Sunday, September 25, 2011

Settling In

I still can't believe my family no longer lives in North Carolina. Some mornings I wake up thinking what are me and my boys going to get into today in J'ville?

We've been in Florida for 2 weeks and are slowly settling in. We have moved to a place where we know NOBODY. I take that back. We know 3 people. Jacob's aunt, but I don't think she knows we are living here yet....... And a good friend of ours Paul and his girlfriend Tabitha. Some people might read this and think awww that's so sad to not have a lot of friends or family nearby and before this move I would have been one of those people.

Since being here I have truly realized that family is everything. We literally only have each other right now. No playmates for Matthew, no playdates for Nicholas, no golfing buddies for Jacob and no moms night out with the girls for me. And you know what? WE. ARE. SURVIVING:) Matthew and Nicholas have been playing together better than ever, my husband and I have simply enjoyed spending more time together and our family as a whole is benefiting from all this......................togetherness.

I know, I know, how cheesy could I get. Many other military families probably know exactly what I'm talking about. You have to pull together, adapt, help each other adjust.

In addition to unpacking, cleaning a nasty house we moved into, making initial appointments with our PCM, researching and touring preschools, here are a few other things we've been up to.

The Aquarium

In my previous post there was a picture of Matthew looking at a brochure with whales, sharks, dolphins, fish, etc. Yeah....Sea World wasn't exactly on the budget for this month but how about the aquarium? Thank goodness he's still so little that he doesn't know the difference. A fish is a fish is a fish no matter where that fish is.

The aquarium here is fantastic! They have a whole open atrium area where yes there are fish tanks but ducks, owls, birds, just fly around. If you get pooped on or bit oh well. Along with the atrium there are 3 floors of fish tanks, sting ray tanks, sharks and all the other things you expect to find at an aquarium.

(Inspiration for Jabba the Hutt?)

(Did this make anyone else think of the human heart?)

Eventually we made it to the sharks tank. Matthew was in heaven.

Oh he was in heaven alright. Until we walked outside. Then he was in hog heaven!

That is water playground #1. There are water fountains all over the pirate ship and there is even a small water slide off to the side.

Now we know to bring his swim trunks. And that's not it. Water playground #2.

Hold on all you mom and dads, there's more. Oh yes it gets better! After 4 hours of atriums, fish feedings, shark tanks, rounding your kids up, dodging strollers, kids running into you, tracking down your camera bag that you left heck knows where, and waiting forever in lines for elevators because you have a stroller, there is a little something for you...........

Full service bar baby. And as you stand in line, feeling guilty for wanting that margarita, you look around. The bar is as crowded as downtown Raleigh, Charlotte, or Greenville on a Friday/Saturday night. You look to the dad next to you and he says, man we love this place but after 4 hours it drives you to drink. But you're not really paying attention because in your mind your thinking

2012 tax returns = membership to the aquarium.


Lowry Park Zoo

We've been trying to pick a different adventure each weekend and Lord knows there is enough around here to keep us entertained for awhile. So our next stop, Lowry Park Zoo.

I'm glad that Matthew and Nicholas' first zoo experience was a great one. Obviously Nicholas, my 15 month old, didn't really care one way or another but Matthew absolutely loved it.

The highlight for me was watching the penguins. Of everything the zoo had to offer, alligators, snakes, elephants, giraffes, manatees........I liked the penguins. We even arrived just in time to watch the zookeeper feed them. Which by the way I never knew they had to hand feed each and every penguin twice a day while someone records the amount. Learn something new everyday.

And of all the things the zoo had to offer what do you think my boys loved the most?

Drum roll please..........

The playground. But it's one helluva playground. A huge treehouse jungle thingy that kept Matthew and Nicholas entertained for over an hour. At this point in our trip rain storms kept rolling in and we had to keep seeking shelter in whatever building was in sight. During one rain shower we ran to a shelter that turned out to be a bat atrium. Folks, I'm not sure what type of bat was hanging from the ceiling but they were big, ugly, and I totally understand why they are in horror stories.....(insert spine shiver and goosebumps here).........

All in all we were able to burn over 5 hours at the zoo. You know at the end of a trip if one kid can't keep up while walking

and the other kid looks like this

that you've had one successful day =)



Oh don't laugh. Bowling was the first family outing we had once we got here. It's serious, cut throat competition in this house and you better be able to keep up. There are no girlie, half hearted rolls coming from this momma. And I must say momma is on a winning streak. Yeah baby!!

And finally Matthew has graduated from bowling with a ramp to rolling it on his own. You go big boy!

Five years ago I was getting all dolled up, pregaming with my girls, and getting ready for a hot night on the town. But now, nothing can compete with spending a Friday night at the bowling alley with my family and kicking my husbands butt.

Down Time

Like any other family, during the work week we stay pretty low key. Chores need to be done, daddy is tired from work, and soon Matthew will be going to bed early. Usually he hangs out with me until all hours of the night and on a few occasions early in the morning. But preschool starts soon and he's going to have to get used to going to bed at a decent time. So after dinner and before bathtime we have been sending evenings playing in the backyard. And let me tell you. It's sooooooooo nice to have a backyard with grass. Oh the little things in life! Our last house had nothing but pine trees in the back which meant nothing but dirt. Anytime a kid went outside they had to have a bath immediately afterwards. But now, the kids can come in and out as they please=) Let me say it again. I love grass!

And our favorite thing to do out there?

Look at the concentration on his face! It's serious business with his brother being on the back. We've had a couple of oh no moments when Matthew slams on the gas or break but as you can see from the picture daddy's always on point for the catch. But Nicholas has no fear and is just so happy he gets to play with the big boys on the big boy toys.

That goofy grin gets me everytime.

Inbetween all the Cavanaugh shenanigans going on we still have a ton of boxes to unpack......a ton! Who knew you could collect so much crap in so little time. But truthfully this is the fun part.

Turning a house

Into a home =)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Well.....the time has finally come for me and my family to say goodbye to North Carolina. I'm not going to lie. I was a little sad to leave this state. I mean, really. I was born and raised in Jacksonville, only traveled as far as Greenville to go to East Carolina University, and then once I graduated I moved straight back to Jacksonville. It has always been my home and I really haven't ventured too far from it. My kids and I have made friends, my family is here, and it's all I've ever known. So let me take a moment to think about how I want to express my feelings about moving.

WHOOT!!!! WHOOT!!! Get me outta NC! Finally, a chance to go somewhere else! I am very much the military wife that is all for moving and the more moves the better. Give me a chance to see the world....or at least another state....with the financial backing of the USMC =)

OK, I might be jumping around a lot so ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ stands for a change in subject.

Alright, TMO came and packed us up 2 weeks ago and we were living with my parents until it was actually time for us to come down to Florida. I love my parents and am very grateful they housed our huge, LOUD family without a single complaint. Have I mentioned they live in a quaint 900 sq. ft. home with one bathroom? It's the house I was raised in and I love it but let me tell you what. You try cramming 5 adults, 2 high maintenance children, and a dog into that square footage with only bathroom. I'm sure they were sad, yet happy to have their home back when we left. Jacob, my husband, drove up last Monday so that he could meet the moving truck on Tuesday. The kids and I would have followed but I had to stay behind. I had been trying to get the title to my car transferred from my parents to me for over a week. The first time I went, I was told that a signature was missing. I didn't think it should have mattered since a notary person stamped off on the signatures we did have. The lady at the license plate agency told me that we would all have to get together and get everything resigned and notarized. Yeah right.....not going to happen. What's to say the signature couldn't be "added" and then I go back and try again to transfer the title.

So Jacob and I packed up the kids and went to Oak Island for a few days to spend some much needed time with friends. Megan and Sarah are two of my best friends ever since our college days back at ECU. Of course life takes over and we don't get to spend as much time together as we would like but it's OK. That means we just make the most out of the time we do get to have together. Thank you so much girls for letting my crew come and visit. We had an amazing time and next year the beach house is on us :)

Back from vacation I headed back to the license plate agency thinking they couldn't possibly remember me from 2 days prior. I get in line again, wait 2 hours again, and am told they still can't transfer the title because I don't have my married name on my license. So after the long Labor Day weekend I go to the court house, get a print out of my marriage license, go to the DMV, get a new license with my married name, and then go back to the license plate agency. Have I expressed how much I really hate that place? After waiting for 2 hours.....again...a man comes out to tell us that all the computers in the state are down and they don't know when they will be back up. Oh the frustration!!!! To hell with it. I signed power of attorney over to my dad and he can deal with it. Sorry pops but I really did try.....3 different times.

This car title fiasco was the whole reason the kids and I didn't go with Jacob when he left for Florida last Monday.


Wednesday morning my car was packed, the kids were loaded and it was finally time for us to hit the road.

I thought by leaving so early the kids would sleep for about 3 hours and then we would stop, eat breakfast, change their clothes, and hit the road again. Yeah right. I wish things in my life ran that smoothly. My directions had me going down Catherine Lake Road, 111 N, and 41 S. About 40 minutes into the drive I hit a road closed sign. Bum part about that was they had no detour directions set up. So I had to turn all the way around, stop at Ellis Airport and call my dad for detour directions. The next route had me driving to Beulaville and catching 41 S from there. I drive a little ways and wouldn't you know it? Another road closed sign. So I turned around again and went to a gas station to ask directions. A nice old man told me a back road that would allow me to bypass the closed portions of 111N and 41 S.

So exactly where were we at 8:08am, almost 2 1/2 hrs after we started traveling? Beulaville.....OMG what a pain. And to top it off, both kids were awake, hungry, thirtsy, needing to go pee, needing a diaper change, etc. Talk about our trip having a few bumps in the road.

(yes I have a dusty car. Don't judge:)

It took F.O.R.E.V.E.R. to reach Florida's state line. Somehow though we made it. Our legs were cramping, our butts were numb, we were bored, hungry, tired, but we did it. The three of us. Together. I wanted Matthew to get excited about moving so we stopped at the visitors center to look at the brochures. The moment we walked in Matthew was all WOW! Mom look at that! Look at that over there! What's that place? Can we go there? I want to see sharks! It was wonderful to see him so pumped and I can't wait for all the experiences my family will have over the next 3 years.

We still had 3 1/2 more hours of driving but it didn't seem so bad once we crossed the state line. We ended up getting to our house around 9 pm. 16 hours on the road with 2 kids and I loved every minute of it.

There was one small moment during our trip that I will always remember. The first palm tree Matthew ever saw was at Florida's visitor center. We got out of the car, he looked up, and asked the same question I asked my husband when I first saw a Florida palm tree back in June.

"Where are the coconuts?"

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