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I sit here typing on my couch in my nice, clean living room.  In my downstairs that is guest ready.  That is a very relaxing thing, especially with no guests on the way.  Not that I don’t like guests, but there is anticipation and excitement and expectations that go with guests that while not bad aren’t relaxing.  A very cool aspect to my nice, clean downstairs, I’m not the only one who cleaned and picked up. All three helped.  Yes, even Clara pitched in.  I am not the worst mom ever, and I am not the worst housekeeper ever.  I will pat myself on the back now.

As I picked up the house today, I thought about all those videos of soldiers surprising their wives when they come home.  I’m going to admit to a secret, the thought of my soldier surprising me terrifies me.  Possibly because last time he deployed, I got really lazy and did nothing around the house.  I thought I had a couple more weeks to get the house in some kind of order.  When I got a call from Los Angeles, well, four hours weren’t nearly enough to bring order to the disaster I was living in. Now, I want to do it right.  I want the house to sparkle and shine like he’s never seen before.  I want to organize things that haven’t been organized yet.  I want to blow him away.  If he surprised me today, there is still stuff I want to get done, but the house is over all cleaner than it was on the average day when he was home.  But yesterday…when I left for my friend’s house I left before I had finished doing the dishes, school work was all over the table, mail was covering the counter and the playroom was a Lego mess.  Overall, normal for this household, but not the relaxing picture I want Chase to come home to. I have honestly thought about calling him, or more telling him when he calls, that he must do his best to make sure I know exactly when he is coming home.  No surprises under any circumstances.  I want to know everything so I can prepare as much as possible. But is that fair?  Here I’ll admit, that I don’t really want to be surprised, I like the anticipation and the knowing.  But if my soldier wants to surprise me, should I deny him that?  So I have a plan.  Tomorrow starts the moth of April, Chase will most likely come in May.  I will take the month of April to do two things.  Try to establish the habits needed to ensure the house looks Chase-ready every day.  It’s not like I don’t like my house looking this way, and it’s not like those are bad habits to have anyway.  I will also use the time to take care of some of the projects I really want to have done.  I’ve already figured out what projects I want to do before r&r and which ones will wait for redeployment.  So honey, I know you are reading this, if for whatever reason you come home in April, four hours notice would be great just to spruce things up.  After April it’s up to you.  However, if you give me some notice I’ll have a big pitcher of ice tea waiting in the fridge for you.

I love having good friends. You know the ones you can just drop in on any time and hang with you all day.  The ones who will tell you straight up when it’s not a good day, but then work to find a better day so that you can hang out.  We may have been trying since Tuesday, but we did finally get together today, and I had a fun day with an adult.  I love my kids, but it’s nice to have someone to talk grown up talk to.  Okay, we didn’t to a lot of serious talking.  But letting my kids play with her child and just sitting watching Jerseylicious was just what I needed.

Beyond that I don’t have much to say.  Except that after day not being in my house surrounded by all the stuff I need to do, I am now ready to get it done.  Bring on tomorrow.  I am ready.  Ready for cleaning and errands. But first a good night’s rest.

 

The school year’s end is quickly approaching.  And with that the end of the PWOC year.  Which means it’s time to determine who the board members will be for next year.  As I did last year I prayed about it.  This year however, no poking, no tugging, no wondering if maybe I should be applying.  But it did take months for me to see that I was supposed to be involved in PWOC leadership this year, maybe I’m just behind on the listening curve, so I’ve continued praying about my involvement next year.  The answer, I won’t have the time.  I was elated to get this answer, a definite pass from responsibility.  I can say no with no hesitation or guilt.  Not that I don’t want to be involved next year.  I really enjoy PWOC.  It’s the whole leadership responsibility thing that scares me.  But the answer “I won’t have the time.”  Never even thought about it.  Even though I have no plans for the upcoming year, and with FRG off my plate, I will actually have less responsibility than I did this year.  Maybe I should have been wondering what I’d be doing that I wouldn’t have the time for PWOC.

With Chase gone, I’ve started feeling this hole that needs filling.  I don’t do much other than my children.  I love them, don’t want to trade them in for anything.  But I also don’t want them to be my whole identity.  I need something that is me.  So I’ve been praying and wondering, what can I do?  I need to be more careful what I ask for.

I stated a Bible study at my church recently.  This week was the first week we’ve been doing homework.  As I’ve read the homework and contemplated what the author has been saying, I’ve thought to myself, how is she putting all this together?  And the occasional, where is she getting this from?  She’s seeing things that I’ve never seen while reading the Bible and some that I’m not sure I still see.  However, I know that there is church tradition and other non-biblical sources from the time that might concur with her conclusions.  (Disclaimer, she’s not saying anything doctrinally unsound, if fact there are many things I’ve learned from her in this time.  It’s just some details that make me go hmmmm.  Like in first Corinthians where Paul says Jesus appeared to Peter, I always thought that in context of the general meetings we know of in Acts, and you know that He hung out with all of His disciples after the resurrection.  The author sees it as a private personal encounter that Peter needed to have to reconcile after Peter denied Christ, which I always saw the “Feed My sheep” talk to be.  Anyway, not a huge deal, no problems theologically.  But where does she get her supporting information?)   And while once upon a time, I did study those sources and look into all of that, it was all for school.  I’ve never tried to dive into all that on my own.  It would take too much time.  (hmmm, time, hmmm)

Last semester at PWOC, I taught a class on the inductive Bible study method.  I’ll admit, the class started to unravel.  I pray that all the women got something out of it, if nothing else the desire to study the Bible on their own.  I did get that desire and have started using the inductive method to do some Bible study.

So today, as I’m finishing this weeks homework, I start thinking, I could do the study to answer all the questions I have.  I have the tools from the inductive study method.  I have access to multiple libraries and the internet.  I could actually do this.  Maybe not the same book this Bible study is on.  But I could do this.  And then it all ties itself into a pretty little bow.  I’m supposed to do some serious Bible study.  For what I don’t yet know.  Am I to teach a class?  Write a book?  I know it’s not all for me.  God doesn’t work that way.  I have an idea what I might be supposed to be studying, but am not yet sure.  I’m happy to entertain any ideas that you might have.

 

I’ll admit that Friday and Saturday were off days.  Friday, I just wasn’t getting things done.  And yesterday….yesterday stuff didn’t get done, everyone was cranky.  Yeah, yesterday was not a pretty day in this house.  I’m just feeling the blah’s lately.  I think it’s very possibly the result of not seeing anyone other than my children.  Yes, I’ve got activities three days a week.  Church, PWOC and Bible study.  But it’s not enough.  I need to just hang with people.  That one’s on me.  I need to make plans.  Warning: upcoming whining.  But I’m so bad at it.  I don’t wanna.  I feel like I’m imposing.  It makes me uncomfortable.  Wahhhhhh!!!!  I’d say it would be easier if people were inviting us to stuff, but then I remind myself that we forgot an invitation to a birthday party this week.  So yep, I’m the culprit.  I need to put on my big girl panties and go make plans with friends.  (I’m now whining in my head, but I’ll keep it to myself this time.)

So how did I try to fix the blahs?  Did I try to fix the actual problem?  Hahaha.  Of course not.  I dug further into the blahs by doing nothing.  Starting a movie marathon in my room.  Big, fat, bad idea.  No wonder my blahs got caught by the kids.  I isolated myself from them.  And was a completely crappy example for them.  At some point yesterday though I decided that I’d had enough.  I needed to get off my behind and do something productive.

It’s amazing how making the decision to just do something can change everything.  I went to bed actually tired after doing some of the chores that I had neglected on Friday.  And I woke up to a cleaner more organized house.  So we actually got to church on time.  After church we all went for a walk.  And we talked to a neighbor.    Later this afternoon, I just kept working.  I’m now ready for PWOC, except for practicing.  But that’s the fun part.  I’m all about singing praise songs at the top of my lungs in the privacy of my own home.  But I do need to do what I can to get my voice to sing the right notes at the right times.  I think the problem with my singing ability is not that I have a bad voice, it’s just that I don’t know how to make it do what I want.  I have no vocal control.  That’s my incredibly in-expert opinion.  Then I made the menu for next week.  Which means when I go to the grocery store tomorrow I’ll actually know what I need, instead of guessing what we may want.  So I’m all set for tomorrow.

So tonight, I’m feeling energized and ready for the week.  The kids all went to bed with good moods, mostly.  Austin went to bed in a good mood, until he learned that Xavier would be allowed to stay up for the Apprentice again this week.  Oh well, I can’t win them all.  I know that I still need something more, something outside this house.  I also know that’s on me to make happen this week.  But until I make it happen, hopefully I remember that getting stuff done is better for the mood than holding a pity party.

So I started writing because I was moving to Alaska, and thought living in Alaska would be interesting enough to write about.  It is, but I also realize that I have been leaving Alaska out of a lot of my posts.  I will say part of the problem is that having been here a year, here is now normal.  I do a double take when talking to my dad and other friends about gardening.  Yes, I’m planning my garden, but with two feel of snow covering my gardens it will be a while before anything gets planted outdoors.  You mean you can actually see the ground where you are at?  What, not everyone get 15 minutes of extra sunlight a week?  Doesn’t everyone see eagles and moose regularly?  Of course it’s warming up, it only rarely dips below zero lately and most days gets at least close to freezing.  And earthquakes, isn’t a little shaking normal?

We’ve had two earthquakes in the last week (close by and big enough to feel, there seem to be constant earthquakes throughout Alaska).  3.8 the other night and 3.9 today.  The one the other night was really odd.  It was just one wave.  Most quakes have been shaking, but this one was just one shudder, and I could sense it move across the house.  Both have been very close as well.  I’m not worried, this is normal.  But I do have earthquake insurance just in case.

We also spotted proof that moose frequent our yard.  Tracks and scat from two moose.

Instead of thinking about spring, I’m thinking about Break Up.  When will the world go from blue and white, to soggy brown and grey?  And while I don’t look forward to the grey, brown and soggy couple of weeks, I am looking forward to the eventual transition to green and lush.  I even bought all three kids rain boots for break up this year.  Now they can go out and play in all the puddles without getting wet feet.

And all this seems normal to me.  Wonderful, awe-inspiring, but normal.  And I’m loving every minute of it.

Well, another day is done.  Which brings me one day closer to R&R, and one day closer to re-deployment.  Don’t have much to say about today.  My mood was off ever since lunch.  Maybe it was the fight with my daughter over all the foods she “hates” which joy of all joys was replayed at dinner.  Maybe it was just recovery from being productive the last two days.  Maybe it was going for nearly a week without caffeine.  Maybe it was just me.  But we all made it through the day.  And tomorrow should be better.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow.  Going to a Bible study at church.  I’m looking forward to digging a little deeper.  I love PWOC, and I love the group I choose, but there isn’t much outside of class for me to do.  Which leaves me to my own devices studying the Bible.  There’s something to the saying like iron sharpens iron, one man (or woman) sharpens another.  I like to study with other people.  I like to be challenged to think in ways that are different from what I would normally think.  I look forward to being challenged.  And knowing some of the women who will be there, I think I will be sharpened.

Xavier wanted to play a game tonight.  Did he want to play a regular game that would be easy and over quickly?  Nope, he wanted to play Masterpiece.  Now I love that game.  The art, the bidding, the characters, and big money.  We rarely play it though.  It’s a three or more player game, it just can’t be done with two.  Even my sister and I who have made many a multi-player game into two player games (every played two-person pinochle, we have) never found a way to make this one work with just two people.  Yeah, there are three of us who would play the game, me, Xavier and Austin.  But even Xavier is a bit young to really be playing the game.  He doesn’t yet understand odds and percentages.  Although, tonight when we were playing he did show some savvy that I didn’t quite think him capable of.  He did learn to stack the forgery cards so that only one painting became worthless.  And I had been trying to tell him that adding that third value card onto a painting I already knew was a forgery was a bad idea.  But that was after buying that painting from me for $20 million.  The odds of him even breaking even were very slim, and with only two value cards $20 was the highest range it could have been at.  So he can play and he’ll pick up some strategy while we play.  Austin though, the concept is kind of over his head.  He really doesn’t understand the percentages, he can’t add up his money to know how much he has to determine if spending all of it would be a good idea, he can’t add so if the painting have more than one value card he can’t tell which one is worth more, he can’t remember what a painting is worth that he’s already seen to determine what would be a good bid, and he can be easily swayed by his older brother to do something dumb (though I’ve talked with the other brother about using his persuasion tactics to the detriment of his brother, but persuasion is part of the game.  Yeah, Austin is just a bit too young for the game.

Watching the two of my children play is interesting.  Xavier gets all excited about who he thinks is winning.  When he had a lot of money he thought he was winning.  When he saw how many paintings his brother accumulated by the end of the game he was sure Austin won.  Multiple value cards got him excited, and his high bids became outrageous.  Over all though I could tell he was starting to get a concept of the game.  To start with Austin can’t sit still.  When he wasn’t needed during the game he was practicing forward rolls, jumping or trying to stand on his head.  He never wanted to know how much money anyone had.  His bidding was erratic, buying and selling randomly.  He quite possibly had the luck to win if he had played with more strategy.

Xavier who was playing hard and trying hard to win lost, big time.  But he took it well, he is eager to play again with perhaps a refined strategy.  Austin who wasn’t really into the game came in second, and trounced Xavier.  He was devastated that I won.  And now never wants to see the game again.

What we need is to get Chase back home and teach him how to play.  Then Austin and I could team up and I could help him with some of the concepts he doesn’t totally understand at this point, and we’d still have three players/teams.

My Netbook is undergoing a virus scan.  Which is a good thing, but it is taking forever.  So instead of writing from the comfort of my bed, I’m stuck at my desk.  Bleh.  Now that I’ve whined about something that really isn’t worth whining over, I can move on.

Today, I actually got a lot done.  I wasn’t sure what would get done today when I woke up and realized that earlier in the morning I had turned my alarm off instead of hitting snooze and instead of sleeping in for ten more minutes, I slept for two more hours.  The lovely thing about my life is, that’s okay (most days, if it were to happen tomorrow that I didn’t wake up until 9, we’d be in big trouble.  BIG trouble).  Xavier can get breakfast for himself and any little people who wake up earlier than I do, and in general I have nowhere to be.  But I had high hopes for today.  After our relaxing week last week, and our house getting super clean on Friday, I was ready to hit the ground running.  At least I thought I was.  I was a little bit worried that not getting up early would get me off on the wrong foot and it would be hard to do all we needed to do.  However, instead of writing off the day, I just got started.

Took the kids to the library.  Found out that we didn’t need to be there for the drawing, and that we needed to have our paperwork filled out by Friday to enter the drawing though.  There was a book reading challenge over spring break and the prize was a beta, but all participants got coupons for a free fish (feeder fish) from PetSmart.  The librarians took pity on my children though and let us submit our entry.  Yay for nice librarians!

Then went to McDonalds.  While there I found out some interesting news.  Peyton Manning will be playing for the Broncos.  Xavier didn’t want to talk about it, he’s very upset that Manning didn’t choose his favorite team, the Titans.  And I think he could have received no worse news than Manning was playing for the Broncos.  The Broncos are my favorite team, and he is asserting his independence by rooting against the Broncos at every opportunity he gets.  Which translates to every game except when they play the Raiders, because I have told him if he roots for the Raiders he may not be able to sleep in my house.  So I had to call my dad.  I had to talk to someone about this life-altering news.

Then shopping.  We went to the PX, where I picked up some new school books for the kids.  I have found it doesn’t work to do regular work at PWOC, but they still need something to do.  Hopefully, what I picked up today will be just the thing.  Especially as I went overboard and picked up about seven books.  But the kids were excited about them too, and it’s hard to not get excited when the kids are excited about possible school work.  I mean, they were excited about learning, let’s go all out here.

Got home, put the groceries and the new school books away, and looked at the clock.  How would we ever get any decent amount of school work done before dinner?  But instead of giving up, we hit the books.  Yes, dinner was a little late.  But all the school work got done.  The kids learned some things, and it was a good day.

And now, it’s not yet midnight.  I have baked cookies, make a cake (that will be frosted in the morning as it needs to cool), and made chocolate covered strawberries.  Slides are ready for worship, copies of the lyrics are printed off, and I have practiced the songs until I can’t get them out of my head.  I have also worked on getting my Netbook more usable (added I-Tunes and upgraded anti-virus software).  I have been more productive than I could have imagined.  I guess it teaches me a lesson, never let discouragement that things aren’t going perfectly get in the way of getting things done.  Don’t ever give up.

I almost forgot the best part of today.  I got to talk with Chase.  Yep, totally great day.

Well, tonight I have two children feeling that life isn’t fair and one very happy child.  The Celebrity Apprentice is on.  I love NBC, it’s the only major tv station we get anymore, but it’s the one I want the most, the Super Bowl, the Olympics, and Apprentice.  After forgetting about my date with the tv last week, I made sure I remember tonight.  However, for my indulgence the little people had to be to bed on time.  Xavier is older, so I thought I’d let him stay up to watch.  He likes Apprentice, probably doesn’t quite understand what exactly is going on, but he’ll enjoy it.  Austin and Clara, really don’t need to be up until 10 and really won’t understand the show.  The problem with being too young to do stuff is that they are also too young to understand that someday they will get their chance to do stuff like stay up late too.  They also don’t see that when Xavier was their age he had to go to bed too.

Although the misunderstanding goes both ways, there are times that Xavier rolls his eyes and says “I have to do everything around here” when I ask him to pitch in more than the other two.  One would think that he would be able to remember having no chores at age three, I don’t even think he had to do more than clean his bedroom at age 5 and Austin’s got a chore list of his own.

There are times when I’m so tempted to tell Xavier “Remember when you got to stay up late?”  when he whines about having to take the dog out for me.  Or tell Austin “Remember how Xavier has to pick up all the messes Clara makes?” when he pouts that Xavier gets to stay up later than he does.  But then I’m really just fueling the comparison fire.  I get annoyed in general when people who compare their circumstances to others and whine it’s not fair.  Life isn’t fair.  There will always be someone who has more than you do.  There can only be one richest person on the planet and it’s highly unlikely it will ever be you.  There will also always be others who have something that you want, but not have things that you do have.  We often forget that there will also always be people who have less, but we rarely use them as a comparison.  I don’t want my children to look to others to find happiness.  No one likes the person who is only happy when they have the most and biggest toys.  Or the person who is always keeping score with who gets the best jobs and who has to do the worst jobs.  My kids need to learn to be happy with the good stuff in their own life, and learn to deal with having to pitch in.  It’s not fair, but it’s their life and it will never be fair.  Now I just need to figure out how to get them to realize that.  It’s a lot easier to say do you remember when you got the better deal.  Being a parent is hard work.

 

I hope turquoise counts as green because it was the closest thing I was wearing.  It worked for me and warded off pinching from my children.  I just don’t own much green.

Went to another FRG meeting today.  I feel for our new leader, only three adults showed up, my children did double the attendance though.  So glad it’s not my job, getting the FRG back together will be an uphill battle.

Got Clara some girlie Legos.  I just couldn’t resist.  They are so cool.  I’m now addicted and want to go buy all the purple Lego sets.  I’m thinking about asking Santa to bring the house for the two of us to build. And she was so cute playing with the car, person and dog.  She really got into the role-playing.  No other toy has brought that out in her.  Not her doll house, not her Barbies, not her dollies and stuffed animals.  She plays with them all, but they never interacted and talked the way the person and the dog did today.  I love watching my children grow.

I also got Xavier the Ten Commandments.  I still can’t believe how much he will watch that movie.  At his age I remember it always being on every Easter, but I was never able to stay with the whole thing.  My attention span just didn’t last 5 hours.  He can’t get enough of the movie.  Watching I thought about how so much of Jewish culture is about remembering and telling stories.  Then I thought about today being St. Patrick’s Day, and how Catholics use festivals and rituals as reminders of the miracles God has done.  I understand why the churches I go to don’t do all those things, for fear of worshiping the ritual instead of God.  But as a parent I believe it’s important to pass heritage and tradition down to my children.  It’s important to teach them of God’s story and what He has done.  While I get the importance, I’m also very bad at the follow through.  I need to start developing family rituals, but I don’t really know where to start.