Tuesday, July 29, 2014

My Thoughts on Moving with the Military...And How We're All Dealing with it


Moving in the last month from Omaha (Offutt AFB) to Colorado Springs (US Air Force Academy) was one of the biggest transitions we've gone through as a family. It was our first move with children as we were blessed to have been able to be settled for over 4 years in one location.  Of course we couldn't make it easy on ourselves by going from one location to the next but instead went to Alabama for a couple months, back to Omaha, then to Minnesota, back to Omaha for a night, and then finally to our home in Colorado Springs.


So how are we all doing with it?


Layla (2): Doesn't seem to notice really anything different. She likes the new house, her new room, and really is along for the ride.  She loves saying "Colorado Springs" whenever she hears it on the radio or tv. She's been sassy and had plenty of tantrums but I think that's due to the fact she's 2 more than anything. Oh, the 2's....that's a whole 'nother post.

Brady (4): Loves his new house, love the mountains, but really misses his friends and old preschool in Omaha. He talks about Omaha and the people there at least 3 times a week.  I think the process has given him a little bit of anxiety unfortunately.  We went away for a night to go camping and he cried and told us he didn't want to leave this house. I think he thought we were going to go house hopping again. Once I explained to him that we'll be here for several years (hopefully but you never know with the military) he calmed down.  I think this age is when they really start understanding things and I know moves are just going to get harder as he establishes more friendships and connections.

Rascal-dog (8): Not that he can really convey his emotions to me but I figured I'd better include him in here too.  He's been with us for every PCS move living in Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, and now Colorado. And he's just along for the ride as well.  I think his only complaint would be the small backyard here but it makes up for it by plenty of bunnies to chase. And he likes hiking in the mountains too.  So I think he's good.

Rachel: This was our 3rd move and it's definitely been different every time.  Our first move we were newlyweds, it was my first time moving far away from home, and I was just so, so excited to start my life with Brian. Our second move I was 33 weeks pregnant with Brady. I was just so ready to get settled into Omaha, set up the nursery, and welcome this little boy into the world.  This move, not much was different in our lives.  Leaving Omaha was really hard, mainly because of the friendships I gained. Not that we didn't make good friendships in Mississippi, it was just that we all knew we were there for a little over a year and we were all going all over the country/world.  You didn't have as much time to develop deep, deep friendships. Omaha is a little different because most people are there 5-8 years which is very odd for the military.

 I knew that  when we came here we'd all have to "start over" when it came to friendships. We knew a couple of people here and that's made it easier but it still is so hard to start over.  I feel like I'm almost dating as I'm trying to make friends. I've found that I'm much more comfortable just putting myself out there and making connections with other people here than I've ever been. But it's still hard. And I still have days where I cry because I miss my friendships in Omaha so much. I miss being able to call up one of my good friends and have a playdate that day or a girls night that night. I know that it'll come and it just takes time, but being patient isn't always my strong suit.  It's also hard being that much further away from home. I miss our families and want them to visit every month if they could! But I seriously love Colorado and try my best every day to enjoy the beauty of it and to be truly happy where we are. And it is fun to get to redecorate and live somewhere new!

Brian: He's doing great. But you can put Brian in almost any situation and he'll thrive. He's just that type of guy.  He's going to start learning to fly the gliders soon and for now is just learning the ropes in the squadron. A couple of his friends from the Academy are stationed here now so it's been fun for him to see old friends. He's been a great partner to me, especially when I'm sad and feeling homesick.


When Sesame Workshop (the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street) found out that we recently moved they sent us some wonderful resources for the kids.  They sent us a wonderful booklet on different challenges and ways to explain them to children and to deal with them along with a dvd to go with it.  They also sent some wonderful stickers for moving that I know the kids would have loved to use as we were moving but have used on their things now!  And they also sent information about their newest free app called The Big Moving Adventure. It's designed for children ages 2-5 about to go through a move and helps them understand the different stages of moving by creating a character to go through those stages. Sesame Street recognizes the hardships that come with military life as a child of a military family and has a lot of resources Check out their Military Family Initiative and all they offer including help with deployments, homecomings, self-expression, grief, and many more. I know the deployment dvd really helped Brady understand what was going on when Brian deployed the last time.
( I received these items for free but the opinions are all my own.)


I know that we'll come into our new normal soon and I feel like I'm more prepared for the next time we move because we all know another move will be happening, such is life in the military!  I'm just grateful that we're together, for the adventure of it all, and the fact there are good resources out there to help!


Monday, July 28, 2014

Haircut, Mountain Towns, Urgent Care, and Projects: Our Weekend


Ever have those weekends that you look so forward to and then just so many things go wrong? Yeah, that was our weekend. 

Friday started out innocently enough. We had a pool morning.

I got a new haircut and was really happy with how it turned out! I went a little shorter than I usually do but it was definitely time for a change!

Friday night we found a new playground/park that had some awesome mountain views.

Hmmm how can I step up my sass??

Friday night as we're getting home from the park Brady slams his fingers something fierce in the car door. He screamed a scream I've never heard from him. We pull open the door, free his fingers, and instantly go ice them. He cried for awhile but he could somewhat bend them so we figured we were ok as long as we kept an eye on it.


Saturday morning we decided to go explore a little. Brady's fingers looked decent. We iced and wrapped them again and set out since he said he was ok. We'd heard a lot about both Manitou Springs and Cripple Creek. Manitou Springs is a cute little town at the base of Pike's Peak and Cripple Creek is a cute mountain, old mining town an hour from Colorado Springs.

We really wanted to go to the Incline but just getting a close parking spot, even early Saturday morning was not going to happen. So we decided to explore the town a little.

Drinking from a mineral spring. This one was pretty good! 

Then we found Arcade Adventures where the kids were in heaven.

We were like the only ones there 



Brian by another mineral spring right by all of the rides. This one was not so good. Bitter and left a weird taste in my mouth. Brian of course, enjoyed it. And for the record, that is our camera case, not a murse (man purse) Brian is carrying. He wanted that to be clear.

There were some very eccentric people in Manitou Springs and there's lots of other places we would have explored but we really wanted to get to Cripple Creek before we lost the kids to whine city.

After a beautiful drive through the mountains, we made it to Cripple Creek. It was at about 10,000 ft and offered some spectacular views.




Take our picture with this man!

The town of Cripple Creek.

The main attraction we wanted to hit up was the Narrow Gauge Railroad since our kids are train crazies.


We got on the train and it was surprisingly really, really quiet. Except for Layla, she talked every single second of the ride.

"Could she just be quiet for one minute?"

Nope.

It wasn't just a train ride but a tour of the mining areas. I didn't hear too much of it. Here was a second where Layla was quiet. The other times, "Is this over yet? When do we get off?" "Hi mountains!" "Bye mountains!" "Ooohh look a baby tree!" "Are we done yet?" "Awhhh it's a puppy. He's green! When I grow up, I bring puppy on a train." (A couple brought their Chihuahua on the train ride.)  "Look, it's a daddy butt!" (To a guy standing up, I could die).  "ALL ABOARD! CHOO CHOO!!" This girl. 


The train ride was a little scary. This was just a sheer drop-off. And we're in an open train car. 

But the views were beautiful.

Some of the mining areas.


We started backing up. Just behind us is where the tracks stop. And there's a sheer drop-off. I just had to close my eyes and breathe.



The kids with the train conductor.

Afterwards we went to a casino and had ice cream.  The town was cute but I probably wouldn't bring the kids back. Tons of casinos, lots of smoking outside the casinos, and just not much more for them to do other than the train ride and ice cream. We wanted to make it to the jail museum too but they both had a bad case of the whines so we decided to leave instead.

Beautiful view of Pike's Peak on the ride home.

Also on the ride home we had to swing by the furniture store to pick up our new loveseat. It wouldn't fit in our car so Brian had to rent one of their trucks to haul it. At this point Brady starts screaming that his tummy hurts.  We get the loveseat home. It doesn't match our furniture whatsoever (we must have been drunk when we thought this color would be close) and there was a big rip in the seam (they're sending someone to fix it). Now we still have to go return the truck (so we have to follow Brian back to the furniture store, 30 minutes away). Brady is still screaming that his tummy hurts and both kids are whining and complaining like crazy.

We get home, take the tape off of Brady's fingers and his fingers are huge. And bent really funny. So we decide we need to go to Urgent Care. And then Brady pukes everywhere. Luckily not on the new loveseat. Brian took Brady to urgent care while I stayed back with Layla.

Brady's fingers at Urgent Care.

Brady being wheeled around at Urgent Care. Beautiful photo, courtesy of Brian. While at Urgent Care he threw up 2 more times, both times all over the carpet in the waiting room. So, so sorry urgent care. They took x-rays of his fingers and luckily not broken! Whew! Just badly bruised so they wrapped him up. They said he probably just had a stomach bug, just bad timing, and probably not related to his fingers or being at high altitude during the day.

Not feeling good. :(  He threw up a couple more times that night but by the next day was feeling better.

Sunday we took it easy, got the house cleaned, and worked on restoring this dresser. I didn't get a good before picture but it was basically just a white wood dresser that needed some love.

Working on one of the dresser drawers. I'm really happy with how it turned out and can't wait to show you what it looks like in its room (the guest room).

So that was our weekend! A little crazy, a little fun, and a whole lot us.  Now we're just praying that what Brady had wasn't the stomach virus that we're all going to get. We have lots of visitors this week and I'm sorry, stomach bugs are not allowed in July.  And if you have time, don't forget to VOTE!. Voting ends this week on Thursday. I'm #40 and I really appreciate it!! :) Have a great week!!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Things My Kids Say That Make Me Say Hmmm....

It really is true that kids say the darnedest things. But sometimes those things can either make you laugh or make you cringe because it's in front of a ton of people. Here are some things my kids have said lately that have done just that....

Brady, randomly one day: "Thanks for making me so handsome mommy!"

Layla tells me she has to go potty so I put her on the toilet: "No poopy, just baby toots!"

Brady: "Mommy! Where should we live today?!" This was after our couple months of craziness going from place to place, BREAK MY HEART!!

Layla at the park: "What your name? What my name?" The kid stares at her. "My name Layla Bean." Brady: "But you can call her Mrs. Bean or Beaner Chick."

Brady examining the dinner laid out before him: "Layla, coleslaw!!!!!!" Acting like it's the best thing he's ever, ever seen.

Layla at a restaurant walks up to a guy before we leave: "You're stinky!" And the guys response? "No, you're stinky!" Could have died. No idea why she did or said that, he was not stinky, as far as we could tell! Thank goodness he was a good sport! 

Brady: "Grown ups drive cars, planes, trains. Child's can't, they have sticky hands."

Brady: "When I grow up I'm going to drink beer and talk to friends too, just like Daddy."

Brady: "One day I'll have $99 and be rich."

Layla's favorite thing to say lately, ugh: "When I grow up I'm gonna have big boobies." Not sure where she got that from. I mean, it's probably true but still it's not like we tell her that!

Brady: "I'm going to make 10 babies." YIKES.

 Brady: "Daddy can't pee all over the yard. That'd be really, really messy."

Me: "Want a snack?" Brady: "Sure! How about suckers and milk?!" Yum. And no.

Layla, grabbing her bottom and shaking it: "BOOTY!" All day long. Especially when there's an audience. Sigh. 


These kids! Love 'em, even when they embarrass the heck out of me!




Monday, July 21, 2014

Playing Tourist in Our Town

One of the blessings of military life is living in different places and getting to be "tourists" in the town you live. I've never lived in a touristy place until now. It's both great and overwhelming. Great because there are so many things to do here and overwhelming because there's SO many things to do here. And quite a few things are a little spendy!  We've only been here a month and only done a handful of things (mainly in Colorado Springs) and there is just so much more to explore  here and in the state of Colorado! Here's some of the places we've been:

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
We got a family membership here since we love our zoos!  This place is a lot of fun! And quite the workout for mama pushing the stroller!

You can feed the giraffes,

Stare at the elephants as long as you please,

Admire the amazing view of Colorado Springs from the zoo,

Pretend to fly an airplane above the elephants (Brady seriously looked like he was at home in the cockpit...scary!)

We liked the elephants, what can I say?




The Airplane Restaurant
This was one of the weirder places we've been but I decided to include it since it's a different kind of place and the kids really liked it!
This restaurant is right by the Colorado Springs airport (and Peterson AFB) and is all things planes. My kids really enjoy plane themed things so we went with some friends to go check this restaurant out.

You can even eat in this old airplane. We didn't because we had too many people but it was pretty cool! The food and the service were..ehhh but it made for a pretty neat experience. The restaurant could use some updating but the kids were in awe of all the airplane things around them, including the airplane themed menu.



 Colorado Rockies Game
We drove up to Denver a couple Friday's ago because the Colorado Rockies were playing the Minnesota Twins.

This was the kids first major league game and Brady thought it was pretty neat.

Layla just wanted ALL the snacks. She kept saying "I want sandwiches, popcorn, lemonade, and ice cream." Like over and over. So much so that the people behind me were like, "I think she's hungry." Yeah, you haven't met Layla before.

We watched more of the game and Brady did awesome. Layla was getting a little restless (aka kicking the person in front of us) and even though I kept profusely apologizing and holding Layla's legs to stop her, the dirty looks didn't stop so I decided to take Layla for a walk.

Little stinker got her ice cream.

And instantly became a huge fan of baseball. "Go Baseball!"

Then the music started playing and she was dancing like a fool.

Layla dancing with some drunks. I almost made this a separate post in which I would have titled, "Reasons to Not Bring Your Children to a Major League Baseball Game on a Friday Night."  The amount of drunk people were just a little crazy. We even had a group of men stop and scream "LOOK! THERE'S KIDS HERE!" Yeah bud, it's 7:30 on a Friday night.  Anyway.

We made it till about the 8th inning and then we called it quits. It wasn't the smoothest of trips (huge traffic jams getting to the game, rain, restless children, drunks, and we lost Layla's baby blanket, wahhh!) but it was an experience and I'm glad we went!

 American Classics Marketplace
Finally went to my first antique mall! That was on my 30 Before 30 list. This was my favorite find but sadly, none of the pieces fit our home. (That is completely sarcastic if you couldn't tell).

 Spruce Mountain Open Space
We're always looking for family friendly hikes and this was one we found online.

The kids seriously love hiking plus it wears them out! Win, win.



I was TERRIFIED to stand near the edge. Having kids has made me even more of a wuss than I was before. 

Daddy took Brady's picture near the edge, trying to give me a heart attack.

And it wouldn't be a hike without snacks, duh.


 Memorial Park
I didn't do this park justice with just this 1 picture but they had a ton of playgrounds and a lake we could wade in and a ton of trails.  So much to do in this park!

 Focus on the Family
They have this really cool indoor playground area, a huge bookstore and theater. We went on a rainy day and the kids had a blast. Behind Layla that's an airplane you can walk around in!

And they have fun slides too so Brady was in love!

And lots of cool tunnels to crawl through.


We can't wait to discover more that Colorado Springs and Colorado in general have to offer!!

And if you have time, please Vote for me! for Top 10 Military Blog, I'd really appreciate it! Thanks to all who have voted!! :)
 
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