Monday, April 13, 2015

4 1/2 months post move + tips

Moving is hard. I don't think there is any way that it won't be hard, no matter what. I knew this - we have moved a lot - but maybe I forgot a little bit.

When we told the kids we were moving back in September Tyler burst into tears and Emma cheered. Tanner wasn't sure what to do, and Sadie was probably eating a cookie. My point is that Tyler knew it would be hard and scary and new and different. Emma probably did but didn't think it was a big deal at the time. Funny enough, Tyler has probably had the easiest adjustment of all. He rides the bus with 3 of his best (LDS) friends, getting up at 6 to leave at 6:20 doesn't bother him one bit, and he is suddenly the smartest kid in the school (bothers ME, not him). Emma has also made friends quickly, but middle school can be brutal, girls can be petty, and being older is just harder for change anyway.

One of my friends asked me which kid missed Fremont first and I said "none!" While they miss their friends, they were missing out on so many other cool things. School was hard and stressful for them. They felt quite out of place in a lot of ways. (But I can guarantee they will become incredibly homesick around Memorial Day...)

Here are my tips for moving (and for myself to remember in case we do this again):
*Make friends right away. Get out there and don't wait for people to come to you. Church helps immensely in this area because of built-in friends, but even then there are no guarantees (unless you move to an area with a small ward where you are desperately needed, and even then...). Also, you need friends you can leave your kids with, and whose kids you can watch in return. I had a few of those friends right away, and it is so helpful.
*Invite people over! We have had about 10 families over in the 4 months we have been here, and we had a different family over every Sunday in February. That is way easier to make friends because at church it is hard especially if your calling prevents you from chatting much. Besides, there is something extra special once you have people in your home.
*Unpack as quickly as possible. I did most of it but not all and as a result I am still working on it. It is such a burden to feel unsettled for months.
*Put your kids into activities and sports (other than church ones). Tanner started preschool the week after we moved here (I did some investigating before we even moved) so he had friends right away, as well as something to look forward to.  (He wasn't in preschool in CA because I didn't want to pay for something I could do myself, but here kindergarten is full-day so I felt like he needed some preparation for that.) The big kids started piano less than 2 weeks after we moved in, again from doing some searching before we moved. We got them into basketball within 6 weeks of moving here. They jumped right in. Emma got into choir through her school and even got to be in the Christmas concert after we had just been here 3 weeks. They like to belong and to feel important and that has eased the transition so much. Tyler is now playing baseball and knew absolutely no one but it hasn't seemed to bother him, and he has even more friends now.
*Set low expectations. It's easier not to be disappointed if you don't expect the new place to be as great or better than the last place.
*Get involved in the community. This one is harder for me - I can't even go to Walmart without 3 or 4 severe temper tantrums from Sadie, but I have grand plans for myself in a few years. Spencer is applying for the city planning commission; what better way to be involved?

Saturday, April 4, 2015


We bought season passes to Silver Dollar City around the New Year because I saw that it was only 82 miles from my house and because my kids love amusement parks. I was sure we would go a lot this summer. Well, we went for the first time last Friday and I don't know how much we will go. It is fun for sure, but the roads are SO WINDY, we had one kid dry heaving the way there (and others pretty pale, including me), and one holding a barf bag up and crying on the way home. Oh boy. And it was freeeeezing. I've never been so cold at an amusement park - 38 degrees!

Other than that, we had a great time! A couple rides are pretty scary. Tanner rode his first real rollercoaster! He cried the first time but not the second. :) (I was so so proud here. And that guy behind me yelled at me - and I talked back this time - about having my camera out. Go away.)

Sadie is suddenly scared of everything so she just went on one ride. We DID go into Marvel Cave, inside the park, and that was awesome. It is enormous and could hold the Statue of Liberty inside of it.

We stayed in Branson that night in a total dive, but apparently most of the hotels are that way. Good to know for the future. What a fun, busy, FULL spring break we had. Sufficiently wiping out the kids and ourselves is called success (and pure insanity).

 Funnel cakes!

This is where we pretty much left it. Goodbye Spring Break!

spring break - texas!

Spencer's boss was going to Mexico with his family for spring break, which made it pretty easy for Spencer to take the time off as well. So we decided to take advantage and go the best place within reasonable driving distance to see family - Austin! It is great knowing some cousins are close now, cousins we really don't know because we have always lived so far from them.

The drive to Austin was horrible. We drove all day on a Friday and construction and traffic (and a screaming Sadie) set us back enough to hit rush hour traffic in Dallas (3 pm). Then we had a ton of rain and slow drivers and more grumpiness and then way more traffic into Austin...

We finally arrived after almost 10 1/2 hours in the car. Seeing the Smith's was such a welcome sight! Kristina made pizza and we ate late then the kids crashed.

Saturday was rainy again but we braved the rodeo anyway. The petting zoo was so cool! We stayed in there for a long time. We also saw a baby kangaroo. Then we went to the pig races and that was really cute and fun. We had to get some "carnival food" before heading back for nap time for the little kids.

That night was so fun - date night! Kristina got a babysitter and we went to Pappasito's for their fajitas. Oh my goodness - YUM. We stopped at SteinMart (kinda old-person-ish) and HEB on the way home. We stayed up late talking and watching Jimmy Fallon clips. Kristina and Tyson are some of my very favorite people to hang out with. They are just cool.

Sunday was a regular Sunday. I loved visiting their ward; a friend from high school is now in Kristina's ward and is the Laurel advisor so I went to her class to see her teach and it was one of the most incredible lessons I have ever heard. It is so satisfying to see friends doing great things after many years. That night we had pulled pork for dinner and then went to Lake Austin (?) to watch the boats and enjoy the beautiful Sunday evening. Spencer was totally drooling for a boat. I was falling in love with Austin.

Monday was our crazy busy day but was just so much fun. We hiked ("hiked") Mt. Bonnell and had great views of the city and mansions and the lake below. Then Kristina went to Chuy's for chips and dip and my family went to Sprouts (LOVE AND MISS THAT PLACE SO MUCH!) for lots and lots of fruit. We ate fruit and chips and dip for lunch and it was just so yummy.

That afternoon Tyson met us downtown to canoe on Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin. Keeping the kids in the canoes and keeping us upright was a little bit of a challenge but the views were amazing and the weather was absolutely perfect. It was so gorgeous.

After that was food truck time! We went to Torchy's Tacos for some of the best tacos ever, then to Gordough's for donuts. These "donuts" were insane - we got Blackout and I can't remember the name of the banana cream cheese one but both were so good.

After that we went to the bridge that the bats fly out of at sunset and watched that. We took some exhausted kids home and got them to bed.

Tuesday we drove out to Brenham (toward Houston) for two reasons: Blue Bell ice cream factory tour AND to see the bluebonnets. We were about 10 days early for the bluebonnets and out picture attempts were just plain not good, BUT the factory tour was fun and ice cream at the end...what could be better? The drive was long and Sadie wasn't sleeping but it was ok. Early bedtime again.

We enjoyed our last night hanging out with our closest (geographical) family. On Wednesday we drove home, rushing pretty big time because of tornadoes and hailstorms in NW Arkansas (they were crazy, especially when we got stuck in the first part of it).

It was such a fun trip, and a great reminder that having kids and having stuff be "hard" is not an excuse not to do things. Because what we will remember in a year is just the fun stuff and not the hard stuff (maybe?). And it is always worth it when you go see family - those connections are just far too important.

And Sadie keeps asking for "Baby Paka" (Parker).


I really am so proud of my oldest two. Within two weeks of moving here they both let me persuade them to join the basketball league at our local Baptist church. Neither had played before, neither ended up being the best on their team. But they had fun, learned another TEAM sport (my favorite kind), and got to know a lot of people.

They had kind of opposite experiences; Tyler's team lost the coach and then someone stepped up but it was never the same and they just struggled. By their sixth game, when they actually tied it up and then WON, by 1 point, the gym erupted and I think I cried. Tyler played his heart out and really started to like it.

Emma's team, on the other hand, was awesome. Her coach was incredible and there were only 4 teams but Emma's team would win by at least double digits every single time. Once she got more aggressive and made some baskets she really started to like it (one thing that is frustrating as a parent is when my kids don't like something simply because they aren't good at it). Her team was so great! It was fun to watch her games. She got into the semi-finals and then the final game, when she played her friend's team. It was close this time and we were down for a few minutes, but we came back and won.

Here are some pictures.