Monday, December 31, 2012

First Historic Trip

One major plus to us moving all the way across the freaking country is the history.  I have a BA in History and I'm super pumped to see all that surrounds me.  Unfortunately for me, it's frigidly cold outside and I don't want to go out in that.  We managed one trip before the first snow storm hit. 

We did a short bit of the freedom trail, hitting the site of the Boston massacre first.   This site was outside the Old State House.  We didn't go to the museum part of the State House because we hadn't planned to pay for it.  So there wasn't much to see. Definitely on my list of places to go back and explore more thoroughly.  We then down to Faneuil Hall. Inside there were multiple portraits and busts of major characters in the revolution. It was a cool place to visit. 

 Here's a group shot in front of the Samuel Adams Statue to the West of the Hall:

There's a also an indoor food court right next door that we wished we had known about.  We hadn't planned on eating there and it was about to snow, but next time we definitely will plan to try out some of the food.  It was very touristy food, but I'm sure it will take a few years to no longer feel like tourists when visiting these places.

The kids don't have a huge attention span for these historical sites. When it gets warmer I hope to venture out on Saturday afternoons on my own so I can take the time I want reading every little plaque and taking it all in.  Next on the list: The minuteman park and the Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Prep

This year for Christmas I did an advent calendar to force myself to do fun things with the kids. I didn't want to spend all my time moping around the house, ruining everyone's Christmas. Each day we tried to read a scripture and do the activity on the back.

We were marginally successful.  Some activities happened the day we tore it from the countdown chain.  Some happened a few days later, some didn't happen at all.  I still haven't gotten around to making the peppermint marshmallows I wanted to make.  We didn't get to everything and at times I felt like no one really wanted to do the stuff I had planned.  Maybe next year I'll let them help them with the planning so they can get more excited about doing it.

A few of the things we did:
Took cookies to the neighbors: 
This was probably my favorite activity.  We were invited back to one single woman's house who was thrilled to have kids over for Christmas.  She shared her own cookies and her house full of Christmas knickknacks. It was awesome for the kids.
All ready to deliver

Dipped marshmallows in chocolate
Bought a real Christmas tree from the tree lot
Decorated the Christmas tree:
 We tried doing a popcorn garland this year.  Those things take forever!  We only finished about three feet before giving up.  Now I know why we never did it growing up.
Decorated the Christmas tree
Made letters to Santa
Made cards for friends
Cut snowflakes
Read Christmas books
Made Jolly Rancher ornaments
Made Gifts for siblings

It was fun and helped me do some of those fun things I only read about on Pinterest.  I learned a lot, mostly that we need to find more sugar free things to do.  I think the marshmallows didn't happen because we were so sick of sugar.  Plus I was tired of sending the neighbor boy back home hyped up on sugar.  I think we'll definitely try again next year.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas Tree Adventure

We had to get a live tree, since they are everywhere. We just had to go down the street, and it was fun to see how it really works.

And it wouldn't be a tree without being shaken first. I had not seen that before, and still I don't understand how it matters. I had to toss the thing around to get it on the car, then into the house. I am sure it has some purpose, right?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

First Thanksgiving in Boston

We moved into our house in Winchester one week before Thanksgiving.  One of the great things about being Mormon is that people are on the lookout for someone who might need help.  We showed up at church not knowing a soul, and before church even started, we had an invitation to Thanksgiving dinner.  Now, I probably could have thrown together a dinner and cooked it up for my family all on my own.  But I think it may have been a little depressing after having spent every Thanksgiving as long as I can remember with a whole bunch of people.  I was so happy to have someone to share the holiday with, even if we didn't even know them.  The food was wonderful and we had a good time making new friends.

A few week later when we were a little more settled, I decided to have Thanksgiving dinner part two.  One of the hard things about not hosting Thanksgiving is the lack of leftovers.  After reading all the posts on Facebook about the Turkey sandwiches, Thanksgiving casseroles and general food enjoyment being had by all my friend who had leftovers, I decided I wanted them too.

So here is our Thanksgiving spread:
JW never keeps is arms folded for a prayer. I think he may have been excited!
I made Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, rolls, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and peas pickles and cheese.  It was delicious and best of all, it was all ready on time.  I think I may have to host next year on actual Thanksgiving day and invite some other poor lonely soul who just left behind their family.  I think I could do it!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

First Snow in Boston!

Who knew that we would actually get snow in Boston? OK, yes, everyone knew that would happen. So the crazy Arizonians thought it was a blast. At least the kids and I did. Except JW, who is not a big fan of the cold.
Because we have heavy jackets, it looks colder than it was. It was really only just freezing, and the snow was very light.
We are excited for the rest of Winter!

Friday, November 30, 2012


Kiwi finally managed to get both of her front teeth out.

Tooth #1: This tooth was not going to Boston.  The adult tooth was coming in, it was hanging by a thread and it needed to come.  Grandma pulled it out, but somehow it was mom's fault, so she was mad at me.  I didn't really care.  I just wanted it gone.

Tooth #2: This tooth was not going to go to school with Kiwi. The plan was to give her until the Sunday night before she started school again and then I was pulling it.  By the time Sunday came, it was so loose and the adult tooth wasn't coming in yet, so I thought I'd give her the chance to do it herself.  On Tuesday it started bleeding at school, so she was sent to the nurse and the nurse pulled it out.  She said it didn't hurt too. I could have pulled it out myself, but she would start screaming before I even touched her.  Sometimes it just takes someone who isn't mom.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Part 2, or New Hampshire Vacation

After flying 3 1/2 hours from Dallas to Boston, with a touch down in St. Louis (HI SARAH J), we hopped in a car for the three hour drive to North Conway New Hampshire.  Go to Housing Troubles if you have no idea why we would be driving to NH.

For those of you who live in a hole, let me remind you that this was once week post Hurricane Sandy the news was saying.  So when we exited the airport to find snow starting to fall from the ground, some people were freaking out (cough*Luann*cough).
Snow outside McDonald's
Thankfully more rational opinions prevailed and we did not turn back and stay the night in a Holiday Inn Express somewhere along the way.  Once we were in NH, it was not even raining, and it was smooth sailing all the way to the resort.

Now, if you were fresh from AZ in a new state way up north where it was cold and it got dark at 4:30 every day (ugh) what would you do with yourself?  If you answered "Watch a lot of TV' than you got it right!  But we did other things.
 We climbed rocks
 We played in leaves
 We walked to a pond
 We walked in the woods.
 We learned to skip rocks
We played hide and seek

And we waited until it was time to move in. It's hard to wait.  But moving in was much harder.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Interlude to Act II, part 1 or Dallas Vacation

If Act I was our time as an Evans Family in Tucson (6-29-2001 to 11-5-2012), then we don't start Act II until 11-15-2012, when we actually have a place to live. The interlude takes place in Dallas, TX and Bartlett, NH. This post is the Dallas portion.

We visited my sister and her family while here. She works in a hotel, and got us a steal of a rate for a suite. It was only for a full day, so not enough time, but we took what we had. I think we wore out the little ones. But they were sooo much fun for all.
Not clear who is having the most fun, JW or J?
Kiwi keeping the twins locked inside
And a trip to the park was a nice adventure. No one fell into the gross lake water, despite a few attempts by JW. G-man had the most fun, I think:
Digging out who-knows-what at the lake

And the requisite group photo. If you take enough pictures fast enough, you end up with one that is not half bad, considering the subjects.

Gman, S, Mr S, JW, J, Kiwi

Monday, November 5, 2012

Leaving on a Jet Plane

You find yourself in the following situation: You have to move your family nearly 3,000 miles due to pressing circumstances (e.g. job, weather, etc.). What is the best way to accomplish that:

a. Drive like crazy people with a minivan and rental truck with only two drivers, for over 50 hours, crossing half of the states.
b. Fly like a bird, ship the stuff and cars, and hope the kids can handle a (relatively) short airplane trip.

If your answer was A, you have not traveled with kids.

So, pack baby pack.
You can't tell from the picture, but we managed to get down to 12 linear feet (1' X 8' X 9'). Still too much stuff, but better than the estimated 20' of the quote. Good thing they only charge by the linear foot. The best part is that we had a lock on the bulkhead, and by the time we got to Boston and needed to unlock it, I had to buy a new "key":
It was faster to use this key than the one that came with the lock.

And lastly, we had to get a rental car for the last weekend we were in Tucson, since our cars left on Friday November 2nd, and we left on Monday November 5th, we made two trips to the airport to drop off people and stuff. Mr S and I wondered the Tucson International Airport, and found all sorts of interesting things. Including the hidden planes (or planes designed into minor decorations). Look closely at the stairs, and you can see them. Mr S thought that was pretty cool to find.
And to wrap up the adventure in Tucson, with only a little bit of tears shed on the flight out, here are the kids having a great time looking at the planes:

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Housing Troubles

True to form, nothing we ever do can be done easily.  Due to the fact that we were living on the other side of the country, finding housing in MA was an issue.  Chad had a week of on site training beginning of October.  His one goal during that week was to find us a place to live.  Here were our requirements:

3 or more bedrooms
no less than 2 bathrooms
Lead free
No more than 30 minutes from work
Something that is not more than double our current mortgage

Seeing as we were moving to a place that has been around since the beginning of the country, there are lots of homes with lead paint.  Finding a place with two bathrooms is hard.  Plus, housing prices here are INSANE! Balancing price with distance was difficult.  So Chad had his work cut out for him.  But he found an awesome place:

We don't actually live in this side of the townhouse

So here's the good news and bad news:
Good news: We found a place that meets all you requirements
Bad news: Someone else had already applied
Good news: The other side of the townhouse will be available November 15th and rent will be less because the kitchen isn't upgraded.
Bad news: We were planning on being there November 7th
Good news: We just upgraded our time share to include RCI so we could do an exchange for a week at a resort in the area.
Bad news: There are no resorts in the area.

We found a resort in New Hampshire that was 3 hours away.  It wasn't perfect, but when you're homeless, you take any option you can get.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Cleaning House

In order to actually get out of town, we had to get rid of so much stuff. Enough so that the semi-yearly Brush and Bulky pickup was not enough. So we finally took a trip to the Dump!
Clearly nothing pretty to look at, but both Mr S and JW loved the trip.

And since we are going so far, and NOT driving, we had to get the cars there. This was almost worth the price of admission, just to see the guy drive the van up a steep incline BACKWARDS! I was sure he was going to drive it off the end, which would have been great to get the insurance money.
The bimmer was not as entertaining after watching the van get put on, but still cool:
And no, the boxes were not important, it was just the backside of a grocery store. No Mr S or JW to obsess over the recyclables.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hallowe'en 2012

This year is the last hot hallowe'en, I hope. As always, the kids are sweating under their costumes. But, at least they get candy!

G-man: Enderman from MineCraft
Kiwi: Sorceress with the staff from the May campout (totally cool by the way)
Mr S: Spiderman
JW: Mike Wazowski from Monsters Inc.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Double Digits

In the middle of all the crazy moving stuff, G-man turned 10.  Let me repeat.  G-man turned TEN!  I have a kid in double digits! It just blows my mind. 

We had an awesome ten year old party.  We borrowed some TV's and Wii's from friends, and had a video game party.  Three TV's, three game consoles, everyone brought their own remote.  It was awesome.  Ordered some pizza, made some cupcakes.  BOOM! There's your party. 

G-man had a lot happen this year.  He left his school he'd been attending for three years.  His classmates didn't change much in those three years.  He left behind some good friends.  He skipped a grade when we moved to the school.  Now he's changing schools again.  I worry about how he'll handle it, but based on past behavior, I'm sure he'll sore.  A few words to describe G: SMART, mellow, friendly, empathetic, soccer player, Wii champion, lego builder, book reader. I love you soon.  Stop growing so fast!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Farwell Tour of AZ Part 2

After the Grand Canyon we went to Flagstaff and stayed a night at a resort there.  It was probably the coolest hotel we've ever been to because there were stairs.  And three stories!  The kids loved it.  It's too bad we were so tired and only able to stay one night. 

The next day we drove to Sedona and had lunch with Chad's parents.  No time for hiking, but rest assured, we have spent many hours in Sedona hiking. It was a fun visit and a perfect rest stop as we moved on to our next adventure: A cabin near Prescott.

We proceeded to a cabin in the mountains south of Prescott to celebrate my mom's birthday.  It was fun, it was beautiful, and most of my family came.  Fun included Ruth falling out of a chair and head slapping for entertainment. 

My family is a fun group, let me tell you. It was great to see most of them so close to the time we had to move.  It will be hard to be so far away, but the great thing about family is we can always have fun when we are together.

I can't believe how much we did all in the space of five days.  I guess I'll just have to start my Massachusetts bucket list, because even if we stay five years, I doubt I'll be able to squeeze in everything I want to do over there.  So exciting!

Farewell Tour of AZ

Over the summer Chad and I decided it was time to leave Arizona.  We've been trying to find a job out of state since he finished his MBA back in 2009.  It's been a long three years with no prospects of any change. This year his job changed and he found himself in a mobile position.  We could live anywhere we wanted as long as we were close to an airport. We started making plans to move to Colorado next year.  I made a plan to see all the sites in Arizona we always wanted to see. We planned to start with the Grand Canyon over Fall break.

Fast forward one month and suddenly he has a job in Boston and I have two months to move instead of nine.  But I was still going to the Grand Canyon!

We started the trip with a session at the temple we were married in:

Followed by my favorite teenage hangout:

Where we took some awesome pictures:

Then we spent a day at the Grand Canyon.  With four kids.  Including a two year old. I'm much more scared of heights when there's a two year old around.  They do lots of running and tripping.  It's quite frightening.

We hiked, watched squirrels, collected acorns, stared at the canyon, and put on a play.  We also saw some deer and an elk.  That was an unexpected surprise. 

But this was not the end by any means...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pierced Ears!

Kiwi got her ears pierced! As a little girl, I was not allowed to get my ears pierced until I was 12.  I decided to allow Kiwi to get her's pierced when she turned 8 in February.  Then I decided I would let her do it for Christmas so she could pick out earrings for her baptism. Then we decided to move and I wanted to do it early with my sister on our semi-annual "meet in Casa Grande and go shopping for clothing for our birthdays" trip.

Before under the Claire's sign with Aunt Ruth
Kiwi does not handle pain well and we talked a lot about the fact that it would hurt.  I told her she only could do it if she was brave enough to handle it.  She must have really wanted pierced ears because she let the lady pierce her second ear after getting the first done.
Happy Kiwi, ready but nervous
Don't you love the random lady in the background?  I need to learn how to photo shop.

She was so brave and held still as the tears fell.  There was lots of hand holding followed by hugs and cuddles (after the picture).  Now if I can just convince her to pull out her tooth!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Piano Recital

This year I struggled to get a piano recital done.  I usually do it April/May time frame.  But with rampant sickness and Chad traveling more it just didn't happen.  So finally I decided we were having one in September, no matter what.  It was scheduled, the kids were preparing.

One week before the recital, Chad accepted the Boston job.  I am so grateful I didn't get my act together to get the recital done sooner.  It was a wonderful time to be with friends and see the fruits of my labors as a piano teacher.  I also was able to see the fruits of my efforts to get my own kids to practice. I do not teach them.  I trade with a friend and we have a combined recital. I love to teach and hope these kids find a love for music like I have.

G-man and Kiwi's performances. Hopefully we can find a good teacher in Boston!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Fate of The Chickens

Since we are moving to a much colder climate, we determined the chickens would not be coming with us. Luckily it seems chickens are not too hard to give away, especially if they come with a coop and food and all that is required to keep them. 

The Lines had been talking about getting chickens for a while (kind of like us) and were more than happy to take them off our hands. We lost another to a coyote just a few weeks before we left. It was the Nutmeg, second one of our originals. She was nearing the end of her laying life, so it wasn't too upsetting.

Here are a few pics of the girls making themselves at home in the Lines' backyard.
Snowball, Pepper, and Belina taking a dust bath
From left to right: Snowball, Paprika, Buffy, Pepper, and Belina
There was a slight mishap the first day there.  The family dog made his way into the fence and bit Snowball's tail off.  It was pretty sad to see, but she's a pretty feisty bird and pulled through. I sure do miss those gals. I would love it if we could find a property and raise chickens again.  They are the best pets.

Monday, October 1, 2012

I Think I'll Go To Boston...

I think I'll start a new life (not really, I'm sure everything will be about the same)
I think I'll start it over, where no one knows my name (No one really ever remembers my name anyway)
 I'll get out of California, I'm tired of the weather (Well, Arizona, but close right?)
I think I'll get a lover and fly him out to Spain...(Hmmm, nope, not going to do that one)
Oh yeah and I think I'll go to Boston, (On November 7th to be exact, although we leave AZ the 5th)
I think that I'm just tired (I think I'm tired because I'm going to Boston)
I think I need a new town, to leave this all behind... (Unfortunately most of the crazy is coming with me)
I think I need a sunrise, I'm tired of the sunset (Some ocean would be nice too!)
I hear it's nice in the Summer, some snow would be nice... oh yeah (I'm excited for the snow!)

 I don't know how one cannot have Augustana running through their head after deciding to move to Boston.

Yeah for grand adventures! Yeah for a new job that is helping us pay for our adventure!  Yeah for a new area full of history that I've been wanting to see forever!  Yeah for packing up and cleaning out 7 years of accumulated stuff!  Oh wait... no....not so much.  I guess every adventure comes with a price.

Life is changing.  I'm so excited! Most of the time...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

First day of School 2012

 School started, and not a moment too soon.  Boredom has been ever present in our home since returning from grandma's house.  Getting them to do anything was impossible.   The played hard in their last few days of summer resulting in many messes made and little help with the clean up.  Hooray for time to get things done again!
He loves his Angry Birds Backpack

Mr. S started preschool this year.  He's been two days now without mom and loves it.  I guess I was hoping he would miss me a little bit. But he's my little order lover.  Routine makes him happy and I'm afraid I don't have enough of it in my home to meet his needs. 
Don't you just love the shoes?  She begged and I relented. Shoes are really the only area where self-expression can be found in a school with uniforms. 
 Kiwi started second grade today.  Back to the same school with many of the same friends, and even the same teacher for science.  She's excited to show G-man around because...
Feeling the weight of the upcoming school year.
 G-man has moved schools this year.  We needed to have the two at the same school and have liked Kiwi's charter school in comparison to the GATE program at TUSD.  So, simple change right?  Just switch schools, my little 4th grader will surely find success at a new school that emphasizes math and science right?

Well, charter school have to complicate things.  G took a placement test and they determined that he scored high enough to move into the 5th grade.  They called and told me this yesterday.  So I now have a 5th grader and I'm totally freaking out about it.  That means middle school next year?  I'm not ready for this...
The whole bunch, minus the baby.
 So good luck kiddos.  I hope you work hard and make lots of new friends.