Friday, September 28, 2007

As I Wait

So he's gone again. For several months this time. Harder on him, harder on our 5 year old.

It's 20 after midnight, and I sit aimlessly stairing at a computer screen, talking to it. I'm bored. I can't seem to stay awake, but I don't want to go to bed.

Being alone is so dull. I see many late nights ahead...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Home Again

Hello all...

It's been a while. Mainly because the family and I have been traveling across the country for our baby girl's christening. Time with family means many things to me. It means that I get to catch up, hug, love, and cherish those that are close to us...But on the flip side of things, it also means MAJOR stress for me and the family.

It has been about six and a half years now that we have lived away from our collective family. And for most of those years we would travel the great distances to go "home." But, in light of all of the travel and stress that goes along with traffic or airport hoopla, comes the stress of the family. It becomes a no win situation, where one family always feels slighted due to the time spent with the other. ::rolling my eyes::

I am actually rather glad that last year we were unable to travel at Christmas due to me being ordered on bed rest while I was pregnant with our youngest. For the first time in...Gosh...12 years since I've known and been with Hubby, we had our OWN Christmas, Our OWN traditions and rules. No other family telling us where we had to be when. Let me give you the typical Christmas day when we would travel home a few years back. Wait...back up...We'll start with Christmas eve.

Christmas Eve...We'd get ready and dressed by around 5 or 6ish. Get something to eat (either at home at my parents house or out to dinner with his parents), then we would head off to church (his parents church) by around 7:30/8:00ish, we would sing in the choir there, so had to be there before church actually began. Church would start at 9:00 and sometime about an hour or two later, would finish. We would then hop in the car and go out to his Aunt's house for "Christmas" with her and her family. Then we would quickly rush everyone through their presents and food so by 11ish we would be heading out the door, giving our best wishes along the way, to head off to My parents church or should I say "Church the second!" Church there would end sometime after mid-night or close to and we would all go home to My parents house and go off to bed (being sure to help Santa put all the presents under the tree before retiring to our rooms).

Christmas day we would wake up and open gifts at my parents house. My aunt and Uncle would come over at around 9 to give us their gifts and have breakfast. Then hubby and I would quickly have to get dressed and ready for a 2 hour drive north to HIS families' houses. His parents would drop by and pick us up at around 10. The first stop on the Northern tour is always his father's parents. Not extremely well liked by the maternal side of the family, so this stop was always kept to under and hour! we would give our well wishes there, then off to the Aunt's house...which one depended on who wanted to host! There we would spend HOURS smooching all of the relatives we never see. Each one giving us a gift, each one probably expecting a thank you card (sorry...I don't believe in giving thank you cards if I opened the gift in your presence and I said thank you verbally to your face...just me! I guess I'm tacky like that!) So for those hours that we were there, at least one fight between 2 or more family members would break out, at least one person would get drunk to the point of crying, there would always be catty talk behind other family members backs going on in the kitchen, and of course...TONS OF FOOD! All together ending in the most un-enjoyable, uncomfortable, stressed out holidays ever!

I love my family...This includes Hubby's family too. But wow...going through that year after year has made me quite tired and quite sick of all of the drama. I am sure that I do not help with the mere fact that I have become more outspoken as I become older. However, I don't know how fair it is to treat us the way we are treated when we come "home," especially given the circumstances and how hard it is for us to even MAKE it "home."

So even though it was not Christmas, the family celebration that we held felt like it was just that...un-enjoyable, uncomfortable, and stressed. Not all of it was this way, the actual celebration was wonderful and in my own mind I ignored all family members in attendance. Or at least I tried until I got a strict talking to by my hubby about how you have to "acknowledge" an Italian family as soon as they walk through the door...visions of the Godfather went flowing through my head...actually, about every mob movie I've ever seen went flowing through my head! So, I got up...went over...and said hello to everyone...
Honestly didn't think this part of things was that big of a deal...we WERE in church, and it was getting pretty close to the start of the ceremony! Smooching every aunt was truly Not my priority at that moment!

The whole point of the dinner afterwards was for the smooching! hehehe.

The THAT was stressful! The restaurant couldn't accommodate us...I allowed our mothers to set this up...yeah...I should have seen the warning signs on this!

We had reservations at this little Italian bistro for 35 people. They said..."Sure...we can do that in our front dining room, we'll push tables together, and you'll just order from the menu" Ok..Note the fact that I said "LITTLE"...

Hubby and I were the last to arrive because we were the only ones that would allow his paternal grandparents to follow us (See comment above regarding the love between maternal family and paternal family!) We arrive to find that most of the tables were not set, and there was no more room at the inn. Who then gets slighted??? No, not his family...MINE... My aunt and her entire family (which includes 4 little girls and 4 adults) stormed out of the restaurant because there was no room (Note...They were the first in our party to arrive!!!). So my mother and I remained very upset for the rest of the night. At the beginning of the Dinner, hubby and I weren't even seated together because NO ONE bothered to save us a seat. Momma in law and the brood started to drink, as my family remained under the radar as I unraveled the wrath that is me!
The owner of the establishment promised us the back room if we could wait just 15 more minutes...OK...fine...15 goes by...our waitress comes out to me to say..."it's going to be another half hour to 45 minutes!" By this time, half of MY family had left, and his family had already opened the why move! I proclaimed, "We had a said you could accommodate, you did not accommodate, YOU HAVE TO ACCOMMODATE!!!! We are here, we didn't make plans for us to go anywhere else, so you need to work your butts off to make this work!"

Now business minded people...why would you slate a group of 35? especially since the average meal cost us $14, and most, I'm sure, were more like $20-25!!! Instead they were trying to accommodate other customers who might have two people in their party that probably only brought them about $30 in business! It's simple economics, you cater to the bigger make sure they are happy and well supplied for, because in the end, you'll get more business!

We finally got settled, as insufficient as the accommodations were, and we ate dinner. Because of my pure rage, I stayed away from most people. I didn't (and couldn't due to the set up) talk to my family, so they left in a bit of a huff, his family ruled the night, and that was that. They had a good time, I think, (honestly, not that I care!) By the end of that night, I was so stressed about the response I would get from my family, that I could care less about anything else that was going on.

The food was decent, and if it were just hubby and I, I probably would eat there again...but I would NEVER trust them with a party!

Going "home" to see our family is always great...


It is GREAT to be back HOME.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

topic of discussion...TRAVELING WITH CHILDREN

There has been a lot of press in the past year regarding parents being deplaned due to an unruly child. So being that I will be traveling this week. I figured I'd open up a panel for discussion over how to handle travel with small children.

I personally have found in the five years of being a parent that car trips are best. However, within this day and age. With this military life that we live in, it is simply not feasible at all times. So to the airport we must go.

So I've compiled some simple tips and rules for anyone to take advantage of.

Number one....Travel with more than one Adult. When possible always bring a friend or Hubby on the trip with you. It honestly makes life sooo much simpler. But this is not always

Number Two...When traveling solo with small children do not be scared to ask others for help. I found it rather interesting on my last trip. Going through the security check point at the Philadelphia airport with two small children, a stroller, and 3 bags...I must have looked a mess to those around me. I got help from not one, but two other airport goers. The girl in front of me helped me collapse and put the stroller up on the conveyor belt for the x-ray machine, and the gentleman behind me assisted my oldest in getting the trays and putting her bag and shoes in them, then all together we pushed through to the "gateway to freedom!" I actually did not ask, but stopped and realized that if they did NOT help me, everyone behind me would have had to wait on me! So it was in THEIR interest to help out! lol. Same goes for airport personnel though...they are there and get paid to help!!! Don't let them tell you otherwise!

Number three...Sounds horrible to some parents, BUT... giving a baby or a small toddler some Motrin or Tylenol approximately 30 minutes before the flight cuts down on the amount of pain they may feel at take off. It also helps them relax.

Number four...for infants and toddlers make sure you have a bottle on hand to help them swallow when their ears start to pop. For older children, have gum or tootsie rolls (or similar) on hand for the same reason.

Number five...ALWAYS pack a carry on bag as if you are taking an over night trip with at least 1 change of clothes for yourself, AT LEAST one for each child (more if it's an infant), and essentials like formula food, money...etc. You never know when you'll hit a layover, and by this time...the airport already has your luggage!

Number six...For older children make sure you pack some type of activity for them to do one the plane. Even a two hour flight gets old to a five year old! For the little ones. Pack plenty of diapers, wipes, formula, bottles, and a toy or two (age specific) try things that don't necessarily make noise to not annoy other passengers.

Number Seven...pack your kids favorite goodies. Sugar them up baby!!!! Make them happy, who cares that they haven't had lunch yet, who cares that they'll spoil their dinner. The only thing that matters is keeping them happy. Most children are not satisfied by the provided by the airline. Also, if your child does not drink soda or juice like mine...ask the flight attendant for water or milk (some of the airlines do carry the milk boxes that are out now that look like juice boxes.)

Number eight...Take advantage of early boarding. You have an infant. You have the right to be one of the first people on the plane along with all those who are rich enough to afford the expensive seats! This way you get on the plane while it is fairly empty and it feels less claustrophobic to the children. Lots of bodies make little ones nervous! this gives them a chance to look around and get comfortable with the new environment.

Number nine...If the kids gotta go...IGNORE THE SEAT BELT SIGN! Some flight attendants are more apt to be a pain in the you know what than others. The bulk of them however realize that with long flights, and beverages...comes the inevitable potty break. Same goes for if the baby is REALLY fussy. If you feel that it is safe to be up, then don't worry about is only a warning.

Number ten...When having to take long overnights!!! I have found in the many times that we have flown cross country it is so much easier on the child if it is a red eye. The child will automatically sleep because it is his or her natural bed time. You have to entertain them less, and they wake up in a new place. It's so much more relaxing to them. Now to the parents...not so much. The last trip we took I slept maybe...oh I dunno...about 3 hours out of the whole flight. That was for different reasons though, I was placed on the isle seat with my infant fast asleep in my arms and the attendants kept coming by with the carts, and I was scared they would hit her on the head. So, I'd also recommend, sitting on the window side.

Well, I hope this helps those scared first time moms who will be traveling soon. In all honesty, you gotta do what works for you. In the end, make sure you and your child are as comfortable as possible, get to the airport early, and try to get through the security lines when there is no one else there.

And do not EVER allow an airline to throw you off a flight. You paid for the flight just like the next Joe. You have the right to fly and so does your child. But at the same time...also be overly kind to the attendants...they are just doing their job...even if they do have attitudes sometimes.

Busy Week behind me, Busy Week ahead

Wow, this past week flew by me, and my head is still spinning.

Wednesday night was Back to School night at my daughter's school. It was nice to see all of the teachers and also to meet some of the parents of Gabby's new classmates.

Thursday and Friday were spent with Hubby and I trying to get the house, and him in order for our upcoming trip and his upcoming training.

Saturday was spent mostly cleaning. Saturday night we finally were able to have the BBQ that was planned for last week. It was a minor success. Not man people came, so there is TONS of food leftover...We will be eating chili for the next month! Oye!

Finally, today we had church and then rushed around to get Gabby ready for her first Cross Country meet. She did pretty good considering the lovely skies above the Northwest finally opened up and showed what they are truly made of! She placed 26th in her division, which for the first time out, for the first year that her school is even involved, it's not that bad! There is another little girl from her class that is also on the team and her daddy is also military. So you have two big bad mil dudes being drill Sgt like to these two little girls. Totally awesome! They (meaning the race coordinators) made these kiddies run a 1/2 mile! Now, to most fit persons that doesn't seem like anything. But think back to when you were in Kindergarten! Yeah, it's a run!!!! So, We were very happy with 26th! (And no...she was not in last place! hehe) She was more mid-pack.

Tomorrow is the start of the new week, and with that always comes new challenges. We will be heading back home tomorrow night, and we still aren't packed. No big really. It's just for a week, AND, Hubby is off tomorrow.

Back east we go to family and friends to start another fun filled week of jealousy and anxiety over who we see and who we don't see! UGH...I hate being far away from home, but I DETEST going home just for the reason of being pulled in all directions.

I basically told Hubby that since the girls and I went home in August, it is completely up to him on what we do and where we go. So hopefully this week will not be as stressful as the last vacation I took! ::rolls eyes::

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Wacky Wednesday

Don't know if I'll keep that persona going for Wednesday, but it's very fitting for today.

My oldest woke up this morning with a tummy ache. Which in the end turned into, er how to politely say this....ummm....upchucking into the toilet, not the nicest way to say it, but I'm on a strict timeline today and don't have much time to sift through the thesaurus inside my head!

So anyway, because of this we kept her home. haha...BUT she's got a dental appointment later this afternoon, so yeah. She seems fine to me. I think she was overly hungry because she barely ate any dinner last night. So, the rule in this family is, you don't eat what we make, you go to bed hungry! I guess she lied to us when she left the table saying she wasn't hungry. She sure has her appetite back this morning though! She's already had two breakfasts and is bugging me for lunch and it's only 11:25am!!!!

Hubby is also sick, he and I think his immune system was compromised with all of the physical training he's doing right now...times running short, so he needs to get himself physically ready for this next school.

Baby and I seem to be the only one's NOT sick yet. But I'm just a waiting for it! I see it like a black ominous cloud slowly creeping in from the East.

Yeah, we leave on a jet plane late Monday night for the long trip back home to see friends and family. So, we all know what's going to happen. Either I, or Baby, or Both will be sick by Monday! Yep, it's gonna happen! We all know it to be so...Murphy's law and all...

I'm fighting the urge right now to not spill my guts over financial issues. Let me just put it this way...GGGGGGGGRrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Yep, that should do well enough!

If anyone knows of any job openings, please pass them my way. Something that is in the range of 8-2ish Monday through Friday. Yeah, that's about all I can handle right now. So feel free to let me in on any prospects!

Oh well, nothing to compelling or overly philosophical on this post! Just my rant for the day....Hmmmm...maybe that will be Wednesday's persona...Wacky Ranting Wednesday...I think I like the sound of that!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Six years ago...

Last night I found a blog that I wrote in a diary 1 year ago. It was funny how profound it truly was.

In 2001 when the Twin Towers fell and the Pentagon lay in shambles, I was pregnant with our first child. I remember that day and how incredibly scared I was. What kind of world was I about to bring this little girl into, I wondered?

Last year on the fifth anniversary of September 11th, ironically once again I was pregnant and wondering how I was going to handle my children in this world. Within those five years, my husband joined the military. A lot has changed in this world, and in our own lives.

On this six year anniversary, we are once again looking forward, and at the same time looking at our past. Realizing that within the year he will be deployed, realizing that this frenzied life in the military that we have come to embrace will become harder than it has ever been. The idea that no one truly knows how this war will end, when or if it will ever end.

Six years later...there is still a paralyzing fear wafting over us like the dust settling after the Towers fell.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The First Of Many...

"Today is a new day", quoting a Disney/Pixar favorite!

My name is Shelby, and this will be my pallet from which the colors of my life will spring forth. Wow. I guess by this time of night I get really waxing poetic, huh?

Ok, so seriously...

I'm a housewife, a homemaker, but more so...I'm an Army wife. Not only am I that, but I'm also a mother of two beautiful little girls.

This is The life and times of an Army wife.

Goodnight for now all...more on me and my life tomorrow.