Thursday, November 15, 2012

Seasons and Parenting

It has been getting a bit colder in our corner of the world.  Right now the sun is shining through my window and it's the first I've seen in weeks.  The warmth feels comforting coming from a natural source.  It seems every time I run the heaters one of us gets sniffly.  I'm just trying to keep us all healthy for the upcoming holidays.

Why do holidays have to be so stressful? Well for us they usually always involve some sort of travel.  Whether it's packing up and taking the plane to Missouri, or driving 3.5 hour drive over the mountains to get home to Yakima, there's always some sort of travel involved.  You know that old saying, it's about the journey, not the destination.  Yeah, not so much with traveling.  I'm not a fan of gas prices, plane prices, food on the road, rude, rude, rude people and someone always gets miserably sick. 

Second, there's the cost involved of all this.  Not just traveling but you're buying gifts for everyone which depletes the bank account, tape, cards, wrapping paper, baked goods, the list goes on and on.

 I tend to go internal a lot during the stress of the holidays which helps me cope.  I listen to a lot of calming music in the car.  As corny as it sounds being crafty actually takes away some of my stress too. 

Things at our homefront have been relatively quiet the last few months.  I'm down four pounds because I'm just busy.  My schedule has changed quite a bit and for the most part I'm enjoying it.  I love the kids I get to watch during the week.  It's great to have the kids in school now and I'm happy they both enjoy it. 

Miles recently saw a new doctor who wants to get a closer look at his diagnosis since it was made very quickly back in June.  This doctor was wonderful.  He had so much more compassion for everything that's happened to us and will work with a team to make sure Miles is correctly diagnosed.  Miles seems to be taking it all in stride.  He is now working with the regular class for an additional 30 minutes (with his aide) and I'm really proud of all his hard work.  We expect so much of our little ones and when they rise to the occasion, the heart swells with pride.  Still a bumpy path, but at least we have clearer direction. 

And Lainie, my little Lainie.  She just lost her eighth tooth and she's as sassy and sweet as ever.  I love being her mama.  I love that we share our love of reading and that we're both overly sensitive. 

Parenting these two children has ups and downs but isn't that the best part of it?  I love being challenged to be better, and that's because of them. 

Happy Thanksgiving and may your tryptophan coma be peaceful :)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Christmas music

It's on in the house and I love it!  I made my first batch of cinnamon rolls and it definitely feels like late fall around here :)

Just for fun, my top 5 favorite Christmas albums
1. Sara Groves O Holy Night
2. Sarah Mclachlan Wintersong
3. Martina McBride White Christmas
4. Bebo Norman Christmas from the Realms of Glory
5. The Preacher's Wife Soundtrack

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Say Cheese!

Ahhh, school picture day.  I have officially paid $28 to see what kind of goofy expressions my kids will surprise me with.

The funniest part is when I asked Miles to show me his picture day smile, he did it exactly as he did in the photo and so I knew what was coming.  We were walking home from the bus giggling about his expression and he exclaimed with beaming pride, "I look like Grandma Cakes!" 

A photo of Grandma Cakes in comparison

Love my kiddos to the moon and back!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Chief transition in full and final swing

Ahron is just 11 days from finishing his transition to Chief Petty Officer.  It's been a whirlwind of activity for him.  From fundraisers, to training, to obstacle courses and more training, he's really been through the ringer.  But, I can tell he's grown and learned a lot of things in this process. 

He spent a week on the USS Turner Joy, a historic Navy ship moored here in Bremerton.  He was part of the first Legacy Academy there, which they will now implement yearly for new Chief Petty Officers.  In the past, a select group used to be invited to learn Navy heritage aboard the USS Constitution in Boston.  Now, there are a few historic ships around the United States participating in this, including the USS Missouri in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and the USS Midway in San Diego, California. 

Elaine, Miles and I spent about 11 days in Yakima and had a great time.  It was nice to be out of Ahron's hair (so to speak) and with my parents and family.  We got to swim at Aunt Fran's, Aunt Heidi's and Aunt Chip's house.  We had a day/night at the arcade, a sleepover with cousins and did some school shopping  I was able to get away from the kids for two nights in a row and went out with my sister and two cousins.  The second night I attended Yakima's Case of the Blues festival which was really, really fun.  I wasn't planning on drinking but ended up sampling three different wines.

In the next two months we have so much to look forward to!  Elaine starts school on Wednesday and Miles starts the following Monday.  We decided to enroll him in school with her to get him on a more structured routine.  This was a decision we really considered carefully because he missed a whole academic year at the Madrona preschool by being in the 3's class.   

Ahron's Chief Pinning ceremony will be on September 14th.  The following weekend I have the Jason Mraz concert, and on Sunday we're having a party for Ahron at my mom and dad's house.   We are also planning a weekend trip to Great Wolf Lodge for all of us.  Then, October 5th will be our tenth anniversary, and we are planning a later trip to Hawaii for just the two of us.  So, so much to think about and prepare for.  I also got what I like to call a mini-job.  I'll be taking care of little ones while their mama's do Zumba.  Even though things will be a little bit crazy for the next few months, I feel at peace with our current decisions and I hope that peace carries me through to the next year

One final thought.  Labor Day weekend marks five years since Mark passed away.  I know that he would be really proud of Ahron and the way that he takes care of us.           

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Sharing With You: Navy Chief's Induction

Someone already wrote an article about this, which saves me time from having to do it.
I thought this was a good perspective about what they go through.  I know Ahron is already hurting! 

Article About Chief Induction

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The results are in and...


Can I just say it, HALLELUJAH the wait is finally over.  Honestly, I am so relieved that he'll never have to take that stinking exam and go through the torturous eight-month process again. 

I am beyond thrilled and proud of my husband.  Yesterday was a surreal day for both of us.  Turns out we were both refreshing on his BUPERS page (his personal record) at the same time when the results posted at 10am. 

At that moment when I saw the "S" which stands for Select, I dropped the iPad and started jumping up and down and screaming with excitement.  Miles also started screaming, although I'm not sure he quite understood why this was such a great and glorious thing.  He was more thinking along the lines of, "Hey a reason to be loud and wild, fun mommy!" 

With shaking hands I dialed Ahron's work phone only to get a busy signal.  Little did I know he was calling me and got a busy signal too because we were trying to call each other at the same time. 

I hung up and his call came through.  It was an amazing feeling. 

This morning we were talking about how his seven week induction will fall in line with his twelve-year anniversary in the Navy.  Just around this time twelve years ago he entered boot camp, a fresh-faced kid from the suburbs of Saint Louis.  His life would never be the same.  Now twelve years later he gets to step up and become a senior enlisted military member. 

This whole selection made me think about my own Navy career.  I only served five years, but I am very proud of the time I did serve.  It makes me wonder where I would be now had I stayed in.  But, I'm grateful for getting out when I did.  As a mother, I would have been devastated if I couldn't watch my children grow up.  Becoming a mother was always my big life goal, not the Navy.  I'm glad I can stay connected to it through Ahron.   

Now the next seven weeks we aren't going to see him much as he begins his training.  That's all right though.  We'll manage.  Anything is better than deployment!  I hope his dad and his grandfather were smiling and proud.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

One Million Things to Say

And yet I've held off on writing this post because I somehow couldn't find the words.  Or bring myself to write about this even though it's now become part of who we are as a family, and despite the final outcome, will forever change our family in ways we don't even know yet. 

I was really nervous to attend the developmental pediatrician appointment for Miles last month.  But I decided to go forward with it, in hopes that she could really take a good look at everything we've been through with his speech and encourage me that he had improved and was on the track to "normalcy." 

Instead, after one doctor's visit with someone we've never met, we left with a tentative autism spectrum disorder diagnosis.  There was no confirmation of "Yes, your child is autistic."  I guess those were the words I would have expected to hear?  Instead she handed me the "Washington State Guide Book to Autism" and went over some different therapies with me, and said, "See you in six months." 

I left the office with Miles, crying my eyes out, confused at what had just went down.  I thought we were just going in for the initial developmental pediatrician meeting.  My thoughts and feelings were all over the place for the next few days. 

Now, one month later, I am still unsure of our diagnosis.  But for now, we've enrolled in the Navy's Exceptional Family Member Program and we'll soon be seeking a referral for a second opinion. 

I don't want to be the mom in denial.  We are treating this as if we had received an accurate diagnosis.  It's so much better to have access to services and end up not needing them, than to need them and not have them. 

I don't know if anyone reads this blog, but if you do, please say a prayer for Miles and for all of us as we embark down this road.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Counting down

20-ish days until Chief's results!  Praying to God that this would be our year.  That might be a selfish prayer, but we need this so very bad!
Moving onward....

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Chief Quotas

Things are happening quickly now.  They will promote 24 out of 130 or so.  Much better numbers than the past few years.  I am hopeful.  This would be a great blessing considering what we've gone through lately. 

Funny how God knows what is going to happen and we do not!  I wish I had a crystal ball to see what was going to happen. 

Now we wait.  Hopefully results will be out by August 1st. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Father's Day Coupon printable

Here's a quick little printable I'm working on for Father's Day for Ahron.  He never checks my blog so I don't have to worry that he'll see but I wanted to share it with others in case anyone else wants to use it.  You or your children can fill in the coupons.  Enjoy! 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Seeing developmental delays through rose-colored glasses

Man, oh man, has it ever been a journey with Miles and his development. 

When my little guy was just a baby, he seemed to be a little bit behind on his milestones.  From smiling, to crawling to walking and talking, he was always just behind.  Not terribly, but just enough to worry me. 

When Miles turned two, I mentioned to his doctor that he still wasn't talking much.  Our doctor at the time gave me the number for a local speech therapy center.  From that point on, we were introduced into the world of IEP's(Individualized Education Plans) and special education programs.  Miles only spent five months at his toddler speech therapy before starting with the school district. 

After working for a full year with a school speech therapist and attending a local preschool, he was referred to the developmental preschool which he started in September 2011.  Now that he is five, he is starting at the elementary school with the Special Education class but I'm honestly not sure that is the right path for him.  I'm curious to meet with the teacher there and have a feeling she'll recommend him for the general Kinder class and remedial program or perhaps another year of preschool.

Also, he is going to be screened by the developmental pediatrician soon.  I'm not sure what this is all going to entail.  All along, I have heard that this person and this person couldn't diagnose him with anything because conditions like Autism and ADHD are medical issues and need to be diagnosed by a doctor.  I don't feel he falls into either of those categories and was told a long time ago by his first therapists that if anyone tried to diagnose him with autism, seek a second and third opinion.  I'm not sure this is anything other than developmental delays, primarily fine motor and speech, but I guess only time will tell. 

Now that Ahron is home every night, he's getting an idea of the many conferences, appointments and therapy reports that we have undergone since Miles started on this journey.  And it helps knowing that he's beginning to understand what it takes to parent a child who has developmental delays (however major/minor they might be).  I've often felt alone in this and I'm just glad to have my partner now along for the ride.     

It's really heart-wrenching as a mother to be told all the things that are wrong with your child, or all of things that he's not doing, because I see him as such a bright, funny little guy that makes my life full every day.  I'm extremely proud of how far he's come at this point.  And I just want the best for him and his future.     

Sunday, May 6, 2012


My poor little Elaine. Yesterday we were getting ready for a trip to Lowe's for some various projects at the house. We got the kids ready to go and Lainie ran outside to swing for a couple of minutes. As we were getting ready to head out the car, Ahron asked me, "Do you hear crying?" Knowing that Miles often watched old family videos, I said, "No, Miles probably just left a video on the computer." Then Ahron opened the sliding glass door and the crying was definitely coming from the yard. Lainie was crying, saying she wanted to go to bed and that her arm hurt. My initial thought was that she was stung by a bee or maybe pulled her arm out of socket on the swing. We brought her in and had her raise her right arm which was fine. Then we had her try to raise her left and she couldn't. She was crying in pain. Not screaming in pain but I could tell something was wrong because her arm was so limp at her side. We decided to take her to the Naval Hospital ER to get checked out as a precaution. Luckily, there was no one in the waiting room and she was seen right away. After an X-RAY on the arm, the PA informed us that she had a buckle fracture. Buckle fractures are an incomplete fracture where the bones compress against each other and usually occur in the young and the elderly. Since children's bones are softer than adults, it's common and heals rather quickly then a more serious fracture. I was completely shocked because she didn't have a serious fall that we could ever witnessed and she wasn't swinging wildly or anything like that. I guess it was just one of those unlucky things. Anyway, she was sent home with a cloth splint and some Tylenol and Motrin. She may have to wear the splint for a couple of weeks we have to go to the walk-in clinic next week. Last night she came in the room crying and saying her arm hurt again so I gave her another dose of Motrin and we fell asleep together on the couch. It makes me so sad to know she's hurting at all. I hope that the pain begins to subside as her arm is more stable in the splint. Last night as I helped her get back to bed, I was thinking about being little, and when you're in pain, you know your parents can make it completely better somehow. I just hope that she gets that comfort and love from us that we got from our parents. And it's funny that no matter your age, you still see your parents as guardians and protectors. Whenver something goes awry in my life, I always reach for the phone to call my Mom, because I know she can bring me that comfort and encouragement. I hope I can be that for my children when they are older. Lainie hates wearing the splint but hopefully she won't have to wear it very long.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


This Saturday we are celebrating my son Miles's fifth birthday!  The days are long, but the years are oh so short.  I cannot believe five years have passed already.   He is catching up more and more with his peers and that makes me happy.   He is unbelievably coordinated and intelligent.  He is loving and tender-hearted and still loves to cuddle.  He builds really elaborate set ups between his marble run and his Angry Birds game.  I feel that he is really engineer-minded, much like his Uncle Jared and Grandpa Mark.   He loves to follow around and copy his big sister and I think that is about the sweetest thing to watch (although at 7, she doesn't find it so endearing!).

His actual birthday is on Monday and I think I'll make cupcakes for his preschool class.  I always, always pictured myself having a little boy and I'm so glad God blessed me with Miles. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Birthday # 30!!

I can't believe in just over one month I'll be turning 30!  I've seen a lot of my friends on Facebook mourn their 30th birthday and that makes me sad.  This is a time on life where you become sure about who you are and where your place in this world is.  30 is going to be a time for me to make a difference! 

On that note, I've started a campaign to raise money for the International Justice Mission.  Here is my campaign link!

Also, I'll be participating in The Birthday Project!  Here is a link to what that's all about!

Life is beautiful people, let's celebrate it with compassion and kindness.  30, can't wait to rise up and meet you!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Coming up for air

Wow, I can't believe it's been a month and a half since I last wrote here!  Ahron came home March 1st, he had a week off in which we all got sick.  Not the dream family time I'd imagined it was going to be but c'est la vie. 

He then began his shore duty assignment which took some adjusting to, as starting any new job would.  New places, new faces for him.  New workload. 

As for myself I've been busy with spring activities and conferences, getting my landscaping plans in order and trying to keep up a very full house between all of the cleaning and cooking and mothering.  Being a stay at home parent is no joke!  I'd probably get a lot more accomplished if I wasn't on Facebook and Pinterest half of the time. 

I've also noticed I need to stop eating so much crap junk food and start working out more.  Having Ahron home means we go out to eat more.  So I've made a commitment to cut out fast food, soda and candy for the time being until I can get on a better work out schedule. 

The weather here so far has completely been awful this spring but I'll take what little sunshine we can get and use it wisely.   All in all, I'm feeling really blessed and starting to breathe a bit more.  Having my best friend at my side, well, we are definitely stronger together. 

This weekend we'll be spending Easter at home in Yakima and I'm looking forward to it!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

House By the Side of the Road

Heard this on Celebrity Ghost Stories once and it's a moving poem by Sam Walter Foss.  Related to my thoughts today:

THERE are hermit souls that live withdrawn

In the place of their self-content;

There are souls like stars, that dwell apart,

In a fellowless firmament;

There are pioneer souls that blaze the paths

Where highways never ran-

But let me live by the side of the road

And be a friend to man.

Let me live in a house by the side of the road

Where the race of men go by-

The men who are good and the men who are bad,

As good and as bad as I.

I would not sit in the scorner's seat

Nor hurl the cynic's ban-

Let me live in a house by the side of the road

And be a friend to man.

I see from my house by the side of the road

By the side of the highway of life,

The men who press with the ardor of hope,

The men who are faint with the strife,

But I turn not away from their smiles and tears,

Both parts of an infinite plan-

Let me live in a house by the side of the road

And be a friend to man.

I know there are brook-gladdened meadows ahead,

And mountains of wearisome height;

That the road passes on through the long afternoon

And stretches away to the night.

And still I rejoice when the travelers rejoice

And weep with the strangers that moan,

Nor live in my house by the side of the road

Like a man who dwells alone.

Let me live in my house by the side of the road,

Where the race of men go by-

They are good, they are bad, they are weak, they are strong,

Wise, foolish - so am I.

Then why should I sit in the scorner's seat,

Or hurl the cynic's ban?

Let me live in my house by the side of the road

And be a friend to man.

Sam Walter Foss


Over half way done now and exactly two weeks until I'm reunited with my sweetheart.  The awful, but typical winter weather has been contributing to my sadness and isolation but now I can see the light at the end of this long, strange journey we've been on for the last four years. 

The USS Deployed will be pulling into port for an extended maintenance period where we get to work on marriage, build our family life and repair what has been broken.

The last two months have been an emotional release for me.  No longer can I contain feelings which have been bottled up, bobbing along stormy seas for the last few years.  It's all coming to a crest and I think that's why this final separation has been so incredibly difficult for me.

Yesterday I just needed encouragement.  I needed to be acknowledged somehow.  As I've said before in this online journal, encouragement can come in very strange places.  After some time in prayer, I logged onto the Virginian Pilot and revisited a columnist by the name of Jacey Eckhart.  She is a great voice for mil spouses. 

I came across this column:

As usual, she hit it spot on.  She cleared away the foggy isolation window and gave me a moment of clarity.  In that moment, I acknowledged that our life is not normal.  And that it's hard.  It's really hard sometimes and it's okay to admit that.  It's okay to need help and encouragement.   While some people consider it weak to seek help through whatever sustains them be it faith or family, I see it as incredibly courageous, and I feel sorry for that person's misguided thinking.  Of course we know that we can find unbelievable strength deep within ourselves, but remember that movie About a Boy?  Remember that quote from the movie, "no man is an island." 

I just looked it up and it's a part of a passage by John Donne.

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.  

I guess what I just want to put out there today... is to think about this from two perspectives.  If you are hurting, or going through something, don't be afraid to ask for help.  Remember help can come in many different forms and places.  And if you see a friend or family member, or an acquaintance struggling through a life issue, be there for them!  Treat them to coffee, have a conversation with them, recommend a book that got you through a hard time.  Just don't sit back and let them struggle.  Be part of something bigger than yourself.  In the end, we'll all be better people for it. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012


I'm trying to find my way out this January funk I've been in.  I've still been quite weepy and emotional the past few weeks but at least, at least we are nearly halfway done with the final separation. 

And, on a good note, my mom is coming on Thursday to come hang out with me for the whole weekend, yay!  I haven't seen her since Christmas so I'm looking forward to some mother/daughter time. 

Last night I took my kiddos to see Chipwrecked on base.  I've never been to the base theater (well, except for last Saturday when we showed up an hour and a half early for Happy Feet 2).  The movie was eh....okay.  I liked the first two better.  I love Jason Lee who plays Dave Seville though.  I'm glad he stuck it out for the third installment. 

Earlier in the day, I watched an incredible movie which might have been my favorite movie of the last year.  It was called "Midnight in Paris" and it stars Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams. 

In the movie, Wilson plays Gil Pender, a popular screenwriter engaged to McAdams character.  They are vacationing in France when Gil starts lamenting about the current time frame he lives in.  Then one night, he decides to walk home and at midnight he is transported back into the 1920's in Paris where he rubs elbows with Gertrude Stein, T.S. Eliot, Salvador Dali, Ernest Hemingway, Picasso, Cole Porter, Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald.  Truly some of the greatest artists/writers/musicians of our time!

 I loved the movie for two reasons.  One, I can certainly empathize with Gil Pender's character and wanting to live in a different time, or feeling like you weren't born in the right time.  Two, I love that he has to confront his reality and change his situation proactively instead of just sitting on the sidelines of his life.  I was inspired by this.  It made me think a lot about my life and where it's been lately. 

Anyway, that's my latest update.  Working on it, working through it!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I'm so glad I have a relationship with God.  This is not a religious rant.  It's not me up on my soapbox or any kind of better than thou post. 

But I am so lonely through so many of these separations.  Yet I'm not alone because my Creator is with me.  I speak to him freely, I release my emotions to Him often.  When I do not the emotions become a burden and I don't want that for me or my precious children.  Life is already hard enough to bear the burden of overwhelming emotions too. 

No life, no marriage, is easy or perfect.  I'm grateful and thankful for what I do have.  And I can't wait to feel the sun on my face again. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Sometimes the blessings in my life overwhelm me, inspire me and keep me moving forward.

39 more days

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mean Mommy

I hate having to wear my mean mommy hat but we're dealing with hitting at the moment.  I had to take away all of Miles' bowling pins, his beloved new Christmas toy and he's been crying for his bowling sets but hitting in our house is just plain unacceptable. 

We also ordered a book on called Hands are Not for Hitting.  I figure if I read it to every night for a couple of weeks it will hopefully drive home the point.  I'm not sure if he's picking it up at school or it's just one of those random phases.  Sure does test my patience though. 

On the flip side, hands are fun for shadow puppets.  And I promised Lainie I would learn some new ones for bedtime :)  Maybe this link will be helpful for us

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Amongst the rain and snow mix of the Northwest this morning, I am absolutely feeling the deepest aches of separation in the military. 

It isn't just the separation, but I am in such a bad place in my life, emotionally.  I feel void of a purpose and feel overwhelmed with where to start looking for one. 

Some people can throw their all into being a mother.  While that may work well for them, I haven't had a baby in almost five years and now both of mine are off to school.  On the brink of stepping into my thirties, I'm not sure I want to start all over again with the motherhood thing.  And having a third baby means committing to the full-time job of motherhood, which isn't a problem for me but Ahron has not expressed any desire to have more children so we're out of sync on that subject. 

I want to find part-time work, something that will enable me to use my skills again.  However, I'm so worried about finding the right care for both of my children.  In our uprooted household I want to keep the stress of altering their routine to a minimum.  If I don't start working, I'm looking for some volunteer opportunities.  Maybe need to visit the state Vet's home around the corner since my emails have gone unanswered. 

I know I have the power to change things, it's just easier to get lost in the loneliness and negative feelings.  I'm hoping I have the strength to change things soon because right now everything seems so bleak. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year, final separation begins

Ahhh, familiar territory we are in this morning. We always have to drop Ahron off at some unGodly hour of the morning when he leaves. Of course the kids are confused and half-asleep so they cried on the way home. When we woke up this morning though, everyone was in better spirits. The house is way too quiet without Ahron and I feel slightly down though. Luckily I have a couple of projects on the horizon to keep me busy.

Ahron flies to New York City where he'll have a layover, and then he should arrive in Baltimore around 7pm EST. We found out that he'll likely be staying in the original barracks that we met and fell in love in. The Navy barracks were recently remodeled. I'm sure it will bring back many memories for him. One of the things I always loved was that it was right across the street from the chapel.

It's strange though. We started sea duty with a C-school in which he left in January 2008 and now we're starting shore duty almost three years later to the day with another C-school. I guess in a way we've come full circle. That's all for today. I'm going to spend the day taking it easy and spend time with my babies who need me.