see you later.

Late Friday night, our closest friends in the Army- The Cartiers- came to visit us at Fort Bragg. They are PCSing to Japan this month and were gracious enough to fit us into their extremely packed final weeks in the US! We were so thrilled to get one more day with them, before their three year stint abroad.

We spent Saturday morning in our pajamas doing what we do best- the adults (minus Andy, who had to work) ate chocolate chip banana pancakes and guzzled coffee, while the kids ran around and scream-laughed non-stop. By noon, we were all showered and dressed, so we walked down to the park to let the kids play until Andy got home. Once he linked up with us, we went downtown for lunch at The Blue Moon Cafe– AWESOME sandwiches and paninis, not-as-awesome 30 minute wait for our food. (My roast chicken and brie with balsamic reduction panini was blissful; Andrew and I will definitely be going back!) 
The rest of the afternoon was spent meandering through the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in downtown Fayetteville. Madeline snoozed in the Becco, but only because she was exhausted from all the hard playing with her buddies. The museum was really well done! We could have spent hours reading all the information and checking out the exhibits. (Andrew is already talking about going back!) After a brief photo shoot in front of the museum (Chris’ favorite part), we ended the day at Sweet Frog for a sweet snack before our friends got back on the road.
Iris and Madeline Iris smelling the roses.
Aunt Iris and Madeline stop to smell the roses.
The Cartiers plus Maddie in front of the Airborne and Special Operations Museum.
Madeline and her favorite Japan-bound family!
Military brats in front of the Airborne and Special Operations Museum.
Although she looks sad, Maddie is actually very happy here. 
Allison and Caroline in front of rose bushes.
Me and Caroline, being our fabulous selves in front of the rose bushes!
Allison, Iris and Caroline in front of the Airborne and Special Operations Museum.
Me, Iris and Caroline in front of the Airborne and Special Operations Museum.
Dads and daughters in front of the Airborne and Special Operations Museum.
Are they not the cutest little family you’ve ever seen!?
Saying goodbye is never easy for me, even if it is just a good old Army “see you later.” I laughed. I cried. We hugged. I cried. We waved as they drove away. And then we went inside, and I cried some more. 
So much will happen over the next three years. By they time they return home, Sean will be a teenager and in high school. Madeline will be four. There may even be another mini-Wilhelm in the mix by then. But I know our friendship won’t miss a beat. Get ready for some Skype dates, Cartiers! We love you!

the other side.

So…at the end of February, I resigned from my position at the television station for a reason that I’m not sure will ever make much sense to the “normal” working world. Andrew had received orders to PCS. We were moving to Fort Benning, GA for the Maneuver Captain’s Career Course.
It was quite difficult for me to walk away from a job that I enjoyed, was good at and felt invested in. It was strange to leave my position on such good terms. I worked more than three weeks after I gave notice. I trained my replacement. I spent the last week on the job being taken out to lunch by the Web Committee (the news director, chief meteorologist, digital content director, promotions director and radio director), my bosses and coworkers. On my last day, I was thrown a going away party, complete with ice cream sundaes. And I received a framed quote about my time with the company, complete with handwritten messages from all of my coworkers expressing their gratitude and well-wishes.
Being a working mil-spouse and being forced to put something down before you are ready to is a hard emotion to describe. I thought I was ready to let it go, ready to just get on with our lives and move forward to the next duty station. But, to my surprise, I cried as I walked out the doors of KRDO NewsChannel 13. I was (and will always be) so grateful for the opportunity to work there, to have found such great mentors and to have been given every opportunity to excel. Whether I knew it then or not, I found so much of my self-worth in my successes at work and giving that up was daunting, to say the least. I don’t know that I ever really would have been ready to leave…
But we did. We left. We packed up our Fort Carson home, tied up loose ends, said goodbye to friends and then drove three days across the country, five months pregnant, in two cars with two big puppies in tow? Not ideal. And when we got to Georgia things didn’t just fall into place. We spent a month shuffling between a hotel and a corporate apartment (or two, after a fiasco with hundreds of bees falling out of A/C vents had us moving out of one and into another).
In case you were wondering, the lesson here is to take as much leave as possible at your outgoing duty-station so that you are on the waiting list for housing much sooner before your report date.
We finally got on post housing, at the very end of March, in the projects of Ft. Benning (as we lovingly refer to them)- Perkins housing. We signed a waiver regarding possible lead paint and asbestos exposure to get into these brick beauties. They are ranch-style homes that were built in the 1940s (I’m guessing) and haven’t been updated or renovated since then (I’m sure of it). I think the spiders and cockroaches have lived here about that long, too. Another one of the many perks of Perkins…
Less than a week after we got the house, I was flying up to NY for an amazing baby shower with my incredibly generous family and friends. A few days later, my mom flew back down with me to Georgia, to help/motivate Andrew and I into unpacking our entire house. In the four days she was here we got all but five boxes opened and put away. She is a moving professional, an organizer and a life-saver. I only hope I can convince her to come with me when we move to our next home, which should be…oh you know…sometime before the end of this year.
::takes a deep breath::
Here we are. Made it to the other side. Our first PCS is under our belt. It was a little bit scary, it was sad, it was a whirlwind, but, when all is said and done, it really was not so bad. It was a learning experience. I’d rate it a B- (my husband might not be so generous).
Only just now, at the end of April- two and a half months later,  do I feel like am settling into my life on the other side. The other side of a PCS. The other side of the country. The other side of pregnancy (the third trimester). The other side of the workforce (stay at home mommyhood). 
The road ahead of me still seems daunting, but for different reasons now. Reason number one? I’m having a baby in nine weeks! What!?! But I’ve made it this far, and there is no turning back.
I surprised myself when I opened up a new post this morning, the day after my 26th birthday. It’s been a while since I took the time to write, to reflect. But it’s obvious to me now that I needed the reminder to:
Keep Calm and Soldier On.