Saturday, August 24, 2019

Caribbean Vacation 2019

HE'S HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!


My husband returned safely home at the end of July and we've been living in a time warp ever since.

The last 9 months were the longest months of my entire life.  Eric deployed last fall with no notice, which just means that because of the circumstances surrounding his specific position, we were given a less than 3 week notice that he would be deploying.  Less than 3 weeks didn't give our heads, or hearts, any time to process all of the major changes that come with a long term separation.  I'm a planner, his deployment wasn't something that could be planned (not much in Army life can be) and that made it even harder for my obsessive brain to deal with.  Besides that though, our little family does everything together, so having to figure out how to do life when we're incomplete was disorienting for a good while after he left.  Eric and I suffered major heartache the entire time he was gone.  Isabelle too, but her's was delayed by a little bit, but then sure enough it set in about January when it finally hit her that he wasn't here for her to lean on in all the ways she needed to lean.  She then texted him constantly for the rest of the time he was gone, even as he was getting into formation minutes before walking through the doors here at Fort Bliss.  
Our heads eventually caught up and we adjusted and found a new normal, but our hearts never really did and the months that he was gone seemed to drag on for forever.  There were moments that Eric missed that made it feel like he was missing too much and we wouldn't be able to catch up whenever we were finally together again.  

I've made no secrets about any of this and have talked about how disorienting, frazzled, and pathetic I felt throughout this deployment - both on this blog and my personal Facebook.  As his homecoming approached, I began to get reeeeally nervous about ridiculous things like him not recognizing us, or us not recognizing him, or him not wanting anything to do with us when he got off the plane (the list of things I worried about is ridiculous, I could keep going but I really don't need to sound even more pathetic.  Too late?  I thought so.).  

But the second my husband came home, it felt like he never left and the last 9 months completely disappeared.  

That's the time warp we've been living in.... somewhere between each having lived 9 whole months without the other, and feeling like not a single second was spent apart.  Somewhere between time quadrupling the number of hours in every day while Eric was deployed, and no time having passed at all.

It's been weird and great and hard to explain all at the same time!

Reintegration can be difficult for some Soldiers and families, it's a process and is different for everyone, so I braced myself for another adjustment - an adjustment that I couldn't possibly know how it would evolve until he was home.  But for us, it was seamless.  Not even Journey acted like Eric was gone for so long!  We all fell right back into life as a complete family again and have the time warp to thank for it!  

Eric took the entire month of August off of work and we've really made the most of it.  Mostly we've just been lounging around, sleeping in, drinking allllll the wine, and not working out one single solitary time, but then we decided to take a vacation, because who knows how long this time warp will last and we never pass up an opportunity to go somewhere!

We took A CARIBBEAN VACATION!!


After a long deployment Eric really needed a vacation - that part did not make it into our time warp; His feeling like he was worn out and needing a vacation did not disappear the same way as the past months did.  I was aching to go somewhere tropical, and Isabelle really only cared if there was WiFi or not.  So I reached out to a high school friend who owns a travel agency and she booked us the PERFECT cruise vacation!  
We've never been on a cruise before, but traveling is our most favorite thing.  We travel as much as possible and have every intention of seeing every bit of this earth God allows, but this time we wanted to do something new and different (to us).  And I didn't want to have to worry about or plan any part of it.  I was especially mindful that Eric wouldn't have to worry about any part of it.  I wanted the hardest part of our vacation to be deciding what fruity drink to get next.

So, me, Eric, and Isabelle went on our very first cruise!  To the Caribbean!  Thanks to Getaways by Amy, we got the most amazing stress-free tropical vacation of our lifetime (so far)!  We got the drink package (unlimited alcohol), a balcony room, WiFi, and left every care we ever had at the dock in Galveston, TX as we sailed off into the sunset!

It. Was. Glorious.



We spent the entire week of our cruise disconnected from everyone but each other.  We were so disconnected that I barely took any pictures, and the pictures I did take were on my phone.  I had all that I needed on the ship with me so I never needed to worry about taking my phone anywhere.  That, and it got in my way of holding my drinks, so I just left it in our stateroom all the time.  I even bought the waterproof phone cases with floating wrist bands and still barely brought my phone anywhere to take pictures.  I didn't think about anything but my little family and keeping my glass full with some sort of frozen alcohol.  I soaked up all the sunshine I possibly could, and actually surprised myself by enjoying being in a bikini and not giving a damn what anyone thought (a bigGIANT  deal for me), but that was it.  I literally had NO cares!

It was the most perfect state of mind I have EVER been in! 


Date night in the middle of the ocean!

This wasn't even our favorite bar, but for some reason I took a picture of this one and not our favorite.

We visited country #'s 23, 24, & 25 while on our cruise!  But as my daughter ingeniously pointed out, this was different from our other travels... this, was a vacation!

My little family thinks traveling, and all the experiences that can only come from traveling, is the most valuable thing to give each other.  Eric, Isabelle, and I try to see and do as much as we can when we can in every place we visit.  We have traveled all over the world and make a real effort to experience the country/place that we are seeing as authentically as possible.  We immerse ourselves as best we can into their culture by eating their food, ordering from menus in their language, staying in Airbnb's, and talking to allllll the people (even if it's just through hand gestures.  Which, by the way, work really really well!).

But this.... this trip was a VACATION!

And we decided that a vacation is not totally the same as traveling.  We did get to experience new things, met amazing people from all over the world, and saw things we have never seen before, but we only got one day in each country, and since I didn't plan a single thing, we relied on Royal Caribbean's own excursions to see the things we wanted to see.  In fact, the cruise ship provided every little thing, and it was great!  We got to order whatever drink we wanted whenever we wanted, eat whatever food we wanted, go on an excursion if we wanted, go see a show if we wanted, they literally provided every single experience and all we had to do was decide whether we wanted to do it or not.  I didn't have to worry about anything!  More importantly, Eric didn't have to worry about anything - not cost, not how much we were spending, not driving or parking, not anything!  I swear that not even calories exist on a cruise ship.

And that, is a vacation!  

So by the time the ship arrived at its first stop, without a worry and already having the time of our lives, we were ready to explore!  It wouldn't be like us if we didn't.  

First stop: Cozumel, Mexico!  

Chichén Itzá in Yucatán, Mexico- one of the New Seven Wonders of the World! 



I have NO idea how I managed to snap this picture without a single tourist in it! 


I knew that if we were going to the Mexican Caribbean I wanted to see one of the 'New Seven Wonders of the World.'  It was a no-brainer.  We've already seen one, The Roman Colosseum, but we'd like to see ALL of them, so I wasn't about to pass this up!

Living in El Paso we've become accustomed to "dry heat" and had completely forgot how awful humidity is.  Actually, I should say that Isabelle and I forgot, Eric was used to it from being deployed, but my gosh, it was so humid in Mexico!  We were sweating buckets the entire time we were walking around, which is really gross but we didn't let it ruin our time there.  We explored all that we could and just let our excitement for seeing something new distract us from the sweat.  Chichén Itzá was beautiful!  The Mayan people (who's language, culture, and people are still alive today) were geniuses for that time and our modern world wouldn't be what it is today without them.  It was interesting and beautiful and the exact kind of thing we loooooove to experience when we travel!

We got back to the ship after a two hour round trip drive through the Mexican jungle and got ready for dinner.  I don't have any pictures of our waiters, Elvis and Eduardo, but they became our friends and we looked forward to dinner every evening because of them.  

Next stop: Georgetown, Grand Cayman!

Leaving Mexico and sailing on to Grand Cayman!

One of the things that I really hoped to do on our vacation was to swim in the ocean.  We were getting our hearts filled with ocean views and sunshine, but other than the pools on the Lido deck, we didn't get any chances to actually touch the ocean, and dammit, that's what I was going to do!

Isabelle has been a passionate animal rights advocate since she was old enough to talk.  She is a vegetarian and meticulous of the products she uses and buys so that they are vegan and cruelty-free.  Because of her, Eric and I have learned so much about animal rights and animal exploitation and cruelty and have also become mindful of the things we buy (although we are not vegetarian).  So keeping inline with our personal feelings, swimming with captive dolphins was not an option for us, even if it is a very popular excursion for Grand Cayman.  Instead, we decided to take the opportunity to swim in the ocean with other humans!  I especially felt like the ocean in the Cayman Islands was the place for me because they have the deepest points in the entire Caribbean Sea, so their water is a deep gorgeous blue... and I couldn't wait to jump into it!

Grand Cayman was indescribably beautiful.  After we were home again in Texas, Eric and I decided that it was our favorite of all the stops on our vacation.  I don't know that I've ever seen colors anywhere in my life like the colors we saw there.  Eric, Isabelle, and I spent the day swimming in that beautifully deep blue ocean, and nothing else.  It was true paradise.  

I took this video as we were standing on the balcony of our stateroom.  The ship was "parked" in the middle of the water so we had to take a ferry to get to shore.  This is literally what we woke up to in Grand Cayman:



Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman




The last stop on our cruise: Jamaica!  And actually, Jamaica was the one stop where we didn't have an excursion already planned, which is how we kept it.  I did a little research and found that the port was so close that we could just jump off the ship quick, get our souvenirs and then get back so that we could pretty much have the ship all to ourselves.  We are hoping to do a trip just to Jamaica someday, the kind of trip that we can combine the all-inclusive feel of our cruise, with our kind of traveling and exploring, so there were no regrets about not having anything in particular planned.  And anyway, none of the excursions offered by the ship caught our attention, so I wasn't all that disappointed staying onboard.  I actually liked the idea of having the ship all to ourselves while everyone else did their excursions.

Even though Google had told me that the shopping area in Falmouth was really close to where the ship ports, I wasn't expecting to wake up to a small, beautiful village right outside our balcony!  That morning, Eric, Isabelle, and I woke up at port, walked out onto our balcony and there we were.... in Falmouth, Jamaica!

Standing on the balcony of our stateroom at the port in Falmouth, Jamaica. 


Falmouth, Jamaica with our ship (and stateroom) in the background.



The last couple of days on our vacation were spent cruising back to Texas.  We spent them napping, eating, drinking, and laying by the pool.  We almost never felt the ship move, but on one of those last days when we were sitting in the pool there were waves in the pool water from the movement of the ship and it was the most relaxing thing ever.  I was so relaxed and we were having so much fun sitting poolside watching the belly flop competition that we sat out there for a really long time and I didn't notice that I was getting sunburned until a few hours later.  

And holy hell did I get burnt!  

I got so sunburned that I developed an autoimmune reaction called a 'sun rash.'  Leave it to me to have some sort of dumb reaction to the SUN.  I had packed loads of organic aloe (and organic sunscreen that I learned the hard way doesn't last as long as the kind filled with chemicals, but I'll still take a sun rash over a non-reef safe sunscreen) so thankfully I was able to soothe some of the burning. 

But bejebus, a sun rash hurts sooooo baaaaaad!!!!  So I just got another frozen drink to forget that the bottom half of my legs were on FIRE with a million tiny red dots all over them and all was happy in my world again.

We had two days left on vacation, there were more drinks to drink, food to eat, music trivia at the Schooner Bar to nail (it was our favorite bar, long story, no pictures), and dinners to eat with Elvis and Eduardo!  Sun rash, shmun rash!

Isabelle's most favorite part of the ship was our balcony

Our last night on vacation and heading to a show!

The Caribbean Sea behind us, the Gulf of Mexico in front of us.

The color of the water, the beaches, the people we met... all of it, every single bit of our vacation.... was amazing!  And this time I really truly mean it when I say "amazing!"  I know I say that word a lot, but I really mean it this time!

AMAZING!

All the great aspects of life came together so perfectly and sucked us into a time warp so that we could go on the vacation of our dreams.  Our Soldier returning safely home, Isabelle finally getting a break from school, all of the stress of the past 9 months disappearing with one kiss at the Fort Bliss airport, an all-inclusive vacation that allowed us not to worry about a single thing, being disconnected from everyone but each other, new experiences, and us three being together again.  

All because of a time warp.  I hope to never to leave it.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Learning Lessons and Boston 2019!

Eric is still gone and this deployment feels like it will never ever never end.  In case you were wondering which corner of the world I dropped off of and why I almost never blog anymore... it's the "her husband's deployment kicked her ass corner."

Eric and I met a little more than 13 years ago when he was deployed to Iraq.  While we were getting to know each other and falling crazy and madly into a whole lot of feelings that neither one of us had ever experienced before, there was a shield of total ignorance on my end about what he was going through or what being with a Soldier meant.  I was clueless.  It would take us being together for years for me to begin to grasp all of the complexities of his Service and what that means to him and does to him (and even after more than a decade, I am still learning about those complexities).  

So this has been my first real experience with a deployment.  And emotionally, it's been tough. 

I am so very thankful that the Universe allowed us 9 years of marriage before he left last Fall.  It's not like we haven't spent our fair share of time apart before this (we're probably apart more than we are together- that's just Army life), but Eric and I have never been apart from each other for this long.  Ever.  Isabelle has never had to go this long without him- her homework helper, the shoulder she leans on, the level head in our house who calmly makes life make sense to her.  Us three do everything together.  Literally, all the things... us three experience them together.  So these last few months have not only been a giant adjustment, but they've shoved lessons into our hearts that we really hadn't planned on learning.  Sure, life is full of lessons meant to be learned whether we like it or not, and we couldn't learn these particular ones without this particular experience, but that doesn't make anything easier, or us more willing.  But having 9 years of marriage under our belts before having to be apart for so long did ensure us an indestructible foundation, and Isabelle an anchor, for begrudgingly learning these specific lessons.  

Lesson #1:  We HATE being apart and we aren't very good at it.

Eric and I talk almost constantly, but Lesson #2 was discovering that texting and Skyping is different when you know you won't be together again any time soon- it's equal parts comforting, and heartbreaking.  But Lesson #3 quickly followed #'s 1 & 2 when we figured that we better buck up and move on with life if we were going to find the joy in this particular chapter.  Eric, Isabelle, and I couldn't sit around and wallow in sadness if he was going to be successful and concentrate on the mission, or if Isabelle was going to keep rocking her school stuff, and if I was going to take care of her and our life here at home.  (Although, if you read my last blog post, you'll notice I wallowed for a good long obnoxious while after learning Lesson #3.  I'm such a brat.)

Even if the bucking up thing was slower for one of us, we were learning the stupid lessons that were coming our way one after another.  And even if something has gone wrong every. single. day for the better part of 8 months, I have managed to teach our daughter how to drive and parallel park and keep her alive and on track with her school work (she has her Texas drivers license to prove it!).  Eric has lead E/1-43 ADA in a successful mission, all the while comforting and encouraging his girls here at home, and Isabelle has achieved numerous school awards and an outstanding GPA, both in her high school classes and her college classes.

I could almost go so far as to say we're getting this deployment licked!  But then Lesson #433 is to never get too cocky when your Soldier is gone, because there are a lot of things waiting to go wrong just to make you feel like an idiot and keep you humble.  

All of the lessons and challenges every day have kept me fairly preoccupied, but I've also passed the time by looking for anything to keep my mind off of Eric being gone.  Teaching Isabelle how to drive took up a large amount of my time, which definitely helped, and I went hiking a precious few times earlier this Spring, but when we got a chance to go to Boston, I couldn't get out of town fast enough!  

There isn't a better way to forget all your cares than to go somewhere! 

If you don't know my daughter in real life then you don't know how insanely smart she is.  Isabelle is currently earning her associates degree from El Paso Community College {EPCC} at the same time as her high school diploma- she is so smart.  She was named a Superintendent's Scholar at the end of May for scoring in the top 5% in the entire school district for her PSAT's.  And earlier this year she was invited to attend a seminar for The National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Leaders at the University of Massachusetts!  

Massachusetts!  Y'all know I never pass up a chance to go somewhere!  

I wasn't about to let my daughter fly to a giant city all alone, so my mother-in-law and sister-in-law dropped what they were doing and we all went on a girls trip to the east coast!


Our tour guide came all the way from the 1770's!

The Freedom Trail

Boston Common


The thing that makes my little family the happiest is traveling.  The first trip Eric and I ever took was in our home state to the Sturgis Bike Rally's in 2007.  We borrowed my dad's class C RV and stayed right smack dab in the middle of the Badlands.  It was really romantic.  It was there that we discovered how magical getting away together can be.  There's just something about going somewhere you've never been before with your best buddy and getting lost without a care in the world.  It's a sure way to amplify the passion (wink, wink).  Since that first trip, we have made it a "rule" to travel as much as possible together and show our daughter every bit of this world in the process! 

Boston was the first city Eric and I traveled to in 2012 that wasn't any where near our home state, and we LOVED it!  We fell in love with Boston; everything about Boston!  We've reminisced about our travels since then and still don't know if we loved it so much because that trip was our first "big trip" and truly the sort of experience we were striving for by traveling- that no cares, no worries, no time restraints, just enjoying each other kind of experience- or if it was actually the city of Boston, whatever it was though, it's our fav!

For our Boston 2019 trip, instead of exploring with my guy, I was getting to experience it with my best girl!  Isabelle is already a savy traveler, but her time in Boston was very limited since most of her time in Massachusetts would be spent at the seminar she was invited to.  So for her first time in a city her parents have majorly hyped up for the last 7 years, she really wanted to see the sites along the Freedom Trail and Harvard before spending the rest of her weekend living at the dorms on UMASS's campus.  





Old State House

Boston Harbor



Isabelle at Harvard

After spending a full day in downtown Boston and then Harvard, Isabelle understood what it was that we had fallen in love with so much.  The city is this fun mix of American history with all things modern and the big city vibe that makes you feel so much cooler than you actually are just because you're surrounded by it.  She loved it!  But then it was time for her to go fill her brain with all the medical things she was so excited to wrap her brain around at the seminar, leaving my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and myself alone to explore other parts of the east coast!  

So once we got Isabelle squared away in the dorms, we decided to take a quick drive to Newport, Rhode Island to see another part of the world we hadn't seen before!  Since I had already been to Boston and don't usually go anywhere without my travel buddies, I let my sister- and mother-in-law decide our itinerary.  I was just excited to be out of El Paso for a minute, whatever we did or saw was going to make my heart happy no matter what!  

I might be a city girl, but seeing the Atlantic ocean in Rhode Island was exactly what my soul needed but didn't know it until I got there!  Which is exactly why traveling is so great!  It gives your soul all the good things you didn't know it needed until you're actually there!


The Breakers- a Vanderbilt family mansion built in 1895.




The backyard view from The Breakers. 




My mother-in-law walking along the Cliff Walk. 


There have been a lot of challenges since Eric left, none of them I've blogged about and only a few I've even mentioned on my Facebook.  And I don't know if they've seemed harder than normal because I don't have my guy here to vent to, or if it's really been that losing my wedding ring, going to the ER, having a seizure in the middle of Verizon Wireless, teaching my 16 year old how to parallel park in a big city, and a hundred other things is really just a little more than a person can handle in such a short amount of time (relatively speaking... time is different when your husband is gone).  But whichever it is, I handled each challenge as it came, tried my darnedest to learn from it, and then moved on (except the losing my wedding ring one, I'll NEVER get over that).  

With all the lessons learned, a girls trip, and butt kicking aside, I have, for the most part, handled this deployment like a champ.  Some days have been harder than others, but that's life.  At least that's my life.

I may have fallen off the "her husband's deployment kicked her ass" corner of the world.... but I'm also climbing up from out of that corner.  I've climbed my way out of a lot worse.  

Lesson #5689: I can handle just about anything!  And this deployment has proved it!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

March 2019 Women's Hike

The dumbest thing I have ever wasted my time on has been sitting around these last few months waiting for my husband, my best buddy to hurry up and get home.  Me.  Just sittin' around... all poutin' about Eric being deployed, and how we never do anything without the other, so I just kept on sittin here not do anything except poutin' to myself while the rest of the world was moving on with things and doing stuff.  

It just became the dumbest thing I have ever wasted my time on.  And I got downright over my own damn self.

I hate that Eric is gone, I hate that we're living separate lives (although in constant contact), I especially hate that time has stopped and it's still forever and ever before he comes home again.  But I hated even more that I was being completely pathetic about it all.  I knew I had to go out and do something, even if it meant doing it by myself.... maybe even especially if it meant doing it by myself.  

And I knew the thing I wanted to do the most....  



....GO HIKING!!! 

Now, in my defense:  Yes, I have been a giant pouty awful baby lately.  But.  It's taken me a little while to get back on a trail because of that really bad hike last summer that affected me for a good while afterwards.  I vowed not to go back out on any trail (but especially desert trails) until I was better prepared.  And thanks to one of Santa's most adorable helpers who hiked that awful hike with me and just so happened to know what was on my Christmas list and how to shop online like a pro, I got most of what I needed to feel better prepared for getting back on a trail!

But also, I am still struggling with my Epilepsy.  There have been no improvements in my seizure activity, even with the amount of medication I am taking, so it was no surprise that with the amount of stress I've been under since Eric left, I had another seizure.  Thankfully, it was small, but it was enough to knock me off my feet for a few days.  When that happens, it's a waiting game to see if another seizure is lurking, so I have to be mindful of my activity level for a little while afterwards.

And then there is life.  Life with a teenager.  Life with a teenager who is earning her associates degree at the same time as her high school diploma.  Life with your husband deployed overseas.  Life.  Life is busy, and I'm just trying to keep up.  Don't ask me how life is busy but time has stopped, it doesn't make sense and it's really irritating (and I might argue, totally unfair).  So hiking and doing much of anything for myself hasn't fit very well into life these last few months.  

But with all of those excuses aside, I still couldn't just sit around anymore.  I had to force something to fit whether it was going to or not because I needed life to give me just a little bit.  And since I was fairly certain the Universe wasn't going to hand me a million dollars for the vacation of my dreams just because I feel like I deserve it, I packed up my brand new Camelbak, my solar powered phone charger, and an extra bottle of water just so that I was for sure prepared to be out in the desert again, and even though I had other things going on that morning and was worried I wouldn't make it back in time (except that I reeeeally needed to make it back in time).... I hit the trail!  

I flipped my hair and didn't pay any attention to the fact that I had other things going on that morning, AND I WENT HIKING!!!





I signed myself up for a Women's Hike in the Franklin Mountain State Park.  I felt really good about this because I loved the idea of spending the morning with other women in the mountains - encouraging and uplifting each other and meeting new friends just seemed like the perfect way to get back on my hiking feet.  And if I had to do something without my buddy, this was how I wanted to do it.  We all met up last Saturday morning for an easy 3.5 mile round trip hike, taking the Maze Trail for half of it up to the Tin Mine Road looping back to the starting point.  

The description on Facebook said that the hike would be "moderately difficult," but as we were walking I didn't think it was even moderate, and that's coming from an amateur.  But then I noticed the teeny tiny 3 year old hiking the same trail as me who never even broke a sweat, so either I was just getting so good at hiking (hair flip) that a "moderately difficult" hike felt like a cinch, or Facebook was peddling some mighty false confidence to an awful giant pouty baby looking to go hiking.  

I'll let you decide. 


Girl power!


I can't remember what the name of this bush is called, but the Park Ranger said that this is what rain smells like in the desert, and for her, this is what "home" smells like.  It smelled really good.  I'm not sure I've noticed it when it rains here, but I'll try to see if I smell it from now on.


Poppies 





 

Us ladies spent the morning walking and listening to the Park Ranger (who I was not letting out of my sight this time) and enjoying the weather.  It seriously could not have been a more perfect morning for hiking.  Other than knowing I might be strapped for time, I lost all sense of obligation once I was on that trail, and I began to remember why I loved hiking so much.  Last summer's awful horrible hike gone-wrong almost took my desire away for hiking completely, but now I was remembering why I loved it again.  I love that walking on trails takes away all sense of obligation.  I love being outside and feeling my muscles working.  I can tell a huge difference in my endurance since first moving here almost two years ago, and I know it's because I've acclimated to the elevation and that my regular HIIT workouts are continuously changing and strengthening my body.  I love that my body is serving me the way that it's supposed to when I'm on a trail, rather than failing me in every which way when I'm not.  I feel stronger and more confident on a trail, and I really needed to feel that again.  I still have a lot to learn and more difficult trails to attempt, but I was glad to be out doing what makes me happy, with all of my worries dissolving along the way.  

I was missing my guy, but getting myself out there and not knowing a single person was a big deal for me.  I was doing something for me.  Finally.  During the last few months there hasn't been a single day that I have been able to take just for me.  Even if I only had a precious couple of hours on this one day of this one week to go on a quick 3.5 mile hike, I was so thankful that I decided to take it.  And even that was an accomplishment for me.  Normally I wouldn't even chance those few hours if I thought I might be late for something else.  Hiking was what I needed to feel better about my husband being gone, but actually, hiking was what I needed to remind myself that I am still that very independent, strong-minded, ambitious person that I used to be.  

And that person deserves a minute to do the things she loves to do, and she doesn't need to wait to do it.

This Yucca plant is beginning to bloom!  Yucca plants are edible - good to know for survival if you're ever lost in the desert (again).

East El Paso in the distance.  My house is out there somewhere.


After the hike was finished I high-tailed it to the thing I needed to get to.  Thankfully I was not late, but I was a bit sweaty and gross.  I didn't care and no one else seemed to either, so it was just another reminder that I can go and do the things I want to do, if I want to do them.  

And I guess that's another lesson hiking has taught me!  Just go get your ass out there!  The trails are waiting!  And what's more important than that?!


Look, just to be clear, it's not like Eric and I have never been apart from each other in our 13 years together.  He is in the Army.  We're probably apart more than we are together.  Hell, we spent the first 6 months of our marriage living in two different States.  It's just that this deployment happened so suddenly and it's taken me a sec to wrap my heart around it.
Eric and I don't ever want to get used to being apart from each other - that's not how we are, that's not how we work within our marriage, that's not how we are as parents, and that's not what we want for all the times that he's been gone and has come home from extended periods of time.  Our connection is what is important to us and we work to nurture it.  And I won't make apologies for that.

But sure, forgetting to make myself a priority in the mix of a busy life is not good.  And being a giant pouty baby is just annoying.  

And that is another lesson I learned while hiking!