Sunday, May 11, 2014

March snippets

*On Sunday, March 2nd, the day we told the kids we were moving out of state, Jake offered to make dinner, which was waffles--and...the first time doing making them on his own.

As he poured the batter on the griddle, he realized something was amiss. It was very runny. I took a peek and the batter was definitely on the super thin side than when I make it. We went through the ingredients as a check-list and he said everything was included and in the required amounts. He said he'd take one for the team and tried part of a waffle before declaring that it tasted fine. And they were. The waffles were, no doubt, paper thin. They were so thin, in fact, they were see through in some places. I told Jake not to worry. They were like a cross between a crepe and a waffle.  Jared piped up and said "a craw-ffle!" Jared was on a roll because later he said, "instead of wafer-thin, it's waffle-thin!" (Undeterred, Jake has actually instituted fast Sunday as waffle Sunday. And the waffles he made last month were fluffy and perfect :)

*Calvin, who is so appropriately named, came in after church one Sunday and declared, "I'm done being rebellious!" I was so shocked by his announcement that I never did find out why the sudden change of heart...which, by the way, has yet to be seen...

*Jake woke up one morning and stumbled into the kitchen for morning prayers. The hair on his head was partly standing straight up and partly skeewampus. We had no sooner said, "Amen" when Karcyn excitedly said, "Jake! Your hair looks like a bird's nest!"

*Karcyn wrote the following in a thank you note to her friends who gifted her with a seemingly bottomless bag o' goodies as they helped her celebrate her 8th birthday. "Dear Ariella and Tierzah, Thank you for the whole intire Dollar Store. All that stuff made [me] dizzy. Love, Karcyn".

*This was a Facebook post to me from Karcyn's Valiant Girls Leader after Karcyn's first activity with the group. "Your kids are so kind, happy, loving, helpful, positive, outgoing, up-beat, smart, and just a joy to be around. Tonight, I thanked Karcyn for helping set up chairs and her response was, "Of course! If I didn't help, I wouldn't be nice, and I wouldn't be a Hough!"

*On Saturday, March 15th, I sent Jake outside with all the kids for a half hour or so while we spoke with our realtor Cari about putting the house on the market. It was a beautiful day for pre-spring Oregon. It was a mild and lovely, in the mid-60 degrees. While the kids were gone long enough for us to talk to our realtor, they weren't gone nearly as long as I thought they'd be for such a gorgeous day. I asked Karcyn and Calvin why they were back so soon and they informed me, in exasperation, that it was too HOT! I stopped in my tracks and said, "Guys! We're moving to the south! You have no idea what hot is...but I assure you, this isn't it!" (We're in trouble!)

*On Sunday, March 16th, Jared and I attended Cooper's Priesthood Preview. The Bishopric member leading the discussion had asked the 11 year old boys, "what are some things you get to do when you're 12?" Cooper answered first and said, "Pass the Sacrament." Another said, "Collect fast offerings." After a short discussion on those, Cooper raised his hand again. "I know something else we get to do when we turn 12....we get to fast TWO meals instead of one." We all laughed. Jared and I were sitting in a row behind and over from Coop. Jared quickly added, "Hey, Coop, you can fast two meals anytime you'd like!"

*On Thursday, March 20th, after Jared had finished a whirlwind day interviewing with several doctors, administrators and even a head nun from the St. Joseph health system in Texas, we, of course, had lots to talk about. Later that night, the boys and I caught the last minute of the Arizona State vs. Texas game in the NCAA March Madness tournament. For kicks and giggles, since we hoped to move there, I had chosen Texas for my champion. The score was 83, 85. Texas was in the lead...with 24 seconds left. Then Arizona was fouled and they made both their foul shots, tying the game with only 16 seconds left. I texted Jared (albeit not very quickly) and said, "I'm gonna kill Texas!" As soon as I sent the text, a Texas player went for a 3 point shot and missed. But a teammate grabbed the ball and took a shot. The ball had left his hands right at the buzzer and the shot went in, clinching the game for Texas! In the meantime, Jared had texted back, "Why?" I hurried and texted, "False alarm--as in nevermind!" Then "March Madness, Baby!" His response: "Don't do that to me...I need LESS stress. As long as you're just talking about basketball, I'm okay..." I assured him "No stress, Sweets. Right now I'm loving Texas, St. Joes and you!"

*We were watching a show that featured a radiologist and Karcyn said, "Hey Mom--a radiologist is someone who studies radios, right?"

*On Sunday, March 30th, the first weekend of our house being on the market, we had been invited to a friend's house for dinner at 4:30. We all piled in the burb, except Calvin. He was the last one out. I told him to shut the garage door (to the house) before he climbed in. As Jared backed out of our garage, he saw a vehicle coming down the street, toward us, but the car was going just slow we waited in the driveway, when really, we probably could have backed out long before it reached us. I remember the vehicle because of how slow it was going and because I remember the driver looking really intently at the house as she drove by. Hey--who knows? Maybe she'll take a flier or request a showing. We went to our friends' home and had a lovely meal and evening with them. Since they had invited us over, we offered Jake to give us all a spiritual thought before we left as our contribution. Admittedly, I hadn't given him very much notice (like 30 minutes) so I was really impressed with what he shared. I, personally, cannot think or prepare on the fly like that so he certainly doesn't get that gift from me!

I have a Lego set that's over 800 pieces (a plane, imagine that!) and put together it's over 2 feet wide and really cool. But when it's not assembled, all the pieces fit into one gallon-sized Ziploc bag. Pretty crazy.

Putting the pieces together makes me think about the gospel. One Lego piece or good work is important, but put a lot of them together and they really make something big and beautiful. It's the same with members of the church. We're greater when we work together.

We went home around 6:30pm. I was the first to go into the house, but I couldn't. The door to the house was locked. Wait a second... we don't ever lock that door unless we're going on vacation, or someone is inside and trying to keep JJ from going out to the garage and playing in kitty litter, for example. But no one was in the house. Furthermore, we can't lock the garage door bolt that connects to the house without a key. My key was in the realtor's lock box and Jared's key was in the car already when we left. The only logical explanation we could come up with is that someone showed the house while we were gone. But who?? There was no business card on the counter. We actually had put our preference for Sunday showings to be only while we were at church from 8:30 to 12:30. If we were already gone, then fine, but we weren't going to leave during our Sabbath worship at home for a showing.

I got my cell phone out of the filing cabinet drawer when we got home because I don't take it to church with me and now that we were in "showing mode" everything taking residence on the counters from papers to toys to kitchen towels to library books, gets shoved in the 3rd filing cabinet drawer. At 7:30pm, my phone chimed to let me know I had two voicemails waiting. I don't know when they came in because my phone didn't record it. One was from a lady realtor who wanted to show the house at 4:30 on Sunday afternoon. The second one was from the same realtor saying 5pm would work better than 4:30. Aha! That MUST have been the lady who drove slowly past our house when we were leaving the house at 4:30.

We had gotten her messages after the fact and thus never gave her authorization to enter our home. I don't know what bothers me more....that she came in without permission (assuming it was okay because she saw us vacating the house at incredible coincidence) or that my house wasn't show-ready! Karcyn's baptism and our visit with friends afterwards had been the day before and while the house wasn't trashed, it wasn't tidy and lights weren't on, etc. There were accent pillows on the floor, chairs pulled out from the dining room table, stuff on the counter. Ugh...I cringed about it for days! The fact that someone must have thought that the state the house was in was OKAY in my book to show to strangers. Jared tried to comfort me saying my "untidy" house was other people's spotless house, but still. I actually asked Cari to call the other realtor and let her know we were NOT expecting a showing, which is why the house was the way it was. Cari called me back and said, other than the realtor being a bit of a ditz (because if she read the listing page, she would have noticed the Sunday time showings as being only in the morning), she said our house actually showed really well. Figures.

*Monday, March 31st, Jared received an official job offer. He signed and accepted a position as a full time PA with the St. Joseph Health System in College Station, TX.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Karcyn's baptism!

Karcyn turned the big eight years old the beginning of March, making her now eligible for baptism. Our stake does baptisms the first Saturday of each month. However, the first weekend in April is General Conference. Consequently, the baptisms for April are pushed back a week which meant Karcyn would be baptized on Saturday, March 29th.

March 29th was also the date for the first ever General Women's broadcast from Salt Lake City. Normally, it's just for women ages 18 and older. But this year, the church leaders decided to have the younger women also join. I was thinking ages 12 and up. But was for all women and girls age 8 and up! Wow! Karcyn would be attending the historic General Women's broadcast and on the day she was baptized, no less.

Because of the broadcast at 5pm, the stake decided to combine all the baptisms into one session instead of two. I was surprised when it was scheduled for the 1pm time slot instead of 11am (because of the broadcast being held at the same building just a few hours later, but what do I know? I'm not in charge.)

Just four days earlier we had put our home on the market. We already had four showings. Jared and I were at the temple the night before Karcyn's baptism and I forgot about my phone. Saturday morning, I checked my cell phone around 7:50am. There was a voicemail from a realtor who called Friday evening, wanting to show the house at 10am Saturday. Craziness! None of us were dressed yet nor had we eaten breakfast. So we all flew into cleaning mode after a quick bowl of cereal and threw on our church clothes. The baptism wasn't until 1pm, but it would just be easier that way in case someone else wanted to show the house again before the baptism.

It was a super rainy day...wrapping up an extremely soggy, very lame Spring Break for the kids. We left the house at 9:45am and went on a drive. We came back around 11, grabbed a snack and before heading out at noon together, I left the house show-ready...just in case someone wanted to see it while we were gone.

Not ten minutes after we arrived at the stake center, I got a call from a realtor who couldn't give us the notice requested and wondered if she could show the house in the next 20 minutes. I told her that as luck would have it we were out and it was ready to go. Too bad there was no offer that came from my being prepared. Dang it.

We snuck some pictures in real quick before everyone had to disperse.

Jared and Karcyn gathered for the prayer meeting around 12:45. President Garrett who would be conducting the meeting went through the outline. That's when Jared realized he had forgotten to get witnesses for the ordinance. We had no family attending, like Grandpas, who could assist with that. So when he heard our friend from the ward, Joe Gold (dad of Tiffany, Karcyn's friend) announce his dad and father-in-law as his witnesses, Jared leaned forward and asked, "Hey Joe, can I borrow your witnesses?" Joe laughed and of course said yes. Jared joked, "I'll have what you're having." When asked who his witnesses were, Jared told President Garrett, "Same as Joe." That had to be a first.

All those attending the baptisms gathered in the chapel to begin. Of the six children being baptized, three were from our ward. Karcyn would be baptized with her two other friends. (The three moms are all named Jenn, too!) True to form, I was getting ready to leave the chapel with a loud and ornery JJ before the meeting even started, when the DeGraws stopped me and offered to take JJ off my hands. Ohhh, I am SOOO grateful. He has more fun with them anyway and it was a beautiful thing to actually be able to sit and hear and watch the entire thing. (I missed Cooper's confirmation because I left the room to wrestle a loud and ornery Calvin and planned on popping back into the room when it was his turn. But unbeknownst to me, they went out of order and no one thought to come find the mom and by the time I went back in, Cooper had already been confirmed! :(

Our contribution to the program was to have Jake be the pianist and played some lovely prelude :) The baptism candidates were asked to sit on the stand in the beginning. After the opening prayer, the candidates were all asked to stand up front by the podium. Karcyn was at the far end and the smallest. President Garrett went right down the line announcing the name of each child starting closest to him and working his way out. When he got to Karcyn, he paused, like he couldn't recall her name (if you're not used to saying or hearing it, it does throw you off at first). She looked at him expectantly, smiled sweetly and waved at him as if that might jostle his memory. It was so cute. He did actually remember her name. After she waved, he said, "And yes, Karcyn."

There was a talk on baptism and then the group was divided into two. The Farmington ward girls went to the baptismal font first. Karcyn was baptized last. We were honored to have our friends the McCulloughs and Morgans, who came out from Forest Grove, come to show their support.

A couple weeks prior to the 29th, Karcyn had been saying she was afraid to get baptized because of the water. Which is silly because she's been doing great with her summer swimming lessons. As she tentatively walked into the font, she started squealing a little bit. I was relieved to realize she wasn't crying. Jared was also relieved that he caught her legs before they floated to the top after he submerged her. She passed the full immersion test!

For a split second after she was baptized, I forgot that I was up next! Up to this point, I've just baptized boys and Jared's taken care of all that after-baptism stuff. I jumped up and went through the women's side and did the best I could getting Karcyn out of her wet clothing and into her dress. Not a big deal, just funny that I was a little unsure of the whole process. But it's all behind me now because that was my one and only girl!

We went back in to the chapel and watched a church film while we waited for the other group to finish their baptisms, change their clothes and join us again. When they did, we had a lovely, albeit twenty minute talk on the Holy Ghost. Then all six children were confirmed individually. Usually, the children hug their family members and shake the hands of the others who joined in the circle to perform that ordinance. Jared was our only family member, but we had friends who helped and she hugged them all then skipped back to her seat on the bench.

After the closing prayer and as we were gathering our Houghlings and saying hi to friends, a nice man came up to Jake and told him how impressed he was that Jake played all the music that day. He said that takes guts and that Jake did a great job. It was so kind of the man to tell Jake that.

As we left the church building, it was STILL pouring buckets of rain. Seriously, we could have baptized the kids by immersion in the parking lot it was raining so hard. The rest of us also got soaked!

Secretly we prayed that no more realtors would call to show the house anymore that day. We invited our friends back to the house for some light refreshments and enjoyed their company. They came and left in shifts, but we were visiting until about 4:30 when Karcyn and I needed to get going to the General Women's broadcast. That's when I realized...oops! Karcyn has a few gifts to open.

Our sweet neighbors, Pam, Chris and Emma across the street couldn't attend, but they were SO generous and bought her a beautiful silver necklace with a "K" pendant for her special day.

My parents had sent a card before they left on their mission last year with a baptism bracelet and some money that we used to get her a scripture case to go with the brand new set of scriptures we got for her. Her full name is engraved on them. They are the new 2013 version of scriptures. Jake was jealous. Karcyn was excited to finally have her own set and has been diligent about reading them.

Then Karcyn and I were off to go right back to the stake center again for the General Women's broadcast. She did great. She took notes just like I did and was telling everyone she had just gotten baptized a few hours before :)

As a side note: Karcyn got strawberry juice on the white sheer fabric of her dress. I didn't want to wash it before she wore it again to church the next day. So I just spritzed it with the Branch Basics soap (1:1 solution). It vanished before my eyes. I hung up the dress to dry (after the broadcast) and still have no idea where the stain used to be. Awesome!