Saturday, June 19, 2010

Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs

We enjoyed a visit with Auntie W, Uncle J and Cousin R to the beautiful Garden of the Gods. Auntie W. got a kick out of LD, who did hand stands continually along the path (middle picture).

Always Helpful!

This box held the doll house my Grandfather made for my Mom when she was a little girl.  Once we removed the doll house (to pack into the trailer we'll be bringing east), the kids jumped right in and played!

Farm Visit

As I mentioned before, we had a lovely time with our cousins. One of the things we did while we were with them in California was to go to a working farm. The kids got to feed animals and pick their own strawberries. The farm also had a mine set up and LD and Cousin B thoroughly enjoyed panning through a bag of rocks for gems. Hours later, LD could barely be torn away from the mining station to go!

La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles

We spent time at the LaBrea Tar Pits in California. We saw fossils of some of the ancient American mammals, got to look into the fish-bowl science lab and watch scientists clean and sort small fossil pieces.

Friday, June 18, 2010

On the Road...

We've now been on the road for more than a month. I have a few minutes on my own and thought I'd take the opportunity to write a brief update.  Not much to report on the homeschooling front, but life in general has been full to overflowing!!

Our first stop after leaving Alice Springs/Sydney was California.  We spent two weeks there and enjoyed time at Legoland, the La Brea Tar Pits and Disneyland.  The kids loved absolutely loved spending time with their cousins B and Z, who are sandwiched in age between our three.  Auntie G and Uncle S have a beautiful new home and they have these amazing hiking trails that take them up into the mountains about a block from their house! 

Next, we were off to Colorado.  We flew in, tucked up our shirt sleeves and got to work on the house here. Recently Auntie W, Uncle J and little Cousin R bought a new house about a mile from here (they were living in our house while we were overseas), so we're getting ready to put our house on the market.  Grams and Gramps did an amazing job painting the house here, cleaning windows, appliances and all that before we arrived. [Thank you! Thank you!!] 

Pretty much as soon as we arrived in CO, we researched and bought a truck/crossover so we'd have a means of getting around.  I started to tackle the stuff I've had in storage in the basement here for over a decade!!  Lots of things went to Goodwill, the used bookstore and the dump. But still, there's a lot we'll haul across the country as both my Mom and my Grandpa (my Mom's Dad) died while we were overseas, so I have heirloom things to bring with us in addition to everything else.

Meanwhile, hubby spent tons of time setting up appointments for handmen to come to do things like fix the concrete, replace boards on the deck,  sand down the deck, stretch the carpeting, fix the garage door, put in new linoleum, etc.  All things that we need to get done while we're here in Colorado.

Five days after arriving in Colorado, hubby and I took ED with us to fly across the country and house hunt.  We left LD and DD with Grams and Gramps and Auntie W and Uncle J.  Hubby, ED and I spent very full days looking at houses. We came up with four that we'd be happy in. We placed a bid on a nice place, but the owners seem to have a lot of drama going on behind the scenes and are coming back with weird counter offers (like suddenly insisting on all the window treatments (blinds, curtains), all appliances and the three chandeliers).  That doesn't sound particularly out of line when I write it, but it was more the way it was done. Even their Realtor said she would lower her commission if the owners took our offer!!  We took that as a bad sign!  We're hesitant to go with that house so we're now looking at another option.   We have a bid in now (on this other house) and are in constant contact with our wonderful Realtor.  Keep your fingers crossed for us!

After six days on the east coast, we returned to Colorado and bought a 6X14 trailer to haul behind the crossover. We used it to move some heavy furniture that Auntie W and Uncle J hadn't had a chance to move to their new place.  Then, we loaded my furniture, boxes of books, etc. etc. into the trailer to take with us.  We will spend the next few days finishing up the work that needs to be done around here (cleaning windows, counter tops, bathrooms and things like that).

I should mention that the day after we returned from house hunting we went to a post-wedding party of hubby's second cousins.  It was a wonderful opportunity to catch up with Grams'/hubby's extended family!  Everyone admired the kids and LD was THRILLED because in the alley behind the house he found lots of obsidian rocks in the dirt.  He and the girls spent over an hour looking for obsidian.  (Much better than having to hang out with the ole fuddy-duddies, right?!!)

We're hoping to have everything set so we can start our 1,800 mile trek across the country with the three kids, dog and full trailer early next week.  That feels like the easy part (compared to buying a car, buying a house, packing/sorting, and putting a house on the market these past two and a half weeks)!!

We're hopeful we'll be able to start settling into a new place in about 6 or 8 weeks.  But, that might be a bit ambitious.  We'll see!!  What an adventure - this overseas move!!

Thanks for reading!