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There is a saying in the Army, “The only thing that doesn’t change, is things will always change”.  For us, this has definitely proved to be true.  We moved to Washington state two years ago this coming March and thought this would be the final move until retirement.  However, my husband was recently notified that he will be moving again.  These changes always happen once we really get settled in, find a good church, get the kids involved in wonderful activities, make friends and the list goes on.  If you’re a military wife, you know how frustrating these changes can often be.

In a few short months, my husband will head overseas for a year long deployment.  This time, the kids and I have decided to move back to my hometown. We are so close to retirement that once my husband returns to the states, he will have less than a year before retirement.  We can finally close this door and open a new one.

Emotionally, moving has become difficult.  When we first arrived to Washington, we hated it.  I can say that after almost two years here, we still do not love the state; however, there are many people that we have came to know and love dearly. Our church family will be missed incredibly.  Leaving them will leave a void that will be so hard to ever fill and I think a part of us will always remain there.  Our Tae Kwon Do family will be so missed as well!  We have learned so much from our Instructors as we practiced Tae Kwon Do as a family.  It has been an amazing experience with amazing people. God has really took care of us here in Washington, placing just the right people in our lives. We love them SO much.

So how do you prepare to leave?

1. Make a To-Do List: On Our to do List we include downsizing.  If items have remained in a box since the last move (or last few moves), chances are you don’t need it and won’t miss it.  Make appointments early to beat the rush, per se.  The last thing you want is to wait too late to schedule for the movers, only to find out you waited to late and now the movers can’t come until a week to two after you had planned.  Make a list of places you need to call as well to inform them of your move (i.e. Vet, Pediatrician, Doctor, Dentist, etc).  There are many more things to do, but I have provided a HUGE guide and Checklist.

2. Spring cleaning and PCS: Here is an excellent check list!

3. Start Preparing the Whole family: We always tell our kids as soon as we find out. This really helps with transition.  The older the child, the harder the transition.  The best you can do is allow them enough time to mentally prepare for the change.

4. Research where you are going. We always start looking at what is available in the new state/country we are moving to. This gets everyone excited and looking forward to what is in store! We also look at routes along the way and things they will see during the actual move.

5. Investigate Activities: If your kids are into gymnastics, look ahead and see where they can participate when you move.  Our kids have always participated in AWANA, so that is usually one of the first things I research. Knowing that they can immediately get involved in their normal activities helps them mentally.  This really helps them to realize that although a big change is happening, the activities they love and have grown accustomed to will remain constant.  They know they will be involved in those activities soon with new friends, new teachers and new adventures.

6. Research Schools: We homeschool, so we don’t look at public or private schools. However, I realize that many other families do not home school.  If we did send our kids to public school, this is probably the first thing I would want to know before I moved.  Sometimes it may mean renting or living in a different area so that you can get a school with a better ranking. Here is a toolkit available to help walk you through your move.

7. Homeschoolers: Look at co-ops in the area you will move to. Also here are more tips in this link for homeschooling during a military move. Here are some tips on claiming homeschool supplies as spouse pro gear. This post has ALOT of resources for homeschoolers!

8. Make your “Bucket” list of things you want to do before you move. Once you start preparing for your move, time seems to really move fast most days. Having a list of things everyone in the family wants to try to do/see before moving will help to prioritize your time and activities. Don’t forget to add a lot of time with your close friends to the list!

9. Make a list of items you will need for the next month.  The movers are usually pretty good at delivering your items right away, but that is not always the case.  Obviously, you won’t  be able to pack your entire house in your truck or van, but the smaller necessities (i.e. clothes, books, toys) are a must.  Your kids will want the security blanket only their favorite toy or blanket can provide.  Also, you will probably want to make the move an educational opportunity as you travel to a new state or country.  Of course, this all changes if you’re doing a DITY move (Do It Yourself).   If that is the case, then keep what you’ll need first towards the front.

10.  I intentionally kept this last so it will remain fresh in your mind.  Do not neglect your spiritual walk with the LORD during the move. Take time each day for the word and prayer.  I know that when I have gotten so busy and neglected my time with God, it seems everything falls apart.  He knows all about your move and He will give you the strength to make it through all this frustration.  Give Him the glory and the time He deserves.

So, as we prepare for yet another move and another separation military style, I take comfort in God and his promises:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Please share your tips in the comment section from your own experiences.  I would love to hear from you!!! Also, don’t miss a post by subscribing to my blog.

In Christ,

Laura

PS: I would like to thank my friend Melissa who graciously allowed me to use the picture of her family, I saw her post it on Facebook and it was too perfect to not use! 🙂

Laura Prater is a long time Army wife, her husband just retired after 20 years Active Duty this past July. She, her husband, and family are still very active in the military community. Laura is an area volunteer for National Military Family Association and also contributes occasionally to MilitaryOneClick as part of their Blogger Brigade. In addition to all this Laura is a homeschool mom to their three boys. You can find Laura sharing her favorite recipes and chatting about faith, family, all things homemaking, and homeschool over at her other website www.awefilledhomemaker.com