Water towers and off days.

I admit it.

I’m having an off day (week, month…). Things seem much harder than they really are. I have no energy to be creative or even friendly. I would actually just like to stay in my yoga pants, curl on the couch and watch a marathon of An Idiot Abroad.

Where am I going with this? Nowhere.

Like I said, I’m having an off day (week, month…)

I just spotted something on Facebook that brought back a flood of bittersweet memories.

Two words.

Water Tower.

Many moons ago, we lived in the tiny town of Smithfield VA. Known for Ham, History and Hospitality. (…and for the reek of the slaughter houses a few miles up the road….but you didn’t hear that from me.)

The two years we lived there were pretty darn rough. Hubby was deployed most of the time and Faith was sick quite a bit. Not like “cough, cough” sick. I mean “first name basis with the PICU nurses, inpatient for weeks at a time” sick.

It was also during this two year stretch that Faith was diagnosed with autism.

With 6 years between now and that moment….

…..the time standing still, I know she’s a little quirky, and for the most part only repeats lines from TV, and spends a lot of time flapping her hands and rocking, vomits when she touches anything with the texture of yogurt, and she poo paints, a lot, but what the heck do you mean she has autism moment?

Anyway, looking back, I can finally see some humor in our time in Smithfield.

Faith has had some pretty interesting obsessions over the years. Some memorable ones have been a spatula, a bar of soap and water towers.

Oh she loved water towers. Any size, any shape. Water towers were the highlight of her day. Luckily we had one right by our house.

When she would spot a tower, she would begin flapping her hands and making “Eeeeeeeee! Eeeeeeeee!” sounds. She would smile so huge that you couldn’t help but smile with her. She was 3. She had almost no communicative speech. But she could make everyone in the car with her laugh at how excited water towers made her.

During the time we lived in VA, we became water tower experts. We could plan a trip anywhere in area making sure we passed at least 3 towers each way.

Anyway….

The time we lived there I was miserable, depressed and always felt like a black cloud hung over my head. I was so happy to leave Virginia. I just plain did not want to ever look back on our time there.

Yet today I did. When I spotted the words “water tower” on Facebook.

Not only did I look back, I looked back and felt a flood of good memories.

The girl, she loved those towers. And she was so damn cute when she spotted one.

So maybe, just maybe, at some point in the future I will look back on this time fondly also.

Lost – Possible Reward

There has been a feeling creeping in on me for a few weeks now. It has been coming closer and closer. Until this morning I didn’t have the exact wording for the feeling.

I feel lost.

Not in a “Where did my GPS lead me this time?” way. (Mine has a sexy Australian voice. I tend to just listen to him talk, not actually pay attention to where he is leading me…but I digress)

In a “Where is Allison?” kind of way.

I have spent so much time over the last 20 years being what I thought everyone else wanted and needed me to be that I have lost sight of what I want to be. Of who I am.

A mom? Well yes, I am a mom. I enjoy being a mother most of the time. But that is part of who I am, not who I am.

A wife? Well yes, I am a wife. I have a wonderful husband who is my partner in almost every sense of the word. But that is part of who I am, not who I am.

A daughter? Well yes, I am a daughter. I have parents, step parents, in-law parents. I am certainly a daughter to many. But that is part of who I am, not who I am.

A sister? Aunt? Cook? Housekeeper? Friend? Blogger? Tweet-a-holic? Teacher? Tired? Lupus patient? Failed gardener? Reader?

I have lost me. If asked to define who I am, I would only have a blank stare to offer as my answer.

If you find me, please leave a comment. Possible reward.

We are wild and crazy around here

A local carpet store went out of business. They were selling off the carpet samples for $1 each So I went and bought 20.

What? Wouldn’t you?

We are currently about a year from owning a home again. Homes come with fun things like renovations. Usually (for us at least…) renovations mean decisions. Do we want this color or that? This faucet or that? This carpet or that?

The problem with “this carpet or that” is you don’t have much to go on. You can run you hand over it. If the sales guy isn’t looking you can grab the sample, toss it on the ground and stomp on it a couple times. Not that I have ever done that.

:looking innocent:

But what about the REAL stuff. How does it look covered in dog hair? How does it look when you don’t vacuum? If I dump red popsicle on it, how easy does it clean? And for those of us with sensory affected children…how does it feel under foot. While barefoot? While in socks? While wearing shoes?

We, being the wild and crazy family we are… Cough…. Took this opportunity to grab a bunch of carpet. Different textures and colors. Then I tossed them out and we went about our lives.

I had my favorite, Jimmy had his, Faith even had hers.

Over the weeks, one became a clear  favorite. It didn’t show cat or dog hair. It was just the right amount of soft. It vacuumed great. It cleaned up fantastic. And….. it was one NONE of us would have picked.

I realize this doesn’t sound very wild or crazy but if you ever get a chance to grab some carpet samples, try it. Especially if you are not in the middle of renovating.

And now Jimmy is making scratching posts for the cat. 😉

My John Hancock

Holiday sendCheer(ios?)

I am a military wife.

My husband is a submariner in the US Navy.

He does what he does because he loves it. I’m along for the ride because I love him.

The life we have chosen is a rough one.

We say goodbye…often.

We move…often.

We spend holidays apart…often.

It’s not all sunshine and bunnies and rainbows and hot guys in uniform.

Sometimes it’s downright lonely. Luckily, being part of the submarine community, we tend to run into the same faces over and over at different duty stations. We also do our best to support each other during deployments. Husbands who are home are sometimes sent to another house to fix a leaky pipe or mow the lawn. But we know the favor will be returned when our spouses are deployed. Support is crucial to keeping our day to life running smoothly. And knowing our “at home” life is supported, our deployed spouse is more at ease and able to focus on the task at hand of protecting our country.

When I first saw the first commercial for Cheerios sendCheer, my first thought was: “What a great idea!”

I hopped online to see what it was all about. The more I read the more I liked it!

Cheerios® and the USO are partnering to send “Cheer” to military families to thank and encourage them for their commitment to our country.  Specially marked boxes of Cheerios cereal will feature “Cheer” postcards, which can be cut out and mailed to military families through a partnership with the USO.  Even more, for each postcard received, Cheerios will donate $1 to the USO to help support programs for military families.  Cheerios has already donated $150,000 and will donate up to an additional $100,000 based upon the number of postcards received by November 30, 2012.

What could be easier?

Buy. Cut. Mail. Support.

Give the linky below a click to learn more about how easy-peasy this is. And if you are on Twitter, you can RSVP for the #sendCheer Twitter Party. During the party we will also share great “giving back” ideas, and give away two (2) $25 Walmart gift cards, two (2) $50 Walmart gift cards, and one (1) $100 gift card to Walmart during the party. (RSVP here)

This post has been compensated as part of a sponsored charitable opportunity for Collective Bias. All thoughts and opinons are my own.

My John Hancock

Do you hear what I hear?

Link to Tempur-Pedic Site

This post is sponsored by Tempur-Pedic, the brand millions of owners trust to deliver their best night’s sleep every night. Enjoy our Buy 2, get 1 free pillow offer now and give the gift of custom comfort to someone you love.

When I walked into the store yesterday I heard it.

Holiday music.

Then I saw it.

Candy canes, red and green M & M’s, twinkly lights….

My instant response? Stress. My blood pressure went up, my head started pounding.

THERE ARE ONLY 50 DAYS LEFT UNTIL CHRISTMAS, Y’ALL!

Ok, stepping back from the ledge and taking a deep breath.

I know that I am not the only one who gets caught up in the stress of the season. I think we all feel it at one point or another during this time of year. Before I go too far over the edge, I thought I would try and find a few little things to help keep me calm and provide some comfort during this crazy season.

1) Coffee. Or tea. (You knew it was coming didn’t you) Making a cuppa-cuppa and slowly savoring it is one of my biggest comforts. Even if it means I have to hide in the bathroom and turn on the faucet so I can’t hear the kids and dog. Even 5 minutes of uninterrupted coffee/tea drinking can make my whole day more bearable.

2) Hiding in the car. Yes, this season is stressful and it is unavoidable that we are all rushing to hither and yon. When you hit the mall and (finally) find a parking spot, turn up your radio and take 5 minutes to sing along with your favorite tunes. Out loud. Lose yourself in the music. I always feel refreshed and ready to take on the mall after that.

3) Bake. Not because you have to, but because you want to. And don’t give it to anyone. During this busy season, you deserve the small comfort of cookies fresh from the oven. Might I suggest hiding them from the rest of the household by placing them in a “Fiber-O’s” cereal box?

4) Try to get a good nights sleep. Those of us with small children may feel as if that is a far off dream…but there are a few things we can do to make the little bit of sleep we DO get more restful. Keep your bedroom cool, quiet and dark. Limit caffeine in the evening. Make sure the pillows you are sleeping on are the right ones for your sleep style. (Side, back or tummy.)

5) Laugh! Loud and often.

Comfort is the perfect gift for everyone on your holiday gift list, so be sure to take advantage of Tempur-Pedic’s Buy 2, get 1 free pillow offer! I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective.

My John Hancock

What is sexy?

No worries, the blog you know and love has not taken a…ahem…different turn.

And yes, this question is relevant to a mommy blog.

What is sexy? Where does it come from?

I think the definition of sexy changes during different parts of our lives and changes based on our own experiences. I also think where  we think it comes from changes.

To one person, perhaps a girl in a bathing suit is sexy.

To another, maybe sexy is defined by a woman in a stained bathrobe rocking a newborn at 3am.

To a third, it may be the gray haired gentleman helping his wife out of the car.

Right now, at this moment in your life, what is sexy?

My John Hancock

 

I switched your coffee #PeetsCoffee #Cbias

Alaskans can tell fine differences in snow.

Wisconsinites can wax poetic about cheese

Texans can tell you all about the finer points of barbecue.

Floridians can spot all the different types of tourists.

I’m in Washington. What do we know?

COFFEE!

We know the coffee. And the rain, but this particular post is about the coffee.

I have a love-hate relationship with coffee. I love coffee and hate when I run out. Coffee is my mommyjuice. It gets me up in the mornings, it keeps me company in the afternoons, it keeps me awake in the evenings. It is my love. My muse. My get up and go. My hand warmer, my forehead cooler. If you were to take a DNA analysis of me, I’m sure at least one part would be related to the coffee bean.

I was pretty excited when I was given the chance to try Peet’s Coffee.Peet’s is a brand that we have not tried yet. I was planning on pulling an old-fashioned coffee switch on my husband. I wasn’t going to tell him when or how, I just was.

But, as is often the case in our family, things took a different turn.

Faith has not been feeling well. Her Familial Mediterranean Fever cycle began. She was grumpy and feverish.  One of the few things that help her feel better during the cycle is hanging out in the bathtub. Since she can not run a bath, or even undress herself, she can’t be left alone in the tub. What that also means is that I spend my time hanging out in the bathroom also. Whoo-hoo. Not.

One morning she woke up extra grumpy. She wanted to rest in the tub NOW. Not after my coffee and breakfast. Not after I had a chance to get out of my jammies. NOW. So I got the water running, got the kiddo in the tub, and yelled down to Jimmy to please….please….PLEASE….bring me up a cup of coffee.

Little did I know, Jimmy had a Peet’s Coffee “Coffee Switch” of his own planned.

Jimmy made my coffee exactly how I like it. With one pump of sugar free caramel syrup and a hearty splash of creamer. I knew right away what he had done! The Peet’s coffee was a bigger, bolder flavor than my usual K-Cup. I usually drink Coffee People Donut House. It’s a medium roast that tends toward the lighter side. The Peet’s was a more intese, richer flavor. I really enjoyed the taste and it was a perfect start to our day.

What fun! I thought I was going to switch his coffee, and instead, he switched mine!

Follow along as I go on the hunt for Peet’s Coffee.

How do you usually take your coffee?

If you are interested in trying Peet’s Coffee for yourself, here is a $3 off coupon. http://bit.ly/peetscoupon

{This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias All thoughts and opinions are my own.}

My John Hancock

Changing paths.

Most of you know that we have been working towards getting my daughter a service dog for quite a while. She was even matched with a dog (Bella) from an un-named organization. Things have not been feeling quite right to us for some time, so after much soul searching and talking we withdrew our daughter from the program.

The organization had stopped sending us any updates. No pictures, nor any real training updates. When we would ask, they said they were too busy, but maybe later…

As I began to get more frustrated with the lack of communication, we began looking deeper. We couldn’t find any previous “matches” to talk with. It turns out we would be their very first attempt at a service animal, even though their website portrays them as having done this many times. I then contacted Siberian Husky breeders in several midwest states to see if they were even legitimate and found out that other breeders had not heard of them. However every single breeder and rescue organization who wrote me back, expressed serious concern about a very young husky being a service dog for a child. That got me looking even further, so I contacted several long standing service dog organizations and they all expressed concern about the breed choice and age of Bella also. One SD organization here in WA even found out after looking at the organizations website, that they had violated their copyrights by copying information word for word from them. At that point, the red flags were just too much for us.

I no longer felt comfortable that this was the right match for us. That left us in a quandary.

There were two different paths we could follow to our goal, one was to get back on wait lists for a fully trained service dog and hope for a better match (and at a cost of $13,500), or the second option was to find a suitable dog with the help of the Humane Society and take the dog ourselves through basic/advanced/CGC training, then to Seattle Service Dog Academy (cost of approx $5000).

We spent Tuesday at the Kitsap Humane Society, interacting with a 2 year chocolate lab they thought was the right blend of smart, eager to learn and right temperament. After playing for 30 minutes, Faith looked at her and said “You are my dog. You are Daisy. You will be mine.” So the route we will be going is basic/advanced obedience training, followed by CGC then over to Seattle Service Dog Academy. This is not the “easy” route, since it puts much more stress on us as a family to begin with, but it is the right one. Thank you to the Kitsap Humane Society for for helping, and understanding. You are amazing.

Without further ado…..Meet Daisy!

My John Hancock