From Military to Mom for a year

By , August 27, 2010 8:52 am

Can’t believe I’m nearing a year of blogging.  I love, absolutely love, writing here and can’t tell you how encouraged I’ve been by all of your comments.

I was feeling a little nostalgic and decided to link to a few of my favorite posts from the last year.

My first post

That silly beret

Best detergent ever

Favorite picture

My hero

Why I started this thing

Man-speak

The one about pee

Joining the Army

After a year, I’m also kinda wondering what you like to read here.  Please comment, even if you’ve never commented before, and help me out.  Do you come for the Army stuff, the mommy stuff, or maybe even my weak attempts at humor?  Would love to hear your opinion.

Finally, thank you.  I don’t know how long I’ll keep this blogging thing up, but right now it’s a integral part of my life.

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The Terrific Twos

By , August 19, 2010 10:05 pm

Zeke discovers mascara and mineral make-up

Just after Bubba turned 2, my mother-in-law warned me of Haus’ terrible twos.  A bull in a china closet, she said.  Bubba, however, breezed through his twos as a sweet, complacent little boy.  With one small warning look, he immediately avoided trouble.  Bull?  Ha!  I remember thinking Haus couldn’t have been that rambuncious because raising Bubba as a two-year-old was pretty easy.

Then Bubba got a little brother.  A handsome, funny, stubborn little brother.  From the moment Zeke discovered his free will, he’s been using it.  Oh MAN has he been using it!  Loving my little bull Zeke can be trying.  I don’t particularly love when he spreads baking soda across the kitchen floor or squeezes a half a tube of A&D ointment down carpeted stairs or powders the master bedroom rug, sheets, and his p.j.s with dark purple mineral eye shadow.  Did I mention that was all in the last three days?  This kiddo splits his lip at least once a week trying to escape to the nearby park or mimicking big brother. Yesterday, I made my first call to poison control.  I stepped out of my three minute shower to find him chugging a bottle of children’s Benadryl.  How he got into the medicine cabinet and took off the “child-proof” cap in those three minutes is beyond me.

You’d think I don’t watch the kid.  How in three days could he possible spread more than three different substances on our carpet and swig Benadryl?  I think velcroing him to my body is about the only way I can guarantee he won’t get into something.  I recently laughed over the phone as a girlfriend described her solution to her curious second child.  She said she strapped him in a baby sling to her body whenever they left the house.  I’m just about there.  The kid laughs at spankings and uses the N.O. word regardless of the circumstances, even when he means yes.

Believe it or not, I love both of my sons equally.  They are very different, but that’s one of the main things I love about them.  Zeke is demanding, but he’s also a generous hugger.  He’s fearless, but my sensitive snuggle-bug.  I think God blessed him with soft blonde hair and those deep blue eyes because He knew with one little lopsided grin I’m able to forget his challenges.

So here I go into Zeke’s terrific twos.  My little fireball is turning two on Tuesday.  As I repeat to myself, he’s making me into a better mom, he’s making me into a better mom, I remain positive that Zeke and I are up for an amazing year.  Happy birthday to my baby boy, my crazy, independent, spirited little boy.  Oh and by the way, he survived the Benadryl… he’d spilled enough on his shirt that it’s only side effect was a very long nap.

Do you have a monster… ahem, independent kiddo at home?  If so, I’d love to hear about them!

Happy Birthday, Zeke!

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Just being honest

By , August 11, 2010 10:39 pm

So I shoplifted.  Stole something.  Yep, I’m a criminal.

It started when I decided that I, Alyssa Marie Aarhaus, was capable of walking a half mile to the grocery store to pick up a few things.  Not only could I do it by myself, but I could manage it with four boys. Four boys under six, in fact.  As part of a babysitting co-op (which rocks), I often have my two little rascals and a few more in tow.  I left for the grocery store pushing my Chariot baby jogger (for the groceries mostly) and following 4-year-old Bubba, almost 2-year-old Zeke, and their two friends, J and G, 5 and 3 respectively.

Just to be clear, I walked, WALKED, to the grocery store in the afternoon… in August… with four kiddos ages 5, 4, 3, and 2.  Shoplifting doesn’t sound so bad anymore, right?

After successfully making it down the bike path, across streets, to the store, and through the grocery aisles without any major calamities (well, there was the emergency stop for Fudgsicles and the preemptive opening of said Fudgsicles box to appease the two-year-old), I’ll admit I was feeling pretty good.  I had the two older boys marching on either side of me with one of their hands on the jogger and the younger two strapped into the jogger seats.  Besides a few “Are those ALL your boys?” comments and bewildered looks, the grocery trip was a success.

Or so I thought.  Just about the time we made it back UP the hill to my house G, the three-year-old, asked if he could get out and walk again.  Sure, I said, as I stopped the chariot, and let him stand up.  Thud, thud, thud, thud… THUD.  All of the kids stopped as five sweet potatoes rolled out of the baby jogger.  You know, the sweet potatoes I set on G’s lap while we were shopping which gave him the very important job of watching them? The sweet potatoes that I didn’t pay for?

Now this may not seem like such a big deal, $4 dollars worth of sweet potatoes, but I pride myself in being an honest and moral person.  Just about the time, I said out loud, “Oh man, we didn’t pay for those” the two older boys, Bubba and J, looked up at me with sweet innocent eyes and J said, “Well, we’ll have to go back to the store, right, Mrs. Aarhaus?”.  ”Right,” I mumbled to J thinking there was NO way I was risking another walk with four, now Fudgsicle sticky, boys back to the store.  In my defense, the back of the jogger was busting with sweating groceries and Zeke needed a diaper change.

I told the boys I would definitely pay for them later and told their mother when she arrived just how well I’d taught her darlings the art of stealing taters.  J and G’s mom gave me the great idea before she left of buying sweet potatoes again at some point and paying double the asking price for them to make up for the theft.  It took me a few days, but that’s exactly what I did this evening.  I had a few other items I needed at the store so at the checkout, without kids this time, I asked the twenty-something, mo-hawked, I-wish-I-didn’t-work-here clerk to please charge me twice as much for the sweet potatoes I was buying.

“You want me to charge you MORE for the sweet potatoes?” he asked, eyeing me like it was the weirdest thing anyone had ever said to him.

“Yes, please,” I said confidently and briefly explained how I had stolen a few potatoes earlier in the week.

“You know the store makes plenty of money.  Are you sure you want me to charge you more?” he asked again this time giving me a look that said don’t worry, I won’t tell.

“Thanks, but I really do need to pay for those other potatoes too,” I said.  He shrugged his shoulders and added $3.71 of sweet potato charges to my tab.  I walked out with my bags and sighed.  Could I have gotten away with stealing those yams?  Yeah, probably.  But I have to tell you, it felt so good to pay for them.  It’s not always convenient, but I think my life is much more happy just being honest.

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Supporting homeless veterans

By , August 10, 2010 9:35 pm

I looked up from the stoplight and stared at his eyes first.  They drooped, red and swollen, just as his clothes hung limp from a broken body.  He leaned on one crutch with a sign, “Disabled Vet.  Anything helps.”  The kids giggled in their car seats behind me and I thought, I’ve got to do something.  Searching my car, I looked past library books, a crumpled granola bar wrapper, and pocket change.  No cash, no food.  What could I do?  The light changed and I hesitated until Bubba said, “Go, Mom.  You gotta go.”  Accelerating past this empty man, I shook my head wondering how a veteran came to the point of begging at a street corner.

A few weeks passed and I couldn’t stop thinking about him.  It hadn’t been that long since outprocessing the Army and I knew there were support programs out there.  So I started researching.  I found these websites in the Denver area:

Veterans Helping Veterans- provides information and assistance to veterans and their families

Progressive Veterans- a not-for-profit organization that supports veterans and informs the community of veteran’s issues through outreach activities

Veteran Green Jobs- a non-profit organization the trains and equips veterans to restore the environment, economy, and community

As I perused the websites, I couldn’t help but think the programs were great, but… every week I see veterans, homeless veterans, holding signs, begging.  How could I tell these men and women about the support available for them in the amount of time it takes a stop light to turn green?  I felt helpless until I found this site for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  The VA has a goal to end veteran homelessness in the next five years.  Part of that program includes a call center for veterans that provides free 24/7 access to trained counselors.  So I printed this out on my computer:

I printed out a page of these, cut them out, and put them in the glove box of my car.  It’s not a lot but I wanted something I could give them for support.  I don’t know how that man’s path led to being homeless, but I know that anyone that’s served our country deserves all the help they can get.  Have any other ideas to support homeless veterans?  Please post your comments.

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My weak sauce suburban garden

By , August 4, 2010 9:01 pm

Some of you may be wondering why I haven’t posted an update to my little gardening experiment since May. Remember how fresh and new my garden looked right after the seeds were planted?

Sadly, the reason I haven’t updated you is, well… I’m embarrassed.  It seems my thumb isn’t quite as green as I thought it could be.  My back row of cucumbers all died, even after reseeding them twice, and the only thing that really seems to be growing in this area is basil.  I’m really good at growing basil.

I’m not giving up.  After reseeding the carrots and lettuce, I have some good sprouts and I harvested enough beets today to feed… me.  But really, you should have seen Bubba’s face when he pulled them up. Definitely worth it.

Ignoring my attempts at square foot gardening, I’m actually pretty darn good at growing squash and tomatoes.  Check out these before pictures:

Now they look like this:

Nice, huh?  Yep, bring it tomatoes and squash.  I’m keeping hope alive even though my first harvest looked like this…

I’ve learned some great lessons like watering your garden regularly means more than once a day when it’s 90 degrees out, lettuce really is a cold season veggie so don’t expect great results in July, and remember to tell your 4-year-old that those 2 cm carrots aren’t quite ready yet BEFORE he pulls half of them out.

So my first harvest was kind of puny, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be up to my ears, literally, in squash before this gardening venture is done.  And even if it isn’t I promise to provide updates more regularly, even if I’m embarrassed!

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