It’s the Little Things

Tonight we stayed out late looking for a house. We saw two good options, but it meant we got home about 7:30. 7:30 is Zoe’s bed time. 7:30 and all kids are bathed. 7:30 and our family begins to calm down. Not tonight.

Side Note: I just looked up and had to tell Ana to stop putting the noodles up her nose.

I opened up my European sized refrigerator (think something a little larger than what you find in a hotel room) and saw not much. There was ground beef, milk, sliced cheese, yogurt, and salad. Now my Granny could easily make a 4 course meal out of those items, but I am not that skilled. Make grilled cheese…nope out of bread. Make a casserole with the potatoes I have…don’t have a dish or really a true oven. Spaghetti…my family is tired of that after eating it the past few days.

I did what any good millennial would do…I went to Pinterest. I found an easy potato and ground beef skillet recipe (that didn’t call for cream of mushroom, heavy cream, sour cream, etc). I began making the meal and put on the last of the spaghetti. Now it is 8pm, I taste the concoction and the potatoes were still raw and it tasted horrible. Prior to me breaking down Zed said he had it and set out in search of food, not forgetting to bring cash with him because most restaurants do not accept cards here. The kids were falling apart so I gave them the spaghetti and they ate two cans of green beans. Good thing they’re young.

How did I get myself in this predicament? The small refrigerator and not having a true grocery store on base is what I’m blaming. Really what it is, we haven’t figured out a good routine and once we find a house (everyone please say a prayer) things should relax a little more.

So…

Things taken for granted so far:

– A commissary on base

– Zillow

– A full sized refrigerator…we are coming from having a garage fridge, a deep freezer, an upright freezer, and the biggest residential refrigerator you can buy for inside the house

– fast food

Say a prayer the kids survive the next month or really until we find a house and move. I highly encourage you all to stay away until we have our lives figured out. Once that happens our home is open to visitors.

….

Zed just walked in with pepperoni pizza, spaghetti (haha!), schnitzel, French fries, and a coke. I got the kids bath started and piled them in; Zed came up and relieved me. I’m currently listening to Zoe say “Dada” over and over, Zed teach Mia how to use a handheld shower head (I don’t know the actual name), Ana trying to escape without clean hair, and Dax saying watch me and then giggle. An hour ago I was close to tears and now I’m relaxed and listening to my little big family enjoy each other. Though there is quite a bit to get used to here, this assignment is going to be a blessing for our family.

Dax and Zoe just came down stairs and Dax is currently trying to put Zoe’s diaper and PJs on. A camera crew really should be following us around.

-S

Germany Week 1

Note 1: Do not expect me to post each week. I highly doubt our lives are that interesting.

Note 2: We would not have survived this first week without the help of family. I feel semi normal today, but it’s only lunch time.

The first week was a blast. Monday brought daycare drop off and Mia’s first day of school at AFNORTH International School. It also brought learning the base and getting some initial inprocessing completed. Tuesday was a house hunting day and we picked up our Saturn from the processing center. We also got German cell phone numbers! Wednesday was Ana’s first day of school at AFNORTH and my first interaction with my fellow branch heads and wing commander. Thursday was a failed attempt at school lunch by Mia. She did a great job standing up and ordering it, but did not like their version of Mac n cheese and hotdogs. We also toured 4 homes. Friday was spent with my family while Zed did more inprocessing. I was able to learn the city center of Geilenkirchen, parking rules, and where the biggest grocery store is. Saturday (today) we slept in, only about an hour, and Zed set out with two kiddos on a continued house hunt.

All in all the week went smoothly. Thankfully my mom and grandmother were around. They made dinner each night and helped with bath time. I was in no condition to maintain survival of the kids or myself and Zed was about the same. So grateful for the help.

We’re still learning the time change and it’s been a little difficult to match up with those back in the States. We do have What’s App and that’s the best way to get in touch with us. Marco Polo is another fun one and more video messages rather than text messages. Keep following and I’ll keep posting.

-S

The German Adventure

Well, we made it. If you’re looking for all the amazing sites we’ve seen already and a true feel that we’re living in Germany, head on over to my grandfather’s blog and check out what my mom and grandmother experienced the past 10 days. Zed and I are still in survival mode and the kids aren’t quite sure what’s going on, but they’re doing amazing.

We ordered a taxi to get us from our lodging on base in Alabama to the airport because we could not fit our bags in with our persons. As we arrived to the check-in counter we were greeted with “You’re the Davies Family. We’ve been expecting your arrival as you head to Germany.” 11 checked bags, 6 passport scans, and 3 Delta workers later we were checked in. Thank goodness for Rachael, our nanny the past 7 weeks. She watched the kids as the chaos began and no one was lost.

We headed for security where half way through getting our family of 6 through our names are called to report back to the check in counter. Zed heads off and you would have thought he was never coming back according to Dax and Zoe. The TSA agents did an amazing job accommodating our family and I appreciate everyone in line behind us being patient. Why did we have to go back to the check in counter? Dax left his Spider-Man book bag that housed his cow blanket. It would have been a long day without that.

We found out our flight was delayed and were thankful to see a playscape for the kids. As the time neared to board the first leg of our journey we said our goodbyes to the amazing Ray Ray. Delta allows families to board first, I think this is a benefit not only for the families but for all other passengers too.

The flight to Atlanta was quick and uneventful. Due to our delay in Montgomery our layover went from 5 hours to about 3.5 hours. We easily walked to our terminal and found everyone some lunch. We were stopped numerous times and asked where we were headed and how impressed people were with our bravery/positive attitudes/children’s behaviors. Thank you kids for being good on this specific day. We then found an unused gate and let the kids stretch out while we waited. We also got some euros…for future knowledge DO NOT get euros in the airport. You have to pay to exchange money.

We boarded the flight to Dusseldorf, again ahead of others thankfully. We sat 3 behind the other 3, Dax – Mia – Zed, Zoe – Ana – Sam. All kids were tired and hungry at this point and we learned we could have requested kids meals 24hr prior to our flight. Good to know for next time. Dax fell asleep before dinner was served and Zoe fell asleep quickly after filling her belly. Ana watched a movie and then fell asleep and Dax was now awake. Ana now slept in Dax’s car seat and Mia came and fell asleep for an hour or so with me. Dax and Zed were troopers and stayed awake the rest of the flight. Breakfast came and the landing was smooth.

Customs was simple, showed our passports and PCS orders and walked on through. We purchased 3 luggage carts for our stuff and a kind Polizei helped push one of the carts to our waiting taxi driver. We loaded the trailer of the taxi and enjoyed the brisk air.

In the hour drive to our guest house, thank you Karin’s, we saw a brown coal mine, drove on the autobahn, and found an indoor ski resort. Upon arrival to our guesthouse the kids enjoyed running around and playing with the toys provided. Our first visitors were our sponsors. A family who has helped us out the past few months ensuring the transition here was as seamless as possible. This is the third time we’ve been stationed with this family. My mom and grandmother then came over and helped us settle in and get the kids fed and bathed, both of which were much needed.

The German homes are fitted with shutters used to block out the light since it stays light late here. We closed the shutters about 6:30pm and enjoyed a long nights sleep, with a few interruptions from the kids.

I’ll be sure to constantly update the blog to keep everyone informed as much as possible. We’re excited for this new adventure and I hope you enjoyed following along in our travels.

-S

S 1 E 4: Reunion + Sealing + Birthday = Lots of Fun

Next stop: Boise Idaho.

Jeff (brother #5) and Brenna were married last June. This June they were sealed for time and all eternity in the LDS Temple. This was the real cause for celebration and reason behind a full Oxford Suites. Zed’s maternal side of the family was in attendance as were his paternal grandparents. All brothers were also there (Zed, Wes, Dallen, Erik, and Jeff) except Scott who is currently serving his mission. Mylee, Scott’s girl friend, Mylee’s friend, and Olivia, a family friend watched the kids so we could all go to the temple together.

After the temple session we headed back to the hotel and ate an amazing buffet provided by the hotel. This was followed by a cannonball contest in the pool, I believe Wes won. The brothers, their cousins, and their aunts and uncles headed out and raced go carts. The story I was told is Wes came in first for race #1 and Zed was 1st for race #2. The kids and sisters (aka wives of the brothers) stayed back and got some last minute bonding time and packed the bags (and went to sleep early).

As is normal Davies Family fashion the drive to Boise from the ranch to going to bed all took place within 15 hours, not two days at it may seem.

-S

S 1 E 3: Ranch Life

If you haven’t been out to the Roaring Springs Ranch, or really this part of Oregon, you need to find a way to make it out here. Each time we come out I am reminded of the beauty of it. This trip out was a little more relaxed than normal because I have no ties to anyone but my family right now. We have outprocessed from Tinker and have yet to inprocess to our temporary duty at Maxwell AFB.

We began this leg of our trip with a much needed nap. The kids played with all of PaPa and Grandmas toys while Zed and I enjoyed some sleep.

After waking up we had a date with 11 bulls. After getting them loaded in a trailer we drove 3.5 hours and dropped them at a ranch who would be leasing them for the summer. Along the way we stopped at Dairy Queen (more popular than McDonald’s out there) for dinner and ice cream. You’ll see that ice cream is a common thread for this trip. Once dropping the bulls we headed back towards the ranch and spent the night in the apartment over the office in Burns. On top of running the ranch Stacy also runs a co-op of ranchers who make up Country Natural Beef. They supply beef to places like Whole Foods, Blue Apron, and Burgerville. The next day we woke early, picked up kid horses and finished the drive to the ranch.

The kids enjoyed riding horses, helping PaPa work cows (it’s AI season currently), and riding toys. Zed and I are storing our four wheelers at the ranch while we’re in Germany and they bought 2 little motorcycles for the kids. Mia mastered the one without training wheels while Ana claimed the one with the extra help. Zed taught the kids how to climb rocks (I missed the photo op). It was great to see him in his element and sharing that with the kids. While we were there the ranch was hosting an AI school. Those who take part in the school learn something new and Stacy gets a few more hands to help out. Ana also adopted a calf and it was her responsibility to feed it each day.

One of the most fun days was when we enjoyed a trip to Fields for burgers and shakes. The kids (Jonah and Dallen (brother #3) had made it out and joined us) climbed trees and played in the mud while we waited for our food. This is another most stop when you come to visit the ranch. We then headed out on four wheelers and motorcycles to enjoy the reservoir.

While there Zed found a nest, where two of the eggs were beginning to hatch. The kids insisted we stay until they were out, but we explained we couldn’t wait that long and had to go see Sadie.

On the drive back, 3/5 kiddos fell asleep and we met up with Wes (brother #2) and Sadie. That night the couples went into town and enjoyed a benefit dinner for the boys’ high school English teacher.

The final day on the ranch we took a Steens Mountain tour and truly enjoyed the south eastern Oregon landscape.

One of the many gorges along the Steens. There should be some snow still visible on the peaks, but it wasn’t a great snow year.

This looks out over the historic Riddle Ranch.

Mia and Ana attempting to throw rocks into Wild Horse Lake. The angle of the picture deceives the eyes. Ana’s right foot is hanging over a sheer face that drops a “couple” feet.

Behind Zed and me is the Alvord Desert.

We concluded the tour with a stop at the Frenchglen Mercantile for some ice cream. The ability to easily come to the ranch for a break is going to be missed while we’re in Germany. It will be an amazing treat to be welcomed back to.

-S

S 1 E 2: The Final Push

After leaving Vernal, we set out in search of Cold Stone ice cream. The nearest that suited our rig (a Ram 3500 pulling a trailer with 2 four wheelers, a job box filled with things we didn’t trust the government to store, baby gear, food storage, and whatever else we forgot to send the movers with or they refused to take) was in Park City, UT.

30min from the amazing ice cream shop we were diverted south to Provo to see Davies boy #5 Jeff where Zed ordained him as an elder in the Church. This needed to be done ASAP so Jeff could receive the Church’s ok to be sealed (married) in the temple this coming Saturday.

2hrs, a church ordinance, and 3 sleeping children later we made it to Draper where we enjoyed our Cold Stone. We only made it a few miles farther when we realized there was no way we would make it to the ranch tonight. We sought out a hotel and enjoyed a free night on Marriott (thanks for my anniversary present). If you’re ever near the Salt Lake Airport and need a place to stay, stay at the Springhill Suites. AMAZING hospitality. They let us park our rig at the front door so we could sleep without fear of something being stolen.

We woke around 2am for the last 8hrs to the ranch. Dax keep Zed awake talking about why the moon goes away sometimes (because it dips behind the mountains). Dax was convinced a baby snake kept eating it. We passed through Winnemucca, NV and everyone was now awake to entertain Zed those final 3 hours.

S 1 E 1: Vernal, UT

The best way to sum up this leg of the trip is by saying within 30min one child was missing a chunk of hair and the other we now call Scar.

We drove straight through, only stopping for gas that we coordinated with pee breaks and food. Overall the kids did really well after the first fight. 6 people in a 6 seatbelt vehicle is never fun. We made it to Vernal at 0330 and crashed instantly. We spent the morning letting the kids feed baby bottle goats and enjoying some time out of the car.

Thank you to Jessup and Amanda for always being the best hosts no matter the time of our arrival and departure!

Season 1: American Road Trip

Sung to the tune of Little Einsteins

We’re going on a trip in our big blue rocket truck

Zooming down the road, Davies Family

Climb aboard, get ready to explore

There’s so much to see, Davies Family

We’re going on a vacation, start the countdown

5, 4, 3, 2, 1

Everyone to the truck, rev it up now

RRRRRRRRR

We’re going on a trip in our big blue rocket truck

Zooming down the road, Davies Family

Climb aboard, get ready to explore

There’s so much to see, Davies Family

Come on, let’s go, Davies Family

Can’t wait to see you, Davies Family

Yeah!

On this season follow the Davies Family as we leave Tinker AFB in our rear view and head out on a 3 week family vacation. Follow us as we go from Oklahoma City to Vernal, UT to Frenchglen, OR, to Boise, ID, to Oklahoma City, OK, to Allen, MD, to Bay City, MI, to Montgomery, AL. You’ll get an inside look at the chaos of traveling as a family of six from sea to shining sea.

Enjoy!

-S

A True Day in My Life

Let me give you a quick run down of my day. Let me also say I’m not looking for praise or compassion.

0015 – Comforted a 4 year old with a nightmare

0045 – Last numbers I saw on the clock before falling asleep

0345 – Comforted a 3 year old with a nightmare

0400 – Doctored a sick 30 year old

0430 – Fed a no longer sick 1 year old

0445 – Laid down and reset alarm

0505 – Woke up to reset alarm

0510 – Notified my flight of a mandatory recall (For non-military…We run a phone tree of everyone I’m over telling them to show up at a specific location with specific items)

0515 – Showered/dressed/did my hair

0530 – Dressed/Fed 4 kiddos (All kids were helpful and happy. Chocolate peanut butter sandwiches all around)

0545 – Warmed up the car and checked on sick 30 year old

0555 – Loaded the car

0605 – Left the house

0620 – Dropped the kiddos off at school (only took me 10min…ooo yah)

0630 – Opened up the office/led a mock deployment bag check/gave a motivational speech (at least I hope it was motivational)

0730 – Logged into a Professional Development class

1130 – Logged out of class/did homework for the class (a discussion post and two responses to others posts, it’s kinda like a master’s class, but put on by the Air Force)

1230 – Checked email (had to sign a couple documents)

1300 – Ran to the kids school and checked up on 1 year old

1330 – Went to staff meeting (12 people that make up the leadership team of our unit solving problems and passing along information to the boss)

1500 – Changed for unit fitness

1545 – Unit Fitness (we played ultimate football)

1630 – Ran 2 miles (no, it did not take me 30mim to run 2 miles, more like 17)

1700 – Picked up the kids from school

1745 – Bought Happy Meals for the kids

1746 – All kids, without my prompting, say thank you for their Happy Meal (all except Zoe)

1747 – Pulled over to pick up spilled Happy Meal from the floor

1749 – Pulled over to swap the boy and girl Happy Meal toy (Ana is not a boy if anyone was curious)

1805 – Arrived at gymnastics and picked up the second spilled Happy Meal

1820 – Changed Mia into her leotard

1823 – Convinced Ana that her usual gymnastics outfit was dirty (honestly I didn’t have time this morning to look for it)

1830 – Dropped Mia and Ana off for class

1830-1920 – Entertained Dax and Zoe and ran inside to check on Mia and Ana occasionally

1920 – Went inside to pick up the girls

1923 – Doctored a rolled ankle and convinced Mia it wasn’t that bad if she still wanted to run back in and get a stamp

1927 – Doctored a stubbed toe and Ana convinced me that drinking her chocolate milk left over from her Happy Meal would make her foot feel better

1930 – Headed home

1943 – Upon entering I turned left (if you’ve ever driven my children home you know what this means, if you don’t please remind me to tell you before you do)

1950 – Hugs to Zed and bathtime

2010 – PJs and kids/daddy snuggle time

2015 – Bedtime for Zoe

2020 – Shower time for this tired Momma

2030 – Put my boys (Zed and Dax) to bed

2035 – Did the big girls hair

2040 – Snuggle time with my big girls

Multiple times today I questioned why I do this. Why did I think it would be a good idea to have everyone show an hour early to work? Why do we keep the girls going in gymnastics? Why do I choose to have a very demanding job? I am exhausted. I am sore. But, I am happy. I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot. I’m sticking to my goals. My kids are learning new skills. I am tired, but I am happily successful. Happily Successful is the answer I always gave when teachers would ask what do you want to be when you grow up successful, famous, or rich.

My why is because I cherish the hugs they give me as I leave them at a school they love, with teachers who fight and request to have the Davies come to their class as they move up in age. As I walk around their school during nap and give them each a kiss on their head I remind their subconscious self that they have a mom who would give up her lunch just to be near them for a few seconds. My life is insane. I’ve said before we live in survival mode. But this crazy life detailed down to the minute has taught me to slow down. It’s taught me the moments I have with my kids should never be taken for granted.

We’re called the Davies Crazies. We’re the first asked to handle special events at work. The teachers ask us to request for our kids to go to their class. We laugh. We cry. We yell, though we do our best to reserve it for when one or more of the kids run into the road. But most importantly we love and we work hard. My why is because why not. My kids, my husband, me, and our family are happily successful and I could not ask for anything more.

Thanks for reading, this probably meaningless post and very long post. Hopefully if nothing else it made you laugh, remember your days raising kids, or hopefully did not scare you away from having kids in the future.

-S

*I knew at 0445 today would be interesting so I’ve been writing this post throughout the day. For any of you who were impressed I remembered exact times after a day like I’ve had, sorry to let you down. After 4 kids this mom has serious mom brain.

2018 – Selfish Year

I saw a a post on Pinterest this weekend and I fell in love. “2018 will be selfish year. My time will be invested on me. On improving myself. I want to become a better person physically and mentally.”

How’s that possible with 4 small kids you may be wondering, well if I’m not being the best Mom I can be, I piece of my mental betterment will not be successful. So below are my resolutions and the first of each monthI will check in here to track my progress.

– Run 400 miles

– Read 12 books

– Get a 90 on my AF fitness test

– Post 52 times

– Lose 20lbs

– Complete 12 sewing projects (a got a machine for Christmas)

– Have a monthly date day with Mia and Ana

– Complete service for one person/family each month

– Set aside $ each month so Christmas gifts are totally cash purchased

– Read the Book of Mormon

– Focus on how I talk to the kids

– Get the kids on a chore and bedtime routine

– Add a new resolution each month

So please help to keep me on track. I would love to hear what your resolutions are.

-S