Sunday, August 21, 2016

Welcome to Colorado!

Greetings from Parker, CO. On Monday of this past week we signed papers for the sale of our Tucson home. On Tuesday we signed on the papers for our Parker home. Early on Wednesday morning we packed up the last of our belongings and headed to Colorado. Many hands helped us clean the house, pack the car, and helped us emotionally. We are grateful for people's time, energy, and love.

Craig and Grace Earls opened Hotel Earls and were kind enough to let us stay at their home for a couple nights prior to our departure. We were able to sleep in a bed rather than on an air mattress. I must admit that I am very grateful for their hospitality.

The boys finished school at Sycamore Elementary. Mrs. Stone and Mrs. Middendorf, the boys' classroom teachers, have been wonderful as the boys have been moving. The boys celebrated by bringing a white t-shirt to have their classmates sign it and shared a treat on their last day. We have been blessed to be at Sycamore.

The drive to Colorado was long. The Scout did just fine pulling the Prius, and Wendy pulled the trailer behind the Pilot. We averaged about 60 MPH for the whole trip. We stayed at a Worldmark in Santa Fe, NM. It was the tiniest Worldmark we've every been too. They had no pool, no club house, and very little parking. Fortunately we were able to make arrangements with the Japanese restaurant across the street to park the Scout for the night. The manager let us park the Pilot and the trailer in an 'off limits' part of the parking lot because we agreed to leave before the workmen showed up at 6 a.m. I just moved the Pilot across the street and went back to bed. 

I found that the Scout has some carburetor problems. Someday I hope to put fuel injection on it, to make it easier to start. It should also improve the mileage. 10-11 MPG is all we got on our trip. I also had to put a quart of oil in every 150 miles (which is about how often we filled up with gas, too!) The changes in elevation in Colorado are such that fuel injection is a really good idea. I just have to get all the other house projects finished first....

On Thursday night we made it to the new house. The carpet guys were just finishing up the removal of the old carpet. We discovered large animal pee stains all over the sub-floor, which confirmed our decision to have the carpet replaced. The boys ran through the house and immediately discovered the joy of the slide in the basement. My friend Brandon, and his wife Moriah, who also live in Parker, were gracious enough to let us sleep at their house. (We've been camping out at their house ever since- Thank you Brandon and Moriah!)

On Friday we unloaded the truck. Brandon and Moriah came by to help us unload. We had some help from the freight company. The unload took us three hours instead of the two hours that I had originally thought, but we are glad we got the help. The bulk of our possessions are in the garage, with a few items in the basement. The rest of the house is 'naked' because there is no carpet. 

On Saturday I returned the tow dolly to Uhaul and we started working on the house. Wendy and Moriah did a lot of cleaning in the kitchen. (The new house has been neglected quite a bit!) Wendy mowed the front lawn and we took turns mowing the back yard lawn. I somehow managed to misplace the box that had all the painting materials (rollers and paint trays) so I took the boys to Lowes to pick up more rollers. We began painting the subfloor with Kilz primer. Underfoot and Hurricane did a great job painting. Hurricane and I also began removing all the face plates from all the light switches and outlets. We returned home to Brandon and Moriah's house exhausted. Underfoot said his back hurt from bending over so much to do the painting.

Today we attended church at our new congregation. During the second hour, we attended a special sunday school class were members of the congregation leadership introduced themselves. We were also given a chance to introduce ourselves and ask questions. It was the first time Wendy or I had every attended such a class, but it was really nice to get acquainted with a few people. Underfoot and Hurricane were both nervous to attend church, but I believe they have already made some new friends and will be just fine here in Colorado. 

We have not yet decided if we will enroll the boys in school tomorrow or wait a week to give them a little break. They've already been in school this year for 5 weeks, the local school system is only on week 2. Underfoot wants to start school tomorrowHurricane wants to wait a week.

Be Well.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Moving and A Wake

We have packed the house, loaded it into the trailer, had a wonderful wake, and will sign on two houses this week.
We have been very busy and couldn't have done it without the help of many, many people.

Sweetheart played games with his friends. He has enjoyed playing Conflict of Heroes. While he played games, Underfoot, Hurricane, and I saw the LDS Tucson Temple construction,
used a birthday gift card for Legos at Toys R Us, used another birthday gift card at Bookmans and played Pokemon there, and shopped for the last few items of food.

Our family birthday was celebrated by packing the attic, garage, and unloading the storage unit we got for showing the house.
Sweetheart had an allergic reaction in the middle and had to stop. We were invited for supper at the Carpenter home and enjoyed hamburgers and hot dogs. On Monday, we enjoyed homemade fondue.

Sunday we hosted the last Young Single Adult supper for members of our congregation. We extended the table to its full length, and everyone had a place at the table.
Underfoot and G took a picture at the YSA dinner. They are really great friends.
We really love our table and the memories that have been made around it.

Many hands came to our rescue and aid as we finalized the packing and loading of the semi-trailer. The miracle is everything fit in the trailer. We packed rooms during the day with help. Sweetheart packed the garage by night or worked on the International Harverster Scout.
On Thursday and Saturday, men came to help Sweetheart load the trailer. Because of their help we accomplished a mountain of work. The men were helpful to Sweetheart make sure that the load fit tightly and safely. We are grateful for the many hands and hearts that helped us.

On Saturday, we attended the nicest wake ever. Many people came through to share memories and to wish us well.
R. N., Baby M, and I took at picture at the wake.
We were overwhelmed by the love that was shared.

Underfoot finished his Cub Scout Bear Rank and was awarded the rank this last Tuesday at Pack meeting.
He was given the microphone and shared how he earned some of his awards. I have also been working on the Young Women Personal Progress program. The program is designed for youth ages 12-18 to bring them closer to Christ. Adult women who are interested may do the program as well. I finished this on Sunday, had an interview with my Bishop, and was given the award during our church services.
I was really surprised to be presented in front of the congregation.

The best part of living here is Hurricane! He is our gem from the desert.
 
We have much to accomplish this week. We hope for a smooth week. Prayers would be graciously accepted.
Be Well.
 Wonder Woman Smoothie from a library cookbook

 
 A sunbeam from heaven

Meridale Cider that I took from Pocatello at Thanksgiving

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

First Day Action

School has started. We came home from Havasupai on Saturday and started school on Monday.

They were happy to start and said that the walk to school wasn't that long after hiking from the bottom on the hill at Havasupai.
At the end of the school day, we went on our traditional getting ice cream.

We invited our friends who are attending the new elementary school. The reunion was a sweet one. Pun intended.

Lance gave his 2 weeks notice at Raytheon the day we got back. He was really nervous to tell, but it went better than he thought it would. He finished his 2 weeks. His co-workers took him to lunch. He started his new job on Monday.
You know on the 1st day of school parents take pictures of their children. Here is Lance on his first day - nerd pack and all.

The boys finished their summer reading program. We decided that they would read as many pages as the Mormon Battalion walked in miles.
Underfoot read all the pages, and Hurricane's job to was listen to and read pages. They both completed their goal.

The sunflowers have been beautiful.

The monsoon has come in full force.
The rain is very welcome and helps keep our house clean outside.

 Both houses have had the inspections and the appraisals. We have started to pack our house. Last Saturday, we packed the canning materials in our outdoor shed. We cut the lids off 2 barrels and filled them then 2 boxes. We didn't realize how many jars we have. We will need to fill every single jar in Colorado.

 Saying goodbye to friends is going to be the hardest thing. On Sunday, we went to supper at a friend's house. Their son thought it was the last night we would see each other.
The Earls family has offered to have a wake for us before we leave. It is August 13 if you'd like to come. Let us know to give you the details. Two weeks from today we will be moving. Hard to image our time is short here.

Be Well!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

July 4th, Denver, Mission Report, and Havasupai

Two weeks ago I got on a plane bound for Pocatello. My brother-in-law picked me up in the sweet Mustang from the airport with Wendy and the boys. We had fun with Kirkham cousins.

We spent the morning of the 4th of July with Wendy's brother, Scott, and his family. Scott is a dealer in heavy equipment, and he knows lots of people. We went to the Inkom 4th of July parade. We got set up to watch the parade and along came a Bradley Infantry Fighting vehicle on a flat bed truck. It stopped right in front of us, and Scott told us to climb on.
Scott had made arrangements with a buddy for us to ride on the IFV during the parade. It was a lot of fun.


On a whim we decided to head down to SLC to watch 4th of July fireworks with my brother, Beck, and his family.
On Tuesday we headed to Denver for a quick house hunting trip. The boys were cared for by my brother and his family.
My high school friend, Brandon, lives in Parker, CO. While Brandon and his family were on a family trip to Mexico, we stayed in their house. They were kind to host us at their place and eat their food. In exchange we watered the house plants and fed the geckos and fish. Over the course of two days we looked at ~30 houses. On Thursday night we had narrowed the list down to 8 houses. On Friday morning we put an offer in on a house.
We drove back to SLC arriving late on Friday night. On Saturday morning, we spent time with my brother and his family and returned to Pocatello to link up with the Kirkham family.
On Sunday Wendy's parents gave their mission report at church, which was the whole reason for the trip. They spoke about desire and knowing individually that each is a child of God. After church we traveled south to Orderville, Utah and spent the night at my brother's cottage.

On Monday morning we repacked the car to go to Supai, AZ. To get to Supai, we had to hike and wanted to make sure we weren't forgetting anything. The launching point is the Havasupai Falls Campground parking lot. Along the way to Havasupai, we got word from the seller of the Colorado house. One of the contingencies was to have the carpets and ducts cleaned because they have a cat, and Wendy had a reaction to the cat while we were at the house. Unbeknownst to us, our agent had offered them 10k less than the listing price. They countered at 5k under the list price and agreed to the carpet and duct cleaning. We countered again with a full price offer, but we asked for 6k to have the carpets replaced rather than cleaned. Our agent met his carpet guy at the house and happened to meet the owner. The owner started to cry as she talked to our agent. (He told us it was the first time that had ever happened to him, and it was a little uncomfortable for him - he's an ex-marine.) The owner said she felt a great connection to our family. Later that night the seller agent contacted our agent to tell him about wanted to give us an additional $1,500 to put in new carpet in the house. Our agent said that in 17 years of real estate he's never had a situation where the seller came back and offered more than what the buyer had asked for like this. Needless to say, we are very grateful. We signed the contract. 

On Monday night we made it to the Havasupai Falls Hilltop parking lot.
My sister, Merris, was kind enough to let us spend the night in their motor home. They hiked in on Monday morning. This was a huge blessing because we arrived after dark and likely would not have slept well on the ground. We finally got to sleep around 10.
We got up at 4:30 Tuesday morning and were on the trail to Havasupai Campground by 5:15.
Seven hours and ten miles later, we arrived at the campground.
We were grateful to finally arrive. 
 
On Wednesday we hiked down to Mooney Falls and played in the water. The trail to get there near gave Wendy a heartache. You hold onto chains all the way down.
It reminded Wendy of the Lost Boys from Peter Pan.
The boys especially liked the rope swing.
Wendy took lots of pictures.
While there I noticed that a squirrel was helping himself to another hiker's lunch. The squirrels will eat right through anything to get at your food! Hurricane noticed that another hiker was playing in the water with a large inflatable slice of pizza.
Being the bold Locey that he is, Hurricane approached the man (after he'd finished using the slice) to ask if Hurricane could float on it for a while. The man said that he was leaving the next day and didn't want to pack it up the hill, so he gave the water toy to Hurricane! What a blessing.
 On Thursday we went cliff jumping with Merris and Yvette's families.

The waterfalls were very private, and we had to wade up river to get to them.
Yvette chose to stay in Flagstaff with her daughter, Ariana, who had been throwing up for 5 days over the previous week. Yvette didn't think it wise to have Ariana walk the two miles from the helicopter landing pad down to the camp ground. After the cliff jumping, we chose to visit Havasupai Falls.
Who did we run into? Yvette and Ariana. The two helicoptered in on Thursday morning. We were so glad to see them.
 
On Thursday night we packed up our gear and got ready to head back up to the parking lot. We were grateful for the help we received from our friends, the Earls, who also came with us to Havasupai Falls. The Earls helped us take down our tent and get our gear taken care of. This is the second vacation we've taken with the Earls. We will miss them dearly!
 
Wendy and I got up at 2:30 on Friday morning with the goal to be on the trail by 3 a.m. We finally got started at 3:45. It was a long 10 mile hike. Underfoot and Hurricane did exceptionally well for such a difficult hike. By 8 a.m. the sun was up and the heat was on. Along the way a kind couple gave Hurricane one of their sun umbrellas. I carried it for him, keeping him out of the sun for the better part of the morning.
The Earls Family arrived much earlier than we did.
We finally arrived at the parking lot at about 11:10 - 7 hours after leaving the camp ground. Each of us had a 'carrot' to help us get to the top - Wendy's carrot was a cold soda, mine was a phone call to our Tucson realtor, Underfoot and Hurricane wanted to get a Mini Mighty Micro Lego set. Along the way up the trail, Hurricane began negotiating for cold hard cash. Hurricane negotiated hard. He wanted $1 for each mile he hiked.
Wendy and I relented around mile 16. His logic was sound. My nephew, Grant, chose to hike out with us. He hiked in with Merris' family on Monday.

The mules arrived with our gear about the same time we did. We loaded the car and headed out. On the road back to civilization we got word that we had an offer on our house in Tucson! We chose to eat lunch at Westside Lilo's cafe in Selgiman, AZ. While there we got word that the offer on our house in Tucson had been withdrawn. The week prior we got two offers on the house, but there were problems with both of them. This third offer looked promising. The offer was withdrawn because the couple had put in offers on multiple houses and one of the other sellers had accepted their offer. The good news was that our agent had been told two other couples were preparing offers, so if they wanted the house they needed to put together a strong offer.

Passing through Phoenix we got word that the two other offers had arrived, and they were good. Late Friday night we signed on our Tucson house. We are under contract to sell our house on August 17th and purchase our new house on August 18th. Saturday we spent the day doing laundry, unpacking, and taking care of logistics for our upcoming move. It is hard to believe that we have just one month left in Tucson!

Be Well!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Blue Ribbon, Cub Scouts, and Breathing

Hurricane had a third front tooth. After an x-ray at the dentist, we were referred to the orthodontist then to an oral surgeon. An appointment was made to extract the tooth.
video
 We asked if he could have the tooth removed with a local anesthetic. The doctor agreed with the caveat that he come fasting just in case he needed to have Hurricane go to sleep. Hurricane was a champion.
His tooth was extracted with a local anesthetic. He was in and out of the chair in about 10 minutes. The dental assistant said that he listened better than most adults. At the grocery store, he was allowed to get any soft foods he wanted. He has healed nicely and his other 2 front teeth have started to grow.

Underfoot has learned how to do flip turns! He aged out of the younger swim group that swims 25 meters for a race. This year he has started to swim 50 meters.
He has made great growth in his ability to swim building up his endurance. Hurricane had a goal to get a blue ribbon at a swim meet.
He met his goal 2 times over by winning his backstroke and freestyle heats. When he finished his backstroke, he immediately looked at the score board and did a victory arm pump!

We have completed our foster care classes. The classes brought great discussion for Sweetheart and I on how we currently parent and how we hope to be better parents. The process to be licensed is long. Just because the classes are finished, it doesn't mean that we are licensed. A home study needs to be done by the licensing agency along with 2 physical walk throughs in our house by the licensing agency and Department of Child Services.
 
Underfoot has invited his Cub Scouting friends over to work on the different required belt loops to earn his Bear rank. He has earned his Whittling Chip which he is most proud of and has taken to carrying a pocket knife with him. As a group, we have learned about knife safety, swimming and boating, contributing Americans, visited a historic site,
learned about the American flag, planned and did a carnival,
learned about plants, researched endangered and extinct animals, cooking outdoors,
and learned about gardening and composting. This has kept our afternoons busy.

Sweetheart took a trip to the emergency room. As we've shared before, he has an allergy to mesquite trees. After a monsoon rain, he started to have trouble breathing in the afternoon.
He used his rescue inhaler a few times, took some Benadryl, showered, tried to rest, and let me use some essential oils. Nothing helped. I kept suggesting that we take him to the emergency room because his wheezing (it couldn't be called breathing at this point) was so scary. At 2:30 am, he relented and decided that we should go. He was seen quickly, given 2 breathing treatments and prednisone, and his breathing resumed.
This event scared us both. He doesn't ever remember an event like this prior. We returned home at 4 and slept.

Our summer reading goal has been for each boy to read 2,000 pages because the Mormon Battalion walked 2,000 miles and did hard things. (Sweetheart and I each have a Grandpa that was in the Battalion.) Underfoot loves to read, and most the time when we can't find him, he is reading a book. Hurricane is still mastering the skill of reading. His reading requirements are a little different than Underfoot. Hurricane is allowed to count pages if he reads them, if they are read to him, and if he listens to an audio book.

I have been taking a sewing class to reconstruct some clothing.
I remade a jumper into a skirt. The jumper was purchased in Panama when my parents took me to visit after my mission. The jumper never fit me well, and I wanted to wear it.
The waist band was the collar on the jumper. I've also been able to put sleeves into a shirt that I wore at my brother's wedding and adjusted a few more shirts. Sewing is a wonderful creative outlet for me.
Be Well.

*****
 Peaches

 Pomegranates

 Sunflower

My Grandma Kirkham loved her type of gaspacho. I cleaned out the recipe box that I had of hers to find this handwritten recipe. It isn't the traditional Spanish gaspacho but what I grew up eating.