Sunday, August 14, 2011

The BIG MOVE

I know I've been writing about living in Omaha, but I never really wrote about how we ended up being here.  So I figure I better write out the whole story since I print out my blog as our family journal.  And I will say, I'm pretty sure that moving 1,000 miles away is kind of a big important detail of our family history!

Brock graduated in Psychology from Utah State this last semester.  Unfortunately, both Brock and I chose majors that really are kinda useless without continuing on to a higher degree.  So for a lot of our marriage, we have talked about what Brock would pursue as a career.  We talked about secondary education, getting a Masters degree in Social Work and becoming a therapist, and other careers.  As he would take pre-requisite courses and talk with his advisor, nothing really ever "clicked."  Well, one day at work at Logan River Academy, he was talking with a co-worker about a career in Occupational Therapy.  I guess they talked for a bit, and Brock's interest was sparked.  He came home and did a little more research on it, and then decided to throw it out there for consideration.  Of course I asked what it was.  I've learned that it pretty much is a very big umbrella of therapy for a wide variety of issues.  An occupational therapist differs from a physical therapist in a couple ways.  An OT essentially is working to teach the brain something that doesn't come natural.  So OTs work with babies born without an arm to teach them to live in a way that is fully functioning while going against "nature."  Or they work with kids with Autism and teach them to be able to communicate in large settings, but do it by conditioning them to mentally make the decision to talk.  Or they work in geriatrics to teach a patient how to take care of themselves after losing function in a limb or something.  Anyways, there are SOOO many things OTs do.  So there is also a HUGE job market for them.  In our economy, it was important to us to find a career path that would end in a job.  We've heard of so many people earning professional degrees and being stuck in $10 an hour jobs.  And that's not something we wanted.  So, after discussing it and looking in to it more, we decided OT was the right direction for Brock and our family.

After making that decision, the interview process began.  Brock applied to schools everywhere.  He applied in Las Vegas, Arizona, Ohio, and one in Alaska.  The school in Alaska was a distance education from Creighton University in Omaha.  Well, after reading a little more, we discovered the school in Alaska is only for Alaska residents.  So we called Creighton and asked to have the application transfered to the school in Omaha since we had already paid the app fee.  We really didn't think Creighton was a legit option since it's COLD here, and the program is a Doctoral program compared to the others he applied to which were just masters.  We were so excited when Brock was accepted for interviews at all the schools he applied to.  We were pretty set on either going to Arizona if we got in, but we would be ok with Las Vegas, too.  Seriously, after coming out to Creighton in February when it was FREEZING cold, I really had no intention of moving to Omaha!  Well, we were shocked when Brock received denial or wait list letters from Las Vegas and Arizona.  He felt the interviews had gone so well there, and we were starting to get worried about what the next step would be if he didn't get in anywhere.  Since he didn't get in to those two schools, we really didn't think Creighton would accept them into their prestigious program.  Thankfully, we were WRONG!  We were so excited when he got his acceptance letter, but we still weren't positive he was going to go.  Since it's a doctoral program, it's 3 1/2 years compared to 18 months-2 years for a Masters degree.  Not to mention Creighton is a private school, so it costs a pretty (ugly) penny!  After prayer and A LOT of discussion, we both felt it was right to accept the invitation to attend Creighton.  Brock was excited to be coming back to where he served his mission.  Me....I was just excited to have a plan.  I wasn't thrilled about the move to Nebraska...

So we waited....looked for apartments....and waited some more until finally the time to move came.  Packing was NOT FUN, and neither was moving across the country.  Saying goodbye to our families was the worst, but we knew it's not permanent, and we'll be home often.  Thankfully, Brock's brothers drove our moving van out so we could take our car with Tim.  After looking at over 200 apartments online (I'm seriously not exaggerating), we finally found one right by the school that felt right.  I can't explain to you the amount of stress it was trying to find a place looking only at internet postings and reviews, and just never feeling that it was where we were supposed to be.  We even lost a deposit on one place that we just didn't think was right after all.  Finally, I found a place close to campus that seemed perfect for us.  Immediately after reading the craigslist post, I knew it was the place.  I'll have to put pictures up soon.  It's a cute little apartment (about half the size of our apartment in Nibley), but it's got some cute, old charm to it.  So far, it's been great for us.

I knew we had chosen the right place the Sunday before we left Utah. I was sitting in Sacrament meeting, and although I can't recall exactly what the speakers were saying, I had a very strong feeling that we were moving to Omaha for more than just school.  I knew I couldn't find the right place because I wasn't looking in the right place.  The apartment we are in put us in the boundaries of a very small branch here in Omaha.  Despite the fact that there are much larger, stronger wards in our area, our little branch is being nurtured and prepared for growth.  Despite never being to the branch yet, I knew that Sunday that we were moving to where we were supposed to be so we could be a part of something at this branch.  It was one of those times in my life that the Lord was teaching me the lesson....again....that His plan for me is better than my plan for me.  I wanted to live in some townhomes that essentially are a "little Utah" - lots of young student families just like us.  But no matter how many ways we tried to get into them, it just wasn't working out.  I appreciate now seeing that Heavenly Father needed us somewhere else, and He led us to it.  After being to this branch here in Omaha a couple of Sundays, Brock and I both feel VERY strongly that school was a way to get us here to be in this branch.  We were given the opportunity to speak in sacrament meeting today, something we haven't done since being married, and it was such a good feeling to be standing exactly where I was supposed to be.  So many members have told us we were "prayed" here, and we've been told that we will be put to work with multiple callings.  And the thing is, although that's something I wouldn't have been to happy about in Utah, I can't wait to see what the Lord needs me to do here.  I'm so excited for this chance not only to serve, but to learn so much from the people here that rely on each other and the Lord.  I'm so excited to see what's in store for us in this branch!  We have already made friends here, too.  One cute family invited us for dinner the day after we got in.  And we meet new people each time we go to church.  A member of the branch presidency stopped by to ask us to speak, and we got to chat with him for a while, too.  People here are so friendly.   The church just has a different feeling here than in Utah.  We both love feeling needed as part of a branch family.

We love having missionaries here, too.  Brock is having a lot of memories from his days on his mission here.  We've had the missionaries over for dinner already, and we are having them again tomorrow.  I love having them in our home and the spirit they bring into it. I hope we can be one of the families they rely on.  They asked us today to take an older, deaf gentleman in our branch home from church today.  It feels so good to be welcomed so quickly and already be trusted to help others in need!

We went to a welcome picnic for the Health Profession students at Creighton tonight.  We of course tried to spot all the LDS students so we could make some new friends.  We met a few couples, and I'm excited there are some LDS guys in Brock's OT class.  I wasn't too excited at the thought of him being in a study group with a bunch of other girls since guys are DEFINITELY the minority in his class.  So I'm happy he'll have some good study partners....more so hopefully I can meet their wives and make some friends to hang out with while our husbands are in school all day!  He starts Welcome Week tomorrow (which really should be called Hell Week because it looks REALLY boring).  Hopefully he can get that over with without too much boredom and get started in school next week.

We are so happy to be here in Omaha.  It's been quite the journey getting here, but we know this is exactly where we are supposed to be.  I'm so grateful to my Heavenly Father for the guidance He gives us in our lives.  I know my little family has a mission to accomplish here, and I can't wait to get started!   

First Trip to the Zoo

One of our first big adventures in Omaha has been going to the Henry Doorly Zoo.  It's one of the biggest zoos in the country complete with an IMAX theater.  We decided since we are so close to the zoo to get a family pass to allow us unlimited access to the zoo and movie theater for the rest of the season.  I'm so excited.  Almost all of the exhibits are indoors, and a lot of the women in my ward take their kids year round.  So I'm excited to have something fun to do in the winter with Tim while Brock is in school.  

This trip was really fun.  We've been working hard to settle in to our new place, so it was nice to go out and make a day for ourselves.  I wasn't sure how Tim would react to it, but he really enjoyed it.  He's recently learned to look where we are pointing, so that definitely helped him to see animals that were hiding in trees or something.  He "moo'd" at most of the animals since the cow sound is the only sound he makes.  But he was just having a blast.  He would take off from us to go look at something he was interested in.  He really liked the penguins at the aquarium because he could get up right next to the glass and see them while they were swimming.  He liked the hippo for the same reason, too.  I like the aquarium because they have it the exhibits blocked off in the front so the kids can get up really close without any adults in the way.  He would try and touch the animals.  But mostly he just tried to talk to the other kids by him.  We tried to time it so we could go to the IMAX while he was sleeping, but the show we planned that around was sold out.  So Brock and I ended up walking around and looking at a few things while Tim slept.  We went at saw "Amazing Caves" at the end of our day to get out of the heat.  It was really cute because Tim was really amazed at the big 6 story high screen.  It kinda freaked him out at first, but then he just sat through the whole movie with big eyes.  It was neat, and I really hope he always likes the movies because it's something we will be doing often with our pass!  

Our favorite exhibit is the rainforest.  The animals are necessarily "caged," although they are far enough away that they can't get to you.  There are huge trees, and even a little rainforest floor you can walk on.  There's some cool vines to swing from, too.  While we were walking on one of the paths though, Brock pointed out a half dead mouse that was kinda flopping around.  It freaked me out - not cool.  It definitely was not supposed to be a part of the exhibit!!

I'm hoping to go there with the missionaries one day because they were showing us the funniest video the other day.  One of the missionaries learned from one of the zoo keeper a trick with the apes.  The missionaries stand with their backs to the glass of the ape exhibit, and the alpha male freaks out.  He kinda walks towards the glass, and then takes off charging - running into the glass where the missionaries are standing trying to attack them.  At one point, he even started beating his chest while kicking the glass.  Apparently it has something to do with the missionaries being males in white shirts... I dunno, but the video was HILARIOUS!

I can't wait to take Tim back and let him explore even more.  I'm sure we'll learn a lot from our trips to the zoo!



Of course, Tim tried to go swimming in the desert exhibit.  Luckily Brock was there to keep him out of the little ponds!

Tim enjoyed pointing at things he liked to see.  It was neat to see him being interactive with his environment.

He got pretty tired towards the end of the day though!

This little chimp was pretty funny.  He "hung" out there for a while.


Remember in Tarzan when he puts his hand on the apes' hand?  I thought this was pretty cute.


Seriously need a better camera!  I'm so sick of pics in low light looking like this!! 400 ISO should not look like this with the lens I have!!

Crossing the rainforest bridge.  It was actually pretty wobbly so he did really good!

My little vine swinging Tarzan! 


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Leaving Tim's First Home

A little over ten years ago, I walked out my front door on Bathgate Drive in Ohio to catch my ride for school, knowing it would be the last time I walked out the door of my childhood home.  My family was moving to Utah and leaving our hometown.  The feeling of walking away is something I'll never forget.  It was a place of many of my childhood memories, including most of the memories I have of my dad.  It was the place my family was defined and was mine.  Leaving our home in Nibley, walking out the door after checking to make sure everything was in order, I had that same feeling I had ten years ago.  But it's the only other time I've had that feeling, despite moving around 10 times in the last 10 years.  Our home in Nibley was the first time in 10 years that I felt I had a home, and that is a feeling that I hope to find here in Omaha.

Our basement apartment we rented from Brock's brother was truly a home and safe haven for our family.  It's a place filled with some of the best memories of my life, even though we only lived there for two years.  We had such a hard time getting pregnant, but shortly after moving in there, we were able to finally get pregnant with Tim.  I strongly feel one reason because I was able to settle down and relax enough knowing that I had a place to call home again.  Going through pregnancy, it was a place of relaxation and relief.  Bringing home our first born there and watching him grow from newborn to infant.  And from infant to toddler... it is a time of my life I will always cherish.  We had great times with friends and family there.  I cooked my first Thanksgiving turkey and hosted my first holiday with my family.  We had both of our entire families there to celebrate the birth of Tim and his blessing and later his one year birthday.  Brock had countless "Guy's Nights" that were "entertaining" and memorable to say the least! I enjoyed learning to craft and sew there - something I had never taken up and something I will now never give up!  And one of the best parts of our home was getting closer to my brother-in-law and his family.  We will all miss this home, but I'm glad it's in the family so we can revisit it later!

Moving was such a freaking pain.  I NEVER wanna move again.  I didn't realize how much we had accumulated over the last two years since we finally had space.  PLUS, babies have SO MUCH STUFF!  I didn't realize how much we had til we started packing it all.  It's so funny cause I thought packing wouldn't take long.  Just go into a room with a few boxes and pack it all, right?  Not so much.  I think I turned bi-polar during my packing because I would go through a memory box and be crying one minute and cracking up hysterically the next.  It was definitely nice to get rid of a lot of stuff though since we massively downsized in square footage in our new place in Omaha.  Thankfully, we had family that was willing to help with packing because I honestly couldn't have done it by myself. Thank you to all of you who helped pack boxes, load the truck, and babysit!  And to Cody and Benji - we could not have made this move without you!  My awesome bro-in-laws drove our moving truck for us so we could drive our car.  And then they unloaded everything, too.  Seriously, that alone would have taken me and Brock DAYS because Tim was having a pretty hard time.  The poor kid went through a week of not being home at all so we could pack.  Then he would come home at night and look around the house with a very curious face since everything was turned upside down and missing.  Then we drove across the country.  Then we lived in a pile of boxes for 5 days while I unpacked.  He's finally settling down....but I'll write about that in a different post.  Anyway, thank you to everyone who helped in any way!  We owe you all and love you for everything you've done for us!

Here are some pictures of Tim with his cousin.  They are so cute together, and he misses her very much!

 Tim playing in the playhouse with Livy in the backyard


 Opera singer?

 Tim would sit in that sandbox all day if we let him.  He absolutely loved playing in it, especially with his cousins!

 She's a precious little girl...and he...well, he's just chillin with his tongue hanging out...
 I loved how these two played together.  They are both kind of observers and quiet, and they just had their own way of playing.  It was so cute!

 I LOVE this picture - so funny!!  "Hey mom - Livy pushed me over the edge....wanna help me...like, NOW?!"

 KISSES! (Tim gives open mouth kisses still, so if you look close, his mouth is open to give her a kiss)

 They are already swapping secrets to keep from their parents!

Uncle Cody was mowing the lawn with Livy and let Tim get on the riding lawn mower with them.  That only lasted about 2 seconds cause wimpy Tim had a meltdown.

Going Away Party with Brock's Family

Brock's family was so sweet to have a little going away dinner.  It was great to see everyone there, and fun to get Tim with some of his cousins he doesn't see as often.  Sunday dinner at Tony and Melanie's home is definitely one of the things we will miss most while in Omaha.  At least we'll get to have the missionaries over for dinner since they know what it's like to be away from family, too!  We love you all, and can't wait to sit down for a Sunday dinner with you again!  

 I'm scared for when this child turns two...


 Timmy & Branson - These two are gonna be great friends (assuming their fathers don't make them super competitive against each other...haha) cause all the other cousins close to their age are girls.

 Tim doing the toddler sit....with a camera on his head.... And yes, his 12 month shorts are WAY too big on his 15 month body....

 Don't have much to say about this one....

 Melt my heart!  If Tim could talk, I think he would say that one of the people he misses most is cousin Livy.  I loved watching these two play because Tim was noticeably happier around her.  He just loves her, and it truly made me sad that we won't be there for him to grow up by her because I know how much he liked playing with her.  Timmy loves you, Livy!!

 These two loved playing in the sandbox.  And Tim especially loved playing in the sandbox with Livy!

 Captain Timmy in grandma's play ship


 He likes going up better than going down...


Tim with cousin Branson and our cute neice/cousin Kambry


Grandma Melanie - We will miss you and Grandpa most!

Camping With the Whole Fam Damily

I was busy getting everything ready for our big move to Omaha when my lovely mom called and asked if we wanted to go camping with the whole family (8 siblings, bro-in-law, niece, mom and dad, and grandma...).  So of course, since we knew we wouldn't see everyone for a while, we said yes despite the fact that we had to pack, well, the whole house....  But it was so worth it!  We went to Rock Port State Park and had a great time.  We had the boat, too, so despite the lake being cold, I had a great time wakeboarding and swimming.  Brock had fun for the first few hours before he got FRYED!  No one understands how he got so burnt because we were putting 60 SPF on about every 30 minutes.  It seriously didn't make sense.  Anyway, Tim had LOTS of fun jumping on the water trampolines and hanging out with everyone.  It was bitter sweet being with the family again, knowing that we won't be together like that for sure until Christmas. 

Since we had some pretty abnoxious drunks in the campsite next to us, we ended up sleeping in the big tent with Hannah and Emmaline.  We had our bed all made in the Yurt, but Brock didn't feel comfortable with the teenage girls being in a tent by themselves.  I thought it was very cute that he was so concerned about them, and I'm glad he was.  It was so fun sleeping with Timmy in the tent under the stars.  After we shut off his cow flashlight (yes, it moos every time you turn the light on and it opens the mouth...and yes it's our only flashlight...), we all looked at the stars out of the top of the tent.  It was so cute cause Tim was looking at them, too.  I love seeing him really experience things for the first time.

I had a great time with my family, and I'm so grateful we had one last memorable experience with them before we moved!  I love you all, and miss you SO MUCH!    

 Timmy and Auntie Hannah - aka, one of Tim's favorite people.  Hannah has always been a great babysitter and friend to have around!  Seriously, we were always supposed to be sisters.  I think we have so much in common and we have a lot of the same character traits.  It's funny!

 Timmy in the field while we were all sittin around the fire.

 Timmy and Uncle Bud

Alice sat on her smore...HAHA 

 Tim and Bebe, Grandma Mommy's dog.  I really want to get him a dog for Christmas.  We'll have to see what our landlord says though!

 Ok, this picture only makes sense to people who know Tim.  He walks around pulling his shirt up all the time so he can play with his belly button.  He even does it in his sleep and it's almost always one of the first things he does when he wakes up.  It's so funny!

 Timmy, Great-Grandma Mommy (Kathy), and Bebe
BWA-HAHA - Tim played in the coals and then rubbed his eyes.