So, the last time I posted we were waiting on a date to leave Hawaii. Well we got that date approval to leave early. We could leave Feb 9th. Next we needed orders, because in the military you can't do anything without "official" orders, even if you already know when and where you are supposed to be doing something. Usually orders come last minute and you are left scrambling to get everything done on time. However, we were blessed to get orders very quickly! So then we were busy with getting all the medical records in order, booking airline tickets, arranging to have Tony's car shipped, scheduling movers , etc. With Christmas and all that we were quite busy.
The movers came on Jan 21st. They packed and loaded our stuff for the next 2 days. Then we stayed in our mostly empty house with temporary loaner furniture until the end of the month. The military has programs overseas where you can borrow the necessities like beds, table, and something resembling a couch while you are in the process of moving. We were also able to borrow a box of very basic kitchen necessities. It was very helpful. At the end of the month, we were allowed to go stay in lodging for 10 days until we left the island. We were so blessed to be able to get lodging on the pretty side of the island. We got to spend our last days in Hawaii on the very beautiful, tropical mountainous side. It was absolutely wonderful, and the perfect way to end our time on the island.
During this time we were still looking to find housing in VA, and sell our van. We had decided to sell our van instead of shipping it, It had been on the island it's whole life, and as a result very much looked like an "island" van. (Quite a bit of rust) The military will only pay to ship one car, so we would have been out a couple thousand dollars to ship it, plus it would sell for more in Hawaii. It was a tough spot to be in though. We needed to sell it before we left, but still needed it to get our family around. Housing in VA was still looking pretty hopeless. We couldn't afford to rent anything in a good area and the wait list for the Air Force housing was still super long. So, we decided to check into housing on the Army base that is about 20 miles from the Air Force base. (It's actually a joint base with the Air Force, meaning that they function together under a lot of the same leadership, even though they are different branches.) We really didn't want Tony to have to commute that far every day, but we were desperate for a house, especially with the baby coming. Well Ft Eustis had a house available for us shortly after we would be arriving in VA! We were so very relieved. We would be able to move in about 10 days after getting to VA. That sounded great to us, as we waited 60 days after arriving in Hawaii for a house. Meanwhile, we hadn't had anyone show interest in our van at all. Tony got a power of attorney for a friend from work to be able to sell it on our behalf after we left the island. We were still under a bit of a time crunch as we had to sell it before we arrived in VA and needed to buy another. Well...about 24 hours before we left the island a guy looked at it, loved it and bought it on the spot! He lived on Kawaii, and was more than happy for us to keep it until we left the next day and then ship it to him whenever. God's timing was PERFECT! We got almost as much as we paid for the van, and had Tony's friend ship it to the other island after we left. So then we said goodbye to the special people that had truly been our ohana on the island for 3 years. That was the hardest part about leaving Hawaii...
We flew off the island at 10pm on Feb 9th. We had about a 5 hour flight to LAX and then an 8 hour layover there. Thank God for USOs. We crashed there for the majority of our layover and took naps on couches. (We arrived at LAX at 3am Hawaii time) This mommy slept pretty much not at all on the plane. From LAX we flew to Colorado Springs. WE arrived in CO around 5pm (mountain time) to flurries outside of the airplane windows. The girls were super excited, but definitely not a fan of the cold! By the time we got our luggage and rented a van it was snowing heavily! The last time Natalie had seen snow was when she was 3, Gabbie was only 1, and of course Savannah had never seen snow, or experienced temperatures below 65. So we were loading all our bags in the van and trying to get 3 car seats strapped in, all while getting snowed on. The big girls were going crazy trying to catch snowflakes on their tongues and Savannah was SCREAMING, because she had NO idea what was going on! I saw Savannah shiver for the first time! It was both the saddest and cutest thing! We spent the night at a hotel in CO Springs and woke up the net morning to a few inches of beautiful snow! The girls were still pretty excited about it, but only from somewhere that was warm inside. The were COLD! I couldn't believe that we got to see snow that soon after arriving back on the mainland. We then drove the 8 hours to Amarillo. The girls did great on the trip, aside from Savannah getting carsick once. She had never been in the car for longer than an hour or so at a time. None of us were used to being in the car for long periods of time, but the trip was smooth and we left the snow (but not the cold) behind.
We arrived in Amarillo that evening, returned the rental van and got to see my family for the first time in about a year and a half. It was so nice! The big girls were so excited to see Mimi and Pawpaw!! Even though Savannah had only really seen Mimi and Pawpaw on skype, she went right to them and acted like she had knows them her whole life! Well, she had Mimi and Pawpaw backwards as to who was who, since she had only seen them together on skype. ha ha! It didn't take her long to get it straightened out though. Mimi and Pawpaw were very quickly her favorite people for the next 3 weeks while we were there!
The day after arriving in Amarillo it snowed again. Quite a bit this time and the girls were able to make their first snowman! We enjoyed our time in Texas. My older sister was able to come up from Houston for almost 2 weeks while we were there and I was able to meet my niece for the first time! It was a bit of an adventure having 2 little girls under the age of 2 there at the same time. We had lots of fun though, in spite of a virus making it's way around every adult in the house. It snowed one more time while we were there....this time a record breaking blizzard of 20 inches!! Pretty much unheard of for Texas! I don't think I've ever seen that much snow, and it left us with 6+ foot drifts. CRAZY. By this time, I was DONE with the snow. I wanted to see a little snow once, but the snow had been hanging around us almost the whole time we had been on the mainland. The girls had fun climbing on the huge drifts and playing in the snow this time too, but they definitely had less enthusiasm for it than with the previous snows.
After 3 weeks in Texas it was time to continue our journey. We flew from Amarillo to VA on March 5th. We arrived late at night to more cold weather and rain. We had lodging on the Air Force base reserved there for 10 days. We planned to go look at a van that we had found online the next day, but were unable to go that day because of...MORE SNOW! It wasn't bad where we were, but the van was about an hour away and the snow was bad there. So we were stuck in the hotel in our new city unable to go do anything for that first day. The next day we went and looked at the van. It was pretty much my dream van, and I'd been watching it online for a couple of weeks hoping that it wouldn't sell before we could get there. And hoping that it wasn't too good to be true. It was about 4000k below the blue book price, and we would never be able to afford one with all those features if this particular one didn't work out. We took it for a test drive, and decided that it was indeed a good deal! (As much as you can tell about any used car from just a test drive anyway.) Buying a used car in our price range is always nerve wracking! You just never know. However, we only pay cash for cars, so we had to stay within our range. Our last 2 used, cash vehicle purchases were great for us, so we are hoping that this one will be the same! We got a 2008 Toyota Sienna XLE Limited. It has leather, heated seats, sunroof, dvd player, built in GPS and backup camera...almost all the fancy extras. It was pretty high in miles at a little over 100k...but since it's a Toyota it should be good for at least 100k more. And like I said, in our price range we are limited. I believe that God had our name on this van! I love it.
After about 9 days in the hotel we got the keys to our house, and all of our stuff delivered. We have been busy getting unpacked and trying to get organized ever since. It takes me a little longer with 3 kids and a big belly that prevents me from lifting anything very heavy or moving very quickly most of the time. We haven't gotten to do much exploring of the area yet, but that's ok. We have time for that. We are still waiting on the military to pay us what they owe us for the move. We had to pay for hotels and plane tickets ourselves and get reimbursed for it. That was a few thousand dollars. Looks like we could be waiting another month or so at least.
I finally get to go to the Dr tomorrow. I haven't been for an OB checkup in 8 weeks. I am now 35 1/2 weeks. Because of the move, the pregnancy has really flown by! I haven't had time to focus on it, or getting ready for baby. Hopefully I can do that now. :o)
We had a few minor bumps in the road on our very long journey. They were minor though. God's hand was on us the whole time and he provided just what we needed, at just the right time. We were concerned about the transition for Savannah, as she has always slept in her own house and doesn't sleep if she's not in her own bed. She had a few rough nights, but overall did GREAT! Gabbie doesn't adapt to change well, but she is doing much better now that we are finally unpacked in our house. Saying goodbye to all your friends, living out of a suitcase and being homeless for 2 months while moving about 5,000 across the country isn't easy for anyone. My girls have been troopers, and I am so proud of them!
I tried to just give basic details so this post wouldn't be the length of a book. Hopefully someone made it all the way to the end! Here are some pics now! (Sorry about the picture size and quality...I don't have the original files)