My 365

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

That's what I'm talking about.

I love to read.  I haven't always loved to read, but I would say about 10 years ago I really developed a love of reading.  It is my crack and Borders is my dealer.  Just sayin.

Anyway, it is rare that a book comes along that absolutley stops me in my tracks.  I just finished a book entitled Goddess of the Sea by P.C. Cast.  You may recognize her name because she wrote the "House of Night" series (which I will be reading after I finish this series).  It's not some spiritual, self-help book, but it did affect my life.  It's a novel.  A fantasy-romance novel at that.  But there was something about this story that I just needed at the very moment I read it.  It centers it's story around a woman (in the Air Force of all things) who trades places with the mythical mermaid, Undine.  Some of you already know this, but as a child, after watching "The Little Mermaid" (my favorite Disney Princess movie) all I wanted to do and all I would dream about was trading places with a mermaid.  Every time we went to the beach I would wait on the edge of the tide for a mermaid to pop out of the water and grant my wish.  It never happened, of course.  But this book is like my childhood dream personified and developed into a story that surpassed my wish.  It's a powerful love story with enough passion to make you go blind.  This book may not do the same thing for anyone else that it did for me, but it literally breathed new life into my relationship (at least on my end of things) and recharged my battery, so to speak.  It was, as I said, exactly what I needed and I will read this book over and over again.  There are more books in this author's "Goddess" series and I am very excited to read them all!  Yay for reading!



Friday, September 24, 2010

The Inner Workings of My Insomnia

Most of you know by now that I don't sleep...at night.  I could sleep the day away with no problem, which of course is not possible...kids and all.  They keep waking me up for silly things like food and water.  So I trudge through the day in first gear, never quite making it to second, until the sun goes down.  Maybe I was secretly bitten by vampire, hence my nightly tendencies...Edward, here I come!  Or Eric, I'll take either one!  Oh, sorry, I was having a little daydream.  Anyways....

So nighttime comes and I face the dreaded bed knowing that even if I'm drop dead tired, I will toss and turn for hours never quite getting the pillow right, always searching for the last cool spot in the sheets with my foot, going back and forth between pulling the covers up to my chin and throwing a leg out when I inevitably get hot.  Most of you also know that I sleep with the t.v. on and it is always tuned into TV Land.  In the background while I'm channeling my inner flounder I can hear the shows that are on and I can tell where I am at in the night by which show is on.  I will now break down my super secret bat-code for you all because, well, because it's 2:30 AM and (surprise!) I'm awake!

If I fall asleep before...
  • Everybody Loves Raymond - it's just unheard of, moving on...
  • Roseanne - I'm in very good shape and will most likely graduate from resembling the living dead to a crusty pirate the next day....Argggg!
  • The Nanny - I'm still in fairly good shape although I will probably have to forfeit the hairbrush in the morning in order to get Gracie to school on time.  They should be pretty used to that by now, at least the staring has stopped.
  • Cosby Show - Starting to get a little chancy here, this is pretty much the threshold between life and death.  This is when I hear Mike saying "Eject, eject, eject! Watch the canopy!"
  • Home Improvement - This is bad news.  This means not only will I not be coherent enough to dress myself in the morning, but Gracie may suffer a mismatched sock or two in the process.  Oh, the innocent children.
  • Three's Company - Go ahead and hang it up because at this point it would probably be easier to just stay up rather than try and salvage the few hours left until dawn.  This is when I drive to school and back realizing when I get home as I look down at the keys in my hand that I have no idea how I got there and have no recollection of that morning's drive.  I have a halo of frizz around my head, a full set of luggage under my eyes and someone has managed to fill my shoes with lead, not to mention the fact that I'm still in my pajamas and yes, I drove my child to school that way.  This will be a nap day.  Bad Three's Company...don't come knock on my door anymore!
Good Night!  Oh, and by the way...Home Improvement is on right now.  Look out!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Evolution of a Woman's Rage

WARNING: This post contains a maniacal rant about woman-things.  Aka, menstration.  Continue at your own risk.

As I sit here holding my middle waiting for the vice to be removed from my lady parts, I pondered the woman's life cycle and how much of it is spent pissed off.  We can be unpredictable, irrational and downright angry creatures at times.  But this anger is not random...it is cultivated and occasionally poked with a stick.

Think about it.  As teenagers we have the humiliation of puberty thrust upon us.  We suffer the same hormonal rages, out of control skin and the ever changing landscape of our body as the boys.  Only add in nature's cruelest joke with no punchline...the period.  I seriously thought I was going to die the first time I had mine.  Then after I figured out that I wasn't going to die, but in fact was going to live with this affliction for many, many, many years to come.  Well, suddenly death didn't seem so bad.  Thus begins the monthly cycle of rage.  We are forced to deal with high school (and middle school for some of us lucky ones), peer pressure, growing pains (figurative and literal ones) all while wearing a Simmons Beauty Rest in our pants and tiny knives stabbing us in the abdomen and back incessantly for 5 days a month, while we hemorrhage. 

So we make it through the end stages of puberty and things slowly start to even out in our twenties.  By now we've figured out how to anticipate D-Day and may have even graduated from the mattress to a less bulky, but much more invasive form of absorption.  Now we have moved on to the joys of PMS.  When we were teenagers and the hormones were raging all the time, we didn't really notice a difference.  Now, however, there is at least one week out of every month before D-Day where you turn into another person.  We turn into a raging, crying, bi-polar train wreck with cravings.  Cravings that if go unsatisfied will only result in senseless violence.  Just eat the chocolate and save a man.  Also around this time we have probably become acquainted with a man.  This is where we get to the "poked with a stick" portion of our rage cultivation.  Men, knowingly or not, will inevitably always say or do the wrong thing at the wrong time.  They are not trying to be provoking, they really just don't know any better.  They are the children with a stick poking the snake to see the reaction.  Curious creatures, they are.  Well, men, let me ruin the ending for you...eventually when the snake is poked enough, it will strike, with more venom than you can possibly fathom.  Go lick your wounds, you'll be fine.  The snake, however, will just be that much more primed for the kill next time.

There is short reprieve if pregnancy is achieved, but let me tell you, pregnancy comes with a whole new set of delightful hormonal tidbits...so don't get too excited.  But, that's another topic all together.

Then what?  We have about another 20 years of this up and down funhouse of horror before...menopause!  Well, gee, THAT'S something to look forward to.  We've come full circle, I suppose, back to the constant hormonal rage of puberty only now we get have hot flashes and irregular periods.  And this can last for years.  YEARS!!! 

So it's no wonder that we can be a tad irrational at times or maybe even a bit demanding or harsh.  I don't even like myself when I'm PMSing.  But considering the incredible amount of bull snot we have to put up with for half a month, every month, I think maybe we deserve a reprieve.  Just keep yourself "busy" with other things so you don't become a victim of our often ugly and uncontrollable rage.  We probably don't want to see you either, so win-win.

I can't remember the name of the comedian who said it but this is one line I will always remember.  "There is no other creature on earth who can bleed for 5 days straight and NOT DIE!"  That's right.  Fear me. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Get a little crafty.

So some of you may have already seen this little craft project if you happen to be a recipient of the Echo Co. Newsletter.  But for those who haven't and quite frankly, for lack of a better post for this blog, here ya go.  I made these the other day and I have to tell you that using No. 2 pencils does not work as well as colored pencils.  Just a little FYI from someone who learned the hard way!

Materials Needed:

glue gun (and glue sticks of course)

small cylindrical bud vase

colored pencils (any color combination you'd like)

ribbon (whatever color or pattern that will coordinate with your pencils, or not, if you live on the edge.) Haha.

Then just glue the pencils in whatever color pattern you would like around the vase and when you are done, tie the ribbon around the pencils, tie into a bow and glue to secure it.  Place the ribbon wherever you like, in the picture it's at the bottom of the vase and I did it a little more towards the top and it turned out fine.  These are really cute and make great teacher gifts!

Friday, September 10, 2010

What the....?

It can be an agonizing feat trying to navigate my way through the ups and downs of deployment.  Sometimes I think I am just blaming the ever-convenient deployment for my own natural ups and downs.  But, in my defense, my moods do seem to be soaring and plunging more frequently through peaks and valleys since the deployment...so the blame is justified, at least in my worbled mind.

I have felt so weird for the last few days.  Weird is such a general term but I honestly can't think of another way to describe it because I don't know what I am actually feeling.  If someone were to ask me right now the question that is so often asked, "How are you doing?", I would not be able to answer with a customary "fine".  I am not good, I am not bad, I'm just here.  In limbo.  It feels like I am in this state of perpetual waiting.  Like my life has turned into a really bad doctor's office waiting room.  I don't know what I'm waiting for.  Yes, I'm waiting for Mike's R&R, both with anticipation and anxiety.  I'm waiting to figure out what the next chapter of my life will entail.  I'm waiting to find out what mine and Mike's futures hold.  So many things are uncertain and for a person who generally likes to have a road map and destination, this makes for a general uneasiness.  I guess that's what I would call the weirdness.  I'm fidgety with the vagueness of our future.  Sure, he comes home and I will be giddy with relief but then what?  Will we stay here, where will he live, will we be transferred, how are we going to survive...it never ends.  These are questions I would like answers to, but not really questions I want to ponder.  Because in doing so will probably mean some unwanted reality checks and some unwanted answers.  I guess it would just be nice to know what I'm supposed to be doing, because I have that nagging feeling that I'm missing something.  I know that I'm not supposed to have all the answers...where's the fun in that, right?  But I do know that sometimes there are hints along the way and I just feel like I missed one, leaving me unprepared for the test.  Patience has never been my strong suit...I'm an instant gratification kind of gal.  But unfortunately patience is probably the one thing staring me in the face saying "duh".  Sometimes I'd like to punch patience in the face and move on to solution.  But, I guess for now I will begrudgingly sit next to patience in the waiting room hoping my name is called next.  I did hijack all the good magazines, though, so try being patient and bored.  Stupid patience.  It's the small victories.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Where are You From?

I was in Gracie's school today paying her monthly fee and there was a guy who works there standing at the counter.  I recognized him from around the school.  Anyway, he asked me how I was doing and I replied with the cursory, "Fine and you?".  Immediately he asked me where I was from because I had an accent.  First of all, I always thought of my accent as actually a lack thereof.  Secondly, I hate this question and unfortunately I am asked this all the time.  It's like the first date question upon meeting new people, right after, "What do you do for a living?", another one I dislike answering.  The reason I don't get warm fuzzies from this particulor information probe is because I never really have a ready answer.  We moved around a lot as a kid and we are moving around a lot as an adult.  I have lived in a lot of places and liked something about all of them.  I have fond memories of Savannah as a kid and the best memories of Kingston as a teenager.  I really loved that place.  But this guy was asking where I was from because of an accent??  So here's what I told him.  I said, "I was raised in the South by a pack of Yankees."  That should pretty much answer any question of a supposed accent.  I've always just absorbed whatever accent was being spoken around me.  If I'm in the South and around people with a Southern accent, I will have a Southern accent.  If I'm around my family or anyone else from the North, I will pick up the Yankee accent and so on.  This gets kinda embarassing when I'm around someone from the UK or Australia, because I start to pick up their accents and they always think I'm either A) trying to be super cool or B) making fun of them.  Both scenarios pretty much make me look like a douche in their eyes.  Sorry, can't help it.  Oh, well.  I guess I will have to come up with some wild stories to tell people when they ask me this question, just to throw them off.  "I was born into the mob, but had to be placed into the witness relocation program as a kid and moved in with a family from the Deep South...they aren't my real parents...shhhhh, you didn't see me."  Hehehehehe. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

OCD Baby

My son has OCD.  I'm convinced.  You think I'm being dramatic?  Wait until I list my evidence before you come to any conclusions.

1.  Waking up.  He gets out of bed and has to turn off the TV himself.  Then he proceeds to hand me, one by one, all of his stuffed animals including, but not limited to, Big Puppy, Old Little Puppy, New Little Puppy, Giraffe and his blanket.  I have to hold these things and bring them upstairs or he will collapse on the floor in a fit of despair.  Then he has to hold my right hand to walk up the stairs, again if he doesn't have a hold of my right hand...floor...despair.  This routine is the same for morning wake up and naptime wake up.

2.  Eating.  In the morning he sits in the chair on the left side of the table, this is also the chair used for snacks.  However, for dinner, he must sit at the head of the table, no exceptions.  He has to be the one to put the straw in his drink and he has to have his hand on the cup while water is being dispensed or he will not drink it.  Do not try to take his plate until he has left the table.  Even if he has said that he's done, if you try to confiscate his plate before he has exited the table vicinity trouble will ensue.  Make sure all food is cut up before the plate hits the table or he will not let you do it afterwards and then will proceed to try and shove the entire thing in his mouth which you will then have to dig out of his mouth.  I have only made this mistake once...never again.

3.  Car Rides.  He must be the one to open the door, climb in the car and into his seat.  You may not help him do any of these things or, once again, floor...crumble.  Then he has to open the DVD screen and adjust his air vent.  Yes, he does this every time he gets in the car.  He will allow you to buckle him in, but you'd better have the car running and movie engaged by the time you shut that door.  Then upon exiting the car, if he was really into the movie they were watching then he will not let you unbuckle him for at least a few more minutes.  I use this time to gather my purse and any other odds and ends I may need to carry in because the passenger door needs to be closed and locked by the time he gets out of the car or he will open it, jump in and climb into the driver's seat.  He's quick and he's sneaky.  If this happens, chances of getting him out of the car and walking into the house under his own recognizance are slim.  Once he is unbuckled he has to reverse his entry process by closing the DVD screen, closing his air vent and then closing the door (under close supervision to prevent squished fingers...usually mine).

I'm sure there are more things I am not remembering right now, but you get the picture.  His sister was never like this!  Does he just find extreme comfort in routine or is this child really OCD?  I think he is starting to resemble his Daddy more and more every day.  :)  At least I know what to expect (usually)!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Motherhood...who knew?

I was driving to pick up Gracie at school today and I have to drive by the high school which is when I noticed a girl and her mom sitting in their car.  The mom was obviously having a heated, one-sided conversation with her daughter with her hands flying about and blatantly yelling at her daughter.  The daughter, however, was texting on her phone...completely tuning her mom out.  I could tell all this through the windshield.  That got me thinking about Gracie and wondering if that was going to be us in a few years.  Lord help me, I hope not.  But, since Gracie started school it has me thinking about all the things that come along with it and I am terrified.  I'm scared of all the things she may and will come across through her adolescent years.  Will she fit in?  She's SO much bigger than all the other kids her age...will that always be the case?  And then will they make fun of her?  Will she be bullied?  Then I will be terrified of the jail time I will have to do for smacking around the kid that hurt her.  Having to prove myself in the yard everyday will take a lot of energy and I just don't have it.

Then will she meet a boy?  Will she fall in love?  Will he break her heart?  Will I have to violate my parole and put the smack down on the little punk who breaks her heart?  I feel so fiercely protective of my little girl.  I'm sure I will feel the same way about Gabe, but since he is still under the protection of my wing I guess it's not at the forefront.  I just worry SO much about Gracie and realize that this is where motherhood is really put to the test.  It's such an impossible, yet ultimately the most important job to mold their little minds, instill their morals and values and to keep their precious and fragile little egos intact.  How do you come away from that unscathed?  I just hope that she will be strong enough to handle herself but compassionate enough to see the good in people and that she will have no problem making friends.  Oh, the anxiety.  I think I'm having a panic attack.  I guess because there is so much of this you can't control and up until this point I had (somewhat) control over her entire environment. 

Until now, I always had this lingering feeling that I wasn't mature enough to be a parent.  I still feel like the kid a lot of the time, unsure, unprepared and unskilled.  But ultimately, when your kids grow up...so do you. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Facebook Follies

I am just as addicted to facebook as the next person.  I love getting on there and reconnecting with old friends, leaving snarky comments and basically just keeping in touch with everyone in one swoop.  It's also great when I'm having a bad day and just need a virtual hug.  We all have those days.  So in all the time I've been on facebook I've noticed a pattern of certain people and their posts.  I'm going to list my top three worst facebook offenders.  You'll know them.  Everyone has at least one of these people haunting their friends list and you know you get just as annoyed as I do.  Or maybe I'm just crabby, either way...

1.  The Chronic Misspeller - I've been guilty of misspelling one, maybe two words in a post when I've been sleepy or otherwise distracted.  I'm not talking about that.  I'm talking about people who practically misspell every single word in their posts.  It gets to the point where I have to spend extra time just trying to decipher what they are trying to say.  It's like they are actually speaking another language.  This can also go hand in hand for people who use excessive "text slang".  ur, lol, l8r, brb, ogg, ttyl and it goes on and on and on.  I'm not claiming to be the best speller in the world, but I know that the word "was" is not spelled with a "z".  If these people are doing this on purpose (which I highly doubt) it's not cute, it's not funny and it makes me violent.  Get a dictionary.

2.  Debbie Downer - Once again, I have posted on occasion when I am having a bad day and need a hug...but...I don't do this everyday.  I don't even do this every week.  It's rare.  But there are some people out there who feel it is necessary that I know the mundane details of their sad little lives.  These people are not the every-once-in-a-while posters, they are the post-every-five-mintues-because-I-have-nothing-else-to-do posters.  Every post is somehow a variation of the following "Life sucks", "I'm done", "Bad day as usual" or "I wish I could run away" or even the "call out" which goes something like "I hate liars", "tell me to my face", or I 've even seen "My husband told me he wants a divorce".  Now I can understand needing to vent some feelings.  But when everything you post goes down the toilet and I need a Zanex just to read it, there's a problem.  I don't want to hear it.  Everyone has their problems and sometimes we choose to share, but I do not want to see something negative on my page from you every hour of every day.  Keep it to yourself.  And things like "divorce" need to stay private.  Do not plaster that crap all over facebook, I mean, seriously?

3.  Lovebirds - The complete opposite of "Debbie Downer" this person feels it necessary to share every little intimate detail of their relationship.  I'm happy for you that you have someone who makes you happy.  Post when you have a great date, when they do something special, when you get engaged, that's all fine!  I will gush with you.  But when you post excessively every day about how wonderful your man is, how sexy he is, what he said to you that day, what he did for you that day, well, quite frankly it makes me want to toss my cookies.  This one is especially annoying to me right now because I don't have the opportunity to do those things with my husband and, yes, I'm jealous.  But, even if my husband was home I would not be sharing that much information about our relationship.  I don't want to hear about the bubble bath you took together while sharing a bottle of wine!  Is nothing sacred?  Is it fair for me to dog these people who are just in love?  Maybe not, I didn't say I was entirely rational.  It's not their fault that my husband is not here and I am not blaming them but I'm highly emotional with a short fuse, so I don't really care if I offend you.  You are offending me.  Knock it off, lovebirds, and get a room.

Did I miss anyone?  My word gun is still loaded and my trigger finger is feeling itchy!  :)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The A/C Nazi

So it's been averaging 95 degrees outside with enough humidity to drown a horse.  It's been averaging 79 degrees in the house and that's with air conditioning.  There's nothing wrong with the a/c units, my dad purposefully sets the thermostat to 79.  I'm losing it.  I know why Dad is doing this, he's not masochistic.  He has his reasons (astronomical electric bills) and I get it.  I'm just having a hard time living with it.  Everytime I try to sneak the temperature down one or two degrees, Dad will check it and put it right back up where it was.  He even bought locking covers for the thermostats so that "Gabe" couldn't mess with them.  He hasn't used them yet...I'm sure that day is coming. 

I wake up in the morning sweating.  Getting dressed makes me sweat.  Walking upstairs makes me sweat.  I try putting on my make-up and I sweat it off faster than I can get it on.  I'm living in a constant state of sweat.  I don't and haven't been cooking, because let's be honest, if you were living on the edge of a volcano would you want to jump into the flames?  It's starting to get to me.  I'm turning into a raving lunatic!  Well, more than usual.  There is just something about being hot all the time that will eventually drive you mad.  I think my brain has gone from a simmer to a rolling boil and needless to say, it's cooked.  My temper is out of control.  I had a short temper before but now it's like I wake up with teeth clenched, fists balled and ready for a fight.  I pity the fool who crosses my path at the wrong time right now.  The grocery store clerk who feels he is above his job and any common courtesy will never see it coming.  And honestly he would derseve a taste of my wrath.  If I had the means I would blow up the sun.  Yeah, I'm that hot.

Now, having said that.  I feel stupid for complaining because Mike has it ten times worse than me.  I told him that today after winding down from my rant.  He understands and doesn't fault me for complaining, but still.  Stupid.  It's all about perspective.  Just stay outta my way until fall. :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Makes Ya Think...

I came across this article the other day that really resonated with me.  Strangely it is an article written by Betty Friedan in 1960.  I never thought I would so closely relate to an article written before I was born, but I guess some thoughts and feelings never change.  Click here to read the article titled "Women are People Too", and I do urge you to read it. 

It comes to me at a time where I find myself struggling with a "quarter life crisis" and asking the question, "Is this it?".  Where my current roles in life as a wife and mother are extremely important ones that I cherish, I know that this is not where my story ends.  It's figuring out what else I have to offer and the path to get there that is the most challenging.  As I struggle down my path of self-reflection and realizing my self worth I find that I am not the only one asking this question.  In fact this seems to be the question of the ages for most women.  Where this can be frustrating at times, it is also comforting to know that this struggle is not only mine.  I have figured out the answers to some of my queries and am still working on others.  But I am finally coming into my own and realizing who I really am and who I want to be, and that is liberating.  Although I think this is a lifelong journey, it's nice to be thrown a bone now and then.

Monday, August 9, 2010

First Day of School

My baby, my first born, my little girl...she started school today.  I thought I was handling it well.  I looked at it as a positive thing.  She was excited, I was excited.  It was a win-win.  Mom took her shopping over the weekend and she got some very stylin' new clothes for school.  She picked out her outfit two days before school started, then this morning, like a girl, she changed her mind and picked another one which was equally as cute.  We got to the school, the teacher opened the car door and she hopped out and went in and never looked back.  I watched her walk into that school with her backpack on and she looked so small.  Suddenly I yearned for my baby girl.  She's been with me for the last four years.  Nonstop.  Then it hit me that those days were gone forever.  This is the first step towards her leaving me!  I thought I was handling it well.  I wasn't.  I cried all the way home.  This is still a good thing and she loved it.  My little girl is growing up.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Welcome to "Loser-ville"

Ok, so maybe I'm being a wee bit dramatic.  I'm not a loser, I know I'm not...right?  RIGHT?  Where is this all coming from?  Well, let me tell you.

I decided to take the two older kids to the movies tonight because we haven't really gotten the chance to do anything without the little kids.  I love my babies, but let's face it...they can cramp your style when you want to go DO things.  It used to take me 30 minutes to get out of the house including wardrobe, hair and make up.  Now, it takes me an hour and a half to get the kids dressed, fed, watered and diaper bags checked and double checked for appropriate supplies.  That is IF I have pre-planned the diaper bag the night before and made sure it was stocked with the right amount of gear for the length of time we will be gone, plus extra for those trips that always take longer than expected.  For example I always include an extra set of clothes now because of one day trip Mike and I decided to take on a whim back in Colorado (note: "whims" and "children" SO do not play well together).  Well, we did not have a day trip bag packed, we had a "trip to the grocery store" bag packed.  After over an hour of driving we arrived at where we were going to stop and both kids had wet pants (stupid Huggies).  We had no spare set of clothes so what were we to do?  After huffing and puffing and discussing whether or not to just change the diapers and turn around to go home, we decided to turn the heat in the car on full blast, put it on defrost and set their moist pants on top.  Voila!  Dry pants in 5 minutes!  It fixed our situation then, but I would rather play it safe now, instead of having to employ the "Defrost Dryer" method.  But I digress...

So I asked the kids if they wanted to go (duh!), what movie they wanted to see and if they would last through the late night!  Our plans were set and we were going to see "The Last Airbender" after the babies went to bed.  Later this afternoon, Charlene comes in with her friend and informs (yes, inform, not ask, inform) me that she will be joining us and then spending the night afterward.  Well, ok.  I was cool about it and said, "Sure"!  Then I was cool and stopped at the drugstore (let's not get crazy, a small drink at the theater costs $5!) and let them all pick whatever soda and candy they wanted!  We get to the theater and they ask if they can sit at the very top and I agreed thinking we were all going to sit at the top.  So I get there and start down the center aisle but when I turn around I see that I am alone.  They have already planted themselves on the end where there are only two seats, ensuring that I could not sit with them.  I shouldn't be surprised, I was a kid once.  But I hate to admit that I stood there for a second, shocked.  I finally reserved my self to sit down, alone, and try to look inconspicuous.  After a while I came to the realization that while I'm too uncool to sit with the kids, this arrangement did have it's perks.  I got the bag of popcorn I bought to share all to myself.  I got to watch a movie with no interruptions, no chatter, no having to sit inbetween anyone to break up arguments.  BOTH armrests all to myself.  This isn't bad at all.  If you can get over the whole "I'm a mom now and therefore part of the un-cool club" blow to the ego, it's really quite enjoyable!  I'm still cool, though.  Those kids just don't appreciate my brand of cool yet!  Word.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

My day started out pretty swimmingly.  I had plans to go to the park, the kids were excited and when the kids get excited about something they are shockingly more cooperative.  It always helps to have something to hold over their head. ;)  Then my super fabulous FRG leader calls me and asks if I would be willing to start a newsletter for all our FRG gals.  I was so excited at this prospect.  I mean, stupid excited.  I called my mom, plastered it all over facebook, texted my friends and then in middle of all of it Mike IM'd me.  I started off the conversation with a boisterous "GUESS WHAT???".  Of course, he is either thinking, "oh, crap what now?"  or, "geez, she's hitting the Monster a little early".  So after I filled him in on the "big news" (you'd think I was pregnant or something) he of course shared in my excitement.  It makes me even more giddy to think that I might have a hand in something that all his buddies and coworkers can see and he will be able to say, "my wife did that".  I just want him to be proud of me.  This project is just the thing I've been looking for.  I needed something to do, a purpose, an outlet.  Prayers were answered.

So I've been flying high on this all morning.  Then we get to the park.  It seemed like a good idea at the time, but then again I forgot that I'm living on the first floor of hell.  It was SO hot.  It was so hot that the breeze, and I use this term loosely, felt like someone standing in front of you with a hair dryer on full blast.  We tried to play soccer, but it felt like my feet were melting to the astro turf.  Yeah, it was that hot.  So we bailed and came home. 

Did I mention I have my stepkids for the next two weeks?  It's a lot of fun having them here and the two little ones are in heaven.  But with two extra kids, comes extra mess.  It just goes with the territory.  Coming home to a house that was an absolute disaster, more than usual, wasn't exactly the soothing balm to my pending heat stroke.  So I found the playstation and decided to once again use my powers of bribery and told the kids that if they helped me clean up I would hook it up for them (insert evil laugh).  When I go to put a t.v. into the spare bedroom, lifting the thing by myself and setting everything else up I realized just a little too late that this t.v. didn't have the right connections.  Off to Gracie's room I go.  I get it set up again and everything is almost working until I discover the little drive thingy (yes that is a technical term) that you put the game in won't open.  Then when I get it open, it won't close.  Broken.  Awesome. 

Later I was in the upstairs bathroom and as I flushed the toilet I could feel the chain to the little plunger thingy (yes, another technical term - I know what I'm talking about!) snap.  So then I spend the next 10 minutes with my hands in a toilet tank trying to reattatch this stupid chain.  But this chain just doesn't want to go home.  Broken.  Rad.

Even though my day went from good to bad I'm not gonna let it get to me.  I guess I'm still riding high on my wave of giddiness.  Keep on truckin!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Help Wanted

There is a position opening for anyone looking for an exciting, fulfilling and somewhat demanding job.  This is a prestigious position and I will be happy to give a full job description.

Be warned:  There is an extensive, painstaking, laboring and uncomfortable interview process that may take up to two days or more to complete.  Only the strong will survive.

Position Title:  Full Time Assistant to company CEO and Vice President.  Company name is subjective at this time.

Salary:  N/A...this position is done "out of the goodness of your heart".  The rewards are great but not monetary.

Description:  Must be on call 24 hours a day to fulfill every need, physical, mental and emotional of both CEO and Vice President.  Must be bilingual as the bosses speak very broken English.  You will be responsible for all the meals and snacks, this includes grocery shopping and preparing the food.  You are also responsible for the clean up of aforementioned food as well as any other mess the CEO or Vice President create either separately or together.  It is suggested that you simply follow them around with a dust buster.  These particular bosses can be moody and tempermental and argumentative with each other.  You will be required to act as go-between for them and resolving any arguments with as little bloodshed as possible.  But when there is bloodshed you are also required to administer the proper medical attention as well as cleaning up any equipment broken in the process.  There is also some handyman experience needed as you will probably need to fix holes in walls, broken recreational equipment, maybe some light plumbing as well.  You must also act as chauffer, making sure the CEO and Vice President get to all their appointments, meetings, lunches and dates on time.  You must make sure your employer is in bed at a decent hour but don't worry about having to wake them up...they will do that for you and very early.  They require their clothes to be laundered and/or dry cleaned and selected for them.  Most days they can change clothes two to three times, so be prepared for a large workload.

Occasionaly you will be provided with a temporary assistant to help with the smaller chores, but these are usually only available after 3:00 p.m. and their fees will be taken from your non-existent pay check.

If you are strong enough to stay with the company for an extended period of time you will be promoted to Executive Assistant and the following duties will be added.  The CEO and Vice President will be continuing their education and therefore you will now be responsible for dropping them off and picking them up from classes.  You will need to purchase their school supplies as well as assisting them with any work or assignment.  This sometimes requires staying up all night.  The addition of their educational duties will also bring with it extracurricular activities.  These are also your responsibility to purchase the necessary equipment and to get your bosses to and from their practices on time.  Occasionally you will need to provide drinks and snacks for not only them but their teammates as well.

If you can make it through Phase Two which ends with the CEO and Vice President taking their positions to a remote location, then you shall be rewarded with a vacation.  This can take up to 18 years or more to happen.  You will still be required to be on call but the frequency should decrease considerably.  You will also be responsible for any monetary needs and will need to form a relationship with your banker.  However this is the final step before retirement and what a sweet retirement it will be.  Our retirement package is unmatched by any other.  It includes, but is not limited to, extensive periods rest, leisurely walks, traveling and eventually junior CEO's and Vice President's that you will be able to supervise and then relinquish to your former CEO and Vice President.

If this position sounds right for you...you're crazy.  But I think you'll find yourself very happy with the result after years of hard work and dedication.  Only serious applicants need to apply.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Musicality?

So here's a hard question.  Maybe one of the hardest.  What would you put on the soundtrack of your life?  If you think of your life as a movie (doesn't everyone do this, or am I special like that?) then what would be your soundtrack?  We all know that a movie's soundtrack is just as important, if not more so, than the movie itself.  I don't really know if I can answer this question. 

It's like that first date question "what's your favorite song?"  I hate that question.  It's both a good and a bad question to ask.  Good because knowing a person's favorite song can give you a lot of insight into who you're asking.  Music is tricky and essential.  It's the basis of our souls, can you imagine never hearing music?  So people tend to take the music they listen to seriously.  We all have our likes and dislikes.  But the way a song makes you feel cannot be compared.  Music is very emotional and personal.  So to ask a person what their favorite song is, is well, like asking to read their diary...personal and insightful.

That question is bad because how many of you can name just one song?  I can't.  I may have a favorite song of the moment, but I assure you that will change at some point.  We choose our songs of the moment, because they are just that, of the moment.  They define a time in our lives or an event.  My favorite song 15 years ago was No Doubt's "Just a Girl" because I was 14 (do us all a favor and do not try to do the age math) and related to the song.  My favorite song right now is "What Part of Forever" by Cee-Lo Green, because I miss my love and this song expresses what's in my soul...right now.  When my first love broke up with me after I moved to Colorado the first time, I listened to Shawn Colvin's "Sunny Came Home" on repeat for two weeks.  Ask my brother, he can vouch for that because it drove him nuts.  But I cannot give you an all time favorite song.  It just can't be done.  There are many, many songs that I like, a few that I love and only a handful that I can listen to repeatedly, non-stop without getting tired of them.  Although my husband, I'm sure, would argue that he gets very tired of those obsessive songs of mine.  Sorry honey.

So what are some of your soundtrack songs?  Songs that mark a time in your life that you will always remember, good or bad.  Here is a short list of some of mine:

1.  Neverending Story (childhood years)
2.  Arial "Part of this World" from the Little Mermaid
3.  Aerosmith "Livin on the Edge" (tween years)
4.  Reba McIntyre "Take it Back" (I had some variety :) )
5.  M.C. Hammer "2 Legit" (stop rolling your eyes at me, you know you did too)
6.  N.K.O.T.B "Hangin' Tough" (two words: shut.up.)
7.  No Doubt "Just a Girl"
8.  Nirvana "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
9.  Bush "Glycerine"
10. Chumbawumba "Tubthumper" (I know, I know)
11. Orgy "Blue Monday"
12.  Mindless Self Indulgence "F****t" (we're going through life phases here, don't judge)
13. The Dandy Warhols "Sleep" and "Bohemian Like You"
14.  Norah Jones "Come Away with Me"
15.  Muse "Sunburn" "Unintended" "Showbiz"  (I REALLY like them, can you tell?)
16. All American Rejects "My Paper Heart"
17. Muse "Supermassive Black Hole" "Uprising" "Neuron Star Collision" (yeah, I think we get the picture)
18.  Metric "All Yours"
19.  Lekke Li "Possibility"
20.  Cee-Lo Green "What Part of Forever"

Ok, so maybe not such a short list...and that's only a sampling.  See what I mean? 

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The 3 AM Ramblings of a Night Owl

Ok, so we all know that deployments make you crazy.  They also mess with your sleep schedule...big time.  I was already a night owl before Mike left, but now, it's just nuts. 

The other night was one of many nights where I was having trouble sleeping.  When I looked at the clock it said 3 AM.  So I decided to grab a notebook and write Mike a letter.  In the front of this notebook was a note from him from when he left for the last deployment.  I started reading it and I was struck by one line he wrote.  This is where my wacky letter began.  Don't judge me. :)

I am just going to copy the original letter I wrote, word for word.  Keep in mind I was so tired I don't really even remember writing this...

"3:00 AM.  Paper/Pencil.  Thoughts racing, sleep eluding.  So tired my hair hurts, but still can't sleep.  Deployment.  A blessing and a curse.  Strengthening and soul crushing.  Remembering you.  Missing you.  Needing you.  You wrote to me, "I have never been loved as much as you love me."  How did that happen?  What made you finally realize that?  How can I realize that?  Will it last?  Will the mind numbing mantras of positivity I keep repeating hold true?  "It will make us stronger", "if we can make it through this we can make it through anything", "our love will only grow stronger with separation".  Am I just trying to convince myself?  Where are you?  I need your touch.  I need your strength.  It can't be me anymore.  Not all the time.  Where am I?  I need to dream.  I need to go. Please. Love. Me."

Ahhhh, gotta love the deployment crazy...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

B-Day

And I'm not talking about a birthday!  Ladies, this blog is for you.  Men, this blog is going to be about lady things.  If lady things make you squirm then stop reading...now.

Ok, so I'm talking about bras.  It's the one thing I've been putting off for a while.  I usually don't mind shopping, if it's recreational.  But when I have to do it, that's another story filled with kicking and screaming.  So I realized that I only had one bra that still fit decently.  After Gabe was born and for the 8 months following while he nursed I wore my nursing bra and that was fine.  However, he stopped nursing...a while ago, yet I'm still wearing a nursing bra and it's starting to go.  And let me tell you, there's nothing more embarassing than going to adjust your bra and accidentally unhooking the nursing flap.  No one needs to see that.  Ugh.  This means I have to go (cue dramatic music) bra shopping.  I don't even have a clue what size I am anymore.  It went up with preganancy and then waaaay down afterwards.  I think I even shriveled up smaller than my pre-pregancy size.  You kids just have no idea!  So I had a couple of shirts to return to Khol's and $20 in Khol's cash that expired tomorrow.  I took it as a sign and reserved myself to go.  I put the kids down for a nap and Mom and I headed out on an adventure. 

We made a couple of other stops first, stalling as long as I possibly could.  But then we arrived at the store and after browsing, I finally made my way over to the bra department.  There is a whole DEPARTMENT dedicated to the torture of women.  This shouldn't be legal.  So I just started grabbing different sizes and styles, because there were about a million (no, seriously, a million) different kinds.  Full coverage, light push up, BAM! push up, underwire, no wire, invisible look, sports, racer back, front closure, back closure, lace, satin, microfiber, cotton and the choices go on and on and on.  That was enough to make me want to go braless for the rest of my life.  Yeah, the big thud you just heard, was Thelma and Louise hitting the floor.  I guess that option's out.  On to the dressing room!  Now starts the real fun.  Either the band was too tight or the cup too small which creates that lovely armpit bulge.  Or the cup was too big and the band small which gives you that oh-so-coveted back bulge.  The straps were either too far out on the shoulders or too far up, almost a halter.  Bras tried on: 10, bras that fit: 0.  On to round two.  I bring back a whole new crop and set to work again.  By this time the skin around my torso is raw from putting on so many bras then having to turn them around and flip them up.  I tried on some Wonderbras, thinking of Mike coming home in December and wanting something a little special.  Yeah, there's really nothing wonderful about them.  There is no amount of water, air or gel that's going to make these puppies look like they never endured pregancy.  That's out.  So I finally come across one bra that doesn't squeeze me in all the wrong places or make me feel like there is a metal rod being shoved into my armpit.  Done.  I get it in white and I'm outta there.

Bras tried on: 20 (give or take one, I lost count), bras that fit: 1 (sort of).  It's not exciting, it's not pretty but it will do the job.  Hopefully for a long time so I don't have to do this again anytime soon.  Is there anything that men have to shop for that they have this much trouble with?  I think not. 

This is the dressing room after round one.  Crazy.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Memories of Granddad

My Granddad is 91.  He is still with us, in fact, I'm lucky enough to still have all four of my grandparents on this earth.  I've never lost anyone close to me and I don't really know what to expect.  Death is foreign to me in my reality.  I have a bad feeling once someone I care about passes, a firestorm is going to be unleashed on me.  So I've decided to write about my grandparents, one by one, while they are still here.  This way I can think with a clear head and remember all the things I want or need to remember about them.  Something that maybe they can read now so they can know just how big a part of my life they all were.  Time is not on anyone's side, no one lives forever, so I feel the need to do this now.  Diplomatically, I will start with the oldest and work my way down.

His hands are large, massive actually.  It was always the first thing I noticed.  As a little girl my hand was literally swallowed up by his.  He has the hands of someone who is no stranger to hard work.  He grew up on a farm in Montana, the only boy amongst a family of girls, other than his father.  He lived the typical farm life, up with the sun to do chores that we would consider hard labor today.  But if you were to ask him how he felt about it, he would tell you stories of fond memories and adventures that would make Tom Sawyer green.  From there he joined the Army like so many men did in those days and served in WWI.  After the Army he married my grandmother, started having children and lived the simple life that followed.  He worked for a refinery for over 30 years.  He worked with his hands, that's what he was born to do, it's what those hands were made for.  That's not to say he isn't smart as a whip though.  The man is a walking encyclopedia spouting facts and events like Old Faithful (which he took us to see when we were kids).  He always had a little informational tidbit to offer no matter what we were talking about.  Unless we were talking about video games, then he pretty much tuned us out :).  I always told him he should have been a contestant on Jeopardy...he would have broken the record! 

My brother and I would go out to their house in Oregon, where they retired, every summer.  I loved it.  Well, I loved it until I got to be a teenager, then I wanted to have the typical summer with my friends.  However, I wouldn't trade those summers in Oregon for anything.  I have so many fond memories of helping to fix dinner, watching Granddad make his sourdough bread (he was an avid and amazing baker), picking blackberries and then taking them to Aunt Sarah's house (his sister) where she would make pies out of them.  They took us to Tilamook where we got to see how they made cheese and ice cream and were introduced to beef jerky...yum.  They always took us somewhere I never would have seen otherwise.  We went to Yellowstone, Mt. Hood, ate dinner on the top of the Space Needle, down the Oregon coast and even to Canada and Northern California to stare in awe at the gargantuan redwoods.  There are countless other road trips and camp outs we had.  Sometimes we would just hang out at the house.  The house that my grandfather built as his dream home to retire in.  It sat on a hill that on a clear day your see all the way to Mt. Hood.  There was a big field in the front where the neighbors cows would sometimes wander and graze.  It's where I stumbled upon a baby calf one day.  There was a huge garden and a tire swing in the back yard.  I picked carrots, strawberries and got my first taste of fresh dill out of that garden.  I learned how to play croquet, UNO, Rummy Cub, Solitaire and Challenge (a game the Granddad made up from UNO cards) at this house.  I used to pin my brother down with the wickets (from croquet) in the front yard.  Sometimes I would just sit under the giant cypress tree and read.  Granddad cut away the lower branches of that tree so I could sit a chair under that tree.  For years after the last time I was at that house he would always tell me that my reading spot was still there, that he kept the branches trimmed.  That still tugs at my heart.  I have an image in my mind of an empty chair sitting under a solitary tree with freshly trimmed branches, waiting for me to come back a read a story. 

They sold the house a couple of years ago to come live here with my Aunt Jane.  It was the practical thing to do and I have loved being able to see them so much more often.  But I will dearly miss that house and all the years of memories that it held for me.  A large part of my childhood was in that house with my grandparents.  I wished I had appreciated it more at the time instead of worrying about stupid kid stuff.  I wish I had listened closer to some of the stories and remembered the little details of his life.  But I will forever cherish the memories I do have and hope that he knows what a special part he played in my life.  Even though we don't say it out loud that often, I love you Granddad and thank you for showing me the world.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Call me Orson...

I have befriended a spider.  Now all you spiders out there, don't get excited.  This is a special circumstance, a one time deal.  If you are unwise enough to cross my path, you will die.  Death by flip flop isn't a pretty way to go, so stay outta my way!  That being said, my spider friend and I met about a week ago on my back porch.  Every night I let Rufus out before I go to bed and this is usually just an in and out type of thing.  On this one particular night I let Rufus out as usual, but as I looked up there was a huge spider web stretching across the entire length of my awning.  Ordinarily this is where I would have grabbed my trusty spray and anihilated him.  As I was standing there, spray in hand, I stopped to watch this little spider spin his elaborate web.  Then a moth flew into it and the speed at which this spider moved was impressive.  The moth got away and the little spider went back to his stoop in the middle of the web, just waiting.  I was intrigued so I let the spider live.  Every night since then I have gone out and observed my spider buddy.  I watch him spin his web with precision and then patiently wait for the bounty.  I don't know if spiders can actually possess patience, but my spider does I'm sure.  I wait for a spell, curious to see if a wayward bug will fall prey, secretly hoping one will.  I have actually found myself rooting for the spider like I'm at a sporting event and then letting out an emphatic "Awwww!" when a bug gets away.  Like a Motel 8 I leave the light on hoping it will attract a bug for dinner.  If I could actually bring myself to do it and I had the skills of Mr. Miyagi I think I would actually catch a bug and throw it into the web for him.  A peace offering perhaps, for almost killing him.  But that would require actually touching a bug, so that's out.  And so our odd little friendship continues.  I still hate spiders, though. :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Deep Thoughts...

Picture this...an unassuming girl sitting in her living room in the basement of her parents house, wearing a snuggie and listening to the Eclipse soundtrack contemplating life.  If you feel like it, slap on your snuggie and join me down my road of self-reflection.

Do you ever look at yourself and wonder what there is about you that's special?  I don't mean the typical, cookie-cutter responses you get from people like "you're a great friend", "you're such a positive person", or "you're a great mom".  I don't buy it.  If you've ever read my blog at certain times, you know that I'm not always a positive person, I can be a crappy friend at times and I'm nowhere near a great mom, at least from where I see things.  Are my standards for these labels a tad high?  Maybe.  But I still don't see myself as these things, at least I don't see them as a definition of who I am.  So who am I?  You got me.  That's the question that runs over and over in my mind like a skipping cd (I tried to modernize the old "broken record" metaphor, did ya like that?)  Anyway.  I've always been just okay at things.  I've never really excelled at anything.  I was an A-B student, first chair of the second flutes in the band, a defensive player on the soccer team not the big scorer (my mom has pointed out that I was never really that good at soccer), nice looking but never the pretty girl and the list goes on.  I am always one step behind.  Which brings me to my next question.  What does it take to be extraordinary?  I think the terms of that definition have definitely evolved over the years.  Boundaries keep getting pushed, records keep getting broken until what?  We become superhuman?  The proverbial bar is rising higher and coming from a person who was always a beat behind the winner, is it realistic of me to think I will ever reach it, let alone rise above it?  Likely it's not realistic.  Which has been both my crutch and my hindrance. 

I want to find my purpose in life.  A purpose which is not defined by my ability to bear children or make a friend rather by a true talent.  Something I can be proud of.  Something my family can be proud of.  Something that people who know me will say "hey, I know her and she's fabulous".  I'm not necessarily talking about fame.  That dream died after an ill-fated audition for the high school production of "Fiddler on the Roof", but hey, that's another story and another notch on the "Not Quite Good Enough" belt.  I'm talking about sharing a part of yourself with the world and having the world relate to it and appreciate it.  Recognition.  But in order to achieve recognition, you have to actually put yourself out there.  This is where my crutch comes in. 

Given my track record I have such a inhibiting fear of failure that I can't even bring myself to take the first step towards my goal.  Right now I am talking of course about writing.  I also love photography, but have reserved myself to the fact that I will never be the best at it and I am ok with that.  I would rather just keep setting personal goals to improve my skill in that arena.  Writing, however, is another ballgame.  I enjoy it, I've been told that I'm good at it.  So what's holding me back?  The fear that I'm not actually that good.  That people are just saying nice things to me because they are nice people that care about me (which is not a bad quality to have ;).  I read other blogs and books and just think to myself "that person is so much better than me, so why bother?"  I know, I know.  It's annoying to me too.  Can you imagine having to listen to my inner dialogue all the time?  Oh, wait...you kind of are listening to it.  My apologies.  This is a personal challenge that I will have to overcome if I ever want to acheive my dream.  I need to reserve myself to the fact that I will not ever be the best at anything, but that shouldn't stop me from doing what I love, right?  Screw the world and it's standards!  Keep your record breaking, boundary pushing, bar raising and your stupid first place.  I'm here to make second place look good.  Cheers!

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Tribute

Heros are defined in many ways.  Personal heros could be anything from an athelete to an author.  More often they are defined by those who wear the uniform of public service, i.e. fireman, police officer, paramedic/EMT and military.  But how often can you say that your hero has worn all those proverbial hats?  My hero, my soldier, my husband has in fact worn all those uniforms.  Since he was 17 he has dedicated his life to public service.  He has always said that everytime he envisioned his future it has been in public service.  He started in the Army before he even graduated from high school.  He dedicated 14 years of his life to the Armed Forces before getting out and venturing on to other public service avenues.  All the while he stayed in the Air National Guard, never fully relinquishing his ties to the military.  He served in Panama, the first Gulf War and most recently the Iraq War.  For a period inbetween his military service he served as a firefighter and EMT.  When I met him 6 years ago he was on the police force in Savannah.  A thankless, tiring and often ridiculed job that he loved and was so good at.  Then he returned to active duty in the Army.  A ponderous decision for all of us, but one I ultimately think was right.  Even though it has separated us for long periods of time over the last three years, I know that he believes in what he's doing, he's in element.  He cares about his guys and is an impeccable leader.  This is truly what he was born to do.  I can't think of anyone I would trust more with my life, so much so that I've entrusted him with something far more fragile...my heart.  So in the spirit of this holiday where we celebrate our nations birth and the brave souls who fought and continue to fight for it, I celebrate one brave soul.  My love, my partner and my best friend.  You make me proud to say that you're mine.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Whew!

Yesterday ended a two week adventure that will sorely be missed.  My brother and the best sister-in-law in the world visited us for an amazing, albeit crazy two weeks.  I'm sure the rest of the family was happy to see me and Jessica separated because when we are together the banter never stops...ever.  It was glorious!!  I mentioned that she was the best sister-in-law in the world, but I really think of her more as a BFF.  I'm just lucky enough to have her in my family so she can never get rid of me!  (insert evil laugh)  We went shopping, out to eat (a lot), to the movies, down to Savannah, to the beach, swimming, oh, and we got tattoos...with my mom!  I never in a million years thought mom would actually go through with it but she did and now she has a daisy on her foot.  She's a rockstar.  I was the only one disappointed with my tattoo, it didn't turn out as I envisioned...nothing ever does.  So now I have plans to consult with another tattoo artist here in Atlanta and get it fixed, eventually.  Andy and Jessica left yesterday and I am bummed.  But, I didn't have too much time to be bummed considering both kids got really sick.  I actually had to take Gabe to the Immediate Med because he was wheezing and had a high fever.  It turns out they both have croup and Gabe has a slight ear infection on top of that.  That makes for a crappy day.  So now we enter day two of sleepless nights tending to two miserable little babies.  I just had to make one of them soup at 11:00 at night.  Thus, the life of a mommy.  Hopefully they will get better soon.  I hate it when my babies are sick.  If they are better in time, I am supposed to be meeting my other BFF, Rachel, in Savannah next week for the big Eclipse and The Last Airbender premier!  YAY!!!  I have been waiting for so long to see these movies!  I can't wait!  I hope the kids are better in time.  I won't be going if they still feel crummy, they do come first after all.  As much as it hurts, Edward can wait for me.  Hope everyone else is having a great summer!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ask Mellie

I got my first question for the "Ask Mellie" segment of this blog!  Huzzah!  Ok, I'm totally geeking out about this, considering I just actually used the word huzzah.  So here goes!


Dear Mellie,


What is an appropriate response to someone who uses a social networking site like facebook as a platform for be-littling you or one of your family members? There has to be a diplomatic resolution here, right?


Love,


Troubled in Tennessee


Well, Troubled, here is what I see.  There is no room for diplomacy in this situation.  This is family and we always protect our own.  So I see cold-blooded revenge!  I think this person should be exposed in some way.  I see something in a dirty little secret, a closeted skeleton or maybe even an unflattering tape that mysteriously gets "leaked".  But I guess if you want to take the high road...


It's always bothered me that some people take something as positive as facebook and use it as a platform for negativity.  I personally try to never get involved in these online "debates".  But if someone said something negative about one of my friends or family members, I certainly couldn't just sit by and let it go.  I wouldn't say anything to this person publically but I would send them a private message acknowledging their right to their opinion but that's it's not appreciated when it's belittling someone, family or not, especially in such a public way.  They need to know that their carelessness has hurt you and I'm sure whoever their words were aimed at as well.  Some people just don't think about consequences of their actions most times and maybe you speaking up and letting them know how it has affected you will ring a bell.  Maybe not, but at least now they know that their hurtful actions haven't gone unnoticed.  Most importantly, don't sink to their level and engage in a public, online argument.  It won't look good for any of you.  But then there's always the route of revenge.  If you need someone to drive the getaway car, let me know...I'm so there.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Rambling

Do you ever find yourself apologizing to someone for the way you look?  Is it so bad that I came out of the house without make-up, two day hair in a bun and wearing yoga pants, that I actually feel the need to apologize for inflicting my appearance on your senstive eyes?  The truth is the person I'm apologizing to probably doesn't care, didn't notice in the first place but now that I've brought attention to it notices I'm disheveled and now thinks I'm a little crazy.  The truth is I apologized because I was offended at how I looked, but it seems that I have just given up.  I think deployments do that to you or maybe it's kids or some diabolical combination of both.  Who am I trying to impress?  My kids are the only ones who see me all the time and I assure you, they don't care what I'm wearing as long as they get their milk in the mornings.  My husband is gone, so who exactley should I get dolled up for?  My grandmother always told me "never leave the house withouth make-up, even if you're just going to the grocery store, because you never know who you will run into".  Good advice, I just don't care.  I don't have the energy to care.  Day after day of doing the same thing, fighting the same battles and feeling the same way start to affect your joi de vive.  Days start bleeding into each other and before I know it, it's Wednesday and I haven't washed my hair in two days.  It's easy to fall victim to the demands of kids.  I can't be alone in the bathroom at any time, let alone trying to take a shower.  Kids are running through the house destoying everything in their path, or they're in the bathroom with me opening the shower door, climbing on the sink and making a waterfall with the faucet or something else that I will ultimately have to repair.  So the only safe time to shower is at night if I'm not too exhausted.  It spirals downward from there.  If I can't find a good time to shower, when the heck am I going to fix my hair and put on make up?  It just doesn't seem realistic.  But here's the thing, I always feel a little better when I look somewhat put together.  I am more confident and dare I say it?  Pleasant.  So maybe it's time the pity train left the station and I put a bit more effort into my appearance.  I'm not giving up my stretchy pants all together just yet, but will at least be putting other clothes into the rotation. 


Now on to the other deployment related topic.  Sorry if this all seems random, but that's kinda how my mind works.  I'm scattered.  Why is it that I sleep so much better on the sofa than in my bed?  My theory?  On the sofa you can snuggle up to the back and it feels secure, like when your husband is in bed with you.  When you try to sleep in an empty bed after having someone to snuggle with for so long, it can be difficult.  It's why most wives that I know have trouble sleeping...not the only reason, but the most prominent one.  In the bed alone with your back exposed, it just feels...vulnerable.  Sleeping on the sofa may ease that need some, but it has it's drawbacks.  The sharp pains shooting down my leg and up my spine for one.  It's not great for the back.  But, hey, you get a little, you give a little, right?  I must be crazy because I just described a marriage in talking about my relationship with my sofa.  So I guess there's the lesson...deployments make you a little crazy, roll with it!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

And they keep on coming...

So today Gracie gave her very first talk in church.  When they handed me the slip last week asking her to give the talk and the topic it was on, I admittedly rolled my eyes.  All I could think about was first, having to write the talk, second, having to get Gracie to cooperate and give the talk.  She isn't exactley a very cooperative child and she is HIGH energy so getting her to sit/stand still is next to impossible.  So it's safe to say, I was dreading it.  So last night in true procrastinator fashion I started writing her talk at 1:00 a.m.  I actually found some last minute inspiration and I think turned out a pretty good talk that was short, sweet and to the point.  When we get to church today it's Fast Sunday and everyone was getting up and going to the front to bear their testimonies.  Gracie thought this was when she was supposed to be giving her talk and kept asking when it was her turn.  She certainly isn't shy in front of a crowd!  We get to primary and she is squirmy, as usual, and I start having flashes of her whining and refusing to talk.  I asked Dad to help her with it so I could snap a few pictures for Mike on my phone.  Her turn came and she hopped up to the podium and with a little help from Dad she nailed it.  I was stunned and more than proud of her.  Even her teacher had tears in her eyes when she was done.  This child is going to be someone important.  She can captivate an audience at age 4!  Ok, that's the proud Mama talking, but hey, I think I'm entitled today!  Between Mike's promotion and Gracie's talk today, I don't think it's possible for anyone to be more proud than me.  Happy Days!!








Saturday, June 5, 2010

Little Things

Today was such a good day, aside from the snake incident...which I do not want to discuss.  I'm done with animals for a while.  What made it good was that tonight I got to talk to Mike, not on the computer and not an attempt to talk while the connection fades in and out and eventually drops the call.  This was a 30 minute conversation, clear as day and never dropped.  It was like he was down the hall!  I sent him a Magic Jack in his last box and I am SO happy that it is working like a charm.  I haven't heard his voice in so long.  I got so wrapped up in trying to distract and occupy myself that I didn't realize how much I missed hearing his voice and actually getting to talk to him.  It was so nice.  It was like talking to him before he left, we picked up right where we left off.  I also didn't realize how much I had to tell him!  There is only so much you can type in an instant message and there was a lot I hadn't gotten to tell him yet.  But my stuff was insignificant to his news!  He told me that yesterday he went before the promotion board and was recommended for a promotion!!!  I didn't even know he was going before the board or anything!  He's sneaky like that.  I'm so proud of him, like puffed up like a peacock proud!  I knew he would do well if he ever went to the board, but convincing him of that is a totally different story.  For some reason he doesn't believe that he's good at anything (unless he's telling me how to do something, then he's always the expert, of course).  He doesn't feel like he's worthy of praise or accolades.  I guess it comes from years of bad luck and a hard life.  However, I know him.  I know that he excels at anything he cares about and that he is a proud man.  He cares what people think of him and the job he does, which is why he always throws his heart into every task that he performs.  He also cares about the people around him.  He is fiercely loyal and a hero in every sense of the word.  He deserves this.  I've always been proud of him, even when he makes me so mad I could spit.  But right now, I'm just beaming!  Set me on the coast line and I will lead the ships to safety!  I love you Mike. 

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Wild Kingdom

Who would've thought that there is a jungle in the middle of Sugar Hill, GA.  In fact, a jungle in my back yard and now it's creeping indoors.  It's no surprise to me.  I've been here before.  Mom's cat, Dusty, is quite the avid hunter, but unlike other, normal cats, she doesn't kill her prey, she brings it into the house, alive and very well.  Why?  Why can't she be like other cats and just leave her gift on the doorstep so it can be disposed of properly?  No.  This cat has to bring it inside as a play toy.  Only for some reason she seems to lose interest after it crosses the threshold and now it's my problem.  We've had birds, squirrels and more often...chipmunks.  None of these critters are maneaters by any means, but they may as well be as far as I'm concerned.  It's a woodland creature that belongs outside...NOT in my house.  Normally I can catch them fairly quickly because I know as soon as she's brought it inside.  However there are instances when she will bring the unwitting creature in the house at night when we are none the wiser.  This is the case today.  Dusty brought a little chippie inside while no one was looking.  Coincidentally I think it's the same chipmunk from the other day that Dusty brought inside and scared him so bad he dropped the load of birdseed he was storing in his cheeks all over the kitchen floor.  He was released back into the wild, but apparently wasn't smart enough to run away.  So as I was heading down the stairs to put the kids down for a nap, I see a small dark figure race across the stairway.  Oh, great.  So I'm going to break it down for you in days, yes, days.


Chipapalooza Day 1


I hurried down the stairs instructing the kids to stay upstairs so they wouldn't risk coming in contact with the creature, which of course didn't happen.  I chased it for a few minutes with no luck and realized that chasing it wasn't going to work.  Especially with Gracie flipping out and arming herself at the top of the stairs with a box top.  Gabe, however, was on the floor with me looking under things and just wanted to climb into the trap I just set.  So I finally get the kids to lay down after A LOT of coercing.  I then sit and wait because the trap I've set requires the animal to weigh so much in order to trip the trap door and I know the little chipmunk won't weigh enough, so I will have to trip the trap myself.  So minutes pass by and no chipmunk.  Then I hear something like a faint scratching sound.  I stop and listen and sure enough there is a scratching sound coming from the other side of Gabe's door...it's in his room!  I opened the door and found it in his closet, I chased it out and it ran under his bed.  So I ran over with my stick and tried to chase it out from under the bed.  Gabe is a little sleeping angel in his bed, unaware of the battle raging around him.  I'm trying to be as quiet as possible and had to stifle a yelp when the chipmunk runs out from under the bed between my feet and out the door.  I shut the door behind me and searched for a few more minutes but found nothing...he's good, he's really good.  I called Mom and she suggested I put Curly (Mom's poodle) on the trail, because she is normally an excellent tracker.  I pluck Curly out of her bed and carry her downstairs and set her right on top of the fresh trail.  She stands there, then looks up at me as if to say "you interrupted my nap for this?", and then bounds right back up the stairs.  Thanks, Curly, you were a huge help.  So I try to go about my day but now I've developed the shifty eyes of cat burglar and am constantly looking at the floor waiting for something to jump out at my feet.  Every noise is freaking me out.  The dishwasher made me jump a foot out of my chair.  I'm waiting for Dad to get home, because he's the critter catcher.  At this point I'm really missing Mike, because he would have been like a bloodhound on the fox trail and would have come up with some ingenius plan to capture him.  So Dad gets home and sets to work.  At first he didn't see anything but after a while he caught sight and the chase was on.  He called me down to help him and of course, my little shadow Gabe wanted to follow.  I tried to get Gabe back upstairs, because I didn't want him in the line of fire, but he started screaming and that got Gracie started screaming.  So there were two kids screaming upstairs, traumatized, while Dad and I are literally tearing my house apart chasing this little devil back and forth, getting so close and then missing.  Couches are overturned, pillows thrown everywhere and boxes stacked waist high at every exit trying to close him in.  He ran between my feet several times and I screamed like a girl, I hate to admit.  We are getting tired and I start debating whether or not to just give up, name the chipmunk Scrappy and declare it a member of the family.  Since Scrappy has effectively escaped and hidden...again, we give up for the night and I went to the store to buy glue boards to capture him.  I set up the glue boards in various locations and tried to relax enough to go to sleep, wondering the whole time if Scrappy is scurrying around below me.


P.S.  While all this other nonsense is going on, I hear yet another critter, probably a possum, in the ceiling downstairs.  So Dad sets the trap up and I caught it.  Now I have to listen to the possum banging around in the trap in the ceiling all night until Dad can get it down in the morning.  It was a long, long night.


Chipapalooza Day 2


I wake up to immediatley check the traps.  The kids are still asleep, which is unheard of with my children, but after the traumatic events of the night before and the delayed bedtime resulting, I wasn't too surprised.  All the traps were empty, but one trap had moved and upon further inspection had several tufts of brown fur on it.  Ouch.  He managed to get out of the sticky trap.  I get the kids upstairs and eating their breakfast and go back down to check the traps again.  Another trap had moved and yet more brown fur was found.  That's two traps he's escaped.  Somewhere in my basement is a frantic, ticked off chipmunk with a couple of bald spots.  This can't be good.  Rufus runs around sniffing randomly like he is trying to track Scrappy but he's just that kid in class reading a comic book behind "War and Peace"...a big faker.  I call Animal Control, who say it's wildlife and therefore not their problem and to call a pest control company.  So I call a pest control company to ask how much that is going to cost and the guy basically says all he would do is trap it the same way I am only I need to use bigger glue boards or the old fashioned spring traps.  Now, at first I only wanted to catch the little bugger and release him unharmed.  But at this point my nerves are fried and he had his chance at life.  However, I do not have the heart to use the spring trap so I plan on buying the bigger glue board on my way home from dinner with my grandparents.  But in the meantime I come up with the brilliant plan to put all four of the sticky boards in a box with birdseed in it.  Scrappy's gotta be hungry right?  So we get home from dinner and I check my homemade trap.  There's sticky boards everywhere and as we checked the last one, Scrappy pops out and scurries away into my closet room.  This is it...the final battle.  It's "Scrappy's Last Stand" and I will fight to the death.  I built a "funnel" and opened the door hoping to chase it outside.  Dad goes into the closet and he's disappeared again.  Finally Dad looks in a basket with some clothes in it and lifts up a pair of pants on top and sees a hat underneath that, only this hat is moving.  Clever little fella.  Dad takes the basket outside and Scrappy runs free!!!  I thought it was never going to end.  At last, I will have a critter free night and Scrappy was able to escape, unharmed.  But I don't ever want to see him around here again...ever. 


In conclusion...threat eliminated.  I'm SO over animals for a while.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Rainy Days

WARNING:  The following is a VP (Vent Post)...if you are having a good day, stop reading.  Don't say I didn't warn you!


It's easy most days to stay preoccupied and put on my happy face and some days I even feel happy.  But, eventually all the things you bury at the bottom of your emotional pit resurface.  Then you have to deal with them and start over.  Well, today was my bubble over thanks to an unsettling conversation with my husband.  As I sit here typing through swollen eyes I'm stuggling to organize my thoughts enough to express them.  I know life is bad for Mike and the guys over there, but I don't spend too much time thinking about it, because I will most definitely drive myself insane.  But while talking to Mike tonight, he started letting things slip about how miserable he is.  I knew something had been wrong with him, but he's very good at keeping things to himself.  He's tired of long days, unbearable heat, hard physical labor and no help with improvements on their living conditions.  He doesn't see an end in sight and he's frustrated, miserable and at his wit's end.  Morale is low...like, black hole low and he just wants to give up.  Can I blame him?  No, absolutley not.  But from my perspective I see the last few years, actually ever since we were married, of hard knocks, bad breaks and whatever other cliche you can come up with for a hard life.  Not ideal for the first leg of marriage.  He rejoined the Army so we could have a chance at something better, a chance to enjoy life and enjoy each other without having to worry so much about how we are going to make it to the next day.  When he said he wanted to give up, I panicked.  We are so close to our goal.  To start over now...I...just don't have words.  What's bothering me the most is the fact that he has gotten to this point at all.  How can I build him up and try to give him the drive to finish when I'm not the one in his shoes?  I'm not the one dealing with what he has to deal with over there and how can I begrudge him those feelings?  I feel so out of control and like I have no choices left.  It's all him.  How can I talk about how it's no picnic for me either without sounding spoiled and selfish?  I'm frustrated and angry and I'm not going to apologize for it.  We are both fighting our own very different battles and it's hard, some days it feels impossible.  But what gets me through is that I know this isn't forever, there will be an end.  I just wish I could pull him up and help him see that too.  That's why I'm frustrated.  My hands are tied.  I can't hold him and tell him it's going to be ok.  I have to try and type it before he changes the subject and just hope that he has a better day and knows that I love and support him.  It's frustrating and persistant and that's why I cry.  If I didn't I would just be a walking time bomb.  I guess that's what I'm trying to say.  It's hard for me too, not nearly in the same way, but I have days where I want to give up and he's not here to hold me either.  This...just...sucks.  This is my bad day...welcome to it.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

What Memorial Day Means to Me

Normally I try to keep things light and happy on here, but today I feel obligated to post what I'm feeling and what I am feeling right now is anxious.  Memorial Day is tomorrow and I will admit that before I met Mike, I knew what Memorial Day was for, but I never appreciated what it really meant until I was involved in this world.  To honor our fallen soldiers...to honor those currently serving away from their families.  Having a barbeque seems kind of inane now.  Most people get a day off and most kids get out of school (if they're still in it) but that's usually as far as it goes.  You know what it means to me?  Anxiety.  It means that while I sit in church watching all the fathers walk the halls with their children, my husband is breaking his back in the sweltering heat wishing he had that priviledge.  It means that I spend every moment of consciousness worried about him, where he is, what he is doing and when I will get to hear his voice again.  He doesn't get to eat barbeque, although I'm sure he would love to.  He doesn't get to watch t.v. or go to the movies or go swimming.  He wakes up at 4:30 in the morning (for him) just so he can have a few minutes to talk to me via instant messenging because the rest of his day is so long and hectic that he doesn't get another chance.  Even then there are times he will go for a week without getting in touch with me.  Though I can't hear him, I can tell just from his typed messages that he's worn thin and that's another thing for me to worry about because I'm not there to help him!  We haven't heard each others' voices in over month.  My children haven't seen or heard their father in just as long.  The other day Gabe said (admittedly after a lot of coaching) "love, Daddy".  As sweet as it was for me to hear my little boy say those words, it would have been ever sweeter if his father could have heard him and that breaks...my...heart.  Don't feel sorry for me, that's not what this blog is about.  We chose this life and knew what we were getting into (sort of).  My point is this...enjoy your day off, enjoy your barbeque and enjoy your family, I don't want to take that from anyone.  Enjoy it because it's what all of us wish we were doing with our fragmented families.  All I ask is that on this day, you think about that and appreciate what you have in front of you, because somewhere near you, someone else's heart is breaking.