- the sunshine.
- the kids laughter.
- the house filled with the neighborhood kids.
- home made dinners.
- some Moose Tooth too :)
- being able to run at 6 pm now that the sun sets at 8pm!
- puppy cuddles.
- Greek Yogurts.
- April, it's Ethan & Izzy's birthdays!
- the idea of Izzy's Next Birthday Bash.. "Lights, Camera, Action.." where her girlfriends will be treated like superstars.. nails done, hair done, fab photoshoot, followed by a slumber party!
- Ethan's idea of a simple birthday party.. just a Backyard BBQ.
- Kai's playfulness.
- Caelan's reading Romeo & Juliet.. ahh, my favorite. I did ask if he needed me and Rudy to role play lines..
- being on the go.. I'm losing weight and staying fit caring for this puppy!
- the pavement.. my runs have become so much 'worry-free'.. although there are still some icy spots out there.
- White Balsamic Vinegar.. my latest go to salad dressing at the moment.
- watching Hubby go "ga-ga" over his dog.. And vice versa.. that dog loves his pact leader!
- Turbokick (even though I missed class on Monday.. grrr)
- The saying "Exercise, Discipline, Then Affection.." from Ceasar Milan.
- being in bed by 10 pm and up by 5 am. Who knew going to bed early makes for a well rested and 'nice' mama?
- Naked Juices.
- My 'sea green' nail polish.
- Lady Antebellum... on repeat, daily!
- Getting back in business with Paula, knowing we are not going anywhere this time.
Lately my days have been filled with:
- a curious, but oh so cute 4 legged creature.
- Puppy Breath :)
- Consistency. (aka a strict schedule)
- Early morning walks starting at 6 am.
- Tons of visits to my front yard (aka toilet bowl)
- Staring at the way he sniffs, walks in circles, finding all his signals.
- tons of nibbling.
- pockets filled with treats and doggy trash bags.
- kids from the neighborhood camping outside of my house to find out when his next outing will be.
- sleepless nights.
- trying to stay strong when he's put in his kennel.
- tug of war games.
- squeaking chew toys.
- saying "good job!" in the goofiest 'dog' voice.
- a new adventure.
I have never been a dog person. In fact, I'm not sure I am one still. I never grew up around any and if my neighbors had one, I'd walk the other way. My earliest memory of an experience with a dog was with my friend, Jianna's "gigantic" dog, who I think was a German Shepard, or some kind of mix. Uh, what do I know, I had no idea that labs are called Labrador Retrievers because they like to 'retrieve' things. But this dog would always get excited or what I thought at that time, go completely psycho when I came over to see her. Then one day he was off his leash, she yelled for me to just come in.. I walked in her gate.. and I just about had a heart attack as he came running toward me. I screamed so loud, I thought I may have reached the next octave. He look like he was gonna eat me with his sharp teeth.. and I just about balled my eyes out as he licked the heck out of me!
Till then, I walked the other way... no four legged creature for me.
So I'm not sure when I had this "change of heart" or thought that a dog in our lives would be perfect.. A lot of it had to do with the hubby who grew up with so many dogs and he just about melts when he comes across one. Then, I just had to have girlfriends with dogs.. At first, my approach was "oh yea, he's so cute.." and walked away. None of this, sniff me or lick my hands to get to know me.. "eeek". So I blame Keri with Harley, Erica with Rhage, and Paula with Yukon.. all labs.. that simply melted my heart.
Now I knew when I did get "our" dog.. it would be "my" dog, aka, my responsibility. But I literally did not think it took every ounce of my time (sleeping with one eye open), test my patience (and I like to think I'm pretty patient) and not to mention the strict routine they need (I'm the most easy going person I know).
Let's just say his first 24 hours was a "challenge" I'm not gonna get into it but say 'wood-chip'.. Not only did I have NO idea what to do and how to care for this little guy.. but hubby went straight to shift work, kids with me all weekend, and a photo shoot scheduled! So not only was I trying to make things easy for my new "baby" who we just snatched from his family, but I had to get to know him, his every move, all the meanwhile still trying to take care of my 'human' family. I'm not gonna lie, my first 24 hours with him left me wondering what the "heck" (it's a nicer word) have I done? Then remembering that the breeder did say "if for any reason we had problems with him, he would take him back.." those words echoed in my head all night..
But it's amazing.. how when we "moms/women" are faced with a difficult situation and it's our family on the line... we go in "mom-mode" and go into full battle mama mode. I knew what had to be done.. and I was gonna do it. First things first.. this dog needed a strict schedule, and when I figured that out.. I found some sort of balance in my little chaotic world.
So long are the days of sleeping in.. I am up by 545 am everyday, feeding him, taking him out for a walk by 6 am, come back take care of the kids while he naps.. Goodbye, lounging around.. hello walks/outside play at least 3-4 times a day. And it doesn't faze me.. we love being outdoors (I'm still getting used to the 6 am outings) but the kids and I all get out there and hang outside for hours.
I have to admit.. I simply in awe of this four legged creature.. and I thought I wasn't a dog person, well maybe just to my 'Kai'...
Every Tuesday I head over to Izzy's (and Ethan's) school to volunteer, I've only been doing it for a couple of weeks, and although it makes for quite an exhausting day being surrounded by a bunch of 1st graders... it's been a long time coming. I've always been able to volunteer in the boys classroom while they were in Elementary. But as soon as Izzy could get in school, I decided to other things with all that free time and it didn't include hanging out with kids.
Every week I'm amazed at what these 1st graders are capable of and technology has come a long way too. The first thing I noticed was when I first entered the room was the way they took roll call. So long are the days of calling your name and raising your hand to say "I'm here!" Now, they go up to this neat Promethean Board (kinda like those smart boards) and drag their name up to the column to show they are present. Not only that, they do math, language arts, science, etc here.
Here Izzy uses the projector to show her drawing :)
At the end of the day I'm exhausted as can be.. and am still amazed at how her teacher does it, all day, 5 days a week ! Praise teachers everywhere!!! It's a tough job.
But the smile on Izzy's face when I'm there all day and eating lunch with her.. it's priceless. She loves watching me help her friends and getting to know her girlfriends. I love knowing what she does when I'm not with her. And I like to think Ethan gets a kick out of seeing me too with all his 6th grade friends :)
Needless to say.. I'm exhausted today...
So hubby was home all last week.. and suffice to say, he did not get much Rest and Relaxation done, more like Spring Cleaning and moving the house around (yet again).
We did manage to go out on one date in between all the cleaning and exercising. We had dinner at my favorite restaurant, Ray's Place and Movies, The Green Zone. (Loved how hubby FB'd that) with many emailing/texting/calling to see if we were on baby #4.
All this Spring Cleaning was done in the hopes of getting ready for our brand new addition to the family that will officially come home with us on Thursday.
His name is "Kai"... and we are all so excited and anxious to have him home with us.
I've never been a "dog-person" I've never owned one and frankly always been more afraid of them than anything else. But in the last year or so the idea has been sinking in more and more. And hubby has always wanted to have a dog. He grew up with 4 dogs! And every time we go to someone's house with a dog, I swear my hubby falls head over heels!
I'm sure I have a lot of "moments" to look forward to with this new guy in our lives, but I'd like to think I'm one tough mama :) And I look forward to the companion (and a running partner, a biking buddy, and a hiking friend) and an all around new family member.
Until then, I will be waiting.. patiently and enjoying sleeping a good 8 hours till Thursday night :)
Hubby took the week off.. to hang (well at least I thought that was the plan).. but it turns out he is a workout fiend. I've seen the gym and sweated more than I'd like to in just a few days! Yesterday his idea of fun was spending 3 hours at the gym.. Uhm, yeah that kind of week. Which is good.. (I guess).
We've been Spring Cleaning like crazy around here, hence no post yesterday. After moving the boys room around and cleaning under beds, taking beds a part only to put them back together again.. was exhausting. And 5 giant trash bags later.. we are good (for now).
I'm still trying to sell (get rid of) our "dreadmill".. I just don't use it.. it's pretty much in good condition. It's been in folded position since we got it. I'd rather run outside (as long as it's not in the negatives) or head to the track in the gym.
Hubby thought it would be nice to go for a stroll being that it has warmed up here in AK..
Not sure what's in store today (Thursday) I'm afraid to ask the hubby... I'm sure he's got something up his sleeves.. I'm just hoping it has to do with veggin' on the sofa with a good book or movie.. (Doubt it!)
Time flew and our Spring Break is over here in our neck of our woods... I can honestly say, this was one of the first (in a long time) that I have truly enjoyed their time off. I know what some are thinking, that I'm sugar coating it to make it sound good.. Uhm.. no. And I really think it's because of the simple fact that I am home once again. Not having to worry about leaving them alone for the day or depending on my oldest to care for the others because let's face it, my husband's shift and unpredictable schedule is not one to rely on. There was always a guilt for leaving them when they are home. But this time around... it was more laid back, more relaxed, still hectic, I am still always on the go, but nothing I could not handle with a smile on my face.
For instance, today I am in the bathroom, gloves on, bleach spray in hand, me on my knees wiping the dried up boys "pee" behind the toilet (which I swear I just wiped the day before)...
My oldest walks in and asks:
"Hey mom, can I go outside? What are you doing ma-ma-mee?"
I respond in the sweetest tone:
"Oh not much sweetheart, just wiping the pee you all leave behind, every single day... that's all"
"Oh okay ma-ma-mee... I love you and so happy you are home now..."
And my kids have been saying how happy they are now that I'm home now.. that it's become a running joke in this family.. Every time I remind them to pick up their socks they respond, "We are so happy you are home now.." When Izzy's is complaining about the boys being mean, they say "Your home now!!!" They literally warm my heart and crack me up at the same time.
During spring break I took in more kids plus my neighborhood kids and just enjoyed their week off.. and so did I. We took my girlfriend's kids for part of the week too :)
We hit the local playgrounds and we played the entire time. The kids had a great idea to play "freeze tag" and you know me.. all about running, right? NOT! How is it that I had started a game with 4 little girls end up playing with 15+ kids who I ended up chasing around the playground.. and I was always "it". So here I am, running around the playground, going under slides, hopping over bars, swinging through the monkey bars to "freeze" these kids who always seem to come "unfrozen." Then came the hop-scotch fun I made up. I dared the kids to race-hop with me. All the meanwhile I felt my inner "Jillian" seeping out of me as I hopped away, yelling (well with a hint of encouragment) saying "C'mon, faster, you guys can do this, hop, hop faster..." And kids love a challenge, don't they? They always think they can beat "big people"... Well, not me! I out hopped all of them :)
From a distance I over heard siblings asking their mom "Mommy can I go play with that mommy over there cause she playing with all those kids and you just sitting here..." Izzy over heard them too and she turns to me and says.. "It's because your home now!"
When I first heard of the news of losing my job.. one of the things that crossed my mind was what would I do now without that extra income, which is not millions, but it was enough for us to go out and splurge every other week. And I was caught up on that end of it all.. that I never thought that being home was "worth" more than worrying about a few nights of dining out, watching movies, or splurging at Target. It almost forced me to focus on what I do have.. some amazing kids, a loving husband (who leaves me the sweetest messages on Facebook), shelter, free resources everywhere, and the one thing money could never replace.. Time.
A cheerleader chant is stuck in my head.. as I begin to write what my Alaskan friends have been anxiously awaiting to hear.
Our extension, which was at first denied, (followed by a lot of heartache and tears), then that same extension was up in the air (for the longest time), and now the wait is over... It's over, we are here for FOUR more years! Hubby pushed, talked to some "higher" people, and stuck with it, all in the hopes of placing a grand ol' smile on his wife's face.. He knew staying here would mean the world to me (and the kids). Like he always tells me, "It's just work for me, I can work here in Alaska, Maryland, Vegas.. but you are the one that has to make the big adjustments, meet new people, find the right schools, and make our house a home for everyone..." So true.. the military wife, is literally the backbone for the entire family.
And the news could not have come at a better time like March in Alaska.. (sarcasm tone inserted). As I sit here starting off my morning with a whopping 2 degrees, warmed up my car for a good 30 minutes before actually getting in it. But that kind of stuff, you literally just get used to it. Like my mama always say, "You make do with what you have..."
So it's official... Four more years.. We are due out of here 2014. Wow! Seeing it written down seems so unreal. It seems it was just yesterday when we first set foot on this icy tundra on that Monday afternoon of November 29, 2004. In what seems to be a swift 5+ years, Alaska has ironically warmed our hearts. It wasn't till we welcomed some amazing families in our lives (The Smiths, The Halls, The Aspnes, The Rotas/Shoemakers) that we truly understood what having family outside of our own blood meant. Then as the years passed, each one of them left Alaska (sans the Shoemakers) and I was so sure I was ready to leave too. But our circumstances were a bit different, we had older kids in school. (My oldest just starting highschool) and like my boys I have opened my heart to many Alaskan friends that I couldn't bear to leave.. not yet at least. I remember that feeling, watching my military friends leave.. thinking, "Only if I had another year, more time, there's so much I would do.." Only if... I guess they were smarter than us in taking that first flight out of here :) But I do have another chance, and I am gonna make the most of it.
Of course, there are days, I wonder if I did the right thing, asking hubby to find a way to stay.. I battled with that idea, to stay or to go. I now know, the only other place we would have ended up was back in the east coast to Maryland. (We lived there for 7 years). Just the thought of raising my kids (who are much older) there, was quite exciting and to now find out how close we would be to The Smiths would have been nice. But like my hubby said, that is where we will be after this tour and that is where he would retire to find a civilian job in that area... So Smiths, we'll be neighbors soon :)
So what will I do with 4 more years? Well, what I have been doing the past 5, raising my family, enjoying these fleeting moments. Being home more, I've been experiencing an epiphany of sorts, especially with my oldest, left with the thought that these final years in Alaska, are the few we have with him. He will graduate from highschool here and he may not join us on our next move and will be off to college. That thought alone.. sends quivers down my spine, after all he's my "boo-boo" and will always be.
Memory Lane.. November 2004
Some may still agree that this is "crazy" and most people I know are dying to leave this place... Not us.. not yet at least. We'll have a good 10 years here before we leave, phew, TEN!
Now that things are getting into some sort of order (well minus this week, it's Spring Break)... I've been focusing all my time on the family and back to my reigning crown of a Domestic Goddess.. The kids are well tended too, sometimes to spoiled I have to say.. We've got our weekly menu posted on our "family" board. Along with a To-Do list for household things that needs to get done, I could wait till Spring, but who am I kidding, Alaska has no spring. So why wait till then for Spring Cleaning. Trying new and different recipes while cooking with the kids. And my latest rave and obsession.. BUDGETING. I've been loving the excel sheet given to me and tailored to fit my family needs and wants by my girlfriend, Keri. In this list, we've got it all written down, from grocery shopping to haircuts, to our dog we don't have yet.. (yes, I said yet.. ) He's coming alright once that litter is born in the summer and I really am, anxious and excited. So I've been carrying my budget list (of course it's an app on my iPhone) with me all the time making sure we are not falling on that red line.. Unfortunately, our first few weeks on this new budget and we are already over on groceries and clothing budget. I guess I need to plan a little better and stop visiting Sports Authority.. (boo!)
The app I've been using is called iReconcile. Good Stuff.
And to take a sneak peek at some of the recipes I've been trying, I added to my Lifestyle Blog HERE.
It's still Spring Break in AK.. and we were blessed with over a foot of snow yesterday which left my shoulder and back in sheer pain.. Tomorrow, I will be mother hen to 2 more girls as I keep an eye on my girlfriend's kiddos :) I'll be on the busier side.. all the while sticking to the budget :) LOL!
Despite the cold temps and snow... This weekend we braved the weather and took the kids to the Fur Rendezvous Celebrations. I could not even get any photos of the boys they were all over the place catching all the rides.
Spring Break officially starts today, the kids have kept me busy along with staying active in the gym and loving all the different classes. So I'm sure my posts will be short and sweet :) We've got a busy week ahead with kids in and out of my house...
I'll be here.. just enjoying.... life :)
It's been a week now, of no work at the scrapbook store.. and the verdict?
*sigh* LOVE IT.
Now don't get me wrong, I really loved working at the store and I'm sure in the weeks to come, there is gonna be a big part of me that misses going in, doing something for the day, sharing my creations, and overall the social interactions. But I do have to say, working away from home, I realized I did miss a lot of what's been going on in my home and with my children.
In just one short week of being a full-time stay at home mom again, I've found that:
- I'm more relaxed. I don't try to rush the activities with the kids. Or when doing projects with Izzy, I know we can continue tomorrow, and mean it.
- Time or life rather, doesn't just fly by, and I don't feel that guilt of feeling like I didn't have enough time.
- The house is tidy(er).. In my first few days home I caught up with laundry so well that I was searching for stuff to wash. (Suffice to say, I'm not caught up anymore.. but that's okay).
- I scrapbook.. for me and and more importantly for fun.
- I exercise, more. I've been hitting the gym Mondays-Saturdays doing the different classes and running in between. It's been amazing working the different areas of my body. I have enjoyed the strength training in the circuit classes and tons of ab workouts!
- My kids are altogether.. happier. Maybe it's because they sense less stress from me, but they are excited to see me home in the afternoons, and on the weekends, every weekend, and when they get home from school.
- My hubby... is alright with it. (?) I'm sure he worries about the financial aspect of it all. Maybe the fact that we can't eat out every weekend or on his days off like we used to. But on the other hand, he's quite impressed with all the cooking and trying of new recipes. He's amazed at my budgeting skills. But I think he is concerned that being home will eventually have a toll on me cause he knows I'm not quite the homebody anymore.
- Just this one short week "home" I've been busier than when I was working. I've been in out of the Dr's office (for the kids), volunteering my day with a bunch of 1st graders, spending the day with hubby (sans kids), having lunch with friends, shopping with Keri, running outdoors, and being at the gym. Needless to say, I've found ways to keep myself busy.