This post has been a long time coming. I am a little behind on my blogging so this weekend I'm planning to play catch up. Finishing up my Six Weeks of Greatness was a visit from the Millers! I definitely skipped Weeks three and four as both were fairly uneventful.
Dave, Lisa and Melanie flew into Des Moines Thursday night. After picking them up we all had dinner at Perkins (a restaurant I had never heard of) before heading back to show them our apartment then on to the hotel where the five of us stayed together. The hotel? Spectacular. Our room had two bathrooms (seriously. so awesome) and a nice window view of the street below us. The pool was a little small, but a nice cool off after heating up in the awesome hot tub. We also had access to a private lounge that had awesome breakfast and lots of snacks. Mmm.
Friday we went to Nauvoo, Illinois to do baptisms in the temple. It was so neat! Scott and I were able to do a session in the Nauvoo temple in October of 2009, but I had never been to the baptistry. It was beautiful! Before heading back to Des Moines we had dinner at the all-too-famous buffet at The Hotel Nauvoo. So many unhealthy dishes that were too delicious to pass up.
Saturday we had breakfast at La Mie. Remember when Liz came to visit and we ate there twice? I had to share my love for the place and can't wait to go back again. We originally planned to spend the day in the Omaha area to see the Winter Quarters temple and the Kanesville Tabernacle, but the previous day gave us a good seven hours in the car and we didn't feel we needed more cramped travel. :) Instead we spent the day touring DMU and watching Harry Potter (a great subject for later).
Sunday we went to church together then explored the sky walk downtown and spent time at both our apartment and the hotel. Monday brought a new work week for me, school for Scott and travel home for the Millers. We loved having them visit and were sad to see them go. We can't wait to travel home this summer!
Continuing as planned, my "Six Weeks of Greatness" continues with Cherish and Joey's wedding! For me, the weekend was better than planned. I loved every minute of it, with the exception of the fact that Scott was still in Des Moines.
Friday morning I arrived at the airport to find I didn't have to wait in line to get through security. Welcome to Des Moines International Airport! I am used to Salt Lake City, arriving hours before your flight to ensure you make it. I flew through Denver and on to Reno - it was such a wonderful feeling when I caught my first glimpse of the mountains. I wasn't expecting it and happened to glance out the window during the flight. I felt like a weight was lifted from my chest! :) Cherish picked me up since I landed not too long after her mother-in-law Char. The three of us spent a few hours in Carson City getting things for Cherish and Joey's new house in Tahoe (they had closed on the house just the day before!) then headed to Tahoe.
When we arrived at the house I met a few of Joey's friends from Colorado - they were all really great! After an hour or so the rest of the family had arrived so we met with them at Applebee's for dinner. Most of the family flew, although my brother Steve and his family drove so they could continue their trip to the coast.
Saturday I went snowboarding with Dad, Sean, Joey, Char, Dave, Janae and Jade (Dave and Janae are Cherish's good friend from high school - Jade is their adorable daughter). We had a great time! After a day on the slopes I went swimming at the hotel with Steve, Leslie and their kids. After swimming we all went to the house for a dinner hosted by Cherish and Joey for all of the wedding guests. It was nice to meet Joey's family and spend time with my own.
Sunday I went to church with my mom and Steve's family. It was fast Sunday, and testimony meeting was really nice. The day before their were six members who had gone through the temple for the first time. From the testimonies, it sounded to be a really sweet experience for everyone involved. After sacrament I went to primary with Aeris then to nursery with Ollie. Boy do I love those kids! After church we all went out to lunch (a little funny, but tough to not eat out while staying in a hotel for the weekend) then got dressed up for the wedding!
The wedding itself was wonderful. I snuck in early to see Cherish before she walked down the aisle. :) The ceremony was short and sweet with a small guest list to keep everything low-key and personal. I sat next to Sean with Ollie on my lap. Joey's friend Levi was the officiator and he had some really nice thoughts to share. It was really sweet to see Cherish and Joey kiss as husband and wife - thinking about it makes me tear up a little! They truly love each other, and it's not hard to see. :) After the ceremony we took pictures, then headed to the reception for dinner and dancing. The food was delicious, the music was superb, and the dancing was so much fun! It was also neat to be there for the classic wedding events - the couple's first dance, cutting the cake, and snagging the garter. Overall, a great celebration!
Monday was our last day in Tahoe and my last with the family until who knows when, so I opted out of skiing to spend the day with Steve and his family. We went to breakfast with dad and Erin where Ollie showed off his ability to stuff his cheeks full of food. After breakfast we went bowling (first time for the kids!) and to the arcade where the kids got some sweet prizes. Later we met with everyone at the hotel for dinner and went swimming before bed. It was nice to relax a little in the hot tub with everyone.
Tuesday morning, bright and early dad picked me up (I stayed at Harrah's with mom and Alan while the rest of our hotel crew stayed next door at Mont Bleu) to head to the airport. It was a fairly quiet drive since everyone was a little tired. Once we got to the airport we all had breakfast together then went to our separate gates to fly to different destinations. I flew home through Denver and saw some missionaries heading toward a flight to Salt Lake City. I really wanted to follow suit and see home, but I knew Scottie was anxiously awaiting my arrival back in Des Moines.
My plane in Des Moines landed early, just before 7:00 pm. Scott was waiting, flowers in hand! I think we got a pizza from Papa Murphy's (we LOVE their pizza) and spent the evening cuddling and watching our favorite TV shows. As always, I took photos. You can see them here!
Valentine's Day kicked off Week One of my "Six Weeks of Greatness". As previously mentioned, Scott and I went out to eat - meat included. It was delicious.
After a four day work week for me, Liz arrived! The three of us spent all day Friday out and about. We ventured to West Des Moines for various shopping endeavors at Costco, Kohl's, and a stroll around the Jordan Creek Mall. Thank you to Liz for introducing me to another store, Archiver's! I am working on a scrapbook for Scott and I, and have been looking for rubs ons to use (I LOVE them!) but couldn't find the ones I wanted. Archiver's had the perfect set!
After our shopping outing we toured the DMU campus and had a movie party at our apartment. Saturday Liz and I went out for the day while Scott studied. We went to a local bakery La Mie for breakfast (best pastries ever) then stopped by Terrace Hill to see the governor's mansion and explored downtown. La Mie was absolutely wonderful. It is fairly small with about 25 tables but seemingly endless possibilities of delicious food to eat. I got myself a chocolate croissant and a fruit danish while Liz ordered french toast with fresh fruit on top. We also got a ham and cheese croissant to take home for Scott. While at Terrace Hill we were taking pictures and an Iowa State Patrolman waltzed over to inform us the property was closed. Exploring downtown was very eventful! We spent a lot of time wandering through the Skywalk to get a view of everything while staying indoors.
Sunday at church Liz came to primary with me and helped us out. We are usually a little short-handed so it was nice to have another adult around! After church Liz and I went to the Capitol building (really neat!) and spent time at home just hanging out. Monday I went to work, Scott went to school, and Liz went to the airport. After hours of delayed planes due to bad weather, we picked Liz up again, grabbed a pizza and had another movie night complete with peanut butter m&ms. Overall, a splendid last evening with Liz! Tuesday was an early off day for me, so I went to work then Liz and I went back to La Mie for lunch before heading to the airport again. What a great weekend! Don't worry, we took TONS of pictures - you can see a few favorites here.
Friday evening we had a visit from Mark and Tony who are long standing friends of my family. Tony and I were born a week and a half apart and have basically known each other all of our lives. My mom always tells people that we were in diapers together. Anyway, Tony's older brother Chris was married the weekend before so Mark (Chris and Tony's dad) and Tony were driving a truck of Chris' things to Virginia. Lucky for us, I-80 runs right through Des Moines! I last saw the guys over three years ago, so it was really nice to see them! They also brought a few things for us from home. I was so grateful!
We received a box from my mom including various craft items and lots of fabric for sewing! We received a box from my dad including sewing projects I had packed away months ago as well as some of our favorite treats! They also brought our electronic keyboard so I can practice up my piano skills, and my hutch! I'll post some photos below. This was the one piece of furniture I was most sad about leaving behind when we moved. I am so glad to have it back in our place!
This week I was truly grateful for friends and family.
I started with this private blog then started a second one when we moved to Des Moines. I now have two blogs, although the first has almost been forgotten about. Here's what I have come up with:
This blog will basically be my new journal. Let's face it, I treat my blogs like a journal and I tend to detail everything much more than the average person may want to know. My open blog will have less detail and most likely the same amount of photos. I love pictures. :)
Smoking. Not me, but seemingly everyone else. Really. It's semi-comical to see hospital employees take smoking breaks outside.
Speed limits. Basically everything is a 30 mph limit. Residential, commercial, etc. Some roads get up to 35 mph. Big news.
Driving in general. You think people don't honk in Utah? Wrong. People truly do not honk here. Also, everyone drives slowly yet a little crazy. Turning in front of others, cutting people off, etc. Weird!
Humidity. I have experienced humidity before, and it was much worse. Not actually a bad thing. More details below. :)
Races. Don't know how to properly say this. There are many different people here - not like Utah.
Religions. Instead of LDS churches on every block, there are Methodist buildings. Also, lots of old churches around. Really neat! I want to spend a day seeing all of them.
One-way streets. I have been waiting for this! Definitely something that Provo does not have. LOVE!
Timed traffic lights. Also something Provo does not have that I have been waiting for. Hooray!
Insects. Nast. They seem to be everywhere...maybe it's worse because we live so close to the river?
People. LOVE the people here. Everyone is so nice! I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond the other day and five employees asked me how my day was and if they could help me. The best part? They were being genuine, and it is like that everywhere that I go.
Bathroom without drawers. I realized today what was missing. Sad.
Bathroom with carpet. Gross on many levels. Weird that the rest of the apartment has hardwood and linoleum floors.
What I LOVE
People. Already mentioned. Included in this is our landlord Mike. Great guy!
Church. We are in a branch and the closest temple is over two hours away. Strange. I feel like we belong more in our branch. Everyone is happy to have more people move in! We will definitely be getting callings soon. Also, they have asked us speak soon. Expected. :)
One-way streets. Already mentioned my undying love. They can be a tad tricky at first, but I find them surprisingly simple to decipher!
Timed traffic lights. Again, I already mentioned this but I am pretty sure that this assists in the people not speeding thing. So great!
Humidity. I know, I know. This isn't something that one should love. But I do! Firstly, it keeps my dry skin much less dry (good for the eczema) and secondly, it's like the sauna I had but never used.
Popsicles. That heat spell was horrid. Popsicles are icy blessings coated in sugary, syrupy goodness. Almost comparable to snow cones. Almost.
Wood floors. Easy to clean. Good looking. Enough said.
New bed. My headaches, neck pain and back pain? All gone since I started sleeping on our new mattress. That's right. Latex is the way to go people.
Corvettes. I would love to have a vette of my own one day. You know, in like 30 years. I see at least one vette here every day (except for the rainy days). I love it!
What I am Learning
To coexist with bugs. Actually, more with spiders and their little webs. Number one problem with moving into an apartment that has been vacant for a month? The arachnids take over. I am slowly tackling the webs and hope the spiders leave with them. If not I will continue pretending to ignore them.
To wash all dishes by hand. Darn. My real problem with this is the dry skin thing. I hate having to put on lotion so often, so thank you again for the humidity! :)
To sleep without the covers. No matter how hot it gets I have always needed something to cover me. Even just a sheet! With the heat spell I learned to sleep without any covers. Really. It's actually okay.
To utilize the windows instead of the air conditioning. Not too bad, but fresh air and AC are different. Takes some getting used to.
To know how to get there before you go. Yes I have gotten a little lost a few times. All for the better, because now I am familiar with the main roads as well as the areas I was lost in.
We met with Scott on Wednesday to unload the car and truck while my dad visited a doctor for a bad cough. It only took and hour or so to unload so we went looking for a new bed! We found a store that has locations through the Midwest where they make all their own mattresses so the prices are way lower. We got a great new mattress for about 1/2 price it would be anywhere else. Victory! After that we went swimming at the hotel and had dinner at a nice Chicago style pizza place that was nearby.
On Thursday Scott went to another day of orientation at school while I went couch shopping with my dad and brother Sean. We found a great furniture store called Homemakers. It was GIANT! Like IKEA but better. Truth. We headed straight to the clearance center and found a nice black leather couch with recliners! Absolutely perfect for the two of us, and nice to upgrade from our previous couch. It was nice spending the day with Dad and Sean. We walked around a nearby mall and I got some new running shoes (I started going running this week!) and a new fan for my laptop. That evening we picked Scott up from school and went to dinner. After dinner Dad and Sean left. It was hard to see them go, but we'll see them again soon!
Friday I had an interview with Wells Fargo Financial in downtown Des Moines (only a few miles away from our apartment). After two interviews that morning they offered me the position! I originally thought I was applying for a bank teller position, but I found out that it is Customer Service in a call center. After all of my experience with APX I think this will work out well. I am a Level 1 Representative making the same as I did at APX (as a supervisor) and the hours are much better! We are only open M-F from 8 am to 6 pm. Legit. I start on the 30th of this month which gives me time to unpack and get everything settled in our apartment. I feel very blessed to have a job already (and a good one at that) and that things have worked out so well with moving here.
It was crazy hot the whole week - there has been a big heat spell through the Midwest. The heat index was upwards of 100 degrees every day, usually around 110. Way too hot! There has also been a lot of rain and many rivers throughout the state have flooded. The city of Ames didn't have clean water for a few days because the flooding causes a few water mains to break. We live just above the Des Moines River which actually works very well. The water wouldn't reach our apartment unless it rained steady for weeks and weeks, so I'm glad for that. :)