Smalley Stories

We will share our stories as this exciting new chapter in our lives unfolds.Check the pages on the side for more.

July 20, 2012
Much has happened in nine days.
My sister got married last Friday (13th) in beautiful, lush Washington. Tara and I took the excuse to make a grand roadtrip adventure of it. We left early Thursday morning, stocked up on snacks, got a map on which to record our journey, and hit the road. We drove all the way to Boise where we stopped for lunch at a Basque restaurant; I highly recommend trying croquettas if you ever get the chance!
That night, we camped in the mountains of Oregon outside Pendleton. It was a beautiful campsite. We gathered a bit of wood, made a small fire, and baked chocolate chip cookies on aluminum foil! (We had frozen some cookie dough balls and brought them for just this purpose.) The next morning we ate breakfast at a cute little diner in Pendleton that had the best country sausage gravy ever! Tara's eggs benedict was pretty awesome too.
We then drove through the northwest corner of Oregon and through some beautiful parts of Washington. We made it to my sister's mountain property around noon, got cleaned up, and helped set up for her wedding. It was a beautiful ceremony. We are very happy for Jodie and Jerry. That night, of course, Jodie and friends did a great fire show for us.
The next day, Saturday, we cleaned up after the crazy party, spent a little time with family, and went on an antique store hunt. We had pizza with my parents and Domenic, then hit the road again.
We drove north for a while to reach Washington's gorgeous route 20, recommended to us by Jodie's friend Scott. It was some of the most beautiful country I've ever seen; they call it the American alps with good reason.
Through Sunday and Monday we slowly made our way across Washington, through the panhandle of Idaho, into Montana, back through Idaho, and finally into Utah. Along the way, we stopped at any antique stores we saw, ate at some very tasty restaurants, camped at night, bought some souvenirs, (I got a nice wide brimmed hat to keep the sun off in Abu Dhabi), and basically just enjoyed the tar out of ourselves being together.
Once we got back to Tara's mom's house, the work began again. We decided our best bet for the house is to get a property manager and try to rent it out. We're also trying to refinance to lower our monthly payment. On top of all that, we need to find a tax professional who can handle our unique/complicated situation. Not surprisingly, therefore, I've been making a lot of phone calls and filling out lots of forms. Not my favorite thing in the world, but necessary.
Last night, Tara and I were the speakers at a young women's fireside. We got to do it tag-team style. It was the most fun I've ever had giving a talk. In yet one more way, Tara and I make a great team. No surprises.
This weekend, a bunch of Tara's family are coming to Utah to visit. It should be tons of fun and insanity
.


July 11, 2012 After eight hours working on the house, it's ready for buyers to see. In fact, the house looks better than it ever has before! Funny how the giant to-do list I've been avoiding for three years got tackled in a couple days, just when we won't be around to enjoy the improvements. Oh well. I also had a talk with our realtor about our options for selling the house. Sadly, it's not worth as much as it was when we bought it three years ago, (I know, it's a universal problem), so we need to talk about our plan of attack.

July 10, 2012

The inside of our house is officially cleaned out and ready for "For Sale" pictures! We worked our tails off yesterday, and now it looks amazing. Thanks to Melissa and Anastasia Davis for watching our kids while Tara and I got stuff done. We also sold a bunch of our yard sale stuff to neighbors. (There's still plenty to sell, though.) Now we just need to do the outside... yikes. Anyone want to help pull weeds?



July 8, 2012
There's only 1 month until I fly to Abu Dhabi (unless something changes, which I've heard is not uncommon). Tara and I just got back from a wonderful two-day youth conference with the young men and women of our ward. We were at the beautiful Camp Everett NE of Park City. I've got to say, our kids were amazing! We had so much fun playing games and learned much listening to our church leaders. I think I learned the most from watching our YW and YM. This week, Tara and I will be driving up to WA for my sister's wedding. The plan is to take it nice and slow and enjoy the sites and time together before we're separated for 6-10 weeks. The reality of that separation looms ever larger as it grows nearer. Thank heavens for Skype.

July 1, 2012
AAAAAAAAAAHHHH! It's July! When did that happen? I've had a month to get ready for our move to Abu Dhabi. The paper work's all sent, the luggage is packed, our "keep" stuff is stored away... now we just need to finish packing up our stuff we don't want to keep, clean the whole house, patch holes in the walls, sell what we can, donate the rest, and the list goes on. There's only a month left to do it all and there are two week long vacations thrown in the middle!

My grandfather has kindly allowed us to use a corner of his warehouse to store what little we've decided to keep. That's saved us a good deal of time, money, and stress. Tara and I have been working like crazy to get it all done, but if we're going to finish in time, we need to kick it into high gear!

June 24, 2012
We decided that trying to pack up a house while still living in it with three small children was just plain silly. So, we packed up our suitcases and moved in to Tara's mom's house. Originally, only Tara and the kids were going to impose upon her while I was in Abu Dhabi getting our visas worked out. But, the kind gracious Karen and Lavar allowed us to move in early. (This is also a good practice run for packing for Abu Dhabi. Now we'll see what we really need to put in those suitcases, before it's too late.) Our focus now is cleaning and staging the house for the for-sale pictures. Additionally, some of the kids' cousins are visiting right now, so they get to spend more time together.

June 15, 2012
Two crazy weeks since school ended; I feel like it's flown by too quickly. Tara was at girl's camp for the first week, so it didn't really feel like summer yet. Instead of six classes of 30+ students each, I had three kids with an extreme case of cabin fever. Leaving wasn't really an option though, because Porter was potty training. I bet Tara $1,000 that I could potty train him while she was gone. Except for the rare accident, he's actually doing great! Anabelle had her spring dance concert. She danced to "It's a Hard Knock Life" from Annie; it was her best performance ever!
This week, Tara and I have been sorting and packing one room of our house at a time. We are keeping very little of what we have collected over the last eight years. I thought I would be more sad to see a lot of this stuff go, but there's actually very little of it that I've needed or can imagine that I will need. The goal is to fit all of our stuff in one average size backyard storage shed.
Every day I scour the Abu Dhabi Teacher Facebook pages for relevant information. We're all feeling more frantic and excited by the day. There's still a ton that needs to be done; especially if we hope to be out of the house by July.

June 3, 2012
It seems every hour or so, it hits me again that I'm not going to school tomorrow. It is a bitter pill to swallow; I absolutely loved teaching at FHMS. I learned so much and had too much fun. I will miss our wonderful administrators, my fellow teachers, and of course my incredible students.
Earlier today, I was looking through a binder of goodbye/thank you letters from all of my students this year. It made me very happy and a little sad at the same time. A while later, I was pleasantly surprised to find out my neighbor is actually one of my amazing student's grandmothers! They brought us cookies and said hello.
I am excited for this opportunity to save enough money so Tara will not have to work any more, but leaving is hard!