Thursday, June 27, 2013

The beginning of a love story

This is what I needed.  This is what we all needed.  After dragging the kids around doing the necessary evils like setting up bank accounts and tax ID's and driving by potential houses, we found ourselves at the beach.  And it just so happened to be the stuff dreams are made of.  All my apprehensions were washed away with those crashing waves. So what if we live in a land void of Targets, we've got this right in our back yard.  The best part is, the kids got it.  They got the reason why we wanted to move here and for the first time they were actually excited about it.  And this is where our two year love affair officially begins.

The park next to the beach was just the cherry on top.  It was awesome, to say the least. The zip line was a fan favorite, and as I sat back and soaked in the scene it really hit me for the first time...this is home.

This is it

It's 3:30 am.  The boys have 3 suckers a piece sticking out of their mouths while I stare at the wood paneling in a motel room that is finally getting warm enough that I don't have to wear a coat indoors.  I'm a little shell shocked right now.  The kids did awesome with our 24+ hour travel day, such troopers. They slept for 9 hours on the plane, were such helpers at the airport and kept the fighting and complaining to the bare minimum.  Zero complaints in the traveling department.   The hardest part was the airports.  We had to recheck bags at each of the 3 airports and with 20 bags and two strollers between the 6 of us, it was quite the ordeal.  Sitting in the middle of LAX with all our suitcases opened and clothes strewn everywhere as we changed from summer clothes to winter clothes was a sight to behold.  Our total travel itinerary included a 2 1/2 hr drive from Cedar to Vegas (thank you Dad!), an hour flight to LA, a 4 1/2 hr layover, a 12 hr flight to Auckland, a 3 hour layover and a 1 1/2 hr flight to Christchurch.   We finally got here, and I'm not quite sure how to explain my first impressions. Jason's boss met us at the airport and was so kind to help us with our luggage, rental car and things like that, but I think I expected to walk off the plane and be blown away from the amazing scenery everyone talks about and that I've seen in every picture I've ever pinned on pinterest.  The reality was, it looks just like any other town and it's a lot older than I expected.  Even paradise has rundown drugstores and a McDonalds on every corner. I wanted to cry, but I was too physically exhausted.  Kylie was physically exhausted too, but it didn't stop her tears from flowing.  She's had such a hard time leaving her friends to go into the unknown, and then the unknown wasn't the tropical paradise she had imagined either.  It's hard as a mom to see her so torn up. We navigated our way carefully on the left side of the road to our motel.  The corporate housing doesn't cater towards large families, which we have now been labled as, so the biggest place they could find is a rundown motel.  It was not exactly a warm welcome.  Jason's boss' wife was so kind to come pick me up and take me to buy carseats and food.  One thing I have noticed is that everyone here is so nice, and their accents are just dreamy.  I sort of walked around the Pak n' Save in a daze buying $4/liter milk wondering if we made the right choice.  Giving up my white marble floor malls, electric heating, manicured cities and even Wal-marts for this.  That night, after some serious attitude adjustment talks with myself, we sat huddled around the heat pump playing Go Fish, laughing at the silly things Maddox and Ryder did and eating perhaps the world's best ice-cream (one point for team New Zealand!), and I knew we had indeed made the right choice.  We had each other and when times got tough we relied on each other.  We left a world that consumed our kids with electronic lures and after being stripped of every luxury we ever took for granted, we found ourselves feeling bonded in a way we never had before.  This is exactly what I wanted with this move.  A chance to simplify, re-evaluate our priorities and focus on what's most important in life.  The motel is temporary, our realtor will help us find the right house in the right part of town, the jet lag will wear off, the winter will melt into a beautiful spring, and we've got 2 years to explore the beauty that I know is lurking just beyond the Pak n' Save.  It's only the first day and it can only get better from here.

Air New Zealand was awesome, this 12 hr flight was actually the easiest leg of the trip and the skycouch we upgraded to for the little guys was worth every penny

This was like hour 20 of the trip.  While Jason was waiting in the slowest line ever for customs, Maddox lounged on the floor and Ryder was busy throwing his giant jawbreaker on the ground to see if it would bounce then putting it right back in his mouth.  I finally confiscated it from him when he brought it to me with a giant hair ball stuck to it

A rainbow peeking through the clouds, we took it as a symbol of a beautiful beginning

Ready or not, here we go!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Making the rounds

First stop, Vegas.  The kids loved spending time with their cousins. We were planning on only staying two nights, but when we realized that we forgot the title to the Pilot in our storage unit Jason had to catch a quick flight back to Phoenix to pick it up.  That quick trip turned into a 3 AM landing when Southwest grounded all the flights across the country due to a software issue.  Just another hiccup in our plans, but we're used to those. 

Dinner with Grandpa Young is always an adventure.  The kids turn it into one big Fear Factor challenge to see who can eat the most exotic food.  Ian is the reigning champ and can down chicken legs like it's nobody's business.  He drew the line at the goose head, but after eating pig ear Jayden's competitive side kicked in and he had a go at it too.  It was more like a really thick bacon and he actually said he liked it.  Me? I stuck with fried rice and broccoli, thank you very much.  It was one big party weekend with their cousins, they spent the night with them then went hiking and swimming all day.  They hit the bed hard that next night and were filled with all sorts of good memories.

Grandma Ardis is their adopted grandma, she is Shawn's mom and has been a second mom to Jason when he was growing up.  She is so sweet to always spoil the kids and we're going to miss her!

We eventually made our way up to visit the Jolleys.  First stop was Enterprise, which is a little slice of heaven on earth.  Ryder rekindled his bond with Papa Jolley as if they had never been separated.  He affectionately refers to him as "Pop".  By the end of the day the kids were covered from head to toe in dirt and I just loved it.

We headed up to Cedar and Sunday was such a special day because we got to be there for Julene's homecoming from her mission to Moscow, Russia.  So glad it worked out that we got to see her before we left.  She is such a sweetheart and has grown so much over the past 18 months.  It was also so good to see other family who had traveled to down to be there for the event.  It was so good to be surrounded by family and fill my canteen before our two year drought.

Juleney jelly beany

my sweet grandma Jolley

Margaret and Jayden have a cute little relationship.  She doesn't play favorites, but if she did then Jayden would be hers ;)  I told Jayden that Margaret really likes him and he rolled his eyes and said "yeah mom, I know, she makes it pretty obvious".  He pretends like he's too cool for that kind of stuff, but he did give her a heart shaped rock afterall, so I think the feeling is mutual.

We were seriously missing Janessa and Dawn to make our sisterhood of the traveling pants complete

Grandma and Grandpa Anderson and uncle Micheal.  The kids refer to him as the "cherry tree Grandpa".

Sweet little Jayden shed a few tears when he had to leave Ian, Trenton and now Brenton.  I love seeing his sensitive side and his cute little relationship with his cousins.

Kylie and Jayci were of course unseperable, I hardly saw her the entire weekend.  They adopted Shannon and had the best time dressing her up and teaching her sassy dances.  I would like to say that Ryder had just as much fun with his little cousins, but he usually just whacked them on their heads with rocks.  We're working on that.

We celebrated our last night in the states, Fourth of July style.  I'm really going to miss the fireworks, bbq's, watermelon and all the sights, sounds and smells of one of my favorite holidays, so I'm glad we got to have our own little sparkler session.  I can't think of a better send off celebration.

It took us about 547 trys, but we finally got it.  And yes indeed, this weekend was filled with heaps and heaps of love.