Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sweet Jayden turns 3 :)

On June 20th, 2011, our sweet baby boy, Jayden, turned 3. It's hard to believe that time has flown by so quickly since this beautiful spirit joined our family.

We had just relocated to Utah in the weeks prior to his birthday, and we hardly knew anyone. We were living in a tiny little condo and it was hardly the place to throw a party- so as usual, we headed to Grandma's in Idaho :) At the time of our move to Utah, Mason was the end of orthodontic treatment. It had been paid for in full and in order to complete his treatment, we had to come back to Idaho once a month until he got his braces off. So it worked out well to plan his appointment close to Jayden's birthday so that we could celebrate in Idaho with our family.

We had a little get together at Grandma Miller's, where we had cake and ice cream and Jayden opened his presents. He got a plethora of Lightning McQueen and Thomas the train stuff. In usual Jayden fashion, he had his big, shy grin on his face the entire time.

To celebrate Jayden, I want to talk about his sweet personality a little: Jayden is the baby of our family in every way. He is adored by all of us. He is shy and quiet and loves to snuggle more than any of the other kids. While Jaxon is fiercely independent and doesnt want anything done for him, Jayden wants his hand held through every task- not because he isnt capable, but because he wants someone loving him and caring for him every second of the day. And everyone in this family is happy to do that for our sweet boy.

Jayden has the most captivating smile. When someone he doesnt know talks to him, he gets that shy grin on his face, you see his darling dimples and he runs and hides, usually behind my legs. He lets Jaxon do most of the talking for him to people he doesn't know well.

Jayden spends a lot of his time following Jaxon's lead. Jaxon decides what they are playing and how, and Jayden complies. They are the best buddies. I'm either listening to them giggling or fighting all day- and which one depends on the moment :)

Jayden loves trains, Cars, wrestling with Daddy and snuggle time. If you ask him who he loves, he will tell you MASON every time. He worships Mason and cries sometimes when Mason goes to school. He waits anxiously for Mason to get home from school so they can play. At night, he would prefer to sleep with Mason than anyone else.

Not a day goes by that I am not thankful that we were blessed with this sweet little boy. He has been an angel in our family. I look forward to each and every day we get to share with him. Jayden, we love you baby boy!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Water Babies

One of the things the kids loved most about our move is that we have a swimming pool at both our new places. The condo has a smaller one, outdoors and open in the Summer. The house has a larger one, with lap lanes and a diving board, and is heated from a natural hotspring and therefore open all year. It also has 2 hot tubs, which makes me happy :)

Here are a few pictures of the kids playing in our condo pool. That's pretty much all they wanted to do all summer long. Thankfully, the weather cooperated, allowing us to swim quite often. These pics are from July 2011.

Summer Fun

Here are some pictures of some of our first summer in Utah (well, I grew up here, but the first summer for the rest of the crew).

These pictures are on the playground in our condo subdivision. It was a very large, open park with a playground, pavillion and acres and acres of sidewalks, winding in and out of each other, for walking and biking around. That was my kids' favorite thing to do- ride their bikes around and around. They are so used to having a large yard and being on no-traffic streets. Adjusting to being in a condo with no yard, and being on Redwood Rd where they can't ride, was a tough one for them. That made this park one of our favorite spots. We would often take picnics up there and play. These were taken in July 2011.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ch-ch-ch-changes- Part III

We started the building process in June of 2011. Candlelight homes was our builder. We initially decided upon a 2 story floorplan, but it didnt have enough square footage on the main floor for the neighborhood we were building in, so we ended up going with a 4,000 sq ft rambler (2,000 on the main, 2,000 in the basement) instead. I really wanted a 2 story but with everything we had going on, this is how the chips fell.

We enrolled the kids in the school they would be attending when the house was complete (Saratoga Shores Elementary) and started attending that ward as well (Saratoga Springs 5th ward). We didnt want them to adjust to the move, just to have to be jerked out of their new school and ward and put into another new one.

Savannah made friends quickly, although she struggled being away from the twins, Maycie and Taylie, who have been her best friends since they were 18 months old. While she had new friends, it just wasnt the same. Often she would tell me she wanted to just stay home, and not play with anyone that day. Sometimes she would cry about how much she missed the girls. I cried too. I missed my friends, and I missed the girls myself. It just wasnt the same.

Mason made a good friend, in our building, and in typical Mason fashion, one friend was enough. He seemed to have a harder time with the move since he is less outgoing than his sister. Starting over is always rough for Mason and I worried about him a lot.

The Js have each other, and they were happy as could be.

Our condos have a pool, so we spent a lot of time over the summer swimming. The weather in Utah was a nice change from Idaho. We were able to spend day after day outside with no wind and no cold. For someone like me, who is extremely sensitive to the weather, it made the summer more enjoyable than ever!

The neighbors from our house neighborhood began inviting us to neighborhood parties and get togethers and we were able to get to know them rather quickly. Our neighborhood is full of other active couples. We couldn't have picked a neighborhood more fitting for us. We immediately started biking with 2 other couples from our ward, the Fotheringhams and the Harris'. That, probably more than any one thing, made it start to feel like home here. I began riding with Mari, Jana and Amy in the mornings and we rode with the couples on Saturdays. Dan and I began running together to keep up our training, which was a lot of fun. Being away from our families and friends, and in a new place, we spent more than the usual amount of family time together, which was a surprise bonus :)

Dan and I raced all summer again. The first weekend of June, we met up with our We-Tri crew in Payson for the Salem Spring Triathlon. It was so great to see them all again after being away. We had a great race. In July, we joined them again in Idaho for the Spudman Olympic Triathlon. That is my favorite race and I did better this year than ever before. The highlight, though, was racing with my husband, and seeing all my friends again. We had such an enjoyable race. In August, we were hoping to go up for RUSH in Rexburg, but we weren't able to make the trip. Instead, at the very last minute, I decided to race the Saratoga Springs Tri with my friends Amy Hart and Ja-Ann Wolsey. It was such a fun race and I was grateful I had found friends down here to continue racing with. 

A lot of other things happened over the summer. I'm hoping to put the most important ones in blogs of their own, so hopefully this is just a brief summary of what's gone down over the past 6 months or so.

Ch-ch-ch-changes- Part II

In April of this year, Daniel accepted the position he was offered with the LDS church. We were so excited about this opportunity. It just felt so right. I can't even begin to describe the peace we felt about it.

Daniel moved in with our good friends, Terry and Lauri Smith, in Eagle Mountain, UT, while I stayed in Idaho with the kids while they finished up their school year. I began working on the house, getting it ready to put on the market. Dan threw himself into training at a new job, in a new state. He grew to love his new job almost overnight. The stress level was so much lower. He enjoyed the people he worked with right away. He loved the change and challenge of a different industry. And most of all, he felt privileged to be able to spend his days doing the Lord's work. The enviroment was so much more positive and uplifting than what he was used to and we could all sense a change in him right away.

Back in Idaho, we were painting and cleaning and working with a realtor. We put our house on the market, but knew that with the mortgage industry in it's current crisis, we were unlikely to sell it quickly, or for what we owed. That's just how it is. Seven years with not a single late payment and we could still end up in a mess.... But we trusted that the Lord would take care of us. If that meant things with our house went less than perfectly but we got a new, beautiful start for our family, so be it.

Daniel came home on weekends. As the school year drew to a close, we made a couple of trips to Utah to begin looking for our new home. On our first trip, we found an amazing house in Saratoga Springs. It was almost 5,000 sq feet, overlooking the lake, just a few years old, in a great neighborhood. We put in an offer and it was accepted. For some reason, ever since I knew we were moving, I thought we would end up in Saratoga.

I came home and told the kids all about it. We had pictures, and they began to get more excited about the move. Prior to that, they were so nervous about leaving their friends that it was hard for them to feel any excitement at all.

The school year ended. The kids struggled with having to say goodbye to their friends, as did I. I was so blessed to have an amazing group of friends in Idaho. My We-Tri girls were more than any mom could ask for. I always knew I had love and support, no matter what I was going through. And I always had someone to train with, to laugh with, and to eat chocolate with. I cried. A lot.

Right before we left, the We- Tri girls threw me a party. I can't begin to describe how touched I was. At the risk of sounding like I'm having a pitty party for myself, my birthday falls at a very busy time, so often my birthday gets mostly overlooked. And as a mother, it's par for the course to spend your days taking care of others, without anyone really thinking about doing anything for you. I think I forgot what it felt like to have people do nice things for you, just because they love you, not expecting anything in return. They gave me thoughtful cards and gifts, and things I will cherish forever. I cried like a baby. I knew it was unlikely that I would find such a great group of friends, to laugh with and train with, in a different place.

We drove down to Utah to let the kids see the new house. On the way down, Dan called me and told me he just didnt have a good feeling about the house. I did NOT want to hear it. I loved the house. It was exactly what I was looking for and at an amazing price. I was hoping he was wrong. But when I got to the house with the kids (who ran in the door, totally excited about the new house, and started checking out their rooms), he was standing there with our realtor, Amy, and both of them had defeated looks on their faces. Apparently the house had experienced a lot of settling issues, and there were cracks everywhere. The entire house needed to be piered, to the tune of $80,000. I sat down and cried. We rescinded our offer and started searching again. It seemed every house we saw was just not what we were looking for. I didnt want to sell my house, that I loved, in Idaho, and move into something I liked less. So after a bit of discussion, Dan and I decided we would look into building instead of buying.

After a lot of searching, we were able to find a condo to rent that wouldnt make us sign a lease. We knew the building process wouldn't take a full year, so a lease was out of the question. It was incredibly difficult to find anything without a lease, so we werent able to be picky about it. We rented a condo in Saratoga Springs. It was on Redwood Road (not ideal), but would allow us to be close enough to whatever school our kids ended up in, since we had pretty much decided we would be building in Saratoga.

We still didn't have any offers on our house in Idaho but we had faith that the Lord would make sure we were taken care of, since we knew we were doing the best thing for our family. One day my phone rang. It was my youngest brother, Paul, who was in Iraq, with the national guard, on a yearlong deployment. He asked if we might be interested in renting our house out. He said he and Kristin would love to rent it if we would be willing to. This was an answer to our prayers, and we readily agreed.

With that taken care of, as soon as school was out, we headed to Utah to be with our Daddy :) The movers werent available to move us for a few weeks, but we knew it was important to Dan to have us down here with him, so we packed up just what we could fit in a little Uhaul trailer, and drove down to the condo, where we lived for a couple of weeks, with just the basics. No beds or furniture, and minimal clothing....

While all that was going on, we were meeting with builders. We finally decided on a builder, but hadn't found just the right lot. Nothing seemed as nice as the home we had made the offer on and the location was very important to me. Our realtor, Amy, told us that she had a great lot, in a great location, that she knew we could get for an incredible price. As she drove us by the lot, Daniel and I realized it was in a neighborhood we had previously driven through, and loved, but thought we couldn't afford. The lot backs up to the Talon's Cove Golf course and overlooks Utah Lake. Dan, an avid golfer, was sold, before the car ever stopped. We put in an offer on it right away and it was accepted. We were able to get it for such a great price! Now we knew where our new home would be....

Ch-ch-ch-Changes- Part I

Sooooo, what have we been up to? So very, very much! I have been updating facebook instead of my blog and I keep in contact best that way. However, I want to begin doing blog books as our family's journaling, which only works if I actually DO my blog :) So here I am. Once again, committing to doing a better job of blogging. Let's hope it sticks!

I last posted about the end of 2010. It has been almost a year, and a year of HUGE changes for our family. In January of 2011, Daniel came home from work at Docutech and dropped a bombshell on me. He had been there 7 years but said he had a strong feeling that it was time for him to start exploring other opportunities. With the economy the way that it is, this was not something I normally would have wanted to hear. But as he said it, I also got the feeling that it was time. I didnt know why or how, but I knew and he knew there was something else in store for our family.

As soon as he said it, I got the very strong feeling that we were to start searching in Salt Lake City. It wasn't a feeling I could ignore. It was clear and strong and i knew exactly what it was. I told him what I was feeling and we agreed that our search would begin there. I was also very open to living in Boise area where my darling little sis lives, so we looked around there as well. We also put some time into looking into the Idaho Falls area in the hopes that we could stay put.

Not long into our search, I came across a job posting for the LDS church, in a capacity that Dan seemed qualified for. The position was something he found interesting and the pay was in the range we were looking for. I passed the information on to him and he applied. In the meantime, we continued the search. Some time passed. Nothing was coming up. But I still felt strongly that Salt Lake was the place for us. I also felt that we were on the right track with the position for the church, but we hadn't heard anything.

Then one day the call came. They wanted to interview him. I felt confident that this was the position for him and this was the right direction for our family. In my head, it was a done deal. He did a phone interview and waited to hear back. More time passed with no word. We assumed the position had been filled, but nothing else was coming up. Weeks later, he received a call for another interview. He was a finalist for this position. I was certain he would get it as I felt so good about this being the right thing for our family.

But Daniel came home from the interview with a very different feeling. He said something just didnt feel right about it. He said it sounded like an amazing opportunity but he wasnt sure he was fully qualified for the position. It was also a 12 month contract position, which could possibly be renewed after the 12 months. But it would be a risk to leave a job of 7 years for something that could be only 12 months. I was confused since I had felt so good about it. He knew he was still in the running for this position, but he decided to look at other postings that the LDS church had available, since this seemed like such a great position.

More time, still no word....and then another phone call. This time the position was as a program manager in the media department. He didn't know much about it but agreed to do a phone interview. After the phone interview, he came home with a very different feeling. He was so excited and said this position was much more "him". He said if he could pick, this would be the one for him. He was aware that since he had no prior media experience and there were many applicants for this job, his chances were slim.

A couple of weeks later, Dan was scheduled to fly to California with his current job. He was supposed to fly out pretty early in the morning. I called him that morning, on my way back from the gym. He should have been on a flight but he answered the phone. I asked him what he was doing and he said, "laying in bed." WHAT??? He said for some reason he had been running late (he doesnt run late). He got to the airport and the kiosk to check in wasn't working. By the time he got to the desk, the lady informed him that he was 2 minutes late to check in and would not be allowed on his flight. He NEVER misses his flights. He flies all the time. He is never late, and he never misses his flights. So he came back home and worked on rebooking his flight. He was only able to find one that went out at 4pm, and it left out of Salt Lake City.

While he was home killing time, the phone rang. It was the LDS church, wanting another interview, but it had to be that day, and it was in Salt Lake City. If he wanted the job, he would need to be able to drive to Salt Lake and be there at 1pm. Because he had missed his flight and happened to rebook out of Salt Lake City, he was able to make the interview, drive to the airport and fly out on his trip as planned.

We were supposed to hear back within a few days. More weeks.... But I just had a feeling. I knew this was what we were supposed to do. And eventually the call came in. He was offered a position in the media services department, over family history and church history projects. The pay was what we needed. The benefits were amazing. And we KNEW it was right....

Friday, January 7, 2011

Christmas 2010

Being blessed with such a sweet family, we can't help but have a great Christmas. As a family, we decided this year to have a smaller Christmas (I tend to go waaay overboard), and then take a fun family vacation the following week instead of spending oodles of money on toys the kids soon forget anyway. I would so much rather spend money on building memories with my children. So that's what we did.

As is our tradition, we spent Christmas eve at the Miller's. We had some yummy food, played some fun games, did gift exchanges, and then opened all the gifts to/from that side of the family. Grandma Miller is the queen of knowing just what to get every child, and as always, they were thrilled.

Christmas morning is always spent at our home. I made Egg nog french toast, eggs, fresh gapes and pineapple for breakfast. It was yummy :)

Going into Christmas, my sweet Mason, when asked what he wanted, just kept saying "I dont need anything mom. We're going on vacation and that's all I need." I did finally get him to tell us he wanted an action replay (yeah I didnt know what it was either) for his DSi XL. Apparently it's a thing you put in your DS and it gives you cheat codes to any game you can think of...He is so thoughtful and unselfish, and I am so grateful for such a wonderful boy. Savannah's list, as usual, was a mile long, but we reminded her we were having a small Christmas, so she wouldnt be getting everything she asked for, like she usually does. She was okay with that. We did get her an iTouch, which she has been enjoying, and her pillow pet was a smash hit as well. The boys wanted only Thomas the train stuff, and between Grandma and us, they got a lot of it. None of the kids seemed to mind one bit that we had less presents than usual.

Later on Christmas afternoon, we went to my older brother, Jared and his amazing wife Lyndi's (who also happens to be my Bff)house, where we had a delcious Christmas dinner and enjoyed time with my side of the family. We are so blessed to live so close to our familes. After Daniel and I both working retail hours for the years we did (he managed a jewelry store, I managed Victoria's Secret and a couple of clothing stores), we also love being able to take time off during the holidays to truly enjoy them.

We hope each of you had a fantastic Christmas as well!