Friday, August 31, 2012

We're There!!!

At long last, the big day had arrived.  Moving day!

We left the kids at the hotel with K and S in charge and a whole slew of boredom busters at their fingertips.  Electronic as well as edible.  Shaggy even had the brilliant idea to let each kid hide a package of snacks somewhere in one of the hotel rooms and bust it out to share at some point during the day.  Sort of a time-release sugar high, even if some of the snacks were of the natural sugar variety.  And I promised to bring them pizza for lunch.

Then Shaggy and I zipped over to the house so we wouldn't be late for the 8 to 10 am arrival window they gave us.  Turns out we didn't have to hurry.  They were late. 

And then they had a whole lot of trouble getting that giant semi up the driveway.  Can't imagine why.
But after a very long and boring day telling them whre to put things and checking all our items off the check list, we had our stuff back.  We only seemed to be missing one evasive green duffle bag.  A fact that delighted me.  Because I missed my stuff.  Most of it, anyway.

That night we opted to stay in the hotel because we couldn't find sheets, or pillows, or towels, or anything else, really.  I was overjoyed that it would be our very last night away from home.  I am sick to death of hotels.

Our adventures in the morning as we were trying to leave the hotel, only convinced us all the more that we needed to go home.  As Shaggy was walking the dogs, they spotted a squirrel and took off after it, pulling Shaggy off his feet and dragging him through the grass on his back (he showed me the lovely grass stains on the back of his shirt.)  Which was sort of scary for J and R who were with him.  Oh, how I wish I could have seen that moment.  I think I would have busted a gut from laughing at him. 

But I was back in the hotel room, alternately trying to gather the rest of our belongings and pushing B's head out of the railings where she kept shoving it in an attempt to see where Daddy had gone with the "goggies."  Even when she got it stuck repeatedly and cried for help, she would still stick it back in once I had freed her.  Yes, definitely time to go home.

Where we had a ginormous mess waiting for us.  But we were home. 

Unpacking the first day was pretty fun, even though Shaggy had to motor off to start his new job.  Mostly because I completely ignored the kitchen.  (I HATE unpacking the kitchen!)  Instead, we focused on the kids' rooms.  They were all eager to help with that process.  And every box we opened was like Christmas morning.  Toys they hadn't seen in ages, and had even doubted they would ever see again, only having a hazy understanding of the whole moving company thing.  And then they were kept delightfully busy playing with all these seemingly new toys while I bustled around trying to find linens 'n things. 
Ruger really liked the packing paper.  To lay in.  To eat, whatever.
We also took some breaks to play.  Packing materials are great fun.  They make good slides on the stairs.  And the plethora of paper is great to jump into and crawl around in and make pretend burritos out of.
 This is what B looks like when she's playing dead.
And this is what she looks like when she comes alive again.
So our days went, Shaggy went to work and we stayed home and worked.  And very, very slowly we began to clear the clutter and watch our home emerge.  I can't say that it was all fun, because most of it wasn't.  But we did it anyway.  Because it was worth it.

And I am so very happy to report that we are there.  We have arrived.  We. Are. Home.  And we can stay in our pajamas all the live long day.  Beautiful.

Are We There Yet? Miracles Never Cease

Today we moved to a hotel that was closer to the house.  We definitely didn't want to make that long drive for the next several days.
Then we did some cleaning, which is really not worth saying much about.  Sweeping floors and scrubbing bathrooms is not all that fun to write or read about, much less to do.  But we did our best to get the house cleaned up some so that it would be ready to recieve all our belongings.
And we made the kids work . . . a lot.  Which prompted a lot of complaining.  We didn't have much sympathy for them since they've had nearly a month off from chores.  Sorry honeys, zip your lips and get back to work!

B hung out in her stroller for most of the morning.  But she seemed to be feeling much more rambunctious, so I ignored her protests and put the stroller away so she would have to walk around.  Within an hour, she had forgotten all about her injury and demanded that we take off the sling.  She then proceeded to demonstrate in a myriad of ways that there was no longer anything at all wrong with her arm.  Our suspicion is that her wrist was somehow pulled out of alignment, which can really, really hurt.  But then it was able to work itself right again.  Bodies are amazing like that sometimes.  But I also know that it was a miraculous recovery, and I am grateful to get reminders that God is aware of my family and that He hears our prayers.
The other miracles we witnessed to day were all housed in nature. 
J found a frog, to his great delight.  He looks a little uncomfortable in that jar, but I wasn't about to encourage him to hop towards my lens. 
And then he found a baby frog, to his even greater delight. 
And there are cicadas and lizards and butterflies and crickets and grasshoppers and mosquitos.  That last one didn't bring any of us very much delight.  But other than that, this boy thinks he has moved to heaven.  There are natural miracles surrounding us in this place.  It will be amazing to watch him discover all the cool things this land has to offer.  He was never meant to be a city boy, he just happened to be born there.  And R's whole reality will change as she tags along with J as he makes miraculous discoveries.  I am full of joyful anticipation at the idea of watching that process unfold.
Day 24 was Sunday again, so we went to church.  There were a lot more people there this week, which was nice.  I guess summer vacation is coming to a close for everyone. 
I know what tomorrow will bring--OUR STUFF!!  It's a big, big, big day.  The day that we can begin to turn our new house into a home.  I don't look forward to unpacking.  At.  All.  But I do look forward to being unpacked.  So forward we march, because we're not quite there yet.

Are We There Yet? Slings N' Things


We had every intention of getting an early start today since it would be our last day of sightseeing on this epic, coast to coast journey of ours.

But it was so nice to lounge.  And we kept bickering about what we should go see.  And we had to do annoying things like set up services in our name at the house.  And then poor little B sustained an injury that had her crying and crying in pain.  She was just playing, being swung a little by a beloved sibling.  It wasn't like she had jumped off the table (which wouldn't be much of a stretch for her, actually).  But we couldn't tell if the injury was in her elbow or her wrist, or somewhere in between.  All we knew was that she screamed whenever her right arm moved or was bumped in any way.

Broken.  That was our biggest fear.  But as time passed while we iced it, no bruising of any kind became apparent.  So it wasn't broken.  That was the good news.  The bad news was that it still caused her tremendous pain whenever it was moved.
So we immobilized her.  In the kindest, comfiest way we could--with cartoons and pillows.  It was so comfy that she promptly fell asleep.

When she woke up a little later, Shaggy explored her arm some more and assured me that it wasn't broken and there was no swelling of any kind.  I can't count how many times his EMT training and experience have saved me from a useless trip to the doctor. 

B's arm didn't seem to bother her much when it was kept still, so we pulled out the trusty bandanas that Aunt S had made for the family reunion (yep, that one that we bailed on).  She was nice enough to send them with Grandma so we could pick them up on our way through Chicago.  They were the perfect size for a toddler sling.  And though we hated seeing her in any pain, we figured that her condition might actually work in our favor during sightseeing (veteran parent mindset, here).  She wanted to stay in the stroller.  She was content to avoid all of her regular shenanigans.  If it was sprained, as we were beginning to suspect, there wouldn't really be any benefit from waiting all day in some ER or spending the day trying to find a doctor in the area.  So we loaded up and headed out.  B didn't like the jostling that it took to get in and out of her carseat, but once she was snugly buckled in, she was good to go, even if she was abnormally mellow.
I wanted to go back to Arlington Cemetery because we never made it to the Tomb of the Unknown  last week.  I remember what an impact it had on me when I visited it as a teenager, so I was hoping my girls would catch some of the gratitute, reverance and patriotism that you can find just floating in the air at places like this.  Sadly, the heat and their impatience seemed to interfere with my plan.  They didn't want to wait to watch the next full changing of the guards.  So they wandered off with Shaggy to go look at some other memorials while I waited patiently at the tomb.  It was probably for the best, my youngest three would never have been able to keep their traps shut during the somber ceremony and would have likely ruined the moment for everyone present. 
When we found each other again, we spent some time admiring the architechture and the more elaborate headstones.  I loved how some of the gravestones had rocks placed on top, as if to say, "I was here.  I remember you."  It seems that more of mainstream society is adopting that ancient Jewish tradition.  Good for them.
Next, we went to West Potomac Park to check out the George Mason memorial.  This guy was pretty extraordinary, plus he was a Virginian which automatically gives him bonus points in our book.  He was looked up to by such giants as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, so that really says something.  He wrote the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which inspired a whole lot of things including the Declaration of Independence.  And he was a widower and was raising nine children while he was busy helping mold the thinking of a wanna-be fledgling nation.  Pretty impressive.
And since we were so close to it, we walked over to the Jefferson Memorial.  I've never been to this one, so it was a real treat.  There really is a reverence in the air at these sites.  I am so glad that we revere these men from the past and respect their enormous contributions to our present day freedoms.  It's mostly impossible to be grateful for what we have now without some understanding of our past.
It was a good day, all except for B's injury which almost derailed our last day as tourists.  Oh, and R's complete meltdown when Daddy went in the elevator without her, not even knowing that she wanted to go in the elevator with him.
 So sad.  And loud--very, very loud.  It was her own fault.  She was busy trying to climb the giant's steps with K when Shaggy made his exit. 
But he heard her crying (along with everyone else at the memorial), and came back. So after a big Daddy hug, all was well again.
And we made the long trek back to the van, having some good old-fashioned family fun along the way.
I told them to do something goofy, other than bunny ears which is their go-to goofy pose.  This is what they came up with.  They're super creative like that.
But they're so lucky to be sisters.
And to have this little character in their lives, meldowns and all.
We'll see what tomorrow brings, because we're not there yet.