Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Trip to Vernal (Lots of Pictures Included!)

It's been a long 3 days.

We left on Monday and drove to Spanish Fork to stay with James's Aunt Michelle. It was an uneventful but really long trip. 6.5 hours took 8 because of baby feedings, and he would not go longer than 2 hours between feedings!

We drove from Spanish Fork to Vernal and back the next day. I think it's the most gorgeous country I've ever seen, because I thought I was on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. I had only ever seen I-15 Utah, not the uninhabited parts. Driving into Vernal was actually pretty breathtaking. It's a beautiful little town in a pretty valley. It doesn't seem as small as I thought it would. James got to sign some papers and check out his school. We had a little picnic in the park, which was really nice, and then looked around a little bit for housing. We have a few pages' worth of places to call/look at. There is really no ghetto in Vernal, so that's good too. Getting somewhere to live is not going to be a problem. It just won't be cheap, and we might even be forced to upgrade to something nicer/bigger. Oh well... :)

We left from Spanish Fork the next morning and checked out the Bean Museum at BYU. It's pretty awesome! Then, it was on to Pleasant Grove to Cindy's house for lunch. It was much too short of a visit...I miss you, Cindy!

The drive home was a lot better than the drive down. We only stopped twice, not three times. Kenny was less fussy, and Joseph discovered the delights of Angry Birds, one of the few games that will restart for you so you don't have to push any special buttons. That makes it very toddler-friendly!

It was technically Joseph's birthday yesterday. He did get his favorite breakfast: doughnuts. We're celebrating tonight when his Grandma Head and a couple of her kids (Aunts & Uncles!) get here. I made some chocolate cupcakes with epic chocolate frosting. (Isn't it nice that Joseph can't choose what kind of cake he wants yet, so I get to choose for him?) It's been pretty busy today just catching up on housework and getting ahead all at the same time, but it's all good.

at the park in Vernal

Vernal Jr. High

first Slurpee EVER!

the Vernal temple

the view

sweet rocks

more view

smiley boy

Don't eat Joseph!
I'll post a special post for Joseph's birthday once the celebrations have happened and the family has gone home. Sorry, Joseph, but you aren't the one reading this anyway! :)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Why I Love Conference Talks

They give me quotes like this, from Elder Holland:

"The thing God enjoys most about being God is the thrill of being merciful, especially to those who don’t expect it and often feel they don’t deserve it."

I am definitely one of those people. For so long, especially since I've been married, I've been the recipient of many blessings that I feel I don't deserve.

I was able to graduate from BYU-Idaho with no debt. The Lord helped me find good jobs during the summers to make enough money to pay for school. James was also able to graduate with close to none (nowhere near the national average of  $20,000!)

I got to marry the man of my dreams, despite opposition from all the haters who say that "girlfriends never wait for their missionaries." (He never asked me to wait, and I never said I would, anyway. It just worked out that way.)

We've been blessed with 2 adorable, healthy boys that bring us joy every day. All my life, I'd dreamed of being a mom, and I get to live that dream every day. It's not always easy, but it's the best thing I've ever done.

We've received opportunities that have helped to take care of our family in the form of good jobs. James was able to get his 2 jobs last year because of inspiration (tutor and teacher's assistant). Those 2 jobs look great on the resume he worked on this year. His job that he just finished at night school was offered to him randomly, he's been able to sub a fair amount, and he's even gotten into summer school, which will help pay for our long move coming up. Summer school ends literally 2 weeks before his job in the fall starts up. The timing couldn't be better.

As for the job, it's history! James loves history. You might say that it's his passion. History jobs are pretty rare compared to science jobs, so I think it's a real blessing that he got this one. And Vernal, since it's close enough to drive to Denver, will actually save hundreds of dollars when it comes to flying to visit my parents. As in, it will cost less for 3 of us to fly than it cost for 2 of us to fly from Salt Lake. That's pretty sweet.

So yes, it may have sounded like I'm afraid of moving to this teeny town that I've never seen (yet). I certainly am. Moving is expensive and a ton of work, and I have 2 kids now instead of one, which complicates packing. However, I am very excited to see what the future brings. After all, this could be our home for more than a year!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Other Things of Note This Week

Other things of note this week:

I can work out again! Well, I technically could before, but I just started on Thursday: Kenny's 6 week mark. I have about 7 inches and 7 lbs. to lose before I get my "pre-babies" body back. I actually did get there after Joseph, so I know it can be done! (This is allowing just few extra inches and lbs. for nursing a baby...those aren't about to go away.)

Kenny has the most amazing, cute little smile. I can't get it on camera yet. Little stinker.

I went to a play group at the park. We had a little picnic, and I was taken back to my elementary school days. See, my mom always sent me with a simple, homemade snack. The one that comes to mine is saltines with peanut butter. All the other kids had "cool" snacks like little bags of chips, Fruit Rollups, and juice boxes. I got 30 cents to buy a carton of milk with my snack. I felt like such a weirdo. I guess I still do sometimes. Joseph and I ate plain cheese quesadillas on corn tortillas (thanks to the tortilla warmer!), apple slices, and water. The other moms had brought PB & J, crackers, juice, and some fruit to share. I think Joseph devoured at least 3X as much fruit as the other kids, because I never limit him on how much he can eat. So yes, I felt like a weirdo health nut. It happens on occasion, especially when someone finds out how much (or what) I cook and eat on a regular basis. Oh well. Maybe I'll get used to that feeling, because I don't plan on changing the way I do things, even when we have more money and can afford "cool" food.

We're going to start getting a Bountiful Basket about every other week. I am confident that we can use the whole thing ourselves. I'm going to wait until 2 weeks from now, because I didn't get one this week and don't want to throw off my shopping schedule. I will definitely be looking forward it, because I feel like I need some more variety.

The Job

In case you haven't been on Facebook recently, I posted about James's new job for the fall. It came as a real shock at first when I found out where Vernal is. It's the middle of nowhere. But let me backtrack a few days...

Tuesday morning, James had an interview with Uintah School District via Skype. They had wanted to have him come interview in Vernal, but he told them it just wouldn't be possible because of work. They were okay with doing a Skype interview. I didn't think it'd come to anything, since he couldn't even go there like they wanted. Plus, they wanted to see him teach, so he would have to send them a teaching video later.

Well, the interview must have gone really well, because they offered him a history job (9th grade, at the junior high) right off! He told them he'd need to think about it for a couple of days and talk to me. My emotions went through a roller coaster over the next few days: excited... worried... confident... doubtful... relieved... etc. We were really debating if it was the right thing to do, because housing is pretty scarce in Vernal right now. It's scarce enough that there is hardly anything online, and what's there costs 1,000 dollars a month or more for a 2-bedroom apartment. If we wanted to buy a house, it would be easy to find one. Renting is another story, because the town is going through a "boom" right now. Well, Wednesday rolled around, and James ended up getting 4 rejections, all in the same day. A guy from Rigby called him, but he wasn't qualified for the position the guy was asking about. James even asked the principal of Skyview here in Nampa if there was any possibility of getting a job here. Her answer wasn't too promising.

So here we are about ready to move for the 4th time since our short marriage of not even 3 years. For the first time ever, we will not be moving during Christmas! It's really exciting that we know where we're going. And yes, we are definitely out in the sticks. Vernal is about 30 minutes away from the Colorado border, 3 hours from both SLC and Provo, and 7 hours from Rexburg. Of course, I'm still about 40 hours from my family...

I can honestly say that I have no idea why we're ending up there. It's the right thing to do. I've moved enough times now that it's just not as freaky as it used to be. This is going to test my ability to live off the beaten track, which I've really never done before, unless you count Rexburg! I am really glad that Vernal has a temple. I've really missed that. I'm totally excited about having money, too! A teacher's salary is known for being small, but I know that we can live on it, pay off our little student loan,  start saving for another car, a house, and build up a better emergency fund within just a couple years.

It's amazing how well we have been taken care of. This job starts mid August, and summer school ends August 1st. The gives us just enough time to go to the family reunion and move. Life is good.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Couple of Things...

We have been blessed with a busy, exciting week. My brother Brinson came to visit, and we had a great time. He arrived last Tues. night, quite late, so I was already asleep. James graciously picked him up. The boys went shooting one day in between James's work and work (subbing and night school). He was pretty busy all of last week! It was great to have Brinson here to hang out, talk, play with the kids, and do fun things together. We took a trip to Walmart to get some goodies for our trip to Rexburg, went to Table Rock to see the great view of Boise, and went on our favorite greenbelt in Nampa. It was pretty awesome to have such nice weather.

We left for Rexburg on Saturday morning, because James had to work night school on Friday. It was a nice drive. We stopped once to keep everyone's sanity (mostly Joseph's) and so I could feed baby boy. It was an uneventful trip, which is good. I hung out at my in-laws' house on Saturday while James and Brinson went with Jacob to do some paintballing for his prom date. Apparently, prom dates in Rexburg are pretty epic!

Sunday, we blessed Kenny. A whole bunch of family came over to lunch afterward, which was super yummy. Yes, I relaxed my "vegetarian" standards for the weekend. My in-laws don't know that I'm doing it, but I'm back on track for another couple of weeks. I don't think it ruins the experiment, because it's not like I was actually craving meat. I just don't want to be an inconvenience to anyone.

We traveled back on Monday after a nice visit in the morning and goodbyes to everyone leaving for school. It was a nice trip back. James worked at 4 and made it just in time. Our car even got 40 mpg. I hope it never ever dies, needless to say.

Brinson left today after trying his first Big Jud's burger in Boise. Yep, they've got one here, and it's just as legit as the one in Rexburg. Joseph really chowed down on fries and ice cream, and he was really sad to see Brinson leave. He cried a little. He had such a great time playing with Brinson. It was sad to see him so upset.

Well, it's back to business. Hopefully I will have some exciting news in a few days. Needles to say, we might know where we're going in the fall...I will keep everyone posted! (No, it's probably not where you think!) Please pray for us, because we're freakin' out just a little bit... :) pictures. I need to get better at that.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Monday Off

We went to church for the first time as a family on Sunday! That was awesome. I've really missed Relief Society.

School was out on Monday, so no work for James. We planned to go to a couple of museums in Boise, but they were all closed. Instead, we went to the Nature Center and had a picnic afterward in the park.

Kenny had his one month checkup on Monday. He now weighs 10 lbs. (+ 2.5 lbs.) and is 22 inches long (+ 1 inch.) I knew he was getting heavier! He still sleeps extremely well at night, at least 4 hours at a time. I love it. His ped. seemed surprised by my good spirits, but I've definitely got a perfect little baby.

I pulled my hair out a little bit on Monday. Joseph was super whiny, cranky, and overall irritating. Sorry bud, but you aren't the center of the universe anymore! That's okay, because Uncle Brinson is here now to toss him around while Daddy's at work. (Only one more week of night school after this one. Yippee!)

Speaking of which, James has a job in summer school! He will get paid as much as a real teacher, which he is as of today! That is totally exciting, because we thought it was really hard to get a job in the summer school. He won't even have to find another job for summer in addition to this one, because it will be all day and pay a lot more than he makes now. I'm so happy about that. We will definitely have more than enough to live on until fall. Life is great. Now, to just find a job for fall...

A Day With Joseph

James had the great idea to spend Saturday morning doing things that Joseph loves to do, so we did! Since we were actually doing things that Joseph loves, he was as good as gold and didn't have a single cranky moment, whine, or complaint. It was awesome.

checking out the animals at Cabela's...much cheaper than the zoo!

inside a tent at Cabela's

playing on the mall playground. He and James rode the escalator lots of times.

Idaho Military History Museum. Joseph LOVES the airplanes and guns. What a boy!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Peace and Quiet

It's quiet now. Both boys are asleep, and the hum of the dishwasher reassures me that my house is indeed clean, at least temporarily. It was a little bit of a sad day. I wanted to go on a walk this morning, but it was raining. Instead, I decided to tackle an organizing project. I lied when I said there weren't any more to do. There was one that had been nagging me for quite a while: the big pile of school papers, binders, and notebooks from James's entire college experience. He doesn't know it yet, but everything is now organized into dividers, folders, etc. to the best of my knowledge. (I didn't take most of those classes, after all.) All that remains is the possibility of further organization and purging of needless papers, but I lack the knowledge to do so for him. Oh well. 

The really sad part is that I saw James for about 1 minute between jobs. He subbed at an elementary school, got blocked by buses when trying to come home, and was a little late for his night security job at 4. He was home long enough to grab food and leave. :( Tomorrow, there's no security, just a sub job! That means he will be home for the evening. 2 more weeks of night school! I can't wait. As much as I like watching Mythbusters, it gets repetitive after a while. Plus, I don't like doing any "work" after nap time (3:00 and on) but that's when James is gone most days. It just doesn't work for how my daily energy level goes. Oh well. 2 more weeks...

On the bright side, my brother Brinson is coming next week to visit. I'm sure that the time will pass quickly. Now that Kenny is going on a month old, we can go OUT! I can't wait to go to all of church on Sunday, especially Relief Society. I've missed it sooo much. After Sunday, all I need to add back in my life are exercise and piano practice. Joseph has been asking for "Don?" (songs) but I just haven't been in the mood. Life with a new baby sure does change things, but it's definitely a good adjustment. Kenny is an awesome baby, and he's not any more difficult to take care of than Joseph was, who was much better than I expected. I am truly blessed. Now, we'll see how the terrible twos play out. Coming soon on May 30th!