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The Longest Most Picture Heavy Blog Post Ever

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I might have mentioned that we have a pretty big moving coming up, right? We're finally leaving Texas, after six years of being stationed there. Not just at once base either, but three. Sheppard. Dyess. And Goodfellow. Its time to leave.

Well we did! We left! We're gone! We had to go and get a brand new set of tires after the drive from the bottom of the country all the way up to the top, but we made it!!

The past week has been a whole lotta crazy. The kids have never been in the car for more than 3 hours at a time, so strapping them into their seats for 6-8 hours a day, for four days, was just misery. Hallelujah for DVD players and dollar tree toys. I guess we've still got another day of driving on the horizon, plus a full day of flying, but- for the next few days we're staying put in Boise Idaho for a much needed family reunion.

You know what kinda sucks though? The fact that I'm sitting here with my laptop alone in the dark at my Mother in laws house while the rest of my clan is away visiting aunts and uncles and nana's and cousins and ...two thumbs down to being sick. This whole road trip has been pretty miserable for me as far as feeling pregnant goes. I can handle the usual swollen ankles bit, the occasional heartburn- whatever, all of thats fine and dandy. But for the past 3 weeks I've been battling an unknown stomach ailment that has me sucking on zofran and fearing food. Last night I prayed to God to help me be less selfish, and to give more to my husband and kids while I'm feeling so awful. I'm not sure God offered me much of a solution, but today I was able to shew them away to have a good time without me, instead of holding them back- so I feel good about that. And besides, when else would I have a chance to go through my photos? So anyways...

By the way, my MIL's house is making all sorts of creepy noises and I'm really starting to get freaked out.


I mean really, what is there to say about hotel living? Clean sheets, cable tv, one ply toilet paper, freezing cold rooms with the AC cranked up as high as it will go, and bored babies complaining about the lack of castles and theme parks inside the bathroom.

Oh, and we had our cat with us the whole time. So that was fun. I especially liked it when she escaped from her kennel while we were changing her freshly rottened up kitty litter outside of our hotel in Utah, and we had to chase her through bushes and trees while old guys stood around and watched us. Also, how do you explain to a cat that the litter box is not the place for a nap, but rather the fluffy fresh towel lying beside it? Oh... you can't. So they lay in their own poop and all seems right in the world.

And then theres the luggage. Ooooh the luggage.

And that isn't even the half of it. Thats just a quick photo I snapped (because Elie looked pretty dang cute) while Christopher was upstairs gathering round two with the rolly cart. We've spent hours packing and repacking that car- we've got it down to a science now. Because the thing is, we're not just packing for a road trip, we're packing for the next 3-4 months of our lives- who knows when our stuff will arrive at our next base.

Oh my gosh, isn't she so cute sitting there in all of her chubbiness putting on her own sandals? I can't stand it! "Is this the right feet?", she asks after they're on. It makes no difference if we say no or yes, and its usually no, but- she gets them on all by herself like she has for the past couple of months, and takes them off whenever she pleases, like in the middle of the Boise aquarium whiles shes trying to pet the fishies (they won't let you near them if they see you have shoes on, you know).

And this is what we saw when we turned around. Sometimes an angrier version of this, because somebody threw a water bottle that couldn't be re surfaced, or sometimes a happy version of this, because hooray they found a 2 day old cookie in their car seat!! Or a sleepy version, because waking up at 6am sucks when you're 3. Or a laughing version of this, because Pooh bear on the screen in front of them keeps seeing everything as honey honey. Or a bad girl version of this, because somebody got ahold of a hotel pen and took it to the leather seats. WELL. No matter what though, its always a pleasure to spin around and make silly faces at my munchkins. Even if they are telling me that they don't love me anymore, and never will ever again, because I told them we're not stopping for another hour to have snacks and use the bathroom at the hole in the rock rest stop in the middle of nowhere Utah.

Who cares about bathroom breaks though, because we saw UFO's!!

Yesss! We stayed in Roswell our first night of the trip, and I mega geeked out over it.

Alright, so Christopher could only stay in the museum for 10 minutes because the cat was in the car by herself and he had to go tend to her breathing needs or whatever, Evelyn left stinky floating in a pool of alien moss, Charlie kept laying on the floor with his Lovey and Binky (another one of those woke up too early side effects), and Eleanore was terrified of the statues- I had to bribe her with the gift shop to get into half of those pictures- but it was still really fun. I can't wait to give people their keychains and bumper stickers, haha. Or to install my larger than life silver alien bobble head on the dashboard (yep, I'm that geek)!

Another fun hotel room activity:

Office chair spinning. This usually will result in somebody falling down and nearly breaking their elbow or getting a bloody nose, but- it sure is fun for the first 5 minutes of it!

Now lets talk Utah.

I've never been to Utah, its always been kind of a mythical place to me. But wow. It, is, gorgeous. Giant pyramid-like rocks standing out in the middle of nothing, surrounded by thunderous clouds?! Okay! Or massive arched boulders that you could drive an entire train through?! Rock mountains galore. Oranges and reds and breathtaking skies... it was seriously jaw dropping at times. Unfortunately, I was driving through most of Utah, so didn't get a chance to take many photos. I managed to grab a few when we stopped here and there though...

Not bad, right?! And can you believe those awesome teepees?? The kids took their toys in there and buried them in dirt while I was standing outside waiting to take a picture. When they finally came out (Christopher had to go in after them), they were red from head to toe. Their loveys and mermaid dolls have yet to take baths, but continue to sleep in their beds with them. We like to keep a little bit of Utah close to our hearts :)

Laundry is in progress though. Really.

And in the another middle of nowhere gas station, was Lightning McQueen? And the kids just happened to be watching Cars 2?! We had to get out and say hi.

And somewhere else along the line, we got out of the car to walk on train tracks...

AND THEN, we finally made it to Boise.

We pulled into Aunt Jessie's house and tumbled out of the van to our welcoming committee, such a sight to see. The kids played with their cousins for the first time, Nana's met their grandbabies, and dogs licked toes. It was the great way to end our long and exhausting trek across country.

Noni has a stash of toys at her cozy little house that we're staying at, and the kids couldn't be happier. Sleeping on a futon and fighting over who gets the yellow building stick things and who gets the black crayon... magical. The kids keep making her little gifts here and there, whether its a platter of plastic flowers, a pen drawing of a penguin, or a broken bookshelf... they're smitten with her.

And Daddy reads special bedtime stories from Grammy that we brought along to help soften the blow of sleeping in unfamiliar beds. Storytime has always been a winner, but theres just something so comforting about storytime on a road trip. That one piece of familiarity.

Today, we went to the aquarium. ...are you ready for 1,000 more pictures? Fantastic!

So that was a good time. I wish I could have gotten more pictures, but as soon as I'd get a little kid into focus, they'd run off and stick their fingers in the bird cage that specifically says "Birds bite, don't stick your fingers in here!".

Good. Now I can clear my camera and take a billion more pictures of our adventures over the next 3 weeks.

This post took me like 5 hours to write, by the way. Between all of the shadows that I keep seeing that aren't really there, and trips to the bathroom (oh, my, gosh- will this sickness ever end?!), and texting my husband who apparently can't stand being away from me (really, who can blame him?)... until next time, friends :)

Because Its Becoming More And More Real...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The other morning I anti willingly woke up at 3am, which has been becoming quite the annoying pattern, and I came downstairs where the air is cooler and quieter, and I wrote. I wrote and wrote and wrote- I wrote my aching heart out. I wrote about all of the things that have been plaguing me lately- little things, big things, pointless things, serious things- things. But in the end, once the humid clouds started to part and the drying sun began to rise, none of it mattered. ...ok so maybe it stayed stormy for a few days... weeks even, but- when I went back and read my hormonal feelings from the point of view of a sleep deprived box of anxiety (I'm the box, btw- the ugly dented kind thats been used for like 500 different cluttery tasks, not the pretty patterned kind you see on your birthday), I decided to skip through all of it, and just focus on the bright side. Because there is a bright side. There is always a bright side. There has to be, though sometimes we don't quite see it.

And right now, though its still a bit blurry, and still a shock- this is our rainbow that peeks out from behind storm... 

Because even when my husband is off at the ER about to have an emergency appendectomy (don't even get me started), or my 3 year old son is throwing up all over the breakfast table because of his billionth double ear infection (whhhhhhy?!), or the movers suddenly can't come until 3 weeks after we're supposed to be moved out and on our way to visit our family (lets just donate it all and live in a hut)... there are swift little feet tap dancing inside of my womb, reminding me that it will all be okay- and that there is still beauty.

Though sometimes that beauty is hidden behind layers of zofran and unwashed dreadlocks, its definitely there

Soon we will be a blessed family of 6. "A tiny baby", as big sister Evelyn says, will be joining us this November. And while it was somewhat of an April fools joke (note to self, never take a pregnancy test on April 1), we're finally warming up to the idea of itty bitty newborn diapers and warm snuggly sleepy wraps. This is how it was meant to be

Its Already July?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Our time here in San Angelo has gone by in the strangest way. While part of me feels like we've been stationed here forever- I have to squint my eyes at the memory of being at Dyess- the other part of me can't believe its already July and our time here is almost up. This Texas town blends into that Texas town. We miss our friends and what was familiar, but with Goodfellow comes its own sense of comfort and routine. The thought of leaving Texas after being here for over 6 years... well its just surreal.

The youngest of the babes is upstairs in our bedroom playing up in her crib, having rediscovered a light up singing talking camera toy that was gifted to her by her Grauntie Laurie sometime last year, surrounded by a heap of dolls and darkness- hopefully taking a nap soon. She made it a point to sit on my empty plate after I finished my lunch, and chased her big sister around the downstairs until she was able to tackle her in attempts to steal her talking purple Ramone car. Little girl needs that nap. 

The older two are sitting on the floor in front of me, (my feet are propped up onto the smooth brown ottoman for safety) playing with every toy car they could recover from the daily demolished play room. Cars movie is playing in the background. There are fleece couch blankets sprawled out around the room as if it rained dinosaurs, flowers, and peace signs the moment I turned my back. And shoes... Evelyn's sandals and strappies are laying in small piles in between here and the kitchen- with the occasional Charlie shoe tossed in the mix. 

Its hot, here in Texas. Too hot. Melting, hot. Oh speaking of melting- one of the kids left some crayons outside and now there are big black puddles of wax staining the back patio. I tried scrubbing it out while it was still wet, but I didn't have much luck. I heard WD-40 does the trick, so thats my next move. 

We've been spending a lot of time at China Beach. If we want to go outside, water absolutely must be involved. I really wanted to get the kids into swimming lessons this year (especially with where our next duty station is), but we missed the sign ups, so we've been rockin' the floaties and life vests. As soon as we get to where we're going, I gotta get these little fishies swimming in the big pond!

Eleanore is really into Spider Man right now, her and Charlie are always begging to watch the vintage cartoon episodes. She chose that Spider Man life vest over Hello Kitty- totally her choice. Kids at the pool are always calling her "him" and "he" because of her short hair and choice of favorite character. Shes never been offended though, she just laughs it off. I sense a bit of insecurity within that laugh though, so I might give in and honor her request for pink hair. Maybe for her 6th birthday? We'll see...

Charlie is a total guppy. Hes at peace in the water. he doggy paddles all over that pool, with the aid of his floaties of course. From day one, he had no problem taking off on his own, heading straight for the deep end. He still won't go all the way under, which I'm partially grateful for, since we're always forgetting his ear plugs (and right now he happens to have an ear infection- we've avoided the pool for the last week due to illness). Going to the pool is the one time we can pull him away from his toy cars. Its the one place that we see just Charlie.

Evelyn. Oh Evelyn. Her lack of words makes things hard these days. She wants in, she wants out. She wants up, she wants down. Vest on, vest off. Mommy's arms, Daddys arms. And on and on and on. We frequently play games of cross-the-shallow-end, where where she ditches the vest and takes my hand, pulls me from one end of the shallow end to the other, and once we arrive at the edge she slaps the cement instructing me to lift her up, so that she can turn and jump into my arms, and I toss her into the water. And this goes onnnn... and onnnn... and onnnnnnnnn. Eventually I get tired of walking half hunched over holding slippery wet fingers and occasionally scooping up a drowning toddler, and we escape to the deep end for a dip, but- Evelyn is just exhausting at the pool. She loves it, and she has fun, and thats awesome. Its just so tiring.

Another benefit of wearing all of the kids out by chasing them from one end of the pool to the other? ...when its all over, they sit still for me. Especially if I bring peanut butter sandwiches, or even better... organic vitamin C suckers. Then not only do they sit still, but they're quiet too.

I remember summer days like that though- days spent playing and splashing in the river water, under the hot sun (or what I thought was hot at the time), and the shady recovery that would take place afterwards. Those days were the best days. Feeling sun kissed and worked out. I hope the kids remember these young days at the pool. Playing shark and mermaids, braving holding their breaths and dipping their faces under, feeling the burn on their feet anytime they stepped out of the water. The smell of sunblock. The sound of the lifeguards whistle. The echo in the locker rooms as we passed in and out of our adventure. It never gets old.

Swim suits and suckers on sticks. A summertime fairy tale.

Not every day is exploding with fun though. There are some days, like this whole past week, where someone will have the sniffles (or the full fledged flu, ugh)- days where its too hot to even think about stepping outside. Those days seems to be happening more and more. We watch movies, play with centers, destroy the play room with cabin fever fury, obnoxiously play candy land and high ho cherry oh. To put it nicely, we make the best out of being bored.

Charlie and Eleanore have these sorting counting bears, "gummy bears" they call them. They like to lay out a blanket by the back door, and bounce the bears from cup to cup. Or lay them all out and fight over who gets what color. Sometimes this will keep them entertained for 5 minutes, but depending on their mood, and the last time they played with them- I might luck out and get a full half hour out of them. Same goes for the rice box, the dinosaur magnets, the magic rocks, etc etc. Its always hit or miss. The more they play with them, the more misses we meet.

One thing that never fails though? The water table.

This thing gets filled and emptied and refilled more than once, on the daily. My favorite time to bring it out is in the evening, right before the sun goes down. We pull out the big canvas chairs and the lemonade, strip the kids of their clothes, hand them watering cans, sit back and enjoy the chaos. Sure theres usually complaining because he took that toy from her, or theres a bug in the water, or because Disneyland wasn't built in our back yard, but- this is it. This is the big entertainment for the evening. Water the grass, water your brother, water the cat- I don't care, just... be.

Also, Aloha cat shirts and futuristic squirt guns. These are the things that make up our existence.
And when all else fails. When the sun is too hot to take a walk under it. When the pool seems too far away. When the water table has lost its flare for a few hours.
We read.

Eleanore's favorite thing to do is read. She takes books to bed with her, reading them by the soft glimmer of her night light. She wakes up with them, sneaking downstairs before breakfast to grab her library sack and cozying up in a comfy corner with the canvas. Shes joined the summer reading program at the base library, and filling her book log is not just a hobby, but a way of life. She got a package of first reader books from her Grammy recently, and flew through all of them on her own, within hours. Little girl loves to read.

So thats it. Our June in a nutshell. The usual summer stuff, right? I wish there were more art project and playing with friends, but all of our art supplies are packed away, and all of our friends are waiting for us at the end of the rainbow.

Just four more weeks until we pack up, leaving Texas for good, and hit the road for our August vacation. And just wait until you guys see where our next assignment is, it truly is paradise.