Posts Tagged ‘family’

Ultimate Blog Party 2011

April 2, 2011

Ultimate Blog Party 2011

Late to the party again. But at least I’m here this year! And it’s great to get the chance to socialize, especially with the dreary winter weather we’ve been (and are still) having. Ugh! You’ll have the excuse the mess. This winter hasn’t been helpful in motivating me to clean up my blog. Hopefully this party will be just what I need to beat these winter blues.

What’s what?

I mostly blog about what I’m up to — mainly crafts, because, next to loving on my family, that’s what I enjoy most. I do papercrafts, sewing, knitting, Cricut crafts (paper and vinyl), and whatever strikes my fancy on the shelves of my local craft store or favorite blog tutorials. I occasionally blog about food, because it ranks up there as well. And I include recipes, because, let’s face it, there are only so many blog posts I can write about how much I like to eat chocolate. Besides that, there’s some random things about my family, being a navy wife, and being a sort-of-work-at-home-mostly-mom. I generally keep things light, because I just don’t have time to go into too much depth. I wish I had more time to spend here, because it really doesn’t show my true talents, but I enjoy sharing at least a little bit of what I’m doing. (You’d never guess I was a graphic designer and a writer from looking at this. But maybe someday I’ll get there on here.)

Who’s who?

I’m Joelle. I’m 40, and only occasionally embarrassed to admit it. I’ve been married to the Cat in the Hat for nearly 10 years. We’ve moved 4 times. (3 moves of over 1,000 miles. 1 move of 4 blocks.) Here’s us at our wedding:

And here we are now:

Yeah, he’s trying to put his finger in my nose while someone is taking our photo. The Cat doesn’t like having his photo taken, which is why this is the only recent one I have. The Cat is in the U.S. Navy. He is currently stationed in Washington on a submarine. I could tell you more, but then…well, you know, what that would lead to. It’s all top secret and stuff like that. What that means for us is that he goes out to sea for 8-12 weeks at a time and we’re not supposed to tell anyone about it. Fun stuff. We’re crossing our fingers for shore duty here next.

Luckily, our kids are a little more photogenic. First, there’s Thing 1. She’s 5 and in kindergarten. She’s bright, beautiful and not as self-confident as she could be.

Then there’s Thing 2. He’s 3 and…well, he’s a three year old boy. Rambunctious, loving, and as smart as his sister.

How two doofuses like us had cute kids like that — well, it’s a mystery wrapped in a miracle. But don’t worry, I try to keep my kid-related brags to a minimum on this blog. After all, they’re only a small part of the mess I’ve made. Although, they are the part that makes me Momma.

How’s that?

Yeah, my life is pretty good even though it’s a mess. I work part time. Live near family (which is lucky and rare for a navy wife). Have a big house I hate to clean. (Even flylady is too difficult for me to keep up with during these dreary Pacific Northwest wintery months.) Have a craft area I just can’t keep from piling up to the ceiling. I could b!t(h and moan, but I won’t because my life’s not too bad. I love my family, and they love me. I craft. I can still hide my chocolate from my kids. I may not have time to go out partying every weekend, but at least I can virtually party on here with you. So, feel free to leave a comment and invite me over to your place. I’ll be right over after the kids fall asleep.

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Tori * 2002-2011 * Rest in peace

March 20, 2011

Thing 1 and Tori (2007)

Yesterday we lost our boxer, Tori. Although we knew it was coming, it was a sad day. She had a probable brain tumor, possible heart condition and who knows what else. Still, her quick decline took us by surprise, maybe because of our naive hope that she would hold on and be our beloved puppy for a few months longer.

In the end, she couldn’t get up on her own and frequently fell while walking. She had fallen on the kids and spent most of her time moaning on her bed. While we wanted to be selfish and keep her with us another week, we made the choice to take her to a local vet and have her euthanized. It was a harder call to make than I realized it would be, but I think the right one for her and us.

The kids took it about like I expected. Much crying and sadness and then back to life as normal. I know it will come up from time to time with them. She wasn’t a huge part of their lives, but a constant one. An occasional playmate, an after-meal vacuum, a pillow — they’ll definitely miss her. I will too. I have had to pause every time I come through the door today, knowing that Tori will not be greeting me. Will never greet me again. It is a sad fact for me, and one I am sorry my kids have to face at the ages of 3 and 5.

Still, there are some good things I’ve been able to point out. We will regain our backyard from the mucky dog poop field it had become. We can host the class guinea pig. We can go on mini vacations without worrying about who will take care of Tori. It doesn’t make up for losing her, but at least those thoughts can bring a momentary smile.

We will miss Tori, but life will go on. It is a hard lesson, but one that will probably be repeated many times as we raise our children.

Tori's last day with us

Hump day crafts: Quick paper crafts for The Cat

October 20, 2010

Everytime The Cat goes out to sea on his submarine, I send him with a box of cards and goodies. I try to make sure there’s a card for him to open each week, plus a few extras for holidays and stuff. Here are a few quick cards I created for this patrol:

Oct 2010 patrol cards

I also try to send out a new page for his 6×6 inch scrapbook. I used to struggle to finish the scrapbook page until I discovered collage prints. I can upload 4 photos and have them printed on a 4×6 photo with a colored background. Even a title if I want! When I get it home, I trim a little of the long ends and throw it together with a few embellishments and a cheesy poem to finish off the page. This year Thing 1 started kindergarten, so a first day of school page seemed appropriate. Of course, now I have to do another first day page, since Thing 2 started preschool as well.

6x6 1st day of Kindergarten

Enjoy and happy crafting!

Surprise visit from The Cat

May 3, 2010

The Cat was home for six very unexpected days. Unfortunately, it was for tragic reasons. There was a death on the submarine, and they came back for a memorial — and probably a morale boost. It was great to see him, even under such grisly circumstances.

In some ways we’re lucky, the deployments on his current sub are short (generally 8-10 weeks), and there is an off-crew break in between patrols. But that doesn’t make them easy. When he came home last week, I hadn’t received an email from him in 3 weeks due to mission-related communication blackouts. That’s hard. Even a couple of sentences every few days keeps me sane — well, at least a little more sane. I can make it about two weeks before the blackouts start to make me a little buggy. I’m sure people around me notice I’m a little more irritable and a lot more verbal than normal, just trying to reach out to another adult. Yes, navy life effects a lot more than just the service member and their family; all of my co-workers and teammates have to put up with the challenges and mood swings it brings on.

I’m sure this post had a point when I started, but it dissolved into a pity party and Thing 1 is up now talking to me. (Who knew four year old’s had so much to say?!) I had some notes on mortality I was going to share and how I was going to pressure The Cat on finishing our wills and other paperwork; a little on how our house will never be ready for a potential visit from my in-laws this summer; and, I thought I’d share a little love I feel for The Cat. (It really was nice to have him home.) But, any eloquent points are now lost in the mommy-netherworld, or wherever it is that all of our intelligent thoughts are chased off to.

Thing 1 is now taunting me by jumping off the furniture and commanding me to do her bidding. I guess it’s time for me to parent. I do do it occasionally; it just seems as if I put it off as much as possible. If only it could stay on the back burner for a whole day…

When feminism rears its young, sassy head

March 10, 2010

I have cute kids. I may have mentioned it before (once or twice), but I try not to be a bore about it. Occasionally though, I just have to break out an anecdote, because it tickles me.

Thing 1, my daughter, is 4-1/2 years old, or will be in a few weeks anyway. She’s a fun-loving but moody — and very smart — girl. Just like me in other words. Well, in some ways.

Tonight, the kids were going over rhymes; rhymes about catching, being caught, being missed — it’s a recurrent theme in their play these days. I dredged up “Run, run as fast as you can. You can’t catch me I’m the gingerbread man” from somewhere in my memory. Thing 1 immediately wanted to learn it, but couldn’t quite get it. After a few attempts, I slowly repeated the first half for her.

“Run…run…as fast…as you can”

“You can’t catch me I’m the gingerbread…woman” she finished. A budding feminist. I’m so proud.

A second anecdote, for purely selfish reasons: I’d like to remember some snapshots of the little smart alec. She was having problems going to sleep tonight, and I could hear her moving around upstairs. I went up and found her in bed, with covers obviously just pulled over her head.

“Go to sleep,” I told her.
“I was,” came her far-too-sassy-not-at-all-sleepy reply.
“I love you. Stay in bed.”
“I love you too. And Mom, please don’t wake me up again.”

Sassy feminist. Gotta love her.

It’s been so long…

November 19, 2009

Yes, I’ve been MIA on the blog scene. I have no excuses. You can flog me with a wet noodle if you want. Or, you could just read this extremely brief update of our last 15 months.

We’ve had 7 birthdays in our family since my last post. The Cat has actually been here for 4 of them. So he’s made one birthday for each of the kids in their lifetimes. At least they can’t say the Navy schedule plays favorites. Thing 1 is 4 years old now and Thing 2 is a sassy 2. T1 is in preschool, and, of course, she loves it. T2 begs to go to Gma’s house every day.

It is a big change living near family.We ended up buying a house 1 mile down the road from my parents and 1 mile up the road from my sister. A little closer than we planned, but sometimes that’s how things work out. One of my brothers lives 10-20 miles away. so holiday plans are always a mess. But in a fun way.

Our house is older. I think it was built in 1974. So keep an eye out for remodeling posts in the near future.

I’m working part time. I’m in the office one day a week and have to fit another two days worth of work around the kids schedule. Luckily, they are somewhat self-entertaining and only occasionally scream or pick up the other phone when I’m on a business call.

The Cat is still on sea duty, although he only is deployed for 2-3 months, not 6, now. Plus, another crew takes the sub out, so sometimes it’s like he just has an office job. We like having him around.

The new place is still a mess. Maybe even worse than before, with two kids running around, a part time job, having a babysitter (Gpa) so I can play soccer 1-2 nights a week, and adding a few hundred square feet I need to clean. Yeah, I don’t really see that happening anytime soon. At least here in Washington we don’t really have to worry about cockroaches and stuff so much. Just rain and such. Still, life’s not bad, if a bit messy. But hopefully not so messy I go 15 months between posts again. I guess time (hopefully not as measured by the wall calendar) will tell.

Aloha, Washington!

July 1, 2008

After weeks (months?) of promises, the Cat finally got his orders. We are going to Washington! I know, who in their right mind would be happy to move from sunny Hawaii to dreary western Washington? A mom with two kids under three who has family there, that’s who. We’ll probably stay with my parents while we look to buy a house. (Did you hear that? Clear out a guest bedroom!)

This next month is going to be difficult, to say the least. The Cat is going to be out to sea for four or five of the next six weeks. The movers will come to pack us up in less than a month. Two weeks later, when we see the Cat again, we’ll move out of our house. Then a few days later we’ll be hauling everything to the airport for the last time, at least for awhile.

I’m really going to miss Hawaii, but I’m really looking forward to having family to help out. And being on a much bigger land mass. With rising airfares I’ve been feeling the island fever lately. But I don’t want to complain too much, because I’m sure I’ll be missing all this sooner than I think. I better carve out some time to sit on our front porch and stare at the ocean.

SLR spoiling

June 24, 2008

Gma – my mom – spoils me so. First, when I needed to take photos for my magazine articles (see this work photo post), she sent me two SLR film bodies and, I don’t know, maybe 5-6 lenses. Plus filters, flashes, and miscellaneous other camera accessories. I love the photos from SLRs, with the choice of lenses and depth of field (I can blur out the mess in my house!), but the expense of developing film for my own use was starting to get to me. But we were waiting to get a digital SLR, maybe as our Christmas gift if we could afford it.

So 10 days ago or so, an unexpected box came in the mail addressed to The Cat and me. Curious, I opened it. It was a Sony dSLR. And on the packing slip it said “Happy Birthday” to both of us. Mind you, our birthdays are in March and September, so I guess June does split the difference, but the gift was a surprise for more than just that. I hadn’t even been talking to my mom about camera stuff for awhile. Plus, my mom’s not very good at keeping secrets. (I had just talked to her. She hadn’t even given me a hint by asking if we’d gotten any packages lately.) Plus, dSLRs are on the expensive side for her to be doling out as birthday gifts.

The Cat’s reaction was a little different. He wanted to be mad, because she had spent too much money on us. Then he tried out the camera. After that he was upset he didn’t have more time to play with it and shop for accessories for it. Anyway, thanks, Mom. The camera’s great, and all our Minolta lenses work with it, which is quite a boon. And for everyone else, I’ll spoil you with some photos giving you a little taste of the Things in Hawaii:

Taste of Hawaii - baby style

Climbing the plumeria tree

Yeah, the color’s a little flat in these, but maybe my photos will get better once I get the instruction manual out. Yes, surprise to those who know me, I started using something without reading the instruction manual.

Next on the Hawaii List: Surf’s up

June 12, 2008

Yesterday The Cat and I took our first (and probably only) surf lesson. It was a blast. No, I wasn’t great, but I was better than I had worried I’d be. The Cat, of course, was a natural. I can only hope Things 1 and 2 will inherit his natural athletic ability. And my charm and intelligence, but that goes without saying.

Our lesson was at White Plains Beach, which I had stayed at once, but never entered the water because the waves were too big for Thing 1 back then. It was a nice day for surfing, but I had forgotten about the holiday. Actually, I remembered that Wednesday was Kamehameha Day, but I forgot what beaches are like on holidays. So, instead of the half empty weekday beach I was hoping to make a fool of myself in front of, it was a beach packed with local families and surfers. And, of the surfers, I looked to be the only 30-something female. And, I think I was the only female who wasn’t wearing tiny bikini bottoms, which was probably a good thing for all involved. It doesn’t look like fun to pull those things up to cover the top of your crack every 10 seconds or so.

Our instructor was Dustin, and he was great. We started on the sand, where I was fantastic at standing up. Yes, I could balance like a champ on the beach. On the water…well, we’ll get to that.

We paddled our boards out to meet up with Dustin and start catching waves. I was good at paddling, so I figured at least I’d have that to feel good about. I let The Cat go first, and of course he caught his first wave, stood up on his board and looked perfect (from what I could see). Can you hate the man you love for being too good?

My turn. My board caught the first wave, and I pulled my first foot up underneath me. Then I was froze. I rode the wave in, half standing, half sitting, all the way to the beach, because I didn’t know what to do to stop. (Jump or fall off would’ve been the correct answer here.) Like The Cat says (more frequently to me then I’d like), “You can only get better.”

I did get better, even riding a wave or two squatting. It was when I was determined to stand up that I started losing my balance and falling off. Too soon, the lesson was over. I can’t believe I was out there paddling and surfing for nearly an entire hour. Time flew as fast as the surfboard seemed to. I loved it, although next time I think I’ll work on riding low to the board for awhile before I bother my head and body with standing up and being tall. Hopefully there’ll be a next time.

The Cat cut his toe and sat out the second half of the lesson. I joined him on the beach when I was done. It was 1 pm. We had the boards and the babysitter for another hour or so, but we were too exhausted to go back in and practice on our own. In fact, by the time we made it to the mini-mart down the street my arms and back were already sore. Uffda, old age is tough!

Today, my body is definitely paying for my Hawaiian folly. But ibuprofen makes it bearable. And a few days of soreness is a small price to pay for being able to say I went surfing in Hawaii.

The Cat came back

May 18, 2008

It has been two months since my last post. If that seems pathetic, it’s only because it is. TCITH was gone for 2-1/2 months and it was a very tough deployment for me. So bad that I tried to get an AMC flight home. You know it’s bad when I’m willing to go to the bother of trying jump through the hoops to get on a military flight with two small children by myself.

TCITH came home at the end of April. For 5 days before he came home, we (Thing 1, Thing 2 and I) were dealing with the flu. Then pink eye, a plugged milk duct that become infected, flu (TCITH this time) and pink eye again. Oh, and a yeast infection from the antibiotics for the milk duct infection. Yeah, it was a fun three weeks. But at least he’s home. I’ve been able to get some work done, to get out without kids for an hour or two, and even consider making social plans. Not feeling quite so pathetic now. It’s good to have the Cat back.