The first night we moved in we bought a pizza and ate on paper towels because all of our dishes had just been boxed up after the initial hose-clean and we wanted to sterilize them before using them. It felt strange to be in a new place and the next few days were so busy unpacking and disinfecting more. I swear I did more disinfecting in those first 2 months after the floods than most people do in a lifetime.
All of our furniture was donated to us. The couches you see above were given to Varian through work by this Indian family. They have been great couches for us and were in great condition - but smelled so strong of curry it would make your eyes water when you'd walk in the room. :) Good thing we like curry! We don't notice anymore, though maybe people associate us Astons now with Indian food. (As a side note I realize the picture of our shish-kabobs are kind of random, but it was one of my few photos I took that month, so I threw it in with the kitchen pictures.)
I mentioned before that this house turned out to be a huge blessing for us. It was about 2 minutes away from the hospital where Varian works (in no traffic). Back home he commutes about 3 hours a day to get to work. What a huge contrast that was to then be living so close. It meant he could sleep in later in the mornings, which meant he could stay up later at night, and he'd be home so early from work which gave us so much more time as a family, and meant he was there to help me a lot with Jaren and then Reid after he was born.
Speaking of Reid, you'll remember, or see by these photos that I'm pretty prego at this point and yet with all the craziness of the floods we were behind on a lot of my pre-natal appointments. And as I have high risk pregnancies, they insisted that I come in for weekly appointments. So again it was a great blessing to be living so close to the hospital - the hospital where Varian worked. I had gone to most of Jaren's appointments alone, but now with this pregnancy, I could just call Varian when it was my turn, and he'd walk down from his office to sit in on my ultrasounds and appointments. It was really great.
Later I'll post about how Jaren also got sick and was hospitalized for a week and what a great blessing it was to have Varian right there in the same hospital and able to visit us throughout the day. But it wasn't just the great location to his work that was a blessing. It was really fun to just be in the city for awhile - and one huge blessing that we soon discovered was that we had moved into the greatest ward - Bunya Forest. Okay I may have made jokes about it's crazy name (Bunion Forest) when I first heard where we were going to go - but it was the most amazing ward. It was super super friendly -even more so than an average Utah ward (although I'll always be loyal to my wonderful Huntsville 3rd/Middle Fork ward that nowhere will ever compare to).
The people in that ward welcomed us with open arms which was just what we needed!!! All of a sudden we had people inviting us over for dinners, and mother's groups getting together with their kids, and super fun ward activities. The ward just functioned and the lessons were in English (we've been in a Samoan ward -which is full of wonderful people but often lessons and talks were in Samoan) and we really started to make friends, which was nice as we were a bit far away from our Ipswich friends.
Frankly to leave that house and move back to our old area was quite a trial - and one that I hadn't expected when we first lost our house and I was so desperate to be back in. Most of these photos are ones the ward took and used in their ward newsletters to welcome us in, or when we were chosen as the "members of the week". I tell you that ward was amazing. :)
These other pictures of us are from a family day at the races. They cost a dollar to get in and I tried to look as Audry Hepburn as I could under the short notice. It was a fun day. Some people were dressed up in tuxedos and formal dresses with wild hats and fascinators- the hair decorations usually made up of ribbons or flowers or feathers. I must get myself one for next year. It was fun to just get a break from all the flood clean up and constant collecting of stuff and just have a fun day out as a family. :)