Another New Saga: Day 1

I did not even realize it had been since November I was here last.  And the last post was about Allan deploying to Djibouti, Africa.  He didn't end up going there and we even had the express privilege of having him home for the last several months.  It was a good thing, as it was a time of intense pressure, change and need for our little family.  I can't get into too much, as we were a foster family and a lot of it has to do with others' privacy, but suffice it to say it was a trial.  Of course, we've been richly blessed (and pray they have been, too!) by the experience, but that (short!) chapter of our life is over for now.

Allan was home because the company messed up by telling him the contract for Djibouti was a go.  It was actually never theirs to hire out, so they sent him home until they could figure out where to send him.  In late March we got a call saying they might have to put him on unpaid furlough.  They like him a lot and they want him on, but they couldn't keep paying him not knowing if they had a position for him.  2 days before they were going to cut his pay, his boss called and said, "how does upstate New York sound?"  We thought a paycheck versus unemployment sounded good, so we said, "New York sounds amazing!"  He left in mid-April and the kids and I stayed behind to finish GraceAnne's public school year and close out our lease agreement.  I never imagined when we left Texas that we would be moving again so soon, but thanks to all the stress of the last few months, I was more than ready to drive away Monday!

We did things a tad differently this time, as we sold almost everything we own.  I see our stuff owning us, as this is the 2nd time in a year that our "stuff" has kept us away from our husband/daddy.  We decided it wasn't worth it and over the last 2 months I have systematically sold or given away as much as I possibly could.  Considering we condensed a 2500sq ft house with a huge barn full of stuff (not nearly as full as most Americans, but still...) into a 5x10 storage unit + a Suburban with the rear seat folded I'd say we accomplished our purpose.
The 5x10 space our "stuff" now occupies is far smaller than even the space we started with as a new couple and pretty much only contains the things we will need in the next 6 months/memories.
The kids made "nests" to sleep on after we sold the beds.
We planned our trip up carefully, knowing that 21 hours was too far for me to drive in 2 days alone with the kids.  GraceAnne was hoping to see the mountains, so I plotted a path that took a bit more easterly route through the Appalachians.  It will take us 5 days to reach the town in upstate New York where we will live for the summer and each day consists of 5-6 hours of driving. 

Dreaming of daddy and hotel rooms
Our last day in Leavenworth was filled with goodbyes at church, meeting with the landlords for the changing of keys, leaving money for the carpet cleaners, re-positioning the bikes on the roof of the Suburban and other general busy-ness.  We fell into bed Sunday night dreaming of it all being done and being reunited with Allan.

After closing our bank account, mailing some last minute packages and stopping for Starbucks, we finally rolled out of Leavenworth at 11am Monday morning.  When I told the kids to wave goodbye to the house Violet said, "OH MAN!  Now I have TWO houses to miss!"  Sweet girl.  She is totally game for adventure, though, and they all think being in hotels is living the high-life, so she's alright.
The kids showing off our mad car packing skills.  That's our whole "life."

They weren't sick of the car yet.
We drove until about 2pm when we stopped for lunch in Missouri.  Our original choice ended up being a flop because the antsy kids and I were sitting for 10 minutes and no one had even gotten our drink order, so we left (much to the hungry, antsy kids' initial dismay) and went up the road to Cracker Barrel.  I'd say it was a success.  I was even able to eat a gluten-free lunch that was filling and delicious!
Turkey Salad with sweet potato crunchers.  Very tasty!
Happy campers to finally get some lunch.  Mom was determined to drive 3 hours before stopping.  Whoops.
Shortly after lunch we passed through Missouri and into Illinois via St Louis.  I very distinctly remember my mom raving like a lunatic every time we drove through St Louis, so when I do I'm always on edge.  (we drove through there to get to AR from WI when I was little.  I drove through there as an adult to get from TX to WI)  I would say if you are going through St Louis, east/west is the way to do it.  We didn't hit one cloverleaf or crazy exit.  We were lucky enough to get stuck in rush-hour traffic, too, so we got to see some awesome sights up close!
The Arch-does it EVER get old?  I think no.

This was mind-blowing...do you see the trees growing out of the building??

After the last leg of our trip we stopped in Mt Vernon, IL.  I tried to post from the hotel room there, but evidently-even in a city-Illinois is still just a cornfield.  It never ceases to amaze me that we had (then 3g) service with full bars throughout the entire Mojave Desert, but in Illinois I can't so much as make a phone call without dropping the line.  We were all so tired from the insanity of the last few weeks that I wasn't heart broken over no service.  The kids and I walked to dinner at Lone Star and then we vegged at the hotel.
I had them run the entire half-mile (in block long increments-we hold hands to cross roads!) to Lone Star to work out some of the road-trip wiggles.

Even with the running we were still a hair punch-drunk.
The washing machine was busted and the wi-fi was out, so it was no work for Tara last night.  Tonight I got to catch up.

Looking over everything that has happened in the last year, I must say that none of it has been wasted or coincidental.  There is no way I would have "let" Allan take a job I thought would transfer us again so soon last spring.  There's no way I would have been willing to go to upstate New York (hello, 18 feet of snow per year, on average!?) even 6 months ago.  There is no way I would have been willing to say "forget it" to everything we've known and commit to being nomads even 3 months ago, but here we are!

I don't pretend to know what the next 12 months of our lives looks like, but *if* Allan is going to deploy to Afghanistan like they say he will in September, we are going to soak up every minute with him that we possibly can and we are going to suck the marrow right out of furnished apartment living in upstate NY during the summertime.  We will take the kids on wild adventures and explore every nook and cranny until we kiss him good-bye at the loading docks and then the littles and I will run like hell out of there because, did I mention I don't do snow?  Everything we've done the last 2 months has been to prepare us for a season of complete mobility.  If anyone has any advice on this, it would be appreciated.  I'll be back SOON to fill you in on Day 2.
The kids loved this sign in Mt Vernon and it resonated with me.  This represents the last year of our life.  We might finally be learning to just go-with-the-flow.  Remind me of that when I'm planning out road schooling curriculum for next year ;)

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