So, I have had several people ask, just how do you pack your whole family for seven months and three seasons. As with any "how" question my answer is, "very carefully."
We have been slowly weeding out content from our house that we simply don't need, don't use or have outgrown. By the time we are done, St. Vincent DePaul will be the proud recipients of a couple thousand dollars in used goods. Dean took the second big load over today. With less in the house, it is easier to focus on what needs to be packed for Spain and what goes into boxes for storage.
In addition to packing we have contracted for snow removal, will contract for lawncare this spring, inquired about issues related to shutting down the house so we don't have frozen pipes, vacation settings for some of the utilities, plans for the cars, etc. By March we will have some neighbors living in our house while theirs is being remodeled so we are preparing for them to come in as well.
Over the ocean we have been extraordinarily lucky as my exchange sisters, their families and friends have really been working hard on preparing for our arrival. They have found us a flat, connected with the school for Morgan and Maia, are getting Internet set up, and talked to the bank. By the time we arrive they will have our apartment cleaned and in move in condition. We certainly couldn't do it without their help.
So, for those of you still wondering how one prepares, in addition to very carefully, it takes a village and we can't thank the village enough for all the have and are doing to help us!