Monday, July 18, 2011

Catch-Up Time

A lot has happened over the past month or so.  This may end up being a long post.  (Consider yourself warned!!)

After the Tornado
So, after the tornado, Mark and I volunteered some to help with the clean-up efforts through our church.  We even got the yellow "Mormon Helping Hands" t-shirts for our participation.  I didn't get to do a whole lot because Canon became super clingy and would not let anyone else watch him without throwing a fit.  However, it was so awesome to see so many people come together for the cause of serving others.  Our bishop informed us that there was well over 1000 man-hours put in, and the number was steadily growing.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was recognized as an official disaster relief agency for the State of Massachusetts, so the state started sending work-orders to the Church.  It looks like there is a lot of work to be done, and there are over a hundred volunteers who will make sure it gets done.  It was so awesome to be a part of the relief efforts... and kind of sad that we had to move right in the middle of it.

Here area  few pictures of other parts of our neighborhood that show a little more of the destruction.  These were taken about a week after the storm.
The neighborhood behind our house...

we weren't really even allowed to walk in this area if we didn't live here...but we did anyway.

I hope there wasn't anyone in that truck when this happened!!

Most of these houses were condemned!  See the X?

The "sea of tarps" (as I called it)  show how many houses had damage to their roofs.

The whole neighborhood looks so different now.

Once we got things cleared out from the back yard, we found Mark's bike in 3 pieces.  The bed's box-spring was smashed too.

June in a Nutshell
The tornado brought on some stress to our neighbors, but it didn't really seem to affect Canon too badly.  I think the fact that we didn't obtain much damage has something to do with it.  Mark and I didn't own the property, so the stress of responsibility lay with the landlords, and we didn't have much to worry about.  In fact, I threw a "PartyLite Party" for my neighbor Stephanie who just started up her own PartyLite business.  She was so happy to have something "normal" to take her mind off of the tornado.  I only had 2 guests show up, but a couple others placed orders, and I earned $50 in hostess benefits.  That was way more than I expected, and it made me happy.

I pretty much spent the rest of the month packing and deciding which things keep or get rid of.  We held tag sale (what MA people call yard sales) and made over $150 and donated the rest of our unwanted stuff to the Salvation Army.  That night we also hosted a BBQ to say good-bye to everyone.  We had a ton of people from church come, which was pretty awesome.  Then the dark clouds rolled in and we had a major thunderstorm, which was not quite so awesome.  Everyone squished into our house to get refuge from the rain.  It would have been nicer to not have to cram in, but it got us all to be a little more friendly.  They all seemed to have a great time though!  Too bad I didn't get any pictures.  Sorry! :(

I'm going to miss our friends from Springfield, MA.  Moving to a new place is never easy, and I felt so at ease there.  It will take some getting used to back in the State of Utah.

The Move
Mark's parents flew out from Utah to help us with the move.  They drove the moving truck while Mark and I rode with Canon in the car. (There's no place for a car seat in the moving truck... so we couldn't just tow our car.)  Some friends came to help us load up the truck, and it all went pretty smoothly.  Our landlord didn't make me clean the whole house before leaving, so that saved us about 3 hours of work.  She said that they were going to have to be doing some work on the walls and stuff and that they'd end up having to clean up after that anyways, so we didn't need to bother.  S-W-E-E-T!!!

As for the drive, it was pretty uneventful, which is typically a good thing.  Thanks to our sister-in-law Tiffany, we were able to borrow a portable DVD player that hooked onto the back of my headrest.  Canon watched a couple movies each day, which was a total life-saver.  I don't like to have him watching so much TV, but it was worth it on such a long drive.  Canon doesn't really like riding in the car, and it was usually a struggle to get him back into the car once he's been out.  However, a few times turning on a movie was enough of a distraction to get him buckled in and on the road again.

Canon was AWESOME on this trip.  He could've been such a pain, but he was pretty well-behaved.  By the last two days of the trip I had to hold him in the back seat so that he would be comfortable enough to sleep.  It was little difficult to not be able to move around and stuff, but to have my baby sleeping was totally worth it.  It made the car ride silent and really boring for Mark (poor guy), but we made it through, safe and sound.

The Road-Trip
Knowing that this road-trip was going to be a long one from MA to UT, we needed to make a mini vacation out of it.  The day we loaded our truck we drove a  few hours to somewhere in PA.  We stopped at a hotel and shared a room with the 5 of us.  It turned out that NO ONE really got much sleep that night.  We decided that for the rest of the trip, Mark and I needed to get a room separate from his parents. (At least we tried it once to see if we could save that much money on hotels...too bad it didn't work out that way.)

The next day we drove to Lodi, OH to visit Uncle Andy's house.  We arrived in the afternoon and spent that night with them.  Canon certainly loved playing with Mark's cousins Erica and Trevar.  They have goats and horses...and we all took a walk out to the barn to see the new baby goats!  Canon wasn't so sure about that, but we thought they were fun.
Mom holding a goat.

Canon playing with Erica in their wagon.

"I like this girl, Mom!  She plays with me!"

Look at those fine Dahl boys!  This is our cousin Trevar and Uncle Andy on the right.

This is the view I had of Canon during the drive.  Having a video to watch was very helpful!
After all that fun, Mark, Canon and I drove to my parents' house in Bolingbrook, IL.  We took my mom out to dinner with just enough time to take her to the outdoor theater where she and my dad performed in the opening night of The Music Man.  We didn't go to see it that night because we knew that Canon needed to get down to bed... it had been a long trip for him, and he wasn't eating very well.  I didn't want to push our luck with him.

On Saturday we hosted a BBQ for as many of my friends from the area could come.  We had a turn out of about 20 people (if you count all the kids).  It was such a boiling hot day, and there were a few people who didn't come even though they said they would.  I don't blame them.  I hardly wanted to be outside in that humidity, and after a while we eventually did go inside.  It was hard to give everyone some one-on-one time, but I think I did get to visit with everyone.  It was so great to visit with some old friends... but I forgot to to take any pictures.  *Drats!!  That night we got a babysitter while Mark and I went to The Music Man to see my parents perform.  That was really fun, except for the mosquitoes eating Mark alive.  My dad was in the barbershop quartet, which is a part he's always wanted to play, so that was fun to see.  My mom was a villager in the chorus, and that's the kind of part she likes.  They did a great job and I'm glad we got to see it.

Sunday was a normal day at church... as normal as you can expect when you visit a ward you were a part of growing up but had changed dramatically while you were gone.  It was great to see some old friends/mentors and just feel the spirit of love in that ward.  It kind of did feel like "home"!

Monday the ward had a picnic at a local park.  That was pretty great, except that it was sooo HOT!  I tried to find time to visit with everyone, but my attention was divided with the baby, going back home to get straws and a ball...going back home again to put the baby to bed...but overall, I enjoyed our time there.
Canon playing on the slide with Daddy.

My brother Dan and his wife Bonnie

Doug Carlisle with his baby girl Quinly

Doug and Stephanie Carlisle, with kids McKenna, Lana, Collin, and Quinly

Doug was one of my best friends from high school.

Stephanie, Mark and I were all friends from freshman year at BYU.  Steph was my roommate sophomore year, and then she met Doug when he came out for a visit.  They were married before that calendar year ended.  Mark and I got married almost exactly a year after that.
  That night we went to the Bolingbrook presentation of the fireworks.  It was pretty fun.
on the shuttle, going to the fireworks

having a little fun before the show

dancing to the live music

The look I was hoping for through the whole firework show... but no such luck!

Our little family celebrating Independence Day.

Canon was not as excited about the fireworks as I had hoped.  He was nervous at first, but once he got into it I think he did like it.  After only a few minutes though, he was more interested in pointing out the airplanes that  were in the sky.  I tried over and over to get him into the fireworks, but it just didn't hold his attention for that long.  I think he was genuinely frightened during the finale because he didn't like all the loud bangs.  It was a fun night though!

Here's a video or two for your viewing pleasure.

The next day Mark and I took Canon to the Brookfield Zoo.  It was yet another very hot day.  If it had been cooler, it would probably have been a more enjoyable trip.  As it was, we spent too much for what we got out of it, but we were still glad we went.  Here are a few pictures from our adventure:

Canon was not too interested in the giraffes.  :(

Canon was really uncomfortable in the heat, and the sunscreen in his eyes didn't help much.  Even the zebras couldn't keep his interest.

the monkey house was pretty cool

Canon during one of the few moments he was paying attention to the dolphin show

That night I helped my mom who hosted a baby shower for Rosalie, a friend of the family who just had a baby boy a couple weeks ago.  I was in charge of the games, and overall, I think it went really well.  My mom's living room was filled with people, so it was a success and a bunch of fun.

That was our last night before heading back out on the road.  We met up with Mark's parents somewhere on the road and stopped in Omaha, NE for the night.  The next day ended at Cheyenne, WY.   And the last day was a short drive (relatively) to the Dahl House in Draper, UT.

As for now, we've moved in with Mark's parents.  We have a storage unit for most of our stuff, and we've been adjusting to life back in Utah.  Hooray for the next chapter of life!!