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All the Firsts

September 16, 2023

We’ve come full circle once again. We’re now in the “season of firsts” – also known as the latter part of the PCS season. We’ve prepped, we’ve packed, we’ve signed out, we’ve road-tripped, and we are entering the phase where we are again Always the New One. 

A few months ago, I wrote about All the Lasts, as my family and I were closing things out at our previous duty station. We endured quite the long transition and are finally settling into our new home. If you’re still a little new to PCSing, maybe this second checklist of sorts can help you prepare for a decent experience of your own.


And if you’re non-military, perhaps this can simply provide you with information, and help you understand some of the things a military family endures every time they relocate. 




Our past few moves have been double or triple moves in one shot. Maybe you’ve recently experienced the same due to a challenging housing market, and on-post housing wasn’t an option.

firstsWe couldn’t secure homes ahead of time, so we just showed up and stayed in a hotel for a bit while continuing the house-hunting.

Then, with two moves, we moved to Airbnbs because the house-hunt was either taking too long, or because we secured a house for sale and were waiting to close a month later.

Several weeks after, we could then finally move again to our permanent home. 

So, if you’ve endured any of these very first, firsts, great job for making it this far! 

And now on to the big work! 




Once we signed the lease to our new home here at our new location, we contacted Transportation to determine when we could have our HHG delivered. It’s the busy season, so we had to wait a couple of weeks.

From our Airbnb, I then had time to make all the phone calls for setting up utilities, officially changing my mailing address, and other necessities. Usually, a realtor, landlord or installation housing official can offer us the necessary contact information for these providers.

Sometimes, we have more than one option for each utility company, so that means more phone calls to ask all the questions and compare all the prices. 




When we left our past duty station, I put our mail on hold for one month. Realizing the end date was quickly approaching, I got online and completed the steps for a permanent change of address.

The fine print explained how long it could take to process, but I didn’t have that kind of time. So, another phone call to the post office to make sure they didn’t begin sending my mail back to my old address. 

And we never really have time for an extra phone call, right?




I then had to call the only internet provider available, and wait for them to deliver the equipment to the home.

It was a self-set-up through their app I was forced to download to my phone.

However, with no internet quite yet, and realizing my cell phone provider is not popular in this area, it took forever with my one bar of service to complete my internet set-up. 

Next, find a new cell phone network!

Which means more time spent on phone calls and running errands. Gah! 




Since we do not have access to a Military Treatment Facility (MTF) at this location, I asked the few new friends I met for their opinions on the local pediatricians, dentists, and optometrists.

I started the first round of phone calls to confirm each clinic would take our insurance and to ask them a few questions.

Finding the right places and completing all the registration paperwork can be a tedious process. I have yet to finish.  




As we drive for errands, a family outing, or all the first military functions, we pass by ballet studios, and Taekwondo gyms, we see sports advertised, and we discuss joining the YMCA again.

Some of the programs we loved at our last location do not have franchises in this area. Though a bit disheartened, we still become excited about what new activities we might want to try here. 




Once HHG is delivered and we start setting up, we realize that several of our goods have been damaged in transition, or do not work well for this house, and that many new items are needed.

We spend a lot of money on new organizational devices and a few new pieces of furniture. 




We also notice that although we were told this house was professionally cleaned, it most definitely was not.

We spend more time and money scrubbing everything down before we complete our unpacking. 




Then we notice bugs. And all sorts of spiders. LOTS of bugs and spiders. New ones we haven’t seen before, and the same pesky ants and mosquitoes that seem to show up at every new residence.

With two family members who are extra sensitive to bug bites, I will need to make that phone call for pest control. 


Sometimes, as our heads are spinning thinking about all that we have left to do, we just STOP


And for the first time…we try out the new patio! 

We gather whatever we can find to sit on, throw some food on a paper plate, and enjoy a relaxing dinner outdoors. 

And for the first time, we meet some new neighbors. They have children close to my children’s age, and I think we’re all going to be fast friends. 

We later meet great families through our new homeschool group, we attend some local events, go on a few excursions and things start looking brighter. 

The long transitions are so hard on a family, especially the children. They don’t know why we keep calling this HOME when they don’t yet feel it is. 

“In time,” I gently reassure them.

It’s reassurance for myself too. We just need to get through the GROWING PAINS OF ALL THE FIRSTS, in order to welcome the ADVENTURE OF ALL THE FIRSTS.

We’ll soon be loving our home, our new town, our new lives! Time goes too fast, and we need to embrace all we have around us here.

Before we know it, we’ll be swinging right back around to ALL THE LASTS. 

It’s the circle of a military family’s life. 



*Read more posts from LaVaughn on her M:M Author Page.



  • LaVaughn Ricci

    LaVaughn Ricci is originally from Michigan and met her husband while they were both students at Cedarville University in Ohio. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Arts, and she also studied bible, theatre, and American Sign Language. She is certified in Teaching English as a Second Language. LaVaughn’s husband commissioned in the U.S. Army in 2004, and the two of them overcame a long-distance relationship through five different duty stations and two deployments before they finally married in 2011. Since then, they have been stationed at seven different installations together, have had four incredible children (two born overseas), and have travelled a decent fraction of the world. LaVaughn loves Jesus Christ, being an Army wife, adventuring with her family, musicals, chocolate, chai lattés, and a quality cup of decaf. She is a homeschooling mom who volunteers in SFRGs, PWOCs, and enjoys helping service members and their families whenever and however possible. She would enjoy connecting with you on Facebook.


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EYB: Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

Located in Montgomery County, Maryland, Naval Support Activity Bethesda—home of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center—is centered in the National Capitol Region. It is the home of support for the hospital as well as all of its tenant commands in their pursuit of excellence in patient care, medical research, and education. Naval Support Activity Bethesda (NSAB) is responsible for providing installation support to 12,000 military and civilian employees and their families, as well as 40 tenant units. Bethesda is one of the most renowned communities in the Greater Washington D.C. area.

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