The sun is shining, the air is clear, the kids are playing nicely in the backyard, Pandora is echoing my favorite station in my empty house, and I have an iced coffee with me. I mean, it doesn’t get much better, right?
Before I start telling you about our new home (which I’m super excited about) I want to fill you in on what we’ve been up to in the past month.
I have to tell you that the day we left our apartment for the last time wasn’t really tough to do. I wasn’t sad at all. It felt pretty good, to tell you the truth. I was so done with that place. After two years, we really outgrew that apartment. The flight to the US went about as expected solo with two kids. We had layovers in Japan, Seattle, and Minneapolis before touching down in Des Moines about 37 hours after walking out the door of the apartment the last time. It was exhausting for me, we were tired, but spirits were high because I knew that would be our last international flight (for now).
My parents picked us up in the middle of the night and we went to their house to sleep for a few hours. The jet lag this time around lingered a lot longer than it ever has in the past. In case you were wondering, jet lag with kids is 100000 times worse. My poor mom got self-induced jet lag because of all the 11-3 am parties the kids were having. There wasn’t much we could do for them, their little bodies simply weren’t tired, and you can’t explain jet lag to kids. About a full 14 days later, we were finally starting to get back on track. Then we were able to have some fun.
We went to a Day Out with Thomas with both grandparents. The kids got to see all things Thomas the Train, aka “choo-choo” at the Boone Scenic Railway. We even got a ride on Thomas, which Owen absolutely loved. They came around with flashcards of the trains from Sodor Island and he knew all but two of them (which in his defense, the two he didn’t know were tough ones – I’m not sure they have ever made more than one or two appearances in the show).
Della enjoyed the train ride so much that it put her to sleep.
It was hot and humid when we left Korea and we were greeted with similar weather in Iowa. The Indian summer was actually disappointing to me, I so love autumn in Iowa and I knew I wouldn’t get much of it in the desert of New Mexico . Regardless of the weather, we did all the fall things to include a trip to Center Grove Orchard to do some apple picking. The last time we were there I was pregnant with Della and Owen was Della’s current age. It seems like just yesterday, though.
This place is so much fun and so well done for kids of all ages. They have a ton of fun activities for kids plus farm animals.
Of course, no trip to Iowa would be complete without a stop at Reiman Gardens. The kids always like the butterfly house and they both love flowers. It was ridiculously hot the day we were there so we weren’t able to do and see everything.
There were several trips to Brookside Park, one of my favorites as a kid. It has lots of trees, walking paths, and play equipment including an old fire truck (Owen’s favorite). It’s nice because it’s so sprawling and spacious for the kids to run around. Plus the shade from the trees was nice on the hot days. My mom and I would stop for coffee and chat while the kids played. I truly value time with my sweet mama, I love her so much.
The high school called my dad and asked if he’d be willing to drive his convertible in the Homecoming parade. Owen rode along with him which was probably the highlight of his trip to Iowa. He still talks about the time he was in grandpa’s Mustang in the parade. Maybe it was my pregnancy hormones or just a proud mama moment, but when I saw them go by and all I could see was the top of his little head and his arm out the window, I started crying. There is nothing better than seeing your babies happy.
The day we went to visit my grandma and grandpa, we went to the Heartland Museum in Clarion, IA. If you’re ever even remotely close to this area, DO NOT MISS THIS MUSEUM. It’s one of the most well done museums I’ve ever been in and believe me, I’ve seen a ton. They have an incredibly massive display of tractors, several of them very unique, lots of toys, and a cool vintage downtown complete with lots of Iowa heritage.
We spent the rest of the day at my grandparents’ farm.
We took a trip Minnesota for my cousin’s wedding where we got to see a lot of family. It was a gorgeous wedding, Erin was such a beautiful bride. It was so fun getting all the little cousins together!
When the weather finally began to cool off, we made a trip back to the orchard to pick pumpkins.
With the nice cooler fall weather, we were outdoors a lot more. My dad surprised Owen with his very own Mustang and during our time there, he got pretty dang good at driving it. He even mastered drifting down the driveway. I’m talking scary good at driving the dang thing…
For my birthday we went back to the Heartland Museum and to my grandparents’ so they could see Alex.
Alex got to the states the first of October and we spent the rest of our time in Iowa at his parents’ house. We bought a car from someone in Iowa and Alex spent the entire week tuning it up and getting it up to his standards (he has high standards and takes incredibly good care of our cars). Della was a big help, especially that time she turned the steering wheel when she wasn’t supposed to and sprayed power steering fluid all over…oops.
Owen spent his days farming with his gramps, clocking tons of hours in the tractors and farm equipment.
Alex hadn’t seen his sister Shelby since Owen was 11 months old and Shelby hadn’t even met Della yet. It was so great to get the whole gang together again!
We left for New Mexico with only the clothes on our backs and whatever we could manage to squeeze into our car (which was surprisingly a lot more than we expected) and drove 18 hours to our new home…which is a blog post for another day. But let me just leave you with, holy cow, we love New Mexico and especially love our new house!! I’ll give you a tour soon!
Thank you for all the love, support, and prayers for our family during our transition. We’re thrilled to be back in the states and ready for this new adventure. We truly appreciate and valued all the messages from everyone! Stay tuned for the first NM post!