Monday, July 19, 2010

our first day

After taking a brief detour to visit South Carolina on Saturday, we arrived in Virginia late last night. By the time we were checking in to our hotel, it was just past midnight. All four of the children were wide awake because they were so excited about finally being here that they could hardly contain themselves. This morning at breakfast, we received a lot of smiles from fellow-residents who said that they heard us thunder roll in.


Once upon a time, not long ago, that might have bothered me that we made such a ruckus upon arrival that people heard us at midnight. But over the past few years, I've managed to drop any pretenses about how "perfect" children should behave ... and instead have acknowledged that my children are indeed children and children tend to make noise. Especially after being cooped up in a car for seven days straight and traveling more than 2,800 miles.

The truth is, I was so darn happy to finally be out of the car - and cease living out of a suitcase - it might have actually been me that our neighbors heard whooping and hollering.

And possibly running up and down the halls screaming WE'RE HERE! WE MADE IT! LOOK AT THE MAP! HALLELUJAH AMEN, MERRY CHRISTMAS!


We'll be staying an extended-stay hotel type place until we can move directly in to our new house. Which we haven't yet found. Which we haven't yet even started looking for. But which we plan to begin searching for in the next few days, once we have a better feel for the area and where we'll want to live for the long term.

Until then, we are in a two-bedroom fully furnished suite.

Included in our living space is a petite kitchen.

Isn't our little stove cute? It makes me feel like we're living in a doll house.


(Or boat.)

(Or RV.)

All four of the children are sharing a king-sized bed in one of the rooms and so far, we are very happy with our temporary living arrangement. The only drawback that I can see, is that our pool doesn't open until 5 PM, because apparently, there's a law in Virginia that every public pool must have a lifeguard? While I can certainly see the benefit of that, it makes the hours between say, 6 AM and 5 PM rather challenging since the children have asked no less than 20 times per hour, "Can we go swimming now?"

"How about NOW?"

"What about NOW?"

My response was consistently, "No, you may not go swimming. But you can take a NAP!"

Seems no one liked that idea.

(Except me and Charlie. We liked that idea VERY much.)

This afternoon, I ventured off and found a Trader Joe's. And there was much rejoicing. Then, I stumbled upon a Talbot's Clearance Outlet. And there was even more rejoicing. Since I've been working out of a "home office" for the past 10 years, my best work attire always seems to be my newest black exercise pants and some exercise top that has a built-in bra. So I went shopping for some new "work" clothes. It wasn't until I was checking out, that I realized just how fortunate I was to stumble upon this store. Because everything that I bought, which had already been marked down to crazy reduced levels, was reduced an ADDITIONAL 50 to 75%.

For example, I bought a cashmere sweater that was reduced from $125.00 to $12.00.


(That alone was worth the drive from California.)

On my way back home, there was an awesome rainstorm which left the world feeling soft and wonderful. After our first full 24 hours, it's definitely safe to say that everyone is so happy to be here with the leaves and the trees and the GREEN and the clouds and the weather and the incredible excitement of new things to explore.


Mostly, though, we're just happy to finally be out of the car.


  1. I hear you! We just got back from our 2100 mile trek.

    Okay. Let me get this straight. You are staying in a hotel, with four kids in one room, and the pool doesn't open until 5pm?


    If you give me the address, I'll send you some Xanax. FOR THE NEIGHBORS.

  2. Happy First Day!

    Sooo glad to hear that you made it safe. And glad to hear about the TJ's!!! And the Talbot's!!! Yeay!!!

    Thinking of you and hoping for a peaceful entry into your new lives.


  3. Glad you guys made it safe & sound! Your little stove looks very adorable I love it!

    My hubby & I did the drive from California to Florida a year ago with 2 vehicles. Hubby had the joy of traveling alone since he only has 2 seats in his car & zero trunk space. In mine was all of our gear, 2 toddlers, 2 dogs, & a bird... I definitely understand the happiness of finally arriving at your destination after traveling 3000 miles cross country!

  4. It is so wonderful the way you have embraced this new adventure in your life! Thank you for sharing your journey along the way!

  5. Trader Joe's is near you?!? How lucky are we? I'll be there in 10!! (hours or so).

    Don't worry I won't take up much room - well I might - after eating all the PB cups... BUT If anyone can make it work - you and Charlie can!!
    I'm not worried! ;-)

    So glad to have ya'll on the east coast! ;-) Marg.

  6. Welcome back to The East, Jen!


  7. Yay! I am so glad you are in Virginia and that you are pleased with what you see!

    If you decide Virginia isn't for you, visit Columbia/Ellicott City, Maryland. You can still commute to DC and the area was just ranked the second best place to live in the Nation!

  8. Congratulations on a safe, long drive! I hope you guys find everything you are looking for and more in Virginia. I can't wait to read about your adventures!

  9. You're going to really enjoy it here! There is a terrific Latino restaurant one shopping center down (west on Main St) from Trader's. I think it's called the Fairfax Square shopping center. You should also go up Pickett to the Nutley/Lee intersection and try out the Pan Am Family Restaurant. Your kitchen is cute, but I think it might need a break every now and again!

  10. Welcome to Virginia! You are more than welcome to come swim in my pool! But I'm in Virginia Beach, and if you're near the outlets then you're not too close! But if you come this way let me know!

  11. Welcome to Virginia! Glad to hear you made it safely. I agree-there should never be 6 lanes of traffic on the PW parkway at that hour. Hopefully my trip in this week will be less traffic-y.

  12. Welcome to the East Coast! Glad you all made the trip safely!

  13. As an Amazing Trips addict (and as an old "virtual" friend of your cousin Margaret's...(!))...and as a current Maryland resident (meaning your neighbor to the north!), I would like to welcome you to the East Coast! From picking up on some of your context clues about your new job, I think we may know someone who is about to move up to Fairfax (not sure where you are moving) from Baton Rouge to do something very similar to what you're doing...we'll pass along names if the timing makes sense! Anyway...your optimistic attitude about this new season in life is an inspiration...enjoy the doll house and good luck finding a pool! Congratulations on your journey thus checking in with your adventures. Thanks for keeping all your devoted readers in touch!

  14. No pool all day? Seriously? I think it might be worth it to get online and research getting your lifeguard credentials...I'm sure there is some internet site that lets you get certified in 15 minutes flat. Ha ha. I say this because we just spent 2 hours at a hotel pool and after 15 minutes in the hotel room, I am seriously considering turning around and heading back...

  15. Very glad you made it, safely and with your sanity intact!

  16. So glad ya'll made it safe and sound, congrats!

  17. Hooray for the next part of your adventure! And score on the Talbots!! Strangely enough, June gloom has returned to SoCal, so right now you're not missing beautiful sunshine. Can't wait for more stories . . .

  18. Be safe......thanks for the update!

  19. So glad you had a safe journey. Thanks for the twitter updates on your progress across the country. Welcome to Eastern Standard Time!

  20. Welcome to the East Coast!

  21. Welcome to your new home . May God bless you and the kids with new friends , new challenges enjoy the present time and remember that past is done , the future is unkown and the present is what we live day by day .
    Now I can follow you up by twitter and Virginia is for crabs but I love Virginia. Country roads take me home to the place I belong...
    see...sounds like music.

  22. welcome to virginia!

    so glad to hear that you all made it safely!

  23. Are you moving anywhere near Culpeper? My cousin Shannon and her husband own Westco Builders Inc. Good luck on the house hunting!!!

  24. Yay! Congrats on arriving! Good luck with the house hunt!

  25. Oh dear God in heaven, my family of 5 just left one of those places after staying for a month. Seeing that identical kitchen chair gave me the willies. Refrain from shopping because the laundry is going to cost you 4 bucks a load! And the waffles and bagels look great and seem oh so convenient now, but wait a few weeks. Ours had super nice staff though. And at least our pool opened at 3pm. Sorry to be such a downer. But I thought I should tell it to you straight. In a month you will want to run screaming from that place ;)

  26. Fairfax county has awesome public pools and recreation centers. There's one on Braddock Rd. near the beltway. Also - look into joining the Smithsonian Associates which is for locals in the DC area. Lots of fun activities and events for families.
    Steph (long-time lurker, but feel like a friend - been thinking about you guys all through your trip :)

  27. All I can say is you are very brave.

  28. YEAH finally out of the car. Weird Virginia pool law but then I consider Virginia something of a weird place so, it figures.

    SCORE at Talbots, I hope you'll be modeling some of the outfits for us soon. You've got TJ's now it's just the hunt for Costco and you're in business!

    Good luck on the house hunting, the new job, the new schools, the new everything. I know we didn't know each other personally but there's a little hole here in my heart in Ca where you all belong.