Hello, let me introduce myself. My name is Grace. Yes, I know many of you have vague memories of a friend named Grace from ages ago, but she seemingly disappeared for awhile. First, this little person named Bee showed up in her place and then she vanished altogether. Well, I'm back. At least for the next few minutes. My life is nutso right now.
Last Thursday after Smart Guy got home from being at BigStuf camp with the teens and youth sponsors all week, the kids and I picked him up at the church and drove to Ohio to see our new town and to find a place to live. We were starting to get a bit panicked because we were moving in three weeks and had no place to lay our weary heads. We pulled into our hotel at 11:30 pm after a six hour drive and we all went to bed within the following hour. It would have been nice to just walk in and fall asleep, but after that many hours in a car, three children are generally pretty pumped when they are released from their booster and car seats.
Friday morning we had appointments to look at houses at 10:00, 11:00, and 11:30. We set the alarm for 7:30 or so and hit snooze several times and then finally drug our sorry butts out of bed. Smart Guy dressed the kids and took them down for the continental breakfast while I got my bath and "flossed" (yes, I will have to do that twice a day for a couple more months at least). He brought me back a toasted cinnamon raisin bagel, yum, with TWO packets of cream cheese for me to eat with the yogurt drink I had brought with me. He's such an awesome guy! We all finished getting ready and amazingly got to our first appointment of the day on time. After we looked at the first house, I felt like someone had punched me in the gut. It was horrible! It smelled like animal pee the second we walked in the door. It was dirty and gross. You could actually see the dried urine on the subflooring in the hallway upstairs where they had pulled up the carpet and not laid anything new down yet. The kitchen was the size of my closet right now. The yard was good, but that was the only good thing about it. The 11:00 appointment proved more fruitful as did the 11:30. All in all we looked six different places and only two of them were acceptable. One of them actually had visible mold growing in the kitchen. oooo, gross!
Our new home has three bedrooms, 1 1/2 baths, a living room, family room, dining room, kitchen, and basement. It has a detatched garage and nice, shaded, albeit small, yard. It's yellow, just like our current house, so Bee can continue to refer to her home as "our yellow house". We will be having new carpet put down in the LR, DR, and FR before we move in. The current stuff is olive green with a nice shade of baby-poop yellow swirled in. It's butt ugly stuff. We had someone come in to measure while we were there over the weekend and picked out the new carpet at Lowe's. We also had someone come to measure the yard for a fence. The high school's lacrosse field is directly behind the house, but there is a huge drop from our yard to the field, not exactly a cliff, but very steep and wooded. A little girl running thru the backyard could be very hurt if she didn't get stopped in time and started rolling down the hill, so we will definitely be fencing it in. We're just putting up chain link in the back. How wonderful it will be to not have subdivision by-laws telling us what type of fence to put up. The section of the fence that will be visible from the road, we've decided to put in a wooden picket fence though just so it looks good. We've been looking at swingsets, playhouses, sandboxes, porch swings, tables, etc. to fill it up. I think we're just gonna get a metal swingset right now. Again, it will be wonderful to not have to answer to the subdivision nazi's. Here, they only allow wooden swingsets and they have to be submitted and approved prior to setting them up or you could be fined. We'll be getting a movable basketball hoop for the boys to put at the end of the driveway... can't do that here. No one has basketball hoops of any kind, portable or permanent in their driveways. How sad for children growing up here. Most kids don't have swingsets because the wooden ones are so expensive. We certainly don't. Anyway, off my soapbox!
The house is on a quiet downtown street. The church is in the downtown area, so we wanted to be in that basic vicinity. It's a five minute walk to the boys school and another 10 minute walk from there puts you at the church. There's an awesome park with a pool, an amazing playground, a covered bridge, a bunch of shelters, tennis courts, and a creek where kids play all the time right around the corner. While we were in town on Saturday we checked out the library with the kids only to find out that it was last day the library would be in that building. There's a brand new building that is currently having all the books transferred into this week. It's twice the size of the old one. We can't wait to get involved in their programs. We'll be moving early enough to get the kids into their summer reading programs. We also checked out the Parks and Recreation Community Center where we registered all three children for soccer camp and the boys for horseback riding camp. While the lady at the desk was typing D.K.'s info into the computer, she had another child with the same name, first and last come up. That's a interesting enough thing to happen if your name is Smith, but for those of you who know our name, what are the chances of that happening. This other child is 12 years old, so D.K. is gonna have to use his middle initial for everything we sign him up for as long as we live in that area. We then went over to the Center for the Arts and signed all three kids up for "Dr. Seuss" camp. Bee will go from 9-12 and Prophet and D.K. will go from 9-4 everyday during the same week. That means I'll have complete quiet for 2 1/2 hours everyday that week and then only one child for 3 1/2 hours after that. Every evening that week is V.B.S. so we'll have some tired kids that week. Goody, goody! Our goal is for the boys to recognize some faces when they walk into school the first day. They already played tag with a few children at the playground by our house on Saturday.
So, it was a very good weekend. We have a place to live, went to our new church, had dinner with a couple families from the church, and got to know the area pretty well. It's much smaller than where we're at now, and much, much smaller than Birmingham. I can't wait to go back to small town, non-suberb, nonsubdivision life again. Now I just have to pack up this incredibly messy house. I actually had it under control a few weeks ago. Then I came home from Mom and Dad's last Wednesday night, dropped everything in the dining room, repacked, left the next afternoon for OH., came home Monday evening, dropped it all in the dining room once again, and started packing Tuesday morning. I know it'll just get worse before it gets better, it always does when your packing up an entire house.
This evening we went out to dinner at Fazoli's. All five of us can eat there for around $20.00 so occasionally we splurge. We love their breadsticks and the boys usually eat 5 or 6 of them each. After that we finally made the promised and much anticipated trip to Barnes and Nobles to spend some of our "wreck money". We promised the kids before we even got the money that we'd take them and let them get several books each. I'm almost ashamed to admit how much money we spent in there, but all the new books in my house tonight number around 43. I love seeing my children so excited by new books rather than another new toy that they really don't need and won't be played with in two days. I finally had to make Prophet turn his light off and go to sleep around midnight. I think he would have read all night if I'd let him. I went thru the boys bookshelves and transferred several of their books to Bee's shelves. Then I went thru Bee bookshelves and took out a bunch to give to my cousins little girl who gets all of Bee's hand-me-downs. I took out more than I put in, so it worked out good in the end.
Soapbox time... speaking of my children "excited by new books rather than another new toy that they really don't need..." I've decided that my children are only getting three new toys each this Christmas. That includes from grandparents too. I figure that's one toy from Mommy and Daddy/Santa Claus, and one from each set of grandparents. Everything else will be board games, puzzles, books, DVDs, clothes, jammies, donations to charities, craft supplies, leap pad cartriges, and gameboy games. Actually new desks would be good for the boys. They simply do not need more toys. The boys are old enough now that they play with very few toys anyway. D.K. still plays with his dinos some, but he doesn't need anymore of them. He's probably got around 75-100 of them. They both would rather be outside throwing a ball, riding their bikes, roller blading, shooting hoops, and playing with their friends than playing with toys nowadays. Bee still plays with her toys all the time, but she doesn't need one more doll. She has at least 10 of them. She also has a play kitchen, a picnic table, three doll strollers, an electronic doll swing, a shopping cart, a high chair, a cradle, two rocking chairs, enough dress-up clothes for your average-size preschool class, fake-food and dishes out the wazoo, baby doll clothes and paraphnelia to dress octuplets for a week, and a vacuum cleaner. She's set to play house anytime. There is nothing left to get for her. Her room is totally jam-packed full. She won't outgrow most of that stuff for several more years, so it's not like I can take some of it out if she gets more. So heads up grandparents, lets get creative this Christmas and possibly just simply spend less on the kids! Sounds good to me!! Okay, climbing off my soapbox now!
Before I go, I just have to say this about my children. While they can be busy, very loud little people, they were a blessing this weekend. They were well-behaved at the restaurants we ate at and at the homes we visited and ate at, they were polite to the hotel staff, and were just fun to be with. I think half the town already knows Bee's name because she introduced herself to everyone. She's very proud of her name.
Goodnight dear friends. (if you just read that entire post, you're definitely a dear friend) I'll post when I get another chance. I shouldn't be posting now, but thanks to a shot of caffeine this evening in a body that gets caffeine very seldom, I'm wide awake. Hopefully my body will shut down for the night soon. This is nuts!
BTW, thank you so much for all the prayers. I can feel them working. I'm amazed at my acceptance of this move. I'm even looking forward to it some now. I still don't want to move away from my parents, by I know it'll all be okay in the end!