January saw us anxiously awaiting an auction on what we thought was our "dream home" in Tempe. Well, we didn't end up getting that one but neither of us was sad about it one bit - so I guess it wasn't our dream home after all. Just a couple of weeks later N ended up finding our REAL dream home - this time in Mesa, not in Tempe. From the first time I walked through it, I knew that THIS was the place we needed to raise our kids. January also saw me spending A LOT of time on my computer designing stuff for twovinylchicks.com, and even MORE time on my treadmill. I logged running more than 100 miles that month. Whew.
In February we said goodbye to Grandma Valentine at her funeral in Utah. Bittersweet, to know that this fine woman would finally be reunited with her husband, but missing her being around again too. Almost all the family was able to be there, which was fun. We're still laughing about some of those late-night games in the hotel room. We got to bring one of Grandma's dressers home with us to Arizona, which I've since had re-done and painted in turquoise. It's absolutely awesome in A's new room.
March saw me getting into packing/purging/decorating mode. Collected a hundred different ideas for our new house (and this was before I got on Pinterest!) Also stayed current on all things American Idol, of course. Spent most of Spring Break down in Safford, hiding out in Papa's wood shop cutting, routing, and painting a ton of vinyl signs. I also think it was this month that A got her braces off.
In April we finally got a closing date for the house, and busied ourselves with getting our house in Phoenix renter-ready. We listed it and only had one family come and look at it. Turns out, they are THE.PERFECT.RENTERS. We consider ourselves very, very lucky and blessed that we haven't had to deal with any serious rental property issues. I also spent much of April trying to figure out what school to send the kids to come fall.
May was a whirlwind of driving back and forth, back and forth from Phoenix to Mesa, taking load after load over to the new house. Also in May N went on a big business trip and left me holding the bag trying to coordinate a bunch of end-of-year activities at the school, and clean and pack up our house. I spent the last week of school commuting from Mesa to take the girls every morning and every afternoon. I still can't figure out how we got it all done, but that house was fixed, patched, sparkling, touched up, and beautiful when we handed over the keys. We also had the exterior of the house painted too, as if we didn't have enough to pay for that month. Also took a whirlwind
In June we finally were able to turn our attention to the new house... and boy did it need our attention. Let's just say it was in pretty rough condition, and leave it at that. I threw a "Nemo" themed birthday party for J and invited all of our SoPho friends over to swim, which was a little ambitious two weeks after moving in! We spent the month performing triage on the house, painting, fixing plumbing leaks, replacing the garbage disposal, putting up the first of several ceiling fans, trying to get the pool functioning, painting, etc. The kids and I spent every morning at the Stapley pool while the girls did swim team, and J had his lessons. We also hosted lots and lots of barbecues. About halfway through the month J finally realized he could swim without floaties and was suddenly FREE in our pool. Too fun. The girls also spent about a month in a synchronized swimming camp that was super fun. We'll definitely be doing that again!
We spent the week of July 4th at Newport Beach with all the Carters. Ahhhhh, I love that place! Seven days of relaxing and snoozing and reading on the sand wasn't nearly long enough, and made me realize that I need a beach house of my own there! Got to spend time with cousins and had a blast playing games, sand volleyball, riding bikes, you name it! We still had a few more weeks of swim team once we got back to reality in Arizona, and we sweated our way through swim meets every week. While staying at our house for few days, my dad gave us a scare ... his defibrillator shocked him several times within a few minutes and he ended up going to the hospital in the middle of the night. Good to know that the paramedics are only two minutes away. Several of us had lots of dental work during this last year too... M ended up getting four teeth pulled. Curse these huge teeth and tiny mouths! S re-read several Harry Potter books in order to be ready for HP7 part 2... which she saw at a midnight premiere with several friends and had so much fun! The end of July brought us to Safford once more to watch my nephew and his wife get sealed in the Gila Valley Temple. A also somehow ended up sick with pneumonia in the middle of the summer, when no one else we know had it. (?)
I never thought I'd made it to August and school starting, but somehow we did. We decided on Franklin West school for the kids, and I think we made the right choice. The girls of course eased right into the curriculum and pace and have made a ton of friends. After school started I began exercising vigorously again with a friend, and started seeing some progress... but also did something funky to my knee. A started playing the violin in the school orchestra and has LOVED every minute of it. J started preschool at Discovery Club and loves it almost as much as his Mommy does. We spent every free weekend painting.
September found us in full swing of PAINTING. I swear, the theme of 2011 was PAINT for us. By this point we had all six bedrooms painted, as well as the laundry room. Now it was time to pick colors for the main areas and exterior of the house. Sheesh, talk about indecision! I got everyone's opinion I could get a hold of, and finally went with it... and luckily the HOA approved it. We ditched M on her 8th birthday like the good parents we are and took a trip to Maryland. Bliss. Saw old friends, ate great seafood, saw the sights, slept, worked out, ran around National Harbor... it was awesome. Two days after we got home I threw a birthday party for M and 8 of her friends. Swimming, pizza, minute-to-win-it games, cupcakes... oh, did I mention I broke my toe an hour before the party? Yeah. Not fun. Thank goodness Grandma came over to pinch hit, because I could hardly walk.
October brought A's 10th birthday and M's baptism. Lots of family and friends were there to make it special. I was still hobbling around a bit and still couldn't put a regular shoe on my foot with the broken toe. That, in addition to my twisted knee pretty much halted all exercise for me, which was not good timing with the holidays on the horizon. The girls started piano lessons in October and have really liked it. Patience to practice songs JUST RIGHT still eludes us, as well as timing. We spent fall break on a "staycation" at a resort in Scottsdale. For FREE. Love our timeshare! I finally got my new TEETH in October too; veneers that had been in planning stages for years because of a childhood mouth trauma finally became a reality. I love that I don't have to photoshop my teeth ever again in pictures! Exterior house painting finally began in October too. Now, three months, 40 plus gallons of paint, new garage doors, lots of blood, sweat and tears and a boom truck rental later, I can say that it's pretty much finished. For Halloween, we dressed up as Alice in Wonderland characters, with the girls being heart playing cards, J as the king, me as the Queen, and Daddy as the Mad Hatter.
In November, we spent our 13th anniversary going to see the Blue Man group. So much fun, I really do love seeing shows. We hosted Thanksgiving and were able to have my parents come up, as well as have friends over. Menu, company and leftovers were all fabulous. Starting in November the vinyl orders and projects started trickling in and kept me busy for the next month.
December saw me and the other Chick participate in a couple of craft shows, where we actually did pretty well! N got into a new position at work - - and the time he has spent has been even more intense than the bishopric calling ever was. I'm getting used to never having him around. At least the kids are older and more self-sufficient now. Between vinyl stuff and Christmas cards, ward party, birthday party, gift-getting and making, recitals, winter programs, parties and all the other December stuff, I was pretty much wasted come Christmas morning. We took off the day after Christmas and spent a few days in Safford recuperating. And, wouldn't you know it, I was sick by new year's. I'm just glad I made it through the month!
Now it's 2012. It's been 20 years since I graduated from high school; my classmates have been planning a reunion - yikes. My slug body that hasn't exercised regularly in months is feeling old lately. Probably because I'm addicted to soda, desserts and any dark chocolate and peppermint combinations I can find. The kids are doing awesome. They play outside every day with friends in the neighborhood, and ride their bikes and scooters constantly. We have started to hit every library event, Lowe's workshop and any other free entertainment Mommy can find. We have much, oh, so much to still do on this house, but I think we've made a significant dent in the to-fix list considering it's only been six months. I've tried really hard to maintain my old friendships, so therefore haven't really made many new friends here in Mesa. Overall I'm totally content with our life. We are blessed beyond measure. If you've made it through to the bottom of this longest post ever, then I owe you some kind of treat. Peace out.