Sunday, June 12, 2011

Guilty Feeling

Okay, so I'm feeling a little guilty - actually a lot guilty.... I haven't written a post forever! I really don't know what happened - I guess after a few months of being in DC, I finally got a life and no longer had time to write. That's not to say that those who post all the time don't have lives - I mean you probably have way cooler lives than me. It's just that writing isn't one of my favorite things to do so it automatically falls to the bottom of the list - even behind folding laundry. Yesterday Nathan even went so far as to suggest that maybe he should contribute once in a while which I would LOVE!! So here's keeping my fingers crossed.

Our adventure in DC continues - winter finally ended and so did our cabin fever. The household grumpiness barometer dropped dramatically. What can I say - a little warmth and sun does our family good. Thankfully we made it through the winter without any major illnesses which is surprising considering all the germs lingering in the metro and in elevators. That was a major schwoo for us. Jackson and Audrey began taking piano lessons which filled our house with music and additional nagging from the parents to "Practice"!

My lovely sister and husband came and stayed with us for a few days while they braved the January weather and saw the sights. It was so awesome to have them - I love to have people come and stay with us and it made me just a little bit homesick when they left.

Jane continues to be the challenging two year old that she is. However, due to the claustrophobic conditions in which we live she doesn't get away with anything and as a result, I think she will be fit for society in about six months. (okay, i'm kidding but really, I'm not)

Nathan is working so diligently learning the romantic language of Slovak. He is an excellent tutor as well and although I have yet to learn many necessary phrases in order to navigate through everyday life, he did successfully teach me how to say "I would like to buy 50 Snicker bars please". Worried, nervous, scared about moving there in two months you ask - nah, I think I'm all set.

Jackson and Audrey still have school for a few more weeks but lucky for us - we are flying home to Utah on the last day of school. Back to the things most familiar for us - See's candies, big gulps at Harts, BYU Creamery and Chuck-a-Rama (it's all about the scones baby). We are looking forward to spending the month of July celebrating our country's independence, Draper days and Pioneer day with our families. Sadly, Nathan has to stay here but hopefully we'll get to see him a few weekends (thank you skymiles!)

I realize this post is somewhat boring and a little disjointed but to add even more chaos - I have posted some random photos I've taken during the past few months. I hope it all makes sense.

Nathan's mother came out the second weekend in April and Nathan and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary in rural Pennsylvania. We stayed in our own little cabin at the Silver Springs Lodge. The highlight of the trip (besides spending time together -ahh) was touring Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water. It was breathtaking. Photos don't do it justice. It was really inspiring and while Mr. Wright's personal life was quite frankly a disaster - he was a truly talented man. He designed this house at the age of 65 and went on to design 400 other structures before he died. No retirement for this man.

You can take the man away from the city but you can't take the iphone away from the man.

We left for Pennsylvania about 6:30 on Friday evening - it was already dark and the further we drove from DC, the more foggy it became. It was a nightmare trying to get there in the fog. In my mind I just kept praying "don't let us die, don't let us die on our 13th Anniversary trip!" The fog stayed around all weekend and this is what it looked like when we drove home Sunday. I am taking a picture of McDonalds, and as you can see, you can barely make out the sign. Crazy.

The time stamp on this is March 14th, 5:45 AM!! Yes - Jane woke up early and found a cake box mix and begged me to make a chocolate cake. She wouldn't give it up and she kept saying "peeze, cake, peeze, cake". I mean honestly, I was going to make it eventually anyway and what the heck, 5:45 am was as good a time as any.

Audrey ticked off one more item on her bucket list - visit Georgetown Cupcakes. She and I watch the reality show DC Cupcakes and we have both been dying to go try it out. Well, we finally went but we kinda cheated. We went to the one in Bethesda because the one in Georgetown always has a really huge line. It still felt like the real deal, I mean the cupcakes were $2.75 each and they came in this really cute box and bag. Audrey was beyond excited. It's a 7 year old girl thing.

Jane enjoyed the frosting!

Walking around downtown Bethesda. It's so fun shopping with kids - so fun.

Jane and I had to run an errand at the LDS DC Temple. It's always so pretty there. Jane just loved waking around the grounds. She and I are little buddies while Jackson and Audrey are in school. The two Amigos.

Jackson annoyed I am taking a picture of him.

Often on Sunday's, we'll take a walk to this water park near us. The kids like horsing around while we are there as you can see from above. It is always very pleasant...until it's time to leave. As you can see below, Jane gets mad.

Here, she is REALLY mad. Parenthood is so rewarding.

Monday, January 10, 2011

I can't even stand to look at my blog

It has been a while since I have blogged and when I don't write for many days, then I just dread going to my blog and viewing the blog list on the right of my blog and seeing that everyone I know has recently posted. They have in fact posted several times since my latest entry so it makes me feel very guilty and like a complete blogging looser.

So, to sum it up in a nut shell, Christmas came and it was wonderful. A day and a half later, the tree was undecorated and thrown out on the balcony to be dealt with later (possible fire code violation, I'm not sure). New Years came and we didn't stay up until midnight again. Woo-hoo, we are real party animals. The kids begged us to stay up but we assured them that really not much happens when the old year switches over to a new year and I was happy to realize that upon reading the paper the next morning, I was not a liar.

My New Year's resolution is to not set any. I am not saying this as a joke or as a way to be funny. I just mean that to me, it seems kind of ridiculous to put all this pressure on yourself that because it is January 1st, you are now going to accomplish all these many different and great things. If by chance you don't follow through, then you won't feel like you can start all over again until next year. If it works for you then forget what I said but if you are like me, then you at least know there is someone else out there like you!

I was thinking the other day how lucky my kids are to be growing up with all this technology available to them. They will never not know what Facebook, youtube or texting is. I mean how cool is that? Any friends they meet along the way in life, they will always be able to communicate with and in our current circumstance, I think that is pretty neat. I had friends growing up and in college that I wish I still kept in touch with, but because I don't know how to spell their name correctly (and honestly I'm not a good speller anyway), I'll probably never be able to reconnect (trust me, I don't spend hours upon hours on Facebook trying different combination's of their name). It's easy to find people you knew in high school because you had a yearbook but college is a bit more tricky (thank goodness for that because I could only stand to have four books full of ugly pictures and "stay cool 'till next year!" in my possession). Last night, Audrey chatted with her BFF's (her words, not mine) on web cam and then we all talked with my parents on web cam. It helped make the distance between us not feel so far. In the words of Napoleon Dynamite's brother, "I love technology".

We are still staying quite cozy in our tiny little two bedroom apartment and since it is so cold outside, our kids have created their own indoor skate park in the second level of the underground parking garage. I just keep thinking that it's all fun and games until someone doesn't make the tight corner and the next thing you know, I'm pulling a scooter handle out of the hood of that custom Mercedes parked down there.

Okay, now that I have at least posted something - I can stand to look at my blog again and hopefully I will be a bit more consistent in my entries. Just so you know, I love all of you who comment and I love to read what you think. I am just not sure how to reply back - do I post a comment or do I email you back? I have no idea about the blog etiquette but for all you potential FSO's who find this and would like to know more about anything (I really am not a font of information about the Foreign Service, I'm just sayin') I am happy to try and answer your questions. Just so you know, my husband is the Foreign Service officer so while I think that's really great, it's his job- not mine and I can only comment on just basic life here in Crystal City and the school my kids go to because that's what I know. Our life is anything but dull at the moment and certainly an adventure.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

It's Christmas Time in the City

I know I got a few weeks behind in my blog. Here's the low down on the past month or so...

1. Thanksgiving was shared with our friends and our next door neighbors ... Megan, Zachary, Kai, Lucia and Pandora (our favorite furry friend in the building). Megan and I combined our efforts and made a lovely meal but it must be said that her half of the meal was the better half of the meal. She is a foodie and a very good cook so we were well fed. As for my portion of the meal, lets just say the I brought the traditional green bean casserole and jello concoction along with a few other things but none of my recipes came from Bon Appetit (as in the gourmet magazine). I learned a very valuable lesson, always surround yourself with others who love to cook yummy food and you will never go hungry.

2. Jackson and Nathan converted our bedroom into the "Man Cave" (Jackson's words, not mine) for the past four Saturdays and a few week nights as well. I have mentioned this before, but Nathan and Jackson are HUGE BYU Football and Basketball fans (sorry women's team, only Men's basketball are on their radar). When the Cougars are playing, they stream KSL over the computer and either watch the game on TV or on the Web. Sometimes, they have our TV, desktop computer and Nathan's iPad all going at the same time while noshing on popcorn. Audrey and I have learned that it is better to leave the apartment when this is going on and head to the mall. Oddly enough, Jane seems to enjoy game day enough that she chooses to hang out with the boys over us girls.

3. Finally joined a gym. Nathan and I are not those kind of people that can just eat and eat and never gain weight no matter what they do. (Hate those kinds of people, try to avoid them as I just cannot empathize with them no matter how hard I try) Jane enjoys playing with the kids in the kid club in the mornings but those places are just crawling with germs. I try not to dwell on this fact too much as I run like a hamster on the treadmill.

4. Found my mecca - G Street Fabrics. Fabric stores make me happy but they make my kids sad, angry and impatient. How can one place be a sanctuary for me but a torture chamber for my kids? Such a shame they have no appreciation for the finer things in life.

5. Visited the National Geographic Magazine Museum with the kids. Fabulous! Gecko exhibit was awesome and the music exhibit was even more awesome. Recommend it to everyone.

As you can see, we bought a tree (our first real one in years) and made homemade paper ornamates. But I felt the tree was lacking so I bought a roll of ribbon at Costco and put ribbon all over it. Very original, I know but honestly, who doesn't love a Christmas tree with ribbon and paper all over it?? I think even the Grinch would come and take my tree 'cause ya just feel festive looking at it.

To give my apartment that real "oh, la, la" factor, I fashioned some large paper stars and paper chains out of decorative craft paper. As you can see, I gave this photo a fuzzy, softening effect just to portray to you, the warm, happy feeling we feel sitting under this festive canopy. Who says you need lots of money to make Christmas special in your house? Well, actually, I don't think you need money however, I do think you need to be tasteful vs. tacky and this is just me saying this but I think I crossed the line a little bit this year to the tacky side! Hope you're all enjoying this wonderful, yet chilly time of year!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

"Houston, we have lift off"

Well - after much guessing and trying to figure out where we could possibly be going - we found out yesterday in front of the rest of Nathan's piers and their family and friends that we will be spending our first two year assignment in Bratislava, Slovakia. We had bid it high but honestly didn't give it much thought because it is such a crap shoot as to where you will be assigned and on the bid list there are some great places but a lot of places one might bid medium and a lot one would bid low.

When we met with our CDO (career development officer) a few weeks ago she told us that where would be assigned would essentially come down to luck. When she said this, my stomach just kinda dropped because Nathan and I haven't traditionally experienced a lot of luck. I'm not saying we are not blessed because we are - we have a lot and for that I am truly grateful. I am talking about pure luck such as winning a game when playing with friends, winning the car or the vacation for two when you purchased one raffle ticket for $1 or getting a promotion at work when you've only been there for a year - that kind of luck, we are not so good at attracting. So honestly, when we talked about where we would be going, I was prepare for some crazy, off the wall place where there would be an element of some danger and a warning to not, at any cost, drink the water.

Imagine my surprise when they said "Slovakia, Bratislava, ... Nathan Ringger"! I was excited but admittedly knew nothing about this post, not even where it was located. When I saw how happy Nathan was, I knew it was a good thing and then when this nice lady sitting next to me looked notably disappointed and said that's the one they wanted, I thought it was probably a very good thing. From what I have researched so far, it is an hour drive from Vienna and is four hours from Germany. We can fly for $50 to many countries in Europe. This is so surreal to me. I can't believe my kids will be raised at least for a little while in Eastern Europe. When I was in college, I thought it sounded so cool to backpack through Europe, who knew I would one day live there with my peeps. Unreal!!

I know there will be lots of growing pains and difficult moments a head, but for now I am just so excited. We will move to our post in September of 2011 which is fantastic because we are on a great rotation considering we have kids and they won't have to move during the school year as we move from post to post.

Nathan and I feel like we can breath a sigh of relief because we no longer need to worry about feeling like our life is so up in the air. We have a plan!! Yea. Life is stressful until Flag day because all you think about is the "What if" scenario. I feel bad for those that didn't get anything they wanted and especially for those who got Mexico. All I can hope for is that you will get your dream post after this one!! So I guess I will be going to language classes with Nathan beginning February and learning Slovak (I am sure to use this language the rest of my life). Heaven help my instructor.

These are images I snagged from Google. Apparently this is a picture of old town Bratislava.

Bratislava is located between two rivers and many people who have been there have said it is beautiful. From the looks of these pictures, I would have to agree. Oooo - it even looks like they have a river boat cruise, now you're talkin'!

The Skinny on Crystal City Oakwood

I decided to post the 411 on living as a family of five at the Oakwood in Crystal City. Prior to your move, the State Department gives you a list of Oakwood properties at several different locations and it is hard to know what ones are better and why. I would have loved to find out any information I could so I thought I would throw my two bits out there and see if it helps anyone in cyber world.

When we got the list of Oakwood properties, we knew without having to think very hard, we wanted Crystal City. Reason? LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! It's right in the middle of Crystal City, which is located in Arlington. We are two blocks away from the only Costco in Arlington (any family of five must have the capability to purchase ginormous grocery's and 25 rolls of toilet paper at once), three blocks away from the library, park and mall (Nordstrom for the ladies, Apple store for the men, food court for the kids). Best Buy and Nordstrom Rack are adjacent to Costco across the street. There is a Harris Teeter within walking distance as well but I hear that it's a more expensive grocery store so I usually hit the Shoppers grocery store once a week that is two miles away and near a Target.

The biggest benefit is the Metro right underneath our building - you don't even have to go outside to get your ride on! The Smithsonian is about 10 minutes away on the metro and so slick to ride - even with three kids and a super-sized stroller (however I do recommend not going during rush hour - you will enjoy your ride A LOT more). There is a Rite-Aid in the basement/Crystal City Shops and let me tell you, I had no idea I would ever buy as much as I do at a Rite-Aid. They have basic groceries (no produce) and milk. It's amazing what you can find there. Coming from the land of Wal-Mart, Super Target, Sam's Club and Costco- It has literally been years since I have been in a legitimate drug store but, they are a-okay with me. I even have a frequent shopper card!

The park is great for basketball, tennis and basic running around. The Mount Vernon trail is two blocks away (I know I keep saying that but we really are located right in the middle) and you can run/bike into D.C. or out to Mount Vernon if your little heart so desires. The Pentagon Row outdoor ice skating rink just opened up for the season so have no fear you ice divas out there, there is something for you too! There are a ton of dogs all around Crystal City so if you have a four legged friend you desire to bring with you - they will be loved and admired by all (unfortunately I can't say that about kids - people are not fans of kids around here). There are a total of 17 floors in the building accessed by three elevators complete with an Oakwood employee that sits at the front desk to answer any questions and to receive packages (yes, just like the movies).

There are many, many restaurants within walking distance and an especially delicious Kabob place that is open 24 hours (even tho I may not go there at 3am, I just love knowing that I can)!! A fantastic pizza delivery restaurant that you allows you to place your order online and they deliver right to your door - you don't have to talk to anyone and if you include a 20% tip with your order, the delivery person drops it off and and runs - he doesn't linger, hinting for more money. Very great pizza, very great service. We also order from Potbellies, located in the basement, and then pick it up when our order is ready. Great for a week night when you don't want to cook and you don't want to drag the fam to a hectic dinner out. I could go on and on about the restaurants but this gives you the idea that you will not starve while you are here.

Talking about food leads me to my next subject - working out. There is a gym in the Oakwood with a few treadmills and weights. It is what you might expect to see at a hotel - decent but not lavish. I quickly located a gym to join that is again, about 2 miles away and very easy to get to. It's LA fitness and it is brand new and very beautiful. They have a small daycare that is great for toddlers but not a viable option for anyone over 4 simply because they may get bored. Now that we know where we are going, I plan on joining the gym and trimmin' some of the A-100 5lbs! Vacation mode is over, time to settle in for the long haul seeing as how we won't be out of here until September.

This brings me to the whole elementary school situation. My kids attend Oakridge elementary which is a boundary elementary school and happens to be ranked higher than the other elementary schools nearby. School begins at 9:00am and goes until 3:36pm (early out day on Wednesday). My children ride the bus so they get picked up at 8:40 and dropped off a little after 4:00pm (bus stop is nearby but kids must cross a very busy road, I always walk with them). This is a long day for the kids but it is what it is. Apparently they have before and after school programs for elementary kids whose parents work but you pay for these and I don't know much about what happens there. If this is something you might be doing, rest assured that many kids participate in this and your kid will not be the only one in their class going early or staying late. The principal does not answer emails very well, if at all, but look on the school website, or call ahead to talk to the school Registrar and figure out all the paperwork you need to bring in order to register your children. Let's just say it is very handy the State Department makes everyone get physical exams with TB tests as well - very handy indeed as this is a requirement for anyone entering Arlington Public School System. The school is very used to kids moving in and moving out that the teachers are extremely accommodating. Very pleasant and happy to work with your child in whatever way necessary. Our son was in a gifted program in Utah and I am sad to say the gifted program is not as great here but we are making the best of it and his teacher is trying to challenge him where she can so I am not worried about it at all. Very Very Happy!

Much to our sadness, the pool here is an outdoor pool so we can't wait for the summer time to bust out the swim toys. We have gone over to the adjacent Marriott and gone swimming in their pool but it's not that big and you have to walk through their conference room area so it's kinda awkward trapezing through a sea of business men and women with three kids in swimsuits and flip flops on. There is also a life guard on duty that has to watch the pool at all times and when you are the only family they have seen in two days, you feel quite literally like a fish in a fishbowl.

There are really no negatives to living here but I am generally not a negative person and who can be negative when your housing is paid for? I mean honestly - I am not going to complain (very much). We are in a two bedroom that is small but has ample closet space. We even have a small walk-in closet in the master bedroom that a crib fits perfectly into so we are not able to fit any clothes in there but hey, Jane has her own room which is huge to us! (two bedroom turned three). Jackson and Audrey have a room they share together with two twin beds and I wish they had bunk beds because it would really free up the floor space but I don't even know if that would be an option here. The Oakwood always addresses any maintenance issues right away and the maid that comes in once a week makes everything look beautiful (until real life destroys it).

The building is pretty old and not like in a cool George Washington era kinda way, more like a Regan era kinda way. It has dated cupboards and furniture but it is clean and they just replaced my dishwasher yesterday so that's something anyways. Oh, and it comes with a fica tree that we may use as our pseudo Christmas tree this year (I can't bear to bring in something that will take up more space, like a bushy, needle-dropping tree).

Hopefully this will help some of you future State Department FSO and EFMs out there. You are welcome to email me with any specific questions. If you are a family with kids, please, please come to Crystal City! My kids want lots of friends so the more, the merrier!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Today was my birthday. I don't like this day. Every year I get one year older and discover a few more wrinkles that will be deeper by next year. Each year I pretend it doesn't matter - that my husband and children are the real gift but I honestly don't think I would mind the crazy surprise of say a really expensive pair of boots or the amazing bag I've only admired in the shop window knowing if I got close enough to smell the leather, it would forever linger in my nostrils and make me want it that much more.

This year my kids brought me breakfast in bed complete with a can of Diet Coke. They poured the cereal themselves and were so proud of their accomplishment and I love that! Audrey made a sign to let everyone know it was my birthday.

I think when your kids are little there are many opportunities to feel personal embarrassment. An example of this might be when your kid hits another kid on the playground or when they scream extra loud in the grocery store "You're HURTING ME!" and everyone thinks you're some crazy child abuser when in actuality all you're really trying to do is secure them safely to the shopping cart by buckling the seat belt! Or perhaps the embarrassment one might feel from a child simply making a sweet and loving gesture by attaching a sign with your ACTUAL age on it for all the world to see.

Yes, these are moments that might cause our face to redden and our hearts to beat a little bit faster. However, it is these same embarrassing moments, in addition to the countless others, that compound upon one another and cause us to be de-sensitized to personal embarrassment. What kids don't realize is that they are only hurting themselves because by the time they get to high school where image is everything - we parents have TOTALLY forgotten what that ever felt like. We have endured total humiliation so many times that we are completely comfortable with it and we no longer realize quite literally, "what is the big deal?"

So as I watched my lovely daughter attach this sign to our apartment door with a beaming smile and inside my head I'm screaming, "NO,NO, NO!", I calmly smiled at her and thought, "one day, I will pull up to your high school in some beater of a car and honk seven times for you until you finally jump in and I will not even be embarrassed because I no longer know what the feels like."

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Day at the Museum

On Tuesday we went to the Smithsonian because the kids had Tuesday off (happy election day to me!). Since we live in Crystal City we just walked down stairs and took the metro to the museum - isn't that cool? It was a little tricky maneuvering the stroller on the escalator but I think I've got it down now. (Hopefully I'm not jinking myself by saying this!)

It was a little chilly but it was beautiful outside. I love spending time with the kids and they had a blast. Audrey had to walk a lot which was a challenge for her but she pulled through. It's a lot of fun riding the metro but it can get really crowed during rush hour so I made sure we didn't get stuck in that crowd.

We went only to the Museum of Natural History on Tuesday since every museum in the Smithsonian is GIGANTIC and can be a lot to take in. Once we walked in, I let Jane out of the stroller and she began running around like crazy and yelling "Audrey, Look!" Since we have moved, they have gotten so close. This is a bonus for me however, I can't trust Audrey to take full responsibility of Jane yet considering that Audrey can wander away from me at times and cause me to run around like a crazy, panicked mom worried she was carried away by some pedophile (this actually did happen and museum staff was involved in the perp hunt, Audrey was found and of course - had no idea she was missing. All I can say is BANANAS!)

Lucky for us, it was free admission to see the butterfly room. This would have cost us $26 so huge "ca ching" for me! It was amazing and the two older kids stayed in there forever. When we first walked in, a butterfly landed on Jackson's head and stayed with him the majority of the time. It was a fun thing for him since the night before he had been crying because he was missing his friends and Utah. He had such great friends so I can imagine how tough it must be for him. I moved from Montana to Utah when I was in the fourth grade so I can kinda relate but all in all, the kids have been amazing with the transition. They have made friends at school pretty easily and hopefully we can end up in an area where they will have friends nearby. Jackson's teacher just loves him so that can help in how you are perceived by your peers. Audrey moved back one year to first grade and is doing really well. I wanted to do this forever but Draper elementary thought I was nuts for wanting to do this. Oakridge (where the kids go now) thought I was nuts for wanting to do this but did it any way without any hassle and it has been so perfect for Audrey. She is just a natural leader in her class and has friends like crazy. I love that about her. She just told me that she was absolutely going to second grade next year and I told her I agree.

We weren't able to see all the exhibits just because we got tired but we did not miss the most eye-catching of all. Can you guess what this is?

That right! It's crochet and knitted coral reefs. Crazy right? Oh, I so don't spend too much time on my own hobbies....There were about 8 of these in different colors and arrangements. Creating this would drive me to crazy but then again, maybe you have to be crazy to create this. Hummm, food for thought. For some reason, it made us laugh but I truly admire the work.

And last but not least, I have to show Jane in her light up, plastic high heals. She is obsessed with shoes and loves this new pair I recently bought her. Audrey keeps trying to steel them which angers Jane to the 10th degree but I have a feeling that this fighting over clothes is only the beginning. (I know, what is up with the Binky right? I just took her whole world from her, if the Binky makes her happy, then so be it - I am positive she won't need it by the time she gets to college).

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Weekend Musings

This weekend was our first official weekend in DC and I know what you are thinking - we must have seen some amazing things right? Well the majority of our Saturday was spent waiting around for the Comcast cable guy to show up. Reliable Internet and cable is a must for this tribe. The past week has been very frustrating for our resident IT man but everything is working speedy now. I don't know what I would do if I didn't have Nathan to take care of all my tech stuff - I would probably still have the original cell phone I had in college and would be going to the library to use the Internet (no offense to people who actually go to the library for their Internet).

Then we decided to venture out to do a little shopping. We are still in the mode of hunting down and gathering our food. After a quick trip to Trader Joe's where everyone stared at my screaming two year old we decided to try a new burger joint. It's at National Harbor and it's called Elevation Burger. The view was spectacular and the kids loved watching the sail boats while eating their organic burger and olive oil cooked fries. Yes, for a measly $40 your family of 4 (Jane mooched off the rest of us) can also eat an environmentally healthy meal. The beef was real but I was assured the cow lead a lovely life and was gently killed.

We ended our shopping trip with Nathan running to Best Buy for a new router and the kids and I checking out the dogs available for adoption outside the Petsmart next door. This made us miss Buzz tons and the kids begged and begged for a new dog.'s some food for thought, if we could have a dog, wouldn't we have kept the perfect 5 year old lab we gave away 10 days ago? You would think that me explaining this to them would be enough for them to realize that they could not get a dog, however, this did not help. They kept begging and promising they would take care of it. The sad thing is, I so wanted to get a dog too. I have come to the realization that while no one in Nathan or my family likes pets, we are most definitely a pet family. I love animals!! They are so cute and they teach kids a lot about responsibility and unconditional love. We always had a dog in our home while we were growing up and I am so glad we did. I hope that when our life becomes a little more stable, we can have a dog again. My kids are keeping their fingers crossed. Oh, and a cat too. Audrey is my little cat lover so if we have a dog, we need a cat too. We miss you Buzz and Rose (the cat).

So that brings us to Sunday. Today was stake conference. I was not looking forward to it seeing as how our stake conference was two months ago. It's one of those things you don't love to do because you are in the chapel for two hours, trying to keep kids quite meanwhile not being able to listen because your kids are constantly asking you how much longer until it's over and that they need to go to the bathroom/get a drink. So having done this not that long ago, I was kind of dreading it. So I have to say the entire meeting was not exceeding my expectations until the end when Stake President Nixon (see why I wrote "stake"?) gave an amazing talk that really spoke to some of the things I have been thinking about lately. He talked about how we need to prepare for our destiny and not try to control our destiny. When we get out of our comfort zone, amazing things can happen in our lives. Because this can be difficult, we are forced to rely on Heavenly Father more and have faith in his plan for us.

This meant a lot to me because just this weekend, I really began thinking about everything the kids have had to give up. Their home, their neighborhood, their schools, their grandparents and cousins, and their friends. I started to feel bad that we basically took everything away from them and they really haven't benefited from this move at all. While I believe it will be beneficial to them in the long run, I haven't seen too many immediate benefits for them. During President Nixon's talk, I really felt like we were doing the right thing and we just need to continue to have faith in our decision. We are trying to have faith!

Later this afternoon, we went on a walk on the Mount Vernon trail. It's right next to this waterpark (this word means something completely different in Utah) and everything was really pretty - a perfect fall afternoon. It was so fun being together as a family. Audrey brought her itouch along so all the pictures you see here are her doing. Pretty great right?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Day 5 and we're all still alive

So obviously I didn't write at all since my last post because it has been a whirl wind of excitement and chaos since we began selling 1/3rd of all our earthly belongings, scheduling packers and movers and renting out our home in Draper. Finding renters was the easy part, the fixing it up for them was the difficult part. It involved landscapers, painters, door installers and many many trips to Home Depot (as many as 5 in one day and I am not exaggerating- really, I wish I were). It's funny what you'll put up with until you see it through the eyes of someone else and then you're like "No way will they live with this! I better get it fixed!". I have a property manager that is on top of everything so I am very confident that this will be a good thing for us (I hope).

Since moving into the Oakwood Crystal City, I have registered the kids in Oakridge Elementary (seems like an amazing school), found the nearest library, visited my local Target and Costco several times (the mother ships) and taken the kids to the park to play on the playground and throw the football with Jackson. Oh and I can't forget the ward Trunk or Treat last night. It was fun for the kids to see where we will be attending church and meet a few kids. I met a nice lady named Katie who kind of gave me the real skinny on the ward dynamics so it was nice to get a better sense of how things are in the ward.

All in all I love discovering all the new things in this new place I am living. I can't get over the fact that everyone dresses in dark colors and very serious business attire (I'm talking about the ladies here) and most women don't wear makeup. I get it, it's not for everyone but coming from Utah where a trip to the grocery store is a full on fashion show, I'm just a little surprised. Yesterday I walked over to the Pentagon City mall and with my bright Blondie hair and my bright orange stroller - I stuck out like a sore thumb (I'm sure many were laughing their butts off just watching me).

So here I sit in my little two bedroom apartment and I am waiting for maintenance to come and check out this crazy disgusting smell that is coming from underneath my children's bathroom sink. It is so funky, it smells like a rotting fish is stuck behind the drywall. Ewe gross is all I can say about that. This weekend I will post some pictures and some more about what has been happening but I can't right now as our Internet is highly unstable and totally sluggish! UGG!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Good bye riding lawnmower...

Isn't this tractor a beauty? Five years ago, we were so excited to have a large yard - we ran down to the nearest Costco and bought this big, bad, yellow and green grass cuttin' machine. It was but a mear few months later when the joy and triumph of purchasing (in blood mind you) our own little half acre of the planet wore off and we were left with weed ridden flowerbeds and grass that grew so fast it required mowing twice a week. Ahh, the American dream of home ownership.

Today, we sold our little mower to another man who reminded us of ourselves five years ago. He obviously had purchased a fairly large amount of land that would require the additional purchase of large lawn care equipment. He was excited and felt he had gotten a good deal - I can only hope he has a greater understanding of his yard then we have had of ours (why weeds why??) - oh, I hope we didn't curse that thing!!