Run or Dye

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I was able to easily convince Kyle to do the Run or Dye 5k this year!  He had injured his calf so it was an easy sell when I told him we’d only be walking so we could take the kids in the wagon.  I was sure teh kids would have a blast, especially Reece because what three year-old wouldn’t want to throw colored powder at everyone and get messy himself.

 

So this morning we loaded the kids in our Radio Flyer wagon and took part in the Run or Dye 5k!

It was so much fun.  Both kids had a great time and so did we.  Kylee missed a nap because of the race so towards the end, she was over it.  Reece got out of the wagon a few times and ran with Kyle or I which was so much fun.  I absolutely love getting active with my little family; we’re definitely making memories I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Here are some pictures from the race (walk).

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When the walls start closing in

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Yesterday was interesting.  Given the craziness of the last couple of weeks (Kyle coming home, Kylee’s birthday party, Mom visiting, Kyle leaving again) I decided that we would spend all of Saturday in the house.  I would clean, we would relax, and hopefully re-establish routine in our house.

The morning went by without the slightest wrinkle.  The kids played nice as I started laundry and purged their old toys.   We had lunch then I put the kids down for a nap and took some time for myself on the couch watching junk on TV, it was great.

Things started to get crazy after naptime.  Reece seemed to want to get into everything.  He was pulling pots and pans out of the cabinet, filling and pouring cups of water from the fridge, pulling toys from the play room and not putting them back.  This is somewhat common, maybe a little exaggerated, but nothing I couldn’t deal with.  I wasn’t surprised because we hadn’t left the house all day so the kids were bound to get a little stir crazy.

So I kept on chugging and did what I could to keep me and the kids in check.  Just about every day I make dinner in the 5 o’clock hour and we go outside to play at 6.  I put a pot of water on the stove to boil noodles for spaghetti, put on an episode of Mickey and plopped the kids in front of the TV so I could change my clothes.  I didn’t rush, the kids were quiet.  I changed my shirt, picked up a little and pulled my hair back all while listening downstairs for the kids.  Nothing.

My little pea-NUTS.

My little pea-NUTS.

But when I came down the stairs the kids weren’t in the living room watching Mickey.  They weren’t in the playroom.  They weren’t in the bathroom, laundry room, or outside.  I peeked behind the island in the kitchen and saw them.

Covered head to toe in peanut butter.

I just opened that jar that morning for breakfast but by the time I found them their little fingers were scraping the bottom.  It was all over them, the floor and surrounding cabinets.  At first I was fuming but then figured they were already elbow deep, might as well get a few pictures.  It was actually pretty funny.

After I captured the moment, I bathed the kids (that was an experience) and locked them in the playroom so I could clean the kitchen.  While locked in the playroom, Reece decides to pee on the old couch!  He knows to call to me when he needs to go but can’t get to the bathroom so I am at a loss as to why he didn’t.

I was hoping all the craziness was behind us so I went back to laundry and cleaning but once again Reece was abnormally quiet.  I searched the house and found him outside with a bottle of sunscreen upside-down and he is squeezing out it’s last drops onto the sidewalk.  That was my breaking point.  I decided no outside playing with friends for tonight.  He would go into the house, clean up his toys and go to bed early.  And that’s what we did.

Later, I was talking to Kyle on the phone and we agreed we need to set up a system to score his behavior and deal with it accordingly, almost like what we had in grade school.  Changing colors (Blue-green for good, yellow for ok, orange-red for bad) and keep it somewhere where he is constantly reminded of it so he can adjust his behavior.  Maybe if he is orange or red he doesn’t get dessert or play with friends but if it’s in blue or green maybe watch an extra cartoon or get a special dessert.  Maybe this will be a more consistent way of keeping him in check.

Either way I have learned a valuable lesson about my children, especially Reece. He needs to get out daily.  Whether it be a quick energy bur at the park or a full day of running around it is vital that they get out of the house and into the outside world at some point every day.  They are like me in that sense but unlike me, I know other ways of channeling my cabin fever.  When the four walls start closing in my kids get crazy and destructive so I need to get them out before those four wall start crumbling down.

My brain is on vacation

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I haven’t been writing lately.  Usually on days I don’t publish a blog post I write what I hope will be my book.  I was doing really well for a while but over the last few weeks I just don’t have much of a creative thought in my brain.  Then recently (the last weeks or so) getting a blog post out has been as easy as parallel parking an eighteen-wheeler.  I’ve been in these ruts before but this one seems to really be pulling me down.

What is worse is that when I have free time I am choosing to watch crap on TV rather than reading.  The book I have been reading for the last two weeks sits on my nightstand, the bookmark hasn’t moved in days.  What the hell?

This is a typical rut.  A dry spell.  My brain is fried and I don’t see much hope on the horizon.  It will turn around because writing/reading is usually my escape but I just don’t know when or how.  My days are so routine, especially when Kyle is gone. The only time I have for me is the short period when the kids are napping (if I get any nap-overlap) and after the kids go to sleep for the night.  After a few chores to keep the house presentable I have no desired to think so I’ve been letting the TV do it for me.

We’re going to the beach again tomorrow (I know, tough life we have) and if the kids allow I may be able to reset my frazzled brain and hopefully crack open a book.  We’ll see.  Until this funk I’m in turns itself around, I apologize for any crap I publish, I am trying.

Kylee’s 1st Bee-day party.

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Kylee’s party was a success!  This is the first party we’ve thrown that wasn’t mostly family.  Before the party, Kyle and I had run all over town getting food, supplies, and décor and cleaned every square inch of the house but it was all worth it for how great the party was.  Friends of mine from MOPS, the neighbors, and my mom all helped us celebrate Kylee turning 1!

We did a bee themed party.  Our little girl wore a yellow onesie with a black and yellow striped tutu that I made and bee antennae.  After dinner she smashed a bee-hive honey cake then daddy took her upstairs for a bath and outfit change.  The kids played while the birthday girl was getting freshened up then when she returned we opened gifts.  We are so thankful for everyone who was able to join us and can only wish we could celebrate with all of our friends and family from all over the world.

Here are a few pictures from the party.

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Don’t blink, they grow up too fast

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I am the most accurate definition of a Facebook stalker.  Mostly stalking my close friends and family but every once in a while going off the beaten path and check in on an old friend.  I will click through picture after picture until my eyes hurt and it is way past my bedtime.  I love it.  I’m not trying to be a creeper I am just truly enjoying each and every picture.

But as much fun as I have looking at other people’s photos I find myself constantly stalking myself.  I love going back and reliving each picture.  The kids giggling, sleeping, throwing a fit, and being sweet just melt my heart.  Even though I took most of those pictures it still pulls me in as I click through each album.  My favorite thing to do is start at the first picture and progress through to the most recent.  Watching the kids grow up again frame by frame; it’s awesome.

I did it again last night as I looked for a picture to print for Kylee’s birthday party.  She was so little with such a big personality.  I spent well over an hour just looking at the pictures, forgetting what I actually sat down to do.  I next opened up my big hard drive and looked through so many pictures, from Reece’s arrival to a recent trip to the splash pad.  I can’t believe how much they’ve grown and changed but also seeing the little things that are still the same.  Reece still makes the same faces and Kylee leans her head into my face as a way of cuddling.

It is so crazy to me how fast my babies are growing up.  It seems that it was last week that I was doing jumping jacks after a two mile walk to ‘encourage’ Kylee to be born.  Or even worse, it feels like not that long ago I was crying to Kyle before Reece was born, when the doctors agreed to induce me, asking if we were ready to be parents.

So here were are preparing for Kylee’s first birthday and although I can’t truly explain the feeling I can admit that my mind is blown.  She is turning 1!  When did this happen?  I have to catch myself, when someone asks how old she is, not to say six months.  She is my baby girl but for how much longer?!

I don’t know where to take this post from here.  To be honest, my mind is so blown by realization that my babies are no longer babies that I don’t know what else to say.  Kylee is turning 1!  Reece is almost 3!  I know it is very cliché but I wasn’t prepared for how true it is that they grow up in a blink of an eye.  I guess I am going to post this then head back to Facebook to click through pictures and watch my babies grow up.

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The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

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Following instructions, I powered though the rest of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce.  I am so happy I didn’t set it aside and forget about it.  Was it the best book I’ve read in a while?  No.  Was it a stand out favorite?  No.  Would I read it again?  No.  But……  Was it good?  Yep.  Did I like the overall story?  Yes.  Would I recommend it to a fellow reader?  Yes.

Like I always do before and after reading a book I headed to Amazon to check out customer reviews.  I read the reviews before starting the book to get a sense if the book will be worth reading in the first place.  I rarely read a book that receives less than a 3 star (out of five) approval.  Then after I finish I go back to compare my thoughts with others who have read it.  Amazon customers gave this book 4.3/5.  Not surprising, it was sweet and simple.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

The Unlikely Pilgrimage
of Harold Fry
by Rachel Joyce

The story follow Harold Fry on an unlikely pilgrimage (go figure).  He receives a letter from an old friend, Queenie, who is in Hospice, dying of cancer.  Harold quickly wrote a response and set out on foot to mail it from the nearest post.  But soon he passes the post office and continues walking and begins to believe that he must deliver his response in person and he must walk to her, over 600 miles.  He believes that as long as he is walking she will stay alive.  Along the walk Harold meets an eclectic variety of people, some walk with him while others give him food, shelter, gear, but all of whom encourage his mission once they hear about it.  Throughout the story the reader is haunted with two obvious questions… Will he make it to his destination?  If so, will Queenie still be alive?

Along with Harold’s story, the reader is introduced to Harold’s wife, Maureen.  He loves her dearly but the two have had a rocky marriage for numerous reasons (none of which are infidelity, a thank you to the author for avoiding that overused option).  As Harold walks and transforms, Maureen goes through a transformation of her own.  She starts the story a bit annoying but finishes endearing.

The book was okay.  I didn’t hate it but I was bored.  The story follows an old, retired man who is walking over 600 miles, how much excitement can there really be.  I don’t know what I was expecting when I started reading this book but just 1/3 in I was bored out of my mind.  If you read the synopsis you get the gist of the story.  I should have expected little thrills and drama and that is exactly what I got.  Imagine a man in his 60s walking for nearly 90 days; slow and time consuming.

The story was well written, the characters were mostly likeable, and the plot was cute.  I wanted Harold to succeed in his pilgrimage and for he and Maureen to work out their problems.  I feel bad that I didn’t love the book as much as Amazon reviewers did (4.3/5 stars) but I absolutely understand why a lot of people did like it.  It was just too flat for me right now.  Maybe I needed something with a little more thrill, more adventure (like a 600 mile walk isn’t enough adventure, haha) especially after reading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Harold’s adventure just didn’t measure up.  It was a sweet, beach style read that I’m sure a lot of people have/will enjoy.

To give credit where credit is due, image is stolen from www.amazon.com.  As always, that is a direct link to the book if you wanted to get your own copy.

Reece-nt anxieties

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Last week when I told Reece we were going to the airport to pick up daddy he didn’t seem to believe me.  Even the night before I said to him, “In the morning we get to go get Daddy!” to which he shrugged it off and said “okay, goodnight mommy.”  It was a bit sad but I figured when he saw Kyle his whole demeanor would change.  Thank goodness it did.

Glued to daddy

Glued to daddy

We brought daddy home and Reece was glued to him like flies on a garbage can.  There was no peeling him away.  Reece wanted to show daddy this and that and wanted to involve him in EVERY move he made the rest of the day.  Luckily Kyle had the following day off of work so Reece got to spend even more time with his hero.

But the first day back to work was hard.  Kyle went to PT and came home just as the kids and I were eating breakfast.  Reece didn’t even know he had left.  Then Kyle showered, put on his uniform and eventually left.  Reece was a little unhappy with daddy walking out the door but I wasn’t prepared for how much he would ask for him throughout the day.  Every few minutes, “Daddy at work?”  which I would answer “yes” then, “Daddy’s not coming home.” And I would have to explain to him that it was a regular work day and in just a few hours daddy would be coming home.  I tried to set up a time for me to bring Reece to Kyle’s office so he could see daddy wasn’t away but his work day was so busy there just wasn’t any time.

I figured this was a little hurdle in an otherwise smooth TDY (Temporary Duty) and transition back to normal and so far it has been.  A few nights after Kyle got back we decided on pizza for dinner so I placed the order then grabbed my keys, shoes, and Kylee to pick it up.  Kyle was cutting the grass as Reece played outside so I figured I would leave them and Kylee and I would go on our own.  Reece saw what I was doing and said he wanted to go so without a thought I loaded him up into his seat, then Kylee.

Suddenly Reece started screaming for daddy!  When I asked him what was wrong he screamed/cried to me that we couldn’t leave daddy home.  Kyle wasn’t going to go (he was still cutting the grass) so I unbuckled Reece and told him I would be back soon.  That was too much for him too.  Kyle and I explained to him what was happening ten different ways but still he wanted both parents and his sister to ALL go together.

After five full minutes of crying and us explaining to him that I would be back if he stayed and that daddy would still be there when he returned if he went Kyle finally gave up and told me to just go.  I hopped in the driver’s seat and took off.  Kyle says he cried the entire time I was away saying “Mommy and Kylee left me!”

He has gotten a little better about one of us leaving but still gets noticeably concerned until we are all together again.  Kyle and I have decided that we can no longer call his TDYs “work” because it freaks Reece out that daddy is going to “work” on regular days; it confuses him.  We have started calling them “missions” in hopes that Reece will be able to prepare himself and know the difference when daddy is on a mission and when he is at work for a normal day.  We keep reassuring him that we will always be together and no matter how long daddy has to go away for he will come back.  This is turning out to be one of the biggest hardships of military life that we have had to face as a family.

Sadly, we are quickly preparing Reece for another mission that Kyle will be going on in the very near future.  We have started talking to him this afternoon about the upcoming trip and all the changes that comes with it.  We are looking for a global map so we can track where Kyle is going/has been, setting up a calendar so we can mark the days, filling a jar of Hershey Kisses for nightly kisses from daddy, and keeping up with his routine to make the transition as smooth as possible.  I can do my best when it comes to reassuring him (and soon Kylee) but there is only so much that I can do, they are going to feel what they are going to feel and all I can do is be there to comfort them.