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.

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