Day 5 – reFRESH

April 6th, 2012

Karyl and Bethany
(Not my 7 Days photo. It’s at the bottom.)

Last week, we made an impromptu trip down to Southern Virgina to see Karyl and her girls.

buddies crazy jumping

Karyl and I are both Navy wives. We’re accustomed to our husbands being gone for weeks or months at a time, and working long hours when they’re not gone. Most of the time, we deal with it just fine.

pink crew

Elliora and Storm

Once in a while, we struggle. It just happens that last week, we were both struggling a little bit. That made it seem like the perfect time for a 7 Days meet-up.

trying out the balance bike spotting airplanes

Elliora cheesing

ME swinging tunnel

And you know what? It was. We arrived on Tuesday and had a great time hanging out, eating good food, playing outside, talking and laughing together. Grace and Annalie immediately jumped right back into the friendship they established when Karyl and her girls visited us last summer, when Sonja and Noah were visiting. And Mary Ellen loved Elliora. She seemed to think she was a living doll, and Elliora didn’t seem to mind that at all. Anytime we walked anywhere, Elliora walked straight to ME and grabbed her hand.

this hummus is finger-lickin' good

fishy faces

I dragged everyone all the way to Virginia Beach, to my favorite Greek restaurant, Elia’s. The hummus and pita there are to die for, and the rest of the food is delicious too. We were regulars at Elia’s when we lived in Virginia Beach over a decade ago, and just like every other time we’ve been there since we moved away—even when years have gone by between visits—Elia remembered us as soon as we walked in the door.

eating a lemon

peeking into the kitchen gnawing on a chicken kabob

We sat in a booth right next to a high wall. On the other side of that wall was the grill, and Annalie and Grace amused themselves by occasionally standing on the seat and peeking over to chat with Elia and the other people working that day, all of whom seemed to get a kick out of it. Everyone enjoyed the food, especially Elliora. She took bites out of a lemon, rind and all; ate the hummus by the fingerful after we ran out of pita; and gnawed a kabob full of chicken clean. Annalie even branched out from her usual chicken nuggets, and thought the chicken kabobs and rice were really tasty.

Miss Grace ME and EV

braids

The next morning, we all walked Grace to school and got to see her classroom and meet her lovely teacher.

happy thing: rock of love

Walking back to Karyl’s, I spotted this heart-shaped rock in the dirt path. I love finding random hearts in the world like this.

this photo is staged

We stopped at the playground to let the kids blow off some steam, and so we could get our 7 Days shots.

Day 5 - reFRESH

The theme for Day 5 was FRESH. Karyl’s had the idea that we could be getting some fresh air, which we certainly got playing on the swings. But even more than the air, the time spent with a friend refreshed me. Thanks again, Karyl! We went home with lighter hearts, already looking forward to the next visit.

This is a boring post. It’s not one of the half-dozen posts I’ve thought about writing recently but have not had the time or energy to write. I just wanted to get that birthday post off the top of the page because for Pete’s sake, that was over a week ago. And it was a doozy of a week.

Last week, Troy didn’t get home until after 9pm every single night. And then he went to work at 8:30 on Saturday morning and didn’t come home till after 10pm. On Sunday he “only” worked from 11am till 7pm. And today, he didn’t get home till almost 9:30pm.

Elliora didn’t see Troy from Sunday night until Saturday morning. Annalie only saw him once or twice when she was still awake when Troy went in to give her a kiss good night. Troy’s sister Dana and her son Leo came up for a visit over the weekend, and they barely saw Troy at all. (We had fun sightseeing with them, though, and it was nice having them around to distract us from the fact that Troy was gone all weekend.)

It hasn’t been too bad. Annalie, Elliora and I have been chugging along, doing our usual thing. It’s actually been good, having zero expectation that Troy would be home early enough to have dinner or give Elliora a bath or help with bedtime. Of course I wish Troy were home earlier, but it’s okay that he hasn’t been. I’ve managed all right, even if I am more exhausted than usual, and a little more stressed out.

But still. I’m hoping that these crazier-than-crazy hours don’t last much longer. We’re all hoping.

p.s. Isn’t my new daffodilly spring banner awesome!? Thanks, Brenda!

my funny Valentines

February 14th, 2012

baker's assistant this is her "eating a chocolate chip" face

We’ve never been big on Valentine’s Day around our house. I’ve always told Troy that I’d rather he buy me a $10 bouquet of flowers on any random day of the year than spend $50 on roses on Valentine’s Day. Restaurants are too crowded on the 14th, and all the good candy is half-off on the 15th.

Then last night Troy came home with the news that he was going to have to stay late at work tonight because of a meeting his bosses are having. He doesn’t have to go to the meeting, mind you; he just has to sit around waiting for it to be done just in case they need him to do something after it’s over. That’s pretty typical of his job right now. We don’t love that aspect of our life, but we’re used to it, sadly. And at least we knew ahead of time that he wouldn’t be home in time for dinner, so we were able to eat at one of our favorite restaurants last night with the girls and call it an early Valentine’s Day dinner.

nom nom apple

Today, Annalie and I made PB&J Valentine Cookies (while Elliora looked cute in her too-big apron and begged chocolate chips) and they are delicious. Later I might try making some Compost Cookies (despite the gross name, the recipe sounds delicious), and after the girls are in bed Troy and I will have a late supper of spicy California rolls and roasted asparagus and Annika‘s baguette drizzled with olive oil, topped with dark chocolate and coarse sea salt, oven-toasted. We’ll probably watch the second half of the BBC production of Sense and Sensibility that features Dan Stevens (the actor who plays Matthew Crawley on Downton Abbey!) as Edward Ferrars. Not a bad night, Valentine’s Day or no.

Sunrise on the way to IAH.

I’ve been a little blue lately, thinking about how we were supposed to be moving back to San Diego right now, until our move got pushed back six months. Although we do like being close to some of our friends and family here, and we enjoy taking advantage of the great museums and monuments in D.C., we don’t love living on the East Coast. It’s far away from most of our family and friends, and we just plain like San Diego and are eager to live there again.

The biggest reason we’re ready to leave is the long hours Troy has been spending at his job. We knew when we moved here that it wasn’t going to be a cushy shore job, that there would be periods of time when he’d be working late many nights in a row. And the first year we lived here, that’s what it was: periods of time, with long breaks in between where he was home in time for dinner and for a couple hours before Annalie’s bedtime nearly every day.

For the past year that is not how it’s been. Troy has been working long hours, just barely getting home in time to tuck Annalie in around 8pm most nights. Family dinners are a rare occurrence. We’re all burned out and ready to be done with this phase of our lives.

happy thing: Annalie eating non-spaghetti pasta!

But the fact is, we need to hang in there for another six months. We have reason to hope that the long hours will taper off this summer and things will go back to a more normal schedule. In the meantime, we’re trying to think positive. Being here another six months means we have that much longer to visit our local(ish) friends and family. We have the spring and summer to enjoy the Smithsonian and national monuments. And we have a little more time for visitors, which we always love. And it could be worse; Troy could be deployed on a ship and gone completely for the next six months. So there are many reasons to look on the bright side.

happy thing: vanilla sea salt caramels

Huh. Not sure how this post turned into a rant. Then again, pretty much everything I say these days comes around to this topic of how much I am over Troy’s long hours and how tired we all are and how ready we are to move on. I’m a broken record, a boring broken record. I even annoy myself.

I’ll focus on the good things instead. Like Elliora’s enthusiasm for eating a whole peeled apple, or Annalie eating—and liking!—pasta with eggplant, or the vanilla sea salt caramels Troy brought home for me.

Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us to all of you!

family portrait in the hallway