Sunday, April 26, 2020

Settling in

We made it! Driving back to Arizona less than a month after we had last left felt a bit like we had never been out of the car.  We stopped for Sunday in Utah.  We spent Saturday night with Anni, went to church with her family, and then drove down to Provo and crashed for the night with Colette's husband Jacob's parents so that we could be a little bit closer to our destination for the last long day of driving.  The Campbells were very kind to let us take over their basement for the night.  
The drive was long, hot, and not terribly eventful until the last two hours.  As we drove from Phoenix to Tucson, the sky put on a spectacular pyrotechnic show of full monsoon glory.  It was a welcome to Arizona that we will not forget any time soon.  Every crash of thunder of lightning strike built the excitement in our car as we drove through the heart of the storm.  
We spent our first night in Tucson with Grandma and Grandpa Knight.  Our rental house (after two offers to buy houses fell through) is across the street from Todd's parents.  They may not always love having us so close, but we love being so close to them.  Colette's family lives a couple of blocks away.  
We got rid of a bunch of our junky old furniture when we moved, so one of the first things we had to do after we got the keys to our new house was to get some seating.  
 Furniture stores are full of endless fun. 
 August in Tucson is always either hot and raining or just hot. All of that walking from our air conditioned car into air conditioned furniture stores had made us hot, so we went to Eegee's for lunch.  Eegee's is a particularly Tucson institution.  They sell unspectacular deli sandwiches and eegee's, which are a slushy ice drink that reminds me of drinking lemonade concentrate.  Cold + sugar = eegee's/happy children. 
 When adjusting to astonishing heat, it is a good idea to swim as much as possible.  You will notice that we were the only people at the pool.  Our new school district has year round school, so the kids here went back to school the third week in July.  We just got out of school the last week in June, so we decided to give the kids a week before we signed them up for school. 
 We did go check out the school.  Colette was there volunteering, and she offered to give the kids a tour.  The new school has all of its hallways outdoors, a tortoise pen in a courtyard, lots of brightly painted sidewalk art, and a giant chair.  It's a very welcoming place. 
 Sammy and I went on a walk to check out a potential preschool that is within walking distance of home.  Sammy is nonstop happy about being in Arizona.  He claims to love the heat. 
 When the POD had arrived, but we hadn't unpacked anything except a chair and a folding table, we were excited to eat breakfast at a table. 
 The kids were excited to be reunited with their toys.  It was a long week without them. 
 B and Ryan are so happy to have each other.
 We create our new normal in our new house by cooking together.  I got Sammy this Arizona Wildcat shirt (it says "Born to be a Wildcat") and he wore it every single day that he could find it clean until either it shrank or he grew a bunch, and it had to be retired.  Have I mentioned that Sammy was a little bit excited about being in Arizona?
 Our first day of school was August 12.  This is Jared's first day of fifth grade in Ms. Rabuck's class. 
 Eloise's first day of third grade.  She was in Ms. Duncan's class with Annie. 
B's first day of first grade in Mrs. Lane's class.  I was very happy that B got a teacher with many years of experience.  B was able to form a bond with her very quickly.  During is very first week of school, B was given a reading assessment.  Mrs. Lane told him that he is a good reader, and he believed her.  Before that his reading had been okay, but lagging a bit behind the rest of his learning.  After discovering that he is a good reader, he was full of enthusiasm to be a good reader, and his reading skills have taken off.  
 And Sammy's first day of preschool.  There is a preschool at the elementary school where the other kids go, but it was full.  Sammy ended up at a preschool in another elementary school closer to where we live.  He was very excited, and happy to go to preschool for the first week, although he was disappointed that he doesn't get to ride the bus.  Grandma picked him up from preschool every day a little bit less than an hour before the other kids came home, at 2:00.  He stayed with Grandma until I got home around 4 Monday through Thursday.  I don't have classes on Fridays, so Sammy stayed with me, and we went to exercise class and grocery shopped together. 
 The school heard the name of our street in our address and assigned our kids to a bus stop waaaaay at the other end of our street.  After a few days of making the long trek, Jared informed me that the bus has a stop on a different street right around the corner from our house.  It only took three phone calls to get the kids reassigned to the closer stop.  I'm extremely impressed with the bus driver.  She has actually called me to discuss strategies for dealing with one child's challenging behavior on the bus.  We have really lucked out with awesome bus drivers. 
 August 14 was my first day of law school orientation.  Jared took my first day portrait.  I was apprehensive.  Even after all of the work we had put in to getting to this point, Todd and I were still ready to pull the plug on this experiment at any time. 
Law school turned out to be amazing! I love the classes, I love my teachers, and I love all of the new friends I have made.  It is definitely hard, and the commute is not my favorite thing, but after a few emotional and stretching weeks, we were able to find a sort of a rhythm.  Everything we did to get to this point was challenging, but I have felt really peaceful at every stage.  It's amazing to be surrounded by an extended family support team that is ready to step up and do anything to help us, even if we are working on a crazy project like law school. 

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