Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Visit to Clovis

Trip to Hanford with Grandma Kris and Grandpa Steve.  Our first train ride!

George's 3rd Birthday Celebration

Monday, August 6, 2012

Goodbye to the Fark

Almost immediately after Nate completed his last final we packed everything up and said goodbye to our 800 sq ft apartment in Spanish Fork.  We had lived in that apartment for nearly four years, which was all but a few months of our marriage.  We loooooved our little apartment and the small town feel of Spanish Fark.  So many things happened in those four years.

I remember the first summer when we discovered the Snow Shack on the corner of 100 South and Center street...we even had punch cards because we just had to have "snowies" every chance we could.  Then one morning we walked out our front door to see that a ferris wheel had been set up on our street with accompanying carousel, tilt-a-whirls and the like.  Summers in Spanish Fork meant parades, rodeos, fireworks you could see from our parking lot, and lets not forget the famous tri-tip sandwiches!  You could hear all the events in the high school stadium over the loud speaker which we attended on occasion, as well as the crack of baseball bats when it became spring, and on Saturdays it was yard sales and the farmer's market.  In October in between sessions of General Conference it was fun to go to the farmer's market to buy little pumpkins or fall decorations and fresh made breads and zucchini.  I also really enjoyed this because I would always see someone I knew whenever I was out and about.

I don't know what they are feeding the kids at the local high school (which was across the street from us) but this past year they won the state championship in Softball, Baseball, and Lacrosse.  I know this because they put the whole team on top of a fire truck and had a little mini parade around town.  They don't need to plan ahead for this because all of the sirens bring everyone out of their homes wondering what the heck is going on!  I started to become desensitized to sirens, assuming someone had won something:)  They even had a parade when a soldier came home from the war...towns just aren't like that anymore.

Sundays when it was warm we would often walk over to the track at the high school and talk while we went around a few times.  A couple weeks before George was born we walked a lot at the track...we have had many conversations there that motivated big changes in our lives.  A couple blocks away is the local library where Nate studied for the GMAT many hours.  We have also rented probably all of their movies and every one of George's birthdays has been celebrated in the park behind it.  The park is also where George swung on the swings for the first time and where we had playgroup once a week.

Last Halloween George and I went trick or treating to all the stores on Main street which was lots of fun.

Christmas time in Spanish Fork means a holiday parade at night where they have a bunch of floats decorated with Christmas lights and a local restaurant supplied everyone with free hot chocolate.  At the local Macey's grocery store they had a real Santa Claus come to the store and visit with kids for free.  The Santa was so kind and looked like the real thing.  George sat right on his lap and they talked business:)  One winter it snowed and snowed and snowed.  Everyone was outside digging their cars out and shoveling driveways and walkways....and streets!  I even saw an old grandpa with a plow on a station wagon plowing the side streets!  New Year's Eve meant turning all the lights off after midnight and watching all of the amateur firework shows around the neighborhood.

Along with walking or running on the high school track, I attended "UVU" classes at the Spanish Fork high school while I was pregnant with George.  I would cross the street to go to night classes and occasionally run back during our breaks to make a quick sandwich.  I still get that morning sickness gag feeling when I get near that building.  We did walk on the track quite a bit but we also walked everywhere else.  A block behind us there is a home that kept a few horses and we would cross the street to say hi to them and try and feed them random pieces of plants.  In Spanish Fork there are actually more horses than people, a stat few towns can beat.

In our "backyard" which was about 4' deep and 30' long, George and I had many adventures, one summer I bought an inflatable pool and we would go back there and I would try and keep him from drinking the water.

Our apartment was quite roomy for us when we moved in...we had a spare room and everything.  For a month or so Nate's sister even stayed with us while she attended beauty school.  Our "spare" room went through many changes, it started out just lined with boxes, then we used those boxes as computer desks (his and hers) and Robin slept on a blanket in the corner:)  Then some friends gave us a real desk made out of wood (or it's relative) and I remember the two computers did not fit as well and there was a real draw to getting to the desk first because that meant you got to put your legs in the feet hole.  We watched general conference on those computers while laying on the floor.  Soon the "spare room" was transformed into a baby room!  Grandma Backman gave us a crib that fit perfectly through the doorway and a family in our ward grew out of their changing table.  Soon we bought a used futon and a bookshelf.  I decorated the room with art from my jobs at Boys and Girls Club and New Haven.  When George grew a little older we bought a twin bed at a garage sale and got rid of the futon.  George got a big boy bed equipped with a shelved head board which was constantly jammed with library books from grandma Kris.  Lastly the crib was unpacked again for the boys to share the room.  Our bedroom started out with a mattress that was given to us my Grandma Backman and some furniture that came with the apartment.  Later we upgraded to a real bed which we put on pedestals and crammed all of our "spare room" items under.
The halls were often used (I imagine to the chagrin of our neighbors) as our own indoor race track, hiding spots for hide and go seek, and a photo gallery.  When George could crawl I would hide in the hallway and play peek a boo and he would laugh so hard and crawl over to me.

So many memories in that little two bedroom apartment.

Bathing George in the kitchen sink

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Well look at us now...bloggers.  For the record, it was Nate who started this awesomeness.  I think after reading a couple of posts from Tyson's blog he thought to himself, " Hey if people want to read about adventures in Africa they will definitely want to read about Ohio and Utah"...hmmm.  Ohio and Utah aside, our lives are typically hilarious, messy, and loud, so why not write it down.
I was just commenting to Nate on the state of our apartment (specifically the mess) and his response was "We are only going to be WT for one more week" (for those of you who don't know what WT means, it is probably because you are not).  In April we packed up about 95% of our belongings and jammed them into a storage unit via the elders quorum and their various offspring.  During the move my mom looked at me in horror as if she was watching a terrible accident occur...I reassured her that Ikea doesn't sell anything nice enough to mourn.  My mother-in-law said that you can only move about 4 times with the elders quorum before you have to just throw everything away...hilarious.  Nevertheless guess who we will be calling when we are ready to unload the storage unit.  We packed the other 5% of our belongings into our neeeeew vaaan! (That was my game show host voice).
Im not even sure how many hours we spent driving.  First we went to Clovis for some much needed R & R (rest and rehabilitation) then it was on to The Ohio.  The road trip was actually pretty fun.  We were able to see a good portion of the old Route 66 and tried to make the necessary stops (bathroom, nursing, diaper changing, eating, sleeping) at interesting places of which included several "Radiator Springs" towns, the world's largest Teepee, museums, old farm town gas stations and the like.  We probably sang "Get your kicks on route 66" 1000 times and likewise said the phrase "What I would give to see this place in it's Hay Day."

After 5 days in the van we arrived in Akron Ohio!  20 minutes later our car was unpacked and our apartment fully decorated.

Move-in Day
Fully Furnished
For the first couple weeks we did not have anything but our bums to sit on.  Later we got a black leather recliner, kitchen table and chairs, a couple lamps, and camping chairs.  After that we felt like we were in hog heaven...light Aaand chairs...what more could we want?  A Bed!  As we are now nearing the last week of our internship experience it will be 3+ months sleeping on an airmattress, and it didn't start to get "comfortable" (and I use that term loosely) until the top half of our double-decker popped.  Mornings are the best, you either wake up laying flat on the ground or rolled almost on top of the other person- gravity has really brought Nate and I closer:)  We are thinking of having a ceremony where we shoot the thing.

Summer Internship 2012 - "Fun In 'The Ohio'"

Hi all,

Gillian and I are a little late to the blogging party, but here we go . . .

Gill, George, Oliver and I are returning to BYU in two weeks. My summer internship at Goodyear ends on Friday, August 10 and I have a final presentation to the Steering Committee tomorrow. They will decide whether I have a full-time job offer to return next year or not. I have received good reviews and feel confident that I will get an offer, however I do not want to start counting poultry until I see yellow fuzz.

Here's a list of some of the things we've been able to do this summer:

  1. We've spent the entirety of the summer in the Green, OH which is just south of Akron. We live on the first floor of a nice apartment complex and we are fortunate enough to face a forest that backs to a golf course, so we don't get much traffic. Our ward, the Canton Ward meets 20 minutes south of our apartment in North Canton. 
  2. We're 3.5 hours from Clawson, MI where Gill's siblings live. We've been out to visit them three times this summer. 
  3. We visited the Kirtland Temple and the surrounding Church Historical sites. A few weeks later I volunteered to go with three men from the ward and we mowed the John Johnson farm lawn and did other small projects on the camping area that is directly behind the farm. Afterwards we went on the tour of the farm. It was a great experience.
  4.  Gill and the boys came with me to hang out with some of my colleagues at an Akron Aeros Minor League baseball game and an Italian American festival, both in downtown Akron. 
  5. Earlier in the summer Gill's mom Valerie flew out and we drove down to "Amish Country" which is down around Millersberg, just south of here. We bought some decent Amish cheese and got some pretty cool photos of the Amish. 
  6. A few weeks ago I was able to attend my first Major League Baseball game - Indians vs. Orioles. Unfortunately the Indians lost, but they had a pretty decent Beatles cover band at the end which was fun to sing a long with. 
  7. A couple days ago we drove down to New Philadelphia, a small town about 45 minutes south of here. It's a small town that has a small park and rides, much like Roeding Park in Fresno. It was our consolation prize for not getting to do Disneyland with the family. 

At the John Johnson Farm
Inside the John Johnson Home
Outside the Home
The Giant Rock Landmark
First Major League Baseball Game
Small LDS Cemetery  from the 1800s
Gill and George on the fastest carousel in the world! (or so it seems)
George flying at Tuscora park in New Philadelphia, OH
Family portrait May 2012
More John Johnson Farm