Dec 30, 2013

CURRENTLY (Long Over Due) - Ann Arbor, MI. - December 2013

Welcome back. Almost 4 months without a post and I really don't have much of an excuse.  I will say there has been time, but these days sleep overcomes me in the moments that are quiet.  As it often does, life has taken us lots of places this fall and winter so I thought I'd share a little bit of what we are "currently" up to before I attempt to plat MASSIVE catch up before Mini Sticks arrives.

Loving: watching Criminal Minds with The Hub after the girls are in bed.

Waiting for: Mini Sticks to arrive so he or she can wear this fun shirt!!!
(Thank you Greta!)

Excited about: My BIRTHDAY (only 10 days away!

Missing: My best friend!

Trying to: Parent with Grace and reach my children's HEARTS
 (This book has been a great resource...
 in conjunction with THIS amazing quick reference chart... Plus an incredible email from THIS FRIEND who, until now, probably has no idea how much her words have meant to me and how much strength they give me DAILY!)

Working on: rearranging projects like this the girls bedroom.
(More to come in a future post)

Enjoying: Having The Hub home on vacation to enjoy little moments like this.

THIS and THIS.  I got them both at a "5 Favorite Things" christmas party. 
This soap smells good enough to eat!

And this lip balm is too cute, smells yummy, and makes me feel way cooler than I am when using it in public. 

Wearing: Pants with elastic waste bands... And LOVING IT!!!

Planning: my nesting stock stock up.  History has revealed that, for me, nesting does not take the form of OCD house cleaning, I shop for things like toilet paper, paper towels, tooth paste, soap shampoo, cat litter, laundry detergent, cereal, frozen food, and any other item that would allow my family to "survive" if I should die in childbirth.  Sort of morbid, I know but this is what I'm compelled to do in the weeks leading up to delivery, so I might as well plan, right?

Singing: Christmas music.

Writing: posts about...
E Turns 3
Greta Visits Ann Arbor
A New Room for 2 Growing Girls
Seating for 3
Knoxville Get Away
Diary of a 3 Year Old
Diary of a 1 Year Old
A Michigan Winter
Aunt "Za-Nah-Nah" visiting for Thanksgiving
Advent Tree Ornament Exchange
4 Christmas Gifts
Keeping Busy in The Snow
Keeping Family Close When We're Far Away
Where We Will Wander Next
and more...

Needing: a hair cut.
(I'm really missing my cute A-Line Bob.  Made me feel "put together".

Learning: About photography from THIS book
Wishing: that my girls will one day be best friends.
(There are moments I see hope, but most of the time they are fighting, pushing, and pulling hair.)

Doing: NOTHING in the way of exercise to prepare for the labor and delivery of this baby.
(Meaning THESE DVDs are "currently" collecting dust!)

Praying for: Mini Sticks * Sarah * Robyn * Annie

Dreaming of: BIG family Christmases when we return to East Tennessee.

So this is me.
Want to play along? What are you currently up to?

{this "currently" post idea is borrowed from one of my favorite blogs Jones Design Company; Fun Monthly paper printables, life, and a great eye for all things pretty. Check her out!

I promise I will be back VERY soon!

Till Next time,
Bon Voyage!

Aug 27, 2013

Moving: Phase 3 - Ann Arbor, MI. - June 2013

This is the 3rd and final installment in our moving adventure. If you're just joining us you can check out:

So, let's pick up where we left off. After 6 days of eating out and primitively entertaining our little ladies, the Allied Van Lines truck arrived in front of our new house. After a quick McDonaldd breakfast they set to work Preparing the house.
They build a bridge across the lawn from the truck doors... 
Right up to and over the front steps.
Carpet runners were rolled out on all the hard surfaces.
And plastic wrap tracks were laid down on all the carpeted surfaces, like the halls...
and stairs.
They removed stair rails and padded the doer way.
The inspector checked everything out.
(The inspector... I LOVE that lip!!!)

We did a quick walk through noting where all the large furniture needed to be placed and each room was labeled to make it easy to direct where boxes needed to go.

We found a quiet, out of the way corner for the girls.
Once everything and everyone was ready, they set to work.
I'm still floored but how many boxes there were!
(kitchen and dinning room)
(Kids bedroom)
(Kids Bathroom)
(Master Bedroom)

There were a few furniture placement mishaps, meaning that I misjudged how large our furniture was and had to completely rethink how a few... No ALL of the rooms would be set up. 

Once the couch was in place E didn't waste any time making sure its comfort wasn't damaged in the move.
The day was long and there were frustrating moments, but for the most part, a full service pack and move was well worth every penny we spent.

If you're interested in connecting with Allied van Lines to get your next move quoted we HIGHLY recommend them!  We've worked with Mitzi Lyne, our move coordinator a few times and had several friends work with her as well.  Her information is below.  We don't get any credit or discounts for referals but having moved as much as we have a good moving company is a HUGE comfort when everything in your life is being relocated.  Also if you have any questions about the process please ask me in the comments below.

Mitzi Lyne
Moving Consultant
Lanigan Worldwide Moving
Agent for Allied Van Lines
Memphis, Tn/
Our Master Mover's name was Sebastian out of Chicago.
(he primairily does northeastern and mid western moves and he doesn't go farther south than Tennessee.)

In many ways it was hard to watch someone handling your stuff because in your head you feel you'd take more time and be more careful and organized. The truth of it is you can put a lot of effort in on the front to make things more organized for them to pack which will make unpacking a lot easier on you.

To be COMPLETELY honest I did NOTHING to prepare for the move except organize the girls toys, give a few things away and pack our "go bags", and when everything was unpacked, there were only 4 casualties.  Our steam cleaner sustained very minor damage, and the glass in a picture frame was broken. 3 and 4 were actually my fault. I left the batteries in our 2 hands free soap dispensers. Needless to say, they emptied themselves throughout their journey. Oh well!!!

All the packing information told us that things would be packed "as is" unless there were instructions given ahead of time. As you can see, I'm not torn up about it!

I know it's taken a while to get this entire story up but I promise there is good reason. we've had a lot of d.i.y. projects going on that have kept us all very busy. Those stories and more are coming soon. Love you all and thanks so much for sticking with us and keeping us in your prayers throughout this transition. If you can believe it, we've already started planning the next move. We're like the Macey's Thanksgiving Day Parade around here, in more ways than one!

Till next time,
Bon Voyage!

Aug 1, 2013

Moving: Phase 2 - Baltimore, MD/Ann Arbor, MI - June 2013

Welcome back! If you're just joining the party you can check out:

A lot of people think the hardest part about of moving is the heavy lifting. They're right!   However, when traveling and moving with little ones there are lots of challenges. We've learned that how you frame the situation makes all the difference.  All around, this move was stressful, but really a lot of fun and it was cool to see the creativity emerge when we took away the TV and noisy toys, both  children and adult.  Lots of time for family.

The drive time between Baltimore and Ann Arbor is just over 8 hours for 2 adults that's nothing at all, but add 2 SUVs, 2 kids, 2 cats, and 2 fish and it gets a little more interesting. We gave a lot of thought to us all riding together and towing the smaller of our 2 vehicles, but when it we decided to buy walkie talkies and drive separately I mean how could I turn down the Hub's offer to give me 9 kid free hours of listening to music, uninterrupted audio books, and I did't have to share my snacks with ANYONE!

So it was me, the cats and the fish in the little truck. Then the Hub and the girls in "Daddy's BIG truck". The decision to put the girls with the Hub was a few layers deep. First, in general, our girls behave WAY better for their daddy. THIS is a mystery to me that I'm sure I will NEVER completely understand. The second reason is that the Hub's truck has GIANT tires and the noise that they make on the road completely puts them to sleep. I have to admit, THAT was the Hub's idea and he was absolutely right!
When they weren't sleeping they were reading...
And setting booby traps for daddy when he opened their door at the rest stop.
The most challenging part about using professional packers and movers is that you don't move with your stuff. The company we use gave us a 4-6 day window for delivery. and because of the geographic makeup of our moving teams load schedule it took the full 6 days to receive our belongings. That being said, we had a lot of time on our hands to keep our little ladies busy and with no furniture and a VERY limited supply of toys we had to get creative.
The Bucket Races
Playground Inspecting
Nature Hunts
Trash Can Head
Static Electricity Hair Stylist
And yes, we did watch a little bit more Sofia.
Then, on the 6th day, after driving all night to get to us on time, this is what appeared in front of our new home.
I can't wait to tell you about the move-in process, it was a really cool.  We decided that we will request this team by name for our next move, which, by the way is less than 11 months away! CRAZY!!!

Check out:

Till next time,
Bon Voyage!

Jul 9, 2013

Moving: Phase 1 - Baltimore MD - June 2013

I have to be completely honest, THe Hub and I have been married almost 8 years and very early on we discovered that as a couple, the act of physically moving our belongings across the country is NOT good for our marriage. After the first move, just 2 weeks after our wedding, it really bothered me that our first real "TEST" didn't go so well. What should have been an uneventful, 8 hour drive across the state of Tennessee turned into 12 hours of un-airconditioned hell for the Hub who was driving the largest U-haul known to man and towing his car,  as I followed im in my 10 year old car with NO AC and a particularly disagreeable disposition when it cam to climbing the "Hills of Tennessee". I think the nice way to describe that trip was "character building". As we laid down that evening, exhausted by what we'd just endured and dreading the day of unloading that lay ahead of us, we promised each other we'd set aside $50 a month for the next four years and that money would pay for professional movers!

Four years later we did just that. After being home for a month and packing all of our stuff into free moving boxes we sat back a and watched 3 men load every single one of our belongings (minus the cats, a television and clothes to last until our furniture arrived). Then, 3 days later, we watched 3 men carry every thing we owned up 3 flights of steps to where we would call home for the next four years. That evening we decided to up the ante What if we set aside $100 a month for the next four years? That would pay for people to pack our stuff AND carry it back down all those steps AND drive it across the country AND once again unload it. 

So here we are four years later and you ask, "Lili, what's kept you away so long?"

I've been moving a house... Well not ME technically, but A house has been moved under my supervision which can sometimes be more difficult than moving it yourself... Minus the packing, and lifting, and going up and down all those steps, and making everything fit into the truck... Hmmm... when you put it like thatI really haven't done much of anything over this last month!

Pretty impressive huh!!!

Despite a little bit of last minute scheduling drama and a 2 day delay, this move and the guys that made it happen were pretty AMAZING!

The morning started bright and early at 8 am.  We shut the cats, and everything we didn't want the movers to take, away in the bathroom.
They parked the 18 wheeler as close as they could get it to our front door
They set up a staging area in our common hall...
And 6 grown men set to work on packing and moving our home.

I promise you, before this move I honestly would have told you we didn't have that much stuff. Let me tell you, 8,000 pounds later, THAT is a LIE!!!

Our bedroom...
Our kitchen...
The girls room...
There were boxes and men packing boxes EVERYWHERE!!!
This is Sabastian, our "Master Mover" (No that's his real title!) and he was a complete JOY to work with through out the move.

Meanwhile, as our home was delivately wraped in paper and tucked into boxes our job was to entertain 2 VERY BUSY little ladies.
I never thought I'd say this but a HUGE thank you to Disney Jr's newest princess "Sofia the First" 
There was a lot of snuggling
hide and seek
Some Moving Box Dancing... Of course!!!
And a once lost now found birthday balloon really made for some good times.
MJ got to taste her first french fries (from Wendy's).
After such an exciting morning a nap was necessary!
Even big sister took a few seconds to catch a few Zzzz's
While the girls were sleeping The Hub removed curtain rods and shelving from the wall.
E woke up just in time to find her kitchen on the kitchen counter (which she thought was super funny)
And then they carried it, backpack stye, out the front door.
After lunch and a break the real heavy lifting began.

Everything that is too big to fit into a box is either wrapped in a thick blue movers blanket
or shrink wrapped 
As you can see, this allows them to set it down until they know exactly where it's going on the truck without it getting dirty.
Finally, around 6pm everything had been packed and loaded
(Reminds me of Tetras)

The movers were gone and we were left in our empty home, which I think the girls thought was more fun than our home with all it's stuff!
The cats snuck around sniffing everything and looking around, then looking at us as if to say "do you realize we've been robbed.
It was a long and tiring day and around every corner a memory popped to the surface.
This is the first place our girls called home
I will miss my kitchen island, 
I will miss how close we were to everything.
I will miss my ORANGE wall!

I will miss this place.

Check out:
Till next time,
Bon Voyage!