I love the smell of new months…even if that month happens to be February, the longest shortest month ever. But I’ll forgive February this year because I can see grass, which I haven’t seen from November to April the previous 2 years we’ve lived here. Thank you, Mother Nature, for cutting a sister some slack. My apologies to the Mid-Atlantic for getting smacked with what was no doubt meant for us.
Thanks to those of you who expressed concern (both on and off-line) regarding my last post. I would like to assure you all that we are doing fine here. Probably 90% of the time things are normal and the kids and I are happy. What I am trying to do with this blog is be as honest as possible about what we go through during this unusual time moment in our lives–including that 10% of the time when I’m considering selling the kids on the black market or cursing the universe for the need for a deployment in the first place. I tend to want to work things out on my own first, if I can, before I go to others, but if I’m really having a problem, some of you will hear about it in person long before it makes its way to the blog. So if this is the first you are hearing about a problem I or the kids have had, that’s because it has either been dealt with already to my satisfaction, it’s nothing too major, or I’ve put some distance between me and it and feel comfortable sharing it publicly. Also, I’m a private enough person to really consider what I throw out into the blogosphere before I type away. I’m grateful for your input and comments and observations though, but please don’t be too concerned. It’s just life and we get through it just like everyone else. We just have a few different wrinkles than the majority of the population.
Let me also say that the most important lesson I learned last deployment was to ask for help before things go off the rails, so I promise that I really do get the appropriate help when it’s needed. I could not be more proactive than I already am about seeking out the right people for assistance. Even with my delusions of grandeur about my own superwoman abilities, I do know my limits when it comes to single-parenting and I’m not afraid of asking for a hand. So no worries!
In fact, I’m tickled to say, this week has been a huge improvement over last. That being the case, I thought I would update the forward momentum of some of my goals.
• K has given me some links to sites that I will find useful in giving a round-up of what’s going on in Afghanistan while he’s there, so I can inform those of you who are interested. I’m starting my reading and research and deciding how to boil it down here a la Cliff’s Notes. Communication with K will be spotty for a while, but sometime in the next couple months that will iron out and we’ll get some regular updates from him. I will let you know when he gets where he’s going.
• Monkey is having a better week and managing some differences in his school routine really well and getting rave reviews for it. He is getting used to a whole lot less TV and seems to be enjoying playtime (especially with his moonsand this week) very much. We’ve been reading more and playing games, and he must be happy because he tells me daily that he’s glad I’m his mom. Phew! His attention span for talking with K online is short, but now that K has use of a headset with microphone, Monkey can see and hear K, which makes it easier for him to communicate. Hopefully that will help with how much he misses K and, in turn, reduce his frustration and acting out at school.
• R and I had our first Girl’s Night Out last night! We hit the pottery painting place and dinner at Applebee’s, and in spite of showing up to the pottery place not too long before they closed (much to the chagrin of the girl working there), we had a nice time painting. R picked out a box shaped like a heart with wings and I picked a little bowl with no particular purpose yet. We decided to work on our pieces over time rather than rushing through and ending up with crap. That should help with cost too because I won’t have to pay for pottery pieces each time we go, just half the studio fee. I’m already looking forward to the next time and can’t wait to show off my little bowl.
• Thanks to my new menu plan (I’m not calling it a diet, dammit!) I’ve finally shed some pounds and feel better and like I might just meet that particular goal after all. Now I just need to maintain the momentum. It’s taken more discipline than I knew I had to stop eating off the kid’s plates and snacking like crazy while I wait for the bus to bring them home. I make the kids take care of their plates as soon as they are done eating which heads off any misplaced obligation I feel to clear the plate so as to not waste food (and cuts down on the amount of cleaning I have to do). Instead of hanging out in the kitchen surrounded by the temptation of cookies and cheese and chips and chocolate while waiting for the bus to come, I wait in the living room where I can see when it’s coming just as well and read a magazine for a few minutes. I was good last night when R and I went to dinner and had a salad and water. I told R that I was not allowed to eat her fries or leftover burger and she did a good job keeping them from me. I’m trying to stick to 4 400-calorie meals a day and it was a tad early to go off the plan, so I think I did a pretty good job. I didn’t feel bad when we left, so I’m happy.
I’m still working out every day (mostly), doing my Passive/Aggressive routine: rotating between yoga, kickboxing, and running w/some strength training thrown in. I am sore as hell all over but I’m actually enjoying (for the most part) working out and challenging myself that way and grateful to see some changes for the better in my body. Of course the most challenging part is just fitting exercise into my schedule, but I’ve been managing and sometimes Monkey even joins me. He likes some yoga poses, so I’ll pull a mat out for him and he’ll practice too. I have to say that getting the Wii along with Wii Fit Plus has been a great catalyst for helping me acquire the motivation (and nagging, frankly) to stick with this so far. I don’t think I’ve worked out for over a month solid in a very long time. I’m considering picking up another “game” next month—it’ll be my reward for keeping up with my program. I’ve got about 15 more pounds to go, and I suspect they will not go willingly so I need to mix things up or I’ll get bored and quit and be right back where I started…unemployed (and fat) in Greenland. I’m considering getting either EA Sports Active and/or its companion, My Fitness Coach, or Gold’s Gym Cardio Workout (for the boxing). Guess I’ll just have to see where I am in a month and what I think I’m lacking and go from there. It’s nice to have so many good options though.
• I’m still ironing out my writing schedule but sitting down to scribble away daily even if when or how long I write isn’t the most consistent. Most of the time it’s just the hour before I have to be up with the kids, but sometimes I tack on a few minutes here and there depending on what I’m working on. I’ve found a day-long workshop I’d like to attend locally, but I’ve got to think about that some more before I commit since that involves kid logistics as well. I’m still on the hunt for some online courses or workshops and finalize what contest I’d be eligible to compete in, but I have time for that still. All-in-all though, I’m comfortable with the start I have and hope that once I’m clear of freelance work (that I’m hustling to get done), I’ll have more time to devote to writing. At least I’m on the write (haha) path, so to speak.
While my to-do list this week is longer than I care to acknowledge, I’m happy with the headway I’ve made this week and the forward movement all around. K is going to be heading off to a different training area soon so we’ll have limited communication with him for a bit, and no doubt the kids will have some issues with that, but they’ll get through it and we’ll be creative about how we include him in our day to day lives. In the meantime, we are off this weekend to visit with family and celebrate my big brother’s birthday. I’ll be back early next week to talk more about life among the deployed.