Reunions

My high school reunion was this past weekend.

I didn’t go.

I spent Saturday morning at a farmer’s market with my family. Spent the afternoon grilling fresh cut steaks and baking fresh veggie with my husband. Saturday night was full of Doctor Who episodes and snuggling with my husband.

I had planned to submit a photo or two for the slideshow since I wouldn’t be in attendance, but, unsurprisingly, I never heard back from the slideshow coordinator. I’m used to that and given the attitudes of those on the Reunion Facebook page, I haven’t missed much and most haven’t matured much in the past ten years.

In honor of my ten year high school reunion, I’m going to share the post I originally wrote on the topic, last summer. The irony of having my reunion “pass me by” is that I was in Florida for a week just this month, just nowhere near my “hometown”…

 

You knew me when?

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Thankful Thursday: May 2nd

I know I’m about two months behind on these. Life really has gotten in the way, and I do plan on catching them up, even if I have to write two or three a week.

Since today is our second birthday here at Notes From the Backseat, I thought I’d go back to just how this blog got started. I don’t think I’ve ever really gone over that other than to say it’s all my husband’s fault lol

Let me take you back in time about two and half years or so. I’m sitting in the passenger seat of our Honda CR-V as my husband drives along the interstate. In the backseat, Sissy sits behind daddy, Little Brother behind me and the cat, in her carrier, wedged between the car seats. Strewn about the floor board in both the back and front are duffel bags, diaper bags, crafting bags, supplies for the kids (such as snacks and DVDs). In the very back, a stadium stroller, a dog in a crate, two large suitcases and a bunch of pillows and blankets. On top of the vehicle was a large black bag, securely strapped down full of more travel supplies and all the Christmas presents, already wrapped and hiding from the kids so as not to ruin Santa just yet.

You see, this was Christmas 2010 and we were in the middle of a PCS from beautiful, sunny Southern California to bitter, cold, dreary Central Virginia. From forecasts like “78 and sunny” to “23 with a wind chill of 10”, we drove through snow, ice, rain, sunshine, warm and cold. Ten states in Five days. Not a trip I’d want to make in such a short time ever again.

During our trip, things would come up between the kids, or between us that just made us laugh. I used these to update my status on Facebook with the title “Notes from the Backseat #__” and had a great time with it. After a while, my husband decided that “Notes from the Backseat” would be a good blog title, though it would be a few more months before I actually started the blog, shortly before our last PCS to Middle Tennessee (which is actually on the Kentucky boarder, not sure how that works).

So in honor of our second birthday, and in being thankful for all this blog has done for my sanity over the past two years, I present:

THE BEGINNING

#1: “i can’t wait to tell people to look at my tooth hole”
#2: “ok mommy, go back to your seat please! Go!”
(This was while I was leaning over in my seat making sure her movie was playing in the right language lol)
#3: “can I get out of the car?”
“like now? Can’t you wait til we get to Albuquerque?”
“well, okay mommy”
#4: “mommy, you can close the wind”
(She meant the sunroof)
#5: “look mommy! Cows! Moo Moo Moo!” -then she proceeds to giggle for 3 minutes.
#6: “i see snow! The holidays are here!
#7: “no no no!”
“what?”
“you cannot drive in the snow!”
#8: “oops! It’s not working!”
#9: “look at all the snow! It’s turning white!”
#10: “a birthday! Is it my birthday? I love parties!”
#11: “op! You’re out! Op! You’re out! Op! Everyone’s out!”
(we think she’s playing tag by herself)
#12: “mommy, my tooth is growing up”
(I’m just glad its not growing upside down)
#12 (ish): “ok, kiddo, let’s look for some boots for you”
“And Dora too!”
“ok let’s look for some shoes instead.”
#14: “you rescued the marble! you’re my hero mommy!”
#15: “Did you steal my pizza?!”
“MMMmmmMMM” (courtesy of Little Brother, he ate it all)
#16: “mommy, I think I know why its upset.”
“why is it upset?”
“cuz its dark outside. Can I have a hug?”
(she misses her daddy already)
#17: “mommy, when the movie’s over, I can have poptarts”
(no she cant, but it was a nice try, wasn’t it?)
#18: “thank you so much, SuperHero Mommy!”
(after putting the post-it over the sensor on an automatic flusher)
#19: “mommy, the tv is big so now we can play ping pong!”
(daddy said when the tv got here she could play Kinect sports ping pong lol. It’s here and she wants to play)
#20: Daddy: “honey, do u want subway or should we try Bo Jangles?”
Sissy: “jingle bells jingle bells jingle all the way. Oh what fun it is to ride in adkfirnuch eeeeeeh!”
Daddy: “i said Bo Jangles not Jingles Bells”
(she’s not quite sure what the words are LOL)

So there it is. The 20 status messages that got this blog started. My kids have always been a source of joy to me. Sure there are days that are long. There are days that are difficult. But all too often, the days are just days. Reflections of who we will be tomorrow and who we were yesterday. Today, while walking home from school, Sissy remembered about a trip she and daddy took to the beach during block leave last summer. Just the two of them, for an afternoon, went to the beach and made sand castles “and I got to knock them down!”

Today, I’m thankful for this blog.
For the people my words have touched.
For the enlightenment it has brought to others.
For the piece of mind it has brought to me.

Slacker Blogging

I seem to have become depressed over the past week. I’ve been taking the death of the cat very hard…

As a result, my blog is suffering. Sorry guys.

I promise to get back with it this week. More Autism Awareness blogs and the 30 Day Drawing Challenge posts are coming this week. I will get caught up and finish on time. I promise.

I’ve sent my husband an email to help me stay on task and focus. I need things to keep me moving…

On a side note, I will be updating on my 29 Things list soon… I’m failing myself already, and it’s only April…

Soul Mates

The amazing thing about knowing you’ve married your soul mate is when thousands of miles apart, separated by continents and oceans, and having gone months without seeing each other, you still manage to get each other the exact same thing for Valentine’s Day.

That is the status update I posted to Facebook just moments ago. You see, that package, the one my husband sent from Afghanistan for Valentine’s Day, it finally arrived today. I waited all afternoon, just like he asked, so that he could see my face on Skype when I opened it. It’s not a large envelope. Maybe seven inches high, nine inches wide, but it had my name on it and a post mark from an APO and that’s all that matters. Opening the envelope, I pulled out a letter. Just a small slip of paper, carefully torn out of the little green notebooks he meticulously writes everything down in. I know this by the size and line layout on the page.

Along with this tiny, hand-written note is a block of Post-It sticky notes. My husband has been putting these on his computer monitor when he needs to remember something important, like when to call home or something I’ve told him that I want him to take a look into. This block of Post-It notes is about 100 or more thick. At the top of each sticky page is a date, beginning with Feb 14.

From my husband to me.

From my husband to me.

Hand-written on each of these 100 or more notes is a Bible verse, a song lyric, or other writing to show love, encouragement, appreciation or support. Some of them are silly, like the one that reads “Be Sexy (That is all)”, some are more thoughtful and some are serious. But the greatest gift I think we could have given each other was this support, and what are the odds that we both thought of the same thing this year?

My husband and I have always joked and said “Get out of my head!” more times than I can count. If you remember my Valentine’s Thankful Thursday post, I made my husband a book with a deck of cards and two pieces of rope. A list of 52 (well 53) reasons that I love him. Things like “You look hot in your uniform!” and “You kill the SPIDERS”. Again, some silly, some serious, some thoughtful.

From me to my husband.

From me to my husband.

I love my husband so much.

The amazing thing about knowing you’ve married your soul mate is when thousands of miles apart, separated by continents and oceans, and having gone months without seeing each other, you still manage to get each other the exact same thing for Valentine’s Day.

Thankful Thursday: January 31st

Yea, yea, yea, I know. I’m a few days behind. Sue me… Or should I say “sew me”.

This week, I am thankful for the many DIY blogs out there. I have yet to fall victim to Pinterest, but I follow MANY blogs that feature weekly, if not daily, do-it-yourself projects. I am grateful to not only have something to keep me busy and focused, but it helps me pass the time AND gives me a positive outlet for my creativity. For me, I have to be creating. I’m always in the middle of several projects at once. Case in point, there is a half stitched skirt laying on my kitchen table right now… Next to the pieces of my husband’s Valentine’s project waiting to be assembled and boxed for tomorrows Post Office run.

Here’s the purse I hand stitched yesterday, in less than an hour. (I hand stitch everything because I neither know how to operate, nor do I own, a sewing machine.)

This was a tank top. The studs came off an old belt. The whole project took about an hour and cost less than $1.

This was a tank top. The studs came off an old belt. The whole project took about an hour and cost less than $1.

Some of my favorite blogs come from all over the blogsphere. Here is a list of the ones I visit most often:

Studs and Pearls
Glitter n Glue (Serious “bling-tastic”. Every girl should sparkle.)
Wobisobi (Anne is super sweet and her tutorials are seriously easy for those like me who are “tutorial challenged” and can’t follow directions to save my life.)
Stripes & Sequins
 Sweet Verbena
…love Maegan
Honestly WTF
P.S.- I made this…
Thanks, I Made It
I Spy DIY
a pair & a spare (for more “name brand” fashion styles. Geneva is very fashion focused and uses a lot of runway styles in her DIY projects, making it easy for any budget to have runway style.)

I’ve become addicted to DIY projects lately. My poor husband, if he doesn’t come home soon, all of our furniture will be remade with paper clips and toilet paper rolls.

DIY: 10 Minute Storage Idea

This is my first tutorial, so if you have any questions please feel free to ask. I tried to take lots of pictures so that it would be easier to follow along.

So let’s get this started:

If you guys are like me, you have lots of random little boxes around your house. From shoe boxes to the half carton the juice box flats come in, I save boxes. Last fall, I took my kids to Build-A-Bear to make gifts for Daddy. He got a “Tinker Bear” and a “Spiderman Puppy” (both totally adorable but for some reason I didn’t take pictures) and the kids had a blast. And at the time, I thought to myself “I could use these boxes for …”, but a week later, I still had the boxes and no clue what I had intended to do with them (a common occurrence at our house, I assure you). Well, I decided to use them for storing yarn, but let’s face it, those boxes just aren’t pretty. So I prettied them up.

For this project, you’ll need:

  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Wrapping paper to suit your style and needs
  • Empty box (or two or three)

Step 1
Remove the top flaps from the box (if your box has them). This may seem obviousbut those flaps will not stay down unless you staple them that way and it’s just easier to remove them. You can tear them off or cut them. Just try to keep the line across the top as even as possible.

"Look mom, I'm topless!"

“Look mom, I’m topless!”

Step 2
Begin wrapping the sides as you normally would any box, starting with the sides. Make sure to leave paper hanging over both ends. You don’t want your box to show through around that top edge. You may or may not want the paper to completely cover the inside of your box. If you do want to paper the inside of your box, I find it easier to do this with scraps AFTER the rest of the box is done.

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Step 3
Fold the paper over the open edge of the box. This allows you to wrap the bottom of the box as flat as possible with worrying too much about messing up the paper. Trim off any excessive paper at the bottom of the box.

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Fold the paper into the open end.

Trimming the excess.

Trimming the excess.

 

 

Step 4
Flip the box so that the open end is on your workspace (for me this was the floor in the hallway because my kids were playing Kinectimals in the living room). Begin wrapping the bottom of the box as you would any other box. Keep in mind that if your box will be standing upright (as opposed to lying on its side), you will want to wrap the bottom as tightly and as flat as possible. This minimizes the risk that the box will lean or fall when you’re finished.

Stand up on open end.

Stand up on open end.

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Wrap up the bottom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I planned for my boxes to lie on their sides, so I didn’t care what the bottom looked like. My motto with DIY projects is “As long as people will see it, make it pretty. If they don’t, just get it done.”

Step 5
Stand the box back up on it’s newly wrapped end and begin working on the inside of the box. My best advice, is start in a corner. My preferred corner is the one with the lower paper closest to it (when you initially wrapped the sides of your box, the paper overlapped, I use the lower part of the overlapping section to start). Using two pieces of tape in each corner (one on each adjoining wall), tape the paper down to lie as flat as possible. It’s okay if the paper bunches a little, as long as it’s bunching in the corners and NOT along the flat side. I like to put a piece of tape in the middle of the wall as well, this helps to keep the center flat and forces excess paper to the corners where the bunching is okay.

Stank on newly wrapped end.

Stank on newly wrapped end.

Tape into the corners.

Tape into the corners.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEFORE & AFTER

Yarn storage!

Yarn storage!

Before and After

Before and After

 

 

This one I completely lined the inside because it would be standing upright. I filled it with all my headbands.

This one I completely lined the inside because it would be standing upright. I filled it with all my headbands.

Once you are satisfied with the look of your box, you’re done. This really couldn’t be more simple than it is. If you’re looking for something a bit more “formal” and involved, here’s a great tutorial using fabric instead of wrapping paper by Maven of the House.

I’ve done some other DIY projects lately, that I think you all would enjoy:

This was so easy, even for me. I used a hammer and large nail for the anchor holes and just added a second towel rack, hanging the plastic baskets from shower curtain hangers. Instantly cleared the counter top in the front bathroom and now I have a place to put the hand towels and wash clothes.

This was so easy, even for me. I used a hammer and large nail for the anchor holes and just added a second towel rack, hanging the plastic baskets from shower curtain hangers. Instantly cleared the counter top in the front bathroom and now I have a place to put the hand towels and wash clothes.

I added storage to my bathroom courtesy of a great tutorial found at Simply DIY 2

This was SO easy. And I've since doubled (or more) the number of necklaces on the display and it's still hanging well. This is attached to the wall above my craft table in my closet. Side Note: My craft table is the changing table I used when my kids were still in diapers. I needed a use for it and I found a good one.

This was SO easy. And I’ve since doubled (or more) the number of necklaces on the display and it’s still hanging well. (I find it mildly entertaining that I created most of the pieces hanging on the display in the photo.) This is attached to the wall above my craft table in my closet. Side Note: My craft table is the changing table I used when my kids were still in diapers. I needed a use for it and I found a good one.

I also used a canvas, some spare fabric, nail polish and some mug hooks and small nails to create a necklace display after finding inspiration here courtesy of The Classy It Girl.

Thankful Thursday: January 24th Edition

This is going to seem odd, but I am thankful for this deployment.

I want to be clear. I am not thankful that my husband is in a foreign land. I am not thankful that there is a chance he may never come home to us. I am not thankful for the separation, the issues in communication, or the lack of someone to hold my hand at the end of the day.

I AM thankful for having a simplified way of finding the people who really care about me. I AM thankful for this opportunity to be independent and really discover who I am and the things that I like to do. I AM thankful for the chance to show people who think I can’t do it, that I really can.

You see, there are a lot of people in my life who claim that they love me. They say as much. They claim to support me, to have faith in me, to be there for me when I need them. These are the same people who have not called once in the past five months to ask how I’m doing. They don’t send emails to let me know they are thinking of me. They don’t post on my Facebook page to tell me they are praying for my family while my husband is gone. These are the people I heard from via text message occasionally, but only in the context of “What do the kids want for Christmas?” or “Does Sissy have one of these, I was gonna buy it for her birthday.” I’m glad that these people have taken to showing at least a minimal interest in my children, but no regard is shown for me. One person in particular, called to ask about the kids Christmas presents and then went on and on about a gift they bought for another family member’s birthday. This same person did not so much as send me a birthday card last month. Though I did get a random comment on a Facebook post that someone else had posted to my wall.

These same people, who have chosen to ignore me the past five months, have also, in the past, expressed little comfort in my ability to care for myself and my children in my husband’s absence. They don’t believe I can do it. They don’t believe in me. They have no faith. Well, I am thankful because in the past five months, I have proven them wrong. I don’t have to even believe in myself to do it either. There are two children, two tiny little hearts, quietly sleeping in the next room. And THEY believe in me. They know I can do it. They know I will take care of them and that I can fix anything, and that what I can’t do on my own, we have Google to ask for help. They’ve seen me build shelves, and purse hangers, and fix the car. They know when I need comfort and they tell me the words that I tell them when they are sad.

I can do this. And this deployment has shown me that. It is certainly NOT easy. If given the choice, my husband would have come home months ago, but part of me is glad for this time apart. Not only am I getting the opportunity to prove everyone wrong, but I am proving myself wrong. Months ago, I didn’t think I would make it this far. Four months from now, my husband will come home to us. I will hug him and forget about all the hardships I’ve had to deal with alone these long months. I will read these blogs and know that the helplessness was short lived and that peace comes in the morning.

I am independent.
I am fierce.
I am getting stronger every day.
I will prove them wrong.
I can do this.

I am thankful for this deployment because I am more me now than I was before. I am stronger, more independent, and fiercely loyal. I know who is behind me and who stepped out of my life when I needed them the most. For that, I am thankful.