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Posted Jan 01 2011 12:00am
It has been said that home is where the heart is. Others say the home is a shelter from storms - all sorts of storms. If you're a parent, home may be the place where you can say anything you like cause nobody listens to you anyway. On the contrary, I've also heard it said that home is not where you live, but where they understand you. And if you're an Army family, home is where the Army sends you...

And for this Army family, the time is quickly approaching for us to say goodbye to Ft. Campbell and to Clarksville - the place we have called home for almost seven years now, as the Army is getting ready to send us away. I do have to say that we will say goodbye with very mixed emotions. This past year has been especially hard on our family, and truth be told, there are some parts of Clarksville that I will not be sad to leave behind. (And I know they will not be sad to see us go!)

On the other hand, we have planted our roots deep here. We are part of a church that we love. We and our children all have friends that we cherish. And of course, most importantly, my mom is here. As of right now she plans to stay here, which means that we will be back to visit often, I'm sure. That makes leaving a little easier for all of us.

We have been processing this news for a couple months now and have gone through all the normal emotions, I think. For me, I keep thinking about the little (yet still important) things

  • We have to find a new church. I really do not like church hunting. I am praying now that God will lead us to the right place quickly! 
  • We have to house hunt. This part I actually do like! The possibilities are endless and there's a lot available right now. I'm excited for this change! (More bathrooms, please!)
  • I have to find a new hairdresser. I know some of you are laughing at me right now, but this seriously makes me want to cry! I've been with my hairdresser since I was pregnant with Kennedy. I don't need to tell her what I want, she just does it... and she came to the hospital when Kennedy was going through chemo to cut her hair before it all fell out. She's very special to me.
  • We have to find new places to eat. I'm excited to say most of our favorite chains are there, and even some old favorites from California; but not all of them, and then there's Blackhorse  (Or Brownhorse as Keeghan likes to call it)... Oh how we'll miss you! 
  • We have to find a new pediatrician. Any of you parents out there who love their ped like we love ours knows what devastation this can be! Our ped was there through Kennedy's leukemia diagnosis and her AOI diagnosis and she has always been amazing. She has been a wonderful doctor for all 5 of the kids (even though Kellsey's only been in there once! LOL). She has watched them all grow up, Keeghan from birth even, and it's going to be sad (and hard) to have to find someone to replace her. 

Then of course there are the bigger issues like the new children's hospital we'll be going to... which I've heard is amazing, but we'll miss Vandy and the familiarity that we had there. Hopefully we won't be spending nearly as much time in the new one! We'll be switching Down Syndrome Associations, and while I look forward to meeting new friends, I will greatly miss our organization here. They have been a lifeline to me throughout Kennedy's life in so many different areas. I have so greatly enjoyed serving on their Board of Directors and look forward to my last few months doing so.

The kids will have to say goodbye to their friends, which will be really hard for Kassidy, especially. She has a lot of close friends that she does not look forward to leaving behind. Thank goodness for modern technology and things like e-mail! I have been assuring her that she can stay in touch and we'll make every effort to help her do that.

So, I know you all are wondering... "Where are you going?!... and when?!" Well, we don't have the "when" exactly figure out yet. Frank's orders are for the end of August, but we will move sometime over the Summer so we can get settled there before school starts. As for the "where", I am excited to say that we are being relocated to Ft. Carson (do the guinea pigs' names make more sense now? Kampbell, the Army post where we are now, and Karson, where we're going... just altered with a K, of course!). Fort Carson is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. If we could pick any Army post in the country to go to, it would be here. (Have I mentioned I hate snow???)

Yes, I know, it's going to be cold, but they have a wonderful children's hospital with an amazing Down syndrome center. There are active Down Syndrome Associations in Colorado Springs and in Denver which is close by. Most importantly, the school district there believes in and practices inclusion for children with special needs. I have talked to many parents of kids with Down syndrome and other disabilities in the area and they are thrilled with their children's placement and IEP process. I would be jealous except for the fact that we'll soon be there too!

So, what does that mean exactly? Well, when we first told the kids about the move, the very first question Kameron asked was, "Does that mean Kennedy will get to go back to school?!" Yes! She will start 1st grade in the Fall, hopefully with a great team behind her. I am praying now for the teachers and staff that we will encounter on our new IEP journey. I'm a little nervous, but other parents who have walked this road continue to put my mind and heart at ease. Kennedy will be thrilled to go back to school with her big brother and make lots of new friends! She still asks about school quite often and I know when we tell her, she is going to jump for joy. We have high hopes that Kellsey can go into the district preschool there and thrive as well.

So, as hard as it will be to say goodbye to our friends after seven years, we really believe that this move has come at the perfect time. It's a great transition year for Kassidy as she will start middle school in the Fall, and the younger two haven't started "real" school at all yet. Kameron is the most excited one about this move! He is looking forward to snowboarding and making snowmen and all the other freezing cold things there are to do in Colorado. I think this move will be a blessing for our family, and we can't wait to see what God has in store for us.  Yes, home is where the heart is, and my heart is quickly heading west!
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