September 26, 2010

Coffee Is My Drug of Choice

Lately I've been craving coffee, which is weird because I've NEVER been a coffee drinker. I didn't like the taste or even the smell. Also, for some reason I grew up thinking of coffee as a bad habit. I had a negative connotation to coffee.

In the midst of the craving, I happened to catch a segment of the show "The Doctors" where they listed off 5 reasons to drink coffee:
1. Coffee is a great source of antioxidants
2. Coffee can apparently boost female sex drive
3. Cuts post work out muscle pain
4. May reduce heart rhythm disturbances
5. Morning cup can kick start your day

The next time I was at the grocery store I picked up a yummy flavor of coffee-mate, just in case I gave in to my urge.

A few days later, I brewed my first cup. (If you don't remember, my husband gave me a Keurig coffee maker for Christmas that I've used for teas and hot chocolates). I'm hooked. I enjoy the bitter yet sweet nature of coffee. I feel like there is something sophisticated about it. I think of it as an indulgence I can give myself.

I'm not sure if my new coffee habit is a result of it being the only thing I can really find time to give myself or if I was meant to be a coffee drinker all along.

Do you drink coffee? What kinds do you like or how do you drink it?

September 25, 2010

In Need of a Good Cry

First I want to thank all of you for the prayers for my friend, her husband, and family. Her husband is still in critical but stable condition. If all goes well, he should be returning to Walter Reed tomorrow, and my friend will be there by his side. I still ask for continued prayers for them, but this is about all I'm going to say about it for now because they are entering a very personal journey at this point. I will try to update you in the future though.

I consider myself a strong person, but in some ways this deployment is getting to me. I know that I am in need of a good cry--the gasping for breath, blubbering, snot faced type of cry. But something has been stopping me. Most of the stress and sadness for me has been that of other people. I grieve for them, but I feel that it isn't appropriate for me to cry over their hardships and nightmares come true. I want nothing more than to help them and fix everything for them. Unfortunately, in most situations I can do neither. The most I can do is to be there for them as a friend. My eyes well up a lot recently and stray tears fall, but I stop myself from a real cry. My heart aches for my friends and acquaintances, but I do not feel that I deserve to cry. I stand among such amazing spouses. Those that have been affected by tragedy have been so incredibly strong. How can I break down and cry, when they are being so brave.

I know that one day I will have to give in to the tears. However, I am not sure it will happen until this deployment is over. One day when Pat is home, I may let those tears loose. Until then though, I feel it is my duty to be strong and help support my courageous peers.

I know some of you would want to comment that I should let it out, but I guess what I'm trying to say is that I just don't feel like I can yet.

September 23, 2010

Sad Day

Yesterday was a sad day for our unit and my friend. Her husband was wounded in action. He needs a LOT of prayers right now. She and her family have a long journey ahead of them, but she is very strong and has a great support network of friends. My heart goes out to her.

I cannot sleep tonight. This deployment is wearing on me. The phone calls from Rear D are coming too often. I am thankful that Pat has a "safe" job right now, but it is impossible to take comfort in that fact while I am watching so many other spouses deal with the unimaginable. Dealing with all this so often as the FRG leader is just making me terrified for when Pat switches into the "not so safe" job in a couple months.

Do not read this the wrong way; I have not lost faith. I am so sad for the families that have been so affected. I am nervous that our unit still have many more months left over there. And naturally I worry about my spouse no matter what.

Yesterday was a hard day for my boys too. Because of everything that happened, we spent most of the day running around. They were little troopers, but it was a very hectic day for them too. Here's hoping I can get more sleep and wake up to a much better day.

September 17, 2010

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In #13

I'm doing the fill in again. I know I missed many weeks, but I'm doing week number 13 now.

1. How do you spend your deployment money, do you save, pay off bills, or enjoy the extra money while it is there to buy the things you do not normally have? (from Troop Petrie)
I definitely SAVE! Save, save save for certain big ticket items we want and also to have more money in the bank. Maybe when we get closer to being done with this deployment I'll share the big ticket items we are planning on buying.

2. If you could relive one occasion or moment, what would it be? (from Currently On Land)
Well, if you know me, you know I have trouble making decisions so I'm going to tell you three. The first two would be the day my children were born. If I could relive those days over and over again, I would be very happy. The other occasion would be the 24 hour period during which Pat and I got engaged. He proposed to me at his military ball in ROTC. I was over the moon after that. It was such a special night because I knew I'd spend the rest of my live with Pat and loving Pat. But something that made it that much more special to me was that Pat also surprised me by planning a lunch with both our families the next day. I was just so amazed by him planning that and so thankful we could share that event with our families.

3. What's the worst job you ever had and if it was so bad why did you take it? (from Faith and Deploying)
I've never really had a bad job. Therefore I'll say working at the Gap was the "worst" job. Even though it wasn't bad, it paid the least and wasn't as cool as my other jobs.

4. If you could play any character on TV, who would you be? (from Many Waters)
I watch a lot of TV in the evenings, but I couldn't really think of one at first. So I've decided I'd like to play Annie Walker on Covert Affairs. I think it would be fun to be a bad-ass CIA operative.

5. If you could become the world's expert in something, what would it be? (from Army of Two)
I'd love to be an expert in parenting. Then I would feel like I wasn't doing anything wrong and was the best parent around.

September 16, 2010

Deployment Goal Month 3: Reading

This third month was a hard month for reading for me. I don't have much free time to read, and once I get the kids in bed I just don't seem to have the energy to open a book. I started a book called "Behind the Blue Star Banner", and I just couldn't keep reading it. It was driving me nuts. Maybe it gets better the more you read, but I just decided it wasn't for me. The author is going through her first deployment, and as we all know deployments are hard and in general they suck. Unfortunately the tone of the book just came across as whiny. As I am going through my third deployment, I've already learned that complaining isn't going to change the fact that my husband is in the Army and has to deploy. It is wasted energy to whine or complain about the things we cannot change. Don't get me wrong, I do whine and complain sometimes, but I would not write a whole book about it and I won't spend my time reading one about it either.

At the same time that I was struggling through the above book, I was able to listen to "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman. Military OneSource has this book on audio playaway for free. (Google audio playaway--it is a great little contraption to listen to a book, and is great if you are taking a walk or washing dishes.) I had been wanting to read this book for a long time, but I hadn't really read or even thought about what the 5 love languages actually were. When I listened to it, it became very clear what my language is: Quality Time. Hearing that chapter made me understand why I was struggling so badly in the months (or maybe it was more like the year) before Pat deployed. He spent such long hours at work that we had no quality time together. And because we were so busy during the week days, some chores and errands fell to the weekends. Thus the weekends didn't even supply us with enough quality time to fill my love tank. While I don't think this book is groundbreaking, I do feel like it helped shine a spotlight on something that was previously in a dimly lit room for me. I knew I wanted quality time, but I wasn't aware that it was my love language. I knew I was unhappy with the current state of things, but it was as if I couldn't figure out why I was bothered so much. So in the end this book really helped me discover what I need in my marriage.
As for my husband, I'm not going to share with you what his love language is (or rather what I believe it to be). I could have probably told you his love language without reading the book, but it did give me ideas on how I can express my love to him while speaking his language.
I do recommend this book. Whether you feel like your love tank is leaning toward empty or you are in a love euphoria state, this book helps teach you how to express your love in a language your partner understands and gives ideas of how to show that love in ways you may not have thought of.

Now I'm starting "Eat, Pray, Love", which is another free book on Military OneSource. I'm struggling to get into it but hoping it gets better. I'm sure you'll be able to read what I think of it next month.

September 15, 2010

Deployment Goal Month 3: Stamping

The third month of the deployment was a pretty good month for my stamping hobby and business. Now let me be honest, it is much more a hobby than a business. I would be happy with enough sales to help me meet my quarterly quota and that is it. I had a few surprise sales during this month, and those always make me really happy. Also, I had two different requests for card sets for people to buy. I sell a set of 8 cards with envelopes for $10. My favorite way to make them is a technique referred to as a "one sheet wonder". You stamp one sheet of paper all over, or you could use a sheet of designer series paper. The printed image sheet will be the "theme" for all 8 cards. You cut that sheet up to create 8 different layouts, and you have a great set of 8 coordinating cards.

Here is the one sheet I created for one set of the cards.
The finished set of 8 Thank You cards.
Second set of cards were an assortment of different sentiments.
I package the cards up and they are ready to be sold.

September 13, 2010

3 Month Reality for Ryan

Right around the 3 month mark reality seems to be settling in with Ryan. He was fine for the first 2.5 months, and Pat's absence didn't seem to be an issue for him. Recently, however, it is clear that Ryan is missing his Daddy. Ryan has been asking about Pat a lot more. He often asks me, "Dadda home?". He now knows that Pat is "at work". Or sometimes he says "Dadda in phone" because that is the only place he knows his daddy is. I think the first couple months were easy for Ryan because he was so used to not seeing his daddy for extended periods of time between long hours at the office and field training. I think at this point though, he just doesn't know why Pat hasn't come home yet. While it is clear that he misses Pat, he's being such a trooper through it all. He really does amaze me.

I had more that I planned to write, but since Sean is down for a nap, I want to take some quality time to play outside with Ryan. I'll post more later.

September 10, 2010

Photo Session

The town I live in has a free monthly magazine for families that tells about upcoming events and local businesses. I am a fan of this magazine on facebook. I saw on there that a photographer was new to town and giving away 3 free sessions. I put my name in and guess what....I WON!!!!

I've NEVER had professional photos taken of either of my boys. (I know, can you believe it? That is crazy, huh?) So I was really excited and nervous for our session.

We did the photo session earlier this week. The photographer, Laura from Laura Kay Photography, was great. She was super friendly and great with the boys. It was a lot of fun having a session with her, but best of all the photos came out AMAZING!!!!!

To the best of my knowledge, my husband does not read my blog during his deployment. Hopefully that is true so that I don't ruin the surprise. I ordered a bunch of prints to put into an album to mail him. I think it may be one of the best gifts I could possibly give him at this time. I cannot wait until he sees them.

Laura posted some photos from the shoot on her blog. You can see them HERE.

And if you are in the same town as me, I highly recommend Laura as a photographer. Her photos are awesome and she is great to work with.

3 Months Down, But 9 Months to Go...

I'm sorry I haven't blogged for so long. Yesterday we reached 3 months down, and I was feeling really good about that until I got the dreaded phone call that the battery had suffered another casualty. Usually I will have an inkling of these before I hear officially because of media sources and social networking sites, but this time I was shocked. All the events that take place after a casualty have happened very fast with this recent one. Our unit had our briefing last night to inform the other spouses of the incident. My heart breaks for the wife and daughter that lost their hero.

So my upbeat post of 3 months done on the deployment has become a dreadful sigh that we have 9 months left of this. Needless to say, I don't feel much like doing a review today. I'm just going to sit with the kids and enjoy some rain. I'll be making posts to update you on our progress over the past month, etc. in the next few days.

Please pray for all our troops serving in combat zones and especially the family that is grieving today.

September 1, 2010

My View of Multiple Deployments

This post is solely my personal experience and feelings abut multiple deployments. Everyone has different experiences, these are mine.

Deployment 1 2005-2006
It is my belief that a first deployment is a unique experience that will not be recreated in the next deployments. For me the first deployment had it's challenges, but I did not feel right to complain. I carried a pride for my husband, and a duty to carry on and get through it. Being in a military family, you know a deployment is inevitable, so to complain on the first one would set a bad precedent. I feel like I grew a ton on this first deployment and was able to become a real independent woman. For our first deployment we did not have children yet, so I was really able to do as I pleased. Everything during a first deployment is a new experience/obstacle and a test to yourself and your strength to get through and prevail. I was very proud of myself at the end of this first deployment, and while I hated the absence of my husband, I look fondly on the time I got to really know myself and what I am capable of.

Deployment 2 2008-2009
This deployment was the lowest point for me in our military family life and also for our marriage. This deployment tested me on many levels, but especially emotionally and psychologically. Just prior to this deployment we pcs'd to a new duty station. Then Pat immediately went away TDY to a course. He returned and we tried to settle into a new house, new town, and new duty station. Pat left when Ryan was four months old. Not only was I facing the newness of my surroundings, I was a new mother. I was not feeling completely comfortable with my new role as mother yet, and I had not imagined dealing with all the challenges a child would bring alone as a single mother. I found my way through this deployment, but I struggled a lot. I had literally NO support network for myself. My holidays were spent alone with Ryan, and the only people I saw in person for most of this deployment were the cashiers at Walmart. Pat was my rock as much as he could be from Afghanistan, but I do not think he realized how painful this deployment was for me on so many levels. That year taught me a lot about motherhood, and I am thankful for those lessons and for all the time I shared with Ryan. I just hope that I was a good enough mother to him during that time. When Pat returned, so did my spirit.

Deployment 3 2010-2011
This deployment is not like the others in that communication if really difficult and sporadic, the mission is extremely difficult for our Soldiers, and the amenities and living conditions for our Soldiers are the bare minimum. I am afraid that the stress of this deployment could end up affecting Pat on emotional/psychological levels like the second deployment did for me. I do not even completely understand what life is like for him over there. For us here, we are thriving. Having the two boys keeps me busy and happy. Ryan is now at an age where we can verbally communicate and can play. Sean is a sweet and happy baby and also loves to play with Ryan. This deployment is not stressful for me because not only do I feel like I know what I'm doing as a mother now, but the year before this deployment Pat was gone so much that I'm used to doing everything alone. The time is actually moving rather quickly. I do not know what I would do without my boys. They keep me sane. I enjoy the routine that our days have. Being the best mother I can be to my two little boys is the reason to keep my chin up and a smile on my face. I miss Pat terribly and hate that he is missing everything with the boys, but I try to keep him as included as possible given the poor communication system. However, spending the days with the boys leaves me very little time to wallow in how much I miss Pat.

As I am now in my third deployment I can see how different each deployment is. I find it interesting that my second deployment was the worst. I think the circumstances around the deployment make a big impact on how you handle it. I hope I never find myself in a similar situation as deployment 2 again. And at this point I hope we get a break from deployments and some much needed family time when this third one is done.
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