March 22, 2012


I'm sitting curled up with lots of pillows and Sprite in a wine glass with lemons. You could put old bottled water from under the seat in your car into a delicate wine glass and - bam - pretty enough for Pinterest!

C-SPAN is telling me about the future of the war in Afghanistan. I'm going to change the channel pretty soon, because politicians looking bored while commanders present their plans are about to make me cry, and Amy Winehouse already did that last night for no good reason.

I recently finished Laura Bush's Spoken From The Heart, and it resonated deeply within me. First Ladies have a certain elegance and slight celebrity from their spousal association, and I can't help but love them... (except for Hillary Clinton... partly because my mom disliked her and partly because I am wildly jealous of her career).  I think that Michelle Obama is charming and beautiful and stylish and oh-so-smart, no matter what her politics are. And Mrs. Bush has a special place in my heart, because her husband is my forever-president, despite his flaws. If I ever wake up from a coma with memory loss, I'll probably be in 2006, with ol' W still in the Oval Office. Anyway...

Laura Bush's memoir flows like a river. You can almost hear her speak the words in her slow, soft drawl as you read them, and I was moved by the motif of sight/blindness that she used as metaphors for many life experiences. I cried as I read about how her mother lost many unborn and newborn children and how she longed for siblings to play with. I smiled with nostalgia as she mentioned her college days and her small apartments. She was gracious toward political opponents of President Bush, although she never missed an opportunity to defend his biggest decisions, a sure sign of the hurt inflicted upon her as she witnessed the man she loved the most lampooned, mocked and misunderstood.

Most of all, she made me happy to be who I am. She affirms military families, wives, homemakers, mothers, daughters, and Texans. She gives hope to the reader, which is good, because she recounts 9/11 in such a personal and sharply sad way that I sat up in my in-laws bed one night with tears streaming down my face. It felt so fresh and painful still to hear it from her perspective.

She could have crumpled at such a time. Instead, she stood beside President Bush and threw herself into serving the nation. I won't spoil for you all her adventures in the Middle East and Africa, but I will say without exaggerating that her initiatives and personal visits to dignitaries have helped thousands of women who would surely have died without her intervention.

And now, I'm off to find the Bush Crawford ranch address, because I need to say a little thank-you to the writer who inspired me to keep going.

March 21, 2012

Spring Break 2012

Get bat colony in attic.
Flee to Florida with dog and baby.
Visit favorite city, site of engagement, and fancy food market.
Spend the weekend with best married friends and their boy.
Have yummy brunch with girlfriends. Dive into that dairy.
Pack a Saturday with a neighborhood walk, the junior museum, and kiddie pool baby nakedness.
Get truck washed -- for free!
Go to home church. Get hugged by my pastor before I reach the door.
Introduce my mother-in-law to Mad Men. Forget about the risque scenes and stare straight ahead in embarrassment.
Have lunch with Emmy's 3rd, Filipina grandma and Auntie Nessa.
Walk my hometown for hours with the jogging stroller.
Pull a Laura Bush and talk to a kindergarten class about the Army.
Get seen by Anthony's old classmates. Feel vain about my looks at said moment. Be glad I dressed up.
Play hookie with high-school sister.
Watch Emmy throw a royal fit at Super Canton. See rice fly.
Applaud same sister at poetry contest. Try to steal her prize money.
Eat homemade tortilla.
Wash dirtiest dog in the world back to a pristine white coat.
Devour a Piggly Wiggly lunch plate with father-in-law. Listen in to him softly picking and humming "All Creatures of Our God and King."
Pack the truck.
Drink a Mr. Pibb.
Return to (so-far) bat-free home.



March 13, 2012

One Year

It's been one year already with our beautiful daughter Emmy.

Since we had her birthday party a few weeks early, I've already been through all the feelings of elation at seeing her arrive at this milestone. Today will be a little quieter, with some small festivities, but special just the same.

It's been one year since Emmy was revived to life by a team of nurses and doctors before my eyes.

It's been one year since we became parents and realized that love meant giving of yourself until you were spent, and then more.

It's been one year since I first held my baby close against my body and wondered who she would become.

It's been one year since I saw Anthony turn into a father who loved his daughter more than he loved himself.

It's been one year.

And in this year, we've watched her grow into the most amazing biglittle bundle of crazy happiness.

Emmy is 22 lbs and a little over 31 inches tall, with four teeth and the tip of a molar to her name. She walks, says "mama", "dada", "done", and a few more half-words that we recognize as conversation. She loves turkey, peas, bananas, raisins and nursing. She cries when Petey has to go outside, and waits for him at window of the back door. She waves to babies in the grocery store, but acts shy when grown-ups say hello. She loves to grab the pillows off of the couch so that she can throw herself onto them and roll around, giggling. She opens books, turns the pages and jibber-jabber reads them to herself (books with pictures of puppies are her favorite). She loves wagon rides and bumpy jogging stroller adventures on the park trails. She has a sweet temperment, and is a happy baby.

We knew that having a baby would be good, but were caught by surprise by the waves of steady joy that she brings to our life. We simply love her.

Happy birthday, Emmy!

How wonderful life is when you're in the world...

March 10, 2012


I can't count how many times in the last four days I've said, "Oh no!"

Our house officially has a bat problem. They are entering the house through the eaves of the attic, and are able to use the spaces of the house to crawl down into the laundry room and the downstairs den. I can hear them rustling in the attic through the bathroom vent. It makes my skin crawl.

At least it's not snakes, or rats, or insects. The house is habitable, and we have a professional coming on Monday to clear them out and seal the house off, only after I delivered a threatening letter to our rental management company this morning. Sometimes you just have to light a fire underneath folks to whom you are just another number on a list of complaints.

I'm so tired, and it's just funny now. Every night I sigh with frustration and hilarity as Emmy looks at the Sesame Street voice-recorded book that Anthony left as a new, sweet present for his little girl.

"The Count is counting bats to fall asleep. One little bat, two little bats, three little bats..."

It'll be hilarious in about a week.

Right now I just want to be in a coma for until then.

March 6, 2012

I Did Not Panic: A Story of Near-Panicking

As my friend Abigail pointed out, "This is sooo a blog post."

And you know what? I kind of already wrote this story tonight. So, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you a tale of bravery, surprise and animal kingdom/humankind dangerous encounters.

Text Messages, Tuesday night, 7:56 p.m.

Me: Just got a live bat out of my house by myself. No big deal.

Abigail: You are such a legit army wife right now! That's CRAZY

Me: I know, stuff ALWAYS happens when they're gone. It was crazy, I was just glad that Emmy was already tucked in. Probably not gonna sleep any tonight, but I did do a house search and I think it was just a rogue operator ;)

Abigail: How did it GET IN?! That's craziness I can't even imagine doing that with out involuntarily screaming the whole time lol

Me: I was like screaming with my mouth closed bc I didn't want to wake Emmy up. I had the garage open around twilight to put away the jogging stroller, and had the downstairs den door open too. It was hanging in the netting in the playpen in that downstairs room. Either that or it crawled into the laundry room through a pipe or something and then came in? Truly a mystery.

Abigail: In the playpen?! I would have freaked!!! This should aalllll have been part of the Real Housewives of the Army that I feel we need to be a part of

Me: Yes! It was staying there TO BITE MY BABY as soon as it could. And we are perfect candidates. I need to work on my tagline... "bats, babies, boots, all in a day's work".

Abigail: HAHAHA perfect!

Abigail: This is sooo a blog post

Me: Dude. This is a life memory. I stress ate half a bag of trail mix, an italian ice and a toaster pastry immediately afterward.

Abigail: Girl. That is the only thing to do in such a situation

Me: I'm glad you agree :)

March 4, 2012

Putting Roots Down

As I'm writing this, I am about 27 hours into Anthony's NTC rotation. I'm not bored at all, although the days are much quieter and much longer. This month brings me a long, self-imposed, and mostly fun to-do list. But who am I kidding? I LOVE lists -- my daily planner is one huge scribble of checks and squiggles and underlined reminders. 

My first project is to work on a victory garden, one of my New Year's Resolutions. As a nod to the Army life we live, it will, with a little bit of work and a watchful eye, provide fresh veggies and herbs for the spring, summer and fall. Original victory gardens were born out of necessity -- families in wartime reverted back to self-sustaining home gardens to free up commercially farmed food for soldiers. Mine is born out of the desire to put down roots in this home that we love.

Because we will move again in just a couple of years, if not sooner, I sometimes feel hesitant to commit to any type of home projects or local activities because we won't always be here. But... this is a bad trap to fall into. As a homemaker, I set the tone for our daily lives and the refuge that we make out of this rental house. Though it is temporary, it is our home. If I neglected loving the moments and the days and this place out of fear, it would be my loss.

So, today I took cups and soil and pretty, shiny little seeds and planted them. They'll stay on the dining room table for just under two weeks, until tiny leaves poke up and they're ready to graduate to a planter box (stay tuned for that DIY project!).

It sounds silly, but I prayed over the seeds, that they would flourish and bring a really big harvest. And one day, I hope to give the food and plants and planter boxes away, because they won't be practical to pack, and will take with me not only a picture of a little garden, but also a memory of a happy harvest.
Were it not for the highchair and soil, this looks like some weird drinking game setup!