January 30, 2009

It's The Little Things

Yesterday we converted Ryan's highchair into a booster seat and allowed him to sit at the table with his own bowl of food.  I was very afraid that he'd only want to dump the food out of his bowl and bang it around, but he was actually content to just sit there and eat like a big boy.  I can't believe how grown up he is.  I will say that there were occasionally feet on the table, but the poor posture and less than stellar table manners probably come from me :).  I know that his eating at the table from his own plate probably sounds like such a little accomplishment to you, but I'm really proud of him.  

I feel like I've done a lot of shopping lately.  I placed an order online about a week ago to catch some great deals on winter clothes for Ryan for next year.  I know it's a gamble trying to pick the right size.  However, I always order big (better big than too small, right?), and if we can't use them I'm sure I could gift them to one of my friends who could.  I got him 6 really cute long sleeved shirts and a fleece pullover for quite the bargain, and I never had to leave my house to do it.  
Yesterday I finally got a good deal on another Britax Boulevard car seat for Ryan.  We have one already, but we wanted to have another so that we had one in each car.  I've been waiting and waiting to find a good deal, and during this wait I've even narrowly missed a few good prices.  Now the deal I got wasn't as good at the Target $42.99 fiasco, but it was a pretty good deal--only $1 more than I paid for the first one.  I was quite happy to find that.  
And the last item of my shopping report is that we bought Pat a small chest freezer that he's been eyeing since before he got home.  He wanted a freezer for out the garage to store meat in. We finally found a good price and bought it.  Now I just need to start stocking up on frozen goods now that I have the room, but of course I'm waiting for good prices ;).

I need to praise myself just briefly too.  I usually don't brag, but the dinner I cooked last night came out fabulous.  We had teriyaki sirloin tips.  I made a marinade and then broiled them in the oven.  They were cooked so perfectly that I actually impressed myself.  We also had some sweet potato fries baked in the oven.  Pat thought they were good, and he's not so much a fan of sweet potatoes normally.  I passed the real test too; Ryan thought it was yummy!   

So that's about all we've been up to lately.  Nothing too exciting, but it's really just little things like these that are enough for us.  

January 26, 2009

Mission: Sofa

Yesterday we were on a mission to find Ryan a comfy chair of his own.  He LOVES sitting on things lately.  He makes it a point to go sit on top of his wipe container like it is a stool, so I thought he'd enjoy having a chair of his own to sit on.  On the suggestion of a friend we went to the PX first.  Unfortunately they didn't have anything.  I probably should have called it a day at that point, but I was really on a mission and would have been bummed if we didn't accomplish it.  We drove to Toys R Us, and lo and behold they had chairs and sofas on display right in the front of the store.  We looked at them, but weren't sure which would be best.  They had tons of girl prints, but very little for boys (as seems to be the case around here).  We wandered the store a bit more and realized if we bought the Backyardigans it would be $10 less than Elmo or Cars for the same exact sofa.  Pat called me cheap, but I consider that good with money.  We came home and Ryan just adores his sofa.  His face lights up whenever he looks at it.  The mission was accomplished and worth every penny.  

January 23, 2009


Brutal is a good word to describe what it is like with Ryan cutting molars.  Teething has always upset Ryan a little, but this is crazy.  The past few evening have been full of tears and very little eating.  I'm so glad that Pat is around to experience this, although I will admit that these molars are a bit worse than the previous teeth he cut.  I feel so bad for my little man and wish I could take away his pain.  I don't think I've even seen Ryan this upset for this long.  

We finally had some nice weather today, which allowed us to take Ryan out back to play.  This was the first time that we've let him wander all around the back yard.  It was so cute to watch him exploring, and he really seemed like a big boy.  It was a little funny though whenever he'd stumble because he doesn't like grass and each time his hands would touch the ground he'd look shocked and bothered.     

While we are still adjusting to Pat being home, things are really falling back into place.  We still have a couple more weeks of Pat being on block leave to enjoy our family time.  I'm really looking forward to all the fun we'll have and am just so happy to be together.  

January 22, 2009

Photos of Home Improvements

Here are the photos of the home improvements we've made since Pat returned:  

I said I wanted new lighting in the kitchen for my Christmas gift.  Pat installed this chandelier and the other light in the kitchen for me.  
We are replacing the hinges on the cabinet to look like this photo because the old ones didn't exactly match the knobs the previous owner put on.  
The new paint color in the living room.  It's called Expedition Khaki.  
The matching curtains we bought.  
We also painted the entrance hallway a soft gray called Gentle Rain.  

And last but not least we rearranged our bedroom furniture putting the bed between the two windows, and it really opened up the room.  We painted the walls a brownish color called Pebble Stone.  Over all I am very happy with the result.  

January 20, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

This short tip post was inspired by Devon's post, "Tuesday's Tip", and from my own complete stupidity.  NEVER put your palm down on a hot burner on your stove!  OUCH :( :( :(
I cannot even make up an excuse for being such an idiot.  

I also just wanted to assure you that pictures of all the stuff we've done to the house are coming. We've now painted 3 room, installed new lights, and moved furniture around.  I've also finally started looking at my new camera, so pictures are not far behind.  Check back soon.         

January 17, 2009

Staying Busy

Pat's been home now just over a week.  I can't believe all the things we've accomplished already. We've done a bit of shopping--a new car, really cool new cell phone for Pat (and I'm slightly jealous), sneakers, curtains, etc.  We, and by we I really mean mostly Pat, painted our living room.  It is definitely going to take me a few days to adjust to the new color.   We even got really pretty curtains to match it, and now our living room feels done.  I think it looks great too.  Today we are going back to Home Depot to buy paint for the entrance hallway and our bedroom.  In case you are thinking of doing a paint project, Behr, our favorite paint, is doing a rebate on 1 gallon cans right now, which is perfect timing for us.    

It has been an adjustment for me and Ryan having Pat around.  While I really enjoy having someone else around to help and talk to, there are tiny moments where I miss the quiet, smooth flowing routine that Ryan and I had.  Don't get me wrong, I'm beyond happy to have Pat home, but I'm still getting used to it.  I can say that being a family again has been truly amazing, and I look forward to all the adventures to come.  

Pat and my sister also surprised me.  My sister is going to come out for a visit in February so that she can watch Ryan the night we have the formal for Pat's task force.  That is so generous of Marie to make such a trip to help us out, and now I feel completely at ease leaving Ryan for the formal.  I'm very luck to have such a great sister.  

Also, I've tried some new recipes that were really good.  I'll try to share those the next time I have a few free minutes.  

January 13, 2009

Wine and Cheese :)

I'll start of with the wine. Pat is doing his week long reintegration still. I can't believe it was only 6 days ago that he arrived home. In some ways it feels like he's been home a while, but we still have lots of catching up to do. Anyways, because of the reintegration, Pat is only working half days (if that). It's really nice to have him around for the afternoons. Yesterday we were having a lazy day doing stuff around the house. Pat was out cleaning the car, and I was inside playing with Ryan. I was in some pj pants and a sweatshirt. The door bell rang, and there was a man standing there. I could tell he wasn't from UPS/FedEx so I quickly sent the dogs out back and got to the door. I was holding Ryan when we went out to talk to the man. He said he lived a couple streets back and saw the welcome home banner on our garage for Pat. He told me he wanted to say thank you and welcome home. He then handed me a bottle of wine and said that he hopes we enjoy it. I was in awe of his generosity, and that is by far the nicest thing that has happened to us in this neighborhood. I thanked him very much and told him how kind that was. Unfortunately I didn't catch his name or address, so I cannot send a proper thank you note which I feel terrible about. So Pat and I have decided that since we can't thank the nice family that gave us the wine, we'll pass on the same kindness when we next get the opportunity. I just wanted to share this story because I think that was such a wonderful gesture of those stranger-friends.

Now on to my cheese. Today Pat and I bought me a new car. We are both really excited about it. We got a brand new 2009 Honda Pilot 4WD EX in Nimbus Gray Metallic.  It seats 8 and will be perfect for our family including all our dogs. We were able to get a great deal, and we traded in my little car. Pat is especially proud because with all the money I was able to save during this deployment, we only financed a bit over 25% of the MSRP price. We'll probably be able to pay the car off by this time next year. He keeps saying how amazing it was that I was able to save all that money, and also how I raised Ryan by myself for all that time he was gone. I have to selfishly admit that it is nice to hear the praise, especially after having no one around to appreciate me for so long.

Here is a photo from the internet of our new car. We'll be picking up ours tomorrow, although we may have to bring it back in a few days to get the side steps installed. Also, I just wanted to say that USAA is great, and I highly recommend them.

January 10, 2009

Christmas Gifts

As you've read from previous posts, I've been pretty excited about giving Pat his Christmas gifts.  I didn't want Pat to read on here what they were, so until now I couldn't tell.  Here's what I got him:  

*a Shutterfly Calendar with photos of Ryan from the past year.  (it was free!)
*a Flip Mino  (click on the name and it will bring you to a link).  It is a tiny video camera that holds 60 minutes of video and easily uploads directly to youtube, etc. 
*a Craftsman Tool Chest (click to see a pic)  

Overall, I think I did pretty well getting him gifts.  Hopefully this weekend he'll have some time to start playing with them.  

January 8, 2009

Welcome Home

Here's a recap of the past 24 hours.  Pat's flight was originally scheduled to arrive at 9:40 p.m.  Anyone attending the welcome home ceremony was told that they should arrive at the parking area 2 hours ahead of time to catch the buses to the hangar where the ceremony would take place.  It was a good thing that right before I went to load the car up at 7:20 p.m. I checked the flight website.  I found the arrival was pushed back to 11 p.m.  I had strategically planned Ryan's schedule to accommodate the 9:40 arrival, so now with it pushed back there was a wrench in the works.  While I was figuring out what to do with Ryan to keep him up late, the flight was pushed back again to 11:50 p.m.  Eventually I put Ryan to bed for about an hour before I had to wake him up at 9:30 to travel to the parking area.  My poor little boy was so tired.  While we were riding the bus to the hangar, Ryan just cuddled into my chest.  We arrived at the hangar around 10:15 and found our friend to sit with.  Shortly after we arrived they announced "great news" that the flight was only 1 hour 45 minutes away.  The hangar was buzzing with excitement and children running around.  Ryan was no longer tired and was quickly getting restless sitting with his mommy.  Since we had so long to wait, I let Ryan walk around.  My silly little boy walks around like a drunken sailor, and he had absolutely no fear of leaving me behind.  He just walked around and around looking at all the people and children.  Finally they announced that the plane was 15 minutes out, and we should go to the flight-line to see it land.  I bundled us both up and headed outside.  After a few minutes people started pointing in the air saying, "there it is!".  I didn't see anything.  Eventually you could see a moving light in the sky.  While this was exciting, it seemed to be coming in so slowly.  The wind was whipping outside, and I knew Ryan was unhappy.  We waited and saw the plane land at 12:10 a.m., but I knew Ryan couldn't take anymore of the cold so I headed in before they started to deplane.  Ryan and I went back to our seats and started to warm up.  I gave him some yogurt melts, and by a stroke of luck he was sitting peacefully in my lap.  About 5 minutes later the crowd started coming back in.  I was pleasantly surprised when only a few minutes later they announced our Soldiers were coming in.  They processed in, but I wasn't able to spot Pat.  The ceremony was brief, and with all the sitting, standing, and singing, Ryan was entertained.  When they released the Soldiers, I got out the bleachers and decided to wait where I was for Pat to find me.  I waited and waited and found myself still alone with Ryan.  At this point it seemed like everyone else had not only hugged and kissed their loved ones, but also had a five minute conversation.  I was seriously beginning to think Pat wasn't there.  Finally I saw him approaching.  He was really smart and prepared because he had his camera out and ready.  When he got to us, the most amazing thing happened.  Ryan definitely seemed to remember his Daddy.  He reached out to go to Pat.  I grabbed the camera and started snapping away.  Ryan was smiling and seemed so content in Pat's arms.  I couldn't believe what a great reaction Pat was getting from Ryan.  All of a sudden Ryan started hugging Pat.  Anyone that has met Ryan knows he's shy around new people.  It usually takes him a few minutes to warm up to people before he'll even smile at them.  I could not have asked for a better reunion.  We got 15 minutes with our Soldiers before they had to go board buses to turn in weapons.  We returned to our buses and were taken back to our cars.  From there we drove to the outdoor tents to await our loved ones.   At this point Ryan was so tired that nothing was making him happy.  I ended up strolling him down the narrow rows between chairs while waiting.  Finally they finished their turn in and safety briefing and arrived by bus to the tent to pick up their gear.  Pat spotted us right away and we headed straight to the car.  We arrived home around 3 a.m. completely exhausted but happy.  I let the dogs down to greet Pat and got Ryan to bed.  We slept about 4 hours before starting the day.  Ryan had to get his flu shot booster.  We spent the rest of the day trying to get Ryan some rest and back onto his routine while Pat took in all the cute things Ryan does during a typical day.  I made Pat his favorite dinner tonight.  Pat went to bed around 8 p.m. to try to catch up on his sleep before reporting for reintegration tomorrow morning.  

I cannot describe what it is like to have Pat home.  It is so wonderful, but also the feelings are very complicated.  I feel like we are returning to a "normal" that I have been missing for much more than 8.5 months.  The year prior to this deployment was probably one of the most stressful for me and definitely took a toll on us.  In many ways I feel like we haven't been able to relax and enjoy ourselves for more like a year and 8.5 months.  I can almost not remember what it is like to have the peace of just being together without serious things to worry about.  We are slowly falling into our places and routines.  I am looking forward to finally being able to sit back and enjoy our family and the life we have.  

Although last night was quite a long production, I couldn't be happier about how it went.  These are memories I will hold onto forever.  

January 7, 2009


So far we've already had 2 delays.  The butterflies from the previous post have gone away and been replaced by annoyance.  I understand flight delays and all, I just hate that Ryan is going to have one very long night.  In the end it's worth it, I just wish Ryan didn't have to get up in the middle of the night.  I probably feel a little extra bad because he has to get his flu shot booster in the morning after being up most of the night...my poor baby :/  

Butterflies :)

I have a serious case of butterflies in my tummy.  I am filled with excitement and nervousness.  I know I have nothing to be nervous about, but when you haven't seen your spouse in such a long time it's almost like a first date again.  It's kind of cool that as a military spouse I get to feel the emotions of our first date all over again.  I'm totally feeling giddy and shaking from nervous anticipation just like when we were going on our first date to Hops in Providence many years ago.  I think the good thing about deployments is how they revitalize your relationship and refresh it like new again.  

I'm trying to keep busy today.  The house is clean, homemade brownies (NOT from a box) are made, the bed has clean sheets on it, and everything seems in order.  To pass time this afternoon Ryan and I are going to the mall to go buy some new pillows for the bed.  Hopefully he'll take a good, long afternoon nap so I can shower and get myself dressed and looking okay.  It's going to be a very exciting 24 hours.  I'll write an update soon I'm sure.  

January 4, 2009


Most people talk about how excited they are when their spouse is coming home from a deployment.  Don't get me wrong, I am VERY excited, but there is also a fair amount of stress that comes with the reunion (at least for me).  I am a person that has physical reactions to stress.  The stress of this homecoming is definitely taking a toll on my body.  Considering it's been almost 8.5 months since I last saw Pat, I feel like I've forgotten what it is like to be a normal wife and family.  It isn't that I'm worried about being together because I know after one embrace things will feel so right and a calm will wash over me.  It's the getting to that moment and the anticipation of it that causes the stress.  I have the house is order, and the only cleaning left to do is the last minute scrub of the bathroom, wash the sheets, etc kind of stuff.  I hope to make some homemade brownies before he arrives too.  Not knowing when he's coming does not help the stress.  Last I heard (at 1 a.m. this morning) he's still stuck there and will be for a few more days before starting the lengthy journey home, but this can also change at any moment.  I really hope that the first half of this week flies by because I cannot wait for the relief that is coming.    

January 3, 2009


Ouch can basically describe today--sometimes referencing pain and other times things just not working out so well.  
*Today Ryan accidentally hit me with his cell phone.  He managed to hit my nose exactly where I broke it while pregnant with him.  They told me it will always be a weak spot where it was broken.  Right now it is a tiny bit swollen and red/blue.  I hope it goes back to normal before Pat returns.  
*I got our electric bill in the mail today.  The weather here is rather crazy.  After the morning where it was 7 degrees out and my heating system was working double time, OUCH definitely describes this bill.  
*Our play date today didn't go so well.  The other little boy is quite a bit older than Ryan.  The unfortunate part was that he had a strong dislike for Ryan.  It was not a case of ignoring Ryan, it was a case of not wanting him there at all.  
*I finally heard from Pat after a few days of wondering where he was.  The phone system died 2 minutes after he got through, and he couldn't call back.  He did manage to tell me that they are delayed at the FOB they are at because of weather.  From the timeline he described, I highly doubt he'll be making it back when he's supposed to.   

January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  2009 has the promise to be a great year for all of us.  I'm excited to see what it brings.  

2008 was a very hectic year for our family.  Two weeks after last New Years, we PCS'd.  Pat went TDY and then came home to deploy.  2008 was AMAZING with Ryan, but it was also lonely and sad without Pat...

But to start the New Year off, I got a call from Pat this morning to let me know he's started the first leg of his journey home.  Those who have had a loved one to go to Afghanistan know that getting to and from that country is a long process because of logistics. (One stop on the trip is around Siberia, so you can only imagine the flight delays that happen there.)  It will still be about a week until Pat comes home, but it is so wonderful to have an estimated date to track.  I cannot wait to see Pat meet Ryan again.  I'm filled with all sorts of emotions as it approaches like nervous, excited, happy, anxious, etc.  

It is definitely going to be a wonderful new year for my family.  Happy New Year to you and your family!  
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