Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cross Country Drive and first week in Rochester

Sunday: Bellevue, WA to Coeur d'Alene, ID - Hello Jacob, Goodbye Family... Logan and I left Sunday night from Bellevue, WA for Rochester, New York. We had a great weekend with the Dance family before leaving Washington. Logan's brother Jacob came home from his 2 year church mission on Friday the 17th. We headed to a friends lake cabin that evening and played and enjoyed each others company there until Saturday afternoon. Friday we had family pictures with the whole Dance family - ALL of Logan's siblings and their kids! It was so neat to have everyone there. On Sunday we enjoyed hearing Jacob speak about his mission and experiences he had over the last two years. We had an amazing dinner with extended family after church Sunday night. At about 6pm Sunday we drove to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho to stay at Logan's brothers house, beginning our journey East.

Monday: Coeur d'Alene, ID to Bismarck, ND - Hotel Nightmares... We woke up at Tom and Kim's and had breakfast ready for us - Thanks Kim!! It really sent us off on our journey right. We also had a cooler full of fixings from Julienne. We drove through the beautiful deep valleys and green forested mountains of Montana and started through flat, boring North Dakota where the gas stations were sometimes upwards of 50 miles apart, and may be 5-10 miles off the freeway with just one or two old, slow, noisy pumps. Brennan and Trevor were both great driving. The DVD player played nothing but The Cat in the Hat (again... and again... and again). We stopped in a place called Medora for a hotel. Logan ran in one place to ask for the price and came back saying it was too expensive - $79.99 and it looked like a dump. That was fine, we figured we'd drive to the next city, Dickinson, 28 miles away. We started calling hotels trying to find a place to save time. Turns out that every hotel in Dickinson was booked!! They told us to try the next city. Mind you were were in the middle of North Dakota - the land of corn fields... and more corn fields. Oh, and a few small towns here and there. We called multiple little cities further east and nothing was vacant. It was beginning to seem like a joke, really. Turns out all the hotels were full because of the flooding North Dakota had been experiencing. All the people evacuated were staying in the only hotels around. Luckily we weren't too tired yet. We had to drive 100 more miles to Bismarck, ND for the night. It was after 2am that we arrived. Kind of crazy. Our hotel was $89.99. The price you pay right?? Our hotel also had an indoor water park we thought might be fun to hit up the next morning. Luckily Brennan went to bed pretty well that night. We made him a bed on the floor and put his night light in the plug right next to him and he was happy. Trevor slept on his very own queen bed (he doesn't roll over yet) - lucky kid!

Tuesday: Bismarck, ND to Mauston, WI - Wal-Mart time warp - We slept in until 10am, and it was about 11am when we were finally mobilized. The water park didn't happen. I was a little sad, but Brennan didn't know what he was missing. We were on the road by 12:30 pm. Why you ask. Well, we had to stop for breakfast somewhere since our hotel didn't offer it complimentary. Before leaving North Dakota's largest city, we decided we'd try to save time and combine our shopping into one quick trip to Wal-Mart. Two things we were looking for: some fresh fruit, a cigarette-lighter outlet splitter (so we can actually charge something while B watches The Cat). Logan was quickly reminded why he hates Wal-Mart - it's a time warp. He hadn't set foot into one in the last four years. After he got some groceries in a basket, he walked the 5 minutes to the opposite corner of this Super Wal-Mart, only to discover they were out of stock in splitters. The one person he asked to get help finding granola bars pointed him to the wrong aisle, so he decided not to try his luck getting help finding a splitter. He called me at this point to announce he was beginning his trek back across the store's interior and would be out in 10 minutes. Unfortunately, however, only two check-out stations were open, and the one with the deceivingly short line was bogged down with WIC checks and the country's slowest checker. Things happen slowly in Bismarck!

The drive this day had one other event worth mentioning. There was standing water on the freeway from the flooding, which was fortunately well marked with speed limit changes down to 25 mph to avoid any hydroplaning hazard. There were highway workers out sandbagging the shoulders with water pumps going to keep the freeways clear. We sailed through with only a brief delay. Our lane direction wasn't as bad as some of the west bound roads. There was so much water in every field, with white caps from the wind. We drove through several very heavy thunderstorms as well that day. We now saw first hand why people were displaced into all the local hotels. We drove to Mauston, WI that night and stayed at a Microtel. TINY room! But hey, they had a nice continental breakfast and it was clean. It was a bit trickier to get Brennan to bed that night. We arrived at 11:30 and after exploring every nook and cranny, every lightswitch, every freebie, and the toilet, we coaxed him into his bed and he fell asleep at about 12:30am!

Wednesday: Mauston, WI to Kirtland, OH - more thunderstorms and sleepless nights - Our hotel had breakfast and so we enjoyed a free meal before our drive. Today we felt the humidity and I wasn't a fan. Welcome back to the Muggy Midwest that we had escaped for 1 year in Spokane. We drove through heavy rainstorms on and off, probably the same storms we had in North Dakota that caught up to us? Driving through Chicago took a little more than 2 hours!!! Crazy taxi drivers and stop-and-go traffic. I hate that city. Next time we will drive around it (and yes, there will probably be a next time - in about 4 years). Driving through Indiana is always a breeze. Our goal was to make it to Kirtland, OH. We hit some huge thunderstorms 60 miles out and even hydroplaned a little on the freeway. It was scary. Dark, rain, and hydroplaning. The rain stopped and the rest of our drive was fine. We stopped at 11:30pm just outside of Kirtland. The hotel we were planning on staying in only had smoking rooms left, so we drove across the street to a Days Inn - $54.99. The drive across the street almost broke Brennan. He was DONE being in his car seat. We got into our room and Brennan wanted nothing to do with sleeping!! Nothing. Logan, Brennan and I were all awake until 2am, taking turns trying to coax a wired and restless 2-year-old into a makeshift pile of blankets on the floor. All he wanted to do was play with the lights. No, Brennan, we have a pre-closing walkthrough in less than 12 hours and at least 4 hours of driving left.

Thursday: Kirtland, OH to Rochester, NY - the last leg - We needed to leave Ohio by 7am to get to Rochester with plenty of time to account for unexpected delays. I needed to shower and so I woke up at 6am to make sure I could nurse Trevor and shower and pack up in time. 4 hours of sleep!! Logan and I left the boys sleeping in our room while we went to get breakfast in the lobby and came back for Brennan and Trevor. One of Brennan's favorite toys was left behind in the hotel. It was a little flashlight that Logan's uncle Bill gave him after my dentist appointment a week previous in Bellevue. Brennan had been holding the flashlight the whole drive. He loved it. He was super sad to wake up in the car and realize he left his flashlight in the hotel. I still feel sick typing this that we didn't go back for it. It was seriously his favorite toy. We told him we'd buy him another flash light. That didn't really calm him down because he was running on 4 hours of sleep - he usually gets 13. I slept while Logan drove. He listened to his audiobook to keep him awake and engaged. These 4 hours were challenging for Logan and they seemed to drag on forever.

Rochester - We drove into Rochester at about 11:30am. It was a warm, sunny day and we were so anxious to be "home" that we drove right into the driveway of our soon-to-be new house, parked in the shade of the large lilac bushes that line our driveway, and made ourselves at home on the grass of the backyard. We had a final walk through scheduled for 1pm and closing was at 3pm. While we waited for that, Logan, Brennan, and Trevor stayed at our house while I drove to Rite-Aid to use the bathroom (yes I didn't have a chance to stop anywhere and we didn't have keys to our house yet) and get diapers for Trevor. I got back and our realtor arrived. We walked through the house and it seriously was exactly what I remembered it being - I had thought about our house probably every night for the last two months. Our realtor actually gave us the extra keys to the house right then (yes, BEFORE closing). We unloaded everything in our car into the house and headed to closing. It was in a law office downtown. We hadn't had lunch and at 2:30 the lunch place in the building was already closed :( :( :( We got into the closing and soon after sitting down to begin signing things, Brennan fell asleep on my lap. He was zonked! Everything went smoothly and we came back to our house and transferred Brennan right onto the carpet for a much-needed nap. Our ABF moving truck didn't end up coming until 5pm because they were way behind. Logan opened the bulk-head with the help of the truck driver and we were able to get out Brennan's crib for me to assemble (which come to find out I had put the hardware somewhere else - so I didn't set it up that night after all). Logan got ready for a graduation dinner for the exiting residents. He left at 6pm for the 6:30 dinner. The internet guy came at 7pm to hook up our internet. Yep, I have my priorities straight. Internet is something I needed access to and so I scheduled them to be there the night of our closing. Mostly I wanted it to start looking for things on craigslist and have access to find things on Google in our surrounding area. It's true, I feel very disconnected to the world without the internet. Sadly it's such a big part of our lives.

Brennan had a little struggle going to bed that night, but all in all we were all SO tired. We slept well.

Friday: First Day of Work! - Logan had hospital orientation on the 24th. Brennan, Trevor, and I kind of hung out all day. Home alone with no car and no boxes to unpack. My sister Jana came up to Rochester at 4:30pm right when Logan got home from orientation. 30 minutes later some guys from our local church ward came over to help us unpack our ABF truck. It was so nice to have Jana and family there and help from the ward!

Saturday: Bathroom Renovation Day #1 - Alex, Jana's oldest daughter, flew out of Rochester to SLC for EFY with my other niece who lives in Utah. Logan and I went to pick up a solid oak dresser and night stand that I found on Craigslist, and then headed to Home Depot to buy tools for the bathroom renovation project. Logan started demolishing our bathroom while Jana and kids helped me unpack some boxes. Jana went home with Parker and Megan stayed with us to help watch Brennan and Trevor while I unpacked. She was a HUGE help and we loved having her here. Some of Logan's first purchases for the project included: a giant crow-bar, sledge hammer, safety glasses, cordless drill and saw, and a miter box saw.

Sunday - We went to our ward and loved it! There are some great families and we're excited to be part of a great ward family for the next 4 years here in Rochester. Megan came to church with us and enjoyed meeting another girl her age. They actually just live up the road from us and have another daughter Brennan's age.

Monday- - Unpacking and Logan re-doing our bathroom. The house is finally starting to come together. We have a nice leather couch and loveseat we found on Craigslist. We were scared for a few minutes that the couch wouldn't fit through the front door!! It did fit, with the help of two neighbors walking by (we've met 3 different neighbors and really like them too). Logan has been to Home Depot many times getting tools, lumber, pipes, plumbing supplies, duct pieces, screws, nails, and stuff. He's also been working on getting our pool ready - yes we have a 25-foot diameter above-ground "redneck" pool!

Tuesday -
I drove Megan home to Ithaca with the boys. It was nice to have a shower and do our laundry at Jana's house. We don't have a washer and dryer yet. Our realtor said he would drop one by on Thursday (day of closing) but that hasn't happened yet. I don't want to sit around waiting for it forever, but I also don't want to drop $600+ to go get a new set. Our full bathroom is now totally out of commission and so all we have is the powder room.

Wednesday - I basically chilled at Jana's alone. She works now and her kids were all gone. Megan flew out to CA early. It was a nice day to play with Brennan and give 100% of my attention to him. He enjoyed it as well. We drove back home late that night. I did more unpacking while Logan continued working on the bathroom. He had done a ton while we were gone and I'm saving those details to share in a separate post - with pictures to come!

Thursday night (now/present time of typing) -
Still unpacking and still working hard on the bathroom. The pool is also clear and clean, it just needs to be vacuumed and the chemicals balanced and tested a few times. Logan did all the plumbing today and reinforced the floor joists under the tub. We had a guy come over from our ward to talk Logan through things. Things are well on their way. Once we get the floor in, we can tile in the evenings when he gets off work.

I plan to do a separate post with pictures of the house and pictures of the bathroom and the progress as it's coming. I have all the pictures on the computer, but after a post like this I'm pooped and ready to go to bed.

New Blog

We've decided to get a new blog!! Logan wants people to be able to follow us in our adventures without having a private blog invite. It's also easier to view blogs when they aren't private. SOO. . . I've decided to just bag our old blog and start a new one (instead of just making our old one public). I know many people are going to private blogs and we seem to be the opposite - private to public. You'll have to share your thoughts about private vs. public with me (and Logan to read as well).

Another reason for starting a new blog is so I can journal here and print my blog into a book. What a great photo album/journal. I just need to make sure to post regularly enough with fun pictures.

So, here we are. We have been in our house here in NY for exactly one week!! The week as seriously been the fastest week I can remember. Lots has happened over the last month or so and we still haven't slowed down to take a breath. I just decided to take a break tonight and blog about some things before they are in the past and I don't want to write about them.