Friday, November 25, 2011

Giving thanks

I have many reasons to give thanks this year. It was great to see Joe's grandpa AC Ashurst after 6 years. Him and 2 of Joe's aunts flew out from Utah, and Josh drove from Louisiana. We had a wonderful feast with all the trimmings.
We had 4 generations of Ashursts together
The kids learned to play chess. Something I've never learned myself. It has just always seemed like a mysterious impossible thing to learn. Maybe if Winter and Sterling can learn, so can I??
We ended the day with a bang with a party at the Benacs in Dallas. There's nothing like eating leftovers and catching up with a bunch of cousinsAt 27 weeks, I'm just a few weeks ahead of Kelsey (Billy's wife)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Defected time machine

The time machine I designed must be defected, because it took forever to be November 22nd. And I had to do all the work without skipping any! But we did make it, and the past weekend will always be a haze and slightly bad dream I will remember. Saturday was completely insane. We worked, and worked, and worked some more. And just when our bodies said no more, we still have lots more work to do. We took 3 trips to DI, had 3 different families pick up stuff, and also took a trip to the dump. We cleaned and sorted and packed, and after all that, ended up with 7 large, 50 lbs, suitcases, 4 carry-on bags (each about 40lbs), 4 stuffed backpacks that barely left the kids standing up straight, Coco's pet carrier, a roll of drawing, and my 20lbs laptop bag. At some points walking from gate to gate, I just closed my eyes, and thought positive thoughts about being able to survive.

Anyone who has been a teenager and pulled an all-nighter, knows what jet lag feels like. Your whole body aches, and it almost feels like an elephant is standing on your back. And worse, sleeping on the new schedule won't make you feel any better until several days after the switch. Sleeping is not an option, but the only thing you want to do. And that feeling lasts for days.

But I'm soo relieved the worst part is over, and now we just need to settle into our temporary home. We started unpacking this morning, with the goal of making everything disappear before the arrival of Joe's grandpa from Utah who has never been to Texas. It almost sent me in a panic flashback mode to Saturday, but at least this time the quantity was limited to 11 bags. Even with all the sorting, 6 of the 11 bags ended up full in the attic. Those mostly contain items we will need in our own home, or things we'll want like the wii, DVDs, etc, but are not needed for the limited time we will be staying with the in-laws. After hours of unpacking, sorting, and storing, the house looks almost as if we haven't even gotten here yet (with the exception of our closets of course), which makes me feel good about crashing here. Now if we can just keep it that way!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Time machine

If I had a time machine, I'd travel to November 22nd. I'd skip the sorting, packing, weighing, cleaning, traveling, and wishing I had my own body for just 2 days. It seems like all of a sudden time has evaporated. Somehow we only have 1 full day to get everything done. It all has to be done by Saturday (tomorrow) night, because Sunday morning is church, the owners are coming for a walk-through right after, and we're spending the evening at my mom's house with her fiance Roger.

We're creating piles all over the house. This pile is for my dad, that one for Emma. There's a huge pile from a lady in the ward, which won't get picked up until after we leave. The brommer still needs to be sold, and I feel bad leaving a house full of boxes to be taken to a goodwill type store for my dad. All the beds and washer and dryer and couches and dining table also stay until after we leave (which is nice), so it's hard to get a good feel for the progress we're making. Right now it just looks like a tornado swept through the house...

Today was the last day of school for the kids,

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Stay positive!

Unfortunately our current reality is that our official net worth is less than $0, and our current immediate forecast is looking down. All things considering (the fact that one year of school cost us € XX), we are still in pretty good shape. But still. I don't feel comfortable with a negative net worth and no concrete way to change that yet.

I never thought I'd ever have to care so much about the exchange rate of the euro. If it it goes down, our student loan could easily cost us thousands less. Or the opposite direction of course. We chose to get a loan, so when we got to the situation we're in now - end of school without a job - we'd have a cushion to live off. Of course we can't just say: Yeah... we have $ XX in the bank, lets have a party! Because we know that that money is offset by a $XX loan.

Plus, we're moving to a new place, and need to buy 2 cars, insurance, (hopefully) move from Texas to Utah, and all those costs add up quickly. $ XX in debt can quickly multiply into $ XX in debt if we're not careful.

So I try to focus on the positives. We have more freedom than ever to move to our location of choice. We have a place to stay in the meantime --big thanks to my overgenerous in-laws!! Joe is a smart man, and now has an MBA to help him find a good job. We're all healthy. Plus we got to live in Europe for a year!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

25 Weeks

It's been a while since I posted an update on my pregnancy.
I'm now 25 weeks, and starting to wonder how in the heck I can go another 15 weeks without looking like a whale. Right now my belly is actually kind of cute, and I bet that any professional photo shoots of pregnant women is done around this time.
These past few weeks, and hopefully the next few weeks are the easiest of the pregnancy. My energy is (mostly) back, and the baby doesn't sit under my ribs 24 hours a day yet. I am surprised at how much movement I can already feel and see. The other day Joe was sitting next to me on the couch, and my belly was touching his upper arm. The baby kicked a few times, and without me asking Joe if he felt it, he actually looked over at me and gave me a look.

Sleeping still doesn't created too much of a problem, except for the fact that I miss sleeping on my belly (which my chiropractor forbids anyways). Turning from left to right is getting more challenging, but doesn't wake me up yet. The biggest challenge I'm living with is wicked bad heartburn. Anything I eat can set it off. It's pretty much a given that I'll have heartburn after dinner every night, but even the middle of the day isn't exempt. None of the meds seem to do much good either. Overall I'm not complaining though, as I just LOVE to feel the baby inside of me, and the good complexion that has finally decided to grace my face.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

One last day

One last day to site-see and do fun Dutch tourist stuff. That was today. Next weekend we visit my grandpa one last time, and the weekend after that we pack up all our stuff. And just like that our year in Europe will be over. We've visited all the really touristy attractions when visitors were in town, so we opted for a fun children's science museum in Amsterdam. I almost see the Nemo museum as a great indoor alternative to a playground. The kids might even learn something (although that's doubtful).
As we were checking out some old boats, this bus came driving up, and drove right into the water!
The Scheepsvaart museum has an amazing replica of an old ship. It had me imagining what it would be like to sail this baby on the open wide ocean.
Every time we visit Amsterdam, we get into the city the same way. Parking inside the city is about €5 per hour, so that's out of the question. Train tickets for 5 people also adds up. Instead the city has a genious system set up. If you park in one of the parking lots in the outskirts of town, you pay a flat fee of €8 for parking, which included a free public transport ticket for up to 5 people. Not too bad of a deal, as long as time isn't an issue.
Our last visual on canals, bikes, and old houses in Amsterdam

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


My life is craziness right now.

We move back to the USA in less than 3 weeks.
I work for 2 more weeks
We have to liquidate our whole household (again)
Somehow we need to fit everything we want to bring into suitcases
Many services have to be canceled (like phone, internet, insurance etc etc)
We still don't have a job, or any solid leads for that matter.
I'm still 5 months pregnant.
Both my mom and my dad are dating someone - my mom getting married in less than 3 months

So the current plan? I say current, because it is liable to change by the end of the day.
We go to Texas for Thanksgiving. A week or so after thanksgiving, Joe takes off to Utah and Colorado to network and job search, while the kids and I stay with Joe's parents to give the kids some stability. The kids will attend Andrews Elementary for the 3rd time, with no idea how long they will stay in the school. At least they'll know some kids already.... Meanwhile, Joe looks for work, and I try not to get too stressed about the fact that I have NO idea how we will have health insurance. I must keep the faith that everything will work out. Somehow...

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