Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Derek started his rotation on Monday at Stanford University and is....LOVING IT!!! I'm so excited! He loves the hospital and the people in it. It is spacious, runs efficiently, the people are very intelligent, and everyone seems to work well together and get along. He was actually surprised by how much he loves all aspects of the hospital and people there. The one draw back is that the area is so highly populated and expensive to live in.

Now that we have lived in West Virginia for over three years we have been spoiled by the idea of SPACE. Now we have a dream of living somewhere with some land and owning an affordable property (someday) that doesn't sit on top of someone else. Crazy I know...especially if we were to be in California. But, I am on a mission to find that perfect property and prove it exists even here! :)

Back to Derek's rotation....Monday and Tuesday I drove him the 45 mins (or an hour - depending on traffic) it takes to get from my Grandma's to Stanford and then went back and picked him up at the end of the day since he didn't have his parking pass. Both days I also got to stop along the way to hang out with Janelle and Belle! We had a great time! It was so fun that she lives along the way and I could just stop by. Derek finally got his pass yesterday so I got to sleep in this morning and he took the car. We also figured out yesterday after paying the toll on the toll bridge for the 3rd time that we could have driven across in the carpool lane for free. Of course we figured that out now that Derek is driving himself and will have to pay the $4 each day since he's by himself. Oh well!

The dogs have adjusted nicely to my Grandma's house. This morning a deer came up to the back to check out the dogs while they were outside - it made me feel like we were still in WV. The weather has been beautiful and all is going well so far!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Rest of the trip

Second Day on the Road
1)Got on the road at 6:50 this morning.
2)Last night we stayed at La Quinta - the same hotel we stayed in for all our stops out to the East. We loved them the last time. Not so much this trip. A few hiccups: messed up our reservation so instead of a king bed we had two doubles (Derek and the dogs slept in one, and I had the other!), much messier, & super smokey! But it was a place to sleep, there was a subway next door for dinner and they did have breakfast.
3)We liked Nebraska the best. The speed limit was 75!
4)We passed Buford, Wyoming – The Nations smallest town - Population 1; 8000 Square Feet
5)Nebraska was very flat. Wyoming has lots of rolling hills and very windy. It also is basically barren. Lots of big windmills. (After I wrote that we passed mountains and then flat land in Wyoming. It’s got lots of different looking parts. It got super hot driving out through there too)
6)The dogs were antsier today. Bear jumped over the dog barrier and into the front multiple times to sit on Derek’s or my lap. Gracie even attempted to come into the front a few times. I took them out and ran with them a little while Derek got lunch so that helped a little. Tomorrow should be interesting!
7)I actually drove for 110 miles! It was very stressful with how heavy the car was and how windy it was outside, but I survived.
8)Stayed at the Red Lion Hotel in Salt Lake City and was VERY pleased with everything about it.
9)Total Traveling For Day Two = 13 Hours & 25 Mins, 918.2 Miles

Third Day on the Road
1)We left at 6:45 this morning.
2)We left Salt Lake this morning and as we drove past the lakes and mountains towards Nevada, we couldn’t help but make the observation that the surroundings made us think a little that this might be what hell is like. It is hot, barren, nothing as far as the eye can see, the only water is extremely salty, smells like sulfur, and nothing but weeds growing. Oh yeah, and it made us think of pillars of salt.
3)Lovely sign in Nevada: “Prison Area – Hitchhiking Prohibited” Derek thought it should have said “Don’t pick up hitchhikers!”
4)I love that we are now west enough that all the bathrooms have toilet seat covers!
5)Stopped at a pilot gas station in Nevada that had a casino in the food mart. Nice.
6)Once we hit Sacramento we also hit what has been foreign to us for the past three years – traffic. This is also very new to Bear seeing as he has never been on a freeway surrounded by cars all stopping and going at 5 miles an hour. He was scared and had to bark at all the cars for the first five minutes until he realized we were not getting attacked.
7)We stopped in Sacramento to say hello to Kelli, Mark, and the boys!!!!
8)Arrived in Oakland, CA at 6:15pm!
9)Total for the entire trip = Just about 2600 miles!
10)I only slept for a total of 20 mins on the first day and that is all!!!

Sunday Aug. 23rd
We are here in Oakland and hanging out with Lauren and Jason!! Having so much fun and loving being here at my grandmas! Thank you everyone for your prayers for a safe trip. It was a wonderful trip and so much more enjoyable than I could have ever imagined!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

First Day On The Road

Some highlights of our first day…
1) Woke up at 3:30am to the sound of Bear throwing up all over the clean dog bed and sheet
2) We couldn’t fall back asleep so at 4am decided to get an early start and get up
3) We were in the car and on the road to start our drive at 5:30am! (I wasn’t sure everything would fit – our car is P.A.C.K.E.D. You cannot see out the back and the dogs are pretty much squished)
4) States we passed through and interesting info on their “welcome signs” – Ohio (missed the sign), then Kentucky (which is where Abraham Lincoln was born), then Indiana (something about Lincoln’s boyhood place), then Illinois (the land of Lincoln), - Apparently the mid west is obsessed with Lincoln! ☺ Then we hit Iowa (Fields of Opportunities), and finally Nebraska (the good life, home of Arbor Day).
5) We passed a truck labeled the Heatilator – pretty funny sounding. It said it was the first name in fireplaces. Interesting.
6) We passed Shelbyville and Derek got very excited. He thinks it’s a town filled with Shelbys (his favorite car).
7) Gracie was permanently stationed in front of the portable fan we attached to the driver headrest and stared out the window, while Bear slept most of the time.
8) Had lunch at Steak and Shake in Indiana….yummy hamburgers although not exactly on my diet list of things to eat! I only had a few sips of Derek’s Oreo shake though.
9) TONS of corn fields!
10) We passed a bunch of trucks full of pigs…some of them were getting a little frisky with each other!
11) It rained most of the day – which made for very eventful dog potty breaks!
12) A few amusing signs we saw:
• “When danger lurks, Sunny, you can’t rely on luck. Put down your bunny foot. A gun will save your life.”
• “Hit a worker $10,000 fine”
• “What protects you during a crime? Guns save”
13) Driving Totals for Day One: Miles = 944.5, Hours = 15 hrs & 35 mins
(We made it all the way to Omaha, Nebraska!)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My "Man Up Moment"

Two nights ago friends came and helped us pack up the Uhaul with everything we are going to be shipping to my parents house in the cube (minus our mattress so we could sleep on it one more night). Yesterday was the day for Derek and me to drive the Uhaul (thankfully only to Nitro) and unload all our stuff into the cube. It is nice that I truly have been able to laugh at things not going according to perfect planning any longer. The last piece to the puzzle as to why...

I woke up yesterday morning in full cramping mode and started my period...about an hour before we were going to go load the cube. I got a little panicked at first that if it was a bad one I could quite possibly be incapacitated on the floor meaning moving an entire truck load of our belongings would be feasibly impossible. So I took 3 ibuprofen, layed in bed for an extra half hour, and then (as Derek put it) I had a "man up moment."

It was in the middle of trying to get our gigantic California king size mattress into the Uhaul (mind you this is only Derek and myself). Derek announced that he was going to be stuck in the back of the Uhaul between all our things since he was pulling and I was pushing (with everything I could - including my head, literally). At that moment I had one of the biggest and longest belly laughs of my life. We were both hysterically laughing when I suddenly felt energized and only what I can describe as like I turned into The Hulk! From that point on I pushed and pulled and lifted and didn't feel another cramp for the next two hours that it took us to load the cube. We made record time packing it and Derek had plenty of extra time to study.

It turned out to be a very fun and bonding time for the two of us. Especially trying to strategically pack the cube and fit everything. At first we made two piles 1) important stuff we HAVE to fit and 2) stuff we can leave behind, because we were convinced it would never all fit. Two hours later we had everything in with room to spare! It was surprisingly a very fun day. And to think of the path that got us there...I guess it is true - the valleys really do make the peaks that much better!


For those of you who are confused about where we'll be and when (don't worry I am too unless I have my calender in front of me!) - here's a calender for you!

August 19
- Leave Charleston & drive to San Francisco
August 21 to Sept. 19 - In Oakland at my grandma's house (Derek's rotation at Stanford)
Sept. 19 - Drive to San Diego
Sept. 20 - Derek flies to Morgantown, WV / I stay at my parents
Oct. 2 - Lindsey flies to Morgantown
*Derek in Morgantown Sept. 20 - Oct. 17 (Derek's rotation at Morgantown)
*Lindsey in San Diego Sept. 20 - Oct. 2
*Lindsey in Morgantown Oct. 2 - Oct. 17
Oct. 17 - We fly into San Diego
Oct. 20 - Drive to Orange County to see Derek's parents
Oct. 22 - Drive to LA & stay with Danica and Andrew
Oct. 23 - Drive back to OC to pick up dogs
Oct. 24 - Drive to Oakland & stay at Grandma's (Derek's rotation at UCSF)
Oct. 24 to Nov. 21 - In Oakland at my grandma's house
Nov. 21 - Drive to OC to stay at Derek's parents

Nov. 21 to Jan. 31 - Derek will be interviewing & we will be going between SD & OC to
stay with our parents alternating back and forth

Feb. 1 to 26
- In San Diego at my parents house (Derek's rotation at Scripps)
Feb. 28 - Fly to Charleston, WV
Feb. 28 to Mar. 26 In Charleston (Derek's rotation at Charleston)
Mar. 27 - Drive to Morgantown
Mar. 27 - April 23 In Morgantown (Derek's rotation at Morgantown)
April 24 - Drive to CA! Derek is done!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Yay Yay Yay!!!

Update on the move...

There was a little more drama with the ABF people today because they forgot to send me a contract to fill out and it had to be faxed in today. When I talked to Josh earlier (Neal is out of the office today - probably recovering from my emotional calls!) I asked if he could double check if any cubes had opened up in Nitro (the place closer to us) and he said no and that he highly doubted any would before Monday. I faxed the contract over, but they still didn't receive it so he had to call me back to check if I had sent it. It ended up that they did have it and it just hadn't gone through yet so all was well...

Then Josh called again.

He said that since he had to look up my account again to attach the contract he had decided to check one more time before he left....and a cube opened up in Nitro for us!!!!!!!!!! I am SO excited and thrilled and relieved. All that stress for nothing. AND we still got the discounted price! God is so good, and I am feeling so much better!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Blip in the road...

I know things commonly don't go as planned...but as one of the many life lessons I've learned (especially out here in WV) is that I don't deal with this fact very well. You could label it as I just like things to go as planned because I work so hard to get things lined up in advance, or you could say I'm pretty much a control freak. The latest development in this learning process of mine happened today...T minus 6 days until our drive across the country begins. First, my day started out with realizing that our "couch" (the aero bed since we sold our real couch) was flat because Bear had punctured a small hole in it by playing super hard with Derek the night before, while I was in Morgantown dropping off the Corolla. Bear doesn't do very well when I'm gone and stood up on our coffee table staring out the window most of the day (looking for me - he does this every time I leave to go anywhere), and thus got no energy expended. Then he got a little rambunctious at night and apparently made a small hole in the aero bed.

So as I sat down on our "couch" this morning and swiftly felt the hardwood floor against my butt, I opened my laptop to check my email. I was greeted by a follow up email from ABF U-Pack, the moving company we are renting a pod from to put our things in to be shipped to my parents house. I researched this about 6 months ago (yes I know - slightly anal retentive but I prefer to call it prepared and passionate!) to make sure we would have no problems reserving one. I got a quote and then booked it about 3 months ago. So when I got the email confirming that we would be filling a trailer next Tuesday I had to do a double take. A trailer? No, that must be a mistake. I planned this out MONTHS ago...and I reserved a 6 ft by 7ft by 8ft cube that we would be able to lock shut and have dropped off in my parents driveway. I called the company (while sitting on my hardwood floor) only to find out that yes that had mistakenly booked me for 9 cubic feet of space in a 28 foot trailer instead of my own cube. They informed me I would need to tie my things down and secure them so they did not fall into another person's space in the trailer and also that I would need to get tarps to cover the top. I just about choked on my own tongue. And of course they are now out of cubes because it is only 6 days until move day.

In the middle of all this, as I am trying not to cry on the phone to Neal (the nice ABF representative), the girl who is supposed to be buying and picking up my china cabinet at any moment calls through to tell me she is lost. I tell Neal I will call him back. The china cabinet girl finally gets to my house and once it is loaded in her truck I walk back inside only to start the first of three crying sessions to come. Derek likes to laugh when I do this because I usually try to hide that I am crying...which I am not very good at. I some how pull myself together enough to call Neal back only to find out that the closest place that has an available cube to load is 80 miles away. I tell him I will call him back, jump in the car to drive to my friend Heather's house, and proceed to call Lauren (my sister) and have another crying session to her. Slight disclaimer to all of you who think I have officially lost it - it does happen to be about 2 days before that special time of the month that every woman loathes. Of course it would be though. Why wouldn't that correlate with us preparing to drive across the country?

We rearranged everything and now Derek and I will be loading up the Uhaul on Monday together. I will drive the Uhaul the 80 miles to the cube destination and back while he sits in the passenger seat and studies. Then he will take his test all day Tuesday (9 hours) while I clean the completely empty house and we will hit the road at 6am on Wednesday the 19th.
P.S. Neal was able to give us a $400 discount, so that was very nice.

Things don't always happen as we plan. And hormones don't always cooperate either. But God has a plan and he will carry us through all these crazy blips and bumps. I am now laughing at this and I think that is the best growth. Being able to look back at your past actions and say - yes I overreacted, yes I am feeling hormonal, no - that was not actually that dramatic, and we are fine (as my mom would always say to Little Lindsey)!

I just hope everything else goes according to my plans! =)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Bathing the dogs

I know it probably sounds ridiculous but bathing my two dogs is an all day event. I just finished the process and it is almost 5pm. This exhaustive feat normally begins with me having to lure them to the bathroom by shaking the treat box repeatedly and calling their names excitedly like there is something thrilling going on there. Usually they spot the shampoo and towels before I can close the door and immediately run the other direction. Gracie will literally sprint out the doggie door to the farthest end of our yard to hide when she knows it's bath time. This is especially funny coming from a dog that I used to repeatedly have to pull out of the shower as a puppy anytime Derek got in. I cannot count the times I heard Derek yelling out my name for help from the shower only to find a sopping wet, tail wagging Gracie standing next to him in the shower. Now she hides. I'm not really sure what happened.

Once I finally round them up into the bathroom Bear is usually my first victim. I put him in the tub and the shaking begins. Not the normal dog shaking the water off its coat shaking. I'm talking the vibrating, like he's freezing cold, teeth chattering shaking. Today he actually let out a noise he was shaking so hard that sounded like a mixture of a whine, a howl, and a burp. Now I have tried everything to make bathing less traumatizing for him and nothing works. I've put Gracie in the tub with him so he has company (that just makes the situation worse as I then have two dogs to block from jumping out and from licking the shampoo off themselves and each other). I've tried bringing him in the shower with me (which just makes my back hurt from having to lean over and there is no less shaking). I've tried feeding him treats while he's in the tub (he just spits them out and looks at me like I'm trying to kill him). You know the cat from Shrek (I think his name is Boots) with the big sad droopy eyes? That's the look I get.

Now the fact that Bear's weight is pretty much made up of mostly hair he not only shrinks into what looks like a drowned rat but he also retains water in each paw like he has secret compartments. I am constantly on the look out for flying paws trying to escape the tub that carry with them a full 2 cups of water each. Basically if I don't stop them before they get to eye level, I look as though I've just taken a shower. Once I am finally finished with him, it's the big dogs turn.

Gracie and her full 40 pounds will not get in the tub by herself anymore no matter how many treats I throw in there. Every time I have to pick her up (where she begins flailing her legs like she is swimming already) and deposit her in the tub. She does better throughout the bath than Bear, but it is a constant fight to keep her from licking up all the shampoo off her legs. Once the bathing part is done the drying and grooming part begins. Since Gracie gets skin infections so easily she has to be completely blown dry with my hair dryer. She's very good about it but the trimming of her hair she is not a fan of. Bear starts his usual shaking routine as soon as the dryer is turned on him and if I get it close to his head he literally jumps straight up into the air like a cat and tears out of the room. Today I tried trimming his paw with Derek's hair buzzer instead of scissors, thinking it would go faster and lessen the struggle. Not so much. You'd think I was electrocuting him. Trying to buzz the hair off Bear's feet with the trimmer was pretty much like playing a game of cat and mouse. Bear would pull his foot out of my grip and try to run, I would grab a hold of another leg and pull him back towards me across the hardwood floor and repeat.

Finally, hours later, both dogs are clean, dried, trimmed, and all three of us are sufficiently exhausted. I'm saving the nail filing for tomorrow...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Here are some recent pictures!!