Saturday, January 29, 2011


I used to watch Oprah regularly and then I stopped for a while and kept missing good shows every now and again until I finally learned to set the TiVo and watch what sounded good when I had the time to do so.

Last night, as I was cuddling with The Sickest, I checked in to see what the deal was with "The Bravest Families in America."


Talk about enlightening.

I mean, there's a lot I'm still adjusting to in regards to being a military family. This is after being in JROTC in high school, going to a service academy, being in the reserves, working as a civilian for two different armed forces, and being married for BD for nearly 5 years.

There's still so much I don't know.

Oprah's topic explored the need for increased awareness of the realities of our country's military families. Her guests were people that served and came home wounded, caregivers, parents who lost a child, the spouses that stayed behind, and those that believed that more should be known about and done for these people.

Again, I was brought to tears. (I cried at some point during every Australia episode. Don't judge me.)

I cried for the people who clearly have a tougher way to go than I do.

I cried for myself because I realized, most clearly for the first time, that I had a right to feel the way I felt when BD was deployed. For the most part, we were isolated. Most people do not get deployed from grad school. There were not supports in place for families like ours. I was fortunate to have friends and respite, but when it came to formal "Now how do I handle this?" stuff, there was nothing to be found.

I wasn't sure what to share with BD or what to keep to myself (Would he feel bad that he wasn't there to help in the bad times? Would he feel bad when he misseed something good?). I was lonely. I was tired. I was running myself ragged, not sleeping, trying to be everything I thought everyone else thought I should be. The perfect wife, mother, friend. I wanted to prove that I was like what I thought every other military wife was: strong in the face of adverse circumstances, never complaining, making it happen at all costs.

I still believe that those women are those things, but now I see that I was, too. I never gave myself that credit. Much like when we received Playette's diagnosis, a new normal was created and the clock didn't stop.

Sometimes you have to give yourself a pat of the back where it's due. This lifestyle may be chosen (BD did not knock me in the head and force me unknowingly into marrying him - he wore his uniform in our wedding. I can't say I didn't know he was in the Navy.), but it's not easy. This is not how most people live. No pity required. Just self-acknowledgement that it's ok to say that it's hard. Some times more than others. And not everyone can relate. The end.

I have to accept that I'll make friends and lose them. I have to suck it up that my career does not take priority. I have to get used to packing and unpacking and fighting battles with school districts any and everywhere as we move just as we start to get comfortable.

But I also realize that we have a good life. My husband is safe and he is well. He likes what he does and I support him fully. There are people I could be supporting better in our community and I will. It's the least I can do.

It was just so nice to see our reality acknowledged on the show.

I needed that.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sick Day(s)

Some may not realize this, but that 47th chromosome doesn't automatically mean that your kid will be sick.

That may seem like obvious info to some, but I think there are lot of people out there that just don't know and assume differently. I mean, why would you know, if you've never had a reason to learn.

I've been blessed with a pretty healthy kid and I don't take that for granted. I have mama-friends that would wish they only had to deal with a stomach virus and to them I send many virtual hugs and thoughts of support. I give you full permission to roll your eyes and call me a weenie.

[insert reality check here]

Last night, I went upstairs to bed after falling asleep on the couch watching television. On my way up, I passed the thermostat and turned it down a few degrees. Nothing some down comforters couldn't counteract for the sake of saving a little on the gas bill.

Playette's room is at the top of the steps. In the few weeks that we've lived here, I've made it a nightly habit to check her and adjust her blankets that she's inevitably kicked off before taking a few more steps down the hall to my own room.

This time, as I cracked the door, a familiar smell hit me.

Familiar like from way back. Last year in Dallas. College.

I had a pretty good idea of what I would face when I turned on the light.

Part of me wanted to close the door and walk away.

But the mama can't do that. The mama has to woman up. Especially when the daddy is trapped by snow in New York on a business trip.

With no reinforcements, I headed in to face the beast.

She was sick.

Like, literally.

Not Tylenol or Motrin or Albuterol sick. No nebulizer was going to fix this.

It was a long night. Poor girl. She was shaking and apologizing as I cleaned up the bedding and placed her in the tub. I wish I could have been there to hold her hair, but she was pretty much done by the time I got there.

Oh, man, the hair.

I called my more experienced mama-friend who, thankfully in this case, lives 3 hours in the past and was still awake to offer advice.

Sleep be damned, we finally settled into a fitful rest on the couch. Other than that, the night was pretty uneventful and I woke to the sounds of a perky Playette offering her morning salutations.

I took this pic with my phone because I wanted to share it with BD since he was away. I had been alerted to the sound of Playette crying and when I went to check on her, there she was.

On the steps in highwater monkey pants was my daughter, crying for a reason I still do not know, with her dad's alarm clock (her new best friend) in her hands, wearing golashes that she put on herself.

I laughed because she's such a typical three-year-old and that makes me happy.


Update: I wrote this last night, foolishly thinking that we were done. Illness over! Hooray!

Um, no.

We're in Phase 2. Which is yuckier than Phase 1 by a long shot.

Playette's teacher had told me yesterday that she hoped we didn't have to deal with Phase 2 like some of the other kids had and I was all, "Oh, I'm sure she's fine. We avoided that part because we're awesome like that."

I literally dreamt about how I would spend my 4 free hours today while she was in school and then I woke up to her crying. She had a good reason.

Poor t'ing.

I am so, so, so glad that we don't have to pay for water here. My washing machine has really been earning its keep these last couple of days.

Oh, well. It was bound to happen sometime, right?

Daddy's Little Girl

Note: If you are offended by bellybuttons or bathrooms, please skip this post.

Ok, so this took place a couple of weeks ago, while we were still living it up in the extended stay hotel room. It's important to note that BD had been home about a week at that point.

We were all in very close quarters and, as each day passed, I seemed to be losing my mind more and more.

Then, one day, I got a gift.

The gift of HOLY CRAP - NO SHE DIDN'T!!

But I was the only one that saw it. Still, I laughed and laughed. All by myself. And then I texted some folks about it.

But a text...a text doesn't cut it in all cases.

A couple of days later, I happened upon it again. This time I ran and grabbed the camera.

And voila. A masterpiece.

I hope I'm not totally violating by sharing this, but, well, you'll see...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I keep meaning to wrap up a few themes on here, but then something else happens that catches my attention (oohh, shiny!) and off I go on that tangent.

So, for those who were wondering:

Playette is adjusting well to her dad being back home. The strange throat thing she started doing after he left did not miraculously disappear at homecoming like I had hoped it would. Boo on that. At least now I have company in being driven crazy by it though.

She was absolutely thrilled to see BD again. I can tell that she's still adjusting. When he's gone to work, she'll ask if he's away on the boat. I tell her no and that he'll be home soon, but I don't think she believes me. It takes him walking in the door for it to be true.

She's quite clingy to both of us and loves holding one hand each while we walk. I'm sure there's a lot of security in that and I can't blame her one bit. She thrives when both of us are present. She's just...happier that way.

Now, when it comes to discipline, she definitely listens more to me than BD. In her world right now, he makes suggestions and I lay down the law. We're working on getting her to understand that both of the big ones run the show.


The Mom's Night Out went well. I got there a little late, but still before dinner was ordered. There were five other mothers there and it was quite a nice mix of children's ages and diagnoses. Not all of the people that participate in the Ds support group have children with Ds and I think that's awesome. There are some uniquenesses about children that don't allow for large groups to support the families and I'm happy that they have a place with all of us. There can be many similarities when it comes to chromosomal abnormalities. At the end of the day, we're all in the same gang.

I'm looking forward to the next gathering. This group tends to do things together quite a bit a bit, whether it's with everyone, the moms, the dads, the kids of different ages...I think we've got a little something to do for a piece of every weekend in February. That's even cooler when you're new to an area and don't know many people.

I have met some great folks so far. One family has a little girl very close to Playette's age, another family is within walking distance of our house (!!), and yet another family has quite a few similarities to our own which has lead to any easy connection.

I also have a couple of college friends in the area and some people from our last duty station have moved here as well.

I don't want to wait too long to make myself at home here like I did before. We'll be gone again before you know it!


School is going well. I'm going in in a couple of hours to observe the class in action and then we'll have a quick IEP meeting. Did I just write "quick IEP meeting"? Hm. I'm still not so sure those exist. But they tell me that this is just a transfer from one form to another, basically, and that we can meet again when everyone has gotten to know each other a little better. We shall see.


We're all moved into our new home and, for the most part, there's a place for everything and everything is in its place.

Just don't open the closets.

Friday, January 21, 2011


While going through Playette's backpack this morning (yeah, I kinda mean to do this when she gets home. You know, in case there's something important that needs to be addressed, but, well...), I got a very interesting surprise.

Now, if you're the parent of a preschooler like I am, then getting things sent home in a ziploc bag isn't uncommon.

But what is uncommon is recognizing the item sent home as not one that belongs to the Littlest, but one that you didn't even know you were missing.

What the hizzy?

And then I saw the notes from her teacher.

How do you even respond to that?!

I scribbled something in response in the communication notebook and once I was finally done laughing, we had a mini photo shoot. Because once Playette saw the camera come out, she wanted to get in on the action. And who am I to deny her that pleasure?

Today was Mechanic Day. Denim and white tees were requested. As Playette would say, "Tooot!" (Cute!)

Thursday, January 20, 2011


I was talking to a friend last night and the conversation turned to conventions. Specifically, what was it about the NDSC conventions that kept me wanting to go back?

I thought I knew, but it took me a while to not only articulate it, but also be perfectly fine with what I articulated. I finally got to a point where I could exhale and go, "Yeah. Ok. That's my final answer."

The truth of the matter is that while I appreciate learning about all things Ds, I can only handle so much. Our first experience, in Sacramento in 2009, was highly academic. It was planned. It was all, "Alright, BD, I'm going to learn about speech from 0-2 and you can take Playette with you to listen to the talk about PT since I'm sure they'll be some key points addressed there that we'll need. Oh! Don't forget the new mom's talk. I need to be at that one. Are you going to the talk for new dads or the one for African-American parents? One of us needs to go, don't you think? I guess at some point we'll need to eat before the plenary session. But then when are we going to have time to walk around the booths?!"

Seriously. It was a lot like that.

Then, last summer, in Orlando, I caught myself slacking off...and being totally ok with it. I was drawn to watching documentaries and listening more to people's experiences than what the experts had to say. I think BD went to a whopping 2 sessions and one of those was to hear a friend speak.

There's something to be said for being surrounded by peeps.

And that's what keeps me going back.

That is why we'll be in San Antonio during the low tourist season otherwise known as OMG it's August in Texas.

It's because other people will get us without even trying.

Yes, it's a lot of money. Yes, it's effort to travel. Everyone can't do that every year. And, honestly, it probably is far from necessary. But...I can't resist the urge for normalcy. Fitting in feels good.

This world can be lonely. Especially when you're moving around every couple of years. It's nice to have something to look forward to.

Speaking of, I'm going to a Mom's Night Out tonight with the local Ds group. They better be nice to me, dammit. It's in the rules.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

When I Grow Up

The theme of the week at Playette's school is to learn about different careers. You know, start exploring the whole "What do I want to be when I grow up?" thing.

I'm still trying to figure that out for myself, but ok.

Yesterday, before we realized this new theme, we found a band-aid on Playette's arm. I check the notebook. Hmm. No comment about her getting hurt.

Just when I was about to call the teacher and ask what happened, BD noted what they did that day. It was on the weekly calendar that I had missed. They were doctors and bandaged each other.

Subsequently, we found two more band-aids.

Today was hairdresser day. They asked for the kids to come with spikes or mohawks or pigtails and then they'd be sprayed with washable color at school.

Um. No.

Playette's aversion to getting her hair washed is unparalleled. We have tried everything we can think of. It is painful for all involved. She acts like she is getting tortured.

So, considering the fact that she just got her hair washed, we opted out of the spray color.

Also, I had just cornrowed the majority of her hair. I wasn't taking that out.

Instead, she dressed the part.

I don't want to give her a complex regarding wanting long, blond hair or anything, but...I couldn't resist.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My Name's Bennett...

...and I aint in it.


Playette is on the pot. BD says that we don't have any pull-ups downstairs so he's going up to get some. I keep an eye on Playette.

Moments later, he returns. In his hands are one pull-up and one teensy purple panty.

He offer Playette the choice of what she would like to wear.

I give him a look kinda like this:

You know what she chose.

This is totally his deal.

Sure, we've talked about trying this again at some point. But this evening?

Part of me is laughing inside. Because he's so confident.

Another part of me hopes that he truly is the Potty Whisperer and he wraps this whole toileting thing up before bedtime.

That would be awesome.

My husband, he's a pretty sharp guy. Anything's possible.

If he solves this age old dilemma in 4 hours, trust me, I'll be posting his fee and taking appointments.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Post Meridiem


That's the class Playette will be in.

In other words, afternoon preschool.

Hm. Not my first choice, but at the end middle of the day, she's going.

I hope she doesn't fall asleep.

And what's funny is, she's going to the EXACT SAME SCHOOL that we visited last week, where they told us that that there was no friggen' way (there I go paraphrasing again) that she'd end up there because we live a whopping two miles away and the only spot they had was being "reserved" for someone that left town months ago and maybe-might come back. @@@@ <-- That's my eyes rolling. Four times.


They're getting her today, baby!

I feel like it's my first trip to Disney and it's opening in 3 hours!

What am I going to do with myself?

Kidding. I have 9 million things to do. It looks like boxes exploded all over my house.

I am looking forward to spending some alone time with BD, that's for sure. Since he's been back from sea, we've been prepping to move, moving, schlepping, signing, figuring, organizing, and just plain working.

We hung pictures and drove around looking at Craigslist finds for his birthday yesterday. Not exactly wine trolly-ing it up this year.

So, today will be nice. For all of us.

Playette is absolutely missing the companionship of her peers. She wants to play. She needs to play. And learn, too.

She's been assigned to a 50-50 "reverse mainstreaming" (ick on that term) class. She'll be the 7th child with an IEP and there are six children that are Currently Undiagnosed. That's not what they call them. They call them "normal kids" but, uh, I don't like that. Shocked? So I'll use CU.

Time to observe and see if this is the best sitch for our Littlest.

I can't wait until she sees the bus pull up, just for her. It won't be until next week, but she LOVES riding the bus. She points them out everywhere we go. BUS! BUS! BUUSSSS!

Clear as a bell.

Love that kid.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hiding Out

I'm in the bathroom. It is the only safe place in a house full of men.

I paraphrase, poorly I may add, The Color Purple.

It's the first thing that came to mind.

The truck came this morning. It was maybe 8:20ish. The weather we were expecting didn't make much of an impact, so we avoided a ton of mud and crud being tracked all over the place. That made me happy.

We got started working pretty quickly. While it is wayyyy nicer to have movers that it is to do everything yourself, you can't just sit idly by while they haul and unpack.

I mean, every item/box has to be inventoried and damages noted. You have to direct and answer questions and hope that your desires are fulfilled. You also need to be appropriately grateful. Playette had that part covered for us as she thanked each gentleman for each box that was brought into the master bedroom where we were perched for the first couple of hours. I tried to tell her than a couple of thank yous would suffice, but my girl loves her manners.

Yeah. Speaking of, all of this is much more difficult when you add in a three-and-a-half year old. No matter how polite she is.

Then, when everything is in, you've got the unpack. Awesome, right?

But I must say...unpack does not mean put away. No siree. Totally different.

There is crap everywhere.

Plus, there are things that I would rather have kept private strewn all over the floor. Yeesh.

At least, though, when they unpack, they take two tons of paper used to wrap everything and the hundreds of boxes with them. It's a trade off.

I attempted to make a dent by hanging clothes and putting away some dishes, but it was a fruitless effort. They caught up to me and caught up to me fast.

So, we'll get it done. Slowly, but surely. I'm totally not complaining. I like having my stuff back. And now I can start getting rid of all the things I never want to move again.

I'd love to now call the coordinator I screeched at spoke with yesterday, so that my daughter can start school already, but I have no idea where my phone is. I pray it's not in one of those boxes.

Monday, January 10, 2011

You're kidding, right?

I felt like a kid at Christmas this morning. I was up at 5am and brimming with anticipation. Our stuff was coming! I could cook! I could do laundry! I could SLEEP IN MY BED!

At about 8, I started to get nervous. What if they didn't show? I was starting to feel like they wouldn't. I mean, 8 is not late by any stretch, but I felt like things just weren't going to go as planned, just the same.

I made phone calls. No answer. I left messages.

BD, much later, called a number in his cell phone and magically reached the moving truck driver.

He was in Philadelphia.

We do not live in Philadelphia.

So today's plan of receiving, inventorying, unpacking, and arranging quickly turned into visit the assigned elementary school (even though we knew they didn't offer preschool - annoying), call and screech talk to the special education coordinator about our options, take a tour of the Jewish Community Center (really nice preschool and more), get the tech stuff set up in the house (I still am on the fence about the whole house phone issue - what do you do? I mean, it's $40/month and we both have cell phones), and go furniture shopping.

Regarding the furniture, back when BD and I got married 67 (or 4.5) years ago, we both had full houses of stuff. We narrowed down what to keep and what to sell/donate. It wasn't so bad. We also agreed that after the next duty station, we would start fresh in a couple of rooms and get things that we both liked.

Yay for compromise.

Except, we are not great at shopping. It's been difficult. I'm considering just signing up for a sectional construction class (someone has to offer that, right?) and making a couch my damn self.

There was a success today, though. We found a dining room set. I hope it looks ok when it gets her in a couple of days. Showroom does not equal my home, y'know?

Unfortunately, again, today, I ate crap. For like the 23rd day in a row. I tried to do better though. Instead of losing my mind at Sonic tonight, I had mozzarella sticks and a salad at home plus a couple of Playette's tater tots and one of her chicken tenders. Go, me!

Tomorrow will be better.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Never Fear

I'm still here.

We moved into our new place yesterday, but we have no "stuff." Hopefully, it will be here tomorrow, along with the innernets. I miss the innernets. But I don't miss that hotel, so it is what it is.

At least I have my phone for short posting access. I just want to keep the momentum up, y'know? Cause I really don't like typing with my thumbs.

I tend to make nmistakesm. Lopts of thrm.

Fingers crossed for tomorrow! I hope to sleep in a bed that doesn't make me itch (because my mind wanders into Bedbugville, not that there actually were any). I even miss cooking and laundry.

Yeah, I said it.

Told ya I was going nutty.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Anything for the Kid

So, I told you that we're in a hotel room, right?

And we don't have much in the way of entertaining ourselves.

All the toys and books are packed away and on a truck somewhere, hopefully reaching us early next week.

A new discovery was made today.

Playette knows I have a belly. So does she. So does her daddy.

But, today, she discovered something new and exciting.

Stretchmarks! And a pooch!

Minutes of fun ensued.

I'm such a giver.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Who left the gate open?!

Well, someone did.

'Cause I'm back.


No, really this time. I mean it.

And now I can finally tell you why I was gone.

See, BD's job is kinda awesome and then it's kinda not sometimes.

He was deployed for four months. And that kept me very busy.

Not a long time in the military world, I know, but I'm one of those spoiled newbie wives who never had her husband away for more than a few days. As a matter of fact, the longest we were ever apart previously was the 12 or so days when I was away. When we met, he had a desk job and then our first move together took us to a place where he could go to graduate school. So, in five years, most evenings he would beat me home.

That all changed on August 30, 2010.

Playette and I, along with a group of motivated friends who share our sense of humor, saw him off for a 6am flight, complete with amusing (to us) signage and hugs and overreacting fall on the floor craziness a little emotion.

The days went by slowly, the weeks passed, the months eventually added up.

We were able to talk by phone once or twice a week and email almost daily. Unfortunately, Skyping wasn't an option at sea, but we were able to do so before he got to the ship (Bahrain) and during the last port stop (Greece).

Playette and I heeded the advice of more experienced folks like Michelle and Renee and stayed busy. That's why we seemed to be moving around so much. We went to Sheree's and Michelle's and Andrea's and a total of three Buddy Walks and experienced many, many flights (yay for coupons that needed to be used!). We visited friends and family in Arizona and spent a mama-daughter few days in San Francisco over Thanksgiving and soooo many things in between.

I ran my second half-marathon and we even made it into a front page article of our small town paper. I lost my final 15 pounds over those 16 weeks and achieved Lifetime status with Weight Watchers. Grand total: 52 pounds.

And because I know I would want to know, it took me 20 months.

Since then I've fallen off the wagon a bit because...

Then BD came home! WOOHOO!

But the day before he was due, my herniated disk (occurred totally randomly and reared its head after I had finished the race, thank goodness) flared up on me and I ended up in the ER. They IV'd me (ACK!) and gave me bueno drogas (ahhh) and an epidural (WHOA) and kept me overnight. Luckily, I had a sitter over at the time everything was going down and she was able to help me before friends jumped in and took care of Playette while I couldn't.

By the time BD walked in our front door after hours of traveling across the country and way too many delays, I was home and feeling a little better, yet heavily medicated. With the big guy back, we've been doing tons of eating out in the midst of happy, family-together-again time and then there's the whole "I can't exercise" thing, so, well, I'm not planning to step on a scale anytime soon. My pants are tight, yo.

And in case that wasn't enough, we thought we'd throw a cross-country move in there.


Now, the three of us are living in a hotel room, waiting for a place to call ours. Exotic, right? Darn tootin'.

In between moments I'm not entirely proud of, I am taking this all much better than I anticipated. Alone with the kiddo while my typically very active partner was away? Scared me. A lot. But I did it.

I've wanted to write so many times, but my words kept reaching into "I'm overwhelmed because my husband isn't here" territory and I just didn't want to allude to us being alone in the house. I couldn't do it.

I'll tell you more about how Playette did during that time in my next post.

Thanks for sticking around.