I’m having a really rough time tonight.

I’m working on my annual holiday letter and going through all of 2017’s blog posts and it’s a lot sadder than I anticipated rereading all the great times we had with dear friends that we greatly miss. I know this happens EVERY time we move and it’s the way of the military life but it still surprises me and never gets easier. NEVER. 💔😥

So, we had our first housing panic today.

A house came on the market that seems just about perfect. It’s slightly above budget (but by the same dollar amount we’re over here so not a deal breaker) and there are no parks or playgrounds within walking distance (biking or driving, though). It’s really too early to snag a house, but if it’s perfect…

So we figured it couldn’t hurt to have our agent talk to the owner to see if he’d be willing to hold it for us in order to lock down a guaranteed 3-year military lease. He was intrigued by the lease length but hasn’t answered if he’d hold it yet. (According to the MLS it’s been on the market for awhile so we hoped there’s a good chance he would hold it just a bit longer for the guaranteed lease.)

We can’t imagine getting it done this quickly but wouldn’t it be nice? A bird in the hand and all that…but how can we tell the areas without even looking? There are just so many possible cities and neighborhoods that it’s hard to even start researching to narrow it down. We lucked into the house we are in now—with a community pool and playground around the corner—but we weren’t looking for those things! Now that we want to look for that stuff…it’s hard. We have a great agent, but she can only do so much. We Google each address and see what’s around via Google earth but that’s amazingly time-consuming.

We are totally willing to get the perfect house early (even though the extra rent would come straight out of our savings) but we also don’t want to jump the gun and take the first house we see that we like if it’s not perfect. House hunting three years ago in DC really messed with our preconceptions so we are now paranoid (back then we had a Top 10 List and by the time we had driven the five hours from Jacksonville to DC like six of them were gone!). If we knew what city (at least) we wanted to be in that would cut down our prospects, but we also don’t want to eliminate a perfect house if it’s in our third-ranked city. If it comes down to it and we are seriously considering it, Tom would fly out so it wouldn’t be sight unseen…but if we ended up passing on it, then we’ve wasted a trip unless he stays for some extra time and house hunts on his own.

We ended up telling our agent that we weren’t quite ready to fill out an application (it’s $70 a pop for each rental so it’s not like we want to do a bunch of them!) but that was a panicky 15 minutes while we were considering it.

I hate this part.

Owen’s Special Letter

The second day of Owen’s “Me Museum” week was a sealed letter written by someone else about his special qualities. This is the letter I wrote.

Owen has many special qualities and continues to amaze us with his abilities.

Owen didn’t really start talking until age 3, but once he did, he never stopped! We were worried about him learning how to read, when one day he came home from Pre-K and just picked up a book and started reading it to me! He still impresses me with all the words he knows!

He got his first Lego mini-figure at age 3 and has never looked back. He can follow directions on sets above his age level and then tears them apart and builds his own super cool creations. He is our own Master Builder.

Owen has always been super nice and polite and makes friends very easily. Friends, family, teachers, and even strangers comment on how sweet and polite he is.

He is the best big brother to his little sister—he plays with her, gives her piggy-back rides, reads her books, helps get her breakfast, and makes her laugh.

He is very loving with all of our pets. He takes good care of our dog and gives cuddles to the cats.

Owen is good at swimming, baseball, and soccer. He is a Shark 2—the highest level of swimming (and I know he could beat me in a race). He always gives 100% at every lesson, practice, or game. During his first soccer season, his coach gave him the “most improved player” award.

Owen is a great kid and we couldn’t be prouder to have him as our son.


This sums up my feelings on the election entirely.

I debated writing anything and just letting this pass but I feel like I have to say something, even it’s just for me.

Where to start?

I don’t do politics. I don’t understand most of it (never have, never had any desire to—and still don’t LOL) so consequently never talk about it. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I hate it, but I lean strongly that direction. I know the general climate of what’s going on—things just happen and life goes on. Status quo. That said, I do try to vote in major elections, but I don’t think I’ve voted in every presidential election that I’ve been able to.

So this last election has been a real eye-opener. Without going into detail (because, remember, I don’t do politics and hate talking about it even more), I will just say that this past election has been an unbelievable disappointment for me and most of my friends. And, truthfully, it’s been an even bigger shock to learn who has voted opposite me. It shouldn’t matter because it’s never mattered…but it’s different this time. You have to admit that.

I feel like my safe little world is turning upside down and inside out and being destroyed piece by piece and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. Everywhere you turn every minute of the day there’s something disheartening happening. I have read more political news in the past month than I have my entire life. I am not an activist by any stretch of the imagination, but I have been a bit more politically vocal by posting (or reposting) news articles on Facebook. I was invited to the Women’s March but that’s just not my thing—you all know how much I hate crowds and people and going into DC (though I honestly have had a few regrets).

I try to remember that the people I know who did vote for him are intelligent people who thought he could achieve some type of good. And while we haven’t seen any of that yet, there is still a slight chance of it happening. Truth be told, I am not terribly hopeful after the first nightmarish week, but there is a sliver there. And this post I ran across on Facebook pretty much sums up everything I’m feeling.

As seen originally on Facebook.

So my fingers are crossed we don’t crash.

Heading home after an amazing weekend! 


Getting ready to board!


Everyone was absolutely wonderful and I look forward to keeping in touch with the new people I met! And where do I start with Marcia? She is so lovely and warm and gracious and generous that I feel so extremely privileged to have met her and been able to spend the weekend with her. I will never forget this weekend!

On my way…


Food discussion

So, of course I posted all about Owen’s issues and our new decision on a forum with some friends. I love the input I get—often things I’d never have thought of. They gave lots of advice—some things we’ve already tried and some things we just don’t want to do (mainly, let him make a bowl of cereal or a sandwich—himself—if he doesn’t like dinner). We don’t want to let him do that because then he’d just eat cereal or a PB&J every night. And we’re trying to get him to EXPAND his food choices.

The mom guilt part of me agrees that if he wants to make a sandwich he should be able to do that because it’s just food…and if HE makes it, at least I’m not…but the other part of me wants to be a hardass because I’m just SOOOOOO sick of it and dammit, he can eat what’s on the table or go hungry. Yes, I’ve literally reached that point. (All the years of the same issues over and over and over have hardened me a bit, I admit.) I mean, he managed to survive pre-k lunches not liking anything but obviously eating enough to not be hungry so why can’t he do that at home? Also, he’s not always going to be able to make a PB&J or grab cereal—if we’re out or at someone’s house, he needs to eat what’s given (not that it’s a terribly common event).

I just don’t know. Just when I think we’ve come up with our solution, someone else makes a point that changes our minds.

Oh, and to make matters more complicated, it’s also a possibility he could have some sensory processing issues. Sigh. His autism diagnosis has long been retracted, but the doc never did any type of food/texture testing, and I’m struggling to remember if we even answered any questions about it. At the time, we may have just thought he was still just young and being normal-kid-type picky and we were concentrating more on the other areas.

So of course if I pick the hardass route, we’ll likely find out he does have a sensory issue and then I’ll be wracked with mom guilt. But if we go the non-hardass route, we might never even know.

So in the next week I’ll be calling his pediatrician to see what we can get figured out. And in the meantime we’ll see how it goes. 


How quickly I feel a 180.

Ever since Katie got healthy, she’s been a complete pill. Whining and crying about every. stupid. thing. Like daddy was in the garage. Or I wouldn’t carry her to the table to eat. Or her sock/shoe/marker/toy wouldn’t work. Or she wanted her iPad but she couldn’t reach it. And it wasn’t her normal 30-second-and-over-it tantrum, but on and on and on and on and on and on and on. 

Today she wouldn’t stop crying about stupid shit so I just put her in her room every time she wouldn’t stop crying because I wasn’t going to listen to it (so she could cry, but not bother us). I think I did it three times. Tom would bring her back down when she stopped crying, and I wouldn’t even say or do anything and she’d be crying within minutes. For no good reason. It didn’t take long before I was at my limit. 

It was amazing how quickly I went from fearing for her life (i.e. being paranoid about her fever) to being annoyed by her very presence. 

Isn’t parenthood fun?

I finally caved.

About a week ago I thought “Shoot me now. I’m starting to think about a minivan. Just barely, but it’s there.”

I understand the love and convenience…I’ve just NEVER wanted one. Not that I really care what anyone thinks, but I didn’t want to drive a “mom” car. I like my cars a bit sporty-ish. And I’m not good with long cars. 

But I’m tired of being packed in like sardines when we take trips. This last trip was a test because it was a smaller car than we had for the last road trip—and we didn’t have the dog (there was just NO way she’d have fit with us this time). And it doesn’t help that I don’t really love my new car.  But, overall, the Mazda is just too small for us. We are both big, tall people and both have to crouch and duck to even get IN the car, we both constantly smack our heads on the lift gate (things we didn’t really consider when buying it), and it just feels really cramped inside. And with the kids getting bigger it’s harder for them to get in and out, too (I know kids are agile, but it’s really pathetic the contortions that Owen needs to take to get in and out of the car). And the doors open wider than any of our previous cars… Basically, we don’t love the Mazda and need something else, so we’re moving up to the minivan.

We test drove two (Honda and Toyota) before we got the Acadia and I didn’t love either. But, I reasoned, if we’re going to do it, I want it done before July when we trek to Michigan. But I despise car shopping/buying and don’t want to go through the hassle again so soon (less than a year since we got the Mazda). Ugh. 

As one of my friends commented:

I will never love a minivan (nor will I trust a person who claims to ;-) ) but it’s by far the most practical vehicle at this stage in our lives. Just add it to the list of sacrifices we make as parents!

So I had to bring it up with Tom. After he gave me a sufficient amount of grief of all kinds, we researched a bit…found a loaded 2012 Toyota…and Tom went to test drive it today. (I was going to go but Katie was still sick.) He was able to bring it home for me to drive and it wasn’t bad. We decided to see what kind of a deal they could give us, so Tom went back to deal. He was texting me updates and I was Googling and sending him info and basically, my blood was boiling—they added about $4k in stupid fees. Really?! And they wouldn’t budge on ANY of them!

Base $30,988
PDI (“Pre-Delivery Inspection”—it’s Toyota Certified) $1495
Trim package (which we didn’t ask for—they just automatically add it to all used vehicles!) $475
Processing fee $499

Total delivered price: $34,874

They won’t take off any of the addons so we walked. Buh bye. And then I started researching more and found some at another local dealer so Tom made an appointment for tomorrow morning. Fingers are crossed.


So, about Katie’s bedding.

You just can’t predict what your kids will do or like. I wanted to get Katie new bedding for her new twin bed. I really really wanted the pretty stuff at Bed Bath & Beyond but I also didn’t want to pay $80 for it. (Normally I wouldn’t have thought twice about it, but we’ve had to buy A LOT of stuff for this new place.)


So I decided I was going to just walk down the bedding aisle at Target and see what caught her eye. I was positive it would be Doc McStuffins or Frozen or possibly Despicable Me.

So what caught her eye? As you’ve seen: Sesame Street. Big bright bold colors—red, blue, green, and yellow (Elmo, Cookie Monster, Oscar, and Big Bird). I really didn’t think I’d have an opinion on what she chose, but I honestly really would’ve preferred Doc McStuffins (she loves it, and it’s pinks and purples). And I even tried to get her to take that one—or even Frozen or Sophia the first—but she just kept saying Elmo Elmo Elmo. So I bought Elmo. And it’s fine. And she seems to like it well enough…but it also kind of irritates me a little every time I look at it because I don’t love it. But I also felt a little guilty because I never let Owen pick what he wanted—at the time I was ready to relinquish that control (age 5) I hadn’t even thought of Target so had him pick something at BB&B which wasn’t kid-related. (He doesn’t complain at all, though…so since I still felt guilty I let him pick a new sheet set and he chose Minions.)

Kids are difficult when you’re a perfectionist.

It was a loooong night and early morning.

I slept like crap on the air bed (and had to fill the air about 11:30, hoping I didn’t wake the kids up since it sounded SO loud in an empty, quiet house), the street noise was annoying, there was a loud drip somewhere that I couldn’t figure out, and it was storming.

I know I looked at the clock at 12:30, 2:30, 4:15, and then I was up for good at 5:30. Owen was up at 5:45 and Katie was up at 6.


And them the big question: to take a cold shower or no shower (no hot water since gas isn’t on yet). I thought I was going to shower but then chickened out and opted for a baby wipes cleansing.

Moving guilt.

I’m sure I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again—I hate change. Most changes I can roll with even if I don’t like them—or I get used to them—but moving is always ALWAYS a big change.

Yes, I’m a little excited to have a different house with a bunch of amenities this house doesn’t have…but on the same note, I just keep thinking of the little things about our new house that are going to be different…that I’m not sure how it’s going to work.

Bikes, for example, and learning to ride. Where we live now? Big, mostly flat driveway on a flat cul-de-sac road. Where we’re moving? Hilly and short driveway on a hilly road. I didn’t really think about it until I bought Katie a tricycle this morning and starting wondering just where the hell she was going to ride it?!

And Owen’s police car? I think I’ll sell it. He doesn’t ride it much and now there won’t be anywhere TO ride it (at the house). Well, there are sidewalks…but since he doesn’t really ride it, why even bother moving it with the HOPES that he will magically start riding it? I had hoped Katie would take to it but she hasn’t…so I’m ready to give up on it since it was a big waste of money. Damn kids. :p

So I’m just feeling major guilt about the kid stuff. Yes, they’ll have a bigger indoor space to run around (including a full big basement)…and a pool and playground a bit of a jaunt away…but they’re losing their own big back yard, their front yard, their awesome playset, their pool, and their driveway. I mean I could literally cry about it.

Obviously people have kids in places like these but my mind just kind of shuts down and I can’t even imagine. My friends assured me they grew up in similar places and turned out fine. They also assured me that kids are flexible, won’t care nearly as much as I do about any of it, and will accommodate quickly no matter what.

I’m sure they’re right and the kids will be fine…but still. The guilt.

I’m just having my typical second thoughts about our house selection…and general apprehension and anxiety about the move. I mean, I’m even worried about stupid things like the kitchen sink (it’s not as big or deep as what we have now), the pantry (it’s an awkward shape with those stupid wire shelves so I’ll still need my garage pantry), the gas stove (I’m excited to have gas again, but it looks old and it’s in the island without much counter space so that’s annoying), and the stupid pedestal sink in the half bath (so nowhere to store anything).

I know I’ll get over it all and once we get settled in things will be just fine—they always are!—but this is why I can’t sleep at night.

Let me be honest—I am NOT a fan of strange names.

This is not a new rant—I posted back in 2006 (Are they serious?) about the same thing.

So this new list of names are mostly from the birthday lists at Owen’s daycare/preschool (the entire county-wide system, not just his location or his class) over the past few weeks.

Just. Wow.

Jariandelyz (SERIOUSLY?!)
Mai Anh (turns out this is a common Asian name)
Zi Asia

And these are almost (ALMOST) worse to me:

Now, while some of those may be perfectly legit ethnic names, others (I’m looking at you, Jariandelyz!) are just people being silly. I know to each their own and I shouldn’t care but I kinda do. I guess I’m just not that kind of person (hence Owen and Katie).

I always said I wouldn’t color my gray…

But just a little wouldn’t hurt, right?! I know I have some gray, but when I looked at this pic I snapped today, I have to admit I was a little shocked.


Facebook comments:

  1. Kristin—I don’t mind my gray either, but my hairdresser seems to. She owns my hair, so I get what I get. :)
  2. Jean—Love graying hair! Don’t change it.
  3. Tommy—If you color, go crazy. A magenta or blue streak ought to look good there.
  4. Brad—Hair color questions aside, this is a very good picture of you. You could do what I do and get a “tint” – I’ve got a little less natural gray than what I see in your picture, but when I went to my new style a few years ago, my wife convinced me to try the tint as well. The analogy my stylist uses is that the tint is like stain or varnish on wood; it’s translucent and lets the underlying product show through, albeit with a slightly different color, whereas an actual dye job is more like paint. I’m probably going to get hate mail from this, but since you asked: Knowing about what age you are, I’d cover it a little, whether tint or the full works. Strictly my opinion. :)
  5. Me—I’m not hiding my age: I turned 40 this year. :)
  6. Kelly—You’re pretty.
  7. Eddy—Just remember, you earned that gray hair!
  8. Kristin—Eddy, that’s how I look at it. I earned it. And Kelly, you’re completely correct.
  9. Katherine—I dye mine every 4-6 weeks. I will NOT go gray without a fight. At least not until I’m a grandmother.
  10. Tom—What happened??? I have only been gone six months!
  11. Me—I told you it’s been rough.
  12. Wendy—Time to hit the (dye) bottle.
  13. Elizabeth—I may have earned my gray hair but I def don’t want to see it! (at least not until I’m older) :) Dye that up!
  14. Me—FYI Tom said he liked it but I can color it if I want.
  15. Wendy—Tom said that because he is a very wise man. He knows there is no other answer.
  16. Ruth—YOU LOOK GORGEOUS! I wouldn’t color it!

Today might have been my roughest day ever with Owen.

He was a complete pain in the ass from the minute we pulled into the driveway (after coming home from the playground after school): yelling, screeching, stomping, throwing things, hitting things, hitting me and Katie, being completely defiant, being rude…

In all, he had four time outs, TV and video games taken away, early bedtime given (twice!), and eventually a few precious toys taken away which resulted in him screaming and crying. (I even had to interrupt writing the draft of this post to jump up and yell at him for smacking Katie in the face because he was pissed at her. That got him sent to his room.) And I was even ignoring a lot of his more minor events. He even had his B (which I thought would be comforting) but he was even throwing that around and saying he didn’t want it. I asked if he wanted to go up to his room to be alone and he grouched at me about that, too (before he got sent there).

It was exhausting.

When I take something away for, say, him being cranky, he seems to think that if he apologizes right away and says he won’t be cranky anymore…that he’ll get whatever I just took away (like TV). Nope, kid, that’s not how it works. You get a warning (sometimes two) and if you keep on, you get the punishment—and at that point it’s too late to recover from the punishment. And I’ve told him this REPEATEDLY and I NEVER give in so it’s not like he’s thinking I did it once so I’ll do it again. And he apparently hasn’t fully caught on that when I say NO TV, I mean NO TV. Sometimes it’s just one show he loses. But today was full on TV. But he kept asking every half hour or so—and when I kept telling him no, that would set him off again (even though I kept asking him if he remembered WHY he lost TV and he did—he would tell me because he was cranky, etc.). So then he throws a toy or throws a B or hits Katie (which are all obviously not allowed) and it just escalates. He’s actually pretty good about sitting in his time out—and we go through the whole Super Nanny thing of me telling him I love him, me asking him what he did wrong (he always knows), him apologizing—and 10 minutes later he’d be back in another time out after being warned.

Lather, rinse, repeat…for a good three hours.

I actually thought he recovered after a pizza dinner and a bath (two of his favorite things, during which he was his normal, happy self!) but then he got cranked up again while getting ready for bed (he was upset that he missed a few chore chart items—he definitely lost Show Respect today, as well as Pick Up Toys and Share) and therefore lost his snack so he was NOT happy.


As I was saying good night, I told him tomorrow was a new day and it would be a better day…and he said “Yes! No more throwing things, hitting mama or Katie, and being grouchy.” So we’ll see…

This is my brain lately.




Lay down in bed, read today’s mail, flip through a magazine, check my email, play my Scrabble turns, post to Facebook, compose a blog post, edit today’s pictures, play TripleTown…

OH SHIT. I FORGOT TO TAKE MY MELATONIN. No wonder I’m not tired.

I’m about to get passive aggressive.

I’m about ready to leave a passive aggressive note in our neighbors mailbox… They’ve left this pool out for garbage pick up for a month now. After it wasn’t picked up the first week, you’d think they’d realize it wasn’t ever going to be picked up. It’s really getting annoying. And it’s unsightly.