Monday, September 1, 2008

New School Year, (Last One for Jason)

Yes, we are officially starting the second and last school year for Jason tomorrow. What an amazing trip this has been so far, everything and I do mean everything has fallen into place soooo well for us, up to this point. I can't help but know that the Lord's hand is in our lives and the decisions that we make, the people that we meet and the experiences that we come across.

We had an exceptional time in Charlotte, North Carolina this past summer. Some of the wonderful people that we met are as follows and in no particular order... Janice and Ron Roach and boys, Bonnie and Phil Erhardt, Scott and Michelle Jolley, Dave and Jenn Softley and girls, Doug and Blythe Gunson, Jeremy and Jenn Mordock, Svetlana and Dragon and Phillip ?, and babysitter Polly Hibbard. I am sure that there are some names that I have mistakenly left off, please don't be affended. We love you all and enjoyed getting to know you and hope that we can keep in touch through the years ahead, whether we end up back in Charlotte or not.

We are awaiting contact from Bank of America and should be hearing from them within the next couple of days. Jason has been told he will get an offer, it will just depend on what that is and some other factors that come in to play, like distance from family. I will just leave it at that for now.

Our drive home was interesting to some degree. I guess it depends on whether you would define it at interesting or entertaining.... We left on Saturday the 16th of August in the morning. We drove to some place in Kentucky and stayed the night. The following day we got in the car early and headed for St. Louis, Missouri. We saw the 'Gateway Arch', and then back in the car we went. Our plan was to drive as long as we could and then stop and stay somewhere for a rest. However, I got sick to my stomach, so I was no help driving. I spent the day sick and then finally at night fall threw-up in a bucket that I was smart enough to bring with us on the way home. At that point Jason was so sick of being in the car, after two days of driving, he made the decision to just keep on driving until we made it home. Well, we ended up driving all day, all night and half of the next day with a one hour pull over at an exit so that he could get some shut-eye for a little bit. I was mad that we couldn't stop, but the next day I was extremely thankful that he had decided to do that, because by noon the next day we were HOME! That never sounded so good!!!

You know, I had always wanted to drive across the country, now I am just thankful that I can say that I have and NEVER, EVER do it again... I hope.

So we start the chaos tomorrow, that of full time student (Jason), bus driver (me), ballarina (Aimee), Jazz Dancer (Ashley), Soccer Player (Brady), and busy as ever baby (Brock). Sounds crazy, but I am excited for this year (or the next eight or nine months), and I can't wait to see where we end up this time next year. I know that it will be different, but those who accept change, grow and that will be a good thing for our family!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Time Goes So Fast....

Here we are on our last week in Charlotte, and it goes to show that this last month just flew by. I failed to report our doings, so here goes a quick update, I say quick because now I need to spend my time getting the house in order and clean for our departure.

On July 18th, Jason and I went on a date to celebrate our 10th Anniversary. We had a great dinner and went to catch a movie "Batman, The Dark Knight". I thought it was a bit Dark, but needless to say Jason loved it!

On July 19th, Ashley and I had a chance to get a way with our friend Marci McKay to see the Biltmore House (the largest house in the U.S.). We enjoyed spending time together and the house was amazing, I didn't know that someone could find a need to have such a large space, so large you could get lost in it, if you aren't careful. The house itself is about 175,000 square feet, the land the owner has is 8,000 acres. The gardens are amazing, there are many beautiful gardens to explore and the owner had built his own winery, and River Bend Farm. This was intended on being a self sustaining home. Needless to say Ashley was amazed and so was I. That was an all day even with a 1 1/2 hour drive to Asheville and then the drive home, and to tour the house it took us about 3-4 hours. Wow, we loved it.

The week of July 21st, Ashley and Brady started swim lessons, and they quickly became fish out of water. We spent an extra amount of time at the pool and their instructors name was Brennan, he taught them at the community pool and that was rather convienent for me. I swam with Aimee and Brock while Ashley and Brady learned much about swimming. by the end of just 5 lessons that were 1 hour long, they were jumping off the diving board, swimming from wall to wall with out any help. They did a fantastic job.

Saturday July 26th, Jason took Brady on a boys day out, and can you get more appropriate than a trip to Lowe's Motor Speedway. Brady thought it was so cool to visit a real race track. They also got to take a bus/van ride around the race track to feel the tilt of the track and they got to go 80 miles an hour, not even half as fast as the actual race cars. But they loved it and Brady got to bring home a starters flag. Jason and Brady had a wonderful time together.

On July 29th, Mom and Dad Kirkham along with Cody, decided to come and visit us. They arrived late Tuesday night and by Thursday morning we all headed to Cherry Grove, a part of North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It was only a 3 1/2 to 4 hour drive and the beach was a lot of fun. We were only going to be there for 3 days, so on the first full day there we spent the majority of it at the Beach. The second day we stayed at the Condo's in the lazy river and pool. It turned out that as excited as the kids were to see the beach, they weren't used to the salt and sand, and they prefered the cleaner feel of the pool. I guess going to the beach has to become a regular thing to be able to get used to the things that come with going to the beach. We had a good time and the kids were sad to see it come to an end. When we got back to Charlotte, my parents left the next morning, early. It was a bit of a whirl wind trip, I guess. We enjoyed having them come and visit, and share in this experience with us.

When we returned from our trip we had to get our Suburban into the shop, it turned out it needed a new starter motor, and a few other things, so after spending nearly 2K we hope that it lasts us at least 3 or 4 more years. That way maybe we will have time to save for a nice family vehicle and pay cash instead of financing another vehicle. I will say it has been nice to not have a car payment for a couple of years now!

On August 6th I got to go out on a girls night, we went to see 'Mama Mia', it was definetely a chick flick, and we all totally loved it! Dinner was great too at Firebirds.

Jason just started to get his Final Presentation put together on the 6th, and today he presents at 3:00, we are all rooting for him, I personally think he has done a Fabulous job, and apparently his boss thinks so too. I guess all we can do now is wait and see what happens. The Bank has said that they will be issuing offers on Sept. 1st, and so I guess we can wait that long to find out if Jason gets an offer. Life is strange, at the beginning of the summer, I was leaning to the fact that I could live without the humidity, and bugs, and I honestly miss the openness of the West, however, as the summer has gone on, and a lot has changed with the economy, I feel like we would be blessed to get an offer, and we would have to pray and see what feels right at that time. I really don't have my doubts, I think Jason will get one, I guess if we continue to pray, the Lord will continue to bless us in our efforts to do what he would want us to do, and be where he would have us be.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Every Family has to have a Life Lesson like this...

So, we headed out to Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown (the Historic Triangle) in Virginia on Thursday the 3rd of July to spend the Holiday weekend in the first US colony, I thought that would be a fitting time. I was so excited to learn a lot and see what had been stated as one of the '15 Must See's' for children from Parent magazine. What I didn't expect would be that my children just weren't ready for it, on many levels.
Well, Aimee woke up sick the day before we had to be leaving on vacation, Brock started to show signs of teething (he has six teeth, but still needed to get his two front top teeth), but you know we had a reservation and it was none refundable (because we thought there would be no reason we would cancel this trip, and we got a better deal on the accomodations). Even with kids that didn't feel 100% well, we hadn't even thought to cancel.
The drive was fine, it was only a 6 hour car ride, (you know a few movies on the car DVD player), time should go by fine, it did. I have to tell a little cute thing that happened with Aimee on the way. The week before I had bought some small jugs of Sunny Delight and she saw them in the pantry. She asked if we could take them on the trip. On the way, she hadn't realized that we had actually left for the vacation, and out of nowhere she says, "Mom, are we going to see the fireworks?" "Yes, Aimee", "Oh, are we on the trip?" "Yes, Aimee", "Mom, we need to go home and get the little orange juices to bring them with us!!", "Don't worry Aimee, I got them packed", "Oh, good, cause we need to have them for the trip!" Anyway, it was really cute, and a great reminder to us how simple little kids are, she is sitting there thinking that was one of the most important things that we needed for our trip, while my concerns were on different things that I would find important as an adult, I wish life could be that simple sometimes.
It all started was when we got into the hotel room at 9:30 p.m., our kids were tired so we proceeded to try to get them in their p.j.'s. All of the kids had pent up energy from sitting still so long, so here they are not listening to a word that we say, as the time continues to tick and it is getting later and later, they start to get adgitated with every little thing each of them do to each other, they start to argue, and pretty soon Jason and I find our selves threatening that we will leave in the morning if they don't quite down and get along and stop bothering the people in the rooms next door to us. Needless to say, they continue.... by the time they all fall a sleep, we are almost certain that if we don't get kicked out of the hotel the next day and things don't start better we will turn around and go home, (having not seen anything yet).
Can you guess what happened? Yes, the next morning starts early with them all waking up at 6:00 a.m. (not a normal occurance for our kids), once again already on each others nerves. Nothing changed with a little sleep. They are yelling at each other and ignoring what we ask and say. So as to not lose our respect as a parent, we loaded up our kids (and much to the disappointment of Jason and Angie) we headed back to Charlotte, where we had come from.
If a 12 hour drive in a day and a half doesn't sound fun, try doing it with nothing to show for it, but $200.00 worth of gas guzzled by your SUV and a $89.00 hotel bill.

Our next family vacation is now up for debate. We want to head to the Beach, either Myrtal, or Surf City in about 4 weeks, but the kids are now being judged nightly on their behavior for two weeks straight before we will even attempt that one. (the up side, is that the beaches are only 3 hours away, and hopefully they will be looking forward to that one a lot more), so far so good.

We did end up having a wonderful weekend at home in Charlotte with the kids and we all got along great, probably better than they have in a long time. I just know that looking back on our family experiences our kids will always remember the time we went on vacation and just turned around and went home. I hope we can get a lot of laughs out of it.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Lot Happening, Not Too Much Excitment

Well to catch up on the past couple of weeks... All of the excitement happened nearly two weeks ago. On Wednesday June 18th Ashley was going on a walk with the neighbors, who happened to be walking their dog. Well, she decided to hold the leash and wrapped it around her wrist and during the walk the dog got spooked and took off running. Well you can imagine what happens to a 7 year old girl who weighs about the same or less as the dog?? She got dragged a bit and it tore up her knee pretty bad. So, here I was left to wonder do I take her in or does it look worse than it actually is? After figuring all the insurance "stuff" out, I decided I better take her to an after hours clinic and get it checked. Turned out it was o.k., she was just not allowed to swim until it healed. Now a week and a half later she is about ready to hit the pools. (It is a hard thing to stay out of the pools when that is what everyone seems to do with all of their spare time in Charlotte, every subdivision has a pool of its own).
On Saturday the 21st of June we took the kiddies to the Discovery Place Childrens Museum. We had a good time learning and doing all of the fun things there are to do at a place like that. We spent nearly 5 hours and didn't even see half of it, however we got ourselves a season pass (which happens to last us 2 years since they are starting a renovating job on the one in Charlotte this year and only half of it will be opened soon. Also, the pass is good to a number of Museums Nationwide, one of which happens to be the Discovery Gateway in SLC! So, Angie is excited to be able to take the kids there on a number of ocassions this next school year.)
On June 24, Jason and Angie celebrated their 10th Anniversary!! Can you believe we made it this far?? (Not really a question, just a statement) Well, we celebrated like a lot of parents of four do, we didn't go out we had take out Chinese in, after the kids went to bed and planned to hopefully get away for a nice dinner later, since Angie failed to get a babysitter for Friday night, it will be a few weeks later.
Friday the 27th, we went out to eat as a family (for the first time since arriving in Charlotte) to a place called BRIX, it is a pizza joint and it was yummy, mostly we had been told my many people that we had to go there while we were here, so we did.
On Saturday the 28th, we had a ball. We went to the Lazy 5 Ranch. It is a ranch on a very large piece of land where you can either drive your car or take a Wagon ride through a 3 1/2 mile road and see many animals from all over the world. We saw water buffalos, giant cows, giraffes, rino's, pot belly pigs and piglets, deer, and many more.... one fun thing was that we got to feed the animals and they would come right up to the wagon and open their mouths, and some of them had mouths as big as my little kids arms. I am sure from their point of view it was a little scary, but none of them complained.
After the Ranch, we went to a BYU get together that all of the BYU graduates who ended up in Charlotte have every summer. They kind of have a sort of reunion of sorts, and invite all those who are interning or live here to come. It was fun to get to know other families just like us, who have similar circumstances and are doing similar things. All in all, we had a very packed day and we even got to see Lake Norman (a lake in Northern Charlotte area, that is huge and absolutely stunning). We are really enjoying all the fun things there are to do!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Farmer's Market Trip

On Saturday the 14th of June we went to the Farmer's Market with our friends in the neighborhood, the Roach's, Janice, Ron, George and Graham. It was a lot of fun, a different experience than in Utah. (of course we don't make it a regular thing to go to the Farmer's Market in Utah).
We sampled all of the fresh produce to see if it was sweet or in Aimee's case just to take a taste of everything that she loves to eat! We has some homemade ice-cream, Chocolate and Banana from the 'John Deere' ice-cream guys. We also got giant cookies at the Bakery. It was a neat experience and we won't forget the fact that we came home with $40. of fresh produce to show for it.
Jason and I went on our first date here in the Charlotte area on Friday the 13th of June. We were lucky enough to be able to swap babysitting with the Jessop's the other internship family from BYU. (we will be doing it about twice a month). We went to a yummy restaurant in uptown (city-center) Charlotte, called 'Rock Bottom'. Our waitress was fantastic, honestly the best either of us have EVER had. We talked alot and I got to see the city for the first time since we arrived in Charlotte. I think it is clean and a very beautiful city.
It has been unseasonably hot here for the past week, I guess usually it only gets into the 90's (with the humidity making it feel about 5 degrees hotter) for about two weeks in August, however that is how we started out June. It is going to cool down into the 80's this comming week, the news reports.
I signed the kids up on a reading challenge at the library this past week, it lasts all summer and they get to earn prizes for all of the reading that they do, or I do with them.
Brady had his first hair cut since we have been here on Thursday evening. Jason decided to buzz him, he thought it would be cooler and less maintenance. The best part about it is that Jason did it with a beard trimmer! Yea, Brady had to sit patiently for about 45 minutes while Jason made sure it was all straight with no straglers.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Getting Into the Swing of Things

The past few days have been filled with HOT, HOT, Heat, I don't know how else to explain it. I think finally we are on a downward turn with the temperature. Tonight ended with a thunderstorm, but there were very few rainshowers that came with it.

The last few days we have spent a few hours each day at a swimming pool, and we will be at another one tomorrow. We were invited by a family in our ward and they are having a lunch get together with a few of the moms and kids at their community pool, we are excited to go, because there will actually be a few kids our kids's ages.

Today we went to our community pool, not to swim, but to see what the swim teams in North Carolina, most neighborhoods have a huge community pool and they have swim teams from very young ages up that compete against other community teams. It was neat to see and I think Ashley and Brady were a little amazed that kids their size or smaller were able to swim like that.

Another fun thing that happened today was that Brock figured out how to feed himself Cheerios. He was so excited and I got some pic's I will post soon.

I have met a lady from my neighborhood who has called me a few times to hang and she has two boys, George 5 and Graham 3, her name is Janice. She is really sweet and fun to be around. She reminds me of my friend Michelle McOmie, I don't know if it is the southern style or what (maybe it is the fact that she calls all the lady's by Miss) anyway it is very cute. So to her kids I am Miss Angie and so on.

This past Sunday at church I walked into the Primary room and was getting Brady settled and noticed a familiar face and I couldn't figure out who it was, but that I knew him. So, I asked Jason to go in and take a peek, he came out and told me that I knew him from the Credit Union I worked at, but that he didn't know his name either. Right then, this guy came out and said "Angie and ...." well, it turned out that it was Matt Neimann, and I managed him at one of the branches. He now works for Bank of America along with half of our ward. The church really does make this great big world we live in a lot smaller feeling. It is a good thing to go so far from home and run into familiar faces.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Still Learning How to Do This Blogging Thing

Well, a few days have passed and really not much has been going on except sick, sick kids. After spending 4 days settling in, we decided it was time to have some fun, so we went to Carowinds, a huge amusement park. We went on Friday, May 30th and wouldn't you know Brock was teething that day and running a fever. Not a lot of fun for him, but we still went in to the park. The older kids had a great time, we went on all of the kiddie rides and a few more, and kiddie land was pretty large.

The following day Aimee ran a fever for about a day and a half, it came with a sour throat. I watched her close and it seemed to start getting better, so no trip to the doctor and no Strep. On Sunday night Ashley came down with the same thing, and it lasted just as long as Aimee's. So, I am pretty sure that they just got the same thing and hopefully it is overwith by now. Brady and Brock seem to be doing fine, so hopefully this week we can head out and do more.

We have checked out a few parks nearby and have a community swimming pool that we plan on spending a lot of time at this summer, with many friendly neighbors who have called to invite us. We went to the nearest library yesterday and after learning about all of the story times and reading challenges for the summer we attempted to leave after getting our new library card. While Mom was doing that Aimee and Brady set out to mess with the electric handycap doors and made a spectacle of themselves, embarrasing me completely...oh-well, that what happens to moms all the time right?, Please say yes, that I am not the only one.

So, today is national doughnut day, so later I think we will head over to the nearest Krispy Cream and pick up a free doughnut for everyone! Being students we love anything that comes free!

We went to church last Sunday and met a lot of really friendly people and enjoyed ourselves very much, we look forward to getting together each Wednesday with a play group from the ward for lunch and playing and getting together on many occasions with the Jessop's, the other family from BYU doing their internship here at The Bank (that is how everyone refers to Bank of America in Charlotte) as well.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Here we go....

Here is an update for any or all of you that might be interested in what happens on a road trip across the country with 4 children...

Day one, the plan was to leave at 5:00a.m. and we made it out of town at 20 minutes to 5:00 p.m., which is why we arrived in Denver at 3:00 a.m. and not sooner.

Day two, we got a late start (obviously!) leaving Denver at about 2:00 p.m. Driving across the plains is pretty PLAIN! Nothing exciting about it at all, except the fact the it was really, I mean really windy. We had to keep a tight hold on the steering wheel. We were blessed greatly in that a wicked tornado ripped through Denver the night after we left and did a lot of damage. We arrived in Kansas City at about 1:00a.m., and this is the night that Jason saved my life by administering the Heimlich to me after I choked on a multi-vitamin.

Day three, today was Brady's B-Day. Pour guy got to open his presents after we sang to him, we celebrated for about 5 minutes and then we were on the road again. We visited church sites in Independence Missouri, Liberty Jail and arrived in Nauvoo that night. We realized that the driving is taking it's toll on us. We also realized that we have a new best friend, his name is Tom Tom. I think that having a GPS system saved Jason and I from having any road disagreements at all! Tom Tom thoroughly helped us enjoy the drives through the back roads on the way to Nauvoo, but it still didn't prevent Jason from hitting a bird. We have decided that so far Missouri is the prettiest state that either of us have ever visited! It is green and gorgous! We arrived in Nauvoo after a near fatal accident (fatal on the deers part) at 10:00 p.m. Well, at least our arrival times are getting a little more realistic.

Day four, we spent the day exploring Nauvoo, and I think that kids really appreciated the fact that they didn't have to get back in the car and drive some more. Seeing the sites at Nauvoo was another lesson to us that children's attention span is that of a nat. We did our best to take them to the exhibits for kids, even at that they just wanted to run and play. That night Jason took Ashley to a play and I stayed at the Motel with the younger kids to watch a movie. At this point even Jason and I needed a little time a part. We loved Nauvoo and the Temple was beautiful (even though we didn't get to go inside, no babysitter on board). For any of you planning on visiting let us know and we will tell you which of the 3 eating establishments in town that you should avoid.

Day five, back on the road we covered 4 states today, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee. We tried to stop in St. Louis to see the Gateway Arch, the weather was really rainy and overcast, so we decided to put it off until the trip home. We stopped for our first lunch at McDonald's (did you ever think that you could avoid McD's for five days with four kids?) to let the kids get the wiggles out, turns out that Brock had to get more that wiggles out... while waiting for Jason to use the restroom sitting on a bench with Brock on my lap all of the sudden I felt something warm running down my arm. Yes, brock had a completley stinky, runny blowout (what should we have expected after that many days in the car?) So now Brock has less luggage, we left all of his clothes in the McDonald's garbage can. It was gross!! Today we met up with the James's (the family that we are exchanging homes with for the summer) they are very nice people. We took pictures of each others family. We are sure that they will take good care of the house for us while we are away. We learned that we aren't the only ones who make grand plans and it doesn't always work out. The James's left late by about 12 hours also. They wanted to leave at 4:00p.m. on Friday, and after loading the kids in the car at 9:00 p.m. they pulled out of their driveway at 4:00a.m. the next morning after last minute cleaning. Tonight we pulled into Nashville at 10:00p.m.

Day six, last day of the road trip to Charlotte. We drove through the Great Smokey Mountains and loved it. What a beautiful part of the country this is. Stopped at a Subway for sandwiches and a gal asked me if my red headed daughter was "main", I said, "I'm sorry, I am not sure what you mean.", so she said "Main, you know, like spoiled or get's everything that she wants, you know, mean.". That was when I realized I wasn't in South Jordan anymore. I totally didn't get what she was saying with her southern accent. Boy did I feel silly. We arrived in our new home for the summer at about 8:00p.m. The kid's love it and all of the "new" toys to play with. We are so thankful for this opportunity to trade places with the James and for the opportunity for Jason to have this internship.