Thursday, February 28, 2008

We’re moving where?!? — by Sister Rachel

As a former military wife I have had lots of addresses, made lots of friends and tried my best to learn from women who had been there before me. Here are a few things I learned about moving that made my life easier, inside and outside of a military life; I hope they will be of use to you too.

Have all your important papers in one place.

I keep mine in a binder and always know where it is. This has saved me more than once when trying to get a new driver’s license or sign kids up in a new school. Click here for a copy of the list I work from and get yours together today. You'll be surprised at how much peace of mind it brings to you to have this in order.

Don’t own anything that you will cry over when it’s broken by the movers.

It's not that I don't appreciate really lovely (and sometimes expensive) items, but during a move, I didn’t want to worry about something getting stolen or at ending up at the bottom of the ocean — and I didn’t want the grief of having to work with the claims office when something did break. Instead I purchased things knowing that I would replace them in a few years. Other than our journals and family photographs (which are slowly being digitized and saved) I have tried not to put much emotional value on

Finish moving in quickly.
3 days was our goal to be moved in; everything put away, boxes at the curb and pictures on the wall. (You can always change things later.) We did this for two reasons, 1- We wanted to get things back to normal quickly so we could relax and explore our new town. 2- There are few things more depressing than those last 6 boxes in the corner of the garage. Yuck!! (Quick moving tip: if you open a box and you aren’t happy to see the contents, take the whole box to the curb immediately.)

Embrace your new home. No one said this has to be your favorite place in the world but you can appreciate where you are. No matter where we’ve lived, there were great people, interesting histories and cool things to do nearby. Whether it is a state park, castle ruins or Friday Night Lights; we try to take advantage of the experiences available locally (we especially love free experiences).

Stay positive. If you are happy your kids will be too. Early on in our military life someone told me that she loved growing up in an army family because her mom made it so much fun. She described with excitement in her voice, how her mom would get out maps and travel brochures and they would read and learn together about their soon-to-be new home. This was a life changing conversation for me and I saw this “make it great” idea confirmed again and again in every family I met. If the kids were happy and excited and adventurous, I would find the mom to be the same. If the mom loved living in Europe, it didn’t surprise me that the kids did as well. If the mom seemed to handle deployments, the kids usually did too.

Me and my husband Paul after he returned from a year in Iraq. My kids and I filled our tree with yellow ribbons to welcome him home.

Most importantly, enjoy the time your family is together. Those times can be taken away so easily and so quickly; love every second!

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Blogger Terina said...

we are also military, and many of the things you said i was agreeing with!!! although there are several things that i bought in germany (and other places in europe) that i would be sad to lose. i have been lucky so far, even when we moved ourselves this last time.

wow, only 3 days??? you are amazing!!!

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 12:22:00 PM EST  
Blogger Household6 said...

I found your blog, through several other blogs.

My husband is in the army as well, former tanker, now acquisition core.

I totally agree with you about everything especially getting unpacked. Oh and another good tip I always follow is get the kids rooms unpacked first. Make their beds, put their clothes away, etc. It's amazing how quickly things feel like home when you have all your "stuff" as a child. We usually take about a week to get completely unpacked. I am always shocked by people who have lived somewhere for months or years and still have boxes to unpack.

Lastly, when we moved to Fort Riley, KS, it was my first PCS. I was so sad to be away from my family and missed "home" desperately. I found a fridge magnet, that I still have, that said "So this ain't home sweet home, ADJUST!!". I loved it and still remind myself of that from time to time.

Loved your document advice, might have to try it!

Congrats on your retirement!

Heather Spencer

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 12:30:00 PM EST  
Blogger Household6 said...

P.S. Do you like my blogger "name"? Wink, wink....and no it's not 'cause we have four kids for all you non-military!


Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 12:31:00 PM EST  
Blogger Keli said...

Such good advice, and not a moment too soon! I just moved across the country, and tried to make it an adventure for my kids. They saw me making fun plans, and they did the same. Sure, we miss our family, but we all have this contagious good attitude, and it really makes a difference.

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 1:06:00 PM EST  
Blogger Johanna said...

What great advice. We're about to move to Africa, and though I'm totally game, the things you mentioned--that aren't seeming so little to me anymore--are beginning to stress me out. This post was helpful.

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 4:06:00 PM EST  
Blogger Dayna said...

oh thank you for this post. we are coming up on a pcs and i keep having to remind myself to stay positive. this info really helped.

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 4:09:00 PM EST  
Blogger R-Eight said...

Thank you for your comments. How I miss all my dear military sisters! Thank you for all you do.

And Keli and Johanna it sounds like you have it all figured out already. Good luck in your adventures.

Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 6:51:00 PM EST  
Blogger heather said...

Where were you 18 months ago when I was getting ready to move to Germany?

We LOVE it here and felt at home from the beginning and moved in quickly...but I sure could have used that advice about keeping all important papers in a binder. I really messed that one up! I'll know better for the next move!

Thanks so much for posting this...and having gone through it all, I agree completely with all of your advice!!

Friday, February 29, 2008 at 2:38:00 AM EST  
Blogger Angela said...

Great advice. I especially loved Stay Positive and Embrace Your Home. We aren't military, but have moved every few years (Tokyo, Utah, New York). I have found that when I do those two things, it has a wonderful effect on my children and our family. We can adapt and love life anywhere we go. Attitude makes such a difference! I have not had a 3 day rule, and I must say I am very impressed!

Friday, February 29, 2008 at 6:06:00 PM EST  
Blogger Tracy said...

If only everyone was as well adapted as a military wife. On our last move (which was out of the military) I was rushing around and trying to get all the boxes unpacked (I give myself a week if it is just me.) I got to thinking that I didn't HAVE to do it and that was a big mistake. I love the experiences I have had moving. It keeps me on my toes and lets me have the feeling of being able to accomplish anything (because chances are your husband is going to sign in for quarters and then be off again right?)

Friday, February 29, 2008 at 6:56:00 PM EST  
Blogger Dawn Hudson said...

We are military as well and the longest we have lived anywhere was 2 years. My five year old son has lived in 7 houses. I completely agree with your tips. Great job on sharing them with everyone.

Saturday, March 1, 2008 at 8:36:00 PM EST  

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