Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Waiting

I've got nothing to say, except when the powers that be push back the return repeatedly the week you are suppose to have homecoming, you start to get antsy.

Why not have a little blog post in the meantime? We will call it an update. And cross our fingers the next post is a smiley complete family photo!


Last night I finished up this stellar book, Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. Wow! It was incredibly eye opening for me and peaked an interest. Now I'm beginning The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead with a similar subject but different writing style.

Last year, I read so many books and that was ok. I had a lot of time to read books. I read what I wanted when I wanted. Although, things got a little messy in my head keeping details of books separate or retained. I felt a little deflated at the end of the year. Like my reading was more quantity over quality, only really valuing my favorite reads. This year I wanted to commit to learning through reading. African American history was at the top. With all the media attention given to the Black Lives Matter movement and related police incidents in 2016, I thought it was wise to educate myself. I plan to do that with fiction and non-fiction. When I feel like I've had enough, I will move on to another.


I'm still getting Stitchfix boxes. It was my little deployment treat. But lately, I haven't really been in love with anything in my Fixes. Ok, there was an exception, this dress. I thought a possible homecoming dress but I have a closet full of sleeveless dresses. So, I passed.


I thought this purple top was cute too. The V neck was a little too deep for the classroom. So, I sent it back. I'm taking a little StitchFix break until my birthday month.


We had a snow day last weekend when the rest of American was also getting snow. The real South saw inches of white stuff, NC got this. Thank goodness North Carolina is proactive and cancelled all activities all weekend long and gave us a 2 hour late start on Monday. I'm not sure how we would have managed to get to school after this kind of weather on Saturday 😜


If you look really really closely, you might see ice on my fake Christmas garland.
Treachous weather! But then again, two hours up the road had a half foot of snow.


Then there is basketball practice. 3 days a week we come to the middle school gym for basketball. Here is the thing about me, I'm not a sports mom. I like sports. I think kids should be involved in sports for many different reasons. One of them is not so they can become professional athletes or college scholarship receipients. If I child has the determination, then I'm completely supportive. I do not agree with pushing your child to be that, want that, or parents acting like children are that...at 11 years old. When I sit in the bleachers I pray some overzealous parent will not start gossiping with me about how the coach is playing what players or how distraught the parent is that their child hasn't had their growth spurt to make them a better defensive player...at 11 years old. I don't know how to respond like I'm remotely interested.

So, I'm super excited to hand this off to my sports loving husband. Who values some good parent sports talk and gym time :)

Good news, I just killed an hour. I'm going to sign off and get myself ready :) Thanks for keeping me company!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

We Made It!

Deployment is quickly coming to an end. And as the kids and I wrap up these last few weeks/days, I find myself a little sentimental over our (hopefully) last deployment. We made it! Together, us four, made the most of our new home with not a friend in July 2016 to thriving (or surviving for me) in January 2017. My kids are champs. I'm so proud of them for overcoming this insanely big change and challenge. We didn't do too bad :)


Almost half a year ago, we all said goodbye looking like this.
Two parents, one teenager, and a couple kids.
Wow have things changed!

My husband has come home from deployment twice to new babies in the house.
I promise this homecoming will be the biggest adjustment coming home to two teenagers and a tween. Life is drastically different from July 2016!


When the Marine last saw us, we were Pokemon obsessed. We spent the first month of deployment maxing out our data collecting pokeballs and battling gyms. Looking back, it was overkill but we were staying sane. Six months later, we aren't even sure if people still play PokemonGo. 
We certainly don't.




In the beginning, the beach was another big source of entertainment. It's local, the weather was perfect, and the boys couldn't get enough.

We started to get a little braver and travel a little further from home.





We rode a ferry for the first time.


We took a ghost walk in Wilmington.


We braved an even scarier Hurricane Matthew, which was an experience! Not as bad as expected but not a big fan of high wind and no electricity in the middle of the night.


We did have to pick up the yard which was a complete hassle. We have a very big yard with lots of trees! Which my husband thinks is important because he is never here to mow it...or pick up after hurricanes 😡 So, in September, the Marine was very very lucky we didn't not move back to California.


Post Hurricane Matthew with the Atlantic Ocean acting like nothing happened.


We travelled out of state too :) Can't forget about those trips that made me feel like Super Woman!



Then we did other things which don't seem as important but probably meant more. We began to make friends, be social, and enjoy our new home.


Pool parties.


Hiking.







I even went off on my own now and then.




And when we got sad or lonely for our Marine, we made our own little escapes.







And now here we (actually just me) are, cleaning, grocery shopping, and getting my hair did for the big Homecoming. 
I hate deployment. It isn't fun. I promise. But you always grow and you always find you are stronger than you thought you would be. And you make these memories that you laugh about or roll your eyes over years down the road.

This is not glamorous. This is not ideal. But it's our life. And now we get the sweet reward of Homecoming!


Nicole

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Winter Break. Road Trips. And A New Year.

There is one thing I've never done in his whole military career. Drive back to our home state without him. This year I needed it and I felt comfortable with it. So, I did it. I drove to Iowa and back as the only adult with three kids. And I only got pulled over once!


Living in California for our entire career, I was always apprehensive to make the drive across the desert. No cell reception. No towns or services for miles. I would be up a creek without a paddle if anything happened. So, I either spent the money on four place tickets or stayed home. Since moving to North Carolina, the drive seemed more do-able. And let's face it, I might be the only military spouse who has never driven home without the military member. At least, that is how I feel. It's not the biggest accomplishment one can make (I suppose). However, after 15 hours in the car yesterday, I feel like it!



So, how was the trip? What did we do? Here are some highlights the kids would want me to share:


  • snowy walks
  • sledding
  • family gatherings
  • cousins
  • pigeon hunting
  • horses
  • BABIES!!
  • old toys
  • grandmas
  • soda (or as they say in Iowa--POP!)




One of my highlights was taking Kyli prom dress shopping. My sister, mom, and two nieces joined us. Kyli obliged us each by trying on one dress each of us picked out. She is such a good sport.


Holidays with family is the only way to go during deployment. Even if the struggle requires tolerating arctic temps. No matter how much I love family and family time, this body can never live in Iowa again. California and North Carolina have spoiled me rotten. Snow is a novelty.



Now, we are back to 60 degrees...and raking leaves...in January.
It's day one back from vacation and I have a million things to do. Yet, here I am writing a blog post. So much better than laundry and grocery shopping and raking :)

Happy New Year everyone! 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

December Reads

Oh my goodness! It's the end of December. This year has been something else. Ups, downs, and super big changes that I just managed to get through (at times). I'm so glad I had the distraction of reading in 2016.

Despite December being a slow reading month, 2016 was a big reading year! I will end this year having read over 57 books. This is a record for me and one I will not likely repeat. I had lots of extra time this year with the move, transitions, unemployment, and deployment. I suspect 2017 will be busier for me.

So, to end this year, here are my 2016 December Reads...

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch was a total out of the norm for me. I have never read a science fiction book before but this book was getting all kinds of hype I couldn't ignore. This novel is about physics and multiverses and lots of other things I don't really understand. But despite those "small details", I really liked this book. It was a quick moving, suspenseful story. The writing pulls you in from the get-go and moves very quickly. I recommend this to all readers. Dark Matter is getting a lot of popular reviews and I'm confident most people will enjoy it. It's not life changing or a must read.  It's just an entertaining book. I do think if you are looking to switch things up and fly through a good book, then Dark Matter is perfect. My husband and I buddy read this one for December. He flew through it without being courteous enough to slow down for me. I think having a non-reader do that is a good indication.


Right Under Your Nose by Holly Tierney-Bedord. Short Christmas novellas are sort of my favorite during December. There are a lot of great lesser known authors writing e-books and doing a great job. Right Under Your Nose is a short fiction chick lit story about two best friends who come to the realization they both want a romantic relationship... during Christmas. It was sweet and simple.


Starry Night by Debbie Macomber was a typical choice for me. Debbie Macomber is a popular Christmas story author. While her stories aren't my favorite, I couldn't pass up this book for $1. Starry Night took me much longer than necessary to read. And that's ok, right? I'm not big on cliche love stories and this is a typical boy-meets-girl, they can't stand each other, then they decide they are madly in love, and live happily ever after. I made it through and this is the last book I will read in 2016.


There you have it for December reading 😊


Monday, December 26, 2016

A White Christmas

Happy Holidays one and all! It's been a few days since I've hopped on the blog and made an update on life. We are currently visiting family and enjoying the Christmas holiday in the frozen tundra. My kids love the weather (aka snow) and being with extended family.



We made it through the "biggest" holiday this deployment. So we get to exhale a little. We are on the downhill side to homecoming. With this nice little break with family, I feel we are refreshed enough to make it to the end with our sanity :)


Here the snow keeps falling... and melting...and falling again. The boys are in their element.  


I guess snow can be fun :)


When the snow gets too cold, then we bake cookies.
It's the likely answer at Christmas, right??