Tuesday, November 30, 2010

School Pictures!!

It is that time of year again...the annual parade of the school pictures...except that one of our children somehow was overlooked this year, and we didn't end up ordering her pictures.  However, for your viewing pleasure, here are the remainder of the kids.

Jonathan "Jon" is 14 this year, and in 8th grade.  
He is playing the trumpet this year, and wants to try out for the baseball team.  

Heather is now 13, and in the seventh grade.
She is playing the flute in band, and was playing the alto saxophone for Jazz band, but we are unsure if that will continue since she broke her wrist.

Justin is 10 years old, and in 5th grade.  
He is doing very well in school, and is practicing presently for the geography bee.  

Leah is 8 years old and in third grade this year.
She is loving school, and thoroughly loves loving torturing all of the animals within range.

Katherine is six years old this year, and is in first grade.  
She really enjoys school, though the adjustment from kindergarten to first grade has been challenging.

God has richly blessed us with some beautiful and talented children, for which we are ever-so-grateful!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy Birthday, Heather!!

(a.k.a. I now have 3 teenagers!)

Thanksgiving day was also our third child's 13th birthday.

This beautiful child wanted to have a party.

So we invited friends. (of whom I did not get pictures)

The girls walked down the street to our local park, and tried to make their way down the embankment to the water. Heather slipped and fell, catching herself on her left hand/wrist. I got a phone call asking me to come pick them up because Heather hurt her arm. I was aggravated because I had to make a run to pick up another child, and I really needed them home, but I drove down and got them. When Heather got in the van she was still crying, and said she couldn't move her wrist and the pain went all the way up her arm.

We got back to the house, and I went to pick up the other child while Jon served cake and ice cream and Heather opened presents. I found out where the closest hospital is, and got home and made calls to to all the parents for the friends to be picked up, and then Heather and I took off for what has to be a record visit to an emergency room. Seriously...we left the house and were back in less than two hours!!

She had a buckle (or incomplete) fracture in the ulna of her left hand. Which should be fun...she's left-handed...and plays the flute...

...and alto sax.Happy Birthday, my beautiful, artistic, fun newest teenager!! I love you!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Lego Creations

My 10-year-old son is an amazing engineer. He build airplanes, tanks, race cars, trucks, and space pods. We enjoy seeing these creations, though not so much stepping on the legos that are left laying around on the floor. So, for your lego enjoyment...

The Space Pod:
The Tank:

I LOVE the effort and details he puts into these little creations!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Meal times drive me CRAZY!!

Inevitably, supper sneaks up on me. I KNOW it's getting later. I KNOW I need to cook, or tell one of the kids to cook. But somehow, every single day, the time sneaks up on me, and I find myself rushing around trying to pull together something quickly, when it should have been in preparation stages for a while already.

One of my problems is that I just don't like to cook. It is boring to me. I know this sounds blasphemous to my foody friends...but this is me. If I could come up with new and interesting meals all the time, in a little bit of time, without too much effort, I would be a much happier cook. As it stands, every change in the menu seems to be more of the same-old, same-old.

My biggest problem is time management. I suck at time management.
ESPECIALLY when dealing with things I don't particularly like doing.

Finally, I am working on the whole menu-planning aspect. I used to do a lot better at planning out meals, then life and moving and my husband's cooking got in the way of my even caring about menu planning. Now that I am back in charge (100%) of meals, I find that menu planning is becoming more of a necessity.

Maybe someday I'll enjoy cooking. For now, this family has to be fed...and it's all in my hands...see you later! My kids are hungry!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

It was GOOD. Why do I feel down?

Really. I've had a good week. I accomplished a lot. I turned in papers on time. I got to all of my classes (so I was late to one...get over it. Had to mail something to the husband). I got the kids to all of their activities. And home. No one starved (though they may think differently!). Laundry was washed. The dog and cat are still alive. The plants are watered. The cars are still running. I even finished up all of my work before Monday morning!! Believe me, THAT is an accomplishment!!

I even got to talk to my husband every day. Some days more than once. I got to get some much-needed foundational wear. I got on the treadmill, and built my way up to 10 minutes. I even ran. I was even able to right a sticky situation with my mother. Yeah, I know. It sounds like I should be well on the way to accomplishing world peace, and that's just this week.

So why do I feel so down?!? I know I'm tired. But I think this is more than that. I know I'm frustrated because I can't find something. I know I've got deadlines coming on papers and projects. I miss my husband. Still, I think it is something more.

I have a LOT to be thankful for. We're all healthy (and we all know that's a big thing during flu season!). We have a GREAT house. I am studying something I LOVE. I don't have to worry about my next meal (instead I worry about my waistline!)...or that of my children. We have a roof over our heads, transportation, a very loving church family, and we know that God has blessed us far beyond what we deserve.

See, in my head I know a lot of stuff. Enough to get myself in trouble. But my problem comes in that I am always surprised when those things I know about actually apply to me! So, as I sit here thinking about being down, I am surprised to discover that I am dealing with something that is very common.

We are coming up on the holidays. Thanksgiving is the next one. This is one of the two biggest family holidays of the calendar year. And a huge part of our family is on the other side of the world. Which leads to me being down. I am (supposedly) this strong, together military wife, who can handle pretty much whatever anyone throws at me. Yeah, okay, sure. Most times I deal pretty well. With a LOT of help. Throw in the holidays, and I want to curl up in a corner somewhere, hold my blankie, and suck my thumb.

I've never had to do Thanksgiving or Christmas without Jason here. Or New Years. Or Valentine's Day, or any of the kids' (or my) birthdays. I feel like such a novice right now...only we've been doing this military thing for going-on 11 years right now. I know we've been fortunate. I know I'm lucky. I know.

And I know I am not alone. The "Holiday Blues" can affect anyone. Just think of the homeless, the breadwinner who just lost their job, the couple facing foreclosure, the newly diagnosed, newly widowed, divorced, alone. Again, this can affect anyone.

So, if you're down in these trenches with me, what are you doing to get out?

If you look at Dr. Larry A. Nadig's site, you willl see these recommendations, which are taken from the Serenity Prayer:
1. Accept the things I cannot change,
2. Courage to change the things I can, and
3. The wisdom to know the difference.

I like this. I like that it is *not* a pat answer. I am going to be implimenting this, as soon as possible. Right after I get some sleep.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Superstitious much?

From Dictionary.com:
Su-per-sti-tion [soo-per-stish-uhn]
1. a belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge, in or of the ominous significance of a particular thing, cirucumstance, occurence, proceeding, or the like.
2. a system or collection of such beliefs.
3. a custom or act based on such a belief.

I've never thought of myself as superstitious. As a matter of fact, I have worked rather determinedly to eradicate any hint of superstition from my life. As a Christian, I believe that superstition should have no part in my life.

That said, I have noticed something very interesting as a military wife. Some of the most grounded women I know throw all of that out the window when it comes to dealing with the stresses that come with this lifestyle, especially where deployments are concerned. Talking about certain subjects are off-limits, not so much because they are painful, but more because of the if-you-don't-say-it-then-it-won't-happen mentality. Others have their own pet superstitions, but I was surprised to learn what mine was.

The last time my husband deployed, I was VERY new to the Navy lifestyle...he had been active duty for just over a year. I was the Ombudsman for the ship, and had a brand new baby (one week old) and five other children. We were 19 hours away from any family. And boy did the deployment gremlins wreak havoc in my life. I dealt with more during that deployment than I *ever* expected. I hemorrhaged, the car windshield broke, the washer broke down, I broke my foot, my 2-year-old broke his collar bone...and more...in that short, SHORT four month deployment.

This time around, the deployment is longer. The children are older. My life is crazier. MUCH crazier. First of all, I find myself hoping that I got all of the deployment gremlins out of the way with that other deployment. Logic does not play into that much, considering that the first deployment was close to nine years ago. Nor, apparently, does clear thinking. I surprised myself the other day with not only the "if-I-don't-talk-about-it" type of thinking, but also with one that I'd heard from others, but never expected to come out of my mouth.

I don't even remember who I was talking to, or how it came up, but there was some discussion of a difficult situation, and the comment was made that, "it could be worse, you know." Without even thinking, out tumbled my latest deployment superstition. "Don't even say that...because it can and will get worse." Really? I said that?

Now, logically, I know the above statement is true. Things CAN get worse. In all likelihood, they will. (they already have, since that discussion...more on that at another time). That's not the point of this discussion. My point is that I made that thought into a superstition. Somehow in my head, it became one of those "don't say it and it won't happen" type of things.

The thing is, I KNOW that the opposite is true. If I can talk through something, I know it will never turn out as bad as I fear it will be. Even WHEN it happens. Maybe this is some coping mechanism on my part. I don't know. Deployment gremlins happen. Even when no one is deployed...they just seem worse now that he's gone than they do when I have someone here to share the load. But, now that I recognize yet another superstition, it is time for me to root it out.

So, fellow MilSpouses...what is your favorite superstition? How do you deal with these illogical beliefs?