Early morning of Sunday Feb. 12th we pulled the kids out of bed, loaded up in the packed van to depart one Atlanta headed toward another. Kinda funny when you think about it. :) The kids were zoned out or back asleep until Tulsa, OK. Stopped there at a loyal QT to fuel up and help secure daddy's job by grabbing some donuts. :)
Kids were pretty chipper the whole trip. DVD player helps with that!! Aidan won the prize for number of times asking questions such as "are we there yet?" "when will be be at our new house?" He obviously had no idea about the whole hotel livin' we had in ahead of us.
I drove through most of Arkansas. Our short trip though Tennessee was my favorite. Total travel time was maybe 10 minutes! :)
Driving over the Mississippi River was cool. Emma could see the cargo ships in the water. Boys were impressed with the bridge.
One day on our trip we will have to stop and get a better look...kinda like I wish we had done in places through NM. It was also interesting to watch the rail car "loaders" work. Fascinating to think about who stuff gets from one place to another through various forms of transportation.
One state after another. Odd to pass through so many states in one trip. KS to AZ was so dreadful at time b/c you drove the full distance of OK, chunk of TX, allllll.the.waaaaay.across NM and a hefty distance through AZ.
Started to see these green things popping up. Very much reminds us of the trees in the mountainous areas near Flagstaff.
The trip went great. I would say the last 4 hours seem to take an eternity. Kids were more restless, we were tired and it was pushing supper time, yet we didn't want to make another full unload stop to eat. A short 15 hours 11.3 seconds later we were "home". I must admit it's a bit better than the 20 hours to the SW. Verdict still out on if this is a trip I could do solo with the kids straight through.
Monday we slept in a bit. Ran into Matt's work and had the Dr. in the clinic check Aidan out. He seemed to be having some allergy/eye issue. Lots of screaming later we walked away with some eye drops. Monday afternoon started our pursuit of getting Emma enrolled. Not so easy to do when you are new to the area and have no home address.
Finalized all that paperwork and turned it in on Tuesday. Did a little retail therapy to ease Emma's nerves. She got a new out fit for the first day of school. Daddy didn't quite get it saying "Emma no one knows you so all your outfits are new to them." Hello daddy...a new outfit can make you feel like you can conquer the world!! Duh!
I felt kinda bad dragging the boys around shopping for Emma & getting school supplies. They were SO crabby and I was being SO NOT patient. Then they did this...
and made me feel all bad and guilty. Poor little guys were tuckered out! My brother's comment "Posting pics of kids in a shopping cart... makes you look homeless. Oh. Wait.... sorry, forget I said anything." Isn't he funny! :)
One of the best investments and necessary items in hotel living thus far- dust buster. A. It's great entertainment for the boys. B. They are finally fighting for something good- cleaning. C. It's the only way to remain the least bit clean when they are eating around a coffee table!!
Emma started school our first Wednesday here. Gave her the chance to "get her feet" wet before having this week off for a winter break. You can read more about her first day HERE.
We celebrated Valentine's Day with dinner out and a night here in the hotel. Awful sweet of me to get a hotel not only for the holiday, but the whole month. It has many amenities...including 3 small, loud children. The pool will be our saving grace. Helps us ware them down for a
good decent bedtime.
I've become a bit more familiar with the area. Tried to prove to our sweet British GPS guy that I didn't need him anymore taking Emma to school on her first Friday sans GPS. Well I was wrong! Not only did I miss our exit I missed the next exit. Which then took us on a 10 mile trip to make it back to our exit! Luckily we had left with time to spare and she wasn't tardy! Whew! So I have resigned to the fact that it will take me far longer to learn to get around here compared to the grid Phoenix sat on. Here I can seem to make 2 left turns yet end up where I started going full circle!?! I can at least find a couple Wal-marts, a Target & a few QTs so that covers the necessities! :)
While Matt was gone we killed time at the Atlanta zoo. Their fav was the panda.
Browsing a local mall...
Once I was dressed for the day Emma changed to match me...we got lots of comments walking through the mall. :)
A ride on the carousel.
The sole purchase was Emma's fake glasses. She was in love with the idea of glasses. At first. Then she discovered how they slide off your face, get dirty and get misplaced. :) She looks so much older when she wears them and giggles when we go out in them b/c I think she thinks people know they are fake. I told her no one would be able to tell. She said "REALLY?? They think they are real!?!" Aidan had fun while sissy was picking out her glasses...
We played with playdough & swam A LOT.
After a very rainy Friday stuck in the hotel we drove to the airport to get Matt. We were all so glad to have him back. It had been a long week with lots of move arrangements being made.
Today I was filled with the most...anxiety I guess you could call it. Maybe 2 weeks here and Matt gone all last week got the best of me. I probably should have insisted on getting out alone today. The space seemed to close in on me. Matt wasn't feeling well. Didn't make church. Kids were cRaZy. Isaac is desperate for his naps. He still seems to want/need one each day, yet it's almost impossible with us on top each other. He did snuggle up to me on the couch today and get one...which makes me feel better than what had been happening of him falling asleep from where ever we were driving to/from. Only left the room to swim downstairs. AHH! Ready for our daily "routine" with Emma in school. With only 36 more days in the hotel I am counting down every.last.day.
Cooking with our set up is getting better. Plan to work up some good crockpot meals this week. That will be nice. Hate the feeling that the kids are eating so much "junk" kid food.
QT has told Matt to look at other hotel options mainly b/c of the kitchen (lack of) set up. But our research matches that of the relo company...nothing in this county seems to have a true kitchenette and we have to be in the county for Emma's school enrollment. I really think we can make do. The biggest drawback is size of fridge & NO freezer. It'll be an experience. I figure I'll start making a list of the meals we are most craving that I can't make and that will be our menu for the first few weeks in the house! :)
Make sense?!? :) Emma started school just 2 days after arriving here in the Atlanta area. It was kinda quick when factoring all the time zones we had been going through, but we wanted her to get her "feet wet" with 3 days of school before having this past week off for winter break.
She was SO nervous. I tried my best to make the school aware and get all the proper docs in to the school so they could assign her a teacher and perhaps met her before the first day. That didn't work out so we arrived early the first day to meet the teacher. Her teacher Mrs. B seems very nice and well organized & informative.
Upon arrival Emma was hugged and greeted by 2 little girls. She quickly went in the room while I talked to the teacher. I took my cue to leave when she shot me the "who is that crazy lady in the hall" look. :)
I'm guessing it was harder on Mama than Emma. Having never had to go to a new school, never moving and having some of the same classmates from Kindergarten through my senior year it makes it hard on me to feel as though I'm putting her through this "stress". In actuality it's more stress for me than her. She is not like her mama. I have often wondered why God gave me a little girl so different than I was. Times like this I understand.
Once I managed to find my way through the VERY organized & detailed pick up lane and only managing to clog the flow of traffic once I had my little girl back. Boys were asleep so I got a great chance to visit with her about her first day. She said she met a friend and her teacher was so organized. "She had a place for everything". Emma's 1st grade teacher was wonderful, but and organized classroom was not his priority. :) Her AZ 2nd grade teacher was only there 4 weeks before maternity leave thus having a sub the rest of the time.
She did say that she wasn't sure about her teacher at first b/c she "kinda yelled" at a kid. She said "I thought I'm going to have to tell Mama that I DON'T like this", but said she changed her mind as the day went on. Made me laugh. Her Kind., 1st & 2nd grade teachers were all very soft spoken people.
It took different conversations with me, Mimi, Gma & Daddy to hear all the bits and pieces of her day. Interesting to hear all the different comments and observations she had and shared.
She loves her daily binder & agenda she brings home. SUPER stoked that her school has Art class. Very excited to be able to check out library books and bring them home. She ate school lunch on Friday- duh, pizza. Already asking about the different clubs they offer. Here's a few shots of her on her 2nd 1st day of school for the year...
And here's a normal pose for my drama girl...
or over the desert mountains, through the skies to Kansas we went logging the first 1000 miles of our journey. The kids and I took flight Thursday, Feb. 2nd for a previous planned trip to KS. (previous as in before the move decision) The plans was to visit family between our usual Thanksgiving & Summer visits. It also happened to be the time of the bi-annual scrap crop I used to attend. Yay!
It was my first flight with all 3 kids since Isaac had turned two thus requiring a seat. That put Emma across the aisle from us. She was a bit nervous about that but she managed with assistance from technology & snacks...
Aidan had a ball with wikki sticks. I would HIGHLY recommend them as airplane entertainment! An older woman behind him visited with him most of the way. He shared his wikki sticks with her.
Isaac decided the 4 am wake up to get to the airport required a mid flight snooze.
Thursday night we had dinner with our friends who happen to also be family (the Cannons) at the bestest mexican food place ever. The food was good, but the highlight of the night was holding my newest nephew. He makes my uterus think bad thoughts. So sad I have no picture of me holding him...but my hands were happily too full for a camera. :)
The scrap crop was Fri – Sun and was tons of fun! If it's hard for you to imagine 180 croppers together here's what it looks like:
Sunday after the crop I gathered the boys who were in a fruit snack coma from spending the weekend with papa to head to my parents. This is the 2nd weekend crop Papa had boy duty. They love their time spent together watching endless episodes of Power Rangers on "Netfix" and eating kids food. :)
We drove straight to my brothers where the fam gathered for pizza. We got to meet Mimi's new puppy, Abby, which my dog-a-phobic kids ADORE! Uncle Adam hosted a sleep over letting us crash at his place. Monday Mimi took the day off so we hung out at her house having a great time laughing at the kids & Mimi playing Xbox games.
Monday night my cousin Diane came from MO to visit. It was great to see her and nice to have her company Tuesday while I watched my kiddos and my niece & nephew. That night I hosted a dinner at my parents house. Friend Michelle came as well as the whole fam. Monday & Tuesday was full of strange feelings to know that Matt was in AZ emptying the house. Strange to know that what seemed like a regular visit to KS was actually permanent. We wouldn't return to our house...or more so our friends.
Wednesday I took off from Melvern and drove south to my friend Karra's. We spent the afternoon visiting. Our visits always seem too short. Boo. By the time we made it to the in-laws Matt had already made the long drive to KS!! Yay!
Thursday we hung out at his parents. Chilled, relaxed. Grandma gave Matt & kiddos pedicures. Isaac took a "bath"?!?
Friday evening we had dinner with our friends the Koosers. Another great, but too short visit with friends. It's amazing how excited you can be to see old friends, yet forget to snap a single picture of your visit.
We picked up our two nephews after our visit in Derby. They stayed the night with our kiddos and played all Saturday morning. I can't help but sit and watch my nephew Alex play and wrestle with my boys. He's now 10 yet it seems like just yesterday was a baby himself. Emma & Dylan were like always. Joined at the hip like a day hasn't passed since their last visit. I think she was thrilled to have someone else to play "house" with...finally a "dad" to help boss around her brothers.
The boys had to leave at lunch time. That evening the Cannons came to see us. The kids & cousin Libby had fun playing and I had fun with little Max! :) Little guy is trying to find his voice...not sure you can hear it over my boys' commotion & Isaac's attempt to plug him with a pappy. :)
Someone was VERY jealous when his Mama was holding Mr. Max. Also if you can hear in the video Aidan is convinced Max is making a "snowman" (meaning snow angle...poor kid doesn't remember KS snow). And if it's not a "snowman" it's his "dance moves". :)
So sad to think next time I see him he will not only be cooing more but sitting, eating foods & probably crawling :( Boo.hoo.
Although there were days where we all felt this way:
We all came around to the idea of moving and planned how we wanted to spend our short time left in AZ.
Emma decided she wanted to have a tea party with some of her girl friends. I can't emphasize enough how LITTLE I had to do with this planning. I was swamped with moving things and while I wanted her to have a special time with friends I was also interested to see how she would do planning it all herself. She amazed me!
She made invitations and handed them out. I was totally unaware she informed all the girls to wear pretty dresses because "that is how you dress to tea parties". EXcuuuuse me?! :) So they all came dressed in their Sunday best. She picked her outfit. She set the table and planned the menu. All I had to do was make the little sandwiches. She took their orders & served the food. There was a bit of craziness from the girls for a bit so we hosted an impromptu Barbie fashion show using our stair railing as a catwalk. :)
She had some of the sweetest friends. She manages to find friends that are a pleasure to be around and come to play & I hardly notice they are there! It's my prayer she finds another set of friends in our new area. I hope the tea party will be something she looks back at with fond memories. I think I might have a future party planner on my hands!
Wednesday was their last day of school so I was sure to take some pics. Aidan was convinced his friends, especially his buddy Michael was moving to GA too.
He LOVED Miss Pammy! Just so you know this IS the same teacher he told me had hair like Rapunzel after his first day of PreK. As you can see with her DARK, SHORT hair he is either not observant...or perhaps has a great imagination!?!?!
Here's Emma's 2nd grade class. Mrs. Hanks was actually her sub, but considering her "real" teacher was only there the first month, took maternity and then decided not to come back Mrs. Hanks was more her teacher than the "real" teacher. She loved Mrs. Hanks and her sweet disposition.
*FYI the pic w/Mrs. Hanks is one of those where I [GASP] and wonder who that BIG girl is standing next to that teacher?!?!?!??! Where's my sweet little preschooler in her Gymboree denim turtle skirt with matching turtle pony tail holder and knee socks?!?!?
After school her friend Ashton's family invited her to go to a movie. The movie actually canceled so they went bowling. It was Emma's first time bowling so will hold a special memory in her heart. Ashton and her family were such a sweet and caring family that we enjoyed having as neighbors.
While Emma was off bowling we got together one last time with the Mullins. Our closest friends and neighbors in AZ. God really blessed me with this friend. Our kids were close in age and LOVED playing together. She and I just "clicked". Our friendship isn't anything I really expected to find in AZ making it even harder to leave. Twice in my life I have had friends that strangers would ask if we were sisters...they were asking based on looks, but in both cases the girls were also 2 of my closest friends in the town I was living.
That final play date was bittersweet. It was such a normal day for us. Something we sometimes did 3-4 times a week. Get together, sit at the end of the drive and watch the kids ride bikes, scooters, dig in the dirt, fight and climb trees. So bitter knowing that at the end of the "typical" play date we would drag all our loot home to never return. To never play as neighbors again. The boys would not longer hang out and talk about transformers, power rangers, Mario, farting or poop as 4 year old little boys do. Isaac & Ainsley would not again get to run up to each other to embrace excited to see one another to only minutes later be fighting like an old married couple.
Don't want to say I doubted God would provide a friend for me there, but I guess I did since I seemed so surprised by it. And his timing in it was the most amazing. We had been in AZ 3 months before we first met. Their house was the last house we went to trick or treating our first fall there. We chatted briefly but it wasn't until several weeks later that we met up at Walmart. It was such perfect timing. It was around that time Matt & I hit a rough patch and having someone to visit with even about everyday things & to get me out of the house was such a help to my spirit.
It was so difficult to share the news with them that we were moving. It was hard for the kids and hard on us. But again in God's perfect timing her kiddos have a bit of a distraction b/c their newly retired grandma just moved into the neighborhood & we are able to sneak in extra play time while she was off school for winter break.
Still seems surreal that we won't see them for a very long time. A bit different that KS friends we left but might get to see when we travel home. It sure would be nice to retreat to the beautiful weather of AZ to see them again!! :)
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