And it's here. Time for Army move number eight! With just three weeks left in Tucson, we're beginning to close this chapter of our lives and gear up for the next stage, in Alabama--for the third time. This change is certainly bitter-sweet as we have to leave both of our families once again. However, the move is also exciting because it's the last step in Tim's training before he becomes an instructor at the United States Military Academy, a goal he's worked towards since graduating at that same institution.
This move will be a little different than the others for a couple reason. One, we'll be moving with two kids (across the country!). Two, Adeline is old enough now to kind of understand what is happening. We're planning to break up the trip to Alabama over about ten days, mostly because Lincoln despises the carseat. But it'll also give us a chance to reunite with the friends God has provided for us over the last seven years as we've moved around the country like nomads.
During the last couple of months, we've been talking to Adeline about our upcoming move and what that will look like in her life: the sad changes like not getting to see family so often, but also the fun stuff, like being closer to the beach. In trying to make the move appealing, we bought her the above suitcase that she found at Walmart, in hopes that she'll enjoy all the packing and hotel-hopping to come. On the information side of things, I downloaded a free Sesame Street app on our Kindle that teaches military children about relocating, which has actually become Addie's favorite game. The app does a pretty good job of preparing children for what to expect--packing up, saying goodbye, the road trip, and settling into a new home. At Sesame Street for Military Families, you can find a video and coloring pages that help kids understand the move. In addition, the site offers talking points for parents.
This week Adeline and I spent some time learning about Alabama. We have a Melissa and Doug United States puzzle that I used that to show her our trip route. Then, I pulled out our Lincoln logs and asked her to build our "new home" in Alabama. She made a pretty cute house =).
As I was about to marry into the military, one of my friends gave me this beautiful book about Alabama, since it was the first state I'd be moving to with Tim. It's part of a fabulous series that uses the alphabet to explore every state. Now, one of our traditions is to buy the matching book for each state in which we're stationed. After building with Lincoln Logs, Addie and I looked at A through E, We learned about Alabama rivers, Bellingrath Gardens, Caves, the Heart of Dixie, and the Boll Weevil Monument in Enterprise.
After that, we got on the computer and looked up the places we had just learned about. I pinned some of them on Pinterest so we wouldn't forget to visit (like a couple of the oldest caves in the nation).
Military moves are certainly challenging for children, but it can be just as difficult for us adults. Even though I've moved seven times (in as many years) since marrying Tim, the goodbye part doesn't get any easier. When you live away from family, the friends around you step in to become your family. And although our family is actually here in Tucson, I've made a couple fantastic friends over the last year and half that I wish I could pack up and take with me to Alabama! Luckily, we'll always return to Tucson during Tim's military career, so I hope to see these beloved people a couple times each year.
One of my cherished new friends is the mother of this adorable redhead. Our girls absolutely love each other! Addie and I are going to sincerely miss playdates with this family. Hopefully we can still connect over Skype, despite the distance.
But before our final goodbyes, the packing must begin! Originally we were going to have the Army move us, but because of some logistics, we've decided to do it ourselves. We'll pack over the next couple of weeks, then ship our house goods off to New York for storage. In the meantime, we'll pack our SUV and tow our car (filled with the essentials) to Alabama. There, we'll rent a furnished unit for the next three months. In June, we'll pack up the SUV and car once again for another move all the way up to West Point, NY. Whew! This next stage is going to be a whirl-wind! But as always, I know God is plucking us and planting us where He needs us. Wish us luck!