I need to get this entry written down before I forget it all. I will still probably forget a lot since most of the events are over two weeks old. In the world of Mom, that is a long time to remember.
Sunday August 6
We said farewell to many, many loving friends at church. Oh how we will miss our ward family. Sidney ward became our local family in all the ways a normal extended family fills in the gaps. We will carry those memories in our hearts for many years to come. Morley Haley opened his mission call at 6 pm! Quite the exciting event for Morley. He had lots of non-members in attendance from Dalton. He was called to serve in the Argentina Santa Fe mission! The spirit was so strong as he read his letter for us all. I am lucky he was in my Gospel Doctrine class...what a valiant young man.
Monday August 6
A team of 3 packers arrived at our home from Cheyenne, their truck loaded with boxes, tape, and paper. They mostly spent the day in the basement packing boxes and boxes. The day before I separated out what we needed to take with us to survive until items were unpacked (clothes, shoes, bedding, medicines, basic kitchen supplies, towels, backpacks, stuffed animals, kid books, some toys, and my camera). As the packers progressed the more items we found that could not be packed up. They were very stringent, not packing anything liquid, flammable, or gel like (all the kid and craft paints, food, cleaners, etc.). Even with all the food storage items bagged separately they would not pack those up. My huge jar of $100 honey was a sore loss. That night after the packers left Justin and I decided to rent a small trailer to haul the liquids, stuff we needed, AND two twin mattresses for Justin and I to sleep on until our household goods arrived in Gilbert. Talk about luxury. While the packers were ripping tape Justin and I added stuff to the growing pile in the living area. Amelia went to spend the day with Katelyn. Phillip and Everett played with the Talbots since the boys were getting in the packers way. Everything was curious and novel! One lady said that Everett was quite the chatter box! Indeed he is. Evelyn and Josie stayed at home with us.
Tuesday August 7
Justin left early that morning to pick up a trailer in Sterling, CO. He met up with Karissa Markum in Potter so Phillip could have one last play day with his good friend Conner. It's so hard to see the kids leave their friends! Everett spent the day with Zachary. Amelia and Evelyn went to play with Sister McManis for the afternoon. Once again a team of packers arrived at 8:30 am, this time a team of four. One guy packed up the garage while the rest packed up the main floor. Josie's room was packed up last, she got one last good nap in her room before life went totally to heck. Shortly after arriving one lady noticed a pool of water in the basement storage room. I thought maybe the new air conditioning unit was settling in and leaking again. I called the HVAC folks, they came over and found the leak was due to the water softener unit. The unit was no longer working, had to spend more money to bypass the unit. If the new occupants want to fix it that will be up to them. Seems like everything was breaking and falling apart as we moved out! We assuaged our loss with Greek salads from Della's Cafe. That felt like a bright spot. My breath was so garlicky for the next few hours I avoided people until it settled down. We could not believe the weather in Nebraska, highs of 70, rain, and light breezes. We could not ask for better moving weather! I sort of felt like a lost soul wandering through all the boxes, trying to find things to do. Once the kids all got back home, we left to pick up Phillip and meet the Markums in Potter. I started cleaning and we did not have much food left so we have some Mexican food for dinner. The kids were quite excited to sleep on mattresses on the floor! Indoor camping! With not much to do the kids were "bored" within moments of arriving back home after dinner. Luck smiled down on us as rain poured down, since the lightening was minimal I let the kids don swimsuits and enjoy the flooded gutters. Justin was quite the party pooper, thinking that idea was not great since we only had 2 towels. We managed! The kids had a lovely time splashing about in the cool summer rain. Evelyn improvised an umbrella with an empty toy shopping basket. Her impish smile was more than I could take! Something about those refreshing rains that clears the air and makes life clean again.
Wednesday August 8
We were told that the movers and truck would arrive around 8:30 am. The movers did arrive at 8:30 am! They drove a smaller truck filled with packing blankets, more tape, tools, and dollies. Within an hour they had all the furniture wrapped up and taped in preparation to move on the truck. After that the guys sat about twiddling thumbs, napping, and pulling pranks on each other. The moving truck did not arrive until 1:30 pm. All I can say is waiting around for the truck to come was so stressful. Justin was at his wits end waiting for it. Jen rescued the kids for the day. They went to McDonalds for dinner and out to a movie. Some ladies from our ward arrived around 2 pm to help me start cleaning up the house. We started with the bathrooms, moving out the boxes ourselves. Many thanks to Elaine, Trissha, and Teresa Higginson for their help. All day friends stopped by to say goodbye. Jamie Parkin almost made me cry when she started crying. Heaven help us we will miss the folks in Sidney. The moving team made fast work of the garage items. Tait Hrbek drove his forklift down 19th street and loaded the 900 lb safe into the truck! He had quite the gleam in his eye while driving that thing about. He saved us a load of money with his kindness. After the safe was loaded the guys hauled out the rest of our stuff before 7 pm. Elaine stopped by with a rotisserie chicken, veggies, and bread for dinner. The kids got to say goodbye to Elliott and Aria (and Jenny). Elliott had a cute card for Evelyn. She still carries it around and talks about how much she misses Elliott. Jen took the kids to see the new Emoji movie at the theater. We finished cleaning up the house before the movie was completed! Saying goodbye to Jen was quite the tearful affair. Amelia, Everett, Evelyn, and I were all crying before we drove away. It was really strange to see the house we spent 8 years in as an empty slate. Have you ever spent the night in a hotel in your own town? Whenever we stay in a hotel I wonder about the lives the folks live in that particular town, especially the desk managers, the cleaners, and the breakfast bar folks. This was the first time I did not have to wonder because I knew who the folks were and a bit about their lives. Everyone was very tired so settled down to sleep relatively fast. Josie pulled a fast one after 1 am, waking up and joining me in bed for the rest of the night. She was pretty restless and kept me up as well. She noticed Amelia was on the other side of the same bed, that was a happy and exciting discovery.
Thursday August 9
Ate some breakfast, left the hotel in pouring rain. Amelia wanted to stop and give Katelyn and Rachel parting hugs on our way down the hill. Tore my heart to watch tears streaming down her cheeks saying farewell to Katelyn. Katelyn made her laugh which made the next goodbye not so hard. Turns out Rachel is moving as well. Katelyn's parents are making strides to try and sell their home in case of a future job changes as well. Ironically, both Katelyn and Rachel have immediate family in Mesa, just a few miles away! Seems likely we will see them again. Justin went to pick up Dog Vader, who slept in the empty house. We met there and let the kids run around in the now empty house. We packed up the home part (the kids) into the van and drove off...only to stop for gas and bathroom. Yah, know...we can't travel far before a bathroom is needed. Traveling after the physically and emotionally exhausting prior days was not easy for me. Justin seemed to do fine, men seem to be better at shaking off sleeping eyes. The van TV broke right around Colorado Springs. With normal kids this is no big deal, but all our kids get motion sickness, the TV seems to be the only thing that keeps away the barfs. I did turn Josie's carseat around once she started crying uncontrollably around 4 pm. That did the trick until we stopped at Las Vegas, NM. We were treated to some glorious skies and sunset views that evening. Our room was stifling hot that night. The air conditioner was off so it was muggy and swampy inside. The front desk man found me a large fan to spread the air around and cool off the room. It finally cooled off several hours later. Amelia had a great time riding with Justin and Vader in the truck. She made sure he got exercised each time we stopped! Nora and Jimmy Betony cleaned out the fridges and oven soon after we left the house. I hope she kept the good food for her crew!
Friday August 10
Woke up groggy...again. Wished for another 2 hours of hard sleep. No such luck. We pushed onward and forward. Around lunch time we made it to Grants/Milan New Mexico. Justin let me find a place to eat this time. We drove around until I found a place my friend Anna recommended who is from Bluewater. It was a dive with amazing food. Delicious Hatch chile sauces, burritos, and such. I teased my brother John with photos of lunch. He served as a missionary in that area many moons ago. After lunch the truck refused to start. Doh. Double Doh. Justin was beside himself worrying about how to repair the truck, get it towed, and the cost. I walked down to a tire store with the kids to see if they had any recommendations. I flagged down a crew of men as they were on their way to their own truck. They gave the battery a boost in case it was the battery. No such luck. What was luck is that Evelyn Hornbarger's childhood home was RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET. No joke. She called up her Dad and he flagged us over so the kids could play while the truck issue was sorted out. Most gratefully, the issue was a bad solenoid. The car repair shop fixed it quickly, we lost 2.5 hours with that episode. It is a bit hard not to feel cursed! Air Conditioner, water softener, truck, and more to come. Driving through the canyon as the sunset over Phoenix was breathtaking. I can still see the vista in my mind...mountains, softly fading into the horizon, black jagged canyons up close, cactus reflected in the distance, all bathed in the colors of sunset. The kids did really well with all the monotonous traveling. At one rest stop we had a dance party in the rain! We pulled into our new driveway around 9 pm. Spenser and Laura met us there a bit afterward with the keys. They helped us carry in the contents of the trailer and van and helped set up beds for the night. They even left us some muffins for breakfast! We are so blessed with family here in Arizona. Evelyn insisted on sleeping in the crack of the twins beds pushed together. It was not comfortable (??) so she slept sideways with her bum wedged in the crack. Another terrible night of sleep with two toddlers monopolizing the beds.
Saturday August 11
The moving crew and truck arrived shortly after 9 am. I barely had time to check out our new space before it was filled with boxes and packaged furniture. The moving crew consisted of two guys who thought our shipment was 7,000 lbs. Yah, no.....try 20,000. Soon another 3 guys showed up to help. Aunt Laura came and picked up the kids to play over at their house. Spenser and Justin worked on setting up beds as pieces and mattresses were off-loaded. It is monsoon season so we were treated to humid and hot weather our first day. The Relief Society President stopped by with a bag of fresh bagels and cream cheese. I sweat off a couple pounds of water that day. Our new fridge finally came around dinner time. The trucker had to wait two hours (evil laugh) this time for the guy to come off-load the gun safe. By evening we were left with a stuffed house of boxes, 600-700 sq ft smaller than our old home. Bishop Price and Brother Ferolino came to welcome us to the ward. Bishop brought two huge boxes of Bosa Doughnuts, supposedly a big deal in these parts. The kids were delighted to find cream filled options for evening treat. Bishop provided Amelia with a temple dedication recommend for the Tuscon Temple dedication happening the next day. The huge plus was to sleep in our own beds that night. We actually got a wink or two of good sleep. Justin still is not sleeping well. He was so restless that night I am not sure he slept much. I was so tired his rustlings barely stirred me. Everett was the only one with no sheets on his bed. He got to sleep on a bare mattress for about 6 days before I finally located the box with his sheets.
Sunday, August 12
We slept in and relaxed. Ahhhhhh. Justin got a much needed nap. We drove over to Spenser's home around 2 pm. They watched the younger kids while we went to the last temple dedication service. Amelia was quite delighted to have us both to herself for a couple hours. What a treat to participate in the dedication as our introduction to Arizona. Phillip and Everett were in cousin heaven playing together. Phillip declared he does not need any other friends because Anson is his best buddy. Spenser and Laura had delicious dinner ready of beef sandwiches, fruit, and veggies. We stayed until after 7 pm. Laura helped me finish filling out all the school paperwork packets for 3 kids. My writing hand was aching! Blasted paperwork. Why won't one packet work for all kids?
Monday, August 13
Justin started the new work week off bright and early. So did the kids. We drove to their new school an hour after school started, I was hoping the morning rush had worn off...and it had. Paperwork in hand, plus documentation and immunizations we took over the school. We got a short tour of the school. The kids loved the rock climbing wall in the gym! The library won Amelia's heart. All the kids loved that art and music are bi-weekly classes instead of once a month. Armed with school supply lists and hungry tummies we found a Super Walmart. Josie got into the melatonin gummies before we left, she ate two. Our timing was terrible. Everyone was raging hungry, so as soon as we walked in I bought a cup of chicken nuggets and a cup of mac n' cheese. We illegally ate our fare in the Burger King cafe, right under the sign that declared "No Outside Food Allowed." I bought a drink to make us more legit. We only made it halfway through the fresh food before Josie erupted with tears and loud wails. The kids decided to leave school shopping for another day. Good plan. Josie fell asleep in my arms just as we reached the check out stand. What a quandary. Wake the baby? Risk Phillip smashing the eggs? A food fight? I woke her up, she loudly protested the rude awakening. Felt like we ran out of the store like retreating soldiers. Hey, I was glad we had enough fresh food to make actual meals. I took a nap right after the kids ate lunch. That was one long morning. After my nap I started slogging through the mountainous boxes. I earned several cuts on my fingers, a ouchie bruise on my foot, and about 25 other bruises as boxes were moved and contents rescued from paper trappings. Bishop Price invited us over for swimming and FHE that evening. Goodness, taking a break felt so amazing. The pool water was about 85 degrees, like bath water. The kids swam for a good two hours! Once you got out of the water the cooling effect took place, the water was just cool enough to lower body temps a degree or two. Evelyn and Everett kept Sister Price busy! She is a swimming instructor. She said the kids are really good swimmers, especially Evelyn. The pool was 4 feet on the sides and 5.5 in the middle so the kids had to sink or swim. Everett had the time of his life throwing diving torpedoes and diving to retrieve them. Josie was in and out of the water, sort of enjoying herself. We were chagrined the public pools are all closed since the kids are back in school. We feel so welcomed by everyone in the ward so far. I will say getting used to the air conditioner set at 80 during the day kills. I feel so hot all-the-time...all-the-time. The ceiling fans only do so much to stave off the heat.
Tuesday August 14
We went back to Sonoma Ranch Elementary to verify our residency, Justin needed the house deed for another errand the day prior. The kids all got their teacher assignments! Everett has Mrs Laske, Phillip has Mrs Epstein, and Amelia will have Mrs Howard. After that errand we went to Target (TARGET) for school shopping. The kids tried to shop for their own lists and did a pretty good job. We had troubles locating the fine black expo markers, in fact we gave up the search. The rest of our day was pretty boring, watching shows while Mom worked on unpacking. The Primary Presidency came over right around dinner time. We enjoyed a short visit with them. Phillip is due to be baptized on September 9th! We got that all on the calendar and verified with the Stake. Phillip is over the moon excited, so excited he makes crazy fart noises all the time. He has this crazy facial expression he makes when he is being silly. I captured the face by accident and am so glad I did!
Wednesday August 15
The kids were up at 6:30, so very excited to start school! I found a cute dress and new shirts for the boys at Walmart for their first day. We left home around 8 am to arrive early at school, get a better tour, meet teachers, and learn play ground routines. The guidance counselor provided the tour, we met Phillip's teacher first, then Everett's, headed out to the playground where the kids ran off to enjoy the outside before school. When the bell rang the kids all knew where to line up and which teacher to follow. I met Amelia's teacher after the bell rang for a brief moment. The teachers took over from there! The littles and I headed over to the post office to get mail box keys then home again. The rest of the week was a blur of unpacking, school, and after dinner routine. The kids leave the house at 8:10 to catch the bus, get home at 3:50, except Wednesday when they get home at 2:50. Justin leaves for work at 7 am and gets home at 6:10 pm. We don't see much of Justin at all! Just two hours in the evening. My neighbor, Sister Godard came over to help me unpack on Wednesday for a bit. She ended up running to Walmart for bucket lids. The movers cracked about 4 bucket lids...at least the ones I could find. We replaced those lids then shoved the rest of the buckets in place. The kids had early release so came home at 2:50. They were immediately bored. To assuage their boredom I let them paint and decorate their own boxes. Evelyn painted a box red earlier in the day, she started out nicely painting a princess theme, the paint pot dropped and splatter paint on her feet. That was the end of nice painting. She rather enjoyed getting clean in our luxurious shower. We can literally all shower at the same time and have plenty of room (shower in swim suits of course).
We went to the ward swim party after dinner on Thursday. This was our first big pool in Arizona. The kids were back in there element. Even Josie pulled a trick Evelyn pulled two summers ago: walking in the water deeper and deeper until she started breathing water. Still she had a look of glee and determination. Good girl! Don't be afraid of the water. The kids played with Bishop Price for a lone measure of time. He had a huge ball to swat back and forth. I slogged away at the mountain of boxes. As boxes were unpacked it seems the house became more messy. Stuff everywhere. I just feel like trashing half of it all, which I will most likely end up doing if those items do not find a place. I finally felt moved in Friday when I hung up photos and art in the kitchen! I removed all the boxes and vacuumed the family room. Even though the feeling only lasted until the next morning it was so nice for the time being. Saturday morning Justin took the van out to get an emissions test. On the way home a large bolt somehow flung up from the freeway and smashed the sunroof window to smithereens. Every inch of the glass is pebbled and cracked. Suck a duck. We took a family trip to a 3rd party DMV office open on the weekends. I got my new license and we got plates for the van. I ventured into the garage for more boxes that afternoon. I cannot find the box with Amelia and Everett's clothes...still looking on Monday night (the 21st).
Sunday August 19
Church starts at 8:30, quite the change from 10 am! We made it to church with a few minutes to spare. After sacrament meeting someone ran up to me shaking with disbelief, near tears (of joy?). I recognized her of a sort but could not place her. Turns out we went to seminary together back in Fayetteville, NC some 25 odd years ago. Her name is Laurie (Roberts) Hill. She remembered me as an amazing genius, quite the opposite of what I feel! Hooray for instant friends. The rest of the day we lazed around. I especially avoided any and all boxes until after dinner. Justin helped me dig through boxes to find ones I needed to sort through. He brought in a bookcase to put against the food storage buckets in the closet, I will use the little bit of space for toy storage. Looks like we will get rid of lots more toys, even though I sold most before we left. I made pot roast with veggies for dinner. Amelia loved the mashed potatoes and gravy. Josie would not touch her dinner, a more and more common occurrence. Josie is finally starting to talk. Her new word this week is "Melmo!" Her new diapers have Elmo on the outside, a very exciting character.