No More Denial

Well, hello there.  This is becoming quite a bad habit, this not posting for weeks and then popping in to say hello and apologize for not posting in weeks.  What can I say?  I’m a creature of habit.  I’m also a creature who has been incredibly busy getting our house ready for packing day.  Cleaning and organizing and decluttering.  And worrying.  And walking around with a pouty, sad face.  I go from being sad to being anxiety ridden to being ready to get all this damn junk out of my house and then back to being sad and anxiety ridden.

It’s been a lovely few weeks.

Much to my dismay, packing day as arrived.  This move, which has been theoretical for so long, is actually happening.  Like right now.  While SJ, Mary and Cory pack up our belongings, I’m sitting on our couch blogging from my archaic lap top with both a sticky ‘s’ and space bar key.  Aside from my daily early morning ‘sit in the dark and stare mindlessly at the computer time,’ this is the first time in quite a while that I’ve been able to sit and sort of rest. Perhaps my mind will stop racing?   At this point, there isn’t much I can do.  I’ve decided what is staying and what is going; I’ve hidden our clothes in a make-shift closet (aka a large Rubbermaid tub); I’ve done what I need to do.

And now I sit.

Confession: I’m not very good at sitting.  Sitting after a long run is nice.  Sitting after a busy day is okay, too.  But sitting at 10 am because I have to?  Not my favorite.

Craig leaves for Hawaii next week.

Caroline and I won’t follow until mid-November.

The housing waiting list is longer than we had hoped; since we just can’t disenroll Caroline from school and let her live a life of truancy and beach bummery until our housing situation is settled, we’re going to hang out here a little while longer.

In a  nearly empty house.  Sleeping on air mattresses and sharing one TV.   Oh, the horror!

It’ll be okay.  So long as we have a  TV, internet (+lap tops) and a microwave, we’ll be just fine.

Pioneer women, we ain’t.

So, that’s the scoop.  It’s not particularly interesting, but well….neither is most of the other junk I share.  Keep your fingers crossed that our stuff makes its way safely across the Pacific Ocean.  I’m not sure what I’d do if I lost all of my Ball jars and my Kitchen Aid mixer.

We don’t want the pouty, sad face to return, right?

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Slacker

Man, I really stink at this blogging thing. I mean, with my exciting life, you’d think I had more than enough blog fodder to fuel daily, if not twice daily, posts.

Um, yeah. Sure.

The truth is, my brain is still a barren wasteland of useless knowledge and disjointed, incoherent, incomplete sentences. All of which do not an interesting blog post make.

Ugh, did that sentence make ANY sense? Welcome to my brain.

Let’s see…..what interesting tidbits should I share this week? We have a packing date. October 15th. On the 16th our household goods will be on a truck, on its way to a boat, which will hopefully safely ship our belongings to the great state of Hawaii. Thus beginning a six week (or so) stint of suitcase living.

Color me ecstatic.

Craig is leaving for Hawaii the  week following our packing extravaganza; Caroline and I are staying in Virginia until the first week in November so she can finish the first quarter of school, go trick or treating with her friends and complete her soccer season. Priorities, yo.

And then we’ll go to Hawaii. Where hopefully we’ll have a house, or at least an idea of where our house will be located so we can then enroll our truant child in school. Can I be honest here? You know I’m all about the honesty, right? I’m a little bit nervous about this whole thing. And anxious. Every morning I wake in a panic thinking about our impending move and the multitude of unknowns we’re about to face. I drive to the gym in said panic and then thanks to those wonderful endorphins, I leave the gym less anxious and less nervous, which lasts until mid afternoon, when the fear and panic sets in again.

I’m *okay* with the moving part. And when I say okay, I mean, I’ve gone through the seven stages of grief and have accepted that, once we get settled, Hawaii will be an awesome place to call home once again.  Hawaii isn’t the problem; saying good bye to Virginia is.  So is not having concrete living and school arrangements in place.  This is not new. This is part of the deal. It’s been part of our deal for the past sixteen years. I get that.  But it doesn’t make it easy.

I would like to know where we’re going to live.

But I don’t.

And that freaks me out.

In other less panic-filled news, Craig and I ran a half marathon last Sunday.  It was a good race.  We ran together.  We didn’t bicker.  The weather was great.  The course was nice.  Oh, and I got a PR.   My previous half PR was 1:54:13; on Sunday I ran a 1:51:07.     I have one more half marathon in two weeks and I’d very much like to break the 1:50 mark, but that will depend entirely on the weather and how I feel that day.  When we were close to the finish line of last week’s race I said to Craig, ‘Good, now that I have a new personal best, I can just enjoy (read:  no time pressure) the Wilson Bridge Half.”  But, I said that when I was tired and hungry; now that I’ve had time to think and rest my tired feet and ponder my chances of shaving 68 seconds off of Sunday’s time, I’m not sure I just want to ‘enjoy’ the race.  We’ll see.  I prefer the ‘no pressure’ approach to racing, so who knows what will transpire on race day.

Tomorrow is the first day of fall, which makes me really happy.  I’m thankful we can witness the leaves changing one more time before we move to the land of year round shorts and Christmas ornaments hanging from palm trees.

Okay, time to unload the dishwasher.  Yep, it’s a fun filled friday night in the Smith house.

Weekend Update

With bullet points!  Because that means I can get away with choppy sentences and half thoughts.  Three cheers for mediocrity!

  • Caroline is really loving her teacher.  I’m really loving the fact that school is back in session.  It really is a glorious thing.
  • Very shortly we’ll have a packing date, plane tickets and actual plans for our upcoming move.  We still have to figure out the car shipment thing. Oh, and I also still have to figure out how to move Hawaii to Virginia so we can avoid the packing and the flying and the car shipping thing.
  • Craig is still in Texas trying to out-process Fort Hood.  It has been a long, stressful, drawn out process; a process riddled with complications,  mess ups and a very large credit card bill.  You know how they say adversity and complications build character?  Well, it’s safe to say that Craig and I have character in spades; especially Craig.
  • Regardless of his clearing status, Craig is coming home on Thursday, which happens to be our 16th anniversary.  16 years is a long time to be married; I credit our “success” (and by success I mean we haven’t killed each other yet)  to multiple deployments.  It’s easy to get along when you’re separated by a rather large ocean.
  • Craig and I are running a half marathon next Sunday.  I did my final training run this morning and now I feel like I’ve been hit by a semi truck.  Kind of makes you wonder why people sign up for these things, huh?  That’s what I was thinking as I dragged my legs up a very large hill this morning.  I should find a different hobby.
  • Speaking of hobbies, I’ve been keeping busy with crafts.  I finished my canvas/scrapbook paper/mod podge dining room art; I even took pictures.  I think?  Perhaps I’ll share them one day.
  • I am currently addicted to tomato sandwiches:  toasted bread, mayo, sliced tomatoes, salt and pepper.  A thing of beauty.
  • I eat a tomato sandwich and a smoothie for lunch; salad for dinner;  boat loads of ice cream for dessert.
  • I need to stop buying ice cream.
  • Seriously.
  • My windows are open.  Football is on TV.  Caroline has school tomorrow.
  • I really love September.

Fifth Grader

It appears that I have a fifth grader.

How did that happen?

On one hand, it seems like just yesterday I was telling Caroline to stop eating the rocks outside our house on Stedman Street on Ft. Huachuca, but on the other hand, it feels like an eternity since she finished her last day of fourth grade all the way back on June 15th.  The days can drag on so slowly, so painfully, but at the same time, the years whiz by.

I still can’t get over the fact that Caroline is in fifth grade.

Do you need credentials to parent a fifth grader?

As it stands, I feel wholly unqualified to parent a fifth grader.   If you take a look at Caroline’s math binder, you’ll understand why.  Academics aside, I think I was a big pain to my mom when I was in fifth grade.  Thankfully, Caroline is very different from me, personality wise, so perhaps she won’t be a pain to me this year.  I keep hoping and praying she’ll remain the easy-going, level-headed girl she has always been.  Well, except for ages 18 months to 3 years.  Those were rough years….and years I’d never like to repeat.  She went from swiping a straw from the cup of a random stranger in Wendy’s and throwing fits because she couldn’t have the balloon in the locked store to a responsible, well-behaved fifth grader.

Obviously I’m rejoicing and celebrating the first day of school because it is truly the most wonderful day of the year.  But, like I mentioned before, it’s bittersweet.  We love this place.  We love this school.  Our time here is short and it’s not going to be easy to say good bye.

Okay, enough boo-hooing for one day.  It’s time to make the most of this quiet time and get my life in order.

My fun ends at 2:50 when the dismissal bell rings.

Bittersweet

Every summer, on the Wednesday before school starts, Caroline’s school posts class assignments as 12pm.  Today will be the fifth August in which we will walk our merry way down to the school and find out who Caroline’s teacher will be.  We walk with friends.  We catch up with the people we haven’t seen all summer.  It’s fun and celebratory (mostly for the parents, because this signals the end of summer) and something we look forward to all summer.

Today is that day.

It’s the Wednesday before school starts!

Tomorrow is Open House.  Tomorrow we meet the teacher.

To say we’re excited is an understatement.

In many ways, this summer has gone quickly.  Except for August, of course.  August is always long.  It’s hard to believe it’s class assignment day.  This year I’m excited but also a little sad.  I’m not sad because summer is over (oh heck no!) but I’m sad because this is the last Wednesday before school starts in which we’ll walk up to the school and see who Caroline’s teacher is.  This is our last year at Caroline’s current school.  Heck, this is our last two months at Caroline’s school. I love her school.  And she loves it,too.  While we’re excited to try something new in a beautiful new place, leaving a beloved school, beloved neighborhood and beloved friends behind isn’t going to the be slightest bit easy.

So, today I’m happy because school starts on Tuesday, but I’m sad because this is the last time we’ll do this.

I hate marking everything with  a ‘this is the last time we’ll do this’  stamp.  It kind of steals some of the joy when everything is a last.  Moving is hard.  Saying good bye to a place we’ve called home for four years is not going to be easy.  So, today we’ll walk to the school and see which class Caroline is assigned to.  (Side note: I hope her teacher doesn’t hold it against me that I consistently end sentences with prepositions).  We’ll catch up with the friends we haven’t seen since school let out.  The kids will run around and search excitedly to see which friends will be in the class.  And, if we’re being honest, they’ll also look to see if the one kid they hoped wouldn’t be in their class is, in fact, in their class.  Oh, the complexities of elementary school life!

In a word, today is bittersweet.

 

Spartan Tough


Hooray, the Spartan Race is done!

I’m a little battered and a little bruised, but I’m walking and didn’t leave needing an ice pack or stitches.  In a word:  success.

The traffic was terrible, of course, which did nothing to calm our nerves, but once we arrived at the race site and saw the gorgeous rolling hills and took notice of the cool, overcast skies, my sister and I felt instantly calm and ready to tackle the Super Spartan course.

Yep, my little sister has a couple of inches on me!  Her long legs proved to be quite an asset to her when we started climbing over things.

When we were in California last month, we found these striped socks on clearance at Target; we figured if we couldn’t win the whole competition, we could at least start off with cute socks which coordinated with our shoes.

Ahh, so clean.  So not muddy. So not wet.

This particular race was held in a giant equestrian park which hosts steeplechase events.  So, in addition to the 20+ obstacles the Spartan Race folks set up, we also jumped over, scaled and climbed over the steeplechase obstacles.  All in all, I think there were 75 obstacles.

Oh, and hills.  Lots of hills.  Like run walk up a mountain kind of  hills.

It seemed so daunting when I signed up months ago.  Heck, it seemed daunting on Friday.  And Saturday morning.  But once we started and climbed over the first of many walls and ran up the first of many hills, our nerves were calmed and Laura and I actually had a good time.  Unfortunately, right out of the gate, Laura’s leg gave her problems, so we didn’t run as much as we would have liked.  She’s from Charlotte, where the running is mostly flat; I’ve lived in hilly Northern Virginia for four years, so my legs are much more accustomed to the inclines.  Thanks to a heavy helping of adrenaline, I was raring to go, so often times I’d run (great hill training) and then stop and wait for Laura to catch up.  She was pretty bummed that after months of training, her leg quit on her on race day, but she toughed out the entire event and did all the obstacles.  It wasn’t easy for her, but she powered through and we finished the 9+ miles and 75 obstacles in three and a half hours.  If she hadn’t experienced an injury, we would have finished well under three hours.

Our time wasn’t what we had hoped, but our experience wasn’t affected by it, whatsoever.

We still rolled under barbed wire.

And climbed up and over large wooden structures.

And did burpees.  Lots and lots of burpees.  150, to be exact.

My proudest accomplishment was completing the monkey bars, which I figured I’d never be able to do.  My least proud moment was forgoing a cargo net obstacle in favor of the 30 burpees, the punishment for an incomplete task.  The net was high and the line was long and I just really didn’t want to fall from a zillion feet in the air.  I should have given it a try, but I didn’t.

I climbed.  I dug my fingers in the slippery mud to pull myself out of murky pools of water.  I scraped up my elbows and knees.  I threw a javelin and missed my target; I dragged a cinder block on a chain around in a circle; I got dirty and wet and grassy; I ran through the gorgeous and lush Virginia hills; I cheered people on; I helped a women get her shirt unstuck from the barbed wire; I didn’t cry.

Ron (Laura’s boyfriend), Rob (a guy they work with), Laura and Me

SO much fun!

Um, yeah.

I’ve been quiet again.

Probably because all week I’ve been processing the fact that today I’m doing this:

 

 

 

8+ miles of running + 20+ obstacles.

So, yeah.  I’m doing that.

My sister and her boyfriend drove up from North Carolina yesterday; they’re the ones who suckered me into this mud fest.  Ron claims once you do one, you’re hooked.  Even though I’m pretty apprehensive at the moment, mostly due to the ‘unknown’ factor of if all (aka:  I’m not just running in a straight line for many miles),  I’m slightly inclined to believe him.  It’s sort of like after you finish a big race and you’ve got that medal around your neck, experiencing a major runner’s high, so you immediately sign up for more races.  And then, three weeks before those races, you wonder what you’re were thinking, because somehow you forgot that during miles 4-6 of that last race you wanted to simultaneously cry, throw up and die.

My biggest fear coming in to this, besides jumping over fire  everything  jumping over fire  everything, was the weather.  It’s hot and humid in August.  We run at 3pm.  It’s hot at 3pm.    Thankfully, it’s overcast and slightly drizzly today.  The expected high temperature is 76 degrees.  We really couldn’t ask for better weather.

I hope with all my heart I’ll make it through the course with my body, sanity and dignity intact.  Originally, Craig and Caroline were going to come and be our spectators/photographers, but Craig is in Texas, so that’s not going to happen.  Caroline is staying with her friends and the two spectator passes I purchased for them are going to waste.  Since our paparazzi won’t be there, any pictures will come courtesy of my sister’s iPhone.

On second thought….perhaps it’s best if this event remains without photo documentation.

Here goes nothing!

 

 

Haggard and Tired

I feel like I look haggard and tired.  Probably because I am haggard and tired.  No amount of daily moisturizer (anti aging!  anti sun damage! SPF 28!) and concealer seems to help my tired and haggard appearance.

Is this the beginning of the end?

I’ll be 36 in a couple of months.  This could very well be it.

I probably don’t sleep enough; actually I really don’t sleep enough.  Caroline has weaseled her way in to sleeping in my bed every night, which means by midnight, I’m in the guest room because she has crossed the imaginary line dividing the bed into two equal halves: mine and hers, and is breathing in my face.

I HATE being breathed on.  Hate it.

So, I sleep in the guest room, which really isn’t that bad.  However, the countless nights of fractured sleep have taken its toll on my under eye region.  I bought this eye brightener stuff.  It kind of works.  But the dark circles remain.  Less dark, thanks to the concealer, but still noticeable to my critical eye.

Such is life, I suppose.

In other news, my dining room wall is still blank

but, I’ve finally decided on a direction I’d like to take to make the wall un-bare.

Too bad we’re moving in two months.  New flash:  perhaps my tired, haggard appearance has something to do with our across-the-pacific  move?  Perhaps?  But that would mean that I have been putting forth great effort in preparation for said move.  In actuality, I’m still very much in the denial phase.  Maybe it’s the move?  Maybe it’s the sharing my bed with Caroline situation?  Maybe it’s because I get up early and go to the gym every day?  Maybe it’s just dumb bad luck?

Anyway, back to my wall.  The wall which has been bare for eight months and will remain bare because we’re moving in two months and it would be kind of dumb to put nine holes in the wall two months before we move out.   Alas, this is my current inspiration:

 

Source: craftsncoffee.wordpress.com via Alison on Pinterest

Minus the acrid, ecto slime wall color, of course.  And the odd square flower pot things.

It’s a pretty basic project:  blank canvases, scrapbook paper, Mod Podge.

I thought about going the black and white route, like the above picture, but I decided on more muted tones:  brown.  Exciting, stimulating brown.  I can’t find the link to the paper I stumbled upon yesterday, in Walmart, of all places.  I went to Walmart for motor oil (ugh!) and found the perfect pad of scrapbook paper for $5.  I bought the paper and fully intend to buy canvases soon.  And Mod Podge.

And then I’m going to make ‘art’ for my dining room.  Yes, art for a dining room, which in two short months, we’ll no longer have.  Clearly, this is a well thought out plan, as there’s no telling what our dining room will look like in Hawaii.  Heck, there’s no telling if we’ll even have a dining room in Hawaii.  But, if I take a minute to consider how long it has taken me to get this far in the Operation Bare Dining Room Wall project, it’s probably safe to assume that I won’t be buying blank canvases and Mod Podge any time soon.

I mean well.  I really do.

 

 

Also Like Old Times…..

Tents.  A summer ritual.

Massive, messy, intricately constructed tents.

Ridiculously expansive tents created with every piece of living room/dining room furniture and every sheet, towel and blanket we own.  And we can’t forget the duct tape, string and clothes pins to keep everything secure.  I took a picture, but I cannot locate my camera at this moment; it would require hurdling over and crawling under miles of tent to find it.

This is an old tent.  But you get the idea, right?

Just picture this one, but bigger.

My couch cushions are in the dining room, reaching almost to the edge of the kitchen.  I cannot get to my front door.  I tried to Army crawl to the front door to retrieve my purse, but I was blocked by an ottoman and a Lego airplane.  I’m 35.  I’m nimble and fit and reasonably intelligent, but I could not for the life of me figure out how to wiggle my way through the maze of chair legs and bed sheets to get my purse.  I should have pretended it was barbed wire, in preparation for my mud run, however, I  gave up and took the easier route which involved going downstairs into the basement, out the garage and back up the front steps.

As I sit here and type this, only one image comes to mind.  The image of my sweet little Caroline, who at the age of 3 and without any prompting from me, grabbed a towel to wipe up a spill and said out loud, ‘Mom likes things neat and tidy.’

Where did I go wrong?

I really hate summer.

Just Like Old Times

Yo.

No excuses for the lack of posting, because I don’t really have one. Actually, I’m pretty good at coming up with excuses, but I’ve used them all before, so I have no choice but to claim excuselessness today.    As it appears, I could also claim uselessness, but that is neither here nor there.  Anyway, between ten days of fun in California and Arizona, where I took plenty of pictures I should probably share with you, and the fact that we hit the ground running upon our return, I’ve been busy.  Well, busy in the I-don’t-have-a-job-but-keeping-kids-entertained-during-the-summer-is-painful-soul-sucking-and-costly- kind of way.

Today I find myself in a well known position:  with my laptop on my bedroom floor, hiding from the four children who are currently downstairs wreaking havoc on my living room.  I fed them lunch and cleaned up their mess.  I’m pretending they’re not scheming to host a lemonade stand and I’m actively choosing to forget that my couch cushions are askew and there are piles of fleece scraps scattered about my living room and dining room floors.

I’m hiding.  It’s what I do in the summer.  In between trips to the pool and trips to the movies and trips to the craft store to procure supplies for their craft du jour, I hide.

It’s familiar up here.  Laptop on the carpet, lying on my belly, trying to finish typing before my arms fall asleep.

Just like old times.

At least I have the Olympics to keep me occupied this year.

We’ve entered the final month of summer break.  July, as usual, flew by; August, I fear, will drag on endlessly, as it’s apt to do.  Next week Caroline will go to camp, which will provide a break from the monotony.  I love camp.  Yesterday we went to the movies and then to Panera for a post -movie snack of bagels and smoothies, followed by a trip to the fabric store for fleece to make those no-sew blankets.

Yes, fleece blankets in what appears to be the hottest summer ever.  Oh well, at least it kept Caroline and her friends occupied for an hour as they cut and tied their fleece.  Sure, it cost $25, but sometimes an hour of silent work is worth $25.

And so I’m hiding.

Hiding from having to make plans.  Hiding from having to drive the girls anywhere to purchase more stuff they don’t need and will inevitably be thrown away by clutter detesting mothers.  Hiding from the mess.  Hiding from the fact that my shin hurts and in three weeks I have to do that stupid mud run.  Hiding from the ever growing list of things we have to accomplish before our move to Hawaii this fall.

Yep, I’m hiding.

Just like old times.

Until 4pm, when we are going to the pool, that is.