Wednesday, August 28, 2013

with all my heart...

...I love this boy like I can't even describe.  I woke Stetson up at about 7:15 am and said "Its the first day of school!...(rolls to the other side and puts blanket over his head) ....and I have a new cereal!"  I know all the good tricks now.  Stetson was super nervous today.  I don't blame school, new friends, new everything.  With the exception of a 6th grade girl from our ward, Stetson didn't know a soul today.  While waiting in line to go in, I frantically started asking some other kids from his class what their names were so Stetson at least knew some names. He was showing little interest in my getting to know you games.  Luckily they let the parents walk their kids into the school and once Stetson saw his desk with his name and everything he quickly took his seat and seemed ok...he still looked nervous.  I debated taking off without him knowing but decided to tell him I loved him and blew him a kiss goodbye.  He blew one back, I walked out the door and I got that misty eye thing and felt like such a boob.
Michael came home early so I got to pick him up by myself and he was happy!  Even gave his teacher a hug before he left.  I hope its going to be a great year!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Ready Confetti

 Tonight we had some extra kiddos so "back to school dinner night" was a little bit crazy.  We had homemade mac n cheese and salad.  At Stetson's back to school night the teacher gave each student a surprise bag and a note to read the night before school.  The surprise was "ready confetti" and a cute poem about putting it under your pillow so you won't be nervous for the first day. :)  Stetson read the whole letter to us.  Can't believe I'm going to have a 1st grader tomorrow.

last day of summer

 I have bittersweet feelings about this day, but mostly sweet.  I am ready for school to start, but its funny because at Stetson's back to school night at his new school I kind of wanted to cry.  We're thrilled about his teacher.  This is her 33rd  (and last) year of teaching and she seems great.  Kandace also got to go see her preschool at the YMCA last night.  Should be a fun year!  Oh, and for the last day of summer we went to the mall, came home for lunch and made homemade icecream.    It was on our list of 85 things to do this summer. We're about 80% done with the list, we might have to make an extension.  Later tonight our house will officially be the crazy house when we are joined by a 4, 2 and 1 year old for temple night.  Let the good times roll.
 And what good would homemade icecream be without a human pyramid (sort of) afterwards??

Friday, August 23, 2013

camping 2013

 We went camping again this year--2nd time since we've been married.  Its a ton of work with the littles, and one day we'd love to have a camper to stay warmer at night, we we made great memories and I think the kids loved it.  One last hoorah for the summer vacation which ends next Wed for our family.  We drove to Lovell Tuesday, stopped at my dads and Asays for a couple last minute things and got there around evening.  We had hotdogs and went on a little walk.  That night all the kids slept AWESOME.  We laid them down about 9 and like 30 minutes later they were all out.  The next morning we had lamb sausage, eggs and pancakes for breakfast.  Michael took the 2 older ones to fish while Janelle and I stayed at camp and kept the fire going.  For lunch we ate the fish Michael and the kids caught and at 3:30 we met dad and did some more fishing.  My camera died while were up there so not as many pics as I wanted.  After round 2 of fishing we went back to camp and had dinner with gpa Simmons--hamburgers, pasta salad, fish and s'mores for dessert.  Wed night at around 11, Janelle woke up in a made rage and had decided she did not want to be camping anymore.  Michael had to drive her around until she finally conked out so they spent the night in the truck.  We left camp Thur morning at 10, spent the rest of the day at Asays (yay for showers) and then the kids and I headed for Billings about 8:30 so they'd sleep on the drive home, which they DID and I was so glad.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

productive Saturday

 Last Fri was Michael's last day of the summer semester so we decided to get going on some projects we'd been wanting to do.  Everything with our condo and I mean EVERYTHING has been a process.  Our garage has been a royal disaster until Michael installed shelves yesterday.  Now we can walk in there and actually get stuff and we're loving it.  Michael's friend from school, Jaran Mills came and helped.  I think they're going to quit PA school and start a professional shelving business.  They are GOOD!

                                                                           before (yikes)
                                                            after  (I think I hear angels singing)
                                                                  We couldn't have done it without Handy Manny.  Notice the tool belt and construction hat.  Never know when you'll need it.  That afternoon Michael also installed our garage door opener.  There's still a few wrinkles to iron out there but he'll get it figured.  It was hot and busy all day...we also had our carpets shampooed by Stanley Steemer that day so we couldn't go in from 2ish 'til 7 that night so the carpets could dry.  I'm so glad we went that route.  Carpets look so much better and its way cheaper.

Lake Elmo

Today we went to Lake Elmo with some friends.  It was a perfect day for the lake!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


 As soon as we started looking at this condo, Michael had big plans of carving the kids' names on the tree in front.  He and his brothers carved some sentimental (haha) things on the trees on the farm and liked how as time went on the words got bigger and darker, so tonight Michael carved all our kids' names on this tree.

 Uhh..Kandace loves having her picture taken.  She kept saying "mom, come take my picture."  She had some crrrrazy poses, thats for sure.  This is like the 3rd day in a row she's worn this dress.  She usually wears a shirt under it.  We'd just gotten back from the pool at Pioneer park and her friends were here to play already so she hurried and got in her dress.  Its summer, I let them dress themselves. LOVE HER.
We have a family in Billings we trade babysitting with so we can go to the temple and Janelle was NOT happy about sharing mom with 3 other kids.  Holy cow.  By this time she had cheered up and would sit for some pics.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Erin's wedding.

Yesterday was Erin's wedding day!  I was so happy I got to go to the ceremony.  Going to the temple and watching a sealing is so wonderful.  We had to wait a little while in the sealing room for the couple but what better place is there to wait than in the temple? I could have sat there all day.  I feel so special in the temple.  I feel God's love for me and I feel closer to him and want to be better.  I wished Michael could have gone but he had class.  That night we went to Cowley for the reception which was in dad's backyard and it was BEAUTIFUL.  I didn't help at all since we're in Billings and I didn't know how it would pan out for sure even though I'd talked to Brenda and heard some of the plans.  The weather was perfect and it was a magical night.  Michael and I got to go to the temple Thur night actually.  We traded baby sitting with another family that used to be in our ward until the boundary changes.  Thur night after the temple I got to go off by myself at TJ Maxx and get some new clothes for the wedding.  Michael was even all for it agreeing that I hadn't bought new church clothes for myself in a while.  Billings is fun for the reason that there's tons of stores to shop at and they're open late and I can go by myself!  I wanted a dress but they're all sleeveless or way too short so I went for the skirt ensemble.  It was fun to mix and match, I went to target next door for my necklace and had no idea they had such an awesome jewelry selection!  Kind of dangerous! :)


Some of Stetson n Kandace's best friends came to Billings last week and got to play!  Catelynn and Matthew Allen were here with their parents picking up their car and I invited the kiddos over to play.  I was so happy since the kids haven't made a lot of friends yet and have mostly been playing with each other.  There's not a lot of kids in our ward that go to Rose park elementary, actually only the bishop's family that I know of, so I'm excited for Stetson to start school and find some buddies hopefully.  I've been trying to go to playgroups and make connections mostly for my kids' sake.  Anyway, we took the Allen's to the pool and they had fun playing together.  That night their mom and dad helped us haul a u-haul trailer to the heights to get a piano.  Yay for friends!

Closing on our house

Don't have any pics to include in this post...maybe a picture of me in a straight jacket or something would have been appropriate because closing on a house in Billings has been way more stressful than I ever imagined and I just about went crazy.  Only joking of course.

On Wednesday, August 7 we closed on our condo here in Billings.  Michael was bugging me to write this post so we could have it in our book.  I'm super proud of Michael (and myself) for this milestone.  The fact that we're in a position financially to actually buy a house, especially with Michael being in school.  Michael's really done all the hard work, I've just complained a lot and asked a lot of questions.  The seller agreed to pay for new carpet installation and closing costs.  Up until the day after closing, we hadn't gotten our carpet allowance check from the seller, so even when we showed up at Chicago Title to close, things were still up in the air like trying to decide if we should wait until we had the carpet $ before signing all the papers, as an incentive for the seller to comply, but ultimately Michael and I were both really anxious to close and move on so thats what we did. Luckily the seller agreed to pay for the carpet allowance via monthly payments (if she didn't then it meant she'd breached her contract and we could have taken her to court and been on TV with Judge Judy (awesome!).  She didn't end up making much of a profit off her house and her realtor made it sound like money is tight for her.  Anyway,  I've been in charge of the whole carpet fiasco.  I've spent a lot of time on the phone with Michelle in the flooring dpt at Lowe's including going over there once to talk to her and look at the carpet and get some numbers.  We determined that if we wanted to re carpet the entire condo we would only be able to afford the "in-stock" carpet which is lower quality and what buyers use to "flip"houses (buy to sell).  We weren't thrilled about having the cheap carpet so and my brother had actually suggested having it professionally shampooed so I called Stanley Steemer and they came and did a "spot check" I guess you could call it where they treat a really bad stain to see if the carpet was even salvageable and it was completely gone after they shampooed that spot!  We decided that we'd make a final decision (shampoo or get new carpet) in a couple days once the carpet was completely dried and its Saturday and the stain is still gone so we're mostly likely going to shampoo the whole place and save the $ from the carpet allowance and put it towards something else.  I'm thrilled that we didn't have to pay closing costs and that our mortage is WAY less than rent is here in Billings and its going towards an investment for us.  If we can't sell the condo when we want to then we can always rent it out.

There's been lots of decisions to be made lately it seems like.  I've learned a lot about patience and how Heavenly Father helps us along but usually we can't see the final outcome which makes the process difficult.   We started working with our realtor in March of this year and I'd never thought it'd be such a fiasco.

 A year ago I started taking piano lessons again.  I tried to practice a 1/2 hr every day.  That didn't always happen but I was getting a little bit better.  I found a piano online in the heights that was selling for $200 and so I drove out to take a look, it looked good except one key was sticking so I wasn't sure if I could get it since I wouldn't know if it could be fixed until a piano guy could look at it. miraculously enough, a friend of ours who fixes pianos was in Billings THAT DAY and came and drove out to the heights and looked at it for me that evening.  He said he could fix the key and that we should get it.  So the next day he was there again picking up his car that'd broke down the previous day and he, his bro in law and Michael moved the piano from the heights to our condo with a u-haul trailer.  I think its a blessing that it all worked out so well.  Our 2nd Sunday in our new ward I was called and sustained as our primary pianist.  Didn't see it coming at all.  That was when I got serious about getting a piano, but someone from back home had generously said we could have theirs, but it was a full sized one that would have taken up a lot more space, but it was free, so it was hard to decide.  I hate making decisions but I'm glad I decided to get this piano from the heights...I've loved playing it and am going to have to practice a lot.
Anyway, we're official home owners and its been fun but kind of overwhelming thinking about projects and the responsibility of owning your own home.  We're learning and grateful for these life experiences.

Our neighbor has a little 2 year old grandson who she's adopting and she invited me and the kids over to check out her condo just this evening.  She was talking about Michael and how he "seemed like such a nice guy" and how she thought he was cute and reminded her of some relative she had.  Anyway, she was telling me some horrible sad things that'd happened to her, her husband and grand baby's death, her daughter dealing with lots of medical problems, on the verge of death herself, and nasty divorce, losing her job, etc. and I felt so incredibly grateful for my husband and the life I have.  She just seemed overall impressed with our family and the life we live (mostly impressed with Michael he he) and it was awesome to take a step back and realize what an incredible blessing the gospel is.  Incredible because it puts you on a path in life that you don't even realize you're on sometimes.  A guy like Michael with standards and goodness like his are hard to come by ....not as many LDS members here in Billings so we kind of stick out in some places, especially in our little condo complex. Anyway, lots of rambling.  As soon as I clean my house I'll take some pics of our condo! :)