7.21.2017

Differences

There are wild chickens everywhere here. We told the boys about them before we moved, but seeing is so much more than what they expected. After a short while, Gavin started counting how many chickens, chicks, and roosters he was spotting. James also started. Jack was content and not paying attention. James "stopped" at about 35. Meaning, he got lost in his little world while staring out the window or talking to someone. Gavin got 100 within a few days of being here. 

Seeing how high his brother was getting, James picked up his counting again. This time lasted a little bit longer... he did get up to about 172 (I think that was the final number?). That was about us being here about two weeks. Gavin kept counting. Jack tried to pick it up but really couldn't find them quick enough to bother about it too much. Gavin kept vigilantly counting. He finally stopped about a week and a half ago (maybe two weeks?). His final count? 1200. For being here 2-3 weeks, that was his final number. Can you tell who our dreamers are vs our focused and determined? That is not to say anything bad about either trait. It is part of what makes them them and I love their uniqueness and ability to be close regardless of their differences. 

Now I need to take a picture of some wild chickens to complete this post...

These two were holding hands and being total goofballs while we tried to navigate the new grocery store. Totally helpful... or not. But dang cute.


7.11.2017

Cut Off

I get it now. I really, really get it. I get why Alaska and Hawaii (and let's add in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands) can be a little ticked off by feeling so cut off from most companies. Our prices here are much higher due to shipping it here. I get that too. But to not offer shipping to parts of America?? Really? Companies, you do know that we are still a part of the postal service... right? That you can still offer shipping to us. Alas, many do not get it. 

There are three types of companies-

1- No way we are shipping to you outlanders. Target, I'm giving you the side-eye. Traitor. You as well, "World" Market. Disappointed.

2- Yeah, we'll ship to you! Just give us your youngest child in exchange... ok, I jest. But really. Take Amazon for example. Wonderful Amazon. To ship here, it's $10 + .59/lb. Really?? Is that necessary? Costco only ships here for certain items, plus higher shipping. Hobby Lobby negates all free shipping specials AND the more you pay in product, the more you'll pay in shipping. It gets pretty ridiculous. Let's add in WalMart, who used to ship here for free up until a few weeks ago. Ouch. There goes pantry shopping. Now shipping costs almost as much as what you are buying. We really can't work out a flat rate shipping, guys?

3- Heck yes  you can shop here. AND we'll even let you take advantage of our shipping deals. I love these people for throwing us a bone. Old Navy-Gap-BR, you guys rock. H&M, you are amazing. Joann, I'm coming for you (just getting my order ready). THANK YOU for making it possible for us to shop and benefit from you guys. There are other companies that do (west elm!), but I have not shopped there yet. 

We knew coming here that it would be more difficult to shop. Not necessarily a bad thing. It can get frustrating to get necessities (and selection) for a decent price is all. I am a bargain hunter and I am still in sticker shock here. Luckily, we have come across some great finds within the three weeks of living here. For instance, we don't have a Costco but we do have what is called a Cost-U-Less. It's like a mini, semi-more expensive Costco for the Virgin Islands. I didn't pack my pots and pans (way too awkward and would take up too many boxes). KMart (which is the only big store here. cue crying face) was waaaay overpriced. I was looking for anyone to ship to here and was coming up blank. I decided to check out Cost-U-Less since I knew they had some kitchen items there. What do you know, but I find a 10-piece KitchenAid cookware set... for $60! Um, heck yes! Getting our couch, we know we got an amazing deal. And some other things. We've also paid way too much for stuff, but that is how it goes here. I'll just be extra grateful for the deals I can find since they are few and far between :)

7.08.2017

Importance

Our Fourth of July was simple and great. We went to a church barbecue at the beach, went to KMart, was late coming home for Brad's visiting cousin, had sandwiches for dinner, went and saw fireworks over the Fredriksted Pier, came home to watch more fireworks on PBS, and talked to Johnny and Chelsie. 
This week we went to the beach... 5 times. FIVE TIMES! Guess that is what you do when people visit and I am a-okay with that. Today we were able to go to Buck Island and do a bit of snorkeling. Right away we saw eagle rays and schools of fish. Brad and I both saw a barracuda, though it was at different times. Oh, and we saw TWO SEA TURTLES! What?!?! Mind you, it wasn't during snorkeling, but it was still amazing. Amazing! 
On Friday our pallet of household items was able to get here. Going without these things the past few weeks really put things in perspective about what we really find important. What did I miss/want the most? Kitchen things. My spices and cooking. It was so hard to only cook with salt and pepper. I splurged and bought a huge thing of cayenne pepper and nutmeg so I could at least make our homemade mac and cheese. I should have sent more things with Brad, but I was so rushed and my brain was not grasping things, I spaced what I would want when I got here. Next up was cleaning supplies. I love to use essential oils and certain products to clean and it was difficult to not have it on hand. Now it's here! What was important to the boys? One word- legos. 
We barely got a couch on Monday. It was crazy how perfect it worked out, but I'll just say we are so happy to be able to sit on something other than camp chairs. We all have beds and now the couch... and we're happy. Not like I want to keep it this simple, but it has been nice to go without and realize we really don't need as much stuff as we think we do. I hope to get more in the habit of this and keep this frame of my mind when we move back to the mainland. 

6.30.2017

A Day Off

Well, I accidentally followed yesterday's advice and basically did nothing today. A huge storm (well, huge to me) rolled in during the night. Pouring rain and strong wind. It was actually nice to wake up to an overcast day instead of bright sunlight shining on my face (we need our curtains SO BAD). It felt like the perfect day to let the boys play (and hardly fight! yes!) and me to relax and get a few things done around the house. It felt so good. So so good. I feel much better today. Way less snippy and more like myself. 

One thing I really want to work on right now is making time for spiritual upliftment. The move literally overtook my life and a lot of important "me" things got shoved to the side. I stopped working out, reading my scriptures, eating well or even enough, showering consistently, etc. I'm excited to get back to all of the things that help me be a better me. Working out needs to wait a tiiiiny bit more. Mainly because it's tile floor and apparently I have an aversion to tile I was unaware of. Or maybe it's just dirty tile and this floor needs a dang good mopping. Also, I want to exercise on a rug or yoga mat and I have neither. I'm weird, I know. Such is my life. My body is getting better at the hours here and I am hoping to add things back in now that things are calming down.  

Photo catch up of the day...
Our church ward had a fundraiser for the Young Women's Girls Camp and the Young Men's Scout Camp. It was a fifties themed dinner and auction. The boys were pretty jazzed to "dress up" for it and we were all matchy-matchy. Good night with them
By the time we were outside taking pics, Gavin was done. So he took these and loved being the photographer.



6.29.2017

Mundane Errands

We have officially lived in St Croix for a whole week. Our pallet of things we wanted with us probably won't get here for another week or two. Which I am trying to not let get to me :) So far we have gone to two (technically three, but we were barely there for 5 minutes when we ditched it) beaches. Not bad! Especially considering we all feel a little cray-cray for all the errands/shopping we've been doing that inevitably comes with moving. Seriously. Gone to the grocery store almost every day. Home Depot twice. KMart an annoying amount of times. I think I have finally gotten the things I need to survive and we should be home more. Or going out and enjoying this beautiful place more! We are currently couch shopping (anybody else hate this process??) and hopefully starting two build projects. The lumber selection here is a little sparse, to say the least. Our first two projects will be a headboard for us and a dining table and benches. While we were living apart and Brad was here, he was able to build the boys matching beds for their room. They're pretty sweet looking, he did awesome.
Don't mind the sleepy heads... they are barely pulling out of their Pacific time zone...
Catch up for the day... let's take a gander at my photos...

Eye appointments! Gav and James had their first eye doctor exam. I was a little worried, not going to lie. I got my first pair of glasses in 4th grade so I've been a little nervous about when it will be the boys' turn. Maybe they all got Brad's eyes? So far, so good. The doctor said Gav looks like he'll be more on the far-sighted spectrum while James is more on the near-sighted side. Both good for now, thank heavens.
I have felt pretty negative and just... grumpy lately. Which is silly, but not. I know we are still going through a lot, in a sense. I feel like I need to be more aware of myself and the boys and cut us all a lot more slack. I will say, I am never the most pleasant person when I am uncomfortably hot. And I need to find a way to not let that affect me as much, even if it's just not doing anything for a day. Or being out and having fun instead of getting things done once in a while. Here is to relaxing and being fun. Let's make it work. 

6.28.2017

Our Family Has Landed


WE. ARE. HERE.

We're here!!

Chenay Bay (below)
Took us long enough. 

Sort of lots to catch up on. The thing is, I want to take it slow. Not do massive posts like I normally do. Why not do a little snippet every day and relish in the moments they were? My goal is to dedicate a small portion of my day to writing about our family, our life, our experiences, and whatever else. I caught up a bit on a popular blog yesterday, where she writes daily, and it made me realize how much I look up this particular blogger. Why? She writes every day to share the love she has for her life and family. How great is that? Maybe she or others don't see it that way, but that is I saw it while I was reading. So, that will be my goal. To put a slice of our life on here every day to share my love and to be more grateful for the life we are living. Because it's pretty awesome. 

4.25.2017

The BIG Move and Job

Oh yes, this is a HUUUGE move for us. It is involving a cross-country drive by Brad, cargo ships, selling most of our belongings, getting a storage unit, spending over a month away from each other, packing up shipping pallets here in Eugene, a drive to California, and looong flights. Where are we headed??






:::::::::::::::::: DRUM-ROLL ::::::::::::::::::::






:::::::::::::::::::: AND MORE DRUMS ::::::::::::::::::::






:::::::::::::::::::: MAYBE A TRUMPET ::::::::::::::::::::







We will be moving to ST CROIX, US VIRGIN ISLANDS!! 
For reals, no jokes here. This is a very very bittersweet move for us. The Pacific Northwest/Oregon has absolutely captured our hearts and I am heartbroken that we are leaving our dream. Buuuut we're headed to a (small) island in the Caribbean, so it's trading a dream for a paradise. Not too shabby. Brad and I were both rather surprised that we had hardly any interest from companies here in Oregon, and also Washington. As well as other places, but we really wanted to stay here. It was pretty frustrating. Actually, that sentence completely underplays just how frustrating it was... but you get the idea. During this whole ordeal, there were lots of prayers said with us just asking to please know whether to stay or go, according to where is best for our family, where Brad will enjoy his job, where we're needed, and where we'll be happy. Never in a million years would the USVI have crossed my mind. Never. Nor Brad's.
Some thoughts and what not about the move and new life we are starting-

- I am so sad to leave Eugene. To leave the boys' school, to not have Jack get the same kindergarten teacher as the other two boys (she's so amazing!). In fact, ALL their teachers have been so great and loved our boys, it hurts to leave them. 
- I am sad to leave all the friends we've made here. We came here over 6 1/2 years ago. We have never lived in one city for that long our whole marriage. Mind you, we've moved three times here and been in three different wards for our church... but the same city!! The people here are so awesome and unique. I'll miss so much!
- again, we're sad to leave the PNW in general. Brad is not happy he didn't get to climb more mountains, though he did try and got thwarted by the weather almost every time. Won't miss that! We love the easy and never-ending nature here. We have a whole Oregon Bucket list that we barely skimmed the surface of. Guess we'll have to come back one day to finish it ;)
- on the other hand, where we're headed ALSO has tons of nature to explore... it's a freaking island! Though it is a small island, I am sure we will be busy exploring the terrain and enjoying the waters.
- we are still not sure if we will be buying or renting. Since the USVI is a territory, things work differently there. If someone could just tell me where to move exactly, a whole bunch of stress will be solved. I hate this part...
- we are technically out of the hurricane territory. The last time there was major destruction was 1989. They have been affected by other hurricanes, but it's mostly the West End and part of the South Shore.
- we will be homeschooling! I am actually quite excited for this. Nervous, but excited. I've always wanted a reason to homeschool, and this is it! Apparently a lot of families there homeschool and so there is a great support system. Wish me luck... and give  me any and all tips and resources!
- Brad starts work in two weeks and we will be staying to try to finish the school year and sell our house. Sooo here until June for the rest of us? So sad. Longest we'll be away from each other and we're already hating it.
- Brad enjoyed meeting the people he will be working with and is looking forward to what the future holds. He is also already planning on getting a surfboard and using it often. The fish is ready to have constant beach access!
- the boys are SO SO SO SO SO excited. Almost every time it's raining (which is basically always right now and we are so. over. it), Gavin lets us know how much he wishes he was on the island.
- St. Croix is the largest of the three US Virgin Islands. They just reopened the ferry from St. Croix to St. Thomas so that'll be a trip in the future!
- There is an island off of St. Croix that is one of the top five snorkeling/scuba diving destinations in the world- Buck Island. Three different types of sea turtles lay their eggs there. It isn't often, but dolphins have been known to be seen (and swam with! holy freaking cow!). Humpback whales pass in the winter for their migration. I am so excited!!

There is just so much more to say, I might have to randomly pop on here and say some more. This has exceeded long-winded (sorry! but thanks for reading!). I am still deciding if I want to start a separate blog or just keep our adventures on here... decisions, decisions. ALSO, please visit! We don't care how much you know us, or when the last time we talked to one another... come visit! We'd love to show you around (once we see some of it ourselves) and have friends come experience the beautiful Caribbean with us. 

Now I need to get back to my to-do list and packing... the worst... 

2.02.2017

A Great Day

Before I begin, in case anyone is wondering... no job yet. Keep the prayers comin'! Or job openings...

Christmas is always interesting around here due to a certain birthday just a few days after. This year was EXTRA special because Jimmer not only had a birthday three days after the big holiday, he had a baptism on New Year's Eve. It was pretty awesome.

My parents and my brother Craig's family came from out of state for Christmas, his birthday, and the baptism. All happened in one week, so why not! Two days before, Brad's parents came and then the day of, my sister and her husband came down from Corvallis for the big day. Usually the Stake (a large set boundary of members in our church, divided into what we call 'wards') has a designated Baptism Day on the first Saturday of the month. Well... that wasn't until January 6th. Ain't gonna work. We were able to have a special joined baptism with a family from the ward we had previously been in a week earlier, thank goodness. I was really impressed with how seriously James took the decision to be baptized (though he didn't always show it that day, but hey... eight-year olds). We really wanted to make sure HE wanted to become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and not just because it was what we do. This year with him has really cemented with me that seven-turning-eight really is a special age. Kids are so much aware of what THEY want and not just what Mom and Dad tell them. James really came into his own this year (along with LOTS of us butting heads because of this) and realizing he wants what he wants. It was great and frustrating all at the same time (the ultimate tagline for parenting, amiright??). His baptism was perfect and it was just an amazingly special day.

*disclaimer- pardon the out of focus and oddly lit pictures that are below. I am really, really trying to figure out our DSLR that we got a couple years ago better and am still not great at it. I was a bit disappointed with how not-so-great they turned out... but, hey, we got pictures and I am going to be grateful for that! And start working on my photog skills BEFORE big events...*

I made him go out in the cold to take pictures. He wasn't thrilled, but he cooperated and we got a few
 The birthday! 
 Star Wars toy and the game Blink (awesome game for kids)
 Lego Death Trooper
 Microscope
 Cake time! This year all he wanted was a green and orange cake... whatever floats your birthday boat, kid
 After cake, we went to have his baptism interview with our Bishop (the leader in our ward who oversees the needs of the ward members)
 Baptism Day