Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Another New Beginning?

Some of you may not know that we are planning another big move.

Mentally, I've started this blog post a hundred times, but I never know what to say. I never know where to start. I guess, the beginning? But where is the beginning? All of the decisions we've made have been closely entwined with other circumstances and whatnot so a beginning is hard to find. 

I guess, the beginning is the beginning of our time here in Kissimmee. 

Holy shiz, have we changed, or what?  Also, that dress... I LOVED it so much.  One of the first things I learned in Florida is that if something gets wet, you cannot simply throw it in the hamper to be washed later. It will grow mold and stain and never be able to be worn again.  *cries*

Why did we move here in the first place? That is SUCH a difficult question to answer, and a question we get asked a lot. "What brought you to Florida?" Again, a long list of circumstances, including but not limited to the death of my in-laws, the moving of my parents to North Carolina, this inner feeling of needing a change, a desire to get away from reality, a love of Disney and warm weather. 

In all honesty we ended up getting a lot more out of it than we expected. Sure we had Disney passes and went a lot, but we also spent a lot of time together as just our family. That never happened in Utah. Not that there's anything wrong with it, but we would always go and do things with extended family, and never just be a family by ourselves. I think it's important to be a strong family unit on our own, and I guess in order to do that we had to separate ourselves. But boy did we miss everyone. 

We had to step outside of our comfort zone. Need a babysitter? You have to entrust your child to a stranger. Going out of town? Better be prepared to pay big money for someone to take care of your dogs. Want to have lunch with a friend? You better pick up that phone and call or text that nice girl you met at church last week. 

Being an introvert with mild social anxiety,  making friends is terrifying. I haven't done a very good job, but I'm still working on it. 

We have experienced SO many fun things as a family. And I truly love Florida with all my heart.

I love the weather. I love humidity. My eczema? Gone. Alligator skin? Gone. Eyelid rashes? Gone, unless I wear the pink eyeshadows I'm allergic to. Haha. :-) My hair, skin, and nails are all healthier than they were. 

The year round activities are amazing. We've been to the beach in the middle of winter as well as fall and spring. I never liked the beach before living here. It's warmer than the west coast so you can actually swim in the water. Plus, seeing how much Lily loves the beach makes things fun.

Of course there is Disney. Three years of season passes. Endless memories. I'm a big foodie so I loved trying the hundreds and hundreds of restaurants. Some favorites are Cinderella's Royal Table, Beast's Castle, Sunshine Seasons, and Flame Tree BBQ, and any food stand at the Food and Wine Festival. In general, the cost outweighs the quality, but those places were never disappointing.

The most disappointing meal was Chefs de France. We paid over $100 and my pasta was very womp womp. The dessert though... I'd go back and order just that! 

Disney Springs has been one of my favorite places to go. It's a great atmosphere. They have a giant 5 story arcade, a movie theater that also has a dine in theater. Dine-In is obviously more expensive, and the food is overpriced, but it's definitely a fun option. Also at Disney Springs, you can take a free boat ride across the lake.  Earl of Sandwich was our go-to place for a quality meal with a good value. Recently, Lily and I tried out T-Rex Cafe and I have to say that was the best plate of food I have ever had on Disney property. I highly recommend it!

They just opened a new section of Disney Springs with new stores and restaurants, and Sprinkles Cupcakes and Amorette's Patisserie have already become favorite dessert places for me. Pricey, but totally worth it. The new MAC and Sephora stores are majorly damaging to my wallet so I try to avoid them at all costs.

Celebration was and still is my dream town. I'd love to live there. I love going around Christmas time and looking at all the elaborate light displays, and let's not forget the snoap!!

We have some great parks and playgrounds near us, as well as a splash pad. Lily and I have spent many afternoons hanging out and playing. And being so close to a large lake has had some exciting moments of watching nature. We once saw an otter catch a duck then heard it chomping down and chewing. Yum! Lance and Lily once saw a baby alligator.

The pond by our house is where we like to walk the dogs.  We've seen lots of ducks and ducklings, interesting-looking birds, and turtles!

There is always something to do or see. We never made it out to Miami or to the Keys but that's ok. We will vacation here in the future, just like we did before we moved here. The difference now is that we know a lot more cool places to see. We also have friends we can visit and see  when we go to church on Sunday. 

I'll definitely miss this ward. I have grown so much here! My self confidence is miles beyond what it was. I've met some amazing people who have been great influences and examples to me. Lily will miss her friends too.

So this leads me to our destination. 


We are going home. We need our family. And our families need us (even if they may not realize it. ;-) ). 

I'm not sure if I'm ready to go back to church in Utah. I don't want to poke fun or stereotype, so I'll just say it's different. The people are different. I love being surrounded by converts. Of all the people I've met and served with over the last 3 years, maybe 5 were born and raised LDS. It's quite the opposite of Utah, and diversity is a beautiful thing. It's also helped me to realize that I don't have to be an expert to teach, and I don't have to be perfect to serve. It is through our weaknesses and struggles that we are perfected. So stumbling through your terrifying calling is something to be proud of and something to admire in others. We are all growing and learning, let's help each other on the way.

I am ready to be with family. I'm ready for camping trips, and cookouts (excuse me, I mean BBQs ;-) ). I'm ready for snow and sledding (It better not be a sucky winter this year.). I'm ready for Lily to be close with her cousins. I'm ready to get some help with my soon to be two daughters. I'm ready to throw dinner parties and have movie marathons with friends and to eat good food again!  Cafe Rio, Zupas, Kneaders... I'm coming for you!

We will struggle. Yes, Lance will have to start over at another new job, AGAIN. I have to find a new doctor and transfer my prenatal care.  Money will be tight, family drama will happen, and it's not going to be easy. But it will be worth it.

Because family is everything.