a tour and a flamingo

Since today's weather was somewhat bearable, we decided to head to downtown Birmingham and go exploring. I printed out this downtown Birmingham walking tour on a travel website to help us find places worth seeing. In a few paragraphs in, it read, "continue walking west on 3rd Avenue North to find some unusual stores" and "you may first notice the old Goodyear Shoe Hospital sign... ask for Rhonda. She can tell you a lot about Birmingham and repair your shoes at the same time." It made me realize that either the travel website is terrible or that downtown Birmingham is pretty mediocre.

 I gave Spencer and Jack a customized walking tour of downtown Birmingham. Interpretation: I sarcastically read facts off of the printed paper while both Spencer and Jack whined the whole time and made me cut the tour short! The latter of my two theories was confirmed - downtown Birmingham isn't that great.
(At least in the daytime with no money to spend and with Spencer and Jack who decided to bag the Civil Rights District at the end! I'm sure that would have at least been interesting!)

And now for some not so super exciting pictures:

We then stopped by the zoo on the way home. Spencer loves that we have Jack as an excuse to get zoo passes this year.

Out of all of the beastly animals at the zoo, our manly stud of a son is absolutely, positively, terrified of flamingoes! FLAMINGOS!!! The kid even has a freaking flamingo censor! Whenever we were in earshot of the flamingo honks he would cry as hard as he cried when he got his shots! It was soooo sad. (And a teensy bit funny. Am I horrible?!)

In Jack's defense, they are pretty freaky/scary/gross looking when you are right up close to them, plus their honk is super loud/annoying, and I am a pretty mean/terrible mother for telling Spencer to move Jack closer to those terrifying birds.

See freaky, right?
So what if my son is scared of pink birds!?


Alabama so far...

What I like about Alabama so far...
  • Trees, vines, scenic freeways, and the road to our apartment
  • Cold showers, fans, and air conditioners
  • Dishwasher!!! (It's been five years)
  • Fireflies and cardinal birds
  • Friendly people and southern accents 

I think I'm going to like it here.


Running trail

While I miss Logan's running trails, I guess I can settle for this.

... I LOVE IT!!! 
Except that I have to keep reminding myself in this humidity that I am running, not swimming. I swear that the the air gets heavier the longer I run. 
Jack loves it too. He makes his squinty-eyed-cheesy-smile whenever we go. And then he conks out.



What if you got thrown into the car every day and had no idea if you would be driving for 5 minutes, one hour, 8 hours, or four whole days! And then you would fall asleep and wake up in an entirely different place and have no idea where you were. I would hate that soooo much. But that's the story of Jack's life, the poor kid. He makes this face every time we put him in his carseat as if to say, "Again?! Really?!!"

Good thing he has Spencer's patient/easy going nature and not my anxious/high strung temperament. He's such a good sport.


Sweet Home Alabama

We maaaaade it!!!!

We left Logan last Wednesday, traveled across 9 states, ate egg McMuffins three mornings in a row, pounded an extra large bag of peanut m&ms, stayed with great friends and family along the way, and got quite the travel/nap schedule going on for Jack. When we pulled into Hoover, AL last Sunday, we were feeling pretty good about ourselves and were excited to move into our apartment the next day. But it turns out, two naive and sheltered Utah kids should never pre-lease an apartment all the way across the country without looking at them first or at least asking a few vital questions...

On Thursday night, we moved into our third (and hopefully final!) apartment that week due to flea infestations, globs of cat hair in carpets, globs of cat hair painted onto floor boards, and cigarette smoke seeping through the walls and into our clothing and onto everything we owned. Plus there was my meltdown/panic/claustrophobia attack. Seriously, Spencer almost pulled the my-wife-is-crazy-and-I-think-she-is-going-to-wig-out-and-stay-insane-forever-if-you-don't-get-us-into-a-livable-apartment card on the management.

I truly don't know what we would have done without the Birmingham LDS Temple President and Matron who are dear friends of my grandparents. We had never met them until Sunday, but they welcomed us into their home and treated us like family. They fed us and they let us borrow their car and they babysat Jack and they took us furniture shopping and they even washed and folded our clothes while we were running errands. In the middle of one of my meltdowns I sobbed, "I juuuust wanna live with the Vankampens foreverrr!!!!" (Maybe I was being a little dramatic, but I wasn't in my right mind, remember?)

But our apartment is wonderful now! I easily overlooked our broken air conditioner and clogged shower drain because we have CLEAN AIR TO BREATH!!! Plus, we earned ourselves a whopping $25 gift card to Outback Steakhouse from the management. (And an upgraded apartment for the price of the flea infested one.) But really, what better way to finish off the worst week ever than with greasy bloomin' onion rings and a delicious steak dinner?!

And some pictures of our journey...


Help me!

Great news! We made it to Alabama! Even greater news! My emotional breakdowns and one hyperventilating panic attack since we have been here are officially over! Or at least I think so...

But more on all of that later.

Did you know that the only thing I wanted for Mother's Day was to watch the new season premier of Sister Wives?! And really, who needs breakfast in bed when there is a new season of Sister Wives to watch? It's like my most favorite guilty pleasure show ever. I would tell you not to judge me, but truly I don't care if you do. The sad thing is, we were on our way from Arkansas to Alabama on Mother's Day day and I missed it. We finally got our internet hooked up last night and I CANNOT FIND SISTER WIVES ONLINE!!!! I am so sad. Does anyone know where I can watch it?! Please, please, please help me!!!


Why I love Logan: Reason 7

      Every summer since I can remember, I visited my Great Grandma Libbie Maughan in Logan. Visiting Grandma Libbie was always a treat. We drove up 400 North past the USU campus and pulled into the driveway of her small red brick house. My cute Grandma Libbie, without fail, would be sitting in her white chair in the driveway, waiting for us to arrive. We would wear her out with all of our Logan traditions: picking up Papa at the Alumni House, stopping at Fredrico’s for pizza, floating toy boats down the creek at Central Park, and cooling off with lemon custard Aggie ice cream. When it was time to leave, grandma would give me a big hug and tell me that she loved me. She would stand by our car and watch and wave to us until we turned the corner. I would watch her until she was out of sight. That image was always special to me because I knew that eventually, that would be my last image of my her. She died my sophomore year of high school. 
      For the past three years, I have lived in that same red brick house that I drove to every summer, my dear Grandma Libbie’s home. I lived there when I first met Spencer and when we dated and when we got engaged. We lived there together as newlyweds and when we brought our sweet baby Jack home from the hospital. We laughed there and stressed there and cried there and prayed there and worked there and loved there and rejoiced there and grew together there. 
     We moved today. When we pulled out of the driveway, Grandma Libbie was not there to watch and wave to us as we turned the corner like before, but I could feel her love. I said a prayer of gratitude for our beautiful first home, for Grandma Libbie, for Logan, and for our wonderful beginnings. 
     Now on to the next chapter... 

Reason #7 why I love Logan: Grandma Libbie's home


He graduated!

Go Spencer!!!

We had a fun and crazy weekend packing, graduating, and spending time with family. Our house is a disaster, our junk is scattered in piles and in boxes, and I am not the most pleasant person to be around. The only reason that I have time to blog is because I have perfected typing with one hand while nursing.

We will be spending this week in Logan, Kaysville, Denver, Wichita, Little Rock, and Birmingham. Wish Spencer luck driving across the country with a stressed out, grouchy wife and a 5-month old!


Why I Love Logan: Reason 6

The only thing that could make up for an orange carpeted kitchen is this:

 Reason #6 why I love Logan: My view from my kitchen and living room windows

P.S. Reason 5reason 4reason 3reason 2reason 1


Why I love Logan: Reason 5

Basketball games, football games, True Aggie nights, the Scottsman, Wild Bill, Scottsman dogs, Aggie Ice Cream, Week of Welcome, homecoming week, sledding down Old Main Hill, grocery carting and longboarding and mattressing (?) down Old Main Hill, Ambassador retreats at Bear Lake, Ambassador talent shows, recruiting at Taylorsville high and at Provo high and at East High and in Arizona, campus tours, track meets, Elementary Ed program, Brother Maughan's and Brother Jacob's institute classes, grandparent visits, walking around campus, studying on the Quad, and graduation.

I love Utah State a whole lot.

Reason #5 why I love Logan and the reason that brought me here: Utah State and all things Aggie!

P.S. Reason 4, reason 3, reason 2, reason 1