Thursday, August 15, 2013

Welcome to the South

I promise I'll post pictures.  I wanted to get my house settled a little bit more before I show the world.  It is no fun unpacking box after box, but let me get through a couple more so it's not so cluttery and then I'll take pictures of each room for you all, actually I guess that should be ya'll now.

My kids have adjusted really well to this house.  I was expected more problems but they just feel at home here I guess.  The one problem is my children are suburban kids.  They are used to sidewalks, manicured lawns, woodchipped playgrounds, and street lights.  We moved to a pretty rural area.  There are no street lights, no sidewalks, and when you play outside the grass touches you!  There are also bugs bugs and more bugs.  This is the south after all.  Drew has a little trouble with all the bugs but he's getting used to them, Kara on the other hand screams every time a bug lands on her and her favorite place to play is in the garage with the door closed.  You would think someone was stabbing her the way she screams.  We've gotten many looks when we are out and a tiny gnat flies near her.  Hopefully she'll get over this soon and learn how to be a country girl.  Both my kids now walk outside and say spray me and hold out their different body parts for me to apply bug spray.  Kara even holds her hair up and says neck too.  The mosquitos are horrible this year and my children must taste delicious.  My poor kids have been bit so much already.  I am trying to keep bug spray around but these mosquitos are brutal and bite us even with spray on.
It will be nice if the temperature dips down low enough to kill off some of these bugs.

Here's some pictures from my phone of my kids enjoying the outside and some of the critters that live around us.

On our first NC walk (at the hotel actually)

Our first treasures

Swinging on his swing right after our house closing

Our new buddy, he eats spiders! 

splashing in a puddle in the driveway

peeking out at big brother and mommy

Our playground.  We have to make a few improvements but it's sturdy.  

Welcome home my little ones.  We will make lots of memories in this house. 

Here comes our stuff! 

We found a splash park.  Good thing, it's HOT down here

chillin' at our first mom's club party

Look at these huge mushrooms that pop up overnight

little lizards that are everywhere.  Drew tries so hard to catch them, they are just too fast

The little beach area on the lake near us

A little turtle friend that roams around our yard

Our lake

Beach baby

Getting our mail for the first time.  My kids didn't really know what a mailbox was.  We had a lock box before. 

doing some yard work

look closely, it's a peeper.  It's tiny!  We also have small brown toads all over the back yard. 

Huge moth that looks like a dead leaf

They love having a swing set in the backyard.  

Friday, August 9, 2013


I am in the middle of a sea of boxes.
    Our moving truck arrived only to find that they couldn't fit in our driveway and we live on a 2 lane road without a shoulder so they legally couldn't block the road.  This was a little bit of an issue but our driver decided to break the rules a bit and block the road but unload everything into the garage instead of taking it to the proper room like they said they would when we booked them.  Not a huge deal but now everything is all mixed up in stacks and stacks in the garage.  I'm working to get through them but it's overwhelming.
Here's my tips if you're moving...
     Don't just label the boxes with a sharpie, put a piece of colored duct tape around the box that you can see from all sides.  Use a different color for each room or section of the house.  That way boxes can easily be carried to that room or if they can't be delivered to that room like in my case you can tell the drivers to make piles of those colors.  So you don't end up with a box of kitchen stuff on the bottom of the garage pile.  My drivers just didn't have time to turn the boxes and read all the words.
     Bring a suitcase with typical overnight stuff (clothes, toothbrush...) toilet paper, some towels, bedding, change of clothes, kids cup if they need one, night light (very important, kids and adults get nervous when they can't find the bathroom in a new house at night), and instant coffee things like Starbucks Via (When unpacking or waiting for your moving truck it sure would be nice to have a cup of coffee) and snacks.  I bought a 100 calorie pack of a variety of cookies and crackers.  This was nice to just open or give kids since we had no dishes yet.  We did make a grocery store run for pb&J, paper plates, napkins, and plastic silverware since we were going to be here 3 days without our stuff but it's just nice to always have snacks.   Also good snacks to have on hand are things like gogurts, cheese sticks, and granola bars.  Simple grab and go.  I hate being interupted right in the middle of a good unpacking session with the dreaded, 'Mom, I'm hungry'.  These items kids can grab themselves and there's no mess.  A lamp would also be good if you know your house doesn't have overheard lights.  We knew every room had light except the living room so we didn't worry about a lamp.
     Unpack some toys first and your kitchen stuff.  Nothing feels like home faster than stepping on a lego.  But seriously if you want to actually get work done and make your kids feel like they live here too you have to have something for them to do.  My kids were overjoyed to see their own toys.  I think they doubted that they were ever going to see them again.  Drew kept saying hey this is just like my toys in Illinois.  I opened two boxes of toys, didn't even worry about organization yet and then went on to the kitchen.  You have to eat and eating a home cooked meal is wonderful in your new home.  I'm still unpacking but I think next I'll do clothing since we are still living out of our suitcases, then bathrooms since we have a few towels and the stuff from our suitcase, then we'll move onto office and living room.  I hope to get the boxes all opened within 2 weeks and deal with organizing the best I can.  We really own nothing!  We have so much empty space and space that needs organizers.  Like the silverware drawer, ours is just tossed in there.  We have so many little things like that to buy.  It's just amazing how much it takes to bring an empty house into feeling like a home.  Oh, one more thought.  We live in the middle of nowhere and the previous owners left the blinds and curtains but you might need to think of window coverings if you were moving to a city.  Heck, even taping up a big roll of paper would get you through the night without people peeking in on you sleeping.
    And here's my best tip of all.  When you are packing up your house go out and buy yourself a couple presents.  Bring them home and immediately wrap them up and pack them.  I bought myself some new kitchen goodies when packing.  Today I unwrapped them and it felt like Christmas.  I was so happy to see them again.  I bought myself a new cheese grater, a new wine bottle opener and a new can opener that were on clearance at Target.  Nothing fancy or expensive but something fun to make the task of unpacking more fun.  I wish I had bought myself a new diamond pendant or cartier watch but the can opener is way more practical I guess :)
     Remember to expect the unexpected.  Nothing goes as planned.  While unpacking my daughter shoved styrofoam packing balls up her nose.  That was fun.  I tried to get her to blow them out but she was scared and isn't good at blowing her nose anyway.  Here's what you do if that should happen to you.  Lay the child down, pinch the good nostril closed (assuming there is a good one), then place your mouth over the kids mouth just like CPR and give a good strong blow.  The object should fly out and hit you in the cheek.  Kara laughed.  The next day the same little girl locked herself in her room.  Our old house had push button locks so if that happened you could just pop the lock with a paperclip or kitchen skewer.  This house has traditional turn button locks so I had to find a tiny screwdriver that would fit in the hole and actually turn the lock.  Our toolbox wasn't unpacked yet so it took me a while to locate what I needed but no one was freaking out because Kara had fallen asleep.  When she woke up she was free to roam around again.  I see myself using that screwdriver many many times in the next few years.  I put it on top of the doorframe so I can always find it.  Now that I think about it this might come in handy in teenage years too.

It's Ours!

Finally I can update!  We had no internet at our house until today.

Monday we closed on our house, it was so quick and easy.  I've heard some closing are long and awkward and stressful.  We were laughing and having a good time, eating candy, and it only took about 15 minutes.  That lawyer sure knows how to make his money.
Then we got handed our keys.  Our keys to our new home.  Now you might think we got handed 3 or 4 keys, but no.  We got handed at least 20 keys.  that's right, 20.  We have 6 doors, six different locks and each family member must have had a copy of all of them, and none of them were labeled.  More amusing than a problem, still something we will remember about moving in.
We then came to our house and let the kids run around.  Drew instantly saw the 2 garage doors and wanted to know who else lived here.  I thought that was cute.  Our old home was a townhouse with connecting garages so when he saw the 2 doors he thought we had a neighbor.  He accepted that both of those doors were ours, one for daddy's car, one for mommy's.  Then we walked around the house.  We saw the side door, the front door, and the porch door.  Drew again asked who lived behind that door.  He wasn't use to a house having more than one outside door.  Little did he know we had 3 more, the garage door, the yard door, and the deck door.  There are so many doors!!
Inside the kids were pretty quiet, just taking it all in.  We more than doubled our square footage from our old home so it is an amazing feeling to walk around in a house where you have enough room.  Don't think we have some 6,000 sqft mansion now, we had just over 1000 sqft in our old place so it wouldn't have taken a lot to double it.
When we went upstairs we showed Kara her room first.  As soon as she walked in she gasped Ooohhh, and then kept saying 'me room' 'me room'.  It was so cute.  Drew was excited about his room for about 5 minutes, then he told me he likes orange, not blue.  He did have an orange room at our old house, now he has a blue room.  I told him we could add orange decorations and he said no, he wants orange. Well, I'm not painting anything any time soon so he's stuck with blue.  I know he really likes his room, he just doesn't show excitement well.
That night we slept in sleeping bags.  It was so quiet.  SO QUIET!  All I heard were crickets, thousands and thousands of crickets.  No cars, no neighbors, no music, no garage doors, no dogs barking, no police sirens, just crickets.  Our moving truck wasn't scheduled to arrive until Wednesday so we just ran around the empty house until it could get here.  The kids love the space and were out of breath by the time they stopped running.
Pictures to come...I have to upload them.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Drive

Yesterday I drove from IL to NC with the kids.  It took us 16.5 hours.  That is a looooong drive, I was so ready to be in the hotel by then.  But the kids were amazing.  Truly amazing.  I had no fighting, no arguing, no screaming, no asking a million times if we were there.  I seriously think Drew only asked me maybe 10 times if we were there or how far away we were, and that's well under once an hour so that's awesome.  Kara freaked out a little bit when our DVD player broke in the middle of the movie she picked out but that was over in about 5 minutes and then she went on to something else.  I was so proud of my kids.  Drew was even helpful when Kara would drop things out of her reach.  He was so helpful.
I planned to leave between 6 and 7am and I left at 6:30, perfect.  I stopped about every 4 hours at fast food places that have play areas and let the kids run off energy.  In between stops I gave the kids lunch bags full of goodies.  I had plastic bracelets, lacing beads, stickers, rubber ducks, crackers, hershey kisses, and a few other little trinkets and treats.  I tried to limit the amount of junk the kids had and the fun tiny toys kept them from saying they were hungry.
Drew told me he was going to leave all his grumpies in Illinois and I think he did!  He enjoyed the drive and it was fun to talk to him on this trip.  At one point he became very concerned that we took the weather and everyone back in IL wasn't going to have any weather.  I assured him that weather would continue without him.  When we drove through Kentucky he asked me why they had mountains of trees and where those big rocks came from.  Kentucky is so pretty, we saw so many beautiful horse farms.  In Tennessee we approached some mountains and Drew said 'Hey, those mountains look pretty smokey"  I started laughing out loud.  Well kid, those are the smokey mountains.  Then he was concerned that someone would just let the mountains smoke like that without putting them out, they could burn up all the trees.  He's so cute.  He did get a little mad at me that I wouldn't stop and explore the mountains with him.  But I assured him that we would come back as a family and explore the mountains.  It's a very drivable distance for a night away sometime.  Just about when we got to NC Drew asked if we were headed back home because it was taking so long.
Kara doesn't talk a lot so I don't have much from her but she made me cry.  She was looking at a picture book that my friend made us.  It has pictures of our old hometown, my kids and of her and her family.  It's such a beautiful gift and my kids love it.  Well Kara was looking at the pictures saying Amy, more Amy.  Then she closed the book and said bye bye home, no more Amy.  It makes me cry just thinking about it now.
Oh I forgot the 'best' part.  About 4 or 5 hours into the drive Drew tells me there's a spider in the car.  I don't know if I can believe him or not, so I say it's probably just a little fly, where is it I ask.  Drew says above my head and sure enough there's a grapefruit size spider (dime size) with large fangs (no fangs) swaying above my head trying to eat me (terrified that he's been stuck in the car with us for 4 or 5 hours).  I swat at it and it flies to the passenger side of the car.  There isn't really anything I can do, so I just keep driving and every stray hair or breeze I feel on my I assume is the spider and freak out a bit.  A couple hours later Drew says the spider is back behind his head and I give him a tissue and calmly ask him to smoosh him (squeal like a baby to please kill that spider dead!).  Drew says he does but who knows.  In my head that spider is gone but I know one of these days I'll be driving down the road and Bam!  He'll just drop down right in front of my face, and it's probably a girl and she had babies in my car overnight.
Now today and tomorrow we are at the hotel and then Monday we close on our house.  I can't even believe it!  My new house.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The last day

Today is my last day in Illinois, my last day in my home, my last day where I know my way around, where my kids have friends.
I actually do know about half a dozen people that live around Charlotte because I went to college near there.  So I do have a few friends that I could call if I was feeling lonely so I'm not as worried about me, I actually know people that live all over the US and even some in England.  Pretty soon my kids will be able to say the same thing.  There is something exciting about having friends all over.
I have known about this move for a while and have been packing and planning and yet here it is the last day and there's so much left to do, so many people that I didn't get to say a formal goodbye to.  I can't believe how many boxes it takes to pack up a home.  I've packed and packed and packed and yet I look around and still see a bunch of stuff!  This is way more work than packing for vacation! I've looked at every magnet, every sticker, every odd battery and sock that have been shoved and pushed into corners.  I've purged and sorted and cleaned as I packed and while it made this process long and hard I can only hope that not taking clutter with me will help with the unpacking.
The movers come in about 16 hours.  I just have to figure out what toys to put on the moving truck and what toys to take in the car and then clean out the bathrooms and finish up packing our suitcases.  This was a little tricky since our moving truck won't be there for almost 2 weeks.  So I had to pack like a vacation and then pack everything else.
I'm looking forward to getting settled in my new home.  I'm looking forward to the kids being excited about our new life.  There's so much in their future that they can't even comprehend.  I can't wait to show them their rooms and their yard.
I am leaving so many wonderful friends behind I will be posting a lot about my new home, getting settled into a new place, and meeting new people.  There'll be pictures and video clips too :)  But now, I have to go back to packing more boxes.  Ugh, I would never want to be a professional mover.  I am so tired of cardboard boxes!