Wonderful people who make this blog worth updating

Monday, June 29, 2009

Yesterday's fun

Yesterday was an interesting day for the husband and I. We went to Office Max and finally found a desk that we liked and also ordered some bookcases that matched. We were able to take the bookcase home, while the bookcases will be delivered sometime next week.

When we got home I put Layla to sleep, then set out to get a few groceries while he put the desk together. He does read directions, but prefers to be left alone while working on things like that. I took my time at the store, then went to this weird little store that I had noticed before called Every Day Deals. It was so weird. It was like a wonderland of dented cans and boxes, discontinued brands and packaging, and slightly expired food. I was lured in by the $1 cantaloupes on their signboard.

I did find a decent cantaloupe, two boxes of blueberries for $1 (some were moldy), and a few boxes of discontinued cereal. One of them expired last month, but for cereal that's just fine in terms of usability. My mom would always take expired stuff from the health food store she worked at while I was home, so it doesn't freak me out. Basically, meat and milk are only good a day or two past the date, but grains, nuts, and other non perishables won't hurt you, they will just not be as good in flavor or texture.

When I got home the hubby still wasn't done with the desk. It took him about 6 frustrating hours in all, but at least I have somewhere to sit as I type this. Our bed should be delivered Wednesday, and we just need to find a couch of some decent sort. I still want to do the majlis someday, but unfortunately, it is looking to be a little too expensive right now. ;(

Last night we also ordered a Berkey water filter from Pleasant Hill Grain, which will pay for itself in a little over a year. Then I ordered some training pants for Layla from Sammis Corner.

Layla has been going on the potty sometimes, so I am hoping to have her done by the time she is 2. Wish me luck! She is still talking like crazy and craves constant attention. We will have to do just a post on her later.

I am loving Portland so much!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Home Sweet Home

We have been in our new home of Portland since Monday. The process of driving out was somewhat agonizing with a 1 1/2 year old, but we made it through alright. We stayed in Minneapolis for a few days to say to our friends and my mother-in-law.

We left the city Friday morning and spent that first day driving to Pierre, SD. I thought that some of the scenery in South Dakota was pretty after we crossed the Missouri River, but Pierre isn't somewhere I would enjoy living. There wasn't really much to see, and it seemed like a place definitely lacking in ethnic foods.

Saturday we left Pierre in the morning and drove until we got to the famous Wall Drug store. I wouldn't recommend stopping there unless you like overcrowed tourist traps. I was hoping to get some buffalo jerky, but what they had there was so overpriced that I couldn't justify buying any. The rest of the day Saturday was agonizingly long. We stopped at a couple spots in the Black Hills, but avoided any of the other major tourist areas. Our original plan was to stop at Mt. Rushmore, but it would have added at least 2 hours to our drive by the time we got there and took pictures. The scenery in western SD is amazing though. We crossed into Wyoming, drove through a couple hundred miles of it, then finally crossed into Montana. Southern Montana where I-90 crosses through is a huge Crow reservation. They have some beautiful land, but you can also tell that the area is pretty economically depressed. Saturday night we stayed at a hotel in Billings that had a Mongolian Grill restaurant next to it. That meal was a beautiful ending to a very long day.

Sunday was also a day of a ton of driving. We continued northwest through many more miles of Montana, and finally crossed into Idaho. Some of the elevations in the border area are pretty high and the scenery is amazing. At one point close to the border there were even snow flurries coming down from one of the mountaintops. I kept imagining how this trip would have been on the Oregon trail before modern highways lessened the grades of the mountains. We just crossed through the northern border region of Idaho where the state is only about 100 miles wide. Just after crossing the border into Washington, we stopped in Spokane. It wasn't a bad city, but we were too tired to do much after such a long time in the car.

Our final day of travel was the shortest. We left Spokane and went south and west through some of the farming regions of Washington. This is the area where they grow a lot of cherries and apples. There were also a good number of vineyards. Interestingly, most of the crops were irrigated. Apparently the thin rocky soil doesn't hold moisture well. The area along the WA/OR border along the Columbia river is also really beautiful. There are basically huge rocky cliffs that form the gorge. Once you cross the Cascade range, the climate is different and everything starts getting green. That is the thing I love most about this area. I am happiest where there are lots of trees.

Layla was pretty good throughout the whole trip. Aside from a few screaming fits when she got tired, she was entertained by reading the same books over and over again. Husband and I took turns sitting with her in the back and alternating driving. She craves constant attention and would get very angry if she was awake and no one was playing with her. I'm just glad that we're finally here.

Our new place in Portland is great. The apartment is huge, 2br, 2ba, and a small deck patio. I already got some plants for it. The only downside is that we have no furniture other than an air matress and some pillows. Oh well. We just ordered a bed, and are looking for some bookcases and other seating options. Anyone know where we can order Arabic couches online?
We have this idea of doing a majlis style sitting room with some papyrus and other pictures from Egypt and Iraq to decorate.

Any suggestions would be greatly welcomed.
Thanks for reading my insanely long post!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Farewell Peoria. . .

I am finally leaving my parents' house after being here in Peoria for a whole year. It was nice to have somewhere to stay while Dave was deployed and we've had some great times here. I will miss my parents and my friends who still live here, but I would never choose to move back here.

Yesterday we took care of seeing a lot of the family at my cousin's house, who was having a 1st birthday party for her little girl. They were having a pool party, so Layla was the only baby swimming topless yesterday! She absolutely loved the pool and got a little upset when we took her out.

Our plans get a little hectic starting tomorrow. We have to pack everything we have at my parents' house into our little Mazda Protege. Then we are driving to Minneapolis, where we will say goodbye to Dave's mom and siblings and our good friends there. After that we being the approximately 1800 mile journey from there to Portland. Since we are staying a couple days in Minneapolis, we should InshaAllah get into Portland next Monday (the 22nd).
We should already have an apartment held in Portland, that way we won't be homeless when we get there. Our original plan was to rent a U-haul and drag our car behind, but the U-haul was $1400 one-way and the tow dolly for the car was another $400, so now we are only going with what we absolutely need. The only problem is that my husband and I own a lot of books. We may have to ship quite a few of them, but I know that should not cost anywhere near $1400.
When we get to Minneapolis, our mechanic friend will be looking over the car, rotating tires, changing the oil, and putting on new brake pads. We also got AAA just in case we break down along the way.
I am so excited about making our new home in Portland! We're finally getting out of the Midwest.

Monday, June 1, 2009

We're back!

It is so great to be back and have things somewhat back to normal. We're back from spending 10 days in our former home of Minnesota, and now we're going to be staying with my parents for about another 2 weeks. Layla is adjusting really well to having Daddy around again.

Actually, within only a few hours she was playing with him and would ask where he was if he left the room. Now she's usually willing to accept him instead of me if I'm doing something. It's so nice to have everyone back together again.

Now we're in the process of packing so that we can move to Portland in a only a few weeks.
It was great being back in Minnesota. I love it there in the spring and summer, I'm just not a fan of snow and cold in general. I grew up in IL and have lived in MN, so it will be nice to live somewhere outside the Midwest for once.

While we were in Minneapolis we got to eat Somali food, hit up our favorite Chinese joint, and took lots of walks around town. I also got a couple new skirts at the Somali Mall. The prices there are so great. I got some Henna done there and got invited to a wedding. I didn't end up going though because I decided that I would spend the them with Dave and Layla and sleep early instead.