Sunday, October 19, 2014

4 years old!

If you met Elise at church today I'm sure she told you her exciting news... She is now 4! We celebrate birthdays as a family the Saturday before or after a birthday. One full day with balloons and fun. 

Jeff went down to our hotel breakfast a little earlier than the family so that he could prepare a surprise for Elise. She woke up to a birthday princess crown and was super thrilled to wear it but even more pleased to see a dinning room table with a big balloon, bright yellow table cloth and a cute present. The kind guests of our hotel then surprised her by singing Happy Birthday. Totally perfect for this little lady. 

I still need to transfer photos from my camera but this one is of her birthday cake. It tasted amazing! We spent the day swimming, eating Chick-Fil-A and playing at the park. 

I still can't believe she is 4, I've got to make the most of the next two years before she goes to school! 

Third Sunday in a Hotel

We're still alive, mildly crazy but alive! Friday proved to be a test of my patience, the kids were absolutely board stiff despite homework and activities (they will now admit to missing school!) I went to make dinner and realized the milk looked like it was going to explode... The fridge had broken. We threw out all the perishable foods because the fridge had been warm for over 15 hours. So we went out for dinner and then drove 40 min (via lots of traffic) to our storage unit to pick up a few needed items... It closed 4 minutes before we arrived. Go figure. Saturday in the late afternoon we had a new fridge installed but couldn't buy groceries because it still took a few hours to get cold. Jeff woke up this morning sick and I curled up in a ball and just thought "really???".

But....then things started to improve (After  I wrangled all four kids to breakfast and then got them ready for church... Poor Jeff really wasn't feeling good at all.) 

First, in Sacrament meeting there was a talk that got to me. The speaker mentioned that we should always be able to recognize the atonement in all topics discussed at church.. Which means for me I need to be able to recognize the atonement in all aspects of my life.  I have gotten so busy in complaining lately ... How is complaining reflective of my grade tide or understanding of the atonement?... It doesn't. I recognize that  I haven't changed my bad habits, I think that my life is so important, my wants and needs critical, I'm really quite selfish. But her talk made me think about how much my Savior really has done for me. I really need to work on this bad habit and how it reflects an attitude of ingratitude when in fact, I am truly most grateful. 

Then in RElief Society we had a talk on prayer.... Now I knew Heavenly Father was prepping these talks for me personally.  We talked about always keeping a prayer in our hearts; the good better and best forms of prayer. So many thoughts came of ways that I can improve my personal prayers and assist my children in their own. These prayers can be a coping mechanism for me when I struggle and rather than complaining I can work in expressing gratitude for my many blessings. 

I really do love it when I leave church feeling spiritually refreshed. I was so pleased tonight with my children, as the older two spoke their own personal prayers, their kind expressions of gratitude and request for assistance in their own lives,  left me feeling so grateful for the opportunity to help my children develop a relationship with their Heavenly Father. 

So another week starts tomorrow and we still don't know when our papers will get signed but I am optimistic. I may not be able to change my circumstances but I can change things about myself and the way I handle things. 

Happy Sabbath!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Food in a suitcase and four in a bed.

A few years ago in general conference a story was told of the man that traveled on a cruise and packed all of his food with him. He was so concerned about not spending money that he did not think you could afford the fancy food as he traveled. Towards the end of his journey he found out that all the food on the ship was included in the price of his ticket. 

We had a very similar experience today as we finished playing in the park we are waiting for Jeff to get home late from work I walked through the lobby up to my hotel room. When passing the lobby I saw that a bunch of people were there having fajitas and there's piano music being played. I asked the front desk that an event was going on and he kindly explained that every Monday Tuesday and Wednesday night they had a social hour which include a free dinner.  You're kidding me last week I've been cooking in a very very tiny hotel kitchen trying to find food that would fit on the tiny shelves and feed a large family, without having to go to the grocery store every day.  I am easily turn the kids and said we're stopping here dinners already made!!!!

Tonight Jeff was awesome and help me fix my cracked screen on my iPhone. The kids all snuggled up on one bad now that we're going to bed two of them will move the sofa bed.

We saw for a new apartments today and I think we've narrowed down to two favorites and I will do some investigation tomorrow to see which has the higher population of children getting off buses will be near children's age.

I can officially say that I hate driving in DC. When looking at apartments today I parked where I thought it was clearly marked is two hour parking. When I came out I found out that I had a $50 ticket because I was in a no parking zone! I was also almost mowed over by a bus today in a construction zone, you would think my minivan would be easy to see but apparently it's not. Then someone flipped me the birdie because  they were trying to merge into my lane along with 59 other cars. I let two kindly in and then proceeded forward, but this guy was mad that I didn't let three in. I swear no one is a nice driver here, it's all about takingn care of yourself. But that's ok, I'll try to set a good example of curtioudly driving, keep track of all the speed limits and read all parking signs. I can totally handle this!

Follow up... I still haven't signed up for the marathon. My hip is still tight from last nights 4 mile run. :( I think my body is telling me that I need to do some isolation stength training it seems like I always have a muscle or two that give me fits when I want to train for something. So I'm holding off on registering. For now I'm going to just start building up my miles. I'll open up the invitation who wants to run the DC half with me in March? I can always find another full marathon for the summer. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

There were...

..."Green alligators and long necked geese. A humpty backed camel and some chimpanzee's, cats and rats and elephants but don't be forlorn we just can't find the unicorn."

A favorite song of ours was sang by all of us, on the metro today, as we traveled to and from the DC Zoo. We checked the weather and figured it was worth the outing even with a 20% chance of rain. 

We got rain... A lot of it! It was pouring cats and dogs several different times and we were forced to run around the zoo seeking shelter. Regardless of the moisture we had a lot of fun. 

We saw bears, lots of poisonous frogs, fish bigger than the kids and even rode the 3rd longest escalator in the northern hemisphere. 

We returned to the hotel and Jeff and I both got to workout. Jeff went to the hotel gym bs I headed out doors. Almost 4 miles in under 40 min maintaining a 10 min/mile average pace... I even walked my traffic lights.... It felt amazing. (Could be due to the fact that I am contemplating training for a full marathon in March...)

Family Home Evening ended with us building train tracks since I didn't pack a lot of toys we may go find some additional sets but for now our track can't get much bigger in this small hotel room. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

First Sunday in the Crystal City Ward

We attended our new ward today, Jeff and I made a few observations....

1.  We aren't in Oz anymore. 

2.  We may have the largest family in the ward. 

3.  The whole Sr. Primary is one class. 

4. The RS is so big it divides into two classes. 

5. There are no YW.... There goes babysitting. 

6.  Only 150 people moved in over the last few months... There is a lot of turnover. 

7. My guess is that we won't have any callings... Where would they put us? They do t need primary teachers. 

8.  Everyone was really nice but I'm really missing my church friends... I'm hoping to make some close friends here but I have a feeling most will be acquaintances. I wonder who we will become good friends with especially since when there aren't a lot of big families in the ward. This will be an adjustment for sure. 

It really was a nice day I just feel lost and off my game. Part of me feels like I have nothing to offer or unique to give to this ward with such a huge RS and so many other new people. I've got to come up with a new strategy for making friends... The dynamics here are way off norm for me.  I always loved a challange so here goes. 

One more positive note, they haven't had stake conference yet so maybe il just go and join the choir!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

First day as a tourist...

Today we saw the Museum of Amrican History. It's pretty cool, we enjoyed a fast metro ride in and then headed out on foot. We had the opportunity to see the Washington Monument but tickets were sold out by 9:30 am! So we will make some early arrangements to come back and walk a few hundred steps to the top.  The museum has a lot of fun exhibits Jeff loved the at homes Wddison and inventions. EHRE Elise and I had fun looking at the dresses of the First Ladies and Ben loved the train and car room. It was really impressive to see the Star Spangled Banner, what an impressive and large flag! Now we have split ways. I'm here with Beck asleep in the stroller and Elise is asleep in the baby harness on my chest. (She isn't as light as she used to be!) the others are checking out "Foos, transforming the American table". It's so easy for us to come and see the museums I'm sure we will do this often. 1/lots done!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

I wonder what housekeeping will think?

So far our attempts to re secure housing are on HOLD.  This is my attempt to calm frustrations and pretend that we are already settled in. Today we walked a mile to the library and then had a picnic in the nearby park. On the walk back to the hotel we stopped by the grocery store for pencils (I purchased homework books for Ben and EHRE... Yes I'm that mom that won't give them a break in school) and a big stack of construction paper. 

So today we decorated for Halloween it's simple and surprisingly there wasn't any orange paper in the pack but it was a fun activity. Im now hoping that housekeeping will leave it up tomorrow. :) Then all four kids snuggled with me as we started to read "The Unwanted" series together. 

To top it off my running shoes arrived today so tonight I'm headed out for a run or the hotel gym. 

Today's lesson: Life is what you make it to be. If you don't like what's going on change what you CAN control and let the other issues work themselves out.... Or revisit in a few days...weeks... (Gosh this better not be a month long hotel stay.)

Monday, October 6, 2014

First whole day in DC!

(This is what happens when mom can't decide which stroller to get.... Thank goodness I have a 30 return policy!)

My "To Do

" list is huge:
1. Find a place to live!!
2. Grocery shopping...feeding a family of 6 under $100 when eggs are $3 milk is almost $4.... This won't be easy!
3. Jeff needs 1-2 suits
4. Find a good city stroller... Any suggestions, I want one that folds up right but is tall enough for me. 
5. Visit 4 shoe stores.... No one carries size 11.5 womans runnig shoes. :( now I need to order them online. 
6. Finish canceling utilities
7. Research schools..... Again
8. Go to the gym... In flip flops or socks???
9. Find the kids sweaters and shoes please tell me they aren't packed into our tiny storage unit that is a ways from here?!
10. It goes on and on.... Ah the life of a transient not quite homeless family. 

What can I tell you so far about the city....
It never ends. I have no sense of north or south or distance. Google maps tells me how to get everywhere. we did drive past this basilica and its huge and gorgeous. I wonder if they would let us go inside?

Yesterday we did get to enjoy one session of conference at the Washington DC Temple visitors center. Stadium seating plus we officially met the parents of some Bloomington friends. It was by far the most relaxing part of our day! 

Tomorrow I've got to find a library to hang out at for a few hours....better yet I need a routine and schedule. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Our last full day in Indiana

I woke up feeling quite peaceful, that was so nice.  My kids had fantastic "last days" with their individual classes and I really appreciate friends and teachers taking the time to let our family know that we will be missed.

This is something that I've thought about a lot this week. I think it's really important to let others know that they willl be missed and it's something I am not good at because I don't like ending things especially friendships or in this case putting them on hold. I am so grateful for my placement in these modern days where technology allows me to keep in touch with dear friends and family. 

If I haven't said it yet I'm saying it now... Thank you. Thank you for being there for my family. Thank you for serving us. Thank your for joining me for the workouts log or short... And even those where we never made it off the floor but just used the hour to catch up.  Thank you for sharing with me your testimonies and leading by example.   I really have been so blessed to know so many inspirational and amazing people. 

I have so much to be grateful for.  Which is a fantastic mindset to be in today. I've got my house to deep clean maybe one or two boxes left to pack. I'll pick up the trailer this afternoon and then tomorrow after finishing some last minute outdoor projects we will be gone.  And then after a fast 360 days we will be back. Let's promise each other to fill this next year with amazing experiences and opportunities so that te time will fly by. 

And for a few of you ladies out there... Don't think for one minute that I won't be hounding you when I get back, to run that 1/2 marathon with me. ... You have a year to train!


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Starting a new journey

I used to blog a lot, then I switched to Facebook. I've found that Facebook is great for keep up with old friends but its not the journal experience that I wanted. I'm not a fancy writer, I'm not motivational, I make lots of mistakes, occasionally offend people on accident, my spelling and grammar isn't perfect and I have my really really grumpy days. But I am a work in progress.

In a few days my family will be starting a new adventure. You could argue that it has already started.... but we are still in Bloomington. My husband recently heard of a temporary long term travel opportunity with his current job and applied for it. Thinking it was a real stretch we honestly didn't think we would get the position....but then we did. So we are relocating for 12 months so that Jeff can continue research within a bigger community. This is exciting for him but it comes with a lot changes.

The past two weeks Jeff has been super busy wrapping up old projects while starting new ones related to the relocation. This has required me to do the majority of the packing and household planning. In what seemed like an answer to prayers we found an apartment fully furnished with utilities to rent within a great school district. I've made all our plans around this apartment...and today everything had to be cancelled. A new policy is being written up regarding long term travel which means our funding four housing and expenses will now be cut to 50%. ... we are not pleased at all. One of the perks that compensated for the relocation was the opportunity to pay of student loans. Now we won't be able to be successful with that as we planned.

This adventure has started off feeling a bit bi-polar.  A high, then a low, then a high...well the pattern continues. But as I reflect on the past three weeks there are some things that I can't ignore.

1. I know that my Heavenly Father has allowed Jeff to get a good education that will allow him to serve others greatly with his ability to be creative and solve problems. But this wasn't without a lot of hard work. Grad school wasn't easy for either of us. We had 3 children during those 5 years and Jeff spent hours upon hours studying. (He is a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to learning course material) But in the end, he has a fabulous degree and a career.

2. When we heard about this opportunity I really felt from the beginning that it was a good decision for us at this time. Sure it means leaving a house behind with renters, moving kids to different schools, making new friends, ending church callings and starting new ones, canceling my membership at the YMCA (Who knew that this part would be so hard!) But I keep going back to that original feeling that this is a good thing.

3. I have been reminded by friends and family that even though there have been significant rule changes that have affected us that I need to keep my faith strong. How I needed those words today. In tears of frustration I quickly ranted on Facebook about our housing and within minutes I had friends emailing me with apartment suggestions or contact numbers. Nothing is figured out yet but I feel calm again.

4. Back to friends, I know that the Lord does truly prepare a way for us in life. I have amazing friends here who have quickly stopped by to check in on my, who have watched my kids while I pack, or even dropped of a dessert to sweeten a long days work. I'm moving to a place where my Heavenly Father has already sent other families that I know and established them in a way that they have been able to assist me with this transition. I can see the Lords hand and I am grateful.

So this is the first post. Tomorrow I have a house to deep clean and a trailer to pack. A much look forward to lunch with some running friends and my last workout at the Y. In this new journey I want to keep a record of our progress and then publish it into a small book for our family and I invite you to read along as we experience this journey.

I have some goals. Hopefully in writing them down I will be more accountable and successful in meeting them.

1. I want to write at least weekly, with pictures and comments from all family members.

2. I want to continue to work towards my workout goals despite my lack of awesome YMCA instructors in Zumba, Bootcamp and Shockwave. This will require me to workout daily and really focus on nutrition... but I figure no one died from eating healthy so its worth the effort.

3. I want to focus on making each weekend meaningful for my family and maximizing on the amazing sites that we can see.

4. I want to find and encourage more personal growth in my children.

I want to look back a year from now and see progress and change. I want to feel success in our families ability to adapt positively to change. This is going to be a great adventure, even if there are a few bumps in the road.