We've become Oreganders.

I made that name up. Perfect to describe transplants from Michigan to Oregon. We've only been here 1 month and 6 days, but I could write a volume as thick as a phone book on what's been happening and what it's like here. Instead of boring everyone to tears and spending all that time on the computer, I will utilize the old adage about a picture being worth a thousand words and put up lots of pictures w/ brief captions instead.

I will definitely have an article coming soon about the level of food allergy awareness and support in the schools here, though - which is better than we ever dared hope for.

On 8/9/14, Jonah broke both bones in his left arm just above the wrist out in the park behind our house in Michigan, jumping out of a tree. At the same time, the future owners of our home were making their offer to buy our house. 

Apparently not to be outdone, on 8/10/14 'Lou also broke his left arm, an unstable break through the inner bone about halfway up the arm. He did it in the same park we lived on, leaping from the steps of a play structure and landing awkwardly. 

On 8/11/14, we were part of the disastrous sewage flood that overwhelmed Royal Oak and many neighboring cities. All of this while hubby had already relocated ahead of us for the previous 2 months to Oregon.  In the pic above, that's the sidewalk you see underwater closest to the camera.

The sewage water reached 4' in our home. This was my freezer toppling and washing machine floating. 

We had everything packed in the basement to move to Oregon and we lost over 110 boxes of belongings. What we did not lose, however, was the sale of our home or the health of our child with an open skin disorder. We had many friends and neighbors sickened by the bacteria and mold -and it took weeks for most people to get professional help with cleaning up the disaster. We were very fortunate. 

We also had friends who started a fundraiser so we could arrive in Oregon with donated clothes, bedding, books and school supplies to help our children start school until we could get our feet back under us from the repairs needed on our newly-sold home. It was a wonderful and terrible way to leave our beloved home of 16 years - and one we still find it difficult to talk about today without becoming emotional. Some of the things we lost will resonate with us for the rest of our lives, like almost everyone we know who was part of this flood. 

What a parting gift from the only home our children had ever known that every time they thought of the fear, loss and hardship we and everyone around us was experiencing, they also remember the help, kindness and working together to help each other, that happened. 

'Lou had to make sure he used up his frequent flyer miles at our local hospital completely before we left the state and gashed the back of his head open during our last week there, requiring several staples. 

 Then Papi came home and we were reunited after the longest separation our family has ever been through - over 2 months! One last brief separation of a week while Papi drove ahead with the 3 bigs, 2 Great Danes and 3 ferrets to meet in Portland us as myself and the 2 littles disembarked from our plane on 9/5/14.

The fellas all had an amazing trip across the country to our new home - an adventure they will remember for the rest of their lives, complete with tales of Magnus getting stuck between the seats of the car while he slept, Jake flailing an arm (in his sleep) into the cactus plant he *had* to bring and escaped ferrets in hotel rooms as well as dogs opening doors and roaming hotels. Apparently having satisfied our disaster quota before the move, however, everyone arrived safely in Oregon in the end!

The littles and I stayed behind and said goodbye to our friends and neighbors from our empty house. Relying on the kindness of friends for the use of their car, 'Lou gave back the final souvenirs from the  hospital he almost singlehandedly kept financially solvent over the last 6 years: his staples. Their grandpa stand-in completed the circle of my life in Michigan by giving us a ride to the airport to take the plane that moved us out of there. (Over 25 years ago, it was also he that picked me up from the airport when I came to Michigan to make it my home at 17 years old!)

We arrived in Oregon depleted and bereft and slowly began rebuilding. We had a minor setback initially with me being hospitalized for dehydration and exhaustion, but as soon as I was rehydrated, I went into nesting mode and we set about the business of turning a new house into our home. 

Jovie had a field trip the first week of school that really helped show us the stunning beauty of our new home - just when we needed it to help balance the mess of a new home in need of more repairs than we expected, covered in the dust and grime of reflooring to remove all the carpet for 'Lou's skin disorder. 

On the front bridge, by the front door. :-)

This room is half laundry room, half office. 

There's a tiny kitchenette type room in the middle of the lower level of the house - like it was tailor made for the ferret cage and dog food vaults.

Drop the strawberries into his mouth from the 2nd story deck is 'lou's favorite new game. 

(The tub is going - what a perfect spot for an oversized walk-in shower!)

Jovie's room is the last to get put together, as she needed a new bed - and just got it this weekend. The bottom converts into another bed for sleepover friends and brothers. 

After taking all summer to sell our home in Michigan, it felt like we'd been surrounded by boxes forever and we thought we'd never be done with packing and unpacking, but putting our own touches on our new home and yards has really helped to heal the trauma of how we left our house in Michigan.  The 2 bigs decided to switch it up and shares rooms w/ a little bro each instead of each other in this new house. It's really worked out well for big guys to help the little guys get up and get ready in the mornings!

Our new home comes with a stunning natural setting on a wooded lot set in the side of a small mountain or big hill. Unfortunately, the compost soil trails and garden beds are coming right into the house on my new floors w/ 5 kids and 2 Great Danes, so wonderfully fragrant Douglas Fir nuggets it is! Smells like Christmas! We can't believe how much less expensive things like mulch and gravel and tree trimming services are in this part of the country. Not to mention actual plants and fertilizers and quality soil - it's amazing. And you can plant all year! You don't have to spend hundreds every Spring only to throw it all in the trash come late Fall. I'm still giddy about it.  The real bridge to the front door was probably the biggest selling feature for the kids. 

Jonah and 'Lou had birthdays shortly after moving and here and got awesome new bikes with all the bells and whistles.  We made a commitment before moving here that we'd try to adopt the Eugene way of life and ride bikes everywhere we could - and so far, we've been doing it! The littles and I ride up and down the mountain we live on every day to and from school - and starting and ending the school day on those kind of endorphins has made a wonderful difference in turning them from morning crabby heads into excited and eager little cyclists trying to better their achievement from the ride the day before. 

See how the road goes up the hill into the trees? We live at the top of the hill. 

We live on a cul-de-sac and there is almost no traffic. We live in an extremely wooded area and deer come in groups right through the yards to graze. 

One of the first places we explored was Spencer Butte. Nothing like checking out your new city after hiking and climbing to the highest vantage point in the locale!

'Lou has jumped right into his usual routine here in Eugene and needed more stitches before he even got the cast off his broken arm. He's also got a new kind of rash all the time - road rash!

Bo is in heaven with the abundant supply of natural resources for his all-natural weapons. 

This was another place we explored in our new state: the Pacific Ocean near Cape Perpetua, Oregon. 
Even if we weren't sure moving here was a huge improvement for the rest of the family, the quality of the dogs' lives, at least, has improved dramatically. Everywhere you go, they're welcome. People are allowed to bring their dogs in to the hardware stores here. If you have a dog in the car, everywhere you go has a treat for them. In neighborhoods, you can see dogs wandering around the sidewalks and front yards, as calm and well-behaved as any person. They're on all the hiking trails, running beside bicycles, all over the school yards waiting for their kids to get out every day. 

'Lou was invited to bring them right into his classroom for his Very Important Person day. 

So far it's been such a whirlwind of moving here, getting them right into school because they were already a few days late and tying up the repairs and simultaneous sale of our old house along with trying to keep track of what was lost in the flood, who's injured now and how long until I go back to the Dr. to make sure it's healing right, what was lost or ruined in the move and what we need to do next, that I feel like I've been in a surreal fog for weeks and weeks. We haven't even had a chance to get homesick yet, although we miss our friends and neighbors. 

Everything we hoped to gain for our family by moving here appears to have been very realistic, however - and it was more than the right move to the right place for us. I'll be posting soon about how the schools handle food and skin allergies here, it's a really refreshing change for the better!