Sunday, May 20, 2012

May 20, 2012

Settling into the Utah way of life.  One thing we notice is that every day pretty much just seems to be a beautiful, perfect, sunny day.  Everyday.  Like unbelievable.  I am going to like this.

I spent my first two weeks of work in one location in Sandy and then the Freedom Fasttrack moved to downtown Salt Lake City about two blocks from where the Jazz play.  I can find my way to work.  I found a gym to play open volleyball.  Met some guys who are getting me connected in the Utah volleyball scene.  I already went and played in a sand doubles King of the beach tournament and one 1st place and $100 for my efforts.  The whole family went to a tennis social for the South Jordan tennis association.  They had drills and lessons for Cooper and then pizza and snacks and then drills for Rob and then more pizza and snacks.  So we are finding recreation opportunities.

We are still in our two bedroom town home and enjoying doing with less but anxious for more space.  We found a really cool modern brand new home in the Daybreak area of South Jordan that we hope to buy.  It seems ideal for our family right at this moment.  We will see if that is the home God intends for us to buy.  It seems these banking chaps are real sticklers for wanting you to have some kind of proof of income.  It seems you are very risky if you actually work for yourself and depend on your own intellect and work ethic to produce an income.  Gee how we wish we had a low income wage from working at McDonalds and then we would be more suitable borrowers because we'd have a pay stub, who cares how small. ( notice Rob getting sarc there ).  Well we shall soon know and it doesn't seem to much be in our hands at this point.

Learned that they have whole stores here dedicated to the mission industry.  Even Macy's has a missionary special where you can get two of everything to dress up as a missionary for one low, low price.  Just like they have bridal registry's and shower registries they have you guessed it missionary registry's at the department stores.  Interesting stuff.  People have warned us about or asked us, and know we have not really felt particularly discriminated against by not being LDS.   Someone explained to us though that just like there are Chriseaster Christians not every Mormon is really practicing per se.  So only 1/6 of the people in the valley are actually serious practicing Mormons.  Much more diverse than we would have guessed before moving here.

Cooper and I have been busy viewing sports.  We went down to a few BYU mens volleyball games, they were ranked as high as 4th in the country this year.  We also went to two Jazz games.  Got to show Cooper that this was the team that "Pistol" Pete Maravich played for.

Robyn and I were able to get a baby sitter one night and went and watched 'the avengers' movie.  So one date night in two months, we'll have to do a little better on that.  We've enjoyed going to the expo center just down the road from where we live.  Got to see a karate tournament one weekend and went to the Scout-o-rama another and Cooper had a ball at that so many things to do.

Had an interesting experience one night last week.  Cooper plays all the time with a boy in the neighborhood named Santi, especially they play soccer.  The other day Cooper comes in and says Santi wants to go to the ice cream shop.  I'm like great but Santi is like 6.  Cooper says no Santi's dad is going to take them do I want to go.  So yes I meet him and go get ice cream.  He says his name is Javier he is from Argentina and he plays soccer.  I say oh great I play soccer too.  I soon figure out he means like for a living, for Reall Salt Lake the MLS team.  Oh I see Javier Morales.  I still have no idea really who he is.  That evening I get home and open the newspaper which I still hadn't looked at and I open the sports section and who is there a full page picture on the front of the sports section of SeƱor Morales.  He is like the star player and highest paid player on the team and I had no clue.

 Interesting item for purchase.  Supposedly was sold in a 7 pack when first launched.
 This is great.  Utah state troopers trying to create lifelong Chiropractic patients early in life.
 Cooper at the Scout- o - Rama.  Made it all the way to the top.
 High altitude.  Special pressurized balls are required.
 Yes they do exist!  An electric car charging station at Walgreens.  Now there is finally one place to drive my Volt to.
 Hybrid 1953 / 2004 Corvette at the Thanksgiving Point auto show
 Cooper walking on Mars at the Salt Lake City Planetarium
 So today we drove down to Cedar City Utah and watched a Solar Eclipse of the sun.  The ring of fire.  The moon was perfectly centered inside of the Sun and only a very thin ring of light shone around the edges.  Amazingly cool.  The sun was very high in the sky but there is a lot less light when you block out 90% of the suns rays.  It shocked us how much the temperature dropped.  The crickets got very confused as they started chirping like it was dusk or night and yet the sun was still very high in the sky.  This is a picture of Robyn and Tucker trying not to fry their retinas.

 The house on Kettle Way that we hope to make ours Lord willing
 Laser engraved rose petal flowers for Mother's day.  The boys worked hard on these.
 Engraving on the railroad tie where the golden spike was hammered to complete the transcontinental
 Robyn and Tucker sit on the tie where the golden spike was hammered Promontory Utah
 Union Pacific railroad woodburning Jupiter
Central Pacifics Coal-burning No. 119 these were fully functioning almost exact replicas of originals
Parrish Lane?? definitely did not want to drive the motorhome on that offramp

Sunday, April 1, 2012


We are in Utah. Sandy to be exact. A southern area of Salt Lake City. We have been here 6 days and are super glad we updated our GPS before we left because we use it to go everywhere. Roads are marked in  a grid system that we are yet to master.
We closed on the house March 16. We got rid of so much and to be honest threw away some good stuff but we ran out of time. It made me sad to pitch good stuff and at the same time ashamed that we had so much that we could just throw away. We still filled a large storage shed in IL. I hope that I can be more careful with accumulating things that can be so easily discarded.
We stayed at Rob's parents house for a few days (they are wintering in AZ). We were waiting for the check from the bank and tying up loose ends. Said 'see you later' to special friends. The weather was so beautiful we got to see the crocus and daffodils bloom. If my summer clothing wasn't in AZ I could have worn shorts it was so warm.
We left IL on Tuesday (20th) and drove through to Denver where we stayed with good friends, Tony and Leah Shay. We had 4 great days with them. After the craziness of packing and selling the house we were ready for some relaxing. We celebrated 11 years of marriage by going out with the Shays. Never new Italian dessert could be so fun and so expensive. The company we enjoyed it with was definitely worth it though.
After leaving the Shays we made a brief stop at Rob's Aunt and Uncle's for dinner before heading out of Denver. We chose I-80 through Wyoming to avoid too many steep mountains. We were pulling the Element behind the Land Rover so we didn't have a lot of stopping power since the Element was loaded to the roof with boxes. Within a few hours we drove through 55m/h winds, dust storm, rain, sleet, snow, sunshine, rain, 50m/h winds and sunshine. Oh.. and there isn't a whole lot in Wyoming. Once we hit the Utah boarder everything got beautiful... the mountains are amazing.
We stayed in a hotel for a few days after arriving and spent a day and a half looking at apartments and finally settled on a newish townhouse. It has a little more of a house feel with the 2 bedrooms upstairs and a garage. Only took us a day without chairs to crave somewhere to sit. Thankfully Ikea isn't to far and we now have 8 chairs and a small TV table (no TV though).
Cooper's shopping list only had one item on it, a new basketball hoop. He let us sell the 3 he had in IL and we could tell we weren't going to hear the end of it until we found a new one. So in addition to our 8 chairs and 1 TV table we have a basketball hoop. And if you are wondering we have air mattresses for sleeping. The camping thing is going over pretty well so far. I like living with less.
One of the most notable changes out here is that just about everything is closed on Sundays, thus me sitting here blogging. Walmart which is an easy 5 minute walk from our abode is open so I think after Tucker's nap we'll take a family expedition to pick some meat for our dinner.
We went to a cool church today. Rob had to work at a seminar this morning but thankfully this church had a 12:30pm service so we were able to attend. Boys enjoyed it too. Cooper seems a little nervous about making new friends but who of us isn't. God has a plan for each of us in this place. One day at a time we'll see it through. We are excited to get to know this church more over the coming weeks and months.

It snowed this morning and was so cloudy the usual vibrant mountains were hidden. They are my visual clues so it felt lonely without them. But it seems the weather can change multiple times in a day and it is still light out so they may appear yet.
So we sit here in our Ikea Poang chairs using Rob's iPhone as a hotspot while Cooper plays basketball and Tucker naps. Grateful for God's guidance and slowing settling in to a new normal. 
Thanks for your continued love and support. 

 Packing our most beloved items into the truck that will take it to the storage shed.

 The dining room was full too.

 Tucker found my make-up bag... mascara, eye-liner and foundation powder.

 In our defense the neighbors added to this pile of junk as well. 
This home always represented God's promise of faithfulness. As we packed and things were taken away I repeated the hymn lyric "Great is thy faithfulness". 

 Cooper playing hoops at Moline high school's Wharton Field house. A dream come true for him. 

 Leaving IL. 

 UTAH. Our town home is in the street below. 

 This looks like a green screen picture but it's totally real. On the ridge near the townhouse.

Our first meal. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Catching up from the last couple of weeks...

Since we came back from Australia we have been staying with Rob's parents in Mesa, Arizona. We arrived back on Tuesday night (Jan 31) and On Thursday (Feb 2nd) Rob flew to Florida for a conference. He returned to hear the results on the Superbowl on Sunday night.
While he was gone the boys and I amused ourselves with school, parks, visits to the local Water Reserve to watch the birds and inspect cactus and playing basketball.
The day after we returned we found out that the people who wanted to buy our house were ready to move ahead with the purchase. (We had signed a contingency agreement with them back in November and they were waiting to sell their house). So with that news our time in the sun has been cut a bit short as we are now headed home Sunday (12th) to start packing the house for the move to Utah.
For all the times we have been swimming in the last months Tucker has been content to play on the steps of the pool. Never quite brave enough to let us take him deeper. Since being in AZ Rob has been taking the boys daily and in 10 days he is almost swimming by himself. Cooper is our little fish and Rob has taught him to swim. He loves to jump in and dives to the bottom, so it seems that Tucker is trying to be like his big brother and making good head way at it. I love to watch them swim and the joy they get out of it. Rob has treasured the special time and being the one to teach them. I have been in the pool too I just like to take a few moments to myself too.... other mums you understand.
Last Tuesday, Rob's dad watched the boys and we went hiking with his mum. We love to hike in AZ and  it's always a beautiful time and we enjoy some quiet moments together looking at amazing scenery.
We've squeezed countless oranges to make delicious orange juice. Enjoyed Pei Wei (Asian restaurant) as often as we can. Rob and I have seen some movies: the late showing, meaning we get home at 12:30- 1am.... Played tennis and basketball, used the remote controlled cars and an undetermined amount of batteries. For the first time in many years we are pretty stress free, able to focus on the boys and each other.
Through this whole process of putting ourselves and our plans in God's hands he has revealed things just one step at a time. We came back to the USA thinking we'd be doing some more open houses to sell the house but God took care of that. We are in awe at his faithfulness. Not sure the exact plan for moving out to Utah (buy a house, rent a house, which suburb to do that in...?) but God has clearly shown us the path to walk so we are relaxing in that when we need to know he'll tell us.
This time away has been huge for the 4 of us. Our family is stronger and so much more relaxed. The boys have been fantastic and adapted to every new situation. They are used to sleeping in different beds and eating different food. We are really proud of them. I love my family. I love my boys and I know them so much better. Tucker has developed into a beautiful boy, he loves to laugh and play with cars and planes. He has a twinkle to his eyes that melts your heart and makes you do almost whatever he asks. He is more relaxed than a few months ago. He wants to do everything his big brother does and they are good friends. Cooper is inquisitive and loves a good joke. He is a careful big brother and much more at peace being and playing by himself. I can see his mind thinking about things and everything usually comes back to basketball or football. They are both eagerly awaiting the trampoline we have promised when we are settled in a new house.
We are driving home Sunday (12th) and will be back in the Moline by, we hope, afternoon on Wednesday (15th). We are leaving the RV here in AZ and once we are in Utah we'll come down here and get it. We have allowed time for distractions and frequent stops for the boys. Our house closing is March 16th so we have just over 4 weeks to pack everything. Before you panic for us, we had done a lot of purging and some packing prior to leaving last November so the task will be a little simpler.
Thanks for walking this journey with us.. stay tuned for posts from the road.
- Robyn

 Rob's parents house in AZ. 
 Hiking with Rob's mum and her hiking group.
Relaxing half way through the hike.
 We made it. 6 miles and still smiling.
 The boys hanging out in the wagon. 
 Goggle boys!
 Our #2 fish.
 Almost all looking. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Jan 29-31 FIJI

We got up super early (5:30am... we are on holidays so that is really early to us) to leave for the airport. Still a little rainy. Got everything into the suitcases and they are bulging with goodies and memories. Have had such a great time. Refreshing and relaxing. My heart is full after good times with family. I am reminded how much I love and appreciate each one of them and reminded where I came from and who I am. 
Stopped by Mum’s house for a last kiss and hug and then 2.5hrs to the airport. 
At the airport we were met by my Dad, Marissa, Mark, my brother Joni, Penny, Helena and Baby Evie. All come to say good-bye. We had some time together before we headed through security and onto the plane. About a 3 hr flight and we were in Fiji. 
We landed in Fiji about 5pm on Sunday 29th. Caught a taxi to our hotel. First Landing Resort, 25 minutes north of Nadi. Checked into our sea side buree and went to get our welcome drinks (fruit juice). Very nice with perfect ocean views. Of course we were straight off the pool after that. 
Started raining heavily overnight and hasn’t really stopped since. Not so bad, it’s warm and when you swim you get wet anyway. Explored the nearby Marina and counted tropical fish and crabs. Have had some fresh coconuts cut down from the tree for us. Met some lovely Australians holidaying here so we are staying entertained. 
We leave tonight (Tue 31st) to fly back to Phoenix AZ to stay with Rob’s parents for a little while before heading back up to IL to pack the house up and get ready to move. More adventures to come along the way. 

Drinking coconut milk from a coconut.
 Delicious dinner complete with flower.

Went into Fiji to do some shopping. Cooper found a cool chair but we couldn't fit it in our suitcase.
The store that has everything.

Jan 26th- Australia day.

A lot of the next week was spent in Kingaroy relaxing and watching the Cricket and tennis on TV.  It was overcast and cooler (still 85-90oF) and rainy pretty much the entire week.  
We celebrated Australia Day on the 26th of Jan.  I asked everyone why they celebrate it on the 26th like did something significant happen on that day or something?  Nobody knew the answer except Robyn.  Interesting I thought, we mostly know that July 4th was the day we signed the Declaration of Independence from England.  It is as Robyn informed us the day Sydney was founded, the first White settlement in Australia. Anyway we went down and saw the whip cracking demonstration, Lamington eating contest, and Cane Toad races.  Got there to late to bid on a Cane Toad to enter into the competition. I also included various pictures of interesting and curious sites to me in this little Aussie town.

Afterwards we headed back to Ruth's for a family BBQ, Later in the afternoon we had a little surprise birthday party for Cooper and a cake for Robyn (birthdays are in February). Watching tennis and hanging out. Wanted to play cricket in the park but the weather was drizzly and too wet. 
 Cane Toads are in the can ready to be released. 

 Cooper's Aussie birthday party. 

 Happy Australia Day!!!

January 21-22

We left Melbourne on Friday 20th and travelled quickly back to Queensland.

The second day of driving (21st) we stopped for lunch in Parkes, NSW.  This was where the Radio Telescope Dish is located that was featured in the movie “The Dish” with Sam Neill of Jurassic Park fame.  This was neat to see.  During NASA’s missions to the moon there were periods of time the lunar vehicles and spacecraft were crossing over the southern hemisphere and this was their only communication with earth.  It’s good to have allies on the other side of the earth.
Internet connection is very slow so I'll post more pictures later on this. But here is one!!!!
Arrived back at Ruth;s house in Kingaroy on Sunday mid afternoon. Ready to do some laundry.