Monday, May 29, 2017

welcome home

Goodness gracious, it's been too long, am I right? But oh, the things that have been happening in our lives have kept us so very busy for longer than I realized. Thankfully things are calming down a bit more these days and life is resuming a somewhat more "normal" rhythm to it.

Today marks two weeks of living in Kansas. Two weeks! It's hard to believe that it's that long, but at the same time it kind of feels like a lot longer than that too. Makes sense? The first week went by in a flash and a blur and didn't feel very real since we were still very much unsettled, were busy unpacking, Landon's parents were here, and Landon was gone for most of that week. So in a big way, it only feels like life is just now really getting started here. The house is coming together a little more with every passing day and we just have one box left to unpack and that's in a room that is used the very least. I'm hoping by the end of this week I'll have that room completely finished, but I have to put some hard work in and get painting a piece of furniture before I can call that room finished.

The last month in particular has crazy busy and very unusual for us. I hate it for the boys, Oliver, in particular, because I really think it's thrown them off. The first week of May I was busy trying to get all of the last minute things packed before we went to visit family in Kentucky for about a week. During our stay in Kentucky, Landon went off to a conference in Arizona and the boys and I got lots of quality time with family. We picked Landon up from a nearby airport and then the four of us drove back to Illinois to finish getting the house packed.

You would think that my working packing things up for the past two months would leave us very little to do during our last two days in Champaign, but unfortunately I still had more to get done than I wanted to. We spent the next two days visiting with Emerson's best friend, going on last walks around the neighborhood, playing at our favorite park, cleaning out the fridge, and of course, packing all of the things. My hope had been that when the movers arrived on Sunday morning everything would be packed in a box. But that wasn't the case. We still had a few things more than I would have liked, but in the end I supposed it was just two big boxes that everything got thrown into. It wasn't that bad, just not what I had planned. The movers couldn't complain, they had plenty to work with while I finished the two boxes.

Sunday morning was busy, the movers arrived right on time, and oh, how thankful I was to have movers! There were four guys and they loaded our boxes in recored time - a mere two and a half hours! I was amazed. Unfortunately for them, only one was able to come unload in Kansas and had to pick up a temp for extra help. Two guys unloading takes a lot longer. But they still got it done before the end of the day then we waved him off with loads of thanks and a bag of snacks. We used Movers 4 Less and they were amazing. I would highly recommend them to anyone. They came and loaded the truck like experts, everything fit into their truck just perfectly. Then they took of for Kansas to unload in our new house the following day. There was no wait, there was no surprise price increase, they were incredible.

Once the movers were on their way, we stayed at the house just a little bit longer to get things cleaned up before heading out. The boys started to get antsy and it was nearing nap time, so I took them to Subway for lunch and we enjoyed a meal out while Landon stayed to finish cleaning the house. It was Mother's Day that Sunday, and I'll forever remember the busyness of it, and taking the boys to eat Subway, just the three of us. We rarely go out to eat and when we do it's all four of us, so it was a special treat. I didn't get any pictures, but there's one marked in my mind pretty well that I will always love. It didn't take too long to finish lunch, so we ordered Landon some food and took it back to the house for him, took one last look around, and then the boys and I headed for Kansas.

Landon left a while later and eventually caught up to us and we went the rest of the way together, stopping for a picnic dinner when it was apparent food was needed. The boys did amazing on the drive, they were mostly entertained by shows, movies, and snacks. I don't care - whatever makes them happy in the car, I will do. When we finally made it to the hotel in Kansas that night it was around 11:30, I had packed extremely lightly for us all so getting in the room was not a problem. I had packed the pack n play for Oliver, though in the end [as I had kind of thought might happen] we didn't even end up using it. Emerson had a "sleep oder" with Landon in one bed and Oliver ended up sleeping with me in the other bed. Though the sleep part of that night didn't happen until around 2:30 that morning. So that was fun.

A few hours later, Landon left for the walk through of the house while the boys and I stayed behind at the hotel to eat breakfast and clean up the room. We all went to closing at 8:30 with lots of snacks and suckers in tow. I'm not above bribery ;) Closing hardly took an hour and we were owners of our new house! On the way home - which is still kind of crazy to say - we stopped at the store to pick up some cleaning supplies.

I did a little quick cleaning and then the furniture guys arrived with our new furniture. As they pulled out of the house, the movers arrived, and it was a busy afternoon getting boxes and belongings where they needed to go. Oliver napped the entire time the movers were here, and Emerson yelled to get out of his room for about two hours before falling asleep on the floor right by his door. They were tired.

It was a whirl wind, but we made it and were so happy to be home.

I'll share more on what we've done since then over the next few weeks!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

things I won't miss

We are in the depths of packing and getting ready for our move right now. And when I say "we" I really mean, "I" - Landon is busy busy busy working away to complete his dissertation [!!!!] which leaves me and the boys to get all the other stuff done. So in the mornings and late afternoons the boys and I play and read books and I try to sneak in the occasional play date or little adventure. Play dates have been a little sparse as it seems all of our friends have just had babies added to their families which is wonderful, it just means a time out on the play dates. But, since I know we have such a limited amount of time left here, I have basically forced play dates on all of our friends, some more than others ;) haha.

When the boys nap [or some days just have a quiet time for Emerson] in the afternoons, I get busy and pack all of the things. I've also been using nap time to call and look into all of the furniture, utilities, insurance, and other important things that must be set up/arranged when it comes to moving. Goodness sakes, it seems never ending.

In the midst of my packing efforts and last errands that are having to be run before we move, I've been thinking on things that I'll miss or not miss about our house and town and wanted to take the time to go through a list of both. Today, is a list of things that I will not miss about this place. And some other thoughts in general.

Things I won't miss about Illinois: 

- the fact that we have to drive through the ghetto to get to our house. For real though.

- all of the jaywalkers. all of the time. especially at night. especially the ones who wear black. which is is basically all of them.

- this town in general. It's just so "meh."

- the lack of community.

- our house and it's lack of space.

- not having a bedroom for Oliver.

- living in a two story house.

- the unsettled feel our lives have had the past few years.

- our kitchen.

 - - - - - -

As we're less than a week away from our big move, I've been thinking a lot about our lives the past few years here and while there have been many many sweet spots, I also feel like these years have very much been desert years for me. The other day I was telling someone we were moving to Kansas and she looked at me, her eyes filled with sympathy, and reassured me that God will provide, it will all be okay. I know! He has provided! I am so happy to be moving to Kansas! It's not a bad thing! was all I could think. Being here has been hard. We moved here, away from having a rich community of friends and family that wasn't too far away. And while I'm used to not being near family, not having good friends and that sense of community was hard. Recently one of my friends shared thoughts on community at her church and passed it along to me; as I was listening to her talk about the importance of community my heart hurt for something I knew all too well and missed so very much. We were created for community and to not have it is so lonely. Then a few days later we passed through Louisville and stopped to spend the evening with the sweetest of friends and that time spent with them made my heart overflow. I was refreshed and renewed and was so very thankful for even a few hours with them. Community is so valuable and something I have missed so much.

There aren't many other people I know with husbands working on their PhD while raising a family. I know they're out there, I just don't know them. It's hard. Because even if Landon does have flexibly in his schedule, when he's home, he's not home. He's working on his research and papers and networking. When he's home I feel like I can't just say, "Hey, can you help me with the boys/dinner/cleaning up....?" And if I ever want at break from the day in and day out, it has to be during nap time or after the boys are in bed - and that's not a break, it's just leaving the house when I don't have to chase the boys around anyway. I'm not complaining. I'm just sharing my heart. These past three and a half years have been some of the very hardest for me and at the end of most days I just want to burst from exhaustion. I love my boys and I love my life, but goodness sakes, it seems like more often than not I'm alone in all of this and that is a hard thing indeed.

I know that moving to Kansas isn't going to fix that. I know that it's not going to be instantly better. I know the next few years will be hard ones too as Landon will have to work a lot as he starts his new position. But I do have hope. I have hope that I'm leaving my desert behind me and am moving onto something better. To a place where we find community again, where we can actually spend quality time as a family, as a couple, where I can maybe get a real break every now and then, where I can have a little more help with things.

Hope is carrying me through. Oh, how thankful I am for that hope.