Thursday, July 7, 2016

Making New Friends as a Military Spouse is Like Online Dating.

Being a military spouse has it's perks and negatives, as with most aspects in life. Making friends in every place you move is a double-edged sword. You basically have to online date.

Here's the scene. Your significant other gets orders. Like, official orders. You have mixed feeling about it. Maybe it's a place you wanted, maybe it's a place you "think" you'll hate. Maybe he/she has to go on an unaccompanied tour. You are happy you finally "know". But then you have to leave friends. You have to pack. You have to find a new house. A new school. A new job. You have to do every little thing. Again. And that means making new friends for you and/or your kids. Again.

Luckily, social media is so helpful with all these changes. This is where online dating to meet new friends comes in. You join 57 Facebook groups for everything you like. In my case, I joined mommy groups, groups specific to my post, cloth diaper groups, buy/sell/trade groups, babywearing groups, etc.

Once you are in the groups, you research. You wait. You see what others post and what the responses are. Then maybe someone catches your eye. I'll give you an example.

In one group, there was a discussion about kids and one mommy commented in a very non judgmental way with a sense of humor. Oh...sarcastic. I like her. Then you look at her thumbnail profile picture. Oh...she is babywearing. I like her. Then you click on her profile. You see coffee. Oh...she drinks coffee. We are basically besties already.

So you respond to the comment on the post she originally replied to hoping to make a connection. If it works, you start a conversation through a PM and the online relationship begins. It's very strange. I understand this. But this is seriously how I make friends.

Once you get to your new place, you set up a "date" and actually meet the person. Sometimes it totally works out. And it is completely like dating! You plan a time and place. You try to look cute, but not like you are trying too hard. You freaking PRAY to the children Gods your kids behave. You are nervous. Excited. You are hoping they like you and you like them.

 Other times, not so much. Maybe you get along great, but your kids don't. Maybe the other person works and the schedule never seems to match up. Maybe their online profile was a lie and they are a different person than you thought.

Both situations have happened to me. And I'm okay with that. It allows me to meet all types of people. It allows me to explore the area and get out of my comfort zone.

Once you have a few dates, you then have connections to make more friends with similar personalities and likes. Like dating friends of friends. But then you are all friends. Then you become a tribe or squad or besties or community or support system or insert whatever group name you prefer.

I was thinking about this because it's what I'm currently doing in my new "home". I've had one play date, which I think went well. I mean, she asked me out on another date so that's a good sign, right? I am also going to my first on-post playgroup tomorrow. Wish me luck!

P.S. Dating is exhausting.

Favorites at Fort Leavenworth

Every place we move there are favorites. Those places you will never forget. The ones you only go to once, but made memories that'll last forever. The ones you go to over and over.

Here are my favorite places! (In no particular order)

1. Okie Joe's.
LOVE this place. Best BBQ we had while in Kansas. It is part of a gas station. The line will be out the door.
2. All Slabbed Up.
Best burnt ends, bottle caps(fried jalapenos), and sweet tea.
3. Retro Diner.
Super cheap, little hole in the wall. Get the pancakes.
4. The Depot.
They give you little complimentary donuts.
5. Bassa Prua.
They have AMAZING donuts and the brunch is delish...especially with a mimosa.
6. Pullman Place.
Cheap food, but good. There is a table in the front of the restaurant with a train IN the table. So cool for the kids to see.
7. El Porto Mexican Cafe.
Queso dip, chips, and salsa are given right away for the table.
8. DFAC.
The dining facility on post. It is cafeteria style, so many options, and delish dessert options for VERY cheap.
9. Baan Thai.
Pad Se Eew and the thai iced tea is on point.
10. Tacos El Gallo 
Legit. Street tacos. Jamaica. Tamales. Pan Dulce. Mexican market attached to it.

1. Harbor Lights.
Caramel blast latte. Egg, sausage, and pepperjack on a bagel. Homemade cheescake. O.M.G.
2. Meriwether's.
Lavender Moon latte. They also have local art displayed for purchase and antiques.

Kid Places:
1. Monkey Bizness.
Indoor small zipline, bounce house slide, swing set, toddler area and cafe all inside.
2. Karnes playground.
Amazing zipline and climbling stuff for kids. Not for the paranoid parent. Made for older kids or adults if they want a good unconventional workout.
3. Landing 4 theater.
Cheap movies. .50 cents on certain days.
4. Wonderscope.
Children's interactive museum. It was an old school turned museum and each old "classroom" is a different theme/activity.
5. On post activities.
So many awesome parks here. Plus a skate park, horse stables, a pool, bowling alley and gymnastics room.
6. T-Rex Cafe.
Restaurant, but definitely for the kids.
7. Wheel Thing.
Indoor roller rink. Like, old school roller skating.
8. Missouri River.
Just to walk around, skip rocks, enjoy the bridge view, small playground.
9. Kansas City Zoo.
Not huge, not small. Gorgeous scenery.

1. Zona Rosa.
2. Olathe.
3. Ikea.
4. Legends.
5. Bonner Springs Dollar Tree.

Jason just named this list the 4 Pillars of my life. I think that is pretty accurate.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Chronicles of a Kappes PCS: Day 10

All of us in our coordinating outfits. 

We are out of South Dakota! Man, that state was BORING! This is what we have been seeing for the past 2 days. Cows and grass. Grass and cows.

We are now in Montana! It started out similar to South Dakota, but now we are in a really pretty area. Trees, water, and the mountains are added!

We ate at 2 really good restaurants today. I don't know you can tell, but we have planned our trip around food. We have scheduled the days to drive after breakfast, meet up at lunch, then drive until dinner. After dinner, we are done for the day. It has been working out for the most part for food, breaks, and Morgan's naps. I'm pretty sure I've gained about 5 pounds already though. 

For lunch, we went to Custer's Battlefield Tading Post. It had a restaurant on one side and a store on the other. There were also Tee-pees outside you could go in. Nate's favorite part. Surprise, surprise.

Inside the tee-pee

Nate wanted to "battle".

Jason's food.

My mom and I split this. Indian fry bread stuffed with chili and cheese. SO. GOOD.

Back on the road after lunch. We arrived at another house we found through AirBnB. It's a cute little farmhouse in Montana. It has 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, full kitchen, and a fireplace. Pretty adorable. 

We checked in with our "host", got our stuff situated, then went out to dinner to Pickle Barrel. It is a little sandwich place in Livingston. 

The kids are both asleep and I am ready for bed, too. Tomorrow is our longest driving day. Two more driving days left until we get to our home! This has been quite the journey already, but I am ready to be settled. 

Fingers crossed the next 2 days go smooth! 

Not a very exciting day. Just driving and eating. Not great for a blog post, but having a calm, mellow day is what I like when taking a 5 day road trip with 2 littles. 

Until tomorrow! Sweet dreams!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Chronicles of a Kappes PCS: Day 9

We are still in South Dakota. Apparently SD is a huge state. And has a lot of cows. So. Many. Cows.

We had an early start today and everyone was in good spirits.

I found a cool donut place so we went there for breakfast before getting on the freeway.

The donuts were HUGE. Most were normal size, but some were about 6-7 donuts combined into one. It fit in a box that a dozen donuts fit in. By itself. So crazy. And no we didn't get one. We asked Nate if he wanted one and this was his response, "No. I can't handle that. I don't even think a huge monster could handle that".

Quick donut trip and on to the next destination. 1880 Town with a train turned into a restaurant. You actually get to eat in the train. Food was very limited and pricey, but really cool place.

We walked around a little bit, then guess what next!?...

Back on the road.

Morgan fell asleep right away. Nate did some tracing, some playing, and then took about an hour nap.

Our next stop is STILL in South Dakota. Why is this state so big!? We checked into our hotel and then went to dinner.

Barbacoa's. It is similar to Chipotle, but the burritos are even bigger. And delish.

My burrito that was as big as my head.

After dinner, Jason took Nate swimming at the hotel and my mom and I got the hotel room situated a little bit and got Morgan ready for bed.

Everyone had a good day! We ate at some fun places today and there was minimal to zero whining. Success!

Chronicles of a Kappes PCS: Day 8

Day 8 is the day we find out the outcome of the car situation. Dun Dun Dunnnn....

Day 8 is also the day Jason had to finish up stuff on base, we had our housing inspection, and start our drive.

The car dealership didn't open until 9 so Jason did what he needed to do and had the housing inspection at 8:45am. We passed with flying colors. I expected to because we lived in one of the worst housing sub divisions. Even after deep cleaning it still looked dirty and ugly. So yeah, that stuff was done.

When the dealership opened, they said they could get the part we needed, but not until around noon. Our original depart time was that wasn't happening. They said my engine was ok and I stopped before any serious damage. It cost us around $600 to get the car fixed, but it was going to be fixed that day, on a Monday no less, and in a few hours. Not expecting that. Good news.

The kids, my mom, and I packed up our stuff and needed to check out of the hotel that morning. We have a lot of stuff.

We checked out and tried to figure out how to fit all this stuff in Jason's car. He has a Toyota Matrix. Somehow I got it all in. Us included! Score!

We had time to kill so we went to McDonald's so the kids could play inside. And my mom and I wanted an iced coffee.

The kids played for almost 2 hours. It was lunch so we got some food for Jason and went to the dealership thinking it wouldn't be that long until the car was done. Nope.

We got there and the part hadn't shown up yet. We just hung out outside the dealership then this nice lady came up to us. She was a receptionist at the dentist in the same shopping center and asked us if we wanted to come inside their lobby so we didn't have to wait in the heat. We must have looked that run down.

We gladly accepted. We were in this random dentist lobby for 2 hours. How sweet were they!? They let Nate have all his toys out and gave us bottled water. It was really nice and we definitely appreciated that.

My car was FINALLY fixed and we were ready to start our road trip. We had to get the moving truck and my car weighed so we headed off to the weigh station to do that.

The road trip began. We drove for a few hours then stopped at Apple Barrel for a break and early dinner. It was the most random store/gas station/restaurant.

After we ate, we were back on the road on our way to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. We stayed at a house Jason found through AirBnB. It was a lower level of someone's house that had a living area, 2 rooms, bathroom, kitchenette, and laundry. The bed was horrible, but we were only there to sleep 1 night.

It was another long day, but we made it.

Chronicles of a Kappes PCS: Day 7

Catch up time on the blog since my stupid car broke! I'm pretty sure you already know day 7 SUCKED.

Let's back track three days...

Morgan and Nate both were up a lot that night. Morgan I think is just off and Nate fell off the bed, then needed water.

We woke up, went to Old Navy and then met up with Jason at Subway for lunch. Fancy Father's day stuff right there.

After lunch picture with the best daddy!

After lunch, went to the house to clean for the inspection the following day. Jason took the kids to the gym to play while my mom and I deep cleaned the house for 2 hours.

We smelt horrible.

We were all going to go to dinner for Father's Day, but the kids were super grumpy and tired and hot. We decided against dinner because it would've been a bad situation. Jason was going to eat by himself and we were going to take the kids back to the hotel to eat, have baths, then bed. Great Father's day. Not.

They both fell asleep in the car. Awesome...we thought.

All of a sudden my car starting making this loud beeping sound over and over.


Then my water light came on. Then my engine light came on. Then a light with a lightening bolt in parenthesis came on (ETC?.

We had to pull over on the freeway, in 100 degree weather, with 2 sleeping grumpy kids. The day before we are supposed to drive 5 days half way across the United States.

My WTF face.

I called Jason and he came to see what the problem was. The radiator hose was cracked and the car was overheated. It wouldn't start so we called to have it towed.

Jason and I switched cars so he could wait for the tow truck and my mom and I could get the kids back to the hotel as planned. We had to switch the car seats and get everything out of my car and into Jason's.

It took the tow truck about an hour to get there and they ended up taking it to a Dodge dealership because they thought the engine was a goner. My mom and I took the kids, fed them, bathed them, and got them in bed. Then I had to go back to Jason.

It was a Sunday night so no auto stores were open and the dealership was closed. We had to drive back to the dealership to leave my keys so we could call in the morning to see if they would be able to fix my car.

After we dropped off the keys, I had to take Jason back to the house, then I went back to the hotel. It was a VERY long day. And a very stressful one. I was preparing myself for the worst which was getting rid of my car and driving Jason's car which doesn't have AC.

Off to bed I went not knowing what the next day would bring...

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Chronicles of a Kappes PCS: Day 6

This post will be short and sweet. I'm tired. 

Today we woke up, had breakfast at the hotel, and went swimming. All before 9am.

Morgan took a nap after swimming, then we met up with a friend for lunch at the PX. Then we met Jason at the house to finish loading up the truck. My mom took the kids to the park so Jason and I could load without distraction. 

Thanks, Mom for taking the kids!

The truck is now loaded with all our stuff! Yay!! And no craziness today except a VERY tired and grumpy Nate.

I dropped my mom and the kids off at the hotel and Jason and I went to Chili's for dinner. We had a gift card from a friend so it was free! BONUS! It was nice for us to just sit and discuss what the next week is going to be. Because it's going to be...a lot of driving. 

Thankful we had a somewhat normal day. And also...I'm tired. Night everyone!