Anyone who knows me [or reads this blog] knows how amazing this news is. I fell in love with our last duty station [Camp Lejeune] and it was home! It was the first place we moved together after we were married, and since we didn’t grow up in the same state, it’s our home together. Not knowing if we’re moving back there since we moved to Florida has been a tough pill to swallow. It hasn’t felt like we have settled into Florida, probably because we knew we were only going to be here for about nine months. It’s easier to settle in somewhere when you know it’s “military permanent” aka three years or as permanent as it gets for us. North Carolina was our top pick from the start, but one of the least popular options among everyone else! [I guess when you compare it to places like Hawaii, San Diego, or Japan, it’s not quite as exciting…] We had a good feeling we would end up back there, but I can breathe a sigh of relief with the papers in hand now.
And it looks like we have a graduation date! Which is a lot sooner than I anticipated! We’re thinking we’ll wrap up our Florida adventure and turn in the keys to our Florida house late November and head North. Although, this is still subject to change, we’re pretty certain of it so it’s time to starting planning! And we’re finally starting to get some answers, as we should have another Camp Lejeune baby on our hands! It’s a little funny we will have two children 18 months apart, born in the same hospital, but most of that 18 month gap we didn’t even live where they were both born! Military life has a way of shaking things up like that. We still don’t know when exactly we’ll move, where on Lejeune we’ll live [base housing was so great for us last time], when we’ll have a house [the waitlists can be pretty long], etc. etc. etc. Still lots of questions, but things are falling into place exactly as we had hoped when we left. And while we’re on the subject, here are a few of the reasons Camp Lejeune was my top duty station pick 😀 Since the military is so concerned with what I think… 😉
[Most of these pictures are from Google Images]
During our first four year stint at Camp Lejeune, we lived in base housing. A lot of my friends and family who read this blog aren’t very familiar with military life, so those of you who are bear with me! Specifically, we lived in a neighborhood called Tarawa Terrace and had absolutely no complaints about it! It wasn’t connected to the main base (since it has been attached via a new bridge over the river – so convenient!) but it has guarded gates just outside the main gate of Camp Lejeune. For Steve to drive across base to where he worked was about fifteen minutes from our house without traffic. Traffic could get pretty bad during rush hour (think about half of the town is military and all works in the same exact place at almost the same exact times), but luckily he was infantry and had to go in earlier than most people. It was such a wonderful experience, we felt safe in our community, there were so many sidewalks and parks and places to explore inside the gates of housing. It really feels like it’s own little town! We have no reservations planning to move right back into base housing. It’s where we are comfortable and hope to get assigned to a good house! Camp Lejeune really has some of the nicest housing of most of the Marine Corps Bases. Even luckier, since we first moved in, they have built even nicer housing neighborhoods, even though where we lived before was already nice! We are hoping to move in to the new area, with childcare literally across the street from the neighborhood. It really couldn’t get any better! Keep your fingers crossed for us we can get one of these houses quickly once we head back to North Carolina 🙂
This one kind of goes hand-in-hand with the housing. Mitchell, Zoe, and I did some serious walking in the company of our good friends and neighbors. There are sidewalks everywhere and tons of parks. There were times I went for runs after getting off work in the middle of the night, and felt completely safe doing so. We didn’t really get this where we were living in Florida, so I’m really looking forward to it when we get back.
This one is pretty self-explanatory, and I guess it’s only fitting I use a picture that I use a picture with my first friend at Camp Lejeune, who I am so excited to see when we get back! 🙂
Despite several attempts, we failed to find a church either of us felt like home at here in Florida. I took it for granted growing up in such an awesome church [Westside Family Church]. And I was even luckier when I found Jacksonville First Baptist on my first Sunday of living in North Carolina, and never went through a hunt for the right church home because I loved it there from the start. Knowing we have a place like that to go back to makes me so excited, especially since they have such a great children’s program and soon enough Mitchell will be dancing to the music at VBS ❤
The last six months I have been rocking the stay-at-home mom gig. I’ve had a lot of fun doing some photography and it has been nice to keep a little busy with something I truly enjoy – and I have LOVED all the time I have spent with Mitchell. I have tried to take advantage of our idle time to travel to see family and friends. [Check out our Disney World, Kansas, North Carolina, Buffalo, Martha’s Vineyard, and Pennsylvania adventures!] We traveled a lot! Once upon a time though, I really did have my dream job and was really sad I had to leave when we moved to Florida. Once we get into the swing of things with Mitchell and Julia, preferably in a new house, I would love to go back to work and fall back into our old “North Carolina norm” that we grew to love in our first years of marriage.
Right before we left, Camp Lejeune opened a beauuuutiful gym complex on base – complete with a nice pool and climbing wall! And if you’re in the mood for a CrossFit workout, there’s a gym just for that! There are a lot of benefits that come with military life if you take advantage of them. We like to stay pretty active. So the free gym access is a huge benefit for us. This is only one of about six gyms there are to choose from on base.
The North Carolina beaches might not be the white sandy beaches we came to love in Florida, but we love spending time at the beach. We especially love the NC beaches because my parents decided to get a little home away from home a few years ago! It’s only about a half hour drive to their little hideout and we like to take full advantage and stay down there whenever we get the chance! More on the beach house here.
8. Day Care
I enrolled Mitchell in daycare when he was six weeks old. I wasn’t one of those crazy moms who doesn’t let anyone else watch their baby until they are two years old. I couldn’t be! I delivered Mitchell while Steve was in Afghanistan and went back to work full time before he came home. I feel so blessed we were able to use the day care on base and I didn’t worry for a second that Mitchell was in good hands! I felt really good about his care while I wasn’t there, even when he was still a newborn. We only used hourly care before, but we are hoping to land a full-time spot for Mitchell and Julia once I go back to work. Mitchell loves going and flirting with his daycare ladies, and if we can land a spot at one of the daycares across from the neighborhood we want to live in, it couldn’t be a more convenient situation!
There are plenty more reasons we are pleased as punch to be loading up the moving truck and sending it back to where it came from. But for now, there’s a little glimpse into our North Carolina life! The countdown to the move has begun…
Six more weeks!