Wednesday, August 16, 2017


After church on our first weekend back, we headed east to Jacksonville! 
It's not that far, but we did make a couple of stops on the way over, and Carson did a little mini workout every time we did. 

We traveled over for Grayson's second birthday. We missed his first birthday party last year because of our move to Germany, but this time around we were ready to party. The party was entirely family, and it was pretty low-key.

After gifts were open, all the toys and gifts were put together by the partygoers - this is actually a terrific thing to do instead of party games, because it gives everyone a job, and because all the things are put together and the parents don't have to struggle through it alone after everyone has gone home.

This mini trampoline took 45 minutes and a rotating team to put together.

Morgan made a dirt cake as a birthday cake, and it was delicious and very cute.

After everyone had left but Carson and I, Grayson and I played around in the yard until it started to sprinkle. 

Next, we settled down in front of the movie Trolls. I was stuck in a conversation and didn't really pay attention to the movie at all. All I know is that there was a lot of nonsensical singing.

Once the birthday boy was in bed (and unhappy because he could hear the four of us having a good time without him - it's rough being little), we gathered around the dining room table for a rousing game of Mexican Train. The problem was that nobody knew how to play. We sort of figured it out as we went along, but I'm 99% sure that we weren't doing it correctly. Carson won by a LOT though.

Early the next morning (7:45), Morgan, Grayson, Carson and I got in the car for Orlando. We dropped Carson off at the airport and then headed to IKEA. Morgan napped a bit on the way over, and Grayson watched a movie.

After we'd left the airport, we went to IKEA! I wanted to check out some things for the new apartment, and it's always a fun place to walk around and get ideas. I walked out with some inexpensive lamps, lots of pictures of things to show Carson for future purchases, a pot holder, and toilet brushes. Exciting, I know. 

We went to the mall near IKEA afterward for some lunch, but Grayson fell asleep in the car on the way there and slept through our mall walk and woke up after we were back in the car for the second time. 

That evening, back in Jacksonville, we went to Moe's for dinner. The only reason busy little Grayson is smiling here is because I had his cookie. I asked Morgan to seize the moment and take a picture! He's looking at the cookie (Caleb has it) in the picture here. 

The next day, Morgan and I took Grayson to the beach! Rain was forecast for later (that's the thing about Florida in the summer!), and so we tried to get there while it was still sunny. It was a beautiful morning, and we enjoyed sunshine and the water. It was so lovely to be back at the beach!!

Yikes, see those clouds rolling in?

We felt water droplets the exact second that we closed the truck of the minivan, so we timed it right. We swung by a drive-thru for lunch and Grayson once again fell asleep in the car. He was up and ready to go when we got back, but Caleb had returned by then, so we washed the grubby beach off ourselves and Morgan and I headed out for some shopping/browsing. It poured while we were out. 

We also grabbed ingredients for our favorite pesto pasta which came together quite nicely (it's the Pioneer Woman recipe, minus tomatoes). We watched Jeopardy, and I saw my first episode of the Real Housewives. I'm not a huge reality show person, and I don't think I'm hooked, but I've heard a lot about it so I guess I've experienced it now!

The next morning, Morgan and I talked for awhile and took it slow while Grayson enjoyed his breakfast and played around in the house. 

I got on the road at about noon, and was back in Tallahassee before 3, even though I stopped for lunch and for gas on my drive over. The rain held off on the drive down I-10 (a real and true blessing - driving in the rain scares me!), and I had a quiet evening at home! 

It's so good to be back within driving distance of my cousin again! She lived in Ocala for years and had moved to Knoxville not too long before we moved to Germany, but Caleb's new job took them back to Florida, and now they're even closer to us! I love having family close by!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Moving Back

We've moved a lot, but we've never moved homes within the same city. Even though our year in Germany broke up our time in Tallahassee, it was sort of nice coming back to a familiar city. We are now living in a different part of town that we need to figure out, but we don't have to find a church, and we know how to get to work. It's nice!
We got to Tallahassee on July 31, and stayed with our dear friends the Kings that night. The next morning, we tackled a variety of moving related errands before signing papers and getting the keys to our new place. We like it! It's got a lot more light than the last place we lived (in the States, I mean). The inside of the kitchen cabinets is painted black which is so strange to me and I don't like that, but pretty much everything else about our new place is great. 

Here it is when we first walked through. Right now it's in a very transitional stage since we haven't been around, but here it was when it was pristine. They replaced all the flooring the day before we moved in which was so great!

A before picture, as we headed to get the moving truck. 

Nobody else ended up being available to load the truck, so it was just Carson and I. It took us six very long hours to get things from the third floor of the unit to the truck. 

Oh man. So bad.

I helped as best I could, mainly lifting only small things. A cart ran over my foot and put me out of commission for a little bit, and I took a "break" to walk up a hill (I forgot how steep Tallahassee hills can be!) and buy some Gatorade from a Walgreens, but for the most part, I was there too, not doing the heavy lifting and generally getting in the way.

At 6, some friends stopped by to help unload the truck, and that's right when Carson pulled up at the apartment with our stuff! It was so nice to have two guys there to help him with the heavy lifting. They were done in a little over an hour, even though they had to go up and down two flights of stairs into the apartment to do it. 

I went on another big Gatorade run while they finished up, and Carson ordered pizza that was scarfed down quickly before they all went to cool off in the pool (the pool is so close to our apartment!!!).

After they left, we tried to organize the boxes a little, and set up our bed. We were missing one piece of the bed frame, so we went back to the storage unit hoping it was among the few things left in there. We found it right behind the door, tucked away and almost hidden, but we found it! We stopped by Krispy Kreme on the way there because the hot light was on. 

The end of the day picture. Sweat not pictured.

This is how the living room looked at the end of the day. I set up the TV because finding that box wasn't too hard.

The dining room looks the worst (now) because all the boxes of Carson's books are in the corner there. He went to get those the next day.

Our friendly bed, ready for weary movers!

It was a busy week, so we made a list of things we needed to do.

The next day, we went on a hunt for a washer and dryer. We found a used set and it fit in the Pilot!

We had to get the set into our apartment ourselves, and that proved to be a struggle. As we were pulling and pushing the first one up the stairs and getting nowhere, a man from an apartment across the way, holding a small child, ran out of his apartment and helped Carson push while I pulled. He was holding his child the whole time! With his help, we got it up the stairs, and he had run back down to his apartment almost before we could thank him. We still had the problem of getting the dryer upstairs, but at that moment, someone from the Classics department walked by, and Carson said hello. They caught up (yes, he does live in this complex too) and Carson asked if he wouldn't mind please giving us a hand in getting it up the stairs. That definitely felt like a blessing from God, having those two just "happen" to walk by right when we needed help!

That day, we got all the things from the storage unit into our apartment and returned the keys to it. We had dinner out that evening (at 10pm because we were unpacking and lost track of time) and then got blizzards on the way home.

We settled down to watch a movie in our junky living room. Sometimes you just gotta take a break!

We unpacked and organized on Thursday, and then that evening, I had dinner with some old coworkers. My former boss is due with a baby boy any second now!

We did a lot of looking at storage solutions and things for the new apartment. Didn't buy anything, but we have our eyes out.

And we went by the Tax Collector's office to register and title our car and get new licenses. I didn't actually know we were getting new pictures taken, I thought we could just change the addresses, but apparently that's not a thing and we had to go through the whole thing again. I don't love my new picture but I've always HATED my old one. 

I made Carson smile in this new one and he looks a lot less murdery. His passport picture still looks a little too serial killer for my taste, but at least here he looks like someone who's safe to have on the streets.

Found my wedding dress while unpacking.

We went for a walk at our old favorite park, Cascades Park. They've added this walkway over Monroe Street in the time we've been gone.

It was a busy week! You're lucky that I didn't take pictures of all the times we were unpacking, because this post would have been way longer!
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