Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Georgia Chronicles

Hello, hello. Did you miss me?

Yes, we did in fact move into our apartment. Between unpacking and a nasty kidney infection that popped up for me, blogging has dropped down on the list. But I'm back for tonight.

To wrap up the traveling, here is one last sleeping in the hotel picture:

Ben seems to get a kick out of drooling on other people's pillows.

And, moving on to moving. Ha. That's like a pun.

I spent the vast majority of moving day standing in this corner, checking off each box as it was brought inside.

Last time we moved, there were a handful of boxes/numbers unaccounted for. To prevent that happening again, we removed every sticker as it came in. By the end of the day, we had every single sticker. It was lovely to know right away that we weren't missing anything. Even if the moving guys thought we were a little weird for being so thorough.

After two weeks in the apartment, we are basically unpacked. There is still a mountain of empty boxes filling up my living room, and I'll postpone the tour of the new place until they're gone. I will give you a bit of an outside tour, though.

If I could describe Georgia in one word: GREEN. Remember how stinkin' brown Albuquerque is? Atlanta is the epitome of opposite. Ah, I'm loving it. This, my friends, is the view out our living room window.

We went for a family walk after church on Sunday. Out the door, through a parking lot, and straight into this.

Honestly, we're just surrounded by green. Happy sigh.

There are even some green animals we've come across. This turtle showed up right outside our apartment.

And I found this lizard on the van's tire when I was picking up Audrey from the bus.

Other than the greenness, I don't yet have a whole lot to say about living here. It's the beginning of a new place--no friends yet, not leaving the house much. Our apartment is a bit isolated, the basement level on the back of the building, so I generally don't see a single person who lives in our building. We're still adjusting to that. Well, I am. I don't know if anyone else cares.

We are slowly but surely getting settled in, though. We've had some cute moments, like Ben falling asleep at the table.

And Megan giving the family a meditation lesson. She was super cute.

Ben's imitation, on the other hand, came out looking rather deformed.

Seriously, I can't help but laugh every time I look at these pictures. Ha.

Anyway. We're still here, we're still alive. And we're starting to like living in Georgia.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Introducing Mister Christopher,
Graduate Student

Classes don't actually start until Monday, but today was the grad school orientation at Georgia Tech. Chris was able to talk to more professors, meet several students, and eat free food. From all I've gathered, it was a productive day.

Audrey was excited that she and Dad are both students now.

It is certainly an interesting time to be living in a hotel. School starting has been more of one story among many, when I would have much preferred for that particular event to have more of a spotlight. But, such is life. Tomorrow we finally finally FINALLY move into our apartment. We've already hung out there for a couple hours now and again, mostly killing time before the bus came, but it will be much more meaningful to actually live there.

Before that blessed event, though, I want to wrap up on the last few hotel etc. noteworthies.

In all our road trips over the summer, I rather lost my zeal for tracking license plates. Between New Mexico and Utah and Idaho, I was always seeing pretty much the same ones every time and it just wasn't so exciting. Now, however, with driving across the country I thought we'd have a good chance to get quite a few different states. I was right.

I collected 43 different states. Booyah. With that many, I find it more mentionable to say those we missed, rather than those we have. Missing:

North Dakota

Yes, Idaho. Holy cow. Of all states ever, that was always the most guaranteed in the license plate game in my entire life. What a one to miss.

With our switched hotels, we were able to finally split us away from the kids for sleeping. This worked out a lot better since they could actually go to sleep at a decent hour and we... didn't have to go to sleep at a decent hour. Ha. Anyway, the hotel we're in now has a bedroom separated from a living area. The doors are glass, unfortunately, but Chris came up with an ingenious plan to darken the room for the kids so they could sleep and we could stay up later in the bedroom.

I did feel just a little guilty for putting the kids on the sofabed/pillows piled up on the floor while we had two queen beds to ourselves, but they all slept just fine.

They even enjoyed it. I'm not sure what the appeal is to pillows shoved in corners, but it seems a favorite of Megan's.

We have no real semblance of normal, which is definitely wearing down on all of us. Well, Chris seems to be holding up fabulously well, but it's taking a bit more visible effort on my part. The kids are showing signs of stress, too--Ben is practically bi-polar with how suddenly he's just the happiest little man on the planet and then just as quickly he's screaming and trying to bite me. Megan has gone mostly deaf if I'm saying anything that goes contrary to her personal ideals of the moment. And Audrey Jane... well, she is convinced that, as a child old enough for school, she is old enough to own the world. They've all given us quite the seasonings to go with our plate of crazy.

We have tried to keep things fun, though. Pizza, chocolate milkshakes, and Jack Frost.

And chasing Dad all over the rooms after dinner.

In the apartment tomorrow, unpacking for fingers crossed a week, then we can start figuring out normal again. Comments of encouragement and humor strongly welcomed and gratefully accepted.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Introducing Miss Audrey Jane, 

Audrey was quite nervous the morning of her first day. It wasn't until after school that I finally figured out that she thought she would be the only one wearing a uniform. She relaxed quite a bit as soon as she realized that everyone was wearing a uniform.

I had been anticipating driving her to and from school every day myself, but we were all pleased to find out that she is eligible to ride the bus. And, also a pleasant surprise, she LOVES it. As soon as we picked her up at the bus stop on Monday afternoon, she kept saying that she just wished it could be tomorrow already so she could ride the bus again. That's a great attitude, I think.

Side story: Being that first-time kindergarten mom, and given the fact that Audrey didn't know she was riding the bus until after school had started that morning, I was, ahem, just a tad nervous about the whole bus thing. My nervousness increased perpetually when no less than 18 other buses passed the complex before hers actually came. That's a lot of school buses. But no worries, it all went well.

She hasn't told us a whole lot about her class--she likes to pick when to talk, and not just answer questions when we just happen to ask--but I have put together from her bits and pieces of stories that she has made a lot of friends (at least four girls and two boys, but she doesn't know any of their names) and her class has a money reward system. She earned two dollars for being the first to do "Hips Lips" (one hand on hip, one finger over lips to show you're ready). They have a store on Fridays where they can spend their money. And I learned that her pants are too big and they fall off when she was exercising in gym. She's like me--no hips.

Because of the uniforms, she didn't actually get to wear her first day of school outfit to school (I bought it before I knew she'd have uniforms), but we still took a picture once she changed after school.

It was a bit crazy to leave for school from one hotel and bring her back after school to a different hotel. It's also a bit crazy to drive for fifteen minutes from our hotel to the parking lot of our apartment complex to get her to the bus, which is then a forty minute ride to get to school. That'll be better once we actually move in on Thursday, but it's a funny side note to the beginning of kindergarten.

Yay for a good first two days!

End story: Remember how cute and comfortable everyone looked when they went to sleep on Sunday night? This is how we found them on Monday morning. Ha.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Here we go a-travelin' ...again

I mistakenly omitted the funny part of our truck loading day--all the random things I had collected in my pockets by the time the day was over. With everything already packed and only one scant garbage bag, I instead shoved anything missed while packing into my pockets. By the end of the day, I had collected:
a plastic knife
an orange matchbox car
one Clartin D pill (in a packet)
a chain
a stuffed ladybug
a foam number 1
three hair elastics
a bobby pin
a plastic penny
a plastic quarter
a real quarter (Hawaii)
two chapsticks
four rocks

The rocks were the funniest. Especially the one I found in the back of the fridge.

Our three-day drive got off to a rough start on Thursday morning. Honestly, I wasn't ready at all. Sure, we've done all kinds of massive road trips this summer, but that was always the one thing happening at the time. With all the chaos of our mega trip and the hassle of move, the actual let's-drive-across-the-country part of the move had somehow slipped my mind. Huh.

In short, we had nothing ready in the van. No snacks, no water bottles, very limited organization for being the only adult, and no one had reminded Megan to go to the bathroom. Not ready. Oh, and I had no idea where we were actually driving...I knew we wanted to end up in Oklahoma, but fat chance I knew how to get there.

After some stress on my part and confusion caused by my stress on Chris's part, we finally made it out of Albuquerque. Want to know how to get to Oklahoma? Drive east. Ha.

Drive Highlights

Driving for nine hours on Thursday, seven hours on Friday, and five-ish hours on Saturday does not an exciting blog post make. There were just a few noteworthy moments.

Day 1: Chris got pulled over for speeding. The cops had set a speed trap by pulling over two unmarked cars, one with a hood up as if it was broken down with the other looking like it had stopped to help. Hiding behind the hood was a cop with a radar gun. Lame.

In Chris's defense, his car does not have cruise control and this lovely little trap was set up at the bottom of a hill. The officer said he was going seven miles an hour over the limit. He didn't end up getting a ticket, but we did find out that we both had expired insurance cards--don't worry, we've fixed that already. But, we do still have to fax proof of insurance or show up to the courthouse of Moriarty County, NM on August 27th. I think the fax seems more likely, don't you?

Day 2: Ben got nipped by a dog tied up with a cell phone cord at a gas station. Audrey's new kindergarten teacher called me, which was nice so I could actually tell Audrey her teacher's name. Audrey got lost and ended up wandering around a gas station with a stranger. We had a long talk about that one. And now that I'm typing all of this, I'm realizing that all of those happened at the same gas station.

And we crossed the Mississippi. Would've been cool to take some pictures...but we didn't.

Day 3: It rained. A lot. And then rained some more. Turns out, Chris's car is not waterproof.

And we arrived safely in Georgia. I suppose that's a highlight, though after all the stupid hours in a car, all I really cared about was getting out.

Hotel Highlights

I haven't done much on our previous trips in terms of special treats or entertainment for the kids. I think that taking trip is exciting enough on its own. This time, however, I did add in just a few extras. We were all already burned out from our huge trip before and this trip is also a move, which is a bigger deal than a couple days in Idaho.

Hotel 1--Albuquerque: New pajamas

Ben didn't want to pose for a picture. Can you tell?

Hotel 2--Oklahoma City: Swimming & Jumping (P.S. jumping on beds is allowed in hotels, per Grandma Karrie)

Hotel 3--Memphis: Movie

We went to see Planes. Not quite as impressive as I hoped, but it was cute. It was also really funny when Ben repeatedly jumped up on this chair and yelled, "PLANES!" He does that with real planes all the time (and trains, and trucks), but it was funnier in a movie theater, and especially since he seemed to be randomly calling out the title of the film.

My apologies to Christopher on the less-than-stellarness of the picture...I didn't think to take one until the lights were out and the previews had started, and I didn't dare take another one.

Hotel 4--Atlanta: Dolls & Trucks

No picture here, but I did give each of the girls a new little baby doll and Ben got three new matchbox Trucks (not cars, Trucks). It helped to have something new on that third day of driving.
* * * * *

So, we're in Georgia now. We have been to our new ward, and checked into our apartment this afternoon. The truck with our household goods won't arrive until Thursday, so our hotel adventures get to continue. Turns out we don't love the hotel we're in at the moment, so we're switching tomorrow. Hopefully that one works out better, and hopefully they serve something other than biscuits and gravy. They're good, but after nearly a week straight, not so much.

And now let's pause for a moment to consider that, amidst all this insanity and instability and current seeming homelessness, Audrey starts kindergarten tomorrow morning. Prayers.

At least the kids actually went to bed decently tonight, which hasn't happened for quite a while now.