Thursday, April 28, 2011

Track us while we're traveling!

You may have noticed (or maybe not) that I've added a new feature to our blog!

The "Where Are We?" section is updated hourly and tells you what city we are in! Powered by Google Latitude, it shows you a map of the immediate area and also tells you how long ago the check in was. "Where Are We?" is located on top right of our blog homepage right beneath the title.
Check it out!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I'm Famous!

Okay... so I'm not like "people recognize me on the street" famous... but someone thought my little piece of heaven here in cyberspace was special enough to share with others in the local newspaper! How cool, right?

The article ran in the Fort Lewis newspaper last week, and just posted online on their website today. (Which is why I'm just now sharing this news with you).

Click the link below to read the article!

I met with the wonderful Melissa Renahan (she wrote my article) a few weeks ago for coffee. I was so nervous and she was so nice! She made me feel very comfortable about sharing my experience with her. She said her editor had come across my blog somehow, and suggested she find me a write an article *pause for my "no way!" face* The fact that my blog lead to all this makes it even better. Thank you again, Melissa! You made me sound way cool! :P

Anyways, if you get a couple minutes, check it out! I'm so glad that my blog is actually reaching readers (and hopefully helping some out too)!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Moving with JPPSO 101

Jeff and I attended the briefing for JPPSO (Joint Personal Property Shipping Office) this morning. Put simply, if you choose to have the Army move your household goods, JPPSO is the office that will handle all the paperwork and help arrange everything.

We've all heard the nightmares about JPPSO moves. Broken/stolen electronics and furniture, falsified item descriptions not discovered until after delivery, and movers that just plain don't care. Here's a few tips compiled from veteran PCSers and information I got at the briefing this morning.

  • Put remotes in a ziplock bag and tape them to your televisions
  • Have ziplock bags already marked beside all furniture items that will be taken apart (for the nuts and bolts).
  • Items that you are taking with you need to be in a closed off room that the movers are not allowed in, in your car, or completely out of the house.
  • Empty your trash cans and wash them out to keep unwanted pests away during the move. The packers will pack your trash if its left out.
  • Wash all of your sheets, towels and some blankets and seal them in airtight bags. Pack them in a special box so when you get to your destination, they can come out of the sealed bag, ready to go straight onto the beds.
  • Get rid of items (or make arrangements for them) that the movers are prohibited to move (Ex: Alcohol, antifreeze, fluid cleaners, ammunition, flammables, propane tanks, etc.) The JPPSO office will give you a full list, don't worry.
  • Disconnect and/or defrost all appliances and electronics.
  • Drain oil and gas from ALL motorized equipment (lawn mowers, weed eaters, etc.)
  • Dispose all food items, the movers won't pack them.
  • Have dishes and laundry dry and clean.
  • Take pictures of all (or as much of) your belongings as you can, especially expensive items and their serial numbers.
  • Take a pre-inventory of all your household goods and their conditions. This will help you when you have to review the movers' inventory, you can just compare it to your list and you will be less likely to miss something that way.

  • Have snacks and beverages ready for your packers/movers and/or provide lunch. Full tummies make everyone happier
  • Keep children and pets out of their way. It could make them nervous
  • As the movers take apart your beds and other furniture, have ziplock bags already marked ready to go & place all nuts and bolts in those baggies. Tape them to the piece of furniture they belong to. Otherwise, if you are searching for nuts and bolts when you arrive and can't find them, they can't put the bed and furniture together.
  • Have all of thethings you specifically want packed together sorted in the same area. Example: you want all pictures and frames go in a specific box, so it's easier ot just have them all together in the same place.
  • Make sure items are listed correctly and specifically on the movers' inventory. Example: If you have a Dyson vaccum cleaner, ask them to write "Dyson Vacuum Cleaner" rather than just "Vacuum".
  • Ensure all serial numbers are correct for all electronics on your inventory. (Movers are required to write down serial numbers for every electronic, big or small. Make sure they do so).
  • Make sure items' conditions are listed accurately on the movers' inventory. If you are skeptical about something, ask them to explain it and show you. Example: Your love seat is listed as having a tear in the side and you don't remember there being one, make them show you the tear and if there isn't one, ensure they correct their mistake.
  • If you have items of high value, there is a separate inventory sheet for these. The high value inventory is completed and reviewed by you AND the movers. Don't let them leave with your stuff without doing this inventory (if you have items you consider high value).
  • If you have major problems with your packers/movers, CALL JPPSO! This may be the most important thing to remember. You have every right to call JPPSO, report them, and request alternate movers. Don't accept behavior you are not comfortable with.

  • When the deliver your goods, inspect all items for damage.
  • Mark off box numbers as they come off the truck.
  • Don't hesitate to point the movers in the right direction when it comes to where you want your things placed.
  • If your household goods come off the truck damaged (or some stuff doesn't come at all), you need to file a claim.
  • All claim notices need to be filed within 75 days of your delivery date. Keep in mind, your claim doesn't need to be filed by then, just a notice that will be filing a claim.
  • All claims notices are filed online at
  • DO NOT throw away or get rid of your damaged goods. When you file a claim, the movers will want to send someone to look at the damaged goods to ensure you are not lying. But even after they've come to look at it, keep it. Technically, when they pay you a settlement to replace the item, they own the damaged one. Now of course they don't want your damaged items, but you can bet if you don't have them... they will do what they can to keep from paying you.
Wow, thats a lot of information! But it's not anywhere close to all of it. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to leave a comment or email me, and I'll do my best to find the answer. Happy PCSing!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Rocking Chair Cushion

After finishing Jonah's rocking chair it still wasn't looking... well... finished? So I made a cushion.

At first I thought the fabric I chose would be too girly. It's a teal/robin egg blue and the designs are brown. But I think it'll go great in his room. And I have a lot left over so I can use it for something else too!
Complete with ties on the back and everything! I'm pretty proud of my sewing work, I didn't even use a pattern.

The cushion is a little small in comparison to the chair seat, I didn't account for it shrinking up a little after I stuffed it. Lesson learned.

Jonah's big bro' has been loving his chair. I can't wait to set it up in Jonah's room!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Dinosaur Free House

I might as well hang this on my door

Why, you ask? Well because my child hates them.

I've never met a little boy who didn't like dinosaurs... until now. Jack, you are a funny munchkin :)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Rocking Chair Refinish

Even though we're moving 3000 miles to a new house before Jonah's arrival, I've still been busy working on things for his room. So that I won't have much to do but set it all up when we get into our new house.

Two-ish weeks ago I found this rickety, old rocking chair at Goodwill for $10 bucks. I almost passed it up because it was (in all honesty) pretty gross. But that's nothing some bleach wipes and some wood glue couldn't fix.
[All cleaned up and ready to start the makeover]

I can remember loving a little rocking chair like this when I was little. If I'm not mistaken, my grandparents bought all of their grandchildren one. I loved mine, and I wanted to continue the tradition onto my kids. Jack was already lovin' it when we brought it home, he even helped me clean it up. And with a little sprucing up, it'll be perfect in Jonah's old-timey nursery.

First thing I did was take those weird little plastic cuffs off the rockers. I think they were originally put on to help keep the chair from rocking too far forwards or backwards. I'm all for safety but they were yellowed and yuck. Also, if you look closely at the picture you'll see what looks like a tan jewelry box attached to one of the rockers in the back. It took us a while, but we figured out that it was "supposed" to play a lullaby tune when the chair is being rocked. It sort of sounded like a dying cat. So off it came, as well.
After a coat of primer and a base coat of brown paint here's what it looked like:

I know, I know "Kate, why did you prime it just to paint it back brown?"
Here's why... Look closely, that shiny coating that's half covering the seat? It's crackle paint!

[Americana Weathered Wood Crackle Medium]

As I mentioned before, Jonah's nursery is going to be antique, old-timey, and adorable if I do say so myself. I've been waiting for the chance to use this stuff, and this was the perfect opportunity! *happy dance* After the crackle paint went on, I added the top coat, creamy white.
And here's a close up of the crackle effect:
Pretty cool huh?
It wasn't too terribly hard to work with. You just have to make sure to do one swift brushstroke of the top coat, otherwise the crackle medium causes the top coat to separate too much. (It's hard to explain what happens, but trust me it just looks weird).

And here's what happens when you forget to even put the crackle medium on:
Oops! Ah well, at least it's on the underside so no one will see it... right?

Here's the finished product!

It's not perfect, but I kind of like it that way. There's places where the paint isn't even (lots of them, because I made it), but I think it still turned out pretty darn good. 

What do you think?
The chair cost me $10 and the crackle medium was $4. (I already had the brown and cream white). So, total = $14!

Next up, a cushion for the seat!

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Sunny Side of Life

Have I mentioned lately how excited I am to move to Fort Campbell? The sun is shining today, and I can't wait for summer! Tennessee gets summer in May/June, which means it'll be hot, humid, and swimmin'-pool weather when we get there. I get smiley just thinking about it. There are certain things I will miss about Fort Lewis and Washington though.

In light of certain political events taking place lately, I'm trying hard to stay focused on the positive and think of the things that I LOVE about the military life. I never would have thought twice about the state of Washington, if it weren't for Jeff getting stationed here. I had never been west of Lousiana before I visited him here the first time. I've seen the beauty of America in my roadtrips, and will get the chance do it again soon and share it with my husband this time.

[gorgeous Montana river]

I've experienced what it's like to miss someone so badly, that when they finally do come home, you have no words. I forever will feel my stomach twirl when I think of June 30, 2010. Sure, the military is the reason he left in the first place... but they also are the reason he came home, they brought him home safely to me.

[Tears and kisses are the only way to express yourself this purely]

I've met amazing people. Some of which have become my lifelong friends. I have found a family in my military friends. How could I not thank the military for that?
For goodness sake, Kaylee was the first to know about this pregnancy, even before Jeff! Kellee helped me move Jack and I into this house, and was my partner in crime for the last month of Jeff's deployment. My life would be very different (and much sadder) without people like them.

[Kaylee and I vacationed together during deployment]

[Kellee, Jack, and I at a military spouse's retreat]

Point is, situations like our pending government shutdown really suck are unfortunate... but sometimes you have go through "the bad", just to make sure when "the good" does come along... you won't take it for granted.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Day at the Beach

This past Sunday, I woke up earlier than usual (Jeff usually gets up with Jack on weekends, he's up anyways). My husband had already cleaned out the car, filled the cooler with ice, packed us a lunch to put in it, and had Jack ready to go. A day trip at the beach and my first time seeing the actual Pacific Ocean. (Gosh, I love him). We were all prepped and ready to go, and I didn't have to do a darn thing!

We decided to take our furry monster with us since we would be gone all day. Luna is a really good traveler, it'll make our PCS much smoother. But riding in the car for two and a half hours takes a toll on both babies
They fell asleep right before we arrived at Ocean Shores, WA.
But they quickly woke up when we opened the doors and they heard the waves crashing on the beach. At Ocean Shores, you can drive right up on the beach! Jack was loving all the water to stomp around in.

It was 43 degrees on Sunday when we were there, and windy! But we still had a great time. I love the ocean
(and my boy!)

My little love, isn't really scared of much... (except the toilet for some reason) but the waves didn't scare him at all. Most kids I know run like madmen when a big wave rolls in. Jack was brave...
He got clobbered. He didn't cry at first.. but come on, it was 43 degrees. He held it in as long as he could before letting out the "Mama! I'm cold and wet!" cry

After a 45 minute drive back to the nearest store that sold munchkin clothes, we headed into Westport to see a lighthouse we heard about.

Isn't it gorgeous?
Gray's Harbor Lighthouse is the tallest in Washington and was built in the 1800's.

It's 135 stairs to the top (we did not climb them). Besides it being $5 a person, Jack is too little for all that and mama is too pregnant.

We had plans of eating a picnic lunch right on the beach. Instead, we backed our car up so we could see the water and ate with the back hatch open.

After lunch we searched for some seashells (and found quite a few good ones). And my wonderful husband didn't even question me when I said "Hey can you lug this piece of driftwood back to the car for me?"

I'm pretty sure that someone brough it down to the beach to burn in a campfire originally since the edges are so smoothly cut. So its probably not REAL driftwood but it's clearly been on the beach for quite a while, and I have a couple different plans in my head for this baby. 

All in all, a good day at the beach! 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Military Life from Alpha to Zulu

One of my fellow bloggy friends at Riding the Roller Coaster came up with a pretty cool idea and I decided to join in, just for fun :) Basically, we're using the military alphabet to describe what military life is like.
Click the tag for more info or to link up with your own list
Riding the Roller Coaster

Here's my list:

AIT (Advanced Individual Training, Afghanistan, Active duty, American Flag, APO address, Acronyms!

BCT (Basic Combat Training), BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing), Batteries, Bravery

Care Packages, Camoflauge, CO (Commanding Officer), CONUS (Continental United States), Change, Comissary

Deployments, DOD (Department of Defense), Dependents, Dog tags, DONSAs, Donut of Misery

Equipment, Emotional, ETS (Experation of Term of Service), Emails

Far Away from family, Flexibility, Friends, FRG (Family Readiness Group)


Hurry up and wait, Haircuts, Hooah, Help, Homecomings!

Iraq, ID card

JPPSO (Army's moving department), "Just in case"

Kevlar, Knowledge

Leave, Love, Long distance relationships, Lonely, Letters

Missions, Moving, MWR, Military discounts , Mail

Name tapes, NCO (non-commissioned officer)

OPSEC, Orders

PCS (Permanent Change of Station), Paperwork, Promotion, PTSD, PT tests, Photos, Px, Packing

Q-course (for SF guys), Quality time together (we cherish it)

Red Fridays, Ruck Sack, R&R, Rental houses

Single Parenting, Skype, "Sponsor's Social please", Staff duty, Sacrifice 

Tricare, Training, Text messages, Tears

Uniforms, Uncertainty, Unexpected Changes, Unpacking boxes

Veterans, Volunteers

Webcams, War, Wondering, Worry


Yellow Ribbons

Zero Tolerance

I can't think of any more right now? I'll come back to it later :) Leave me a comment and help me out if you want!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Davis Moving Book

Warning: You are about to enter the OCD world of Katelyn Davis, enter at your own risk. (And no making fun of me)

If you've ever done a long distance move, you know how much work and coordinating go into it. Add the Army into the mix, and there's a lot of paperwork, planning, and particulars to be considered. So, being the freak that I am... I decided we needed a book. It may be overkill, but I already feel better with all our moving information in one place.

Introducing the...
(Isn't my little house drawing awesome? I'm not gonna lie, I put the word "Book" too far to the right and it was bothering me so I had to balance it out)

This is the "go to" place for our move. Our very own PCS bible, if you will. Otherwise known as a 1/2 inch three-ring binder I got at walmart for 2 bucks.

Inside are my categories.

1. Moving Truck Information
Well that's pretty self-explanitory. In here, I have estimates from Uhaul, Budget, and Penske. I have a list of all the particulars we need for our move (i.e. a car dolly, 24 furniture pads, 3000 miles, 10 days, etc.). And when we actually reserve the truck our reciept and insurance information from the truck company will go in there.

2. Helpful Information
All the research I've done on PCSing and DITY moves is in this category. As well as anything that doesn't fit in with any of the other categories. A list of PCS pay entitlements is in here, all the papers we get from our DITY briefing will most likely go in here as well.

3. On the Road
The tentative itinerary for our road trip is the only thing in this section so far. But I am going to add other stuff too as I get it done. Lists of 4 hotels (with phone numbers and addresses) for each city we are planning on stopping in. Information about Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park, and Blank Park Zoo (the attractions we are stopping to see). A list of hospitals along our route (just in case!). And most importantly this will be the section I will store all of our reciepts in. We have to save food and hotel reciepts for the Army, and gas reciepts we will keep for when we file taxes next year.

4. Box Inventories
Inventory lists for each and every box. Like I've done with each move I've made, I take inventory of each box I pack and label each one. Labeling is done with a letter (standing for which room the contents belong to) and a number. L - Living Room, M - Master Bedroom, K - Kitchen, etc. Example: Box "L-1" contains things from the living room and will correspond with the list in my book titled "L-1".
(I would highly recommend doing a box inventory if you are having the Army and JPPSO move you. And include pictures of each box packed but open, so the contents are visible. Would prove very helpful if you have to file a "you broke/stole my stuff" claim after you move)

5. After we arrive
List of property managers and companies in the Clarksville/Fort Campbell area. Profiles of houses we are interested in (printed from the internet, and will be updated up until we leave). Reciepts from hotels & food after our arrival (during route and after arriving are two different categories of reimbursement when dealing with Army finance so they have to be kept separate). Also a list of stuff we need to do after moving... submit change of address to post office, banks, family, etc., update car insurance, call Tricare for new doctors...
(This last category is just so I don't to go searching for a "Stuff to do with Jonah" folder after we get to Fort Campbell)
6. Stuff to do with Jonah
This is pretty self-explantory as well. Reciepts and warranty informations for baby gear we buy. A "things you need for baby" list I printed off Babies'R Us. Registry information. Pictures of the nursery that is the inspiration for Jonah's :) 

I'm so happy to have this mess cleaned up and organized! The pink notepad is still in the inside pouch and a pen, as I'm still packing and writing box inventories.

And I have to say thanks to my hubby for keeping Jack and our "visitor" occupied while I was doing this. We watched Jaelin tonight for some fellow Army friends so they could go out for their anniversary! I think Jeff is enjoying Open Season: 2 just as must as the little boys are though ;)