Misconceptions and Conception
I've decided that next week I am going to open up the blog (in the comment section) and have a conversation about the misconceptions we military spouses find civilians have with the military lifestyle. I find that this conversation can sometimes be awkward and not very much fun but I think it is much needed.

So, you military wives, I want you to come back loaded next week. Loaded with the misconceptions you have run into about the life we live.
But I don't just want the misconceptions, I want the truth tagged onto it. It can be extremely frustrating to be so misunderstood so this is a good chance to get the correct information out and into a public forum.

And everyone else who is not in the military, bring your questions. We would LOVE to answer them. No question will be looked on as stupid. Nothing at all.

Ask anything you want because, believe me, we are a wealth of information and there is not much we like to do more than talk about being a military spouse.

It's important that there is an understanding on both sides as to what this crazy military life is really like.

I am looking forward to this conversation because I just know it will be extremely beneficial to all who participate. Whether it be for the civilians or the young woman marrying a military man... getting slammed with tons of new confusing information and feeling lost in a world of acronyms. They both need some answers!

I hate having to tag this on but I must. Please, everyone, be nice. Kindness is expected and required. If you are not, I will the delete the crap out of ya.

I know, not very nice of me, huh! I am low on my "crap" word count today. I needed to get my number up a bit. Forgive me.

And now, moving on to the subject of conception... I am in that spot. The spot where I want to have another baby. Now.
It's been like clockwork for 5 years... it always happens when the baby of the family is (almost) walking, I'm sleeping through the night, the memories of the difficulties associated with pregnancy/labor/post-partum have sufficiently faded, I'm a size 6 and that pregnant belly looks cute again... You know the tune.

Daniel and I have decided our family is complete but man... my hormones did not get the memo. I know a lot of you can understand those feelings.

Anyways, just had to get that off of my chest. And since we've talked about most everything else lately, I figured I was safe to talk about wanting another baby in my belly.

And with that thought, I am out of here.... Happy Friday, friends!
Musing from an imperfect military wife...
I am not a good military wife.

Oh, I love the patriotic part of Daniel's chosen line of work. I love and support the fact that he is completely devoted to his country. It's wonderful being able to travel to and live in different parts of our great country and even the world. I strive to fully appreciate the free housing, utilities, medical care, and moving services that we receive. What a huge blessing they are! Yet here I stand, struggling in my heart because of two things:

One, I feel like an outsider to a part of who Daniel is. There is the Airman part of Daniel that I absolutely can not penetrate. I see this part of him when there is an exercise or a recall or he is preparing for deployment; he gets this singular focus and nothing stands in the way of him executing what ever the order is. And this is a good trait for him to have; an excellent one in fact. He is the perfect Airman. The Air Force is better for having him. But, I feel so on the outside of that part of Daniel. And that bothers me.

And then there is the second thing that I struggle with. The travel; the being away from home and family whether it's deployment related or a TDY (shorter trip). There comes with this travel a loss of memories we could and should be making together and the father figure that is one of, though not by choice, drifting in and out unpredictably. It frustrates me to see the internal struggle that Daniel has. All he wants is to be home with his family; he is an excellent husband and father and he wants the opportunity to be present, fleshing out those parts of his life. Yet, work takes him away. Work that he loves and is proud of.
I was thinking this evening about how much I long for the time of life when Daniel will not be in the Air Force. I want to be able to take that deep sigh of relief and feel the weight fall off of my shoulders. I want to know that there will no longer be any surprise trips or an impending deployment staring me down. He and I will be together unless we choose to be apart.

Just so you know, I do understand that all of this could stem from the fact that my Dad came home every night at around the same time; there was no travel related to his job, he was very predictable and very present. But having that knowledge doesn't ease the ache in my heart.

I know, I know. Shame on me for having these ungrateful thoughts. But, you would understand if you could be inside Daniel and my relationship. We are so very close. We are happiest just being with each other. If ever two people were meant to be together it was Daniel and I. The best part of our recent vacation was the four days of car travel we had going from New York to North Carolina and back. Because we were sitting next to each other, holding hands, sharing memories and making new ones. And that is all I want or ask of my life. My husband by my side, making, raising, and loving our children together, laying beside each other each night, dreaming about days to come, reminiscing about days gone by. I don't need lots of money, a grand house, a fancy car. In fact, I could care less. I just want to be with Daniel.

I comfort myself with the fact that this season of life is just that, a season. I will do my best to enjoy this transient lifestyle for all that it affords us. And at the same time, stave off the feelings of loss that haunt me.

And so you see, I am not a good military wife. I want all of the good and none of the bad. I buck this system, I rebel against the time my husband has to spend a world away, I feel loss at huge amounts of memories snatched away from me, and I ache for home. Yet, through all of this, I stand next to my husband with great pride as he fights for freedom and the rights of all humanity.

There is such conflict in my heart.

I wish I could be the perfect military wife. But I simply am not.
A Little of This, A Little of That...
A Little Sugar

Since I can't get to my pictures or download the ones I have off of my camera, I subject you to this one from January 26th 2008. I think Eliza still makes that face when I kiss her. Like... C'mon Mama! Not again!


I'm just no good without my laptop. Plain and simple. Just no good at all. I definitely accomplish much more throughout the day when I am minus the laptop but it feels rather solitary. Usually I have my friends hanging out with me during the day via facebook or the blog or through emails. That sort of community, for a stay at home mom, is much needed.

So, what have I been up to? Well, I planted an indoor herb garden with Eve; I just noticed today that we have a few teeny green shoots already. Hooray! I love seeing green anything in the middle of Winter.

I cleaned out Daniel and my closet - rather, I got rid of a LOT of clothes. The organizing will come next. I was feeling very cutthroat that day and once I was done I felt so good! I was free from so many clothing memories. If you know what I mean.

I have been cooking up the wazoo. My freezer is quite happy with me! And I with the ease of cooking since I have had time to do so much prep work.

We've had friends over, we've gone for walks; my laundry pile has never been smaller, my floors cleaner, my bathroom shinier, my fridge more organized.... but for all that great stuff, I miss my blogging.

Honestly, I am trying to decide the direction I want to take with my blogging. I feel a shift inside of me and I am not sure what's going on. I have thought of closing shop but I would miss the life that this blog brings to me. I feel pressure, and not from you, from me. The pressure to blog often and about fun, witty, exciting things. But, quite frankly, most of my daily life is neither witty or exciting. It just is. And I am not so sure I would have an audience banging down my doors to read about a life that just is. And that's okay, I don't need any doors being brought to the ground over my blog but I do want to have you all come around. Because I like you.

I am going to continue mulling over all of this while I wait on my laptop battery. The relief will be GREAT once I have that little white sliver of heaven working again. If, in fact, it is the battery. If not.... Daniel may get his wish for a Mac book after all.

Happy end of January, my friends. Anyone else thrilled to see this month disappear? I hate January. It's so dreary. And this fiery redhead just doesn't do dreary.
We all have it. Some of us worse than others. I would categorize myself in the middle of the two; it's not terrible but neither is it non-existent. I hate PMS. Hate it. One of the things I love most about being pregnant, other than bringing a new little Hub into our world, is the escape I have from PMS. Since I am not a very hormonal pregnant woman, pregnancy winds up being a break for me.

I have learned a few things over the years; and because I am not a doctor please take this information only as coming from a woman who has to suffer through PMS, just like you.

What I have learned is, first off know that it's coming. Mark it on your calender and let your husband know. That way when you chomp his head off over screwing the milk cap on too tight, he'll understand why. Not that this has ever happened.
Truly, when your husband is in the know, he's much more likely to let most (if not all) of your outburst and testiness roll off his back. Because he knows that it's not really you. It's those evil little hormones, baby.

Second, reduce the stress. Don't plan a trip across the country when you have PMS. Just don't. It won't be pretty.
Be kind and allow yourself plenty of breathing room. For those 10 days, give or take a few, go easy. I know that this is not always the simplest thing, especially when you have small children, medium sized children, or big children. Those, not all the way grown up, humans can create a whirlwind of stress in your life. Focus on reducing the areas of stress that you have control over.

Third, cut back on your sugar intake. Sugar, mainly in the refined form, can give you those big highs and then the big lows. And when you are dealing with PMS all of those highs and lows are exaggerated. And really, those kind of roller coaster rides are no fun for anyone. I know I certianly don't like to feel out of control in that way. So, lay off the sugar as much as you can. See if you can tell a difference.

Fourth, and this is the biggest one for me, take some pills, baby. I found out, through research, that taking St. John's Wort could be a major help for me in this area. I knew I didn't want to take the kind I could find at Walgreen's or Walmart. For me it's about quality and what I am putting into my body. Besides, I wanted it to actually work; taking a pill that had been sitting on a shelf for six months just didn't appeal to me. What I did was talk to a chiropractor who, after a thorough over the phone appointment, suggested I take MediHerb's St. John's Wort combined with Chaste Tree. The cost is approximately 12 dollars for the St. John's Wort and about the same for the Chaste Tree. A bottle of each will last me two months. Not too bad, right?
If I am good and remember to take my pills faithfully, starting right before my PMS starts, it's like night and day. I am almost the normal me. Sure, I have my occasional outburst and I stomp my foot a bit more than normal (terribly mature and one of my more stellar qualities) but I am so much closer to the real Andrea. Not the PMS infested one that my kids and husband look at and wonder who this replacement woman is. And if I am feeling a bit more needy, I just take an extra dose of St. John's Wort. What a huge help that little pill can be to me.

Isn't this a fun subject to talk about? I don't think so either but we all deal with it. I thought that perhaps an open discussion might bring help and relieve some of the struggle. If you have any good words of wisdom feel free to leave them in the comments! I'll be monitoring them closely.

By the way... my laptop died. Or at least my battery, I think. I am tied to the desktop until we figure out wha the problem is and how to fix it. I sure do miss my baby.....
16 Random Facts About Me... and a couple of secrets, too.
Brittany from 4 Little Men and Girly Twins tagged me for a meme. Usually I don't join in because memes bother me for some reason. I think it's that they're a bit too narcissistic for my liking, but Brittany is a good bloggy friend and she's a fellow red head, so here we go:

16 random facts about me.... (which is 16 more than you ever wanted or needed to know.)

I bite my lips. A lot. Especially after applying chapstick.

I hate doing my nails. It's such a time waster in my books. I do love a good manicure, though.

I've used the dishwasher a total of 2 times in my entire life. Until this week. I now employ it daily; I need all the help I can get with our new crazy and very tiring schedule.

I secretly wish I could have a redo of my wedding.

When I am tired, like really really tired, I get the non-stop giggles. This can go on for hours. I wake up with sore abs.

I want a Concept2 Model D rower so bad I can taste it.

(Man! I've only written six and I'm totally over myself!)

I love to shop. Especially food shopping. Love it, love it. I would do it for a living, if I could!

I have a beauty mark (Read: mole. at least it's a Marilyn Monroe type mole.) above my lip. I've had it ever since I was a baby. There is a good view of it in my latest self-portrait.

I adore pudding, especially chocolate pudding. (The chocolate part was a real surprise, now wasn't it!)

I can not own a pet. I get very obsessive about animal hair and dirt in my house. I have conceded to a fish only because their dirt is contained. And you can forget to feed them for a few days and they won't die.

My secret wish is to re-learn ballet. I dream of someday owning a house that has a room set aside just for me to dance in. Skylights, surround sound, french doors with billowing white curtains, the works. Oh, and it will be the most beautiful shade of buttercream you have ever seen.

I am terrible, TERRIBLE, at small talk.

(Okay, phew! I'm at 12. Only 4 more to go. Stick with me, people.)

I think a good garage sale is one of the best things that a Saturday morning has to offer.

I am a bit of a germaphobe. (Daniel would say: A bit?! And I would reply: Fine! I am a big freaking germaphobe!!)(I was trying not to scare you all off by telling you the whole truth about me and my obsession with germs.)

(Only 2 more to go!)

I don't really like red wine, though I did drink an amazing one a couple of weeks ago at Tarrah's house. It was called 337 and I bought it at Whole Foods for 12.99.

If I ate refined sugar I would subside on cow tails and butterfingers. And the occasional package of skittles.

Hey!! You made it! Me too. Now you know all kinds of stuff about me.

This was fun! Thanks for tagging me, Brittany!

If it tickles your fancy, tell me something random about YOU!
Apples, Apples, and More Apples
Oh, dear!

"Why Mama, why? Why must I learn to walk on my own?"

"Can't I hold onto your pant leg forever?"

Cute Booty

Good gravy these leggings make me happy! The little apple barrette is the icing on the cake.

Thank you, Gymboree. Thank you for having the cutest kids clothes ever.
Love Note 1
Love Note

Every so often, when I wander downstairs to get the day started, I will find a love note. Daniel writes them and then hides them... I never know where one might be found. This morning, even though my love note was on the dishwasher, I didn't see it right away. I smiled though, after finding and reading it.
Daniel and I went to see the movie this note talks about (Which movie is it??) on Christmas night; it was such a special date for us. There was no running to the store or doing something necessary, it was just a date. We need more of those, for sure.

For me, and maybe you too, love is made up of lots and lots of the little things; there are big things in there for sure, but it's the little things that seem to matter most. Perhaps that is why I've saved every love note Daniel has written me. They are tiny treasures.
Some Vacation Catch-up
Waiting for the plane

Logistics deemed that for our trip home to New York Judah and Daniel would fly Southwest while the girls and I would fly Delta. I must say that those Southwest flying boys had better snacks. Thankfully Judah did awesome on all the planes; he, not surprisingly, melted hearts all across the United States of America. I love this picture of him hanging out, waiting to get on the next airplane.

My time flying with the girls was not so serene. The initial set of flights coming home were the best I have ever had. The flights back to New Mexico... not so much. First, Eve and I got separated when we tried to ride the train at the Atlanta airport. It was the most awful thing I have ever experienced. Eve, Eliza, and I were trying to get on the train - Eve was a couple steps in front of me - when an older woman literally shoved me out of the way so her husband could get on in front of me. Remember I had a baby on my hip! Because the woman shoved me out of the way, Eve got on the train but I could not. The door started to shut but I shouted and stuck my hand in between; the door quickly re-opened but then shut again. Seeing the absolute terror on my little girl's face as the train pulled away from me was something I will never be able to erase from my mind. I stood there on the platform and wept. I wish I had known, as I stood there crying, that God had provided two very protective angels for my girl. There was a middle-age couple from our flight to Atlanta who had gotten on the train and saw the whole thing; the woman held Eve and her husband held Eve's bag - I saw this when I was finally able to get to where Eve was. Oh, how I wanted to hug that man and that woman. The wife was literally banging on the window of my train as it pulled up. God, bless those people. Eve and I sat on the floor in the middle of that busy train platform and hugged for the longest time, but my heart will never fully recover.

Secondly, Eliza cried the entire three hour and fifteen minute second flight. The people seated around me kept giving me evil looks. Like, make that baby shut-up, kind of looks. As if I was pinching her or something. And the flight attendant took an hour to get me a stupid spoon. All I wanted to do was feed my baby her cereal! It was bad; I walked off that plane and promptly handed Eliza to Daniel. This mama and that baby needed some serious space from each other.

A more comical story... On our way back from North Carolina (and Washington D.C. - be still my heart!) Daniel and I stopped in Harrisburg PA.; we were looking for a gas station and a Starbucks. At the Starbucks Daniel decided I should go in and get the (much needed) coffee; I like to make my coffee taste good rather than drinking it black like he does. Ick. Being the good girl I am I crossed the street by way of the handy-dandy crosswalk. As I was crossing a car approached, it neither stopped or slowed down... like at all! The woman was so close to hitting me that if I had taken one more step she literally would have run me over. I know this because I kicked her car as she drove past me. And you'd better believe I kicked it hard. Don't mess with this red-headed woman... I have children and a husband who need me to do their laundry and cook their meals! I can't die yet!

All in all, it was a fantastic vacation filled to the brim with mostly great memories. I wish I could write them all down just so I could make sure to remember. But, for one thing, that would be boring to anyone who reads this, except perhaps Daniel. Or my mother. And, sometimes it seems that writing down memories takes some of the specialness away from them. So, I'll just leave them in my heart.

And now we are back to reality....

The first day of real life kind of stunk but I'm getting use to it. Daniel is taking classes as a full time student this semester along with working full time. It's not going to be easy but I have felt God's amazing grace these last few days. I have a peace in my heart that I can't fully understand; I simply know we will make it work. And I can guarantee you that this next seven weeks will not even come close to touching the stress and hard times we went through with Daniel recruiting. Truly, in comparison, this feels like a cake walk.

Even so, if I start to sound a little more nutty than usual, you'll know why. Just tell me to go eat some chocolate or, better yet, send me some wine....



from baby washing, floor mopping, bathroom cleaning, hand-washing, lotion forgetting.


from stroking the baby's face, holding my husband's hand, breaking off tiny bits of chocolate.


from kneading bread, swinging a child 1... 2... 3..., rubbing little and big backs, pushing tiny bodies on the swing.


washing laundry, helping three small people shrug on warm coats, tying bows on pretty dresses, making peanut butter.

hands with a ring because I daily choose to love.

my hands.

Join in at Married to the Military.
Eve Gets A Bob
Eve isn't a stubborn girl but when she makes her mind up about a certain thing, that's it. And this latest time... it was a bob. The girl wanted a bob.

"Right to here" she would say to me, cupping her hands around her chin when I asked her the length of her proposed haircut.

And she knew from the get go that she wanted it done at the Scott Miller salon and by Jason.

One smart girl, I say.

January 8th was the big day; she had been practically counting the hours! We were all very excited for her and her new hair cut. People would ask me how I felt about Eve having her hair cut off or if I was even going to allow it.

My answer was that I was a tiny bit sad but at the same time extremely happy. And of course I was going to "allow" her to cut her hair off; it is her hair after all.
You see, Daniel and I deal in character issues; if it's a character issue ie. trustworthiness, being truthful, moral, responsible, kind, respectful, etc. then we are all over it. But, when it comes to things like haircuts, hair color, piercings, the car they drive.... it's basically hands off. Because if we've taught them and instilled in them good character then (hopefully) the rest will follow. And seriously, does having bright red or pink or blue hair, or a nose ring really matter? The kid might get some funny looks and perhaps it might turn off a prospective employer but that's not my problem. It's the kid's.

Anyways, that sound you hear is me stepping off of the soapbox.

Here is the hair; the beautiful long hair:

Long Hair

Eve was looking forward to not having that long hair hanging around anymore. I think it bothered her; her siblings pulled it and it was too much for her to care for on her own. And Eve enjoys her independence; having mama brush all the tangles out was such a bother.

It's a bob.

And just like that... it was gone.

Eve and Jason

Eve and her hairdresser - Jason. Seriously, the man is a genius with scissors. He's a good friend too.

Eve and Helen

This is Eve with Helen - one of her most favorite adults. Helen is Scott Miller's wife. When I told Eve that Helen and Scott own the salon....

"Whoa....!" was her response.

I love how Eve loves people just because and not for the position they hold. She had no idea Helen was the owner of that huge gorgeous salon; she loves Helen because Helen loves her.

It was a fantastic day; a day Eve will probably always remember as one of her favorites.
I'm so thankful that my lovely memories with this salon - first being my place of employment, which was a time filled with great friends and a wonderful experience - is added onto with these new amazing memories with Eve.

Post from 1 year ago today: What-choo talkin' 'bout Willis and A Discovery!

Post from 2 year ago today: My Anti-Stomach Virus Smoothie and Today's Get-up

Bang Baby Bang
I didn't think I was going to be able to make good on my promise for a better bang picture today but.... the amazing Amanda from My Not So Extraordinary But Always Exciting Life came through with her superwoman cape, or rather camera.

Bang Baby Bang

Amanda came over today and took a plethora of pictures of me, Daniel, and our three grouchy children. It was a ton of fun and very exciting all because I was positive she was going to make us look like rockstars. And of course, she did.

Amanda has started her (awesome) photography business in the greater Rochester (New York) area. So, if you live in or around Rochester check her out; her web page is found here at: Amanda Slakes Photography.

Our photo session today with Amanda was the perfect note to end our vacation on. Tomorrow we head back to New Mexico; I am sad to leave home but the warm weather beckons.

It's Love

Did you know that by clicking on any of the pictures I post here takes you to my Flickr site?
Baby Got Bangs
Andrea and Jason. Andrea and the bangs.

I love them. Both.

Baby Got Bangs

Bad picture today but a good picture tomorrow.

You should see what Jason did to Eve's hair....
Washington D.C.
Man. I love Washington. I want to live there so bad I can taste it. Bolling AFB would be my choice, though probably not Daniel's, seeing as his right hand would need to be in a perma-salute position.

I have always thought I was a country girl, probably because my mom hates the city as do my grandma and everyone else in my family. And, to be perfectly truthful, I long for a little farm where I can raise chickens, have a cow, a dog (or two), a humongous garden, and let my children run around barefoot in the green grasses. I love having a lifestyle of good honest hard work in the fresh country air, though the fresh air experience would not include hanging my clothes out to dry. Too many bad experiences while growing up (in the country with all of the above except the cow and the children) with spiders hanging out in the clothes pins. Awful, awful. Feel very bad for me.

But... being in the city of Washington, I determined that it was the place for me. Washington has won, by an overwhelming vote, as the most favorite place I have ever been to. The history, the beautiful architecture, the bustle - oh, I love the bustle - the tons of stuff to be involved in, the metro, the shopping. There was just so much there! I would move there this second, if I could. I kept remarking to Daniel how happy I was. He just smiled at me and I knew if he could do anything to be able to hand that city to me as our next duty station he would.

While in Washington we stayed on Andrews AFB, once in Air Force lodging and once in Navy lodging. The Navy lodging was much nicer. We tried to stay in lodging on Bolling AFB but it was full due to the inauguration. Understandable, but frustrating. I hated being denied checking out their lodging. I love visiting any and every base I can while traveling.
While in North Carolina we checked out Seymour Johnson AFB... needless to say, that base will not be our dream sheet. Ick.

Anyways... pictures. We were enjoying being in the moment so much that we forgot to take many pictures. Thankfully you don't need a camera to have memories.

Crawling on the Lincoln

This is Eliza crawling around the floor of the Lincoln Memorial. She was way way past her nap but that is one happy girl you see right there. She loved crawling around on the marble.

In the Lincoln

As soon as I stepped into the Lincoln Memorial I felt a heaviness on my chest. Truly the most amazing and solemn statue I have ever experienced. I visited as a teenager but I don't remember feeling so moved as I did this time.

Korean War Memorial

Oh glory, was this memorial for the Korean War ever creepy. I remarked to Daniel that I have never heard much about the Korean War; he called it the forgotten war. I found this terribly sad because blood was shed and lives were sacrificed in the protection of freedom. How dare we forget that.

Freedom is not Free

Freedom Is Not Free.

I am forever indebted. And so very thankful.
We LOVE the Beach...
And each other. Obviously.

Kissy Face

How could I not love this man? I mean, he has the body of a greek god and he loves me! Me.

Mister Ocean

I begged Daniel to leave his shirt on so he wouldn't embarrass all the other beach goers with his rockin' body.

All fun and games, my friends. Though the body is for real.

Eliza had her first taste of the surf and the sand. Literally. She loved it. Loved it.

Mama and Eliza

Of course we had to do the name in the sand picture. It wouldn't have been a first trip the ocean without it.

Eliza in sand

Daniel, Eliza, and I had a wonderful trip to the ocean; it was a fantastic time with great friends, good food, and the beach.

Washington D.C. pictures are making their way into my Flickr account but family time comes first. Thanks for understanding!
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