Friday, December 31, 2010

Luggage Nazi

My heart did a little jump for joy when the scale said 50 lbs for each. One of them was even 51.5, and the airline personnel said it was fine. This was going to smooth. This was going to be easy. Until she looked over at our carry on baggage, and just started shaking her head. No, she said, those are too big! The carry on baggage was only allowed to be 26 lbs total, combined for carry and on personal item. And no, the kids can't each have a backpack full, but only a small pack that will fit in the little "sizer" box that practically fits my purse only. I aired my frustration with the fact that this information was not posted on their website, but she had no sympathy whatsoever. She courteously asked us to please move over to another scale, as our repacking would take quite a bit of time, and she needed to help the next people in line.

As obedient fliers we moved out of the way, and started shuffling our stuff. Apparently the checked bags were allowed to be 53 lbs, so we got some extra space there. Some clean cursing and reshuffling later, we came up with a new game plan. The suitcases were all 53 lbs, so that was allowed. The carry ons were 26 lbs, which was also allowed. But we had to find a way to smuggle the overstuffed backpacks into the plane. First item: select a different airline agent. That first lady was a nazi. Who asks to weight carry on luggage anyways? We instructed the kids to wear their backpacks, and pretend they were not heavy at all. They also were to stand behind the counter where their humongous backpacks wouldn't be an obvious violation of their lame 26 lbs combined maximum. To save even more on weight I also wore Joe's leather coat over top of my wool coat, Joe wore a sportscoat and his motorcycle jacket, and Winter even carried her scriptures in her hands. The only thing missing was the motorcycle helmets :)

Fortunately the next lady didn't even glance at our carry on bags, or "personal items" and let us straight through (even after the first lady warned her to check out bags). I'd like to think that Joe's Spanish skills once again saved us (he was charming lady #2 by chatting to her in Spanish) The next hurdle: security. It felt great to take off all the sweaters and jackets, but as anyone with kids can attest to, it's a stressful scenario. Someone needs to stay at the front of the 20 foot line of bins, while the other takes up the back. The kids float around in the middle, and attempts are made to keep them in line and behaving like perfect little soldiers.

After security we realized why they tell you to be at the airport 3 hours in advance! We had monkeyed around with our luggage for 1.5 hours, and the plane was already boarding (for international flight they board 1 hour before departure). So we had to skip lunch and the promised ice cream at McDonals for good behavior, and went straight to the gate. The same #1 lady was there! Again the kids were threatened with their lives if they didn't have the happiest faces carrying 30 lb backpacks. I think she might have given us a funny look, but at least she didn't stop us from getting on.

The last time we visited Holland, we had a direct flight with KLM. That experience has turned me into a flight snob. I will no longer fy with a layover if at all possible. It's worth that extra $50 per ticket, just to save a major hassle and possible delays. The thought of getting all of our carry on back out of this plane and to the help of my family is scary enough, without throwing in a layover as well. So here I sit in a darkened cabin, with only a few hours left on this flight. I've only had enough time to watch 1 movie, eat dinner, play a few games, and type this post. Before we know it, it will be time for breakfast, and I'll have to find some time to make up for a lost night's sleep.

current Greenland time Midnight.

Time at destination: 4am.

Remaining Flight time: 3.5 hours

Thursday, December 30, 2010


As I sit here eating my breakfast, anticipating today's big move, I can't help but contemplate all my accomplishments from the past 12.5 years. In August 1998, I got on an airplane with 2 suitcases and my mother. Today, I will get on a plane with 10 suitcases, a husband, and 3 kids. In the mean time, I earned a college degree, got married, gave birth to 3 children, attempted to raise 3 children, baptized one of those children, explored my hobbies such as dancing, harping, photographing and sewing, lived in 4 different states, honed my English skills, and hopefully became a better person.

What my future looks like, remains to be seen. Holland might be the first of many countries, or we might go right back to America in just a short year. I might find a job, or I might not. I will embrace my Dutch culture and tradition, and hold on to my American ones. I will love my husband and kids. I will get to know my extended family all over again. And most important: I will be happy wherever I am.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Helmets in Airplanes?

With our departure less than 48 hours away, it feels like there's a mountain on my shoulder. So many things to remember, last minute errands to run, tons of laundry to do, decisions to make on what to bring, packing carefully to maximize capacity, and worrying I'll forget something important.

The only nice thing about moving to another continent in suitcases, is that the decision process is relatively simple (as in not complex). Items either go in the suitcase, in the trash, in storage, or to Goodwill. One moment the mountain seems to shrink, until the very next moment when I remember we somehow have to fit 2 motorcycle helmets in the luggage. Maybe we can wear them in the airport, and tell any questioning stewardesses that we want to be prepared in case of a crash?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Redneck Christmas

We had Christmas celebrations a few days early at the beach. However, we still drove into town on Christmas day, and it just seemed wrong to not celebrate in any kind of way. We felt the love from the Morphis family who invited us over for lunch and gathering.

Since we had been out of town for over a week, and Christmas is the ONLY day of the year that wally world isn't open, we decided our best chances at a warm dinner was a restaurant. Most restaurants do the right thing, and let their employees enjoy the holidays with their families. However, there are a few "choice" select restaurants who cater to those seeking a full belly outside their home. We just happened to drive past a Waffle House on our way home from the Morphises, and their yellow neon sign beckoned to us.
The kids were so excited to go out to dinner for Christmas. And felt so special to get their own hot chocolate! I feel bad supporting restaurants who make their employees work on this special holiday, but since they had to work anyways, might as well give them something to do, right?

This outing to the Waffle house brought back memories of a holiday in our past. About 7 years ago, while living in Boise, we didn't have any dinner plans for Thanksgiving. No one had come to visit us, and we were not invited anywhere else either. So we rocked Thanksgiving dinner at the Chuck a rama. I'm not sure which restaurant is more redneck; Waffle House or Chuck a rama, but I do know they are competing for first place.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Ginger's comment when all of a sudden the car started smelling really bad. "Eewww, who farted? Then, looking over to the boy next to her who had just taken off his shoes and socks : "Eewwww, his feet just farted!"

Winter's birthday is always during Christmas break, so she misses out on having a party at school. Since we will be leaving her school, I thought it would be important for her to celebrate her birthday. Instead of sending processed sugars in the form of cupcakes to school though, I remember what the Dutch kids do. In Holland it's all about who brings the coolest treat for their birthday. And often these treats are healthy. After some research, Winter picked the flower garden
I hope the kids in her class will love them as much as I do!

A funny sight I spotted as I was heading up to bed
Winter is usually the one who sleeps in too late, is running around trying to find her stuff at the last minute, and not very prepared. Sterling is the one who is always prepared. She must be really excited about her party at school tomorrow.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


One of the American traditions I have come to love, is driving around and looking at Christmas lights. My first recollection of doing so, is from 1999. I spent my Christmas break with my best friend and roommate Jessica Teeples. We all piled up in the back of a pick up truck, snuggled under blankets, and just enjoyed decorated houses. After that first year, some years we go out, others we don't. But I love it! There's just something magical about lights. I'm sure that's what the professionals in Las Vegas would tell you too.

Frisco is the town next to ours, and has one of the 10 best synchronized lights in America (Google said so) Even though you couldn't be there to enjoy it live, you can still enjoy it:

The lights are amazing, and of course the traffic is crazy. I feel for those living next door to them though, as they would carefully have to plan when to come to and from their house. I don't know why the Dutch don't decorate their homes to the same extent and the American, besides the fact that they're a lot more energy conscious. In that regard perhaps I've become too American...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

2 more?

Since we first decided we were "done" after the miscarriage in 2007, I almost feel annoyed when yet another once of my friends or family members gets pregnant. Especially if they have also said they were done. Of course this feeling is completely irrational, nevertheless it is there.

I think part of the reason for these feelings, is that I don't feel like we're done either. But there are so many reasons NOT to have another baby.
-Babies are expensive
-We're moving to Holland, and our car won't fit a 6th person
-I'm finally at my goal weight now. Getting pregnant will mean yet another 2 years of "not being myself"
-Babies turn into kids, and kids are expensive
-I got rid of all the baby clothes and furniture, and will have to buy it all over again.

All of these reasons are selfish reasons. And despite these reasons, I truly feel that our family isn't complete, and longingly watch large families.

Another reason we haven't had more kids up to now; Joe is done. Or at least he was until a few days ago. When I told him AGAIN, in a sweet voice, that I thought we should make 2 more babies, he rolled his eyes and said: "just get them out at the same time". If having twins was a choice, I'd probably make that choice. But since fertility drugs have a lot of serious negative side effects, I'll have just take whatever I get.

The very next day after Joe gave me the reluctant "fine", I called the doctor and scheduled to get the IUD (birth control) taken out. I was surprised at my nerves as I was waiting on the doctor's table. Butterflies all up in my stomach. They weren't there for the procedure, because its very uneventful. I guess the butterflies were there, because I realized that I was making a life changing decision.

5 kids is a lot more than 3 kids. Why have 2 more instead of 1? My parents had 3 children close together (like me), and then waited a long 7 years to have their last one (Emma). I always swore I would never do this, since Emma essentially grew up as an only child. By the time our next baby can come, Ginger will be 6. I think once she was 3, I felt like the gap was too big, and we had to be done. However, my friend Tracey had 2 boys, a five year gap, and then another 2 boys, and it's just fine!

Now that the decision is made, the planning starts.

How long do we wait until my body is ready? The miscarriage is still very much on my mind. I contribute it to the fact that we got pregnant the first month after the IUD removal. One of the things the IUD does, is to make the lining of the uterus thinner. This, in combination with hormones is what prevents pregnancy. If you take the hormones away, you still have a thin lining. Pregnancy is possible, but the body isn't quite ready for a fetus.

When do we want to have this baby? Our Dutch health insurance will cover all the expenses of a birth. But we don't want to have a baby in the middle of Joe's school year either. So in a perfect world we'd have the baby in the middle of December. After finals, before we move out of Holland (if we can't find a job there). Of course we all know that we don't live in a perfect world...

Friday, December 3, 2010


Team sports were not my focus growing up. I did things like horseback riding, playing harp, latin dancing, and arts. However, I did develop a love for volleyball. In Holland the church puts together a massive volleyball tournament once a year, with all the stakes. We would rent a little gym, and practice for a few months ahead of time. Unfortunately I never got official/good training, and had to just learn as I went. Also, the infrequency of the playing didn't help for my overall skills. About 6 or 7 years ago, I started attending volleyball on a regular basis at the church. At first I just went to get out of the house, but soon enough I was going every week. I participated in church tournaments, and eventually started playing more competitively. We even entered a city league tournament.

When we moved to Texas, I was happy to find out that regular practice was available here too. Unfortunately moving out to the country made it practically impossible to keep attending practices. So after a 3 year dry spell, I got back into the habit of playing weekly, as soon as we moved back into town, and I even convinced Joe to join me. Most weeks we have 8-14 players. The skill level ranges from beginner to advanced, with me being stuck forever in the intermediate level. But the nice thing is: it doesn't matter. Most players have great sportsmanship, and will play with everyone. We keep score, but only for the fun of it.

Zoetermeer has the best volleyball team year after year. Hopefully they'll welcome me into their team, and I'll be able to keep practicing on a regular basis.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Saris are beautiful, mystical, and intriguing. I have always wondered how they work, and longed to see one up front and personal. Tonight I got better than that; I got to wear one. A gorgeous soft pink sari from Mary. Mary is Joe's cousin, and is married to Ram, who is from India. Mary has introduced many of her family and friends to Sari's, and I'm so thankful this Thanksgiving to have a chance to also experience it.
left to right: Me, Mary, Kelsey

In the near future Mary is going to India for a visit, and offered to get me my very own Sari. I am thrilled! And it doesn't matter that I'll probably only get to wear it occasionally. It's one of those things that will be fun to own, just for those rare occasions.

Friday, November 19, 2010


I've been an anti-runner all my life.

It started in high school, when running a mile was mandatory in PE. I was in pretty good overall shape, but running just made every single thing in my body hurt.

As years went by, I remained an avid anti-runner. Many things contributed to my attitude:

-why run, when there are so many other exercises that are more fun
-running is boring, and hurts every part of my body
-I married an anti-runner (who also avidly believes in the motto: why run, when you can ride a bike?)
-And probably the most important thing that has held be back from even trying, is that little voice in the back of my mind telling me: you can't do it. It's too hard.

Sure, I have read other people's blogs who say thing like; if I can do it, anybody can do it. I called their bull. Sure, they can, but not me! I even tried to run a few times, only to prove to myself running really isn't for me.

Something changed a few weeks ago. My cousin Catherine (well, she's actually Joe's cousin, but that the same difference) came over for a bike ride. We were all geared up and ready to go, when a thunder storm rolled in, and tornado watches were going off all over town. Plus it started raining. Not wanting to give up our opportunity for a workout, she got it in her mind to drag me out running. I resisted. The voice in my head came back. But reluctantly I let her convince me.

We started down the street, and when the rain picked up, I was hopeful we'd turn back. But Catherine had her mind set on taking me down a path along the creek. As we were making progress, and I was surprisingly okay physically, the little voice turned up the volume. Catherine was an amazing coach, pushing me, encouraging me, and not letting me stop. And a miracle happened. I did in fact survive. Sure, I was sore , and slow, and out of breath... .but I was alive!

The Catherine made a prophecy: now you know you can do it, and you WILL do it again. Now, just to make sure we're all on the same page here: we're talking about 2.73 miles. No marathon by a long way, but longer than I had ever run in my entire life. A week later, I did the same run. This time I was without my coach. But I now had the desire to prove to myself that I really COULD do it. Winter rode her bike along side, to keep me company. And on the uphill home stretch the mail man was going down the same street, so he motivated me to go faster and keep up.

Getting a little bored with the same path, I decided to go to a new location the next Saturday. Winter and I headed out again, this time to the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve. We went for the mountain biking, and after 1 loop of that, Winter was too tired to do it again. So instead, I ran on the paved path, while she followed. I'm not sure how long this run was, but probably about the same as the first 2.

Last week I took my friend Sandra the opposite way along the creek, and discovered just how close we live to the huge Russell Creek Park. Since it was her first time running, I couldn't get a feel for how far or fast was going. So the very next day, I attempted the 4 mile loop all around the park. The biggest mistake I made: bringing Winter and Ginger on their bikes, while it was 50 degrees outside, and they didn't have the appropriate clothing. Poor Ginger was crying, and Winter wasn't in a much better mood. We had to keep stopping for this reason or the other.

This morning I wanted to attempt the 4 mile loop again, and see how fast I could do it. AGain.... nothing impressive in most people's books, but for me it was allright. I did the 3.9 miles in 44 minutes. That's an 11 minute mile. Pretty sucky... but I did it. And I can only get faster from here. This last month's running experiment has opened my eyes, to the possibility that running might not be evil. It's fun to set goals, and try to better them. It's also fun to accomplish thing I never thought possible. Shoot, some time in the future, I might even decide to attempt a half marathon or something. Although, not too soo in the near future!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Big changes

Okay, so every since my "picture a day" ended I have been a slacker again. I was really hoping to have started a new habit with that, but good habits are hard to form, I guess. So the last few weeks I've been busy trying to get everything ready for Holland. The most annoying thing I've had to do, is getting all sorts of documents ready, and sent off.

This morning I headed to the INS to get a certified copy of my naturalization certification. I figured if I went early, it would be faster for traffic and also waiting time. Since I got my citizenship while still in Boise, I had not been to the local INS office. Traffic WAS great, and the line WAS short. However, it seems like I was doomed to get assigned to the slowest INS worker in history. The lady that was supposed to be helping me, even started helping some other people, twiddle her thumbs, and generally just walked around for no reason. Finally after 45 minutes, I finally got my 2 certified copies.

Now with Thanksgiving just a week away, I realize how numbered our days in the US are. It's exciting, but also scary. Big changes are coming!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


My to do list is too large! All the different legal processes need official documents, apostille stamps, bank statements, bank transfers, acceptance letters, applications, employer letters, passport copies etc etc etc.
To minimize my anxiety level, I've made "sticky notes" all over my desktop on my computer. Still, some things take time, and I'm starting to get stressed that I won't be able to get everything done. Next week I have an appointment with INS to get certified true copies of my naturalization certificate (so I can renew my Dutch passport). We are also in the middle of negotiations with the renters of our new house in Holland. We are so excited to have found this place, and they have agreed to give us a great deal of €875 /month. This is only €100 more than a bare house would be, and sooooo much better! But looking at overall progress, I'm positive that we'll get it all done in the next 6 weeks. But still..... a lot to be done

Friday, November 5, 2010

My helper

A few months back I posted that I'd found my house. This was an apartment arranged through the University. The problem with it was that it is located in the middle of downtown Rotterdam, above a casino of all places. After seeing just how small it was (2 bedrooms + study), I decided that although this is our easiest option, it would not be the best.

Zoetermeer is a town located 15 miles north of Rotterdam. It's where my dad lives. And 3 of my cousins with their families. And my aunt and uncle. And the temple is there. And the ward has a lot of young families. And overall the town is very family friendly.

When I first started looking for a rental house there, options looked grim. Generally speaking, Dutch rental house are "kaal" (bare). When they say kaal, they MEAN kaal! Floors are concrete- no tile or carpet or wood. All light fixtures have been removed. The kitchen has a sink, and that's it! No oven. No stove. No microwave. No fridge. No freezer.
The philosophy behind this kaal method, is that renters won't want to have someone else's carpet, or kitchen. I don't know why anyone would rather do all that work and spend the money to practically renovate a rental house. Maybe if you plan to live in it for the next 20 years.....

My dad has been my front man. He has found us a great deal on a car, a 1989 Volkswagen Golf. At first it seemed smartest to forego a car altogether. A car will make things a little more complicated and expensive, but worth it nonetheless. Just imagine all the times our American friends come to visit (hint hint). We'll actually be able to join them on outings. Plus, public transportation can add up quickly and is less than ideal. With that being said, I still completely plan to use my bike 95% of the time. The car will be there for large semi-monthly grocery stock-ups. And for visiting far away relatives and friends. And maybe, just maybe for miserably rainy Sundays. Joe's main form of transportation will be a moped similar to this
I used to own of of these bad boys. And loved it! It saved me so much time over biking.

My dad also found the lead to the perfect house. It's currently for sale, but the owners don't want to have it sitting vacant. It comes with flooring, lighting, a fabulous kitchen, and even curtains! It's move in ready, reasonably priced, and right next door to my favorite cousin Talita's house. The only possible snag, is the fact that it is for sale. Were they to sell it, we might possibly have to move out. That would be bad. But I'm going to stay optimistic, and hope for the best. My dad just looked at the house today, and we need to work out the details, but I'm really hoping it will be ours for the next year.

The view
Living/Dining room, with heated tiled floors!
Kitchen with LARGE oven (for Dutch standards), microwave, dishwasher, and fridge. The only thing lacking is a freezer, but there's another solution for that.... (see below)

Master bedroom with huge built-in wardrobe. Most Dutch bedrooms have no closets whatsoever, so these wardrobes will save us from buying closets
Bathroom with a separate tub and shower! And the shower has a glass encasement! Very deluxe.
And the prize of all prizes: a laundry room!!!!!!!!!!
I can't say enough how happy I am about this. Most commonly, washing machines are located in the bathroom, and clothes are hung to dry. Hang drying clothes is something I refuse to do in "het koude kikkerland". It's hard enough with a dryer to keep up with all the mountains of dirty clothes. This little gem also has space for a small chest freezer. That will save me daily trips to the bakery.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sugar high

Halloween is a pain, but I survived!! Not a small feat. There was temptation all around, but through some miracle I manage to only have 1 kitkat, 1 twix, and 1 roll of smarties. See, I'm on this thing again, where I try to (for the most part) eat only healthy stuff --yes, dark chocolate IS healthy!!

That's not the important part though. The important part is that we survived the costume drama, sugar-high children, and black baths.
Winter waited until 15 minutes before the trunk-or-treat to decided she did in fact want to get dressed up. She had borrowed a different costume from her friend last week, but returned it to that friend on Wednesday without informing me. With some last-minute help from Grandma, we pulled together a Snow White. See how the dress is somewhat short? That's because it's Ginger-sized. She pulled off the black hair very well!
For Sterling I was a litte more prepared. He decided to be a vampie bat last weekend, and borrowed the bat shirt from the Morphises. I actually went to wally world to complete the costume with black pants, black face paint, black hair spray, and vampire teeth.
Ginger was by far the easiest to please. She just wanted to be a princess. A dress, makeup, and some glitter later we had ourselves a princess. If only they were all that easy to please!
For the most part we celebrated Halloween on Saturday, since actual Halloween was on Sunday. However, Winter's friend invited her over to go trick or treating. So last night Winter and I snuck out together. She borrowed her friend's costume, and became a leopard.
What to do with the mountains of candy?
The first few years I would ration the candy. 2 pieces a day, or whatever. This didn't work for me, because it drags out the candy practically until Thanksgiving. So a few years ago, I made a new rule: You can eat as much candy as you want/can, for 1 day. At the end of that day, everything that's left is going into the trash.
I like this new method. The kids are only on a sugar high for 1 day. There's no continual whining about when they can have their pieces of candy for the day. And I don't get tempted to steal their candy either.
Sterling told me it was wasting candy to throw it in the trash. But I think it's wasting your body to eat it.

disclaimer; by no means am I perfect at resisting sugar and other temptations. It just happens to be, that this particular weekend I did good, and I'm giving myself a little pat on the back.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Culture and Class

Dallas has culture to offer. We were so lucky to join Bill and Barb to the Dallas Opera last night. I love an opportunity to get dolled up. After raiding my friend Tracey's closet (for the dress), getting some patent leather pumps at Ann Taylor, and a few hours with the curling iron, I think I looked the part of an opera attendee.
Don Giovanni is a womanizing murderer. The sets were amazing. My favorite scene was when Zerlina is begging Masetto for forgiveness. The humor surprised me. It never occurred to me that Mozart might try to make his audience laugh.
I'm so grateful to Bill and Barb for introducing us to the art of the Opera!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Visiting the Sidwells

Stephen Sidwell is one of Joe's good friends from BYU. They worked at Outdoors Unlimited
(the BYU bike shop) together, and did a lot of mountain biking together. After they both got married, life has pulled them to different states, but they still keep in contact. These last few
days we had to opportunity to make the trek to Fort Collins Colorado for a visit. Stephen is a dentist, and graciously offered to give us some much needed dental care (the kids don't have
insurance, and our insurance is pretty crappy). So Thursday we spent all morning at
the dentist office.Friday and Saturday we were able to play. The kids really wanted to see the "snowy
mountains". We did an amazing 4 mile hike along several mountain lakes.

Photo by Krista
Joe carried Winter when she got tired (Photo by Krista)
Krista was my photography buddy
Final destination: Emerald Lake (photo by Krista)

Saturday morning Joe and Stephen went mountain biking. After that, we all headed to the pumpkin patch.
In the afternoon, the Sidwells had a cubscout meeting, so we took our family on a fun bike ride along the river.
We finished the day off strong, with dinner and PF Changs. Why do fun times like these have to end?

Our love for Colorado

Joe and I love Colorado. We've loved it ever since we first vacationed there in 2001. Still in college, we had some extra time one weekend (or maybe it was at the end of summer break). We rounded up a few friends, and drove down to Durango in Joe's 1976 Jeep Wagoneer. The Colorado Trail was our destination. The Colorado Trail (CT) is broken up in 20 mile sections. Joe and his brother Mark were going to ride a section, and then my friend Jessica and I were going to walk the next section.

The first day, while Joe and Mark were riding, the rest of us (Jessica, and maybe Soquel too) drove the Jeep 14 miles up a 4x4 trail. At least..... that's what I think happened. But at the same time I think maybe Joe helped set up camp first, and then we dropped them off to ride. Anyways..... As Jessica and I were waiting, and waiting, and waiting... we were getting kind of nervous. It gets quite cold at night at 14,000 feet altitude! Finally, after dark, Joe arrived, alone. Mark was having a hard time, and they were both getting hungry and cold, so Joe rode ahead to get some supplies. After assuring us he would be extra careful, Joe drove back down the trail to find Mark. Mark had wandered off the trail a little, and was huddling against the cold, but luckily they had CV radios. It wasn't until about 11pm that they finally made it back to camp.

The next day, we were supposed to move camp, to the next section. However, when Jessica and I had been trying to get a hold of Joe and Mark with the CV radio, we had somehow "broken" the Wagoneer. Being stuck at 14,000 feet with a broken truck, we did the only thing we could think of: hitch hike. We were lucky it was hunting season, and to find a ride down in a pickup truck. We made it to the auto parts store, and back to the beginning of the 4x4 road with the help of a cardboard sign that said: Purgatory (the name of the ski resort, plus a fun play of word)

Making it the next 14 miles to camp was a little more difficult. Some good samaritan in a Jeep offered to help. We flew up that mountain so fast, I was certain we would fly off the side of the mountain! Back at camp, we tinkered around with the new auto part, only to find out that we had bought the wrong part! So next it was Mark and Soquel's turn to hitch hike down the mountain. At the end of the day we finally got the Wagoneer running again, and were set to go.

Being 4 months pregnant wasn't going to stop me from hiking 20 miles at the top of the mountains. Jessica and I had a great day walking, and singing, and freaking ourselves out about mountain lions. However, as the light started to fade, we started getting really tired. The peaks we had to scale just kept coming and coming. There seemed to be no end. And to make matters worse, I started having (what I now know) Braxton Hicks contractions (at 4 months!!) And then it started to rain as well. Luckily Joe, and Jessica's friend had started to get worried about us, and were walking towards us from the end of the trail. That night we tried to cook in our tent, and almost set it on fire.

This trip is one of our favorites to think back at, probably because of all the mishaps. We love the scenery and the weather. It's where we'd ultimately like to end up living.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Proud or Ashamed

I can't decide which one of those words best describes the circumstances surrounding this photo
Ashamed; because today was the first time these strings were plucked in 9 months
Proud; because these strings were plucked today.

There are no good reasons why this instruments has been sitting in a corner, under a cover for so long. It's not that I don't like to play. Somehow, that big black elephant sits in the room, and goes unnoticed. Sometimes, all it takes is a request at church for a musical number. I am grateful for those requests, because I'd hate to think how long it would sit untouched if it wasn't for them.

Since the length of our move to Holland is so uncertain, and the cost of taking the harp so great, we've decided to leave it here, and reassess towards the end of Joe's school. If we find a good job in Europe, we'll have it shipped over. If we move back to the US, we saved ourselves a bunch of money and "just" a year without playing. But on days like today, I wonder whether I'll regret this plan..

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Old identity

Somehow the day ended 30 minutes ago, and I didn't post a picture. So maybe we can just pretend that I'm in California, and it's still Saturday....

This morning I helped mom paint the living room for a few hours, and then I hit the outlets with Winter for the rest of the day. My wardrobe has seriously diminished over the past few years. Living in Texas, where it doesn't get cold, and living out in the country when the only day I don't wear jeans and t-shirts were Sundays, made it easy to save money by not buying new clothes (except for an occasional $5 shirt). Now that we are moving back to Holland, I get to
take back my old identity. The one who wore stylish clothes, and make-up daily. The one where high heels and cute sweater greatly outnumbered ratty old t-shirts and crocs. I'm ready for that change!

Joe's cousin Bethany introduced me to Ann Taylor while we were vacationing in Branson. At first I thought those clothes were too dressy/fancy for me, but today I was loving their offerings. I found some great black slacks (which have been missing from my wardrobe for way too long), wool trousers, patent leather high heels, and dressy sweater. I also bought a cute gray wool peacoat. However, later when I was in the J Crew a few doors down, I fell in love
with another wool coat. This one black, and longer, and cuter, and of course... more expensive. I decided that the only sensible thing to do, was to buy that one too, and let my MIL help me decide which one to keep. By the time I made it home to model the coats, I had successfully convinced myself that the extra $40 was worth it for the one I really love. After all, I know I'll wear that coat for at least the next 10 years (speaking from experience).
So here it is, for the picture of the day. Don't pay attention to my unmatching pajama pants, or tired hair and face. Look at the fabulous lines of the coat!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Religion talk

Why is it that when I talk to a non-member about my religion, that I get so nervous? I know all the answers, yet sometimes it's all really hard to explain. Tonight I had a great discussion with my new friend Diana and her husband about the gospel. I'm mormon (as most of you know) and have been all my life. In high school, only about 3 members attended my school. Maybe I didn't talk about my religion, or most people just didn't care too much. Then of course at BYU, 99% of the people I was in contact with, were also mormon, or knew a lot about the church already. Moving to Boise kept me safely in my bubble.

Here in Texas I've mostly stayed in my bubble as well, until I moved back to Plano a few months ago. I've made several new friends through athletics and school. Diana came to book club a few weeks ago, and since then we've gotten together a few times and really clicked. Another new friend I've made is Lupin from the bus stop. Her son goes to school with Ginger, so we see each other twice a day, every weekday. Lupin is Muslim. She's the first Muslim I've really gotten to know, and it's been very interesting becoming more knowledgeable about her religion.

All of these religious discussions have made me more aware of the beliefs I have, and how they are similar or different from others. It has also made me realize that I should be able to more easily answer the common questions non-members might ask me, since they are usually the same. Hopefully tonight I didn't come over as a complete schmuck, and was able to explain my beliefs in a sensible manner.

Girl outing

Joe took Sterling on a boy outing - camping with cubscouts - so I took the girls on a girl outing. First we went to the movie theater with Winter's friend (and mine) from Gymnastics. Then dinner and finally some more playtime at Diana's house. What a great evening out!
Winter and Rachel

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Make due

When you can't do it the normal way, you make due with what you Do have

The kitchen outlets are still turned off, as the backsplash tile isn't completely finished yet. So when I went to plug in the mixer when making great grandma some pogacha, I had to find an alternative. The dining room had the nearest working outlet. Sure, the mixer had to sit on the ground, but it did the job just fine.

I really like the way Angela described the way to put the ingredients together for the pogacha, but a few of the measurements were off a little, so I'm reposting it here -with the changes- on my blog (also, so I can easily find it in the future)

Micah's Pogacha

Soak 1 cup white raisins in warm water
Soften 5 tsp yeast in 1/2 c warm water

Add the following ingredients, in the order listed, into a 4 c measuring cup:

1 c boiling water
1/4 c shortening
1/2 c sugar
2 t salt
1/2 c milk
3/4 t lemon extract -- 0.75 teaspoons... not 3-4 teaspoons... which is what I did... oops!
If you don't have lemon extract, you can substitute with lemon juice
4 drops yellow food color

Next step:
  • Get out two bowls and 4 eggs.
  • Stand by the sink
  • Crack first egg, drop white into sink and the yolk into Bowl #1.
  • Repeat with egg 2.
  • For third egg, drop yolk into Bowl #1 and white into Bowl #2.
  • For fourth egg, crack entire thing (egg and yolk) into Bowl #1.
  • Take 2 T from Bowl #1 and add it to Bowl #2.
Add contents of bowl #1 into the 4 c measuring cup
Set bowl #2 aside (will be used later on to brush top of loaves)

Add warm water to the above mixture to make a total of 3 c

Add yeast (with its water) to the above mixture. Add 3 c flour. Add about 3 c more until dough is soft and holds together. Knead 3-4 minutes in Bosch or other mixer.

Add raisin (without its water), and stir gently until mixed. Cover and let rise til double.

Form into 2 round loaves in sprayed pie pans. Let rise again. Brush top with contents of bowl #2. Split top in thirds using sharp knife.

Bake 20 minutes at 375. Then bake 20 more minutes at 350.

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