Flow

Like any good road trip/family vacation, there are nuggets of joy tucked in amongst the agony of the drive, the “are we there yets?” and the hustle and bustle of traveling during the holidays.

We’ve been able to see Eric’s family, celebrate Christmas, and even Santa came and delivered his goods in our hotel room! Of course no family vacation is complete without the hotel pool, to which we have been nearly daily visitors. Enjoying the kids’ next level of independence as they can both swim has been especially joyful for Eric and I.

Christmas is wonderful, and one of the most anticipated holidays in our home, but is often rife with high expectations, anxiety, and of course missing far away family. Today, the day after Christmas, has been a really great day. We lowered our expectations. We took things as they came, had (mostly) more patience with the minions, and had loose plans to go skiing and tubing. Skiing (and skating tomorrow) are the two bucket list items that Hannah has been begging to do.


Hannah had her first ski lesson, and Jake and I tromped off to the snow tubing park!

img_1179.jpg

It may not look like much, but it was quite the hill! Above is looking up to the top, and below is the bottom straightaway.

When we hopped onto the conveyor belt to take us to the top, Jacob stated that “this was not what I expected” and that he “would not be doing this”.

“Okay,” I said. “But we have to do it at least once, because that’s the only way down.” I told him to take his time, and that when he was ready we’d do it. Giving it some thought and watching 3 or 4 people gleefully fly down the hill, Jake decided he was ready. “Alright. Let’s do it.”

At the bottom of the hill, he was grinning ear to ear and yelling, “That was AWESOME! We are doing that AGAIN!”

And we did!

Two hours later we were tired and cold, but had a blast! Jake and I took solo rides, and then at the end we rode tandem and giggled all the way down!

At the end of our time, we met back up with Eric and Hannah and went to the lodge to warm up and grab some dinner.

It was just one of those days that could have gone wrong in many ways, but didn’t. Hannah went skiing and did fantastic! We all got to play in the snow and had a wonderful time. It was a day that had joy woven through the decision to simply go with the flow and have no expectations.

I need to remember this day when I get caught up in the busy and the to-do list. Going with the flow always beats the alternative!

Advertisements

Back to Real Life

Sigh.

I had a feeling this would happen. I just didn’t expect it so soon. Sitting in the airport, drinking a lovely cup of coffee I am missing my my family something fierce. I can’t wait to get back to them, to our home, and our life.

It has been a fun weekend, awesome to catch up with and meet new friends, and a much-needed reset button for me. Everyone needs a break, if anything just to step back and gain some perspective.

There’s a story that goes something like if everyone stood in a circle and put their troubles, worries and problems in a pile and trade it for someone else’s, virtually everyone takes their own right back. Perhaps it’s familiarity – we’d rather keep what we have and what we know.

I highly doubt it is reciprocal, but spending time with my single friend affords me to peek into a life I might have lived. It’s fun to wonder what I would be doing and where I might have lived given different circumstances.

IMG_8170-4.JPG
While it’s fun to travel, living out of suitcases on an on-going basis holds no appeal to me. Being in a city, eating late dinners in bustling restaurants, adult conversations and evening cocktails was a blast. But for my everyday, I really love watching a show, cuddling with my kids (or chasing them), and spending quiet evenings (after the kids go to bed) with my husband. Hotel fitness centers get the job done, but I much prefer a trail off the beaten path to get my sweat on. Having access to museums, restaurants, spas and quality shopping are wonderful, but I just don’t think I am built for a life lived in a city. After a while it feels like I can’t breathe. It just gets too people-y out.

I love a place where I can look at the stars in the evening. I love having access to the ocean. I love running in a wide open space, on a trail in the woods, or hiking in the mountains. I like being outside in a space not man made.

I cherish my dear friend and always smile as I ask her about her life, her work and her travels. It’s always fun and exciting to hear about her adventures and her take on random “talent”. I can appreciate how hard she works. After my mind wanders in that direction, playing “What If?” for a while, I find myself immediately in that circle grabbing my life right back.

So…This Happened….

The friend I came here to see works for Microsoft. They launch retail stores all over and she travels to the various cities for store set ups and grand openings. With each store opening there is talent booked as well. This could be singers or professional athletes.

In Dallas, it was The Band Perry and Tim MCGraw!

IMG_8167-0.JPGUmm, just… Wow!

I like his music, but had no idea he put on such a great show!

IMG_8150.JPGThen he came over to our side of the stage and I was literally an arms length away!

IMG_8156.JPGAlthough it was extremely difficult to maintain my composure, on the inside I was totally turning into my freak show 12-year-old self! And yes, he totally smiled at us. Multiple times. We are totally BFFs now.

Just sayin’.

Mommy Getaway – Day 1

After dropping my bags at the hotel, I was starving so I decided to grab some lunch.

IMG_8080-0.JPGDefinitely delicious! Not only because it was yummy salmon and fresh veggies, but I didn’t cook it! And the bonus? Eating uninterrupted!

Wanting to get some pampering in, I was sad to learn that this particular hotel does not have an in-house spa. Not to be deterred, I went to the mall where I discovered that the Nordstrom has a full spa! Not daring to get too excited, I crossed my fingers as I questioned the receptionist about the possibility of an appointment. As luck would have it, there were openings – facial, massage, mani and pedi all available! Yes, please!

After being rubbed down, pampered, buffed, polished, and completely blissed out I met up with my friend and her work colleagues for dinner. Fun people, adult conversation (and beverages) made for a great night, capped off with chatting and catching up into the night back at the hotel.

I did discover that my minions have permanently disabled my capacity to sleep in. At 5:15, I woke up wondering why I hadn’t received my usual morning wake up call. Then I remembered – I’m on vacation! So I did what anyone else would. I rolled over into my fluffy comforter, snuggled my cushy pillow and dozed off again.

I’m Leavin’ on a Jet Plane…

Only I DO know when I’ll be back again. Sunday. I have exactly three and a half days to remember what it was like to be my own person. To not have any real responsibilities.

Driving in the rain, my mind imagines all kinds of catastrophes, all completely unrealistic. This is not a reflection on my sweet husband’s driving abilities, but rather a window into my own ridiculousness! Why do we do that? I’m looking forward to this trip, and have been for quite some time. Yet, I imagine all the things that may go wrong in my absence….as if my presence would stop any of theses improbable scenarios. Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this. Perhaps if I traveled more it wouldn’t be such a big deal. (Hmm. I could volunteer to test that theory! Paris, London, New York…oh the possibilities are endless!)

This is the first time in over six years that I’ve been alone for more than just a few hours. While I am 99% in-the-air-heel-clicks-ridiculously excited, there is a tiny 1% that is out of sorts. I have a zillion ideas for how to suck the marrow out of every minute, but am finding that the list keeps growing, but the amount of time I have remains the same!

I used to think it odd that couples would take separate vacations. “Why would someone want to be away from, and experience fun adventures without their loved one?” I wondered. As a military family, we spend so much time apart already, it seemed odd to me to choose to be apart. After having kids, I get it. Completely. The idea of being autonomous, no responsibilities, no “I really should…” or “I have to…” and to just be, is really heaven when you’re in the endless cycle of day to day parenting. I love the idea of just being me for a few days outside of the roles I am within my family. I’m living the dream, baby!

As we pull up to the terminal, I can feel my sweet pajama-clad daughter staring at me, clutching her pink stuffed dog. Her bottom lip quivering, I walk around to her side of the car and give her a big hug and whisper “I love you. You are going to be fine.” She lets go and I find I can’t meet her eyes. I know it’s time. “You’ll be fine.” Was I saying it to myself or her? Both, probably.

“Flight number such and such, now boarding,” blares out over the loudspeaker, jarring me out of my people watching and pretending to read reverie.

It’s time. I’m ready. I’m going to be more than fine. I’m going to have a blast!

IMG_8078.JPG

PCS Like a Four Year Old

I wrote this post a few weeks ago as a submission to another blog. They have passed, so I am posting it here.

Sitting in the Navy Lodge smack dab in the midst of house hunting in our new duty station, it would be so easy to have a pity party. I want to have that party. I want to roll around in the “Ugh, not again!” and the “Oh my goodness we have so much STUFF!” I want to cry because we’ve left everything familiar, just when it was getting familiar (AGAIN). But I have little ones who are watching and gauging just how to process this life-upheaval, so I can’t stay at the party for long.

We all handle a duty station transfer differently, but I’d love to experience it like my 4-year-old. This is what a military move looks like to her:

The Pool

IMG_6726

Hotel stops along the way are all about the pool! Does this hotel have a pool? Can we pleeeeease get a hotel with a pool tonight? When will we be going swimming? Can we swim tonight and tomorrow before we leave? Please, please, please?! You’d think she was part mermaid or something. Perhaps being born in Hawaii has something to do with it…

Sleeping Whenever, Where Ever You Are

 

IMG_6731

A nice air-conditioned ride, just enough road noise to dull the senses, a full tummy and a well-timed potty stop all coincide for the perfect nap! Swimming goggles are optional.

Make It An Epic “Adventure”

IMG_6673

“Camping at a KOA along the way?! No problem! I’m so up for that Mom! I love the tent! I will run around like a crazy person with my brother while you and dad try not to scream while putting it up!”

Stairs (and other ‘inconveniences’)

IMG_6648And I quote, “This is the best day ever!” as she was lugging up our toiletry case up stairs in a hotel that had multiple floors with no elevator. (Seriously?! Why are hotels with multiple floors built without elevators!?)

Throughout this transition, she has never once worried about where we will stay, how house hunting will go, or what life will be like when we get ‘there’. She’s in the moment, enjoying what comes her way. Instead of her watching me, gauging my reactions to life’s upheavals, perhaps I should take a cue from her:

1. Enjoy the ride

2. Take what comes, even if I don’t like it or think it’s inconvenient and make the best of it.

3. Get up each morning excited about what ‘adventure’ may await.

4. Sleep like the dead.

5. Swim every chance you get!

What a PCS Move Feels Like

bellman-luggage-cart-104031_640

A PCS move, or military transfer, is a common thread for us active duty folks. Moving every 2-3 years for many of us, is simply part of the deal. There are those few lucky ones that may get to stay in one place for a couple of tours consecutively, but that isn’t how it goes all the time. We’ve bounced around the country for over a decade and are just about to move into our 8th home. (I still hope for orders to Italy or England, but by the sound of my husband’s laughter, it’s not a very likely possibility!)

This particular move has been drawn out the longest. All together, we’ll have lived out of our suitcases for 50 days. It’s quite a time to be nomads, particularly if you are a natural homebody like myself. We of course market the journey as an adventure to our minions, and in some ways, it really is. All the “life is what you make it”, “bloom where you’re planted”, and “home is where the navy sends us” platitudes apply. I believe these things about 95% of the time. I consider ourselves fortunate to have lived in the places we have and have met incredible friends along the way.

That remaining 5%? Yeah, that’s where I’m at now. The anticipation, the waiting for the household goods to arrive, the dream of sleeping in my own bed again (in sheets washed in my own washer) are the thoughts currently occupying my mind. That 5% is the yuckiness, the blahs. The sick of eating out. The “I can’t wait for our first home cooked meal!” and bringing back the familiar routines. The limbo phase. The vacation is over, the novelty has run it’s course. I’m ready.

So what does a PCS transfer feel like? It’s like holding your breath as you travel place to place, keeping it all together, making it an adventure, until it’s time to set up the new nest. And finally, finally being able to exhale.

I’m ready to put away the suitcases. I’m ready to breathe again.