WE BOUGHT A ZOO!

Ok no, we didn’t buy a zoo. But I think of that movie every time I tell someone we just bought a house. And sometimes it feels like a zoo here. Things are crazy and chaotic, and out of the ONE MONTH we have been here we have spent exactly ONE WHOLE DAY in the house without leaving once to go to some store or run some errand. Oh, and there are animals. Lots of animals. Deer, turtles, beavers, rabbits, snakes, spiders, squirrels, and CICADAS. Those freaking things are so loud that there is a constant humming all day. But you don’t really notice it after awhile so its ok.

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TURTLE!

In all serious honesty, that’s why I haven’t been here to post at, like, all. I have barely had time to check Facebook. I have missed writing though, so while my husband is busting his tail making a cabinet for me, I am sitting here on my new recliner typing away. Plus, I want to brag about our new house.

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Here’s a little backstory to get you started: We are now living on the East Coast. We live in what some might call “the boonies.” It’s six miles to the closest gas station and/or grocery store, we have a constant buzz of cicadas outside our door, and we have well water, a septic system, and NO INTERNET. That’s right people. Even Verizon was like, “Uh, we can’t get a line out that way so you have to get a mobile hotspot.” Thank God on high for technology because this house may have gone right back up on the market if there was no internet here. Just kidding. No, but seriously.

Anyways, we sit atop 4.4 acres of land, some woods and lots to mow. So we now have a riding lawn mower. And so does everyone else in our neighborhood. In fact, its so country out here that the other day while J and I were refinishing our rocking chairs (kind of country), our neighbor drove by on her John Deere pulling her daughter in a trailer behind it (super country). Yep, boonies. And we love it.

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Of course with a new house comes a learning process for all things inside of it and outside of it. We had to figure out phones and internet because nothing works out here (5+ hours at Verizon and we finally got it worked out). We had to learn how our water system worked and how to get that gross egg smell out of our well-water. We had to learn where the best place to put things was going to be and what our new routine was going to be. But most importantly, we had to decorate.

Ok, so maybe that is what is most important to me. And perhaps you’re sitting there thinking, “Oh wow, decorating a new house must be so much fun! Lucky her!” WRONG. Wrong wrong wrong. If you’re a MilSpouse and you’re thinking that then you’ve been at your current duty station way too long, so pull out your moving boxes sister. Heck, on the drive across country I was thinking about how much fun it would be shopping and picking out new stuff. But its not. Its stressful and frustrating and flipping expensive. Those first days after our stuff was all unpacked I was so worked up about where to put what, what colors to use in each room, and how much it would all cost that it was keeping me up at night. Its all I thought about and I wanted to get it done NOW. 

All in all, the first few weeks sucked. More for J than for me because the grass was about waist high and he had to cut it all. It literally took him a week straight just to get the yard somewhat maintained. He got bitten by so many bugs his whole body looked swollen. It was hot, sticky, humid, and gross out. He did this all while having deck builders at our house for two weeks and with us running around from every store in the state trying to find the items we needed whether it be for the yard or for the inside of the house.

We are finally getting to the point in our house-setting-up process where its starting to slow down. We have completed most of our big outdoor projects (see pics below! Yay!) and we have decided on how we are going to decorate the inside of the house. We are just about done with our first major indoor project- the mudroom- and we have started planning out the ones which are the laundry room and the office.

I have put some pictures below of our before and after of the projects we have done so far. I will be posting pictures as the projects come along. For now, here are some pictures from our road-trip as promised.

Road-Trip Across Country. Sans Baby = Awesome

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Moving day. So sad.

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This is really how E got across country. 

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First stop- Utah! Maybe. I don’t remember.

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Colorado was flipping cold. Good thing I was prepared with the proper footwear. P looks pretty regal though.

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Visiting family in Oklahoma!

That’s the last of the roadtrip pictures because after Oklahoma we just booked it back to my parents house to get back to E. Not that it mattered to her; she didn’t even know we were gone!

HOUSE PROJECTS

Deck Project

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Before. No deck. Boo.

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New deck! YAY!

Front Yard Maintanence

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Notice the overgrown grass, huge leaning trees, and unkempt bushes. Gross!

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Trees gone, grass cut, hedges trimmed!

Soon to come- our new driveway and indoor projects! That is if my child ever takes a decent nap. I will also be talking about tips for moving out, moving in, and getting DIY projects done with kid(s) in tow.

PS- Be sure to check out my weekly meal plans….they’re back! WITH NOTES. You’re welcome.

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Good news: no one died on our cross-country trip.

I’m not going to lie- I thought about it. Especially in Utah where there was no Starbucks at ALL because there was like a million miles between exits. But we survived. And so did the surrounding motorists. Winning.

This was not the first time J and I drove across country. Ohhhh no, this was the third. AND WE ARE STILL MARRIED. Amazing, I know. The first time we drove across, we took a northern route from Virginia to Washington and then down to Southern California. The second time, we took the typical I-40 route through the south. This time, however, we went straight across the middle through Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma (to visit family), and then back on to the I-4o through Arkansas, Tennessee, and then Virginia.

It took us about 4.5 days to drive the whole thing. We stopped in Oklahoma for a day and a half, too. You’re probably thinking we are crazy for driving that fast through but we had sent E with my mom so we wanted to get back to her as fast as possible. Which ended up being pointless because I don’t think she even noticed we were gone. Perfect.

I did, however, do what any famous and awesome blogger would do in a situation such as this- I thought of a bunch of awesome tips for a road trip that probably a thousand other people thought of but I’m going to undoubtedly think I’m the only person EVER to think of these things.

I know all you really care about are pictures from our trip. But I haven’t uploaded onto the computer yet because I’m still stuck in between paper and boxes and more paper and more boxes. I’ll put them up soon…ish. If you still care, read the tips below.

  • Have kids younger than 5? Don’t bring them. I know this isn’t an option for everyone but if you can work it out, send your offspring to the relative closest to your destination. Maybe I sound cold-hearted but you will thank me during those long stretches of no-mans-land when your three year old just wants OUTTTTTT for five minutes but there is no exit for 52 miles. We sent E with my mom and I bawled for the first hour after we dropped them off at the airport and I was super anxious the entire trip, but J and I got to actually have some what comfortable trip (ie, sleep) and spend some time together not talking about the baby. It was like a long date night. Perfect.
  • Don’t overpack the car. I know you’re probably like…duh…but its easy to say, “Well, let’s just bring this. And this. And this would be good too.” But if you cover every square inch besides your seats with stuff, you’re more likely to kill each other because you will be uncomfortable as all get out. Leave spaces for your feet, make sure you can recline (another reason to ditch the kids), and try and keep the important things like food and phones in arms reach.
  • Have a dog? Bring soft treats and a yoga mat. If your dog is anything like ours, he/she/they won’t each much during the trip because the are nervous. They are like kids though, so they always seem to be able to munch down a treat or twelve. My suggestion is to bring soft ones, like these, because they don’t put a million tiny crumbs all over your back seat that you find 8 years later. The other thing we found to be awesome for this trip was a yoga mat. We have leather seats and every time Pendleton would sit in the back I would cringe with the thought of her nails digging into seats. Blankets don’t work because they slide. So, being the genius that he is, J discovered I forgot to give the packers my yoga mat and put it on the back seat to hold the blankets. Worked like a charm. We could have bought one of those dog blankets for the car, but you know, we’re cheap.
  • Take pictures OF EACH OTHER. Despite this being our third road trip together, we are still really bad at taking pictures of each other. We probably have thousands of scenery but honestly, who cares about that stuff? A few of the general area are nice but no one is going to remember/care if that tree was in Colorado or Kansas or your backyard. So take pictures of each other at the different stops and in the pretty scenery.
  • Have a to-go bag. When you PCS, you have to remember that you may get to your destination before your boxes do. That means you have to be prepared with clothes and toiletries for the road trip AND up to a week after you arrive. If you’re like me, that means almost your whole wardrobe which means a big heavy bag. However, if you are stopping at hotels at night, you’re not going to want to dig out and bring that big ass bag inside with you every night. So pack a t0-go bag- a bag with a few outfit changes, travel toiletries, and a bathing suit. Why a bathing suit? Indoor pools people. Especially if you are sans kids. They are wonderful after a long day in the car.
  • Everything has a place. This was the end-all-be-all for our trip. When you’re spending day after day in the car, its easy to lose track of where you put the camera, your phone, the extra set of keys, etc. So designate a place for every thing. Even if its going into a purse or bag, make sure it goes in the same place every.single.time. Believe me, it will save you from a lot of “WHERE DID YOU PUT IT?! DID YOU LEAVE IT INSIDE THE MCDONALDS BATHROOM?! Oh no, here it is…” type arguments.

Road trips can be really fun or they can really suck. It just depends on you make of it. Make sure everyone is comfortable, everyone is FED (hungry people are cranky), and don’t get to stuck on a time line (unless your orders depend on it!). Taking your time and being comfortable will make everyone feel better about being in such close quarters together.

Right now, we are at our destination and in our new house. Our goods have already arrived and the house is unpacked. Nothing is in place yet, but its all out of boxes. J has been working fervently on the yard while I’ve been honing it out on the inside. I’ll have pictures for you of our road trip, some tips for packing and unpacking, and pictures of the new house (yay!) soon. We do, however, live in the boondocks so we are JUST getting internet and I barely have time to write right now. But I’m really excited about all the work we are doing (and the shopping!) so stay tuned!

If you are making a PCS drive soon, good luck. The drive ends, I promise. Please feel free to post any tips/tricks you may have for long road trips below!