Thanks, everyone, for your comments on our big news! It means a lot that everyone is so supportive and excited for us.
Brent is finishing up his last week at his old job, and then he'll be home with Em and I for a few weeks before we move.
We haven't solidified a move date yet, which makes things kind of tricky, but we're making progress on the transition.
We interviewed a few realtors last week and have decided to put our condo on the market. The market isn't as lucrative as it was a few years ago, obviously, but it doesn't make sense for us to hold onto our place. Among other issues, I hate the idea of being a long-distance landlord, finding good tenants, dealing with tenant transitions, etc. Please do your dance to the Housing Gods on our behalf and ask for some fast and worthy offers.
Brent's new company offers a relocation package, and it includes people to actually PACK our stuff for us. HALLELUJAH! It's a bit tricky, though, because we're packing up a bunch on our own to "stage" our condo and make it more appealing to buyers. So when the moving company representative came over last week to survey our items and determine how many boxes to send with the packers, there was a lot of, "Well, this closet will only be a third full when your folks get here." "This shelf with probably be half full." "This will be gone." "This will be here."
And on moving day, they'll have to pick up all these stored items from my in-laws'. Should be interesting.
The new company will put us up in corporate housing for up to four weeks while we decide where we want to rent. Thankfully I have a growing network of friends -- old and new -- in Portland who seem happy to offer guidance in that regard. One thing that struck me and Brent that weekend we were there were all the small but plentiful neighborhoods. Some seemed as small as just a few blocks, each with unique personalities. Los Angeles has quite a few neighborhoods, but they seem larger than Portland's.
There are half a million things we want to do before we move -- Disneyland, Long Beach Aquarium, a butterfly exhibit at a museum downtown -- and half a million people we want to see.
Em turns three (yes, 3!) in October, and we've decided to throw a last-minute birthday/bon voyage party in September before we go. Since I sent out the Evite over the weekend, I've had to remind myself to focus on the move and not on party planning. I love to throw fun parties, and it's hard not to think about THEMES! COLORS! FAVORS! ACTIVITIES! It's a constant "STOP IT, NANETTE!" in my brain.
I made the mistake of telling Em last night that we'd throw her a party with a bounce house, and now that's all she can talk about.
Brent was recruited for and offered a job that's just too good to pass up.
They flew us up recently to meet his potential team and to allow us to check out the city. He loved the company, the office and his future co-workers. But as for the city? It wasn't love-at-first-sight, but more like a slow burn that eventually ignited. The more we researched, the more we thought about it, the more we weighed the pros and cons, the more we warmed up to the idea.
Yes, we KNOW about the weather.
No need to burst our bubble of excitement with talk of that or other Portland pitfalls you may assume, m'kay?
We also know that the cost of living is 59% more here in Santa Monica compared to Portland. Also? No sales tax in the state of Oregon!
The first question our friends have asked is how our parents are taking it. Brent's parents are here in Los Angeles, and my mom's is a three-hour drive.
My in-laws, who see Em at least once a week, were understandably sad at first, but they became quite supportive once they realized what all this move means for us and our family. My mom, who is normally laid back about everything, was more upset than expected, but she came around quickly after she understood the impact on Brent's career and our quality of life.
They're enamored with Em, of course, and will miss the easy access to all of us, but thankfully it's a quick 2-hour flight up north. And we'll find ourselves a nice, big house with plenty of room for guests. PLENTY!
This is good, peeps.
So, wish us luck!
P.S. If you know of any Portland bloggers I'd love, feel free to share links! I'm excited to meet Kerri, FINALLY! And hopefully this means I'll get up to Seattle every now and then to hang with Jen, Sizzle and Mandy.
I'm currently recuperating from a fun-filled long weekend at BlogHer 2011, which started Thursday afternoon for me.
Wednesday night was spent celebrating Brent's 34th birthday.
Before dinner with his family, we presented him with Em's gift.
Inspired by Kelle Hampton, whom I happened to meet at BlogHer and tried to play it cool as we chatted and I gushed over her sweet, sweet baby Nella, I took Em to our local dollar store. We strolled the aisles after instructing her to choose five items to give to Brent for his birthday.
An item would pique her interest momentarily, and when I asked, "Would you like to get that for Daddy?" she'd shake her head and say, "Noooo...."
Eventually there were five items she deemed worthy enough for her daddy's birthday surprise.
I couldn't have chosen a more perfect random assortment of items if I tried. And I didn't -- I swear, it was all her.
Of course, when Brent came home after work Wednesday, the first thing Em exclaimed as he walked in the door? "Daddy! We got you a present!"
Kid can't keep a secret.
I explained the present as he opened the package, and he beamed. He loved every bit of it, of course.
Then he opened my gift to him.
It's a print from a local gallery, Gallery 1988, which is currently hosting a Pee-Wee Herman tribute art show called, "I Know You Art, But What Am I?"
If you know my husband at all, you know that it's perfect for him.
I'm not always a great gift-giver, but I think this year Em and I did pretty well.
On one of our many trips into Old Navy, Em suddenly ran up to the collection of mannequins at the front of the store and struck an unprompted pose with the littlest mannequin of the bunch.
Of course, I had to snap a pic.
Since then, she hasn't missed an opportunity to say hello to her "friend."
Even if I don't have plans to step into Old Navy, if we're nearby, Em will shout, "Come on!" and bolt into the store.
She likes the dog, too...
...but the little girl is definitely her favorite.
I think it's super adorable, of course, but I hear that lots of kids love greeting those mannequins, too. Thankfully Em prefers a nice little side hug instead of kisses. I'd hate to see that tiny mannequin under a black light.