Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sad news this evening

Terribly distressing, actually. My former Relief Society President called me this evening to tell me one of the mainstay families in our Gallup ward was in a terrible car wreck on Saturday and while everyone was banged up, some pretty badly, the worst was that their 14 year old daughter was killed. I'm having trouble even imagining their family without their daughter in it. She had two older sisters, one of whom just graduated from high school and two younger brothers, the younger of whom was in E's first grade class last year. It's a nice, nice family and very well-liked. I'm sure there are dozens and dozens of families in Gallup and beyond who are hurting.

I know Savannah McMullin's family will be waiting anxiously to greet her again on the other side of the veil.


Monday, June 29, 2009

A few pictures from today

I'm not putting up any pictures of the hideous part of the day which is the 150 or so boxes EVERYwhere in the new house. Actually, 150 is probably low. It could be as many as 200. However, they are all in the house. The truck pulled away at 6 pm, about 8.5 hours after arriving. The driver stayed an hour or two after the other two left so he could reassemble some of the furniture.

But here are the good parts: the yard. The first picture shows green lemons. I think those come on in the fall.Next are the green oranges:
The grapefruit tree is interesting because there are still juicy, delicious grapefruits on the tree from last year, but there are also new green ones growing as well:
I thought I turned the picture but I guess I didn't. So turn your computer screen. :-) This is the grapefruit tree in the back yard:
My parents had this safety net installed over the pool. Two guys came to install in and it took only about two hours to complete and it is a beautiful piece of art! AND it is tight as a drum. The "button" in this picture is the chlorine tablet dispenser:
This shows the center pulley system that is used to tighten the net after the edges are hooked down:
The edge is kind of scalloped after they cut away the extra net. The edge is double bound. It's very, very secure. The blotches are just wet concrete:

Tomorrow one of my online friends is going to come help me do some unpacking. The same thing happened when I moved to Gallup--an online friend came to help me. No one from church or anywhere else offers, but ladies I've never even met do. It is much appreciated.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Church today

Dh had visited our new ward but this was my first time. I LOVE our new ward! It's huge, for starters, clear back into the overflow area at the back of the chapel. There are older folks, middle-aged families with teens, and lots of young couples with babies and toddlers. They were very friendly as well.

I thought I'd died and gone to heaven when I heard the music though. The Sacrament Meeting music conductor is wonderful with just the right amount of emotion and the congregation SINGS. Two of my favorite hymns happened to be on the program. The opening song was As Zion's Youth in Latter Days which has the same melody as a beautiful song our choir in Salt Lake City sang. Boy, was I surprised to happen upon the same melody with different words right in our own hymnbook a few years ago! Then the sacrament hymn was my favorite song in the whole book which is We'll Sing All Hail to Jesus' Name. I was sitting in front of a wonderful tenor and a gentle, melodic alto and the song was so beautiful it actually brought a tear to my eye. Trust me, that doesn't happen often!

There has been a recent ward reorganization and there were about 25 new callings announced today. That gives me great hope for the future as a frustration with my former ward was the ultra-slow process for callings.

The whole church experience today was, well, "divine."


That's how many pounds of household goods we shipped to our new home. In fact, they aren't completely shipped yet because they are still in the truck, waiting to be delivered tomorrow morning.

What an adventure! It took three gals two days to pack up everything that went into the dozens and dozens of boxes. Then it took four guys a day to wrap up the furniture in furniture blankets and/or plastic wrap, then pack it into the truck. I'm happy to say it took "only" 3/4 of a trailer this time instead of a full trailer. I credit it to 1) incredibly tight packing and 2) I think the trailer was bigger than last time. It was cavernous. The trailer pulled out late Saturday afternoon and the driver called dh to let him know the weight. We're relieved because the company had estimated high and it went over the amount we are allowed by dh's new company. With this lower weight we may come in under the allowed amount, but even if not, the little bit over will be well worth it for the huge amount of service we received.

We had both vehicles in Gallup so I took E and S and left about an hour and a half before dh and C. It's about a 6.5 hour drive to the new town (yeah, yeah, go ahead and do a search to see what is 6.5 hours away from Gallup or just write me a note and I'll tell you where we moved). Because I was well ahead of dh, the girls and I stopped in a small town and I let them play in the park for awhile.

When we pulled into town I resisted the strong urge to drive directly to the new, as-yet-unseen-by-me house and walk through it. I didn't though because I knew dh really wanted to show it to me the first time.

After we all arrived at dh's bachelor pad, we went over to the new house. As expected, the girls couldn't stay away from the pool. It was a gorgeous, gorgeous blue and really inviting. Since they don't swim, we kept them with us at all times. The safety net that goes over the pool is scheduled to be fabricated and installed tomorrow. It won't be a minute too soon for my peace of mind.

The house is clean, but not nearly as clean as I left our house in Gallup. The dirty baseboards glared at me from every single room and I'm not even really a clean-baseboards kind of gal. I guess it was because my knees were still sore from crawling all over the old house making sure the baseboards there were sparkling. I also have to go over all the doors and that kind of thing to take off dirty fingerprints. I really think the sellers could have done that.

The sellers really liked their wall colors and two rooms are especially violent. One is a dark periwinkle and the other a dark turquoise. Shiny. On concrete block. Nasty. Unfortunately we have to wait a month or so before painting, but those two rooms will be first.

Even though we have only a carport intead of a garage, I think we are going to be okay on storage. There is a long shed at the far side of the yard and that will hold all of dh's tools and things, along with all the camping supplies, we think. That will leave the maid quarters (ha!!!) right behind the carport for "softer" things such as food storage, books, Christmas decorations, canning supplies, and that sort of thing. I think there will still be room to put up a curtain, then put a twin bed and a small dresser at the end near the bathroom. I think.

We'll be up early tomorrow and waiting to get this final part of the move done. Well, final as in "the part that relies on an outside contractor." Then we get to start unpacking . . . .

Monday, June 22, 2009

Good bye for a bit

I've disconnected two of the three computers and dealt with the cords and so forth. I'm dreading having to do that to my own computer, but must do that tomorrow morning. The phone and Internet get shut off Wednesday and will be reconnected next Wednesday in our new house. I have quite an adventure between now and then!

Belated birthday photos

The birthdays weren't belated, but the photos are. Here are my sweet girls on their birthdays in May. My twins are seven years old and my baby is five.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Moving . . . .

My stress level is pretty high right now. Tomorrow I have to pack up everything we'll need for a week or so and get it to where I can put it right into the car to keep the movers from doing anything with it. I've had only one person say, "Let me know if you need anything" and I'm considering having him either take the girls to the Boys and Girls Club activity on Tuesday or hold down the fort here while I run them over. Having a fun activity to go to would make life easier for the girls as well as keep them from being underfoot here. Dh arrives here late Tuesday so the rest of the week should be better.

Tuesday morning I have to disconnect my computer. I'm going to look around Walmart tomorrow to see if there are some cable tags that would make it easier to reconnect everything to the right places upon setting them up in the new house. Like most family computers, ours are a mess of cords everywhere in the back. At least they've been cleaned recently so there won't be as many dust bunnies as there could be. :-)

The girls and I cleaned up the back yard yesterday so that is ready for the movers to pack up. Tomorrow will be the final push to get extraneous things put with like items--kids' book with kids' books, sewing supplies with sewing supplies, canning things with canning things, etc. I know it will be months, if not years before I see some of my things again, so I'm hoping if they are at least all together I'll have a better chance of finding things I need.

Sure hope everything goes according to plan for the final purchase of the house we are working on . . . .

Thursday, June 18, 2009

In the Worry Zone

I'm finally close enough to our move to really start worrying. I have a coping mechanism in which I can decide when to worry, i.e. a date and/or time. There is no point in worrying before you can really do anything about a problem, so why worry? I decided I could start worrying about the move about a week ahead.

I had a call on my phone recorder yesterday from a plumbing company who will come out next Tuesday to disconnect the washer/dryer/icemaker for us. I realized that means I have to have everything washed and dried and packed up for the kids and me to last about a week (the length of time from when the movers arrive to when I can expect to be in our new home, albeit surrounded by mountains of boxes). And that's when I started to worry. Yes, I can go to a Laundromat if necessary, and will, but I prefer not to. In addition to all the clothes and toiletries, I need to pick out sleeping bags and pillows and prepare to get them into the car to protect them from being packed up.

Food. We have a medium-sized chest freezer in the laundry room. It is close enough to empty that my goal for today is to get it unloaded into the house freezer and start defrosting it. I think we moved it full last time, so it hasn't been defrosted in about 4-5 years. Luckily we live in a dry climate so that isn't a big deal as fas as frost build-up goes. However, there isn't any way possible for us to consume everything in the fridge/freezer so I have to figure out who to give the extra food to, as well as what my priorities are in eating my favorites before we do donate the last of it. Oh, and then how do I feed my children after the cooking utensils and food are gone? I know, I know, that's what fast food restaurants are for, but we live a couple of miles from any of those and it's going to be a pain.

Then there is the cleaning. My house is not a big mess, but there are always dusty baseboards behind dressers and fingerprints on walls. Today I'm going to scrub down the shower that the older kids didn't wipe down each time they used it and get that taken care of. My own shower will be easy because I do wipe it down each time I use it. Can't do that until the final clean up though. My oven is a manual-clean oven so I sprayed it with that nasty cleaner last night and started wiping it down this morning. I'll have to use a little steel wool on it, but it's not too bad. Those are the two main cleaning things I can do ahead of time. The rest, which will be mostly just surfaces, will be easier once the house is empty.

Most of the curtains are staying so I'll try to get them down, washed, and back up for the renter. I need to wash the shower curtains.

Just writing this down has made it seem much more manageable. You know how that goes once you start thinking of things at bedtime and in the middle of the night!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Family Home Evening

Tonight we did two things I've been meaning to but haven't. First, C often wants to bear her testimony at church on the first Sunday of the month when our main meeting (Sacrament Meeting) is devoted to members' testimonies. However, I haven't adequately taught the girls exactly what constitutes a testimony so I didn't think it was the right time for her to bear hers. Family Home Evening is a great time for that kind of lesson and I'm only embarrassed to have been so late to start explicit lessons on testimonies.

Second, I've wanted to teach the girls how to play Don't Eat Pete for months now. It combines to be both a fun activity and the refreshments for the meeting. I'm sure there are as many ways to play as there are families who play it, but here is how WE play it: draw a grid that is 3x3 then draw a star inside each one, then decorate each star to look like a little person. Then put a small candy or nut on each space and send someone out of the room. Everyone else chooses one star to be "Pete" and "it" comes back in. "It" starts picking up pieces of candy and can eat each one . . . unless she picks up "Pete." Then everyone yells, "Don't eat Pete!" and the person's turn is over. We had several times that the board was cleared except for Pete, and a number of times "it" tried to pick up Pete on the first turn.

We had fun tonight. We all like FHE a lot.

Random pictures from our new town

When we went to our new town a number of weeks ago the girls had their own camera. I was amazed at how many pictures they had taken when I didn't realize they were snapping away! Here are a few of them:

Friday, June 12, 2009

Terrified girls

A new GPS arrived for me in the mail. I took it to the garage to try it out and sat in the car for about 15 minutes fiddling with it. Suddenly two girls came at me from different directions, one through the open garage door and the other through the laundry room door. "Mom! Come quick! The house might burn up!" You can bet that got my attention! I ran into the house to my office where they had been playing on the computer. Nothing happening in there. I asked what had happened. "Sophia cut the computer cord and lots of fire came out and your Korea phone won't work!"

I settled the girls down and took a look. Here is what I found:

Notice the smoke marks and burned out part of the scissors? I assume when she cut the cord it sparked and threw the breaker. That explains the fire they saw and why the phone wouldn't work.

I went outside and flipped the breaker back and everything was fine with the office machines. I had a stern chat with Sophia about the wisdom of cutting electrical cords and sent her to bed. Dh had an extra cord so he just swapped them out. It actually was kind of funny, and I'll bet not a one of them ever cuts an electrical cord again!

Monday, June 8, 2009

What's actually in that juice?

This morning the girls and I had bowls of cold cereal, milk, and juice for breakfast. I'm trying to finish everything in my freezer so I made up this can (well, "plastic cylinder") of juice, then got to looking at the container. By looking at the package, exactly what kind of juice do you think it is? Cranberry?

Now take a look at the actual ingredients. Yes, it's 100% juice as the front states: apple juice, grape juice, oh, yes, cranberry juice, and plum juice. If you look at the front, in tiny letters it does say, "Flavored Juice Blend With Added Ingredients." Seems a bit dishonest to me anyway.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

300 pounds lighter

Dh's and my task for the day was to go through some of the (many) boxes in the garage to see if we could get rid of any. Our potential new house has only a carport and we are firmly dedicated to using half our garage for storage. That's really a problem for us!

A big target was books. A few years ago we inherited a large quantity of hardback books from around the turn of the 20th century. They were interesting to look at and we saved a few we'll read, but in reality, they were just sitting around so we sent those to the thrift store. We went through boxes of children's books and got rid of some of those. (No Mom, I didn't get rid of any of your Oz books. I'd never do that.) I got rid of some of my teaching resource books. If I ever go back to teaching I can probably get what I need off the Internet. We got rid of a humidifier. We ditched a cut glass punch bowl and cups. We got rid of the last of S's baby clothes. Two of the three bikes we've been hauling around for years are history.

It felt good. We no longer have to be responsible for those items and as the FLYlady says, they've been released to bless someone else.

And . . . we realized the carport has a "pool house" behind it that instead of being used as a fifth bedroom and bathroom could be used as a storage area with a pool shower and bathroom. :-)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Hannah Montana Camp

Late last week C brought home a flyer from school advertising a cheerleading and dance camp being put on by the local Catholic high school's cheerleading squad. I knew without a doubt the girls would love this camp, so I signed them up. It was Monday-Thursday mornings this week and yesterday was the final program for the parents to come watch. Why don't I have pictures from that? I took two batteries out of the charger and unfortunately, they were the ones that don't work. Boohoo. To avoid that problem in the future, those two batteries are now in the trash can you see behind E there in the second picture.

The theme of the camp was "Hannah Montana" and each girl used a guitar as part of her performance. They also got T-shirts and helium balloons weighed down by a goodie bag the last day.

This is the first time my girls have done an extracurricular activity like this and I'm looking forward to more!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Piano


The old man entered the antique shop, gingerly stepping down out of the brisk wind and swirling flakes. The ambiance was warm and nostalgic, the air sweet with the aroma of spices and old wood. He smiled. He would warm himself here, this hour his own. Yet this hour was no different than all his rest… he was alone. Casually, he browsed, studying the fragile beauty of a trinket and then the ornate excellence of an old chair. He was not shopping really… he had no use for nick-knacks, no need for furniture. Still, he could not help but admire the many pieces as he waited for time to pass.

When he saw the piano in a dark corner of the shop his heart quickened. Without taking his eyes from it he walked with deliberate steps through the shadows until he stood before it. It was old, and the brand had long since been worn away. Only faded lettering remained reading ‘Made in Germany’. Never before had the old man seen such beauty – a perfect piece! He ran a finger lightly across the polished oak grain – flawless! The legs were masterfully carved. He trembled as he gently pressed a smooth ivory key. He tilted his head back and closed his eyes. It had been years since he last played. The single note was as a chorus in his head, reverberating with sweet resonance a thousand memories. He sighed, then called out to the shopkeeper, “May I?”

“If you wish.”

The old man pulled the beckoning bench away and carefully positioned himself. Closing his eyes again, he played a simple tune – a ‘merry little melody’. The shopkeeper drew near and the old man turned. “I must have this piano,” he said. “It’s beautiful… perfect! What are you asking?” The old man smiled as he waited for the shopkeeper’s answer, knowing he would pay any price.

“I’m sorry, sir. The piano is sold.”

Slowly, the old man rose and walked to the door. He thanked the shopkeeper and closed the door behind him, turning his collar up against the cold.
I've had a copy of this piece of writing for a number of years, but only recently discovered it was . . . *blush* . . . written about me.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Eggs and birds

Last week my neighbor had me come over to see what he'd found in his hanging planter on his back porch. Four perfect tiny eggs. Tonight he came to tell me he found them hatched out yesterday. You can see their anxious mother in the third shot!

Vanilla Sugar

I haven't had our swamp cooler . . . oops . . . "evaporative cooler" on for a couple of weeks but the temps are around 80 today so I turned it on. My house is filled with the most lovely vanilla sugar smell from the wet excelsior pads in it.

Here is our swamp cooler. It's under the eves on the east side of the house in a shady location. It's ducted to four locations inside the house and is amazingly effective in our super-dry climate. Honestly, I don't know why anyone in my kind of climate would use refrigerated air conditioning, what with the cost to buy, install, and even more, to operate it.

Here is a scematic drawing of how it works in case you aren't familiar:

Monday, June 1, 2009

A warm treat

David's wife and in-laws gave us a cookbook last Christmas that is full of Disney-themed treats. You can imagine what a hit that has been with the girls. This one is our favorite--of course it is themed for the Aristocats. It's warm milk with honey and vanilla and it has halved marshmallows on top with cat footprints made with chocolate syrup. Seriously, how could you go wrong with that?

I just had to post the picture of E. A bit spooky, don't you think?!

It's June!