Roots & Wings

On a recent visit to the local library, I got to chatting with a sweet Mama of a baby and a 4-year-old. Our kids have approximately the same age gap between them (nearly four years) so we talked about that for a little while, and soon I found myself explaining that we are a military family and only here for two years (it was relevant, I promise). I got the reaction I usually get when I tell this to a civilian mother of young kids: the raised eyebrows and slight tilt of the head followed by some variation of, “Oh wow! You’re only here for two years? You already know that? Isn’t it hard moving around all the time?”. Now, I didn’t even catch this woman’s name so I’m not about to go into a deep and meaningful conversation about the trials and tribulations, the ups and downs, the pros and cons, of our lifestyle and, in particular, of moving around a lot. So I went with my standard response, a variation of, “Well it has its challenges, of course, but we sure get to experience a lot of different things”. I then swiftly move on to a different topic.

There are two separate and distinct schools of military wives when it comes to this topic: Those who truly love and embrace the changes, the chances to start again and again, the freshness of a new adventure, the thrill of meeting new people and setting up a new house, and the opportunities we are given by seeing and becoming a part of so many areas of our beautiful country. The other school, my school, appreciates and admires the first school. And it isn’t that I disagree…those can all be exciting. But mostly, I feel differently. Yes, there are advantages. Yes, I think it’s pretty stinkin’ cool that our kids have lived in a small military town, the agricultural prairies, a historic lake-side Ontario and beautiful, coastal Eastern city. Beaches and hay bales and trolley tours and the ocean. Very, very cool. And they will likely do exceptionally well in their Canadian Geography classes.

But what I didn’t say to Library Mama was how I truly feel:

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Simple Lionheart Life: Our Journey to Minimalism Part 2

In an earlier post this month, I wrote about our family’s Journey to Minimalism. It isn’t an easy road and I don’t know if we will ever be *done* since we are all continually growing or changing our sizes or preferences. Seeing the positive changes in my sister N,  and in my friend Melissa at Simple Lionheart Life was really the catalyst for our change.

Having inspiration and guidance in any significant lifestyle change is important in order to be successful. Since I found Melissa’s mentorship to be so inspirational and really quite elemental in my success, I asked her if she would share some of her insight with my readers and she was only too happy to do so!

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The Boss

I have a really strange work environment. I’ve done a few jobs throughout my teen and adult life, and this one is by far the hardest, most complicated, and with the absolute worst pay.

My job demands that I start work really early, even if I had to work late into the night before. Usually I don’t even have time to shower or eat before the job begins. My job is partly in the service industry and my boss requires that I serve others before I take care of my own needs (can’t a girl just have a shower and a coffee before the day begins?).

The Boss can be really moody and even though I’ve been trained to assert myself and my authority, I still find myself bending to his demands and going back on my own decisions. A lot. I am constantly walking on egg shells so as not to upset him because to be frank, that’s not a road I want to go down if I don’t have to. Trying to talk him down from an “upset” can take ages and by the end, I’m sometimes more than a bit upset, too.

Oh! And this happens all the time: I’ll be working away at something (usually job-related and sometimes something FOR HIM) and The Boss demands that I stop instantly to help him do one of his jobs even if he is fully capable of doing it himself. Oftentimes, I’ll do what he asked me, and the moment I sit back down or keep doing other important work, he has me up again! And even though his hearing is perfect and English is his first language, I have to repeat myself a LOT and practically narrate and explain every single thing I do and every choice I make. Very, very often, The Boss will ask a question and even though I answer it assertively and succinctly, he will ask it again. And again. Trying to manipulate me into giving a different answer. Or he will argue with me that I’m wrong even though I’m not. It’s exhausting! And heaven forbid I show my exasperation or raise my voice or swear (because I *never* do that…especially not under my breath…or sometimes out loud…). That’s really frowned upon. Not just by The Boss but by everyone.

 

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My Journey into Minimalism

We have a lot of stuff. Two adults, two kids, two dogs, two fish, two cars, a pool, a trailer….all the things that go with all THOSE things mean we have a lot of stuff.

Each time we move, we take steps to downsize the volume of our possessions. But even then, we have rented storage units, built massive floor-to-12-foot-ceiling garage shelves, and utilized every nook and cranny of multiple basement storage rooms, all in preparation for house showings and moving. Every time we move we surprise ourselves with how much stuff we *still* have to find room for.

Last spring, in preparation for moving again, we AGAIN started going through our belongings. How was it possible that we STILL had so many things? Boxes and boxes came out from under the basement stairs. I laid all of those things out and our basement quickly became a sea of our personal histories. Fragments of our past, bits here and bits there, scattered amongst cardboard boxes and Rubbermaid totes. Photos, binders, souvenirs from our respective childhoods, school days, university, first ranks, first jobs, puppies, babies…it was all there. Neatly packed into boxes it was easy to believe that we had already dealt with it all. But going through every single item in every single box. It was more than my head and my heart could handle alone. It was too much. I very quickly became overwhelmed with the amount of items to go through as well as the physical appearance of the floor totally covered with it all.

It was time for the Big Guns.

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Where IS home: Hearts or Hats?

Some people say, “home is where you hang your hat”.
Others say, “home is where the heart is”.

So what if your hats are in one place but your heart is in another? Where is home?

Hearts & Hats


We’ve lived in New Town for 7 months now and have been all settled in for a while. We’ve had time to unpack, arrange our furniture, rearrange our furniture, and rearrange it again (because that’s how I roll). We’ve done some painting and organizing. And we really love this house – it suits us perfectly. We have space to relax and play but not so much that cleaning is impossible. The bedrooms are a good size and I love the way you have to take one step down into the living room and the way the hardwood creaks in the dining room. I love the windows and the trees that surround us and even the big black crow that visits our bird feeder every day. And certainly we have many hats hanging here.

 

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Packing It All Up…

As the dark clouds move swiftly through the sky out my living room window and the rain falls with increasing volume on the gazebo on the deck, I can’t help but notice a sense of pathetic fallacy. I’ve been a little storm clouds and rain myself lately.

The sky/my moods…same thing…

It’s the last night in this house. The kids and dogs are all asleep, the fridge is nearly bare, the walls naked, and boxes are in every room. Tomorrow morning the packers will arrive to finish what they began today, packing each of our possessions into a labeled brown box:

Load date: July 4, 2017
Name: Perry
Origin: Kingston
Destination: Halifax

Everything we own will soon be in our minivan or on a truck bound for Eastern Canada.

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Trillium & Lighthouses

From Ontario…

Never do I feel more like a military spouse than when I have to sell my house, the one in which I’ve lived for less than 2 years, and look for a new one in a new city, so that I can live in that one for less than 2 years.

The coming and going, the ups and downs, the adjusting and readjusting, the moving, the moving, the moving, the moving…

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this life is not for the faint of heart. It’s not for the weak, it’s not for those who don’t want to change and grow and it’s not for those who think they’ve got it all figured out. Because if there’s one thing I have figured out, it’s that I’ll never have this all figured out.

Let’s just look at what we, and countless others, have been dealing with the past six months:

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A Different Kind of Baby Blues

Jellybean. Look at those rolls!


I always knew I wanted to be a mother. From the days of Cabbage Patch Dolls and onward, I tend to be a nurturer and knew I wanted my very own tiny Mels when I grew up. I figured I would have three since I am the youngest of three kids myself and loved having a “buffer” sibling if one of them couldn’t be at a family function.

When Hubby and I married we knew we wanted a baby right away. Five months later we got pregnant with Monkey and in December of that year he came earthside and turned us into a family of three. 

Most of my friends who had their first babies around the same time I did waited a little more or a little less than a year before trying to bake bun #2. I waited to feel that twinge of wanting a second, of feeling that we needed another child, but it didn’t come as fast as I thought. We even talked about stopping at one and just having Monkey. After all, we couldn’t ask for a better, cuter kiddo.

 

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The Elephant

 
 

There is an elephant in our marriage.

Sometimes we talk about it.
Sometimes we don’t.
 
Sometimes I am fond of the elephant. Having one makes me feel special, important, part of this sub-culture of elephant owners. It’s unique and not every marriage has one, that’s for sure. I am certainly proud to have one. People say, “Oh! You have an elephant! Good for you. I would never be able to have one”. They say it like having an elephant requires super powers. It doesn’t. It just requires love and work and determination. Every marriage requires those things, but especially those with elephants.

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Type A’s Don’t Like Deployment

I’m a planner.
I like to know where I’m going and when and for how long I’ll be gone and what I’ll do while I’m there.
I like to plan a weekly menu so I know what we’re eating each night and can make sure we have all the groceries we will need for those meals.
I lay my kids’ clothes out the night before so we’re ready for the morning and I make Monkey’s school lunch the night before. 
I have two calendars – one on my phone and one on my wall. I reference each one daily to make sure I haven’t missed anything.
I start buying Christmas gifts in August.
We found out the sex of both of our kids at 18/20 weeks so I could get ready for our boys.

 

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