Tuesday, August 31, 2010

And the Dr. says.....

Yesterday, Dane and I went to our 19 week OBGYN appointment with great excitement to find out what our little one would be, a he or a she. As soon as we found out Dane sent a mass text to many of his texting-savvy family that said,

"The Dr. says our baby likes pink!"

It was so exciting to find out! I also found out that I have been feeling her move around a little bit but didn't really know what that twitching was down in my tummy. She is pretty active, and looks healthy so far! What was really fun, was that they let us bring a blank DVD so they could record the entire ultrasound for us. Dane and I watched it again last night before going to bed. I think this may become one of the greatest hits in our house!

We still have not decided on a name, so if any of you have some unique and cute suggestions that would go well with the name of Smith, let us know!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Coming Home in One Piece

So it's no surprise, but we made it home safely. There is just one thing that I really want to document about our trip home, and that is the adventure with the truck.

Grandpa Hamblin was kind enough to lend us his '87 Dodge Ram for the move out. We didn't take any furniture with us, but still couldn't fit everything we needed for our 5 month excursion to Houston in our little Civic. So, Dane drove to WY to pick it up, and it worked perfectly for the move out, and back. I am happy to say that it made it, both ways!! For those of you who didn't hear, though, we did have a tire blow out just a few hours outside of Dallas. It was no biggy, we called AAA and a true Texan came to our rescue with one of the thickest accents I have ever heard.

Anyway, so back to the drive home, we prayed the entire way home that we would not have another tire blow out and that the truck would just make it. And it did, but I can honestly say that we had angels beside us holding those tires together. I lead the way in the Civic most of the way home because I had the GPS and more importantly, cruise control. When we got to Price canyon though, Dane was feeling the need to lead, so I was happy to follow behind him. I was watching the truck, our stuff and the back, driver's side tire caught my eye. It was a bulge and it was huge. I had no idea how long in had been there, but it didn't look good. I didn't say anything to Dane, though, I guess because I felt it would make the tire explode or something? I donno.

We got out of the canyon and continued on Hwy 89 through Springville, and by this point I had to go to the bathroom really badly, and didn't have the patience to follow old faithful anymore, so I radioed Dane. Told him the situation, and that I would meet him at the house, oh and by the way that his back tire looked like it was about to explode. (I guess I figured we were close enough to home that if he had problems, we would be fine.)

I rushed back to the house, found the keys (thank you Ben and Rosa!) and relieved myself just in time to hear Dane pull up. He had made it! But we both agreed that we shouldn't move the truck until we could fix the tire because upon inspection we found the tread was separating and exposing the metal mesh underneath. Yikes!

This was Friday. (Can I just say here that it was sooooo good to be back in our little house! Ahhhhh. We missed it.) Two days later, on Sunday, when we got back from church, I could see the spare sticking out of the truck bed, where it always was, and asked Dane if he had changed the bulging tire in the back. "No, why?" he asked. To that I pointed out the spare that had apparently EXPLODED in the back of the truck bed.

I don't remember how hot it was that day, but there had literally been a mini-heat wave--the same day that canyon rivers were flooding the salt lake valley. I guess it was a combination of the heat and the pressure difference from the altitude. So were we grateful we made it home? Oh, yes. And with no blow-outs, so we didn't have to use the spare, that may have also blown out while driving.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Our Last Trip: California

So, our last weekend before moving home from Houston, we hopped on a flight to San Fransisco to visit Dane's mission, Santa Rosa, CA. Marlyn Gillis, a wonderful woman that rented an granny-unit to the missionaries and absolutely fell in love with Dane during his first 6 months, was gracious enough to pick us up, take us to dinner, and let us stay with her for the trip. She was a wonderful host, fed us well, took us to see the redwoods, and allowed us to do whatever we wanted. We love you Mare!

I think this is supposed to be one of the oldest/biggest trees in the forest we visited. The photo doesn't really do it justice, but it was pretty big. Dane said that there are trees that put this one to shame a little farther up the cost. Sounds like we may just have to make another trip someday.

Charles Shultz, the creator and illustrator of Peanuts (Charley Brown and Snoopy) lived in Santa Rosa. There is a pretty cool museum right next to where he lived. I never really appreciated that comic until I had learned all about it.

Marlyn took us on a long, beautiful drive along the cost. It was a perfect day. We even got to see sea lions!

Dane and I took a day, rented a car and drove to some of the other cities that he had served in. Of course we had to make a stop at one of our favorite bakeries, Bouchon in Yountville, just outside Napa. Yumm.

I bet you didn't know the Jelly Belly Factory was in Fairfield, CA did you? Yep, that was one of Dane's areas too! They give free tours of the factory, and even free samples.

It was a great last trip for us, and we will be grateful forever for the experiences we had while we were in Houston. Thank you Continental Air Lines!
I added up all of our flights we hopped on for free. Any guesses? 30 total! 3 of which were first class.
I went to the CAL website, and those 30 flights, if I were to book them ahead of time for the same weekends next year, were worth about $14,546. So, I guess you can say that we got a run for our money!

The Big Apple, courtousy of AIL!

Last year when I was selling life insurance, I surprised myself (and my family, I think) at how well I was actually able to do it.

Now, I feel I need to say, even though I did find success and make a good amount of money, I will most likely never, ever, ever do it again. It was a really good experience, but just not for me. I have no complaints about the company or the people I worked for. Actually, I love everything about the people I worked with, and the product I sold. However, I decided that no matter who you are, no matter how much money you make, if you are not happy, it is not worth it. So, when I say I wasn't happy, I think the hardest thing about the job was just how demanding it was. It took a lot out of me, but did not give me the fulfillment that I am looking for in a career. As my #1 career goal is to become the best mother I possibly can be, I am kinda picky as to what I want in a job if it is going to take me away from my home.

Anyway, back to the trip! So, every year the company give their employees an opportunity to qualify for an all-expense-paid trip. This year, it was a huge convention with very few meetings and mostly parties/awards nights, and lots of fun in New York City. I was surprised, to be completely honest, when my boss called me up in Houston to let me know I had qualified for this year's convention.

So, in the middle of May, Dane and I hopped on a plane (Continental Airlines... ironic, I know) to New York for 5 days of fun. They gave us true, high class treatment, too. We had tickets for a 2 day hop-on-hop-off bus tour, lots of free time in the city, $50 for a night out on the town on our own, tickets to WICKED(!!), and lots of banquets, along with a great hotel room and shuttling to and from the airport. It was a blast, and a vacation that we really enjoyed. So, here are the pics:

A true, New York deli-style Reuben. Dane and I shared it, and still couldn't eat it all. Take that man.vs.food!

We took a trip to the top of the "Rock", the Rockefeller building. Very nice view.

Of course I wanted to make a stop at the Museum of Modern Art. Here we are in front of a famous Andy Warhol. I have to give a special thanks to all of our friends who tagged along...it was an interesting day. I guess I can just say that not everyone loves modern art as much as I do...

Convention hall.

All dressed up for the formal banquet/awards night.

Wicked! It was the first time for each of us to see it, and we were not disapointed.

We had enough free time one afternoon to take a few hours and visit the Manhattan Temple. It was so beautiful! It was a good day to be inside, too because we later found out from our drenched-freezing friends that it had rained all day, and the double-decker bus tour had not been that great because all of the seats on the bottom were taken.

Houston Space Center

So, after we worked out the logistics with the police and our accident we were feeling a little deflated, but decided to continue with our plans for the day anyway. So, we hopped this time, into our friends' car and recommenced our journey to the Houston Space center. We were soooooo glad that we did. It was a great way to help clear our minds with something fun. We were ok, and that was what was most important.
So, if any of you remember this post from a while back, you may remember my life-long dream of becoming an astronaut. Well, it goes without saying that I was VERY excited to go to the space center. I actually got to see the room where the famous words "Houston, the eagle has landed," "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," and "Houston, we have a problem," were received over radio transmission. So cool. There is still a little part of me that wants to go to outer-space some day. So, i guess my best bet from now on is to become a multi-millionaire and grab a ticket on Virgin Galactic.

So, here are a few pics from the space day:

Here is the whole gang; Dane, me, Jessi and Ryk Heiner, and Stephanie and Trent Hartman in front of one of the pods that some Apollo astronauts came back to Earth in.

What do you think, does it go with my outfit?

There was a flight simulator, and of course Dane had to try, and of course I had lots of advice to offer.


Apollo V Rocket. Huge.

Here it is, Mission Control! They stopped using this room, I think in the 90's. But this is where all of the Apollo missions went down. Pretty sweet tour, if I do say so myself.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A long awaited update

This update has been a long time coming, even if there are no more readers out there, I have got to do this for myself!
SOOOOOO much has been going on. Here is a brief summary with more detailed posts to come:
Last you all heard we were still traveling the globe from our home-base in Houston, so that is where I will start.
-We got into a car accident. No injuries, but it put us a few weeks of repairs behind our anticipated move-home-to-Provo date.
-Finally got to the Houston Space center
-We made a trip to the Big Apple courtesy of the insurance company I worked for last year. It was a qualification based on sales/agent. So fun!
-Made one last trip to Cali to visit Dane's mission and a few dear friends.
-Moved home successfully, and miraculously in the truck and newly fixed civic.
-I got to go back to work right away with my insurance company for the summer.
-Dane started flying
-And for those of you who haven't heard yet, we found out that we are expecting our first baby! Due Jan. 22, 2011! (I know, next year. That sounds farther away than it should.)
-Dane is still flying and looking for a job.
-I have started to get my classroom and lesson plans ready for the quickly-approaching school year.

So, I plan on starting at the top of list and working my way down to give more details and photos.
Here we go. The car accident. It was crazy. The first one that I can say that I have ever been in, and to be honest, it could have been a lot worse. I am so grateful that no one was injured and we were wearing our seat-belts! (Thanks Mom for the family motto, "We are a seat-belt family!")
We were on our way to the Houston NASA Space Center with friends on a Sat in May. It all happened really fast. Apparently there was a girl traveling on the cross street to us who ran a red light, not paying attention on her cell phone, and as we went through our green light, we t-boned her. Our car stopped dead in its tracks, the airbags went off, and there was smoke everywhere. She was pretty apologetic at first, but of course when the police showed up, her story changed. It was frustrating, to say the least.
Anyway, with conflicting statements, we had nothing else to do other than plead our case the best we could and fork over the deductible to get our car fixed as soon as possible. (We were planning on moving home in about a week...that definitely was put on hold.) Luckily Houston City is crazy about red-light cameras and that just happened to be an intersection where they had one! But there was no way of knowing if it was even working, so we put in a request from the time and date of our accident, hoping for a shred of evidence in our favor, and waited...a long time.
So, all went ok, but to be honest 2 of the best days of our lives so far have been 1. The day we got the video in the mail from the city of Houston showing our accident, and 2. This weekend when we got our reimbursement check in the mail from the girl's insurance company! Yay. I am glad to say that this mess is finally all over. Ahhhh.
So, here are the pics and video of the damage:
Our car....sniff...

Oh, did I mention that it started raining after that? Crazy hard.

This is the damage we did to her. Too bad she only had liability coverage. Her car is pretty much toast. Bummer. Lesson learned. Don't run red lights!

Here it is, the best video that I have seen in a long time!!!
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