  I had quite a bit of anxiety of the kids starting at a new school where they wouldn't recognize anyone, but Alexis came home yesterday saying that it was "the best first day of school ever!"  More proof to me that prayer works.  And despite the fact that I can tell I'm still experiencing a brain malfunction, I did manage to take pictures of them yesterday.  (But today I forgot to make Alexis a lunch for school or to fix Tyler's hair.)

And now I hope that fall goes much more smoothly, and that we all settle in and adjust very soon!