Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Month in San Antonio

Well we have been here 4 weeks now. We still don't have internet or TV (not a big deal, but there are some football games we would have liked to have seen). Our home is in an area with such new construction that no one is servicing here yet. It's getting frustrating, and no one has any answers or estimated dates when it will be available. 

So far Texas feels a lot like Vegas - hot! I'm also being reminded of what it's like to not have a typical fall. Waaaaaa! Nate took the kids on a real short walk a few weeks ago and Emmy came back red and sweaty. 

And this is old news, but the kids are back in school and doing really well. It starts at 7:40 which is a big change from our 9:15 start time in Maryland. We are slowly adjusting. I drive them to school and they take the bus home. Jansen had a bit of a rough start with some behavior issues at school (nothing big), but we have him on track now and I'm really proud of him for making some changes. Nate and I laugh because Jansen is the same person whether at home or at school and sometimes we wish he would alter his behavior a little more at school. Natalie on the other hand is a total pleaser and angel at school but a bit of a stinker at home. I think I was that way as a kid.

At the moment Natalie likes school so much she says she'd rather be there than at home! Ha. I am very impressed with the principal, teachers, PTA, etc here  and feel grateful to be in an excellent school district. When I drop the kids off in the morning a safety patrol student opens our car door for us, says good morning, helps the kids out, tells me to have a great day and shuts the door. Great service. :)

We've also been celebrating birthdays. Natalie turned 7, and her most exciting gift was roller skates. She's been very diligent about learning to skate (meaning she practices in the house). 

This cake was a bit of a disaster, but not so much that Natalie even noticed. She loved it. 

She wanted to celebrate by going swimming and getting Happy Meals for lunch. That I can do. 

Awwww, babies in's hard to  handle the cuteness.

We are really enjoying our neighborhood pool, and so far we are usually the only ones there.

Leah was sleeping ok right after we moved here, but then things went haywire. She was waking up like 7-8 times a night and I was losing it. It was not good for me mentally or physically and I just felt like I wasn't being the mom I should be to the my other kids. It was SO hard, SO very hard, but I let her cry it out and she is sleeping much better. It's a long road with lots of ups and downs getting kids to sleep well. Oh and she's liking her new-to-us jumper.

I got lucky and this blowout happened while I was at the school for orientations and Nate had Leah. What a mess.

But what a cutie. Leah is still not the most content baby, but she has improved so much from a couple months ago that I feel like I can't complain. 

Jansen also had his birthday and turned 9. Birthday present highlights were probably his remote control tank and a big Lego set.

He wanted to swim and ride bikes on his birthday. And have Raising Cane's for dinner (yesssss). I don't know who planted that idea in his head...

I was going to keep Emmy home with me this year instead of sending her to preschool (she has 2 years till Kindergarten), but she really needed some social interaction. I'm not the best playmate. And she was always making me be the dad when we played "house." She is going to an in home preschool that she just loves. Notice the sunglasses tucked in the side of the amazing My Little Pony backpack.

Now she's telling me likes school better than home too! She stole that line from her sister...

Leah is a typical 4th child and is always getting pulled out of bed to take someone somewhere. It just kills me to wake her up, but I don't really have a choice. 

We haven't done much exploring of San Antonio yet. Leah makes it hard, it's still very hot, and we are still catching up on lots at home related to moving. I'm looking forward to adventures and memory making soon though!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

From Maryland to Texas

This picture seems like so long ago, but it's been less than a month since I took it. Looking at it simultaneously stresses me out and floods me with good memories. This was our "do not pack" room. It was the room that we did not want the movers to touch because everything in it we were bringing with us in our car and trailer on our drive to Texas. Sometimes the shipment of your stuff can take awhile to get to you, so we filled a small trailer with things we might need while waiting for our household goods to arrive. When the movers start at your house you kind of have to live out of your "do not pack" room. The packers came on a Wednesday and actually finished in one day instead of the two days they estimated they would need.

This is what our room looked like after everything (except beds and big furniture) was packed up.

Our sweet neighbors Joan and Don offered to have us over for lunch a couple times while we were in the middle of packing. They are retired military, so she has moved many, many times and knew how helpful it would be for us to not have to worry about those meals. 

On Friday the "movers" came...only instead of arriving at 8 am or so like they were supposed to they didn't get to our home till 4 pm. It made for a very stressful afternoon, and they didn't leave our house until midnight. That night the kids all slept in the same room on a big piece of cardboard with a bunch of blankets on top of that for some padding. (They chose the hardwood floor over carpet because they wanted to be upstairs). Nate and I had an air mattress. This was still when Leah was sleeping with me in the recliner half the night, but since the recliner was packed up on a truck, I was nursing her in a camping chair and then spent half the night asleep in the camp chair holding her. I didn't sleep well. 

Most of us are smiling in this picture, but boy was Saturday a stressful day. Because the movers were so late on Friday, we were very behind on cleaning the house and being ready to turn it over to the landlord Saturday morning. It was an incredibly hectic, crazy, stressful morning of cleaning, baby soothing, trips to the recycling center/dump, etc. Somehow we eventually got on the road, packed to the gills and heading to Tennessee that night.

Emmy fell asleep not too far into the drive. She has been getting a lot less sleep than she needs lately, but I guess that happens when you have more kids and life gets busier.

We stopped in Roanoke, VA for a much needed rest and dinner with BYU friends. The Halls were so kind to have us on pretty short notice, and the kids loved playing together. The drive from Roanoke to Johnson City, TN was an eventful one and very miserable. I had felt a headache coming on, and I didn't catch it soon enough and it turned into a migraine. I felt so terrible. Add a crying baby on top of that and I pretty much was in my own little personal hell, pardon my language. I was nursing Leah at one point while we were driving (don't judge me - this baby literally cried for hours in the car and sometimes you do what you gotta do) and the nausea got really bad and I threw up in a plastic grocery bag while feeding her. The ibuprofen was packed away somewhere, so we stopped to dispose of my bag of fun and get some Advil. That was such a hard day from beginning to end.

We spent the night in TN and besides getting in really late, things went ok. I was so worried about night time crying spells with Leah at the hotels, but she was always so tired from screaming all day that after she would wake and eat in the night she was pretty good about going back to sleep. It was such a blessing. We had left in such a rush on Saturday that our car was a disaster and the trailer needed to be rearranged. We unloaded everything in the hotel parking lot and started over. We threw away bags of trash that we had had to pack with us (seems weird I know but we couldn't leave them at the house and we were nowhere near a dumpster) and decided to chuck our vacuum as well. The kids played with toys in the parking lot. It was classy.

Sunday we drove to Birmingham, AL. We loved the Embassy Suites we stayed at. It had an indoor pool, we had a huge room, and warm breakfast in the morning. 

Out destination on Monday was Keesler AFB in Mississipi. Leah was always Nate's little gas up buddy. He would pull her out and give her a little break from the car seat every time we stopped to fuel up. 

Here's where we stayed at Keesler. I like to take pictures of random things like this because it really jogs my memory. 

We had a little bit of time to play at the beach that evening and even got lucky with this beautiful rainbow in the background.

A tuckered out Leah: 

There was this really pretty and crazy rainbow cloud in the sky. Nate and I had never seen anything like it.

From Mississippi we drove to Louisiana. Emmy needed an emergency bathroom break, so we stopped at this little place in what seemed like the middle of nowhere. We didn't want to just use their bathroom and leave, so we got some of their famous (disgusting) fried food. 

That afternoon we arrived at the Nelson's house in Houston. It was so wonderful to see them again and to stay in their home. The kids didn't want to leave. I'm so mad I never got a picture of me and Becca.

Wednesday we arrived in San Antonio! We had to go to the airport and pick up Nate's car that he had parked there long term when he was there a week earlier. It was so great to be finally be in San Antonio.

We spent the night in some lodging at Lackland AFB. 

The next morning we closed on our house and got the keys. 

We were so very lucky and our household goods actually came the next day. Moving is SO MUCH WORK. Even when you have packers. I didn't think I would ever get all this stuff put away, but I knew it would just take time. I wanted to just snap my fingers and be done though.

The sunset from our backyard:

It has been many, many days of rooms that look like this, but we are getting there. Slowly.

So much more has happened, and I have so many more pictures, but we still don't have internet and my little finger just can't tap out letters any more from my phone. So we are here. And I don't want to move again for a very long time.