Tuesday, October 14, 2014

PCS Plans

Just wanted to write a little something about how our PCS experience is going 3-4 months before the jump across the big pond. Everything has been pretty smooth.

We found out we got concurrent travel, meaning the boys and I will travel with Mr. Soldier to Korea (sometimes the family has to follow after the soldier is there and settled, this is called deferred travel).
Concurrent is definitely what we were hoping for! I was worried about making that 14 hour flight with two preschoolers by myself, but now we know that we won't have to worry about that... we'll be flying together as a family!

We also received our hard copy orders! 
This is an important step for military families who are PCSing. Hard copy orders are what we use to schedule the movers, arrange for our car to be shipped, and schedule our flights! Often there are delays with receiving hard copy orders for one reason or another or corrections have to be made, so we are so happy to have them in hand 3-4 months out. 

And today, the boys and I picked up our No-Fee Passports. These are our our official government passports that we will use while traveling on Mr. Soldier's orders to and from Korea. (Any leisure travel we do will require use of our tourist passports instead). I checked and double-checked... and triple-checked all the information to make sure they were correct. Everything looked great. But everyone involved, even the family travel clerk, found Boy 2's photo amusing. 

"Sup, Korea?"

Something else exciting happened recently, Mr. Soldier got promoted! We are all so happy for and proud of him! He's been working at this for a long time.

As of right now we are 3-4 months from leaving the US. Now that we have hard copy orders, I'm it's really starting to hit me. We have started getting rid of things we don't or won't need via yard sales and posting them online. We repainted Boy 1's room back to "Fort Campbell White" (I kid you not, I was told I had to ask for that color in Sherwin Williams). We have started purchasing our luggage. It's  feeling more and more real by the day. I went from feeling like we had all the time in the world so I needed to make sure I wasn't planning too far out... to feeling like I don't have enough time to get everything done. We were recently told we will be flying out sometime between beginning of January and the beginning of February. Tack on PCS leave in Ohio before that and we could be moving out of our current house in December, that's only two months away. Stay calm, Kate, stay calm. 

Mr. Soldier said something yesterday that really resonated with me. We were having sort of a heated discussion about moving plans and details, the usual things you have to figure out. However, the difference between my husband and I... I like to plan for everything and really far in advance, he would rather deal with things one at a time as they happen. Different strokes. Most times we keep each other balanced, but sometimes, in times of stress, we butt heads about decisions. I was pressing him about what his preferences were for a flight date, and leave, and a household goods pick-up date, etc... and I finally said (in a not very nice tone) "What do you wanna do?" and he said 
"I want to get our stuff picked up by the movers, and fly to Korea." 

I had been stressing so much about all these small details that I haven't even realized that it didn't matter all that much. Sometimes I think I'm so used to the Army telling us exactly what to do that when we get a little bit of wiggle room (or they ask for a preference), I get overwhelmed with making the perfect, best, most cohesive decision. 

Mr. Soldier's simple statement brought me back to reality. In the end, it doesn't matter that much when our stuff is picked up, when we fly, when we take leave, etc. We will get to Korea. Our stuff will get there. Sure, it's awesome and smart to make educated decisions, but don't let it drive you crazy. Make sure to enjoy the time you have left in the US with family and friends. You'll have plenty of time to stress about the other stuff when the time comes, I promise!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

A Day in the Life of a Three-Year-Old

I've been trying to be a more relaxed parent lately. 
Not that I'm crazy, I let them get dirty I swear!
But, and I'm sure my fellow parents of preschoolers will agree here, it's hard to know when to put your foot down or when to just let it go.

Lately I've been learning to pick my battles;
let my boys make more choices for themselves.
My motto has been, if it's not really hurting anything and/or it can easily be cleaned up, then it's really okay.
Am I right?!

So far it's been saving us some stress, so we're going with it. 

Boy #2 just recently turned three. 
Here's what a typical day looks like for him:

He starts off the day with a little sticker-ing. Honestly, who wouldn't want a Goofy and a Pluto plastered to their face.

Next up after some playtime is picking up big brother from the bus stop... in a puppy costume. He also barked and hopped on all fours all the way there. I drew the line when he asked me to put him on Luna's (our mini schnauzer) leash . Sorry puppy, mommy does not have time for an interview with Child Protective Services today!

He finished up the afternoon with a trip to see the dentist! He loves Dr. Deeds and the ladies in Dr. Deeds office love him. He had them swooning over his dimples and favorite fedora.

Never a dull moment. He keeps me on my toes. That's for sure.


My best friend got hitched!

This girl... I love her. 



And last weekend someone else that loves her almost as much as me, became her husband!


We spent all day Friday and Saturday preparing, which included:

-Getting our nails done.
-Eating too much at Sumburger.
-Discovering that we were overcharged for our nails.
-Picking up a gigantic bucket of teal baby's breath (pictured above).
-Using said baby's breath to assemble bouquets.
-Getting Jenna a spray tan.
-Playing with the spray tan disposable undies.

-Spending hours making sure everything was just how it was supposed to be.

-And then finally having a blast at the gorgeous wedding!


I was one of the bridesmaids and Boys 1 & 2 were the ring bearers, err excuse me, "ring security".

Jenna & Tyler had a beach theme wedding with their colors being gray and teal. It was so pretty. If I was going to do a beach theme wedding, I would have wanted exactly what they had! Wouldn't have changed a thing!

Sneak Peek:
Boy #2, taking a little break. Security is tiring business!

Boy #1 lovin' his job.


Jenna Ellen,

I'm so thankful and lucky to have you in my life. 
You are Tyler are such precious gift for my boys. 
We love you both very much! 
Your wedding was beautiful.
You are beautiful!
Thank you for including us on your big day, we were so happy to be a part of it!




Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Graduation (a little early)

So,

While I'm REALLY excited we're moving to Korea, I was a little bummed when I realized I would miss my college graduation. I finish my degree in December and I was supposed to walk in my college's May 2015 graduation.

BUT...

Fort Campbell really came through for me on this occasion. They held a college graduation for students from any (accredited) school, getting any degree, who graduated or are graduating in 2014.
You go, Fort Campbell!

There were eighty of us from 22 different schools. The graduate section was a rainbow of caps and gowns and it was awesome. We were a mixture of soldiers, spouses, military children, and retired veterans. To be a part of a group of people that I know worked long, hard hours for years and years just to achieve this one goal... I honestly got goosebumps. All of us endure a lot of stress but on that day, Wilson theater was only filled with celebration and smiles. 

My mom and dad are both teachers and with it being their first week back to school, neither could make the trip down. But, I sent them this photo the morning of and I'm pretty sure they both got teary, probably my usually straight-faced stepdad too. 



Although my parents couldn't attend, I was so happy to have my sweet husband cheering for me in the audience. I definitely could have never made it to this day without his unwavering support and love.


They even held a reception for all of us afterwards. 
This cake had some weird cappuccino buttercream icing (so they claim) but honestly it tasted like coffee with whiskey in it. Fine with me! hehe



Good job Fort Campbell, do more things like this for families! We appreciate it more than you know. Sometimes when you are the spouse of a soldier (or if you are really familiar with military terms, "a dependent of the sponsor"), you feel like everything you do revolves around them. Everything is ultimately because of them and their career and your family's commitment to the military. Being a mom, same thing. Everything you do, is for your children. 

But this degree, this degree was for me.

So what if it was 6 years after I completed high school.
So what if some assignments were not my best work because I was up all night with a sick baby instead of studying.
So what if I didn't declare a major until 1.5 years in.
So what.

I did it. 
I'm doing it.

And as a result...
...my children will learn what hard work can get you
...my husband will breathe a little easier knowing I will someday have a career that can support our family too.
... my parents will be proud of me (I know you have always been, mom and dad!) 


As for my future plans, 
I'm going on to obtain my Bachelor's in Mathematics/Statistics.
After that I plan to become and actuary, but I'm open to other careers in the field.

Therefore I will not be offended if someone bought me this shirt...













Wednesday, August 20, 2014

School Daze

"I am a mom of two preschool boys."
I feel like I just have to keep saying it, and eventually it will sink in.

Boy 2 started first. He had been talking about going to school for months. And then, as with everything in the Army, we had to sit through an an hour long orientation and fill out 15 pages of paperwork the week before he started. After that, he did not want to go back. Great. How do you convince a strong-willed three-year-old that school is awesome, and cool, and such a fun time?! 

You tell him three things:
1. There are snacks, every day without fail and you can even have two glasses of milk if you want!
2. They don't make you take a nap like mommy does.
3. They have lots of books and you get to color lots of pictures!

He wasn't totally convinced, but he had a good first day.

We are now in his second week and this morning he was ready with his backpack on 30 minutes before we had to leave. He has the same teachers Boy 1 had last year and I'm so thankful for them! He and Ms. Haley have already created a special bond and as a parent I couldn't ask for anything better than that.


Boy 1 started Pre-K this week. This is his third year of preschool (he has a late birthday) but this is his first at the elementary school and his first time riding a school bus. Boy 1 has always been a worrier. He's the one keeping the other kids out of the street and always wondering if we are going the right way to get home. 

The soldier and I have been trying to "talk up" school for a while and it seemed to be working. T-minus 20 minutes til bus time and he smiled so big for my all my ridiculous photos.

Then it was time to get in line for the bus. I kissed his head, guided him to his spot and started to back up a little and he squeezed my hand and looked at me in a way that said "Mom, do NOT let go"

Of course I tried to keep it together, and I was totally cool as a cucumber until he turned around and gave me this look. 


"ABORT,  I REPEAT ABORT MISSON! Nevermind! YOU DON'T HAVE TO GO! You can just stay home with me until your 18!" I wanted to say all that so bad. 

My heart was screaming, but thank goodness for the soldier. He held me tight and our brave, brave boy got on the bus and went to school. 

He still gets nervous and most days doesn't really want to go to school, but I just keep telling myself it'll get easier for him with time and routine. He does love that they feed him breakfast.

He is brave.
He is strong.
He is smart.
And he is such a joy to have in my life, time to share him a little.



Both boys go to school half day (mornings). Boy 1 is 5 days a week and Boy 2 is 3 days a week. Today, while they were at school, I went to the gym and it was awesome. I miss my boys and sometimes feel a little lost in a quiet house. But, I am looking forward to a little me time and they are thriving and happy and learning new things every day. That can never be a bad thing!







Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Kate and the boys go to Korea

We've known about these orders for a while. But as of today, the boys and I have officially been approved to accompany the soldier to Korea! 

When the text came through a few months ago, "Babe, I have an assignment, it's Korea"
I just said "Okay"
and then I said "Okay"
and then I said "Holy Crap... Korea.... OKAY!"

Then the panic set in,
It wasn't "What if I get lost in a foreign country?"
It wasn't "What if I get homesick and miss my family?"
It wasn't even "What if they make me eat KIMCHI!" 
*which is fried pickled cabbage for those of you not familiar with Korean ridiculousness.

I constantly started to worry...
"What if the Army doesn't let me go with him?"

It's been about three months and that worry is finally over. 
I can't even begin to explain the relief I feel. 

We will not be separated for a year.

and we will get to experience an amazing culture together and give our boys this amazing experience.



The details will all be worked out in the next few months but it looks like we will be heading that way around January/February 2015 and the tour will be for 2 years. 

I do, however, know that we'll be living in Seoul (the capital of Korea).


This city is bigger than NYC and most likely, this little country bumpkin family of mine will be calling a big city high-rise apartment home for a while. Crazy. 


Some military families dread orders to Korea, but I can say that we are honestly so excited!
 This is one of the reasons we love military life. 

We can't wait to arrive in the land of the morning calm. Hopefully they welcome us with open arms. and is it too much to ask for a place a girl can get a good american burger and beer? (: Thank goodness for the commissary.




Sunday, August 11, 2013

Wedding Weekend

Usually you'll find us lounging around doing little things around the house or at the farmer's market on the weekends; we like to spend our down time just being together as a family enjoying each other. This weekend we got to be a part of something even better, celebrating the marriage of my cousin, Hannah, and her new husband, John.


The boys have been waiting weeks to step out in their fancy clothes and carry out their very important job. I was skeptical as to how things would go (they are 2 and 3 year old boys, you never know when a nose might get picked, or a dirt fight might ensue). But, they made this mama proud. Boogers and dirt stayed where they belong. They walked with my sister Avery, who was the flower girl, and made lots of people smile. Who can resist two blonde boys in suspenders and bow ties, honestly? 

(Best picture I have of both of them in their "fancy clothes" is from a few weeks ago when we tried them on, I still can't get over the cuteness..)

Jonah said "hi mom" and "hi nan" as they were walking to their spot and Jack just looked around aimlessly (so "Jack" of him). Jonah took a seat with daddy during the rest of the ceremony, standing still and being quiet isn't really his thing. After the ceremony, the whole wedding party lined up to greet the guests and shake their hands. In true Jack style, he opted to give everyone a high five instead. 



Hannah and John decided to have the ceremony and reception at Hannah's dad's house. Such a gorgeous place. They live on top of a hill that overlooks all of our hometown in Southern Ohio. The view is amazing from that deck we're all standing on in the first photo. It was such a good day, everything went so smoothly. Hannah was absolutely gorgeous, she and John were all googlely-eyed and each other the entire time. You know, the kind of love that's contagious and you can't help but smile. I loved it, I just love seeing her so happy. She so deserves that.

(One of my favorite photos of them. If you are around Chillicothe, Ohio and in need of a photog, Nancy Harris did a wonderful job)


My sweet husband and I. I can't believe we've been married almost FIVE years. My, how time flies.


Hannah and John,
I wish you all the happiness in the world. Marriage is such a big adventure. There will be times you will want to rip each others' heads off. Totally normal. I've always though arguing with your mate is totally fine, as long as you arguing to move towards a solution. My advice to you would be to never stop learning about each other, surprise each other often, and always remember your wedding day and how you felt that day.

(: