March 30, 2015

A Long Story

I've been putting this post off for some time now, nearly three months to be exact.  As I've looked through the following photos, I understand clearly why I've neglected this post...It's painful, plain and simple.  Anyhow, the story of why we no longer reside in Utah must be told...

John's Ford Bronco seems like a good place to start.  I've been wanted to write about "El Bronco" (as his Abuelita affectionately dubbed it years ago) and I figure now is as good of time as any, as it does have a small role in our move to Colorado.  John purchased the Bronco when he was 16 years old.  So I guess I technically wasn't his first love as he met me about a year later.  He has done a ridiculous amount of work on it over the years and I won't attempt to list any of it as I'm sure I wouldn't do him a bit of justice.  We worked on it together while dating, before his mission, and as newlyweds.  If I'm being honest, I pretty much hate it.  His hours and hours of precious time spent working on it, the never ending expense, the stress of driving it, all have contributed to my distaste for the big red beast.
So I happily gave up my side-kick position when the kids came along...
The last time the Bronco was actually registered and running, the last time I actually remember anyone driving it was a summer day years ago when I was pregnant with Wyatt.  After years of focusing on his career, school, and the babies that just kept on coming, the Bronco was definitely neglected.  Though often times we needed the money the old classic would've gone for, I have never had the heart to ask John to get rid of it.  Yes, I know, I'm a saint.  
After puttering around with various Bronco issues for years and eventually rewiring the entire thing (a crazy impressive feat by-the-way) John was determined to get the Bronco up and running again, resulting in countless hours spent in the garage of the various houses we've lived in...
Black hands and engine stench were (and still are) near-constant companions to my hubs...
Finally, finally, in the Spring of 2014 the old boy was back in business.  Okay, I'll admit, John and the kids weren't the only ones excited beyond belief.  However, it wasn't until the Fall that it finally was ready to pass inspection.  It was a joyous day indeed!  After a 9 year hiatus, we took a beautiful drive through the canyon once more in El Bronco.
After adding the new backseat, the kids were thrilled to ride to school with Daddy each morning on his way to work.  John said they would laugh and laugh the entire way there.  After all, it is a pretty bumpy adventurous ride.
Life was good.  I was no longer working at the school, the kids were doing great, and the Bronco was running.  There was just one gigantic small problem.  We didn't have a house.  I can already tell this post is going to be much longer than intended, so I'll cut to the chase.  Basically we lived with John's parents while looking for a house for 8 months.  Nothing felt right.  In fact, looking for a house didn't even feel right.  I forced myself to look every now and then and finally got a real estate agent to force us to look more seriously.  We desperately wanted our own place, but felt lost.  John was looking for a new job and we weren't sure were we would end up.  After multiple interviews with various companies, nothing was panning out.  I've started a more personal journal so I won't go into all the details here, but after many many prayers and lots of fasting, John was offered a job at Sport's Authority Headquarters in Denver, Colorado. 

This was a very special experience for me personally as I felt so much comfort and peace, knowing without a doubt, though scary, this was indeed what we had been waiting for...a clear and precise answer to our prayers and the prayers of our sweet children offered over the past year or so. 

John and I soon were on our way to Denver to look for a home, we had exactly 48 hours to find a new house for our family. Just because this post is already incredibly long, I'll some up our house hunting weekend in as few words as possible and save the dets for my journal.  In a nutshell, our real estate agent was CRAZY and we absolutely will never forget the time spent with hers.  However, I am grateful for Wambsgamm's (her legitimate name) insanity, otherwise we never would have found our home.  I told her I did not want to see the house we ended up going with, yet she took us anyway.  Although the 35 year old house definitely needs some updating, we instantly fell in love with the area.  Our neighborhood is right out of a Disney movie, filled with cuddling deer, darling little bunnies, furry foxes, a beautiful lake (named after the high-school where John and I met), biking trails, a golf-course and countless pine trees, etc.  We were sold.  After weighing our options and of course more prayers, we both felt overwhelming peace, this was our place.

We returned home and in no time at all, John was on his way back to Colorado to start his new job.  Saying goodbye for 2 weeks and watching him pull away in that old red Bronco was anything but fun...  
While he was away, I experienced every form of doubt/panic/anxiety possible.  Moving to a new state, closing on a home, changing schools, doctors, etc, etc was completely overwhelming.  Thankfully my parents let us stay with them and helped me with the kids so so much, allowing me to get a lot of packing and loose ends tied up.  We all missed John so SO much.  One night I overheard Wyatt crying for him in his sleep...broke my heart.

Besides packing and preparing to move, our last few weeks in Utah we spent as much time with friends and family as possible.  The kids had a wonderful night at the school fair.  I lost my wallet and was husband-less, but survived...
Wyatt was the recipient of the Builder of the Month Award (Student of the Month)...
...and Cole was honored with a Reading University Award...
I had one last 'ladies lunch' and said good-bye to some very dear friends...
And finally, it was the moment we'd all been dreading, biding farewell to our beloved school we worked so hard to get into.  The kids were so very sad to go.  Their teachers all gave them a warm farewell...
...before they were completely bombarding by friends and classmates...
Macie and Wyatt were both sad, but my poor sweet little Coley's heart completely broke as his friends surrounded him.  He cried and cried.  His teacher cried.  I cried.  We all cried.  The kids left with bags full of letters and cards, pictures and well wishes, and some fabulous memories...
Pulling away from that school just about did me in.  However, we survived once more.  The next day my mom and I threw together a baby shower for Tyson and Kelsey while John worked with the moving company.  It was another opportunity for more difficult goodbyes...
Porter was crying and unable to smile for the above picture.  Broke my heart all over again.
After that we were off to McCoys to finish cleaning and say more goodbyes.  Then back to Mom and Dads to pick up the dog and say even more goodbyes.  It wasn't until late in the evening we were finally on our way to start our new adventure...
It was at this point I lost complete control and sobbed my eyes out for some time.  The kids surprisingly didn't seem to notice and were happy as could be for whatever excitement lay ahead.  The weather was horrible and after a tedious drive through a blizzard, we arrived in Grand Junction where we stayed the night.  The next day we made our way through the beautiful mountains to our new home....
...except it wasn't quite ours yet.
We weren't set to close on the place for a few more days (which ended up being a full week) and stayed in John's one bedroom apartment.  With Gus.  And all six of us...
It was a rough week to say the least.  The closing companies we worked with were a big ridiculous joke and I don't even want to talk about the nightmare it was to actually purchase our home and move in.  We kept ourselves distracted by driving down to our future neighborhood and exploring the area...
We finally were able to close and move in.  Unfortunately all the postponing had pushed back the moving companies schedule...which translated into us moving into a completely empty house with no furniture, bedding, clothing, food, etc.  I cried again.  A lot.  Our new next door neighbors soon came to the rescue.  They brought us blankets, pillows, air mattress, pads, etc.  I was overwhelmed by their kindness.  After a trip to Target, we were stocked with cards, games, and everything we needed to decorate for Christmas (which was in 5 days by the way).
The kids had a blast running around the empty house and eating picnic after picnic on the floor...
I taught them a card trick or two, we did a couple puzzles, and by the end of the week our snow-flake making abilities were quite impressive....
Soon our belongings arrived, including our Christmas presents, phew! Our amazing neighbors and ward members came to the rescue once more and helped us move in, staying hours and hours helping us unpack, clean, etc.  I have never felt more welcomed and have been so inspired to serve more and be a better personal in general because of their kindness.  

The past few months have been definitely challenging, but some of the happiest of my life.  I feel so good about where we are.  I have had so many faith building experiences and I know John has as well.  He is doing well with his new job, though it is definitely a challenge at times.  He is gone usually 12 hours a day, but is slowly getting more comfortable with his demanding new position and I am so proud of him.  The kids school is across the street and I have so enjoyed walking them to and fro each day with my little Tessa in toe.  We have been pleasantly surprised by the school and are very happy with things so far.  The kids are thriving, making new friends, and enjoying life.  They miss Utah, their friends and family, but are loving life here in Parker, Colorado.












February 17, 2015

Zoo Day

On a beautiful fall day last October, we were rushing around like crazy looking at houses and at the last minute decided a trip to the zoo was in order.  At the time, Tess was obsessed with elephants and to be honest, my sole motivation on hauling our own little wild animals to the zoo (on an already busy day) was strictly to see our baby girl's reaction to her favorite animal up close and personal.  Yes we rushed and yes the kids complained, but it ended up being a load of fun and we were all blown away by the new renovations at good old Hogle Zoo.  Unlike zoo visits of the past, the animals were out in full force and definitely made our hour at the zoo well worth it.  Without further adieu, I give you,
Talking Pictures: Zoo Day
I know I'm supposed to let the pictures do the talking here, but I just cant resist.  Isn't my husband the best Daddy ever?  I agree.

February 4, 2015

Ba-A-la-la-la-la (Couldn't Resist)

This past Thanksgiving was especially meaningful for us as we knew it would be the last time together with my entire family for quite some time.
We started the holiday off right, with a pre-thanksgiving kinder play, presented by the cutest darn pilgrim that ever was...
Thanksgiving morning we gathered together at Grandma and Grandpa's, ready to feast.
But first, a little cousin lovin'...
Meanwhile, Tessa made sure Gramps didn't butcher the beautiful bird...
The food was excellent.  We thoroughly enjoyed our fabulous feast...well, except for the part where Tessa went crazy and screamed for most of it as she insisting on drink after drink of sparkling cran-apple cider.  (Who can blame her?) 
BUT, everything did taste delicious, especially Grandma Lisa's homemade stuffing, which Wyatt had been looking forward to for months.
I continued my tradition of making a pie for each member of my fam.  John of course went with his usual lemon meringue and I am happy to announce that for the first time in nearly 12 years of marriage, I nailed it!  The filling wasn't runny, the meringue set beautifully, and I didn't set it on fire...that's a story for another day.
(Future reference: Used recipe in Cook's Illustrated.)
My triumph was short lived however as none of the other pies turned out too well,  Wyatt's recent obsession with butterscotch brownies (made by his darling math teacher) led to his choice of butterscotch pie.  It tasted amazing, for a soup.  Who knows what I did wrong, but it did not set up at all.  Nor did Macie's banana cream...notice a theme here?  Pies are certainly not my strong point, though I'm determined to one day be at least an average pie maker and not completely suck.  Cole choose the same pumpkin pie from last year, though if memory serves, he hated it then too.  It turned out okay, though the filling was rather lumpy for some reason.  Anywho, won't be sharing any recipes here as I most likey will never repeat them. 
Moving on.
Keeping with tradition, we all opened up a Christmas gift and then stuffed our bursting bellies into our new PJ's...
And then we were off to the theater.
Where we watched the cutest show ever.  Like ever.
...and ended up quoting it constantly over the next week month.  Ba-A-la-la-la-la anyone?
The next day we held our annual day-after-Thanksgiving-ginger-bread-house-decorating which my sister amazingly does most of the work for every year.  The kids love it.  Okay, I think the grown ups do too...
The best part?  Hanging out with family one more time...
Totally lying, the best part is for sure all the sugar...
In the end, our houses were moderate at best. ('Cept for Montell's, her's is always a work of art.)
This time was bittersweet for John and I as he left for Colorado the following day, where we joined him two excruciatingly long weeks later.  
I'm so grateful for my beautiful sweet family, for John and all he is doing for us (more on that to come) and for both of our parents, siblings, and grandparents.  It is easy to take them all for granted when you are so close.  Having been in Colorado for almost 2 months now, we are definitely missing everyone and realizing how very blessed we have been.  If anyone ever reads this, we love you all so very much.