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PCSing in less than a week...

"Live a little, be a gypsy get around.
Get your feet up off the ground.
Live a little, get around."
-Paul McCartney, Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey



We are less than a week away from PCSing from North Carolina to South Carolina. I don't know why this move out of all the other moves we've done is so dang stressful. I've moved from the west coast to the Northeast by myself as a newlywed. I've moved from the Northeast to Hawaii by myself with a newborn. I even signed our lease for our apartment here in North Carolina by myself with a toddler and a power of attorney. And here we are, three years later moving one state down with my husband to help on both ends and I'm having an absolute panic attack.

Every time we are about to move, I envision it going like the last scene in Thirteen Going on Thirty with Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo.

Image courtesy of The Blue Craftsman



They are adorable. The pink house, the couch in the lawn, cuddling on it and laughing... I've never had the movers put my couch on the lawn and give us a moment on it to cuddle and laugh. Even if they did, I would probably be too stressed out about how they were packing our artwork to take advantage of the movie moment anyways.

Recently Chopped aired an episode where the contestants had to create dishes using "wasted" ingredients (view episode at FoodNetwork.com). I feel like that has been our breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for the past couple weeks, with a minor interlude when all both our family's came to town for my husband's commissioning. Last night for dinner we had frozen blueberry waffles, a cold tomato salad, and pimento scrambled eggs. We discovered 32 eggs in our garage refrigerator and so tonight we are either having a frittata or omelets, probably with the same pimento, yellow pepper, onion, and tomato filling. I'm giving the kids Greek yogurt with nearly all their meals (how did we acquire so much Greek yogurt???). Thankfully we are driving to South Carolina so all our pantry ingredients can be transported in our car instead of thrown out or given away like when we moved from Hawaii. Re-buying all your oils and vinegars is annoying and it feels absolutely wasteful throwing out all your cleaning products and pantry items.

Oh, moving. You are just messing with my head. Our house here in North Carolina was perfect for the kids, considering it is a ranch-style home with a playroom and fenced in backyard. The storage space here was horrible. I feel like our things are shoved in musty closets or jumbled in bins. I keep thinking, "Do I want this room packed this way?" I'm so worried we will have small boxes of books and other things from every room. I don't want to get overly OCD, but I want all my books packed together so I can figure out what I want to do with them on the other end. I've never lived in a home laid out like this where I've had to put bookcases in every corner of every room. Aside from books, we have often joked about how we've taken advantage of our vertical storage; we now need to have everything on the upper shelves and on top of cabinets taken down to easily be within reach of the movers-- all the coffee cups and rarely used kitchen appliances. We need to have everything that can't be lifted off the walls taken down for the movers (the television, artwork). And have I mentioned we have toddler twins and a five-year old in the mix? They are fascinated with absolutely everything we've taken down.

The to-do list feels like it is never ending, especially when considering all the things we need to do in one day before we turn the keys back over (cleaning the house, carpet cleaning, etc). I know that it isn't. I know we will get it done. I know that we will get through this week and it won't be as bad as I'm thinking in my head.

Right now I have bags of our pantry items lining the wall in our family room, a gated area we don't let our toddlers into unsupervised. I have winter jackets hanging in door ways as I sort through long forgotten closets. Our playroom is absolutely trashed, between me combing through toys we no longer need and our toddlers entertaining themselves while I work. Our master bedroom is piled with laundry, to-do lists, and items we've stashed away out of the toddlers' reach for one reason or another. I feel like I'm constantly stepping over a pile or telling the boys to stop touching something.

I think a lot of things are adding to my stress level, things I need to let go of. I feel like we've had a break from military life these last three years due to the STA-21 program (read "STA-21 'Officer's' Program"). I'm nervous about heading back into that with three kids, especially now that we've decided to go career Navy. This has felt like a glimpse into civilian life and it is nice. I'm slightly envious of my friends who are settling into these houses that they plan on staying in until their children are grown, who are picking neighborhoods based on school districts all the way up to high school, when currently their oldest is four-years old. It tugs at my heart to see my oldest saying good-bye to friends that he has come to love dearly (read this recent article by Military Spouse Magazine, "Lessons About Saying Good-bye from a Five-Year Old Military Child"). I don't want to say good-bye. I don't want to leave this area. I love my friends. I love this area. I could see us here. I could see my kids grow up here.

But it is time. It is time to say close this chapter. It is time to face the mess in my house and check off my to-do list. It is time to start looking into kids' programs in our new area in South Carolina. It is time to start posting in Navy wife forums asking if anyone else will live near us. It is time to spread new roots, to make new friends, to let our friends here in North Carolina know how much we have loved them and our friendships with them. It is time to start the cycle all over again of "Making friends," like the blog I posted in September of 2011. This is a hard thing to do every few years as a military family. A friend asked me at lunch this past week if it is easier now since I've done it so many times before. The answer is no. It is hard to open your heart at each duty station and let people in. It is hard to connect and love someone and say good-bye. I'm determined to embrace each duty station with open arms, knowing there is eventually an end, either with us moving away or our military friends moving away. It is something that I will probably always struggle with because sometimes it feels exhausting (read, "Making the best"). Even with the challenges, right now I love this life. I love living new places. I love settling into a new home and redecorating. I love having a reason to go through all our boxes every couple years and constantly being reminded of our treasures. Who else has a reason to open keepsake boxes every one to three years? I love finding my engagement ring box, baby books, and mementos of our good times. I love the people I meet and exploring new areas. I love feeling like this life is an adventure that I'm embarking on with my best friend and our beautiful children.

And duties of this life call. Time to get back to packing! Forget Tuesday afternoon, laundry is never ending...



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