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.
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?