Last night we went out to dinner with Mal and Steve - it's the last time he's in town before we leave.  My friend Lauren just texted me - she travels for work a lot and she's leaving town for work on Saturday and won't be back until we're gone...everything is starting to move really fast now.  I mean, the fact that it's now late August, we've been to the fair, school is starting already - that is crazy enough - this summer went so fast!  But wow it's really only two weeks til our journey truly begins - that is still beyond comprehensible but sinking in ever more each day.  Things felt different when I packed up all our picture frames to "depersonalize" our house to put it on the market.  Things felt different as we watched our furniture move, room by room, out the front door into other people's moving trucks.  Things definitely felt different when we moved out of our beautiful house and moved into this loft with unfamiliar furniture and decorations and dishes.  There have been meltdowns - in this house, on the streets of Des Moines while walking the dogs, in restaurants - and there have been plenty of arguments (I would say, not surprisingly to any of you, almost all of which instigated by me), many about nothing having to do with the big move but really having everything to do with the move.  I am so excited to start this new chapter of our lives.  I am ready for it to start!  The waiting and waiting - I mean, yes you need time to prepare but really we've been waiting for over a year now and there's really only so much time you can spend cramming your clothes into SpaceBags and going back and forth to PetSmart to find the perfect devices to help your dogs on a 1100 mile ride.  I'm anxious to meet the new people, to see our new apartment, to find a new yoga studio, and to find out what fricking country to where they'll be sending us!  But I also didn't realize how sad, or maybe not sad but nostalgic I'd be about leaving.  It's one thing to not have your furniture or your picture frames but it's definitely in an entirely different world not having your mom and your dad and your sisters and the rest of your family and friends.  Joey and I have both been so blessed to have our family so close all of our lives and I know we are making a conscious decision to leave that behind but it's amazing how that support that we've grown up with continues to support us as we leave. 

Okay enough of that sappy business...I have a few updates.  As Joey mentioned, we did find a new place to live - about which I am so excited.  According to our owner, it's a historic row house that they totally gutted and refinished a few years ago.  It has granite countertops, top of the line stainless steel appliances, two bedrooms, two bathrooms - and over 1100 sq feet!  Plus, the landlord is a woman, which makes a huge difference in the furnishings (for those of you who have been to our loft, you know what I mean).  Also, there is no elevator to contend with (which means no instances with the dogs going crazy - at least inside the building) - in fact we only share our entry with one other person - so huge!  Even better, we have a little fenced in patio area - hardly a backyard but at least it's something for the dogs - and a grill.  This place is surrounded by yoga studios, bars, restaurants - there is a Whole Foods a few blocks away - and you don't need a car (although it does have its own parking space) - I'm super excited about it.  I found this workout place nearby called Bfit which incorporates the ballet barre into your workout and I definitely want to try that - although according to my super supportive husband who followed me on his bike Sunday night for my 14 mile run in the dark, I ran the whole thing duck-footed which is killing my IT band - so maybe more ballet may not work well with the running - I don't know how that'll work out, I'm just excited it's there! 

Our pack-out is August 31st.  So on the 30th we'll be trying to cram as much as possible into the Volvo and separating everything that's ours from our landlords.  They come early morning the 31st and take 450 lbs of stuff to DC and the rest goes into permanent storage, which we can't access until we move abroad.  A woman from the moving company came last week to get an idea of what we have and said she believes our wardrobes, shoes, purses and all to weigh about 500 lbs so since I have two boxes of picture frames and want our Christmas tree, we have been stuffing clothes into SpaceBags like it's nobody's business.  Those puppies hold a lot and though they shrink down quite a bit they are heavy! Unfortunately, three extra-large bags later we haven't made a dent in our closets.  I am determined to make it work though.  After our pack-out, we stay one more night in the apartment then drop the dogs off at the kennel and head to Tennessee.  Since we move out 12 days before we are allowed to move into Washington, we are allotted
$150 a day for lodging and $120 a day for food so we figured why not take some R&R before the craziness of DC.  Why Tennessee you ask?  No state income tax.  Yes, in addition to relinquishing everything else, we are relinquishing our Iowa residency.  We're going to register our car down there and then get drivers licenses and voter registration cards and then we are officially Tennessee residents.  So a few days in Smithville, a few days in Nashville and a night in St Louis later, we'll be back in Des Moines the 6th and 7th at the Staybridge Suites in West Des Moines.  Then we pick up the dogs and start our drive to DC.  5 hours the first day to Bloomington, IL, 6 hours the second day to Columbus, OH, 5 hours day three to Cumberland, MD and then finally 3 hours on September 11 to Washington, DC (I have to admit I find it a tiny bit unsettling that we're moving in on that anniversary but I guess it's probably safer that day that the other 364 days of the year).  Then Monday, September 13 Joey starts his job!  Wow!