Moving Fun (or something like that)

This is not a literary masterpiece but is rather a post for those of you who:
1- want to follow our journey or
2- want to know how to move a family 3000+ miles or
3- wonder if we are still sane (jury is still out on this one) after moving a family 3000+ miles.

The last month has been a flurry of {blurry} details as we worked to get our family ready to move 3,000 miles.  We moved to Florida in 2001 and have been in the same house since 2010.  Along the way we have gained three children and a pile of stuff.  The last four weeks have been filled with sorting, packing while finishing our year at the Ranch.  I'm very thankful to my mom joining us for two weeks- having an extra hand for dish washing, child wrangling, babysitting while Jer and I had to run errands was priceless.

I collected lots of ideas and tips on moving, and my best one was my "supply basket," which kept me sane.

Inside were colored labels, packing tape, sharpie marker, ziplock bag for kid-toy-batteries, screw driver and scissors.  Everything stayed in the basket and it traveled from room to room with me.

Boxes began to pile up in every corner of the house, while wondering if everything was really going to fit into the POD we ordered.  (For those asking, we couldn't do a UHaul or other moving truck, because we needed to see Northeastern family first.  Due to the distance driving and the need to drive two vehicles plus gas, this ended up actually being a cheap option for us!)

We fit in an outing to "Wild Florida," a nature park south of Orlando.  It was really fun to see all the animals and get in our first (and last) airboat ride in Florida.

On June 9th we said goodbye to our last group of boys at the Ranch, this was a particularly hard good-bye for the kids, as they had some "favorite" boys.

Shannon was able to dance two more times, once for Nathaniel's Hope, an event designed to encourage families with kids who have special needs.  She was also able to meet the co-hosts from her favorite radio station, Z88.3.  The other event was at Disney Marketplace stage- a fun chance to say "I got to perform at Disney!"

On June 12th our "POD" arrived, we picked up our rental car and tried to finish shoving our belongings into boxes.  The rental car was an answer to a prayer that we hadn't even had time to voice yet.  We were able to secure a fantastic deal on a small SUV about a month ago.  In the meantime I've been watching for better deals (none) and we joined AAA for peace of mind while I'm on the back roads of Washington all alone. Jeremiah called the car rental agency three days before we were to pick it up, to add the AAA information to see if we could get a discount.  He discussed a mini-van rental with the woman, but being Orlando and peak tourist season, there were none.  She called us back an hour later and said "you wouldn't believe this, but a minvan just came driving in!"  She saved it for us, and upgraded us to it for FREE!  Over $1000 in savings!  Also in here- my mom tirelessly helping me in every way possible!

June 14th we finished shoving everything possible into "the POD," with some help from amazing friends, some of whom helped me with the last cleaning and packing.  I was able to spend my "last hours" with three of the ladies I've known the longest at the Ranch- Deanna, Sage and Angela.  Another sweet friend Lisa helped me with some serious scrubbing and my dear friend Barbara spent a lot of time just sitting with me.  Which sounds crazy but was quite calming and comforting.  The only time I've been so tired ever, was after a baby was born.

June 15th we loaded into the van and drove out of our home at Edgewood Ranch.  Emotional, exhausted, excited- three words that perfectly encompassed our emotions.  I was ok until I headed down that driveway and wow, pretty overwhelming to leave, not knowing when we would be back.   We spent two days in Georgia with my brother Brian, his wife Anna and their precious foster baby.  We even got to hike up Stone Mountain together.

Welcome to Atlanta . . . traffic, rain and a rainbow!

My special shirt for the summer "Road Trip Warrior."  I figure 3000+ miles pretty much classifies me to be able to wear this.  So far I've worn it on our long days!

The next week was spent in Pennsylvania, with Jeremiah's mom.  Forest had a great time catching the world's biggest tadpoles and frogs, while I was able to do some gardening for her and just enjoy doing "nothing" for the first time in months!  The kids have taken turns being sick, so lots of nursing too.

Our last week of vacation is being spent with my parents, in Upstate NY.  Where apparently they are trying to set a record for most number of days of rain!  We've been dodging rainstorms, playing outside, picking strawberries and peas from the garden and dodging rain.  We painted piles of rocks to hide at my moms, take on the trip to hide at rest stops and take all the way to our new garden in Washington.  It's Strawberry-Rhubarb pie season too!  Jer and I have been able to get away for three days, to CT.  He is visiting a friend of his and I've been able to have a day to read, plan, nap and dream for the next year.  MUCH NEEDED.

And in the MOST fun text of the year, I got a message from our "former" Ranch boss, with a picture of them at our NEW house in Washington!!!!  There was a LOT of screaming NO FAIR from the kids, that they got to see our house first and visit with our new employers.  I guess they got to do an in-person reference check!

On July 5th, we will head out on our "Long Drive West."  We will take three days to go from NY to SD, where we will stay two nights near Mount Rushmore-Deadwood area.  Then another day to drive to western MT and then on July 10th we will drive to Easton, WA and when we stop . . . we will be at our new home!

The next few days after that will be a blur of quickly unpacking, returning rental car, gasping at a grocery bill to stock fridge and pantry . . . so that Jeremiah can jump right into work.  A very large group will be arriving 3 days after we do, and he will be needed right away. Kids and I should be able to take our time unpacking and exploring (any guesses who is doing which part?).

Please continue to keep us in prayer as we finish vacation and transition to our new home.  I will keep the blog updated as best I can (meaning I better get better at using less words and not taking a week to write a post).  We will also be sending out email and snail-mail letters- let me know if you want one!


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