Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Our New House

For almost a month now my family has been going through a huge transition and have been forced to become nomads in the meantime. Theo, being in the Coast Guard, has been transferred to my hometown of Mobile, Alabama.

In our search for the perfect house we have been staying in an 11'X12' room in my parents house. It's a nice size room, for one person, but for a not-so-small family of six this arrangement can get a little hairy. As soon as we came into town the house hunting began.

Our realtor, Angela Locklier, (awesome!) showed us plenty of houses in the area that I wanted and the school district I wanted. But it was the same old story, too old, too small. We also have to keep in mind the resale value of the house since Theo's job could relocate us in 4 years.

Ironically on the way to church on Sunday I went down a road I have been done countless times in my youth, and there was this new subdivision of these really nice expensive looking houses. I have to admit I wondered why those new houses were being put in this area of all places. Out of curiosity, after church we decided to just take a peek. I told the contractor/realtor what we were looking for and what we could spend. And can you believe that he took us to see this beauty!?! I absolutely LOVE it! The brick, the detail, the space, the newness. Everything on our checklist was checked. It is still under construction, but it's just the finishing touches and will be ready by the time our paperwork is completed.

My parents are going out of town to volunteer in the Hill Cumorah Pageant which will free up the master bedroom for us and will be a relief as we wait another month to get into our house. I have a feeling it will be all worth it!
This is a view of the house as you walk in the front door.
My HUGE kitchen, one of my requirements, with granite countertops. BONUS!
The island that Theo started on for me for Mother's Day 3 years ago will go nicely in here. I just hope it doesn't take him another 3 years because I want to enjoy it now!

The dining room with 12 ft. tray ceilings.
Living room and fireplace that has yet to be painted. On the list of things to do to get in move in ready.
Master bedroom with trey ceilings.
Double sinks, the key to a succesful marriage. :)
Seperate shower and tub and a walk in closet that could be the nursery!

Also the funny thing about this location is that it is in walking distance of the elementary school that I went to growing up. Tobie thought that was so cool that he gets to go to the same school his Mommy went to when she was a little girl.

I'm so excited to get our lives started in our new house, and maybe if we really like it we will be given the opportunity to enjoy it for longer than just 4 years.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Desert

(In front of the Lemon's house with a HUGE gorgeous cactus in front.)

After our stay at my friend's house we decided to look around this part of Arizona since I have never really been around cactus that much, or the desert for that matter. It was absolutely beautiful with all the hills and tall cactus peppered all over. I always feel when riding in a car the windows are t.v. screens and I don't really feel like I am there unless I roll down the windows so I can feel and smell the air around me. It was really hot and really dry! But there was this peaceful feeling from being in the desert. I told Theo this would be something nice to come to a spa or something of that nature out in the desert. I guess because of the dry dusty air I was constantly feeling dirty, so the idea of being at a spa so we could clean up in relaxation sounded really alluring to me.
I read some sign about the baby cactus and how these mammoth things start out the size of your thumb. I told Tobie about it and we went baby cactus hunting. Here he is sharing his knowledge while Daddy takes his picture.
You can kind of tell in the background how the clouds would cast these huge shadows on the hillside. I just thought that was the most beautiful thing.
No more mountains for us. Kind of sad really.
The all-knowing sign also told me that they don't start growing 'arms' until about 75 years of age. These guys must be pretty old!

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Lemon's

Facebook really is an amazing thing! On the second day of our trip I posted that our next stop was Tucson, AZ and my friend from over 10 years ago sent me a message telling me that they are in Tucson and we could crash with them for the night. I was thrilled! More than thrilled, I was anxious to get there and play catch up. We have never met each others husbands or each others kids. We have been keeping ourselves updated with each others lives through blogs and most recently FB. We arrived very late, almost midnight, but that didn't keep up from staying up WAY too late laughing and reminising of our past. It was so much fun and FREE! I wasn't sure I was going to be able to see my other friend, her sister, Alonna because we were just going to be passing through. We had a long day ahead of us, but she did come by in the morning and it was awesome to be able to visit with her as well before we had to hit the road. Thank you so much for helping us out! I loved your family and I hope there will be other opportunities for us to get together again!


There isn't going to be a lot of dialogue on this post. It's late and we are half way across the country. But I just needed to get these pics posted before they all start mounting up and I never get them done. Last Thursday we started our trek East by going to Yosemite National Park. Can I just say breathtaking! It just amazes me the beauty of this world that God has created for us. The trees, the waterfalls, the mountains and we even saw a black bear as we almost hit it because it ran out in front of our car. I regret that we didn't realize we were that close to Yosemite sooner because we could have enjoyed this vastness of wonder 4 years ago. Such is my luck.
This is the roots of a fallen Giant Redwood. That thing was HUGE!
This tree has been carved out since 1800 and something (?) and people carved names and the dates into the wood, we found dates from 1901 to 1929 and beyond.
El Capitan on the left, the dome shaped mountain, and you can sort of see the waterfall in the middle, Bridalveil, and to the far right is some tourists.
Close up of El Capitan.
An even closer close up of El Capitan.
The girls posing on some rocks.
Us at Bridalveil. Don't we look like the happy family? We were getting soaked by the mist, but the kids don't have sour faces because of that. They were mad that we wouldn't let them go play on the jagged rocks under the waterfall. We are such horrible parents.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Guerra's

Dear Guerra's,
I was so glad that it worked out that we were able to come over this evening and have dinner together. The timing was perfect, even though my sleep-deprived cranky kids made it a little difficult to visit. Sorry about that!
Xavier, I wasn't expecting dinner and a show, but it was definitely entertaining! LOL! It has been so much fun, and colorful, knowing you. :)
Nicole, it has been so much fun hanging out together. It's awesome how comfortable I am talking to you about anything. I guess because I know your husband, I know nothing I say is going to shock you! HAHAHA! You have such a beautiful family and I feel so blessed that we were able to become such good friends. Thank heavens for FB so we can keep in touch! And you guys will have a better place to stay when you come back this way. *hint, hint**wink, wink*. You can come out to do our next family photo!!! Isn't that a great idea! Well...just think about it.

Love you sweetie!

The Fretz's

Fretz's, thank you so much for taking us into your home and for the wonderful meal tonight!
Bryan, thanks so much for the suggestions for the restaurants in TX! I can hardly wait to sink my teeth into some yummy southern BBQ! I'll be sure to post some good pics on my blog to show all these Californians what they are missing. =)
Kristine, I wasn't joking tonight when I was surprised that I was a little older than you. You really are more dependable than I am, LOL! I remember flaking out on you way back when we were suppose to be doing the play groups together. But you were the rock that kept them going every week, and ever since also. I'm so glad you were able to look past my faults and still wanted to be my friend. It has been so much fun hanging out with you and getting to know you better, especially at the GGN's. They wouldn't have been the same without you. I definitely felt a missing link at the last one. I have told the story of you bringing me that piece of chocolate cake on Mother's Day last year when Theo was deployed, two times now and both times you weren't in the room. That was a sure sign of your connection with the Holy Spirit. I actually went to an Enrichment night when I was a newlywed in the Daphne, AL Ward and they did a sketch where this woman was having such a hard day that all she wanted was a piece of chocolate cake, and then her VT brought her some cake and she was so thankful to the Lord and the VT program. At the time I thought that sketch was silly and unreal, and then the true live story happened to me. I was the one bellyaching and you were the wonderful lady who was intune with the Spirit enough to bring me that awesome yummy chocolate cake! You actually helped strengthen my testimony, and I thank you for that. Thank you for your friendship, so get on Facebook so we can continue it! LOL...that goes for the LOT of you who aren't on!!!

With love,

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Stickle's

I've been a little hesitant to write this posting. I just know it's going to make me teary. Shoot, here comes the lump in my chest right before the water works.
Stickle's, even though you didn't get to feed our family while we were in the hotel I couldn't neglect writing a letter of thanks to you all.
Chris, I've really enjoyed our friendly bantering. I like that you are the type of person that I can just speak my mind to and you don't get offended. Because you know who you are and what is best for you and your family. I know we have butted heads (like the near screaming match when I was soooo hormonally prego!), but I look back on that and think, Man...that was fun! And we are still friends, which I think is totally awesome.
Janneen, oh Janneen...words cannot express the gratitude that is welling up in my heart right now for you. Your friendship is the one I will cherish the most. I have to admit when we first met I was a little intimidated by some of your remarks in RS. I felt totally unworthy to be in your presence, but that didn't stop you from persuing a relationship with me. I could write an entire essay on what your friendship means to me, but I think I want to keep it private because for one; there is just too much to say, and two; it is just too special to share with everyone on the worldwide web. I will say that you will always be the voice of reason in my head and when things get tough I will hear your sweet voice say, "Did you pray about it?" and then all will be well. I will miss you terribly.

With love from your sister in the Lord,

The Pantajja's

Of course I had this brilliant idea to take pictures of the friends that fed our little family on Tuesday of last week, after we had dinner on Monday with this beautiful family, the Pantajja's.
I finally got a picture of the whole family this evening and I could hardly wait to post about them.
Ralph, thank you so much for opening your house up to us and the wonderful kindness you have shown. Most importantly, thanks for being so supportive of your wife that she has been able to join our little group! =) She has been and still is such an asset to the ward and the sisters around her.
Nicole, thank you so much for being my instant friend, you never waited to get to know me before extending your arm of service. The time we had seems so brief, but it sure is filled with some good times! April diving across your table during the game of Spoons, having dinner and FHE at your lovely house and the Easter Egg Hunt you set up for everyone. Every time I eat coconut oil I will think of you, as well as the vinegar drink. And who could forget about the BBP??? LOL! =) I know this isn't a 'goodbye', just a thank you for all that you have done for me and my family, especially during this long drawn out moving process. I will see you next year at Woman's Conference!

Love you mama!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Freemantle's

Dear Freemantle's,
We had a blast at your place tonight! Thank you so much for dinner and the wonderfully fun time. Your awesome family will definitely be missed!
Vince, your sweet cookie making skills will definitely be missed! We'll have to keep in touch so we can compare notes, and let me know how it goes for the fudge cookies. =) You are such a great dentist and I have always enjoyed going to my appointments knowing that I would be greeted so nicely and treated so great.
Karen, I'm so bummed that my opportunity to go to Girl's Camp has eluded me yet again. It's not just the idea of going to camp that seems like fun, but being able to go with you would be awesome! Your child-like (not childish) ;) enthusiasm has encouraged me to be more enthusiastic with life, even if that means being my kids cheerleader when I don't have the energy. Even though you are too old for some of our groups (*wink, wink*) you have that spice for fun which I have loved! Going to 'Twilight' the midnight showing was THE most fun, even though the movie was sub par. (haha) Thank you so much for your help with Miriam's party also. It was such a relief not to have to worry about the nails! This ward has produced so many great friends that I consider as close to me as a sister, and I feel so blessed to include you in that group.
With Love,

The Harris Family

Dear Harris Family,
Thank you for inviting us into your home tonight. The food was delicious and the company was even better! Thanks for letting us play on your Wii Fit. We went to Target after we left your house and bought one of our own to enjoy in our hotel room. =) We definitely should have done this more often.
Brad, or should I say Bishop Harris, you have been an awesome Bishop, showing lots of patience and understanding to a whiny pregnant lady who was called to be the Nursery leader. I can never thank you enough for the piano that has blessed our home. I absolutely LOVE it and I am thankful to my Heavenly Father for presenting this opportunity to us and that you were inspired to let us have it. Miriam is going to miss you most of all...or should I say your candy jar! =)
Lisa, I've always known you were a funny lady it just isn't fair that we didn't connect on a more personal level sooner. You are my bosom buddy, you were my partner in crime with the whole paisties idea. I love your sense of humor and for someone so little all your spitfire. You don't mess with Texas and you certainly don't mess with Lisa! LOL! I certainly wish I had been your apprentice in finding shopping deals, I consider you the master. Thank you so much for your fast friendship, even though it was right at the end. I will miss you guys so much!

With love,

I just wanted to wish you well on all your future accomplishments, but in particular on the anniversary of your engagement. May you have many many more anniversaries of your engagement, and if God willing I may have as many anniversaries of my engagement as you two. HAHAHA! =) LOVE YOU!

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Cox Family

Dear Cox Family,
Thank you so much for dinner tonight. Just a mere thanks doesn't seem to come close to the gratitude that I feel. Your small family has taken my large one in several times to play games while the kids played or like tonight, fed my homeless family.
Nathan, you were the first HT we had actually come visit us in a year, even though you were new to the ward and didn't know us. It really meant a lot to me to have you come over and share your message with my family. I haven't forgotten the blessings that you have assisted with and I will be forever thankful.
Cicily, as we were discussing our common pasts of people misunderstanding our shyness for snobbishness, I can't help but be amazed at what kind of women we have become. We all know my shyness is something of the past, in fact my mouth tends to work against me at times, but you seem to have mastered the strong quiet persona. That is how I perceived you when I first met you, and I know now that I was right with this assumption. Of course when one really gets to know you they see you completely open up and discover a sure and steadfast person with a great sense of humor and a heart to match. Our personalities just seem to compliment each other and I have enjoyed our hilarious banters back and forth which have resulted in some really good ideas! (i.e. Old Ladies with Guns) =) Thank you so much for your friendship!

Love you my sister!

Girls Game Night Ladies'

In true fashion of our GGN, I got home WAY too late last night and was unable to post. What can I say about these ladies? They have been my outlet, my confidant, my shoulder to cry on, my entertainment, my audience and so much more. GGN has gone through so many transformations to get to where it is, but the group has stayed pretty much the same. We have really grown together in the last few years that we have been doing this. From fondue nights (YUM!) to ice cream sundaes and arm wrestling, this group keeps it lively and never dull. Sometimes we would play games and sometimes we would just sit around chatting about life and kids or our future endeavors in inventing (i.e. nursing pad paisties), or giggling like little school girls about our love lives and how we are still in awe that we have one and what fun it is! No matter what the topic we knew we were safe, we were among non-judging friends and we could talk about anything. They have become my family. My sisters in God. I will miss them dearly.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Kurtz's

Dear Brittany,

Thank you so much for taking care of my family tonight even though your family was incomplete with Chris being out of town. I have always admired your energy and ability to juggle so much. I know it gets overbearing at times, but you never let it show. You are a strong woman that I aspire to be like. Your tenacity for living life is inspirational to me, from visits to Hawaii with just you and Chris, or scheduling your pregnancy around a marathon. One day I will run a marathon...maybe! =) Thank you so very much for your friendship! Our door is always open if you ever make it to the South!


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Rich's

At the moment we are homeless. Are household goods have been packed in boxes and sit lonely in our house waiting for the moving truck to pick them up tomorrow and start them on their journey to Alabama without us. In the meantime we are spending our last few days here in California at a hotel. The idea of having to eat out every night may sound good in the chef's perspective, but for me eating out all the time tends to lead to indigestion and feeling just down right miserable. Knowing this I was inspired to send out a plea to my friends and ask them to take in my homeless family for the evening to feed us some good home cooked meals and spend some really good quality time together one last time before we relocate our lives. My plan is to get a picture with each of my friends and post them here with a little message for them of thanks and appreciation to let them know how much I am going to miss them.
Tonight was with our friends Mike and April Rich. They moved into the ward shortly after we did. Our kids are fairly close in age and have become really good friends. So this is for the Rich family.
Dear Rich family,
Thank you so much for the food, for the AWESOME goodie bag for our trip, but most of all thank you for your friendship. You guys have been wonderful!
Mike, your soft tone that you have always reminds me that I need to be mindful of mine, and that I need to show more patience and understanding with my kids instead of trying to rule with an iron fist. Your thoughtfulness in giving us the tour at ILM with be something that we will always remember. Thank you for being such a great example and such a good friend.
April, you have been such a great VT. I knew that I could always count on you to help me out in case of any pick-up emergency. I will be forever grateful for your sweet music writing skills. I will never forget the rendition of "I Will Go Where You Want Me to Go.", and my favorite "Come Thou Font of Every Blessing" that you did, and sadly enough I may never sing it again since that beautiful musical genius of that song is all in your head. I have never come across someone with such an amazing talent. (Have you thought of composing?) I will definitely be keeping in touch wherever I move and getting your opinion about songs or asking you to write me yet another descant. =) I will be forever thankful that Heavenly Father assigned you as my VT, but most importantly that we were able to become such good friends. I consider you a true sister.
With love,

Cicily's Baby Shower Cake

I made this cake for my friend Cicily. She is having her second son any day now, but she isn't telling anyone the name they have picked out. I wanted her cake to be unique so I thought up this block cake with the letters of her last name. Luckily I was able to think of something to put on each cake a word that began with that letter. Good thing her last name isn't Ikner!
These are actually three different cakes that I covered with fondant. Then I hand painted the words and pictures on. The blue block is vanilla cake with buttercream frosting. The green cake is German chocolate with the coconut icing in the middle (her favorite kind of cake, and her favorite color, which was not planned.) Then the purple is chocolate cake with my raspberry mousse, YUM!

Miriam's 4th Birthday Party

Miriam's birthday party was last Friday. It was a Princess Party, if you can't tell. All her little girl friends came over dressed as little princesses. They were all so cute! I only got a few pictures from the party because I'm horrible at remembering to take pictures. (I know that makes me a bad mom.) We took video of us singing "Happy Birthday" and blowing out the candles, but it is too large to upload and I'm not computer savvy enough to figure out how to change it to make it smaller so it will fit. So bare with me through the present opening phase of the party.
We made Princess crowns for all the girls to wear. Some were very asymmetrical and some, like Emma's was just random jewels and random letters. They wore them proudly and that's all that mattered!
We surprised her with a new princess dress the morning of the party. She was Cinderella. Ariel, a.k.a. Emma O. is to her right and Snow White, a.k.a. Snow White is on her left.

Her friend Mya wore a pretty fairy princess costume. She had these really cool wings!

Miriam wants to collect Littlelest Pet Shop animals and My Little Pony's now. She loves this dress given to her by her friend Brinnley, which her mother, Karen F. got for us as kind of a joke. You can't tell in the pictures but it is covered in bling and it is VERY loud colors! Of course Miriam LOVES this dress.
Opening more presents...
After we decorated the crowns the girls took turns getting their nails done up with polish and glitter, thanks to my friend Karen Freemantle for doing this part for me! Then after they came into the living room and we played freeze dance. Although it took them a while to warm up to the music and really allow themselves to get down. Here is the beginning of the freeze dance portion of the party. It's a little reminiscent of every youth dance I've ever gone to. The girls standing tentatively, acting too shy and self conscience to dance....and no boys in sight.
This was our big present to Miriam, and Emma was more than happy to show Miriam how it worked. She's doing her pouty face because we are telling her to give Miriam a turn on HER present. She was very disappointed that she couldn't open any presents. This horse was a cool find. Some company in the area, I can't remember the name, specializes in the really upscale cool baby clothes and gear. Once a year they have this huge sale that only a few people know about, and I got to hear about it. I actually didn't get any clothes, but when I saw this horse I thought it was too good of a deal to pass up. When you pull on the reigns it neighs. It doesn't rock, but it's still pretty cool. Miriam named her 'Sally'.