Our First Days in Houston

I've been wanting to update everyone for a while — but it has been JUST CRAZYTOWN over here.

First of all, I want to say THANK YOU to everyone who has been helping us out. We’ve had friends and family step in and help us handle our almost-finished flip house in OKC, OUR house which we are now renting here in Midland, as well as a friend providing almost all the furniture we will need in Houston. A couple weeks ago, my sisters and mom threw me a surprise baby shower, and we got several Target and Amazon gift cards and all the new baby goodies we are going to need for the apartment. We’ve also gotten tons of encouraging notes in the mail, and a gift of a year long membership to the Children’s Museum here. All this to say, we are being well taken care of and loved on :) Derek’s parents have our dog, and my parents will soon have our kids for 3 weeks.

I get a lot of questions about our plans. Here is what we have done or have planned so far:

March 5th: Renters moved into our Midland House. We’ve gotten it cleaned out, made some minor repairs, furnished it, and conquered the very long process of changing our address on all of our accounts so that the renters don’t get loads of our mail. We’ve had some pretty big hiccups already, but they are in now, and we have friends who will be doing the managing of it which is a MAJOR blessing! Also, our flip house in Oklahoma is finally done, so finishing touches are being managed by Derek’s dad, and we’ll soon have it on the market! 

March 7th: Derek and I packed up the van and drove to Houston. Kiddos stayed with Mom and Dad for a couple days.

March 8th: Derek and I moved into our apartment, and furniture arrived. TONS of helpers from church — THANK YOU ALL!

March 9th: Unpacking and free Groceries, thanks to some extremely kind friends from Atlanta!

March 10th: Kiddos came to US for Spring Break!!

March 13th (today): Had an Ultrasound and NST — everything still looking the same. Sunley’s whole body is PERFECT, aside from her heart. This is pretty incredible when you think about how much of the body the heart affects!

March 17th: Kids go to Mom and Dad’s until April 6th. Hadelyn has a program on April 5th and 6th, and until then, I have tons of doctors visits and things to do before the due date. Hoping those days fly by :(

April 5th: Derek goes to Midland for Hadelyn’s school program.

April 6th: Derek and the kids come to Houston for the rest of the summer!

After April 6th, all of our plans could easily changed based on when Sunley comes, and her condition once she’s born. She is due on May 2nd, and doctors are hoping for a 40-week, vaginal delivery. Her first surgery (a pulmonary banding) will HOPEFULLy not occur until she is 1-2 weeks old. We may have to do it sooner if she’s struggling. And she SHOULD get to come home to the apartment after she recovers from the surgery. But unfortunately, those recovery times are SUPER varied for each baby. In fact, some babies stay in the hospital the whole time in between the 2 surgeries. So, the kids being with us for the whole summer will work great if she gets to come home, and not so great if her recovery ends up tricky.

Mid-August: Kids will go back to Midland to stay with my parents until we get to come HOME. Sunley’s second surgery could take place as early as August, or as late as November, so that makes it pretty impossible to plan. This is why we’ve rented the apartment until December. Of course, we want to get home as soon as we can, but from what I understand so far, the longer Sunley has to grow and develop before that 2nd surgery, the better. 

Everything so far is going pretty smoothly, but it definitely feels real now. It’s really great having our kids with us this week, and also it’s really hard to establish a new normal and a routine for the kids, when you know it’s all going to change again drastically in May (or sooner). The kids are both so much tougher than us, but I think they can tell something’s up. We haven’t had any major behavior issues or meltdowns (at least none that are out of the ordinary), but Ruger isn’t napping well in his new room, and Hadelyn keeps asking if she’s being a good helper. I’m trying to find little daily activities for them to just be little kids and not feel pressured to be on their best behavior. We were finally able to get a to a box of toys and they had a LOT of fun making messes today :) I also bought a bubble machine, but I’m saving that GOLD for a rough day.

Now that we are here and the ball is rolling, I can definitely feel things approaching, and that’s kind of hard to deal with. I just feel so removed from what’s been normal for so long, and it’s hard to even understand what I’m feeling. I’m not really sad or angry or happy — It’s like I don’t really know how to be myself yet in this new world we’re in. I’ve kind of felt like a bad friend lately because I’m struggling to keep up with everyone, but I’m just very consumed with what’s happening right now, and all of my social energy is being put into my kids and husband. I feel like every time I try and have a simple phone chat with someone, I bring down the mood simply because I don’t have much to say. So if you do call me, just set the bar low for me please ;) I’m not grumpy, just EXHAUSTED and very distracted.

On a happier (but not less stressful) note, we have discovered Ikea. We made 3 trips in 2 days before the kids arrived (because Ikea and kids, no thank you) and it was quite the experience. As I mentioned before, a friend is letting us borrow TONS of brand new furniture which saved us THOUSANDS of dollars in moving expenses, so all we needed were a few odds and ends and 2 sofas (one for the living room and a pull out sofa for the “guest room”). We all know that you have to build Ikea furniture yourself. Well did you know that you even have to build Ikea pots and pans? And Ikea pillows? And LITERALLY EVERYTHING. You probably knew that. I was an Ikea newbie. It’s been pretty entertaining. We have also discovered that Target has VERY competitive prices to Ikea, less and sometimes no assembly required. Our takeaway lesson is: For big things (like sofas), Ikea is worth it, but for anything small, Target is usually competitive (sometimes even cheaper), almost always cuter (yes, husbands, this matters), and comes at least partially assembled. Also, a minivan with all the seats stowed can haul A LOT OF CRAP. #minivanmicdrop

Another nice thing is, I REALLY LOVE HOUSTON. There’s these natural-looking, large, green, leafy structures everywhere and they’re nice to look at, and even provide shade. The restaurants are pretty awesome, and aside from Rodeo and Spring Break traffic combined, the driving hasn’t been too stressful. Ah, except I do need to figure this out: I Ubered to my doctors appointments today to save money on parking per the advice of others more experienced than I, and ended up spending the same that I would have spent to park. My Uber ride was $7 each way, and Valet parking at the Women’s Pavilion was $13. I’m new to the TCH parking and new to Uber so someone let me know if they know a secret. I don’t want to be spending that much every single day once Sunley is here. It’s only 2 miles, and I bet I could work up to walking it, but probably not before she’s out of her first round of hospital stay.

I’m also very spoiled already with the giant closets in this apartment. I may have to stay here forever. That combined with more cabinet space than I’ve ever had is making this apartment super comfortable. Alas, I only have 4 pots and pans, a cookie sheet, and like 12 dishes. The irony. I already LOVE living with less stuff (specifically, less kids’ toys. I brought all my clothes and shoes, because I’m an adult and I make the decisions). Of course I really really really miss my house, but all the conveniences here take the sting away a little bit :) Hadelyn will NOT be ready to leave here ever I predict. She can see the pool from her window, and there’s stairs AND an elevator here so I guess Houston apartment life is the dream. She also asks Derek to go work out with her in the fitness room about every 5 minutes.

We’ve gotten a pretty good routine going, which has been good. In the morning, we eat breakfast together, and then Derek goes downstairs to the lobby conference area and works while the kids and I very slowly get ready, and usually run a couple errands. He comes upstairs for lunch, then continues working again until his normal 5.30 or so. We should have WiFi in our apartment by the end of this week, so he’ll soon set up a little “office” in our bedroom. Not sure if this will work as well as him “leaving” for work (I don’t see the kids actually leaving him alone) but we’ll see. Another part of my routine, is reaching for some gadget or tool, and realizing we don't have it...like Scotch tape. It took me 3 Target trips to finally remember to get Scotch tape. Still trying to remember the ice cream scoop (priorities).

We will have a lot of adjusting to do again when our girl gets here, but for now, everything is going as good as it could go. I’ll try to be better about posting updates for anyone who’s interested! Ugh, I just realized we don’t have an iron. That will be a TARGET purchase, because I don’t want to acquire the skill of building an iron. On second thought, I've used my iron probably 3 times. I'm more of a fluff-it-up-in-the-dryer kind of girl. Peace out, iron.

And now, some photos of our latest adventures (all from my phone, so LOW bar please):