Saturday, July 7, 2018

Viva Las Vegas... how we got here

I have told this incredible story so many times, and people keep asking to hear it... so it's time to write it all down, for posterity's sake and so I don't have to retell the whole thing again!

The last week of March 2018, Brian got the impression that he should start looking at dental practices to buy. He thought about it throughout the week and over the weekend as we watched LDS General Conference. Meanwhile, I was finally feeling settled into our home in Brookings. I loved our house and was finally feeling content with our friends, ward, calling, and area. I had my routine down and I was fine staying put for another year before buying a practice... as Brian and I had previously discussed and agreed upon. The only downsides were that Maybrie was struggling with school, being bullied and not liking her teacher/classmates, and that Advantage Dental, the company Brian was working for, was making changes that we were a bit frustrated with. I requested a better teacher for Maybrie for next school year, was researching ways to help her socially/emotionally with the bullying situation, and thought that Brian would continue to just be his positive self and endure another year of whatever stupid decisions his company made. Little did I know that Brian's promptings were preparing him for a phone call that would turn our world upside down and change our path forever.

On Monday, April 2nd Brian received a text message from our friend Matt Wilson, who we met during dental school in Indiana and were neighbors with for three years. Matt asked him if he would consider living in Las Vegas, to which Brian responded it would depend how good the offer was. That evening after the kids were in bed Brian told me about the impressions he was having and about the option of buying a practice in Las Vegas. I was shocked, but curious and we called Matt and put him on speakerphone so could hear all about the practice that was for sale. Matt had actually looked at it and wanted to buy it a year and a half ago, but the dentist wasn't ready to retire yet so it didn't happen. Now the dentist's health was forcing him to retire and his office manager had reached out to see if Matt was still interested in buying the practice. Matt wasn't anymore because he purchased a practice in the fall. The office manager asked if he could recommend anyone who was looking to buy, and he mentioned Brian. So, now we are listening to Matt explain the practice and are getting excited and curious as the items on Brian's checklist for a practice are being checked off one by one. It sounds like exactly what we have always wanted. The practice sounds so ideal we both know we have to at least look into it. If it does prove to be as good of a situation as it sounds, the only question would be whether we could settle and raise our family in Las Vegas... a place we had never considered before. We always imagined we would end up in Washington state or the Pacific Northwest somewhere.

The following week our brains were bombarded with information from the broker about the dental practice and I went crazy researching the area... housing, schools, shopping, etc. We got Brian's dad who is a CPA to enter all of the numbers into spreadsheets and explain so much to us that we didn't understand. All of this was kept between the two of us (and Brian's parents, and then my parents for the first week or two). We quickly saw that everything we wanted was there and that the numbers were proving this to be a great practice and wise investment. Brian almost went down to interview the weekend of April 14th, but then we decided it would be too rushed and agreed he should go down the following weekend April 19-22. On Thursday, the 12th, Brian spoke to Lisa, the office manager for the first time. There was an easiness to their conversation and later that night she told Brian that he was her last hope for saving the practice! We were blown away. We couldn't believe that she felt that strongly about Brian just from phone conversations. Brian and I were definitely riding the roller coaster of emotions over the weekend as we worried about his company providing his production reports, which would be necessary for acquiring a bank loan to prove what he could produce. We tried not to get our hopes up in case another more experienced doctor was able to get bank approval sooner (assuming we decided we wanted to go through with buying). We booked Brian's flight and on Sunday felt that if it was meant to be things would work out, and if not it would simply be a good learning experience that would prepare us for the purchase of a practice in the next year.

On Monday, the 16th we actually received Brian's production report from Advantage Dental and we learned that the dentist, Dr. Gilbreth, passed away over the weekend... both totally shocking. We felt that we were still in the running, but now there was a whole new layer of sensitivity and unknowns we were facing due to the doctor passing. We also learned that the dentist's son-in-law Spencer Luth, who is a dentist in Las Vegas, had been working in the office twice a week to keep afloat during the transition and that he would also be the one handling the transaction. Other dentists in the community had also been volunteering time to help out. Also, all of the staff was still working and wanting to stay on. All of this is rare to find... usually a practice really struggles when the dentist dies and the employees start looking for work elsewhere. Brian was set to interview with Lisa, the office manager, and Dr. Luth, the son-in-law on Friday, the 20th... which was to be the day of Dr. Gilbreth's funeral as well. Brian was overwhelmed to say the least.

On Thursday, the 19th Brian flew from Medford, OR to Vegas. Inexpensive flights through Allegiant were one of the many blessings throughout the process. Brian called me when he was in the parking lot outside the dental office. He asked if he should go in and introduce himself to the staff (who work till 8pm Tuesday and Thursday) and I said, "Yes! You want to buy this place! Go on in!" He called me immediately after leaving the office and I could hear the excitement beaming and bursting through the phone. He met the entire staff and said they were so nice, funny, approachable, welcoming, and happy to meet him. He said he loved the way they interacted, teased and laughed together. It felt like a family. I knew after that conversation that this was it... we were going to get this practice and move to Vegas. I prayed and received the peace and confirmation that everything was going to work out that night. Brian stayed with our friends the Wilsons (Matt, and his family, who referred us) while he was there. The next morning after Brian met with Lisa and Spencer he called me and told me how well it went and that an offer had been made the night before for the full asking price. However, Spencer told him that if he could make an offer that was close to it, they would choose him. They wanted Brian. The doctor's wish was for the practice to go to someone who wanted to make it their home, sole family practice... not an expansion second or third office to put an associate in. Brian fit the bill and the whole staff wanted him. I told him that I already received my answer and that if he felt right about it to, to make an offer. So, Brian contacted the broker and got the ball rolling. He did a google search and typed up a letter of intent and sent it to the wife with earnest money (good thing we had savings). Brian contacted banks, flew home, and we began the waiting process.

It took a few days for the family to get back to us, which was a little nerve racking, and we ended up paying the full amount they asked for. We still felt it was a really good deal for such a good practice. We were naive to think that by the end of the week we would have bank approval for the loan... they were not that fast and they made us give ridiculous amounts of information because Brian didn't quite have a full year of work experience and the former dentist passed away. We were hoping we could tell family that last weekend of April, but it ended up taking till the first weekend in May. We ended up hearing from multiple banks and have various offers to negotiate with, which really benefited us in the end. Considering this practice fell in our laps and we didn't have to go look and search for months to find the right one, two weeks of nail biting waiting was nothing! haha

Saturday, May 5th we told our families the news since we got the approval for the loan from the bank the day before. Everyone was really shocked. My family is ecstatic because we are so much closer than we ever thought we'd be to Utah. Brian's family was a little more disappointed, especially his mom, that we are going to be settling so much further away from them. Brian's sister Emily who lives in Crescent City, CA was sad that we would be leaving so soon... it was nice living close to each other this past year. Overall, everyone is happy for Brian and this great opportunity for our family. We told the kids by gathering them around the TV. We pulled up a picture of the dental office on the screen and told them dad bought this building. Maybrie caught on immediately. We then showed them a map with the route from Brookings to Las Vegas highlighted to show them where it is and where we were going to move. Then we told them how soon. You would've thought we surprised them with another trip to Disneyland they were so excited! They were jumping up and down singing, "We're moving to Nevada!" Maybrie especially was thrilled to be leaving Brookings, a place that she really didn't like much at all. She was ready to move that week. We had the kids keep the secret on Sunday so that it didn't leak out into our small community before Brian was able to tell his company and staff himself Monday morning. Several of his staff members were sad, most just shocked, but many happy for him to be headed to a better opportunity for his career. Everyone we told was really surprised, especially that we were moving so soon... in just a month. It all happened so fast!

My parents came to Brookings and watched our kids while Brian and I flew to Las Vegas to find a house to rent and deal with other business. We were there Thursday, May 17- Sunday, May 20th. The kids had a great time with my parents and it was so nice to know they were well taken care of. Also, I was glad that my dad could come too to see where we lived and that it was such a beautiful time to visit with all of the blossoms and flowers in full bloom. Brian and I stayed with the Wilsons again and it was so good to see them again. It's crazy how after three years it was as if no time had passed at all and we just picked up where we left off. You know they are good friends when you can do that. We are so grateful to them for their hospitality and friendship. Also, I don't think we'll ever be able to thank them enough for their referral and being the Lord's hands in directing our path to Las Vegas. The weekend we spent in Vegas was a whirlwind of wonderful. We were welcomed by so many and had so much help along the way. I instantly connected with Brian's staff and was so excited to meet them. We had some really good meetings with the property managers, banker, attorney, staff, etc. Spencer Luth and his wife Nicole took us to dinner at Fleming's the first night. We had such a great time visiting with them and are so grateful for the many strings Spencer pulled for Brian. He truly looked out for us. Not only did we thoroughly enjoy our dinner, but we met the oral surgeon (who works in the same building as Spencer) and he offered to mentor Brian on implants and he paid for our meal... awesome guy! The next day we met at the credit union about our loan and then met our realtor Derek Jolley to go look at rental homes. Spencer put us in touch with the Jolleys (an LDS couple who work as realtors together) and they were so helpful in knowing the area... wards, schools, shopping, etc. We looked at several homes (and found one we wanted) in the area and then were treated to In n Out for lunch. That night Dr. Cameron and his wife Janet took us to dinner at Carrabba's. Dr. Cameron is the dentist who is leasing space in our office. He was a good friend of Dr. Gilbreth's, and will work another three years at our office before he retires. On Saturday we finally had a chance to sleep in a little and we went and bought me a new summer wardrobe because I did not own enough Vegas weather appropriate clothing. We totally scored at Costco... it was random and awesome! That night we had our staff dinner hosted at Natasha's, who works the front desk, house. It was everyone, but our part time hygienist and our sterile tech, and their spouses. What a wonderful staff we have! They felt like family immediately. We stayed and talked till 11:30. They are all so great and it was so good to hear that they want and support Brian as much as he does them and the practice. There is such a wonderful vibe among everyone and Brian and I both kept feeling like pinching ourselves. It was such a packed weekend. We got so much taken care of, felt so loved, supported, and welcomed... and I just couldn't wait to move and get the new chapter of our lives started.

We were back home in Brookings for the week, then drove up to WA to spend Memorial Day weekend with Brian's family. We left the kids with Brian's parents on Monday night, May 28th and flew from Pasco to Vegas. We spent the week getting more things taken care of and soaking in several kid free evenings before the craziness of the move. We flew back to Pasco on Friday night and drove home to Brookings Sunday, June 3rd. Brian had his last three days of work at Advantage while I finished boxing up the house. On Thursday, Maybrie and Thomas went to their last day of school (a week early) while we loaded the moving truck. Then we drove from Brookings to Reno on Friday, June 8th, and on to Las Vegas on Saturday, June 9th. The ward showed up in full force and had us unloaded in 30 minutes! The Wilsons fed us dinner both Saturday and Sunday nights. Our kids hit it off so well too. It is such a blessing to already have friends here. We got the kitchen unpacked Sunday, went to church, and then Brian hit the ground running with his first day of work on Monday, June 11th. I'll never forget the surreal experience of taking our own keys to go into his office Sunday night. We took Matt and Alanna Wilson with us to show them around and to put up a few pictures and things to have them ready for his first day. We walked around, set out his business cards on the counter, and just marveled in the fact that all of it belonged to us now. It was a truly crazy and moving moment. After so much blood, sweat and tears... we did it! Brian is a business owner. He is his own boss. He loves his staff, the location, style, decor, equipment, and patient base he has. We are so incredibly blessed. It has been a whirlwind and I still haven't caught my breath. But one thing I can say without a doubt is that we are where we are supposed to be. This is where the Lord wants us. He brought us here and it is His plan we are carrying out. Has it been hard, exhausting, exciting, scary, thrilling, humbling, and incredible? Yes. Will we continue to have ups and downs? Yes. Has all of the hard work been worth it? Yes. Life is one wild ride and I know now more than ever that I am not in the driver's seat. The Lord is and I pray that I will continue to recognize His hand in our life and enjoy the many blessings He has to bestow on us.

 From his staff, before we even got there
 Fleming's... we were wined and dined (without the wine!)

We Own this!!!

 Our rental home
The Wilsons
 We left Brookings with a lot more than we came with (literally and figuratively)
 Making the office our own

Visiting Daddy's office for the first time on his first day
 I got to design the kid corner... much cleaner and more functional than a storage ottoman full of random toys
Treating the staff to pedicures today as a thank you! Love these ladies!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Cousins and prayer

This week I slowed things down a bit and mostly stayed home. On Wednesday I had Emily and her kids over to play and we had a good visit and the kids were so excited to play with their cousins. Maybrie and Thomas keep asking me if they can have friends over and it is hard for me to tell them I have no one else to call if one of the couple families we've met so far aren't available. Our circle will grow in time, but right now I'm so glad they have each other to play with and cherish the times they play well together. 
On Thursday we met Holli and her girls upriver at Loeb. Ashley Pieren and the Marks teenage girls were there too. Thanks to the "babysitters" I didn't have to swim, which was nice because it was breezy and cooler that day. The Haurand's had their kayak and the three older kids had so much fun with it. It was a fun afternoon and I'm so grateful for the new friendships we are building. That night Maybrie got to have her cousin Emma spend the night. We don't do sleepovers, but made an exception for family. We watched A Cinderella Story and they stayed up too late talking and then played all day Friday. 
Friday night we took Emma back home when we went to their house to celebrate William's 8th birthday. It was a nice treat to have grilled burgers and chicken since we don't have a grill right now. It was fun a fun visit with the kids not wanting to leave when it was time to go. 
On Saturday we got to sleep in and then we broke down and bought a few yard tools. I'm excited to get outside and teach the kids how to work in the yard. Clearing the flower bed of weeds was highly satisfying to me! After lunch we headed down to the port to check out the Pirate Festival. We learned that unless we want to blow money on fair type food and random trinkets from vendors, we won't be going again! We also witnessed many interesting pirate costumes. The highlights were seeing a mermaid and some pirate sword fighting. 
Today Brian and I spoke in church. I spoke on why we rely on prayer. It was really good for me to spend time studying and preparing for my talk throughout the week. I feel better each week we go to our new ward, meeting more people and slowly put names and faces together. Every bit of familiarity and smile I receive helps me feel more encouraged and at peace about living here. Two little side notes about Henry... he finally got a new car seat and he is beginning to learn how to use utensils (messy, messy!).

Monday, August 7, 2017

Sickness and settling

The last week of July started out with me waking up sick... I caught Brian's sore throat/cold.  I decided to "take the day off" and besides feeding and meeting the children's basic needs I napped and read. It was actually kind of nice. But then as the week went on I had to continue to fulfill my household duties despite feeling rather lousy. The kids were fine playing inside the first half of the week, but then we needed to get out.

On Thursday Brian drove to Redmond for his work conference. That day the kids and I met my friends Kate Cannon and Holli Haraund and their girls at the library to meet Smokey Bear. A forest ranger was there to teach the kids about fire safety and read a book about Smokey. Then the kids got to build their own little campfire crafts. We played in the kid section for a bit afterward. That night a sister in our ward, Holly Hatch, brought her daughters Alanna and Rebekah over to babysit so I could go with her to a girl's night at Pancho's mexican restaurant in town. It was so kind of her to offer help and good to get to know her. The dinner was tasty and the company was good. There was a range of ages from young moms to moms of teens to an empty nester. While I did have a good time I can tell it is going to take more work to find common ground with these women who have such varying backgrounds and current life situations than me. Now that we are in the "real world" and out of school, there aren't those instant connections with so many in the same situation as us anymore. It kind of made me homesick for my friends and the familiar girl's night I enjoyed back in Indy.

Feeling a little bummed out and lonely Friday morning I decided I needed to be brave and invite someone over. I called Holli Haraund, even though we just met and invited her three oldest girls over to play. They were over all afternoon. The kids had fun and it felt good to give Holli a relaxing afternoon. Best of all, it built new friendships.

On Saturday I took the kids to the library to turn in their summer reading logs and pick out their two prizes. We then went and bought them life jackets at Bi-mart so they can safely swim in the river. Then we headed up to Loeb state park for the ward BBQ. It turns out meeting ward members is practically pointless when you are running around feeding and looking after four kids by yourself... go figure! haha The kids loved swimming and playing in the river for their first time,  and I was completely beat by the time I had them all bathed and in bed. Church the next day was a real marathon for me too. When daddy got home that afternoon we, me especially, were so happy to have him home!
 Brian's desk because the company has yet to order him one! 

 dress ups with Annie and Kayla
 A little birdy stopped by to say hi

By Monday, the 31st, I was finally feeling better. That night we had Emily and her kids over for FHE and dessert. It was fun to visit with Em and the kids had fun playing. On Tuesday, I met Kate and her girls at a new, to us, beach called Mill Beach. It was gorgeous, nice warm 80 degrees, and we had a lot of fun. But with the cooler temps here I didn't even think about sunblock and my legs got fried and my arms a little bit too. I'm finding that I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with going to the beach with kids... it is so fun, but a lot of work cleaning up the sand afterward. I'm still learning all of the tricks to make our outings run smoother.

Wednesday was my birthday. We went to the library for story time. The theme was biology and we made slime with way too much glitter. Then we went to Azalea park where the kids played for a bit until Brian came and met us for a picnic lunch. Brian told me that his assistant quit and the other dentist just bought his own practice and will be leaving at the end of the month. He kind of feels like he walked into a war zone! Afterward, I dropped Maybrie off at Sandy's house for a play date and stopped at Fred Meyer to refill my prescription. I was thrilled to find out it cost only $11... our health insurance doesn't kick in until 60 days after Brian's first day of work, which will be in mid September. Both Ezra and Henry fell asleep on the way home so I got to take a nap while they napped and Thomas watched a movie. It was wonderful. Brian picked up Maybrie and pizza after work and made me a Yum Yum cake. It was all delicious and stress free. I forgot to mention Brian brought me flowers and a card Tuesday night and got me a pair of Chacos, so now I have some waterproof sandals for the river and all the rain here. Oh and Maybrie made me cupcakes and a few pearler bead creations with her friend along with a sweet card. I always love receiving so many birthday wishes from family and friends reminding me just how blessed I truly am.

On Thursday we met up with Emily and her kids at the Del Norte county fair in Crescent City. The kids, especially Henry, loved seeing all of the animals. They also had a cute "pretend to be a farmer" activity and old schoolhouse to go in. We saw a youth melodrama and shared some cotton candy, slushy, and kettle corn. It wasn't even close to as cool as the Indiana State Fair, but we had a fun little outing. That night we gave Henry his first hair cut and he looks so cute and big. I'll miss his curling baby hair, but he really is acting like a toddler now, so I think it was time.

On Friday I cleaned house so that we could play with Brian on Saturday. The kids were good little helpers with the bathrooms and windows... I really need to teach them how to clean more! I made the mistake of taking a nap only to wake up to Ezra having locked Henry and himself in their bathroom. Henry was screaming and I couldn't get the door unlocked. I finally asked Maybrie and Thomas to kneel down with me and asked Thomas to say a prayer that I'd be able to open the door. It opened on my next try. Ezra had emptied a bunch of bottles of baby lotion, creams, disinfectant wipes and such all over the floor, plus rubbed a bunch in his and Henry's hair. It was such a mess! It's been a while since Ezra has wreaked that much havoc! Luckily, I had a date to look forward to after cleaning the mess. Abby Marks babysat and she was great... and bonus, she can drive so we didn't have to pick her up. We went to Khun Thai for dinner which was pretty good. Then we went on a little walk down Mill beach... we didn't last long because we forgot to bring jackets. We went for a drive, window shopped and grabbed a few groceries at Fred Meyer, shared a blizzard at DQ, and came home to a quiet house with all the kids sleeping. It was a good night.

On Saturday we took the kids to Art in Park at Stout Park in town. They had some fun things to look at from various vendors, a neat train display and a kid's art area. Then we went upriver to Loeb and we all had fun swimming and playing in the water. The weather was great. It was a fun family outing... everything is better when daddy is around!

On Sunday we went to church. I bore my testimony and Maybrie was very brave giving her talk in primary. We had the Blatter's and Lassen's over for a Cafe Rio dinner. Good food and company, though I must admit doing it kind of stressed me out. I really want to invite people over to make more friends, but I think I may need to just do dessert or something for a while. I need to cut myself some slack and be okay with taking some time to acclimate to my new surroundings. Sometimes this change is just plain hard. Oh, one more thing I forgot to mention is that in an effort to help Maybrie sleep better and stay in bed (she was coming out multiple times a night and staying up till 11 or so every night, it was a nightmare!) I decided to start reading aloud to her before bed. Last week we started reading Little House in the Big Woods and it has been really good for us. She has been staying in bed and falling asleep faster. Phew! Now on to the twenty million other things I want/need to tackle as a parent! Slowly and surely we are settling in to our new life. Oh, and Maybrie and Thomas learned to ride their bikes without training wheels! Woot! Woot!

 The almost daily deer sightings

 Art in the Park