Thursday, November 15, 2012

7 Random Observations about Military Moves

So I am sitting at my dining room table waiting for the moving company to come do the pre-pack out walk through of my home.  To inventory all of our stuff into categories and weights and balances.  As we have been preparing for this move the past few months, I have been struck by a number of "truths" (or at least truths in my own little world) related to preparing for a military style move.

1.  Stuffed animals breed.  I don't think I have ever bought Kate or Connor a stuffed animal yet every closet, every toy bin, and every surface seems to have at least three.  And when I wake up there are five more.  I'm starting to believe that "Toy Story" wasn't fiction at all and that our toys have a life after dark.

2.  My husband needs to go into a T-Shirt Addict Remediation program.  The boy cannot resist a free t-shirt.  Off to a conference?  He comes home with an extra suitcase full of "amazing" shirts.  Amazing = free.  Doesn't matter if they are rejects or XXXL.  Even with our super compact and efficient USNA method of folding we have way too many cotton shirts.  My current favorite?  An ugly red Whiskey t-shirt that declares "every day is MAN DAY" (nope, not kidding) completely and totally off-center in the front.  I feel like I am going cross eyed looking at my husband in that shirt.  But it was FREE! So now he is a walking advertisement for Whiskey and poor shirt printing.

3.  Household good weight limits remind me of how over cluttered my life is. It is incredibly depressing that I am worried we will go over the 17,500 pound weight limit we are allotted.  Especially since we are not moving one single appliance.

4.  Packers do not make moving a breeze.  If one more person says "oh, at least the military packs you up" I am going to throat punch them.  Non military folks, it is never okay to say that to a military family who is in the midst of a PCS.  Yes, I get that packing a house sucks big time and that it is more convenient to have someone else do it.  But we move every 2-3 years.  So the "perk" of having the US Government pack our stuff in no way lessons the burden of moving all the time.  We still have to uproot our lives, our kids, our jobs, and leave our friends and conveniences.  It is okay to think it in your head - but keep your mouth shut. 

5.  We all have more embarrassing stuff than we might think. I have had a nightmare that I forget to hide away my unmentionables before the packers come.  Packers are great - until you literally die of embarrassment because they find your liberator pillow and ask if it works to remediate back pain.  And it can get oh-so-much-worse than that.  On our last move I was 8 weeks post-pardum and a packer asked what I wanted to do with my stash of jumbopads and ice packs.

6.  The military is extremely out of touch with what is valuable these days. The following sheet of paper was given to my friend Karen at And Then We Laughed

Yes, I will be sure to protect my 1993 beanie babies collectibles and crystal animals.  That is a huge concern of mine.  I'll make sure to hand carry them with my military Troll collection.
Nope, not mine.  I am not that weird. But someone is...
7.  This lifestyle creates a moving "itch".  We are so used to starting over in a new house and in a new town and with new jobs that after a few years at one location many of us start getting ancy and ready to move on.  I was at gymnastics with my son and one of the other moms asked me about our move and I found myself saying "well, we have been in Norfolk for awhile so we are ready to go see something new.  It is time."  She was very polite, but said something like, "wow I would never even consider moving to be something I felt compelled to need or be ancy about".  As a mom in a family where they plan on living in their home "forever", the idea of going to a new place is totally foreign to her.  I'm not sure whether the moving itch is a pro or con of military life, but it certainly is there.  We got these orders months and months ago, my foot is halfway out the door, I'm ready to get this show on the road!

These are just the thing running through my head today.  Please feel free to share any random observations you have in the comment section!
Monday, November 12, 2012

Two Times the Fun!

So.  This guy.

This guy is two.  He is a toddler of the not-so-terrible sort.  He is funny, loving, and a mama's boy.  He is voraciously verbal and talk talk talk talks all day long.  He loves milk sippies, "Peppa Pig", rain boots, books under blankets, Knuffle Bunny, jumping on the bed, choo choo trains, forts, pizza, Curious George, and singing "Bushel and a Peck" before bedtime.  Bubble baths wouldn't be the same without "swimming" and blowing bubbles with Kate.  He loves to "go go go" which basically means "take me somewhere so that I can flirt with everyone". 

Bunny Bunny, his ragged blue lovey, is a fixture that he will probably be taking to college in tatters.

Connor is a modern man; as rough and tumble as he is, you will often find him pushing a pink stroller with strands of purple pearls around his neck.  Kate's dolls and Connor's trucks coexist in a harmony that makes my heart happy.  He is such a great kid.

Connor at 1 week, 1 year, and 2 years
Time may change me but I can't change time.  Oh, the parenting dichotomy that we all face - the desire for our kids to grow up yet stay precious and innocent and small at the same time.  I look at the difference a year has made and cannot believe what 365 days can do to a little person.  I am so proud of him and happy he is growing up but when he sits on my lap at night and nuzzles into my neck I can't believe he isn't a baby anymore. 
Oh, who am I kidding?  He will always be my baby.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Here, pull up one of these.

And take a sip of this.
And let's chat about the way things have been going lately.
I am very stressed right now.  I have been crying a lot.  I am confused, angry, and annoyed.  I don't know who I am sometimes and I feel lost about where we are going.
Do you know what it feels like to systematically cancel your life as you know it?  And then, when they politely ask you where you are going, to consistently get this face?
Pretty much exactly this, just the human version
I have defended Kansas more than I have ever defended Virginia and I have never been there.  Can I tell you how much fun it is to get pity from strangers constantly about a place you have never been?  A place where you really didn't have a whole lot of say about going?  It is stressful.  My friends haven't been much better.  And while I know they are kidding, hearing that they refuse to visit me because I am going to the Great Plains and not some convenient location or tropical location stings a little.  I'm not mad, I get that Kansas City isn't Maui, but it doesn't make me feel any better.
People who don't know me and who just take my blog name for face value might assume I have a knack for being zen.  I don't.  If you know me and hang out with me in more than just in passing you know that I have a tendency to be anxious.  To worry and think too much and wonder what I am getting myself into.  Typical Type-A, first child BS.  I start to bumble and stumble and cry.  I don't actually drink a lot of cosmos. Maybe that is my problem? 
The past few weeks have really been hard for me.  I have been in Norfolk with my kids while my husband is down flying and having fun.  We have had Hurricane Sandy, a (small) nor'easter, and the kid-sleep killing Daylight Savings. I don't usually feel sorry for myself when he is on the ship.  But when he goes on these good deal detachments where he gets to relax and have fun with friends and eat good food and put it all under the category of "work trip" I get jealous.  And a little resentful that we both have Master's degrees and work experience and I am at home changing diapers and breaking up toddler throw-downs while he flies F-18s and gets long dinners out.  His life feels so much more well rounded than mine and I am jealous.  And looking down the road I just get sad.  For the next year he gets to go to school, learn cool things, exercise his brain.  What do I get?  I'm not sure.  I have no friends there, no family, I know not a soul.  I don't plan on working and I am going to be going there in the dead of winter where I can't exactly just hang outside and hope someone cool who wants to be friends walks by. 
It is becoming clear to me that I need something for myself outside being a mother and wife.  I do love being a mom.  My kids give me a tremendous amount of joy.  But they don't "complete me" (to quote Jerry McGuire).  I am personally not a well rounded person by doing nothing but play with and cater to them.  I'm not sure what I am going to do to better myself or occupy my brain in the next year, but I need to start thinking about it and getting excited about it.  I need something.  Right now I am feeling resentful and that is not the way I want to live. 
I realize that this post will probably be a stark and dark read compared to the millions of blogs focused on gratitude during the month of November.  It goes without saying that I know I live a very lucky and blessed life.  It also goes without saying that I know I am whining right now.  I know many people are fighting much harder battles than me. 
If you are still sitting in the chair reading this - thank you.  Venting is often the first step to change.  And an attitude adjustment is certainly in order.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Go Vote!

This morning I strapped my kids into our double stroller expecting a marathon wait at the polling station.  I had milk and fruit snacks and toys and the expectation that they would be having a fight over my iPhone by the time I reached the voting booth.  I had even broken out the big guns - promises of pure refined sugar (lollipops) before 9 AM if they didn't get me kicked out of the line for disturbing the peace.

Oh what a difference four years can make.  On Tuesday, November 4th, 2008 John and I were living in Maryland.  I was working full time.  We were in the middle of the IVF cycle that gave us our sweet Kate.  Last night as I laid in bed dreading having to vote with two kids whining about wanting to get out of the stroller and play, I reminded myself that my life is so so so much better with them in it.  And that if the 2008 version of myself could hear my inner (whiney) thoughts, that she would have smacked me.  So.  I made myself some strong coffee and voted early.  It was easy.

I am so thankful.  Thankful for the right to vote.  Thankful for the crazy toddlers who accompanied me to the polling station.  Thankful that we live in a country that has a peaceful process for choosing and changing leadership.  America isn't perfect, but I am very proud to live here.

I honestly don't care who you go vote for.  I personally live in a house divided (I lean left, John leans right) so I know that we as Americans can co-existed peacefully and happily.  I also know that there are good people working on both sides of the issues.  Maybe the government should take a note from my on marriage on how you can actually come to compromise despite a different set of values and constructs.  There is no right or wrong.  But it is so important that everyone has their voices heard and appreciates the sacrifices so many have made to allow this day to be possible.

Those are some of my values.  Now go vote yours!
Friday, November 2, 2012

A Sugary Halloween

The clouds parted and Halloween was a very nice night.  We had lots of big puddles to hop over to get our loot, but I think all of the parents in the Tidewater area were relieved that Sandy didn't squash our Halloween.

I co-hosted Kate's preschool Halloween shindig in the morning.  We got the three year olds nice and sugared up.  There is nothing cuter than preschool aged kids in their costumes.  They are so proud, and excited, and in character.  It cracked me up this year how seriously Kate took her "being a cat".  I mean, she actually preferred to crawl on all fours and meow and hiss while she was in costume.  It tickled my mom and I that Kate was adamant about being a black cat this year because my little sister insisted on being a black cat for every Halloween from about 1987 to 1995 (I'm not kidding).  Is the desire to be feline genetic?

Connor owned his Curious George costume.  He is definitely a mischievous, curious, funny little banana-loving guy so the costume fit him perfectly.  I was impressed at how much he wanted to trick or treat this year.  Maybe it is because he is my second kid and I will admit he has probably had more candy at his age than Kate had at the same point.  It was great to see his eyes light up when he saw other kids dressed up.  He is going through a phase where he loves to talk about "scary monsters" and "big dinosaurs" so Halloween was a long day of him excitedly pointing them out to me.

  Sugared up toddlers, Kitten Kate, and Curious Connor
I hope you all had a very Happy Halloween and are claiming your "mom tax" on your kid's candy if applicable!

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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