April 30, 2009

My House is Me and I am It...

"My house is me and I am it.  My house is where I like to be and it looks like all my dreams."  

Famous words from Mr Plumbean.  He lived on a very neat street until a big orange splot was dropped on his roof by a seagull, (no one knows why), and this event set him in motion to create the home of his dreams.  And then all his neighbors did the same.  It's a great story!

This is a favorite of ours by Daniel Pinkwater.  I have been reading it for years.  The house we are currently in (since being married to T we are on home number 8, but who's counting) has a lot of personality.  We nicked named it the 'personality house' when we were back in the looking stage.  There was also an Elvis house, a teenagers in the basement house, cat under the covers house, and so on and so forth.  We went with the 40 yr old sturdy personality house with a great yard.  It looked like all our dreams.  We hope to be here for the next 6-8yrs.  Come visit!

People seem to judge you by the house you live in.  I was recently chatting with an old acquaintance on facebook and she said she remembered me during my youth by my laugh and my big house.  Nice of her to share that with me ; ) We did have a big house indeed, but please don't think I was spoiled.  Our house size was a direct reflection of our family size.  When my parents married they combined 2 families to make 9 children.  Then they made 4 more of their own (I'm the first one of that 4).  We each had our own bedrooms. Something my parents thought was important in a large family.  So with bedrooms alone we had a big house.  One thing that bothered me though was when classmates from school would ask where my house was and when I told them, they'd say-"Oh... You live on snob hill."  Seems the further up the hill you lived, the snobbier you were.  The 'Tree street' residents were considered beneath us 'snob hillers.' But not by me.  I preferred them to my neighbors actually.  I recall feeling kinda snubbed by people on the hill (go figure!?).  Even my Young Women's leader was a bit stand-offish.  

I recently read a blog post by a pretty famous blogger who shall go un-named.  I knew their family growing up.  A very nice family.  Since they were from lower ground I figured they were probably having a hard time paying for school lunch and stuff.  Imagine my surprise when she told of the Christmas presents they were accustomed to receiving as children.  Four wheelers and baby grand pianos (?!).  Santa was much more generous to those tree streeters then he was to us living on 1550 East!  What a misperception!!  My plastic blow up barbie furniture was looking pretty sorry in retrospect.   Then there was the girl who was never caught wearing the same thing twice and lived in a mansion, yet their family filed for bankruptcy.  You just never know.

The last house my current family lived in was in Iowa.  It was while my husband was doing a fellowship at the University of Iowa and it was pretty nice.  The neighborhood was nice! (snob field so to speak-no hills there). We were just renting it for a year though since we weren't going to be there for long.  We had no right to brag.  Still, the rich perception was there.  I will never forget the reaction of a young married student-wife when she first visited me in my home.  She went ga ga and goo goo, and verbalized just how much she liked my house.  I reminded her that it was a rental.  I could almost see the dollar signs in her eyes and her hopes for the future since her husband was in law school after all.  I wondered if I was the same as her when I had been in her shoes 8 years earlier.  I was a bit embarrassed for myself.  

One of my kids really misses that neighborhood and speaks of it often.  It could be because he had his own room then, but I think there's more to it.  There's nothing wrong with our current neighborhood, but it's not snob hill/field by any means.  And we like it that way.  It fits us.  This Middle Boy has high aspirations in life.  Has to look just so, is always seeking the next big thing he can buy to make him happy, etc.  How do I instill in him the truth of where happiness lies?  Keeping up with appearances is just a big hassle!  Perhaps if I repeat this to him enough it will sink in.  Maybe I will just give up and count on him to support me in my old age.  If I ever do move in with him in his rich neighborhood someday, my plan is to spread dandelion seeds all over the neighbor's lawn!

April 29, 2009

Time goes by

When I had just given birth to my fourth child, the physician who was on call that night noticed that my immunization record wasn't current.  So he ordered a new tetanus shot to be given the following morning.  Hospital policy dictated that I be taken down to the lab by wheelchair.  I felt vulnerable in my open-back grey hospital gown, and white fish net underwear.  I sat in my chair and waited for my number to come up.  Only military people know how long those lines can be.  But I had nowhere to go (until the next feeding that is).  

There was this very young soldier sitting next to me with his white slip in hand.  I struck up a friendly conversation with him.  I felt the need to explain the folds of extra tummy sitting in my lap, and told him of my recent delivery.  He consulted with me on the name choice.  Big Girl can thank him for that someday if the fates allow.  We went with his suggestion off our short list.

Then I asked him what he was waiting for.  Anthrax shot.  Long pause.  You didn't hear about people getting those too often back then.  He was deploying for Iraq the next day.  Longer pause.  It was just the beginning of this long thing, back in 2003.  The next day it snowed so much we couldn't shovel out of our house for days.  I looked out at the white stuff and thought about powdered antrhax.  I wondered if his flight was delayed.  I wonder where he is now.  Did he make it home?  And back?  And home again? 

Six years, and many immunizations later I have another child to account for and a husband who has been there and back.  My opinions have changed.  So has my political party (sorry Dad).  I listen to different radio and news stations.  I get mad when people don't recycle.  I think back to the relationships I had back in 2003.  (3 moves ago).  My friends, some of them tree huggers, who I once worried about. What they would do if they only knew how I really felt about things then? (or how about the people reading this now-will they hate me because I am green?)  Back then I was always a bit shy about my beliefs, wanting to keep the relationships intact.  Now I am a convert so to speak, and should probably call them up and apologize for all the negative thoughts.  One of my close friends had a husband who deployed and he was one of the first set of soldiers to go.  He was featured on the Today Show once.   One day, as we hung out in her basement she commented to me that she just hoped that our country was fighting for the right reasons and that it wasn't about something as stupid as oil.  Her comment confused me.  I thought we were fighting for freedom and democracy.  For our safety.  

We've been fighting so long, it seems we forgot what it's about.  We are stuck in this thing like a little Dutch boy with his thumb in the dam holding back a catastrophe.  That damn dam!  (whoops sorry).  There seems to be no end, despite what politicians may promise.  When people reacted with sympathy for my situation while T was gone, I let them sympathize but every once in a while I was brave enough to tell them that it was our turn.  How can I possibly say "why me" when so many have gone before us?  Why not me?  Why not us?  This is what we signed up for when we let the army pay for medical school.  This is the way it's set up.  Although it sometimes seems a waste.  A waste of human life.  A poor choice that has been mishandled.  But still, we must get up and do what needs to be done.  Because that's what those who serve do.  But when my husband starts talking about all the benefits of retiring with the army, I get a sinking feeling.  Because who really knows where those who lead will take you as time goes by.

April 27, 2009

Singing in Church

When I was a teenager I had the world's loudest father when it came to singing in church. The bench would actually vibrate during the long notes. He was a tenor and someone with musical training once told him that with some tutoring he actually could be good one day. Maybe a 'tenor contender' so to speak. I think he was a bit offended at the 'could be good' part. His over-the-top self confidence had already confirmed his goodness in singing. He certainly wasn't shy about belting it out loud and clear. I was completely embarrassed by him. Not only in his singing but in his overly friendly manor with everyone.  Didn't matter who, people he knew or people he'd come across on the street.  He'd chat with people for way too long.  I never wanted to be seen with him in public. Perhaps that is normal for a teenager though.

My Father used to encourage me to sing. Sing a song. Sing out loud, sing out strong.  Not to worry if it wasn't good enough for anyone else to hear- Just sing! I told him I would start to sing with him in church if I could hear myself.  It was our private deal that I would sing if he would tone it down so that I could be heard.   It was a win/win in my book because I wasn't so embarrassed, and I started to develop my own voice.

In high school I joined the a capella choir and enjoyed myself quite a bit. I didn't join until my senior year though so I had no time to really move up in the ranks to the cherished, showy, overly important chamber choir. Even though I suspected I was every bit as good as those snotty-pants singers I never let it show in front of them. I knew my place as a beginner. I was shocked when on tour I overheard one of the chamber singers rehearsing on the bus and it was revealed to me how off key she sounded. She really had to work on her performance to hold her own as a soloist. Why on earth our choir director gave her a duet to sing with that cute boy in our line up of songs I will never know.  Perhaps I had some singer's envy as well- who knows.

So some time later in the year I was trying out for a school play and had to perform a solo in front of a panel of teachers, one of them was my choir director, who seemed shocked that I could sing. I got a mini standing ovation from 3 sluffers in the back row while singing Irene Cara's Out Here On My Own from the movie Fame.  The thing I recall about the experience was that Mr L (my choir director) quickly asked if I was a Junior or a Senior. I realized later he was putting together his drones for next year's chamber-snot group. Looking back I am glad I got to avoid the cheesy dance steps he made them do (he used to be a director of the young ambassadors).  It's no wonder we were never good enough for him.  

Tonight as I sang next to my 15 year old son at the world's longest youth fireside, the hymns seemed to grate on his nerves a little.  I thought that seemed odd.  Then he leans in and whispers to me "could you take it down a notch please?!  You are such a show off!"  He also hated it that we visited with people afterwards.  "Do you have to talk to everyone you see?! Geez!"  

~Deja vu~

April 25, 2009


Seventeen years ago today, this is what I was doing....

Ten years ago today this is what I was doing.

I will gladly spend the next 17 years with this man. 

However, no more babies please. Unless they are grandchildren.
I think I could have also titled this post  'Missing in Action-Kelly's chin'

What has happened to my neck and can the skinny one be returned to me asap? I find it very sad that I look better post partum ten years ago then I do on a regular dolled up picture day last year. Oh well! At least I am happy right?

April 23, 2009

Where we loved to meet each day

There is a school that's called the Wasatch....
  • Mrs Stansfield once pinched my cheeks together when I was being cheeky
  • Ms Stoworthy had a short, funny, repetitive sneeze.  She also had my same polyester pantsuit (only in blue not brown).
  • Mrs Nielson had long flowing brown hair.  Everyone loved her.
  • Mrs Jorgensen's glasses went dark in the sun.  She was pregnant.  Her substitute was mean!
  • Mr Anderson told the story of the 3 little pigs in Norwegian.  He made us ask for things with 'may I' instead of 'can I'.
  • Mr Upstill worked part time at a pizza place, so you could see your teacher at Pipes and Pizza on the weekend!
  • Mr Frederico would tease me about my yellow disco pants.  Read sports illustrated during our library hour.  I cleaned his teeth 15 years later!  He wasn't a good flosser.
What do you remember about your elementary school teachers?

April 22, 2009

Special K

Special K is a special cereal. Actually it kinda tastes bad in my opinion. The last time I tried it was in my teens.  Since my name was Kelly (and it still is!) and I had no self esteem issues what soever, I thought it could be 'my cereal'  Then I came to a sad realization.  It's kinda a diet cereal and so it tastes crappy and 'special' probably referred to it's tendencies towards the lower level education classes.  Since I was always skinny in my youth (sigh) and I had enough intelligence not to be in special ed (although if I could have found a way I would have tried to get in there, believe me), I deemed this breakfast food 'not for me.'

Little did I know that Special K would end up being such a lifesaver for my husband while he was deployed.  It was one of the tender mercies that got him through the day.  Seriously!  He discovered this lifeline in the cafeteria on base and fell in love with it's healthy goodness.  He is a healthy guy, gotta love him!  I just stand in his healthy shadow-of-goodness on most things actually.  He especially loved the newest concoction- the Special K red berries addition to the Kellog's family.  He even wrote home about it on more than one occasion.  With both the special K red berries and putting on his boots in the morning (another favorite thing), he was set for happiness.  A true testament to the fact that one can be happy if they so choose under almost any circumstances.  My mother would have been so proud.

At nearly the first post-deployment grocery store visit, T got us some Family Size Kellog's Special K (with red berries).  I was almost excited to try them.  However... couldn't really finish the bowl and wasn't going back for more.  But I didn't come down too hard on poor T.  It's not his fault.  I found the red berry addition kinda artificial.  (Actually more than kinda).  

This morning as our 15 year old tried the red berries addition of Special K he must have come to the same conclusion.....  


And it looks like Baby girl is having no luck pawning it off on the duckies either.

ps: I am going to break with my title of not meaning to brag and brag a little this  morning.  I just won my first ever blog contest for writing on my friend Chaka's blog.  Go here to check it out!  Also check out Chaka's blog-it's so great!
~Thanks Chaka~

April 21, 2009


T has been home for two weeks today.  In the course of the past two weeks he has been able to share some of his war stories with us.  Things are relatively peaceful over there right now so there weren't too many.  I will admit to you that I was not without worries, especially in the beginning.  I had to put those things out of my mind so that I could focus better at home.  I had to put up some walls.  The first time I heard of my husband being put into harm's way I found out by accident, and the source was not from my husband.  I was upset.  I felt somewhat tricked.  I know he was just trying to protect me.  He didn't want me to worry.  However, I felt that now I couldn't trust what he was telling me and the worry I felt over the unknown was worse. I confronted him on video chat that day and I couldn't stop crying.  He felt bad that I had figured out his secret.  Yet his practice of 'don't ask, don't tell' continued. I found out more of the sticky situations he was in this past week when he came clean with me after the fact.  I had pretty much been a liar for 6 months telling people how safe things were for him over there.  He was relatively safe, but still not as safe as I let on. 

I ask you... would you rather know exactly at the time (or close to it) of your love's dangerous situation(s)?  Or is it better to be protected and told later?  The first one creates possible unnecessary stress.  But the second one makes me feel like a mistreated child.  I had no idea they were under shell attack as much as he was.  1-2 times per week.  He was nearly hit once.  Now I know.  The walls are down.  The thing is, and this is pretty sacred and possibly not for the blog, but I am going to share....  I think I could have handled the knowing right away part if I had been given the chance.  The reason is this:  When T first told me the news that he would be leaving for Iraq in 3 weeks I was amazingly calm about it.  Not like me at all.  I know I was being comforted by a higher power.  I knew things would be okay.  Would this have been enough to sustain me?  Even given the awful truth?  Did walls need to be put up?  Would I have freaked out?  Maybe... Perhaps it was best he put up walls.   Can't go back now.  

post edit here:  If you'd like to read up on that first scare I had while he was out click here

April 20, 2009


It's me again.  I just thought I would share with you some of the adjustments that T and I are experiencing thus far.  I know you are all just on pins and needles here.  I had really expected it to be much worse.  That brief sent by the army had me sweating bullets.  Not to mention my stress level when watching that episode of Grey's Anatomy where poor Sandra Oh gets choked by her sweetheart during his post Iraq night sweats!  Ack! 

I have to say that I am so thankful for our belief system at a time like this.  I never had to worry about my husband looking at pornography while he was away.  He didn't question my faithfulness.  Even when I joined facebook : )  There is no alcoholism to bother with.  No abuse.  Those things would have been a mess to deal with.  We are fortunate indeed.  

The big adjustments I am finding are with myself.  I need to learn how to step back and let him be the new leader.  He now asks someone to offer a prayer on the food.  He now leads our family in scripture study.  He drives the car while I comment non-stop "left lane, turn here, where are you going? Do you remember how to drive at all?"  He now chooses which bench we sit on at church.  He doesn't always want to watch what I choose on TV.  He doesn't like American Idol!!  Can you believe it?  Hates Adam Lambert's black nails.  I guess there wasn't much pop culture in Iraq.  

But still we are finding our way.  I am impressed with the things I know that he doesn't and vice versa.  It's like neither of us can function fully without the other.  I had to tell him there was a bottom compartment to Big Girl's lunch box for her sandwich.  I had to remind him where the glasses are-seriously (!). The remote control functions a bit fuzzy for him.  Between you and me I have always held complete remote control control-it's not normal, we know.  We are okay with it.

On the other hand, he had our taxes done within the first day of being at home.  I found the experience of trying to do them quite taxing.  I had thought that our shredder was bound for the shredder graveyard.  He fixed it by turning it on with the button on the back that I never knew existed.  He pulled the same trick with our brand new oven.  The left front burner wasn't powering up like it used to.  He pushed a 'simmer off' setting button right there in plane sight this time and now it works like a charm.  Glad I didn't demand a refund yet.  He also fixed the garage door within minutes of being home.  We're talkin' not even inside the house yet.  Now that's dedication to the honey-do list girls!

Here I thought I was so independent and I realize that I really need him after all.  It's nice to feel needed as well.  He spent a few hours alone with the kids while I was out the other day and when I returned his comment to me was "Kelly, I am in awe of you.  How did you do this alone for 6 months?"  I guess it's because I had no other choice.  I am glad we are back together as a family though.  Feeling complete!

April 17, 2009

Laughs so far

It's only 8:53 am.  So far today my Little Boy (or remembrances of him) have made me laugh at least 3 times.  When I asked him to please make his bed he said "Can't Mom, the dog is on my bed."  When I called Abby to come he plead with her to stay.  T told me another funny thing Little Boy said to him recently.  On our vacation he said to his father "Dad, I will give you all the money I have if you can skip this ginormous rock.... Oh and I should probably tell you that all the money I have is equal to one dollar."  

I then shared one of the highlights of our vacation when Little Boy made me smile.  We were at the boring part of the drive home when the videos have been watched and the audio tapes got boring already.  So we were playing a game called 'would you rather.'  You know the game where you give two horrible options and ask which one they would rather do/have.  Only our version was getting pretty out there.  Like just naming two things you see on a billboard in front of you, possibly not related at all.  Someone said "Boys or Girls?"  And Little Boy shouts out with gusto "GIRLS!"  He has recently found them fascinating.  Something I find fascinating.  And funny.  He may actually date before his 15 year old brother.

He is just a funny kid.

April 16, 2009

Bedtime Story Psychology

I just put my two year old down for her afternoon nap. Before putting her down I usually read to her. The book of choice today was Runaway Bunny.

It is a recent addition to our library. A gift that I appreciate. (Please don't take offense Grandma)... I love the illustrations and I know it's a classic, but has anyone ever stopped to look at the message this story is sending? It's the story of a bunny who keeps threatening to run away from his mother rabbit. Every idea baby bunny comes up with is countered by the mother.  "I'll be a fish and swim away" says baby bunny. "Then I'll turn into a fisherman and catch you." replies the mother.  "I'll turn into a flower and hide in the garden."  Mother turns into a gardner with a giant hoe, etc. etc...  In the end baby bunny gives up and says he might as well just stay put and accept his mother's oppressive love. It has a similar theme to this book:

This is the one where the mother only professes her love when her baby is sleeping, yet she does wack-a-doodle stuff like climb into his window at night when he's a full grown adult to rock him gently back and forth back and forth... I did read this one to my older kids, but somebody slap me if I ever drive across town to their homes toting a large ladder.

The Run Away Bunny reminded me of the times when I was a child and would tell my mother that I think rather than put up with all her rules, I would just run away and find my real mother Samantha Stevens. She'd say "okay then, let me help you pack. I sure will miss you though." Yes she'd pull out the reverse psychology and it worked almost every time. I say almost because this one time I called her bluff. When she wasn't looking I packed a bag, grabbed a box of Cheerios, and headed for the back yard in a grove of wild oak trees. I believe I was also packing a sleeping bag. I stayed outside just beyond our much disputed property line (my neighbor Joey Covey and I were always discussing where our property ended and his began), eating handfuls of cereal until I heard my mother's voice calling me. I could hear her loud and clear over the outside intercom system. I refused to budge. Then something I didn't expect happened. The calling stopped.... time passed... no. one. came. 

It was just as I had suspected, not my real family, no real caring inside that 13 bedroom house. Being child number 10 in a family with 13 kids made it hard to feel special sometimes. This was a low point. At some point my hunger for love gave in and I came back with tear streaked cheeks. My mother wasn't even looking panicked. I told her of her crime of not noticing/caring. I actually don't recall the response. Just that I had rehearsed my part to perfection in the unsacred grove.

The new perspective I have as a parent is to never let them see you sweat!  The moment you do they know your weak spot and you'll never have the upper hand again.  Then there are also times when it's just as good to hug them tight and let them know your whole world is wrapped up in them.  Just don't go climbing any second story windows to get to your college student's dorm room.  'Cause that is just embarrassing!

April 11, 2009

Tattoo Bingo

Just thought you'd like to know that on today's vacation outings we as a family have chosen to play a new game called tattoo bingo. If you see 4 tattoos on our outings during the day (today is Williamsburg, yesterday Busch Gardens) with your pre-chosen themes then you win! Here are the themes we chose...

Kelly: Affairs of the heart
T-The Dark Side
Big Boy-Words
Middle Boy-Sharps
Little Boy-Flowers
Big Girl-Religious
Little Girl-Babies

April 10, 2009

Peacocks and Turkeys

When my husband and I were just in the early-dating stages of our relationship my older and wiser brother-in-law had this to say about courtship. "When you just start to date you are still in the peacock stages of your romance. Just wait until you've been married for a while and you realize that you thought you had bagged a peacock and instead it's a turkey." I shared this cute little birdy story with my then boyfriend and it only managed to stir up misgivings about 'us' even more for the poor guy. "What happened to just being honest about yourself!?" I am sure he was thinking what kind of tricks did we women pull on poor unsuspecting male victims?

Now that I am older and wiser myself I understand just what he meant by that. You put on your best face when you are trying to impress someone and then, at some point, you just can't hold in the gas anymore when you are around them all day long. My husband was seriously shocked when he found out that girls passed gas. I was also a bit taken aback when I discovered how much phlegm he had to hack up on a regular basis. "Dear, do you perhaps have a cold coming on?" Said I when he was hacking in the bathroom one evening (early on). "No, I do this every night"...... "Oh.... I see...." There are other unusual habits that I could dig up on both of us but you get the idea.

I find it a bit interesting that after being apart for 6 months, there is a re-occurring peacock/turkey phenomenon going on here. We will have been married 17 years this month, and the guy has seen me looking my worst on many occasions. But since his return I find myself not wanting to look bad in front of him. I put on lipstick when I know it's worn off. I brush my teeth extra. I hide the fact that I had a root beer float after lunch today while he was out. I act like I have been doing yoga every morning for 6 months. I am nicer to the kids in his presence. Weird! I feel like we are out on our first date in some respects. And WHO is this muscle man that has returned to me making me feel all thrilled and self conscious? I guess to avoid boredom he worked his tail off in the gym. He told me he had to return his gun at out processing, but I say he returned with 2 big guns that I don't recall him having before. (ha! I kill me!).

I am sure it won't take us too long to start picking noses, and yelling at the kids again. In the mean time I am sorta excited to be dating this handsome stranger! I hope it works out : ) Wish me luck!

April 07, 2009


In the last 24 hours:

Baby Girl has warmed up to Daddy and has kissed him 2 times, and used about 1/2 of her new cherry chapstick.  She has suprized her Dad with her awesome vocabulary. When he went for a shower this morning she freaked out just a bit wondering where he went.

btw: I have kissed him just a few more times than 2, and I didn't need a chapstick bribe...

Big Girl has shared with us each page of her precious journal Dad gave to her before he left 6 months ago.  That reduced both of us to tears.  She has also started quite the rock collection!

Little Boy has learned to play ping pong in about 15 minutes with his Dad.  All the boys have shown Dad the new Wii games acquired in his absence, and schooled him in that dept.

Middle Boy has nearly beaten Dad at ping pong which would earn him an instant slushy at 7-11.  It's only a matter of time...  He also really wants a cell phone.  

Big Boy was caught tearing up on the way home from the airport.  Such a sweetheart sometimes!  He insisted we go to the movies together last night.  Warning: Don't see Montsers vs Aliens!  The  best part of that experience was the trailer for Where the Wild Things are.

Another warning- the following videos may also be painful.


April 06, 2009

Celebration Dance

YES it's true.  Mormon's do dance on Sundays....


I was a bit nervous today as I hadn't heard from T all day and I knew he was flying to Georgia from Kuwait yesterday.  Turns out it wasn't a fatal airplane crash, he was just extra busy out-processing.  This usually takes them 2 full days, but my anxious, determined two legged doggie was able to get it all done on in one day, and book an early morning flight home for tomorrow.  SO this equals great news in that we will be seeing him a few days ahead of schedule.  I guess watching all the sessions of conference yesterday and today really paid off for me!!!  We'll see him at BWI at 9:12 am!  We just tied our yellow ribbon round the large willow tree out front.  CANT WAIT!  Seriously- my eye is a little twitchy right now.

April 05, 2009

Thanks for Coming

As I sit here and start to blog about what has been on my mind today the sound of pitiful crying (fake crying I might add) rings out in the background.  It's irritating enough for me to want to make a subject change- but I am sticking to my first thoughts.  "Juice!" she just cried out.  Or was that "Shoes!"  Not sure.  She is actually crying over shoes that she wants to wear in bed over her footed pajamas.  Her dear older sister is doing her darndest to find her the right pair.  Nothing works with footed pink PJs this season.  Not the white ones, or the red ones, or the boots, or the pink Crocs (those are right out!).  Poor two year old girl doesn't know what she wants.  It's a problem with 2 year olds.  But this is not my topic...

Earlier tonight she was being so sweet while we were watching our latest Netflix movie rental.  (Porco Rosso it was so thumbs up!  We are really into anime movies lately.  Have you seen My Neighbor Totoro?  It's fabulous!).
As I said we were watching our movie and it wasn't that interesting to Baby Girl so she decided I would be her play-thing instead.  She was climbing all over me, putting chap stick (her favorite food and accessory) on my lips, feeding me popcorn, spilling water all over me, kissing and hugging the daylights out of me (who needs a husband right?).  While she was having her hay-day, I looked into her eyes and thought about how we almost missed out on having this bundle of joy.  I said to her "Thanks for coming."  I meant it too.  I have thanked her before, and will probably continue thanking her for years to come. "De yuckum" was her response.  Around here we all know that is code for "you're welcome." 

For a while we thought we were going to be a family with 4 kids, and felt we were blessed enough.  However, my heart strings were being tugged at (stole that line from Gma T) and I knew there was another one up there somewhere.  She sure took her sweet time getting to us and after trying for just over a year we were going to give it up.  My age being the determining factor.  One more month and we would have stopped.  Then she came.  When I found out I was pregnant I felt so lucky!  And to have a 2nd girl so that Big Girl wouldn't have to go through life in this family alone (femininely speaking)... truly, a double blessing.  

Having a teenager and a baby in the house at the same time has been a challenge that is sometimes hard to deal with.  So much is going on for the older one and now I have to drag a baby along everywhere...  But as I said on to my friend the other day, I think having a baby around is a great softener for those moody teenagers.  She has the power to melt all of us.  We all find her 'stuff' funny.  She bonds us as a family.  So to those who don't know what you are missing out on it's probably for the best.  Having a large family has great advantages.  So don't pity me at the playground. Don't look worriedly at me chasing her around at the track meet.  Don't widen your eyes at the dentist's office when we all come through the door.  But do keep up the "YOU have a 15 year old?!" comments.  Those make me feel good.  And let me say it once again "Baby Girl, thanks for coming!"

April 03, 2009


When my husband deployed for Iraq back in October I noticed how fragile I was about everything during that stage. I hated being reminded of his absence by finding his socks under the bed or his clothes still coming through the laundry. His voice on the answering machine was not to be erased! The soap in the shower disappeared a couple weeks later and I thought-how sad, this was a bar of soap we once shared.  How pathetic is that?  I disliked being around people who knew he had just left because of the sympathetic/uncomfortable looks in their eyes, and mine. When something came up that he usually handled, it made me angry that now I was going to have to figure something else out, or (heaven forbid) ask someone for help. I was/am also a big baby at night. I was scared by every house creak or the bark of a neighborhood dog. Sleep didn't come easy. In reality I never have adjusted well to sleeping at night, but it has improved.

Thankfully most of that phase passed quickly. I found myself doing things I never thought I had the chops for before.  I found that I could call on people for help when I got in over my head and not be embarrassed. I figured out which people I could rely on without having the feeling that they were put out. I also found those who were less able to take on the task of both helping and making me feel at ease over the situation. That has been a bit of a lesson to me.  A lesson in how to make someone feel when serving them. For example, don't say "Geez! Did you have to pick out a puppet theater with so many parts?!" While being a Santa's helper on Christmas Eve....  Just off the top of my head.  So glad I know how to let things roll off my back and not think about them any more.

The things I have used to mark off time have been weird. I am a dental hygienist and as such, I know that you should replace your toothbrush every 3 months. True! So when I got to replace our toothbrushes I knew we were really gettin somewhere. I would look at my new toothbrush and think, 'this is the toothbrush I will be using when T gets home'. Isn't that a great milestone!?  Oh, and you know the pink stuff that accumulates in the shower on the curtain (if you have a cloth one especially)? Well I washed mine a while back and thought there will not be enough time for that pink stuff to build up again before T gets home! Happy days! We've also made our paper chain to help us mark off the time. But I couldn't make it until it was down to about 100 days because it was too depressing before that.

The Army makes you go through this debriefing process and gives families all kinds of warnings as to how difficult the readjustment phase after a deployment can be.  I really wouldn't have expected this otherwise I don't think.  Now it has me grinding my teeth at night.  Sigh!  You should expect about a weeks worth of adjustment for every month the deployed soldier was absent, before expecting things to be back to 'normal'.  This unknown adjustment phase really has been on my mind lately.  While I love my husband and obviously want him back, will I be bothered that I have to share a master bathroom again?  Will I show him the dings on the rear view mirror?  Or the receipt for my Miracle Suit?  What will baby girl's reaction be?  She has spent almost a quarter of her life away from him now.  Will we fight about the way I have been doing things?  Will he object to the Cheerios I have been serving up for dinner?  Can he share me with my new blogging obsession? I guess only time will tell.  All I know is that the zit on my chin better clear up in the next four days, and I need to buy a big spool of large yellow ribbon for the willow tree outside.  What a great stage to be in : )

ps: can anyone tell my why in the last 5 minutes since I published this post I have had so many internationals log on and read? This has me a bit freaked out!