I try…

I really try to remain positive and most of the time I do!  I plan fun things for the kids and I to do.  I spend my mornings getting us ready for our fun filled days and I spend my nights cleaning up from them.  I make sure we have “down time” and time to relax.  We’ve spent almost every holiday since our solider has been gone doing really very “normal” holiday activities, so that we don’t all mope around feeling sorry for ourselves that he is gone.

Today, New Year’s Eve I planned to have friends over.  I planned to eat pizza from our very favorite pizza place, I got party hats, blow horns to make tons of noise, and sparkling apple cider to toast with at midnight.  Only thing is… I’m sad.  I want to be with my soldier.  I want him here.  We’ve lived apart for over 7 months and I’m tired of it.  I want him back.  I want to cuddle with him tonight and kiss him at midnight.  We’ve been apart for 4 out of 13 New Year’s Eves since we’ve been married.  I know that is pretty good odds, but seriously, I am just missing him tonight.  I miss his laugh, his scent, his voice, his touch, his presence in the house… I just miss him.

So, 2015 I’m excited and happy that you are here!  This year will bring my reunion with my solider!  We will spend more months together this year than last and that is something to be very thankful for!

Happy New Year!

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Christmas Eve

I did it! I didn’t think I could, but I did! I handled Christmas Eve all by myself with five kids and no family within 2,000 miles! I didn’t cry! I didn’t fuss! I put on my big girl panties and made a very special, never to forget day for my five sweet children! Yes, our soldier daddy is deployed and yes, that stinks, but it’s Christmas and we won’t get another one for another 365 days! So, Merry Merry Christmas Eve 2014 everyone! From our family to your family, God bless you!!!

A soldier’s sacrifice

A soldier, a husband, a daddy, a son, and a brother died this week.  Tonight I learned the devestating news that a dear sister in Christ received the very worst and most unimaginable news that the love of her life will never come home.  He was killed in Afghanistan.  The thoughts and feelings that run through my mind and body right now are all too familiar.  I have never received the news that she had to endure this week, but something all too similar.

It was July 2004 and our first son had just been born a month and a half earlier.  We were blessed enough that my soldier was able to come home on leave from his deployment in Iraq to see his son be born into this world.  Those were the happy moments of 2004.  Then, there was July 1, 2004.  That day will forever be remembered in our house as the day that daddy came all too close to being gone forever.

My very best friend and I lived two houses away from each other on our military post at the time.  Both of our soldiers were deployed to the same base in Iraq.  We spent our evenings together, cooking meals for our kiddos and watching comedies to try and keep our minds off of our husbands being gone.  She was up that night chatting with her husband over the computer when suddenly he typed that he had to go.  The internet was being turned off.  There had been an accident, a very bad accident and families would have to be notified.  They didn’t want news leaking out to the family members before they could be contacted through Army channels, so all communication had to be cut off until it was done.  My friend’s last words to her husband were, “Do you know where (my soldier) is?”  His response: “No, I have not seen him today.”  Then, the line went dead.  She didn’t know what to do.  Should she call me?  Should she tell me what was going on?  We had a trip planned to keep us busy over the 4th of July weekend.  We were driving miles away and staying in her brother’s house while we shopped some of the biggest outlet malls in the area.  She decided to call.  “Have you talked to your soldier,” she asked.  “Yep, I did yesterday,” I said.  “He is on a convoy and will call me in a couple of days.”  Her heart sunk.  He was on that convoy.  “Well, be sure to tell your Family Readiness Group leader where you’ll be,” she said.  All Army wives keep in close contact while our husbands are away and its important that the chain of command know if we are taking trips or leaving base for any extended period of time while our soldiers are on deployment.  “I’ll email her,” I said.  I had a new cell phone number, so I emailed my Family Readiness Group leader my plans to leave town and my new cell number in case she needed to get ahold of me.  She never got that email.  I finished packing our bags that night and the next morning we left bright and early for the drive.

That night we stopped to have dinner at a restaurant and were just ordering when my friend’s cell phone rang.  I watched her reach into her purse and move things around looking for her phone.  Finally finding it, she put it to her ear and said, “hello.”  Within seconds her face went white.  She wasn’t smiling and didn’t look happy, but scared.  Without saying a word, she took the phone from her ear and handed it over the table to me.  It was at that very second that I knew something was terribly wrong.  I took the phone.  “Hello,” I said.  “Baby, its me and I’m okay, but there has been an accident.”  I knew it was him, but his voice didn’t sound right at all.  I later learned that it was because his tongue was swollen out of his mouth, so talking was extremely difficult.  The connection was also terrible.  He was calling from a satellite phone half a world away.  The conversation was short.  We said, “I love you” to each other a hundred times and then he hung up.

After that, I did all of the things that military wives do.  I called his parents.  I called my parents.  I called my husband’s commander’s wife and that is when I learned the details.  My husband had been riding in the back of an unarmed Humvee.  He was in the turret when all of a sudden he heard something that was so loud that he immediately couldn’t hear anymore.  He was thrown up into the air and then came back down, his leg and ankle getting caught in chains.  He was hanging upside down with dust and blood covering his face and eyes, so that he could not see.  There was chaos, voices, and dust.  Another soldier from the vehicle behind his ran to my soldier and got him down.  They took him to the side of the road and called for a medic.  “What happened,” he asked.  “An IED,” they said.  My soldier tried to get up, he kept telling them he was okay.  He was not okay!  He wanted to help, he knew his friend was dead.  He knew his other buddy was still pinned inside the truck.  He wanted to help, he wanted to get up, but they wouldn’t let him.  It wasn’t until the medic got to him that he knew that maybe he wasn’t “okay.”  A very young medic showed up beside my husband and hollered, “Holy hell,” when he saw his face.  Blown completely open like a banana when it is peeled, the flesh beneath his nose, mouth, and cheeks were all totally exposed.  Blood everywhere and debris too, my husband suddenly had the urge to spit.  He did, and then immediately regretted it, feeling metal and hard chunks leave his mouth and thinking that he may have just spit out his teeth.  After that, his mind is kind of a blur and the next things he remembers are all inside of the mobile medical station.  They x-rayed him, finding a metal bolt from the vehicle lodged inside of his shoulder and tons of metal shrapnel in his face.  As he lay there looking up at the ceiling his thoughts finally came around to us.  He thought about how scared I would be.  Moments later, he was in surgery.  After over 700 stitches were used to put his face back together and the bolt removed from his shoulder he woke up in recovery and was given a satellite phone to call home.  That is when he called me.

There were more days that he stayed in Iraq and when it was safe they flew him to Germany.  After a two week stay in the hospital there, they flew him to Walter Reed in Washington D.C.  After that, he came home to finish his recovery with me and the kids.  He doesn’t like to be called a hero.  He says he just survived.  To me, he is a hero!  Yes, he didn’t die that day, but he carries the scars of that event with him every single day of his life.  There is not a day that goes by where someone doesn’t ask him about his face.  NOT ONE DAY!  For a while we didn’t go too many places.  Having to explain those scars was just too much.  Now, he wears his scars with pride because it gives him the opportunity to tell people about his friend and fellow soldier who died that day.  He gets to tell people about his hero, the young man who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Some days I just feel like a huge failure!

WARNING: This is not a “feel good” post.

Some days I just feel like a huge failure!

My kids don’t listen to me.  My thirteen year old won’t come out of her room.  My ten year old wants to play video games 24 hours a day.  My seven year old is whiny.  My 2 year old won’t sleep through the night.  The baby has started throwing, kicking, and hitting everything in sight and I’m exhausted!

What am I doing wrong on these days?  I don’t wake up thinking, “Today, I’m going to be a horrible parent.”  I usually wake up very happy to start the day with my kids.  But, some days life is just a mess!

My house is a mess.  There are toys all over the floor.  The laundry is piled upon every available couch, chair, and bed.  I haven’t showered in over 24 hours.  My hair is pulled into a greasy pony tail and I probably smell.  I feel so defeated!  If only, I could wake up a little earlier, maybe then I could shower daily.  Only problem with that, I AM TIRED!  I need more sleep!  So, greasy and smelly I’ll stay.

I recently had a talk with a very sweet friend about how I’m happy as long as my kids are happy.  The truth is that I AM happy as long as they are happy, but I just would like a few small things to go my way for once.

List of things I’d like to go my way…

1. No arguing… THIS IS HUGE!  I am SO TIRED of my seven year old and ten year old bickering at each other!  I want to tie them to each other or make them walk around in the same oversized shirt until they can learn to just GET ALONG!  (side note: I have NOT done this… but I’ve thought about it!  ha ha!)

2. A “less-messy” house.  I’m not a protectionist.  I don’t expect everything to be spotless, but just a little less mess would really make my day!

3. Getting to talk to my soldier at least once a day.  THIS WOULD BE HUGE!  I feel so rejuvenated after talking with him and my life just seems perfect after I’ve reconnected with my love.

4. Money to spare.  There just never seems to be enough for the “extras.”  I know many people feel this way, maybe all of us and I know how truly truly BLESSED we are… I’m just saying it would be nice.

So, there you have it.  I’m real.  I don’t have it all figured out.  Some days are hard.  Sometimes I want to go crawl into my bed and pull the covers over my head and just cry.  Some days I feel like a huge failure!

Four Days

Four Days…

That’s about how long I can go without talking to my soldier and still feel nice… after that all bets are off.

I feel antsy.  I feel stressed.  I feel mad.  I feel drained.  I feel sad.  I need him!

I look around and see other couples.  They don’t hold hands.  The husband doesn’t have his arm around his wife.  The wife has a sour look on her face and I just want to scream!  “Don’t you know how lucky you are?”  “Don’t you realize how special it is that you have the love of your life sitting right next to you?”  “Don’t take that for granted!”

He will call when he can.  He always does… every chance that he gets.  And, when he does, I will feel nice again.

The “smelly” shirt

I had to break out the “smelly” shirt today. Other Army wives know the shirt I am talking about. It’s the shirt he left behind that smells just like him. The one you find when you are doing all of his laundry after he has left and you just can’t bring yourself to wash it. Yep, that one! It smells a perfect mixture of his deodorant, cologne, and shampoo. The smell of “him!”

I keep mine in a ziplock bag at the end of my bed and only bring it out when I really need the comfort it provides. I lay there and deeply breath in the perfect scent! Immediately my body relaxes and I am calmed.

Today was a “smelly” shirt kind of day!

Going to church without him…

Sundays are really hard for me now. Families are supposed to go to church together! It feels so weird to sit alone in a pew that I usually can’t bring myself to do it! I end up staying with the kids in their classes or helping out in the nursery to keep from going to service alone.

I love going to church with my husband. I love sitting there holding his hand as we listen to the sermon. I love standing next to him as we sing and listening to his beautiful voice praise God. I love walking through the halls to pick up our children together with my arm wrapped in his. I love coming home and talking about what the preacher spoke about that day. I love listening to his opinions and take on things. I love everything about Sundays, except when he is gone.

When he is gone, we’re always late for church, because getting five children ready early on a Sunday morning is really hard. Someone always forgets to eat or to brush their teeth or wears the wrong shoes and I usually arrive at church with no makeup because there just wasn’t time. I love my church friends, but walking through the halls of our church, all I see are couples. Couples going to Sunday School together arm in arm, just like me and my sweetheart would be if he were here with me now. The bible lessons always seem to be about marriage or family or something else that reminds me that I am alone right now and it’s just depressing. I hate it!

Am I going to stop going this year while my soldier is deployed? Absolutely not! I will still be there every chance I get! Because even though it is sad and even though it reminds me that we are separated right now, it also reminds me that I am loved! Loved by my church family and loved by my God! Listening to our pastor pray for deployed soldiers every single week gives me peace. These men and women who fight for our freedom are not forgotten and my family is not forgotten. We are loved. So, even though it is hard we will still be there every Sunday morning. We’ll be there late, me without makeup, and probably with someone wearing the wrong colored shoes, but we’ll be there.

314 days and 44 things to do!

314 days is way too long! I will NOT be making a paper chain countdown to represent that amount of time! That would be depressing! Instead, I have divided the time by weeks and we have about 44 of those left to last through! Here are some things I would like to do with my time!

1. Take the kids to the drive-in
2. Take the kids bowling
3. Visit a farm
4. Go to the beach
5. Eat healthier
6. Get pedicures with my daughters
7. Watch classic movies with my oldest
8. Watch my big kids play soccer
9. Watch my ballerina practice ballet
10. Write my soldier love letters
11. Send my soldier care packages
12. Swim in our pool
13. Make “Daddy Books” for each of my kiddos
14. Memorize scripture
15. Teach my daughter’s GA class
16. Pay off debt
17. Save money for a family vacation
18. Have a pool party
19. Make my soldier a monthly “memory book.”
20. Make a “Fun” Christmas card
21. Go on a “Girl’s night out!”
22. Read more books
23. Take kids on walks at the park
24. Sing loud in the car with my kiddos
25. Plant more flowers
26. Plant more blueberry bushes
27. Write letters to my grandpa/ call my grandpa
28. Do a Bible study
29. Finish decorating the living room
30. Talk to my soldier as much as possible
31. Take more pictures
32. Make “daddy blankets” for the babies
33. Lose ten pounds
34. Plan a special Christmas for the kids
35. Give more to others
36. Blog often
36. Write more of my prayers
37. Do more service work
38. Learn to make Kombucha tea
39. Exercise with friends
40. Help people
41. Snuggle my babies
42. Watch my oldest play basketball
43. Be kind to myself
44. Breath and relax often

314 days is too long! We will just take this deployment one day at a time!!!

Ecclesiastes 3:1
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…”

He left

Today was the day my solider had to leave to get ready for his upcoming deployment.  There were tears, far too many from me, but we all know I “feel” things more than other people.  I tried to keep busy, tried to make the day worth while and I made it to nap time.  That is when the real tears came.  I called my husband, only a few hours from home and he gave me the pep talk I needed!  I can do this!  God is with me!  We are still a family, even if we are miles apart!  We can get through this and we will!  Put my head down.  Take it one day at a time.  His voice was so perfect to hear.  He always calms me down!  It’s only been one day.  I can’t picture how it will be seven weeks from now when we get to see him again for block leave, but I know it will be the best day of the entire summer!  I already can’t wait to see him again!