Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Road trip!

Hey all, for those of you who haven't heard, moving day has come. On Friday we had a bunch of people from the ward come and help us completely empty our house and load it all in our truck. We filled the truck all the way to the top and all the way back to the door. Oh, and we filled the little Honda up completely once it was up on its carrier. And we stuffed the excursion as much as we could also, after our suitcases were in. Anyways, we got it all to fit! Well, we had to leave a few things for friends or trash, but we got almost everything to fit! Moving is a shocking realization of how materialistic you've become since the last time you moved. ;-)

And we managed to leave on Monday. As I write this were in a rest stop in Arkansas, about 90 miles from the Texas border. After four days, 30 driving hours, and 2000 miles of hotels and fast food, we're hoping to get into our new house tomorrow night (Texas will take us about 11 hours to cross - a little tonight and most tomorrow). Wish us luck!

Sunday, February 28, 2016


So just for all of you who haven’t heard yet, this week we FINALLY got a firm departure date to move. We found out we would be moving back in September, and in October I got my orders. We planned our move and submitted my leave request immediately, and have been sitting and waiting for approval ever since. But now we can finally say that we’ll be driving away from Maryland on March 15, and traveling for several days to arrive at El Paso around the 18th.
Other cool news - we just signed closing documents on our new house yesterday. We should hear back and hopefully have everything finalized on Monday or Tuesday, since it’s a mail-in closing, but our new house is in a little city called Canutillo - west of El Paso on the border with NM. It means we’ll have to go back to the days of having a 30 min commute, but the house was nice enough that it was worth it. For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, here are some pictures:

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Right now we’ve been packing everything up. This week we flipped my piano up on its side and wrapped it up. I would show photos, except that our house is a disaster. Oh what the heck, I’ll show photos anyway:

We’re way excited to see you all. Right now the plan is to arrive in El Paso and spend some time setting up the house. Then we’ll be having a 10th anniversary vacation with the Kobersteins - our way cool friends from BYU who we haven’t gotten to see since our 5th year anniversary vacation. After that we plan to head out to Utah and visit family for a bit before I have to start work. We’ll probably contact you all with more specifics, but that’s just kind a sum-up of how life is right now. Hope you’re all doing well - we’re looking forward to being two-days drive closer to everyone out west!

Sunday, February 7, 2016


So I did promise at the end of the last blog post that it would be sooner than 2 months, so I’m doing good! Anyways, I left off just before Kings Day last time, so we’ll start there.
The night before Kings Day the kids put out their old shoes, with carrots, hay, and in this case celery for the Wise Men’s Camels. They wake up and have new shoes, filled with goodies :-)IMG 0754IMG 0353
We then went around taking turns giving the presents we’d wrapped:
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I made my gifts for the kids: magic wands for the girls, and swords for the boys. All in all it was a pretty awesome day.
On other highlights, I got to fly out to El Paso and find a new house for us. You can see pictures of the house we’re now working to close on here:
For those of you who don’t watch the news, we also had a blizzard! Twenty-six inches of snow in a day!
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Which was of course an awesome excuse for two days off work and some sledding (as well as the less pleasant side - many hours spent clearing snow):
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We got to celebrate Eliora turning 6 years old while the snow was melting.
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And a few days later we got to celebrate Mommy’s birthday. She had quite a few more candles. So many that the fire alarm actually went off - I guess it just wanted to let her know that she was too old. ;-)
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Right now we’re getting the whole house packed up and ready for the big move. We’re hoping to drive out of here on 14 March, but we’ll let you all know if that changes.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Christmas & New Years

For Christmas this year, we decided to do something new. Kristin found a cabin out on the eastern shore of Maryland, so after extensive packing and planning, and a three hour car drive which ended with our arrival at the campground during a torrential downpour, we were at last saved by a mad dash through the thunderstorm to a cozy cabin, and we had Christmas out in the woods.
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I jokingly told Kristin that the real reason was so that we could be remote enough that no-one would be able to call and tell us how awful our christmas traditions were. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to escape cel-coverage completely. :-) But it was a lot of fun anyways. Basically like camping, but with lots of amenities. We got to have a fireplace, eat good food, play board games, and explore the cabin and the woods.
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Of course, add onto that a few more christmas related activities, like making gingerbread men
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And of course, as always, acting out the nativity.
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For those of you who don’t know, we’ve deviated from the typical Christmas mold over the last 3 or 4 years. The biggest change is that we don’t open our presents on Christmas - instead we use the day as a time to think of the Savior, and do nice things or service for others (in the past we went singing at a nursing home, and once we went delivering cookies to emergency response people who were on shift). We act out the nativity in the evening, and begin placing our gifts under the tree that day. Each day after Christmas we have a devotional in the evening and we each get to put another one of the gifts we’ve prepared under the tree. We finally open presents on King’s Day - a tradition we stole from our time in Madrid, when the three Wise Men supposedly arrived. All in all we’ve come to really enjoy it - Christmas is much less materialistic and Christ centered, and it gives us an opportunity to really focus more on the excitement of giving with the kids.
So usually a little bit before Christmas we take all the kids to the Dollar Store and they bring their money boxes (filled with money from chores for the last few weeks) to buy gifts to surprise their siblings. It’s sometimes challenging to divide the kids up between us and shuffle gifts in bags out to the car, so nobody sees anyone else’s gifts, but we manage. This year, we weren’t able to do it before Christmas due to planning and packing for the trip. So instead we had our first ever post-Christmas dollar store trip. It felt like a scene from the zombie-apocalypse:
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But despite it, we were still able to have our devotional in the evening. We saved the Three Wise Men part of the nativity and acted it out, complete with gold, frankincense, and myrrh (represented by the blocks in the manger). After putting presents under the tree, we also get to write down any acts of service we’ve done during the day and place them in the manger. That’s also fun - the manger is usually quite full by King’s Day.
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For New Year’s Eve, Kristin had her yearly holiday Tamalada (that means tamal-making party)! Two other sisters from the ward accepted the invitation to come make tamales - all together the activity yielded 9 doz. Yum!
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In the evening we had cheese, crackers, and snacks as a picnic while we watched movies and played games. We didn’t stay up until midnight, but we did go out in the dark and light sparklers.
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So now we’re counting down to King’s Day next week. I promise I won’t let it be another 2 months before my next post. :-)

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Cranberry Festival!

So since we had a 3-day weekend last week, we traveled back up to Boston for the local Cranberry Harvest Festival. We’ve done this twice before back when we were living in Massachusetts, and we figured that since we’re moving to El Paso, it might be the last chance we get. The last time we were out here we only had two little ones, so it was neat to have kids that were bigger now, who could explore and run around and just plain have more fun.
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Basically the Cranberry Festival is kindof like a small county fare, but which is run right on the cranberry bogs. You can go out and see them harvesting the cranberries and watch them sucking them up through the vacuum onto the truck.
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Of course, because it was a fair also, they had lots of other fun things to do. They had a huge sand-hill that the kids had fun playing on.
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The pony rides were also a lot of fun.
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As well as the train rides, which have come a long way from five years ago:
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And they also had an owl show, which was really neat. The kids liked that one at first, but got tired after a bit.
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But they did get to run around in a pumpkin maze:
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All in all it was a fun weekend. We stayed with good friends from our Boston days - Roger and Nieca. We spent a large part of the rest of the weekend helping them do a wood floor - I've never done a wood floor before!

We’re going to be a little sad to move back to the south, but it will be nice to be a day’s driving from family. It was a wonderful trip up here, and we'll fondly remember our last New England Autumn.