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Midsummer post

Hello, friends! I've taken a break from blogging this summer. It felt like the right move with 5 children out of school and home all day. We have lots of summer plans and so it has been go, go, go all day! I've loved that. I've also needed a break from my blog to figure out the direction I want it to go in.

I thought a midsummer post would be a good plan to let you all know that I have been thinking about my blog and my blog readers this summer and that I am excited to resume blogging come August/September!

So, for now... here's how the first half of our summer has been going! We've been traveling. We've seen my parents, which has been the best thing for my soul. Omigosh, I soak up my time with them. The last 2 years have really been a struggle for me. On top of all the random things life threw at us, we also had the Navy schedule and my depression to contend with. I finally broke out of the depression this past spring, but my mental health and self-esteem still felt really shaky. It has been good to retreat into the steady and unshakeable support of my family and close friends. Oh? Did I not mention that I have been hanging out REGULARLY with my best friend?? Yeah, that has also been amazing!

For the first time EVER, I left all 5 kids and traveled with ONLY my sister-- just the 2 of us-- for over 10 days. It felt weird planning our days without having to worry about naptimes, feedings and snacktimes, bedtime routines, diaper changes... It was a really good break after feeling like I was on my own so much for the past 2 years-- managing the kids and day to day life on my own. It was amazing having a chance to relax, to have adult conversation, and to renew my enthusiasm for parenting. I gave the children the biggest hugs when I came home!! And I bought them presents on the first day I was away, perhaps even at the airport when I was leaving-- haha!

We also have plans to visit close friends from past duty stations as a family. It will be so good getting all our kids together and meeting up with people who love our family, love our kids, and who totally relate with life as a Navy family because they are doing the same things as us! I can't wait to sip mojitos with my girlfriends while our children run wild. I'm also excited to meet up with several of our good friends I met through my moms of multiples group when our twins were babies! Our twins will be in 1st grade this year, but we have kept in close contact with each other through social media over the years. It is pretty exciting to see how much our children have grown and compare what it's like having elementary school aged multiples with how we felt having infant and toddler multiples! It has been such a long time since our massive multiple moms playdates! I am really excited about that.

I also have been trying to conquer some of my fears as a parent. Maybe fears isn't the right word, but there are a lot of activities that I haven't really tried because I'm not sure how I would manage our 5 children. For instance, my best friend invited us to her pool. I was terrified. At first I said yes without a second thought, but as the days approached to the pool trip, I would toss and turn at night stressing over whether I should cancel or not. When the day finally arrived, I drove to her pool and hoped for the best. I knew she wouldn't mind if I was too overwhelmed and needed to leave. Instead, it went AMAZING. The children had a great time and I did too! I couldn't believe it. On a family trip with my parents, we used the pool every single day while we were gone! Once back from that vacation, I joined a pool with our 5 kids. That has been a lot of fun with my crew and something I never would have even considered before this summer.

Things like the pool have been really good for my self-esteem. I feel like I'm gaining some confidence back in myself and in my parenting. I've really been beating myself up over how things have gone for us over the past 2 years. I feel like I caused my family and those around me a lot of grief and that I should have done more in regards to the depression and seeking help with my husband's Navy schedule. It is hard being stationed so far away from friends and family and built in support and finding that in new duty stations, especially when things go wrong (such as my health and my family members' health). I feel like my goal this summer is to have fun with the kids and to enjoy spending time with the friends and family I will see-- basically living in the moment. I have been working a lot on forgiving myself and processing what we went through and letting it go. I don't know why it can be so hard to move forward, but I find myself constantly dragging myself back in the past. When we have these victories, like successful pool trips that we ALL enjoy, I have been relishing them and realizing that I've actually been letting things go.

I've really been thinking about my blog and the purpose of my blog. When I first started it, I wanted it to be about our life as a Navy FAMILY-- emphasis on family. I don't feel that people understand what it is like being married to the military. On top of that, each of the branches are so different. Even within the Navy, the life of a submarine spouse like myself is very different than the spouse of someone on a surface ship, like an aircraft carrier. I really wanted to speak on that topic and all the different things we go through while still making life for ourselves at each duty station. It isn't easy picking up and moving every 1-3 years and it hasn't been any easier as our children have grown and our family has grown. It's hard finding new grocery stores that work for our big family, playgroups that work for our big family, adjusting our 2 asthmatic children's medications every time we move and finding doctors we trust (while still managing my own asthma). It's been hard finding baby-sitters and never knowing what my husband's schedule will hold. It's been hard finding my tribe at every duty station. I think those problems are problems every military spouse can relate to. We all know the worry when PCS time comes up or when a child falls and needs stitches a week after arriving in a new duty station. We all know the heartbreak as we hold our crying children who miss their friends or miss their deployed parent. It's a crazy, busy life we lead and at the same time, the question and fear lingers with every difficult move, every difficult deployment: "Is this worth it?" We always doubt our decision to be a Navy family. I feel like I've tried to address that fear because we have spent the last 2 years seriously considering getting out, seriously questioning if this is the right choice for our family, seriously struggling in our marriage and in day to day life. I think every military family has that fear and those struggles. I think I've wanted to talk about all of that on my blog and I know I haven't done that well. I've been thinking a lot about how to open that conversation up in the future. There are a lot of different types of posts I publish, being that my blog is about our family life-- covering everything from Costco to moving to cloth diapers to submarines. I have an idea the direction I want to take come August/September, but for now I thought I would stick to one post in the middle of the summer and resume blogging once Back to School time hits! :)

And I love throwing in a question at the end of my blog posts because I always enjoy the emails I get. How do you entertain kids during the summer? How do you balance the fun with your routine? And, as the second half of the summer approaches, how do you start preparing your kids for the back to school grind after all the free spirited summer fun??

I hope you are all having a great summer!!
All the best, Kimber

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