Thursday, September 24, 2009


Well, we are officially here in BAMA! We don’t get the internet at our apartment and it is way too expensive so my blogging has been drastically affected. But we figure out ways! It has been the adventure of a lifetime so far! We had a sleepover with Ashley &Scott last Monday night after we finished all our cleaning and packing. My mom came out and helped us clean and pack and she was such a lifesaver! Jared, Mommy, Dan and I had so much fun at our last supper at Chuck-a-Rama. And Carly, Scott, Ashley, our neighbors, and Jared all helped us too. THANK YOU!! We left at 5:00 am and went through Idaho, Wyoming, and through Nebraska. OH MY is that a long drive. Especially with a huge UHAUL behind us. We could barely go above 65 mph the whole way. We got to Uncle Fred and Aunt Reesa’s at 11:00… that’s like… a 17 hour drive (time change). Wyoming is far too long and uneventful! My oh my. Uncle Fred & Aunt Reesa welcomed us with a delicious dinner and a nice comfy bed. It made me miss Ashley being there. We mozied around in the morning since we were soo tired from the drive.

Day #2 drive was MUCH more enjoyable! We went through Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennesse, Mississippi, then ALABAMA!! We got a little lost in Kansas City, Missouri but we had the most fun figuring out how to use Uncle Fred’s GPS he let us borrow [which has LITERALLY been a life-saver]. So let me tell you about ARKANSAS. The GPS took us on smaller highways. We had no idea where we going until we got there. But it was fun. We would get so excited for every turn/bend in the road. So we went through this smaller highway into Arkansas, and by then it was nighttime. It was the smallest and curviest two-lane highway with the fastest semi’s going by. There was the thickest forests on both sides that were so LOUD with birds and insects and WHO KNOWS what else. The AC wasn’t working on the car at the time so we had to ride with the windows down. We stopped at a gas station and got out of the car and it was so WET outside. Soo humid and wet. I was standing under the canopy thing over the gas and it was dripping on me. There was a little kid there with undies and galoshes on. The best. Then it starting raining and the roads were even scarier. Ewph. So once we got close to Memphis we decided to pull off and sleep for the night. We found a Baptist church on the GPS so we just decided to sleep in the parking lot. We find it and the “parking lot” is more like a mini swamp land. But we didn’t care; we were tired. So we parked right under a “No Parking in Church Lot” sign and began to transfer everything from the whole back part of the Expedition into the empty spots in the Uhaul and the front two seats of the car. (It was mostly all the fragile stuff so we kept in the car.) We pumped up the air mattress and laid there for about two minutes when we noticed that we were both uncontrollably ITCHY all over our feet and legs mostly but all over. We tried to ignore it- couldn’t. Before too long we realized probably half a million little tiny horrible mosquitoes [we are guessing] had been biting us incessantly and were now dwelling in our car. We for SURE knew we wouldn’t sleep at all, so we repacked everything from the front to the back of the car and decided our only option was to keep driving. Memphis was pretty cool at night though. We pulled off in Memphis to get gas. We tried to swat out/kill all the mosquitoes that had been biting us, still, for the past 45 minutes. We mostly just looked like crazy people and I’m sure all the natives where wondering where WE were from. About two in the morning we pulled off of the highway in some little place off the freeway and pulled off on the road next to some conveniently placed inn for travelers like ourselves. We, yet again, except this time even more tired and annoyed (mostly me, Dan was surprisingly chipper &sweet to me regardless of my sass), transferred everything from the back of the car into the front two seats again, set up camp in the back of the car, and before we knew it, we woke up and it was eight in the morning! Pleasant surprise. I tried to use the bathroom at Days Inn but the Pakistani lady who worked there wouldn’t let me and just yelled at me and told me we weren’t allowed to sleep out there (a little late). So we headed out and four hours later… we were in TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA!!

We finally made it to the little white and black checkered flag on the GPS. BEST MOMENT. We ran around like little gooses from apartment complex to apartment complex (we had made appointments with a few that we liked). The first one was made in about 1964. I didn’t like it. And I was already not in the best mood because I walked outside and felt like I was walking into an indoor swimming pool. Yucky humidity. Second one was Charleston Square. The ladies who worked there were so nice and the models were really pretty. Checked out a few more but ended up back at Charleston Square since the lady said she would be able to get us in that day, and if we moved in today or tomorrow she would give us a $1,000 gift card to a furniture store here in town [NO BIG DEAL], and first month free! So we got everything figured out and we got into the apartment of our choice!

It is a cute, humble little place. Spacious living and dining rooms, two bedroom, tiniest hallway kitchen you ever saw, nice walk-in closet. We like it! That was Thursday night we moved in. We called the missionaries and two sets came over the next day and helped us move in all of our big furniture (in the rain/humidity to our second floor apartment). My my my. I was in charge of opening and closing our front door (thank goodness). So we began unpacking/organizing and all the other moving errands that come up. And I’m definitely making you wait on pictures because we’re still not quite settled.

First weekend we were here there was an ALABAMA football game. ALABAMA FOOTBALL IS LIFE down here. It’s all that there is. It’s the best. Everyone in the world wears red bama shirts, stickers, flags, huge RV’s with bama décor pull into town and park everywhere. The roads around campus literally close 3 hours before and after games. People yell “ROLL TIDE ROLL” and if you don’t yell it back with vigor and vim you might get beat up. I’m getting some pride I think. PS- There are lots of sororities and fraternities here. The sorority girls wear tiny little gym shorts with t-shirts every single day here. If it’s raining they were their little TINY shorts with big rain boots and a coat. Usually the coat or t-shirt is longer than the “TEE-SHORTS” so everyone just looks like they’re wearing no pants. We haven’t quite figured out this fashion trend yet. And it’s only the white girls, too. Whatever. And then… on game days, the sorority and fraternity kids wear fancy cocktail dresses and nice suits to the games. We aren’t sure. It’s whatever. We like to count all the gym shorts we see when we drive by. Today was over 70 in five minutes. SERIOUSLY.

The church is great down here. Everyone is soo sweet to us and so thankful to have us. Everyone came up and introduced themselves one after the next. The Bishop took us out of Sunday School to get to know us for a while. In the middle of church, so what. The ward is small but everyone knows each other and loves each other! It’s wonderful. We went over to our new friends Chris and Jesse’s for dinner and our other new friends Andrew &Kellee for ICE CREAM! It was so fun. They were telling us the tales of Bama and what we should be prepared for. Very enlightening. And believe it or not, there are a few other couples just like us who just randomly up &moved to Alabama.

I had a little bit of culture shock when I first got here. It’s a little different when Dan and I are the only white people in sight. I don’t mind, just takes some getting used to. OH, by the way… counted my mosquito bites and I had over 120 on my KNEES DOWN. They are monstrous. So we bought some anti-itch cream. Dan has literally had to wake up in the middle of the night (unknown to me) and hold me arms down because I just itch and itch in the middle of the night! Anyways, the humidity will take some getting used to. People love to sit out on their porches here. We are working anxiously to find some jobs. We are taking a tour of campus tomorrow [excited]. We explored and found a new park/walk on the Black Warrior River, which was beautiful. We went to institute today. World Religion. We learned about Buddhism. Dan and I are speaking in church on Sunday. We kind of weren’t surprised :]. As for now, we are quite enjoying not having school or work. We have been laying our fair share of Monopoly. We are becoming quite the chefs, even in our small little kitchen that I must admit I am learning to love.

So in short, we are just loving life learning how to be normal in Alabama is our main goal right now. We are working on it. We like driving by Snoop Dogg look-a-likes every day on our way out of the complex and playing Lynard Skynard on our drives around town.

Dan and Rachael… missing you and sending all our southern love from Tuscaloosa :].

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

the james' journey to jasper &back.

we just got back from another great james family vacation! daddy, mama, jared, dan and i met in kalispell, montana and stayed in whitefish for a few days at the prettiest lodge and toured all around glacier national park! it was so much fun. i thought seven days of national parks would be too much for me but with a little hot tubbing, wifi, and a couple malls, it was just the best &i loved it so much! we rented a mini van which we just loved. glacier had the most BEAUTIFUL water!! it had glacier run-off so it was the most beautiful shade of blue. but soo cold too. they had the prettiest rocks we've EVER seen. me and mom have our own collections now! one on our coffee table right now. second half of the trip we spent in banff national park, and went up into jasper a little bit. sooo beautiful! we were nervous to try to go into canada because jared didn't have his passport [lost in translation]. we were told we would be able to get it but getting out might be difficult. we considered stowing in the back of the mini-van; he was just a little too big. we decided to risk it &go for it. we got in no problems. we got out no problems! the man at border was on a little bit of a power trip &teased us a little, but we got through! we only got pulled over once, in glacier, but the nice park ranger didn't give us a ticket. my dad told him that his daughter wanted to offer him some peanuts. it must have worked. we lived on peppermint patties, pirate's booty, peanuts, DAIRY QUEEN, and some delicious restaraunts/food courts dispersed in there. jared was the family photographer &he is just so talented and cute. 95% of these pictures are courtesy of him.

dan learned our family favorite "i wanna take a horse &buggy... as we go travelin through the tooown...". definitely a success of a trip. another great james family vacation!

after our DQ stop #1. of 5.

trying to fit jared in the trunk so we could sneak across the border:]. he didn't mind.
i love my daddy.

look at that beautiful blue water!

picking flowers for his sweety.

we were ten feet from a BEAR!! it was one of the best moments.
no big deal. just a BEAR.
fishing in the prettiest place called st. mary's lake.
we found a pretty heart rock.
he was helping her climb up the mountain. it's love.
hobby #1: wildlife watching.
LOVE this picture. jared is so creative.


one of my favorites.

PRETTIEST most colorful rocks.
BONKY ball.

OH! he is the MOST HANDSOME!!
canoeing at LAKE LOUISE. on my the best things i've EVER done!
he single-handedly paddled us for a while.

fresh spring water was our daily stop.
she found a wounded butterly and took her [betsey] into her care.

LITERALLY half of trip spent just like this.
we got us some fishin.

can you just please look at that water?!
he is the CUTEST most wonderful creature.
we kind of like each other.

i love my sweet daddy.
just posing in a forest is all.