Friday, July 24, 2009


Our household goods have arrived! And they brought some "houseguests" we weren't expecting.

Lately a couple of my friends had run-ins with centipedes, and I laughed at them (sympathetically, of course) but secretly felt supremely relieved my own home has been 100% bug free except for one fruit fly during the past month. When the movers dropped off our boxes late Wednesday night, Jerry and I noticed it all seemed grungy looking, but I didn't seriously consider the bug factor until the next morning. Within 5 minutes of waking, I had to cross paths with not one, but TWO centipedes just to get to the bathroom. Thankfully Jerry is a big boy who could handle those particular critters for me, but then he had to leave for work and I was left to face the bug mania all on my own.

I felt so grossed out, I sanitized everything I unpacked, resulting in 6 loads of laundry and about the same amount of dishwasher loads getting run ( I lost count). I put everything in the dishwasher, by the way--not just dishes. It sanitized bathroom items, baby toys, etc. Great invention, dishwashers.

Anyway I survived, with only a mosquito bite, and let's just all pray for the bugs to gradually disappear as we get rid of the boxes. (more than half done unpacking already--hooray!)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Seriously so blessed WINNER!!

Jerry always laughs at my appreciation for the witty, satirical blog seriouslysoblessed. (though I know that secretly he, too, finds at least parts of it amusing)...Anyway. There are regular giveaways on the blog, and I always enter my name for the random prize drawing, and then later help Jerry enter HIS name, because there is one entry allowed per person.

Out of 1,555 entries, and only about a dozen winners, guess who just won a glorious prize in this past week's giveaway...!?


Oh, I find it hilarious and wonderful. Our winner is receiving a how-to-/tips book for first time home buyers, and a $50 giftcard to Amazon. (Thanks to our sponsor Liahona Realtors). It was pretty special to get a personalized email from TAMN herself, in which she noted the uncanny resemblance of our name to hers.

Yesterday evening in our scripture study, we came across a verse where Joseph Smith receives $50 from a kind benefactor, Martin Harris. It got me thinking how there are no coincidences in life, and Joseph's $50 clearly came from the Lord, albeit through Martin Harris. Is it blasphemous for me to decide this random drawing prize for Jerry is actually coming to him from Heavenly Father? Here's my reasoning: in trying to save all the money we can these days (the goal is to completely pay off our student loans by the time Little Tam arrives), Jerry told me he wants nothing for his birthday next month except a home-made birthday cake from his loving wife's hands. I acquiesced because I knew there was no talking him out of a sacrifice once he has his heart set on making it. But now that an Amazon giftcard is coming our way, we decided I could use it to pick out a birthday gift to surprise Jerry when his big day rolls around. Granted, he did stipulate I have to pick out something practical for him, something he needs already, and then he even shrugged, "spend it on yourself or the baby if you see something either of you need instead." Crazyface, of COURSE I am using the giftcard for my sweetheart only! And I will make a tag for the gift I choose which says, "Happy Birthday, From Heavenly Father."

Monday, July 20, 2009

Apricot Jam

My little brother (age 14) has reportedly been canning apricot jam. I have no doubt the project was entirely of his own initiative, as he did it whilst our mother was out of town last week. I am interested to try some.

In the meantime, I decided to spread store-bought apricot jam with my peanut butter sandwich for lunch today. Washed it down with swigs of cold milk. It was quite agreeable.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Random Assortment

Got a fun update from our Hong Kong fam...Here is Little's Ye Ye, grandad, (in the white shirt) playing his yiwoo (sort of a Chinese violin). He is part of a group that performs regularly and we are proud of him!

Here is Little's Ye-Ye again and Ma Ma (grandma, pronounced with different tone than Ma Ma, mother) on an outing to "The Peak." Aren't they so cute. We missed the Peak during our trip to HK last year, so it will be a must-see for the next time we go.

Now here's where we get really random:
Our friendly ward Polynesians worked the grill AND dj'd for our ward picnic this past weekend. Oh, how we love our new ward.

Here we are enjoying said picnic in the beautiful New England forest. There is so much greenery here, as you may note from the trees in the far background. We are looking forward to these trees turning gorgeous fall colors around the time Little Tam makes his big debut.

And speaking of Little, we finally chose a hospital birthing center! Weeks of research and stat comparisons later, we took the tour at one center yesterday that just "felt right." We have yet to narrow down a caregiver (doctor or nurse midwife) but it is good to have part of the goal accomplished. This birthing center has accomodations for a water birth, which we had not previously considered but now are curious to look into. Has anybody had a good experience with it they would like to share? Or do you know a good reference point to start researching it? (feel free to email or comment in the general box about it).

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Guess Who's Home

Well, Jerry is home of course, as of this past weekend. He said it feels strangely familiar to be back in our new apartment--not quite like coming "home" yet because he had only lived there one week before leaving for the California trip.

But anyway, my current joy also stems from the fact that our car is home as well! It got dropped off this afternoon, and nearly took out a powerline or two in the process. Fun to watch (though not so fun to be the driver of the trailer, I'm sure). I met him out on the main street so he didn't have to try to turn the corners into our condo parking area.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Business as Usual

One of the things I love about Jerry is his ability to weave his playful nature into whatever work he does. This guy has a talent for laughing and bringing joy to himself and, though his time in Southern Cal. this week is technically a "business trip," it doesn't surprise me to find my sweetheart taking time to meet up with old friends and enjoy himself. Jonathan (pictured)was one of the witnesses at our temple sealing, and is somebody Jerry truly admires. The two of them, along with Jonathan's wife Sunny, reportedly had a great time Monday evening with dinner and fireworks at Disney, plus dessert at the Cheesecake factory. Wish I could be there! But it does my heart good to see Jerry having a nice time anyway.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

24 Week Belly

Since Jerry is out of town this week, the sisters in my new ward have done great keeping my lonelies at bay. Today I ran errands with the Relief Society president, and yesterday I shopped at the mall with a new friend who is also expecting a baby soon. We went to Kiddie Kandids, where I got an 8x10 sheet of my latest belly for just $2.00! Not sure if it violates some kind of copyright to post this photo, but the store did send me a link with the instruction: "Share your photos with friends and family online." So here we go. Yay for officially looking pregnant. Also note how I have learned to make the humidity do good things to my hair. Thank you. Thank you.

Little Tam jumps around inside my belly all the time now, and I keep telling Jerry, "Look! Did you see my belly move? Feel it." But then Little gets performance anxiety and stops moving suddenly, and becomes very still for his Daddy. So Jerry hasn't seen or felt the movements yet. Soon, I'm sure.

Monday, July 6, 2009

America the Beautiful

Finally reporting on the Steele Family Rodeo 2009, held at Uncle Mark & Aunt Michelle's farm. We are so glad we had time to attend right before moving far away from all this Western stuff.

Though the rodeo happened a couple weeks ago, this video of my little brother Justin doing opening ceremonies for it seemed appropriate to post as our tribute to the 4th of July. As a side note, for our Independence Day celebrations here in Massachusetts, we got invited to spend the evening with another young couple in our ward. They took us to a nearby park where we ate food from outdoor vendors (pierogies and Chinese!) and then watched the fireworks. I felt paranoid about all the cigarette smoke the baby and I were inhaling, but overall had a nice time.

More rodeo shots...pretty self explanatory, but I cannot help making comments (sorry). Cute Jerry is getting more and more confident on a horse. The video with people holding water cups is an equestrian game. The object: to keep as much water in the cup as possible while moving the horse through various gaits. My sister's husband Matthew made a good attempt but his horse wasn't the most cooperative, as the video illustrates.

And here is Matthew again, providing a second round of brave entertainment.Jerry and I, on the other hand, opted to spend most of our time with the tamer side of the rodeo. We volunteered to supervise the petting zoo for an hour.

Friday, July 3, 2009

"Yep! I'm a Boy"

We had a lot of fun in the weeks preceding our move, but didn't blog about any of it because we started to get busy packing.

Here are the pics from my Boise baby shower, hosted by my cute sister Jessica. We all loved the balloons that gave their declaration, "Yep! I'm a boy!" and also visible in this first pic is a GORGEOUS handmade quilt made by one of the sisters who was in my ward during my growing up years.

To add to the baby theme, my brother-in-law brought in an armful of kittens for me to cuddle. It may be hard to count them, because most are solid black, but there are SIX little guys nestled in my lap here. My sister and her husband live in a farmhouse, and used to have a huge mice problem until they got a few cats. Well, now they have more than a few cats, so if anybody is searching for a good mouser, be sure to let them know.

These three women are all from my original home ward. We also had aunts and cousins come--what a fun group to reconnect with! It had been years since I had visited with some of these ladies.

From Left to Right: Childhood friend Holly (she is expecting a baby at the same due date as me!); Jessica the greatest sister; and me, enjoying another darling little boy outfit. Who knew BOY clothes could be so fun? We got cowboy gear, dinosaurs, little planes and dirt diggers, aardvarks, puppy decals, and all kinds of exciting themed clothes as well as lots of other useful items as well. Thanks everybody who came--we feel so loved!

Explanation & Addendum

One of our commenters on the last post expressed shock regarding the lengthy time it takes to deliver our household goods. It seems the answer to her question about WHY that happens might even be useful to other people who find themselves getting moved by a company. So here is a heads up about why we might opt to just pay to transport and move ourselves next time:

When Avery (and any large corporation) moves employees, they contract with a vanline to transport household goods. Thus, an 18 wheeler is used to transport the employee's goods--and we share that truck space with a dozen or more other families. So the truck does not just drive straight from Utah to Massachusetts, but rather travels across North America like a city bus, making stops all along the way, while gradually dropping off stuff at each stop. And apparently the vanline misjudged how much stuff we would have based on averages, so that is why their original time estimate changed (since we have less stuff than the average family, it means our assigned 18 wheeler truck is able to squeeze in more goods from more families, which adds more loading and dropping off time, if that makes sense).

Neither of us Tams have ever done a major move--our parents pretty much picked a place to live and stuck with it for our whole growing up years. Even the several moves we did after leaving our parents' homes were minimal, either because we had so little goods to relocate or the distances were generally shorter. So this whole deal has been a full of surprises.

In thinking ahead, it seems impossible to go several weeks or more without regular supplies while simultaneously having children underfoot. Since the rotational program will move us another couple times before we settle down, we are already planning what it would take for us to just load up a U-haul and drive ourselves across the country next time. Assuming it would be better to drive a couple thousand miles with an infant rather than fly to our destination quickly, but then have no supplies for a month after we arrive. Hmmm...quandry. Guess we'll have to cross that bridge when we come to it.

Anyway, this move has been a huge learning experience, which we are glad to have had sooner rather than later, because if we had gone through the "big move" for the first time after already having children, our naivete would have invited more complex challenges.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Moving Meltdown and a Miracle

When we spoke to our moving consultants again today, they gave a new estimate of when our household goods will arrive: between 6 and 21 days from next Tuesday. About three weeks longer than we originally anticipated. Our cheerful "camping" in the new apartment will probably not be as enjoyable several weeks from now, and to be honest, after just the past couple days of experiencing overly simplistic living, disillusionment has already begun to set in. So I searched this morning online and found a few deals on Craig's List to purchase temporary furniture, tiding us over until our regular goods will arrive.

However, this afternoon our attempt to get a futon from one of the Craig's List postings fell through. How good it would have felt to sit on something soft, something besides either the floor or one of the hard kitchen chairs we recently picked up from Goodwill! As we drove away from the seller's house, self-pity, pregnancy hormones, sleep deprivation (apparently the air mattress just isn't doing enough for me), and who knows what else combined to trigger a meltdown. Suffice to say my eyes were puffy and my nose sniffling as we pulled our U-haul truck into our apartment's parking space. We had prayed so much about this move; I caught myself returning to prior pleas to the Lord that all would go smoothly. THEN, before I could even unbuckle my seatbelt, came the miracle!

An elderly neighbor of ours hobbled up to our truck. Without even introducing himself, he asked Jerry, "Are you the boss around here? Could you please help me get rid of a sleeper couch?"

Speechless for a good 10 seconds, Jerry and I finally told the man, "You are an answer to prayer!" I briefly outlined our situation, and how grateful we would be to take the sleeper couch. We immediately went to his home, but the couch proved too heavy to move without at least one extra pair of hands. Recalling our realtor had mentioned selling a different unit in our complex lately, I telephoned her and asked if she would contact the buyer to request his help in moving our couch. Within minutes, this kind neighbor was at our side, and in yet another few minutes, he and Jerry had moved the couch up to our condo.

The couch is amazing. Used for only about 10 years by a clean little old man, it seems nearly new, and the color matches our curtains, and--and--I could go on and on! How perfectly it fits my needs and wants! I feel thrilled to sleep on its mattress tonight, which is more comfortable to me than the air mattress. I am relishing the softy seat cushions, as I now have a place to cuddle up with one of my new library books. Suddenly the weeks until our household goods arrive seem bearable. Nay, even enjoyable. It might be overly obvious to say it, but I will forever regard this experience as a tender mercy from a loving Heavenly Father. He knows how to direct even the smallest parts of life, and though He sometimes chooses to withold aid for His own wise purposes, I am grateful this day He saw fit to give us a couch.