Saturday, November 30, 2013

Holiday Festivities

This last week, we celebrated Thanksgiving...just like the rest of you.  It has been such an eventful week, it is becoming all a blur, so I thought I'd write everything down before I forget!
We arrived in Utah one week ago, after leaving Orange County on Friday and spent the night in St. George.  We left the hotel early in the morning in time for me to get to a bridal shower in Bountiful.  My roommate, Maggie, is getting married in December and I won't be able to make the wedding so I wanted to make the shower.  It was so fun to see her, Mary and Liz (who I also lived with).  I defintely looked like I had just drove up ten hours!!

The next few days we hung out with my family and then Josh's parents arrived in Utah Tuesday.  We hung out with them all day and again on Wednesday.  We went bowling, walked on BYU and saw all the changes they have made to campus, ate yummy food, and relaxed. 
Attempt to take a picture in our first place together!
Eating Chick-fil-A at the Cougareat!
Bowling at BYU!
Wednesday night, we had a house full of people up at my parent's place.  Josh's family, Tyler's family, Alma, Audrey and Cabre, and Jim and Janice's family.  We all sat around visiting and ate pizza.  It was such a fun night to have everyone together!
My parents with both son-in-law's parents (make sense?)
Thursday, we had Paige and Darren's family over as well as the Whitmores.  I took most pictures with my camera (not my phone) and I don't have the capability to upload them right now, so all the pictures I am posting are strictly from my phone.  Sorry.  It was, again, a lot of fun and a big success!

Last minute grocery shopping on Thanksgiving.  Sorry Wal-Mart employees. 

I was in charge of decorations...centerpiece 1
Another centerpiece
Thanksgiving ended with some Black Friday shopping at 6 pm at Wal-Mart.  I couldn't believe the crowds.  Eve, Annie and I went.  We got seperated, found a couple great deals, and left quick.  Annie got in line for us which saved us a ton of time.  Up next....Target.  Another mad house!  We had specific things we needed to get for my mom.  It's always fun just seeing the crowds and crazy people.  The next morning was really sad, when Josh left for his long car ride across the country.  I hated that he was driving by himself, but he eventually made it and now is on his way to Louisville, KY to stay at his sister's house.  He starts training in Atlanta on Monday. 

Going for a ride with Gracee in the backyard

Leftovers with Grandpa
 Then at 8 am,  Tahnee and I ran to the outlets and Old Navy for some Black Friday shopping.  The outlets weren't too bad, but Old Navy was packed!!   Last night, we met up with Tyler's family and went to City Creek and then over to Temple Square to see the lights.  It was such a fun night.  There were a million people there!  It was so festive and really put everyone in the holiday spirit.  It was gorgeous and we were able to sneak in some last minute Black Friday shopping ;)

I have three more weeks in Utah and I'm sure a lot of blogging to do!!

Monday, November 18, 2013

In The Middle of Moving....

I went to Utah for five days!  I know there are some of you who thought I was crazy, but it was actually so fun and such a nice break (since I've been packing gradually for a while).  Charlotte and I had this trip planned since before we would be living in Utah for close to a month while Josh started work.  My parents wanted to see us one more time before we left.  Well, lucky them, get us a lot longer than that!!  I arrived last Monday night and came home Friday night.  I don't like being gone on the weekends away from Josh.  My mom and I shopped (house stuff) and I never made it to the outlets once!  I found that to be quite the accomplishment ;)  I was able to get together with some cousins and Josh's sister, Meg, do a craft and chit-chat.  It's always fun to see them.  We ate at the yummy Utah places (i.e. Kneaders, Shirley's, Cafe Rio (I know I have it here)).  Charlotte was in HEAVEN with BoBo the dog and all the kids.  She loved having other little people to play with.  She loved running around outside in the backyard.  One day, I hope to have that much space in a backyard for her, but soon as we move to Charlotte, I am on the prowl for a puppy to add to our family!  I didn't take the stroller to Utah, and it was so fun to have Charlotte walk through the stores and play with Grandma while all the other kids are in school everyday.  She loves her grandma and wants to be with her more than me! It will be fun to be with everyone before we make the trek back east/south.  


Friday, November 8, 2013

Shannon's Baby Shower

Some of the things I am really going to miss are going to family get togethers.  The Neilson family is big and it's just getting bigger.  I feel like I am going to miss out on the upcoming additions and it makes me sad.  Thank goodness for blogs and other forms of social media and technology to keep me connected to my ever so growing family!  Last night was one of those gatherings that I just love.  Once again, Desiree wowed us all and put together another great baby shower!  It's so fun to get with my cousins and catch up on each others lives.  Even though we see each other often, we all are very busy with our own lives that it takes these parties to get all caught up!  It was so nice of Kaitlyn to play with Charlotte and even make her a bow! I wish I would have taken more pictures but I wasn't the "designated photographer" this time so I didn't really think of it.  We are excited for Rob and Shannon and ANOTHER baby!!
Aunt Jody, Patrice, Kaitlyn, Shannon, Grandma Connie, and Abby
Bow Bar.  Such a great idea!!
Charlotte wearing the bow that Kaitlyn made for her!
I didn't even notice, but Charlotte and I were matching.  It happens.
Melissa and Charlotte
Nicole and Patrice
Opening gifts.  That was my gift.  Shannon received some great gifts from everyone with adorable gift bags.  (I'm a bag hoarder.)
Pregnant cousins

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

BIG Changes are Happening SOON

Many of you have probably heard through the grapevine, or from me, that we are MOVING!  And not just down the street or into a bigger apartment, but ACROSS THE COUNTRY!!  We are moving to Charlotte, North Carolina!  And we couldn't be more excited!  
Let me start from the beginning.  We all know that Orange County is a very expensive place to live.  I'm an open book (shocker!) and paying over $1600/month in RENT is just absurd!  It just made Josh cringe each month he had to write that rent check.  If we are going to spend that much, we want a big house and have something to show for it.  There are several other reasons that have swayed our decision to look outside of CA to live long-term.  You have to understand, when we originally decided on OC, we were planning on dual income and no children.  Obviously, plans change.  By the time we knew we were having Charlotte, it was too late and Josh had already accepted a position in the Irvine office.  
Josh has grown up all over the east coast and his family enjoyed their time in North Carolina very much.  Once Josh through out the idea of Charlotte, I started researching the heck out of the city.  I was looking into schools, real estate, cost of living and everything else you can think of.  I had my days...some days I was totally on board and other days there was no way I was moving across the country where I didn't know anybody!  Trust me, it wasn't an easy decision, but I knew deep down, it would be best for our family.
Josh finally applied at two of the Big 4 Charlotte offices on a Sunday night.  The next morning, as he is getting ready for work, PWC called him and talked to him for about 20 minutes.  He got off the phone with a big smile on his face and said, "well, they're interested!"  I couldn't believe it.  Since then, PWC had been in communication with him constantly.  I made it very clear that when it came time to fly out for an interview, I would be going as well.  And that's just what happened!
Recently, Josh and I left Charlotte with my grandparents and aunt Robyn, and took the red-eye out to Charlotte, NC.  We arrived at 6:30 am, picked up our rental car and went straight to the hotel.  Josh had enough time to shower, get dressed and walk to his interview by 8:15 am.  I tried sleeping but the walls were so thin, that I could hear everything going on in the hallway.  Oh well.  I made sure we had a plan of where we were going and what houses we were going to look at.  Josh got back about three hours later and had a great experience!  He met several nice people, including a fellow BYU alum!  Who would have thought.  As we drove around the Charlotte metro, I couldn't believe how clean the city was and how easy it was to drive in.  Compared to other big cities I've been to (NYC, Boston, LA), it was perfect!  Everywhere we went the trees were so luscious, the shopping centers were well taken care of, and there were adorable little downtowns.  It exceeded my expectations!  I don't have one negative thing to say about the place.  We even went to our potential ward on Sunday before heading out and it was 23 minutes away!!!  That's far, but that's how it is everywhere besides the west (from what I hear).  I am so glad I went on this quick, weekend trip.  It got me 100% on board and I loved everything I saw!!!
What is our plan? Josh has to start work on December 2.  Yes, it's fast! We are planning to leave the weekend before Thanksgiving.  We will drive to Utah and Josh will leave Charlotte and me there.  (I don't want to think about it.) He will drive the rest of the way to North Carolina to start work on Monday.  Until Christmas, Josh will be jumping around between NC and Atlanta for training, so we thought it would be best if I stayed on the west.  He will come back for Christmas and then we will head to Connecticut to spend the holidays with the Whitmores and then to Charlotte to start the next chapter of our lives!

Halloween 2013

I just realized that I haven't posted about Charlotte's first Trick-or-Treating!  It was so much more fun than I thought it would be!  We went over to Ladera Ranch (Josh's idea) and found some great decorated homes!  I can't believe how into it people get!  Josh and I aren't big Halloween people.  We are realizing with children, we need to maybe do a family costume.  Maybe next year.  Charlotte was a generic princess for Halloween (Costume was $10.49 at Old Navy).  I originially bought it for dress-up (because she cares) but I thought, why not have her wear it for Halloween?!  Every house we went to, she knocked on the door and wanted to hold her pink pumpkin. 
*Please excuse the horrible night photos from the phone.
  Halloween by day....

Halloween by night...
And she's off!

Time to go home

After-candy bath