Thursday, October 27, 2016

In the span of three weeks.


Three weeks ago today we were able to share with you all the news that Rob was getting medically discharged from the Army.  We were entering another season of "hurry up and wait".  Anybody that has ever had to deal with the military knows how common this season is.

37 hours ago we were waiting... with no dates marked out on the calendar.  Then the phone rang and within the span of the last 36 hours - Rob got his final ETS orders and out-processed from Fort Campbell.

Today, my husband wore his uniform for the very last time.  I will wash and put away his uniform for good.  I will box up the t-shirts and long socks and celebrate never having to fold another shirt that sticks to itself (anyone else know what I'm talking about?!).  I will never be woken up at 5 am to help find a patrol cap or tell him where he last took his boots off at.  There will never be another mad dash to get PT clothing washed on a Sunday night.

This chapter is really coming to an end y'all.

We've got a matter of weeks left here in Clarksville.  Just waiting on the movers now.  I've got a last minute list of a handful of places I want to get to with the girls before we make our final trek to Kansas City.

But first we will celebrate Halloween.  One last time in this military town.  Officially a military family until terminal leave comes to an end in January... but already opening doors on this next chapter in life.

This is so surreal.  I never thought this day would ever get here.  And now here it is.

And I am ready, so ready.


always,
amanda
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Monday, October 24, 2016

I went on a road trip without my husband.

AND WE SURVIVED!

Apparently the difference between a 6 hour trip and an 8.5 hour one is enough to make it successful.  Who knew?

On the way there we stopped twice and only added an additional hour and a half between lunch, nursing and diaper changes.  On the way back we only stopped ONCE.

Totally worth it.

I decided last minute (like last Monday) that I was going to take the girls to my in-laws in Missouri for my sister-in-law's baby shower on Sunday.  So off we went early (but still two hours later than I had originally planned and told everyone...) Saturday morning.  We got there mid-afternoon and Brooke was immediately overwhelmed by everyone.  Poor child, did not know what was coming at her.  Grace on the other hand took all of 10 minutes to realize where she was and off she went to see the "whor-seys", get dirty in the yard and drag out every baby doll and fake food related item from the toy stash.

Aunt Callie. 

Aunt Courtney.

Uncle Marky.

Grammy and Grandpa.

(missing pictures with two uncles and an aunt!)

This was the first time Brooke got to meet everyone.  So she went from arms to arms and eventually warmed up and started dishing out her smiles, as she does.  After the longest (and coldest) dinner ever (which is what happens when NINETEEN people go out to eat..)... we called it a night.

On this road trip I learned Brooke does not sleep well in a pack and play.  It is not as wide as her crib and does not in any way accommodate her laying the wrong way.  So she ended up "sleeping" in my arms.  Which was fine Saturday night... but Sunday night was a mess.  Like seriously.  Ugh.  I am SO looking forward to how ever long we are without our stuff here shortly.  And I'm rolling my eyes SO HARD.


Sunday morning my SIL Courtney helped me get my rug rats all dolled up.  And off we went to the baby shower.  My MIL's sister was hosting it at her house and she has a little sweetie about the same age as Grace so she was very entertained (and tired, by the time we left!) with all sorts of toys that aren't hers.  She eventually got super attached to a dog that has a leash and walks and barks.  Typical for my little animal lover.  Brooke again got passed around.  But didn't mind one bit until it was about 4 pm and the baby shower was winding down and girlfriend was not waiting one more second for a snack and a nap.  So we snuck a quick one in while things were cleaned up.  The baby shower was tons of fun with some crazy games my MIL (thankfully not the stick your nose in the diaper game and tell me what candy it is - WHO CAME UP WITH THAT GAME?!) came up with and loads of good food.  I ate lunch before we went.  Then ate at the party.  Then ate dinner too.  Not that I'm counting or anything.


Alyssa and James are expecting my nephew shortly after (or on?!) Christmas.  And they made out like bandits.  I'm pretty sure they are going to need to change his clothes like 5 times a day to get through his newborn wardrobe.  We can't wait to meet another one of our nephews when he gets here!  And I am so so so glad we were able to be there to help celebrate Alyssa and baby B!!

At last check Grace was still bouncing off of the walls in our bedroom.  She's accustomed to getting cake or candy about this time after two nights at Grandpa and Grammy's house.  Not happening girlfriend.  That's what grandparents are for.  NAUGHTY things.

But we survived another road trip.  Thank heavens for napping children, new vehicles that are reliable and in-laws that open up their house last minute for you and your beautiful, yet crazy, children.  Our next road trip will be here far too quickly.  And I'm looking forward to our road trip distances never going longer than 3 hours after that.  Hallelujah!



always,
amanda
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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Why I'm okay with separating from the Army.

Managed to squeeze in a second trip to the pumpkin patch for actual pumpkins and photos.
ALSO this picture does not in any way relate to this post...

We are mere weeks away from Rob signing out on terminal leave.  Things are chaotic and stressful and moving fast, but slow at the same time.  I've sorted through clothing and bins of purses.  Listed and sold our guest bedroom set, desk and almost all of our outside stuff.  I'm starting to feel more at ease about this transition and a lot of the things that are still relatively unknown (Will we be in a house/apartment/townhouse for the holidays? When will we be leaving Clarksville? Where will Rob land a job? Etc, etc, etc)  I am making plans for Thanksgiving in Kansas City, scheduling Brooke's baptism and thinking about Christmas gifts for my girls.  We are still excited for this transition, but nervous.

When it comes right down to it though... I am okay with separating from the Army and the lifestyle we have known for the last 7 plus years.  Here is why.

Rob doesn't have to put in a pass or leave packet and cross his fingers for approval to travel on any given weekend.  College friend getting married next summer in California?  No problem.  At the very least we can fly out Friday night and come home Sunday evening without having to take extra time off.

Our girls will REALLY know their grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and all of the beautiful children my very best friends create.  They will have the memories of family and friends being at every birthday party and special occasion.  Going to grandma and grandpas will not be a giant ordeal but rather a quick trip (even going to see Rob's family in Missouri is still only a 2.5/3 hour drive!) and part of the norm.

We can actually buy a house and not have to worry about getting orders 2-3 years later and having to sell a house on short notice.  Never thought we would be settling in at this point in our life... but dang it, I'm excited.

Rob can utilize his skills, certifications and degrees and maximize his potential.  All while getting paid accordingly.

Our girls can go to the same school from Kindergarten to 12th grade.  They will have the same friends.  Know what to expect out of their schooling experience.  And (hopefully) never be ahead or behind based on what their last school was doing.

The pace in which Rob's knees are falling apart may slow down enough he will not be 30 years old and in desperate need of both knees being replaced.  It's inevitable... but it would be nice to avoid this for a few more years if at all possible.

I may actually be able to do something without my husband being present or his power-of-attorney.  Heaven forbid the MOTHER of his children and his wife do anything without her sponsor.  It will be nice to not just be a dependent in the eyes of my husbands employer.

We can use Rob's vacation days to actually go on vacation and not always be traveling to and from the Midwest visiting family.  All those adventures and trips we've talked about in our future?  They can actually happen a lot sooner now.

The Army has been so good to us.  We've lived places I never imagined living.  Traveled to states I've never been to.  Befriended people from all over the country, and other countries too.  Made countless memories that will always define this chapter in our life... but the civilian world?  It's intriguing and I am excited to find our new normal!



always,
amanda
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Sunday, October 16, 2016

Thankful on a Sunday.


It's late Sunday night... I'm eating a cookie, drinking milk and basking in the silence that is my house right now.

Our weekend was good.  Relatively quiet with a Halloween event Friday and dinner out Saturday.  Just enough to make it feel special, but not too much to be dead tired this evening.  The rest of the weekend was spent selling off a lot of our stuff (we will temporarily be downsizing and plan to start replacing our thrifted/Ikea/falling apart furniture with adult pieces as we can) and cleaning, along with mountains of laundry.

So I wanted to cap off this weekend with a few special thoughts on things I am currently thankful for.

I am thankful that we are moving back to Kansas City.  Honestly - I wasn't sure how I would feel about moving back home.  I was more than ready to leave when I did over 6 years ago.  Kansas City is a rather large city... but it feels small when you are constantly running into people and memories you'd rather leave in the past.  But I'm ready.  Ready for our girls to grow up knowing family on a personal level.  Ready to be close enough to see my friends when I want to.  Ready to be in familiar surroundings.  KC is my home.  From birth to 20, I knew nothing else. And now I get to really share Kansas City with my sweet girls too.

I am thankful that my husband is who he is.  He is so intelligent and really knows his stuff.  His 8 plus years in the Army are going to transfer almost seamlessly into the civilian world.  Which makes this whole transition not quite as scary as was first envisioned.  I know he will excel no matter where he ends up and I know we are both ready to see where this chapter is going to lead us.  AND he's moving back to Kansas City for me.  He could really care less where we end up... but knows how important it is to me and is doing it to make me happy.  I love that man.


I am thankful for Army friends that come back into your life years later.  Rob worked with Miranda and her husband Justin at Fort Gordon.  They got sent to Korea and us here... but now Miranda and their cute girls are here at Fort Campbell too and we could not be happier!  Grace is finally at an age where when I say "do you want to go hang out with Layla?" she knows what it means and gets excited!  Friday night we went to a Halloween Bash hosted by the local party store... and some special moments were shared between toddler friends, and it makes my heart so so happy.

I am thankful for my girls and their need for me.  Grace spent the entire day following me around whining "mama".  I will admit... in the moment I was annoyed because five billion other things were going on and she didn't really need anything.  Now that the house is quiet... I just want to go cuddle her.  Also.. I don't know about other moms... but there is something about being the only one that can satisfy your babies needs.  Breastfeeding mama for the win!

I am thankful that Diesel and I are finally starting to get on the same page.  Sort of.  He still doesn't really listen to me.  BUT... he doesn't jump on me like he used to and he has finally learned that if he comes over and sits in front of me calmly he will get attention.  Now if I can just figure out how to get him to stop playing keep away with baby toys and quit darting into Grace's room filled with stuffed animals and just about everything else he loves to destroy... we may be golden.

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend and that this week is a good one.
What are you thankful for?



always,
amanda
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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Four Day.

Does anyone else sometimes leave four day weekends not feeling at all relaxed?  Maybe it is because Thursday we got the official word that we had been waiting on from the Army - and that certainly started the weekend off with a bang.

Or maybe it is because we had an insanely busy and eventful weekend (compared to every other weekend in our life... to you it's probably the norm).

Friday was a big day for Diesel.  He got them male parts deflated, aka he got fixed.  Dude needed it.  His testosterone levels were the equivalent to a teenage boys... I swear.  No word yet on if this will actually help knock that fool down a notch or two as we are still dealing with the cone of shame and all the awkwardness/frustrations that comes with that.  Regardless... he's alive and survived his surgery.  (Speaking of... little turd is currently making a scene to go outside for like the 16th time this evening.  MOM JUST WANTS TO SIT AND DRINK THIS BEER WITHOUT YOUR MOUTH POPPING OFF.)


Saturday morning we decided to go drop a ton of money on a new truck.  Because, why not?  At the end of the day our old truck was absolutely not cutting it.  It was neither safe or reliable and my absolute biggest stressor was that truck and whether it may or may not break down on me on any given day.  So we traded it.  And I don't for one second regret it.  After signing our life away at the dealership we had to run a couple of errands before meeting up with our lone friends here in Clarksville for dinner at Bdubs.  Which is quickly becoming a Saturday night tradition in this household.  Three weeks running obviously makes it a tradition, am I right?  Grace was having a rough night and crashed early in the truck after Rob had to remove her from dinner.  These darn molars, y'all.  I'm OVER them.

Sunday we did nothing and it was mostly glorious.  We watched football and laid on the couch for extended periods of time.  As relaxing as it sounds, it kind of wasn't.  At all.  Kids and everything make it kind of hard to just relax and do nothing.


And today, Monday, we went to the pumpkin patch.  After a 45 minute drive to the middle of nowhere Kentucky - we arrived to no service (the horrors!!!), our friends and an AMAZING farm.   For $20 we got access to the farm, mini-golf for Rob and Grace and a mini pumpkin.  That's dirt cheap in my book.  And there was TONS to do.  First we shucked our own corn to feed the goats, pigs, chickens, ducks, donkey and horses.  To which my child is basically a professional.  She just walks up the animals and sticks her hand out with not a care in the world.  My sweet animal lover.  Then we tried to take pictures.  My husband and toddler were like nope... but I did get a good one to document Brooke's first trip to the pumpkin patch.  After playing on a hay bail playground and seeing some more animals - Grace and Rob took a ride on the lawn mower train.  Which was a bunch of old lawn mowers attached to each other pulled by a tractor in a circle.  We are obsessed with tractors in this house... so that was a hit and a certain toddler thought she should ride it alone.  Riding with daddy just isn't the same when you are TWO.    We snapped one quick family shot in front of the sunflowers and then headed off to the mini golf course.  Where Rob and Justin quickly learned mini-golf with toddlers is not at all fun.  Miranda and I got a good laugh though.  Up next we were going to ride the hayride out to the pumpkin patch but had to bail when all the children got grumpy and the adults started to get hangry.  Sometimes you just got to know when to call it.

The rest of our day was spent dealing with a toddler in an overall crummy mood.  Meltdown after meltdown and attitude galore.  Then came bath time and it was like a switch was flipped and the entire house just went chaotic as all get out and somehow Rob and I made it out alive.  But not without the need for a beer and some time out on the back porch just sitting in absolute silence.  I love being a mom but good Lord... THAT was ROUGH.

And now it is Tuesday.  Another week.  I'm hoping for a good one.
How was your weekend?



always,
amanda
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Thursday, October 6, 2016

The end of a chapter.


When I look back at my life and the book full of memories, I can easily divide my life into chapters.  Things I don't remember from my early life.  Elementary school and my years in Overland Park.  Moving to Shawnee to continue middle school and high school.  My senior year gets its own chapter, because it was just that great.  College and the memories made between 2008 and 2010.  And then begins another chapter... that has defined the last 6 and a half years...

I married Rob.  I left Kansas.  I followed my husband across the country.  And let the Army guide my life.

I'd call this chapter the Army chapter.  And by the end of this year, we will be writing the ending to this chapter and move on in our life.

Rob is getting medically separated from the United States Army.  At just 26, Rob's knees prevent him from keeping up with the physical demands of the Army.  Twenty-six y'all.  The last few months we have been preparing to get that unfit memo.  And it finally came through.

And it is a bittersweet feeling.

Just hours before Rob finally got the call, I was on base running errands.  It's been awhile since my errands took me on post.  But pulling up to the gate.  Handing over my ID card.  Walking around the sea of uniforms at the Soldier Center.  Stopping in at the PX to check out the Halloween selection.  Driving past the hospital I delivered Brooke at 6 months ago.  And then finally pulling through those gates again on my way home, I had an overwhelming feeling.

We will be leaving the community that is the military.  The lifestyle.  All that we have known as a married couple.

It is hitting us tonight.  This is really happening.

We've still got several weeks/months before the med board process will be complete and then there is terminal leave before Rob's final day in the Army.  But LOTS will happen between now and then and the transition has only begun.

SO if you pray - we'd love to be included in your thoughts.  Any good vibes sent our way will be very much appreciated.  We have faith this transition will end up being better for our family... we just have to get to the other side first.



always,
amanda
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Monday, October 3, 2016

Changes.


I only managed to squeeze out one post last week.  I am one tired mama.  The seasons finally started to show a bit of change.  And I was all like "change?! I like change!"  And went overboard.

Brooke and Grace both got the boot out of our room last week.  Brooke was sleeping in the rock 'n' play next to our bed... but when she decided she wanted to sit in it I knew it was time to say farewell to the convenience and get her into her crib in her room.  Fortunately, the transition has been relatively smooth.  It just means I have to get up and go to her room in the night when she wakes up to nurse.  ANDDD now we have a party when a certain little lady doesn't want to go right back to sleep when she wakes up to nurse at 3 am.  All that aside, she's sleeping and napping in there ALL of the time.

Grace's transition has been much like our last attempt.  She was still co-sleeping with us.. and we've got to cut the ties eventually... and let me tell you that king size bed is MASSIVE without my bed hog of a two year old between us.  The last couple of nights she has slept in her bed.  Well kind of.  Three nights ago she came into our room around 5.  Two nights ago she was in our room around 3 as she woke up just minutes before Brooke woke up to nurse and I didn't have a chance to get her back to sleep before the baby was screaming at me for food.  Progress.  But then last night she was in our room by 1 am - pillow and all.  Regardless we get a few hours of kid free sleep... and I can only hope it gets better.

It's a work in progress.  And I am tired.

But that isn't all...

I started drinking coffee in the morning.  Well kind of.  It's a mocha Starbucks frappuccino drink that I can thankfully buy in bulk at SAMs Club.  It helps me feel a bit more alive and productive in the morning.  And I CLING to it.

The dog started sleeping in his kennel at night.  I had one rule when we got him - no sleeping on my bed.  Unfortunately while the girls and I were in Kansas, Rob didn't apply that rule anymore and Diesel got a little carried away with his bed privileges.  Surprisingly him sleeping in his kennel works a lot better for all of us. Much more calm and controlled.  Which is good for everyone.

I started yoga.  I've always wanted to try it as one of my best friends has done it for years.  I jumped head first into a three week retreat offered by Beach Body.  I did really good the first week, and I have completely fallen off here recently between the sleeping changes and just about everything else.  But I like it because I feel stronger and calmer after every video.  Plus I typically don't break a major sweat so I can squeeze it in whenever and don't have to rush to the shower after.  That's a win win in my book because I loathe sweating.  (Is that weird?)

I also started bullet journaling my weeks and other random things.  I was definitely that kid in school with doodles on notes and decorated binders... so I am enjoying making each page unique and it is a fantastic way to pass the evening/afternoon.  (Shout out to my girl, Kara -- Thank YOUUUU!)

And finally... the girls and I have been operating on a schedule, sort of.  It's not like a hard and fast schedule, but it is definitely a routine that we are thriving off of.  I never imagined I would be that mama with a schedule... but it seriously works for everyone.  Grace is a creature of habit just like I am and she loves helping out because she knows exactly what to expect.  And it makes our days go easier when it comes to napping and bedtime.  So I can't complain.  At all.

Anyway - in light of keeping it real... I've been craving these changes after an overall stalemate of stay-at-home mom-ness.  Do I love always being home with my kids?  YES!  That's obvious.  But sometimes I just have to throw chicken on the stove and try not to burn it while trying out a new recipe (I'm weird but I HATE cooking chicken and pork on the stovetop!!!!!!!!!).  Because change is good.

Here is to a good freaking week.  Who is with me?



always,
amanda
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