I'm just an ordinary girl doing ordinary stuff.

I just happen to be a single mom in the military.

My kids are part of the military too.

When I deploy, their heart breaks too.

They're strong little guys.

Being their mom is the most humbling experience I've ever had.

Follow the adventures

See if you can keep up with me as I serve my country holding my kids in my arms.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Manitou Springs Incline

I did not want to do it.
I argued against the suggestion.
Everyone else wanted to go.
Finally, because my brother wanted to do it and I wanted to spend time with him, I said FINE.

The Manitou Springs Incline is one mile in length and 2,000 vertical feet.  It is NOT easy.  In fact, before I did it, I thought anyone who climbed it was insane.  I wondered WHY.  Why on earth would anyone want to do this to themselves?

I couldn't understand it.  I mean, it's nothing but STAIRS.  Never ever EVER ending stairs.  At least if you did the stair climber in the gym, you wouldn't die if you fell over.  There was a young couple who kept the same pace as me and the poor girl kept needing breaks.  I heard her boyfriend (or husband, I was too blinded by pain to check if they wore rings) tell her "You keep stopping.  It's making it worse.  You have to just keep going."  I mean, the dude was a jerk.  Every time they stopped, the guy would sigh and look all bothered as if she was an inconvenience to him.  I wanted to push him over. 

I didn't want to admit that the farther up I went, the more accomplished I felt.  I'd look behind me at that awful, torturous line of steps and think, "Holy crap.  I am doing this.  I am climbing the FRIGGIN INCLINE."  I was starting to smile on the way up.  After a while, I didn't even feel like a weakling when I stopped for breaks.  I took in the beautiful site that was at my back as we climbed.

Finally, at the top, I was actually happy I did it.  It took me an hour to get up there.  My brother finished about 15-20 minutes before me.  But that didn't bother me.  He's in the Army and they do this kind of crazy crap all the time. 

On the way down, we took the Barr Trail.  It is about 3 (or maybe more) miles.  It is a really gorgeous, but can be a little dangerous if you don't watch your step, walk. 

In the end, I really was glad I did it.  And you know what?  I'd do it again.  If I could find a sitter.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Back To School!

Caden started first grade last week.  I am so excited for him!  His first day began a little rough for both of us.  He didn't even want to step into his class.  He was so shy!!  I saw tears in his eyes when he took a seat.  I thought of him all throughout the day.  I remembered what it was like being in a new class with a new teacher.  Being all alone in a room full of strangers.  But when I picked him up from the youth center, he told me he had a GREAT day!  He likes his teacher and there are several kids in his class that were in his kindergarten class.  I wanted to cry, I was so happy!  I guess the big-baby mom really is in me.

He wasn't the only one who started school last week.  Guess who else!  ME!  I'm finally back in the game.  I stopped when my divorce started four years ago and I am finally at a place in my life where I am comfortable with taking classes and working towards my degree.  And I am so friggin psyched!

I am pursuing my B.S. in Investigative Forensics and am about halfway there.  I started my Intro to Investigative Forensics class last week and had a TON of homework.  Oh my goodness.  The reading, the conference discussions, the homework assignments and the brainstorming for a paper.  All in one week.  I love it. 

So right now it is 1:32 a.m..  I've been working on homework.  I have one more assignment that's due by 11:59 p.m. tomorrow night and then I'm done.  This week I have to choose a forensic discipline I might want to work in and begin writing a paper on it.  There are only A LOT to choose from. 

Forensic pathology (dead bodies, cause of death, etc),
Forensic physical anthropology (skeletal remains, identification of corpses),
Forensic odontology (teeth, bite marks), Forensic toxicology (poisons)
and Forensic entomology (insects at death scenes).

It's challenging trying to juggle work, mommying, housework, pet care, AND school all at the same time.  But here I am blogging about it so I guess I found a way to make it work.  Yay! 

It gets the homework done.
That is all.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Eagle Peak

The first time I heard of Eagle Peak was when I was still new to Colorado.  One of my coworkers said, "Last year we climbed Eagle Peak."  I asked what it was and he pointed to a mountain.  I couldn't tell which one-- there are a bunch of them here.  I guess he noticed the look of confusion on my face because he said, "Yes, it's a mountain and yes we really did climb it."  He said "we" as in our unit. 

Now I like to work out.  If you follow my Facebook or Twitter, you'd notice I like bragging about how many crunches I'm doing and how I try to motivate other moms.  I like working out.  I like being fit.  But I don't like the idea of climbing a friggin mountain.  I mean, really, who the heck does that unless they're training to win some kind of medal or something?

So when our Big Boss sent out an e-mail to the staff announcing that we will be climbing Eagle Peak on Monday, I was a little ticked.  Why the heck do I need to climb a damn mountain?  I mean, seriously, I am perfectly fine with my life.  Climbing a mountain is not on my bucket list.  But I did a groan and kept my thoughts to myself.

We met up at 0700 as a unit and headed out on the trail.  I admit I started with a grumpy attitude.  I didn't growl at anyone, but I was pretty quiet and watched as everyone chatted excitedly amongst each other.  But it was only because I was scared as hell of what we were about to do.  I am not a mountain climber.  I am the girl who will run a mile and a half only because the Air Force tells me to.  And I hate it.  So as everyone else seemed to be skipping with their heads in the clouds, I was freaking out inside.
My attitude changed rapidly, though.  As soon as we entered the woods, my nerves quickly calmed.  The scenery was stunning.  I was in awe of the fact that just minutes ago I was grumbling as I walked a dirt trail and all of a sudden I was surrounded by... peace.  God's work.  The feeling was different, as if I entered a totally different world.  The sounds were that of nature, pure and uninfluenced by man.  Everything stood still, yet everything seemed to be watching us as we navigated these woods. 
Now don't get me wrong, it was not an easy hike.  It was uphill the entire time... okay, okay, I know, I know.  It's a mountain, duh...  It was actually pretty tough!  All the marathoners and younger folks were way ahead of those of us who were not cardiologically fit.  (Like how I just made up that word?)  There were huge rocks to climb over, some lose gravel, and an incline that didn't appear to give us a break.
And then to our surprise, an aspen meadow sprouted in our path and it almost made us forget we were climbing a mountain.  It was absolutely, incredibly tantalizing.  Flowers surrounded us.  Birds flew above us.  And the flat of the land gave our legs a break.  It was almost unreal.  I was scared it was going to turn out to be that meadow of sleepy roses that the witch in The Wizard of Oz got Dorothy to pass out in.  Nevertheless, we smiled and walked quietly through this meadow, welcoming the gift.  What we didn't know was it was really the calm before the storm.

The rest of the way was ready to get us back to work.  The incline seemed to rush at us and many of us were huffing and puffing, pulling ourselves up over even more rocks.  Imagine doing the elliptical ... only with a pretty view.  Once we got past the treeline, it dawned on me.  I'm CLIMBING A FRIGGIN MOUNTAIN.  Excitement swept through me.  I couldn't believe it.  I was really doing it.  Suddenly, I no longer paid any attention to my burning legs.  I felt closer to the friggin sun.

Heck yeah.  I climbed a mountain.  How the heck did I ever deserve such an opportunity!  Have you ever survived something so crazy that when you came out of it, you were so grateful for ... well, everything?  That's how I felt at the top of that mountain.  As if I was this lowly creature who had been given a gift.  I had to work my ass off to get to it, but holy crap would I do it again.  I felt as if I shed a little negativity on my way up and gained more appreciation for life in its place.  The feeling is incredible.

When we got back down to the bottom of the mountain, we all stood around in awe of ourselves.  We congratulated each other, high-fived each other and laughed at the fact that we just climbed a mountain.  Then, we noticed the sign.  Some of us didn't read it before we started.  We learned that we just climbed 1.25 miles to the top of the mountain, 1900 feet in elevation gain.  Crazy!!
I learned something important this day.
I can do anything I allow my body to do.
And so can you.
Some of us were super psyched to be at the top while some of us were simply still trying to take it all in.
I thought it would be fun to act like I'm meditating...IN THE SKY!
Flowers in the meadow.