Saturday, January 28, 2012


We're back! The trip was wonderful, a truly welcome respite from the nervous anticipation of the past few months and the craziness of the months ahead. The kids were great travelers- even though JP and I were exhausted when we got everyone and everything home at 5:30 last night, I don't think it could have gone better. They slept well, ate well, played well, and traveled well, and it certainly helps that Landon continues to consider Claire's happiness to be his personal mission in life. So I have no complaints, and I love how freaking adorable they can both be at these ages, but man it will be nice to one day travel without two giant car seats, a pack 'n play, and two kids who can't be left alone for a moment (and a Claire who basically just counts as another bag because she has to be carried, though she did helpfully insist on wearing her penguin backpack while being carried).

This will be the equivalent of your neighbors making you watch a slideshow of their vacation, so I apologize in advance, but I have to include some pictures for posterity. Here are days 2-4 of our 2012 family vacation, in brief:

Little skiier:

What JP and I were so excited to run into while coming down the mountain for lunch: (aren't little chains of ski schoolers adorable?)

(squee! JP and I both kind of flipped out when we saw Landon;
if I was him, I would have been totally embarrassed)

End of day 2 when we got to take Landon up on a run with us! I cannot even describe how excited we were to get to do that- our baby boy! on skis! with us!!

The parents grinning ear-to-ear, Landon just wants to get on with the skiing.

"Mommy I KNOW!" (when I was telling him to snow plow for the turn up ahead; one of many reasons why we did not attempt to teach Landon how to ski ourselves (the other being that JP and I wanted fast skiing alone time))

Love this one of father and son heading down our final run:

Heading home with two exhausted kiddos after day 2..

Snowmobile tour up the Continental Divide on day 3- SO MUCH fun (that's Winter Park in the background)

The guide matched my snowmobile to my jacket; good man.

Horse-drawn sleigh ride! We picked the activity because it was the only one Claire could do with us. She loved petting the horsies, but then kind of lost her shit during the first thirty minutes of the ride, calming down only when I held her tight and sang "Dashing through the Snow" over and over (and OVER) again. Landon enjoyed the whole thing, but his favorite part by far was the stop to roast marshmallows and drink hot chocolate, which we could have down without the whole horse-drawn sleigh part.

On the drive back to the condo, we found a park with a sledding hill with a big bin of public sleds! It was one of the many things we discovered while looking at the park and town through our kids' eyes, a view that really changed the trip for us (for the better).

Landon loved it, as he loved everything snow-related:

Mommy took a turn (I swear it was faster than this looks):

My little Chicago baby:

I loved all the fun and activities, but one of the best parts of the day came at night when we put on pjs, fuzzy socks, and a movie and snuggled together on the couch. (Another best part was when both kids were passed out in the other room at 6:55 and JP and I had the rest of the evening to ourselves ;)

We really did have so much fun and the whole experience was more than worth the hassle of dragging two kids and all their accessories on planes, trains, buses, and rental cars to enjoy the snow and JP and my favorite kind of vacation. Last night as I was tucking Landon in bed he asked, "mommy, when we can we live in that place where I woke up this morning?" Not soon, but hopefully someday!

Now that we're back the realities of the new job and the move have slammed back to the forefront. JP has removed our backdoor in order to re-paint some rusted spots and just discovered the primer is supposed to dry for 24 hours. It's chilly out (low 50's) so we're all bundled up in sweaters in our house. I listed a few old baby items on craigslist for free (Goodwill won't accept them) and got about 27 phone calls in the first 5 minutes. I seriously underestimated the demand on that one. We have a few other weekend projects and then a home staging appointment on Tuesday, pre-approval meeting with the lender for our Ft Worth house on Wednesday, and I have to drive 90 minutes away to get my federal fingerprinting done on Thursday (because there are no acceptable locations in Austin, grrr). And I'll just admit it now, I'm completely stressed about selling our house for what we paid for it (we bought 6 months before the whole market fell apart), dealing with the dogs and psychotic cat and two kids while trying to keep the house spotless and showable, trying to buy a house in a new city before I start my job which means we have to qualify for the mortgage in JP's name only and we're not sure that's possible, maybe moving to an apartment first with our two kids, two dogs, and psychotic cat, finding daycares for the kids that have room for them for the last few months of the school year, and figuring out the timing of it all while not knowing my start date yet for the SEC because they haven't yet completed the background check. AND doing all of this while JP and I both work full-time with as little gap as possible because we can't have a gap in our paychecks in order to fund all of the above. (and without other little helpers like knowing anyone in the area and/or having retired parents who don't work full-time themselves and will swoop in to assist with these kinds of things; not that I think parents of grown children should have to do that, I'm just going to admit now that there's going to be a moment where I'll wish they did).

It will all work out. I know this. But between now and when it's all worked out, it's going to be a little hectic, and hectic was easier when it was just JP and me. For now we just work on the to-do list, which is currently paused on "re-finish and paint back door" and find comfort in the fact that by this summer we should be moved in and settled in a new house in an exciting new city with a wonderful new job. It's going to be great, but I'm just warning you, there might be a few stress posts sprinkled amongst the kid pictures between now and then.


  1. LOTS of luck. Won't the SEC at least give you an offer letter that states the GS level and salary at which you're being hired? DOJ did that for me, and without it, we wouldn't have gotten even an apartment (since Dan was unemployed at the time.)

  2. LOVE the skiing pictures, and I'm more than a little jealous. C has no interest, at all, of going on a mountain, despite growing up in a freaking ski town. I miss it so much!
    The new job/move/holy hell what did we do? is definitely an adventure, but you guys will be great. I'm starting to be a bit of an expert at moving places where we don't know anyone. I would suggest that you get the daycare thing settled as soon as you know a general area (either close to work or close to where you want to live). That will make you feel a lot more secure, and the bonus is that daycare people are super sweet and helpful, so they can be asked questions like "Is such and such really a good neighborhood?" and "how's the commute traffic?"
    Good luck!

  3. I was so happy to hear about your job--it sounds like really a wonderful opportunity. I've been following your blog for quite a while, and while you will have a lot on your hands in the coming months, I am confident that because you have such wonderful organization skills you will handle it really well (and with style!) Good luck to you and the family! Hilary in MO

  4. So glad you got the ski trip in before all the madness...because that is madness for sure! Good luck, and stay sane!

  5. I mentioned it in another post, but with no extended time off, I would really recommend renting in Ft. Worth for 6 months. Wouldn't have to be an apartment, maybe a house? Living in California, I admit I don't know much about the rental market in Texas. Just seems like there'd be less commitment, so less stress on finding the perfect house there before you start work. Just my two cents on moving with 2 small kids and quick change over between jobs. Renting saved our butts a couple of times. The one time we bought quickly we regretted it.

  6. I second (or third) the comment about renting. We just moved 45 miles away to the county I grew up in...and yet, we already have decided that we don't love the neighborhood we're in. The house is great, but the neighborhood just isn't where we want to raise our family (despite the fact that it is close to everything and looks good on paper and from driving around). We are glad we can go elsewhere in 10 months once we know better where we want to be, and since we're in CA (i.e. super $$), we are saving money by renting as well. My other tip is to pay for movers to do everything for you (which I know you said is what you're used to). It's so hard to unpack/get settled once you reach a certain threshold of stuff, and it's worth the extra money to have it done by people much more efficient.

    Good luck! It's going to be a stressful couple of months, but OH SO WORTH IT in the end!