Friday, January 22, 2010

::CFB Shilo - home::

Well we've been in the house just over a week now and I thought you'd enjoy an update.

This house is growing on me more every day. It's nice to have a home that doesn't feel like a tall, skinny townhouse (not that I didn't love our place at Kew!). You'd never know this was a duplex if you didn't see it from the outside. Once we moved in our furniture, it started to feel more like home. We only have a few lingering boxes on the main floor - the rest of our occasional-use stuff (i.e. Wayne's garage stuff!) is still in boxes lining the basement. I've spent most of my time in the house, unpacking and reorganizing and cleaning. Which is fine by me cuz it's really cold here. Okay, it's not THAT bad for Manitoba (-4 to -7-ish during the days), but cold enough for me to enjoy being indoors. Dora loves the snow, though, so she's had fun when we do take her for walks around the base.

Today was the first time I ventured out on foot without Wayne. Heidi and I took Dora for a trot around the base and promptly got ourselves tangled up in a web of streets like "Lundy's Lane," "Petawawa Crescent" and "The Packway." Um, yes, I miss Surrey's fool-proof "streets-run-north-and-south, avenues-run-east-to-west" grid! But we sorted ourselves out and soon found ourselves back at the familiar school. Thankfully, the schools, community centre, gym and churches are all centrally located on the base, so if you can find your way back to that area, you're safe. :)

I went to a playdate next door yesterday, where there had to have been at least 8 or 10 military moms with at least one or two kids each - it was a tad overwhelming! I mostly listened (and desperately tried to remember people's names) but it sounds like there is plenty for moms and kids to do around the base. I just need to get my butt over to the family resource centre next week to find out all the schedules and to register Heidi and me for things like water babies at the new pool.

Wayne was given 5 days off when we got here to move in all our stuff, which was great, as there was a lot to do. He's now been "at work" since Tuesday. He comes home for lunch almost every day and is home by 4 pm - it's awesome! But weird to see him so much - haha. Right now, he's working with 1RCHA (1st Royal Canadian Horse Artillery - although I haven't seen any horses! I think it's an old-school name), which is also known around here as "One-horse." He has been given a position in Headquarters and Services. So far, so good! It's cool to see him come home in his uniform - it makes the past year and a half seem worth it.

Heidi is doing well - won't be long until she's sitting on her own. She's experienced the Jolly Jumper and her high chair for the first time this week, and loves both. She did go a week without pooping, which could be attributed to the move, as most moms have reassured me. But with the help of some prunes and water, she is back to normal.

It's very strange to finally be here, but fun at the same time. I have to admit that I think I'll like it here more than I expected/wanted to, especially once the snow thaws. I'll try regularly log our adventures here for those of you back in beautiful BC who want to keep up with this newfound military family.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

::a new year, a new life::

Looking forward:

Yes, well, here it is, 2010, and I'm still S-L-O-W on the blogging front. Life has moved simultaneously at a snail's pace and in a flash this year (last year?). You know what I mean. With Wayne being away from home for 16 months, life has dragged. I feel like my life has been put on hold, waiting for a new phase to begin. Yet, because of my pregnancy, it has flown and it is still a blur (just like my labour and delivery - ha!).

Wayne finally arrived home Dec. 18, Christmas and the New Year have come and gone, and I can now count on one hand the amount of sleeps I have left in this home. Wayne, Heidi, Dora and I will be packed up and out of this house Jan. 7, and we'll live with my parents for a few days. Wayne leaves by car with Dora on Jan. 9, and Heidi and I fly to Winnipeg Jan. 12. And our new life will finally begin. Together.

It still isn't REAL to me that we're moving, let alone to another province. Maybe it's because all I have to do is pack a suitcase and let the movers do the rest. Maybe it's also because I've not house-hunted or bought property (we'll be living on base in a rented home). I've not even been into our new home, although Wayne spent five days in Shilo purchasing appliances and setting up cable, etc., before Christmas. It's a crazy and wild adventure for this West Coast girl, and Heidi won't know the difference as she grows up as a military brat, but I'm up for the challenge.

We don't know what lies ahead: Will Wayne be sent to work-up training and deployed right away? Will he have a 9-5 desk job? Will he be sent back to Gagetown to complete a 10-week course? We don't know until we arrive. Which sucks (hey, I'm not known to beat around the bush). But it's what we signed up for and we're now used to the "spontaneity" of the Armed Forces (that's my polite term for it).

Many people have expressed pity toward me in the last year, especially when I was pregnant with Heidi. They couldn't imagine being pregnant and "alone" at home, without a husband and not knowing what was to come, even where they would be living.

But I don't want pity. And I don't want accolades. I just want people to understand, if they don't already, the lives and circumstances of Canada's military families, and to stand with them in unity for the freedom of our country, either through prayer or messages of support.

I admit, I didn't know much about military families before Wayne joined the Army in 2008. Unless you live near a large, working base, I’d venture to guess many Canadians don't pay much attention to our military. We don't need to. We hear about it on the news, and the budget and "exit strategy" matter at election time, but that's about it for us, isn't it? So I don't roll my eyes and scoff when people ask "ignorant" questions, because I asked them, too.

But I do resent it when people give me opinions I didn't ask for, especially when they're not based on facts, or they are insensitive to our choice to join Canada's military. No, I didn't grow up planning to live on the opposite side of the country from my husband for a year while he trained to fight for our freedom. Or to endure my first pregnancy mostly alone. Or to move to the Prairies (I’m a West Coast girl, through and through!). But life is never what we expect, is it?

I received a sincere expression of gratitude for our choice today from a friend, and I have to say, it was the first time I felt like my role as a military wife truly meant something to someone. Those moments are enough to motivate me through the moments when I doubt our decision and question its importance.

So thank YOU, friends, for your support this past year. It has NOT gone unnoticed.

Looking back:

Because I am a reporter by trade, I always love a good Q&A. I found this on Sharon's blog and thought it would help me blog about 2009. Here goes:

What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?
Gave birth!

Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for this year?

I don't think I made any last year, but this year's are: to take a tropical vacation, to serve at church, to step out of my comfort zone whenever I can, and to be my husband's girlfriend.

Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yup! Danya, Sarah, Andrea and me!!!

Did anyone close to you die?

Thankfully, no.

What countries did you visit?

Just the USA. And lots of Canada - Winnipeg, Brandon, Fredericton, Halifax, Pictou and Antigonish. We also drove the Cape Breton Trail.

What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?

A PVR. :) Great for a breastfeeding mother. Oh, and having Wayne at home. Even better!

What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

September 5 - Heidi's due date that came and went
September 12 - Heidi's birthday
November 11 - Standing at Remembrance Day ceremonies in Cloverdale, and hearing the pastor read Joshua 1:9 as a magnificent bald eagle soared overhead ("Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.")
December 18 - Wayne's homecoming

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Giving birth without drugs. And living on my own with Heidi for the first three months.

What was your biggest failure?

Asking Wayne to come home when she was three weeks old.

Did you suffer any illness or injury?


What was the best thing you bought?

A KitchenAid stand mixer! I have wanted one for years.

Whose behaviour merited celebration?

Wayne's. I am so proud of my man.

Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

I can't think of anyone at the moment. Either way, it's not my place to say. God will deal with them appropriately.

Where did most of your money go?

House? Car? And baby stuff.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Meeting Heidi, and Wayne coming home at Christmas.

What song will always remind you of 2009?

"Tonight's Going to be a Good Night" by Black Eyed Peas. That song makes me dance in bed before I even get up!

Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder (b) thinner or fatter (c) richer or poorer?

I’m (a) definitely happier, (b) fatter (gotta lose that baby weight), and (c) poorer (maternity leave - lol).

What do you wish you’d done more of?

Blogging. Reading. Acquiring freelance clients. Exercising. Cooking. Baking. And sleeping.

What do you wish you’d done less of?


How did you spend Christmas?

With family.

Did you fall in love in 2009?

Yes - with Heidi. :)

What was your favourite TV program?

Um, I really love Ellen! But another great show is FlashPoint (filmed in Toronto), and of course, The Office.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Quoting from last year: "Hate is a trap."

What was the best book you read?

Oi, I didn't read many. :( Probably "What to Expect When You're Expecting." haha

What was your greatest musical discovery?

Josh Garrels, all the way!!!

What did you want and get?

A daughter

What did you want and not get?

To be posted to Gagetown, in New Brunswick

What was your favourite film of this year?

I really loved Gran Torino. I want to say Twilight, but it was just too cheesy.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 27 and I met some friends at Eighteen 27 in Fort Langley. Because Wayne wasn't here, I had to organize it myself, which felt lame, but it was lovely. I had to be super sneaky about the drinks, though, as I was 9 weeks pregnant. I had the server bringing me "vodka sevens," hold the vodka.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

TWINS! (joking) Having Wayne home during pregnancy.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?

"Office maternity." Next pregnancy, I plan to be much more fashion-conscious. I really didn't do a good job this time around.

What kept you sane?

Babybel cheese and strawberries, in my first trimester. Sleeping in the foyer during the heatwave. Walking the dog every day.

What celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Hm, celebrity crush? I'm actually blanking right now. Is that lame? I guess I really don't care. I've always loved Sting, though. Yes, he's old now, but there's just something about him...

What political issue stirred you the most?

Meh, I got a C in Poli Sci in college. I'm not too politically conscious (yes, I realize this is ironic for a military wife and former reporter)

Who did you miss?

I already miss my mom and we haven't even left BC yet

Who was the best new person you met?

Laura Neufeld :)

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.
God's timing is ALWAYS better than mine. ALWAYS.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

"Praise the Lord, O my soul, when it’s all gone wrong
Everything fades but our love shines on
Praise the Lord, O my soul, when your hope is gone
Everything fades but our love shines on"
~Season of Rain, Josh Garrels