Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I started a new blog!

I decided with a new year and turning 30 that I wanted to create a new blog that would focus around my family, my interests, and my Etsy shop. Each day of the week focuses on a dedicated topic(s).

Please come and follow me at

I promise it will get updated more often.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

10 Things I've Learned About Myself During Deployment

        Lately I've been thinking about all of the things I've learned about myself since Andrew's been gone. It's interesting how much you learn about yourself when your days are spent with no one but two cats and a 3 year old. You become humble, you become strengthened and your sense of humor develops. In my case, I had a great sense of humor already so what actually happened is my humor evolved into mild insanity which will probably explain some of the following:

1. Here is a 2 for 1 of weirder facts: When I'm in pain, emotional or physical, I rub my feet together. It's soothing to me but I am also aware it makes me look a bit infantile and that kind of embarrasses me. Also, I mentally cannot bring myself to poop in a giant medical bucket even if it's necessary for important, medical, diagnostic reasons. That bucket just aint on my bucket list

2. I'm OLDDDD! Not old-old. I don't want to offend anyone seeing as I'm only 29 but it is shocking to me when an "older" man starts speaking to me and flirting and I think, "huh, an older guy just flirted with me." and then, I realize he's probably only 5 years older than me. I have to remind myself I'm not 20 anymore. I'm practically a geriatric. I have the senality to back that up. Which brings us to #3.

3. As I told my husband today, I am definitely in need of adult supervision. It's not that I'm irresponsible or wild. It's just that I need my husband to be there to say to me, "I think you need some time alone, you aren't speaking coherently." or, "No, Micah...It's not normal to be outside at 2 am talking to nocturnal wild life." In my defense of that though, I'm not trying to be Snow White of the Night. I'm just trying to coax the animals to live in my garden to eat the bugs that are eating my garden. I  realize that they can't understand a word I'm saying but I have been told I have a soothing voice over the phone so I thought maybe that would help.

4. Back to the old thing. I bought a 6 pack of beer the other day to entice and drown the slugs that are eating my beautiful garden, and the pre pubescent cashier didn't even card me! What the hell man? I've got the cheeks of a cherub! There is nothing worn out and tired looking about me at all. I'm wearing my best yoga pants and sleep shirt right now and only one of them has stains! That's what I thought in the first 30 seconds after the transaction was ringing up until the end when he got to the Pop It's I bought Henry and asked to see my i.d. for them. Then I thought it might be more of an issue with the cashiers intelligence. None the less, I'm still butt hurt over it.

5. I've learned how to better communicate with Henry because I can see just how much he is like me. And because he's so much like me it's super important that I steer him in the opposite direction of some of my more insane habits.  Alas, the second part to this realization is you can grab a toddler by the horns but all you're going to get is trampled. It amazes me the thoughts and philosophies he has outside of the influence of adults. I have learned that if you talk to your kids about the economy, moral issues, religion, philosophy and science, that you can learn some pretty beautiful things from them like, really simple but thoughtful solutions to problems.

6. I like Andrew's side of the bed better and he's not getting it back. End of discussion.

7. As it turns out, I am not the bad ass I thought I was and I do not stay calm during chaotic events. On a warm May night, around 3am my house alarm went off. Instead of running to my sons room and barricading the door as practiced in my mind a thousand time, I, stuck in a state of consciousness between asleep and awake, ran circles around my house...... panicked.....and naked....only to finally reach the alarm to try and turn it off. You know, so that I could personal usher the criminals into my home. Luckily for me I have issues with circulation or nerves or something and my hands go numb at night so I couldn't turn off the alarm. It was in that moment of pawing clumsily at the key pad that I really woke up and realized it was the car alarm of the across the street neighbors.

8. I am guilty of 99.9 percent of dirty dishes. And I've also learned that making a dirty dish must be a compulsion for me because I, being a complete eco-hypocrite, bought paper plates and still found myself not only using them but also dirtying regular dishes. And with only eating three meals a day, it's a phenomenon I cannot explain. Thankfully since I'm the only one who washes the dishes I don't have to explain a damn thing.

9. Gardening requires as much love an attention as an animal and that I do not have a natural green thumb. I don't have a brown thumb either but it is kind of a green/yellow over watered or under watered, wilted at time thumb that has both good and bad days.

10. The last thing I'll admit to is that I have realized, as I've said before, that as much as I like to think I can do it on my own, I can't. I  can be quick to panic, I am a naturally stressed out person and I'm quick to get sick with worry. Andrew is the glue that holds me together but also, since he has been gone I've had to adopt new ways of thinking about things. I have new philosophies, I have new ambitions and I realize that I need to be more accepting of myself and who I am as a woman, wife and mother. I realize that so much of the stress that makes me sick mentally and physically is from the pressure that society puts on me and other women to be the kind of mother and wife they think I should be. I've learned that  it's ok to disappoint everyone, including friends and family, as long as my little family and I are happy and healthy, emotionally and physically.

Andrew will be home soon but there are still many days left to learn more about myself while he is away and I'm really looking forward to every embarrassing, sad, hilarious and educational moment possible. It's nice to see that learning new things really does never end.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


It looks as though I haven't written a post since January but that isn't technically true. I've written a lot  and published none. I think it's because once I start getting into the emotional aspect of living without Andrew while he has been deployed I get a little exhausted and punch out early.

I think I'm at a place right now that I can talk about what it's been like without getting to bent out of shape.

Andrew and I discussed him doing a deployment voluntarily before he was given the opportunity to go. We both agreed that it was a great idea and especially at the age Henry is now. It was obvious that we would be in for a new experience and that some of our preconceived ideas of how everything would go would probably be smashed but we were up for the task.

We are now more than half way though the deployment and a lot has been learned by the both of us well as Henry.

Henry has had a really tough time but when he was in school for a few months he was much happier. He thrives in a social environment and loves learning. Continuing to learn lessons at home and practicing what he learned this year in school has been important as well as having play dates with his friends and taking him to the local park to meet new kids.

This year for his birthday I knew that without Andrew I would be overwhelmed throwing a party like I did last year, even with being in the house this year. So instead I invited a few of my friends over with their kids and had a play date masked as a birthday party and it turned out great. He definitely didn't notice the difference.

I think the most important thing I've learned since Andrew has been gone is that I do need him. I've always been of this mind frame that I WANT a husband but that I didn't necessarily NEED a husband. Maybe in attempt to feel secure that should anything ever happen I could easily take care of myself. But that is simply not true. I want Andrew and I need him. He is my best friend, the key to my sanity, to a good portion of the work that gets done around the house and as the other parent he is equally important. This deployment has definitely given me a new sense of humility and appreciation for everything Andrew does for us.

Last night he asked me how I was doing. The simple answer to that is GOOD. But that cliche phrase you hear in movies, "I have to be strong for him (Henry)." came out of my mouth and I cringed a little at the cheesiness of it but it couldn't be more true. My emotions about the difficulty of living without Andrew for the last 6+ months have been shut off for the reason that if I thought about it I would be a completely useless mess since I'm prone to depression. The only person that is allowed any real access to emotion during this time is Henry. It's not to say there haven't been bad days. There really has. But for the most part It's been GOOD and we discuss how difficult it is for him and how happy our reunion with Daddy will be. We talk about what we will do and we talk about how it's ok to cry and be sad that he's not with us right now. We have had busy days of errands and school and parks and festival and picnics, etc., and we've had epicly lazy days with nothing but cereal and cartoons. Some days we cope better than others. Some days the house is a mess but most days it's cleaner than it ever was when Andrew was here. Some days we act more like lumps than humans. Some days we do nothing but sit on the porch swing and talk about the things we want to do and occasionally get up to study a bug or lizard.

Mostly I've learned to just chill out. Try to keep busy, keep Henry entertained, but when I feel tired and worn out, to just put everything down and put on a movie, journal, make sure Henry is fed and has something fun to do and accept that this is all temporary. I figured out that when I was trying to do it all perfectly that the depression started creeping up on me. I was asking too much of myself, being too hard on myself and Henry wasn't enjoying it. I would rather be laid back than neurotic and depressed and I know Henry prefers me laid back too. Watching your 3 year old worry and ask if you are ok is one of the saddest things to ever hear. I had to abandon that pressure to be a Super Mom in order to be a good one. But the one thing we do make sure to do is at the end of the day we read and talk in bed and hold hands. It's our favorite time of the day together and it's when I realize, over and over, just how brave and strong he is for such a little guy.

Even though Andrew is desperately home sick he is at least enjoying his job. He loves it and it makes up for the horrible food and less than great sleeping conditions. Everyday I feel proud of him and the sacrifice he has made to take care of us and do something amazing for his country.

We have been blessed with neighbors who are retired military and have helped take care of the lawn this last week.  Something I was too prideful to admit I needed help with so they took care of it without me having to ask. Again, I've been learning my limitations and that 24 hours in a day is not enough time to do it all. Especially since Henry has been out of school.

I think the one emotion I have been feeling in abundance since Andrew's been gone is gratitude. I'm grateful for a hard working, dedicated and brave husband. I'm grateful for a sweet and sensitive, funny and brilliant son who keeps my spirit happy. I'm grateful for my friends here that have helped take Henry when I need a break, (Liz and Spencer! <3) and for my home and the beautiful nature around it that keeps me in child like wonder most days.  I'm grateful for the abundance of letters and care packages we've received from family and friends and the Air Force key spouses and Andrew's supervisor that call and check up on us. I knew when we were called to come to Georgia that we would build a happy life here and we definitely have.

Monday, January 21, 2013

food revolution

Ive experienced intense paranoia before. Redbull has done that to me a few times which is ironic since what I'm about to write about is so anti garbage food like Redbull,  and not written with any feelings of paranoia. Over the last couple of years I have started to slowly take the blinders off regarding the food and pharmaceutical corporations of America. There are days when I wake up in auto mode. Forgetting everything I have learned, picking up junk like Redbull and microwavable mac and cheese for my son. But days like today, when some one I care about loses a loved one at such a young age, I am re awakened and feel angry again.

Today I feel angry about the diseases that are affecting or taking the lives of people. Some of my own loved ones and loved ones of my friends. Cancers and autoimmune diseases and heart disease. And as paranoid as it may sound I know that our government is largely responsible. They allow food corporations to put massive amount of preservatives and sodium and things like aspartame in our foods. And if we wanted to escape from the dangers of processed foods and eat a mainly vegetarian or paleo type diet then we have to not only pay more but we have to trust that our foods are not genetically modified. If we want to avoid those dangers, we have to pay even more for organic non GMO foods, and FYI, just because you buy organic does not mean its non GMO.

Would you like to grow your own gardens to safely sustain your family? Well, you first have to find non GMO seeds and in many states if you have a garden beyond a certain size the state can tax you.

We are really distracted right now by the hot topics. Things like gun control, same sex marriage, etc. and while those are important things and should not be ignored, how many of us are affected by those things daily? Some of us. How many of us feel our health failing or have lost a loved one to a disease, much too young? A lot of us. Many of us. Too many. How many of you don't take one medication or more daily for ailments? How many of us are young and overweight, dealing with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and battling colds and flu's and infections constantly? The obesity rates climb daily. Its just as important to feel as passionately about the safety of the foods we consume as the hot topics of the political season.

 Other countries like Russia and China are banning the US from importing, specifically, our GMO foods to their countries now. America is supposed to be the greatest country in the world but how can it be when it knowingly makes its own citizens sick. Our country is making it easier to access and buy processed foods and harder for each citizen to grow and eat a wholesome organic diet. Essentially we are becoming absolutely dependent on our government to feed us and we are putting too much trust them, (the same men and women who hold major shares in the food corporations and pharmaceutical companies) to take care of us.

I remember not so many years ago  hearing people like me, so angry about this. I rolled my eyes and thought of them as paranoid extremist. And now here I am joining them. Trying to calmly talk to others about this scary situation our country is in and hoping that they might remove their blinders too. Even if just a little, a day at a time. There is a certain amount of bravery in doing that because once you know the truth you know you have to do something about it and doing something about it can seem impossible when you feel so little compared to such a large problem affecting millions. Most people, including myself don't realizing that you don't needs a loud, aggressive revolution to change this country. You can sit quietly at your desk, writing letters. You can shop organically at your local farmers markets, you can talk to your friends and family. Don't be afraid to ask if the produce is non GMO, organic. Don't be afraid to ask if the beef is grass fed or the chickens are free range and dont be afraid to show your friends and family your passion about it. If you can help two friends rethink their eating and embrace the organic movement, those two friends may inspire some one else. That's where change comes from. Im going to be a part of that.

To learn more about GMOs I urge you to research Monsanto. There are several Facebook pages that update with current Monsanto facts and legal proceedings. Here is the link to a great one.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Struggle

My dear friend Margaret Jacobsen has been publicly open about her struggle with depression and gluten allergy and the pain in brings her, in a very honest and relatable way. The thing I admire most about Margaret is that she is honest about her feelings and she lets herself be emotional. It shows in her amazing photography. Every time I see one of her photographs I can feel her spirit and I can see the subjects. It's like they have a radiation of love and happiness around them. Sometimes, sadness. 

My favorite photo's that Margaret ever took were of herself. She was some where wild, in tall grass I think. She was sad in her photos and she admitted that she was. Her sadness was so beautiful portrayed that if made my heart hurt with understanding. 

I struggle with depression and fibromyalgia. They usually rear their ugly heads one after the other. The flare ups come leaving me in pain and utterly exhausted and useless and that's when the depression soon follows. Today, I wanted to take a self portrait. Something happy. A good, updated, profile picture. But as I tried taking the photos I struggled with a true smile. I struggled with even finding a happy thought to help me give a genuine smile. So instead, inspired by my friend Margaret, I was just honest with the camera. I took pictures of me in my moment of discomfort. My ribs feel like they are being pulled from my body, my face is red and inflamed, my arms and legs feel like they've been beaten with a bat. So why put on a forced smile? 

 I'm no photographer but my husbands nice camera has an auto setting that makes it pretty easy to use and the tripod and timer made taking the pictures less awkward. Kind of..

This is one of the first pictures I took. I am physically struggling to smile.  

I like this picture of me. It's a nice one. But when I looked at it I felt silly inside and a little miffed. You know what they worst thing about having a chronic pain disorder/disease and depression is? People can't see it. Even your loved ones, who know you are struggling, they forget. So when all you can do is lay on the couch and shower every two days. When all you can do is the bare minimum until the horrible cycle ends, well, they can get critical and upset with you. And understandably so. 

So looking at this picture of me with my hair and make up done and a smile on my face is a little irritating to me because if some one doesn't understand your invisible struggle when you are in your sweats and without makeup, then they straight up feel annoyed with you when you look like this but act like roadkill. It's true. Doing my hair and makeup makes me feel better on the rough days but it doesn't exactly convey sickness does it?

there is the weariness. 

how I honestly feel.
Here is a picture a few moments after feeling silly for even trying to take happy, done up pictures. It's about 5 minutes after I started and I'm already too mentally exhausted with trying to keep up the smile and I've pulled off my head scarf. 

It's been a rough week for me. I've been pushing through this flare up harder than usual. I've been working on the shop, staying busy with yard work and getting out of the house nearly every day despite painful, sleepless nights. My sweet husband and son are the two people that motivate me and keep me moving while I struggle. Their patience is saintly since sometimes I can feel like this for weeks at a time. 

At the end of my photo session my son woke up from his nap and his little feet pattered into the living room where I was sitting. He wanted to sit and take a picture with me. I redid my hair in a style that is more typical for my bad days and put in a pair of earrings that I never wear and together we smiled for the camera.

This is a genuine smile. He pulls me from the deepest part of my sadness and pain and makes it better. 

He is my Henry, he is my Healer.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

It's Good To Be In Georgia

We've been in Georgia for 10 months now and I only have one complaint. The drivers. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE (excluding me of course) talks and texts while driving. It's no wonder that there are so many car accidents in our area every day. It makes me miss the days when you had no idea who had called you until you got home and pressed play on your message machine.

Other than that minor complaint Georgia has quickly become our home. It is unexpectedly beautiful. I think it really surprises people when they come here. The lakes and rivers and trees and wild life are abundant. The city we live in is beautiful and full of parks and has family events several weekends a month. The community is giving and kind. In fact, as an example, at the community Easter Egg Hunt they gave out free hot dogs and hamburgers and drinks to everyone. There were hundreds of adults and children there! I thought that was so amazing.

My favorite part of living here has been discovering all of the little creatures and showing them to Henry. I have always loved nature and bugs and animals. The more dangerous, the more fascinating and I've been teaching Henry that if he sees a snake that he needs to run to me and tell me so I can identify it before we touch it. We live next to a small lake and so I expect there are Cotton Mouths and Coral snakes nearby. Having a toddler in a area with coral snakes really scared me at first. I recently learned that Coral snakes are related to the Cobra family and their venom is some crazy number more deadly than a rattle snakes. But it's rare to see one and apparently even if Henry picked one up it's unlikely it would bite him unless he continued to irritate it. Regardless, no risks are taken here. He knows how serious dealing with snakes can be.

Today's creature.

We do encourage him to dig for bugs and to hold frogs and lizards and study the habits of the squirrels and hummingbirds. Our trees have dozens of squirrels nests in them. Our realtor recommended we buy a BB gun to kill them but I'm planning on doing the opposite and putting feeders up. Yes, they will get into my garden but they were here first. The least I can do is let them snack a bit.

Since we moved here in January we missed the Fall weather  but now we are a few weeks into it and it's been lovely. The mornings are perfectly cool and sunny. I spend my mornings taking advantage of being a stay at home Mom with no where to go. I sit on my porch swing and think about what I want to do with the day. I'm missing the summer thunder storms A LOT but this cooler weather is hard to beat.

Andrew and I are really excited to celebrate the holidays on our own this year. We will miss our families but having our new home to decorate and start traditions in is going to be fun. Henry and I put up Halloween decorations and we are each going to carve a pumpkin this week. I'm thinking something Doctor Who themed for mine.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Home Sweet Home

I've been putting off a new post for too long but I have been either too busy, too sick or too exhausted to find the time and mental capacity to sit and write about all of the things that have happened lately.

We bought a house. Much sooner than we expected to. Andrew and I discussed and agreed that he could volunteer for a deployment in the next six months so we pushed up our date for purchasing a house. It was a very tiring, and at times, frustrating search. We wanted a home in a shaded, established community that had great schools and a decent location from Andrew's work. It was also important to me to have a nice sized yard and a house big enough for our family to grow...a little. Maybe.

When we drove through the neighborhood of the house we purchased I was in love. The trees were abundant and the yards were beautiful, clean and green but you could tell families with children lived throughout. When we pulled into the drive way I liked the house immediately. It wasn't my first choice in favorite exterior designs but it was still charming and the front yard was wonderful. When we got to the front door though, before we even opened it, the smell of cigarette smoke was seeping through the door frame. It was bad but we went inside and looked through the whole house even though it was completely over whelming.
After walking through the house and going out to the amazing back yard I felt annoyed. We had made an offer on another house that had been refused and looked at 15 houses since then and I was now falling in love with a house that had been smoked in by two adults for 20 years.  The layout was perfect, the house was otherwise immaculate and again, the back yard was perfect.

We shook our heads, said it was too bad and continued to look at other houses. But this house just stuck in my head and so I started talking to my realtor and making calls about how to clean the cigarette smell out of the house. After I convinced Andrew, we made an offer and here we are. New home owners. I'm sure when people come over they smell the smoke, I wish I could some how show them how changed the smell is since we came in and cleaned but there is still a lot of work to do.

We sprayed down all of the walls with a strong cleaning agent and have primed the main room that they smoked in so that took the smell from a 10 down to a 2. I think the house will smell 100% when we can afford to paint all of the walls.

I was so excited about starting our new life in our new home that I decided to adopt a dog. We drove to a shelter in SC and I fell in love with her right away. A floppy eared basset hound, black lab mix that we renamed Ponyo. We brought Ponyo home before we even moved out of the apartment and even though she was 5 months old she hadn't been potty trained yet so it was a really stressful week, especially since we were supposed to close and move in the day we adopted her but had to push it back a week. Potty training a dog in an apartment is hard! Especially when you are on the second floor.

The second challenge that I didn't foresee when adopting Ponyo was that our back yard did not have a fence. I really didn't think it would be an issue but it was a huge one. Because we were so busy cleaning the smell out of the house and getting moved in and situated ( which is a lot more work that i thought) I wasn't able to get her out to the yard every hour and I didn't have time to play with or train her. Between that and her chewing on Henry and him being constantly upset about that and the frustrations of stepping on puddles of pee camouflaged on our hardwood floor I just couldn't keep up. Especially after having to take two trips to the ER for walking pneumonia.

When Andrew and I finally came to the decision to give her to a new family I was heart broken. I cried for days. I still cry about it. I feel like I really failed her and myself. I don't like making promises that I can't keep and this one has devastated me. My Mom is right though. Every day gets easier, especially because she found such an amazing and loving new family. The weight on my heart was definitely lightened when I met them and they told me about their previous dogs that had passed away from old age and the other from the heart break of losing it's partner. Giving her to loyal and experienced dog owners was the best for Ponyo and I know she is going to be really happy with them. I'm sure she is already.

Now that Ponyo is with a new family, I have been recovering from the Pneumonia, and trying to get stuff done around the house to make it comfortable because Andrew's parents are coming for a visit! We are really excited to have family come see us. We love Georgia and I can't imagine ever living anywhere else but we still miss our family and friends on the west coast.

Henry is loving the new house. In fact, Andrew and I both discussed how much happier he is since we've moved in. He has his own back yard full of creatures and plants to discover and a big house to run through. We have found frogs, lizards, night crawlers, centipedes, millipedes, beetles, grasshoppers, and even a scorpion! I'm sure thanks to the beautiful little lake behind our house, which unfortunately, also brings hoards of bird sized mosquitos. The mosquitos are not bothered by bug spray or candles and leave vicious marks. Poor Henry has looked like leper for the last month.

We've met the neighbors on either side of us. They are very nice and have children who are in the late teens and early twenties so its very quiet here. Except for us of course.

I am so excited to experience our first Autumn in Georgia. The summer wasn't nearly as bad as I was expecting it to be and Andrew mentioned that meteorologist believe this winter will be pretty cold.

The next year is bound to be a busy one filled home improvements, Henry starting school and hopefully, if we are lucky, another kiddo. It's been a frustrating couple of years in that department but hopefully now that we are "settled" in to our new home, feeling secure and in permanent place, the stress will go down a little in the next few months, I can focus on my health again and we will find ourselves expecting in the near future.