Friday, May 30, 2008

The Latest

We heard fantastic news last night! The contract is finalized, and we should be able to move in by next Friday at the latest!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You have NO IDEA how ecstatic that made me! They're going in today to get some painting done, and then they just have to clean and make sure all the screens are good, and when they're done, we're in! So, it could be before next Friday.

Just wanted to pass on the good news. Thanks to everyone who has been praying about this.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Patience is a Virtue

Well, we're moving today! Unfortunately, not to "our" house. After being in a hotel for over 2 weeks, the housing office offered us one of their 2-bedroom apartments at a discounted rate until we're able to move in. So, that's what we're doing.

I can't tell you how extremely frustrating this is! This past week, especially, has been difficult. It's all just really getting to me. I got so frustrated, in fact, that I began searching for houses on Craigslist. I was happy to find so many options that we could afford! I was ready to just throw in the towel on this house that we keep waiting on, and just move in to another.

Sure, it wouldn't be as safe as living behind guarded gates. Sure, it might not have a garage. Sure, it wouldn't have ocean views. It had been a while since I had looked at the view from "our" house, so the memory of it had started dwindling, and I convinced myself that the views weren't that great to begin with.

Then, I visited the house again yesterday. Normally when I visit, I don't get out of the car. I just drive by. Yesterday, I got out and walked to the backyard. For the past few weeks, the view has been obstructed by cloudy days and just a general haziness. Not yesterday. The view took my breath away. It was crystal clear. I really believe God had me get out of the car to be encouraged to stick it out.

With everything else going on around me - things like Brent's birthday yesterday, and the guy that was born with no arms and legs - it seems petty to be so upset about this whole housing thing.

Mrs. J told me the other day that I'm going through a trial - and I am. But when it's put in perspective, it's not worth fretting over. I have to remember that God is in control, His timing is perfect, and we'll move in when He's ready for us to.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

It's a good day to be a Survivor fan!

We've had such a good weekend! On Friday, we went down to Huntington Beach to visit Mr. and Mrs. J and Heidi, who were there with the rest of the J's. It was an unusually yucky day in SoCal, but we made the best of it. The boys went and played frisbee golf in the drizzle, while Mrs. J and I stayed back and talked girl talk and took care of the babies. Then we went to the library, and let Heidi and Kendall rat around on the floor. Heidi is so mobile now - practically walking, while Kendall just rolled all over the place. It's amazing how much ground a baby can cover just by rolling!

Then, we all went to In-N-Out Burger. Everyone except for John and I got the animal fries, and I think we're the better for it. Animal fries are french fries that are drowned in the famous In-n-Out sauce, grilled onions (that was the deciding factor for me), and cheese. Nasty!

After a while, I helped Mrs. J make a delicious dinner, which we all enjoyed. I realized during this time, that we have now successfully crashed family functions on both sides of their family - New Year's 2007 at Mrs. J's parents house, and now this time with Mr. J's family. Oh well. Here's John, Kendall, Watley, and I sitting with Mr. J's niece, Ellen.

Today, the J's came up here to LA, along with Andy, Megan, and Joey, who came up from the San Diego area. We quickly realized that it takes a long time to do anything with 3 kids, and 3 sets of still-relatively-new parents.

Once we were finally ready to leave our hotel parking lot, the weirdest thing happened. All the girls were in one car, following the boys in another. We were literally about to leave the parking lot, when the boys' car stopped and started talking to people in the car coming into the parking lot. Megan yells out, "Those are Andy's cousins!!" How bizarre is that? Out of all the hotels in all of LA, his cousins are staying at the same one we are, and we happen to cross paths right at the same moment. 30 seconds earlier or later, and we would've never known! So, they decided to follow us, and spend the day with us, which was great!

First, it was off to Venice, where we checked out the canals first. Everyone seemed to really enjoy the canals, and in the spirit of the real Venice, there were plenty of Italian words being spoken by everyone.

We eventually made our way to the freak show that is Venice Beach. It did not disappoint. We saw people holding signs saying, "Will work 4 marijuana," and a guy balancing inside a giant hula hoop spinning around, and a street performer doing something with knives while begging for money. It was very interesting. John met up with us there, and we just took our time strolling up and down the strand.

Then we wanted to see some of Hollywood and Beverly Hills, so we made our way to Rodeo Drive. All day long, Mrs. J was determined to see a celebrity. So we thought Rodeo was a sure thing. Well, it wasn't. Until, we were just about to leave Rodeo, and we were walking back to our cars. She, along with Megan and Grant thought they saw someone famous in a restaurant. It turned out to be Ali Larter from Heroes. Mrs. J was so incredibly happy that she finally saw someone famous! I even walked back with her so she could snap a crazy stealth picture - which turned out to be more obvious than stealth.

Our empty bellies started talking to us, so it was time to find some grub. We drove up to Sunset Blvd, and were trying to find something close to Pinkberry, since I've been talking that up so much. (Oh, by the way, by this time, all the single guys left us. I think after being around us crazy parents and kids, they're vowed to a life of celibacy.) We spotted Baja Fresh, and all agreed that was a perfect spot for us to stop. Once we were inside, we were all up at the counter checking out the menu when Megan, very excitedly, pointed to someone and said, "That's Jeff Probst!" Then, apparently, I said in a not-so-quiet whisper to Grant, "That's Jeff Probst!" To which Mrs. J responded, "No it's not. Are you guys making fun of me?" That's referring to her trying so hard to think anyone and everyone we saw was a celebrity. We kept trying to convince her that it was, indeed, Jeff Probst (in case you don't know, he's the host of Survivor).

By this time, he was sitting down, eating his burrito and reading a newspaper, shielding his face from the group of crazy people whispering his name. Then, the discussion started about if we should talk to him or not. Megan and I were against it, strictly out of embarrassment. Mrs. J and Grant were all for it. Grant finally got up the guts to go over and talk to him. He said, "Jeff?" Jeff nicely responded, so that was my cue to start making my way over to him. Then, one by one, we all started surrounding him. He was so nice the whole time, and we probably talked to him for about 5 to 10 minutes. He met all the babies, and asked what we thought of the season ending, which was just last week. We were even able to tell him about SixBit, to which he was very sympathetic. And somehow, Mr. J got in something about hippos in Africa - I'm not really sure what that was about. Since Andy is not a fan of Survivor, we got him to take a picture of us all.

We finally left him alone to eat his now-cold burrito, and made our way over to our corner. We couldn't see him anymore from where we were sitting, but as he was leaving, he was on the outside of the restaurant, and he walked out of his way to the window that we were sitting next to, and waved good-bye. He proved himself to us, and now Megan says she'll start watching Survivor again! Seriously, he couldn't have been nicer.

Anyways, so that was our weekend. It was so much fun!

Thursday, May 22, 2008


We also went to the Queen Mary in Long Beach. I have to say, for the money that it cost, I really don't think it was worth it. Included with the ticket price was a "Ghosts and Legends" tour. Basically, it was a haunted tour. So incredibly cheesy!! I don't know...I mean, I guess I'm glad we went, that way we know it's not really something to see when visitors come in town.

John told us about this place called The Grove. It started out as a farmer's market, and over the years it's transformed into just a really cool place to spend the day. There's hardly any farmer's market left, but there is a whole lot of places to eat. It was all outdoors, but under tents, and there was everything from Greek to Korean to French to anything else you can imagine. It was really cool! Also, the main part of The Grove was a ritzy open-air mall, with Nordstrom, Banana Republic, Pottery Barn Kids, Anthropologie, and so many other stores. They had these cool foutains in the middle of it all - it was like a mini-Bellagio!

Then we went to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. It was pretty cool. Even as little as Kendall is, she was fascinated with everything!!

Trump National Golf Course is literally about 5 minutes away from where we will be living. The location of this course is incredible - right on the cliffs above the ocean. I don't think Grant will be golfing there anytime soon (the daily fee on the weekend is $375!), but there is a public park right on the grounds of the golf course, which I'm sure we'll frequent often. I didn't take this picture, by the way, it came from the golf course website.

There's also a trail that goes down the cliff to the beach below the park and course.

All of our adventures took place in the span of a week and a half. I feel like we did so much, but there's still so much more to see and do!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Once we got to LA, Grant didn't have to work for the first week and a half. That was really cool, because everyday, we got out and did something.

Our first big day of tourism, we drove up PCH to Malibu.

Then we took Sunset Blvd. into Hollywood. We saw several people selling celebrity home maps, and I was not above buying one! We saw where alot of famous people live, but in Bel-Air, you can't really see the houses, because most of them are behind gates or high hedges.

This is kind of a funny story. Before moving out here, I heard about this place called Pinkberry. It's a trendy new frozen yogurt place. That's really all I knew about it. Well, while we were driving around on Sunset, I plugged Pinkberry into the GPS to see if there was one around. I didn't tell Grant what I was doing, mainly because I knew he didn't know what Pinkberry was, and probably didn't care. I figured if the GPS found one, then I would mention it to him, and if it was close we could possibly go there. Well, the GPS wasn't pulling it up, and I was just about to turn it off and tell Grant what I was doing, when he said, "Pinkberry...I wonder what that is?" I looked up to find a Pinkberry coming up on the right! And in one long, high-pitched frenzy, I screamed something to the effect of, "Pinkberry! Pinkberry! That's what I was just looking up in the GPS...But I couldn't find it...But then you said it...I need to pee, and Kendall needs to be fed and changed...So let's go there!" I doubt Grant even understood what I was saying, but he knew I was excited. After I calmed down a bit, I told him what it was, and he thought it sounded good, so we stopped. Turns out it was good, and now we're a little obsessed with it. We've been there 2 other times since then! The green tea swirl with fruit on top is the best thing in the world.

After that, we found our way to Universal City Walk and Universal Studios. I've heard that City Walk is a good place to go, but I didn't really know what it was. Well, when we pulled up, we found that we had to pay $11 just to park!! That's one thing I don't think we were prepared for out here - you have to pay to park anywhere! It's a little crazy. Anyways, begrudgingly paid the money, and parked. City Walk was really cool. They had all sorts of shops - most were ones that you could find in a mall, but some were unique. They also had one of those simulated sky diving things, fountains, restaurants, and at the end was Universal Studios. Kendall particularly seemed to like it or she liked being carried in the Bjorn. Not sure which one, but she was very happy!

Really, none of this little day trip was planned. We just kind of drove, and found places. We've done that alot out here, and it's a lot of fun!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hear and Now

Living in a hotel has its benefits. We get HBO. That means, I get caught up on movies that I've never seen. Some of them, like Dreamgirls, I never really wanted to see, but I didn't have anything else to do, so I watched it anyway.

The best thing I've seen so far, is a documentary called Hear and Now. It follows a 65-year-old deaf married couple, who decides to get cochlear implants, so they can hear. I caught myself several times with my jaw open, following along with this fascinating story.

I know a lot of people that read my blog probably don't have HBO, so here's a link. There's a synopsis of their story, and a video clip. I highly, highly recommend this to anyone. But just a word of caution - have a tissue box handy!

Pictures! Finally.

We picked up our new laptop last night, so I'm finally able to put some pictures up! Since I have about 6 weeks of pictures to show, I'll just start at the beginning of our trip out here.

We started our trip on Friday, April 4, after picking my mom up from the airport. That first night, we made it to Effingham, Illinois. Nothing much to talk about there. But as you can see, Grandma was bonding with Kendall.

Saturday we were making our way to Oklahoma City. But on the way, we stopped in St. Louis. This was our second time to the Arch, but we still haven't made it to the top!

On Sunday, we headed towards Albuquerque. But no trip on I-40 going through Texas is complete without stopping at the Big Texan in Amarillo. If you don't know what that is, it's a restaurant that's made to look like something out of the Wild West. The thing that they're known for is their 72 oz. steak. 72 ounces!! Can you even imagine it? If you are gutsy enough to attempt to eat this thing, plus all the fixin's, then you get it for free. If not, it costs something like $50. While we were there, a guy did end up finishing it.

That night, we finally made it to ABQ. We stayed with Pinky and family, and were so happy to see them! They were happy to finally meet Kendall.

While we were in Albuquerque, we saw some friends (but not all of them - we totally ran out of time!), and checked on our house, and enjoyed being back! Pinky even threw a shower for us while we were there! Oh, and Pinky's kids attacked Grant. Our time there flew by, but we had a great time.

After a few days in Albuquerque, it was off to Sedona, Arizona. It was Grant's idea to stop there, and I'm so glad we did. This place is seriously beautiful!

Then - finally - it was time to get to our new home. I have been dreaming about living in Southern California for so long, it was hard to believe that it was about to come true! The day after we got here, we took my mom to the airport, then went to see Grant's brother, John. He hadn't seen her since she was born, so it was fun to see them together.

It was a great trip. Long, but great. Having my mom there made everything so much better!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Still NOTHING!!!

It's been 4 weeks, and we're still counting. Still no word on the house. Nothing. God is definitely testing our patience. So here's the latest.

On Sunday (yes, Mother's Day - my first one. Not a great way to spend it, I might add), we had to move out of our temporary house on base, because our 30 days was up, and they didn't have availability. So, we moved into a Marriott close to the base. The military will pay for 10 days here. So if we haven't moved into our house by the end of the 10 days (which, it's looking like we're not going to), we'll move to another (read: cheaper) hotel until we can move into the house.

What's happening with the house? I wish we knew. The housing office says the contract is still holding everything up, but I would think that with people waiting for houses (we're not the only ones), and after more than 30 days pass with the contracts not getting settled, they would go with another sub-contractor. But apparently, they have a different agenda.

I try not to think about it too much, because it raises my blood pressure. But now that we're in this hotel, and we don't have a backyard for Watley to go out in whenever he wants, and the room that we're in is pretty tiny, I'm starting to get serious cabin fever. Oh, and on top of all of this, Mr. and Mrs. J are coming for a visit at the end of the month, and are supposed to stay with us. I hope we're in our house by then, but I'm very skeptical.

Really, I don't mind waiting. I really don't. We're going to be living here for 4 years, so waiting a month or two for a great house is not that hard. What's hard is not knowing how long we'll have to wait.

Now that my blood pressure is way up, I'm going to stop writing about this now and think happy thoughts.

On the bright side of things, we seriously love it here! The weather, the people - everything. When we get our computer, I'm seriously going to inundate you all with tons and tons of pictures and stories of all the people (old friends and new) we've met here.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

My mom was onto something...

About 12 years ago, when I was in the 10th grade, my mom pointed to Grant's picture in the yearbook and said I should marry him. "Yeah right Mom," I said. "He's so cute - he'd never like me!" Two years later, we were dating. And tomorrow, May 8, we'll celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary! I seriously don't know where the time has gone. Sometimes it seems like just yesterday. Other times, it seems like it's been forever ago. But no matter how you look at it, it's been a great 5 years!

I love him so much - he's such a great husband, and a fantastic father. I'm so blessed to have him!

So, here's a picture of us on our honeymoon in New Zealand. I'm pulling this off of a photo sharing website, since we're still not in our house yet, and I don't have access to all of our pictures.