Saturday, March 12, 2011

My heart is aching...

Thursday was a rough day. Nothing seemed to go the way I wanted it to. I put the kids to bed early and was relishing some time watching some TV I had taped while doing some work on the computer and enjoying a delicious sushi dinner. I spent a few minutes wallowing in the long hard day that I'd had. Children who didn't nap, taxes that took to long to complete and to top it off, cleaning up a bunch of poop. I realized how blessed I was that after such a rough day the kids had gone to bed early. I was heading there myself.

And then it happened. My day got worse. Very quickly. The news of the 7.9 quake in Japan (which was quickly elevated to 8.9) was bad enough. Watching the devastation and the fear and imminent deaths there broke my heart. But a large earthquake like that means a lot more to me now that it affects me personally. An earthquake that size most definitely means a Tsunami is likely. And considering that I can see the water from my living room window, I couldn't spend a lot of time sitting around and doing nothing.

That brings me to another reason why being a military family is different from being a normal civilian family. When you grow up in Nebraska, you hear the civil defense sirens and know that a tornado is threatening your county. That is, unless it happened to be 10:00 AM on Wednesday. When you're a military family and you move thousands of miles, the shortlist of natural disasters changes with each move. The ones you're used to really don't apply in each place. On the east coast you worry about hurricanes. The west coast has wildfires and earthquakes. And apparently, an island in the middle of the pacific has issues with volcanoes, sulfur dioxide air, and the aftermath of major earthquakes all along the ring of fire - Tsunamis. The thing is that when you grow up in an area you learn to stop being afraid of the natural disasters that are common in your area. You get used to the sirens, warnings and know that you're relatively safe even if the disaster threatens to strike. But when you move to new areas, you have to learn to cope with new, scary things that you aren't used to.

I am truly, TRULY blessed to live in a very close-knit community. We all watch out for each other's children and talk almost daily. If we don't see someone for a while, we check to ensure that things are okay. And because of this, even when my best friend is thousands of miles away, I have people I can lean on. People who have in just a few short months have become family. And so, when the earthquake hit in Japan, the word was passed quickly throughout the neighborhood. We all know that earthquakes, though far away can directly impact our area. When the tsunami watch was issued, we all talked and knew that should it become a warning, we would go somewhere together. When civil defense said it was "highly likely" the watch was going to become a warning, we had decided to get ready. So that if it became a warning we would be able to leave ahead of everyone else and avoid traffic. So, fifteen minutes before the first siren, we were already packing up, planning to go somewhere together, in the middle of the night, with all of our children. And when the siren sounded we were already well on our way to seeking safety.

My heart is aching for those in Japan who are dealing with the tragedy. But my heart is also aching with gratitude for a Great God who helped to place my family in this home. Aching with love for my neighbors who have stepped in to watch my children when others had to be rushed to the emergency room. We may not live in a brand new house, but we have a roof, walls and plenty of room. We have a view of the water in a wonderful area of the world where the weather is almost always amazing. We have friends for the kids to play with (and get hurt with). We have block pot-lucks and birthday parties. We have a community that is hard to find. So it was with great relief that Friday morning, when the all-clear was sounded that we returned to our homes. But the relief was not because our houses and our things were in tact, it was because our neighborhood family was.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Apple TV. Seriously?!

Have you heard about this thing? I was very skeptical. Any time Daddy comes home with some new-fangled gadget, I want to know how much it costs and why we really need it. (I'm not sure exactly when I went from being excited about the new gadgets to exasperated. I am not sure I'm happy about this shift, either.)

Then, my sister sent me a YouTube video of my sweet baby nephew Bear. Oh, how I miss those CHUNKY, chunky thighs. His solid frame, and his sweet contagious smile. I watched the video on my phone. And then I thought I should watch it on a bigger screen. My iPad! I was watching it when Little Monster came around and wanted to know what I was watching. And why did that sound like Auntie on the iPad?!

I noticed this little odd thing on the bottom of the screen and clicked it. And it gave me an option for watching the video on Apple TV. After only a few minutes of input juggling, there was Bear! Bigger than life Bear! Being the goof that he is on the big TV. Monkey and Monster just sat and watched Bear over and over.

And now I find myself anxiously awaiting the newest Bear video to be uploaded. I haven't seen a new one in a long time. Despite the fact that I've posted a few videos of Monkey and Monster since then. But you know sisters. They are busy. Oh, and they are in the mid-west and trying to dig out from about a gazillion feet of snow. I guess I'll give her a break.

But what I was originally trying to say is that Apple TV -- it's totally sold on me. I love watching Bear on the Big Screen! And now that Daddy is busy, I'm sure the kids are going to love watching him read good night books there too!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

And so it goes...

Or rather he...

Daddy has returned to the daily grind of sea duty, and with that the return to a lonely life of being a married single parent. We have been truly blessed and spoiled in the past few years having him home every night, in time for dinner too!

My lack of blogging here hasn't had anything to do with anything other than a lack of time to sit and do it while the children are quiet. I have continued to blog. In my brain. As I am vacuuming or preparing breakfast, folding laundry and going about my daily tasks blog posts arrive in my head. But I haven't been putting down the vacuum, waffles, or towels in order to blog at all.

Turns out, when you do that your house stays clean longer than thirty minutes. It might also have something to do with our wonderful neighborhood in which at 3:00 in the afternoon the children are set free while the adults chat and supervise the chaos. It isn't chaos. That isn't fair. There are many days where the children play in orderly groups in their games. They organize duck duck goose, hide and seek, some sort of medieval knight game that involves foam swords, shields and bicycles, and a myriad of other things. Some days, though, they look like a bunch of free electrons buzzing around the street and the cul-de-sac.

I can't believe how blessed we are to have such a wonderful place to live, with wonderful neighbors and the opportunity to enjoy it all -- even if Daddy isn't here to enjoy it with us.