Back on Land

He deploys, and I make a life back on land.


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I’m Letting It Go

I’ve often said that there was divine reasoning in my family transferring to Washington, and I honestly believe that it was because this momma had a whole lot of hard lessons to learn. Washington is so far out of my comfort zone that lessons were inevitable, and some days it seems like I may not have known anything before I got here. Since moving here I have stopped being an I Would Never Mom (well … I’m working on it). I’ve figure out I can’t fix everything (and I’m not supposed to anyways). I’ve also figured out a few things I’m okay with liking (that in the past seemed so not okay).

Another important lesson I’m in the thick of at the moment is simply being okay with me. I think at 37 I am simply who I am. Yes, I am still learning and growing, but there are some simple truths to me that I need to stop fighting.  All my life I’ve believed I should be doing more, should feel a certain way, should act or be a particular person, but as Carrie Bradshaw once said, “Why are we should-ing all over ourselves?”

So I’m learning to accept who I am and letting get of the shoulds. Here’s a list of things I’m letting go of right now …

I'm Letting It Go

  1. Kale. No thanks. It came in my Bountiful Basket last week, and for a moment I entertained the idea of kale chips. Yes, I (lover of beef jerky, Dr. Pepper, and all forms of fried potatoes) almost jumped on the kale train. Almost, but nope. I just can’t buy into the kale craze, and I let both bunches go. This goes for other health food crazes as well. I don’t juice. I won’t do Atkins. If utter the words “Whole 30,” that’s going to be a quantity of snacks I ate not number of days of going without … and that’s okay. I’m totally down with fruits and veggies, and I’m learning about healthy portions. I’m learning to avoid overly processed foods most of the time, but guess what? Beef jerky is my jam. So I’m letting it go.
  2. A Perfect Home. I don’t have one, and I never will. I have friends with beautiful houses, and I am soooo jealous of them sometimes. And Pinterest? Are you kidding me? The gorgeous mantels, the perfect furniture, the Pottery-Barn-inspired-but-for-a-fraction-of-the-cost kids’ rooms? What the heck?!? I’ve had my own place for 18 years now; why can’t I figure it out? Well, the answer is simple. As much I appreciate beautiful decor, I just  don’t care enough to do the same at home. I like simple, clean lines. I prefer functionality. I crave organization … and I tend towards small piles and growing messes, but I’m okay with it. We live in this house, and as I’ve recently shared, this mess is exactly what my “I got this” looks like. Beautiful decor, I’m letting you go.

    It's a beautiful mess, and it's MINE.

    It’s a beautiful mess, and it’s MINE.

  3. Figuring out my “parenting style.” So much has changed since Aubrey and Sydney were little. Back then, I chose carseats based on pretty fabric, bottles based solely on price, and had never heard of attachment parenting, but from the moment I found out I was pregnant with Alli, I’ve felt bombarded with websites, books, commercials, and “friends” telling me how I should be raising my kids. Are you a crunchy mom? Will you rearface until she’s 4? Will you breastfeed until she’s 6 months? One year? Two? In public? You DON’T provide your baby with 100% organic, free range, grass fed, homemade sealed-in-sterilized-glass-jars baby food and only on a baby led weaning schedule?!? Sigh … here’s my “parenting style.” I make the best choices I can in the moment. I make mistakes. I laugh about it, cry about it, scream my head off, and move on. I don’t have a philosophy; I have a reality. Three kids doing pretty darn good. Not perfect but certainly my pride and joy. I’m letting it go.
  4. The Ideal Marriage. I kind of blame TV for this one. I grew up watching perfect couples with problems always solved within a one-hour window. Husbands always seemed to make crackpot decisions, see the error of their way, and always realize in the end that their wives were right in the first place, and wives, well, they were always right, always understanding and perfect, and … well … fake. That’s NOT what marriage looks like. I’ve had a hard time figuring this out, but Josh isn’t Ray Romano (classic goofball), and I am NOT Claire Huxtible (in my eyes the most perfect TV mom EVER). We are two intelligent, strong-willed people who make mistakes, who suck at compromise (but are trying), and who have decided together that sticking it out is worth every fight, every misunderstanding, and every “communication issue.” Fourteen years in we’re still figuring it out, but … we’re 14 YEARS IN to this marriage. We may not be the Cleavers, but we must be doing something right. I’m letting those “ideal marriages” go.

 

I can assure you that this list is incomplete. There are so many things I’m done with or trying to be done with “should-ing on myself” over. Letting go takes time. Letting go is hard. Letting go sometimes even hurts. But when it hits, when whatever it was, simply isn’t important anymore, I am able to focus on the things that really matter. The happy kids that live in the messy house and the usually happy husband that won’t always let me be right and I couldn’t love him more for it.

Those things I will never let go.

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Embracing Fall

At one time I dreaded the coming of Fall. It was like a very final good-bye to my favorite season, to late nights and lazy days, and to the warmth of the summer sun. But over the past few years I am finally learning to enjoy crisp mornings, changing of the leaves, and chilly nights. I am embracing Fall.

In my normal fashion, last year I went overboard, trying to decorate every flat space in my house, cramming in ALL THE ACTIVITIES, and generally “FALL-ing” my family to death. This year, I’m trying to take it easy. I’m trying to remember that we still have a killer schedule of school days, swim team, and too many meetings. I’m trying … but I do have a few things I’d love to share!

First, my Bucket List. You know I love a good list, and this one is all about Fall fun! I tried to keep it simple, mostly things we always do with only one new addition (the pumpkin party), and I’ve already given myself permission to skip anything that simply doesn’t fit in the schedule. It’s all about balance, right? (Right click and save if you’d like to print your own! Should print fine up to 8×10.)

Bucket List 14

Second, I made this fun wreath for my front door. I used a repurposed-100-times foam wreath, some dollar store leaves and flowers, some sparkly leaves from World Market, and burlap and berry picks from Michaels! What do you think?

Fall Wreath

I’m also working on a little mantel decorating! After Christmas last year I vowed never to decorate the mantel again because no one ever spent time in this part of the house, but recently I swapped the too-small living room furniture with our much-too-big-for-that-space dining room table. Now I happily work in that room every single day, and I’m looking forward to having something pretty to look at!

Fall Mantle

(It’s a work in progress. I have a giant mantle, stark white walls, and very high ceilings as well as no sense of decorating-style to contend with …)

Last but not least … the scent of Fall. I followed this recipe for Fall Potpourri, and it smells AMAZING! You really have to try it! My little helper said it smells like “love and heaven.” (Melt …)

Fall Potpourri

 

Focusing on the sights, smells, food, and fun of Fall has been key in helping me to embrace this season, and I hope it will help in embracing the weather as well. It seems that official Fall brought cloudy skies and buckets of rain along with it, but by surrounding myself with pretty things, “love and heaven” smells, and the promise of fun days ahead, I hope to find at least a few of those clouds have a silver lining!

What are your favorite things about Fall? Any fun activities, crafts, or foods, you’d care to share?

I don’t really do tutorials (I have Pinterest for that), but I will be sharing pictures of how our Bucket List activities come out over on Facebook. Make sure to click over and like my page to keep up with our Fall fun! Also follow Back on Land on Pinterest and share your fun Fall ideas with me!

 


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Embracing Fall

At one time I dreaded the coming of Fall. It was like a very final good-bye to my favorite season, to late nights and lazy days, and to the warmth of the summer sun. But over the past few years I am finally learning to enjoy crisp mornings, changing of the leaves, and chilly nights. I am embracing Fall.

In my normal fashion, last year I went overboard, trying to decorate every flat space in my house, cramming in ALL THE ACTIVITIES, and generally “FALL-ing” my family to death. This year, I’m trying to take it easy. I’m trying to remember that we still have a killer schedule of school days, swim team, and too many meetings. I’m trying … but I do have a few things I’d love to share!

First, my Bucket List. You know I love a good list, and this one is all about Fall fun! I tried to keep it simple, mostly things we always do with only one new addition (the pumpkin party), and I’ve already given myself permission to skip anything that simply doesn’t fit in the schedule. It’s all about balance, right? (Right click and save if you’d like to print your own! Should print fine up to 8×10.)

Bucket List 14

Second, I made this fun wreath for my front door. I used a repurposed-100-times foam wreath, some dollar store leaves and flowers, some sparkly leaves from World Market, and burlap and berry picks from Michaels! What do you think?

Fall Wreath

I’m also working on a little mantel decorating! After Christmas last year I vowed never to decorate the mantel again because no one ever spent time in this part of the house, but recently I swapped the too-small living room furniture with our much-too-big-for-that-space dining room table. Now I happily work in that room every single day, and I’m looking forward to having something pretty to look at!

Fall Mantle

(It’s a work in progress. I have a giant mantle, stark white walls, and very high ceilings as well as no sense of decorating-style to contend with …)

Last but not least … the scent of Fall. I followed this recipe for Fall Potpourri, and it smells AMAZING! You really have to try it! My little helper said it smells like “love and heaven.” (Melt …)

Fall Potpourri

 

Focusing on the sights, smells, food, and fun of Fall has been key in helping me to embrace this season, and I hope it will help in embracing the weather as well. It seems that official Fall brought cloudy skies and buckets of rain along with it, but by surrounding myself with pretty things, “love and heaven” smells, and the promise of fun days ahead, I hope to find at least a few of those clouds have a silver lining!

What are your favorite things about Fall? Any fun activities, crafts, or foods, you’d care to share?

I don’t really do tutorials (I have Pinterest for that), but I will be sharing pictures of how our Bucket List activities come out over on Facebook. Make sure to click over and like my page to keep up with our Fall fun! Also follow Back on Land on Pinterest and share your fun Fall ideas with me!

 


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My Deployment Slump

As I posted on Facebook last week, I’ve been in a bit of a slump lately. Nothing major, just your average ordinary slump. I miss my sailor. I miss having back-up with the kids, and I miss having someone to vent all my frustrations with. I just plain miss him, and that’s okay. It’s a natural part of deployment, and I know how important it is to remind myself that feeling sad and lonely is okay. However, I also know that I’m not the best mom, wife, friend, and person I can be when I’m wallowing in a “poor me party.” Lucky for me this weekend boasted all I needed to pull me out of the dumps and push back into my “I got this!

How did I get out of my slump?

  1. Sunshine and fresh air. This weekend was a magnificent, and I soaked up the sunshine all weekend! On Saturday, I took the girls to the park, and we all enjoyed some time in the sun. Fresh air always makes me feel better, and after a week of cloudy days, I really needed that shot of Vitamin D from above!
  2. Volunteering. If you know me, you know volunteering is my jam. Seriously. PTO, Girl Scouts, FRG, Compass, Ombudsman, Room Mom, or Team Mom … I’ve done them all! If there’s a volunteer spot, I want to fill it because it feels great to help people! This weekend I volunteered to fill baskets at my local Bountiful Baskets site. Not only did I get my helping fix, I also met some new people and felt a sense of community. I struggle with a feeling of “not fitting in” here in Washington, but for some reason, on that day, counting out peppers and pomegranates, I felt like part of something local.
  3. Spending time with friends. Also on Saturday I spent time with the spouses of my Family Readiness Group for a really fun social event. Just being around people, good people, who know what I’m going through right at this moment made me feel better. It’s always good to know you’re not alone.
  4. Remember what’s important. On Sunday afternoon, the last day of the last official weekend of Fall, I took my girls down to the water for a quick photo shoot. I wanted to have a few pics to remind us all how beautiful summers are in Washington when we’re in the thick of the rainy season. The photos came out great! Plus we all got a little more sun on our skin, and we had fun doing it!

IMG_9581b

Last week was tough. It hurts to miss someone you love so much, and it hurts to be in those slumps because then the blues build up. I was sad because I missed him so I was grumpy to my kids. Then my kids were grumpy so we were all arguing a bit more, and when there’s arguing going on my home, I’m certainly going to have less patience with the world around me, and that just opens up a whole new can of worms. It stinks. Plain and simple. That’s why it’s important to recognize when you’re in a slump and be prepared with your own list of things that always make you happy. I know that I need sunshine and people more than anything. Lucky for me, I was able to enjoy both all weekend long and come out of my slump in no-time!

Do you know your own signs of a slump? What are they, and what do YOU do about it?

 


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What Will You Complain About Today?

 

Will you complain that he has duty? Will you complain because he has to work late?

Remember that when you haven’t seen him for a week. It wasn’t that bad …

Will you complain that you’ve only seen him for six hours over the last 96 during refit?

Remember that when you haven’t seen him for a month, and six hours sounds like heaven.

Will you complain that he left his boots in the middle of the floor?

Remember that when he’s been gone six weeks, and you would give anything to see those boots again.

Will you complain that departure has been extended for the third time?

Remember that when return has been extended as well.

Will you complain when it’s been a week since you saw his face?

Remember that when you haven’t had an email in three.

Will you complain when his pillow smells more like you than him?

Remember that on those offcrew days, in the midst of an argument, when you wish he could go out to sea for just. a. few. damn. days.

Will you complain when homecoming times change AGAIN?

Remember that when you wrap your arms around his neck for the first time in months.

Will you complain when he doesn’t show up on the first homecoming bus or the second or the third?

Remember that as you walk away with him, hand in hand, past other wives still waiting.

Will you complain when there is no stand down, when one crew has to support the other even though they’ve already been gone SO LONG?

Remember that when he comes home at night, as other wives begin their lonely night journeys.

Will you complain that this life is so hard? That deployments last too long? That you just can’ do this without him again?

Remember that every single time you see a Gold Star.

What will you complain about today?

What Will You Complain About Today


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I Won’t Let the Rain Win Anymore

I live in Washington, and the rumors are true. This really is a rainy place! From October to May (on a good year) we see more clouds than sun and more rain boots than sneakers than anywhere I’ve ever lived before, and it gets to me. In a big, big way. For four winters running, I have spent the better part of the season grouching and complaining about the rain, the lack of sun, and the general crappiness of the weather. For four years running, I have huddled inside my home and refused to get out unless necessary. For four years running, I have let the rain win. But not anymore.

I Won't Let the Rain Win Anymore

This may be our last winter in Washington, and I am determined not to let the weather get me down so I’m doing what I do best. I’m making a plan!

I started by making a list of what bothers me about the rain. At first this seemed simple. It sucks. It sucks. It sucks. It’s true, but I really needed to get to the root of it, and this is what I came up with.

  1. I miss the sunshine; I get moody when it’s cloudy and dark.
  2. I hate wet shoes tracking wet muck into my house.
  3. I hate feeling like I’m stuck in my house because of the weather because …
  4. I hate getting wet climbing in/out of the car and puddle jumping across parking lots EVERYWHERE I GO.

 

Of course, as much as I tried, the next few numbers always came out “It sucks. It sucks. It sucks,” but I think these first few sum up the reality of the situation. I hate the darkness and the wetness, but now I have a plan.

Step 1: Create a sunny place. I need a “sunny” spot, a brightly lit place I can retreat to when the clouds are getting me down, a spot to read or facebook or just sit with a snack and soak up the light. I’ve decided Alli’s TV area (formerly known as the dining room) is the best spot. It has a comfy couch and is already pretty well lit (by a terribly ugly 1980’s chandelier), but I’m also ordering this sad lamp.

31nYaNbw1TL

Many of my friends swear by SAD lamps, and though I’ve scoffed at them in years past, this year I’m giving it a try. I also have a download of nothing but ocean sounds that I really enjoy, and a few beachy books downloaded on my Kindle. Just picturing me sitting by my SAD lamp, listening to the lovely ocean waves, and devouring a few summer romances makes me giggle, but if it helps me win this season, I’m okay with it.

Step Two: Stay as dry as possible. As stupid as it sounds, since living in Washington I’ve never bought a raincoat for myself. Totally stupid, right? I don’t like wearing jackets much anyways, and buying a raincoat has always seemed like a concession to me. However in order to stay dry this year I’m already on the hunt for the best rain gear I can afford for everyone in my family. The kids have had various jackets with varying degrees of rain protection, but this year I am on a mission. I want to stay dry. My oldest swears by her North Face jacket, but spending that amount times five again makes me want to cry. I’m on the lookout for sales and deals, folks, so if you are local and have info for me, let me know! I’m also contemplating rain boots. I’m not much of a boot wearer, but I think I hate wet feet more than boots so I’ll probably give it a shot.

I’ve also ordered new indoor rugs to go by the front and back doors. If the people living in my house don’t learn to take their shoes off before they track in on my carpet, there may be a few less North Face jackets to buy …

Step Three: Find dry activities. I hate getting stuck inside (even with the promise of my sunny spot), and I hate going places and getting wet walking to and from. My plan for this is to find activities where I won’t possible get wet. So far my list is short … There’s a local grocery store and a museum in Seattle we all love that both have covered parking. There is a pool on base that we all really like, and even though it doesn’t have covered parking, well … it’s a pool. We’d be getting wet anyways, right? That’s about all I’ve got so far, but I’m on the hunt. I know I also need to invest in a GREAT umbrella since not all activities will come with perfect covered parking. Once again, I’m open to suggestions for either.

Step Four: Change My Attitude. This will be the toughest of all. I know that in order to win this season, I also have to embrace it. I need to learn to at least like the rain, acknowledge all the good things about it, and accept all the negatives in a “This is just how it is; suck it up and move on, Jodi!” kind of way. I have never let anything EVER beat me like I’ve allowed this rainy season to do, and I won’t let it win one more season.

I guess the point of this post is that I’m tired of losing this weather game, and I’m tired of losing almost nine months of the year as concession. I’m tired of being stuck inside, and I’m tired of being unhappy inside and out, and for me the first step is acknowledging the problem and creating a plan.

Do you have any tips for me? Raingear or sunny spot suggestions? Or just ideas of won’t-get-wet activities? How do you make the rain a less miserable season to live in?

 

 


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A Tomato Revelation

I was walking around downtown yesterday, snapping a few photos for an upcoming post and reveling in the sunshine and warm air, when I decided to stroll through the Bremerton Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Terminal. I was thrilled to buy some homemade soaps and giddy to find my favorite salsa vendor had shown up. Then I saw the real reason I love farmers markets, the vegetable stand.

I love a vegetable stand. Love. LOVE.

In my head I picture tractors and dirty overalls, calloused hands, and good clean country living as I stare at each and every handpicked pepper and zucchini. It reminds me of my own Granny and Papaw and their amazing garden that grew everything from green beans to grapes and of the family dinners we shared around Granny’s table. The vegetable stand is a trip down memory lane.

On that day my eyes were drawn to the tomatoes. These tomatoes, in fact.

A Tomato Revelation

“They don’t quite look like what I normally buy at Safeway. Are they a special variety?”

The farmer smiled and chuckled and began to educate me about her tomatoes. She told me that they were in fact not a special variety; they are what tomatoes are supposed to look like. She explained that somewhere along the way someone decided that tomatoes should be bright red, quite large, and perfectly round, the better to fit on a sandwich, I guess. I’d never given it much thought, but it made sense to me. She went on to say that these tomatoes would also be more fragile, more prone to bruising or bursting if I wasn’t careful, than the store bought variety, as they haven’t been bred for the sole purpose of travelling well. This also made them juicier because the skin was not as tough as the others. She shared their names and the special attributes of each type: one sweeter, one meatier, all much tastier than what I usually pick up at the store.

This struck me as particularly sad. I bought two pounds and walked away deep in thought … about tomatoes, about expectations and reality, and about my own life. The tomatoes in the store, the ones I buy for just a dollar or two per pound, are barely a hint of what nature intended them to be. Somewhere along the way, a person decided how they should look, feel, and travel and changed them. It was probably a slow process. It likely took years, but it happened, and now I have children, just one generation away from the farm, that looked at these real tomatoes and said, “What are they?”

I have definitely looked at myself with that same cock-eyed questioning at times and asked, “Who are you?” I have for most of my adult life struggled to be something different than who I am, struggled to become like that store-bought tomato, perfect for every situation, the right look, the right response, and I always find that when I am looking for that type of one size fits all presentation, I take on the less appealing attributes of the store-bought variety, a water-downed, less appealing version of myself.

These tomatoes, the real tomatoes, are funny looking, but I like to think of it as character. They aren’t what we’re used to; they are surprisingly delicious. They are what a tomato was intended to be before someone decided that was no longer what was best. They are perfectly imperfect.

I hope that from now on I can remember this each time I try to dress or speak or act to impress. Character over curb appeal. Flavor over fashion. Substance over what someone else would have me to be.

I want to be like that funny looking tomato, just what God intended.