Moving Tips From a Former Military Wife

movingtruckMoving is never easy.  Most people think of the word “move” as a four letter curse word on par with the F-bomb.  Moving with the military, while still no fun, is easier than moving on your own.  Unless you are doing a DITY (Do IT Yourself) move in the military, they will send a crew out to box up your life, load it on the truck, transport it, and unload the boxes on the other end. You just have to clean the old place for your check-out inspection, handle all the paperwork involved, and unpack in your new place.  The military movers even make an inventory list of everything in each box, so you can easily find the can opener on your first night in the new place.

Moving without the military is a whole other animal.  Suddenly you are responsible for packing, loading, transporting, and unloading all on your own.  None of that includes the paperwork, arrangements for utilities, and everything else involved. However, there are somethings you can do to make it easier on yourself.

The first thing to do – declutter your home. Anything that you do not NEED or WANT to take with you needs to go NOW. One of the things I learned years ago from FLYLady – if you don’t need it, if it doesn’t make you smile, get rid of it. Decide what you need to live, decide what you want to keep, and toss the rest. You can take things to the local Goodwill or Salvation Army if you have time & the desire.  If you don’t, just throw it all out.  This serves two purposes:

  1. You don’t have to move all that crap you didn’t really want anyway.
  2. Studies show that a decluttered home will be easier for potential buyers to visualize their own stuff in the house. The more cluttered up with knick-knacks and whoziwhatzits, the harder it is for potential buyers to look past all that and see the home.

Decluttering is not a process you need to complete before you start packing. You can declutter while you pack. For instance, as you pack your movies go through them, weed out the movies you didn’t like, don’t watch, and don’t really want to hang on to, then throw them out or donate them somewhere.  Presto! You’ve just decluttered and packed all at the same time.

Second thing to do is to number your boxes & create an inventory.  I did this in a spiral bound notebook, which my husband then put into Excel. I took this a step further as well by listing where we had stashed each box.  I also went beyond that with our books. Being a family of readers, we have a lot of books.  We use LibraryThing to catalog our books. I created a “collection” for each box I packed.  That way, if my kids wanted to read a specific book, I knew exactly which box it was in.  Then I could consult my inventory list SmashedBurritoto find out where that box was located.  When we moved, I changed the location notation to the new location – attic, storage room, closet #1, etc.  While I unpacked each box, I changed the name of the collection on LibraryThing to reflect the new location of the books in the new home.  So now, if my son wants to read My Life as a Smashed Burrito With Extra Hot Sauce, I can tell him that it is supposed to be in the living room.  If he’s moved it, that’s his problem.

Another thing – don’t mix rooms when packing. Living room stuff goes into a living room box. Kitchen stuff stays in a kitchen box.  2Men&ATruck have a good list of other packing tips here.

When it comes to packing, I highly recommend getting your boxes from your moving company – we used Uhaul.  At the very least, get a whole bunch of the same sizes from the same location.  It will help when packing your truck if your box size is mostly uniform.

One thing to keep in mind while packing – whenever possible, never leave your boxes out in a main area while showing a home.  Always hide them in the basement, attic, or closets.  Potential buyers don’t want to see your boxes, and you don’t want them to feel like you are about to abandon the home before they decide.  I packed all my figurines and books early on in the process, hiding the boxes in the attic & master bedroom closet. It helped to make the home seem larger and less cluttered, but at the same time, it was still a warm, inviting space.

So now you’ve started the decluttering process, and you’re making your inventory of numbered boxes while packing.  But you still need to keep track of everything – your conversations with your realtor, your mortgage company, and every thing else.  Remember that spiral bound notebook I kept my inventory in?  Yup.  Everything was in there.  My list of things I needed to do, my records of phone calls & conversations with my realtor, credit counselor, mortgage company, everything.  I made lists of the utilities, and notes about when to cut off things.  I researched truck rentals, and kept track of prices.  Receipts and business cards were stapled to pages in the notebook so they would be easily found when needed.  Phone numbers of people I needed to call, play date schedules so the kids could say good bye to their friends, you name it, it was in the notebook.  It became a BIG help because whenever I needed to refer to anything, it was in the notebook.  DH wanted to know what still needed to be done – check the notebook.  Where was that rental agreement? check the notebook.  Whenever we researched something like the procedure for licensing the dog in the new state, it would get written in the notebook so we could refer back to it.  Gun laws for safe transportation and storage in the new home – in the notebook.  That notebook became invaluable.

So the notebook is a great help.  But still – when are you supposed to do stuff like notify the post office, etc?  Well, I used the Moving Checklist at for help with alot of that.  There’s another good moving checklist at also has a great list of things to do when packing your truck. Honestly, I left that aspect to DH.  His years of military experience packing helicopters & air craft helped him maximize space and pack the truck like it was a giant game of Tetris.

So there you have it.  My biggest tips for making moving easier. The biggest takeaway from this though should be the inventory.  That right there saved my bacon and made life and unpacking so much easier.

What’s your best moving tip?  Let me know!

An open letter to the D-Bag in the Food Lion Parking lot:

Dear Sir,

You are damn lucky my kids were in the car.  Because of them, I didn’t tell you exactly what I thought of your idiotic, thoughtless, the-world-owes-me, ghetto-fied white boy attitude.  Maybe, just maybe if you pulled your damn pants up off the ground, and didn’t worry so much about how much bling you were wearing, you would have thought twice before cutting me off as I backed out of my space, just so you could swing through the space between the handicapped signs and pull a very illegal U-turn.  It wasn’t like I was fully out of my space in the lane or anything, geez.  And why, oh why did you have to pull such an asshole maneuver? So you could get to that Blockbuster vending machine outside the store front.  Way to keep it Klassy.

Yes, I did yell out my window at you.  Yes I did tell you that you were going to kill someone.  I really appreciate the way you dropped the f-bomb numerous times in front of my kids.  Again, Klassy with a capitol K.  And yes, I did call you a “Ghetto-wannaBe”  because trust me, that was the nicest, G-rated thing I could think of.  And seriously, you want to claim right-of-way when my car was fully in the lane before you got there, and you cut me off to roll through a couple of handicapped signs to make a U-ey?  Really sir?  You really want to go there?  Really?

Puh-leaze.  Do the world a favor.  Pull up your damn pants and get a J O B.  Learn what it is to be responsible before you really do kill someone, you Jack-Wagon.


a really pissed-off Mama Grizzly

Writer's block

Wow.  so.. like the only way I know how to get past writer’s block is some stream of consciousness randomness.  So… consider yourself warned, it’s about to get random up in here.

I hate introducing myself online.  I always feel like I’m in an AA meeting or something…  “Hi, my name is Lorraine.  I’m a homeschooling mom of 3; GeekBoy age 9, thePinkDiva age 7, and BigBoy age 5.  We’re a former military family who have happily settled into civilian life.  We’ve been homeschooling for 4 years, and I still have times when I feel completely overwhelmed and just want to run away.”

You see what I mean?

Life has been zany around here, what with the home improvement projects, dr. appointments, homeschool planning and lessons…  And it doesn’t show any sign of slowing any time soon, thanks to soccer practice, therapy appointments, homeschool, library trips, etc.  Plus, remember when I prayed that my kids would be accepted and my house would be *that house* on the block where everyone came to hang out??  Well…  Big smiles all around!  Our home has become the neighborhood “go to” at least between 3-6pm.  I don’t mind at all, but it does add to the crazy around here – in a good way!  We have two neighbor kids who like to spend almost every afternoon over at our house.  My kids loving having friends over, and these 2 are really sweet kids.  So it’s all good. *S*

So, I’m hoping to post some homeschool type stuff over on Where Learning Begins.  I’ve managed to continue posting, though without much regularity, over at Conserva-Kat.  I want to scrap more, which means I’d be posting to Die-Cut Bytes again.  Yea. I have grand plans.  But I have a problem with follow-through.  I have lots of great blog posts swirling around in my head.  I swear, if I could hook my blogs directly to my brain, I’d be the most prolific blogger in the world.

Anyway…  Here’s hoping I get better at this. (but if were you, dear reader….  I wouldn’t hold my breath. *S*)

Another Sunday spent not at church…

This is where I duck my head as I shamefully admit…  We have not been to Church since April.

“But but but!!” I want to shout…. I want to explain, to excuse my and my family’s absences. I feel guilt and shame at the admission. Like I’m letting my Dads – both my Heavenly Father and my Earthly Father who is now in Heaven – down.  At times I feel almost crushed under the weight of the guilt.  I worry how my children will feel toward church when they are grown…  Will they avoid it as we are now?

Truth is… It’s just sooo much easier not to go.

Two of my three children are diagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome.  The third suffers from severe separation anxiety.   My oldest loves church.  He loves the singing, the Bible stories, the games in Sunday School.  He doesn’t quit fit in, but he is blissfully ignorant of this – most of the time.  Those times that he does notice though…  My daughter, who is very perceptive and easily stressed out, hates church.  She hates having to sit in a room with all the other kids, and trying to fit in. She blanks out when called on, and hates the attention.  Hates it to the point of making herself sick if we tell her we’re going. Like, physically, I-have -a-fever-and-will-barf-if-you-make-me-go, sick. My youngest will heave a dramatic sigh, and head into the Sunday School/Nursery room with no trouble.  But upon our return home afterward, he will be attached to my right leg all afternoon, and right on through Monday and sometimes even into Tuesday.

There is a solution, of course.  We could go, and let thePinkDiva sit with us.  But then BigBoy would get upset, and feel that he was being abandoned in the Nursery while his sister had special time with us. So he’d have to some sit in the pew with us also.  Which would lead to us, the parents, playing mediator, and constantly shushing, and plying the kids with tic tacs and gum to keep them quiet while supplying them with pencils and paper to doodle on when they get bored.  The end result – We wouldn’t hear half of the sermon, and we’d leave service irritated and frustrated. Not really the goal of church service.

Then I read this article, Why I Don’t Go To Church Anymore by Wayne Jacobsen.  Things just make so much sense.  Like when he points out that “church” was never meant to be a big building or institution.

Scripture does encourage us to be devoted to one another not committed to an institution. Jesus indicated that whenever two or three people get together focused on him, they would experience the vitality of church life.

Read the whole article.  Mr. Jacobsen makes some pretty valid points.  I’ve also started reading Jake Colsen‘s book, So You Don’t Want to go to Church Anymore, available online even. So far it’s a good read.

But even though we haven’t been attending a physical church, that doesn’t mean that we have given up on learning about God, or that we sit around in our jammies just enjoying a day off.  Instead, we choose to hold “church” at home.  We have four different churches that we “attend” online, thanks to sermon podcasts.  There is Pastor Waite, the pastor who married us over 12 years ago.   We could listen to Pastor Burcham, my mom’s pastor, and a church we attended when we lived nearby.  There’s a our current church home, led by Pastor Tim Piland.  We also recently found our pastor from Italy, Pastor Jerry Boritzki, relocated and now serving a church in Michigan.  Awesome.  The best part about listening to the podcasts from home – we can pause the sermons when the kids start to interrupt.  No more missing out on half the sermon due to distractions. *S*  We can also download the podcasts and listen at our leisure.  “Church” is no longer confined to 10-12 A.M. Sunday morning!

YouTube is a big help too.  You know those worship videos most churches play on the big screens along with the lyrics to the choruses? YouTube has ’em!  I don’t have to invest a small fortune in music, I just find some good ones, add them to playlist, and sing along, without worrying about staying on key.  Music is such a balm to my soul, this playlist is sure to grow as I find more songs I like.

So…  yea.  I’m still feeling just a little bit guilty about missing church.  But I always feel so much better after I’ve spent some time singing along with some good worship music, and listening to a sermon with my hubby.

So… I finally saw the Twilight Movie.

So, I saw the Twilight movie. Let me just say, I loved the books. I devoured the books.  I read all four 600+ page books four times! (Yes, I have read the series four times now. How pathetic is that?)

Honestly, and this is going to seriously piss off Twilight fangirls, I don’t get why Rob Pattinson is “so hot”.  Edward, in the book, just sizzled…  ooo…  he just oozed sexy with each written word.  RobPatt’s portrayal, Meh.

I have a theory as to why RobPatt’s Edward just doesn’t do it for me.  Because he doesn’t live up to the Edward of my imagination while reading the book.  Honestly, I did not even realize that Edward was supposed to be a red head until after I read the book for the fourth time. I mean, I read the description of him, but “copper-colored hair” just never stuck in my imagination.  Somehow, I always saw him as a smoldering dark haired Latino type, you know…  just like my husband. *S*  Oh yea…  and of course, the manners.  Book Edward would never hold his nose and act like he’d just smelt the most horrendous fart ever and would barf he had to take one more whiff of it.  Book Edward clutched the desk hoping for something to keep him from launching into an attack while leaning away as subtly as possible & refusing to acknowledge Bella’s presence.  Bella interpreted his actions to mean she stank or else something was wrong with him.  Book Edward had way more class then Movie Edward, who looked for all the world like he’d just caught a whiff of the nearby sewer and was about to hurl his lunch all over the place.  And that’s just one example how Book Edward had way more class then Movie Edward.

I knew the movie would be different.  I knew some things would have to change. I just felt like they really didn’t do the story justice with the changes they made.  And seriously – the glitter skin should have been so much better.  But, I understand there really wasn’t much of a budget for this one, which is super sad since it was bound to be a huge hit with the Twi-Fans.

I know the book was written from Bella’s point of view, but I think the movie could have been told much better if they had meshed the story from Twilight with the rough draft of Midnight Sun (note to Ms. Meyer:  Please, please, pretty please with sugar on top, finish Midnight Sun!!!  I will so buy it!)  The insight into Edward’s mind would have allowed to shoot certain scenes (like the first time he meets Bella in school) from a different perspective that would have allowed for more explanation without making Movie Edward so classless.

I think Jacob & Charlie stole every scene they were in, but that has a lot to do with the personalities of those charaters. Jacob is a friendly, happy guy.  Bella is introspective and brooding.  Charlie is just oblivous and on the whole a good guy.  Edward is trying to hard to pull off that dark, mysterious, sexy vamp thing, it just fell flat for me.

But I am so looking forward to the next couple of movies.  Can.Not.Wait!

Still alive

Yes, I am still alive.

Truthfully, I just haven’t had the energy to blog lately.  I think I’ve probably written about a dozen blog posts in my head, but when I open my browser… Nothing.

Seems I’m going through a down time.  If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know this happens to me, a lot.  I have a tendency to get all stressed out and then depression creeps in.  Trouble sleeping, compounded by trouble focusing & lack of energy…  Well… It’s not pretty.  Once that happens, I just quit blogging for a while…  then eventually, I come back, do a massive therapeutic dump session, and voila!  I’m back on the road to recovery.

The one thing that always seems to bring me out of these funks is my music.  I have everything from Just Passing Thru to Rihanna, Kirk Franklin to P!nk, Kutless to Gwen Stefani.  I love music.


My dad loved music too.  It’s hard to believe it’s been two years since he died.  My daughter will never forget “Baby Makes Stink-pot” – my dad’s ad-lib version of the Berenstain Bear’s book, Baby Makes Five.  The other day, my sister announced she’s pregnant.  I’m incredibly happy for her, but it just doesn’t seem fair that her child will never know the man who had such a profound impact on everyone he met, but wasn’t afraid to play barbies with his little girls.

Dad saved my wedding.  I lost the ring I was to give, and we couldn’t find it.  I was having a panic attack about it, when my Dad pulled the ring off his own hand and gave it to me.  “Use this, ” he said as he kissed my forehead.  Then he walked me down the aisle.

I miss you Daddy.

Grampa Reads to Us

A fresh new look

Ok, if ya’ll haven’t stopped the blog in a while, you will want to. I’ve got a fresh new theme!

I know. I know. After having essentially the same theme for, what, like 3 years? So yea.

I’m still working some of the kinks out, but so far, I like.

Oh, and btw, hit refresh. The image up top there changes. *S* I like.

The one in which I unload on the interwebs…

So…  if you don’t like reading complaints, seriously, quit right here, and go look at some pretty pitcures, mmmkay?

I’m getting my bass kicked by life right now.  Situations what they are, I haven’t had a really good long night’s sleep in a few days, and I’m just way to freaking tired right now.  I’m playing the single mother role, and my youngest son has SERIOUS attachment issues. Like, he’s afraid mommy will sneak off in the middle of the night and leave him here alone. I would never, and have never done anything to make him think that.  It’s just typical, 4yr old, not-dealing so-well-with-daddy’s-deployment, crap.  Thing is, this leads him to run to my room at night and jump in my bed & snuggle to be sure I’m still here.  We all know how easy it is to sleep with a 4 yr old in your bed, right?  Or is my kid the only one who likes to re-enact the final fight scene in 3 Ninjas in his sleep?

Honestly, I wouldn’t have a problem with the little guy sneaking in to cuddle mommy at night.  But.  But big sister PinkDiva is almost 6, and extremely jealous.  She doesn’t seem to understand that BigBoy only does it out of fear.  All she sees is BigBoy snuggling mom, and the Incredible Pink Hulk bursts out.  It ain’t pretty.

Throw in a mouthy, freshly-minted 8 year old, who thinks he knows everything.  (Good grief, I thought that was the teen years!)  Oh yea.  And the backtalk. Uh-huh. Momma don’t play that.

On top of all that family drama and poor sleep, I seem to have caught GeekBoy’s sinus troubles, which means I wake up each morning after my not-so-good nite of sleep with a massive headache.

I also tweaked my knee this afternoon.  It’s an old high school basketball injury that every once in a while comes back to haunt me.  Right now it’s stiff & sore, and doesn’t do so well with the bearing weight and the walking around.  Ouch.

Wow.  This one really turned into a real betch-fest huh?  Sorry about that…  But hey, if I go quiet for a day or two, at least ya’ll know why.

BTW – I’ve got some awesome ideas for some more posts, and plenty to say.  My brain just isn’t functioning well right now.  Let’s lighten the mood here a bit.  How ’bout them Ninja Kids?

Seven Things.

I got tagged by Scott.  I don’t do memes often, but here goes, 7 things about me that you may or may not have known, in no particular order.

1. I’ve never had an alcoholic drink.  Not once, ever.  Never tried drugs either.

2.  I used to own my own web design business.

3.  I get nervous driving over bridges.  I pray I don’t wind up in the water, because there’s no way I could tread water while holding all three kids above water, and no way I could ever choose who to save.

4.  I was a painter for 6 years.  I’m pretty handy with a scraper & a can of Spackle too.

5.  When I was 16 -20 years old, I changed my own oil.  Drove a Ford Tempo & a Chevy Corsica.  My dad taught me the basics of car care.   I also know my way around a hammer & wrench, & can do basic plumbing & repair work. Thanks Dad.

6.  I was on a swim team in the summers throughout high school.  Breast stroke was my best event, and I even placed 6th in divisionals one year, impressive because I was 16 in the 16-18 age group, and swimming against kids who swam year-round with public schools.  And I beat 6 other kids. Awesome.

7.  When I was young, I always dreamed of being a wife & mother.  Now I am, and it’s harder then I ever imagined, but so much more rewarding then I ever dreamed.

So there you go.  Seven things you may, or may not know about me.  So now I’m supposed to tag a bunch of people, but honestly, I don’t know many who haven’t already been tagged…  so, if you haven’t been tagged yet….

Tag!  Your it!