Tornado season = boo.

Every year, when winter starts to end and spring starts to show its pretty little head, my heart starts to skip a beat. Why? One word.


When I lived in Hawaii, there was no such thing as tornadoes. Sure, we had storms, and we even had one hurricane while I lived there [and one hasn't hit since]. But tornadoes was a new thing for me when I moved to Oklahoma. I remember the first time I almost had a close encounter with one - we had just moved to Oklahoma [August '95], and a severe thunderstorm was rolling through. A tornado hit south of us, but you could see the sky outside our hotel door...and it was pitch black. I was so nervous, I ate an entire box of Fruit by the Foot and proceeded to get sick after.

Ever since then, I've been ridiculously scared of tornadoes. I can count on one hand the number of times I've actually been in danger of a tornado hitting where I am, and I've been here almost 16 years. But after seeing their destruction [May 3, 1999 is still crystal clear in my mind, even though I lived an hour south of all the major damage...for those not familiar with how much destruction was done that day, you can check it out on Wikipedia], learning that they can pop up at any minute, seeing the excitement and fear on meteorologists across the country as they talk about them...I'm borderline terrified of them.

That's why, when the meteorologists in the state started talking about a "particularly dangerous situation" [or PDS] that was supposed to occur a week ago today, my pulse started to race. Thanks to technology, we get a fair amount of warning about bad weather and can usually prepare for it - but tornadoes are a whole different beast. You never know where they'll develop, how far they'll travel, how strong they'll be...they're scary things. And it's not everyday that a PDS is issued; so when the weather stations in the state DID issue one, I packed up the car the night before with things for JJ, and I prepared to head to a shelter [since my apartment is NOT safe enough to withstand a tornado]. The next day, it was beautiful until about 2pm...then, the crappy weather started blowing in.

We were all watching the radars that day and saw that a tornado had developed in the southern parts of the state that were tracking right for us. My assistant director let us off an hour early, and the university officially shut down half an hour later. I had time to get JJ, go get dinner and head to a dorm on campus to wait out the storm with a friend. My mom said that she was watching the weather and didn't think the tornadoes would track for us, but my gut was saying otherwise - so I went to the dorm instead of going home. While there, we watched the news, saw the tornadoes tracking right at us and, half an hour after I got there, heard the sirens go off.


Happy Memorial Day - a day of remembrance

Today is not just another holiday. It's Memorial Day - a day we all take a step back, reflect, and thank those who have risked or given their lives to wear the uniform of one of the branches of the Armed Forces. The men and women who have bravely fought [and died] for this country deserve thanks every single day, but today especially.

Military is in my blood. As you all know, my dad served, my late father-in-law served, my husband is currently in, and I have several family members who have or are currently serving. I grew up with a ridiculous amount of respect and appreciation for the Armed Forces, but I thought it was just because my dad was serving. Now that I'm older, my appreciation and respect has molded into one of admiration. I admire those who are willing to put their lives on the line so that I can sleep at night. I admire my husband for his willingness to make this country safer for me and my son.


WMW: Vacations before and after JJ

Ah...summer is fast approaching [with the unofficial start of summer occurring on Monday with the celebration of Memorial Day], and it's time for me to start thinking about vacations. My family [parents and sister] have taken a vacation the past two years, but I'm not sure if one is in the cards this year with my dad being overseas during our "normal" vacation time. Today's prompt got me thinking about how much vacations have changed since I became a mom.

My family pretty much quit going on vacations when my sister and I got to high school, and we were all super busy with work, school or extracurricular activities. The last vacation I went on before college was in 2004, when we went back to Hawaii to visit family - and while I was in college, we didn't go anywhere further than Texas because of summer school. Husband [then boyfriend] and I, however, took a couple of vacations on our own. One vacation was to visit his family in Maryland, DC and Florida, and the next was to Vegas after I graduated from college. Those were fun but definitely not family oriented...we just did those to have fun adult time.

The first family vacation we went on again after JJ was born was in July 2009, when we took our first of two trips to Orlando. We drove out there with my parents and sister, and JJ was 7 months old [and teething]. He did SO good though...I was pleasantly surprised at how well he handled the car ride. Sure, he got fussy and tired of sitting in a car seat the whole time, but we stopped plenty of times and stayed overnight at the halfway point to Florida so that he wasn't cooped up the entire time. We drove back last summer, and he did even better. He loves being in the car now, so he was easier to entertain and wasn't battling teeth or ear issues. We had the same routine - frequent stops and an overnight stay at the halfway point.

Both times, we stayed at a family-friendly resort and did family-friendly things [such as Universal Studios, DisneyWorld and Sea World]. My sister and I spent a lot of time on rides while my parents just enjoyed being with their grandson and took him around to the little kid exhibits and rides. I will admit that the first time we went to Florida, I was very nervous. Taking a teething seven-month-old on a week-long vacation did not seem like fun to me, and I'm not sure I could've done something like that on my own. I KNOW I couldn't have done something like that on my own. Now that JJ loves car rides and is getting older, I'm looking forward to taking him on more vacations and exposing him to different things in different places. I've obviously become more about him and his fun factor since he came into my life, so planning fun family vacations is where it's at nowadays.

Now, that doesn't mean I don't take adult vacations. I'm taking my sister to Vegas in August for her 24th birthday, and I'm planning a trip to Connecticut/NYC to visit my college roommate [who recently got married]. It's just that when I go somewhere, I want JJ to go - and I want him to have fun, no matter how little he is. It takes longer to pack, and we need more room for his things, but vacations with him are more fun than vacations without him. I'm excited about the possibilities as he gets older and can go to different places - for his 10th birthday, we've already talked about taking him to DisneyWorld.

The best part about family vacations? I get to be a kid again, too, right along with him.


Holy lack of updates Batman.

So, my computer crashed last week. Which has left me computerless when I'm not at work. I could use that as a viable excuse for not updating since like, May 5th, but that's not the excuse - I just haven't made the time to write.

I find myself doing that a lot...not making the time to do things. Not making the time to exercise, to blog, to write in my journal...to be quite honest, I've just been too tired after work to do anything but focus on JJ and fall asleep with him. I don't know what's going on, but it's not normal for me to be utterly exhausted every single night. I think some sort of medical doctor visit may be necessary. Sigh.

Anyway, Happy Middle of May! Can you believe it's already the 17th? Where has the month gone?! I feel like spring just flew by, and we're nearly into summer [and all its steamy, 100-degree weather-ness]. The kiddos have been gone from campus for almost two weeks now, but enrollment starts next week...so it will be crazy crazy crazy until July. I like it, because it makes the days/weeks fly, but it also can get very chaotic very fast. I'm just hoping I make it through in one piece. This will be my second summer enrollment, and I made it last year...so I think I'll be fine this year.

Mother's Day was a couple of weekends ago now, and it was absolutely amazing. My sister planned our whole day out, which included sending us an itinerary for the day. She'd spent the night at her place the night before and drove to Lawton the next day...with Starbucks pastries and drinks in her hand. THEN, she back-tracked and sang me and my mom Happy Birthday and gave us our birthday presents. We really didn't get to celebrate our birthdays [both me and my mom have birthdays in March] because of the craziness of the month, so my sister made up for it with presents and cupcakes. Then, me and my mom got our Mother's Day present - massages! - while sis took JJ to the park. Let me tell ya, that massage was INCREDIBLE. I will definitely be going back to that lady to get another one; she was awesome. It was nice to have two hours of peace and quiet [and JJ behaved the entire time he was with my sister! yay!]. Then came lunch, naps, Olive Garden for dinner and a movie. My sister did an incredible job...now, I HAVE to make her birthday special. :)

The husband didn't forget it was Mother's Day, either...he sent me flowers [well, he said they were from JJ] and a Victoria's Secret gift card [I can think of a dozen ways to make this gift card, but I digress]. And my parents got me this ridiculously adorable bracelet [that they also said was from JJ]. Overall, it was the best Mother's Day ever. I'll remember it for a long time.

So. That's my recap on the one major thing that's happened to me this month. The rest of the month has been full of basketball, to be quite honest. We went to Game 5 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals last week, which was amazingly awesome...and the Thunder won that series in 7, so I get my dream match-up! Mavs/Thunder for the Western Conference Finals, which means one of my teams is moving on to the NBA Finals! SQUEE!!!! I am ridiculously giddy - albeit torn about which team to cheer for - about this development. We're going to Game 3 in OKC on Saturday, and I'm so pumped. I wish it was Saturday already. Sigh. I love the NBA.

That's all I've got for now - sorry this update didn't have more substance. Once my laptop's fixed [or replaced], I'll have more time to blog...and hopefully, more interesting stories to share. :)


Where's my motivation?

So. In less than 3.5 months, I'll be headed to Vegas with my sister and two of her friends. And, let's be honest - I'm far from ready for this trip, looks-wise. I'm not saying I'm fat, but I don't like the way my body looks. I haven't since I got pregnant with JJ. I hadn't realized how much things would change pre-pregnancy and post-pregnancy...I was totally naive about that.

I've been trying to find ways to have energy after I get home at night so I can work out after JJ goes to bed, but between chasing him around, making dinner and cleaning...I'm wiped by the time he goes to bed. A majority of the nights, I go to bed with him and wake up the next morning to finish things. Now that he's easier to entertain on his own, I can get some things done while he plays with his toys...but not everything. Most weeks, my apartment is a disaster and requires a three-hour cleaning spree one random night [usually thursday, which is when i pack for the weekend or, pre-playoffs, watch basketball on TNT].

But I digress. The point of this post is, I have got to find a way to work out. I've been able to keep up with other things...my project: 365 and my personal journal, for example...but when it comes to working out? I just can't do it. I keep finding ways to get out of working out or making excuses, but continuing to do that won't get me ready for this trip. Not only that though...I want to start feeling better about myself. About how I look. It's almost summer - I don't want to hide behind t-shirts and jeans all summer.

Anyway. This post will serve as my open letter to myself: get your @ss in shape. You're running out of time, and you're tired of feeling like crap. Get on it!


What a night for America.

I haven't blogged in a few days because...well, I've had nothing really exciting to say. But now, today, I do.

Tonight, President Obama announced that Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan. The rumblings of the news started about an hour or so before he made the official announcement, but I didn't really believe it until he said it. I think I'm still trying to process it.

I think I'll always remember this day. Ya know, when people ask "Do you remember where you were when...?" - this day will go along with that. I'll add it to the OKC bombing, 9/11, the day the war started, the day I lost a family member overseas, and other personal moments that have shaped my life. When I found out he was dead, it hit Facebook first. Then, Twitter. I called my mom to see if she'd heard, then J to see if he'd heard. I kept getting in and out of bed with JJ [I don't have a TV in my room, and I was trying to put him to bed when I heard the news], and I watched the official announcement while I rocked him to sleep. What a moment.

I never thought the day would come when an announcement like that would come. No, I didn't lose anyone in 9/11...but I lost a cousin in the war. Had family and friends fight in the war. My dad's over there as a civilian helping the war effort right now. This news is huge for everyone in America, everyone fighting terrorism, everyone still fighting over there.

Some people have been ridiculously ignorant about this whole situation - trying to spin it into a political thing. This isn't about politics...tonight, this is a victory for so many people, here and abroad. This announcement has been years in the making. Thousands of people lost their lives because of him; thousands more put their lives on the line to find and stop his reign of terror. This is for them. For us. For those who have been fighting him.

Does this mean it's over? Of course not. Ten years of searching and one death doesn't stop the violence. It doesn't mean our troops are coming home, that everything is OK, that the fighting is done. But I think, for tonight, we can breathe a small sigh of relief before the fight resumes again. Thank you to everyone who was involved in bringing him down...I will forever be grateful for your work and sacrifice.