Life, Motherhood, Teaching, Travel, Uncategorized, Writer's Life

Eight Things I Learned From Moving My Family Across the Country

Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash


Well, I’ve been absent for a bit!

As I mentioned back in March, my husband and I accepted new teaching jobs for the upcoming school year. The positions are in the state of Wisconsin, so the last several months have been spent preparing for a move.

This involved cleaning out our home of twelve years, then packing up our family of 5 (12 if you count all of the pets) loading our remaining earthly goods into a truck and a van and driving about 2,000 miles.

Friends have asked if it went smoothly. I just respond with, “We made it!” and try to keep the crazy out of my eyes.

I’m afraid I can’t quite muster up any fascinating history facts for you today, BUT I do have a few “lessons learned” from the experience of the last few months.

Lesson One: We have too much stuff We have so many material blessings.

Even after donating/recycling/trashing piles of things, the amount of stuff we shipped over and packed along was almost embarrassing. Moving was a good reminder of just how well we’ve been provided for.

Lesson Two: Preparing a house to sell is ridiculous.

We’re still in the process of selling/finding something to buy, and I’ll tell you honestly: I’m hoping to find a nice home in Wisconsin, because I may never leave it.

Lesson Three: The road gets longer when you’re moving.

Last summer we drove to Wisconsin. It was a fantastic road trip and lots of fun. While we traversed much of the same landscape (with one changeβ€”a swing through North Dakota for a quick look at Theodore Roosevelt National Park) doing the trip packed to the gills with all of the odds and ends that were left in the house was not actually fun. Part of that had to do with finding lodging…

I’d like to revisit Medora, ND, where we accessed the park. The landscape is striking and the little town is done up as the “Old West.” It looked like a fun place to explore…another time.

Lesson Four: It’s hard to find lodging with cats.

“Pet friendly” does not necessarily mean “cat friendly.” The places we found were interesting, and my husband ended up sleeping in the van one night.

Doesn’t seem fair, does it? How much trouble could this little guy be? Photo by mali maeder on

Lesson Five: Low gears and substitute drivers are some of the best things in life.

I love looking at mountains. I’m not a big fan of driving through them. And every time our 12′ truck went around a bend with one of those “truck tipping over” signs on it, I was white-knuckling. Mercifully, my big brother flew out to drive with us, allowing me to ride out the mountains and the crazy-windy plains of North Dakota in the passenger seat. (I’m going to need to find something NICE for his birthday this year. Suggestions?)

I don’t even know which mountain range we were passing at this point. One of the ones in eastern Montana…

Lesson Six: My military wife friends are much tougher than I.

Well, that’s not really a lesson learnedβ€”I already knew this. But as I’ve been talking with my friend who’s preparing for her THIRD cross-country move, I just felt the need to acknowledge that yes, I know that in comparison, I’m a wimp.

Lesson Seven: Even kids get tired of fast food.

By North Dakota my eldest asked, “Can we just get some cheese and crackers from the gas station?” The others agreed, “No more burgers!” It was good to get settled this week and get fruit and veggies back into our diets.

Lesson Eight: I’ve been blessed with some amazing people in my life.

I could write pages about all of the kindnesses we’ve been given during this process.

Our extended families have been amazing. We not only had help with the drive, but also with packing, cleaning, finances, and pre-selling home repairs. Other family members have helped provided places for us to sleep, meals, and loving support.

Friends (who’ve been like family) from our congregation and school in Washington helped us load up furniture and boxes to ship. They helped us with home repairs, helped with our children, and prayed for and encouraged us. They threw us a lovely farewell, packing goodie bags for the kids to help with the trip and slipping in financial gifts for us which paid for all of those on-the-road burgers and elusive lodgings.

New friends from the new congregation whose school we’ll be serving have been encouraging and praying for us all along. They also unpacked and stored all of the things we shipped ahead, cleaned the temporary lodgings they found for us, and even stocked our kitchen with necessities and left us local gift cards so that we wouldn’t have to worry about shopping immediately upon staggering into town.

I don’t know what to say to all of it, except that I am so very humbled and thankful for all of them.

I’m also thankful that, though I’ve been absent, you’ve stopped by today to check in. Thank you.

While it’s going to take some time to settle in (and to prepare for a new school year in a new grade- yikes!) I’m looking forward to finding pockets of time in this new stage of life to write again!

What about you? Have any of you had moving adventures, or tips to share to make the process less insane?

38 thoughts on “Eight Things I Learned From Moving My Family Across the Country”

  1. Moving is always an adventure! Even just for my wife and I, there’s a lot to do and SO MUCH STUFF!
    Best (worst) experience though was selling my parents’ house after they were gone. In Texas. We’re in Michigan. Closing day meant a visit to the UPS store where they have a notary. You know every place you have to sign your name? Add to that, every single time, “Executor of the Estate for…” For both parents.
    And speaking of helpful people, the guy at the UPS store only charged me for 5 notary seals. Seriously, he could have taken a long vacation, on me, had he been so inclined!

    Welcome to the midwest!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. SO much stuff- where does it all come from?!
      WOW. Dealing with our own house has been enough of a pain- I can’t imagine all of those signatures…
      Thank you! It’s been interesting seeing what things are familiar and what things we’ve forgotten. The humidity, for instance…wowza! But it’s good to be here πŸ™‚


  2. Hi Anne Clare – so pleased you seem to have made the move without too many hassles. Your friends and family appear to have been brilliant for you both … kind hubby keeping the cats company … good luck as things come to ‘the end’ … take care and enjoy those fruits and veg – cheers Hilary

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Hilary- thank you! Everyone’s been very good to us, which helps. I’m excited that it’s getting closer to the season for sweet corn here- THAT was something we couldn’t get fresh in Washington πŸ™‚
      I hope you’re doing well and having a great summer!


    1. Thanks Joy- there was a point in those last two days of packing that I wasn’t sure we were going to get out the door! (Especially as we intended to leave by 10 am…we finally got out at 4 pm.) Thanks for the well-wishes. It’s a lot of adjustments, but it will be good πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You are on a new and wonderful journey in life, don’t apologize for being away from the blog. Take care of priorities and we’ll be here when you’re free to tell us about them!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hoping it goes well for you in the completion of the move and in the new teaching position. Your post reminded me of our own similar move to new jobs nearly 18 years ago. Arrived at the new location late Friday night, and my wife reported to work the next Monday. (I didn’t report for another two weeks because i had to finish up two already committed projects for clients.) Closed on and moved into our house less than a month later. Lived out of boxes for the next two years, I think. In fact, I think we STILL have some boxes we haven’t unpacked yet! And I know we bought duplicates of many things we simply couldn’t find in the mess. I hope you have an easier time of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. WOW- Friday to Monday? that makes me grateful that we don’t have quite so quick a turn-around! Our official ‘start date’ is July 1st, but our principal was very gracious about taking what time we need. Still, I’m looking forward to meeting with the former teacher to talk curriculum today- start getting back into some normal routines. I suspect the boxes will never entirely go away…
      Thanks for the well-wishes, Dennis!


  5. I do have some memories of moving to Japan with my parents as a kid and back. It was definitely a long process, and it was difficult too because we had our (first) dog with us. I think on the way there we missed one flight and had to wait a day or two for another one.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Okay, Anne, as you know, Peggy and I sold our house and moved in the same time frame you did. So you have all of my empathy! πŸ™‚ We too had help from friends, neighbors and family. Priceless. Our scenario was different in that we were hitting the road full-time and using our daughter’s home in Virginia as a base. She has an attached apartment we are using. We went the pod route, which helped. But still there were tons of things to give away, donate and trash! No kids and no pets certainly made our journey easier. And we headed out to begin our full-time journey, i.e. play. πŸ™‚ Peggy lived the military life in a past life. She has always talked about how the military took care of the majority of the work in moving! Maybe they don’t have it so bad, even though it is frequent! –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How have you two been liking the full-time travel life been so far, Curt? It sounds like an amazing adventure, and quite an undertaking to prepare for!

      You came up in conversation while we were traveling. My brother loves national parks, historic sites, and road trips, so having to pass by ALL of the signs on the road for interesting places rather than stopping kinda killed him a little. He mentioned wanting to do something similar to your plan so that he could see more, and I told him about how you were doing this- I think he was jealous πŸ˜‰.

      Having movers would help the process in some ways I think, though I’ve heard horror stories about some of the condition things arrive in! Oh well. It’s done. Ish. Hard to feel done until we sort out permanent housing…but it will work out!

      Take care, Curt!


      1. Full time is great, Anne. We spent 2 1/2 months crossing the country, most of which we spent in Southwest National Parks. We arrived at our base camp (our daughter has an attached apartment for us in Virginia on a beautiful 6-acre wooded) a couple of weeks ago and are now in Amsterdam. We leave on a Rhine River cruise tomorrow with our kids and grand kids. In late August we will hit the road again. This time for a 5-6 month trip.
        Peggy has mentioned the hazards involved in military shipping. Something was always damaged (but insured). –Curt

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Wow Curt! That all sounds amazing! (Shipping memories aside πŸ˜‰.) I’m so excited for the two of you and your continued adventures.


  7. You made it, well done!! We moved from Canada to Spain. What an adventure. Yes, we learned we had way too much stuff. I sold, donated, gave away and threw away so much. Guess what, I have never missed any of it. A move is always a learning experience. I hope you find a lovely new home and enjoy your new jobs. All the best!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. We just welcomed a new teacher to Racine Christian School. Her story ( I’ve not met her yet) is similar; moving in from out of state, kids, temporary lodging, so similar that I hoped it might be you.
    How far from Racine are you?
    Welcome to Wisconsin. God bless and prosper you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. All good tips and lessons. Moving is definitely a challenge; I hate it. You are brave to endure the “adventure”. Wishing you the best in your new jobs. Keep posting, even just the little stuff. We learn from each other. My WordPress friends are precious and keep me sane.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. So glad to hear you made it safely and I am with you on so many of these! When we moved from England to Northern Ireland, even hiring a moving company to drive the truck onto the ferry and over here… I couldn’t believe how long it took, how many things we have – even with all the purging etc.

    We also had to travel with the cats – we drove them up 2 days before the van arrived, 4 hours up to Scotland and into a “pet friendly” hotel. Thankfully they accepted cats, but it was touch and go for a while when they seemed to be umming and ahhing.

    I’m glad you had such wonderful help with the packing, fixing, driving. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We only were allowed in one hotel because they made an exception for us due to a booking mix-up! Not that I WANT to do vacations with cats, but still…it was an odd extra hurdle.
      I hope your pets forgave you eventually. Ours are finally thawing, but they were definitely displeased with the whole process πŸ˜‚. Of course the humans are still a little out of sorts too, but at least we know why it all went crazy.
      We were so fortunate in our helpers. Not sure how it would have happened without them!
      Now to start thinking about flash fiction…πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

      1. lol we had to have feliway diffusers in the house about 2 weeks before we arrived to help calm the cats down when we finally arrived in N. Ireland. Some cat treats helped to ease their transition πŸ˜‰

        πŸ˜€ Looking forward to seeing your story. I hope to have dates for everyone in another month or two, that way people can start “scheduling” their stories when they are complete.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Sounds like you had a good move! I’m still a Navy Wife at heart, and am itching to move somewhere *new* (or old, I’d like to be closer to my mom now that my dad is gone and brother has moved in with his girlfriend and her kids). It’s time, but civilian life doesn’t necessarily afford us those luxuries of up and moving across the country, or even a state or two away. I really wish it did!

    Liked by 1 person

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