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Tonight, I’m thinking long and hard about shoes. I am a girly-girl and I love shoes.

I was super excited when the snow finally melted and the ground dried up after the spring melt. It was time to take off the snow boots and slip into real shoes. I love my summer shoes, my favorites are open-toed ballet flats. Most of the shoes I own are ballet flats, allowing me to wear a different pair of shoes for any look or mood I have during the summer. However, while summer didn’t officially end until last week, up here in Alaska fall arrived at the beginning of the month. With occasional temperatures in the forties, socks became necessary. So I brought out the fashionable boots.
I have two pairs of pretty boots. One black, one brown. The black are chunky, late-90’s style, square toe, ankle high, and a chunky heel. I love them ever so very much. They make me feel stylish and cool. The brown are sexy, hugging the leg nearly up to the knee, narrow-footed, and a wedge heel. They make me feel classy and fashionable.
In the past couple years, I haven’t worn those boots often. I’ve had small kids to run after and heels put me at a disadvantage. However, as my youngest is growing, I’ve been able to get back into fashion. Hoop earrings and necklaces will no longer be pulled and yanked. I can nearly touch the day I can use a purse too small for an emergency change of clothes. My children now listen, I don’t have to run after them. I thought bringing back the heel could be part of my entry back into fashionable society.
Today, I’ve been trying to figure out why my back chose this week to be in massive amounts of pain. I’ve had back pain since my being pregnant with my second child. It’s normal for me. So, on Tuesday, when my back twinged, I sighed and took my Ibuprofen. On Wednesday, I groaned. Today, when I couldn’t walk without tears, I broke down and called the doctor. Turns out my right leg is shorter than my left. (Take that doctor that told me my back pain was muscle fatigue and would go away, no need to come back if it didn’t go away because he knew it would eventually disappear.) That still doesn’t explain why my back chose this week to decided it had had enough of compensating. Hmm, then I thought about my footwear. My beautiful, amazing boots, with cool heels.
I just had to get rid of one of my favorite shirts. It was a baby-doll tee. People kept asking when the baby was due. Four years ago, thanks. And now I may have to rid myself of my most favoritest shoes. Sigh. I guess I’d rather be able to walk than wear my boots. I guess, I’ll just have to do what I did when I dumped the shirt. Go shopping for replacements. Just as soon as I can walk.

I started writing on Facebook, not sure where I was headed.  In November, I brought my posts to WordPress to broaden my potential audience.  However, anyone reading on WordPress is missing the first part of the adventure.  So I thought I’d bring some of my old posts over, one at a time, here and there.  I will also be editing them at bit, preparing them for a larger audience.  Here’s the first.

So a few people have expressed interest in keeping up with our Alaskan adventures, so I thought I’d use Facebook notes as a sort of journal that you all can read, if interested. I will do my best to keep up with it, though as Xavier knows I promise nothing. We aren’t there yet, but I thought the first of the year would be a good time to start.  It’s a fresh start, and as I only have today and tomorrow before the packers come, we are close enough to moving.

It is January 1st, a time for New Year’s resolutions, and I have one this year. It’s self-fulfilling knowing where I am going, but that just means I’m gonna keep it.  I resolve to remember that life is an adventure and live it to the fullest.  But that resolution has many parts to it.  When things go crazy or I start to get overwhelmed I need to remember it’s part of the ride.  When it’s negative whatever, I need to remember that freezing my toushie off is an adventure.  I also need to live my life.  I need to embrace Alaska and do all the activities I can while I am there.  Three years are going to pass and unless I make myself go out and do, they will be gone and I will leave Alaska regretting that I didn’t make the most of my time there.  I need to love my family, not just in a mushy, touchy-feely sort of way, but in a practical live it out everyday sort of way.  And I need to get involved in my community and love the wonderful people God is sending me to in Alaska.  I can’t wait to meet all of them.  But all in all, like I said this really should be easy.  Some days may be harder than others, but waking up in Alaska should be more than enough to remind me that I really am living out an awesome adventure.

I know some of you out there have had a really hard 2010, and today is a good day just because it’s not 2010 anymore.  I remember being there exactly a year ago. 2009 was not the best year for the my family, and my husband and I rejoiced January 1, 2010 because even though we didn’t know how, we knew 2010 had to get better.  Well folks, it took a few months. We didn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel until the end of March, but it did come. And thank God, since April, 2010 has been a year of healing and restoration.  So I just want to say, follow God and trust Him that, whatever you are going through, this too shall pass.  And if you aren’t on speaking terms with God, well, that’s the first thing I’d work on to start the year off right.

Well folks, I have to get moving, the packers will be here bright and early Monday morning and I want to be ready for them. I also have a great family to enjoy and a super yummy first dinner of the New Year to prepare.  But I leave you with one last thought, even though you may not be going to Alaska your life is an adventure as well.

I’ve noticed that my eldest child really likes to argue with me.  There are four reasons I can think of for this.  Number 1 is bonding by argument.  I totally get it.  In my younger days, I used to flirt by starting arguments with the boys I liked.  In sixth grade, I used to argue with a guy about whether or not I was a nice person.  It was awesome, he was talking to me, not only talking, but saying I was nice.  Yep, I was arguing that I wasn’t a nice person.  In college, I took long walks with a really cute guy and the whole time I was debating all his beliefs.  I wanted to know what he really thought, not what his parents said, or his church said.  Plus, it kept him talking and interested.  It almost backfired though, as my playing devil’s advocate had him thinking I didn’t believe in the Bible and other crazy things.  Lucky for me, he stuck around and learned that I just really like to argue.  So I get it, debating is talking, and talking is relating.  Number 2 is that my son is testing to see if he can get me to back down.  He inherited my stubborn streak.  He’s also heard me say that I am the most stubborn person I know, and sees that as a challenge.  Number 3 is that he’s asserting his independence.  By opposing me at every angle he is “growing up” and “becoming his own person”.  Number 4 is to drive his mother crazy.  He knows I can’t resist an argument, and rarely will I stand by when I hear bad information being passed along.

His number one, go-to argument really does drive me to the loony bin.  It all began in the commissary parking lot.  Military commissaries normally assign letters to every other parking lane so you can remember when you parked your car.  In Alaska, to get into the Alaska spirit, pictures of native animals have replaced the letters.  You can park in the moose, bear or whale aisle.  There is one aisle in particular that I like to park in, it is strategically placed near the commissary exit.  The picture is that of a puffin, which I’m sure you know looks like a penguin with a large beak.  Ever since early childhood, I knew one fact about animal life on this planet.  Polar bears live at the North Pole, and penguins live at the South Pole, they do not live together, ever.  That fact has helped me answer many a trick question, and I have also been able to use it to show off at many a trivia contest.  Before we even moved here, I was able to tell my children that in Alaska there are polar bears, and there are, beyond a shadow of a doubt, absolutely no penguins.  Then at some point during the drive here, we found that there in fact were penguin-like birds here.  The puffin.  I did not know that, but I used that as a learning experience.  Xavier on the other hand felt lied to.  It looked like a penguin, and before that I’m not sure that he was aware of the existence of the puffin.  He now refuses to believe in puffins, stating that they are simply a variety of penguin. Now, every time I park at the commissary, or any other time the subject of puffins comes up, Xavier must say it is a penguin.  This argument is so heated, I wonder if the Hatfields and McCoys didn’t start their feud over something similar.

The amazing night of Monday Night Football, has given us another great feud.  Was that a legitimate touchdown, or a bad call?  As Xavier was rooting for the Seahawks, he is more than happy to call it a touchdown.  His main argument, in his childlike naiveté, is that the refs called it a touchdown, therefore a touchdown it must be.  I say Greg Jennings had control of the ball, at most the Seahawks tackled the Packers in the end zone, gaining a safety.  Don’t know if that would work on an interception, part of me wants to say that only the defence can score a safety.  I don’t know, my knowledge of football rules is negligible.  I could look it up easily if I wanted to, but I don’t care that much.  I do know enough, to know that if the defence intercepts the ball in the end zone, a touchdown is not scored.  And I call what happened Monday night an interception.  So now, anytime the Packers or Seahawks are brought up, my son likes to taunt me that his team scored in the last second of the game.  I cannot resist the bait, and the family feud is ignited.
Xavier has developed an interest in Fantasy Football.  He really wants to play.  While I know extremely little (although, I was the number 1 player in my league two seasons ago, before the playoffs, we won’t discuss the playoffs, just concentrate on number 1 at the end of the regular fantasy season), I have decided to teach him what I know, and let him help me with my fantasy team.  Together we picked a quarterback, and then we moved on to wide receivers.  Jennings happens to be my best wide receiver.  All work on developing a team that should beat my father’s team was shut down as we again debated the finer points of that touchdown/interception.  It didn’t help that ESPN was playing that clip in the background at the same time.  (We were at McDonald’s getting Monopoly pieces, in case you were wondering how ESPN came to be on.)

Now as a mom, I must learn to walk the tightrope between allowing good family fun of debating, and making sure that my son knows how to relate to people without picking fights.  Although, I can’t say that it has done me all that bad.  That guy I debated in college did eventually marry me.

Yesterday was a great day.  Taught all three of my kids.  I have learned that spelling lessons bring out the goofy in Xavier and me.  Goofy and spelling is good.  Poor child takes after me, so spelling is tough, it doesn’t come naturally.  When we are goofy, we are laughing; on days when we aren’t so very goofy, those are the days spelling brings us to tears.  So, yeah, goofy is good.  I need to remember that, and bring the silly to spelling every day.  All in all it was a really good school day.

Having been a good school day, Xavier’s suggestion that we should go out for dinner started to look pretty good in my mind.  Once he knew the idea to go out was firmly in my head, he went for his whole plan, Buffalo Wild Wings.  I usually don’t think things through very well, and will find myself in situations where I make nearly impossible plans.  Like going to Buffalo Wild Wings after the Monday night football game has already started.  This time, I did think about it.  I knew the only way to not have a forty-five minute wait on any given night at BWW was to get there before 4:30.  On Monday night, with the game starting at 4:30, I knew we’d have to be there even earlier.  All this was going through my head at about 4:15.  I tried to tell the boys it wasn’t the best night, but they gave me the look.  The cute kid look saying “please, please, please,” the look similar to Puss from Shrek.  And you know what?  Monday night football and teriyaki wings sounded very appealing.  So I looked at the boys and fully explained the situation.  We might not get a table until the game was over, but we could go, watch football, and eat when a table became open.  But they had to understand that, and behave while waiting, no matter how long, and no whining about being hungry.  They still begged to go, so off we went.  I’ll admit, a couple of weeks ago we would not have gone.  The rules in my head would have told me that there was no way we could get a seat.  If we wanted to try Monday night football at BWW, we needed to plan ahead, leave no later than 3:45, have Kindles and I-Pods charged (all electronics stayed home this go round), and I would have to feed the kids a snack before we left.  I threw the rules out the window in favor of potential fun.

As I drove to BWW, I realized I did forget one issue, where was I going to park?  It wasn’t like anyone parked would be leaving soon a half hour into the game.  However, I was able to find a spot on the street, there was room, and no No Parking signs.  I crossed my fingers that it was legal and parked.  Okay, I did more than cross my fingers, I determined by the parking of many other cars that parking on both sides of the street was okay, looked long and hard for No Parking signs, used what common sense I do have to determine it should be legal, and then crossed my fingers for some extra luck.

Once in BWW, I heard the hostess explaining to a party that with the game on they would give no wait time, the bar was full, and there were still seven parties ahead of them.  Fed up with waiting, one party said “Make that six” and left, along with the party talking to the hostess.  I was fully prepared to wait until the game was over, as long as my kids could wait with me. The game was on and the waiting area was sparsely populated with an entire bench free for my family to sit.  We put our name on the list and picked teams.  I’ll be honest, I could care less about either the Seahawks or the Packers.  Jennings in on my Fantasy Football team, but unless he could bring some major points (we are talking like 50) it really didn’t matter.  However, I happen to kinda like Rodgers, so I choose the Packers.  Austin, ever the pleaser, choose the Packers as well.  Xavier liked Seattle’s uniform, so he picked the Seahawks, and convinced Clara to join him.  We got into the game and began cheering.  The hostess gave coloring sheets and crayons to Clara and Austin.  Before long it was half time.  I crossed my fingers that some costumers would leave then, hoping to make it home by the second half.  The game was too close for anyone to be bored already.  My wish came true, tables began to empty.  And somehow, everyone ahead of us had left as well, we were at the top of the list and seated immediately.  I shouldn’t reveal this secret in case I ever want to repeat our luck, but when all was said and done, we were seated in the same amount of time we would have had to wait had there been no football game.  The wait even felt quicker because we weren’t crowded on top of people, and we were having fun watching the game.

Service was good, our drinks were always taken care of.  The food was great as always.  And we had fun.  Lots of fun.  The kids were all really getting into football and watching the game.  Cheering, paying attention, and learning more about the game.

We stayed until the last minute, you know the one where the refs decided the call on the field for the Seattle touchdown stood.  I still say, Jennings was the one with control of the ball, but Xavier agrees with the ref.  No matter the call, the game was exciting and I think I may have three football fans on my hands.  Call me silly, but I think a love of football is important.  You have to look past the issues, and there a lot of issues.  But football can teach loyalty, sticking with your team, even when they don’t win a game all season.  Football is also a great cultural bonding.  You meet a new person, and at least 75% of the time you can begin a conversation about football.  What teams they like, what they thought of that call last night, the list goes on and on.

After last night, my little football fans are playing a game and working on their touchdown dances.

It’s been a while since I’ve written.  Some days I’ve just been too busy and have had to decide on what my priorities are, and writing didn’t make the cut.  Some days, I just haven’t known what to write.  And other days…I’ll get to those days.

It’s funny.  I came to Alaska expecting adventure, and knowing that this state would change me.  I thought I’d become more adventurous, or something that Alaska would bring to the table.  At the halfway point of being here, I realize that Alaska was the catalyst for change simply because I chose it to be.  This change could have happened at other duty stations, but I wasn’t looking for change.  Here, just because it was Alaska, and to me Alaska meant romance, adventure, and excitement, it is the Last Frontier after all (not to be confused with the Final Frontier), I was open to whatever God had in store.  I thought it might be about seeing amazing things, which I have, although it’s only been a fraction of what this state has to offer (and a small fraction at that).  I thought it would be dealing with moose walking down my street.  That has happened as well, and it’s particularly adventurous when my children were walking down the street at the same time.  Or the time when Xavier saw the moose through the window and dove under the couch as to not meet her eye and cause her to charge.  I never thought the adventure would be learning to understand myself.

I guess I also have this deployment to thank for my adventure.  Having done the last deployment so horrificly, I was ready to be introspective this time around to root out the internal causes of that debacle.  I’ll admit, I was so not ready for what I found.

So instead of glacier hiking, my current adventure is admitting I’ve got some major internal junk that has been keeping me from being the person God created me to be.  Learning to identify it and asking God to help me remove or overcome it.  While there is time to go glacier hiking before I leave, so I’m not going to count out that activity, this adventure, while much more challenging, will be much more rewarding.  I can see now that I’ve let a fear of failure keep me from ever really trying things I’ve thought there might be a chance that I’ll fail.  I can see that in times I could have led, I’ve let fear of doing the wrong thing keep me from doing anything.  I can see that I feel so undeserving of compliments that I don’t trust the people who give them, I look for an ulterior motive.  Worst of all, I can see how I’ve let all that affect my husband and children.  But I do see it now, and now I am going to let all that stop running my life and ruining my relationships.

So I haven’t written in a while because I’ve let myself say this blog is supposed to be about Alaska, or military life, or even just being a mom, but not me dealing with my junk.  And yeah, with the wind storms rivaling tropical storms, and the rain coming down in massive amounts, there is Alaska stuff going on.  The deployment is nearly over, and we are now waiting to find out where our next duty station will be having learned we won’t be able to extend in Alaska, so there is military stuff.  But that stuff is small compared to going from a person afraid of everything to a person who may just have some confidence someday.  It’s nothing compared to realizing that my children are just mini versions of me, and changing me so that I can try to change their future.  It’s unimportant compared to learning to respect my husband by believing him when he compliments me, and not letting fear get in the way of our relationship, and so much more.

Today, I decided this is my blog, and I make the rules, so I will write whatever I want to.  So today, I wanted to write about the new adventure in town, becoming a more whole person.