Thursday, October 16, 2014

Day in, day out

You know, settling in to a new place really is a process.

I feel bad for not posting more regularly.  However, I also don't think most people care about my search for the nearest grocery store or coffee shop. (I have found both, though...)  
Although, I can tell you that the food here is amazing.  Being a "meat" lover I adore all the local, family owned butcher shops that have been here forever.  There is just nothing like it. 
 Well, except maybe the hole in the wall Mexican market where I found the most delicious chips and salsa on the planet.  You have to stand in line at their "deli counter" to order it.  Honestly, we call it the "crack salsa".  I don't know how they do it, but I have seen them bring it out by the bucket to scoop it out for me, and people are lined up around the store to buy it.  It's THAT good.

Anyway, there's so much more involved to settling in a new place, once you get past the initial hurdles.
Every now and then, simply out of habit, you start to do something or go somewhere when you realize it's no longer an option.  
It stops you in your tracks, and can be confusing.

There will be good days, great days, tough days, and sad days.
I would be lying if I said that every day since the move had been wonderful. Seriously, we live in the real world, so let's be honest here.
There truth is we have had all of the above.  
Then, there is the added wrinkle of my dad's accident.  That was a big wrinkle.
We're talking about a wrinkle that added not just stress, but guilt.  Guilt, because I can't be there.  And he's my Dad.....

For anyone who is not aware, I will catch you up.  
Several weeks ago my dad had a serious accident while working in the yard.  His foot was caught in the lawnmower and he was dragged across the yard before he managed to get free.
As a result, he lost most of his left foot and fractured his elbow.  He spent a couple of weeks in Vanderbilt and is now in rehab.  He has a long road ahead.  We are so fortunate, however, that the initial scare of infection and complications are mostly behind us.  Prayers were certainly answered.

There are things in this situation that you simply cannot prepare for, no matter what you do.  You just have to tackle them as they come along, the best you can.

I have found that keeping myself busy is the key.  I am working hard to use my talents to make our house a home, as well as to possibly earn a little extra income.
I love working with my hands to create something.  Most people know this about me.  I have dabbled in everything from photography, to baking, to painting.  I love it all.  
I have added a little "restoration" to that list now, since I have moved into a house built in 1910.  Oh, what fun that is!  It has such wonderful character.

I will post more pics later, but here is one of my first projects I tackled when we moved in.  I have this amazing front porch that looks out onto our old street.  I wanted a porch swing so I could enjoy it.
Since I cannot just go to Lowe's and buy one (that would be crazy to me....), I found an old one on Craigslist for $25.  It was in bad shape, with paint splattered all over it, lots of splinters, and the poly top coat had long since worn off.   But it had great "bones"!  It was made of solid hardwood (not pressboard.)


After a few hours of hard work with the electric sander, I added some fresh stain and poly.  It turned out so beautiful!  It goes with the house just perfectly.  I look forward to sitting there with my coffee watching the snow fall.


So, that is all for now.  Things are moving along, and we are taking it one day at a time.  I can still say that I like it here.  Of course, Nashville will always be my home.  I look forward to the day when I can settle back there.
But, until then, we are making the best of it.  That's the best we can do!


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Settling in

These days I am feeling a little like a fish out of water. I don't mean that to sound bad, it's just the best reference I can come up with. What I mean, is that things feel a little strange.

While I have done well at becoming familiar with my surroundings, my new world doesn't feel quite normal yet.  Again, it's not bad, just different. When you get into a routine, you seem to run on autopilot much of the time.
I am trying to reprogram that pilot!

One thing I can say for certain is that prayer is a very powerful thing.  The one thing that does not change when you move to a new place is God.  He brought us here for a reason, He will guide us where we need to be. I just have to remind myself of that occasionally; although sometimes God makes a point to remind me!

We have been here just over a week.  We have unpacked countless boxes! 
With every box I empty, I am trying to bring back a little normal. Everything from the kids' stuffed animals and favorite board games, to hanging pictures and cooking meals that are familiar to them. 
It's really amazing how a home cooked meal can make you feel secure.

It's important to let them feel like they have an active role in the process. I have let them decide where they want certain items to go.

Cameron had said for months that he wanted an "office".  
Why a 13yr old boy would want an office is beyond me, but nonetheless he was insistent.
When we found the house, we saw that one of the bedrooms had 2 closets.  One of those closets was completely open.  I knew immediately what this would be.

Yep, Cameron now has an office!  He took his time setting things up just the way he wanted them.  He set up his desk, his bookshelf, everything.  All I did was provide a light bulb for his desk lamp.
He loves it! 
And I love that.

I am happy to report that the kids have already made some new friends, and so have we.
Just one day after arriving here, we attended the "New Families Dinner" at their new school.
We are normally not crazy about going to these things, it sits just outside of our comfort zone.
However, having been in town less than 24hrs, we were tired and hungry and had no groceries to cook.  It was nice to skip the restaurant and let someone else cook for us!
We were immediately welcomed by several families!  They were so friendly and welcoming to us, we were blown away! Several of them had kids the same age as ours.  By Friday we were invited over to dinner, and the kids were blending right in, as neighbor kids made their way over to meet them.
What a blessing this was.  
The following night was a "Back to School" party, held by one of the families near the school.  It was so nice to show up and see faces we recognized. This gave us the opportunity to get to know some of the other families, and the kids had a great time!

All of this allowed one of my biggest worries to subside.  The first day of school.

I was still nervous for them, but it was a joy to hear kids calling their name when they got out of the car! 

So, are we in a "routine" yet?
It's day to day at this point.  But, we are trying. Hence, the "fish out of water" feeling.
I think, after a few weeks, it will happen, although slowly.  
I pray every day for peace, and for guidance.
That's all I can do.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Step 1 - arrival...

Well, we made it!
Wow, that was certainly a long drive.  
After breakfast and some tough, tearful goodbyes, we hit the interstate around 7:15am.

We arrived just after 7pm.  It was still light out, so the kids were excited as we made the last few turns toward our new home.
They squealed when we pulled up in the driveway behind the moving truck, which arrived an hour before.  

After I dug the key from it's hiding spot, the kids scrambled inside to check things out. Naturally, they wanted to be sure their rooms were adequate.  Fortunately, they were happy with their new digs!

A word of advice, though. When loading a moving truck, you should remember to hold on to your pillows and blankets if you plan to arrive late at night.....possibly even an air mattress.  Better yet, book a hotel room! 
Sadly, I didn't remember either. So, we grabbed some dinner and stopped at WalMart for some last minute bedding. Then we all went home and curled up on the floor....OUCH.

So, thoughts so far?
I like it.  I think my kids even like it.
It's pretty here.  They have all four seasons, and the people are so nice and polite! 
Of course, I do miss home!  My family and friends are so important to me, it breaks my heart to leave them behind.  
But, at the same time, it's the fact that I am so close to them that makes this transition manageable.

Sound backwards?  Not really.
Think about it.  When you are close to someone, you have the comfort of speaking to them regularly, and keeping in touch in a way that is almost like being there.

I think we will enjoy it even more once we eliminate all the boxes! I am making great progress, though! At least, my back is telling me I did a lot today!

One thing I can say, in a move like this with kids, it's important to let the mess and the boxes go for a little while and get the kids out.  
I want them to love their new home, but I also want them to love their city and their new surroundings.  The sooner I make them feel comfortable, the sooner they will make friends and feel at home.

So, now that we have gone out for dinner, we are going to relax a bit. 
We are one step closer to feeling at home!


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Life brings BIG changes....

It's been a while since I last wrote anything.
Things in our world became so crazy, so full of schedules and obligations, jobs, and meetings, that I simply ran out of time and energy.

To be honest, life never really gives us a lot of free time, but sometimes you have to find a way to squeeze in the stuff you find valuable.

I may slack off some in the beginning, but I am making it a priority to post on a regular basis from now on.
From now on I will have all new things to write about.
Some dear friends of mine urged me to write, as I travel with my family to a whole new chapter in our lives.
I guess I should start at the beginning. So, here goes.

A few years back my husband and I made the decision it was time for him to leave his job with the police department in Nashville. It was a job he enjoyed, but we both felt he had gone as far as he could. It was time for a change.
So, he accepted a promising job with a company down the street.  He would be doing fraud investigation, something he really loves.
We prayed for direction, and felt that this is the way He was leading us.
Over the years to come he became better at his job, gaining a promotion to Supervisor after 2 years.

So this leads me to now.  About 6 weeks ago, we received word that my husband had been given the role of project manager.  It was one of those things he had waited so long for, a job he really wanted,
had worked hard to earn, and could NOT turn down.

The catch?
The job is 800 miles away, in Omaha, NE.

We are from the south.  We grew up with humidity, southern charm, and grits for breakfast.
How do we adjust to life in the Midwest?
That is the question.  That is now my job.
It is my goal to make this transition go as smoothly as possible.
So far, things are still crazy!  As you can imagine, we were immediately thrown into a whirlwind of
Pack the house.  Sell the house.  Visit Omaha, find a house.  Find a school.

Pack some more.
Pack even more.
Wow, we have WAY too much stuff!
Sell stuff..lots of stuff.
There have been many trips to Goodwill.  
I have probably furnished someone's apartment.

So now, the truck has gone before us and we are left with our "goodbyes."
That is, by far, the hardest part of this transition.
As excited as we are for my husband's success, as well as the adventures to come, it's never easy to move so far away from family and friends.

I will let you know how that part goes.  It's time for bed, we have a long drive tomorrow.

So, off we go! 
Pray for us.  For we will be driving 12hrs tomorrow with 2 kids, a dog, a turtle, and 2 guinea pigs.

Can you imagine!?


Monday, February 11, 2013

Fun times in 2013!

Well, the new year is off with a bang!  

Life is crazy busy these days, but I had to share an experience with you!  

My two boys are both fairly active in Cub Scouts.  My oldest is actually a Webelo 2, which is the highest rank for Cub Scouts before making the jump into Boy Scouts.  So, the fun times for him are really just about to begin.

Let me tell you, Scouting is a LOT of WORK!  These boys really put in some hours, and do lots of activities and projects to earn their advancement!  The older they get, the more they are required to do in order to earn their way.  However,  it is also a LOT of fun!

The first of the year, as we were making the race to get all of their badge requirements in by the deadline, we had the opportunity to take a fun weekend trip and get some requirements knocked out at the same time.  That's what we call a WIN-WIN!

Our trip was to Gatlinburg for a couple of nights.
The boys planned the trip, followed the map to determine how we would get there, and even had to do a budget to plan for meals, etc.

We stayed in a really beautiful log cabin, on the side of a mountain (that was a little too steep for my comfort level, but that's another story.) 
It had lots of fun things for the boys to do while they were there, including a pool table, hot tub, arcade games, and more!
I had a lot of fun teaching him to play pool, something I had not done since college....

Our biggest adventure while we were there was to visit Ober Gatlinburg for a day on the slopes.  Most of the kids had never skiied before, or even visited the mountains. 

We started the day with a beginner ski class for those who were new to the sport.  Some of the boys chose to try snowboarding, but we decided to start off simple and teach him the basics of skiing.

I was so proud!  This is a sport I have loved since being introduced to it as a teenager.
After his lesson, and some expected falls while figuring things out, he started to get the hang of it and was soon skiing along beside me!  We were blessed with beautiful sunny weather, which helped prevent him from getting too cold and giving up. My boy took right to it and came home loving it as much as I do!  Of course, he is now pestering me about when we can go back, a problem I don't really mind.

By the end of the day we were all exhausted.  They went back to the cabin for a night of homemade pizza and a soak in the hot tub.  We all slept really well that night!

The next morning we were sad to leave.  It was really some great time spent with my baby, who seems to be growing way too fast.  We got everything packed up, snapped a few pictures and we were on our way.

A perfect weekend. Can't wait for another!

Now, we are only a few weeks away from his crossover ceremony where he will make the jump into Boy Scouts.  It's a sure sign that he is growing into a young man, but I look forward to the fun times it will bring!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Into the Woods....

Life is crazy, isn't it?  

Sometimes I just sit and marvel at how fast time flies.  One minute I am buying end of the year teacher gifts, the next minute I am buying school supplies.  Whoa! Where did the summer go?

It has been wild, crazy, busy, and fun!  Once upon a time, I remember trying to schedule things to keep my kids busy throughout the summer.

This year, the summer seemed to take charge of me, instead of the other way around!  It was tough, but we still managed to spend some time together and do things as a family.
It has been a little bit rough on the kids this year as they deal with a mom who runs a business.  I think I gave a whole new meaning to "take your child to work" day! Seriously though, there were certain days when it was just unavoidable!

There is no telling how many customers walked up to my window to get a cupcake and heard a strange bickering coming from the direction of the front seat.... I just tried to smile, and avoid the familiar "finger flick" move used by many moms, until the customer had walked off.

So, I have tried really hard to schedule time to spend with them, preferably not on the truck.
Some days that involved going to the pool, other days it just meant a quick lunch at Chick-fil-a and time on the slip-n-slide!

However, yesterday after church we had a unique outing that I absolutely LOVED!!

In case you were not aware, there is a professional Theater Company operating in Donelson!  The Larry Keeton Theater is located inside Fifty Forward, which is a well-known Senior Center in our area.

This is where I was previously confused...

See, I assumed that the theater was strictly for the older members of the Senior Center.  I had NO IDEA it was simply located there, but open to the public.

So, yesterday when a friend (Jane Schnelle, who happens to be the Director over the Center) invited me and the kids to come out to a show, I really wasn't sure what to expect.  She told me we would all really enjoy it, so I jumped on it.  This was definitely something we had not done before and the kids were begging to be entertained.


It was AWESOME!  I could not believe how good it was!  
It was so nice, it was just like being at TPAC! Only, without the huge crowds, downtown parking, and expensive tickets!

The kids came out talking about it, which is quite an accomplishment since I have two boys who normally would not consider going to the theater as entertainment. But, they LOVED IT!!

It is really a charming little theater, where any seat is a good one!  The cast was made up of very talented, experienced actors, and the sets were beautiful!  From what I can tell, the tickets are way less than you would expect for a professional production!  It has been years since I have seen anything at TPAC, because it just doesn't fit into my budget. 

The show we saw was called "Into The Woods".  It began with a selection of popular fairy tales.  As the show continued, the fairly tales merged into one story.  But, just when you think the show has come to "Happily Ever After", they go to intermission.  I remember heading to the restroom with the kids, thinking "what could possibly come next?..."

Well, this is where it gets really interesting!  The story continued with life AFTER  happily ever after....  which is NOT always so happy!

The show runs again this weekend, I highly recommend it!  It is great for both adults and children! 

They have other great shows coming up, including "A Christmas Carol" just in time for the holidays!  
Seriously!!  Do you know how much it would cost to go see that at TPAC?! 
I cannot wait!  

I hope you will check it out, and enjoy it as much as we did.  It makes a great family night, date night, or matinee with the kids! Trust me, you will NOT be disappointed!

Here is their info:

The Larry Keeton Theater
108 Donelson Pike
Nashville, TN 37214

Now, go get your tickets!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter Turtles!!

I hope you all had a very Blessed Easter!

Wow! It was so beautiful today, I was thrilled!  This is how Spring is supposed to be (as opposed to the summer days we have had lately!)  So, as far as Easter Sundays go, you just can't get much better than today!

So, it was a really crazy, busy day.  Really though, what holiday isn't?  Plus, when you have kids the hoopla is magnified by ten.... per child!

So, we started out at Church this morning. (We were late, as usual...) I figure that getting everyone there, with teeth and hair brushed and clean (mostly not wrinkled) clothes on is mostly what matters, right?

The service was great!  It always is.

After a pit-stop at home to let the dog out, we headed over to my parents' house.  It is the usual gathering stop for holidays.  Great big yard and finished basement where the kids can play, be loud, whatever... without giving all the adults a massive headache.  
Seriously.  There are 4 boys, and one sweet little girl who manages to keep up with the boys.  
The stink of them alone will knock your socks off, so the location is perfect!
Luckily I managed to snap a few pics of some of them before they ran off to play in the dirt!

Well, I got 3 of them at least.  Getting all 5 kids to hold still for a picture in their nice clothes is tough!

So, we had a nice lunch with all the usual fillers!
We had barely made it into the coffee, but the kids couldn't stand it.  So, my sis and I headed outside to hide the Eggs.
There aren't too many places to hide them, so we have to be a little creative. 

They don't care, it's all about who gets the most (the fastest)!

As you can see, we have to give strict instructions before sending them out.  Can't have a brawl breaking out (if Lilly sees one she wants and a boy snatches it... yeah, it has happened.)

And they are OFF!

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly the eggs get picked up compared to how long it took us to hide them!
Why can't this principle work for toys???  If only.

We also had a few guests with us today!
Meet Timmy, Pedro, and Pokey.  

We seem to have acquired a lot of turtles lately.  There is a creek behind my sister's house where some seem to live and they manage to make their way to the back door.  It's over at that point, the boys always want to keep them!

Poor Pedro showed up once before, but managed to escape (thanks to her dog, Barnaby..)  Still, he came back.  He still had his name painted on his shell.  
Some turtles just doesn't learn.

Finally, after playing with their new pool sprayer toys and a bucket of water in the driveway (which was a great, cheap form of entertainment that lasted a while!), the kids treated us to a show!  

Not sure how best to describe it, but they practiced and had a good groove going....