Friday, July 8, 2011

Why do I do this????

So we leave in a few days for Legoland, and I am trying to get everything done for the movers.  Of course I waited till Friday to *really* start.

Anyone who has done a PCS with kiddos knows how difficult this can be.  (When we PCSed with no kids, I was stressed out, but I had NO idea how hard it would be with three kids.  I should have enjoyed it while I could!)

Since I have to start work shortly after I get there, I need to pack up all my work clothes and teaching supplies.  I thought the easiest way to do this would to be to clean out the big walk-in closet in the master bath, and we'll also clear out the bathroom so that they don't even have to come in there.  (I really don't want them packing the bathroom trash!)

So I am currently moving everything out of the closet so I can repack it with stuff that we are taking.  Then I have to unload the bathroom to the kids' bathroom.  I usually keep everything in our bathroom I need to remind you of stories of Abs and shampoo, conditioner, floods or toilets?

Gunner took all three kids to the movies so I could get started on this little endeavor.  I think I made a bigger mess, and now I want to quit.  Instead I am procrastinating.

Then there is the separation of all the things we get rid of when we move.  Some people wash everything, but I have no time for that, plus after a few years, those things usually need replacing.  I get rid of the plunger, toilet brushes, cheap trash cans, shower curtain liners, anything plastic, and I'm sure there are lots more.  The outlaws told us to leave the BBQ pit behind.  The thought of washing it doesn't sound appealing!

Of course there are the things I need to hand carry with us because we don't want them to get damaged or stolen.  (Have you ever had something stolen?  We've had a few things that were taken over the years, but nothing too expensive.)  Do you remember that story about the household goods that were ruined by a fire?  So in go the baby pictures, the wedding pictures, his saber, the tank drawing, and all the notebooks with our important information.

After that, we have to pack things for the kids to do on the trip--DVD players, DVDs, a few toys and books.  Add in a pot and a few utensils for cooking and stuff like soap, sanitizer, toilet paper, kleenex, etc. and you have a whole other pile.  But don't forget that you still need to add in the food that they won't carry.  Sometimes I can sneak the spices in, but other times we have hand carried them.  We don't ship canned goods because they weigh so much and we are already pushing our weight limit.  (Do you take your food?)

I'll have to pass on a lot of the food to someone else, although we are currently on the PCS meal plan.  You know, the meal plan where you throw together whatever is left so you don't have to go to the commissary?  All of the sudden we are eating strange combinations, and the kids are less than excited about it.  (The other day, Junior, who eats no meat, was perfectly happy with a jelly and relish sandwich.  He devoured it like it was the best meal he ever had--what does that say about my cooking?)

After getting all these things separated we will still have computers, a copier so I can do my other job, and a printer.  We have no idea where we will leave or when we will move into a house, so we have to be prepared.

How do you prepare for a PCS?  Please tell me someone else hand carries all that stuff with them too!

Trip to the Mountains

Here at Fort Carson, when your Soldier is deployed, you are issued a Mountain Post Hero Card.  This card entitles you to discounts throughout the community, including Burger King....come on, I can't be the only one that rejoices that there is a Burger King on post some nights!

One of the discounts is you get to go to one of the YMCA mountain resorts for next to nothing, including meals. In 2009 we used this discount to go to the YMCA at Estes Park, and loved it, but the food was less than desirable.

This time we decided to go to the Snowy Mountain Resort.

It was beautiful!

A self-portrait by Junior.  After breakfast we headed to the zipline.  Only Em, Gunner, and I ziplined.

I loved it once I got over my fear of jumping off a gigantic pole!

After that we went through a labyrinth and stopped off to take a few pictures.

You know how Junior loves his Grandpa, so he found lots of Grandpa wishers to use.  Hundreds of them.

We had some time before lunch and hit up the Homestead.  The kids LOVED it.  They got to dress up in pioneer clothing and take a tour of the homestead.

The sheriff wasn't too happy because he didn't have a chair.

They husked corn using the cornhusker.
They washed laundry.
Teamwork with my children?  Of course then they all had to do it themselves.
Junior is the only one who poses anymore.

Then Junior and Abs decided to take a wagon trip.

Trust me, they usually fight.

Junior learned how to make butter.
After the Homestead and lunch, we went horseback riding.

After the horses, we headed out on a three mile hike to a waterfall.
This was before he discovered that he could stomp through every mud puddle and stream.  The little imp!

Em & Junior.

We had to fit everything in, so we headed to the Gold Mine next.  It's a cave, but without a flashlight we could get too far.

I've given up on taking serious pictures anymore!

Anyway, it was a much needed break from the stress of retirement, and let me tell you it is stressful!  (and expensive since it cost us $800 at CIF).  (The moral of that story, is to keep every receipt for every item you ever turn in, during your entire career.  Wouldn't you know this was before it was computerized?  Ugh!)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Retirement, Balloon Crashes, and the Wild West

There's never a dull moment in this household.

First, I got the teaching job I applied for in Texas!  I'll be teaching 4th grade, and although I have never taught that level, I am sure someone out there can give me lots of advice on everything under the sun.  I really stress about lesson plans.

Me getting a job, means that we had to figure out how to move to Texas quickly!  We did some calculations, and we had to stay until Gunner finished his VA appointments....all 500 of them.  I think everyone in the VA system has evaluated his injuries and documented his aches and pains.  At 40, with 22 years in the Army, that means he has a lot.

So once we decided on a date, it meant that we had to use all my groupons that I had been collecting.  Last Saturday we biked down Pikes Peak.

Talk about incredible!

I even got in a few pictures.
My husband is so photogenic.  Me, not so much.  Anyway, I highly recommend this trip if you come to the Springs!  It wasn't a hard ride, just a few uphills, but most of the 20 miles downhill was fast, and the switchbacks made it exciting!

Since that wasn't enough excitement for me, we used our rock climbing in Garden of the Gods groupon, on Sunday!  I was terrified, since I don't like heights at all, and I just didn't see how I could scale up the side of a gigantic rock.

Well I can!

Yes, that would be me climbing up!
One more for good measure!
It was absolutely amazing, and I was good at it!  I can't wait to go again, and I am trying to figure out how I can fit in one more trip before we leave!

After rock climbing, we had to try and locate "the mothers" (my mom and his mom traveled together to the Springs for his retirement ceremony).  After locating them, it was off to the park to have a BBQ for Junior's birthday.  I can't believe he is 5.  More importantly I can't believe he is potty trained! (Oh, his surgery on those parts went well, and he is healed and has no more problems!)

He's gotten so big!
So has his cowlick.  We just got it cut because it was GIGANTIC.

A rare picture of my children not fighting.
After cake and Blue Bell, my mom and I headed to bed because we had to get up at 3:30 AM to head off on our balloon trip.  I had purchased the groupon as a Mother's Day present for her.

Next time I think we will get a trip that keeps us on the ground.  I thought that since this was on my mom's bucket list, that it would be a great adventure.....what I didn't account for is that our balloon would crash.  The flight itself was great after it got off the ground....

 The flight was beautiful....The landing, not so much.

This was how many times the balloon hit.....hard.  We were lodged into our section of the 
This is my mom trying to get out of the basket after we crashed.  She spent the next day in the emergency room and had injured her knee (which will require surgery) and also her ankle, which they said was not broken.  Of course that's what they said about Emily's, and it was.  I think she needs to stay off it and get it xrayed again, but if you think I don't stop, meet the most stubborn woman in America.

The next day we relaxed, and then my mom and I headed off for a little target practice!  I had never held a real gun, shot it, or even wanted to be near it.

I was told I was a natural, and the instructor called me Annie Oakley.  Not to mention, I LOVED it!  The class was great, and I can apply for my concealed permit, which I want to do.  I am not buying a gun though, that's just too much stress with three kids in the house!  I can't say that I am over my fear, but I do have a new appreciation for guns.  

Just to keep things even more interesting, On Wednesday, June 30th, Gunner had his retirement ceremony.  

Hard to believe that we were standing up there and seeing the end to something that has been a part of our entire marriage.  

A "high-five" for making it!  After almost 17 years of marriage, 5 year year long deployments.....we made it!!!

More to come, stay tuned for a last second move, a vacation that I decided we had to have, and the start of something new!