April 28, 2012

One Year

One year ago today I was welcoming my husband home from his third deployment.  This was a deployment unlike the previous ones he had experienced.  All deployments are hard, but I feel like during that deployment I learned how to live without breathing.  One particular image of the homecoming will forever be burned in my mind.

Everyone felt the swell of pride upon seeing the Wounded Warriors leading our Soldiers home, but trust me when I tell you that these were not all the wounded from that tour.  We had many more that were (and some that still are) in treatment facilities.  

I will never forget the relief I felt when my husband was back in my arms.  However, I have to say the effects of deployment do not end when they step off that plane.  We have rode the roller coaster of ups and downs this past year as we adjust back to "normal".  The kids had to get used to having their Daddy around.  Pat had to get used to living with children (and a wife) instead of Soldiers.  He needed time to decompress for the stress of what he'd been though.  We also had a lot of stuff going on in our personal lives during this year since his return.  

In some ways it feels like it's been a very long time since he returned home and yet in others it feels so recent that we shared that first hug in the hangar.  If I had a say, I'd never want him to go away again, but that choice isn't 100% mine.  

While today is an anniversary of such a happy day, it's bittersweet, especially for Pat.  Many of Pat's fellow Soldiers are preparing to leave on their next "rendezvous with destiny", possibly some of the Soldiers seen in the above photo.  It is unimaginable to me to have to be saying goodbye again so soon, but I know that some of the families around me are doing just that.  My prayers are with all of them, and I hope that their time for homecoming arrives quickly.  

So today, please send a quick thought to all the military families out there.  Some are struggling with goodbye, others are dealing with the distance deployment brings, and some are fortunate to have their loved ones home for now.  No matter which phase they are in, military families could always use a good thought sent their way.  

April 25, 2012

Bits and Pieces

*Pat caught a bit of a cold over the weekend.  He's now passed it on to me.  Thankfully so far it's just been a sore throat and sneezing for me.  My voice sounds all scratchy though.  I am hoping the rest of this week flies by so I can enjoy a restful weekend.

*Ryan has been so much better this week.  His fits and tantrums have completely subsided.  Sure, we still have the normal 4 year old drama, but I have my good boy back.  I'm not sure if he was just overtired, getting over a sickness we didn't know he had, growing, or something else entirely.  It's so nice to see him happy again.

*Pat changed out of Command yesterday.  It sometimes feels like those 15 months flew by.  I know Pat is a bit sad that his time leading the Soldiers is over.  I feel like we waited for so long for this Command that to now to think it's over feels odd.  I am so proud of my husband though.  I know he did a great job in that position, and I cannot wait to see what comes in the future.

*Speaking of the change of Command, the boys, well more specifically Sean, were not so well behaved for the ceremony.  It didn't help that Pat had us arrive an hour ahead of time, and it was during nap time.  In fact at the part of Pat's speech where he was thanking his wife and talking about his children, I was literally dragging my kids around the side of the building absolutely mortified.  Boys will be boys, I guess.

*The weather is back to sunny and warm.  The weather's been a bit crazy lately.  I'm glad that I can go enjoy the sun and maybe a nice cup of warm tea outside with Sean before we pick up Ryan from school.

April 23, 2012

Chocolate fondue? Yes please.

I don't know if you've heard, but Scentsy Group has added another brand to join Scentsy Wickless.  The Scentsy Wickless brand still includes the fragrance products like the warmers, fragrance bars, personal care fragrance items, room sprays etc.  Now, there is a new brand named Velata.  It is fondue warmers and premium Belgium chocolate.  It will be available for purchase beginning in May.  

I was super excited to receive mine on Friday night.  I had made a special trip to the grocery store to buy various items for dipping.  We planned a family fondue night party and indulged on Saturday afternoon.  
We decided to try the Velata Dark Chocolate.  Dark chocolate is usually my favorite, and this one was definitely good.   It also comes in Milk Chocolate, White Chocolate, and Caramel Milk Chocolate though.  You take the package of chocolate and put it in the microwave for one minute.  Then kneed it until it is smooth, and pour it into your Velata warmer.  I had a small self-induced snafu with this, but it turned out just fine.  The warmer is warm enough to keep the chocolate smooth but not scorch it.  And one package of the chocolate was enough for my family with a little left over.  
Pat can be a bit of a snob, especially with chocolate,  and he thought it was high quality and very rich.  We dipped fruits, pretzels, cookies, and rice krispies treats.  (I forgot to buy marshmallows.) 
You can control the temperature of the warmer to what suits your preferences and needs.  
Sean, my sweetie with the sweet tooth, thought it was delicious too!

I had been anxious to try this product to see if it lived up to it's hype.  I have to say, I think it is great, especially if you like entertaining.  One thing I loved about it was that I had something delicious for people to eat, and I really didn't have to cook a thing.  I cut up some fruit and microwaved a bag of chocolate, but the resulting food was top notch.  I think guests would be impressed with the fondue and not realize how simple it was to create the yummy treat.  I am already looking forward to our next fondue night.  I think I'll try the Caramel Milk Chocolate as I've heard great things about that too.  

If you have any questions about Velata or how to buy the products, feel free to contact me.  

April 19, 2012

It is all about the little moments...

No matter how frustrating the kids can be, there are always sweet moments that I never want to take for granted or forget.  

It's when... 
you hear them having true belly laughs at silly things.
they share an unexpected hug or kiss.
they sweetly tell you that they love you.
you hear them playing or talking together in a nice way.
you get to hold them close and breath them in.  
you see the look on their faces when they are playing outside.
they run over to you happy to see you after being apart (even if it was for a short time).  

Today one of the sweet moments I captured was Sean giving the baby (in my giant belly) a hug like he often wants to do.  I think he's getting excited for a baby to join our family; actually, we all are!  

(You can see more photos if you join instagram.  Look for me @shellymotto.  I post more photos there these days than I do here.)  

April 18, 2012

Can he hear me?

Lately I've felt really tested as a mother.  Some days the kids have a bad day, and other times I'm having a bad day.  However, lately Ryan is in a phase where he is testing me constantly.  It's hard to describe because it's not completely unusual for Ryan to test us, but the way he's doing it now is out of control.  If we didn't know better, we'd be wondering if Ryan has a hearing problem.  His hearing has been tested, and we know he's hearing us.  The problem is he is NOT listening.  We speak and he completely ignores us.

What I hate the most about this whole phase/situation is that I'm constantly arguing, yelling, and battling with my child.  It makes me feel terrible as a mother and for my son even though I know I'm yelling for a reason.

I've been thinking about what could be causing this, and to be honest I have no idea.  The out of control-lack of listening is happening daily no matter what else is going on.  He does have really good moments where he's behaving like a good boy, but then there are the demon moments when things are out of hand.

I'm feeling frustrated and like a failure when we're in the midst of the chaos.  I've felt on the verge of tears multiple times in the past few days.  I find the discipline part of being a mom so hard because all I want to do is love on my children, but I also know that through discipline I am teaching them because I love them.

I hope that Ryan will try to listen more, and that I will find more wisdom to guide him in the right direction.  I just want to move past this phase as fast as possible.

April 17, 2012


When they say moving and buying/selling homes is stressful they aren't kidding.  I'm trying not to focus on the anxiety that comes with selling.  I dealt with that two months ago when we were originally supposed to put the house on the market.  Right now I figure if ignoring the selling part makes me feel a bit better, that's what I'm doing.  Well, until I cannot ignore it any more that is.

But I did mention in my last post about how my in-laws were going to look at some of the houses on our short list this past weekend.  We had a list of 8 houses, 3 of which were having open houses.  Of the 8, 6 bit the dust.  The two that remain were not open houses, so they are allowed to stay on the list based on location alone.  Although one of the two isn't the most ideal kind of street for us.  Of the 6 that are gone, one was said to have 4 offers on it.  (And it had only been on the market one week.)  The other 5 had location issues.

I'm bummed out--not because I expected to find our home, but rather because this leaves me feeling pessimistic on if this the right area to be looking.  We're moving to a high cost of living area, so our budget is tight.  We've narrowed down the area we are looking in because it seems to have the best houses for our price, there is a school that Ryan could get into right away, and the location for the two possible future commutes is the best that our money can get us.  I was just hoping that I'd come away from the weekend knowing that a few houses are good and will definitely work for us.  You see as soon as our house here goes under contract, Pat will have to fly up to spend a three day weekend finding and offering on a house.  If we don't get it done then, we'll likely end up homeless for a period of time.  I may or may not get to go house hunt with him, depending on timing.

So now I'm super nervous that what if when we go to buy there are no good houses on the market just like at this moment?  We plan to keep this home for a VERY long time so it's really important to me that we don't settle.  Time just isn't our friend in this situation.  I can only cross my fingers and hope one of the great houses comes at just the right time for us to snatch it up.

I had thought the buying wouldn't be as stressful as the selling, but it seems in the situation it may be just as bad.

April 13, 2012

Past, Present, and Future

This week I've been reflecting a lot.  Yesterday was an anniversary for me and Pat.  It isn't one we celebrate, but we like to at least acknowledge the day.  Yesterday was the 9 year anniversary of when we got engaged.  We were still in college.  I remember the joy and excitement of that night so well though.  I think I've blogged about it before.  You can read about that HERE.

It is funny to think of how much we've grown and changed since the night I said yes.  We were just naive college kids then.  I'm not saying we are all wise now, but I guess I feel confident enough to call us adults now.  We've survived 3 deployments, we have two little boys and a girl on the way, we've bought two houses and are getting ready to move again within the year.  We've learned to communicate, we've supported each other in the tough moments, and we're best friends.

I don't think I give Pat enough credit in real life or on my blog.  He has been my rock this year in so many ways.  The whole are we moving or are we not has been really hard these past few months.  When I am upset about all the unknowns and the challenges, I know I lash out.  Pat has managed to accept that and also calm me down.  For the first four or so months of this pregnancy when I was feeling sick, tired, and just extremely hormonally crazy, Pat took care of me and filled in with the kids whenever possible.  When I don't think I can make it anymore, Pat gives me the strength I need.  I don't mean to make this whole post a tribute to Pat, but he does deserve so much more gratitude than I give him.

I'm finally feeling like I can start getting excited for the future.  It's getting close enough and I finally feel like we are moving forward.  We got the baby bedding (more on that in a later post), we picked out the absolute perfect color to paint the nursery in the next house, and my in-laws are going to check out some open houses this weekend of houses we are interested in.  I know it's still early.  We don't put our house on the market until next month, and it's sale determines when we buy.  However, I just feel so happy that we are finally getting close to the dreams we've been hoping for for so long now.

I'm joining the Ultimate Blog Party 2012.  If you're stopping by from UBP 2012, I'd love for you to say hello so I can be sure to visit your blog too.  You can read all about me in the ABOUT section in the header.  Thanks for stopping by.
Ultimate Blog Party 2012

April 10, 2012

Easter Weekend

We had a great Easter weekend together.  It was so nice to have quality family time.  I wanted to make the most out of doing some of the cute traditions, and the kids loved the activities.  While somethings didn't go completely as planned, it was a perfect weekend that we celebrated as a family.  Here's a little recap of some things we did with a few pictures.  

I was inspired by a pin on pinterest to make "bunny bait" with the boys.  It was an easy and fun treat to make together.  I couldn't stop eating it as soon as we made it.  I've decided this would be best when we have people over to share though because quite a bit is still sitting on my counter going to waste.  I think this would also be fun to try for other holidays too. 
We dyed Easter eggs with the boys.  Growing up I didn't really do this because no one in my family was big on eating hard boiled eggs.  So it was almost as exciting to me as it was for the boys.  I look forward to making this a yearly tradition.  

For Easter we had a traditional ham dinner.  The good thing about not having company over for the holiday is that it didn't matter when we didn't have the meal ready at our planned time or that we had slightly crisped the outside of the ham or added too much milk to the potatoes.  It was still delicious.  We followed dinner up with my Easter cake.  It was supposed to be a checkered pattern for the cake, even though you cannot really tell.  It was probably the biggest cake I ever made.  The pans said to use 3 boxes of cake mix.  It was a bit excessive, and as a result of the large layers it kind of looked like the mad hatter's hat from Alice in Wonderland.  I learned quite a few lessons for the next time I use that pan.  And while it may not have won any awards for aesthetics, it tasted moist and delicious.  You should have seen Sean gobble up his slice in under two minutes, no utensils required.  
So that was our Easter in a nutshell.  I hope you had a great time celebrating with those you love too.  

Lastly, I recently gave in and started using the instagram app on my iphone.  I've had it for a while but never really understood it.  I'm trying to figure it out now.  Anyone else use that?  

April 3, 2012


So it's time for me to talk about moving plans again.  If you recall, I left off talking about it when Pat's orders got deleted.  Pat talked to a bunch of people about how this affects his career path etc.  I think it was at this point that the people who wanted the orders deleted were beginning to realize all their plans up to this point had been pretty stupid.  Finally a few people (same people who wanted Pat's orders deleted) started working to see if they could just delay Pat's orders.  Thankfully, Pat's next assignment was willing to wait for him, and things were worked out so that Pat could report next winter.  

The funny thing is that every excuse the Army gave on why Pat should stay here, they have now contradicted.  Pat isn't even staying with his unit.  He'll be moved up to BDE to fill a staff spot.  I know that this job will come with a lot of pressure and stress.  He will have very little time left for family.

Our original plan was to be moving within this next month and settled into our new home before the baby arrived.  Obviously that isn't happening.  One of the biggest problems with the timing of the new plan is selling our house.  We've tried to sell a house around the holidays before, and it is a terribly time to try to sell.  We want to avoid that time because when we do put the house on the market we are hoping for a quick sale.  Also, Ryan is turning 5 this fall (he's growing up way too fast), and this is his last year of preschool before kindergarten.  I know that doesn't seem like a big deal.  However, something I haven't blogged about is that Ryan has a bit of a speech problem with articulation.  I feel like it is really important for him to use this year of school, and if we are able to get into the public school system he can get his speech help there (in addition to what is provided from our health care).  We'd prefer not changing schools after only a few months of the school year because we want to make the transition as easy as possible for the kids.  

So after much deliberation, we've decided that we'll be putting the house on the market near the end of next month and hoping to sell this summer.  Then the kids and I will move up so that Ryan can start the school year in the new school.  But this plan is not without problems.  For instance, we'll be living away from Pat for at least 5 months if our house sells in the time frame we are hoping for.  I hate the idea of living away from Pat for so long especially by choice.  We'll be putting our house on the market when I'm something like 36 weeks pregnant.  That is not quite an ideal time for me to be dealing with all that selling entails.  I won't be able to decorate a nursery for our baby girl because we'll be moving shortly after her birth, hopefully.  I will be responsible for settling our family into a new house by myself--decorating and organizing, plus getting used to a new home/town.  We have to move our furniture and household goods by ourselves, so we're going to try to live with the bare minimum.  We won't be getting BAH for that area, so money will be tight.  Unless we pay to fly Pat up to visit, he'll be missing more birthdays and holidays.  I could probably go on and on about all of the hard parts of this new timeline for the move.  With all those problems I sometimes wonder why we decided to move me up early.  But it's two simple facts:  education and stability for Ryan (and Sean) and selling our house at an ideal time.  

If our timeline doesn't quite work, that's okay.  There are so many issues with it, I'm willing to just go with the flow of what happens.  You see something else to consider is that if our house is to sell anytime between May and July, I won't be able to go house hunt in our new location.  Pat and my mother would be responsible for visiting all the prospective houses and buy one.  

So it's turning out to be quite the chaotic time again.  We had such motivation last time we were supposed to be selling our house, I'm just not sure I can find it this time.  I've warned Pat that most of the work will be falling on his shoulders.  This whole thing just makes me a bit irritated and also worried and stressed.  For the most part, right now I'm trying to ignore all the upcoming challenges and unknown.  
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