Monday, January 19, 2015

Mood Swingin' Monday

I gotta say, I kinda have a thing for Mondays. It certainly helps that I don't have an office job or that I'm not going to school. But we keep our Mondays pretty low-key around here. And today's is extra-special since it's a holiday and my big guy is home from school. (Sidetone: We had a spectacular school behavior this week, which even I'll admit was absolutely compliments of a Lego bribe.) We're sporting the jammies for an extended length of time and drawing out breakfast over several hours.

Night shift mornings, where I discover new and creative ways to brew coffee for one.
We're also in the middle of Jon's night shifts. Which means I'm trying to keep things quiet and calm while he catches up on some sleep right now. Trying is the key word here.

His new game is "Transformers." In this instance, he's transforming into a plane.

Night shifts always come in two-week chunks, so we're in the middle of this current one. And I think I can say that we're finally starting to find our groove with this new lifestyle. I hate to complain about these funky hours, because even though they've been a challenging adjustment for our entire family, the long stretches of days off are just too rewarding. Honestly, I think we've had more quality time with Daddy since he started this new job than we did during his "normal" office job.

Don't worry, I'm not getting my kid wired on caffeine. She just likes to lick up the leftover milk froth.
There's still a lot of uncertainty, but it would't be the military life if there wasn't. We don't know how long this schedule will last, what Jon will do when he moves off this schedule, and especially what will come after this tour. It's strange, only having a two-year assignment. We'll actually start making up our dream sheet this fall. And by this time next year, be making plans for our next move. Which naturally has this thinker/planner on edge. I prefer to take my nervous energy out on Zillow--scanning and researching local housing at all our "top" destinations. I may have even found a dreamy little 15 acre homestead in Colorado that I'm hoping no one will purchase for the next few years ... Granted, it's all a waste of time. Because as we've seen, the Coast Guard has a knack for knotting up our plans and redirecting our adventures. But at least it gives me a way to focus my anxiety.

Have you ever heard of a cocky chin? Me neither, but I think this girl's got one.

The truth is, I've had a lot more time for thinking these days. It's been very weird. Joci turns 18 months old this week. When Jack was 18 months old, I was two weeks away from having his brother. When Jude turned 18 months, he was already giving kisses to his newborn sister. So this is all very new to me. My youngest is 18 months and not only do I not have another baby, or even the prospect of another baby, but I've also got a doctor-ensured notice that there is a 99.8% chance there ain't never gone to be another baby. And I'm stuck in this weird phase of "Wow, what am I going to do with all this extra time?" and "Gosh, I really miss snuggling a newborn."

Brother practicing his alphabet.

Sister practicing her sisterness.

Annnnd she runs off with the letter B between her teeth.
You lose a lot of freedoms when you have a baby. In a very good way. It's amazing how it helps you to focus on what's essential. But it's not like you just get all those little luxuries back at once. They slowly, quietly creep up on you. Until one day, your 18 month old is off examining the family toothbrush collection and you find yourself scrubbing the stovetop. Or wiping down the fridge shelves. Or reading in the middle of the day, with two hands! Or here's a big one for me this year--exercising!! And it suddenly dawns on you--I can't remember the last time I did this!

This kid and his faces!!

This girl and her giggles!
Other changes are more obvious. This month we got back into cloth diapering (after a several month teething-poop/holidays/can't-keep-up-with-normal-laundry hiatus) and I've started taking on work again. I gotta admit, both are financially motivated. Cloth diapering can shave a few bucks a week off my grocery budget (or more if you consider the fact that I can't use "diapers" as an excuse to run to Target) but editing is a bit more rewarding. And I find that I'm highly motivated by something substantial. For instance, last week I made enough to possibly fix up my garden and add a fence to keep the animals away. If I keep up that pace, we'd soon have enough to pay the adoption fees for a dog (in theory.) And if you multiply that by a few weeks, maybe it'd cover the cost of a few nights at a resort in Aruba for our anniversary. Just sayin'. It certainly helps to have little goals in mind.

The nice thing about cloth diapers is they help bulk up her frame a bit!
In this photo, she is going through her drawer, pulling out clothes, yelling "no" and shaking her head as she throws them on the floor behind her. Oh, hello, opinion, where'd you come from??
And for those of you that can't fathom "doing work" while parenting these 4 littles, I really don't do that much. I don't work every day, and when I do it's only 1 to 3 hours, usually when the kids are sleeping. I'm trying to be very careful about how much time I devote to outside work. If I ever start to feel like my kids are an interruption, or if I'm starting to choose a job over laundry or spending time with my husband, then I need to step back. It's just a little something to exercise my brain, provide me with adult-level dialogue (or monologue might be the better word), give me something to do when Jon is away in the evenings, and occasionally foot the bill for when we take our massive family out to Chipotle.

A gloomy morning and the boys snowflakes that they cut out and hung them all by themselves. :)
So yes, little bits of extra time here and there these days. They say that 18 months is when babies start to shift their attention toward Daddy. Jocelyn is still very much mommy's velcro baby, but just this past week she's started actually yelling "Dadda's" name throughout the house and seeking him out when he's in another room. She still screams whenever I walk out the door, even if it's just to run to the mailbox. And she still has somewhat long stretches of time where she just wants me to give her lots of snuggles, but it's nothing like what we were dealing with a few months ago.

Her signature move--throwing herself on the floor when she doesn't get her way, and then using her heels to push herself across the room until she hits a barrier.
I think we're in a good place. A little more sun would be nice. Or snow, if we want to go to the other extreme. And a few less pillow and blanket forts to clean up each day would also be appreciated. But for now, I'm enjoying this little life-lull before all of those small uncertainties and new "phases" come rushing back up at us again.

And with that said, Velcro is taking a nap and the other three just started a movie, so I'm going to go do whatever I want ... starting with a shower.

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