Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Ryan Returns and an announcement

There was quite a bit happening in the last month but I didn't really write about any of it for one very important fact:

My husband was gone.
Ryan with the kids at the Easter Egg Hunt shortly before he left

The Internet can be a strange place and other than a few mentions on Facebook, I really tried not to broadcast that the kids and I were alone in Ohio for about 4 or 5 weeks.

But now Ryan is back!

Why did he leave?

After graduation we were trying to get an extension to stay until the end of the kids' school year. After exhausting all opportunities, it didn't happen. Ryan had to report to our next base in San Antonio. He would be missing Alanna's birthday and Easter... but he would come back in May to help with the pack out and then we all drive down to Texas together. The goal was for him to get down there and find us a place to live...

Which he did.

This brings me to my announcement: We are buying a house! Whoot! This seems like a surreal thing and I don't even feel that I'm old enough to take this on because it's such an adult thing to do. But, Ryan searched and searched with the realtor. We did a LOT of research on the schools in the area. Eventually we found a house, put in an offer, accepted the counter offer and are on our way! Right now I'm not sure when we close... we've done all our paperwork so now we're waiting on the bank.

Out of the other houses in the neighborhood we chose this specific one because it had all the things we were wanting but it still has plenty of room for improvement and upgrades. The house is 7 years old and the backyard has never been put in... it's all just weeds and scrub and dirt.

Why are we choosing to buy a house? Well, if we live in base housing all of our BAH is taken. Any other additional bills come out of our pockets. The base housing we qualify for is all duplexes and as a family of 4 we would only get a 3 bedroom house. This isn't necessarily a bad thing... but we can do better.

If we rent offbase we can get more house for our money but we are also paying somebody else's mortgage. And it is luck of the draw if you get a good landlord or not.

We did some number crunching (rather, hubby did the number crunching) and we found that by buying a home, including the taxes, our monthly payment is quite a bit under our BAH which allows saving money for upgrades or repairs, and also provides money for utilities. When it's time to move we have an option to rent it out and continue mortgage payments that way, or sell and receive money back for what we paid into it.

So yeah, Ryan did a lot of searching. We spent a lot of time on the phone and I was constantly looking online at the new houses put on the market. And by the way, San Antonio has a HOT housing market. At least twice we found a home we wanted to put a bid on only to be told it sold that morning.

Anyway, since it took us a long time to decide on a home we agreed to move our pack-out dates. Now we're leaving Ohio the first week of June instead of... ummm... last week.

There have been many things happening and even more things still to come!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Lovely Afternoon

We head to the park, sand toys in hand, and I sit myself under a shaded tree to rest, relax, and watch.

For more than an hour I am left in relative peace except for when I am called to see the most recent development my son has done with a stick, or a new hole dug, or be witness to one of my daughter's unending number trips down the slide.

I settle back in my chair and close my eyes. It is a beautiful day. The wind is wonderfully cool on this fairly hot afternoon. Ohio humidity hasn't kicked in yet... it's not like Texas will offer any relief. The grass here is lush and green and getting quite long. The birds can now always be heard chitter-chatting above us.

Oh I'm so tired I would love to nap here, outside...

Then one child starts yelling at the other for walking through their sand pile and I sigh. I open my eyes and observe to see if the conflict can resolve itself or if I have to intervene. Thankfully I offer a suggestion and crisis averted.

Faintly I hear retreat begin to play and I remind my kids to stop what they're doing. They attempt to stand still... at least they have a hand over their chests as they dare to slowly wander over to a different shovel. Life on base. They're learning.

The music ends and the collecting of toys begins. Final slides. Farewell to the park. It is time to make dinner. Baths are in store tonight.

What a lovely way to spend an afternoon.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Hands Against Hunger 2014

Every year our church is involved in a HUGE family friendly project called Hands Against Hunger (previously Kids Against Hunger)  where people from the church, partnership churches from the city, and people from around the community work at various times over a 3-day period to pack fortified rice meals.

This year we sent over 600,000 meals to Swaziland and Zambia!

Our Sunday School group always goes together so Ryan and I were signed up to volunteer Sunday morning. I forget why now, but Ryan wasn't able to come with me that week. Was it working his thesis? Finals? He was sick? I don't remember.

After I dropped off Lana in her class, Will had seen the commotion happening and said he wanted to be a part of it. I realized he was old enough and would probably do well, so I brought him with me.

Every group has the same stations. There are the 4 ingredients: rice, fortified soy, vegetables, and vitamins/minerals. Then there are 2 people who hold the bags and hand them off to the next 2 people who weigh them so they are the correct weight. From there they are sealed by another person, then placed and counted. Once the correct number is reached (I think it was 40 bags) they are loaded into a box, secured, and put on a pallet to go on a huge truck.

It looks like this:

Will started out dumping in the veggies. He was okay at it, but after awhile he started slowing down.

From there we moved onto decorating boxes.

Finally we ended up at the stacking and counting section and I realized Will should have been here the whole time. He loved this part! Stacking bags, patting them flat, loading them in a box... totally up his alley!

It is always a fun time. People are in high spirits. Things move quickly and before you know it you've finished your shift! Once we were done we headed to the Connection Center to look at some of the booths from A Child's Hope International and we bought some t-shirts. When you purchase a shirt, a Hope Box is sent to a child in another country (in our case Zambia) with a matching shirt, one of the fortified rice meals, a special water purifier packet, a challenge newspaper, and any "appropriate and needed medicines".

I'm glad Will was able to participate with us. He probably doesn't really know what it was all about, but he had a good time. I'm thankful we have a church with such a heart to reach out and serve in so many different ways. CLC has been a wonderful church home for us while we have lived here. If you're ever in the Dayton area I highly recommend checking out Christian Life Center of Dayton... there's something there for everyone.

Friday, May 2, 2014

mic check: 1, 2, 1, 2.... is this thing on?

I have taken nearly a month off from blogging. It has been a nice break... and I've still been reading my favorite blogs like Jessica Lynn Writes, My Camo Kids, and My Wholesome Home and I'm realizing I should branch out and find more non-military related blogs to follow. Anybody got suggestions?

I've got my list of topics I still want to write about and now I have to add in some of the highlights from April (like Easter and Lana's birthday).

Life has been busy and slightly stressful. We are moving to San Antonio in 2-4 weeks depending on the housing situation. Hopefully we will have a solution to our living arrangements by Monday or Tuesday. **fingers crossed**

This PCS is just starting to feel real. Sticking around here since AFIT finished has felt a little awkward. Most of my friends have already left and I see on FB and through messages that they are settling into their new homes and starting their new lives. Those of my friends who are still here are making plans for the summer and even the fall and I won't be around for that. I have felt like I'm in limbo with nothing to do but bide our time. It's for the best... so Will can finish school, or get nearly to the end of the school year.. but that doesn't totally stop me from feeling like I'm just treading water.

Today was the preliminary inspection to check out of housing. I'm happy to say it went well. The best news was that our carpet has passed its life expectancy so we don't have to be as concerned over the condition when we leave. Of course I'll have them cleaned, but chances are it will be replaced anyway once we leave.

My goal is that in the next week I will be preparing for the movers by taking stuff off the walls, touch up painting, separating and organizing stuff, cleaning out a closet for the DO NOT PACK room, and picking up what is needed from the self help store. I'd also love to have all the laundry caught up so I can put that away and live on minimums for awhile. Also... I need to go through the shoe closet downstairs because we have a ton of shoes that the kids don't wear for one reason or another (mostly because they've outgrown them).

I am seeing yet another trip to Goodwill in my future.

Oh well, life is always an adventure and living the military life makes it more so!
sneak peek of April: going inside several Air Force One planes