It’s been a little more than six months since I last posted here, which is a record. This blog is ten years old, and I’ve never gone that long without posting! But it was kind of a welcome break–I needed to concentrate on packing up, moving from New Jersey to Washington, getting settled, finding a house, getting H settled at a new school. It’s been a ride, and we’re just starting to settle down.

Here’s what we’ve been up to:

Our very last first/last day of school photos in NJ. My girl.

Two days after school ended, we said goodbye to our old house, and to the Orange Room. I should probably rename this blog….

After the moving truck left with most of our stuff, we packed up both cars, the kiddo, the pupper, and drove from NJ to Washington. The backseat was all set up for Hamilton, but for most of the trip he preferred to just sit on his little person.

We spent a week exploring this whole big country.

One of her summer highlights, seeing the Wall Drug dinosaur.

Mt. Rushmore. This was such an odd experience, right in the middle of the crisis at the border with children being separated from their parents. Some of the men represented here, with the benefit of progress and hindsight, are understood to be reprehensible now. Living through another moment in history, another time when we’re acting on the worst of our impulses as people, made it strange to visit this tourist spot in the middle of land we took from the people who here first. You know, a place to take the kids. It was kind of unreal, and deeply uncomfortable.

This was Idaho, shortly before we finally crossed over into Washington. I’d never seen a view like this in America, with the haze and gray, the trees and mountains. Now it’s our life every day.

We made it. This was the first thing H did after we finally got the keys to our apartment rental.

We spent the summer becoming Washingtonians.

The Museum of Flight, and all the museums in Seattle, are awesome. We’ve got a bunch of memberships now, we’ve taken several visiting grandparents around.

We spent as much time as we could doing fun weekend summer things, and getting to know our new state.

But we also spent the whole summer house hunting. We saw so many houses. Houses on lakes, houses in Seattle itself, houses out in the country.

We ended up buying a house in the country. Like, really in the country, with acres and a local bear, apparently.

First day of first grade, at our apartment! We closed on our new house a week later and moved in the last weekend of September.

Painting rooms around the house before we moved in.

H’s first-ever season of soccer went really well, even though most of the games were a little cold and a little rainy.

H went as a Ghostbuster for Halloween this year. This is the DIY proton pack we made.

I filled it with adorable ghosties for her to capture. This was just 10″ squares of white fabric. Put a little stuffing in the middle, wrap the bundle with a rubber band, draw kawaii faces on all of them. I know technically she should’ve had a trap, but we ran out of time.

Here she is in the full costume. I made a tiny ball gown for her last year, so I felt like this year, with everything we had going on, I’d earned an easy costume build. Now we’re gearing up for Christmas, we’re fully moved in, we feel like we are officially Washingtonians now. With license plates and everything. But we still love NJ.