Monday, July 27, 2009

Back to School, Back to School...

Abby and Alex this morning
first day of 1st grade and 6th grade, respectively

The two youngest kids go back to school today. I know, I know, it isn't even August yet. Most kids are only halfway through their summer break.

For my children, it's different. Here in Hawaii, or at least on the side of the island that we live on, school is year-round. So my kids go 8 weeks on, 3 weeks off, with 2 weeks at Christmas and 5 weeks for summer.

It was weird at first, but now we've gotten used to it and everything's OK. It's sort of better this way. They barely have time to get restless here at home, and then school starts up again. It's easier to get back into a school and bedtime routine, because they didn't have 11 weeks to get that out of their system.

It doesn't make me miss them less, though.

Today, of course, I teared up a little when I dropped Abby off, and then again when I dropped Alex off. Alex started middle school today, a whole new world. I knew she was a little nervous, but today at breakfast she was as calm as a cucumber, and she walked calmly to her first class. I know she'll be fine, and find her friends right away, and get down to business.

But part of me aches that these kids are growing so fast.

I saw a commercial yesterday for Wal-mart. A mom was taking her freshman to college, and she helped her get her drab dorm room all spiced up with bedding and other items from Wal-mart. The mom (in narration) said something like, "I don't want to let her go, but I know I've given her everything she needs to get started..."

The mom meant she gave her items from Wal-mart, but I heard the hidden meaning, too. I said out loud, to no one in particular, "That'll be me in 3 years." Neither Jon or Alissa looked up to see what I was talking about. I have no idea how I will walk away and leave her, even if she's at our Alma Mater (yay!). And that's 3 years down the road. Heck, I can barely leave my 1st grader and walk away, when I know I'll see her again in 6 hours!

Yes, I am a baby. A mess. Worrying about things that are not important right now. But it's in the back of my mind every single day. Every day.

And now, with the new school year starting, time for college is even closer. Alissa is a 10th grader!! How can that be?

My heart is missing Ohio today. It stinks being so far from home. My sister's baby shower is this weekend, and I can't be there. Laurie, I sent you a gift to be opened at the shower. Please write me and let me know how you like it. Everyone else, I'll post a picture after the shower. I am so, so proud of this particular gift, but I don't want to spoil the surprise...

We're missing a lot, being in Hawaii. Yes, it's Hawaii and the weather is nice. But I know that life is moving on without us back home, and we can't come back for a long weekend like we could in Tennessee. When it's time to move, I'll be ready.

We won't know our future for another 6 months or so, but if we can move to anywhere on the mainland, it will make me happy. Truthfully, I don't care where the next duty station is anymore. As long as we're on the mainland, we'll be closer to home.

Home. "The place where I belong..." as sung by Chris Daughtry. I don't regret the life we've chosen, or the places we've been. But with new life entering the family, I feel further away from home than ever before.

I'll be home soon (for a visit), Ohio family and friends. 11 months and counting...

Happy Monday!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Random Thoughts...

Wow, it's been a month since my last post. Who said that summer is filled with "lazy days"? Certainly not someone who had a full-time job, 3 active kids, and a hubby who never seems to be around. The Army demands so much of his time lately.

So much has happened in the last month. Not big, big things. Just life.

We had visitors for 2 weeks in June. Jon's sister, her hubby and 2 teenage girls. (I'll keep their names private since I didn't ask permission to post about them...) I guess because we don't see them everyday, I was unprepared. These girls are so grown and beautiful! The oldest drives now, which is heart-wrenching for me. I first met her when she was around 8 months old. Man does time fly! They were a lot of fun to be around. Everyday we were busy! (We planned it that way - trying to fit in as much sightseeing/activity/etc. as possible...) I hope they had as much fun as we did.

I'll post some of the pictures later, in a slideshow. Blogger makes it a lot harder to post pictures than I'd like...

As well as time with the kids, I really feel that Jon's sister and I got some QT (quality-time) in, where we could. I thank her for that. Just little conversations here and there, but it's been a long time since we've been able to do that. Since I'm the oldest in my family, she is the closest to an older sister that I will ever have. She may not know (until she reads this) that I am so incredibly grateful for that. We shared stories with each other, and the kids. It was neat to hear her tell my children the story of how Jon and I spent a weekend in his hometown, after dating only 2 months or so. As we drove away, back to college, Jon's mom declared that we were going to spend our lives together, that I was the person Jon would choose to share his life. I've heard this story before, but for some reason it sounded so much more beautiful this time. And hearing it with my children gave it a whole new meaning.

After our guests left, we had a crazy fun July 4th bbq. Jon loves to throw a get-together, and he decided at the last minute to gather the neighbors and have everyone over that didn't already have plans. We probably had 35 people here. Alissa organized Bingo (with prizes from Target!), we had wine and great food, and Jon gave us a great fireworks show when the sun went down. It was a marvelous time with friends - our Hawaii 'Ohana. The only thing missing was Jay and Lucie. I hope they know, as their house still sits empty and untouched, that they are truly missed (physically).

July itself has just been full of life events - doctor/dentist appointments, Leadership Camp for Alissa, back-to-school preparations, and fitting in as much time together as we can.

Yesterday Jon and I took Alissa to the new Harry Potter movie. It was so sweet, the 3 of us. We haven't done that since 2002! It was a fun time, a superb movie, and great bonding with my oldest child. I'm so grateful for those moments, knowing that soon she ventures out on her own and I won't be able to see her as much as I'd like.

Work is still the same - this move looming over my head and consuming all my thoughts. (Long story short: my job, and those of my 40+ teammates, are moving to Iowa. If you choose not to move, you will most likely find yourself unemployed.) Obviously I cannot move without the Army's permission, at least not for another 5-7 years. So, I pray everyday for a positive outcome - hopefully a reprieve, somehow. I do like working for my employer so much, and I don't want it to end. I don't even care about raises, or job titles, or any of that. I care about career longevity and being able to continue to work from home. That means more to me than anything, to be able to work from home until Jon retires. I have never wanted anything more. (well, except for a happy, healthy, loving family, which I already have) I hope that God hears my prayers and helps me find the cloud's silver lining...

And lastly, it's time to start planning the next move. Seems to soon, yes? I agree. I can't believe 18 months have come and gone. But, it's time to decide. Do we leave early or stay longer? There are pros and cons to each. And everytime I think I have my mind made up, we reconsider the other option. It's the toughest decision we've had to face regarding a move. Usually the Army decides for us, and whatever they decide we just go with. But this time, with a high-schooler, and a Class President at that, we have more to consider than in moves past. For the first time, Alissa's position in life really takes a big precedence in what we decide. We've known that since 2007, that we'd have to make a decision one way or the other. But who knew the decision would be this hard? I pray everyday for God's assistance with this one, because there are so many factors - will I get to stay employed with my current employer? Will Jon be promoted next year as we hope and expect? Will Alissa want to try for Class President again next year? My employment plays a huge factor. I pray that it works out in our favor, no matter whether we decide to move or stay. Staying employed with them is in my prayers everyday.

If we move, we'll be looking to move in about 11 months. Seems so crazy to hear those words out loud. I mean, we move on average every 2 1/2 to 3 years, so this shouldn't be a shock, but since the kids are older, this potential move will be hard. In addition, we have met some amazing people here. I mean people who I hope will be in our lives forever, even though we'll never be neighbors again, and maybe never even live in the same part of the country! I believe that our Hawaii experience has been exponentially greater because we met these families and opened our homes and hearts to them. It's made our time in Hawaii that much more wonderful, and that much more special.

So, hopefully as the kids get back into school (next week!!!), I will be able to get back to more regular posting. I fully intend to get back to it. It's therapeutic for me, and a great reminder of our adventures over the last year and a half.

Happy Monday!