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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.

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”)

Aahhh.  Sitting by the fire and relaxing.  It’s another day when I feel as if I really haven’t accomplished much today.

I guess that’s another thing I should look at while doing Celebrate Recovery.  Why it’s so important to “accomplish” stuff every day, and why only certain activities fall in the list of accomplishments.  I really haven’t been lazy today.

The day started off at physical therapy.  I actually really like going.  I still dread doctors, but my physical therapist isn’t someone to be dreaded.  First, they play worship music in the office.  The music with the prints from Shane Lamb studios leads to a relaxing atmosphere.  (Shane Lamb is a painter who paints Alaskan landscapes, and I adore his work, by the way.)  Then my therapist is helping me to work toward getting me into shape with no condemnation.  Like, I know my posture is out of wack, but honestly, I’ve never know what to do about it.  While all my life people have told me “shoulders back,” no one has pointed out what muscles to use and how to properly make them stronger so that putting my “shoulders back” didn’t hurt and wear me out.  My therapist never said a word about poor posture, she just looked me over and said, “Now let’s do this exercise,” and then, “Use this muscle instead of that one.”  I get it now.  And my back adores her.  She’s teaching me a lot.  Since starting therapy a couple of weeks ago, I’ve managed to hurt my back a few more times, but it has never lasted overnight.  Plus, I’m feeling stronger.  I felt a bit indulgent going to physical therapy for back pain I could deal with, but I’m so thankful I’ve been going.

While I was gone, Chase had the day off work.  However, being Chase, he was working hard.  My garage is being turned into a home gym.  He’s been re-organizing our boxes out there and getting rid of stuff to make room for our gym.  He’s cleared space for a treadmill to go with my elliptical, and we bought mats today for the floor to make space for workout videos, yoga, and free weight training.  He even brought our extra tv out so that I can play videos to workout to or play DVD’s while I’m on the elliptical.  We just need another DVD player (actually a 3D BluRay player is on the list of stuff to buy, and the old DVD player will go out to the garage.  The kids are all excited about having a space to work out, and Xavier even put in 60 minutes on the elliptical today.

Well, I couldn’t be out done by Xavier, I decided that while in workout clothes from physical therapy I should do my daily workout as well.  I should really consider that an accomplishment.  Taking care of myself is important.  The energy and mood benefits from working out make it something I should do often.

After lunch, I recalled that tomorrow is November 6th.  A day that requires some preparation.  So I decided to prepare.

November 6th is a day I have been dreading.  I’m taking all three kids to the dentist.  I hate taking my kids to the dentist and the doctor.  It comes from my need to be perfect.  Because I’m not.  I feel as if I should be able to make sure my kids have perfectly sparkling teeth, and if they don’t have perfectly sparkling teeth I have failed as a mother.  Instead of seeing the dentist as someone who will help me in the goal to have children with perfect sparkling teeth by teaching me tools and tricks, I see the dentist as someone judging me as lacking and deficient as a parent because my kids do not have perfect sparkling teeth.  I’m working on changing how I perceive things, but it’s easier to be in denial than to deal, so I put the appointments out of my mind.  However, today, I had to remember.  With all three kids going in at once, the receptionist recommended that I print the forms and have them filled out ahead of time.  So I needed to get that done.  And I needed to find the insurance cards.  I got that done in record time, but I’ll admit that the doing of it added stress to my day.  Mostly because I still just honestly dread the dentist.

November 6th, also happens to be Tuesday, November 6th.  And if anyone out there doesn’t know, that means it’s election day.  In elections past, I’ve been registered in areas I’m just passing through, so I’ve voted for President, Senate, and House, but left most of my ballot blank.  What did proposition 12 (a hypothetical issue, I don’t even know what else was on the ballots elsewhere) have to do with me when I knew I was moving before it would take affect?  I didn’t feel as if I had much right deciding issues when I had no horse in the race.  However, I’ve been determined to be an Alaskan since before I moved here.  And have loved it here since I arrived.  We may leave, but this time knowing I’ll be back.  I care now.  Being that this is my town, my state, I want my say in all the issues.  But I knew nothing about the issues.  Tomorrow I get to vote on the fate of 19 Alaska judges, 18 of whom I’d never heard of before today.  I needed to study up on the issues.  That took hours.  I feel as if I’ve been cramming for a test.  But I am prepared to go out and vote.  I’m kind of excited, even if this is the fourth time I’ve exercised my right to vote this year.

So I did all that, but my laundry still isn’t folded.  My sheets are over-due for a washing.  The list of stuff I need to “accomplish” seems unending.  I need to learn to be okay with that.  I did what needed to be done today, and laundry can always be done tomorrow.

I’m sitting in my living room, enjoying the sun coming in the window.  I know it won’t be long before the sun won’t come up higher than the mountain, and that at this time of day we may have technical daylight, but I still won’t be seeing the sun.  For now, I’m enjoying it while I’ve got it.  I look around my sunlit room and see many things that weren’t here a year ago. The walls of this room were somewhat bare for a while.  Not completely bare, Starry Night, a picture called Shipwrecked, and a painting of the Arc de Triomphe adorned our walls. But that still left a lot of blank space.  We had stuff we could have put there, but we decided not to.

When we were first married we lucked out.  We hit the jack-pot for poor, still in college newlyweds.  My dad had recently remarried and moved into Sally’s house.  So we had a houseful of furniture at our disposal.  My grandparents had recently downsized so we got decorations.  Chase’s sister and brother-in-law also happened to live in the same town we did and were happy to unload stuff from their newlywed years.  We had a fully furnished, stocked,and decorated house.  It didn’t matter that all the posters were of places we’d never been, or that other than the Coke collection the decorations reflected other people more than us.  It was better than cardboard boxes and bare walls.  To this day, I am super thankful for the generosity of all those around us.  We had it good.

At some point though, it started getting to me.  I’d see things I’d like, and reflected Chase and I a little bit more, but our walls were full.  We’d walk into other’s homes and see their personalities in each room of the house.  People would walk into our house and ask when we were in Austria.  Never, we inherited the picture, isn’t it pretty?  I felt we couldn’t take the pictures down, it all had to go up.  We were so blessed to be given these things, I couldn’t turn my back on the wonderful stuff we’d acquired.  Then it hit me, these things were not priceless heirlooms being passed down.  We would hurt no one’s feeling if we thinned things out a bit.  When we moved into our house here, I decided that I would be more selective about what I put up and where I put it.  I love my grandmother’s egg collection, particularly the glass ones (they are pretty and sparkly), but the stone and marble ones did nothing for me.  So the stone and marble ones are no longer part of the collection.  Chase and I love American history, so we devoted one room to all the things we have inherited that depict that theme.  Other family heirlooms were relegated to the guest room.  I still love seeing them and having them, but as they don’t reflect who Chase and I are, they aren’t front and center any longer.  And the posters of places we’ve never been, only one ever graced my walls. That one was only up because it was easier to put up a picture than to pull the big nail out of the wall.

A big house with lots of wall space, and a determination not to put up what didn’t reflect us left us with a lot of empty walls.  It was refreshing.  The blank spaces were possibilities waiting to be filled.  And I could tell the story behind everything that was up.

It didn’t take long before we found stuff to fill some of the spaces.  Finding was the easy part.  Narrowing down to what would fit and what we could afford, that was the hard part.  With hopes of extending, we devised a six-year plan to get all the Alaskan art we desired.  First, came a downtown panorama of Anchorage.  Next, a poster of Denali.  We were given a couple of posters that we loved and just needed to be framed.  However, these posters, I have determined, were made to be the most awkward size for framing, so for the longest time they were left, rolled up in a closet.  That was before Chase deployed.  Suddenly, it was R&R and I still hadn’t made any progress in the framing department.  After Chase left again, I lit a fire under myself and took those posters down to Hobby Lobby.  One poster I cut to fit a pre-made frame, and for the other, I sucked it up and paid for the custom frame.  While Chase was home on R&R, we found our next big art purchase.  Still on the six-year plan, we decided that The Cave would be this years major purchase.  The week after Chase left, I did the budget, found the money for the picture, and soon another wall was no longer bare.  Then, the day before I went to the state fair, our six-year plan bit the dust, branch said “don’t know where you are going, but you can’t stay here.”  I made a large withdraw from the ATM the next morning with the determination to find something on our list and get it at the fair.  The Shane Lamb booth provided the perfect opportunity to relive my wallet of that money, and two painting came home with me.  Since then, I have regained some perspective, we do have over a year left here, not everything has to be bought immediately.  However, as the temperatures fall, outdoor activities are ceasing, and Christmas is approaching, the art fair season has begun in Anchorage.  Last weekend we went to the Deninia Center.  There we did some research on the moose antler on my list, and during that time I fell in love with the carved whales the B Merry studio makes as well.  While we didn’t buy from that booth, yet, I did convince Chase we needed to purchase a photograph of Mt. Redoubt.  I was astounded to see a picture of my favorite spot (so far) in Alaska, and decided we “needed” it.  Well, the photographer was having a deal if we bought three, so a photo of the Northern Lights and one of the Matanuska at night also are awaiting frames before adorning my walls.  This weekend I wanted to visit the B Merry studio at the Made In Alaska festival.  I do so love their work.  I just have to decide exactly what it is that I want because I can’t buy it all.  At the festival, I found myself wanting something I had never even considered before.  Carved baleen.  The baleen of one vendor were spectacular. (Possibly because of their large size, I honestly thought it was about four feet long until we were putting it on our wall, it’s more like six feel long.)  It wasn’t on my list of what I wanted until I saw them.  Thnen one came home with me.  So now my walls aren’t quite so bare.  But it’s still refreshing as I love everything I have on them.

Yesterday, I wrote all about going to see Shrek before I even began to get ready to go.  I had no idea what drama would ensue.

I had hours at home with just me and my kids as Chase had to be at work.  The original plan had been to be at church and then the church picnic and then clean house.  However, I wasn’t quite sure I was up for all that activity.  I was feeling better after a bout with sickness the night before, but I wanted to make sure I was feeling my best for the show.  So what to do with my time?  I decided to get ready and look good, this was a big date night with my husband, I’d treat it like that.  So I showered, shaved, washed, exfoliated, plucked, lotioned, conditioned, polished, and curled.  I was even going to go all out and wear a skirt, until I realized that I own no panty hose. So instead I went for Alaska formal wear, jeans.  I even prepped the kids.  Clara’s hair was curled, a dress was put on, and I put some make-up on her.  I made sure the boys had combed hair.  Didn’t mess too much with their clothing choices, we do live in Alaska.  I will say that everyone at the show dressed their best, but this is Alaska best.  The formal wear I saw ran from what looked like prom dresses to clean jeans and t-shirts.  Everyone looked nice, so it works.  My boys were wearing clean clothes, so I just asked that Austin put on long sleeves under his Shrek t-shirt (he gets cold so easily, I just wanted him to be comfortable all night long).  My plan was to have all of us ready by four.  At four, I was putting my stuff into a different purse, hey, I wanted the whole look to be perfect and the brown bag went with my brown boots, brown sweater, brown wrap, etc.  Before I had everything in, Chase called. He was done with what he had to do, did I want to come down for dinner?

I had been hoping for dinner out with Chase all day.  That’s why I wanted to have make-up on and hair curled by four, just in case.  Then he asks did I want to meet him at Qdoba, or did we want to try Olive Garden.  So, I’ve been craving Olive Garden all week, since clipping a coupon in last Sunday’s paper for Olive Garden.  But it was just a bit after four, and we had a show at 7:30, could we make it?  Here’s the thing.  Anchorage just got Alaska’s first Olive Garden earlier this year.  People drove down from Fairbanks and up from Homer when it opened.  The day they opened, before they opened their doors there was already a two hour wait to be seated.  Things have calmed down a bit since then, but trying to eat there, especially for dinner, can be crazy.  It’s still a novelty.  It’s still the only one, another one will be opening soon, but it’s not open yet.  Even though we all probably know local restaurants that can give Olive Garden’s entrées a run for their money, Piccolino’s lasagna can’t be topped, the novelty of it being something that people in the Lower 48 can get, and we haven’t been able to, gives the new chain restaurant much appeal.  When watching tv, especially in the winter when we are hiding in our houses from the cold, dark world outside, we see the same commercials as everyone else.  The national ad for Olive Garden, or for Red Lobster, airs here as it does everywhere else.  It doesn’t matter that the nearest location is 2,000 miles away, it’s a national ad, so it airs.  And we drool and get jealous.  Then Olive Garden comes, and we come in droves as if led by the Pied Piper.  All that to say, I wanted to go to Olive Garden, and I knew we needed to get there fast if we were going to wait the wait to be seated, eat and still make it to Shrek in time.  I hastily assembled my purse and loaded the kids in the van.

We made it to Olive Garden before 5, and had a 35-40 minute wait.  Here they usually overestimate the amount of time needed to seat you, so we were good.  Chase arrived with a friend from college who had also joined the Army and is stationed at Wainwright, but was down here for a bit.  As we were talking and waiting, I started thinking about going to the show.  I knew Chase had his ticket, so if time got to be an issue, he could drop us off by the door, and the kids and I could go in with our tickets, which were still sitting on the table from when I got Chase’s ticket out to give him that morning.  In my haste to get to dinner on time, I forgot to grab the tickets.  I looked at Chase and told him “Your wife may have forgot the tickets.”  I said good-bye and ran to the van.  With no kids in the car, and a husband that I really wanted to have dinner with, I drove like an Alaskan on the highway on the drive home to retrieve the tickets.  I was at the table before the appetizer.  Here, I must, with joy, point out that the evening was not ruined.  In the past, I would have beat myself up over my mistake, and turned it into a big deal.  Last night, instead of stressing, I did what needed to be done.  In the past, I would have been worked up, I would have needed someone else to take charge and at the least tell me what to do.  And then I would have resented that they needed to take charge and been irritable.  I’m so thankful that God is helping me to not be that woman any longer.

Dinner was great.  We had fun.  The waiter had been made aware that we were in a hurry, so he kept things coming.  I relaxed and stopped looking at the time.  I wasn’t the only one who was having so much fun and enjoying the moment that time went out the window.  We left the restaurant at five till seven.  We had thirty-five minutes to drop our friend back at the barracks, drive downtown, park and get seated before the show started.  I’m still amazed that waves of stress didn’t begin to roll over me, change my attitude and bring strife to the night.  It’s so not like me to remain calm.  But things were going so well.  The night was so good, and still had such good potential.  I didn’t want to ruin it by starting arguments.  I didn’t want to ruin it by driving my husband crazy with questions like “Do you think we will make it?”, “What are we gonna do if we are late?”  I decided we should just do what we had to do.  Drop by the barracks, drive downtown, and go to the show.  If there on time, great.  If not, so we miss a couple of minutes of the show, we’d still get to see most of it.  Chase dropped off the kids and me by the theater.  We made it in just as the announcement that five minutes till the start of the show came over the loudspeaker.  I decided to take the kids and sit down.  They take a while to get settled and I knew Chase could find us.

As the lights dimmed, the seat next to me was empty.  When Shrek appeared on stage, the seat next to me was empty.  But before Shrek even met Donkey, the seat was filled.  I relaxed completely and enjoyed the show.  It was a good show, and we had killer seats.  During intermission I even ran into the wife of the owner of Chepos.  It’s horrible I don’t know her name, but we see her weekly at the restaurant and she spoils my kids rotten.  We chatted in line waiting for the facilities.  When I sat down I began to read the program, and laughed as I read the director’s note saying he wanted this play to bring the community together.  To be something to talk with your neighbors about during the week after seeing each other at the show.  I thought how this lady and I have another link in a chain toward a relationship after seeing each other at the show.

So we laughed, at one point so hard I nearly cried, we cheered and we watched Shrek marry Fiona.  Then it was very late, and time to head home.  As I got Clara ready to leave, I noticed that she was missing earmuffs and gloves.  Again, this would have been cause for high levels of stress for old Lori, but this Lori knows something.  It’s not a big deal.  I knew where they had to be, Olive Garden. And I knew, even if not there, it was just earmuffs and gloves.  My daughter is not short on cold weather gear.  As Chase’s car was still at Olive Garden, he suggested we not delay and just retrieve them while we dropped him at the car.  A sign on the door said, no re-entry after 10, but I knew they wouldn’t be yet really closing, people were still eating there after all, so I snuck in.  They hostesses were so nice and had Clara’s stuff waiting for her.

Going to bed at the end of the night, I was amazed at how well the whole night went.  There were so many triggers for stress.  But everyone involved chose to remain relaxed, everyone chose to have a good time no matter what.  And it was a magical night.  A night full of only good memories.  A night that brought us closer as a family.

So, first I must brag, I love when I’m getting my netbook out and my husband asks if I’m writing and then says “cool.”  It’s so good to know that he supports me in this.  I would not do this without that support, and I honestly have fun writing.

Today was a great day.  Yesterday, not so much, which made today even better.  Yesterday, I woke up feeling cruddy, and after a visit to the doctor’s office in the morning, I basically slept the rest of the day away.  Ending with going to bed feeling worse than when the day began.  Today, I woke up feeling still a little off, but a big day was planned and there was no time for being sick.  So I just went with the day.  Still not feeling 100%, but oh, so much better than yesterday.

The first activity of the day was a Hispanic Heritage event on the Air Force side of the base.  Julie was going and I decided that we would attend that instead of doing our usual Friday workout.  My original plan was to head to her house and the caravan over.  I still get super-duper lost on post (remember the air show) so I knew I would need help finding my way to Hangar 1.  So when Julie called at 5 till 1 saying her husband had to be there an hour early, I did the math.  The event started at 2, so they were leaving right then.  My plan to follow someone was toast.  Plan B, in our old van, I knew exactly where the JBER map was, the hangar had to be on the map.  Don’t know if it was or wasn’t, the map was one of the things I still have moved into our new van, along with a trash receptacle and a box of Kleenex.  So I headed out.  I knew where the air field was, and used common sense to deduce the hanger would be near the air field.  I’m still in shock that worked.  I found the hangers right away.  Then I had to determine which hanger was which.  I’m eternally grateful to the man who invented cell phones, they come in very handy.  I called Julie who stood outside the correct building, and I got there.

Okay, so I went for the food, and cause Julie went.  I figured there would be a speaker.  I also figured the speaker would follow in the tradition of most speakers I’ve ever had to listen to and be long-winded and boring.  The dude that spoke was awesome. He talked about growing up in Mexico, then coming to the United States and hearing about how we are “45% Irish, 30% German, with a little of the Netherlands thrown in” (so not an exact quote, but you get the jist, right?).  That got him thinking about Hispanic culture, and how even as Mexican, there was a lot thrown in there.  You have the Aztecs, and the Spanish, but then with the Spanish you get a lot of Muslim influence because Spain was controlled by Muslims for a long time.  He taught us that Spanish words that start with “al” are from the Muslim influence.  Then he talked about coming here.  How after like a week or two or so (I’m so bad with details, I should have taken notes) he had a job.  A job that was supposed to be temporary and has lasted him the past 11 years.  Then he talked about wanting to give his kids, and our kids, his grandchildren and our grandchildren the same opportunity.  And then all of a sudden he was done.  I so wanted more.  I could have listened to him talk culture and community for a while longer.  But after that was the Mexican food, so I stopped complaining and stuffed my mouth.

Chase was supposed to meet us there, but he still hadn’t come.  I was bummed that he was missing out on the food.  Then I remembered all those times he’s brought back a plate for me.  I did something then, I rarely do.  I got a plate of food to take to him.  And then he came, so it wasn’t needed.  But I’m still a little proud of myself for thinking of my husband, and trying to do something nice for him.

After that we went to CR as a family.  I’m so glad my husband went with me.  Even if he doesn’t keep going, that he would try out something so off the wall as CR, just because it means something to me.  I have the best husband.

When CR was over people were saying the Northern Lights were out.  We all ran outside to look.   My children, being my children, went saw, and immediately ran in to the snacks.  Chase and I were so excited we decided to drive up Mt. Baldy (along with half the local population).  They were so amazing tonight.  I have seen them once before, and that time they faded and changed.  Tonight they danced with movement and changing intensity.  It was amazing.  I was so glad to have my husband home.  With him home there was no question, do we drive up Mt. Baldy in the dark, with bunches of cars and other people all around, we just did it. Plus, even with all the other people around, it was awfully romantic holding hands in the dark.

Another old post. 

 

Today was day one of packing for the trek north.  The pros came and packed the second story of our house and the garage.  I admit to some trepidation that they left the entire first floor for tomorrow.  The first floor includes our bedroom, living room, kitchen and dining room.  However, these ladies were super high speed, so I’m sure they’ll get it done.  I’m also sure that we won’t let them leave until it’s all packed away.  I also packed suitcases with all the clothes that I believe the kids and I will need.  Right now we are at 5 suitcases.  That’s right, 5 suitcases for 4 people.  There is some room left in a couple of them for Chase’s stuff, but he will need to add another bag or suitcase for all his stuff (possibly 2 extra bags because he also has to pack his uniforms and anything he will need to sign in and do all his military stuff). It’s a good things we already planned to buy a carrier for the top of our van.  But even with that we will have a full van with 5 people and a dog to boot.

 

Packing for the unknown is an experience.  I don’t know if I have over-packed or under-packed. I’ll let you know when I find out.  For Austin and Clara I can’t imagine that I will need anything I don’t have packed, and if something comes up that we do need I will bet it’s not something we had to begin with.  Xavier picked out his own clothes and I didn’t realize until after the movers packed everything in his room  he is slightly lacking in long sleeve shirts.  Oh well, I may be making him wear dirty shirts, or wearing undershirts so the long sleeve shirts don’t get funky, which is more likely being that we will be needing layers by the end of the journey.  Hopefully, we will all have enough for our journey, but there will be stores along the way for the things that aren’t packed.  I have a feeling that I will be hitting a Kohls by the end of the journey for long underwear for Xavier and me.  The other three have some.  Chase was issued his and Clara and Austin have some pajamas that we will pretend are long underwear.  I also don’t know how long we will have until we get our stuff.  As we are taking our time making our way North, to include stop in my hometown that will last nearly a week (that is if we get the car to Atlanta on time and Chase doesn’t add anymore stops between here and there, I love you honey) our stuff may arrive in Alaska before we do. But we don’t have a clue where we are staying.  Haven’t been in this position in a while.  I’m hoping for a place on base.  We toyed with the idea of buying and haven’t ruled out the idea, but apparently even though we pay our bills on time and Chase has a guaranteed job with great pay because we have no debt we are a bad credit risk.  I was not amused when I told a lady at the bank we payed cash for our van (and everything else we own), she told me that was stupid and we should have taken out a loan and just payed it off really fast.  At this point I could jump on my soap box and rant a whole book worth about this subject, but I will end my home buying woes rant with another absurdity.  We could still qualify for a mortgage if we can show that we have payed rent on time for the past twelve months.  Our problem with this one, we have only been renting since April and before that we lived on base. Guess what, according to the regulations, because the money was taken straight from Chase’s pay and we didn’t write the check, the government gets the credit for paying our bill, and at this point living on base is looked at the same as living in section 8 housing.  Didn’t know that I spent the three years before moving here living in the projects.  So we may have to rent off post.  We have a few possible places in mind, but we don’t know anything about Alaska.  What will the commute from the different areas look like?  Where are the bad neighborhoods?  What neighborhoods are in the hillier places and we might just be stuck for months because I refuse to drive on an icy, sloped driveway?  We really need to see what things are like before making any decisions.  But I am not stressed about where we are going to live, God has a place for us, He wouldn’t send us there to be homeless.  And He knows our needs better than we do, so all we need is to make sure that we are looking to Him for direction in our house-hunting adventure.  So I packed for an unknown amount of time, to live in the very, very cold.

And now I am wore out and have lots that I should do, but I will admit that I will probably leave most of it undone for Chase do have to do another day. However, I am not worried.  We are in a much better position than we were when we were moving here and everything got done then.  And my wonderful husband will have help cleaning this time and more time between the movers leaving and our inspection.  Plus, I already cleaned the boys’ toilet today, so I do get some cleaning kudos.

I am looking forward to Friday.  When all the hassle of moving out is gone and I won’t have to worry about the hassle of moving in (and finding a place to move in to) because it will still be away off.  I have realized that moving is much like going through labor, it’s a huge pain, but once it’s over you forget how awful it was because you have something new to enjoy.  You have a fresh start that just seems to erase the memories of how much stress and misery were involved in getting there. On Friday, we will just have the journey to an amazing adventure. We will see a good friend that night and be going to my hometown to visit my friends and family.  Friday will be a good day that will make the stress and work of today and the next three days fade away to excitement about all that’s about to happen

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.

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.