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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Today we lost ourselves, for a few minutes, down by the rocks and crashing waves. We forgot where we were, forgot all obligations, rules, responsibilities- we existed only in the moment.

Picking up rocks, throwing them into the water, seeing and hearing them splash down and then disappearing. Observing something disappear is a lot calmer than I remember it being.

The wind was blowing harshly against our skin, but something like that fades into the background when there are bigger tasks at hand. Cheeks and lips quickly chap, fingers numbingly freeze, and teeth chatter with every gust of wind and scoop of moving earth.

But I could have stood out there and watched the kids all day long.

What a way to spend our last day in Abilene.


I remember we had a sleeper sofa for a little while when I was a kid. Pulling the bed part out, no matter how uncomfortable, was awesome! Theres just something so cool about an ugly couch that turns into a bed, and then back into a couch! ...so thats one advantage to living in a hotel. The awesomeness that is the couch.

This rocked the kids worlds. They cozied up with all of thier pillows, blankets, and lovies- and had a slumber party with thier favorite movies right here in our makeshift living room.

Evelyn got a kick out of playing the gravity game with her dinner (Christopher was standing just beyond the frame- see her grinning up at him, waiting for his reaction?), the same way she does anytime shes sitting in a high chair with food in front of her. But this time: she actually ate. A hearty homemade potato soup mixed in with leftover brown rice- win win win.

She must finally be starting to feel better (a week and a half later). So fine, kid- go ahead. Throw it on the ground!

And I want to talk about something amazing that happened with Eleanore the other day: We were sitting on the couch before bed (or maybe I was in the kitchen at the table, its kind of a blur), and as the room quieted down, she asks "Mommy, can girls fall in love with other girls?". ...now this question is so heavy, and so loaded, and so detailed, and so... everything, that my head is immediately overcome with "is this happening, is this happening?". But more than that, my heart is overcome with joy. My eyes fill with tears, my breath is stolen from my lungs, and I'm just, happy, in a way that I've never felt before. In a way that I can't even begin to explain.

Eleanore- 5 years old. Learning about the world, and everything going on around her. Learning about love. Learning about who she is. Being, who she is.

So then Christopher and I look at each other, I release the breath that was never actually stolen, the breath that I was apparently just holding hostage, and I smile, then very matter of factly say "yes. Yes they can".

..."then thats what I'm going to do. I'm going to fall in love with a girl", says my outspoken little girl, as she bounces her legs up and down against the tacky carpet under her hello kitty slipper covered feet.

A precious moment in our documentary that I will never, ever, forget.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Packing, unpacking, packing, re packing, packing. Stuff. Stuff that we need, stuff that we don't need, stuff that we want, stuff that we want but can't keep. Letting go of stuff. Simplifying. And then packing up whats left. And then pondering more stuff.

While half of our belongings were spread out across the TLF parking lot (not being purchased by a Senior Master Sergeant who apparently didn't want our junky lawn mower, no matter how hard I tried to pawn it off on him), we took advantage of the beautiful sunny day that God gave us, and we took a much needed vacation to the park located in back of our hotel. The kids spent hours there today. Evelyn hung out on my back mostly (partially because shes still sick, but mostly because I didn't want to chase her around the pebbles), but the two older kids we trusted enough to leave alone from across the driveway where we could still see them from afar.

Even without our "stuff", we can still be comfortable and have fun. The kids are learning this. Slowly. Each day a little more. We made the most of today. We laughed and we played. We lived and we loved. We were.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

I'd let them toilet paper the whole dang place, at this point, if I thought it would keep them occupied and happy.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Once a Dyess Jet, always a Dyess Jet.

...ok I totally just made that up and I'm not sure what I even really wanted it to mean, but-

Today was Eleanore's last day at her school. I still remember (and very clearly, might I add) what it was like on my last day of first grade in Vancouver, before making the move to Woodland. It was a big deal. In my mind, everyone was jumping up and down cheering for me, throwing confetti into the air while they sang "for shes a jolly good fellow" (which they actually did sing). There were giant teddy bears walking around (which isn't nearly as creepy as it sounds) carrying trays loaded with fancy decorated cupcakes sprinkled with bits of oreos and butterfinger bars. There was a record player somewhere in the room, playing old old silent movie music, and we were all skipping and dancing happily, just a little bit quicker, and with maybe a bit of sepia overlay.

Okay so maybe thats not how it actually happened, but- thats how I remember it.

And Eleanore, who has a BIG imagination, especially when it comes to the world and how it revolves around her, I'm sure had a very similar afternoon to the one that I had back in 1991.

The reality was- I sent her with 2 packages of gluten free cookies to pass out with her teacher at snack time, and that was the extent of the partying, but- they were extra special cookies, because of all of the friends that she got to enjoy them with.

We picked her up from school half an hour early, to add a bit of drama to the conclusion.

I kind of wish I would have taken my camera to her school, but it was cold and rainy and I was huddled in front of the car heater sucking on little tiny corn fruit candies from a tin that I found in the center console.

But the first thing we did when we got "home", was pop a bag of popcorn in the bean splattered microwave, and watch the kids devour it, as I rejoiced in the fact that I could actually smell it (the first thing I've smelt in dayyys).

Gosh, kids love popcorn.
Do you remember loving popcorn that much?
I do.
I still do.
Who doesn't?

I made some for the kids the other day when Elie had a friend over, and I snuck a piece. And wouldn't you know, that one piece got stuck in my throat and I choked on it for half an hour, because no matter how much water I drank, it just wouldn't go down. But even though my brush encounter with it nearly killed me- I still love it!

Popcorn = love.

We looked it up online, and Eleanore's new school also has the mascot of a Jet. That = love, too.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I have to remind myself that this project is about capturing the everyday moments, not the everyday. Its natural for me to want to document my babies every waking moment- their entire lives from the moment they wake to the moment they close their eyes- but, when I look at the big picture, I need a nudge in the direction of remembering the little things that might slip through the cracks in my memory, rather than trying to remember the entire day, every day.

Still recovering from his ear infection (and a rather hard tantrum that took place upon saying goodbye to our old house this morning), Charlie came to me before lunch, lovey looped under his arm, and asked me to read him a story. But what that really meant, was that he wanted to take a nap. The word "nap" is too voilent to speak, so we talk in code. "Lay down", "rest", "quiet time", but... the one that seems to work best for him is "read me a story".

So I read him a story, just like he asked. Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site. And upon leaving his room, I covered him up with his blankets, turned the heat up, and closed the door behind me.

A happy little girl (as happy as she can be with an upper respitory infection, I suppose), on her way home from a very important rescue mission. I crouched in the shadows, leaning up against the cold brick, just so that I could see that brilliant lit up little baby face as it rounded the corner.

So who were we saving??

Well stinky, of course!!

At one point we had bought an extra one of these- brown and grey spotted plush giraffe by Carters (the original being a gift from Grauntie Laurie, the double being found on ebay)- but somehow we lost it.

And then today, we lost the real deal.

This happens daily. Every single day, at least once, Evelyn cries and cries and we can't figure out why- when suddenly we realize that shes not holding her stinky. So we trace our steps, and we look under beds, and- today he was at the commissary. I bet they found him somewhere around the naked juice and spinach.

Gotta love the stink :)


Monday, January 23, 2012

Evelyn is having a hard time with all of this. The hardest part of all- her biggest disadvantage: ...she can't talk yet, sooo- she can't find the words to tell me how shes feeling, or what she needs.

Sleeping in a pack 'n play in a dark room- shes still got her music player, but nothing else is the same. Sitting in a wooden resturaunt style booster seat- not she ever eats anything other than green crunchies anyways. Daddy doesn't come home at his regularly scheduled eating times. No Kitty Bomber to snuggle up to. ...where is our house? ...where are my things? ...how come this bathroom and bath tub is so dark inside? I don't like it.

Poor baby. And all of this while being sick. Because when Mama get sick- baby gets sick. Not only did she have the fever and runny nose combo, but now shes got a chesty cough to show for it. And if Mama's got tummy troubles, then wpuldn't you know- baby does too.

But on the semi bright side of things- there is a whole kitchen full of drawers and cabinets to open. And none of them are childproofed :)


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Eleanore wanted a friend to come over to our hotel room to watch An American Tail with her- complete with organic (butter free, but salted?) microwave popcorn. I'm not sure how much of the movie they actually watched- Charlie fell asleep somewhere around the duo, and the girls were busy playing Mama kitty/baby kitty- but it was nice having the room filled with such a lightness as the kids giggled circled around me while I prepared dinner. It was a welcome change of pace from the constant moving.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

My motherly instinct, when I hear something crash down onto the floor above me, is "Oh no, did the bookshelf in Charlie's room fall over?", as I picture my son crushed under an avalanche of very worn hardbacks, or- "Did the baby abandon ship from her crib?", imagining her pulling a light hearted and well intentioned Kate Winslet, without a faithful Leo to coax her away from the edge. But this time, its not my kids.

Because this isn't our house.

There is a different family upstairs. Who knows where they're from or where they're going- all I know is, their kids are staying up way later than ours, and they like to jump. I don't mind the sound, I'm used to it. I just can't help but think its a fallen lava lamp every time I hear a thud, or Evelyn got locked in the bathroom again, every time theres a scream.

Its strange, cooking dinner on a stove other than our own. Or washing dishes in a sink where the garbage disposal is clearly on the wrong side. There are carpets on the floor instead of laminate, heater units randomly placed on walls instead of the ceiling, and the beds are so high we have to give the kids a chair ladder in order to pull themselves up. Wearing them out at the zoo and then the Natural Food Center really wore them out though- they were able to fall asleep a lot easier than anticipated. Charlie did mention once at dinner time "I want to go home", which was hard. "This is our home for right now", we told him. "For the next week or so, until we move into a new home, and then another".

"I want our old one", was his reply. [insert heart breaking, while simultaneously getting stronger, here]

A huge thank you to Chris and Steve for giving us your man power to get the Uhaul loaded (even though I'm 100% positive that neither of you will ever read this blog, ever). Without you we'd probably still be struggling to get the washer and dryer out the door.

Seeing all of our things piled up inside of that giant truck makes me cringe- unloading it into a place half the size from whence it came is going to be a nightmare. We'll need a storage unit for sure. And even then- why do we need so many processions? This is something that plagues me daily. Maybe I can get Christopher on board with me for a giant stuff-dump, when we get to where we're going.

Until then, we'll live simply, using the bare minimum provided for us in our TLF, and enjoy our last few days here at Dyess.


Friday, January 20, 2012

On the last night that we'll ever spend in the only house we've ever known as a family of 5, I'm surrounded by big black plastic garbage bags, wardrobe boxes bursting with childrens clothes, and dirty kleenex.

Christopher is walking around on the couch around me, reaching up to the walls and filling in the holes that we've imprinted with thumb tacks over the years.

The house is empty.

We've set aside and pilled up on the ottoman the very few things that we'll take to the TLF with us (temporary living facility- basically a very small apartment for while you're in transit), we pick up the uhaul truck in the morning, we spend the following day cleaning, our inspection is the day after that, Christopher's final out is the day after that, and- if all of that goes well- we say goodbye to Dyess.

You know what sucks? Being sick.
I hate allergies.

Every time the winds pick up, my sinuses go on strike, my limbs take on hot and cold flashes, and my voice deepens an entire octive. I feel, terrible.

So I took a picture of it?

Never in a million years did I think that I'd ever want to take a picture of myself feeling the way that I do today (which is basically like a sugar coated kind of death), but- I did?

I did a photo shoot for a friend and her girls this morning, and when she asked me if she could get me anything (such a nice host), I replied with ..."tissue?". And she did! And then I used all of it. And how fun is that? To interupt a cutesy session of toddlers beating thier mother in the head with soccer balls and sipping on back yard beer bottles, to blow your nose every 5 seconds? Nice.

But so this is me, in all of my exhausted glory. The red rings around my nostrils only get worse with each sneeze. I'm freezing, no matter what I do (I have a cold intolerance anyways, so this is extra awesome). Oh- and I guess you can see my 4 month old dreads, kind of, if you can squint past all of the frizz.

Evelyn is a climber. And Eleanore is a copycat. This made for a special sister/sister moment on the step stool in front of the back window where the play area used to be. You can see the mat pads stacked up there on top of the empty train table, and topped with a GI Joe jeep. Evelyn's grouchy girl play pen to the left.

...is this really our last night in this house?

And then I was going to post a picture that I had taken of all 3 of the babies taking a bath together tonight, but- even though I blurred my focus just so, Christopher gave it the thumb down for internet approval. I can respect that. ...and then he followed it up with a funny "and I don't think I can give Eleanore baths anymore" comment, which he was completely serious about, referring to her "I'M TOUCHING MY VAGINA!!" announcement/tutorial/giggle fest that took place during our 5 year olds nightly overdose of inappropriate things that make Daddy uncomfortable.

Alright. I have to get up early to pour bowls of cereal and make the almond milk to top them off with-

19/366- Last Day As A Dyess Daisy

Thursday, January 19, 2012

This evening was Eleanore's last Girl Scout meeting at the Dyess library. And it was amazing. The girls (and troop leaders) really went out of their way to show Elie how much she is loved- its not something she'll probably ever forget.

We're so sad to leave such a fun group of girls- but can't help but smile at the memories that we've all created together.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Charlie's second bilateral myringotomy and adenoidectomy was a FAIL. Not even a month post surgery, and hes developed an agonizing ear infection.

He woke up with rosy red cheeks and an oven hot baby body, zero appetite- even for his favorite peanut butter oats, and heaps of lethargicness. He tossed and turned on the couch all morning, moaning and whimpering inbetween pauses in movies and Mommy's annoying "how do you feel now sweetheart??" questions.

Right around lunch time, his fever was on the up and ups, and he started showing signs of labored breathing- so Daddy whisked him away to the urgent care, where he fell asleep in his lap- the same way he did in mine yesterday.

There was no drainage from his tubes? He never once said his ears hurt? Maybe a trip to the ENT is in order. As well as lots of Land Before Time.