Jun 30, 2009

Homeless


The movers picked up the last of our stuff yesterday, we finished cleaning the house, turned in our keys and walked away. We loved that house and the neighborhood was awesome!
We are guests now in the first of many hotels and houses on our journey to our new home in Germany.
I'm quite pleased with our accommodations here at the Hyatt Place. Our room has a fabulous section seating area complete with a snuggle blanket and ottoman. The tv turns so you can watch it in the bedroom area or on the couch. There is a mini fridge, desk area with free wi-fi, a nice dressing area and a fabulous free continental breakfast.
I'm so tired, I wish I could stay here just one more day before we head to California. Since that isn't in the plans, I'll take a really good nights rest instead!

Jun 27, 2009

Faithful Friend















This 1997 Mazda Protege LX is the best car ever! It's true. It has 160,000 miles on it and still running like a champ.
It never left me stranded.
It didn't eat away at our life savings with repairs here and there.
It is a really great car!
This car was purchased in Puyallup, WA, traveled by sea to Hawaii and then to Alabama and moved with us from Alabama to Tennessee and on to Virginia.
This car has carried us on many adventures and vacations.
It is the car that we drove to bring Eli home from the hospital, Matt to the hangar to leave for Iraq, pick Matt up upon returning home from Iraq, and the car we were traveling in when Gabe decided to have seizure.
It made 100s of trips to and from the airport to pick up guests.
This is the first car Matt and I bought together. It holds so many memories and has so much life left in it. We actually checked into the cost to ship it to Germany because we love it so much! ($2000 - ouch not that much).
After a week of posting it for sale on Craig's list and driving it around with a "for sale" sign in the window, today we parked it in a parking lot out on the main road and after a few short hours it was sold. We are a bit sad.
Goodbye my friend! You served us well.

Jun 26, 2009

The Silver Lining

It was by far the most difficult pack-out/pick-up to date. I'm glad it is over.
There was some questionable packing techniques, late arrivals and late departures, inaccurate inventory and those upside down boxes. There was also a bent bicycle handlebar and a missing stack of cold hard cash in the amount of $300.
Instead of being relieved that the house is 90% empty, I'm filled with uneasiness. I'm concerned about our items making it to Germany in the same condition that they left here and I'm equally frustrated that we had such an unprofessional pack out. Military contracts pay much higher than a civilian move. I don't believe this company deserves the contract based on the sub par performance they displayed with our move.
However, there is a silver lining: I didn't have to pack or move a single box, we are insured for any loss or damage from the move, and the house is empty! OK so there are a few items hanging out that will make their way to a storage unit on Monday but for the most part, this step of our moving process is done.
My plan is to let go of the frustrations of this packout by morning!

Jun 25, 2009

Update:

Bribing packers with pizza.
Rookie 2 is old but he is doing well.
Rookie 3 . . . sigh ....he is a work in progress. Still packing boxes upside down and still not labeling them. Maybe he'll catch on by tomorrow.
Ray is cracking the whip on Rookie 1. He isn't using enough paper to wrap by Ray's standards, but so far, no upside down boxes. That's a step up from Rookie 3.
On a good note, Guy 1 wants to buy our TV!
I tried to sell him the car too but his wife doesn't drive a manual trans.

Don't Watch

When I get my blood drawn I don't watch. I have to look away.
I've had regular blood tests for the past 10 years now. Every 4-6 months I go to the lab, sit down in the chair, watch the phlebotomist tap at my arm, and as soon as she tries to cut off my arm with that rubber tourniquet - I look away. You would think after years of regular bloodwork and two pregnancies I would be used to this minor procedure, but no. I can't watch.
Today, I'm not giving my life source to a blood sucker, but I am sitting in my house, listening to the crinkling of paper, ripping of tape, and quiet grunts made by the packers. I can't watch. It is too painful.
I've watched 4 moves. Each time I roam through the house checking up on the movers, seeing how they are packing my treasures, and making sure the things that need to go are packed. Sometimes I get nervous about the about the way they are packing, but in all those moves I've only had 8 or 9 items broken, so I really don't have reason to worry. However, right now I am!
5 guys showed up to pack today.
Ray is the leader of this crew, he has been packing and moving for 20 years. I trust him.
Guy 1 is also a veteran packer. He knows what is going on I like the way he is packing.
Guys 2-4 are rookies. This is bad. Very bad.
Since Ray is a smart guy, he sent Rookie 1 to the boys' playroom (nothing too breakable there), Rookie 2 to our closet (clothes, linens nothing breakable), and Rookie 3 is under the watchful eye of Guy 1 near the kitchen. Rookie 3 is making me a little nervous. I see him in my peripheral even now. I witnessed him pack my dvd player and tuner stacked on top and neither item was wrapped in paper. Tragedy.
Wait, is it really a tragedy? They are metal objects, they aren't going to break. In fact they were stacked on top of each other in the entertainment shelf. But I know Ray and any of my other packers would have wrapped those guys up. Panic is setting in.
Uh oh. Rookie 3 just realized that he packed the box upside down. And when Guy 1 came over he felt how heavy the box was and was taken aback. Ray piped in and told Rookie 3 he better "initial that box". These means Ray must be worried about how Rookie 3 packed it. I can't watch.
Rookie 2 just called downstairs asking Guy 1 for help. Ray just realized that Rookie 3 isn't writing what is in the boxes.
I can't watch. I can't watch.
Is there a phlebotomist in the house? I'd rather give blood right now.
"Dear God,
I know these are just material things but please calm my heart and protect my stuff".
I'm off to check on Rookies 2-3

Jun 24, 2009

When the going gets tough . . .

... the tough get going.
And that's exactly what I did!
The day kicked off with mover drama. Drama at 10am is just unacceptable.
After sorting out the mover issues, I left Matt at the house with detailed instructions and took the boys to the pool. I sat in the lounge chair and soaked up some sun while chatting with my sister on the cell phone, catching up on the latest. It was a beautiful day. Not too hot, not too windy, the water has finally warmed up, and those lounge chairs at the pool are pretty comfy.
Sure, I still have a long list of things to do, but this was time for the boys to get out of the house and for me to sit back and relax. Something I find very difficult to do when surrounded by piles and lists.
The pool wasn't quite enough of a getaway for me, so I brought the boys home, left more instructions for dinner, and headed off to the spa for a nice pedicure and parafin wax. The earthy music in the background, constant hum of the foot spa, and gentle massage of my feet provided the perfect setting to unwind. I didn't want to leave, but they were closing and I ran out of money to pay for any additional services, so I wondered back to my completely torn up house.
Tomorrow I am on full time mover duty but in anticipation of it being a stressful day, I strategically scheduled my escape from moving responsibilities for a few hours on Friday in order to go get my hair done.
I guess the move isn't ALL bad!

Jun 21, 2009

One Week

I remember the week before I had Eli very well.
My sister was in town, bless her. She left her own 'baby' Kaia (1year 3 months to the day) at home in order to be with me for the big delivery and homecoming. For a few years it seemed Kaia remembered that Katina left her for Eli and was not happy about it. Let's just say she didn't really welcome Eli's presence until she was about 4. I thought for sure she was holding her mom's prolonged absence (2 weeks) at such a tender age against him, however all is well now.
When Katina arrived in Nashville we went straight from the airport to Opry Mills to walk my child out. We walked and walked, and when we just couldn't walk anymore we headed home. During the next few days we walked every mall within 100 mile radius of our house. We would get bored in one so we would try out another the next day. There was a lot of walking and a lot of waiting. It seemed like this baby was not at all interested in entering the world. Finally, on Sunday morning around 7am Eli finally made his entrance. It was a long wait. Such a long week.
Today is Sunday, and movers will be here Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Monday to pack and load 3 different shipments. On Tuesday we ship our van and on Wednesday we fly out to California. I know that this week isn't going to linger like that week before I had Eli. There is no time for waiting and walking.
For nearly one year I have known that this last week was coming. I've known that movers would come, the car would ship and I would say my last "goodbyes". It always seemed so far away. Even last week, next week seemed like something that would happen at the next flip of the calendar, not something I should be getting reminders for in my Outlook. And now this one week is here.
Our "lasts" have begun. Goodbyes are being spoken. Suitcases and boxes are starting to appear. This week is going to flash before my eyes and before I have a minute to take a deep breathe and realize this week is here, it will be gone.
One week can be so long while you are waiting, and yet go by so fast when you are dreading! I'll make it through this week. I may be a tired, puffy eyed, weary soul by the end of it but I'll make it.

Jun 20, 2009

Cash Pig

Someone bought me an adorable piggy bank for Eli when he was born. It was ceramic, bone colored with blue and green spots. It matched his room perfectly. As soon as I got it I started putting it to use. Any time I found change laying around the house or when my wallet would get too full of change, I would put it in his bank.
When he was about 18 months old he found this cute bank, picked it up, and brought it into my room to "show" me. He made it the 15 steps from his room to mine, then dropped it very close to my foot. I had little shrapnel wounds on my foot, and a pile of coins to clean up. I put all of the coins in a ziplock bag, because I didn't have a spare piggy bank laying around, and that is where the coins stayed for another year or so.
Shortly after Gabriel was born I started looking for new banks. Ceramic was out, due to the demise of the last piggy, so I found two clear plastic little guys at Walmart for $1 each.
Over the past 5 years I have filled the two banks with all the coins I find. Sometimes I roll up bills and slide them in too, but for the most part spare change is what feeds these little piggies.
Thursday I decided it was time to cash them in. The movers won't pack them so I either need to cash them out or hide them in a tote so the movers don't know they are packing money. Since the piggies were almost full anyway, I opted for dumping out those pigs, counting all the coins, rolling them, and taking them to the bank.
It took me a few hours to accomplish the task but in the end we cashed in $111 in coins from Eli's bank and $81 from Gabe's. Not bad for spare change.

Jun 15, 2009

Teeth

Eli's first tooth at 7 months and first lost tooth at 6+ years old. It is the same tooth! First in, first out.

What a Wonderful World

Did you know yesterday was "Thanksgiving in June"? You know, similar to "Christmas in July". Maybe it wasn't a nationally recognized celebration but my two girlfriends, the kids, and I had our own little Thanksgiving feast at my house yesterday evening.
Sure, some people were having BBQ's and playing at the pool, but we were roasting a turkey, baking cookies, and making all those fabulous side dishes.
You see, there comes a time in life when you just simply have to clean out your freezer, pantry and fridge. It so happens that Rachael had a spare turkey in her freezer. After a quick review of my pantry I realized I had all (and I do mean all) the ingredients for stuffing, box'o mashed potatoes, Sara's famous holiday corn, Grandma's yummy wine cake, and sugar cookies with frosting. With the purchase of just one more ingredient I also had the stuff for green bean casserole. What do you do when you have ALL this stuff in your pantry and you are preparing for an international move? You celebrate Thanksgiving in June.
So we did.
We are thankful. We are thankful that for this season, we were able to do life together. Although, there are still so many unknowns, and so many challenges to get through in the next few weeks, we are thankful for the precious time that God gave us.
As Rachael and I were saying 'goodbye' on the curb our friend Samantha's daughter came out and started dancing and singing on the porch. For the first song, it was back ground noise, but after we applauded her performance, we focused on her, waiting for her next song choice. In the sweetest, tinyest, very high little voice (very Cindy Lou Who) she began to sing v e r y s l o w l y
"I see leaves of green ....red roses too
I see em bloom..... for me and for you
And I think to myself.... what a wonderful world"

(Tears started to roll down my face)

"I see skies of blue..... clouds of white
Bright blessed days....dark sacred nights
And I think to myself .....what a wonderful world".

(Tears steadily flowing, big knot in my throat, embracing Rachael)

What a pefect ending to the day.

Jun 13, 2009

Seriously?


I wish I had a good reason for all this but I don't. Every time I open a cabinet another container of sunblock falls out.
Just in case you think your eyes are tricking you, there are 9 sunblock containers in this picture. All are at least half full, and I have two "on the go" tubes in the car.
Seriously!

Project Bust

If I would have just stopped at the dresser and nightstand . . .
But I didn't. I had to go and prime that darn shelf. Priming was no problem, or so I thought. Everything looked normal last night but when I went down this morning to throw on that blue paint I quickly noticed that any time I so much as looked at the shelf wrong, not only did the paint come off but so did that primer.
This is totally why I shouldn't do these little projects. I'm not really into "prep work" and as it turns out this is vital when you are trying to paint something like . . . say . . . a laminate shelf.
So, that uuuhhgly shelf that is in the garage slated for the thrift shop is now a blue kind-of-painted shelf slated for the thrift shop.
I finished painting it. Let it dry about 6 hours and then tested the handiwork with a book. It went like this: slide book onto shelf, pull book off of shelf, wipe off blue paint now stuck to the book, and admire very crafty lines where the paint peeled off.
Good news though. I now have a very handy shelf to stack all of the things that are heading to the thrift store. Yeah!

Jun 12, 2009

What to do?

Totally cleaning all 2500 square feet of my house in the two days I'll have after the movers pick of my stuff is freaking me out a little. So, I have a plan!
I'm going to super deep clean the bathrooms and kitchen, clean the blinds and shutters, knock down all those really high cobwebs, clean the windows, take some garden clippers to the mess of ivy out there, and clean off the patios during the next six days. Then, the night after the movers pack I'll clean out the cupboards and closets that are empty and work on the baseboards and vacuum after the movers pick up all the stuff the following day. This, my friends, leaves me two full days to do a normal cleaning of the house before we vacate this place on the 29th.
A few nights ago I started by cleaning my bathroom. Oh what a mess. It didn't feel like a mess before I got on my hands and knees to clean all the grout and baseboard tiles. A few hours and minor respiratory issues later, the bathroom was clean. Check.
Tonight, I made a trip to my local Lowes to pick up replacement things. I told the boys it was a scavenger hunt. 1 door pull, 3 vanity lights, 3 fan lights, one ceiling fan screw, a door stop, and a vent cover. Success.
We got home and Eli put on his hard hat (I asked him to be Bob the Builder for me - this took his mind off of not going to the pool) and we went to work. However, while at Lowes I also decided I was going to repaint the boys' dresser. It is still white and baby blue from the nursery days. So, I bought primer and paint at Lowes and decided tonight would be a great night to whip it out.
But wait, this wasn't on the list of manageable tasks to conquer in the next 6 days! No problem. I will finish painting and then head downstairs to clean out the fridge. Then I won't feel so bad about my list.
Until. I realized I have an old book shelf that is uhgly and was marked for the ol thrift store that could be transformed into a beauty, perfectly matching the newly painted dresser and night stand. And so, the fridge is still dirty, the dinner dishes are in the sink, and the book shelf is primed.
So much to do. So little time. And yet, I'm adding silly little projects to my list. Focus!

Jun 8, 2009

In the Shadows

Saturday night Matt and I went to a baseball game in DC. The new ballpark has no parking (except for the season ticket holders who basically bought a space when the park was built) so everyone attending the games has to find nearby street parking, park at the old ballpark and bus in, or take the metro. Unless - you are in the military and then you are one lucky duck.
Fort McNair just happens to be 3 blocks from the main entrance to the park. We drive into the city, pull up to Nationals Park, hang a quick right and then left, and "tada" we roll into the gate to Fort McNair. We park for free and walk over to the park. It is a great setup.
There is one small downside to the McNair parking set-up though - the projects. In order to get from McNair to the ballpark you have to walk through one of DC's finest projects. We haven't ever felt threatened while walking through that area, but we don't dilly dally there either.
As we were leaving the game this past Saturday something struck me. These projects sit in the shadows this huge ballpark. Hundreds of nights are filled with the sounds of fireworks, cheering, songs, and crowds. Thousands of people who can afford to spend $10-$300 on game tickets, who knows how much on food and drinks and fan gear come in and out of the area while the people who live in the projects are sitting on their porch, roaming along the street, or going about their daily lives. The mix of want and wealth is amazing. Would it be hard to watch people come and go each night? How much would you hate to look down your street and see a 10 story building with all its lights and action?
I was feeling sorry for the people who live with a constant reminder of what they don't have, for these people who live in the shadows of this ballpark. It also reminded me of Herod's palace and how it stood on a hill over Bethlehem and could be seen as far away as Jerusalem. Jews throughout that region couldn't help but see this powerful fortress perched in the distance. This fortress represented the power that Herod had over the Jews as a people. How could you not be intimidated by it?
In that little town of Bethlehem, just miles from this great palace Jesus was born - literally in the shadows of Herod. And though his birth was in a lowly place, his life and death would be extraordinary. Jesus provides hope to those in the shadows.
That big new ballpark or mighty fortress in my life is anxiety over the unknown and fear of how much hurt I will feel in coming weeks. It looms over me. So I choose to fix my eyes - not on that man-made giant casting shadows on me, but on Jesus. The giver of life, hope, grace, and peace.

Jun 5, 2009

As promised

This is the link to our shutterfly site. The password is ourphotos

Jun 4, 2009

Photo Preview

I have a ton of pictures to upload to my Shutterfly site and I am determined that "soon" will actually be soon. In the meantime, here is a preview. I love this picture.

Jun 3, 2009

God Made Me

When the boys ask about differences in the way people look, I often answer "that's the way God made him/her".
Why are little people, well, little? God made them that way.
Why is mommy tall? Why does daddy have black eyes? Why do we have freckles? "Because that is the way God made us."
Recently, Gabe adapted this explanation to include personality traits. When I told him I was stressed about getting the house clean he asked me "is that because that is the way God made you?"
Funny guy. I guess in a way God made me that way. He didn't create me to be a stressed, but he did plant in me a desire for order. He also asked if my desire for yogurt in the morning had something to do with the way God made me, probably no application there.
Tonight I was struggling to get Gabe to clean up his mess and get into bed. After about 30 minutes of practically begging him to put the papers in the trash, go potty and brush his teeth, I sat him on my lap and asked him "Gabe why are you acting so naughty?" His reply, you guessed it, "because God made me that way"! I explained to him that God didn't make him naughty, he was choosing to be naughty. He ignored me, and got into bed.