Thursday, September 30, 2010

Me? Old? Yep.

Well, apparently, I'm old. While this realization has been slowly dawning on me for the past few has been crystallized recently. I am officially old for a couple of reasons:

1. I have NO IDEA who Justin Bieber is. In fact, after all the fuss I have heard about him, I decided to youtube a video of him...and spelled his name wrong. Yep. I am that clueless. Then, when I watched a music video of his I was appalled. Primarily because he can't be older than 12. Seriously. How old is that kid anyway? And WHY can't he keep his hair out of his eyes???? He is going to have severe neck problems when he is older! What could he possibly know about love and the sacrifice that goes with it?? I know - I sound like my grandparents.

2. When a friend recently offered to watch the beans for me so I could "go out with friends" I looked at her and laughed. Yep. This is why - (I DO have friends, for the record!) if I could get someone to watch my children and not have something to attend...this is what I would want to do with my time: NOTHING.
I would like to go to a place that would be quiet - or just playing calm music -  and have some food. By myself. Sitting down. And read. Not worry about anybody else and what they want, or don't want, or could want. I would want to get up when I was done and go where I wanted. I would want to be utterly selfish for 2 whole hours.

It would be a-maz-ing. Really. I know that probably makes me super old...but I don't care. 

3. The final reason I am "old?" My idea of a crazy Friday night happened last week....I fed the Beans their dinner at 4:30....we had "Girl Movie Night" at 7:00 all 3 were passed out asleep. Then I folded laundry and organized pictures. It was great. REALLY! Kinda sad....but I was thrilled to get some things checked off my list...and go to bed early.

So, that is my confession for the day.

I also LOVE "Wheel of Fortune" and "Jeopardy" ....but thankfully have no idea what the prices are at the local J and S Cafeteria. 

Copyright 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I like it, I love it....

Soooo sometimes, I just want a MINUTE to myself. 
Sometimes, I really want to listen to music that doesn't have a talking seagull or singing cucumber in it. 
Sometimes, I want to roll the windows down in the car and crank up the music because I want to...and not just to drown out the cacophony behind me.
Sometimes, I want to drink my coffee while it is still hot. The first time.
Sometimes, I want to shave all zones and wash my the same day.

I have these few little things I cling tightly last vestiges of my personality...or adulthood...or whatever-you-want-call-it.

I will list them out so you can see that clearly, I do not have excessive needs when it comes to keeping a tenuous hold of who I am.

I drink coffee. (Or some hot beverage that cannot be shared) EVERYDAY.

Although, many days that one cup is reheated so many times before I can finish it, the drink doesn't even taste like what was originally poured in.

I put on face lotion. Yes. I moisturize. It helps minimize the black bags under my eyes.

I shave. A couple times a week. I even do my legs...periodically.

I shower. EVERY day.

And every once in a great while...I listen to music made for grown ups.

I confess, I will put on NPR's Out of the Box and treasure the African beat, the Irish jig, the sappy indie vibe. I love that there are all sorts of words in the songs that I don't understand...and I don't have to explain them.  I like that it makes me feel snooty. And well-traveled. And basically...Adult.

Now, this does not occur every day...HA! This bliss of music without squeaking  instruments or hand motions, only happens about once a month. But when it does...this woman who is mainly only Mom at the moment...lets her hair down.

I will leave the dishes in the sink...brew a pot of decaf...and sit and sip and listen...and maybe read. It gets pretty wild in this house.  I am a party animal. 

I can't possibly be the only woman who feels like she is disappearing in the loads of laundry, grocery lists, bathing, cleaning, teaching, and parenting that are part of my life. But maybe I am. It really doesn't matter. Because I know there a just a few things that help me remember I am more than Mama to the Beans...Otherwise I'm just a dirty, unshaven, exhausted, hippie with wrinkles. 

However,  recently I could not take the inane children's music coming from the back speakers of our Suburban for another second. So I turned on the radio - with the Beans in the car. Unwise. These children catch EVERYTHING.  Especially if I don't want them to. I was scanning the stations and an old Tim McGraw song came on. (I grew up on country music. Tim makes me melt.) So I stopped the "scan" and listened through the chorus. Then I realized the words...and proceeded to scan some more. That was it. One time. ONE TIME String Bean heard the chorus and now she cannot stop singing...

I like it, I love it, I want some more of it.
I tried so hard, but I can't rise above it.
Don't know what it is bout that little girl's lovin'
But I like, I love it, I want some more of it. 

So, if ever I look like I'm having a hard day - look me over carefully. 
Have I had my coffee?
If the answer to all of those is "yes" then maybe I'm due for my moment of musical bliss...without the children in the car!

Copyright 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Time Marches ON.....

So Saturday was Jumping Bean's THIRD BIRTHDAY. Yep. That is just amazing to me!!  
Jumping Bean on her birthday

It seems like only yesterday I was making the staff at Pensacola Naval Hospital (and My Love) HIGHLY annoyed with 3 false alarms for labor. Apparently, I'm a slow learner.
Could it really be 3 whole years since I was hiding in the pool of our apartment complex in Pensacola, FL, praying for relief from the 3000 degree heat?

I have NEVER been so hot as I was that summer. I was in my third trimester when we moved to the panhandle of Florida...apparently they literally FRY the panhandle. I am pretty sure there is no place as miserably hot as that area is in August and September.  Of course it didn't help I had an electric blanket - on high - affixed to my abdomen. I saw no point in wearing anything other than my maternity swimsuit...there were days I would be IN the pool, up to my chin, with my hair wet, and my FACE would be sweating. 

But I digress.

When our beans turn 3 they hit a HUGE milestone...the no-more-paci-cause-you-are-a-big-kid-now milestone.  We talk it up for months beforehand. On their actual birthday, we collect ALL pacifiers, place them in an envelope or box, and mail them LITTLE children that need them. We followed this practice on Saturday. No tears where shed. No wailing. No Gnashing of teeth. It was surprisingly easy and painless. 


Until Bed Time. Yep. The actual moment where that little blond head hit the pillow without a pink paci to suck on...was utter and complete awfulness. Jumping Bean knew there would be no more pacis...she is a big girl now! But the realization of what that was not a good minute. 

Or 2. 

Or 10.

So, I did the very-good-mommy-thing...I shut the door...walked into my own room...and set a timer to check on her in 10 minutes if she was still freaking out.  

Poor String Bean. (They share a room.) When my timer went off...and she was still sniffling and making forlorn noises in the general direction of our mailbox....

I don't know that for sure - the door was closed - but I can guess pretty accurately...which, actually, is what most of mothering is anyway!

I went to their room to try to help Jumping Bean realize the exciting day this was! She had crossed a thresh hold into "Big Girl Land" and there was no going back! But I was foiled in giving any eloquent speeches or comforting String Bean. 

As I opened the door to their room...I saw String Bean snuggled in bed with Jumping Bean; hugging her and saying, "Its okay Beana. You will be alright." Then I noticed what Jumping Bean was hugging in her arms. String Bean had given Jumping Bean HER Daddy pillow. Then the words I had heard her say when I stood outside their room suddenly made sense...

"Daddy's proud of you! Just hug him and he'll help you sleep just fine."

In Jumping Bean's great distress, String Bean had given her greatest possession. And Jumping Bean was able to sleep...

Then I hugged and kissed my girls...said goodnight once more...went to my room....and fell to pieces.

Copyright 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

Wonderful, spectacular news...

Today some wonderful news was shared with me. A scientific breakthrough has occurred that will deeply impact my life. What could this good news be?
Is it that they have found a way to make pregnancy not cause your back, hips, and legs, ache?  
Is it a cure that causes children to time their wake-ups with your need to answer nature's call so you wake up less? 
Is it some new thing that makes children NOT desperately need their mother as soon as she takes a shower? Perhaps it is a self-cleaning house! 
Or dinner that makes itself! 
Or a diaper bag that automatically re-stocks itself! 


Although pretty much ANY of those WOULD shake my world upside down!

The news was this:  The magic eraser has a product for the BATHROOM!!!!

Now, that may not seem like news worthy of exclamation points and boldface type...which means you don't know me well at all. Cleaning the bathroom....especially the shower and the bane of my existence. I hate it.  Truly. I think an outdoor shower is a worthwhile can clean that with a hose!

Early in our marriage, My Love became aware of my deep disdain for cleaning the bathroom. Most would assume that my husband wouldn't care - probably didn't even see it getting messy. Oh no. Not my new husband.  This man I love likes things CLEAN.  He was trained exceptionally well by the Pennsylvania Dutch on the fine art of cleanliness and for some-unknown-reason thought I would be a neat-nick too. 

I was reared in a very clean family - he had assumed I held to the same standards. He was wrong.

So now, almost-7-years-in, I have finally found a tool that might help this particular domestic dilemma be solved. Thank you, Magic Eraser for helping my marriage! 

Now, if someone would just work on any of the invention ideas I had at the top of this...

Copyright 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Schedule? What Schedule?

Ah, the joy of being a Naval Aviator's wife. When My Love is home....I pretty much have no idea when he will be home.  We find out his schedule after 4 pm...the day before.
A common conversation goes like this: "Can we come to dinner on Thursday? Well, I think so. But I'll know for sure Wednesday night. Hopefully by 6. Maybe. How much notice do you need?"

I've found if someone can't be "Semper Gumbi," we probably won't get along very well. 

Perhaps its because we've....

I always say "we" or "us" in reference to the Navy...even though just his name is on the dotted line - and he alone is technically property of the US Government....I feel it is a joint career.


Perhaps its because we've been in training commands for the past 3 years. Maybe that is not what the operational world is like. But I don't think so. It seems pretty constant the Navy likes to keep you on your toes about....pretty much everything.  Maybe that is an aspect of why military spouses become such close friends.

They understand communication with the outside world will dwindle to where you check the paper for news about a friend's life if the active duty person is home for a brief moment.

They understand you will periodically go crazy.

They understand "schedule" is always in pencil...unless there is a can't-miss-this-event-thing coming up...then you can pretty much bank on the active duty member being suddenly called up for watch. Or deployed. Or training.  

I think it is another Murphy's Law....Military version.

Now with My Love deployed...I am getting spoiled. I can make a schedule and keep it! I can commit to things and KNOW I'll be there. With more than 24 hours notice.

Wait. That's not true....the 3 beans like to randomly get sick. Or lose shoes. Or explode poop.

Better put the pen far, far, away from my looks like I'll be writing in pencil for many years to come.

Copyright 2010

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Whouda thought....

"...We'd have a black son before we knew a Democrat?"
(The Blind Side)

Might be one of the best movie lines ever. Hands down.

Although, you might have to be from the South to fully appreciate that comment.  Maybe there are some good cross-cultural speakers/thinkers out there from North of the Mason-Dixon line who can speak and comprehend the South. But I highly doubt it. Perhaps every area has its own special dialect and culture...but I'm just quite partial to that of the South.

Anyway. That really has absolutely nothing to do with anything.

Whouda thought....

I'd ever try my hand at arts and crafts? Certainly NOT me!  Yet, I found myself strangely pulled (by forces beyond my control) towards my sewing basket...and an online tutorial for a "sew easy" craft.  But FIRST I stumbled across an adorable no-sew headband. And I said to myself...literally, out loud..."Whitney! You could do THAT!"  So, armed with an old t-shirt headed to the rag bin, and a pair of scissors - I. Actually. Crafted. Successfully!
Me and my no-sew headband!
While it is not extremely impressive to probably-anyone-else, it is highly impressive to me! 

I don't craft. Well, I've tried...over and over and over again....and they all end up the same way. In the trash pile. In fact that "sew easy" craft I mentioned earlier? This is what happened:
Hopeful craft...headed to the trash.

I failed miserably yet again. However, hope was not lost! I still can add the headband to my successful-craft-list...making the grand total come to....1. 

Apparently I am an eternal optimist. I look at the things other people make and I think to myself...I'm not utterly inept....(Or humble for that matter!)....surely I can sew a straight line! Or make a ruffle! Or use something other than duct tape to hem my pants!  And yet, every time, without fail...I fail. Epically

Except when I used duct tape as an in-the-clutch hem for my dress pants. That actually worked. Until I forgot there was duct tape holding my pants together and threw them in the washing machine. Then I bought new pants that were the right length. 

See? For a brief moment (prior to the head band) I had success! Woohoo! But then I destroyed it. At least the pants were completely destroyed beyond all hopes of rescuing and I landed a new pair out of the deal. Maybe I should try my hand at more of these far my failed attempt at refinishing dining room chairs ended in new chairs...a skirt for String Bean became a rag....but she still needed a skirt so off to the store we went! If doing-it-yourself is supposed to save you money....I am exceptionally bad at it.  Ah well. I can't be good at everything...right? 

Copyright 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010

Cocoa Bean Moments...

You know the moments the chocolate companies try to portray? The ones where the woman can just quietly sit and eat her chocolate and encounter peace, tranquility, and complete ignorance that the calories will be immediately attaching to her butt, hips, and thighs? Well, I have moments like that too!

Except they typically don't involve chocolate. Or peace. Or even tranquility. And my body aches so much with this pregnancy I'm never far from realizing the presence of my hips.

Okay. So MY moments are nothing like the commercials. But they do have a similar feeling for me!

This morning Jumping Bean and I were walking along together and she stopped all of a sudden, turned her face up to me and said, "Mommy. You are my favorite! I love you so very very much."

I was pretty much moved to tears. Until she finished her sentence...

"Because don't you wanna go to McMcDonalds and get french fries for me??"

That kid is learning the ways of the world early...

Copyright 2010

Re-organizing randomness...

So, I am in total psychotic-cleaning-rearranging-de-cluttering mode. Don't know if it is because I'm pregnant and in the "Nesting" phase....or if it is just I'm so used to moving, I can't keep a room the same for very long. We've now lived in this house for 9 whole months!

That is longer than we lived in 4 of our houses....and less than we lived in 3.  Yep, this is our 8th house in 7 years!

Which means every 6 months (or so) I get this irrational urge to change up a room...or rooms....or closet....or anything.

Except the car. I NEVER get the urge to clean the car. 
Or the bathrooms. I mean, I clean them, but I don't like having to do it. At all.

For me, going through closets, drawers, toys, cubbies...and throwing away, giving away, or re-organizing it.....brings a smile to my face.  Really. I don't have a million organizer thingys...but my shoe boxes are all put to very good use!

My super-fancy-label-maker is a roll of masking tape and a permanent marker.

I am almost done with the new configuration of the 2 rooms that have been keeping me up at night...the play/guest room, and the "big girl" room.  (All 3 girls will soon - very soon - be sharing a room.) Soon, I will post "before and after" theory. Maybe not that soon. But definitely before the end of October!

Yesterday, as I was heave-hoeing some furniture from the girl bean's room to the play/guest room...I just started laughing.

Before I go on - I wasn't doing any heavy lifting....just a lot of pushing and pulling...but I squatted low - so it was with my legs...not my back. So My Love - don't worry, I'm not trying to throw myself into labor.

My oh-so-helpful-helpers were  
String Bean....she was breathing heavy and pushing with all her might....
Jumping Bean...who just stood nearby and gave directions on what to loud as they could possibly be yelled...
Bitty Bean...who kept climbing on and off and in and out of the furniture....basically trying to figure out the most-in-the-way-location to plant her bum.

What else is a hormonal, sleep deprived, hungry, pregnant Mama gonna do?! CRY!?!?! Ha.  
So I just sat down on the floor and laughed. Until I cried. And the beans joined in. They just climbed all over and laughed and laughed....and then Jumping Bean wanted Boy Bean in on the action - so she lifted up my shirt and yelled at my getting-larger-by-the-minute-belly, "HEY! Baby! This is FUNNY!! You need to LAUGH WITH US!!!!"   Then she put her ear to my stomach...and waited. 

And I just laughed. What a wonderful day it was.

Copyright 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sunny Side Up...

It seems I have given off the mistaken impression that I have it all together.  I can assure you, I do not. There are two key reasons why I try to see the good and/or the funny in every situation...and I thought now would be as good a time as any to divulge them.

 Be prepared. I am about to get honest. Exceptionally-completely-ugly-honest.

The first reason is this: In James 1:2, 17, it states: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds...[for] every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.[NIV]" I believe there is a reason - or a purpose, behind every poop explosion, every middle-of-the-night-wake-up, every day where I'm brought to the end of myself. I may not understand the purpose specifically - but I know there is one. Many days that is all I need to keep the laundry, dishes, correcting, teaching, cleaning, and cooking, going. (Unfortunately, patience is NOT on that list!)

My second reason for seeking the "silver lining" is much more personal. 

I have had some very dark days. Days where I felt I couldn't even open my eyes to see the cloud...let alone the silver lining. Those days were the months following the birth of Jumping Bean. Many people try to dismiss post-partum depression.... They will say - Oh! It is just in your head. Get over it. What is your problem? Just get out of bed and DO something.  I am ashamed to say I was once one of those people. Someone who just thought people were being lazy or attention hunting. Someone who would NEVER feel what those people claimed to feel.

Then we moved - to our 4th state - in 4 years - in my 3rd trimester with Jumping Bean. And she was born...this perfect little pink mass of screaming skin. She yelled and screamed and cried and writhed for almost 4 months. For 16 hours a day. And I knew very few people. I was caring for String Bean...they are 25 months apart...My Love was working....and I was sinking.

I didn't want to get out of bed. I resented my beans. Especially my Jumping Bean. I cried...constantly. I was overwhelmed and disconnected and scared of what was happening to me. I remember turning a movie on for String Bean, putting a screaming Jumping Bean in her crib, going into the bathroom, turning on the fan, climbing in the shower - in my clothes - and sobbing...because that was the only place I could go where I couldn't hear her screaming.

It was like being at a pool party and drowning...everyone around you can see you...but you can't cry out for help because all your energy is focused on surviving.

My Love knew something was wrong...terribly wrong...but he didn't know how to help. Finally, he started leaving me with a "to-do list" for each day. The first few days, the only thing on the list was "take a shower."  Slowly, steadily, he was able to draw me back to the the life. But it wasn't easy. It wasn't quick. It wasn't fun.

We contemplated definitely can help! But we chose (together) to try a different route before we sought other help.  For 2 months I was not myself. Oh, I could turn "me" on and fake it for an hour or two around other people. I could come up with positive things to say to our families when they called to check on us. But the real me was aching. And I needed help to heal. Thankfully, between the power of prayer and a loving husband...God was able to draw me to where I am now.  

I'm sure some would say what I've described above were not "dark days." To be honest, compared with many people's lives, they weren't. But for me - for my life - I was on the edge. I was on the edge of a place I never want to go to again. 

There is funny and happy all around....even then it was there....sometimes it is just much harder to see. My life is not perfect...together...or pain-free...but it is wonderful. Because there is a sunny side.

Copyright 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

Holding Back the Tide...

There are days that feel wonderful - calm, peaceful, successful - days where not only the "list" gets everything checked off...but even a few extras are accomplished.  Those days where I am a calm, sweet-spirited mommy.  Those days where my children are perfect and kind and helpful.

Today was not one of those days.

Today was a day spent feeling like an isthmus between two raging oceans threatening to overtake me. 

On the one side was the churning torrent of "messy house"  (you know, the one that can reach flood stage within minutes?) Where it feels like the messes just suck the peace and calm out of my life. Apparently it didn't matter, because my sink still has dishes from breakfast sitting in it...and it is currently 8 o'clock at night.

On the other side, I had a tide of emotions so strong it felt like battling a tsunami. 

(Which would be no big deal if I could look at the calendar and say "Oh! I know why everyone is suddenly feeling like sobbing and whining and yelling and being nasty! But since I am pregnant....and my beans are 5 and under...monthly cycles don't really play into the picture at the moment.) 

I'm sure to the callused outsider, a messy house, a no-checked to-do list, and 3 children sitting all around your lap sobbing; can't possibly look like the end of the world. But it sure feels like it.  I know I need to keep my perspective in check and remember the gift of each day and the lessons to be had from every experience...but sometimes, I really just don't want to learn whatever the lesson is.

I really like my days that are not full of correcting someone every 5 minutes. Or cleaning up spill. After spill. After spill. I like the times where my children actually have ears that can  I selfishly love when they are happy with their lives and not registering My Love's absence.

But tonight was a night for emotion. Be it amazing amounts of waterworks over who-knows-what at the playground...yelling about EVERYTHING...or seeing if whining would work as a power play...they tried every play in the book.

I would love to say I kept my cool and remained calm throughout it all. That I just battened the hatches and dealt with the storm. However, (since this blog is supposed to be full of the painful truth....) I can't say that. I did something I hate. I yelled at my sweet beans.  I got frustrated and annoyed. I was over it.


Until I had finished giving all 3 beans their baths....applied their lotion....decked them out in their jams...and then String Bean looked up at me with water-filled eyes and choked out, "I miss Daddy."

At that moment I realized how horribly out of focus my day had been. There were 3 hurting people in my care - all day - and I had not even attempted find out what was going on their hearts.

String Bean then crawled into my lap and cried. 

She cried because she misses the different speeds Daddy can run...Because "Mommy, you are pregnant....and kinda slow." She misses his hugs and his kisses. She misses just having him around to do everything he always does. 

Then Jumping Bean came over and leaned on my shoulder and said, "Okay. I think Daddy can come home now."

After we all let our rivers of tears amazing thing happened. The tide turned. And the day that I could-not-wait-to-be-done-with suddenly was no longer horrible. The crashing waves of emotion and wrong perspective, gave way to a calm, peaceful time of togetherness and bonding.  

So, while this particular mommy is definitely exhausted and worn out from the day...I'd do it all over again. Because sometimes you need the waves to wash away the yucky and show the beauty that is always under the surface.

Copyright 2010

Pregnancy perks.....part 1

Since I have quite a few friends who have recently mentioned a loudly ticking biological clock and then jealously looked at my mammoth belly....I thought I would go ahead and list some of the advantages of being pregnant. :)

1. When you are pregnant you get the distinct pleasure of seeing more bathrooms than you ever thought possible. You are suddenly given a gift called "bathroom radar" so that when you enter a new building, within a few moments you know your strategy for most efficiently locating a commode. (Early in pregnancy you need the bathroom so you can throw up; later on it is so you can use it every five minutes and figure out EXACTLY how many tiles it took to do the floor.)

2. When you are pregnant you are blessed with moments to exercise that you had never envisioned before. Like attempting to shave your legs in the shower. I try to do about 10 minutes of stretching before I shower so I can get in the yoga poses required to shave my legs without injuring myself. (If you would like to attempt this amazing act of balance and flexibility - please strap a 25lb medicine ball to your abdomen, have someone punch your hips and lower back so they are bruised, and then take a sip of something to make you a tad dizzy. It really is quite fun!)

3. When you are pregnant (especially at the end where your stomach gets in the way of opening the refrigerator door) you suddenly discover that the personal-space-bubble no longer applies to you. Your stomach is now public property - both to comment on and touch. Indeed, complete strangers will feel a vital need to touch your belly and then tell you the gender of your baby. They typically follow up with some brilliantly tactful comment regarding how "huge," "massive," or "ready to pop," you are. For the record - I don't comment on a non-pregnant woman's abdominal cavity size (unless it is Heidi Klum), they should NOT be commenting on mine.

4. When you are pregnant you get to be a bit of an that you have so many hormones raging through your body you can cry, scream, laugh, and pout, within a matter of moments. When people look at you like you are crazy for crying over your taco, you can just tenderly pat your belly and they kindly leave you alone. (Yes, that has happened to me. Yes it WAS over a taco. No, I do NOT intend to have that scene again.)

5. When you are pregnant you get to have insane dreams that prey on the above mentioned hormones. I have dreamed I lost Bitty Bean in a store and totally didn't care. I dreamed I sat on her. In my dreams she has been kidnapped, rolled away in her stroller, left in the car, diagnosed with a terminal illness. Some would say I am insane that I would even think such to the other women you know who have been pregnant. Psychotic fears of motherhood seem to be a trend.

6. When you are pregnant you get to have OTHER insane dreams....from my 3 pregnancies I have dreamed I delivered a monkey, a dog, a litter of cats, a rat, and a Hershey's chocolate bar. *** With this 4th pregnancy I dreamed I delivered Boy Bean and he was a werewolf who started to chase me as soon as the cord was there I was running through the streets of the city being chased by a gigantic werewolf...with an umbilical cord hanging down my leg. Beautiful.

7. When you are pregnant you should really get a dog. Or borrow a dog. Or always keep a small-not-yet-speaking child blame your gas on. Apparently not everybody gets serious gastro-intestinal issues when they are pregnant....unfortunately, I am not like everybody.

8. When you are nearing the end (unless you are like me and get as big as a house by 5 months), you determine your entire outfit based on whether you can fit your swollen feet into your shoes. OR if you can actually get them on....I have to resort to slip on shoes by the end because there is no way I could possibly tie, zip, or clasp anything on my lower extremities; I haven't seen them in months! 

9. When you are at the tail end of your pregnancy you get to be prepared for having a new born by waking up to go to the bathroom (at least) 6 times a night. Yes- I know this began and ended on the subject of the commode.....but that is what being pregnant is all about! :)

One more thing.....

9. When you are pregnant you get the opportunity to pass your own brand of weird and strange on to the next generation. If THAT isn't a perk, I don't know what is! :)

***This was originally posted May 21, 2009 on my Facebook page...but I felt it was worth repeating!***
Boy Bean in the pod at almost 23 weeks

Copyright 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Joy and Pain of Motherhood...part 2

So here's the deal. I think it is high time for a funny/lighthearted post. Here is my current attempt...

Recently, (at a friend's wedding) I was slapped in the face by one of those totally-awesome-I-must-rock-at-being-a-mom moments. (Yep, I said it. Because it is true.)

My String Bean and Jumping Bean were flower girls...I was a bridesmaid....and I was nervous as all get out that my children would behave horribly. You know, behave in a way that could win us a million dollars or something on America's Funniest Videos for their fits in the aisle...or the dress being drawn over one of their heads while standing at the front (they wore white underwear - not princess panties - specifically to ward off that behavior)....or picking their nose and wiping it on their sister's dress. But - and it is hard to say this - as much as a million dollars would be nice...I think our family honor, reputation, and friendship with the bride and groom is a bit high of a price to pay.

None of that really has anything to do with the point. It is basically just to show you that I, in fact, would need 2 million to make it worth it. 

Anyway, as my beans and I were sitting on the front row during the ceremony - String Bean to my right, Jumping Bean on my lap - I was crying.

Before you judge me - remember I had just said goodbye to My Love, hadn't slept in 3 days, was watching two dear friends declare their love for one another....and I am pregnant. (None of that really is a recipe for stoicism.) 

In my Bean's defense - Mommy randomly crying is really not news. They are quite used to it. It doesn't scare them or unnerve them; they just pat my arm, or hand, and give me a tissue.

I am really rambling.

Thankfully, they not only walked down the aisle perfectly...they stood at the front like angels! No picking of noses, no fidgeting, no freaking out. It was amazing. I knew at that moment I had arrived. I had this mom-thing down.

(Side bar - during the majority of the ceremony, the bridal party sat down in the 2nd row.)

All of a sudden during the vows - Jumping Bean turned around in my lap, cupped my face with her hands, and said "Mommy, I love you."  Then she kissed me. Highly abnormal behavior for her...utter treat for me.

Didn't really help with me getting control of myself.

Just moments after that exchange, String Bean looked up at my face with glistening eyes and whispered, "Mommy, I'm not heart is just so happy it squeezed tears out! Can I have a tissue?"  Of course, I had plenty to spare.

So, while there are moments that the pain of motherhood - the sleepless nights, the worry, the expense, the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual battering - feels overwhelming and all consuming; they are (thankfully) not all you get.

There are moments of extreme joy and comfort and happiness....
Where your heart is just so happy it squeezes tears out. 

And that is the beautiful dichotomous gift that is motherhood.

Copyright 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My Only Love

So, you know the old saying "absence makes the heart grow fonder?"  Well, I've been contemplating that lately. Deployment can bring out my pensive side....but don't worry, this post shouldn't make you cry!

What is it about being apart that makes you like each other more?  Is it that you realize all the good and marvelous things you love about that person and are able to forget the not-so-great?  Yep. I think so.

For some reason (and I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in this!) I can have trouble flipping the "mom" switch off, and the "wife" switch on. I'm not talking about just the what's-his-head-on-the-radio singing "Lets get it on" - I'm talking about just remembering to speak to my husband in a loving way that isn't child-related.  (I.e. - FLIRT)

Really, how hard is it to flirt with the Love of your life? Apparently for me, super hard. When My Love is home, it is so very easy for me to rely on his extra set of hands (or eyes), his energy in exhausting the beans, his willingness to help....only.
Instead of dropping whatever it is I am doing and welcoming him home after work (which Bitty Bean does with gusto!), I continue on in my task, or look at the clock wondering why he is so much later than anticipated.

There are about a million songs out there about a husband/man staying true to his wife/woman, but how many are there going the other way? How many times does the man I promised to honor, respect, and love for the rest of my life, get relegated to second (or third, or fourth) place - especially once kids came along? 

Granted, in the daily craziness of puke, poop, laundry, dishes, snot, drool, crying, whining, spills, messes, questions, questions, and pee is VERY hard to forget who I once was. But once upon a time, (not THAT long ago!) I was a woman who desperately just wanted to be near the man that is now my husband.  I wanted to just know....everything....about him. He was truly my prince.  And I was his princess. He hasn't changed....neither have I....we've just forgotten who we were.

As Edna Mode says in "The Incredibles" to Elasti-girl (after she queries "What will I do?" regarding Mr. Incredible not being where he said he would be.)
"Pull-yourself-together! "What will you do?" Is this a question? You will show him you remember that he is Mr. Incredible, and you will remind him who *you* are. Well, you know where he is. Go, confront the problem. Fight! Win!" 

There is a gift in these least for us.  It is a time to pause and remember exactly what it was we initially adored about each other.  That lightening strike that we couldn't avoid.  Wouldn't want to avoid if given the choice!  So, who am I?  Well, that I am trying to remember.....

Sometimes it is exceptionally hard to "get the flirt on" when he walks through the door 30 minutes late,  and 3 children are crying, the pot of water is boiling over, the laundry needs to be changed, my hair is all crazy, I haven't showered yet...or even brushed my teeth, and the last time I slept through the night was about 5 years ago.

But if I can flirt with him half a world away....shouldn't I be able to do it when he is sitting next to me on the couch???  Well, when he gets home again - I am gonna try!

(At least I have a couple of months to remember how to flirt....Doesn't it have something to do with batting your eyes, or doing something with your hips? Maybe it is a hair-flip thing. Or the "Bend and Snap" from Legally Blonde. Oh, I don't know...maybe I can't remember how because I'm so bad at it! )

Copyright 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Joy and Pain of Motherhood...part 1

As I was talking with a friend today, I realized something; motherhood is hard.  It seems it is not hard for a great many people...but I'm pretty convinced they are ALL lying.  I'm sure to those of you not in the trenches of spit-up-no-sleep-poop-everywhere-constant-laundry-whining-battles-and-attitudes it seems exceptionally glamorous (fun even!), but, and listen is NOT Glamorous. Or Easy. (It can be fun - and is highly rewarding - but can exhaust you to the core of your being.)

In an effort to dispel some myths....I am offering my mothering life as an example of what Motherhood REALLY looks like.

Motherhood is serious bags under your eyes...from lack of sleep, from no time to eat, from worry about why your child/ren is/are doing....whatever.  

 Motherhood is very stylish....if you enjoy modeling various parts of all food consumed by your natives on your shoulder, stomach, and legs.

Motherhood is just flat out hard.  (Made harder by all those so-called perfect Moms)  I've said this before - it is watching your heart walk around outside your body.  It is watching tears be cried by an infant that you can't soothe.  It is wanting to protect your natives from harm...but knowing they will get hurt and battered and bruised, no matter what you do.  It is constant self-sacrifice.  It is humbling. It is challenging. It is utterly exhausting and completely rewarding.

Motherhood is constant second-guessing of your decisions. Its wondering if you are putting your child in life-long therapy because of anything and everything you've decided. (We figured our children would end up in therapy no matter what...they are OUR we just gave them weird names to hate us for. Problem solved. Now I can screw up all I want!) 

Motherhood is fragments of is losing your is ...something else, but I'm not sure what.

Motherhood is dishes and laundry and dishes and food prep and laundry and dishes and cleaning up and washing hands and messes and laundry and dishes.

Motherhood is MESSY.  (More on the most recent poop explosion another day.)

Motherhood is embarrassing...I highly recommend good locks on the master bedroom door...and they should be used. 

Motherhood is expensive. These little creatures that follow me around grow like, well, beans! Except these beans have to have clothes on them. They are rarely the same size for more than 3 months.

Motherhood is a great many other things...but I can't remember them right now.

I am FAR from a perfect mom - I'm too lazy for pretense. 

But if I could choose any reason in the world to be broke and exhausted - I would still choose my 4 beans. 
(Except in the moments when all 3 beans are crying/snotting/yelling/pitching a fit.....then I want to sell them on EBay.) 

Here the current beans (out of the pod) are...sleeping.  (And I've just decided to change Chilly Bean's name...she is now Bitty Bean because she is so itty-bitty!)
String Bean
Jumping Bean
Bitty Bean
Copyright 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

Love Letters

My Love is now away. But he did the the most romantic thing - ever - before he left. He left secret notes throughout the house. Little bits of paper that communicate his love for me....and reduce me to tears.
(I'm pregnant and exhausted....I cry. Often.)

The morning after he left I was cleaning off our dresser, and a note fell on the floor. There was another under my Bible. One in Chilly Bean's drawer. One in my drawer. One in my makeup bag. One waiting for me in the pocket of the dress I would wear as a bridesmaid. One on the kitchen counter under my planner.

(I wonder if that was just his fantastic way of getting me to clean the house?? Now I'm hunting everywhere for more notes!)

They have been like little kisses waiting for me all over the house.

Yep. He's a keeper.

In preparation for this deployment, I pulled out our box of love letters.

(I'm extremely creative as you can tell. I'm also very conscious about the environment, which is why I used the box his boots came in as our special box. I even took the time to label it...with masking tape.)

I sat cross-legged on the bed and read through a brief history of our love, while My Love packed his sea bag. Again.

(Aside from our first four months of marriage...My Love's name has had US NAVY attached.)

We reminisced about our dates; our moments that would only be meaningful to us; and our thoughts when writing the words on the page. We laughed at our starry-eyed naivete about all things Navy.  We remembered exactly what it is we love about each other. Yet, in those youthful letters, I was struck with a wonderful realization...

I am incredibly smart.

Oh yes. I went there.

I saw past the amazing hair, the job at the coffee shop, and the inability to dance.  I saw the man that ran away with my heart...flipped my world upside down...and changed my life completely...for the better.  A man with great hair, a fantastic smile, and an easy laugh.  The only man for me. 

So, while the little notes throughout the house are nice (utterly romantic, in fact!), the more important thing is the Man behind the Notes.  The man I love. The man oh-so-much-better than my dreams.

(And yes, he really did have hair at one time!!)

Me and My Love in the dark ages. (Dating)

Copyright 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

On Beyond Leaving...

I have not completely lost it...yet.
I haven't really had time. Or energy.

I looked at my calendar and wrote down when I could have my breakdown about My Love leaving, and String Bean starting school...Sunday night from 9:00-11:00pm, you'll know where to find me.

Yep. I schedule my breakdowns.  It actually is a bit of a relief.  I know I only have to hold it together...keep most of the tears and freakout moments in check for a few days...and then I can rent that chick flick and sob to my heart's content.  Don't really know if it is a healthy way to do things or not; but its my way, and it works.  (Don't worry - I do cry in front of the beans....I just try not to do the snot-running-down-your-face-lost-all-control-cry in front of them. That would freak them out.)

So I've learned that if I set a particular standing date with myself to lose it...I stay waaaaay more sane. Supposedly.  Maybe not. But it makes me feel better - and you should stop judging me.

My day yesterday was actually REALLY, REALLY, great. However, I would like you to note I didn't say "Smooth," or "Restful." In fact, it had numerous bumps and bruises....and minimal sleep.

After dropping My Love off, spending quality time crying with the beans, driving home, unloading all beans, tucking them to bed, comforting them again, putting away all things that somehow jump out of place, and finally collapsing into bed (glorious BED!), I fell asleep. At 12:30.  Alarm was set to go for 6:00...not a ton of sleep, but definitely workable.  (I've found I can run on 5 hours a night for 5 nights...then I need to recover and get 7 or 8 hours) The theory of sleep is always good....but for a Mama of almost is most often just an idea, and not an actuality.  Chilly Bean decided to wake up SEVEN TIMES between 1 and 5.  And Boy Bean decided to jump on my bladder - hard - so I also had to wake up one time for my own reasons.

All of you people in the world out there who are sleeping through the night...and maybe even sleeping in on Saturdays....I hate you.  Not really.  But sometimes I am exceedingly jealous.

My Jumping Bean falls, and walks into walls, and trips, and bumps into things, constantly. Really.  WALLS.  (Its not like they move....I don't really get it.)   

But when she is distracted - the poor thing should be wrapped in bubble wrap. Unfortunately, today she was distracted. 

In the span of TEN MINUTES she tripped and smacked her head on the corner of a wall, (Immediate bruising and egg-size-swollen-knot on her forehead) and then twirled and cut her knee, and then closed her fingers in a drawer.

For the record - she is not known for her quiet spirit. There was much yelling. And snot. (I really detest snot. It is just utterly gross...and always on my shoulder.)

Anyway, during all of this..the phone rang...Chilly Bean pooped...String Bean went on a hunger strike (again)...and we all needed shoes on to get out the door in time.

We were late.

And that, is a REALLY, REALLY, great day.

Copyright 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Watching My Heart Walk Away.....Part 2

Last night, we did it.  Our family of 5 (and Boy Belly Bean) loaded in the car, drove to the airport on base, said goodbye to My Love, and drove home as a family of 4.  For the rest of the year.

I know, I am a Navy wife and deployments are part of my life. But it doesn't make them easy.  This separation is the first we have experienced in OVER 3 YEARS. My String Bean was the age of Chilly Bean the last time My Love left. So things are quite different this time around.

When My Love walked into the airport terminal after our never-enough hugs and kisses and teary goodbyes; String Bean and Jumping Bean sat down and sobbed. Shoulder wracking cries that broke my heart.

String Bean said, "I don't want Daddy to do this job anymore. Why don't we just go with him?"

Jumping Bean cried...but she was mad too. She didn't want to cry. She wanted Daddy to just turn around and come back. 

And my little baby Chilly Bean?  She watched My Love walk away to the security checkpoint....and called out, "Dada! Dada! Dada!" 

It was gut wrenching and awful. 

Yet, it was a gift. 

Yes, a gift.  We have been given the uncomfortable gift of knowing exactly how much we love someone.  Of knowing their value in our lives. We haven't had to say goodbye to them forever...we aren't staring at test results that tell us the end is near.  Instead, we find that in this awful tearing away, we would rather it hurt to the depth of our beings; than be glad to see them go. 

We are reading through a children's Bible right now with the or two stories a day.  Last night, before My Love left, we all sat down to read together. The story was Abraham being called by leave his home, his relatives, everything he knew...and go somewhere unknown. Foreign. Hard. Lonely. But God was WITH him.  We firmly believe we are exactly where we are supposed to this deployment was planned.  There will be hard days.  There will be lonely nights.  There will be times of feeling overwhelmed. But God is WITH US. Just like He was with Abraham as he set out to follow God's direction.   Even though the saying "goodbye" is hard and painful and highly uncomfortable - it does not mean any of us are alone.

So this time the change does not mean packing up our tents and learning a new place...for all of us girls (and the little baby boy!) it means maintaining our tent and learning a new normal.  

For My Love, it means learning many new things and adjusting to life without a hormonal harem....but I'm sure he'll figure out some way to handle the stability in his squadron!

Copyright 2010

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Watching my heart walk away....

Today is a momentous day.
I have the rare treat of getting my heart beat up, not one, but TWO separate times.  (Please note the sarcasm.)  It has been said that being a parent feels like watching your heart walk around outside your does being a military spouse.  (More on that tomorrow)

This morning we were awakened 5 minutes before the alarm went off by an extremely excited 5 year old.  Our little String Bean was so excited about her first day of school she woke up...early...on her own....because she "didn't want to be late for school."  (!)  :)
String Bean and her backpack

After the morning routine of feeding, cleaning, and dressing the natives that keep me smiling and exhausted; all 5 of us piled into the "Big Car" and took String Bean to school.  (Hallelujah! Her school starts at 10!)  She was thrilled beyond words - not even a trace of nervousness.  I, however, was inwardly fretting myself to death.  After packing and re-packing her lunch....and worrying about if she had enough food....or too much....or if it was strange and would cause her to be made fun of.....I realized I AM THAT MOTHER.  

You know, the mom who can't let go of her baby?  The one who looks at her big 5 year old child walking into a classroom and wonders if she'll remember......fill in the blank?  You know the mom who has raised her child to be independent and capable - and is thrilled the child actually IS those things - but still has a bit of a sore heart as she watches the tiny baby that brought the gift of motherhood into her life step into the Great Big world? That mom?  Well, That Mom is Me.

I really did fine. No tears. No lump in my throat. Just smiles and pride that my little girl is growing up.

Jumping Bean all dressed up

Until we had been gone an hour (Having a WONDERFUL time with Jumping Bean and Chilly Bean), and Jumping Bean said "I think we can go get Canaan now."  

I felt the exact same way. 

After we picked String Bean up from school - 4 WHOLE HOURS later - we returned home and heard all about her amazing day.  She truly had the best time ever. EVER.

As My Love and I sat down with her, hearing all about every minute detail, we were thrilled to know it had gone so very well.  Then I reiterated to her what else was happening today.

My Love is deploying.  Until the end of the year.

We will get to take him to the airport late tonight, hug him, kiss him, and leave him.  He will not come home with us.  He will go and do his job.

String Bean sat very still, then she crawled into my lap, and sobbed.

When I asked her what she loves most about Daddy she said, "Everything."

I feel the exact same way.

Copyright 2010

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Pregnancy comments...part 2

Yesterday, I posted about a comment from a stranger regarding temporary insanity in pregnancy.

Since I seem to have a knack for garnering interesting and shocking comments on pregnancy from the masses, I thought perhaps I should chronicle "the good ones" from this pregnancy.  During my trip to the commissary yesterday, I was given a TRUE gift in the memorable-comment-department.

(Quick aside - NEVER, EVER, go to the commissary - ANY commissary - on the 1st, or the 15th, of the month. All the armed services get paid on the same two days. Avoid the military complexes on those days AT ALL COSTS!)

Anyway! As we carefully weaved our way through the aisles packed with retirees, sleep-deprived mothers, whining children, and annoyed men; I was suddenly stopped by an overly-excited-twenty-something-female

(For the record, being stopped in the aisles was like having a car break down in one of the Hampton Roads tunnels. It stopped ALL TRAFFIC and caused numerous glares in my general direction.)  

She looked at me and said, "How far along are you?! I'm 9 weeks pregnant with my first!" (Insert HUGE smile and patting on exceptionally-flat-abdomen)
I turned from calming Chilly Bean's hysterics over not walking, and giving Jumping Bean the "eye" because she couldn't lay on the floor of the commissary, and said, "Oh, I am 20 weeks along."  
The poor super-thin-trim-flat-stomach-very-comfortable-in-a-bikini girl looked at my stomach with eyes the size of saucers and said, "You are REALLY HUGE. RIGHT?! PLEASE say you are HUGE!!!"

Poor thing.

I grinned and said, "Well, it IS my 4th...but yes, I carry them with a pretty big belly!"

(I was tempted to tell her the belly getting big is not the most shocking of the pregnant changes...stretch marks...loss of bladder more sleeping in....lower back pain...varicose veins...acne...excessive hair growth....but I figured if she fainted in the aisle an angry mob of retirees would jump me for blocking the way!)

Copyright 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Let the Comments begin...

Today, as we four women were out and about, I officially heard "a new one."  You know - a comment that people think is original and creative, but actually isn't?  If I could get some $$ for every time I am/have been told: "You have YOUR hands full!" Or, "All girls?  Better keep trying for that BOY!" I would be VERY rich at the moment. (Quick aside - Yes, my hands are full....with exactly what I want! And No - we have never tried for any gender...we've just been blessed beyond belief with each little bean in our pod.)  
But I digress.

The comment I was told today was this..."Do you go crazy when you are pregnant?"  (Bear in mind, this question was posed by a man who's significant other is apparently due in December - she was not present - who just saw me out with my children and my belly, and decided I looked stable enough to ask that particular question.) 

For any of you who know me...or have read anything I have EVER would know I am NOT a stable person!  I have hormones rushing through me at adolescent levels even when I'm not when I AM pregnant the craziness reaches epic proportions.

I guess a good question back would have been, "How do you define 'Crazy?'" 

If the definition of "a sane person" includes someone who would: flip out over an order of lunch meat getting messed up; sob shoulder racking cries while loading clothes in the washing machine; periodically hide from their children in the shower; plan into their week their "break down" time; cry over Hallmark cards randomly...that aren't even sappy; and use the "phone a friend" lifeline as a desperate hunt for her last strand of patience; then I would say, "No! Everyone does not go crazy when they are pregnant!"

(I mean, I haven't tried to kill anyone...yet.)

But really, that definition above does not describe a stable person. It does, however, describe ME.  Not all my facets mind you...I like to keep people on their toes...but definitely some of them!

The poor man looked so overwhelmed with the woman at home who was vacillating between cries, laughter, anger, and panic; (I would em-pathetically assume!) he didn't want the truth.  He just needed comfort. As Jack Nicholson said so eloquently in A Few Good Men: "The truth? You CAN'T handle the truth!"

I smiled. I wiped the ketchup from my stomach, the snot from my shoulder, and the spit from my thigh - and said, "We all have our days. Just love her."  He seemed comforted by that and went on his way.  

The Beans and The pod
Then I sat down and teared up. 

Copyright 2010