Friday, April 19, 2013

Testosterone on display (aka: pinewood derby)

If you know Jason, you know he's competitive.  If you know Jayden, you know he's a clone of Jason.  You can only imagine the time they put into this little wooden car.  Not to mention the money. I'm emberassed to admit how much they spent, but let's just say they probably could have bought a pretty tricked out remote control car for the same price.  Buuuuut, they wouldn't have the memories.  The memories of pouring over an official "how to win a pinewood derby" book, the memories of sawdust sticking to their sweaty arms while shaving it down to a precise measurement, the memories of getting the weight and shape down to a science.  So glad they were able to bond over this project, and even though his car came in third place, it was still a win/win.

Such a Jayden look, trying to restrain his excitement from a winning heat

And then this love fest turned into them both layed out flat on the floor crying and the only way to console him was to let him raid the refreshment table and run amuck the rest of the night.  It was all down hill from there.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The conception, gestation and birth of a dream

(Yeah, I've had that title stewing inside my head for the past few months, pretty good eh? So glad I can finally write about it.  And write about it I am. This is for my own personal record, so no cliffs notes version this time.)

So almost exactly a year and half ago to the day, we were in California for fall break.  While swimming at the hotel pool there were two little girls from Australia.  I sat there listening to their adorable accents and thinking how cool for them that they get to travel to another country on vacation, and then I hatched a plan.  I decided that the year Kylie graduates from high school we would plan a huge international family vacation, our last vacation as a little family unit living under the same roof.  As I sat there patting myself on the back for my genius plan, I remembered that Jason's company has offices around the globe with programs set up to let you work abroad for a couple of years.  The fire was lit.  And there was no extinguishing it. This was the same California trip where we needed Noah's ark to navigate through Disneyland.  So as we sat in the hotel room with rain pouring outside and Animal Planet entertaining the kids inside, Jason and I started researching and talking.  We continued talking on the beach as we watched the kids play in the sand.  Then the entire 6 hr drive home I spent researching locations on Jason's phone.  Fiji and Greece were tantilizing, but ultimately Auckland, New Zealand became my top pick, with Zurich, Switzerland as a close second.  I was anxious to get the ball rolling, and this is where I need to give props to Jason.  This was my dream.  This wasn't the most logical dream.  This wasn't the easiest dream. We are so happy and comfortable where we're at, the ward is amazing, the kids have great friends and Jason has earned a great reputation at work.  I like change, but Jason's a creature of habit and it wasn't a small thing to ask him to uproot our family and step way beyond our comfort zone.  But Jason loves me and he could see how excited I was about this, and I love him for that.  He started talking to people and letting them know he was interested, and things slowly started progressing.  Progressing slower than I would like and I didn't let Jason forget that this dream would one day become a reality.  And that making this dream a reality was entirely up to him.  And I sorta got obnoxious about it.  We started getting some leads and connections, we had dinner appointments with a potential lead in Zurich, Jason talked with Tokyo, he had connections with Capetown, there was an opening in Spain (if he spoke Spanish), Brazil and India were ours for the taking, Sydney may have a possible opening...I spent countless hours researching each and every opportunity that crossed our radar.  I had every single House Hunters International episode saved on my DVR.  Then a few months ago in February he got a call.  There was an opening in Stockholm, Sweden.  They interviewed him.  They wanted him.  This was it.  I contacted international schools, I scoured real estate sights, I contacted friends of friends of friends on fb that live in Stockholm, I joined a Sweden moms discussion board. I slept, ate and drank Sweden.  It seemed really challenging, but I was up for it.  Emphasis on "I" more than "we".  It has long, dark, cold winters, there's a major language barrier and the biggest was the extremely high cost of living.  Not to mention, the kids were not the least bit excited about it.  Kylie cried herself to sleep some nights.  She had a warped view of Sweden, she pictured it circa early 1900's where everyone wore lederhosens and lived in cottages in the woods, and there was no changing her mind.  Jason was hesitant, money talks and it was not saying good things.  I had visions of whisking away for a weekend in Paris, or snowboarding in the Swiss Alps, or exploring castle ruins, but there was a looming fear that all our money would be going toward food and shelter and there would not be much left to play with.  We kept the process going with Sweden, but we also kept our options open.  He reached out to his Auckland contacts, no openings.  He reached out to Australia and we had a teaser with Brisbane and some possible leads in Melbourne.  We were fishing, but nobody was nibbling. There are few things in life as nerve racking and exciting as waiting for a phone call. A phone call from a boy you like, a phone call from a sister going into labor, a phone call about a job interview, a phone call about an offer on a house, those life changing phone calls get my stomach all in knots every time.  My heart would jump just a little bit each time the phone rang over the past few months.  Then there was an opening in Christchurch, New Zealand.  He had a phone interview set up at 1:00 on a Monday.  I went along with my cleaning day routine, with a little more vigor in my shower scrubbing and a nervousness in my chest.  An hour had passed.  I carried the phone in my pocket while I vacuumed so that I wouldn't miss Jason's call.  Two hours passed and then I figured he probably had to go to other meetings and would call when he had a chance.  He finally called after spending over 2 hours on the phone with the partner in New Zealand, they totally clicked and it was inevitable.  I was thrilled, he was thrilled, and most importantly, the kids were thrilled.  We started planning, things got delayed, they said it would happen, we waited and waited and waited.  In hindsight, it really wasn't that long, but when your whole future is hinging on one email with one contract, then days seem like weeks.  It finally came at 9:30 pm last night and it was surreal.  We had talked, we had planned, we had prayed, we had stressed and we had waited for this moment for the past 18 months and that moment was finally here.  The contract was signed, and it was official.  Around June 25th we'll be on a plane heading to our new home.  And it had all come full circle since New Zealand was my top pick from the get go.  We feel so good about this move, I've had some very personal spiritual experiences along the way and feel that my testimony has really grown.  I hope this move will help me flex my spiritual muscles and challenge me in ways that will help me to grow.  Help us to grow.  I'm excited to simplify, to refocus my priorities and center my life entirely on my family and the gospel.  This could be like our own little mission.  So that's where we're at.  Up to our eyeballs in boxes and paperwork, but smiles a mile wide.  I can't wait to spend the next two years exploring the nooks and crannies of this breathtakingly gorgeous island with my rad little family. Tonight we went to Kiwi Loco to celebrate with some fro yo.  New Zealandars call themselves "kiwis", so we figured that Kiwi Loco would be very fitting, considering we'll be a couple of crazy kiwi's in a matter of months (If you know me, then you know my cheese and you know I've had this whole thing planned out for months. If it was Australia then we would have celebrated at Outback Steakhouse, if it was Sweden then we would have dined on Swedish meatballs at the Ikea food court.  It's safe to safe to say they were glad it wasn't Sweden :).  So ready or not, here we go....

Sunday, April 14, 2013

My little Juker

He's kinda really cute when he explains the in's and out's of football to me.  He's kinda really cute when he talks with his mouth guard in, and when he defines "juking" for me, and when he offers to carry my folding chair, and when he looks over at me with a smile everytime he makes a good play, and when he refers to me coming to his game as a "mommy date".  Yeah, this little football player of mine is kinda really cute.  (And yeah, I think I need to buy him some longer shorts too.  I swear he's grown overnight.)

This is the play that could have gone down as the best play of the game, he ran the ball almost the entire length of the field....

And then as he sees the player getting closer....

He comes to a complete dead halt. RIGHT before the touchdown markers. The coaches weren't too happy.  This is where I got my lesson on juking.  He later explained how he scored the winning touchdown at recess doing this move, just too bad for him that it didn't work this time.  Oh well, I like how he has his head in the game and is always trying to outsmart the other players.  He had some other great plays and scored a two point conversion (no, I didn't know what that was. yes, I had to have him explain it to me). You done made your mama proud, boy.

Monday, April 08, 2013

"It was a really good Easter and then it was a really bad Easter"

The good part was all the usual Easter festivities, the bad part was me scrubbing barf off the floor of a public restroom.  No I lied, the REALLY bad part was me digging dirty paper towels out of the public toilet after I clogged the toilet after I scrubbed up the said barf.  And then as Maddox is standing there in his skibbies in the middle of the church bathroom with throw up dripping into his shoes he looked at me and said, "it was a really good Easter and then it was a really bad Easter."  But let's be honest,  nobody wants to hear stories about throw up.  Carrying on.....I haven't been feeling too pinteresty lately and dying eggs is one tradition I wouldn't mind falling through the cracks.  Maddox was not about to let that happen, and after his frustration that the raw eggs were not changing colors with his water and food dye bath then I decided I better get off the phone and help him.  I half heartedly asked the other kids if they wanted to color eggs but was secretly relieved when they opted to be couch potatoes instead.  We dyed a half dozen eggs yellow then checked that one off our list.

Since the kids had Friday off, Jason decided to take them on one last snowboarding trip.  They got a hotel Thursday night and ended the season with a bang.  Jason had a proud dad moment when they went on their first black diamond.  Even I avoid black diamonds. He said it was so fun because for the first time he wasn't teaching them, they were all just riding together.  So proud of them, there were many tears along the way but I love that they stuck with it (pshh, as if Jason gave them a choice) and now it's paying off.  Can't wait until I can ride with them!  When they got back Friday evening we set up the tent and movie projector for a backyard campout and our own little drive-in theater, except way better since you can't get PB caramel popcorn at the drive-in. 

And then we totally switched gears on Saturday and spent the day at the lake.  It felt so good getting back out there after hibernation. The water was still freezing, but it didn't stop the boys from getting out there and wakeboarding (Jayden is such a mini clone of Jason).  Jayden had 3 boatfuls of girls that cheered for him and he dutifully threw out his trademark peace sign.  And then his head proceeded to grow about three sizes. That boy is the cat's pajamas. I love all the memories we've made on this lake, they're some of my favorite.

By the time we got back from the lake I was exhausted and still had to set up Easter.  I accidentally spilled the beans about the EB with Jayden, I could have sworn he knew already, oh well, it makes my life easier.  So now that they were both in the loop I jumped at their offer to help and gave them full reign on the string mazes while I made cupcakes for my primary class.  They went a little overboard and it took us about an hour to get through the mazes the next morning, but they were pretty proud of themselves.  Ryder kept going back to the same cupboard where his basket was hidden in hopes that more candy would magically appear.

And then I put Kylie to work again as she made most all of the crepes for breakfast.  It was fun having her in the kitchen with me and she was such a great help.

And then there was church and then there was "the incident" and then there was pictures, which was almost as bad as "the incident".  I made sure Jason threw Maddox's clothes into the washer when he came home early from church so it would be clean for pictures.  Except he believes you can't wash ties in the washer and I strongly disagree, but the fact of the matter was Maddox was expected to wear a tie that smelled like puke and he was not having it. And Ryder with his late nap was not having it, and I'll spare you the details because I already did that ten fold with the bathroom story, but atleast I got my favorite worst picture out of it. I mean, come on, that face. And the barf streaked tie. And I promise I won't use the word "barf" again.

We had dinner at Shawn and Melinda's house then ended with my favorite, our Easter FHE lesson and testimony meeting.  We may not have had a detailed egg decorating session, I may have gone really simple on their baskets, I may have scaled it back with the brunch, I may have had the kids do more work than me, I may not have made my traditional carrot cake, I may not have slaved over the stove for a gourmet Easter feast, but this may have been my favorite Easter yet.  We had an awesome weekend filled with some quality family time and all the other stuff is just fluff, so who needs pinterest anyways?

Sunday, April 07, 2013


I don't even have to say it, because you know I'm thinking it.  Okay, I'll say it. Maddox in a baseball uniform is the cutest thing perhaps I've ever seen.  Especially when that little uniform runs to 3rd base instead of 1st, and runs the bases with the opposite team when he's in outfield, and then leaves whatever position he's in to chase after the ball.  Yeah, your typical run of the mill cuteness. Oh, and that little thing he does with his fingers when he's feeling nervous or shy (in the picture below)...yeah, that's killing me too. He may be more of an arts and crafts kinda guy than a sports guy, but his little timid and bashful side that comes out when he's playing is so endearing.  And now your welcome for the following 53 pictures.  Mama's pride on full display.

This picture sorta sums up his thoughts and feelings on baseball (notice the finger thing? Cute I tell you!)