Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Things I Learned on My Trip - Part 5

5. It takes a village. Our village in Vegas is bigger than I knew until I was gone.

When you are a military family and don't live near any family, it is really easy to feel isolated and alone. Sometimes on days when I have no plans with the kids and Troy is at work, I get in this weird funk.

I get in this circular thinking where I'm like, "I miss my family. And my friends. I don't know anyone. I need to make more friends. Troy needs to get out of the military so we can be closer to our support system. I don't think I can do this today. I just can't. I miss my mom. Maybe I'll FaceTime her. Why isn't she picking up? Is she mad at me? I'll try my sister. What could she POSSIBLY be doing that is more important than talking to me? My family hates me. Why isn't Troy home today? I wish he could just take leave. Everyday. Except for when I have to work. He should only work when I work. I need to get a grip. I need more friends." And it goes on and on.

But here's the funny thing. I went on this trip and there were several people who stopped by, brought Troy dinner, invited them over, and checked on them while I was gone. Some of it was planned and some was unexpected. And they all called or texted with updates on how Troy and the girls seemed to getting along without Mommy there. While I was gone and getting phone calls and message with updates, I kept thinking, "Wow, our support network in Vegas is really great. I'm a whiner. They're really stepping up to help us out. This is great!"

I'm not saying that Troy couldn't have done it by himself. I have NO doubt that everyone would have been alive when I got home. But I AM saying that they might have lived on chicken nuggets, french fries and green beans the entire time I was gone. With an occasional mac n cheese or peanut butter and jelly. On that diet, their gallbladders would have been going crazy, but no one would have been dead.

Troy only worked 2 days the whole time I was gone. He said it was funny because when he initially submitted leave for that week and his reason was to stay in town at home with the kids, some of the dads he works with were like, "oh no, 10 days all by yourself with the kids? Eek, good luck." So on the 2 days he went in to work, people were saying things like, "Are your kids still alive?" or "Are you guys ok?" He was actually a little offended, which I thought was cute. At one point he called and said to me, "You know, you were with the kids for 2 months while I was at SOS. And you've had them for a couple weeks while I did other TDYs. I can handle a few days. They're my kids too."

Respect. That's a good daddy right there. Love him.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Things I Learned on My Trip - Part 4

4. I'm good at moving logistics. It's a gift.

Kristen helped me move into our house in San Antonio and she has since told me..."You are a beast."

I am relentless. Unnecessarily ruthless. Brutal even. Troy does inventory (checking off boxes and furniture as they come off the truck) and I immediately start unpacking the kitchen. Here are my moving logistics.

My MOST important piece of advice: ASK THE MOVERS TO UNPACK YOU. They will take all the garbage (boxes and packing paper) with them and break down all the boxes. Then you don't have to do it or arrange a later pick up. This forces you to put stuff away because it is everywhere. They won't put a thing away and will overturn boxes and you'll have stuff all over your floors. But as they take out your dishes and glasses, put them away. As they unpack your wardrobe boxes, hang everything up. Immediately hook up your washer and dryer and start washing your sheets and towels.

As they unpack you, you will feel overwhelmed and wonder how you have so much stuff. Just pay attention to the task at hand. Try not to START another room until you are done with your priorities. NEVER go up or down stairs unless you are carrying something. Put all your shelves into bookshelves so you have a place to stack stuff. Make sure your "parts box" (with brackets, handles, screws for beds, remotes) is in your car and not on the truck so you know where all your hooks, nails, brackets, etc are located. Especially for beds, so the movers are dumping boxes onto beds and not on the floor.

By the end of the day 1 and all of our stuff is off the truck, I aim to have the kitchen COMPLETELY unpacked and put away with all the beds clean and made up for sleeping.

On day 2, I can do the grocery store run since the kitchen is completely done so we can eat at home. Which is a huge time and money saver when you are moving. And probably have been eating out and doing fast food for a while. By the end of day 2, I have the living room, master bedroom/closet and bathrooms unpacked.

Day 3 is the "leftover" day. That means the less important rooms for required for daily living. Things like an office, guest room, linen closet, etc.

Day 4 is hanging pictures on the walls, curtains up, and leftover organizing (decorative shelves, candles, junk drawer).

We followed this model with Kristen's home, but did not do a day 4 because she wanted to make some of those design/decor decisions when her hubby was there. He wasn't there on monday morning when we received her household goods because he was TDY for a school for his new job the whole week. So we did it all ourselves. Because we rock.

She was like, "Dude. I wasn't expecting to make this much progress on the house in 3 days. I thought you were like this (translation of "this": a slave driver) because it was your house and your stuff. But we killed it."

We even made a trip to Babies R Us to buy nursery furniture on the morning of day 2. Since their baby was born October, and they knew they were moving, they didn't want to buy a nursery set just to move and have it get beat up before getting a change to use it. So they decided to wait until they got into their house to pick something. Unfortunately, I asked the movers to unpack EVERYTHING in the house, which meant in the nursery (and the office) they overturned boxes and just left PILES and PILES of baby stuff all over the floor. I thought Kristen was going to stroke out. Especially when had to lug that baby dresser we just bought at Babies R Us up her stairs. I really thought we were going to die. It was the hardest I have worked out and the quickest I have ever broken a sweat in my entire life. Ever. I might have been in fear of Kristen's life, who was on the lifting and pushing side of the dresser on the way up the steps.

Her movers came monday morning and we were done wednesday night. House completely done, other than the day 4 list, which she and her hubs are going to do together. Well, the garage needed some work. But we had to leave something for her husband right?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Things I Learned on My Trip - Part 3

3. I don't want any more babies.

A couple things. I love love love my babies. BUT, I had a hard time enjoying Avery as an infant because I was so worried about her dying (please read this if you have not). I had a hard time enjoying the twins as infants because I was just trying to keep my head above water.

Somewhere in my head, I decided that I wanted another baby. Just one. Because I felt like I missed out on ENJOYING the baby thing because I was trying to avoid an absolute total anxiety attack/mental breakdown to keep my babies alive and fed and clean. On 4 hours of sleep a night. While working a few days a week.

As it turns out, you know what I don't miss? Carrying around a baby all the time. My house looking like a daycare with swings and high chairs and bouncy chairs and exersaucers. Trying to adjust to a whole new person added to your family dynamic and routine. And the panic feeling during the witching hour slow approach...watching the clock with impending doom. STOPPING EVERYTHING to feed the baby or to sit and nurse. Having spit up on my clothes at all times. Being up to my elbows in poop. Listening to crying and not knowing what to do to fix it. Loading a stroller (or 2) in and out of the car 10 times just to run errands. Making baby food.

You know what I love about my kids?

We can all walk together. Avery can hold one of the twins' hands and I hold another hand and we can WALK into the store. They can fetch things for me. They can play INDEPENDENTLY. They can play together. They sleep 12 hours at night. Avery goes to school. They feed themselves with set up. Avery does her WHOLE bedtime routine by herself. We are DONE with all the large baby gear items. DONE. The twins are talking and have these personalities that are SO adorable and different, I'm ready to punch them and chew their faces off. AVERY IS READING. They can wear dresses now because they walk all the time and don't get their knees stuck in the front. THEY UNDERSTAND NO. I don't bring a stroller anywhere anymore. They hug each other (be still my heart). They blow kisses.

Now. Don't misunderstand. I love love love me some babies. But hanging out with Kristen for a week when we were BUSY, just made me like, I'm ready to be done. Her 5 month old was a solid reminder to me of everything that we have survived through. And I'm ready to go forward and not look back. Except for when my friends or family have babies and I can snuggle them and give them back. Because I love little babies.

I'm excited to move to the next phase of kid fun. The phase of bigger kid activities. Skiing. Skating. Bowling. Arts and crafts. Museums. Learning. Having grown up conversations about kindness, Jesus, friendship, and bad things that happen. And why we have boogers. I'm just ready to do the big kid stuff.

Troy was SO relieved to hear me say it outloud. Because before I went, I was mourning the baby phase. Pathetically. Every few weeks, I was like, "um, so I want a baby still." Troy would just ignore me. And now I kind of feel like a grandparent to my friends who have babies. I get to snuggle them, smell them, coo at them and when it's time to get down to serious business, give them back. It was a relief.