Sunday, June 30, 2013

the part where we move in

(missed me much? Yeah, I've gotten out of my groove. Moving and family reunion did that to me. But, never fear, I shall try to get back on track!)

We arrived in Minnesota and took stock of our new place. Did I mention that we'd only seen the place in pictures online? Yeah, so we were anxious to see what we had committed to. Liam and Dash were so funny, exploring each room, trying all the doors. The verdict: cute house, slanty floors, most doors don't close right, big yard, small bedrooms, lots of living space. We like it!

Our truck arrived shortly after us and we unloaded our mattresses and some other items. I dropped a mattress and it slide along my face, leaving a nice burn mark on my forehead. Awesome. My parents came a little bit later- I drove our SUV, sean drove the small U-Haul with my parent's gifted items, mom drove our old Honda, and Dad drove his car. All that PLUS our big moving trailer... it's a good thing the driveway is long.

The next morning was time to unload and we had a slew of helpers. All sorts of guys from church came out, not to mention six missionaries. We got everything out of the truck and into the house in 45 minutes. BAM. What an incredible help! Would have taken us daaaays. Some ladies also came over with tasty treats. PLUS a new friend (who lives super close) later made us dinner AND watched our kids for a few hours so we could unpack. Who does that?! So amazing.

In the coming days, we slowly (slowly slowly slowly) unpacked (and still have plenty to do) and got to know the place even more. There's a huuuge maple tree in the back which litters the place with helicopter seeds. Honestly, I'm always tracking them inside. Plus there a million bazillion box elder bugs. And it's definitely mating season. I don't really mind them, though, as long as they're not cockroaches, they may go where they please. The twins love the long driveway, they ride their backs up and down that thing.

For my first visit to church, my contact irritated my eye real bad that it looked like the red sea. That plus my big ol' mattress burn scab definitely screamed, "come meet me, I'm a cool person!" I hope everyone was looking at my cute kids instead. Oy.

I think we're all adjusting alright. The kids have been waking up a little more in the night; hopefully that will subside as they get more comfortable. At first, the older boys were getting up around 5am... ugh. It's got a little bit better recently. Now, anything after 6am sounds heavenly.

When we were getting ready to move here, we were gearing up the boys by differentiating between our Texas and Minnesota house. Now they still label everything as Minnesotan. "Minnesota house!" "Minnesota park!" "Minnesota church!" "Not go to Texas house?" I wonder when that won't be necessary anymore. Only a few times have they been upset about not going back to Texas.

Every time we've had to do major moving during naptime, Grey's slept amazingly. It happened in Texas, Illinois, and Minnesota. That must be the trick to a good nap, lots and lots of noise. Oh, did I mention that Grey's room is pink? Good thing we're allowed to paint!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

the part where we rest in gurnee

We spent a nice little week at my parents house before we headed to The Land of Ten Thousand Lakes. They had to work all week but we still had the evenings with them while we had fun during the day.

We got to see Matty's baseball game!

It was cold.

We had lots of fun with the maple tree's helicopter seeds (which now litter our new backyard, whee!).

But most exciting was going to Six Flags. My parents got us passes as birthday presents and we took advantage. We went four times, three with kids (one of those without Grey- that was weird, where's our other kid? With Grandma napping, silly.)

Liam and Dash had LOTS of fun. We went on all the fun kids rides (I think their favorite was riding the boat and dinging the bell, which they got to do by themselves) and the train ride (which made Grey fall asleep). I was so proud of them for trying so many things! The concept of lines are still a little troublesome for them, though.

Sean and I got to go one night on our own and it was a blast! It was a slightly rainy day which meant the park was much more empty. We walked on to so many roller coasters. In fact, so many coasters in so little time made us a little queasy by the end. I'm pretty sure that makes us officially Old Foagies.

Then we repacked to head to our new home. My parents are moving at the end of the year and wanted to give us a few things (including a piano!) so Sean drove a little U-Haul while I drove the kids in the SUV. Later, my mom drove our old Honda and dad drove up with his car so they could help us get moved in. How nice!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

the extended version of the part where we drive

I forgot two things:

When we stopped at a hotel after the first day's drive, Sean and I were so excited that we were actually going to bed early (like 10pm. We're horrible night owls). We were anticipating a long night's sleep. Except every kid slept terribly. Grey wasn't bad, just woke up a couple times. But Liam and Dash were waking up constantly, crying and getting out of bed. One time I woke up to Dash trying to open the room door. Thankfully we had put the mega lock on, otherwise, he'd have been stuck out there, probably banging on every door trying to get in. The only thing I heard him say before he started crying was "Liam?" Must have dreamt that Liam wandered away. Oh what a harrowing night.

We were gorging ourselves on Pixar movies in the car. When Liam was taking a nap, he groggily woke up, yelled "Watch Up!" and fell back asleep. The kid has important things on his mind.

Monday, June 17, 2013

the part where we drive

  • Our big drive was split up into three days: A planned eight hour and a ten hour traveling day to my parents' house in Illinois, then a 6 hour drive to Minnesota a week later. Those ended up being an eight hour, thirteen hour and 7 hour drive, but what can you do? Potty breaks are the worst.

  • We towed our little car behind the SUV and it was surprisingly easy. Just took a little bit more to speed up or slow down. I'm glad we didn't have to drive separately. Although we had to return the tow dolly before we drove up to MN, so that last day I was alone with the kids.

  • Liam and Dash took the drive pretty well, lots of tablet/iPod playing and movie watching. Plus eating and toys. The trick for Grey was to have lots of food at all times. A water bottle and a couple toys to play with filled up the rest of the time. Pogo was picture perfect.

  • When I was alone with the kids that last driving day, to keep Grey happy, I'd pass back handfuls of puffs or fresh toy until he fell asleep or was time for a pitstop. At one point, the boys really wanted a snack while Grey was asleep and I'm really proud of how I was able to gather it up and fling it back to them (they're in the way back) while driving.

  • None of my kids sleep that well in the car. Dash and Liam would take maybe an hour nap, Grey's is usually about 30 minutes. THOUGH he snuck in a third nap one day and it was over an hour! Four minutes more, but still!

  • I have this terrible habit of noticing imperfections in my nails and trying to fix them with my teeth when I'm stuck without a nail file. And when I say "fix," I really mean "ruin." I destroyed two nails on the trip. Just two!

  • We made a nice little stop on our long day.

What did we see?

I'll give you a hint, it's by the Mighty Mississippi (which is now are neighbor in Minnesota!)

As we walked to our destination, we were sidetracked by a train.

What is it about boys and trains?

Then we finally made it to the Arch!

It was rather windy. I think I need to try to style their hair this way, yes?

It was so windy, it made my face disappear. 

The Arch is pretty cool

And pretty tall.

And pretty great for us all. Hurray for St. Louis!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

the part where we pack

Moving is a beast, isn't it? So much stuff. And you think, there's no way I need all this. But then you look at each item and of course you can't throw it away. Well, no, we did make two donation trips and fill up six garbage bags.

We used ABF U-Pack, where we fill up a trailer and then they drive it for us. Because of the weekend and Memorial Day, we had the thing for six days. Here's how the packing portion of the move went down.

1) Grey's separation anxiety made me useless on all fronts- I was always holding the kid instead of packing or loading. Our saving grace was his budding ability to feed himself. For a while, he could bring things to his mouth but letting go was the trouble. The last few days of packing up, he started to get it down. So I could pour a pile of puffs in front of him and I could get a box or two packed while he chased his treats around.

2) Our home teaching family was an incredible help. They came for four hours on their day off and loaded that truck in such terrible heat. On top of that, they made an amazing Pho lunch for us. Oh that was good. Then my visiting teacher came just to watch Grey (plus Liam and Dash, but they didn't need much) for a couple hours. My, I got so much done!

3) I had scheduled one last doctor's appointment for the kids for Wednesday afternoon. In light of how long we had the trailer, I was hoping we'd go to the appointment and then start heading out on our big move. Ha. That was ridiculous. We worked like crazy on Wednesday, hoping to head out first thing Thursday morning.... try noon. There was just a never ending amount of stuff. Our second car, which we towed behind the SUV, was just crammed full of a zillion odds and ends. We just didn't care!

4) Speaking of the doctor's appointment, Liam and Dash (I think Grey too) both fell asleep on the drive back. So we just plopped them on the bed with a napping Pogo:


They slept for hours, through all sorts of noise. Thanks boys!

5) We hadn't sold the house yet, so we were contemplating if we should try renting it out. We were so wishy washy about it because of all the risks. But, miracles of miracles, some friends from our BYU days who are soon to be moving to Houston asked if we'd rent our house to them. How absolutely perfect. An answer to prayers for sure. What a gigantic relief.

6) It was wicked hot. Always. Sean was incredible doing so much work in the heat. Lots o' water bottles.

7) Sean had just finished packing up the truck (two feet short of the space they quoted us- tetris master) and went to put up the bulkhead wall when we realized the lock we had was the wrong size. Nothing like starting a huge drive than with a half hour side trip to Home Depot.

8) Liam and Dash were obsessed with the trailer. All they ever wanted to do was visit the thing (it had to be parked a small distance from the house). What kept them busy each day (besides an unprecedented amount of electronic usage) was accompanying us to and from the trailer. Such boys.
I'll tell you about our cross-country drive (in the vertical sense) next!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The End of Texas

And with this post, I present my last photos from Texas.

I'll miss Texas. I don't think I'll miss Houston like I missed Provo or Gurnee. Perhaps because I didn't live there as long. Perhaps because of those cursed summers. But miss it I will.

I'll miss our friends and our ward. I'll miss the Sugar Land fountains and that one bridge over that one lake. I'll miss the great Splash Pads that provide such needed relief in the summertime.

I'll miss Sean's schedule. Sure, some rotations were crazy hectic and those big tests took so much study time. But other rotations were such a breeze. His school schedule is going to look like a vacation compared to his residency schedule.

I'll miss those mild winters. My birthday was perfect every year.

Most of all, I'll miss our house. Provo was where Sean and Katie began; Houston is where the Bradley Family began. All our kids were raised in that house. I didn't think I'd be too sentimental about it but a few days from moving day, it really hit me that we were leaving all these memories behind.

I WON'T miss the super gross heat and the GIGANTIC bugs. So long cockroaches and beetles and red ants. Stay away forever.

Now, Minnesota. I'm nervous about the snow and making new friends and getting to know a place all over again

I AM looking forward to a pleasanter summer, lots of lakes and parks, and enjoying the place sean loves so much.

Time for change.

Friday, June 7, 2013

How to Play Outside in Texas in the Summer

Play outside in the heat a little...

Play outside in the water a little.

It worked for us. But I won't miss that crazy humid heat.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Last Visit to the Playground

We spent one last afternoon at our neighborhood park with Sean's family.

Can't these kids stay in the baby swings forever? Much less nerve-wracking that way.

But then again, they wouldn't get the joy of pumping your legs to great heights... or having your spouse push you to those great heights.

Austin pilots the plane.

Sean conquers the plane.

Brothers try to conquer each other.

The other kids played, too.

Water break! Not that you can tell, but they're trying to catch the water Pompa is pouring into their mouths. It was a HOT day.

But we finally let Liam and Dash play while the rest of us sat in the shade.

We used Grey as our excuse. "Let's sit in the shade and play with Grey."

He's good for pictures.

And he's good for cuddling.

And with that, we bid adieu to our favorite park. And also to Mimi, Pompa, and Austin. Never again will we all be together at that playground. Life, it is a-changin'.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Fantastic Fountains

Well, we're all moved out of Texas (!) and are spending a little free time with my parents before we make it to Minnesota. I do apologize for the lack of posting- how about a bunch of pictures with not so many words (i.e. the best kind of posts)? Coming right up!
While Sean's parents and brother were with us, we paid a visit to the Sugar Land fountains, a place we wish we'd found sooner in our Texas stay.

Perfect place to people watch, grab a bite, let the kids play.

And of course, the fountains a blast.

All the while, Grey ate.

And it was windy.

Here's Austin's hair to prove it.

And Pompa's.

But back to the fountains.

They're mesmerizing.

They're joyful.

They make you cold and wet.

All the while, Grey eats.

Finally, he took matters into his own hands.

And Dash continued to get wet.

And they took wet walks around the plaza.

Grey switched from food to shoe, one of his favorite delicacies.

Brothers were brothers.

And Grey tried to steal sips.

Related much?

Sometimes, the fountains would stop and this boy would grow impatient.

Sometimes this boy would dance.

And sometimes uncles made nephews giggle.

But always we would love being together.