We spent the night before our move at a hotel in Newton and Matt woke up early the next day to drive to Altoona to meet up with a few friends at our storage units and load everything up in the largest Uhaul available. I took the kids out to breakfast for confetti pancakes at Perkins and met up with everyone when they arrived at our new house.
Moving day was on May 26th, 2021. It was a really humid day and consequently it was also the day of Taya’s Kindergarten Open House at Thomas Jefferson Elementary. I also had an appointment via telehealth over the phone that I had to cancel because we did not have internet set up at our new house. Needless to say it was a busy day! With the great help we had, things went very smoothly and our house quickly filled up with boxes. As I type, there are still about 5 boxes behind me in the dining room that have yet to be unpacked and a whole room of them downstairs in the basement. I forage through them when I need something-it’s a jungle in there. I wish I had taken a picture of the huge Uhaul backed up into our driveway. Matt said he wanted to light 90% of our possessions on fire after loading and unloading all of it-I don’t blame him!
Matt’s mom came to help us get settled in and helped with things like cleaning and taking care of the girls while we cleaned and unpacked. She also took the girls back to NEIA for a few days so we could focus solely on unpacking which was a huge help. I realize even more so how nice it was to live close to family when we were living back in West Union-a true blessing.
Moving in to this house we knew we had our work cut out for us as it needs a lot of TLC and by “we” I mostly mean Matt as he is the painter and DIY’er between the two of us (he used to paint for a living and is really good at it!). So far Matt has painted the room we’re currently calling ours/Dax’s and part of the girl’s room. He has also painted the hallway, entryway, and most of the living room. The kitchen will be a chore because there are 2 layers of wallpaper that are being very stubborn coming off and the previous owners painted over some of it-lovely. Our friends Jeff Guyer and Jon Cardo came from NEIA to help install laminate wood flooring in the upstairs and it looks great! We are very grateful for their help! Thanks guys! Further home reno work is slow going as Matt had been getting mandated (assigned to work extra shifts due to staff shortage) often and it is hard to commit all of his days off to doing that kind of work with 3 small children around, etc. So, unfortunately I do not have any before and after photos to share right now but all in good time.
In other news, we have just been slowly getting to know our new town, neighbors, church, etc. A few things about Newton that have made me laugh are that it has a drive thru liquor store (apparently these used to be common a few decades ago…?) and the local YMCA has a class called “Fat Guy Yoga” and when I read the description it says, “Exactly how it sounds…” Ha! Also there are a fair amount of trains that come through but I most commonly hear them anywhere from 12-1 am-so strange to me. I am a night owl though and that’s the only reason I know that. 🙂 Also-the town of Newton has recycling pick up so everyone can just place their bins at the end of their driveways. However, pick-up time is around 8 pm. Weird, but I’m not complaining!
The population of Newton is about 15,000, so big enough to have a Walmart but not a Target. Speaking of Walmart, I have been taking full advantage of grocery pick-up which has been nice and super convenient to say the least! There is a vast array of drive through options-Scooter’s Coffee is my fave. So far Okoboji Grill is my favorite sit-down restaurant and Matt has really enjoyed Viet Thai Kitchen. Now we just need to meet some babysitters so we can go on a date night! I think it’s safe to say that most people around here do their clothing shopping, etc. in Altoona, Ankeny, or Des Moines.
Our neighbors who have a 6 year old daughter outgrew their old swing set and said we could have it, so a few days ago they helped us hoist it over the fence and into our yard. The girls have been enjoying it and we are very grateful to have something else in our yard for them to do. I am grateful in general to have such nice, welcoming neighbors on all sides of us. We were given a gift card to a local ice cream shop to welcome us to the neighborhood, told we could use a neighbor’s truck for grass clippings, and one of our other neighbors always has an open door policy if our girls ever want to play with their daughter. We’re feeling blessed to say the least!
We have not tried any area public pools yet this summer and my goal was to get to one before Taya started school but it looks like that probably won’t be happening. I did however pick up one of those smaller inflatable pools for our backyard. Matt had the awesome idea to put it at the end of the slide on the swing set to make a water slide of sorts and the girls have been loving it. The only down side to this type of pool is how quickly they get dirty. :0
One of our neighbors had this amazing blow up water slide and let our girls and our neighbor’s daughter use it to cool off this summer. Taya has enjoyed riding her bike and Maggie, her scooter with and without neighborhood pals 🙂 Pictured below:
A week ago the girls participated in “Press Play VBS” at Community Heights Alliance Church where we have been attending and loved it! They learned the story of Zaccheus and that Jesus called regular people like tax collectors and fishermen to follow Him. On the last night a big fire truck came out and created a giant slip ‘n slide for the kids, there was a color run, and an ice cream truck! Wow-loads of fun! I am grateful for all the staff that helped make this a possibility for our girls.
We didn’t plan any vacations this summer because Matt doesn’t have any vacation days built up quite yet. I am definitely feeling ready for a vacation though and will look forward to the time we can take one! We did take a day trip to Pella which was nice and a few trips back to NEIA and got to see some friends briefly. Unfortunately Matt’s days off are on Wednesdays and Thursdays so we are not able to see our old church family on a Sunday like we would like to, but maybe some day if his days off change.
Taya starts Kindergarten on August 23rd and I am not feeling ready to let her go! In a way I am used to being apart from my kids from when I used to work outside of the home but since staying home about two years ago, I have grown accustomed to being around them all day. I think it is going to be a huge adjustment for Maggie as she is used to playing with Taya all day long. Hopefully more one on one time with me will ease the blow a little.
Dax is 6 months now and I think he is starting to get teeth because he is a drool machine. He’s had oatmeal cereal a few times and soon enough we will transition into puréed veggies. The girls have enjoyed seeing him graduate to “the oatmeal stage.” He can roll over from his back to his tummy but gets frustrated when on his tummy so it is rather short lived. Otherwise he is a very smiley, happy baby unless he is hungry. 🙂
At home randomness includes the girls working on pre-k and Kindergarten workbooks (sent from nana!) with our assistance, playing with play dough, bubbles, and of course-Netflix. Also-super fun-our AC quit working for 2 weeks over some of the hottest days of the summer, so one night the kids (minus baby) all went to bed in nothing but a pull-up. :0 We utilized a new small window unit, extra fans, and our cool basement until we were approved for a new AC unit (new homeowner’s warranty baby!) that we have had now for the last few days and it feels great!
Otherwise we have had some fun play dates and more to come-what a difference they make in our day for both myself and the kids! I’m so grateful for the mamas who have reached out to me to make that happen!
I miss the people and the “summer green scenery” of NEIA but I am so glad to say that I can see many ways God is blessing us here in Newton as well. There have been many answered prayers and for that I am grateful!