Monday, February 27, 2012

In Transition

Last Monday, the kids and I, along with my most amazing Mother-in-law, loaded into the car, dropped the dog at the kennel, and drove to Portland. Our plan? Temporarily join Scott at the guest house he has been staying at until we could move into our new house over the weekend. It wasn't ideal - the house is located convenient to Scott's work, which means an hour of driving each way to get the kids to daycare and then me to work. But, it was only for 4 days and the kids would be in school for three of them, so we could just plan quick dinners, knowing they would be eating most meals at school. We were even able to leave most of the toys and entertainment behind, knowing that it would come in the moving truck on Saturday. We took a deep breath and sputtered into our first week in Portland.

Now, the following Monday... Well, I'm still sitting in the same guest house prepping for our second week of crazy living. Our plan has not turned out how we expected, but we're doing just fine and looking forward to getting settled THIS week. Yes, we can survive with a lot less stuff (though more than 4 pair of underwear would sure be nice!). Yes, our kids are doing great in a house not set up for kids. Yes, we have had some great luck to make this work another week... but honestly, I really want my own stuff in my own house. We're ready to get settled and start finding our groove.

This weekend (which for me is Fri-Mon), was an adventure. Remember, it's Portland in Winter and we have no toys or art supplies... We went to IKEA, Home Depot, and Sears trying to decide on new appliances. Josh only wanted to ride the escalators and disassemble display vacuums. Owen can spot a TV by feel from across the store. I imagine we are going to have quite a few date nights at home improvement stores, so we can actually both look at the same item at the same time.

The kids and I have had a "dry run" at exploring a new town. We've been to parks, the library, and several different grocery stores, though we will have to explore all over again when we get settled across town. I actually got teary at story time on Friday. I'm looking at all these kids with moms or nannies and missing my friends (of course), but it felt so pointless to even be there since I'm not likely to cross paths with that set of potential friends again. On the other hand, it gives me courage to strike up conversation with whoever us sitting next to me when we get to story time in OUR neighborhood.

Thank goodness i ranomly tossed a dozen kids books in my car for the drive. Glad to have more options than "If you give a pig a pancake" for day 8 of this adventure. Also, the library let us get a card without proof of address, so we are rolling in the books! The weather cooperated today and we enjoined 90 minutes at a playground. Downside, Owen decided he needed the bathroom (after me asking repeatedly at the grocery store right before). Park bathrooms are closed for winter, so I let him poop in a pile of leaves. Can't be worse then a dog owner, right? Also witnessed an awesome group of kids and teachers from a nearby preschool. Again confirming that there are lots of great preschools in Portland... Across town from where I need them.

 Today we tried to combine exploration and a healthy snack and set out for a juice bar I found online. I repeatedly ignored my GPS and (duh) found myself in a mess of one way streets and bike routes. Quick detour to a frozen yogurt place i can see in the rear view mirror. I insist the kids top their yogurt with fruit, which they do without objection. And then josh eats around every single raspberry to successfully eat only chocolate for snack. Parenting fail. Followed buy dinner fail because he's too full and amped up on sugar to sit and eat more than a handful of cheese.

Staying at "Jane's House" has been eye opening for both Scott and I. Jane has Scott exploring the benefits of a plant-based, whole foods diet. He's trying to eat as vegan as possible... At least during the day, 'cause our kids need the animal fats for developing brains. I'm attempting to be vegetarian for Lent (just because 40 days seems like a good amount of time to test)... But i'm also taking full advantage of the "feast day" on sundays. Bacon anyone?

Jane's house is newly renovated and fully Ikea. I'm enjoying all her touches and finding that my design preference is much more modern than I thought. Great for inspiration as we move into the new house.

We are finding creative ways to burn energy and give the kids a chance to use those big muscles. They have had a week of new school, new house, shifting sleeping arrangement, new rules, etc. add to that our constant requests to slow down, use a quiet voice, stop jumping, no running, etc (all in an attempt to respect the other folks at Jane's who did not sign up for "family" housing!) it's a wonder they aren't totally losing it. Today, we hopped like frogs (or lunatics to all the people watching) all the way down the street to our car, played line tag in front of the frozen yogurt place, and tried running backwards and in circles through a parking lot. Maybe I'm the one that's losing it!

Our top highlight from this week in transition was driving home from dinner last night. The kids were yelling randomly in the back seat, which normally drives us crazy, but this time Scott decided to join them. The four of us had a "who's the loudest?" yelling contest all the way back to Jane's. The kids needed the freedom to be LOUD after a week of restraint, and Scott and I discovered a fantastic way to release some stress. Yell louder!!!

Hopefully this time next week, I'll be posting from our house, but if you see a Honda pilot drive by with four people screaming at the top of their lungs... Just send chocolate.


Phyllis said...

I laughed at the driving around screaming part. We have 4+ days on trains coming up; Will says that we should try it there.

SBM said...

Great post! I feel for you, it will be so nice to get settled in your own place and have your own stuff. When we moved here I lived in a hotel apartment for 8 months - I was desperate for my stuff. Sounds like you are doing an awesome job keeping the kids occupied and happy under the circumstances.

Stephanie said...

Oh Alissa, holy smokes. You guys have your hands full!! Hang in there, mama. Maybe all this madness will make the unpacking of boxes feel like a breeze?

Anonymous said...

The preschool comment of great schools "across town from where you need them" made me smile!!! I know you will be happy for TOMORROW!!!!! Love your stories, keep them coming!! Miss and love y'all. Aunt Tracey

Colleen said...

Sounds fun/crazy! I hope you get into your home quickly, although it sounds like these weeks will hold some fond memories for you as you think back to when you moved to Portland!