September 11th

Navy Flag**This post is a combination and editing of previously written accounts.

I considered not writing anything today. Considered the idea of blank space in honor of this day, September 11th.

Decided that was a bad idea.

I don’t think that honor is given in blank spaces. Honor lives in the action of what we do next to build upon what they did first and on what others continue to do today.

Department of the NavyI remember exactly where I was on September 11, 2001. I was teaching a group of new Navy Sailors how to be Electronic Technicians in Great Lakes, Illinois. My cell phone rang. I didn’t typically keep my phone on during instruction, but today was the exception as my husband was taking our daughter to the dentist for an involved visit.

“Baby!” I hear on the phone. “You are never going to believe what just happened.” The first plane had just hit.

I put the class on break and went to the faculty room. We were all around the television when the second plane hit. Not good.

By the time I had regained my class in the room, minor panic had taken hold. It was obvious the accident was intentional. What would be done about it was yet to be seen.

“Are they gonna let us out early?” The question from a young Sailor surprised me. Then I realized – they didn’t understand.

“No,” I replied. “In fact, we may double up the schedule to graduate you early. This is why you are here. This is when your job starts.”

A day to remember, to reflect, to honor. Not in a passive way. But in a “this is when my job starts” kind of way.

CV 67The size of this day is almost too much. One almost cannot even begin to comprehend it when taken in its entirety. I won’t even attempt it. I honor of all those affected by that day, I want to thank those that impacted my life directly.

The base was put on lockdown. We were instructed that those of us who lived in military housing with our families would need to put a plan together immediately to evacuate them. The fear was that our chance of being a target was great. We were right outside of Chicago and the home of the largest Naval training facility.

Madison was 4 and Savannah was 2 months old. Mark and I decided that should the call go out to evacuate, the three of them would go home to Georgia. I would try to get home as soon as I could to help him pack.

I had just been promoted and they had not updated my ID card. This meant my ID and my uniform did not match. Usually not a big deal – but this was no where near “usually.” My superior officers decided it was best if I went home and did not attempt to come back on to the main base until a runner could bring me the necessary paperwork.

By the time I got to base housing, there were big concrete barriers blocking all the entrances except one. The main entrance was also equipped with these same barriers forming a maze forcing those who entered to do so slowly. The guard shack was manned with armed security forces. This would be the norm for a long time to come.

The order never came to evacuate our families. I was thankful. Although I was the military member, I always feel safer when Mark is around. After a while, we attempted to regain some sense of a normal routine.

The first time Madison saw the guards at the entrance, she was bewildered. The second time she had questions. Why were they there? Where had they been before? Why do they have guns? Is it because of the planes?

As I am sure many of you know, explaining the events of September 11th to a 4 year old is not easy. Tip toeing on truth and appropriateness while maintaining a delicate balance of awareness and safety is no small feat.

Yes, they are there because of the planes. They have guns to make sure that bad folks can’t hurt you. They are here to help Mommy and Daddy keep you safe.

“Sure does look like they are cold out there,” Madison commented. She was right – they sure did look cold. We brought them coffee that they wouldn’t take. Of course they wouldn’t – I knew better. It’s a security precaution. But, Madison was satisfied that they were okay out there, and they knew we appreciated them.

We really appreciated them.

These guys protected my home with force and at the risk of life. Seems dramatic now, but the fear was very real then.

They did more than stand watch at the gate of housing, they guarded the gate of my baby’s fear. Mommy and Daddy would never let anything happen to her or her new baby sister, and these guys were going to make sure of it.

Thank you to all the men and women who stood watch outside of Great Lakes housing. You kept my family safe. Thank you to all those who continue to stand watch around the world. You continue to provide that safety. You are supported and appreciated.

Inward Comfort, Outward Things

**Sections originally published June 22, 2007

Fun Office SuppliesOk, so yesterday, I made quite the declaration of hardness when it comes to the metaphysical. I do believe in God, an afterlife, and occasional oddities…but general mystic stuff just ain’t my thing. I am not real sure if I think that it works, if it is just a placebo effect of things that could have been accomplished if you had just done the work, or something I just put off.

But, I know I believe in intellectual honesty. I also know I believe in the growth and evolution of self. So, in honor of those things, I feel it necessary to acknowledge the fact that there is one area where I am already completely comfortable with, if not addicted to, the facade of the placebo.

I totally dig on comfort items.

  • Right now, I am drinking Chocolate Velvet coffee – not because it tastes good, but because it feels good.
  • When I was in the Navy going through the 2nd hardest school they had to offer, I, the squared away, had the matching Winnie the Pooh notebook and pen.
  • Before I deployed, I bought a pretty purple pen because it made me smile.
  • I own 4 Webkinz myself because they make me giggle.
  • I have a favorite coffee mug (which the Chocolate Velvet Coffee is in right now).
  • I will start having my husband light up the fireplace too early in the fall.
  • I have a favorite blanket.
  • I have footy pajamas.

They say confession is good for the soul – so, couple this with today’s affirmations and I should be unstoppable!

2013 Update

I still believe firmly in comfort items. When someone (usually my beloved) says, “that’s all in your head,” I think to myself, “Well, where else does it need to be??”

  • IMG_20130902_130514_532_20130902130954006I now drink black coffee…and it still feels good
  • I have an overall passion for office supplies
  • I am a sucker for Minions
  • I have a coffee mug collection (and have begun to switch some out becasue they don’t make me quite so happy anymore)
  • Still love a good fire (although I do not hope for the cold)
  • I have swapped out a great blanket for awesome socks
  • And I still love comfy pjs

Screenshot_2013-08-21-13-51-57-1Regardless of the changes, edits, updates, gains, and losses, I still believe in the power of positive emotion. Maybe that warm fuzzy is all in my head…but it sure does light up my heart 🙂

That is NOT what I said

**From the archives ~ originally published April 27, 2011

Life in the home has been complicated by this tank top.

Ok, maybe not this EXACT tank top…but I own one a lot like it.

Ok, maybe it isn’t just this tank top…

Maybe it is this innocent looking creature…

MorganDo not let her fool you…her ways are not for the faint of heart. At 4, she is good, real good. I can only imagine where we are going to find ourselves

Example ~

Morgan: Momma, can we have macaroni and cheese for dinner?
Me: No baby, I am making mashed potatoes.
Morgan: (utter outburst of screams and tears) You mean you are never going to feed me ever again?!?!

Umm…not what I said…

Example ~

Me: Morgan, please take your thumb out of your mouth.
Morgan: But Momma, my body says I have to…
Me: Morgan, I know it is a hard habit to break, but you are gonna mess up your teeth.
Morgan: (another outburst as in previous example) You mean you are gonna knock my teeth out and cut my thumb off!?!


And finally (but not only) ~ The Tank Top ~

Daycare: April, I hate to bother you but Morgan says you have a shirt that upsets her. She is in tears.
Me: Really, I can’t imagine what that could be.
Daycare: Well, I don’t believe you own a shirt that says that.
Me: Says what?
Daycare: Well, Morgan says you own a shirt that says (wait for it….)
“I hate my daughter”


My Fairy GodPops

I’ve been thinking for a while about moving the old posts from My Beautiful Chaos over here to kind of consolidate my writing. Not because the two purposes are the same – they aren’t. But I am so disorganized in this regard that there is no one real place I keep everything I have written (stupid, I know).

But if you are friends with me on Facebook, you may have seen that my Pop’s 60th birthday was yesterday. That’s kind of a cool day. Then, in a completely unrelated circumstance, San Diego Keller Williams Realtor Jeff Kayle posted this ~

Real men know how to sew.

And, well, the signs don’t get any clearer than that…from April 2007, here is what I had to say.


I absolutely love getting dressed up and going out. However, as you can imagine, with four kids, it happens very rarely (read “never”). There is that time when the stars are aligned and the moon is producing the right gravitational pull, this opportunity presents itself.

It was to be an awards banquet on the beach. I wasn’t getting any awards, but who cares! I was getting an incredible dress (no more maternity clothes!), great shoes, and an appointment at the nail salon.

Get ready. Well, almost ready. Mark’s dressed, my hair and makeup are done. As an experienced Mommy, I know to wait and get dressed at Mom’s house. She’s watching the kids and I am sure I will get some kind of kid goo on me in the process of getting over there.

Ok, honey. Zip me up. Damn! Is that the zipper in your hand? Yep. What do you do about that? You don’t go. My heart breaks. My wonderful husband works on that zipper for 20 minutes. We were already running late and I am incredibly disappointed. He is really sorry. It’s not his fault. These things happen. Doesn’t change it. I go in the pool room with Mom and Dad to fix a drink and sulk.

I hear my Dad say, “If she wants to go, then she’s going.” He gets up and leaves the room. Mom and I look at each other. “He’s going to fix that dress. I hope you’re ready,” she says.

Dad can fix anything, but I am not getting excited. We are already late and my heart has already been broken once.

Half hour later, Dad comes out with the dress. He pulled stitches, reran the zipper, and stitched it back up! My dress was fixed. “Go get ready,” he tells me. Mom zips me up this time as Mark doesn’t want to tempt fate.

There I am, ready to go. Amazing! I walk out of the room and there is my Dad, beaming. Mark and I gather our stuff and walk out the front door.

Ready to hear about the great time I had? On the front porch, I stop my beloved and tell him I don’t want to go. He is obviously confused. I explain that my men had rallied around me and my crushed expectations; Mark, with his warmth and compassion, and my Dad, with his determination and a sewing kit. There was nothing more I wanted to do than stay here, in this house, and be with them.

Those who know, know that I put my husband first in all things, but I am still a Daddy’s girl. What an awesome Daddy he is. I wonder if he knows how special he makes me feel. He should – I must have told him a thousand times that night, and that was only half the times I thought it.