Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Thankgiving 2014

Being as this was our last U.S. Thanksgiving for at least two years, we feel so blessed to have had such a good time with family and friends!


The week before we had friends come to Fort Campbell to visit us. We are so blessed that they travelled so far just to see us. The boys were so excited, the absolutely love Tyler and Jenna. Jenna has been my best friend since high school and when Tyler came into her life, it was an instant connection between he and our boys. He is their best friend (other than each other) for sure. They love our children like we do and I hope they know how much they mean to us and our little family. We had a great time while they were here. We went to see Big Hero 6 (such a great movie!). We also spent hours playing Dominoes and Cranium after the boys went to bed at night. A low key weekend, but that's definitely our style. Seeing Jenna have to act out "toaster" in a game like charades and hearing Tyler scream "BREAD ROCKET!" as if it made perfect sense was priceless. You are never living that one down, Tyler! (:




In preparation for moving to South Korea in the dead of winter, I've been "winterizing" my wardrobe a bit. I found this awesome coat at Kohl's. I LOVE it! It's so warm, it's waterproof, and it had a hood with fur.



I also finished the hat for myself that I talked about here.


Thanksgiving in Ohio was great. We spent time with both sides of our family, ate lots of food, and cherished (almost) every moment. Jack barfed on Thanksgiving morning from congestion, I didn't really cherish that.

I didn't take many photos because everyone else was snapping so many, but I did manage to catch Pop-Pop sleeping on the job. Hehe. PS. Boy 2 looked so handsome that day but he promptly stripped his adorable button-down shirt off as soon as he started playing with cousins and got sweaty. And see that jar he's holding? Aunt Michelle let him go to town on some M&Ms. No wonder the boys love family holidays!


The best part of my Thanksgiving came when I was least expecting it. Boy 1 got home from school on Wednesday and I got his folder out of his backpack just like I always do. I immediately felt the tears welling up in my eyes when I opened it and saw what was inside.


At only five years old, he has seen more in this world than some adults have ever seen. And he's about to embark on an even bigger journey. Despite all that he's seen, all that he's been through in his little life, he us thankful for US. How can that be? This little boy is nothing short of a gift from God. He and his brother have been our strength through some very tough times. We thank God every day for them. And yet, at five years old he feels thankful for us. That is amazing. God is so good.







Monday, December 1, 2014

HHG Shipment - Check

Our Household Goods are officially on their way! This is the biggest of two shipments that we have going to Korea. It includes furniture, most of our small kitchen appliances, dishes, extra clothes, and anything else that we won't need immediately upon arrival. We opted to send this shipment two months in advance since it typically takes 2-3 months to arrive (it goes by boat). We would rather be inconvenienced for a bit here in the states rather than be without our stuff for longer than necessary in a new country. We can always borrow from friends here and because it's holiday season, we are traveling and visiting with family a lot anyways.

The hardest part of preparing for this shipment (and the rest) is that we're still living in the house. My strategy for this first shipment worked fairly well so I think I'll use it for UB (Unaccompanied Baggage) and our Storage Shipment as well. Here are some tips I found helpful.

First, get yourself a good organizational app and use it. I recommend Evernote. I have lists for each shipment stored in my Evernote app. I recommend organizing these lists by room. Walk through your house and take note of every single thing and which shipment and where (in what shipment) it's going. I also have serial numbers of our high value electronics and photos of each. I haven't even explored what else I can do with Evernote but I know I can record audio too if I need to in order to take notes later (would be great to utilize during a housing move-out or PCS brief). One more thing about Evernote, it is available for smartphone, iPad, and computer. So I will have access to my notes everywhere.

Designate a certain area or areas in your house for the shipment items to go. A few weeks before our shipment date I cleaned out our downstairs storage closet and my youngest son's bedroom (we moved him in with his brother for the remainder of our time in this house). Then, I started using my lists to gradually put all the HHG items in those two places. Obviously, our furniture could not go the closet. We have two family rooms downstairs so we put all the furniture going in one and the furniture NOT going in the other. Simple. When the movers got here, I was able to just point and say "pack all of this." It made their job easier and it made me worry less that they may pack something they weren't supposed to.

Have something for your children (and pets) to do! If you can, sending them to a friend's house would be best. If not, designate a kids/pet room for the day. The house will be filled with brown paper-wrapped furniture and boxes. It can be overwhelming, and a dangerous place for precious babies! Our boys were in pre-school for half the day, when they came home we sent them to our master bedroom with snacks and the iPad for a movie night afternoon.

Be nice to your movers! We were lucky enough to have great movers. Plan for them to be there the entire day. Offer help/advice where you can. It's your stuff after all, why not do your part to make sure everything gets there safely! If you have original boxes, keep those and provide them, your movers will appreciate it. They will also appreciate coffee, water, Gatorade, snacks, and/or lunch, but those are not required. We didn't have that much stuff this time around so our movers were only here until about 2pm, so we provided them coffee and water but not lunch. When the company comes to do our storage shipment, I imagine it'll take most the day so we'll likely provide chips, fruit, and sub sandwiches for lunch.

Be flexible! Things happen, timelines will change, things will get packed that weren't supposed to, there will be things you didn't plan for, etc. Remember that most things can be borrowed or replaced fairly cheap. Did your movies accidentally get packed? Visit the library. Did your hairbrush end up in the box? Walmart (or if you're already in Korea, I've heard Daiso is a good place to shop!). If your salad bowls got packed? Thinks outside the bowl and use a flower vase. I definitely never would have thought to do that but my husband did!

Lastly, do a big woooooooo saaaaah, have a glass of wine, and relax.
The next shipment will be going out soon enough.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Veggie with a Wedgie

This week, Boy 2 had storybook day at his school. They don't celebrate Halloween, instead they have a day where the children bring their favorite book and dress up as a character from that book. 

So of course, I asked my independent 3-year-old what book he wanted to bring... "the veggie wedgie book!!!"

Of course.
Why am I even surprised.
We had recently checked out this book from the library.

Boy 2 loved it! He thought it was the funniest thing he had ever heard. 

So being the supportive mother I am...
I ordered a copy from Amazon (thank goodness Amazon Prime and 2-day shipping!)

and I crocheted my boy an awesome carrot-top hat... 

and we dressed him up as a carrot with a wedgie

Boy 2, 
I apologize in advance for putting these on display at your high school graduation party and/or in your wedding reception video.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Goals for November

Hi, I'm Kate.
And I love lists. 
So here we go,
my list of goals for November 2014.


1. Have a successful HHG shipment pickup. This is happening in t-minus two-ish weeks. Yikes. Why am I even still sitting here. 

2. Yoga at least 3 times a week. I'd really like to aim for more than that, but 3 times is good.

3. Thanksgiving with family in Ohio. We are really looking forward to this. Must take lots of photos.

4. Keep my A in Calculus III. A lot of my time is consumed by studying but it's worth it, and I love math... most the time (:

5. Dress Boy 2 up as a carrot with a wedgie. I'll leave you to ponder this. TBA.

6. Be available and supportive for my neighbor/good friend. Her husband left for Africa this morning to be a part of the fight against Ebola. Prayers would be much appreciated. 

7. Enjoy my sweet husband! We are both so busy sometimes we forget to just stop and enjoy that we are blessed enough to be together. I love that man.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

This policeman and his police dog wanted to wish everyone a fun and safe Halloween.

Boy 1 had "mismatch day" at school recently. 
Here he is at the bus stop with some friends.
Minion hat, orange polo with a bow tie and an easter sweater vest, baseball pants, Christmas socks, and brown shoes.

Nailed it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Word Vomit Wednesday

Mr. Soldier has been working really long days/nights lately. We always try to count our blessings because he is home with us. But our family loves spending time together so, it hits everyone really hard when daddy is away more than normal. Luna included. Right around dusk, she parks herself at the front door and waits to greet Mr. Soldier as he comes in.

Our first shipment is going out in three weeks. A lot has to be done before then. I texted this photo to a friend and she said "Even your mess is organized!" Guilty as charged. I love organization. At the moment, I'm separating shipments. Everything must be declared into one of five categories:

1. Luggage 
2. Unaccompanied Baggage 
3. Household Goods
4. Storage
5. Donate/Sell
6. Ohio (important/irreplaceable things that we'll leave with family)

The first two have low weight limits so they have to be planned meticulously. So I have to separate those things and then everything else that needs to go to Korea goes in #3: Household Goods. However, Household Goods goes out first. So all this separating has to be done now so we don't forget anything we'll need in Korea. But alas, if we do, we'll find a Daiso (Korean Dollar Store) or an Emart (Korean Walmart) near by and I'm sure we can get what we need. Right, mom? Right, okay (:

I had the opportunity to crochet these super cute hats for a neighbor. She gave birth to twin boys a few months ago and they are going to look so cute for Halloween. We even sized them big enough so they can wear them all winter. Thinking my own boys may need some of these (: Though I've got many projects lined up. Another little of one of my neighbors asked for a pink owl hat specifically, and I think I'll go ahead and make two more for her siblings as well.

And my next "me" project, will be this super cute slouchy beanie.
 I donated (AKA let a co-worker borrow and she never returned) my beloved navy one last spring :( Oh well, must be a sign I needed an updated one. Maybe different buttons, though.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wishlist Wednesday (Travel Edition)

In planning our overseas traveling, my wish list just keeps getting longer. Things I think will make our lives easier, are necessities, or some things are just plain cute! 

First up, I need carry on. One that will allow me to have my hands (mostly) free and NOT a rolling one because I'll be pushing Boy 2 in the stroller. Enter, Vera Bradley. It's washable, no wheels, and it's squishy, so we'll be able to use it as a big pillow for naps in the airports. We have a 8 hour layover in Seattle that we have to stay in the airport for, (military flights make you check in 4-6 hours early). 
Vera Bradley Weekender in Plum Crazy ($98, hoping to buy this on sale!)

And of course my hubby is going to need a carry on too. Well, he already has a small carry-on suitcase, this will be his "personal item".
Merona Men's Canvas Messenger Bag from Target ($18.74)

For my own "personal item", I have been swooning over this bag. It's highly recommended by many frequent international flyers and their go-to for their personal item. There are many color options, but the black looks so classic, I may stick with it or the navy blue color. I hope to find this on ebay for a decent price. If not, I may look into cheaper alternatives.
Longchamp Le Pliage Large Tote via Nordstrom ($145)

Boy 1 already has an iPad Mini & Boy 2 will be receiving one for Christmas so headphones to watch movies and play games are going to be a must for them. I'm sure they would love this design.