Tag: states

Driving Cross Country Series- #2

Driving Cross Country Series- #2

Well now that you have everything from your lists taken care of, what do you do now? What my husband and I did was sit down and Google all of the places that we wished to see along the way on our drive from Virginia to California. And yes we even made a list of the places we wished to see so that we could pick and choose which ones to do on this trip and what places to save for another time. We finalized our list of places to drive to along the way for a nice family trip, allowed our daughter put in her two cents since it made her feel like she was apart of the planning experience, and we were ready for the day to come when we would hit the dusty trails. We had a blow up mattress and a blow up couch from Wal-Mart that we used until we had to pack the car and leave. We said our good byes to where my husband used to work and to the friends we had made, piled into our van, and headed out of Virginia Beach with a car full of bags and other materials that we had to keep for cleaning the house we were renting. Our daughter had her own bags up front by her car seat where she could grab them and play with her iPad, read some books, play with the mess free coloring books, and her stuffed toy friends that she had picked to take with her as her entertainment. We had a cooler and bags of snacks behind the passenger seat so that we can easily have access to drinks and food along the way. My husband and I would make sure to take turns driving and napping so that we didn’t wear ourselves out with just one of us driving all day long. Always make sure that you share the responsibility in the driving. It will make the trip a lot more fun and enjoyable. Also as the passenger, make sure that you have the camera ready at hand and take pictures. The pictures might not seem like much or might be boring to some but to you and your family, they will mean something because you took them while in the car and outside of the car when stopped at one of your destinations that will remind you of the great adventure that you all went on together as a family. Capturing memories as they say.

Another important factor to make this road trip a good one besides having fun destinations and a camera is to make pit stops. Even if you don’t feel that you need one, other people in the car may need it and whether you think you do or not, you definitely need a stop and stretch your legs. It may make the trip seem longer but it will help you especially if you have kids who have to sit trapped in a car seat for hours on end. Their little legs are just dangling there, they may need to go potty, and yes they will get bored so a bit of distraction like getting out of the car will help them readjust to being back in the car for a bit longer. And of course make sure you always stop for gas and/or snacks and drinks when needed. Have an envelope in your car where you can store your receipts if you are military because it makes it so much easier on you or your SO, whichever is in the military, to turn everything in so that you can be reimbursed at the end of your trip.

To entertain yourself as the driver as well as your passenger, pick out some good long audiobooks in genres that you both like. An audiobook can definitely help the time go by if someone is napping in the car or if you two just wish to listen to something other than music from the radio or from Pandora or whatever else you listen to for music. Make sure you’re listening to something child appropriate or have your little one wear headphones and play on their iPad. Our daughter loved playing ABCMouse.com or PBS kids on her iPad, both great learning tools, while my husband and I would listen to our audiobooks or music or just chat. It was so much easier that she had so much to do in order to keep her entertained. Though there were times when she would complain about being bored or wanting to get out of the car and it’s those moments you find a rest stop or another place to stop, pull off the road, and let her out so she can stretch and get some fresh air. Then she was ready to jump back into the car and go, go, go.

Do what you can to make the trip as pleasant as you can for yourself as well as for the others you are traveling with so then the trip can go smoothly and without too many things going wrong or hopefully with nothing going wrong at all.

Remember- have a camera, take lots of pictures even if they might not seem remarkable to anyone but you and your family, have music and audiobooks to listen to, have plenty of games and other items for your child or children to play with so that they can stay entertained, have food and drinks close at hand in the car, make pit stops even if you don’t feel like you need them since someone else might need them especially your kid(s), and have an envelope in order to store all of your receipts that you collect while on the trip.

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Driving Cross Country Series- #1

Driving Cross Country Series- #1

Imagine this! You’re a military family, having lived in a place for nearly three years, and it’s time for new orders. So what do you do? Well after you have decided together hopefully where you wish to go for your next duty question, that’s when you should whip out the notebook and begin to make lists. Yes you did read that right; I did say to make lists. Lists about what to have packed by the movers, lists about what you will need to keep out until you are ready to leave the house you are renting or own, lists about realtors if you plan on selling your house and who can help get your place sold quickly or if you decide to rent which property managers you would talk to about renting out your home, lists about what you wish to sell online or in your garage sale if you decide to have one, lists about what clothes to keep out for yourself, your SO, and if you have a kid or kids, what you will keep out for them. Lists about what you have in the house including your household items might always be a good idea since we know even in the military our belongings get stolen quite often or somehow “misplaced” from the truck to the warehouse where they are stored until you have found a new place to live at your new duty station. Lists about what needs to be cleaned in the house, who to call for cleaning your floors (especially if you are in a rental), and what might need to be repaired before you can sell/rent/leave your rental house, condo, or apartment. Even have lists about what you wish to pack in order to keep yourself entertained on either the flight or driving (we chose to drive cross-country but more about that later) as well as what you wish to take to keep the kiddies entertained. And last but not least, make sure that you have a list of snacks that you, your SO, and your kids like so that when you do a little food shopping you can stock up on those oh so important snacks that everyone will enjoy, on a car trip. If you are flying, then you might not need to remember this list.

So now that you have your lists in hand, you can begin to go through your clothes and your other items to decide what should go and what will stay. Broken things go in the trashcan, items that need mending maybe put off to the side so you can finally get them mended, and just keep going for those next several days, getting rid of items, making sure that your items to be packed are ready to go for once the overs get there, and your clothes and other items you will be taking in the car or on the plane with you maybe stashed off to the side so that you can easily pack them up once the time comes. The best way to be prepared is to make lists, have a plan, and execute said plan in the days to come until you have to say adios to the state or country that you are currently living in and hello to the new state or country you have decided to make your new home for two, three, four, several years.

Making lists have always helped me because when I didn’t make lists, I would think of everything that we had to do before we left and I became way too overwhelmed and couldn’t function right. It also helps my husband to see what has been done and what still needed to be done so that he can pitch in to help out. Our four-year old daughter, who was three years old when we decided to drive cross-country from Virginia to California just last year, helped as much as she could. She would grab things she wanted to keep for the car trip out and we would have her little bags where she could pack everything inside. She actually was a good little helper for her mommy as her mommy buzzed around the house getting things ready. I also liked having lists in hand because then it was a motivator for me to not wait and to not procrastinate until the last-minute to get something important done like selling certain items we didn’t need any longer but worked great or cancelling our daughter’s MyGym class ASAP. So I have come to rely on lists for the military life as well as other aspects in my life. I even have a list for this blog series I am about to write about our trip from VA to CA. Of course, we did the same trip three years ago last October from CA to VA and our daughter wasn’t even one yet but I decided to do this trip because we didn’t stop in many places on the first trip since my husband needed to get back to work as soon as we were moved into our rental house in Virginia Beach so there wasn’t much time for us to make any stops except for at night and to sleep and for pit stops during the day. This second trip across country was more eventful and quite fun for all of us because we had decided to slow down, take in some sights along the way, and actually enjoy the car trip.

So remember whether you are military or aren’t military but planning a trip for vacation or moving, make your lists so you can check everything off as you go! Lists are quite fun to make and helps keep you on track with time crunches, packing, and anything else you might need to add to said lists for your vacation or move to go smoothly and hopefully help iron out any hiccups that might happen, since we all know that those happen from time to time.

As I had said earlier, this blog is just the first of many in a series that I will write that will include strategies for driving cross-country, especially with a little one, and talking about the places/states that we have stopped in along the way as well as with reviews of said places that we had stopped to enjoyed and reviews on the places where we stayed in at night (hotels and motels a like). So sit back, grab a cup of tea or coffee, and enjoy the cross-country trip of this military family as we make plenty of stops along the way from Virginia Beach, VA to San Diego, CA.

Gaming With Love

Gaming With Love

This is a short fiction story but it is dedicated to those out there who are in love and are in a long distance relationship. I have been there myself for three years before my husband (military and stationed on the east coast) and I (at the time preschool teacher and college student on the west coast) could be together for good. So until that day, continue to hold on to your love for one another and find things that you can do together even though miles apart. Can be states apart or countries apart, love knows no boundaries. Enjoy!

 

He sits staring at the screen, his fingers carefully tapping each key to make the character that he had created move from left to right, dodging bullets. Beside his character, a female character runs past, guns blazing and no fear in her heart. She shoots down one person dead while he makes his game character shoot another character, saving their own lives for a bit longer in the game.

Max lets out a joyous cry after the two that they are fighting fall face first into the ground, leaving behind two back packs ready for looting. In his headphones, he can hear his girlfriend, Holly, say something about finding a car so that they can get clear of that area, since they had seen other players looting the nearby homes. “Okay, yea, let’s go get a car.”

The two characters race across an open field, trying to keep low to the ground so as to not draw any attention to themselves and draw enemy fire their way. No guns shoot in their direction as they make their way into a small group of abandoned dilapidated buildings that look to be untouched. Max pushes the door open to the first building they came across and enters before Holly, who trails in behind him, keeping her gun at the ready and her view behind them so that they can’t be caught off guard by an ambush from behind.  They quickly loot the house before they move on to the next, still not running into any other players out for their blood and their loot. After they have finished looting the buildings, they head outside and move to the other side of a crumbling wall to find a few cars but they have all been destroyed already. Max and Holly run further from the wall and into the tree line once they hear a car heading towards the buildings that they had just been at. They duck behind a few trees and peer out as the car slows down and comes to a stop with four people getting out of it.

“Okay, baby, let’s take them down and take their car,” Max says into his microphone as he checks his character’s gun to make sure that it is loaded and ready to go.

Holly scoffs at his plan, “Really? Babe, there are four of them and only two of us. We can…” She sighs heavily as she watches Max rush forward, shooting towards the driver of the car. She stays hidden as the four men rush her boyfriend. “Babe!” She groans and steps out from behind the tree, shooting down two of the four before the third shoots her down and the fourth kills her boyfriend, who had been crawling on the ground.

“Man! I was so close to taking the other two down,” Max grumbles as he shoves his keyboard away from him. “Okay, yea maybe that was a bad idea but they had a car.”

“And we could have either stolen it while they were inside the houses or have gone for another one somewhere else, hun,” Holly says as she readjusts herself in her chair in front of her computer. “Okay it’s time for bed so I’ll give you call tomorrow after I get off work.”

Max stretches his arms up over his head before he flops more into his chair, “All right, babe, that sounds good to me. Maybe tomorrow we can play a different game instead of this one. Oh hey how about that new horror game that we can both play and purchased a while back?” He swings in his chair back and forth as he leans his head back against the comfortable cushion on the back of his chair and enjoys the sound of her voice.

“That sounds like fun,” Holly exclaims as she closes out of the game and readies herself to turn off her computer after she said good night. “We’ve only had that game for nearly a month waiting for us to play it.” She laughs when she hears Max mumble under his breath about this and that for not having time to play it before now. “Okay then it’s a gaming date. Love you, baby.”

Max smiles to himself, “I love you, too. Have a good day at work tomorrow, babe.” He makes a few kissing noises to her before he takes off the headphones and leaves the chat that they use in order to talk to one another during game play. He sits for a while staring at his computer screen, after he has closed the game, to where a picture of his smiling girlfriend sits, taking up the background behind his folders and things. He touches his lips with his fingertips then presses the fingertips to the lips of his girlfriend in the picture on the computer screen. “Good night, babe.” He turns the computer off and sighs heavily before he stands up, carefully making his way out from behind his desk. He grabs a black sharpie pen and walks over to where he has a calendar up on the wall beside the door. He crosses off that day on the calendar with a thick black and counts the weeks to see how many he still has left before he will get to fly out to see his girlfriend, who lives in another state. He returns the sharpie to his desk before he leaves his gaming room, turns off the lights, and heads off to his bedroom to do a few other things before he had to go to bed, since he is three hours behind his girlfriend.