Moving to Florida

On March 29th, the day our boys turned 7 and 10, we loaded up the biggest Penske truck we could find (for the third time in 3 years) and moved out of state. And on March 31st we signed approximately 6 billion pieces of paper that officially made us homeowners again. I signed my papers from the comfort of our minivan because I picked up some kind of wicked funk on the drive down and spent the night before the closing hugging the hotel toilet. It wasn’t pretty. After nearly 3 months of shopping for a home in another state, signing, scanning, and emailing one billion documents to our lender nearly every day for 45 days, and always waiting for the other shoe to drop….I was finally at the finish line….with my barf bag. It wasn’t how I had imagined it all going down. But, the truth is, I hadn’t really imagined making it past the initial offer on the home. Only 3 years after foreclosure and we were actually buying a house?! It just didn’t seem like it was going to happen. But it did. And, aside from Barf Fest 2017, it all went off without a hitch.

We are officially homeowners again! I feel restored, renewed, and oh so thankful. It was a hard and weird 3 years. You can read the story of our first home here. It’s taken me longer to let my guard down and get excited than I thought it would. I hadn’t realized how many walls I had put up to protect myself from disappointment. Apparently they were big walls because, even when it was obvious this was happening, I just couldn’t really let myself get excited. Staying pragmatic about it all was my main defense.

But when we broke out the power tools that had been gathering dust for the past 3 years, I felt a little more excited. There was no one to tell us we couldn’t paint or remove trim or add landscaping. It was ours. We could make it our own. So the Mister played along and helped me add a few touches I had been squirreling away on my pinterest board. There’s a sneak peak at the end of this post, and if you follow me on instagram then you’ve already seen a lot of what we’ve been doing in the room that will serve as our homeschool/library. But I’ll put together a separate post for that project with all the pictures.

The house we bought is a stone’s throw from our little downtown area which always seems to be bustling with some festival or event. It’s super cute and the boys love our park (seen in the top left and the right picture). The mister commutes to work in Orlando, not too far away to enjoy the fun stuff but just far enough away to get away from the crazy tourist scene. We’re in an area that local Floridians consider “country.” But I’m not sure Georgians who live in the “country” would consider this very rural at all. It is the prettier part of Central Florida though, if you ask me. There are orange, grapefruit, lemon, and lime groves everywhere.  And our house is on a canal that opens out into a pretty big lake. We can fish right off of our private dock or take our little boat out into the lake to catch the bigger fish (that’s right, our house came with a boat!! How cool is that?!). We’ve seen alligators, turtles, great blue herons, whistling ducks, bald eagles, and red shouldered hawks right in our back yard. We have more lizards in our yard, of every size and color, than you can imagine. And they scurry everywhere when you walk through the yard. I’m cool with them as long as they gobble up the mosquitoes. The sandhill cranes are everywhere you look and I just love their long skinny legs. Our canal opens into Trout Lake so we are able to drive the boat over and dock at Trout Lake Nature Preserve. Nature study won’t be a problem here, for sure! We can’t eat the fish in our lake or canal (there’s an agricultural run off clean up under way and various ongoing testing to monitor the fish), but we can catch and release all day long. It’s been fun to see the boys so excited about fishing and boating. I started a hashtag to document our adventures at our new home. If you’d like to follow along on Instagram it’s #lifeatthecanalhouse.

This girl hasn’t been in the boat yet because she thinks a life jacket is a baby torture device! I imagine she wouldn’t be too keen on it anyway since it’s loud so we hang back while the boys go out.

She’s had a bit of a hard time adjusting to life after the move. All of our children are great travelers but I think she keeps wondering when we’re going “home.” She’s starting to settle a bit more now but she still has moments that just don’t seem like her sweet self. She can’t understand why her mom is so busy and doesn’t have time for snuggling all the live long day like we did in the apartment. She’s woken up a few nights crying pretty hard. I think she forgets where she is for a minute. And she’s taken to skipping real naps and instead, sleeping where she falls. But, now that we’ve gotten most of the boxes unpacked she’s been able to explore the common areas of the house a little more and she loves her new found freedom. Likes: seashells, seabirds, running down the hall and squealing at her brothers, whatever I’m eating, and our new park downtown. Dislikes: Sand, waves, being hot, and lifejackets. Hmmm….oops. The Georgia girl is not a Florida girl just yet.

My main goal whenever we move is to organize the area we’ll use for school first. I feel very uprooted and disorganized when our school supplies are scattered everywhere. If the school area gets addressed first then I can get the boys going on a project and get a few things done in other areas of the home while they’re occupied. And if there’s anything I’ve learned from the last three years and two other cross-state moves it’s that we don’t wait to start school….ever. Because goodness, life happens. So we do a little school all the time. And during big life events we do what the wise Julie Bogart calls “backend planning” where we count everything as school, but only AFTER it’s done.

And, wouldn’t you know it, only 3 weeks after moving in we had a sprinkler pipe crack and we will be repairing that today. Good thing I already have the school books on the shelves and the play-doh and art supplies are easily accessible to keep little hands and minds busy while we work. Although, I don’t think they care much for anything in the schoolroom when there’s a fresh pile of dirt to make sand (dirt?) castles out of. Thank goodness this isn’t a broken pipe in Georgia clay. That hole would’ve taken a lot longer and resulted in a few bent shovels. Yay for sandy Florida soil!

I have a million and one projects I want to finish but I’ve had to reign in my slowly growing enthusiasm for the sake of my wallet, the other less romantic household chores that need tending to, and to get in some quality snuggles with my girl. In three weeks we’ve (playing it fast and loose with the term “we” since the mister is the only one of us who knows what ALL of those marks are on the tape measure) built a faux fireplace, primed, painted, and sealed our Ikea Expedit shelves, DIY’d a couple of chalkboards, shiplapped a faux chimney, sanded and primed a dining room table and chairs, and repaired (TBD) a sprinkler pipe, put together a couch and love seat, and unpacked one gazillion boxes. That’s a lot of homeowner-ing for three short weeks.

I’ll try to get a post together with some before and after shots of the front room that we’re calling the library. It’s not “technically” finished. We’re not on speaking terms with our miter saw and crown molding right now. And the fireplace still needs decorative trim work on the front doors and another coat of paint and polycrylic. The decor isn’t in it’s final resting place, nor is some of it even staying in that room. But it looks great so far so I’ll share where we’re at with it soon.

I’ve scheduled our summer intensive for homeschool to begin on May 1st. Fingers crossed I make that deadline because we’re all antsy to jump back into it. I’ll try to get a post up with our schedule and book picks soon. I’ve added a library page to the blog so you can easily find amazon links to the books we’re using in homeschool, what I’m reading for my own mother culture, and what we’ve read in the past. I’m still working out the kinks so if a grown up book shows up in the homeschool section, forgive me.

Thanks for popping in. It’s good to be back!

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