The actual beginning is for my novel, and I’d hate to give away material, but this is a good enough place to start.  We are That Family.  We had 7 kids in 12 years.  They are now, 13, 12, 10, 8, 4, 3, and 1.  We have 6 girls, and one boy, smack dab in the middle of them.  We homeschool, we live in an abandoned creamery in rural Wyoming, the toddlers spend their summers naked in the mud, we drive an ancient, 4 wheel drive, 15 passenger van (you turn the brights on with your foot; that’s how ancient), our kids ask all the impertinent questions when they’re in a teacher-student situation, and they spend a lot of time making music, preferably around a campfire, on retired sofas and easy chairs.  We elected to give up all this glory for 6 months, and go live in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia.  Paterfamilias has work out here, and we thought it would be a stellar opportunity to enhance and expand their educations.

So, we found a two bedroom, 1,000 sf apartment a few blocks from his office, a short walk from The High Museum of Art, from Piedmont Park, from the symphony, from the library, just a couple miles from the aquarium…  All kinds of opportunities to learn and grow, here, so long as nobody grows too much, mass-wise.  The idea is to treat the apartment as an RV of sorts – a place to eat and sleep when we’re not off gallivanting.

We took a 12:45am flight out of Salt Lake.  It was a 4 hour drive from home, on nasty, icy roads in -20 weather.  I believe we had 18 pieces of checked luggage, including a cello that I was told by Delta could be carried on for a $100 fee.  Apparently, that was a fantasy or an outright lie by a customer noservice rep who just wanted me to get off the phone.  Our 12yo cellist wept while we handed over her precious instrument to be stowed underneath the plane.  We really didn’t have a choice, at that point, because our ride’s cell phone wasn’t working, we were about to be late for our flight, and the cost of a separate seat for the cello was fully half what we paid had for the instrument.  Luckily, it was classified as oversized, which meant it had to be carried by hand, rather than placed on the belt.  It made it through with a few scratches on the case, but the bridge intact.  She still hasn’t got around to playing it, since then.  Hopefully, we don’t find any damage to the instrument.

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I don’t know how we fit all of that plus 10 people into The Whale.  It was a looooong drive.

The kids’ reaction to the flight was half entertaining, half heart-wrenching.  You can read about it Here.

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She has no idea what’s coming.

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Yep, I made them all wear bright orange shirts so I could count them quickly in a crowd.  They were such good sports about it.

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Do you even know what time it is?  Not picture time.

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We’re here!

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First ride on an underground train.  More popular with some than with others…

img_20170108_041953969We arrived in Atlanta at 6am, Eastern time and were flabbergasted to find that the new (to us) van Dad had parked in long-term parking for us was covered on the driver’s side and the rear with a good 1/4 inch of solid ice! My hands hurt so badly as I was loading suitcases into the car!  Wasn’t this supposed to be our sun-soaked escape from nasty weather?

We took a quick detour on the way to the apartment to turn virtual friends into the real, live, kind that loan you an air mattress and feed your army of children a hot breakfast, and then we (qui etly) filed into our building, up the elevator, and down the hall to a DOUBLE LOCKED front door.  What a weird sensation.  In Wyoming, the door is barely ever shut, let alone, locked.  The next 24 hours are a complete blur.  Monday morning, city living began in earnest.

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