Posts Tagged ‘Navy’

Slightly Christmasy

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

We have a family tradition of getting our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. It was something my family did, it was something E’s family did, and it’s something we’ve done throughout our marriage. This year Thanksgiving was late, and also fell in the middle of shift work for E, so he didn’t get the day off. Or the day after. I was a little bummed, but we planned to just get the tree in a few days when E could get a few hours off of work.

That never happened. He literally hasn’t had any time off – besides a few hours to sleep most (not even all) nights – since mid-November. If it was at any other job besides the military, his hours would probably be illegal. I know I’ve complained about how much he works before (probably a lot) but I’ve reached a point where I’m not sure how I’M going to get through it.

Right now the only thing I’m getting by on is making sure the kids are still enjoying Christmas. They are so excited about every single part of the holidays that it’s pretty easy for me to let myself get wrapped up in it too, although the fact that we’re missing 1/4th of our family is always in the back of my mind. My mom sent the kids an advent calendar and GOD FORBID I don’t remember to get it down so they can open the day’s door first thing in the morning. And amazingly, they’re keeping track of whose turn it is and remember better than I do. It’s teaching them sharing! And fairness! And that if you touch something covered in glitter it will stick on your body basically forever! Those are all very important lessons.

My biggest accomplishment so far is that I took both kids to the tree farm on a weekend (SO CROWDED) and we chopped down a tree. I CUT IT DOWN MY OWN SELF. WITH A SAW. I did a hack job and a nice guy with his own family came over and steadied it while I was sawing so it didn’t fall over and crush me, but besides that I did it alone. Luckily the farm picks up the cut trees and carts them down to the station where they shake them and wrap them up for you, but then I hauled it to the car, into the car (God bless minivans) and home into the house. I totally failed at getting it into the stand but E got it set up the next morning and now we have a fully decorated tree. We had to rearrange because my little desk/office corner went in the former Christmas tree spot, but now we can sit on our new little couch, enjoy the fire and look at the tree at the same time. Tomorrow the kids get to start opening their Christmas books (I was going to do one for each day of December but books are really expensive, yo) and we can sit on that new couch by the tree and I can read to them about the Christmas story while I sob quietly because magic and family and loneliness and children and Jesus and FEELINGS. It’s raising my level of holiday spirit from Grinch to Slightly Christmasy, which is a definite improvement.

I haven’t had much time for my own photos lately, which makes me kind of sad. Partly because once something is part of your job it loses a LITTLE bit of the fun and partly because it’s hard to juggle the kids in public and take photos. It’s pretty easy to lose one kid while you’re taking pictures of the other one, and I’m generally only seconds away from losing a kid even WITHOUT a camera in my face. It’s amazing I’ve kept them alive this long, honestly. But this might be the first Christmas they remember when they look back as adults and I want to make sure I have at least some pictures to show them, so here are a few.

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Evan’s first choice, but I told him it was too short.

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Caroline’s first choice, also on the small side.

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Final selection

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After we killed it.

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Watching them wrap it with the cool wrapping machine

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The farm had all our favorite food trucks, including the delicious kettle corn people from the farmer’s market.

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Decorating

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The princess places the angel

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Yes, I know it’s out of focus

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Fun with bokeh cut-outs

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Working Hard And Hardly Working

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Being a stay at home mom is hard. It’s thankless. It’s monotonous. There’s no such thing as sick days. It involves way, way too much poop.

Right now, being a mom seems like CAKE compared to my husband’s job. Especially since the kids are at a sleep-through-the-night, put-on-their-own-shoes, can-be-entertained-with-television-if-I-need-a-break stage and E’s job has none of that. He never gets to sleep through the night, no one at work seems to be able to tie their own shoes without asking for help and even when he’s home in front of the TV he’s thinking about all the stuff he has to do tomorrow (or in 20 minutes, if work calls him in AGAIN). He probably won’t get to go on vacation with us at all this summer and he probably won’t get any real time off until 2014. He doesn’t get lunch dates and trips to the playground and lazy days at home when he’s so tired he can’t keep his eyes open. So even though he gets paid in actual dollars and people (in theory) value his work and give him awards and tell him “great job”, I wouldn’t trade places with him for a second. Well, maybe for a second, but only because he really deserves a break. Although putting me in charge of a nuclear reactor for even a second would be a terrible, terrible mistake.

There have been plenty of times in the past 5 years where the scales went the other way and I was practically homicidal with rage over how I did ALL THE WORK and ALL THE CHILDCARE and ALL THE CLEANING and he was “busy” spending 8 hours rearranging office furniture with a 2 hour lunch thrown in the middle. He’s wasn’t slacking off, he just wasn’t at a very demanding command. But this job he does now? Makes up for every second of relaxation he ever had. If he worked for a civilian company they’d be paying him bazillions of dollars in overtime (or perhaps they’d be in jail for inhumane work conditions) but since it’s the military they can demand all of his time and give him nothing but a terrible headache and a family that missed him.

You know it’s bad when I consider a letter writing campaign to President Obama asking if maybe he can issue a presidential order giving E just ONE weekend off to visit us on vacation. And then I realized even if I was that crazy, E probably wouldn’t take the weekend off, since he’d be screwing over whoever had to fill in for him and might miss something important. He’s a good guy.

Anyways, here’s some photos of the kids and I doing fun stuff over the weekend. The plan is to keep them so busy they don’t notice Mommy is tired and Daddy is gone. Fire trucks are really good for that. So are surprise fairs at the high school with free bounce houses and balloon animals and rubber duckies. It was pretty awesome. Fun fact! It was in the parking lot for my OB’s office and right outside the building where both kids were born.

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Tiny speck on the left is Caroline, running to check out the helicopter on her own. I figured a Safety Fair was probably a safe place to let her run around.

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She LOVES people in costume.

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I hope this is the very last time he is ever in an ambulance.

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Learning about ice rescue techniques. Evan said “It’s like a pool noodle!” and the guy was like “Well…yeah. Basically. But we probably paid more.”

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Apparently she also loves animatronic cars with voices.

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Sunday, April 14th, 2013

SPRING!!! IT’S SPRING IN CONNECTICUT! We are officially outside-people until October. Feel free to join us at any park or beach within a 100 mile radius every afternoon.

Sunday:

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This looks like the before half of a GIF where 4 kids fall into a stingray touch tank.

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I’m sure kneeling on the state-of-the-art touch screen is good for it.

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Mmmmmmm lemonade

Monday:

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Bubbles bubbles bubbles bubbles bubbles my bubbles

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A random fever on Sunday left someone exhausted on Monday

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FLYING TODDLER!

Tuesday:

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Really excited about school

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Not super excited about her headband

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The love throwing stuff into water. Keep your rock and antique coin collections far away from children.

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Our evening walk as interrupted by FOUR firetrucks responding to a false alarm. Best walk ever!

Wednesday:

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That is the face of a tiny temper tantrum over wearing her hat DURING gymnastics

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Tiny girl, huge nuclear power plant

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MOM. THERE ARE SPRINKLES ON THAT ICE CREAM CONE.

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The most un-relaxing birthday dinner ever.

Thursday:

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Gym self portrait

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Dance party at the end of Tangled

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This is the pirate ship that goes to find the treasure but they have to watch out for the SEA MONSTER.

Friday:

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Tulip inspector

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Hello money pit

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Fancy.

Saturday:

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Throwing food at some very uninterested ducks

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Do they have chardonnay, dahling?

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Once a year fancy hair for the Submarine Ball

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That yellow medal is for shooting a guy at 50 yards. Or maybe for signing a piece of paper. One of those.

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The MGM Grand ballroom is pretty fancy

 

That might have been the busiest weekend of our entire year. This week is spring break for the kids, which is a different kind of busy. I suspect there will be a LOT of photo posts this week.

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Wandering Thoughts

Monday, January 28th, 2013

It’s that time of year again, when we’re waiting to find out if E’s going to be promoted switching jobs it’s sort of complicated and everything is up in the air. We’ve done this for several years now, including the time we got surprise orders to San Diego while I was pregnant, so it might feel like you’ve read this post before. (I assure you this is new, I’ve just whining about the same things AGAIN.) So far, things have always worked out and we’ve managed to stay put in Connecticut, much to my delight and E’s…less than delight. He likes the place, just not being passed over.

I’ll admit that in past years I was sort of relieved E wasn’t promoted. That’s a shitty thing to be happy about, but the logistics of moving are so overwhelming in our current house-owning state. We bought when the market was still high (not at the peak, thank God, or we’d be so far underwater on this house we’d never get out) so selling it without shelling out a huge chunk of cash is going to be hard. It’s even harder to realize that all the work we’ve put into it won’t bring us any return on investment and we’ll have to start over at zero dollars.  Not being a home owner has its advantages…but I love my home.

Beyond the financial aspect of moving, there’s the emotional aspect of leaving somewhere I’ve lived longer than anywhere else in my life. Actually, I’ve living in this HOUSE longer than I’ve lived anywhere else in my life – before this, my record was all 4 years of high school in my parent’s house in Virginia. I moved every single year of college, then twice three times in the first year of marriage. The funny thing is, I used to like moving. I grew up in a military household and thought I could keep doing it indefinitely. But the truth is, being settled is comforting. A support system is important to me, especially as a mom. I have mom friends. My kids have kid friends. I have a mechanic, a pharmacy, a preschool, a library card, a favorite playground, and a zillion other things I don’t want to leave.

But. Even after I’ve said all that out loud (and to myself many, many times) I am not going to freak out if we have to leave. We are still in the easily-movable years with the kids where they adjust and make friends quickly. The Navy comes with a built in support system for families so I wouldn’t be starting for the bottom of a sad, dark pit – more like half way up a ladder that reaches the top. Starting over without the enormous costs of a house could give us the freedom to build our savings faster and splurge on things like family vacations more often. If E got promoted we might actually see him on a regular basis, instead of just waving at him as he runs out the door for another 36 hour shift.

To be totally honest, a lot of our moving options sound kind of…exciting. San Diego. Hawaii. Japan. Guam. Yes, it would be insanely far from our families, but they’re all limited-time-offers (and I am SURE my friends and relatives would find a way to visit me in Hawaii). We have friends in a lot of those places already. Even if we get transferred to somewhere on the East Coast a change might be good for us – what better excuse to purge all our unnecessary stuff, get organized and start fresh? I’m almost ready for that kind of challenge. Almost.

There is just so much uncertainty in our lives for the moment, thinking about it and NOT thinking about it both take a huge amount of effort. I don’t have the energy for much worrying on top of the thinking too, but please excuse me if more of this leaks out of my head between now and the end of April.

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Santa Might Be Late. Or Really Early.

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

E has to work on Christmas this year. I realize in the scheme of Ways The Military Can Screw Up Your Holidays having to work on Christmas Day is pretty minor, but it’s the first time this has happened since having kids. (Funny enough, neither of us can remember if it happened BEFORE kids – Maybe once? I know it happened the very first year we were dating but we weren’t spending the holidays together then.)

I’m really glad he’s not deployed. I’m glad it’s only a 24 hour watch. I’m glad we have some family visiting so our day can still be special. But I’m a little stumped on what to do about Santa.

The way our day(s) would go if E didn’t have work is: Christmas Eve service at our church, open one present before bed, wake up at 7 am, open our stockings, open our gifts, make pancakes, eat way too much chocolate, have some sort of Christmasy dinner, get really bored and whiny, fight over new toys, put on fresh jammies (since we’re probably still wearing the ones we woke up in), go to bed.

This year we have three options.

1. Santa comes early. One of us sneaks all the gifts out and fill the stockings while the other loads the kids into the car for church and we open everything before bed on Christmas Eve. The major problem with this plan is getting the kids to GO to bed. They are sooooo tired in the evenings now that they don’t nap and I’d expect at least a couple meltdowns during the gift-opening, followed by major over-tired hyper energy boosts that keep them up until 11 pm. But in the morning they’ll have all the new presents to play with and we can still have pancakes.

2. Santa comes late. The kids can’t read a calendar, they don’t know what day it is. So we go to Christmas Eve service, put them to bed, and when they wake up it’s just a fun Play With Grandma and Grandpa day. I put out the gifts after they go to bed and we have normal Christmas on the 26th. I’ll let the kids open their stockings while we wait for E to get home and then he jumps right in to presents. We can all spend the whole day together, complete with pancakes and Christmas dinner. But on the 25th of December we won’t celebrate anything and I’m not entirely sure that won’t bum me out.

3. Early morning Christmas. E doesn’t actually have to be at work until 9 am (AT work, which means he has to leave here around 8 am) so we could potentially get all the major Christmas activities done before he goes in. We can wake the kids up at 6 am for stockings and presents (if they aren’t already up from excitement). Then the kids can play with their bazillion new toys all day, we can have something casual for lunch, and they can go to bed at the regular time. ALSO maybe possibly after they go to bed I can sneak off to see Les Mis alone, so I can sob my eyes out without judgment. We can do a Christmas ham and all the side dishes on the 26th if I work up enough energy, but I wouldn’t mind terribly if we skipped it for some pizza. The down side is the rush to get everything over with before E goes in to work – do we want to make it a race to open everything as fast as possible?

I realize this is an insanely first world problem – “Oh noes! My kids are getting SO MUCH stuff for Christmas we need HOURS to open it all! We might not get pancakes together! So tragic!” – but I’m trying to figure out how keep Magical Christmas magical for the ginger bebehs.

What would you do for your family? Option 1, option 2 or options 3?

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