January 3rd, 2005


Dear Family,


Wow, our last letter was dated July 22nd, 2004.  I guess a couple things have changed in our lives since then.  Well, maybe more than a couple. J  In the last letter I was updating you on the house hunting in Utah, and our saga of trying to sell our house in Ohio.  And *POOF*, just like magic, we’re back in Utah.  Oh, if it had only been that easy.  Here’s the story on getting back to Utah:


We returned to Ohio on August 1st, and were a little bit disappointed with the small number of house showings that we had had while vacationing in Utah.  Of course we had set the price high, knowing that we would probably have to lower it at some point.  We had a few showings here and there, and every time we made sure that our house was absolutely immaculate.  Typical Jennie.  I figured it couldn’t hurt.  As we neared the end of August, we met with our Realtor and decided to do two things: 1. lower the price and 2. remove some striped wallpaper that we had hanging in the great room.  I guess there had been a few comments about people not liking the stripes, so we yanked it and painted the walls a neutral color.  Shortly after we made these changes, things went nuts.  We had people coming through almost every day, and sometimes we had two or three showings in one day.  All we did was clean.  During those last couple of weeks I wasn’t sure if my sanity was going to last.  Along the way we had a few people interested, but they were waiting to sell their house, etc.  It’s a domino effect.  Finally the first week in September someone came to see the house and they stayed forever.  I took this as a good sign.  Then the rumors started to fly that they were interested.  They came back for a second showing on September 9th, which is Ali’s birthday.  Ironically we had three showings for that day, and I was bound and determined to make Ali’s favorite dinner – Beef Stroganoff.  Realtors don’t like ‘odors’ in the house when you have a showing, but I figured it wasn’t an offensive odor, so I made it anyway.  The funny part was that our last showing for the day was running late, so by the time we got home, the rolls that I had left out to rise, were oozing over the sides of the pan.  They looked like malignant growths.  We laughed so hard – but we still cooked them, even though they looked deformed.  A couple days later, on September 11th (ironically), we were made an offer.  When the inspector came through the house about a week later, the couple buying the house came as well, and I happened to be there.  They jokingly commented on how the smell of dinner and the rolls sold it for them.  Kind of funny, huh.  So every time I make beef stroganoff, it reminds me of the day the house sold. 


Within a couple weeks Ross and I took a quick trip out to Salt Lake to find a house.  We were able to farm our kids out to people in our branch.  The people in our branch were absolutely amazing – they would do anything for you.  Ross & I spent a couple days looking at houses in Riverton and West Jordan.  We actually made an offer on a house at about 90th South and 5700 W., but shortly after making the offer, Ross & I both felt like that wasn’t the house for us.  Luckily the people made a counteroffer and we were able to reject it and walk away without losing our earnest money.  We ended up making an offer on the house that we are in now.  It’s a much older home than the first one, but it was much more reasonably priced, plus there is lots of space in the home and it has an awesome backyard!  The house was built in the 70’s, and there is definitely some updating that we want to do, but Ross & I love that type of stuff. (Okay, maybe not Ross, because he has to do the grunt work, but the decorating part is fun!). 


We were able to work out a deal with a friend of Ross’ who owns a trucking company – we packed and loaded, then they drove it across the country.  We calculated that it would have cost just as much if not more to drive two U-Hauls across the country.  We were happy to finally arrive in the Salt Lake Valley – we have done enough driving the past few months to last a lifetime.


Ross was employed with Bound Tree Medical through December 31st. He is still trying to find a full-time job, but he is also doing consulting and seeing if he can find enough clients to make it a full time gig.  We will just have to wait and see how things go.


I think that gives you an overview of ‘The Baum Shelter’.  Here are a few specifics:


Ali:  is attending West Jordan Middle School and is in the 7th grade.  Ali’s enjoying WJMS – and her carpool with four ‘cute’ boys from our ward. J (Sorry Ali)  Ali was accepted into the advanced orchestra (viola) – which only one other 7th grader was allowed.  Starting middle school in 6th grade out in Ohio really put her at an advantage over other kids in her grade at WJMS.  Ali’s doing great in school and is enjoying Young Women’s.  I think there are 13 or 14 beehives – so there are lots of girls her age.


Nicole: is attending West Jordan Elementary School and is in the 6th grade.  Nicole was demoted from Middle School, back to Elementary School when we moved to West Jordan.  Well, she wasn’t really demoted, but she did get to move back into the smooth sailing of being ‘king of the hill’ in elementary school once again.  Next year she’ll join Ali – it will be nice to have the two of them at the same school.  Nicole is pretty much just waiting for her 12th birthday – and moving into Young Women’s.  Nicole still enjoys singing and we are hoping to get her into voice lessons soon.  Plus Nicole is playing Junior Jazz basketball this season and enjoying it.  She is a head taller than everyone else, and always plays the center position.  We figured that since we have the sports court in our back yard, we can now produce some basketball or volleyball stars from our family.


Nathan:  is also at WJES and is in the 3rd grade.  Nathan continues to draw and draw, and then draw some more.  He’s been fascinated with the titanic for probably a year now – and has drawn many impressive pictures of the ship.  Last Friday Ross took him the Titanic exhibit at the ZCMI Center.  Nathan is definitely going to be an artist or an engineer when he grows up.  For Christmas Nathan got a rollercoaster set that you make out of K’NEX pieces.  He put the whole thing together on his own.  It was just amazing because Ross & I went to run a few errands, and when we got home it was completed.  I don’t get it – I can barely follow the instructions to open a can of corn, nevertheless build something.  Nathan is in cubs and working towards his wolf badge.


Sarah:  is at WJES in the 1st grade.  The first few weeks were very hard for Sarah – but she eventually started to like her new school and teacher.  Of course then she went off track (we are on year round school) – but today was her first day back and she seemed to do all right.  Sarah is doing well in school – she goes to resource once a day for help with reading and writing.  Her classroom teacher is a first year teacher, so he is still learning, and we are trying to help him out with how to best deal with Sarah and help her learn.  Our hardest part is that he assigns homework for the class that is well over Sarah’s head, so I went in and met with him and we discussed that we would ‘tweek’ homework assignments to fit Sarah’s level.  He is very nice, but it has required a lot of work on the part of both Ross & I to try and keep her as close to grade level as possible.  We’re trying to talk Sarah into playing soccer this spring, or maybe dance.  She is so coordinated – we’ll keep you posted.


Bradley:  has turned into quite the little busy body during the past month or so.  He used to be such a mellow little guy – now he is like a little fireball, just buzzing all over the place.  He also tends to get into more mischief than he ever used to.  We’ve had a few scissor incidents lately – my favorite one was when Ross & I came home from a date and found that he had cut out a big circle of fabric from each  knee of his sweat pants.  Ali & Nicole didn’t even realize that he had done it.  We hid the scissors after that, but somehow he was able to find another pair and do some more damage.  Brad turns four in March – but these days I feel like he is in the ‘terrible twos’.  Oh well, at least he’s cute – he just turns those baby blues on you and melts your heart.


Ross & Jennie:  We talked in church on Dec. 19th – which is our anniversary.  Oh well, I think we did all right.  We are just busy as bees trying to keep up with our kids plus deal with our current finances (or lack thereof).  Even though times are kind of crazy right now, we still feel very fortunate to be where we’re at, and know how truly blessed we are.


Have a wonderful new year!




The Baum’s