Dispatches from a go-gettin journalist. Because not all Army wives live behind the lines...

Monday, December 31, 2012

The Best is Yet to Come

So many wonderful things happened in 2012 that I'm sad to say goodbye.

Of course, I did not know how wonderful it would be. The year started with me knowing that I would have to leave the Apple for a good long while, and that depressed me big time. But, like a fierce and independent woman, I threw on a pair of stilettos and got myself a great job in the Bean. I made the most of the cards I was dealt.

I won the whole darn game.

Bebe consumed most of the year (and my belly) this year. By far she was the game changer. Now that we're only days away from her arrival, and the start of the new year, I can't help but think that as good as God has been to us this year, surely the best is yet to come.

As I make my annual 100 resolutions for the new year, I can't help but think about what I've learned this year:
  • Nothing, NOTHING in life is just handed to you. So quit complaining and pitying yourself and fight for what you want or change the situation you no longer want to be in. Even if it's hard. 
  • No does not mean No. Every no is a future yes.
  • Everything EVERYTHING happens for a reason. The good, and the not so good. Just because that reason isn't revealed to us right away, doesn't mean there isn't one. 
  • Actions always speak louder than words, and most times spell clear writings on the wall. 
  • My least favorite word is "busy." Because that concept doesn't exist. And the fact that I can say that with three jobs and a baby on the way means it's true. Busy is bull and a word worth eliminating as much as the people in your life who use it.  
  • Just because you're married doesn't give you the license to drop the ball. Marriage spoiler alert: the bar is set higher for a spouse than for a date. Putting the marriage first is not easy and chances are you're not good at it. Like many things in life, it's a WORK in progress.
  • I'm emotional. I'm sentimental. I like surprises when I don't have to hint at them. And I like the yucky love stuff. This year I was certainly short-changed. (Besides crying my eyes out at the gender reveal ultrasound).
2013 will certainly bring on big changes -- some obvious, but many that will seem unexpected.

Let's do this!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Nesting Mode is On!

It's been a while since I've peeked in to update you. 

We've had an amazing month of friends and family -- a wonderful baby shower (where it finally hit me that we're having a bebe!!!!!!), and so many wedding and baby announcements. Superman learned to swaddle and change a diaper in our birthing class, and my whole world changed in a way I can't quite explain.  

I secured a new writing contract which has pulled me in a new and exciting direction. I won another journalism award and immediately thought of how important it is for bebe to know that as a little lady she can do whatever she puts her mind to. She can have a career and raise a family and be happy -- after she learns to crawl and walk, that is. It won't be easy. It may require sacrificing date nights for three months, especially since a forgetful husband may not take initiative to pick up the slack of decisive planning and execution. But she can be a woman who's got her own "thang" and can manage to pick herself up from her bootstraps when things aren't quite perfect. She can be the opposite of dependent.   

Every day last month, I couldn't help but think of how the day would be different once bebe is around. Our house is not clean enough. Our nursery still looks like an office no matter how hard we've tried to revamp (mainly because our furniture hasn't arrived). We're working over-over-time to be able to afford those diapers. More than once, we've (seriously) discussed private school and college options for bebe. Mind you, she's still breathing amniotic fluid.  

In short: 

We're in nesting mode. Big time. 


I have never before experienced this feeling of "I can't wait" and "I can wait" at the same time. For instance -- I can wait for labor pains. I can't wait for bebe.

Once the rest of our furniture arrives -- which has been promised to us in a few weeks -- I think we'll be good and ready.

As for the labor part. Well, I've got to buck up (maybe on meds). A girl can't be pregnito forever. (Thank goodness!)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Back to Normal

After a month of living in sunny 80 degree weather, Superman was greeted back home with a snowstorm.

He ignored all signs of a Nor'easter and took a hose to his precious lawn. Only to have it freeze over.

He shoveled and salted the whole driveway.

He took one look in the refrigerator and pitched and restocked.

He took one trip to the bathroom and grabbed the cleaning brush.

He changed the flat tire and installed a new battery so the car would start.

Then he mentioned that in his phone favorites, I've moved up the list to number one on his "most called." Even surpassed the military and the Blue. This won't last for long since we'll actually see each other, which is just fine by me.

I say, everything is the way it should be again!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Structure

A slew of new endeavors in my life has forced me to realize (and act on) the fact that I need to structure my time. I'm juggling four jobs and two new big Big BIG projects and I've been learning the hard way that doing everything all at once isn't going to work. I need to carve out time and devote that time to one thing and nothing else.

I'm glad that bebe is still in the pouch while we're learning this lesson. Right now, she's quiet and goes wherever I go. But in a few months, that won't be the case. That's why I've got to hunker down and create some structure.

Every parenting book talks about the importance of structure for a baby. The more a baby knows what to expect and when to expect it, the less fussy baby will be, and the easier our lives will become.

Let me tell you -- if it wasn't for bebe, I would brush off the idea of structure and just focus on trying to keep all the balls in the air at once, even if it kills me.

I think having bebe in our life has really taught us the importance of creating structure, respecting time, and sometimes saying 'no.' That's saying A LOT for the Super couple who does everything, all the time, every day, no matter what.

Today, I was scheduled to work 16 hours. Normally I don't quantify the hours spent working, or really talk about what I do "negatively", because I love every minute of it. But forget the part about working. Here's the bigger picture. Those 16 hours comes after working 6 days straight, oftentimes on up to 6 different projects.

  • The only sun I see is from an office window. Don't ask me about my vitamin D levels. 
  • Superman decided to have the landscaper put a new lawn in. All I see is a new green whoosh as I'm either leaving or coming home. Now he's having heart palpitations because our untended-to lawn is dying. 
(Superman has clearly violated soldier handbook rule #4897345789 - "Do NOT start a big project that you cannot complete prior to leaving your spouse for a long time, expecting her to clean up after your mistake... the woman has a life ya know. And it doesn't revolve around going down YOUR to-do list during every phone conversation. Show your household commander-in-chief some respect. Ya Rookie.")
  • I live on peanut butter and cream cheese and cereal. The most extensive cooking I've done has been turning the knob on the oven and sticking some leftovers in there. Don't ask about that one time I left the knob turned even though there wasn't any food in the oven. Don't ask for how long it was left turned on. 
  • Don't even ask me how many days in a row I've worn the same pair of socks. Don't ask me where all of Superman's socks have gone even though he hasn't been home for a month. 

Today, for the first time, I said 'no' to the scheduled 16 hours. I don't feel as guilty as I thought I would.

So thank you bebe! Thank you for coming into existence so we can learn to structure and simplify!  You may just turn me into a over employed, vitamin D enriched, full meal cooking, laundry doing superwoman who does it all in its structured and scheduled time. Let's hope. Or this is going to be a long 18 years.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Deployments & Giving Birth

While I didn't know it then, I know now that nothing has better prepared me to give birth than going through a deployment.

Why's that? Well, nothing I explain can say it better than this post over at Household 6 Diva. So enjoy reading her insights!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wearing my heart on my Pinterest board

It's not so difficult nowadays to know what's on someone's mind. All you have to do is check out what they've been pinning lately on Pinterest.

Although Superman defines Pinterest as a whole bunch of random STUFF that threw up on a website, I tell him that only multitasking overthinking women like me know that there's a method to the madness.

A few months ago, all I could pin about was home renovation ideas. Now that we've OFFICIALLY entered our nesting phase (more on that another time), it's all Bebe. 

I don't consider myself crafty, or a DIY expert. I've done a little, but nothing to brag (or blog) about. Besides, that's what Superman is here for. I point. He does. Sometimes he lets me hold a tool or two. But not the scary ones. 

Still, Pinterest stirs my imagination of all the fun things to do with Superman... even someday with Bebe... even some amazing party ideas for the future pregnitos in my life...

Admit it, ladies. You too wear your hearts on your Pinterest boards. 










Tuesday, October 23, 2012

In the works

I just returned from a week-long stay in Michigan visiting my parents. It was a much needed break from the hustle of daily life in the Bean, and has definitely shaved some days off from Superman's time away without me feeling it too much. My parents also appreciated seeing the bump and feeling Bebe kick for them for the first time. We even snuck into one of my dad's checkup rooms in between seeing patients, so one of his tech's could perform an ultrasound. I love being able to check in on Bebe every once in a while just to make sure she's behavin' in there.

Now that I'm back, there's a lot happening. A LOT. All good things.

Most of it is "in the works," so I won't count the eggs. But soon there will be more reasons to wake up earlier so I can take a few extra minutes to get polished for work. (Even though few and far between, my rolling-out-of-bed-look must now be sealed in everyone's repressive memory forever).

I know. I hate when people are vague, but lately I haven't been able to sit still long enough to make it all real here yet. But I will.

All I know is that I'm blessed. Blessed blessed blessed blessed blessed...

Soon, I will share the blessings with you.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

My new favorite word(s)

So far, I have loved every minute of being pregnito. Trust me, I can say this because based on the stories I've heard from other women, I've had it really easy so far.

But there's one part I'm not looking forward to. I'm sure you can guess that part. I'll give you a big hint. It's the part when it's time for the pregnancy part to be over. I think you get it.

As a woman, I have every right to be scared, nervous, and to get those meds on speed dial.

As for Superman, he doesn't quite get my reservations. Come that fateful day in January when I'm squeezing the life out of his arm and yelling worse obscenities than all the boys in Southie, he'll get it. I'll make sure he gets it, real good.

One night before dinner he said to me, "But I thought you love baby!"

Honey, I love baby. I don't enjoy the daylong rough 'n tough process of bringing baby into this world.

There's a difference.

Later that night, we were flipping through a pregnancy magazine and I came across an article about an emerging trend where the husband gifts his wife with some serious postpartum bling. A thank you for nine months of her not being able to recognize her own body, and an additional I-love-you-so-much-for-pushing-baby-out-of-woo-woo. It's called a "push present."

Push Present. 

And there you have it. My new fave word.

This trend is familiar to me since in the Middle East husbands typically gift something shiny to their wives after baby is born. I don't think Superman took it seriously when I told him the tradition because.... this is the red white and blue, baby.

Well, the fact that we saw it in an American magazine as an emerging trend just sealed that traditional deal.

Face it, Superman. You cannot deny me the fruits of my labor.

The ideas are flowing... So, what are we thinking ladies??






Friday, October 12, 2012

Park it

I love our town for recognizing that I need a parking spot of my own. Granted, it's right next to the handicap spot... 

Still, my waddling self appreciates it. 

Word to the mothers (to-be). 










Thursday, October 11, 2012

Gone

Superman left early this morning for a month-long military training. And I'm totally inconsolable.

A month in military family standard time is equivalent to a day or even less in civilian time. A walk in the park.

But for some reason, this time I've been feeling it harder.  (How did I do this for a six month period last time? Or even a year in a combat zone? What has happened to me?!)

Maybe it's because we've gotten used to seeing each other around (somewhat). Or maybe it's because of baby-related hormones. Or maybe it's that I've been feeling a sense of completeness lately with our little growing family...

I have a new found respect for women who go through an entire pregnancy, even babyhood, all while their husbands are deployed. You are all better women than I. Or perhaps you have more balanced progesterone levels...

The worst is that I've been feeling this way for weeks before today. Anxious, nervous, worried, fearful anticipation.

Oh military, you have a sneaky way of just knowing when things are going really good. That's when you figure it's best to throw a wrench in things. And you never forget to throw in that added punch of insomnia, just to put it all even a little more off balance.

As much as I'd love to just sleep away the days, I can't. I can't make us Army wives look weak...

That and seriously, I have some major work deadlines coming up that I can't just wallow away into MIA-hood.

But for the record, it never gets easier -- as much as I'd like to think and say it does.

One month. Here goes.





Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Happy Day Trip-aversary to Us!

Superman knows I have a soft spot for day trips. He has taken me in a WWII plane, beach hopping on a bike, a river cruise to an Oktoberfest... 

But that was all so long ago. Like some new bling, we were seriously overdue. 

Luckily, Superman gets it. And so off we went for a surprise day trip to a tiny town in southern Mass. 

He called this, the "October Surprise" haha! I'll take it. 






Monday, October 8, 2012

Scratch that

Remember a few days ago when I said all this? 

Well, scratch that. I take it back. Forget the idea of getting that bike back...

Yesterday I witnessed a motorcycle smash into the back of a car. The driver crashed through the back windshield. If I hadn't swerved, I would have sandwiched that motorcyclist in. This isn't the first time I'd seen a bike crash, but it was by far the most horrific as-it's-happening crash I had ever witnessed. I'm not sure what ended up happening to the motorcyclist, whether he lived or died. He really looked in bad shape. Half of his body flew right into the back seat of the car. The other half hung over the trunk of the car. The sound of his body pounding keeps replaying in my head. It shook me. Hard.

It was God's way of saying that we enjoyed that bike while it lasted. For me, that's now good enough.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

An Old Stem, A New Leaf


Every year in my twenties has been completely than the year before. Different state, different job, different schools, different point in my relationship with Superman. Friendships have come and gone... 

But no life-changing year has been as radical thus far as the transition from Apple to Bean. 

Some days, I miss the Apple girl. I miss the rush and the attitude and the style of the city. 

And while a part of the Apple will always be with me, I can feel the Bean creeping its way in. 

For instance, in the Apple, if I saw a shady looking women yelling obscenities on the street, I would just walk by. She's shady. She's loud. She's in the Apple. So what. 

Last night, I saw a shady woman on a street corner close to my home and called 911. Even though she wasn't loud, she's a stranger and she's in my town. I was more scared of that than anything I had ever encountered in the Apple. Really. 

In the Apple, a weekly brunch date at a new spot was a must-do. Now, the only apple living I do is go apple picking at an orchard.

Don't get me wrong, I'm embracing the here and now. But I'm fighting to transform on my own terms. There are some things I just won't give up. And at the core, you can see I'm still an Appleite through and through... 


This photo is a bit old, but the sentiment lives. Maybe next year, I'll be in a completely different place in life, but today I say: 

Rock on, domestic diva. But don't let the comfort of the Bean suck the fun out of you.  

Friday, October 5, 2012

Here we go again...

Our military hiatus is over. 

Just when we had slipped into a routine of together and work and home and TV and relax and bed... the military has ordered Superman away for a month of training. 

Better now than when bebe's here, we say. 

Last time Superman was sent to this particular locale for training, I was sent the following picture of him: 


All I kept thinking to myself... besides, I HEART THIS VISION OF A MAN... is, I hope to hey-zeus he did not go out and get himself all of these toys. 

Because Army wives, we all know that when our husbands leave for prolonged periods of time, you can almost guarantee they'll get the toy itch. 

And you can bet your life that they'll scratch it. 

Luckily he only scratched one of those three itches. This: 


At first, I was nervous and scared of the dang thing. But soon enough it became a staple in our relationship --  an integral part of our dating adventure. We even featured it in our engagement photos. But in our quest for financial freedom before tying the knot, we sold it. That's when I realized how much I loved it. I think I cried more than Superman. I loved that bike and everything it stood for with all my heart. 

As long as I'd known Superman, he owned a bike, so seeing it go was like a losing half a person. He felt the loss too I'm sure, but not as hard as I did. 

Now, I've got the itch to get this toy back, and ironically Superman is not having any of it! It's certainly not the financial freedom this time. I think being a part of the Blue and seeing what these bikes can do to you when something goes wrong coupled with baby on the way has turned him into a no-thank-you. 

Nonsense! Let the record show that I want one. I want to ride all over town with one. I want to join in the bajillion motorcycle runs for charity and  be a raging motorcycle riding philanthropist. 

I'm just saying that if Superman decides he wants to scratch that itch at this locale again, I wouldn't be mad is all. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Anniversary

Happy Anniversary to the man who would walk through fire -- and under swords -- for me. 

You squash spiders, even though I know how much you hate them. 
You make everything look better with some sweat, paint, and a hammer.
You don't take no for an answer, even if it's the easy way out. 
You may just be a bigger go-getter than me. I said "may," so don't jump to conclusions.
You make me believe I have it all, because I have everything I have ever wanted.
You make me feel safe. Not because of your wide array of weaponry and martial arts capabilities.  
You understand my unconditional love for Gatto. And secretly I know you love her just as much. 
You put a lid on all my crazy thoughts. I know, I'm a lot to handle. 
You're my baby daddy. Consider yourself lucky.    
You have given me everything. EVERYTHING. The funnest and happiest years of my life.
You give me so much to look forward to because the best is yet to come.  



Saturday, September 29, 2012

Keeping it Together

There will certainly be a few years in your 20-something's where everyone around you will be putting a ring on it. And I mean, everyone.

Well, for those of us originally from the Middle East -- you can drop the 20-something. I've been attending at least 3 weddings each summer since I turned 14. And each year, I've had different ideas about wedding and marriages... everything from: someday-my-prince-will-come to I-never-want-to-marry to maybe-arranged-marriages-do-work (?) .

Well, we all know I'm married now, so we can put the kibosh on those crazy ideas.

Still, I have to admit that in all my years of observing marriagehood, this year has definitely been the craziest.

Just as there will certainly be a few years in your 20-something's where everyone around you will be putting a ring on it -- There will certainly be a few years in your 20-something's where many many around you will begin to fall apart.

I'm always totally shocked to hear about it. In some cases, it hasn't even been a year!

And of course, if you know me, I totally take personal situations to heart even if they have nothing to do with me. Example: I can no longer watch MTV's 16 and Pregnant. No, I'm not 16. No, I have not been in any of the crazy scenarios these girls are finding themselves in. But still, I can't help but just get wound up in all the crazy emotions.

Confession: One time I legitimately called Superman to ask him if he would yawn and say "hurry up" while I was in labor, and leave me immediately after delivery because got a text that his friends were going golfing and he wanted to go too. (No Joke: an actual 16 and Pregnant scenario).

Superman then proceeded to ban me from all trashy TV. This house no longer has cable.

Anyway, same overall deal on these marriagehood scenarios. Maybe it's because I'm hormonal and have more of an emotional opinion about things. Certainly it's difficult to see behind the scenes of anyone's relationship. Especially nowadays when there's such an outward display through Facebook, etc.

But really, can anyone really sum up why some marriages last and some don't? Certainly no one will submit themselves to the wedding planning bruhaha knowing things may go sour. So why after just one year call it quits? Or sometimes, even after 25 years! Facebook gives us the puppy love, but it certainly doesn't give us much answers!

I read recently that "the Blue" has the highest divorce rate. Higher than the national average. A whopping 80%! I was surprised. But then I wasn't. Because almost every law enforcement story I've covered has had a nasty divorce back story. Almost every conversation has had an "ex-wife."

I mean, every 20/20 and Dateline episode has been about love gone sour!

And of course, all this if followed by me projecting the crazy scenarios on my own life.

Fortunately, reality is different. I love being married to "the Blue" (minus the sleepless nights and constant safety checks and worrying). But maybe that love is not because I'm married to "the Blue," but because I'm married to Superman. That probably makes a huge difference.

And I definitely think I have given Superman a run for his dowry thus far... I find a new way to drive the man crazy daily. But somehow I'd like to think that if he were in charge of writing the rest of this post, he'd write some insanely great things about me.

...which is all why we keep it together.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Superpower Envy

There are many reasons I admire Superman -- I won't bore you with all the sappy deets.

I tell you, the man is a superhero. And while I don't envy many of his super powers (i.e. the ability to fight crime all day and all night, the ability to stand in formation for incredibly long periods of time, etc. [not interested!])...

there is one power that I'd love to have...

That is, the ability to wind down and shut off completely. Unlike me, the man can sleep anytime, anywhere.

As for me, it could be the middle of the night, I could have worked 16 hours and have been hours into a deep sleep, but the minute the phone rings, or I get an email notification, I am wide awake. I've got to answer that phone at all costs. I've got to see what that email is all about. I have to make sure everyone and everything is okay and taken care of.

Not Superman though. He's got such a good wind down routine, that once he's down, there's no getting him up till he's good and ready. A loud phone call may stir him, but he is perfectly content going right back to snoozing. In fact, I don't think he even remembers the phone even went off. For the last half hour of the day, he has so shut down that I don't even think he even processes half the things I say...

How does he do this!?? I have studied long and hard. I have tried to emulate. I have tried to turn off all electronic communications to see if I too can achieve this super power. No dice. I'm just left feeling antsy. I must know everything at all times. I must be awake, even if I am asleep.

Maybe it's a female thing?  A journalist thing?

A bajillion thoughts are always running through my head...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

On Board with Bebe

I'm not sure if (and when) is the appropriate time to announce that you're expecting.

Of course, the easiest people to tell right away are family and close friends.

In fact, we announced it in a really fun way --  see our great photographer's blog post about it.

But what about the next circle? And then the wider circle? And then the even wider circle? And then your workplace!????

While I'm beyond excited about bebe, I had (and still have) some serious dread about telling my boss and coworkers that I'm expecting. Would everyone else be just as excited? I dreaded being looked at as dead weight who's going to take substantial time off and will need to be replaced even though I have no intention of quitting. I dreaded being looked at as someone who didn't take her job seriously. I dreaded being passed up for a promotion. I dreaded. And dreaded. For five pregnancy months I dreaded.

Until I came back from Costa Rica with some cajunas, and an unmistakably bigger bump. I forced myself to just get comfortable.

I'm glad I did. Work has been nothing but supportive (and EXCITED!). I'm glad I also waited until I was semi-comfortable to accept whatever the reaction may be (though it's been infinitely better than the dragon breathing fire reaction that I conjured in my head). I definitely have not told everyone at work. I figure a few people knowing will get that conversation started (I mean, it's a "news" room people).

Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever look back at this first pregnancy and think about how stupid it was that I was scared to share the great news! Maybe I would wish I'd have gussied up the nerve to just share sooner. It's a natural process of life, anyway!

It just took me five months the first time around. Many people definitely have told me that five months in is a little late to be making that announcement.  But really, what is considered the "right" time?

These past few months have taught me that I am jaded by the certain "good ol' boy" mentality in my career field. That I have taken to heart all of the pieces I read and the circumstances I've seen first hand that, in some workplaces, women are definitely NOT treated equally in many respects as men.

But what am I going to do about it? All I can really do is just stay honest with myself, love my body and God for this miracle, embrace my beautiful growing family, and keep my nose to grindstone in my career.

Because it ain't ovah. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hunger Games

The Super household has been handed another mission from Household 6 (a.k.a. ME!)

Mission: Feed Superman.

Sounds simple enough. I mean, give the man a cookie and feed him for a lifetime. (Isn't that how the saying goes? Anyway....)

It's not that simple. Not in this household. A few days ago was a prime example -- we came home with four handfuls of bags stuffed with food. Delicious, nutritious food for a week's worth of meals. I stocked the goodies in the front of the pantry so Superman could eye all the goodies. I even placed the need-to-stay-cool goodies in a nice neat row in the fridge so it's within eye level of the superhero.

But this morning, when I went into the kitchen to pack my own lunch box, I noticed everything still neatly arranged in the pantry and fridge. NEATLY! ARRANGED! The way I left it yesterday. This means he didn't even pick it up and think, "maybe I'll pack this for a snack..." and then set it back.

NOPE.

He didn't do a honest to healthy goodness thing. In fact, he's probably reading this while shoving a McD's burger in his piehole instead of the variety of cold cuts I bought. It doesn't take night vision, Mister!!!

This is the dilemma. How do I get the man to eat!?

Superman is not eating (decent food), because he just refuses to grab the food we have! Even though we went to the food store together and he got to pick whatever he wanted!

Hence, this mission will be unlike any other food-related operation that troops under the Super roof have ever endured. It will require intelligence gathering (which won't be too difficult considering the fast food greasy receipts are typically crumpled on the dresser), strategic planning, numerous drills and dry runs, counterinsurgency tactics if the man decides to rebel against the healthy snacks.

Translation: It will require me waking up at 4a.m. to make breakfast and pack lunch because I've realized that's the only way this is going to happen.

Potential counterinsurgency tactic: Spoon feedings while he takes a lunch break in the barracks. Let's hope it doesn't get to that. But just so we're all clear here, that's NOT out of the question!!!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Makeover - Step 1


This. Is bebe's room. I kid. Well, sort of. Fitting that the workaholics choose the baby space to be where the office is... 

We'd been looking for the best way to furnish this space since we moved in. It's the only room in our house that we haven't really "furnished" the way a house should be. At first, it housed moving boxes. Then it housed a good friend in need of a place. Then it housed desks. Then it housed a mess. What were we going to do with this space? 

I think bebe answered that question for us. 

I'll document the makeover, since -- by the plans we have in our mind -- it's going to be epic. 

We've already started. The walls used to be cream colored. Although you can't really tell from this photo, it's now a light pistachio.Step 1. CHECK!  I absolutely love the contrast that the light green has with the dark wood. And the light green color can stay long after we've moved out and rented the place to others... 

Plus, it makes Superman happy. Soon enough he'll be outnumbered by females in the household (me, Gatto, Bebe...), that I can't imagine what it would be like if he had to also come home to pink walls every day. My guess is he'd probably sleep with his military uniform on and start eating MREs again, maybe even lock himself up in the VFW and talk war stories... Okay, let's not even let our mind take us there.  

It's a win-win. 

Next up: A rug for the room. I already have the perfect one in mind... 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Weekends are meant for...

Earlier today, an email dropped into my inbox from one of my favorite clothing stores.

The subject line: "Weekends are meant for shopping."

The bougie, stiletto-loving, sweata weatha anticipating, fall-is-my-favorite-fashion-season part of me would say, "Preach on!!!"

But I'm resisting the urge to "hallelujah" the statement by instead making rather than spending money on the weekends. I've learned that I'm one of the lucky few in life that got the career I've wanted since I was in 6th grade. So to me, work is by no means work. I'm using that to my advantage.

You're probably thinking, WHAT? Working on the weekends? But if you know me, you know that I can't sleep in. I'm a doer. A MAJOR doer. I've got to go somewhere, do something, contribute -- all day, every day. So this makes the most sense to my motivated soul.

That's not to say that every so often, I do like to peek in and take a look at the shiny and new collections that are donning the shelves.

Last night, I learned that the concept of window shopping is a bunch of doo doo (not to be confused with a lot of fun, because I still love doing it). Truth: Window shopping leads to owning. Even though I didn't shop till I dropped at a nearby outdoor mall last night -- after all, we were there just to grab a bite -- I couldn't help but gently pull Superman to the direction of an accessory shop. Said accessory shop had a buy-one-get-one deal. It spoke right to my heart.

I know the blingy headband won't break the bank. But Superman knows full well it's a gateway drug to bigger, shinier things.

The skinny is, I'm a gullible victim of consumer marketing. If I'm not occupying my time by working, I'd probably swing by that lovely store (and about 12 others within the same vicinity) and shop until the leaves change color.

But I'm committed not to. I'm on a "diet," if you will. I know. I hate that word too, because it sounds so restrictive, and so yo-yo, and so all about food. And as a health journalist, I know that more often than not, diets don't work. For any reason.

Okay, so scratch that. I'm on a "discipline."

And the new weekend working routine has been great so far. In fact, eight (or sixteen straight) hours of working has taught me more about life than eight (or sixteen straight) hours worth of shtuff.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Postpartum Menu

It's one thing to crave delicious foods and drinks when you're pregnito. It's another thing to crave foods and drinks that you just can't indulge in.

I'm in the latter camp.

Some people make birthing plans. Some make postpartum menu plans. I'm also in the latter camp.

Superman has no idea how I'd like to deliver bebe {"behbeh"}, nor does he know exactly what he should be doing to help me deliver bebe. But he sure well knows EXACTLY what I want to be eating and drinking post delivery. And let me tell you -- if the man knows what's good for him, he'll deliver. Right to my bed side.

Here's the menu so far as outlined to Superman:

Breakfast: Eggs Benny (sub the ham out with some salmon, of course... )

Snack: See below and pray with me that these gifts from God will still be around in January.


Lunch: Soosh. (as in, sushi. Lots of it. In many non-California roll varieties.) 

Dinner: Deliciously RAW Oysters. (That's all I can think of right now for dinner... I'll get back to him with additions). 

What "illegal-during-pregnancy" foods do you think should go on THE plan?  

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Babymooning

We would've never imagined spending our 2nd wedding-anniversary-big-trip babymooning... but we did!

Actually, Superman hates the word "babymoon." For one, he thinks that the word denotes having a baby THEN going on the trip... just like a honeymoon.  And for two, babymoon denotes one last hoorrah before baby comes, and then never travelling big for a long long time, if ever, again. Well, if you know us, that's just not happening. I traveled the world growing up, and we hope that baby is ready for the adventures that await!

Costa Rica is a beautifully preserved country. Our American version of "environmentally friendly" and "going green" doesn't even size up to the efforts this country puts forth to preserve their ecosystem. 

So many people asked me if it would even be possible to adventure so far away from home while pregnant. Answer: yes. It is possible. I have felt great so far -- thank God -- and I felt like I could do everything I wanted to do while there.  

Although I admit, I had a bit of an anxiety attack on the plane going to and coming from Costa Rica. No seriously, it was a shameless emotional breakdown. I travel, A LOT. So it's unlike me to panic as much as I did. I chalk it up to hormones (let's hope!), and say that I'll get over it soon (let's hope!)

Here are scenes from "Behbeh"s first trip... though SHE ;) will probably not remember it... 


Baby bump makes its blog debut! 




Thursday, August 9, 2012

Worried Woman

Yes, I've gone from Wonder Woman, to Worried Woman.

For the second year in a row, I've been asked to speak at one of the largest journalism conferences. Last year I had such an amazing time doing it, so naturally I couldn't say no. But I also remember that by this time last year, all of my presentation slides were complete (heck, they were done 4 months in advance!) and all I was doing was rehashing and refining my lecture. Wonder Woman, indeed.

Flash forward.

There's 40 days left until this year's conference and only half of my slides are complete. I'm not even sure I have the right message down. Worried Woman. In a household of superheroes, I definitely have not been pulling my weight on that front. But instead of finding the energy deep inside a tall salted caramel mocha,  *ahem* myself, I'm thinking about.... vacation.

I need it. We need it.

Costa Rica. Only 8 days left until we're away from civilization for a while, celebrating our 2nd anniversary...

All I can think about is... just get there. 

That is, until I heard on the news tonight that there are two hurricanes headed right to that country -- and will probably be there by the time we arrive. Worried Woman overtime!

Productivity, come back to me!!!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Our first Bebe ("behbeh") photo

Dear Bebe, (pronounced "behbeh"),

When we first found out about you, you took our words away. You took our breath away. Heck, I think our hearts even stopped beating for a while. Or maybe it beat so fast that we just had one continuous pulse. Mommy's quick thoughts were: Family vacations! Dressing you up! Back to school! I think Daddy's quick thoughts were more like: West Point! Coaching all your sports! The next Einstein!

You'll probably never remember the moment, but we will never forget any of the details for the rest of our lives. Daddy will never forget being told to sit his tush down. I won't ever forget the way he just wrapped his arms around my stomach and pulled us in really tight. At that moment, he had the whole world in his arms. I'm sure he felt it.

Now we're working tirelessly around the clock to make sure all of your dreams come true, just like ours have.

Welcome to the family Bebe! We can't wait to see the person you will be.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

And, we're back

Hi everyone!

As you can tell, I took a blog hiatus, and I'm not sorry about it. Superman came home for good in March, we moved from the Apple to the Bean, both started new jobs (yes, multiple ones for each of us), and we took time rediscover (or maybe discover for the first time) what it's like to finally be at home with each other without another long separation looming.

It's been amazing.

We are truly blessed in every sense of the word. Last year, when I wrote a short letter to God letting Him know where I stood, I had no idea He would roll out the red carpet to this new life. Sometimes it scares me to think about all of the wonderful things. I truly believe no prayer goes unanswered, even if it's not the answer we had in our minds. That belief has always proved right.

Now that Superman is away for the military for a few weeks, I think it's a good time for a blog revival.

Here are just a few quick updates: 
  • Remember when me preparing anything in the kitchen besides cereal and spaghetti was a joke? I WAS a complete Appleite through and through. Even had my own tables reserved at some of the best spots in town. Well, a renovated kitchen in the Bean, and a Middle Eastern grocery store down the street put an end to those good ol' days. American food? Not so much. But I have channeled the Syrian woman in me, and Superman loves it -- as witnessed by a quick look over at him the other day while he was shoved an entire arabic chicken wrap in his mouth as if to keep it from running away. But, with whatever yummy things I make in our suburban kitchen, just so we're clear Bean: You can never take brunch away from me.
  • While I was out, I was convinced people would find my blog by searching all things 'Army.' Nope. They've found it by searching for 'Belize' and 'Mediterranean Cruise.' I hear ya. We military families need a break! In a few weeks we're headed to Costa Rica, so there'll be plenty more for you to look for.
  • The Army wife in me used to say -- Military training? Piece of cake! Deployment? Bring it on! Confession: We've been out of the Army game for quite a while. Between changes in Superman's unit, and the tsunami of a new civilian life, the Army has taken a back seat. Well, more like, the ARMY has thrown US in the back seat! I can't remember the last time I washed an ACU. This time Superman will be away for less than a month -- and I have to admit, we've been so out of the game that I had a bit of a panic attack when he left this morning. A part of me commends the old me that made it through a whole year (with only a few minor freak outs). Another part of me is digging to find where the heck she went. 
  • Striking the work-life balance has been even more difficult. A year ago, I'd say work was weighing the scale down. Now, I'd say that life is. I'm trying to keep one foot in each game! But, from experience, when Superman is away, I become more productive than ever, so let's see if that holds true. 

Also, the blog hiatus was because we also have something else cooking ;)


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

MilSpouse Appreciation Day

Did you know the Friday before Mother’s Day is Military Spouse Appreciation Day?


Well, neither did I, until Ann Marie over at Household6Diva  reminded me. Good to know the Calendar powers that be have got us covered!

And I thought the only calendar day I got was my birthday...

Sunday, May 6, 2012

On Death and Dying

Last year I lost a dear friend to an uncurable form of cancer. She was in her mid-20s.

There is so much I didn't know about her while she was alive and knowing now has made me love her even more. I didn't know that she kept a blog about her journey through her diagnosis. Last night, I found the blog and read every single entry.

This made me think about how much I think I might know about my friends and family, but that I really don't. And that I should try even harder.

I've been thinking alot about death and dying lately. As a journalist that's alot of what we see and report. It doesn't help that Superman is now dawning the Blue and each newsroom owns a dreaded police scanner. Every call for backup, every "man down," I hear. In some ways, they've all become a superman to me. So Superman is not thousands of miles away. Sometimes the danger is just a few towns over.

It's made me paranoid I think. But I tell people all the time that this has been an ongoing fear pre-Blue. In fact, we had a not-so-average wedding planning experience. While we were choosing between roses and peonies, silk and chiffon, we were also filling out life insurance policies and writing a Will. That's because we thought Superman was shipping out after the wedding.

It took us back to what was important.

Now, if I let my thoughts get the better of me, I start to spin. When Superman stays late at work and I wake up to find he's not here, I think, what's the hold up. No phone call, no text, did I miss that knock at the door, I should've stayed awake, why didn't I jot that emergency number down, there's no recovering, I will never marry, the sun will never shine, pray, pray, pray.

Many times during her dying days, it seemed like my friend did the same. Woulda, shoulda, coulda. But she really did something about it. I can't say it all because the list of the miraculous things she did to make the world right before she left us would go on forever . But I'll share one insight she offered that resonates.   Only when things go wrong, or when we're at our most vulnerable do we realize what is truly important. But what if we could keep that state during the highs and lows? I mean, what if we could pray at times when we didn't have to ask for something.

I want to live my life so that I don't have to fill out life insurance policies and Wills to realize that floral purchasing decisions are not the end of the world. Things that matter. Things that don't.

That is my resolution to keep.

"And when trouble touches man, he calls Us lying down and sitting down and standing up: then when We remove his 'trouble, he passes on as if he never called Us at the time of any trouble touching him; Thus it has been made fair seeming to the extravagance of  their deeds." [Surat Yunus, Ayah 12]


~Miss you, friend. You are always in the deepest most sincere part of my heart ~

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Every Year, Forever

I've been slowly organizing our home since moving in. Moving is the perfect opportunity to sort out life -- keep the things that matter. Toss the things that don't. 

Today, I flipped through an old notebook I was unpacking and this dropped out:


My first anniversary card from Superman. 

Superman was supposed to be in Afghanistan for our first wedding anniversary -- but he wasn't. He was home. We didn't do anything earth-shatteringly amazing on our anniversary like a girl would imagine her first wedding anniversary to be like. Instead, we drove 200 miles to a small town for Superman's Blue orientation day. Then, we turned around and went right back home. Makes sense for us, unfortunately. Work work work... all. the. time. 

The best part of the day was getting that note from Superman. I don't get those as often anymore. It reminded me of when he was deployed --how I'd get notes all the time, and it meant a lot. Not that I'm wishing for more deployments just for a few words, but in this age of electronic everything, there's really something to be said about sentences on a hearty piece of paper. Tears right at the heartstrings of this writer. 

I can't wait to get one of these every year, forever. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Welcome Back. Done Right.

It's funny how many things we took for granted before moving to the Apple. The list is long, but one of which was our backyard.  

I think we needed the Apple to realize how much place and space we have in our little suburban heaven. 

This summer, we are definitely not taking our place for granted. By no means have I any desire to turn into ms. Suzy Homemaker or a Stepford wife (let's keep it real, folks). But I truly think that being here has given us a renewed sense of spirit. 

With that said... scenes from our first BBQ of the summah!!! 









Saturday, April 28, 2012

Home(not so be-)coming

Warning: I'm about to make a sweeping generalization about civilians...

When civilians hear 'military', they either think deployment, or homecoming.  And while I try so hard to give you all a glimpse of the in-between's, I'm going to feed right into this generalization and chat about homecoming -- in a not so banal way. Whether it's a full-on deployment or a "mini"-deployment, here are my homecoming words of wisdom about I have learned first-hand along the way:

1. Ditch any idea you had in your deployment-mode mind that your legs will always be perfectly shaven.

You probably have this picture in your mind of a stunning well-kept classy woman running to the arms of her man. Yes. That happens. But that being well-kept, is well-hard-to-do with a man always in your territory. Long gone will be the days of hour long pampering events. Next time we'll keep it up! we say. But let's face the facts. Those minutes will be replaced by keeping up with the ever-dwindling food supply at home, since there's now a Yogi Bear occupying your space.

2. Being a full household again will be filled with even more amazing moments than you ever imagined and it'll make you want to do something "the hills are alive"-esque. It will also be a complete disappointment filled with its share of embarrassing meltdowns. There will be no in-between.

You probably have this picture in your mind of a stunning well-kept classy woman running to the arms of her man. Yes. That happens. But emotions and expectations are so high that when you're happy, it's like the whole world is bowing down to you. And when you're mad, then good Lord people watch out because it's about to rain on your heads. As much as we all try, there's really no smooth comfortable transitioning back to normalcy. At least not at first. Think PMS to Nth degree. Duration varies. For me, it's about 3 weeks.

3.  Accept the fact that household-appropriate four-letter words like "shop"(ping) will be substituted with "other" four-letter words that, before you know it, will become temporarily household-appropriate. (I can't believe I just said that).

You probably have this picture in your mind of a stunning well-kept classy woman running to the arms of her man. Yes. That happens. But even for the classy brood, those three weeks of rollercoaster PMS cannot be complete without a temporary vocabulary toolbox. There are some things from the military you want to take home with you, like... well, I can't think of anything at the moment. There are others, like the soldier-to-soldier talk, that has to be conditioned out of Superman. That is, if I don't catch it myself. We get poopy mouths. And it gets bad, people. Sometimes it even slips into phone conversations with my own mother. Duration varies.

F-bombs away, B***s.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Do You Think About 17?

When you think about me, 
Do you think about 17? 
Do you think about my old jeep
Think about those stars in the sky
Funny how a melody 
Sounds like a memory 
Like the soundtrack to a July Saturday night... 


I was driving home a few days ago and this song came on the radio. It took me right back to 17. And how I was so in love with a boy that I was so sure I was going to marry. 

I didn't marry him. 

I was so sure that I would stay connected with him for the rest of my life. 

I'm not. In fact, I'm not even sure where he is now. I know though, that he's married to someone else. 

And that's okay. 

Because at 17, there was no one else. It was probably the most carefree year of our life. There was a jeep. There were July Saturday nights. And looking back there are so many innocent good feelings about all of it. Mix tapes. 

I know there are so many of us who have married our childhood best friends, our high school sweethearts, even our middle school sweethearts. 

I am so glad I didn't. 

I needed the time to grow and change, even though it was a hard landing. I didn't know then that I needed all things Superman. I needed Army. I needed Apple. I needed Bean. I needed Blue. I needed all things Superman. I needed this life right here. 

I do look back sometimes and think about where we both are now, and how things may have been different. Not in a pining way. But more of a way of reminding myself that there's a lot of things I don't know. If you asked me at 17 where I would be today, I would've never formed the thought enough to say "Army." Or "Superman."

I have a feeling that I won't be able to shape the answer to that same question now when I look back in another decade. 

I did bump into him a few years ago, when Superman and I were engaged. When you come off a hard landing, there are so many things you think of saying or doing when you happen run into each other again. Maybe out of anger, maybe because Destiny's Child sang that you should. But I didn't do any of that. I couldn't. I had Superman and I really felt like I'm the one that made out in that situation. I felt like I had everything. I still do. 

Thank you, 17, for existing so that I could feel this way now. 


(The best part of this performance is Keith Urban singing along.)

He gets it. ;)

But here's the official video 
I bumped into you by happenstance 
You wouldn't even know who I am
But if I whispered your name 
I bet there'd still be a spark... 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Home

Tonight I'm sitting on our bed, writing my weekly column. The bedroom has a dim glow from our lamps that now have a home on our brand new side tables. I hate overhead lighting and for the first time since moving in, I don't have to turn it on.

Today, I comfortably worked from home in my office, finished all my errands, cleaned, wrote a column.

Superman worked his magic on the kitchen tile, put on his blue, and went off into the night.

The bedroom is new. The kitchen is new. Being "married-married" is new.

This morning, Superman crept into my office while I was staring at a blank Word document, wondering whether I was really going to write something worth reading, or even have the brains to write anything at all (the usual feeling of a writer). He sat next to me in my chair, held down the SHIFT key and typed this:

:) 

And now, more than ever before I feel at home. The lease doesn't end. The movers aren't coming. The deployment is over. There are no life-altering dates to look forward to, or to not look forward to. We're high on family and friends.

This is home.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Food? Yes? No?

I'm contemplating whether it's a good idea to go grocery shopping right now when our kitchen looks like this: 



Oh. Did I neglect to mention we have 30+ people coming over next weekend for a BBQ? 

I've been on a business trip these last few days so I haven't seen this yet. But today, I came home to it. Superman hasn't been home yet to witness, how do I say... "l'attaque panique."

You'll find me in the living room. *breathe* The only room currently not under reno/deco-vation. *breathe* All doors closed. *breathe* Watching 60 Minutes. *breathe* Followed by Dateline. *breathe*  

Thank the Lord for newsmagazine shows. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Starting Over

Confession of a city girl turned burb wifey -- owning a home is amazing. 

The Super household is undergoing a massive home decor overhaul. I get to use my fashion/decor sense, and Superman gets to use his big man tools. The best part is we can do whatever our big hearts desire to the place, because it's OURS. So that's just what we've been doing. 

Sometimes, you have to go the distance to make the house fabu. 

Even if it means looking like Flavah Flav...



Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Men in Uniform

Men in Uniform. Oh, yeah. Everything that phrase sounds like in your head is exactly what it's like in real life. Trust me.

*Cue some jam from a chippendales routine*

Well, everything except one thing... dry cleaning.

Now that Superman wears two uniforms -- the Military, and the Blue -- my world personifies the sexy man in uniform (I must've done something right!) But it also means that we practically live at the dry cleaners. Every day we have a new patch to sew on, pants to take in, uniforms to clean, shirts to press...

So I'm spilling the dark side of  the "man in uniform" -- here it is:

Sexy is pain.

There. I said it. There's a lot of behind the scenes upkeep behind a man in uniform. And the Super household gets that times two!

Lately, the sweet messages I would get written by Superman have now been replaced by notes like this:


A not so subtle reminder to get my bee-hind to the dry cleaners or Superman will be pantless. Come to think of it, that doesn't sound all that bad to me...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Costa Rica!

On our honeymoon, we took our giddy love to Belize...


On our first anniversary, we cruised the Meditteranean... 


And on our 2nd anniversary, we will be conquering Costa Rica! 

And by conquer, I mean 7 days of outdoor jungle camping, rainforest hiking, white water rafting surging rapids, zip-lining, mountain biking, canoeing, snorkeling... 

No swanky hotels. No air conditioning. No sleeping in. This itinerary ain't for the weak of heart. No, but seriously though. We were told since the journey was so intense, we couldn't book the trip unless we were medically cleared. 

And I figure, after two years of bliss -- we're going to need to challenge our relationship in some "Amazing Race" fashion. 

Superman is thrilled, and not so thrilled at the same time. I promised him I'd find a way to get a pina colada in his hands at some point during the trip -- even if it means having to crack open a coconut with my own bare hands. Suck it up, Superman and get pumped! 

Here's a preview of the majesty we may see: 


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday





“Even 
After 
All this time The Sun never says to the Earth, 

"You owe me." 

Look 
What happens 
With a love like that, 
It lights the whole sky.” ― Hafez

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Driven

Lately, I've been doing less of this... 

ZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz...........

And more of this... 


That's me - working. And contrary to popular belief, it feels good to say that. Because when I knew I had to leave the Apple, I had no idea what the future would hold for me. I was scared I would have to give up one of my loves. 

But I didn't. 

I admit that it hasn't been easy. I've had to work harder to prove myself; and starting at a new company has made it seems like I'm starting over... but I knew all of this. Moving meant I accepted the challenge. I have never worked harder in my life. 

I'm in love with my career; I'm in love with Superman's career; I'm in love with our home, I'm in love with having Superman home; I'm in love with our friends and family and our life...

Monday, March 26, 2012

Settling In

We're loving settling back into our home  -- and one of the best parts has been reconnecting with our friends. We've been on hiatus from the military for these couple weeks as we transition back so it's been perfect timing to soak in the social rainstorm.
Maybe next time we'll chat Army, but not today.
Here's a glimpse of our weekend! 


Our friend's boat cruise wedding!




Lilo baked us some cupcakes (which were all gone in less than 24 hours)

Celebrating Darcy's new job by getting our bangs did and going shopping!