Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Taking it all in...

There is so much that I need to document and I will get it all posted if it's the last thing I do! But right now I'm trying to process what has happened to us over the past six weeks. So here is a very simple timeline to illustrate what the past 11 months have looked like and why these last six weeks have been particularly trying...

Dec 30, 2011 - We lose GK...Aric's mom.

Jan 5 - Aric goes back to school part time through BYU-Idaho's Pathway program

Mar - We find out about PrepMD, a school in Boston that offers a program to get into the CRM (Cardio Rythym Management) Industry and research it.

April - Aric gets interviewed and accepted into the program. He gives his six weeks notice and leaves his job/career of 12 years. We are still in the middle of our master bathroom remodel! But barely finish it in time for Aric to enjoy it for a week. The house goes on the market. We found an apartment in Boston that was close to his school, in our budget and available the day we needed it! Total miracle.

May 5 - We move most of our belongings out of the house and into a storage unit. Me and the kids will be sleeping on the floor and living with the barest of essentials for the next six weeks...I mean months.

May 9 - I take Aric to Boston and get him settled into the big city then come home.

May 21 - Classes start for Aric. He has tests every week. If he gets below a B two times he gets kicked out of the pressure.

June 9 - After six long and emotionally draining weeks I head out to Boston on the road trip of a lifetime. My car loaded with everything we could possible fit in it...including the children.

June 16 - We arrive in Boston so happy to be reunited with Aric again. Although we were happy to all be under the same roof, the 950 sqft that we were living in took some getting used to.

June /Aug - I filled our days with lots and lots of outings and swimming. Some days were very long and emotional. We were all grieving the loss of our old life and missing our Liberty Lake summer days. We were dealing with the stress of trying to sell the house by owner from Boston. We were adjusting to being unemployed and having no income. We were also being blessed to be spending lots of time with my Aunt Carolyn and Roscoe. We were also blessed to make some very special friendships. So even though things were hard, we still had a lot to be happy about.

Sept - Aric starts interviewing for a jobs. Girls start traumatic for them and me! We start having issues with our tenants in our Arizona house. We accept an offer on our Liberty Lake house that breaks my heart.

Oct 4 - We close on the LL house. Still looking and praying like crazy for a job. Turn in our 30 day notice to our apt complex without having a clue as to where we will be moving to.

Oct 19 - We get a contract and find out we are moving to Utah! We have three weeks to find a place to live in Utah where we will be close to the SLC airport and close to Ogden. Not that easy...Oh and we start coordinating our stuff to be moved from Washington to Utah.

Oct 26 - It's a miracle! We find a place to rent...I ask a friend I haven't seen since high school that lives in the area to go and check it out to make sure it didn't stink and was in a nice neighborhood. She gave us two thumbs up so we took it.

Oct 29 - Find out our tenants in Arizona took off and trashed our house.

Nov 1 - We hire an property manager to take on the rental house, she says she has never seen a house that bad in all her years...stupid, STUPID dishonest people!

Nov 7 - We get a call from Aric's dad who has been traveling in Italy, telling us that his connecting flight got cancelled so he is coming to Boston...that night! He was able to arrange his flights so that he could be there for Aric's graduation.

Nov 9 - Girls last day of school. We pack up our U-Haul trailer. That night Aric graduates with an "A" average from his program and he speaks at his graduation. We have to say goodbye to our beloveds in Boston.

Nov 10 - Aric's dad flies home to Florida that morning and we frantically finish cleaning the apartment and load up the car for our road trip back West.

Nov 13 - After four days on the road (thanks Auntie Jo for the best sleep and best food on the trip) we land in Layton, Utah.

Nov 16 - Our truck with all of our stuff finally arrives...3 days late!

Nov 19 - Girls start school...Maya HATES it...she is still struggling making friends :(

Nov 21 - My brother Ben comes to visit bringing my van that I had to leave behind when we moved to Boston. Our good buddies the Halls come to stay with us through the holiday weekend.

Nov 22 - My two cousins, Monica and Leah come up with their friend Karina and they stay for the weekend as well.

Nov 24 - We celebrate C's birthday. My baby turned still my heart.

Nov 25 - We put the Christmas trees up...nope, not a typo, we have two trees. We wanted to do that tradition before Aric left.

Nov 27 - Aric leaves for Missouri for 3.5 weeks. Camden starts preschool.

Nov 29 - My parents come to visit.

Dec 2 - I get asked to serve in the Young Women's program at church working with the 16-18 year old girls.

Dec 4 - I'm at my whits end...or maybe my whits are gone all together, I can't really tell. But I got almost all of my Christmas cards addressed and sent. AND I cleared out enough of the garage to park both cars in it!

Besides having no time to sit and blog these past few weeks, I honestly haven't been able to emotionally process everything to even be in a good enough place to post anything! My heart is all over the place. I miss Liberty Lake. I miss Boston. I miss having my own house. I miss Aric. I miss having happy kids who had friends. I miss feeling like myself. I miss GK.


I'm happy Aric has a job. I'm happy I have a place to live that is bigger than a closet. I'm happy that we live in a nice area with nice people. I'm happy that I live closer to my cousins and some of my dearest friends, I've got six buddies within an hour from me! I'm happy that I have a healthy family. I'm happy it's Christmastime. I'm happy that I get to serve in the YW program at church. I'm happy that no matter where I move to, I can go to church and have an instant support system.

Like I said, I'm a mess...bear with me.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Back to School...not quite what we are used to.

I know it's late but it must be documented...feel free to skip the novel and just look at the pictures :)

First of all I was on the fence about them going to school here up until five days before school started. They would both be going to public school which pretty much freaked me out, we live in Quincy which isn't exactly Liberty Lake if you know what I mean...Funny thing is Eden was so excited and was begging to go to school here. She wanted a teacher with a "funny accent".  I found out the school was K-4th so that made me feel good and after visiting the school I realized how secure it was so I registered Edes. Her school is just under two miles away, if I wanted her bussed we would have to pay $200! The other annoying thing is that her school starts at 7:45am...let me repeat that again, her school starts at 7:45AM!!! So early for this "NON" morning family.

Maya on the other hand was begging me to home school her. I looked into it but it just seemed like a ton of work for a small amount of time but I was still willing to do it. About a week before school started I decided to go to the Middle school she would be attending. I met with the secretary and she calmed my fears, I really felt peace as I walked the halls of the 90 yr old building.

The smell of recently sealed hardwood and the old metal lockers reminded me of my high school which was also very old. The secretary told me to bring Maya to the school in couple of days to have an orientation with the 7th grade guidance counselor...yes, each grade (5th - 8th) has it's own she could get a feel for the school. Maya was game so we went. She felt the same peace I did. The counselor, nurse and secretary were all so sweet and welcoming to Maya. They kept reassuring her (and me) that it was a great school and she would love it there. I'm sure that they say that to everyone, but I really believed it. It's the smallest middle school in the district so there are only 70 seventh graders and each grade has it's own floor and wing. On the way home Maya said she wanted to try it out. I told her to give it a week and if she hated it I would pull her out.

Her school starts at 8:15am and they will not let the students in the building one minute earlier. They have no pavilion to stand under, they just wait out there rain or shine until the doors open. The school is a little over a mile away so she couldn't walk there and she would have to take public transportation to get there if I didn't drive her! Yeah, that wasn't going to happen...I wasn't thrilled about that but it's part of this crazy experience so my days of being in my car more than not began.

To get them looking good and feeling like a million bucks, I took them to my friend Kristen's to get their hair cut.

Eden's before:

Eden's After:
(She didn't want to go too short this time)

Maya's Before:

Maya's After:
(Kristen was sweet enough to help Maya with some styling tips)

Then we went to the Garment District, an amazing second hand store in Cambridge that has some great clothes at great deals!

After I had made the decision to send them both I felt good about it, but I was still so nervous for them. We usually make a big deal about the night before the first day of school. We have a special dinner and Aric gives them each a father's blessing. This year dinner was a little on the lame side, not our traditional "everyone picks part of the meal", I just made a favorite I knew that would make them both happy...homemade pizza.

Unfortunately Aric was out of town so I was on my own to prepare them for the big day in this strange new place. He did give them blessings before he left which gave them some peace. Neither of them knew a single person when they walked through those doors. There was not one other Mormon kid in either of the schools which is a big deal for them. It's hard to be the only one! And neither of them had any experience with it. So I wanted to give them as much courage as I could.

I got an idea from another blog (NieNie) to have a back to school theme. As I thought about it, it didn't take long for a scripture to come to mind: 

"...fear not; peace be unto thee, be strong yea; be strong." Daniel 10:19

I needed that scripture as much as they did! So I made a banner that became a permanent part of our decor:

We all memorized it, even Camden.

I also made them necklaces with a little scroll inside that had their name followed by the scripture on it, to remind them to be strong:

And here they are on the first day of school rushing to the elevator...

Instead of a picture in front of our house like we have done every other year of their entire school existence, we took it in front of our home here...

Eden's First Day picture:

Eden's school has no supervisors. It's the strangest thing! The principal and vice principal direct traffic at the drop off and they also help with recess along with the teachers. It's controlled chaos when I drop her off every morning but it works. Eden is in the minority at this school when it comes to her race. It is a very diverse school which is a great thing. She has a hard time pronouncing many of the names of the kids in her class but it doesn't matter to her. In fact she has befriended a new girl in her class from Iran. She still isn't sure how to say the girl's name so she calls her Nazzi for short. Eden has been assigned to help teach her math. And apparently Nazzi's mom went up to Eden and in her broken English thanked Eden for being Nazzi's best friend.

Maya's First Day picture:

Maya's first day was ROUUUUUUGH! Her schedule was never printed up so she didn't have one for the first hour so that stressed her out and then popular girls recruited her to sit with them at lunch. This proved to be another huge stress for her. These were not nice girls, nice to Maya but not other kids. They cursed and used other inappropriate language. They noticed she didn't swear and tried to get her to say a bad word! They asked her if her parents cursed and when she answered no they couldn't believe it. When they asked why we didn't swear she told them that we were Mormon and they started grilling her with questions. One girl told her that everyone in her family drank and smoked marijuana! There was so much Maya was exposed to during that lunch she came home traumatized and begged me to not make her go back the next day.

Thankfully the next day she met a girl that has become her bestie out here, her name is Sonya and she was an answer to prayers! The popular girls were not happy that Maya wouldn't sit with them again. They kind of made her feel uncomfortable for a few days but then they left her alone. Since then she has made some other friends through cross country which has been such an awesome experience for her that I will do a post on that soon.

I went to back to school night at both schools and was so shocked at how few parents there, but I was so happy with both of the girl's teachers:

This next picture is of Eden and her home room teacher Mrs. Kearnes.
She is beyond FANTASTIC and I love hah and hah wicked ahsome Bahstun accent. According to Eden she dances and sings everyday but isn't afraid to get in kids faces when she needs to. I wish I could put her in my pocket and take her to Utah with us.

Eden with Mrs. Foley her Social Studies and Science teacher

This is a little project Eden was excited to show me. Politics are taken pretty seriously in this part of the country and both of my girls are very emotional charged about it. They do not like being in the minority. Eden is one of two kids in her class voting for Mitt Romney in her school election. She is quite proud of her stance and is constantly talking about policies and debt, wanting to know everything she can about the issues so she can stand her ground. It keeps me on my toes and I love that my kids are interested in who runs our country and how they are going to do it. They were into last election but now that they are older they are way more involved and opinionated. Although I'm pretty sure they wouldn't be this fired up if we lived anywhere else. 

So every morning after I drop of Eden, Maya and I have about 20 min to sit in the car and wait for her school to open the doors. 

There is a lady on her bike that rides by us at 7:50am, I haven't seen her lately to take a picture, but don't worry I will get one before we go.

Every morning at 8am we see this grandpa and his little grandson heading to the bus stop. It drives Maya crazy that the grandpa smokes and holds the cigarette so close to the little guy. She makes a comment about it everyday.

At around 8:05am the janitor comes out and hoists up the flag.

There's a little guy that hangs out alone for a long time until his friends come and he dances around and talks to himself and he always makes me smile. I got a video but I'm not in the mood to figure out how to post it.

We watch the same kids walk or get dropped off. Most of the walkers come with a red bull, an ice cream cone, or a coffee/hot least I hope that's what it is, in their hand. We've seen kids eating pickles, potato chips and all sorts of random snacks for breakfast. It is so disturbing to  to me! There is a corner store close by so they all get their goodies there. Is that normal in other places? Where we came from it wasn't so it blows my mind.

We use this time to finish or check homework and get a little more studying done for tests and quizzes. But the most important thing Maya does is her scripture study. It's all her. She is so diligent about it and it makes me so happy. I know it helps her get through the day and it helps me have more peace when I drive away. She always crosses the street in the cross walk right in front of me with a smile and a wave. Once across the street she takes a few steps and then turns and looks for one more smile and wave. It makes me teary.

Eden's and Maya's teachers have all told me that my girls are special. "There's just something about them..." they say. They are all so sad that we are moving and tell me every chance they get that I can't take them away. I know my girls are special but they stick out around here because of how kind, respectful and responsible they are. It's been a good experience for them and for me. I am so glad I sent them to school here. They have both grown leaps and bounds...and so have I.

Stay tuned to see what C and I do while the girls are at school...

Monday, October 22, 2012

#349 Why Everyone Needs an Uncle Tia...

This is my Tia Ana (Tia = Aunt in Spanish)

Camden calls her UncleTia.

When she found out C was obsessed with Spiderman she delivered BIG TIME.

She had my 17 year old cousin, Sam's, Spiderman costume from when he was five. C had a Halloween party he was invited to on Saturday so she sent him a special package last week. He was beside himself with joy when we surprised him with her package.

He couldn't get that costume on fast enough!

He immediately tried to climb the walls...he was so disappointed when he didn't "stick". In fact tonight before he went to bed he asked me if we could buy some sticky stuff to put on his hands and his feet so he can "climb and do other cool stuff".

He tried to wear it for 48 hours straight. I only made him take it off to eat.

He took this next picture of himself using the camera and the self timer...I never showed him how to do it. He just figured it out by himself. I've got one smart little Spidey on my hands!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

So I won't forget...

This is me in my al natural glory, no make up, gray roots and all. I 'm not a fan of close ups of myself and I could critique this picture 'til the cows come fact I already have. It's certainly not the best picture of myself but this was a great day and I didn't want to forget anything about it so I allowed it to be taken. This is what ocean wind and salt water looks like on me. This is what I looked like when I was 36 years and 10 months old while I was living in my beloved Boston going through one of the hardest times in my life. My eyes don't quite have the spark they had a year before, instead they look a little dull and tired. Behind the dullness they carry the wisdom that only comes from being stretched, heartbroken and tried beyond my strength. What surprises me most about this picture is that I see peace behind those dull eyes. A quiet peace that has always been there, even when I didn't realize it was there. When this picture was taken I was going through one of my hardest weeks ever. It felt like I was slipping and I couldn't catch myself. Yet, in this picture I remember that underneath it all there was faith, there was trust, there was peace. There were just moments and days that I let myself forget. I don't want to forget again so I am posting this...

One of the things that got me through this difficult time was receiving a priesthood blessing from Aric. I'm at a loss for my own words when it comes to describing what that blessing did for me. The lyrics of one of my favorite "Sunday Songs" (Power of Heaven) expresses my feelings better than I could write them...

When I’m reaching for an answer, when I’m aching for relief. 
When I’m searching for direction, that my eyes no longer see.

I can call upon a power, born by heaven’s worthy sons. Servants of a gentle master reassure me of His love.

Power of heaven, Mercy’s answer, precious gift. Power of heaven, like the rushing of the wind. 

Whispering solace to my spirit. 
Heaven reaches through my pain. 

In my searching heart I hear it, heaven speaks to me by name. 

When the windows of his promises are open to my view,
 Precious words of revelation, like the sun come pouring through.

Power of Heaven. Breathe in me.

For a moment, heaven lingers, 
And the veil is drawn away. 

I’m reminded of the blessings that will flow if I obey. 
He has calmed my troubled spirit. Living peace has been restored.

May I always find my comfort in the power of the Lord. I will always seek my comfort in the power of the Lord.

Power of heaven, Mercy’s answer, precious gift. Power of heaven, like the rushing of the wind. 

Power of Heaven, Mercy’s answer precious gift. Power of Heaven.

Kayaking with the Fam...

So we have not experienced one lazy Saturday...NOT ONE. Every Saturday we have tried to go and do something as a family since it's the only day when Aric can join us on fun outings.

We are lucky enough to have met some really great people here who are kind and generous. They like to share their toys with us. So we have taken their kayaks out for a whirl a couple of times so we could go sea glass hunting on a little island near their house. (That island looked way closer than it really was!)

I was a little nervous to let Maya go by herself since she had never done it before, but she was a natural!

Eden was my kayak partner. She kept splashing me and her arms got tired after about 2 minutes but she  still kept trying.

That blurry skyline is Boston.

Aric and C were partners...

He even let C have a turn with the paddle...

So that is Aric and C on the left, then Maya to the right of them. That island is where we were heading, to the right of the island you can see Boston. So cool!



This was quite a big deal. We had no idea how far we were going. This next picture I took from the island. The bright white house in the middle is where we started from...

Let the sea glass hunting begin!

We were the only ones one the island so we propped up the camera on a rock and hit the self timer. We got one picture and the batteries died. I can't even believe that it turned out this good!

We were having so much fun that we lost track of time. Before we knew it the tide had gone back out...we had quite a trek to the house dragging the kayaks through the mud and rocks. Even though that part wasn't pleasant all we could talk about was when we were going to do it again. So a couple of weeks we were at it again...this time we started out earlier and came back earlier. We learned our low tide lesson...

This time Aric and Eden were partners.

C was a good sport being squished between my legs in the one person kayak...

He made sure to chill by himself before the trip back.

Once again, Maya was a pro. That girl has some serious muscles and guts. Being in the middle of the bay is kind of scary!

Kayaking will definitely be one of my most favorite memories of our time here in Boston. I'm pretty sure Aric and the kids will say the same thing. 

Thank you David and Carol Coppins for being such wonderful, kind people and embracing us instantly. I believe that you were some of the people Heavenly Father promised to send us to help us get through this crazy time in our life. We will never forget your kindness and I promise we will pay it forward...