June 29, 2011

Pour Your Heart Out: Stay In or Get Out

I'm joining Shell at Things I Can't Say and pouring my heart out.

I hadn't planned on talking about this (at least not yet), but it weighs on me and I figure I might as well
share it.  Today I'm pouring my heart out about the decision of staying in or getting out.  I cannot and will not speak for my hubby, so everything I write below is solely my own thoughts and opinions.

For my MilSpouse readers, maybe you've made this decision, maybe it isn't a decision you'll ever grapple with, or maybe you don't talk about things like this.

For the civilian readers, I am always baffled about how so many people manage to live "in the real world" and make it look easy to survive there.

Why am I finding myself having this internal debate now?  We just finished our third deployment.  My husband has been gone for almost half of our oldest son's life, and he missed over half our youngest son's life just on the last deployment.  I've seen the strain that is putting on my children in their interactions with their daddy and also how it affects their personality.  I'm getting tired of being disappointed.  I'm sick of having bad timing for everything in the Army.  Because of the bad timing, we are quite possibly looking at deployment number 4 in about a year.  I always have hope that we'll get a say in what happens next in hubby's career, but that never seems to be the case.  A more trivial reason would be that I've always wanted to buy a house with the intention of keeping it for more than 3 years (and not renting it out).  Growing up I dreamed about raising a family in one home and leading a normal life to include family dinners and holidays spent together.

For the past 7 years the Army has been our life.  It has given us many great opportunities and a very decent life.  I am able to stay at home with my children, which is something I do not want to give up no matter which path we take in life.  But has the military life given us enough to continue on this same path?  I don't know.  I think part of the reason we never really contemplate getting out is the fear of the unknown.  We're so used to the Army world.  I consider getting out to demand a great leap of faith:  faith that you will find a job, faith that you can support your family in an uncertain world, faith that you will end up in the right place, and faith that you will not regret the decision.

One of my biggest fears about getting out is realizing that I suffer from the "grass is greener" complex where I always look at the other side and think it is better.  Ultimately this decision will be my hubby's.  Of course he will take my opinion into his decision, and he will choose to do what is best for the family. I will support him in whatever he wants to do, and I will not force him either way.  While I leave it in his hands, that doesn't mean I do not struggle with it also.  I don't know what the decision will be, only time will tell.  We have a lot of time to think, and that is exactly what I'll be doing.


June 28, 2011

Real Momma, Real Style

Have you ever found a blog that is completely different than yours, but it inspires you?  A while ago I found Nina at Momma Go Round.  Things I love about Nina and her blog are that she's trying to spruce up her style since becoming a momma, and most mommas can relate to that.  She doesn't spend a fortune on her clothes.  She is committed to trying new styles.  But my favorite part is that she tries to use what she already has.

I've posted before about how I need to put more effort into style.  I'm slowly trying, and of course since I'm frugal I'm trying to use what I have.

The other day I decided to pull out a dress that I wore 5 years ago, and it has been sitting in my closet ever since.  I wore this dress on our anniversary dinner during my hubby's R & R on his first deployment.  I was a lot skinnier then, so this was risky to pull out now especially considering the stripes.  Normally I would let the dress wait for some special occasion but not anymore with this new inspiration.  A little black tank underneath and I was set to go...off to Walmart to grocery shop because that is special enough, right?

Dress was from a boutique shop in OKC (I don't remember the name) and the tank is ON.  

Here's my promise though:  if I ever do one of these posts again, I swear I will work on not looking so awkward posing for the camera, and I will find better backgrounds than the side of my house. ;)

I'm linking up to:
Momma Go Round


June 27, 2011

The Memories We Keep

Yesterday was Sesame Street Live with Elmo.  It is such an amazing feeling to see your children smile and marvel at new experiences.  I was so filled with joy watching Sean dance to the music and Ryan bouncing in his seat.

It's also funny to think about the memories we choose to keep and those we try to toss away--like the screaming fit Sean was having near the end of the show because he wanted to get closer to the stage, or on the ride home when Ryan became quite sad because Batman wasn't at the show.

At the end though, those little little hiccups won't interfere with my memories of a fun and happy day.  Just seeing the amazement on their faces was enough for me to say it was a perfect day.      

Please excuse the quality of these shots, the theater was dark.


June 24, 2011

Excited About Elmo

A couple nights ago, we made a quick trip to Target before dinner.  Ryan will not let us go to Target, which he calls "the mall down the hill", without browsing through the toy section.  This time Pat had the boys and the cart at the toys, while I was off looking in the kitchen stuff for a minute.  When I got back to the boys, Pat said Sean found an Elmo and wasn't going to let it go.

It was small and inexpensive, so I figured we'd buy it for him.  We also found a Batman toy (on clearance) that Ryan wanted.  Both boys were happy.

Coincidentally earlier that day Pat and I were talking about getting tickets to see Sesame Street Live 1-2-3 Imagine! with Elmo for this upcoming weekend.  After seeing Sean's reaction to Elmo in Target, Pat and I both knew we had to try to get tickets.

On the way home from Target we stopped at the grocery store and bought our tickets.  I am so excited for this weekend.  Both boys are going to love it.  And we're going to love seeing smiles on their cute little faces.


MilSpouse Friday Fill-In #46

  1. Are you a different person than you were five years ago? submitted by Sisterly Thoughts  I am very different in many ways.  My hubby was on his first deployment.  Everything Army was new and exciting.  We were practically newlyweds still just celebrating 2 years of marriage.  We didn't have kids.  Now hubby has finished his third deployment.  The Army is neither new nor exciting to me anymore.  We're way past the newlywed phase.  Plus we have two little boys that our world revolves around.  I've learned a ton in those past 5 years, so I feel it appropriate to say I am a different person.  
  2. If you could go on Amazing Race, who would you take with you as your partner and why? submitted by Thoughts from a Poekitten  We don't watch the Amazing Race, but the other night hubby and I were talking about if we would be a good team for it.   I was surprised that my hubby thought we'd do well together.  I agree that in general we'd be a great team, but I freely admit there would be a lot of bickering along the way.  We are both very opinionated and stubborn.  
  3. Does Facebook or Twitter actually bring more stress or good in to your life? submitted by Just an Arizona Girl  I've found that there are certain friends on facebook that I find annoying.  Whenever I read their status updates it puts me in a bad mood.  They just have that affect over me with the types of statuses they post.  If I block their status updates, I'm a much happier person.  I don't use twitter, and sometimes I think about quitting facebook.  I'll keep it, but I don't use it often.  
  4. June is National Soul Food Month- what’s your soul food? submitted by NH Girl Displaced  Gravy.  Anything with gravy.  My mother makes the best gravy in this world.  Thankfully I've been able to make a decent version of hers.  I think gravy is liquid gold.  
  5. If you could live in any other era than the current, which one would it be & why? submitted bySugar in My Grits  I know some of you will cringe at this, but 1950's.  I love the clothes--dresses with small waists and full skirts.  I am a stay at home mom/homemaker now.  I take it seriously.  I would totally fail at keeping the house clean in the 1950's standards (heck I fail by today's standards too!).  But I just like how idealistic life seems.  It was definitely a family oriented time.  Also, what could be more exciting than being there for the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement.  
Go link up with Wife of a Sailor!

June 23, 2011

At My Worst

Once in a while, I have bad mommy days.  I hate having days like this.  It is at these times that I am at my worst.  Being overtired or just plain in a bad mood shows through to my kids.  My patience is lacking.  I reprimand too often, and I frequently raise my voice.  There is no excuse for these days.

Mothering my children is the task that I am proudest of.  I have such guilt on the days when I know I'm not giving it my all.  My one saving grace on these bad days is nap time.  I am so thankful that both boys still nap.  I sometimes take one too.  On the bad days though, I like to take a minute and reflect on what I'm doing wrong and pray for the patience I need to make the afternoon better.  Sometimes that is all I need to change the day, and even if that isn't enough I always know tomorrow will be better.

These days just drag me down though and make me feel awful.   Anyone else have bad days like this?

Yesterday was one of the bad days for me, but today is one of the many great and amazing days that I get to spend laughing with my boys.  I hate that I have days of cranky moods with the kids, but at least the good days far, far outweigh the bad ones.  I'm working on finding a better me that doesn't let the little irritations of life interfere with how I care for my kids.

Thankfully, I can say that today is a new day, and it's all good moods here.


June 22, 2011

Things I'm Loving: Organization Style

Let me begin with something I'm loving that isn't organization related.

1.  AF-S DX NiKKOR 18-105 mm Camera Lens
I haven't mentioned it yet, but for our anniversary Pat surprised me with a new lens for my DSLR camera.  I'm no photographer, and I give permission for all you photographer people to giggle at the ignorance I type next.
While we were on vacation I brought my two lenses.  I call one the "regular one" and the other my "super zoom".  When we go to the zoo and such I make sure I have my super zoom on.  The only issue then is that I have a hard time capturing the kids when they are standing close to me.  When we went to the beach, I had the regular lens on because I wanted to capture photos of the kids.  However, that is when the air show happened to fly by, and my lens just wasn't strong enough to capture good photos of that.
I kept telling Pat that I wish they made a lens that combined my regular and my super zoom.  I didn't know that they in fact do make lenses like that.  (See?  I told you I know nothing about photography.)  The lens Pat bought me is about double the zoom of my regular and about half my super zoom.  It still can zoom out so when the kids are close I have no issues taking pictures of them.  I haven't had a chance to really play with it yet, but I'm excited that maybe I won't have to switch my lenses as much.

Now back to the organization.  I'm been in an organizing mood lately, and my house always needs that.  So yesterday I went shopping for a few items to help keep things in their place.

2.  Mail/Paper Box

I'm trying really hard to de-clutter the kitchen.  We have the bad habit of taking the mail into that room.  I've now outlawed mail going onto the counter.  We have a mail rack by the front door we will use.  However, some things still end up on the counters like receipts or important papers that we both need to address.  I found this cute little solution for the receipts and other random papers that come in the kitchen.  Plus it matches my menu board.

3.  Over The Door Hook
I wanted to also keep my purse off the counter.  The kids reach for it when it's there, and it just takes up too much space.  Pat bought me an over the door hook that will help keep it out of the way.

4.  Toothbrush Holder
Sure, it's just a toothbrush holder.  I'm using it to keep the spoons for Abbey's medicine off the vanity counter top.  The powder turns a bit sticky in the humid air and the counter accumulates a film.  I am constantly scrubbing it off.  So now the counter will remain clean.

5.  Jewelry Display
 I found this at T.J.Maxx.  Recently a bunch of blogs have been showing how they store their jewelry.  I was in bed the other morning thinking about how I need to clean up the top of my dresser.  I have a lot of jewelry boxes on top.  I figured with some sort of jewelry display it would all be together, and if I can see it maybe I'll wear it more often.  I'm not sure if this will be the final storage solution, but it's good enough for now.  I would take a photo with my jewelry on it, but I'm a bit ashamed of how badly my silver needs a polishing.

6. Dog Food Storage 
I wish I bought this years ago.  I was using tupperware containers with snap on lids.  These are small but hold 15+ lbs of food.  The top spins on to keep the food fresh.  They don't take up as much space, and make getting the food really easy.  

So while these things may seem boring, getting a clean, organized house is worth a little boredom, right?


June 20, 2011

Quick Trip

This weekend I made a quick trip up to Boston to take care of some personal business.  My parents flew out to watch the boys while the hubby was working, and I flew up north.  I stayed at my parents house in the town I grew up in with my sister.  I hadn't been there in 2 years.  It was nice to see the familiar sights again.  It made me realize some things I missed that I didn't even realize.  It also gave me ideas of what I want in the next town we move to.  Unfortunately, I was too busy to see some of my favorite things, but the boys and I will be making a trip back up in July for a few weeks.
I was gone just under 48 hours.  The kids were in excellent care, but it was hard to be away from them.  This was the first time I was ever away from Sean for a night.  He took it pretty hard at bed and nap times, but his Grammy and Grumps were able to distract him from my absence the rest of the time.  Ryan loved visiting with Grammy and Grumps, so he did pretty well.  Ryan and I were able to talk on the phone, and let me tell you, he is the sweetest boy on the phone.

The best part though was when I returned to Nashville.  My three boys were waiting for me there, and I was greeted by big hugs, smiles, laughter, and Starbucks.  

It was a very busy two days.  I am completely exhausted.  I think it will take us a few days to get back to normal and catch up on things around here.


June 16, 2011

Who I Am

Change is constant in life.  Most of the time I like change.  I find it refreshing.  It could be because I get bored easily, or maybe I'm always looking for something better.  I've had a strong desire for change recently.  I also have the feeling that there are big changes in store for my family over the next year or so.  Between the far off changes and my desire to embrace change, I'm found myself on a journey to find myself.

I think for too long I've depended on the title of "Army wife" to define who I am.  Sure, my husband is in the Army and that affects our life, but being an Army wife really doesn't describe who I am.  I have never experienced the typical Army wife life anyway.  There is so much more of me to share than that.  

So now I'd like to spend some time exploring who I am, and that includes who I am through my blog.  I hope you sit back and read along as I embrace change, find myself, and evolve.

One of the first changes that is pretty obvious to notice is my blog look.  I know I've been changing it with some frequency now.  When I came across Kim's 733 Custom Blog Design and saw the portfolio, I was in love.  I instantly knew I needed her to do my blog.  I thought a new blog design to usher in all the changes coming in both my outlook and life would be really appropriate.  I am so proud of how my new blog looks, and Kim deserves a big thanks for that.

June 15, 2011


The last stop of our block leave vacation was Atlanta.  We went there on block leave before Pat deployed and enjoyed it so much that we wanted to stop there again.  We spent two nights there this time.  Here are the last of my vacation photos.  (I'm sure you are relieved that I'll finally stop posting about it.)

View of Centennial Olympic Park from our hotel room.  You can also see Pat's favorite attraction of ATL--World of Coke.
Photo from in the park.  
 There are a couple playgrounds for the kids in the park.  The boys love it there.
 But this is the face Ryan makes whenever the other kids take something he was playing with or even if they come too close for that matter  He's rather shy.
 Sean enjoyed the freedom running around in the park.
 We also went to the Imagine It! children's museum again.  You can see the post I made about our stop there last year HERE.  It is funny to see how much things change and yet stay the same.  We have a very similar photo of Ryan from our last trip there too.
I thought this was one of the coolest exhibits.  As soon as you walk into the room it starts a video that includes you.  The kids loved seeing themselves on TV.  
 They loved banging on the drums too.
 Sean was very impressed when he saw himself on the TV.  He kept walking to the TV and pointed where he had just seen himself.
The boys really loved the museum.  I highly recommend it for anyone that has little children that love hands on activities.
 We stopped by the fountain in the park one afternoon, but after seeing how crowded it was we decided a trip to the hotel pool would be better.

We also went to the Georgia Aquarium which is awesome.  We didn't really get any photos there though.

So that was our block leave vacation.  I am so happy that we got to see a lot of different places AND spend some time with family.  It was a great vacation.

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June 12, 2011

Happy 7 Year Anniversary to Us

Today is our 7 year wedding anniversary.  In those 7 years we've had extreme joy, some challenges, and lots of love.  We are a partnership that makes me a better person.  I do not take the happiness in this life for granted.  I have been very blessed.  Thank you for always being by my side.  
I love you, Patrick.  

(a few photos from 7 years ago....my how I have aged :)

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June 11, 2011

Things I Love About Summertime

1.  Trips to the splash park.  

2.  Homemade popsicles (eaten outside of course).

3.  Laundry hung on the clothes line.
4.  Playing in the sprinkler.

5.  Swinging on the swings, playing outside, and watching the boys be boys.

What are your favorite things about summertime?

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