Sunday, June 27, 2010

Home Again Home Again

Jiggity jig...

After our site seeing in Arizona we were off to California where we stayed in Malibu with Bro's inlaws, the nicest folks.  They are Korean, and told us a lot about Korea and Seoul, and what to expect.  Uncle Bro (aka Dustin, Dean's brother) and Auntie Patti came from Oregon to see us before Dean flew out from LA. 

We also shipped the minivan from LA.  We spent a day hanging out around the Santa Monica Pier, Dean and the boys at the pier having loads of fun on all the rides, and Tristan and myself strolling around the area enjoying the sights and doing a little shopping.

There was a random African Grey sitting on a perch near the pier.  Dean, who loves birds (the reason he became a veterinarian), couldn't resist communing with it.  The bird was left alone as far as we could tell.  There was a sign below that said people could take pictures with the bird for a donation.

We had dinner near the pier at an Italian restaurant.  Kyler was so tired from all the excitement, that he could hardly stay awake.

After we left Dean at the airport, I drove with the boys to Sierra Vista, AZ to visit my brother and his little family.  We ended up staying five nights there.  The boys got their first taste of Nintendo and Donkey Kong, and played it tens of hours.  I managed to lose more maternity clothing, namely my swim suit (I could just cry) when we went swimming at the municipal pool in Tombstone, AZ which is nearby.  I still wear it since I still also wear the baby fat I haven't lost yet from the Trist-man.  Not sure what happened to the suit.  But it's gone (not to mention that almost all of my other maternity clothing accidentally went into long-term storage instead of going to Korea with us)! 
Tombstone is a tourist trap if ever I've seen one, but it was fun, and we spent almost nothing.  I always pat myself on the back when I can say that.
We were also able to visit my Aunt Joan and Uncle Si while there, and cousins Michael and Elizabeth.  Elizabeth and some of her children were visiting from Rio Rancho, NM.  We used to like to visit them when we were New Mexicans as well.

Next we went to Mesa, AZ where I stayed overnight with my Aunt Carol in her lovely home.  I went to a 5:30am temple session while she was home with the sleeping kiddos.  The boys loved swimming at her house. 

Then we went to see Grandma Burnham, who is 95 and still busy as a bee, living on her own.  She was playing the piano when we knocked on the door, and has been entering family history data in her computer, among all her other many projects...  She is most amazing!  We also got to see Aunt Dawna and Uncle Jimmy and his family, then we headed for Ramah, the last 300 miles of this long journey.  My faithful Dodge Intrepid has now passed 130,000 miles and is still going great.

So, Dean has gotten adjusted to the 15 hour time difference and is getting into the swing of things there at Seoul/Yongsan.  He attended the temple there on Saturday, and took the subway system to get to it.  The subway system is five floors beneath the ground, each floor a different line.  I'm glad he is there figuring all this stuff out for me!  He has been in classes and in processing, and will begin working this coming week.  AND!!!  He got us housing on the base (actually a satellite location off the main base, but complete with a small but adequate commissary, swimming pool, playground, etc.)  He will move in July 8, and we are flying out about July 12.

We are excited, and are enjoying the pleasant weather here in Ramah in the mean time.  Today the boys went with Grandma and Grandpa to the farmers market, where they sold live plants and produce from the garden (spinach, radishes, rhubarb, etc).  They all had fun.  I called up my BFF Ronelle and we went to Gallup to do errands and shop shop shop.  I've taken the advice of a lady at Yongsan and have been buying clothing, since I likely won't have many options once there.  I always feel so guilty shopping for pleasure, but OH WELL!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

We made it!

After moving out of J-ville, we spent four tedious and unremarkable days driving west and made it to Grandma D's in Albuquerque.  She always goes the extra mile to spoil and pamper us.  Apparently I didn't manage any pictures of her...  We spent several days with her and visiting friends and relatives and seeing the sights in Albuquerque like we were tourists.  Dean's friends are awfully smart and it's always fun to meet up with them.  I only managed to get pictures of some, namely Dave...

We went on the Sandia Tram - the world's longest continuous tram.  Being sea level folk now, the 10,000 ft altitude royally winded Dean and me.  We hiked around a bit up there, but got light headed.  Hunter is mildly afraid of heights, but braved the tram and did fine. 
Kyler has a new picture face - namely to stick out that long tongue, which can touch his nose.

The boys were particularly excited to see their cousins.  I hadn't yet seen miss Krisanne, who is nearly two.  Jaelan, who is six months younger than Hunter, has quite outgrown him. 

We were all excited to eat at Bob's Burgers.  Yum!  I didn't even get the hiccups until the end (I get those
when the food is particularly spicy hot).
The Adams Family is always fun, and Tristan and the J-man liked sizing eachother up.

Then, it was on to Ramah, my home town of about 400 people.  We saw my nephew Nathan for the first time.  He was born ten days before Tristan.
Here is a four-generation shot with my grandmother, who is in her 90s, and my dad.
We brought my sister Nikki's kids to Ramah with us, or three of them anyway.  They had a ball at Grandma's, and playing with the cousins.
We went to El Morro National Monumen, also known as Inscription Rock.  Juan de Onate, the first governor of NM, as well as many other people as far back as the 1600s wrote on it, including a relative of mine in about 1916, Ezra Merrill.
Really, it's graffiti, but it was long enough ago to qualify as historical, so they preserve it.
There are cliff dwellings on top of the monument, and apparently up to 1000 people lived there at one time, I think in the 1200-1300s ish.  We hiked the two-mile trail with five kiddos.
Then, we had to get back on the road and start the trek to California.  This travelling business is getting old, and I'm getting grumpy.  Just ask my Darling Husband.
We went to the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert today, which were grand.  We drove the 28 miles into it, and walked around some. 
Here's Tristan next to a lovely bit of petrified wood.
Last, we went to the big crater/meteor site in Arizona.  I had seen it before as a kid (as well as all these other sites in AZ), and didn't feel like paying $15 for just myself to get in, so Dean took the boys.  It still added up to $23 for them, for being there about an hour, which is outrageous to me.  It was $10 for the car load of us in the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert, which is reasonable.  While I waited in the car (and fed and changed Baby and all that) I watched a number of people who also were sticker shocked and left without seeing the crater rather than pay that much.  One such group was a man with five women and a couple small children.  The women were wearing the long pioneer dresses and their hair in the encased buns.  Hmmm.  That group would really have cost a fortune, and they didn't do it. 

Tomorrow - on to the Grand Canyon, then to L.A.  All tomorrow.  Ugh.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

So Many Goodbyes

The major came down to make an appearance for Dean's farewell, as well as the retirement and PCS of two other soldiers.  The soldiers had the nicest things to say about Dean and his work.  He was given an Arcom medal, a plaque, and a certificate detailing his achievements.  Tristan and I were proud of him!

Tristan and Tristan played surprisingly well together. 
Kyler will surely miss his buddy Kadance, with whom he spent many exciting hours.
And I will sorely miss Liz, he handiest, craftiest lady I know!
More sweet kiddos that are ever so fun and will be missed. 
Their moms are uber fun, and shining pillars of service!  Summer, Shayna and Kristen are out of this world.
Candice is a wonder from down under, and Brisbane is a "model" baby.
Heidi is hands down the most fabulous host I know!  Amazing, inspiring, angelic!
Brynn  makes the most incredible quilts, and is ever brimming with knowledge.
Michelle and Ethan are wonderful neighbors.  "Mr. Tim" didn't make any of my pictures.  Life in the cul-de-sac wouldn't have been the same without him!
Adriane is the most tirelessly devoted mom I've ever seen.
Matt has the best backyard ever, and the cutest Kloe. 
Kristi has been most studious and even braved cleaning the teeth of Master Kyler as part of her hygienist training, not to mention my visiting teaching companion, neighbor and friend.
Haylee has been the best friend I could have asked for. Somehow her husband Nate ended up babysitting for us on a few occasions...

Goodbyes are always so hard!  We will certainly miss all the wonderful people we got to know in North Carolina.