Those Moments

I have loved the ocean as long as I can remember. It’s unknown depths, countless lives beneath the surface, and breathtaking beauty are simply mesmerizing. I always come away from the beach stunned and in awe of this extraordinary planet.

We’ve had the distinct privilege of living near many oceanside locations:

Beach on NAS Whidbey Island

Maylor Point Trail, Oak Harbor, WA

Hanama Bay, Honolulu, HI

Waikiki Beach/Fort DeRussy Boardwalk, Honolulu, HI

Washington Park 3 mile loop, Anacortes, WA

Front Street, Lahaina, Maui

Washington Park, Anacortes, WA

Gulf of Mexico, Corpus Christi, TX

The white sugar sands of Pensacola, Florida were intoxicating and such a far cry from the barnacle-laden rock beaches I was accustomed to growing up in the Pacific Northwest. Living on Oahu of course was paradise, no question. We spent many days out on the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico, while living in Corpus Christi, TX. It really doesn’t matter where we travel, the ocean is a must. Pretty much the only thing I love as much as the ocean are my dogs!

Knowing our time in San Diego is finite, I’m determined to make the most of it before we head back to the evergreen state. What better way than to check out a new beach?! And what better beach than one where dogs can roam free and play?

Yep – Dog Beach!

They played and raced and sniffed all the smells!

As I looked around, there were dogs as far as I could see. People were are smiling. Dogs happily barking, splashing and playing chase. Whitney whined to be let off of her leash. Her joy is running, and she had some running to do! Buck didn’t really enjoy the beach in Corpus Christi when we took him a few times, but the waves were calmer today and far off the wet sand so they weren’t as scary.

For dog people, we get that our animals are something special. They are more than pets. There aren’t words to adequately describe the way we feel – the way I feel – about them. They soothe the ache of being human.

Walking amongst the myriad dogs of all shapes and sizes, joy couldn’t help but seep in. Looking over at my “grumpy old man” Buck, seeing him trotting happily and rolling around in seaweed – those moments of pure joy and content – I simply inhaled the the view around me. I savored the feeling of wanting to be no other place than right there, feet in the sand watching them be free.

Dogs….and beaches.

That’s just about heaven on earth if you ask me.

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The Last One

It was my last morning run in Washington, and the first of many as we travel across the states to our new home.

Here’s the deal. I am doing a “5k Across the Country” type of thing. Or at least a 5k in every state we stop. So here are a few things I saw in my first 5k. (Which is also my last here in WA.)

Me:

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The sun trying to peek through over the water:

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Mr. Eagle:

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Continue reading “The Last One”

PCS – Permanent Change of Station

PCS season is upon us and this time around it’s our turn. (Anyone else find the humor in that acronym? PERMANENT Change of Station…It’s anything but permanent!) Well we are down to just days before the packers come to remind us of just how much stuff we have (and how much crap we don’t need). The process of gearing up for a cross-country move/family vacation/trip to visit family/house hunting leave also brings up all kinds of other types of “fun”, outside of the actual moving process. Here are a few of our favorites and some of the not so:

1. The Cleaning
I’m a decent housekeeper, but there’s nothing like a move to make you feel completely disgusting. My personal favorite – after the cleaning is done! Nothing better than shiny windows and uber clean floors, to enjoy for the 5 minutes before handing over the keys!

2. The Thought of Other People Touching Your Stuff.
This is a weird one for me. We pack some of our clothes, but there’s some stuff that the packers will be boxing up. Random people touching unmentionables is just, well, eww.

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3. Stuff Gets Packed That Shouldn’t
No matter how well you separate, close off a room, repeatedly tell the movers, some or all of the “do not pack” pile will find it’s way into the sea of cardboard. Every. Single. Time.

4. The Paper
Paper paper everywhere! Ugh. When you move yourself, you wrap your stuff in your dish towels, throw it in a box, and off you go. Not so much with the professionals! Who knew it took 267 pieces of paper to wrap up one of Grandma’s plates?! With that much paper, you’d think nothing would get broken.

5. Something Inevitably Gets Broken
Every single time. With the sea of paper our belongings are wrapped in, it’s entirely shocking how every move, something ends up biting the dust. Never fails. It’s up there with death and taxes, really.

6. New Digs
I love setting up a new joint! Imagining where the furniture will go, figuring out the kids’ bedrooms…it’s all an OCD mom’s Disneyland! Yay!

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7. Learning a New City
I actually really love exploring a new place. Getting out and about either in the car as a family or with my own two feet in a pair of good running kicks! Although, we are going to Texas. In July. I may have to do some running exploring in the winter!

8. Hangers
Who knew you owned that many, right? Too many – and they usually end up in a tangled knot that has no hope of ever being used for it’s original purpose. I know! Let’s go pick up some more hangers!

9. Clean
When you get to the new house, it’s all clean! Usually this is the cleanest my house ever is in the 2-3 years we stay there. Freshly unpacked, fresh house, ahhhhh. Enjoy that. You know, for the 1 day that it lasts!

10. It’s Part of Military Life
Might as well embrace it. I have yet to absolutely hate any place we’ve lived. Every duty station is what you make it. No sense in being miserable for an entire tour! Instead of resisting what we have no control over, make it an adventure! Home is where the military sends us!

Bring it on Texas! Let’s do this!

Make My Tummy Go Gooey! (Aka the post with 1000 pictures)

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a fear of heights. I remember climbing along rooftops with my father as he was building houses when I was really young, but since about 4 or 5 years old, heights and I do not get along. As a kid, we went to carnivals when they came to town and have been on roller coasters at Disneyland and never had a problem as long as we didn’t go on anything that went upside down. Upon having minions, however, I get the gooey-tummy syndrome whenever they get up on something too high. In our house, the kiddos love to climb on some crazy playground structure, find me, then holler, “Hey mom! Is your tummy gooey when I do this?!” Meanwhile they are balancing on one leg, faking they are falling, or otherwise tempting fate and trying to plummet to their demise! My shudder and having to look away makes everyone just roll with laughter.

Before the tummy gooey fun, we had a preschool field trip to the sea lab at Fort Casey:

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“Pirate” Keith showing the kids the random sea creatures….this was a sea cucumber that “spits out of it’s bum”. When he described this, the kids roared with laughter. Gotta love anything toilet humor related.
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Hannah touches a sea star. She was a little more hesitant the bigger the creatures got!
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I can’t remember what this thing was called, but the longer he held it, the 50+ legs kept clinging tighter and tighter to his hand! Yikes!
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The sea urchin wasn’t quite as pokey as she thought it would be!
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Jake was not touching ANY of it! Ha! I don’t blame him! This particular creature was a spiny crab…and let’s face it, crabs are just spiders of the sea. Just say no to spiders; sea or otherwise!

After the preschool adventure, the kids decide they want to return to the beach and do some more exploring. So after a quick lunch at home – we head back to Ft. Casey!

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By the big gun. Hannah kept wondering if it was going to shoot bullets.
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Running all over the fort
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Here’s where the gooey tummy starts….It’s about an 8 foot drop. To my stomach, it might as well have been a 50 ft. drop! I must have said, “Back up from the ledge” in a strained voice about 100 times!
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Ooh look Mom! A place where I can plummet to my death! Shall I jump?
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Follow Jake the leader. He’s never been here before, but he’s showing us the ropes!
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This place is just cool. Had to take some randoms
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Please mom! Let me fall down and break my face!
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OOH! Let’s explore these dark and cavernous spaces! I bet they have spiders to creep mom out! Yay!


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Is it just me or is it a mom thing? All I can picture is him falling off the side of those dang stairs?!
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I really don’t need to ever buy these kids toys. They were so content for HOURS out here just climbing and exploring.
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King of the world!
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Squeamy tummy continues….at least this time she’s holding a hand rail!
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Yeah, you can get down now. Really. Now.

I don’t want to pass my fears on to my kiddos. I don’t tell them what I’m really thinking and feeling (My hands get clammy, I start to sweat, feel the need to pee, all combined with a deep gut-churning nausea.) What I do say is, “Watch your step!” “Ooh, that is cool!” and “Where to next?!” praying that they are ready to climb down.

Eventually we made our way to the beach. Ahhh, sea level. That’s my kind of “height”!

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The BEACH!

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I’m sure it’s true for many people, but it’s astonishing to me the effect the ocean has on my kids. The minute we get near the ocean, they just get calm. They mellow. They don’t fight. We all just relax….
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Checking out the seagulls….taking it all in.
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Drawing in the sand.
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There’s always room for everyone at the beach!
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This was one of my favorite pictures of the day. She’s mellow, exploring, and completely enamored by the rocks and waves.
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Back up the hill to the lighthouse!

The lighthouse….here’s where my worst fears come alive!

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There it is! But we must climb rocks first!
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Every. Single. Rock.
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The lighthouse! Oooh! Stairs. I bet these will make her tummy flip flop!
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The last portion is more of a ladder and less of a staircase. Wearing flip-flops, she fell right after I snapped this shot. I dropped everything and caught her. I thought I was going to die.

(While reviewing all these pictures, they just don’t do the reality justice. Not only did the ocean seem more vibrant, the sky bluer, the water sparkled, etc. than the photos show, the heights were definitely higher.)

Basically I think that when we give birth, they must install some kind of protective-freak-out-device that OVER-reacts when any possibility of danger arises. Even the slightest chance that someone may stub a toe and a little warning bell goes off. Ladders in lighthouses make me feel like a national emergency alert system is going off in my body!

Despite the heights and my physical reactions of their impending doom, the day was simply magnificent. The weather was perfect, they were great, and we were all up for an adventure. I consider myself lucky that as antsy as the hubs and I are, these two crazies love exploring the world with us!

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Hannah’s Celebration Festivities and a Weekend Away

On Hannah’s birthday, we attended Eric’s work picnic. There was a cool rock wall to climb. Hannah loved it, but liked the swinging back down more than the climbing up.

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Eric got into it too, and made it to the top to ring the bell! Of course he made it look effortless.

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And Jake climbed too!

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And not to be outdone (and new me never says no to something just because I’ve never done it before) I gave it a go, too. I only made it up about halfway, however.

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It was fun, and like anything else, I’ve never regretted doing something even if it scares me. What I was most surprised about was the amount of upper body strength that rock climbing must require. And I better get me some of that because I fully intend to do this again! 🙂

We also had dinner with my parents at Red Robin where Hannah got her free dessert and balloons and gifts galore!

We then headed south to Everett where we attended a birthday party at the Imagine Children’s Museum. Before we got there, we had a quick stop at Target where we ran into Spiderman and Batman!

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At the children’s museum: (If you are in Everett – you must check this place out! It’s so AWESOME!)

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Not sure who was having more fun….

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Jacob loved the train exhibit!

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Hannah was climbing walls. Again!

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At the fossil exhibit! Jake was in heaven!

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Getting a little help from Daddy!

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A rare moment of cooperation!

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Eric giving it a try!

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Then down to Seattle for the baseball game on Sunday!

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And of course 9 innings is a LOT to ask of littles to sit and watch, so we toured the stadium and spent much of the time on the escalators!

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Then we got in the HUGE line as it was Kids Run The Bases Day!

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So cool!

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Hannah fell asleep just before we got to the bases – poor thing! she was so pooped!

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Jake waits for his turn…and Hannah is OUT!

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Great weekend! (But I think we need a week to recuperate!)

Bittersweet Love Affair

Ah, sweet Half Marathon.

We started out not sure if we would like each other very much a couple of years ago. You with your attractive 13.1, me with my newly healed shins and proper running shoes. It was destiny, seeing you across the “room” of Honolulu. Then you made eye contact with me and I crossed your finish line….and it was over. I was in love with you.

You aren’t as brutal as Full Marathon. I can still recover in a day or two after running you, but you do give me a hard time. Today you just had to bring Miss Frigid Temps. You know I don’t care for her at all. I think you do this just to sabotage me.  I am seriously rethinking our entire relationship. Not only did I have to wear extra layers and felt like the this guy:

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but by the end of our date, I felt like an 80 year old whose arthritis was acting up. Seriously?! Who does that to someone they love? Apparently you do. You and Miss Frigid. Ugh. You disgust me.

Okay, okay, not really. I do love you. I just love you more when you are warm. Does that make me a bad runner? A fair-weather-only runner? A part-time runner? ….. ♪ ♫ We are undercover passion on the run, chasing love up against the sun ♪ ♫ ….cue Stevie!

Wow. That was awkward. At least we did see some beautiful sights this morning, you and me and Miss Frigid. Sights like this:

Oh, yeah. I no longer have the smart phone with which to take pictures. And I haven’t yet learned how to download images from my mind. Well, we did see some trumpeter swans and an eagle. (HUGE!) and it was a stunningly beautiful clear day with the snow-topped mountains in the distance…..similar to these….

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(Yes, these were taken from the internet, but it was from the route we ran!)

Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m glad we had this little chat. I think until you decide to break it off with Miss Frigid, we won’t be seeing much of each other. But that’s okay. I’ll wait for you.

Because I love you.

Old vs. New

It has been a crazy couple of weeks getting settled and unpacked!! Went for an icy bike ride with the kiddos today and am gearing up for working out in the morning bootcamp style with my mom and sister!

Over the past week or so I’ve noticed some astonishing differences being back in my hometown area as the new me vs. the old.

Eric has done deployments before, and while they stink – doing them with kiddos is just a whole other level of suckiness. However, before I would have been terrified of the responsibility of two kids on my own. Now, though – yes it sucks and I would much rather have him home, the fear is no longer there. I know some days are going to be better than others, but the terror has been replaced by an acceptance and a sense of “Yeah. I got this. I’m not going to sit around and be sad. We are going to make the best of it and have a life and not just sit around waiting for Daddy to come home.” This is huge.

I meet peoples’ gaze and am the first to wave or smile and say hello. This is such a seemingly small thing – but huge for me. Old me would wait for others to approach me or make the first move. Not so much anymore. And everyone in our new neighborhood has been so friendly. For some reason I don’t remember the valley being so friendly… But perhaps I’m just seeing it with new vision 😉

Went shopping yesterday for winter clothes for my new body and had a blast with a good friend. Old me never let thin friend into dressing room. New me: fashion show parade in the room!!!
Lots of laughs, catching up and cute new clothes that I’ve worked so hard for. And I didn’t even charge her for the tickets to the gun show! 😉

Going to church and watching my mom watch me and seeing her see the differences in dropping off the kiddos at Children’s Church. She even remarked at how dropping the kids off was “something you would have never done before”. The kids have a great time, get to interact and play and learn with other kids and I get a much needed mental break and spiritual recharge for the week. Win win!!

I have scheduled a test date for taking my certified personal trainer exam. NEVER would I have thought I was good enough, athletic enough, or whatever excuse to do something like this. And I find all I feel is excited!!! Yeah, a little nervous because I want to do well and not have to retake the thing – but mostly just excited! I can’t wait to help someone else to feel as good as I do. I can’t think of anything better.

Instead of waiting until __________ , I am getting out and making things happen. I’m more proactive. This is partially due to wishing I had found bootcamp and done it sooner. I don’t want to miss any opportunities in our new location. Hit the ground running baby!!!

It’s just a bunch of little things like this that in the past week or so have been very apparent to me.

I can appreciate old me. She got me to here. But new me is way more fun, has so much more energy and is comfortable in her own skin. And I love that!