Packing was a LOT of work. I am so thankful for all the help that we had.
Driving across country wasn't the most fun thing, but went better than I expected. Fortunately, Esther slept well (we did most of the driving at night for this purpose) and was patient to sit for 3-4 hour stretches during awake times. My cousin and I listened to a biography of Jonathan Edwards and a fews sermons during the drive.
Since moving into our townhouse, it is slowly feeling more and more like home. One of the best things about it is its location: our back door is about 200 feet from a rec center, where Alex and I have gotten memberships so that we can workout. They also have a twice a week toddler program that will be a good way to get Esther's energy out in the absence of being able to go to the park in mid-January (something I miss about California!), and the fact that it is walkable is a big bonus since we only have one car.
We are also a five minute drive from our church and about five minutes from downtown Bloomington. Every time I look up directions to somewhere, it has always been less than a ten minute drive. I love this!!
Another great indoor activity for Esther we have discovered: the library. Its about 100,000x better than our local library in California. Its HUGE and has tons of books (granted, its only one of two library branches in the whole county, but its five minutes from us so I don't mind). In addition to having tons of classes and story times for kiddos, they have an imaginative play room for toddlers, and you can even check out educational toys (things like wood puzzles) in the same way you check out books. They even let you print three pages free per day- what libraries still offer free printing?! We don't have a printer, so this is going to be really helpful to us.
We are loving our church so far. Good relationships take time to build, so we are not unrealistic about thinking we will make best friends overnight. But we have had multiple invitations to dinner so far, and visited several different home fellowship groups, all of which have been welcoming. A week and a half after moving here, some of our new friends even gave us the key to their house while they were out of town, so that we could stop by and use the internet whenever we needed to. I have found common interests with many of the women I have talked to. One person told me "Oh, you do homemade kefir and sourdough? You'll fit right in here", which I have found to be true so far. Its also nice to be around other moms with multiple kiddos (most of the moms I have met have 3+ kids). Most of my time as a mother we have had 2-4 kids, while the majority of my mom friends in California just had one (don't want to go around overpopulating the earth, ya know). Three kiddos is way different than one, in a good way.
Speaking of kiddos, December was Esther's first full month of being an only child since she turned one. She. Is. Going. Nuts. Come on baby Hudson, make your appearance! On one hand its nice to have less kiddo-caretaking responsibility (especially after how stressful the past couple months have been), but at the same time its almost just as much work to have to entertain Esther all day in the absence of her having a sibling.
We haven't had internet since moving into our townhouse (we're hoping to have it set up some time this week), so I've felt a bit disconnected since moving in. But at the same time, it has been kind of a relief to not check email and Facebook daily (or multiple times per day) and I have gotten a ton of reading done. Currently, I'm reading Think Biblically by John MacAurthur and The Cider House Rules by John Irving, along with following the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, which is about four chapters of the Bible per day. I was also excited to meet some women from church who meet for a book group (I have been wanting to be a part of a book group for years now!) and so I am going to start Howards End by E.M. Forster when I pick it up from the library, which is the book for this month.
Christmas was nice. After opening our stockings and having a nice breakfast with my mom, we drove to Cincinnati and spent the evening with my dad's side of the family, most of whom we haven't seen since two Christmases ago. The next couple days we spent with Alex's family, which was also nice and relaxing. We didn't do anything (except sleep!) for New Years Eve, but thus is the life of parents of young children.
Oh yes, on becoming a bear (I almost forgot that I titled the post that way... or maybe I was just trying to get you to read til the end!). The combination of jet lag from California, mixed with the fact that it stays dark til 8am here, mixed with the fact that we all got sick right around Christmas, mixed with the fact that the beginning of the month was so stressful that we've needed time to recover (including two nearly sleepless nights on the road), mixed with the fact that its cold and we want to hibernate like bears... we've been sleeping in many days til 9 or even 10am. Its pretty pathetic (I usually like to be up before 7) but I think its needed for a time for all the above reasons. But its been getting better... I've been setting the alarm for 8 most days recently and