Living in the 907 was a catalyst for much change in my life. Most of the changes have been good; some were great. However, there is one thing I picked up that I would rather drop: extra pounds.

I wasn’t skinny before I made the journey north.  My struggle with weight pre-dated my time in Alaska.  Six years of cold, dark winters, a deployment, and one more pregnancy compounded the matter.  Long ago, I had picked a number that as long as I had not reached  I was still okay. While in the Lower 48, I was still some distance from that number.

I cannot be sure just when I went over. While Chase was deployed,  I had stopped weighing myself in fear that I had finally reached my limit.  I decided I was not responsible for what I wasn’t aware of.  In recovery we call that denial.  Before recovery I was Cleopatra, queen of denial. (Sorry, I can never resist the chance to use that joke.)  I was already exercising by the time I had begun to see the error of my ways, so when I finally hit the scales I was back under that number.  The first time I saw that number on a scale, I was 30 weeks pregnant; therefore, I gave myself a pass.  I found myself slowly gaining pounds after Rory’s birth, and was trying to be proactive about not reaching it.  Unfortunately, some old injuries resurrected themselves in my zeal to exercise the weight off.  Last summer the scales tipped beyond that number again.

Ages ago, when I created the threshold, I also had a plan-a trip to GNC to buy whatever weight loss remedy was hot.  I knew this wasn’t the most healthful plan, but I figured the extra weight was also not healthful.  It just so happened though that at that same time Alaska gave me an excellent solution for my weight issue.

PS 907 is the Alaska area code, not my current weight 😉

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Yesterday, we heard about this awesome event on the radio. At the cemetery downtown people would be dressing up as some of the people buried there and telling people about their significance and the history of Alaska. We were so excited. We got the kids in the truck and drove into Anchorage. The cemetery was deserted. Turns out the event is actually tonight. But since we were there we thought we would look around anyway. We knew Sidney Laurence was buried there and as we love his work, thought we might check out his gravesite.

Before yesterday the only cemeteries I’ve spent any time in have been military: Arlington and Gettysburg. In those graveyards the tombstones don’t tell a lot about the person. Name, rank, religion, and dates of birth and death. Some are buried with their wife so you know that they were married. But you don’t tend to see the “Here lies a great man,” or “She was loved by all,” that I had heard about being on tombstones.

At the Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery you really can learn about the person buried there. We walked around the Pioneers section. At Sidney Laurence’s grave was a tombstone and the top of the stone looked like Denali. One of the interred must have loved planes because a model plane flew over his resting place. We saw former governors and statesmen, founding families, and military heroes. The ones that touched me the most were the ones which I simply felt like this person impacted many lives and was well missed. I don’t remember the exact words that made me see those people as special, but something about their tombstones showed that those people made a special sort of impact.

It made me think of Nicole Nordman’s song Legacy. Nicole sings about how she wants to be remembered, not by her accolades but by her legacy. Not by what she did, but who she was.

To me a big part of the difference is the effect of a life on others. What you do makes others appreciative for what you have done. But who you are is what makes others change who they are. It causes a ripple effect that lasts forever. And that is a true legacy.

I like the idea of leaving a legacy behind. But I know that type of thing is only done by those with great character. And I know how character is formed…through trial and the development of patience. That is not fun stuff. However, the idea that the work that begins as I develop patience can affect others generations from now is kind of cool. It may help me to bear through the next time I am afflicted with trials.

So just over two years ago, I decided that I would start an online journal and share it with close friends and family, you know all my Facebook “friends.”  Honestly, I thought I’d post a time or two, get busy with life and that would be the end of it.  I mean I know me, I start projects that I never finish.  The big basket of cross-stitch projects attest to that fact.  And writing, that’s not my thing.  I joke that I majored in math so that I never had to write again.  Okay, I’ve been know to start writing a story now and again, but I quit well before I finish as they suck.  Real writing, for prolonged periods of time, that just doesn’t sound like me.  Somehow, I kept writing.  People were interested.  And writing about me, well that’s easy as I know I’m highly self-centered. 

Then I decided that harassing my friends and family to read about me and my life wasn’t enough, I should subject myself to the general public.  I opened a WordPress account and began a public blog.  I was astonished when people who don’t know me were liking my blogs.  I still don’t know what possessed them to choose my blog out of the many, but I am so glad they found enjoyment out of it.  Then, people started following me.  Asking to receive notice when I wrote.  That still boggles my mind.  It makes me happy to think people enjoy what I have to say that much, but it still astounds me. 

Today, I’ve taken writing a step further.  I will have a bi-weekly column in the Chugiak-Eagle River Star (www.alaskastar.com) beginning the last edition of January.  I guess this math major turned stay-at-home mom is now turning into a writer. 

I love the holidays, but I am so glad they are over. I don’t want Chase to go back to work, but I am ready to get into a routine.  I have been so busy, I haven’t even had time to make New Year’s resolutions.  While I don’t have resolutions, I do have some serious plans for the next year.  My husband is home, we don’t expect to move for about another year, this is as normal as life gets.  It’s time to get down to business.  My general plan is to really live my life. Teach like it’s my job, cause even though there isn’t a pay check it is my job.  Really get involved in church and Celebrate Recovery.  Blog on a more regular schedule.  Exercise, any at all will do; I want to be ready to do it all this summer, it may be my last here.  Really, just continue the work that I started last year when I began to attend CR.  Nothing new, just really working hard to become the person God made me to be.

I have come to the conclusion today that I stink.  I am inherently lazy, bad at setting priorities, and generally stink.  My to-do list is ever growing, kind of like the pile of clean laundry at the bottom of my closet right now.  I feel overwhelmed by the little mundane things of the day.  While, life at the moment may not be all the way in the unmanageable category, it certainly fits the unmanaged category.  And I realize what slips through the cracks.  While I’m trying to balance homeschooling, housekeeping, laundry (which really does deserve its own category), exercising, and all the other cares of this world, God slips through the cracks.  So I’m praying all day long.  Talking to God constantly, but not listening.  Not reading His word.  To take a moment to just be in His presence, without doing, never.  Everything else comes with a deadline.  Dinner must be cooked before dinner time, or else we can’t eat.  Laundry must be washed before I run out of clean underwear.  Kids must be taught before they are old enough to go off to college, it may not be an immediate deadline, but as they grow so fast and there is so much for them to learn, that deadline looms like an impending storm.  But God, He waits.  He will not leave me if I ignore Him.  I won’t have hungry, therefore whiny children if I ignore Him.  My clothes won’t stink if I ignore Him.  And I forget that there are serious consequences of ignoring Him.  I slide farther away from Him as I ignore Him.  Hungry for Him, I become cranky and whiny.  I stink at life when I begin to ignore Him.

In the past when I’d notice this, I’d have a plan.  I would do X, Y, and Z, and get myself back on the right track with God.  It was all about me, and what I needed to do.  Well, at Celebrate Recovery, I have learned this is insanity.  Doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.  The truth is, as hard as I try to make myself better, I end up here every single time.  Knowing how much I need God, yet pushing Him to the side.  The truth is that by myself I cannot clean up the mess I have made.  By myself, I cannot bring myself closer to God.  All the plans to read my Bible and pray don’t matter if I’m doing it for me.  So this time, I’m going to do my best and focus on God, not me.

I still have a plan.  But I know it’s not about my plan.  It’s about my God.  And I will read my Bible, not because I’m supposed to, but because it’s about HIm, and I need more of Him.  And I will pray, not to talk and try to figure it all out, but to just be with the One who can sustain me through everything.  And I will take a moment to remind myself, I am His, and that is all that matters.  It’s not about what I’ve done, or not done.  It’s about a God who loves me.

Wow, today has been the most normal weekday I’ve had since Chase has been home.  I’m looking forward to January when life should be full of them.  Okay, I’m more looking forward to December when Chase has block leave, so I get to spend tons of time with him.  But the prospect of normal life in January is nice too.  It’s not so much that Chase is home that has had me rushing about on week days.  Things just happened that way.  My back decided to have issues right before he came home, giving way to weeks of physical therapy that started the first full week he was home.  Then the kid’s dentist appointments were scheduled right after he got home, and the initial appointments lead to a bunch of other appointments.  Then everyone got sick.  Today was the first day I didn’t have to leave the house, either for groceries, physical therapy, dentist, orthodontist, or anything AND no one was sick.  I got to just do my life.  And I love my life.  It was a great day.

I got up, and didn’t have to rush off anywhere.  When I wasn’t quite ready to leave my bed, I pulled out my computer and blogged.  Yes, the secret is out, I blog in the morning for the day before.  While I want to blog, it isn’t important enough to take time away from precious evening time with Chase.  I put laundry in the washing machine.  And not because I was on my last pair of clean socks either, this was pre-emptive laundry, not necessary laundry.  The kids and I ate lunch, and I didn’t have to hurry them through it.  They could take their time if they wanted to.  We got school work done.  And I got Xavier caught up on History.  We are still behind on Science, but we are caught up on History.  On a busy day, those two subjects get cut so that we can all remain sane.  I exercised, before Chase got home.  That meant more time for Chase in the evening.  At the end of the day, I could tell that life hasn’t been normal.  As I folded laundry washed today, the huge mountain of laundry that has been done out of necessity and then not folded mocked me.  I still couldn’t get everything done by 5, it’s a good thing Chase came home a bit late or dinner would not have been ready for him.  But give me a few more days like today, and everything should be running smoothly.

Now where to find those days.  Wednesday will not be one of those days.  Thanksgiving wasn’t planned until tonight, so I have to go brave the grocery store.  Next week won’t be with more appointments lined up.  December will be blissfully not normal with block leave allowing lots of time with my wonderful husband.  January, January should be normal.  That’ll be nice.

So yesterday was the debut of Married to the Army:Alaska.  Today the second episode aired.  I saw the first episode, but as I don’t have cable and therefore don’t have OWN, I haven’t yet watched the second episode.  I will try to catch up as I have time.

I will start of saying I’ve had mixed feelings about this show for a long time.  When I first heard of the show, I thought this is a terrible idea.  Depending on the wives chosen the show could give Army wives a horrible reputation.  Pick the right people and the world will see us as slutty, sleeping around when the husband’s gone, stuck up snobs and social climbers who think we get the perks of our husband’s job and rank, and the possibilities are endless.  Then I thought, maybe if I was on the show I could give light to the average military wife whose life is full of diapers, laundry, and here in Alaska, snow.  So I put in an application.  Then it became apparent that I was not chosen, but an acquaintance was chosen.  Ohh, the jealousy I experienced.  I went from this is a horrible idea, to why wouldn’t they choose me.  Then the taping began.  I saw and heard of events that were happening, that normally wouldn’t happen, or normally don’t happen during deployment.  And I learned that while the wives may be real, this tv show is almost as scripted as Army Wives.  So, as my bs meter doesn’t tolerate as much as it used to, I thought it might be good that I’m not a part of that.  Plus the fact that while I learned to deal with all my issues of this deployment I didn’t have a camera catching all my awful moments, or someone asking me to explain what I was going through and asking if I could elaborate on my feelings and emotions.  Add to all that, I hate camera and microphones, and can write my feelings much better than I can speak them, the show and I would have been a disaster.  As the show approached, I still had mixed feelings.  There is some stuff that has happened during this deployment that I would really like to come to light, that probably never will.  Yet, I also want this show to go well, because let’s face it, it is me being portrayed even though you won’t see me on it.  Those are my peers, and they represent me.  Then there is the personal issue, this show makes me want to gossip.  I want to talk about the back stories that I know.  I want to talk about what I’ll be seeing.  I looked forward to the show airing and planned on using this blog to review the show.  At some point in there, I remembered that gossip isn’t good for anyone.  Not the gossiper, and not the listener.  (And when the gossiper is doing her gossip in a public forum, and her husband happens to work at the same base as the show being gossiped about, it’s probably not good for the husband either.)

So the show aired, and I was able to watch the first episode.  And then it seemed as if everyone I know watched the show, my Facebook page was full of people talking about the show.  As I know a lot of 425 and former 425 ladies, this should come as no surprise.  Again I was hit by something.  While the show might have been staged and scripted, the women are still real, and they still have real lives and feelings.  One woman became the person everyone loves to hate.  And again I was thankful to not be one the show.  I know that I have moments that I put my foot in my mouth and do something that eventually makes me want to crawl under the nearest rock.  Boy am I glad that the viewing public has never seen those moments and will never get to comment on those moments.  To see those moments on tv, and then to see what everyone is saying about them, wow.  People seem to have forgotten that we are only seeing the side of her that the producers choose to air, there might be more to her.  And she’s a real person with real feelings.

Knowing that these are real ladies with real feelings, I have decided that I won’t pass judgement on the show.  I won’t add my background info.  I’ll be happy to discuss the wives on Army Wives as they are characters.  I won’t be adding fuel to the fire if I comment on how Denise should have listened to me and kept a huge barrier between her and the doctor.  That it’s okay to seem old-fashioned and unfriendly to ensure that you aren’t lonely and looking for make companionship when your husband is deployed and acting like a bit of a jerk.  As they are fictional, no feeling will be hurt if I tell you why each character needs to go to Celebrate Recovery.  (That’s a running joke between my husband and I, when any character acts the fool we look at each other and say “You know what he needs?”  “CR”)

Today ends the Xavier birthday saga.  Poor kid, on his birthday everyone was sick and I was too busy taking care of the sick to really hang with him.  Then on the proposed day of his party, I was sick and we had to postpone the party.  Chase was the best dad and hung with Xavier, played games with him, and generally made him feel better.  So today we finally had his birthday party.

Let me start by saying, I very much limit the number of children who attend a party to the number of children I can handle.  We had one birthday with tons of kids, but it also included parents and outdoor activities.  Xavier wanted a game birthday party, and he’s now old enough that parents feel comfortable dropping off their children and leaving me with a household of rambunctious, school-age children.  Therefore for only a small number could be handled, both for everyone to be able to play the games and for my personal sanity.  So I only invited two families worth of boys.  Unfortunately, one family could not attend the postponed party.  So we only had one family worth of kids coming.  I was down with that idea.  I decided the kids could play and celebrate a birthday and the adults could have their own game night.  I invited the whole family.

Xavier didn’t mind the short guest list.  All the kids had great fun.  I honestly can’t tell you what they did.  I think video games were played.  The little girls for whatever reason brought the contents of Clara’s kitchen downstairs with nearly every blanket in her room.  At one point the entire entry was covered in pink blankets.  But everyone played well together, and they all picked up when the party was over.

Why did I not know exactly what the kids were doing?  Well, I could hear that nothing bad was happening, the kids were all happy, and I was having way too much fun.  I love game night.

To start the evening our guests brought over some of their favorite games.  I picked Munchkin after hearing the description: Kill the monster.  Steal the treasure.  Stab your buddy.  Yep, “stab your buddy” I was intrigued.  I couldn’t wait.  It was fun.  I lost, big time.  However, I think that next time I’ll be more competitive as it took a minute to get the hang of the game.  I can’t wait to play again.  Then we pulled out the top rated game of this house.  Phase 10.  The laughing was endless.  At least on the wife side of the table, but the husband’s seemed to enjoy themselves as well.  The guests won that game as well.  They wondered if they’d ever be invited back to play games again.  They don’t understand how my competitive streak works, they will be invited back until I win, I must have victory.

Today, my baby turns 10. So he’s my oldest baby, but my baby nonetheless. In theory, it should have been a day full of fun and celebrating my child. Watching his favorite movies, playing video games, presents, a special dinner, and a birthday dessert. I started out knowing it wouldn’t be quite that. With a physical therapy appointment in the morning and a doctor’s appointment in the afternoon, the poor child was going to spend the day keeping his brother and sister occupied in various offices. Plus, I had received a note from Amazon saying that our shipment would be delayed a week, so no presents from Mom and Dad.
Turns out his birthday wasn’t even that nice. Yesterday night, Clara showed symptoms of Xavier’s virus from earlier in the week. Instead of getting it over and done with quickly like Xavier, my youngest child was up all night long. My faithful washing machine ran all night, and I am so thankful for the sanitize cycle. I didn’t get much sleep by the time Chase was leaving for work, but since I was up I called and canceled/rescheduled my appointments. I couldn’t risk exposing Clara’s germs to others. Finally, around 8, instead of pouring out love on my child, I went to bed. At noon, I got a text “Coming home, please unlock the door from me.” The virus struck down another member of my family. When I went down to let my husband in, Austin informed me that he was ill as well. So Xavier spent his 10th birthday as the only member of the family not sick or exhausted (while I didn’t get sick, taking care of everyone and cleaning up after everyone did take it’s toll on me.)
Now I get to brag on my kid. He was a total trooper. He was bummed for a bit, but when Chase had woken up from a nap I let him open his present from Grandma and Grandpa. Armed with a new Lego set he went off to play with a huge smile on his face. He still got his dinner and dessert, and at the end of the day he said it was “the best birthday ever.” It doesn’t take much to please kids.

Another post from the Facebook vault.

 

Thanks to Kim I can write this morning what I planned on writing last night. Gotta love helpful friends who give advice on how to properly use Facebook mobile when I whined about not being able to do what I wanted to.

Let’s see, for those of you wondering about the car top carrier, the problem was the factory cross straps. Went to the store and bought new hoss cross straps which cost out the ying yang, but as we can drive the speed limit on the interstate they are worth every penny. However,while we can go faster, yesterday, I was that slow poke on the highway. That carrier really changes your center of gravity and yesterday while I was driving it was über windy. I guess that was just more of that adventure I’ve been looking for.

The car made it to the shipping company on time, Chase left me with the address plugged into the GPS and sped off. Good idea, I would have been extremely stressed driving in the wind and trying to keep up with him. Plus, it’s not like he was just waiting there on me, he had some serious paperwork to fill out. The company was pretty cool there. For Chase they were nice and helpful, and the atmosphere was happy and family like. Smiles and laughing abounded. It’s always nice to see a place like that.

Made it to Dianna’s  apartment, and then the bum arrived with April and Adam. Adam was the coolest kid ever playing with my boys all night long. They had a blast. I have to say, I haven’t laughed that hard since Dianna came to visit us in GA. She’s good for me. We need to stay friends forever so I can continue to get regular Dianna time. The bum and Chase actually didn’t get into any “conversations” about politics, social issues, whatever. But there’s always today.

Learned a lesson last night, not all Marriott’s accept dogs. Glad we learned that here, Dianna took Ella for the night and know we know to ask no matter what chain we’re headed for.

Gots to go get today started so I can have more to write about.