Saturday, March 30, 2013

Officially Homeless

These past few weeks have been a blur of activity, preparing our house for the packers then the final inspection from the property managers, selling the truck and van and saying our final goodbyes to all our Fayetteville friends.  Many days I had to wake the girls up and we would be on the move until 9pm at night in order to get all our playdates (or playdoughs as Molly called them) and dinner dates in.  It is hard to believe that about 50 days ago we heard we were moving to Japan and now we sit with the bags on our back at my parents house getting ready for our last 2 weeks in America.
Top 10 of Fayetteville NC (in no order)
1. Our neighbors
2. PWOC  
3. Chapel Next / AWANA
4. Coffee groups
5. 5-73
6. Reilly Road Presbyterian Christian Church Preschool
7.Sweet Frog
8. Fascinate U
9. Paraclete
10. Shopping - this is thrown in for Molly who towards the end was crying that she needed to go shopping.  Hoping that the 100 yen stores I have heard about exist in Okinawa

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Moving Days

The movers have come and taken almost all of our stuff away and now for the next few months we live off of things borrowed from friends and 5 duffel bags worth of our stuff.  It was a 2 day process for them to take our stuff.  The first day was everything going into storage for the next few years.  While we did get rid of a lot of stuff there were some things I just couldn't part with I know when we go through this stuff in a few years we will wonder what I was thinking:)  The next day was the going to Oki stuff and once that was all gone it really hit us that we are moving halfway across the world for the next stage of our adventure marathon!! 
The packing days would not have been successful without the help of our Army family and friends.  Seriously, there are no words for the amazing families that God has put in our life.  Erika and Tina watched the girls for the better part of Monday - Wednesday so I could get some last minute organizing done and so the girls didn't have to be part of the chaos of packers.  We have had dinner with friends every night and even had breakfast brought over so I didn't have to use my awesome pot and cookie sheet that I saved out to feed my family.  Lunches have been fun playdates with friends and getting to eat at restaurants we don't think we will see for a few years.  We have about a week left in this awesome place and intend to soak up as much time with friends before we head up to DC and spend our few days with parents. 
*Side note- usually when moving with the military you keep your air mattress and live off that, well we are moving overseas so we can't even do that.  SO we have a pack n play from one friend, an air mattress, blanket and pillows from another and a air mattress frame from another.  All the joys of generous friends who are willing to share their things for 2 weeks!!
Packers day PJ - a new tradition to make the day happier

whoops - she isn't supposed to be packed in the boxes.  Good save

It is hard work having your parents undivided attention - oh wait they let me get packed.
Jon - maxed out.  He had a hard time sitting back and watching.
I however pulled out my phone and watched a few episodes on Netflix to stay out of the way
Put it all in the bathtub so they don't pack it

overflow.  Nice packers asked about the diaper bag and diapers laying around.  WISE MAN!!
Our eating arrangements for the next few days
Packers gone and able to empty the bathroom into some "order".
Notice my awesome 31 bag double utility tote!!  It works great!!! Portable laundry hamper:)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Last Strong Bond and a crazy Middle child

 This past weekend we went on our last big event before the packers come.  On Wednesday at midnight the money came through for the strong bond event so Jon called to let me know that we would be leaving town this weekend instead of staying home to have a garage sale and get ready for the packers that are coming TOMORROW!!  Thursday I attended my last board meeting for PWOC and afterward went to lunch with some ladies.  We were having a nice leisurely lunch and Karlyn was going to watch the girls in the car while I ran into a store to the prizes for the retreat but Riley had other plans.  Somehow she took her fall to a whole new level and managed to "scalp" her hand as the ER doctor said.  Yes I said ER doctor.  When the blood wouldn't stop and the two nice bystanders kept telling me to call an ambulance I loaded up the car - which Karly graciously climbed in the back seat to hold Riley on the drive to the hospital.  My friend Erin had called her husband who is a medic and occasionally works in the ER who met us there and  man was it nice to have a friendly familiar face with us.  On the drive to the hospital I gave Jon a call to let him know I would be there and since he was already making a hospital visit for one of his soldiers he got to be part of the whole experience!!  I am not an extreme emotional person but I really don't like my kids crying and seeing them in pain and well Riley was doing both but we survived.  I also think that I came out of the ER more relaxed than when I went in because I got to see God work in so many ways.  He has given me amazing friends everywhere we go and many times I take that for granted, he directs our steps and had Jon already there to be with us, and he has gifted people to be doctors, nurses, pa's and other hospital staff who are there to help you in your times of need.  4 stitches later and not having to go under just some benadryl and a great distraction for our nurses we got to go get the other girls who were staying at a friends house.  So that took up my entire Thursday which I had planned on doing some pre-packing and sorting for the movers. 
Then came Friday which was another friend watching the little 2 while I dropped Molly off for school and then did the pre-retreat shopping, packing, laundry and leaving my house in the worse shape I have ever left it in.   We rushed from the house to pick up the school girl and her dad and drove to the beach for one last hurrah.  The retreat was awesome and we got to met some fun families and the girls got to make necklaces!  Jon taught on the 7 habits of highly effective families and I love getting to hear him encourage others.  I had planned on tuning him out and working on my packing list but every time I just had to hear what he was going to say because even though this was like his 6th time to teach the material he focused on different things that applied to the families that were there and the couple he had interviewed.
Also as a surprise one of Molly's good friends family was at an event at the hotel next door so us tricky moms planned for a meet up at the pool.  The kids were so excited to see each other and we swan in the freezing cold pool, heated lazy river and then went to the beach to build sand castles and fly kites all before NAP TIME!!
Tonight we got home and the madness began - the garage is completely ready for the packers which is good because they will be here soon:)

PLEASE NOTE THE LAST PICTURE IS GRAPHIC - I want proof to show Riley later what it looked like but for queasy people you may not want to look at picture 8.
Thumb sucking buddies and big sis


Let's go fly a kite
Happy St. Patty's day
what oreo?? I am innocent

surprise visit from the world's best chaplain
that was totally worth a popsicle - NOT

4 stitches - OUCH

Sunday, March 10, 2013


Yesterday was a beautiful day and we decided the girls should play outside for a little while.  Our neighbor also came outside with her new kite and Molly then needed a kite.  The neighbors were nice enough to share the kite yesterday - so we spent a few hours flying kites.  Today was another beautiful day and the kite came out again and Molly decided she needed one, so she made one.  One proud frugal mommy here - even though it was a little rag tag it was awesome that she made it on her own.  She found a piece of paper, jump rope and streamers from the party and whala a perfectly good kite. But she still wants to make sure she gets one in Okinawa - which she was promised since I won't buy one 10 days before the movers come.
Molly's kite next to M's

Flying a kite

3 cooks in the kitchen - just for fun

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Truck

Well tonight I joined the group of people who can proudly say they rescued someone on the side of the road.  Jon called right as pizza was done cooking for dinner saying he was broken down and could we come and get him and bring all of his tools.  He then mentioned we would be taking out the alternator going to Advanced Auto Parts getting a replacement and installing it.  Sounds simple - ahh but add in the 3 screaming kids, darkness approaching, the non-stop gun fire at the range across the street (making it hard to hear each other) and dinner not in the tummies and it makes for a FUN ADVENTURE!  We made it to Jon in record time as I turned the oven off, threw the girls and tools in the car and made haste to where he was stranded.  It only took us about 25 minutes to remove the alternator and then head out to the store to get the replacement.   The girls were locked down in the car seats for this whole part and were still pretty happy since they got to share a sleeve of ritz crackers and the big 2 got to eat fruit roll ups.  When driving to the store I might have been going faster than advised and had to make a sudden stop when we heard a bam - the bad alternator taking a nose dive in the back seat (whoops!).  Well Jon went in to get the replacement and you get a discount if you bring in the old parts - well that bam from earlier might have broken the alternator in half some say.  Jon explained to the man that his wife was driving fast and slammed on the brakes and broke into which the man replied I believe you.  The lady in the store however stood up for my honor and said - don't blame your wife you dropped it didn't you and Jon told her no that I tend to drive fast but she could ask me if she wanted.  At this point the Advanced Auto Zone lady recognized Jon and his many trips for the truck over the past few months and said most people would have given up on their truck by now but good for him.  So back to the truck we drove with a new alternator and flash light so we could see in the dark.  We got the alternator on in a few minutes with only a few hiccups.  The major lesson at this point was don't tighten the bolts down too tight or it will be difficult to undo when you realize you needed to do one thing differently.  Did I mention I released the big 2 to run wild in the van at this point and occasionally had to go and defend Kelly as she was screaming her head off.  At this point it was pitch black and cold but we only had one last step - put the belt back on.  Sounds simple once again but I can promise the only thing simple about it was the directions!!  So I wasn't strong enough to hold the tension do dad back far enough for Jon to get the belt attached so we switched spots and I got under the truck with him pulling the do dad.  Yeah that didn't work either but I sure did get to eat a lot of dirt and possibly have a wrench dropped on me - I wasn't strong enough to get the stupid belt on the thing.  At this point (8:30 - past dinner, bath and bed time for 3 little girls) we called in Jon's assistant Ingels to save the day.  I drove home to get the girls fed while some more brute force came.  When I got home I realized what happens when you leave pizzas in an oven 3 hours longer even if you did turn off the temp - the residual heat continues to cook the pizza and well it is not appetizing.  So burnt pizza, blueberries and milk was what the girls got for dinner while I took a shower to clean enough grease off of me that I could help change them and feed Kelly and not get grease everywhere.  After that the kids went to bed, Jon called and said the truck was fixed - YEAH.  10 minutes later Jon called again laughing saying that the belt shredded.  Ahh life - well he ripped off the torn park and drove home the 2 miles praying that the belt didn't bust.  He made it and now he gets to go to the store in the morning and get a new part for the truck!
Hopefully this is our last big adventure with the truck.  Jon has learned how to change the brakes, fuel pump, spark plug lines?? and alternator on this car and from what we hear these will be good tools to have for the hoopties we will be getting when we get to Okinawa.

It is all about leverage with rusted bolts
I did not sign up for this
Pizza - don't leave it in the oven for 3 hours even when it is turned off

Can you see the happiness?  Notice Kelly's red face in the background imagine the sound that can make

Smile because seriously what else can you do at this point?
Happy to be home and in one piece but not about the belt in his hand

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Birthday Bash 2013 - Rainbow Party

Last year I never got around to having a birthday for Molly or Riley, I was a little overwhelmed with an upcoming birth of Kelly and kept putting things off until it was easier just to not have a party.  Well this year I went back to my party idea for last year - Rainbow Party and now I had one more color covered!  I won't always do combined parties but some years we will.  It was fun to have so many friends over and just have a big bash for birthday and also getting to say goodbye to some friends before we head out to Okinawa.  We invited friends and family and many were able to come.  One fun story, my parents were helping my brother Brad's family last week and on their flight home there were some issues and they got free ticket vouchers so my mom was able to come for the weekend unexpectedly.  And lets just say it was nice to have her since she did all lot of party prep for me especially since Jon got to be in the field Thursday and Sunday.  She also got to watch the girls while I went to the doctor the day of the party.  The girls loved the party and then having Granny around for the weekend.  It is fun to watch their personalities bloom.
I am doing a bible study in PWOC titled Not Like Me by Michael Bryant and one of the chapter titles is Bounce Houses in the neighborhood and peppermint filled pinatas.  In these chapters he talks about relationships with friends and neighbors and loving all those in your life.  He also talks about not going cheap on everything but spending a little to make things nice.  Well MWR rents bounce houses for the weekend for a reasonable price - but note to self when you get the bounce house for the weekend for the same price as others in town get it for 4 hours know there is a catch.  Putting up the bounce house wasn't too bad but getting it back in the truck was rough!!  Over 200 lbs of dead weight with Jon and I while my mom watched the girls.  We made it but there were a few rough moments.   Also we had homemade pinatas that everyone had a blast breaking open and the candy which was not peppermints but man those are super cheap!!!
Princess bounce house - a lot of fun!!

the birthday rainbow cake

blowing out the candles

Rainbow family

Party food

Party Friends!

Birthday girls ready for some fun!!

Airborne!! A little something to include daddy.