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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am exhausted, and it’s still early.

Last night started off with me going to bed anxious and not able to sleep.  Then came the knock on the door.  “Mom, I threw up in the bathroom.”  Hey, in the bathroom, no big deal right?  Well, the toilet lid was in the down position and my poor child either did not notice or didn’t have enough time to open it.  I will spare you further details of my middle of the night fun.

This morning I awoke full of anxiety.  Somehow my brain got stuck in worst case scenario mode.  Every time I gave a situation to God, telling Him that I have no control over any of the issues, and I want Him to take care of it, I was imagining another series of trauma filled events.  I seem to have a creative brain that can spin a soap opera-worthy drama out of even the smallest things.  And all seem plausible to me.  The rest of the world may view them as crazy, but once I start to thing up these things they seem more likely than any normal positive outcome.

This was the state of mind I was in as I entered the dentist office.  However, from the receptionist, to the dental hygienist, to the dentist, everyone seemed pre-disposed to put my mind at ease.  Nope, my kids do not all have perfect sparkling teeth.  But there was no condemnation.  Advice and suggestions, yes.  Follow up appointments for two of my children, yes.  But everything was made easy and fully explained.  The boys both had good experiences and left the office happy.  And then there was Clara. You take your child in to their first dentist appointment, and well, you expect crying, some stubbornness.  I was surprised that Clara was excited about going to the dentist, but she is my child who says “yes, I want to go to the ER” when I use the threat “Do you want to go to the emergency room?”  to try to stop dramatics over small hurts.  She seems to block out memories of shots with doctors and only remember that they are people who pay a lot of attention to her and want to know all that she has to say.  A dentist is just another kind of doctor.  So I got it, but how would she really feel about someone poking around in her mouth.  This dentist was prepared for a little diva.  Flower sunglasses to protect little eyes from the bright light.  A stuffed duck to hold onto.  She was right at home.  While I was off looking at x-rays of the boys mouths, she was in her chair having the time of her life apparently.  Charming the hygienist.  No fear and total compliance.  And she has those perfect sparkling teeth.  Not only clean, but apparently perfectly spaced.  She didn’t just manage no problems, the dentist and hygienist were marveling over her little teeth and attitude.  I can’t say that I’m surprised that she’s the one with the healthiest teeth, and I can’t take credit for it.  While the boys whine about brushing, Clara fusses and insists that her teeth get brushed regularly.  All in all there was nothing to fear.

After the dentist we got home, and promptly went back out.  After my middle of the night joys, I didn’t want to see what we had for dinner again.  Just sayin’.  I took the kids out to lunch.  On the way home I drove by my polling place.  It looked quiet.  So we went in and voted.  I brought in my cheat sheet and was copying my answers onto the ballot, all while trying to wrangle my children.  And suddenly I noticed that I mis-marked my ballot.  The shame, the horror.  I meekly backed out of the booth, offending ballot in hand and had to admit that I had messed up my vote.  No shame, no condemnation.  Just friendly smiles and a fresh new ballot in return for my ripped up, messed up one.  I filled out my new ballot, double and triple checking before marking a circle, and then checking once more before putting my ballot in the machine.

We got home and Xavier asked to be allowed to shovel the driveway.  Yep, I’ll let you take care of that child.

So my day is nearly over, and nothing terrible has happened.  All my worry from the morning was for naught.  Could someone please send the memo to my brain that all that worry and worst-case scenario projecting only raised my blood pressure in unhealthy ways. I try reminding it, but it doesn’t listen to me.

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.

Before long Married to the Army Alaska will be airing. Teaser clips are up on YouTube. I have to say that while I struggled with not even making the cut to the official phone interview, I am now so glad I didn’t make the cut. I love blogging, where I have control over what is seen, and how it’s seen. I try to include the good, the bad, and the ugly. But it’s all real and authentic. You don’t have only the five bad moments and have the fifty good ones cut. Now, I don’t know what the show will be like, but I’m pretty sure the show will leave several of the wifes saying that what is seen is not an accurate portrayal of her. Or maybe not. Since the show has not aired yet, and I don’t have cable to see it when it does air, I can’t really say if it’s what my life is like or not. However, since my husband came home we’ve been watching Army Wives, we are a couple of episodes into the second season and I can tell you what from that show is real and what is not so much.

I’ll start with the characters. First, is Claudia Joy Holden. I love her, and I love her husband. But every time I watch I thank my husband that his job is not one where politics come into play. It would be rare (or me doing something totally outrageous) for my actions to be scrutinized to the point where a promotion, or a job could hang in the balance. The public will not look at my husband as a leader, so I will not be looked at as the wife of a leader. My husband says that an officer always has the choice whether or not to put the pressure of the public on his wife, but he also puts his ultimate trust in God, not in the system. The truth is, the episode where she had to kick her friend out because of possible press issues really isn’t that far off. There are many officers, and even NCO’s in the military who know that what the family does reflects on them, so they put a lot of pressure on the family to be perfect. The kids must know Latin by the time they are twelve. The sons must excel at football. The daughters must watch who they date. The wife must be involved in the FRG, the spouse’s club, and all sorts of things on post. And she must always act with grace and poise. I’m pretty lucky. My husband takes the attitude that he joined the Army not me, so anything I do is up to me. I decided this year to take time off from PWOC and the FRG and the wives coffee, and my husband didn’t worry that would take me away from all the good spousal networking I could do for him. He’s okay that even when I did all that stuff I never logged into VMIS, because I don’t care about the awards and recognition from the garrison commander. He doesn’t care either. What I do is for me, and only me. Not saying a little spousal networking is wrong, it can be done in the way of Claudia Joy, with grace. Just glad that I don’t have to worry about it.

Denise Sherwood. The good girl. She does everything just by the book. Chase laughed the first episode when she answered the phone “Major Sherwood’s residence.” Yeah, I remember when I read that part of the handbook. I think I may have even asked my husband if he wanted me to answer that way. He seems to find the whole thing a little pretentious. I’ve been told, that if I do start trying to follow that rule, I get lectured that most people just say “hello.” In the first season she is hiding that her son is beating her while her husband is gone. Now, no one would actually say that she should hide that, but Army wife culture would say that she did everything right. You hide your problems from those around you. Stuff like an abusive son really could hurt the husband’s career. Someone might wonder if he got the idea that hitting was okay from the dad. Others might questions the father’s ability to lead if he couldn’t control his son. So family problems stay in the family. Secrets are big in the military. Us wives are also told that while our husband is gone we should tell him what he needs to hear so that he can concentrate on his job, not worry about us here. Kids doing bad in school? Don’t tell him, if he’s worried about the kids, he can’t focus on his job. You just got fired? Gloss it over. Car got repo-ed? Tell him when he comes home. Don’t even tell him you miss him, he needs to think everything is working as smoothly as clockwork in his absence. I honestly hope this is being told to wives less and less because it’s wrong. First, he needs to know you need him. He will have a hard time coming home if he thinks he wasn’t even missed. Second, he’ll find out you are lying at some point. Either he can hear it in your voice, and he wonders what’s up. Or he will come home and find his life turned upside down, like Major Sherwood did. For a guy who is deployed, trust is huge. He has to trust the guys he works with because his life hangs in the balance. A breach of trust is just about the worst thing for him. And it takes more than a few episodes to bring the trust back. For many families the lies and the cover-ups are the kiss of death. It’s sad because it’s what we are told to do. I think it would be better to tell wives to woman up and take care of business, and then share what you are going through with your husband. Miss you husband, but go on with life, so that you can truthfully tell him I miss you, but life is going on. Pay the bills so that the water doesn’t get turned off or the car repo-ed. I heard a story of one wife who just put all the bills in a shoebox while her husband was gone. You can’t do that. It’s hard. It’s really hard to do your jobs and take over your husband’s jobs as well, but it must be done. Sometimes, crap just happens. The dishwasher breaks, a tree fell on the car, whatever. Have a plan, then tell your man about the issue and the plan. He may come up with a better plan, but he won’t have to worry about it if he doesn’t because you have a plan. It doesn’t have to be the best plan, it may be washing dishes by hand, but at least he knows you’ve got things covered. And he doesn’t come home to a bunch of surprises that will throw him for a loop.

Roxie. The naive new wife. I’ve had moments I want to call up a commander and complain about treatment my husband has been receiving. I’ve been known to want to explain to the commander just how his dumb ideas are affecting my husband’s life. Never done it though, and my husband is eternally thankful. Not that as FRG leader I never argued with a commander, but that was on behalf of all families and soldiers, not just mine. I’ll also admit to having my days of staying in my pj’s all day long, not wanting to leave the house in case my husband calls, and all that stuff. However, it’s up to the wife to put her big girl pants on and get over it. She can’t run to the XO to get reassurance before she moves on. But I love that she never got the rule book on how to behave. She and her husband make up their own rule book as they go along. I think we’d all be a lot more authentic and grow a lot closer as military wives if we followed their lead.

Pamela. My husband isn’t SF, and I am every thankful for that because he can talk with me about what he does. We grow closer and bond over that. I think it was good for the both of us to talk over the June 1 attack together. What he felt, what I felt. I can’t imagine knowing that my husband must be seeing and doing some of the most emotional challenging things in the Army and not being able to help. I did find it funny that she was one of the wives in favor of the wife going to congress for an investigation into her husband’s death. I totally agree, but as an SF wife, her husband’s death would be classified and she would not get any answers.

The Burtons. I was yelling at the tv when Joan asked her husband what he would have done in the situation with the little girl. Even before he answered. “The right answer is ‘I don’t know!” He blew that one. So I’m telling you now, if you haven’t even been to basic training much less haven’t been deployed, the answer is “I don’t know.” You dont’ know how you would react in any situation. You might know what you’d like to think you’d do, but honestly, you don’t know if you’d pee your pants and cry for momma if you had to deal with any of the stuff our deployed soldiers had to deal with. Correct answer is “I don’t know.” Period. He could have also been logical and told her that if she’s tried to save the girl she would have given away her and her troops position and then they would have all come home in a box. Remind her that it’s one thing to want to be a hero, but her mission is to make sure that our guys come home alive with all parts attached if at all possible. Just saying.

Mrs. Baker. The sad thing is that she does exist. The wife that is so entrenched in the culture that she will say or do anything to get the next promotion. A promotion for him is a promotion for her. Yes, there are totally women who would step on anyone to get her way. There are also officers and NCO’s that feel the same way. I could tell stories. But I won’t.

The soldier who blew up the hump bar. Most soldiers don’t beat their wives. Most soldiers have more control than that. However, with the culture of cover up and secrets in the Army, you never know, usually until it’s too late.

What else about the show? I’ve yet to be in a FRG that involved. But I think the show shows what a FRG is supposed to be, but just isn’t. Never been to a Jody bar, but know that’s what some wives do. What Pam said about making friends fast is true, you don’t have time to ease into relationships. Then when you do, you hold fast, you have your gang, like the spouses in the show. I’d say it’s unusual for there to be such diversity in spouse’s rank, but my best friends is an NCO’s wife, and well the whole bonding by birth in a bar does give a plausible explanation for them all choosing each other. Life isn’t that much drama, but who wants to watch a show where the most excitement is changing yet another poopy diaper?

I’m sure there is so much more I could say, but I think that’s enough for now.

Another post from the past.  Thinking about leaving our last house makes me think about how much I will hate to leave here.  But here has been so wonderful, I know that our next post will be great. 

 

Can I just start by saying that I have the best husband ever?  He is so supportive of me.  He’s so supportive of me writing this.  Yesterday, after all our stuff was packed and we were done with moving stuff for the day he tells me that I can use the laptop for writing my notes, I don’t have to worry about using my I-Pod.  Not that there was any reason that I couldn’t use it, I just wasn’t thinking about it.  It was also out of the blue, he was just making sure that I would be able to do my thing and with as much ease as possible.  Tonight, he got off the computer so that I could write.  I think that is so cool.  He’s also wonderful because he’s totally down with me hanging at the hotel with the kids while he and Amber clean.  Not that this isn’t the best idea, at the house I would be spending the whole time keeping Clara from making more messes, but it’s still cool that he’s so cool with it.

 

All but a few things Chase will pack in the van tomorrow are out of the house.  I all but sobbed as we walked out of the house tonight.  It was probably the last time I will see that house.  We had some good times there.  Looking at the back door I could see my tree.  What made that tree special?  It’s the first real tree I set up without an “expert” (meaning my dad or Chase) there.  I had Xavier because as I learned setting up a tree is a two man job.  It was also the biggest tree we’ve ever had.  I had to stand on the step ladder to do the lights and the angel.  Looking up at the catwalk I could almost see little legs hanging over it.  I can remember the mornings I thought I was up before the kids and I was doing stuff on the computer, but though I couldn’t hear a thing I just had this feeling I wasn’t alone.  I’d turn around and there would be Austin.  We had a short time there, but it was a good time.  We had so much fun.  It was also my last goodbye for this town.  My time in here really is over.  This was a great summer.  But as much as I will miss it, I am ready to move on.  This has been a vacation, but I’m ready to get back into things.  I’m ready for Chase to have a unit and for me to be a part of the FRG.  It’s time to be involved in a church for the long haul.  It’s time to make friends that I know I can return the favors they do for me, I won’t be leaving before they can cash in their IOUs.  I have to admit, I am leaving in debt to many neighbors and friends for bailing me out when I needed it.

 

I’m so tired I honestly don’t know what else to say.  I know there is much more to say, but my brain has checked out.  I also need to help my daughter find rest.  It will be found, she will learn to deal with sleeping in a hotel room quickly because this will be a long trip if she doesn’t.

Another post from Facebook. 

 

Oi, today has an adventure.  It’s what I’ve asked for so I ain’t complaining (too much).  I am just tired.

I just experienced the best day two of packing I’ve ever had.  And I’ve learned some lessons on how moving ought go as opposed to most of the lessons I’ve had in how moving should definitely not go. One, the packers should pack a full room at a time instead of moving from room to room so that it looks like they’ve mostly packed several rooms, but at the end of the day you realize that no room is finished and some are only barely started and every room is a mess and you can’t do much of anything.  Yep, before they move to another room the room being packed should be ready to load on the truck. They have an easier time doing this if you have removed all the stuff you will be needing for the move out of the room before they start.  Second, if doing a multi-day move, have the people who load the truck come on the second day. The house becomes much more livable with all the boxes removed from the house and you can begin cleaning with  furniture and boxes out of the picture.  Third, if you have kids, find someone to watch them during the packing/loading process. Fourth, when you see that the person you love is reaching extreme levels of stress, reassure him; he should return the favor.

 

I could start my stories from the day with the one about Chase’s cold-weather parka, but because I love him, I’ll be good.

 

The kids were with us today.  They did pretty good considering.  The morning before Chase returned from clearing post was tough.  It was cold outside, most of their stuff was packed (in boxes and in bags that wouldn’t allow them to get into because I didn’t want them to get mixed in with everything else and packed in boxes), they had to stay out of the way of the packers, and by golly, their world was just turned upside down.  I felt for them.  I spent the whole morning with a Clara on my hip.  When Chase got home, we ate lunch and then I went to him and begged from an excuse to leave.  I did better than the last move when on the second day I went to him and said “Honey, the kids and I are out, we can’t be here.  I’m off, see you tonight.”  Yes, I really bailed on him.  I have a lot of excuses, Clara created more work than I could do, I was tired from staying up till somewhere between 2 and 4 in the morning cleaning an oven the housing inspector didn’t even look at, or I was just generally stressed.  But I bailed, leaving Chase to clean the house and baby-sit the movers (and those movers did need babysitting, the movers this time have done a great job of getting the job done).  I’m trying to be a better partner and I’m doing my best not leave all of that on Chase again.  So today, I ran errands that I knew Chase needed ran.  It was better for him to be at the house, he had more of an idea what needed to be grabbed before the movers packed it.  And I could take the little people with me. I will admit to having the urge to call Chase and tell him he’d see me in a couple hours and we’d go see Tangled, but I didn’t give it a second thought.  When Chase told me he had another errand for me to run I did do a happy dance.

 

I will admit that the first errand I ran was a total bust.  We wanted to touch up the paint in a few areas, you know, the spot where lots of cleaning had rubbed the paint off the spot where Clara liked to rub against when she had a loaded diaper, good times.  Don’t forget the walls she decided were too boring and drew some masterpieces. Well, no one knew what the paint color for our house was.  The landlord didn’t know, the builder must have had better things to do than return our calls, and the neighbors we asked couldn’t tell us either. Finally, we got a lead.  The guy who came after we moved in and touched up the paint way back then thought it was macadamia, but if we went to the paint store the builder’s used they kept the paint colors on file.  The paint store confirmed, macadamia.  Big, fat wrong.  I thought it looked off, but my ability to match colors is suspect, and everyone seemed to believe this was the color.  My instincts were right, it was not macadamia.  After Chase had painted a square foot of wall and let it dry just in case it might really be the right color we called the paint store.  They said we could bring in a sample and they would match the color for us.  Chase ran to a neighbor’s house to ask for a razor to scrape some paint.  It happened to be the one neighbor we didn’t ask about paint colors. Turns out he didn’t just know what the color was, khaki, he had some extra paint we could use.  Thank God for a happy ending to that story.

 

By 3:30 our house was 99% packed, they left our bed for us to sleep in, and I’d guess at least 70% loaded.  We are so far ahead.  Chase’s frugal side was telling him that we should stay at home and eat what is left in our fridge.  I’m so glad we listened to the side of me that said we all needed to go out to eat for dinner.  At 3:30 we were all exhausted and cranky and while we knew we were ahead of schedule, we were stressing over what still needed to be done.  After a long dinner we were all laughing and ready to keep doing what had to be done.

 

What had to be done included buying a car top carrier for our upcoming trip.  Those 5+ bags I packed weren’t going to fit in the van with 5 people and a dog.  We needed extra room.  Now, I am married to a do it yourself if you can guy.  He changes the oil himself, replaced the light bulb that went out in the van, etc.  However, somethings while do it yourself, need more than one person. This had led me to many projects that leave me thinking “and this is why sane people pay other people to do these things.”  Replacing the handles in the van doors was one of those. Today, I had another one of those, it was my adventure for the day.  I helped install the carrier.  Not too sure how we did, as we couldn’t drive faster than 50 on the drive home because the thing was bouncing so wildly it hit our sunroof. (Nothing was damaged.)  It could be that we need weight to keep the thing in check, it could be a design flaw, it could be a few other things that I don’t know enough about the things to know what’s wrong, or it could be installation error.  We will find out before we start our long trip.  We are not crawling at 50 all the way to Bellingham, WA.

 

So that’s been my day.  I should finish packing Chase’s stuff, but my back is twinging and I’m tired.  I’m thinking bath and bed.