Sunday, February 21, 2010

Insane ride

I read a funny quote the other day when I was looking through the 823 RHS monthly newsletter that is sent out by Brian's squadron... "There are 24 hours in a day - take them if you need them" (Maj Sanchez) which was referring to people who complain about how much work they have. I happen to be one of THOSE people last week and this week. Not because I don't use my time wisely or because I'm lazy or even because I'm a complainer... because my plate (and cup) are run-ith over. Now that I'm looking at my situation, I'm asking myself what was I drinking when I decided that getting through the month of February was going to be do-able????? I will definately be needing most of those 24 hours each day. Seriously Michelle. Besides the normal amount of work (school work at home, kids, house, MEd classes), I've now juggling putting on a talent and beauty pageant at school. Yes... you read that right. The Miss CHS 2010 Talent and Pageant is this week (Tues & Fri) and yours truely is the class sponsor of the Seniors and it is our job to host this event.

Let me let you in on a small detail. Host = do everything. What I mean by that is the Senior Class officers & sponsors plan everything. We are responsible making the event happen. This includes finding judges, providing dinner for the judges, making sure the judges have all necessary contestant info; creating a theme, decorating, buying EVERYTHING, tickets, brochures, hosting a tea for the 35 contestants where each of them will be interviewed by the 5 judges; ordering flowers, thank you gifts for judges and volunteers. OMG... I think the list goes on even the further.

The bottom line is - this is more work than I think I did for my own wedding. Well, at least it feels this way because it is all squeezed into just a few short weeks. On top of that, this is time away from Thomas and Abby. I already feel like I have such little time in the middle of the week - now, I will barely see them this week except for the morning and there is a slight chance I will see Thomas 2-3 times this week for a few moments before bedtime. I guess though it will be over soon and the month of March will be upon us. The forcast this week doesn't look good though... I mean... late nights, little sleep, wont' eat well, in all truth probably wont' do much teaching because many things have to be done during the school day. Its fair to say that next Sunday (when it is all over) - I may just stay in my 'jammies all day and do nothing with the kids. Can't wait.

Until then... my hair is on fire, my "seatbelt" is on and I'm ready for this insane ride this week. If you don't hear from me... I'll try to resurface next weekend... and give you a recap. Have a great week!

She's on the move...


Video Clip - Here she is on the move with her brother... notice how he almost leaves her curb side as if she was the trash getting picked up. She loved it, especially when we all raced from the bottom of the driveway to the top (I pushed Abby & Thomas raced his cart next to us).

video

Video Clip - She is even working on moving solo... sometimes its forward, sometimes its backwards. Finally Abby has put a few inches on that she can finally touch the ground in her walker. She is still a "short stuff" though. Enjoy! BTW... sorry about the annoying mommy voice.

video

Thursday, February 18, 2010

His son

"If I have a monument in this world, it is my son..." - Maya Angelou

There is no denying Brian & Thomas are from the same cookie cutter. Is this not crazy? I've come to grips that my son hardly looks like me, but he is such a Daddy's boy... literally. Between the similar haircut, the stripped jackets, the shape of their hands and of course their big brown eyes and their lips - they are so much the same. No wonder when I look at Thomas, I see his Daddy.



"A boy... the only thing God can use to make a man."

It is genuine!

The love that my two little silly gooses have for each other is definately genuine. Thomas can't get enough of Abby. Wants to help always; wants to hug and kiss her; certainly wants to make her laugh. On the other hand, Abby wants to always be near him and watch him. Anything he does will illicit a smile (and now a very loud giggle and cackle). She has discovered she has a voice and loves to use it. It's almost like she is competing with someone else in the room for the attention and it is hilarious! I will try and get it on video this weekend...
To me this looks like they are two little old people hanging out on the loveseat telling funny stories. It's almost like they're in their own little world. Speaking of own world (and own language), the other morning on our drive into town Abby was not sleeping and was "talking". I was amusing her and talking back and asking her questions. Finally, Thomas chimed into our conversation and said something to her but it sounded a bit mumbled. I asked what Abby had said to him. His response was very matter-of-fact... "She is talking about animals." I thought "Really?" and then responded with, "Which animals was she telling you about, Thomas?" Without hesitation, he said "Lions, Elephants and Giraffes." ????????? was my initial thought. How did he just come up with that... do they have some secret language that I am completely unaware of? It really is so funny when he engages in her "talking"... I wish I understood.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What a week...

I feel like I haven't blogged in a month... sad that it has only been 6 days. What happens when I do that is I end up keeping my thoughts & feelings all bottled up and then I can't remember if I have told certain stories, shared funny moments or vented frustrations... I can't do that now, can I? Anyway - onto what the Heck household has been up to lately...

Thomas' expressions and sentences have become even more clear over the last month - that includes him talking about all the letters of the alphabet, numbers 1-20, expressions that I say (he is very quick to repeat) and silly reactions to so many situations lately. I have to inpart contribute that to him moving up to the "Older Twos" classroom (they are the kids between 2.5 and 3 years old) with Ms. Tonya. I can have some fairly descent conversations with Thomas now and most of the time I am tickled pink that I have someone to talk to (down fall to your hubby being gone this much... I talk to the baby, toddler and dog like its a two-way talk). Anyway, some of Thomas' recent quips that crack me up:
  • "Mama, what his name is?"
  • "Where dat truck go to?"
  • "Mama, you stop! You listen to me (as he is shaking his finger at me). You open your ears. You hear me?"

Recent coversation:

M: Thomas you are doing such a good job putting that puzzle together. Can I help?

T: Please (he says that meaning, "Yes, please")

M: You only have two pieces left...do you know where they go?

T: Right dare Mama! Yeah! Horray!

M: Wow Thomas, that is perfect!

T: Mama, I am perfect! :)

Here we are one afternoon on a walk with Ziggy. Thomas loves to stop at the end of this bridge and tell me all the letters he recognizes. He is sure to always begin with, "There is a "T" for Thomas and an "A" for Abby, Mama." He has recently figured out that Mama begins with the letter "M" and Daddy begins with "D". So smart.

This past weekend out at Nana's house visiting Aunt Jen and Uncle Ash. They are always amazed at how much the kids have grown in the few short weeks that go by between our visits. Becareful Aunt Jen... they will be in high school before you blink and they will both be taller than you too! :)
The big and exciting news at Nana's house is she is getting a new (inground) pool put in. Her entire backyard was dug up and the pool construction was well underway and should be done in the coming days. How exciting!!!! No more Redneck-Above-the-Ground-Pool...
Thomas was very excited about the big yellow "digger" in Nana's backyard... Nana might have even earned some serious cool points for having one of those kind of trucks! I don't think she will be keeping it though... its not her style.
While we were in Niceville visiting Nana, we were sure to stop in at the Children's Park and test out all the slides and playgrounds... two thumbs up from the "slide Master" (aka: thomas).
I was fixing breakfast for the troops last weekend and I peered over the counter because it was awfully quiet and this is what I saw: two children quietly reading and playing. How was this possible? It was short-lived though... 1/2 a moment later, things were loud and rowdy and full of energy once again!
Last Thursday night, Grannnie and Grandpop picked up the kids and had them for the afternoon and evening while I started in on the crazy, insane post-school day extracurricular activities that will be keeping me busy through the end of next week. I also had to attend the TOY banquet that night. Grannie helped me out by baking (with Thomas' help) Valentine's Day cupcakes for Thomas' PJ party on Friday at school. Look at how delicious they look... yummy!
Abby is sitting up so well that I thought I would give the "tubby toddler seat" a try during a bath last week. She really did do great but she was not a fan of it because it wasn't her little blue tubby at all. I even had thomas take his tubby at the same time with hopes that it would distract her... no luck. She cried the entire bath time. Oh well... I tried. I guess we will give it another go next month and see what she thinks then. Meanwhile, can you see Thomas holding up the number "2"... he was "teaching" Abby #1 - #10. Huh? Isn't he quite the big brother.
She sure does look angry at the letter "D"... poor little girl.
Speaking of helpful big brother... I'm not sure how I manage on some days without the help of a 2.5 year old. Isn't that sad? Here I am a grown woman with two college degrees, a background in education and has a Type "A" personality - and yet I depend heavily on a toddler/preschooler for help with some very simple tasks around the house. Thank goodness. But then I realize how good it is for Thomas to do so many things that require him to be independent. He goes potty by himself, will turn on lights in different rooms by himself, can get some necessary items out of the pantry to help me fix some things to eat/drink, etc. Now in part this is because I am only one person and there are two of them... something is bound to give and the results have been thomas learning to do more without my help. I love that I'm raising a smart, independent, caring, sensitive yet aggressive little man (or at least giving it my best shot). We still have a ways to go with somethings (like potty training... doesn't want anything to do with pooping in the potty yet) however other things are coming much easier - brushing his own teeth, making his own decisions about many things and wanting to do even more things on his own without help from anyone. Brian better get home soon or he will be at the stage he is ready to drive the truck without anyone's help. Aughhhhhhh!

Video Clip - Abby and Thomas playing in her room. Look at how tickled she is with him and all that he does. Too funny!

video

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Eat'in my words

How is this possible? Why do I even open my mouth? On Tuesday evening (after Abby's doctor's appt), I caught myself telling my mother-in-law that "I was so happy that Abby hasn't fell victim to any ear infections so far. Thomas was 6 months old when he got his first one. Thank goodness Abby is so healthy and we haven't had to worry about that."

Why did I have to say that? The very next day, she had a temperature (not a normal one... it stayed consistantly high most of the day between 101.5 and 103) and it was not from her shots. So, I picked her up from daycare early and we ended up spending about another 1.5 hours at the doctor on Wednesday. Low and behold... a small ear infection. See? Should have just kept my mouth shut. See what happens when you speak too soon. Sorry Abby. I'm eat'in my words now.

In other news, snow is forcasted tonight/tomorrow for the south... including the Panhandle of Florida along the Gulf Coast.
OK... so this isn't what our area looks like now (nor would it ever look like this)... but it is possible for us to see SOME snow flakes tonight and tomorrow. Accumulation might be a whooping 0.5-1.0 inch so WATCH OUT. The picture above was actually taken the other day from my in-laws house in Baltimore, MD... I think it is fair to say at this point that there is no room for any more snow up there. Cabin Fever has set in and they are definately feeling the effects of winter this year. As of tonight, a few surrounding school districts have already decided to close down for tomorrow (my northern friends in VA and MD are probably crack'in up at the fact that the Floridians are worried about flakes of snow on road) - our school district must be gambling big because they have decided that we will go to school in the morning and if necessary have an early release day. Huh? I guess we will see how things develop over night and in the AM. More to come on this...

hair on fire

Beginning today - I'm quite positive that the rest of February will fly by. Not because there are so few days left or even because there is an anticipated event in early March - instead it is because I will be running around like my hair is on fire due to my busy schedule. If the "regular" days schedule wasn't packed full enough with things, this month has some added bonuses.

Today was the first offical day of practice for the Miss CHS Talent & Beauty Pageant that the Senior class hosts every year. Thes preparations, planning and practice will run almost straight through the last Friday of the month. Those of you who are utterly confused as to why Michelle is involved with putting on such an event... the answer is simple... it is a long standing tradition here in the deep south at Choctaw HS. No choice in matter. It has to be done. No questions asked. Just do it. Get' R done! Anyway - my class officers and me have to make ALL the arrangments for putting on this grandeoso event in the next two weeks. Most days I will not see my munchkins until about 6pm which is enough time to give hugs and kisses and tuck them in to bed. Speaking of some late nights... tonight I didn't get home until about 8pm because I had to attend the Annual Teacher of the Year (TOY) Banquet to honor all the TOYs in our county this year. As our school's TOY from last year, it was certainly nice to see a good friend of mine get the honor a year later. Thank goodness for my in-laws and my mom helping out on these crazy days.

Other events are far more social - a few gatherings with my girlfriends and the kids on the occasional Saturday night. A few doctors appointments and of course THE Talent & Pageant nights (which will keep me at school until about 10pm or 11pm). Agguuuhhhhhhhhh! Got to look at the silver lining though... February should be over soon and we will be into the month of March in no time, right? One more month down and closer to Brian coming home. It is quite possible though that several new gray hairs will emerge by the month's end. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

6 month stats

Abbigail had her 6-month check up today. Here she is waiting very patiently for both nurse and doctor. Who would have known that examing table paper would be so thrilling for an infant?

This is the smile that lights up my everyday... but moments later she was given 4 shots... the sound of her cry would break anyone who loves her. Poor Thomas only wanted to console her with kisses after that and he did reassure her that, "Abby you OK!"
weight - 15.8 lbs (25th - 50th percentile)
height - 25 3/4 in (50th percentile)


Monday, February 8, 2010

Twins!

NO, NO, NO - don't even think that we are pregnant again. Bite your tongue if that thought crossed your mind.

At daycare in Abby's classroom, her & Kassidy are known by everyone as the "August twins". The are actually about 3 weeks apart (Abby is older) but everyone jokes that they are so much alike. Milestones, habits and even today - dressing alike. I promise you this was a sheer accident.... but a funny one. I walked in to pick up Abby and the girls were playing near each other. It was such a hoot to see them like this... it was certainly a kodak moment.


Abby & Mommy

Wild Saturday Night!

This past Saturday night, me & my girls from school all got together to celebrate. We celebrated our very, very good friend Kendra coming back into town for a short visit from Kadena, Japan (her and hubby Andrew are AF and stationed over there) AND the birth of good friends Jordan & Steve's little girl, Vivian. We had great food, absolutely fantastic company (because God only knows we never have time to get out of our classrooms and just hang out with each other) and the kids all playing and running around the house was hilarious!

Eating dinner together

Jordan enjoying some smooches on Abby (while baby Vivian was asleep)

The 3 Amegos - Jeannie, Me and Kendra (click here to see us last year as class sponsors together at school)


Since Kendra ditched us and left the country (ha-ha... we are all AF wives), it is just Jeannie and me holding down the fort at school with the Senior Class of 2010.
The Ladies (L to R):
Ashley, Linsey, Laurel, Kendra, Beth, Jeannie, Me, Jordan (and baby Viv). Not pictured are Sara and Kari
Waiting as all the gals took their picture together. Notice the smear of red velvet cake across his face that Mommy missed as she wiped him down from dessert.
Kendra brought each of the kids some Japanese "stuff" to color and play with. Here is Thomas trying out his Japanese mask and scaring everyone! Too funny!
Playing peek-a-boo with Kendra as she is trying to take his picture while he plays
By 8pm, all the mommies were getting the kids dressed in their PJs - we all knew that once the kids were loaded up in the car it would only be a matter of a few minutes until they were fast asleep. Thomas and Abby were asleep before I even left the town of Niceville and they slept until morning. Anyway, Thomas discovered Tyson's booster chair and decided to step into to sit in it but discovered he was too big and got stuck. Here he is dragging the dang thing around the living room still attached to him.
The last picture of the night was reserved for (almost) all of the little munchkins. Abby is missing because she was already fast asleep in the guest room in her travel bed. Also missing was Gus (8 yrs old) who had been upstairs watching a movie on the big TV. From L to R: Jane, Peyton, Thomas, Tyson and up front is the newest addition... Baby Vivian. Don't you love how Baby Viv is practically in a coma through all the comotion and chaos of all the little kids... don't you all wish we could sleep like that?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Bitter

I received the sweetest and thoughtful Valentines' Day card from my hubby today in the mail. It was well after the kids had fallen asleep that I had a chance to sit down and sort through the mail. When I opened it and started to read, the tears already were flowing. Of course the tears were because of the love that he sent to me, the certain words he chose to use and the final thoughts that "he will see me soon." I sat and re-read the card two more times just so I could focus on the fact that this was indeed from my Brian. If you have never spent a significant amount of time away from the person you love and care for in the deepest way - then what I just said may not make sense. Having been apart so much in our marriage so far, I have come to accept that this is just part of the military life, but that doesn't mean that I like it or that it gets any easier. Quite the contrary - when you add kids, it is even harder emotionally.

This is the point in a deployment though when I start to get a little bitter. We are 5 months in. 5 months. Most people have a hard time when they have to be away from their spouse for a few nights or even 2-3 weeks. 5 months = almost 23 weeks = 160 days. I have a hard time swallowing the fact that it really is a LONG time. Not bitter towards Brian, but bitter and upset that these deployments are starting to come more frequently on top of the fact that his squadron deploys for a longer period of time than most Air Force units (7 months). I also am bitter because not everyone in a military family has to deal with these long periods of time away from their loved one. Not that I wish this on others, but I dont' see how people in the military can claim to not be able to deploy for whatever reason - your job in the military is to go where they need you to go - that means anywhere - Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti or even Timbuktu. One of the mottos is you are "Fit to Fight". I guess if you ain't fit to fight... then get out. Actually, they are kicking you out. I'm not sure though it is really consistant across the board. I definately know it is not done in a fair way. For example, I have a good friend in the same squadron as Brian. She was unable to go on this deployment because the doctor said her pains in her neck vertabrea are pinching and then further down in her back she has little to no cartiledge causing a lot of pain and they can't "fix" her. If they can't "fix" you - they kick you out. Because she couldn't deploy - they immediately sent her prognosis up the chain and within 6 months will medically retire her. She is forced out. If she wasn't eligible to retire, she would be honorably discharged. Isn't that something? But you know what - even she admits, "I'm not fit to fight the mission they need me to do." And yet there are so many that I know that the leadership above them must either be looking the other way or there is some shady shit going on with how their status is viewed. Sorry... like I said... just bitter and I'm finally venting about it.

Anyway - back to why - things are just appearing to get worse and worse in the current position we are in. Not sure what will happen when Brian returns - we may look to make a change (location, squadron, job) or we may tough it out one more deployment and then look to retire and move on. All I know is time spent together with the ones you love is worth much more than money made. I wouldn't just say that if this was the first time Brian and me were apart... this is now becoming the norm in our life and we both feel like there needs to be a change. A positive change made. I guess we will see in the coming months what our options really are. We both want our family to be a whole piece again...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Amen!

For a few weeks now at dinner, I have noticed on occasion that Thomas has his hands folded together (like people do when they are praying) and he is mumbling something. When he gets done saying whatever it is he is saying, I finally recognize a very clear, "Amen" followed by joyous "Eat now!" He then is all smiles as if he is quite proud of himself. Well, I didn't really chaulk it up to anything except something he must have seen in one of his Disney Channel shows. Then the more I thought about it, I assumed it must be something that he has learned at school. Yesterday when I was picking up Thomas and Abby from school, I asked Ms. Tanya (his teacher) if they said any kind of prayer before lunch or snack time and she said yes! They actually learn this "prayer" when they are in Ms. Deborah's room (the 1-year olds) and from that point forward, every class uses the same one. Anyway, I asked her if she would write it down for me so that we could say it at home before dinner. As soon as she handed me the words, I just started to chuckle because now what Thomas had been mumbling made perfect sense to me.

Help us do the things we should.
Help us to be kind and good.
Help us in our work and play
To grow more loving everyday.

- Amen

- EAT NOW!

So last night, I pulled out the words and asked Thomas if we should fold our hands and say our prayer before dinner? He wasn't quite sure what I meant until I said the first line. A huge smile came across his face as if to say, "Mommy, you know this song?" He immediately chimed in and we repeated it together. As we finished, he quickly exclaimed, "Amen" and "Eat Now" with sheer delight! I loved every moment of it especially when he wanted to do it again.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Go-Go Mode

Sometimes I envy friends of mine who live in town. When I say "town" I'm referring to Ft. Walton where I work. We live in the next county over and commute each way 35 minutes... if there isn't any traffic. So daily, the kids and I spend at least 70-80 minutes per day in the car. Whoa! Insane. Maybe that's part of the reason that I never feel like everything on my list gets done... I'm always in the dang car either trying to get to work or trying to get home at a reasonable hour. Our daily schedule looks like this:

4:00 am - my alarm goes off
4:10 am - I crawl out of bed & hit the shower
4:50 am - dressed & ready and now finish doing anything for the day at work
5:05 am - Thomas' alarm goes off
5:25 am - Wake up Abby
5:40 am - Loading up kids and gear for the day
5:50 am - Pulling out of the driveway
6:25 am - Dropping the kids off at daycare
6:40 am - Heading into school for the day
3:30 pm - Leave school to pick up kids
4:30 pm - Arrive home after a VERY long day & take Zig on a walk
5:00 pm - Play and also get dinner ready
6:00 pm - Start the bedtime routine
6:30 pm - Abby is fast asleep
7:15 pm - Thomas is fast asleep
**Breath a huge sigh**
7:30 pm - Skype with Brian, clean kitchen/dishes from dinner, clean up house/toys, pack lunch, prep coffee, and prep bottles; grade essays, do M.Ed homework, pay bills and possibly blog
10:00 pm - Fall into bed... usually it results in a coma-like sleep, but if I'm lucky there are sweet dreams of foo-foo drinks with umbrellas and my hubby sitting next to me while the kids are playing. The key thing in the dream is WE ARE TOGETHER.

I'm tired just reading that type of schedule - but I have plenty of friends (both single moms and wifes with deployed spouses) who have schedules that look twice as busy. I wonder how those rockstars handle it? Anyway... life is busy, but that is why I really slow down to enjoy time with Thomas and Abby on the weekends. Sometimes nothing gets accomplished and but the time I get with my munchkins is completely worth it.

A Whole Lot of Nothing...

... is what this last weekend was all about. In all truth, that is what the kids and I feel like doing on our weekends. We spend so much time in the car as well as getting up insanely early each weekday so it just feels right to sleep in a little (which means until about 6am), stay in our 'jammies most of the morning and just play throughout the day. Sure - are there errands to run and things that I know I should be taking care of? Of course. But I miss out on spending quality time with Thomas and Abby during the week that this just feels like the right thing to do most of the time.

Grannie and Grandpop brought over a surprise - brand new rain boots... that happened to be FIREMAN BOOTS! Thomas was so excited! Wouldn't you know though it hasn't rained at all since he got the boots. Figures, right?

Sunday morning, both of my munchkins hung out with me while I cleaned the bathroom and straightened up my room. We were jamming to some music and having a good old time. Abby was just cracking me up in her little popazan chair. I had to keep the belt on her so that she wouldn't jump on out. With Thomas bouncing all over the place - she needed to be in the chair or else she probably would have bounced right onto the floor.

Just keep'in sharp on his fishing skills while Daddy is gone. As soon as he is back, the gear will be loaded up and I'm sure Thomas will want to be on the boat with Daddy.
Abber-Dabs
Thomas really is very, very sweet with Abby. He loves to make her laugh, kiss her, and love on her.
Silly Goose
This is what gets me through the tough days... her smile is contagious and infectious!
Her drool, on the other hand, is messy and ends up on everything.