Thursday, March 21, 2013

Virginia is for lovers

Hi all!
Since we last left, my family and I took the very crazy plunge and moved about 500 miles across the country from Ohio to Virginia. I don't know how to capture all that has been in our family's lives, but as someone said once, "write what you think people want to know." For me that would be moving a family with three small children. 

I hesitated to write on the blog during that first month. For one, our computer was fried by water thanks to Ms. Sophia in the hotel. Secondly, that period of our move was a somewhat personal and emotional and I didn't want to write in the middle of a swirl of emotions 

One day you would have heard me say, "Can you believe how close to the mall we are?" "We haven't filled up our gas in 1.5 weeks!!" Virginia is amazing! 

Another day you would have seen me yearning for family and friends who knew us. The girls had periods of real sadness for their friends, home and schools. 

They would say, "We want to go to our real home!" 

Ava went from going to school every other day to going to school every day and needing help with reading because she was behind. On the 100th day of school as students celebrated, Ava had only been in school 50 days! 

My parents have lived in the same place (5 miles vicinity) and I have lived in Columbus most of my life. Most of our extended family lives there and Brandon's family lives in Michigan. I did go to college in Missouri so I gamely thought I was up for the challenge. 

Well, I should have gotten a good foreshadowing when a friend at church told me how hard it was for her kids. Blinking. I looked at her as she said she hugged her children on the living room floor at night because it was so hard on them. 

Right. We experienced that same thing. 

I will say moving has evicted such emotions in our family and lives that I never thought of -- loss of self-worth, loss of identity, a sense of loss, happiness and joy; a sort of rebuilding period. Sophia and Ryder have needed a lot of attention and cuddles. And Ava just processed it out loud and was exhausted from school. She also was sad to leave her friends. Sophia started having really bad nightmares and she had them for a solid month. Every night and every day during naptime she woke up screaming. Ryder got sick and had bronchiolitis and two ear infections. Ava got strep. Yep. 

In Ohio, our kids were put in childcare by one of our friends who happened to be near. Here, I have had to beg, bribe and cajole Sophia for a solid month to go into childcare. Brandon had her one Sunday and she kicked and screamed on the floor. Twice.

And through it all we just did life. I think we were a little numb. Brandon and I never said, "Why us?" We just wished that we had some sort of normal. Was this our new normal? 

We were so used to life like we knew it and our old routine that that anything else was weird and almost foreign to us. 

During college I visited Europe and I have to say, it's almost like the same culture shock I received there. I am called Ma'am and little boys hold the doors for you. The weather in March is 50. People are more "southern" :). 

We have loved the smaller town feel and the less congestion. And I know that God has His sweet hand in our lives. I haven't heard God in a loud voice. But, I have made it each day and I have appreciated my husband and children more. 

And I believe that God has us here for a purpose. A sweet lady at Brandon's work gave me Susan Miller's "After the Bags are Unpacked" book, which is funny because another friend, Tonia, sent me Miller's blog site. 

One of my favorite parts of the books says that after you have moved you go through a dormant season like daffodils. They are underground, refreshing until that perfect time to bloom. This was an especially sweet analogy to me because all of those daffodils are in bright array right now and there is a field of them across our house. 

Never. Ever. Did I think it would be this hard to move. Never. But, I also think God has us here for a purpose. We have grown closer as a family. We have been blessed beyond (I'm talking BLESSED!), and our sense of coziness and "being known" has been replaced by an utter dependency on Him. And we got to work together as a family to pray. We laid hands on Sophia and prayed for her and she has had almost no more nightmares (this is huge!) and we prayed that Ava would find some good friends and she has! 

If you are moving far away from friends and family -- God bless you! I would offer just some small things we found that really helped us. 
  • Prepare your heart for not having a "schedule" for about a month.
  • Unpack one room that you can relax in after you have done the kitchen and kids bedrooms. 
  • Ask a kind neighbor for help locating doctors, urgent cares (here they are patient firsts), and other things like sitters
  • Make date night priority! Our friend Lisa told me to do this and, while in Ohio we maybe had one date night per month, here we have one at least every other weekend. Awesome advice. 
  • Facetime or Skype to see your lovelies
  • Throw away the idea of perfection and your expectations of your life and what you think your kids should "look like" 
  • Rely on easy meals for the first couple of weeks. 
  • Think of your budget like Christmas and understand you will probably not save for a couple of months
  • Build in new traditions or routines (we have been swimming every Sunday night and we have really enjoyed it) 
  • Find a church girl! 
  • I will do a blog post about finding a church, but will say find one that you both agree on so that come Sunday, one of you won't dread going. 
  • Get plugged in at your church via a bible study. And give yourself leeway to not volunteer for a little while to get your house and family in order (I have had to stuff my hand a couple of times). 
  • Understand that moving is stress. Stress not released via prayer, communication with your spouse or through exercise makes you dam up. Release it friend! It's okay to cry. It's ok to call your friend or sister with a 911 at nap time. 
  • Love. Love covers a multiple of offenses with your spouse and children. 


Jess said...

Those front step/ yard pics are soooo good Erin!!!

Erin said...

Thanks Jess!! It's your baby passed down to me!! Hopefully, one day I can learn your magic!!

Julz said...

I had 4 big moves (2 for college, Denver and then here)as a single mother...I feel your pain! The first couple months are the hardest, but after you start making friends and get settled, it gets easier. I'll have to see if Jasa and Becca are up for a road trip! :)

Erin said...

Julie! I seriously don't know how you did it as a single mother. Your awesome!