December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve Date

I have to give Pat credit for making a really nice plan for us to have a NYE date.

One of his last days here while making a quick stop at Walmart, I slowed down to glance at an endcap of movies. Pat asked what I was looking for, and I told him that I was just seeing if there was anything I was interested in to watch on New Year's Eve. The prospect of sitting alone and finding nothing on TV is not one that excites me. But I'll be honest here--my response back to Pat was that I could not see myself spending $20+ on a movie that I'm not sure I'll like. (I should also add, that I do not really watch movies more than once, unless they are a classic.) This is when Pat came up with his plan. He said we should go buy a Blu-ray that also has a digital copy, and that way he can watch the digital copy and I can watch the Blu-ray.

So on NYE Pat and I have a date. I realize that we may not watch it at the same time, but the idea that we are both going to usher in the new year in the same way makes me feel close to him and like we are ringing in the new year together despite the distance that separates us. I have a hot date to look forward to tonight, and I hope everyone has some fun planned with their loved ones too. Happy New Year!!! I have the feeling 2011 is going to be a great one!!!

December 30, 2010

Missing Him Again

Pat's gone. He's making his way back overseas. Today is hard. I find myself shedding a few tears here and there. There is a part of me that is numb to it all, but the emotional side of me (and that is a big side) cannot help but shed the tears at the idea of what is happening more so than it actually being hard to take. I guess I've been there and done that enough to be okay with it, but like watching a sad movie, I'll always cry.

There are two things about him leaving again though that are really hard for me to deal with. The first is knowing what it does to the kids. Sean obviously is too young for any real hardship to be felt, but I do know that he misses having his Daddy around. His Daddy provided another interaction and view for him. I imagine that as a toddler it is probably difficult if you never really see people other than your mother. But just as it was for Ryan on the last deployment, Sean will be just fine, and when it's all over we won't look back. Ryan on the other hand has it pretty hard. I get it a bit more now after seeing his reaction at the airport at the start of R & R. I think sharing me during R & R was a bit difficult for him. It was clear that he was starving for attention, especially that of his Daddy. I feel awful when I think about how he finally was really getting used to having Pat around, and now we've started another several months of deployment. On the car ride home from the airport Ryan kept saying, "I miss Daddy", and this afternoon he was asking, "is Daddy almost done at work?" I am thankful that this part of the deployment will be somewhat shorter than the first part. I am hoping that the time left flies by, and we can work on strengthening the bonds of our family when it is done.

The second hard part for me is the silence here at the house. Now with two little boys, there is never much silence, but I mean the silence of a relationship that is missing for me. I HATE, HATE, HATE not being able to spend time with, cuddle with, and freely talk to my best friend. While Ryan and I do talk, those conversations just aren't the same as the adult ones that I am missing so much. Pat and I had so much fun during these past two weeks, and I think that causes the void to feel so much more massive.

We are strong though, and we can make it through this. We have such great support from one another and from family and friends. We have lots of fun things to look forward to when Pat returns. Hopefully it won't be too much longer.

And I leave you with the wise words Ryan said to me as we dropped Pat off at the airport, "Don't cry Momma. Be happy!" And that is exactly what I'm going to try to do.

December 28, 2010

So Little Time

Pat's out cleaning up all the boxes in the garage from Christmas, so I'm taking a minute to make a quick post.

We have so little time left together as a family before he has to go back overseas. We've been enjoying spending every moment together. I won't say things have been perfect, but they've been imperfectly perfect.

The only bright spot to the whole ending of R & R is that it won't be as long as the first part of the deployment until I not only see my husband again, but until we are a family together again.
I have so many things to update you on from the past two weeks, but I'm going to enjoy the little time I have left--more posts will come soon enough.

December 23, 2010

Ryan's Room

I posted a few weeks ago about how I painted Ryan's bedroom. Now that Pat is home we finally set up the twin bed I told you about. It's hard for us to find furniture to match the dresser Ryan has because it is an espresso/cappuccino finish. Pat found this bed online, and although it was pricey, it was perfect for Ryan. Ryan loves having the cubby holes in the headboard to store his precious items, and the drawers are a bonus for me and him to store stuff in. Ryan transitioned seamlessly to the bigger bed and as of right now he seems to be sleeping even better in the new bed.

Here is a picture of the new bed against the finished walls.
Cubby holes in the headboard currently store his stuffed animals.
Drawers and more storage below the bed.
Ryan's spaceman bedding.
Buzz Lightyear (spaceman) decals for the wall. Ryan insisted he be in the picture wearing his hat.
The mirror we FINALLY put on the dresser. We bought the dresser while pregnant with Ryan back in OK. Now 3+ years later, we put the mirror on for the first time.
I realize that I didn't take any photos of the room as a whole, so you'll just have to try to picture it from the pieces I did show.

December 19, 2010

R & R Reality

The reality of Pat's arrival home for R & R was a lot different than the scenes I had imagined in my head. I received an e-mail from him in Germany (love the Kindle for giving him that ability). He said he'd be arriving in the US in the morning, and although he was scheduled for an afternoon flight he would easily switch that to the morning. Around the same time one of the women from the FRG that I am friendly with asked if she could follow me to the airport because she was nervous about the drive, and her husband was coming home at the same time as Pat. Their flight was going to arrive in ATL and there are flights every hour from ATL to here, so we assumed that even if they didn't make the same flight, neither of us should have to wait more than an hour. We were excited for the next morning.

(Remember through this whole story that Ryan was still battling the sickness from the week before.)

The morning comes and I frantically finished cleaning and getting ready. My friend called to say her husband would be arriving in at 11:00 a.m. I hadn't heard from Pat yet. After waiting another hour, holding the phone the whole time, Pat called to tell me his flight was coming in at 3:30 p.m. Not quite convenient for me, especially considering I had to be at the BN FRG Christmas party at 5:00 p.m. and the airport is an hour away. Plus since I said I would help my friend out, I couldn't back out. So I get the kids ready and we drive into the airport to show my friend the way. My original plan at this time was that I would drive into the airport, drive back home, run errands, drive back in to the airport to get Pat, drive back home to drop him off , and get my stuff to the party and make a quick exit. But as I approached the airport nearing 11:00 a.m. for my friend, I just knew the kids would never last that long in the car. I decide to run my errands up in the city and try to kill time. The boys and I went to Sam's club, and then decided to go to McDonald's. It was about 12:30 p.m. I placed our order and got us all situated at the table. Sean seemed very excited about eating some food. Ryan was really content with the happy meal toy. I was about to pull the pickles out of Ryan's burger when my phone rang. It was Pat. I assumed he was going to tell me he got moved up to the next flight. Well, instead he says, "I'm here." My response was, "what?, where?" He had arrived in Nashville already. He was one of the last people to make the earlier flight on standby and was not given any time to call me. I told him I would be right there, and to Sean's dismay I packed up all the food and headed back to the airport.

The parking garage was pretty full, so I had to park on the roof level. I wanted to run into the airport to find Pat, but my 3 year old is a bit slower. We hurried through the lot and down the elevator. As we approached the entrance to baggage claim, I was shocked to see how empty the airport was. There were no cars picking people up like usual, and no one was collecting bags at the baggage claim. Since it was so empty, I was able to spot Pat pretty quickly when we entered. He was still far away, but I knew it was him. I turned to Ryan and said, "who do you see?" He looked around and finally upon seeing Pat slowed down walking. I was still trying to get him to hurry though. I confirmed for him that that was Daddy waiting for him there. But by this point he had just about froze and I had slowed down with him significantly. It was then that Ryan began sobbing. I am very sad to write, they were not happy tears. Through his tears he kept repeating, "Momma, I want to go home." and almost pulling me back toward the entrance we just came through. Nothing I said comforted him. Pat was still pretty far away and was still waiting to greet his family after a long 6 months. I finally told Ryan that Sean and I were going to go see Pat. Ryan reluctantly followed behind me still shaking with tears and what I would call fear. Right in front of where Pat stood was a kiosk with some airport workers in it. I saw that they couldn't help but watch this homecoming play out. Unfortunately though it was no the picture perfect kind. Finally we got to Pat. He knelt down to say hi to Ryan. Ryan hid behind me and continued in his hysteria. So Pat turned his attention to Sean who began crying too. I expected that from Sean since he is so young and shy. At this point tears were welling up in my eyes and those spectators in the kiosk are now turning their eyes away from the sad sight playing out for the Soldier returning home. I was ready to cry myself for the unwelcoming reaction Pat just received. I gave him some great big hugs and we started to the car.

I took Ryan to the bathroom before we left the airport. He was upset and scared. When we went into the bathroom we talked a bit. He said he was scared of Daddy. I told him it was okay. When we got out of the bathroom Ryan had warmed up slightly to Pat, and by the time we got to the car on the roof Ryan seemed much happier about his Daddy being home.

A couple days later Ryan and I talked about the airport scene. Since he is only 3, he cannot explain much. He did tell me that he was scared because Daddy was so big. I really think that even though I told him many times that we were going to get Daddy at the airport and he was excited about that, I do not think he understood the reality of that. I think after 6 months of only seeing the flat daddy on the living room wall, the real live Daddy probably is intimidating. Not to mention Pat came home in the new multi cam uniform which is another change for Ryan to accept.

Now don't get me wrong, I NEVER expected the perfect homecoming. I thought Ryan would be shy and scared. Every time we get family at the airport Ryan turns shy when we meet up with them. I didn't think he would hug and kiss Pat, although I had hoped for it. What I DID NOT expect though was such an EMOTIONAL breakdown about just seeing Pat. I've never seen so much raw emotion from Ryan in his 3 years. He knew it was Pat from a far distance, and he was completely overwhelmed. I think for anyone that doesn't understand just how much the deployment affects children, even young ones like my 3 year old, they just needed to witness our welcome home scene at the airport earlier this week.

Ryan has warmed right up to Pat being home. He's been such a good little boy and big helper to Pat. He loves having Daddy back. Tonight as he was going to bed he gave Daddy a hug and kiss and then on his way to his room he said, "I like having Daddy home." Sean has warmed up now too. He probably took a little bit longer to warm up because he is such a Momma's boy. Yesterday Pat had earned hugs and open mouth kisses from Sean, which is a big deal. We are finally a happy family together again.

My heart just breaks especially for Ryan when I think about Pat leaving again. I know he'll get through it, but I also now know that his emotions about it are buried deep inside. We will all miss him so very much, but we're on the down hill side of the deployment now. For these next days, I'm just going to focus on how amazing it is to have him home and be together.

Oh and if you are wondering if we made it to the FRG Christmas party the short story of that is: Pat couldn't find his dress shoes. He wouldn't go without them. (yes, he's particular about his shoes.) We left the house an hour late, and I was a bit less than happy about it. However, I figure that my husband just arriving in that afternoon was an okay excuse. Well, wouldn't you know when we are half way to the party Sean vomits all over himself and the carseat. He was completely covered. We drove to the party, I dropped off the desserts, said a few quick hellos, and went back home to wash my little munchkin. Sean has caught Ryan's sickness from the week before, and he has been unhappy the past few days. I'm starting to feel the sore throat. I'm sure Pat is next. While it isn't ideal, I guess this is what R & R becomes when you have children, huh?

December 13, 2010

The Outfit

Remember the cute dress from Ann Taylor Loft that I wanted to wear for Pat's R & R reunion? Well, I changed the plan. On the day he arrives the temperature is going to be in the 20's. I probably won't have time to pick up leggings before then, so I had to come up with an alternative plan.

Given the recent weather, I think this new outfit may be more appropriate. I am now planning to wear this sweater in "magic purple" shown below.

My mother bought me a really cute scarf in a similar purple color when she was visiting. I think they'll go together nicely.

Then I'll pair those with these boots and some skinny jeans and hope the outfit looks cute. I'm a little worried right now, but hoping to be pleasantly surprised when I actually go to put it on.
And what outfit would be complete without a pair of guns or assault rifles for earrings, right? My Dad came across these in his work. I assure you that my father is neither law enforcement nor in organized crime, despite how odd these might seem. My Dad and I think that Pat will appreciate these earrings more than most. And since I think they're funny I'll wear some when I pick him up.
I still have a while to wait. I do have cleaning that I should be doing, and I'd like to paint my toe nails. But for tonight, I'm going to bed. It's been a long few days with a sick child in my house.

December 12, 2010

Perfect Timing, Murphy.

Murphy's law: "anything that can go wrong, will go wrong" affects almost everyone at some time. I think as military wives surviving deployments we feel like Murphy sometimes seeks us out. Usually I'm not one to complain about Murphy, but today I just cannot help but share what is going on at my house. Pat is finally on his way home for R & R (I think), but his journey will last several days. I don't know which day he'll arrive yet. With R & R right around the corner, I'd probably want to spend my days cleaning the house, grooming me and the kids, stocking the fridge, and cooking, right? Well, instead I'm spending my days taking care of my 3 year old who is sick as a dog. I feel terrible for him. We have fever, coughing, and nights filled with "big burps" as Ryan calls it when he vomits. Normally, I'd just take this as another day of motherhood. However, I don't want Ryan to be sick when we pick his daddy up from the airport. And I have the feeling like Murphy may not leave anytime soon, and Sean, Pat or even I will come down with this next. When we only have two weeks together, I do not want any of us to spend that time being sick.

So today we are taking it easy again. Maybe a trip down to Walgreens will be our excitement for the day. I do realize that I could be lucky if Ryan gets this out of his system before Pat's return, and maybe none of us will catch it. But for right now I feel like Murphy is trying to annoy me, and I hope he leaves soon.

I thought twice about posting this, especially after reading the headline of 6 NATO Troops Killed in Southern Afghanistan. I hope everyone realizes, I'm just making light of my daily life. I know that a child will a temporary illness isn't really a hardship, and there are much worse things being dealt with each day. My thoughts and prayers are with the 6 families affected today and with our troops everyday.

December 11, 2010

When did that happen?

When did my baby boy become a little boy?

At least he still sleeps like a baby.

December 10, 2010

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In #24

I'm a little late, but it's still Friday! Go on over to WifeofaSailor to join in the Friday fill-in.

1. What do you see your life like in 10 years?
I'm hoping that despite the military we'll have a stable home life for our family in 10 years. I know I'll at least have a 13 year old and an 11 year old. I'm pretty sure I'll be kept busy with the kids activities. I imagine Pat and I will look a lot older, but we'll be happy as ever. I guess I see us as busy and happy.

2. What do you like most about your job?
I cannot think of a better job in the world. I get to share all the happy and joyous moments of my children's lives. I get to see their firsts, I get to teach them, and I get to learn from them. Overall, the best part is just getting to spend so much time with my children.

3. What are three things you do everyday, no matter what day it is?
Drink a cup of coffee (my new bad habit), check my e-mail, cook for my children.

4. What would you do with an extra 5 hours in your day today?
Not necessarily the best use of time, but I'll say sleep. I don't think I'll feel caught up on sleep until this deployment is over.

5. What is your favorite Christmas cookie recipe?
Are you ready for the disappointment? I don't have the recipe, but my favorite holiday cookies (and they may not really be holiday cookies, but to me they are) are what we called Mountain Cookies that my Grandmother used to make. (I think that is what they are called.) If you google "mountain cookies" you get all sorts of results, so I'm not sure what they are really called. They are similar to gingersnaps and are spicy and yummy. I cannot get enough of them. Maybe I should ask my mother for the recipe. I have the feeling they'd take a lot of work though, and I'm not sure I'm up for that right now. But now after this question I wish I had a few to eat right now!

December 9, 2010

Breakdown or Breakthrough

Lately I've found myself on the verge of tears a lot. I'm not upset about anything, but I'm emotional. Songs on the radio, sappy videos on the computer, and even watching my boys at the Christmas parade last weekend are enough to bring the tears to my eyes. I'm not usually this weepy. I cannot decide if I'm nearing a breakdown or a breakthrough.

What I really think it may be is my way of preparing to let it all out when my best friend comes home. It's been a long, and sometimes hard, 6 months of the deployment already. While I have my family to support me from a distance, it still gets lonely and sometimes hard being alone here. I feel like I haven't been able to really share what things have been like back here, and I would love to hear what things are like for him over there.

I wonder if I'm going to end up a crying fool when he finally is here. At least I'll be able to get a hug in the strong arms I miss so much.

It's just a handful of days until he arrives home, although the unknown time of travel is enough to drive me nuts. I'm changing my mind a lot about what to wear to pick him up from the airport. I guess it will depend on the day and weather for what I end up wearing. But maybe that will be another post for another time. For now, I just wait, clean, and stay busy.

Exercise Machine?

Pat and I are toying with the idea of making a big splurge on a piece of exercise equipment. We've thought about getting an elliptical or a treadmill, but I'm not sure I'll give the go ahead to spend so much money. You see, the problem with this idea is that I want something I can use when the kids are asleep. So not only does that raise the issue of how quiet each machine would be, but we also have the problem of where to put it.

Right now I have almost no ability to get a good workout in. While the machine would provide me a convenient workout, I'm just not sure we'll be able to resolve the two issues raised above.
Do you have a treadmill or elliptical? Where do you keep it, and is it quiet?

I'm thinking I'll wait until after the deployment is over since we have a lot to think about on this one. I'll just have to figure out another way to squeeze in some exercise once in a while.

December 8, 2010

Deployment Goals Updates

Most of my deployment goals have fallen by the wayside. That's probably why I haven't done an update in many months. Tomorrow marks 6 months down on the deployemnt, so we are halfway there. Pat will be coming on R & R VERY soon. I think and hope that after R & R and the new year, I will make some new deployment goals. But here is the update or explanation of my old goals.

1. Read--How embarrassing it is to admit that I haven't been reading lately. There were a few books that I was trying to read that I just wasn't getting into. (Previews for Eat Pray Love movie looked good, but I just couldn't relate to the book.) After those failed attempts, I just gave up trying. Not to mention that by the time I have any moments free, I'm too exhausted to read and instead sit on the couch in a coma like state watching trashy TV. I'm going to have to reevaluate how realistic my reading goal is before I make my new year's goals.

2. Get Fit--I was afraid to start this update since I feel like I've been binge eating lately, but I hopped on the scale before I started typing and am happy to report that I've lost 15 lbs so far this deployment. I'm right in the middle of my goal for the deployment, so I guess this one is accomplished. I wouldn't mind dropping an extra 5 lbs, but they aren't necessary. I would just like to focus on maintaining this weight and getting healthy. By getting healthy I mean eating better and well rounded meals and trying to fit in more exercise. I will post about my exercise dilemma soon, and maybe you can help me out with it.

3. Cards and Business--I've sold sets of cards to several people so far this deployment. I enjoy making them. But as far as the business side of it goes, I'm going to be giving that up. I've met my Stampin' Up! sales goals for this quarter, and next quarter there are a few items that I want to buy for the computer software I have, but then I'm letting it go. I'll still make cards, but it will be more of a fun thing than a business thing. I got all the products I could possibly want, so I consider the venture a personal success, but now I can move on.

4. FRG--I'm still plugging away. As you know from some of my previous posts, my co-leader is no longer with us. It's going okay, but it gets discouraging with the lack of interest. At least half our spouses have moved home for the deployment, and as for the rest, only a handful participate in our events and meetings. I'm at the point where I wonder if I should continue to put in so much effort with the events, or just do what needs to be done. I hate to punish the few that really care because of all those that don't, but on the other hand, I hate putting in so much effort for nothing.

So there you have it. This will be my final deployment goals update, at least until I revise my goals. I've had some successes and some lessons learned. Overall, it's been a good 6 months for me in terms of personal growth and fulfillment.

December 4, 2010


I showed you in the last post the spaceman hat that Ryan just loves.

Well, Sean has found an appreciation for the "Handy Manny" hat. He loves having this hat on. He keeps brining it to me to put on his head. Shortly after I place it on his head, it usually falls off. He brings it back to me and the cycle continues like this for a long time. I am not complaining though because he is so stinking cute with this hat!

So I'm now the mom of Iron Man and Handy Manny.

December 3, 2010

Ryan's Birthday

I never told you about Ryan's birthday. He got spoiled with all the presents, and I mean this literally. He still asks me daily for more Hap-pie (his way of saying Happy Birthday) gifts. He tells me to go get the hap-pie gifts and he'll close his eyes. He doesn't seem to understand that it's a once a year type of thing. And I'm sure Christmas will just make this concept harder for him to learn.

He received his long awaited "spaceman" hat. He's been eyeing this gift in his magazine (toys r us sales ad) for weeks and waiting and hoping to receive it for his birthday. He likes it so much that he even wears it when we go out in the car. I can only imagine what the other drivers are thinking when they see my child in his car seat with this helmet on.

I made Ryan some batman cupcakes. They weren't my best work, but Ryan didn't seem to mind.
He helped me with the cupcakes by licking the buttercream off the beaters.
Then we all enjoyed the cupcakes.

There were so many other toys that I didn't have pictures of him playing with. He loved everything, and we are so lucky to have such great friends and family that made his day so special. I think that his 3rd birthday was a success, and he thinks so too!

December 2, 2010

How to Clean the House?

My in-laws are coming out for a visit this weekend. They haven't been out for about a year, and we don't talk often. So I'm a bit nervous. My house is an absolute disaster. It needs a really through cleaning, especially my kitchen. All the cooking for Ryan's birthday took a toll on the kitchen organization (or lack of) that I had going on. I planned on spending yesterday cleaning since the boys and I had nothing planned. However, I thought a better idea than doing the cleaning would be to paint Ryan's bedroom.

You see, Ryan is getting a new bed when his Daddy comes home for R & R. We've already bought the spaceman bedding. The bed which Pat picked out is to be delivered shortly before his arrival on leave. We still need to buy the mattress, but hope to do that ASAP when Pat gets home. So since Ryan's room is going to be "new", I thought it could use some new paint.

When we moved here, Pat was getting ready to deploy pretty quickly after that. The room for Ryan was baby blue, which was perfect for our baby boy, and it matched his crib bedding. It wasn't the best quality paint, but I wasn't going to be picky. Now, I cannot say why I didn't paint his room earlier--lazy I guess. Maybe I thought the blue was an appropriate color, so why change it?

I asked Ryan what color he wanted to get to paint his walls. His answer was "WHITE". He was pretty adamant, but there was no way I was going to spend my time painting a 3 year old's room white. I figured at the store he'd pick one of the bright colors. When we went to the store to look at the paint chips, his first choice was a beige/tan color named "Vast Desert". I showed him a sage green and medium blue, but he kept going back to the beige. I was pretty happy with his color selection, but I didn't want him changing his mind. I asked many times, and he kept telling me "I want that color on my wall." So Vast Desert it was.

It went on a bit darker than the paint chip looked, but Ryan and I are both VERY happy with it. I think the walls look 200 times better with the fresh paint. His room has a nice cozy feel to it now. I couldn't be more pleased with how it came out. I took a few pictures while in the middle of painting. I'll share photos of his complete room after we get the new furniture in there.

And since I spent most of the day yesterday painting, that means I'm going to be running around crazy today getting all the cleaning done. I wouldn't do it differently though. I'm a last minute type of person I guess--at least when it comes to cleaning.

November 28, 2010

Three Years!

We're celebrating another birthday around here. Today my little boy, Ryan, turns 3 years old. I really cannot believe it's been 3 years. That seems like a long time, but really it has flown by. It's sad that in his 3 years Pat's gone on two deployments, but we're making the best of it.

Happy Birthday to my sweet little boy. You bring a smile to my face every day. Your laughter is contagious. You are funny, smart, and stubborn. You are a great helper, and love to clean up. I have never met anyone as full of life as you. Thank you for coming into my life three years ago today. Happy Birthday, Ryan! I love you so much.

I'll try to post photos and stories later.

November 25, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Today was my birthday. It was a very nice day with my two boys. Ryan and I watched the Thanksgiving day parade in the morning. They boys played together, which is always cute to watch. We ate some turkey. And we all got to enjoy a little nap.

Most years when Pat asks what I would like for my birthday I'm difficult and just tell him I don't want or need anything. I know that annoys him, but it's usually true. However, this year I knew exactly what I wanted him to give me even before he asked what I wanted. This year I told him I wanted a cross necklace. I wanted a tangible reminder of my faith. There were also a few particular reasons I was asking for this gift now.

When I was in college, in fact even the night I met Pat, I was wearing a cross necklace. I probably still have that cross, although since my wedding rings are platinum and I mostly wear white gold now, I do not take it out often. For me there is something sentimental about wearing the cross through.

The first reason I really decided on asking for a cross though was because of my children. Sometimes I am not the mother they deserve. When I go to sleep at night I pray that I can be a better mother for them and ask for patience, understanding, and guidance. I wanted a cross to remind me daily of my aspirations to be the best mother that I can be, and I know I am not alone in my struggles with that.

The other main reason I knew what I wanted as a gift was this deployment. It has been a hard one. Back in the end of July, Pat's battery lost two Soldiers and had countless injuries during a 48 hour period. These casualties hit closer to home than anything during the previous deployments Pat has been on, especially with me being the FRG leader. It definitely threw me for a loop. August quieted down somewhat. When September arrived, his battery lost another Soldier. This casualty was even more difficult as I had just met the wife one month before. Through all of these tragedies, I knew God was there with a plan even if I would never understand it. I knew that He would hold those Soldiers in the palm of his hand and that the families would find comfort in Him. I knew that He would be watching over and giving strength to our wounded warriors and their families.

As FRG leader, I received many calls to inform me about the casualties. I knew my husband was in a safe job at the time and was never really worried for him. However, that didn't make it any easier to know that other people's lives were being changed, and their fears were becoming a reality. For weeks after each incident, whenever I would wake up with the boys at night I would search the internet to see if they were reporting any casualties from the area our unit was in before going back to sleep. The first thing I would do upon waking up was look for more news so that I could be a little more prepared in case another phone call would come.

I remember the next call a bit too well. On September 22, I had seen news stories listing 2 NATO casualties in the area our unit is in. I had a feeling that I would be receiving a call that morning. (Maybe it was intuition, maybe it was paranoia.) 7:38 a.m. the phone rang, and I knew it was our unit's Rear Detachment. To tell the truth, I wasn't that phased because I felt like I knew it was coming. But what I heard next, I didn't see coming. The Lieutenant on the phone told me our unit had a VSI (very serious injury) and then he said something I had never considered. It was my friend's husband, and he had lost both of his legs. My friend also happened to be my FRG Co-leader. Over the few months of the deployment so far, I'd spent countless hours talking with her. She was about the closest thing to a friend I had out here. I started to tear up on the phone, and asked if she was alone. He told me I should call her as she was obviously upset. Before he could tell me anymore, my cell phone was ringing, and I knew it was my friend. I told her I was coming right over. This incident rocked me to my core. I watched her live out one of the greatest fears a military wife has. We cried, and we prayed. Her friends and I tried our best to make such a difficult time easier. Her strength and faith were and still are amazing leading her on this new road her life is taking. It will be a long journey for them, but they are models of courage for everyone.

Somehow through it all instead of focusing on why this all has happened, I have chosen to focus on how to walk through the challenges with God. Pat's gift of the cross to me is a symbol that he and I both believe that God is watching over us. We have faith that everything will be okay, and even if something were to happen, we know that God will watch over us and take care of us. Pat picked out the cross, and I could not think of a more perfect one. For my birthday he gave me a cross with a claddagh on it. The claddagh sign is a symbol of friendship, loyalty, and love. It was on our favor boxes at our wedding, and the qualities the claddagh represents are central to our marriage. It is perfect to me to combine the cross and claddagh because it illustrates how our marriage is supported by our faith. So now I have a tangible reminder not only of my faith but also of the husband I love so much.

November 24, 2010


I have so much to be thankful for that I really should post about it more often. Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I thought I'd share a list of a few things I am thankful for.

1. My husband--His is courageous and strong. He is selflessly serving his country and yet still finds time and ways to support me. He is not only my husband, but also my friend.

2. My awesome little boys--They are capable of bringing a smile to my face every single day. They give so much love. Even when they (mostly Ryan) are driving me nuts, they are doing it with such personality that you can't help but giggle inside. These two boys are my pride and joy in life.

3. My family--They support me in every way. I couldn't have chosen a more perfect family if I tried. They listen to me whine and vent, they give me advice, and they are also my friends. I would not be able to make it through the deployments without them behind me, even if we are physically separated by distance.

4. Health--I am thankful for the health of all those listed in numbers 1-3.

5. R & R--I am thankful that in a few weeks I will see my husband for R & R. It will be an amazing time for me, but also for my little boys who have been missing their daddy so much.

6. Turkey dinner--I'm grateful that my mother sent me a turkey dinner from Omaha Steaks that I only have to pop in the oven. With just me and the boys, I do not have the motivation to go all out, making a mess in the kitchen, to make a dinner from scratch.

7. My dogs--They provide unconditional love. They also hear me grumbling far too often, and yet still come to kiss and cuddle with me. While they drive me nuts a LOT of the time, I am very happy that they are part of my family.

8. Phone calls and e-mails--I am so thankful for the technology that allows me to hear from my husband as often as I do. I am especially happy that I should be receiving a phone call tomorrow--it's kind of a special day here, even more so than just Thanksgiving, but more on that later.

I am so thankful for the wonderful blessings I have received. I hope that you find yourself blessed beyond measure too. Happy Thanksgiving!

November 22, 2010

The Hardest Part of Single Motherhood

For me, without a doubt, the hardest part of being a single mother without family or friends local and a deployed hubby is taking care of the kids while I'm sick. I'm not talking sick with a cold, but rather more along the lines of flu or food poisoning. It happened once during Pat's second deployment when Ryan was probably around 9 months old. I was sick all night long. Thankfully he slept well that night, but in the morning I was miserable. It is very hard to put aside that kind of misery and take care of the kids. Last night I started to not feel well. I thought my stomach was just having hunger pains. Unfortunately in the morning it proved to be something else. I have not kept any fluids down today, and made no real attempt at even eating food. Overall, I feel okay if I remain sitting. Yeah, like that is easy with two little boys, huh? I have to admit on these sick days, I pray to make it through to bedtime and hope that it will be easy putting them down.

I'm hoping I will feel much better tomorrow. But I never forget how trying these sick days are when I am all alone. Sickness should be banned from milspouse homes during a deployment, don't you think? But I guess that might make our lives too easy then.... ;)

November 20, 2010

Popcorn Balls

First, I'm sorry that the pictures are so small. I forgot to adjust my settings. But if you really want to see them up close, you can click on the photos to see them larger.
Also, these photos are from about 3 weeks ago, but I'm clearly running behind on everything (especially the dishes in my sink, but that is another story).

On Halloween, one of my neighbors was giving out popcorn balls. I'll be honest, I thought that was an interesting choice. The neighbor was nice enough to give one for Sean too. A day or two after Halloween, both boys were a little grumpy. I decided it was time to try those popcorn balls. To my surprise, they were a BIG hit, especially with Sean. I definitely got at least 7 minutes of peaceful quietness from those popcorn balls. So a big thank you to the neighbor that made the interesting and healthy choice for Halloween!

November 19, 2010

Simple Tip

I'm sure I've made you all aware of my dislike for the household chore of doing dishes. While Pat is deployed, I almost NEVER eat takeout (except for the occasional lunch for the kids). I cook dinner every night. That makes for a lot of dishes.

When my sister was out visiting, she showed me the joys of tin foil. She was making a meatloaf. I guess at home she usually does it on a cookie sheet, but I insisted she cook it in a deep casserole pan because I thought a cookie sheet for meatloaf sounded weird. She obliged, but said that she usually puts tinfoil down. I did the same. At clean up time, I realized that tin foil could make my life a whole lot simpler in regards to the dishes.

Goodness, why didn't someone mention this sooner? Thanks to Marie for the simple tip!

November 18, 2010

Shopping with Little Boys

Yesterday I attempted something that I almost never do. I went shopping for myself with my boys. Sean doesn't like shopping much and will start fussing in the stroller pretty fast. However, bribery with food works pretty well most days. Ryan on the other hand was a comical disaster.

We entered the mall through the upscale department store. I should have realized this would be a mistake, but I didn't. It was early and the mall had just opened so everything was quiet (until I arrived that is). I wanted to quickly look at the jeans. No sooner than we arrive at that area of the store, Ryan knocks over a sign. I go to pick it up while telling Ryan for the 18th time this trip that we do not touch anything. As I am picking up the sign, Ryan knocks over one of the jeans mannequins. (Granted, it was right in the middle of the aisle, but still.) At this point, Sean is starting to fuss and I am wondering what the heck I am doing at the mall with these kids. I decide we need out of the department store NOW.

On this trip I was hoping to find a pair of brown riding boots and some skinny jeans to wear with them. I wasn't sure how successful the second part would be. My favorite brand of jeans are hard to find, and they didn't have any skinny ones when I did find them. After leaving the upscale department store, we headed to another department store to stroll by the shoes. I immediately saw several pairs of boots that interested me, but without pants to wear them with what would be the point. I knew American Eagle had skinny jeans that were inexpensive, so we headed there. Do you know what it is like bringing two kids into the changing room? To make it even better they tell me there is a button I can press if I need any help. Once Ryan hears there is a button to press, he has a one track mind. It doesn't help that this button glows, making it all the more attractive to my almost 3 year old. I try on two pairs and quickly know what I'll buy. But in that 2 minutes alone I must have said, "Don't touch" to Ryan at least 82 times. On our way out of the dressing room, Ryan presses the button. I apologize for my monster of a child that cannot keep his hands to himself and go to pay. As soon as I get to the register, Ryan announces he needs to go pee pee potty. I asked if he could hold it until I paid, and he said yes. After that we raced to the nearest bathroom. I'll spare you the details of trying to fit a stroller, a child, and myself in a two stall bathroom.

Thankfully it seemed I was wearing Ryan out at this point. We went back and tried on the boots. (When I say we, I really mean WE tried them on.) I picked out the ones I wanted and was more than ready to go home. On our way back through the upscale department store, we were passing the perfumes. There was a perfume set in a black box with a gold logo. Ryan starts shouting, "Batman, Batman!". In his defense, it did look a little like Batman. I quietly tell him that it isn't Batman but is in fact Gucci. After that the remainder of the trip through the store he kept repeating, "Goo Cheee" rather loudly. I couldn't help but laugh.

This morning Ryan and I talked about our adventures yesterday. First thing he says is "I knocked over the sign". Yup, little man, you did. I asked if he knocked over the mannequin too, and he said yes. Then I asked if he pressed the button, and he said yes. Lastly, I asked if he saw Batman, and his reply was, "No mama, Goo Cheee".

While it is pretty funny to look back on, I'm glad that I don't plan on going shopping again until right before homecoming.

November 15, 2010

Bad Mood

I've been finding my bad moods are becoming more frequent recently. I know that I'm in a bad mood on certain days, but it just doesn't feel like I can help it. Sometimes I snap out of it for a while, but I usually end up back in the irritable, cranky state pretty quickly.

These moods have me feeling like the worst mother on the planet. It is very hard not to take my crankiness out on Ryan when he keeps spilling drinks, shouting at me, or just plain irritating me in a way only Ryan (and probably Pat) can. But I know how unfair I am being and am so ashamed of my behavior. Yesterday I was in one of these moods and was just praying that I could get both kids down in the afternoon so that I could have a break. Thankfully, I succeeded and that break was just what I needed.

I think a big contributing factor to my bad moods is that I really never get a break. Even when Ryan is at school, I am still caring for Sean, doing house work, and have my volunteer duties. I feel like my plate is so full that things are beginning to roll off. Even when I've had family visiting recently, the free time that they provide me was being used for medical appointments and meetings that I wouldn't otherwise be able to make.

Now don't get me wrong, I love staying home with the kids. I love being their mother. Most of the time I would choose not to be away from them for any amount of time. But I think after 5+ months, I've finally realized that I am being neglected. While I am very limited in what I can do for myself, I'm realizing that maybe I need to think about myself once in a while so that I can be a better mother to my kids. Does that makes sense? Do you ever feel like you need to take care of you to be better for them?

Speaking of the kids, I just have to take a minute to RAVE about my little boys. They are completely adorable. While they have completely different personalities, they both have such a sweet streak to them. Ryan is completely full of character; he's hilarious, but also very caring. Recently something happened that upset me, and I was crying. Ryan kept bringing me tissues and saying, "don't cry, Momma." He's been giving me hugs and kisses right when I really need them. It is weird that sometimes my little almost 3 year old boy is the one that is cheering me up with a big smile, a hug, his crazy antics, or his cute comments. Sean on the other hand is simply a sweet natured child. I love the fact that he adores giving hugs and kisses. He is a baby boy that likes to snuggle, now maybe not compared to other babies, but definitely compared to Ryan. Yesterday, I think he was starting to feel a little under the weather, but other than his frequent yawns and slight temperature, I would have never known because his temperament never changed. I am so lucky to have such great children. I just hope that one day they will feel lucky to have me too.

Lastly, I'll just update you all on Pat coming home for R & R. There are some things in his job that may cause his leave dates to move. I know it's the Army, and I shouldn't expect any thing less. However, I have to admit the new dates have me slightly disappointed. I am lucky to be able to see him on R & R, and I know the dates don't matter. It's just that the previous plan for his R & R was so perfect, that any other dates obviously can't be as good. It seems that he may still be home for Christmas day, and leaving at the first opportunity after it. I'm not sure how it will affect our Christmas plans yet, but we'll come up with some way to celebrate without focusing on him leaving. I'm still waiting to hear the next plan about his leave, because we all know it's going to keep changing ;)

November 12, 2010

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In #21

I'm joining Wife of a Sailor for the MilSpouse Friday Fill in this week.

1. Were you named after anyone?
Yes, but not really. I think this is where it came from. When my older brother was in school, my parents liked the name of a little girl in his class. My first and middle name came from that little girl's first and last name.

2. What color, if any, are your toenails usually painted?
I'm bad about this. In spring/summer I usually do a bright pink/coral. In fall/winter it would be a dark purple or wine color. But, the reason I describe myself as bad is that I paint them once a season and then leave them alone. They'll start chipping and growing out, and I still don't find the time to repaint them. Right now they have the remnants of coral, but I'll be doing a fall color soon.

3. How do you flush a public toilet? Hands, feet, something else?
I use my foot.

4. When you were a little kid, which tv character did you have a crush on?
Ready for this one? Sully, on Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. I liked that he was a manly man.

5. Let's say you had to lose one of your five senses. Which one would you choose and why?
I thought about this one a lot. I would choose to lose smell. It is the sense that I am least attached to.

November 10, 2010

What's Going On?

Have you noticed I've been blogging in spurts lately. I do a few days of consistent posts and then I disappear for a while? I'm bad, I know. It isn't that I don't have stuff to write about; it's more that I don't have time to write.

I just spent the last few days enjoying a visit with my sister and my brother-in-law. It was so nice to see family again. (My mother and father were out for a visit last month.) I had so much fun having people around, and my boys were overjoyed with all the attention they received.

Would you believe it if I told you that Sean was friendly and not shy at all with Auntie Rie and Uncle Justin? It's true! In fact on Monday I had a FRG meeting and conference call. I was gone 3.5 hours, and Sean didn't cry for me once. I have to admit that it made me a little sad that he didn't cry for even one minute over me being gone, but I'm happy that he did so well. However, today was a different story while I was at a memorial service, Sean was back to his shy self. He cried/fussed the whole hour at daycare, so Auntie Rie and Uncle Justin must just be special.

I wish the boys could spend more time with my family. They are always so happy during the visits that it makes me a bit sad that I cannot provide that joy to them on a regular basis. But instead of dwelling on what I can't give them, I'm going to focus on all that I can do for them.

So now we're just trying to relax a bit and get back to our regular schedule. We have lots of errands to get done in the next few days, but I'll take it one thing at a time.

And best of all, have I mentioned that next month I get to see Pat? It is looking like R & R will still be during Christmas. I'm really excited, and considering all the things we have to keep us busy in the next month or so, I think the time until R & R will really fly by.

November 3, 2010

Sean Walks!!!!

Pat was deployed when Ryan took his first steps. I was so lucky to catch his first time walking on film. You can see that blog post HERE.

Pat is once again deployed as you know, and the pressure was on that I catch Sean's first steps on film too. Sean has been getting close lately, taking a couple steps here and there. Today he finally walked for the first time, and I caught it on film for his Daddy to see. (I won't say I was lucky this time because I've been following Sean around with the camera for days now!) I am so proud of my little boy, and his big brother loved being a part of the moment too.

November 2, 2010


My baby boy likes Oreos just like his Daddy!
But then again, I'm not so sure he's met a cookie he doesn't like. Which is why his Cookie Monster cupcakes for his birthday were so appropriate.
Speaking of cookies, today I made some Old-Fashioned Soft Pumpkin Cookies. You can find the recipe HERE. (I didn't do the glaze.) They were really, really good. I am a sucker for soft
cookies though. These cookies were soft and cake or bread like. They were my kind of cookie.
Now I have about 3 dozen (minus the few we already ate), and nothing to do with them but eat them myself. Now you'll understand why I am not accomplishing at least one of my Deployment Goals. Maybe I'll post an update about them soon.

November 1, 2010


I hope everyone enjoyed their Halloween. We went "trick-treat" as Ryan says. Sean just strolled along for the ride. Ryan had so much fun last night. He is cherishing his loot, not so much because he likes candy, but more because he considers it like little gifts he received. He's such a cutie. Here are a few photos from last night: (and no need to comment on how messy my house is ;)

Fireman was out last night, and Superman was in, along with a little skeleton.
Halloween faces.
"guperman" as Ryan says.
Cute little skeleton boy.
Such a happy boy.
Sean eating his sock. We left with two, and came home with only one slobbery sock. Oh well.

October 31, 2010

Preparations for Halloween

This past Thursday was Ryan's Halloween party at school. They were supposed to wear their costumes over their clothes. So the week before the party I picked up a fireman coat for Ryan. Thankfully, he was very happy to be a fireman. I think he made a super cute one too!
And it worked out well that he still has his fire truck from when he was a littler boy to play with when he's all dressed up.

Yesterday Ryan and I made a Jack-o-lantern. Ryan scooped out the pumpkin, and I did the cutting. Even though I did most of the work, he thought it was a lot of fun.

I think he'll be even more excited when we put a candle in mr. pumpkin tonight to make his face glow.
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