Friday, August 29, 2008

Our New Digs & New pics of Connor

These are pictures of our new place. The picture on the left is a view from the road. Our duplex is the one on the left. The guy who lives on the right is a drummer. At least he is a very considerate drummer that only plays during the days a couple days a week. And the music he plays along with is generally classic rock, so we like the music. The upstairs window facing the road is the girls' room. When we are finished decorating and unpacking indoors, we'll post those pictures, too. You can also see we have a one-car garage. The garage door generally takes at least 2 people to open, so it's not likely we'll be parking there any time soon, but it makes GREAT storage! The picture on the left is our small backyard. No one in this part of town lives on more than a quarter-acre, so everyone has a privacy fence. We need to get a push-mower for it though, so it's kind of grown over.

I also had fund taking some shots of Connor the other day. I love these three the most because they are so expressive: laughing, concerned, and stuck up. He's growing so fast!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Getting to Oklahoma and Losing Track of the Days...

We got up early on Saturday morning and hit the road for Oklahoma. This is one of the first pictures I took off the interstate. Flat and windswept - that's southern Oklahoma! But it was beautiful... We got into town about 5:00 and checked into our room at Intown Suites. Now this is a room that is just over 300 square feet, which is smaller than it sounds. There was a full-size bed, a pullout loveseat, a kitchen and a bathroom. Ben and I took the bed, Olivia the pull-out, and Kelsey slept on the cushion from the couch. Connor had his pack-n-play to sleep in, so we crammed in quite nicely. Our only real complaint is that they didn't have NBC and we missed most of the first week of the Olympics!

The following day we went to our new ward: Edmond First Ward. There's a TON of young families with small kids and youth. Apparently they had a baby boom about 6 months ago, and there's a lot of infants. Since Ben's dad had already sent our records over the week before, we were welcomed in as a new family - setting some sort of record apparently, since we'd been here less than 24 hours.

On Monday I started pounding the pavement to find a place to live. This was no easy task, apparently. There are several colleges in Edmond, and the public school system out here is one of the highest ranked in the state. So in addition to the college students moving in, there are always families trying to move out here before the start of the school year. However, I was blessed to find the right manager Monday morning, and by lunchtime we had a place to move in to on Thursday night. On Tuesday (Aug. 12th), the kids and I stayed at the hotel to relax, and I got sick with an upper respiratory infection. (Just for the record, I finally started feeling better a few days ago, but Ben has a milder case of it now.) Anyhow, Thursday night we moved in to our new place with the help of the local Elder's Quorum. Our apartment is a 2-story townhouse duplex behind the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO). There's a lot of fraternity and sorority housing in the area, but the street we are on is quiet and we are less than half a mile from Olivia's elementary school and only a mile from the library. We also have a small private backyard with a privacy fence around it. The Monday after we moved in, I heard Kelsey calling for me from the stairway. She had gotten stuck playing on the railing on the second floor. It was so funny! So of COURSE I snapped a picture to share...

Now we are more or less moved in and getting settled. We're still glad to be in Oklahoma, even though we have gotten off to a rough start!

Day 3 & 4: The Louisiana Leg

For the first time in over 2 1/2 years, I got to see my brother's wife and kids! Considering the kids are currently 5 and younger, this is a big deal. Julie fixed a fantastic dinner for Wednesday night, (which was particularly good because nothing was fried or convenience food) and we spent Thursday mostly relaxing and having a good time.

Then Friday morning, it all started to go south. As directed by Julie, Ben had parked our big moving truck in the driveway next door, because Julie didn't think anyone lived there. (Note: Niel and Julie had just moved in the end of July and it is now Aug. 8th.) Well, lo and behold, someone DID live there, and had just been out of town for a couple of weeks. She had gotten home late on Thursday night, and drove through her ditch to get into her car port. But at 7am on Friday, she was blocked in and couldn't get to work because of our moving truck. Fortunately, the man across the street knew who was responsible for the truck, and came knocking on the door to let us know. She was nice about the whole thing, but Julie and I decided it would be a good idea to make more extra peace with a plate of chocolate chip cookies. So Friday was going to be my baking day. Cookies for the neighbor and homemade cinnamon rolls for Niel's family. About lunchtime Julie and I ran to the store. While there, I got "the call" from Broadway Village Apartments, which is when they informed me that we could not move in there the next day as planned. Because I had done work in the tax credit program, I figured we'd be able to move into a tax credit apartment and pay less in rent. Well, we make too much money, which isn't exactly a PROBLEM, but it definitely felt like one at noon on Friday. So, I spent the next few hours working things out with Ben, and we decided to go ahead and come on to Oklahoma and move into the Intown Suites for a week while we found a place to live and Ben started his job.

So, for the rest of the day we hung out and I baked. There are some very colorful grasshoppers in Louisiana, and Ben took this amazing picture on Niel's back porch.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Day 2: Getting to Louisiana

On Wednesday morning at 3:20, Connor woke up to eat and Ben got in the shower. Even though we had only been asleep 4 hours, we wanted to hit the road early to avoid a repeat of the night before. By 4:20 a.m. we were pulling out of the parking lot. Travel went much, much better. The kids slept a couple more hours and we drove without incident. Then Olivia woke up and had to go potty, so we pulled in at a nice gas station about 6:30. Daddy watched Kelsey and Connor, and Olivia and I went in. Then I nursed Connor in the car while Daddy drove on ahead. I also reset my car clock since we had crossed into Alabama and had gained an hour by crossing the time zone line. Before long, Connor had finished his first breakfast, and we caught up on the road. It only took about 20 minutes or so considering Ben still couldn't get much above 60 mph on the interstate. We pulled into a Waffle House for breakfast about 7:30 (CST) - our splurge for the day. After dining it was travel as usual. This time Kelsey got to sit in the big truck with Daddy. It's amazing how tiny she looks up in the cab of that huge truck! Olivia rode with me and I drugged her up with Dramamine, so she crashed in the backseat. Around 11:30 we were over half-way through Mississippi and stopped at a rest area to eat a picnic lunch. We ate in a covered picnic pavillion. We have finally reached the land where being in the shade makes about a 10-degree difference in temperature! Not that it was COOL under the pavillion, but it was definately bearable and almost nice. After lunch, Kelsey and Olivia traded spots, so Olivia was back in the big truck with Daddy again.

We crossed the Mississippi River into Louisiana about 1:00 p.m. and an amazing thing happened: Ben actually hit 70 mph!! Did you know it's FLAT on the other side of the Mississippi?? Wow. We might actually make good time for the rest of our trip... Anyhow, we stopped about 20 miles into LA at a McDonalds for afternoon ice cream cones. I think it was 80 degrees in the restaurant and muggy. And let me just say here that I MISS the fast food places in SC. I have not seen a playland OR a baby changing station at a restaurant since we left!! I have changed Connor now on TWO restaurant tables, and countless times in the front seat of my car at a gas station. Poor kid. Poor Mommy, too. We got to Niel's house (my brother) about 5:00 on Wednesday. Julie had fixed a wonderful dinner for us - roast, brocolli, and new potatoes. I was in heaven! My kids didn't like it much, but I don't care. It wasn't fried, overly salty, or eaten in a hurry. It was amazing to see my neices and nephew. The last time I saw Niel's family was Christmas of 2005. Nan, who is now 5, is such a grown-up little lady, and Wesley isn't a baby any more. He's one of those kids that can just melt you when he smiles. At least he melts the ladies, I can't speak for the guys. And Mallie is just now 10 months old, so I haven't met her before. It's amazing how much they have all grown!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Day 1: The Potty Disaster

The Ervin family hit the road (finally!) about 3:20 yesterday afternoon. Let me first say that we are so grateful to the men from church that came out and loaded us up. It took less than an hour! Travel went well at first. Aunt Gwen had thoughtfully kept both girls up an hour and a half past their normal bedtime the night before, and then worn them out with swimming. So the girls crashed when they got in the car and had the hum of tires on the interstate whistling in their little ears. Connor slept as well, and by 7:00 we had only 70 miles left to go till the hotel on the other side of Atlanta. For those of you wondering what took so long, this would be a good time to mention that loaded moving trucks apparently have a hard time getting up to 60 mph on hilly roads. After eating, Olivia got in the big truck with Daddy, and we started off again. A little ways down the road, Kelsey announced that she had to go to the bathroom. We had apparently all gone at the restaurant for dinner EXCEPT Kelsey. So I called Ben and told him, and we decided to get off on the next exit. It was an exit with only one Circle K and a Waffle House. It was apparently also crack-ville. The Circle K's restroom was "out of order". (I bet they have to say that to everyone.) So we went out, and out of desperation, I was going to have Kelsey go to the bathroom behind the store by the trees (well concealed). So I went around the store, got Kelsey into position, and she told me she had to go stinky, not pee-pee. I told her to immediately STOP what she was doing, and we pulled up her britched and went around front to tell Daddy. By this time, Connor had woken up and needed to be changed. Daddy had obliged by changing him on the hood of our car. Rather than take the moving van and car all the way to the Waffle House (about 1/2 mile away), I was going to drive Kelsey in the car and leave Connor with Daddy and Olivia in the moving truck at the Circle K. Well, then I realized the Connor was still crying because he was hungry, so I was going to stay and nurse him while Ben took the girls potty at the Waffle House. This I did sitting high in the cab of the Penske truck - very discrete... We finally got to the hotel about 10:00, and to sleep about 11:00.