Sunday, April 29, 2012

I Can't Help Myself

I've been meaning to post about the first grieving process of my short marriage.  I suppose I will sum up the post I've had swimming around in my noggin by saying that the Army and nursing school are not compatible.  We will likely move in December, and then maybe again 12 months after that.

My dream accelerated BSN program appeared at St. Mary's here in Leavenworth.  I read about it.  I got excited about it.  I went to the open house for it.  I grilled the professors on the content and academic expectations.  I toured their classrooms and played with their simulation patients (dummies).  I fell in love with it.  I drove home that evening knowing that this program was meant for me.  But, as soon as I got home and began telling OaG about it, the words coming out of mouth sputtered slowly, as I processed the reality that I could never do it.  We'll move.  I'd have to apply to a 3rd program somewhere new.  I'd lose ground with transfers.  Nursing schools are just too dang structured and rigid for the Army's nomadic lifestyle.

It was a hard realization, and one that got me a little down for a couple weeks.  I finally made peace with putting it on hold till retirement is in the works, and we have a home base for the foreseeable future.

Since that point, I've changed my mind about 7659 times about jobs, education, etc.  I vacillate between wanting to dedicate myself to our home and family solely to wanting to work full-time while working on an online masters degree and every shade of grey between the two.  I've thought about different schools, different programs and different jobs.

Tonight, while OaG is hammering out his mid-term paper for his own official Army class, I perused yet another new line of interest.  Library Studies/ Archiving/ Museum Studies.

My favorite movies have always been those like Indiana Jones, National Treasure and the Dan Brown types that take some bookish historian or professor and give him a big adventure.  During my time on Capitol Hill, my most treasured moments were doing the research on the Capitol to guide constituents on their tours and taking deep breaths in the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress (which is, FYI, the most gorgeous building in DC).  While living in Richmond, I bemoaned to myself frequently, that I lived equidistant from the Library of VA and the Historical Society of VA (1/4 mile) yet had no time to soak up their contents.  Torturous.

But, there aren't really jobs out there in that vein, right?  It was a nice dream for tonight, anyway.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

On My Own

Tomorrow, OaG leaves for a week. He's going to a Civil War battlefield with his SAMS seminar to engulf themselves with the operations and troop movements of that occasion 150 years ago.

First I had this song pop into my head.

Then it was this one that echoes in the hollows of my mind.

The history buff in my is jealous. Did you know our first date was at Appomattox? Yep. We first laid eyes on each other where Grant and Lee met to negotiate the ending of hostilities. I would love to be in Vicksburg with all of them this week to learn more. I'd also love to visit my aunt who lives very close in Mississippi. I'd also love to not sleep without my soldier.

But, to be honest, chief among my reasons to not look forward to this week is being a single step mom for 5 days. I just don't feel ready to boot the teenagers off the computer when they aren't listening. I don't want to be the first one awake in the morning to make sure everyone is up for school (part of OaG's normal family routine, since he's up for PT) and the last one asleep, in order to make sure they are in bed for the next school day. I don't know how I will get everyone to track, t-ball, gymnastics, boy scouts and church activities. All-in-all, I'm not ready to be without a partner in this.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pitas - They're What's For Dinner

(My pitas - Not as great of a photo as the original authors, but very tasty)

On Sunday evening, we had guests to dinner and I made a Mediterranean spread of pitas, hummus and Moroccan chicken with quinoa. It was yummy. I'll share the recipe and pictures of the chicken later this week, but wanted to get the pita recipe out now.

I'm confident in my homemade tortillas, and I attempted Navajo fry bread a couple weeks ago. Pitas are similar. This was my first try at them. They were fantastic, but I can only credit the recipe I followed. You can find it here. And, in case you were wondering, I used my cast iron.

(My hummus: Still needs more tinkering and a gigantor food processor)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Wiped Clean

OaG and I were married in mid/late December. The original plan was to send the kids to their mom's for Christmas, as it's been a long time since they've seen her (OaG has full custody). But, about a month before the wedding, she called to say she wouldn't be taking them, which through a bit of a wrench into our honeymoon plans.

We spent a quick honeymoon at the before mentioned bed & breakfast and then at a beautiful hotel in Branson, MO. During this time, OaG's brother and sister very graciously stayed at the house and made sure the kids didn't leave it in ruins upon our return. But, then we came back to Fort Leavenworth and had Christmas with the family before OaG and I jetted to Anchorage, AK for my little sister's wedding.

Anywho, on that first day back from the honeymoon before Christmas, I was already deep in thought about it being my first real day as a step mom. THIS was the day I'd have not only a husband, but also little ones to be around me all day.

We started the day by going to the gym for a Crossfit workout. I suppose Crossfit will need a post of it's own at some point. During our time at the gym, I left my phone at the house. I figured it would be 30 minutes, and nothing could be so important that I'd need to tote it with me.

Upon returning, I climbed the 2 flights of stairs to our master bedroom and bathroom on the 3rd floor and retrieved my clothes before heading for a shower. I glanced at my phone on the bed (old habits die hard). It looked different. My home page screen shot, the photo I had taken last spring during the cherry blossom bloom around the tidal basin in DC was gone. In it's place was a hummingbird I hadn't seen since I purchased the phone. My apps were all gone. My pictures? Gone. Texts. Gone. Emails (email accounts even). Gone. Contacts. Gone. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. Gone.

I fought back the hot tears that immediately flooded my eyes. What could have happened to my phone? Logically, it was one or both of the two youngest that caused something to happen, so I called them to the bedroom. After a discussion, I gathered enough of a confession to ascertain that they had wanted to play a game on my phone while we were gone and had exceeded the password attempts. Which meant that my phone had been wiped clean. To me, who has been so dependent on a smartphone for 5 years, it was like my life had been wiped clean.

Still fighting back tears, I went back down the stairs to my new refuge, OaG's arms. "Just hug me", I said. In my mind, I heard a little voice whisper, "Welcome to motherhood".

Most of my pictures had already been emailed to myself or uploaded to Facebook, so that didn't bother me too much. Reinstalling my email accounts wasn't difficult. Most everything, at the end of the day, was not a big deal. But, one loss was particularly painful - my text history. Much of our courtship took place long distance, and OaG and I had some very special texts. I had planned to convert our text history, from our first date through the wedding, into a book for his birthday this summer. That dream died a very painful death on that first day of motherhood.

Suffice it to say, they are not allowed to touch my phone anymore.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Parable of the Toothbrush

Our wedding day was fantastic. Aside from a personality clash with the chapel's wedding coordinator, which may be a post for another time, everything went off without a hitch. We began on time. The kids each performed their roles flawlessly. During our ring exchange, we spoke a few words to each other, and OaG's comments were something I will cherish forever.

At the reception, the cake was made just like I asked it to be. The beef and chicken were tasty. Mingling with friends and family was great. All in all, I couldn't have asked for a better experience.

When the reception had wound down, our friends loving decorated the car with white roses from the tables and we were off to our first honeymoon stop, a bed and breakfast in Weston, MO.

We arrived still dressed from the wedding; with me in my gown and veil and OaG in his Mess Dress complete with cavalry Stetson and spurs. The inn manager took us on a tour of the house, which was a little tricky with all that extra fabric I was carrying around on 19th century staircases. We saw the game room, the room where we'd be served breakfast the next morning and the refrigerator where our sparkling cider and romance platters would be when we chose to retrieve them.

And finally, we were left to ourselves in our well-adorned and ridiculously comfortable room. One of the first things we did was change out of the wedding attire and I attempted to get a brush through my hair as well as brush my teeth. Enter the dilemma.

I pulled out my toothbrush and immediately remembered that I had no toothpaste. My tube ran out in the couple days before the wedding and I had been sharing with my mom in our hotel room. I was hoping to just emerge from the bathroom and freshened up on my own, but had to humble myself enough to ask, "Hey, OaG? Can I borrow some toothpaste?"

This was, of course, not a problem. He gladly shared. Then he came in to brush his teeth. He discovered he had forgotten his toothbrush.

He looked over at me. I knew he had just shared with me, when I had forgotten something. It was a minor rescue of sorts from my own forgetfulness. But, a toothbrush is completely different from toothpaste. My mind was racing with all of my microbiology and principles of disease prevention my nursing education had equipped me with. I've never shared a toothbrush with anyone.

I couldn't leave him hanging, and I did, naturally, WANT him to brush his teeth. So, I acquiesced and shared my toothbrush.

It may seem like a non-issue to you, but it was a huge lesson to me. This was my new life. We were just a couple hours into our marriage, and already, I had been taught that partners have different resources and talents, and sometimes the ones that the other lacks. But, when you're together, two really is stronger than one. Not to get too Jerry McGuire on you, but we had completed each other. Sharing all of me is not something I had done, but it was something I now needed to do.

There you have it. The parable of the toothbrush. A good beginning to a marriage.

And, in case you're wondering, the sharing of my toothbrush was temporary while on the honeymoon. We're back to using our own.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

It's Official!

I've now been an Army Wife and Step Mom for 36 days. I apologize for the hiatus, but we had to get through finals, moving, getting married, a honeymoon, Christmas, a trip to Alaska for my sister's wedding, 3 birthdays, the beginning of a new school semester and a little bit of unpacking and organizing. Phew! Are you as tired as me?

Luckily, I've made a list of posts I want to write. I'll begin on that tomorrow. For tonight... I begin another book, "Brave Companions" by David McCullough. OaG has MUCH reading to do with his final master's class and SAMS. I'm taking the opportunity to catch up with all of the books I've purchased and never read. Hooray!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Stained Glass at CGSC Bldg - Fort Leavenworth

It seems like yesterday, but it was actually more years ago than I care to admit that my beloved Freshman roommate took a stained glass class. She would be up into the wee hours of the morning chinking and saudering; cutting and arranging. It was intriguing to watch. Since then, every work of art in stained glass reminds me of her.

Where I was with OaG for Thanksgiving, we took a walk through the CGSC Bldg to look at their art and international gift collection. These were two of my favorite stained glass windows from the day.

The Civil War Scene. We liked that the McLean House at Appomattox was in the background. That was the site of our first date.

The tribute to the Army Wife. I may just use this in my blogger header when I redesign.