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Moving

2017 August 7
by Becky

It’s a rainy day in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. I’m sitting in my new-to-me kitchen at the island we had made for this space just days before we flew away from St. Louis for our big move. Ethan is at camp and Finn is napping, so the house is quiet but for some music humming in the background. There are no urgent phone calls or deliveries today. It’s my first normal day in our new home.

This morning we dropped Ethan off at camp, then Finn and I checked out a fantastic coffee shop—Swings in Del Ray—and headed home to continue settling into our house. I’ve been reorganizing cabinets, planning where I’ll hang pictures and artwork, putting a couple succulents in my favorite glass battery jar.

It’s almost like the last two weeks are a distant memory.

It’s almost like I didn’t break my foot two days before a truck showed up to pack up our house. Like we didn’t live in two different hotels. Like we weren’t buried in moving boxes and packing paper. Like we didn’t have trucks show up early and then late and then not at all. Like I wasn’t completely overwhelmed with my energetic kids who I couldn’t walk to the park or take for a bike ride because of said broken foot.

Boxes

There’s nothing quite like starting off Moving Week by stepping off a curb, rolling an ankle, and breaking the back of your fifth metatarsal. AGAIN. This time it was the other foot and I wasn’t holding onto a handrail like last time so I fell down and scraped the crap out of my right knee…just for an extra special treat.

BootGirl

It’s an understatement to say that the last 15 days have been a blur of extreme stress and inconvenience. Add to those days the two months before filled with moving prep and having our house on the marketing and filling out exactly one thousand forms for the relocation company…it’s been not so fun. Really really not fun.

But we are officially here. And we LOVE our house. We are more moved in than I’d ever imagined us being at this point, thanks to some extra help from my mom—who we flew in at the last minute in response to me breaking my foot—and a days worth of professional unpacking help courtesy of the relocation company. I cannot explain the special surprise that is The Organizing Agency. Two lovely women helped get every single box out of the house on day two of occupying it. And we had SO MANY BOXES.

UnpackingBeersWell deserved beer at the end of moving day

Another surprise is how quickly the boys took to sharing a room. Perched at the top of our three story house is their new hang out, complete with bunk bed and windows looking out on the street below. While we had a back up plan for Finn to have his own room next to ours, it seems they like being together and I love having all their stuff in one place.

BunkBeds!

Just one more surprise was how well we fit into this house!! We have no basement (which was really daunting), and no garage (again, very scary), and reduced our square footage by about 900 sf. But it feels wonderful having less house to take care or and less stuff to put places.

I’ve been feeling a little trapped, unable to walk in our extremely walkable city, but I’ve met several lovely neighbors and can’t wait to get out and exploring all the new things that have popped up in the last four years. Come September 5, the foot better be ready because I’ll be walking both kids to school!

While I wanted to be super positive and sugar coat the whole moving experience, I can’t lie…it was pretty awful. But each day helps melt the bad memories away and I feel a little more at home. We’re here, we’re excited, and we have room for guests!!

“That There’s An RV” — Our Little Adventure

2017 July 10
by Becky

FamilyRV-FourthofJuly

Here’s hoping everyone has had a wonderful holiday…you know that recent one that for some reason spanned two weekends because of it’s Tuesday occurrence?

We did our annual visit to Nebraska before the holiday and I’d had my fill of explosions by Monday. Fireworks didn’t stop filling the sky until yesterday.

I’m officially becoming a fireworks scrooge.

But as you can see from the picture above, we changed things up a little this year by means of a new mode of transportation. This RV rental idea was Stu’s, let’s call it a bucket list item. He planned this trip all by himself for about six months and was SO excited.

I was terrified.

Let’s be honest, that thing is HUGE. But I agreed it seemed like a great opportunity since we were doing things a little more “rural” this year (that’s right, MORE rural. In Nebraska) so I let him plan away and before we knew it, the big day was here.

BoysRV-FourthofJuly

Since they’d been hearing about this for months, the kids were stoked. They climbed aboard ready to party. They initially buckled in but with the idea they could get up and move around while we made our first four hour drive—rookie mistake.

Two hours in, things got super stressful. It was dinner time and the kids were up and down and asking for things constantly, I was full-on car sick from getting up every three minutes to help them, Stu was still getting the hang of driving this beast so he missed a turn, and we realized exactly how dangerous it is to stand up in a moving vehicle.

I know, we should have known better, but this was our first time. We learned fast. We stopped for the night a little earlier than planned because I may have demanded Stu stop on the side of the road so I could call an Uber to take me home. (His response: “I don’t think there’s Uber in the middle of Missouri…”) Finn was overtired and in a full blown screaming tantrum, and it was starting to rain. There may have been a tornado siren in the distance.

We found a place to stop—a Walmart parking lot right of the interstate—and got everyone to bed. Funny thing, while several RV sites had recommended Walmart for overnight stops, we pulled in to find a sign saying “No overnight parking”. A quick pop into the store got us the unofficial permission to do so and we were extremely grateful. We were nestled between several semi trucks, all hunkered down for a torrential downpour that lasted all night.

Wine was consumed. Things were good again.

FinnCarseatRV-FourthofJuly

The next day, we started fresh with a new rule: Finn in a carseat, Ethan in a seatbelt. We did eventually let Ethan sneak back for a nap in his bed. It was MUCH better, even while Finn fussed for a solid 1.5 hours about our adjustment. The boys snoozed and watched movies and played with stickers until we arrived at our destination: Burwell, Nebraska.

BunkHouse-FourthofJuly

Wide open spaces in what can only be described as the middle of nowhere. I knew it was beautiful at the time, but it wasn’t until I edited the photos that I remembered just how incredible that sky really was.

BunkHouse2-FourthofJuly

Endless blue with fluffy clouds was our daily backdrop for all things outdoors: fishing, splashing in the river, paddle boating, walking up the road to visit the little farm of ducks, peacocks, and chickens, as well as bonfires and water balloon fights. And eating. OMG I ate so much.

The kids were in heaven.

EthanAnnette-FourthofJuly

And Ethan got to spend a whole week with one of his favorite people in the world, cousin Annette. Though they see each other only once a year, they are like twins, playing together each day until they dropped from exhaustion. I’ve never seen two kids get along as well as these two.

FishingWithDad-FourthofJuly

Smores-FourthofJuly

Though the driving was tough, the RV more than served it’s purpose as a cozy place for our family to sleep. It was like we brought our own hotel room! Between the RV, three cabins, and a tent, this little fishing camp slept 30 people…it was quite the crowd.

After three nights in “cowboy country” (that’s what Stu’s grandma calls it), we headed back to Lincoln for more cousin fun, including Finn’s first firefly hunt! He’s usually asleep by 7:30 so waiting till almost 10 for those silly bugs to start lighting up was a stretch. He filled his jar and tucked it next to his pillow for a “night light”. No big surprise, the jar was somehow opened and a dozen fire flies set up residence in the RV with us for a couple days. Most were caught and safely released.

FirstFireflies-FourthofJuly

FinnTrev-FourthofJuly

We parked the RV in front of Stu’s aunt and uncle’s house and slept in it every night amidst the sounds of fireworks throughout the neighborhood. Our kids are great sleepers anywhere, but it was nice for them to have designated beds every night of our trip, a place to pass out after playing so hard all day.

If you’re curious, here’s a look at the RV inside…panoramic mode gives a pretty good idea!

RVInside-FourthofJuly

At the far left corner of the picture is the bathroom and fridge. This is the RV “popped out”, meaning the side is all the way extended. You close that up to drive.

There was a full kitchen with stove and oven, but I doubt I’d ever be inclined to use them. Anything you cooked would smell up the whole place and the last thing we wanted to do in this tight space was wash dishes. The shower was pretty awesome though! The toilet was convenient but pretty disgusting and sometimes smelled bad. Stu had to dump the “black water” once and I steered clear of the situation…yuck.

So would we do it again? I vote no. It was very uncomfortable to ride in this thing. It was loud and bumpy all the time, so if you are at all prone to car sickness, run screaming from this option. If we drove more than a couple hours in it we got off feeling dizzy and still rocking, like we’d been on a boat. Plus, having all that space is just too enticing to kids, making them want to move around. I think we’d opt for pulling a trailer next time, either behind my SUV (so a much smaller one) or behind a rented truck (if that’s a thing). Everyone comfortably strapped into seat belts/car seats and a smoother ride while still having the luxury of a nice place to sleep would be ideal.

But it was an adventure nonetheless!

Who else has gone crazy and rented one of these beasts for a vacation? How was it?