Happy End of the Holidays

Posted on Jan 3, 2013 in Travel Traumas

Happy End of the Holidays 0

Happy New Year!

Now that that’s out of the way, can we all breathe a collective sigh of relief that the business and stress that naturally accompanies the holiday season is over?  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the holidays, but now that I have a little person to contend with, I also love when they are over.  Here is my holiday recap, starting in mid-November, because that is really when craziness descended upon my household.

Nov 12: Elisabeth and I return to Japan after a great visit to the States.  We deal with jet lag, inexplicable amounts of unpacking (somehow, I came home with more than I left with), and prepping for…

Nov 17th: Damon’s Homecoming!  Woohoo!  Except…

Reunited!

Reunited!

Nov 15-16: I come down with nasty stomach virus and turn into a worthless corpse laid up on my couch.  All the cleaning, baking, and other general Homecoming activitizing (yes, that is a made-up word) that I inevitably left for the day before Damon’s arrival does not get done.  That will teach me not to procrastinate!  (Eh, it probably won’t.)

Nov 21: Elisabeth turns 1!  The realization that my baby is no longer a baby turns me into an emotional wreck.  But only for a moment because there is party planning to be done!

Nov 22: Thanksgiving.  Our friends host the squadron for Thanksgiving dinner.  Being the control freak that I am, I get inordinately stressed out about this event.  And I’m not even the host.  Has everyone RSVP’d?  Who will bring what?  Are there enough chairs?  Will my food be edible!?  I should probably work on these control issues.  I should probably also not worry about my stuffing ruining Thanksgiving since there is enough food to feed a small army.

Nov 24: The big birthday party! (Still to be written about in detail; it is imperative that I record how psycho I went over this event as a reminder of what not to do in the future.)  Following a major holiday with a major birthday party is not ideal.  The grocery shopping, the cooking, the planning for one of these events is enough to make one’s brain go haywire.  But two of these events in three days!  Oy.  (And yes, again I acknowledge I was not even hosting Thanksgiving.  Just accept that I am not normal and move on.)

Nov 25: Damon travels to the States for several days to complete some training, leaving me slightly hungover with a completely wrecked house to clean on my own.  (What, you weren’t hurting a bit the day after your child’s 1st birthday party?) Oh, and Elisabeth chooses today to come down with a cold.  Naturally.

Nov 26-Dec 21: A flurry of holiday parties, farewells to friends leaving Atsugi (we miss you Deals and Oldenborgs!), gift wrapping and vacation planning.  And Elisabeth meets Santa for the first time.  Twice, actually.  The first Santa is around 15 years old.  Elisabeth is not pleased.  The second Santa is possibly drunk.  Elisabeth doesn’t make it out of my arms.  Maybe next year.

Fleeing 15-year old Santa

Fleeing 15-year old Santa

Dec 22-Dec 29: Damon, Elisabeth and I travel around 24 hours to get to Kauai for Christmas vacation with my parents and two brothers.  It is so worth it.  Great, great vacation that I will write about more later.  But a preview: Before leaving Japan, my dad says to me, “I figure with six adults to take care of the baby, we should each have her around 2 hours/day.”  “No, no, no,” I reply, “There are four adults to take care of the baby.  Damon and I are off duty.”  And so it is.  And it is glorious.

Dec 31: Back in Japan, we are off to Tokyo to ring in the New Year with some friends.  Despite our jet lag, Damon and I rally and make it to midnight.  Actually, past midnight!  We are rock stars!

Jan 1-present: We are idiots.  Ignoring our need for sleep and dealing with a little girl who is awake every few hours effectively turns us into zombies.  Welcome, 2013!

As for resolutions this year? (Besides De-Zombify)  Blog at least once a week.

Er, I think I resolved to do that already.  These dang holidays just got in the way!  This time it’s for real.  Seriously.

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Processing

Posted on Dec 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

I don’t really know where to start. I never post about “serious” things on this blog.  I am an opinionated person, but I very intentionally stay away from headlines, politics, etc. because this blog for me – and hopefully for you readers – is a way to get away from all that.  It’s supposed to be a lighthearted look into my life as a new mom, a way to find the funny in the everyday.  But there just doesn’t seem to be a lot of funny right now. I had a load of things I wanted to write about – and I will, eventually – but I can’t get the Sandy Hook tragedy out of my head.  Sitting down to write about my daughter’s birthday party knowing those 20 children will never have another birthday party seems somehow disrespectful.  And utterly heartbreaking. I feel at a loss.  Every time I see another news report on Newtown or a profile of a victim, I fight to keep my composure (not very successfully).  Honestly, I’ve tried to avoid it, cowardly though that may sound, because it becomes overwhelmingly painful to try to process this tragedy.  I wonder, if this had happened before Elisabeth was born, before I was a parent, would it feel so intensely personal?  And then I realize that as horrible as I feel – someone with no personal connections to that community – I cannot begin to comprehend how the families of those killed must feel.  How do you comfort those families? How do you honor those precious children and their brave educators? I don’t know.  All I know is now that I’m a parent, the idea of anything happening to my daughter is single-handedly the most terrifying, gut-wrenching thought.  I pray fiercely that she will never be exposed to such violence or tragedy, that she will be able to hold onto childhood innocence for as long as possible.  And now my heart has broken over and over not only for those children and teachers so senselessly killed and their families, but also for all those children who...

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So, uh… are you free tonight?

Posted on Dec 7, 2012 in My Kid Stole My Cool

Remember when you were in the dating scene and someone would call you up and ask if you were available to go out that night and it was totally offensive because, like, do they not think you have anything better to do?  As if! But actually you didn’t have anything better to do but you weren’t going to admit that so you lied and told this person that you have some amazing plans you just couldn’t break. I am so glad I’m not single anymore.* Or perhaps you were the one doing the asking and you wanted to see someone but were afraid to ask because you didn’t want to offend them by implying they had nothing better to do than wait around for you.  (This mainly applies to men – is it so hard to plan ahead, fellows?) Well today I realized this same game-playing now applies to babysitters.  I think it was more fun when it was prospective boyfriends. Here’s the deal:  Damon and I had plans to go on this tour to a Japanese village where they are doing a big Christmas tree lighting event tonight.  We were going to drag Elisabeth along, which in retrospect seems like a poor choice, as it is an outdoor event lasting several hours and it is winter.  Mom fail.  Anyway, late last night an impromptu dinner out was planned for a family in our squadron that is leaving on Monday.  Well obviously good-bye dinner trumps Christmas tree lighting.  But then this morning the scramble for the sitter began. It was 8:30AM.  I needed a sitter for 5:30PM.  This was not good.  Everyone would be booked, I was sure of it.  And plus, I totally didn’t want to ask, because who does that?  That was only 9 hours notice!  Surely my go-to babysitters have better things to do then wait around for jobs to pop up that evening. Not wanting to offend my adult babysitters with lives and children of their own, I started with the teenagers.  Let’s be honest, a teenager living on a small base in Japan probably doesn’t...

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The Big Birthday

Posted on Nov 21, 2012 in The Kids Are Actually Cute

November 21, 2012.  Elisabeth turns 1.  I turn into a total wreck. I was recently watching an episode of “Parenthood” in which one of the couples sends their daughter to college.  And I lost it.  I can’t believe I have to send Elisabeth to college!  … In 17 years. As I am clearly emotionally incapable of accepting that my baby girl is no longer a baby baby, I will instead link you to her birth story. Sorry, I just gagged.  I hate that term, “birth story”.  But that’s what it is, I guess.  So in honor of Elisabeth’s big day, let’s revisit how she tortured me for the better part of 24 hours. And while you’re reading that, I’m going to go crack open a bottle of champagne to celebrate surviving my first year of motherhood. Share...

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It’s the Sorority Life

Posted on Nov 10, 2012 in It's the Navy Life

Disclaimer: I was a sorority girl.  Or maybe, I am a sorority girl?  (I think it’s like the Marines: Once a Marine, Always a Marine.  Once a Kappa Delta, Always a Kappa Delta.)  So as you read this blog, please keep in mind that I think sororities are a good thing.  Really, I do!  Here goes: Living on base is like being in a sorority.  But with more babies and less boozing. Okay, maybe about the same amount of boozing.  But absolutely more babies. For those of you who aren’t military spouses, let me offer you some very, very basic background: My husband is in a squadron, one of many on the base.  Each squadron has a corresponding spouse club.  My husband’s squadron is called “The Eagles.”  The ladies in my spouse club are the “Lady Eagles.”  It’s complicated, I know, but stay with me. When all these squadrons deploy, the base is left with a lot of women (and to be fair, a few men) all organized into these pre-existing clubs.  And sorority-esque antics ensue!  Are you on pins and needles waiting to read about all the juicy drama???  All those women living in close quarters and seeing each other day in and day out?  Hardly any men to keep down the crazy?  Oh, you can see the Bravo show now, can’t you?! Sorry to disappoint.  Being in a sorority was freaking fun, so getting to relive some of that at a more… mature age… can be kind of awesome. I can’t say that all spouse clubs create this kind of environment, as I’ve never been a part of another spouse club.  But I’m willing to hypothesize that the certain set of conditions we experience at NAF Atsugi contribute to the sisterly environment: Living on base… In a foreign country… With deployed husbands.  Put those together and what do you get? T-shirts. Bad Girl Games. Dance parties.  You’re a little jealous now, aren’t you?  And you don’t even know what Bad Girl Games are.  I’ll get there in a minute. But first, the t-shirts. The hallmark of any...

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My Halloween Horror Story

Posted on Oct 31, 2012 in Pinterest Stole My Cool

As a new mom, many things cause me anxiety.  Germs.  Illness.  Choking hazards.  Falls.  The list goes on.  But here’s the big one, the one that has instigated endless angst: Halloween. Is it the weirdos out trolling the streets?  The potential for poison-tainted candy?  The impending sugar high of a child who has gorged herself on Kit-Kats? No, of course not.  Elisabeth can’t walk, let alone Trick-or-Treat.  I’ll deal with those issues next year.  For now, my Halloween horror is this: that my daughter will be doomed to don a cliché costume. News flash: I can’t sew.  I don’t do crafty.  I’m creatively challenged.  So last Halloween when – at nine months pregnant – I started seeing all these imaginative, original costumes popping up on my Facebook and Pinterest feeds, I began to stress.  Yes, I began stressing about my daughter’s Halloween costume a year ago.  Before she was born.  (I recognize that this probably qualifies me as insane, but aren’t all moms a little insane about something or other?) Now before I came out to California, I specifically told my mother that she was not to buy Elisabeth a Halloween costume.  She had three kids to dress up for years; this was my turn.  I only have so many years before Elisabeth starts voicing an opinion on these things, so I need to take advantage of her silence now.  But guess what I found hanging in the closet when I arrived?  A Carter’s elephant costume my mom had bought at Costco.  An elephant.  How uninspired!  Any old baby can be an elephant.  This would not do for my Elisabeth. I strengthened my resolve to find Elisabeth a costume that would wow.  I obviously wasn’t go to make something myself, so where did I turn?  Etsy, of course. Bad idea.  Since when did creativity come at such a high cost?  And since when did every little girl’s item involve a tutu?  Can’t somebody somewhere think of something unique, inexpensive and tutu-less?  Is that so much to ask?!  (Just don’t look at me.  I’ve got nothing.) This brings me to...

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