28 July 2011

The Flight That Took All Night

On Friday the 15th of July, we finished packing up all of our belongings, turned over our keys to our house and flew to New Jersey. Our flight left at 9:30pm. We left for the airport sort of early since we wanted to stop for dinner on the way, plus I had made reservations for Peavey to fly as cargo, so we needed to figure out where he needed to be dropped off and then drop him off there, as well as return our rental car.

Josh called the airline in the morning to see what Peavey's "no later than time" time for arriving was and was told, quite surprisingly, that since we were traveling on orders, that Peavey could be checked as baggage. Sweet! Not only did this mean one less thing to do and take care of, but it also saved us the $200 cargo fee. And since we were allowed 8 pieces of luggage and only had 6 (including the bigger boys' 2 booster seats for the car) we had plenty of space for the cat. It was kind of funny though, as we rolled up to the check-in line, one of the ladies who was helping people to check in came over to us and said, "Please tell me you're traveling on orders, because there's a pet embargo for the summer and your cat can't fly as baggage." After assuring her we were traveling on orders she put us on a different line than everyone else so we were next to check in. Again, sweet!

After checking in and checking all of our baggage (and cat) we went through security. As we were waiting on line here, a security guard said, "Are you all traveling with that infant? You can come through here." This allowed us to skip the rest of the line and get through security rather quickly. Of course, getting through check-in and security as quickly as we did meant we were at our gate about an hour and a half before our flight was scheduled to take off. At one point I took Finn to the bathroom to change his diaper and his clothes (into pajamas) only to come back and find all 3 boys (Josh, Zeke and Deacon) playing Angry Birds. Zeke had my phone, Deacon had Josh's, and Josh had the iPad. At least they were occupied, happy and quiet.

The first flight went pretty well. It was one of those planes that has 2 rows of 3 seats (rather than 2 5 2 - you know). So we sat the bigger boys on the inside seats with Josh on the end on one side of the aisle, then I put Finn in the middle seat and I sat on the end seat on the other side of the aisle. The bigger boys were thrilled to be on an airplane and I'm sure Finn enjoyed it too.

Since it was an overnight flight, we had hopes that the boys would all sleep during most of it, allowing us to get some sleep too. For the most part, this worked out. Deacon was the first to fall asleep, using Josh's lap for a pillow, making it hard for Josh to do anything (he did get a little bit of sleep towards the end of the flight). After much flailing and thrashing and all sorts of monkey business, I finally managed to get Finn in a hold that prevented him from moving too much, allowing him to relax enough to fall asleep. And once Finn was asleep, I was able to fall asleep a little bit too. Zeke, on the other hand, didn't fall asleep at all. Well, he might have taken a 20 minute catnap at the end of the flight, but he pretty much stayed up all night long.

We landed in Minneapolis on time, but there was lightning going on so we had to sit on the tarmac for awhile until the lightning stopped long enough for them to let the workers out on the tarmac without fear of them getting struck by lightning or anything. But our next flight was also delayed by the same amount of time because of the same storm, so we had enough time to get to our next gate, grab some muffins and juice, eat said muffins and juice, and go potty before getting on the second plane.

Second plane had the same set up as the first, but this time no one slept. Since it was a shorter flight, it was fine. Sitting with Finn and me was a really nice lady who I had a pleasant conversation with. This flight also went smoothly. Really, the whole experience was smooth. All 3 boys did really well, I didn't get sick at all (whoo!), Peavey made it just fine, as did all of our luggage.

The only thing that didn't go smoothly was the drive from the airport to Josh's parents' house. Before Josh left Alaska to go to Alabama, he shipped his car. His car arrived at his parent's house a few weeks later. Since Josh had technically cleared the base in Alaska, the army wouldn't fly him back there, they sent him to NJ since that's where he's now being stationed. So, Josh graduated from his class in Alabama, flew to NJ, spent a week in NJ, drove himself to the airport, flew to AK, took care of things up there with me, then we all flew to NJ. And since he had driven himself to the airport, his car was there, waiting to take us away. Getting to the car was fine, loading it, getting out of the airport, etc. It was the drive. Oh, the drive! We sat in so. much. stinkin. traffic. Heading south on a Saturday in the summer in New Jersey is NEVER a good idea. Unfortunately we forgot this and sat there. And sat there. And sat there. I think it took us about 2 1/2 hours to do a 45 minute drive. Welcome to New Jersey indeed. At least Finn and Deacon used the time in the car to take a little nap. Zeke, on the other hand, STILL refused to fall asleep. He just stared, all glassy-eyed, so SO so apparently tired.

But we're here, we're keeping busy, and we're looking forward to getting up to Picatinney (most likely on Monday) and getting settled in up there.

25 July 2011

So Much To Say

Hello New Jersey! We landed last Saturday and essentially hit the ground running. By the time we got off the plane, gathered our luggage (and cat), got to Josh's car, and sat in 2 hours worth of shore traffic to get to Josh's parent's house, we were exhausted. Luckily it was nap time, so after some quick pbj sandwiches, we all went to sleep for a little bit. We also went to bed early that night.

Sunday morning though, we got up at our "usual" time (no room for jetlag here - keeping on schedule seems to help the kiddos out quite a bit). After breakfast and what's it, we went to my old church, up closer to where my mom lives. And since we were "in the area" we had lunch, naps (the kids napped anyway), dinner, and LOTS of outside running around time at my mom's. It was so great. All 3 of my sisters were there, as was my stepdad and my one sister's boyfriend. We all had a great time. And, unfortunately, all the pictures from this visit are on my mom's camera, so I can't share any of them with you.

Monday we did some summer clothes shopping (living in Alaska, we didn't really have much of that sort of thing) and some food shopping. Josh showed the kids around Grammy and Papa's garden, where they picked lots of fresh veggies for us to have with dinner.

Tuesday, we drove down to LBI to see Josh's parents. They rented a house down there for the week, so by the time we got in on Saturday, they were already long gone, so we went down to see them, as well as Josh's sister and her hubby and son. It was so much fun getting all of the boys together (FINALLY).

Her son is a year younger than Deacon, but almost the exact same size, so, needless to say, they all had a blast. My sister, Katherine (aka Tia, to the boys) came with us, so that was fun too. We got there in time for lunch and naps (short ones this time). After naps everyone headed to the ocean. Everyone, that is, except for me and Josh's mom since Finn was still napping and I wanted him to sleep. Of course, by the time Finn finally woke up, 1 1/2 hours later, and we made it to the ocean, everyone else was packing up to head down to the little bay beach.

Don't ask why both of them are sticking their tongues out while they play. I have no idea.

I also don't know how the big kids were when they saw the ocean, but Finn was thrilled. I put him down on the sand when we reached where everyone else had set up, mostly because he's HEAVY, and he made an immediate beeline for the water. And coldness be darned, he went right in and continued to walk in the water until it reached about his knees. Then he let me hold on to him and sit him down as the waves rolled back, and stand him up as the waves came at him. It was hilarious too, every time a wave came and splashed against him, he would roar back at the water. But after a few minutes everyone was ready to leave, and Finn's lips were blue and he was shaking, so we bundled him up in a towel and paraded down to the bay, where the water was calmer, warmer, and much more fun for the kids.

Then it was dinner, some play time and then home. A good day.

Wednesday we tried to just stay home and relax a little, and recouperate from the "non-stopping-ness of our first few days in state. Wednesday and Thursday we (and by "we" I pretty much mean Josh) set up a little blow-up pool for the kids to play in. And by "the kids" I mean all 4 of them.

Thursday we also did some food shopping in the morning, and had my father, stepmother and brother over for dinner. We ordered some pizza and had a really nice time just hanging out and visiting with them. Again, no pictures, my bad.

Friday and Saturday were low key days again, with Friday being ridiculously hot so we took the boys to the mall. And Saturday Josh's parents came home from LBI, much to the boys' delight. In fact, Zeke decided he wanted to pray at dinner that night and said, "Thank you that Grandma and Papa could come visit us today." I guess he doesn't quite get that we are the ones visiting.

Which brings us to yesterday. Yesterday we went down to my father and Karen's house in Brick. Again, we got there in time for lunch and naps. Well, before the bigger boys had lunch they went with my dad, my cousin, Josh and another cousin's daughter, in the boat to go check on the crab hotels they had placed in the water earlier. Yep, their first boat ride. Josh said Deacon sort of hung back by him and was just chill, mostly out of shyness rather than fear, but that Zeke and Zoe were up on the front of the boat, holding on, enjoying the ride and the wind blowing around their faces.

After naps they swam in the little pool for bit, swam in the lagoon behind the house for a little bit, and had a GREAT time with all the water and all the toys and things there. After a huge, delicious dinner, we got back on the road, headed home, and promptly put our tired boys in bed.

Now we're hanging out, relaxing again, so I thought I'd take this time to let you all know we made it safely and we're already finding plenty of things to do to keep ourselves busy. And I promise to write about our flights and how all that went soon.

13 July 2011

The Housing Sitch

So here's the deal, for those wondering, on where we will be living once we get to NJ. Originally we had planned on buying a house off post somewhere, but while Josh was in Alabama he was talked into living on post. So we took care of all the paperwork and wound up being #2 on the housing list. Sweet.

I was really hoping we would be able to get one of the single family houses on post, and that it would be available for when we landed on Saturday. However, neither of those hopes happened. No single family houses are available at all, and the townhouse we will be moving into won't be available until the end of August. Not so sweet.

And it's not that I really have anything against townhouses, it's just the whole "sharing walls" thing. Our kids can be quite loud at times, making me worried for our neighbors. On the flip side, our kids are also pretty good, and what if our neighbors have loud kids too, but kids who are out of control? I know God is completely in control of all of this, but these are the thinks I think sometimes. But now the thing is the only townhouse available is a middle unit. An end one is supposed to open soon too, so we are hoping it does open before we move so we can have the end unit instead.

However, like I said before, neither unit will be available until the end of August sometime. Therefore, we will be staying with Josh's parents until the end of July, when we will then move into temporary housing on post (read: trailer park) until whatever unit we get is available for moving into. Sigh.

It's going to be a long rest of the summer.

12 July 2011

Just Grin and Bear Paw It

This past week was Eagle River's Bear Paw Festival. And since Josh got home on Thursday, we wasted no time in taking part in the activities.

It all started Wednesday, when I took the boys to the park next to where they set up the carnival. The little roller coaster was closest to our picnic table so Zeke spent the next few days talking about the caterpillar ride (it was designed to look like a caterpillar and a garden) and asking when could he go on it. So when Daddy showed up on Thursday, and since we were going down by the festival to return library books on Friday, I figured Friday morning would be the perfect time to go down there and try out the caterpillar ride.

When we first got down there, it didn't look like any of the rides were moving yet, and the boys really wanted to stay at the library for story time, so stay we did. (And while the boys and I were at story time, Josh went and found an ATM.) After story time, Josh said the rides still weren't going, so we decided to look around the food booths, and let the boys go on a pony ride. All the food was pretty overpriced, and Zeke chickened out as we walked up to the ponies, but Deacon gladly got up there and had a blast.

After Deacon finished his ride, I decided to walk back to the carnival rides to see if they were going yet, and they were! So Josh went to the ticket booth while the boys and I waited by the caterpillar ride. Once we had tickets, we got the boys on the ride and watched them go. Deacon absolutely LOVED it. He laughed and smiled a huge smile the whole time. Zeke, on the other hand, started out okay, but once the ride really started going he only made this face.

That, in case you are wondering, is NOT a happy face. That is a very concerned face. When they got off Deacon cheered and asked to do it again. As Zeke came down the stairs I asked him if he liked the ride and he said, "No. It was too scary." Sweet boy.

After that the boys each popped a balloon with a dart (no pictures of this as Josh was trying to keep them and their darts facing the right way, and I was trying to keep Finn safe from any stray darts that might have headed his way) and won a bouncy ball. The Deacon went on the elephant ride while Josh took Zeke down the giant slide.

While Deacon was going around on the elephants I looks up at the slide and saw Zeke clinging to the railing, quite clearly freaking out. Josh said Zeke was doing fine until he told Zeke to look down at me. This caused Zeke to realize how high up he was, which led to his little panic attack. However, once they started going down the slide, Zeke relaxed and enjoyed the "ride". In fact, he enjoyed it so much that he went down it again a second time, but this time he went down all by himself while Deacon rode down with Josh. Then it was off to home for lunch and much needed naps.

The next morning was the Bear Paw parade, so we went to that too. We had a good time, especially since we hung out with some friends (Liam was in Zeke's class this past school year.)

Obviously this was taken before the parade started. But we had a lot of fun, and I'm really glad we did as much Bear Pawing as we did. Oh Alaska, you and your Bear Paw Festival will be truly missed.

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07 July 2011

Just the Facts, Ma'am

Last week I took this guy:

in the clinic for his 4 year check up. (This picture is a few weeks old, hence the longer hair, but I love it and feel it truly shows Deacon's personality, so I'm using it.) Deacon did really well at his appointment. He is 41 1/2 inches tall, placing him around 50% for his age. He weighed in at 41 pounds even, placing him in the 80th percent for his age. Yes, he is a thick boy. I'm not saying he's chunky, he's just solid.

Deacon is also working on potty training (finally). He pretty much has the hang of peeing in the toilet, and for the most part, is good about telling me when he has to pee. He does a great job staying dry all night too. Our only hang up (which is the only thing keeping him in diapers at night) is pooping. He just can't figure that out. But we are working on it, and maybe when Daddy gets home today(!) he can help us with that (and maybe with peeing standing up). It would be so nice to have Deacon completely trained by the time we fly next week. Fingers crossed!

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05 July 2011

Um...Really, Guys?

Sorry it's been a full week since my last post, but it really has been a FULL week. As you may or may not know, the movers came last Monday and Tuesday and took away all of our stuff.

The move itself went well enough, even though I was convinced by the end of it that every moving team should have at least one woman on it solely for organizational and common sensical purposes. Take, for example, my bed. The first day of the move, one of the movers worked on my room. He didn't get around to taking apart our bed, so he left it over night. This was fine since it meant I'd have a bed to sleep on. However,

This is what they left. Just my bed, the fitted sheet, and Josh's bow and arrows. No blankets, no pillows, nothing. I'm pretty sure if there was a woman on the team, she would have said something like, "Are you going to take apart and pack up that bed today? No? Then maybe you should leave the blankets and pillows out." Sigh.

Likewise, I'm sure a woman would have come through the living room, saw the computer piled like this

and would have asked, "Are you going to pack that computer tonight? No? Then maybe you should leave it plugged in just in case they'd like to use it for one more night?" Sigh.

Then there was this, which I'm still not sure how or why it happened

Yeah. They just left that pile of stuff in the middle of our living room over night. Sigh. I partly blame this on how scatterbrained they seemed. They'd work on whatever rooms, then they'd take a break, come back from their breaks and start working on a completely different room, leaving the first room halfway done. Which, again, a woman might have prevented by keeping them on task a little better.

My 2 favorite parts though, are when they quit at 4 on the first day because they "ran out of packing stuff" yet

I'm just saying.


I found this the day after they finished and left. I'm not even sure how this happened as that suitcase was one of the first things from the shed that was picked up to bring to the garage for packing. So, not only was it dropped shortly after being picked up, but it was then left there and either stepped over or walked around who knows how many times. Sigh.

Now, I'm not really saying a woman would have made it all better. Just someone with better leadership skills who was a bit more aware of what his team was (or wasn't) doing. And maybe who was more concerned with my move than with his plans for Tuesday night. Again, I'm just saying.

But, it's all packed up, gone, and on it's way to NJ. The boys and I are enjoying living in our mostly empty house, or "camping" as I've called it to convince Zeke that this is great fun. Now we are counting down the days until Josh gets back (Thursday) and then it's one more week until we fly.

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