About Me

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Like all of you, I'm a number of things to a number of people...Navy wife, homeschooling mama, educated woman and aspiring writer. Read my thoughts on all of it here. Please feel free to leave your thoughts on all of it too!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Inside, Outside...Upside Down?

Scott and I grew up together. I don't know that two people could know more about each other than we did when we married almost nine years ago. We'd been friends or a couple for the vast majority of our lives. Still, though, he surprises me from time to time, even now.

For example, he's a great, if not unorthodox, problem solver. I went to school to be a therapist and learned certain strategies for stopping children's tantrums. However, when our oldest started throwing them Scott ignored my ideas and simply said, "Stand up when you cry."
Yeah, you can imagine the look on my face! What? Of course, I'd also learned that we must be a united front while in the presence of our kids, so I didn't question him until later. By then we'd discovered that this kooky rule works!

Despite the reality that we're still learning the intricacies of each other's personalities, I thought I knew him pretty well. And I've been told how in touch with myself I am. I allow my emotions to be and understand them pretty well. I usually know why I'm reacting a certain way to things. So, I guess I thought I knew myself pretty well too.

Lately, though, I've been realizing differences in our personalities that have always been there (I remember them from high school) but I'd lost track of somehow. Scott's motivation is internal. He doesn't need to be reminded to complete a task...he's already working on it. He's very good at setting goals and reaching them. I thrive off external sources of energy. I need "atta boys!" and am influenced by what's around me. Scott is traditional and lives in various shades of blue and green. I love color, pattern, and being different.

These differences have become more apparent recently. I've been exploring my writing, realizing my excitement for the non-traditional job, and wanting to be more artistic in my hobbies. As I focus on myself as more than just mama...I can't help but notice that what we have is a love-everyone-hippy-wannabe married to her stable-and-stubborn-military man.

Luckily I'm a sucker for middle ground. If I weren't, our differences might turn us upside down!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thinking Thursday

In the tradition of Wondering Wednesday, I present...Thinking Thursday!

As you know, I have kids. They're a hoot!

Today Gracie pulled on her rib cage and asked me if it was her "boob bone" and when her boobs would grow big? OK, back it up...she's not even four years old yet! I calmly taught her about ribs and the very basics of puberty. Then she was off to antagonize her big brother.

After the usual little spats back and forth, Jace and Gracie decided to play some game that caused Jace to say, "Are you laughing or crying?" In my mind, anything that begs that question doesn't need repeating. The good news: I apparently don't think like a six year old. I heard the whimpering from Gracie and the same question twice more before I put a stop to that game.

Then they played in a tent that I'd set up for them in the bedroom. Camping is great entertainment! After several warning, though, they broke the tent, leaving fiberglass shards for me to grab before I realized the poles were made of fiberglass.

So, all of this leaves me thinking, "Why don't we have year-round school?"

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


"I can see the blinking light."

"I saw it first!"

"I ate all my lunch."

"I finished my drink first!"

"I rode my bike 67,000 miles."

"I rode my bike 69,000 miles!"

Seriously? I know this sibling competitiveness is normal and probably healthy. It's also completely obnoxious! Luckily, it's sometimes funny...but always obnoxious!

Then there's the "that's not fair" whine. I wish we could simply say once "life's not fair" and they'd be like "Ooohhh. I get it! It's not gonna be fair. Okay. Thanks!" and then ran off and played!

So, while my children whine and spit spat back and forth, I'll be enjoying the occasional giggle, followed by an exasperated sigh and one of my favorite mantras. "My children are a delight and a joy."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Summer Vacation

They give this little break between school years such an innocent name. In fact, it sounds like it should be full of sunshine, smiles, and s'mores. In reality, however, its usually more about holding off boredom and begging children to behave.

This year I planned ahead, though. I have projects to craft, recipes to bake, day trips to take. My mama's group meets every other week and, therefore, can be held over there heads...er I mean, can be motivation for good behavior. In all my planning, though, I never actually looked at a calendar until last night. Know what I figured out?

Our summer vacation isn't really going to be that long. It's dotted with big fun!

In just under two weeks we're having our Gebel Family Birthday Party. We won't be doing anything too crazy, but the kids will have friends over and their friend's parents are my friends. That's nice when it works out that way. We have visitors coming at the beginning of July. That always breaks up the monotony of having to hang with mom! A few weeks after that we (the kids and I) will be venturing out on a two and a half week road trip to visit friends, family, and a few never be seen road-side stops. I'm probably more excited about this trip than the kids! Hopefully, we'll all have fun. So, it should be a great summer...right?

Wait a minute...somebody's crying. After that it'll be a great summer!

Friday, May 22, 2009

It all comes back to food...

I enjoy eating. I like trying new things, especially if someone else prepares it for me! I also like re-trying things I didn't used to like. For example, I recently discovered that now, after being pregnant three times, I really like pickles! And, of course, I like old favorites and finding new ways to change up the old from time to time.

A few years ago I discovered grilling. My parents didn't use the grill often, so I knew it only as a way to cook the occasional hamburg or hot dog. I still haven't completely broken through the wall into grilling entire meals, but I do include veggies as part of a burger. I also make kebobs, fish, chicken, and steak on our grill...from time to time.

I think I'm ready to combine my enjoyment of eating and the discovery of grilling in ways that are even more exciting, maybe even with a little BAM! That's right, Emeril has a grilling cookbook out! I like to play with recipes some, but after I've tried the original once or twice...and Emeril's food is so tasty!

So, there's a site (Foodie Giveaway) that's giving away a copy of Emeril at the Grill, A Cookbook for All Seasons. So head over to enter for your chance! http://foodiegiveaway.blogspot.com/ Entries are being taken through May 27th!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cash to Trash

I wonder how much money I throw in the garbage after dinner each night. Scott and I try to eat balanced and healthy meals. The kids, on the other hand, move their food around their plates and leave me feeling frustrated. I don't believe in forcing them to eat...just makes for a long drawn out fight and encourages unhealthy habits. They do like some things, but nothing (and I mean nothing) is ever a guarantee.

One day macaroni and cheese is golden and then the next day, "I don't really like the way it tastes." They'll gobble up salad and leave me amazed, but the next time I serve it their plates will return to the kitchen with the salad barely touched. It drives me nuts!

But the thing that really frustrates me is the money going in the garbage. Last night Gracie didn't eat her green beans and Tyler passed on the carrots. Tonight I was the only one to eat the pork loin. (Scott wasn't home...he would have cleaned his plate! I made this exact recipe a week and a half ago and and all three kids chowed down with oohs and aahs.) I only give one serving between the three kids, but that's still a whole serving in the trash.

I've been tempted to put empty plates in front of them and just through my money directly into the trash can. It seems like less work. Unfortunately, I don't think it would make all that much of an impact. Do you?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Coming Into Her Own

Scott's mom used to warn us, when we had only Jace, that the second child is always different from the first. In fact her second was so different that she decided not to have any more. Jace was such a sweet boy, still is, that we couldn't imagine a "different" so opposite him we'd stop with two. Then we had Gracie.

Don't get me wrong, Gracie is a great girl. But she and Jace are definitely different. She requires a lot more patience and prayer. I don't know if it's because she really is more trouble or just not what we were used to. But when we got pregnant with our third we joked that unlike Scott's mom we weren't going to stop at two, but intentionally have a third so we could forget the middle child. Seriously, we were joking. We love Gracie, as much as Jace and Tyler. We truly have fantastic kids.

But...I found myself sharing stories about Jace more than Gracie, during those first few years. He seemed to have a personality I could recount more easily. Then there was the baby to tell everyone about, and Jace had started school. It became so clear to me, maybe because I'm a middle child or because I had an interest in human behavior and am acutely aware of these things, but it became clear to me how easily she could get lost in the mix. That is, if she wasn't Gracie.

She stands out with her emerging wit. Yesterday I bought a bottle of flavored water for Jace and Gracie to share. Back in the car Jace asked, "Why'd you drink it all?"

Gracie quickly retorted, "Because it was good." A moment for impact. "Sorry, Charlie!"

Good thing I wasn't drinking anything, I probably would have spit it out my nose or something!

Our middle child is also our only girl, which creates a magical mix of tomboy and girly girl. She loves to wear "loud shoes" and dresses, although she recently told me she's starting to like pants more. She thinks they look "so cute with a fun pair of sandals." She can hold her own outside in the sand box, but she'll likely have a necklace on doing it.

She's so excited about preschool in the fall, and I'm excited for her. I'm eager to see how much more her personality blossoms with influence from so many other kids. She'll be learning so much more than how to write the ABC's.

One thing she's already mastered though, is the art of positive reinforcement. I'm so easily charmed when she cuddles up to me with, "You're the best mom. I love you." or "Can I sit with you? I just want to love you up." I'm a sucker, I know!

So, mama's little girl will soon be four and her feisty, fashion-loving personality is only just beginning to flourish!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sometimes It Just Feels Good...

Sometimes it just feels good to throw things. Not big things or dangerous things or breakable things, mind you, but things. Right?

On those days when I've had too little sleep the night before and there's too much expected of me from all three kids at the same time, I think it would feel good. When my quota for hearing "mama" was hit an hour ago, I think it would feel good. When every request I make or direction I give is met with rolling eyes, moans, and complaints, I think it would feel good. When dinner is "gross" and nobody will even try it, I think it would feel good.

In fact, I know it would feel good. I know it does feel good. How? Because I've done it. I've thrown a toy car because I stepped on it one too many times. I've thrown a doll that hasn't gotten picked up no matter how many times I've reminded. And it does feel good. It is satisfying to hear the stunned silence of the kids and the dull thud of the toy. But it doesn't make me feel better.

I've thrown tantrums to match theirs. I can't cry on demand, but I can stomp, slam doors, whine, and glare with the best of them. Sometimes mocking them makes me feel better, but it isn't all that satisfying.

So, in the end, when I feel ready to explode, what helps me feel both satisfied and better? Throwing things. That's right. That and pushing things, kicking things, running and yelling. We go outside. We swing, play catch, go for a walk, play tag. Whether it's the distraction from the stresses or the internal reactions of moving around (most likely the combination) I feel better and it's satisfying. Sometimes it just feels good to play.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Unexpected Milestones

I've always thought about the big steps my kids will take in life...potty training, starting school, driving, getting married. But there are so many little moments that raise babies to toddlers, toddlers to kids. Recently it seems like Jace has been running through the steps into full-fledged childhood.

He poured his own cereal on Mother's Day. He did it so I wouldn't have to, but it occurred to me how self-sufficient he really could be. After all, he's been helping with dinner at least once a week for a few months now. I haven't let him pour the milk yet, but it's just a matter of time before he tries.

And I think he's just about ready to start showering on his own. I know...I can't believe it either!

I'm not sure when he's moving out...his plans fluctuate between 21 and 63. I'm sure he'll be ready any day now, though.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

It's Baaaa-aaack!


This post will contain conversation pertaining to, shall we say, female issues. Read at your own risk.

Now that all the scaredy cats have left...let's get on with it. You've probably guessed what's back. Aunt Flo's come to visit. Mother Nature has brought me a gift. However you say it, my period is back.

Now I can't complain too much. I mean Tyler is almost 17 months old! That means over two years since I've had a menstrual cycle, almost. There were two periods brought on my the use of birth control a while back. That whole episode resulted in a pregnancy scare when I stopped taking the birth control because it also brought on yeast infections. I was still nursing frequently enough that once the hormones weren't forcing me to have a period...I didn't. We were so worried about #4, but alas, we were worried for nought.

So, anyway, aside from those few months I've been doing pretty good. It's always exciting when the nurse asks the first day of your last period and you can't remember. I also like just not having to deal with everything that goes along with "the curse." But, here I am...a woman...so I guess it's really OK that it's back.

In the end, I'll struggle through just like most everyone else. Oh, yeah, and Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mothering the Mother

Tomorrow is Mother's Day. Like a lot of moms I have a habit of saying, "You don't need to get me anything." And it's true. There's no need. However, it would be wonderful if you wanted to and did celebrate me, just a little. That gets left unsaid, though.

Scott has been thoughtful, though, always getting me a card. Sometimes he even signs them. If the card says wife on it, he says it doesn't need a signature, "Who else would it be from?" (See why I love him?)

This year the kids are taking Mother's Day into their own little hands. Jace made something for me at school that he's very excited to present tomorrow. They came up with this plan that I have to stay in bed until Dada comes to get them and then they'll all come in and wake me up and say "Happy Mother's Day!" very loudly. Jace asked Scott if they could get me flowers. , and they did...today! I'm the proud recipient of a beautiful bouquet of sunflowers. Gracie got to carry them to me and she was beaming.

And when I tucked Gracie in she whispered that she had a secret to tell me, with a little gleam in her eyes. I leaned in and she shared, "I'm so excited for tomorrow. You're the best mom."

Their joy over me is contagious. I feel loved by all three kids, even Tyler cooed something that sounded like the beginning of "I love you" tonight. There's no question that Scott respects, admires, and adores me...as the mother he chose for our little monkeys. I don't feel like tomorrow is just another day. It'll be a special day for us, for me.

Thank God, they take such good care of me. Mama.

No Carts?

I should have taken the hint from the car that whipped through the parking lot and almost hit us this morning at Walmart. After all, it's a Saturday...the day before Mother's Day...people were everywhere. But I didn't listen to the screeching brakes.

We went inside and found out there were no carts. How can that be? It's Walmart. I'd passed a few rogue carts in the parking lot and I tried to keep an eye on Gracie and Jace and not drop Tyler or my purse...oh and not get run over! I thought about going back out to get one of them. I thought about just going home. But I had a list! What would happen if we didn't get bananas and sugar snap peas?

As I stood there contemplating, another family dropped off their cart, one of the super ones with two seat for the older kids and the spot for Tyler too! Patience, faith, luck...whatever it was...it worked out. $40 later we dropped our cart off to another over-heated family wondering how Walmart has no carts! It's the circle of life.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Excitement Builds

Jace is at such a great age. Actually, I think every age has been great in some way. Anyway, he's almost six years old! When I say almost, I mean...two weeks from today! And he's getting so excited! We're going to have a family birthday party for all the kids. Gracie turns four in four and half weeks and Tyler's half-birthday is at the end of June. Jace is just as excited for them as himself I think! Such a sweet boy.

He's also been reminiscing about his year in kindergarten and his upcoming promotion to first grade. He came to me all serious-like and put his head on my shoulder and said he's sad about not being in kindergarten anymore.

"Why?" I asked.

"I really like my teachers." Pause. "But in first grade (lifts his head) I'll get a new teacher (eyes start to sparkle) and make new friends (jumps up and smiles) and if we move and I go to a new school I'll meet all new people!" Sad be gone, Jace is excited again!

This morning he was excited for me because mother's day is in two days. He wants to get me flowers...as I said, he's a sweet boy. He also wants to help me all day long. He told me he would even stay up until my bedtime to change the TV channels for me. What a thoughtful boy! He made something at school for me and can't wait until Sunday for me to see it. I'm excited too.

It's nice to feel excitement. As an adult it's easy to get caught up in the fact that our house isn't selling, the truck is waiting for parts in the driveway, and Tyler's got a fever that kept him (and me) up a good part of the night. I'm glad, though, that I have this incredible little boy to remind me of what really matters...joy!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Sign of Change

I've been told that I'm pretty aware of my emotions, and I'd have to agree. I don't always understand why I feel a certain way, but I do my best to figure it out. As part of this self-exploration, I've found that I behave particular ways when something is changing in me. We probably all do this...it seems normal. When I start to notice the behaviour I get a little anxious over what might be brewing. It's not a disturbing anxiety, more like a quiet excitement.

The last three days I've done all the dishes by hand. We have a dishwasher, but washing the dishes by hand is one of my red flag actions. I tend to stir up the suds more often when there's something on my mind that I need to work out but am avoiding. To be honest, it's the case now. Somehow the warm, bubbly water calms me and I have the time to think. I'm not sitting for the kids to climb all over and I've gotten pretty decent at ignoring the children ducking between me and the sink or crying at my leg. (If the crying continues for some undetermined time that is "too long" I will dry my hands and attend to the goings-on around me.) It's a good "me-time" activity...and I enjoy it.

Even though I know I need to contemplate what's on my mind and make the changes that hand washing the dishes predicts will happen soon...I'm not going to just yet. Change isn't always easy and I appreciate a little time to myself. So, since spa day isn't in my horizon, dish pan hands will suffice!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Even Funnier When It's Someone Else's Kid!

Scott and I went out to dinner and birthday shopping this weekend. It was fantastic! I'll meet anyone, anytime at Captain Stan's in Woodbine. The grilled shrimp is completely worth it and I've contemplated giving up grocery shopping and meal planning and just eating that for the rest of my life. But I digress...

The kids stayed with a friend who has two children right about the same age as Jace and Gracie. When we got there to pick them up we chatted for a few minutes and the kids were running in and out of the house, being kids. Her daughter, Katie, ran past us to play outside with her skirt tucked into the waistband. Her mom hollered after her, "Hey! Pull your skirt out of your panties!"

"I'm not wearing panties!" And out the door.