Saturday, January 25, 2014

Christmas 2013

Christmas in Oklahoma!
Christmas was fantastic this year.  We actually tried really hard to keep it very small this year and I think we succeeded.  The boys are at such a fun age that they really understood what was going on.

 Patton trying to get into his Christmas pajamas

 ....hurry Bennett he is getting away!

 Haley read the Christmas story, as is tradition before the boys go to sleep.

 Haley and the boys in front of the fireplace.  Bennett was very concerned that Santa would get burned by the fire.  We were not allowed to light a fire Christmas Eve just to be safe!

Santa seriously got it right this year and the boys loved every minute of it.

 Talking to Grandma and Grandpa Hazard and watching them opening up our present.....NEW BABY

 Santa brought the family a Wii........These too absolutely love it.  They favorite games are the original Mario brothers and Mario kart!

Bennett is really starting to get into Lego's and once a again Santa and Grandparents delivered.

Bokchito Oklahoma & Pig Shows

So before Christmas we west to Eastern Oklahoma a few hours away to visit my Aunt Annie and Uncle Clay and my cousin Cole.  Cole is really into showing pigs.  I didn't take a lot of pictures of alot of stuff be we did get a few.  It was Haley and Bennett's visit "Pig Show".  Haley was not to excited about it but Bennett had enough excitement for all of us and more.  It was really neat to see him follow Cole around and ask a ton of questions about everything!  Cole was very patient with :-)
 So Cole showed a lot of different breeds of pigs.  It was pretty amazing to see everything that is involved with "walking a pig" around an arena.

The excitement before the show!.......

 Sometimes it was very hard for Bennett to not jump into the arena!  

 Cole showing his pig.

...and of course Mommy always keeps us entertained....spelling our name with pretzels!

Overall it was a great weekend.  Bennett made waffle cakes with Aunt Annie we got to drive around the pastures and look at all the cows.  We got to have a great dinner with Bobby Jack and of course great conversation with people we love.  For me the neatest part was to see Bennett and Patton run around and crawl over fences I crawled over and places I played as a kid with my brothers.  It was just to much fun!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Weekend

Better late than never, right?

I actually have a bunch of really good excuses for not updating this blog faster, and they all start out with, "I was going to, but I was just so tired that...I went to bed at 7:00...I sat on the couch all night and never moved once...I put Bennett in his bed and woke up two hours later still in his bed with him..." Take your pick. Seriously, I am an exhausted person lately. This pregnancy has been above and BEYOND better than the last pregnancy-from-you-know-where, thanks largely to my new best friend, Zofran. But I am so tired by the end of the day I pretty much give up doing anything productive past 6:30 at night. And that includes this blog. But tonight I am putting on my big girl panties and staying up until 9:00 to do this. (Feel free to applaud my efforts. I know I am.)

As mentioned on here in the last post, we are getting out of the Army and moving to North Dakota. Mostly because we feel like that is where our family is supposed to be, partially because we are crazy. But to fill you in on this last weekend, I guess I will need to mention HOW we are going to accomplish this.

Matt will officially "retire" from the Army May 10th, 2014. However, he has built up a bunch of vacation days (paid time off days) so we will actually be cashing those in and moving the beginning of March. That way we have a two-month period where we will still be receiving a paycheck every two weeks along with all our healthcare benefits, which allows us to have a little more time to settle in/find a house/accept a job before we are totally on our own. (Oh, and by the way, Tricare will still cover 100% of this baby's birth and doctor expenses since it is a "pre-existing" condition. Thank goodness for that! You gotta love a free baby.) So financially, we are OK. The problem comes when we consider the fact that Matt has interested companies in not one, not two, but three or more different towns within the state of North Dakota. How do you move to a home you, A-have never seen, and B-are not even sure if it is in the same town as your husband's job? The answer is, you don't. That's crazy. So we came up with a plan that is only slightly less crazy than this first option...

live in a fifth-wheel trailer! With two really active kids! And one on the way! In North Dakota! Doesn't that sound exciting?!

So that's what we did this weekend. We bought a fifth-wheel. And it's actually really nice with wood floors and a kitchen and stove and fridge, and a TV and leather couch, and a room for the boys with bunk beds and a storage area for all their toys and clothes, and a room for me and Matt with a queen bed, and a bathroom with a bathtub/shower. All the necessities of life. The trick is going to be packing it so we can live there for however long we are going to be living there. We are planning on maybe a two-month period (closing is a process on any home), but if we find a home that we love but needs a little work done, ie: new floors, roofing, whatever, we could be there longer. We both agree that the deadline for being in our new home is when this baby comes. That's the goal.

So we'll pick up our new home on wheels in two weeks, park it in our driveway (we have a very long driveway here, living out in the country) and start packing it a little at a time until we are ready to move in March. Then, on March 6th-8th (or something like that) the movers will come and pack up our whole house for us on the military's dime (yay!) and then they will ship it to North Dakota for us, and store it for us for as long as we need them to. So our stuff is fine. And then we will simply hitch our house to a truck, and make our way up North, stopping whenever we decide to see an historical site or city zoo, since we will never have need for a restaurant or hotel again and can take as much time as we desire. 

It sounds nuts, but I'm actually pretty excited about this idea. I realize it is going to be a little different than our normal lifestyle (I'm not delusional), but it's only for a short period, and I think we are going to get veeeeeeerrrrry close as a family :)

But guess what? You can't pull a fifth-wheel trailer with a Lexus. Which is what Matt had...until Friday morning, when he sold it and bought (in the same day) a King Ranch truck. We actually haven't even seen this truck in person yet though, because it is in San Antonio waiting for us to come pick it up Monday. But the pictures look really nice, and Wayne (Matt's dad) has driven it for us, and we trust him.

So just to recap--within the course of a weekend, we changed the entire face of our financial portfolio. It was a fun weekend.    

Beyond that, we also hosted a multi-family garage sale on Saturday, where we literally sold all the stuff we didn't want to move with/just plain didn't want, and ended up making about $650 off of it. It really surprised me that people were willing to pay for the stuff we were just going to throw away. So now our house and garage are cleansed from junk, and we have a little extra cash in our pockets. Which, after all the cash that has been leaving our pockets lately, feels good.

But here's the best part--Mary and Wayne came up for the weekend!! They came to help with the garage sale, and they totally rocked it! I am pretty sure if it weren't for Mary all our stuff would still be sitting in a massive pile in the middle of the garage, because nobody would have been able to get to it or know how much it was. And Wayne was able to help Matt run the front table and set up the bigger displays, and I was able to watch the boys and make sandwiches :) I'm helpful! In the end though, it was just really fun to have them at our home for the weekend, talking and planning and eating really good food. I love it when we get to see them! Sunday night we all watched "Frozen" (in our living room, because we are members of an awesome club that lets us own any movie we want for free) and it was such a great show! I'm so happy we have it. Overall it was such a fun weekend! Stressful at times, yes. But really, we are so lucky to have so many wonderful people supporting us in all of these moves and changes. Thank you, Mary and Wayne!

Whew! Another huge post with nothing but words. Sorry about that. But I think that was most of the filling-in-the-background you needed, and now we can advance to just normal posts about how cute our kids are (which they really are) and how much fun we have as a family (which we really do) and how perfect and wonderful our lives are (OK, you know that one was stretching it just a little).

Hang in there with me.
Until next time!

Sunday, January 12, 2014


Happy New Year! I'm sure you'll all be excited to hear that one of my resolutions this year is to actually WRITE ON THIS BLOG! I know...we'll see how well I do. In fact, I sort of feel like I am writing to an empty audience right now, since I am sure anyone who used to read this blog has completely given up on us.

But where to start?! Life has been incredibly crazy lately, and we have been making quite a few major changes in our career and family. So let's start there...briefly. Because there is just way too much to write about everything all at once. So just a summary for now, and I'll go back and fill in the holes later.

Dramatic life-change number one: MATT IS RETIRING EARLY FROM THE ARMY
Our original plan for Matt's career involved serving the full twenty years on active duty (like an every day job) and then retiring as a full-bird colonel at the ripe old age of forty-two. After that, he would take the degrees and knowledge he had gained in the military and use them in the civilian market as a Hospital Administrator or in some other job he could use to pass the time until his second retirement. Then we would sail away to a deserted island and live out our lives in happy whimsy. Either that, or join the circus (although I can't quite seem to get Matt on board with that last one).

But life changes plans.

And suddenly Matt took a look around the Army, and realized that he might not want to stick it out for another nine years to retirement. The military is changing, the rules are changing. And the valor of people is changing...and Matt is a pretty old-school type of a guy. But he does love his job (which is medical administration). So he was in kind of a pickle.

Until dramatic life-change number two started to take form: MOVING TO NORTH DAKOTA
When we were stationed in Texas we made some fantastic friends in the Askerlund family. A name you may recognize from this very blog since they have made several appearances on here. But about a year before we moved to Oklahoma, the Askerlunds decided their time had come to separate form the military, and they moved their family to Utah. It was a sad day for all of us when we had to say good-bye. But we have kept in close touch, and have even been able to visit them a few times since then. Recently though, the Askerlunds have moved again to North Dakota, where Erik has an amazing job, making amazing money.

And then he called Matt.

Turns out there is a pack of management/administration-seeking companies up there who are in love with the man I married...or at least with his resume. Turns out Matt's background of welding, wood-working, and steel construction, mixed with his extensive knowledge of business and people management, make him a hot topic up North. Turns out the North Dakota Nation Guard would LOVE to have Matt in their unit, where he will continue to promote to a full-bird colonel and still retire (a second time) with full benefits. Turns out we suddenly had a way for Matt to retire early from active-duty Army, but keep doing what he loves. So we seized the moment!! And then we both had heart attacks.

Because this decision was not made lightly, since we obviously knew it would be a great big change for our family and our lives. But even though we put a lot of time, and thought, and prayer, and fasting, and lots and lots and LOTS of conversation into this decision, and even though we really feel like this is what we are supposed to be matter how sure you feel of an answer on matters like this, it is still really, REALLY scary when you actually drop that packet on the desk of your boss and say, "Thanks for the totally secure, full health-benefit, great paying job, Sir. But we're going to move to North Dakota now and just sort of see what happens."

And then you have to call your family and tell them the same thing. And your friends. And your neighbors. And your ward members. And after awhile you start to think, "WHAT THE HECK ARE WE DOING?!?!?!" But even though we were/are totally freaking out at times, it still just feels right.

So we're doing it.
We're moving to North Dakota.
Where it was -22* the other day.
And it will be an adventure :)

But there is one more little life-change we haven't mentioned yet, and that is that WE ARE GOING TO WELCOME BABY NUMBER THREE INTO OUR FAMILY! I guess Heavenly Father either knew our Tricare health benefits were about to run out, or else he has a pretty funny sense of humor, but this little piece of news thew us for a loop right in the middle of everything else.

Baby Three wasn't really a, "Oh my gosh, how did that happen?!" surprise. It was more of a, "I thought we would have longer than ONE WEEK before we got pregnant!" kind of a, maybe three to six months (because that's how Patton was). But if I've learned one thing, it is that we have zero ability to plan our family in little stair-steps like the rest of the world (how do you people do that?!) so we will have our three-year-and-four-month gap, and then our 23-month gap. Whaaaaaaat? Even though this baby isn't coming on our time frame though, we are incredibly grateful to be welcoming it into our family sometime around July 20th (that's my due date, but it will be a Cesarian so probably a little earlier than that) and incredibly thankful that both the baby and I are healthy and strong, as I experienced a lot of bleeding at the beginning of this pregnancy and almost got myself put on bed rest. I'm telling you what, THAT would have been fun.

So now I feel like there are no more secrets we are keeping. It's all out there. I'm sure we will have lots to blog about with all of these fun changes coming up, not to mention normal life which can be pretty adventurous in and of itself. So don't give up on us!

Besides, I'm usually pretty good at keeping my least until March :)