Monday, September 30, 2013

Monday in Ireland

It's funny to me how much can happen in such a short amount of time. Monday felt like it never ended. We all woke up at 3AM and just sat in the hotel watching Strawberry Shortcake over and over again because that was the only child appropriate channel at this hotel. The channel is called Tiny Pop and all they have between 3AM-7AM is Strawberry Shortcake. I gave the boys a big bubble bath super early, and after Stan and I showered and dressed we went downstairs for the hotel breakfast. It begins every morning at 6:30 AM, and yes, we were the very first people there. We had the place to ourselves which was honestly very nice. The boys loved the toast and butter, scrambled eggs, and juice. Every morning they serve all sorts of fun and interesting foods at breakfast. They have large tomatoes sliced in half and cooked with spices, potatoes wedges, blood pudding (very strange), fried and scrambled eggs, a large assortment of breads, croissants, pain au chocolat, fruit, hot porridge, and juice. We all finished eating around 7AM, and there was nothing open yet so we went back upstairs and took a short nap.

First on our list was to go to the bank. We had "walked over" a bunch of money so we wanted to deposit this and pick up our bank cards and check book. After hanging out at the branch for an hour, they figured out that our bank cards and check book had been canceled. Normally, this would not be a big issue, but for us new in Ireland it has become one. We went ahead and ordered new ones, but it will take at least two weeks for it to arrive at our new address. We have also been advised that we must go to our local post office and introduce ourselves so that our mail will be delivered. Since we are new, they might not deliver our mail if we do not introduce ourselves. That makes me laugh.

We then tried to get a phone. We did not realize that in Ireland, your debit card or bank card acts like an identity. It's called a chip and pin identification. Unless you own a bank card, and no our U.S. debit cards don't have this capability, then you cannot get a phone, car insurance, and it makes it difficult to purchase anything. We don't like having to carry around cash everywhere.

So after not being successful at the bank or getting a mobile phone, we decided to try and purchase a car. I really wanted to buy a Hyundai Trajet. It's a great family van, a seven seater which are hard to find. Most cars only have between two and five seats. But with another baby coming and our desire to travel around we don't want to be squished in a five seater with no room for the stroller and luggage. The first places we went to were terrible. They had to jump the car because it hadn't been driven in, and we couldn't test drive it because the batter had gone bad on it. They said they'd replace it, but it made me wonder what else did not work. We found out that the automatic locks didn't function right, and it looked like it had been in a little accident--the rear view mirror was shattered and the bumper was damaged. The office was literally dirty, full of leaves and dirt all over. It just felt kind of ghetto. After seeing these sort of options it was such a relief to find a more sophisticated dealership.  I wasn't sure if we were going to find a decent seven seater within our budget, but to our relief we did. We found a very nice place, the van was clean, well taken care of, it ran well, the engine sounded clean, the test drive went well and we felt so happy that the price was the same as the others. So we bought our first van in Ireland! Soooo grateful and happy.

Since before this point, we did not have a vehicle to travel in, so we were traveling by taxi. This is nice and convenient but very expensive. Anyway, as we went from one dealership to another we put our brand new stroller in the back. At the final dealership we forgot to take it out of the back and Stan and I didn't even realize that our $450 stroller was gone until George yelled in the dealership... "STROLLER"!!! Such a smart boy! We were able to call the company that sent us the taxi and the gentleman who drove it was kind enough to drop it off to us after he completed his next run. So happy George remembered as quickly as he did not five minutes after we entered the dealership.

After lunch at the hotel we walked to the nearest Vodafone place to figure how we were going to get a phone. Unfortunately, my pregnant body decided it was done walking all over everywhere and even though on our way back I made it within 10 minutes of the hotel I had to pay seven euros to have the taxi driver take me the rest of the way.

By 6PM we were all asleep in our beds except Stan. He was busy working, answering work emails, doing conference calls, and getting things squared away for Tuesday. What a great man Stan is, I could not keep my eyes open and he was still chugging along. We woke up around 9PM and ordered room service. The 15 euro pizza almost looked like a personal pan pizza, but we all had our one small piece and called it good. Everyone fell asleep by 11PM and I thought we were going to wake up late the next morning and maybe get on the right time schedule, however we all woke up at 4AM.  So it's now 6AM, the boys have already had their bubble bath, and yes we are now watching Strawberry Shortcake on our new favorite channel Tiny Pop!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Flying to Ireland

One fun thing about getting a google crome book is that I get a bunch of free passes to use the internet while flying. I want to take a minute and just write down my thoughts so far as we are literally on our way, in the air, traveling to our new home in Carrigaline, Co. Cork, Ireland.

With any big change in life, there comes a flood of mixed emotions. First off, excitement. I couldn't be more happy or excited. What a great opportunity for our little family to live in a foreign country and begin our new life together. There will be many great opportunities for us to travel around, see different countries and cultures, and experience life in a whole new way. So with this great excitement, I truly feel gratitude.

There are certain moments in my life of which I will never forget. Moments like waking up early in the morning before entering the MTC. It was such a strange mix of emotions knowing that I'd leave my family and live in France for 18 months. This whole experience of packing up and mentally preparing for our adventure in Ireland has been very similar. Last night saying goodbye to my family was very bitter sweet. My parents took us all out to dinner. Afterwards, we had a birthday celebration for Mom.

This is my favorite photo.
My boys will miss their grandma
and all the fun birthday celebrations
 we had at the Plothow home.
I feel very close to all of my family, I love them so much, and saying goodbye was hard. At the same moment, I felt happy and excited because I know this is such a great opportunity and what a great adventure. I was brave and didn't let my emotions get the best of me until I walked out the door. Then it all came out, tears streamed down my face, and I think I was going to completely lose it but then I saw Gregory and George. I couldn't cry in front of them. So I tried to cry quietly and slowly the tears stopped and I was fine. When we got back to Nelson's, Stan gave us all priesthood blessings. What a blessing it is to have the priesthood in our home. Stan's parents are both out of town, so we all climbed in bed together as a family in their room. It was a moment in my life that I'll never forget. The love I have for my immediate family surpasses anything I've ever felt.

My mom was kind enough to pick Stan, the boys, and I up this morning and drive us to the airport. What a fun morning it was. Because she arrived early to pick us up, she was able to walk over to the neighbors house with me where I received a shot to help prevent blood clots (being so pregnant there is a significantly higher chance that I could get blood clots while flying). It was nice to have a few moment together this morning. The drive was fun, there was great anticipation in the air, and we were all laughing and talking about life and the adventures ahead. Standing on the drop off location at the Delta terminal was not as fun. That goodbye was definitively hard. I love my mom, we are very close, and so we just hugged and cried. There was no being brave this time.

So here I am, sitting on the airplane. Gregory is fast asleep, George is watching the new Star Trek movie and playing iPad and eating fish crackers and whatever else we can give him to keep him entertained. Stan and I both have our computers out so life is good. We are flying from Salt Lake City to Newark New Jersey. We don't have a long layover so when we arrive, we must move quickly to the next gate with our stroller, backpacks, and car seats. From there we fly to Amsterdam, then to Cork. I hope all continues to go as well as this first flight.

à bientôt mes amis.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The next six weeks!

I cannot believe that I am this far in my pregnancy! It's crazy how fast this summer has gone and how far I am. Because I'll need another (my third) c-section, I get to deliver at 38-39 weeks. Since I'm already 33 weeks along, I only have at the most 6 weeks left. Normally, the last six weeks are the worst and they linger the longest. However, I know that these next six weeks are going to fly on by. We leave for Ireland in two days. Then, if we survive the three flights, we will then need to set up our lives in Ireland. The first week we are going to live in a hotel. We will need to buy all our furniture, since there is nothing in our future townhouse, buy a car or two, get a mobile phone, get Gregory all set up for school etc etc etc. We are going to buy all our furniture from IKEA, so we will have to put together an entire house! From the welcome mat, if we purchase one, to beds, couches, kitchen supplies, and we'll need to buy some food at some point too! I feel like we are newly weds again trying to remember everything we need to buy and what is absolutely necessary to get our townhouse feeling like a home. With all that, I will also need to find a doctor, a hospital, make sure I understand how the medical system works, insurance etc. I'm hoping this can be accomplished in six weeks. I want to set up the boys bedrooms and nursery, the list never ends. We really should paint as well, but being so pregnant, I don't think painting is necessary right now. That will have to wait. Too bad some rooms have bright orange and neon green, these fun colors are definitely not my first choice especially in the front room and formal dinning room. I would replace them with something a little more classic, like a light French grey or something neutral, calming, and beautiful.  October will be a fantastic journey, I'm so excited to set up my home, I know it will be a lot of work, and I know the next six weeks will fly by. It will be a race to see what we can accomplish before our newest baby boy arrives.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Stan's 30th Birthday Party and ...

Stan's birthday party was a huge success! We had such a fun group of people show up. I know that Stan had a good time and definitely felt loved. Thanks to everyone who showed us such great love and support. We will definitely miss you when we are in Ireland.

We held the party at the Nelson's (Stan's parents home). It was lovely as ever, and it was very nice of them to host our gathering!

My Mom volunteered to make the cake. It was an AMAZING birthday cake. Three layers to represent 30 years! It had raspberries crushed on each layer... pretty yummy!

Before the party began, we had a little present opening party with just us. We got Stan a few shirts and a pair of paints. We individually wrapped each one so that it looked more exciting. The boys each chose their favorite shirt to give their daddy. They helped me wrap and make little tags for each present. Even the baby gave a shirt to daddy.

Gregory and George LOVE their daddy!

Towards the end of the birthday party, George ran into an open door downstairs and hit his little head really hard. The cut was deep enough that he had to receive four stitches. I was so proud of George, I really could not believe how he handled the whole process. I had to hold his little hands and hug him, and Stan had to hold his head firmly down while the insta-care doctor inserted three shots into George's little head. I thought he would scream like any two year old. But not George, tears were in his eyes, but he just whimpered and informed us that this really hurt. I had to fight tears, I could NOT cry if George wasn't going to. The doctor was very impressed with sweet little George. We are hoping to get the stitches out the day before we leave, but if not then we'll have to find a doctor the first week we are there to have the stitches removed.

Four stitches and only two years old.

I guess we'll never forget Stan's 30th birthday party! Other than the insta-care visit, Stan had a good birthday weekend. The following day after his party he was able to spend time with good friends who had organized another party. So overall, Stan had a great birthday weekend!

Monday, September 23, 2013

School Carnival and Wheeler Farm

The Hillcrest school carnival this year was a really fun experience for my boys. My sister Hannah helped me take my boys around to all the different attractions. One of their favorite rides was this giant shark which they were able to climb up to the top and slide down the inside of its mouth. They were able to do it over and over again.

This short video is of George and Gregory sliding down the shark's throat. I don't know why it's publishing sideways, and I cannot figure out how to rotate it. So if you rotate your head, it works alright.

Gregory was quite brave and decided to challenge himself and attempt climbing the large rock wall. He did very well and almost made it to the top several times.

The food wasn't great, but George thought it was pretty yummy. What's better than hot dogs and soda pop on a hot afternoon?


I met up with some of my good friends from Tooele and we went to Wheeler Farm. I had never been there before, and I was amazed how fun it was, and there was no entrance fee. There are lots of things to do and animals to see at Wheeler Farm. My boys really enjoyed chasing the birds and feeding the ducks on the lake.

There were lots of animals to see: goats, chickens, sheep, roosters, cows, horses etc... Everything and more that you'd expect to find on a farm.

Gregory and George had such great friends in Tooele. We are going to miss them!

Right to Left: Violet, Gregory, George, James, Jonah, Luke, and Summer.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Bear Lake

We went to Bear Lake the last weekend in September with Stan's family. One of the days, we all went boating. Gregory and George were pulled on a tube, and Stan went water skiing for the very first time. Stan doesn't like to admit it, but he's very athletic... He got up on his very first try! I would love to someday own a boat and spend time together as a family on the lake. I wanted to go water skiing, I have done it a few times before, but being 7 months pregnant that wasn't going to happen.

Justin watching Stan on the tube.

George sitting on Papa's lap driving the boat.

Stan, Gregory, and I relaxing on the boat.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

My beautiful sister Hannah

Hannah just turned 16 earlier this month and she was asked to go to Orem High's Homecoming! She looked amazing and beautiful, and I was lucky enough to do her hair. I'm so happy for her and glad that she has such a good time! Love you sis!

Summertime Fun

This summer we have spent a lot of time in pools and parks. Many parks around are equipped with water features like the one in this photo. We found lots of similar parks in Vegas this summer when we visited.

 Watch out for the birds! Gregory and George fed the birds and had a blast chasing them all around.

I love to spoil my boys! 

Dinosaur parks are the best! Whenever we hear about a new dinosaur park, we make sure to go and visit.

 We have had a really fun, happy summer. With two adorable young boys how can life get any better? Well, I guess it can... with another baby boy on the way, next summer should be filled with more and more dinosaur parks, water parks, playgrounds, and swimming! I can't wait :)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Bridal Veil Falls

Gregory and George love being outdoors. They had so much fun today as we went on a short hike to Bridal Veil Falls. They especially loved looking at the fish swim in the fish pond. They wanted to catch the fish with their hands, but didn't succeed. I think Stan has two fishing buddies, soon-to-be three fishing buddies. I'm sure this next boy will want in on the action as much as my first two do.

Stan and the boys are so much fun to hang out with. The boys had their shoes and shirts off and jumped into that cold, freezing cold mountain river water faster than I could even pull out the camera. They were nice enough to pose for a second for a photo. Gregory is trying to help George keep his focus for a second so I can take a quick pic. As soon as I was done, they were all back in the water braving the cold water and sharp rocks.

 I'm getting excited to exercise, more than walking and hiking. Once I'm no longer pregnant it's going to feel good to get myself back into shape. I think running in Ireland will be nice since it's basically at sea level and I'll love running with my new stroller. Stan and I just purchased the Phil and Ted's S4 inline stroller. It's pretty amazing, I've already taken it on long walks. It's not only a great running stroller, but it's the size of a compact stroller, and it's made for one or two kids. The back seat comes off, so if I only need a stroller for one child I'll just take that back seat off. Super convenient!