The G's Take Texas

This is about how California natives navigate a transfer to the great state of Texas; venturing away from family, friends, and all that is familiar.

Dirty Thoughts

Oooooooooh yeah. That sounds niiiiiice. Mmmmmmm. Oh and just a little of… ooooohhhh my GAWD. That is exactly what I was thinking while watching the unlimited food and/or dessert commercials yesterday during the football game. My weekend has been filled with “dirty thoughts”. I say “dirty thoughts” because it’s about food that is not good for me. Chocolate, peanut butter, pasta with cream sauces, ice cream, doughnuts, etc. have flooded my brain. I had one day where I would have given anything for a freaking string cheese. I kept pacing in front of my fridge as a matter of fact (we have a whole pack of them in the fridge for the kids) and I would open the door, then close the door. That move was on repeat throughout the day.

This weekend had to have been the hardest few days so far with the Whole30 program. I don’t know if it was because my husband was home or if it was because I was getting tired of the food I had been making, but I was food frustrated. I wanted everything in sight. I wanted to go get a monster sugary drink from Starbucks and Chinese food. All things sugar, dairy, soy, and grains just called to me. My husband didn’t make it much easier. He was more than willing to share his Milky Way and had to go to Chipotle for lunch.

This weekend was one that tested every ounce of will power I had. I even went to Costco! Now, if you are familiar with Costco, you know that they are widely known for their incredible samples. We used to go and make a meal out of the trip when we lived in California. It was a smorgasbord of all kinds of delicious treats. Thank GOD they had a raw nut sample because I needed just something to deter me from the other goodies that lined the isles. Then after the kids were starving so it was a slice of cheese pizza and hotdog to share (among the three kids, not me, although I think I was drooling). The thing that made it harder was that I had to cut it up for the kids. I was the one feeding it to them. I was smelling the food, touching the food, serving the food… it was torture.

The good news about all that… I MADE IT! I survived without giving in. I really almost caved yesterday, but then I made my lettuce tacos for dinner and they were tasty enough that I didn’t need to do anything else. I was worried though. When Ben called me during his lunch at work and I was on the verge of stuffing my face with my kids advent calendar candy, but he talked me down. When I had a “craving” I asked myself, “are you really truly hungry or are you just bored,” or “are you just craving it because it looks/smells good and not because you are really hungry”. On almost every occasion I wasn’t really hungry. On the occasions where I felt I was actually hungry I would eat an apple sauce or an orange or a hard boiled egg; something small, healthy, easy and on plan.

Waking up today I feel extraordinarily proud of myself for overcoming my “dirty thoughts”. Last night, I probably would have willingly jumped into a pool of chocolate pudding if someone gave me the opportunity and I do not like pudding (it’s a texture thing). Yuck! Today I was excited to test out a new recipe in the crockpot and I was able to get my meal plan updated for week two. I feel much more focused than I was yesterday and I was able to accomplish some cleaning around the house. Tomorrow I will try and get my butt out of the house.

The more time I spend inside, the easier it is for me to look to food. I know it’s because I am bored and not really hungry, so I have come to peace with asking my “questions” before going for food. I think I will be asking Ben to help a little more with the kids dinners and stuff so that I don’t have to have my “dirty thoughts” about their food become a constant issue. I have been much better about that though. Now, I am on to a new week.

How do you stay on plan when you are at a moment of weakness? Do you have a food buddy or a partner you can call or text? I have a buddy of mine that is doing something similar and I love that I can text her and ask about recipes or tips. I need a few more of those so if she isn’t available that I can check in with them too. Do you want to be my food buddy? What have been some of your “dirty thoughts” (i.e. cravings)?

***Cheers <raises cup of water> to day 6 of 30. Just 24 days more to go!***


Some Things Never Change

Back in high school someone told me something that I will never forget. I think I must have asked them something to the gist of, “Why do you like me?” or “What made you want to be friends with me?” At that age I was probably my most vulnerable. I wasn’t any of those particular things (popular, sports super star, student body president, etc.) that would automatically inspire confidence. I was the girl next door. I was the girl that all the guys felt comfortable around because they could act like themselves, fools. I was also the girl that other girls felt comfortable not acknowledging because they didn’t have much to say to me. So when I got into this conversation I didn’t know that I would remember it for as long as I have.

After I asked them that question (Why do you like me/What made you want to be friends with me) I was particularly surprised at their response. They said something like they liked my laugh and that I could find humor in almost anything; and then they said, “oh, and you can never stay mad at anyone.” That part I remember most clearly.I was puzzled. I thought the laugh/humor thing made me a bit charming, but never staying mad at someone? What? That’s a bit ambiguous, don’t you think? Does that mean I am a push-over?

After years of thinking about that phrase and mulling over all the possible meanings behind it, it took me until after college to figure out how I wanted to interpret it. I had to go through losing several people who I thought were very close friends of mine and a major life change with my significant other before I could figure it out. I can’t stay mad at people because God gave me the ability to forgive. I am one of the few people in the world who can forgive people no matter how horrible the relationship or how challenging the situation. Don’t get me wrong, I still get mad or sad/heartbroken, and I will likely cry about it. But, at the end of it all, I still choose to forgive.

In my ventures through school, employment and motherhood I have come across what you would classify as the “mean girls”. Now, I hate the phrase “mean girls” because it really applies to men too. It’s not just women who are catty, guys have a similar way about themselves, they just handle it a little differently. But, that tends to be the general name for the group of people who are just mean. They are mean just to be mean and that’s the way it is. It is deliberate and almost strategical. It makes my heart hurt just thinking about them. These people find whatever person they can pick on just to see them cry, feel bad about themselves, and/or remove them from whatever social group they are apart of. These “mean girls” found me.

They found me and my family even after we relocated from California. They are in Texas too! I am not completely naive, I knew they existed outside of California, I just didn’t think they would find me this quickly. None the less, now that I know who these “mean girls” are (which, I guess it wasn’t that hard… I have only been here for about two months) it makes me distancing myself from them that much easier. I am the kind of person who “can never stay mad” at someone, but if you burn me I do stay away. If you believe I wronged you (even though in reality, that may not be the case) I will be the first person to apologize or to try and talk to you about it.

Some people see apologizing as relinquishing power or control, being weak, or just being pathetic. I feel like it can be the exact opposite. You are acknowledging that what ever you did or said may have hurt someone. You are taking the initiative to resolve it and open the door of communication. That shows immense self control and power, it shows strength to say that you were wrong or that you didn’t mean to hurt or cause someone pain (that quite frankly is not seen very often), and it shows respect… you are saying despite our situation I still value our relationship and want to make this better. As much as I am not extremely confrontational, I certainly do not mind having an adult conversation about whatever might be bothering you or me. I am even open to maintaining the relationship and making it better for the future.

What I will never understand about these “mean girls” is the need to pull others to your “cause” and gang up on one person. The desire to publicly humiliate or verbally maim someone doesn’t serve much of a purpose outside of causing pain to the person on the receiving end. This is not a friendly trait. It doesn’t make me want to have you around. No matter how well we resolve our “mean girl” issues, you will be always be the “mean girl” to me and I will never trust you. I will forever keep away from those people. They are on a repetitive cycle and I am not interested in joining the “mean girl” mob. It’s not my thing.

Even after all these years of growth and change, I suppose that some things never change. I still love to laugh and I find humor in life. And I don’t like to stay mad at people. I find that I stress about it and the energy it takes to be angry is more than I am willing to put into it. So when I decided to apologize to and forgive my “mean girls” I do it for me. I do it so I don’t have it weigh on my mind forever. I do it so I can make my peace and move on.

Now, moving on to more delicious things. I am enjoying my Whole30 cooking. Today was my egg breakfast left overs on a bead of spinach with guac for breakfast. Lunch was a repeat of dinner last night because it was so stinking yummy. Dinner was stuffed baked potatoes and asparagus. YUMMY! I can’t even begin to say how much I am enjoying this. I had a good day of eating and I am ready for day three tomorrow. It will be a new ball game with my husband home for his weekend. I just hope he doesn’t have some random craving for crap. I have been doing so well and I want to make it to day 30. I have officially moved on to day two and tomorrow brings day three.

Well, I am off to hang out with my hubby. I hope you all have a great day. What special trait do you have that someone brought to your attention? Did you ever see it in yourself? Do you still carry that trait?

Third Time’s The Charm?

Have you ever gone grocery shopping with three young children? My kids range from ages one to four. Going grocery shopping is like a triathlon. You prep for getting through the store, check out, and then getting the items you purchased put away in your home. Getting through the store is always fun when you have two boys wrestling with each other in the cart. I had a few couples actually approach me and ask if it was “ok” for one to have his torso hanging out of the cart. Yes, I am “that” mom. I am the one who tries desperately to confine my three children to one cart so I don’t have to run through the isles after them before they drop the jar of pickles they picked up because they thought it was “so cool”. I am also the mom that will stop in the middle of the isle to scold them under my breath so they stop messing with their sister’s face/hair.

I apologize to everyone I encounter in the grocery store… no, any store I go into with all three kids. I don’t mean to have a wild bunch of banshees causing chaos and noise that you would only hear in a horror film. I honestly want to just get through the trip with all the items I need and no one getting hurt. I know it’s a long shot, but I have an 87% success rate to date… ok… 76% success rate. I generally get everyone out safely, but I always forget something I need because someone was having a meltdown over the brand of ranch I decided to buy (I am a mother and a bargain shopper, what can I say).

After completely filling my cart I can only hope that I don’t have a long line to wait in. Every mom, doesn’t matter who you are, prays  for three things when they go grocery shopping: no one gets hurt (kids, other unsuspecting store customers, and store staff included), all the kids foods are in stock (I can’t leave the store without the freakin’ Fruit Loop cereal they love) and incredibly short or non-existent check out lines. My kids are like an octopus when we get to the check out line. Everything that was once on the shelves are now in my cart. They also like to criticize other people and/or their purchases. I have not had one trip through the check out line without my oldest son very loudly saying, “Why does that lady/man look like that?” or “Mama, that <points out item on the conveyor belt> looks weird“. Plus, it’s also the only time and place where all my kids want to help me at the same time. I have a three-headed-octopus handing me about six different things at the same time. They want to fight over who hands me what and then they want to negotiate about what things they can open in the car. I just want to pay for the food, guys! Let’s negotiate later. And the credit card machine is a child magnet. It’s like it draws them in and whispers, “Play with me“.

Finally, I got the kids home and all I have to do is get the sh*t, I mean food, in the house. Right now, we live in an apartment. I have to take multiple trips to get everything up the stairs and into our apartment from the parking lot. My first trip is me trying to weight lift 150lbs. I try to grab every single bag so I can hopefully get everything in just the one trip. Every time I try, every time I fail. It’s kinda ridiculous that I even try, but I don’t like to assume defeat. And after I unload the first round of groceries, my kids grow their lovely octopus tentacles again. By the time I return with each subsequent load they have now spread out my groceries all over the apartment. I wish I had enough counter space to put the groceries on there, but my kitchen is a glorified janitor’s closet. Even if I put them up, they would find a way… they always find a way.

Do you dread grocery shopping like I do? How do you navigate a grocery store with your kids? I know I can’t be the only one who has a hard time. There should be a “biker” MC (Moms Club – I know I have watched too much Sons of Anarchy, get over it) and we wear our patches while grocery shopping with our kids. HAHAHAH! Every time we pass one another in the isles we could fist bump or throw up some kind or MC gang sign.

Well, that was yesterday’s morning triathlon. I forgot a bunch of stuff, but we all made it, so I can’t be too disappointed. After our trip to the store we had a quick trip to see Ben on his lunch. I savor those lunch breaks we get to see him because sometimes it’s just the adult time I need to get through the rest of the day. I get to catch up with him on his day and he gets to let me unload on him about my day. I know it’s something we can do over the phone, but when I drive to see him the kids pass out on the way there, so I get to have some peace and quiet too.

Over all it was a great day. I was all about good yummy foods and testing out some new recipes. I found this gem (Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding), but of course, I overlooked something. I remembered to use dates. I remembered to leave out the vanilla. I even made sure the chia seeds were safe. I never thought to check the stinkin’ pumpkin pie spice. Since they have sulfates, they are not Whole30 approved (I confirmed with the cheat sheet). Grrrrr!!! I was not very pleased with myself, but my recipe was delicious. If only I could eat it. If only…

So, here I am today. What should have been day 3 for me… but back at day 1 again. It’s very frustrating that I am not any closer to day 30, but I guess that’s ok. I knew that I wanted to make this more of a permanent situation, but I would really like to feel like progress is being had. Some things I have noticed. I slept way better the past two nights. I didn’t wake for anything and I didn’t have a hard time going to sleep. I knew without the caffeine, that would happen, but I also didn’t have any dreams. Lately I have been having those weird dreams that you wake up and say “WTF?!?!?!” But, for the past two days it has been a very sound sleep. I have been noticing that I have seen a spike in my mental health. I don’t feel grumpy all the time. I tend to be more patient with the kids. I am a lot less agitated. It could be from the good sleep, the good food, or it could be from the break I am taking from Facebook. Maybe it’s a culmination of everything.

There are also a few not so fun things that I have noticed. Today I have had a headache pretty much all day. Not a severe headache, but a headache that lingers. When I get hungry, I get “hangry”. I am not just hungry, but I am angry that I am not eating in that moment. I took it out on Ben pretty bad yesterday when I waited for him to eat dinner. I was about ready to gnaw on his jacket when he got home and he wanted to take his sweet time getting to the table. By the time he sat down I ate everything on my plate, but half of my chicken. Normalcy set in shortly after I got food in my belly. Other than that I feel like I have been doing pretty well.

I still have 29 more days to go, but I am pretty confident that I will make it through today without a hitch. Now, to just make sure that I make it the straight 30 days and not have to start over mid-way through. Well, third time’s the charm, right?

How does food make you feel? Have you ever had a “hangry” moment? How did you handle it? Well, here <raising a bottle of water> is to another day, and my first complete day doing Whole30.

Day 1 of 30: My F*cked Up Relationship with Food

This morning was all about the small boy who wanted to snuggle. He was not his normal self, but I couldn’t quite pin point what was wrong. I decided the best course of action was to sit and snuggle my boy and go with the flow. After a 45 minuted snuggle (well, he was snoozing) session and some whining and grabbing his head I knew that he had an ear infection. His Dad had guessed it before heading to work, but I needed the extra time to make sure. After that it was off to the doctor we go.

After a thorough inspection of himself and his brother (it was Peyton’s 4 year check up too) we were on our way with a prescription for some antibiotics. I decided that it would be best to get some grocery shopping done while we waited for the prescription to be filled. He was acting a little more normally, but I just figured that could have been partly due to the Tylenol I gave him earlier. After juggling three kids while grocery shopping and picking up the prescription, he was done. I was surprised he made it through lunch, but he did get a little power nap on our way home from the grocery store.

He had his full belly, meds, and blanket. I guess that’s all that my boy needs to feel better because after his nap, he was way better. It was like a different person came out of his room. It made me feel a million times better knowing that he was on the way to his normal spunky self. The reason why I even bring this up is because today was my first day on Whole30. Let me begin by saying, this is hard. It’s even harder when you have sick kids and you can’t focus worth a damn. Despite that, I kept on. I wanted to begin this change.

The whole day I thought about food. I thought about when I was going to eat next. I thought about what I was going to eat next. I thought about preparing food and snacks. All day I was faced with thoughts about food. It really made me think about my relationship with food. I associated my regular shopping and day “out” as a day that I “treat” myself to fast food. I had to turn off the radio in my car because all I heard were the fast food commercials.

My relationship with food has been pretty f*cked up for a while. I eat when I am happy (special occasions/celebrations), sad, angry, stressed, etc. I use the kids as an excuse to eat. I eat when they nap. I eat what they don’t eat. I eat EVERYTHING. I eat when I am hungry. I eat when I am not hungry. I am a hot mess with food because I love it. I know it is completely ridicules, but today and making my adjustment with food I noticed even more how truly messed up my relationship is with food.

Breakfast was on the run. I had sliced apples and pears. I had a squeeze apple sauce right before grocery shopping so I wouldn’t have any wild food purchases. Lunch was late, but I kept it to bell peppers and carrots dipped in salsa and guacamole with a side of pickles. Don’t even ask me where the pickles came from. They were a totally random addition, but so incredibly yummy. Snack was more carrots with guac. Then dinner I indulged in In N Out Burger! Don’t you worry, I kept it to a burger protein style with extra grilled onions and no sauce. I added guac to it to add a touch of deliciousness. My day ended with realizing I had a few fails. I accidentally had peppermint candy that the boys handed to me. (Another bad relationship with food, I eat things and I don’t even focus on it.)  I also had fries, which were incredible and a major fail. It was a good day.

So tomorrow will be Day 1B. I can start over tomorrow and hopefully be a little more focused. Tomorrow I hope I will also wake up to a happy baby boy who is ready to play and keep me happily distracted from food. Cheers (raising a bottle of water of course) to a better tomorrow my friends.

How did your week start? Has the winter bug caught you or your family yet? What does your holiday schedule look like?

Me & The Four Walls

As some of you know,  my whole family have been under the weather. We have been fighting “The Gunk” for a while now and I have been cooped up here in my crappity-ass apartment. Let me just say that being stuck inside for too long isn’t healthy for anyone, but especially me. I get irritable. I get emotional. I get bored. It’s not fun to be that kind of me.

With that being said, I am going to let you in on a little secret… I am taking myself off Facebook. I doubt it will be permanent, but I need a break. With me being stuck inside for so long, that was my only social outlet/connection, or so I thought. After taking the time to close up Facebook and open us my phone book, I was able to talk with some of the people I love the most. Being confined to four walls and social media really makes you kinda nuts. My world was revolving around my kiddos, social media updates/comments and live videos. It was not a good place to be. I feel like Ariel, “I want to be where the people are… I want to see, want to see ’em dancin’…”

Yesterday after disconnecting I went to Costco and I got to clean out our fridge and pantry for our Whole30, which begins tomorrow. I don’t think I am as prepared as I would like to be, but that’s ok. I am going to do as best as I can and go from there. I am not going to give up even though I am not as prepared as I wanted to be. That I refuse to do. I want to feel the benefits of resetting my system, so I am going to do this and kill it. If you want to know more about Whole30 or even try it yourself, check it out here. I will be updating you all on how it’s going here on my blog. It should be an overall good experience though. I know I need it desperately.

I am going to be working on blogging about my Whole30 stuff, walking adventures with the kids, and life in Texas. Things will be changing around here a lot so you will get to see more of me here instead of on Facebook. I hope that’s an even trade for you all. If it’s not, you can always text me or call me or email me. I will still be on Instagram and Twitter, so you may still find me there. I look forward to more writing.

And It All Finally Sunk In

There is so much going on in our world today. Between the new President Elect, the wild weather, protests, social media outbursts, etc… I am not even going to talk about that. I am exhausted by it and maybe that is what is also contributing to how I feel. So, today I am going to talk about just that; how I feel. Over the past week I have been spoiled rotten. My amazing parents flew all the way out here from California. I have been spending the day visiting with them, playing Uno, learning how to play Hearts, talking about our house, taking the kids out to play pretty much every day, and celebrating Peyton’s 4th Birthday.

I have been overwhelmed with feelings. My comfort, my parents, have surrounded me and my little family with their love for the whole week. Today after dropping them off at the airport I had a panic attack on the way home. Sitting in the quiet in the car (the kids were playing on their LeapPad/iPad) I felt for the first time extremely alone. After having the best company in the world, and being constantly reminded that people love me for a straight seven days, I was alone. My heart felt like it shattered and two big pieces walked out of my van to board a plane to go 1,600 miles away.

For some reason when we moved end of September, it was more excitement for the new adventure we were headed toward. I wasn’t thinking about what could make me sad, like not seeing the people I loved every day. I always thought, “Thank God for technology and FaceTime.” Now, after spending every day with two people I love so dearly and having to let them go, I feel lost. I have my beautiful children and my incredible husband. I am so grateful for them, but after seeing the last of my Dad walk into the airport terminal, I felt broken. FaceTime is NOT the same. Facebook is NOT the same. Phone calls, emails, texts are NOT the same. I want a hug, a game of cards, a night out, a couple drinks and laughs… all these are best done in person.

I knew moving out of the state would be difficult. I knew that being away from everyone I know an love would be the hardest part of the whole transition. I didn’t realize that it would take this long to sink in. And boy, did it sink in. I was a mess on I-35 driving home from the airport. I felt bad sobbing to my husband when he called me on his break. I know I have him and the kids, I just feel almost like I am finally getting to “mourn” or “accept the change”. It’s a hard thing to not be able to bear hug my dad or tease my mom. It’s even harder to explain to my kids why they can’t see their Nana and Papa on a whim.

I do not miss California. I don’t miss the traffic, the constant attitude (or as I like to call it “fancy pants” attitude), the crime, the lack of rain, the high prices of EVERYTHING, etc. I love the LOCATION of where we are now, I just miss my people. I miss my parents. I miss my brothers. I miss my friends.

My life has changed. I have been a mother for four years now. FOUR. YEARS. The time has flown by. I can’t even begin to explain the level of crazy that feels like. Four years ago I didn’t know what it was like to have little people in my life and now I have three of them running my life like its their job (which, in a way I guess it totally is). For those little people to not have the same people in their lives that I did breaks my heart. It makes me feel old and lonely all at the same time.

I have only been in Texas for a little over a month so its just a matter of time before I can settle into life with new friends and more family. I guess I just need to sink into Texas a little more.


Strong Roots Don’t Come From Idle Hands

Since we moved here (it’s been over two weeks if you can believe it, almost three) I have been doing my best to keep busy. My husband and some friends have asked me why and I have always thought back to that phrase about “idle hands”. It didn’t occur to me until I Googled it, what the actual phrase actually was… “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop,”… and I didn’t like it so much. When I talk about keeping busy or not wanting to have “idle hands,” I relate it to despresion. I am sure a lot of people can tie depression into the devil and have a biblical dialogue, but what I tie it to is PPD (postpartum depression) and hormones.

After Preston was born I had PPD. It lasted a while until I got pregnant with Parker then I was flooded with all sorts of other hormones. After Parker was born, thankfully I was more aware of how to identify PPD and how to work on making myself feel better. But, ever since that time I had PPD, I have been ever so cautious about my behavior and anything that could lead to any form of depression. A big move and lots of change is a possible trigger for depression and I really don’t want to succumb to my emotions and let them eat me alive like they have before.

This leads me to the “idle hands” thing. I notice that when I have little to do or I don’t keep myself busy I can slip into a lonely, depressed state of sorts. I have been keeping myself busy. Between play dates, grocery shopping, visiting Ben at work for his lunches, cooking, going to the YMCA, getting more involved in moms groups online, etc. Over the past week and a half I have met like eight wonderful women that I hope to continue a friendship with. I have more appointments/play dates/coffee dates to meet more and I can’t be more excited. 

I am an extremely social person and when all I get to socialize with comes in the little three, two and soon to be one year old body it sure makes things lonely. I think the other reason why I am doing this is to create some roots for my little family. As weird as it sounds, I do believe in the African Proverb that, “It takes a village to raise a child.” I want to create some stability for my kids because for the past six months they have been along for the ride. Thank God for their resilience and flexibility and forgiveness. My kids deserve the world, so I am going to try and get involved in our “village” so they know this is home.

I am extremely grateful for our “village” or community that I am building. All of them have been good to us and very kind. It makes me realize that what we had in CA was a different kind of “village”. It wasn’t really ours, it was my parents and Ben’s parents. We had our friends, but it’s not exactly the same. It was everything we had established under our parents and what we knew as children ourselves. The “village” we ere in, we established from our experiences with our parents or their ties to the community, or our siblings and their activities/experiences, and not what we really did on our own (outside of employment ties). This time around has been different because we get to rely solely on ourselves to build our life and our community relationships. It’s exciting and scary all in one.

While keeping myself busy we have been working on our own goals. Ben’s goals are a bit more career driven for the moment, but mine… I am getting to try and focus on me, the kids, our family. I got involved in Weight Watchers again. I love the YMCA so I can get my own energy out and feel like I am working my body for more than just wrangling children. I am getting involved in some Sunday fun too so I can keep busy on the weekend while Ben is working. I have several local moms groups I enjoy and even some ladies nights out and cooking groups. It’s just good all around. I feel my roots developing already.

I am very proud of myself for keeping busy and not allowing my hands to idle. But, I am even more excited to see where and how my family’s roots develop more. Now I get to continue to foster these relationships and “roots” I am building so we can allow our family to flourish too. How did you grow your roots? Where did you start (in church, online groups, sports clubs, etc.)? What are your tips to help grow community ties and make new friends?

It only took 3 Days

Our transfer to Texas was planned for months. Our move was planned for weeks. Our drive across three states was only a plan for about a week before we had to pack up our selves, three kids, two dogs and cram into one very stuffed minivan. Our drive was the last thing on our mind to be honest. We thought, what could possibly go wrong? It’s not like we have a choice at this point. We are expected to be in Texas by the end of day three. We gassed up the van, we prayed, and we ventured into the unknown.

Our first day was filled with excitement and the “plans” for the life we have ahead of us. This day was great. The driving was smooth. There was no traffic, a lot of desert and mountains, a long stretch of I-40 ahead of us. When we got to the hotel for the night we were pooped. The kids were all kinds of riled up. They needed to stretch their legs and get out some energy, so a hotel room was not something they were really interested in. I am go out to grab sandwiches across the street at the local Subway (which was all over our trip except in this town… thank God there was one lone location across the street from the hotel). As I am getting into the van to go back to the hotel Hubby calls frantic. I try to keep my composure because if Ben is scared this is a BIG problem.

I get back to the hotel lobby and the ambulance is there and paramedics surrounding my Peyton. It looks like he got into a fight with the nightstand separating the beds and he lost. After five hours in the local (again, thank God it was only three miles from the hotel) emergency room and six pretty intense stitches later he had a battle scar fit to flash around. I think I was the one who was more scarred than him though. At the end of the day he probably won’t remember it at all, but I will remember the torture of having to hold down my oldest child while he got stitches and screamed and cried through it all… I cried after with him. I don’t know how doctors and nurses can do that every day.

There have been very few occasions where I have hated being a parent. I hate it when I have to take them for their shots. I hate it when they are in full meltdown mode in plublic. I hate it when all they want to do is fight. But, this moment. The moment when he had at least a quarter of an inch deep, three quarters of an inch wide, two and a half inch long gaping hole being stitched up by a doctor at 10:30p after exhaustion, shock, and panic has taken over his little body… that is a moment I don’t wish on any mother or human being… EVER.

After five and a half hours of intermittent sleep we got up and ready to go for day two. Ben and I both told ourselves that it can only go up from here, which thankfully it did. We made it to New Mexico without a hitch. It was a beautiful ride too. The landscape totally resembled the Disney movie Cars. It was beautiful red and beige rock that surrounded us. The knee high bushes and occasional cactui were generously sprinkled over the dry dusty land. It was stunning and oddly peaceful. We encountered a few drivers who wanted to pick a fight over which lane was “theirs”. Overall the kids and the dogs made it through with minimal difficulty.

Dinner from Pizza Hut was a crowd pleaser, as always. It never fails to astonish me how resilient kids are in the midst of a huge transition. The topic of discussion that night was who got to hold the dogs leashes while they were walked and that Peyton had more pizza than Preston. We were thrilled to go to sleep early and the kids didn’t argue, which was a nice change of pace. However, the next morning we were back at the arguing and all was right with the world.

The third and final day of driving was the longest day. It was over eight hours of driving, not including stops for gas/food and bathroom breaks for the kids and the dogs. We hit the New Mexico/Texas border very early, but the whole of the trip was small roads. We were headed to a new friends house to drop off the dogs before we would consider ourselves done for the day. As a whole, the drive was perfect, but we did encounter one bump in the road.

In the state of Texas, it is a road infraction punishable by ticket/fine for you to linger in the left lane. The left lane is strictly used for passing. Once you have passed the vehicle(s) you must return to the right lane. Well, since it’s quite literally our first day officially in Texas as residents, we had no clue and got pulled over. After providing valid license and proof of insurance, and giving permission to search the vehicle if they wanted to (which was weird, but I suppose this is a common thing in Texas too), the cop let us off with a warning. We were grateful and back on the road. Being in some small town, on a small road, in a vehicle with out-of-state plates, packed to the brim with kids and chihuahuas… I guess it makes you a slightly suspicious character. **Whoops**

Finally about 8:30/9p at night we made it to our new friends home. The boys got out to play with their little boy. Ben got to chat with the man of the house, and I was able to visit with the lady of the house. It was nice to not feel alone our first night in a new place. We felt like we actually have friends. It’s been nice to have someone local to text and chat with about making plans or play dates. It just made Texas feel even more like home.

When we finally got in bed and wrapped in blankets, it took less than half a breath for us all to be asleep. Our trek was done. No more full days of driving. No more need to be at a destination before the end of the day. No more cruise control or pit stops. Now we are on to real life. Real TEXAS life.

Cardboard Boxes, Tape & John Mayer

When we grabbed hold of this opportunity to relocate to Texas we knew that it would mean a lot of change to things that have been so normal to us. Over the past few weeks we have gone out to the city, spent a lot of time with family, taken more pictures, visited friends we haven’t seen in ages, and just try to soak up all that we love about California. Our reality is going to be changing and it hasn’t felt real until this week.

This week we said our final, “I’ll be seeing you,” to my parents, my In-law’s, and my best friend. We also got about a million cardboard boxes and several yards of masking tape to start packing AGAIN. This part of my life seems to be on repeat. This year alone we have moved twice already (including this move). By the end of the year we are hoping to make our final move to our new home. Three big moves. Part of me knew this would happen and the other part of me feels so overwhelmed by moving that I don’t know where home really is anymore.

When we met with every person that we have said our final,”I’ll be seeing you,” we have always left it without goodbye. We don’t feel like this is goodbye. This is our home. California will always feel like home to us. We were raised here and are familiar with the people, the places, the smells, even the ugliness. We know California, so when we start taping up our cardboard boxes we can’t help but reminisce.

I box away baby clothes for Parker, see underpants that Peyton just doesn’t fit in anymore, or find Prestons old do-do-ded (his word for Mickey Mouse, we have no clue how he came up with it) and I see how our life has so quickly changed, that it does scare me a little for our next change. Can we stop life for a minute? Can I just relive some moments and bask in their glory a while? Our walks around Chico and lower Bidwell Park… Our trips to the flea market and the Pacifica Pier…Our wedding day and all the rain… The birth of our children… Our first house… Reliving these little moments make me feel better as I pack away the memories.

My Mom and Ben has always loved John Mayer at times like this – where change and life is just filled with new and uncertain adventures – and they always refer to his song “Stop This Train”. I am at the point of feeling like his lyrics:

Stop this train

I want to get off and go home again

I can’t take the speed it’s moving in

I know I can’t

But, honestly, won’t someone stop this train?

I know the lyrics all too well. Our future is right around the corner and as anxious as I am at times to get to where I want to go, it can feel like I am traveling at the speed of light. I feel like my life could use a good pause every now and then, but I remember:

“Don’t stop this train

Don’t for a minute change the place you’re in

And don’t think I couldn’t ever understand

I tried my hand

John, honestly, we’ll never stop this train”

My train is moving whether I like it or not. With every sealed and labeled box. With every roll of tape exhausted and box lined against the wall I see my train move. I am scared. I am not scared of making the move. I am scared of what it will mean when we are done. I am scared of the future. I am scared of not knowing what will happen next. My “Type-A” personality is begging for some hint or vague idea of what will come after our move.

I guess it’s just time to ride the train and see where it takes me.

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