Saturday, March 30, 2013

The impossible task, made even more impossible.

Our main shipment that came from Italy

Anyone who has moved knows that it's not exactly easy.  I love moving, especially since the military does a good portion of the work with packing and loading, but the unpacking and organizing part gets a little (or a lot) tedious at times.  We are allowed 14500lbs for our move, between the 3 shipments, and we were RIGHT at that when they took off 10% for all the packing materials.  Good thing they took 10% off for packing materials or we would have been over our limit.
Me trying to check off all the boxes, which are all numbered, to see if we had everything.
The Italian's way of numbering the boxes and organizing everything was a complete joke, not surprisingly.  They took EVERYTHING apart.  If they could take it apart, they did.  So all of our patio furniture, office chairs, beds, tables, etc - everything was taken apart.  And instead of keeping the hardware with all of the furniture that it belonged to, they decided to wrap it all up and put it all together in one box.  Great fun...  We still don't have all of our furniture back together, and one of the feet for our couch seems to have run off.  I noticed it was missing in Italy when they took them off, I asked them where the 4th one was and they didn't know what they did with it.  We still haven't found it.

My kitchen has looked like this since we moved in and it stresses me out.  I'm still trying to find places for everything and the kitchen counter always seems to be the catch-all for everything you don't know what to do with anyway.  I need to find a more hidden place to put things.

Abbie's room - it is more put together now

Living out of suitcases for a month isn't fun, but we have dressers now!

The formal living room/dining room looks much better now, but it was like this for a good 2 weeks.

Our 2nd shipment came from my parents house.  We shipped stuff to them when we moved to Italy for them to store for us.  I left a plastic container of clothes with them that Abbie outgrew while we lived with them during the summer of 2011, and they sold the washer and dryer that they were storing for us since this house came with a washer and dryer.  So we should have shipped less weight back than we originally shipped to them, right?  Wrong.  They sent a good 500-600lbs more back to us than we shipped to them, and that's without the washer and dryer.  My parents have had my baby grand piano that they bought for me when I was 16.  They have always said it's mine (and still do) and that when I got space for it, I could have it.  So I have been asking them for it back now that I have room for it and I would like Abbie to start piano lessons soon, but they won't give it to me.  They live in an almost 6000 sq ft house and they have a "piano room" and want to have the piano for their decoration basically.  Neither of them play it, ever, but they want it for that room.  My mom actually told me she wants it because they might have a dinner party and they want to have "sing-alongs by the piano".    So basically I'm not ever getting my piano back until I inherit it.  I'm not happy.

So what was all that extra weight shipped from my parents house?  It was JUNK!  I absolutely cannot believe the stuff they shipped to me, and to say I'm quite pissed about it is a vast understatement.  My mom has had these horrible ugly towels since the 70's and I've been telling her for YEARS to get rid of them.  Guess where they are now?  In my garage.  She shipped me an entire BOX of disposable dinnerware.  A whole box that she's been saving for years.  Now in my garage.  They shipped me all of the artwork of mine that they'd been keeping since I was little, because, you know, I want it all....  They shipped me my baby book AND my sisters.  They shipped me cleaning supplies that they had from our house in E. Dubuque that we moved out of in 1996....  They shipped me a tricycle that Abbie and my sisters kids used at their house - that I didn't ask for since we already have one.  They shipped me gifts that I'd given them that they apparently don't want anymore...  Tacky?!  They shipped me old family photos of my cousins and sister.  They shipped me boxes of stuff that they don't even know what is, and neither do I!  I am SO annoyed by it all.  I've called them ranting way more than once and they tell me they want me to figure out what to do with it.  Their house is almost TWICE as big as ours is for TWO of them.  They have a full basement and 3 rooms that are guest rooms, all with large walk-in closets.  THEY DON'T MOVE EVERY 3 YEARS!!!!  So now I have all of this junk from them that I have to figure out what to do with, or I have to throw it all out.  As if I don't have enough to do with caring for 2 little kids, trying to paint this entire house and put away all of our stuff that was shipped to us and we still have one more shipment to receive. We are not happy about this stuff at all, and I honestly have no clue what to do with it all.  I feel like they basically shipped me everything that they didn't want in their basement so I got all this junk that I don't know what to do with.  My grandpa made me a pretty good sized doll house when I was Abbie's age, along with all of the furniture to go with it.  I remember playing with it for hours at their house, but we just don't have room for it now and I don't think Abbie will play with it much.  The furniture is all pretty fragile so I wouldn't really want her to play with that anyway, since she'd break it, but I have no clue what to do with it.  I don't really have any place to store it.

So we have been in this house for almost 3 weeks.  We still can't even fit one of our cars in our 3 car garage because of the amount of stuff in it.  At the rate we're going, we'll have everything in it's place right about the time we're supposed to PCS again.  Standard.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


If you're on Facebook, I assume you've seen the symbol above.  It symbolizes supporting marriage equality.

I didn't put the above sign on my FB page, but I support marriage equality.  I think God made ALL humans in His image, not just the straight ones, and I don't think it's a sin to be gay.  I don't understand how anyone can consider loving someone to be a sin.  That just doesn't make sense to me.  And I don't think gay people being married affects my marriage in any way at all, just like straight people being married for 55 hours doesn't, or people divorcing 8 times doesn't.

I saw the below symbol posted in my FB feed by a friend and I honestly felt like I was just punched in the gut.  And then I felt embarrassed by my reaction to this symbol.  But here's the truth: I think Christians sometimes hide behind their religion and use it as an excuse to not accept others, and I am ashamed to be lumped into the same category with these people.

I grew up in a UCC (United Church of Christ) church - not to be confused with a Church of Christ church.   The church's motto is "God is still speaking." and we have more liberal beliefs.  There were numerous gay couples in the church I grew up in (and there still are), and they were fully welcomed and accepted, along with every other member of that congregation.  It was never preached that any sort of love was wrong.  There is a male and a female pastor (they are actually married to each other) and they take turns preaching.  The church is very progressive in it's thinking and many also use this motto: No matter where you are on Life’s Journey, you are welcomed here.  They (I) believe that diversity is a gift from God that should be celebrated, whether it's race, gender, age, economic status or sexual orientation.

Sometimes I think that religion is over-rated.  The most Christ-like person I've ever met, Luc Gruenther, wasn't involved with organized religion.  I don't know what his beliefs were because I never specifically talked to him about them, and now isn't the time to ask Cassy about them either.  But I don't think that Luc was a believer.  However, he was literally one of the best people I've ever met.  He made everyone feel included and important.  He took the time to get to know you and he truly cared about you and what you had to say.  There was not one single ounce of superfluous nature in that man.  He was as genuine as they come and I am proud to say that I knew him.  

On the flip side, it seems that more often than not, it's the Christians who are judging and condemning each other.  They have their views of what's right, and if you don't fit that bill, you need to change to live your life according to how they want you to.  I just don't understand it.

Not long ago it was illegal for whites and blacks to marry.  Now most of us realize how ridiculous that is.  I hope it's in the near future that people realize how ridiculous it is to restrict people because of their sexual orientation.  And it's really odd to me that it seems as though the same people that think it should be legal to carry weapons, that have enabled hundreds of people dying in mass shootings, are the same people that are so against gay marriage, which, to my knowledge, has never hurt anyone, let alone killed anyone.  And no matter what your religious believes are, religion has no business in government. Period.

I'll get off my soap box now.

A day at the zoo

Mark and his brother, Alex

While Mark's brother and his brother's wife were in town, we took them and the kids to the Phoenix Zoo.  The last time we were at this zoo, Abbie was 9 months old!  I can't believe it's been 3 years already!

Ben always has his little finger out, especially when he sees a plane of any sort.

Abbie loved having the attention of Uncle Alex and Aunt Sarah

My boys

Ben likes to lead the way wherever we go.  He usually likes to go in the exact opposite direction that we're trying to go.

Abbie had great fun dragging Sarah all over the place.

Ben found someone closer to his size, who I guess was eating chips.  He stared him down until the mom gave him a chip.  I didn't realize the kid was eating, but Ben snatched that chip and walked off.  Little turd.

This is Abbie at 9 months old - the last time we we
Here she is today!

Trying to get them to act like they like each other is next to impossible.

Leading the way again.

I thought these goats were pretty creative!  Apparently the brother is the naughty one and the sister is there cheering him on.

Abbie loved the goats.
Ben was terrified of the goats.  This is as close as he got.

Abbie during this visit.

Abbie during our visit in 2010.

Abbie and Uncle Al riding the tractors

Abbie and Sarah in the clam!
So I told Abbie to be careful when we walked up to this - totally teasing her.  Then she wouldn't get near it until we convinced her it wasn't going to eat her.

And there was no way in heck she was getting near the crocodile until Uncle Al wrangled it!

Abbie wanted her picture taken on all the animals!

So Abbie has her pretend baby tarantula's that she "takes" everywhere with her.  So Mark wanted to pick her up so she could say hi to the tarantula on top of this building and she wanted NOTHING to do it.  We told her it was just like her "babies" but she still wanted nothing to do with it.  We asked her like 5 times and she would say, "No way, I am NOT going near that thing" all while shaking her finger.  That girl has some spunk...

It was a fun day at the zoo!  I'm sure we'll go a few more times while we live here.

PS:  I seriously hate using Blogger to write these posts.  Our other computer is supposed to be here this week, so then I can get back to editing my photos and writing these in WLW!  I'm so excited!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

We own a house!

 We got in to Phoenix on Friday, March 8th.  Stayed in a hotel Friday night, moved to base TLF's on Saturday and stayed there Saturday - Wednesday.  My parents got to Phoenix on Sunday evening, and we closed on our first house on Monday!  Here's the grand - pre-renovations - tour.  It already looks a lot different, but here's what we bought.

The entry way, formal living room and formal dining room

The kitchen with eat-in area behind the island

Staircase to the upstairs

Downstairs guest bedroom
Downstairs/guest bathroom

Family room

Master bedroom

Part of master bathroom (door on the right is the toilet room)
Other part of the master bathroom  (2nd vanity not pictured)

Half of the master closet
(This closet is about 4 times bigger than our bathroom was in Italy)

Upstairs hallway
Master bedroom is right to the right (not seen), hall closet, Ben's room is next to the closet, Abbie's room is straight back, the play room is right next to Abbie's room and the upstairs bathroom is next to the playroom/across from the closet

The playroom

Upstairs bathroom

Ben's room and walk in closet

Abbie's room and walk in closet

Part of the back yard

Our pool!!!  Who's coming to visit?!

Built-in grill that's hooked up to the house gas.  (My stove is also gas.)

Not pictured is the 3 car garage with a whole bunch of built-in cabinets and shelving, under stairs closet with lots of shelving, side yard with more trees and my raised garden with sprinkler system already installed, and the rest of the porch that has ceiling fans and shades that roll up and down.  The previous owner also gave us a less than year old lawn mower.  The house included all the kitchen appliances and also fairly new washer and dryer set.  This house has a lot of great features, one of which is a built-in sound system in the living room and master bedroom.  We are really happy with it.

That being said, it also needs a LOT of work to get it updated.  We put carpet in all of the upstairs bedrooms and hallway (which were originally tiled - pics on what it looks like now coming later) and replaced the carpet in the family room and living/dining room and stairs so they all matched.  We've repainted most of the first floor and we will eventually repaint most of the second floor also.  In our repainting, we discovered that the original wall color was this horrid PINK color.  Gross.  All of the door handles, bathroom faucets and light fixtures and drawer/cabinet pulls are gold and silver, so we plan on eventually replacing all of that as we get the money for it.  We discovered on one of our 28 trips to Lowe's in the past week that interior door handles are $20-40 EACH and we have about 15 of them to replace.  Yay.  We're going to replace the ceiling fans on the 2nd floor also since they are pretty dated.  We're putting a back splash up in the kitchen and I've already ripped down the vertical blinds and have plans to put sheer curtains up in their place - once I get my sewing machine, that is.  We're still debating painting the kitchen cabinets white, but right now we're all painted out and we still have the entire stairwell and upstairs to paint so if we do redo the cabinets, it won't be any time soon.

We're loving being able to call this place our own, although we've spent a scary amount of money at Lowe's already and we haven't even owned the house for 2 weeks!

I'll get more pictures up of the renovations as soon as possible.  Please come visit us!!!  We'd love to have guests!