Sunday, May 1, 2011

Temporary Home

A lot has been weighing on my mind the past few weeks with so many life changes: moving to a new place, adjusting to a new ward, thinking about relocating my grandparents, Paul's grandfather being diagnosed with end stage cancer and watching my daughters grow up.  We don't have control over so many things.  At church on Sunday we had a great lesson about service, and how important it is not to pass up the small opportunities we have in life to make a great difference in someone's life.  I have passed up so many of those opportunities, while at the grocery store, in the car, or passing someone while dropping my kids off at school.

I believe we can find happiness as we serve other people and service can be in a smile, encouraging word, compliment, funny joke, or a few dollars.  I have re-dedicated myself to looking for chances to makes someone's day better or relieving them from hardship, no matter how small.  This is our temporary home, we should make the best of it....for each other.

Lana celebrated her 13th birthday last month .  She brought 3 friends to see a movie at IPIC Theatre, which had soft leather reclining chairs and a waiter that brought you popcorn and treats straight to your seat.  The girls were so spoiled.  We then enjoyed dinner at The Cheesecake Factory, where we got to laugh at a few teenage girls that don't eat out often.  Some needed the definition of "Mignon", and misunderstood Calamari/tentacles for testicles.  Our waitress loved us.

 We decided to take a family trip to the Wildlife Zoo in Goodyear, AZ.  We probably went at the wrong time of day, because it was sweltering hot at 12pm and the zoo didn't have much shade.  We wish we could say it was as nice as Lincoln Park zoo, but it wasn't, probably because it was privately owned.  This animal and Lana look strangely similar.


Soon after this photo of Lana and Skyler were taken, I was pooped on by some creature, probably a bird.  My kind sister-in-law cleaned it off my neck, while my husband and brother ran away from me as quickly as possible.


On the train ride around the zoo.


 Before their water log ride.
 
 
 Skinny and Mini.  Skyler loved riding on her shoulders.
Kylie has been actively involved in Drama and Singing lessons for the past 2 years.  She's continued this here in Arizona and is lucky enough to have Drama class offered in her new school.  Kylie co-wrote a play, based on story lines they learned from  Dr. Seuss.  Her principal chose her play to be performed at the local theatre.  Here a few pictures of her with the family before her performance.
 A rare picture of Paul and I together. I am usually behind the camera.
Curious to know what her play was about...(make sure to turn up your volume)

 Kylie, Gabs and Joanna on stage after their performance.
 Kylie with her flowers from Auntie June, Uncle Larry and Cody.
We had an awesome Easter weekend with my family.  Ric and his family spent the night on Saturday.  I took this picture to document that my nephew Skyler actually eats real food.  Most people will find him eating cheese puffs and fruit snacks on a regular basis :)
 Lana needs to stop growing!  At what age are they too old for an Easter basket?
 My grandparents still live in Las Vegas and we wanted to make sure they could still share Easter with us.  Thank heavens for Skype.  We were able to have grandpa at the Easter table with us...I was laughing hysterically at this.


How many times can we say, "We love Arizona!"?  Our family took a great morning hike through the Spur Cross Conservation.  They have a high density of Cactus in this area and we were able to find some natural ponds, that will soon dry up when the temperature rises.



 We finished off our hike with some burgers (they were Organic which makes them more healthy, right?) at Earl's Diner.  My girls make me laugh with the funny pictures they like to take.
Lana as a Hotdog....

 Kylie as a sexy pin-up....should I worry?




Monday, February 21, 2011

Yeeehaww!

We made it!  After a long year of trying to sell our house and moving during the coldest and busiest time of year, we are finally settled in our new house in Scottsdale, AZ.  A lot has happened since Christmas time:

We enjoyed one last Christmas in our Illinois home,  had our second annual Gingerbread Making Party and also found a way to squeeze in a 10th birthday party for Kylie.

 
Paul did good, sparkly things are nice.      Girls did good, Dad got an awesome 
                                                        copper watch.

                        As long as they believe in Santa, they'll keep getting gifts.....

      Kylie and her best friends Caleb, Erianna, Madison and Nikki for her birthday.

Gingerbread Making Party and Soup Buffet, it was so much fun!

            Kylie getting ready to scarf.              Curtis boys and their masterpiece.

                      Proud Johnson boys.               Our cute dining room, I miss it.
         
                       There were no Wyer Girls injured during the making of this house.
      (they fight over EVERYTHING!)




We were notified from the buyers and the bank that we had to close by the end of January so 
we packed our house in 2 weeks and moved on a day it was -11 degrees outside:


 It was sad to walk through the house the last time after the movers had emptied it.  This was our first house and we made so many memories and did so much work to make it our home.  Leaving Illinois was bittersweet, because Chicago is where we were all born and raised.  The girls cried all the way to the airport and our heart broke for them.

 The transition was a lot easier than we thought!  The girls attend a private school that requires uniforms (which they dreaded...and complained about every day before their first day of school).  I think they finally understand how convenient it is to know exactly what you are going to wear everyday.  Kylie has made so many friends in school and since she is so loquacious (don't feel bad if you have to look that word up), it wasn't too hard for her.  Lana also quickly made friends and has a large Young Women's group at church.
Missing Chicago cuisine, we decided to go out for pizza.  Grimaldi's Pizza in AZ was good, but not as delicious and greasy as Chicago pizza.  This pizza was made with organic ingredients...enough said.


We feel like we were called here, it is the right place for us to be.  Our 2011 motto is, "In with the good.  Out with the bad." So we start each day with a deep breath in thinking of all the wonderful things in our lives and breathe out all the negativity we may have.  We are excited for our new adventure.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Blessed

Sometimes life seems as if it just isn't going your way.  For example the infamous car troubles you have around the holidays,  children that have tantrums when you just don't have time to deal with them,  and a chronic health issues that come back when you have so much to do.  That was what the past few weeks have been like.  But we feel ever so grateful for so many things that have be so wonderful and fulfilling this year.

1) Having talented, entertaining, and helpful children:
video

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lovin' Fall

Fall is our favorite season, and we will miss seeing the leaves change colors.  I found some cute Fall decorations for the front of the house:

Rustic, metal pumpkins and the girls each made a scarecrow.

I'm so glad Kylie did this on the lawn and not in the driveway!  I could barely see her.

I know these are a few weeks late, but our family had some really fun costumes this year.  Paul looked so much like Jack Sparrow!

 
Jenna the pirate.



Lana the Geek.



Kylie the Avatar.


We carved pumpkins late this  year, and attempted the Ph.D. level of carving.  Next year we will just stick to faces!

The little one is always so dramatic.
                                                        I agree with Kylie's face.  Gross.
 I don't know what I was thinking, attempting to carve a spooky house scene and a spider in a cob web.  I wasn't focused, I was frustrated.

All our hard work on display...Yes, mine is the easy scary face to the left.  Now that I look at it, the pumpkin really looks like a sad pumpkin.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Good news, then bad news, then good news again

It has been a roller coaster of a year for our family.  Between trying to sell our house, moving to another state and trying to have another baby-we have been a bit stressed.  We were so excited to get a contract on the house back in August to have the buyers walk away a few weeks ago.  When we heard the news we thought for sure we were going to live here forever!  I was feeling really discouraged and didn't know what to do, I felt like the economy had left us with very few option.  But....we continued to pray....and hope....and we have a second buyer!! Yipee!  They offered more than the first buyers so it really is a miracle that we are in such a good situation.

Our kids continue to amaze us with how fast they are growing.  Lana is growing so fast her body can't keep up.  She recently dislocated her knee.  She missed her first Cheer Squad game and pictures, she was so sad.  She is now in physical therapy to fix the issue.
Before:(we thought it was really funny that they had to give her an IV of morphine to calm her down enough to set her knee, and she was wearing a "drug free" ribbon that day)
 After:

Lana at the Orthopedic surgeon's office.  She'll be in physical therapy for 4 weeks and then they will determine if she can finish the Cheerleading season or not.