We got here last week sometime....I can't remember when, it's all a blur. :P I've been steadily and sometimes frantically unpacking stuff every day since then. Our house is a 3 bedroom Duplex with a big ole garage, nestled at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac in the town of Yelm, Washington--about 20 minutes from Ft. Lewis. We are just across a "field" from a beautiful water conservation park, which means it's got water features (pond, stream, fountains) supplied by "reclaimed water" from the city. It makes a lovely walk in the afternoons...and there is also fishing! Our town also features a composting/organic waste pickup service, as well as a recycle can 2x as big as our garbage can. We're also charged extra per month if our garbage can "overflows." :) I love it. We also have no a/c, since the weather is mostly pretty mild out here...70's most of the summer, and 40's in the winter. I'm looking forward to lower electricity bills!!
There are blackberries everywhere you walk, and woods just behind our back fence, yet we are only a 1/4 mile from the quaint downtown of Yelm where you can find a butcher shop featuring locally raised meats, a farmer's market, a Mac store, a bowling alley, a movie theater, a food co-op and healthfood store, and also, a Buddhist temple. :D There's also plenty of locally owned stores...the only "chains" I noticed in the area are a couple Starbucks & fast-food places, a Wal-Mart, and a Safeway. Everything else, you have to peer closely at the sign to know what their business is. :) Just down the state road is Nisqually Indian Reservation...famous for the Red Wind Casino...yeah.....and fireworks. :) There's also a winery about 8 miles from us, and the next town down the road, Roy, is famous for their Prairie Rodeo. Yes, folks....Washington has a Prairie, and we're living in it.
Our backyard is 3x the size of our townhouse yard in Harrisonburg. The addition of the "concrete play-yard" of garage, driveway, and quiet street are more exciting to Violet, however, who has mastered the art of tricycling. We're mostly excited about the GARAGE. :D Ben now has storage for his ever-growing tool stash, and we now have an "area" to put a manly-man desk (meaning, huge, functional, but perhaps ugly.) and lots of wires...and I WON'T CARE! Also, having room to store seasonal items is a HUGE break for me. The last house we were in as a family (Ft. Lewis) I had to empty, cull, and re-organize the closets every time we bought a Christmas ornament or Violet outgrew a baby toy. Now, I just put it in a Rubbermaid Tub, and stack it on up!
I've been enjoying the process of decorating the new place, though it does get stressful sometimes. I'm a little stumped with what to do in Violet's room. It has no windows, so my Rule of Thumb in Decorating (always start with window treatments) will not work here. She mostly has toys, toys, and more toys......and likes it that way, so...there's not much I can do with that....other than line the room with shelves. :P It turned out to be a much smaller room than I expected, so we downgraded to the old toddler bed for her, instead of the pretty, recently decorated canopy bed we brought from Virginia. She doesn't seem to mind...
Funny thing: when she first walked in the door and took a tour of the home, I asked her if she liked our new home in Washington...she said, "But, this isn't Washington, Mom! Washington has STAIRS!" Oddly, she remembers our Ft. Lewis home! Another amazing memory feat of hers: we pulled into Madigan Army Hospital, and as we rounded the corner she said, "Mom! Aedon's baby was here!!" *mouth drops open* "You're RIGHT, honey!" July, 2009, Aedon's baby sister was born at MAMC, and we visited her there!
So far, settling in has been (besides hard work) a roller coaster of emotion. There's still no Daddy....and that makes ANY adjustment ten times as hard. Also, Violet has no friends close by, so my work is punctuated with her boredom. :( Grace has graduated the "sleeps through anything in her carseat" phase....and left us with 90 minutes TOPS to accomplish anything out of the house during the day. Grocery shopping is pretty much all we can do anymore. I have been utilizing Amazon for any other major shopping stuff, since we can't go out. The first day I figured this out we were at the Tri-Care office, waiting around, filling out paperwork, etc. She was in the stroller (carseat), and I figured she'd just sleep through all of it. NOPE. She was awake that day from noon (when we left) till way past 10 PM. Once we got back she was so over-tired she would NOT be consoled into sleeping anymore, then awakened 3 times during the night. It happened again the next day when I attempted Wal-Mart...bright little awake eyes peeped at me throughout the whole shopping trip. I was once again awake with her till late into the night, and up with her throughout the night, consoling her back to sleep.
So, yes. My Children Do Not Sleep.
This is why I will frequently turn down invitations from friends in the first 6-8 months. No, we can't go there, no we can't see that, we can't meet them, we can't play there. :( I haven't left the premises since Thursday...and she's finally back to waking only once in the night....and content with being put down to sleep at night (minimal crying...) Ugh. These are hard days...
News from Ben: If you kept up with things in Iraq this week, you'll read about what he's been doing. He's now pretty much finished up and is just awaiting his name being called onto his flight home. That should take place sometime early next week. I expect to get a call anytime after Sunday. In the meantime, he's on "reverse cycle" getting ready to head home...sleeping all day, awake all night.
Preparing for his homecoming has been a whirlwind of emotions. These last 2 months have been devastatingly hard on me. Packing up my home, my infant baby, and saying goodbye to so many family, so many close friends...the Body of Christ in Harrisonburg, in particular....was the hardest thing I've ever done. It was so hard it competed with the joy & anticipation of Ben's coming back. I believe I just emotionally closed up...totally compartmentalized everything for a couple months in order to get through it. Everything, of course, was augmented by having a tiny baby to nurse and the lack of sleep accompanying that. Fighting all my maternal instincts to nestle down and just watch my baby grow was incredibly difficult. Had I known we were going to have Grace...Violet & I would NEVER have made the move to the east coast. It was incredibly hard to uproot with 2 little ones and come back. Not to mention...having to go through saying goodbye to my sister & family BEFORE I left. None of this was anticipated when we decided to come eastwards during this last deployment.
Only in the last 2 days have I felt myself begin to "unfold..." My fists unclench a bit, and my jaw is relaxed...sort of. I have had a horrible pain in my neck since about June...when we started packing.....and it's worsened up till now. Just 2 nights ago I started running again, down our cul-de-sac and back (many reps) and that has helped loosen that muscle knot. At the same time, my heart has begun to loosen up...opening up those tightly-closed compartments, memories of Ben, and anticipation....of his coming home. I'm unpacking his clothes today, and imagining him...remembering him. Soon....so very soon, now.
I'll be posting pics of the house later, as things really begin to take shape. My style is a little cramped with not being able to paint this time....I miss the color, for sure. But, it's also a challenge, and I do enjoy a challenge!