Saturday, December 30, 2017

Welcome to Tennessee

Well, here we are.
I'm breaking my 2-month silence on this blog from our new home in Tennessee.

The week before Thanksgiving, we loaded up our moving truck and the movers took it away
while we stayed with my parents for the week before our move.
(Also of note: chasing down the truck to do a ridiculous dive through boxes to find a needed document. I'm pretty sure my crazy flexibility was intended solely for that purpose, but we emerged victorious!)
Sam finished his job in Utah on Friday, flew to Memphis to begin work the Saturday before Thanksgiving, worked Monday-Wednesday there, flew into Utah on Thanksgiving morning, enjoyed a quick Thanksgiving dinner with my family, and then we piled into the car to begin our 3-day journey.

We arrived at our hotels after midnight both days,
Maxwell transformed into a wild, hilarious monkey who pranced around the bed in the dark while giggling hysterically and then would feign sleep until he would suddenly throw his arms onto me, dig his little fingers into my neck, and yell, "Tickle, tickle, tickle!" as we tried to get everyone to sleep.
Lincoln threw up in the middle of nowhere in southern Utah, many miles from any kind of civilization...thank goodness for baby wipes!
We passed The Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo on Friday night--home of the free 72 oz. steak! (Only in Texas would you have an eating challenge featuring a whopping 4 1/2 lb. steak and all the fixin's!)
The older boys stayed relatively content thanks to Liberty's Kids and The Complete Series of The Magic School Bus while munching on fruit leather, granola bars, goldfish, and applesauce. Maxwell was a different story but I tried my hardest to keep his crying to a minimum!

At last, around 6:00 on Saturday evening, we pulled up to our new home.
And believe me, "Your destination is on the right," never sounded so good.
We opted to stay in our house rather than a hotel, although our belongings wouldn't arrive until Monday, and the kids were BEYOND thrilled to spend the next hour running insanely through the empty house. There is something about a big, empty space that just delights my boys and they thought it was the greatest.
Since then we've been settling in, celebrating the Christmas season, making lots of new friends, and getting to know this land of Tennessee. I'll be doing lots of updating on this little blog in coming days,
but in the meantime here are a few highlights!

1-Kids Are Innovators-I was rather trepidatious about spending a day and a half in our house with nothing but what we brought in our car, camping out on the floor, but I needn't have worried; the kids viewed it as a grand adventure! On Sunday after Church, we got Maxwell and Lincoln settled down for naps and I came out to find Wesley and Talmage making lots of "emoji masks" out of paper plates and colored pencils. Kids are the best innovators and entertainers!

2-Hilarious Movers-St. Jude covered the cost of transporting our belongings and having a company come unload them, which was pretty convenient. Sam was at work when they came, so I stood on the driveway and directed the movers on where to put things for several hours while the boys were troopers, being banished to the backyard. The movers made many amusing comments to me--like when they unloaded our large barrel for water storage and one said, "You guys make your own beer??" Or when they were watching me with Maxwell and one said, "I gotta stop lookin' at him...he's gonna make me baby hungry!" Or when the sound system in the house glitched and randomly turned on and began blasting Jenny Phillips Christmas Music and a mover came out of the house singing, "Hallelujah! You've got some GOSPEL music goin' in there! You're gonna put us all to sleep!" Or when one commented that they were nearly done and they would be "finished by Miller time!" and then said that he prefers Bud Light-I responded by saying, "Well, we don't even drink beer so I just don't know!" "No?? You guys wine people??" he replied. "No, we don't even drink alcohol!" I continued with a laugh. "Well, that's good! You don't ever start...don't ever start!" he advised me.

3-Brrrr!!!-I knew Memphis wouldn't be as warm as Houston, but I definitely was not prepared for the cold, cold weather we've had over the past couple of weeks. The cold feels so much different than Utah cold...I know people attribute it to the humidity, but really, when it's in the 30s here it feels like single-digit temperatures in Utah. It is a cold that immediately seeps into your bones and freezes you on the inside. Even Sam, who usually wears shorts through the winter, has been struggling-and 12-foot ceilings and hardwood/tile floors don't help matters any. We've both been wearing winter coats inside, bundling up with blankets, blasting the space heater, and dreading anything that takes us outside.

4-Yes, Ma'am-The schools here have required a bit of an adjustment--more for me than for the kids. Not only is it full-day Kindergarten here (Utah was half-day) and there is one recess (compared the three they used to have), but they are SUPER strict about just about everything, from how to drop kids off at school to bus rules (no talking on the bus until the bus driver raises her hand after a few minutes!) to locking all school doors and requiring visitors to ring a special doorbell to enter the building which will take them directly into the office. One morning I came in the front door with the boys to help them carry about $70 of school supplies down to their classrooms and was told I wasn't allowed to go back to the classrooms with them. So I loaded them up and they had to do their best to carry many bags down the hall with all their usual gear! It can be a little frustrating sometimes, but I can see that academically they are being pushed harder and once I got used to all the rules, I've been really pleased with their school. One of the results of their strict school is that now our kids have taken to replying, "Yes, Sir," and "Yes, Ma'am," to Sam and I. I think it's the cutest little Southern thing.

5-We Live in the Woods-This area is set up in such a unique way. There are clumps of shopping areas and neighborhoods spread out, but then in between the developed areas it has been left wild, and in Tennessee that means huge masses of towering trees. That means we get to see all kinds of wildlife on a regular basis! I nearly hit a group of deer on my way home from Kroger one night, we love watching the squirrels play in our backyard, and watching a little bunny hop across the road in front of me was the cutest thing. We've also seen raccoons, possums, blue jays, cardinals, and even a bald eagle.

Finally, I asked the kids to each share something about Tennessee.
Here are their responses:
Talmage: "There is a lot of diversity here and barely any snow."
Wesley: "It's really green."
Lincoln: "We have neighbors and people keep giving us treats!"


  1. So, when do we get to see pictures of the new house? I feel for you having to make that long drive with young ones. When we came back from Alaska in 2002 my son's 3 young boys were all car sick. He was calling our Tahoe, "the puke wagon." We had to stop for a couple of days until the boys were feeling better. I had tried to tell my son that the boys needed to stay in their carseats and they would be fine, but, of course, no one listened until the point that they were tired of cleaning it up and the boys were just getting worse. After the 2 night stay in the hotel, they kept them in the carseats and no more puke wagon.

    Yes, the bone chilling cold is caused by the humidity. I am colder here in Texas at 40 degrees, than I was in Alaska at 60 below. You need to dress in layers, like we did in Alaska. I have to do it here in Texas because it feels so much colder. It is 58 degrees in the trailer right now. I would crank on the heat but when I am under all of my fleece sheets it feels perfect. You might want to invest in some for all of you. They are well worth the money and between Walmart and Amazon you can find good deals. Get them now tho because they get harder to find when the weather warms up.

    I thought Pearland schools were strict, Tennessee has them beat for sure. Hopefully the boys will fit right in, especially after they make friends at church that might be in their school.

    It is 4:35 AM here and I am sick. My chest is so full of crud that it is difficult to breathe. I will be headed to get so medicine in the morning. We are supposed to have some cold weather over the next few days and I dread it. One or two days will be high in the 30's, 35 to be exact. I dread it because this old trailer is not insulated at all.

    Hopefully by now you are all settled in and making new friends. Texas friends sure miss all of you, especially this Texan.

    Happy New Year,


  2. I forgot to ask, when and how did you pick out your house there?

    1. Hey Cindy, thanks for all your kind words! Car sickness is no fun...always listen to Grandma, right?!? Hope you have a space heater and stay warm this week!! We found our house online (it's just a rental for now) and then flew down to see it a few weeks before we moved. :)

  3. Plan a visit to Pigeon Forge, TN!! It’s just the cutest place. So much fun. Jeff and I spent a weekend there in early December and can’t wait to take our whole family back!!! We love the Smoky Mountains. Good luck in your new home and town. Life is such an adventure, isn’t it? We miss you guys.

    1. Hi Alyssa! I was so happy to get your Christmas card and I can't believe how your kids have grown! Looking forward to hearing what Ashlyn decides for college. Pigeon Forge looks like such a fun place to visit! I keep hearing amazing things about Gatlinburg and East TN in general. We're excited to explore!


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