Moving to Michigan Adventures

I am freaking out a little because I had no idea how much dinero (that's money in spanish) it costs to move a family to a brand spankin new state! Especially with 5 people in your family with over 15 years of married life to transport. Oh my freakin goodness...it costs WAY more than I thought. Also totally freaking out because I looked at my calendar and realized I only have ONE...that's right ONE more weekend in San Diego. I don't think I will get a chance to say good bye to like anyone. Or schedule any dinners with friends, hug my grandma,  or let the kids have one final shin-dig with their besties. I've been out to Michigan 3 times since mid-August and enjoying the opportunity to rack up those frequent flyer miles, but wondering...where did all my weekends go? Oh yeah...I've been gone for a lot of them!

Conquering jet lag, 3 hour time differences,  and driving sweet rental cars are some newly acquired skills I have. I will be out in Michigan one more weekend before D-Day (depressed I am leaving behind Disneyland day) to buy bunk beds air mattresses and get our just leased (and very empty) apartment ready for the invasion of three children. We are all excited for this new adventure,  yet at the same time experiencing  a wide range of emotions as we all process the reality of leaving everyone and pretty much everything behind. Like my $2,000 french door fridge with ice and water at the touch of a button.

I will be really thankful, dancing and turning into crazy happy mama once we are able to buy a home and be together, settled, and furnished. To have an ice maker and more than one bathroom again. Maybe I should road trip to T.J. (Tijuana, Mexico...not Trader Joes!) for some perspective. Nothing like a visit to a third world country to re-appreciate the little things, like good plumbing and drinkable water.

Speaking of furniture, I initially wanted to move our furniture out to Michigan but wow....it costs a buttload of $$$. The lowest legit estimate I got was $6,000 and that was with leaving a lot of stuff behind. So Tim and I looked at each other, looked at our Crayola and dog hair covered furniture and figured an Ikea run to be cheaper and a lot more fun. As it looks right now,  I am more likely to be popping some tags at a thrift shop with $20 in my pocket. Delta Skymiles is my new BFF. One free checked bag each trip. We've been packing our luggage like drug mules or something, moving our clothes and 50 pounds of whatever we can (legally!) cram into a suitcase each time we fly out.

Did I mention moving is expensive? Thankfully we get a sizable moving stipend and have some help. Yet still stressing because airfare for five people, car transport, and paying a mortgage and rent on an apartment is a lot. Like A LOT!  Pray our house can sell fast and my 2 year old will stop finding Sharpies in my purse and coloring up the walls, the furniture and her face. Or that I remember to hang my purse up and remove all Sharpies from the home!! Because we've got walls to repaint, carpet to get cleaned and a house to sell!

I brought my almost 12 year old (Josh) out with me this last trip. We are on an airplane flying home to San Diego as I write. He is curled up wearing a red hoodie, watching a movie on my ipad with his cool noise-canceling blue headphones on. Looking all middle school like. I love that boy! This change is the most difficult for him. Leaving best friends, an awesome school, and his Sunday morning middle school service behind. I wanted him to see Mars Hill (where I am working) experience Michigan, meet people, and participate in the fall kick-off of FiftySix @Mars hill with inflatable fun and all. Michigan Mission accomplished.

Something magical happens when you experience real (in person) community. Tasting and seeing the reality of "these can be my people too" over pizza, soda (or pop as they say in Michigan), and a night of well thought out middle school experiences. An anchor of hope, when life throws your sense of belonging and identity in a new direction with a move like the one he is experiencing.  Leaving behind all the things he so closely identifies himself with (his Charter school, land of the San Diego Comic Con, our Disneyland pin trading nerdiness, his friends, his youth group, boogie boarding in the Pacific).  Even our family dynamic will shift for awhile as dad stays behind to sell our home. I will be single mom-ing it for awhile.

 Change is hard and I wanted to make it easier. So there went $600 in airfare for a trip I didn't have to bring him on...but it was so worth it.  We enjoyed a lot of burgers together, comfy hotel beds, an indoor pool, and coming to the realization we are really short in stature among all these tall, blond, Dutch northern people. Poor Josh, he has my hispanic DNA of being a little smaller than the average person. So dear miss school secretary of the new school we are enrolling at....he is my oldest child.  I told her I was enrolling a third grader and a sixth grade boy. Can you guess which grade she thought Josh was in as she handed me an enrollment packet for my "boys" (hint he is my only boy)?  Holy freakin cow....good thing Josh didn't notice. He is already a bit insecure about his height (or lack thereof). No he is not a third grader. He is a middle schooler.

"Mom, I really like Mars Hill."  
 Yup... Michigan accomplished.   


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