The dominos keep falling…

Well November has certainly kicked off with a bang. Last week I spent 3 days at the Disney Swan and Dolphin in Orlando, Florida for the iNACOL conference. This conference is for K-12 online and blended learning programs, and I have to say it was pretty darn good. Not the best conference I’ve ever been to, but good nonetheless. Monday morning they served us breakfast, and then we broke out to 2 separate sessions. We got back together for lunch and then had 2 other breakout sessions. After that, it was a dinner party outside around the pool. While waiting for it to begin, a colleague and I were sitting at our table discussing changes that are happening in our school district. I kid you not, 5 minutes later, our boss came down and and told us that she has been promoted. And so it begins…I mean continues…

This year has been one of tremendous change in our district. The school board essentially forced our superintendent into retirement. One of our area superintendents was promoted to superintendent. He then reorganized our entire district. Our Director of Technology and his second in command as well as another major technical person left. One of our awesome high school principals was promoted to Chief Academic Officer, and a number of other smaller administration moves were made. I have said all along that the changes weren’t finished, and I was right.

My boss has been promoted to Director of Technology and Innovation for our district, which is great. She’s been passed over long enough and it’s about time. She has been grooming me to be her replacement when/if this day came for the past 2 years. But alas, that is not going to be the case. Because we are on the verge of becoming a full blown virtual school, the district wants someone with school-based leadership experience. Of course, yes that makes sense. Let’s pull someone from a school to be in charge of a virtual program instead of promoting someone who has basically been running the virtual program to be in charge. Right.

Ok so a part of me has been and may continue to be a bit pissed off about the whole situation. I out degree both of the people being considered. Neither one of them know anything about the virtual program, but they do have limited experience with blended learning. I have done the training and completed the portfolio to go through the process to be selected as a school-based administrator; however, I don’t want to be school-based. I have asked my boss on numerous occasions if I should go through the process just in case, and she has always told me no. *sigh* Whatever. On the other hand, there is a part of me that is totally ok with it. I have a very flexible schedule right now, and I’m not ultimately held responsible for a lot of major decisions. Also, if the Navy picks me up in January, there could be more of an impact, and I will really need that flexibility.

So the dominos keep falling. I don’t know when they will stop, and right now, I’m ok with sitting back and waiting. I know I could do the job well, and the teachers believe I should be promoted. For now, that’s enough. I will wait and see who they bring in and how much work I’m going to have to do training them and doing my job as well as theirs. It’s going to be interesting. Come on January! 63 days and counting…EEEEEK!

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Vacation is over

My lucky husband has been off for the past 2 weeks. That means it has been 2 glorious weeks of sleeping together in the same bed every single night and not worrying that my beloved won’t come home to me. Two weeks of “honey-do” projects getting done (hanging the mirror in the master bathroom, digging out the mulch around 4 trees and replacing with rock that had to be dug out of the neighbor’s backyard…thank you neighbor!, moving the A/C unit, digging a trench for said move of the A/C unit, decorating and undecorating for Halloween, and moving bushes from the backyard to the frontyard). Two weeks of really good meals (I gained 3 pounds while he was off!!), and two weeks of being pretty darn lazy just enjoying each other. All of that has come to an end, and of course, it ended in true bang-up fashion.

We found out last week that when he returns to his shift tonight, he will be moving to the other side of the city. That means he doesn’t have his own guys anymore, and he’s now the only sergeant on duty instead of having a 2nd sergeant to split responsibility with. Also, the other side of the city is MUCH larger and he isn’t as familiar with it. Not to mention, the reason he has to move over there is because one sergeant retired and the other just got in pretty big trouble. That just means it’s basically going to be a bunch of drama whores who he hasn’t been leading that he now gets to go deal with. *sigh* On top of that, he is supposed to be attending a Hostage Negotiations training for the next couple of weeks for a few hours each night. Now we’re just hoping he still gets to do that with this move.

Oh and the department voted in a new union while we was out, so it’ll be interesting to see how that impacts his job now. To put the icing on the cake, we sent our wedding rings out to be dipped in platinum (we do this every 6 months), and my engagement ring came back and promptly broke. I sent it back in last week week, got it back yesterday, and they still didn’t fix it correctly. Now I have to send it off again this afternoon. Yes, I’m pouting.

The good news is this is usually the crazy super fast portion of the year, and I’m certainly looking forward to all of the fun and festivities. 24 days until Thanksgiving, 53 days until Christmas, and 59 days until we ring in 2016. The best part of all is that I will get to celebrate every single on those events with my husband for the first time in 4 years! Especially since I’m not sure what 2016 will bring as far as the Navy or his job, I’m determined to enjoy this holiday season.

 

Another lesson learned

I consider myself to be a pretty adventurous person. I have my motorcycle endorsement and LOVE to ride, I scuba dive, I love going to the range and in fact just got an early birthday present (my own AR-15), I will be the first person in line for the biggest roller coasters, I love trying new activities, and I mean I’m a mom of 5. That equals adventure. That being said, I found something I will absolutely not do again: attempt to fly to a conference, attend said conference, and fly home on the same day. Nope. Not happening. Let me break this down for you:

I found out a couple of weeks ago that I won an award. The letter in this package said the award would be presented at the conference in St. Louis. Also in the package was a certificate (this will be important later). I emailed by boss and asked if she thought there was any way I could attend this conference on relatively short notice, and she encouraged me to gather details and submit the proposal. So I did. Within 24 hours, the district had approved my travel, my administration paid for my plane ticket and conference registration, and I was all set. This past Sunday I woke up at 4AM and my husband was able to drop me off at the airport at 4:45. My flight took off at 5:30 (small airport so security took all of 5 minutes), and we even landed early in Atlanta. Awesome. I had about an hour before my connection took off, so just enough time to recharge my iPad so that I could finish the novel I started. I had a window seat for both of these flights, and everything was great. I landed in St. Louis, found my shuttle, and made it to the conference by 9:40AM CST. After checking in and receiving my credentials for the conference, I promptly headed to the exhibit hall. I stayed there for about 2 hours collecting free stuff (mostly books) and trying to find something worthwhile to bring home. My biggest prize was an Army Alphabet Book signed by the author!

army alphabet

Around noon, after attempting to go to 2 sessions (1 was too full and the other was cancelled…there were about 50 sessions cancelled), I found a quiet corner and ate my $10.00 chef salad and finished that first novel. I started my second novel and waited for my 3:00 award ceremony. Finally 3:00 rolls around, and I go to the reception/ceremony. They have cupcakes and 2% milk…ummm ok. There might have been 25 people in the room. What is happening here? They were playing a slide show four about 10 minutes before the ceremony started (ok maybe 20 minutes), and I saw my name and picture flashed up there with the award I received. Awesome. The award table looked pretty empty, but then I remembered from a conference last summer that everyone got to hold the crystal trophy for the picture and then your real one was mailed to you, so I didn’t think anything of it. The ceremony took about an hour. No trophy for me. No announcement of my name. No handshake. Not even a “stand up and be recognized”. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. WTF?! I approach the organizer of the event afterward to make sure I hadn’t missed something. I introduced myself and told her the award I received, and she said, “Oh yes you should have received your certificate in the mail”. Um yeah…that certificate I got…that was it. Oh. Ok. I flew across the country for a certificate I already had at home. Great. You know, you could have said that in the letter!!!!!!

Anywho…I walk out of the conference to get my shuttle back to the airport. I get an alert on my phone that my flight was been delayed. It was supposed to take off at 6:30 but is now leaving at 7:40. Shit. I have a connection to home in Atlanta that is supposed to take off at 10:18pm. This delay means my plane won’t even land from St. Louis until 10:19pm. Shit. I call Delta (I won’t fly with them again for a LONG time!), and they check other airports in my area…nothing. Other airlines…nothing. The earliest I would be able to land about 2 hours from home would be around midnight….oh wait….nope that seat is taken too. Great. I get to the airport and talk to the agent at our gate. She says we are now scheduled to land at 10:07pm and could possible make up time in the air, so I might still be able to make the connection. YESSSS!!! She puts me in the aisle of row 4, and I am ready to make a beeline for the connection. And then…yep you guessed it…we got delayed taking off…by 20 minutes. We landed promptly at 10:17 and I did not make the connection. Shit.

I head over to the customer service desk and ask for a hotel voucher. The first try they gave me one that said I would pay $74/night. Um no I am not paying for a room thanks to your airline’s screw up. Oh it was coded wrong…great fix it. Take two and I end up with a room at the DoubleTree. I get to my room around 11pm. After calling my husband and getting him caught up on the events and letting him know I would now land at 10:45ish Monday morning, I try to go to sleep near midnight. Except…my room is right next to the elevators that run all night long and a train outside my window that apparently also runs all night long. I drift in and out and by 6AM, I’m done. I get up and decide to grab the next shuttle to the airport figuring I’d rather wait there for a few hours than keep fighting sleep at the hotel. Oh I should mention the TV’s were on the fritz thanks to some sort of power outage. Ok…on to the airport.

Immediately upon arrival to the Atlanta airport, I know there’s a problem. There are 6 double lines winding through the entire airport all the way to the front door. I’m not even kidding. Security people are everywhere trying to keep the lines moving and security dogs are checking everyone. It took an hour and half to get to the actual security gate. I really do feel for the people that work these gates, because they must have repeated themselves a million times and people still didn’t listen or asked a question that had already been answered had they actually listened. My plane boarded at 8:40, and I finally got to my gate at 8:15. I’m pretty sure if I had slept until my original intention of 7AM, I would have missed that flight as well. I FINALLY got home around 11AM, and I have never seen a happier sight than that of my husband waiting to pick me up. It felt like I had been gone for weeks. We ended up napping on the couch and going to bed early.

The lessons in all of this:

1. Do not fly Delta and expect to make all connections (this is the second time in a row I have missed a connection with them…fool me once…)

2. Do not attend said conference again…seemed a huge waste for me at least (they usually have about 20-25 thousand attendees, and I heard someone say they only had about 5 thousand this year…hence the cancelled sessions). If I win another award from them, they can just mail it to me…oh wait, they did.

3. Find out the exact details of any award being given BEFORE booking travel arrangments. My first award conference was a BIG deal with a crystal trophy, and this one was just the certificate in the mail.

4. You will find the frequent travelers have the BEST attitude when stuff like this happens, and they made the delays and frustrations bearable…and even funny for some of it.

Lessons learned.

Making Progress

I tell you what, life is pretty darn good. There is progress all over the place, and I’m enjoying every moment of it.

The newest addition to our family finally seems to be settling in. We have her basically kennel trained for at night, and she has even stopped whining. She gets up around 3AM or so for a potty break and then gets up again around 7ish for the day. MUCH better than the first few nights that I thought were going to kill me. She is almost 3 months old (on the 22nd), and I hear puppies of her size will start to sleep all night long around that time. That’ll be nice. Other than that, she’s only had 1 accident in the house over the past couple of days, and I think we’ve got her trained to go to the back door to let her out when she needs to go. She is pretty spoiled rotten already, but I guess that’s not too surprising.

Our sliding glass doors are going to be replaced on the 27th!! YAY! We got the call yesterday to get our french doors installed. That will be another project done around the house. So far since buying this house 11 months ago, we’ve tiled the entire main living area and master bedroom, painted all of the walls and the outside trim, installed all new ceiling fans and light fixtures both inside and outside, gutted and redid the guest bathroom, installed the white vinyl fence, and put in a gazebo. After we get the french doors in, we will be attempting to get an in-ground pool around October (fingers crossed). Whew!

At work, I have accomplished almost all of my projects for the summer. Yesterday was crazy busy, but I did manage to get 6 teachers to come in during their break and plan out a schedule for school site visits. That was my last really big project. Now I get to start working on our pre-planning schedule. Other than updating our digital handbook and keeping current with our course building, that’s all I have left.

This morning, I weigh 148.4 *cue happy dance*. I know I’m under where I need to be by about 3.5 pounds; however, I’m concerned that perhaps my scale at home is off or the scale at MEPS will just be unkind. Everybody knows there are horror stories like that. I’ve worked to hard to not get in because of my weight at this point. Yesterday I submitted my security clearance paperwork and my MEPS medical pre-screen paperwork and supporting documents. I know it takes the MEPS doctors  at least 2 days to review everything and give a response, so I’m thinking it’ll be next week at the earliest that I can do my physical. I will definitely be glad to have that over with!! After that, it’ll be time to schedule my interviews. Now THAT part I look forward to, because I truly love interviewing.

Next month is my birthday, and my husband and I have been talking about going on a little vacation just the two of us. Sunday I was like, you know what, let’s go on another cruise. This will be our 3rd together, and my 7th. Within just a couple of hours, we had our babysitters found (thank you to my parents and my mother-in-law), which is more complicated since they have to actually come stay at our house thanks to the new puppy. Yesterday, my husband was able to confirm he could get two days off the week we needed him to, and I booked it immediately! Now I’m looking forward to 3 days of no cell phones, no email, no internet, and no interruptions. Just me and my husband having a relaxing vacation or fun. we don’t even have to worry about deciding where we want to go for dinner or watching a budget. It’s all included! Ahhhhhhhh bliss at its finest!

Our fence debacle

This summer I am working four 10-hour days a week (Monday-Thursday). I didn’t really think it would be that different from my regular work schedule, except that it most definitely is. The bonus is that I only have to actually GO to work on Mondays, and I work from home the rest of the week. I will say that the past 6-7 days have been VERY interesting around here.

Last Thursday I spent the day at a job fair hoping to find some new talent to recruit/hire for my program (I am an instruction and curriculum specialist for online learning in my school district). Instead, I spent the day hanging out with my boss and 2 of our teachers…and I read a book. Yep, not very productive. We were supposed to be getting a new white vinyl fence installed that day, but he didn’t show up and didn’t call until later in the day to say, “First thing tomorrow morning”. Ok. Friday, I am off. My husband works nights and worked Thursday night so he slept until about noon. Still nobody here. Later that afternoon, the owner shows up in flip flops with an empty truck just to tell us he wasn’t going to install the fence that day, but “First thing tomorrow morning”, and the reason: Friday was his brother’s birthday (this will be important later). Well Saturday was our Chuck E. Cheese birthday party for our now 4 year-old from 10:00-noon as well as a bowling party for our now 15 year-old that night.

Ok Saturday morning we wake up at 8 and wait…and wait…and call…and call. At 9:30, we are told they are on their way right now. Great. Just Freakin’ Great. So, I take the kids and go to Chuck E. Cheese while my husband stays home (NOT going to HIS 4 YEAR OLD SON’S birthday party) to wait for them. At 11:00, they still aren’t there, so my husband comes to the party for all of 5 minutes just to be able to thank the guests that came and brought their kids. He tells me they should be at the house any minute and leaves. We get home from the party at 12:15 with pictures, leftover cake, and stories to find my husband still waiting. WTF?!!!

The truck pulls in at 1:00. That’s right ONE o’clock…with just ONE person (the owner’s brother…you remember, the one who had a birthday on Friday). He tells us he is just dropping off the materials and not installing it that day either because the crew didn’t show up. Are. You. Kidding. Me?! I thought we were going to have a murder on our hands. We call the owner who assures us it IS being installed that day and about an hour later, this guy pulls up in a van. I send him around to the back, he is there about 15 minutes, and he leaves. The brother informs us that this guy had never installed a fence before, so he sent him away. He also tells us that he will be installing our fence on Monday, and he will get started at 7AM “First thing”. My husband goes out to look at the materials and sees that we were brought 8 foot sections instead of the 6 foot sections we ordered. He calls the owner again. The owner tells us that they were out of the 6 foot sections, so he got 8 foot sections but is installing a metal support beam in the bottom to prevent the sagging we were concerned about. Ummmmm what? You changed our order without even ASKING us?! I should also mention at this point that my husband is the one that actually got the permit to be approved since this guy didn’t even apply for it when he told us he did, and my husband is the one who called for the underground lines to be marked since, once again, the guy never bothered.

Monday rolls around, and sure enough, at 7AM, the brother is there to install the fence…alone. *sigh* I actually have a staff retreat for work, so I leave at 7:15 to the sounds of him working. My husband had to leave at 3:00 to go to work. I get home at 4:30ish to find the fence…not done (not too surprised since he worked on it BY HIMSELF). *more sighing*. Apparently, he ran out of materials and had to stop for the day. This is after he borrowed a knife and was looking for something else (can’t remember now what it was) to borrow/use. Tuesday, yesterday, he shows up around 8AM and gets to work. Sometime around noon I guess, the owner shows up. They only had the gates left at that point, which they custom make on site. Great. The little one on the left side goes up no problem along with all of the caps on that side and the back. The double gate on the left…not so much. The owner comes to get my husband around 1:00 to show him the progress. He asks about the caps on the front right side since he didn’t want to have to trim something to put on the caps we wanted and wanted to replace them with other caps (they are supposed to be slightly different than the ones on the left in order to match our neighbor’s fence on that side). My husband informs him they are going to install the correct cap that we originally asked for, and he asks them when the inspection is going to be scheduled. The owner tells us an inspection “isn’t necessary”, to which my husband informs him it most definitely is necessary. At that point, they tell us they need to go to a different job, will schedule the inspection, and we can “settle up” after that. And they leave. I go out to mow the yard (which had been put off thanks to their shenanigans), and I find extra pieces of fence, hardware, a fence cap, a metal pipe, a metal rod, and piles of dirt where they dug the holes. The double gate on the right does not have a support beam in the middle like we talked, and it sags (hence the need for the support).

I honestly don’t know how people like this stay in business. I will be absolutely SHOCKED if a) they schedule an inspection and b) it actually PASSES inspection. I would be pleasantly suprised if they came back and put on the freakin’ caps they are supposed to on the right, inserted the support for the double gate, and cleaned up their mess. That’s clearly asking too much based on past behavior. In the meantime, we have done our due diligence in warning everyone in our neighborhood and anyone else for that matter NOT to hire this company. I will say that the brother is one heck of a hard-worker, but the owner is a liar and a moron with little integrity.

In other news, I am weigh 151.8 this morning (yep hit a plateau), and I got to actually go in and talk briefly to a Navy active duty officer recruiter. The reserves officer recruiter was in class but is supposed to call me this week. So…Navy huh? It wasn’t where I started out thinking, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. We will see.

navy

Spring Break!

Ah yes Spring Break. The time that all students look forward to partying it up, making memories (if they can remember any of it), and getting away from the stresses of school. The time when parents cross their fingers and hope their child makes wise decisions and then counts the days until it’s time to send them back to school. As a teacher, I generally looked at Spring Break as a chance to sleep in, be LAZY, go to the bathroom any time I wanted to, and catch up on ridiculously stupid television. Due to my promotion, this is to be my last official Spring Break off. From here on out, I’m a 12-month employee, and the only way I get this break off is to take vacation time.

The good news is during this break there is no cheerleading practice (woohoo!!), no Police Explorers meetings, and it’s not super cool nor super hot. The bad news is this is my husband’s long week, it’s going to rain most of our days off, I have to take my stepson to the airport tonight, and my two youngest boys have an intense love/hate relationship when they are couped up in the house. Yay for me…not!

And what am I doing you ask? Well, I’m definitely sleeping in (10:00 this morning Yessssssss!), watching some pretty stupid tv, and yes, being very lazy. We had my oldest’s birthday party with family on Sunday. Yesterday was spent inside all day due to rain. Not much planned for today other than the 3 hour round trip airport excursion. When I get back, I am going to put the two youngest boys in separate bedrooms for the rest of the week (yay!). Tomorrow should be pretty decent weather, so we may end up going to the park and let Daddy sleep. Thursday my husband and I are hoping to meet up with our Blue Knights motorcycle group for breakfast and a ride, but the weather is definitely not looking so good right now. Friday looks to be another rainy day in. Now the weekend…well it’s looking sunny and COLD… at least sleeping in will be a lot easier. LOL!

25 Things About Me

The other day I read a great post on Amber’s blog (which you can read here), and I loved it so much, I thought I’d steal borrow the idea. So here goes: 25 things to know about me…some cool, some weird, and some straight up TMI (maybe).

1. I apparently clap too loud. Yep according to my husband, my clapping is so loud it feels like “hammers on his head and in his ears”. Ummmm ok well blame it on the days cheerleading. At least he’ll always know when I’m clapping for him right?!

2. I was Miss T.E.E.N. Illinois 1992. I was just barely 16 and got to go on a 7 day cruise to the Bahamas to compete for the national title. And on said cruise, I was incredibly terrified every time I hit the stage. I was your typical sheltered little small-town girl thrown into an LA-like atmosphere with zero preparation. I did meet some cool chicks who helped get me through, but needless to say I didn’t even make top 10. I did, however, kill the flute solo I did for the talent portion. BAM!

3. I flew an airplane when I was 16. Ok so I didn’t exactly take off and land, but while we were in the air the pilot let me hold the stick for a few minutes while flying straight. in a little Piper Warrior 4 seater-ish plane. under his direct supervision. LOL!

4. Every time I play truth or dare, I end up doing something crazy. Example, I was once dared to unzip and zip the pants of my HS crush. During said dare, I couldn’t get them zipped back up with the one hand I had unzipped them and had to grab the bottom of the zipper with my other hand. I’m pretty sure I only grabbed zipper, but seriously, I have no idea I was shaking so bad.

5. When I get embarrassed, I get a really red face and laugh. A lot. At sometimes really inappropriate times. Like the entire ceremony of my first marriage. Hmmmmm….

6. I really hate Facebook. Like with an intense passion. I miss out on family pictures and news, but I also miss out on drama, who hates who at the moment but are besties later, who’s cheating on who through facebook messenger, spying from my husband’s psycho ex, people’s ridiculous political opinions, grammar atrocities, and on and on it goes. Who needs it?!

7. I pray all the time. If you see my lips moving and no sound coming out, I’m probably praying about something. Sometimes it’s like a really ridiculous prayer (“Please God make this woman shut up because I really don’t care what she’s saying”) and more often than not it’s for my husband (“Protect him and keep a hedge a thorns around him from all evil and tempations. Bring him home to me safely.”).

8. I LOVE singing. Like love it. I sing All. The. Time. I officially sing in my church’s praise team. I also sing in the car, on a walk, before my youngest goes to sleep, and I even will sometimes be humming at work. Music speaks to me.

9. I was a part of an Army Wives Forum for 5 years, and it recently shut down. I miss my girls. A lot.

10. I am incredibly jealous of my sister-in-law. She lives in Colorado Springs right now where my brother-in-law is currently stationed. That was supposed to be my Colorado Springs. *sigh at life*

11. Speaking of, I’m an incredibly jealous person naturally. I HATE and DESPISE any woman who flirts with or looks admiringly at him. And don’t even get me started if they text, call, or message him. I will literally lose it if one decides to try and get close to him. Nope. Not gonna happen. Back off chick. He’s married…to me. It’s not a challenge. It’s the way it is. Go away.

12. I’m also someone that holds a grudge. It is SUPER hard for me to trust and just as hard for me to forgive when I’m hurt by someone. It can take me years to come even remotely close to forgiving someone if they really hurt me or break my trust.

13. On the flip side, I’m also one of the most loyal people I know. I stayed with my douchebag of an ex for 13 years despite numerous issues because I didn’t want to break my marriage vows. I am a Bills fan. Enough said.

14. That’s right. I’m a Buffalo Bills fan. LOVE the team. I married into my fanship. I really didn’t follow the NFL much prior to marrying my husband. I loved college football (Go FSU), but my husband is a huge long-time Bills fan. Now I’d say we probably have an equal amount of passion for the team. #CircleTheWagons

15. I am an instruction and curriculum specialist for a K-12 online learning program. I LOVE my job. I had taught in the classroom for 12 years before transitioning to online learning. Best move I ever made!

16. I am allergic to the oil in peppers. All peppers.

17. I LOVE reading. I can read pretty much anything for hours. I especially love books with an Amish, 1800’s western, or christian fiction in general.

18. I used to be a pretty good distance runner. I ran the mile and 2-mile competitively in HS. I ran 5K’s in college. Then I had kids. 4 of them.

19. I make cakes. I have a website and everything. Wedding, baby shower, birthday…you name it. I make it.

20. My dad is a disabled veteran and my mom is an LPN. My dad served in the Army National Guard and in the US Army. We were stationed in Missouri, Georgia, and Pennsylvania before he was medically discharged.

21. I met my husband when I had lunch at my sister’s house during a teacher workshop. He was visiting her and we ended up talking during my entire break. That’s a long story for another day.

22. I love taking long walks with my husband. It doesn’t matter where we walk to or how long we walk, but we always manage to talk about a lot of stuff. I also love that he holds my hand during those walks and it makes me feel like we’re dating again.

23. I once spent a wild weekend in Key West. Ok maybe more than once. And probably will do so again.

24. I got to attend a “bootcamp for teachers” at the Paris Island Marine Corps base. It was FABULOUS, and I would completely do it again in a heartbeat.

25. My husband and I were married while scuba diving in the Keys. Like underwater. Our vows were written on slates and we signed them. I messed up the picture of our kiss because I forgot to turn my regulator upside down to keep the bubbles away…oops. Our honeymoon was also spent scuba diving in Bonaire. AMAZING stuff there.

And that ladies and gentlemen, is a list of 25 things you may or may not have wanted to know about me. Carry on.

Defended

Congratulations Dr.

And then it was over. I successfully defended my dissertation. What I felt was…well…I don’t know…I mean I was happy it was over and SUPER excited it was approved. I was blessed and honored that my committee all agreed I need to come back to the university as a professor for the program. But I was also emotionally spent, exhausted, and really didn’t even know what it was I expected to feel. I walked out of our bedroom (because that’s the only place I could go with a locked door so that my 3 year-old didn’t constantly try to “help mommy”), and my family was sitting at the dinner table waiting for me. I said, “Ok NOW it’s done”. And then we ate dinner.

No screams of joy, no hugs and jumping up and down, no tears of relief, just dinner. Then we watched a bit of TV and went to bed. My husband told me how proud he is of me when we got in bed just before we drifted off to sleep. The next day when my boss got to work, she had a Congratulations balloon and some sparking apple cider. She toasted me three times and my colleagues gave me a nice round of applause. That was nice. My 3 year-old definitely enjoyed (and still enjoys) that balloon. At church on Sunday, my praise team leader and our drummer gave me hugs and congratulations. That was also nice; especially since I know they were praying hard for me on Thursday night.

My world is so full of chaos, rushing, and activity right now. I also still have 3 signatures to go before I can graduate. Everyone keeps telling me it’s just routine and a given for those steps, but until I get them, I still feel like there is more for me to do. It’s not finished yet. Maybe that’s another reason I don’t feel this overwhelming joy like I thought I would. Instead, I am feeling like my body has been holding up this mountain for so long that now with the mountain gone, it can just collapse. I know some of that has to do with my husband’s new work schedule, my coaching cheerleading again, my son’s therapy and psychiatrist appointments, financial strain during the holidays, and my own job stress. So instead of exhilaration, I just feel beat up.

I know I have to do something soon because I’m emotional about everything right now. I cried at work today. At. Work. WTF?! I HATE that I did that. I really am just so emotionally overwhelmed and lonely most of the time, I have to change that. I tried to talk to my husband about it, but A) I’m trying not to burden him with my weakness because it’s hard enough and dangerous enough being a law enforcement officer right now, he certainly doesn’t need my baggage too B) he’s overwhelmed with his own transition to a sergeant’s role and C) I think he’s becoming more black and white and less emotional towards me just because of time apart and the focus he has to have at work. I mean, I know he used to work nights, so it’s not like we’ve never done this before. But last time, I was home by 3:00 at the latest and he didn’t leave until 5:30. Now I work until 4 (with a 13 minute commute) and he has to leave by 4:30 (and would really prefer to leave by 4:20). To go from 2.5 hours to maybe 10-15 minutes of contact sucks. On top of that is the increased fear for his safety. It is terrifying to be an officer’s wife today. With all of this (and so much more) going on:

I don’t understand people. Why is it ok for protesters to ravage neighborhoods, professional athletes to wear shirts supporting an anti-law enforcement attitude, and people to be incredibly outspoken about rumors and untruths? Where are the law enforcement supporters? Why do we have to sit idly by meek and quiet and hope it all blows over? Where is the outrage when the shooting is black on black? When did it become acceptable and even encouraged to promote violence against law enforcement officers? Do these people have any idea what law enforcement today have to deal with?! Of course they don’t! Ok, ok, I gotta stop. My bottom line: I successfully defended my dissertation, I have my health and my family, my marriage is strong, we have a home to live in, cars that run well, and food in our stomachs. I just lost focus on that and let the circumstances of the world beat me up. I’m bruised but not broken.

My sergeant

TimSergeant3

It’s official. My beloved husband is a sergeant! I was so nervous pinning his badge on his chest today. My hands were shaking, and I’m pretty sure it felt like it took me 20 minutes to get done. My husband was a complete nervous wreck beforehand. He hands were sweaty, he was standing and fidgeting, and you could just tell his heart was racing. He did a great job when he was announced and walked up proudly. After I pinned him, he gave a short and sweet little acceptance speech. Basically he thanked his family and “kept it short: Thank you”. He was the 2nd person to be promoted during the ceremony, so our 3 year-old was great. After about the 5th person (out of 6), he was definitely getting impatient with the whole process. It didn’t help that the 5th person literally thanked 20 people and had a speech for each of those 20 people. You would think he was just elected President. Dude, you were promoted to Captain; congrats; enough already.

Of course everyone else got to leave and take their family to lunch, but not my hubby. He had to basically turn around, switch to his short-sleeve shirt and go back to work for the rest of his shift. We’re still waiting to find out exactly what time his shift begins and ends, but at least we know his rotation schedule and his location: YAY! There was only one point during the ceremony when I had to give my gorgeous man a bit of crap. The man promoted to deputy chief thanked his wife first and foremost during his speech saying she is the “love of his life” and takes care of their 3 young children and works so hard, and then he gave her a dozen roses. I looked at my husband with a

and he said, “Um no, you don’t get flowers.”

I’m so proud of all of the hard work he put into studying and preparing for this moment. He definitely earned it, and I’m very excited that I got to share in this amazing moment with him.

I love you baby!

Peace Amid Chaos

I came across Beth’s three word Wednesday idea over here on her blog, so I thought I’d give it a try.

My three words: Peace Amid Chaos. Why those words? Well I think most of you know how cray cray my life is most of the time, but for those that don’t, let me just give you an idea by sharing just the past 7 days’ schedule of events:

Thursday: I had 3 meetings at work, my husband had a deposition in court (he is a police officer), my 3 high school aged children all had open house on the same night (2 different schools). My husband got off work at 6 and picked up my stepson from his after school driver’s ed class and went to his open house. I got off work at 4:30, went to my daughter’s game (she is a cheerleader) and received the handoff of my 2 younger children from my mom. I then went to my daughter’s open house after the game. We ate drive-thru and got home about 9pm.

Friday: I had only 1 meeting and my husband was off of work. He checked out my daughter from school at 12:30 and brought her home to watch our younger two kids. I left work at 12:45 after checking out my stepson and picked up a girl from our church youth group. We raced home, changed clothes, and raced back to our church to drive one of the church vans to Orlando. My husband and I chaperoned our youth group going to Night of Joy at Disney World. We left the church at 2:00, drove in blinding rain to Orlando, and proceeded to have an AMAZING night praising and worshipping God while hanging out with our little group of 5 teenagers. We dropped off all the kids and got home around 4:30AM.

Saturday: We slept in until about noon. My mother-in-law came over and picked up the two younger kids to go swimming at her house. My husband and I started sorting through all of our hang-up clothes that were piled in the bathtub (we just bought a bank-owned house and the master bedroom closet was completely ripped out) because the bathtub faucet was leaking. Aroung 3:45pm, we wrapped up and went to SAM’s before heading to my mother-in-law’s house for dinner. After dinner, we went back to SAM’s and picked up two closet organizer units. We got home and put together those units until about 1:00AM.

Sunday: We went to church and got home around 12:30pm (we don’t do the early service 🙂 ). My parents came over at 1:00 for kick-off of the Bills vs Bears game. We are HUGE Bills fans, and my parents are HUGE Bears fans. For those that don’t know, BILLS WON!! So it was a great game for us! After they left, we cleaned up the kitchen from wings and pizza. Oh and during the game my daughter had a friend come over to work on a school project. We got to bed around 9pm that night.

Monday: Everybody went to work and school. I got off work at 4:30, picked up my youngest from my parents’ house, picked up my daughter from school and went to Wal-Mart. We got stuff to make for dinner. Now understand that I HATE cooking, but I had found a recipe for sweet and sour chicken from my friend on her blog here. My daughter and I got to work and had it almost all the way in the oven when I had to leave to take my stepson to his Police Explorer’s meeting at 6pm. My husband got off work at 6 and we had dinner. He left at 8pm to go pick up stepson and that wrapped up our day.

Yesterday: I had four meetings at work, my husband worked and had a major arrest, and I got off work at 4:30. I picked up my youngest two kids, and then picked up my daughter after cheerleading practice. We got home and made dinner. My husband got off work at 6 and picked up my stepson from his driver’s ed class and got home for dinner. After dinner, my husband went to Home Depot to get pieces and parts he needed to finish the attic floor so that we can put stuff in the attic finally and find our garage. I went to bed at 9 because I think I’m getting a stupid cold. My husband stayed up until 11PM watching a movie because he’s crazy. 🙂

Oh and I should mention our morning routine is my husband gets up at 4:30AM and leaves the house by 5:15AM for work. We all get up at 6AM and leave the house by 6:45AM. I drop off my daughter at her high school by 7AM, drop off my 5th grader by 7:10AM, drop off my youngest at my parents’ house by 7:20AM and arrive at work with my stepson (I work at his high school) by 7:30AM. Whew! Yet this is me (ok maybe not):

So when I say “Peace Amid Chaos”, I mean that even surrounded by all of that stuff going on, I couldn’t imagine a different life. I’m the oldest of 5 and my mom is the oldest of 5 and now I’m a mom of 5. I have always had chaos…it’s really all I’ve ever known. I think the other thing that factors into my being able to find peace in chaos is that my dad was in the Army most of my life, and my husband has served in the Army National Guard for 15 years. Being an Army brat and an Army wife forces a sense of flexibility into one’s life that I don’t think others understand. Life has really prepared me to be able to juggle many things at once. Maybe that’s why I haven’t gotten too overwhelmed pursuing my doctorate degree (almost done now!!!). Actually, I can say whatever I want, but the bottom line is that I can only find peace in the middle of chaos because of the grace of God and His amazing love for me! 😀