Saturday, February 28, 2015

Finally Arrived

We finally arrived in Minot, North Dakota, late Wednesday evening.  We were welcomed by a large amount of snow, temperatures that were well below freezing, and a crowd of smiles and welcoming faces.  We had a nice hot dinner waiting for us, a huge basket full of goodies in our room, and bags of treats and toys for the kids, prepared with love by Jessica.
The kids were so excited to open their gift bags!
Natalie immediately dug into the fruit snacks in her bag.
The weather is cold.  Take-your-breath-away cold.  When I stepped out of the car, Jonathan asked me, "So, what do you think?".  I believe my exact words were, "Oh my word! I have never been so cold in my entire life!".  The low on Wednesday night, with the wind chill factor, was somewhere around -35*.
I think there was a high of about 9* on Thursday.  The sun was shining, but in temperatures that low, the snow doesn't melt very fast.  The kids didn't even care to go out and play in it.  I'm glad, because our snow coats and winter paraphernalia are somewhere buried in the back of a U-Haul truck.
We drove around the city a bit, and went on a hunt for a good coffee shop.  We found Caribou Coffee.    It's a wonderful thing!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Minot Bound

After days of packing, cleaning, arranging and then rearranging the U-Hauls multiple times, we finally hit the road, ready to start our new life in Minot, North Dakota.
This was my view for some 1,400-1,500 miles.  Dad Starr lead the convoy with the big U-Haul and trailer, Jesse followed in Dad's truck, Mom was behind Jesse, I was behind Mom, and Anthony was behind me with another U-Haul.
We were all going to switch off taking kids, so they didn't get bored, and we didn't lose our sanity with all the questioning on how much longer the trip would be.  That all changed when we ran out of room to put things, and three of the kids ended up riding with me, and one went with Granny.  Talon was my front seat passenger to start.  This was how exciting it was.  He got on his Nintendo DS, and didn't have much to say.
This was the view in my rear-view mirror.  The kids actually did really well.  There were only a couple of times that the kids got super fussy and wanted out of the car.  We stopped a few times to stretch, and let them get out whenever we fueled up.  I was never more happy that Natalie still takes naps and sleeps well in the car.  I was really hoping that Anthony and I would get to travel together, but we called each other often, and visited on our head sets.
We saw some of the most beautiful sunsets as we traveled across the country.
We hit some snow and snarly weather when we went through Montana.  At one time, it was difficult to see even a few feet in front of the car.
There was also some of the most beautiful scenery there.
I looked in my mirror, and Natalie was having a hard time holding it together.  She was consoling herself by snuggling her bear and her blankie. 
At another time, it was really quiet, and I looked back to see both of the kids sleeping with their blankets over their heads.  I guess it was just a little bright out for their liking.
We had fun listening to music and singing in the car.
A very welcomed sight... a sign that read "Welcome to North Dakota".  The trip was far from over, but at least the end was in sight!
It's always fun to find a place for four kids to sleep, when there is only one extra bed in the motel.  We figured out a system, and it worked well... we moved the bed against the wall and the two older kids slept on it.
The younger two slept on piles of blankets on the floor between the beds.
Problem solved!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Good-bye RCH family

 Over the past 12-13 years, I have been privileged to work beside some of the most amazing people you could ever hope to meet.  I started in pediatrics at Legacy Emanuel Hospital right out of nursing school, and aside from about 19 months spent in Boise, Idaho, it's where I have worked for my entire nursing career.
It's amazing how attached you can become to people.  This small group represents such an enormous piece of my life.  When we get together, we have endless stories to share.  We have seen each other at our best and our worst times.  We've laughed ourselves sick over things that only nurses could find funny.  We've cried hundreds of tears together over patients, and with the families that have lost a child.  We've worked as a team on those nights that were so stressful and crazy, you just weren't sure how you would hold up for 12 hours.  We've stuck up for each other, supported each other, and have become like a close family.
A few of us got together for lunch on Saturday to say good-bye.  I did pretty good while we were there, but lost it and cried most of the way home.  I can truly say that I have loved my job in the pediatrics Resource Pool, and am so thankful for the experiences I have had, and the many friendships that I have made. Wherever I go, Randall Children's Hospital will always hold a special place in my heart.  I'm really going to miss these very special people!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Visit to Washington

On Sunday, we took a trip up to Washington for the day.  Anthony wanted to go visit his Grandpa Starr's grave, and see the family cemetery.
It was a beautiful drive, and the weather was perfect.
We got to stop and visit with Bro. and Sis. Wayne Brown, a family that came into the church while dad and mom were pastoring in Coffman Cove, Alaska.  We then went up to Jayson's house for dinner.  It was a full day, and we were all exhausted by the time it was over, but we had a great time!
I think I spent a little more time taking in the scenery on this particular trip.  It's hard to beat the beauty of the Great Northwest, and I must say, I am really going to miss it!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day

My adorable little valentines.
Excited about their gifts from Mommy and Daddy.
They all got a little stuffed animal and some chocolate.
My very special valentine was a little busy, and wasn't really up for pictures.  We went out for lunch, and had a fun day as a family!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Long Day

We were out late last night, and Natalie fell asleep in the car on the way home. When I carried her  into the house, I laid her in the recliner while I brought the rest of the stuff in from the car and got the other kids ready for bed. When I came back downstairs, I found her buried under all of the kids' coats, that they had obliviously thrown into the recliner on their way upstairs. It didn't seem to phase her a bit.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Good-bye Dinner

We had a big dinner with my side of the family, so we could say "goodbye" before we move.
It was great to see everyone and visit, but also very sad. Definitely wish we had had more big family get-togethers.
Glad my cousin and her family came, too. It was great to visit, and the kids had a blast playing together.
Little monkey
Fun with uncle Jeremy
Ben found Kaitlyn's umbrella
My mom made three huge cakes.  They were all delicious, of course!
I thought it was humorous that my mom and uncle are making the exact same face in this picture.
My dad's not smiling, but at least I caught him before he ducked away from the camera. Win!
My mom made me this beautiful bouquet of flowers.  I love them.
Good-byes are hard.  I dislike them.  Hopefully it won't be too long before we can make a trip back home to visit.  We all have a really great time when we do get the opportunity to get together!