Monday, December 5, 2016

Unemployed and Homeless in Paradise

We are so behind but are determined to catch up...eventually. Starting the catch up during the Christmas season is probably not a smart move, so we'll see.
Because of timing with Daddy's old job and knowing we wouldn't receive Daddy's Permanent Residency approval until the fall, the entire month of July we were homeless and Jobless. But because we had some savings and amazingly generous families, we had such an incredible month. Most of it was spent at Ashley Lake, Montana with the exception of flying to northern California for 10 days. Much of the video of our skiing, kneeboarding and wake boarding was on Daddy's go pro so until he gets his butt in gear to organize it, you won't have much video to enjoy.
One new thing at the lake this year was the MSDP or Mark Schlenker Development Plan. It was a reward system for accomplishing specific water sports with no tears. It was a great success and each kid tried new things and did more in the water than usual.
Coop loved to play hockey with whomever was willing and even wore his helmet for a rather long stroller walk.

The whole Smith clan came up from Utah to party with us for a week. This is Jake trying to warm up after a night surf.

A huge highlight for mom was surfing with all 3 of her boys!

Mommy and Daddy celebrated their 10 year wedding anniversary. Grandma and the family offered to watch the boys while mom and dad had a night to themselves in Kalispell. They enjoyed a hike up Columbia Falls Mt, a beautiful old hotel, yummy food and a little shopping.

So we boys have an area behind the cabin where we have built a "fort". One evening we invented something called a dust bomb. Basically, we picked up fine dusty dirt and blew it in each other's faces. These pictures do not do the filth justice. Our parents made us strip and jump in the lake before we were let in doors.

Next it was off to California to visit the Cooper/Wilcock family. During the flight, Cooper discovered the "Frozen Experience"
One morning we caught the commuting ferry from Alameda to San Francisco. We walked pier 49 and ate an amazing sour dough lunch. It was a perfect little excursion.

A's game!

Both sets of cousins have season passes to Six Flags amusement park and the next day just so happened to be a bring-a-friend-free day. So our whole family had a ridiculously fun day at a huge amusement park for free! Both Houston and Damon road their first real roller coasters and loved them (Houston road the new Joker ride and Damon road a log ride with a huge drop into water). Mom and Dad even got some grown up ride time and were exhilarated!

Afterwards we met Grandma and Granddad for dinner and "Finding Dori"

Growing up, Daddy and his family hiked 6 miles through Muir woods to Stinson Beach once a year. Finally this year, we all got to experience it. It was long for us boys but between all of the patient adults we made it! When we arrived, Grandma and Grandpa Cooper had lunch ready for us and afterwards we played in the ocean and on the beach. It was so memorable and we hope to do it again next year! (again most pictures and video were taken on the GOPRO)
This view was amazing- we were above the clouds!

The trips with Granddad to see the USS Hornet Aircraft Carrier never get old. Cooper was finally old enough to really enjoy it this year.

On our last day, we hiked a path in the Oakland hills to a beautiful of the Oakland Temple.

We also got to see some dear friends who live in Alameda. Justin is one of Daddy's best friends from his youth.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Saying Goodbye

The month of June was so packed for our family: G&G visit, Moab trip, huge garage sale, Shelly's visit, Daddy going to a 5-day AT conference, mommy packing and cleaning mostly on her own, buying and selling vehicles to prep for our trip, wrapping up things with work and hardest of all, saying good bye to all of our wonderful friends.

Here is a little improvement...

We have covered G&G Cooper's visit and the Moab Trip so moving on... we had a huge garage sale and got rid of the majority of our furniture and a boat load of other things we didn't need. We see this move as sort of a fresh start and getting rid of junk was a good start. As usual the boys sold cookies and made over $40 and were able to spend some of that at the Lego store before leaving (Damon finally got his long awaited Darth Vader figurine).
Then we were delighted enough to get a visit from Shelly Merrill, mommy's beloved friend from high school. She currently lives in Arizona but was a long road trip during her summer break and stopped by on her way to Utah. She was instantly loved by the boys and a huge help to mom with packing and caring for us boys, especially when she had to get some unexpected dental work done. Spending time with her seemed to give mom and boost that helped her get through the following week of daddy being gone.

Even though daddy is leaving the Athletic Training profession, he still has a desire to keep up his credentials. In order to do this and since it was a part of his contract, he attended an AT conference in Baltimore for 5 days. One day he was able to do some pretty incredible sight seeing.

For over 2 weeks we were living in pretty bare bones of a house (#firstworldproblems).

When daddy got home, we had less than a week to finalize everything. After driving to Utah to purchase a trailer, he all of a sudden felt uncomfortable about towing it with his current truck.
After doing some research, Daddy settled on the vehicle he wanted to buy, found one for sale on Craigslist, sold his truck, had the new one inspected and bought it all within 2 days. This crazy little experience was a great confidence booster to us, confirmed that what we were doing was right and helped remind us we are being watched over. We had a long trip ahead of us with all of our belongings and vehicle troubles would have been devastating. And we are grateful for a daddy that knows how to get things done!!
For mommy, the last night of Young Women's and the final Sunday were the hardest. Many hugs were given and tears were shed. In the 2 ward families we were in, there were so many people that impacted her life and she will be forever grateful. (Sweet Leslie Jones who lived down the street. Her and her sister babysat us so much and mommy grew very close to their family)

In our final week we attended 3 different "going away" get togethers. The first was arranged by the CMU baseball coaching staff. We had a nice time visiting while the kids swam in their pool and jumped on their tramp. At the end the honored Mickey and all of his hard work with the team with a framed jersey from their Nationals series. Mommy almost cried it was so kind and generous. Daddy sure makes an impact wherever he goes!

Cooper sharing some insights with their dog.

The next 2 were the same day. Mommy planned one called "Floats and Farewells". She provided pop and ice cream to anyone that wanted to come spend time with us one last time. It was a great afternoon and we were able to many goodbyes.

That night the CMU athletic training staff held a dinner to say farewell to Mickey along with a few other employees that were leaving. This was our final opportunity to say goodbye to a family so special, it is hard to express our love and gratitude. Mickey's boss Josh, his wife, Amberlee along with their kids were such a great support to us while we lived in Grand Junction. They will be missed tremendously.

Finally the day arrived! Mommy and daddy were up so late the night before packing the trailer and cleaning but they got it all done! The next morning we set out, first stopping to sign papers officially closing the sale of our home.

With both vehicles pulling trailers, the drive was slow going. But we were amazing and we made the trip up to Ashley Lake in 2 days.

We'll never forget you, Grand Junction!