Sunday, December 15, 2013

30 days of Thankfulness - day 11

Hey howdy hey! And welcome to the official day 11 blog of thankfulness.  Today is December 15th.  If we were going to get technical on the thankfulness thing, it should be November 11th...but it's not.  And I say again, I'm ok with that.

Today I'm thankful for friends.

Friends come to us in so many ways, with so many faces, and at just the right times.  Personally I choose to **seriously** shield myself from "friends".  I've had enough bad ones to know that things are not always what they seem when it comes to the whole "friends" scene.  There are many many people out there who want to call themselves "friends", but have ulterior motives are just saying what they know we want them to say.  I've had some "friends" like that.  Those people are no longer in my life.

I was annoyed today at the amount of work I had to deal with.  Some days are long, some are not so long, in my line of work it all depends on what people are talking about.  I had plans for today, I was going to clean the kitchen, vacuum the living room rug, wrap a few more presents, and  Well it turns out there was a lot more to work on than I had expected.  The job is the priority though, so I started at 8am strong and went solid through 3pm.  I did stop for breakfast.  Don made an amazing breakfast casserole and honestly by the time it was ready I deserved a 20 minute hiatus from all that is excel.

Before I knew it, it was 12:30.  My neighbor has a handful of kiddos, and had a birthday party for two of them today.  The weather finally broke in a positive way, and they got their bounce house <3 p="">
At any rate - the thankful thing.

I have three, maybe four people here in South Carolina that I choose to consider my friends.  One of those ladies entertained my children for hours today while I worked and got some more wrapping knocked out.  Another one of them is my go-to absolute bestie.  She has been with me through some seriously crappy times - and we get together once a week for coffee.  I'm stoked to meet up with her every single Wednesday, especially since my Keurig completely crapped out last week (still hoping for some resolution via the Keurig customer service route).  Then there's my girl two doors down, the one that makes me smile and somehow always has a positive attitude, no matter what kind of goodies life may fling at her (and trust me, life flings plenty of poo her way).

It's hard for me to make friends, it always has been.  I've always been the type to just write people off if they hurt me or confused me or challenged me.  I guess maybe I guard my heart with a vengeance.  Always have.  A pastor once tried to make me believe that was a bad way of living.  I am now 37 years old and still genuinely believe that if I don't protect my heart, no one will - so I still disagree with that whole "bad way of living" theory.

Tonight I'm thankful for my real and true friends.  Those ladies that know me and love me anyway.  The ones that want me to be a part of their lives, and have shown me so many reasons why I want to be a part of theirs.  They are few and far between.  It's a "quality not quantity" concept.

I love my girls, and tonight, I am thankful for them.  They know who they are <3 p="">

Friday, December 13, 2013

30 days of Thankfulness - Day 10

Alright my loyal readers, between you and me, I knew when I started this 30 Days of Thankfulness blog concept, it was going to take more than 30 days.  I tried to pretend I could blog every day for 30 days but really we (I) knew better.  I'm still going to run with it and call it completely forgivable. even if it takes me six months for find thirty days of blogs.  Why?  Because sometimes we just have to be honest and forgive ourselves for the realities that we try to pretend we don't hide.  I'm going to do this though, even if I'm still working on it come the first day of spring 2014.  I will post my 30 days.  I will create my thirty days of Thankfulness.

Today should technically be November 10th (day 10 of Thankfulness) - but it's actually December 13th.  And that's ok with me.

My biggest problem today, knowing I would blog, was figuring out a topic to cover exactly what I was thankful for.  This is about to get silly.  I've been wanting to blog about this for a few days now.  The issue at large is figuring out how to say "Hey I'm a freaking idiot" without actually putting myself down.  But here goes.  

This is me, being blonde.  And kind of idiotic.

Tuesday morning I took Don's Jeep to take the kids to school and he took my car.  It just works out better that way.  So anyways, I took the Jeep to take the kiddos to school.  I happened to noticed that the gas gauge was nearing empty.  So I stopped and attempted to put $20 in the tank.  It only took $12 and I was annoyed, because we've had issues with the jeep when it comes to adding gas.  It has a tendency to pop off the pump at twelve cents, something about the vapor.  So I took the kiddos to school and this is what I saw:
So I, naturally, stopped at the gas station and filled up.  I was so freaking pissed to find out that the gas gauge on the Jeep had gone out.   It would only take $11.26.  I didn't really know what to do.  It would only take what it would take so I closed the tab and called it good.  I texted Don and said "remind me to tell you about your gas gauge :/"  knowing full well with every fiber of my being that the Jeep gas gauge was done for.
He came home and I told him about it.  He said he'd talk to our neighbor Travis (a mechanic) and his buddies at work and see what he could do to get things repaired.

Long story short, we came to the conclusion that any repair would pretty much be a total and complete pain in the ass.  Not to mention a serious pain in the checkbook.  No really.  A nearly un-recoverable checkbook kind of pain in the ass.

Merry Christmas.

So we started to try to figure out how we were going to make this all work out...somehow.  Read: lots of prayers and perhaps a "hail Mary" or two.

So another day goes by, and I'm hanging out, trying to get the kids ready for school.  Another day of me driving the Jeep.  No worries, I know for a fact that even thought the gas gauge has gone kaput, I just put $12 in the tank so we're good, right?

Well then it hits me.  Don's gas gauge in the Jeep doesn't drop at E.  It drops at freaking F.  Yes.  It does.

Whoops.  Something like this up there.  So yes, I was reading things wrong all along.  
There's a deeper point to this blog though.  I was reading things all wrong.  I was reading my gas gauge all wrong.  

Sometimes we do that.  We read our gas gauge all wrong.  We think we're out of steam when really we're just working to make our own worlds work!

So the POINT here is...just when we think our tank is empty...well maybe someone upstairs knows better,  It's so funny to me how I can drive a vehicle being overly concerned that the gas tank is *over* empty...and then find out no, my interpretation was wrong...the tank is actually on FULL.  

Thank you Lord for covering me, in all my moments.  My blonde moments, my questionable moments, my dance moments, my awesome moments.

It is SO AMAZINGLY GRACEFUL to know that all my moments are truly loved.

So my Thankful blog of the day, number 10...I'm thankful for clarity <3 nbsp="" p="" said.="" uff="">

Saturday, November 9, 2013

30 days of Thankfulness - Day 4-9

You know,  I should have known I couldn't keep up with this thirty days of thankfulness thing.  I've tried it for the last 5 years and continuously fail.  I thought this year it'd be easier if I just blogged it!  SUUUUURE!  Because blogging requires explanation and definition and makes everything so much easier.


But it's ok.  Becuase here I am, November 9.  Covering 6 days of thankfulness in one blog entry.  The good news is, I can totally get away with it.  Even if this entry takes me all day to write ;)

Day 4:  I'm thankful for Backyard Produce.  I'm totally stoked that every Tuesday we get a box of local organic produce.  Always something new with SOMETHING or other we've never cooked before.  Last night we ate asparagus.  Last week it was diacon radishes.  Some crazy thing that looked like a parsnip in disguise.  We made something awesome out of it.  It was tasty, and it was a new recipe, and it broadened my culinary horizon.

Day 5:  I'm thankful for the mail carrier.  Estella has been our mail carrier here in the neighborhood since we bought the house 8 years ago.  When we came back to Goose Creek after 3 years in Washington, it was so great to see her smiling face again lol - and she was happy to see us too!  It's the little relationships with the everyday people in our lives that give us just enough of a reminder that, though we live a bit of a mobile lifestyle, we can still make a difference and bring a smile on a regular internet required.

Day 6:  I'm thankful for Candy Crush.  No really, I am.  Silly, but true.

Day 7: I'm thankful for my Pandora Jewelery.  For the last few years, Don has bought me a charm or two for each major event.  When things stress me out (when WORK stresses me out) sometimes I just have to clip on my bracelets and suddenly all is well once again.  Our 10 year anny is coming, and there's a lighthouse now, you know.  Hint hint....

Day 8:  I'm thankful for my husband and his hysterically well placed timing to sing songs such as "James' Mom has got it goin on..."  (To the tune of "Stacy's Mom").

Day 9: I'm thankful for my boss.  No really.  She has so freaking much on her plate, yet she can understand and respect my requirement to put my family first.  I'm a lucky lucky girl to work for Miss Phoenix. WAY LUCKY.

Holy smokes have I actually caught up with myself?  Watching some football and dealing with my furbabies scratching at the glass tired of being outside in the "Cold" - they're so screwed once we get back to the Pac NW.  But I'll take it.

We'll get through it together because truly, that's what families do.  Thanks for reading and keeping up with us over the last 6 days <3 p="">

Monday, November 4, 2013

30 days of Thankfulness - Day 3

Day three - today (ok, yesterday was *technically* day three, but I'm catching up here) I am thankful for my home.

We closed on our home in June 2005, and have owned it ever since.  We did try to sell when we left South Carolina the first time, but the housing bubble had burst, Centex was still building new homes in the development, and it just didn't sell.  So - we rented it out for 3 years while we were in Washington, and came back to it when we returned to South Carolina.

It has not always been wonderful being a homeowner.  We don't have a landlord to call when something stops working.  We can't just walk away when the lease is up.  We have to worry about what we'll do next year when Don retires, if it will even sell or if we'll have to rent it out again.

But all of that aside, this house - this home - holds so many precious memories.  Birthdays, projects, holidays.  Firsts.  Lasts.  One (completely justified) frequent complaint from military families is not being able to stay anywhere long enough to really put down roots.  Every three years or so you just up and move somewhere else.  I am simply thankful for the nearly 6 total years we've been able to occupy this space, that we could make memories over time, under one roof, without having to think back and ask  "wait - which house were we at for Paige's 7th birthday?".

It's just one of those little blessings, just another thing I'm thankful for.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

30 days of Thankfulness - Day 2

I know I'm running a little late here, I'll catch up - just bare with me.  Might make two blog entries tomorrow - I can handle one day late, for now.

Today I am so very thankful for the pets in my life.  Angel, Pepper, Molly, even Amy the guinea pig!

I've had Angel the longest.  Christmas of 1998, I was two months away from getting out of the navy.  I didn't have any leave left really, and so I was stuck staying in Washington for the holiday.  My grandma, my Manny, chose to spend her holiday with me that year, selflessly sacrificing her time with the rest of her family and her loved ones, to make some memories with her oldest granddaughter.  She and I went to Petco one afternoon in late December.  We had no real mission in mind, just wanted to check it out.  PAWS was there - an animal rescue group.  Well, of COURSE, we brought home a cute little long haired tortoiseshell kitten that was just big enough to fit into the palm of our hand.  I named her Angel - because she was my Christmas Angel.  That was the same year Manny and I fed all my friends that couldn't go home for Christmas.  It was a two day potluck at Becca's house...any lonely sailor that wanted to get some grub could show up with a dish (or not) and they would find food,  friends and family for the holiday.

I miss Manny, and will never forget that Christmas.  I know her spirit still comes around regularly, in little ways.

Pepper, he's a horse of a different color.  I got Pepper for my birthday, in 2002.  Don was deployed when everything hit the fan on 9.11.01.  We were very much in love, I was working at Qwest in Seattle, he was on the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70), and deployed when the towers fell.  I will not forget that day as long as I live.  He made it home some time in the spring, and we realized how important we were to each other.  Officially moved in together.  When the fall came, we knew we wanted a dog.  We went to the the Kitsap County Humane Society and the story is epic.  I wrote a story about our finding Pepper Dog, and it almost made the cut for the "Chicken Soup for the Veteran's Soul" book.  Almost.  At any rate, he's still with us, 11 year later.  He's 14 now.  That whole story might find it's own description in a blog to come.

Molly, she's our baby.  We got her from a family that couldn't possibly love her as much as we do.  Clearly - duh - they all but gave her away.   She has learned so much from us in the last year and a half, and we've learned just as much from her.  She is smart, sweet, and greedy LOL.  If we keep her out of the kitchen, all will be well.  If she goes into the kitchen, look out, watch her like a hawk.  She's sneaky... ;)

And Amy - the Guinea Pig in Paige's room LOL - she's awesome, she's fun, she loves to come out and eat clover, and she will devour any Timothy Hay you put in her path.  She needs a friend...we're working on that (James' birthday is coming).

Today, November 3, 2013, I'm thankful for my furbabies.  And they are thankful for me and mine.  Even when we refuse to give them chicken bones ;)  It's all about responsibility.

Friday, November 1, 2013

30 days of Thankfulness - Day 1

So there's this Facebook tradition - every November.  They call it "The 30 Days of Thankfulness".  Every day in November half of the people on Facebook post a status update about what they're thankful for.  I didn't post my thankfulness post today - but it wasn't because I forgot, or because it slipped my mind.  It was because I couldn't figure out exactly how to say what I felt, let alone put it into a simple status update that wasn't 18 miles long.  That's when I got this bright idea to blog my 30 days instead.  Not only is it a better platform to explain why I'm thankful for the things I'm thankful for, but also - writing is one of only a handful of things I do for my own self.  Maybe I'm being selfish, but sometimes there's nothing wrong with that.  Lucky for my loyal readers, some days will be shorter than others ;)

So here we are, Day 1.

Today, November 1, 2013, I am thankful for my marriage.  Not only my marriage, but the man that chose to take me for his wife.  That's pretty much how it happened, you know...after three years of dating, he didn't really bother to ask.  He chose me.  He took me, and I allowed myself to be taken (I still have to wonder who really took who here, but that's of no consequence).

Don had just spent 10 months out to sea (a six month deployment became ten), and  it was his first weekend home in nearly a year.  He told me that he wanted to get away from people, away from civilization, so we went camping at Oxbow (Washington State DNR).  We packed up the truck, packed up the dog, the tent, the firewood, the cribbage board, a cooler full of beer, enough food for three days, and we simply drove up to the boonies that are Washington State DNR territory.  Got to the site, pitched the tent, unloaded the truck (we had to hike into our site, it was gorgeous, right on the Hoh river) and lit the campfire.  Sat there for a few hours in exceptionally comfortable silence as the darkness grew thicker around us, the crickets grew louder in our ears, and the fact that we were finally together once again genuinely and truly sank in.  So there we were, sitting around the campfire, just watching it burn.  Sgt. Pepper asleep next to Don's chair.  That's back when it was just the three of us against the world.  It had been a good 15 minutes of crackling, popping fire, no words were spoken (none were truly needed).  Don broke the silence and asked what I was thinking about.  I was just so happy to be back in his company, back in his arms.  I sheepishly shrugged and simply smiled.  He said "You thinking about marriage?  Thinking about kids?".  Mind you, we'd been together nearly three years and been through 2 solid deployments.  There was nothing I wouldn't do for him, nor he for me. We both knew it.  When he was deployed I had spent my weekends baking cookies for his division and creating care packages to keep him comfortably reminded of the love that waited for him back on the home front.  He had been gone 10 months and now he wanted to know what I was thinking about?  PSHAW!  Riiiiiiight.  I wasn't about to admit that our future had been on my mind.  There was absolutely no question that we'd be together - I had just spent a lot of time considering what our future looked like exactly.  He was divorced, with an AMAZING son from his first marriage, and the very last thing I wanted was to pressure him into another marriage that he might not be ready for.  I didn't even care, I just knew that I loved him.  And he loved me.  And it was working.  Marriage was out there, sure - but nothing I expected nor would even have CONSIDERED demanding.   So "What are you thinking about?" he says.   I sort of giggled under my breath at his question.  I looked up at the sky, and saw the most brilliant starry night I'd seen since leaving home.  Looking back, it seems odd that the stars would have shone so brightly - granted we were out in the middle of nowhere - but at the same time, this brilliant campfire was blazing steady and strong.  After a few more moments of comfortable, warm, serene silence (we never HAVE been the kind that needed a lot of words) - he said "You know you're going to marry me."  That's when I stopped staring at the brilliance that was the universe above, brought my eyes level to his, smiled, and started to cry.  I nodded my head and gave a simple "Yes, I know."  That was September 27, 2003.  We were married just shy of three months later,  on December 14th.

Since then we've been through a lot.  Both good and bad, amazing and heartbreaking, but we've been through it all together.  Life, death, comedy, tragedy, love, and even a little bit of discontent.  What marriage doesn't go through a little bit of discontent?  The thing that gets me is... his love for me has never wavered.  He has given me two beautiful children that are such an immense blessing, and he has shown me what true love really is.  Honest, heartfelt, love.  Love worth fighting for, love worth believing in, and love that is meant to be.

He is my TFA man, and I am his Lighthouse Girl.  It was in our vows, and it still holds true 10 years after the fact.

Today, November 1, 2013...I am thankful for my marriage, and thankful for the man that chose to take me as his wife.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Why my daughter blows my mind - reason number six hundred seventy four...

WOW What a fantastic evening around here.  We did our whole work day thing.  Mom finished up her shift, Dad came home from work.  Long day all around.

It's a Monday.  We're not big fans of Monday, for what it's worth.  We did our thing though - we finished up a fantastic dinner from scratch.  Worked together to make it happen.  A relatively decent tuna and salmon noodle casserole.  The cat is a little pissed, she was left out of the salmon aspect, we're so mean that we actually bought the Chicken of the Sea brand pink salmon pouches.  Boneless and skinless dont'cha know.  Regardless, made for one hell of a dinner casserole - the kids ate it up.  They loved it.

After dinner, I found myself outside, doing a post dinner chillax kind of moment.  Paige had finished up and came outside to chat.  I was doing my own thing, sitting in my chair...and she says "Mom!  Mom, it's a planet, check it out!".  Sure enough, I got out of my chair and went into the yard where she was, just to see what on EARTH she was talking about.  Well she was right.  There was a planet up there, shining bright as the morning in the night sky.  It was the only apparent star to be seen.  Well it was a planet, der.  Even she knew that.  I did some homework, we think it might have been Jupiter.  Regardless, it was the brightest and only star in the night sky right around 7pm.  Well, me being the mom that I am, I commended her on her skills for finding the first star.  I put my arm around her and (wish I'd had a photo) said "star light, star bright, first star I see tonight..." She said "MOM - it's not a star, it's a planet.  I said "Come on sweets, give me something light, star bright, first star I see tonight -I wish I may, I wish I might have the wish I wish tonight...".  She giggled a little bit.  I asked her exactly what her wish was...and I didn't expect her to tell me.

But she did.

She said "Mom...I wish that people in schools would stop bullying and making fun of other people."


*Wait, what?

Is this my kid, who just found her nerve to jump up on her Mom's mountain bike and ride it to the end of the block and back?  Is this my kid who found herself just one year ago, summer before last, with a dislocated hip, chilling out in a wheelchair for half the summer and in a hipcast?  Is this my kid who can't even stand to share the backyard swings with her brother?!!?!

Yes.  Yes it is.

This is my kid.  And good LORD I am so happy, and so blessed that she is such a fantastic part of my life.  I am so blessed to call her my own, so amazed with each and every day that she wakes up and gives her life to God, shares her prayers for others.

My daughter.  She blows me away.  My daughter, she blows my mind.  My daughter, she is my greatest gift...her and her brother.  I can not imagine my life without them.  They are so loving, so forgiving, so caring, so thoughtful, and though rarely a day goes by that they actually get along, we are family - and they know it.

This "family" of ours, we stretch from the eastern seaboard back to the west coast.  We have so much family, so much love back in Oregon and Washington.  We love our Seahawks, we love our Ducks, we love our home.  Our time will come, when suddenly we find ourselves surrounded once again by family and love.  Our time will come - no question.  But for now - I'm excessively happy to have a chance to teach my little family that sometimes, just the four of us...sometimes we are all we have - and sometimes - we matter most.

This daughter of mine has been through SO MUCH.  It's as if she simply got through it, got over it, and moved on.  She doesn't even seem to remember how challenged she was just one year ago.  She's a Rhine.  She's a Hunter.  She's a Leichner.  She's got the strength of her ancestry in her veins, and she continues to blow my mind each and every single day of her life.

I am so in love with my Sweet Pea - and she is SUCH a phenomenal gift from God.  I just don't know what else to say.  She owns my heart, squashes my fears, shows me everything I want to be...all in one little girl.  There is nothing I wouldn't do to bring her happiness.

She is AMAZING.  My Amazing, number one girl.  Forever and always.  Mama loves you, Sweet Pea <3 nbsp="" p="">