Thursday, June 1, 2017

Deployment 2017

Here we are, fresh at the beginning of our 2017 deployment.  Not going to lie, it's been a long, tiring day. 
We were up at 4:30am to drop Ahron off.  I was surprised by 5am it was already light out.  Yay for impending summer. 
We drove to the base and I chatted about something philosophical I don't recall. Eloise cried.  I think she was pretty tired but she knew what was going on. 
I've been okay since.  I've been teary on and off but I think emotionally I'm in a good enough place.  And I feel strong.  I'm ready to start a new routine. 
Deployment 2017 has officially begun! 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Reflection

The last few weeks have been difficult but I've also been reflecting a lot and I feel that working through those feelings has helped me in some regard.
This was supposed to be a quick underway, but it feels so long.  I don't know if that's because of the winter, dark mornings and nights, lack of sunlight, snowstorm in which we lost power for two days, incessant rain and wind that followed or what.
I just know that every time Ahron leaves, I go into flight or fight mode.  And most of the time I've been flying...avoiding is the easy choice because I don't have to go into that stressful state.  Whether it's parenting, schoolwork, seeing friends, exercise, I've just lost so much motivation.  But the only thing that is going to control my stress levels is exercise.  Exercise is something I typically enjoy but even my depression has taken that away and I'm fighting to keep it at the forefront.  I also feel really discouraged by last year's weight gain.  I have decided that it is a good time in my life to seek therapy or a counselor.  I believe this is the first step in being proactive in taking care of my mental health.  It remains to be seen whether I will start meds or not but I have to do this in order to be a whole, healthy person.  So for right now, it's nice to have hope again.  I simply can't rely on my husband anymore to be whole and happy.  I have to accept that he will not be home for the majority of the year.
All that being said, yesterday I felt like a really bad mom.  Elaine put off her science fair and so I spent the majority of the day/evening helping her piece it together.  This was a big lesson in time management for her (nevermind the whole being annoyed!)  At 8:15 pm, Miles started crying because he wanted to participate in the science fair too.  Now every year we say we are going to do it, but he never brings home the stinking paperwork!  And I wasn't organized so we both dropped the ball on it.  He felt very left out and I felt bad.  He was disappointed and I can't always prevent that.  Maybe experiencing disappointment is a good thing.  We just can't make our children happy all of the time.  Still, after they all went to bed and the house was quiet I just lost it and cried and cried myself to asleep.
Today has been a much better day and I did remind him that I spend plenty of time doing puzzles with just him.
I keep moving forward.  

Friday, January 13, 2017

Still trying to break through

This has been such a hard year in so many ways and I really hope 2017 has good things to offer and I find motivation somewhere, somehow.

My days have been so unproductive, and I've been lacking motivation on all fronts.  I don't want to clean, I don't want to entertain a 2-year old, I don't feel like working out and eating healthy, I don't even want to do my schoolwork.  For all purposes, I can label this a functioning depression.  I do the bare minimum to get by.

Today I start a weight-loss challenge with my siblings and I really hope this will help motivate me to get my health back on track.

I really feel like a big part of this is due to Ahron's current schedule.  Nothing is stable.  He's getting ready to go out again and I find myself trying to emotionally separate in order to preserve myself and build a wall to guard my heart.  The military life is so hard!  We are leaning toward getting out at 20 at this point.  I'm not sure if we would be able to handle another deployment.

I've also been thinking a lot about the fact that we are up for orders in the fall.  It seems like we just got orders to the Nimitz and now here we are again, facing uncertainty about our future.  The only option I have is to let go and let God take control over this.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Surviving

So it's November 30th.  One day away from December 2016.  I can't even remember the last time I wrote here but my life is ever flowing, fast current.  Sometimes I ride the current, sometimes I fight the current and all of the changes it brings.
Lately I feel as if I am adding to my wrinkles and gray hairs faster than ever before.  Life is just plain hard!  Ahron's ship got underway October 5th, on our anniversary of all days.  They arrived home November 4th, and they were back underway as of November 13th.  So we got to see him for a little bit, and then he was gone.  Since then I feel I've mostly been coping.  I'm having a hard time getting organized both in my brain and my house.  My mothering skills suck and I feel like I'm failing all of the time.  I had two friends pass away this year...my age friends.  That was hard.  Remodeling this house was hard.  Being without Ahron is hard.  School is hard!
Thankfully the holidays are upon us!  I feel like someone decided the winter totally sucked and invented Christmas.  Maybe they had SADD or something?  However it came about I'm excited for Christmas.  My favorite part of it is just experiencing it through the eyes of my children.  They get so excited every day when our elf moves.  We drove through snow last week on Snoqualmie and they wanted to get out and play.  They are loving the Christmas lights and decorations that are popping up around the city.  I'm blasting Christmas music in the car and at home.  Just trying to make it through.
This whole deployment has given us a lot thought as to what will come next in our lives.  Ahron has 16.5 years in the Navy at this point.  So his career will likely end at 20//21 years and he will move on from there.  We are ready for stability and normalcy.







Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day: Reflecting on my time in the Navy. f

Tomorrow we commemorate Veterans Day in our great nation and it always makes me reflect on my time in the service.

I thought I'd answer a couple of questions, an "FAQ," of sorts about my time in the service.  Yes I'm interviewing myself, haha.  But these are all questions I've been asked over the years.

When did you join the Navy and why?
I officially joined the Navy's DEP program in December of 1999.  It was my senior year in high school and I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.  My friends at the time had all begun to set their sights on colleges, applying for loans and various schools.  This was a very frightening concept for me.  No one in my immediate family had ever been to college, especially away from home.  My cousin Monica at the time had just made the decision to join the Navy.  She's actually six years older than me and called to tell me a little bit about the military.  When the recruiter called me and said if I joined I could travel and get money to go to college, I was sold.  I left for basic training in September 2000.  I was terrified and I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  My grandfather and uncle had both served in the army, but no one else in my family had ever been in the military.

How long were you in the military?
I was in the Navy from September 2000-September 2005.

Where were you stationed?
After basic training in Great Lakes, Illinois I was sent to my "A" school training in Fort Meade, Maryland.  Most people know that's where I met Ahron.  "A" school trains you for what you will do out in the fleet.  I took two courses at the Defense Information School, basic journalism and basic broadcasting.  Each course was around three months long with a three month break in the middle.  During that time I visited Washington D.C, Baltimore and Annapolis frequently.  It was the first time I began to realize how big the world really was.

My first set of orders came at the end of school.  Putting my faith fully and completely in God's hands, I chose to quote a bible verse on my dream sheet.  My detailer (the person who assigns you orders) decided to send me to the USS Frank Cable (AS 40) on the tiny island of Guam.

USS Frank Cable (AS 40) September 2001-November 2003.
This is where the majority of my Navy career happened.  Aboard this little sub tender ship in Guam.  I arrived to the ship just a week and a half after September 11, 2001.  Again, I was terrified.  Everything about that time in the world was scary.  We had no idea if we were going to war or not.  When I arrived to the ship, there was high security everywhere.  All of the hatches were shut and we had to access our living areas by scuttle.  Note: The images below are linked, they are not my images.
We were made to wear hard helmets and heavy bulletproof vests.  But as the serious terrorism threat waned, the ship returned to a lesser alert status.  My first six months in Guam were spent living on the ship.  My former classmates in college dorms had nothing on a navy rack.  See picture on right, this is all of the drawer space you have under a thin mattress.  Racks are stacked three high.

One of the cool things in Guam is that there were these little duplex type houses that weren't fit for families anymore, and so after six months us young sailors were able to move into the houses.  During the years I was onboard the Frank Cable, the ship was very active.  We sailed to Saipan (a neighboring island), Japan  (Yokosuka and Sasebo and I visited Tokyo, Atsugi and Nagasaki) Hong Kong, Queensland, Australia and South Korea (sadly I missed that trip because I went home to get married to Ahron for two weeks.  I learned so much being on a Navy ship.  When I look back now, one of the things I realize in retrospect is just how important it is to learn many things onboard, not just your job.  Everybody has to know basic firefighting, ship damage control and first aid/survival skills.  These are imperative to being a sailor.  Of course I hated learning these things at the time but they made me much more knowledgeable.

Toward the end of my career, I didn't care where I was stationed, I just wanted to be able to be with my husband.  So my detailer called in early 2003 with news.   I was getting new orders and would transfer in November.  So my next set of orders took me to a Navy Reserve Readiness Command in San Diego.

NAVRESREDCOM, San Diego (November 2003-September 2005)
I finished out my career in San Diego. Once Ahron and I moved in together I felt peaceful.  I loved the excitement of the ship and the camaraderie it brought, but I was ready to settle down.  Looking back, I was so young, I was only 21.  Who settles down at 21?  Apparently I do.
Work at the reserve command was so different from the ship.  Most days I did simple things around the office like keeping up with paperwork, scanning documents, taking award photos and networking with other public affairs personnel at other reserve commands.  There I also published a small work newsletter.

Why did you get out?
Ahron and I had only been living together for six months when I became pregnant with our daughter Elaine Joy.  As the time neared for me to make a decision about reenlistment, I had to consider that staying in the Navy would make us a dual service couple.  And since we were on the same rotation of sea duty/shore duty, in the future we may be deployed at the same time. The war overseas was just beginning to heat up and navy personnel were being sent to fight on the ground.  After Ahron and I talked it over, we decided it would be best for me to finish up my enlistment and I would stay home and go to school while he would continue the Navy life.

To this day, people will still ask me if I'm in the navy.  It's been just over 10 years since I've been honorably discharged.  I've now been out of the military twice as long as I was in.  Serving my nation in that way was one of the must honored, humbling experiences in my life.  Though I never saw the horrors of war (and believe me I consider myself very lucky) I can still say wholeheartedly, it was an honor to serve.
Thank you to all the men and women who we remember on this great day.






Thursday, October 29, 2015

Had a minute

I have a minute while my little Eloise is sleeping so I thought I'd update on where we are now in this busy season of life.

It is nearly November 2015.  My baby girl is about to turn ONE!  It's been such a crazy year filled with so many ups and downs.  As usual, God has taken my expectations and turned them upside down in parenting.

What I expect is never the reality.  Expectations ruin everything and set us up for disappointment.  God has blessed me with a curious, strong-willed baby girl.  Yet she isn't super independent like Elaine or passive like Miles.  She is all her own person.  Sweet, smart, joyful.  She's also very demanding and clingy, and doesn't like to sleep much.  I worked hard and sacrificed like never before through nursing and little sleep with this one.  She has within a doubt been my hardest baby, but I hope that means that God will bear great fruits in her and through her life.

Lately, when I look around my house and the state that my house has been in for the last, oh, year of my life, I think of that old saying that your house reflects the current state of your mind.  Well, that would certainly be accurate in my life at the moment, for it is always a cluttered mess!  I can only give myself grace and remind myself that organization and cleanliness will come again someday.  These are probably silly things that shouldn't give me stress but I am prone to such self-consciousness.

Ahron is settling into the ship routine now.  He's already been onboard for four months.  It's been tough for us as a family.  And he hasn't even deployed yet.  I miss drinking coffee with him in the morning.  He's doing a great job keeping up as a father and a husband and I appreciate his efforts.  The problem with sea duty is that it consumes the sailor.  It becomes incredibly difficult to find work/life balance.

Some exciting things  lie on the horizon for us though.  We are anticipating putting our house on the market in spring.  We have outgrown our first little home.  We need just a little more space to spread out a bit.  In all honesty, I'm kind of nervous for this.  There's something comforting about fitting the wholeness of my family into 1300 square feet.  I don't want to lessen connection with my children, or have them swallowed up in massive square footage.  I don't want more space to clean, or more money to throw at the bank.  So with that in mind we don't want something that much bigger.  Just a little more space to share with our little miracle surprise oopsie baby.

As for myself, I will embark in a new school journey here very shortly.  Teaching at the preschool and teaching parents with the Ready! For Kindergarten program awakened my soul to what I believe is my true calling.  A teacher, a mentor, a counsel and guider, a nurturer, a grower, a mother's heart I hope to instill to many children as my teachers have done for me.  The short plan is to finish my degree in 22 months, so that my GI Bill will cover the cost.  I am so excited to undertake this journey.  God grant me serenity now.

So that is the short of it!  I'm hoping to be able to update this blog more regularly.  I love having a space to throw out into the vastness of the web.  I wish I was an interesting and cool hip mommy blogger sometimes, but this is who I am.  My older daughter is encouraging me to start a vlog too, so we shall see.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Happy birthday, Miles!


Miles Ahron Jameson is EIGHT years old today!


I can hardly believe eight years have passed since I first glanced into the face of my baby boy.  


I always, always have known that I was meant to be a mama to a little boy.  I always knew that he would be unique.  And he is!  God had a plan for this little boy to be in our lives.  He knew Ahron and I could meet the unique needs of this little individual.

I couldn't have known when he was a busy toddler what a roller coaster our lives would soon become.   A speech delay turned into a speech delay and motor skills delay and then, cognitive delays. That was really hard to face.  


Because Ahron and I always knew there was something incredibly sweet and unique about this kid.

An autism diagnosis.  An un-diagnosis.  Miles doesn't fit into any box.  His preschool teacher once described him as an enigma.  That he is!  He is as puzzling as the Rubik's cube he is often fiddling with.  He is sharp as the creases he forms in his beloved origami.  He is loved, he is whole.  He is ours.

Watching him grow thus far has been joyous and sometimes scary.  He's a daredevil and he loves to take risks.  He's incredibly determined.  He taught himself, all on his own, how to ride a bike.   He watched Youtube videos to figure out how to tie shoes in a different way that only takes him "one second."  He's really proud of himself when he accomplishes new things!

Miles is funny and very mischievous.  He likes pranks.  He likes glitches and when things are not normal.  This morning he told me that he is a glitch.  I think he knows he's not "normal."  I think he kind of likes that.

Thank you Miles for being our son.  I hope you grow up and prove all the unbelievers wrong.  We love you all the way to the moon and the sun and stars and all the way back. Happy birthday buddy!




Monday, March 16, 2015

Our new normal

So here I am, single parenting, alone again for the next few months.

Ahron left early on Saturday morning.  Lainie cried on the short drive home, although I think it was the result of just being really tired.  Miles seemed to accept it more, they are so much like us sometimes!

The weekend was gray and drizzly and rainy and none of us felt much like doing anything but just puttering around, trying to pretend like Daddy is away for a short time.

My days are very, very long now and I anticipate them being that way as long as Eloise is a high-needs baby.  She is unfortunately going through a phase where she doesn't want to be around anyone but me and that's making it difficult to do simple things like take a shower, or get chores done around the house.  I've told a few people this but sometimes I miss my old life, and I feel like I've taken a huge step back in having a baby.  The spacing wasn't ideal between Miles and Eloise.  And she was a surprise so it wasn't intentional.

But it is what it is and it will get better.  I'm choosing to look at the glass half full!  She's stinking adorable and Miles and Lainie just adore her, it's so fun to see them interacting with her.  Well, onward and upward to Day 4.  

Friday, February 20, 2015

Moments

DISCLAIMER: This blog was written shortly after or during my miscarriages in 2013.

Moments of sadness and happiness.  Life goes so fast, I can't keep up with all.
If I close my eyes I can forget about it for a few moments.  I can slip into a consciousness where I can control my emotions.  Or maybe I just get lost in it.
At the risk of feeling like a Judy Blume character I call, "Are you there God? It's me, Jamie."
Is He there? Is HE really there? I pray it's so.  I pray he's there and my baby is there.  I pray for forgiveness and for hope.  I pray someday I will understand it all.

February 2015 UPDATE!!!

WOW!

I can't believe I haven't updated this blog in almost two years.  I figure now is a great time to refresh and renew it.  We are getting ready to take the monumental leap back into sea duty.  Sea duty is challenging, scary, rewarding, fulfilling.  It is the heart of the Navy.  At sea, you become a leader and you are constantly in motion.  At sea, you find yourself between the sapphire waves and endless golden sunsets.  You realize how small you are in this big, lovely world.

I miss being in the Navy some days.  I am excited for my husband, and scared for myself.   In May he will be checking into yet another aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Nimitz (CVN 68).  The Nimitz means something to both of us.  It was my first TAD (temporary assigned duty) command.  It was his first command.  He was stationed on the USS Nimitz right out of his "A" school in 2001 until 2004 shortly before we had our first child.

The road to these new orders were interesting.  As we pondered and prayed over where we would be going next, we found these orders to be semi-available but our little Miles kept us in the running for this particular billet.  Because of his developmental delays, we are considered an "EFMP" family.  That means that we only can be stationed stateside and within five major cities.  Seattle area, Norfolk, San Diego, Jacksonville and Washington D.C.  It limits his ability to be stationed elsewhere but allows Miles access to a lot of different hospitals and therapies.  So although I was ready to flee from the gray, rainy days of Western Washington, Ahron snatched up these orders right away.

So now we are just a few short weeks away to being back to sea.  Three years on shore duty has brought us many experiences we never wanted or intended to have.  Two miscarriages.  Lots of family time....a vasectomy.  A very unexpected pregnancy. A new job and career path for me. Joy, laughter, sorrow, sadness, LIFE.

I am looking forward to what the next chapter will bring.