Thursday, December 10, 2015

Generally, one of my first stern "No"s with the kiddos come when I am breastfeeding and they inevitably  think, "Hey, let's try a little biting action, you know, just for fun."

Evelyn reacted in astonishment, a quick check in smile and then quickly covered with a sort of "My bad, Momma! Won't happen again."

Liam pulled his bottom lip almost up to his nose he was so sad, shed the largest crocodile tears ever seen and then nuzzled back in, preferring to pretend like nothing had happened.


This kid grins at me.

Straight up grins and laughs.

...I'm in trouble.

Evelyn is four, Liam is two, and Patrick is 8 months

...and these kids are fulfilling their birth order roles quite nicely, indeed.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


Turns out, I am an absolute sucker for traditions.


I know in the world of the internet Halloween was like, YEARS ago, rather than just weeks...but traditions.

So, alongside making the kiddos Halloween costumes this year - which -

When in Japan, right?

...I also busted out that damn orange gingham again. ;)

*and* Miss Evelyn's Halloween headband, which has definitely proven its worth from the random rural fair booth from whence it came.

I will admit that this year was a bit of a shortcut, because Patrick is wearing the overalls I made two years ago for Liam.

And since the boys' pieces are reversible, you know we had to do a remix.

Poor Liam was fading fast...

But then I promised snacks...

So, all was well.

Whew. Another tradition kept.

Which, apparently I never posted last year. Oops. My bad. Look at their little 2014 faces.

They were toasting pumpkins.

Ugh, I cannot even.

Evelyn is oh-so-four, Liam is so very, very two, and Patrick is 8 months (!)

...and speaking of traditions...

Baby in a pumpkin!

More of that to come.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Take a Break, Preggo.

Since the very conception (ha ha!) of this little space, this lady in yellow has been my companion.

Hey, Preggo.

So lovely in her little capris and gender neutral, but fresh and sunny top.

For a while she hung out here by herself.

Ah, this space was so clean, and free of clutter. Much like my life as a newly pregnant woman. Ha. 

A little yellow, a little grey, (remember how I liked gray before that was a thing? Enough to paint the nursery grey? Before the term "greige" existed on Pinterest? Ahhh. The good old days.) a whole lotta white space.

Totally sophisticated. 

You know, as sophisticated as an animated lady sitting atop words can be. Sure. That.

And then, my precious babe was born. And life got hectic. So I never changed her. I toyed with some ideas but never actually pulled the trigger.

And then I didn't need to, because by the time I got around to this...

It was perfect. Liam was on his way.

As things go, second babies make your life even busier. This time I got around to choosing a baby to represent Liam and was toying with what I should pick for me - I mean, let's get a little more on point, that lady has brown eyes! Mine are blue!


Like a self fulfilling prophecy, little Preggo up there decided to stick around for another term. And then we had this little gem.

But now? Now I am benching you, Preggo.

Look - you've served me well. Been a true and loyal friend.


On the off chance that keeping you up there is some kind of talisman, or fertility idol, or whatever. You gotta take a break. You've done good work.

Rest up and we'll discuss a fourth quarter sometime down the road. 
Way down the road. 
An American road. 
Back in America. 


Until then, I'm calling in the new squad.

Because her eyes are blue. Right. That.

Also, #notpregnant 

Evelyn is 4, Liam is 2 and Patrick is 8 months

...and man, she's cute. Better step up my game.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

183 Days

As of today, Tuesday, November 17 - my husband has been deployed (ok, ok, techincal Navy people, he has been 'at sea' or 'on patrol' since we live in Japan and are "forward deployed" which technically means he is *always deployed* or some such nonsense) - anyway, he's been gone for 183 days.

You know, not including sea trials or duty days or any of that other short business. Because a weekend? Girl, please.

That means that as of today I have been flying solo for half of 2015.

Now, this is not meant to say woe is me, when I damn well know that so many do this for longer, or maybe they do this for shorter amounts of time but more often and don't get significant stretches with their service member home, and of course this doesn't take into account all the folks single parenting every day of their lives for one reason or another - that's why I use "flying solo" because though I am "solo" parenting I totally recognize that I am not, in any way single parenting.

Ok...getting off track. Forgive me. Rusty.

Six months. Half of a year. Half of 2015.

Flying Solo.

(And not quite done.)

For some reason, I have always been struck by milestones. And 6 months for me, is a milestone.

I've certainly never parented for 6 months alone before - let alone parented 3 children for 6 months alone before. Heck, I've only been a parent to 3 kids for (barely) 8 months. I've spent 6 months away from my husband - longer, really but I was the one doing the traveling and he was at home - and we could call and text (who am I kidding - instant message. Remember when texts cost money? Ha! #old) every day. And we weren't married yet.  So... this is different.

And here's the kicker - we're going to do this all again next year.

That seems crazy and normal and insurmountable and doable all at the same time.

Isn't that just weird? We can agree that is weird, right? That being apart from your life partner and co-parent and best friend for half the year seeming doable and par for the course is just completely bewildering?

I hope so, because even after living, geeze, my whole life as part of this military community, it seems that way to me. Because, why should that seem normal?

I tend to think in letters these days - probably because I am always composing one to my husband inside my head, so here is a letter to Courtney of next year, the Courtney of 2016, staring down the barrel of this whole shebang one more time...

Hey girl - 
What's up? We have been through some shizz these last six months, haven't we? (Future Courtney is now nodding in eyebrow raising thoughtful reflection, I am sure.) Take a sip of that wine, you deserve it.
I know you are probably reading this like a week before deployment starts, or maybe a few days after it has started or - who knows - when you are up late one night on a tough night. Maybe our anniversary, or Ev's birthday, or her first day of school, or just some random terrible day where you have no idea how you are going to survive this mess. 
The kind of day where the kids have driven you up the wall and nothing is going right, because something was terrible and hard on base because of bureaucracy or you can't for the life of you find some... thing... out in Japan that would require a 10 minute trip to Target back in the states and now you are wondering if the shipping and two week wait time from Amazon is worth it...who knows. 
The kind of night where you take to your phone and ignore everything else and start pounding out an angry and self righteous email to your husband - the man that you love - the man that you feel like an absolute martyr for right now because you are so pushed to your limit... and then end up just leave it in the draft folder instead of sending.  
Because you know this is hard on him too. And you love him and you are feeling benevolent and better after venting to that nowhere space. You just needed to get those feelings out. 
(But - you save it in drafts instead of deleting, because damn, lady - there was some passion and good writing in there, and hey - if he really makes you mad you may want to pull quotes from that one in the future.) 
I hear ya. We had those days this go round, too. 
Anyways, whatever brought you back to this, my intention was to tell you - you can totally do this. 
I know, you are probably side eyeing sweet, naive 2015 Courtney right now, saying, ah yes, but that was before Evelyn was in kindergarten and we had to be out the door EVERY DAY for school at the crack of dawn, and before Patrick was running around and being ONE and doing all those things that one year olds do, and before Liam was a threenager. Oh, our dear, sweet Liam who feels so many emotions all.the.time as a threenager...I don't even want to imagine that right now. 
Well, let me remind you, you didn't think you could do a lot this go round either. But with sheer will power, a group of amazing and supportive friends, and lots of coffee and wine, you are doing this. 
When deployment started this go round - let me just remind you, your kids, especially Patrick, looked like this: 
Just a little squish. Barely two months old. 
Now he's a chunky 8 month old sitting next to you, continually lurching for this thing you are typing on, because, let's face it, he has seen an actual computer maybe 3 times in his life, and the only things he really lurches for these days seem to be technology based. 
(Kid loves to chew on a remote. But, you know, third baby, so you just take the batteries out and let him have at it.) 
You have been known to declare that the baby was the "least of your worries" given his inclination to sit, and stay where you left him for the better part of this adventure. And that's true. And I am sure that you are missing a bit of that right now, when it seems that no one knows how to sit still for more than 10 seconds. 
But, I implore you for many reasons - the least of which is your own sanity - do not be one of those moms who forgets just how demanding the new baby phase can be! Their wants are few, it's true, but they are often. You have been breastfeeding more times a day than you care to count. That kid has yet to spend a night in his room, because it just hasn't seemed worth the bother, which also means that you haven't spent a night truly alone yet.  
Both comforting and yet completely overwhelming when you look at the stark numbers of alone time you have managed in the last 8 months. Court, I say this with love, but you need to do better about some self care. Seriously. I know you are snorting right now, because, HA. But really, why are you reading this - go take a shower. Right now. I know that dry shampoo is literally saving your life, but it can only go so far...

Still here? Alright then. You do you. 
Let's talk about the things you have accomplished. 
Lady - you flew with 3 small children, alone, halfway around the world. On that flight back to the states? You made 14 trips to the bathroom on that 13+ hour flight. Only one of those times was for you to pee. And you know what? It wasn't so bad. Granted, having your mom fly back with you was the best gift she has ever given you, bar none, but you did it. And then you trekked those 3 kids all around the United States for 2 months. With cobbled together car and car seat arrangements, shared rooms and no personal space and a bajillion happy memories made and love showered on your kiddos from their grandparents. 
You baked your girl a birthday cake, drove across the country with your mother and all your children in a 1994 Caravan - remember how much Patrick liked his car seat? because that answer is NONE, then flew across the country to San Diego for a weekend with the baby to see your husband, spent money like you were setting it on fire and didn't regret a cent. Because HUSBAND and holding hands and sexy grown up times. You know, with a baby in the crib in a corner...but still.  
That look on that man's face when he got to hold that baby again? Priceless. I know you'll never forget that look. 
And then you came back to Japan, and brought your mom! and showed her some things, and made her eat food she didn't like. And you went on adventures with dear friends and their kids, and your three small children in tow. And  you brought the circus an lived to tell the tale. 
Because don't forget - you feel so much better about living in this far away from family place when you get out and experience it! Even when the kids have meltdowns and lose their minds for a small portion of it - you are always glad that you did it. Always. If you have a plan on the back burner right now, this is your reminder: RSVP yes.  
You have found such an awesome village here - hopefully one or two of them are still around (damn Navy life) - go plan a Wines-day if there is nothing else on the books. Keep the kids up way too late, tell yourself that snack food is an acceptable dinner for growing children and get in some belly laughs with the girls. 
Right now you were feeling pretty damn good because for the last three nights in a row, you have cooked a real dinner, that the kids ate (!!), had the dishes done before bedtime and had two kids soundly asleep by 8pm. You currently have a fully stocked refrigerator and pantry and a glass of wine in hand. Rock. Star.  
You did not let the fact that the playroom is a mess, there is laundry to be done and the fact that the baby has never ever been on any kind of a sleep schedule dissuade you from the success that you have felt these last few day by letting that shit go and focusing on the positives. The stuff you really feel good about. The stuff the kids care about. The stuff you can write to Daddy about without feeling torn between presenting life too well so that he is miserable and too honestly so that he feels guilty.
Stories and crafts (limited, because STRESSFUL and MESSY, but maybe you've come further on that? No? Ok then, no surprise there) and playing outside and time at the park.
Because you know what? When they are happy, you are happy too. Look for the stuff that's making them happy. Choose that. Let them play for a few more minutes so you can do the dishes before going upstairs. Man, that feels nice when you finally make your way back down. Or you know what? Skip the dishes and have a dance party. Better yet, buy some paper plates.
Don't get me wrong, those sweet small children you are conjuring in your mind and momma heart right now have both cried and whined and hit and told you to "Go Away!" in the last few days, too. We've had time outs and loss of privileges and "I miss Daddy"s and messes made.  
But, the hugs are here too. And the "I love you Momma"s, and the crazy from the inside of their head stories and jokes.  Remember how Ev and Liam tell jokes that go, "What about...(insert random assortment of words here)?" and then they look at each other and just laugh and laugh.  
Take some time to listen to the way these kiddos play together. God, I am so proud of that right now. It just makes my little heart burst a thousand times over to hear them interact. Because even though you know that you cannot be everything for them, you are trying your damnedest and it is reassuring to know that they have each other, too. There's no lack of love in this house, even with such a big piece of our hearts in another place. 
And when you miss that guy you call your husband - all the time, I know - but I mean those heart stopping moments where you miss him and physically ache, because that guy is supposed to be sitting there with you, listening to all these moments that only parents really care about and rolling his eyes with you the way that only parents can about their children, let him know. 
He wants to know, and you can be honest. You don't have to be the stalwart Navy wife all the time. 
Look for the bits and pieces of him in those kiddos. It hurts more and less all at the same time. Tell him what you see of him in them. Tell him about the mundane stuff too. But, if you fall asleep on the couch before finishing that email, do not despair. Give yourself some grace. 
Don't lose sight of the light at the end of the tunnel. Don't lose perspective that this is such a small slice of time in the larger picture of your lives. It's hard when you are in the trenches and everyone is telling you to cherish every moment, but take a step back and look at the big picture. 
You love to remind yourself that the kids are developing and acquiring coping mechanisms and resiliency. That you can recognize that takes frustration and cognitive dissonance. Don't forget - you are right there with them.
You can do this. This is hard. But you can do it. 
You have already done it. 
I have faith in you. 
P.S. Do not let that love of your life forget that when he said, "Let's go to Japan!" you were promised a trip to Bali and a tansu chest.  

Evelyn Rae is 4, Liam is 2 "and a half!" and Patrick is 8 months old

...and dang, that was almost a novel. Get it together, lady.


Mic check, Mic check... 1, 2, 3...

Is this thing on?

::swats at cobwebs in the corner::

Sigh. Well, this little corner of the internet - my little corner of the internet has been tugging at the corner of my mind for a while now.

I miss this place. In my head I was going to utilize this space so much more this year, (like for a birth story for goodness sake) but...for reasons that we will talk about another time, that wasn't meant to be.

And I have thoughts rolling around that must get out, and it turns out preschoolers and infants don't really want to hear about it, so here.

I'm gonna jump right in the deep end.

Stay tuned.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Snapshots of Six

Today, I have been a wife for 6 whole years.

Shortly after I became a wife, my brand new husband deployed.

And we bought our bungalow of dreams.

After he came home, we relished in married life for a bit.

Before long, I became a Momma.

And then again.

And then we moved to Japan.

And then my husband deployed again.

And came home.

And then one more time, I became a Momma.

And then my husband answered the call of his country one more time.

So this year, we are spending our anniversary apart for the first time. It is a sort of strange and surreal experience today as I just sort of clean and do my normal Friday routine.

{I'm crossing my fingers for a romantic email from him later.}

Our marriage has been one adventure after another, and I know that we are only at the beginning.

I can't wait to embark on a thousand more.

Evelyn Rae is 3 (but 'really almost 4, Momma'), Liam is 2 (and is 'a big kid for really, Mom'), Patrick will be 3 months tomorrow

…and with a deployed husband and no adult to regularly externally process to, I am beginning to annoy myself with my increased frequency of Facebook and Instagram posts. (Who knew that was possible?)

So, you may be seeing a bit more of me over here.

I do have a birth story to share, after all. ;)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Paddy's Day!

Happy St. Paddy's Day…

…from our THREE little leprechauns!

That's right, Patrick John made his appearance a little bit early on March 13 at 1:47pm, clocking in as my itty bittiest baby at only 8 pounds, 5oz and 19.25" long.

(His sister was 8'11" and brother was 8'12" - both 20.5" long… it's funny how those 6ish ounces didn't really make a difference in the level of Holy-Shizz-what-was-I-thinking??ring-of-fire moment.)

His birth was unlike either of my others, but was ultimately fantastic and brought me this new, dark haired, cheeks for weeks, tiny guy to snuggle and love.

His Daddy and I were both very thankful he chose to come a few days early, because Patrick had indeed been our chosen boy name for…well, forever, and then when we found out that we were due on St. Patrick's Day with G3…we wondered if we could really do that to a kid.

Though, his Daddy did thoughtfully point out that he would be very popular in his fraternity someday. Sigh.

Thankfully, we were able to avoid that particular conundrum.

Happy Due Date to my newest little love, and a Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone!

Evelyn Rae is 3.5, Liam is 2 and Patrick is 4 days old

…and there are some really great outtakes from this shoot that I cannot wait to share. And, you know, a birth story and stuff.

…right after a few more green beers.



Monday, March 9, 2015

Mission Ready

Tomorrow I am 39 weeks pregnant.

And I am officially ready, so let's get this show on the road.

Now, I know, I know - we should let babies cook till they are done. And I totally get it. I went 11 days past my due date with Evelyn,  remember? And I didn't feel "done" any of that time.

But, I have never felt so "done" with pregnancy before…

I do now.

Who knows if it's because this is my third baby (in four years), or if it is because I suspect that I am actually closer to due than not (based on conception, which I am pretty damn sure of, because you know, two kids…so I can pretty well account for the "grown up times" that A and I get)…

...or if it is because it seems like I have been pregnant forever - simply because none of my new friends have ever known me not pregnant (crazy), or because we have done so much (like moving across the world, surviving our first deployment with kids, etc.) while pregnant with this baby.

I am beginning to suspect, though, that it has more to do with the reality of how little time that we will have as a family of 5 and be physically together finally starting to sink in.

We know that A will be deploying again, fairly soon after this baby is born, and will be gone for pretty much the majority of 2015. (Excuse the vague terms. There is this thing called OpSec. You can read about it.)

When it comes down to it, this baby's daddy will leave an infant…and come home to an almost one year old. I am grateful that A has the opportunity to be here for this baby's birth, obviously, but it still doesn't make it easy for either of us to look down the barrel of the reality of this separation.

We have known about the deployment, of course, and it has always been in the back of our minds…but preparing for baby has taken precedence over preparing for deployment. And now it looms closer and makes us both sit up and take note. I know that it's just as hard for him to conceptualize as it is for me.

So, a week or two of extra time with Daddy - and for me to have an extra set of hands in this new world of parenting 3 children under 4 (as much as possible while still being responsible for all the deployment work ups that will be happening at work) - actually does feel like it will make a difference.

Emotionally, mentally, physically - having as much time as possible with both of us on the same continent seems important. For all the kids, really. And for the parents.

So, I wouldn't mind if you wanted to debut a little early, G3.

It seems that we are ready for you to join us.

Whenever you're ready.

Evelyn Rae is 3.5, Liam is 2, I am 38 weeks and 6 days along with G3

…and on the upside, we are hoping to break up this deployment with a nice long visit back to the states. More on that to come, but I already can't wait for stupid amounts of silly American things that I miss.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Oh, Siblings.

The kids aren't even home from school yet, but I couldn't resist sharing this from this morning.

More to come from their first day.

Evelyn is 3.5, Liam is 2, I am 38 weeks along with G3

…and poor Liam.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Two little monkeys

"Let's make some nice faces for our card," we said.

"Can you guys smile nicely for everybody?" we asked.

This is what we got.

Can you believe these monkeys are about to be promoted another rung on the big sibling ladder?

Yeah, they can't either.

We think they'll do just fine.

(You know, knock on all the wood.)

Evelyn Rae is 3 ("and a half, Momma! Don't forget the half!"), Liam is 2, and I am 37 ("and a half!") weeks along with G3

…and, Grandparents? You're welcome.