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!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Chicken or The Egg?

We've all heard the deep, philosophical question about which came first, the chicken or the egg.  If you're anything like me, you haven't put that much deep, philosophical thought into this question, though.  It's one of those things that I've always figured doesn't really matter.  The bottom line is, both need the other to continue being.  If there are no eggs, chickens will cease to exist.  If there are no chickens, eggs won't be either.  I don't really care which one came first back in the day...I see a reason to take care of both. 

That's right. Both chickens and eggs need to be cared for. So, which should come first? Present tense. Right now, which one should be cared for, nurtured, loved in the now?

These are the questions that have been pestering me a lot lately.
There are so many of us mothers who think the kids ought to be first and foremost. We should put our needs on the back burner and give our all to our families. It's easy to think that if we don't jump every time they whimper we're being bad parents or neglecting their needs somehow. But I propose that taking care of us is just as important.

Just like the chicken and the egg, without proper care of both mother and child, something is gonna happen and it might not be a good thing! Scrambling...roasting...something other that well adjusted, happy, healthy poultry - or people, whichever we're talking about here.
So, perhaps the real question is, where is the rooster in all this? Something to think about, huh?

Speaking only for humans, mostly because I don't know much about birds, I think it's up to the adults to keep an eye on mom and make sure she's taking care of herself.  That means there is time to grocery shop on her own, get a massage, read a book without pictures, go out with friends.  There is time.  There is a way.  Make it a priority. 

Scott and I were talking with someone recently who was saying how much crap her husband gives her for trying to get away for a few hours.  This is not a problem with us.  And Scott's response was a great one. 

 "I don't necessarily like staying home with the kids, but as long as I don't have to cook...And it's important for Annie to have that time to herself, for her sanity and mine."

True dat.

Our motto (unwritten) has always been to want the best for the other and you'll end up getting the best in return.  As parents, as a couple, as people - we do what we can to support the other in achieving their best.  It's what we do to take care of each other.  In turn, don't you think we're taking care of the kids too?  (See, I didn't forget about them!)  I do. 

I know it can't be about me all the time, but it isn't about my eggs (turned lovely, little monsters, er...monkeys) either. 

Chicken or egg?

Mother or children?

Both.


Friday, December 2, 2011

More Answers to Questions Asked

So, a few weeks ago....ok, OK.  It was more than a month ago (man, time flies) I encouraged all of you to ask questions about our healthy living and then did a giveaway of some of my favorite cookbooks.  I answered the winner's questions already.  But more questions were asked and I've been meaning to answer them too.  Today is the day.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I'm Awesomer Now Than I Was Then :-)

So, about a year ago I read a post on Smrt Mama's blog about identifying things about ourselves that are positive, really showing ourselves a little love and admiration.  I didn't do it a year ago.  I wasn't ready.  I did do it, though, last March.  (If you're interested, here's the link to that post.)  Smrt Mama's challenge was to identify five things each about my looks/body, my mind, and that I've accomplished without qualifying them with any sort of negative comment.  I did pretty well in March...but I can do better now. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Answers, already!

So, if you're not following along with my fun...here's what's gone on recently...

Two posts ago I offered four cook books up in a giveaway.  All you needed to do to enter was ask a question about healthy living!  I know, not too tough!  Then, I announced the winners and gave a little background on me and my primal life over the past few years.  And that brings us to right now, when i promise to answer the winner's questions, and maybe a couple others!

1)  Was is hard to get your kids to make the paleo jump? 
Yes and no.  I switched very quickly (although I've wavered on and off and haven't been super strict in the past with social gatherings) but I worked the kids into it much more slowly.  At each step I've gotten a little (or a lot) of resistance.  But within a few days or a week, all three usually get used to the changes and stop they're moaning and groaning. 

I've only recently switched them to 100% paleo/primal foods.  They are allowed to make their own decisions, for the most part, when at friends' houses or parties.  Gracie almost immediately gets a tummy ache from eating gluten.  The boys do sometimes but not all the time.  They all act like different kids completely when they get their hands on sugar, and that includes breads that turn to sugar during digestion.  It's amazing to me and makes it clear to me that a little diet change could go a long way in the vast majority of those ADHD cases out there.  But that's just my opinion.  And, no, I don't think it would "just be easier" to let them eat crap all the time so they don't get tummy aches after pizza and birthday cake!  (Sorry, no one asked about that on my blog, but it is a comment I get from people quite often!)

Last year I did a Healthy Living Unit in our homeschool.  It was great to teach the kids all about healthy living.  They still refer to things they learned then, like getting enough sleep or finding "poisons" on labels in the supermarket.  Jace, who is eight years old, is spending the night at a friend's house tomorrow night said to me today, "I'm going to try to eat right while I'm gone.  I'll read the labels if I can.  I know I can always have fruit."  Sometimes he makes me so proud!

2)  Did you get headaches when you switched?  I heard that happens...
The only time I've gotten headaches in this process is after I get hooked on Mt. Dew again and have to detox from that crap!  I didn't get headaches when removing all the sugar and gluten from our foods.  However, while my bowels were healing from the abuse of gluten and got used to processing clean foods, I did have some loose stools and was fatigued for a while.  Sometimes it's called the low-carb flu.  After a week or two it passed, though, and I felt fine.

3)  What is the best thing you've noticed about yourself that isn't related to the size of your clothes since you made the switch to Paleo?
There are two huge changes that jump to mind and I'm not sure which is better, so I'll name them both!  First of all, I have so much more energy.  Within weeks of starting to live primally that was noticeable and has only become more so since cleaning up my food intake even more and beginning to work out regularly.  And secondly, my moods are so even now.  I still get stressed out.  I still get anxious.  I even still get angry.  But the extreme changes aren't what they used to be, and that's a good thing.  I'm happier.  I'm joyful. 

4)  How do you respond to people when they say, "Oh, you're on a diet?"  Do you look at paleo/primal as a diet?
It depends on the person and the situation, but ideally I explain that we all have a "diet."  The word simply means what we eat.  My "diet" fills me with energy.  If they're open to hearing more, I gladly tell them that my life is more than what I eat and so is being primal. 

I don't consider living primal a diet, though.  I consider it living. 

5)  Which book will give me info and help me build my personal cookbook?
Honestly, any of these would be a big help with ideas to build on!  They're great.  As for info...Paleo Comfort Foods, Make It Paleo, and Everyday Paleo all come with incredible intros - how to set up your kitchen, staples to have on hand, etc.  Paleo Comfort Foods includes a great list of websites to give you more information (all the ones that anyone who's anyone in the paleo/primal world frequent).  Make It Paleo has menu ideas for special occasions.  And Everyday Paleo has a full 30 day menu with shopping lists!  Any of these books would be great starts for someone just getting into this life.

So, that's it for now...you might remember I mentioned sleep being part of a healthy life...and it's time for me to hit the sack!  I'll be back to answer more questions soon!  Feel free to leave any other questions you have in the comments and I'll tackle them too...in time!

(2nd Round of answers)

Cook Book Winners and Some Background Details...

I know you've been eagerly awaiting the results of my cook book giveaway.  Since you're on the edge of your seats, here are the winners...

Congratulations Jaime!  Your copy of Everyday Paleo is on it's way!

Congratulations Carmel!  I'll happily hand you your very own Make It Paleo soon!

Kelly, I put Paleo Comfort Foods in the mail for you today!  Congratulations!

Congratulations Fawn!  I hope you find lots of tasty ideas in Primal Blueprint: Quick & Easy Meals!



And a BIG thank you to everyone who asked a question!  There were some wonderful questions and I'm excited to answer some!  Let's start with a little background, that will actually answer some of your questions...

This is a picture of me before I heard about The Primal Blueprint, which happened in February 2010.  I saw an interview with John Durant on The Colbert Report.  (You can read about how I first dipped my toes in the water here, here, and here.)  I've never really looked back, although I've gone back a few times!  I love so many things about primal living and the benefits far outweigh the short-lived joy of a Butterfinger, so it really hasn't been that hard of a decision. 

Here I am October of 2010.  (Obviously it's October...we don't always dress up like this!)  That's nine months since I'd first heard about this way of life.  It's also after moving across the country, living with non-primal family for a month, attending a wedding, supporting my husband as he began a new position, and beginning to homeschool our kids. 

This picture is me in April 2011.  I was feeling pretty good and getting into a job that would use my brain again - in ways being a stay-at-home-mom just doesn't, which excited me!  I was still eating almost completely primal, but the things that weren't primal, weren't good.  I was "treating" the kids and I to a candy bar every week.  I was drinking Mt. Dew daily, often more than one a day.  And I wasn't working out in any regular way.  Not formal working out, not playing (one of the rules of The Primal Blueprint). 


This shot was taken in September 2011, after getting rid of the candy and pop and beginning Boot Camp Diva (about 2 months in).  It was as part of Boot Camp that I learned about paleo.  One of you asked what the difference between paleo and primal living is.  I used to think that paleo was just the diet and primal blueprint covered all aspects of life.  Now, I realize that there's not much difference at all.  One difference is that paleo tends to not include dairy, but even Robb Wolf said in an interview that if dairy doesn't effect you adversely, then it can be acceptable.  So, I might say that they're pretty much different sides of the same coin.  

Both paleo and primal promote not only a paleolithic food plan, but also have a paleolithic perspective on moving, sleeping, exercising our brains and finding balance in our lives.  Both are pretty outstanding!  

So, that's my story...and I think that's all I'll stuff into this post.  It's getting on the long side.  I'll add some links with the answers to your questions soon!  

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Back with a Giveaway!

Two months!  Holy cow!  If you've followed my blog, you know I used to post almost daily...then it slowed down...then, apparently, it just about stopped!  I can't believe it's been two months since I posted something on here!  Wow. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Importance of Insignificant Events

I went shopping for a swimsuit last week.  I didn't find one, but I looked!  While I was picking through the clearance racks a rather unhelpful saleswoman offered me a size 20 off the rack to try.  I don't want to sound full of myself, I'm not.  It's simply a fact that I've never been a size 20 and I'm several sizes smaller than that right now, and getting slimmer and more fit every day. 



Providing More Than the Basics

If you have kids, and I do, you likely have frustrations with the things they'll eat or not eat, and I do.  I have days where I'm fine with them not eating what I cook.  That's fine with a hand on the hip, "whatever - go ahead and be hungry, I don't care" attitude.  Or fine with my hands in the air, throwing dishes into the sink a little too roughly, grumbling load enough that I know they'll feel bad, "Why would you like anything that's healthy for you?  Why do I try?  I should just feed you crap.  You like crap..."  Yup, some days I'm fine with them not eating. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Contentment

I don't know if it true or not, and I'm not going to take the time to research it, but I feel like I write a lot on here about the struggles of my life.  I tell you how I cope with stress, children, clutter, frustration.  Sometimes, though, it's wonderful to just be content. 

Tonight, I'm content. 

Sometimes people worry that contentment won't last.  I could focus on that, but why?

Sometimes people dig deeper to find the annoyances they've overlooked.  I can think of a few things right now, without even trying, but why chase the contentment away?

Thankfully, I'm not some people.  I like being happy.  I like breathing deeply and enjoying the positives.  And it feels great to be taking some time to do that tonight. 

There's no secret, except the ability to leave all the rest for a time.  Tonight I worked on Ombudsman admin for a few hours and then turned to an article I'm working on.  I'm happy with it and proud of it.  And I realized, as I sent it to a friend to read, that I'm simply content. 

So lovely. 

I hope you find a moment of peaceful bliss in your life soon! 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

FREE Cookbook!

Who doesn't love free?  Who doesn't love a cookbook?

Seriously, let's work on getting me a free cookbook! 

Oh, you thought I meant you?  Well, how about this...After this incredible new cookbook comes out in October, I'll buy a copy for one of you!  I haven't done a give away in a while and I think this fall would be a lovely time to have one!



Go check out their website:  www.makeitpaleo.com
The top referring websites will earn a free book! 

So, this is me referring....go, go...go!

Thanks for the help!
And ENJOY the healthy living and INCREDIBLE eating!



Saturday, August 6, 2011

Being honest with me

Remember my one word goal for 2011?  If not, and you've got some time on your hands, feel free to go scan that post.  The gist of it, though, is that rather than setting a making a resolution for the New Year, I'd simply set a motto to live by.  My guiding concept for this year is "be."

I want to be present and focused and in everything I'm doing.  I must say that eight months ago I didn't foresee the life I'd have right now.  I thought I'd be "being" in a whole different way.  As I took a few minutes to reflect on this the other night, what I originally thought of as failing in my goal I realized wasn't. 


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Saved by Silence

I remember moaning when Mom wanted to turn the radio off in the car when she was taxiing me from one place to another.  Now, I'm the mom.  And sometimes I turn the radio off.  Sometimes I leave the television off.  Sometimes I go in my room, shut my door and pray that my kids will give me time to rest in silence, since I can't turn them off.  It's good for all of us.  I promise you that. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

My Life in Acronyms

Every profession has shorthand of one sort or another.  Some are quite easily recognized, like Rx.  Others leave you puzzling for just a little bit, until that light bulb goes off!  Well, my professions have several acronyms that I didn't used to know or that used to mean something else to me.  I have to admit that I feel a little sense of pride when I recognize a new one, or better yet...use it in a sentence! 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Playground Parenting

What kind of playground parent are you?  Do you stick your nose in a book or gab on your phone while your kids run amok?  Do you throw out the blanket, arrange the snacks, and wave at Little Johnny while he runs up the steps and zooms down the slide over and over again?  Do you stay within an arms reach wherever your precious kiddo goes, just in case he needs you? 

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bad Hair Day

Yesterday morning when I looked in the mirror I realized I was having a bad hair day - with my eye brows!

"What!" you exclaim?  I know.  I had a similar reaction. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Reality Vs. Fantasy

The sky's the limit...right?  We can be whatever we want to be.  Isn't this the message we give our kids?  One of my dreams is to be a published writer.  It's one of the reasons I started this blog.  A couple years ago I took a course to finesse my style and learn how to submit my work.  I got great feedback and improved a lot.  Most importantly, I really enjoyed it!  And, although I haven't been published yet, it's still a dream of mine.  A maybe someday sort of thing.

Right now, though, there's reality.  Sure I could be working an article right now rather than posting on here.  but the reality is that I'm tired.  I've got a lot on my plate and all of it is important to me.  And more important than that "being a writer" dream. 

One of the great things about my busy reality, though, is that I get the opportunity to write in my life.  And I'm getting compliments about it.  I haven't thought a ton about submitting works in a several months.  But with the positive feedback that I'm getting, and completely unsolicited may I add, I'm thinking about my dream again.  And it feels great to dream!

So, a goal of mine for this summer is to figure out a way to write more for my publishing fantasy.  I'm not going to go so far as to make a goal of actually submitting or anything crazy like that!  But I do want to get reorganized and focused and maybe put an hour a week or something into developing ideas and writing drafts.  I've got a ton of ideas, so it'll be wonderful to spit them out on paper. 

I'll try to keep you posted, but please check in with me and see how I'm doing with bringing my dreams to life.  I'd love to hear how you're living a dream or working toward one too.  Do share...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Fantasizing about Fun Fashion!

A few months ago I started wondering about my fashion sense.  I wondered what star I might pattern myself after or at least be inspired by.  I still haven't found that answer, but I have been drawn to some styles lately. So, that's a start, right?

Then yesterday I saw some incredible dresses in a link a friend posted on Facebook.  The cocktail dresses featured were stunning and fun and full of life!  I got excited!  And I decided to put together a little list of things I like to share with all of you...if you're interested.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cakes

So, I mentioned cakes in my last post and thought you might like to see some of the cakes I've made. 
(Or maybe I just want to show them off!)


Jace's 3rd birthday - trucks
(FYI - the oreo tires didn't actually touch the ground - Jace noticed!)


Slow Down

I was on the phone with one of my mothers-in-law today and she said, "Maybe you should slow down."  This was after I got the kids out at the mall and went into Barnes and Noble to pick up some books Jace had put on hold yesterday.  We had gotten to the counter and couldn't find the gift card he'd gotten for his birthday.  So, I'd taken the kids back to the van, back home and, after searching the house for a few minutes, had found the card in Jace's wallet.  So, "Maybe you should slow down," wasn't completely off base.  However, had she been in front of me I would have laughed in her face.  Since we were on the phone I laughed in her ear instead!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My Back Itches

Don't you hate when you've got an itch in between your shoulder blades and you can't get it?  Don't you love when you're honey notices you squirming and asks, "Can I help you with something?"

Do you get frustrated when the recycling is piling up and the garbage is overflowing and you notice it but are just so busy with life that you don't take it out?  Don't you love when you've finally finished everything else and you're just about to flop down on the couch for the night and you remember them and head to the kitchen only to see they've been taken out by your love?

Doesn't it drive you up a wall when you're washing a quick load of dishes while stirring dinner on the stove and one of your kids comes up behind you whining, "Mama...can you (fill in the blank)?"  And don't you love it when you're gritting your teeth before growling, "What?" at that innocent babe and you hear, "Come here.  Let Dada help you," from the other room?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Decision Making and A Decision Made

A few weeks ago, I think (I can't keep track these days!), I found out about a job opening that I wasn't looking for.  A few months back I found out that the job existed, but someone had it.  Daphne has had this position for somewhere around 14 years.  But I love the sound of her job and told Scott it might be something I could do someday.  And then Daphne called me while I was shopping at Target and asked me if I knew she was retiring.  I did know that, but I have a few unpaid jobs already and hadn't considered applying for her job. 

But she called me.  She wanted me to know that my degree and personality would be ideal for this position, her position.  I told her I'd think about it, seriously, and went back to shopping.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

This and That

It's Wednesday.  I like Wednesday.  Just thought you should know that.  I hope your Wednesday has been a great one.  Ours has been pretty darn good, even though Jace will tell you it was a boring day.  After all, the highlight of his day was the pizza and Pepsi he got to have at Costco.  Everything else is unworthy of "good day" status in his eyes. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Facts About Me

Every so often I feel the need to let you know more than you want to know about me.  Today's one of those days.  I know you're excited...


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Visit At Your Own Risk

I love having people come see us.  We do live several thousand miles from our family and it's a joy when they spend hours on a plane just to visit us.  However, lately whenever someone is here I've gotten quite busy! 

Days before my little sister and her son flew in from Germany (via California and a side vacation to Hawaii - nice, huh?) our FRG (Family Readiness Group) President stepped down.  I had already decided to put my name in for an official volunteer position with the command, in fact I may have already done it even.  The last month or so is a blur - so I'm not really sure! 

So, while I was "visiting" with them I was attending meetings to turnover the FRG position so I could step up from the Vice President role.  It's been a busy month with all that being the standing FRG President has meant.  And, on Wednesday, I found out that I'd been chosen as one of two new Ombudsmen for our crew - that's the official volunteer position I mentioned.

On Tuesday night Scott's parents flew in to visit and they're here for all the meetings I'm attending and all the time I'm putting into kicking off my appointment as Ombudsman well.

So, come visit at your own risk!  We'd love to see you, but by "we" I might mean the kids and Scott, if he's around.  If not, could you babysit? 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

My Style

Recently I asked you for help to define my style and maybe come up with a celebrity or two that I look to for fashion inspiration.  I promised pictures of the "professional looks" I put together for my training this week.  Here's what I came up with:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Joining In!

Today I'm all about joining in!  First Small Style and now The Ultimate Blog Party!  Woo hoo!

Ultimate Blog Party 2011


(not so) Small Style

This week I'm linking up with Mama Loves Papa and participating in her series on our children's style!  I've been meaning to do it for a while, along with a lot of other things, but I finally got pictures uploaded and today's the day! 

So, without further ado...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

April Update on 2011 Motto: be

Can you believe it's April?  Every year I find myself saying more and more often how quickly the months pass.  I guess that's probably part of growing up and getting older.  But I don't even realize half the time that I am growing up and getting older.  Things sneak up on me.  If it weren't for the constant reminder that Jace will be eight years old this spring I would be quite shocked by that fact too!  I guess time really does fly!

The focus should be, I guess, on what I'm doing with my time, then, right?  I mean I can't slow it down.  Even though sometimes I'd really like to.  I imagine a big ol' hand break that I force back with every ounce of my energy just so I can sit for a second and catch my breath.  But that's not going to happen.  So, how do I catch my breath?  How do I spend my time?  Am I living in the spirit of my 2011 motto

Friday, April 1, 2011

Giveaway Winner!!!

Thanks to Random.org we've got a winner!

Congratulations Allison C!!!

Thanks for entering everyone!  I've already got ideas for the next one.  Stay tuned.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Style - What's Mine?

Some of you knew me back in the day.  What day?  The day when I had a style of my own.  I wore long floral dresses and shirts made from dresses bought second hand or given to me by my grandmother.  And I had this one dress that I loved that was crushed velvet and looked like a colorful oil spill!  Awesome!  And that wasn't my only piece of crushed velvet.  I liked bright colors, older styles, and textured fabrics.  That was then.

Now?  Well, now I'm wearing over sized men's sweats with "Navy" written down the leg and a grey sweater. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Homeschooling The Amazing Race

It's been a while since my last report on Gebel Family Homeschool.  So, I figured today would be a good day to update everyone on what we've been up to.

During those few very busy weeks, with visitors and life happening, our homeschooling continued but not necessarily five days a week.  At least not formally.  I'm becoming more and more of a believer in the unschooling principle that learning will take place regardless of how you teach. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

To and Fro

The other day I was driving down the road we live off of.  It's a road I drive almost daily.  And, like many roads in Washington, the speed limit frequently changes for reasons I don't necessarily understand. 

So, there I was driving down the road.  I'd just noticed that I was going a little over the speed limit as I coasted down a hill and around a curve and directly into the radar gun of an unmarked police car. 


Friday, March 25, 2011

Giveaway!!!

It's here!  It's time!
I'm officially announcing a giveaway!

Thank you to my first 50 followers!  I'm so excited that that many people read what I have to say.  I hope the number keeps growing too.  Not that my message is all that profound, but because I'm true to me and I've learned that that connects with a lot of others.  I like connecting.  So, here's to 50 more...
(raises glass of water - *clink*)

Mrs. Mama

I don't know if multitasking and combining roles or jobs is all that new, really.  Just think about parents - they've been around for a while and I don't know anyone who is "just a parent."  So I think we just keep changing the name for things and adjusting what we're multitasking as times and situations change around us.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Note From My Mom

Dear Annie's blog readers,
Please excuse Annie's long absence from posting silly, enlightening, thought provoking blog posts.  She has been very busy with life.  Things never got so bad that a doctor's visit was necessary, although, a visit with a friend was in order and Annie complied with her recommendations to drink wine and eat dessert.  (The friend technically is a doctor, so if you'd like the doctor's excuse too, I'm sure we can arrange that.)  Annie is really no less busy now, but feeling more organized.  She's hoping to get back to blogging more regularly now. 
Thank you,
Annie's mom

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Birthday Plans

What better way to come back to my blog than to fill you in on what my kids have been saying...right?  Tonight's story is all about Gracie.  The other two have certainly said crazy things too, but Gracie's had me rolling all day today!

Gracie: "Here are a few things I'd like for my birthday, since it's really close."
Me: "Really close?"
Gracie: "Yeah. June is only about three months away. You need to start planning. I don't want you to be still thinking about what to do two days before my birthday like you are with Dada's."

"I want a princess cake or a barbie cake or a barbie princess cake."

"JAA-AACE, why do you have to be so obnoxious?"

Mama:  "So, what do you guys think we should get for Dada's birthday?"
Tyler:  "Monster truck."
Gracie:  "Don't you want to survive?"
Tyler:  "Dada like monster truck!"
Gracie:  "But if we buy Dada a monster truck than we won't have money for food and that means we won't survive."
Tyler:  "Hmmm.  (pause)  Next year monster truck."

(Doing a mad lib with Dada, who's turning 33 in two days.)
Dada: "Next you need a large number."
Gracie: "Thirty-three."
Dada: "Hey!  That's not large!"

So, there you have it...life continues here as normal now that all of our guests have left.  We really enjoyed spending time with family and friends who might as well be family!  Thanks for coming...excited for our next guests, and happy to be posting on here again.  Talk to ya'll again soon.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

MIA

I know I've been a bit out of touch lately.

Expect that to continue for a while longer...at least.

There's a lot going on...with Sub Ball dress shopping, visitors, discussing and planning and more fun stuff!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

What Makes Me Awesome

So, there I was innocently minding my own business on facebook.  When suddenly Smrt Mama posted all sorts of things that I found interesting and possibly even important.  In the midst of all the things she shared was something she put on her blog back in November.  It was an exercise in realizing how incredible you are.  I didn't do it then.  I was busy, tired, had all sorts of excuses.  But today I decided I'd take a crack at it.  What about you?  Are you ready to see how awesome you are?


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

50 Followers!

YAY!!!  I have 50 followers!  How exciting! 
(You can tell I'm excited by the overuse of exclamation points!)

That's all for now.
I'll announce the giveaway I've been preparing for soon.
Stay tuned...

Now - it's nap time!
(See?  I'm excited about that too!)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

All State

(If you want to watch the videos, I recommend pausing the playlist at the bottom.)

Have you seen these State Farm Insurance commercials?  The ones where they sing a jingle and wish for things and *poof* they get their wish?


The kids love them!  In fact every time they see one they try it.  They sing the song, wish for all sorts of things and *poof*  nothing. 


Today, Jace finally figured out what the problem is.  We don't have State Farm Insurance.  He's pretty annoyed with me that I won't switch our insurance company because he knows that that's the reason he can't wish for whatever he wants and get it. 

Yup.  That's the reason. 

****************

By the way...I've been gathering little things for my give away.  And I'm eagerly waiting to hit 50 followers to let you know what you could have a chance to win!  Currently I have 49!  So, if you know of anyone who might want to read about our lives in the Navy, homeschooling, parenting, and my random thoughts on things that are important to me...send them this way and tell them to follow me! 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sassafrass

I'm sure our days have been filled with great soundbites, but these are the two I remember most from today:


Gracie:  "When I'm President I'm going to make a rule that everyone in the world has to be cute all the time."
Jace:  "The President only makes rules for the people in our country, not the whole world."
Gracie:  "That's OK.  Then we'll be cute and everyone else won't be."

**********
Mama:  (Driving Scott's truck, an F250) "I think I should have just run over that little car that pulled out in front of us.  Probably wouldn't have even felt it."
Jace:  "Well you'd feel the handcuffs and hear the sirens."


They're full of sass, aren't they?

Mixing Hormones, Emotions, and Babies

I put myself out there in this blog a lot, I think.  I risk judgment and ridicule because I think what I have to say might reach someone who needs to hear it.  Yes, many of my posts are entertaining (I hope) or simply reviews of our homeschooling lives or silly things the kids do and say.  But, on occasion, I write something that could be a bit controversial.  Today might be one of those days.

I've thought about this post for a long time.  It's a topic that I've mulled over in my mind for seven and a half years now.  I wasn't sure how to write about it, though.  I'm still not...but I'm going to give it a try.  Recently there was a 4-month-old taken to the hospital and found to have been repeatedly abused by his mother (story here).  This is one of those things that is easy to feel badly about, even get angry about, but to also let go of easily because it won't happen to you or me, right? 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Fill-In #31


1. Aside from no deployments, what is one thing you would want to make the MilSpouse life “perfect”? submitted by Oh How Delightful

Monday, February 21, 2011

Stories

Last week our homeschooling was very relaxed.  Jace has started learning cursive, which he's excited about until he actually has to practice, and I was just beat.  So, we talked about stories. 

We sent out questions to our families back when we did our family unit study.  We went over those, talked about the things Grandmas and Grandpas and Aunts and Uncles shared with us.  The kids enjoyed the connection to the family they don't see much.  Thankfully they're getting some visitors over the next few months and can't wait to see everyone who will be stopping by.

We also learned about the origins of Valentine's Day.  I don't remember ever hearing the story and I think it's quite appropriate that St. Valentine have a holiday all about love named after him.  Apparently, before he died and it was decided that he would be a saint, he was a priest.  He lived during a time of war and the ruler of his country declared that young men were not allowed to marry.  Young married men didn't make the best soldiers and he wanted them focused on fighting not on family left behind.  Valentine secretly kept performing marriages for those that wanted to unite with their loves.  When this was discovered, he was sent to prison.  The jailer's daughter visited him often and they fell in love.  He wrote her letters and, as the story goes, he signed them, "With love, from your Valentine."  Fast forward to today - smother your loves with cards, chocolate and flowers! 

We created several stories too, using Mad Libs and just on our own.  We spent time at the mall, drinking chai and people watching.  Then we told stories about the lives of the people we saw.  This was an interesting activity for me to watch the kids do.  Gracie was very excited and had lots of ideas about what people might be doing at the mall, what they might do when they're not at the mall, who they could be on the phone with.  Jace was not as excited and answered my prompts with very realistic sound bites.  "Shopping."  "Work."  "His wife."  Granted he was probably right, but Gracie's answers were much more dramatic!  "Maybe he's going shopping to find a present for his girl friend because it was just Valentine's Day and now everything is on sale and he's looking for a really cute dress to buy her and he's on the phone with her best friend to find out what style she wants.  Because, Mama, there are lots of dresses that are cute.  She could like sparkly or pink or ruffles or all three - like me!"  Such different children!

We played lots of new made-up games too.  Like the noun game that Jace made up, that turned into the adjective game.  He thought of coming up with as many nouns as we could related to a subject (like vehicles or horses) and we decided that it would be easier to come up with adjectives...so we did.  We also read and recited nursery rhymes and told about our favorite cartoons, books, or songs. 

Jace also suggested, at dinner one night, that we go around the table and say a reason why we liked each person.  When it was Jace's turn to say something he liked about me he stumbled a little.  "Hmmm.  Let me think about this one."  Then after he hemmed and hawed for a little he said, "Well, I can't come up with anything else so I guess I'll use this: I like you because I wouldn't be here without you."  He's such a pip squeak!  I'm glad he understands my role in his existence, but it would be nice if there were one or two other little things he liked about me! 

So, our week was pretty relaxed as far as school goes, but very busy otherwise!  All in all, it was a good week.  I hope you can all say the same.

Foods Around the World

A couple weeks ago we took part in a Foods Around the World lunch with some other homeschooling families.  Not only was it a lot of tasty fun to eat food from different places (at least for me - the kids weren't impressed) but we also made little poster displays to show off what we learned.  I know...fun, right?

But before you get to see those...let me tell you about the adventure of choosing our places and making our foods. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Friday Fill-In #30

It's back!  With some great questions from the milspouses that answer the questions each week...check it out!

1.  What is your favorite MilSpouse blog (not including Wife of a Sailor who we all love, or your own)? submitted by Our Crazy Life (Wifey note: whaaaat? You can’t say my blog? No fun! LOL, just kidding)


I don't actually read a lot of blogs regularly, but the two I find myself drawn to most often are Randomonium (not only is she a Navy wife, but she's also primal - bonus for me!) and Planting Shade (a dear friend of my sister who's personality and writing style reach out to me).

2.  What are your favorite perks about your s/o being deployed (we all know there are perks)? submitted by Ramblings of a Marine Wife

I like realizing all the things I love about him all over again.  There's probably more, but right now, at this point in the patrol I don't want to think about what's good about him being gone, I just want to be excited that he's going to be home sooner rather than later and the perks that come with that!

3.  How long did you date your before getting engaged? Married? submitted by Utterly Chaotic

Well, on and off since 5th grade!  I'm serious.  It was way back then when I thought he was boring that she laughed and said, "You're probably going to marry him."  After years of holding hands on the bus and getting in trouble for calling long distance to dedicate songs to him on the radio (yes, there was a time that people paid for long distance calls by the minute!) we dated for over a year in high school. 

He broke up with me near the end of our Senior year so that he could join the Navy and I wouldn't feel tied to him.  (I'm still not sure if he was being thoughtful or selfish - but it worked.)  We remained friends and we both sorta dated other people.  In my Sophomore year of college we officially got back together, got engaged during Junior year and were married the month after I graduated from college...10 1/2 years ago!
4.  What do you think your would do if s/he wasn’t in the military? submitted by Adventures of M-Squared

He believes that if we hadn't gotten married he probably would have gotten out of the Navy and gone to Alaska to make some money on the fishing boats and been a climber in the mountains around here during the off season.  But if we were still married and he just wasn't in...I really don't know.  What he'll do after he retires from the Navy is something we discuss frequently and the options range from self-employed wood worker and general handyman to wearing a new uniform, a suit and tie, in whatever the equivalent of division officer is in the civilian world.  Time will tell...

5.  If you could talk to the Secretary of (fill in your appropriate branch) what is one suggestion you would like to bring to their attention in order to improve the lives of military families? submitted by My Life as His (Air Force) Wife

Such a thought provoking question.  I'm trying to think about what would make my life easier...one thing that would really help is to have free childcare at the gym.  I know, it's a little silly with all the other things that could be done.  But it would really help me to be able to jump in the pool every now and then.  Heck, I'd even pay for childcare...not much, but something...I just want it at the gym!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine's Day

Is it a Hallmark holiday?  Is it a day of great romance?  Is it really about love or about getting things? 

I dare say it's all of that and more, depending on who you ask and when.  Valentine's Day brings a number of things to mind for me.  One of my absolute favorite memories of Valentine's is the cards I used to get from Grandma Kral.  They looked kind of like these:


Picture from Wholesale Accessory Market


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Luckily I'm Good Company

I've been wondering lately if being the only one to comment on my own facebook status qualifies as talking to one's self.  Or is it more like journaling?  What do you think?

As I pondered that very deep topic I also wondered about my blogging.  It's definitely a journal of sorts, but also written for others.  However, when I don't get feedback...am I really just talking to myself?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Taboos

What don't you talk about? 

Everyone has things that are uncomfortable to have a conversation about.  Sex, politics, and religion seem to be big ticket items that we shouldn't discuss in polite company, right? 

WHAT?

Perhaps we haven't properly met.  I don't do taboos.  Don't get me wrong, I don't air all my laundry everywhere.  But I do think everything can be talked about, and most of it probably should be discussed in polite company.  After all, if you can't talk about your opinions and values nicely, you probably don't need to be talking about them at all.  I know, I know...people are often passionate about these topics, and that's fine.  But you can be passionate and respectful.  They're not mutually exclusive. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Is There Anything Better?

Tyler sleeping in the back of the van while the movers loaded our home goods.

Quick Wit

I do not have quick wit.  I have been known to remind Scott of something he said days after he said it, and forgot about it, just so I can tell him what I should have said.  He usually gives me a little sympathy chuckle and we go on with our lives.  He, on the other hand, is pretty good with a come back.  And that must be where Jace gets it. 

Jace is excellent.  His brand of humor is one that I find fascinating and sometimes frustrating.  Usually I realize his jokes rather slowly (yes, he's seven) but then I realize how funny what he said was!  He has pretty good delivery too.  He knows it takes a minute so he pauses to let what he said set in.  (Maybe it's not emphasis - maybe he just knows I'm slow.  Hmmm


Friday, February 4, 2011

Friday Fill-In #29


1.Since most if the country has had nasty weather, what has your weather been like this week?
     I'm here in the great PNW!  We've been cool but clear lately! 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Homeschool Spirit Week

A few weeks ago we had spirit week!  It wasn't as big or crazy as the spirit weeks I remember from my youth, but we still had a good time!  Here's what we did:

Monday - Inside, Outside, Upside Down Day
     We wore our clothes inside out and/or upside down.  We went to Zero Gravity, where the kids take gymnastics, and played during their open gym time. 

Tuesday - 100th day of school!
     We had friends over and had a create-your-own-craft party.  Some of the things were pretty creative, others were just plain crazy!  But we had fun.  We had lunch and ice cream sundaes too!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Politics and Rape

I greatly dislike politics.  I don't like the shadiness.  I don't like the outright lies.  I don't like the hurt.  It's not my cup of tea.  But I see that it's important.  I try to ignore it mostly and trust that others who know better than I do and don't feel their blood pressure going up just at the mention of the word are truly trying to do good.  I have been trying to educate myself some more, though, during the past few elections to be able make an educated vote.  But I still don't like it. 

So, you can imagine my surprise when I got a book from the library that ended up being about politics and liked it!  The author, Richard North Patterson, is one I've read before, but not in a while.  The book I read this time is called The Race.  At the end of the book, Patterson comments that Corey Grace is the politician most people wish existed.  I know I do. 

Marriage Challenge

Just a little note...Courtney, at Women Living Well is hosting a marriage challenge.  This is the third week of it.  I've been reading here and there, dropping in on Courtney and the other women who have linked up to read their experiences.  Wouldn't you know that it would take a post about intimacy...sex...to have me post! 

Basically, while I was reading one of the linked blogs (Sara Beth's) she asked how we, her readers, show our husbands that they're number one.  I commented to her and decided to put a little something on here.  I highly value marriage.  I think it's an incredible gift to commit your life to someone and feel fuller because of them.  I know there are a lot of less than ideal marriages and I also know that no marriage can be a bed of roses all the time.  But I think it's the most wonderful thing that Courtney and Sara Beth and so many others are putting their marriages in the spot light in their lives. 

I miss my husband.  Everyone knows that.  Somehow it gives me joy to know others are cherishing theirs just a little bit more these days.  To you ladies...I know you're not doing it for me, but thank you for doing it for you and your spouse. 

For the rest of you, if you haven't taken a look at the marriage challenge and are interested.  Here are the three posts Courtney has put out already. 

Week 1: Praise
Week 2: Creative Praise
Week 3: Pursuing Intimacy

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Trying New Things

It's been a while since I've updated you on our adventure in primal living, but it's always on my mind.  As part of my goal to be in 2011 I've been really paying attention to what I eat, drink, and do with my body.  I want to be intentional about what I feed myself and my family and not just mindlessly through food on a plate.  I want to be present with the kids when they're running and playing and laughing.  I'm a work in progress.

At least I'm that, right?  If I wasn't paying attention I probably wouldn't even be a work in progress, but whatever the opposite is. 

So, what have we been doing?  We've been getting out more.  We've gone for several walks or hikes.  I've found some local trails that are only a five or ten minute drive so that we can enjoy being outside, without having to worry about traffic or the tide coming in (or the kids running out into the tide!).  Tyler really enjoys the "real trails" so that he can run free!  We're up to about two and a half miles before Tyler asks to go home and Gracie complains that her feet hurt.  I'm pretty excited about that.  Jace, on the other hand, still wants to go further, and is going to have to wait for Dada on that.  I don't think Gracie and Tyler are going to be ready for seven miles up and down a mountain anytime soon!  But we're out and moving and that is a good thing.

We're also trying new things in the kitchen.  We have our old favorites, like banana bread (made with almond flour), eggs and bacon, bison dogs, and such.  But we also have a new favorite: meatza!  The kids really enjoy that!  Green smoothies are another item we've added to our repertoire.  Jace and I really like them.  Gracie says she does and then doesn't drink them and Tyler politely says, "Me get water?"  Just last night we tried another new thing. 

We were at a Super WalMart to pick up something for homeschooling and walked through the produce section to the register.  Jace asked what something was, a red pummelo, and then if we could get it.  I just wanted to get home and almost gave a quick "no" without even really considering his question.  But I didn't.  I stopped and and looked at it and said, "Sure, let's try it...maybe we'll find a new fruit we love!"  So we got it.  Jace did love it!  I kept eating little pieces because I wasn't sure if I liked it or not.  Gracie and Tyler decided quickly that they did not.  But we all tried something new.

So, primal living is going well.  And, one of my favorite benefits of primal living, I don't feel guilt about not always eating primally or staying in to relax and watch a movie when that's on the agenda.  On the flip side, I really do enjoy the kids curiosity more and want to get out and about with them and try things I otherwise probably wouldn't. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Pet Names

Occasionally it occurs to me that I hardly ever call my husband by his name when talking to him.  When I'm talking about him I do, or I call him Dada and Daddy, depending on what I'm saying.  But when I'm talking to him I rarely call him Scott.  I call him Love, Sweets, Sweetie, Honey, Hun.  He rarely calls me Annie either, but uses mostly the same nicknames for me.  And when I write him it seems odd to sign my name.  I usually just sign "me."  After all, after the content of the message, it's not like there's a question who the letter or email is from!  Right? 

I like pet names.  Not only do I use them with Scott, but with a lot of others too.  Gracie has been Sweet Pea or Sweetie.  Jace often hears, "What, Bud?" when pestering me.  Tyler started the monkey moniker that now refers to all the kids.  I also call him Linus sometimes and Snuggle Bunny other times.  It's quite cute, though - he usually says, "No, me Lyler."  He's most definitely my little Lyler! 

It's not just my immediate family that gives and gets pet names.  One of my oldest friends often calls me Gorgeous!  I mean, really?  Can you beat the feeling of that little window opening on facebook with the words "Hello gorgeous?"  I don't think so.  And she's not just saying it.  She truly believes I'm beautiful.  And I feel it when she says it. 

Isn't that what pet names are about?  Bringing out feelings of joy, being special, feeling loved?  I gotta tell you...when Gracie calls me Princess (although I've never considered myself a princess) I feel special.  And when Scott calls me Ann Marie (which is technically my actual name) that feels incredible warm and loving.  Even when my sister calls me sister, it's a special thing for me. 

So, it's obvious that I'm loved.  It's obvious that I feel it.  I don't really think the power of all that joy and the depth of these relationships are really in the name calling...but the words we share certainly help give all those emotions life. 

Do you have any little names you share with a special someone?  I hope you feel just as happy, cared about, and comforted as can be when you hear your pet names.

Friday Fill-In #28



1.If you were a famous movie star, what types of movies would you star in?

I think I'd fit into a chick flick best.  My comebacks are quick enough for comedy and I think I'd be scared doing thrillers!  But predictable drama with a "happily ever after" ending...I'm in! 


2.What is a vacation you would like to take if money were no object?

I'd love to travel with my family.  If money was really no option then none of us would have to work and we could spend a week or two here or there...seeing the sights from coast to coast.  Going abroad would be fun too...and incredible to see buildings that have been standing for longer than the US has existed.  But, I really do want to visit each of our 50 states...each one has so much to offer.

3.Did you have pets growing up?

yup.  When I was little (single digits) we had cows and horses.  Even after we got rid of them we had cats and dogs.  My favorite little doggy was Benji, who looked just like Benji - the famous dog.  He hopped through the snow and we called him snow bunny!  He was so fun!

4.What do you do for exercise?

not enough.  We walk and are trying to do that more.  There are other things I'd like to do...but we know that as military spouses it's not always easy to get time away from the kids and I don't necessarily want to pay for a sitter and pay for a workout.  So...much of my exercise goals remain goals.  But we are walking - did over 2 miles today!

5.What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received as a MilSpouse?

"It's written in jello."  As in nothing is in stone in the military, dates can change, home for dinner might turn into, "Don't wait up."


That's what I have to say...want to read other milspouse answers?  Wifey's got em!  Go...go!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Looking Up...Looking Forward

So, I've written a little bit on here about the difficulties of being a military spouse to a submariner.  I've told about the effects of mixing the Emotional Cycle of Deployment with PMS.  One post I just talked about how I do it, and should probably add that there are many other paths out there.  There are lots of ways to be a spouse, with or without the military mixed in to add stress.  And there was the post where I pointed out that I'm not single

I think all those posts have merit, but I also would like to say...take anything I say with a grain of salt.  I'm not perfect.  I have days, weeks, possibly months where I'm anything but perfect.  The last few weeks probably fall into that category more than any other. 

With all my positive words and encouragement of others I was really focused on one day at a time.  We've been busy, I've been tired and irritable and sad.  I kept telling myself that one day at a time was fine, just life as it was going to be for now.  And we'd get through. 

Then a few different things happened over the course of a week or two.  First of all, I spent a night with some girlfriends.  We all have kids around the same age and after we tucked them all in we had plenty of time for wonderful chit chat.  It was great.  I felt refreshed, better but not "my old self."  I'm a planner.  I'm always looking forward.  I wasn't there yet.

Then I had some blood work done and found out my vitamin D levels were low.  Not terribly low, but low enough to take a supplement.  Talking to my personal phone-a-doc friend I found out that one possible side effect of low vitamin D can be mild depression. 

When Scott first left I had trouble falling asleep, which eventually turned into just not even trying to get to sleep until much later than I probably should have been staying up. 

So, to sum it up...not enough sleep, low vitamin D, just a touch of stress...I don't know if I was actually depressed but I was definitely low.  And I didn't even realize it, just thought it was life.  One day at a time. 

Then Sunday I ran into a friend I haven't seen or talked to in over three years.  We were at the grocery store and the kids were crazy.  She and I chatted a while and she even suggested talking to a counselor if I needed to.  How had I not thought of that?  If you don't already know, I have a Master's degree as a therapist.  Going for help when I need it isn't a scary thought for me, like it is for some.  It just never crossed my mind.  I didn't even think about what I was going through being anything out of the ordinary for someone in my position.  And maybe it isn't.  But it's no way to live.

The last two nights I've gone to bed earlier than I have been, still not my regular time, but an improvement.  I've gotten outside with the kids.  I haven't had any caffeine, other than a little chai (stimulates the mind not the nerves), no sugar that doesn't occur naturally.  I feel so much better.  Already I'm thinking of what we're doing later this week, next month, this spring.  I'm me!

I'm me. 

So, I don't think I need to see a therapist right now, but for me just having an enemy (depression) gave me a problem to tackle and helped me make the changes I've known needed changing for weeks. 

I wasn't sure how to put this all out there for you all.  I wanted to share because I don't want anyone thinking I'm some super woman.  I love hearing that I'm transparent on here...I want to be.  I want my vulnerability to speak to readers and say that their imperfections are perfectly acceptable.  We all have down days, weeks, maybe months...but there are ways to turn it around.  Just don't give up...keep looking for that way out, listen when it comes calling, and ask for help when you need it.  It's there.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Submarine Study

So, it's been a while since we've completed a study, right?  Well, there are all sorts of excuses...holidays, life, blah, blah.  Don't fret, though, I don't think kids know how to not learn, so even when we didn't officially have a unit focus we were still reading and experiencing...and climbing trees!  Very important skill.


That's Jace's head sticking out the top of the tree.
But, over the last few weeks we've been working on getting back into the swing of our routine.  The kids were very interested in learning more about submarines, with Dada being on one and all.  When we were in Georgia we visited the submarine museum there and the kids really enjoyed it.  They even remembered some of what we saw and learned.  Love when that happens!  We intended to go to the sub museum here in Washington as part of our study but never made it.  There are excuses for that too...blah, blah, blah!  We'll get there in the next few weeks...sometime.

So, what did we do?  As always we read a lot.  Our three favorite library books were:
Submarines: Underwater Stealth, by Michael Teitelbaum
Nuclear Submariners, by Antony Loveless
Submarines, by Kevin Doyle
They had great pictures and lots of information.  And the information was broken up into short segments not long, boring paragraphs.  We also spend possibly too much time at Barnes and Noble.  Tyler loves the train table and there are lots of books to read and look through!  They had a great one there, Submarines UP Close, by Andra Serlin Abramson, with even more pictures...some at actual size! 

We also made some drawings, went and looked at the submarine monument on base (again, we looked at it during our monument study too), and made a flip book.  Here are some pictures of the kids working of our submarine fact book...



After writing this is doesn't seem like our (what turned into a) three week unit was all that meaty.  But the kids really did get a lot out of it. The reasons it took more than the original one week planed were two fold...there was a snow day and I could see how much they really wanted to read more and more.  We read each of our library books more than once and they loved it.  Jace read them on his own too.  I'm sure it helped them feel closer to Dada.  But they also learned a lot about how submarines work, the different types of submarines, what the submariners do out to sea and during off crew.  It was a great study!

(If you'd like to read about our other units...check here for a list.)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Things You Didn't Know You Wanted To Know

I might be something of an exhibitionist.  I don't run around exposing me body to others, but here I am on my blog...exposing the rest of me!  Or not.  I might be looking at this a little more deeply than I need to.  Such is life. 

Anyway...every so often I feel the need to share randomness about our lives.  Sometimes I let you know little things the kids have said. 

For example, as we were leaving Barnes and Noble the other day I asked Jace to get the door.  His response was, "I don't know how to undrill it."  Before I responded with, "What are you talking about?" I let it seep in for a minute.  I often have to do that with him.  His brain is much more complex than mine.  Did you get it?  I did, after he added, "Besides, it's too heavy to carry."  So smart.

Other times I present a list of little known facts, like this:
  1. Cleaning hair out of the drain is one of my least favorite tasks.  So, I wash my hair and catch as much hair as possible on my hands and stick it to the side of the shower wall.  When I'm done showering I throw it away.  I hope this doesn't gross you out, but I prefer it to long hairs clogging the drain. 
  2. I get overly excited when I finish a bottle of shampoo, lotion, soap...anything!  I love getting to try a new scent.
  3. Tyler has started sleeping in Jace's bed with him most nights.  They actually sleep and don't play and Jace doesn't mind, so I let them.  Mama's sweet boys. 
  4. Almost every day I have an egg over easy with bacon.  I eat it out of a bowl with a spoon.  I add leftover veggies, brussel spouts, avocado, mushrooms, onions, and/or salsa.  I could probably eat this twice a day...but that seems like a bit much.  So good.
Today I'm also going to update and/or remind you of a few things.
  •  I currently have 44 followers (yay!).  When I reach 50 there will be a giveaway.  So, tell your friends!
  •  I added music to my blog, pretty excited about that.  Enjoy.
  •  The kids started off great with our Help Wanted Poster.  The last few weeks, though, they've totally lost interest.  I've taken out all the recycling and they haven't wanted to do anything else on the list for money.  I'm a little bummed, because they were being so helpful.  Gracie still loves doing dishes with me, but that's not even on the list!  I reminded them today, though, so we'll see what happens.
 So, there ya have it!  A whole mess of this and that!  Hope it completes your lazy Saturday like nothing else could.  If not, how about this?


St. Augustine, FL
April 2010


Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Fill-In #27


1.What do you usually want to know about someone when meeting them for the first time?
Honestly, I don't think I want to know anything specific the first time I meet someone.  I just want to visit, let the conversation flow.  But the second meeting...that's when I start to pry!  Not really.  But based on what happened at the first meeting, I may have some follow up questions at future meetings. 


2.Would you rather know everything about your spouse, or be regularly surprised?
Can I say both?  Scott and I grew up together, there isn't much we don't know about each other.  But there are still surprises as we grow even more, together and individually.  I like knowing we can always discover new things and have a solid foundation together.

3.If you could live in one city for the rest of your life, where would you live?
Isn't that the million dollar question?  Scott and I have thrown around many ideas and still don't know where we'll retire to after his Navy career is over.  We're not even sure when that will be...but that's another question.  There are things we love about Washington and talk about retiring here.  The one big thing it's missing here, though, is family.  And we like our family...so we'll probably head back to New York.  We may settle someplace in the Rochester to Syracuse to Adirondacks area...is that specific enough?

4.When you go out of town, what one material thing do you ALWAYS take?
my purse? 

5.Using no more than 10 nouns, and ONLY nouns, describe yourself.
I really like this twist on describing myself.  Let me see...
wife
mother
daughter
sister
blogger
planner
supporter
friend
teacher
learner

As always, go see what everyone else has to say...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Mixing It Up!

So, I was perusing the new books section at the library last week and found a fascinating book called The Wisdom of Your Child's Face, by Jean Hanner.  What really caught my eye was the subtitle: "Discover Your Child's True Nature with Chinese Face Reading."  The Chinese face reading part wasn't anything I'd ever heard of, but discovering my children's true natures...that sounded great!  I mean, I spend all day, every day with them.  Knowing their personalities, tendencies, differences in what nature has provided them might come in handy. 

What have I discovered with this cool find?  That Chinese face reading probably takes years to master.  I've had the book for about a week.  I don't have it down yet.  Here are the basics, though...the Chinese believe that our faces give hints of our futures and tell the tales of our pasts.  In our faces can be seen our personalities, our hardships, our joys.  Some of it is a little hard to accept at face value, if you will.  But I love the idea of it. 

Chinese face reading uses the shapes of our eyes, brows, hairlines, ears, chins, noses, even the little spot between the upper lip and nose, which I learned is called the philtrum, to determine which of the Five Elements are expressed most strongly in us.  The book is broken into sections for each of the Elements.  Within each section, the writing begins with anecdotes of children whose personalities are of that Element then moves on to tell which traits can be seen in a child who matches up.  I found myself nodding as I read through a few of them...

"Yes, this is Gracie!"

"Oh my goodness...that's so me!"

"OK.  No question here...this is Jace."

Tyler was a little less clear, perhaps because he's so young yet.  But I still think I know which Element is his, at least for now.  Hanner states that one element may be stronger in a child's face and personality early on, but then may change as they grow.  Also, there may be more than one Element at the forefront of their personalities.  So, here's what I think we've got going on...

I believe I'm of the Earth.  That Element's temperament is mothering (duh!), stable, patient, and diplomatic.  I think that fits me. 

Scott is Wood, I think.  Wood personalities tend to be direct, focused, strong, hard-working, yet flexible. 

Metal fits Jace.  These people tend to be visionaries, determined, persistent, and organized.

Without a doubt, Gracie is Fire.  She's dynamic and bright free spirit and a lover. 

Tyler was a little tricky, as I said.  But I think he might be lean toward Water, except that he does not like to be in water, unless it's the tub.  In Georgia he'd stand out in that insane heat and walk around the pool while the rest of us cooled off in the water.  The traits associated with water, though, are flexibility and calmness.  I also see a lot of Fire in him too.  So, I don't really know.

Even though I don't have Tyler figured out for sure, I do know that we've got a lot of personality going on! 

And, what am I taking from this exercise?  Well, I heard one time that people who are great in their fields had parents who didn't hold them back.  What if Barbara Walter's parents had shut her up every time she talked?  Or Oprah's?  What if a famous dancer (I don't know any names off the top of my head) was told to sit down every time he or she jumped off the couch.  What is Bill Gates wasn't allowed to stick his head in a book or open his own lemonade stand?  (I don't know if he ever really had a stand as a child...just saying...)

Ever since hearing that insight I've hoped I'm not hampering Gracie's spirit when I ask her not to laugh so hard.  I hope I'm not holding Jace back by telling him that he's not going to have a slew of people join his adventure club.  Hanner's book gave me another lens to look at their personalities through, another way of understanding their true natures.  Hopefully with these new descriptions of my children I can support them even more...somehow.  I can allow Jace his dreams of inventing everything from jet packs to a make-my-parents-let-me-do-what-I-want-inators.  I can hopefully encourage Gracie's love of dance, gymnastics, singing, and, of course, dressing pretty.  Tyler just wants to "play all day."  Doable.

As always, I'm looking for little ways, new philosophies, ideas and suggestions...whatever can help me be the best mother I can be* right now for these incredible kids.  Knowing which of the Five Elements each of my children expresses is another entry in my bag of tricks.

*Um...yeah...I'm totally an Earth Element mama! 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

On a Tangent

Mathematically speaking, a tangent is the single point where a line intersects a circle.  I'm going through a tangent right now...but a pretty impressive one.  For the purposes of this post, let's say circles are synonymous with cycles and that my life is like a line.  So where does my life intersect two circles at the one place they meet?  Read on...

In life there are many cycles.  The two most prominent in my life right now are my menstrual cycle and the emotional cycle of deployment (ECD) (that I mentioned in this post).  I know, now you're totally nervous to read this post, aren't you!  Fear not, I'm not talking about anything that will make you squeamish, just highlighting where I am emotionally. 

So, as I was saying...my menstrual cycle...I didn't used to have all of the not so joyful emotional mood swings you sometimes hear about.  Until a year or so ago I floated through this cycle is my life without too much hassle.  I had friends who talked about how angry or sad they'd get during certain times of the month and I tried not to doubt them, but I had no idea what they were so upset about.  Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) wasn't something I identified with at all.  Then, after Tyler was done nursing and my period worked itself into a new normal cycle my emotions definitely started to fluctuate with it. 

At first I was a bit entertained.  How did I have so little control over the almost rage I'd feel surge over minor things, like realizing I'd forgotten my drink in the kitchen after I just sat down in the living room?  I wondered why I'd break into tears over nothing, like spilled milk, if you don't mind the cliche.  It was amazing to me but, month by month, became more troublesome and less fascinating.  I think I now know what PMS* is.  I'm pretty sure I'd rather have been left in the dark, wondering what the big deal was. 

(*Wikipedia says that PMS can also be called PMT - Premenstrual Tension. I think I like that better. I like feeling like I could relax the extremes away.)


Over the past few months I've found ways to manage my emotional messiness, but it's still there.  And I'm right there, right now.

As for the ECD I'm solidly in stage three - Emotional Disorganization.  (See where this is headed?)  My favorite line from the link provided says that, "Wives often report feeling restless (though not productive), confused, disorganized, indecisive, and irritable."  I have to laugh at that.  Is someone watching me right now?  And I love that they point out "not productive."  Sweet. 

OK, now I'm just being sarcastic.  But seriously, you see the tangent I'm in the midst of right now, right?  I'm irritable, indecisive, and not productive while reacting irrationally and extremely to most every situation.  I'm a riot! 

I see it this way, though.  If this is a true tangent (and I'm praying that it is) it shouldn't happen again.  Yes, I'll go through the cycle of deployment again and I'll feel the tension of my menstrual cycle.  But I really hope that they will not intersect in the same way again.  But, if you see me out in public in sweats and my unwashed hair in a frayed pony tail...well, I might be here again.  The good news is - I haven't bitten any one's head completely off.  Yet.  So you might be OK.