Friday, July 29, 2016

The Last Two Weeks

If I could summarize the last two weeks for you in one word, the word would be: exhaustion.

First I need to back up.. 2 weekends ago was really great! We had a fun date night going bowling (although I got a TERRIBLE score), and then on Saturday we went to the pet store and came out with a new friend for Alvin. We named him Sebastian.



Then on Monday it was my first day of training for my new job. Training was at the convention center in downtown Phoenix and there were about 700 people there - it was crazy. I would leave around 7am each morning and get home about 6pm each evening. They were long days. I learned a lot about the company, but a lot of the training didn't feel very applicable to me because I'd keep hearing things like "It'll depend on your school" or "It'll depend on your teacher". I met a lot of new people and forced myself out of my comfort zone to carry on conversations. By Tuesday afternoon I had made a friend who I spent the rest of the week with at lunch time and such. Her name was Sarah and she was going to be a kindergarten teaching fellow (like me) at the same school I would be working at.

Here are some pictures from the week:


Coming home at night was stressful because technically my online class starts at 5, but because there was no way for me to get home early enough, I had to postpone my classes all week. I did get a sub for Tuesday which was helpful, but my students hated it. My online class is a 3 hour class, and then I would have to squeeze in time for lesson planning and data analysis. Essentially I was busy from 7am-10pm every day.

It was fun to have a new little kitten around. It took Alvin a couple of days to warm up to the idea of Sebastian, but by Wednesday they were playing together and getting along. Alvin is actually really cute with Sebastian; he follows him around, grooms him, plays with him. I love it.


The weekend after my training, Jonathan and I spent date night at the dollar theater. We saw Jungle Book. I liked the movie, and I realized that it was our first time going to the movies just the two of us! We also got our furniture! It was a logistical nightmare that I don't want to relive....but let's just say figuring out how we were going to get it to our apartment was quite a headache. We got it all figured out though and it was like Christmas.


I am so happy to have a kitchen table and a couch. My dad also sent me everything that relates to me in any way, shape, or form. The boxes are full of my childhood - school projects, prom dresses,  scrapbooks, games, journals, Pokemon cards, Beanie Babies, books, etc. He also sent a toddler bed.  Nice "subtle" message, Dad.

The following week was on-site training for my job. It was for all the staff at the school I'd be working at. The school is in downtown Phoenix and the commute ranged anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour. Traffic is HORRENDOUS here. It's a miracle I didn't die. During that training I learned more about my specific responsibilities.

If I'm being honest, I found out the job wasn't at all what I expected it to be. I was under the impression I'd be helping out in the kindergarten classroom and then in the afternoons be rotating between kindergarten classrooms doing music time. I quickly learned that although my job included helping in the classroom, I wouldn't be doing music time. My roles included teaching PE to kindergarten, monitoring at recess, lunch duty, and monitoring a study hall before and after school.

It occurred to me that I was already dreading this job before it began. It wasn't the job I was thinking it would be. As I sat and thought about the logistics of it (having to leave at 6:30 in the morning to make it for early morning study hall and getting home at 6:30 on the days I did afternoon hall), I started to panic. I was committing to 10 months of that. On top of teaching my online class in the evenings. And finding time for lesson plans. And setting aside 2 hours of my day to drive in traffic. And when would I even have time to clean my house? Or eat dinner? Or spend time with my husband?

I'm sure some people could handle that schedule. For me, it wasn't something I could do and be happy. After a lot of thought and discussions with Jonathan and my parents, I decided I was going to quit.

I felt horrible. I didn't want to be that person. The one who bails a week before classes start. Who lets people down. But like I said, I knew I wasn't going to be happy putting myself through that schedule day in and day out. I quit on Wednesday and even though I was choking back tears when I left and started my drive home, I felt a sense of relief. I have nothing against that school or company. I just bit off more than I could chew.

And you'll never guess what happened next.

I contacted my manager for my online job saying I had more flexibility in my schedule now. My manager told me they were extremely short staffed and she would be happy to give me ALL the online classes that run for not only our company, but the sister company as well. On top of that, she is letting me continue the data analysis project and take on two new projects. It really is a blessing because financially, quitting that kindergarten job was not a wise decision. But I knew I needed to do what was best for me and my little family, and I'm grateful that things worked out so I'd be able to still provide financially after all. No doubt Heavenly Father had a hand in that.


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

My Trip To Utah (In Pictures)

A month ago, we went to Utah for a week! We went partly because we missed our families and partly because Jonathan had to take boards in St. George. Anyway, we drove to Hurricane where Jonathan's parents live. I stayed for only a night, then I took off with Alvin to Springville so I could visit my mom. Jonathan was busy studying for boards, so we planned to meet up again once boards were over.

I got to Springville Monday late afternoon and left Friday morning. Those days are all kind of a blur to me. 

On Monday I went into Ology and got all set up to do online tutoring. Literally 5 minutes after I had everything set up, the student canceled on me. My mom was still at work, so I went to visit my cousin Sara and meet her baby Skye! She was only 2 weeks old when I met her!


I visited with my mom that night, but then we all went to bed. Tuesday was crazy. I went into Ology earlier than planned to help my director with some scheduling issues she was having. Then I taught my online class that night. It really wasn't much of a vacation since I was at work so much! But I did get to have lunch with some buddies from Provo - JulZ and Melissa! It was really nice to get to see them and visit with them. :) Made me happy.


Alvin had no problem adapting to my mom's place. haha I love that cat. He is so chill and just makes himself comfortable wherever.


He'd come in at nights and stay in the room I was sleeping in. I'd like to think it's because he wanted to be where I was, but I'm almost positive it was because he loved being on the tower of boxes in that room.


Wednesday was great! My brother came into town, I got to go shopping with my mom (we both had the day off!), I got to go see Mom's new house in Santaquin (they got the keys right after I left!), we went to dinner with Sara and her husband and Uncle Dave and Aunt Wendy, and I got to hold baby Skye again! Wednesday definitely went by too fast. :(




Mom had to work on Thursday, and I honestly don't remember much of what happened that day. I know that I hung out with Trev most of the afternoon, but then I had to leave for work around 4 or so. I got home and we all just hung out and relaxed.


The trip went by way too fast. It was a bummer that both me and my mom had to work so much, but I was happy to spend the time with her that I did.

I drove back to Hurricane on Friday and spent a few days with Jonathan and his family. On Saturday we went to the BIGGEST FAMILY REUNION EVER. It was a reunion of his great grandparents and their posterity.


Above is the "roster". Lenna is Jonathan's grandma and the other people are her siblings. All those sheets of paper are the names of the kids, grandkids, great grandkids, and great great grandkids of Lenna and her siblings.

The reunion was on a farm. There were SO MANY PEOPLE. A lot of them camped at the farm, but we lived close enough that we didn't have to camp. There were lots of activities for the kids - archery, bounce house, bubbles, wading pool, etc. There was also a zip line that my 4 year old niece forced me into doing with her. It was actually pretty fun.





We drove back to Arizona on Sunday evening and got home pretty late. I wish we had more time in Utah, but it's nice to know that it's within driving distance and we could make a trip again soon if we really wanted to. :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Tears and Flowers

Honesty time.

I have been feeling really discouraged and depressed. We were *supposed* to get our furniture a few weeks ago, but my dad has been pretty busy and hasn't been able to send it yet. I get a call from him about every other day or so with an update or a change in plans or a push in the date. It's getting a little bit exhausting even though I understand he's got a lot on his plate (they just moved and have been working that out.) But my summer break is coming to a close and my hopes of unpacking/settling in/decorating/organizing everything before my second job starts keep getting crushed.

Anyway, the latest plan was my dad was going to drive a Uhaul with furniture out here on the 14th and then rent a car back home. I was getting excited because I'd get to see him! But then Thursday night rolled around and Dad called me. He said that he didn't want to drive all the way out here because it was a long drive and it would be too quick of a trip. He was looking into options for how to send things over - pods, ABF trucks, cubes, trailers...you name the idea, my dad has researched it. My dad is the type of person who does a LOT of research before making a decision. It's a great quality, but it also meant a week without furniture quickly turned into 3 or 4 or 6. Anyway, he said that the new ETA for the furniture was probably going to be the 23rd.

We hung up the phone and I just started sobbing. I know this is pathetic, but I was crying for like an hour straight. I think my emotions had been building up over the last month and I finally just couldn't take it anymore.

I was sad that my dad wasn't coming out. I was sad because he never made a trip to visit us in Missouri (understandable) and even with us living closer now, I felt like he still wasn't willing to make the trip to visit us. He didn't want to spend that long of a time in the car, and so my brain interpreted it as I wasn't worth the trip.

I was sad because I feel like my dad has changed since he married Tisha. Right now she is his everything. That's probably the way it should be -- spouse should come before kids. But lately I haven't felt like I matter much to him. I know he loves me, but I also feel like if he was still married to my mom, they would have driven out here with the furniture so they could visit, and they would have done so weeks ago. My dad's a pretty passive guy, and I get the feeling my mom is more organized and more of a planner and more likely to follow through on things than Tisha is. Thus, my dad was more organized and more of a planner and more likely to follow through on things when he was married to my mom. I'm not saying Tisha is a bad person (I'm glad my dad found her because he is a lot happier), I just mean that she has different qualities than my mom and those qualities are being made manifest through my dad. Also, Tisha doesn't really know me and doesn't love me the same way my mom does, so I'm sure she doesn't feel as much of a pull to come visit.

I was sad because I'm tired of eating in camping chairs on a card table out on the balcony.

I was sad because I'm sick of sitting on the living room floor.

I was sad because I wanted to start decorating.

I was sad because our house is messy since I don't have the dressers, desks, etc. to put things in or on.

I was sad because my summer is almost over.

I was sad because I'm tired of hauling a lamp around from room to room.

I was sad because training for my new job starts soon and it sounds intense. (It's at a convention center and is an 8-5, Monday-Friday ordeal).

I was sad because I realized my life is about to be extremely busy. I have to be at work at 7:15am. The location is a half hour away, which means I'll probably leave here at 6:45 am (EARLY). I will be coming home from work, have a 2 hour break, and then have to teach my 3 hour online class, which will end at 9pm. That is going to be my life for the next 10 months and I am terrified that I've committed myself to something that is going to burn me out.

I was sad because I don't want to deal with driving in traffic everyday, but I'm going to have to.

I was sad because between my schedule and Jonathan's, we're not going to be able to spend much time together/ see each other often.

I was sad because being a grown up is hard and there is a lot of stuff to figure out.

I was sad because being a grow up is EXPENSIVE.

I was sad because I was so behind on phone calls and emails, that I was quite frankly overwhelmed with everything.

I was sad because sharing a car is hard. Especially when Jonathan works a place that's an hour away and gets home right when I have to teach my online class.

Anyway.....it was a rough night. I had everything weighing on me and I broke under the pressure.

The next day I decided I was going to just suck it up and make the most of my situation. It started with an advertisement I saw - 50% off fake flowers at Hobby Lobby. I decided to get out of the house and walk down to Hobby Lobby (Jonathan has the car from 7:30-6:00 every day, so if I want to go somewhere I have to walk). I wandered around Hobby Lobby for a good hour or so. What a great store - it might be my new favorite place! Anyway, I bought a few different kinds of flowers and greenery to make a bouquet and walked back home. I put them in a vase we had and then put those flowers on our bathroom counter. Then I grabbed a roll of contact paper I had lying around, and decided to make some stripes on the wall to break up how boring that room was. Here are a few before and after pictures to show you the result:

 










It was just a few, inexpensive changes that only took me an afternoon, but it made a really big difference. I was starting to feel like I actually lived in a home! And even though I was still feeling overwhelmed and sad, the flowers and the stripes made me feel just a little bit better.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Life Without Furniture

If you're a faithful follower of my blog, you know that my dad and Tisha are generous enough to be giving us some old furniture. However, we still have about 2 more weeks until it gets here. We moved in a month ago (exactly!) and just to give you a taste of what life without furniture looks like.... well, enjoy:

Our living room! It's a decent size. But it feels especially large without furniture. You can blame Alvin for all the scattered papers. They were stacked nicely and then I woke up to this mess. Can you see the blanket and pillow on the floor? That's what we've been using as our couch for the living room temporarily, haha.

The kitchen is pretty small, but honestly we don't really need anything bigger that this. I love the flooring! Usually kitchen flooring is HIDEOUS. We lucked out! Oh, but I have to say my one complain is the kitchen light. We have one of those huge panels of fluorescent lights. It's an eye sore. It's got an ever so faint flicker and the whole room just feels like I'm in an old chemistry lab or something.

We've been calling this Alvin's room, but it's really just the guest bathroom. It has a huge linen closet, which has been nice! Oh, and the reason the under the sink door is open is because the kitty litter box is hiding in there. There really wasn't anywhere else to put it! But I like that we can just close it if guests come over. Alvin knows how to open cupboard doors like that (*sigh*), so I  have no worries about him not using his litter box. Oh, like his place mat? It became necessary. That cat is a messy eater.

Here's the spare bedroom. Right now it's my teaching room/throw-all-the-miscellaneous-items-in-here-for-now room. You'll notice our couch is in here..... That's because Jonathan's dad helped us put it in this room when we moved out here. I thought we would be getting our furniture a week or two later (we're getting a sectional - so both that and the couch wouldn't fit in the living room), but as the ETA keeps getting pushed further, I'm just too lazy to move this couch out to the living room. I'm not apologizing for the mess. I don't have the desks, dressers, or shelves yet to put stuff away.

 Our laundry room  closet! Not much to see. haha

Again, I don't apologize for the mess. We're getting a dresser and nightstands from my dad. So far we've just been making due with bins. And rather than make my bed just to stage this photo, I figure I'd let you see how things have REALLY been lately. Thus the unmade bed. Oh and see that lamp? We've been hauling it from room to room because the only rooms with lights are the kitchen and bathrooms. We weren't really able to afford buying lamps for every single room, so we've just been moving it to whichever room we're presently in. Yay for being poor!

 This is our bathroom. The vanity area is right off our bedroom. The doorknob you see goes to our closet, and then of course there's the toilet and shower room. I don't love the idea of the vanity in carpeted area because I shed like a dog, but one day I'll buy a rug to put there.

This is perhaps my favorite thing in our house. We have a walk in closet! I'm loving it.

Well friends, now you've had a tour of our new place. I know there's nothing to really ooh or aah about. YET. But you can bet I'm gonna decorate this baby as soon as we get our furniture.

PS maybe you didn't notice this, but there's no kitchen table. But if you look at the living room picture, you'll notice a card table outside on our balcony. We've been eating out there because we don't want to risk ruining our carpet. We sit on camping chairs. It was fun the first week, but keep in mind we have not only been doing it the last month at this place, but we were eating in camping chairs for the 2 weeks before moving out here. Now I don't know if you've ever used camping chairs with a card table, but they're a lot lower. Sorta inconvenient....haha

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Catching Up and First Impressions

It's been awhile, huh? Well my friends, quite a bit has happened.

PART 1: GOODBYE KIRKSVILLE

I guess I will begin with our final days in Kirksville. For our last few days, we had everything piled in our kitchen because the carpets were getting cleaned. We slept on our mattress in the living room and poor Alvin got locked in the bathroom a lot.


 Above: On our last day, we visited the Potters. Sister Potter was the Primary Chorister, so you can imagine we became close with me being the Primary Pianist and all. In addition, she was my visiting teacher. It was good to see her one last time. It's super crazy to think I literally may never see her again. That's sad. Changing topics...

Jonathan's parents came out to help us move. We filled the back of his dad's truck, as well as this trailer. Having his parents help us was such a blessing. For so many reasons.

PART 2: THE MOVE

The drive from Missouri to Arizona was quite long. We left Thursday morning. Alvin did pretty good in the car. He loved climbing on Jonathan.





Anytime we stopped to eat, we'd eat outside at a park or on a bench. We kept Alvin in his carrier. He was a really good kitty. We're lucky - most cats do not travel well at all. Alvin is not like most cats though. 

Thursday was a pretty low key driving day. I think we drove for only 6 hours. We stopped in Wichita, Kansas. Alvin loved staying in a hotel room. He sniffed every square inch of our room. I was overall really impressed with how well he did - it was his first night away from our Kirksville home. 

Friday was LOOOONG. We drove for 11 or 12 hours I think. I guess the reason why it felt especially long was because Kansas is a boring state to drive through. We drove through Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and then New Mexico. 


Jonathan's mom had a few books on tape (er...CD?) so she let us borrow some of those to pass the time. I think we got through two books during our overall trip. One was called Silent Sting, by Clair M. Poulson. The other was called Desperate Measures, by Kristen McKendry. I liked them both. They were both mystery/suspense novels and so they kept us awake and entertained. It's kind of sad, but those were the first books I've "read" in probably 2 years.

By the time we got to Albuquerque (where we planned on spending the night), we were all exhausted. Albuquerque gave me the heebie jeebies a bit, and it didn't help that when we pulled up to our hotel it had cop cars in front of it. It was in a really sketchy area and was poorly lit. No way jose were we going to stay there. Jonathan and his dad got out to cancel the reservation inside. I stayed in the car with Alvin.


Apparently there had been a robbery. The receptionist was in tears and hysterical and wasn't too helpful. I guess there were police officers working on getting fingerprints and so they weren't letting people in or out of the hotel at the time. I have to admit, even though the cop cars made me feel uneasy initially, I was glad they were there the whole time I was in the car with Alvin. It made me feel a little bit safer.

We finally got the reservation canceled and started researching safer neighborhoods in Albuquerque to stay at. We found a neighborhood that had decent reviews and no apparent complaints of crime, and then headed over that way. It was pretty close to an airport, so there were about a dozen or so hotels all clustered together and it was a very well lit area. I felt a lot safer about it. I went inside with Alvin while Jonathan and his dad parked the trailer and cars. The parking lot was VERY small and VERY full. All trailers/Uhauls were told to park on the street.

4:30 in the morning the telephone in our hotel room rings. Jonathan answered, said a few words, hung up, and went to get dressed. "Our Uhaul was broken into," he flatly told me. It was one of those moments were you hear the words and they make sense, but they don't really sink in. He told me I could wait in the hotel and go back to sleep, but there was no way I was going to be able to do that. At this point, we had no idea how much was stolen. Jonathan woke up his dad down the hall and then we came out to see this:

Honestly, I was expecting a lot worse. Behind our Uhaul was a lady in a car. I was confused at first who she was, but then I soon realized she was a hotel worker who drove around patrolling. She had pulled up behind our Uhaul to prevent other burglars from snatching things, and had called the police. She was really nice and brought us something to drink. The police arrive shortly after to file a report.


This storage organizer had been packed full. I was a little surprised that the didn't just snatch up the whole thing but rather left it on the side of the road. I also wasn't sure why they left two of those cubes - I assume they were in a hurry. However, I'm grateful those cubes weren't taken because one of them had all of my Ology supplies in them. The other had a bunch of bathroom supplies (hair dryer, curling iron, hair accessories, etc.). All the other cubes were packed full of stuff though. One had our internet modem and router (I was stupid and should have packed those in my laptop bag and taken them in the hotel with me). A few cubbies had kitchen gadgets (the toaster, hand mixer, storage containers, and pretty much every kitchen hand tool you'd find in a standard kitchen other than silverware - that was packed separately.) Two cubbies had my scarves, nail polish, lotion, and jewelry (this was perhaps the saddest thing to me. I was stripped of all my collections and addictions!) One cubby had all our spices and measuring cups. In addition the the emptied cubbies, they stole a tall kitchen trash can (which I assume they dumped all their findings in), a laundry basket full of cleaning supplies, and a picture display my aunt Rachelle made me for our wedding reception.

For the longest time I thought it was about $700 worth of stuff. I sat down and made a detailed list yesterday and listed the value of each item. It was looking to be about $1300 worth. I was WAY off. The horrifying realization hit me that some of the jewelry stolen belonged to my great grandmother. This broke my heart when I realized it was packed in the cubby. I will probably forever be mad at myself for not being smarter about how I packed those. I had no idea what the value of those pieces were. Apparently Grandma J's jewelry was not cheap. $1300 worth of stuff quickly turned into $3500 worth.

We have been trying to have good attitudes about the situation, but the more sentimental pieces I find were taken, the harder it is to have a good attitude. It sickens me that someone would waltz up to a Uhaul parked under a street light, cut the lock, and help themselves the whatever they could get their hands on. I know that whoever took our stuff was most likely driven by drugs (whether it be the desire to obtain money for drugs, or the fact their conscience has been devoured by drug usage) and I also know that they probably just threw away half of the things they took. At first I was annoyed by the inconvenience they created (us having to replace the items), but now I just feel angry. I don't get mad very often or easily. But right now, I'm upset. It's okay to be, right? I'm sure it'll wear off...I know stuff is just stuff and that things could have been a lot worse. It's just silly to me. I never thought I'd be the victim of something like this - especially while we are poor students who don't have a lot. I guess it could happen to anyone though.

Anyway......  we didn't get much sleep after that. We got back on the road and finished the last leg of the journey. I believe it was only about 6 or 7 hours, and then we were in Phoenix.

PART 3: ARRIVAL

This is our apartment. I was so relieved when we got to our place. We unloaded our stuff into the apartment (we had a few people in the ward there helping us) and made a Target run to get a few groceries and supplies to get us through the next day or so. I was a little anxious to see what the neighborhood, apartment complex, and city would be like - especially after our Albuquerque experience. Thankfully, we seem to be in a really good area. Technically we live in Phoenix, but the area is called Ahwatukee. Here's the best way I can explain it. Ahwatukee is to Phoenix as Hollywood is to Los Angeles. I felt at peace as we drove around the Ahwatukee foothills. It reminds me a lot of Folsom! I think we will like it here a lot. Ahwatukee wins at an exceptional first impression!

Alvin seems to like it to. He made sure to explore absolutely EVERYTHING about the apartment when we first got there.




I didn't catch him in the fireplace, but there sure is evidence he discovered it! 


That cat..... he is a handful. 

Oh here's a fun quick picture.... We had Sunday dinner with Jonathan's parents and had to get creative with our seats. 2 camping chairs, a piano bench, and a stack of boxes. haha


Apartment 2012! Easy to remember because it's the year I graduated from BYU :)

PART 4: SETTLING IN

You'll have to stay tuned for a separate blog post about our week trip to Utah, but since being here in Ahwatukee, I've tried to unpack as much as I can. My dad is planning on making a trip out here sometime with a truck full of furniture (the ETA keeps changing on that), so I'm waiting for furniture to arrive before I decorate or unpack certain items. One of the weeks here I was sick (I blacked out while teaching....this time with students logged in!!! It was awful and I had to cancel class 30 minutes into it). That same week Jonathan attended orientation for rotations. First impression on rotations: He is a little overwhelmed and stressed. Apparently you get yelled at by doctors a lot during your 3rd year and he's not so excited about that. And apparently this year is going to be more work than he thought. He can handle it though. He's a hard worker. 

I visited the school I'm going to be teaching at. First impression on that: .........

Let me explain. It's in central Phoenix, aka not exactly the most safe area. I think I got scarred after Albuquerque and so I'm feeling uneasy about rundown neighborhoods. Also, the school is inside an old FBI building. I guess that's kinda cool, but to be honest it feels a tad bit like a prison inside. It's like a maze of hallways and doors and I'm just hoping that once there are kids and teachers filling the halls, it won't feel so cold and eerie. 

We spent a few days exploring. We've visited Gilbert (and I got to see Alix!!!), Tempe, Chandler, Mesa (briefly), downtown Phoenix, and of course the Ahwatukee foothills. 

 Mesa temple.
 Hiking trails along South Mountain - super close to where we live!

Gilbert temple. 

I have so much more to talk about, but that will have to suffice for now!