Well it's been awhile, but I'm happy to be back at my blog after a break. I can't believe all that's happened since the last time I sat writing on this page. I actually can't believe any of this is happening at all. I keep saying to Brian, usually while we're driving and it's quiet enough for my thoughts to drift, "I can't believe we actually did this!!"
In case you're new or you missed it, we moved from Southern California to Northwest Arkansas two weeks ago. If you live in California your response to that statement is probably, "oh yeah. Get out while you can!" If you don't live in California, you probably think we're stupid or insane or both. We get both reactions on a near-daily basis.
Yes, California is incredibly expensive and liberal and dry and in desperate need of rain and not super big-family-friendly. And yes, California has some of the most beautiful beaches and living there comes at a price, so of course it's expensive. And yes, our entire family and [almost] all the friends and people we've ever known and loved live there and nothing can replace the support of loved ones.
This is why it took us awhile to finally follow the call we have heard for so long- the call of God to move somewhere else. We didn't just move because of perks. The positives of moving to Arkansas are just that- perks, and nothing more. We moved away because as much as we tried, we couldn't pretend God wasn't tugging on our hearts. We know beyond any doubt that we are where we are supposed to be right now.
We don't know how long we'll live here, if it'll be forever or a few years, we don't know what's next. We know we absolutely love it so far and we feel incredibly peaceful for the first time in a long time [that happens when you're in God's will], and we know we would like to buy a house here within the next year or two. Other than that, it all depends on God and His still, small voice.
All that being said, I'm ready to fill you in on how everything went down! Moving a family of six that includes a baby, plus a cat cross-country is interesting to say the least.
So if you've been wondering what's up over here since we took the big leap of faith, here ya go :)
The Road Trip
We sold pretty much everything, and rented the smallest U-Haul trailer [it was 5'x8'] which fit our mattresses, table and chairs [taken apart], and a few other favorite items like my beloved bicycle art, and the boys' bunk beds all taken apart. We didn't even bring dishes or silverware, so I do mean we sold pretty much everything. We got a hitch added to our minivan and were ready to go!
We had been renting our house, and were on a month-to-month lease, so we were able to get out easily without the need to sell a house or anything, which was a huge blessing. The night before we were going to leave, we were sleeping at my parents' house, and Hudson and Emmett were tag-teaming the destruction of our trip. They were both waking up every half hour or so, and the plan was for us to get as much sleep as possible since we were supposed to leave at 3AM. Well we had to adapt, so we slept till 5 and left then.
Bonus: Starbucks was actually open by then, so of course I made Brian stop right before we got on the freeway. He was thrilled.
And so the road trip to our new life began...
Everything was really dry and ugly for awhile.
We got In N Out one last time in Arizona. Goodbye my looooooooooooove!! *insert sobbing emoji*
The kids did beyond amazing. I really couldn't be happier with how well they handled so many hours in their carseats. The whole two days of driving, they were seriously perfect. It had to be God because that is not what I was expecting from my kids. Not even close.
Chicken did great too.
We drove from Murrieta, CA to Albuquerque, New Mexico in one day. It took us 17 hours with traffic and all the stops we made for gas, food, and stretching our legs. I had to slap Brian around a few times at the very end of the drive because he was falling asleep but we'd already booked a hotel on Priceline and paid $80, so we had to make it there. I won't lie, the slapping wasn't so bad for me.
Totally kidding. Sort of. Anyyyyway...
The next morning we hit Starbucks for coffee and bagels and headed back out around 7:30. And then everything got gorgeous.
We stayed at a hotel in Oklahoma City that night, and when we got there we realized we had landed a reeeeally nice hotel on Priceline. We had no idea. When we walked in we clearly didn't belong, especially with how disheveled we were. But staying there was great and we all got some good sleep that night.
The next morning we headed out, finished off Oklahoma, and headed into our new home state of Arkansas, where everything got even more stunningly beautiful.
My great grandpa, Elum lives in Arkansas, about an hour from our new home, so of course we met up with him on our way in. It was such a treat for him to meet his great great grandchildren, and I am so thrilled I got to see him again! PS. The Waffle House? YUM.
Once we got into our city, we were all sick of each other and S O D O N E with the trip. The baby was screaming, Brian was stressing out trying to find the management office, the older kids were bickering loudly, and I was wishing it was acceptable to put my headphones in, but alas, that would've pissed off the love bug. We were required to show up in-person and show proof of occupancy at the Springdale Water District, which was suuuuper fun to do after three days of driving. So after the townhouse management office, we headed to get our water turned on, and then we went home!
After much looking online, discussing, praying, and thinking about it from every angle, Brian and I decided to forego a house and rent a two-bedroom townhouse. We just didn't feel the need to get all the space we might want right away, having to deal with shoveling snow from our property [which, since we're both born and raised in Cali, we are so unprepared for], and collecting a bunch of stuff before another inevitable move whenever we buy. We are in a season of chaos and major change, and in this season, we have found that what we crave is simplicity.
Our townhome is perfect. It's two stories, the kids are all in one room via a triple bunk bed and Emmett's crib, and the hard oak flooring makes me giddy every time I come downstairs. Choosing this type of house meant no fuss, no huge empty walls or spaces begging to have money spent on decor, no room to bring in a bunch of junk... it's somewhat close to
[a dream of mine], and I love it.
My mom flew in the day after we got to our new house, which was awesome because she spent six days helping with the kids while Brian and I did what we needed to do to get set up. We had four full days before Brian had to start work, so we went to IKEA [the closest one is in Kansas, eep!], and stock up on groceries, and explore the area a little before life had to start again. We got a sofa and some other things we needed to function, everything else will be slowly added in as I thrift and shop on the weekends.
I have to say, getting rid of all of our stuff was the most liberating thing I've ever done. We threw away so much junk that was taking up closet space and sold so much, this fresh start is like water to my thirsty soul. I am so glad we chose to go this route rather than paying to bring all our things over here with us! Also, I don't think I was a true minimalist until the move, because I honestly didn't realize how much random crap I still had in my hallway closet. That was humbling.
Fast forward to today, two weeks from the big move, and we now have a TV, we started our home school year yesterday [we decided to wait until after the move to begin, and more on that later], we are getting back to our normal schedule with naps and meals and errands, Bella has started horse riding lessons again out here, and we are starting to feel like we know our way around our little area. We are in love with the beauty of "the natural state", and we both agree there's a beautifully heavy peace over every part of our beings since we got here. God. is. so. good.
Thank you lovely readers of mine for being patient with me as I got through this big step in my life and took a blogging break. I missed you all and cannot wait to share more of our adventures with you!