Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Deep in the Heart

We originally moved to Wisconsin for Greg to complete his Master's degree. It was never meant to be a permanent move. Different circumstances allowed Greg to finish the program last month; something Jared and I (and all those who care for us) were, and still are, very proud of. By mid-summer, we knew he would be done in December and thus began the elusive job hunt.

Since Greg was incredibly busy with school, he put me in charge--- no pressure at all. One of the first jobs I found was with a company that seemed too good to be true down in the south. Greg applied and, as the months went by, it didn't look like he was ever going to get an interview. We decided to move on and keep looking. Thanksgiving in Seattle rolls around and Greg gets a call from this dream company to set up a first round interview. In the midst of our vacation, Greg quarantined himself in a quiet part of my parent's house to sit through the interview. It goes well enough for Greg to earn a on-site trip the first week in January.

The new year comes and Greg is off. The interview goes as well as anyone can hope---maybe even better---now comes the hardest waiting----the two to three weeks for the decision to come back. What's the latest, you ask? Well...

GREG WAS OFFERED THE POSITION!!! As of mid-February, we'll be new residents of TEXAS in the beautiful city of (it's your turn to guess the city by the picture)....

We can't stress enough the importance of prayers and fasting, and not just from us either. Every time we would be unsure, I'd hear from my Mom or Dell about how this person or that person was praying and/or fasting for us. We feel very blessed to have such a wonderful support system. The Lord hears and watches over us all. It seemed as though whenever we would feel content about this job not working out, the next step would happen.

Madison will always have a special place in our memory. We've made many friends, experienced incredible highs and lows (including two of the craziest winters ever) and made life-changing decisions. However, we are very excited to start the next Texas-sized adventure!!!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Newest Trick

Jared sticks his tongue out now---it's super cute! Enjoy!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Fashion Sense

The other night Jared got something on his original pair of pants. Greg ended up changing his diaper and his pants. This is what happens when Daddy dresses the baby:

What is a Mama to do? At least it's not another Hawaiian shirt! :)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Eight Months

Our little stinker is now a little over EIGHT months old and we can't believe how fast the time has gone! Here's just a few words to describe his personality:
  • LARGE: He's a moose! 29 inches and 22 and a half pounds in your face all the time! Which is okay because his face just happens to be adorable! He's so large because of how much food he eats. His most recent additions (and new favorites) include banana strawberry, japanese apple pears and graduate stars.
  • THUNDEROUS: This past month has been the most vocal month in his life. He's regular musician--exploring his volume, pitch, tempo in the best places (sacrament meeting seems to be his favorite time to test them all). He loves saying 'ba,' 'ma,' blowing raspberries, sticking his tongue out, and, his new favorite, saying 'Dada' to Greg.
  • EXPLORATORY: This kid is in EVERYTHING---I'm not kidding! The week before Christmas he officially discovered every part of the apartment. He's also discovered the TV, DVDs and the Wii. He explores mostly by crawling or furniture-aided walking. Once he sees something new it becomes his new obsession. He's very determined (i.e. stubborn). Part of his exploration includes putting it all in his mouth to encounter the FIVE SPEARS of PAIN, or what others would know as teeth. Yep, five teeth---crazy I know!
  • JOYFUL: He's a very happy baby. It takes a lot to get him upset and he only stays that way until he's full or asleep. He's recently discovered the joys of giggling at absolutely nothing and giving Mama wet-slobbery kisses---it's fantastic.
We're looking forward to exploring his new language developments and experiencing his first steps! Eight months down--- here we come month nine!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

2008 Toyota Highlander

So this is a picture of our new car... almost. It is really too cold to go outside and take some good pictures right now. Also it is really dirty, after having been driven for a few days in our winter weather. Our car looks just like this one though, minus the roof-rack.
We got a great deal on it. The dealer sold it to us for $100 less than they bought it for. Which is $2k under KBB and $6k less than they originally wanted for it. It is Toyota certified so it comes with an additional 7-year 100k mile warranty which is awesome. If you care about stats you can look them up online here.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

California Leftovers

Here are some more great pictures taken in California. Some are classic!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Day at the Beach

As I type Greg is picking up our new car---pictures to follow soon! :)

The day before we left, we decided to take Jared to the beach. It was a beautiful day; just a little bit of chill in the air so we could see the islands a few miles off the shore. We walked down the pier before letting Jared enjoy the beach swings. While on the pier, we got amazingly close to a Pelican; almost too close for comfort. After our Pelican experience, we took Jared down to the swings and Jared was able to show MeMa and DeDa just how much he loves to move. Then Jared experienced sand for the first time. It was adorable; he wasn't quite sure what to do with it. So, after a few minutes of exploration, he tried to eat it. :)

All in all, it was a wonderful day at the beach and here are the pictures to prove it:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

California Pictures

MeMa wanted to take family pictures while we were out in California. A wonderful ward member took the following pictures, enjoy:

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Multiple Dates

We went to St. Louis over the weekend which caused the California recap delay. We now return to your regularly scheduled blogging:

Another bonus about going to California was the automatic babysitting. Automatic babysitting in the grandparents and fantastic family friends. We went on a total of two dates: one was a double date with Dell & Paul and another was just Greg and I.

Both dates we went to the movies and saw Yes Man and Bedtime Stories. We enjoyed both movies, however, Bedtime Stories was family-friendly and worth seeing again and/or owning---Yes Man was not. If you have a chance, go and see it.

Being able to go on dates helped us realized, yet again, just how important our couple time is. Yay for that reminder.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Four Generations

Another highlight of our California Christmas was Jared having the opportunity to meet two more sets of Great-grandparents. A chance to have four generations in the same room---TWICE! :)

On Christmas he met Great-Grandpa, Dell's Dad, and Dawn.
Then, the following Sunday, we paid a visit to Paul's parents, Nana & Papa.

Even though Jared won't remember, we are very grateful that he was able to do this. That way we when look at these pictures in years to come we will be able to tell him, and his possible siblings, stories about these marvelous people.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Christmas 2008

The next day was Christmas Eve. Paul and Greg spent the day visiting Nana at the hospital; she has a kidney removed the previous day. Dell, Jared, and I spent time running errands. We met up with the boys for dinner and Christmas lights. However, before the Christmas lights, Jared had to open his Christmas Eve present which was, and will always be, new pajamas. He had fun looking at the paper and trying to eat his new clothes.

Oxnard, the town right next to Camarillo, has two streets which are famous for their Christmas lights. We enjoyed them through the comfort of the car so we could make it back home for a lovely evening with the Stakers. We had desert, presents and a plain-old wonderful time. Jared even made a new friend in Marisa. After the Stakers left, it was off to bed.

Jared normally wakes up around 9, so in Cali it was 7---well, Christmas morning he woke up at 5, ate and had energy up the wazoo. Jared has never ever been a baby who has energy that early in the morning. I think he sensed the difference in that morning---definitely something he got from Mama. Too bad, I'm on the parent end now and we brought him to bed with us until 800. At 830, Paul had an abelskiever breakfast ready and at 9 we were ready for presents.

MeMa had a lot of fun getting presents for everyone. Greg and I both came from family's who gave one big present and a few little ones. Greg's main present was his home Server components (his last box came Monday and he's having fun putting it together). I (Amber) got a bunch of Disney cha-keys. It looked liked Disney threw-up---in a good way. :) Jared got toys, clothes, and DeDa wrote him an adorable 'First Christmas' poem. It made me cry--- even though that's not very hard. Jared did great until stockings (which we did last---something I'm not used to) and then it was down for a nap.

We spent the day like any other Christmas---enjoying each others' company and messing with our new things. Greg even graced us with a little bit of piano-playing. Jared was mesmerized. Dell's dad and step-mom came over for dinner so Jared was able to meet them. We spent the evening eating delicious food, playing with the baby, taking pictures, and opening presents. It was fantastic and Jared really enjoyed his great-grandpa and Dawn.

All in all, a very memorable day for Jared's first Christmas.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Frozen Cancellation: Part Two

After our unexpected night in Lawrence, we started another early day trying to get to LA. We opted to get on the first flight of the day because we wanted to get there as soon as possible. When we checked in the agent informed us that we needed to get seats from the gate attendant. At this point, we were slightly worried that we would be delayed yet again. Turns out, to get seats together, they bumped us to First Class. It was fantastic, Jared had plenty of room to wiggle and enjoy himself. The complaint came in the de-icing before take-off; it took an extra hour and a half!

By the time we landed in Dallas, our LA flight was ready to leave. We had to run from terminal A to D. Now, for those of you not familiar with the Dallas airport---it's huge! So huge, in fact, they have a skyline (monorail) between terminals. We made our flight and went from first class to sardine-ville---back of the plane, center row middle and aisle seat with an elderly gentleman next to me. Kind of awkward when I nursed Jared. :) And to add insult to injury, the flight attendants decided to put a Christmas movie on for free, too bad our row was one of three that had no working sound. Seriously?

Throughout this journey Jared did great---until the end of this last flight. He was d-o-n-e with airports and airplanes. Little did we know after we landed that we would still spend three more hours in the airport. First, it took them 45 minutes to find and return our stroller gate-side. Then, we have made the plane in Dallas, but our bags didn't; they were on the next plane, two hours later.

Once our bags arrived we were out of there---into LA rush hour. It took us almost three more hours to get to Camarillo. Even though the two previous days stunk we were finally there with MeMa & DeDa eating at In 'n Out.

mmm... In 'n Out...

Monday, January 5, 2009

Lawrence Relatives

Janet, Dell's cousin, and her husband, Stan, invited us to stay with them during our extra night in Kansas City. Once she learned of our dilemna, she rounded up all the baby necessities and was off to the airport---an hour away. Bless her heart, she was willing to drive out at get us. On our way back to Lawrence her daughter, Debbie, and her family invited us over for pizza. We had a marvelous time, even though we were probably less than exciting because of our long day. We didn't know when we'd get out to Kansas to meet them, so we found our silver lining to such a wretched day.

I'm so grateful for their open heart and kindness. They were a joy to be around. We will always look back at that day and count our blessings for family connections.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Frozen Cancellation: Part One

We have so many wonderful (and not so wonderful) highlights from our Christmas vacation that I thought it would be fun to dedicate a different post to each one. First the journey:

It all began the Monday before Christmas at 3 in the morning. We had to get up that early in order to make our first flight. A flight that lasted a total of 20 minutes; I thought it was kind of ridiculous; plus we were delayed so much that it seemed as though our connection would leave. I had nothing to worry about because we flew Midwest. They were very proud to inform us on the plane that they were the only airline that never leaves connecting passengers behind. The downfall of that comes when one flight makes the rest of the days flights late. But more on that later. So, we were up, down, off to our connection and shortly, off to Kansas City. And this is where the story gets interesting.

By this point in our journey it was 845am. The stop in KC was supposed to be a quick one; get the rest of the LA passengers and away we went, right? WRONG. At 920, they informed us that there was 'a situation' with the plane and they were trying several things to right it and we would be out shortly. Three Tarmac workers and 45 minutes later we were still at the gate; and that was when they deplaned us, which is never a good sign.

Once inside the airport, the gate worker informed us that she would go to the offices, work it out, and be back at 11. At that point it looked as though we would commandeer a plane coming in from D.C. at 1120. Well, 1130 comes, along with our gate attendant to inform us our flight was canceled and we wouldn't be able to leave until the next day. Seriously, it's early afternoon and there's no other flights to LAX, one of the largest airports in the country? I thought they were playing a cruel pre-Christmas joke because they saw so many families on the plane.

Nope, no such luck, because the reason for the cancellation could not be made up. Someone at the Milwaukee airport forgot to empty the lavatory tank the previous night and, since it was December in Wisconsin, it froze. We could fly to KC because it was short flight, but they was no way they would fly three hours with no lavatories. You read right, they canceled our flight because of frozen poop. Unbelievable.

How was Jared this whole time, you ask? Absolutely wonderful and a blessing for the situation. I'm still grateful for my content little boy who has absolutely no problems with planes or small places. He napped, nursed, and ate fruit and veggies like a good little boy. The problem came when Greg and I realized that we only packed enough baby cha-keys for the journey because we were going to the store as soon as we landed. Luckily, Greg has second cousins in Lawrence and they jumped at the change to meet Jared and I, and graciously offered us a place to stay that night.

Stay tuned for Part Two...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy 2009!

After crazy journeys to and from California, we're back. Our time included way too much time in airports, In 'n Out, new movies, old friends, great-grandparents, presents, the beach, dates and, overall, a great time. So great, in fact, that this was the result:
Once we're done recovering, I'll post of our journey. But for now...

Happy New Year from our family to yours!


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