Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The big move

Well, we did it.

We moved four kids, two adults, and an unimaginable amount of crap to a new house. Then, two days later, Abby and I went to violin Institute.

Yes, we may be a little bit crazy. (A little bit?!?)
We packed multiple trucks.
We took a few over-exposed pictures of Ian running in and out of the moving truck.
We unloaded the multiple trucks.
And we ate a lot of fast food and drank much Gatorade.

I've decided there is very little in life that is more exhausting or all consuming than moving. And no matter how much you think you've accomplished, it's never quite done. Right now, the garage at our old house still has some random things that we need to move over here, including our BBQ grill, a large container of plastic utensils, (don't ask because I don't know...) and several cabinets full of various garage crap.

But here's the good news. We're here. We love it. The boxes are mostly unpacked. And those that aren't are stored in my husband's office where I don't have to look at them. That right there tells you something about our house- my husband has his own office and we no longer have to share. This makes me very happy.
Pretend this picture is better than it is and imagine that you can see my kitchen in all its spacious glory.

Our house is huge. I mean, the kids can unload the dishes while I'm cooking dinner without us running into each other. This is a whole new experience for all of us. There is a playroom in our house, folks. That right, a room devoted exclusively to toys. Which also means that we no longer have a basketball hoop as the centerpiece in our living room. It's pretty fabulous. Other wonderful things? A bedroom for the boys so they no longer have to share with us, a laundry room that's actually a room and not a closet, fantastic views, a two car garage, and a huge yard. There is so much space that we frequently lose Ian. this is not helped by the fact that he learned to open doors the day we moved. (Sigh.)

And after we moved, it was Institute week. (Note to self: if you can ever possibly avoid moving the week before you have to take two of your children for a week of extreme violining, please do. You'll thank me later.)
Abby loves violin institute.
Ian did not. Yes, I did take a picture of him tantruming on the floor of Juan Diego HS. Further proof that he's a fourth child. Had this tantrum occurred when Abby was a baby, I would have been horrified. With Ian, I bust out the camera...
Because Abby's teacher is the director of the institute, most of her teachers were handpicked. Koen Rens from Belgium was our favorite.
She fiddled.
She worked on perfect position with her masterclass teacher.
She played in orchestra.
And then we were tired. And so glad to come home to the "new house" as Max calls it. (He still asks to go home occasionally. Insisting that we are home doesn't help much.)

So far this week I've unpacked a few boxes, taught a few lessons, mowed the lawn, weeded precisely one flower bed, and enjoyed the breathing room. 
See my pretty new violin studio?

But I've decided. Institute? It's great. We'll go again next year. As for moving? I could be perfectly happy with never seeing another packing box, thank you very much.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Boys and Baseball

Max used to be obsessed beyond belief with basketball. From the time he was about 16 months old, he was practicing his jump shot in our living room with a little tykes basketball hoop.

But his latest and greatest obsession? Baseball.
He asks us at least 25 times daily to play baseball with him. And it's so hard to refuse when his little voice asks: "You can play baseball with me, Mommy?"
So on a perfect summer evening, the whole family got in the act.
Even me. Except then Max told me, "You're not very good at baseball, Mommy." So I stuck with taking the pictures and being the cheerleader.
We have discovered that both Ian and Max love pitching more than hitting. And Ian is left handed.
Which leaves Tom dreaming of two major league pitchers.
Not a bad retirement plan, eh?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Things I am learning about moving

So it's T-minus 3 days and counting to the big move. Who knew the moving process could be so educational? So, with the intention of spreading my incredible learning experiences across the interwebs, I bring you my list of things I have learned while orchestrating this move.

1~ It doesn't matter how small your house is, you will still be astounded by the sheer amount of stuff you have. For nearly four years, we have had 5-6 people jammed into 1600 square feet. You wouldn't think that we could possibly fit six people in our tiny treehouse, let alone 10,000 pounds of crap. Which brings me to my next point:

2~ You will never actually be finished packing said crap. We've known an approximate moving date for a few weeks, so I've been packing the so-called non-essentials for weeks. Gradually, our garage has filled with boxes of all shapes and sizes, and it still doesn't look like we've made a dent.  There is still stuff covering virtually every surface of my house.

3~ You can be guaranteed that if you pack something you haven't used in 6 months, assuming that because you haven't needed it in so long that you should just get it out of the way, that you'll need it the very next day.   This of course results in frantic digging through stacks of boxes in the garage and unpacking at least 3 before finding the random object you couldn't live without.

4~ There is no way to move with young children present. Period. All four of my children could be happily occupied, but the minute I pull out a box and my trusty tape gun, I get a meltdown on a fronts. Ian will flop himself on my lap and beg to nurse, Max will gleefully start pulling everything out of the box that I was working on, and the girls' will start fighting at a volume that even earplugs won't help. I've only threatened to tape them in their own boxes and leave them there until we move once or twice.

5~Convenience food is your friend. So are paper plates, plastic cups and all manner of disposable everything. Trust me, you'll feel like a loser mom filling a shopping cart with corn dogs, frozen pizza and macaroni and cheese, but when it's 5:00 and you've been organizing and labeling boxes all day, a frozn pizza on paper plates mat be just what the Dr. ordered. The bonus is that your kids think you're cool when you feed them chicken nuggets and french fries.  Your husband will, however, complain about the lack of homecooked meals. It's inevitable. You have my permission to smack him.

6~ Don't pack the Advil. The children's or the adult's variety. You're going to have headaches galore from the baby crying, the children whining that their very favorite toy (that they haven't played with in months, mind you) is packed, and from the excessive amount of sorting and organizing you're going to have to do.  And I can pretty much promise you that one (or all) of your children will also be afflicted with some sort of mysterious ailment. Or your baby will be teething. Or all of the above.

7~Moving week is not the time to start a new teaching gig, get a huge toothache requiring an emergency trip to the dentist, or to prepare for a week at violin institute. Just trust me on this one.

8~The liquor store has the best boxes. There's the perfect size, they come with dividers already in them, and they're free for the asking. And there's something wickedly funny about pulling up to the liquor store in your red minivan with your four kids to beg for boxes (multiple times) and then using boxes emblazoned with "Bacardi rum" and "Five wives vodka: 80 proof" to pack your kids' schoolbooks and the violin studio. For extra bonus points, use the coffee filters you were storing for some unknown science project to cushoin quart jars on top of each other.

8~Call the Relief Society. Trust me on this one too. Today, 3 women came to my house. Many many boxes, two tape guns, and an hour and half later, my kitchen was packed, the cupboards were wiped clean, and all the boxes were stored in my garage. I think people who help move someone they aren't genetically related to should be assured a place in heaven.

It'll be worth it. I'm sure. We can't wait. If you don't hear from me for a week or so, come dig me out of the box pile, ok?

Monday, June 4, 2012

(Oh my poor neglected blog...)

So remember how Abby auditioned for an orchestra in conjunction with the Suzuki Association of the America's Biennual conference? Remember how I gently encouraged her to audition so I could have an excuse to go? Excitement was in the air when she found out she was accepted! We planned and scrimped and saved, and got some very goo deals, so Abby and I and Tom and the baby all packed up and headed to Minneapolis over Memorial day weekend. Why Tom and the baby, you ask? Well, the truth of it is, there's no one who loves me enough to take an 18 month old, still breastfeeding, tyrant of a toddler for a whole weekend. And that includes my husband.

Minneapolis? Fun. Fabulous. Abby loved every minute of it. She proclaimed it "The best weekend of her entire life."

Because of course, when you're in Minneapolis, where do you have to go first? 
The Mall of America. The American Girl store to be specific. Where she promptly blew a year's worth of allowance money, and then did the same for her sister. She was, quite literally, jumping up and down with excitement.
Ian was unimpressed. Or maybe he was underwhelmed due to our 6 am flight. Hard to tell. (Do you know how early you have to leave Grandma's house for a 6am flight?)
We rode rides.
Ian too. (He had fun, despite his facial expressions!)
And we ate really yummy pizza at a place called "Psycho Suzi's Motor Lounge." Don't judge. It was recommended by "Diner's, Drive ins and Dives." How can you go wrong? And just so you know, my children were, quite seriously, the most psycho ones there. Don't take two very overtired, over-stimulated children out to eat if you can help it. They'll both end up in tears. Yes, even the 10 year old.
Tom and Ian had many wonderful adventures.
Abby made some fast friends, (violin friends are the best! 
And loved hanging out with two girls that she already knows from Rocky Mountain Strings.

The orchestra she participated in was amazing. Once upon a time when I had a life, I used to do quite a bit of adjudicating. You could have put this orchestra of 10, 11, and 12 year olds against any high school string orchestra anywhere and not know a difference. I was so impressed with what the conductor was able to do with them. It was truly awe-inspiring.

As for me, I loved the sessions, the instructors, the who conference. It was fantastic to spend a weekend surrounded with teachers all of whom were passionate and wise about the Suzuki world. I reconnected with many teacher friends from Utah who were also attending the conference and we left motivated, renewed and with notebooks full of ideas to improve our teaching and change the world. I really do love my job.

We topped the weekend off with one of those epic restaurant trips. Ian was all done with eating out by this point, and wasn't above screaming his opinion to the whole place. Once he had expressed himself sufficiently, he proceeded to dump everything he could find on the floor. (Do they really need to put that many sugar packets on the table? Really?) The meal got even more awesome when a server accidentally dumped a full glass of root beer all over Abby and then threw a temper tantrum in front of everyone. (The server, not Abby.) The manager and another waitress then came over, apologizing profusely, letting us know that the server who dumped the root beer was going to be fired, all the while ignoring Ian who was still screaming his guts out. I wanted to curl up in a corner and melt into the floor. Sometimes being the parent is oh-so-glamorous.

And we won't talk about the flight home. It's better that way.

But the real news? We're finally (FINALLY!) moving! Yee-haw!

I can't tell you how long this has been in coming, or how excited we are to have a house larger than a treehouse. (I also can't tell you how NOT excited I am about all the box-packing that's been going on.) It's a huge house, fenced yard, giant kitchen, cute design, great floor plan, all the good stuff. And it's only about ten minutes away from here, which is even better. Two weeks to pack up everything and move is stressful, and after Ian unpacked the same box 3 times, all the while running away and laughing gleefully I was ready to tackle him and tape him up in the box, but it will be worth it. We can't wait. Even Max begs every day: "Can we go see the new house?"

The whole process of selling this house and renting another was a crazy one. There were a lot of prayers, temple trips, tears, late night discussions, and worries that went into the whole process. It certainly was a huge trial of our faith. It's easy, now that we have a lease in hand, to discount the whole process. But suffice it to say, God is watching over me and my little family. This I know for sure.

So if you don't hear from me for a while, come rescue me, ok? I'll probably be taped up in a box labeled "kitchen miscellaneous."

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