We closed on the house on a Monday, and our furniture arrived on Tuesday. Now we're a week in, and here's where we're at. I'll start with the lows, at the risk of sounding whiney. But it's my intention to just be frank. Moving is a sh*t show, plain and simple. Coffee and Kids Netflix are clutch. Each day we unpack more boxes only to find that we don't know where to put the contents. A wide variety of hardware for our furniture is missing. Doing anything with three kids underfoot is more or less a lost cause, so getting settled is slower than I'd like. I remember feeling this way with each move. But I'm getting ahead of myself...
1. The unpacking/organizing/putting away.
UUGGHHHH the boxes. If ever I've needed a magic wand, it's this stage. We've been here a week, and there's still so much to unpack. I'm so thankful we had a moving company to handle the heavy lifting and assembly of our furniture, so a MAJOR slice of the work of this cross-country move was done for us by professionals. BUT, the boxes. All of the non-furniture possessions we own went into boxes, so unpacking is our task morning, noon, and night around here. Our last house was super different from our new one. So the kids' junk from the Arizona play room? It gets divided into kids' rooms, family room, and goodness knows where else. We do have a basement here, but the garage isn't attached. So where do the tools go? The kids clothes in sizes they're not currently wearing? Keepsakes? Holiday-themed platters?
The items we once stored in our Arizona garage got split up at random into our new garage and basement, which means that parts of one machine/toy/tool are in two different places and one single fan got put into two different boxes and those boxes aren't in the same place.
And what about piles like this?
Yes, it's a combination of dolls, Legos, crayons, kitchen tools, trains, McDonalds junk. For ever and ever, in several different rooms of the house. (Side note, you know you're crushing on that mauve carpet.)
This here is in our garage. Anyone want to come and whip it into shape?
I know, when it comes to a cross-country move, we have it GOOD. THE MOVERS. The fact that we have a house, and the furniture and dishes and linens to fill it. I don't want to take those things for granted, because I know that our level of privilege is significant.
I'm just a bit overwhelmed with it at the moment. In a week, it'll be so much better. In a month, I'll forget all of this and be planning out some kind of cute DIY project.
2. The Parenting
I wrote recently about making your kids feel secure and loved during a major transition, and based on that advice I'd give us a B-. My older daughter's bed emerged from the cardboard box dumping ground yesterday, a week in. We're struggling with routine and any sense of normal. They alternate between decent meals and total junk. I fed them all pretzels for lunch yesterday and hoped they wouldn't notice. The girls have watched the movie Trolls every single day this week in its entirety. We also listen to the soundtrack more or less on repeat while we're in the car. Basically, the Brown Move of 2017 has been brought to you by Trolls.
That said, they're healthy and happy. A bright pink cast with gold glitter has been added to our daughter's arm for the next couple of weeks, but it hardly slows her down. They're making friends and sleeping at night, and the piles of junk everywhere don't bother them in the slightest.
3. The Fixer-Upper
We bought an old house. We knew we were buying an old house. We knew it was a fixer-upper. We knew it was priced low for the area because it needed TLC. And then we moved and it was like OH EM GEE there's so much to do. Where do we start? The deck? The carpet? The kitchen? The bathrooms?
BUT. So darned cute. Our cutest house so far.
4. The Weather
Earlier this week it was a million degrees outside (okay, just 97) and we don't have A/C. And when we moved in last week it was 50 degrees and rainy, and we didn't have access to our warm clothes. We made an emergency stop at the mall for coats and ordered rain boots online. Middle ground, we need you.
And now, the highs.
Even in the midst of the chaos and STILL looking for that remote and the shelf that's missing half of its parts, there's so much that's going well. There's always, always something to be thankful for.
It's what I tell the kids all the time, when they don't get their way or have to do something unpleasant: Attitude is a choice. Are you going to choose thankful or grouchy?
Admittedly, my scorecard in this area wouldn't show all A's. I'm a work in progress, just like them. And there's grace for all of us.
1. The Area
Fairfield County, CT is so darned charming. Rolling hills, tall trees. Our own small town boasts a sweet shop, a fabulous library, stately old homes, and an independent book store. They're very proud that a Revolutionary War battle was fought here in 1777. It's a place with Memorial Day parades and a Main Street lined with flowers and benches. SUPER adorable.
2. The People
I've been so encouraged. Our across-the-street neighbors have a 5 year-old daughter and they stopped by with cookies. The girls enjoyed a play date with them yesterday. Our next door neighbors have a 4 year-old and a 2-year-old and they also brought by cookies. I chatted with some others on their backyard patio for an hour. Others have stopped by to say hello, and to welcome us. It's lovely. We visited the kids' soon-to-be school and really liked it.
In my experience, the worst part of this kind of move isn't the boxes and logistics, but the loneliness. It's hard to know no one. No one to ask about kids activities or hair cuts. No one to put down on emergency contact forms.
But here, we're getting there already. Praise God.
3. The Excursions
We've gotten to dig into the childhood of Dr. Seuss and introduce our kids to Lady Liberty and Prospect Park (more on that soon.) This weekend we hope to spend some time in the Catskills. There's so much to do and see, and we're thrilled by the opportunity to jump right in. Beach? Mountains? Lakes? Streams? Small hippie towns? They're all pretty close. We dig it.
4. The Yard
We have grass! A stream! A lot of outdoor space. The kids dig for worms, wade in the water, and get seriously dirty each and every day. Pool? What pool? They hardly miss it; they're too busy catching frogs.
They essentially run around in mis-matched old clothes and rubber boots and explore the various corners and crannies of our new yard.
There's always, always something to be thankful for. And it our case, the list is long.