Tuesday, July 19, 2011

We are still here, but things have changed.

Well I know I have been a horrible blogger, but we are still here and things are going great.
We were in Manti for close to a year, but now we are moving to Provo.
Manti was fantastic!  I loved our ward and Nathan loved the school, but Steve was spending over 14 hours a week in the car commuting to Utah County to teach and this next year would be even worse for commuting because..... (insert drum roll)....
Steve is going to teach at BYU!!!  Yep, he got hired on there for a guy who is playing in the Utah Symphony.  So, Steve is going to be teaching most of his time at BYU with UVU and Snow College on the side.  In other news, he also got the job for the second trombone with the ballet.  He is going to be a very busy man, but at least he has work.  We are hoping something will turn into a contracted full-time position.  There are also rumors that the Utah Symphony will be auditioning for a second trombone vacancy in February.... so who knows what the future will bring.  At least we are in a good position and Steve is making great connections along the way.
So, stay tuned.  There is definitely more to come!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Back in Utah!

Well, there was so much that happened in a short time.  I will have to get back on later and detail everything and add some pictures.  I don't have much time to do it now, but I do want to assure anyone that might read this that we have not fallen off the face of the earth.

End of May-- We decide we are going to move.  We don't know where to yet, but we think it is a good idea since Steve will be done with school soon.  He has applied for jobs (all across the country) and we are waiting to hear back on them. We have decided to move our stuff to Utah and store it for the summer and spend time with family and then move it to wherever we are going.  We help Justin and Allison move to Irving.  They are not so close, but at least they are close enough we can still spend plenty of time with them.

June 6th-- Steve's parents show up at our door to surprise us.  They took a long detour on their way to the Nelson Reunion in Nauvoo to come listen to Steve's lecture recital/dissertation.  They leave after the recital to drive up to Nauvoo, only to drive back down to Texas again for Nathan's baptism and our move.

June 12th-- Steve's and my parents helped us load up the moving trailer along with McKenzie, Justin, Julie, and their kids (who surprised us and showed up for Nathan's baptism), Allison, Justin, and their kids.  Our place was basically empty, except for the few things Steve would need until he moved out with us.

June 13th-- Nathan was baptized and later that evening Steve's parents loaded up their car with Nathan and Amy to drive back to Utah.

June 14th-- Steve's and my anniversary... how was it spent??  With me driving back to Utah with my parents and Lucy while Steve stayed behind to finish work for 21 days!!  Let's hope our anniversary is not spent that way again.

July 3rd-- The 4th of July carnival in Nephi.  The kids had a lot of fun, but they are missing their dad and their toys.

July 4th-- Steve plays with a symphony in Texas and then drives through the night to come meet me and the kids.

July 5th-- We head to Hyrum for a few weeks, hoping to hear back on a job... any job.

End of July-- Steve gets a job at UVU and Snow College.  He is also called by SUU, but he is already under contract with the other schools.  The contract is only for a year, so it will be interesting to see where we are next year... will we still be here or will we  be in another state altogether??  Hopefully somewhere full time with a tenure track position and a salary...benefits would be nice also. :)

August 5-- We sign on for a place to live in Manti, but we can't move in yet because Steve is helping with a band camp for a friend.

Mid August-- We finally move into our own place!!  Just a few days later we drove back to Denton with Steve's parents for his graduation and hooding.  Then a few days later we had the Hunter Family Reunion in Goblin Valley-- where Nathan got lost (scary moment...story to come later)

August 23rd-- Orientation and work starts for Steve

August 24th-- Nathan starts 3rd grade.

September has been busy; Nathan is playing soccer, Steve is working like crazy, we spent a day at Lagoon on Saturday, and more is to come.

It has been great to be back close to family again.  We love that we can finally be a part of all of the stories and adventures instead of hearing them second-hand.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Some Recent Happenings

Well, on the 17th, our little Lucy turned two.  It is hard to believe she is already that old.  It seems like it was just a short time ago that we celebrated her first birthday.  Today she had her two year old check up and she is in the 87%ile for height, the 50%ile for weight, and the 75%ile for head circumference.  The doctor told me that she would probably be around 5 ft. 8 in. when she is fully grown.  She is a tall girl, just like her mommy.  For her birthday, we got her a few little presents (which Amy has seemed to claim as hers, that is until Lucy realizes they were really meant for her), and we had a lunch, cake, and ice cream with Alli, Justin, and their two kiddos.  It was a lot of fun for Lucy.  Earlier in the day, Nathan had a Groove Squad performance (yep it is already that time of year again).  We packed everyone up and headed over to the school where there was some fair-type of thing going on.  Nathan danced well and had a lot of fun.  We didn't get any video of it because the battery on our camera was getting low and we were having trouble zooming in well enough because we were at the back of a crowd.  We did try to get a few pictures.  Next weekend he performs again, so hopefully we will be able to get a video to show everyone then.  There was some fun stuff there for the kids, like some bounce houses.  Well, Lucy spent the morning there with us and then we had her party, so by the time that was over she crashed for a long nap.
Amy even had fun in the bounce house.  Luckily, there weren't too many big kids in there and she was able to have some fun.
They also gave out lots of candy and popcorn at the thing.  The big hit was the ringpops.  Steve was a good guy and gave Lucy one.
When we got back home, Lucy decided to play with the markers while we were distracted.  Luckily they were the washable kind, so her white dress was not completely ruined.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fun Spring Afternoon

Today was a beautiful day. It really seemed perfect. It wasn't too hot (about 81 degrees) and it is not too humid yet (by Texas standards). I have not mowed our backyard in about a week and today I looked back there to see it being overgrown with wildflowers. My girls love this. They like to go out and pick them or bend down to smell them. Nathan also likes to look at them, but more from a scientific viewpoint. He has been studying plants in science at school, so he spent the time back there pointing out which plants had simple leaves and compound leaves. He also tried to name the plants that he knew. Do we have a future botanist on our hands? Who knows... last week he said he was going to be a trombone player like his dad. Before that it was a fireman, then a police officer, then a custodian... He still has a while to decide, so I let him dream and explore.

Nathan showing me some of the leaves he was looking at and telling me about them.

My kids love dandelions when they are at this stage. They call them "wish flowers." Where they got that term from is beyond me, but I think it is cute. They make a wish and try to blow all of the seeds off. Amy has gotten to where she plucks these up wherever she can. She must have a lot of wishes to make.

Thinking of a wish...

Lucy has even gotten in on the action. She finally figured out how to blow the seeds off. The first time Nathan gave her one of the flowers, she stuck it in her mouth. She was not impressed and it was difficult to try to get all of the seeds off of her tongue. Ignore the hair. My girls have gotten to where they will not keep it done. I do brush their hair and make it cute (braids, pigtails, clips, etc.). Sometimes they keep it in, but usually it only lasts a couple of hours.

Nathan observing more of the wildflowers in our backyard. I really do need to mow. Maybe this weekend?

Amy got a scooter for her birthday and she loves to ride it all around our yard. Lucy usually runs after her hoping for a ride.

Nathan showing me some more leaves from a bush back there.

Some iris flowers (these were planted before we moved here). It has been nice each spring to see them bloom. The girls were admiring the flowers and smelling them.

Happenings in Denton

Nathan had district science fair on April 10th. He went and talked with the judges and then the UNT physics team came in and did an awesome presentation for the kids. I was amazed by everything they did. Nathan didn't win, but he did get a pretty big ribbon for making it to district level.
We had a pretty good Easter weekend. On Saturday we dyed eggs. Then later the Easter Bunny came and hid them in our backyard along with some other goodies. Allison and Justin came over with their boys and everyone had fun searching the yard for eggs. Amy and Hyrum were so excited to see the eggs outside of the kids' bedroom window that they climbed out of the window and started grabbing the treats they saw.

Lucy was so excited about the eggs and candy she found. She would get so excited about one thing that she would forget to keep looking through the yard to find more.

Nathan did a great job finding things and letting the littler kids find the easy items. He was happy with his findings.

These were some of the eggs we dyed. Everyone was impressed with Amy's egg (the one in the middle). I am not sure how she made it look that way, but it was really awesome. It looked like a marble egg.

Everyone dying eggs.

During Spring Break, we were not able to go camping. The kids were a bit sad, so Steve set up the tent in their room and let them have a slumber party in there. They had the portable DVD player in there, along with popcorn, and games. I think they may have liked it better than when we actually go camping-- there were no complaints about being too cold.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spiritually Uplifting

I had to share this moment before I forget all about it. Today I had a very spiritually fulfilling day at church. I have a calling in the primary (which is great), but I don't get to sit in and have the great a-ha moments very often because I am in teaching the four year olds and before that it was nursery and before that I was the pianist for the primary and before that I was teaching nursery (not very much adult interaction going on, but I love the kids). Today there was a special stake meeting. Elder Oaks from the Quorum of the Twelve came to Denton to speak to us. There was also the mission president and his wife from the Dallas Fort Worth Mission that spoke, along with a member of the seventy, and the stake president. It was almost two hours of the spiritual enlightenment I was really needing. It was nice to listen to Elder Oaks speak and laugh. He is just a man and he is a character. He joked and then he spoke on serious matters, but he did it with so much love. I could tell he really meant it when he said he loved all of us. Between all of the speakers, there were quite a few funny stories and moments shared (if you want to hear any, you'll have to call and ask because I can't do it justice on a blog). It really was a special opportunity to have those general authorities so close and having special messages to share with us here in Denton, Texas. There has not been a member of the Quorum of the Twelve since 1981 and Elder Oaks said it was time. He had a special message for the youth of the church about having good friends and influences and staying away from those that will bring them down and try to talk them into doing things they know are not right. Another thing he emphasized was not letting those in this area (the evangelicals that protest us and give us a hard time) get to us. He said we know we are Christians and the best we can do to convince those that are against us is to show that we not only say we believe in Christ, but we actually live Christlike lives. He told us not to try to argue or anything like that because it will not get us anywhere. I have had my own personal experiences here in Texas with people that I thought were full of good intentions turning on me and telling me how I was not Christian and how I was dooming myself and my family. It is hard not to get defensive, but now I know I just need to smile and say that I know for myself what I am and I am not going to argue with someone who obviously knows little of my beliefs and change the subject or just walk away.
It has been interesting thinking about this after the meeting. I have to think about those types of encounters, but so do my children. My son, who is in elementary school already has his friends asking him about what church he goes to and what he believes. He has a friend that is atheist and his parents are really pushing him to talk to his friends about it, but my son has a pretty strong testimony for a little guy and he comes home some days and tells me about he told his friend about how Jesus loves all of us and that he knows that he is real and that God does exist. It makes me so proud of him. There are times that I am afraid that someone might say something to shake his testimony (like about how so many churches around here teach that members of our church are not Christian), but I have come to realize that he knows what he believes and he is not afraid to speak up to his friends. I hope he can always feel open to kindly discuss what he believes and why. I also hope that his friends can be a good influence on him. It is crazy to hear what seven and eight year olds discuss at recess. I think my son is ready to be baptized in just a few months.
It was a day that left me with the warm fuzzy feeling and I am hoping it will stay with me for a long time. It is good to know that our church leaders are aware of our situations in all parts of the world and that they do care about us all. They are so full of wisdom and love and today just made me so excited for General Conference coming up and the messages that will be shared with us then.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Many Happenings

I have been such a slacker, but that doesn't mean our lives have been boring.
Steve passed his quals with good compliments from the board who reviewed it and gave him his oral examination. He worked so hard on his two week paper and the hard work paid off. Now he just has his dissertation to complete. He submitted a topic proposal for it and it was approved the first time (This is apparently rare. For everyone we've heard of, it usually takes at least two times). He is on schedule to complete it and present it along with a lecture recital and his defense of it all in early June. He will then be known as Dr. Hunter (as long as his review board likes what he does--which I am sure will not be a problem). In June, Steve has also agreed to do one more round of Collegium for Eugene Corporon and then we will be on our way to.... somewhere. That is the part of the equation we are not sure about yet. Steve has submitted job applications to a few universities that are looking for trombone/low brass professors. Hopefully at least one of them will like what Steve has to offer and invite him in for an interview and a job. :)

I know I shouldn't be getting my hopes up, but he has applied for a job at Dixie State. This is closer to home and family. It would be a wonderful job, so if you have a moment, pray for us and the people who will be reviewing candidates for the job. We are hoping to hear back on some of the jobs in the next couple of months, so I'll keep you posted of any news.
Onto another aspect: Nathan won second place in science fair this year. He was so excited. We are so proud of how hard he worked and how well he did. He will be able to compete in the district level science fair. I don't know exactly when that is, but when it happens, I'm sure Nathan will be excited to attend.
Amy turned four (can you believe it?!) on Feb. 16th. She had a fun day and received some nice things. She had the cake of her dreams (she told me about a month in advance what she wanted)-- funfetti with pink strawberry frosting. The cake did not disappoint her. Justin, Alli, and their two kiddos joined us for the evening to have Amy's birthday dinner. She chose steak (new york steak to be exact), and fresh broccoli (she loves broccoli). Last year she insisted on hotdogs; it looks like she is moving up in her food tastes; let's just hope next year is not too expensive. :)
I turned 29 a few days ago. It is my last year in the twenties and I am hoping to still feel young for a while. Steve had things to do that night, so we didn't do too much, but he did get me Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass (one of my childhood favorites) and a puzzle book. He also got a new game (which is lots of fun, so if any of you are ever around, ask to play it) Carcassone. It seems like a mix of Settlers and Tsuro (two fun games). We have spent too much time playing it together and with Allison and Justin. It's a hit! It won the same award that Ticket to Ride (another fun game) won, so it has to be a good game.

I haven't said much about Lucy, but she is getting so big. She is also a climber, as of late. She has been climbing up on the counters any time I leave her alone for a minute and she is instantly into the cupboards trying to find food to throw down to the dogs. So far I have lost a loaf of bread, hotdog buns, goldfish crackers, and some pringles to the cause. The dogs didn't know what to do with the can of stewed tomatoes or the box of mac and cheese she threw to them. I think they were just glad the can didn't hit them on their heads. I have been trying to convince Lucy that she doesn't need to climb so much by trying to wear her out during the day, but so far-- no luck. I am sure she will outgrow this phase because this is exactly what her brother did at this age. I never thought there could be another kid like he was, but she is following in his footsteps. I hope that means she will be as good of a kid as he is now when she is older (not that she is horrible--she really is a sweetheart). In the meantime, I can look past her mischievousness each time she looks up at me and says, "love you." This is what she told me right before I took the picture below. Except her actions this time were emptying the bottom two shelves on the bookshelf and making a mess on the floor, which she tried to hide by covering it up with a blanket and Nathan's backpack. I have to give her credit for her creativity.
On another note, a while ago, there was a freak snowstorm in Denton. There was record snowfall (and I'm not talking about a couple of inches. I think the weatherman said we got eight inches). Now for Utah, this would not be too big of a deal, but here it shut everything down. Nathan ended up having a five day weekend because of it and he was thrilled. Steve even had work and school off (because he works for UNT and a local high school). The good thing about this is that it gave him all the time he needed to finish his 15 page topic proposal for his dissertation and get it in. Maybe that is why it passed the first time through; he had plenty of time to think about every word.
This last set of pictures shows Amy in the new "princess dress" my mom sent to her. Lucy wanted to get in on the action. Then we had to take a picture of how nice Nathan looked dressed up for church. Ignore the girls' hair. It wasn't done yet. They were super cute when it was fixed, but of course I don't have any pictures of that. Maybe next time.