Thursday, July 26, 2012

first visitors

Last week my parents came to visit. We kept it a secret from the kids. They stayed one night at a hotel. We told the kids we were gonna do service by bringing some old people dinner (I'm not a good liar). When my parents opened the door, they were shocked. Sydney dropped her jaw. Jordyn screamed and Levi said, "Gammie." The kids were so hyper and excited the rest of the night. Sydney stayed with them overnight.
 Sydney started summer school a couple hours in the morning so Jordyn and Levi went swimming with them and to the temple.

 One night we went to this pizza place that was also a musical show. A guy played the organ and many other instruments were played too. We all liked that and the kids danced to the music.

 I had heard of this place but it was way different than I expected. We'll be going back when other visitors come.
 Jordyn posing just like charlie chaplin.
The kids were spoiled. Going out to ice cream, lunch, swimming, and the movie Brave. There always sad when the grandparents leave.


 A lot of people ask what we've been up to during the days.
It's a pretty simple answer. We go swimming, splash parks, and the temple.
1.  Levi discovering that water comes up from the hole. "come on water."
 2.  giggle, giggle. "water, mom! "
 3. ummm. yeah it totally got me in the face.
Such a relief from the dry heat.

 The following are pictures of a pool in our community. We call it the beach pool because there is sand around the entire pool.

 The kids like walking around looking at the waterfalls and coy pond.
Another pool we go to a lot besides the beach pool and surrounding pools in our neighborhood are the outdoor and indoor pools at the gym we go to. This gym is so fun. There are waterslides and a little fun things for the small kids.
 Jeff, Sydney, and I also go rock climbing at our gym (you have to be 5 years old). And for my Alaska peeps this is cheaper than the AK club and it's waaay better.
 We also go to the Mesa Temple every Sunday. We went not knowing if they had a visitors center. Their visitor center is awesome. They have movies, art displays, a cactus garden, fountains and we just enjoy being there.

Girls weekend

Last weekend I went to San Diego for a girls weekend with Jamie, Luisa Tiffany, and Whitney. Jamie and I drove down there together. I saw sand, the Mexico/US fence thing, border patrol, and I think we passed one semi-city--Yuma. We had, or at least, I had such a fun time. It's so relaxing to eat dinner w/o interruptions, go to the beach w/o worrying about your child drowning or getting lost, and leisurely shopping and walking around. Friday night, after Jamie and I made it there we went out to dinner, came back to the hotel and played truth/dare. I know it's sounds juvenile, but who says adult moms can't play that and laugh so hard they cry....or pee their pants. We went on a "booze cruise" for some dancing, went back to the hotel and crashed. Saturday we went to the beach and decided to rollerblade and ride bikes on the board walk for a few hours. Ate dinner at a Thai place where we ate on the ground. Shopping, went one of those rickety wood roller coasters on Mission Bay and walked around. We also got pedis and did some shopping. Fun times.


It was a nice change to experience the 4th of July in traditional fashion: bbq, swimming, friends/family and fireworks (at a decent hour). We had only been in AZ for 3 days so we didn't have a good idea about events held here. Thankfully our friends invited us over to their family's home for swimming, bbq, and then we saw an amazing firework show. I did think a lot about the military families I knew in Alaska. I think my patriotism grew stronger having known and rubbed shoulders with many people who fight for the freedoms of our country. I also think about a grandfather who (if I remember right) was in the Army during WWII serving in the South Pacific and another grandfather who was a pilot in WWII. The sacrifices of many men and women today and in the past are inspiring.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Hello Arizona

We arrived to Arizona Sunday night (July 1st). We had a layover in Seattle. Levi threw up on him and me on the 1st flight and had a blow out on the second flight; so, he arrived to Arizona wearing only his shoes and diaper. I didn't bring a change of clothes. His first words when we were outside was, "hot here." Sydney said, "everyone is so tan, " and then waved and said hi to what looked like some thug kinda guy. Jordyn noticed the cactus right away and all this before we got our 10 bags of luggage.  It was all true. I agreed with each of them. What I noticed besides what the kids already mentioned was the 4 lane freeway and lots and lots of shopping. I kinda was excited about it all, nothing like when I first got to Alaska. That was scary to me. This felt good. Good that we're closer to family, that it's warm, that there's lots to do with kids, etc. It feels familiar to me, even though I've never really been here. Thankfully I have 1 friend who has been more than kind to invite me to places and show me around. That helps a ton! So far we've gone swimming every day, been to the zoo, and saw an amazing firework show last night. Currently we're renting a furnished condo in Gilbert. It has an awesome clubhouse with a huge pool with sand around it, other pools, covered playgrounds, a gym and other amenities. I love that I just know what the weather is going to be...HOT. We can wear shorts, short sleeve shirts, and flip flops everyday. Yesterday it did rain, but it was still in the 80's and felt perfect. Monday night we looked at the home we're interested in buying. I like it. It has character and I'm excited to make it our own. I love that it has a pool, trees, soft water, storage, and lots of room. In a nutshell, we're loving it here! We have plans to visit CA and Sedona soon and can't wait to have friends and family visit us.

Goodbye ALASKA

I had a month to mourn over leaving AK. I mourned for about 2 weeks and then the chaos of moving started and was a good distraction. By the time I was finished selling things, organizing what we had, packing 10 boxes of luggage to take with us, and cleaning all day for 5 days, I was DONE and was ready for our new desert adventure in Arizona. I'm grateful for the families who had us for dinner the week we left, Hullingers, Riveras, Snodgrass', Schanz's, and Gerber's. Friends are a huge blessing. Before we left I thought Jeff and I should do one more Alaskan excursion. We decided to go river rafting. We left from Chickaloon about an hour north of Palmer and floated down the river 12 miles. It was a lot of fun. We wore dry suits and helmets. The river was up 6 feet so the rapids were class IV and V instead of III and IV. I was happy with that but would have preferred even bigger rapids. It was a fun date just the two of us and of course the drive was beautiful.

 The Matanuska river and we saw the Glacier too. It was a beautiful, sunny day.

 Jeff is in the red helmet. I'm in the blue helmet. Since the river is glacial water it's very gray and brown.  The first rapid I got a mouth full of this yucky water in my mouth.
 There were 5 other rafts we went with.
I love this next picture. One of our neighbors caught this King Salmon. As you can tell it's even bigger than Jordyn. The guy filet it on his front yard. 

Some other things about Alaska. We were there when they celebrated it's 50th year of statehood and were present this past winter when Anchorage broke the record for most snowfall. A week or so before we left a bear had broke into our neighbor's home. They had their windows open and it clawed through the screen, rummaged in their pantry, pooped on the carpet, and left through a different screen. Luckily they had been gone, but it scared everyone and I stopped opening our windows too. It had been a sunny, hot week and with no A/C you open your windows. I guess this bear has come back to this home. I'm glad not to constantly be on high alert about bears anymore. As I mentioned already it was hard to say goodbye, but I felt good knowing that I will see my closest friends again. People ask me if I'm glad I'm not the RS President anymore. To that I answer yes and no....mostly No. I thoroughly enjoyed working with and for those I had come to know and love. I invested a lot of time, energy, and dedication to those I served and it's hard to leave that. I learned a lot about myself and realized how much more I can do in serving others. And in a funny kind of way more people changed me for the better than I'm sure I changed others for the better. I feel that I got a brief and small glimpse of the joy and love Christ must have felt for those he served when he was on the earth. All these things and more I am most grateful to have had these experiences.

prayers are answered

I had to write this down before I catch up on the previous month. By the way we're in Arizona now. That is important to know for this story. For lunch I made the kids and I a sandwich and we headed to the pool to eat our lunch and swim. It was about 11:30 when we walked out of our condo we're renting. I remember locking the door behind us w/ keys in hand. We ate, swam, and came home rather quickly because the kids were tired from a busy and exciting 4th of July and went to sleep late last night. We came home, and the key I had to open the door wasn't the right key. PANIC. It's bloody hot outside. Probably 105 or more degrees. I have no cell phone. No hide-a-key. Only 1 friend in AZ, but I don't have her number memorized so I couldn't call her if I wanted to and Jeff is with his boss today so he's probably not going to answer. Not a good situation to be in and did I mention my kids are TIRED. We did have a lock box on the door, but I didn't know the code and I was sure that even if I did know the code the key would not be in there. It was probably on another set of keys by now. I know not the most positive thinking going on in my head right now. I asked the kids what we should do in this tough situation. Jordyn mentioned the garage, but we had no garage opener. Sydney mentioned we should pray. My first thought that I kept to myself was, "we're not going to receive a answer where we randomly pick a 4 digit code number." I had no idea how prayer was going to work in this desperate circumstance (it was desperate to me anyway). Sydney offered the prayer. I got up tried the key again and pushed a few numbers in the lock box hoping for a  miracle. Nothing. I told the girls we needed to knock on someone's door and ask to use their phone. We took our first step off the door mat and a truck pulled in. I was going to ask for his phone, but before I could he said, "I came to fix your A/C." It was broken and Jeff called the owner over 36 hours ago and we had not heard from him so I wasn't expecting anyone. This worker guy called the owner, got the lock box code, there was a key inside and we were back inside within 5 minutes of when Sydney offered a prayer for help. What a blessing prayer is. I believe prayers are heard and answered. I believe that we have a Heavenly Father who knows us and loves us and wants us to be happy and safe. I am always humbled by these simple moments that remind me that I'm a daughter of God and that he watches over me, my family, and those who seek Him.