Let Them Be the Hero

So often, I rush in as the mom to “help” my husband with the kids.

Regardless of whether or not he asks for my help.

Especially after a deployment, it is so incredibly easy to just jump in and handle any situation with the kids. I’ve been doing it the whole deployment anyway, so why stop now? What I’ve come to realize is that I need to consciously take a step back and let him get back into the groove of being home and handling the kids. Even if it’s bumpy. Even when it’s not how I would do things. Different is just that – different. But it’s not wrong. (You would be correct in assuming that I have tendencies toward perfectionism and controlling behavior.) But, I’m working on perfecting that!

I wasted no time after Eric’s homecoming to get out of the house, mostly for my own sanity, but also to give the minions and their dad a chance to reconnect, without my interference – well intentioned though it may be. Sometimes I get it right. Often I jump in and have to back track. And sometimes I get it all messed up.

Tonight though, tonight was one done right. Eric had assumed that Jacob was done with dinner and tossed his last piece of pizza. (Jacob said he was done, left the table and went in the other room to play.) 30 minutes later, Jacob comes in and wants his last piece of pizza. Eric looked at me, feeling horrible, looked back to Jacob and said, “I’m so sorry, buddy. You said you were done. I tossed the last piece.” Jacob then sighs that big 4-year-old sigh, slumps his shoulders and whines, “But I wasn’t donnnnnnnnne!” (In my mind, I know this kid loves this Hot Rock Pizza we get at the farmer’s market,  I would have saved it for breakfast, but whatever. Eric was cleaning up, the kid said he was done – so I didn’t give it another thought. )

Instead of rushing in to try to soothe Jake, I whispered to Eric (who still felt bad) that perhaps he could offer him a pudding. That way, the dessert came from Daddy and they could work it out between them. Eric’s face lit up, Jacob was more than happy to have a pudding, and all was right with the world once again.

How easy it would have been to rush in and get a pudding for Jake and undermine Eric, not to mention make him feel even worse. I think as mothers, especially after a long deployment, it’s “just easier to do it” ourselves. But then they don’t get to be the hero. They don’t get to stretch their parenting legs and get back into their groove. If we are to model a marriage for our kids, shouldn’t we show them how to treat a spouse by example? We don’t always get it right, but we love and respect each other in our marriage. We trust each other. Our actions are our best lessons to our kids on how to treat each other. (Not to mention what to look for in a potential mate.)

I love watching my husband be the hero his is to our kids.

And me.




Victorious Not Nauseous

This time last year, we were gearing up for what we thought was to be a 6-month deployment. Those in the military know, sometimes the plans get changed. Six months turned into a whole year deal with a 6-week “home port visit” over the holidays.

What a difference a year makes. Here is some of what this last year has taught me:

  • I am capable. Of many things. All I must do is put one foot in front of the other and try.
  • Prayer is essential.
  • Writing is therapy
  • Exercise and eating healthfully help me in more areas than just physical fitness
  • I can read the same books over and over to the kids and it doesn’t matter. We  can read Dr. Seuss, Llama Llama, and Fly Guy countless times, they still love it.
  • Good days are just a tad bit more satisfying as heads hit pillows and I think, “This one was a good one”.
  • Single parenting is not for the weak!
  • Kids are stronger than we give them credit for. They can also do more than we think. We just have to be willing to take the extra time to teach them.
  • I dislike northern winters
  • Coffee is my friend. My very, very good friend.
  • Friends and family are crucial to sanity
  • Venting is cathartic
  • Funny things happen when you live with preschoolers
  • Great neighbors make the days easier
  • Plans and goals are great, needed even. So is spontenaity and resiliency.
  • You will go insane if you do not get a good amount of sleep, coffee, and/or adult conversation
  • You will drive your kids insane if you do not get a good amount of sleep, coffee, and/or adult conversation
  • Asking for help blesses both the giver and the receiver
  • I would die without a sense of humor and the ability to laugh at the circus that is my life
  • You can connect with people you just met
  • Random people telling you you are doing a good job can make your day.
  • People taking the time to thank me for my “service” (or our sacrifice), or ask me to pass on thanks to Eric, makes me choke up. Every time.
  • No matter how many “I am woman, hear me roar” moments I may have, I still hate spiders and will pay others if I have to, to come kill them for me.
  • When I start being intentional about joy and gratefulness, there are more things for which I am grateful. You will find what you seek, in abundance
  • My kids are two of the funniest people I know
  • My kids have been two of my greatest teachers
  • I miss taking a long hot bath alone. I miss going to the bathroom alone.
  • No matter how much time passes apart, I love my husband more and more each day. If anything deployment proves the adage that “absence makes the heart grow fonder”.

As my favorite spin instructor used to say at the beginning of class, “We want you leaving here feeling victorious, not nauseous!” I started the year feeling extremely nauseous. I’m ending it feeling victorious.

And very ready for shore duty!

Love, Expressed

For about half of our marriage, Eric and I do this thing where I ask him the following question:

“Why do you love me?”

He responds by saying:

“I love Lori because…., by Eric. I love Lori because…….” and then lists for that day and whatever may be going on between us. And then we switch and I do “I love Eric because…., by Lori”. So mine might be something like this:

I love Eric because he loves our kids. I love Eric because he loves chocolate chip cookies (and makes them better than I do!). I love Eric because he did the dishes last night just because….etc.etc..
You get the idea. Some days the lists are long, some days its just one or two things. This is one of our corny little “us” things that we do to say more than just “I love you”. Sometimes those three little words can be said without much thought, more out of habit, much like the way we ask someone “How are you doing?” with not really wanting an answer of any depth. “Oh Good, and you?” And then that’s the extent of it.
By listing specifics, I’ve found that it gives me clues as to what Eric values, such as my time, my doing odd jobs or projects that save him time, making his favorite meal, etc. It’s love, expressed. And done so in a very specific and tangible way. And who doesn’t love to hear why they are loved and delighted in?

I’ve started doing it with the kids, too and they LOVE it. They devour it, and ask for more when I’m done. I decided to do it with both of them at dinner the other night. Not only was it great conversation, (because seriously, they are 2 and 4 – the conversation can be lacking at times!) but it was a great way to get them to sit at the table and eat just a bit longer than they would have otherwise. It was a side benefit I never saw coming! After our “I love Jacob because…by Mommy,” and “I love Hannah because…by Mommy,” they then launched into “We love Mommy because….” And my heart, much like the Grinch, grew three sizes! I love these kinds of mommy moments.

While doing the dishes after our corny love-fest dinner, I was reflecting on their responses of why they love each other, but more importantly, what do I want my kids to know? If they learn nothing else from me, what 1 or 2 things do I hope they take away from me as their Mom? And as it usually happens, that 1 or 2 items eventually grew to become more of a list.

So here it is. If they learn nothing else about life from me, I hope they know this:

How to love, and express it. Know that love is a verb, an action word. It’s a decision everyday to care about someone even when you don’t “feel” the feelings all the time.

To have faith. Through trying times, tragedies, and just life – faith is what gets you through. It’s what gets me through. I honestly don’t know how people get through the rough stuff of life without faith.

How to have a sense of humor and laugh. And be able to laugh at themselves. With faith – a sense of humor can carry you through rough stuff as well! That and it’s just good for your soul. And your face!

How to develop a lifetime love of learning and reading. As Dr. Suess said, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” We recently got a library card and I’ve taken the kids a few times now and I hope they love it as much as I do. The library system in our country is one example of how knowledge and education really is within EVERYONE’S grasp, regardless of race, socio-economic status, religion or any other category, so long as there is a willingness to learn.

To choose a spouse wisely. This one decision can be 90% of your misery or happiness for a bulk of your lifetime – choose carefully.

That what you do, matters. Little things like the way you treat people, your occupation, your diet, to exercise or not, all of it. It ALL matters. It all has far reaching consequences even when it seems that you are the only one a choice is affecting.

To not be afraid. To not be afraid to be themselves. So what if not everyone likes you? That’s ok. Be who you are. Be transparent and open. You’ll know better who your real friends are and it is much less exhausting keeping up with a fake version of yourself.

That’s my list….anything you would add?

Blegh. On More than One Level


There. I said it. I’m feeling a little blue as the reality of going it alone for 9 months sinks in. I know I’m not  ALONE alone. There are plenty of people to help out, offer support and are just there for me and the kids. But, it isn’t Eric. There isn’t a replacement for a member of our family.

I’m starting to do the thing I think we all do as military spouses – I count down.
“This is the last box of his Shredded Wheat I’ll buy before he leaves….”
“This is the last gallon of milk he will drink before he goes”
“One more race to run without the kids before deployment”
“We have 2 more date nights before I won’t have a date for 9 months” etc.

And then there are other things too, like – “Only 3 3-month deployments”
“Only 9 times of paying the rent until he gets back”
“Only 1 Christmas….”

And on it goes. I think, for me at least, numbers help me not to feel overwhelmed. Today was a long day in general, and it’s days like this when I think about 9 whole months of these kinds of long days –  that’s when this whole deal seems incredibly daunting.

We will get through it. We don’t have any other choice. I know we’ll be fine, but it sucks just the same.

In other news – I think I sprained my toe. Ridiculous, I know. I rammed my foot into the staircase bannister in the dark last night and this morning it was difficult to even walk on it! It’s a nice shade of light blue/purple and when I put on shoes this morning I saw stars.

Not good.

Especially when I have a half marathon to run one week from Saturday. Hmmmm. Perhaps I won’t be running….we will see how fast it heals. What really ticks me off is the fact that it’s the 4th toe – you know, the really useless one that doesn’t do much.

I hate it when I can’t run. It’s one thing to take a day off, but to NOT be able to just makes me want to run that much more! Grrr.

Ok, blegh-ness over.

Ready to feel like myself tomorrow!

Heal toe, heal!!

11 Years!

Wow! A decade flies when you’re having fun!!!

I read a quote somewhere that said something to the effect of “99% of your happiness is determined by the spouse you pick. Choose wisely.”
I love this quote and it is so true. I feel like I won the lottery with the husband I chose!

While we are very compatible in the “biggies”, (religion, children, money, etc.) I find the fun and more important things lie in the “smallies”. Stuff like the way he hugs our kids just a little bit longer as he leaves for work or the way he knows our son and adapts to his needs when needed, spending an extra hour at the hardware store to play “boo!” in the display doors because he knows how Jake loves that game. Or when he knows I just need a break so he takes the kids on an adventure! Or my favorite is rehashing our day before falling asleep and it usually turns into a “funny things the kids did” session or “how did we get to be so blessed?” conversation.

I think the art of loving someone well comes down to these “smallies”.  Little, seemingly inconsequential decisions to do the things you know will make each other smile. Not everyday is smiles and rainbows, but they sure out number the days that aren’t.

For that and so many other reasons, I feel very blessed to spend my life with the man for which I was destined. Or was destined to put up with me!

Happy Anniversary to us!

Hau oli Makahiki Hou!! (That’s Happy New Year in Hawaiian!)

As 2011 ends, I’m feeling a bit reflective as I usually do when the holidays draw to a close and a new year’s possibilities are just around the corner.

I’ve had two crazy “pinch me” moments recently. The first was in line at Subway. The girl behind me in line struck up a conversation about my shoes (Vibram) and then asked if I was a marathoner. With a wide grin, it dawns on me. “Yes, I am in fact a marathoner!” And while that short conversation lasted only a moment – it was so significant. The look of awe on her face was amazing. And then she said, “I could never do that.”

I remember thinking the same way. I don’t think that way anymore. Now I ask, “Why not?”

And the other moment came when we took the kiddos to see the Christmas lights downtown. They have wonderful displays and a couple of small little rides. Eric did a ride with Jake while Hannah and I watched. Then afterwards I asked Eric if he thought the ride would hold my weight so I could ride with him also. He just looked at me funny. Then it dawns on me that I don’t weigh more than him anymore!! And when I looked at the pictures – it was awesome -just a mom riding a ride with her son!

 Daddy and his mini-me!


Ever the safety mom, checking the seatbelt!
A bit blurry as it was pretty dark and my camera is smarter than me!

This has been such an incredible year both physically and emotionally. I still can’t believe the things of which I am capable; the things I once thought impossible have become reality, and the confidence that it has brought. I no longer sit on the sidelines of my life. I live.

I have been more open to new people, made some incredible friends, and grown in my role as a mother.

I’m extremely proud of the accomplishments made this year and look forward to new and exciting adventures in our new location!

Happy Happy New Year!!

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