Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Big Move

I've been MIA for quite a while, because of the move. Our computer was packed up, and I wasn't about to type up a blog post from my little phone. But we've been in our house a little over a week now and so I'm going to try to start playing catch up a little bit so I don't fall too far behind on our lives. Just a warning, I'm about to write like a whole book here.

The second week of March was our big moving week in Alaska. The movers were there Tues., Wed., and Thurs. (9th-11th). We stayed at a hotel in Anchorage on Thursday night. It was, ironically, at the Marriott which is where we stayed our first month in Alaska. We had to get out of the temporary housing we were in and couldn't move into our rental house for another week, and Kelsey ended up being born the first night we were there. So it was a fun trip down memory lane for me as I thought of the beginning and ending of our time there. We had a wonderful 4 years and I'm grateful for the experiences we had. We grew a lot as individuals, as a couple, and as a family and Alaska will always hold a special place in my heart. I really did love living there. So many wonderful people that really influenced and blessed my life. It is absolutely beautiful  there and I'll really miss the mountains!! And my house! Oh I loved that house and I was sad to part with it. I know that sounds worldly or materialistic of me, but it was a great house for our family and I really loved it.

 On Friday my sweet SIL, Shalee watched my kids (and our dog!) so I could go out to the house and clean with no interruptions. Andy and Shalee seriously saved us that last week. I don't know how we would've gotten out without them.

  We sure are going to miss these awesome cousins! They are the kids' best friends!
We stayed at their house that night...for half the night. We had to wake the kids up at 2 a.m. and leave for the airport. We had a pretty early flight and a lot of bags and a dog to check onto the airplane. We had 7 suitcases, 6 carry-on's, 2 car seats, 1 booster seat, and a dog. Thanks to Andy for driving us to the airport too! We had turned our cars in the day before for them to ship down here. It was a long day of travelling. During the first flight, Kelsey had been drinking a lot and decided she had to go potty really bad. But it was at the end of the flight when they lock the bathrooms and make everybody stay seated for landing. But the landing part was taking too long for her little bladder and she peed all over herself and the seat. Thankfully we still had her pajamas in her backpack. So the rest of the day she wore her Elsa nightgown. Then the next flight she spilled orange juice all over herself and her backpack and seat. Awesome.

We finally arrived and were so happy to see my parents, who came to greet us at the airport. We got our rental van and loaded up, then headed over to their house for a little bit. Just by chance, the Webbs were arriving that night also (without Steph though) so we wanted to stick around to say hi to them. We drove the hour and a half to Beaumont and got to our apartment and finally to bed.

It also happened to be daylight savings that night, and we lost an hour. So not only were we dealing with a 3 hour time difference, but now it's 4 hours difference because of daylight savings. We had to leave by 8:30 a.m. to get to our 9:00 church. Only, it felt like 5 a.m. for us and we were all SOO tired.  Remember how we didn't really get to sleep the night before either, and we'd travelled the whole day yesterday? We really should've just stayed home and rested. I felt so horrible. We had put our kids through quite a lot. Madison and Kelsey (and maybe Bryn too?) fell asleep on the bench during Sacrament meeting. Just totally zonked out. Tyler got a migraine from being so sleep deprived and had to go out and throw up during the meeting. Briggs was just as ornery as could be. Kenny and I looked at each other and decided we were going to go home after Sacrament meeting. Only, right when the meeting ended several people rushed up to meet us and were so kind and welcoming, whisking our kids off to Primary without me even knowing. So then we sort of had to stay.
It was a very long 3 hours.

As a mother I am always struggling between my feelings of wanting to protect my children and not have them deal with anything hard or uncomfortable. I don't want them to ever be tired, or hungry, or cold, or too hot, etc. Those things are sort of like my basic job, right? But then I also think it's good to say "We can do hard things!" And push ourselves a little bit. There's been several times throughout this move where I am debating about what the right thing is to do. How much "toughness" is too much? I just want to wrap them all up in my arms and protect them from everything in the world. But sometimes, things are just hard and there's no way around it. Now having said that, I must admit we've never had a trial that was life-threatening or so hard that it's damaging to their emotional or physical development. Just a lot of big changes and some hard things/long days/lots of work/etc. that go with that.

Kenny's company paid for our apartment while we were waiting to close on our home. Which was super nice of them. It really wasn't a bad place, we had enough beds and space for everyone. It was stinky like smoke and pets, as apartments like that always are. But the biggest problem was that they put us on the 2nd floor!! We have a big family, and these walls are pretty thin, and I'm thinking that the people downstairs must have been able to hear every step we took. That's the way they acted anyway. I swear this lady had some serious issues. I understand we arrived on Saturday night, pretty late. So there was noise as we all got ready for bed. No running around and jumping, but going from nobody living above you, to 7 people and a dog above you is probably a big change. Sunday we were home for maybe 3 hours total. Maybe. We didn't get home from church until about 1 p.m., then we had to leave by 3:30 to go pick up Kenny's rental car, and went straight to the Farmer's house for dinner (a very nice family in our ward that invited us over that first Sunday). So we didn't get back from there until about 7 p.m. I kid you not, about 15 minutes after we got home I get a knock on the door and it's our downstairs neighbor coming to get after us about all the noise. She says she just can't stand the noise she's been hearing ALL day. I was very polite, but inside I'm thinking, "Seriously? we just barely got home". Anyway. The next morning the kids all slept in until 8:30 or so. We were all slow going and having breakfast, and getting dressed and ready for the day. We'd only been awake for about an hour when she comes back upstairs again and starts yelling at me about the noise she's hearing ALL day and ALL night. Claiming that we're jumping off of furniture, etc. etc. She came up carryign her 2 month old grandson, accusing us of waking him up repeatedly from all the noise. I got mad this time and yelled back at her, saying she must be hearing someone else because nobody was awake between 8 p.m. and 8:30 a.m.! I finally just shut the door on her. But my blood was boiling and my heart was racing and I hated feeling that anger. I felt so bad for how I had reacted to her, but also justified in my position. I decided to pack up the kids and we went to my mom's house for most of the week. Steph was getting there that night, and Cami was going to come with her kids, and it would just be a fun cousin party. There was nothing for me to do there at the apartment except get yelled at. So we left and had a great time in Houston. We didn't come back until Thursday. Kenny was very sweet and understanding. He tried to go talk to the office management (they had already received complaint about us from the witch downstairs) and he tried to go talk to the lady herself and smooth things over. He didn't catch her, just her daughter (the one who has the baby) and she just kind of said her mom was crazy and that was all.

Anyway it was a fun week of cousin time for the kids, and sister/mom time for me. We went to Cami's splash pad and park one day when it was super hot, we went to the huge water wall near the Galleria, and we went to the Houston Rodeo on Wednesday! So much fun there. I wish Kenny could've been there to enjoy it with us. My mom made matching denim skirts for all the little girls, and Cami is the master braider and did all of our hair in braids! It was a great time being together.
Tyler and Leighton trapped lizards and collected snails all day long. 

On Saturday, again we had only been awake and for an hour or two, when we get a knock at the door. I told the kids to not answer it because I was sure it was the lady from downstairs. She had been banging on our ceiling that morning. Kenny is a better person than I am, and he goes to answer the door and it's a police officer. She literally called the cops on us. We invited him in and talked to him about the situation. He was very friendly and understanding, and said that he thinks if she doesn't want to hear anyone else she probably shouldn't be living in an apartment. I wish he would've told HER that. I could understand if we were blasting music or having loud parties all hours of the night. But this is normal life we're talking about. Yes, sometimes Briggs would run down the hall instead of walk softly. But he's a 1 year old and I can't really stop him. I was appalled. We tried to not let that ruin our day, but instead left for many hours, trying to be home as little as possible. We went to the beach, just to see how far away it was and play around for a while. It ended up being a really fun family day.

The next Monday, the 21st, Tyler and Brynlee started public school. That is a whole blog post in and of itself. But it was a big deal for all of us. I was so nervous the night before I could hardly sleep, it was like the first day of school all over again only it wasn't even for me! haha. Kenny met us there at the school and stayed in the van with the little kids while I filled out 20 hours worth of paperwork. Not really, but it seemed like it. I was starting to wonder if they were even going to get to go that day, after getting so pumped up about it. But luckily it all worked out. The school is close to our new house, but it was a good 30 minutes from the apartment we were staying in. So it was such an adjustment getting everyone out the door by 7:10 a.m. I hated waking everyone up every single morning. I'm used to letting them sleep if they want to (perks of homeschooling) and it was no fun. Dropping them off and picking them up was about an hour and a half ordeal every each trip. I'm so glad that's over with. Our rental van didn't have a DVD player either. But I checked out some books on CD at the library and we listened to quite a lot. Either 8 or 12 books from the Magic Tree House Series, and 4 Gooney Bird Greene books. Those weeks were quite an adjustment for all of us.

We also had a lot of weird medical things going on during our first few weeks. First of all Briggs had a really bad rash. Started on his bum and it got really, really bad. I thought it was just because it was so hot and humid compared to what we're used to. But then the rash spread up his tummy and even onto his face and I knew it wasn't that. Turns out it was a bad reaction to the amoxycillin he had finished the day we left Alaska. I didn't realize it could be delayed several days and still be connected to it. Anyway we went to the urgent care and got some cream and steroids to help that go away.
I had horrible allergies. Whether it is just spring time in Texas, or the apartment, I don't know. But I was miserable. I didn't do anything about it though until it triggered my asthma too, and then it was a problem. I would sleep on the couch because I was up coughing all night and couldn't get a good breathe. So I went to the urgent care too and the doctor very reluctantly gave me an inhaler and a couple other things. Sometimes being pregnant is dumb when I can't take anything to help me get any relief. I also took the Ty and Bryn to some public health office where people go when they don't have any insurance. I sort of lied and said we didn't. We didn't have our new insurance, but we were still covered under his old company until the end of the month. But they only had 10 days from the time they started school to get caught up on immunizations or else they couldn't go to public school. Glad we got that taken care of and over with.

A few pictures of when we went to the Southeast Texas Fair. Kenny had to work at his company's booth for about an hour and we all got in free because of it. It also happened to be the night that all the rides were only 1 ticket each. It was a really fun night!

Another day I took Madi, Kels and Briggs to the Children's Museum in Beaumont. We lucked out and literally had the place to ourselves. There was only one other kid there for part of the time. It was a great place with no end of things to keep them busy and happy.

We spent Easter at my parents house. My cousin Charlotte and her cute family came over for a little Easter egg hunt, and we all went to the park to play for a couple hours too. It was so fun to see her and catch up. She came back that night and attended the Women's broadcast with me and my mom and we went out for ice cream afterwards. I am so excited to live closer to Charlotte. We spent the night there that night and had Easter Sunday there in Houston. That evening we went to the Juergens home to celebrate Max's 2nd birthday! How fun to have your b-day on Easter! It's fun that we can actually be here to join in on all these fun family things.

The next week was General Conference and we drove to my parents house Sunday morning and spent the day with them. The Juergens came too and we had a lovely feast that evening. I always love General Conference and I'm so glad I can go back and re-listen to the talks as many times as I want.

My pregnancy is going well. Baby girl is very healthy and growing perfectly on schedule. I, on the other hand, am growing way too much. I am really struggling with how chubby I am when I'm pregnant. I'm trying to focus on how grateful I am that my body carries babies so well. I always have very healthy pregnancies and great deliveries, etc. so I should just be thankful that I have been blessed with this amazing body that can grow big, healthy babies to full term. But I still have 15 weeks to go and I'm already really looking forward to getting back to my old self.
I found an OB/GYN in a really nice facility so I'm glad about that. Still on my daily dose of thyroid medicine too.

We closed on our house on Friday, April 8th. On Saturday the movers came nice and early and unloaded all of our stuff. My parents were so nice to come out and help us too. They did a lot of cleaning and helped unpack and keep the kids happy and occupied during the day. We appreciate their help! There's always SO much to do whenever you move into a new place. We have A LOT of yard work to do. I think I could weed for 50 hours straight and only put a dent in it. But every day we make a little more progress and we're slowly but surely getting all settled into our new lives here. I'm grateful Ty and Bryn are in school so that's one (big) less thing for me to worry about. The kids have gone swimming several times, even though no one else is swimming at this time of year. They're just a little anxious, and they're not really used to swimming in HOT weather anyway. So if it's 80 degrees, it's definitely swimming weather for Alaskans. :) We have a lot to learn about how to take care of a pool, but I think it's going to be a really fun thing for our family, and probably the only way I'll survive this summer as a pregnant whale.

One night we went to an Open House where we got to meet their teachers and see their classrooms. I forgot to get a picture of Brynlee, but here's Ty at his desk. Bryn loves her teacher!!

 Another night they had a Color Run. They said the course was 1 mile, but I think they're way off. It was not that long. Anyway it was sort of poorly organized, but Tyler and 2 other kids finished as the first 3. There was some confusion as to where they were supposed to finish, so there was a lot of stopping/sprinting at the end and no clear finish line. Then he turned around and ran it again for fun. But they had a good time and Grandma even stayed to watch them! It was the same day that we closed on our house and she had come out to watch the kids while I went to close with Kenny. Then we went over to show her our house and went to their run.
Tyler is the one leaning over on his knee.

Brynlee is in the middle, sort of waving.

Part of our backyard.

Moving day! This shows pretty clearly the ugly, "artistic" torn brick thing they've got going on. I'm not sure what they were thinking when they made the walls like this, but we hate it and plan to fix it soon. Just another thing on the list though, so I'm not sure how quickly we will get to it. 

Subway lunch break. My awesome parents. Somehow my mom always ends up on the ground while everyone else has a chair...

Sharing a bowl of popcorn. It was the only treat we could scrounge up that first weekend.

This last Saturday we spent literally the whole day putting up a gate all the way around our pool. Kenny started out using his little Black and Decker drill, with a massive drill bit on the end, trying to drill holes in the cement and bricks. Each hole took for-e-ver and we were both wondering how many weekends this was going to take to finish! It was so slow going. He would sometimes alternate between the drill, and just hacking away at it with a hammer and screw driver. Thankfully, around 2 p.m. the drill completely broke. That forced him to go to Home Depot and get the right tools for the job. He talked to the right guy who couldn't believe what he was using before. He asked if the drill had caught on fire. Kenny told him that it didn't, but it was very hot. He said we were lucky. I think we were stupid, but that's besides the point. Anyway he came home with this heavy duty power tool and it went SO much faster and better. Even I was out there drilling holes in the cement like a boss! We worked hard the rest of the night and knocked it out. Stopping only because the kids were crying that they were hungry for dinner haha. One project down, a hundred to go.

This past Sunday Kenny got set apart as the Young Men's President in our new ward, and I am now a primary teacher for the Valiant 9 class. We also had the sister missionaries over for dinner that night and I think of my sister Sarah and hoping people are feeding her on her mission, too :).

Last week I drove into Houston and went to Ikea, and my mom and Cami met me there. It was so surreal to 1) actually be able to shop at Ikea, my first trip in 7 years, and 2) to be there with my mom and sister! I loved having a second and third opinion, and some help too. :) We went out to lunch together afterwards and then all went our separate ways. Living by family sure is fun!!

I'm sure there's so much I'm forgetting that I wanted to write about, but I'll end this now.