Blazing through Navy life one duty station at a time.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Foto Friday

Playing Kinectimals on the Kinect!

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Three things for Thursday

Here are the three things I'm loving today, on this last Thursday of 2010:

1. Sundried Tomato Risotto.  Oh Pioneer Woman, how I love you.  A little heavy cream makes everything taste divine.  I made this for dinner tonight.  It makes enough for a small army, but that's okay, because it's one of those recipes that tastes better the longer it's been in the fridge.

2. Ugg Australia Classic Tall Boots.  I don't care what anyone says about the way Uggs look. They are heaven for your feet!  Pilot Pete bought me the Classic Cardy boots last year for my birthday, and I love them.  I couldn't wait for fall to hit so I could bust them out of the closet.  Unfortunately they're not really practical for wet winter weather.  So now I have these too.  I love them so much, I hate to take them off.  But I'd look pretty silly sleeping in boots...right?

3. Your Shape: Fitness Evolved for Kinect.  I know I listed Kinect as one of my three things last week, but I just got this game this week and we tried it out last night.  Wow.  I think I used muscles in my body I didn't know existed.  Let's just say that getting around today has been a challenge.  It's pretty neat the way the system scans your body for height, leg length, shoulder span, etc., and then selects workouts for you based on this and other information you provide.  I think this is going to be a fun way to get into better shape!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Over the weekend

How was your weekend?  We had a wonderful Christmas here - Little Dude let us sleep until 8:30, and then we had a peaceful morning enjoying presents and our traditional brown sugar macadamia nut coffee cake.  In the afternoon we had some dear friends over for dinner.  It was a quiet, restful day.  Santa was so good to us - I don't think we could have asked for anything more.  I hope you enjoyed your day!

Enjoy the scenes from our weekend!
24 December 2010 001

His first view of the presents

Christmas 2010 006
Digging into his stocking

Mom, stop taking pictures and let me open this!

25 December 2010 010
Our dinner table

Friday, December 24, 2010

'Twas the night before Christmas

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there!

Foto Friday

Little Dude's not the only one who's ready for's been a long holiday season!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Three things for Thursday

Happy Christmas Eve Eve!  I hope you had a lovely Thursday.  We're enjoying the time off, and a certain little one can't wait for Santa to visit.

Here are the three things I'm loving today:

Seven years

Yesterday was our seventh anniversary!  I had a post planned, but when I went to start it last night, I found blogger and google were down.  And when they were still down at 1:30 AM after we finished watching "The Kids are All Right", I decided it was time to call uncle and hope for better today.  Luckily blogger is back up and running.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Over the weekend

We had a fun weekend out here.  Pilot Pete had to work on Saturday, but he's off for 2 weeks now (yippee!).  We made a little time for ourselves on Saturday night so we could attend Pilot Pete's work holiday party (special thanks to J for sharing her babysitter with us).  Yesterday was a chilly, blustery day, so we stayed in, taught Little Dude about Old Maid, and made stuffed shells for dinner.  I hope you had a great weekend too!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Foto Friday

We woke up to a winter wonderland!  I'm dreaming of a white Christmas.
It's snowing!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Three things for Thursday

Today I'm loving:

1. Pop-Tarts!  The strawberry with frosting variety.  I haven't had these in years, but saw them at Walmart and had to have them.  Oh so good, and yet oh so bad (I can never eat just one!).

2. Carnations.  Martha Stewart (I guess I'm a little obsessed lately) did a segment on carnations.  I've never liked them - they always remind me of the flower buy in high school for Valentine's Day. You know, where you buy carnations and have them sent to the recipient's homeroom?  Plus, they smell after a couple days.  Well, thanks to M.S., I have a new interest in them.  And, I learned out how to get the stink out (a drop of bleach in their water).

3. The Nook Color.  I have an original Nook (best Mother's Day present ever!) and love it.  The new features on the Nook Color are so exciting to me.  I can't wait to eventually have one, and read my magazines on it.  What a great way to save on paper waste!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Growing pains

So apparently when Little Dude turned three, he also turned into a boy.  My sweet little baby who liked to cuddle in the morning and say "Momma..." lovingly, while gazing up at me, is seemingly gone.  I get glimpses of him from time to time, like today when he got scared by something on an episode of Thomas the Train and wanted to "snuggle on the couch".  But for the most part, my sweet little baby has turned into a full fledged boy: annoying habits, snappy comments and all.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Over the weekend

Someone turned three!  I can't believe Little Dude is another year older.  It is really starting to fly, and I have to admit, it scares me.  I'm afraid I'll blink and he'll be 16.  But that's a discussion for another time.  For now, enjoy the scenes from our weekend.  My parents were here to celebrate, and we invited his two best buddies and their parents over for a quiet little celebration last night.  Then, after all the merriment, while he was asleep, the elves (Pilot Pete and I) put up the "Christmastime Tree".  It was a big weekend.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Foto Friday (on Saturday!)

Yesterday was a big day.  Gran and Granddad flew in from Florida.  We got a little distracted and I forgot to post.  So here is our Foto Friday, better late than never! 

Watching You Tube videos with Granddad

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Three things for Thursday

Because it's Thursday, and my brain is rotting from having listened to Little Dude watch Santa Buddies: The Legend of Santa Paws one too many times and I can't really think of anything original, I thought I'd share three things that I'm loving today:

1. These Morse Coded Necklaces.  I hope I find the Love necklace in my stocking this Christmas!

2. Stuffed Shells from Mad Hungry.  I watched Lucinda Scala Quinn make these today, and they look yummy.  My parents are flying in tomorrow afternoon, and I think these shells will make a great meal while they're in town.  I'm excited about the caramelized prosciutto and intrigued by the addition of radicchio.

3. These Coffee Filter Wreaths Martha Stewart made today.  I'm thinking about using brown filters for a more rustic look.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Muppets...again

Yesterday in my blog about holiday music, my top pick was A Christmas Together with John Denver and The Muppets.  Today I can't resist writing a bit more about those lovable characters who were a big part of my childhood.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

We're listening to...

Holiday music, and lots of it!  I have never really been a huge fan of holiday music, probably because what I remember from my childhood was the old and boring music playing on the radio on Christmas Eve.  But this year is different, and I find myself in the mood for some great holiday music.  Luckily for me, over the years the quality of holiday music has vastly improved, and it seems like nearly every big name in the music industry releases at least one holiday album during their career.  Thanks to iTunes, I can get my hands on pretty much any kind of holiday music I could imagine. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Over the weekend

I thought it might be nice to bookend my weekends with photos.  For me this serves two purposes: to get me to blog more often, and to get me to take more pictures.  So, on Friday I'll still be posting along with Andrea and others in Foto Friday, and then on Monday I'll post a few scenes from our weekend.

This weekend was holiday card picture weekend.  Every year since Little Dude was born we send out photo cards with his mug on them.  Normally we include our dog Athena, a 5 year old rescue, but this year we decided to seek out some cool locations in our little town and I figured it would be too much for her.  We happened upon this great old building with a phenomenal red door.  This served as the backdrop for what will be our photo for this year.  Below you'll find a few outtakes from our "session" yesterday.  Can you tell I've discovered Flickr and Picnik?

2010 Christmas Card 034.1

2010 Christmas Card 077.1

2010 Christmas Card 044.1

2010 Christmas Card 046.1

How about you?  What were you up to over the weekend?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Foto Friday

Fun with Dad at the end of the day.  I love the joy on his face - Little Dude sure loves his dad!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Our Elf

Add this to the list of things I swore I'd never do as a parent - we are soliciting good behavior from our child with the help of an Elf on the Shelf this year.

Have you heard of the Elf on the Shelf?  Basically, it's a little stuffed elf that you put up on the shelf in your house. He (or she) watches over your child during the day and reports back to Santa at night.  Then, every morning your child finds the elf in a different location in your house and the "game" starts anew.  You can read more about it here.

Before we had children we had big aspirations in terms of how we would raise our child.  I'm sure that bribery, exaggeration, and fibbing were just a few things we swore we would never engage in.  Three years in, I can safely say that all that has gone out the window and we are now simply making it up as we go.

Last year when I first learned about The Elf on the Shelf, I had mixed feelings.  We had always planned for Santa Claus to have a part of our Christmas traditions.  Personally, I think there's not enough magic in the world these days, and I really want my child to hold on to the wonder and fun of his childhood as long as possible.  But in my mind, telling him about a mystical man who mysteriously brings presents on Christmas Eve seemed a little different than trying to convince him that a stuffed elf sitting on the shelf was actually flying to the North Pole at night to report his daily behavior to said mystical man.  Plus, shouldn't we be teaching him that good behavior is important all year long, and not just in time for presents (we are, but it does bother me a little that there is an emphasis on being extra good for Christmas)?  I know - it's all totally outrageous and I was overthinking it.  So I just decided to go with it and see what happened.

Our elf is visiting for the first time this year - last year I didn't get him until 3 days before Christmas, and I figured a two year old who was barely talking wouldn't really notice or care.  This year is different though.  The second Thanksgiving was over I was bombarded with questions about whether it was Christmastime yet and when Santa was bringing presents.  So out came the elf and the advent calendar.  I can't say that the presence of our elf (who remains unnamed - Little Dude refuses to give him a name and instead says "Please Mommy, what's his name?") has made any significant difference in his behavior to date.  But that's okay, because he's pretty well behaved normally, and I would be a little suspicious if all of the sudden the presence of a stuffed elf changed his behavior drastically.  Mostly, he's enjoying the game of finding his elf' every morning (which means not only do I have to remember to move him, but I have to be creative!).

I believe that, for kids (and probably for all of us), Christmas should have a little mystery, excitement and wonder to it.  So I'm leaving all my questions and concerns about good parenting at the door and focusing on the fun little tradition we've started and the spirit of the season.

Our elf, chilling out on the airplane that hangs above our fireplace.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Foto Friday

Watch out Bobby Flay, we've got a chef in the making.  He insisted on helping cook (and yes, he was totally supervised in front of the stove at all times!).

I hope you had a wonderfully happy Thanksgiving!  We had a relaxing day and shared a lovely meal with some great friends.  Happy Holidays!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Baby, it's cold outside!

So long fall, I hardly knew ya!  We had our first snow this weekend, and while it wasn't much, and all it's almost all melted already, and it's supposed to be in the high 40s by the end of the week, I feel like this is the unofficial end of fall.  I'm already in early winter hibernation mode - I desperately need to get to the store today to get some things for dinner and for my contributions to the Thanksgiving dinner we'll be attending (quickly, before all the fresh sage in our little town is sold out!), and yet I can't bring myself to leave the house.  It's cold, and overcast, and, did I mention cold?

I'm a Florida girl born and bred, and for 24 years I would get excited if it got cold enough to wear long pants on Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I always watched the Macy's parade with envy, wondering what it would be like to live somewhere where there was often snow on the ground in time for Thanksgiving.  If nothing else, they always had on scarves and mittens.  Gotta love the cold weather accessories! 

Well, I take it back!  And it's not even like I'm living in Alaska or Siberia.  It's just northern Nevada.  But to me it's cold.  Cold weather means potentially scary driving conditions (this from a girl who once drove through a tropical storm) it means extra clothes (that part's not so bad - at least it's an excuse to not worry about the extra fat around my middle!) and mostly it means that it takes 10 times as long to do things.  Cold weather + extra clothes + a toddler = nightmare!  Even the dog doesn't want to go out in this weather!

On the upside, it also means some exciting things are on the horizon.  December is a busy month for us - our anniversary, little dude's birthday, and Christmas.  But most exciting of all is how jazzed the little dude is about the prospect of snow this year.  Last year we couldn't get him near it - it was all about hysterical screaming and crying.  This year he can't wait to play in it - to his dismay, by the time he got up this morning, almost all of the weekend's snow had melted.  He's already counting down to the next snow, whenever that may be.

Our first snow last year - Little Dude was not happy!

What a difference a year makes!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Foto Friday

Fun with a friend on a Friday!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fight for Preemies - our story

December 12, 2007 was supposed to be a normal and uneventful day.  My mom was in town to visit, staying with me for the last week of my husband's 6 month deployment.  I was nearly 36 weeks pregnant, and while my pregnancy was healthy, normal and low risk (my biggest problem was the morning sickness that showed up at 6 weeks and never went away), I asked my mom to visit anyway.  Something in the recesses of my mind told me it would be a good idea to have her there for the last week before Pilot Pete returned home.  "Just in case" I said.

Funny how "just in case" turned out to be a "thank goodness you were here".  At about 12:30 AM on December 12, 4 weeks and 1 day before my estimated due date, I felt three painful kicks and something else.  As a first timer, I was no expert on anything pregnancy related, but I had no doubt that my water had broken.  Without a bag, a camera, or any clue what was happening, my mom and I set off for the hospital, where they confirmed my suspicions - I was having a baby.  That morning.

And so, at 5:43 AM on December 12, 2007, my little boy was born.  A breech baby, he was delivered by c-section and, after an all to brief first meeting with me, was whisked away to observation, which later turned to the NICU.  After 16 days of antibiotics and oxygen for pneumonia and breathing issues, as well as feeding tubes for eating issues, we were finally able to bring our little bundle of joy home.  Nearly three years later, my big boisterous boy shows no signs of his preemie beginnings.

Four days old

Heading home from the hospital at 16 days old

We were lucky.  Very lucky.  The little dude was born at a very healthy 6 lbs. 3.4 oz.  That's quite a big preemie.  His health issues were minor compared to most of the other little babies alongside him in the NICU.  Each year 1 in 8 babies in the United States are born prematurely.  Premature birth is the number 1 killer of newborn babies, and premature babies cost 10 times more than healthy babies.  The rate of premature births in the United States has risen nearly 30 percent since 1980.

In 2003, the March of Dimes launched the Prematurity Campaign to raise public awareness of prematurity and to decrease the rate of preterm births in the United States.  The campaign is already having an impact - the premature birth rate recently declined by 3 percent.  But there is still work to be done on behalf of premature babies not just in this country, but all over the world.  To create awareness for the campaign, the March of Dimes has designated November as Prematurity Awareness Month, and November 17 as Prematurity Awareness Day.  Prematurity can affect anyone, and while there are steps every expectant mother can take to lower their risk for preterm birth, there is still much to be learned as to the causes of preterm birth.

We will be forever grateful to the amazing NICU doctors and nurses who helped us through one of the most challenging and difficult times we have ever faced.  Go to to learn more about prematurity and what you can do to join the fight for premature babies.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Foto Friday

Some of the blogs I regularly visit (okay okay - stalk) post a picture on Fridays.  I wanted to get in on the fun, so here is my first Foto Friday:

It's Friday, and I'm in love.

(Thanks to Andrea for the great idea - hope you don't mind that I am totally co-opting it!)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Now let's go find Mickey Mouse

I may have mentioned that we recently visited Disneyland.  This was our big trip for the year, and as such we had high hopes for lots of excitement, rides and memory making.  The small child we took with us had other ideas.

Last year when we made this trip, we did it in December, for his 2nd birthday.  We mistakenly thought that going in December before Christmas was a good idea - that there wouldn't be big crowds.  Boy was that a silly idea.  I had no idea that many people make the trek to Southern California 2 weeks before Christmas to see the Mouse.  So this year we planned to avoid the Christmas rush (and the chance of snow in the mountains, and, most importantly, having to pay for him to get in if we went after his 3rd birthday) and go the first week of October.  Again, I thought the crowds would be light - that since school had just started there wouldn't be too many people there.  WRONG.  I am starting to get the idea that Disneyland is busy year round.  Who knew? 

But this is all beside the point.  I needn't have worried about whether the line for Dumbo was going to be unmanageable.  All he wanted to do was see the Mouse.

In our lead up to the trip, we started introducing him to Mickey Mouse.  He hasn't seen any of the Mickey movies or television shows yet, so I showed him pictures on the computer and explained we were going to Mickey Mouse's park.  He seemed interested.  So I was encouraged.  I planned for us to go to the character breakfast at one of the resorts.  And then it dawned on me - what if he's terrified of an adult dressed in a mouse suit?

On our first morning there we randomly ran into Pluto as we were coming out of the Mad Hatter shop.  We were 5th in line to greet him.  Score!  When it was his turn, my scaredy cat child, who won't even go down the slide by himself, ran right up to Pluto, hugged him and gave him a high-five.  Thank the Disneyland gods.

After meeting Pluto, he got into the stroller, looked up at me and said, "Okay.  Now let's go find Mickey Mouse."  When I asked him if he wanted to hit some of the rides first, he looked at me again, this time with annoyance, and said again, "Let's go find Mickey Mouse."  Duh.

Friday, October 22, 2010

They say it never rains in Southern California...

Well, they lied!  Nearly 3 weeks ago, we made the trek to Anaheim from our home in Northern Nevada.  After an 8 hour car ride, we were thrilled to get there and get out of the car.  Little did we know what was in store for us.

We live in the desert, so rain is a rarity.  For someone who lived in Florida for 24 years, moving somewhere where the average rainfall is 5.3 inches per year is a bit of an adjustment (by comparison, my hometown of Tampa, FL experiences an annual average rainfall of 44.7 inches).  On the day of our departure, we woke to the unmistakable sounds of rain.  Rain!  How exciting.  Until it wasn't.

Apparently, like Charlie Brown and his rain cloud, the rain decided to follow us to Southern California.  It rained the entire 3 days we were there. It rained, on and off, but mostly on, for the two days we spent at Disneyland.  It rained so much that we were forced to buy rain ponchos.  Ponchos.  I have never in my life worn a rain poncho, not under any circumstance.  As a kid, when we would visit the Florida theme parks during the summer we would make fun of the tourists in their neon yellow rain ponchos.  What - did they think they were going to melt?  Well, we became those tourists - wandering around the park in our neon yellow ponchos, trying to stay dry.

Despite the rain, the little dude was in high spirits (which kept us in high spirits), mostly because all he cared about was finding Mickey Mouse.  More on that later.  Luckily, no photographic evidence exists of the dreaded rain ponchos.  Not that it matters - the image of those ponchos is seared into my memory.  An auspicious start to an entertaining trip.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

What we're watching

I'm back after a bit of a break!  Two weeks ago we traveled to Anaheim to visit, as the little dude calls it, "Mickey Mouse's Park".  It was quite a trip, filled with a few comical missteps and some big triumphs.  I had planned to blog about it last week, but I mismanaged my time and couldn't seem to find the time or inspiration to blog.  As of now, the ideas are still percolating, so check back later this week for more on our trip.

For now, I'll fill you in on what seems to be on permanent rotation in our house these days: Clifford the Big Red Dog.  I was only generally familiar with Clifford when one day I found his big movie for the little dude to watch.  Soon after I found the show on PBS Kids, and the DVR is now set to record every episode.  We both know the name of every dog and human on the show, and often discuss what the characters are up to.  I appreciate that every episode teaches a lesson - "Clifford Big Idea" teaches young viewers to do things like ask permission before playing with someone's toys.

As with anything, I am sure that his obsession with Clifford is fleeting, and before long he'll be on to something else.  But for now I'll enjoy his little voice calling to me: "Momma, I want to watch another new Clifford".  I'll also enjoy the way is captures his imagination - the other day in the car he told me that we had to go pick up Emily Elizabeth (Clifford's owner).  Like the song says, we love Clifford the Big Red Dog!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

That wasn't so bad

Life with a toddler feels like a daily battle of wits.  It makes me think of the battle of wits in "The Princess Bride".  Mostly because every time he wins I feel like screaming "inconceivable"!

My mom once advised me to pick my battles.  She cautioned that if I stood my ground on every issue and never let him win it would be counterproductive.  Better to let him have a few smaller issues, thereby building his confidence (not like that's really an issue around here) and to keep him from fighting with me over everything.  Pretty sage advice, eh?  Easier said than done.

Yetserday we had a battle over taking shoes and socks off.  It was down to me and it was down to him.  He'll be 3 in December, and I figure it's past time for him to start learning how to take his shoes and socks off himself.  He was having none of it.  "No Momma you do it" was the common refrain during our exchange.  Finally, remembering my mom's advice, I decided to let him win and I took his socks and shoes off for him.  His response?  "That wasn't so bad Momma".  Out of the mouths of babes.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It's the most wonderful time of the year

I have a small confession to make...


When I was younger, I think I probably would have chosen movies over television.  But that was back when the pickins were slim and shows hadn't achieved the feats of storytelling and effects they have recently.  I did have a few shows I watched regularly, but they did not excite in me the passion and fervor today's television shows do.  (This is not an exaggeration.  I get really into my shows.)

On the whole, we don't watch a great deal of television in our house.  This is deliberate.  When the little dude was about 4 months old, I started to notice how captivated he was by the tv.  So my immediate reaction was to turn it off.  It wasn't until he was a year and a half that he really watched anything, and that was a movie on a 6 hour car drive home from California.  The car was new, and there was a convenient DVD player in it...

These days he enjoys a Disney movie now and then, or an episode of Sesame Street or Clifford I have stored on the DVR.  But for the most part, the tv is off during the day.  When he goes to bed however, it's a different story.  I think this falls under the category of do what I say, not what I do.

I'm a bit of a couch potato at night.  Sad, but true.  I love a good tv show, and there are so many to choose from.  The bar has really been raised in recent years, and I find that most of the shows I watch are better than most of the movies we rent (going to the theater these days is a non starter, due in no small part to a certain toddler).

So tonight when the little dude's asleep and the house is quiet, I'm going to treat myself to brand new episodes of my favorites.  And a few new ones too.  Well, technically they're old, since they're remakes.  Don't even get me started on the seemingly lack of original ideas in Hollywood.  Annoying as it is, it doesn't seem to stop me from tuning in.

The iconic theme song from Hawaii Five-O has been replying in my head for the last week.  Time to see if it lives up to the hype.  Fall tv season is, for me, the most wonderful time of the year.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

He never gives up

My child refuses to take no for an answer.  He's going to be a great lawyer.  Or car salesman.

As I'm sure must be the case with all little humans around his age (2 and 3/4 going on 15), he believes that he who asks the loudest and the most often gets what he wants.  Granted, this is mostly because it's often the case.  But we've decided to end the cycle and put our foot down (that's the royal foot.  My husband and I both have 2 perfectly fine feet of our own).  It's not going well.

Unfortunately, the dogged persistence not only applies to amassing the world's largest collection of cars.  It also applies to pretty much anything he thinks can be negotiated.  I'm telling you, future lawyer or car salesman in training over here.  A few weeks ago, he fairly successfully negotiated the number of times he could go down the slide before leaving the park.  Again, persistence pays.  He started at two.  I countered with one.  He held at two.  I held at one.  He increased to four.  After a time, we agreed to two.  The child doesn't even need law school (trust me - I did, and I still lost).  Unreal.

Tonight it was persistence of a different nature.  He was convinced he could fit more blocks ("suitcases") in the back of his Little People dump truck than could ever possibly fit.  I'm no genius with geometry, but it just wasn't happening.  After a lot of screaming and yelling and a few tears, he made an executive decision: "Daddy fix it when he gets home."  Of course.

I love my child.  But often times I worry that he has the worst of our annoying traits.  My husband's stubbornness and single mindedness.  My perfectionism and constant worrying.  But then I realize that refusing to take no for an answer may not be such a bad thing.  It drives me crazy, but it's a skill that will probably serve him well.  With the right help and guidance I'm hopeful he'll turn out to be a compilation of what's best of both of us.  As long as he doesn't get fed up and throw blocks at his boss's head.

In other news, I finally got my hands on some Blue Moon Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale.  I think I'm going to need it.

Little by little

The little dude and I were on our own for a few nights this week.  Normally his dad in charge of bedtime - they take care of the tooth brushing, bath and p.j.s, and I usually join them for a story and good night kisses.  This is my little reward at the end of the day - a little bit of time to myself.  Plus, it's great for them - father and son bonding time.  I know how lucky I am to have this, and especially lucky to have this right now, because in less than a year it will all change.

We're lucky that my husband (we'll call him Pilot Pete) is on shore duty and gets to come home for dinner pretty much every night.  Once he rejoins the fleet there will be late nights and long separations.  We have separations now, but a few days or even a few weeks is nothing compared to the 6-8 month deployments we'll soon face.  The little dude was 3 months old when we moved out here, and the first time Pilot Pete went away it was for two weeks.  I was terrified.  I couldn't imagine how I could get through that many days and nights with no back up.  And then a funny thing happened.  We survived.  Little by little, after every time Pilot Pete went away, I gained confidence.  I hope that by the time he rejoins the fleet I'll have enough of these little separations under my belt that a big one won't seem like such a big deal.

At this very moment there are thousands of military wives all over the world holding their families together while they wait for their husbands to return.  It never gets any easier, but you do get used to it.  I tip my hat to them, and say thanks for serving.  Our time is coming, and I think I'll be ready.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What I'm Reading

In a word: everything.  I love to read.  As a little girl I loved our trips to our local public library to pick out new books.   In elementary school I looked forward to the book fair.  On the weekends, I would spend my free time devouring whatever I could find.  My tastes have changed over the years, but my love for reading has never wavered.  Except maybe in high school, when we read a few things that really tested my love for books.  And certainly in law school, where I was so overwhelmed with class reading, that the thought of reading anything for pleasure made me want to scream.  But a year or so after graduating from the last school I ever intend to attend, I rekindled my love and began to read in earnest.

I received an ereader for Mother's Day and have been taking full advantage of it.  I know ereaders are a controversial lot - several people have chided me for contributing to the end of libraries.  I love a great library as much as the next bibliophile, but when you live in a small town where reading resources are limited, an ereader is a great solution to my problem of what to read next.  Unlimited access to hundreds of thousands of titles sure beats being disappointed when the book I want has been missing from the library for 5 years, and the Walmart will never carry it.  And considering the stack of books I was accumulating, an ereader seemed like a great space saver!

My favorite book so far this year is, without a doubt, The Passage, by Justin Cronin.  To call this novel a vampire book would be extremely unfair.  It has only very loose ties to the notion of vampires.  Instead it is a thriller, a mystery, a quest, a love story, and so much more.  It certainly is a brick of a book, but even though it's somewhere just north of 800 pages, I was never aware of the length.  This is the kind of book that makes me want to be a novelist, the kind of book that inspires.  The richness of the story and the depth of the characters is evident from the start, and never wavers.  Even if vampires are not your thing, give this book a chance - you will be surprised at how quickly is grabs hold of you and doesn't let go.  Even as I write this I am still thinking about the ending.  When you worry about the fates of fictional characters long after you've finished the book, I'd say it was a damn fine read.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The pursuit for perfection

I can't believe it's been 3 weeks since my last post.  Today, one of my favorite bloggers, The Pioneer Woman, wrote about ten important things she's learned about blogging, and #2 was "blog often".  Hmmm....ooops?

I am a perfectionist.  Plain and simple.  Period.  I hate to do anything that doesn't feel like it at least approaches, if not achieves, my ridiculous standards of perfection.  This is a life long affliction.  It's even a bit of a joke in my family.  As a small (read: 2 and a half year old) child, I wanted to take violin lessons.  Apparently I had seen Count von Count playing his violin on Sesame Street and decided I needed to play the violin too.  I imagine there was quite a bit of pestering involved on my part (sadly, a trait my own child has clearly inherited) and eventually, armed with a quarter sized violin, I started Suzuki lessons.  Several pint sized temper tantrums and breakdowns later, my parents decided it was in everyone's best interest if I stop with the lessons and try to be a normal kid.  Nice try, Mom and Dad, nice try.

Many years later and many attempts at perfection I am still pretty much the same Type A nut as always.  I do find that with age comes a bit of wisdom, and I'm not totally devastated when I can't live up to my expectations (which is pretty much never - just a fact of life I am learning).  I've learned to slow down and take my time, to enjoy the little things and to not worry if it's not exactly perfect.  Well....what I mean to say is that I don't worry as much if it's not exactly perfect.  This probably also has to do with being a parent.  After the third or fourth time you get spit up on you, it's pretty much all over.

One thing I find my perfectionism still inhibits is my ability to write.  One of the reasons it has taken me so long to start blogging is my fear of failure - failing to come up with something interesting to write, failing to be witty, failing to be any good at all.  For the last three weeks I have found myself blocked.  Lots of things have been going on in my life, but nothing that seemed to spark that need (or desire) to write.  But today The Pioneer Woman, in item #8, told me that if I have writer's block I should push through anyway.  So here I am, pushing through.

I'm going to resolve to write something every day, even if it's the worst thing I've ever written and it reads like utter nonsense.  I imagine it's like anything else - I just need to make time in my day until it becomes routine.  So here we go.  Thanks Pioneer Woman, for your inspiring words.  And thank you reader, for being you (see PW's list, item #10).

Thursday, August 19, 2010

These are days to remember

School started in our little town yesterday.  I was leaving the dentist's office as the high school across the street let out for the day.  As the students poured out of the school it took me back.  It's been 17 years since  I started high school.  17 years since I met my husband.  Where did the time go?

As I look back across the years, I realize that things are both simpler and more difficult now.  With age comes wisdom, for sure, but with age also come complications and responsibilities.  I look at my little dude, who turns 3 in December, and I am in awe of how much of life he has ahead of him.  I try to imagine him as he starts on his way, walking into school for the first time.  I try to imagine him as a teenager - what will he look like?  What will he sound like?  Who will he be?

Fall is my favorite time of the year.  I love the crisp feeling in the air, the smell of logs burning in fireplaces, the sound of a whistle on a football field..  For me, it's a feeling of renewal, the start of the school year, and of new things to come.

Little dude's still a few years away from school, but seeing the kids in our neighborhood waiting for the bus reminds me that it's not as far off as I think.  For now I'll try to enjoy the time we have together, muster as much patience for the rough times, and remember that it'll be over in the blink of an eye.  These are definitely days to remember.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I am not a digital girl, but I live in a digital world

I have been spending a lot of time talking on the phone lately. This isn't something I have done in a while. Ever since I joined the rest of the world on Facebook, Twitter and with texting, I have noticed I do a lot less talking and a lot more typing. Since doing this I've also noticed that I have a lot less personal contact with people, and I think my friendships may be suffering because of it.

On the one hand, friendships have become a lot easier to cultivate with all the digital advances we have. Meet someone, get their phone number. Text them. Friend them. Message them. All of these outlets provide myriad ways to get to know someone faster than ever before. But are we really getting to know people? Sure, we know a lot about people. Where they went to high school and college. Where they work. When their birthday is. How many friends they have. But does knowing a lot about a person mean you actually know them? Who they are, what they think and feel?

I think the quality of a friendship far outweighs the quantity of friendships a person has. So I've been on the phone, getting to know my friends. Talking about things we are looking forward to, hopes for our children, places we want to visit, etc. At the end of the day, I am remembering that this is why it took me so long to adapt to all the new digital toys and fads. I'm old school (or maybe just an old fart) and pretty happy that way. I'll continue to keep up (or at least try to) with the trends, but I'm going to remember that the personal touch never goes out of style.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Carly Simon has invaded my brain. More specifically, her 1972 chart topping hit "Anticipation". It seems funny to me how my brain can pick a song that fits so well with my current mood. And then...I can't. get it. out. of. my. head.

Let's backtrack a little. Some friends passed on a link to a video of surprise military homecomings. It's all over Facebook. Maybe you've seen it? Well, if not, let me spare you the tears. I barely made it halfway through before I had to shut it off, tears streaming down my face. Homecoming is probably one of the best parts of military life. But what comes before it is definitely the hardest part. The separation caused by deployment. Thinking of deployment is where Carly comes in.

For over two years now we've been enjoying the shore tour lifestyle. Basically, this means a Navy job with no overseas deployment. In less than a year, all that will change, and we'll find ourselves back in the pace of deployment cycle(s). Of course none of this is news (or new, for that matter). I always knew this was coming, and I'm no stranger any of it. What is new is our son. He was 2 days old when his dad came home from his final deployment before starting this shore tour. The idea of explaining to him where dad is and why he can't call home is terrifying to me. However, seeing the joy on the faces of children in the video today made me realize that when the time comes, it is possible to weather the storm, and we can get through it. I've done this before, and it's my job to make sure the little dude gets through it too.

Until then, however, I'll be anticipating. Fortunately, Carly reminded me of something important to focus on to in the meantime:
And tomorrow we might not be together
I'm no prophet, I don't know nature's way
So I'll try to see into your eyes right now
And stay right here, 'cause these are the good old days.


Today, while I was waiting for this week to end, I started thinking about all the waiting I seem to do in my life. Patience is an asset in Navy life, as we spouses seem to spend a lot of time waiting. Waiting for the ship to leave, or waiting for the ship to come in, waiting for the mail, waiting for a phone call. The list goes on and on. You get the idea.

From the start of our relationship I was waiting. Waiting for the weekend to come, so that we could see each other. Law school (for me) and flight school (for him) were separated by a 3 hour car drive (which, after a year, turned into a 6 hour drive when he moved even further away). My week at school was defined by waiting for Friday so that I could hop in the car and drive to see him. In retrospect I think all this waiting was probably helpful - little did I know then how much waiting a Navy spouse actually does.

Waiting can be a good thing - waiting for the birth of our little dude was the best 8 months of my life. Until he came a month early and then I was waiting again - for his dad to come home and meet him. But that 's a story for another day.

Eventually the waiting becomes so rote and familiar that you stop realizing you're waiting because you're too busy getting on with your life. That's the thing I learned very early on - stay busy and try not to think about the waiting. Otherwise you'll wait your life away. Once you get past the waiting you realize all the exciting things you can be doing to help pass the time (like blogging).

I think Dr. Seuss said it best, in one of our most favorite books, Oh, the Places You'll Go!
...Headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place...

...for people just waiting...

Everyone is just waiting.
That's not for you!
Somehow you'll escape all that waiting and staying.
You'll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.
With banner flip-flapping
once more you'll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you're that kind of a guy!

I hope I'm that kind of guy. Because let's be honest - doesn't the "bright place where Boom Bands are playing" sound like somewhere you'd like to be?

Hello World!

So here I am, blogging...This is certainly something I have been thinking about doing for a long time, I just never quite got up the nerve. But, here goes.

First, a little about myself. I am a Navy wife and mother, a job I find to be challenging, exciting, frustrating, and ultimately rewarding. I met my husband 17 years ago, on our first day of high school. Before you ask, no - we were not high school sweethearts. We might have dated for a minute or two every other year, but we did not become a couple until 8 years later. We married a little over 10 years after we first met, 3 days before Christmas and a week after I graduated law school. We've lived in 4 different states and have survived multiple deployments and countless separations. We have a fabulous little boy who we love dearly and enjoy every day of our lives. Despite all the difficulties involved in being a military family, we truly love our life.

But that doesn't mean it's all easy-going all the time. "Catching the 4 wire" is a phrase Naval Aviators use to describe landing their aircraft on the carrier. The 4 wire is the last arresting wire before the end of the ship - the last chance they have before falling off the end of the ship (they snag the wire with their tailhook, which "arrests" the plane). I have heard many a time that the 4 wire is good enough to get on deck. I find this to be a fairly appropriate description of how I might feel on any given day - the 4 wire is good enough to keep me from falling overboard.

My purpose is to share with you, dear reader, my crazy experiences, to bring a smile to your face, and to hopefully keep us all from falling overboard!