We Made It

Well everyone… we made it! We had an eventful trip down (U-Haul is going to get a piece of my mind) but thankfully my parents made the trip down with us to help out. They’re here until Wednesday morning when we fly them back to SLC. Until then, we’re putting them to work!

For now, work is all that’s going on… I’m still with Applied Materials in the same position I’ve been in for almost two years now, so no big changes there. I’ve always worked from home since I started with them and all that’s changed is our address 🙂

Natalie is working hard to unpack with my help sprinkled in between conference calls and getting out my deliverables for work. At least they didn’t schedule me for a trip right after we moved!

Maricopa has been great when we’ve visited but I have to admit it hasn’t really sunk in that we live here, yet. Maybe once we get done unpacking. Still, we’ve met some great people already and the church we attend with my brother and his family has been great — they came over and unloaded us in less than an hour and a half! Too bad packing wasn’t that fast…

Besides unpacking, we still have carpet to clean, fixtures to replace, walls to paint and a pool to set up (the house came with a dirty, empty pool) not to mention finish all of the paperwork on the house itself.

For those that don’t know about Maricopa, it’s a quiet little town about 45 minutes South of downtown Phoenix. Chandler is the “big town” close by — just 15 minutes away — though there are some big places in Maricopa like Wal-Mart, Fry’s, Basha’s, etc. There’s even a Home Depot coming to town 🙂

It’s still considered a rural community though and even gets the occasional “bovine aroma” wafting into town… mmm… that fresh country air!

We’ll keep you guys posted and send some more info, photos, etc. once we’re settled in (we’re sleeping over at my brother’s right now until we get some of the major stuff set up). Keep in touch!

Ta-da!

We promised to post more details of our new house once we had them, so here they are (even though they’re a little late):

First and foremost: we’re moving June 26th. Less than five weeks away, we had to schedule this since it was the only time that we could not only get help doing it but so life could continue. We have the girls finishing up their school year, Katie getting baptized, two parties to host, a large 3-day YM activty and the little things like packing, cleaning and a yard sale to hold all before then. Phew. We’d love any help anyone could give; we’ll be loading the U-Haul Wednesday and Thursday evenings so we can have help with the big stuff with people getting back from work and everything.

Now that that’s out of the way… here are some things I can tell you about our house:

  • It’s a nice 6 bedroom home a little under 4000 sq ft
  • There will be plenty of room for visitors to come and stay
  • It’s in a quiet neighborhood just down the street from my brother and his wife
  • It’s backyard has a very nice pool and there is a small community park nearby
  • We’ll have a mortgage about half of what we do now!

Here’s a couple of pictures of both ends of the house (you can see more when you come and visit us!):

Keeping in mind that we aren’t moving for the square-footage, the pool or even the cool neighbors, we are very excited to be down-sizing our monthly outgo so we can start saving. We are very blessed that I have work that allows me to make this move and that we will have family support in unfamiliar territory.

We’ve also decided to have a little gathering at our place to say goodbye to friends (family will have their chance later), so stay tuned for the date/time.

An Apostle’s Easter Thoughts on Christmas

We didn’t get a chance to post a “Happy Easter” message or anything. Honestly, we’re not the biggest fans of the hoopla that accompanies the majority of Easter: eggs and bunnies and lots and lots of candy. While we do enjoy the traditional stealing of our kids candy like any red-blooded Americans, we hate to see the most important event celebrated as another day for presents and candy.

Instead, we try to do the “kid stuff” the day before, having fun with easter egg hunts and seeing what the easter bunny brought. Sunday is the day we reverence and speak with our children about this most important event.

I had the opportunity to travel to Israel a couple of years ago and visited a lot of the traditional sites for: the area where John the Baptist taught in the wilderness and where Jesus was likely baptized, the mount from the sermon on the mount, the many gates and stations around Jerusalem referenced in the New Testament, the site of the Last Supper and even the Garden of Gethsemane. However, one hotly contested site is where exactly Jesus was crucified, entombed and ultimately, where he rose from the grave, was particularly compelling since I felt a need to know where exactly this most important event actually took place.

I visited two of the most popular sites and while both had compelling evidence of their authenticity, I found a great sense of peace — coincidentally while visiting the Garden Tomb — after I realized that it really didn’t matter where he rose. What was so exciting to me about the Garden Tomb was that I saw the miracle that Mary Magdalene saw that first Easter morning: an empty tomb.

That’s the real miracle of Easter. Jesus lives and we, too will live again because of what he did for us. It’s so easy to get caught up in the rest of the world’s view of Easter but this talk (watch the video) helps remind us of what Easter is really supposed to be celebrating.

The Grass Isn’t Exactly Greener…

Well, fortunately and unfortunately, we’re moving.

Fortunately:

  • Homes are cheap in Maricopa, AZ and we’re looking to reduce our monthly outgo
  • My job allows me to work from anywhere, so long as an airport isn’t too far away
  • My brother Derrick and his wife Mandy live there and we’re close with them both
  • I hate snow… well, I’m okay with snow as long as it stays in the mountains where it belongs and off of my driveway, road to work, etc.

Unfortunately:

  • You’d better really like the color brown (I like it in moderation!)
  • You’d better really like it warm (something Arizona isn’t famous for in moderation)
  • You’d better like the smell of cattle… uh… aroma… on a cool, clear night
  • There’s nothing like a white Christmas…
  • We’ll REALLY MISS OUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS close by

In all honesty, we’re very excited about the move; Natalie has never lived outside of Utah (and by extension therefore neither have any of our kids!). This will not only get us out of our comfort zone but also give our family a chance to see how we do out on our own without a lot of family close by.

Where’s Maricopa you ask? About 30 minutes or so south of Phoenix, this little town got hit hard by the recent home value drops (plummets is a more accurate term for this area!). We’ve found it to be full of a lot of great people and for a “rural” community feels nothing like it — other than the usual friendliness around every corner. We’re hoping to have a lot of room for guests, so please feel free to stop by and visit us!

We’re planning on moving around mid-June. Katie has decided to get baptized and we set the date for the 1st Saturday of June (the 6th) and we’d like the girls to finish up school here at Creekside Elementary before we leave. Which reminds me: we looked into a charter school down in Maricopa that the girls are very excited for, too.

We’ll post more details once we have a house locked in (we have a few offers out there right now) and will send you all the gorey details of our move… which reminds me of one other Unfortunate aspect of this move:

  • We have to pack and drive all of our crap to Arizona 12 hours away… joy…

New Year’s Eve Poetry

I wrote this for an invitation to our New Year’s Eve Party; I hope you enjoy it:

‘Twas the party after Christmas, and all through the land
Every parent was thrilled to play some Rock Band
And to get away from their paper-strewn messes
That came after the socks, toys, undies and dresses
For what should come seven days after that Eve?
But a party for Santas, not for kids who believe
In that fat man in red who has to resort
To bribery, threatening and things of that sort
To get some small time of peace on the days
That lead up to those darned stress-filled holidays
So kids won’t be naughty but nice for a bit
And “Santa” can attempt to finally get a grip
But the holi-daze are over with nothing to do
The Transformers still buzzing, the Barbies all nude
And so with happiness you will appear
To a small gathering of fun to celebrate the year!
So to Layton, on Pheasant View, at six ninety-eight,
At seven o’clock, but feel free to come late…
With no little “angels” to dampen your flight
Have adult conversation and a fun New Year’s Night!

I’ll Always Have Paris

A couple of weeks ago I was finally able to make it out to Spain. While it was all business, I did get a chance to take in some of the local atmosphere. It was a gorgeous area! When we flew into Vigo, I felt like we were landing in one of those airports in the middle of the jungle in South America. You know… like someone thought it’d be a good idea to chop off the top of a mountain and land an airplane full of people on a short strip of asphalt (if you’re lucky).

Scary landings aside, the whole valley was sooo green and in true European fashion covered with ancient buildings. While in the town I stayed in, I was even able to walk on a bridge and main road that was built by the Romans!

So far my work has taken me to Israel, Germany and Spain (okay, you could count France if you counted airports, but I did have ‘lunch in Paris’) and the best part has been seeing culture that has not only not forgotten it’s past but embraced it. I know when I drive down the street in some neighborhoods I think a 30 year-old house is old. Heck, I’ll be 30 in a couple of weeks! It’s not until you’re walking down a street that’s existed for almost a thousand years (or in some cases where I’ve been over 4000 years!!!) that you get a good perspective about your short time here and how much has really gone on before us.

Mind you, this next week finds me on my way to Austin, TX. While certainly not the cultural treat I’ve been given in the past few months, hey, I’ll always have Paris…

Whirlwind Tour of Europe

Guten tag! (oder morgen)

So I’m writing from Germany… Frankfurt, specifically, enjoying a solar energy summit (for my job, not for fun!). So riveted am I by the current safety discussion that I felt now would be a good time to explain my current and future absence from the good ol’ United States.

Today marks my third day in Germany (I flew in from Chicago on Monday) and in a couple of weeks I’ll be hopping on a direct flight from Salt Lake to Paris (yay!) and then it’s onto Spain for a week.

So in less than 30 days I’ll go from having been to 0 European countries to 3. That, and Natalie will go from sane to crazy in no time flat! So anyone that would like to pop in and give Natalie a visit (or even a phone call) would be most welcome to!

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