Friday, July 30, 2010

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In

Go over to Wife of a Sailor to see other MilSpouse responses!

1.What is your spouse’s best feature?
Physically?  His eyes.  His eyes are this piercing grey/green color and change depending on what he's wearing.  I miss seeing them!
2.Mild, Medium or Hot sauce?
All 3, please.  It really depends on my mood and whether I've had heartburn that day or not.  I went through a Hot Sauce love affair with this past pregnancy.
3.What is the worst uniform you had to wear for a job?
My worst uniform was from my worst job - grocery store checkout girl.  I wore a white shirt with a really ugly small black necktie, black pants and comfy shoes.  I was 17 at the time and had to dress like I was 70+.
4.You have invisible powers… where is the first place you would go?
The Middle East.  I would love to see my hubby in action.  But if I was invisible, I'd be safe, right?  Maybe I'd bring along invisible body armor.
5.What’s left on your “to do” list for this summer?
  1. Get the trees trimmed.
  2. Get the front door painted.
  3. Organize all the paperwork laying around in the basement.
  4. Organize my closet (again - I swear I do this every other month)
  5. Finalize our family budget
  6. Finish Proverbs, start on Colossians and get a few books to read in the fall.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In

Another edition of Wednesday Weigh-In...

As of this morning, I'm down an additional 3 pounds, bringing my total weight loss to 6 pounds.  I celebrated with a plate of Mac 'n Cheese for lunch - it only seemed appropriate.  You know, I wouldn't want to lose too much weight.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Don't Go, Daddy

Sometimes I feel very selfish.  Let me clarify - sometimes I feel more selfish than usual.

I often feel that our life is always in someone else's control (ahem, military) that I need to control everything in my life in order to feel somewhat balanced.  If the military's going to dictate our life, then I want to be able to at least feel I can control something

Just a few days after Joel left on this deployment, my dad left with a group from church, to work in Haiti.  This is his second trip since the earthquake.  The two main guys in my life were going far away at the same time.  I was in freak out mode.  I had come to deal with the fact that Joel was leaving, but the closer it got to my dad's trip, the more I felt the urge to sit on his foot, grab his leg and tell him he wasn't going.

Selfish.  I know.

I already felt my world was tipping and the guy who has always been consistent, my dad, was leaving and suddenly my world felt even more off kilter.

I should be proud, and I am really, that I have two great men in my life who are willing to work hard in a place far from home, working with people who need so much help.  But having them both gone at the same time was hard.  I really lean on my dad when Joel's on deployment and I didn't know if I could do it knowing he wasn't right across town.

But it's not about me.  It's about all the people in the middle east and in Haiti who need help and support.  And my two guys are so strong to go and do that hard work.

Dad came back last week so invigorated from his experience.  He got to help build homes for the homeless, love on children who were parentless and witness to those who don't have God in their life.  I'm so proud of him for that.

Here's a picture, from a Sunday church service, I believe.  My dad loves kids and is so great with them and kids just naturally flock to him.  There are so many better pictures of him with kids, but I wanted one that didn't show their faces.

Love you, Dad.  I'm so proud of you!

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Letter to My Husband

Dear Joel, 

Happy Anniversary, Love!  Seven years ago, today, we became husband and wife.  One of the best days of my life and I am amazed how far God has taken us in the years since then.

I miss you so much already.  I know we're just a few weeks into this, but I really wish you were here so we could celebrate together.  I think this makes the fourth anniversary that you've either been out of state or out of the country.  Next year we'll have to get away for a few days to celebrate - a big bottle of champagne is in order!

I don't know where in the world you are today, but wherever you are and whatever you're doing, I hope you know how much I love you, how proud I am of you and that I pray for you every moment you come to mind.  I am one of the lucky few who can really say that her husband is her hero - and for so many reasons, you are that to me.

Thank you for always standing up for what is right and for doing the hard task, even when that task requires a lot of sacrifice.  Thank you for loving me, even when I'm difficult to love.  Thank you for supporting our family and working so hard so that we can have a bright future.  Thank you for always encouraging me, always seeing past my flaws and for always thinking of your family first. 

Seven years ago, Glen challenged us with this at our wedding:  "God will lead you into such situations and will bless you and develop your characters as you walk together.  He will give you enough tears to keep you tender, enough hurts to keep you compassionate, enough failure to keep your hands clenched tightly in His, and enough success to make sure you walk with Him."  God has certainly brought us through a lot since we've been married - I wouldn't want to walk this road with anyone but you.

I pray that God would continue to lead and guide us as we journey through life together with our girls.  Wherever you are today, know that your wife stands beside you in what you're doing.  I love you with all my heart and cannot wait to have you home again.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

17 Days

It's been 17 days since I've seen his face and heard his voice.  We've only been able to Facebook back and forth so far.  Joel just messaged me and said he thought he'd be able to call tonight.  I'm so excited - it'll nice to be able to hear his voice again and I know Grace will love being able to talk to Daddy.

Friday, July 23, 2010

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In

Thanks again to Wife of a Sailor for the questions!  I have to say, that these were really hard for me to answer.

1.Besides the horizontal mambo, what do you miss most when your spouse is deployed?

HA!  Very funny.
I really miss the companionship.  Joel's my best friend, so he's the first one I go to when I'm happy, sad, frustrated, in need of a vent session and a hug.  I miss him being here to offer an ear to me.  Right before bed is kind of my time to decompress - talk about the day, get things off my chest.  So, I've been finding myself calling my mom or sister in the evening and just letting them know what I did that day.

2.What do you miss least?
Honestly, I don't miss his little messes.  Joel leaves his things scattered throughout the house.  If I ask him to pick them up, I feel like I'm nagging.  So I just kinda suck it up and deal with the little piles.  Right now, the only messes are mine!

3.You only get three crayons to finish your picture… which three do you choose and why?
Gosh, I wish I knew what we were coloring!  I'd say red, brown and green.  I've been doing a lot of coloring lately, thanks to little Miss Grace, and I find I reach for those colors most often.

4.If you could have your own fragrance, what would it be called?
Beloved.  It's from Song of Solomon 2:16 - "My beloved is mine, and I am his."  If I were to get a tattoo, it would be beloved in Hebrew.

5.If the shoes make the man (or woman), what do your shoes say about you right now?
That I'm fairly practical, always in a hurry, but still need to be cute.  Thus my flip flops with sparkles or a turquoise stone and lots and lots of ballet flats.  Rarely do I wear shoes with ties, because who has time to bend down to tie your shoes when you have kids to get ready and out the door?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In

So, Wednesday's the day that I get up and hop on the scale to see how my good eating and workouts are paying off.  My goal is to lose 15 pounds during Joel's deployment.  As of this morning, I have lost 3.  I'm pretty happy with that number.

I don't know how other military wives are when their spouse is away, but I always eat so much better when Joel's gone.  (No offense, Honey.)  I don't keep the junk food around that I do when he's home, and meals are a lot simpler, not as fatty, and well not nearly as tasty.  With just Grace and I to cook for right now, I don't feel like I have to make a big 'ol dinner with all the fixings.  And without the bread and desert, we're eating much healthier.

But I do get cravings.  Usually around 9:00, when the kids are in bed, I really, really, really want a bowl of ice cream or a bowl of Oreos with milk.  But without them in the house, I have no choice but to reach of the banana or string cheese.  I usually sit down at the computer, with my healthy snack of choice and read a couple food blogs, and just pretend I'm eating all that beautiful, glorious food. 

Note:  I know the title's alliteration will drive some of my friends crazy, but I had to do it.  It was too easy.

Monday, July 19, 2010


We are 11 days into this thing.  Yes, I count.  I wake up in the morning, get out a pencil from the kitchen drawer and update our calendar.  I need to do it so I know how many days I've survived so that I know how to ration my stamina.

My best way to adjust during a deployment is to keep busy at the beginning.  What I really want to do is turn off the alarm, ignore my kids and just sleep the deployment away.  But I have two girls who would never allow that and a husband far away who wants me to keep truckin'.  So, I get up, feed the kids, get us all ready and figure ways to fill our day.

Grace always does best with a full schedule anyway, so she's thrilled that we're always out of the house or in the middle of a project.  But it's in the quiet moments - either in the car or right before bed that she tells me how much she misses Daddy and asks how much longer until he's home again.  It breaks my heart.  So I stop whatever I'm doing and just sit with her.  We talk about how we feel and in what ways we miss Daddy.  Honestly, these talks are as much for her as for me.

I didn't really expect for Grace to be the one that I can be the most open with.  She is one of the few who have seen me cry.  She understands what I'm thinking about when I'm just sitting in a chair starring off into space.  I never thought that my four year-old would be the one who would sympathize the closest with me.

So, she's my little bud right now.  We're going to do this deployment together and give each other enough hugs and kisses to get through the next many months.  Well, hugs, kisses and plenty of trips to the mall.  That's how we get through it.

Friday, July 16, 2010

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In

Wife of a Sailor ( has been doing this for the last few weeks.  I'm new to it, so here it goes:

1.What food reminds you of your spouse?
 Little Caesar's pizza.  When we were dating and first married, we would pick up a pizza, drive to a park, and down the whole thing.  The thought of it now makes me sick.  TUMS, please.

2.Who would you rather sit next to in a cross-country plane ride: an irritating non-stop talker, or a quiet stare-er?
A quiet stare-er, please.  Nothing like wanting to take a nap or read a book and have someone next to you who cannot pick on very obvious non verbals.

3.What are your best tips on how to save money?
Clip coupons.  They're free and will save you lots of money over time.  Why pay full price for anything when you don't have to, especially when it takes 2 seconds to cut out a coupon?  I think it's also important to meal plan for the week.  Dropping by the grocery store for this or that several times during the week really adds up over time.  Oh, and don't spend money you don't have.  There's no point living a dishonest lifestyle just so strangers can be impressed with the things that you bought that you can't afford.

4.What is your favorite summer memory?
Going to the pool with my family.  Marco Polo, anyone?

5.Do you believe in ghosts?
No.  I believe we live in a spiritual world.  But I don't believe in ghosts in the same way that many do.  I've had some pretty creepy encounters during my life.  Eeek.

I'd love to hear your responses!  Especially to #3 - I'm always looking for ways to trim up the budget!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Setting Goals

I've been slow going with this post.  Mostly because I feel if I actually post my goals publicly, there will be accountability to fulfill them.  Acountability.  Blah.

So, here it goes.  My goals for the next many months of this deployment:

  1. Read a book every day.  I mean a real book with more than 10 words on a page.  I love to read but have lost my drive to do so over the last few years.
  2. Spend one-on-one time with each of my girls each day.  I spend so much time running around the house doing this and that.  I need to be sure to sit, talk, play and participate in play that both Grace and Autumn need. 
  3. Lose 15 pounds.  I have lost every single last pound I gained with Autumn plus a few, but I want to get back to where I was before I got pregnant with Grace.  This will mean getting back to working out at least four times a week and eating healthy.
  4. Make a plan for our basement.  We have a finished basement with a bathroom, laundry area and a decent sized all-purpose room..  It's been completely under-utilized since we bought the house and I need to make the space work.
  5. Study Scripture every day.  I have times in my life when I'm really good about setting aside quiet time for myself and other times I simply do not make this a priority.  I need to set aside part of my day for just me and God - whether it be right before bed or before the kids wake up.  I'm in the middle of studying Proverbs right now and I want to study Colossians after that.
So there they are - my five measurable goals for this deployment.  I'll keep you updated.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Of Skype and Sand: An open letter to family members and friends

Of Skype and Sand: An open letter to family members and friends: "Dear Family and Friends, I swear on all that is holy that if any of you EVER AGAIN send me an email showing flag draped coffins I will come..."

Monday, July 12, 2010

Happy BirThanksMas

Happy BirThanksMas!  What?  You've never heard of such a holiday?  Well, when you're deployment is during your birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas, you need a meal to celebrate all of them at once!

I decided to surprise Joel one night for dinner with a few of his favorites.  I got the girls up early one morning and ran to the grocery store so I could have everything prepared before Joel got home from work at the base.  Nothing like making a batch of stuffing at 10:00 in the morning on a 80+ degree July day!

So for dinner we had stuffing, Italian cut green beans (yuck, but he loves them), sirloin steak and chocolate fudge cake.  To drink was raspberry lemonade and one of his favorite beers - St. Pauli Girl.  Dinner was quite a strange mix of foods, but I wanted him to get some of his favorites before his deployment.  He gets all sorts of skinny on deployments, so I needed to fatten him up a bit beforehand.

Dinner was a hit.  We were both feeling it though - the steaks were gigantic and it was kind of hot for a big pile of stuffing, but it was well worth it.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Our Goodbye

We are finally into the deployment.  After nearly a year of deployment talk and plenty of anticipation (and some dread), we said our goodbyes last week and sent our favorite troop on his way.

Last week was plenty busy... there are always a lot of things to tie up - household projects, finances, legal paperwork.  We managed to set aside a part of one day to go out to a museum with the kids and have lunch afterward.  Joel and I stayed up "late" two nights to hang out, talk and get some Wii in.  And by late, I mean we both crashed by about 11:30.  What happened to the days of staying up 'til 3 every night?

The morning Joel left, he and I both woke up about an hour before the alarm - both anxious and nervous about the goodbye, I think.  I woke up with a feeling in my gut like I used to get before I took an exam I wasn't prepared for in college... kinda sick, thinking "how am I going to do this?", wishing I could just crawl back into bed.  Joel got up and made pancakes for all of us - he wanted to crack open the maple syrup form New Hampshire before he left.  I'm guessing the military doesn't serve real maple syrup overseas... We took a few pictures before we left for the base and once we got there, our goodbye was brief.  A few good "Joel hugs" (they force any air inside of you out), some kisses - I was trying to hold it together for the girls and Joel and was also trying not to break down.  I told him I loved him, that I'd miss him and that I was so proud of him.

I went straight to my parents house from the base.  I wanted to go right home and curl up on the couch with a blanket and call it a day at 9 am, but for the sake of the kids, I knew I needed to have some support around.  I actually called my mom earlier in the week to let her know my plans to come over the day Joel left.  I told her that I'd most likely call that morning and make up some excuse why I wasn't coming over and if I did that, she was to drive over and force me into the car!  Being home was not a good option for me.

So, we've survived the last few days.  One foot in front of the other.  Filling our days with projects and outings.  So far so good.

I'm missing my troop, but am so proud of him for what he's going to do.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Brief Break

D-Day is fast approaching.  I'm going to take some time off from the blogging world so that we can spend time together as a family.  For those of you who have done the deployment thing before, you know how busy things get right before a deployment... packing, shopping, tying up loose ends, last-minute house projects.  Those are all on our to-dos right now and we're also trying to squeeze in as much family time as possible.

We're holding on to every last precious hour together. 

Be back soon...

Monday, July 5, 2010

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

As we get very close to Joel's deployment date, I started thinking about the week leading up to Joel's England deployment.  It seems with us, that before each deployment, things go wrong at home - either with illness or with our 80+ year old home falling apart.  Here's a note I wrote on Facebook right before he left last year.  Hope it's encouraging to you.  It's helped me keep perspective during these last few, busy days.

"I loved "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" when I was a kid. I remember checking and re-checking it out of our school's library... Never have I related to poor Alexander more than this week. First of all, Grace is doing much better and we are so thankful for that - it's frightening to see how quickly a toddler can decline with the flu!

So, Joel's getting ready to deploy for three months in a few days, so we were anticipating a busy week with last minute to-dos and seeing family and friends. We prayed that God would allow good family time, and I'm kind of wondering what "good family time" means in His eyes!

Grace started throwing up on Tuesday which is a first for her and kind of threw us for a loop. Poor little kids just don't know what's going on and they just want Mom and Dad to make it all better. Joel slept on her floor that night and woke up to her asking him to wash her baby and blanket. She had a nice present waiting for us that morning and nothing matches starting your day like that. She felt better throughout the day - just kinda sleepy and clingy. So we cuddled, read books and just hung out!

That night we all cuddled on the couch and the power went out - one of our tree limbs fell on our line. Joel went out to see what was going on. Another big "boom" and we realized that one of our neighbor's big limbs fell and a piece broke off and fell on Joel's car. Nice. Luckily, Joel's car took it like a man and only had a few dings.

We got ready for bed and realized that our back portion of the fence completely collapsed. So, we went to bed, all bundled up and prayed for a new day.

That morning Grace and I went to the neighbor's until our power was restored. Karen told me that our fence along their property line collapsed on her husband's truck the night before.  Ok, so a whole new fence is on the way!

Grace seemed fine that morning - just a little tired. Within a few hours she started throwing up, dry heaving and just acting completely lethargic. I called the doctor and was told by the nurse to just monitor her. Thanks, yes, I'll do that. I'm so glad my friend was so gracious in allowing my sick kid to throw up all over her house and then offer to make me lunch!

Grace continued to vomit and started throwing up blood so I called the doctor back and we got in within an hour. By that point, Grace is barely responding to us and is basically just staring blankly - not her normal bouncy self!

The doctor decided to admit her to the hospital so they could rehydrate her quickly. I know so many parents who have gone through worse with their children, but I think it's frightening for anyone to see their little ones poked and prodded and put in a hospital crib! Grace was a trooper and handled all the poking remarkably well!

After a few hours of IV fluids, she quickly perked up and started resembling the Grace we knew. She loved having a TV right next to her bed and told Joel and I that she wanted to stay there instead of going home.

Thursday night, I went home for a quick shower and on my way back to the hospital, hit my neighbors shiny new pick-up truck. I left a quick note and left for the hospital in tears... another deductible to pay. I came into Grace's room - her and Joel are cuddled together watching TV and Grace greets me with a big "MOMMY!". Wow. In that moment, I realized that nothing else mattered but the fact that my little girl was back to her normal self. The fence, the power, Joel's car, my car, our neighbors truck , Joel's deployment... "Rejoice in the Lord always" came immediately to mind and I knew that all was in God's hands. And I'm thankful for that!

Grace is perky, happy and giving orders. Joel's working on the fence this very minute. I placed a claim with the insurance company and our neighbor is completely understanding about the truck. All is well and we have a few precious days together as a family before Joel leaves on Monday.

Philippians 4 has long been a special passage to me. I cling to it once again and know that I am to be anxious for nothing - for God holds all things in His hands!"

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy 4th

Happy Birthday, USA!

You were expecting a patriotic post from me this weekend, right? I thought I would keep it simple and list five reasons why I love this country so much:

1. I have freedom to worship God, wherever I choose and however I choose.
2. Our country is beautiful - full of mountains, rolling hills, deserts, glaciers and lakes.
3. I had the opportunity to get a great education and pursue a career of my choosing.
4. I live in a country where men and women choose to fight for us here at home as well as far away from home.
5. Our country is full of people from different backgrounds, beliefs and cultures - we can learn so much from each other.

Thank you to those who have served our country well in the past and continue to do so in the present. It's because of your passion, drive and courage that we can celebrate with friends and family this weekend.

Here's the last verse of the Star Spangled Banner - it's beautiful...

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Happy 4th of July everyone! Be safe and remember this weekend why you love your country so much.