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Monday, February 23, 2015

Shhhh.

Do you hear that? 

Me neither. 

Because there is silence here. Deep breath.

It's been almost a solid month of transition time here in San Diego. A month where the girls couldn't start into their preschool schedule here, and a month where the sister togetherness might have been just a tad too much. A month where they begged to go to school and to make "fwends" and all that fun stuff they missed from back home. 

But today. Today they started. Even if just a few mornings a week, it's enough right now to bring back some semblance of normalcy to their little world and I'm so excited for them. And maybe a little bit for me. Ok, I am excited for me, too.

I'm so excited that all I could do was come right back home and make a bowl of oatmeal to eat in peace. I like to live large.



But the truth of it all is that this past month as much as we might have annoyed one another at times, we needed that. We needed that time to, as Lucy says, "Da whole fami-wee" figure out this life on the other side of the country. We explored together, cried together, had meltdowns together, bugged the crap out of each other and really loved one another. 

These two were my sidekicks in exploring our new YMCA's, our beaches, the best place to take the dog for a walk, what restaurants are kid friendly, new churches and sunday schools, and best store (Target) to display epic tantrums to ensure the most eyes can view it.

Us, 'da whole fami-wee'--we were a team this last month figuring out new life over here. 

Though crazy at times, ok, a lot of times-I wouldn't want it any other way. 



Happy 1st day of 'california school', my babies. I'll see you in two hours.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Ocean ease.

I realize it could get very old very fast to be the girl talking about The!Beach! and sunshine all the time. Remember last year when I got a lot of heat for complaining about winter all the time? At least you don't have to worry about all that anymore. (But seriously, harsh winters kill the souls of moms everywhere.) If happy sunshine pictures and stuff bothers you I may not be your cup o' tea--at least for a little while until the newness of all this wears off.

I'm being told though that the ease of going to the ocean whenever you want, the wonder of it all, won't wear off anytime soon. That people who live by the ocean still love it and don't take it for granted. I'm hoping that this is true, because right now? Right now we are eating this up.




I admit that it still feels a little like vacation, even though Declan is back to working full days. But the girls haven't started preschool yet (two more weeks), and since our days are a little carefree right now we get a lot of time to explore our new home. I also break up way more sister-fights than ever--so truthfully, I can't wait for them to have some structure with preschool. I might be counting down the days, it's possible.

The best part about living so close to so many options of beaches and entertainment is that we can pop in for quick "tire the kids out before bedtime" visits. There is no better tired than beach-tired. Hauling all those buckets of water back and forth, playing tag with your daddy, climbing the big (to them) sand dunes, dude, it's exhausting stuff. Everyone slept in this morning.




We feel like we've adjusted pretty well for the most part. Our place is starting to feel like home, a place to breathe and rest and break up kiddie arguments. I'm starting to cook meals and get back to a little bit of normal. I finally (as you can see) broke out my camera for the first time since December 25th. Because this place deserves more than my iPhone.




I promise not to take this sight for granted. I promise not to be like the girls last night who walked right onto the beach during sunset, turned their bodies around and proceeded to take 20 minutes of sunset selfies, never having once turned to enjoy the sunset at all.

We'll be in awe each and every time we walk onto a gorgeous beach, and we'll look at each other and say, I can't believe we live here. 

There's just something about the sandy toes and wind-blown hair that makes me feel like a childhood well done.



Thursday, February 5, 2015

When you just up and move across the country.

Two years ago, heck, a year ago even, if you'd have asked me if moving all this distance was in our plans I would have said a big heck-no. Was it in our dreams? Yes it was. In fact, I remember telling a friend that one of two things would happen in my future, and I wasn't sure quite sure which.

1) We would buy a house and settle in an area in Pennsylvania we were comfortable with/felt like home just because that seemed like The Next Responsible Thing To Do.

or 2) We would up and move across the country to live in southern California.

If I'm being honest with you, number 2 didn't seem like something that would actually happen--more like a pipe dream, perhaps.

But here's the thing. I am not special or brave or crazy (ok, maybe a little bit), or wild and adventurous for doing this. My husband says, "yes, you are brave, babe". I say, "no, no sweetie, I'm not, because I'm still scared."  But we took an idea, a dream, really--and began to let ourselves really think about it seriously. We played out every scenario in our heads, we got the ball rolling, we took the big, scary steps. We let each door open and if it opened we walked through it. We explored the avenues and broke the news to family. It was met with different feelings and reactions from everyone, as to be expected. Some very sad, some super excited for us, some ignored it, and some were wonderfully supportive. But then we kept on.



I've gotten a lot of comments, mainly on my instagram, things that go something like this:

You're brave, I could never do that. 

I wish I could, but I just can't. 

Leaving family is never an option for us.

I'd miss everyone too much. 

It's too hard. 

My parents would kill me.

The details make my head hurt. 

I've always dreamed of moving to the beach. 

I'll just live vicariously through you. 

All of them are exactly how I felt, how I still feel if I'm being honest. I told Declan last night that it still almost feels like a dream that we live here. While we were going through all the little details that it took to get here (omg, SO MANY---), I thought we would surely die in the process. There's no way to figure it all out. Is there???

Turns out you can. And I know this is like beating a dead horse, but you just take one day at a time, one step. Before you know it you're there and scratching your head like, whoa, we did it.

My point is not to say, You should all move far away from your family. I'm not suggesting that at all, that'd be crazy and it's not for everyone. Some of us make choices to move away, and some of us don't get the choice based on careers or whatever.

What I am saying is that sometimes you have to ask yourself the hard questions and then answer them truthfully. Sometimes considering your little family unit and making decisions not based on everyone else's feelings is actually the healthiest thing to do. Sometimes stepping out into something so new and unknown can stretch and grow you in a way you may not have otherwise. Sometimes you have to think will the regret of never trying haunt you all your life? 

Moving your little established family because you want to try it may sound crazy, and, you know--maybe it is, but I'm just gonna err on the side of this quote when those feelings of Oh God, What did I do creep in. Because I hope I'm lying in bed with Declan when we're 80 one day and reminiscing on our SoCal adventure with a smile.


***



Monday, February 2, 2015

Just like that we're on the West Coast

So many times last week I found myself thinking 'by this weekend I will be living across the country'. It felt surreal. Despite all our belongings having made it ahead of us, despite knowing an empty townhouse awaited us, despite the airplane tickets booked, rental cars, and hotel---it still didn't feel real.

But there's something so weird that happens when you deliberately put one foot in front of the other. 

YOU MOVE.

Go figure, huh? 

With that said, we are here. We survived two long plane rides and I think all the prayers I rallied ahead of time for my unruly kids to please be calm, for the love, helped. I really, truly think it worked because the unthinkable happened.


Granted, it was about 1.5 hours each, at separate times--but it helped make the first 6.5 hour plane ride feel a little more manageable. That and the mini iPads if we're showing all our cards. Trust me, the people around me appreciated the constant entertainment. That and me putting on a circus show of 'what other cool new art-thing/craft/toy can I pull out of my bag'. 

I'm proud to say that no one complained about us (that I know of), and at the end of each flight Lucy was giving hugs (and even got a kiss from a lady). Despite the unwanted germs, I'd call that a win. Declan and I high-fived and let out a huge sigh of relief when we touched down in San Diego.

We had been up an insane amount of hours at that point. We still had to get through the airport with two kids (no stroller), all our stuff (including two massive car seats), and hop on a shuttle to get a rental car. In my brain, it would never happen. The logistics of doing that while keeping two small children (who should have been on leashes) alive scared me. But our motto of 'one step at a time' continued to play out and before we knew it we were resting in a hotel room at 3 in the afternoon west coast time. 


I should probably say that no resting actually took place. Emeline just kept insisting that 'my body is telling me to jump on the bed', and Lucy kept begging for snacks. We decided to head over to check out this new place we hadn't even seen with our own eyes that we were supposed to call home. Talk about nerve-wracking. Also, not recommended on so little sleep. I lacked vision and to be honest I felt incredibly overwhelmed.  I'll write more about those feelings another time, because part of me needs to process that a little more.

We decided to head to in-n-out for burgers and fries, because, obviously. I held a noodle-like-sleeping Lucy on me the whole time. Her poor body was just exhausted and so confused by the time change. We all slept from 6:30pm-6:30am and we needed every ounce of that rest for our big move day.

--

The next morning with fresh eyes and sleep we reassured ourselves that we got this and promised ourselves we could make this place feel like a cozy home. It's especially in those moments I am so grateful for my husband and partner--because leaning on each other is all we could do.

Hiring two hours of moving help was the best decision ever. We had two of the sweetest guys helping us, who had our u-boxes unloaded within 45 minutes, boxes in the right rooms, and then they even put our beds together. A sweet delivery of fresh flowers from Declan's sister and an edible arrangements from my family made our welcome a little bit sweeter. 

Slowly but surely this little place so foreign to us just 24 hours before started to warm up and feel more like a place we could see ourselves.


Besides, heading to the place that drew us here to begin with is always a quick smack in the face, too. 

Hello--this, all this, is just a short drive away now. 



This little adventure is bound to have ups and downs, twists and turns--and a whole lot of sunshine.

With these people by my side, we'll figure it all out--one step at a time.