OHHHHHH MYYYYYYYYY GOSHHHHHHHH
In summary, those are my thoughts on the last 2 weeks.
Ok so not really - we were actually really organized and kept routines to make the kids feel secure during this CRAZY moving experience!!
My poor brain is just worn out from trying to keep up with it all!
Our plans changed like a million times. One thing I've learned with the Army, more specifically PCSing, is that there will always be last-minute changes and you just have to suck it up and figure out a way to proceed that will yield the lowest amount of stress. But stress is inevitable so you know it will still be hard!
Where oh where to begin...
The Georgia side of the move was really organized and we were prepared for the typical PCS experience. The last time we moved, I was 28 weeks pregnant and Ava was about 17 months old so that was super challenging. I was excited to have full range of motion this time but worried about juggling 2 babies during it all! Our moving crew was great - we found out it was a family business and they were all family! And they would be the ones to unload us in Kansas too - quite rare to have that happen! They were so great and considerate and tried hard to keep us comfortable for the 3 days of packing and loading. They left out some toys for the kids "just in case they wanted to play with it" and one of them spotted our air mattress in a closet and asked if we needed it (YES!!! I forgot to pull it out!). A typical crew just comes through like a tornado and packs anything and everything in sight. This crew had the capacity to understand the few areas we had in the house that we didn't want them to touch - some things on the kitchen counter and a wall of our bags in the dining room. They worked SO fast and were gone in time for Ava's nap each day. The kids did well with all the chaos. I was worried Ava was freaked out but she really followed our lead, and having a plan and maintaining our routines (as best as we could) really helped her, I think. I'm so grateful my stepmom could fly out and help me occupy the babies during this time - we escaped to the park or went shopping to stay out of the house in the mornings. We were excited for the house to be empty so we could set up all the temporary beds and kind of get re-organized before we left for good a few days later.
We had a day of rest after the whirlwind of the packing days. I was completely beat. I might have been pregnant and exhausted for the last move, but I was getting a full night's sleep. This time, I have baby Liam who wakes 2-3 times a night, so I was dragging! And I was quickly growing tired of having to nurse Liam on the floor all the time. Ava woke with a little cold so it's a good thing we had that day of rest. On Sunday we drove to the beach! We wanted to go one last time as we have no idea when we will get stationed near a coast again! We kept out our beach tent and our swim suits and towels. Ava had so much fun learning how to build a sand turtle by herself, going into the ocean with daddy, sitting on the shoreline and waiting for the waves to crash with mommy...she could have stayed all day! But we also had to consider Liam, and while we were in the shade of the tent and there was a strong breeze, he was getting hot. And he was getting sand all over himself from me building sandcastles with Ava. Suddenly everything was very messy and we kept getting sand further and further into the tent! So we decided to rinse off and change the babies and go sight seeing in Charleston and let the babies cool off and nap in the car. So it was a short trip, but it was worth it to visit the beach and to burn an entire day out of the house! If you're ever in Charleston, Isle of Palms beach was so great! They have things available for purchase if you're the typical tourist and forget things (we forgot water!! Duh.) They had bathrooms and changing rooms and outdoor showers, too!
Monday was another rest day. Liam was showing symptoms of a cold too. Great - 2 sick babies! Chris was sick just a few days prior. We revised our plan to hit the road the next day and organized all the bags and gathered all the last of the things around the house. We had a lot to put into the cars - food, a little bit of cookware and paper plates, all of our open liquid items (2 boxes full!), all of us had one bag/suitcase of clothes + an extra for the babies (you know, all those diapers and wipes and TOYS), our air mattress, sheets and pillows, light bulbs and batteries...gosh the list just goes on and on! Not to mention all the dirty laundry and sand-covered beach stuff that was piling up! We made the decision to pay to have our house cleaned for move-out this time, and that was definitely money well spent! I can't imagine trying to clean the house from top to bottom before we left town!
Tuesday was the day we began the drive, but first - Chris had his SCCC graduation! It wasn't until 11:30 so we had to sit around all morning until then. I started feeling yucky and both babies were still sick so we didn't want to go to the park and wear them out when we had such a long day ahead. So I was really nervous for graduation - it was at Ava's lunchtime followed by naptime. I was afraid both kids would be screaming and I'd be so embarrassed! Chris said he only heard Ava once - we sat clear in the back and Ava was immediately handed her snack, and then when she got restless, I gave her the iPad. Liam was super tired and did his usual "I'm tired and I need to fuss about it", but I put him in the ergo and stood and swayed until he was asleep. I'm glad I was in the back and there weren't too many people there, and there were other toddlers who were struggling so I didn't feel so bad! After the ceremony, I took the kids to pick up some lunch and Chris met us at home. We ate, packed up, and drove away from the house for the last time! We didn't leave town until 2:00 - an hour or two later than we were hoping for. We needed to make it to Ft. Campbell, Kentucky for the night, where we had plans to stay at a friends' house. You know how expensive it is to stay in a hotel with pets?? Dumb. And the one that says "free pets"?! Yah they only allow ONE PET. Also dumb!!
So the drive wasn't completely awful, BUT ATLANTA WAS!!!! OMG the traffic. We were delayed by almost 2 hours AT THE START of our drive. It really sucked. But the kids were doing so well, so that's what we were focusing on! We made it it Chattanooga around 7 pm, and we stopped and got out so Ava could play a bit and we could all stretch our legs and eat. We put the kids in pjs and pressed on. Ava was in the car with Chris and I had Liam and the cats. I think we only stopped once prior for gas and to feed liam, so we were doing pretty good! We got into Ft. Campbell at about 10:45. We were so exhausted. We quickly unloaded and got the kids in their beds. Ava slept fine, but Liam was all stuffy and was really restless in his sleep. I ended up sleeping on the floor in his room or else I knew I'd never really be able to fall asleep.
Day 2 started with the kids waking at a normal time (no sleeping in for them!) and we packed up and hit the road again. We got breakfast on the road and made the familiar drive we'd made many times before from Ft. Campbell to KC. This was the leg of the trip we were most excited for! But we also knew we had the horribly boring drive across Missouri on I-70: the worst part of the whole drive! We were able to keep the kids on the same schedule and make the same stops until the very end: Ava fell asleep for a late nap, but Liam needed to stop and eat and my car needed gas. So Chris arrived at our house before I did. BUT WE MADE IT IN ONE PIECE, and that is what I am thankful for! Liam was getting pretty mad at the end. Poor kids lived in their car seats for 2 days straight - not fun!! We took a look around our new house - I still can't believe we bought it long distance! I think we were kind of in shock, getting to see it in person for the first time! I immediately felt like home! We got our essentials unpacked and had some Chipotle (it's down the street now!!) and got the kids in bed.
Whew. The exhaustion was hitting a new level. Liam was making me get up every 3 hours at night. But the air mattress is actually pretty comfortable, and we had all our bedding and pillows so I was sleeping well. We endured a week and a half between the two houses with no furniture, so we were SO HAPPY to finally see that semi pull up!! The kids and I disappeared to my sister's house so the kids could play and nap. When we returned, the crew was already done and gone and our house was full of boxes!
My brain is so tired and my body is so tired I can't even tell you what all has happened in this blur of these 10ish days that we've had our stuff. The kids slow us down, for sure! Liam is always needing something, and we are having to take naptimes in account when we need to run errands or hammer on the wall or do something in their bedrooms. This has been a different experience than moving into a rental, because everything is 100% ready for you. This time, WE own the property, and there are lots of little jobs to do. Leaky toilet, clogged drain, buying/installling blinds, buying/hanging curtain rods...lots of little incomplete things around the house. Chris has been to Home Depot probably just about every single day since we've been here! And we've been baffled by poor Ava's room - it gets up to 85 degrees during the day, and we are trying everything to cool it down. The next thing we have to try = $$$. Welcome to the world of homeownership, I guess!
I really really really just want to take a day and sleep. That's what I really want! With 2 kids that were sick, I was sick, and all of this on top of it, and Liam preventing my sleep at night, 6:30 a.m. comes around so quickly!!
But today we finally got internet and cable!!! So, so excited for cable! We didn't have it in Georgia, and it turns out that we really missed it! Of course right now all we are watching is the Olympics! Track and field events start tomorrow!!!
So, we are here! We are all healthy! We are enjoying the last bit of time before Chris leaves!
And just earlier today, my heart was starting to sink a little bit. I haven't bothered to open the door that leads to him being away for a year. But I think I've reached out for the doorknob. And I got some butterflies in my tummy. And not the good ones. Eeek!! I'm not going to think anymore about it. I can't just yet.
I need to go to bed before I regret staying up this late! I'm sure Liam will be calling for me soon anyway!