Thursday, July 26, 2012

Blogger Challenge: Week 2

How are you like your parents? How are you different?

This is a hard question for me to answer.  It is safe to say that I know my mother better than I know my father.  I didn't grow up with them.  I lived with relatives from the time I was 3.  It's only been recently that I've reconnected with my mother.  And I think, even if I had been in contact with my dad over the last however many years, I would still not really "know" him.  He's been an addict his entire adult life, and I believe that who he is probably differs when he is on drugs as opposed to when he is off, and I would really have know way of knowing which was which.  I think I am probably more like my mother.  She and I share the same sarcastic sense of humor, and also are pretty hard headed.  I'm pretty sure my temper also comes from her side of the family.  :)

I am different from my mom in a lot of ways as well.  I was raised differently, for one.  I don't know a lot of what her home life was like.  She has several sisters and a brother (I think).  I know that not all of them have the same dad, so I don't know how long her dad was with her mom.  I know that she didn't finish school.  My dad got into drugs young so I think he never went to college, but I *think* he at least finished high school.  He's never had a steady job, never really had a place to call home.  He moved around a lot, if I remember correctly from being a kid.  I can remember thinking when I was younger that I didn't want to be like him.  I wanted a family, my family would always come first, and I would do anything and everything to make sure that I only got married once.  I am grateful that my mother and I have really reconnected over the last few years.  And I'm super excited that she gets to come out in August and meet my husband and her grandchildren!

Um....tagging blogs I read.  Well, I read my friend Kyra's a lot.  When I grow up, I want to write like her.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Blog Challenge - Week 1

Who I am today, versus me 10 years ago.

It makes my head hurt to say that 10 years ago was 2002!  Seriously!?  That seems insane to me.  Time flies when you're having fun?  Maybe.  Having fun, going crazy; it's a fine line.  So, let me see.  In 2002, I was 20, turning 21 that October.  We'd been married just over 2 years, and had our first baby, and were living at our first duty station, Fort Wainwright, Alaska.  At that time, we just had ONE kiddo.  I think it was around this time that we actively started trying for baby #2.  I am fundamentally the same person I was back then.  Meaning, the values and morals I have now, I had them back then.  Not much has changed in that regard.  I had no idea the journey we were about to embark on.  We had just decided to stay in the army, even though the plan had been to get out after his contract was up.  September 11th changed that.  We now had a baby to consider, and the economy was failing fast.  We knew we were moving at the end of that year, and were told originally that he'd be doing a six month deployment to Afghanistan.  It makes me chuckle now, of how terrified I was about the future of this country, of deployments, and the changes just in general after 9/11.  

At that time, I was working full time as a nanny for some amazing kids.  There were four of them: Sterling, Lauren, Kyle, and Bruce.  I often thought, "This could be my life in 10 years - lots of kids running around."  And then I'd shake my head and think, "HECK NO!"  Perhaps that was my own intuition that we were destined to have a big family, I don't know.  I love every single one of my children, and while yes, they are a handful sometimes (and make me want to rub my head on pavement most days), if you were to ask me which one I'd give up if I could go back, well, there's no answer for that.  I'd be missing a piece of myself if I didn't have all five of them.  Anyway, babysitting was usually a lot of fun.  The kids were always pretty good, but the parents were in the middle of a nasty divorce.  It's hard to stay out of the middle of that, especially when you feel like one parent doesn't necessarily have the best interest of the kids first.  I tried to stay out of it, but looking back, I see now I probably could have done a better job of butting out.  I ended up getting fired because the parent still at home felt like I was an "ally" to the parent who had moved out, and therefore, I couldn't be trusted.  It was very upsetting for me, because it had nothing to do with me, or the kids for that matter.  This was just trying to cover up their own ass.  I have kept in contact with them, thanks to Facebook.  And it also makes my head hurt that Sterling and Lauren have now graduated from high school.  Ah!

Chip and I were so young back then.  I don't know how we ever survived financially back then.  We were both working full time, and yet we still did not have a good handle on our finances.  Hell, we still don't.  I'd say of all our issues, the hardest thing for us has been finances.  Neither one of us really have self control.  Every year we say we are going to save money.  Every year, that never happens.  And back then, I don't remember going out a whole lot or doing a bunch of stuff, but we were always short on money.  We lived on base, so all of our utilities were paid.  Probably a very good thing!  We were in a 6-plex, second from the end.  The people next to us on the end were...interesting.  Very dramatic.  Always always causing trouble.  The people on the other side of us were fantastic.  I still talk to Jeanette.  I am grateful that she was around back then.  I can imagine I was pretty annoying.  Pretty sure I was at her house almost every day.  Brenna loved her boys, who were just a few years older than her.  And I just loved having a friend to hang out with and talk to.  Plus, Jeanette's house was always more organized than mine (read: cleaner) and it was a good distraction to go to her house and avoid mine.  We bbq'd in the summer, the kids played, and of all the people I met in Alaska, she is one of a handful I still talk to.  That was the summer that a baby that she babysat passed away.  It was a sad situation, the baby had been 2 months old.  Mom had taken the baby to the doctor repeatedly and they kept saying she just had a cold.  She ended up passing away with two severe inner ear infections and pneumonia, which was her official cause of death.  Since I was over at Jeanette's every day pretty much, I spent a lot of time with the baby.  I think about her often.  Such a sweet little girl, definitely gone too soon.

So we took our first road trip together in 2002.  We drove from Fairbanks, Alaska to Anderson, South Carolina.  It took us a little over a week to get through Canada.  It was absolutely beautiful.  We stopped in North Dakota and stayed the night with a childhood friend of mine whose husband was stationed at Grand Forks AFB, ND.  I hadn't seen her since she moved away when we were kids, so it was awesome to connect with her.  Then we drove to Minnesota and stayed a weekend with some childhood friends of Chip's.  Then on to Chicago, for a week with my family, and then the last stop was South Carolina.  We flew to Schofield Barracks, HI from there.

I look at the mother and person I was back then, and I think I am much more patient now than I was then.  Brenna was always a stubborn kiddo, and we generally engaged in a battle of wills at least once a day.  It was exhausting!  It wasn't until a few years later that I think I really truly got what being a mom is all about.  You must always win the battle of the wills - BUT - you must also choose your battles.  Some really just aren't worth fighting.  I wasn't a very good wife back then either.  I had always thought that he should be doing all these grand gestures of love and appreciation, and I focused on how he WASN'T doing that, and not at all about how I did nothing for him.  I never cleaned the house.  I hated cleaning the house.  I hated that it was expected of me to clean the house, so I never did.  Many fights came about because I did the bare minimum to keep things tidy enough for a baby around, but since she never went into the kitchen, dishes weren't a priority.  And since I did her laundry, well, why did I need to do his, too?  He's a big boy, lol.  I realized a few years later that a relationship isn't about what they are doing for you (or not doing), but it's about what you are doing for each other.  He works all day.  So I should probably get off my ass and clean up a little bit.  I do better now, but laundry is the bane of my existence.  I just need a maid for that, I think.
We've more than covered ten years ago.  Who am I today?  Still an army wife, still a mom, with just a few more kids.  I think I'm so much more mature than I was back then.  I'm definitely wiser.  I have learned so much about myself and who I am over the last 10 years.  Five kids and two deployments tend to push you to limits you never thought you had.  It's amazing what you will do to survive and thrive.  I am not one of those people who would go back and tell myself what to do or not do, look forward to or dread.  Every single thing that happened helped shape who I am.

So I think we're supposed to tag someone or a blog that we read regularly. I mostly read my sister-in-law's blog to keep up with them and my adorable little niece!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Is This Thing On?

Yes, that's right, after almost a year, I am writing a blog!  It has been a crazy, ridiculous 10 months, so while I am sorry that I haven't blogged, I've had bigger fish to fry.  Lots of changes in my life personally, most of which I'm not going into detail on a public blog, lol.  So what brings me back?  A blog challange!  Yay!  So in about 8 weeks, hopefully this will become habit enough that I write regularly.  Here are the rules, should you feel so inclined to participate.  

Here are the rules:
  • The blog-every-single-day thing seems to be a little... scary for a lot of people. So, we're shooting for once-a-week blogging for 8 weeks.
  • Blog challenges will be "due"/rollover on Sunday nights at midnight. I know this sounds a lot like a class project, but hey, we're all gluttons for punishment, anyway, right?
  • Post the challenge/challenge rules before you write your first blog-challenge blog, and link back to it with each blog-challenge post (then say blog challenge ten times fast!). This way, your readers can join in on the fun.
  • And, just to shake things up, at the bottom of each blog challenge blog, post the link to another blog you read regularly. Think of it as a grab bag for your readers. Or just utter ridiculousness on my part.
  • Try to comment on other blogs doing the challenge. Let the blogger know you're reading and doing the challenge, too!
  • Take the topics as seriously or as lightly as you would like.
  • Write as much or as little as you would like.
  • Use visuals if and how you see fit.
  • Have fun and share!

Now... For the topics!

  • Week 1: Compare and contrast: yourself now vs. yourself ten years ago.
  • Week 2: How are you like your parents? How are you different?
  • Week 3: Who and what makes up your "community?" How do you define that community?
  • Week 4: A social situation you struggle with and why.
  • Week 5: How do you define yourself?
  • Week 6: What is a goal you have or want to set for yourself? How are you going to achieve it?
  • Week 7: A funny story about something dumb you have done.
    Week 8: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?