Wednesday, September 28, 2016


Day 12 prompt here.

I got pregnant and carried my oldest two kids with no problems.  Other than emergency c-sections, everything was just fine.  My husband had applied to and had gotten into Physicians Assistant school with the Army.  We had two years of intense school ahead of us.  And because of that, I decided that I would not get pregnant and have a baby while he was in school.  Towards the end of the second year, We decided that we would get pregnant.  Everything was fine, as far as I knew.  Went to an appointment about 17 weeks, and no heartbeat.  Decided to induce labor, rather than wait for my body to do it.  This crushed me.  Shortly after we moved, and then moved again, and then my husband deployed.  No getting pregnant.  He came home.  We tried again.  Again, got pregnant.  All was well.  My body was contracting for two days and I didn't realize that was what it was.  On the third day, the contractions began to feel like contractions.  I was only 16 weeks along.  My water broke at home, and what followed after was fairly traumatic.  I ended up losing a liter of blood, almost had to have a transfusion, and was a disaster.  As I was coming out of anesthesia after my D&C, Matt said 'We should just adopt!'.  I hadn't even begun to process what had just happened.  I was torn.  These miscarriages were awful.  They were almost halfway.  What was going on? Why was my body doing this?  Should we try again?  Should we just adopt?  My mental health wasn't that great, but I had a fantastic therapist.  I made a deal with God.  Which isn't something you're supposed to do.  I decided I would try again.  Only once more.  And then if I lost that one too, then I was done.  I couldn't go through that nightmare again.  So.  I got pregnant.  As with the previous pregnancy, I was terrified that something would happen.  I didn't tell anyone until I was 5 months.  And now I have a crazy four and a half year old.  Because I didn't have a good track record, as well as getting the worst Postpartum Depression I had had yet, (yay zoloft!) we decided we were done.  It was a difficult decision.  Occasionally I regret it when I discover sharpie on the walls or can't seem to ever not have duplos on the floor.  But mostly I'm glad.

Losing things

Day 11 prompt here.

I have gone to the same church for my entire life.  I chose to give 18 months of my life being a missionary.  I did all the right things.

Being a military family, we move a lot.  And that means each ward/congregation has different people and things run differently.  I feel like I've been pretty good to adapting to whatever the local ward does, and doing my best to fill the needs that I can.  I used to be rock solid.

The older I get, the harder this is getting.  I'm seeing a lot of just not ok stuff that happens behind the scenes.  I'm getting tired of hearing the same old stuff with no improvements, or improvements taking years and years to change.

I'm losing my confidence and a bit of faith.  I get that all churches are run by men and women that aren't perfect, and I feel are truly doing what they think is best.  And I'm trying to focus on that and then do my best to be a voice for change, for progress.  I find that I don't fit in as well as I used to, And that is hard.  So I stick with safe callings, playing the piano for the kids.  I hope to get to a better place eventually.  I'm not sure if the latest move has made this change, or just that I am changing.  I'm trying to find a happy medium.  It's hard.  And a bit painful.  I'm not sure where this will take me. Right now, I'm going to try and speak up where I can, be a safe place for others that may be feeling the same, and being patient with myself and others as we all progress through this life.  Because it's just hard.


Day 10 prompt here.

My entire life is a mess.

Keeping things organized, picked up, and generally looking great is near impossible for me.  I have a few hypothesis.  1) It's a ridiculous way to rebel because picking up and cleaning always felt like it was a huge priority growing up. 2) I'm lazy 3) I'm easily overwhelmed with how much there is to do 4) I hate housekeeping because it feels like total drudge and I'd literally rather do almost anything else.

I'm sure it's a combination of all those things.  While I do try to keep the mess down to mild clutter, sometimes it's like everything explodes.

In our little family of five, we have a variety of mental health issues.  I have depression, my husband has ADD with a touch of depression and maybe some OCD, my oldest has ADD and Anxiety, and we're all medicated for these things.  Before we were medicated, my house was in even worse shape.  Now that things are much better for all of us, the house is also much better.  Still not anywhere near perfection, but I'm ok with that.

I love going to my friends houses and finding things not perfect.  I love toys on the floor, dishes in the sink and laundry baskets of clothes.  It's a daily struggle, and we all have to choose where to put our energy, and sometimes the toys on the floor will just have to wait until tomorrow.  I also love that my friends are comfortable enough with me to show me their not perfectness.  I will still like them if their kitchen is a mess.  I will still be their friend if their laundry is in a pile on the couch.  I don't need perfect.  I need real.  For some of us, picked up and organized is real.  For others, it isn't.  I aspire to the picked up and organized, and I will do your dishes or fold your laundry with you for those that aren't.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


Day 8 prompt here.

I don't remember much about being eight years old.  We had recently moved into a new city, and I had just started second grade.

I remember being the tallest.  Like always.  

I remember having few friends at school.  I have memories of walking by myself around the playground, until I started jump roping with some other girls.

I had to share a room with my sister, and eventually another sister until we moved into a bigger house.  

I remember loving being around my cousins and aunts and uncles.  

I truly don't remember much else.  

I know I was eight when I met my best friend.  We met at church.  

I remember I had learned to ride a two wheeled bike that year.  I was a late bloomer in many ways.

I got baptized at church, on my brothers first birthday.  

Dang. I should go read my journal, or look at pictures.  


Day 8 prompt here.

Birthdays are weird for me.  I always felt awkward when people would sing to me, or make a big deal about it.  My mom would make a big deal out of all of our birthdays, and I was never very comfortable with that.

Birthdays are still weird for me as an adult.  Like, yay it's my birthday, I get to do laundry, and deal with arguing kids, and make dinner.  YAY.  And I usually buy myself gifts, rather than expect my husband to do it.  It just works out better in the long run.  Also, our birthdays are four days apart, so we usually go out to dinner and call it good.  And we each buy ourselves our own gifts.

My kids birthdays are still awkward for me.  I try to do what they want, rather than doing what I want.  Sometimes that means having ten nine year old girls in my house.  Other times it means a trip to the trampoline place.

Birthdays are just weird and awkward.  I don't know why they are so awkward for me.  I would like to avoid them.  Not because I don't want to grow old, but I don't like being the center of attention, I don't like all eyes on me.  I prefer to sit quietly, on the side, observing.  And that just seems impossible on a birthday.  Everyone wants you to be the center of attention, even if you don't want it.  Ugh.  Why are birthdays so hard???  I even removed my birthday from my facebook profile on purpose.  I am very uncomfortable with facebook birthday wishes.  They just seems so fake.  So empty.

Birthdays are just so weird.

Monday, September 12, 2016


Day 7 prompt here.

My husband loves doing triathlons.  I don't understand it, but he loves it, so we support him.

A few years ago, we lived in Washington State.  Fort Lewis would sponsor three spring triathlons each summer, and my husband would try to do all three each summer.  We would get up super early, load bike and kids and stuff in the car (along with sweatshirts because it's Washington and cold even in the summer) and head up.  He would be super pumped, and would push himself the entire race.  He would usually be in the top 10-15 out of the water, and we would cheer!!

There were all types of people that would do the race. One year, there was one woman who was taking a long time to do the swim.  All the other swimmers were in.  One of the lifeguards was following her in a kayak as she slowly made her way to the finish.  My heart was breaking for her.  People around started to notice and to cheer her on.  She would backstroke, then free style, then backstroke again.  She was so tired.  The water was cold, and she didn't have a wet suit on.  More people started to notice.  The announcer on the mic started to cheer for her.  And she did it.  She finished the swim.  Everyone there was cheering her on as she made her way to the transition area.  I don't know how she did for the rest of the race.  I wish I had payed attention, but I was probably trying to keep my eyes on two busy kids that wouldn't stay in the same place for two seconds.

Slow and steady.  She finished.  She dug deep, and even though she was the last out of the water, she did it.  I've always remembered that.


Day 6 prompt here.

I truly detest playing games.

I enjoyed it as a kid.  I would play card games with my cousins, attempt to play Monopoly.  We would play Clue and Chutes and Ladders.  Candyland was a favorite.  Even when I was first married, I didn't mind playing games.  But then I discovered how much my husband loved to play games.  He got intense.  A little too intense for me.  To the point where playing games just wasn't fun anymore.  Friends would get together to play games and inside I would groan.  It was torture to me.  Learn all the dang rules, then attempt to play.  I stopped caring about winning two seconds in.  I would die, or lose, or whatever almost on purpose so I could stop playing and just talk to people. I wasn't interested in strategy, or getting more wood/straw/bricks.  What was there to be gained by winning a dumb game??  Ugh.

I still don't play games.  The only game I love is basketball.  And even then I'm more interested in having fun (which sometimes involves winning, but for me usually means I made a basket).  If given the choice, I would rather do almost anything than play a game.  You want to torture me?  Force me to play a game.

Now, as a parent, keeping track of all the dang pieces to games makes me feel crazy.  With all our moves, kids that dump things out, and things that get vacuumed up, I'm surprised we even have games with pieces in them.

Little Things

Day 5 prompt here.

I've always liked little things.  Probably because I'm not little.  Tiny cute pointless knickknacks.  Tiny houses, tiny cars.  Anyone shorter than I.  Tiny shoes.  Tiny clothes.

We would go camping a lot when I was a kid.  It usually was in the mountains, but as I got older, we camped at the beach too.  Living in Southern California, we had a lot to choose from.  We went north, to a place called Grover Beach, right next to Pismo Beach.  We could wake up, and walk to the beach before we had breakfast, before we got dressed.  I remember one year, we found hundreds of tiny sand dollars.  I have always been an avid beach comber, and for me, this was the jackpot!!!  The water was a lot colder up there, so we didn't spend too much time in the water, but we spent a lot of time on the beach.  And I collected everything I could.  All those tiny tiny sand dollars.  They were so breakable, yet had survived the waves crashing on them, for who knows how long.

As an adult, I still love tiny things. Little things. I still have a small box, lined with a tissue, full of those tiny sand dollars.  I'll keep them forever.

Thursday, August 25, 2016


Day 4 memoir prompt.  You can find it here.

I love adventure.  I love going to new places.  I especially love taking my kids. Most of the time they don't appreciate it, but I take them anyway.

As a military family, we move a lot.  We have lived in Heidelberg, Germany, San Antonio, Texas, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Yelm, Washington, Colorado Springs, Colorado, and now the island of Oahu Hawaii.  Moving this much is in of itself an adventure.  But that is never enough for me.

Honestly, I usually take my kids all on my own.  Rarely is my husband along for the ride.  He is usually unable to take time off, or he's gone somewhere.  Deployment, training, something.  So I pack up my kids and we go.

On his last deployment, we had some adventures.  The benefit of living in the middle of the United States is you can drive almost anywhere within about two days. That was our summer of our first trip to Chicago.

When I was growing up, there were a lot of kids.  And not a lot of money.  The first time I had ever stayed in a motel was when I was in eighth grade.  My kids have been going to hotels since they were born.  We've lived in hotels.  So, being able to give my kids experiences that I only dreamed of as a kid, has been awesome.  So far, they don't like it.  They complain.  They don't like moving.  I force them to visit places like Mount Rushmore, and I force them to go to the beach here in Hawaii. I really really hope that eventually they will appreciate it.  That they will also force their kids to try new things and explore new places.

I love adventure.  I love not knowing what will happen or what we'll find.  (like the awesome rest stop in Iowa) or finding cool places to stop.  Trying new foods, or figuring out that something isn't as scary as we thought it was.

Monday, August 22, 2016


Day 3 of the memoir prompt can be found here.

I grew up near Los Angeles, and crazy billboards, advertising all kinds of things, were very familiar to me.  There was a certain part of the drive to my grandparents house that had billboards advertising strip clubs.  I think I remember that because we drove past them so often.  But then a new freeway opened, and no more strip club billboards.

When I got to France, as a missionary, the billboards were pretty surprising.  They had these nifty ones that would shift every thirty seconds or so, to advertise something new.  But there was this one.  Right down the road from our apartment.  We would have to ride our bikes past it at least once daily, if we were headed to centreville.  It was a picture of a beautiful man. Oh so beautiful.  He was shiny, not a bit of hair was visible anywhere.  Not on his chest, or arms, or head, or face.  And the picture went down as far as it could without showing everything.  I remember the cut of his hips, and the outline of his muscles.  I have no idea what it was advertising.  Maybe cologne??  All I know, it was right by the closest bridge that went across the Loire river.  And I told myself I could only look once.  That was it.  And then I would have to focus on something else.  I don't recall if it ever changed the entire 6 months that I lived in that apartment.  My companion and I would occasionally talk about it.  Like 'did you see that???' and then talk about how beautiful that man was.  But we would remember we were missionaries, and that while it's human to look,and perfectly find to appreciate an amazing body, we weren't here to talk about that all the time.  So, I just kept giving myself that one look.  Every time we passed by.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

I don't remember

Day 2 of memoir prompts.  You can find the prompt here.

I don't remember a time when I wasn't the tallest kid or one of the tallest kids in class.  From Kindergarten, all the way up until I graduated from High School.  Always the tall one.

It didn't bother me for a while.  Then I hit middle school.  I started at five feet, two inches.  I ended at five feet ten inches.  I had an insane growth spurt, where my big toe would make a hole through the top of my shoe because I was growing so fast.  I hated it.  I felt awkward.  Kids (because it's middle school and kids are dumb) would make fun of me.  I remember hearing the comment 'why does she wear her pants up so high??' Um, because that is where my waist is, idiot. 

My legs were incredibly long.  Still are.  At the ripe age of 38, I'm to the point where my height is an asset (yay for intimidation!).  I can find, and thankfully, afford pants and skirts that are long enough and fit appropriately.  I can find shoes big enough, that don't look like boys shoes.  

My height was difficult in high school.  Especially when I was 16.  I was ready to date.  And.....more than half the boys were shorter than I was.  Many barely caught up by the time we all graduated.  I had a silly rule that I wouldn't date anyone shorter than me.  Well, significantly shorter.  Which was dumb. Why would I eliminate all those possibilities?  

My kids are following in my genetic footsteps.  My 12 year old son has feet bigger than mine, my 10 year old daughter has legs that don't stop, and my youngest son, at 4 years old, looks like he is six.  It's a constant struggle finding pants, shoes, and shirts that fit.  Thank goodness for the internet.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

I remember when

**This is part of a 3 times a week memoir writing group.  You write for 8 minutes. You can find the prompt here. **

A little over 13 years ago, I was pregnant with our first kid.  We had bought a house.  My husbands job was not turning out like we had hoped.  We had no health insurance to cover the cost of bringing this baby into the world.  I was teaching piano lessons at the time, which was bringing in some money, but not enough.

One night, after we'd gone to bed, my husband said "what if I joined the military?"

The me of back then would never have cussed, but I though the equivalent of HELL NO.

I knew no one in the military, of any kind.  It was completely foreign to me.  The only person that I had known to have served was my grandpa, and he had been drafted in 1952, to fight in Korea.  I was so far removed from that whole world.

He said he had felt inspired to try it.  He has motion/sea sickness, so the Navy and Marines and Coast Guard were out.  That left the Army and the Air Force.  He went to the recruiters and talked to them.  We talked more.

I remember the night I called my parents to say "Matt is joining the Army".  My dad was not happy about it. He encouraged us NOT to do it.  Yet.  Matt felt so strongly that this was the right thing for our family.

He took the ASVAB.  He signed papers.  We went to the downtown Los Angeles location where they give you a list of job options.  He had enough college credits that we didn't start at rock bottom, but we were just a few steps above.  But at that point, any regular income was amazing to me.  He went to a hotel, where they waited to hop on a plane, and go to basic training.  At seven months pregnant, it was excruciating to be separated.  I moved in with my parents, we put our stuff into storage, and he was headed to Fort Benning.

The blessings have not stopped.  The most immediate was financial.  Like most young couples we had made our share of poor financial decisions.  But thanks to the Soldier Sailor Relief Act, we were able to cut down on our debt.  When we got orders for Germany, we were able to turn in a leased vehicle without any fees.  We got a regular income.  I ended up with an emergency c-section and was so grateful that we didn't have to pay out of pocket for that.

After a few years in the military, we discovered all the schools that you could apply for.  Matt applied for PA school with zero medical background and got in.  Passed everything the first time around.  And we have no school debt.  We have been able to give a good life (maybe not what they think is good but whatever) to our kids, and give them experiences I only dreamed about.

We've lived all over the United States, and beyond.  Our life is the Army.  We go where they tell us.  We make the best of where we are at, and I'm forever grateful that I trusted my husband to do this.

At the time, many people thought we were crazy.  Many thought he had joined without telling me first.  (which, with his track record, wouldn't be too unlikely, but thankfully, that wasn't the case here) We were both in agreement.

We've been in 13 years.  Two deployments, multiple total years apart.  Many video chats done on computer and phone.  Many frustrations.  Many moves to the unknown.