Thursday, October 3, 2013

A picture is worth three years worth of words

This is not a summary.

I had absolutely no idea that it has been THREE years since I added anything to this blog.

There is no way for me to catch anyone up, and since I don't really think anyone reads this, I am just going to jump right in.

Halloween is coming and my kids are all crazy. Abby, who has historically wanted to be a cat (all black and mean) or a witch (Wearing all black and mean) has decided that she wants t be a princess. I find this hilarious. I am thrilled she will be wearing the Cinderella costume that Zoe got from my Aunt Eleanor at Disney World.

Speaking of Abby, she is almost four. She knows a lot of letter sounds but what she knows the most is herself. She says hilarious things like, "you are taking so much longer than a jiffy" and one day recently threw a fit when I woudn't let her drive the car. The tantrums are intense, emotional and completely, utterly illogical. I am able to laugh about them later, mostly because she is my second child and I am mostly immune to being swept up in the crazy.

Zoe is just as smart and empathetic as I expected her to be. Possibly she is even more than that. She is having a sleepover party with six friends next Friday for her birthday. It's very exciting. We have pedicures, facial masks and dancing planned. She just finished the first Harry Potter book. I knew that she would love it as much as I do. She figures out the most amazing things about people and picks up on so much. And then she is completely oblivious the next day to something I assumed she knew. I love this complicated dichotomy of personality traits. She is definitely my girl and so much like me that sometimes I worry that she will make some of my mistakes. And then I watch her do something or hear her say something and realize that she is so much better than me that it will never be an issue.

Penelope is all sweetness and sunshine. Until she is not. She loves all of us with a vengeance and is doing all the crazy things an 18 month old does. She laughs, dances and runs everywhere. She has become absolutely amazing at sign language because she has completely given up trying to get a word in edgewise around her sisters. She just catches my eye and sings what she wants or gives them a look that clearly says, "oh puh-lease".

I hope to continue to update this but if not, at least my kids will see a snapshot of them on this random day.
Also, this picture is not a metaphor. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Starting in the middle because going back would take too long..

I have felt this compulsion lately to write. And to write a lot, but everytime I think of coming back to this I think that I need to provide some sort of accounting of my time, catch everything up, etc. And then I realized that the beauty of having no real audience is there is absolutely no need to do anything like that.

And so... I am growing into my space lately. I suddenly find myself comfortable with home, with where I am. I love to watch my children play in the backyard and I love the life we are living. I do have some problems with the weather but I think a lot of it is mind over matter and I am trying to change my outlook.

Part of changing that outlook is taking care of me during this deployment (see, so much to catch up on!). When Chris leaves, i have to take extra steps to safeguard my sanity. I am proud to say that this has been my easiest postpartum period.  So far I don't feel the least bit crazy or depressed, and I had an extremely difficult time with both of my other two and so was prepared to jump on the first signs of it this go around.

And yet..Penelope is a whole different ball of wax. She kind of exists in our existing life, if that makes sense. It's like she has always been there, smiling her gigantic smile up at us and really requiring little outside of that. Even waking up with her in the middle of the night is easy, partially because my extremely smart husband put her in the room right off our bedroom. She is lovely and engaged and quite possibly the sweetest and happiest baby who has ever lived. Any doubts I had about adding baby number 3 are so long gone, thankfully.

I have been exercising. Somehow I have even been doing it regularly. I am proud of myself, but still taking this extremely day to day. I know better than to get ahead of myself. It feels great and it's so nice to take a break from the kids (the YMCA here has child care that is awesome). I have done a wide range of interesting classes and am loving just feeling my body move after a difficult pregnancy and very slow c-section/tubal recovery.

And ther eis alot more to say, but a certain 2 year old keeps taking over my mouse!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

My Tips for a Deployment Homecoming

So I am kind of doing this for myself, because I am closing in on a homecoming here myelf (YAY!), and I think it's always worth remembering all of the tips and tricks I have learned in the last few years of many, many homecomings after trips of varying lengths.

I know these won't all work for everyone, but they are what works for me - at least, most of the time. Some are really little, some are pretty big - so here goes:

1. Remember that you have moved everything around - I am a "rearranger". I constantly move things - big, small or otherwise. I want to make sure that my husband still feels like he is coming home, so I try to leave things out in obvious places that I think he will need. This ties in to the next one,

2. Make a list of stuff to have in the house - I always make sure to have the toiletries ready and out. I don't want him to have to get his travel kit out and feel like he is at a hotel. And I am sure the last thing he wants to do after 48+ hours of travel is dig around in his luggage, so I put the shower gel and shampoo in the shower, the deodorant and toothpaste out on the counter.

3. Understand that time change/jet lag is REAL - I SO didn't get this one until I went to Italy with Chris this past summer. I got home and it was like 3 am Italian time, I had been traveling for a day, and things had been relatively quiet for a week. The kids met me at the airport and suddenly I was pluged into a noisy, confusing world! I was THRILLED to see them, but it took an enormous amount of effort to act like myself. I never understood what that was like for him before, and want to be more cognizant of letting him ease in.

4. Don't overschedule at first - this is a place where things might vary, but my husband isn't overly social. I am, and have been cooped up with kids so my first instinct is always - "YOU ARE HOME,  LETS GO EVERYWHERE AND SEE EVERYONE WE KNOW!". This never ends well. He isn't ready (see #3), I feel bad and the activities dont end up being much fun. I have learned in time that the very best memories I have are of us just hanging out in our living room or snuggling with the kids in bed just getting reacquainted in our normal setting.

5. Have no expectations (at least at first) - some people might not agree with this one, but this works best for me. I catch myself thinking a lot - "ohhh, I can't wait until Chris comes home - this will be better, this will magically work, he can solve this problem, etc, etc". Not only is it unrealistic for me to think that he is a fairy complete with magic, this puts an unbelievable amount of pressure on him.

6. Ask for help and explain things - this is something I still don't do well. Chris genuinely wants to jump in and help when he gets home but is often at a loss for what to do or how to help me. I know that I am hard to help, I always manage to take it as a judgement that I am not doing it well enough myself. I have to take a deep breath and accept the fact that (especially with baby 3 coming) I REALLY need the help and figure out the things that I need the help with.

I know I have a lot more, and I will likely add to this list in the days to come, but it felt good for me to get the thoughts out of my head and into some sort of organized entry here, seeing as how the lack of leep and pregnancy is making me unable to remember my own name from one moment to the next.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Vacation Part 1 - Travel Day/First Day in Venice

I probably should write a whole separate post about us planning this vacation - how much fun it was. We have spent entirely too much time apart and it was so nice to be able to put together a trip that was just for us. Luckily, my mom and my Godmother, Helen, were happy to come watch the kids for the entire 10 days and that left us able to go..well, anywhere. Within reason, of course! I had pretty much thought I had talked Chris out of this vacation but he really wanted to take me to give me a break from dealing with everything without him. I can't believe how incredibly fortunate I am to have him.

We decided to go with this cruise in particular for a few reasons. The first is that trying to go all over Europe, carrying stuff, cramming things in, switching hotels, etc sounded exhausting. Since that was the opposite of what we were going for here (we both needed REST!), this cruise gave us a nice mix of activity and relaxation. It had a full but not necessarily popular itinerary, but it sounded amazing to us. We were both going to fly into Venice on a Friday and have that full day to explore, then our cruise left from Venice on Satuday at 5. The cruise itinerary looked like this:

Saturday             Venice, Italy -- 05:00 PM
Sunday                Koper, Slovenia 08:00 AM 07:00 PM
Monday              Ravenna, Italy 07:00 AM 07:00 PM
Tuesday              Bari, Italy 11:00 AM 08:00 PM
Wednesday         Dubrovnik, Croatia 08:00 AM 06:00 PM
Thursday            Cruising -- --
Friday                Venice, Italy 08:00 AM --
Saturday             Venice, Italy -- --

It was on board Royal Caribbean's "Voyager of the Seas".

So I left the kiddos here early in the morning on Thursday and got on the airport shuttle. By this point, my stomach was in a zillion knots. I had written all these pages of instruction for the kids (not that either my mom or Helen needed them) and had left Zoe notes and activities for every day. I pretty much tried to stay up the entire night before thinking I would fall asleep on the plane.

I boarded a plan in Seattle, headed for Amsterdam where I was lucky enough to have an aisle seat. I tried to sleep, but unfortunately nervousness had kicked in, plus I have never been able to sleep on planes. Instead I took advantage of my kid free/husband free time and actually chose which movies to watch for the first time in oh, about 5 years! I watched Black Swan, Country Strong and Hall Pass (don't ask on the last one - everyone around me was watching and laughing hysterically). I also read  "Something Borrowed", which was pretty decent.

Our flight landed in Amsterdam and I was totally unprepared for what it was like to change planes in an international airport. We had to go through passport control and I had to walk to a totally different part of the airport that was going to take 17 + 12 minutes according to the signs. I started to become very, very certain that I was going to miss my flight or possibly get bumped as they had been begging for volunteers. The idea of getting stuck so close to seeing Chris was horrible!

But through sheer will and determination, I made the plane just in the knick of time. I did get thoroughly and totally groped by a woman in security there, it seemed to be the norm. I ended up on the plane next to a very, very friendly couple from the UK who were also going on a Royal Caribbean cruise out of Venice, but a 13 day itineray. He could tell I was a nervous wreck and talked me into taking the red wine they offered with breakfast and then they chatted my ear off the whole flight. It was wonderful! I don't know how I would have made it without the distraction. By the time they began the initialy descent into Venice, my heart was thudding louder than the engines and I could barely hear the landing gear descent. We hadn't been able to speak and I wasn't sure if we were going to be meeting at a wine bar we had discussed, right off my plane, or near the baggage carousel. I wanted time to brush teeth, hair, etc, but the flow took me right to baggage and there he was. I swear that we have been separated like 30 times but every single time I see him in an airport like that, I want to drop everything and run and jump into his arms! I sort of/kind of restrained myself but I know I had an idiotic grin spread all across my face. I honestly couldn't believe that I was in Italy! With chris! With no kids! And in italy! And with Chris!

This has gotten longer than I expected, so I am going to end Part 1, Part A here for now.

Leveling Out, Minus the Level.

Just starting in the middle of nowhere.

I had a fantastic morning at the Farmer's Market. I got Abby a brand new Ergo carrier yesterday and she absolutely adores it. Our neighbor even said she had never seen the baby so calm. She calls it her "go-go" and we had a wonderful 3 mile walk yesterday and then another lovely stroll around the Farmer's Market today. I ended up getting a pound of zucchini and a pound of yellow squash for a total of $3. They are currently chopped and awaiting roasting.

Things have been good - I have about 7 blogs to write about our vacation - possible even more and will be doing that here soon, just wanted to say hello and  figure out the Google Plus Integration.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

New rule: a mom should always get take-out on a day she cleans up vomit.

My poor kids are so sick. I am sitting here listening to them cough over the monitor. I don't know how it happened,. but all three of us woke up with the same deep chest cough on the same day with no other symptoms. By the end of today, though, Abby has thrown up twice, Zoe has a fever and I feel like..well, like a mom who has two little kids to take care of and can't think about how I feel.

The funny thing is, we are so incredibly overbooked right now. I did it on purpose to keep us all busy but maybe this is the universe's way of telling me..WHOA SLOW DOWN INSANE HELICOPTER MOM WHO HAS HER KIDS INSANELY OVERSCHEDULED. Umm...or maybe it's not yelling that loudly and I might have thrown in the insults myself. But right, we all need to slow down. Other than church today and a brief trip to wal-mart we enjoyed relaxing together and I let everyone watch way more TV than I would care to admit.

Speaking of the trip to wal-mart, zoe has been begging for these things called beyblades. Heard of them? Some sort of top like apparatus where you pull a rip cord out and battle your tops against each other. And in an instant I felt great sympathy for mothers of boys. I thought I had it hard playing Barbies!