Thursday, August 14, 2014

Settling In

I mentioned in Friday's blog post that we moved into our new house on Thursday. Moving is never fun, and adding in a toddler, a very new newborn and post-surgery heavy lifting restrictions for one of the two adults in question adds a whole new level of frustration. But, we're here!

When we decided to make this move back in June, we anticipated having about a month's worth of time after E.J. was born in order to purge, organize and pack in a methodical and somewhat leisurely manner. We knew that moving with a newborn would be challenging, but didn't anticipate 1) a c-section for me, and the recovery restrictions that brings with it; and 2) E.J.'s two-week hospital stay, rendering me completely useless and leaving Eric to run around like a chicken with his head cut off, trying to take care of everything else. There was just no time or way to get any packing done until E.J. and I were set free. We didn't pack one single box until less than a week before the movers were scheduled to arrive. PANIC.

We did hire movers that were willing to help us pack whatever we were unable to get to, and we considered having them do the whole apartment. Ultimately we decided we would start with the most time-consuming (and thus, costly) packing projects (here's looking at you, kitchen!) and just try to get as much done as possible.

Even once we got started, it was slow-going. Trying to pack around kids' needs was challenging in itself (once again, I thank my ability to set aside my parenting scruples and just plop Ellie in front of Doc McStuffins or Daniel Tiger as much as necessary for allowing us to get anything done), but also, as I mentioned, I was not supposed to be lifting anything heavier than my nine-pound baby. I did what packing I could and had Eric do all the moving of boxes. Eric did his best to help with the packing itself, too (and single-handedly packed the kitchen, bless him), but he was also preoccupied with a myriad other issues that kept popping up and needed to be dealt with: securing health insurance for E.J., signing the new lease, dealing with the terrible management at our current apartment as we tried to settle up our last month's rent, unexpected student loan issues, etc., etc. We would just start to gain some momentum and something else would pop up that would delay the whole process. Every day I would set what I considered to be very reasonable goals for what to accomplish that day, and every day we came up short. Frustrating!

Doc McStuffins + swaddled nap in the nest = the only way to get anything done.

But somehow, we managed to get through far more than I originally thought we would. By the time the movers arrived Thursday morning, the majority of our home was in boxes, save for the master bedroom closets (no small task, to be sure) and some other miscellaneous items here and there. And thank goodness, because after seeing the movers' packing "strategy" (by "strategy," I mean haphazardly throwing random things into unorganized and unlabeled boxes), I cannot fathom the hell that would have been trying to unpack our entire home if it had been packed in that manner. And how I shudder at the thought of the tragic fate that surely would have befallen our dishes and glassware with this packing approach. Oh, the inevitable carnage!

The movers arrived around 8:30 a.m. on Thursday and got right to work. I may bemoan their last-minute packing strategy, but let's not understate how thankful I was to have two able-bodied men to move all of our junk out of our apartment, down that flight of stairs, into a truck, across town and into our new house. Did they put all the boxes in the right rooms upon arrival? Certainly not. Ellie's Cozy Coupe ended up in the living room while boxes of blankets remained outside on the porch. But you know what? WE DIDN'T HAVE TO DO IT.

Let's do this thing!

Loading our things onto the truck

While the movers did their thing, I threw E.J. in a wrap and took the kiddos for a walk. We took the same path Ellie and I always used to take: across the uneven stepping stones where an unsteady new-walker Ellie once always held my hand (sniffle), to the apartment that feeds the stray cats to look for good ol' "meow," and out to the "turtle lake" to watch the geese and turtles. Ellie actually walked the entire distance there and back without whining to be carried, which I'm not sure has ever happened before and was very welcome. It was a nice way to say good-bye to our old routine.

Ready for moving day!

Ellie has no trouble with these stepping stones now!

Enjoying our final voyage (and E.J.'s first!) to the turtle lake

Bye, turtles!

Achilles heading back inside after a final frolic on the golf course

When the movers left for the new house, we fed the kids lunch and then Eric and Ellie took off for the new house while E.J. and I followed behind (and made a stop at Arby's for parent lunch). Upon arrival at the house, though, it was chaos, and our lunch went uneaten for a while. Much of the stuff the movers had packed had gone into boxes they brought, and they said they wouldn't charge us for those boxes if we unpacked immediately and gave the boxes back before they left. On the one hand, yay for saving money. On the other, UGH. All the stuff they packed was last-minute stuff that we probably could've left boxed for days while we unpacked the more important things. But instead, we had to rush around and empty those boxes, in the midst of the chaotic moving-in environment, with no furniture in place or real plan with where to put many of the things in those boxes. Moving, man. It's the worst.

But a mere eight hours after kicking things off that morning, it was over. The movers left and we were officially in the new house - buried under piles of boxes, of course, but in. We unpacked the essentials that night (bedding, etc.), picked up some local pizza for dinner and thanked the heavens that the worst was over.

The dining room (and living room) after the movers left, and Ellie perfectly expressing what we all felt.

The kitchen

Ellie's room

E.J. hanging out in his room

Master bedroom. Getting that Sleep Number bed operational is always a top priority after we move!

One tired family chowing down on some local pizza in our new living room at the end of the day

Since then we have largely spent our time trying to settle in, but just as it was with packing, the unpacking is very slow-going. We have the kitchen, bathrooms and Ellie's room largely setup, but there are still boxes galore just waiting for the kids to both sleep at once so they can be given proper attention. I also started to feel like I was probably overdoing it physically a little bit, so I've sidelined myself for a day or two and then will hit the ground running again. In addition to setting up the new house, we still need to finish cleaning up the old place before handing in our keys on August 25. So, there's still much to be done.

But we're very excited to be in the house. I think we're really going to like it once we're all settled in. We've already made use of the walkability of the neighborhood with som local dinners, and have walked the kids to the local park several times (it just so happens to be Ellie's favorite park in Jacksonville so far, so that's lucky!). I think ultimately this neighborhood will be much more our style, and I think we'll be very happy here.

Off to a nearby park with the kiddos

New playground fun

Post-playground stop at Panera Bread for a frozen lemonade treat - all this easily done on foot!

I can't wait to show you more pictures of our new home when we get it all set up, which, at this pace, will probably be a while. But we'll get there!

The kids in front of "the blue house," as Ellie calls it!


Lauren Nicole said...

So glad you all are getting settled in the new place, EJ is just adorable and love the house! :-)

Joshua Duncan said...

Moving houses is surely not the best way to spend a fun afternoon, but of course, every drip of sweat is well worth the activity once you've settled on your new home. I'm at least glad to know that you hired movers to give you a lending hand. Anyway, the house looks beautiful. Thanks for sharing that! I wish your family all the best! :)

Joshua Duncan @ Focus Insurance Atlanta