Dec 17, 2014

A Long Overdue Update....

In my last post I dropped the big bomb that we were relocating to Las Vegas.   Two months later, here we are!  And here's a long overdue update (mostly photos taken on my phone!) of our journey from Massachusetts to Pennsylvania to Nevada and how we're settling in so far!

Our moving truck (#1 of 2!) was delivered to our home in Massachusetts on a Thursday. 

On Friday we loaded up most of the furniture with some hired help.   

Saturday morning the kids and I said one more goodbye to friends and then hit the road to Pennsylvania. Paul stayed behind to load up the last few things before starting on his road trip to Nevada.

The kids and I drove 6 hours to spend the next ten days in Pennsylvania with my parents- packing in as many visits with family and friends as we could!

We were lucky enough to be able to see my grandmother and aunts, my college roomie and her kids, and my brother and his family before we left.

While we were visiting Pennsylvania Paul was driving across country with the dog and his friend for company.  He stopped in PA on the way for a brief overnight visit- which meant we were able to have breakfast together on our 8th anniversary before he hit the road again!

A few days later the kids and I hopped on a plane to Vegas...

Thank goodness for tvs on the backs of the seats!   LP and Eliza were so well- behaved on the whole flight- I was very proud of them! (and oh so thankful that it went well!)

After arriving in Vegas we stayed with Paul's parents for a few days before we could close on the new house.  We flew in on a Tuesday and on Wednesday night Paul and I were able to finally see the new place in person!

Hello... desert!  And mountains!   So different from Massachusetts!

The front of the house...

Checking out our new kitchen (which coincidentally has the same cabinet color and the exact same granite we installed in our Massachusetts kitchen!):

We moved in most of our things on Thursday, 

And spent our first night in the house on Friday which was Halloween.   Jango Fett from Star Wars was in attendance:

And Scooby-Doo made a very brief appearance.   We actually didn't have a costume for Eliza as she hadn't wanted one previously.  Our new next-door-neighbor heard that she didn't have a costume and found one of her kid's old costumes for Eliza to wear.   So sweet and such a great introduction to our new neighborhood!    Halloween was fantastic- the kids loved being in a neighborhood where everyone was out for trick-or-treat, it's exactly the kind of neighborhood we'd hoped for!

Two wiped out kids after all the hubbub!

Some other little things.   Here's the view from our master bedroom balcony- I love seeing the mountains everywhere!

This is our neighborhood playground- we pass it on the way to school:

The park the playground is in is called the Promenade- it runs behind our neighborhood and down to the street that the school is on.   Such a pleasant walk to school!

LP's first day of school was a little tough but once he learned the new school rules he was happy as a clam and is really enjoying it so far!

And Eliza loves hearing the bell ring for school to start and end- "Bye bye Paul" she yells as he lines up for school to begin:

We love that our street has hardly any traffic and we can get lots of scooter time in:

I love having an eat-in kitchen!

And the house is feeling more like home every day...

We spend most of our time at home in the family room and kitchen, but we also have a bonus family room and a playroom upstairs.  It's so nice to have extra space!

And I love the sunsets here.. This is outside of Paul's school when we went over for Parent/Teacher conferences....

So we're getting settled.  It's been hectic, moving right before the holidays, but we hosted Thanksgiving and will be hosting Christmas as well.  We've already made some changes to the house (lights over the kitchen island and cabinet pulls on all the doors!) and have many more in store for the future- including landscaping our back yard!  

While I wouldn't say that Las Vegas feels like home yet, our house itself does, and we're all very comfortable here.  I'm learning my way around and can get to quite a few places without my GPS which is good.   And we're really happy with all the extra family time we've had.

So far, so good!

Oct 16, 2014

Changing Leaves...

Beyond "back to school" and the switch from hot muggy summer to crisp, cool autumn, fall has historically been a time of change for Paul and I.  We were married in October, bought our first house together the following October, and had LP in November the year after that.   This year we're adding another big autumnal change to our family archives- a move across the country to Las Vegas!

Over the past few years Paul's work situation has become more and more stressful and we were feeling as though we had less and less good quality family time as he went to work before the children were up in the morning, came home at dinner time, and was exhausted on the weekends.   His parents used to live nearby but retired out to Las Vegas almost two years ago, leaving us with no family closer than a six hour drive.   Although we've loved living in Massachusetts, we decided to start looking to relocate to be closer to either my parents in Pennsylvania or Paul's parents in Nevada as we really wanted our children to grow up close to family.

After months and months of looking for jobs, applying for jobs, interviewing for positions that weren't quite right or for positions that were fantastic but not in the right location, Paul was offered a position working for the county out in Las Vegas.  We mulled it over for a while, and decided that although we'll be a lot farther from my family in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Washington, DC, we'll be in the same town as Paul's parents, one of his brothers and his daughter, and an aunt.  And we'll be 4-5 hours driving from one of my brothers and Paul's other brother who are in California.   Add in a much lower cost of living, better year-round weather (yes, it's brutally hot there in the summer- but dry heat is more bearable than humid and it's warm enough most of the winter to hit the playground, even in January and February), and we decided to go for it.   We've visited Las Vegas a dozen times or so and know that it's not just strippers and casinos- in fact, the suburbs of Las Vegas are just like any other suburbs- full of schools, libraries, shopping centers, parks, and regular, every day people.

This decision wasn't made with ease- we're both very nervous about such a big change for all of us.   Las Vegas is pretty much the polar opposite of Massachusetts.  We know we'll miss the change of seasons (although I doubt very much that we'll miss snowblowing at 5 a.m so that Paul can get to work), our friends, and the home we've worked so hard to create here.    Paul has lived in Massachusetts for thirty years and I've been here for fourteen so it's a huge portion of our lives.   And I'm sad about being so much farther from my parents.  Even though it's a six hour drive to see them, it's a drive, not a plane trip, so we can be a bit more flexible about visits and things.

But we're confident that after an initial adjustment period we'll be happy with the change.  And we know that if, in a few years, we decide that Las Vegas isn't right for us, the children will still be young enough that it won't be too hard to relocate and change schools again.

We're excited to be near family, we're excited to be moving into a neighborhood where there are block parties and trick-or-treat, where we can walk to school and to several large parks, where the neighbors up and down the street have children the same age as ours.   We're excited to be able to explore the western part of the country more- trips to California, the Grand Canyon, and other amazing national parks.  We're excited to more than double the size of our house- we'll have plenty of room for guests now- no one will be relegated to a pull-out sofa in our spidery basement any more.  And we're excited for Paul to be in a job were he gets home by 4 pm and isn't so stressed out and exhausted so that we can spend more time enjoying our children and our family.

And so, for now, as the moving truck arrived today and we're loading it tomorrow before the kids and I had to Pennsylvania for a visit with Nana and Pappy while Paul and the dog drive with a buddy across the country, I sign off with:

"Viva, Las Vegas!"

Sep 2, 2014

Things to Remember: Eliza Rose, Age Two!

It seems like just yesterday that we were counting down the days until the arrival of "Baby Sister." The scheduled c-section was on the calendar more than a month ahead of time unless she decided to make an early appearance, giving us the chance to do a final countdown as our family of three became a family of four. We were anxious and nervous, thrilled that Paul would finally be a big brother and so excited to have a baby girl in the house. While we thought we knew what to expect since we weren't first time parents, we really had no clue how much this little one would change our lives.  

Right from the start Paul and Eliza have had an indescribable bond that makes us so happy to see. They love each other completely and totally, even when tussling over a favorite toy.  LP is always watching out for Eliza- telling her he's the big brother and will take care of her forever. He even told me that one day he's going to marry her... When I told him he couldn't marry his sister he said, "well, then I'll marry someone else and have a baby girl and name her Eliza." True love at it's best!

Eliza was an easy baby, much like Paul was. She ate well, slept well, and was never terribly fussy.   

She learned to sit,

to crawl,

and to walk, all on the same timeline as her brother...

As Eliza has gotten older though, her personality has grown faster than the rest of her. She's still a teeny tiny little thing with big drama, huge smiles, and even larger tantrums.  

At two, Eliza is happiest when she's playing with Paul. Their favorite game is to chase each other around the house, yelling "I got you!  I got you!" She's the only one who can get away with calling LP "Paulie," and he knows how to get her to do things that we can't get her to do (like get dressed in certain "unapproved by Eliza" outfits).

If Paul isn't at her side, her lovies are. We've graduated from one lovie to two identical ones, both equally bedraggled and beloved. They are chewed on at times but usually held in one fist while the thumb of the other hand is in her mouth.

Eliza adores playing outside. "Run!  Run!" she yells as the kids streak back and forth across the yard.  She loves the swing and the slide and has bravely conquered the "big slide" at the playground.

She's a spitfire, full of sugar and spice. If you ask her if she's sweet or spicy, she now responds with, "EXTRA spicy!!" She's extremely stubborn and can easily throw a tantrum for twenty minutes at a time over the littlest of things. Unlike her brother who was quick to snap out of a bad mood or tantrum, Eliza prefers to carry on until her nose is running, her eyes are red, and she's completely exhausted herself with all the yelling and screaming. While Paul would sit nicely in timeout on the steps and pop up after a minute with a smile and an apology, Eliza throws herself on the floor and screams, never giving in.

Like her brother, Eliza is a chatterbox. Unlike Paul though, she's really only a chatterbox at home. Out in public she's pretty quiet, not talking to people, even friends she's known her whole life. When it's just us though she's pretty much non-stop. She talks to herself, to us, and to the dog. Her current favorite phrase is "What's that Mom?" as she points to something. "Where'd it go?" and "I want more juice Mom!" are other favorites. On special occasions where she gets to have chocolate milk she insists on calling it "chicken milk."

Eliza loves Minnie Mouse, Paw Patrol, and Cookie Monster. She likes to play Lego with Paul (they're all called Lego Ninjago according to her) and with her play kitchen. She loves to help with chores and has her own little broom and dustpan for sweeping. When putting laundry in the washer she labels each piece of clothing: Paul's Sock! Daddy's pants!

The master of the stinkeye and the dirty look- Eliza knows what she wants and how to get it (as long as Daddy is around- he's more of a sucker than Mommy is). She's quick tempered but also as sweet as can be, full of hugs and kisses.  At bedtime she kisses Daddy, Paul, Gabby, all her stuffed animals, some of her books, and Mommy goodnight.

Two years ago we had no idea what this little one had up her teeny tiny sleeves. She's spiced up our easygoing household big time- and we love her more and more every day...

Happy second birthday to our beautiful girl!


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