How about where we left off? Around Christmas? Sounds good.
I work in a department of only three people. In December, my coworker decided to leave for another job. This caused me a ridiculous amount of stress at work - cue the shingles. So I was pleased when my director hired a replacement and the training began in January.
While things were still fast-paced and high-stress at work, the replacement was a hard worker and was catching on quickly.
One afternoon my director stood in my office doorway and mentioned that a contact wanted to suggest me for a job in Little Rock and would I be interested in such a position. Of course I would! Eric and I have always known that our long term plan included one day returning to Arkansas to be near our families but we had never found the right opportunity. We were thrilled at the thought of it becoming a reality. So, after numerous phone calls and several interviews I was offered a position with the paper in Little Rock.
While overjoyed to be heading back home, we had a house to sell. One that we had moved into less than two years ago. Do the math on that real estate, and you'll find it doesn't add up to the most lucrative of solutions. Add in a one year old that doesn't understand why the house has to be spotless for impromptu showings, and you got yourself the trifecta of real-estate stress - cue more shingles!
The good news is that we sold the house - twice! The first buyer's placed an offer a little less than a month ago and then lost their financing last week. The second buyers? So far so good but I'm keeping everything crossed right up until we hand over the keys.
Jackson will nearly finish out the school year here, and of course Eli will transition smoothly. My mother has worked tirelessly to enroll Jackson in school and find the boys adequate child care. And we have already felt the benefits of our close friends in the area as they have helped us search for homes, schools, doctors, etc.
We have been trying to do nearly everything for this transition from afar. But having such a tight knit group of friends and family has made things so much easier. From having a realtor that has supported our family and friends for decades to our friends driving by selected homes and weeding out busy streets to my parents eliminating homes with bad driveways and locations too close to Grandpa's Catfish Hole, our search for a new home went quickly.
With the help of our circle of support, we found a house we love in North Little Rock. It's in a good school district and very close to friends and family. So by the end of May we will have moved into our new home and started new jobs. Eric has started looking for a new job, as well. And Jackson has already started making plans to ride his bike to Mam and Granddad's house.
In the meantime, Jackson is flying through first-grade level spelling tests at school and is outside on his bike nearly every day. Jackson is still loving his soccer team - The Thunder Kickers. He loves to practice and is learning how to be a team player. We are thinking of putting him in gymnastics as he loves to jump around and try to flip or cartwheel over anything that will hold still. But even more hilarious is watching Eli copy his every move. He tries to jump and kick and cartwheel his little body right behind his big brother's next step. Eli is making sentences now and at times gets a little sassy with a few "No-no, Mama"s combined with a good finger shake in my direction. It's hard to keep a straight face when he starts bossing. His animal sounds are varied and hysterical. Ask him what a horse says and he will give you every animal sound in his reprotroi eventually landing on the correct response. He loves cats and dogs He'll stop anything to exchange a few words with a passing dog or get a wave in to a cat. He is also a big fan of birds and points them out on every page of a book if he spots one. It reminds me of when Jackson used to spot a robin in the yard and ask it for a hug. Eli's favorite book is Hop on Pop. He loves the pages with all the balls falling off the walls. He stares at the pages with great concern as if wondering what these crazy Suess folks are thinking tossing these things around on a giant wall. Jackson's book of the moment are the Ninjago books and books about airplanes. He loves to read.
Next week begins the packing and the goodbyes - the hardest parts of leaving. We are heartbroken to leave our Tulsa family. This is longest Eric and I have ever lived anywhere. We have been here more then 11 years and have made lifelong friends.
I can't wait for them to visit us in Little Rock.