Friday, September 4, 2015

The first week of July 2014

The first few days of July whizzed past because Jared was trying to get us as settled as possible before he flew back on Monday, the 7th, to resume work at his office on Tuesday. We arrived in College Station on Wed. 7/2. The next day, 7/3, we had TONS to do because Friday, 7/4 was Independence Day. We got short-changed a weekday of errand running because nothing would be open in observance of the 4th.

The first thing Thursday morning, we went to State Farm to get our car insurance switched over to Texas. We found Suddenlink and waited FOR.EV.ER. in line for a modem. The duplex was wired for internet, but we had to set it up and pay for it ourselves. We also opened up our new checking account at, where else? Aggieland Credit Union!! College Station LOVES, LOVES, LOVES their Texas A & M Aggies. Getting the checking and savings accounts were no problem. Except that...whatever check we deposited ourselves, wouldn't clear for four weeks. FOUR! Say what?! We needed every last penny that went into that account. We never considered that money would be inaccessible. We still had our account in Oregon where Jared's paychecks were direct deposited so we used that for the most part, but we couldn't use the money from our escrow check from the sale of our house (which was mailed to Texas), for example, until after the beginning of August. Any direct deposit money, however, was immediately accessible--money, ironically enough, that wouldn't be direct deposited until after Jared came back to Texas, after the four week probation period was up. *sigh* These are the moving logistics that are extremely frustrating.

We came back for lunch and took the kids over to the new subdivision to see if Stylecraft had started building our house yet.

Why yes they have! Though we hoped to watch the house go up in stages, it was exciting nonetheless. I wasn't sure about the exterior paint choice, however. I didn't mind brown, but I had expected the macadamia trim to be more on the white side than the yellow and it kind of made my eyes hurt to look at it.

To round out the mega-errand day, Jared and I went grocery shopping. I had already made menus with quick and easy meals that were fairly inexpensive for this first week before we moved so that I wouldn't have to waste precious un-packing time or time with Jared planning out our meals trying to figure out what to make or eat--a process I pretty much loathe under normal circumstances. It was a good thing I planned ahead because it took an appalling amount of time just trying to find our way around the new store with a simple list. But we survived! And I can't tell you how exciting it was to see the sky brewing with a potential storm! It's hard to believe the sky in the picture above with our house is the same sky and day as the picture below. These storms can move in fast.

Friday, July 4th, we spent the day unpacking and trying to find a new, not-so-permanent home for our things. We decided to take the kids to the park that was a good half-mile down the road at the opposite end of the community we were renting in so they could work out some of their pent up energy. To say it was hot was an understatement!! It wasn't technically over 100 degrees, but if you factored in the heat index, it definitely was! This is what Karcyn and Calvin looked like when we got back.

I was tired and spent and really didn't feel up to going to the BBQ the Scoresbys had invited us to. It takes a lot of energy and work to be social and to put yourself out there and meet new people. But, it would get us away from the house of boxes and disarray for a little bit, so we went anyway. I'm so glad we did. There were several other families there, all from our ward, and I was grateful to meet other people, outside of our Sunday meetings when it's usually too crazy to carry on a half-decent conversation much past a quick introduction. We weren't the only new ones at the gathering, but at that point, we were the new-est. The College Station wards get a lot of turn-over in the summer when student families graduate and leave and new ones come in. We no longer fall into the student category, but we definitely contributed to the summer swell of new families. Over the course of the evening, Jake, who was the oldest "child" there, was able to demonstrate how good he is with little kids, and even got some head nods for future babysitting jobs :) Richard and Natassia were such wonderful hosts. Even though we weren't living in the subdivision yet, I was relieved to know at least ONE family who we'd be neighbors with once our house was built. It was nice for Jake and Richard to get to know each other a little better too, since Richard was his Teacher's Quorum counselor/advisor.

Karcyn had fun playing dress-up with the other little girls who were at the BBQ.

Later that night when Jared was getting ready for bed, he noticed a stain on his shirt across his lower stomach and couldn't figure out how he had managed to get it. That's when he realized his belt had MELTED and in the process, it had stained his shirt. Wha??

We are living proof that when hot enough, belts melt!!

Saturday, July 5th, Jared and I were up bright and early. We left the duplex at 5am, in order to attend the 7am endowment session at the Houston Temple in the Cypress area. So grateful my husband is a human GPS. He got us there no problem. The extended drive wasn't too bad either. It takes about 75-80 minutes each way. I suspect it seemed easy because we were always moving. Never had to stop for traffic or lights.

This is the morning sky around 6:20 am.

Dew-kissed flowers on the temple grounds.

 The Houston Temple is beautiful!

But so much smaller than we had expected. We were bummed to discover there is no cafeteria for the patrons. We loved eating at the cafeteria in the Portland temple before a session. The shrimp cocktail, ranch dressing and rolls are to die for! There are only two ordinance rooms in the Houston temple. And there are doors Seriously...I have never seen SO MANY doors in a temple. It felt sort of like I was in a maze. The dressing room is also teensy-weensy. If someone is coming out of stall, no one can pass on either side until that person has closed the door and done a suck-in-and-squeeze-sideways maneuver past you, which is much easier said than done. There are 7 stalls in which to change clothes. Maybe 8 or 9. One of which is always reserved, sometimes a couple of them are. It's just a far cry from the huge Portland, Oregon temple we've been going to for the past 10 years. [For inquiring minds, the Portland temple has 4 ordinance rooms, 14 sealing rooms, and is 80,500 square feet. By comparison, the Houston temple has 2 ordinance rooms, 3 sealing rooms and is 33,970 square feet. Almost a third smaller than what we're used to. But that's okay. The Spirit is the same and that's all that matters!]

Because Jared was leaving Monday morning for Oregon and wouldn't return until after the first week in August, this was our only opportunity to go to the temple in July 2014. We have a goal to attend once a month and this had to be it. I'm so glad we made it a priority to go, despite the craziness that had been the week before and especially the few days leading up to it! We loved talking, just the two of us, on the way home.

Once we got back, it was time for all boys to get haircuts. JJ was a rock star! He sat up there like a big boy!

Afterward, we hit the pool which was just around the corner from our duplex. It's the smaller of the two pools, but it was the perfect size! Getting into that pool was like getting into a bathtub. Holy warm!! It had to be at least 10 degrees warmer than the heated pool in Oregon and the only thing that heats the pools down here is the sun! It was SO great to not have to grit your teeth and brace yourself before forcing your body into cold water.

Sunday, July 6th, we attended the College Station 3rd Ward at 1pm. The Bishop had arranged to meet with us before Sacrament meeting started. Bishop Nate Sharp is a young guy--around our age. He was very warm and welcoming. We introduced ourselves individually and when he found out where the kids would be going to school, said the new College Station High School was fantastic, as well as the elementary schools. In the three short years it has been open, CSHS has earned lots of awards and is made up of exceptional teachers. He asked Jake where he was on his Eagle and Jake was happy to report he had already earned it. (So glad NOT to have that hanging over our heads as we moved and transitioned to another unit--halfway across the country!) We didn't have a ton of time to talk, but the Bishop asked if he could offer a prayer before we left. Shortly after he began his prayer, he told Heavenly Father he was "grateful for the circumstances that brought [our] family to this ward." In that moment, the Spirit testified to me, yet again that THIS was where we were supposed to be. My closed eyes burned as hot tears forced their way to the surface. I'm sure Bishop Sharp says the same thing to all the new families who move into his ward boundaries, but it was totally unexpected and deeply touching to me.

Later that evening, Jared gave us all blessings of comfort and safety in his absence. Then he started to pack. My heart sank. The time had come but I didn't want him to go. We just got here! I knew our separation wouldn't be super fun for him either, though he'd be bunking with the McCulloughs and that's always an adventure!

We caught JJ trying to be a stowaway. I wonder if he knew Jared was going to be at the McCulloughs and was trying to get back to Wes? :)

Speaking of wonderful Wes. It was his birthday. We had a lot going on that day, so I was grateful that we are two hours ahead of Portland time because then our little birthday wish wouldn't be super late! We made a little sign and had Jared take our picture to send to him. We miss the McCulloughs so much.

Jared's dad gave him this shirt when we passed through Utah. It was a good reminder to me as we headed into life without Jared for the next four weeks. *sigh*