Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Winds...they are a changin'

There is no doubt that B is becoming more stubborn. There is a lot more whining, screaming, and throwing occurring at my house these days. Last night, the child cried in his bed for no less than 2 hours past his allotted bed time of 7pm. I went in and rocked him, soothed him, whatever I could think of. Anytime I entered the room, he was all smiles and squirming in my lap. It was clear that he was not upset, just wanted to play. Nay, nay. Post-7pm is mommy time.

This has been showing itself in other ways as well. Last night at dinner. B looked at me as he threw his food over the side to the dogs as if to say, "What now?" He also gets told no and does it again and again to see if it will stick. He always follows all of these naughty actions with a smile as if that will smooth things right over. Now, I am not too familiar with other babies, but B seems to push just that little bit farther (perhaps this is Mom vision). He gets so frustrated when he doesn't get his way. He kicks his legs, goes limp, generally, acts as impossible as he can.

I shouldn't be suprised that our child is showing such a subborn streak. Both his father and mother don't always handle it the best when they don't get their way. Somedays, I think there is not a passive bone in either of our bodies. We want what we want and we will usually do just about everything we can think of to get it. That has served us both well, we are successful and (I hope) happy with where we are in life and where we are headed.

This new shift has resulted in the continual locking of horns. I want him to stop, he wants to go. Time for bed, time for play. It goes on and on. The child knows how to get me irritated and he does it with pleasure. I don't mean to imply that he is bad (well, he kind of is), but more that he is testing us in a new way.

These new challanges have lead J and I to reassess the way we usually approach the world. We can no longer batter ram things like we used to. That old cliche of patience is beating us at every turn.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Post Navy Options

I went out with a good friend of mine this weekend and we had a lenghty discussion about being in the Navy. We talked about crappy it can be, but we also talked about our favorite things, the people, the challenges, and the ever changing landscape. Sometimes, I fear that when I get out, I will be absolutely miserable.

I really, truly enjoy being in the Navy. There are times that are so exhilirating, I don't think that I will ever be able to find a job that matches this in excitement and mental challenge. I know that I have often complained about my Office Space-like activities, but truthfully, I find what I do most day very exciting. For example, in the past few months, I have worked on projects related to the Gulf Oil Spill, Haiti, and the Nashville floods. We have also been in more tactical exercises that keep our warfighting skills fresh. And that has only been at this job. At my other jobs, I have shot missiles, driving ships, and gotten a Masters degree. I have the priviledge and challenge of undertaking a new job every 18 to 24 months and none of them have been dull.

The thought of getting out and going to work in an office terrifies me. I can't stand the idea of doing the same old thing for years and years. I know that getting out is what I want to do. I know that the challenges that my and J's jobs together present to our family are too great. I also know that the Navy is where J is meant to be. He without a doubt loves what he is doing and will continue to love it for the next 20 odd years. He is already half way to retirement as well (though I doubt he will retire at 20). I also know that there is no way that I can just stay home. I know that I would be climbing the walls, ready to tear my hair out in a matter of months, so I have to find something.

Thankfully, this decision is still year's away, but this conversation got me thinking even more about what my plan is once I get out. I have seriously considered several non-traditional post Navy jobs, like culinary school or working for an animal rescue organizations. But, I still have serious doubts that anything will be able to provide me with the same level of thrill that being an officer in the world's most powerful Navy has.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Living in the movie Office Space

I joined the Navy for a lot of reasons. They paid for my college, it was assured work, I would get to see the world. Most of the time, being in the Navy is a super exciting, thought provoking, never a dull moment job. But, there are times when the mind numbing tedium starts to get to me.

Now, I don't know if this occurs at all jobs, but sometimes, it seems that some folks at the Navy get really wrapped up in the packaging and not the product. I understand that the senior folks need a good, standard package so that they can process them quickly. I get that. I get that these people are busy and that we need to package a lot of information into a brief time. But, man alive, sometimes, it's just too much to take. For example, today I worked on a routing cover sheet. ALL DAY. Multiple revisions on the cover sheet. The inside of the package didn't get as much attention as the outside. It was the TPS report from Office Space.

Like I said, I understand the reasoning. That doesn't mean that I have to like it. I get so frustrated because if something on the inside is so important, why are we worried about the outside so much that it literally takes days to get it through the chain. Waiting in line outside various offices for indeterminate amounts of time, only to get sent back to the computer to make a couple of word changes drives me nuts.

I understand that staff work is different. We work on programs and instructions rather than driving ships. I know that the work we do is important and that we are affecting the fleet, but my gosh, somedays, it almost makes me miss being at sea. (Wait, did I really just say that?)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Birthday Week

We have survived our first REAL illness. Sure B has been sick in the past, but nothing like this. He woke Thursday (his birthday, poor buddy) with a 103 degree temperature. I took the day off and took him to the Doctor. He had a monster virus, sore throat, the runs, generally, he just was an unhappy baby. We got his fever to break on late Thursday night, but he still wasn't feeling good all the way to Sunday.

We also transitioned him to milk this weekend. I was kind of dreading this because B has been very fincky about drinks lately. He doesn't want bottles, but he also hasn't been crazy about drinking out of a cup. So, while I was thrilled that we wouldn't have to mess with bottles anymore, I was nervous that B wouldn't be getting enough to drink. But, I shouldn't have worried. B LOVES MILK. The kid can't get enough. He will kill a whole glass at a meal if I let him. Pretty impressive.

B also started walking this weekend. He was heavily aided, but he did take a couple of steps on his own. I'm not suprised that B is on the later side of this. He was a late crawler, so motion hasn't really been his thing. He still is a bit unsteady standing on his own, so I won't be suprised if he prefers crawling to walking in the near future. However, he did it and we will keep working with him, so I am sure that he will continue to improve. We shall see though.

This last week has been pretty busy and exciting, birthdays, walking, it's unbelievable how quickly my little buddy is developing. Sometimes I wish there was a pause button to slow things down some. We have a busy week ahead of us too and J is getting ready to head out again, so B and I will be all by our lonesome. It's okay though, I am looking forward to a little mommy and baby time.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Tomorrow, at 0323, my little boy will be 1 year old. This is totally unbelievable to me, it seems like just yesterday I was holding a teeny tiny little boy in my arms. Heck, it seems like I was pregnant and itching up a storm no that long ago. Somehow, this year has slipped by me all to quickly.

I have to admit that I am a little bit sad. Yes, there a many, many great things to look forward to. Sports, school, and a million other things that are merely a thought in the distant future. But, there are some things that I will never get back. That noise he made when he was first born and the little boy who loved to snuggle with me in bed at night.

My son isn't a baby any more. He's a toddler. He loves trucks, dogs, and rough housing. He is much less focus on being with mommy and much more focused on destruction. While spending time with him is much more amusing now and there is never a dull moment when he is on the go (which is always!), I still have a longing to be snuggled up with him, having him listen to me read. Now, we can hardly get through our bedtime books.

I guess there is really no point in feeling sad, we have so much to look forward to with my buddy. So, happy birthday B! We have a long, long time to make more things that I will miss once they are over.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

B's Birthday Weekend

What a whirlwind weekend! I feel exhausted, but in a good way. This weekend we celebrated B's first birthday (actually on Thursday) and we had B baptized on J's ship, the might KEARSARGE. We had a lot of family and friends in to visit and celebrate with us. It was a great feeling to have all those people around us. I am so thankful that we have so many people that care about our little boy and took the time to make his 1st birthday memorable.

The party was not much more than dinner, presents, and cake. We had some BBQ and sides for everyone to enjoy. I thought about trying to do something more, but with 14 people, that seemed a bit unrealistic. So, we ordered some meat, made some salads, and pigged out. It was great. B got a ton of new toys and books. He of course enjoyed the boxes most! Actually, he was generally interested in most everything that he got. He is very into trucks right now, so we have an ever growing motor pool taking over our living room. There is nothing more fun that filling up the dump trucks with blocks and dumping them around the room. He also got bubble making supplies, which is thrilling for both him and the puppies (they LOVE trying to catch bubbles). I was most thankful for the books, we needed some new additions. If I have to read Go Dog Go anytime soon, I might scream. We went simple with the cake and did strawberry shortcakes. It was super hot on Saturday, so I wanted something lighter and B had plenty of other junk, so we went moderately healthy. My parents brought up some fresh picked strawberries from NC and the Bisquik shortcakes are awesome. It was a great party all around and everyone seemed to have a lot of fun.

Then Sunday, we had B baptized on the ship. It's an old Navy tradition for a child to be baptized in the bell. The bell is an important ceremonial and operational piece of the ship. The chaplain turns it upside down and fills it with water to then place on the childs head (like any other baptism). Following that, the child's name is engraved on the inside of the bell, forever becoming a part of that ship. When the ship is decommissioned, the oldest living person who was baptized gets the bell (B is way down on the list). Pretty neat. We were lucky that the Chaplain on J's ship is a Lutheran, so we were able to follow the ceremony that we all were baptized in with our son as well. It was a lovely ceremony and then our family got to have a tour of the ship and lunch in the Wardroom (officer's eating area). While not really anything special for J or I, our family totally loved the meal and tour.

This weekend made me really appreciate my family. Not only the love and interest they show in our son, but their willingness to help out. My grandmother made B's baptism outfit. My sisters, dad, and mother-in-law were all super helpful in getting the party together. My father-in-law did alot of the "honey do's" that J hasn't been able to get to since he has been gone. Everyone was willing to help with the baby. Everyone showed real interest in both what J and I do. It really made us feel loved. It was a really great weekend!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

From Surviving to Thriving

Last night, I enjoyed a huge rush of pride for something very simple. I mowed the lawn and trimmed the fence and house. It isn't all that shocking that I was able to do this, I did mow the lawn for my parents to earn money as a child, but for some reason, I was just super pleased with myself after I was done.

Maybe it was that I worked late yesterday, came home and did it, rather than just hitting the couch like I have lately. Or that I managed to wrangle the baby and the dogs at the same time while I did it (a stroller with the breaks on is an awesome thing). Or maybe it was that I did it without J's help.

There is a certain simple joy of surviving that you feel when your spouse isn't around. Some days it's all you can do to make it through the day, other days you feel like you could do it all by yourself. Lately, with all the problems with the A/C and the lost of my Grandma, I feel like B and I have been limping from day to day. Sure, nothing really bad happens, but we just don't seem to be able to accomplish much.

Mowing the lawn was a breakthrough. I did something I really don't like and I really had no desire to do, but it had to be done. I didn't do anything spectacular, in fact, I don't think I did the best job, but I did it. Our backyard no longer can hide a car. Now, I still have a lot of work to get done before people start arriving tomorrow, but with the lawn covered, it doesn't seem like quite as large of a task.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Packing 'Em In

This weekend, 15 people will be arriving in town to attend B's 1st birthday party and his baptism onboard my hubs ship (more on that in a later post). This is the first time that many of these people have visited our house. In my preparations, I have learned that 15 people is a lot of people. Granted, they aren't staying at our house (hotels became necessary when the A/C broke, no one wants to sweat it out with us), but I still have to feed and entertain everyone for 2 days. No small feat.

First, I will address feeding. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner for this group is a massive undertaking. I can get away with simple stuff for the first two meals, but dinner is a different story. It's my son's birthday dinner and people have come a long way so I can't really throw pizza down in front of them. I am buying the meat (BBQ, yum), but I still have to handle the sides. With most recipes only serving 4 or 6, there's a lot of doubling down going on in my kitchen over the next couple of days.

Second, the entertainment. These people have pretty diverse interests and range in age from 20 to 80, so there's a wide range to cover. Also, my house is a sauna. It is hotter than hell. There have been days where the house temperature is 87 degrees. Add 15 bodies in there, I am sure it is going to be pretty uncomfortable.

But, I know that I shouldn't be complaining. We are lucky that we have such wonderful family and friends that are excited to be a part of a special time in my son's life. I know that no matter what I serve and I what I do, a good time will be had by all. There's also the whole issue of cleaning that I have to (HAVE TO) get done soon!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Beatin' the Heat

Well, our A/C is still broken and it is supposed to be a melting 90+ degrees this weekend, so we broke out. We packed up the car and headed down to my parents house to take in some cool air. Plus, it gives me a little break from being in charge 24/7.

We took B into the pool for the first time today. I was a little worried that he would be scared, but not in the slightest. He splashed up a storm and would have been in longer than the 30 minutes I allowed him (I was worried about sunburn). It was really nice to see him have a first with his Grandpa and Grandma. We also visited the Farmer's Market and picked some strawberries (shortcake tonight, YUM!).

It's really nice that my parents live a little over 3 hours away. It makes it very easy to take a weekend off and gives them plenty of time to build a special relationship with my son. I count myself lucky for the relationship that I have with all my grandparents, they are blessing. I hope very much for the same thing for my son. He already loves spending time with my father. They have their own special games (mostly Grampy chasing B down the hall way and out of whatever he has found). J's parents live in Ohio and aren't as accessible, but I intend to make trips to their house to ensure that B gets to spend lots of time with them.

It should be interesting to watch these relationships develop.