20 Jun 2013 Leave a Comment
15 Jun 2013 Leave a Comment
Our kids’ school Spring Fling theme was superheroes. Dozens of volunteers, phone calls, and hours were dedicated to this four hour extravaganza and although the event did not make as much as last year, everyone had a great time!
That is my daughter A’s second grade teacher sparring with another teacher and A!
Last week, A’s class sang This Land is Your Land for the Talent Show. They did such a great job!
12 Jun 2013 Leave a Comment
After two decades, his day has come.
My husband R retired from the US Navy… Yesterday!
He began the day just outside of JEB Little Creek and finished it in Kentucky. He will be with family in a few days, spending time with them until the next chapter of our lives begins.
R is quite emotional and rightly so. What a huge transition!
And yet I seem to have forgotten the other person this affects greatly! That’s me!
I won’t have this independence that I once loathed, this independence that basically forced me to suck it up countless times through the past twelve years, this independence that compelled me to work, even while pregnant with two preschoolers.
I wonder what will happen to this independence. R would never hold me back; the Navy did that for him. I wonder if it will be difficult, if I will push myself, if it will even matter how thick skinned I’ve had to become.
It was no easy feat.
His new chapter. My new chapter. What difference does it make really? Come along for the ride.
One of the few photos we have with him in uniform. Top: Navy Day Ball 2000. Bottom: Family trip to Disneyland, 2012.
12 May 2013 Leave a Comment
I imagine it would probably be pretty hard to be married to me. Independent, bordering on stubborn. Ambitious, yet oddly lazy. Overscheduled, but naps when life gets too overwhelming.
Sure, the eye candy factor is there. (Heh.) Volunteering and work and kid activities are out of control but can you imagine being thrown into an instant family with loud (but awesome) kids and an eccentric wife who is constantly on the go?
R will be thrown.
He will be thrown back into our crazy hectic lives very soon. I’m afraid that somehow blogging about it will jinx the actual retirement date but how much worse can everything get? I mean, honestly, between recovery, therapy, a huge thyroid the size of Texas and we’re still fine.
What I cannot seem to grasp is how I’ll need to change.
I look forward to being part of a parenting partnership for the first time in God knows how long. I look forward to consulting with another adult about our dinner plans, sharing chores, and holding hands. I look forward to being us again.
I will probably forget to consult R about day-to-day things, about oh-by-the-way-did-you-want-to-go-to-the-gym-too, about what he wants our master bedroom to look like. In case you’re wondering, it looks like MY ROOM with chick lit and urban fantasy novels strewn about along with my odd collection of tank tops for every occasion.
There will be a lot of things we won’t be able to do or do as long. Last time R was home, the kids had an amazing school event… but the crowd made him nervous and the trip to the zoo two days prior had made the pain in his left leg much worse. Today for Mother’s Day, we drove down to Sausalito and
was annoyed by marveled at the number of people on their bikes and walking the trails. I doubt R would be able to do any of that. Professional sports games are out of the question. Never mind that he has never been a sports fan but hey, beer and nachos make everything better, right? No more cheap seats on the lawn for us; R would never be able to sit on the ground. No more stadium seats either as the crowd and noise would probably make him retreat to the car.
I always wondered how certain social situations affected him. He’s fine at parties. Our house, his friends’ houses, at the house of a relative’s… it is not a problem for him.
Last Christmas he tried to mail some packages to family in Utah. The post office in December? Hello? He said he could do it himself but I offered to come along. He didn’t decline. After a few minutes in that crazy post office, he looked confused and lost. I handed him the car keys and whispered that I’d meet him in the car.
But I’m sure that I don’t help matters either. I’m pretty short so I zip in and out of crowds pretty easily. Once I have my mind set on getting a specific size box on the other side of a crowded post office, oh, mark my words, I will have it in my hands within minutes.
He met some friends at a bar a few weeks ago and he couldn’t handle it. The noise, the music, dozens of people all around that he didn’t know. He had to leave.
If I had been through what he had been through, I would have had to leave as well.
I’ve started to have brief conversations with the kids in the car about what it’ll mean to have Daddy back home. Nothing scary, nothing odd. Just little suggestions of how our schedule might change, how we’ll have to help Daddy out a bit. I hate crowds myself which is why we’re that family that shows up early to events and appointments so we get good parking, we get there early, we get in first, no crowds, and most importantly, we leave first. That won’t be a stretch.
The other day after telling the kids how we need to help Daddy when he gets home, M said, “Is that why you always tell me to go with Daddy to the store?”
Wow. I never realized that.
R gets flustered easily and forgets words. Sometimes he even curses his TBI. Sadly, sometimes I don’t sympathize. That’s something I need to definitely work on.
For A’s first communion, R baked a beautiful lemon cake from scratch per her request. He said the cake was magnificent, a fact I do not deny. He was unhappy with the frosting however, also made from scratch. He was up until midnight baking the cake and almost threw the entire cake away because according to him, the frosting ruined the cake.
“Why did you frost the cake then if the frosting was so bad? Why didn’t you just make another batch of frosting?” I asked.
He looked at me and sighed. “I don’t know. I guess I was so set on getting this cake done I couldn’t step back and NOT frost the cake.”
I know we’ll all need therapy. He needs to get back into a regular therapy session. I need to attend training on caregiving, on being the other half of a couple, and all of the stuff I need to know on patience and how not to roll your eyes when it seems like your husband is making excuses. Wow, I sound like a total bitch. Totally need therapy, I know. We’ll need it as a family as well.
It’s scary to think about how this transition will take place. I know we’ll get through it but it still terrifies me.
12 May 2013 Leave a Comment
Because of the wonderful folks over at Operation Care and Comfort, we have been able to see professional sports games that we would have otherwise not have been able to afford. These tickets are donated from the both the sports teams and ticket holders who generously give up their tickets.
One of the events we were able to attend was the last Sacramento Kings game of the season. My only disappointment was the poor sportsmanship from fans, young and old. It wasn’t everyone, mind you. However, if my child was yelling rude comments to the other team, no matter high up in the stadium, I would stop it immediately.
The highlight of the evening was the look on A’s face when she realized that the men behind us were spitting out sunflower seed shells on the floor right behind us! She was totally shocked! Great sports pasttime or disgusting habit? Um, I vote for the latter but eh, maybe I’m not cut out for seeing games in person.
Or maybe, shells that used to be in someone else’s mouth and are now right next to my hair are disgusting!
12 May 2013 Leave a Comment
May the Fourth was a special day.
Okay, it was Star Wars Day. (May the Fourth be with you!) It was also the day that A got her first holy communion. She is a cute kid, if I say so myself, but in her beautiful white gown, wearing her gorgeous veil, and just beaming because her Daddy is home? I will never forget this day.
Neither will she.
12 May 2013 Leave a Comment
Happy Mother’s Day!
The kids and I spent the day in Sausalito, just north of San Francisco. We woke up early, left early, so we could get home early.
On our way we saw this lovely view.
The Marine Mammal Center is a hospital for sick or injured marine mammals up and down the California coast. I don’t recommend it for really little kids as obviously it isn’t a zoo; they do not keep the animals. We arrived over an hour early but a kind docent allowed us to walk around and even talked to us about the pinnipeds.
We met one of the artists of this magnificent sculpture. A sperm whale died on one of the beaches in northern California. Doctors found hundreds of pounds of fish nets in the whale’s stomach. The whale starved to death.
She asked us to write our wishes on a piece of paper, to be added to her and her husband’s next sculpture that will be displayed in the center next month. This is what A wrote:
We attended a docent-led tour which I highly recommend on your first tour. A was excited to answer questions whenever our docent posed them to our group. Both A and L were chosen to participate during the presentation. Our docent was kind and made sure every child had a turn to participate. I wish I could remember her name but I’m sure all of their volunteers are just as awesome.
They have a special presentation every second Sunday of the month. Today was about the Hawaiian Monk Seals. We showed up so early (um, an hour) that the lead educator offered to save our seats for us. Each of the kids eventually fell asleep during the presentation. I was mildly embarassed but I didn’t care. It was a long drive (almost two hours) and we hadn’t had lunch yet. Two of the three founders of the Marine Mammal Center spoke after the presentation about the history of the hospital and their new published book about their journey that started over fifty years ago. I wanted to grab a copy of the book (and have them sign it!) but the kids were so exhausted they did not even want to go to the bookstore. My wallet did not complain.
Before heading back to Sacramento, I had to go to the beach right next to the center. Rodeo Cove was cold, of course. I was surprised that my son M complained so much when all of them LOVE going to the beach in Monterey and it’s the same weather! I think we have been spoiled by the early Sacramento summer.
Once again we tried to see the Golden Gate Bridge but the fog persisted. I’m sure the fog eventually burned away but this is all we got!
I didn’t want drive-thru food, not today on Mother’s Day. We celebrated with a late lunch at California Pizza Kitchen and scotchmellows from See’s Candies.
Happy Mother’s Day especially to women who treat other children as their own!
08 Apr 2013 Leave a Comment
I don’t watch a lot of TV on purpose. The kids and I will watch our fave show The Big Bang Theory if it isn’t inappropriate. I miss Lost.
But really, I don’t have time to watch because two jobs and kids will do that to your schedule.
R loves shows like The Walking Dead and Dexter but I just haven’t gotten into them. Plus I’d rather watch whole seasons at a time. I started recording HBO’s Game of Thrones for him as he is without TV in Virginia. “You should watch the show,” he said. “I think you’d like it.”
For two years I said no and yet still recorded the shows for him. The show looked historical (um, why yes, I majored in history), epic, boring.
Then my mother took the kids to the Monterey bag for four days to visit family and go to the beach.
I actually had time to myself! I missed those kids even before they left but I knew it would be good for all of us, particularly since I’ve started to “check out” in terms of… Well, I don’t know. “Giving up” would be a huge exaggeration. Perhaps “increasingly lazy” would be a better fit. [More about that later.]
I thought I would use my free time to go out with friends and hang out with people I hadn’t seen in a while.
Nope. Didn’t do that. Didn’t do that at all.
I parked my ass on the couch and watched two seasons of that damn show. It. Was. Awesome. But don’t worry, no spoilers here.
I called my husband after his brother and sister-in-law went home. They visited him from out of state on his birthday weekend.
Him: “You liked it?”
Me: “Oh my God! You were so right! It’s such a great show!”
Him: “Cool! I can’t wait to see the second season when I get home in a couple of weeks!”
Me: “Huh? You haven’t seen the second season?”
Him: “No, I didn’t want to be too far ahead of you.”
Me: [silence] “Oh. Well, I saw it and it was awesome!”
How sad. Clearly I have no self-control.
I must have some self-control as I stopped watching GoT long enough to run a 5K on Saturday. I didn’t run it as I have not trained since my last race. (See? I haven’t lost my motivation. I just can’t find it right now and with R coming home, it’s really hard for me to focus on anything! Anything at all!)
My friend and I made plans to enter more races, even if we aren’t actually running. No matter to me. One day we will.
27 Feb 2013 Leave a Comment
I dropped off the kids at school five minutes ago and already I am bored.
I’m sure getting sick was inevitable. As a mom, I know what it is like to be in denial of being sick, thinking that all I need is a bit of orange juice and/or a cookie and I’ll be better in no time.
Guilt is rampant in my life though I do try to be aware of this and move on. Nevertheless I sadly gave up an easy sub job today in favor of not spewing phlegm on high schoolers.
Since making the decision to go back to work, I rarely find myself just sitting on the couch. Oh, I’m not being pious. I just get easily distracted and have a bazillion things to do because:
• I’m too lazy to get stuff done when they should have been done
• I was too distracted to do stuff correctly the first time
• I have 3 kids
• I have 2 dogs and 2 cats
• I have 2 jobs
• my husband lives in another state. I am sometimes envious of spouses who can create a Honey-Do list as in “Honey, would you do this for me?” I have a “Well-hell-he’s-deployed-again-I’d-better-effing-do-it-myself!” list.
(Ooh, that last bullet point was a doozy. Sorry about that.)
I knit. I read. I make a list of the hundreds of things I have to do the moment my butt leaves the couch. Chores abound, phone calls with clients or fellow school & church volunteers must be made. (Doh, did I forget to follow up with a client yesterday?)
But sitting on the couch and watching TV?
As I cough and blow my nose for the tenth time this morning, I think I’ll give it a whirl.
Here are pics of a couple of housemates keeping me company. Yeah, they’re a couple of party animals.
Last week I taught an art class. How amazing for kids to get a grade for immersing themselves in creativity and design for ninety minutes a day.
I have a friend who sells thirty one, a direct sales company that carries cute bags and organization tools. I hosted my own party, took advantage of their Hostess benefits, and got cute stuff!
Ugh. Headache. Must. Turn. Off. Tv.
26 Feb 2013 Leave a Comment
I think I may have made a parenting boo boo. I overreacted.
Last night I left my newish iPhone with my eleven year old son while I went to a meeting. He and some friends were working in a science project and he was going to talk to his friends while I was working but he accidentally Facetime’d the wrong number.
I didn’t think anything of the random middle of the night phone call. After all, things happen. I did notice however that the same number called around noon, notifying me that someone was texting inappropriate things from my phone. Then he hung up.
What? I called back to apologize, to ask exactly what was happening but he hung up again.
And rightfully so, would you want to talk to someone who was harassing you?
Then my mind started thinking the absolute worst. Who was this person and why would anyone want to call someone at two in the morning?
I was absolutely terrified. Had my son shared personal information like our address or our names? Did he send pictures? Did this caller send pictures? What did this caller know about us?
I drove to our cellular service provider after that phone call and explained my situation in tears. I felt terrible for our youngest. Poor kindergartener watching Mommy cry over something her brother did. The guy who helped me listened and tried to make me feel better. He had heard worse.
Nope. Didn’t make me feel better.
I called my husband, three time zones away, who is dealing with his own issues for advice. I cried again, promising to never leave the big bad Internet alone with our children ever again, wishing he were here, right here, to help me figure out what to do. Why was I jumping to these conclusions? Wouldn’t you assume the worst to keep your children safe?
My husband’s suggestion? Grill him. Put the fear of God in him. Make him tell the truth, after all, I would know if he was lying.
I did exactly that. Tears from both of us fell. I told him that I wanted to make sure he didn’t give our info away. He adamantly denied sending or doing anything inappropriate.
Later my brother came over and when this caller (who may have been accidentally dialed again– ugh, I know!) tried to call again, my brother answered and straight out said, “Stop calling!” and yelling ensued.
I saved the number, assigning it the label “DO NOT ANSWER” and choosing the silent mode should this caller decide to bother me once more. This situation has made me so nuts that I feel physically ill and have decided not to go to work tomorrow.
But what makes me feel lower than pond scum is the fact that now my son knows that I do not trust him.
And he is crushed.
I don’t know how to even begin to fix what I have done in these hours of stress, anxiety, tears, and stomach cramps. Most of the pain had subsided once I came to the conclusions that I am 99.99% sure nothing inappropriate happened yesterday and that I will change my number first thing in the morning.
But knowing that I have hurt my son with the best intentions in mind doesn’t feel like it will ever go away.