August 31, 2011

4 Months Home and Parenting

Let me start by saying that for the past week or so I haven't known what to write.  I try to compose a post, and it just doesn't come out right so I delete it.  So here I go trying again.

My husband has been home from his last deployment for FOUR months now.  Can you believe it?  I can't.  We've had a lot going on in those four months--some things I've shared on the blog and others that I haven't.  It has been a stressful reintegration.  I could go into all the aspects that were hard, but I'm just going to tell you about one.  The one that has been the most difficult for our family.

Pat missed most of Ryan's first year when he was gone on his second deployment.  In between that deployment and the most recent one Pat had a very stressful and demanding job.  He frequently came home after Ryan (and then Sean too) was in bed.  We were lucky to have the weekends together but often spent it catching up on housework and errands.  Pat deployed again missing most of Sean's first milestones, and leaving behind a 2.5 year old Ryan.

Now that Pat is back home and trying to get into the swing of being a Dad, he's finding that suddenly he has a 3.5 year old and a 1.5 year old yet he feels like a new parent.  He really missed so much in these few years.  I've come to realize that the first year or two with a child is like an introduction to parenting.  It prepares you for what is to come and helps you understand your child's individual personality.  You learn so much in that time period.  Pat does not have that introduction and learning period to rely on.

Pat doesn't know what to expect or how to react/interact with the kids.  Sean is still young enough that Pat's been able to figure some things out pretty well, but with Ryan it's been a challenge.  This has created a lot of stress for me because I often feel like I am refereeing between 3 children when really it is two kids and their Dad.  The strain in the relationship of the children with their father is causing strain between husband and wife too.

But I'm very thankful that after four long and hard months, I'm writing this post in hindsight.  We've finally made the progress that was needed to make things finally feel normal.  Pat and I did lots of talking (and arguing sometimes too) about this.  It took time and patience.  It has been a difficult situation for me as a mother to watch.  It has made me re-evaluate just how much stress and stain I am willing to put my children through and made me contemplate changes that Pat and I could make to help them.  I question at what point I will say enough is enough.  I've also come to wonder if the deployments are harder on the children the older they get or if there are just phases/ages in which they are very hard.

I am thankful for finally making it through the storm of reintegration, but I will not sugar coat how hard it has been.  There are so many different aspects to reintegration and the process is so personal, but I want everyone to know that they are not alone in the struggles.  Whatever the challenge is for you, I am willing to bet someone else has felt the same way too.


August 29, 2011


At Ryan's preschool they have a gold fish.  The children take turns feeding the fish, and that is a job that Ryan is very excited for.

Over the past year Ryan had been very interested in the fish whenever we went by them in a store.  He would ask for one, and I'd tell him maybe when his Daddy came home.

Daddy has been home 4 months (I can't believe that, but more on that later) and thankfully the subject of a fish never really came up...until Ryan started back at school.

This weekend when it came up, I agreed with Ryan that getting a fish was a good idea.  I must have been in a delusional moment.  Saturday morning we headed out to the store and picked up a Betta fish.  We originally intended to get two fish.  However after talking with the people in the store and doing a lot of research we decided a single Betta would be the best choice.  Betta fish are also known as Siamese Fighting Fish and do better in a tank by themselves.  So we are now the proud family of a blue Betta fish.  We let Ryan pick his name out, and Ryan decided our little blue fish should be named Goldfish.  I think it is adorable.

Here is Goldfish.  The pictures don't do his beauty justice.

Do you or have you had a fish?  Any tips?  I just hope I can keep him healthy and happy.  


August 26, 2011

A Moment of My Day

Last night there was a moment in my day that erased all the little annoyances that I had experienced.  It was one of the sweetest and happiest sights in a long time.

I was putting Ryan to bed.  We had just finished reading his book.  Sean was up on Ryan's bed too.  Ryan said, "I want to cuddle baby Sean." (Yes, Sean is still referred to as 'baby Sean'.)  Then he turned to Sean and asked him to cuddle.

Surprisingly Sean agreed and laid himself on Ryan's pillow.  Ryan laid down next to him, and the two of them cuddled, smiled, and giggled.

Then Ryan paused.  He looked at me and said, "you need to go get your cell phone and take a picture."  I agreed, and ran to get my camera.

When I came back this is the sight I captured and a memory I will cherish.


August 25, 2011

Listen To Your Momma

It's been one of those weeks.  Actually, I'm not sure I've had one of these weeks before.  I guess you could say I'm at the end of my rope.  I've been there before, but usually it is because I'm lacking patience.   That isn't the case this time.  I've been very patient with the kids.   The problem is neither of my boys is listening to me.

I mean they are really not listening at all.  If I say something, they do the exact opposite.  They are going above and beyond to push the limits.  It's pretty much driving me mad.   I feel like it should be Friday already.

I've made sticker charts for the boys to help them behave.  It was my last hope for getting through this week.  Thankfully Ryan does not like when Momma puts "frowny faces" on his board, so it is starting to work.  Sean on the other hand doesn't care too much about the stickers, and really I think he's just trying to assert his new found independence.  Unfortunately he doesn't understand that there are times and places for all things, and listening to Momma is the number one rule.  I keep telling myself this is just a phase.  I hope they both outgrow it soon.
I'm thinking I may need to fit in some me time this weekend.  Maybe I'm in need of a pedicure.  A girl can dream...


August 23, 2011

Perfect Saturday

Saturday was what I would consider a perfect day.  I had so much fun spending it with the family.  We REALLY needed a day like that.

We made a quick stop at the downtown farmer's market in town.  I love walking around there.

Next we drove to Nashville because the hubby needed new running shoes, and there is an AWESOME little store down there that fits them to your feet.  (Just ask if you want more info about the running shoe store.)

After the stop for shoes, we headed to a near by park for a picnic.  I LOVE having picnics.  The park we went to in downtown Nashville has a replica Parthenon which is also an art museum.  It was the perfect backdrop for a picnic, and I love that the park is so large that you aren't surrounded by other people.

The boys were all in good moods and seemed to be enjoying the day.

 Pat and I received not one but two picnic baskets for our wedding (yes over 7 years ago).  I may not use them often, but any chance I get you will find me packing our lunch in them.

After lunch we headed to the playgrounds that were right across from our picnic spot.  The boys love it there.  I loved that the playgrounds were built around large trees to provide lots of shade.  You can totally see the joy on the boys' faces in these photos.

Sean loves following his big brother.

After playing at the playground we decided to go over to the Parthenon.

Pat convinced me to go inside.  I am never fond of taking the boys into any museum.  I was pretty thankful that it was free for military families, especially since our trips into any museum are a short-lived fast paced walk through.  We can glance at all the artwork, comment on how beautiful it is, and then move on before the kids get too wild.  There were some AMAZING art pieces there though.  I'm glad we stopped in there.
 42' recreation of Athena statue.  

I could not have asked for a better Saturday.


August 22, 2011

What do SAHMs do all day?

Wait, before you get angry with me, I'm not really asking that question.  But I do get asked that question, or a version of it, very frequently.  Sometimes it's a simple and innocent "what have you been up to this week?" other times it's more along the lines of "I don't know how you stay at home all day.  I would go crazy and get so bored.  What do you do all day?"

I ALWAYS find myself stumped for an answer.  I take care of my kids.  I feed them, bath them, get them down for naps, play with them, and teach them.   I pay the bills, clean the house (well in an ideal world), take care of our 3 dogs.  Blah, blah, blah.

I just never feel like they want to hear the list of my daily chores.  So instead my answer is usually a version of this,  "Hmm, nothing much, I guess the kids just kept us busy."

I feel my answers diminish the reality of what it is to be a SAHM, but I don't know a better way to answer the question without listing out mundane tasks.

The reality is that I keep busy.  Staying at home is a job.  It takes effort, hard work, planning, and patience.  So while I know what I do each day and how busy it actually keeps me, I still don't know a good answer to those questions.

How do you answer those questions?


August 20, 2011

Too many M&Ms?

Yesterday Pat and I were predicting that Ryan was probably coming down with something.  Maybe he caught it at school or maybe it is the same thing that Pat has been fighting off all week.

First thing Ryan says to me this morning, "My tongue hurts because I ate too many M&Ms."  And he points to the back of his throat.

Sure buddy, I'm sure it's from the M&Ms.

Our plans for a picnic are still on though.  I think a little fresh air will be good, and the rest of the weekend will be resting up big time for my little guy.


August 19, 2011

Hello Friday,

Hello Friday,

I'm so happy to see you.  I've been waiting on your for a while.  Now that you're here, I wish you'd hurry up and finish.

I'm really looking forward to this upcoming weekend.  I don't have anything really big planned, but I really feel like I could use some quality family time.

Going to the park with a picnic, sweeping the deck off, maybe the farmers market, and spending time together all sounds perfect to me.   

What are your plans for the weekend?


August 17, 2011

Stick In The Mud

I haven't written for a few days because there hasn't been much to say.  Nothing seems to be going on here, and I'm feeling a bit like a stick in the mud.

In all honesty, I'm not happy right now.  There are certain aspects of my live that bring me incredible joy, like my two sons.  They are completely amazing, and I would not trade spending my days with them for anything.  However, it's the rest of what's around me that is bringing me down.  I feel like I need a change, but I'm stuck in a holding pattern.  And something that is making it worse is that Pat seems to be very content in the stick in the mud status quo.  He almost seems resistant to change despite my insistence that it is something I (maybe even we) NEED.  I feel as though I talk about this constantly and yet he isn't listening.

My feelings of unhappiness are bringing my spirit down.  I am finding that I'm in a bad mood a lot lately.    That is something I regret with every ounce of my being because my children deserve a fun and happy mother.  I tell myself everyday that tomorrow will be a happy one, but I'm letting things that I cannot change color the rest of it.

I need to put a stop to it.  I need to remember The Serenity Prayer:

I may be feeling stuck now and have to accept that right now I cannot change that.  But I must also encourage myself that when the opportunity for change arises I must courageously take that leap of faith.   

Linking up here:


August 14, 2011


I've recently started to really try to save money by using coupons.  And you know what?  It's HARD!!!

I've done some decent shopping trips using coupons, but I'm far from one of those extreme coupon using people.  I'm averaging about 47% savings at Kroger which isn't too bad.  I enjoy matching my coupons up to sales.

The reason I think it is hard is because I've made some blunders.  One week it was only an extra $2 spent because it was the wrong item, which really annoyed me.  Today at Kroger I was shopping the "Buy any 10 participating items and Save $5" sale.  I go with a meticulously written list.  Unfortunately I lost $5 of savings when I didn't realize the shampoo that I was buying wasn't one of the participating items.  I didn't realize until I was home that I only had 19 participating items instead of the 20 needed to add up to saving $10.   GRRRRR!!!!  What should have been $35 was now $40.  :(

It makes me so upset to realize that I failed my shopping trip.  I think I've decided to now put 21 items on my list for sales like this from now on.  That way I may pay more for one item, but it will ensure the extra $5 savings which helps my bottom line.

Anyone else enjoy couponing?  Any tips?  Where do you get your good deals?


August 11, 2011

Changes That Need To Be Made

Lately I've been thinking about things in my life that I need to change.  There were two things that popped into my mind right away.

1.  I need to start working out.  Since I came home from my visit up north, I've found my clothes don't fit the same (they are tighter).  My hips have larger love handles on them and my stomach is hanging a bit over the belt.  But more important than all that is that I do not feel healthy and strong.  This week I've started using our treadmill again.  I'm going slow, but I working my body.  I'm doing intervals of running and walking and will work up to running hopefully a 5k.  (It's on my to do list.)  I have to say that on the days I work out I feel proud of myself.  I feel strong.  I feel like I'm doing something good for my body.  That isn't to say that I don't have to drag myself upstairs in the mornings questioning why I'm even bothering, but when I'm done I have my answer--it makes me feel good.
So hopefully I'm going to continue.  I hope you will hold me to it.

2.  I spend way, way, way too much time at the computer.  It isn't fair to my kids, and it doesn't help me being productive in the things that really need to get done.  I find that when I'm on the computer it goes something like this "I just have to check this...", and then "oh wait, let me just look at this other thing...", and then "that reminds me, I wanted to look up this other thing..." and it goes on and on.  So I'm trying really  hard to limit my time on the computer when the kids are awake.  At most I only want to spend a total of 30 minutes on the internet during the day (except for nap time).  Maybe that will help me prioritize what really is important in my life from the internet and what I don't need to be doing.  Don't worry though, blogging is definitely a priority.

Are you working on making any changes in your life?  


August 10, 2011

1st Day of School

Today is Ryan's first day of school this year.  We decided to send him to school 3 mornings a week.  I still feel like that is too much, but I know my feelings are selfish in that I don't want him away from me that much.  However, I think interacting with other kids 3 days a week will be good for him.  We've never had many friends here, so sending him to school is giving him the social life that I cannot provide for him.

A few days after I gave birth to Ryan the baby blues hit me, and boy did they hit me hard.  I must have gone a week crying at the drop of a hat because I didn't want my baby to grow up.  I felt like with every passing day he was getting ready to be a grown up and leave me.  As the days seem to be passing so quickly right now, I'm feeling an increasing sadness that he's growing up so fast.  I just want to freeze time.  I know that isn't possible though, so I'm just going to cherish every single moment with both my boys before they don't want to play with me any more.  

First Day Last Year (2010)

I cannot believe how much older they both look!  


August 8, 2011

Back to the Blogging Basics

Recently I lost myself in the following and popularity side of the blog world.  I think it's easy to get sucked into blogging for others to read sometimes.  Last week on Kelly's Korner (which is an awesome and very popular blog), the topic of her Show Us Your Life was Blogging Tips.  What I loved though was her honesty about why she blogs.  That was when I realized that I had gotten lost in the blogosphere, and it reminded me of why I blog.

While I would like people to read what I write, that isn't why I blog.  I blog because I like to write.  When I write about my days--the good parts and the big failures, it sometimes gives me a new perspective.  I learn from my reflections.  I find by documenting my life, I'm able to remember the blessings I have all around me.  I also feel by sharing my life, it challenges me to live a better life.  I really believe that everyone has a story that should be shared.  All that aside though, one of the most important reasons for me that I blog is so that I can have a record of all the wonderful moments shared with my children and family.  These moments pass by so quickly, and I don't want to forget any of them.

I realize I'll never be one of the popular mom bloggers.  I'm okay with that.  The reasons I blog far outweigh the value of popularity.  That isn't to say I don't want people to read though.  I've found some great blog friends.  We follow each other's posts like we are real friends.  Knowing that someone finds my life and thoughts worth taking a moment to read makes me feel happy, but whether it was 2 people (plus my family because they are devoted readers ;) or 400, I'm still going to write.  Some may see my blog as boring, but it's my life and this is my blog.  From here on out, I'm going back to my blogging basics--blogging for me because I enjoy it.


August 5, 2011

Two of Everything and Boys

I knew this was coming, and it is finally here:  the time that I now have to buy two of everything.  Sean wants to do things and be just like his big brother in everything.  I used to be able to just buy one of items because Sean's interest in the big boy stuff was fleeting.  Not so much anymore.  It's really cute because now the boys really do play together.  Unfortunately, that means a lot more screaming and fighting over things.

In the past, I've always been against the idea of my boys sharing a room.  However, I know 3 bedroom houses are rather typical, and we don't know where we'll settle next.  I'm coming to realize that if we ever do have another child, I'm actually really okay with the boys sharing a room.  I think it could be really good, well, with moments of fighting of course.  Sure there would be challenges with that, but it's not as scary a thought as I once thought it was.  So maybe bedrooms will be something that I don't actually need two of for them.    

I am so glad my boys have each other.  At night when I am saying goodnight to Ryan (I put him down right before Sean), he asks to kiss "Baby Sean".  I ask Sean if he'll go give Ryan a kiss.  He nods an emphatic affirmative and runs to kiss his brother.  It is a moment that melts my heart every night.  Ryan is still trying to get used to Sean's open mouth-drooly kisses though.


August 3, 2011

I'm Back and Sad About It

Hello blog friends.  I cannot believe how long it has been since I wrote a real post.  Well, actually I can since I've been ill for the past few days, but I think I'm on the mend now.  I flew back to TN on Monday.   Pat was with me, but still, flying with two little kids and not feeling well is no fun.

I feel so lucky that I was able to spend 3 weeks with my family in New England.  I am definitely sad to be back in TN.  I really enjoyed spending time with family, and the kids thrived on all the attention they received.  It really made me start to think about what I want in my life.

When I grew up and pictured married life, I never thought I'd live too far from family.  I thought I'd see them on holidays and for BBQs.  That isn't my life now though.  Pat and I have very different relationships with our families.  I like spending time with my family and value our relationships not just as blood relatives but also like friendships.  I've been trying to explain this to Pat for years, but in his mind he thinks the desire to be near family = dependence.  I think he's slowly starting to understand that I WANT to be with family rather than NEED to be with family.

One of the things I hate about Pat's job is how inflexible it is with regard to where we live.  It is hard coming back to TN because I don't really feel like there is anything here for me.  It's nice to have my own house again after sharing a room with the boys for 3 weeks, but it's lonely too.  And I have I mentioned how nice the weather up North is compared to TN?

Do you ever wish you lived somewhere else?  How do you deal with those feelings?

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