Matthew. Emma. William. Paul

Matthew. Emma. William. Paul

Thursday, April 7, 2016

We moved. Like, again.

So remember that one time that we did something crazy and moved our family across the country to Florida. We lived on a cattle ranch and we had horses in our backyard. We could frolic in orange groves and sweat out of every pour in December?

That was what, like 2 months ago? It was actually from October-March so we are basically retired snowbirds. Don't we look great for 65.

You guessed it. We moved. Like, again.

Back in January when Matt and I traveled to Portland for his youngest brothers wedding, Matt's father jokingly said that he thought a position would be opening up in his office in Kennewick, WA soon. I looked at him stone cold in the face and said, "don't even talk to me about this. I'm never moving again."

See how good I am at making and sticking to goals. In fact, my New Year's resolution was to not move. I know New Year's resolutions are joked about as being a funny idea that you do for a week but I'm pretty serious about my resolutions. They are my jam and I totally failed... in March.

So as you may have gathered we are still working for the same awesome company but in a different location. The same location of Matt's parents in fact. Matt's dad is just down the hall--nepotism at it's finest. Just kidding guys. Disclaimer: Steven Vickery had no say in hiring Matthew. He just helped in creating an awesome human being people love to offer jobs to when we aren't looking for one.

We had so much fun in the Florida sun but it was pretty obvious that I am not a rancher or a Southern girl at heart. I have nightmares of cockroaches and alligators on the nightly. Having said this, I was fully geared up to adopt a baby calf,  keep it in my backyard, and mother the crap out of it. Ranching does not come natural to me but embracing new ideas and lifestyles do. I love to experience different cultures and ways of life. If you try to recreate your day-to-day in a new location it almost never works. Besides, it is always way more fun discovering and learning new things. I'm sad it didn't last long enough to try some new things. I had my heart set on learning to ride a horse.

But instead, here we are in Kennewick Washington living the millennial dream--living with my in-laws... until our house is ready for us in May. I kinda feel like a total lame-o for turning 30 and living with my in-laws but communal living does have its perks, like built in babysitters and someone for Matt to watch sports with.

I'm getting ahead of myself.

So I went from severe anger ( I did not want to move one more freaking time) to excitement in the prospect of being so much closer to family. At the end of the day, I want my children to know their extended family. To look forward to seeing cousins because they know them. Our location here allows us to see almost everyone in our family in less than a days drive. We are not closer to my sister but even in Florida we were a solid 2 day drive.

Speaking of driving. Every time I see my car I have PTSD. We drove over 4000 miles in 2 countries, 2 provinces and 19 states with a 4 year old and a 2 year old. Woowza

You know in geometry when they teach you how to find the shortest distance between two locations? We did not do that.

I know what you're thinking. Why the hell would you do something like this? Are you mentally unstable? Are you aware of the airplane? It was invented 113 years ago.

I thought it would be fun. 
Only sometimes. 
I had to google it. 

How did this happen? Well, I really wanted to visit my sister in Montreal. Do you see Montreal on that map? It's the farthest most north-east point. Plus, if we went to Montreal we would be able to see some of the Northeast states AND friends and family in Ontario. I didn't know if it would work but then Matt sent me a map along with a tentative itinerary so I had to do it. love him. And I love that he loves maps. Man does he love a good map. 

Saying goodbye to our home

Our time in Florida was short but that definitely did not stop us from having some wild adventures, meeting incredible people and having a blast!  

In our typical fashion, we didn't really plan anything for our trek across the country and just started driving. We left a little earlier than we thought and realized we could spend a night and a few hours in NYC... when we were a few hours outside of New York. Neither of us had been so we decided to do it. We got a hotel room near Times Square and stayed until late afternoon the next day. How did people do anything spontaneous before iPhones and google maps? 

Matt drove Times Square at night and I helped by informing him of all the obstacles, "Car in the wrong lane!" "Person walking into our lane!" "Bike!" "Taxi!" It. was. crazy. 

In short: New York City KICKED MY BUTT. And by butt, I mean William's skull.   

Moments before "the incident"

If anyone would like the experience of being in NYC without actually going, just open up your wallet and start throwing money out for no reason and in all directions. It's basically the same. I learned a few things in New York City, don't take your children. Don't. NYC is not meant for a party of four. Everything is small. Unless it's big, then its really big. Sidewalks-small. Restaurant tables-small. Subway doors-small. City- really big. We were basically a parade where ever we went. I'm sure there is a way to survive the city with children but in the 5 hours I was out of our hotel room, I did not find out. 

Because this move and entire trip were pretty last minute we were grossly underprepared. Although it was blazing hot in Florida it was winter elsewhere, especially the Northeast. I tried but failed miserably to find a winter jacket or boots for the boys (in February in Florida). They were out of the stores and had even been pulled from the children's second hand stores. My sister came to the rescue on this matter but that left us with one little problem. New York. It was cold. While Paul was wearing William's hand-me-downs, poor William had only sweaters and winter boots. We set out to find hats, mitts and scarves, anything to keep us warm. We walked Times Square, Matt holding Paul and William holding my hand. Soon William became tired and cold so I started carrying him. It was a windy day so I was holding him with his head nestled into me to break the wind. We were right by the new years eve ball drop area and the street had been converted to a massive side walk with venders and outdoor tables for eating. William's head was blocking my peripheral vision and what I thought was a flat surface turned into an old street curb that had not been removed and I started to fall. Not wanting to crush my child I fell straight. on. my. knees and crushed them. William then fell from the distance of my knees straight back on the back of his head. Crunch. I mean I thought I had broken him. I started to shake in panic and just held on to him. Matt picked him up and miraculously his skull was still intact. He wouldn't stop crying and soon started closing his eyes and falling asleep. Suspecting he had a concussion, we found our way to the closest urgent care where William passed the responsive tests and seemed to be cured once offered a lollipop. Mom fail. I can only joke about it now because I'm done crying and his swelling is gone.

Hot Chocolate, post Urgent Care, to boost moral

Matt has a cousin who lives in New York and they met us later in the morning for a walk around Central Park and lunch at the Plaza Hotel.. er, the Plaza's basement, that is. It was so fun seeing such a huge city. We were out of place and every New Yorker knew we were tourists. They helped us navigate the bus and subway system and were so kind to us everywhere we went. I guess we looked exhausted and so so confused.

Central Park. I was supper disappointed to find out that Central Perk isn't a real coffee shop.

Matt's cousin Jacob and his girlfriend, Chelsea. It was so comforting being with people who knew what they were doing and where they were going! 

On the Subway

Even though our trip was tainted with head trauma I really would love to go back, stay longer and see some shows. But I'm going to need a whole new wardrobe so that I don't look like a hillbilly.

We made it to Montreal later that evening and the boys were SO excited to see auntie Lindsay, uncle Gilles and SNOW. Montreal is beautiful and felt much more like how I've imagined Europe to be and less like Canada. Lindsay and Gilles showed us around all kinds of fun spots. The boys were now equipped with winter gear and were much more comfortable despite the even colder temperatures. They did manage to have a colossal melt down while waiting for poutine in a restaurant but after a nice long nap things were like new. This was my first time in Montreal and it definitely sparked my desire to learn french again. All I can really remember from school are simple phrases and the word "fatigue"(fat-e-gay) because that's a fun word to learn in middle school.

Poutine after said meltdown. I submit that any day you fall asleep with a fry and a warm cheese curd in your hand is a good day.


The boys were elated to see snow and would have spent the entire time kicking it and drinking hot chocolate if we'd let them.

Notre-Dame Basilica

We stayed a few days in Montreal, met some close friends of Lindsay and Gilles and really enjoyed our time. No one quite spoils our children like Lindsay and Gilles and they sure eat it up!

 I took the opportunity to purchase maple syrup and chocolate in embarrassingly large quantities and now regret not getting more. My sister also treated me to a relaxing getaway for a hair cut. Because as a mother, ain't nobody got time for that.

We left for Ontario after a breakfast of croissants, bagels and hot chocolate and decided that we are totally cool with embracing the french culture. We're basically Parisian now.

I think Paul ate three croissants in a row.

Which is impressive because they're basically the same length of his face.

As we entered Ontario a flood of memories entered my mind. I hadn't been back to Ontario in forever and I was surprised with how at home I felt. Soon the scenery reminded me of my Nanny and Grandad's country farm and I called my mom to see if we were remotely close-- we were! Their exact address we couldn't remember because the road was renamed due to the growth of the last 20 years or so. My mom played detective and called us with the address, I plugged it into the GPS and we were .2 miles away from the exit. Right about there I started getting teary-eyed. My childhood is jammed pack with memories of that farm. My Grandad built their home so that he could build a barn and he built the barn so that he could build a sail boat. I don't know much about sail boats but his was pretty awesome. I'd go down to the barn and play in the boat's kitchen or climb into "my" bunk bed and even pretend to steer using the big wooden wheel. My Grandad passed away before we ever got to go on a sailing adventure but we took thousands in my imagination.

Grandad was in the Navy in WWII and chose to have a naval burial--his and Nanny's ashes were scattered at sea. Going to see their house and the barn was like visiting a grave site for me and I was overwhelmingly emotional. I met the new owner of the home and walked the property. It was bitter sweet seeing how the home and property had not been kept up like I remembered it. There were still maple trees being tapped and the toboggan hill was still there, although smaller than I remember. Somehow it seemed so different and the same all at once.

After leaving Nanny and Grandad's place we started on our way to Toronto. We stopped at my old house where again, I was emotional. It looked almost identical to how I remember it. Isn't it weird how something will stay so exact in your mind. I wanted to believe that every neighbor still lived where I remembered them, that only I had grown, moved and changed. I wanted to knock on old doors and see the same faces frozen in time but I didn't.

From here we had yet another emotional trip to the hospital to visit my Grandma Roselyn. Originally we had planned to surprise her and take her out for lunch but we learned that she had taken ill during our trip and was now in the ICU downtown Toronto. I am so grateful that I was able to see her one last time and that she was able to meet Matt and our boys. She passed away shortly after our visit. It was a somber and emotional day.

By this point I had spent most of the day crying and knew just who I could count on to cheer me up. I called Anna and we went out for dinner with her family before heading to London to see Erica and Matt. You know those friends where it really doesn't matter how long its been between visits because you pick right up like it was nothing?

Seems like just yesterday we were "young, single and potentially loaded."

The best thing to come out of Lethbridge, Alberta was my friendship with this lady!

I have some of the most amazing friends and it really did my heart good to see them.

From London we headed back down to the States and started our journey west. Our weather luck was amazing and we didn't hit any snow or ice on the roads. Even though it was a heck of a long road trip I was so happy we did it. Our kids were rock stars and blessed be the person who invented tablets.

The boys got really good at hotels.

And making due without a pillow.

So that's it. We're here. And like always, we are excited for our new adventure.

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