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Saturday, January 24, 2009

There's No Place Like Home

We're HERE!!!!!!! We pulled into town at about 6pm on Thursday night. Hello Texas! Woohooo! So, I gotta tell you my story :) hehehe.

We stopped in Phoenix at some friends' house. They used to live in Florence when I was growing up, and moved away after I married and left Florence. Their oldest daughter is one year older than me, and their middle daughter (well, youngest daughter, their youngest child is a boy) is a grade behind me in school. They're GREAT people. Love the Harlines.

Anyway, my mom and Patti are SUPER great friends, and it was SO nice of her to offer to let us stay. We got to Phoenix at about 4 or 5 pm. They live in a REALLY nice gated community. You all remember what my trailer looks like, right? Not the typical vehicle found in a gated community - LMBO! We took the kids to the park, and let them get their wiggles out. It was DEFINITLY much needed.

Here's Jimmy playing in the sand.And all the kids on th play structure. Jacob is there, you just can't see him - believe me - hehehe. It was starting to get dark, but it was still warm. Gotta love Arizona :)

And here's Patti and Chris. Patti is taking a picture of me taking a picture of her! Dueling bloggers - hehehe. She's a big time blogger too - LOL!
So after the park, we went back to their house, and had dinner with them, and their daughter, Beth. She and her hubby Kyle live about 20 minutes away in town. They have 2 little girls, Paige and Gracie. SWEET little things. I'd never actually met them before, but felt like I knew them through Beth's blog. Funny how blogs are like that - hehehehe.

Here's Jimmy, playing with all the toys. He thought he'd died and went to heaven. At one point, he said "Mom, can we just stay here instead of going to Texas". Bless his little heart!

Emeline and Gracie - adorable!!!
We left the next morning at about 8:30, and headed to Walmart. You know, the Arizona Cardinals (football) are going to the Superbowl, and my hubby has been a Cardinals fan since before they moved to Arizona from St. Louis. He wanted me to stop by Wally World and buy him a ball cap. Sorry honey, all the Arizona fans beat you to it. They're all gone :( No Cardinals hat for you.

I think we were on the road again by 9am. It was about a 7 hour drive into El Paso. I was getting pretty tired of driving, and the kids were starting to get a little tired of riding. But then, wo could blame them.

I was SO glad when we finally made it to Texas. And I was THRILLED when El Paso was in sight. The mountains were BEAUTIFUL!!! But the city seemed to go on FOREVER. I just kept driving, and driving, and driving. Captain America had texted me directions (since apparently mapquest doesn't know where I live), and I was trying my best to follow them. I-10 seemed to go on FOREVER. I finally found my exit, and tried to get onto Tranmountain something or another. But, since my trailer was HUGE, and it was dusk, and people wanted to get home, NO ONE was letting me in. I had to get over 2 lanes to be in the right position, and people woudln't let me in.

I ended up getting piped in the WRONG direction. And what direction was that, might you ask? DIRECTLY up those mountains! And when I say up, I mean UP! My poor truck was tired, and woudln't go any faster than 25-30 mph. Up and up and up we went. I coudln't find anywhere to turn around. There were no side roads. Besides, it was a divided road, so it wasn't like I could have turned around and gotten back on the right road anyway.

I was starting to panic. My nerves were shot, and I was DONE with the move. I may have (yep, bad parenting coming out) told the kids that we were hopelessly lost, and gonna get stuck in the mountains, and that the mountain lions were gonna eat us. Oh yeah, and I was almost crying by this point. Sniffling. It got REAL quite in the truck. Poor kids, I think I scared them - hehehe.

Well, after what seemed like an ETERNITY, we found a place to make a u-turn. We headed back down the GIANT mountain. But, guess what happens when you weight 9000 lbs, and need to go down a GIANT mountain? Your breaks overheat. Yep. By the time we got to the bottom, I could smell them, and they weren't working all that well. I had to really PRESS hard to stop at the stop light. I was now on the right road, at least.

I pulled over into the Whataburger/Denny's parking lot (or something like that), parked the truck, turned it off, and called Captain America. COME GET ME, I sobbed into the phone. I was a mess. But in about 15 minutes he was there, leading me back to our new home. I was so overwhelmed and sad and happy and tired. But mostly relieved that the LONG trip was over, and that I was FINALLY done and HOME!!!

On Friday, we took the truck to get it weighed. Trailer and all. That's how the Army calculates how much money to pay you for your move. Based on weight. We were 9000 ish lbs, including the trailer and all our junk. We're pretty heavy - LOL!

I also got the kids registered for school. It seems like a really nice school. There's a uniform (jeans - blue or black, School Tshirt/polo shirt). Never been to a school with a uniform. But I think it'll be ok. Not a very fancy uniform, so the boys shouldn't throw too big of a tizzy. They get to start school on Monday. Wish us luck :)

I took a few pics of our house, and wanted to share. Here's my fam at our new house! That's our door!!! Woohoo! I have a door - LMBO!

See how pretty it is - and it's all mine - er, ours. That's right. Ours - hehehehe.
My mom and I weren't really quite sure of the floor plan before I got here, so I took a few more pics to show her what it looked like. The kitchen/dining room/living room area are all connected, but it's quite a large space, so it doesn't feel cramped.

And look how nice my kitchen is. Can you tell I'm gushing here - Hehehehe.
So Captain America and I have decided that Friday night is now our date night. Since we've been married, we really haven't gone on dates. We've done "date night" at home, watching movies, playing cards, playing games, reading books, all sorts of things. But we've never paid for babysitting. It was just never in the budget. You know how many kids I have - LMBO! The babysitting would have been even more than the activity - hehehe.

Well, since Jacob is now almost 12, we've decided that he is ready for babysitting siblings. He's been left in charge for limited amounts of time with the kids, and has always done fantastic. Well, tonight was his first OFFICIAL babysitting evening. It was perfect. The movie theater was 5 minutes from the house, he had my cell phone, and was told to Captain Americas cell phone if he needed anything. Jimmy, Joe, and Eme were already asleep in bed, and he and Tom were playing video games. I was fairly certain that they weren't gonna budge the whole time.

Yep, I was right. When we got home, they were in the same place - LMBO! Jimmy had woken up at one point, and Jacob had gotten him a small drink of water, and put him back to bed. What a GREAT babysitter. Love ya, Jacob! The long 11 1/2 years of waiting was WELL worth it. So this is what it's like to have older kids - LOL!

The movie was Fantastic, by the way. Inkheart, with Brenden Fraiser (yeah, probably not spelled right - hehehe). I'm a fantasy nut, so this was RIGHT up my alley. Absolutely loved it. I'm definitely gonna buy it when it comes out on DVD. My kids are gonna love it too. And, it was SO nice to go to the movies on a date with my hubby. Granted, we were like the oldest ones in the theater (ok, so probably not, but I now know where all the teens go after dark), but it was SO nice to have some grown up time. I could get used to this!

So since I as SO tired last night, but still wanted to give you guys something, I made the first quote that popped into my head. From the Wizard of Oz. And, since I'm at my new home, I thought it was appropriate. So, I hope you enjoy :) Click on the image below to go to my box.net account to download the PNG file, and leave some love if you like my work :)

H - Beautiful ES Caps
ome - Perpetua Titling MT

Friday, January 23, 2009

Proverbs Series - Treasures

Pre-publishing is SO boring - LOL! I guess I could make up stuff. Like, um, yesterday was a great day in the truck. We drove.....and drove some more.....and then....um...drove. Yeah, it's not working for me. Let's just HOPE that we can get some wireless at the motel :)

Here's the 4th and final part of the series. Click on the image below to go to my box.net account to download the PNG file, and leave some love if you like my work. LINK NOW WORKING :)

treasures - Mary Helen JF
All rest - check Monday's Post :)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Proverbs Series - Understanding

Hi! Pre-publishing again on Sunday night :) Here's my series again :)

And your part for today!!! Click on the image below to go to my box.net account to download the PNG file, and leave some love if you like my work.

understanding - Mary Helen JF
All rest - um, look at yesterdays

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Casa Sweet Casa

Hey all!!! Yes, we're still alive - hehehehe. We stopped for the night at Victorville, California. It's a bit outside of San Bernadino. We were supposed to stop at Bakersfield, but we passed through town at 3pm, and I wasn't about to stop :) We got into Victorville at 6pm, a much better stopping time. So far, the trip has been GREAT! Lets see if I can catch you up :)

Here's some pics from the morning we left. It's of me and my grandma Ida...

Me and my mom....
And me, the kids, and my Grandma Ida. I knew I should have put on ALL my make-up - LMBO! Who knew we'd be taking pictures. I guess I should have figured that out - hehehhe. My mom is QUEEN of the cameras.

Here's me and the truck at the gas station before leaving town. Boy did the guys at the gas station get a good laugh at us - hehehehe. The were sure stareing a lot - LOL!

We went down the coast, and cut in-land at Reedsport. We picked up I-5 around Roseburg, and headed south. After cresting a mountain, and as we were coming down the other side (we were above the fog), we saw this HUGE valley of fog. It was INCREDIBLE!!! It looked like the ocean. A white, glowing, ocean of fog. It was awesome! Here a pic of it before we went underneath the bank.
You know, it really was nice having Jacob in the front seat to navigate. He's pretty good with a map, a fast reader, and a smart kid. The problem? All the video game talk. OMGosh! I got a PLAY - BY - PLAY recap of every new Gamecube game he got for Christmas. I seriously wanted to drive off into that fog bank a few times. But, I was nice, and listened, and gave the appropriate "uh huh, yeah, oh cool, really?". He seemed really pleased that I was listening and engaged, and I know that he loves me all the more now for it. The things we do for our children.

We passed a few mountains on the way. I know that Mt. Shasta was one of them. Sorry honey, I know you'd be terribly disappointed in me for not remembering their names, but I was concentrating on keeping the trailer on the road. hehehehe. BTW, Jacob, my 11 year old, was the photograper for the trip. He did a GREAT job. Thanks, sweetie!
We stopped at a rest stop in the mountains ( I don't remember where), and let the kids run around for 20 minutes. Wow were they loud. I think they ran the WHOLE time. But they weren't loud in my truck for 20 minutes, and THAT'S all that matters - LMBO!

We stopped for the night at Willows, which is south of Redding. We got there at 6ish, and I had everyone in bed and asleep by 8:45. Oh yeah, I'm just that good. We were up a little before 7am, and on the road by 8. We stopped in Merced for lunch at Wendy's at noon, and as we left Bakersfield on Hwy 58, we saw the most AMAZING hills. Its what I would have imagined Ireland looks like. Green hills, rocks, beautiful! Jacob got a few pics of them.

OK, so these pics don't look like Ireland, but trust me, they did. It was amazing. A little bit later, I decided to pull over and call my Aunt Sue for some navagation help. Since I'd passed my original stopping location for the evening, I now needed a new stopping place. After about 15 minutes, we had a hotel booked for Victorville. It put me right on the road that I needed to be on in the morning, and was only about an hour or so from were I was.

Here are a few pics of the kids playing in the parking lot while I was on the phone. Apparently, Jacob had the camera. LMBO!

And, back on the road, apparently Jacob snapped one more pic before dark. Love it, Jake! Great job :)I'm SO glad that the internet here at Motel 6 in Victorville is working. I've missed you guys! Even if it's just checking e-mails, a little grown-up interaction after 2 days in the truck with 5 kids is JUST what I needed :)

Hehehe, notice there's no pics of me from day 2? No shower, no make up the day before, fast food for 2 days, hair in a bandana. Yeah, you can imagine what I look like. Wednesday is shower day for sure - LMBO!

Oh yeah, more news. My sister, Madi, is in the hospital having her BABY!!! Woohoo! Her due date was Monday, and at her dr. appointment on Tuesday, they told her to come in later that evening, and they'd keep her overnight, then start a pic drip Wed am. My mom quickly got a ticket from Portland to St. Lake, and headed out. Can't wait to meet you, baby Lily!!!! I'm SO excited :)

So. Word Art Wednesday again. Can you believe it's WEEK 28. Holy cow! Since I'm on the road, Shauna from ScrapOrchard is gonna be posting this for me. Sorry I don't have the direct link. Maybe Gail, my blog manager (hint hint - LMBO!) can link it up for ya :) Did I mention how AWESOME she is!!! She's the one that links all my posts over on the right hand side of the column.

Anyway, on Wednesday, if you go to Scraporchard, and look in the gallery (remember, you need to be signed into the gallery for this to work), you can find my WordArt. And I just KNOW that you're gonna want this one :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Proverbs Series - Knowledge

Hi. I sure hope I get a chance to update these pre-published posts, because they're SO boring. LMBO! Day 3 of my series :)

Here's the next part :) Click on the image below to go to my box.net account to download the PNG file, and leave some love if you like my work.

knowledge - Mary Helen JF
All rest - check Monday - it's the same

Monday, January 19, 2009

Proverbs Series - Wisdom

Hey girls! So today is the big day!!! I've got a weeks worth of stuff for you, 'cause I may or may not be without internet (say it ain't so!!!) Surely Motel 6 has wireless!!! I wanna be able to pop on here and post some pics and let you know I'm all still alive.

Yesterday was our last day of church here in Florence. It was a good day. Did you know that I made it 6 months in this ward without having to talk in church - woohoo! Hehehehe. Most wards you move into, they ask you to speak within the first month. Captain America was here for 2 weeks and Christmas, and they asked him to speak - LMBO! I lucked out - I'm TERRIFIED of talking in front of people. Can't you all tell how shy I am (hehehe - reminds me of that Brad Paisley song, So Much Cooler Online)

I brought little 3x4 photo cards with pics of my family and our new contact information for the kids and I to hand out to our friends. I think I had about 30 of them, and between the people at church and family, they're mostly all gone. The kids were SO excited about being able to give them to their friends. Well, except for Jimmy. He just ate his. My mom was FREAKING out thinking that he was gonna die from all the chemicals on the photo paper. TOO funny. I assured her he was gonna be fine :)

We came home, and rested for a bit. I had a headache, and tried to lay down for a half hour to get it to go away. Not so much. But, when your a busy mom, you don't have time for a headache. I just pretended like I didn't have one, and was fine most of the day - hehehehe.

At 3, we went to my Aunts house for a "going away" party for us. We had ice cream sundaes/ice cream cones. Tasty :) My Uncle Steve (aunt sue's hubby) is a long haul trucker, and had Mapquested a route for me! Thanks, Uncle Steve. He printed me out each days itenery, no day traveling over about 400 miles. We're not fast travelers - hehehe.

The first day, to Redding. Second day to Bakersfield. Third day to Blythe. Fourth day to Wilcox Arizona. And then it's just 3 hours into El Paso on the fifth day. I'm sure that it could be done a LOT faster, but, um, we're going for slow and steady wins the race.

Here's a pic of Eme and my niece, Taylor. Aren't they adorable? The girl behind them is Maren, with her AWESOME camera, taking pictures of Clay and Jacob. Joe was trying to butt his way into the picture. There's me, trying to wrestle Jimmy - hehehehe.

And here's the kids and I. There was WAY too much light in the background, but you get the idea. Joe was making this face in each photo - nice - LMBO!!!

After the party, we went back home and packed up most of the truck. Game cube and TV, computer towers, suitcases with the days clothes, misc. stuff around the house. At 5, we had a Priesthood Preview at church. Hmmmm, how do I explain what this is for all of you who don't know. In our church, we believe that Heavenly Father delegates authority to men in his church to act in his name. When boys turn 12, the can get the Priesthood (or power and authority from God on earth). The "job" that the 12 year olds get is to pass the Sacrament (like communion). This meeting was to introduce all the 11 year olds turning 12 year olds to their new leaders and let them know a little bit more about what they would be doing.

It was a very nice meeting, and I know that Jacob will do great with his new responsibilities. He'll be 12 at the end of August. How did my baby get so big - hehehe. Anyway, if I haven't scared you all off by now..... :)

Here's a final-ish pic of the trailer. We put a few more rounds of shrink wrap on it after dark - LMBO!!! I just love the shrink wrap, and my Mom loves it EVEN MORE!!!

So, after the little kids went to bed, we decided to shrink wrap Tom. And by "we", I mean my mom. LOL! Tom was SO SO SO excited to be shrink wrapped. Seriously. He thought it was the COOLEST thing ever - hehehehe.

So, here it is, Sunday night, and I'm prepublishing the weeks stuff. I decided to go with a series. That gets 4 days worth of freebees done all in one foul swoop - LMBO! My mom has a Thomas Kinkade book ,"Home is Where the Heart Is" that sits on her piano. I'd never looked through it, and grabbed it for inspiration tonight. It's beautiful paintings with inspirational versus and poems. I found this one, and just KNEW that it would be perfect for my series. Below is an example of what it would look like all together. I'm gonna be giving one piece out a day. Aren't you excited!!!

Here's your first part of the series. Click on the image below to go to my box.net account to download the PNG file, and leaves some love if you like my work :) Thanks!

Wisdom - Mary Helen JF
All rest - Microsoft Yi Baiti

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Having it All

Packing day was yesterday! And was a LONG day it was :) I was up at 8ish, and started to clean up my area. I packed my pants, and accessories, and my cot area (LOL!) - you'd be surprised how much stuff you can cram under a cot - hehehe.

My mom and dad went to the storage unit to grab my totes, and any boxes that we might have had. Nope, we had none. We started to call around to the local stores, looking for more boxes, but there weren't really any. I looked up the Uhaul place on line, but they were closed. Whats up with that? Don't people move on the weekends?

My dad went to the grocery store (who had said they only had about 5), and brought home about 20. Way to go, Dad! All my box issues were solved!!! They were nice ones, too. Banana boxes, so they were big and sturdy. We got all my food storage in there just fine :)

Here's my dad putting down the first layer of boxes in the trailer. My tarp is at least a 16x20, so we put part of it in the bed, then a WHOLE bunch at the front, and our plan was to wrap it over the top. Smart, eh?

Next, we packed up the kids clothes. I'd gone through the day before, and pulled out 5 days worth of clothes, so we took all the rest, and put it in totes. There were some other totes with stuff in them too. Those went on next. And some more boxes. We went from room to room, packing as we went. After we got this far in the process, we shrink wrapped it. Shrink wrap is AWESOME!!! So much fun :)

At noon, we went to Abbys Pizza for lunch. Tom had a few coupons from school, so that's where we went. Wings, Potatoes, and Pizza. Yummy. But a little bit too greasy for my liking. I had to dab them with my napkin to soak up the extra grease. Eeewh! Tasty, but eeewh! Especially with the ranch. The kids had fun "fake" playing on the video games there, and eating lunch.

Then, it was back to the house for more....guess what? PACKING! LOL! My Grandma, my Aunt Sue, and my parents were all over helping. The little kids were running amok, but they were happy and safe. Not causing too many problems :)

Here's some pics of me taking a turn with the shrink wrap when we got more packed. Nice faces, eh? Aren't I hot - LMBO!!!! Honey, here I come - hehehehe.

See, here's my dad, after we pulled the tarp over the load. Good thinkin', eh?

Here's a final picture of the trailer for last night. Tarped, bungeed, shrink wrapped, and bungee netted. I don't think this loads going ANYWHERE! hehehehe. It's in there pretty good. Today, we're gonna shrink wrap it more. It's fun - you should try it some time - hehehe.

The bikes are on the trailer tongue, tied down real good. REAL GOOD. They're not gonna budge at all. We're gonna....... SHRINK WRAP it more tomorrow - hehehehehe. Bikes and all. Yep, no Uhaul for us. Homemake all the way - LMBO!

You know, sitting here on my couch last night (pre-publishing), I'm really grateful for all that I have. My trailer is loaded, and I'm about 90% ready to pull out of Oregon. I have family around who helped me when I needed it. My kids are happy to be going to a HOUSE of our own, and so am I. I know that there will be hard times ahead. I'm not niaeve. I know this trip is gonna be hard. BUT, I'm SO excited about being together with my hubby again, in our own house, with our own stuff, as our own little family. And attitude is what it's all about. Right now, I'm pumped (tired, but pumped - I'm going to bed early - hehehe).

So, I made this WordArt, because right now, I do feel like I have it all. Life is good :) Click on the image below to go to my box.net account to download the PNG file, and leave some love if you like my work. Thanks!

The, Joy, of - StephanieMarieJF
Having, it, all - Felix Titling