2017 is Off and Running

The Hills 1x05 the hills 105 jason wahler hey long time no see

I really didn’t mean to disappear for over 2 weeks, but things have a way of happening, and I ended 2016 very differently than I thought I would. But let me back up a bit and keep this a Cliff’s notes version before moving ahead…

  • Our church’s Christmas cantata was really good! I thought with our rehearsal schedule being disrupted/non-existent at times we would struggle, but we didn’t.
  • My 3 older children from my previous marriage did not get to spend Christmas with me. I was supposed to have them for Christmas Eve and half of Christmas Day this year, but instead their dad wanted them to go with him to Iowa. You see, his father was suffering from stage 4 brain cancer and was not expected to live much longer. They visited him Dec. 23-Dec. 25, came home Dec 26 and he passed away January 1st. I’m glad they got to see him before he left this earth for home.
  • My Christmas Eve was spent at church since we had 2 services, and then Christmas Day we traveled to my grandmother’s house. My brother and his wife were able to travel from the Tallahassee FL area, and we were only missing my sister and her family from Virginia.
  • The day after Christmas, we woke up early and drove what felt like forever to the Tampa FL area to my husband’s aunt’s house. She has stage 4 lung cancer that has spread to her whole body and is home on hospice care. That day the doctors said she has less than 2 weeks. Today marks the 1 week point. We stayed there until NYE.
  • My midnight kiss was a quick kiss as we were driving home. I haven’t had my husband home with me for NYE in 3 years, so I was grateful we were together.
  • The past two days have been spent taking down all things Christmas, cleaning, and putting our house back together. We had Christmas with my 3 previously mentioned kiddos on January 1st, and within 24 hours after that had everything put in their proper boxes for storage.

Rather than doing a full 2016 recap, because really my life’s highlights aren’t that newsworthy LOL (and you can always scroll through my old posts), I am going to move on to my 2017 goals. And to keep it simple, I am only going to set 3 goals for this year.

2017-goals

  1. Keep running and getting more fit. It’s not about my weight but rather about my personal fitness.
  2. Travel! We have at least 2 trips on the books for this year so far: Ireland (YAY!!!!!) and a hike on the Appalachian Trail (no not the whole 2,000 plus miles but rather let’s see how far a 6-year-old can manage over a 3 day weekend).
  3. Get financially stronger. I want to pay off my credit card debt and finish paying for the pool screen loan. By the end of 2017, I’m planning on trading in my paid-off van for a truck or SUV of some kind since we don’t need a 7 seat vehicle anymore.

That’s it! Feels pretty doable. They aren’t like crazy resolutions or anything unreasonable, but I feel good about them. I’m starting off with my January goals staying just as simple.

january-goals

  1. Run at least one 5K this month. I have one I’m eyeing but I’m not sure yet.
  2. Pay more than the minimum payment on credit card and pool screen loan. Since I also have a dentist and optometrist appointment this month, it may be a stretch, but it’ll happen.
  3. Receive the Navy Reserves Selection Board results. Now the board meets January 9th, and I’m really hoping to hear before the end of the month… although I’ve been told it could take into February. Here’s hoping!

Oh yeah and here’s how I did for my December goals:

  1. Submit my packet for the Navy ON TIME! As was noted in my mid-month update, I BARELY made it, but it was one time. Success
  2. Set another PR. So no PR at that 5k. It was hotter than Hades and had like 300 kids we dodged the entire time…definitely FUN but no PR. Fail
  3. Find the time to have a relaxing evening with my husband. This did not really happen either. We were so stunned by the news of his aunt and getting everything ready to get to her quickly on top of regular holiday stuff that it was a no-go. HOWEVER, we did spend all day yesterday just chillin, and we had a long ride home that we were able to talk about a ton of stuff so that counts right?!
 

So…2016 didn’t exactly end how I thought it would, and 2017 is starting off with good-byes I was hoping wouldn’t happen at all. Like every year, I know there will be ups and downs or as I like to call them…moments of Sunshine and Struggles, but I also know that God is in control, and he has a purpose for and in everything. Hallelujah!

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Mid-Month Update

I feel like December always goes by so incredibly fast, and this year is certainly no exception. Knowing my blogging is fairly hit or miss on a good month, I figured I should take the time to do an update now while I have the chance to do so. And in the name of keeping it simple, I will do it in bullet format! YAY!

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  • I FINALLY completed all of my Navy interviews!! I am right now awaiting word from my recruiter that my package has been officially submitted, and it should be today or tomorrow. Selection board meets early next month!!!
  • Along the same lines…I finally got confirmation of why I was not selected last year, and let’s just say I DEFINITELY have a MUCH MUCH stronger package this year. I totally understand why I wasn’t chosen last year, and we’ll see what happens this time around. If I ‘m not selected this time, it might be time to reevaluate.
  • Tonight is my Christmas Cantata at church. We are having a live nativity and everything!! Bonus: I get to wear my new dress!
  • We hired a new guy at work, and he has made a pretty darn awesome mascot/logo for us. Super cool since I hate our current logo.
  • My next race (and the first since my marathon) is Sunday. I’m not sure how this little 5K is going to go since I was sick, so no PR goals for this one.
  • Lots more Christmas parties and events to come, so we’re pretty busy.
  • If you are a praying person, I’m asking for prayers for my hubby. He’s really going through a lot right now, and he HATES being the center of attention, so I will just say he is facing some VA stuff, his parents divorcing, an aunt has stage 4 cancer, and the Christmas spirit is having trouble finding him. We know God will carry him through it, but he’s a bit of a HUGE control freak, so it’s difficult.
  • Last but not least, we got a new refrigerator!!!! I LOVE it, and it looks so pretty in our kitchen. The top is the refrigerator, the bottom left is a freezer, and the bottom right quadrant can be a fridge or a freezer!!! 🙂

Image result for samsung black stainless refrigeratorSamsung Flex Black Stainless

I’m Alive…and it’s December

I believe you just don’t appreciate your health, until you don’t have it anymore. It has been a wild ride at my house, and trust me, I am VERY appreciative of my good health now. It all started the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

I got a call from the school nurse for my youngest having a cough and a low grade fever. When he got home from the bus, I gave him medicine and had him rest. The next day was spent cleaning, cooking, and giving him more medicine and rest. Thanksgiving went off really well. We had about 20 people at our house, and everything tasted great. And then my husband disappeared…turns out, he was getting a headache and coughing also. Black Friday, we did a little shopping and was home by early afternoon. Around 4 am, I woke up to my husband vomiting. Yep…that little bug transformed itself just for my husband. Blech! Saturday I went with a friend and picked up our race packets for the marathon on Sunday. My throat was a little sore, but I didn’t think too much of it. My husband was clearly struggling, but he was putting on a brave face. Sunday, I successfully finished my 2nd marathon…and PR’d!!! I cut 10 minutes off of my time from last year YAY! I even managed to drive home, roll out my muscles, and was up for work the next day. I was a little gimpy and my voice was off, but it was good. I didn’t even have any chaffing at all! Tuesday I had my 2nd interview with the Navy OIC, but by 2:00, I knew I was in for it.

I left work early on Tuesday and didn’t go back the rest of the week. I basically slept for 3 days between coughing up lungs, fighting off fevers, and avoiding contact with pretty much everyone. I sounded like I had been smoking 50 packs of cigarettes a day…and I’ve never smoked in my life. FINALLY on Saturday I woke up feeling more normal. I stopped taking medicine and even managed to get out of the house. Sunday I went to church and was able to actually sing with the choir! Hallelujah for being healthy!!

december

Now I know it’s December, and I’m a little late, but here are my goals from last month and what I’m working on this month:

  1. Set PR’s at both of my races this month. Success! I PR’d my 5K time by a little less than a minute (but it counts!) and my marathon time by 10 minutes!
  2. Host Thanksgiving at our house and not have anyone murdered, arrested, or thrown in the poolSuccess. 99% of the drama was eliminated, and everyone left happy.
  3. FINALLY get to do (and nail) my interviews for the Navy. Well I have 2 interviews done. I have one more to go…

And now for December:

  1. Submit my packet for the Navy ON TIME! It is due by the end of this week, and I’m cutting it VERY close, but I’m going to do everything I can to make this happen.
  2. Set another PR. I have a 5K later this month that was rescheduled from Hurricane Matthew, so we’ll see if I can keep improving my time. With being sick, I’m not so sure.
  3. Find the time to have a relaxing evening with my husband. He has been working so hard to take care of me, the house, the kids, and work. In the midst of all the chaos, I want him to know how much I appreciate and love him.

Made it to November

I’m so glad it is finally November. This is the month when I can typically shut off the A/C and open the windows. Hallelujah! In setting my goals for this month, I am basically focused on a few events. But first, let’s look at last month:

  1. Run at least 3 times a distance of 10 miles or more. I did manage to get 1 pretty good 10 mile run in, and I ran a total of 49.2 miles in October. I’m probably only going to get one long run in before the marathon, but I’m ok with that. 4 weeks to go. Still though, a fail in the goal meeting game.
  2. Meet my weight goal for this month. Dang I was doing so good on this one too. And then I went on a deployment with Team Rubicon. We had so many good people giving us AMAZING food and sending us to crazy awesome restaurants for free…yeah still stuck at 4 pounds to go. Fail.
  3. Clean out my closet. Thanks to Hurricane Matthew, I got this one accomplished. SUCCESS.
  4. Remind my husband how much I love him on his birthday. Total Success. Even though his main birthday present (an apple watch) was a few days late getting to him, I think he would say he had a good birthday.

On to November!!

november

  1. Set PR’s at both of my races this month. I have a 5K on November 13th and the marathon on November 27th. Fingers crossed!
  2. Host Thanksgiving at our house and not have anyone murdered, arrested, or thrown in the pool. Ok that might be a huge slight exaggeration, but whatevs.
  3. FINALLY get to do (and nail) my interviews for the Navy. Ok seriously, I could do an entire post on the incompetence level of my recruiter, but it would just piss me off again. My packet is due December 1st so it literally has to happen this month. Or else.

That’s it. We have a lot going on with the Policeman’s Ball getting rescheduled thanks to the hurricane, and our annual block party as well as a conference I am attending for 3 days in the middle of the month. November always flies by and December is even faster. 2016 is wrapping up quickly!

Happy Birthday Honey!

This week we celebrated my husband’s birthday. It wasn’t exactly as I thought it would go, but I’m glad I got to celebrate another year with him.

We started by going to the Buffalo Bills game that was in Miami. This took some interesting planning since we also ended up taking our 5 year old too at the last minute. We bought our first ever scalper ticket for $20 for him so it didn’t turn out all bad. And the best part was that he really did sit for 99% of the game with no issues. YAY! I was even the really awesome wife that had him on my lap for the whole game so that my husband could enjoy the game (well enjoy what he could since we did lose to the freakin’ Dolphins…ugh!). Unfortunately, he started on new medicine this week too (thank you VA) and that caused a pretty severe panic attack/dizzy spell as well as what we thought was a muscle tear as we were walking out. Not a good way to end the day especially with a long travel time home after the game.

The next night I wanted to take him out to dinner, and of course, his first choice restaurant was all of a sudden closed on Mondays. (feeling like strike 2 here) We ended up at his second choice and it was pretty good. To top it off, I ordered him an Apple Watch back in September, and as you can probably guess, it wasn’t here for his birthday and in fact still is not here (strike 3?). The good news is that we did have a nice quiet night together with our youngest, his muscle doesn’t actually appear to be torn but perhaps was just a really severe cramp or sprain, and his watch is supposed to be here Monday.

Anyway, Happy Birthday my love! I’m so blessed to be able to celebrate another year of your life with you. You are my hero and my best friend. I love you forever and always!!

Oh what a week it was!

I took last week off from work and spent 8 days serving with Team Rubicon. Team Rubicon is a veteran founded disaster relief organization. The operation I served on was in response to Hurricane Matthew. To say it was life-changing is a huge understatement. I also gained an entirely new perspective on what my husband went through being on the other side of a deployment. Immediately upon arrival to the operation, I felt like I had come home to family. TR welcomed me like no other organization I have ever been a part of. I felt like I had a purpose and the mission was on.

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The first homeowner I encountered had a profound effect on me. There were so many parts of myself in his face, and yet, I could never understand the amount of loss he experienced. Bob lost more in one day than many lose in a lifetime. The 17ft wave that crashed through his home and the three feet of standing water was devastating. When the assessment team I was on found Bob, he was living at a neighbor’s trailer and could barely speak. He told us he had no insurance, no savings, had fallen and hurt himself pretty badly, and was living on a fixed income. At 80 years old, he was completely overwhelmed by the storm. At one point, I had to stop talking to collect my emotions in order to talk without breaking down. The next three and a half days were spent ripping out 90% of his drywall, his entire kitchen, and gutting both of his bathrooms. It was hot, dirty, smelly, nasty and the most rewarding work I have ever done. To watch Bob’s face change from that first moment we met him to the day we finished up was a priceless payment. He started to crack jokes and smile, and I thought the sun had finally come out for him. When we were done, he said, “I just don’t know where to start now”. I told him to take it one room at a time, and I think he found some comfort in that. I know I will never forget Bob. What’s crazy is that he was only the first homeowner I encountered.

There were so many more faces and stories, and every single one of them went from beaten and battered and overwhelmed to hopeful and recovering. From the highly skeptical that we would actually do this much work for free to the desperate for any help at all that we could give, I won’t ever forget any of them. The people I helped were only part of the story. I found lifelong friendships and immediately just “clicked” with my teammates. I am honored and humbled to have served alongside the most amazing heroes I have ever met.

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I came home with a whole new perspective on what my husband went through on his multiple deployments. Working 14-16 hour days with little time to think about home, being more tired than I’ve ever been in my life, and knowing everything happening at home was taken care of are things I didn’t have a perspective on before now.  I was the one left at home. To get just a small glimpse of the other side was humbling and even made me feel guilty for every time I got whiny (I know you’re all shocked I get whiny sometimes!), made ridiculous demands (no honey you need to tell the Army that I need you more than they do *insert huge eye roll here*), or just wasn’t as supportive as I could have been. I got home and apologized to my husband for all of it, and we had a really good conversation too. Part of me wishes I could have gotten that perspective years ago, but part of me knows I was ready for the perspective now and maybe not then.

I didn’t understand that sometimes you just want to freakin’ sleep instead of calling home, and it wasn’t because I didn’t want to talk to him but I just was so tired. And sometimes I was super excited to get out of the house in the morning before anyone else woke up, but not because I didn’t want to be with my family but because I knew I was really making a huge difference in the world. And finding out much later about things not being perfect at home was just fine thank-you-very-much because I didn’t have to feel guilty that I couldn’t fix it or solve it and instead could focus on what I was doing. Yep…a new perspective for sure. It was weird but awesome to experience. Thank you just doesn’t seem to be enough, but it’s all I have. Team Rubicon has forever changed my life.

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So Windows 10

I got a new computer at work today, and umm…Windows 10 is weird!

The Late Show With Stephen Colbert weird late show abby elliot thats weird

I can tell it’s going to take some adjustment to figure out how the heck to work it. It’s this weird mix between how my Mac at home works and how my old computer at work did. Oh, and this computer has a touch screen, so that’s fun too. At least it’s lighter, the display is SO incredibly crisp, and I love the size of the screen. I work in K-12 online learning, so a good computer is a must. This is like getting Christmas early except instead of putting something together, I’m having to just figure it out.

I was able to get everything from my old computer put into a OneDrive storage and then seamlessly able to access it on my new one. Super cool there. Plus it only took me like 10 minutes vs. dragging everything onto a flash drive or even emailing documents to myself. I’m sure I will be doing a lot of trial and error for a bit until I get things figured out.

In other news, I got word today that I will be deploying with Team Rubicon for Operation Loggerhead! It’s pretty exciting, and while I still have a lot of details to figure out and plan for, my husband is being VERY supportive. I believe he is making a point about “how a spouse is supposed to show support in times like this”, and since I pretty much scored a D at best during this past hurricane in that area it’ll be fun to watch. I’m just a bit rusty guys. He’s hasn’t had any orders from the Army in long time. *sigh* So now I will watch to see exactly how it’s done. LOL!

big bang theory and thats how its done jim parsons

We survived Matthew

It was the longest 48 hours of my life. From the time we felt the first winds to the time it finally calmed down…2 days. I haven’t been that scared in a long time. At one point, I was POSITIVE the roof of our house was coming off. I could hear metal scraping on metal and the distinct sound of the rafters’ wood popping. I had a plan. If it felt like we would lose the roof, my 2 kids and I would head to our master bedroom closet in front of our big ol’ safe and throw a blanket over us. It never came to that, but for a moment, I thought we’d have to. I watched as our vinyl fence waved and never returned to standing upright, and one section completed blew apart. I just kept praying for God to keep us safe and keep Matthew off-shore. The eye came within something like 10 miles of us. I can’t imagine what it would be like if the eye actually came on land.

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My oldest headed out to way inland Georgia the morning we got hit, so I knew he was safe. My stepson went to his girlfriend’s apartment, and we didn’t see him for 3 days. My daughter went to be with my sister and her kids, and she probably should have stayed with me since my sister had way more damage. My youngest two kids were with me (ages 12 and 5). My husband had to work. He reported in at midnight the night before it hit, and I didn’t see him for about 36 hours. He had to sleep in the hallway at the police department, and then he got to come home for 5 hours before turning around and going back in for 14 more hours. Finally, he was able to come home and get lots of sleep before getting up and helping his dad get some trees cleaned up at his house and borrow our generator. I’m pretty sure he could sleep for the next week and still not catch up.

As for me, I learned that I can weather a massive storm on my own. I handled the clean up we had, the power outage for a couple of days with 2 young kids, and tackling jobs I never seemed to find the time for…like cleaning out my closet, rearranging shelves in our living room, and pulling weeds/grass out of my front flower bed. However, the storm triggered my own anxiety and brought up some stuff that messed with my head too. I’m ok admitting I was terrified and cried after the kids were asleep, and I’m ok with missing my husband like crazy and praying he would be safe through it all, but I’m not ok with feeling like I went backwards a few steps into a sucky place of anxiety and nightmares. I’m hoping that with the storm over, everyone back to work and school, and a routine restored that I will be able to sleep and get things back under control. It’s crazy what a stupid hurricane can do to a person.

All in all, my sister had a massive tree through her roof and tons of limbs all over her yard, my parents lost a few shingles and the fence around their house, and we lost our fence.

I’d say we are very VERY lucky people. God definitely had his hand upon all of us. As the cleanup continues, I’m keeping my ears open for where and when Team Rubicon will be deploying teams. I’m hoping this is one operation I can participate in and be close to home helping my own neighbors. If you are interested in helping/donating/volunteering, Team Rubicon is a Veteran founded organization definitely worthy of your time and/or gifts.

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Preparing for the Worst

This is what is happening in our neck of the woods right now:

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Even without a direct hit, we’re going to be feeling this one. Quite frankly, it’s scary looking. The department has already cancelled my husband’s day off on Friday, so I will be riding this one out with my 5 year-old. Good times. I’m just hoping he still gets Saturday because I have a feeling there’s going to be cleanup.

Around us, I think as long as our vinyl fence holds, our pool screen should be ok. If the fence goes, the pool screen will probably follow. We are putting up our hurricane shutters today, and basically wrapping everything up to get ready. I’m very glad I don’t live in the Bahamas right now, and everyone is super hopeful it still makes a turn away from making a landfall. No matter where it hits, the Southeastern coast is going to suffer some damage. I have friends that are located on the Florida beachside, and they are being evacuated. Luckily, I’m not quite that close.

If you are a praying person, please pray for everyone’s safety. We haven’t seen a storm like this hit the Eastern side of our country in a VERY long time.

And it’s October

It’s hard to believe that it’s already October. I feel like I have said that every month since June…good grief! Anywho…let’s look at how I did for the month of September and set some new goals for October.

September goals:

  1. Re-interview for the Navy Reserves and NAIL IT. This still has not happened. Last year, my entire packet was done and submitted by now. I’m worried my recruiter isn’t doing her job. UGH!!!! FAIL
  2. Have a better health screening. My weight was actually only 2 pounds higher and my good cholesterol was AWESOME! SUCCESS
  3. My daughter released from cardiology care. She had her appointment, but has not been released. They redid her echocardiogram and saw something on the left side of her heart. She now has to wear a halter monitor for 24 hours and then go back in a year depending on the results of that test. She’s frustrated to say the least, but he did at least clear her to gradually start sports again and told her she could play flag football. Sort of Fail
  4. Must. Start. Running. Distance.  I DID IT! Last month I ran a total of 33.83 miles. My longest run was 5.1 miles. My pace is averaging around the 11-12 minutes/mile which is about 3 minutes/mile faster than I need to average for the marathon. SUCCESS

So we will call that a 2.5 out of 4. Now on to October!

october-goals

  1. Run at least 3 times a distance of 10 miles or more. This will help build up my endurance without killing my legs for next month. 8 weeks to go.
  2. Meet my weight goal for this month. I have 4 pounds to go to get where I need/want to be. I’m hoping to make that happen sooner than later.
  3. Clean out my closet. I know this is usually a spring cleaning thing, but recently we ran out of hangers. I keep saying I’m need to go through and get rid of stuff I haven’t worn in forever, but I haven’t done it. This is the month. Maybe.
  4. Remind my husband how much I love him on his birthday. Yeah, yeah, this might be a gimme but those other 3 goals are tough!! I’m looking forward to celebrating him and being together.

Other things going on this month: the Policeman’s Ball, a 5K mid-month, going to an NFL game, and of course…HALLOWEEN!