Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in Review

What a HUGE year 2012 was for us!!!  When I think back to where we were last December 31st, I can hardly even remember where my head was or what I was thinking.  Hubby Blue had JUST graduated from college, he was on the hunt for jobs, and he was trying to get in shape so he could pass the physical testing required to get a police job.  I was continuing on in my job for the foreseeable future, but we were looking at trying to make it on one income for God-only-knew-how-long.  I decided to look back over my calendar to remember what was going on in our lives throughout the year...

In January, I was consumed with putting on this amazing graduation party for Hubby Blue.  For weeks, I was obsessed with cutting out little paper boxes to fill with candy, stringing together letters for a congratulations banner, and actually SEWING together little circles of paper for a garland.  It was quite the party and made me think (more than once) that I really missed my calling in life as a party planner.

I completely forgot about this because it seems like a LIFETIME ago, but I also started my final grad school class for my English as a Second Language certification.  I took the class online and WOW.  I was definitely glad when that was over in March.  I certainly appreciate my free time these days.

In February/March/April Hubby Blue was testing for police jobs all over the place.  There were even a few times he tested in cities so far away from where we lived that he would go the night before and stay somewhere in a hotel.  Ahhh...those were the days when I was afraid to stay in our house alone!  My mom would come stay overnight with me or I would go stay at their house.  How far I've come!

May was was the month Hubby Blue found out his department wanted to hire him!!!  They had started the background check process a few months back in...January (?), but they still were considering other people.  I'll never forget that night.  I'd asked Hubby Blue what was going on with that whole process and he said he thought they were going to call him back right around this time.  I suggested he give them a follow-up call, and when he did, the woman said, "You're our guy!" and I thought Hubby Blue was going to jump through the ceiling.  He.  Was.  Ecstatic.

June was a huge month for us.  First of all, I decided it was time for a change...I chopped off 12 inches of hair and donated it to Locks of Love.  I also traveled to Washington, DC, with my mom early in the month.  She was going to a conference, and I got to tag along for fun!  We did some touristy stuff for a few days together and had a great time.  The very next day after I got home, Hubby Blue and I went camping with some great friends.  And three days after that, Hubby Blue and I went to LONDON together!  We were only there for 5 days, but it was the perfect amount of time to hit the high points.  I had been there twice before in high school, but it was Hubby Blue's first time visiting.  The highlight for me might have been seeing the Queen (and Kate!)

Another HUGE happening in June...Hubby Blue was sworn in AND he passed the physical testing for the academy!  This was the last big question mark, and he did it with flying colors.  In fact, when he went to do the bench press part of the test, the proctor asked if he wanted a warm-up and Hubby Blue said yes.  Apparently, the proctor didn't hear him and set the weight at what Hubby Blue had to lift for THE test.  Hubby Blue lifted all the weight with no problem, set it down, and said now he was ready.  Little did Hubby Blue know that what he thought was "warm-up weight" was really all he had to do!  I was so proud of him when he told me that story. :)  That was actually on our second anniversary!

July was all about the police academy...the beginning of it anyway!  Hubby Blue started mid-July, and I felt horrible about it because I had had lonnnnnng-standing plans to be on a little vacation with my family for the week.  I felt really bad that Hubby Blue had to start the academy without me at home, but he did fine, and as it turned out, we had PLENTY of academy left to get through together.

We also MOVED in July.  Oh my goodness...nightmare of nightmares.  Horror of horrors.  This move made me never, ever want to move again.  Next time, we'll be better prepared.

Never thought I would miss living across the street from this.
In August, the academy got really grueling.  Hubby Blue was having 14 hour days sometimes, and moving put us an extra half hour away from the academy.  He was driving at least 90 minutes each way, putting in long days, and tracking down uniforms and gear in the evenings.  I was spending large chunks of my days ironing uniform shirts until the creases in the sleeves were so crisp you could cut yourself.  We went through A LOT of starch!  I also became much more self-sufficient: set up most of the utilities at our new house by myself, unpacked all our boxes (Hubby Blue still sometimes has to ask me where different kitchen gadgets are stored), and took care of lots of little jobs on my own.  It was definitely a learning experience for me.

August also means the start of a new school year for me!  This year is my third year teaching in the school I'm in and my sixth year overall, and for the first time, I felt like I actually knew what I was doing.  There is a big learning curve in teaching, and it was nice to finally feel like I had this figured out.

In September, Hubby Blue turned 30, AND he graduated from the police academy!  That was an amazing day.  I was so incredibly proud of him.  I also started this blog at the very end of September...on the night of Hubby Blue's very first night shift!

And finally there was October (and November and December!). When I think about what to write for October...and even November and December...all I come up with is...FTO.  It's hard to think of anything notable that happened over the last 3 months because our lives were turned upside down by FTO.  We couldn't really make plans to do anything because we usually didn't have the same schedule and Hubby Blue's schedule could change at a moment's notice.  I've gone from being mopey all the time to only being mopey some of the time!  Still adjusting!  We had a few nice holidays, we had some ups and downs, but overall, our life has been law enforcement.  When our days off coincide, we try to take advantage of the time.  When Hubby Blue is working, he pretty much works and sleeps.  It's rough sometimes, but it's working for now.  We might have some big changes coming in our lives in 2013, but we'll get to that when it's time!

So, all in all, 2012 was a good year.  We've really been blessed, but it's strange that when I think of the year as a whole, it just feels like it was a really hard year.  Adjusting to being a police wife was unlike anything I ever expected.  And yet, when I read over the month-by-month review above, I just feel blessed.  I know it's a cliche, but what doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.  Hubby Blue and I are closer and tougher than we were at the beginning of this year, and there is definitely something to be said for that.  I am eager to see what 2013 has in store for us.  It's bound to be another big year!  Here's to the future!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Big Goal in 2013

One of my goals (actually, this is probably my biggest/only goal) for 2013 is to read the entire Bible.  Yep.  The whole thing.  Every!  Single!  Word!

This has been a goal of mine since I was in high school.  I started a few times, but I never even came close to finishing.  This time around, I'm following a plan I got from the church I attend.  You can also find the same plan at  I know it's not 2013 yet, but the plan starts on a Sunday, so I got a head start on the year. :)

The plan follows a repeating pattern each week, focusing on a different section of the Bible each day.  On Sundays, you read from the epistles, Monday is the Law, Tuesday are for history, Wednesdays are for Psalms, Thursdays are poetry, Fridays are prophecy, and Saturdays are the Gospels.  For this week, I'm going to be reading:
Sunday: Romans 1-2
Monday: Genesis 1-3
Tuesday: Joshua 1-5
Wednesday: Psalms 1-2
Thursday: Job 1-2
Friday: Isaiah 1-6
Saturday: Matthew 1-2

I'm going to make it a goal of mine to post the readings for each week on Sundays so that if you want to join me, you can!  If you are, will you leave a comment?  I know I'll need the encouragement to stick with it, and I'd love to be able to encourage you too!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Getting Crafty...Finally! (Framed House Key)

When we moved into our house back in July, we had two spare bedrooms.  Neither one was big enough for the bed that we had in the "guest room" at our old house, so we decided one room would house Hubby Blue's desk, bookshelves and futon, and the other room would hold my desk and craft table.  I had turned the guest room at the old house into a craft room for about 6 months before we moved, so I had high hopes for this room when we moved here. took 5 months to get organized, but thanks to a loooooong shelf my dad hung yesterday and a couple hours of organization today, I'm on my way to finally making my craft room usable!  I'm excited to get some of these ideas I pin all over Pinterest accomplished AND keep myself busy for the long days when Hubby Blue is working.

So, of course, I celebrated all my hard work by finishing a project I envisioned months ago!  I pinned this on Pinterest a full year ago:

This idea came from A Girl and a Glue Gun.

I love, love, loved the idea of framing our first house key.  We lived in our first home for the first two years of our marriage and moving out was so bittersweet.  We have so many memories, good and bad, in that house, and it was the place where we started our life together.  I haven't driven through our old town in a while, but even after we moved out and moved on, it still felt like home.  Funny how that can happen in such a relatively short amount of time.  Anyway, today, I finally got around to framing our own first house key!  This project was so, so simple I don't think I even need to give you the steps, but here they are anyway! :)

First, here are all the supplies I used:

The frame was really old (I actually salvaged it from a box of old frames that were knocking around my parents' basement) -- I don't remember what color it started as, but I spray painted it black last summer.  For the paper background, I used some leftover scrapbook paper from another project I just finished that has Bible passages typed all over it.  I also used a hot glue gun, a straight edge, pencil, and some really awful old school scissors.  Don't judge.

My first step was cutting out the paper that would go in the frame.  To do this, I just traced the glass and trimmed as needed:

This was pretty tough...I mean, I don't know if just anyone can handle this.  JUST KIDDING.

After I was sure my paper was sized correctly, I just used a few dabs of hot glue to attach the key to the paper:

Taking this picture was extremely awkward and totally posed.  I'm right-handed, and this is definitely my left hand.

Here is what the paper looked like after my fantastic gluing work:

See how intense this project is?  This was sooooo complicated...right.

Finally, I popped that little sucker into the frame, and here is the finished product!

Isn't it cute?!?  If only it wasn't so labor-intensive. ;)

There was a piece of cardboard in the frame, as there usually is in a frame, but having the key under the glass makes it pretty thick and I couldn't really fit the cardboard in anymore.  I like how it looks without the glass, but I'm afraid of the key getting lost in our next move so this is probably safer.

I'm planning on hanging my new artwork on the gallery wall of pictures that go up the wall next to our stairs.  That wall of pictures is one of my favorite parts of our house because whenever I look at it I remember all kinds of memories we've shared with our families and each other.

I actually have a second house key (we had TONS of doors in that house that were all keyed differently) that I will probably be turning into an ornament.  Maybe I'll post that project too someday!

Do you have any mementos of "firsts" on display in your home or saved away somewhere?  I'm always on the lookout for things I can save or create for when we move into our first purchased home, and I'd love to hear them!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Real Food Friday: On Cornmeal...and Cooking Failures

Well, I branched out a little this week.  I normally find all my whole food recipes online, mostly at two blogs that I just adore, 100 Days of Real Food and Heavenly Homemakers, but I got a new cookbook for Christmas that I decided to try out!  It's one of those, what I would call, "gourmet" cookbooks, where it's difficult to find a lot of the ingredients and recipes call for unusual combinations of things.  It's the kind of cookbook that would have scared me off a few years ago because I didn't really know how to cook!  However, I think I've done pretty good at branching out in terms of what I'm willing to eat in the last few years.  I do a lot of cooking too, so I was feeling pretty confident I could handle this.  This cookbook is all about cooking with whole grains, which I'm into, so I was excited!  So, this week, I set out to make a few new recipes.

And one was an epic failure.  The other one...looked like it would be a failure, but it turned out it was only a slight failure.

First up: "Rustic Fall Polenta with Fontina and Sun-dried Tomatoes."

Last week, my family went out for our annual Christmas holiday event, where we go out for a nice dinner and then to some kind of show.  This year it was a country concert (and was fabulous), but the dinner menu was a little...unique.  I ended up ordering the sirloin with polenta, not really knowing what polenta was, other than that I had tried a recipe years ago when I was just out of college that called for that polenta in a tube stuff and it was gross.  But I had high hopes since it was a nice place, and I was not disappointed!  It was fantastic, and I was hopeful I could make polenta like that at home.

Lo and behold, I get this recipe book and it's loaded with polenta recipes!  So, I made up my little grocery list and headed out to the store.

My first clue that this experiment in cooking was destined for disaster should have been that our grocery store does not sell polenta.  I guess there's not much demand for polenta in small town America.  My cookbook said it might be called "corn grits" or "coarse stoneground cornmeal," so I settled on the huge 5 lb bag of simply "stoneground cornmeal" I found next to the flour.  The next clue was that I could not find fontina I settled on using up the Havarti cheese that I already had from a recipe last week.  I was then looking for mascarpone cheese for a breakfast recipe...I even asked someone working in the cheese section and he looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language.  Okay...we'll hold off on that one then.  Anyway, I made it out of the store and headed home with my goodies.

The next day, I decided to try my fall polenta recipe for lunch.  Hubby Blue was getting ready for work and said it smelled really good and I thought to myself, "Yes!  A winner!"  I was cooking this polenta, following the recipe carefully, stirring away, thinking it tasted a lot like the restaurant polenta, with a different texture since it wasn't actually polenta, but still good.  And then I added the Havarti cheese.  And the loads of spices.  And topped it with shredded parmesan.

And it was disgusting.

Hubby Blue tried a spoonful just before he left and I could tell by the look on his face that he was thinking, "Please don't put this mush on the dinner table and try to get me to eat it."  Hubby Blue has suffered through some pretty gross meals of mine and even asked for seconds to make me think it was good (that was when we first started dating and I made him my infamous "crisis casserole"...he really did take a second helping and I didn't find out until years later that he actually thought it tasted awful but didn't want to hurt my feelings).  I tried to eat a bowlful of it before I decided this just wasn't worth it, and the whole pot went in the trash.

It's pretty annoying when you spend a decent chunk of money on food and it's no good.  But I tried not to think about it and just moved on.

Next up: Cornmeal Pancakes with Cherry Sauce

First off, I don't know why I was so into cornmeal on this day.  But anyway, that night, I had decided to make this pancake recipe because Hubby Blue was working and he doesn't like breakfast for dinner. I could eat breakfast for dinner every night of the week but HB prefers regular dinner food.  So again, I measured out my ingredients, even going so far as to WEIGH THE FLOUR AND CORNMEAL as the cookbook suggested, I pour them into the pan expecting perfection...and they came out as runny, flat, impossible-to-flip pancake-atrocities.  I made a second batch, thinking maybe it was just the first batch coming out poorly: same thing.  Finally I decided to add a few heaping spoonfuls of whole wheat flour to the batter to thicken it up and voila.  Success.  They came out like pancakes should, thick, fluffy, beautiful pancakes.  I added my cherry sauce on top and took a bite...Not bad.  They tasted very corn-ish (obviously)...and then I got a whole clove in my bite of cherry sauce.  The cookbook said not to bother taking them out but whoa!  Yikes.  Anyway, I cooked up the rest of the pancakes and froze the leftovers.  So, they were decent, but not my favorite pancake recipe ever.

So, in the end, my two new recipes were not stunning successes, but I'm not going to give up.  I obviously can't convince Hubby Blue to love whole foods if they are gross, but I'll keep trying!  Partially because I already have the ingredients for a few other recipes. :)  Partially because I'm still interested in cooking with more whole grains!  There are tons of health benefits, but I also just like the flavors of them.  Maybe next week I'll write about how the bulgur turns out!!!

And just so you don't think I'm a complete failure in the kitchen, I want to share that I DID make some whole wheat bread from scratch that actually came out looking like a real loaf of bread!  Maybe when I figure out how to add pictures to this blog you'll get to see it.  That recipe made two loaves, so one was the perfect loaf shape, and the other was a not-perfect-looking-on-the-outside-but-cool-looking-on-the-inside cinnamon swirl loaf.  Hopefully next week you'll read about some successes here. :)


And, now, for the grocery budget!

Aldi 12/26
Apples, red onions, green peppers, multi-color peppers, carrots, 1 lb ground beef, dry pinto beans, raisins, 2 cans diced tomatoes, honey, sliced cheese, bananas, avocado, garlic, milk, pomegranate..........$31.40

Grocery 12/26
White whole wheat flour (5 lb bag), pineapple ($1!), cornmeal (5 lb bag), bulgur, fire-roasted tomatoes (2 cans), frozen cherries, parmesan cheese, lunchmeat, parsley, eggplant, 2 limes, sun-dried tomatoes in oil, sun-dried tomatoes (dry)............$36.56

Total for the week: $67.96

We were significantly under budget this week, but we also had Christmas Eve and Christmas, which we did not cook for and in fact had leftovers from dinner at my parents' house for one meal this week.  I also obviously have plenty of cornmeal and flour to cook with in the next few weeks!  So dinners this week were leftovers, pancakes, and chili (of course with cornbread muffins :)).  I also have all the ingredients for vegetarian fajitas and another cookbook-recipe I want to try, fire-roasted tomato stew.  Those will probably go into next week's menu!

Until next week!  Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas to All, and to All a Good Night

Merry Christmas, friends!  We are just wrapping up our third married Christmas, and I wanted to wish my bloggy friends a very happy, healthy holiday before it was too late!  Hubby Blue and I were very, very lucky to spend the last FOUR (yes, 4!) days together, and we enjoyed it immensely.  As we usually do, we had our own Christmas at home on Christmas Eve morning, then we headed to my parents' house for church and dinner with my mom and dad, my two brothers, and my brother's fiancee.  We spent Christmas Day with them also and had a really nice, relaxing day today.  I just love so many things about this holiday...the lights, the Christmas trees, the food (nothing beats my dad's peach melba and my mom's delicious brunch), the time together, the music, the smell of pine trees (even if it is from a candle instead of a real live tree :), the carols sung at church, sitting around together drinking Bailey's on Christmas Eve and hot coffee on Christmas morning, shouting "He came! He came!" as if we're still little kids on Christmas's just all so comforting and there are so many happy memories wrapped up in Christmas.  We normally visit Hubby Blue's family too, but they were on vacation this year.  I think that was hard for Hubby Blue, but we made the best of it!  I know we won't always have the luxury of spending this holiday together, so I made sure to drink it all in this year!  My prayers go up for all the law enforcement families who sacrificed time with their loved one yesterday and today.  You are appreciated!

HB heads back to work tomorrow and (fingers crossed!) will be wrapping up FTO in the next couple of weeks.  What a journey this has been!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Real Food Friday: It's Baaaaack

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been doing all kinds of cooking from scratch lately and I've had much less time on my hands for blogging!  This isn't all bad, as it gives me something to do while Hubby Blue has been on different shifts every week, but it's definitely time-consuming!  Sometimes I think, yes, I am in fact crazy for making my own pita bread from scratch, but it's all just part of my experiment in healthy eating and living!  I'm almost done reading In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan and I'm still finding this idea of eating less processed food very fascinating.  It really only takes a few ingredients (flour, water, salt, yeast, olive oil, and maybe honey) to make bread...or pitas...and I realize that the reason for grocery store bread having like, 34 ingredients is so they can bake it and ship it all over the country without it going bad...but I'm also questioning the long-term effects of eating all those preservatives and ingredients you can't even pronounce.

When I started this whole change in our eating habits almost three weeks ago, I was super excited about our meals for that week.  And our snacks.  Oh, the snacks.  I felt like I ate so much that week that I wasn't sure how this was going to turn out!  But actually, I lost about 2 pounds without even trying, and I felt like I had more energy than usual.  Interestingly, when I do eat something that's highly processed or full of sugar (like a piece of cake at a co-worker's bridal shower), I feel SO sick soon afterwards.  I was very unexcited about our menu for the second week (part of why I never blogged about it), and this week wasn't super either.  But a couple things DID turn out really well over that last two weeks: the whole-wheat tortillas, whole-wheat pita bread, and hummus.  Now, I don't want to fool anyone into thinking that all this homemade stuff is just my're looking at a girl who swears by boxed cake mix!  I made a cake from scratch ONCE and it was the most time-consuming thing I ever did and I swore it was NOT worth it.  But I've been having pretty good luck with these recipes so far, and I feel good about what we're eating.  I have to say I don't think I've ever had a tortilla that tasted as good as the ones I made...if I do say so myself. :)  Hubby Blue isn't totally on board yet...I think I might be asking him to make too big of a change too quickly, but we'll get there.

So, this is what we ate:
Granola cereal and fruit
Cinnamon raisin toast and yogurt, fruit
Leftover frozen pancakes with banana

For Hubby Blue: meat sandwiches on whole-wheat bread from my breadmaker
For me: Leftover tomato bisque soup, leftover chicken noodle soup (frozen), hummus/spinach/cheese on a tortilla or pita, leftovers from eating out

Tomato Bisque Soup
Hamburger Oriental Style (this is an old family recipe...not made with totally unprocessed ingredients, but it's something we like and we had the ingredients to use up)
Whole Wheat Pita Pizzas
Dinner out (x3 for me, x1 for HB)

And here is what we spent:
Aldi 12/16
Onions, Havarti cheese, cheddar, almonds, pork chops, pineapple, salad, spinach, cucumber, oranges, olives, Italian seasoning, salsa, apples, tomatoes, lettuce, milk.............$39.66

Grocery 12/16
Triscuits, chinese vegetables, chickpeas, tahini (for hummus), lunchmeat, a pummelo (fruit), I don't remember what else (lost the receipt)............$27.93

Walmart 12/18 (Hubby Blue...had a long night at work)
Frozen pizza, Dr. Pepper, tortilla chips....$12.75
[This is what I mean...I guess we need baby steps! :)]

Total for the week: $80.34

If you take out the trip to Walmart...we'd have been at $67.59, which is easily under the $75 budget.

Interestingly, I came across this document from the USDA on average costs of food.  For a family of 2 between ages 19-50, the THRIFTY plan is $86.70 a week.  That's the lowest plan!  Even the low-cost meal plan would be over $100 a week.  Food is expensive.  So I'm not going to beat myself up over $80.34.

You might be wondering about all the eating out...or you might not be, but I'm going to tell you anyway!  Two of the nights are family holiday events we (actually I...Hubby Blue has to work :( ) have going on...but one of the dinners out was my little brother's ENGAGEMENT dinner!  My little brother (who is not so little anymore) proposed to his lovely girlfriend two weeks ago and the two families went out for a celebratory dinner last weekend.  It's all very exciting and I'm sure I'll have more to blog about the wedding plans later!

Thanks for reading!  Until next week (hopefully...if there's time. :)!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Looking Up

Just a quick update here!

Hubby Blue has been on the power shift all week, and while it's now definitely my least favorite shift of all of them, I think I am getting the hang of all the newfound alone time!  I was anything but bored or lonely this week.  One night I was cooking up a storm, the next night I was so worn out from that that I just read blogs on my computer all night.  Another night I did all kinds of chores around the house, and tonight I did a little bit of everything (got my Christmas gifts all wrapped!).  Hubby Blue and I might see each other for 10 minutes here or there, but mostly we just relied on phone calls during his drive to work.  I would definitely not want him to be on this shift long-term, but it was manageable for the week.

I don't know if I'm getting used to it or if it's Christmas or what, but I'm not feeling so miserable lately.  I wish I had my husband around for things that other people's husbands are around for (like holiday parties and outings), but as I've heard before and I'm sure I'll hear again, I'm looking for our own sort of "normal."  I can't compare our life to non-police families' lives, as hard as that may be.

Hubby Blue's schedule has only changed once this week...he's going back to the afternoon shift, 2:00 to 10:00.  This would be very unfortunate...except that I'm a teacher and I'll be on break for the next two weeks while he's on this shift!  I think we'll be fine.  And he's still off Christmas Eve and Christmas Day AND the two days before!  How did I luck out?!  Long story short...we're doing okay.  Still taking things one day at a time, but for the time being, things are (at long last) looking up around here. :)

Monday, December 17, 2012

A few days later...

Some thoughts...

- When I posted about the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy on Friday, I have to say I was sort of in shock.  Devastating things like this happen, and it doesn't really hit me until a day or two later.  Hubby Blue and I talked about it off and on all weekend, him from the law enforcement perspective and me from the teacher perspective.  He'd ask me things like, "What would you do if you were locked in your room and someone banged on the door and said they were the police?  Would you open the door?"  I thought about it, and said no, probably not, because the procedure we have in place is to stay locked in our rooms until we get the all-clear signal over the intercom.  To this, HB replied that the police won't know the all-clear code word, won't care, and won't have time to figure it out.  He asked me about the doors out to the hallway from my room, whether they open in or out, how they lock, whether they have windows in them.  I told him I played over situations in my mind, trying to figure out where I could hide kids or what I would do if this or that happened.  I contemplated what I would do in different scenarios, how fast I could get 5 kindergartners to run, whether that would be a good idea or not.  I pictured my own students and thought about how I would protect them.  You see, unless you are a teacher, you don't quite understand that teachers love your students almost as if they were your own.  You don't realize that for 7 or 8 hours a day, teachers love them, teach them, care about them, cheer for them, worry about them, think about them, get frustrated over them, watch over them, and educate them.

- I went to church on Sunday morning.  Not surprisingly, the pastor announced right at the beginning that his sermon had drastically changed after Friday's events, but one thing that I assume had been planned all along was that the Sunday school group of kids sang a couple of songs and it nearly had me in tears.  As I watched, I just couldn't help but get the idea.  I can't type it.  The innocence of young life that was ripped away from both the victims and the survivors is haunting to me.

- I read biographies of two teachers who were killed, ages 27 and 30.  They were my age.  They were doing what they loved, teaching and shaping young minds...they were like me.  I simply cannot wrap my mind around the terror that must have been ripping through that school that day.

- Hubby Blue tells me the likelihood of being involved in a mass shooting is about the same as being struck by lightning.  And yet, it's a sobering reminder that we aren't really safe anywhere.  You just never know.

- I thought today would be a hard day, going back to work after this weekend full of sad news.  I teach mostly kindergartners and first graders in my position, and I really wasn't sure what, if anything, some of them might say or ask.  None of them said anything about it; hopefully they don't even know that it happened.  But one thing was certain: when each of them came into my room today, I could sincerely say, "I am so happy to see you today."


Hubby Blue is on the power shift this week, meaning he works 6pm-2am.  This has got to be the worst shift...and having experienced all of them now, I say that with quite a bit of certainty!  I raced home to get here by 4:15 today, which was right when HB said he needed to leave.  He was running a little behind and didn't get out the door until 4:30, so we had 15 minutes or so to catch up, mostly on things like, "Did you pay the electric bill or should I?"  He left, I ran some errands, made dinner, did an insane amount of cooking (more on that later: this unprocessed food thing can be a real time drain...I'm slacking on my "Real Food Friday" posts because I'm too busy making tortillas and hummus from scratch! HA), and watched a little TV.  I'm going to bed momentarily, but he'll be coming in at about 3:00 am.  I'll probably wake up and hopefully be able to go back to sleep for 3 hours!  Ahhh, such is the police wife life!

Thanks for reading today.  Until next time...

Friday, December 14, 2012


My heart goes out to Newtown, Connecticut, tonight.

I cannot even begin to comprehend the tragedy that these people are going through right now.  Shootings like this happen are happening all too frequently in this country these days, and they're always horrific, but there's something about this happening at an elementary school that makes this one hurt a little more.  As a teacher in an elementary school myself, I struggle to wrap my head around what that must have been like.  What would I have done?  How would I go back to work?  How does life go on?  How will the survivors--especially the children--cope with this?  And why???

I grieve for the children who lives were unfairly taken from them far too soon, for their families that will never be the same, for the adults who were killed whose families have also been torn apart.  My heart also goes out to the law enforcement officers and first responders in Newtown who will go through all kinds of pain in dealing with the tragedy too.  They told the kids leaving the building to close their eyes so they wouldn't see all the devastation around them...they can't close their eyes to it.

Praying for everyone affected by this tragedy today...

Thursday, December 13, 2012


"I'm going to make you a lunch and then I'll be up to bed."  [pause]  "How did this even happen?!  How did it come to this, that I just automatically make your lunches and you don't ever think to make your own?!"

There was a slight pause.

Hubby Blue says, "It was the academy.  You started making them when I was in the academy.  But they are so good!  And I LOVE that you make me a lunch every day!"

...Hubby Blue is long gone for work and guess where his lunch is.

It's sitting in our refrigerator.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Would You Rather...

This morning, Hubby Blue was accidentally tasered!

I shared this story with someone I work with during lunch, and the further I got into the story, the more attention I attracted.  Pretty soon, the whole teacher's lounge was listening in.  Can you blame them?!  It's not every day a teacher comes in and says, "So, yeah, my husband was accidentally tasered at work last night.  No biggie." :)

So, here's what happened.  Hubby Blue and his FTO were driving around town when HB noticed something out in a field near the high school.  He spotlighted it, it turned out it was a person, and said person took off running.  HB jumped out of the car and started chasing this person, yelling "Stop!  Police!" while his FTO yelled at the person that he was going to be tasered.  Just as HB caught up to him and went in for the tackle, his FTO fired the taser.  The fleeing person caught most of the current, but HB got a little of it too.  He didn't notice that he'd actually been SHOT with one of the darts until he saw the hole in his sleeve and the little spot of dried blood...4 hours later at roll call!

Meanwhile, I wake up around 5:30 and read these text messages: "Felony arrest!  I got some of the taser current in me when I tackled the burglar."

Try going back to sleep after getting THOSE text messages!  Also, do you think sharing this story in the teacher's lounge probably makes our life sound more adventurous?  :)  This was definitely one of those moments where I felt really proud to be married to my Hubby Blue.  Not only did he chase down and catch the bad guy but he also helped recover some quite valuable stolen property.  What a guy!

Anyway, fast forward to tonight.  THIS is what my police wife life is like:
"Look at my taser wound!"
"My taser wound hurts so much!"
"Feel my taser wound!  It's so swollen!"
"Kiss my taser wound!  Now my taser wound feels better."
"I hope I don't have the taser dart in my taser wound."

And my response?  "Hubby Blue, would you rather be tasered or catch a case of head lice?"
[Pause] "Tasered.  Definitely tasered."

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Dreaded Doorbell

Yesterday I had one of those scary police wife experiences that you never want to have.

I should begin by explaining how Hubby Blue has explained to ME the way I would be notified if something were to ever happen to him while he's working.  Because we live so far from where he works, his department would contact the department where we live and someone in our town would come notify me and take me to him (or at least part way).  I'm not sure if it's like that in every department, but just so we're all on the same page (and because I know there are people who aren't law enforcement spouses who read this too!), that's how it works.

So, Hubby Blue was supposed to be getting off work at 2:00 pm yesterday, and I happened to look at the clock at about 2:05 and thought to myself that he should be calling any minute now.  No joke, the doorbell literally rang as soon as I thought that.  That's odd, I thought.  Who could be ringing the doorbell?  Clearly I didn't think it could be one of our friends because, um, we don't have any friends in our town.

As soon as I had that thought, I looked out our kitchen window, and what do I see?  A county sheriff's office police car parked across the street.

I kid you not: my heart literally stopped.

(Now, I want to stop right here and say that if something HAD actually happened to Hubby Blue yesterday, I would not be blogging about it today, nor would I drag out the story like this.  So if you're holding your breath, you can let it out.)

I immediately thought to myself, No, no, no, this cannot be happening to me, as I pretty much ran to the front door.  I had Christmas music playing on the TV turned up way loud and I didn't even stop to turn it down.  If I was getting the worst news possible, I wanted it as soon as possible.

I checked to see that it was indeed someone from the sheriff's office standing on my porch and I whipped that door open so fast you wouldn't believe it.

"I'm looking for Michael So-and-So?" the officer said.
Annnnd my heart started beating again.

I realized he was holding papers and was probably looking to serve paperwork to this person and was obviously reassured, but my heart was still going crazy.  I didn't even think to tell him that I'm married to a cop and that him simply showing up on my doorstep made all the most feared thoughts in my head come roaring to life.  There was nothing wrong with him, he was very polite, but I was so happy to shut the door and see his squad car pull away a few minutes later.  It sounds silly, but the longer he sat out there, the longer I feared he would come back and give me some horrible news.

I realized I was sweating profusely and my heart was STILL pounding!

I didn't calm down a little until I called Hubby Blue and told him what had just happened.  He obviously understood my panicked reaction.  I have read things written by other police wives who say they dread every time the doorbell rings while their husband is working or who are conscious of what they wear to bed when their husband works the night shift because you never know when you might have to open the door.  I had just kind of forgotten about those things.  Those were the things that scared me the most when we were first starting out on this journey of becoming a police family, and in the day-to-day grind, it's easy to just start going through the motions.  Additionally, in the last two months that HB has been on FTO, aside from Halloween, I've never had the doorbell ring while he's been working.  But now...I have a feeling I too will dread every doorbell ring when Hubby Blue is gone.

Having this experience today just reminded me how life can change in an instant.  You better believe I gave him a great big hug the second he got home!  So, to my fellow police wives out there, whether you are a veteran at this or just starting out like me, please take my humble experience to heart and don't ever let your officer leave you on a negative note.  Tell him you love him and hug him and be grateful for him and don't sweat the small stuff.  Apologize when you are wrong.  Make things right even when you're not wrong.  You never know if you'll get a second chance.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

I don't have to work's Saturday.

It's just after 4:00 am, and I've already been awake for about an hour today.

I woke up at 3:15 to the sound of Hubby Blue's alarm beeping nonstop from the bathroom where he was showering.  I went in to ask him where it was and how to turn it off and he says:

"Go back to bed, you have to go to school today."
"...Hubby Blue, it's Saturday."
"It is?  Oh, right, it is."

Last night I got home from work and decided that when Hubby Blue works weekends like he is right now, Friday afternoon does not feel like a weekend at all to me.  When I said this to Hubby Blue, he said that I was in luck because he was planning on taking us out for dinner anyway!  We had a nice time, but it's still a "weeknight" for HB so we were home pretty early...and in bed by 8:15.

I haven't gone to bed at 8:15 in...well, for as long as I can remember?!  I guess maybe a couple years ago I went to bed at 8:15 because I was sick...?  Maybe?

About a week ago when Hubby Blue switched over to days, I was hopeful that this shift was going to be the answer, the solution, the cure-all!  A respite from living lives on opposite schedules!  Time spent as a normal married couple!'s no better than either of the other shifts.  Going to bed at 7:30 and waking up at 3:00 isn't exactly the "normal" I thought it would be.  This week, when HB would go to bed at 7:30 or 8:00, I would stay up and continue to live my normal schedule until about 10:00.  I would wake up around 4:00 when he was leaving and go back to bed until my alarm goes off at 5:50.  HB was home when I got home, we ate dinner together and then soon after he'd go to bed.  Even though we've had two or three hours at night together, by the end of HB's night, he's getting pretty tired so there's not a lot of "quality conversation" happening as he's drifting in and out of sleep.

Take last night.  We were out for dinner, and he was getting sleepy.  I didn't realize it because I guess I was enjoying our night out so much, but this conversation happened around the table this morning:
"Last night, when we were out at dinner, I felt myself getting really tired." [Hubby Blue didn't actually say "really tired"...but I'm pretty sure he'd demand I change this blog entry if I wrote it the way he exactly said it.  What can I say...he's lived with an early childhood teacher too long!]
"Oh yeah?"
"Yeah, but then I manned up, pulled it together, and woke the **** up."

So, when we were out, we talked about this schedule, and I thought perhaps I should try living on HB's schedule so that we're a little more in sync.  I'd go to bed when he did and wake up when he did.  I'd just get more things accomplished in the wee morning hours that I would usually do at night.  Hence, the reason I went to bed at 8:15 and am awake at 4:30 am.  This.  Is.  Crazy.  This seemed like a good idea at the time...famous last words, right?

I got up early...pretty much so I can talk to Hubby Blue while he's busy (and distracted with) getting ready for work.  It's now 4:30 and I have the whole day ahead of me on my own.  On a normal workday, I'd be home until about 7:15 and home by 4:15, but Hubby Blue'd be gone from 4:00 to 3:00.  We still have pretty much the same amount of hours awake together, so, basically, I think this is not such a good idea!  (Except that now I'm wide awake and I could probably get massive amounts of things accomplished right now.  And if I continue going to bed at 8:00 and getting up at 6:00 for work I could just get tons of sleep.  Not horrible, I guess.)

I'm not sure what I'm even trying to say.  I'm not really complaining, because this just is what it is.  I never appreciated what police officers' lives were like before experiencing this myself.  It's really eye-opening.  The only thing I keep coming up with is...we live too far from Hubby Blue's department.

And yet, we're kind of stuck.  It's the middle of a school year for me, and we have a lease through the summer here.  This is a lot to think about and also a topic I'm not ready to blog about yet.  I just need to keep praying about it.

P.S. Hubby Blue's schedule is changing again!!!  He doesn't know what the change is yet, but of course, the times when we don't have any plans, his schedule stays the same, and then when it's the holiday season and there are plans galore, his schedule changes every week.  I know all the advice about not making plans on days when your police spouse works, but come on!  I'm just hoping that maybe by, oh, December 23, I'll know for sure one way or the other if has to work on Christmas.

Again, not complaining, just a little exasperated! :)

Happy weekend!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Real Food Friday: The Beginning!

Okay, so, this blog was supposed to be all about my police wife life, but it's my blog, so I make the rules. :)  I recently read the (teeny tiny) book "Food Rules" by Michael Pollan, and I've been following Lisa over at 100 Days of Real Food on and off for a few months.  I also just picked up another book by Michael Pollan, "In Defense of Food."  I'm intrigued by the idea of eating only real, unprocessed food, and I (mostly) have Hubby Blue on the same page with me.  So, this week, we ate (mostly) real food.  I'll probably post more on the topic in later posts, but if you're interested in the topic on your own, I highly recommend checking out 100 Days of Real Food or either of these books.  I find it fascinating that other cultures who eat what we would think of as an "unhealthy" diet (I'm talking Italians with all the pasta, French with all the butter, etc.) are actually healthier than we Americans are.  I was especially interested when I read that the family on 100 Days of Real Food of 4 took a "100 days of real food on a budget" pledge and survived for 100 days on less than what a family of 4 would get on food stamps.

So, as I said before, this is my blog and my record of what life is like being married to a cop!  We are definitely on a budget, but I decided that if this family could do it, we could certainly try it.  In an effort to hold myself to this change and to this budget, I'm going to be recording what we eat and what we spend here.  If it helps you along the way too, great!  We're not throwing away the processed food we have in the house, but as we use it up, we'll be buying the real food variety of things (i.e. butter instead of margarine, 100% maple syrup as opposed to sugar-free).  My goal is to buy and eat mostly produce, real dairy, real meat, and whole grains (and eat less of it) ...and if I'm going to buy something processed, to buy things with less than 5 or 6 ingredients.  Take Triscuits, for example: the only ingredients in Triscuits are whole grain soft white winter wheat, soybean oil, and salt.  Who knew?!  We're not into the organic thing at this point...and according to the reading I've done, non-organic produce is better than no produce at all!  So, here is what we ate this week:

Homemade granola with blueberries and milk x 2
Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Quinoa (made with honey instead of sweetener and without chia seeds)

Chicken salad with chopped apples and walnuts (leftover chicken from Sunday dinner) sandwich, 2 pieces of fruit or veggies x 2
Leftover chicken noodle soup, Butternut Squash Salad, orange
Cinnamon raisin bread sandwich with cream cheese x 2, with 2 of the following: Butternut Squash Salad, bell peppers, plain yogurt with strawberries
*For Hubby Blue: Ham and cheese sandwich with 2 pieces of fruit x 4, leftover pizza with 2 pieces of fruit x 1

Sunday: The Best Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot, mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli
Monday: Hubby Blue's homemade pizza (not exactly "real food" but at least made with 1 cup of whole wheat flour instead of all white)
Tuesday: Chicken Noodle Soup (broth made from leftover chicken bones, leftover chicken, whole wheat noodles), (froze the leftovers) multigrain bread
Wednesday: Grilled vegetable sandwiches with monterey jack cheese
Thursday: Veggie, Ham and Cheddar Quiche with Whole Wheat Crust
Friday: Leftover quiche
Saturday plan: Not sure yet...we still have plenty of fruit and vegetables and homemade cinnamon raisin bread leftover

Plain yogurt with frozen berries and drizzle of honey
Triscuits and cheddar
Apple with peanut butter
Homemade cinnamon raisin bread
"Trail mix": almonds, sunflower seeds, raisins, chocolate chips

And this is what I spent:
Breadsmith 12/1 (this is a chain bakery that makes bread with whole ingredients and no preservatives):
2 loaves of bread: $9 (I know...this hurt...more on this later)

Aldi 12/2
Oranges, carrots, green peppers, zucchini, broccoli, apples, celery, tomatoes, bananas, eggs, milk, bag of salad, sliced almonds, raisins, 2 blocks of real cheese, pure maple syrup, fresh mozzarella.........$37.49

Grocery 12/2
Triscuits, whole wheat pasta, lunchmeat (not really "real food" but HB likes it for lunch), plain (regular) yogurt, 1 red onion, 2 ripe bananas (needed them for the pancakes), Terra chips (an impulse buy as they were a manager's special), 1 whole chicken..............$19.10

Aldi 12/6
Milk, honey, frozen strawberries.................$9.67

Total for the Week: $75.26

That brings us in right at our budget of $75 for the week!

I hope you enjoyed the inaugural edition of Real Food Friday. :)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Day Shift

Hubby Blue went to the day shift this morning!!!  So, although he gets up at the crack of dawn (who am I kidding? -- he gets up way before dawn), we ARE sleeping at the same time, and he was home for all but about three hours at the same time I am home.  When I consider that Hubby Blue has been done with the academy for 2 months now, that means this is the first week in 2 months where we'll be on a similar schedule.  It's pretty glorious...and also a reminder of the what's-sure-to-be-an-adventurous life we're in for!

HB's schedule changed about 3 times in 3 days last week, and I'm not even exaggerating.  I assumed this was just because of the training schedule, but apparently this schedule-shifting happens all the time.  All I can say is...WOW.  He's only working days for this week and then going back to nights for a week and then the power shift for two weeks and then FTO is over!  I cannot even begin to comprehend how his body does this.  But for now, we're just rolling with it and riding it out, so to speak.  I'm sure we've all been in that place where you just feeling like you have to weather the storm and once you get to the other side you'll be okay again.  That's where I'm at right now.  Sort of just treading water but having the knowledge that we've been here before and survived.  I don't just mean we've survived in the last six months; I'm referring to the storms we've weathered throughout our whole relationship.  I guess it's inevitable that there will be times of smooth sailing and times of rough waters in every marriage.  I feel so self-evolved to finally just acknowledge that this is one of the tough times...but that eventually things will even out again. :)

(Had enough weather-related metaphors yet?)

Right now it looks like Hubby Blue will be OFF on Christmas Eve AND Christmas Day!  I can't even believe how lucky I've been to get him for Thanksgiving AND Christmas.  There's no schedule for New Years or beyond that time HB should be on a permanent shift.  I can't wait to find out what that will be.  You'll be some of the first to know!