Saturday, August 29, 2009

Its official. We live in Connecticut. We made the big move Thursday and are in the process of unpacking, emptying the moving truck and buying the essentials needed to make our apartment home. (Find New Haven on the southern side along the coast. We are 20 minutes east of New Haven).

Its still weird, I can't believe we live in Connecticut of all places. CT is a small state. There are only 7 counties, we are about 1hr inside of the state and would take us about an hour to go out the other way and land in Rhode Island. We live on the water in a beach town which is crazy. We are now east coasters, who could legitimately pop their collars and wear boat shoes. But we won't! (Well, I may buy some Sperry Top Siders, but I promise I won't pop my collar.)

In the winter when we were imagining where we might end up, Ohio and the Carolinas were on our radar. I guess we had the East Coast essentially right in thinking the Carolinas... just had our North/South mixed up.

So far, we are enjoying exploring our little state. We have conveniently found the Walmart, Target, Lowes, Ruby Tuesday, Wendys, CVS and Starbucks we'll need. As we've been surrounding ourselves in fixing up our apartment we haven't yet had time to venture into really finding the stores, restaurants and places to visit that are purely Connecticut. Also, Tropical Storm Danny decided to pull through right now so we've been doused in rain instead of sitting on the beach.

Here's a picture of us from when we came to interview in March. The beach is on the other side of the Sand Dunes... hopefully we'll be taking another picture like this soon but in swimsuits and cover-ups!

Our trip out here was uneventful in a way, but horrible at the same time. It was miserable. Steve was driving the Rental Truck and I drove our car. (Yes, we are a 1 car family now). It took way longer than it should have on account of all of the construction we ran into often. Without notice we would suddenly be in 1-lane traffic that didn't let up for a few miles. Not to mention the first few hours of our drive were very rainy, Steve was in a big truck he's unfamiliar with, and there were an unusual amount of semis on the road. All of those make for very stressful driving!

We got here late, about 9:30pm, but were so wonderfully greeted by Tiara - such an amazing, wonderful friend who decided to spend a few days with us here helping unpack and get set up. We would not have as much done right now if it weren't for her. So in a way, it doesn't feel that abnormal yet because T is here. Even when she leaves, my parents are coming next weekend which will be wonderful, and will again be comforting to have family here. After my parents leave, and school begins I think it all might finally set in.

I'll check back in then and let you know. We're in for a crazy, exciting, adventurous ride. Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Its that time.

Well Ohio... we'll see ya later. This isn't goodbye, you know we'll be back to visit as often as possible. With all of our family and friends here how can we not. We love you Ohio - and we love, adore, and are amazed by all of our friends and family. We are blown away by the love we've been shown the last few weeks all the way up to early this morning. We love you all - you're with us on our drive and you'll be with us when we get to Connecticut.

Love - The McLaughlins

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sometimes it takes a child.... make you realize how you really feel.

I tucked the best kids in the world into bed tonight for the last time in at least a really long time. I have been babysitting Katie, Henry, Joseph and Andrew since Katie and Henry were 8 months old, and Joseph and Andrew were 3 1/2 years old. Needless to say, I will miss them... a lot. These four kids continuously make me smile, laugh, and feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It is impossible to not fall in love with these kids. Its true, they have me wrapped around their little fingers.

Its true, Joseph and Andrew are now cool 7 year olds who around any other people won't show me any affection. I get it, they're going into 2nd grade! You can't act like you like girls in 2nd grade :) But tonight, they both gave me hugs, told me they'd miss me, and told me they'd love me. I don't try to cuddle with them, because I most certainly don't want to embarrass them! But its nice when I get a moment to just talk to Andrew or Joseph when they're not around anyone else because they tell me what they're excited about. They have things they want to tell me and want to brag about, they just want to make sure no one else is looking. I also think I've gained points over the years because I have a slight knowledge of Star Wars, Bakugan, Pokeman and other boy things! Watch out when these boys get to High School Mike and Elena... they will be breaking hearts and setting records for their sports teams!

Over the years I've spent a little more time with Katie and Henry because of so many "9-1" mornings when the boys were in school. I remember when I first started, they couldn't walk yet, and I'd go upstairs to get them from naps and have to carry them downstairs one in each arm. If I wasn't good at multi-tasking before watching Katie and Henry I'm amazing now! I will never forget how they loved Avacado, and watching them move from sitting, to crawling, to standing, to running.... to swinging on the swings, swimming in the pool, and chasing after their brothers during keep-away in the backyard. These two still love to cuddle with me, still give me hugs no matter whos watching, and still have their little kid laughs that make you smile no matter what mood you're in.

These kids are family to me. They were at our wedding, and make me smile when I saw them walking down the aisle. They have made me a part of their life and have become a part of mine. I've always felt comfortable, welcomed and trusted by Mike and Elena which totally allows me to relax and love their kids the best I can. I will miss them all immensely, and you can bet when we come home to visit we'll be stopping by to see my kids :)


Monday evening, Steve and I were planning to have dinner with Christy and Josh. 6:45, spaghetti, their place. Classic hanging out with the Mitchells meal. We were pumped to spend time with them, and a little sad that it would be our last hang out for a while. We got to their house, walked inside, and Christy told us to head outside because Josh decided to grille instead. We opened the curtain and sitting in front of us were like 30 of our close friends. My jaw dropped, my natural reaction was to smile and laugh, and Steve because incredibly calm like he normally does. We were SHOCKED!!!!!!!! We were planning to have a going away party on Thursday (last night) that we had given a guest list to Stace and Kristen for, and were asking people if they knew abot it! All the while.... everyone had pulled the wool over our eyes and switched the party day, location and everything to really shock the heck out of us. So many people we love were there, it was amazing. My parents even came up from Columbus!!! Needless to say, we felt sooo loved. There was good fun, good laughter, cornhole, convos, so many people we weren't expecting, and it was unbelievable!!!

If that wasn't enough... Tuesday evening, our friend Brian cooked an amazing meal for us. Complete with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella, cantaloupe with prosciutto ham draped over it, home-made gnocchi with mushrooms, prosciutto, and peas, and flank steak. WONDERFUL. And we sat down and had this amazing dinner with Comer, Beau, Josher, Stace and Zig-Man. Talk about a fun wonderful night.

Still more... my mom came up Wednesday evening and helped kick off packing up our apartment. Over 24 hours we packed up our ENTIRE kitchen It may not seem like we got a lot done, but my parents are awesome packers, I'm not, and having my mom help with the kitchen of all things was wonderful. It was so great to spend the time with her, and be able to get a huge chunk of packing out of the way.

There are still more dinners to come, and time to spend with friends, as well as packing to be done and final arrangements to be made. But either way, this week has been wonderful, we have enjoyed all of our time with friends and family and while it is impossibly sad to be moving away from everyone and I will eventually cry a lot, for now, we are having so much fun making all of these memories this week.

Our friends and family are the best. Hands down.