Grief at 6 months

1.31.2012

It has been six months since my Mom died of glioblastoma brain cancer.  I wrote about grief at 4 months3 months, and 2 months but I didn't write a post about grief at 5 months.  There are a couple reasons for that.  One, I had written a couple depressing posts in the previous couple weeks and didn't want this blog to depress the hell out of anyone who read it.  The second reason is probably the real reason.  The truth is that it is much harder to share the depth of the pain in my soul with the internet now that I know that more than just my sisters and handful of besties are reading.

I started writing this blog when my Mom was dying.  I wrote so that my friends could know what was going on with my Mom because in the midst of everything, I was unwilling and unable to keep everybody updated.  I also wanted to write so that my daughter can read back and know me.  Actually KNOW me in case I pass away too soon.  I yearned to have more from my Mom; to read her words and thoughts and feelings and be able to feel her again.  I imagined that I would print this blog and tuck it away so that my daughter can have more of me after I am gone.

By sharing my journey through life on this blog, I hope my daughter will understand me better.  My life.  Our life.  Struggles and all.  I also hope that perhaps there is someone out there who needs to read my story through the grieving process.  There is a certain fear of the voyeuristic part of sharing such personal information on the internet.  I have reconciled with this aspect of the process.  There is power in honesty and openness.  This is my story and its not always pretty.
A week or so ago was the one year anniversary since the tragic brain biopsy that ultimately took her from us.  Her body lasted another 6 months but that terrible biopsy that resulted in the emergency removal of a "large portion" of her frontal lobe took my MOM away from us.  The same weekend of the anniversary, I received an email from a friend from high school who's wife has cancer.  She received a very short prognosis with few options for treatment because her cancer spread so aggressively.  While I worked through the pain of remembering how terrible that weekend was one year ago when we sat at UCLA learning that my Mom was never really going to come back, I was struck with a sense of gratitude for me, my baby and my husband's health.  My sisters, nieces, and my Dad are all healthy.  Things could always be worse.  Always.   

While I still miss my Mom with an intensity that rocks me to my core, takes my breath away, and brings me sobbing to my knees, I am fortunate that my little family is OK and thriving.  I still tear up everyday and get that ball of anxiety and sadness in my tummy every single day when thinking about my Mom.  I can't help but have tears build up in my eyes every time I bump into a picture of her, read anything about cancer, pain, loss, or Mothers, or think about how bad her physical body fought quitting this life. It tears me apart to imagine having a baby without my Mom there to support me when we make the decision to try for number two.  It literally makes me sick to my stomach to think about my daughter not having the chance to ever know the most amazing person that I have ever known.

Lately, the most difficult aspect is the permanence.  It is hard for me to reconcile with the fact that this is never going to end up with what I want- to talk to my Mom.  She is never coming back.  Ever.  With all other aspects of life, when there is something wrong, I sit and try to think about how to fix it or make it better and determine how long it will take to get better.  I have been struggling lately with trying to accept that it really is forever and it can't get better. 

I guess, now at six months, I just actively try to turn it around and be thankful for everything that I have.  I know my Mom would be proud of me.  I know that she would want me to continue on with my life and not allow myself to wallow in the pain.  She would expect me to wipe my tears and go back to mothering my daughter and taking care of my husband.

End note: As far as the grief process is concerned, 6 months does not feel much better than 5 months and 5 months did not feel much better than 4 months.  For me there was a marked difference between month 3 and month 4. 

June 2010

Military Monday: Jenn- Ft Campbell, KY

1.29.2012

The Military Monday duty station feature on this blog is designed for us military families to meet our fellow military spouses and also to learn about duty stations across the world.  We all get to (or have to depending on your outlook and particular set of circumstances), move every couple years to different duty stations that are scattered throughout the country and the world.  This feature will allow us the opportunity to explore these different areas of the world before we get there.  If you are interested in being highlighted for this feature, please send me an email.  

Today's Military Monday, spouse highlight is Nicole, the lovely blogger Jenn behind the blog Life with the Lieutenant.  Go spend some time with her! 

***

Name and blog site:  Jenn from Life With The Lieutenant

Branch of service: Army

Where currently stationed: Fort Campbell, KY
How long have you been there? since March 2011, so almost one year

Favorite restaurant in the area: Pancho Villa.  It’s a Mexican restaurant right outside of one of the gates that serves up cheap (but tasty!) margaritas, and on Wednesday and Saturday nights, they have live mariachi music.  This does wonders to keep the small people entertained while you snarf down your yummy food.  It is definitely a hotspot for lunch too (thanks to its location), but we usually hit it up for dinner.

Previous duty stations: Fort Lee, VA

3 favorite things to do in your current city: Have lunch at Chick-fil-A (a MUST-DO if you have kids, as they have an indoor play-place that is very nice), roam Target, and plan trips to Nashville.  I find that there is not much to “do” in Clarksville, so you either have to travel to Nashville (super-easy if you don’t have little ones on nap schedules!) or really enjoy hanging out at your house with friends.
Favorite duty station so far: Fort Lee, VA.  Being so close to Richmond, Williamsburg, and Virginia Beach was AWESOME.  There is always something happening in Richmond, and it seems to have Southern charm without the sweat-your-eyeballs-out heat.



Who is your hero? All those who have served and are currently serving in the military AS WELL AS their families.  The sacrifices made by both parties are nothing short of heroic.

What is the biggest drawback to your current duty station? I think the biggest drawback to this area is the lack of things to do/places to eat.  Don’t get me wrong, there is some awesome people-watching to be done at the local mall, and if you enjoy fast-food chain restaurants, Clarksville has them all!  But having to drive to Nashville in order to “do” something gets old quick. Especially if you are carting around a small person/people.


Are there any local festivals you have been to or are planning to attend? We went to Riverfest in Clarksville this past year, and while it was advertised as an art festival, I did not find it to be anywhere close to that.  While this is not technically a festival, I definitely recommend the weekend Farmers’ Market downtown.  You can sign up on the city of Clarksville’s webpage to receive weekly emails that inform you about the upcoming weekend’s market.  They sell lots of fresh produce, meat, fruit, jams, and other homemade items.  It feels much more festival-like than Riverfest to me.


***


If you are a military spouse and want be featured for this post, please send me an email at HandlingWithGrace {at} gmail.com


I love you, Mr Bourdain

1.26.2012

Ever wonder who my two favorite people on TV are?  No?  Shocking.  Well, even though you didn't ask and probably don't care, I am going to tell you anyways.  I love Anthony Bourdain.  He literally makes me laugh every episode that I see of him.  His self-deprecating, alcohol infused, travel loving attitude is pure perfection.  He is the perfect mix of snark, passion, and offensiveness.  I love that he unapologetically drinks too much and cusses too much.  I don't agree with a fair amount of what he says (umm, hello, I'm a vegetarian- one of his biggest whipping boys) but he is smart and sassy and always out to have a good time.  

Here are a couple good Bourdainisms

"They're professionals at this in Russia, so no matter how many Jell-o shots or Jager shooters you might have downed at college mixers, no matter how good a drinker you might think you are, don't forget that the Russians - any Russian - can drink you under the table." ( A Cook's Tour)

“We know, for instance, that there is a direct, inverse relationship between frequency of family meals and social problems. Bluntly stated, members of families who eat together regularly are statistically less likely to stick up liquor stores, blow up meth labs, give birth to crack babies, commit suicide, or make donkey porn. If Little Timmy had just had more meatloaf, he might not have grown up to fill chest freezers with Cub Scout parts.” 

"If some Birkenstock- wearing knucklehead driving around in a SUV and wearing sneakers someone was sold into slavery to make is sniffling about the poor animals, that person is clearly never going to experience the world."

"The flesh of animals, open flame, alcohol and firearms -- what else do you need?" 

"The drink of choice here is alcohol… available in all flavors." 

“Your body is not a temple, it's an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.” 


"Vegetarians are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit, an affront to all I stand for, the pure enjoyment of food. The body, these waterheads imagine, is a temple that should not be polluted by animal protein. It's healthier, they insist, though every vegetarian waiter I've worked with is brought down by any rumor of a cold." 


“No one understands and appreciates the American Dream of hard work leading to material rewards better than a non-American. ” 

On his new show, "The Layover", they highlighted Los Angeles, the other day.  He was making fun of LA and how everyone in LA thinks they are something special as they order off the "secret" menu at In & Out with their noses in the air.  I was thinking, "Well, he is kind of perpetuating the LA (or Southern California) stereotype" but then I stopped.... I ORDER OFF THE SECRET MENU AT IN & OUT.  OK, maybe he has a point ;)

I'll save my second favorite person on TV post for another day when I have absolutely nothing interesting to write about on this here blog.  Who is your favorite person on TV?

Bye bye teething monster

1.25.2012



Remember when I complained that Eva was being a monster?  Well, all 4 teeth broke through so the monster left and my baby is back.

The baby drive

1.24.2012

If you don't want another baby, don't watch "A Baby Story" on TLC.  I left "A Baby Story" on TV this morning- I usually change the channel if it's on because there are a million other things on TV that are more interesting to me.

By the end of the first episode, I wanted another baby.  That vaguely familiar feeling of the yearning for a baby began to start growing.  By the end of the third episode, I am ready to get pregnant.  Like now.  In one of the episodes, the couple had an older child who was 20 months (the age of Eva).  He was kissing the baby and poking it saying "Baby!  Baby!".

Then I look at Eva and imagine her being a big sister.  I want her to have a sister to kiss and cuddle.  I want her to have a sister to fight with but look up to in her teens.  I want her to have a sister to talk to when she's in her twenties and compare notes about baby rearing and home buying.

Before we had Eva, I did not want babies for who knows how long.  It wasn't even on the radar.  The DAY that I turned 27, the switch flipped and I decided I wanted a baby.  I stopped taking my pill and that was it.  I wanted a baby and was going to have one.  That is sort of how I feel now.

BUT, B doesn't want another baby.  This is going to be an awkward conversation over dinner.

It will probably go something like this...
Me: "Hey babe. 'Member how we decided that we probably wouldn't have any more babies or we would at least wait another year or two or three before we had one?  Well, I changed my mind."
Him: "Ok..."
Me: "I was watching "A Baby Story" this morning and decided that I want to get pregnant again.  I know you think pregnant women are gross, and creepy, and you feel absolutely no drive to procreate again but, I think we should."
Him: "Why don't you go get a job if you're that bored."

Time for this again?!? 
Before you start thinking, "Aww, you were so cute pregnant".  I was only 28 weeks pregnant here.  I got HUGE.  My tiny little body gained 34 pounds by the time I was done.  I am only 5foot 1/2inch tall.  It was not a good look ;) 

How do you know when it's time to have another baby?  I really wanted to work but I am not finding a position that is acceptable to me.  I am not willing to commute 2 hours a day- no matter how high the salary.  That is too much time away from my Eva.  If I can't find the "right" job, maybe I should have a second baby now so that by the time I am ready to go back to work NEXT time, we will be done having babies and I won't have to worry about working and then getting pregnant and stopping working again.

It is a struggle that millions of Moms across the world face.  Working versus raising your babies.  Babies versus body.  Time at home being a Mom versus time away being an individual.  A home full of babies or a home full of things.

Wish me luck for our dinner conversation.

Military Monday: Kate- Monterey, CA

1.23.2012


The Military Monday duty station feature on this blog is designed for us military families to meet our fellow military spouses and also to learn about duty stations across the world.  We all get to (or have to depending on your outlook and particular set of circumstances), move every couple years to different duty stations that are scattered throughout the country and the world.  This feature will allow us the opportunity to explore these different areas of the world before we get there.  If you are interested in being highlighted for this feature, please send me an email.  

Today's Military Monday, spouse highlight is Nicole, the lovely blogger Kate behind the blog Daffodils.  Go spend some time with her! 
***



Name and Blog: Kate, Daffodils

Branch of Service: Army

Current Station: Monterey, CA: The Naval Postgraduate School

Duration: We have been here for 6 months and have a year and a half to go.

Previous Stations: Winston-Salem, NC; Savannah, GA

Three Favorite Things to do in Monterey:
1. See the Sunset. It is so special to be on the west coast, on the water, and be able to see the sunset so often.



2. Visit Cannery Row. It is definitely a tourist trap, but we are suckers for it. We love the history of it and Taste of Monterey (our wine club/tasting spot!).

3. Explore the Coast. There is nothing as amazing as the California Central Coast. I really didn't even know this existed until we moved out here!

What makes Monterey different from previous stations?
Because this is a grad school tour, everyone we live around is in the same situation and around the same age as we are. This makes for a really unique community. We are also one of few Army families in a majority Navy community, so it has been neat to get to know families from other branches of service and to better understand their roles in the greater scheme of our military.

Which post has been your favorite so far?
I am not sure if I could pick one to be honest; each place we have lived has been special in its own right. I actually enjoy moving around and experiencing all different ways of life (although, I am grateful we will be done moving before our kids are too old!).

Who is your hero?
Appropriate to this post, I would have to say my husband is the most amazing person I know. He is kind, funny, loving, strong and the best father in the world. I admire his dedication to serving his country and to providing for our family and know that I am better person because of him.

I hope some of you sweet Handling With Grace readers will pop over to Daffodils to say hello!

***

Also, I am being featured over at Great Expectations.  I did a recipe post for B's favorite soup, Zuppa Toscana.  It's a great winter soup that will warm you up, make your husband love you more, and completely ruin your New Years resolution of eating healthier.  Go check it out!

***

If you are a military spouse and want be featured for this post, please send me an email at HandlingWithGrace {at} gmail.com

Previous Posts
Nicole- Jacksonville, NC




To work or not to work. THAT is the question.

1.19.2012

I have been actively looking for employment since we moved here in November.  I have been really picky about the jobs that I have pursued because, frankly, we don't need my paycheck to pay bills and I don't want to work just for the sake of working.  I stopped working before Eva was born and always planned on going back to work when she was around 2.  Well, that's now.  

Eva has also had a considerable number of monster days lately which adds to my frustration of being home alone all day with her.  When I used to hear people complain about their toddlers whining, I didn't really get it.  Eva whined sometimes but it wasn't really that big of a deal.  Well, this week I found out that she actually didn't properly know how to whine before but luckily for me, she has practiced enough this week that she is now an old pro.  

I have been talking to a recruiter about a position in DC that I might be interested in.  I am going today to meet her.  In the recruiters confirmation email, it says dress in "conservative business attire"...  OK.  As I rummage through my closet a few hours before I am supposed to leave, I realize that I don't really have very much in the way of "conservative business attire".  Hawaii is super relaxed and everything that I wore to work there is short sleeved.  It is currently 30 degrees outside.  Short sleeves are out.  Also, I got a particular body part "enhanced" since I last wore any business type clothes.  My old tops don't all fit like they used to.  (Definitely not complaining, just stating the obvious).  

Here is what I decided on.  The button down top that is stretched across my chest is hidden by this jacket that my Mom bought me when I graduated college (in 2005).  The skirt is from B's Christmas party this year.  I am wearing black tights and closed toed black shoes.  I feel like a nanny or a politician or some other person that I am not.  
{Doing the So Cal mandatory kiss while taking your own picture with your iPhone in the mirror}

Now that I am all dressed and waiting to leave, I am sad.  I am not sure that I am ready to leave my baby for 10 hours a day.  She sleeps 11.5 hours a night now.  I would never see her.  I know she would like the interaction of going to school but I am not sure that I am ready to ship her off to strangers to be her primary source of care, learning, and comfort.  I literally could cry right not just thinking about it.

And of course while a lot of days lately have looked like this

Today looked like this


Maybe this is a bad idea.

Pinterest my home, please

1.18.2012

Pinterest.  I have a love- hate relationship with Pinterest. I do enjoy searching through and finding interesting ideas for the house and our bellies.  There is so much on there that is just sooo impractical for our lives.   I know the point is to get inspiration but seriously, who is finding inspiration for their REAL life in these amazing sparking white interiors.  Anyways, here are some things that I have found on Pinterest that I actually hope to incorporate into our home.  And, because I am pretty much entirely consumed by the house at this point, they are all home decor ideas.

 Play Room- We are going to use the formal living room as a play room/ toy storage for now.  We don't have another set of couches to make a formal living room and it would never get used, so toy room it is.
via 

Loving this reading corner
via 

Inspiration picture for the dining room

via

Inspiration picture for Eva's room (we are not going to do a tree)

via

A solution for our outdated fireplace





 I love this quote

We need a day off.

1.17.2012

Oh, yesterday.  Where to start?  Well, it started out great.  B let me sleep in an extra half hour.  Before I went downstairs, I snuck into the shower and took a long, hot shower by myself without my toddler yanking open the curtain and repeatedly asking, "What du doin?" over and over and over.

Shortly after, our MUCH anticipated new carpet arrived.  The guys were early, fast and friendly.  We were super excited with the finished product.  The house feels so much cleaner without yucky, stained, rainbow carpet and the basement feels like an extension of our house and not a scary dungeon.

Now the downside.  Eva was a MONSTER.  Crying, fussing, whining, screaming, slobbering, boogering, and screaming.  She was awful.  She was so terrible I thought like 20 distinct times "Thank God we only have one baby.  This is enough!".


After they finished, B slipped the guys a few extra bucks to help him carry our huge, heavy, cherry armoire/ desk wall unit upstairs into the new office.



Well, the desk did. not. fit.  No way.  No how.  How is that for a buzz kill?!  So, instead of spending the day moving things into the rooms and FINALLY putting our house together, he spent ALL day doing this.
In case you are confused about what's going on here, he is taking the entire desk apart.  Into a dozen pieces.  This gorgeous, solid cherry wall unit.  Breaking it apart with a hammer.  Unfortunately, unlike Ikea furniture, real furniture doesn't come apart easily.  He had to literally break it apart.  

After 6 hours (seriously) of cussing, banging, pulling, dragging, trying and failing to move it into the room, he (we?!) finally got it in the new office.  And he put it back together.  Boo yah.  I married a guy who can put things together.  It comes naturally to him.  Like red wine and Real Housewives comes to me.  Easy peasy.

The highlight of my day was this.



Out with the old, stale dining room chandelier.  In with new, fresh, modern light fixture.  Little change, BIG IMPACT.  Love it.  

Eva and I made up this morning over a bowl of leftover (home made) Thai red curry.  I'm still thankful that we only have one baby.  For now. 


Military Monday: Nicole- Jacksonville, NC

1.16.2012



The Military Monday duty station feature on this blog is designed for us military families to meet our fellow military spouses and also to learn about duty stations across the world.  We all get to (or have to depending on your outlook and particular set of circumstances), move every couple years to different duty stations that are scattered throughout the country and the world.  This feature will allow us the opportunity to explore these different areas of the world before we get there.  If you are interested in being highlighted for this feature, please send me an email.  

Today's Military Monday, spouse highlight is Nicole, the lovely blogger behind the blog, Flip Flops and Combat Boots.  Go spend some time with her! 



Name and Blog: Nicole. Flip Flops and Combat Boots (www.flipflopsandcombatboots.net)

Branch of Service: United States Marine Corps

Where Currently Stationed: MCAS New River in Jacksonville, North Carolina

How long have you been there?: We've been here for 3 years!

Favorite restaurant in the area: Jacksonville is full of chains, you have to search to find a reallygood place. Marrakesh is a Mediterranean restaurant, they have amazing lamb chops and tabouleh. For a more laid back place, I love Marina Cafe. It's right on the New River and during the summer they offer cruises and a FREE pig roasts! And finally, if sushi is your thing....Sake Asian Fusion is a great place!

Previous Duty Stations: This is our first (and probably only) one.

3 favorite things to do in your current city: 
1: Drink wine. There are no wineries IN Jacksonville, but almost every surrounding town has one. Huffmans Vineyard in Richlands is the closest. And if you wanna travel for really good wine, Duplin Winery is less than an hour away. There are 105 wineries in North Carolina and I want to visit them all!
2: Meet new bloggers. There are a ton of bloggers out there...and you'd be surprised how many are living in your town. MilSpouse bloggers are so much fun to meet up with. I've met SIXTEEN!
3: Go to the beach: Jacksonville is close to some really great beaches. There is even a beach on LeJeune and a smaller beach on New River. Our favorite is Topsail, not very crowded and the puppy loves it!

Favorite duty station so far: Even though this has been our only one, I really love it here. We are never bored, we are always on the go, and I've been able to make amazing friends. We love it so much that we are buying a house and making North Carolina our home!

Are there any local festivals your have attended or are planning to attend?: YES! We love festivals! But usually we do have to travel a little to go to a good one. There are always a ton of beer and wine festivals. Jacksonville has the Oktoberfest, which I recommend skipping!

Have you joined any groups on base: I sure have! The Heavy Lift Ladies have monthly events. These are all the girls from New River and Cherry Point whose husbands work on the CH-53s.

Who is your hero: All the men and women who have fought and are fighting for our country.

***


If you are a military spouse and want be featured for this post, please send me an email at HandlingWithGrace {at} gmail.com

Previous Posts

All those things I would "never do"

1.11.2012

I try to be deliberate in my choices in raising Eva.  I work hard to make aware and conscious decisions instead of choosing whatever is easiest at the time.  I strive to help her develop into a smart, healthy, well-behaved, emotionally strong and stable girl.

Here are some of the things that I have decided that I wouldn't do.

NO TV WATCHING FOR TODDLERS.  EVER. (remember this article?!)



{watching Elmo while we're at the bank}


{giving Mom a little break}

*

I'LL NEVER BRING MY BABY TO A BAR (umm, duh, right?!)

{Hanging out at the VFW bar in Delaware}


(extra credit.  anyone remember this?  "Look at you.  You have a baby.... In a bar!")
*

BABY SITS NICELY IN THE HIGHCHAIR IN RESTAURANT (or you leave)
{she's watching Elmo, laying on the down on the booth while we are eating at a Thai restaurant}

{watching Elmo at a restaurant so she would stop fussing and we could finish our meal}

*

NO JUMPING ON THE BED (obviously)

{one of our favorite games while living in the hotel}

*

I'M NOT GOING TO BE THE MOM WITH THE KID THROWING TEMPER TANTRUMS IN PUBLIC

{Best Buy}


{Lowes}

{Home Depot}


Not pictured:
My baby is not going to curse- again, this one is a duh, right?!?  Wrong.  If you spill something or she drops something, she will exclaim, "SH*&!  SH*&! SH*&!".  It's not funny.  OK, maybe just a little...

No binkies past 18 months-  What can I say, she loves her bink.  I try to limit it to when we're driving in the car and when she goes to sleep.  She also gets it when she is grumpy in public and I don't want to hear her fuss any more or she is embarrassing me.

No bottle after 18 months- She demands it when she wakes up in the morning.  It is the only bobba she gets during the day.  I don't feel guilty about this one.
***

What can I say?  Being a Mom is hard.  There is always tomorrow to be the Mom that I always KNEW that I would be (before I actually had a kid)   ;)

Product Review: Yum Yum Dishes

1.10.2012

It is the beginning of the year which means one thing... we are all dieting.  When you reach for your favorite snacks, do you eat until you're sick?  Eat a handful and hope that means one "serving"?  Bring out a measuring cup and painstakingly measure out portions?  


Yum Yum Dish, recently sent me one of their 4 ounce bowls to review on this blog.  The idea is that you can fill the bowl with your favorite snacks, know that you are eating only 4 ounces, and then STOP when you're finished.  This allows you to know how much you have eaten.  It makes being aware of how much you're eating and portion control much simpler.


The microwave/dishwasher safe bowls are sold in a set of 4 and each comes with a lid.  The bowls are a easy way for me to transport snacks for Eva and share them with her on the go.  

Have you heard of Yum Yum Dishes before?  If you are interested in purchasing a set of dishes from Yum Yum Dishes, use the coupon code "JAMIE" to receive 20% off of your order.

www.YumYumDish.com

Military Monday: Mrs Duh- San Antonio, TX

1.09.2012




The Military Monday duty station feature on this blog is designed for us military families to meet our fellow military spouses and also to learn about duty stations across the world.  We all get to (or have to depending on your outlook and particular set of circumstances), move every couple years to different duty stations that are scattered throughout the country and the world.  This feature will allow us the opportunity to explore these different areas of the world before we get there.  If you are interested in being highlighted for this feature, please send me an email.  



Today's Military Monday, spouse highlight is Whitney, the lovely blogger behind the blog, The Misadventures of Mrs. Duh.  Go spend some time with her! 

Name and blog site: Whitney at The Misadventures of Mrs. Duh (MrsDuh.blogspot.com

Branch of service: Air Force

Where currently stationed: Lackland AFB, San Antonio, TX

How long have you been there? We are two and a half years into a four year tour.


Favorite restaurant in the area: Now, that's a hard one to answer... San Antonio is packed with excellent restaurants, but is best known for it's Mexican food and BBQ. My favorite Mexican restaurant is La Gloria, which has a great atmosphere, excellent margaritas and the faire is based on Mexican "street food". The Queso is the most amazing thing I have ever tasted!  As for BBQ, I suggest the Grist Mill in Gruene, TX. It's about a 35 minute drive away in the small town of Gruene. The location is in an old mill and sits right on the Guadalupe River. The ribs aren't on the menu, but they should be! You pick up the ribs and the meat literally falls off the bone... If you want a real Texas experience, the Grist Mill is the place to go!


Previous duty stations: Hill AFB, Utah (just outside my hometown).


3 favorite things to do in your current city:     
    1. Eat! The food here is just too good, and I have the 12 pound weight gain to prove it!
    2. Tubing the River. It's a south Texas thing and it's a blast! Hundreds of people tubing, drinking beers and having a good time in the Texas heat! It's unlike anything I've seen.
    3. Go to the Alamo Draft House for a movie. It is a movie theatre that serves food, beers, and they play new and old movies. They have things like "Anchorman Quote-Along" or "Ferris Buhler Pancake Brunch". The food is great and I love the quirkiness of it!
(There are so many things to do in this city! I'd love to give an honorable mention to Sea World and the Riverwalk, as well!)

Are there any local festivals you have been to or are planning to attend?  There are always festivals going on around here (the Luminaria, First Friday, Wurstfest, etc.), but the biggest event in San Antonio is Fiesta! It's basically a week-long, city-wide party that celebrates everything San Antonio. Excellent food, parades, dancing, music... it's amazing! Here's a website about Fiesta: http://www.fiesta-sa.org/about-2/

What is the biggest draw back to where your current duty station?  There are two drawbacks to San Antonio... the size of the city and the heat. San Antonio is one of the ten largest cities in the U.S. and it shows! Everything is very spread out, and the traffic can be a real nightmare. The heat is also a little tough to take. For eight months, the weather is beautiful! But from May to September, it is very hot and humid. I don't go outside much during the summer, so it turns into a long 3-4 month.

What is the overall feel of the community/area/base?  San Antonio is a major military town, and it shows! There are two major Air Force bases, an Army base, and some of the country's largest military hospitals all in the same city! The community is appreciative and suportive of it's military (active and retirees). 

Favorite duty station so far: Between the two I've been to, I'll have to say Hill AFB. I can't help it... I'm partial to my hometown!

Who is your hero?: I am in awe of strong female leaders, like Hilary Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, Nancy Pelosi, and Condoleeza Rice (just to name a few). It is still a man's world, but these women have broken down the barriers and work to change this world for the better. Women like these are paving the way for the rest of us to be seen as equals and  to have the same opportunities to make a difference on a grand scale as our male counterparts.

If you are a military spouse and want be featured for this post, please send me an email at HandlingWithGrace {at} gmail.com


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