Well, we've officially been in Arkansas for over a month now, and so far we are loving it. It took a couple weeks to adjust to the heat (over 100 degrees F for the first two weeks we were here) and to the humidity which has been at or close to 100% almost every day.
We live in a small two bedroom trailer in a little trailer park behind a discount grocery store, my Western readers would call it a "dollar store," except this store also has refrigerator and freezer sections. Walmart is the equivalent of the local mall, but if you want "real" mall shopping you have to drive at least an hour north to Pine Bluff. That is also where the Lowe's is.
Our town is called Monticello, like Thomas Jefferson's home, only you pronounce it "Maunt-i-SELL-uh" if you're a local. It is very much the South where we are and I feel a lot like a fish out of water, or to be more geographically appropriate, a mountain in a valley.
Right away we called our local church leader and found out that there is only a Branch, which means there are very few members of our church here. So far it looks like only about 30 people come each Sunday and that is counting all adults, teenagers and children. Thirty is probably a really good week, too, so we are not even sure how many people are members. Our small Branch covers several counties, towns and townships including part of Mississippi.
We have both gotten our callings and it happened pretty much right away. Needless to say, the Branch is extremely excited to have us in the area. I assumed I would be called into a musical calling, which has been a standard for my life over the past 4 plus years. However, I am in the nursery, but my official title is "Assistant in the Primary." Basically, I go and do whatever the Primary President needs me to do. I also have another calling which has been pretty intimidating for me so far. I am the Seminary teacher. I teach this year's curriculum, the Old Testament to teenagers from age 14 to 18. Most of them are 15 and is desperate need of some positive leadership, someone to be friendly and respectful and someone who can help them to learn the Gospel. I guess someone thinks that I am that person, but I still have my doubts. I didn't go on a mission, but I am a life-long member of the church and I have had teaching positions in the church before. The concern I have is when these awesome kids have questions (I got several last night) and I am not entirely sure how to answer, or find a reference for the answer that I have. So far (we have only met once) it has been really fun.
My Husband (Daddy) is the Branch Clerk, which basically means he is the bookkeeper, note taker and general "do it" guy for the Branch President and First Counselor (we don't have a Second Counselor). So he is busy on Sundays and we usually get home late, which means the kids are cranky and hungry, but we're learning to deal with it, and I'm learning to pack extra snacks!
One of the biggest adjustments has been a difference in what things are called down here. Daddy asked the clerk at Walmart for some Otter Pops and they had no idea what he was asking for. Turns out they are called "freezer pops" here. Who knew!? Not us! There are so many things like that that I consider strange which are perfectly normal to them. I have also realized that I have to reword things that I say often so that people will understand me. I'm not sure how much of this is a difference in term definitions or vocabulary since I know I often use words that people don't know or understand.
Anyway, the only other really BIG news is that Little Sis is finally walking almost 50% of the time. Finally! She turned 18 months on Monday and she is just now deciding to take more than 5 steps at a time. She is doing so well with it now and is getting more confident and adventurous. However, if she wants to get somewhere in a hurry, she still hops down to her knees and does her little knee-walk/run. She is so funny.
Little D is moving into the next phase of his speech development... story telling. He narrates everything that happens and is starting to tell me what we're going to do, even if there is no way we're actually going to do those things. Here are his favorites ...
"Go get ice cweam cones"
"Go ... uh ... Walmart store."
"Go store get nanas."(Bananas)
"Go a park, a swide, say Weeee!"
"Go eat a FWENNDS!!" (friends)
"Watch Toy Story!!"
"Watch PeeR PAn."
"Mom, pweeze have some...
ice cweeam samwich,
build a tower a bwocks."
He also likes to say prayers a lot now and it is so fun to listen to the things he thinks up to pray for like "ice cweam cones," "sissy eat a noo-nohs." (noodles). More about the FAB cross-country move coming.... soon.... ish.