Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Family visits

One of the positives about moving to Mississippi is being close to Ken's family. We can go down for special occasions or when we just want to get away. I put together a collage of pictures we took on our last visit (Dec.) before we moved here...but not much was different this past visit, except we didn't visit Oak Alley (the beautiful plantation home on the Mississippi)! The cute little guy with the bright blue eyes is Ken's grand nephew, Braden. Adorable! There's fishing in the pond out front (his mom's place is on 6 acres) or...shooting turtles that eat the catfish eggs and sittin' on the front porch with our drinks. It's SO peaceful!!
We just returned from a quick visit this past weekend to visit Ken's step-mom "Maw maw" Liz. She fell earlier last week and broke three ribs...and has complications that goes along with that type of injury. To top it off, she is starting her third round of chemotherapy. She's amazingly strong and we pray for her speedy recovery. We also got a chance to visit with my Uncle Ken and Cousin Dave and Kim and their four kids in Hattiesburg, about 2 hours south of us. I'm excited to have get togethers with them...makes being far away from my AZ family a little easier.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Riley and Alexis

Riley is getting MARRIED!!! I wanted to wait until I had some cute pictures to post before I announced his engagement to Alexis...and here they are! I LOVE these pictures!! We are all very excited and happy that they've found each other. They've set June 21st as their wedding date in the Mesa temple. They've been engaged for a couple of months already and the wedding plans are well on their way. Yes, we had to buy airplane tickets to return to AZ even before we moved!! Alexis is wonderful. She's from Gilbert, one of nine children...most of them living in the area and a returned missionary from Argentina. She and Riley have so much in common and really bonded right from the beginning. It is so fun to see the sparkle in each of their eyes...a sparkle for each other! They plan on making their home in the Mesa/Gilbert area, which is great...they both have family in the area and it makes my visits back to AZ that much more exciting!! I'll keep everyone posted on this young couple's comings and goings.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Back to work

When we first got an inkling that we would be moving to MS, Chelsey, in her proactive way, got on the internet to see if there was a Pump it Up in the area. She had been working at the Pump it Up (kids inflatables indoor party/ know, the jumping castles things) in Tucson for several months and LOVED it! She was perfect for the job, energy, organization and she's great with kids. She was making good money and great tips which really helped increase her love for the job as well. Anyway, much to her surprise, she discovered a Pump it Up here not far from where we're renting. She actually did a 'walk in' and was hired the next day and scheduled to work the next day after that! She's worked every day since (except Sunday). Of course, it's a bit different than Tucson...the kids here call her "ma'am" and other workers ask her to 'talk' for them cause she has an accent they like to listen to. She's been a real trooper...keeping a positive attitude about the move, getting out to meet people by jumping in there and getting a good job, staying busy doing scrapbooks and overall being helpful...all the while constantly talking on the phone to Clint (thank heavens for unlimited Verizon!!)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

What a treat!

Yesterday, while picking up a few things at our little local grocery store, we came across what Ken said was a real treat... crawfish!! There is a guy here that boils them up and sells them every Saturday afternoon. We bought a couple pounds and hoped for the best (you never know how spicy or bland they'll be) Luckily they were really good. The whole time Ken kept saying, "What a treat", "Now this is a real treat", "Wow we found a treat". He just couldn't get enough!! Chelsey got right in there and ate nearly as much as Ken. I had a few but spent most of my time taking pictures :) Natalie missed out this time as she's down in New Orleans visiting her mom. But, the fun part is we can do this again next Saturday!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Gracie and Gus

Gracie and Gus are our family cats...actually, Chelsey and Natalie's cats. Chelsey got Gracie for her 16th birthday and as a surprise (cause I didn't have the heart to break up the pair) Natalie got Gus. Before the move, these two were pretty independent and a bit on the wild side. But since the move, they've been more affectionate and want to be wherever the girls are. Maybe it was because of all the trauma they went through with being closed up during the time the movers and carpet cleaners were at the Tucson house (couldn't have cats running around) or the two day drive in the back of the truck to get here. Whatever it was, they are now acting more like family cats. They love climbing to the tops of all the boxes, napping and generally checking things out and they spend most of their time just being with the girls. They like to be in the middle of everything that's going on... Gracie, on top of the lap top helping Chelsey do homework, and Gus's favorite...napping with Natalie. It's fun having these little guys around and because of all the crawling critters they have down here in the south, maybe they'll help keep this place "pest free"!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Welcome to Mississippi

Yesterday was my first venture set up electricity, water and cable. All morning the northern sky was black. Riley called to tell me there were tornado watches all around me, something I didn't know as we don't have any TV reception and don't think to listen to the radio. Anyway, I thought I'd run out 'real quick like' and get my errands done. Just as I turned out of my little subdivision, all "heck" broke loose. I saw the wind coming by watching a row a trees down the road I was traveling. The wind wasn't blowing in any one direction the time I drove into it, the wind was swirling and things were flying. An electric transformer blew right in front of me and sparks went flying. Needless to say, I pulled off at the next driveway and turned back for home. I hadn't driven 2 miles when all this happened. On my way back, at a creeping pace (the rain was so fierce), branches went flying and pine cones were hitting the car like rocks...then it started to hail. Now I know, from the movies, that when there's hail and horizontal rain, there's a tornado! Well, it actually flew right over my head without touching down!! All I could think of were lines from the movie "Twister"..."we have hail, we have hail". A big ole pine tree fell alongside the road right next to me and stuff went all over. I turned into my subdivision and stepped on the gas. That's when I noticed the damaged homes. Luckily we don't have any trees around our home so all was well as far as that was lost shingles even. The damage was just at the front of the subdivision and all along the road I was on...knocking down huge 100 year old trees down the way, closing down the road. Power is still out for many people north of us (people were talking about it in all the store lines this morning). All Ken said to me when he called me as he was evacuated into the storm shelter area at work was..."Welcome to got a baptism by 'wind' today!"

Here we go again

Quick update: We all arrived Monday afternoon without incident, including Ken who beat us by about 30 min. The girls were in good spirits and excited to see their pets, who also endured their journey well. We spent our first night in a hotel and about a week after they started on the Tucson house, the movers arrived at our semi-temporary MS house. The moving started all over again. I spent the day directing traffic and basically trying to fit 2400 square feet of stuff into 1300 square feet...not easy! Thank heavens for a walk up attic, the reverse of a basement! It also rained all day, the exact opposite of what we had just left. I guess the heavens were weeping for us :) Since the movers left, we have been unpacking boxes and finding all sorts of "treasures". And, as we suspected, we were VERY overweight...kinda kills me since we brought stuff that I intended to give away but ran out of time. I guess we'll have a nice garage sale here to raise money to pay off the overweight bill!! Overall, the house is small but cute. It's homey and private (master on the opposite side of the house from the girl's bedrooms). We'll be here until our Tucson house sells and we get into something permanent. Ken wants to build. There's lots of opportunity for that here. We're a bit in the country and it's very pretty with alot of wide open spaces with horses and wonderful homes. We drove down a long road with trees overhanging on both sides of the road, making a tunnel. It was lovely. The first day our cars arrived (Thurs), the girls and I took a drive around some neighborhoods. There were lots of oohhs and aahhs as we looked at house after house..."I like that one", "Oh, look at that one". So far, it seems like a very nice place. I'll keep you posted.