Saturday, February 5, 2011

Last Week on Elm Avenue, First Week on Balsam Drive

Our last week in our house was full! The kids took time to play out in the big snow piles left by the plow...
...and they spent a lot of time in their new fort under the stairs. Guess I should have emptied out that space a long time ago!

It was a good thing they had this little corner of the house to themselves as I was busy packing up the rest of the house! Here's what things looked like on Wednesday:
Lining up things to take, things to sell and things to save

The cupboards were bare...
This is how things looked on Friday night:
The contents of our closets-we have too many clothes!

Nearly all our possessions stacked up in the living room
It was a very emotional and tiring week. Darin and I were so blessed by the friends that reached out to us and helped us in so many different ways. On Friday, our friends Curt and Juli took our kids overnight. We owe them BIG as Tyson and Jori have never been on a sleepover before and did not really handle their new found freedom very well! On Saturday, 6 guys showed up and in just over an hour they had loaded up the contents of our house AND moved them to our new apartment! It was just crazy fast. Having a big truck (thanks Curt!) really helped speed the process up. We know that there were also many other people praying for the whole process to go smoothly and for strength and peace for our whole family. Our neighbors were also so kind and dropped off food and treats! That just really touched me, so Cindy and Beth, if you ever read this, I just want you to know how thankful I am for the 5+ years we've had to get to know you and your families!

On Saturday afternoon, Darin headed back to the house to load up a few odds and ends (which he would continue to do over the next few days!) and I started unpacking boxes. Juli dropped our kids off by Darin and then he brought them over to check out our home for the next 4 1/2 months. As we were moving things in earlier in the day, Darin and I quickly realized that there was no way the kids could share the room we had picked for them, so they ended up getting the master bedroom. Sweet Jori is actually sleeping in the walk-in closet and is quite pleased to have her own door and her own light switch! We spent a couple hours getting beds put together and rooms arranged, then we headed to Grand Rapids to pick up my mom who was in town for a conference. We had already had dinner with her in GR on Wednesday night, but were looking forward to having her stay with us for a few days. That night we were blessed again by our friends Andy and Whitney and the delicious dinner they dropped off. Seriously, it was amazing and when Whitney gets me the recipe, I WILL be sharing it!

The next few days were kind of crazy. It is much harder getting ready in one bathroom when you are used to having 4. Not that we ever used them all at once, but one bathroom is not always the most convenient! On Monday, Jori stayed home from school. She threw up a few times the night before and although she woke up feeling just fine, I couldn't very well send her. It was not very fun having a sick child in a new environment. We no longer have our own washer and dryer, so I just wadded all her sheets up and ended up taking them back to our house and washed them on Monday. One last load of free laundry! She did help my mom and me pack up all of my breakable things and glassware that we'll be storing in Edgerton. It was nice getting that done. On Tuesday morning, I drove Tyson to school so that we could make one last stop at our house for the kids to say goodbye.
Tyson showing us how he feels in front of his empty closet
Sweet Jori sitting where her bed used to be : (
This video makes me laugh. They went through the whole house and kissed it all good-bye.
Then it was time to take Tyson to school. That afternoon, us three ladies went out to lunch and then had coffee over at Rachel's. It was nice to get out of the house, especially since all we were hearing about on the news was that a huge storm was coming through. Not that the weather people are ever right or anything...
Later in the afternoon, Darin and I met in Holland at the title company to sign all the closing papers on our house. To say I was not in the best of moods would be an understatement. I think that there are some parts of this whole move to Africa that I am still struggling with, so at times I feel like I have had to give up my house against my will (not my will, but HIS be done!) and so it hurts and makes me kind of angry. So I angrily signed the papers and then we drove back to our old house to fill up the van and truck with another load of stuff. It was cold and had started snowing and I was not happy that my dear husband still wasn't finished emptying out our house when the new owner was going to be taking possession of it the next morning! She actually started moving stuff in that night (with our permission) and Darin met her. I kind of wish I had been there, but with my personality, it is probably better that I wasn't. : )

I had picked up 5 movies at the library on Tuesday, so the kids enjoyed a little Sleeping Beauty while the pumpkin goodness baked. Does anyone else think the Disney movies are a little freaky?? Then it was time to play in the snow. It was very cold, so we made sure to bundle them up! The first time they went out, Jori ended up losing a boot in the snow. I think we got over 16 inches, so her poor little self had a hard time getting through the snow. I went out and dug it up. Thankfully I had an extra pair of boots for her because the other one was soaked! After that, I told them to play in the parking lot which had already been plowed once.
Checking out the icicles
Sure wish we had our sledding hill today!
Snow piles from the plow
Jori didn't last very long in the snow, but Tyson ended up meeting a couple kids, so he stayed out for a while. Wednesday night we didn't do a whole lot. Gram helped the kids with baths and gave them lots of cuddles. Then she and Darin worked on getting all of her stuff and a bunch of our stuff into her suitcase. I am not sure how they did it, but they got it all in.

Thursday morning school was canceled again, which worked out rather nicely because Tyson was able to go along to the airport! The roads were still a little slick and there was a lot of snow, but we made it and helped Gram get all her luggage inside. After she checked in, we sat in the play area for a while, then noticed that the line at the security gate was getting really long, so it was time to start saying goodbye. There were lots of hugs and kisses for and from the kids. They were saying stuff like "We'll come see you in Lynden" and "You and Pop will come see us in Hudsonville, right?" and that just made me sad. Those things are most likely not going to be happening between now and June 11. Gram told them she'd be coming to see us all in South Africa and would be bringing all sorts of treasures for them, like mini marshmallows! The line was slowly moving closer to the spot that the kids and I couldn't go past. The kids were running around a bit, and it was time for me to say goodbye to my mom. It sucked. I thought I could make myself just not think about how long this goodbye might be for, but when it came down to it, I couldn't. The heart knows. So we are both crying and now we are at the point where Gram has to keep walking. I just stood there and we kept waving and smiling at each other. Then she was almost around the corner, so I called the kids over and we all waved and hollered our goodbyes one last time. Then when we couldn't see her anymore, we started to make our way out of the airport, me crying, the kids chattering away. Jori finally sees my tears and offers me her friend, Beary. She said "Gram gave him lots of hugs and kisses before she left, so you can have one". Sweet girl. When I talked to my mom later, she said she couldn't get her tears to stop either. It is just so hard to really think about what our leaving means, as far as our personal relationships go. We are used to seeing one or both of my parents a few times each year, so this is going to be a huge change for us all!

We left the airport, came back to our apartment and had lunch. The kids spent the rest of the afternoon either watching Pete's Dragon (mostly Jori) or playing outside (mostly Tyson). They also spent a lot of time on the computer. It has been a hard adjustment getting used to being in such a confined space, and two snow days in a row did not help things. Tyson and Jori are used to their own rooms, and while Jori does have a door to her closet hideaway, it just isn't the same. There is also no basement to run around in and our living area is filled with furniture.

Now it is Saturday night. We have been in our new home for a week. We have enjoyed a quiet weekend-pizza last night, running errands and spending time at the McDonald's play area this afternoon, potato soup and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang tonight, followed by almost 45 minutes of the kids playing together! I am still tired from moving and sleeping in a new place and feeling stressed that our new neighbors must think that we have elephants living with us, but I am also starting to feel more hopeful about the future.


Sarah said...

Thanks for being so honest about what this transition is like for you. I can't believe our 1st trip to South Africa was almost 9 years ago! You are a wonderful friend and we will be coming to visit you. I'm even a little jealous, but not about the goodbyes. It's so hard.

Love you, Jonna.

Whitney said...

I love reading your blog because it is so honest and real. Love You Friend