Thursday, June 28, 2012

This Person Is a Slacker --->

Obviously, I have been slacking with the writing of the blog. I would use the excuse that it's been a crazy week, but really, it hasn't. E and I flew back to Washington late Monday night, and have really just been hanging around and running errands the last couple days. We've already been to Costco, the PX (post exchange), Costco, and the Commissary twice. We're like Super Shoppers.

When I have had a chance to sit down at my computer, I have used the opportunity to re-write and edit one of my older novels. I actually wrote it about four years ago, finished it, workshopped it some with one of my novel writing courses, and then walked away. It was probably a much needed break, as I was sick of it and really didn't like it, anymore. I liked a great deal of the story, but it needs a lot of work, and I wasn't really up to it until now. I really should be working on other things right now, but I felt the urge to work on it, so what better time than now?

Also, I finally bought myself Scrivener. It's writers' software that I absolutely adore. I highly recommend it for anyone and for any project. You can see the software and activate a free trial here. It makes the writing experience fun.

And tomorrow, I have an appointment with the head of endocrinology here and a clinical psychologist. Because, apparently, wanting adequate and consistant treatment must mean I am crazy. I am going, anyway, because I think there has been a huge breakdown in communication between the doctors and me, the patient. I am hoping that I will be able to convey that my current prescription has helped, I just think there is room for some adjustment. So... wish me luck?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Unplanned Plans

Anniversary number seven is just around the corner. And by that, I mean it's in less than a week away! July 1, to be exact.

We've been struggling with what to do for our anniversary. Well, I say we, but I usually leave that up to S to make our anniversary plans. We've never actually "done" anything for our anniversary, other than exchange gifts and go out for dinner at The Melting Pot. <--This is something we do every year, and we usually like it, but I get the impression S was looking for something a little more... celebratory. Last year, he wanted to take me to dinner at the Space Needle; he called to make reservations more than 6 weeks out, but they were already booked solid. Despite calling back every few days in hopes of snatching up a cancellation, it never happened for us. Oh, well.

This evening, I mentioned I want to take E to the coast and see the Olympic National Park this summer. For shits and giggles, I did a little googling about the coast, tide pools, beaches, etc, and the place that kept getting mentioned was Port Angeles, WA. I Google-mapped directions, and discovered we can go the "long" way, and go through a corner of the Olympic National Park. I told him I thought that would be a fantastic thing to do during one of his days off, and he said, "Do you want to do that for our anniversary?"

... Well, yeah!

So, I think he is going to make a reservation for a hotel room the night before our anniversary. We'll get up early, make the drive up there, and stay through the next afternoon. We can feed the dogs before we leave, so we just need to ask a neighbor if they mind letting the dogs out a couple times before we get back. I'm excited about going and seeing some new things, showing E an actual coast (I don't count Puget Sound. Should I?), doing some exploring, and taking some gorgeous pictures.

I know. Me. Excited about doing something in Washington.

You can pick your jaws off the ground, now.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


My list of things to do is entirely too long. And it's unlikely that I will get to them all.... So, what should be the focus? Should there be a focus? Is me focusing on there being a focus blurring the focus of my focus?

How many times can I type gocus in one small paragraph?


I want to go back to Scotland. I would live there forever, if life allowed for it, but life doesn't allow for it. And, unless some miracle manages to work out, it is probably a chance of zero to none that the Army would EVER send us there. I could do with a trip, but that would be thousands upon thousands of dollars, and only for a vacation.

We want to buy a house at the next duty station. We're saving for that, and putting money away for E and any-additional-siblings-she-may-have's education. Which means the house saving isn't as quick as it could be (I mean, it's good, just not oh-we-could-pay-you-in-cash-for-this-whole-house! Unless I can talk S into buying something in the crumbling category).

We're planning on having one more biological child; the plan is to do that in the next year.

We want to adopt. And don't want to wait too long. Problem? See savings.

I want to get one of these stupid novels published.

I want to lose the remaining weight I have hanging around from pregnancy number one before starting on pregnancy number two. I have like... 4 months. Hands? Meet hair. Yank.

And that's just the DOMESTIC stuff. I don't even want to think about the rest. I really wish/wonder if there is an alternate universe in which I am managing to live all of the dreams, wishes, etc. I have. Anyone seen Sliding Doors with Gwenyth Paltrow? It's kind of old, and I can't tell you who all was in it, but it was definitely an interesting concept--one small event causes one woman's life to split, and she (unknowingly) lives two different lives. Eventually, they merge, but I often think of that movie when I am agonizing over life and choices and... stuff. It seems like the only logical way to live all the lives I want to live.

And by logical, I mean completely illogical.


Where do I come up with this stuff?!

Friday, June 22, 2012


I'm going to take a few minutes to just brag on my husband... I don't know why, I just have the urge to "talk" about him; maybe it's because anniversary number seven is right around the corner, maybe it's because he hasn't done anything to make my roll my eyes, today. Either way, here's a little bit about S:

S is currently a First Lieutenant in the US Army. He commissioned from the Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket ROTC Battalion in August, 2010 upon completing his Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology. He left for his Basic Officer Leadership Course, held at Fort Lee, VA, three weeks after commissioning, and was there until December when he "graduated." He was one of few Green-to-Gold Scholarship recipients, and one of only a handful in the Ga Tech program. The Green-to-Gold program allows enlisted Army soldiers to serve out their enlistment contract in a bachelor degree-seeking program, while being helped financially with a generous scholarship, stipend, and book money. He applied for and received his Green-to-Gold orders while serving in Iraq in 2006. And best of all, he completed his entire degree program--123 credit hours--in three and a half years, all while working two jobs, and maintaining a position on the Dean's List.

He has a wonderful sense of humor, and we manage to keep one another laughing. He does wonderful impressions, spot-on voices (Seriously, he could give Robin Williams a run for his money, there), and very ironic, sarcastic observations. But we also have very intelligent conversations with one another, especially when we're both awake. I've had a few less intelligent conversations with him, as well, but on those occasions, he's usually asleep. He knows exactly what he's talking about in those instances... I'm the one who's hopelessly lost. (Apparently, I should know what a warthog is and be able to refill it). He's a great father; even changes diapers. He throws himself into the things that interest him, and if he's going to do anything, he is going to do it right. And he likes animals. He'll even take spiders outside for me, rather than kill them.

What more could a girl ask for?

He's been extra sweet to me these past couple weeks. He knows how much I hate WA, and has even offered to help me move back to GA while he finishes up his time at Fort Lewis. Obviously, I'm not going to do that, but it's nice to know he's willing to sacrifice in order to make E and me happier. And, obviously, he's understanding enough to encourage me to come home every couple of months to see my family and soak up some of the gloriousness that is The South before returning to the Northworst.

So, there you have it. That's the dude I'm married to!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sloshed in the Garden

Want to hear something pretty amazing? I spent the evening hanging out with my mom, sans a screaming, whining, temper-tantrum throwing terrible two. It was a glorious few hours, one filled with wandering through artfully sculpted gardens, listening to the dulcet tones of bullfrogs, and a Beefeater's Gin and Tonic.


Oh, yeah, and there were some dance performances.

My mom, who has been reviewing dance for The Backstage Beat in Atlanta, took me to the Atlanta Ballet's Wabi Sabi performance series at the Atlanta Botanical Garden this evening (you can read some of her past reviews here). It just so happens that Thursdays are Cocktails in the Garden nights, so not only did I get to feel cultural, I got to do so while holding an alcoholic beverage in my hand (Wow, that's a lot of links for one paragraph. To celebrate, here's one more).

Anyway, the whole experience was great fun. We left E with my dad, brother, and my brother's friend, then took off for Atlanta (about a 20 minute drive). The Garden opened for the event at 6, the dancing started at 7, and we arrived in Midtown at 5. I talked my mom into running by the Ga Tech Bookstore so I could buy E a few things for the upcoming football season, which was only icing on the cake. It was also sort of depressing that I graduated more than 4 years ago, that I no longer have the privilege of  being on such a wonderful campus every day, and that they have completely changed the parking system in Technology Square. No individual meters anymore?! What the what?! Totally blew me away. I mean, seriously, I move to Washington and they completely turn the place upside down!

Well, I ended up spending way too much on toddler clothing (but oh-so-cute!), all in less than 20 minutes.  Then we were back in the car and at the garden not 15 minutes later. Surprise, surprise.

So, we headed in and explored the garden while we waited for our 7:15 dance performance. It was pretty nice, but then, it was also a bunch of plants. I'm not really sure what it is I was supposed to be enjoying, other than the bullfrog pond in the children's garden, but it seemed like something I totally don't understand... And I felt incredibly uncultured, because I didn't bring along my kid. Guess we'll have to save up for a really nice private school to make up for it. And take some art classes every Tuesday and Thursday at the community center (or something).

The dance was good, and that's coming from a lay-person. Look for my mom's actual write up in a few days (day? I have no idea). I don't want to detract from it here. But the performances were nice. Inspirational even! It's definitely got me thinking about the next book... You know, for when I have finished the two I have already started and one I am going to rewrite. There were definitely a few I liked better than others, but all-in-all, I think they were pretty strong performances. The dancers were wonderful, the choreography was new (to me) and the music was in pretty good taste.

I got a nice drink for a reasonable price ($7 a mixed drink, and they used top-shelf liquor!), and time outside in a nice setting. I would totally do it again. And recommend the Gardens on Thirsty Thursdays for a date night. It would make an awesome date. No joke.

...It's 2:20 and I forgot what my point was. But, whatever it is, there you have it. I'm going to sleep now.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The List

I swear, we are one of the few Army families who are trapped in their first duty station for more than two years.

And that sucks.

In an attempt to not beat my head against a wall in sheer frustration, I have decided to list all CONUS (Continental US) Army installations from most favorable to least favorable.

...And.... GO.

  1. Fort Lee, VA**
  2. Fort Eustis, VA**
  3. Fort Gordon, GA**
  4. Fort Jackson, SC**
  5. Fort Story, VA
  6. Fort Meade, MD
  7. Fort Belvoir, VA
  8. Fort Stewart, GA
  9. Fort Campbell, TN/KY
  10. Fort Rucker, AL
  11. Fort Knox, KY
  12. Fort Detrick, MD
  13. Fort Myer, VA
  14. Fort A.P. Hill, VA
  15. Fort Buchanan, PR
  16. Fort Sill, OK
  17. Fort Sam Houston, TX
  18. Fort Hamilton, NY
  19. Fort Carson, CO
  20. Fort Dix, NJ
  21. Fort Hood, TX
  22. Fort Drum, NY
  23. Fort Bragg, NC
  24. Fort Huachuca, AZ
  25. Fort Lewis, WA
*This is not a complete list, nor is it probably accurate that most of these would even be an option.
**No certain order.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Giving Up and Moving On... If Only in Dreams

I'm just going to pout for a few minutes.

As I mentioned before, S has a busy schedule this summer. He gets to sort of make the schedule since he's "in charge" of this aspect of the mission, but he's still on-call all of the time. They need someone "on" 24/7, so to compensate for that, he has all of his soldiers working on a stagger, himself included. So, for the past 2 weeks (and the next 6), he is working 6 days on and 2 days off. This really isn't a big deal, except I am pretty sure he has ended up having to go in (albeit briefly) during his down time.

I thought it would be a great idea to try to get away for a day, and we have yet to go out to the Washington coast. We have done some travel around Puget Sound, which is nice enough, but nothing along the Pacific Ocean. I love beach combing and exploring, and I think it could be fun for E. I want to pack up the camera and take some pictures. We really only have a few weeks of true summer in Washington, so we have to get all of our outdoor living packed into the latter half of July and August.

Well, I had grand plans--I picked out the days I thought would work best, and asked if that would do (we'd only be a couple hours away, so he could go so long as he had his phone on)... And was essentially shot down. I'm not going to mention what it was, but I'm feeling pretty bummed. I'm really trying to put forth an effort and find some things I actually like/don't mind about Washington, but when those attempts get trumped by something else, I just want to give up and go back to being thoroughly miserable. Which I will be, anyway.

But, on the bright side, that is gas money that won't be spent and can go into my adoption jar and/or house fund.

Maybe I'll use that time to take up painting...

Monday, June 18, 2012

When Children Turn Awesome

Either my child is incredibly odd, or the next generation is going to be full of little Sheldons.

E's favorite song to sing? "Soft Kitty."

She sings it to her stuffed kitty, "Kitty," ALL. THE. TIME.

Frankly, it's fabulous.

(In case you have no idea what I am talking about, click on this Big Bang Theory link.)

This Army Downsizing Business is for the Birds

A few months ago--last year?--it was announced that the Army would be downsizing significantly. Really, what they meant was that the Army would be reverting back to their pre-war retention practices; no longer would officers be pretty much guaranteed promotion through the first 3-4 commissioned ranks, but I'm really not terribly worried about that. Today, anyway (I am sure when it comes closer to the next promotion, I will forget how wonderful my husband is at his job, and that he receives glowing OERs (officer evaluation reviews). What really has me worried is that along with the fact that the Army is no longer pushing its officers through the ranks as quickly as minimum-time-in-rank requirements allow. To promote to the next rank, S needs a minimum of 42 months in service as a commissioned officer (his prior enlistment years do not count... Otherwise, he'd be more than set!

Unfortunately, he has 21 months left until he reaches that minimum. Before they made that announcement, we would be looking at only 15-16 more months.

WAAH, Waah, waaaah.

This really wouldn't be a big deal, except last year around this time, I had him contact his Branch Manager to ask when we would be looking at PCSing (it obviously didn't take me very long to realize Washington was not for me). For those of you who don't know, when we talk about "Branch," we don't mean Air Force vs. Army vs. Navy, etc; there are branches within the Army, and when an officer commissions, he or she is assigned to a branch such as the Infantry, Cavalry, Signal Corps, Quartermaster Corps,  Military Intelligence (*cough*hahahahaha*cough*), Judge Advocate General, Medical, etc. (There are more... I just know that if I keep going, I will forget one and look like a complete idiot... Probably already happened). When S talks to his branch manager, he is talking to a/the (this part confuses me) manager for the Quartermaster people, and deals with personnel movement...? Among other things...?

Obviously, that little bit of logistical (pun intended) knowledge is not something I have banked in my memory.

Anyway, when he talked to his branch manager last year, he was told he wouldn't be PCSing until he became promotable to 42-months-in rank (I'm sure everyones probably figured out which rank that is, but I have no idea how sensitive he is to the whole world--7 of you--knowing his rank, so I'll just leave it at that). My heart was broken.

It still sort of is.

I'm breaking out of my usual pessimistic-as-all-get-out ways, and being incredibly hopeful that he will manage a ticket out of the hell hole they call Fort Lewis by the end of next year. How do we do that? Well, he requests/reserves a spot in the course he will go to next (in Virginia! So excited!). He can do that now... Only problem is they are all booked through next summer, and haven't released the dates for subsequent courses. I am literally pulling my hair out (obviously) as I impatiently wait for that information to be released. In fact, he has gotten so tired of me texting him every other day asking if they have released the dates, followed by me groaning when he comes home and tells me he forgot to look, that he bought a CAC reader (something access card... it's his military ID). Now, he can check them at home and send me into a pout every day!

It would be a dream come true if he had a report date in November, December of 2013 or January of 2014! (Though, that dream would be even better if it happens sooner... Hoping it happens sooner).

So, all we can do is sit. And wait. And occasionally stab Washington with a shovel or a pick-axe. Which is actually pretty therapeutic.

I highly recommend it.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Have You Seen My Hair?

When I was 17, I had enough hair to rival Hermione Granger. I was "admiring" my first college ID the other day, and aside from the fact that I looked really young, the only real difference between then and now is the incredible amounts of hair I had before hypothyroidism struck. When I first started complaining about my hypothyroid symptoms 7 years ago, my hair falling out in hunks was one of the most disconcerting; I was finding more hair collecting in my sink after one morning than I previously cleanws out of my brush in a month. Even medicated, it's still pretty bad, though the rate of loss has slowed. I miss having really thick and lush hair.

But, to make matters worse, earlier today, my mom pointed out that I have a large cropping of white hairs. I noted the first a few years ago, and named him Fred. Then, his twin, George, showed up, followed quickly by Bill. Percy, Ron, Ginny, Arthur, and Molly are now accounted for. It's rather irritating, actually. I'm 26! I am not ready to have the hair of a pre-menopausal woman!

I figure I have 3 choices:
  1. Leave it the way it is; let nature take its course and look 50 by my 30th birthday.
  2. Pull those suckers out and further decrease my current follicle count.
  3. Dye it. I've always been told I have the complexion of a redhead... Let's test that theory out.
I'm taking votes, though the likelihood I will do anything more than pout is unlikely.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Shopping for an Adoption Agency

I totally don't understand so much about this process. I am totally going to need every bit of the next three or four years to figure out stupid little things like "choosing an agency." I'm one of those kinds of people who will have to be incredibly comfortable with that decision, because I will be freaking out every step of the way, anyway. But then, I have a knack for having epically poor luck when it comes to choosing service providers (see: endocrinologists), so maybe I should just pull a name out of a hat and go from there.

Either way, a few years ago, I came across Rainbow Kids, an informational site about international adoption. It's actually a pretty fantastic resource for several things. I spent a few hours the other night going through their special needs section, as it lists a lot of the common issues that fall under that special needs heading. If you read my last overly-neurotic adoption blog, you'd see that I was struggling with whether I felt capable of taking on a special needs child. After reading through the very brief information Rainbow Kids had on each issue, I was better able to understand what we would be taking on... But more on that later. They also have a section that lists adoption agencies by the country from which you wish to adopt.

As I mentioned before, I fell in love with the idea of adopting from Ukraine several years ago. My husband thinks it's important to adopt a child that "looks" like we do; he says it is hard enough growing up adopted without having to add having a different racial/ethnic background from one's parents. Not being adopted, I really don't have a leg to stand on in that argument, and if it's something he believes so strongly, then that's the direction in which we will go. So, when I began researching, I kept it to the Eastern European countries. At the time, Russia and Ukraine were the biggies, with a few adoptions taking place every year from some of the other former USSR countries. I wouldn't count out any of those countries, but I just never felt very comfortable with Russia's program. They didn't seem to exude the care and concern for the welfare of their orphans that Ukraine did. Ukraine really seems to have the best interests of their children in mind, and I can appreciate that.

So, I took a look at the agencies listings on Rainbow Kids and read through their mission statements, services, breakdowns of cost, etc. There were a handful that work with not only Ukraine, but also some of the other program like Hungary, Latvia, Bulgaria, etc. I think I would like to have the option to work with an agency who has multiple relationships in that part of the world in the event that Ukraine doesn't work out or doesn't feel like the right fit for us, anymore. I'll probably go back and read through them all again, but at the moment, I think I have narrowed it down to four: About a Child, Adoption Ark, Kids to Adopt, and Children's House International (in that order).

About A Child works with military families, and that is evident just by reading their cover page. I get a good feeling from their page, and when it's time to request information, I will be looking into them. Adoption Ark was an agency I looked into a few years ago. I think I even requested information, but I have no idea what happened to the packet they sent. Kids to Adopt seemed to be fairly honest about the Ukrainian program, and that puts me a little at ease. And CHI has been around since the 70s, so they have a lot of experience, but I do kind of worry that they would be so big, they wouldn't have as personal a touch.

So, now I'm wondering: when is the right time to realistically request information? I know it's just information, but I don't want to jump the gun like I did the last time around. Three years is a long time and a lot can change between now and then... Or maybe I should just do it so I can really get to researching?

Pfft, I'll just nerd out with some spread sheets and call it an evening.

Friday, June 15, 2012

When Are You Going To Be Home? Or: Why I am in Georgia

E and I tend to scram when S is going to have a heavy workload; this is reason number one we are in Georgia for the fourth time in six months. Sure, there are other reasons like: Washington make me want to rub my face on pavement, I needed an entire week that was a temperature over 55 degrees consistently, and that damn volcano.

I swear, if that thing ever erupts in my lifetime, it will be while I am living within proximity of that shitstorm.

Anyway, this summer, S's unit is providing the support for the training camp all ROTC students must attend before commissioning as officers. Since learning of this huge undertaking a bagillion months ago, we have been repeatedly told why we would never see our spouses. Ever. It's a 27/7/60 kind of job. It was brought up at every FRG meeting and every coffee group I have been to since the beginning of the year, and each time we were reminded that we would be seeing very little of our guys and girls.

My thoughts on this subject went a little something like this: 3 hours of regular family time daily/new summer schedule = my brain exploding.

So, I decided to bring the munchkin home for a visit with her favorite people and keep my sanity. Because, well, we have officially entered the terrible twos. It's tantrum city up in here, and anything from a dirty look to not being allowed to lay in the middle of the road during rush hour results into a 5 minute melt down followed by even less cooperation.

She's been having a blast. She loves her Ya-Ya, Grampa, and uncle, and all of the time she has been getting to spend with them. She blossoms every time we come "home;" her language skills flourish, she makes incredible strides developmentally, and she becomes so independent and helpful. She has taken on the job of making sure every door in the house is always closed, she grabs someones hand and pulls when she wants to go do something, she has decided she no longer needs to sit in the high chair. Her sentences have gotten longer and more complex; being around other people who love and adore her every day has just made a huge difference... She is more herself. It just further cements in my mind that WA is not the place for us.

If it weren't for my husband and pets and HHG (House Hold Goods) all being there, I probably would never go back. Ever.

The worst part about hating where we live is not being able to talk about it with most people. The second I do, they assume we don't go do things or explore, or plan play dates or see friends. They think I just need to "make the best of things," and if I don't like it, I haven't tried very hard... or at all. The military community can be very judgemental, sometimes, and when a spouse voices her dislike for anything, there can be a mass-attack.

I don't think any of them really realize that that just makes things worse. It's not working. I'm miserable all. The. Time. And either that is affecting my child or she is miserable, as well. I just wish someone would say: "You know, it's okay that you hate it. I hate it, too." Or "I'm sorry you aren't having fun. I wanted to gouge my eyes out when we lived at Fort___." However, everyones instinct is to say "I LOVE Fort Lewis. There is so much to do and here are all of the reasons why." Follow by all of the above.

The good news is, we will get to leave. Someday. The bad news is: I don't know when, and it's probably at least a year and a half away.

Okay, I have to stop thinking about Washington. I can feel my soul slowly slipping away. In the meantime, I am going to try to forget it exists and instead focus on the sun, the warm, the thunderstorms, the friendly people, and our amazing family, instead.

Except the humidity. It can go straight to hell with Washington.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I need a Jar, a Dictionary, and a Spreadsheet

Recently, I mentioned that I had a newly renewed interest in pursuing an international adoption in the future. The idea had been slowly reintroduced to me over a couple months, but what really caught me by the heart and dragged me in was Lora's story, which I found through a mutual friend. Someday, I might muster the courage to reach out to Lora, but right now, I am just going to cower behind my computer screen and hope she doesn't catch wind of the fact that I have been obsessively stalking her adoption story (and by stalking, I of course mean, reading avidly).

Writing about it here like an idiot probably isn't helping matters.

Anyway, she has given me a lot to think about, as have some of the ladies on the Army Officers' Wives Facebook page... But mostly Lora (can I call you "Lora?" Geeze, my interwebz etiquette must really be lacking... I have no idea how to behave, ugh). I don't want to tell her story, because she does such an amazing job doing so herself--seriously, take a few days, and go read it; it's funny, and heart-warming, and heart-wrenching, and scary, and amazing. So is the rest of her blog, but I had enough trouble getting through the adoption posts without someone trying to wipe snot all over my legs... The rest might come later. If ever (although, I read her new posts everyday).

(^See? I ramble).

Anyway, I was particularly intrigued by her story because (aside from the fact that her daughter was born in Ukraine) she and her soldier-husband chose to adopt a child with special needs. In her first adoption post, she mentioned falling in love with a picture of a child, knowing that child was supposed to be a part of her family, and then looking into adoption. I, on the other hand, had researched the shit out of this topic a few years ago, and know, more or less, what lies along that path. Even still, I couldn't help but follow her links, which led me to a non-profit organization called Reece's Rainbow that advocates for special needs children living in Eastern European orphanages who need families. I felt as though Lora had issued a challenge to me, and I was willing to accept, despite my unease with the nature of the organization (not what they do... just to say that the whole ministry thing sort of puts me ill at ease, not being Christian and all...).

So, I began to "thumb" through the pictures of waiting children they have posted, wondering if I would feel the connection she felt, which eventually (in a round-about sort of way) led her to her daughter.

Lucky for everyone,  I was not love-struck this go around.

Sure, "lucky" probably seems a bit harsh, but I am nowhere near ready for this, and I would have jumped headfirst into it if I had been shot by cupid's mom arrow.

Phew. Bullet dodged. For now.

But, it did make me think about adoption in a whole new way: Would I be willing to adopt a special needs child? That's a really big undertaking, especially on top of all of the other things that can come with adoption. Being married to an adoptee is probably a much different experience than parenting one, but there are still unique challenges. I started to mull it over, because, of course I would have to be ok with it before asking if my husband was. And then I called him and we had a short chat about it.

His major concern, of course, was whether adopting meant straying from our baby 2013 plan. No. Definitely not. I'm talking 5 years down the road minimum (I think...eek). And then I asked him about considering special needs. He was quiet for a minute, and I could immediately tell he was on the same page I was: yes, but not really.

A lot of those illnesses and diseases and conditions scare me. Terrify me. Not all, but most. Is that bad that I am admitting that? I feel like I am being insensitive for wanting to reserve myself for a "healthier" child, if not a healthy one. It just seems like a dick move to say "here is my list of approved illnesses and conditions." And do they even do that? Either way, I am going to be in for a lot of research in the next few years (to go along with my "adoption jar"). I knew I should have gone to med school, even if to just understand some of the terminology that goes along with a special needs child (damn you, chemistry, you heinous bitch, you).

And then there is the Army.

We have big dreams of living overseas when our children are older--old enough to remember it and go do things. But bringing a child with special needs into the family can potentially kill that dream in an instant; if it's determined there won't be adequate facilities to address the needs of that child overseas, they won't let us go. It's a practice I can both appreciate and hate at the same time--best interests over dreams is no contest, but it still makes me sad that I would be losing that dream.

It's not off the table. Again, this is me rambling and trying to work through a very complicated series of thoughts and emotions. I really need to focus my attentions on things a little less taxing like which kind of apple pie to serve at the next FRG meeting or how to explain to my husband that 11 hours of sleep IS sleeping in.

So, I think I will start collecting the names of agencies and looking into how much this will cost so I can get to saving... While making PubMed my best friend.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Transitioning into a Jedi Master

One of the things I have been wrestling with lately is my lack of blogger-focus. I kind of remind myself of Luke when he goes to get trained in the force by Yoda, but all I can focus on is moving the damn rock instead of moving the damn rock (do I know what I am talking about, or what?). It's total force-by-blogging... And evident that I am very much a nerd and my husband's nerdiness is rubbing off on me.

Or something.

Anyway, if the paragraph above is not evidence enough that I am a rambler, I'll repeat: I ramble, and the complete lack of focus on my blog is even starting to bug me. I think about the bloggers I read and the blogs they write, and they write about one or two aspects of their life, and leave the rest to the imagination... Jamie entertains with her craftiness and interwebz-finds, Kerry explains what it is like being an American in Australia, and TheBloggess writes about being TheBloggess...

And what do I write about?

I don't even know.

So, I am going to start focusing. Focus, focus, focus. I am going to make that plane rise out of the swamp, and then I am going to ruck-march a small green alien. From now on, I am going to try to keep it to the transitions in my life (you know, using that dumb title I came up with a few months ago in a coffee-induced haze): becoming and growing as an Army family, living diseased, and writing/publishing. And food. Cause I like food. If I'm good, I'll be able to link all of those things together. That will make for some interesting titles, eh?

We'll see how this goes...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Thinking Hurts

I've been away from my regularly scheduled program, which is why I haven't posted anything in... Forever. I am sure I am due a few things about which someone might actually care, but instead you are stuck with this, because, well... This is what I want to write about.

A few weeks ago, one of my friends from back home (we were in school together all through K12 and were pretty close in middle school) left me a comment and recommended that I read something on one of her other friends' blog. I cannot for the life of me remember what it is I wrote that spurred out that particular transaction, and really, in the grand scheme of things, it probably isn't important.

Anyway, my friend sent me to My Camo Kids, which is written by a fellow Army officer wife, Lora. I get the impression she is from my hometown, and if I had to fake a guess, I would say she was probably my friend's older sister's friend in real life, but I have no idea, and I am shy enough that I will probably never ask (why am I saying all of this? I swear, I have the worst time getting to the point). I'm really good at imagining things in my head, sometimes, and this very well might be one of those times, but I'm just going to go with it. Anyway, I read whatever it is my friend wanted me to read, had a quick ponder over it, and then headed to the "about" section of her blog, simply because I am overly curious. There I learned that we not only shared an Army bond (Hooah...ish?), but that she and her husband grew their family through an international adoption.

Okay, I can almost see your eyebrows lifting in question (in that wtf-is-this-nutshell-talking-about), but if you bare with me for a few minutes, I'll elaborate as best I can. Several years ago--I was still a student at Georgia Tech, so it was at least 4 years ago, but more likely to be like...6-7 years ago--I somehow became interested in International Adoption in general, but adoptiong from Ukraine in particular. I did some research, had rambling conversations with my husband,  and eventually decided that was something I wanted to pursue in the future. I was going to set it on the back burner, because, well, I was A) too young at the time and B) was not wanting children any time soon, anyway.

Over the years, the image I had painted of the process slowly began to be eaten away. Several of the courses I took in both my undergraduate and graduate degree programs began to make me waiver in my desire to adopt from Ukraine (not to mention that the country closed down adoptions there for a period of time sometime in there somewhere...). It all because a little complicated and confusing for me, and I ended up moving the idea from the back burner to the freezer.

Fast forward a few years; I got bit by the baby bug, I got pregnant, E was born, and adoption was the last thing on my mind. And then, one day, I was driving on post and there was an MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation) sign that was begging for JBLM families to foster. It got me thinking about adoption, again, but this time from the domestic side. My academic conscience couldn't find a while lot wrong with adopting domestically (though the legality that comes with foster-adopting is scary stuff). A few days later, in the Army Officers' Wives Facebook group, someone brought up adoption and it became a rather popular discussion. A lot of women on there discussed their reasons for going the international route for their adoptions: it's tough to do a domestic adoption in the US. It's nearly impossible for military families who constantly move (this is just the opinion of a handful of people, but it made enough sense to me). They expressed their preference for international adoption, simply because it is easier, and my academic self  was tackled by my common sense self; I was reminded of what I had probably known all along: having a family might just be the most important thing to a child without one, regardless of where that child is born.

So, the thought reentered my mind, and it once again became a possibility for the future. And then I found Lora's blog. Today, I went and read through some of her posts that were tagged "adoption," and I got a better feel for what her early-on experiences were (I haven't made my way through all of the posts)... And for someone who really has a hard time believing in things like signs and "meant-to-be's," it sure felt like a kick in the pants.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Movie Review: Like Crazy

I'm just going to start off by saying: you're "like" crazy if you watch and enjoy this movie. On the Netflix star scale, I have this movie a great big uno. And only because giving it a zero isn't an option.

Now, I was pretty excited about the film, because it had won some awards and had been talked about as a possible Oscar contender this last year. I saw some of the previews for it and it looked like it could be cute and sweet... In fact, that's how it had been categorized by some real critics: a funny romance. I can only deduce that it is one of those incredibly artsy films that no one understands but film students at NYU, and thus it should not be shown to the general public. 10 minutes in, and we were already considering turning it off, slipping it back into it's little paper pocket, and shoving it in the mailbox.

Unfortunately, for us, we kept watching in hopes that it would turn around and somehow become worth two hours of our time.


[Spoilers in, the whole movie plot]

Okay, for those of you who are still intrigued, Like Crazy is a film about a long distance relationship between an English girl and an American boy. The girl (Anna? Hannah? See, it was so terrible, I didn't even care to remember her name) is studying at a university in LA when she meets boy (don't remember his name, either). They fall in love, have a romance, and she promises she will come back to visit so they can keep their love alive. Her parents love him (mom is River Song), she loves him, their future is bright, life is wonderful. Well, in an idiotic move, she declines to go home when she is supposed to, thus violating her visa (keep in mind, she knows she is violating her visa and says "I don't care, I'm in love."). She then tries to return later as a tourist, but the US won't let her enter the country because of her violation.

She cries, he might cry... Life is terribly sad. They start living separate lives, she as an assistant to a magazine editor, he designing and making furniture (mostly really, really ugly chairs). He starts seeing someone else (Jennifer Lawrence, aka Katniss), she starts flirting with her neighbor. All of a sudden, she misses him, and asks him to come see her. He flies to London, life is great... Her parents--who love him, remember--suggest they get married so she can move back to America. And then they don't "click" like they used to, and there is some apprehension. He gets pissed off and leaves.

They decide they miss each other, again, and he flies back to London. She talks to a lawyer, who says after they get married, it's 6 months until she can get a marriage visa. So, they get married. The love each other. Life is wonderful. He goes back to LA to work (because, apparently, it is impossible for him to design and make ugly chairs in the UK), and she waits patiently for his return.

He comes back six months later, they go to the US Embassy to get her visa straightened out, and it's denied until she gets her previous violation taken care of. He's sad, she's sad, they take it out on each other... He goes back to America.

He and Katniss get hot and heavy and she has her sexy neighbor man move in with her. She gets a job promotion, and sexy neighbor man has her parents over to celebrate. It's obvious they don't much like sexy neighbor man. Sexy neighbor man pops "the question." She never actually says no, but it's obvious she is going to.

She texts boy, he refuses to text back... He's going at it with Katniss.

Her lawyer calls--her visa issues have been cleared up, she can now go to the US. Katniss is out. Girl moves in with him. They act like they are really bored.

End of movie.

Real life? Yes, probably. Movie worthy? Um, hell no. The whole thing was lots of shaking cameras, scenes where no one does anything but cook dinner, lots of montages of them sleeping in bed. Neither of the characters were particularly likeable--he was stubborn and all "me, me, me" and she was stupid and kind of overly emotional. There was no big hook. It was just... a long distance relationship that should have ended after its first 6 months. And comedy??? Where was the comedy?

Unless, of course, we're talking "omg, this movie is so terrible, it's funny."

Friday, June 1, 2012

Baby Fever

Must... Not... Have... Baby....!

It's figuratively killing me. A friend from high school and college just had a baby this morning, and seeing her posts on Facebook about the experience, new baby, etc. have my biological clock clanging like Big Ben on steroids. But, don't worry, I refuse to have anything but fall birthday babies, so no one has to worry about seeing any pregnancy announcements any time soon.

However, that hasn't stopped me from worrying about the most ridiculous things. Sure, some of the things like prenatal care, my thyroid issues, having my husband around, E, etc. are probably considered legitimate things to worry about. And then there are the usual baby worries--is the baby healthy, will it be a viable pregnancy, am I going to get gestational diabetes? Then we have the slightly more ridiculous out-of-my-control worries like: will we be in WA, will we be back on the east coast? Will I be moving with a newborn for the second time? How will we make THAT work?

And then my new favorite set of worries: the extraordinarily ridiculous. Who will take the newborn photos? What if we have twins? Or septuplets? Will we ever agree on names? But most importantly... Who will take our newborn photos?! (See? What did I tell you?)

E's newborn photos were done by Jill Samples Photography back in Georgia. She did a beautiful job and I would go back to her in a heartbeat if we just so happened to be there... But that's fairly unlikely. If we end up in MD (it is on our list), I have a friend, Danna Stumberg, who does amazing work, as well. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE for her to take pictures of my kiddo[s]. In fact, I have seriously contemplated asking her if she would be willing to be paid to drive down to VA while we're there just to do a photo session (which I would also pay for. Obviously). But what if we are still stuck in the Pacific Northworst??? I have some friends that do some amateur photography, and would ask them, but I'm not sure how set up they are to do that. And what if we end up somewhere else? Like Oklahoma. I just don't think I could go to Sears. It would kill me.

And this, my friends, is why babies are contagious and will make you go insane.

(I'm going to make a book review post or something here, soon. I promise. I don't think even I can take any more of me....)