Thursday, September 27, 2012

Home opener- Redskins vs. Bengals

Last weekend was the home opener against Cincinnati. I took Audrey with me this time and the big kids stayed home with a sitter. The sitter (Ashley) was so awesome! They loved her. She showed up with a bag full of activities they had never done and other things like bubbles, chalk and playdough that they love.  We are very low in the toy department so they were thrilled to have something new to do. After  naps they met up with the Cundiff kids that live down the street. They are 4 and 2 as well and their sitter and our sitter all walked down to the park for the afternoon. They had a blast! 

She said she didn't know what to do while they slept so she cleaned :D :D! I came home to 2 bathed kids tucked in their beds and a spotless house!


 Game days are LONG days here because the stadium is pretty far from where we live. The stadium is in Maryland on the other side of DC. Without traffic it's an 1 hour and 15 minute drive. With game day traffic it can be 2-2.5 hours if you're lucky! And that's both ways. So 4-5 hours of driving plus a 3.5 hour game, plus getting to the game early (by 2 hours that day) plus waiting for Jordan for an hour after the game. We were gone for 10 hours!

I rode with Nicole and a friend of hers to the game so that Jordan and i would only have one car to drive home in. We pulled into the player lot to park and I was going to put Audrey's carseat in Jordan's truck before the game since we would be riding home with him. I look over and there are 3 cops checking out his truck and taking pictures of the tires and lift.

AWKWARD!
 I guess they don't see those kinds of truck in these parts too often :) They are every where in Texas!

The day was gorgeous. Sunny and just the right temperature if you happen to be in the shade. We started off the game under an overhang in the shade and it was perfect weather. But we got booted out of those seats once the late arrivers showed up and we moved down a row into our seats in the sun. It started getting hot fast and I worried about Audrey getting sunburned.

I moved inside (in the club level) and watched most of the game from the comfy couch and giant screen TV. Nicole ended up coming in too (she's 33 weeks pregnant). Next time we are going to request the row behind where we sat if I have a kid with me so we can enjoy that shade and not worry about sunburns. I am sure I won't want the shaded seats come the December though.

Audrey slept on me most of the game. She's such a good baby.

A friend of mine took these pictures. Her and her husband had great seats on the 50 yard line right on the field. She got some great shots of Jordan (#60)










It was a fun day. We lost but Jordan played great. He ended up playing the whole game at left tackle and will most likely be starting next week! The Redskins home games are a lot of fun. They have a great fan base and lots of tradition.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Seamless

From the moment Jordan got the call from the Redskins that Sunday afternoon (July 29th) until we unlocked the door to our new home in Northern Virginia (September 14th) one thing has been abundantly clear. 

This has GOD written all over it. 

Never did we imagine we would be spending this fall living in Northern Va and meeting all of these wonderful people.

Jordan was shocked when he learned that he had made the team having been out of football a year and 40 pounds underweight. He had a great camp, no doubt, but he still felt like it was a bit of a stretch to think he would make the team. Because of that, he didn't want to make ANY plans what so ever about me and the kids moving here until after cut day. 

He walked into the stadium the morning of cut day, just like every other day, only this day was different. He walked through the front doors where he saw the team of Redskins employees waiting to "pick off" the guys that were going to be released before they even entered the building. 

He told me he fully expected his name to be called when he walked through the doors but he heard nothing. 

He reached the staircase thinking maybe it would be a tap on the shoulder...nothing. 

He walked down the hallway expecting a head to pop out of one of the meeting rooms to grab him and sit him down...nothing. 

He made it to the team meeting where he began to do a headcount. 

9 o-linemen left. 

He went out for practice excited but still not feeling totally settled about the whole thing when his coach walked up, shook his hand and said 

"congratulations, you deserve this." 

He finished practice and texted me "I'm a redskin!"

Wow.

I began the process I've done so many times before. I could do it with my eyes closed now I'm certain. I started working on finding doctors, church, a place to live, a way to get our cars there, plane tickets, all the things that go into a 1500 mile cross country 4 month move for a family of 5. This definitely is not our biggest move in terms of quantity of stuff but it's our furthest move and our first time to move as a family of 5. 

I cannot even begin to describe all the ways in which God rolled out the red carpet for me in these 2 weeks (from cut day to move-in day) I had to do all of this. It started with my friend Nicole Considine (who we knew from the Jaguars). She is in Baltimore now (just an hour away) and randomly texted me the contact info for a fellow Redskin's wife who was moving that week to DC from Baltimore. Her name is also Nicole and she helped me SO much with the transition up to Virginia. She was about a week ahead of me arriving so she and I were both doing the same stuff at the same time. Within one night I was hooked up with a realtor, community to look in for a town home, a furniture rental company, the Redskins wives directory, babysitters, doctors....you name it! The hardest part about all of this is that I knew no one (until I got Nicole's number) and I had never even been to Virginia. I was trying to find a place to live and I didn't know anything about the area. So it helped a ton that she was able to say "we live here and it's awesome and there are other homes available."

We found a town home in this cute little town historical town called Leesburg. It's in Northern Va and I can throw a rock and hit Nicole's house from our house. In addition to Nicole and her family, another team-mate lives on our street and all 3 of us families have kids the same age. It's 15 minute commute for Jordan to the practice facility and 5 minutes from everything I would ever need. It's in a quiet little gated golf course community in a BEAUTIFUL area right on the Potomac River. I have never lived in a town home before and really thought I would have a hard time finding an owner that would agree to a short-term lease. I called on 5 or 6 different town homes that were listed. The one we ended up getting was my top choice because of price, proximity to Nicole and because it's in a culdesac. I didn't get a call back for a few days and figured it was just not meant to be. After a few days I decided to call one more time. After explaining to the realtor we were interested but needed a short term lease she told me she knew the owner would not agree because 4 other Redskins players had called that week wanting to rent with a short-term lease and the owner turned them all down. Then she said BUT I will try her one more time and see if she budges. 

She called right back and said it's ours if we want it!!!


I shipped the cars and booked the flights and started packing. The cars arrived Tuesday morning and the kids and I (and Nana) were there by Friday. 

The flight could not have been easier. We took the 7:00am flight out of hobby. Mom and I were up at 3:30am loading the car and getting ready for the flight. We woke the kids up at 4:45 threw their clothes on them and loaded them in the rental car. We got to the airport at 5:30am when the rental car return place opened. We unloaded 7 giant suitcases, 3 car seats, 4 carry-ons and 3 kids and I went and returned the rental (I kept Audrey and the carryon car seat/stroller with me). Nana took the big kids and 2 carry-ons through security and I came behind with Audrey. We met at the gate and pre-boarded with family boarding. We chose the back row of the plane for the extra engine noise that would either 

1. serve as white noise for napping kids 
2. drown out the non-napping loud kids



Madison sat in the car seat/stroller by the window (best invention ever for frequent travelers with toddlers), Nana sat in the middle and Hunter on the isle. Audrey and I sat across the isle and had an empty seat next to us....could not have been better! Praise God for Nana, seriously. I could not have done this day without her!


Nana brought a bag full of fun stuff the kids had never done before so they were entertained the whole 3 hour flight. Nana even managed to catch a nap!


We landed on time and walked to the baggage claim to claim our 1 million bags. Our driver was waiting for us (I had arranged a suburban to pick us up and take us to my car at the team hotel because Jordan was in practice). He loaded all of our bags in his burb while I loaded car seats and kids. He drove us 1.5 hours to the hotel in Virginia (we flew in to Baltimore since it was direct). He even agreed to just drop me at my car and follow me to the townhome. The realtor was so awesome. Instead of making me come to her office to get the keys she left them for me at the town home so we could just go straight there! Hunter, Nana and Audrey fell asleep on the drive there. Madison watched Mickey mouse and stayed awake so that I could put her down for a REAL nap when we arrived at the house. 

Jordan had toured the house before we signed but it was a little strange to be walking in to our house for the first time on moving day! It was gorgeous. First of all I had no idea a town home could be 4500sf. It's HUGE. It's 4 stories. You enter on the main level where the living room, dining room, kitchen and half bath are located. Then there is a finished walkout basement below with a full bath down there. There 3 rooms and 2 bathrooms are on the 2nd level up, then the 3rd level is a giant room they call the "loft" but it does have a door and a full bath too. The pictures below are from the listing. The furniture in the pictures belongs to the owner. She did leave some of it behind.....which is another God thing because we literally came with 7 suitcases (and 7 boxes that I shipped the day we left with housewares, linens and bare minimum kitchen stuff). We are renting furniture so the fact that she left some behind meant less money we had to spend on renting!

This is the view when you enter

Opposite side looking at the front door now

Living room (main floor)

Kitchen and breakfast area

Master bedroom

Master bath

The "loft" or the top level. Audrey is in this room since it's farthest from the noise. The stairs up to this room are right off our bedroom so it's still convenient. The other 2 rooms (Hunter and Madison's) I don't have pictures of but they are on the same level as our room.

This is the basement which she left empty. We put a bed down there for guests since it has a full bathroom and we will have lots of guests! Also the kids toys are down there. They don't have much since I only brought one suitcase of toys but they love the big open room to run and play in! Since it's 4 floors away from the sleeping baby they can be as loud as they want :)

Another view of the basement

The back patio off the kitchen

 We live on a culdasac so the kids ride their bikes every day! Their new friends that live down the street often come over to play.



There is a park in the neighborhood that is right on the Potomac. It's about a 10 minute walk from our house and it's a gorgeous walk! I snapped some pics on my way there today with the old iphone.




This is the clubhouse (Potomac river is in front)

Clubhouse (which also serves dinner nightly :)

Patio of the clubhouse

We love it here. It's so beautiful. We've already made great friends. The people are really nice here. There is SO much to do in this area we are going to have a full few months trying to see it all. Jordan is really happy with the team and likes his coaches and team-mates. We are just pinching ourselves that this is really happening right now all over again. Thanking God for the blessing of one more year :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Season opener Redskins-Saints Weekend

Jordan and I decided that the kids and I would move to DC by the second game of the season. This gives me time to pack and find a place to live so that hopefully there won't be any hotel living time during the transition. So after finding out he made the team last weekend (woohoo!!), we started working on relocating. 

The season opener for the Redskins was in New Orleans this year which is super close to Houston! I couldn't resist making the day trip for the game and seeing him again in person. It worked out so well because our friends the Niswangers were in town for the LSU game on Saturday and when they realized Jordan would be playing there on Sunday they decided to stay for that game too! I had our sitter come over at 5:45am on game day and she took the big kids to church, put them down for naps and played/swam all afternoon then she fed them dinner and had them back in bed by the time I got home that night. They had a blast and it worked out perfectly! 

Audrey and I took the first Southwest flight (free again) in to NOLA, a quick 45 min flight. We landed around 9:15am and the Niswanger's and Rudy's sister and Brother in law came to pick us up at the airport and head to the game. It was a noon game. 

We had been warned this would be one of the loudest games we'd ever been to so I brought out the big gun Peltor ear muffs this time. 
We arrived in time to watch warmups. The o-line warmed up right in front of us.
Audrey did her thing....ate, slept and played on various peoples laps all day. While we all enjoyed a WIN against the Saints! It was a VERY loud game.
Patricia was 33 weeks pregnant with number 4! This was my last time to see her before Noah arrives.
We were able to talk to Jordan for a quite a while after the game. We had such a fun day and it was so good to get to see the Niswangers one last time and of course see Jordan again! We leave on Friday for Washington!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Gold Coin

Hunter's last week of preschool is this week until we return in the Spring. He won't be going to preschool in Washington DC. He's had a great start to the year by coming home with 8 gold coins for "Christ like behavior" so far this year and most of his non-gold days were blue days which is "good behavior" too. I am so proud of him! His teachers love him and he has really enjoyed school this year. I hope he picks right back up where he left off when we return in the Spring.

 We went out for a treat for his good behavior. He picked ice cream :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Dallas R&R - Labor Day Weekend

I decided at the last minute to go to Dallas for Labor Day Weekend this past weekend. NFL cut day was that Friday and I knew if Jordan made the team (which he did woohoo!) that this would be our last chance to go to Dallas until Thanksgiving. We went for a long weekend, Thursday through Tuesday. At this point I was pretty exhausted from taking care of 3 sick kids most of the month by myself while I was also sick. I just could not get ahead. I was in much need of some a little R&R&R (rest, relaxation and reinforcements). My mom told me to come stay with her so she could spoil me before we moved 1,500 miles away. I didn't hesitate :) 

Maddie played in Audrey's carseat while we were stopped to feed Audrey :) She looks GIANT
We managed to make the 4.5 hour trip with only one stop for the first time ever since traveling with 2 potty trained kids and one nursing baby. They even all fell asleep for about 45 minutes at the same time! Amazing.


Vivian had been wanting to spend some one on one time with each kiddo at some point this summer/fall so we worked it out that Hunter and Madison both got to spend the night over there one on one and a whole day to themselves with Papa and Vivi over the weekend. Friday morning my mom was off work and I had a hair appointment. I dropped Madison off at Vivi's when she woke up Friday and then Hunter and Audrey stayed behind with Nana while I got my hair done....first time out alone in over a month! 

When I got back I could not believe how easy it was to only have 2 kids and to have help with them again. I was able to rest so much on Friday and then Saturday Vivi wanted me to bring Hunter over so she could spend the day with them together. I kept Audrey since she was nursing. Again...could not get over how easy it was to have one kid with help! Especially when the one I had takes 3 naps a day and isn't mobile. Perspective. 



 I slept a ton that day and got a mani pedi with Nana (and Audrey in tow). I should mention Nana cooked for me all weekend too which that in and of itself is a treat!


 This girl is SUCH a sweet little baby. Love her to pieces. I could just eat her up.

 She passed out on Nana in the pedicure chair....JUST like her Nana always does :)

Meanwhile, back at Papa and Vivi's, Hunter and Madison were living it up!











 
Sweet girl 

After dinner Saturday night I went and picked up Madison before bed time so that Hunter could have his alone time with Papa and Vivi that night and the next day. On Monday we celebrated my parents birthdays with a little family cookout/party.





 Audrey found her favorite nap lap again. There is just something about that Nana. It could be that she has the best scratching hands ever and Audrey LOVES to be scratched. It puts her in a total trance.






Thanks to the reinforcements (grandparents) on both sides that let this momma get some much needed rest. I left a new woman ready to pack up for a 1500 mile move!