an evening at the park in San Jose

We spent the first two weeks in California house hunting in Silicon Valley and yes, we found a house, but getting settled in our permanent home takes time. So in the meantime, we have been continuing to live in the apartment complex, which has it’s inconveniences (i.e. late night fire alarms going off, parking garages and third floor dog potty runs) but it has also had it’s perks. The evenings are when the complex comes alive. We’ve enjoyed walks to our community’s park and the kids have loved riding along all the smooth paths. I finally got out my real camera to (attempt) to catch my kids in action. Join us on one of our evening adventures.

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By the way, this precious pumpkin turns four on the 26th this week!

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  • July 23, 2014 - 9:20 am

    Gail - These are SO sweet! I really love Joss’s dress here! CANNOT BELIEVE SHE’S ALMOST FOUR!

  • July 23, 2014 - 1:56 pm

    Megan D - Four?!? Not possible!!!! Your kids look so happy Bets! Thanks for sharing. :) xoxo

  • July 23, 2014 - 10:46 pm

    Ben - Your family is awesome. I can’t wait to meet them sometime. That one of Joss with the amazing light and the one of Miles one footing on his scooter are my favorites.

Half Moon Bay – Stamp’s first trip to the beach

Ok, so the first week in California was a dream. It was full of foothill gazing, swimming, blue skies, carnivals, surprise rose gardens, ice cream cones, boutique shopping and yes, the beach. It was pretty awesome. You are all probably ready to go gag right now and stop reading this blog. Of course, by week two and three, reality hit and when John headed to his first day of work, the emotions of all the change started to come to the surface. (Not unlike how hot molten lava erupts from a volcano.) I never knew what homesickness would look like for my kids, but we suddenly had tantrums over little things, had a hard time going to bed at night (mostly Joss) and just plain being grouchy and short fused. (My kids aren’t tantrum throwers, so this was new for us.) For me, homesickness just looks like me napping, being snappy and wanting to just watch Grey’s Anatomy reruns. (Yes, I’m STILL watching that show on Netflix. It just keeps going and going!) So in case you were all wondering if I’ve been painting only the good parts of our move to California, trust me, we’ll get to the lows. I’m just still covering the highs of when we first got here. (Things are still pretty great, it’s just at some point reality of normal life hits and it’s not all just one big party any more.) I will say that the kids are adjusting great, better then me, actually. I’m currently going through the stress of trying to get California residency as fast as we can to get Miles registered in the Los Gatos public school. The amount of proof we need to give the school is pretty intense and of course, everything (especially the process of getting a CA state drivers licence) moves very slowly.

Enough of all that nonsense. Throw your pug in the car and let’s go to the beach!

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I had to share our first time going to Half Moon bay with the kids and our pug, Stamp. We have never taken Stamp off the leash in public before, so I was pretty freaked out at how she would do. She did AMAZING! She played with other dogs, loved on all sorts of people (including a grouchy family who kept getting mad that she was kicking sand on their blanket by saying hi) and had a blast. My mind was BLOWN that our little 12 year old pug was frolicking on the beach like she had been there her whole life! BEST DAY EVER!!!

We started out grabbing some clam chowder for lunch and then headed to the beach.

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We popped into the downtown for a cookie at the Half Moon Bay bakery and I couldn’t believe these succulents. California’s succulent plants have been blowing my mind. I can’t wait to get some for our home when we move in.

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We were ALL exhausted on the way home. Even Stamp was conked out in John’s lap driving home. I can’t wait to go back! However, Stamp actually caught kennel cough from hanging out with other dogs on the beach and our apartment complex. If you’ve never experienced Kennel Cough, it’s pretty much like living with an old fashioned bike horn honking three or four times in a row every twenty minutes or so. It’s the worst sounding honking, barking cough since our kids had the croup. I guess it’s normal for dogs to get a cold when moving to a new area. So that’s been fun. Thank goodness for Yelp so I could find a vet on a whim. I can’t wait for her to get better so we can head to the beach all over again. Hopefully she’s building up her immunity to all these California dog germs.

ADVICE PLEASE: Our kids loved the beach UNTIL they got knocked over and fell in the cold water. (Notice the three outfit changes that Joss made in this one post.) So we need to get some wet suits. Should we get the full long suits or just shortie wet suits? The kids who were at the beach all seem to have the long ones. Thanks for your advice!

PS Photos are all iPhone pics.

  • July 15, 2014 - 2:40 am

    Amy from CA - If your kids can handle the shorties, they are so much easier to get on and off. Also, they are going to outgrow them fast, so craigslist is a great way to purchase without being bummed that they no longer fit in 6 months. Good luck!

  • July 19, 2014 - 7:44 pm

    Kelli Williams - I have been following your move on instagram and had been in awe of how well the transition seemed to be going! I see now, all was not good. I hope you guys get over the homesickness soon. It’s my dream to move from B.C. to pretty much Disneyland!

Our temporary home and a taste of our new life in California

When we arrived in California, the relocation company through John’s new job set us up in temporary housing, which is a two bedroom apartment in a pretty swanky complex in San Jose. (Seriously, it’s landscaped almost as much as Disney World.) We were kind of bummed at the location, as it’s in a seemingly dead zone around Milpitas, with not much around here, but honestly, it’s been great and we have been able to bop around wherever we need to go. Here’s what our apartment looks like:

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When we first walked around the complex, we felt like we were in a dream. It was so bizarre! It felt like the Truman Show. The sky was so unnaturally blue ALL THE TIME and nothing seemed a hair out of place. Even the temperature was perfect, no humidity, no mosquitoes with well mannered dogs all around us. It didn’t feel real! (It’s so empty in the photos because this was the first day when I woke up crazy early from being on Indiana time.)

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Then I walked into Starbucks and the Barista went crazy over Stamp AND they gave me a free drink. I immediately felt so welcomed! (Of course dogs aren’t really allowed in Starbucks, I just got lucky on my first day attempting to walk in with her.)

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Not only did Starbucks seem to roll out the red carpet, but the apartment complex had a free carnival for the kids on OUR FIRST DAY THERE. I mean, it was starting to be ridiculous how perfect it was all feeling.

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They had an airbrush tattoo artist. How cool is that?

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The next day we met our friends and one of John’s co-workers at Apple for lunch. Their kids welcomed us with flowers and chocolates. So precious! The kids hit it off right away.

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Living in an apartment means lots of walking and our place is like Fort Knox the way you have to unlock a million doors to get through the various gates and doors throughout the complex. So that can be a bit nutty from time to time (ahem, bringing up groceries, oy vey!) but I have to admit that the complex is beautiful. The pools, meditaion room and fireside grilling areas are beautiful. We have been very spoiled.

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We only had one car the first two weeks we were here, so I took advantage of the technological advances here in Silicon Valley and signed up for all sorts of home delivery shopping services. I ordered groceries at 9 PM one night and had them delivered at 11 PM. (Hello Ben & Jerry’s midnight snack!) Google Shopping express (free next day delivery from Target, Costco, Walgreens, etc. for the next six months!) has been AMAZZZZZING.

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All of these changes, not to mention the time change at first, kicked my energy level to the curb. I’ve been allowing myself time to nap when I can’t process any more changes. For me, change plus helping kids through change has sapped so much of my energy. Some days I’m great, but others, the homesickness and the missing of our regular life schedule gets to me. When it does, the kids get screen time and I take a nap with my pug.

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There have been ups and downs, but at first, it was ALL UP. We got here and it was like a non-stop party and sight seeing. We ran into this gorgeous rose garden next to a library we found one day. We walked around in amazement that a place like that existed. You don’t buy tickets to view it, it’s just a park completely full of roses. There were people having picnics and even a yoga class in one corner of the garden. Wow.

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We brought NO books for the kids because they got packed before we got a chance to grab some, so hitting the library was essential. We checked out sixty six books in our first visit!

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Our kids have really banded together through this adventure. We’ve had our lows (that’s yet to come in the blog) but they’ve really surprised us at how close they have gotten as well.

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We have tried to keep bedtime rituals the same, but other than that, our schedule is pretty out of wack. I can’t wait to get that back on track. That’s been the hardest part for me, is not having a set rhythm to life yet. House hunting really messed that up at first. We were jetting off all over Silicon Valley at a moments notice for two weeks straight to see houses. It meant we got to find cute new playgrounds and restaurants, but man, it was draining too. The kids went to EVERY house viewing with us. Bless them! They were amazing through that whole process. They would fall in love with a cute little cubby hole in one town house or backyard in one house and then something else wouldn’t be right and they would have to be ok with moving on to another house. I will forever be impressed with their resiliency through all of this. (Spoiler Alert: We found a great house to rent! That’s coming soon on the blog.)

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When we drive around our new world, it’s the foothills all over that keep taking my breath away and reminding me that I’m across the country. From the backseat, Joss excitedly yells, “Foot hills!” when she see’s them and I often wonder if she’ll ever remember a life without them. Will she remember the cornfields and never ending suburban yards of her life in Indiana? Will those years that were so carefully tended by our Fort Wayne world be just a seed in her soul for the rest of her memories to grow? Oh I hope she remembers Fort Wayne, for as beautiful as this place is, and as much as we intend to make a wonderful life here, I don’t want to forget where we came from.

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  • July 13, 2014 - 7:48 am

    Sherry Smith - wonder when we get past gut wrenches and tears.. sending surprises has been fun though.

    will see you in October,

  • July 13, 2014 - 7:50 am

    Jovony - Betsy-

    As one who has moved our family from coast to coast and more, I can relate. Although we never had quite the ‘Truman Show’ welcome, it was the ability to adapt to new settings and life, make new friends, find new places to explore, etc. that my kids surprised me with. You are right, their resiliency is amazing. Sometimes there are challenges along the way, but it does bring your family closer as they rely on each other more. It’s so amazing this opportunity you all have and I know you will love it! Your heart will always be in Indiana, but there is space in there to love more. Love reading about your adventures and the cuteness of the kids. Thanks for sharing. :)

Moving Day

The moment it all became real was when we saw this in front of our house.

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A team of burly guys made their way through our house, devouring our belongings with tissue paper with amazing speed and efficiency. I’ve never had professional packers move us before and I have to say, it was quite a sight to see. Everyone had told me that I needed to be on top them all day, making sure they did it right, but honestly, I just let them do their thing. I really couldn’t watch, it was a bit too emotional and I really couldn’t let myself fully process that EVERYTHING I owned was going in one truck across the country. (Visions of it soaring off a cliff in flames did go through my mind at many points during our move.) Their ability to pack a truck like playing TETRIS blew my mind.

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Our cars had already been loaded onto the transfer truck that morning, so my Aunt Joan came to taxi us around to a few errands that day and lunch. The day ended with a little empty house game of UNO on our empty loft floor. Had to leave one more happy memory in that beautiful house.

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The kids were playing in the backyard with the neighbor boy one last time while John and I walked around the house remembering memories, thanking the house for keeping us all safe and stopping to hug each other and cry from time to time. The Christmas mornings, rocking a colicky Miles on the exercise ball night after night, crafts at the kitchen table and the parties, oh the parties we threw! A kaleidoscope of memories flickered around those empty rooms like an old choppy filmstrip. Such a bittersweet feeling of gratitude, excitement for the future and grief of letting go of the past.

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We headed to a friend’s house that night for laughs, relaxation, pampering and a farewell full of tears and hugs. So many emotions as we tried to lay our heads on our hotel pillows that night. John and I couldn’t sleep! We were about to fly, with our kids and dog to California to work for Apple. INSANITY! We could barely even comprehend that it was really happening. Was this OUR life? Nuts. Totally nuts!

We got to the airport with our mountain of luggage, plus pug and were greeted by my mom, aunt Joan and our best friend Chris Melching. Oh how wonderful to have our little farewell team bidding us a loving goodbye!

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Looking back, I know I wasn’t allowing myself to feel anything the day we flew. I was in GO MODE, caring for Stamp, who was at my feet on the plane and AMAZING.

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I had been buoyed by something this whole time, a feeling of peace that as crazy as this all seemed, and as hard as it all was, it was going to be ok. (Better than OK actually.)

Traveling was cake and for all of you wondering how Stamp went potty while traveling, here’s how: I actually had to go outside of security and take her outside in Fort Worth to find a little spot of mulch and bushes to go potty. (I couldn’t find the actual dog potty grassy spot.) We had doggy poo bags with us to do it all correctly and a little dog dish for water. We let her walk on her leash through the airport and she stayed in her carrier on the plane. She didn’t make a peep on the plane, but did bark at a go cart speeding by once. We were surrounded by dog lovers all day. YAY!!!! For a 12 year old dog who has never been in a carrier, I was blown away at how well she handled it.

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Arriving in San Jose was rough. We had SOOO much luggage that there was no way we would get it on the shuttle to the rental car place, so I had to hang out with the kids in baggage claim (away from where all the food was, of course) and we waited for AGES until John could get the rental car. Thank God for Tangled on the ipad, or we would have died.

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We were all EXHAUSTED and STARVING by the time we got in the car. I think it was 9 PM our time, by the time we got in the car and we still had to put carseats in, which takes forever. (We are still in 5 point harnesses, so it’s no easy feat.) Once we got over the stress of putting carseats in the taxi lane of the airport, we were instantly excited to see the pretty foothills (which we first thought were mountains!) and started buzzing from how crazy it felt to finally be there.

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Our plan was to crash at our furnished apartment and order pizza. Well, we were all in full blown low blood sugar and exhaustion freak outs by the time we got there. So we stopped at a pizza place with outdoor seating in our complex and Joss then gets her fingers pinched in the car window. So we had a crying and hurt Joss, a melting down Miles, John and I were starving and our dog was like, “What the heck?.” We were a mess! So we got a table outside and our kids ended up falling asleep at the table with a mountain of food before us. This is SO what happens to us though. Time after time, when traveling, we get stuck in a situation where there’s no food. (Happened as we were trying to board the Disney Cruise.) When will we learn?

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The next hurdle was to find parking in our insanely complicated apartment complex and then WALK, with as much luggage as possible, with exhausted sleep-walking children to our apartment. I thought we were all going to die. It was basically 11 PM at night, our time, and the last thing our kids wanted to do was walk (and get lost about six times) through the maze that is our complex, in the dark. Amazingly, we somehow made it!!! (Then poor John had to go downstairs and do it all again to get more luggage.)

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We were THRILLED to finally complete the journey to our temporary home. We all had a small surge of excitement over our new digs and then promptly slept like we had never slept before!

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Next up, our temporary housing, which is so far removed from our normal reality. Can’t wait to show you!

  • July 8, 2014 - 6:48 pm

    Kelli Williams - What an adventure you are going to have!

  • July 9, 2014 - 10:05 am

    Megan D - OMG BETSY!!!! I cried and laughed through out this entire post. Your family is just precious. SOOOOOOO EXCITED for you guys!!! xoxo

  • July 10, 2014 - 10:29 pm

    teresa - I’m really enjoying your instagram updates on your adventure and can’t wait for more details here on the blog. :) hint hint Thanks for sharing with us!

  • July 12, 2014 - 5:28 am

    Marie - John, Betsy and kids (you too Stamp)…. Missing you all on Bluewater Trail! But so excited for you in your new adventure!,

Saying goodbye

The ten days before I left Fort Wayne were filled with not only frantically purging junk drawers and closets, but also with cramming in as many coffee dates, dinners and parties. I was absolutly blown away by how much love was shown us as we left. It truly felt like our community picked us up on their shoulders and carried us out of town with a ticker tape parade raining confetti all around us. We certinaly didn’t say goodbye short and sweet, we drug it out over a week!

I don’t have photos of all my good byes, but they all mean so much to me and as I sit here typing this in our temporary apartment in San Jose, I’m missing you all so much! It’s been such a surreal ride. As I’ve been looking back at these photos of these goodbyes, I remember how I had NO IDEA what it would feel like to leave everybody I knew. Not to be dramatic, but it’s kind of like before you ever experienced someone dying, you really can’t fathom what it’s like for a person to actually be gone. After living my entire life (Including college) in the same city, I had no idea what it would be like to actually leave everybody. Ten days into our new life here and I hadn’t realized how much I would yearn to see the familiar faces of my friends. I don’t need to really talk with them, I just want to sit next to them at dinner, or at the pool. Just be in the company of the girls you know. I mean, I knew I would miss people, but it’s not just needing friends, it’s needing YOUR friends.

Looking back on that week, oh my was I overwhelmed! I had so much to do, so many emotions flowing and honestly, all I wanted to do was sleep. I knew I would cry and I was so scared of that moment when it would all break loose, but I had no idea MY friends would cry when we left. It’s sounds cliche, but you honestly don’t realize how much you mean to people sometimes until you leave. I definitly left feeling a renewed realization of how treasured my Fort Wayne realitionships are and I truly feel like they are all just beginning!

Here’s a beautiful blog post written by my friend Erin for me that I wanted to share. I am still so incredibly touched by her words. Click here for blog post

Back to the photos. As I mentioned, I don’t have photos of everybody, but please know so many more are counted as loved and missed! I don’t have the energy tonight to write about each person, but please know that I cherished seeing you before I left and I can’t wait to see you again!

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Saying goodbye to our friends Jim and Allison, who do our hair was so hard. They are such dear friends of ours! !)

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Farewell Covington Starbucks and of course, my dear Johnny Appleseed!

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About an hour before on of our going away parties, I painted an Indiana for everybody to sign. I’m going to treasure it! (As soon as it’s found amongst our moved items!) That fluffy white dog is our sweet neighbor dog who was just a doll and my dearest friends gave me that rad pillow with a Fort Wayne postage stamp on it to remember them by. LOVE IT!

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I held it together relatively well, getting a few sobs here and there, the week before we left, but the waterworks really broke loose on the day before we moved when Miles said goodbye to his best friend Nolan. They spent one last massive play date together all day into the evening and had a blast. Miles’ friendship with Nolan is so precious, kind and strong that it just broke my heart to smithereens to see them go.

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Seeing them say goodbye was when the realization of all the goodbyes came crashing down into one massive door closing. That’s when I knew there was no more waiting, it was time for me to realize the goodbyes are just about all said, it’s time to let it all go and feel it. We all got into the car that night and we all cried, even Joss cried some hilarious fake tears that had us all laughing by the time we got to the entrance of our neighborhood.

The next day was the final day of the move, the loading of boxes and the night of sleeping in the hotel before we headed to the airport. That page of the story is next. I’ve got some more goodbyes to talk about too before I start blogging about our life here in California. (Which spoiler alert: It’s amazing here! So beautiful!!!)

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  • July 3, 2014 - 9:18 am

    Sherry Smith - beautiful weather and swimming all year long will NEVER replace what Indiana had for you..GET BACK HERE.. MOM

  • July 7, 2014 - 7:53 am

    Erin Loechner - You are so very missed, but I’m so excited for you to expand your strong roots all the way in sunny CA. Cheering for you!