We are all settled in Washington State! Our new home is located in Lacey, which is a suburb of Olympia. I am really loving it here. While most of the United States have been suffering through a ruthless heat wave this summer, we have enjoyed temperatures no higher than 78 degrees. We are able to leave our windows open all day, and it's cool enough at night that we need a sweater. Everything in this area is lush and green, and there are beautiful, impossibly tall evergreens surrounding us. Only a few yards down the sidewalk, we have a picturesque view of snow-capped Mount Rainier. We moved in exactly three weeks from the day we left Pittsburgh. I am so happy we were able to find a house that the whole family loves, and to move in so quickly.
Our cross-country drive was fun and interesting - and exhausting! We took ten days to actually drive to McChord AFB, stopping at Cedar Point, a friend's house in Michigan, Wall Drug (South Dakota), Mount Rushmore, a cousin's house in the mountains of Montana, and finally, Yellowstone Park. The kids and I all saw parts of the United States that we had never seen before, so it was very exciting to us. The plains of South Dakota were indescribable. From the hotel we stayed at, were just endless miles of tall prairie grass, with nary a tree in sight. I took a walk one morning, and felt like we were at the beach - it just "seemed" to me that if I continued walking, I would eventually cross the horizon, the grass would clear and I would find sand and sea. But of course, the grass was endless, and the land amazingly flat! The Badlands were like nothing I've ever seen, either. I can't imagine being a westward-bound pioneer of the 19th century, crossing over the plains and then coming upon that!
The Rocky Mountains were incredible! We even saw snow along the sides of the road. Snow in July! One of the prettiest drives I experienced was the day we drove across I-90 through northern Idaho. It was so gorgeous, I had a hard time driving because I just wanted to look at the scenery.
The day after we arrived at McChord, we had appointments lined up for househunting. We found our house the first day. Our 13yo daughter, Sky, accompanied us, while the 16yo and 9yo stayed at the hotel. She was in love with this house as soon as we walked in. It is a spacious, 2-story, 4-bedroom, pastel yellow house with white trim, and a charming front porch. After looking at this house, she would say, "But I like Yellow House" after looking at anything else. So two days later, we brought the other two with us to look at Yellow House, and that was the end of the house-hunting. The kids unanimously voted on Yellow House. The moving truck arrived in the driveway less than a week later!
I have spent the past twelve days since moving in unpacking and organizing our new home. I've bought a few decorating items too, but I have a long ways to go. The kids are all registered at their new schools, which starts September 7. It will be nice having the month of August for the kids to get acclimated to their new environment, and explore the area. Oh, and one thing I am very excited about: only 1/2 mile from my front door is a 30-mile, tree-lined biking and running trail! Could life be any more grand? :-)
I will try to get some of our vacation/move pictures posted soon!