Monday, June 27, 2011

The Move

Well... here we are, in Utah. It's not a vacation, though it sometimes feels like it. This is where we will stay. We aren't going back to our house, or school, or life in Florida. That feels weird. Here's how I can tell we are in Utah. Someone was humming "Follow the Prophet" in Del Taco and it wasn't one of my kids. It has been kind of a whirlwind the past week or so.

First, some pictures of Connor's first birthday. I made rainbow cupcakes--a success, except I should have put the blue on top instead of the pink. Sorry buddy. Also, sorry about the rainbow. I just wanted to try it out. He has been learning new skills left and right. He is taking more and more steps on his own, and just in the last couple of days he has mastered stairs. Thank goodness! Oh, and this kid loves the vacuum. He follows me around when it's on and cries if I turn it off. He'll get in the middle of whatever room I'm vacuuming and just sit there. All my other kids screamed as babies when I turned it on. Funny guy.Last Saturday was a special day... First, I got to sing in the choir for the groundbreaking of the upcoming Fort Lauderdale Temple. I even made it into the church news. See, I'm famous again. I'm the one on the right with the blue top and black skirt, in case you couldn't find me. It was a wonderful experience to get to be there, since most people had to watch from the stake centers. It will be such a blessing to have a temple there and it will always hold a special place in my heart. We would love to come back for the dedication--do you hear that Florida friends? I had a huge humidity headache the rest of the day, freakin' Florida summers!

It was also Erin's birthday. She turned 7, had some ugly but yummy cake pops (which I'm sure I totally made wrong), got some roller skates, a necklace and a boa, and got to go to another friend's birthday party that day--which is almost like having her own, with fewer presents which we don't need. Erin had lots of friends over and sleepovers before we left. She really will miss all of them. (oh, she was in pajamas at the time--busy day)That night there was also a going away party for us, a barbecue and pool fun. I'm a slacker, so no pictures. But thank you everyone, we feel so loved! We had a great time.

On Sunday I handed over my primary secretary binder and responsibilities to the new one, who will do a great job. I don't know why, but I felt the urge to keep doing my calling and to make sure everything was set for the next week before I left. Just one of those things. Also at church we were given two books: one from the primary with everyone's picture and signature, and one from the rest of the ward. It was so touching to think that people would do that for us--I cried. We visited with some friends that night and they took the remaining two propane tanks off our hands.

On Monday, we tried to finish up some things around the house--they are never done by the way--and we tried to pack our suitcases so the movers wouldn't pack stuff we would need. We were definitely not as prepared as we should have been when the packers came a 7 am on the dot the next day. We walked around each room groggily pointing to the things that would go to storage and the things that would go to Jared's brother's basement, where we'll be staying. Then the four of them split up and did their magic, swiftly wrapping and packing everything within our walls. I honestly have no idea if the right things are going to go to the right place. There was no way I could have watched them all. But, I will say, I'm going to put "packer" on my list of jobs I might want to do some day. It seems like it would be a good personal challenge to pack as fast as I could without having to worry about any emotional attachments to things or sorting stuff, and they are not the actual movers who load everything into the hot truck. Not interested in that job. Just the packing part. Granted, I don't smoke, so I may not fit that qualification.
(Last picture of Simon)
We had so many great people help us throughout the move. Some have watched our children and others came over to help clean. I love these people! On Tuesday night, we were over at our friends' house for dinner when we heard the tragic news about our friends the Mortensens. This family had lived in our ward in Plantation for many years and were loved by so many. After a devastating divorce, the mother and 5 of her children were driving to their new home in Las Vegas when they got in a terrible accident. Their 14 year old daughter, Jada, was killed and the others were injured. (The article in the link says that she wasn't wearing her seat belt, but she and her sister were actually double buckled because they didn't have enough seat belts, and the seat belts on both sides broke in the accident). It is just a terrible tragedy that has affected so many people. Jada was one of our baby sitters and an amazing girl. I got to know her when I picked her up for activity days all year a few years ago.

On Wednesday, when the moving truck came and the movers were taking all of our belongings out of our house, we just felt so sullen and sad. It was a strange mix of emotions. We should have been excited about the move, but instead we were sad. So sad. We fasted and prayed for them that day. Many people did. The rest of the family is going to recover physically, and their faith is so strong.

That night I laid in my bed with tears running down my face and with my hands over my heart. It was beating so strong, along with my husband's and children's. But her's isn't. Children should not die before their parents, but she did. It makes me want to cherish my children even more, to hug them and love them as much as this life will allow. Death is not the end, we know, and she is in a good place.

On Wednesday and Thursday night, since we had no furniture, we stayed with our good friends, the Penrods. We stayed up way too late talking and are so grateful for their friendship. Thursday was also a busy day as we finished the cleaning, visited a few people and did some final house things. We realized that all the screws for the hurricane shutters got packed in the truck... oops. We did mention it to them, but never put them aside. We also realized that the part that closes the cat door got packed when 'Crazy Cat Lady' came to pick up our cat door insert. Woops. I have no idea which box that might be in. Sheesh.

And regarding our cats... they are gone. One of our friends offered to take them to the humane society for us. Now if you are a cat lover you would probably be appalled by our decision, but honestly, we couldn't take them with us. We don't even have a house here in Utah and I really think they might have gone crazy--one of them at least. The good thing is that as long as they have good temperaments, they will put them up for adoption until they get adopted--no time limit. Our friend took Simon, because he jumped in the cat carrier just like that. He is so mellow and so friendly. I actually will really miss him. I'm sure he will get adopted. But we could not find the other cat anywhere. I knew he was in the house, but hello? We had no furniture to hide under, and we could not find him. We thought we had looked in every cupboard, but later when I was cleaning the kitchen drawers I opened one and he was in it, not making a sound. Poor traumatized cat. Jared took him in later that day. Just so you know, I didn't cry. It was either because I was too busy to think about it, or because I'm just cold hearted like that. Probably both.

That night we decided to go to the beach to take some pictures one last time before leaving, and to prove that we did actually go to the beach while in Florida. I did not worry about what anyone was wearing and I'd been cleaning all day, but I'm glad we have them. It was a beautiful evening. (upload error--I'll post these pictures later)

On Friday morning we flew out of Florida, and here we are. Three of the kids got sick on the plane--I can't imagine having to drive the whole way with car sickness. Our cars were supposed to get shipped here last week, but as of yet, there is no schedule to get them here. A little annoying. Especially since our family won't fit in a normal size rental car. Hopefully they'll be on their way soon.

The weather couldn't be better. We've spent a lot of time outside at the park, in the back yard, barbecuing. And no humidity headaches for me. So that's hopeful. The kids have already played with two families of cousins and loved it. I am so excited for them to live close. We also took the kids to see the model home of the house we'll be building where they ran around wildly choosing their bedrooms and climbing on things that they shouldn't climb on. Phrases like, "Hey, there's a guitar on the wall," echoed throughout the house. Evidently they don't value standing in the laundry room trying to figure out the best configuration as much as we do. At one point we heard a huge crash and found that Connor had knocked over a gumball machine sending glass and gumballs all over the room. The lesson: decorated models are not Daniels-proof.

Jared started his new job today and our things will be arriving at the end of the week. It will be a while until we are settled. But, here we are... we are Utahns now. Which reminds me, do we have to change the name of our blog?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Stroll Down Memory Lane

Moving is so bittersweet. On the one hand, we look forward to change. We need change. We are excited about the prospect of leaving whatever problems we may have had here and facing new challenges, in the hopes that overall, things will turn out the way they are supposed to. Not necessarily a perfect life, but a different one that is just as good or better. A life with less grout to scrub and a place to put the food storage. A life with seasons and family.

On the other hand, all the really good things we have here are coming to an end. Yesterday a wave of emotion caught me as I was driving down Pine Island Rd. as the rain began to pound down on my car. A drive that I have made so many times, yet will no longer be making; and watching the rain that would never be like this in Utah. Our best friends came over the other day as they have so many times before--me talking to the mom like always, about anything and everything, and her three youngest playing with my three oldest, just like they have for years. This, in many ways, is what has lifted me up, kept me sane and gotten me through some of my darkest times. This same scenario, so comfortable and normal, is not going to happen anymore--at least not like this, in this house or even in this state. What will we do without them? And all the other friends we have here? The Fourth of July will not be spent at the Michaud's this year, or New Year's at the Mueller's, or Memorial Day at the park with everyone, or Christmas at the Frahm's, or Thanksgiving at the Penrod's, or camping with the Gay's. We won't have the Hales to love our kids almost as much as we do or the Mills' to play games with. And all the people that have lived here less time than us but who are amazing friends as well. My great visiting teacher, our faithful home teachers and all the moms who I've gotten to know at the park or at baby showers. The Catos, the Richards, the Potts, the Guffeys, the Bradys, the Renshaws, the Kellys, the Hafens and many more that I'm sure I'm forgetting. It's these people that have made our life so rich and enjoyable in Florida.

But this will all end. I will only mow our lawn one more time, after getting to know every bump, tree and sprinkler head. Only once more. We will only make our usual walk a couple more times. Around the block we know so well, and by neighbors that we have always known. And our cats... they, like everything else, will be gone. We've been through a lot together. They were my companions before I knew anyone else here and before I even had a job or kids. While they are just animals, they are our animals... and they will not come with us.

Yesterday, since our TV service has been disconnected, I pulled out some great footage to entertain my children. Not just anything, but my BYU marching band videos. This, like living in Florida, was a good time. A stroll down memory lane. That, I will not deny, was a lot of really geeky, poofy-haired, big glasses wearing, mid-90's band geeks--and I was one of them. I mentioned to the kids about how geeky band geeks were and then proceeded to explain what geeky meant. "But mom," they said, "you were in the band." Yeah, I know. I was a band geek. "Huh?" These kids were literally astonished to even imagine that I was that geeky. They're still so young, aren't they? Tragically, the 1996 video got eaten up by our formerly faithful VCR, which is even more tragic because that was in many ways my best year. I was in my prime that year. But 1994 was also pretty good too. It still amazes me that a whole band could play Festive Overture and Appalachian Springs while marching sideways, forward and backward. Now that's talent. From band camp tan lines, to sliding on the practice field in the snow, to BTR's and really ugly polyester uniforms. I would not trade my 6 years of marching band (three in high school and three in college) for anything. But those days came to an end too, and now all I've got to show for them is two remaining functioning VHS movies, and some really great memories.

Monday, June 13, 2011

4 Dumb Things and 1 Really Dumb Thing

Okay. I am so restless right now. This feels so similar to waiting for a baby to be born. Everything is cleaned and organized, everyone keeps asking you when the big day is, and everyone has advice for you or a story that doesn't help. And yet you still wait. People have made some comments that have not made me feel hopeful about selling this house. One was, "Hey, I sold my house in one day" (never mind that it was at the peak of the market) and another one just made me feel really bad about anyone liking my house--but I can't write it. I have to do something besides stress about the house. Sooo, here are some other things that have been going on or that I've been thinking about.

1. Jared turned 35 on June 3rd. Did I do anything for him? No. We were in Utah looking for a house and trying to list our house here, so we were naturally a little stressed. That was the day that we signed papers to build our new house, so that's a good gift, right? Probably a better gift for me than him though. My mom got him a little cake, so at least he got something. When we got back he found out that he had been awarded a Motorola Xoom during a patent dinner that we missed. It is his new appendage, and I do have to agree that it is pretty sweet. It does everything a phone does with a bigger screen, yet it's more portable than a laptop. He ordered a case for it so there you go, Happy Birthday Honey!

2. The day after we got back was Marissa's third birthday. I'm kind of a total slacker with birthdays this year (fine, and every year), but the great part is, this child is sincerely happy with any small thing you do for her--a good quality to have considering her future in hand-me-downs. She wanted a princess cake which was one of the easiest ones I've ever made. Two round cakes + two kinds of ice cream cones + pink frosting + a princess on top = Marissa's perfect princess cake. She got a Rapunzel doll, a purse from grandma, and a Rapunzel outfit that she got to wear to her friend's princess birthday party the next day. I figured that would suffice as far as parties were concerned.
This picture cracks me up. It really was a fun party. You just wouldn't know it from this shot.Also, for some random three year old facts: she is not potty trained yet, much to her parents' dismay, and she has since resumed sucking her thumb, after a brief hiatus upon the arrival of her new tooth. Her thumb has actually pushed the tooth upward and has taken center stage again in her mouth where, presumably, it belongs.3. Tomorrow Connor turns one! I imagine I will have to whip up some kind of cake-like creation for the big day, as if we haven't had enough, even though he won't remember. I also envision wrapping up the ball I got him last week and calling it good. The last thing we need is more stuff to haul across the country. This child loves balls. Loves them! And he's great at playing fetch (see, who needs a dog?). He is a speed crawler and has recently been taking steps the last few weeks, but he has not taken off on his own yet. I'm sure he'll be walking before too long (i.e. on the long plane ride to Utah--up and down the aisles). He started saying "uh-oh" a couple of months ago, which I will declare as his first word. This month, however, he seems to favor "ga" and will say it for just about everything.He babbles a lot. I usually know exactly where he is because of all the noise he makes. One day last week I realized that I hadn't heard him for a while. I started asking the kids where he was and nobody could find him anywhere in the house. You know, in closets, under beds. We finally looked outside in the screened-in-patio where he had crawled through the cat flap and we found him like this:Poor little tuckered out fourth child.

What else... he's had 7 teeth for months now. We are starting to wonder if he even has that last bottom tooth. He sure knows how to use them, though. He will bite your leg whenever he needs something: a diaper change, food, sleep, a bottle, attention, to be picked up. Luckily I don't see him as the kid who bites other kids in nursery because he just bites adults, although I could be wrong. I just feel like he has no other way of getting our attention sometimes and will probably continue the practice until he can talk.

I love these pictures of him. He can be so photogenic.4. Swimming lessons. I signed the kids up for their annual free swimming lessons. Humph, one more thing to miss. We made it in the perfect window. Marissa had to be three to be in them so her lessons started on her birthday and they end a week before we move. She and Alex are in the same class and Erin is one class over at the same time. I am very impressed at how brave Marissa has been. She did cry a little bit, but hardly at all compared to my other kids at that age. They all love swimming, so it's too bad I don't take them more. Hey, I have four little kids to keep alive and I've never loved swimming that much as it is. But at least they get swimming lessons.

I always try to get pictures of them swimming, but they all look end up looking like little dots in the pool. Here are the after shots.5. My identity. I know this is pretty dumb, but every time I move I feel like I have the chance to reinvent myself. To start over with a clean slate, like Anne of Green Gables, with no mistakes in it... yet. That was definitely the case when I moved to Florida. My life in Utah was pretty music focused. Everyone knew that I played the flute, taught flute lessons, was the choir director, and majored in music. When I moved here, it wasn't that I hid that fact, it was just that I wanted to be something different. And then architecture began. This has really been the majority of my life in Florida. Building models, going to school, pulling all-nighters, and living/breathing design. But now that school is over, and I don't work in architecture, will this even be a part of my new identity? What will my identity be anyway?

And it's not just what I do, but how I look too. I wore glasses my whole life since third grade. I had contacts in eighth grade for a short time, developed an eye ulcer and was told I could never wear contacts again. I always felt like this was my fate in life, that I was the "nerd with glasses", and that maybe people wouldn't like me or something just because I had glasses. Finally, right before I got married and moved to Florida I met with an eye doctor and began wearing disposable contacts (although amazingly, Jared still fell in love with me pre-contacts. I know, it's totally incomprehensible to me too). So this was my new identity in Florida, not the nerd with glasses. I've worn contacts since that time and just recently have been wearing my glasses a lot again because contacts have been bothering me. Now when I wear glasses I don't feel nerdy at all anymore. Maybe it's just because I've grown up and don't care what people think as much, but I no longer feel any self-consciousness about my glasses like I used to. And I feel like I've gotten over a lot of little issues like this over the years, like my stub toe, and my nose,...

...except for one. Okay, I can't believe I'm going to write this because I've always felt so self-conscious about it. If there was one thing I would change about myself, physically, it would be my hairline. That probably sounds so completely stupid. There are likely other things that should come first, I know, but I would still have to say, hands down--hairline. It's really high and looks a little like a middle aged man with a receding hairline when it's pulled back. There, I said it. I've always had bangs in the attempt to hide this deformity, but have secretly longed to be able to grow my bangs out like everyone else. And mine aren't like the good kind of thick, straight, stylish bangs that some people have. They are, in my view, a necessary evil with a weird cowlick and that curl up all funky at the first sign of humidity or water droplet (hence the two reasons I always put my head down when it rains: to keep my bangs dry and to keep my glasses from getting drops on them--see? It's those glasses again).

Believe me, I have tried to make the switch before, thinking it might not really be so bad. The first time was for a few weeks the summer after 8th grade. I even have two pictures documenting the bold move. I don't know, they don't look that bad to me now. But for whatever reason, surely my own self-consciousness, I reverted back to the bangs. To hiding. To feeling safe in my hair. Then there was the one day on my mission. My bangs were getting too long and it had been raining off and on all day, so you could imagine what kind of heyday my hair was having. We stopped at the apartment for something and, after surveying the uncontrollable mayhem in the mirror, I hastily pulled all my hair to the side into a barrette and walked out the door to be a missionary for the rest of the day. If there was ever going to be a good time to make the switch, I thought, it was in another country where nobody knew me. I still remember my companion just staring at me while we were walking and then finally saying, "You just look so... different" (in Spanish of course). For someone as sensitive about my bangs as I was, it was a comment like that that would drive me to take that barrette out and never pull my bangs back again.

(yes, another paragraph and I'm still talking about my hair... stop reading at any time) I had a roommate in college who once told me that some people just can't not have bangs, and I've always believed that I was one of those people (although for the record, I absolutely don't think that she is--I've never seen her with bad hair, you know who you are). It's just like Anne's red hair, her curse (yeah, just watched Anne of Green Gables FYI). Every time I hear people say that they want to cut bangs, I shudder. "No, you can't! You have a good hairline, why would you waste it? You just don't know what it's like!", is always my plea.

So, as I said before, this is my chance to be a new person, to be the lady that doesn't have to have bangs. I've known people with similar hairlines who don't have bangs and nobody thinks anything of it. So if I show up in a new ward without bangs, so what? No one will be the wiser, except all my family and friends from before. There's that. This really could be my chance to get over my insecurity, just like the contacts were. And then if I choose to cut bangs later, what of it? I know nobody really cares, it's just my own dumb self that I need to get over. I really don't know if I could do it... I pulled my hair back in a head band the other night when a friend came over and didn't take it out the whole time, though I felt so exposed and wanted to hide in my bangs again. I honestly don't know what my decision will be, but if you see me with or without... just be gentle. It's a sensitive subject. Thanks.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I probably shouldn't be writing right now, but I need some kind of release, I guess. It's the in between stage right now. We've made the decision to move, Jared has a job, the moving company is already scheduled to come and our house is about 30 minutes from being show ready--maybe even less, which is usually unheard of around here. There's a broken up bagel on the floor, as well as some Cheerios, some spilled soy sauce, a few drops of grape juice, and a dumped out dish of cat food. I'm eating dried apple slices out of an open can of food storage because that's not going with us. Chicken nuggets are in the oven as an effort to clear out the freezer, and also to keep the kids alive and less cranky. The kids are playing [semi]-quietly with some foam geometric shapes that Erin inherited from her first grade teacher for some reason. Alex is playing the piano intermittently and a shirtless Marissa is a cry away from getting put down for a much needed nap. The baby is still asleep. Nothing out of the ordinary.

I should be making meals to use up all that food in the freezer, but ugh... that's cooking. Maybe tomorrow. I could be getting rid of my paint and flammable items. Let me know if you want any, paint that is. I should be doing all the things in Florida that I won't get to do again. Maybe another day. I could be changing my email address or organizing my primary stuff or planning a get together for Erin's friends. I could even be taking a shower, since that never happened today. But mostly I feel antsy, to the point of being somewhat paralyzed. Is that normal? All the house projects are done, and I can't start anything new. The TV service has already been canceled, as well as our gym memberships. All of our library books have been returned (I believe). We've made almost all of our arrangements in Utah. Now it's just the waiting game. Waiting to leave, yes, but mostly waiting for our house to sell. I know it hasn't even been a week yet, but it's still disheartening to think about everything else that is out there and wondering if anyone will see anything in our house. I've done everything I could to make this house sell-able, but still... What if nobody wants it? I'm not worried about anything else right now, except for that. It is out of my control.

This week I have just wanted to be done, to be gone from Florida. Not because I don't like it here or because I don't want to spend time with friends here, but because of this paralyzing feeling of not being able to do anything. This will pass, quickly too. In two weeks from today we will be on our way. On another nostalgic note, today was Erin's last day of school. Her last day of that school. It was my last hot walk across the road to pick her up. She passed, by the way. First grade, that is. Now we are on to some unknown school for second grade. At least it will be a new school year, but as a parent you always worry about your child's well-being. Especially Erin. I know she will do well academically, but I really hope she is able to find good friends. At least she'll have Alex. They are so lucky to have each other. They are all lucky to have each other.

Here's hoping that everything works out the way it is supposed to!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Utah vs. Florida

So, by now most people have heard our news and that is that we will be moving to Utah in a couple of weeks! Jared got a job working for the Church as a programmer for the New Family Search program. This has been an interesting process that started in about January. I don't think we were quite ready to move back then, but through this process, and much prayer, we do feel that it is the right thing for our family right now for a few reasons: Jared needs a change at work, I am done with school, only one of our kids is in school right now, it's summer break, this house is feeling a little too small for a family our size, I am getting really tired of the humidity, and almost all of our family lives in Utah (as well as many friends/old roommates).

All that being said, Florida has been a wonderful place for us to live. It's the only place we've ever lived as a married couple. This is where we've had all of our children. We've gone from being newlyweds to a family of six. We will miss the Plantation ward and all of our friends so much. It really is an amazing ward that I know we will not find anywhere again. Our friends down here have been our family. We've spent every holiday including Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, the Fourth of July, Christmas and New Year's with our ward family. We were becoming long-timers in the ward along with so many other fantastic families. This is the one thing we will miss the most about Florida (sniff, sniff). I know, it's sentimental, but seriously, I can't think of anything that is holding us here (besides maybe the beautiful winter weather) other than our friends. Hopefully we will always remain friends despite our abandoning them.

Here's a list of some things I learned while living in Florida:
-I know what a swale is and that it's okay to park on it
-Front doors open out and not in due to hurricane winds
-You get to know your neighbors best right after a hurricane when nobody has power, or when your shed blew into their pool
-If you don't like the weather, just wait 5 minutes (translation: there's a torrential downpour daily for 1-2 hours and then it's sunny again like it never happened)
-You water your lawn in the winter and not in the summer
-It's good to go to the beach on Christmas and camping over Thanksgiving
-Crab grass, the kind you always pulled out of the lawn for being a weed, is the grass
-Lizards and frogs are commonplace
-There are more scriptures in Spanish at the temple than in English--no exaggeration either
-Houses are built out of CMU's (aka cinderblocks)
-Parking lots are weird. And once again, you can park on the grass--those are actual spots.

Here's what I foresee being different in Utah:
-I will have to invest in lotion again
-Socks--wearing them, washing them, folding them
-Jeans can be worn even in the summer without them sticking to your legs
-Better hair--you blow dry it and it stays that way
-No more bulk pick-up (I will have to work on instating it in my new city)
-Winter clothes--how do you dress a baby in the winter anyway?
-Seasons, and I mean more than just "park season" and "pool season"
-Dividing our time between our families
-Our kids playing with neighbor kids (we've never played with any neighbor kids here, mostly because there are hardly any)
-A longer commute to work and a shorter commute to church
-I hope to not be so anal about keeping the door closed, you know so the hot air doesn't get inside
-We will have a basement!
-I will probably have to start putting my carts in those designated cart return things instead of just leaving them by my car (that's gonna be an adjustment). Really, it's hard for the Utah population to believe, but they don't have those here.
-We won't be able to walk across the street to get to the school
-The grocery store, the gym, and the library will all be further than 1/2 a mile away
-We'll be trapped inside in the winter and not the summer
-Carpet and not tile
-No more free swimming lessons
-The cost of living, I am told, is less than here
-No fleas! (and probably no cats, but that is still one of my dilemmas right now... ugh)

Yeah, there's probably more insignificant stuff I could write, but that should suffice, for now. Surely, it will be different, in both good and not so good ways. But we are excited for the change and feel really good about this decision. We went out to Utah last week to look for a house and found that building a house is the same price as most of the other short sales and regular homes out there. Of course, our Realtor took us to see a bunch of model homes and builders first and then took us to some crummy short sales. No contest about which was better. I have no problem working on an older home, but it was the layout of older homes (even 10 years) that I didn't like--and that can't be changed easily.

So we decided to build a home in Lehi. We won't have grass or any mature trees, but the house will be what we want. There's always trade offs when getting a house. One thing that really bugs me about Utah houses is that there are so many plans that are all the same. Okay, two things. Why are they all that ugly earth-tone brown anyway? I would love to design my own home, but it would cost way more than going with a builder who already has lots available. All I wanted was a plan that wasn't like everyone else's. When I walked into the model of the house we chose, I immediately knew that this was how I wanted my house to be. It had an open kitchen with an island and enough room for the dining table, and four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a laundry room on the second floor, with an unfinished basement (a project). The yard will be smaller than what we have here and the homes are close together, but Jared and I both felt really good about the home, the location and the price. Now we just have to make sure we don't go overboard on all the upgrades. We even went to a neighborhood barbecue to make sure we liked our neighbors and everyone seemed pretty nice and said they loved it there.

Sooo, we will be moving from this house on the 23rd and living in temporary housing for a month, and then we will probably be moving in with family until about October when the home is built (I told them it only takes Extreme Makeover one week but these people just laughed at me). My main concerns right now are selling our house, figuring out what stuff to keep in storage and what we will need in the mean time, and the aforementioned cat situation. I think we have done more in the last few weeks to our home than in the whole 8 years we've lived in it to get it ready to sell. It looks pretty good. Our Realtor even said it didn't look like 4 kids live here. But I am still nervous about getting it sold because it is competing with so many short sales and foreclosures. One other good thing about the building option is that we don't have to have our 20% down payment until October (just a building deposit) so there isn't quite the pressure to sell our home right now. But still, it's a little nerve racking.

So there you have it. I've been waiting so long to tell people our news, but really, I'll shut up now.