Monday, May 28, 2012

Getting Our Beach Groove

Of the (almost) nine years my husband and I have been married, we have lived at the beach for six of them.  In Pensacola, Florida right after we got hitched and then in the Hampton Roads (Virginia Beach) area for 5+ years.  We aren't "beach people".  Well, my very Irish husband isn't a beach person, and since I like him and want to hang out with him it makes me not a beach person by default.  The thought of laying in the blistering sun while reading a book sounds great to me - it sounds like Chinese water torture to John.  So in the six-ish years we have lived seaside, we really haven't stepped foot on the beach unless it was in the evening to take our dog for a walk.

Until now.

Now that we have two very active children who need to have their energy burned off, the beach is the perfect place.  The beach is an energy suck - the sun, the surf, even the little dance we do to get rid of the sand.  Our kids leave exhausted.  Glazed over with fatigue.  This means easy bedtimes and quiet nights.

It is virtually impossible for us to relax on the beach right now with a 2 year old and a 1 year old.  But instead, it is socially acceptable to build sand castles, dig for shells, and bury little tiny feet in the sand.  Because of this, my "big kid" of a husband has taken new found liking to SPF 50 sunscreen and the wide open sand.  He has playmates, not just a lazy wife who wants to read her latest Jennifer Weiner book.

This past weekend we went to the beach twice.  TWICE, people.  Those of you who know me in real life know that this is a big deal.  Not for me, but for my toddler Kate who when I tried to take her to the beach once last year (just once) it was a meltdown of epic proportions.  Imagine a 2 year old clinging to her mothers neck with her knees tucked to her chest because it got her feet just *a teeny bit further* away from the dreaded sand of doom.  Dreaded sand of DOOM.  If my child had sand anywhere on her body - even the smallest speck - it resulted in a freak out.  Which made the beach impossible.  Pair that with a 6 month old who thought sand tasted delicious and a tired solo mama and you had a recipe for NO BEACH.  Like, never ever, I don't even want to look at the beach because it might send Kate into a post traumatic meltdown. 

I have no pictures of last year because I was holding my 2 year old the whole time.  Oh darn.

Thankfully, this year has been different.  A year has gone by and Kate has finally started to embrace the good things about the beach. 

She still tiptoes across the sand and notice her fingers sprawled apart because she can't stand the touch of sand between them...

But she plays, and digs, and love seashells.  She puts her toes in the water and wants to be there.  It is a huge success!  This will likely be our last summer in this area so we are happy we can embrace what makes Virginia Beach a tourist trap and causes all of the darn traffic!

Here's to a fun summer with sandy toes!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Have a Nice Memorial Day Weekend

But please take time to reflect on why we have this three day BBQ extravaganza.  God bless our fallen soldiers and their families, who have made and continue to make the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.  God bless our deployed troops, who sit in harms way today and are sacrificing weekends, holidays, birthdays, and more.

Friday, May 11, 2012

One Year Ago

One year ago today I hugged my husband goodbye.  I watched the news to see the aircraft carrier pull out on it's maiden deployment.

USS George HW Bush leaving last May

There is something incredibly somber about carrier deployments.  They usually leave in the wee hours of the morning, before the world has really woken up.  There are usually some brave family members who stand at the gates and wave goodbye as the tug boats push their loved ones away.  Living in Norfolk I see lots of carriers come and go.  Even after three deployments of our own, there is something about watching 5,000 people deploy at once that is sobering.  That is 5,000 families steeling themselves for at least seven months without their father, mother, husband, or wife.  It is sad.  Last May, I was incredibly sad.

And scared.

Connor turned six months old the day John left.  Kate was just 22 months.  I was in a new (to me) home facing down at least seven months of solo parenting.  I was wondering how I was going to live without John - without his help, his conversation, his companionship.  Connor wasn't sleeping very well, I was still nursing, Kate was a demanding toddler, and neither of them went to school/daycare.  Ever.  I was seriously worried that John would come home to a woman who only spoke toddler.  What adult would want to hang out with me?

A picture I took of Kate and Connor the night before John left last year (5/10/11)

It is really weird to think that it has been a whole year since that emotional day.  Since then we completed our deployment, had an amazing homecoming, and have been enjoying a lot of good family time.  At this time last year I was doing what many spouses in their first few days of deployment do: try super hard not to cry, hold it together, and put one foot in front of the other.  For me, the first two weeks and the last two weeks of deployment are the hardest.  And the first and last 24 hours are the most emotional and full of anxiety.

Oh what a difference a year makes.  Connor is now a crazy 18 month old and Kate is a spunky almost 3 year old.  I am looking forward to a summer full of family vacations and day trips to the beach.  I'm not worried about doing things solo or surviving without John.  I feel incredibly lucky. 

With that, I am spending today remembering the families who have deployed family members and who are about to say goodbye.  I have several girlfriends whose husbands are about to leave on the USS Eisenhower for a slated 9 month deployment.  I don't pity them because I know they will do wonderful things while their spouses are away.  But I respect them.  And I respect the challenges they will face.

With Memorial Day around the corner I hope everyone will keep military families - both past and present - in your thoughts and prayers.  There are many men and women out there who have given the ultimate sacrifice.  There are thousands more who are away from their families this summer so that you can be carefree at the beach with your loved ones.

"We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude." -Cynthia Ozick
Saturday, May 5, 2012

I'm Changing the Name of my Blog

Not really. 

But it's tempting...

Yesterday my sweet friend Michelle's husband Haggis (aka Garret, but who does real names in aviation?) took command of the VAW-124 Bear Aces.  They had an awesome party at a place that was like a utopia for comfort food lovers.

Todd Jurich's Burger Bar is well known for burgers, fries, milkshakes.  The centerpieces on the tables were baskets of cookies.  There was a baked brie wheel that was bigger than a large pizza.  There were lobster rolls, cheeseburgers, and crab cakes.  I'm so happy they had the party at this place because if I had moved away without checking it out I would have been sad.  Very sad.

The point of this is simple.  Michelle sweetly purchased me a Cosmopolitan in honor of my birthday and this blog.  It was seriously the biggest and strongest Cosmo I have ever consumed.  Like whoa.

The approximate size of my martini last night

It was delicious.  I got buzzed drunk.  John was thrilled.

But I was dying to try the milkshakes.  And this Mcfatty didn't have the guts to order one while all the other girls were sipping their tonic water and picking at their fruit.  I already had grease stains on my dress from the burgers and fries.  I was a class act.

So next time you see me at a party and feel like purchasing me a drink, remember, my blog name has changed to Keep Calm and Have a MILKSHAKE.  I thank you in advance.

Hi, I'm Jill!

Hi, I'm Jill!
Extrovert. Mom of two. Wife of a cute Naval Aviator. Lover of wine. When I'm not chasing my two kids around town you will find me writing, taking too many photos, and researching the ten future areas the Navy could potentially (but probably won't) PCS us. We are fish out of water, landlocked at 7,000 feet. For now.

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