Here she is… Miss I-crossed-America

I made it.

I am alive.  And I finally have Internet access.

Here is a little time-line to point out the whirlwind the last two months have been (and to record this insanity for my posterity):

June 21:  Matt gets his new job offer.  We negotiate and ponder for a few days and decide to accept it, contingent upon selling our home in Minnesota.  I begrudgingly accept the possibility of moving to Utah, but only if our house is sold first.

Beginning of July:  Contacted by relocation team with realtors, inspectors, movers, etc.  All a little overwhelming, but things get rolling.  We work like crazy to get our house in great shape to go on the market, including painting, packing, garage sales, storage unit, landscaping, small repairs throughout, etc.

July 16:  FOR SALE sign goes up and house is officially on the market.  I take the kids over to my mother-in-law’s house to sleep (so our house stays CLEAN).

July 17:  Drove two 11-hour days to get to Atlanta (where my parents live) so that we could spend time with them and the house would stay clean for showings.  Matt drove with us, we got a flat tire and had to replace all our tires.  He flew back to return to work (which he was not allowed to quit until our house sold).

July 23:  Our house sold.  What?!!  The first people that came through for a showing put in an offer.  Negotiations made and accepted by both parties.  I was shocked.  I probably need not describe the current market conditions and what a miracle it was.  This is the part where I realized that God was totally in charge, and He had plans completely independent of mine.

July 28:  I leave the children with my parents and fly to Utah to house hunt.  I look for 3 days and then Matt joins me.  We find a house in an area I had not considered at all.  (Matt found it online and I finally consented to go see it after crossing it off the list several times and being annoyed at his lack of focus in the housing search.)

July 31:  Put an offer on the house.  A few days of negotiations, then accepted by both parties.  We feel really blessed that we were able to find something we both liked at a really great deal. I went back to Atlanta, and Matt went back to Minnesota.

Week of August 1:  House inspections, mortgage initiation, lots of paperwork, more negotiations, hundreds of cell phone minutes logged.  Matt puts in his notice at work.

August 6:  Matt flies to Atlanta, and we all begin the drive back to Minnesota.  Two more long days in the car.

August 11:  Moving company arrives and packing begins.  (Yes, that quickly.  And no, I could not have done it without packers.  Thank heavens.)

August 13:  Moving company loads up the van with all our items.  The house is left empty, and we head out of town by 8 pm.

August 16: We finally roll into the Salt Lake Valley after 4 days of travel that included all of the following:  3 children, two cars, a trailer in tow, 3 nights in hotels, thousands of Sturgis bikers on the roads and in the hotels, loading and unloading all the contents of our 2 vehicles every night (except for Matt’s toolbox which I accidentally left in the hotel closet in Rapid City, SD), altitude sickness at the Continental Divide and pulling over several times because I thought I was going to faint, children with short tempers and leg cramps and even some fever, and finally, an overheated truck resulting in 2 hours at a truck stop and the rest of the journey with no air conditioning.  Bet you wish you could have joined us.  Next two nights spent sleeping on the floor in sleeping bags at our new house waiting for our stuff to arrive.  I also registered the kids for school.

August 18:  Moving truck arrives with our stuff.  Hallelujah.  Next few days spent unpacking box after box after box.

Today:  Still unpacking, starting to feel settled in the house.  Haven’t ventured out much yet because there’s still so much to do here.  The children are all irritable and naughty, which given the circumstances is no big surprise.  I’ve been pretty darn irritable and tired myself.  Matt starts work next week and the boys start school.  Hopefully we’ll fall into a nice routine soon.  And hopefully that routine involves naps for me.

Lessons learned:  Even in a world full of billions of people and turmoil and mind-numbing events, Heavenly Father is still aware of us as individuals and families, and somehow manages to find the time to put His hand in the details of our simple lives and make things as they should be.  And though insignificant by comparison, He lifts us through our trials and struggles and helps us survive them all.  Maybe even better off than we were before, but that remains to be seen.  Trusting Him goes a long way.

(I’ll slowly fall back into the blogging routine, maybe at a new pace.  I’m so sorry about the neglected GCBC; I’ll try to pick up where I left off soon.)

Jumping in

Sometimes, even when you know something is the right thing to do, it’s hard to step forward.  Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in anxieties and the possibility of worst-case scenarios.  Sometimes you can start a journey with confidence, but a few steps in, you find yourself dragging your feet and looking back over your shoulder.  Sometimes faith and courage don’t come as easy as you thought they would.

Sometimes you’ve got to close your eyes, feel it deep, and just jump in.

“Somewhere in your quest for spiritual knowledge, there is that ‘leap of faith,’ as the philosophers call it. It is the moment when you have gone to the edge of the light and stepped into the darkness to discover that the way is lighted ahead for just a footstep or two.”  ~ Elder Boyd K. Packer

“Beware the temptation to retreat from a good thing. If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it is right now…  Face your doubts. Master your fears. ‘Cast not away therefore your confidence.’ Stay the course and see the beauty of life unfold for you.” ~ Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

I can do this.

Right?

Creative discipline, and seeking wisdom

I accomplished more items on a to-do list today than have ever been accomplished in Stephanie history.  The natural consequence of this is poor parenting.  “Quiet!  I’m on the phone.” “Stop touching each other and go do something quiet.”  “I am in a bad mood right now, so you’d better shape up.”  These are all hypothetical examples, of course.

Matt and I have dinner plans with my sister and her husband tonight so I made the kids their own dinner.  I then left them for no-more-than-four-minutes so I could go phone in my dinner order.  When I returned, I found that they had entered deadly territory:  the food fight.  The floor was covered with peas and pasta and broken pieces of biscuits.  I thought bad words in my head.  I sent the main perpetrator (who should remain unnamed but I’m mad at him:  Grant) to his room and then went and got Matt out of the garage.  “I need you to come inside before I hurt one of your children.”  This is when Matt had a stroke of parenting genius.  First he took all their plates away.

“Your dinner is now on the floor.  Eat every single piece of it, or you’re dead.”

I love my husband.

Moving is stressful.  Really stressful.  And sometimes it turns us into mean people.  I’m hoping to be nice again in about 3 weeks.

We planted a garden in our back yard and I planted zucchini for the first time.  Is this normal? (That’s my full-sized adult hand.)

Our new house has no appliances.  This is a list of the items I will have to buy next week:

  • range/oven
  • dishwasher
  • fridge
  • washer/dryer
  • microwave (hood w/fan)
  • oh, and a king-sized mattress (which I realize is not technically an appliance)

Do you own any of the above items that you LOVE (like so much that you would return your children before you’d return said appliance)?  I really want to hear your suggestions of things to consider. I have the option of gas or electric for both the range/oven and the dryer–  Any thoughts on that?  Just pretend like you’re the editor of Consumer Reports and tell me what to look for and what to avoid.  Brand names and model numbers are appreciated.

I apologize in advance if I do the same thing I did with your places-to-live suggestions (moved somewhere different) and totally ignore you.  I don’t know why I do that.  Trust me, it’s involuntary.

I was going to write more, but I can’t keep my mind off of the Chris’ Outrageous Chocolate Cake I just ordered from The Cheesecake Factory.

CHRIS’ OUTRAGEOUS CHOCOLATE CAKE ™
A Cheesecake Factory Original – Layers of Moist Chocolate Cake, Chewy Brownie,
Toasted Coconut-Pecan Frosting and Creamy Chocolate Chip Coconut Cheesecake

Oh sweet mercy.

On the road again

Early in the morning, we begin the return journey from my parents’ house to our soon-to-be-old home.  We’ll be there two days before the movers come and start packing everything up.  By next weekend, we’ll be on our way to the new home.  The kids will start school about a week and a half later.  At some point, I hope I can take a 36-hour nap.

Since I’ll be traveling, this is the talk that will be for General Conference Book Club next week:.

“He Is Risen!” by President Thomas S. Monson

I’ll try to get the actual post up when I get “home,” but for those of you who are participating, feel free to go ahead and start studying it.  Have a great weekend.

GCBC Week 17: We Follow Jesus Christ

General Conference Book Club Week 17:

“We Follow Jesus Christ” by Elder Quentin L. Cook

In the Sunday morning session of General Conference, Elder Cook’s message declared that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) believe in and follow Jesus Christ. His message is a great reminder of what it really means to be a Christian, and to be an example of Him in all that we do.

“As we ponder what it means to be Christians today, think about what our path of discipleship will require of us. I suggest that we contemplate and in appropriate ways emulate what the Savior did in those last two days of His mortal life.”

What do you learn as you study Elder Cook’s testimony about Jesus Christ?

Go here to find the media versions of the talk (audio, video, mp3, etc.).  If this is your first visit to the General Conference Book Club,  click here to learn more about it.