Sunday, August 24, 2014

Southern Virginia University

Friday after Jason got home, Becca and I packed up and headed to Virginia.  We drove to West Virginia and spent the night.  Up before the sun, we drove the rest of the way to SVU.  On the way we got a phone call from my brother, Bob. Bob and Becca wrote an article for The New Era last year and they published it in the September edition!  It’s entitled The College Decision.  So very proud of them!
college decision

I have to share an experience from the drive up there.  It was raining.  It was dark.  There were big trucks everywhere! And since Becca was driving her car up to school, we were in separate cars.   We came upon a patch of road construction which reduced us down to one lane, with orange cones on the right and nothing visible on the left. By this time, I was so tired.  I could barely see the road with all of the rain and no street lights.  I felt like the trucks were pushing us. There was no way to pull off the road and let everyone pass or to let the storm pass. The panic started to rise in my chest.  I was starting to really freak out.  So I prayed. And an answer came.  "Talk to yourself like you would to Sammi" (understood part "when she is having a freak out.") So I did.  I told myself over and over again that the yellow line was on the left and the cones were on the right.  I told myself to forget about the people behind me and just concentrate on  driving. I repeated myself over and over again. I realized later that I had gone so far into the Mother-talking-mode that I had even congratulated myself.  Good job.  You are doing fine.  The panic melted away and I made it through. It had been so very scary in the dark, rainy night, but with heaven's guidance I made it through.  I am so grateful!

We arrived at SVU and drove around a bit.  We walked around campus and picked up her books, went to the grocery store, and got her moved into her dorm.  We walked out where her classes would be. 
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I’m really hoping she loves it out there! Here’s to a great year Becca Lynn!!  I hope you love your roommates, your ward, your classes, and your teachers.  I hope you learn and grow this semester.  I hope you makes memories and friends that will last a lifetime!
At four o’clock I got back into the car and drove home.  I pulled into the drive way at ten that night.  Not too bad.  And no, I won’t tell you how fast I was driving!  I do love that if she needs to get home or I need to get to her, it’s six hours.  That’s good.

Kentucky (The First Week)

We got into our cars and drove from Iowa to Kentucky. Yeah for a play ground at a rest stop! Our big truck with all of our belongings showed up on the 18th.  We had two great guys help us unload the truck.  The Elder’s Quorum showed up that evening and helped us with our piano (not something the moving guys cover). 

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Monday before the truck came, Sammi and I went to Eastern High School and registered her for school.  We quickly learned we aren’t in Texas anymore.  The schools here are very different!  Her core classes are all honor level.  She also has Choir, a computer class, and art.

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Tuesday I spent in ARD meetings for the girls – also being reminded that I am NOT in Klein ISD anymore. Bella was supposed to attend preschool for one more year.  And Kentucky is supposed to honor her out of state IEP.  Nope.  That’s not how they do things.  So she is in Kindergarten now.  Joy and Bella are in the same class.  It’s small.  It’s no where near what they had in Spring.  They now ride the bus for 2 1/2 hours a day – and no one has a problem with that.  They leave my house at 8AM and return at 5PM. Everyone is so excited by the school they attend.  Chenoweth is evidently really hard to get into.  I don’t care.  To me it’s a school. I just wish it was closer to my house!  My poor babies!  (Yes, they do wear uniforms now)

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Jessi and Lizzy have it even worse though.  2014-08-20 2014-09-07 002 006They attend Kammerer Middle School.  Which is a joke to put Middle School in the name of that school.  It is a glorified Elementary School or a military prison – I haven’t decided yet.  Jessi is in 8th grade.  She has four core classes and one elective.  They walk silently on strips of tape on the floor during passing periods.  They are escorted from one class to the next by their teacher.  They stay with the same group of kids all day long, expect for their elective period – band, orchestra, choir, or PE.  For that class, they are escorted to the gym, where their elective teacher picks them up and escorts them to their class.  Five periods a day. Treated like 3rd graders, and Jessi says the material is about a 4th grade level.  LIVID doesn’t even begin to explain my reaction to that school.  The only reason we didn’t walk out the front door is Dr. D, the Orchestra Director.  She is awesome!  She and I had been emailing before school started.  When the counselor brought us down to meet her, she hugged the girls and gave them a welcoming gift.  She worked out with Jessi how she could play the harp (she is the ONLY harpist in the entire county!) in school.  Everyone keeps telling me what a good school Kammerer is.  I really feel bad for my girls!  We’ll see what happens, I’m seriously considering home schooling.

Picking up Jessi after mutual on Wednesday, we took this picture:

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So grateful to be a couple of minutes from the temple.  That is a blessing I need badly right now!

Thursday we closed on our house.  I was not in a good mood, at all.  Everyone else was so excited – we were finally closing! The deal had been salvaged despite all of the set backs.  I was sitting there fuming and thinking about the terrible schools and a few other things I wasn’t liking.  Why should I be happy to be financially anchored to this county and this state?  My poor husband!  Walking into closing, I told him, “We don’t have to do this!”  Poor guy! 

We went out to lunch afterwards to a restaurant Jason had been to with a bunch of guys from work.  He loves their moles.

This kind not this Image result for mole  :)

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Afterwards to make it up to him, I bought some Blue Bell ice cream called Kentucky Delight. I thought it was a nice mixture of Texas (Blue Bell) and Kentucky.  Everyone enjoyed it!


Jessi started her harp lessons here.  Not sure what we are going to do about the harp.  In order for her to play at school, the harp is at school.  It is locked up in Dr. D’s office.  Dr. D goes to other schools before and after Kammerer, so Jessi has no access to the harp before or after school.  Therefore the only time she has to practice is during Orchestra period.  Which is not ideal, but the only solution we could come up with.  She likes her new harp tutor here, but she doesn’t get to practice much and never on weekends.  Ugh.

Brother had his VIPS Orientation Meeting.  It was the same time as harp lessons, so Becca, Brother and I went without Daddy.  VIPS promises to be wonderful!  I am so excited for Brother – so very, very excited!  Becca made Brother a fish for their bulletin board.

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Random: The girls finding the costumes again after all of this time.  The big girls have loved this new Coke campaign!

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Initial impressions:

1. Kentucky is beautiful – so green and lush.  Love the trees and the rocks

2. The weather is great!  Yes, there is humidity, but NOTHING like Texas.  We are outside every day and loving it!

3. The roads feel SO NARROW – seriously wondering if they are deviated from the norm! (To be fair, I do drive a bus!)

4. The street lights are longer – seriously longer.  It’s great if you are coming up on a stale green cause it’s probably gonna stay green.  Just be ready to sit for a bit at intersections.

5. The people are so NICE!  Truly nice.  Extremely polite.  I feel like I’ve stepped into Stepford Wives or something.  Everyone is just so nice. Maybe not open to new ideas, but super NICE.

6. The city reminds me of The Woodlands – you are driving through trees and then you exit and wow, there is a city here.  Everything is really spread out.  Everything you could want is here, it’s just not right near your house.

7. Small families – most people have one, two, maybe three.  Everyone is SHOCKED by my seven!

8. Lots of women work.  More so than in Houston it feels like

9. Schools here are so unbalanced.  If you can afford it, you send your kid to private school. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Turpin Refugee Camp

If you have to be homeless, try to arrange it so you stay at the Turpins!

Where you can play in the sprinklers…

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Read books (while cuddling sleeping babies), eat ice cream, and play in the ditch

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Can banana peppers straight from the garden and hang out on the porch

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And get a pedicure (with fancy flowers!)

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Play with the dogs

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Go to the movie (where our car battery died and a sweet guy from the Turpin’s ward had to come rescue us!)

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Just crazy pictures – Becca took this and then made it my background picture on my phone, so she could tell me she was trapped in my phone!  That sign says “shoulder drop off’  Becca wanted to know if she could drop off her shoulders and come back and pick them up once they were all better!

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Jason was working in Kentucky.  My parents used their points and got him into a nicer place for the week.  And then miracle of miracles, everything fell into place with the sell of our home in Texas!  Our real estate agent Mariangel Wilkinson really worked some magic and it was sold!  My sister Kathie, acting as our power of attorney, signed all of the papers.  And it was finished!  So grateful! 

So grateful to the Turpins for letting us stay with them.  It was supposed to be one day and morphed into three weeks.  Ugh!  But so very very grateful to them for giving us a place to live and rest during that crazy time!

Saturday, August 09, 2014


We arrived in Iowa on Sunday the 27th to a family reunion!  All of Jason’s sisters and their children were here.  Fun family time!


Someone was happy to see her kitty again!  Gary, Sandi,and their four kids around the table.  Very precious!


Rissie played with Liz’s hair – she loved it!   


Jason and Bec practiced some golf.  Bell and I supervised.


Brother LOVES Trevor!            Grandpa giving us a lesson on Eternal Families


TONS of games


Danielle and her kids headed back to Houston and that was our first good-bye.

Jason checking out his Dad’s riding lawn mower.      I love these flowers!


Cute Lizzy and Husky                My men


Grandpa and Sammi                                  Sammi loves the porch – the view is beautiful!


Soccer (kinda, sorta)


As in Kentucky, Iowa doesn’t believe in fences either, so I have to walk Husky (often).  I love the sunsets, the wild flowers, and the birds.  They perch on tops of houses and trees and sing their soul’s songs. 


Playing dress-up, delight in simple things


More games and chips – this girl LOVES chips and she knows where Grandma keeps them!


Double waterfall (fun),               Monkey see, Monkey do             A butterfly on my sock!


Jason had to go on to Louisville to work.  Saying good-bye.  Bella was so sweet with her Daddy.      Gary asked me what we would normally do on a Saturday.  My answer: Yard Work!Loved it!  Loved working hard and having my mind full of the task at hand.


Later friends from the ward came over.  We had more games and in the evening, s’mores.IMG_5041IMG_5043IMG_5044IMG_5045IMG_5047IMG_5052

Sunday we attended church.  Four pews of Turpins is a lot of Turpins!  (The girls weren’t that thrilled to be up so early!)    What a cool bubble maker in nursery!


My Joy


Tuesday is swimming day in the Bettendorf Ward.  So we have been twice!  Joy LOVES it!


Trevor and Alex saying good-bye.  The Baileys left for New York the next day.

Harvesting produce from Grandma’s garden


The Sutherlands and the Turpins headed to Houston for Christian’s Priesthood ordination and it was just us in this big, beautiful house.

Playing dominos


Daddy came home late Friday night.  We were so happy to see him!

Saturday we went to the Niabi Zoo.  Such a fun place – we all loved it!


Our sweet girls


In case you were wondering why we are still in Iowa – Weren’t you moving to Kentucky?  Doesn’t school start in a couple of days?  Why yes, yes we are and yes, yes it does.  And yet we are here.  We left Texas ready to close on our house.  The buyers had a last minute glitch and we would be closing in three days.  Great!  We gave my sister a Power of Attorney and hit the road. She would close on the house in Houston, the funds would be wired to Kentucky, we would close on the same day.  Perfect!  It didn’t turn out that way.  Problems kept creeping up.  As we sit right now, over two weeks have passed since our closing date – and they are now nowhere near ready to close on a house.  We have lost our house in Kentucky.  Jason has to be in Kentucky to work.  We have no where to live.  He lived in a tiny extended stay hotel this past week that should be accurately described as a hell hole. Our belongings are somewhere in some warehouse somewhere. All we have is three days worth of clothing.  My children want to start school on Wednesday.  Jason and I are pretty much at a loss of what to do. We are bleeding money it seems.

But I am grateful we are not homeless.  The Turpins have been so kind, opening up their beautiful kid free and pet free home to us.  They have been so kind and reassuring to me.  Letting us know time and again that we are welcome here.  I am so thankful for their kindness.  My family fills my phone with texts of encouragement and love.  In the midst of everything, we still have our families.  I am so grateful for that!