Thursday, July 3, 2014

Jordan Turns 32!

Whelp- Ari made sure I had a fantastic birthday. 

We started the day with these presents: cool water bottles and Jr. Mints!

Next- we dropped the kids off with Hollie Coates and went to do a free work out session at Orange Theory fitness. It's this really cool gym where everything is orange- literally. It's an hour work out. I burned 860 calories! You alternate between a row machine, treadmill, and weight lifting. You also get to see your heart rate through the whole thing- very cool, scientific, and modern!

We kicked that work outs booty!

Next, I had to show Ari my recent discovery: Rinaldi's Deli. It's amazing, just like stepping into Brooklyn, NY. Probably the best chicken parm sandwich I've ever had. 

For dinner, we took the kids to my favorite sushi spot- Kabuki. It was cool how much Jaxon loved sushi. I was surprised- he downed those California rolls. 

We finished the night with a little birthday party- yummy cake Ari made. Yack, Garrett, and their families came over. It was fun. 

Happy birthday- it's going to be a fun year!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Hello Anthem!

So here we are! And look who was here to greet us when we unloaded the Uhaul. Garrett and Yack! I love these guys! It's so nice living this close to my best mission comps of all time. We can't wait to spend more time with them and their awesome families. 

Do we look happy or what?

Yack may or may not have just told a semi-inappropriate joke at this moment. 

So, I was worried to leave my awesome running routes in Safford- but here our my new Anthem routes. I love them. Some are lit up with lights at night, some our crushed clay trails. They're awesome and the desert scenery is kept up nicely. So far no snakes. Mostly just night hawks, coyotes, bunnies EVERYWHERE, and I think I saw a fox? random

Here's our little chunk-a-dunky cutie pie. She is so cute and rolly polly. She's gaining weight in her calves and thighs like a champ. :)

Here she is looking rather stylish on our first Sunday here in Anthem. 

By the way, we love the ward here. Lots of young families and they are all so friendly. We can't wait to make great friends here!

Here is Kodee waiting for Jaxon at one of his swim meet practices. He loves the Anthem pool at the community center. This kid is having one amazing summer!

Jaxon is quite the swimmer this summer being on the Anthem Aquabats swim team. I love watching him practice. He is improving every day. He loves it too- and loves seeing the ribbons on his wall after the meets. Hmmmm- sounds like another little boy I knew once. Piano medallions and swim meet ribbons. Is he a little Jordan or what? I may have a bit of an influence:)

Getting ready to take the plunge. 

This little chick-a-dee has been living in her swim suit this summer. In these pics she stuffed her blanket in her belly and told me she was ready to have a baby. Such a joker this one!

Dad has been going through some serious health issues the past few months. It's been pretty scary. There was even a few days/weeks where we thought we weren't going to have him very much longer. after many appointments of no answers and no doctor being able to diagnose the problem- they finally figured it out. 

He has pulmonary hypertension. The arteries around his heart are not pumping blood good at all. He has to be on oxygen, use a walker, and can barely take more than a step or two without feeling faint and wanting to pass out. Luckily he found the doctor that specialized in this- not far from Anthem I might add. He works in St. Josephs hospital in downtown phoenix right off I-17. 

He and mom are being trained on how to use the pump to administer his medicine. This condition can actually be managed- so he has some time yet to be with us! So happy about that! And SOOOOO grateful for modern medicine. 

This is when we went to say hi before Jaxon's swim meet he had down in Glendale. I can't believe the doctors and nurses let us bring the whole family in to ICU!

Ari and I had the wonderful opportunity to go to the Gilbert temple and see our friend's, Devon and Karessa be sealed to their newly adopted children. It was such a sweet, spiritual experience. 

Afterward, we all went to a splash pad and had a little party with the kiddos. Fun times! We pigged out at Sweet Tomatoes right before while we waited for everyone to get there. 

Decorating the house has been fun. We have this HUGE cut out alcove above our stairs and I decided I was going to hang some pictures in there. 

Kodee wanted to climb up too. 

There's quite a drop there and I was freaking myself out. Pools of sweat were welling up under my feet. Ari had to finish the job. I know- I'm a wimp when it comes to heights. What has happened in my thirties? I'm such a scaredy cat for some reason and I get dizzy with heights. 

All the kids up there. . .the one and only time they'll ever be allowed. 

Ari rocking it out like a champ- no big deal. She seriously has no fear of heights. Crazy lady. 

Kodee and Jaxon's new room!

Gemma's new room!

The finished Alcove project. 

Lottie's new room!

 We still love that dresser we painted for her!

A little play area at the top of the stairs. We'll call it "Map Alley."

We also hung up our "Everybody loves you" poster. 

More swim meet pics from the future Michael Phelps. 

Swimmer, take your mark. . .


To think this kid is now swimming breast stroke is a miracle. Just a few months ago I tried to work with him on it- it was a hot mess. He's getting there. It is still his toughest stroke though. 

We have a Daisy Mountain Railroad at the huge park by the community center. 

The kids were so excited to ride it!

Caboose it is! (on a side note, the night after the kids rode this, the train derailed and fell over on a runaway train ride. Scary- glad it didn't happen when we were there.) They say the problem is fixed now. 

The view on the ride!

Here is the awesome, huge park at the community center, the main center of Anthem. This is, by far, the kids favorite park in Anthem. It's so much fun!

So much fun to hang out with Garrett and Hollie's kids. We took Miley to see How To Train A Dragon 2! Good show!

And. .  .Jaxon won FIRST PLACE in back stroke!!! Woo hoo! So proud- his first blue ribbon!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Change is gonna come..

So I am behind on the last 7 months, but what has happened in the last 2 months is CRAZY!! To begin..we moved! That was number 7 in nine years. Whoa!

Let me back up. We were NOT planning on moving. Jordan is in the middle of grad school-that with teaching full time has been crazy enough. We LOVED, loved, loved our house and neighborhood and neighbors. The Carter's and Marble's are irreplaceable. But, Easter weekend Jordan got a text that turned our lives upside down. His friend, Kirk, who he has planned Allstate Show Auditions with Jordan, asked if he wanted to come to Boulder Creek to teach. He said they were going to open up the job to add another full time choir director. At a new school, more choir kids, more talent..Jordan said, NO way!

Then, Jordan started thinking. He thought how he has wanted to be at a bigger high school; this would be a step toward teaching at a college one day. He thought more and more and started getting excited. He asked me how I felt and I told him that I didn't want to move, but I knew he would go for it and probably get it, and we would move. So I told him I would support him. Oh, but I knew things were going to be hard! Anthem is 4 hours away from Safford; our biggest move in 6 years.

In a week he had the application filled out and Kirk kept reassuring he would get an interview and the Principle and Superintendent would pick Jordan. He said we would get a call in 2 days. 7 days later (May 7) he had his interview, with Kirk and the band director of all people, and two days later he was officially given the job. For the week we were waiting to hear from the school we started thinking it wasn't going to happen so we didn't really tell anybody. Except I told Alicia, our landlord, when I dropped off the rent check. I knew she would need notice to find someone to get in the house after we move. However, I forgot to tell her not to tell anyone and within an hour she had made an announcement on Facebook that her renters were moving. When we finally saw it, we were shocked!! Jordan asked her to take it down and she did, but not before many friends saw it and were starting to ask questions. Then, Gemma told the ladies at our RS lunch bunch that day too. It was starting to spread and Jordan didn't officially have the job. Some students found out, but kept it mostly to themselves. They were sad!

Jordan accepted the new job on the day of his final Safford Middle School concert. He almost told the kids at the concert, but Mr. Emery advised him not to. We are sooo glad he didn't. The kids would not have done their best like they did. It was a great week for the HS and MS. Both did Frozen songs. So Fun! Dr. T. and Mr. Emery were not happy about the new job. Mr. Emery told Jordan he was hired so he could stay there to raise our kids. Dr. T. didn't think we would find a better community for our family or a better job.

Jordan did tell them the next day, Friday May 9. Very emotional day for the the students. Bel Canto used up two whole boxes of kleenex. Jordan also went around to every student and told them a nice memory he had of them. The next week, Jordan started receiving letters and notes from the kids saying Jordan was the best teacher they ever had and will have and how much he has affected their lives for the better. Very cool. Jordan also realized how special the kids in the Singers were and that was why he was there. To deal with the hardest, most attitude kids who some of them couldn't sing, and bring them a light with good music and an experience they won't have again. It was a very humbling week.
During the marathon weekend, mom watched the 3 older kids so Jordan and I could come to look at houses and see Anthem for the first time. We saw 4 or 5 and started to picture ourselves in Anthem. I don't remember much it was such a blur. We came and started getting boxes and packing up here and there. I was overwhelmed and a little stressed! The next week was the last week of school; Jaxon got to go to the movies with his grade and had popcorn, drink and candy. He also had his last piano recital with Celeste and did so good. He has come a long way with his homework and piano. He got his first medal! They had a little BBQ after which we stayed for a bit and then we left to go to another dinner.

That week I told Kylie and Lehua we were moving. She was devastated! I was not prepared for how hard that was. I had taught her for 4 years and they wanted to keep going.  I started making and giving away banana bread to my visiting ladies we taught and neighbors. I wanted them to know how much I would miss them.

Jordan had 8th grade promotion and graduation and the Renaissance Assembly Music Bee to go to. He got some great pics of the students and Seniors.

 Oh Becca- Imma miss this girl!

Shayla Smith- I can't believe how far she's come in singing and performing. I'll always remember that little voice that came out in 7th grade when she sang the "True Colors" solo, and hearing the potential. Now she's a star of the SHS choir program! Such a sweet, sweet girl!

Who can make awesome silly faces!

Ami Webb- one of the best T.A.'s a teacher could ever hope for. We've loved getting to know her and her family in our ward. Gemma and the boys LOVE her. She's such a neat, spiritual young lady!

Seriously- there will never be another Michael Johnson. He is INCREDIBLE! Such a talent and such a FUN student to teach. I always looked forward to working with him. I've never met someone who tried so hard and gave SO much!

These girls- they've been with me every step of the way since 7th grade. They're going to be sorely missed this next year! I can't wait to see what they do over the next few years!

This is the future of Taste of Sound right here! Oh boy- that teacher who replaces me is going to have her hands full. Can't wait to see what they do!

Some of my FAVORITE Singer's students. These people are hilarious. 

 Lisa, Adge, Joseph, KIANA (my bff), Calista, and Drew

Goodbye Bel Canto! I will miss you! I've loved teaching you this year! Do good things and make me proud!

Of course, I had to jump in!

Here are some of the posters I found as I was cleaning out the choir room. . .

A sweet student, McKenzie made this for me from the Singers class. I love how she quoted Christina Aguilera in the middle of the poster. This is a treasure!

Jaci is in the top 10 of her Junior class and helped out with graduation. She is incredible and such a talent. She will be an AMAZING senior next year! Can't wait to hear what she does!

Oh my seniors! Loved these kids (even though some of them made me want to pull my hair out from time to time). 

We added in Conner Allen right before the ceremony because deep in his heart- he was a choir member even though he was never able to fit it into his schedule. 

Back row l to r: Tyson Martindell, Conner Allen, Talen Swan, Daniel Black, Rico Hancock, Nathan Taylor, Jacob Bierman, Shawn Clonts

Front row l to r: Alyssa McBride, Sydney Konopnicki, Emory Montierth, Kelly-Marie Smith, Tyanne Martindell, Khrisandra Tark, Trina Fox, Shalea Richardson, Jacy Larson

Seriously. . .these kids are going places. I expect them all to be in Forbe's magazine one day and making fortunes. SO SMART!

Ari again speaking:

We think it was the best Senior class ever! Sydney and Emory and Rico...And then school was over! We had to go back to Anthem to pick a house for real. We chose several real estate agents and made appts to see houses. Little did we know we were only to supposed to choose one and they can show us all the houses. Friday we left after Jordan checked out of school and dashed away so Jordan could make the end of year school banquet for Boulder Creek. I didn't get to go since we had an appointment to see a house at the end of Anthem. I got lost a few times, but we finally made it. It ended up being one of Jordan's old college friends who was in the house. I was looking at it and her pics looked really familiar. The house was good, but the bedrooms were kind of small. I really liked the kitchen though. I went and got Jordan and we went to dinner at Chili's. By then it was 8 and I told Jordan we should get a hotel room instead of drive 45 minutes to Aunt Charlotte's. It worked out really well. We settled in our hotel and tried to get some sleep.

Saturday morning the kids swam in the pool and Jaxon practiced for his swim team tryout. Jaxon was all over the pool and he kept sinking in the backstroke. Jordan was nervous and even more so when they saw how long the pool was. But, Jaxon got in the water and swam the whole way straight and fast and didn't sink in the backstroke. Helen said he was in! We drove off for our first appt to see a house. House on Thoreau-good location-no living room and family room, price a little high
Next, house on River Bend-Huge, tiny kitchen, far away from the community center
House next to community center -perfect, but it smelled like cat pee really bad

All the other houses on our list had already been signed. Slim pickens..We called Sean back and said we would go with the house on River Bend. Still a little unsure. But, we went and paid our security deposit, so glad I had the checkbook, and called it good. Considering how boring all the waiting and looking was for the kids, they did really well. They were so so excited to go swimming at the Community center. We couldn't do that until we were official residents so we waved goodbye and headed back to Mesa.

We left and headed to Emily and Yasser's to see their new house

Jordan now:

We said hi to the Sanchez's and marveled at their AMAZING home. Man- I should have went to law school:) Then we stopped by Kim and Jim's and swam in their pool and played with Cookie. We told them all about Anthem and the house we put a deposit on. They got us pumped up about the move and made us feel better about everything.

Next, we stopped at Cafe Rio and grabbed a bite before driving on home.

I drove the whole way and the family was exhausted. They were out. Right when we were pulling into our Safford neighborhood by Dairy Queen I noticed a drunk guy passed out in the turning lane of the highway. I almost ran over him. So I immediately pulled over and went to try to pull him out of the road. He was so intoxicated and couldn't even tell me his name. I called the cops and waited with him till they got there. Ari thought I was crazy. A few of our friends kept pulling over to ask us what I was doing. Apparently everyone was out at midnight that night.

I have LOVED my running trails right next to Elm Ave. They have been some of the best, soul searching workouts I've ever had. On one of my last times around the cemetery I ran into this guy- it's a king snake, but you can bet your buttons, I thought it was a rattler at first. So glad it wasn't. Miraculously the rest of the run was very quick and exhilarating. Can't imagine why.

This is embarrassing to post, but it was cracking up the boys so much, so I had to take a crazy selfie. We were packing up like crazy and they were getting a little grouchy- so I went and did this, all was better. Ha ha. 

 Little Ari.
 Ari had a #tbt (throwback Thursday) post on FB that showed just how much are kids look like her. So take that everyone who says they're all me- there definitely is some Ari in their too!!
 Riding the train at the Anthem Outlet Mall. They are pretty excited to be moving up here . . .

 Jaxon's last day of school!!

 A random shot of Kodee holding Lottie and Grandma and Grandpas. He always asks to hold her and for us to take a picture of them. SO cute.
 Amongst are CRAZY move and packing like crazy- we had a wedding to go to in Las Vegas. We went to see Ari's childhood best friend, Jessie (or Betty as we affectionately call her) was getting married. Of course Ari had to be there. So we snuck in an insane overnight trip to Vegas. We left for the airport at 4 in the morning, flew out at 7, arrived around 9, went and said hi to her sweet grandma in her assisted living home:

 She loved Lottie and hearing about all our adventures.

 Next we went to an amazing little joint called Bachi Burger that was featured on the Foodnetwork as having the best burgers. My favorite thing there was this salted caramel, marshmallow milkshake. It was insanely good- and Lottie sure loved it too!

These fries were incredible- they had truffle oil, and parmesan, and a yummy creamy sun dried tomato sauce. SO YUMMY!

 Ari's burger was delish.

Mine was even better- in my opinion. They had asian influences. MMMMM

The wedding party!

The beautiful bride and her besty. Betty was glowing. You could tell she was so happy and SO in love. 

One of our last stops before heading out of town was taking the kids over to say goobye to grandma. They loved going over there and giving Tabin a hard time. I'm sure Tabin is happy to see them go. We will miss being close to see you often Grandma! We love you!

On the night before our moving day we decided to have a big "choir" end of the year party, and say goodbye to a few friends. We rented out the Curtis Landscape Pool area and had a little hot dog cook out. It was so much fun, and so nice to have one last goodbye with all our best Safford friends!

No one can ever replace the love we have for Nee Nee. She will always be a part of our family. We love her!

The Martindell's son-in-law, Jordan Squires.

With his wife, Jessica. We were just getting to know these two. Sure gonna miss the Martindells. We had a really fun family home evening with them that last Monday night. Crick is one in a million!

Jessica and her hubby came by to say "bye." She was one of my first seniors I taught at Safford. Love her!

Our neighbor, Kayla Soohy and her foster kids she's taking care of. We'll miss her.

Fun, fun, fun for the choir kids!

Emory and Abi Montierth. Great sisters- great students. Emory's going up to BYU! I hope she tries out for Women's Chorus.
 Lana Meyers and Lyndzi Brawley- good friend of the ward we will miss!

Deanna Palma, Kathya, and Dallas Nichols. These girls could be quite the handful, but it turns out they loved me- quite a lot! Had no idea? Ha ha!

Saying goodbye!

Amber was so excited about this shot she got of Ari doing a happy/spaztic dance. 

The whole group!

The students- well the ones who came. 

Oh my goodness! I love this family- the White's. I've been teaching them, probably longer than anyone else in Safford. Keep up with it girls! You can do great things!

Our final Super Star pic. We took one of these after EVERY performance Calista did with me. I'd love to see a collage of them.

Rickie wanted me to take a selfie with her, on my phone.

Our last night on Elm Ave. Family slumber party- everything all packed up ready to go. That 5:00 am call time was EARLY!

Goodbye 1902 Elm Ave. We've loved you and the wonderful, spiritual, growing family experiences we've had here. I can't imagine a better home for our children to grow up in, or better neighbors to help "raise a village." Between the Carter's, the Marble's, the Clark's, and the Martindell's- we will never have such an amazing street ever again. :( sniff sniff. . .