Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Weary Mama.

I'm a weary mama.The days are long and busy, no? Filled with things that must be done, things that should be done, and then - at the bottom of the list - the things we'd like to do. I'd REALLY like to curl up with my new copy of Allegiant - which finally arrived Saturday, after originally being mailed to our old house - because I'd pre-ordered it, and didn't even think about having moved in the meantime - but instead, there's a pile of clean laundry in the dining room, mocking me; Jason's Halloween costume has paint drying at the moment; there are four HUGE pumpkins sitting on the porch waiting to be carved - and the house is filthy. The pool is dirty. The grass needs to be cut. The indoor cat's favorite way to get my attention is to shred paper left laying around - you know, the important ones you leave out because you need to deal with them. The outdoor cat - left to our care by the previous owners who denied having a cat - wants to come in, and the indoor cat wants to go out. I have a thousand things I want to do to this house, and no money to do it. Sometimes I want to find a dark hole and stay there.


It helps to look back and see how far we've come - I am so.grateful for the two weeks I spent homeless at the beach with the kids. We all love Duck, NC, and I think it was probably the best decision I could have made, to leave Virginia and head to a place familiar to us after moving out of the only house our kids had known. I know I really needed it - and we all got along amazingly well.
Coffee and Othello with Sarah on the deck
Part of that probably had to do with the fact that it was just me and the kids, and I didn't really care what we did or how late we stayed up. I kind of got on the same schedule they did - we woke up with the sun and went to bed after watching some of Season 1 of Doctor Who....

We played in the ocean - which was COLD at first, but changed every day! - and sewed Zombies. Well - Evie and I sewed zombies - William spent most of his time on his ipad, playing Minecraft and chatting via Facetime with his friend Rianne (technology has been the biggest blessing with all of this...)



The big kids rode boogie boards, and everyone helped bury William.

They dug holes, and made sand castles, and just sat in the surf....



We had fruity drinks and games, and waited for the waves to wash us out to sea...



My dad spent a week with us and treated us all to dinner and ice cream...

I dragged everyone to Kitty Hawk for a history lesson - because while I have every intention of going back to Duck, I have no idea how long it will take me to get there. They were NOT happy with me making them LEARN....!

The beach was gorgeous, and different every day - and quiet, as it was early in the season. We saw a wedding party posing for pictures, dolphins jumping in the sea, and just relaxed, played, and decompressed from the insanity and stress that was the end of the school year and moving out of the only house the kids had known. Stuffed to the gills in the van, with the cat. Did I mention that? Yah. 4 kids, myself, and the cat, stuffed into -oh, I don't know, 20 cubic feet? Halfway across the country? No wonder I've gained 10 pounds. I need to look at that beach view again....

There, that's better.

I leave you with William, playing the new song he'd found, while stuffing his face with Duck Donuts. Oy.






Monday, October 7, 2013

My baby girl turned 7....

Seven years ago Sarah came screaming into our lives. No, seriously -I've never heard a baby cry that loud at birth. Matt and I just looked at each other somewhat in horror at how loud she was. The nurses got a kick out of that, and warned us we were in trouble.
Love the feet :)
Aside from the screaming - she did NOT like baths, and I swear I have some hearing loss from the sound echoing around the bath tub.... - Sarah was a great sleeper, and we definitely had our peaceful moments - I've never seen such a smiley baby....

I miss sleeping with a baby :(

Sarah was my only thumb-sucker. We didn't really use binkies, when they cried, I picked them up, no matter where we were (seemed like I always had to hold it in their mouths anyway, otherwise they pushed them out). I'll never forget finding her sleeping in her crib, thumb in mouth, the first time :)





Sarah doesn't suck her thumb anymore, but she DOES make the same faces :D Life with her is intense. She's smart as a whip, and has a fantastic sense of humor. She uses big words like preposterous, loves to sing (in the shower) and dance (when you're not watching) and help me in the kitchen. She's so.much.fun to have around, and can always bring a smile to my face.

Simple things make her happy, like a big red button that says 'NO' in a bajillion different ways....

A hat so she can pretend she's Derpy from My Little Pony....
...and some stuffed guinea pigs. Sarah can apparently never have too many stuffed animals.


"It took me all my computer time to get all my webkinz (4 new ones) signed up, but I DID IT. PHEW!" - Sarah, aged 7

My baby girl is 7 and I want to know where the time has gone.......

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Three months in....

October 1! Welcome to fall, y'all :)It hardly seems possible that it's been 3 months to the day since we moved into our Texas house. Is it me or does your current reality kind of overwrite everything that came before it, and it seems like you've been in it forever?

It helps to have our own things around us, I was SO HAPPY to have back MY furniture, kitchen things, and CLOTHES after living out of a suitcase for a month & having most of our house packed for three. Of course - not much fits, because moving is stressful on a Harried Mom, and she tends to drink more wine when under stress. It's a good thing we're in Texas, and I have a month or two before I need to fit into my jeans. My 'drink less' effort wasn't going so well, so now I'm working on 'run more'....

So, we've been here 3 months, and the kids have been in school for several weeks. They're settling in and making friends (dear moms of friends - I'm giving you my phone number because my child wants to have a play date with yours, and I don't have your number - please call!)
 We're dealing with all the issues of a 12 year old house that - I have to say -seems to have been a bit neglected in the last couple of years - but that's a whole blog in and of itself (coming soon to a blog near you!)
 My small kids, after about 6 weeks of swimming in the pool with vests, ditched the vests at the end of the summer and were swimming on their own like fish....
pool noodle jousts
 We enjoyed long summer days swimming and swinging on the playset left behind....
 ...and I caught William READING A BOOK. The book I insisted he get from the library. I think he actually enjoys reading now, that he's fluent and it's not so much work - not that he'll ever admit that to me....
 William turned 10 and can now be seen zooming around on his electric scooter. When they only ask for one thing, you sort of have to get it for them, no?
  We had birds having a pool party....
 ....and inherited a cat that was left behind. Sugar is a sweetheart, and I'm happy that if the previous owners didn't want her, they left her for us. She's also a fantastic mouser (if only she'd stop leaving them for me...) and I'm hoping that will cut down on snakes...
Finally, I have never in my life seen such consistently beautiful sunrises and sunsets. It is gorgeous here, and I love it.

Monday, August 26, 2013

One is the loneliest number....

Today's a big day. My baby went to Kindergarten this morning. After 12 years of having at least one child in the house at least part of the day, I will be alone from somewhere around 7:30 am to around 4pm. It's so quiet here, and I'm not quite sure what to do with myself. Add in the fact that Matt used to work from home 3 days a week, and is now gone all day, this will take some getting used to. No more using the kids as an excuse to not get things accomplished, I guess :D
So we've landed in Texas - we moved in 8 weeks ago today - and have pretty much settled in. Paperwork is complete and I am officially a Texas resident; kids are enrolled in school, and hopefully meeting some nice people today. Say a prayer with me, will you? Evie is in 6th grade at the middle school and a bit nervous about the whole lockers/class changing/schedule thing.
William is in 4th grade at the intermediate school. Hopefully he will have a great first day - today's his 10th birthday! - and make some friends. I'm sure all he needs to do is mention Minecraft and he'll find a friend somewhere, right?
Sarah and Jason are in 1st grade and Kindergarten, respectively. Happily, there are so many kindergartners this year that they had to add a classroom, so Jason's class is in the first grade hallway and he's literally right next door to Sarah. They're hoping to have lunch together ;)
After a summer of being together pretty much ALL DAY/EVERY DAY, I think we're all ready for a new routine and some new faces in our lives! So far so good here in Texas - and now that I have a moment to myself to think without someone saying 'MOM!' every 8 minutes, I'll be able to share some stories from our moving adventure. It was a good one :)
Off to read a book accomplish something!!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Hobos

A lot has happened in the last month and a half - a whirlwind of packing, logistical planning, end of school activities, and trying to buy a suitable home in Texas, while living in Virginia. I've had a lot of wine in the last two months, and the fit of my pants (or lack thereof) shows that all too well. No time for exercise, but we made it through and I know this is all just a temporary situation. So what's happened in the past several weeks?

After getting quotes from a few moving companies, we decided $15K was entirely too much to pay someone to move all our crap to Texas, and we liked the idea of using PODS and a U-haul. So before Matt left for Texas on May 10, we loaded two 16' PODS full to the brim and currently have them awaiting transfer in Virginia. The plan was then to get a 17' Uhaul for the rest of the stuff & tow my MINI behind it. Matt's dad was going to fly home & they would ride together, while I drove the kids and cat in the mini van. This, of course was all dependent on us buying the second house we wrote a contract on, as the first one never materialized, even after a verbal acceptance. We were supposed to go to settlement on June 8, and move in on June 10.

Things that don't go smoothly from the beginning aren't meant to be, right? We felt we were compromising a little bit on that house, it was smaller than we were comfortable with, but thought we could make it work. As time went on, though, their agent was just not great to deal with - papers took forever to get signed, she pushed back on absolutely everything, and at the 11th hour we used our option to terminate the contract. Of course she was on the phone with our agent within 30 seconds of receiving that email, hoping to salvage the deal. I'm sure she blamed the whole thing on us to her clients, but we felt nothing but relief to be out of that one.

In the meantime, Matt and our Texas agent went to look at a couple more houses - never mind the severe thunderstorm warnings and potential for tornadoes that afternoon....thankfully, the first one they saw looked like a great fit for us, with everything we could want except for quite the amount of land Matt was hoping to get. Honestly, it's 6 times what we had in Virginia, I'm ok with not having a 10 or 15 acre spread to start with.

The third house - in Celina - seemed to be the charm - we had a verbal acceptance on our offer within 4 hours of submitting a contract, and a signed contract within a day. We were to go to settlement on June 28, and gave them until June 30 to move out. That left me with 23 days of homelessness for me and the cat, as Matt had to go back to work, and I didn't really see all 6 of us - plus the cat - living in a hotel in Dallas for 3 weeks. After considering all the options I could think of, I booked a house for two weeks at the beach for me and the kids. I'm thinking it was meant to be, as I found a townhouse 100 yards from the beach that was available for two weeks, with a Friday check-in - we could move out and go right there.

After all that was settled, I buckled down to packing up the rest of the house and cutting the grass every 3 days. May showers bring lots of grass to cut. Fast forward, and Matt and his dad flew home to move us out on Tuesday June 4th. We had beautiful weather, up until it was time to load the trucks! Then it rained for two days. We soon realized that the 26' truck we'd changed to two weeks before wasn't going to be big enough. Late Thursday afternoon on the 6th Matt's dad and I picked up a 14' truck. We should have gotten a 17'....

 After packing for two days in the rain, Matt was just spent, as was I - but you really have no choice but to power through, right?
 The kids came home from school, we snapped a picture, jumped in the trucks, and away we went. It didn't occur to me until talking to Matt last night that I didn't really process that I'd never be back there - we put so.much. into that house. I didn't really have TIME to think about it though, as I had a 6.5 hour drive ahead of me, heading into Tropical Andrea on my way to the outer banks of NC.
 William kept me company up front most of the way down - he was a great traveling companion :)
 I don't think we could have fit one more ounce of anything in the van, and there were lots of times where I lost it on the drive - my kids could get on the nerves of a saint, and heaven knows I am NOT one of those. But we made it safe and sound, and are nicely settled into our home until June 21. I forget which of the kids said we were hobos, but Jason - after a day playing at the beach - said he had no idea moving could be so much FUN! I love that boy.
Post script: re-reading this, it sounds like it was all so easy! The reality was SO much different. Poor Matt and his dad drove from Virginia to Texas in 2 days and then spent 4 hours with his family unloading everything into 3 storage units. I'm sure it was brutal, and that I've got the easy end of the deal here, as I write my blog post while sipping coffee, listening to chirping birds in the morning breeze at the beach :) Now that I have some time to decompress, maybe I'll actually write about our adventures here...

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