A week ago Friday, our family moved into our new home -- a three-bedroom condo in an urban Twin Cities suburb -- and life is finally beginning to feel normal again. No one said moving was easy! My sister-in-law hit the nail on the head when she said it wasn't just the few days surrounding the move that were busy for us; there were months of preparation beforehand in readying our old house for sale, purging, packing, moving and finally settling into our new place. Every spare moment has been devoted to this move and now that it's finally over, I can breathe. We're here! We're living in our new home and couldn't be happier.
So far, Andi and I have been very pleased with our decision to downsize from a 3,000 sq. ft. single-family home into a 2,000 sq. ft. condo unit. It's different from our life before in so many ways -- mostly for good reasons and some unique (with the potential of being annoying? more on that later...). It's something special to live in a brand new place -- everything is so clean and bright. The condo's modern style agrees with Andi and I's design preferences, so our belongings fit in perfectly here. And because we donated / sold so many things before we moved, nothing feels cluttered.
Tory is adjusting fantastically to our new home. Our efforts in preparing her ahead of time with pictures, a countdown calendar and a sequence chart the days leading up to the move proved successful. She's also old enough (age 4 1/2) to understand the moving process. We did our best to answer her questions along the way, and it seemed to satisfy any anxieties she felt. Aden (age 2 1/2) and Chloe (our 11-year-old dog), on the other hand, have had a hard time. Neither of them really understood what was happening, so it's like a rug was suddenly pulled from underneath them. One of the hardest moments last week was when I overheard Aden say "I want to go home" to Tory while they were playing in the living room together. It's like she was the only one he felt he could trust. I know his confusion is completely normal and that it'll get better with time, but it still breaks my heart. I have less sympathy for the dog who's taken to wetting all over the basement carpet. I let her outside constantly, reward her with treats when she does her business outdoors and scold her when she messes. I ... don't know what else to do for her, and am all ears for suggestions.
The move to our new condo went fairly smoothly, all things considered. Andi's mom graciously offered to babysit Tory and Aden for the 36 hours surrounding our actual moving day (which somehow morphed into 48 hours of babysitting), so the kids and Chloe left our old house on Thursday, March 31 and returned to our new condo on Saturday, April 2. Andi and I hired a mover to physically pack and haul our items to the new place, so in that 1 1/2 days without the kids we packed our entire house and set it up in a new place. It was important to me to have everything done by the time the kids returned. I knew there would be an adjustment period for everyone, and I thought it'd be easier to manage if we weren't stepping over boxes to live.
Aden's last "sleep" in a baby crib at the old house. Next stop -- big boy bed!
I had the kids each say good-bye to their old bedrooms. Aden could've cared less, of course. He was more interested in Grandma whom he hadn't seen for two weeks.
I wasn't sad about leaving many things in the old house, but I was emotional about the kids leaving their bedrooms. These were the rooms where Andi and I brought our babies home from the hospital. It was sad to see the pictures come down off the walls and to know that someday soon their color would likely be painted over. Good-bye, room!
Tory's paper chain countdown and a picture sequence chart we made together to describe what would take place each day were really successful in helping Tory understand the process of moving. It also gave her something to look forward to everyday.
Our hired mover arrived shortly after the kids left with Janie on Thursday, and packed our entire house in the span of a few hours. Meanwhile, I met Andi at our new condo to do a walk-thru. It looked great considering it was still under construction the day prior. I'd planned to clean while I was there, but a professional cleaner hired by the building was already there - what a nice surprise!
I had our mover text me when the kitchen was packed so as soon as I received his message, Andi and I drove back to the old house to load the boxes into his work van. I spent the rest of Thursday evening organizing the kitchen at the new condo while Andi worked to set up the televisions and electronics. Really, you've got everything you need if you've got access to food, T.V. and Internet! It was a long night and by the end of it, I was overwhelmed by the amount of "stuff" we'd have to fit into this new place.
Around 10pm, Andi and I headed back to the old house for one last night. Everything was completely packed and shrink-wrapped except for our bed.
The next day - Friday, April 1 - was moving day! Andi had a work meeting at 6:30am, so he left early morning. I squeezed in a quick workout in the dining room amongst all the boxes, then showered and got dressed for the day. I'd packed a suitcase with clothes and toiletries to get us through the transition.
Our hired mover arrived around 8:30am with two extra guys and the moving truck we'd rented. I filled my SUV with as many items as I could and headed over to the new place to get started. Meanwhile, the three guys filled the moving truck with our remaining household items.
Around 12:30pm, the truck arrived at the condo and the four of us (the three movers + me) worked to unload the truck. Unfortunately, Andi had an important meeting at work that day so he had to be at the office. At the same time, there were also three people from an audio/visual company Andi hired at the condo installing all of our televisions and speaker systems.
I wish I would've taken more pictures, but it was truly chaos directing movers in the right direction while unpacking boxes myself. We had one day without Tory and Aden there and I was determined to complete as much unpacking as possible.
Our condo building is newly constructed and the one next to it is still being built. Therefore, the front of the building was solid mud (no grass yet) thanks to the rain we'd had earlier in the week. Andi laid down wooden planks for the movers to walk on, and we all worked as quickly as possible to unload the truck before being ticketed for illegal parking. Do first, ask for permission later! Luckily, we didn't get into any trouble parking in front of the building.
I worked tirelessly until 12:30am Saturday morning unpacking boxes and putting away our things. I typically walk about 10,000 steps on an average day and on Moving Day, I walked over 23,000 steps. I was EXHAUSTED by the end of Friday, but everything was done by the end.
Upstairs living room / kitchen:
On Saturday, April 2, Andi and I woke up in our new condo for the first time. I'd like to say we slept like rocks, but there were some construction materials blowing around outside our bedroom window that made it too noisy to sleep well. That, and I think I was too keyed-up to relax properly. That morning, Andi and I worked together to hang up some artwork and photographs on the walls. We both felt like it was a do-this-now thing, or those frames would sit propped against the wall for months. Later, Janie brought Tory and Aden "home" for the first time.
Tory and Aden were so excited to see us after having spent the last two days at Grandma and Grandpa's house. Tory shrieked with glee the minute she saw her bedroom. There's space in her walk-in closet to hang her play dress-up clothes which she loved, and she was excited about the full-length mirror we hung on her wall. Aden liked his room, too, and kept repeating "Big bed! Mickey sheets!"
Tory's bedroom is painted in Benjamin Moore Iced Lavender -- the same color as her bedroom in the old house. We gave her the queen-size bed we'd had in the spare bedroom and Aden's nursery dresser. Her room is big, but filled up quickly with large furniture.
That night was the first time Tory and Aden slept in their new bedrooms. Andi and I braced for multiple wake-ups, but surprisingly both kids slept great. I was nervous the kids would wake up and not know how to find us, so I gave them flashlights to sleep with in their rooms. They both thought that was pretty fun and fortunately, everything went well!