Wednesday, March 22, 2017

October 2014

At last! October was here--almost time to move into our new home. But there still remained a lot to do and a lot on our schedule.

*Because Karcyn wasn't doing well in math (something else her 3rd grade teacher made a point to bring up at the very "unfortunate" parent/teacher conference the end of September mentioned here) we decided to enroll her in Mathnasium. She enjoyed it, but because of the extremely steep price for tutoring, we would have to keep a close eye on any noticeable improvements in her math grades.

*On Thursday, 10/2, the kids had their first dentist appointments. A friend from our new ward is a pediatric dentist so we thought it would be fun to go to him. The office, which Larry Kalke shares with two other colleagues, is super cool. There are video games and space things in the waiting room. JJ was playing on a built-in iPad.
And when you went back to get your exam and cleaning, there were TVs on the ceiling with cartoons that the kids could watch as a distraction--and another video game station while they waited for the doctor to see them after their cleaning. If the kids did a good job, they got a token and could use that to get a prize out of the machine.

This was the first time we'd ever been to a pediatric dentist, so maybe all offices are like this, but it was a definite win for my kids because we don't have these kinds of toys at our house!

Speaking of other firsts, the picture below marked JJ's first time going to the dentist. He refused to get his teeth cleaned, but did let Dr. Kalke count his teeth. Ironically enough, Larry travels to the Dominican Republic on medical/dental missions--with the SAME foundation Jared went with in 2013. But that was the year Larry didn't go. Had Larry gone, he and Jared would have already met prior to us moving to College Station! Larry went to dental school with one of Jared's friends, Thad. Small, small world!

As a side note, if you have a child in braces, try not to move out of state until AFTER the braces come off. Jake was just a couple months away from getting his braces off when we left Oregon. But because Jared had to finish up his job in Oregon and the new job with the new insurance hadn't kicked in, with an unknown waiting period for orthodontic services, it was a good four months or so before Jake even got his braces adjusted/tightened. We lost 1/3 of a year of treatment which obviously set him back. Ugh. On top of that, it cost us another $2,000 to finish up in Texas. Long story short, Jake basically had the price of a small used car in his mouth by the time it was all said and done.

*Earlier that week, out of the blue, Jared and I got a message from Wes McCullough saying he was going to be in Austin for a business trip on Thursday and was thinking about coming over to see us and surprise the kids if he had the chance to get away. We couldn't believe it! It wasn't a done deal until that morning of October 2nd, but I felt like a kid on Christmas! I couldn't wait to see our friend and couldn't wait until the KIDS saw Wes. They were gonna die!

Incredible Wes spent over 2 hours just driving from Austin to College Station (he said we have a big state! :) It wasn't quite time for the kids to go to bed yet, but it was close. Here they are a little after 8pm. And they thought we had just lost track of bed time and were letting them stay up :)

They were in their jammies and there were a lot of stunned faces and squealing when they saw Wes at the door! It was just like Christmas!!

We had a wonderful visit that was much too quick. We couldn't soak up Wes long enough!

After an ice cream treat, we took Wes to see the new house a couple miles away. When we returned to the duplex, it was time for him to go. Mainly because it was a 2 hour drive back to Austin and there had been some storms along the way, slowing him down. I think he was with us an hour tops, maybe less. 4+ hours of driving, 1 hour visit. Priceless. We will be forever grateful for Wes' sacrifice to come see us. I had saved him a bowl of pasta salad and bread for a snack that I packed up for him to take in case he got hungry . We also got him a Coke with his name on it and a Snickers bar. It was the *least* we could do.

*When inquiring how far one city is from another, all the locals, young and old, have said that everything is about 2 hours away. Even if it's 3 or 4 hours away, they still say, "Oh, it's just a couple of hours." We've had to take that estimate with a grain of salt :)

*I had Karcyn write the napkin notes for lunches after dinner one evening. Her thoughtfulness and creativity make me smile.

*The first weekend in October, we had General Conference. The kids hunkered down and got comfortable. Cooper was very busy taking notes on Saturday.

Here are the three little kids making their "tent" or fort like the people did in King Benjamin's day when they heard that prophet speak.

This was time out :)

*Bright moon over our duplex.

*This was a lunch request I got from Calvin. Gotta give him props for writing a note and not whining about it. Not to mention his specific details!

*Bev and Wes' daughter and my friend, Elissa, was getting married on the 11th of October, in Utah. And I really wanted to be there. Jared said someone had to represent the Hough family and made it happen. He took time off (even though it was too early for him in his job to do so) and he held the fort down Thursday evening through Sunday evening so that I could be there. I was supposed to teach Gospel Doctrine that Sunday and Jared even subbed for me. What a guy! I stayed with Doc and Karole (and Grandma Nina) who were gracious hosts. I also got to spend time with my niece, Emma, who was finishing up high school there. I had a terrific time with everyone and felt so honored to be a part of this special day for the McCulloughs. Elissa was a beautiful bride! So happy for her and Matt!

*Apparently, the world kept turning for the Hough family back in Texas without my presence. The two Jareds enjoyed taking selfies :)

And big Jared kept reminding himself of this throughout the weekend:

*I flew back in to College Station pretty late on Sunday night. We were a bit delayed because the weather was stormy. Fortunately, we made it out of Dallas on the last flight in our puddle jumper. You know it's a small plane when the aisle and window seats are the same!! It just so happened that the kids had the next day off from school, which was a nice way to start the week after being gone for few days. I had tried waking Jake up around 8am to let him know I had to run to the store. But he wouldn't budge. Finally, noting the storm building on the horizon, and then learning that our area was currently in a tornado watch, I spoke these very words to the sleeping blob on his mattress, "Jake--we're under a tornado watch." You would have thought I had lit his bed on fire, that kid literally flew onto his feet in .2 seconds. Awesome. Now I know how to get him up :)

*On Friday, October 10th, while I was in Utah, Jared and I got an email from Jake's Honors English teacher.

Hello Mr. and Mrs. Hough, 

I just wanted to quickly drop a word of praise about Jacob. Today in class he lead discussion several times in a very mature manner and was able to fluently articulate his opinions on several topics we were discussing. It has been a pleasure having Jacob in class. He contributes, is honest, and thinks about his decisions.

I hope that Jacob continues to be a leader in class. Thank you for raising such a thoughtful and respectful young man. 

Have a blessed weekend,
Lauren Rund

After I got back from Utah, we asked Jake about this. He said they were doing an activity where you had to take a side and support your point. The teacher proposed this idea--Do you agree or disagree with this statement: "There's only right and wrong, there's no in between." Jake was the only student who took the stance opposing this viewpoint. Yes, there are things that are right and wrong, but people are not right or wrong. Every other member of his class ganged up on him. The class argued that people are born evil. Jake disagreed and said that no one is born evil, they make choices to do evil things. Everyone is born as a good person, but we all make mistakes. Jake's teacher expected him to be persuaded to go to the "other side," but he never did. She was impressed that he stuck to his guns, even when he was standing alone.

*The weekend after I was in Utah, we went up to Madisonville for their annual Mushroom Festival. It's a pretty big deal apparently! And since Jared was a working member of the community there, he was asked to attend and show his presence on behalf of the hospital. It wasn't a sacrifice. We were happy to go and do something together as mostly a family--it was just us and the three littles as Jake had a scout camp out Friday night and Cooper had a Merit Badge Fair that day.

It was stiiiilllll reeeeallly warm the middle of October. We were doing a lot of sweating that day. Even though I'm new to Texas, the heat and humidity are exactly what I expected, drawing upon my past experiences living in Georgia, Illinois and Michigan and spending summers in Oklahoma with my grandparents. After learning we just moved from Oregon, many people would ask us how we're doing with the heat. We'd answer "not bad" to which they would reply, "Well, it's been a cold summer. Just you wait." (!!!) And in fact, we were later told that the actual temperature never made it above 100 degrees in 2014. With the humidity, the heat index was definitely over 100 many of the days. But not the actual temperature.

We found a couple funnel cakes to take our minds off the heat and the little kids got to take a swing at doing some damage to a car at one of the booths. (Just don't do it at home, Kids!!!)

Someone asked us where we were from and we said Oregon. Their response, "Oh! North Texas. Nice!" There is some deep-rooted pride regarding Texas being the largest state on the mainland. I decided not to mention I'm from Alaska. :)

*We were happy to see gas prices continuing to drop. This was on October 17th.

 The sunrises that Jared saw on his way to Madisonville never got old!

 This was near our duplex.

*Jake has become the kid with nicknames. It started in Oregon when he was playing basketball in 7th grade. He wore his Jimmer Fredette (BYU) shirt to practice and someone started calling him Jimmer and it stuck. Even the parents cheered him on as Jimmer. In fact, the coaches didn't remember what his first name was.

When we got to College Station, Jake again wore his BYU shirt to open gym one day for basketball and someone started calling him Jimmer. What a coincidence that of all things to call Jake, it would be Jimmer again. Then, once school started and he got into his basketball class, one of the coaches started calling him Sherm and Sherminator. I asked him about this one. He didn't know the reference either at first so he asked his coach. Apparently, there was an actor in the movie "American Pie" (rated R) which the coach told Jake NOT to watch :) who reminds him of Jake. His name was Sherman. And it stuck!
 Image result for sherminator       Image result for sherminator

Jared and I laughed so hard we fell off our chairs when Jake showed us the picture! I can see the resemblance (clearly it's the hair!) but told Jake he was WAY better looking!! ;)

*Because Jared had just started a new job working in a town about an hour away in each direction, it fell on me to do the first walk-thru, the final walk-thru a week later and then the closing on our new home. But I survived!

We closed the morning of Thursday, October 23rd. The house was ours! JJ and I had to hang out and wait for some people, like the propane guy to make sure we were connected. Sears was delivering appliances and Oak Express was delivering furniture. Jared's parents were flying in that evening because Cooper had just turned 12 and they (and my parents) were coming for his ordination to the priesthood that Sunday!
Front view of the house.

Coming up the front walkway.

The study off the front door.

Looking into the house from the front door into the dining room and then the living room.

The half-bath and front closet by the front door. These lights are ALWAYS on. Every time we turn them off, someone turns them back on!

The dining room. Our blinds didn't come in for another couple of days. Fortunately, we didn't have to wait too long.

JJ eating his McDonalds lunch in the living room.

Looking into the nook from the living that leads to our master bedroom.

The Master bedroom.

Looking into the master bath. The carpet looks pink, but it's not.

Master bath shower and door leading to the "water closet" :)

Soaker tub in the master bath to the left of the shower.

Cool light fixtures I didn't think I was going to get out of this "frugal" house model :)

Sinks/counter in the master bath.

Walk-in closet past the sinks in the master bath.

Looking into half of the kitchen from the living/dining room area.

Looking into the other half of the kitchen from the living/dining room area. The open doorway leads to the laundry room and garage. The space by the window is the kitchen nook. The closed door is my epic walk-in pantry. One of the best things of the whole house :)

To the right of the pantry door is the space where the fridge goes with another counter and cupboards.

First view of the pantry.

Around the corner view of the pantry--under the stairs.

The shelves on the right when you open the door to the pantry.

Laundry room. It's a little tight. But I like the counter and cupboard there.

Garage--also a little bit tighter than the garage in Oregon.

View up the stairs which are to the right after coming through the foyer area.

At the top of the stairs before going to the final landing. We love this because we were told by our superintendent that this was just supposed to be a wall that went straight up. But the dry wall guy or someone decided to try something new and this little cut-out ledge was the result. SO much better than just a wall that went straight up.

Standing on the landing looking up past the last few stairs. JJ and Calvin's room is straight ahead. Karcyn's is around the sharp right corner, the game room is beyond Karcyn's room where the light is streaming in. Jake and Cooper's room and the upstairs bathroom are to the left.

JJ and Calvin's room.

Standing in the upstairs hall outside JJ's room, looking towards Karcy's room to the right and the game room to the left.

Karcyn's room--bigger than our master bedroom back in Oregon.

Karcyn's walk-in closet--bigger than our closets in the master in Oregon.

Karcyn's bathroom--bigger than our master bathroom in Oregon! For some reason, I wasn't expecting tile in her bathroom shower, which was a nice surprise.

Karcyn's bathroom sink--not as big as the one we had in Oregon. I wish these cabinets had drawers in the bathrooms, too. But alas, you can't have everything.

Standing in the upstairs hall outside of Karcyn's room. JJ's room is the first room on the right, the bath is beyond that around the corner and Jake and Cooper's room is straight ahead with the light streaming through the window.

The room we've been anticipating and most excited about. The game room!! A place for us to have a little more space to spread out.

Looking into the game room. There was not supposed to be a door there. We requested one be added. Cost us $100. What's funny though is that because we never got to walk through this model home before, we were just looking at blue print plans and consequently forgot to move the light switch for the game room inside the game room. So if we need to turn the light or fan on/off we have to open the door or go out in the hall to do it :)

The boys bathroom (so glad there is separation of Karcyn and guests from this space).

Jake and Cooper's room. It's a bit tight too. But hey--it'll be good practice for when they're in dorms or on their missions.

The boys' walk in closet.

Our new master bedroom dresser! Something we've never had before--a new bedroom set. We've been so grateful to have hand-me-downs or pieces we've found on Craig's List, but it was so nice to finally have something new for our new house.

My brand new front loading washer/dryer set. Too bad they are too big for the space. The door wouldn't close :( Ah well. Life goes on. We don't complain about our blessings and having a washer and dryer that resides in my home is a HUGE blessing! I still love my new washer/dryer.

*On Friday, 10/24, it was time to move our stuff in. We had already used the ward to help us unload and move stuff into our new duplex when we first arrived. We were not about to ask them to do it again, especially trying to coordinate times and such. With our parents being there that weekend and Jared working, we just needed it done. We found some local movers who would move everything, including our huge piano, and go to our storage unit and get everything out of there for us, plus everything at the duplex, including our electronics that were still out and all the clothes hanging in our closets. Three guys did all of that in about 3 hours and it only cost $500. Totally worth every.single.penny for that kind of muscle help and sanity. At the most, I just stood there and pointed.

JJ was "helping" too!

*My parents arrived on Saturday, Oct. 25th. And admittedly it was a WHIRL wind while they were here. We were so busy unloading, unpacking, organizing, etc. that I have no pictures of my parents, Jared's parents or of them with Cooper on his big day when he was ordained a deacon. Ugh!!! Epic daughter/mom fail!

*We went out to dinner with the big kids and left the three littles behind. Calvin hijacked my phone camera and had some selfie fun with it. That's our babysitter, Ashley in the background :)

I love that our carpeted game room is big enough for them to do things like build massive sculptures or America Ninja Warrior obstacle courses.

*We were super grateful for Grandpa Lee (with Jake's assistance) helping us deck our upstairs, walk-in attic.  Dad only gouged the top of his head once with a nail!

*JJ really enjoyed being in the game room, putting the train set together all by himself. Lots of new space to spread out in. And the best part...we don't even have to clean it all up if we don't want to. We can just--shut the door!! :)

*We went to the Tri-Ward Trunk-or-Treat on October 29th. JJ wanted to be the alligator dragon. Calvin was the Power Ranger and Karcyn was a bumblebee. And it was HOT!!! Such an extreme difference from Oregon. Poor JJ about suffocated.

*One of the best things about our new house was the fact that Karcyn was finally getting a chance to be on her own with girl privacy and space. It's only fair when you're flanked on both sides with four other brothers. She got her own brand new bedroom set, too!!

*One of the greatest paybacks for being a parent--watching your two sons, ordained in the Aaronic

Priesthood, receiving Fast Offerings together.

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