Tuesday, August 31, 2010

If You Can't Beat the Heat, Join It

One of the very few things (ok, the only thing) I dreaded about our move back to Texas was the heat. Granted, I grew up in Texas heat and Atlanta ain't called "HOTlanta" for nothing, but Georgia is not nearly as hot as Texas and I'm convinced that you lose heat tolerance really fast. And with actual temperatures close to or over 100 in Austin in recent weeks and the heat index soaring WAY beyond that, I was pretty much convinced I was gonna melt as soon as I crossed the state line.

But it actually has not been bad - I've learned that you've just got to modify your lifestyle. Just like it actually makes a difference to wear a hat and layer in the winter (I speak of other places - Texas, of course, doesn't have a winter), there are a few things you can do to mitigate the heat here. Things that have worked so far for us:

1. Keep all shades drawn at all times. Sure, I have Seasonal Affective Disorder all summer long, but losing my mind is preferable to suffocating from the heat.

2. Run all fans on high at all times. You may feel like you're about to blow away every time you sit/stand still, but that's better than sweltering in stillness.

3. Run all errands in the morning. Joshie, who has a vocabulary of like 2 words, added the word "hot" about 2 days after we got here. That would be to describe the buckle on his car seat after sitting in the sun all morning. It's really best to stay away from your vehicle from the hours of about noon to 9 pm.

4. Shade helps. Parking in shade will lower your internal vehicle temperature about 10,000 degrees. Standing in shade will not lower your body temperature at all, but it will delay heat exhaustion by a good 10 minutes or so.

5. Drink lots of water. Every family member has a water bottle and I fill it up before we go to the park or outside, but it never seems to be enough water. I'm getting ready to install a water cooler in the van.

6. Wear lightweight, light-colored, breathable fabrics. I'm totally bummed that my spandex catsuits aren't going to be getting much use here, but I'm probably getting too old for them anyway. It's cotton sleeveless shirts and skirts for me all the time now.

7. Humidity matters! In Houston, where it is 100% humidity year-round, you need another shower the second you step out the door in the morning. But Austin has more reasonable humidity levels and it's amazing what a little less moisture and a slight breeze will do for you. Just another one of the million reasons why Houston sucks and Austin rocks.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Move to Austin: Week 1.5

It seems that I must update my status on Facebook a lot more than I think I do, because several friends have emailed in the past few days wondering if I am ok because it appears that I went out to buy lunchboxes and never came back.

All is fine here, it's just been a little bit of an adjustment and a few things are making it hard to communicate with the outside world on a regular basis.
  • We're currently temporarily living in a 2-bedroom apartment. This has the kids' sleep schedules all out of whack because they are in one room - they are up early, go to bed late, and naps are a crapshoot. Because of this, if they do nap, I am freqently napping as well because they exhaust me so much.
  • Also, they are not in school yet, so ALL THREE CHILDREN ARE WITH ME 24 HOURS A DAY. This is the main reason why you haven't heard from me. Honestly, don't be surprised if you come to see me and find my unresponsive corpse at the bottom of the apartment stairs - they are eating. me. alive.
  • Finally, the apartment has spotty cell phone coverage and we can't get the wireless internet to work. This means that I have to be either standing on the balcony to talk or within 3 feet of a wall so I can plug in the cable modem and type. Talk about old-school.
Basically, between the lack of space, the fact that it is 1.5 million degrees here all day so you have to keep the blinds drawn to keep the inside temperature at a reasonable level, and the many small children milling about with Constant Needs, I'm feeling a little like a cave woman these days. A cave woman with the granite countertops I've always longed for and a nice pool and fitness center, but still....

I think we'll head to the grandparents' house this weekend so we can spread out a little, and school starts for Cade on Monday, so that should help. In the meantime, if you're flying over Austin, keep an eye out for my smoke signal and stop by - I'd love the adult interaction.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Move to Austin: Week 1

Although this blog has been largely dormant over the past couple of years, I can totally see it taking on new life as a way to keep our beloved friends in Atlanta (and around the world) updated on what we're up to in Texas. With the bulk of my family now nearby, you will no doubt see the cast of blog characters expand as they make guest appearances in our household on a more frequent and consistent basis.

So far, life in Austin is good. Key highlights/updates:
  • Atlanta/Austin drive - can be summarized in one word - "sucked". My mom was gracious enough to fly out to the ATL and help me get our crew to Texas via car, because we decided that as hellacious as that sounds, it would be easier than me getting 3 kids, 3 car seats, a stroller and a plane full of luggage to Austin by myself. During the 2-day trip, the Bigs were as good as gold as long as they had a steadily rotating supply of electronic devices (iPod, Leapster, DVD player, etc.). Josh fussed and screamed the entire way and was just generally unpleasant to be around. In retrospect, I think he was getting teeth and we should have busted out both the ibuprofen and the Benadryl a lot sooner than we did. The real hero of the trip was my mom, who tirelessly sang children's songs across all 4 states and even learned to drive faster than 65 by the end of the trip. But in all seriousness, I could not have done it without her.
  • Austin living conditions - Our house in Smyrna hasn't sold yet, and we are temporarily in a furnished corporate apartment until we figure out whether we want to buy/rent and where. Said apartment is actually nicer than our house, has amazing views of the Texas Hill Country, AND comes equipped with a fabulous pool and fitness center that we do not have to maintain ourselves. The whole "no-maintenance" thing has us wondering why we ever wanted to be homeowners in the first place. The only drawbacks of of the apartment are A) it only has two bedrooms and B) it is on the third floor. We have circumvented these issues by A) putting all three boys in one room and B) teaching the Bigs how to be grocery Sherpas.
  • City of Austin itself - is still fabulous. Did I mention how pretty the Hill Country is already? Austin still has all the same amazing dining options I remember from my college days, only now I can actually afford to take advantage of them without a loan from my dad. What I had forgotten, and what I love MOST, is how laid-back it is here. I took the boys to scope out our Chick-Fil-A today and was amazed to note that only a handful of moms in the place were wearing makeup. Several were in *gasp* running shorts and t-shirts! The one mom that was fully decked out Atlanta-style in a precious sundress complete with jewelry, blown-out hair, and makeup, looked oddly out of place. FINALLY - a place where I can be true to my low-maintenance tendencies!
So yeah - all in all, it's pretty good. We still face just a few key challenges to getting settled, which include:
  1. Kids are making me crazy. School starts next week - that should help. Hopefully.
  2. It is hotter than hell here. Every day this week will be over 100 - no joke.
  3. Now that they are all in the same room and unsupervised for roughly 8 hours a night, the Bigs have discovered how to team-lift Baby out of the Pack-N-Play. This means that all three boys are standing in the doorway at the crack of dawn, greeting us with smiles. On the bright side, Baby's vocabulary is expanding to include "'Ello!" as a morning greeting. Obviously, a 2-bedroom apartment is NOT a long-term solution.
  4. Finally, the pesky matter of finding somewhere permanent to live. Do we buy? Do we rent? And where? Only time will tell...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Georgia On My Mind

With kids, work, and Baby Bunching keeping me hopping, it's no surprise that eight months has passed since I last posted on this blog. Started as a way to document and remember the blur that is our life with young children, it seems only fitting that I post on the eve of our last day in our house before we move.

With life calming down just a tad over the past year, Aaron and I saw fit to spice things up by throwing all cards of major life decisions up in the air at once. Our too-small house, too-crappy public school, and too-expensive private school situations coupled with the prospect of a change in Aaron's job forced us to re-examine our living situation. After ten awesome years in Atlanta, we decided it was time to return to Austin to be closer to family and good, free public schools (as well as Longhorn football and rockin' Mexican food). The whole concept of "moving back to Austin" turned out to be easier said than done, and it took us seven long months to work it out, but we are finally Lone Star State-bound.

Ironically, when we bought this house, we never intended to be in it longer than a few years, much less have kids in it. Three children later, the house is bursting at the seams not only with stuff, but with memories. As first-time home buyers, we closely monitored the construction of the house and labored over optimizing the layout and selecting the right flooring, back splash, paint colors, etc. for our tastes (and potential buyers down the line). With loads of extra space after we moved the contents of our one-bedroom apartment into the three-bedroom house, we filled the extra bedrooms with two cats. As first-time car buyers, we brought home our first major purchase besides the house and kept the one-car garage meticulously neat to accommodate the new vehicle. As first time parents, we nervously carried Cade into the house in his infant carrier to introduce him to his "brothers" (the cats). With each new addition to the family, we celebrated and decorated with more baby gear, eventually forcing the car (and the cats) out to the driveway to accommodate our growing collection of strollers and babies.

As the boys got older, we explored the park and the neighborhood, taking frequent "family walks" to the Smyrna Market Village and library. We settled at the preschool across the road and joined the church affiliated with the preschool. We joined the local MOMS Club and made a group of good, lifelong family friends. We attended countless concerts in the town square, joined the neighborhood playgroup, and shopped at the local farmer's market.

The house, and Smyrna, has been good to us. It's with bittersweet sadness that I say goodbye because it has housed me during what I consider to be the best years of my life. I know there are lots of good years to come and that a house is just a house, and that family and memories will be with us wherever we go - but that doesn't make it any easier to leave the house where our family first started. Because even though technically we're going "back home" to Texas, leaving home in Georgia really sucks.