Monthly Archives: March 2013

Two great hunts

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I am so glad I didn’t hold back from taking the kids to the community Easter egg hunts this year.  Reece had such a great time.

Coloring station

Coloring station

Yesterday’s event started at 3 but Reece was still sleeping after a fun morning at the pool with daddy.  I don’t like waking him up from a nap but he had already been sleeping close to two hours so I figured he had enough.  Reece got dressed, grabbed his basket, and we were out the door by 3:15.  We were already late by the time we left home so I knew Reece would miss out on the craft project and story time with the Easter bunny but at least he wouldn’t miss the hunt.  By the time I parked the car there were droves of people walking out to the field where the hunt would take place; I began to expect the worst.

I held Kylee while Reece held my hand as we walked to the hunt area.  They were still setting up so Reece and I chatted and I prepped him for what he needs to do.  We waited maybe fifteen minutes then were directed to the field where kids Reece’s age would hunt. Me and, what seemed like a million other parents ushered our ‘under 4’ year-olds inside a fenced baseball field where we were told we would have to wait another fifteen minutes.  Talk about torture.  Reece could have taken less than two steps and reached an egg but he had to wait.  All the parents were struggling with their little ones like me.

Reece NOT scared of the Easter bunny

Reece NOT scared of the Easter bunny

After what seemed like forever, we counted down and the kids were off.  It was madness!  Probably 200 little kids swept over the field like hungry termites on fresh wood.  Not a single egg was missed.  Reece collected three eggs before it was all over.  I looked up and figured there was no chance of any more eggs.  Reece was so proud of his collection, I was proud of the parents civility.  There were no fights, no trampling, and no parents grabbing eggs!  What was really awesome was as we were leaving, Reece and I talked about his three eggs when a little boy reached into Reece’s basket and dropped in two more eggs!  How cool!  This little boy even surprised his parents by what he did.  Reece said “thank you!” and we headed home.

Today we walked down to the EGGstravaganza on base.  I was told it started at 10 but when we arrived they were still setting up.  It did start at 10 but the egg hunt wasn’t until 12:30.  I was a little concerned at first, thinking we wouldn’t last two and a half hours, but there were little fun stations all over.  We waited in line to get Reece’s face painted but he cried when it was his turn to sit in the chair.  There was a bounce house which Reece went into three times and cried after each time.  Both kids had a balloon made for them; Reece a T-Rex and Kylee got a flower.

Scooping rubber duckies

Scooping rubber duckies

Then, all of a sudden, the skies turned dark and threatened rain.  Kyle and I noticed all the kids surrounding the egg hunt area but it was before the scheduled time.  Figuring they pushed up the time to beat the rain I grabbed Reece’s basket, scooped him up, and ran to the hunt.  I put him down and he went to town grabbing every egg he saw.  He saw one buried in fake grass decor so after all the obvious eggs were picked up he began to search through some of the other decorations.   It was raining a little by this point but none of the kids seemed to care.  There were so many eggs and such a small turnout that every kid left with a  basket full of eggs.

T-Rex, Reece and Kylee

T-Rex, Reece and Kylee

As Reece and I headed back to the tent where Kyle and Kylee were keeping dry the sky opened up and it began to pour!  We made fast friends with the people we were smooshed up against under the tent as we waited out the rain.  After twenty minutes, Kyle figured the rain wasn’t going to end soon so he took Reece and ran to the car; a quarter mile away.  He drove the car close to where Kylee and I were but I still had to push her up a grassy hill and through the water run-off as it poured down on us.  We were all soaked to the bone by the time we loaded into the car.  Reece loved it; we had a great time.

Playing in the bounce house

Playing in the bounce house

I am just so happy that the two Easter events we went to were such a success.  There were plenty of eggs and no crazy parents. The weather cooperated -for the most part- as did the kids -for the most part- so a good time was had by all.  Tomorrow we have our own little hunt planned; first at our house then at a park or field nearby.  I think it is really important to take the kids to community events.  They get some social interaction and get to break from the daily routine and what could be better for a kid?  It’s all about making memories that we can look back on and smile.

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If I could have any superpower

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So let’s take a quick stroll through one of the silly things I think about on a random day.  If I could have any superpower it would be teleportation.  Just think of all the things you can accomplish with the ability to simply teleport on a whim.

There is no other superpower that even comes close to being as awesome as teleporting would be.  Flying could initially be cool but after a while I bet it would become tiresome and boring; eventually useless.  Reading minds would be fun at times but it could also lead to a very lonely lifestyle.  I don’t want to hear what EVERYONE is thinking especially because I would love to turn off my own brain every once in a while, I have no capacity for others’ thoughts.  Being able to move things with my eyes/mind would just make me fat.  With no need to get up to grab something could lead to a more sedentary lifestyle and I don’t mind being active.

If I am being gifted with a superpower, I need to be very specific.
– First and foremost, I need to be able to hold/touch someone/something and be able to bring it with me.  How useless would it be if I could teleport but not bring Kyle, the kids, or the dog?  I can’t arrive naked so item teleportation is very necessary.
– I would also prefer it to not be too exhausting or complicated to perform.  It would be silly for me to teleport somewhere then be too tired to enjoy the place I teleported to.
– It would be nice if my teleporting was somehow socially accepted.  I don’t want drop into somewhere unexpectedly and freak people out.

Teleporting could be really beneficial for me and my family.  Just imagine how cool it would be if we could see the people we love whenever we wanted.  If a niece is having a birthday party; no worries.  Kyle, the kids and I could drop in for the party and zip home after.  A family member is struck by sudden medical issues, not a problem.  We could be there with the blink of an eye.  If we were in danger I could teleport us out of harmful situations.  If we have a long weekend coming up we could plan to see our friends/family or we could see the world.  Best of all, if Kyle was to deploy or when he goes TDY, I could bring the kids to see him or I could bring him home during his ‘off’ time.  Our family could be together no matter where we are in the world.

It may be silly that a grown woman thinks about a dream superpower as much as I do but it would really add an indescribable convenience to my life.  I could compare it to daydreaming about what I could do if I won the lottery; “it would be so awesome if I could teleport because…”  There would be so many benefits to just being able to blink and be somewhere else.  I love living in Hawaii but I would love it so much more if there were no limits to seeing the ones I love.  I could have been home when my mom was going through her cancer treatments.   We could visit friends around the world who we miss so much.  Kyle wouldn’t need to worry about missing milestones in the kids’ lives when his career takes him away from home.

I am no idiot, so I obviously know that a teleporting superpower is not going to happen.  If I need to go somewhere I need a more practical way to get there; teleporting just won’t cut it.  I just like to dream.

Community Easter egg hunting

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There are so many community and Army sponsored Easter egg hunting events happening this weekend and I just can’t decide if I want to take the kids to one.  I want to.  I want to so bad.  What is holding me back is other parents.

For last year’s Easter hunt we were in DC.   The military housing/community center put on a big egg hunt separated into age groups.  Reece, being only 18 months, was in the ‘under 2’ category.  It was an open field with thousands of bright, colorful eggs randomly thrown about.  None were hidden.  You couldn’t walk two steps without stepping on one.  We got there early enough to stakeout our own space on the perimeter of the field so when they released us, Reece would be right where he needed to be.

After telling him what he was supposed to do they blew the whistle and released hundreds of toddlers!  It was an awesome sight, at first.  Reece collected a few eggs before the first parent reached in front of him to grab an egg and toss it in front of their child. Fluke.  Then it happened again and again and again, and by different parents!   It was ridiculous!   Looking around, I saw a lot parents doing it; some parents grabbing eggs and putting them in their kids baskets.  What fun is that?

When there were no more eggs we congratulated Reece on a job well done and headed home.  He had fun and really got a kick out of opening his eggs to discover little candy and toys in them.  But that was just it, cheap candy and toys.  Why would some parents act the way they did for cheap candy and toys?  It was an event for kids that was overrun by their immature parents.

Easter hunt 2012

Easter hunt 2012

This year when doing a little research on local egg hunts I cam across some women who said they wouldn’t be taking their kids because of past experiences similar to what we saw last year in DC.  What is this silly phenomenon?  What can’t some people let kids be kids?  If no parents unfairly inject themselves then every kid will have the same chance, same odds.  I don’t want my now 2.5 year old to be overrun again this year.

The thing is, Reece can handle himself.  I predict him snatching his own eggs this year with only a quick example.  He will be in a new age group, so hopefully, parents will have to wait at the perimeter like the older groups last year.  I would prefer it that way.  Unleash the masses and let them do it on their own.

I think no matter what I will still bring him to an egg hunting event.  It’s part of being a kid.  We will have a little hunt Easter morning at our house but I want to take the to a local hunt on Saturday.  I remember the thrill of searching for eggs so if I can offer it to my kids at home and at a public event, why not?  If there are immature parents there ruining the fun for kids I will brush it off like I did last year.  It doesn’t matter if Reece comes home with a basket full of eggs or just a few, as long as he has fun, it was worth it.

Like a warm blanket

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Kyle is home and things feel comfortable again.  I can take care of one baby while he gets the other.  I can take a shower while they play downstairs.  He can see all the cute things they do so I don’t have to try and explain or catch it on video.  Things are attended to and I didn’t necessarily do it.  Our routines has been reestablished and it feels like it never had a break.  Kyle being home -and our family being whole- is like slipping under a warm blanket; it is so comfortable, all you can do is enjoy it and smile.

Reece spoiled our little homecoming surprise for him.  As I pulled past Kyle on the sidewalk Reece saw him and screamed.  Kyle came around to his door to say “hi” but Reece just talked his ear off.  He told him about the airport, and driving, and flying so far away, and the Army, and Korea, and on, and on, and on.  Kyle loaded up his luggage while Reece kept on rambling.  We drove home as Reece kept on rambling.  We settled into the house and Reece kept on rambling. He was so excited to see daddy that he couldn’t stop talking.  He was like he couldn’t hold it in anymore; he just had to tell daddy about everything that happened while he was away.  I was so happy to see my little guy like this because while Kyle was gone, Reece was obviously saddened.  Sometimes he even looked depressed.

Kylee stared at Kyle whenever he was in the room and if he made eye-contact, she gave the biggest smile.  There was no cold-shoulder or hesitation when she saw him again, it was all smiles.

I am happy to have my other half back.  We can trudge on as individuals but we are so much happier when we’re together.  We had family time in our bed before breakfast this morning.  We have been watching March Madness and Mickey as a family.   We’ve played together all day.  There have been more giggles in the last 24 hours than the whole time Kyle was gone.  We just bring it out in each other when we are together; it is the way we belong.

I can do it… but I don’t want to

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Kyle comes home tomorrow!  He has been gone for only two weeks but his homecoming will be as exciting as if he was gone for a full deployment.

We have been through a deployment and handful of TDYs (Temporary Duty) before so I knew what to expect.  I knew how I would feel.  I knew how or routines would change.  I knew the kids would miss daddy.  I knew I would miss him too but I wasn’t prepared for how different things would be in his absence.  I am not cold-hearted but I know how to buckle down and handle things when I need to so wallowing around the house because Kyle is away is not in the cards for me.  I have to mom-up for the order of the house, dog, kids, and for me.

I know we can handle the many TDYs that Kyle will be going on throughout this assignment.  Kylee, Reece, and I will develop a routine and we will count down the days until the day daddy comes home.  It is a little more energy on my part but I absorb the responsibilities and carry on.  This TDY was a first for a lot of reasons though.  First TDY in his new unit.  First TDY when we are still new to the area.  First TDY to a different country.  First TDY where we don’t know many people.  First TDY with two kids.  First TDY we are not in the continental US.  First TDY where I don’t go home nor family come to visit.  First TDY where Reece notices daddy’s absence. I knew this TDY would be a bit of a challenge but -as expected- we got this!

The last 'Kiss' before daddy comes home!

The last ‘Kiss’ before daddy comes home!

Please don’t think I’m complaining about his absence. I know his career is important to him and the work he does is important to the country. This TDY is also very short in comparison to the tours/deployments he could be going on and I am thankful for his quick return.  But if he were on full deployment our unaccompanied tour I could handle it. If something were to happen and I had to be single mom, I could handle it… I just don’t want to.

I’m ready for him to be home.  I am ready for regular adult conversation.  Ready for Kyle to go to the park with usand see all the little things Reece has learned.  Ready for him to see Kylee stand on her own in person, not on a video call.  Ready for someone to commiserate with when the kids are getting crazy.   I am just ready.  I like having a partner in this crazy game of life; it makes things more comical and calm all at once.

Last night Kyle and I discussed how he would reunite with Reece at the airport.  We both agreed to nothing extravagant because Reece will be excited to see daddy regardless of any glitz or glamour.  We are not going in to meet him in the airport because the closest we can get is baggage claim -how romantic- so I will just pull past him on the curb hoping Reece doesn’t see him right away.  Kyle will leave his bags on the curb for a moment while he comes around to Reece’s door to say “hi!”  Reece will lose his mind! I can’t wait!

Dating again

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We have moved four times now because of Kyle’s career and each time we need to start over with meeting new people and forming new relationships.  It is never easy.  Each move we make I begin the nerve-wrecking task of putting myself out there, being vulnerable, and hoping to snag a friend or two.  I need a group of girl friends now more than ever to laugh and cry with about being a mom.  I need to sneak out with a girl friend and go for some light pampering.  I need a girl friend for sanity!

I am lucky, in one sense, because I have girl friends all over the world.  If I am ever in Belgium I can meet up with a great friend for chocolates and conversation.   If I ever find myself in Germany, I can grab a beer with another close friend.  I have a friend from high school who lives in Japan and the parents of longtime friends -practically family- in S Korea.  There are women that I’ve met  -because of the military life- who live in almost all fifty states and random countries all over the word.  So it is comforting to know no matter where we go I can meet up with a familiar face.

But when you move somewhere new it is important to start dating again.  I date women before I commit to a full friendship because I have been burned in the past.  I have let the wrong people in my life because I wasn’t listening to the cues that said she was someone I should have avoided.

Now, more than ever, I have to be very aware of who I let into my life because they could be the ones caring for my kids in an emergency.  What if something were to happen to me while Kyle is away, like he is now?  What if something random and freakish happened to me and I wasn’t able to instruct someone on the dailys and routines of my kids’ schedule?  Who would know Reece will quietly pass on skim and whole milk but he’ll suck down 2% like it is in limited supply.  Who knows that Kylee sleeps best on jersey type crib sheets?  Our family knows but it would take a little while before they could get out here so it is inevitable that a stranger would have to care for my kids if I don’t build a group of ladies  that know me and I can depend on.

But it is more than just me needing friends, Reece NEEDS a steady supply of kid interaction.  Since Kyle has been gone I have been very proactive in finding Reece other littles to play with.  We go to the park daily, MOPS bi-weekly, playdates as they come up, and I invite people over as often as my schedule allows.  Reece asks his “friends” when he wakes up and continues until bedtime.  When he sees someone his size -whether it be the park, store, or house- his face lights up and he begins to scream “FRIEND! FRIEND! COME ON!”  He doesn’t care if he knows the person or not, if the child might show any interest in playing, Reece will grab them by the hand and start playing.  He is a social and playful little boy and he needs friends as much as he needs oxygen.

What Reece has shown me is that friendship and bonding is essential at every stage of life.  Kylee has little friends her age that she smiles and coos with in MOPS, Reece would sell his sister for the chance of a friend being at the park, and I need a whole mess of things, from simple conversations to caring for my kids in case of emergency.  I have found the answers to a lot of our ‘friendship’ needs at MOPS and I am so thankful for that.  Today I had a great time with three other ladies while our kids played in a Burger King play place.  When it was time to leave I was invited by one of the ladies to her house where her kids played with Reece and doted on Kylee while she and I talked about everything from Army life to cancer to baking bread; she even made me a sandwich -they always taste better when someone else makes it.

Funny thing is no matter how nerve-wrecking it is to try to make new friends I really enjoy the process.  I like meeting new people and holding on for dear life if they are keepers.  I like hanging out and talking over a glass of wine.  I like getting the kids together and letting them burn energy on each other rather than driving me up the wall.  I like when I feel a new friend has the potential to become an old friend who will stay with me no matter where we.

 

Singing down memory lane

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Turn on a certain song and you are transported back to a different time.

As Kyle works he likes to listen to music.  We are able to talk semi-regularly through instant messages and through this connection he sends me links to the songs he is listening to.  It is nice to be singing along to the same song while he is in a different country.  Yesterday he got a big nostalgic and started sending me songs that bring us back to the early days of our relationship.  So in no particular order, here are the songs and memories that I have attached to them.  Keep in mind, not all the lyrics fit to the memory/feeling.  Some are just songs that were popular during that time.

Bubba Sparxxx -Deliverance.  I was working full time and going to school full time.  I had just met this really awesome guy and we hung out a few times.  I can remember driving to work with the windows down, this song waaaay up, and me not having a care in the world.  I was going to have a fun day working with people I really liked, especially this new guy.

Black Eyed Peas – My Humps

Terribly annoying song but it was always on the radio when Kyle and I were first spending time together.  When I hear this song I can remember driving to Kyle’s house to hang out and drink some beer.  I was only 19 but he invited me and my bestie over to drink with him and a few of his friends.  That night we all loaded up into my car (before the drinking had started) and went through the drive-thru at McDonald’s ordering 11 double cheeseburgers for everyone and one McChicken for me.  It was a crazy night.

Gucci Mane – Icy

Back to McDonald’s, haha!  Probably every night we were together Kyle and I made a trip to McDonald’s for double cheeseburgers.  It became a tradition.  We were always jamming as we drove through the ghetto where he was living (off Michigan Ave if you know Ft Myers).  There was a pirate radio station that played some of the best unedited Southern Hip Hop and before it was shut down I heard some great jams.

Clint Black – Like the Rain

This was a song that I put onto a mixed CD that I gave to Kyle before he left for basic training.  It is one of “our songs”.  I can’t hear this song without stopping what I’m doing and thinking about him.  It reminds me of the beginning of our relationship when we were just falling for each other.

Dierks Bently – Come a Little Closer.

This song was popular when I visited him for his AIT (Advanced Individual Training) graduation.  I had flown out with his family and got a hotel room of my own.  Before flying off to his first duty station he had a few days freedom and at night he stayed with me. The last night as he was packing his duffle bag we had music on and we started serious talks about our future.  During this song he asked me to say my name but with his last name and when I did, he told me he liked the sound of it.

One of my favorite things is listening to old favorites and reminiscing over the memories they bring back.  I could hate a particular song (My Humps) but when I hear it I can’t help but smile because of the memory attached to it.  Sometimes the memory is so strong I get chills or laugh out loud.  These five songs are a few out of the many from the start of mine and Kyle’s relationship but they are the ones he sent to me as he worked 1/4 world away.  His memories may vary from mine slightly but I can guarantee that we are remembering the same thing.