Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A Work in Progress

Hi there! Long time, no blog. I just wanted to check in with a quick update. Our house closing went smoothly enough last Monday. 

Forest was all about closing since he got lots of snacks and free reign of the iPad. Jon also appreciated the snacks.
Tuesday and Wednesday were full of appliance deliveries and cable set ups, etc. Wednesday afternoon our delivery truck showed up an unloaded all of our things, but weren’t able to unpack or put anything together until the following afternoon.   

Jon had to be at the house super early each morning, so he took the car while Forest, Samson and me were stuck at the hotel. 

So bored in the hotel that he resorted to playing with his toothbrushes.
Those were two very long days, but Thursday night was our first night in the new house. Unfortunately it coincided with a big allergy crisis for Forest who was up all night long with his asthma issues so it wasn’t as restful as we hoped! But a few doses of Claritin really zapped it so thank God for that! 

Friday and Saturday we made a big push to shop for rugs, patio furniture and electronics, join a gym and do our huge ‘stock the fridge/pantry’ grocery run. God bless you, HEB. Saturday night was so nice because we actually were able to cook dinner and go for a walk to the park afterward. It was the first sense of normalcy we had experienced since the trucks showed up to gather our things in San Ramon. 
On Sunday we visited a neighborhood church and then Jonathan’s parents arrived that afternoon to help out with Forest for a few days while Jon and I really tried to get our to-do list whittled down without many distractions. They stayed through Wednesday afternoon and were such a huge help. 

Our cars were delivered on Monday which was also a huge help. Sharing 1 rental car was probably our biggest mistake during this move. We’ve done this so many times and yet we are still learning. The joke in the oilfield is ‘by the time you do it perfectly it’s time to retire.’ Jon started going into the office as of Monday and he’ll do that until his visa is approved and he goes on his first hitch to Angola. After that, he will be done with the office and the commute downtown. 

After the big push this week, I feel like our house is basically set up. We are waiting on some deliveries of rugs and sunroom furniture, have a little painting to do, and need to set up Forest’s big boy room and play room, but the house is totally functional as is. 

Safety net for pool.

I am so ready to get into a normal routine here. I signed  for Mothers of The Woodlands and hopefully will be able to make it to some playdates soon and meet some friends for me and Forest. We joined the YMCA which is walking distance and has an aquatic park amongst the facilities so I’m sure we’ll be there pretty frequently this summer. Forest will start preschool in about 2 months so hopefully by then we will have had plenty of time to explore The Woodlands and figure out life here. I’ll get some nice pictures of the house up just as soon as we get our final deliveries and I get around to cleaning the house.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Farewell Tour

I wrote the following post before we left California but didn’t get around to publishing until after we’d gotten to Texas, so please disregard present tense verbage! We have arrived safely in Houston with both the baby and the dog and successfully closed on our house yesterday morning. More details on those adventures coming soon-ish!

I haven’t been blogging much lately. Aside from the fact that my free time has mostly been spent doing moving tasks, I also find it to be a hard time to write about, emotionally speaking. I really stink at this part. I either become an emotional weeping mess, or in order to prevent losing my composure I shut down and act somewhat indifferent. I can’t seem to find a balance and it makes saying goodbye tricky. 

I seem to strive on a solid dose of denial, thinking and saying ‘I’ll see you again soon’. But I’ve played this game before and I know that just isn’t true. All of our other assignments have been oil-centric so there actually has been an honest bit of ‘we’ll cross paths eventually’ sentiment when we say goodbye to our favorite friends. But the Bay Area is different. No one here will be visiting family in Houston and casually want to get together for lunch. Unless we make the trek back to California for business or vacation, I’m not sure when the next time is I will see some of my dearest friends. It really really stinks. 

And if I let that fact sink in as I’m spending my last precious moments with them, it ends up ruining my makeup pretty quickly. But if I instead talk robotically about packing and emotionally act like it’s any old get-together, steering clear of any sentimental conversation, then I can come off as cold and indifferent. And I certainly don’t want that either. So yea, it just is an icky, emotionally exhausting timeframe as we all do our farewell tour in San Ramon. 

Last weekend, my friend Natalie arranged a night away in nearby Walnut Creek. She used her Marriot points and found a deal for a massage and breakfast at the Renaissance Club Sport Hotel and we left the kiddos with their dads and took off for the day/night. It was absolutely what the doctor ordered. I think with a toddler running around, it can be so hard just to think things through and process everything that’s happening. I’m a textbook introvert and need time to let my mind wander uninterrupted to really feel sharp and present. Getting a massage followed by 2 hours lounging by the pool was exactly the recharging that I needed to get my mind ready and focused on the tasks ahead this week. 

We had a lovely dinner arranged by my friend Angela (who couldn’t make it….waaaaaahhhhhh) and a night of uninterrupted sleep and a slow morning (although we still both woke up around 7 AM. These kids have ruined us!). After coffee and breakfast we checked out and headed back to reality. 

That afternoon we were having our friends Dave, Pinthip and their little one over for food and goodbyes. Pinthip and I became instant friends when we met in a playgroup around the time our boys were 1. Compared to the other babies, our boys were super active so it was natural that we sort of gravitated to each other. Her hubby and my hubby hit it off as well so it was a great fit for the whole family. 

It’s so rare to find that! Pinthip went back to work full time when the boys were about to turn 2 which made our time together much more scarce. I was really glad that they were able to spend the afternoon with us and Forest had so much fun with his first ever best friend. 

Tuesday was Forest’s good-bye play date from our playgroup. I was really touched by how many people came to play and say goodbye. My friend Angela went all out and provided Starbucks for the mommas and juice boxes for the littles with plenty of fresh fruit and donuts for all. 

I joined this play group when Forest was 4 months old and it was my first group of friends in San Ramon. I honestly don’t know what I (or Forest) would have done without them. The mommas in the group not only provided awesome info for resources in the Bay Area but also were a source of comradery and encouragement as I was in the trenches of new motherhood. 

It’s been awesome to see these kids grow from newborns into preschoolers, and I really hope I can find a similar group of ladies and kiddos in The Woodlands. It’s the first thing on my to-do list. 

Thursday was my last real day with friends. Jon gave me permission to leave the premises while the movers were packing up the house so I decided to take Forest to San Jose to Happy Hollow Zoo. This is probably my favorite big outing to take him on but it’s a far drive so I tend to take him to Oakland Zoo much more frequently. Anyhoos, I mentioned my plans to a few friends and a couple decided to join us for one last play date. The boys had a blast riding all the rides (except for the cars which were closed for maintenance which was slightly dramatic amongst 2 year olds who wanted to drive the cars more than anything else in the world.) 

Though the park is technically a zoo, there are tons of rides and playgrounds for toddlers so we spent a big chunk of time doing that before Forest finally said, ‘Let’s go see the animals!’. 

After hitting up the petting zoo all the kiddos were pretty exhausted so we all went our separate ways for naptime. 

Saying goodbye here was when I really broke down emotionally. I feel like in motherhood, the bond you have with your mommy friends is super strong. I rely on their company for encouragement, normalization and comic relief. I am scared witless that I might have a gap of time where I don’t have a group of buddies (for me and Forest) to take a midweek trip to the zoo. 

Thank heavens my friend Jillian will live so close to me in The Woodlands. Her twins can’t quite keep up with Forest yet but it won’t be long and she is one of my favorite people on the planet. The thought of being close to her again is really helping me to hold it together. Not to mention tons of amazing friends I have scattered throughout the Houston area and yay for being within driving distance to my family in Louisiana!  I know their support will sustain me until I find my little tribe in The Woodlands. 

Anyhoos, after the zoo trip, I managed to find one more excuse to see my buddy Natalie and her sweet baby boy and my friend Angela invited Forest and I to play while the packers finished up on Friday. 
More tears were shed at these final goodbyes and even reliving them in my head is pretty tough. So I’ll just say that our California chapter was beautiful. I loved the people I met and the landscapes I got to see. I hope and dream that our lives lead us back there one day. 

But I’m also excited to be in Texas and have been amazed at how much it has felt like a homecoming. That’s the wonderfully strange thing about the lifestyle- 'home' is an ever shifting idea and we've learned to open ourselves fully to new places and people. That's really the only way this constant relocation stuff can work.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Moving Timeline

We are less than 12 hours away from the movers showing up to pack up all of our belongings and things are getting real. Here is just a snapshot of our timeline over the next 7-10 days.

Thursday, June 16- Movers arrive. The plan is to pack up everything except our bedroom sets so that we can spend one final night in our home. Jonathan intends to supervise the movers while I keep Forest out of the house via the zoo all day. 

Friday, June 17- Movers finish boxing up our things and load them into a truck. We have our carpet professionally cleaned once the furniture is all gone and we move to a hotel for the night. 

Saturday, June 18- We fly to Houston (with Samson in cabin) and move into a hotel in The Woodlands.

Monday, June 20- We close on our house and become home owners again!!

Tuesday, June 21- Our appliances are delivered and we are having a pool guy come and measure our pool for a safety net which we plan to have installed asap. 

Somewhere between Tuesday June 21 and Saturday, June 25 is the estimated delivery/unpack date for our belongings. Hopefully sooner rather than later because living in a hotel with a toddler and a dog is never fun! But either way it will be much quicker than we got our stuff with either international move so it feels like small potatoes in comparison.

I’m definitely starting to feel the stress and feel like I have knots in my tummy at all times. I have that perpetual feeling like there is something that I’m forgetting or something else I should be doing. Like that cramming for final exams feeling. You’d think we’d be pros by now but it still tends to give me panic attacks when moving time is imminent.I guess I just need to take a deep breath and brace myself for the chaos. Prayers for calm hearts and smooth travels are appreciated!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Danville Farmer's Market and Tilden Park

It sort of hit us last weekend that we are actually moving. We had wanted to do all these things in the Bay Area and we just didn’t take full advantage of our time here. Life gets in the way, you know. So for our last 2 weekends we sort of made a mad dash to do as much as possible while still leaving room for moving tasks. Last Saturday we met up with friends at the local farmer’s market. Why we haven’t been coming here every Saturday for the past 2 years is a big mishap on our part. It was fun and full of delicious samples. Forest had a blast sampling the produce (the blueberries were his favorite and now he insists that all blueberries be “farmer’s market blueberries”) and playing with his buddies on the train.
Whenever we meet up with his friends Eli or Ryan at the park, I often get questions about if they are twins/brothers. Having them all 3 together in a crowded farmer’s market was a tad unnerving because they all have similar wardrobes and look like triplets so at a glance I never knew which one was mine. Luckily they are reaching an age where they stay (a little) closer and listen (a little) better and we were able to keep them happily corralled on the train for 15 minutes while we actually got to enjoy coffee, donuts, and uninterrupted conversation. Bliss! 

The next morning we decided to cross Tilden Park off of our Bay Area bucket list. Tilden Park is a massive regional park in Berkley right on the bay. It had gorgeous views and tons of trails. 

We mainly wanted to check out the ‘Little Farm’ which is a quaint petting zoo where the littles can feed the animals celery and lettuce. 

Feeding farm animals is Forest's love language, so we weren’t surprised that this was a big hit, but I was a little surprised that the even bigger attraction was simply climbing on bales of hay. 

Tilden Park also boasts a steam train which takes patrons on a 12 minute ride through the park and offers some pretty fantastic views. We caught the first train out of the station and Forest loved it, especially going through ‘TWO TUNNELS!’.   

While waiting for our train to depart, Forest made some comment about Thomas the Tank Engine so I said ‘yea, it’s sort of like Thomas’ and he pointed down the hill and said- ‘No , there is Thomas!’, and sure enough there was a little Thomas model on some miniature tracks about 100 yards away. We promised that after disembarking the train we would go hunt for Thomas, hoping that he would forget all about it. Nope! As soon as we pulled back into the station after our 12 minute ride, Forest exclaimed ‘Ok, now go find Thomas!’. 

We walked down the hill only to find out that Thomas was housed inside a private train club’s headquarters. There were tons of elderly men in conductor outfits tinkering with model trains. One man briskly told us that it was private property and we said ‘Ok, our son just spotted Thomas from the train and wanted to see him, but we can just lift him up to see him from here.’ Well, at that the man’s demeanor totally changed and he said ‘Sure- go on in! I’ll find Thomas’s owner for you to show you how he works!’, and everyone was so friendly to Forest and showed him all sorts of things that are amazing to a 2 year old boy. 

Farm animals and trains are right up Forest’s alley so needless to say, he has been talking about the whole Tilden Park experience for days...