Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Peach Punch

Oh hai. It's been real. But here we are. Alive. And deployment 4 has begun.
I never imagined 6 years ago that things would have panned out the way they did few days ago. But there we were in completely opposite emotional states compared to our first deployment so long ago. It's hard to convey my feelings because I feel like my feelings haven't quite caught up with where I am right now physically. It's like I've left my spirit behind somewhere and eventually it's going to tackle me and maybe then all heck will break loose emotionally. But for now I feel very...complacent.
Don't misunderstand me. I don't mean in a cold, unfeeling way by any means. But I believe I'm simply in self preservation mode. With all that's been going on and the ups and downs I've had over the past few months, I think my body just naturally reacted this way; when you simply cannot fall apart, you adapt. You protect yourself.
John, on the other hand, was not so lucky. But in some ways, it was sweet to see him so tender hearted, to see him so exposed and raw and his feelings so on the surface. I remember right before our first deployment, I was a brand new bride, a military bride at that. I had never seen my husband cry. And the thought of him leaving and me falling apart and him showing no emotion was more than I could bear, being the emotionally charged being that I am. I was thankful when he finally did cry for the first time in front of me before he went. Obviously, we have shed many more tears since then. I would have never imagined then how close we could be now. And I know 10 years from now I will feel the same way about our current state of relationship.
I had never really thought about it until recently but you truly have to go through a stage of reintroduction in your relationship in this lifestyle and in the same way you kind of have to close down when they leave to preserve yourself. I feel like I've gone through ocean tides, coming in and going out, of closeness with my husband and I recognize now that things in the military have prevented me from completely being transparent with my him. No, I don't own a fabulous penthouse on a tropical island somewhere with my secret family that I've been hiding for the past 10 years that I've been supporting with dividends from my billion dollar corporation. Thanks for asking. What I mean is...I often...too often...find myself questioning my apprehension, my fear of being hurt by John. As if we are still newly dating. And I've realized only recently that it's due to all the comings and goings. You can never completely lay it all out and be exposed because you will most likely find yourself alone with your feelings at some point. And it's not his fault.
We do a remarkably good job at staying super close. He is my best friend and some days I wonder if it's possible to be closer than we already are. But like my imaginings of 10 years from now that I mentioned just two paragraph before, I instantly thought of this gap the military spouses endure in their relationship. Or more the series of gaps. It makes me excited to see what could change and how we could be stronger as a couple if he didn't have to go away anymore.
The day he left, he was a mess. Many tears were shed and it was heartbreaking watching him cry over his kids, over his little girls who would miss him immensely but didn't truly understand what was happening. Heck, I felt like I didn't even understand what was happening and I've done this before.
So here we are. Processing the gap. Thankful thankful thankful for internet that WORKS. Maneuvering the many innocent questions about his return and me doing my best to give grace to a toddler who might be just throwing a tantrum or who might be broken because her dad is gone and she doesn't know why. Must tread carefully.
Skies are brighter than expected. The world is newer and crisper. Every day is another day down. Let's do this and do it well.
P.S. I hacked my hair.

Saturday, June 27, 2015


It has been a week or so for the books. And should I be surprised? Not really. After all, big changes loom ahead and when that happens emotions run high. But that doesn't make them easier to process or behaviours easier to navigate. P has been especially trying as of late in the cleaning up department and it has been very disheartening.
Despite being sick, I completely rearranged our dining room and it is now an awesome playroom/place for books/my easel while our table is now in the kitchen nook area where there is NO carpet (huzzah!!). Whoever thought up carpeted dining rooms had never encountered children. Or people for that matter.
Despite my home overhaul and excitement over having P's toys and things more contained in one place OTHER than the living room, it didn't seem to help in the mess department. She still ended with a giant mess she was unwilling (and I honestly think unable) to clean up. Looking back, I know half of it was her being overwhelmed by so MUCH of a mess. But it took a toll on me and day I-lost-count of me asking her to clean up I don't know how many times, I lost it. I held it together, left her in her room throwing a fit and then had a fit of my own and just struggled the rest of the evening. I truly let it eat at me and win that I couldn't find a solution, I couldn't find a way to motivate her to listen, and I just felt so defeated. It's amazing how something seemingly so little can become so big.
After frustrated prayers and lots of tearful venting, my mom sent me this blog post. And then suddenly things started to click. Pieces fit in place that I've been working out and wrestling for months now. I feel like I've been going this direction for awhile but wasn't sure how to get to my destination.
P isn't a bad kid and I know/knew that. She just has TOO MUCH STUFF. I am going gradual but I did a major stuff-purge first thing and already feel better. I also have started limiting what she can play with at a time so the mess doesn't get out of control.
I've quickly realized she hates my nagging as much as I hate it. I also realize to my relief that she is not disobeying out of spite. I see her trying her best and just failing due to the enormity of the messes she gets herself in. I hate the disappointment it gives both of us and I'm so excited to try something different that I truly believe will work. For both of us.
John and I have both felt the need for drastic change in this department as well. We both tend to be cluttery and quite frankly, after awhile, it kind of sucks out your soul. Living in mess just drives me nuts. But it's constant. Days when things do get picked up, I feel like I'm on cloud 9. It's amazing how much it improves my outlook on life in general. I truly believe God took my super low moment to lead my mom to that blog. It's already making a difference for P and for me and John too. I began the long road of purging my own closet when I started selling on Poshmark. But I knew I had to take it a step further.
These shoes were what carried me down the aisle to get married, my wedding shoes. They have been too small since day 1 but when they're just for your wedding day, it doesn't really matter. You'll make it work! But guess what? It's been almost 6.5 YEARS since that day and guess what? They STILL DO NOT FIT. So I said goodbye today. To them and other shoes and boots I'd been hanging on to for who knows what reasons.
John has already cleared out two foot lockers in the garage so I am a HAPPY camper. We still have a long way to go but progress is progress.
Until next time...just say no to clutter and breathe easier.

Friday, June 19, 2015


I love clothes. I freely admit to being one of "those" girls who can't have enough clothes. I don't take it to a crazy extreme that many people do. I recently realized that the healthiest approach should be to say I COLLECT clothes and treat them as such...only keeping or getting things I've spent thought on and not quick-buying anything. I also realized recently that I struggle with style which is the root of my problem. Some things are just soooo me and I don't even have to try. They were made for ME. But many times I get pieces and just have no idea what to do with them. It's kind of like music genres. I hear the words but have no idea what they are. Indie? Chic? Indie chic? No clue. Totally lost. I see fashion bloggers and just honestly am in awe. I have no idea how they do what they do. Which sounds ridiculous. Same with interior design. No idea. I go on pinterest. People assume that as an artist, all these pinterest projects would be cake for me. Well...I am a sucky baker. And me and pinterest don't mix. At all. Nailed it! Not.
Back to clothes...
I think a lot of men and even some women don't understand the range of clothes a women must possess to just survive. All frills and froufrou aside...I'm talking about just being clothed. Within pregnancy and to my thinnest, I have spanned over 50lbs. That's a lot of size differences. Within those are the required maternity-appropriate wear and for multiple seasons. I quickly realized my winter maternity wear would not be sufficient through this last pregnancy as I tried to wear jeans in the south in the summer one day. Holy hotness, batman. Not happening.
Growing up, I took it for granted that I lived in "The City of Eternal Spring." People talk about having four seasons and I still don't really know what they're talking about. I thought I did but you could almost wear one season of clothes all year round in my city. Almost. Winters could get chilly. But overall, it was mild mild mild and I didn't need a range of clothes for different seasons.
So all of this...comes back to clothes and why a lot of girls are never satisfied with their wardobe. And I decided that part of my own problem is a lack of staple pieces that are classic, unwavering in style, and just not going anywhere anytime soon. So my goal has been to figure out what staple pieces ARE to me...and collect them. Which has been a fun project in and of itself.
I also have been obsessed with Poshmark, a site for selling things you no longer want or use from your closet. It has made me clean out my wardrobe quite a bit and rethink things. I had a triumphant moment yesterday when I decided to give a skirt one last chance. I could not figure out how to wear it, what to pair it with. Just when I wanted to get rid of it (even though I really like it)...voila! I paired it with a different top and it finally felt like ME. WIN!
Here I am looking all smug. In the bathroom. I am awesome. Ok bye.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Mommy Brain Be Like...

There are some funny mom terms you hear before kids and chuckle unknowingly over but never truly understand until you've experienced them first-hand as a new parent. The one that comes to mind (no pun intended) the most lately is mommy-brain. We all had an idea of what this was before pregnancy or motherhood; being slightly forgetful because you suddenly have a baby running around!  We just didn't know we were barely scratching the surface on this one. Not even close.
I feel like every day there is a strong display of mommy-brain at work in me. And it's not just forgetfulness to the EXTREME (ie forgetting you have kids for a fleeting moment) and it's also not entirely a negative thing. I'd give you my list of examples but unfortunately, you guessed it, I HAVE MOMMYBRAIN. Sometimes it strikes mid-thought, like a ninja in the...what am I doing here again? What am I supposed to get?
Oh yeah. So one thing mommybrain has done for me personally and most moms with newborns have is SUPER FREAKING HUMAN HEARING. Oh no, I am not exaggerating. They say you're really tuned into your newborn so you hear them cry. But they don't explain that you'll be able to hear them over the dryer, dishwasher, tv, and on the other side of the house, all at once. We will be watching a movie and my ears will prick up like a fox and I'm halfway down the stairs long before John (or I) realize I pushed pause.
Mommy-brain is also truly a dump of information. How do you think you got that superhuman hearing? Something had to go! Remember College Algebra? ME EITHER. Along with large chunks of my life. Unused or non-vital information dump! Goodbye, all college classes I took within the past 3 years! Maybe see you on the flipside? Meet up?
You'll also forget simple words mid-sentence. For things you are RIGHT IN FRONT OF, STARING AT. I've forgotten names of people I've spent the day with or my closest friends. To their faces.
Then there's all the physical craziness. We won't even cover most of it but this post-partum hair loss and now turned baby hair regrowth has me seriously feeling like I am now Skrillex. Except...a mom and not famous. I remember a little bit with Penelope but this time it was like my body was like, "It's ON." Picture a fistful of hair. Now multiply that by about 5 and that was just one day (not counting at night). Seriously. Scary.
They say you gain all this hair and your nails are super strong during pregnancy nand then you lose it all after you have the baby. I literally got a head full of split ends overnight and had a ripple in ALL of my nails marking when Sabine was born.
And this, my friend, this post here is barely scratching the surface. It's all crazy stuff and annoys me at times but it also reminds me of the impossibility of pregnancy and birth and how our bodies should not be capable of this amazing thing. But they are and it's all God.
My labor with Sabine was insane and intense and fast at the end as I shared about previously. But I brushed over the rest of my labor which was 100% natural. My doula Glynis and John were my labor team and I truly needed both of them; if one was missing, the contraction just felt OFF and I had trouble focusing. Each contraction was similar; I'd fall into a breathing pattern and John would hold me or rub my shoulders or support my arms while Glynis applied counter pressure to my hips (amazing, btw). With Penelope I had been very vocal but with Sabine it was more about breathing and falling into a pattern and rhythm. I was impressed by how well I knew what I needed and when. I remember getting to a point where I was at a loss as what to do next or even what anyone else could do to help when laboring with Penelope. It was scary and discouraging. But with Sabine, I didn't feel that until the very end and that was right before it was over. And having Glynis there, I never felt totally discouraged. She was always the calm voice of reason or hand of support. You knew everything was going to be okay because she had done this so many times...herself and for others. God put her in my life for a reason and this birth had so much healing in it from previous fears and confusion. John was absolutely amazing as a birth coach and when delivering BOTH our daughters. I could not be prouder of anyone.

Sunday, June 14, 2015


The problem with having an expectation for every blog post is when you find yourself unable to meet said expectation (and you will), you don't post at all. That's what I've done since August of last year. And I've quickly learned that silence is not better than consistency (in a format sense). So much has happened and I have no posts to share or document it all by. So it's hard to know where to begin. The priority topic, though, that is very, VERY obvious because it has made the biggest change in my life is this:
On January 4th, 2015 at 3:55pm, Sabine Petra Corrie was born into her father's arms. She was 8lbs 6oz. I arrived at the hospital at 9cm dilated. We labored at home for 5 hours and at the hospital for 4. My water remained unbroken until my dilation wasn't progressing and we decided to have it manually broken. 5-10 minutes later, Sabine was here. It was CRAZY FAST, thankfully so. The most intense thing I've ever been through. I know now that it even shocked my nurse, who checked my progress to humor me when I said I was afraid to sit because I didn't want to sit on my baby's head. She ended up running down the hall top speed to get the doctor and everyone else to come back because I was crowning. I was completely unaware of anyone coming back in or even of her yelling for the doctor (probably because I was too busy yelling myself). I just remember after that first contraction post-water-breakage, I became aware of some frantic rustling and focused enough to see nurses rushing John into the plastic gown needed to deliver our daughter. I remember sort of scoffing to myself and being annoyed they'd do that so early because I had no idea at that point that I was crowning. I just knew I was in insane pain and couldn't not scream during contractions. I also was surprised theyd let him deliver at all because merconium was found in my water and a respiratory team had to be on standby. Then after asking how close I was (half kidding and afraid to hear them say not close at all), my doula Glynis informed me she could see baby girl's head and asked if I wanted to touch it. I said no (which we all laughed about later because as natural-labor-friendly as I am, I have never had a desire to feel my baby's head while still inside me...gives me the shivers...) and then contraction #2 started.
John was all ready to catch her at this point and he said later that he had to stop her from flying out, it felt like a spring was behind her. Her got to pretty much fully deliver her with guidance from our doctor. It was more than either of us expected or hoped for and the birth photos prove it. Wow. And wow...birth photos. Such an amazing treasure. John questioned them UNTIL he saw the first photo from them. Then he was completely sold.
Once she was born, time slowed down. We were allowed to just hold her and marvel at her for several hours before they even checked her measurements and weight (the respiratory team wasn't needed in the end). Everything was done in-room and John got to give her her first bath.
My parents arrived and brought Penelope to meet her baby sister and, my goodness...we no longer existed. She had eyes for no one but Sabine and bee-lined straight for her. She couldn't even respond to our greetings. SO delighted to finally meet her. She was all squeals and observations and glee. She could not contain the emotions we all felt.
I feel so scattered writing this because there's so much to tell, so much to remember. But I know I recorded everything as it happened. It just feels right to fill this blog in.
Sabine is 5 months old and a beautiful, beautiful soul. She is a bubbling bundle of overflowing joy, full of smiles and giggles. The first few months left us wondering if we had a second Penelope because their resemblance is just NUTS. But gradually, I began to see differences, even if I couldn't put my finger on what exactly they were. Her personality is all her own and Penelope LOVES having a baby sister. The feelings are mutual which is evident any time they interact and Penelope's adoration is met with affectionate coos and giggles.
We have a BIG baby girl (me having been the larger of two babies at 6lbs 4oz, my Dad considers Sabine to be a GIANT) who is flying through clothes like there's no tomorrow (she's very long). P loves to observe that everything was hers when she was a baby...but now it's Sabine's turn! And she seems thrilled to share with her...for now.
I love having sisters. I love their interaction and I love interacting with them. But most of all, I love the balm that Sabine IS. She is just a soothing ointment to the heart. Have a bad day? Hold Sabine. She is joy in bodily form and she makes me want to have a hundred babies. I thank God for my girls and for a Daddy who LOVES having girls and feels nothing lacking except more time with them.

Thursday, June 11, 2015


I was going to write something about how blueberries bring back memories of when I was 10 and quite possibly had them for the first time (I've never seen one in China) and how I have always loved drinking water (never get when people complain about how they hate it and it's such a struggle to consume)...but then my now 3 year old defied me. And when she defies, it seems to be an all day thing. And it gets even more frustrating because it's one of the days where she stays positive the whole time. No whining or throwing a fit. Just sweetness and blind cluelessness preventing her from focusing and getting a thing I ask her to do done. Honestly, I kind of admire her positivity. I truly do. But I also would like her to take care of her things and clean up the multiple messes she's made without me sitting there with her and pointing at each crumb of an object and asking her to pick it up. Her cheerfulness almost makes me feel bad having to try to parent her. Almost.
She doesn't give a flying stick if she eats dinner or has a bath or sees her toys again or gets a spank as a result of all this; she's in her own little world and is having the time of her life. And if I wasn't feeling like piss and coming down with a cold, I might be delighted by her cuteness. But for now I can just manage strong annoyance and a few smirks from said cuteness. But I'm still exhausted and still feel like piss and there's still crap everywhere. And I'm not cleaning it up.
Why does she have to be so darn cute when she's defying me???
Penelope, I love that you offered me a big hug when I said you not listening to me made me very sad. I wish hugs fixed up messy rooms too.

Monday, June 8, 2015


Dear Diary...it has been almost a year since my last confession.
In truth, I have thought of you often. Like art, writing is something that pulses through me and screams to come out. But excuses and my busy and somewhat chaotic life prevent me from doing much of what I'd like to do all the time or I just don't remember to do it. Baby/Mommy brain are real things that leave me endlessly fascinated and frustrated.
So here I am. I realized the other day after my final and still unsuccessful attempt to renew my url for this blog that I might lose it all together. And that thought made me sad. We've been through a lot, this blog and I. And although it hasn't always been the forefront of my thoughts and feelings, it does contain some of the deepest confessions of my heart.
So...I will try again, I hope.
I am facing my fourth and hopefully final deployment. I can say that here because, well, I'm sure by now I've lost the few readers I had. So I can be frank and honest and truthful about things that normally I might need to keep to myself. Because no one is looking to find them here. And those who do find them won't know enough to use them against me. (Yet, I'm also not stupid...so nobody panic...)
To survive a deployment (which should be several posts in themselves that I get the vague feeling I've already written...but as I said, I don't remember much), you must stay busy in all areas of life. Not just the day-in day-out but intentional busyness that allows you to look forward to things you plan to do. It also helps to make time out of that busyness to do things that keep you mentally alive. For me, that's spiritual time with God, art (almost any form of creating), and writing. So...the simplest answer seems to be this blog.
1. I have my phone on me most of the time and although I prefer to put a lot more of intention into my posts, I've found that that good intention leads me to not post at all. I want them all to be clever or passionate with a photo or two to match, all in the same format, etc. etc. So...I need to let go of those ideals. And simply write.
2. I have a lot to say. And I am afraid if I don't capture it, it will go away and I'll lose it completely. Having a second baby has taught me that no matter how much you are convinced you won't forget the details, you just might. That is where writing it is SO important.
3. I need a quick outlet. This is quick. This is an outlet. Then I have more time in my fleeting free time to paint which is always on my mind. More on that later.
So here we are. And I feel better already.
I have much to share, old friend. But as always...it will have to wait for another post.
Until then...

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Who, Me?

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There is much to explain about me. But simply...I am very mysterious, don't fit in a box, and enjoy being confusing and different. I grew up in China which has shaped who I am. I love art, culture, passion, and God. I'm the proud wife of a Marine, have been through 2 deployments with a 3rd on the way and we have a beautiful baby girl. I enjoy writing, drawing, painting, and creating. In fact, without these things, I'm pretty sure I'd go nuts. On top of everything, I am a full-time student. This is my space.