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.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Das Boots! 29 Jan 14

Today's Blurb
Tomorrow is Caden's 7th birthday.  I'm letting him ditch school (he's only had one other missed school day this academic year so I don't feel so bad) and the three of us are going to spend the day celebrating.  We have a birthday tradition, which the boys started all on their own.  The birthday boy gets to decide if the non-birthday boy can get a gift as well.  It's their way of being able to share the day without jealousy.  I had no part in this decision.

Well, tonight, Caden asked me if Sean could get two toys instead of one.  The birthday boy gets four and the non-birthday boy gets one.  I told him, "Caden, the rule is that Sean can only get one."

He looked a little sad and said, "Well, what if I get just three and Sean can get two?"

I thought about this, a bit puzzled at what he was saying.  "Caden, you understand that you can get four, right?  But you're giving up your fourth gift so that Sean can get two.  Are you sure about this?"

He smiled and nodded.  "Yes, that way he won't be sad that he only gets one.  Besides, three is plenty."

I felt my eyebrows draw together in that confused manner.  How the heck did he become so selfless?  This is a kid who bullies his younger brother, gets annoyed with him when he feels as if he doesn't have his space, and can't stand when he is out-run by him.  Yet, here he is giving up a TOY so that Sean can have another.

I don't remember being that selfless when I was a kid.
S'mores for the first time ever.
Cool Moment
Someone paid me a really great compliment today.  I was told that I should be a model because of my facial features.  How the heck did I get so lucky to have been told such a thing?  Needless to say, I have been really needing a pick-me-up lately.  Been feeling a little unpretty.  So this compliment has definitely lifted me.

A more important somebody (ahem... Caden) gave me a great compliment as well:

Caden: Mommy, I'm about to pay you a compliment.
Me:  Oh really?  Okay, what's your compliment?
Caden:  I love you more than water.

Let's hope he really really loves water.  :-)

Trying to rock those grays.
You know, nothing's really going on in the romance department.  I've made a single dad friend who I hang out with.  We let the kids play while we talk grown up stuff.  I also keep in touch with an ex-boyfriend whom I've managed to have kept a friendship with.  He's 52 and wonderful.  There could be something potential still there, but he's got some stuff he needs to work out which caused us to end the relationship a year and some change ago.  Nothing bad, but he's got a major life decision he needs to make and without that decision, we can't really move forward.  So for now we're enjoying our friendship and keeping things sweet.  Looks like my Valentine's Day will be another lonely one.  Maybe I should send myself flowers.

If you want the rainbow, you've got to put up with the rain.
-- Dolly Parton
I love this lady.

Random Photos

When I got out of my car at the Youth Center to pick up Caden, 
a gorgeous buck was walking around.
I had to stalk him just a little.

Creative Nonfiction

Amber Still
by Jasmine Shine 
Lucy Diamond/Sibyl Vane/whatever else I use online

We stood there for what seemed like a lifetime, staring at each other with our minds racing. Our breaths were one, a steady rhythm purposely designed to disguise our inner panic. Even the wind seemed to come to a halt. It felt as if the entire world paused, waiting to see what would happen next. Not a single sound was made.
I had just arrived at work after a morning yoga session. For the first time in weeks, my mind was clear. I'd spent nights tossing in bed, disturbed by a bout of mild depression. As a single mother in my early thirties, I was hit with a painful realization that I may just be undesirable to men. This rut brought waves of self esteem attacks and I'd found myself weeping when I was alone and a love song happened to sound within earshot. Yoga seemed to have brought me back to center this morning.
When I pulled into the office's parking lot, I realized all the spaces were taken. I had four other options, each would cause me to walk about five minutes in the winter wind.  I decided to take the one that offered a scenic walk.
I smiled when I exited my vehicle, pulled my beanie snugly over my ears, and headed toward the trail head. I stuck my right hand in my jacket pocket, making sure my phone was in there in case I wanted to take a picture. The trail offered a beautiful scene of trees and mountains. I was actually grateful there wasn't any parking at the office parking lot.
The sounds of nature rushed at me and they made me remember the breathing exercises in the yoga class. Fast, sharp breaths as I inhaled while holding the deep squat position and slow exhales as I closed my eyes. In the midst of a gray depression, the exercises pulled me into a place where I was faced with just myself and all my strengths and weaknesses. I remembered who I was and how valuable I really am.
Halfway through the trail, the winter chill nipped at my ears and I tugged at my beanie once again. And that was when it happened. A coyote stepped onto the trail five feet before me. It trotted across, climbed the hill beside me and stopped. We both froze as we realized what had just happened.
My mind raced, searching through that mental checklist we are all supposed to keep that told us what to do when we encounter wild animals. I remembered that for bears, I'm supposed to pretend to be dead. But what was I supposed to do for coyotes? Do I just keep walking? Do I scream at it and wave my arms to make myself appear larger?
As I asked myself these questions, the coyote seemed to also contemplate his next actions. I paused in my thoughts and actually looked at him. He was as big as an average sized dog. He blended in with the woods. Mange had taken over the majority of the back half of his body. His tail resembled that of a rat. And he looked a little thin. What really captured me, though, was his eyes.
They were a brilliant amber that shone in the sun and it almost looked as if I was looking into a pair of amber stones. Wild eyes. They burned holes in me as he stared and I realized he was in a state of desperation. We had a hard summer and the small animals were now scarce. He was hungry. And here I was all alone on a trail he happened to be crossing. An image of him attacking me made me shiver in the cold. And yet, we both just stood there. Silently. Waiting.
If ever there was a moment when I'd regret feeling depressed over matters of loneliness and fear of being undesirable, it was now. At this moment, I valued my self worth. I am a smart woman with plenty to offer a man. I'm a fantastic mom. And I am a damn hard worker. I was not coyote food.
He was beautiful just standing there with his wild reflection of nature. Hungry and contemplative. But I was hungry too. For my life. I stared back at him and stood tall. Taking in a deep breath, I took a quiet step toward him.
Like a dream that ended in a flash when you awoke in a panic, he was gone. His movements made no sound as he disappeared. I stood there, still in awe of my first encounter with a wild predator. I smiled to myself as I turned and continued on the trail.
What an amazing day.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

I'm Doing Fine

I am a single mom of two boys. 
There's no father in the picture.
It's just me. 
I'm all they have. 
And the questions people ask me.
"Who will teach them to be good men?"
It's me. 
"Who's their male role model?"
"They need a father figure."
Well that's me too. 
I'm okay with being just me. 
I've had to do it by myself for years. 
I've been blessed when it could've been worse. 
Why is it not okay for the people who ask the question?
My boys are happy. 
They are smart. 
They are brave. 
They hold the door open for women. 
They scrape knees and climb trees. 
They beat up bad guys when they play. 
They roar. 
They sing. 
They dance. 
They fight. 
I am a single mom of two boys. 
And I'm doing just fine. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Amazing Wednesday

Yesterday was incredible.  The unit started the day off with yoga for our PT session.  I couldn't believe that yoga could actually make me sore!  What made it really cool was the fact that PT is usually the same thing all the time.  Sometimes we'd do a sport instead of a good work out, but for the most part things were pretty consistent.  Throwing yoga in there really surprised everyone.  I think every once in a while, change is needed.  We need to stop and do something different just to get an appreciation for a different perspective.

Later, I parked my car beside a trail and hiked a good five minutes to my office building.  About halfway through the trail, a coyote crossed right in front of me.  I stopped dead in my tracks.  I'm not familiar with coyotes and their behavior around humans.  Would he attack me?  Is there something I need to do so he doesn't attack me?  When he crossed, he trotted up a hill and stopped to look at me.  At this point, I thought it was safe to go on.  So I did for a few strides and then I stopped and looked back.  He stood there, frozen in his tracks, and stared at me.  He probably wondered the same thing about me.  Was I going to attack him?  Did he need to run?  We stood there for about thirty seconds just looking at each other.  Right now, thirty seconds seems like a flash.  But at that point, it felt as if I was in another world... forever.  I noticed things about him I wouldn't have appreciated in a picture or a TV show.  He blended in perfectly with the woods.  Patches of hair was missing on the back half of his body.  But his face.  His face was beautiful.  Wild and contemplating.  It was an amazing moment.  It was long enough for me to take a quick pic.

At the end of the day, I got to Caden's youth center and stared in awe at the sky.  Standing out from the usual beauty of sunset colors was a cross.  Yes, a cross.  I thought it was incredible.

When I reflected on the day, I was fully aware of how many gifts we are given each moment of our lives.  Stopping to appreciate them makes me realize how blessed I am.  No matter what sadness or frustration the day has held, there are small gifts all around us just waiting for us to appreciate them.  Meeting a coyote and seeing a cross in the sky are bigger and easier for me to identify as gifts, so I was reminded that these moments are rare and I have to treasure them for days when I need them the most.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


I did some art today. I'm not worried about the imperfections in the details. We're all imperfect so I like them. 

Some kind of hero. Not sure who he is but I like him anyway. 

I was mainly interested in her eyes. 

Self Portrait

I did a self portrait today. This is me. Imperfect. Weird. Me. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Awesome Song

Here's what I'm listening to tonight.  It's fitting for my current mood.

Another Girl
by Wild Belle

I lose sleep, I lose sleep.
Too much I've seen.
And I weep, yes, I weep,
Cut your lips upon her body.

Didn't I, didn't I, didn't I, didn't I treat you right?

If I was so gone, why didn't you say?
You keep me waiting by.
On the floor, you know I'd crawl,
Just to change your mind.
If I lock the door just to stall you for a moment,
I won't get you, even if I tried.

Didn't I, didn't I, didn't I, didn't I treat you right?

I'm just another girl, another one.
I'm just another girl, another one.
I'm just another girl, just another one,
I'm just another girl, looking for love.

I'm just another one of your experimentation,
You can turn me out, but I'm just another girl.

I'm just another girl, another one.
I'm just another girl, another one.
I'm just another girl, just another one,
I'm just another girl, looking for love.

I lose sleep, I lose sleep.
Too much I've seen.
And I weep, yes, I weep,
Cut your lips upon her body, oh

Didn't I, didn't I, didn't I, didn't I treat you right?

I'm just another girl, another one.
I'm just another girl, another one.
I'm just another girl, another one,
I'm just another girl, looking for love.
I'm just another girl, looking for love.
I'm just another girl, looking for love.
I'm just another girl, just another one.

Das Boots! 17 Jan 14

Today's Blurb

It's my Air Force birthday!

Thirteen years ago today, I stepped off a bus and into the life of the Air Force.  I grew not only as an Airman, but as a woman and as an individual.  I am a mother, a supervisor, a Wingman who can think for herself as a Non-Commissioned Officer.  I can count the number of times on one hand when I swore I wouldn't reenlist.  And each time I did that, I imagined hanging up the uniform and I knew deep inside I just couldn't do it.  I love serving my country and I love the Air Force.

It's a special day and I'm so grateful for it.

Kids Corner
I took the kids to a gaming center where they played bumper cars, rode roller coasters and climbed a big wall. Caden is quite the climber and isn't afraid to demonstrate it. Their faces were red and their hair was all matted with sweat. When we got home, they went straight to bed without a fight. 

Inspiring Quote

“You may not be her first, her last, or her only. She loved before she may love again. But if she loves you now, what else matters? She's not perfect - you aren't either, and the two of you may never be perfect together but if she can make you laugh, cause you to think twice, and admit to being human and making mistakes, hold onto her and give her the most you can. She may not be thinking about you every second of the day, but she will give you a part of her that she knows you can break - her heart. So don't hurt her, don't change her, don't analyze and don't expect more than she can give. Smile when she makes you happy, let her know when she makes you mad, and miss her when she's not there.”
― Bob Marley

Movie Highlight
I recently watched Grizzly Man, a documentary about Timothy Treadwell, a free spirit who chose to live in the wilderness... alongside grizzly bears.  Before I watched the movie, I heard about his story and the negative comments that were made about him.  People said he got what he deserved.  Even I slightly judged his decision.  But watching the documentary made me appreciate what he was trying, or thought he was trying, to do.  He had a passion for wildlife.  He was a troubled person with depression issues and sought a way to fulfill a purpose he believed he had.  In the documentary, you can clearly see his outrage for the human race and his compassion for the animals.  At the end of the movie, I was inspired by him.  Not to go out and do what he did, but to seek my own purpose and to find a way to serve it.  I thought it was a beautiful story and I believe he not only found himself but perhaps God as well.

Current Song Obsession
The movie Grizzly Man inspired me to purchase Coyotes by Don Edwards.  It is a beautiful song that speaks of appreciating the past and finding yourself alone with just the coyotes, a creature that doesn't even accompany man.  It is a passionate song and I enjoy it very much.

Random Photo

I just love this photo of my kids. 
It's not clear
It's not perfect
But it captures the beauty of my life.

Extremely Short Story
Empty Promises
by ... Me :-)

I passed you on my way to the daycare again.  My light turned green and I took the left, under the overpass.  The sky was gray and the traffic was as heavy as it normally was at five-thirty in the evening.  Impatience filled the streets.

I always expect you to be there, under the overpass.  My eyes always seem to seek you as soon as I get under.  And there you were.  Salt and pepper beard, so thick it reminds me of a dirty Santa Claus beard.  Like a beat up, crusty Santa Claus.  Covered in a dusty old olive-green jacket and some torn jeans, I see you shiver in the cold.  You stare at the cars as they pass you by.  Well, I don't know for sure if you're staring at the cars or just staring.  Deep in thought, inside yourself.

Like yesterday, the day before, and the days before then, I asked you in my head, "Why do you live there?  How did you let yourself become a victim to the world in such a way?  Why can't you get a job?  Have you tried?  Will no one hire you?"

I asked you these things as I drove past you, wondering when I'm going to give you some spare change.  I never carry cash.  But if I had some, I'd... what would I do?  Would I pull over under the overpass?  Would I really hand you money?

As I passed you, I focused on the traffic and fought my way to the right lane.  Trying to beat everyone else so they don't cut me off first.  I forgot about you then.  I drove down the street and found myself at my son's daycare.  He filled me with warmth when I hugged him after missing him all day.  Little arms wrapped me around my neck as a tiny voice squealed "Mommy!"  He was the best part of my day.

On the way home, I passed you again.  This time, my toddler pointed at you from his car seat.  "Bye bye!" he called as he waved at you.  You didn't see.  Or maybe you did, but you were too cold to smile.  Too hungry to wave.

Next time, I thought in my  head.  Next time I'll stop.

But I wouldn't.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Wednesday Night Outing

What a night.  Talk about emotional roller coaster.  

Whole Foods
So we had never been to Whole Foods before and I needed to stop and get some meat.  I absolutely fell in love.  This place had so much healthy food!  Grass-fed, non-hormone injected meat, organic chicken, everything.  They even had a fantastic deli with excellent service.

While looking for some premade meals at the deli counter, one of the staff asked if I needed help.  I explained that one of the kids was dairy-free and that I was just looking at the ingredients of all the meals.  He immediately called one of his co-workers over and that guy came to my rescue.  He identified each item that had no dairy product in it.  He was even patient enough to entertain the boys who went crazy telling me which food item they wanted.  I picked out a twice  baked potato, a small bowl of sesame-cucumber noodles, and a double breasted chili-lime chicken.  When he handed me the items, he told me that the chicken was on him.  How sweet!  I wanted to hug him!

I grabbed a couple of those recycled, cloth shopping bags and was amazed that they were only 99 cents.  At the base commissary, I spent $4 on each of those! 

After the grocery trip, I took the kids to eat at Ihop.  I know, I know-- why do that when I just boughtt groceries.  Welll, it was already 7 p.m. and I didn't want to spend more time cooking dinner when I could just go to Ihop for a quick breakfast-dinner.  

At Ihop, our young male waiter was super cool.  He joked with the kids and was verry patient when Sean showed him what his toy robots did that was so spectacular.

While ordering our food, Sean decided to interrupt me and tell the waiter, "My mom doesn't have hair on her legs anymore because guess what!  She got LAZERED!"

The waiter laughed.  My face turned beet red.  And Sean...sweet, innocent Sean. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


I wake up a lot during the night. Not for a large amount of time. I just wake up enough to check the time, sigh, pray I don't wake up late, then fall back to sleep. Well I have a hard time waking up every morning because I'm so darn tired. So I did some reading and came across the techniques of hypnosis and meditation. I decided to give it a shot. 

I laid flat on my back in bed.  Arms at my side. 

Made sure my neck and head were comfy. 

Closed my eyes and spoke to myself in my head. 

Relax. Breathe in. Breathe out. 

The kids are asleep. They're safe. 

I'm safe. 

Breathe in. Breathe out. Nice and easy. 

Imagine calming sounds. The beach. A heartbeat. Soft wind. 

I'm going to sleep well tonight. 

I'm going to wake up refreshed and rested. 

When my alarm goes off, I'm going to feel ready to get the day started. 

I'm going to start the day quietly and calmly. 

I'm going to relax. I'm going to sleep. 

I fell asleep. And when I woke up at 2am, I told myself I was going to go back to sleep and that I was going to rest until my alarm went off. When my alarm went off, I slowly sat up, stretched and got into the shower.  I felt nicely rested and at peace. It didn't dawn on me that my technique worked until I was under that nice, hot water. 

Totally friggin awesome. 

Dry Needling

It sounds weird, I know.  So I have arthritis in my back and neck. My physical therapist did manipulation, electrical stimulation, traction, stretching and strengthening exercises. I'm on pain and migraine meds. It has all, except for traction, helped. But the pain doesn't really stop. It's ongoing, always there. Some days it is dulled out and some days it triggers days-long migraines. It sucks but I've gotten used to it and I've learned to be grateful for the good days. 

I stopped going to physical therapy last summer. I got busy and pushed it aside. I took my meds and did my stretches and all that. But I let life get in the way. Yesterday, I went back. 

I have a new physical therapist and today we tried dry needling.  It's like acupuncture. He stuck needles in my neck and back, wiggled my muscles a bit and left them in my body lol. It wasn't too bad but it wasn't comfy either.  My muscles contracted involuntarily. I felt tingly all in my belly, lower back and forearms. And I broke out in a sweat. That's when I realized maybe I was going to pass out. 

But I didn't. Thank friggin goodness. I wasn't stressed about the procedure. I was relaxed. I couldn't understand why I was feeling all clammy.  The doc said it was my body's flight or fight response. Go figure. I didn't think I'd be able to withstand three large tattoos and not a few minutes of a few needles in me. 

Anyway, he said that I should feel relief after 24 hours. And boy did I. There still a small spot of the normal pain in my neck but everything else feels so good. I am amazed! My range of motion is great and I feel like I have an almost new upper back. 

I go back in a week for another session. Let's hope I don't get all tingly again. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Remember This Pain

You have never loved unless you've sacrificed.

Anyone can feel the emotion of love.  But love is so much more than an emotion.  It is an act.  And when you love, truly love, you will sacrifice.  And when you love and the love is not returned in action, you will hurt.  It can hurt badly.

I spoke to a very trusted and wise friend of mine about a recent breakup.  I explained the reason for the breakup and why I felt so hurt about it.  He hugged me and listened as I spoke.  And then he shared wise advice.  "Remember this pain, darling.  Raise your sons in a way that will best teach them not to cause such pain."  It is one of the wisest pieces of advice I could've ever received.

We parents have a tendency to raise our children in a way that benefits ourselves.  Many women raise their sons to please their mothers so much that those boys cannot, as men, even detach themselves from her apron strings.  Many parents raise their children with the intent on having their children pay them back as they're older when really, they should've given them "a good life" simply because they are their parents.  

With each failed relationship, I take the pain and use it as a lesson to learn how to choose better partners.  But sometimes after a breakup, I forget that I am raising sons.  I am raising boys who will be men one day and will one day love someone.  When my friend told me to remember my pain, he didn't say to remember my pain for me.  He said it for the women my boys will date or marry one day.  How insightful.  How right.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Ramblings of A Single Mom

"Emma and I have been married 38 years.  We've had our amazing moments and there were times when we were miserable.  But I am wiser because of it and I love better because of it."

"Shannon and I just celebrated our 25th anniversary"

I'm happy.  I'm content.  I date, I love, and I end the relationship when we've decided it was the best thing to do.  At the end of the day it's really just the kids and me.  We are a good, strong family.  My priorities are healthy.  My career is fulfilling.  My pets are warm additions to our little unit.  I'm doing a good job. 

I'm a good person.

I love deeply.

I challenge myself to work on my weaknesses.

I consistently keep my eye on something steady to keep myself from falling.

I read a blog the other day, written by a man who is in search of a mate.  He wrote a blog about single moms and argued why men should stay away from them.  We tend to put our children before our boyfriend.  At first I was offended; his post seemed to be filled with contempt for single moms.  And then I took myself out of my way and re-read the blog and I realized he was really just expressing a desire for a single woman whom could have his children one day.  He wanted to share that joy, experience bringing a child into the world with the woman he loved.  And I thought, he just wants what we all want.  Not to settle.

I read an article about what men to avoid like the plague.  It spoke about mama's boys, players, jobless wanderers, and more.  I found myself thinking, well doesn't every man fit one of those categories?  Then I took myself out of my way again and told myself that maybe not every man fell under one of those toxic categories.  I remembered my brother and how good a man he is to his wife and children, to his mom and sisters.  I remembered my friends who have been married to their wives for 38 and 25 years.  I thought, maybe there really is a good guy out there who wants to commit and be a family man.  Maybe there is someone out there for me who will lead his family with love and honor.

Being single really does get lonely.  Who doesn't want to sleep in the arms of a warm companion?  Who doesn't want a best friend who is also your husband?  It gets lonely watching other couples  holding hands in public and knowing that I don't have that.  


I am in the best place I have ever been in my life.  I am so grateful for what my God has blessed me with every day.  

I am going to raise my boys to be men, not mama's boys, not players, not jobless, not loveless.  They will be strong and tender at the same time.  They will be responsible.  They will love deeply, yet wisely.  When I left their father, he said, "If she raises those kids without me, they're going to turn out to be sissies."  He couldn't have been more wrong.  They are going to be humble and honorable.  They are going to be good husbands to their wives and wonderful father to their children.  

Someone once told me she was going to raise her son to be a narcissist so that he will be guaranteed success.  She doesn't know that the success she's dreaming of is empty, loveless, and he will hate himself.  I will raise my children to get back up after they've fallen, to shed tears when their heart is broken, and to fight for what is right and to defend their families.  As adults, they will not depend on me to make the right choices. They may ask for guidance but I will never make them lifeless without me.  When they date, they will keep me at a distance so that they will love deeply, the way they should.  

The only man I will bring into their lives will be one who will teach them these things alongside me.  

I am right where I need to be.  And I am happy.  I get lonely, but I am well-blessed.  I am patient.