So Thankful

Starting the evening before Thanksgiving, began the funnest 24 hours I've had in a loooong time. How fitting it was that our Thanksgiving celebration included the things I am most grateful for. Phil, my babies, my family (sans Tyler & co. :( ), fun activities, cozy home and goooood food.

We started at Autumn's with pizza and a dance party. (Why don't I have pictures of this?! It's criminal.)
A combo that, without fail, is always a winner. Thanks to that Wii game, we now know Autumn will be trying out for the next So You Think You Can Dance audition. My mom was just so grateful that 13 years of dance lessons for the both of us didn't go to waste.

My parents stayed the night at our house, which only added to the excitment. My dad and I got up early and started cooking preparations. Thankfully, my dad was in charge of the turkey and the stuffing (which probably was a big part of why this day was so wonderful). Maybe its because we all had different assignments but the cooking went nice and smooth. Phil made, what is quickly becoming, his famous apple pie. Autumn & co arrived with the rolls and (more) pie and the feast began! And feast we did! Good conversation provided a necessary break in order for me to make room to down one more helping of my turkey/gravy/potates/roll combo.

After leisurely cleaning up, we caught a matinee of Disney's Frozen. Not only was it delightful, but Hazel sat quite contently on our laps through the. whole. thing. A Thanksgiving Day miracle! And as an extra bonus it just so happened the random sitting arrangement we found ourselves in had me and Autumn sitting by each other, which if you've seen the movie, you know why it was a fun switch-up to laugh and cuddle with my sister during a movie for once. Sisterly love conquers all!  She might deny the cuddling, but it's her word against mine.

And if that wasn't enough--we still had pie to eat. Blessed pie. With even more blessed company. My Uncle Kelly,  Aunt Robin and their three too-cool-for-school kids helped us devour the goodness. We chatted and ate well into the night...or rather, well, into our kids' bedtimes. It was the perfect way to end the day!

For me, this type of fun is one of the choicest things this life has to offer! (I'm not going to lie our pie spread was a little bit amazing.)

Back in the Saddle Again!

Wooooweee! It's been a crazy last couple of months. Oh how I'd really love to record to the details of our flight from Sydney to NJ, but I'd be here forever, not to mention whether or not I'd be able to do the whole scene justice. You know that saying, "it takes a village..."? Well, in our case it took a whole cabin crew and then, during each layover (2), an airline crew...and a golf cart. But we made it!

Then after arriving in New Jersey for a week, it was a whirlwind of movers, logistical nightmares, doctor appointments and bittersweet good-byes. I know a lot of beautiful people in that good 'ol NJ. 

Already, I have absolutely no recollection of our flight from NJ to UT. The only part I remember (and care to) is my dad's sweet face at curbside pick-up. It was at this point we got to rest. We had two blissful days of rest at my parents oasis of a home.

Monday, we hit the ground running again. We bought a car and Tuesday, made our way to Lehi, to stay with my sister (who was crazy amounts of help) while we registered Ryder for school, got the keys to our new home, met the moving truck, moved into our new home and hosted Phil's parents while they were in town for a wedding.  

Although, it was insanely busy, Phil and I mentioned to each other over and over how smoothly things went. With so many logistics and so many things needing to happen at the right time in the right order, it meant there was potentially so many things that could go wrong. But there was nothing that majorly went wrong--to which I am still so grateful for. 

  Ryder starting Kindergarten meant two friends (who have been thru a lot together) had to say good-bye. 

Immediately after all of that, Ryder started Kindergarten. Besides being rather emotional--figuring out our new routine was experiencing a whole new kind of busy. A week later, Ryder also started soccer, and Penny started preschool (2 times a week) and dance lessons (because she told me she needs a stage). 

Now we have a month of our new life under our belt and we're starting to feel all settled. We love being near family and the mountains again. We've already gotten to see more family in the last 4 weeks than we have in last year with our visits combined. There is no doubt we have been showered with blessings. 

What August Will Bring

Welcome August! You're a month that has snuck up on me while at the same time I've wondered if it would ever get here. 
Our time in Australia is coming to an end. Even though we've had the opportunity to live in and learn about this beautiful country for almost 8 months, it seems as though that's also the perfect amount of time to realize how much you still don't know about this place that you're finally feeling a part of. I can't help but think of things we wish we would've/could've/should've done. But we've also had a lot of fun, seen a lot of things and met many wonderful people who we can hopefully stay in touch with for a long time. When I think about what I'll miss the most about living here, I can't help but think the beach and the weather...and the tropical birds flying around everywhere doesn't hurt. I also have to say the nice people. People are just nice here.  

Every weekend of this month we'll find ourselves somewhere different. We'll leave Sydney in about a week. We'll fly to New Jersey for another week to pack up our stuff and say good-bye to friends there. Afterwhich, we'll make our way to Utah to stay with and catch up with my family while our stuff is making its way there. Hopefully, the last weekend we will find ourselves unpacking in our new home with Ryder all registered for Kindergarten.

 We did find a home to rent in Lehi, Utah, which will put us about an 8 minute drive from my sister, a 25 minute commute from Phil's work (he'll be working a little bit from home) and an hour and a half from my parents. And those are just the really close ones! I could go on, but compared to Australia, we're a hop, skip and a jump away from most of our family members. It's hard for me to describe my excitment about this.

 Of course, if I've learned anything about moving, is that it's bittersweet. There are many sad good-byes that will be made and a lot of new transitions to make, but we're excited for new opportunities that this new phase in our life will bring. ...that's to say, if we survive the move.

Goodbye, beautiful Sydney!

Finale Week

Almost a week ago, my dear friend, Claire and her cute family moved back to the U.S. Have a I told you about Claire? You might recall me mentioning her a few (a lot) of times on this blog. But have I ever told you about our story? No? Well then, pull up a chair.

Claire and I pretty much grew up as neighbors. She in Bear River City, and myself in Tremonton. (Both are two very small towns next to each other in Northern Utah). However, since she attended a different high school than me and is a couple of years younger than myself, our paths never crossed. As years passed and life took both of our husbands to the same MBA program at BYU, it wasn't until both of them were doing internships for the same company in New York City that we finally met. After being introduced at dinner by some mutual acquaintances, we had our first official playdate in Central Park.

Back in Provo we started running together and even ran the Utah Valley Half Marathon together (my first 1/2 marathon, her twentieth or something). After our husbands graduated, we sadly had to part ways. They went to Pheonix. We went to New Jersey.

After living in Jersey for about a year, we started thinking about Phil's international rotation coming up. Right around the time we were planning on it being Australia, Claire told me Nate (her husband) was going to be doing a rotatation there as well! And so they ended up arriving to Sydney about 5 months before us. Aside from feeling excited to hang out with Claire and her cute kids again, this phase of our friendship was nothing less than a blessing. An international move can be hard. But we got to do it with friends already put perfectly in place. Nate helped us find our housing, Claire answered my ba-zillion questions, they also picked us up from the airport upon after a 20-something hour long trip over here...I could go on. Point is, transitioning into our new life here was so much easier because of them.

 Although the love was definity there...Owen and Hazel's relationship was complicated... :)

How blessed I have been to  have my small-town friend "conveniently" there through our family's big city adventures.

Alas, all good things must come to an end. Claire and Nate will be moving back to Pheonix and we'll be going our different ways once more. But given our history, I have no doubt that they'll cross again. Plus, it doesn't hurt one bit to have parents that live within 8 miles of each other.

Everywhere we went Claire would get strangers commenting on her children's beautiful blonde hair and blue eyes...
...mine would get other types of comments

Of course, knowing their departure was fast approaching, we made sure to make the most of their last week here.  We walked down to Balmoral Beach. One day we went into the city and went to Paddy's Market, played around Darling Harbor and then met the boys for lunch at Hurricanes. And of course, one last and final run to the Zoo with a little Chargrilled Charlies for lunch. All of our favorites crammed into one week--hence, our "Finale Week".

Norah, Ryder and Penny all looking at their zoo maps together in their matching Aussie hoodies they got from Paddy's the day before. This wasn't staged nor was the wardrobe planned!


Until next time, sweet friend!

Dear Kids: Go to the Temple

Dear Kids,

So things have been crazy lately. Our time here in Australia is coming to an end, so that means figuring out what our next step is going to be. Even though we're getting closer to finalizing our plan, the process from the beginning has been frustrating for me. I'm a planner and not knowing where we'll be living in the next two months makes me twitch. Sadly, that and the Australian winter now in full swing has prevented me from enjoying our time here and in turn, just makes me want to get it all figured out even more! Argh! It's a nasty cycle I unnecesarily bring upon myself.

We had talked about needing to go the temple. Especially since we probably would't have another opportunity to go to the temple here in Sydney. It's also been awhile since I've been able to go to an endowment session with Hazel nursing...but with our current state of limbo, I just figured we'll get around to it sometime and if we don't make it, no big deal. 

That was foolish.

Well, then, Nana had to have surgery this last Friday. She was scared and nervous and I felt helpless over here on the other side of the world. After talking to her about this on the phone one morning, I thought why not go to the temple this Saturday?! (Since we're a day ahead, it would be the same day of my mom's surgery). Hazel was finally at a point where I could leave her for a longer amount of time...the only thing stopping us was a babysitter, which was quickly taken care thanks to our wonderful friends. 

And so we went. 

I don't think I've had a temple visit affect me so profoundly up to this point in my life. I felt abundant amounts of peace in regard to our future and was able to feel comfort for and in behalf of my mom. Aside from our personal life, there are crazy things going on in today's world that always leaves me sad and uneasy. However, in the temple everything is right. It was as though I could only feel peace and hope (no feelings or worry or confusion allowed, thank you).  And it felt so good.  Almost like a relief.

There was a cute person there who took our photo in font of the temple, but in order to make more room on my camera I accidentally deleted it to make more room for images like this beaut. So sad, but it was a rainy day and it's all we got.

My sweet babes, it seems as some of the times I've been the most profoundly blessed by things of this gospel, such as temples or visiting teaching, were during times in my life where I didn't think I needed it. Don't miss out on blessings of living a righteous life sitting right there in front of you because you weren't willing to reach out your hand and grab it. The temple is one of those things that we always need. It is a huge blessing we have available to us that is free for the taking. So go. Go whenever you can.

Love you forever,