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

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.


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


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!