Friday, August 10, 2018

Mama's Stay-cation

I am sure if you've been reading my blog for any amount of time, or if you know me in real life, you already know that I am unabashedly obsessed with my little family.  I am almost never away from them and I make NO apologies about it.  I will spare y'all all of the mushy ways in which I ooze love all over the two best people in the whole wide world that God made and then saw fit to put into my humble measly little life because it's embarrassing, but we really are.... always together.

But even so, I have never been much of a "stay-at-home mom/wife."  I've always valued my education and my career and it's extremely important to me to be an example to my daughter of how those two things give a woman her independence.  But, for a gazillion complex reasons working in my profession just isn't a possibility at this stage of my life here in Texas.  And that's been hard for me.  Really hard.  So instead, I am trying to be an example to my daughter in other ways - together we volunteered 85 hours at a local homeless shelter last year!  

And, I am pouring my heart out onto my family right now because that is where I am needed.

For most of the school year my life revolves around whatever Isabelle and Eric need.  Isabelle, especially, since her schedule is absolutely insane.  I spend a huge amount of my time keeping her organized and driving her back and forth to her commitments.  While I may be a constant presence in Isabelle's life (she'd probably tell you that I am a super annoying obnoxious presence, and all I'd say to that is, I bring the 90's dance moves every where I go soooo. there.), I am mindful to stay a few steps behind her to allow her her space to stumble, and even fall flat on her face if she needs to.  I make no apologies for that either.  The kid has to learn the things she has to learn and sometimes it means the hard way, and I make it a rule to never get in the way of the Universes' lessons.  But rest assured she is always within my reach when needed, and I am doing everything I possibly can to keep Isabelle organized and graduating with her ambitions flourishing.  
Most of Eric's focus needs to be at work right now.  I just keep things with Isabelle and our home running as smoothly as possible so that he doesn't have any unnecessary distractions and can keep his focus where it needs to be.  It's the best I can do since I know zilch about the inner-workings of the military, and those Solider's are pretty great at what they do without a giggly wino trying to give them unsolicited advice.  

Honestly, out of the three of us, life for me is the easiest, I don't have any of the responsibilities that they do.   I don't have to wake up at the butt crack of dawn and do Army stuff like Eric has to, and while I love all things 90's, you couldn't pay me any bazillions of dollars to go back to being in high school again like Isabelle is experiencing right now.  Which, by the way, side note: is why I wasn't disappointed when the Army ruined our plans to go home for my 20 year high school reunion.... ohmigosh, y'all I am old and I just admitted that right here on my blog.  Yes, I graduated high school in 1998!  Twenty whole years ago.... gulp.  But there are just parts of my life I don't need to revisit, and high school is one of them.  I'm not the same person I was twenty years ago.  I'm happy that I'm not who I was in high school, but I'd like to think that who I was made for a great foundation of who I am now.... if that makes any sense.


Taking care of two very ambitious people can be exhausting.  Especially since the stuff I do is not glamorous and I don't get a day off like they do.  So when the Universe aligned an entire week where Isabelle and Eric would be gone at the same time leaving me all by my lonesome, I couldn't help but squeal with delight at all of the possibilities....


Chick flicks without a single eye-roll from anyone anywhere.

Doritos whenever I want them and as much as I want because I don't have to share. 


No healthy food!  Except pokè bowls, because pokè bowls are life.

Sleep.  Sleep all day.


Lay on the couch without interruption.

Absolutely no working out at. all.  (Ya hear me, Melissa.  I'm talkin' to you).


Dancing to my 90's music in every corner of my kitchen without bumping into my daughter with this big butt.... I can not lie, you other brothers can't deny.... 




Even for someone like me - a gal who can push herself to the point of a seizure - a break to do whatever I wanted sounded like exactly what my soul needed, and it was way past due.  I desperately needed to recharge my batteries, and not having to worry about anyone but myself seemed like the exact right way to recharge them.

So that's what I did!  I did all the things I wanted and none of the things I didn't.  It was pretty great.  For the first two days.  And then I missed my little family like crazy and often didn't know what to do with myself.  But then I sat on my couch a little longer, took bigger sips of wine, read my book, and began to ENJOY it!  I remembered to think about myself, it felt weird at first, but then the high from the Dorito cheese dust hit me and I actually let myself relax.

Look, I make NO apologies for being obsessed with the two greatest people on earth, or how as a family we operate best together, or that while I may be deeply and completely flawed, I pour everything that I do have into the two greatest people so that they can continue being the people God made them to be, even if it means that I have to take a back seat to any of the limelight that I pray shines so brightly on them. 

You'll find me in the wings, going big on the 90's dance moves.... macarena, anyone?

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Turning 40 in Texas!

I haven't been blogging much since we moved to Texas because there isn't a lot to do around here and I've been spending an embarrassingly large amount of time pouting about it.  And we allllll know that when I pout I have to be all "extra" about it and lay on my couch with a big fat pouty face boycotting my own blog (because that makes total sense, Melissa).  

I don't know how my husband puts up with me.  

I have been going to the gym though!  For the past year I have been doing a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout 3-5 days every week and have managed to lose some weight.  I've even managed to turn flabby parts of my body into actual muscle, and am doing things I never thought I ever could (1 whole minute of squats with 40 pounds on my shoulders?!  Ummm..... yeah, I can totally do that now (hair flip).  1 minute, 2 seconds with 40 pounds on my shoulders....?  Are you kidding me?!  Forget it, that's insane!).  It makes me really happy, despite my ability to be a giant brat for no good reason. 
But I am still struggling with my brain and the seizure medications that it now requires to keep it working somewhat normally, which makes it hard for me to find my words and put sentences together.  My husband and I have this weird thing where we know what we're each thinking before we say it out loud, so most of the time we can communicate telepathically.... it's super weird, we know.... but this has been hugely essential lately since I get flustered when trying to explain something with words so I resort to flailing hand gestures and then it's just a disaster so I stop communicating all together and go pout some more.  After an initial adjustment period I felt like I was emerging from the fog of the first medication and thought that things would be okay, but then my Neurologist decided to increase my dose and add a second medication, and welp, I basically had to start over with the adjusting thing.  

But when the love of your life turns 40 years old in Texas, you dust off that funky brain of yours, knock the whole pouting thing off, and CELEBRATE!

Just about every single one of our summer plans were ruined by the Army so we couldn't celebrate Eric's birthday the way that we wanted to or the way that he truly deserved.  But I wasn't about to go off and go pout about it, nope, this was his day and dammit we were going to celebrate as best we could!  So our little family headed up into the mountains of southern New Mexico to see FLUFFY!!

Gabriel Iglesias (a.k.a Fluffy) is a comedian and actor that you may have seen on things like Magic Mike, Modern Family, or his comedy specials on Netflix.  He is HILARIOUS and we love him, especially Isabelle, so when I found out that he was coming to our neck of the woods... literally in the woods..... in the mountains of Ruidoso, New Mexico, I just had to get tickets for Eric for his birthday!  El Paso is a great city with great people, but it's not much to look at and we've been painfully missing trees and grass since we got here.  Eric and I aren't desert people so our moods were immediately lifted the minute our eyes saw all the beautiful green stuff we hadn't seen in what felt like forever.

Seeing Fluffy in person was way better than we imagined it would be!  His show wasn't scripted and was geared for our specific crowd and area of the country he was talking to so we hadn't heard any of his jokes or stories before.  He played outside next to a small lake so we sat in the grass on a hill soaking up the sun loving every second of being in nature again.  We had a blast!  There is nothing on this earth sweeter than sitting in the sun and getting to hear your daughter's giggle for two straight hours - if I could ever figure out how to put her laugh into a bottle I would have the cure for World Peace.  

No pictures allowed of Fluffy's show, but it was the best night we've had in a long while!

It turns out that all I needed was one night in nature listening to Isabelle's giggle to get my pouty ass off my couch, because goodness, once we got back to El Paso I felt like it was just dumb to be sitting around wasting anymore time doing nothin' now that we had forced ourselves out of the house for the first time since we moved here a year ago.  

And can I just reflect on that for a sec?  An an entire gosh dang year.  We let a whole year go by without barely doing anything because.... I don't know why.  No good reason that I can think of off the top of my head, that's for sure!  So yeah, my seizures put a wrench in life and I had to figure a few things out.  But we sure wasted a lot of time not enjoying this little spot that God put us in, and that was just dumb.

So Eric and I decided not to be dumb anymore and we took Journey to Elephant Butte Lake, also in New Mexico, for a day of swimming and walking along the beach.  It wasn't quite the beach vacation we had originally planned for Summer 2018, but we were happy just the same.  We spent a few hours climbing the sand hills, and for all of the exercising I've been doing this last year I still struggle a lot catching my breath - if an ax murderer was ever after me, I am so totally dead.  A side effect of one of my seizure medications is that it feels like my lungs are bleeding, they aren't but it feels like it, so I've learned that slow and steady is the name of the game for me and that I loooooove the feeling of sweating and burning muscles (who knew?!), so as long as I am not being chased, I'll eventually climb whatever mountain I'm trying to climb, or on this particular day, sand hills.

Lawdy, I hope ax murderers don't read this blog.

Journey gets his smile from his daddy.


Pure joy

The sand hills were extremely hot and we hadn't anticipated that they might be a little dangerous for Journey to walk on.  **Note to self: Put doggy shoes on the Amazon shopping list.**  He was a trooper, though, and handled the hiking pretty well, he knew when to stop and we ran to shaded parts of the sand as quickly as we could.  But hiking for as long as we originally went there for just wasn't in the cards for us, or we risked doing serious damage to our precious fur-baby's paws.  Instead, we let Journey do his most favorite thing in the whole wide world... play in the mud.  If you've ever wanted to see joy in it's silliest purest form, just watch my JourneyBernieSanders play in the mud.  Joy like that will make you forget all about your germophobe issues.... even when you suddenly remember that you forgot to pack towels.

I packed a picnic lunch and water, but had forgotten towels to dry Journey off so we were good and dirty by the time we left the lake.  But we weren't ready to head home yet, so next we stopped at the Dianne Hamilton Military Museum in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico (that is the actual name of the town) for a quick stop to let Journey dry off and because we can't pass up a Veteran Memorial Park when we see one. 

The park had a replica of the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Wall in Washington D.C and a big area to walk around with information about all of the different wars our country has fought in, benches to sit and remember the Soldiers who served, and other replicas our troops used in one way or another.  We wandered around for a long while because it was quiet and beautiful and the exact sort of thing Eric and I enjoy doing when we're I'm needing to be reminded that there are very few reasons to waste any amount of time pouting.

We weren't done celebrating Eric's birthday just yet, though!  The big 4-0 deserves celebrating until you can't celebrate anymore!  Am I right or am I right!

Since none of this was what we originally planned or hoped for, we knew that anything we did to make up for it would pale in comparison, but we were gonna do the best we could.  So for another day trip we headed southeast to the Fort Davis National Historic Site.  Fort Davis is a good 3.5 hours away from El Paso - close enough that it makes for a good day trip, but far enough to make being lazy sound like a pretty darn good option too.  

Except that, when are we ever going to be in this area of the world ever again?  

Okay, well when you put it that way, Melissa, I guess it's.... hello Fort Davis!

Fort Davis operated from 1854 to 1891 as a fully operational frontier military post where families lived with their Soldiers just as they do on military posts today.  It was considered to be one of the nicer posts of it's time!  It was established on the eastern side of the Davis Mountains in a box canyon near Limpia Creek, so once again, Eric and I found ourselves surrounded by all the things that make our souls so happy!  

We might not have been celebrating a birthday in all the ways that we had thought we would be, but we were doing it in a way that made us happy all the same.

Gosh, he's cute.

 Only the best out here in the middle of the desert. ;) 

We walked around the Fort Davis Site for as long as we could, we were in no hurry to leave.  Even when it started raining we happened to be close enough to a building where one of the Park Rangers was giving a small tour so we were able to stay out of the rain long enough for it to stop and then continue with exploring the buildings and ruins.  It wasn't much, but it was better than staying home and boycotting this poor little blog of mine, and it actually ended up being a perfect day.  

We had seen all that we could in our little area of Texas for Eric's big birthday in the time that we had, and I'd say we made the most of it!  

Eric spent his actual birthday reflecting on his past decade of life; reflecting on how much he's accomplished, how much he's endured, and how he says he wouldn't change any part of any of it.

The birthday card Isabelle made for Eric.

Hahahaha!!!  There's no body better than Seu's Caketory for cakes/cupcakes!

Eric has big plans for this next decade of life!  We will have to wait and see how his plans align with the Army's, so as God continues to form all of this in Eric's heart we'll try our best to not pout so much (cough, Melissa, cough).  But if there is anything that this last decade has taught him, it's that anything is possible!  


Sunday, June 10, 2018

Our 1st Dining Out at Bliss!

Only because I loved my dress just a teeny bit more than my husband did I decide to devote an entire blog post to the 1st Armored Division Sustainment Brigade Dining Out (a.k.a Military Ball) so that I could unabashedly show it off to each and every one of you {squealy giggly face}!  
But it's been an entire month since the Dining Out and I'm just now getting a chance to show this little beauty of mine off because the Dining Out just so happened to be in the month of May, and we all know that May is the worst month of the whole entire year.  

I can't help that I'm an emotional mess and can only barely handle anything outside of what life gives me on a normal basis.  It is what it is, y'all.  I am who I am.  I'm basically on survival mode until May and all of it's emotional shenanigans are over with and I can just slide right into the sweet beginnings of summer break.  

Except not this year.  Because... of course not.  This is me we're talking about. 

No, this year the Universe decided that my dog had to die right as the gosh damned month was beginning, and then take Isabelle's appendix all willy-nilly like and out of no where as I was in the home stretch and actually starting to think I was getting the whole month licked.

So anyway, now that May is over with and Isabelle is living her best life without her appendix, I can go about showing off this dress of mine!  Isn't it just the prettiest dress you ever did see??!

We've been at Fort Bliss for almost a year and it's been a little bit tough meeting the people Eric works with.  I'm not all that social.  I'm shy and very much dependent on my extrovert friends who lovingly, but forcefully, pull me out of my shell to get my ass out of my house (you know who you are, and man-oh-man do I miss you guys) so I can't be sure that the reason it's been tough isn't all my fault. 
To be fair, Isabelle's schedule is insanely busy, so she's been almost my sole focus since we've moved here.  But no matter how obsessed I may be with my daughter, or how happy I am to be her personal chauffeur (only until she gets her actual drivers license and can drive without a parent, which I may or may not be counting down the days until that happens), she is growing up finding her feet on her very own path, and I need to back off a bit.  Eric is almost completely consumed with work right now, and Isabelle with school, so travelling just isn't going to be what it was when we lived in Europe so I can't sit around planning trips like I used to.  But to be honest, I was tired of sitting around.  It was time that I pull up my boot straps and go out do something.  So believe it or not, I started working out at a local gym 5 days every week!  And, I have found a joy so big when Isabelle and I started volunteering at the Rescue Mission of El Paso 2-3 days every evening.  While my body and soul have never been happier, I did think it might be nice, and probably way past time, to put a few faces to the names my husband has been talking about for the last year.  

So when Eric told me that there was a Dining Out coming up, I got a little bit excited!  Who doesn't love getting all dressed up, dancing with their Soldier, and feeling all fancy in a hot pink dress?!?  And I knew this was the opportunity I needed to meet the people that will make up our El Paso Army family.

 When you buy sunglasses to match your dress because you're "extra" like that.

I did not take an actual camera with me to the Dining Out.  Since this was our very first social experience with the people Eric works with here at Fort Bliss, I wasn't sure what to expect.  The people here don't know me, and they don't know that I LOVE to take pictures.... as in... obnoxiously taking a gazillion pictures of every single thing these blue eyes of mine see.  So instead, I tried to play it cool (who was I kidding, though) and only took a few pictures with my cell phone, and concentrated on making conversation, relaxing my resting bitch face, and not being awkward.  

It took a bunch of wine and a bunch of concentration to make all of that happen.  What can I say.... I am who I am.

I won't lie and tell you that I didn't compare this Dining Out to the ones we went to in Germany.  

I did.  I totally did.  

You guys, it was hard not to.  

It's just that I miss our 39th Trans Battalion family so so much and I got "homesick" thinking of them.  But Eric and I did have a great time with the 1st Armored Division Sustainment Brigade, and we know that our chapter here will write itself in however it's supposed to the same way it did in Germany.  And I promise that I won't go around comparing everywhere the Army might send us to our time in a magical land across the ocean, it was just this once that I couldn't help it.

But seriously though, don't you just love my dress??  {giggly shimmy dancing in my seat bashful face}

And don't worry y'all, Isabelle came through emergency appendix surgery like a champ!  Everyone at William Beaumont Army Medical Center took AMAZING care of her and made the entire experience as stress free as possible on her parents who get a bit neurotic of their only child.  She is still a teeny bit sore in one spot but is otherwise back to her normal self!  

And now that I've got May behind me for a good long while, I think I can finally slide right into the sweet beginnings of summer break!  You might even catch a glimpse of me sunbathing in this dress of mine.