Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Made it to Chicago

Well it's official, we live in suburban Chicago.... The movers came on 5/17 and put everything in boxes, them loaded everthing onto the truck on the 18th and on the 20th they were unloading everthing in our new house in Naperville.

We're renting a house in the SW part of Naperville Illinios and so far we like it. We really miss Knoxville but we have enjoyed exploring new parks, restraunts, and just exploring in general.

Cindys sisters (Camille & Cathy) flew out from Idaho to spend the week and her other sister (Chris) drove up with her family to spend the weekend. We met in Nauvoo and then came back up to our house and hung out. We had a great Memorial Day weekend.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Fishing and tornadoe relief

Last week was another typical non-stop week. Monday and Tuesday were work and house cleaning days :). On Wednesday I drove up to Haverhill Ohio for meetings Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday we did a little more house work and then went fishing with our neighbors the Herrings. Cade caught his first two fish ever (ok, Brooks caught the first one and then gave Cade the pole :), but he caught the second one all by himself).

Kaitlyn caught her first four fish ever and she had a blast doing it!

Sadie was a non-stop stress machine. She was running back and forth on the dock and I can't believe she never fell into the water.

She did decide that she wanted to fish also, she laid down and stuck Kaitlyns pole in the water and then dropped it :) Kaitlyn threw a fit and sobbed for a couple minutes and then she got over it.

We had soooooo much fun. I've never really liked fishing but that's primarily because I never caught anything :). It was so great to see Kaitlyn and Cade actually catch fish.

After fishing we all went out to Meksico for dinner and then I headed to Chattanooga to help with the cleanup after the tornadoes a couple weeks ago. We camped out on the stake center softball field and then woke up and drove to Cleveland TN where we used chain saws, bobcats, and good old fashioned labor to remove trees and debris from peoples yards. It's really amazing how much devastation mother nature can inflict. I've never really been around tornadoes before but they are absolutely devastating.

We worked all day Saturday and Sunday and finally got home about 6:30 p.m. on Sunday (Mothers Day). Luckily I'd sent Cindy a couple of nice Mothers day letters on Facebook and e-mail. Also, I called and asked Kaitlyn to get a package out of the downstairs closet and give it to her. It was a great week!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Chigago update and a great day

Well we made the decision a few weeks ago but we're going to move to Chicago. We went up to Chicago a couple weeks ago and found a place to live. Our new house is going to be in Naperville. We are pretty bumbed about leaving Knoxville. We've made so many great friends and absolutely fallen in love with the beauty and the culture of the South. We live in a great community and have awesome neighbors. We were trying hard to talk ourselves into being excited to move to Chicago the whole way up but I just wasn't really feeling it. I know that we'll be happy wherever we are and that we'll make friends and be happy but the thought of leaving Knoxville just really stinks right now.

However, when we went to our new ward we were greeted by a young couple that we'd met at the Chicago temple on our way home from Grandma Stoehrs funeral last year. They remembered us and were pretty excited that we were moving into the same ward. Then Cindy noticed a girl that looked like a girl she went to high school with. Sure enough it was her. We had a great day at church and it seemed like everyone in the ward came up to introduce themselves and tell us how excited they were for us to move in. Then after church we were invited to Sunday dinner by Cindys high school friend (I should remember her name but I don't right now :) I'll be reminded in a couple weeks) and they have kids the same ages as ours, it was so nice. It really helped us to reaffirm that the Lord loves us, knows us, and that his church is the perfect organization. It's amazing that anywhere you go you can feel Christs love and feel like you are home.

Yesterday I was planning on going to Chattanooga to help clean-up after the tornadoes. We got to the church and we were told that the service project had been postponed. The damage was so great that they were still searching for people and doing needs assessments. They weren't allowing people in yet. Matt Pulver and I decided to drive out to Loudon and help the branch president with some yard work since he'd injured his back a few weeks ago.

After we finished with the yard work we called around to line up a baby sitter and a canoe and we took our wives canoeing down the Tennessee river for a couple hours. If only we'd have thought to get them umbrellas to spin around as we rowed them down the river it would have been perfect :) But really, it was a great date in a GORGEOUS place on a beautiful day. After canoeing we went to Tommy Watsons birthday party. They had a ton of little kid games and also and arranged for ponies to give the kids rides. Then we got another baby sitter and went out the Archies BBQ, then went back home and had dessert and played 3-13 with the Sinks and Pulvers. It was such a fun day. I've been SO blessed with a fantastic family, wonderful friends, the gospel of Jesus Christ in my life, and so many friends and family members that love, pray for, and support me. God truely is great and life is good.

China, India, St. Louis, Virginia, and the storm!!!

I've been typing up my missionary journal and I really appreciate being able to go back and read from when I wrote more regularly in my journal :) So much has happened the past few weeks. I've been to China (walked on the great wall and through the emperors tomb, been to Tianjin, Beijing, Hungzou, Shanghai, and Hong Kong), India again, and we're planning trips to Europe and Brazil in the very near future.

Last week I got to work Monday morning and I had a couple of voice messages and e-mails asking me to come to St. Louis for meetings. I packed up my laptop, drove home to get some clothes, and by 8:30 a.m. I was on the road. I got to the plant (Granite City) in time to work for a couple hours and call it a day. On Tuesday morning we took the company plane to Virginia for meetings. The wind was blowing pretty hard and I was working for most of the flight (a mistake in retrospect as I typically get motion sick). As we were getting ready to land the plane was getting blown around pretty hard and I actually thought the left wing was going to hit the runway before the wheels. At the last second the pilot pulled it around and we then pretty much locked up the brakes at the end of the runway. Then as we were driving to the plant I got really sick and was pretty pathetic during the whole meeting. At dinner I couldn't even sit still in the restaurant. I went out and laid down on the side walk. After about 45 minutes I finally thew up about three days worth of meals and finally felt better.

We flew back the St. Louis on Wednesday morning and flew over a HUGE green and red blotch on the radar. I didn't think that much of it at the time and we ended up working until after 8 p.m. As we were leaving I checked facebook and noticed that there were tornado warnings in Knoxville. I became glued to the news and it ended up that the worst tornadoes in over 50 years passed through the South and killed over 320 people. Cindy and the kids were safe but it was a pretty scary experience, especially with me gone. Now we're getting ready to spend time in Chattanooga starting the cleanup effort next week.