Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The Beginning of the End

It's upon us: the last month in Virginia. We're busy cramming in last-minute fun and packing boxes amidst the normal chaos of the season and a few random illnesses. Right after Thanksgiving, we packed up the truck and headed to Washington, D.C. to see friends. It's totally one of those trips we've been intending to make for months, but couldn't quite squeeze it in any other time. It worked out pretty well, letting us see three families in two days, and gave us a dry run for the big move west at the end of the month. Let's just hope the kids are this happy the whole time:

Untitled from Stephanie Rock on Vimeo.

We learned from our beach trip back in October that it's worth the extra money to get a suite when we are spending the night in a hotel, though this is not what you want to see just after you put your kids to bed.

But kudos to the firefighters of Alexandria - they were quick getting there! And I have to say that we were all pretty quick to get out, considering we had to get coats and shoes on everyone, quickly toss stuff into a bag and walk down seven flights of stairs while covering kids' ears and ignoring the strobe lights going off in our room. I think the fire unit at preschool really helped Wyatt stay calm, too, which was good to see. I just can't express how thankful I am that we weren't at the hotel pool when the alarm went off! It was cold that night and there were a few poor souls out there in their swimsuits. Brrrrr.

Wyatt's not pictured because he wouldn't leave my arms. I really wanted to take his picture next to the trucks but he said no (and said it in a way that meant there was no negotiating; I respect that.) But I do like how cute Natalie looked with her daddy and how Tiger made the cut of the most important things we needed to take out of the room in a hurry. 

Thankfully it was a false alarm, so we were tucked in again within 30 minutes. Here are our happier kids the next morning, when we let them stare at the fountain in the lobby. Unfortunately, Natalie was really battling a cold which kept most of us up all night. She just couldn't get settled and screamed (literally) for much of the night. On a more positive note, Wyatt was so exhausted that he slept right through her screaming and didn't even notice that I was in bed with him for a little bit, while Jeff tried to soothe Natalie to sleep in our bed. It totally didn't work, but I did learn that for such a small guy, Wyatt's quite a bed-hog.

Right after we got home, Jeff had his fini flight in the Raptor. It was especially exciting for me, since I missed his fini back in Enid (but, thanks to Spyder, have an awesome dvd of the day) and he didn't get one in the Eagle due to the entire fleet being grounded. So, despite having had Natalie at urgent care earlier in the day (diagnosis: bronchitis), we trekked out to see him land. Wyatt cracked me up at breakfast that morning when he said, "Daddy will be really brave when he lands, even though he'll get so wet and cold!" I guess he remembers Shudda's fini flight from this summer. He was pretty excited to spray his daddy!

Untitled from Stephanie Rock on Vimeo.

What you can't see on the video is that Natalie wouldn't give Jeff a kiss until he was a little drier. I like that she's choosy.

I fully admit that I got a little choked up as he came up initial; it seems like we just got here! Plus we just never know what's next, and while I'm sure that we'll make the most of wherever this life takes us, it's been really, really fun being in fighter squadrons over the last few years.

Last weekend was also our first glimpse of the man in the red suit. Wyatt really enjoyed the squadron kids' Christmas party this year, crafting and cookie-decorating with his friends. He was, again, a little starstruck when it was his turn to sit on Santa's lap, though managed to choke out his request for a big Raptor and a big Eagle. I swear we don't push him to airplanes, but he sure does love them. Natalie started crying when Santa called her name from across the room. She got close enough to get her present from him but there was no way she was going to sit on his lap. He settled for a high-five. 

cheeeeeeeez, she says.
Last weekend I also had my "farewell run" with a few friends from the squadron. Though we don't have any pictures, I'm proud to say we all finished the Christmas Town Dash 8k at Busch Gardens in 37 degree weather, with wind at 14mph from the NNE (with gusts to 29 mph) and snow on the ground. It was half-crazy, but really fun in the end. Or maybe I just think that since we ate at IHOP on our way home.

Now we're getting into the swing of moving. We're attempting a large partial-DITY this time, which means that Jeff will be driving a 26-foot Penske truck and towing the Camry from here to Kansas as the new year rolls in. So far the packing is going pretty well. The company that's moving the rest of our stuff (read: the expensive stuff we want fully insured at the government's expense) brought us some used moving boxes, which was very generous. Unfortunately, many of them obviously came from the home of a smoker. Thanks to the ever-helpful Google, we discovered that a good dousing of white vinegar and a little fresh air will take care of that problem in a few days. So now we're slowly but surely filling the garage with boxes of stuff. 

Next up: the Grandparents Rock are arriving for a visit, followed by the squadron Christmas party, my last coffee with the lovely ladies of the 27th, CHRISTMAS, moving trucks and my mom's arrival just in time to help us with last minute details and the cross-country trek (isn't she crazy nice to do that for us?) Stay tuned…I have a feeling it's going to get interesting.


Susan said...

There's so much to say here, but I'll leave you with only two thoughts.

1. I know it's always bittersweet for you to leave one place you've loved and go to another. This time, though, I'm just selfishly and crazily excited that 2011 is really almost here that I can hardly believe it. You're going to be SO SICK OF US this time next year.

2. Natalie is rocking the uggs and denim skirt.

Rosemary said...

What a treat to see and hear and get a glimpse of the yin and yang of leaving one home and moving to another and leaving one experience for another. I know that while it's bittersweet for you all, the Schmidt/Henderson crew is so excited about having you all close by.

geri said...

So fun to see the photos and updates of your family!
Your children are adorable! :) How can it be you are moving just as Lisa and PC arrive!
Safe travels in your move to the midwest!

The Blake Family said...

Wowzers!! You have a lot on your plate right now! We'll be thinking about you all as you make your move. What a crazy, exciting and emotional time for you 4.

Leslie said...

Natalie's car seat dance would make an awesome "travel exercise video." Can't you see an airplane full of people rocking her moves?
Great fini flight video! Wyatt wasn't shy at all in his attempts to hoses down Daddy.
Cute pics! Merry Christmas! Happy travels!!