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.
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