Friday, May 17, 2013

Missouri

We have friends stationed at Whiteman AFB in Missouri.  That's about 4 hours from the T's side of the family.  So we, of course, will never make a trip to Salina that does not include a jaunt to MO as long as we can help it.  We met this couple in TX during training.  They were a couple classes ahead of us, but since we moved so early to have H we got to know them.  Jenn brought us a meal after H's birth and later invited us to their 4th of July BBQ.  I was nervous, but I thought it would be a good idea to get out so I said yes.  Another friend wasn't in town for the holiday but after that I think the story goes that Jenn's words to Allie were "she had a newborn in one hand & a beer in the other; I think we should get to know her".  And a friendship was born.

I can't begin to explain how much I love this family.  Well I can, but not succinctly and it probably won't interest the majority of readers so I won't.  The Air Force life lends itself to making lots of acquaintances and people another friend and I label as "christmas card friends".  They're people you like very much and enjoy their company while you're stationed together, but after that you send cards and maybe catch up every now and then.  It's a necessary part of this life.  You can't possibly maintain close friendships with everyone you consider a friend at a duty station.  At least I can't. But then you find somebody you click with, loving instantly and always.  They fit that category.  Our weekend with them was all too brief, but still so fun!  Dan was getting ready to deploy so  he was actually around more than usual.  We basically did nothing, but we did it together!  We watched movies, we talked, we had drinks, and played with our kids.  It was perfect.  Jenn and I cooked.  The boys talked shop & cars.  They even got a huge snowstorm so our kids could experience snow since we missed it both in OH at Christmas and this winter at Mount Charleston.




 B was not so much a fan


H loved it!


Mommy taught her how to make snowballs


And tried to teach snow angels, but she didn't quite get it yet


 But "throwing" aka dropping snowballs on B was super fun


 kisses!


 B was happy as long as the wind didn't blow and daddy kept him held close



We did manage to have the girls' baptism that Sunday, but that is in a post to come . . .


Monday, May 13, 2013

Toto, we're in Kansas. Finally.

If you recall from my post about our road trip experience, it was a bit of a rocky ride to the great plains - pun intended! :)

But we did, indeed, make it to family.  It always goes by so fast, but it felt even faster because even though T took two weeks of leave, 6 days were dedicated to driving so we didn't get any extra time with everybody.  But we sure tried to make the most of it!

Grandma & Grandpa's house was a revolving door of family and friends wanting to get some face time with the kids -- let's be honest, we're nice and all but we just sing back-up to the babies.  As it should be, of course :).  That was the perfect way to do it, though, because it got to keep the kids relatively on their schedule.  It also allowed for them to see a ton of new faces in a comfortable place and made sure we weren't responsible for leaving anybody out.  Win-win-win-win? I've lost track.  Anyway, I'm saying it was a fabulous way to do things.

Even Uncle Doodoo pulls his weight :)

One thing we wanted to make sure of was that the great-grandparents got time with us.  Grandma K had both sets over for a lovely evening of dinner & conversation.

She LOVES to help in the kitchen!

We planned to come for their Spring Break, to get as much time together as possible.  But an added bonus was that Aunt K was able to spend the whole week with us, too!  The kids she is currently nannying were on vacation for it so she drove in from Kansas City!!  It worked out wonderfully.  Sure we spent some time with the kids, but we got to have a little grown up girls time as well - Pedicures, chips & salsa, and painting pottery!

 





H got some quality time in with her godfather,





plus we got a date night with him & his wife!



Nick drove in to see us as well, which was awesome, but I failed at pictures that night.  I know T misses his best friends so much, so it was great to get to go out to eat, play a game and chill out with everyone since getting home is so rare for us.  We probably won't see him back in Salina much now, but since his new job took him about an hour away from my parents' we hope to see him whenever we get back there! :) 

We packed a lot into those 5 days before heading over to Missouri for the weekend.  Ah, tales to come . . .

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!!

I talk about being a mom a lot.  That's kind of the point of this place.  To update you on our family, and talk about parenting in general.  So I'll leave you with one of my favorite TV moms while I go eat bacon and T's attempt at making me an omelet. 







Happy mother's day to moms, grandmas, and all my mommy (and mommy-to-be) friends - especially Kat & Rachel who are waiting to meet their first babies, new mommas Jenna & April, Holly who has joined us in the surprise baby club, Jenn growing her second set of twins, and Natalie who, bless her, is carrying triplets! 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Road Tripping!

TL;DR - this is basically a diary entry covering the 6 days we drove to KS and back.  It's probably pretty boring



We began a near 1200 mile journey on Saturday March 16th.  T had just come back from a TDY and so our goal was to leave around nap time and get a few hours underway, stopping in Utah.  Day 1 was not bad.  It was short (comparatively), the kids slept decently, and no one got too cranky until about 30 minutes from stopping.

day one full of excitement and napping babies

We ordered a Pizza and took the kids swimming in the indoor pool (a must for energetic kids stuck in the car for hours).  It wore them out, but not quite enough.  Well B was tired.  But H was WIDE awake.  And we're all in one room so that was difficult.  T & I were sitting silently in the bed, in the dark, reading things on our iPads while we listened to her babble and sing until almost 11.

Day 2 was the worst.  It didn't start out that way, but it took a turn in the mountains.  We got a little bit later start that I had wanted, but we were still on track to hit Denver in the late afternoon.  I chose a hotel on the south side of the city.  I mapped out parks.  We were going to play outside!  We were going to stop by Ikea!  We were going to go out to dinner!  Fabulous, right? 


But a snowstorm hit the Rockies.  And due to weather conditions and an accident we were stuck in traffic for hours.  

 

Our 7 hour drive turned into I think around 10 or 11.  We got to Centennial, CO around 7pm.  We were starving.  There had been countless tantrums by both kids.  H at one point in the traffic jam said "peas mommy, all done car".  You & me both, sister.  There was a Chili's down the road from the hotel so I called to order some carside to-go.  We picked it up, checked in, let the kids mill about for about an hour and pushed 'em to bed.  In our room right above the entrance so we heard everyone come and go both talking and the doors sliding open and shut.  All night.  I guess pet "friendly" room means pet "get the short end of the stick be lucky your dog isn't sleeping in the car" room. 

B beat us to the cooler; it was a long day for everybody ;)

Day 3!  It was a new day.  And we'd be reaching family, huzzah!  I'm now about a month removed from the situation so given that I can't remember anything being too terrible, I'm guessing it went fine.  Tiring, I'm sure, but fine.  I remember we stopped at a Subway for lunch just before the KS border because there's not a whole lot in western Kansas.  We survived and the joy of seeing our loved ones is what fills the memories for that day.  And wine :).


And after a very nice trip, eventually we had to return home.  We actually decided to make the same stops.  I thought maybe we'd break it up differently, but since we didn't go to Ikea and I wanted some small things for around the house you can't get online we went back to Denver.  It was only half successful and took longer that anticipated.  And of course there's the obligatory Ikea fight that every couple has.  It's a law when entering that store.
When we checked into our hotel, even though it was just before the check-in time of 4pm - i'm talking minutes - housekeeping was still in our room.  They had just started and we had both kids and the dog out of the car.  She said it would be a least 20 more minutes.  So the front desk apologized and gave us a new room.  A new UPGRADED room.  We got a 2-bedroom suite!  To be fair, we were staying in an Staybridge extended stay suite hotel so all rooms had a mini kitchen and a separate bedroom.  But still, we got 2 and a full kitchen!  It was nice to put the kids to bed in their own room and still be able to leave, watch TV, have lights on, pack, etc.  And also to not have to sleep on the couch.
The problem with that was when the guy at the front desk did it, he did NOT mark the switch in the computer.  Or if he did, it didn't take.  So T went out to gas up the car and buy more milk to save time in the morning.  I'm in bed reading and watching the voice and I hear people outside our door.  Then I hear the key swipe.  Pipe ran to the door and thank God for her.  It spooked the people enough to shut the door.  I opened it a crack and told them we were in here.  I don't know what the people were expecting but they just kind of looked at me. I had told them that the desk had moved us at check-in because our room wasn't ready.  I know it's a weird situation but they just stared and the one was adamant that this was their room.  They had their suitcases with them so they were just checking in.  So finally I was like "I really don't know what to tell you, but I've got two sleeping babies in here so we're not moving.  I suggest you go to the front desk to get a new room".  The front desk called up, which thankfully I was anticipating and answered on the first ring as to not wake the munchkins.  She apologized for the mix-up and fortunately there was a woman down there who was present when the day manager upgraded us to vouch for the situation and we didn't have any more troubles. 

Color wonder markers made for great entertainment . . .

. . . unfortunately for Pipe, so did throwing books on the dog


Day 2, another long haul back across the mountains, but lucky for us the weather was much better.  We stopped somewhere in Utah after naps and found a local park.  Piper got out, H got to play on a playground, B got his bottle & some face time with us.  We made it to our hotel in time to go out for dinner.  We still went swimming.  Well I took H swimming.  B & T were supposed to join us after B finished his bottle.  But it took them forever and they were only there for like 10 minutes.  But it was the same situation as before, one room.  So we went back, put the kids to bed, and sat in the dark until we went to sleep.

This time she was tired and we couldn't set up her bed until T came back in from letting Piper out for the night.  She was going night night anyway, apparently.


The advantage of our same stops was that on our last day, we only had about 5 hours to go.  We stopped for lunch at a McDonald's with a playplace so the kids could spend a little energy.  They fell asleep shortly after and napped until we were home.  It felt so good to be home. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Things I needed to hear(read)

(I think all parents will benefit from these writings, but if you'd like them without my babbling commentary, I'll provide the links up here:  One & Two)



I apologize for the lack of updating.  Recapping the trip to KS has been a daunting task.  Top that with my iPhoto being completely screwed up - I've spent so much time trying to get it cleaned up and reorganized that I still haven't downloaded the pictures I've taken. 

And T went on another TDY (temporary duty).  Which I don't talk about before or during it happening because the sharing of dates and other such details on social media is frowned upon for anything relating to his mission.  Even if it's just stupid bonus training in network communication stuff. 

But it was during that TDY that I feel the most tired and overwhelmed.  In comparison to most, it's short.  But with our friends deployed or deploying soon I couldn't help but  agonize over my struggles during this brief stint with single parenting and how deployments are 8 times as long. 

This the 2nd of what was to be 4 courses, but now it's looking like he'll only have to go on one more.  So I did it in April.  My memory shouldn't be that bad.  But it is.  I had every intention of using my evenings to write posts.  But in reality after being busy all day to help pass the time and tire out the babies, dinner, baths & bed for both followed by cleaning up the toys and dishes all I did was flop on the couch and have a threesome with my wine glass & the remote.  

So during this time, feeling like a failure - you want to only eat waffles? sure; watch 2 hours of TV? whatever as long as you're not whining at me; not keeping my cool during tantrums - I found two writings which were much needed.  

The first, written by a blogger dad.  I've brought out some excerpts, but the whole thing is worth a read.  The bold emphasis is mine.

We know it’s true that they grow up too fast. But feeling like I have to enjoy every moment doesn’t feel like a gift, it feels like one more thing that is impossible to do, and right now, that list is way too long. Not every moment is enjoyable as a parent; it wasn’t for you, and it isn’t for me.
 If you are a parent of small children, you know that there are moments of spectacular delight, and you can’t believe you get to be around these little people. But let me be the one who says the following things out loud:
 You are not a terrible parent if you can’t figure out a way for your children to eat as healthy as your friend’s children do
You are not a terrible parent if you can’t figure out how to calmly give them appropriate consequences in real time for every single act of terrorism that they so creatively devise.
You are not a terrible parent if you’d rather be at work.
You are not a terrible parent if you just can’t wait for them to go to bed.
You are not a terrible parent if the sound of their voices sometimes makes you want to drink and never stop.
You’re not a terrible parent.
 You’re an actual parent with limits. You cannot do it all. We all need to admit that one of the casualties specific to our information saturated culture is that we have sky-scraper standards for parenting, where we feel like we’re failing horribly if we feed our children chicken nuggets and we let them watch TV in the morning.

So the next time you see your friends with small children with that foggy and desperate look in their eyes, order them a pizza and send it to their house that night. . .  Put your hand on their shoulder, look them in the eyes, and tell them that they’re doing a good job. Just don’t freak out if they start weeping uncontrollably. Most of the time, we feel like we’re botching the whole deal and our kids will turn into horrible criminals who hate us and will never want to be around us when they’re older.

The next is an open letter type post to we less than perfect moms.   Again, just a few pasages highlighted, bolding for my emphasis.
I don't know if you planned to be a parent or not. . . But I know a lot about you.
I know that you didn't get everything that you wanted. I know that you got a wealth of things you never knew you wanted until they were there in front of you. I know that you don't believe that you're doing your best, that you think you can do better. I know you are doing better than you think.

I know you didn't expect most of this. I know you didn't anticipate loving somebody so intensely, or loathing your post-baby body so much, or being so tired or being the mom you've turned out to be.

You're not a perfect mom. No matter how you try, no matter what you do. You will never be a perfect mom.
And maybe that haunts you. Or maybe you've made peace with it. Or maybe it was never a problem to begin with.
No matter how much you do, there is always more. No matter how little you do, when the day is over, your children are still loved. They still smile at you, believing you have magical powers to fix almost anything. No matter what happened at work, or at school, or in playgroup, you have still done everything in your power to ensure that the next morning will dawn and your children will be as happy, healthy, and wise as could possibly be hoped.

No matter how far from perfect you are, you are better than you think.
And since no mother is perfect, chances are you are caught in a two billion way tie for Best Mom in the World.
Congratulations, Best Mom in the World. You're not perfect.
You are as good as anybody can get.


I think these things are great references for any parent, in any situation, at any time.  But it really hits me personally during my husband's absences.  During those times when I especially feel like giving up.  And I can't remember the last time I played happily (and not begrudgingly) along side my kids.  When they've watched TV or had the iPad for quite a bit of time multiple days in a row.  When I hate myself for making those choices, but feeling guilty about it takes less energy than doing something about it. 

And I hope it helps my friends who are at their wit's end feeling like the worst.  Who get on Pinterest and Facebook and lose hope.  Because for a minute you felt successful and triumphant that your kids were dressed before lunch and then you see an old college acquaintance who has made cookies, made perfect crafts, in a spotless kitchen before 9am and she has more kids than you do. 


And I'm stepping off my soapbox now.  I just needed to be reminded of these things by people who don't even know me, and especially don't love me.  Because friends & family are awesome.  But of course they're going to tell you that you don't suck. 

Love & Hugs