Weekend Nutshell

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“If we approach adversities wisely, our hardest times can be times of greatest growth, which in turn can lead toward times of greatest happiness.” -Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

Last Friday, on our way to Fairview, Utah, for the weekend, my oldest son, Zach, phoned us to say he had just been called in to see his still-new neurologist (new to my son, not new as a neurologist) right away. We took a detour to the hospital to meet up with Zach and join him for his second appointment with his neurologist, who confirmed his week-old diagnosis, based on our son’s recent spinal tap results and the results of his earlier MRI and of three rounds of blood work. At the age of 23, Zach has Multiple Sclerosis. That’s the shocking bad news. The good news is that it’s been caught early, treatment has already begun and nothing is wrong with his spine.

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My talented cousin, Heather, made this amazing cake! The theme for my mother-in-law’s 80th birthday party was her travels around the world.

Saturday afternoon, we celebrated my mother-in-law’s 80th birthday with a three hour, surprise open house in her honor. It was a success with over 60 of her family, friends and neighbors attending.

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Mother and Sons

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Me and my lovely daughters

We stayed in Fairview, visiting David’s mom, until Sunday afternoon. Then we drove to Salt Lake, dropped the kids off at another birthday party, this time for my side of the family. Zach and I then dropped my husband off at the airport so he could return to his job in Arizona. Once back at the party, we didn’t stay long as Zach was tired and the kids and I had a two hour drive ahead of us. The kids and I are staying here in Utah for the next four weeks. ♥ Last night, Zach bravely posted about his MS on Facebook. Here is the link to his blog, Yo-yoing With Zed, if you would like to support him by following him.

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Minecraft Birthday Party

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On Saturday, we had a Minecraft birthday party for Marcus. His birthday is so close to Christmas that we have his friend party early in the month. He chose Minecraft as his theme this year.

Marissa made the paper napkin Creeper face.

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And designed this Nerf gun target game. (There was also a green cup tower to shoot down and a toss game.)

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Darcie created the cake.

The hit of the party was painting the cardboard swords I designed and painstakingly cut out! I kept asking myself, “What was I thinking?” but in the end it was worth it. (Marcus was studying a picture of a Minecraft sword on my cellphone before he painted his. As you can see, we had to reinforce the back of the swords for extra durability.)

The party gang.

Happy Early Birthday, Marcus!

Happy Halloween!

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This Halloween, my daughter dressed up as a Greek goddess and my son dressed up as the 11th Doctor.

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This is how the kids decorated our trunk for last night’s trunk or treat.

Tonight my daughter is going to a church dance and the rest of us are just hanging out. I doubt we’ll get many trick-or-treaters at our apartment door, but we have some candy on hand just in case. We’ve been watching from our collection of Halloween movies all week. We always save The Nightmare Before Christmas and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! for Halloween night.

Wishing you a safe and fun Halloween!

Arriving Home

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Day 4 in the car. (In case you’re wondering, my son does own more than two shirts!)

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Welcome to the Arizona desert!

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This was the scenery along the way. Lots of cactus and rocks!

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Our new temporary home, meaning who knows how long we’ll live in this apartment before we settle into a rental house? We’re not planning to buy a house here, but we also don’t want to live in an apartment if we’re here for a few years.

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We’ve unpacked the car and both kids have settled into their new bedrooms. One room has a desk, the other room, a dresser, but not both. I’ve been cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms and taking note of things we need to buy. This is a furnished apartment, but that doesn’t mean the kitchen has a cheese grater!

Moving Mini-Vacation

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On Saturday afternoon, we pulled out of our driveway in Utah and drove less than five hours South to Grandma’s house where we stayed the night so we could have a nice visit.

Day 1 in the car.

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Marissa girl in Grandma’s front yard. We left her house Sunday after sleeping in and enjoying a bacon and egg breakfast.

On our way we drove through Manti. This is the beautiful Manti Temple.

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Day 2 in the car.

I took some pictures out my window as we drove towards Southern Utah.

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And then David surprised us by taking us through Zion’s National Park.

To make it even sweeter, he booked us a suite at a lodge in Springdale.

The view from our balcony.

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Marcus met this little guy on his way to the pool.

After breakfast on Monday, we took the shuttle bus into Zion’s and got off at the top of the loop where the kids enjoyed the river.

After a couple hours of fun in the park, we decided to be on our way.

Day 3 in the car. (The kids are wearing King Julien‘s headdress.)

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While stuck in stop-and-go traffic in Nevada, Marcus created a little fort for himself.

Going across the Mike O’Callagham-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge wasn’t as exciting as we thought it would be! We should’ve stopped at the Hoover Dam visitor’s center, but we kept driving instead, and soon after we entered our new home state, Arizona. Does anyone do what we do when we drive across a state line? We lift our feet up (to “jump” from one state to another). And now we have stopped for the night at a Holiday Inn. Tomorrow (Tuesday), we’ll finally complete this move!

A New Adventure

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We’re all packed up and ready to head out for our next adventure. We’re stopping at my mother-in-law’s tonight and then driving to Arizona tomorrow morning. Wish us luck!

Looking Forward

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I can’t believe it’s August already! Today my brother and his family drove the two hour distance to my home to spend time with us. It was a great visit. 🙂

I feel like I have a lot to do over the next few weeks, not just getting ready to start up another homeschool year (Yay!), but also decluttering and organizing a few rooms in my home in preparation for moving again. This move won’t be as big as other moves. We are keeping our house here as a home-base. Our apartment in Arizona will be fully furnished so all we’ll be taking with us are clothes, homeschool materials and a few comfort items to help us feel more at home. I’ll be debating just what to take with us over the next couple of weeks.
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I’m looking forward to this move. I enjoy waking up in different places, making new friends, starting over in a new ward (LDS church congregation) and most of all, being with my husband every day. ♥

I know people wonder about our lifestyle, how we can move around so much and stay sane. We actually love the adventure of moving and it’s so much a part of our family life that when we do stay in one place for more than two years, we get itchy to move again! I’m sure there will come a time when we’ll just stay settled somewhere. Where that will be, I’m not sure. My dream is to live somewhere near the coast. I love the ocean. But I’ve learned that I can live anywhere and be happy as long as I’m together with my husband and our children.

Of course, this move is also a little bittersweet as I’ve enjoyed the summer months home with my oldest daughter, who will return to her university courses at the end of this month. My oldest son, who has continued to live near his university has been spending several weekends at home. That will all change once we move again. We’ll only see them on certain holidays. But Arizona is a lot closer than Peru was so that’s a plus. We’ll be a short plane ride or several hour drive away this time. And I still have my two youngest at home, which is why I cherish homeschooling. ♥