I’ve rather grown to like it here

Can’t believe I would ever say that about Fort Riley, but it’s true, I have rather grown to like it here.  It’s a far cry from what I was saying a year ago, and the copious amount of tears and disagreements my husband and I had about the kids and me moving here are gone now.  I did not want to leave Washington because it was what I knew for the last 13 years.

But despite my not wanting to leave Washington, I was not that happy there.  I was very lonely and had less than a handful of friends.  I was not involved with anything, and was a stay at home mom for the whole time we lived there.  I knew people yes, but we weren’t close.  I longed for friends that I could hang out with all the time, more than the few that I had.

I feel  that coming to Fort Riley has made me blossom in ways I never expected.  Not two months after we arrived, I took over our FRG as FRG Leader, and I LOVE it.  I really do.  It keeps me busy, and though we’ve had our share of FRG issues, I still really enjoy my job as FRG leader.  I’ve never felt that way before.  It makes me feel important, when before I did not.  I’m not trying sound pompous, but when you feel like you have no purpose before, this is a refreshing change.

I also started volunteering at the USO around the same time I became FRG leader.  While I have not worked there nearly close to what I’ve done as FRG leader, I still find it very fulfilling.  I get to be social with others, get out of the house, meet new people. Yesterday another lady and I manned the USO booth at the conference center during a welcome for new soldiers.  I couldn’t tell you how many new soldiers came up to our table, and I got to tell them all about our USO center, and it felt great!  I’m managing the USO twitter account, and I am also going to be working on the website as well as soon as it’s up and running properly.

I’ve met countless wonderful women, and let me tell you, it is a heartwarming feeling when you’re walking down the street and someone you know waves at you.  When you call your kids’ middle school and they recognize who you are (because you have three kids there and seem to be there all the time, and calling about certain things all the time, lol), you feel like you are noticed.  I have a few friends here, and I know many more women too.  Today I am going out for lunch with one of the ladies in my FRG and I’m really looking forward to it.

Getting out and being active in the community has helped me blossom more than I realize.  At the conference center yesterday, I ran into at least four women I knew.  I don’t know if I can really explain how I feel this gives me some purpose.  The USO and being FRG leader have REALLY helped me.  I feel being thrown into this Army life has forced me to become more active in the community.

I thought to myself the other day that I am nervous to move back to Washington when my husband retires.  I will be honest, I am afraid that I will become a hermit again.  We don’t know how many years it will be till we are back in our home, but I do plan to volunteer at the USO as long as I am able, and I’ll probably get a job too.  I still struggle here with feeling lonely, but I am getting better with it every day.  I think I need to put myself out there more often and perhaps not be so afraid of rejection.

I miss Washington so much, but I actually am quite happy here in Kansas.  And I am REALLY looking forward to a visit home this Christmas…here we come Seattle and Vancouver! In 10.5 months. 😉

2013 In Review

Since the new year has just started, I have seen countless “2013 In Review” type of posts all over Facebook and the internet.  One of my instagram friends posted a link to her blog tonight, and I got inspired by a few of her posts to write my own 2013 in Review.  Like her, we had a big exciting year with many changes to our family.

January:

* I made the tough decision to cancel our wedding.  With my husband in Kansas, and no help back in WA, plus preparing the kids and I, and our house for a big move, the wedding was too much stress for me.  I still regret cancelling it, but hopefully one day we will be able to get a vow renewal in.

* Thanks to a friend of mine, I was able to go visit my husband for a long weekend, sans kids!  That was pretty damn awesome.  We stayed in his apartment here and got to visit some cool places, and just spend time as a couple reconnecting after spending 6 weeks apart.  One of my favorite places to visit was the Oz Museum.

February:

* The twins turned 12! This was a huge milestone, but not so much as the one we are about to embark on, having teenagers.  Ack!

* Andrew came home for a short weekend and we took the kids to Great Wolf Lodge as a surprise.  They had no idea he was coming home, so  I told them I had an appointment in Seattle that day and would be back late when they got home from school.  We had him walk in the back door, and the looks on their faces was pure joy and disbelief

March:

* I can’t remember too much about March haha.  Our youngest daughter turned 7 though!

April:

* Wait, I remember March now…the kids and I flew to Kansas to spend time with Andrew over Easter break, so we left late March and came back early April.  I was telling the kids the whole time we were flying to Ottawa to see my brother, and then they heard me slip up on the phone talking to someone and the secret was out.  Dammit!  We had a great time, got to show them around Ft Riley and see the house we’d be moving into.  We also did an easter egg hunt while we were here.

* Later in April I put my house up for rent.  That was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, and I won’t lie, it caused a lot of strife for Andrew and I. I was resigned to moving to Kansas, but I was not happy about leaving the home I had made for the kids and I after my first husband died.  We had started meeting some great people, and I felt so at home there.  But it was the best for us to move to KS.

* Went to the Seattle Zoo with our membership. Still miss that place

May:

* We got a renter! It was barely on the market and she came around really quickly

* Andrew came home for Memorial Day weekend.  Mostly to help me out with the house and to get some last-minute things done.

* Started saying our goodbyes to WA state.  We had some good friends over for dinner while he was home, knowing it was highly unlikely we would get to see them again before we moved.  Miss you Jason and Lindsay!

June:

* The twins graduated from Grade 6! This meant they’d be moving onto middle school once we got to Kansas

* Took the kids to Seattle a couple of times, and we saw all of our favorite places…the zoo, Archie McPhee, Fremont Troll, Dick’s Drive In, Gasworks Park, and we had frozen yogurt at The Fainting Goat (AMAZING!)

* Got to spend some time with a friend I’ve had for years.  We don’t see each other very often, but when we do, it’s always the same.  We love going to her house because she lives near a river and we love going swimming in it.  Miss you Janelle!!

* More and More organizing on the house and getting rid of whatever we could

July:

* One of the biggest months for us

* Andrew came back July 5th, and we immediately made the drive up to my hometown to spend a few days with my extended family.  Got to go swimming in my childhood lake! Said goodbye to our extended family.

* July 10th we left for our honeymoon to NYC! We only got a few days there, but it was jammed pack.  Can’t wait to go back!  Eventually I will get around to doing recaps on our trip.  I’ve been terrible about that since then.  Some of the highlights: The Met, Laduree, Wicked, The Subway, AMNH, a swanky hotel, Central park, Candied Bacon ice cream from a food truck!!!!!, Two very expensive dinners at The Palm and Peter Luger Steakhouse, TIFFANY!!!!

* Came back from NYC, then a day later brought my sister back home (she watched the kids for us on our honeymoon), and brought one of our cats with her 😦 We can only have three pets on post here in KS.  Said goodbye to my mom, sister, Hades my cat, brother and hopefully-soon-to-be sister-in-law.

* Had 12 days to finish the house and move.  Movers came the 25th and we left the 27th

* Drove from WA to ID to MT to WY to SD to NE to KS.  Saw Yellowstone and Mt Rushmore!

August:

* We arrived!

* Kids started school Aug 14th

* I made a new friend just because our youngest daughter saw a boy in her class walking to school.  The mom and I have been friends since. 🙂  I think meeting friends by chance here has given me better quality friends than the ones I met online before coming here. Not saying all are bad, but the majority have not been good quality friends.

* Hated the awful KS heat. Man that sucks balls.  It’s too damn hot here during the summer.

September:

* I started volunteering at the USO! I love doing this

* I took over the FRG! I also LOVE this! It’s what I was meant to do.

* We started getting into more of a routine here and adjusting to life in KS

October:

* Middle daughter turned 11!

* Fourth anniversary since my first husband’s passing, so it wasn’t an easy month for us.

* We took the kids to see Wicked in Kansas City  We loved it so much we wanted to see it again 🙂

* Andrew and I had both our two-year dating anniversary AND our one year wedding anniversary, but I can’t remember what we did for our date.  I did get a gorgeous diamond ring though!

November:

* I convinced my mother in law to come visit my husband for the first time in 16 years.  He had always gone to visit her before.  She came for Thanksgiving.  The surprise on his face was incredible.

December:

*  We had our first white Christmas! And it was the first Christmas we were able to spend together out of the three we’ve been together.  We made it extra special because we wont be able to spend Christmas together in 2014.

* Learned that Kansas can get really, really, bone chilling cold.

* Got to attend a Strong Bonds retreat through the Army.  All expenses paid, and we loved it.  It was good for our marriage and each other 🙂

* Took the kids to the Eisenhower museum (Very interesting!!!)

2013 also taught me that sometimes the people you think are your friends, really aren’t (Here in KS AND in WA state).  I left WA state a very bitter woman because I had been spurned by people who were supposed to be my friends, and couldn’t even bother to come say goodbye to us when we left or spend time with me before then, even though I had tried.  The day we left only a handful of people came to see us off.  One of those families was child #3’s best friend and her parents.  Donna, not sure if you’re reading this, but you’re the only one who made me cry.  We all miss you guys.

I had to learn to let go of some of my anger, as it was just eating away at me.  I learned that if someone wants to be your friend, they will make an effort.  Screw those who don’t.  I also don’t bother if I’ve been spurned by someone.  If you screw me over and LIE about it, you’re done in my book.  I also realized that some of the people I wanted so desperately to be friends with back in WA, they don’t matter and I won’t pursue it when we get back because it isn’t worth my time.

That being said, 2013 was not an easy year, but it was an exciting year full of changes. I’m glad it’s over though.  2014 has some difficulties in store for us…my husband is deploying. We will get through it though!  We have much to look forward to this year too…mom and sister possibly visiting in May, brother and his hopefully soon to be fiance visiting in June. Our oldest daughter’s best friend is coming for 2.5 weeks in July.  And the kids and I are going back home to BC to visit our family for Christmas this year.

One last thing.  I hate this laptop.  And I hate touch pads with every fiber of my being.  Do you know how many times I’ve had to fix my typing because of it?

Happy New Year!

Six Weeks and Counting

Just realized today that we are leaving in SIX WEEKS!!

That seems like no time at all, doesn’t it? It sure does to me.

The kids are out of school now and we’ve spent the last two days like utter complete bums, not doing a damn thing.  I didn’t shower yesterday till early afternoon, and today had to force myself to shower.  It’s nice to have a a couple lazy days here and there, but we do have some fun activities planned for the next 6 weeks before we move.

Tomorrow I plan on taking the kids to Seattle for the day, and visiting the Woodland Park Zoo (we have a membership), going to Dick’s for lunch, and then Archie McPhee to get a mask of some sort.  We already have the Horse, Squirrel, Cardinal, Giraffe and the Rat.  Andrew wants me to get one so all six of us have one, hahaha.  If the kids are hungry after that, we’re going to head over to either the Fainting Goat or Molly Moon’s for Ice cream, before heading to the Fremont Troll for a photo opp.  Then we’ll round off the afternoon with a bit of playtime at Gasworks Park.  Even though we live an hour south, Seattle really feels like “our” city.  It’s where Andrew and I spent many of our dates while we were dating, and we’ve taken the kids multiple times.  We spent our wedding night there too back in October.  We love it, and feel at home there, so we are trying to fit in as much of it as we can before we leave.  We’ll probably go one more time before we leave, and visit the market, the pier and who knows what else.

In the next few weeks we also plan on hitting up the concerts in the park here in town,  and children’s entertainment series as well, which are usually at night for an hour once  a week.  We really enjoy those.  We’ll also hit up our local favorite, Tolmie State Park, to take the dogs swimming and go wading ourselves.

Our last hurrah in BC will be visiting my extended family for a HUGE 200+ person reunion, and spending some time with my immediate family for a couple days as well.  We always love going up to BC, and this time is no exception, as it will most likely be a few years at least before we can take the kids back as airfare is so dang expensive for a big family.

After that Andrew and I leave for our honeymoon, NYC!! EEK!!!  Can’t wait for that, we leave in 23 days. Woohoo!!! We have so many fun things planned, I just need to study the subway a bit better and see if we should either rent a car, or take the subway from the airport to our hotel.  I can’t even hide my excitement for this trip.

Once we get back we plan to go to Seattle one more time like I mentioned earlier, and then hit up the coast for a whole day with the kids and dogs.  That will be our last hurrah here in WA state.  We’ll make a fire, and roast some hot dogs and make smores, throw the ball for the dogs in the sand, wade in the salt water and just enjoy it.  We love going to the coast, and figured it would be a good last trip as we’ll be landlocked in Kansas.

All of this, plus the act of moving itself, cleaning up the house as much as we can, organizing even more, saying goodbye to friends, packing up the boxes we’re taking in our Uhaul trailer, has to happen in the next six weeks.

Then we’ll get to watch the movers hammer the last nail into the crate, and walk into an empty house.

Six weeks from today is going to be our last night in this house.

Then we leave.

There will be tears.