Not Just for a Visit

My mom got here Friday evening for Noah’s Birthday and planned to find an apartment while she was here. We have only been here about four months, so I know just enough to get us around town and between her TomTom and my phone we found the rest. Two potential complications: a cat and a hope for a short lease and we had our work cut out for us.

We decided to play for the weekend and then get down to business on Monday. We had Noah’s Birthday party here at the house on Saturday.

8 years old!

And we went for a walk Sunday morning after breakfast.


Noah and his sword

Fall :o)

Nora, Grandma, and Noah

This boy has lost A LOT of his teeth!

On Monday we spent the whole day looking at apartments from one end of town to the other. Tuesday we did a little more calling around first and made a plan for what to look at, where and when and just after lunch we had victory! Yay! It was kind of fun looking for an apartment (maybe because it wasn’t for me?) and I got the chance to meet some new people and learn more about the area. I feel like I am playing a game of old school Zelda and each new road I go down shows up more of the map. :o) I also enjoyed seeing Franklin from my mom’s perspective. It’s a pretty great place to live, even without a Target. ;o)

Fall Frenzy!!

I don’t normally do stuff like this, but it was 36 degrees this morning and it is dawning on me that Fall is here and Winter is coming. Now, I may not truly know what that means in terms of the chill factor, but I do know it means that I’m gonna need warmer clothes. Let me rephrase that- I get to wear warmer clothes, like until I hate them and am longing to be able to wear flip flops! WooHoo!!

My recent trip to Portland (they seriously know how to layer) has me excited to add to my dismal wardrobe for the upcoming season and here are a few things I love!

I realize that this Winter will be a huge learning experience and at the cusp I am so ready and willing to embark on this journey (although come December I will probably be having a tantrum every time I will have to go pick up Noah from the bus stop). I have lived in cold weather before, but something tells me this is going to be different. Different good, right? ;o)


Though the kids have been out of school for weeks it hasn’t yet felt like Summer vacation. I guess with the move and then with Jason being home it mostly felt like an extended weekend.

This past week was Jason’s first week at work and mine at home. I have actually (technically) been a Stay-At-Home-Mom (SAHM) for a while now; I was in school and not working since January 2010, but it wasn’t until now that I started feeling like a SAHM. I attribute this to the fact that I saw Jason often and talked to him more when he owned his own business. Now that he works a regular job we seem to be becoming a typical suburban family complete with a budget and minimal communication during the day. NOT that I’m complaining! lol

By Friday I was…tired. I had to go grocery shopping and dreaded-severely- taking the kids with me. I mentioned the struggles with Noah? Magnify that by 10 when we are out in public (I will say that things are getting better). Nora, my social butterfly, gets energized by seeing people and places (just like her mama) and starts bouncing around dancing and trying to play tag with Noah and then pouting when I make her keep her hand on the cart for the rest of the shopping trip. Lorelei is a wonderful baby, but she gets restless now that she’s getting older, so a trip to get groceries is hard. It can and has been done, but I arranged with Jason to be able to go when he got off work on Friday without kids.

I also decided to pump for Lorelei and leave her home too. I rarely leave her behind, especially in the evening, but I wanted to be able to concentrate and needed to go to Bi-Lo, Wal-Mart and Ingles and dragging her into three stores seemed a bit tiring and did I mention that I was already so very tired? lol

Jason was fine with watching all three kids and doing the dinner, bed, bath routine. I also think he understood how I felt and was feeling a little guilty about the overnight camping he would be getting with Ryan (Amber’s Beau) on Saturday. I set off with MY kind of music blaring and not silly songs relishing the freedom, but an hour later I missed my baby! Ha! Isn’t that always the case? All was well when I checked in with Jason after Bi-Lo and Wal-Mart, but when I got home after Ingles Lorelei had been crying for 15 minutes straight and Jason was a little frazzled. She maybe drank an ounce of milk while I was gone and did not appreciate us trying to trick her. lol I was gone a little over 2 hours, but she acted like I had left her for days! Suffice it to say, I don’t think there is a date night in our future, at least for a few more months. I could probably pump more often and teach her to “like” the bottle, but I fear it would interfere with my supply and I would be more apt to just give her a bottle instead of nurse her. Plus, why give myself more work for just an hour or two away from her? That seems selfish to me or at least counter productive to the effort I put in to breast feeding in the first place.

Saturday morning after Jason and Ryan left to go camping I gathered the kids and set out to the front yard to pick up sticks. This yard has been very neglected. My goal, once I realized that there were even more small sticks buried under layers of leaves, was to make piles of the large sticks (or small trees and whole branches really). This was rather difficult and I was longing for an Ergo! After a while we came in for lunch and we made sure to check for ticks. While we watched a movie, Noah found a tick crawling on him. A little while later he found two more and asked me to check his head again. I did and found two ticks! I don’t know if I missed them the first time or if they made there way up there during the movie. I cannot tell you how freaked out I am about ticks. I didn’t grow up with them and I don’t like bugs in general especially ones that attach to you! I overcame my fear, grabbed the tweezers and pulled them out. Ugh. *skin crawling* It is even worse to imagine one in my own hair! I had lice as a child and then once as a teenager and I think I may have been a bit traumatized about bugs in my hair. I am still freaked and it is the next day! lol I checked Nora over again and also asked Noah to check me, but now that Jason is home I’m gonna have him check me again. My imagination has a hold of me (and Noah too) and every little normal tickle and itch could be a tick. Agghhhh! In Florida we had Mosquitoes really bad and here in North Carolina we have ticks. Just goes to show you that the grass isn’t greener on the other side there are just different bugs.

Snap Back to Reality

Jason started his job this morning. These past few weeks we have been working on getting the house into shape and enjoying a break from the craziness of owning your own business. It will be so strange for Jason to go to work and come home at the same time everyday and then not continue to work when he gets home in the evening.

This past Saturday Sheena and I went to Asheville where there is civilization. It was so weird to just “visit” Target and Starbucks, since just three weeks ago I was going almost every day. I thought it would make me discontent to visit these places and remember the fun and convenience of going daily, but it was nice and a bit freeing to go for the day and much more like a “treat”. In Lakeland, we lived in the boonies, but we were still apart of the hustle and bustle of running to Publix, Target, Starbucks or perhaps having to go to the North side for something. Here, if it ain’t at the one available store or Wal-Mart, it ain’t here. We will be using the lovely Amazon a lot more which means once again getting packages like Christmas and being home more often. I’ve decided to dig it, but hey- we haven’t yet been here a month.

Now that we are here in Franklin, I’ve been pursuing the school issue with Nora. The Pre-K program has had its funding cut and is only available at one school about 20 minutes away. We were making a trek like that in Lakeland and I am glad it’s over, so we won’t be doing that again. I have looked into homeschooling, but do I do Kindergarten and then she redoes it next year? And though I love my daughter, I don’t want to spend 24/7 with her trying to keep her entertained, especially since she has already been prepared for Kindergarten. Obviously there aren’t a lot of options in a small town like this, hopefully when we start finding a church I will hear of some play groups at the very least.

A few moments ago I was standing with Lorelei in her room which overlooks the back yard and was thinking, “I still cannot believe we live here.” The trees are so green and there is such a sweet smell to the air. I was looking at the yard wondering where we will put in a garden and imagining what it will look like here in the Fall. Now I am off to finish painting since the baby just laid down for her nap. :o)

Just Keep Driving…

The drive to NC was one that we have made many times; I wanna say 10-12 times over the last few years. We don’t even need to look at GPS anymore because we know the route so well. I have only ever contributed a few hours of driving to these trips, so when we rented the truck and I realized that somebody (me) would have to drive the Jeep I was a little apprehensive especially considering that I would be the one to tote the kids to NC. The trip has become a 12 hour one and with a huge Uhaul that can only go about 60-65mph safely and with single drivers I knew that it would stretch into a 15 hour drive and it did. We decided to let Noah ride with Jason and the girls rode with me. This made for a much more pleasant trip.

We had hoped to leave early in the morning, but we ended up leaving about lunchtime. I remember dripping with sweat as I watched Jason load up the Kia on the Tow Dolley. I was crying with the knowledge that we were leaving the place that we had made a home. It didn’t matter that it was too small for us and that the house we were headed towards was more perfect for our family. Until that moment it all seemed simple and I felt ready, but I’m sure those tears were just part of the process. The further we got on our trip the more excited I became. We had the bright idea to put the cats in the Kia for the trip. We would roll the windows down and they could meow until their hearts were content. At the first rest area we thought to put the air on for them while we went pee and stretched our legs. Jason went to do just that and found the cats panting like crazy! They were covered in drool and sweat and making the most HORRIBLE meows! Rosie, our gray somewhat long-haired cat, had laid down in the carrier with her mouth wide open probably on the edge of heat stroke and Jason just poured water straight down her throat. We moved some things around in the Uhaul and the Jeep and cranked up the air for the cats. They settled down in about an hour (thankfully) and I only heard faint meows periodically throughout the rest of the trip.

About halfway there I saw a sign for Starbucks. Knowing it would be my last I rushed ahead of Jason and went off the exit intending to meet up with him going my usual 80mph while he went 55mph. I grabbed my yummy coffee and was figuring out how to get back to the interstate when I saw Nora shoving her hand down her throat!! I slam on the brakes, turn around asking her what was wrong while she is kicking the seat and then starting to cry. I’m looking for signs of choking and touching her neck and face to see any clue as to what just happened. I had just given her a snack of cheese, so I figured maybe she swallowed wrong, but when she could talk she said she swallowed a coin! What?! I had given her a few pennies earlier from my change and she had obviously put it in her mouth! Why? Pennies taste gross, seriously? It doesn’t matter that I have told her many, many times to NOT put things in her mouth, this is the girl that swallowed one of my necklaces when she was two. Sigh. Maybe she is starting a metal collection. lol She was fine and laughed when I told her it would be coming out in her poop!

From there we just kept driving. It was kinda fun because we were using walkie talkies to communicate while changing lanes and such with our code names being Mama Bear and Papa Bear. :o) Late into the night we were talking to each other to keep awake and it was really nice and quiet, until the baby woke up screaming for an hour or two. By then we decided to pull off and take a nap just after midnight. I fed and cuddled the baby and about 130a we hit the interstate again. We were on the home stretch and made it to our road about 4am. The dilemma at that point was how and when to get the 26 foot Uhaul to our house down a one lane, winding hill. It was pitch black. Country pitch black where there are not any city lights or street lights near our house. We knew we would have to back the Uhaul to the house because there was no way we’d be able to turn it around once we got in there.I so wanted to do this after getting some sleep, but there was just no where to park the Uhaul safely. At first we thought to park the Jeep facing the Uhaul and leave the kids asleep while I helped Jason back the Uhaul up. We thought (naively) that this would be quick and simple. Then comes Nora screaming, barefoot and utterly terrified running towards the light of the Uhaul while the alarm on the Jeep is blaring through the neighborhood! Okay, let’s regroup. I went back to the Jeep and grabbed the no longer sleeping baby, telling her that Daddy is crazy and wants to back the Uhaul down the road to our driveway at 4am. Jason and I are on our phones, the walkies long since dead and Noah and Nora are in the cab of the Uhaul with Jason and Rosie.

I position myself behind the Uhaul and like a freakin’ traffic controller lead Jason the however many feet (500? 750? 1000?) to the top of our driveway. “Straighten out! Little to the left. Keep coming. You’re doing great.” I am freaked out. Did I mention that I am scared of the dark? We are no where near bears, but I’m thinking one is about to jump out and get me at any moment! I just concentrate on the task and before we know it we are there. Yay! We wait for Jason to unlock the house and then we cart the kids to the porch, me with the baby and Jason with Noah and Nora who are barefoot. It was quite comical.

We had not seen the house since Charley finished the floors and the counters, so we walk in to what I have been imagining for weeks. It is huge and beautiful and I love it! The kids go a little crazy running around and we are all excited (a little “I’m so tired I feel a little loopy” excited) and then we crash for a few more hours knowing we will have to get up and unpack the ridiculously full Uhaul tomorrow…er…today.

The Decision

Where to begin? Around the time that I got pregnant we started thinking and talking about Jason closing his business and getting a job for more stability. Because of who he is, we knew that Jason couldn’t stay in Lakeland or he would never stop working. Old clients would call and he would need to help them and then he’d be working two jobs whether he truly wanted to or not.

So he started to look out of state for opportunities. My friend’s husband in Portland, Oregon works for a great software company, so Jason decided to apply there for a tech opening. He also looked in the Asheville/Hendersonville area of North Carolina and applied for a few positions. What we found is that experience doesn’t necessarily trump education and certifications especially in this economy. Add the fact that the applicant didn’t actually live in the area and suffice it to say we didn’t hear back.

During the last few weeks of my pregnancy, we spent a lot of time with Jason’s parents and once Lorelei was born it became pretty apparent that we wanted to focus our efforts on moving to the Fraklin, North Carolina area. Once that decision was made, Jason’s Dad was very helpful over the next few weeks searching for properties. What an adventure that was! Most of the houses in Franklin are pretty dated (wood paneling) or, as we quickly found out, look beautiful in the pictures, but are located at the top of a very steep mountain hill. The kind of hill that would kill or seriously injure a child trying to ride his or her bike in the front yard. There was one house in the beginning that seemed perfect. It was a little small, but the price was right. It was three bedrooms which is difficult to find in this area and we were disappointed when we found that someone had made an offer already.

We liked another house that would have been perfect, but was expensive and then finally Charley lucked upon a two bedroom with potential. We liked it right away (even just seeing it in pictures), but it did need some updating as well. We took a trip a week later to check it out. We found that the owners had enclosed a room in the back of the house that we could split into two bedrooms, making it a three bedroom house with a bonus room (nursery/office). We also discussed putting down hardwood floors and replacing the pink (seriously?) countertops. We decided to go for it while Jason continued to look for a job.

During the weeks that Charley was improving the house a job turned up that is perfect for Jason. He has had his interview and we are waiting to hear back. I don’t think he would have been considered if we hadn’t of been in the process of moving. There are also a few other possibilities in the works.

I have only ever moved within a week or two selling everything and taking a bus or a plane to nowheresville and regretting it some time later (and returning). After Patrick and I split up, I learned to love Florida even with its heat while I worked downtown and grew up a little. I met Jason and he and I had dreams of buying a specific property and building a home, but it never worked out. This process of making the decision and then preparing to move took about a year. We were given the time to emotionally prepare for this huge change in our lives. Even though it was frustrating for me because I like for things to happen quickly I am thankful for the way things played out.

The first day we were here, after unpacking the moving truck, the sky got dark with imminent rain. We were finally in our new house and for me that realization was dawning. Jason and I stood out on our porch and listened to the trees rustling in the breeze and felt the peace of a good decision made.

Our view from the porch

The Simple Life

We are about to make a big life change, on purpose. Why does a person move? I read once that we are all looking for heaven. We all feel a little displaced (kicked out of Eden and all) and we move around in search of a place to fill that void. Physically it is for a job, or family, school, whim, or perceived opportunity and greener pastures. Our reasons are all of those I guess.

What I know for sure is that our family is really important to Jason and I. I could assume that all families feel this way; that most parent’s conversations revolve around making the best decisions for their kids and for the good of the family. We genuinely enjoy this part of our journey, which is why I think we are gonna end up with a house full of kids! I think that is why we are looking forward to moving. It is not so much the job/school opportunities, but the opportunities for the kids and family time. North Carolina is a little more conducive to spending time outdoors, which we all enjoy. The house we’ve chosen gives the kids space to roam as well as areas indoors to enjoy spending time with eachother. We also have Jason’s family to hang out with. I am really looking forward to that.

I feel though, that this move comes with a sacrifice; a sacrifice of self. I very much enjoy going to Starbucks on a daily basis and running up to Target for necessities like TP. It feeds some part of me that I don’t fully understand. I feel as if I am ready to begin examining that part of myself. I know it starts with questions. What does going to Starbucks do for me besides give me yummy coffee? Why do I stand on the pillar of it being my right as a grownup to go there everyday if I freakin’ feel like it? Going to Target is a little more simple. I love to shop and even buying TP and shampoo makes me happy. I am “allowed” to spend money on those things, but what little monster am I feeding?

A wise woman once told me that to find out why we need something, take it away and see what’s left. What is going to be left when I get to North Carolina and will have no choice but to stay home more often and can feed none of my addictions? I recently read an article talking about Dopamine receptors and how some people “need” more of whatever it is they enjoy to get the high it produces. I’ve always known that I create routines almost automatically. If I do something once and I enjoy it you can bet I’ll keep doing it until I’m sick of it. That’s why I’m on my second box of ice cream sandwiches and I eat them at almost the same time every day. If it is good for me I can justify the addiction. I love Naked Juice currently and the fact that I need good nutrition right now and it provides a good amount of iron (mine is still low) makes it easier to succumb to its calling. Yeah, so this is what I am wrestling with.

Are we as human beings capable of being without vices? Are these choices I make harmful? Am I a slave to these silly enjoyments? I’d like to think that we’ll move to NC and I will seamlessly transition to the peaceful and contented mom that I have in my head. I’ll sit on the porch with coffee I made myself and play more often with the kids without the need to get out of the house every day. What part of these choices are simply who I am and taking away Starbucks will only leave an opening for a different vice? I know I am social and perhaps that is what Starbucks feeds and moving will be a bit lonely for a while, will that simply make me crazy and not give me peace? As a Christian I supposed I am expected to only need God. He will fill the empty holes, but he and I are not necessarily on good terms right now. Maybe that’s what I’ll be working on this Summer. Sigh. It will be good or it will definitely be interesting. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing what’s left even if it kills me.

Change of Scenery

This weekend we went for a quick trip up to North Carolina, but it wasn’t just to visit. Jason’s family has been looking at houses for us. We have been thinking of moving to the Franklin area for some time now and throwing around the possibility of moving away from Lakeland for even longer.

Jason’s dad Charley has been house hunting for us. A lot of the houses we saw were either too expensive or had things like god-awful wood paneling throughout the entire house. It has been both exciting and depressing with each new possibility. This week Jason’s dad sent us a really good possibility and we decided to come up and check it out. It was interesting to see in person some of the houses that looked really good in the picture, but once you saw either the neighborhood or the horrifically steep, mile long driveway you would have to climb daily you would (and we did) quickly change your mind. Here is a picture of the house we visited to see.

Here is the jockey that greets us as we pull in…

This guy scared me each time I got a glimpse of him while we were looking around.

I think the house is really cute and other than cosmetic changes, it is move-in ready. It has a steep driveway, but is at the end of a private road with just a few other houses. It sits next to a field that, according to the owner, has a good sledding hill. I took a little video of my walk down the driveway just to give you a better idea of the area.

It has 2 bedrooms and two bonus rooms. One is extremely long which we plan to split up and make a bedroom for Nora and a smaller bonus room, for the nursery. We are hoping to rip up the carpet in the front room, which has a large open floor plan and lay down hardwood floors. I’m so thankful that Jason’s dad is willing and more than capable of doing the renovations. It will make all of the difference.

It was a bit overwhelming for me to make this decision at first. It is a lot more house and a lot more yard to take care of, but one could argue that we need more room with our expanding family. Just thinking about all that needs to be done in order to sell our house let alone get a new house ready for us to live in makes me want to stick my head in the sand and wait for it to be over! All with a baby on my hip. ;o)

It also took the better part of the weekend to ease into the idea of living in such a small town as Franklin. On one hand I know that some part of me is calling out for a bit more simplicity in my life. Although I do enjoy my daily Starbucks runs and my almost daily treks to Target, I know that there is more to life then these superficial comforts. And hey, I hear they are building a Super Wal-mart (said with NC twang) in town! I know that I have Asheville close by if I am in need of a Starbucks and Target fix, but it will definitely be a “treat”.

This house has a huge yard with lots of trees for the kids to run around and explore in and a large porch that almost wraps around the entire house. I look forward to spending a lot of time there and wonder how the views will change with each passing season.

That thing at the end of the porch is a fire pit. The previous owners left it and the ping pong table. (Sweet! Can’t wait to make our first smores!) :o) Noah and Nora will be going to East Franklin Elementary which has only 400 kids total in the school and an 11/1 ratio for students to teachers. It has a good reputation. Franklin just built a new library (my other weekly habit) and I look forward to exploring it this Summer.

We will not actually be moving until the end of June. That gives us time to prepare and for the kids to finish school. We are all excited, scared, nervous, hopeful and until this weekend- hesitant. Now that we have chosen a home we can now take the steps to get us moved in. I’m looking forward to it. :o)