Walnut Creek, OH

It’s been a hard week.  The excitement of moving here was over, Christmas has come and gone, and the reality of what we have done hit the kids this week.  Aubrey was crying in her room, I should say sobbing in her room, when we investigated we learned how badly she was missing her friends.  Perfect fix, we called Kendra, and invited over some new friends to play the next day.  There is a family here with the same family order as ours with almost identical ages.  Girl, boy, girl, girl, girl.  It worked perfectly, I had all 5 of them over, and everyone had a buddy.

My sister arrived on Wednesday, even better for beating the blues– COUSINS.  The kids have been playing tag, hide go seek non stop since they arrived.  We took the kids swimming to a wonderful indoor community center pool, fully equipped with a lazy river and slides.  This pool is far superior to anything I have ever seen in a public pool category.

Today we headed out to Amish Country.  I felt like a dork taking pictures of the little buggies, I only allowed myself one shot, because it seemed like I was intruding upon their privacy, like they were some sort of freak show, and really I have nothing but respect for what they are doing.  We did enjoy some of their cooking though, and admired their quilts, candy and coveted their furniture.  We stopped and bought some summer sausage, wonderful cheeses, and other meats.  We saw some grand horses, the great big ones that my grandfather used to raise–Clydesdale’s.  The cheeses and meats were priced reasonably, as were their meals at the restaurants.  Everything is grown organically.  It was about an hour and 15 minute drive from our home and I can tell you we will be visiting them frequently.  I bet I could learn a few things from them in the quilting department.

The drive was crazy, two lane roads that take off through the forest, up and down, up and down, little hills, felt like a roller coaster, and then dodging buggies.  We ran into the first buggy about 35 miles from home, and they were more frequent the closer in we got.  The kids loved every moment, but I’m thinking that with all these crazy roads and little signage I’m going to need a GPS in my car.

Santa Key

We took Alyssa out for breakfast on her birthday, it’s become tradition that the birthday child gets a date out with Mom and Dad alone.  On our way into the restaurant we ran into a man and his wife, and he just happened to look just like Santa.  Alyssa froze in her tracks, and he could sense her starring at him so he turned around and came back and talked with her.  She told him it was her birthday and he reached in his pocket and pulled out a magic key and handed it to her.  The key was to let him into her home on Christmas Eve because we don’t have a chimney.  Here’s the magic part, we didn’t set this up and we don’t have a chimney and the kids had already expressed their concern.  The key is hanging outside our door right now, just waiting for Santa, and I have a 4 and 6 year old tucked into bed, still believing in the magic.

Our first Christmas Eve in Ohio was spent with new friends.  The children, 22 of them put on a production of the Nativity starting with Samuel the Lamanite.  We had finger foods, and great conversations.  On our way home it was just starting to snow.  We rushed home to open some new Christmas Jammies, and open the name exchange in our family.  It is my family tradition to open presents on Christmas Eve, and this is how we have continued this tradition.  Everyone is tucked into bed, and Danny and I are just cleaning up and getting ready for Santa to make his appearance.

Alyssa the Elf

While visiting with Santa at our church Christmas party he mentioned to Alyssa that if she ever wanted to come and be an elf to just send him a letter. Guess who thinks she’s going to go and be an elf… Sigh.

Toto, I don’t think we are in Kansas…

Our experience so far has been one that I would attach many adjectives to – exciting, surprising, confusing, disorienting, and uncertain.  First of all, I’m starting to get used to the house.  Although not my dream home, it has potential, and we are finding ways to enjoy it.  One of the problems is that I’m so used to an open concept home.  I have not lived in a home that has different rooms for different purposes.  At first I found it very claustrophobic, but I’m starting to see some benefits.  This leaves me confused, and I’m not sure what kind of house I might choose next.  The kids can be in so many different rooms doing different things that the noise levels are less, and everyone is busy.  Some kids are upstairs, some down, and some in the basement.  It has created smaller more close knit activities in smaller groups of kids.  I’m liking it.

This weekend we went to German Town.  I wish I had my camera, there was so much eye candy.  From the cobbled streets to the neat rows of homes with such tiny details.  The planter boxes all filled with fresh pine bows and shiny bulb decor.  So charming.  We went to a 42 room book store.  As fun as it was, 5 children in that maze of a store, with stairs going up and down and tiny little walk ways surrounded by books. It was like a hoarder’s dream.  It was impossible to enjoy.  Danny and I will have to go back, getting a stroller in there was a big mistake.  I couldn’t move and neither could anyone else, and the kids knew they had an advantage over me.  We left there and went for a walk to look for a German Bakery for a treat.

The shopping here is limitless.  I have 3 large grocery stores in a 5 mile radius of my home and not a one of them is a Super Wal Mart, but all are similar to a Wal Mart.  I had no idea that Wal Mart had so much competition.  I’m so glad my life no longer revolves around a trip to Wal Mart.  I’m not missing it.  The only trouble is deciding which store to visit.  I’m still partial to the little German grocery store, it intrigues me.  We have a large mall within a 5 minute drive of our home.  It has 8 anchor stores, one of them is a Saks Fifth Avenue, I haven’t found the courage to go in there yet.

We found another large shopping mall this weekend.  It is much bigger than the one by our home, which I honestly thought was impossible.  It has 4 separate parking garages, and is made to resemble New York City with a large round about that houses a large fountain, and a Christmas Tree.  It is beyond impressive.  They have a Container Store there that I’m dying to go to, but it was a long walk away and the kids were cold, and the crowds were everywhere.  I’m obviously going to have to get out on my own.

Finally, it has snowed.  We have a Christmas tree and a few gifts, and it’s starting to feel real.  Danny has started to get involved at work, and is enjoying it.  Last week they took him to the lab, I call it Disney Land for geeks.  He said that there is millions of dollars of equipment in there to play with.  Switches that in the past he’s bartered for the chance to experiment with, just sitting there asking to be played with.  Stuff in boxes that they encourage him to try and break.  Servers, and training networks, he’s a little giddy at the thought of it.  His first task is to speed up the connection to Hong Kong.  So they have a testing network for him to play with and it’s actually connected to Hong Kong,  so he’s off.  He is very humbled at the reality of what has been given to him.  This is his dream, and I know he often feels under qualified and undeserving.  I pray that he is able to learn quickly and push feelings like this aside and enjoy what he has worked so hard to have.

I was concerned with the kids changing schools.  I worried this would be our biggest transition, hoping we aren’t just in a honeymoon phase, so far we are amazed.  Emma has a chance to take 4 different language classes this year to see which one she is interested in persuing in the future.  She is given a great deal of freedom to work at her own pace and is allowed to go to the library, and use whatever avenue of learning suits her best.  She’s in heaven.  Tanner’s homework is all assigned and completed on the computer. It is emailed to him on  Sunday and he has the week to work on it.  He seems very happy and content, and free from any anxiety that I was expecting.  Aubrey too is enjoying school.  There are a lot of programs that we didn’t have in Nevada like guitar playing, and specific art programs.  Although we pay a heavy tax, good and bad with everything…

I was going to add some pictures of the house, and tree cutting and first days of school, but they are on the lap top, I’ll add them later tonight.

The Good, Bad and Ugly

There was a lot of ugliness today.  The slum lord of this house, is not exactly my favorite person.  I marched all 5 kids into his office today to show him that we were real people.  The house was not cleaned, and it has major plumbing leaks.  The flooring is nasty, and I can’t use the laundry room because of a large leak in the upstairs bathroom that keeps flooding the basement.  Really did he not think I would notice?  I think I finally have his attention, after threatening to call the health department and getting the house condemned, he told me to make a list of things.  Hmmm, should I start with the scotch tape holding the counter tops together, or how about the water damage done to all of the floors and ceilings.  Oh wait, maybe the missing shingles, can’t wait for a snow storm, we’ll really be able to experience it as it falls INTO the house.  So since I have decided that I will find a positive in every situations, here we go.  The rooms are large, and there is a space for all of the kids.  The outside of the house is fab, it is on a full acre and it backs to a creek that the kids can sled down and also explore the woods.  We back to a state park with a lake.  There is fishing, hiking, bike trails, and really the neighborhood is very picturesque.  The house has a large wrap around porch that I can’t wait to sit on.  So delightful, as long as you don’t go inside.

The Relief Society President brought us dinner tonight.  We were brought dinner last night and again tomorrow night.  This has been so nice.  The RSP was truly inspired today.  She showed up unannounced at the height of all chaos happening.  I was in tears, and she swooped me off into her car for a tour of town and a trip to some of the best hot spots.  We went to a little German grocery store.  I wish I could remember the name of it, but what a sweet little store.  They have all of their own brand products, and they sell them cheap.  So cheap that you have to insert a quarter into the cart in order to use it and if you think they are going to bag your stuff you are out of luck, and they don’t provide any bags for you either.  Although boxes are free if you collect them yourself while walking through the store.  Milk was $1.29 a gallon.  For you Daytonites, Smiths isn’t Smiths here.  It’s Kroger, and it’s a super Kroger, a lot like a Super Wal Mart only nicer and more like a Target.  They have furniture, sheets, towels, a mini doctor clinic… tons of services.  It’s only 5 minutes from the house, and delightful.

So although things aren’t all fairies, rainbows and unicorns, it’s decent, and I have hope that it will only get better.  Danny starts work on Monday and that will be the last of our unknowns.  We have already met delightful people, and can’t wait to go to church on Sunday.

Sheesh, time is a strange thing

It seems like an eternity since we made the decision to move to Ohio.  So much has happened since then.  The house is rented out, I pray that was the right decision, but feel that it is.  The kids had their last day of school, which was ridiculously hard.  We packed all of our stuff, put it on a truck and it’s already unloaded just waiting for me in Ohio right now.  It’s 3am and I can’t sleep, so maybe don’t hold me to mistakes, and strange wording in this post.  Danny and Benny drove to Ohio on Satruday, perfect timing, Sunday brought over a foot of snow.  Anyway, here I sit, pondering the events of the past month and wonder where the time has gone.

In my last post I mentioned that we had some conversations with the kids about what we would miss, not miss and what we are looking forward too, I didn’t get around to those posts so I’m going to sum it up.

We are going to miss our ward family, and the great people who have influenced our lives.  Teachers, friends, neighbors.  We have met some great people, and saying goodbye was hard.

We will miss the mountains, I will miss the great big granite rocks, and alpine lakes.  Yosemite, the crystal blue waters of Lake Tahoe, and the smell of sage in the spring.  I will miss the beautiful blue sky that almost always shines over us.

I’ll miss being so close to Grandma and Grandpa, but at the same time, I don’t care if I ever do that horrible drive again.

Things I wont miss is the red light district we drive through to get to Carson.  We wont miss the long drives to Wal Mart… which brings me to the severe lack of decent shopping in the area.  But I guess that isn’t really a huge problem.

Some things to look forward to… trees, oh sweet greenness how I have missed you.  Moisture, we are dryer than Sahara desert in Nevada, and my lotion bill proves it.  Rain, I love the smell of rain, I’m hoping Ohio has sweet smelling rain.  I’m looking forward to exploring our new home.  We need to find a new pizza place, and the libraries look like loads of fun.  I’m excited to find some new adventures exploring a large city, and also excited to explore the country side.  The Amish farms are close, and I understand that there are caverns and caves to explore as well.

There are a lot of unknowns that give me a little grief, but I’m trying hard to push my fears aside and have a grand time playing with the kids.

Christmas is coming and there is a tree farm just down the street from our new home, guess where I will be in a couple of days.  There are lots of cookies to be made, and lights to be hung and traditions to be followed.  I’m giddy with excitement.  I pray that the flights are easy today and that the kids are relaxed and able to take everything in stride toda.  I probably should pray for the same for me.

I miss my sweet husband, and can’t wait to join him.  I hear that the inside of the house is not exactly as we hoped, but like a bad haircut this too shall pass.  I’m planning on having a great time and I’m not to worried about the little things like that.  I guess it’s time to finish up and get things loaded into the car.  It’s going to be a wild day, and I can’t wait!

“Still round the corner there may wait, A new road or a secret gate.” J.R.R. Tolkien