Sunday, October 31, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In

Hope you all had a good week!  Join in on the Friday fun at Wife of a Sailor.

1.What’s the nicest thing a stranger has ever done for you?
When I was a Junior at college, another student and I were chosen to receive a scholarship by an older couple.  At the scholarship awards banquet, we had the opportunity to briefly get to know them over lunch and I was really humbled that this couple, who didn't know me, would be so generous to help me with some of the cost of my college education.  That scholarship took effect my Senior year, and I remember when I was working on projects or studying for a test, that couple would come to mind, and I was reminded to work especially hard in order to respect their generosity.

2.If you are having a hard time going to sleep, what do you do to help yourself?
This is very timely, because the last few weeks have been terrible for me come bedtime.  Lately I've been going for the bottle of Benadryl.
3.Name something that makes you wish you were a kid again.
I really miss the vacations we had as kids... it was wonderful to not have to do my laundry, pack, plan, pay or have to drive. 

4.What is something you never believed until you experienced it?
I never understood that unimaginable love that you can have for your child.  I remember how I instantly fell in love when we heard Grace's heartbeat for the first time.  We're blessed to have two such beautiful souls in our life and I never could have imagined that I would love two people who are so much work, so much.

5.What can’t you say “no” to?
If Grace asks me to go to the mall, I can't say no.  Why would I?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In

Happy Wednesday!  This morning was madness in our house - trying to get everyone up, fed, dressed and out the door.  I even managed a shower, so that's a plus!  Somehow in the craziness of this morning, I managed to pull the scale out and was thrilled with what I saw - I lost 2 pounds this week!  As of today, I'm down 21 since this deployment started and I have four more to meet my goal of 25. 

After I dropped Grace off at school I went to the grocery store with Autumn and this crazy, kinda scary looking guy kept coming up to me, wanting to see the baby.  I don't understand why strangers think they can get all in your baby's face and why they think they can touch them.  So, I kept moving the cart away from this guy and putting myself between him and Autumn.  I struggle with trying to be gracious and making sure that my kids are safe.  By the time we were leaving the store I was feeling frustrated and I just wanted to get home and away from Mr. Crazy.  A store employee stopped me before I could get to the door and I almost snapped at her, but then she pulled out a bouquet of flowers and asked if I would like them.  Honestly, I started to tear-up.  That's exactly what I needed, and so far it's been the highlight of my day.

Take a moment today in the midst of your to-dos, trying to handle your family responsibilities and crazy people around you and look for ways to bless others!

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Strong with the Weak

Sunday's are hard.  I really miss Joel being with us on Sunday mornings at church.  I miss teaching Sunday School with him and seeing how much fun he has goofing around with our kids.  I miss us dropping Grace off at her Sunday School class together and I mostly miss us sitting next to each other during service and worshiping as a family. 

I wake up half-dreading going to church, because I know I'm just going to miss Joel.  Usually that missing-Joel-feeling turns into crying.  I've always been a church-crier.  Yes, I'm the one week after week with the tissues out.  The songs always get to me, the prayers get to me, watching the other families sit together gets to me.  And don't even get me started on baptisms.  I cry like a baby.

So, I know come 7 am on Sunday morning that I'm going to be a mess in just a few hours.  Yesterday, our Pastor took a few minutes to remind us of all the people in our congregation that are really struggling.  Every time he mentioned someone who had just lost a parent or whose cancer is getting worse, I felt like I was getting a punch in the gut.  There are so many people, good people, hurting.  These people are really struggling.  But week after week, we all come together - the strong with the week, and we worship.  I cried because my heart hurt for them.  Yes, this is a tough time for our family with Joel overseas.  But we're all relatively healthy and well.  I was so encouraged to be surrounded by a loving Church family - some are struggling, some are not.  But we all worship the same God and I know we're all praying for each other during the week.

Yes, Sunday's are hard - not just for me.  But I never leave wishing I didn't go to church that morning.  I always leave reminded of how great our God is, how much He has done for us and how loving His people are.  Next Sunday will be hard, I'm sure.  I can guarantee that I'll be asking my mom if she has any tissues in her purse.  But I can't wait to be with my church family again.

"I was glad when the Lord said to me 'Let us go to the house of the Lord!'" - Psalm 122:1

Friday, October 22, 2010

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In

Head over to Wife of a Sailor and join in on the fun!

1.Are you a night owl or an early bird?
Naturally, I'm a night owl.  I love to stay up late and work on projects and watch TV and movies.  My girls have completely changed that, and now in order to beat them at their game, I get up early so that I can at least get a shower in before they get up.

2.What makes you jealous?
I don't think I'm really a jealous person. However, there have been a few girls from Joel's past that have tried to get in touch with him again and that really, really bothers me.  Hello, ladies?  He's taken.  I won!

3.Have you started Christmas/holiday shopping yet? When will you finish? (There’s only 63 days left!)
Yes!  I started this spring, actually.  I think this is the best I've ever done.  I would say I'm about 80% done and it feels so good.  My goal is to be done before the end of November.

4.What would you have a personal chef make you tonight?
I'm really in a surf 'n turf kind of mood.  So, I'd ask for a steak (medium-rare), grilled shrimp, a baked potato and asparagus. 

5.Where was your first kiss?
Technically on the playground in first grade.  Some little boy chased me down and kissed me by the slide.  But my first real kiss was on a porch swing.

Confession time... I feel like a bad blogger this week.  The girls and I have all been a bit under-the-weather and I'm soooo tired.  I have a few blog post ideas floating around in my head, but if you have anything in particular that you'd like me to talk about, let me know please!  I promise to do better next week.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In

Hooray for another pound lost!  I have 6 more to go to make my 25 pound goal.

I have only worked out a few times this week, so the pound is kind of a surprise to me.  My goal this week is to get out at least 3 times with the girls for walks and get on the elliptical at least twice.  Indiana's getting chillier, so I know it's going to be nearly impossible to get out with the girls soon for walks.  I need to take advantage of every day that the weather is nice and get out!

Today is Joel's day off, so I'm excited to get a call from him tonight.  I've been pretty emotional the last few days - missing him at random times throughout the day.  Yesterday was particularly hard on me, but I am blessed with my two girls who don't mind getting lots of extra hugs and kisses when their momma needs an extra helping of affection.  I think I've been putting on a brave face the last few weeks and it's finally caught-up to me.  Hopefully hearing Joel's voice tonight will make all of it a bit better.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

100 Days

Today is day 100 of this deployment!

100 breakfasts, lunches and dinners with my girls.
100+ good mornings hugs & kisses.
100 too-quiet nights.
15 grumpy garbage days.
17 pounds lost.
20+ trips to the grocery store without my man to help unload the groceries.
15 overseas phone calls.
4 episodes of The Office without someone to laugh with.
3 trees trimmed.
10 doctor's visits.
13 Sunday mornings feeling a bit lonely seeing all the other families together at church.

One day at a time.  One foot in front of the other...

Friday, October 15, 2010

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In

Thanks, Wife of a Sailor and the other MilSpouse bloggers who came up with this week's questions.  This post is a great break from the heaviness of this week!

1.What are some things on your bucket list? (from New Girl on Post)
I was hoping to wait another 40+ years before I had to think about a bucket list... but here's mine
  • See Macbeth on stage
  • Buy a necklace from Tiffany's
  • Get a tattoo
  • Visit The Smithsonian
  • Rent a Jeep Wrangler and vacation through the east coast in the fall
  • Shoot a taser
  • Be debt free

2.How long have you been a MilSpouse and where have you been stationed so far? (from Raising Roscoe)
Since July 2003.  We've only been stationed in Indiana as Joel's in the Guard.

3.What is a list of songs that sums up your life so far? (from Confessions of a Sailor’s Wife)
How You Love Me - Bebo Norman
Back to Me - Bebo Norman
Let Me Fall - Josh Groban
Love Song - Third Day
Top of the World - Carpenters
Hot n Cold - Katy Perry
It's Your Love - Faith Hill & Tim McGraw

4.What is your favorite kind of pizza?
BBQ chicken

5.What are three good things in your life right now?
I have a husband who I adore, I have two beautiful girls and I have an amazing support system

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Home from War - Part II

Read Part I here...

Just a few months after Joel came back from Iraq, we were in the midst of a terrible game of tug of war.  We were completely out of sync with one another and our marriage was at its lowest point.  I felt like I was walking on eggshells in my own home because his mood was so unpredictable.  There were some rare moments when Joel was really engaged with Grace and I, but for the most part he was either completely withdrawn or angry.  The war had completely changed him.

When I tried to talk to him about how he was doing emotionally and spiritually, he became very guarded.  I'm sure he was trying, in his mind, to sort through his feelings and was having a hard time communicating them to me.  Most likely, he just wasn't ready to communicate those things with me but I kept pushing him which just made him more withdrawn.

Our marriage was falling apart.  We were disconnected, angry at one another, communicating poorly and intimacy wasn't even an option for me, because I didn't feel love, appreciated or respected.  Funny thing, because I'm positive Joel was also not feeling loved, appreciated or respect, but it was because there was no intimacy.  Like I said, we were totally out of sync.

It was around Christmastime, four months after Joel's homecoming, that I was feeling absolutely hopeless.  Joel and I weren't making any progress, and if anything, I thought that our marriage was just getting worse.  We were in bad shape and I didn't see any improvement in Joel.  I was tired, exhausted really.  No one around us knew the struggles that we were dealing with in our relationship, and I was so wiped out from not only having to deal with a marriage that was falling apart, but trying to keep it a secret.

It was around that time that the D Word entered my mind.  I didn't see any hope for us at that point, and I was tired of trying to hold it together.  I remember sitting with a close friend of mine over lunch and telling her, through my tears, that I wanted out and that divorce had become an option for me.  What I appreciated most, was her loving silence.  She didn't have any words of advice for me.  She knew she couldn't relate.  But she offered her love and prayers for both Joel and I.  Finally, someone knew our struggle, our hurt and my desperation.

I really struggled with the idea of divorce.  Joel wasn't unfaithful.  He never hurt me physically.  He always provided for our needs.  And I knew that he loved me even if he didn't always communicate it and show it well.  And I knew in my head, even though I didn't always feel it in my heart... I still loved him.  I loved him so much that it hurt my soul to know how hurt he was.  But I didn't think love would be able to repair, what I thought, was a hopelessly broken marriage.

I knew part of him was broken and I felt angry toward the military for using him up and just tossing him back home.  I've mentioned before how messed-up the system is.... I was advised just a few weeks before Joel came home that if our soldier needed help, the best bet would be for them to find a counselor/psychologist that would accept cash payment.  Any sort of paper trail would just hurt their career and reputation.  It was because of the broken system that I knew Joel's best bet to getting better was for me to help.

He needed me.  I vowed to him and God that I would stand by him for better or worse.  I promised him on our wedding day that I would love him tenderly.  I knew I had failed him in that regard.  I loved him but I was trying to push him to get better - to deal with transition from war to home life.  I wasn't always patient, kind or gentle.  So, there it was -he needed me.  And in order for me to help him, I needed to start with the basics and learn to love him better.  I needed to keep my vow to stand by him and to be tender with him.  He needed tenderness.

I remember going back and rereading I Corinthians 13, where Paul lists the attributes of love.  I knew I was far from loving Joel the way that God wanted me to...
"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends"  - I Corinthians 13:4-8

Who Joel was at that time was not the same man I married.  Time had changed him.  War had changed him.  Those were two things that Joel could not control.  It's just how it was and it was no one's fault.  He needed me to help him.  He needed me to stand by him and love him better, purer, deeper and truer than I had loved him before.  He had done the hard work for 6 months, now it was my turn to do the hard work and work to heal his wounds.  Divorce was not an option.  It would not have healed any wounds.

So, I stood by him.  I decided, in my heart and before God, to love Joel.  He was broken, but I knew God would give me strength and wisdom and I prayed that God would give my husband those things as well.  The road to reconciliation had to start with someone, and it started with me. 

The road back to a healthy marriage was difficult.  It took a lot of hard conversations - but it started with the hardest.  I told Joel that I would do what it took to make our marriage work and put it back on track.  But I needed him to know how desperate I had become and that the idea of divorce had been on my mind for a while.  He was totally shocked that I was hurting that badly.  But we decided at that moment to do that hard task to work on ourselves and to love each other better.

We made a decision that night to recommit ourselves to make our marriage work.  I think a lot of people experience something similar in their relationships -  whether it be a spouse, a parent, a child or a friend.  Sometimes you just have to choose that no matter what it takes, you're going to make it work.  The work is often hard and long, but both of you are committed. 

Our reconciliation wasn't quick or easy.  It took many months of rebuilding a strong foundation built on trust, love, commitment and God.  We knew that in order to be the best for one another, we needed to start with a right relationship with God first.  For us, we knew from past experience, that when the God-relationship was broken, our marriage and family would be broken, too.

I thought for a time that Iraq had shattered our marriage.  For a time, Iraq had broken my husband.  No one can come out of a war experience the same.  And it's true, Iraq did drastically change our marriage.  But now, looking back three years later, I know that Iraq ultimately changed our marriage for the better.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In

Happy Wednesday to all of you!  I was pretty nervous about this morning's weigh in, but I'm happy to report that I'm down one pound this week.  I'm thrilled that I lost the pound that I gained last week, so I'm where I was 2 weeks ago.  7 pounds to go!

I want to give some blog love today... first to my fellow MilSpouse blogger at Faith & Deployments.  She just welcomed her husband home from overseas and it's been a trying wait for her - he kept calling her to tell her he was on his way, and then plans changed.  I can't even imagine that kind of emotional roller coaster.  Way to go, girl!  And enjoy this unforgettable time with your soldier!

I also want to introduce you to a life-long friend of mine over at Lap-Band Momma.  We've known each other all of our lives and I'm so proud of her journey to weight loss and health.  If you've ever considered weight loss surgery or if you're just curious, please follow her story.  She just started blogging last month, so it won't take long for you to catch up with her.  So far she's chronicled her weight loss journey from when she started gaining weight back in high school until where she is today.  I had so much fun with her when she came to visit me and my family last week.  I hadn't seen her since she had the Lap-Band procedure 18 months ago.  I have so much respect for her as I had no idea how much life changes once you have this type of surgery.  She has a little boy who is just two weeks younger than my Autumn and she's an RN, so I think she offers a unique perspective.

I'm in the middle of writing the second part to my Home from War post.  These have been so hard to write, but I've found it to be a therapeutic process.  It'll be up tomorrow, so keep an eye out for that.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Home from War - Part I

This post will probably make more sense if you've read the other posts I've written about marriage.  Here they are:
State of Our Union, The Very BeginningPre-Kids and Homecoming Driven.

Let me first start out by saying that this particular post has been very difficult to write.  I have put a lot of thought into what I wanted to share publicly.  Above all, I want these posts about our marriage to hopefully encourage you and help those who have either gone through a wartime deployment, or may go through one in the future... So, here it is.

After six months of deployment, Joel came home from Iraq in August 2007.  The day that I waited anxiously for finally came.  It was time.  I remember sitting in the airport with Grace on my lap, and just thinking about all the time I spent over the past 6 months just yearning for this moment.  And it was finally here.

Joel walked through the doors of the terminal with his arms wide open.  That moment was a blur.  I just wanted to hold on to him.  I wanted to study Grace's reaction toward him.  I wanted the television cameras to go away so we could just be.  Above all, I just wanted to hold on to him, to get his bags in the car and to go home and leave the deployment behind us.

It was on the ride home that I realized that things were different.  As I was sitting next to him in the car and holding his hand, I felt disconnected.  It's hard to describe, but I felt like a stranger was coming home with me.  Six months changes a person.  Six months as a single mom and having to make all the decisions changes you.  And certainly six months in a war zone changes you.  I knew there would be an adjustment but I was not prepared to feel so disconnected from him immediately.

We had a welcome home party, looked at his Iraq pictures and unpacked his bags.  As far as I was concerned, the Iraq-saga was over.  But slowly during the first few weeks back home, Joel started sharing about his experiences and I quickly discovered that Iraq came home with him.

I knew Joel would be different.  I knew war would change him.  I knew that he would see things, experience things and do things that would leave an imprint.  But I wasn't prepared for him to be so different.  The Joel I knew was patient.  Iraq made him angry.  The Joel I knew was sensitive toward me.  Iraq made him rude.  The Joel I knew was tender toward Grace.  Iraq made him quick-tempered.  The Joel I knew was consistent.  Iraq made him moody.

The man I loved was different. Iraq changed him.  And I didn't love what Iraq did to him.  I struggled  to love the man that he had become.  And that's what our marriage became - a struggle.  It was like Joel and I were on opposite ends of a rope playing a terrible game of tug of war.  He was pulling me in - wanting me to understand who he had become.  And I was pulling him toward me - wanting him to become who he once was.

Part II coming soon...

Friday, October 8, 2010

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In

Thanks, Wife of a Sailor, for another great week of questions!

1.What is the longest road trip you’ve ever taken?
My freshman year of college I was a part of a choral group.  Over spring break, we went on tour through the south.  We started in Iowa and went through Tennessee, Georgia and finally ended up in Florida.  It was a week of hanging on the bus and singing.  Great memories were formed during that trip!

2.Do you collect anything? Tell us a bit about it.
I'm kinda embarrassed to admit this, but I collect makeup.  I know, vain, right?  I've loved makeup since I was 10 and started hanging out in the drugstore looking at all the pretties in the makeup aisle.  As I've gotten older and money's allowed, I've abandoned drugstores for Sephora, Ulta and the makeup counters.  Joel, fortunately, supports my habit even though he doesn't get it.  So, MAC, Chanel, Dior, Estee Lauder and Urban Decay have become my collection.

3.What is your favorite part about being an adult?
Eating what I want for dinner.  Joel and I would go every once in a while to a chocolate shop or Krispy Kreme for dinner when we were first married.  Now, I have my two little chicas to think about, so those days of indulgence are not as frequent.

4.What song brings a tear to your eye?
"Be Still My Soul"
Here's the first verse:
Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul; thy best, thy heavenly, Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

5.Describe your first plane ride (how old you were, where you were heading, etc).
I was a few weeks old when my family went to Tulsa, OK to visit my grandparents.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wednesday Weigh-In

Here it is - my reward.  A Whopper with cheese.  I told myself that I could go ahead with this treat if I met my 15 pound goal and since I've gone past that, I treated myself to this last week.  It was delicious, but I felt heavy and sluggish the rest of the day.  I suppose that's a good sign.  I've been eating much better and sticking to a healthier diet, so a heavy meal, like this, always makes me feel totally gross.  That's why it's an every once in a while type thing.

I know some may see a reward like a Whopper counter-productive to losing weight and getting in shape, but for me, knowing that I can treat myself every once in a while, keeps me from thinking about these kinds of foods all the time and craving them constantly.  If I withheld completely from fatty, salty and sweet foods, I would binge on them.  That's just me.  So, that's why I let myself have a treat every now and then.

Anyway, back to my weigh-in for the week.  I am up a pound from this time last week.  I'm kind of upset about this, but Joel and I were emailing last night, and he reminded me that weight fluctuates and that as I work-out more, I'll be adding muscle which may "mess-up' the scale every now and then.  So, I'm just telling myself that I added a pound of muscle this week.  But that's probably not true.

Today marks day 90 of this deployment.  I think we've all done remarkably well so far.  Joel and I are communicating well and I think still maintaining a long-distance marriage pretty well.  I'm not feeling completely overwhelmed taking care of Grace and Autumn and I feel pretty optimistic about the deployment at this point.  I keep telling myself that I've done this before and I can do it again. 

Thank you all who follow this blog.  Starting out, I didn't think I'd ever get more than 10 followers.  But, I'm really amazed that I don't personally know the majority of my followers.  Thank you for coming along on this ride and for sharing about you!

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Homecoming Driven

Grace was born at the end of the winter in 2006.  I had just quit working a job I loved and Joel was working full-time for the Guard and also going to school full-time.  Now after finally establishing our relationship and our roles in it, things turned a bit upside down with parenthood added to the mix.

No one tells you that parenthood is going to completely transform your marriage.  No one tells you, as a woman, that taking care of your baby and  your post-pregnancy body is going to leave you without any strength left.  Becoming a mom completely rocked my world.

Joel and I once again transitioned after Grace was born.  I was trying to be the best momma to my new little mini-me and was having a hard time emotionally giving up the working-girl Jill.  Joel felt like I wasn't giving him enough attention and I honestly, at the time, didn't feel like I had any more to give.  We had some crazy fights during this time.  I was still completely emotional from just having a baby, so I know I didn't always act rationally when Joel wanted to discuss things.  But because I was so irrational, I was convinced Joel was the irrational one.  Honestly, there was a whole lot of irrationality in our household during that time.

It took us a few months to get in the groove of having a new little person become a part of our family.  But by the fall, we were working hard to make it work.  It was during that time that we found out that Joel would be deployed soon to Iraq.  We let that news just sit with us for a while before we told family.  I wasn't handling the news well and the anticipation of him leaving was killing me.

In February 2007 Joel left for Iraq.  He walked out the door with all his bags and I collapsed on the floor.  I knew the next 6 months were going to be tough and suddenly I was thrown into single parenthood.

Joel's Iraq deployment was hard on me.  Grace was 11 months when he left, and still not sleeping through the night well.  I was trying to figure out how to manage the household without Joel's help or advice.  I was completely anxiety-ridden over Joel's safety and was an emotional wreck.  I cried myself to sleep more nights than I'd care to remember and I was worn-out from being Grace's mom and dad.  At night, I would sit in bed with the calendar and just stare at the days, weeks and months that had gone by and look to the weeks ahead wondering what it would feel like for Joel to come home.

So, Joel's homecoming was what I was fixed upon.  It was all I could think and dream about - the sight of him coming through the glass door at the airport with his arms wide-open.

A few weeks before he came home, the base's Family Readiness offered a briefing for family.  The briefing was basically useless.  I was most excited to hear from a psychologist they brought in to talk about post-deployment transitions and PTSD.  She was a non-military psychologist, but had worked closely with many war veterans.  She basically told us that our soldier's best bet, if they were experiencing problems, was to find a counselor/psychologist who would accept cash payment so there wouldn't be a paper trail.  She said that if our soldier saw a counselor and the military knew about it, that it would create too many career problems, so it was just best to do everything hush-hush.  I couldn't believe it!  I still can't and it makes me sick... but that's for another time.

I was excited yet totally stressed over the thought that Joel would be home soon.  I was having a hard time sleeping and developed TMJ, to the point that for about 5 days, I wasn't able to close my jaw.  All I wanted was a date.  THE date. 

I wanted him home.  I wanted his homecoming.  I wanted for our family of three to be together and for us to leave the deployment, war, loneliness and hard times behind.

Little did I know that the hardest time was about to come.

"Hear my cry, O God,
listen to my prayer;
from the end of the earth I call to you
when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
that is higher than I,
for you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the enemy.

Let me dwell in your tent forever!
Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings!"
Psalm 61:1-4

Saturday, October 2, 2010

My Red Sauce

Here's the red sauce I cooked up today.  It's for a lasagna I'm putting together for dinner Monday night...  My house smells so good right now!

I mentioned my lasagna in yesterday's post and since it's a friend's family recipe, I won't share it.  (Don't hate me).  But I've added a few of my own touches, including bacon and a touch of sherry.  I saute the onions in the fat from the bacon.

I wish Joel was here to share this with us - it's his favorite meal that I make. 

Hope you're all having a fantastic weekend!

Friday, October 1, 2010

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In

Go over to Wife of a Sailor and join in on the fun!

1.What is the silliest get-up you have ever worn outside of a Halloween party? (from To The Nth)
At my former job, I took a lot of tours of manufacturing plants.  I think my favorite look was a business suit, dress shoes covered in steel-toe protectors, a hard hat, ear plugs and goggles.  I think it'll be a trend here soon.

2.What is something that you gave up in order to live the military lifestyle? (from Pennies from Heaven)
My job.  Joel and I had a lot of discussions before Grace was born regarding whether or not I would stay home full-time.  The decision was completely in my court.  I knew that Joel would start deploying soon after Grace was born, and I I didn't want Grace or any of our other kids to feel abandoned while Joel was overseas if I was working, too.  So, I decided to stay at home full-time in order to give our kids as much consistency as possible. 

3.If money wasn’t a factor and you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be? And why? (from Life and Times of a Displaced Jersey Girl)
I've said it before... I'd love to go back to Alaska.  It was beyond gorgeous and there is so much there to see and experience.

4.If you were going to join the military, what branch would you join? Or which MOS/rating would you choose? (from And You Never Did Think)
The Army?  Honestly, I don't know.  The military would never want me.  I hate camping and I hate to run.

5.What is your favorite thing to make for dinner? (from Armendinger Party of 4)
When I have the time, I love to make lasagna.  I've talked about it before - but I learned a family recipe from the mother of a good buddy of mine from college.  It's amazing.  A bit time consuming.  But one of Joel's absolute favorite dishes.  But for an everyday dinner, I love making steak.  After a whole lot of practice, I think I do a pretty good job with our indoor grill pan!