Thursday, August 28, 2008

We’re getting there

Every day we unpack more boxes. Luckily, since it’s a three day weekend my office is closing at 1 tomorrow, which means that I will have all afternoon to unpack while Metti is there with Ella. It’s hard to unpack with Ella around because suddenly everything becomes her new toy.

Last night I got to try out our new washer and dryer! I love to do laundry. It gives me such a feeling of accomplishment because you can actually see the results of your labor. And I especially love to fold laundry! It’s my therapy…and I’m good at it. I can fold all of Joe’s t-shirts and in the end they will all be folded neatly and the exact same size. Believe it or not I have never worked in a clothing store. Our new washer and dryer are the high efficiency kind, so I was interested to see how well they work. I watched it for the first 10 minutes because I was convinced that there wasn’t enough water. But I waited until the end to actually see how clean they were. Apparently there was enough water because they were super clean! And the dryer dried the clothes in half the time! I am a very happy owner. The best part is that the washer has a “sanitize” setting so we can clean all of Ella’s clothes on that. Apparently it’s supposed to kill all the germs. My coworker says that it takes about 2 hours to run, which is why Ella’s clothes will be the only thing being washed on that cycle.

The other good news is that it’s raining today. Typically I am not a fan of the rain, but now that we have new yard with grass seed, I am so glad that it’s raining and we don’t have to water the lawn. We already have some new grass sprouting up!

Ella loves her new digs. She especially loves the basement that is all hers. It has nice new carpet that has never had shoes on it (except when we were moving in), and everything down there is kid friendly, so nothing is breakable. Ella’s toys are everywhere, which is good in the sense that they are all consolidated to one area and not all over the rest of the house. And I think that she likes that she can go pretty much anywhere down there and not hear the word “no” (when she is told no she promptly yells back “NO!”).

Moving really makes you realize how much stuff you have. We have way more stuff than we actually need, but I just can’t bear to part with it! I feel like we need to keep all of Ella’s baby stuff “just in case.” And I can’t bear to get rid of my Wonder Woman Barbie or my lava lamp! Those will be collector’s items someday! Joe won’t even discuss getting rid of his baseballs from when he was in little league, and don’t even get me started on all the books we have piled in our place! I know that someday Ella will love looking through all of this stuff, but for now it seems to just get in the way.

Monday, August 25, 2008

We’re moved in…sort of

Technically, all of our stuff is in the new place. Well, everything except for one minor necessity…my clothes! We stayed the night at Becky’s house for the past two nights (due to us having our tub redone and we didn’t want to breathe chemicals all night), so this morning I took a shower and got ready at Becky’s house, then, while still wearing my pajamas, I took Ella and Joe to the new place, then I went back to the old place to get dressed, then back to the new place to get my shoes and jewelry. I made it to work and I guess I look mostly put together. My pants are wrinkled (they were in the middle of the floor in a ball) and the only black socks I could find were Mickey Mouse. As long as I’m sitting at my desk I look fine.

As far as the new house goes, the living room is a disaster! I worked really hard last night to get Ella’s room in order. And the only furniture we have in the master bedroom is a bed, two end tables and a hamper, so that’s not looking too bad. Joe is working all day to get the new and improved Man’s Room all set up. Hopefully this will all go by very quickly and we’ll have the house set up in no time!

Tonight will be the first night for Ella in her new, neon green room. It does look more muted with all her stuff in there. And it will be even better when I get everything on the walls. Tonight I am going to work very hard at getting the Elvis bathroom all set up. We’ll see how much progress I make with Dancerella all to myself and Joe away at school.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Moving Day

We currently have two houses, both of which are in complete shambles! One is full of boxes that need to be unpacked, and the other is full of stuff that needs to be put in boxes. Luckily our two homes are only about 2 blocks apart, so all week Joe has been taking van loads of stuff to the new place. Almost the entire kitchen is over there now, and all of the decorations in the living room.

Tomorrow is the main moving day. We have friends coming over and a truck borrowed to move all the big furniture. According to Joe we have to be done by 5:00 pm so that he can go to his NFL Fantasy Football draft. Of course he couldn’t miss that! Hopefully we’ll be done by 5:00 and Ella and I will be able to work on unpacking boxes all night.

When I was in 7th grade my family moved across town. I remember my mom saying that a move across the country was easier than a move across town. This is my 3rd move in town (all within a 2 mile radius), and I have to say that I agree with her. With all my moves in Alexandria I have waited until the last minute to pack (mainly because I didn’t want to waste vacation days just to pack). All of them have been done incrementally, one load here, another load there, come back in a few days to clean the old place, etc. And all of them have seemed to last forever! I think that moving to a new town would be easier. You pack everything up and load it onto a truck, usually done in one day. You get to your destination and take everything off of the truck and start to unpack. It sounds better to me.

Who knows when the computer will be set up, so this may be my last post for several days. Hopefully we’ll be quick in getting things set up so that we don’t live in clutter for months on end.

Thanks to everyone for your well wishes. Joe seemed to skip the illness altogether. I am finally getting my voice back, but I still have the nagging cough, and Ella has a runny nose. Other than that we’re all feeling much better.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Unfortunately the entire Murray household is now sick. When we were on the plane from Casper to Chicago there was a baby a couple of rows behind us that was coughing the entire flight. In my gut I knew that we’d all get what he had, and sure enough we have. I stayed home from work today with a cough, sore throat and fever. Then tonight Ella started acting like she didn’t feel well and she wasn’t eating very much. I gave her some Tylenol and that seems to have helped. And poor Joe is starting to feel pretty cruddy too. It’s bad enough when one person is sick, but it’s even worse when the whole family has it. I just hope Metti doesn’t get it too.

I mentioned in my last post that Ella has become even clingier to Joe. Well, that hasn’t lightened up at all. In fact, now when Joe comes home she lifts up her arms for him to pick her up, then she gives him a big kiss. It’s so cute! And she has started feeding Joe all sorts of things like strawberries, carrots and pretty much anything she might be having for dinner. She is taking this daddy’s girl thing to a whole new level.

Ok, I’m off to bed. My 3 ½ hour nap this afternoon is wearing off.

Monday, August 18, 2008

We’re Baaaack!

It was a great trip! Thursday night we went to the Bar J Chuckwagon and saw their cowboy show. If you’re ever in Jackson Hole this is a must see! Friday we packed up and headed back to Casper to get ready for our early morning departure on Saturday. We had so much fun on the Murrgrubander Vacation (that’s Murray, Grubbs and Alexander all combined).

We have added pictures from our trip (just for you Becky) so you can see how much fun we all had and so you can see the beautiful mountains and water. For some reason our camera started acting up, so we have a lot of pink skies and weird colors.

We got home Saturday afternoon and headed straight to our new house. While we were gone we had painters come in and paint the main floor. We did all the bedrooms and basement. So far Ella’s room is Honeydew green…correction - NEON GREEN!!! It is so bright! We contemplated painting over it, but we decided that all of the pink in her room should balance it out. Our bedroom is yellow. I was afraid we would have a repeat of the green, so we went with a very light yellow. Unfortunately it wouldn’t cover up the old paint in the room. 3 coats later it is finished. Joe’s mans room is a toffee color tan. I hated it at first, but its kind of grown on me. Next are the bathrooms…and one of those will be purple! If I can’t have a pink room, I’ll take the next best thing.

The main level is called Macadamia (tan) and the basement is a very light tan. We got the new carpet for the basement installed this morning and it looks great. The place is now move-in ready. We just need to hang the screen door and new French doors, and fix the tub in Ella’s bathroom. Other than that we are all set. Tomorrow we get the new stove and microwave. I’ll be sure and have pictures up as soon as everything is finished.

We also had a landscaper come over while we were in WY. The front of the house had been overtaken with English Ivy, and unfortunately bugs and other critters made the ivy their home. The backyard hadn’t been mowed in at least 2 years and was covered in weeds. He cleaned everything out and the yard looks beautiful! We bought our first hose and sprinkler this afternoon and we are very excited to water the grass. Hopefully by next summer Ella will have a nice yard to play in.

In recent Ella news, she no longer wants to be held. She always wants to be down and walking while holding our hands. When she does this she repeats over and over “Go! Go! Go!” It is so cute! She has also learned the word “No.” I guess she hears it a lot. When we tell her no she repeats it and shakes her head. Ella’s clinginess to her dad has also been extremely escalated. She used to whimper when Joe left the room. Now it’s a full on cry, complete with crocodile tears. As Joe says, it’s a blessing and a curse.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Boots, Chaps and Cowboy Hats

So far things are going great in Wyoming. Ella had a bit of a melt down on the drive from Casper to Jackson, and then again from Jackson to Old Faithful. But other than that she’s been great. And the Wyoming air seems to be doing well for her skin. It’s cool and dry, which we hear is good for EB skin.

We arrived in Casper late Saturday night. Joe and I were exhausted from the long day, but Ella slept the entire flight from Chicago to Casper, so she was ready to party. By the way, she did great on both flights. She played on the first flight and slept on the second. So we got to Casper and Gi Gi had a nice soft blanket laid out for Ella with toys galore! She loved exploring the new toys, and it didn’t take her too long to discover the one item in Gi Gi and Paw Paw’s house that all kids love…the apple barrel. All kids, including me when I was little, love the apple barrel. The stand at the barrel and throw all the apples out, then pick them up off the ground and put them back. It took Ella all of 5 minutes before she spotted the barrel and was throwing apples out.

Sunday we went to Boyd Avenue Baptist Church with Gi Gi and Paw Paw. It is a wonderful church with a lot of people who have faithfully prayed for Ella and sent us hundreds of encouraging notes. It was wonderful to be able to thank them in person for all their prayers.

We arrived in Jackson Monday afternoon. On the way we stopped in Dubois for a picnic. Joe, being the nice east coast boy he is, kept calling it Doo bwah, like the French pronunciation. While that is technically the correct way to say it, here in Wyoming we say Doo boys. Before Dubois Ella slept the entire way. After Dubois came the melt down. She practically screamed the entire way to Jackson.

Tuesday we spent all day in Yellowstone. It is still as beautiful as it was the last time I was here. We spent most of our time at Old Faithful having a picnic, walking around and watching Old Faithful go off.

Wednesday morning was the relaxing day. We rested all morning, then went into Jackson Hole for lunch and to walk around the town. While there we got Joe and Wyoming hat and shirt. He already has both, but it was time for new ones. We also got Ella a video of Wyoming bears, and a pair of cowboy boot slippers. They are very soft and fit easily on her feet. Wednesday night we introduced Joe and Ella, along with Casey, Christy and Ginny, to the rodeo. They saw real cowboys riding bulls, riding bucking broncos, roping calf, and cowgirls barrel racing. Joe and Ella even got up close and personal with Gus, the wonderbull. I tried to explain what was going on the best way I could. Even though I’m from Wyoming, I’m a city girl and I didn’t do any rodeoing while I was growing up. We went to the rodeo, and I had friends that participated in rodeos, but that’s as close as I got. Joe said that the rodeo was his favorite thing so far. We met up with Grammy Janet and a couple of her friends while we were there. I think everyone had a great time.

Today we went to the Craig Thomas Visitors Center in Grand Teton National Park, then went to String Lake right at the base of the Grand Tetons. We had a nice picnic where Ella finally decided that she wanted to check out this stuff on the ground. I put her on the blanket and turned my back for one second. The next thing I knew Ella was crawling through the dirt, her hands and pants covered. She got her leg stockings, socks, and pants filthy! And her little hands were covered in dirt and left a nice hand print on the blanket for Gi Gi.

Tonight is dinner at the Bar J Chuckwagon. This was my request for the trip. We used to go every year when I was a kid, and I really wanted Joe to see the show. I know he’ll love it as much as I do.

Tomorrow we head back to Casper and Saturday is the flight back to Virginia. It’s been a great trip so far!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Wyoming or Bust!

Tomorrow we head out to the great state of Wyoming. The Equality State, where men are men, and women are as tough as men. I’ve lived in the East for almost 10 years, but no matter how long I am out here, my heart will always be in the west. There is something about the western way of life. The crisp air, the mountains…ahhh, the mountains (and they are REAL mountains, not those hills out here that they call mountains), the traffic (because there isn’t any), and of course the wonderful people!

I don’t think I truly appreciated all Wyoming has to offer until I left. When I was a kid I loved visiting the big city and getting out to see new and exciting places. Now, as an adult and mom, I completely understand why people move there. I don’t want to sound ungrateful. I love the east. If I didn’t I wouldn’t have stayed out here for so long. And the truth is we don’t have any plans to move back out west anytime soon. But there is just something about the west, and Wyoming in particular. It you’ve never been out there I strongly suggest you go.

We leave tomorrow for a weekend in my hometown of Casper, then head out to Jackson Hole for the week. In Jackson we will meet up our friends Casey and Christy and their daughter Ginny, and later in the week we will be joined by Joe’s mom and a couple of her friends. This will be Ella’s first time to Wyoming (I have to remember to pack her Wyoming onesie, and yes, she will be getting a cowboy hat) and Joe’s first time to Jackson Hole, so I’m excited to show them the sights. The agenda includes a rodeo (Joe has no idea what he’s in for), Old Faithful and much much more. I think my dad is even bringing some good Wyoming wild game for dinner one night. Both Casey and Joe got their first deer this year, so I know they will appreciate the wild game. It will be a lot of fun and we are really looking forward to the trip.

I am not, however, looking forward to flying with Ella. We’ve flow with her before, but not on a very tiny prop plane, which is what we’ll be on for about half the trip. Hopefully she’ll just sleep the entire way. That would be wonderful! And I’ll bring lots of books and toys to keep her occupied. I would appreciate your prayers for us while we’re traveling.

I doubt I’ll have the opportunity to post while we’re there, so this may be it for awhile. I’ll be sure and give a detailed account of our trip when we return.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

3 Years!

3 years ago today Joe and I tied the knot. The time has passed so quickly. For those of you who don’t know us, it all began on a blind date. My friend Sara told me that she met this guy that I needed to meet. His name was Joe and he went to church…and not just on Christmas and Easter, but he went every Sunday. We met at a dinner party thrown by Sara, and I knew this might work out when we played Trivial Pursuit Pop Culture Edition and Joe and I (on the same team) first, got yelled at for talking and not paying attention to the game; then, we lost…really bad! I am completely out of touch with pop culture and I was thankful to know that Joe was out of touch with pop culture too. The night was full of a lot of fun and great conversation.

My friends who were there say that it was love at first sight. They say that you could see the sparks flying from the first ‘hello.’ I don’t think so. I didn’t leave the dinner completely smitten with Joe and head over heels in love. However, when I got in my car and drove home, I knew that I had just met the man I was going to marry. It was very matter-of-fact, not all romantic like in the movies. Although I did think he was the cutest guy I had ever seen and had the greatest smile! That was August 3, 2004. Exactly 1 year and 3 days later we were married.

We had the best wedding in the history of weddings! The ceremony took place at our church, First Baptist Church of Alexandria, VA and the reception was down the street at the Embassy Suites in Old Town. We took a horse drawn carriage from the church to the reception and it was so much fun because the entire way people were honking and waiving at us. At the reception almost everyone was out on the dance floor getting their boogie on! My uncle even danced to ZZ Top! It was a great party.

A lot has happened in 3 years and I am so glad that I’ve had Joe by my side through the good, the bad and the ugly. I look forward to many many more years together.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

More exciting news!

You are now reading the blog of homeowners!!! After 7 months of looking…yes, 7 MONTHS, we finally found a great townhouse, and Friday afternoon we signed the paperwork. After it was all over Joe and I could hardly believe it!

Throughout the process, Joe and I had some very specific desires, and it was pretty evident that we weren’t going to get any of them. But God continues to provide and we got a house that meets all of our needs AND all of our desires. The first biggie for me was that I wanted someplace close to my office. For 5 years I commuted 1 hour each way to work, spending 10 hours a week in traffic! Now that I have a 1.1 mile commute I wasn’t too eager to give that up. I am so excited that the new place is about 2 blocks from where we currently live, so now my commute is just 1 mile. It’s a 3 bedroom with 2 full bathrooms and 2 half bathrooms, a huge living room/dining room and a very nice kitchen. It also has a big finished basement. It’s over double the size of where we live now, so we are going to be able to spread out and Ella will have room to roam. She’ll even have a nice big backyard to play in.

We feel so fortunate to have this new place! It’s a foreclosure, so it needs a bit of work, but all in all it’s a nice house that just needs some TLC. Tonight we went and bought the paint for Ella’s room. It’s going to be green…actually it’s “honeydew,” which will go perfect with her pink toile bedspread.

A funny side note, Joe’s lucky number is 7. It is the number he tries to get for softball and baseball, it is used in his email address, and he even has a pocket knife that has #7 engraved on it. The number 7 is also one of the most important and frequently used numbers in the bible. Well, this house was the 7th offer we made. Needless to say we were pretty frustrated by the time this offer came around and I was ready to throw in the towel, but we both think it is interesting how #7 is the one that actually came through. And it came through in the 7th month of us looking. God really does have a sense of humor.

As for an Ella, she isn’t walking yet, but she will stand at the ottoman and stare out with a look on her face that says “I really want to walk out there but I don’t know if I can do it.” We’ll see how brave she gets over the next couple of weeks. Hopefully we’ll have a walker soon.