Why Send a Christmas Letter When You Can Write a Blog Post Instead?

Back in August I wrote that we had finally arrived on the East Coast and had a list of priorities for settling in:

Finding a church
Finding childcare
Finding a Trader Joe’s
Finding an NPR station
Finding a salon
Finding a gym

So now, three months later, I would say we’ve gotten a solid C- on our “get ‘er done” list.

Finding a Church

Maybe. Maybe not.

We’ve been to a few, and only one resonated with all of us. Of course, Tony Campolo was preaching the only Sunday we were able to make it, so that kind of skews the data. But in its favor, the youth pastor and his wife immediately invited us over for dinner (we still haven’t made it over, but not for lack of trying), we were encouraged to participate in the youth events, and Rachel may end up in the pre-K affiliated with the church (more on that later). So why don’t we just call it home? Mostly because there are one or two other churches we’d like to try out before making a selection. My gut tells me, though, that time won’t allow for that and, more importantly, that Rachel will become attached to her classmates whose parents would be our fellow congregants.

Finding Childcare

This has been perhaps our (my) greatest failure.

I began researching preschools well before we moved. At night, once we entered victory lap time, I would peruse Zillow, church websites, and local schools until my eyes bled. There were almost no options for Aaron, so the focus was really Rachel. I narrowed it down to two that we all agreed would be perfect for her. The lead contender (which is where she is now) has chickens. Chickens! And the kids sew, roam seven acres of private land, and cook meals for the teachers that the teachers actually eat. Everything is kid-sized, and every activity is kid-driven at the individual child’s own pace. I mean seriously, what could be better for our romantically-inclined and imaginative four-year-old? The cost was reasonable, the environment beautiful, and the stated goals, mission, and pedagogy closely resembled what we (try to) put into place at home (you know, when we aren’t getting Chick-Fil-a or shouting “noooooo!!!!” at Aaron, or pleading with the kids to “put the books away and just watch TV, darn it.”)

I emailed the admissions director daily. I called often. I begged, I pleaded, I prayed. And Rachel got in.

Two months later, we are a mess. Time is short (school pick up time is near), so I won’t go into every detail. But suffice it to say, our sweet, wonderful, earnest, kind-hearted little girl turned into a potty-mouthed, hitting, screaming, terror of a child with mysterious “stomach aches” and confused pleas to “stay home, no go to school, no stay home.”

Several conferences, emails, and phone calls later, we are now getting this problem solved. We may end up paying a full year’s worth of tuition at a school with lots of chickens and no Hanauers, but parents have to do what they have to do. Our “solution” is messy: Rachel will now go to TWO schools (because it’s mid-year and all the 3-, 4-, and 5-day spots are full), and have one day home with me. Like I said, it’s a mess. But it can’t be messier than losing the sweetness of childhood in two short months. So, as of today, we go boldly into the confused world of multiple preschools.

For the record, we chose wisely for Aaron, and he is happily entertained by someone who isn’t me two days a week. Where, it just so happens, Rachel will also be two days a week beginning Dec. 1st. Just on different days….

Did I say C-minus? Perhaps I meant D+.

Finding a Trader Joe’s

Yes! Thanks be to Google.

Finding an NPR Station

Yep, a whole two of them.

Finding a Salon

Sure. Google “Aveda Annapolis” and there’s only one so there you go. The stylists are good, the aestheticians less so, but, you know, the goal was met.

Finding a Gym

Yep, I found a few. But we got really, really lucky with our house and have a spare room to use for…. What? A home gym! Now before you start thinking that sounds super fancy, I promise you it isn’t. When you add together the cost of registration fees and monthly charges of gym membership, a home gym quickly pays for itself. And in inclement weather it’ll be a lifesaver. Also, who actually makes it to the gym when small children are involved? Well, you probably do, but I don’t. Now I have no excuse.

Still need to set up the multi-exercise station and treadmill, but you get the gist.

Still need to set up the multi-exercise station and treadmill, but you get the gist.

Our House

Even Scooby likes it here.

Even Scooby likes it here.

We bought a house! As heartbroken as I was to sell our home in California, I must say I LOVE our new house. There are many things tied for first place in the “coolest feature” category, but my office is certainly worth mentioning. Let me just say that again: “my office.” Need I say more? I don’t actually, you know, use it, but I’m hoping to get there some day.

Here it is. Note the little emperor ruling the roost.

photo-18

The topic of work is a whole other blog post, but I will say that when one moves twice in two months, and one of those moves is 3000 miles, and there are two little kids to deal with, a big kid to set up in sophomore year, a needy dog, and a husband with a crazy work schedule, “work” becomes a distant second to the immediacy of… well, of everything else.

Moving on…

here’s the playroom, in which the children are supposed to be always present. But much like my office, this is an awesome but seldom used storage zone that needs to be both heated and cooled.

photo-23

Rooms actually used:

The kitchen
The laundry room
The kitchen

There are already dance grooves worn around the kitchen island and fingerprints on the margins of every counter. Who puts in black counters?? I would say someone without kids, but the prior owner had five. Don’t know what they were thinking, but maybe their kids were less grubby-handed than ours.

photo-22

Speaking of which, the kids didn’t need a single second to “adjust” or “acclimate” to this house. They took to it immediately, and even Aaron already knows every nook and cranny (especially Aaron, actually). They finally have their much-desired play structure and back yard, and maybe someday soon they’ll have their much-dreamed of snow.

Do you think it seems like a jungle to them? and (sorry about my thumb.)

Do you think it seems like a jungle to them? (sorry about my thumb.)

Next week… our first Thanksgiving here, and the month after, our first Christmas. I’m asking Santa for Rachel’s school experience to be wonderful, my office to get some serious usage, and for 4pm to be the new 6pm. But, even barring all that, I’d say we’re still doing pretty okay.

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6 thoughts on “Why Send a Christmas Letter When You Can Write a Blog Post Instead?

  1. Pingback: There’s Sick, and then there’s Homesick | jamie calloway-hanauer

  2. Pingback: 2014: The Year That Really, Really Sucked. | jamie calloway-hanauer

    • Thanks, Bronwyn. I’ll keep you posted on the preschool issues. I know you know the importance of school for a 4yo. It’s just overwhelming knowing one’s child is not in the optimal setting!

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  3. I love reading about your new life and your home looks BEAUTIFUL and I covet your office and playroom. 😉 I’ll be praying for you to find a church home and childcare. I know, from recent experience, that good childcare can really transform a life. 🙂

    Like

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