Sunday, July 29, 2012

exCHANGE

Today was our last Sunday in this ward. I started crying when I got up to do Singing Time. It's hard to say goodbye, even when you aren't technically going that far. It's still an ending. And tonight is our last night in this apartment. Everything will work out swimmingly, I know. But even good change can be difficult.

I know that I'm leaving the primary in good hands, though. The presidency is awesome, and I was privileged enough to be a part of finding my replacement. I was lying in bed one night thinking of all the changes that were taking place and I started wondering about who they would get to be the new chorister. I knew they'd been having a difficult time, so I tried thinking of people with knowledge of music. A name popped into my head, and it seemed so perfect. She studied music at SUU (something the presidency probably wouldn't know), and she already knew the program songs because she was a teacher in the primary. I felt like I should tell the president, so I wrote her an email telling her my experience and thoughts. I told her I had full confidence that she would receive the inspiration she needed, but I felt compelled to share. Maybe it would spark a needed train of thought. Or maybe it would just let her know that I didn't want to leave them in a lurch. She emailed me back saying that she loved the idea and that sometimes inspiration comes through other people.

This week I was able to meet with the new chorister and pass along acquired knowledge. She's nervous about it (she's an instrumentalist), but she's excited too. I know she'll do great. I think it was one of Heavenly Father's tender mercies to include me in this process. It has made it easier to let go.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Miracle Workers

I think it was Thursday when Terral suggested to me that it might be a good idea to have some people help us move some of our stuff on Saturday since Monday is not the best day to ask people to help. When Terral called the moving coordinator, though, he said they'd had a good turnout on a Monday before. Since there were already 2 moves set for the weekend and Monday would work, I thought Terral told me they decided to just do Monday, but apparently he said they'd have just a few guys help on Saturday too.

Well, when I understood this about 2 hours before they were supposed to get here, I started to panic a little bit. But by the time the first elder showed up, we were feeling pretty good about things.

The plan was to move the upstairs things that we had boxed up and whatever we could fit from the stuff in storage in the basement. Well, a lot more people and vehicles than we were expecting showed up, and they kept saying, "Well, we might as well take it while we're here!" I felt bad about things like loose ski boots downstairs, but the bishop reassured me that it would all stuff just fine in his van and we wouldn't have to worry about it blowing out. We could organize it later. Okay then! To our surprise, they pretty much cleaned out the mountain of stuff we had in the basement, as well as several things from upstairs we weren't planning on doing quite yet. Like chairs, the couches, bookshelves, and the piano.

These guys are awesome, I tell ya. It is no simple feat to move that piano. And they did it without complaint. But they did throw in a few Chuck Norris jokes. :)


If it didn't feel real before, it certainly does now. And I must say, that piano looks good in the new house. We are so, so grateful to all these great men for their help! We are really going to miss this ward.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Indio: Homeward Bound

By the end of the week, we were all very ready to head home.

Does this little guy look like he's tired of the long car ride, or what? Pretty sure we all felt that way.
I don't remember where we stopped for lunch, but across the street from the Quiznos was this cool little picnic area. They had a really cool mural on the wall that depicted local flora and fauna.
And there was the snazzy metal wind sculpture.

We had kind of hoped to see the Joshua Tree state park, but it never made it to our agenda. Luckily, on the way home we went an alternate way and we went through miles and miles of joshua trees. It was really surreal. You could totally imagine them coming to life when no one is looking. The pictures really don't do it justice.


After several more hours, we finally made it home. There really is no place like it.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Indio: Salton Sea

On Sunday Terral and I took Ethan to the nearest ward we could find. It felt amazing. It was just one of those times when we knew we were exactly where we needed to be. It might sound a little weird, but it was nice to take a break from all the vacationing and focus on our spiritual needs for a while. I met some very friendly ladies in the mothers lounge, and was surprised that they knew where Cedar is. As the hour was letting out, I was taking Ethan back toward the chapel (we'd been in the halls a bit) and suddenly I heard my name. It was a Russian friend of ours! We didn't know that he'd moved to California, but there he was! It was really good to catch up. It's kind of a crazy small world sometimes.

Later in the evening, we took a trip with everyone to the Salton Sea. Along the way, we saw lots of date trees.

I didn't take too many pictures because Terral had his nice camera out quite a bit, but I did get a few. There were some amazing views.



The beach isn't sand—it's crushed fish bones. That was a little weird. But it was a very interesting place to visit! I'll have to post some of Terral's pictures sometime. He read up on the history of the place too, so maybe I'll just have him do a little guest post. :)

We got a few more pictures of the date trees on the way back. We couldn't believe how many there were! We also passed several orchards and vineyards.

We stopped at a little picnic place just to have a break from the car.



Ethan thought this tractor was pretty fun. He's way into tractors now, so I think he would think it's super cool now.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Indio: Fun in the Condo

Of course we had fun when we were out doing things, but we also had some good times in the condo as well. I didn't take many pictures, but here are a few.

LOVE these pictures, even thought they didn't turn out super great. Ethan usually cries when he wakes up from a nap, but this time I just heard some movement going on behind the door. He may have even been babbling, I can't quite remember. Anyway, I opened the door and he just gave me the biggest grin ever. And just kept on sitting there and smiling. It was great.

Someone found Mommy's makeup! I thought it was funny that he basically painted an X on his forehead. :)
They don't quite fit, Uncle Chris. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Indio: Visitations

A couple places we visited while on vacation were Shields Date Farm and Old Town La Quinta.

While we were at the Date Farm, we all got date shakes. I have no idea why I thought I could eat one of those on my own. So not used to that amount of sweetness.

Speaking of sweets, here's proof that we don't entirely deprive our child of sugar, contrary to popular belief. ;)


They had a little eating area outside that was really pretty, but no one was out there A) because near closing time, and B) because it was too dang hot.
Looking the opposite way of the last picture.
La Quinta had a really cool vibe to it, and in spite of the heat, it was enjoyable to explore. It was smaller than we had expected though, and was just comprised of a number of stores.

There was a cute kids' store that had a lot of fun things in it. Ethan didn't want to leave.



Ahh! Misters!

They were some fun and interesting excursions.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Indio: Water Fun

The resort where we stayed had a number of water features that we had a lot of fun with. They had hot tubs (we did use one once at night), full size pools, kiddie pools, a lazy river, and a splash pad. We mostly played in the lazy river and the kiddie pools, but we had fun with the other things too.

I really like this picture :)



Groovin'
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 Ethan sure liked this "car" float. He especially liked putting around in the kiddie pool with it because he could do it by himself.



It was really nice to have all that water to play in so close by. We all had a lot of fun with it!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Indio: The Living Desert

And back to our regularly scheduled post. . .

After having one slightly lazy day, we headed out to the Living Desert Zoo on Ethan's 17 month birthday. This was the highlight of the trip for me, and possibly for him too.

We were a little later getting started than we had hoped to be, so when we got there we made a mad dash to make it to the giraffe feeding. And then we waited until they were ready. Oh well, such is life. :)


It was worth waiting for in my opinion. It was really quick, but so cool! And Ethan knew right what to do. Somehow it was different seeing the giraffe up close just through a fence instead of being up on a platform like in other zoos.

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And of course we saw a lot of other animals. The Africa section was really cool, but we also were in awe of the wolf from the American section.

They had a little petting zoo in the African village, and Ethan got to brush some of the goats. I think some of our family members didn't think we were so crazy to want goats after they saw how nice they were. :)



I haven't mentioned yet that it was HOT. We picked this day because it was supposed to be a little cooler than the other days, but I wouldn't exactly call 109 degrees cool. So that was kind of a drawback, and it was difficult for Terral's parents and Heather, but the rest of us did okay. Ethan is such a trooper, but you can really tell in this picture that he was just tired and hungry and hot. He perked up after we wet his head and gave him a snack though. My little sprout. ;)
He especially liked it when we ditched our stroller and rented on of the zoo's jeep carts. Vroom! We liked it too because it was more spacious and easier to drive when we came to the gravel paths.

And it was just fun to drive. :)
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We listened to a demonstration at the animal hospital, and then we got to touch a milk snake, which is a harmless imitator of the coral snake. I don't remember the rhyme they told us there, but I remember one from a show I watched as a kid: "Red touches yellow, you're a dead fellow; red touches black, you're okay jack."

There was also some pretty crazy vegetation at the zoo! I can't remember what this was called. . .
After being out in the heat so long, it was sure nice to find a little grassy shade hut that had misters you could actually feel. This picture makes me smile so big inside!


I don't think that the carts were technically designed to hold adults, but we figured it was okay if Heather rode it since she's carrying a baby. :)


We pretty much thought we were done, but then we came upon a kids' play area and we couldn't pass it up in spite of the heat. This cactus was a slide.

All along the way, Terral took pictures with the statues. He kept trying to make the faces the animals were. I love this goofy guy!

The rest of us had some fun with the statues too.

Before we left, we decided to check out the discovery center. I didn't get very many decent pictures in here, but there were a lot of cool activities.

Here's grandma at the wind machine. It told you how fast you can blow. :)

Ethan up with in the mountain lion territory. It made a fun little slide.

Then it was finally time to make our way back to the condo. We stopped on the way at a Mexican place for a really late lunch.
Ethan was so, so tuckered out. Poor little man. We really messed with his schedule on this trip. Not too long after we'd finally established a good one.

Hot peppers!
When Ethan woke up, he was pretty hungry, but then he really wanted to go see the fish in the aquarium they had. The blowfish was my favorite.
It was a very hot and tiring day, but it was very fun!