Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!
We have now gotten through holiday #2 and are all doing very well I think. I am visiting family right now and my sister has gone above and beyond to help make this a happy time for me and the kids. She has made her home so warm and welcoming and I could never thank her enough for that. She has made sure I'm very busy,too, which is the best gift of all.
We were able to video-chat with our soldier last night and it was really great. He got to see my sister's family and talk to them a little and he got to talk to our boys and I for quite awhile. He waited to open presents from us so that we could see him on the web-cam and I think the kids really liked that. He looked really good and was so upbeat and positive for the kids.
We finally had a chance to chat alone and we talked and daydreamed about his homecoming. It won't be too much longer. I was proud of myself for not crying in front of the kids but I just couldn't keep it together for my soldier. I tried so hard but the hardest part was saying good-bye when he had to go to breakfast. I promised him I wasn't sad like this all the time and that I would be just fine in a few minutes. I don't think he believed me! I hated to do that in front of him on the web-cam. I kept from completely falling apart until the computer was turned off and then I sobbed like a fool. I thought I might just get away with a few tears but no such luck. It was good though. I need to release that stuff so that I'm not holding on to it and making it worse.
We are all getting through our day so far. We don't have much longer to go. Only one more holiday left and then we can start focusing on making his homecoming a great one. Man, I really miss him so very much. This is so hard, I knew it would be - no matter how many people told me it would be fine. I appreciate that but I also wish that friends would just let me be ok with the fact that sometimes it really is just too hard to take but that it's ok to feel that way. I know we will survive, we always do.
Thank you for all of your positive thoughts and prayers and for all of you that sent my soldier a care package. You will never know how much that means to those guys who are so far away from home.
Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Weekly Weigh- In With the Sisters

Ok so I am down a whole pound and that is after falling off the low-carb bandwagon yesterday and picking up fast food for the kids and I. I know, that's like a sin or something but unfortunately I have yet another final and I've been doing nothing but studying and breathing for the past 4 days!

I feel like I am on a roller coaster with weight gain. I lose it for awhile and then I think I'm fine and what's one little donut.....or 2 or 6? Then it slowly creeps back up until the ol' jeans aren't feeling too good right out of the dryer. I have to confess that food is my stress reliever. Although when I think about it, it only lasts for a few minutes and the stress is still there. I've always known that I'm a much better exerciser than a 'dieter' but right now I'm just trying to find enough hours to sleep, take care of 3 kids, study, clean, get the idea, right?

Enough excuses! I do want to be healthy and have more energy and I used to counsel people on weight loss a long time ago when we lived in Louisiana so I know all the rules on how to do it right. I just need to make that commitment. That seems to be the hardest part for me.
I have to add that I am proud of myself for losing that one pound and for not putting on the usual 20 that I do when my soldier deploys. BTW, for those of you who read me often, we are now at the 6 month point with only 2 left to go!!!!! WOOHOO!!!!
Hopefully by following the 'Sisterhood' I will be encouraged to stick with this and it will make me accountable. I used to work out with my SIL when we were all stationed together a year ago and having a partner made all the difference in the world. The Sisterhood is my partner now and I am excited already by the posts I've read and the weight loss that's been documented!
Keep it up, Sisters!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

It Won't Be Long Now

I hope everyone had a wonderful and peaceful Thanksgiving. I want to thank everyone who was so supportive and left comments about my Wal-Mart experience. It's seriously great therapy!

Our Thanksgiving was good and bad, just as expected. Since I have written last, I have decorated my entire house for Christmas and had a friend from school, her husband, her sister and friend over for dinner on Turkey Day. Although my dinner was perfect, my table was gorgeous and my friends were a great distraction, I have to tell you that I had one hell of a time keeping it together.
I couldn't do the usual things that take place on Thanksgiving morning. I usually get up, prep the turkey and get it in the oven, watch the Macy's parade on T.V. and spend most of my morning and afternoon in the kitchen while the kids and my soldier play and frequently visit the kitchen to snack. This particular Thanksgiving, however, had a few curve balls in there for me.

I got up at 6:30 a.m.- no, I didn't need to prep the turkey that early- I tossed and turned and worried and went crazy all night long so finally when I rolled over and it was a decent enough hour to get up I thanked heaven and got in the shower. I just wanted to get this day started and over with. I got ready, had my coffee and started my ritual of watching the Macy's parade while doing my hair and I'm not sure what happened to me but I started to cry. Nothing sad, yet, on the show just the fact that I was watching it and having memories of Thanksgivings' passed I guess it got the best of me. Thank goodness the kids were still in bed.
Then, James Taylor sang America the Beautiful and I had to turn it off. I was sobbing by now and decided to call my sister in Indiana for some greatly needed support and focus. She just kept telling me it won't be long now and that I can do this- I have to do this. And she was right.

I pulled it together and got the turkey going and starting preparing other dishes for the dinner and was expecting my company by 2:00. I checked e-mail and my soldier had said they had prepared a very nice dinner for them and everything was really great but that he wasn't hungry. Ok, so I think I'm on crying spurt number 3 by this point. He's always hungry. He was obviously having the kind of day that I was and I couldn't do anything about it but to tell him how much I loved him and that it wouldn't be long now......keep telling yourself that, I thought.
The final straw that broke this Army wife's back was my little girl finally getting comfortable with our company and calling my friend's husband, 'Daddy'. I kept trying to tell her no, that it was Mr. Ryan but it didn't matter. I kept showing her our soldier's picture and she would say 'Daddy' and kiss the picture but she wouldn't call my friend by his name. Technically he is a soldier too and his hair is the same color and length as my soldier so maybe that was similar to her but I tell you, that was like a knife in the gut. My friend was comforting though and she kept reminding me that it won't be long now until he's home.
After they had gone, I was really doing pretty well. It was late and we were all getting ready for bed and I happened to notice that my oldest, Football, was trying to hide his pain and tears. Oh, God, how much more of this will I be able to take? I knew what I had to do. I just went over to him and wrapped my arms around him and said "It won't be long now."

We have all survived this holiday and are just looking forward to getting the other two under our belts because we know time will just fly by after that and then God willing he'll be home. I'm staying positive as best I can. I can't listen to Christmas music very much unless it's the 40's oldies that are so jolly and happy because otherwise I'm an emotional mess. I know I'm very blessed because I've never known the holidays to be any different than just happy and beautiful and joyful. So, my sadness makes me think of all those people out there who dread the holidays each and every year for one reason or another. Those are the people I want to pray for. Those are the folks that I wish would experience the kind of joy that I usually do this time of year. Because I have to tell you, this is one of the hardest things I've ever had to fight through so far. I just miss him so very much. He's such a great part of this family and it's hard not to have our family complete during this time. We will get through this however. Like my sister said, we have to.
I will leave you with a few pictures of the house and the 'happy' that I've tried to spread throughout our home. I am ok. We all are. We are doing pretty well I think. Just please pray for my soldier and for my family that we continue to be safe and have the strength to get through this season.

This is little T-Monkey and her delight as she discovered the Christmas tree after her nap!

This is our 'Charlie Brown' Christmas tree! It's very little but the 9 footer we have is just too much for me to handle so we settled for something a little easier to manage.

I just love a pretty mantle at Christmas time, don't you?
And finally, the boys enjoying our 14 inches of snow we got today. It was so beautiful and quiet. I love how snow 'blankets' you like it did today. I hate to drive in it but I love it far more than I hate it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Emotional Breakdown in Wal-Mart

So I get some bogus information that all Christmas packages going overseas needed to be sent by last Thursday. Some brilliant Army wife read it in the Army Times and told the rest of us at school. Sunday night I go to Wal-Mart frantically trying to scrounge things up and settle for a stocking instead of the tree I wanted to send because I was afraid he'd get it late and then have this sad little tree for nothing. It was just too much.

Then, it happened.

I completely lost all composure in the Christmas aisle at Wal-Mart. Endless tears streaming down my face all the while I'm cussing myself out because I'm so pissed for letting go like this in public. I keep telling myself everything is going to be ok, we'll get through these holidays with no problem and then we're in the home stretch for him to come home. I was pretty darn positive up until that point. Maybe it was the fact that I felt like he had to settle for last minute crappy gifts and a stocking instead of the tree and ornaments that each of the kids had picked out just for him. Maybe it was dreading the entire experience from the start because I knew how hard it was going to be to buy things for him and have to ship them a million miles away just so he could get them 'after' Christmas. Maybe I was so dang tired that I didn't have the strength to be strong anymore. I couldn't handle it. I tried everything in my power to stop the tears but it just wasn't going to happen. As I reached the check-out I apologized profusely for my inappropriate display of emotions and explained that my soldier wouldn't be with us this Christmas and it was our first holidays to ever be apart in his 14 years in the Army. She was very nice and proceeded to tell me that what I was doing happens all the time in this town. So in the spirit of letting it all out, I cried even harder! To think that she was so used to seeing so many other military spouses crying at check out is just unbelievable to me. I guess I'm not as isolated as I often feel.

On the way home I started to calm down but I remembered thinking how crazy my friend (whose husband left 2 months ago ) was for telling me that missing the holidays was no big deal. No big deal? To our family its a very big deal. I think she is one of many spouses who becomes a little jaded because the soldier is just gone so much that they become numb. My soldier told me in an e-mail that the group he joined over there had left last November (07) and would be coming home the same time he is. I can't even imagine. I suppose after 15 months the numbness would set in at some point. It's crazy to me that there is a rotation that sends our soldiers right before the holidays and lasts through two of them and ends after they are over. Why couldn't they have started the rotation in May so that these guys/gals could get home just in time for the holidays? I guess wars don't stop for Christmas time. Then, I started to get mad. Now I just want to start throwing all of the stuff that I just bought at anything and everything and stomp on it and rip it to shreds. This whole experience is just such a mixture of emotions that some days I just don't know if I'm coming or going.
You won't believe the ending here- I show up to school Monday - package all set and ready to be mailed right after class and the idiot woman who read the article told everyone not to panic - that she read the entire article and discovered that the post office said to mail it that early if you were going to send it parcel post and not priority. FYI, I have never sent anything overseas parcel post in fear of it getting to him after he has already re-deployed. Needless to say, she is NOT one of my favorite people.
Since then I have regained my composure and gotten the tiny tree and the wonderful ornaments the kids picked out all packed up and ready to go. I just keep praying every single day that I have the strength to keep my chin up and my smile on to be the rock my kids are depending on.
If I ever needed superhuman strength, its definitely right now.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tagged (Man!)

Obviously I really suck at this whole blogging thing because Crooked Eyebrow tagged me for a post! Good times, eyebrow.

Here are the rules:

1. Each player starts with eight random fact/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged need to write on their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3. At the end of your blog post, you need to choose people to get tagged and list their name.
4. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged and to read your blog.

Here are 8 random things about me:

1. My all time favorite Girl Scout is Ariel and my favorite Girl Scout cookie is Tag-A-Longs.

2. I am currently attending Dental Assistant school at which I have a 4.0 and hope to go on to Dental Hygiene school at some point.

3. I really do love the Army life even though my soldier seems to be gone quite a bit. It's the new places every couple of years that keeps me going.

4. I am the baby of my family with two older sisters and one brother.

5. I used to hate coffee with a passion but my coffee worshiping soldier and his family quickly changed all that. I must have yummy creamer in it and one packet of Splenda, however.

6. I not only love my mother-in-law, I really like her too.

7. I hate that I am pushed to the brink of road rage every day on my way to school.

8. Simple things like rainbows, freshly fallen snow on the mountains, vivid, green grass and the sun shining make me very happy.

Now I have to tag two people.........Congratulations:

Deconstructing Jen

A Day in the Life of the Ordinary

Tag! You're it!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It's Been Awhile

I can't believe it's been a whole month since I've written last. Since then I have aced my finals, gotten certified to take x-rays in the dental office, have had a nervous breakdown (well, not technically but it sure felt like it) and have had the stomach flu in my house for an entire week. Crazy, right?
Since it is Veteran's Day I'd like to take this time to thank ALL Veterans everywhere for their devoted service to our country. I saw an older gentlemen with a Vietnam Vet hat on today at McDonald's and started to cry. I wish I could have had lunch with him or shaken his hand and listened to some of his stories. It's hard for me to fathom that my husband is a Veteran as well. Usually on this day I will make him a special dinner, bake his favorite cake (strawberry with strawberry icing) let him golf, not one but TWO rounds- and just celebrate him and all he has done for his family and his country. He is such an awesome soldier and one that the Army is very lucky to have. He is so strong and dedicated. I could go on for hours!
On that note, with a few tears streaming down my cheeks, I will get out of here as I have yet another 6 chapter test to study for tomorrow.
Please remember to keep all of our soldiers who are deployed and at home in your prayers and maybe look up the U.S.O. and see what you could do for them with the holidays coming up and so many of them being overseas during that time. Every little gesture or note or care package is so greatly appreciated and it really lifts their spirits- if even for just a moment.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ok, so I know I'm a bad bloggy Mommy but I have been soooo incredibly overloaded with school that I honestly asked myself- just this week- "what the heck am I doing?" I have huge tests every week, 10 chapters of paperwork every week and not to mention lab days in the middle of it all that I have to test out of. CRAZY! I know I can handle it - I've done it before with surgery assistant school (he was deployed to Kosovo for that one...ugh.) but some days I come home and literally collapse.
My goal was to do school work and then blog before I go to bed. I'm so tired by the time I'm finished that I just don't have the brain power or the energy to write! So, I'm thinking I might try for once a week or maybe twice a week depending on my schedule. I was hoping to do so much more since this is the first deployment that I've ever 'journal-ed' before. There are so many things to talk about- so many things that a family experiences during a deployment that a lot of people don't even realize. So, I think I will truly make an effort to do better here. Maybe if I tell myself I don't have to write a short novel and maybe just a thought or two- it wouldn't seem so overwhelming!
So, to bring you up to speed- Thursday marked our 3 month milestone since he left. Three months down - 4-5 to go!! We don't know exactly when his return date is, hence the 4 or 5 months!
I also found out that one of my sweet boys (I won't say who to protect his privacy) is having a hard time adjusting to Dad being gone this time around. I guess I've been so busy that I haven't stopped to ask either one of them how they are coping. Major guilt here. I found out through a neighbor that he was really missing Dad and having a hard time thinking of anything else. Dang it. How did I not pick up on that? I feel so bad- like I missed the mark on this one. He talked to a neighbor and not me. This hits me hard. It would explain the report card he just brought home too. Am I being selfish with my own schooling that I don't pick up on the signals that I used to be so in tune with? I'm so worried about a 4.0 that I'm failing at home. I should be worried about getting a 4.0 at home instead. So, keep us in your prayers- that the time stretches so that I have enough to spread around to everyone that needs me.

On a brighter note, I actually put the books down yesterday to put up some fall decor and I took these pictures which I thought were just precious:

Isn't it fun to experience their first time to really notice things like pumpkins and decorations and be mesmerized by it? She sat there for the longest time just staring at Mr. Pumpkin and smiling and asking me what it was. It was such an awesome moment. One of those moments that I'll never forget and was so glad that I took the time to make the house decorative and fun for the season.
On that note, I think I'll go and watch a movie with my babies and enjoy them. I don't want to miss out on any more 'moments' this week.