Mother of the Year Award

So the blog has been a bit boring lately, here is a story for you. I FORGOT MY CHILD. I only have three, its not like it should be hard to keep track of them, but for some people like myself, it is.

Cedar Rapids has early dismissal every-other Wednesday for teacher in-service. Personally I think it's a little excessive but whatever. Today was one of those early out days. I was running left and right and at 1:30 my phone pinged with an email that I had a message on my home phone. It was a mother that I have met ONCE and the message said this.

“Emmaly, um Erin seems to think you forgot to pick her up, she is at my house, but we have to leave so I guess I'll swing by your house and if your not home we'll figure something out”.

I throw the other two in the car (we wouldn't want to lose another one) and race home, no one is there, I go to the woman's house, no one is home and she called from her home phone. So I head to the school thinking that she may have dropped her back there.

And that is where I earned the Mother-of-the-Year award. I walked in the office and said

“I forgot to pick up my child today (school has now been out 40 minutes). A mother in her class picked her up and I was wondering if you have her cell number on file.”

The secretary say “Sure, what is her name?”

I say “Umm, I think Molly. And Molly has a child in first grade (now looking sheepish)”.

She stares blankly at me for a second, then smiles and says we'll start with “Molly X”.

Sure why the heck not, so I called the cell number she gave me and asked the woman on the other end if she by chance had an extra child with her. Wheph she did and she even enrolled her in an afternoon cooking class with her daughter!

After almost and hour I could breathe. Seriously only in Iowa will a woman pick up your child after only meeting you once and take her in as one of her own. And the crazy thing was no one cared! The mother saw it as a favor, the secretary saw it as a parent helping out an idiot, Erin saw it as an extra play date and the day went on. In Texas this would have snowballed into a huge issue but Iowa kind of has this village raising mentality.

So my new goal for the week is not to forget anyone.

8 Years!

Its hard to believe its been eight years and its been a wild ride....

In eight years we have:

  • Backpacked Belize and Guatemala, slept with the jaguars in the jungle and hitchhiked from village to village.

  • Had an authentic Charlie Brown tree

  • Graduated ISU and moved 1,000 miles away from friends, family and the familiar

  • Jared started his career working for the Space Shuttle Program

  • Watched our precious baby under go open heart surgery just days after birth, found out the blessing of good health care and good insurance

  • J and I were called as church clerk and YW respectively, where we would serve the remainder of our Texas years.

  • Evacuated with three million people running from Hurricane Rita and spent way too many hours stuck in traffic watching the monster churn towards us, came home to an untouched community.

  • Purchased our first home, made it a home and began to call Texas home. Friends became our family

  • Had child #2 in a wheelchair and learned to fight insurance (and laugh)

  • Jared started his Masters

  • Learned to balance life, learned to be real parents (thank you Eliza).

  • Evacuated from hurricane Ike, came home to a storm-ravaged community. Learned to count our blessings as we helped others tear down and clean up as we had minimal damage.

  • After Ike our relationship was tested by building fences and laying new floor :) I got addicted to DIY projects.

  • Ike was born ten months after Ike and self delivered in a bathroom by yours truly (and learned to say the hell with insurance, sometimes it's just easier to pay for services not rendered)

  • Purchased a minivan, a GOLD minivan

  • Learned that the space program was coming to a close and learned about faith and patience

  • J finished his Masters!

  • Watched the final Shuttle Launch from KSC

  • J started a new career, sold our first home, and ironically ended up back in Iowa where we started this Journey!

St. Louis and Foo Fighters

Jared and I heard south last week. Now that we live near family we took full advantage and spent our first full weekend away from the kiddos. Jared's parents came to CR to watch the herd as we escaped to St. Louis to celebrate our anniversary. We price-lined a Marriott room that was downright swanky....it was missing a shower door (on purpose, I guess but complete random and not functional). The hotel was really nice.

Saturday morning we got up early and went to the St. Louis LDS temple, it always helps to check the schedule as they were closed for cleaning. So instead of participating in a session we watched them black top the parking lot and picked up some things at distribution. We stopped at Cabela's and picked up our sub-zero boots we ordered and then met some good friends of the family at the Cheese Cake factory. Is it hard to believe I am 30 and have NEVER been to a Cheesecake Factory???? It was fantastic!

We spent the afternoon lounging and then headed down to eat at a fancy Italian restaurant and then out to the Foo Fighters concert.... They played for almost three hours, awesome concert! I saw them back in college, they were an opening band, they have improved much over the years! After a hectic summer it was a well needed weekend.


Settling down in Iowa

Our first month in Iowa has been great (a bit chaotic but it feels right). To start from where the last post left off, everything was fine and dandy, the moving truck was to leave Thursday and be in Cedar Rapids Monday or Tuesday of the following week. Jared was driving up with us to help unpack and fly back that Wednesday to complete his last two weeks with United Space Alliance. All was dandy until the truck driver informed us that there was a scheduling mix up and everything we owned (and I mean everything because we only packed the necessities for a two day drive) would be sitting in Plano, Tx for nine days. He had to drop the trailer and then make a run west before picking it up....WHAT THE WHAT??

It was too late to change plans so we headed out Saturday morning and stayed the week with my parents. Our stuff got in late the following Tuesday. Jared had already flown back to H-town. The truck pulled up on the hottest day of the summer. My wonderful mom stayed two days helping me unpack in the scorching heat and get things in order and by the time she left it looked like a home.

We are renting a really cute house for the fall on the SE side of town. It was built in 1900 and like any old house has its odd intricacies. For example there is no pantry (which I completely freaked out about). We believe what once was the pantry is now the downstairs half bath....however we have a wonderfully hideous wet bar in the basement that works perfectly for storage.


Giant sliding door to close off the majority of the house so when people visit it can be trashed!....I personally think every house should have one of these, its awesome!

My first week in I decided to scrub down the porch, I have been away to long and forgot to check to see if the outside faucets were winterized and managed to flood out the basement. I spent a day getting to know my landlord as we gutted wet drywall and carpet in the basement. The damage was minimal, thank goodness.

Living Room


The house has this awesome attic that could be out of a book. Anyway the woodwork throughout is beautiful and the neighborhood is perfect. Lots of mature trees and rolling hills and turn-of-the-century mansions. The area is absolutely beautiful and super friendly. Two blocks west of us starts the ghetto and I am not joking we hear at least a gun shot a week and two blocks east is old school money, the 5000 sq/ft circa 1900-1920's mansions that are perfectly manured. We get to bike through the upscale neighborhood on our way to school everyday and I am completely enamored with it.

Erin's school is very diverse economically, everything from title 1 to the old school money. She is attending Grant Wood Elementary until we move (which is awesome, I am a HUGE Grant Wood fan). The halls are lined with his art work, I love love love it! Minus a staff member I ran into this week that dresses like a tramp ( I am sorry no 40 year old woman should be wearing what I would consider a swimming suit cover up to work, especially with little kids. I just wanted to say hello I could see your undies...you know if you were actually wearing some)...besides her everyone seems really down to earth and the teachers are awesome.

Jared finally made it in safely on Aug 15th, unfortunately his golf clubs did not. Southwest lost them or someone snatched them (joke is on them J's left-handed). So he has been filing his claim and hoping for the best. But golf clubs or not we are happy to finally have him up here.

He seems to like his new job, he even met a nice group of boys to eat lunch with in the cafeteria. I was laughing one night as we sat at the dinner table and both J and Erin excitedly told about their new lunch friends.

And for the first time in month I feel like I can breathe. As much as we miss Texas this already feels like home.


Transition - Leaving Texas

Time to dust off the blog, We are still alive and well! The past three months our lives have been a blur. While at the time it seemed like chaos ruled and logic was lost, we now are settling down to realize the great blessings and mercy the Lord has extended to our family through the process and that we are indeed where he would have us be (well almost, we missed the mark by five miles but thats another story!)

I typically don't back-blog much but I'll take a minute to touch on some major events.

First and foremost Jared graduated from the University of Colorado with his Masters in Engineering Management – Space Operations in May. What should have been a celebrated momentous occasion simply passed by with a sign of relief as we madly cleaned and fixed in preparation to place the house on the market. We are so proud of him, it was a long three years for the whole family but he balanced it all well.

With the move came our biggest concern, selling our home in League City. It was our first house, we moved in shortly before Erin turned two and soon it became home to a growing family. It was beautiful, and backed up to the park and we were surrounded by friendly neighbors who were wonderful. For five years I engineered my own soil, finally last spring I had a patch of fertile land that would actually yield produce.

We placed our house on the market Memorial Day weekend, ours would compete at the time with scores of homes with similar square footage and build. The local housing market was flooded because of the massive layoffs associated the shuttle program. While our house was in a good neighborhood and we kept it up, there was over a year of inventory on the market and could easily be a year or more before we sold simply because of the volume and economy.

Jared was swamped with interviews and work during the spring and I spent night and day prepping the house for sale. I am thankful for good friends who scrubbed walls unknown to people taller than 3'. The amount of showings was dismal, by the third week of June we only had three showings. Much to my surprise our Realtor called and said an offer had been submitted. The offer was acceptable, almost asking price, but the buyer was asking for $6,000 cash to close. Ouch, but after running the numbers what it would take to keep the house vacant, plus the concern of shifting foundation with the drought (which by the way I had nightmares all summer during the closing process that it shifted right before closing and the buyer backed out :) we accepted.

July was plain crazy. I am thankful for an excellent Realtor (Jeff Bulman for all your locals getting ready to put you house on the market) who kept everyone of their feet (much to the loan officers dismay at times). Their email banter back and forth provided entertainment while we were in a completely stressed state. The buyer had financing issues, and after a few weeks where we suspected the deal would fold, they worked it out. Long story but the market was falling so fast our house didn't even appraise for the buyers offer. That became a breach of our relocation contract - one messy chaotic situation and for several days we had no idea who actually owned our house or if we had closed. In late July we received our equity check in the mail...which made us assume we SOLD! It was one of the many miracles on this journey. For reasons still unknown to us, we were able to sell and are so very grateful that we could start in Iowa being free of our obligations in Texas.

In the mean time Jared got tickets to see the STS-135 launch from the six mile mark at Kennedy Space Center. While we didn't have the time to make an impromptu visit to Florida, this was the LAST shuttle launch. I'll post separately about it, but it was epic (and emotional)!

Jared dropped me off in Louisiana for YW camp on the way home from the launch. I served as the assistant stake camp director this year, which was a perfect closure to my time in League City and after serving in the ward YW presidency for 6 ½ years (which will probably be another post).

I returned home from camp on a Saturday physically exhausted from two weeks of travel and spiritually uplifted – just in time, the movers came on Wednesday. Monday friends threw one Texas sized good bye party for us. They had a corn roast in the park, despite the heat it was a warm sendoff and much needed closure as we left great friends who have doubled as family
over the past seven years. We will miss them all dearly.

Wednesday and Thursday were spent packing in 100+ degree heat. Thursday and Friday night we stayed with good friends, enjoying some final time together before the next adventure of life would turn its pages for both families the following week. We waved goodbye to Sam Houston as we left Houston one last time... we left home to head home.