Monday, February 28, 2011

A Very Naughty Blogger

I know I've been slacking as a blogger since Joel came home.  There have been so many times that I planned to sit down and do a post, but I've been constantly distracted lately.

I do have plans to blog more soon - I want to share about how our adjustment has been, the getaway that Joel and I took last week and an update about Autumn's helmet.  I'll be back on it soon.  Promise!!!  Miss you all.

Friday, February 25, 2011

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In

Thanks, Wife of a Sailor!

1.Aside from no deployments, what is one thing you would want to make the MilSpouse life “perfect”? submitted by Oh How Delightful
A free on-call maintenance man during deployments.

2.Just how many peppers did Peter Piper pick? submitted by Married into Army
Probably 8

3.If you could have any career in the world with nothing holding you back, what would you do? submitted by It’s My Party and I’ll Cry if I Want To
With some education first, I would love to go into landscape design.

4.Do you have a service oriented tattoo and if so what is it. If you don’t what would you get? submitted by The Squid’s Accomplice
Ahhhh, the great tattoo debate...  If I were to get one, I would get beloved in a very discreet spot.

5.Imagine a block of time has opened up in your busy day for you to take a class in anything you like. What subject would you choose? submitted by To The Nth

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Welcome Home Banner

About a month before Joel came home, I ordered his welcome home banner.  I had heard about a company who offered free custom welcome home banners and cards for soldiers, but it took a bit of digging to track down the company. has a selection of welcome home and "In Memory" banners that are completely customizable.  It took me less than a minute to change the text on the banner to read as I wanted.  The company also has jumbo cards that would be fun to send for special occasions while your troop is deployed or to bring with when they come home.

The banner was free.  All I paid for was the cost of shipping.  The banner is really well-made and I'm sure we'll have no trouble using it again.  It took less than a week for it to be delivered and the communication from the company was outstanding.

Just through I'd pass this on to you - hope it'll be useful.  And I'm more than happy to give credit to a great company who supports our troops in such a practical way!

NOTE:  I am in no way affiliated with

Friday, February 18, 2011

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In

Head over to Wife of a Sailor to see what other MilSpouses are saying this week.

1.What is your favorite MilSpouse blog (not including Wife of a Sailor who we all love, or your own)? submitted by Our Crazy Life (Wifey note: whaaaat? You can’t say my blog? No fun! LOL, just kidding)
I love {Mis}Adventures of an Army Wife.  When I was thinking of starting up a blog, she was actually the first blogger that I found and I've really enjoyed keeping up with her since.

2.What are your favorite perks about your s/o being deployed (we all know there are perks)? submitted by Ramblings of a Marine Wife
Well, we just finished a deployment, so right now all that comes to mind are the 1,000+ perks of having my husband home!  But I guess there are a few benefits - no day-to-day bickering, no "Joel messes" around the house and deployments give us a bit of a financial boost.

3.How long did you date your before getting engaged? Married? submitted by Utterly Chaotic
Joel and I dated for 6 months before we got engaged and we were engaged for just 3 months.

4.What do you think your would do if s/he wasn’t in the military? submitted by Adventures of M-Squared
My guess would be that Joel would have been an engineer.... he's more than halfway through his engineering program, but I'm not sure he'll ever pursue that professionally.

(I cheated and decided to ask him.  I was right!)

5.If you could talk to the Secretary of (fill in your appropriate branch) what is one suggestion you would like to bring to their attention in order to improve the lives of military families? submitted by My Life as His (Air Force) Wife
I know this is pretty broad, but I think I would suggest they pursue more effective ways to communicate about military benefits.  It seems that each unit on base is responsible for communicating these benefits, and some do a much better job than others.  I feel that there is so much information that we need or could benefit from that we just don't know.  And I'm not sure if that's unique to the Guard or if Active Duty also has these problems.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wednesday Weigh-In

This morning was a little depressing.  I'm pretty sure I heard the scale laugh at me when I got on it this morning.  I haven't worked out at all since Joel got home and our kitchen is stocked with lots and lots of junk food - cookies, cake, ice cream, chips, dip, and more cookies.  And since Joel is still not back to his normal sleeping schedule, he's been getting up very early in the mornings and making us pancakes, coffee cake and muffins for breakfast.  A far cry from my bowl of Special K. 

I did grocery shopping on Monday and have a week of healthier meals planned.  Wish me luck!

Today I start back on regular exercise - the elliptical today and I'm going to go into respiratory distress tomorrow by running.  I haven't run since before I got pregnant with Autumn, so I'm sure to get reacquainted with my inhaler at some point soon.

Here's the cake from Joel's welcome home party -
half of which came home with us and was quickly devoured.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Homecoming... A Few More Pictures

I'm back with a few more pictures...  Because Joel had such a long delay in getting home and was exhausted from traveling, I just took my girls with me to pick him up from the airport.  He asked that family and friends wait to see him after he had a chance to shower, sleep and get re-acquainted with his girls.  So, my plan to have a dozen people with their cameras taking pictures of our homecoming didn't happen.  It was just me and my camera, which I pretty much forgot I had after I got two shots.  So here they are...

Grace - 4 1/2

Autumn - 9 months

For those of you who have gone through a deployment homecoming, you know that there is a lot of build up and anticipation and then it all just happens too fast.  The week before Joel came home, I was nervous, restless, had a hard time sleeping and could hardly eat.  Grace knew that he was coming home shortly, and asked me a hundred times a day how many days and hours were left until Daddy came home.  And then we had the dreaded delays.  Lots of delays.  Lots of questions.  Some major heartbreak when we knew that he wouldn't come home on the scheduled day. 

I stalked Facebook for days, hoping that one of the other wives would have some big news about the exact time the guys were coming back.  I don't know how many times I check Facebook last weekend, but I know that Grace would just sigh when she saw me back on the computer.

And then there was news that Joel's unit had seats on a couple flights and would be home that day.  My anxiety amplified and I was on-edge all day.  The hours couldn't have gone by any slower.

Finally, we were at the airport, surrounded by the excitement and anticipation of other wives and kids from the unit.  Joel was one of the first guys out of the terminal and it was surreal to see him in the flesh.  As much as I wanted to run and grab him, I really wanted to see Grace and Autumn's reaction to Daddy.  It was amazing to see him with his girls again and finally, after all these months, I felt content, knowing that our family was together.

We had a party with family and a few close friends...  the last several days have been quiet days at home as a family.  We're getting back into our groove.  There's still an adjustment ahead, but I'm optimistic right now.  So, far it's been pretty easy...  I just have to try and stop asking Joel what he's doing every 5 minutes.  If you've been where I am, you know what I mean.

For now, I'm back to cuddling with my husband while our girls are in bed....  will be back soon.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


After a whole bunch of bumps and delays.... our troop finally came home!  Just wanted to share a couple of quick pictures with you all.

More to come....  Thank you all for cheering us on along the way!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Pre-Homecoming Jitters

Joel's homecoming is right around the corner... I know I keep talking about how close it's getting, but it's all I can think about right now.

The house is clean, some of his favorite meals are stocked in the freezer and his welcome home sign is up in the front yard.  We're getting so close to the moment I've been thinking about for the past 7 months - that moment that when times have been tough, has helped me to get through.  This is our third homecoming in four years, so I feel like I know what to expect.  But it's that knowledge that makes me nervous.

For those of you who have gone through a homecoming, you know that there's a lot of build-up to the event and then a whole lot of adjustment that happens for many months afterward.  I've done a few posts on our adjustment when Joel came home from Iraq in 2007.  You can read Part I here and Part II here, if you're interested.  I'll just say that the adjustment was tough.

So, I know going into this homecoming that we'll have an adjustment time - a time when Joel needs to slowly step back into his position as husband and father.  He'll need time to adjust to how things have been handled while he's been away.  He'll have to get caught up on all that's happened with family and friends over the last 7 months.  And I'll need to adjust to having my partner back with me.  I've handled all the parenting, finances, house decisions, car decisions, and goings-on with family and friends.  I've mentioned before that I'm a bit of a control-freak - very much a Type A personality.  So, as hard as it's been to be the one to handle everything at home while Joel's been deployed, I've been able to do it all my way.  There have been no negotiations, no conversations, no arguments - whatever I felt was best at the time, was the law of the land.

There will be a time of giving up some of that control.  And it'll be hard for me.  I know myself well enough, and I will think that when Joel asks "why" I did something, that he's really judging my decision making, rather than just trying to understand why I chose to do something a certain way.  I'm going to have to let go of my own will and learn yet-again, to partner with Joel in this awesome blessing called marriage.

We'll also have some adjustments getting back into sync with one another.  For the past 7 months, our marriage has consisted solely on email and phone calls.  Most of the topics we discussed were light-hearted and encouraging.  We told each other "I love you" probably a thousand times or more.  Nothing too-serious was ever discussed.  I'm happy that our marriage was incredibly strong when he left in July.  I'm counting on that to be a good place to build from.  But it's going to take some time to learn about each other after I know we've both done a lot of growing.  Because I know how bad a marriage can get from a deployment, part of me is scared.  I never want to get to that point again.  I never want our marriage to get so out of sync that the D word enters my mind.

I've asked a few close friends to start praying; that God would protect our marriage and that Joel and I would be patient and gentle with one another as we adjust to married life and family life together with our girls.  There will be some awkward moments.  But I pray that that awkwardness will quickly subside and that we're able to get back into the groove of married life.

Right now I still have a few things on my to-do list... those things keep me focused and strong, even though my body, mind and heart are tired.  I can't wait to leave for the airport and see him walking through those doors.  Most of all, I can't wait for him to come back home.

New Hair

I just went from blonde-ish, something-or-other, back to dark brown.  I needed a change and just couldn't keep going back to the salon to keep up with my roots.  So, after a billion emails back and forth with Joel and an unscientific Facebook poll, I went back to the way God made me.  This is a few hours after I came back from the salon, and it's lightened up a bit in the front where my lovely stylist (Hi, Kelly!) put in some golden highlights.

It's a big change, but I'm loving it... Hopefully the Mr. won't have access to the Internet, and this will be a surprise for him. 

Now, I just need to change the lady at the top of my blog to a brunette.  Someday.

Friday, February 4, 2011

We Survived the Storm!

We survived this week.  Thank you, Jesus!

As you probably know, or maybe experienced first hand, Indiana got slammed with snow and ice this week.  I had lunch with my parents on Sunday, and my dad mentioned that 18-inches of snow was in the forecast.  We went back and forth for about 10 minutes about it, because I was sure he was joking.  We never get that much snow at a time.  Never.  In the 10 years since I moved to Indiana, we seriously only get 2-3 inches at a time.  Never 18.

So, he finally convinced me to go online and look up the forecast.  I was shocked, in awe and started to cry inside.  I love snow, don't get me wrong.  I think it's beautiful and I'm not one of the whiners from the Hoosier State, who complain year after year about the snow.  I like it.

My biggest concern was that Joel wasn't going to be home for the storm.  It's one thing to deal with 4, 5 or 6 inches of snow by myself with the girls.  But the idea of getting over a foot was too much for me to digest.  So after I picked up Grace from school on Monday, I ran around town filling up on all the necessities...  toilet paper, snacks, baby supplies, batteries, flashlights, candles, salt and prescriptions.

We came home Monday night, all supplied and ready to hang out at home for a few days.  The snow was beautiful - big, fat flakes.  But the wind was horrible and I kept praying, pleading really, that our lights would stay on.  That was my biggest fear - losing electricity and heat with my two girls at home.  Joel gave me a quick "how-to" for plugging the generator into our furnace, but, there is no way I'd be able to figure that out.  Seriously.  Changing the batteries in a flashlight is a big deal for me.  Hooking up our generator to our furnace is an impossibility.

I got up a lot during the night on Monday and Tuesday.  I needed to see if our neighbors had lights and how how bad the snow was getting....  So, I slept very little at night because of worry, but thankfully we all snuggled up in the afternoons for long, long naps.

We had a 3-day pajama party, and it was awesome.  Once I figured that our power would stay on, I was able to relax and really enjoy a few days trapped inside with my girls.  We watched movies, drank hot chocolate, played in the snow, played lions and dogs (they are natural enemies, you know) and just completely enjoyed each other. 

A neighbor shoveled my walks and an awesome guy that knows my parents came by with his dump truck and plowed out my driveway in about 3 minutes.  Grace and I cleaned off my car (well, she ran around trying to hit my car with her shovel...)  And then yesterday, my dad busted his back cleaning out some drifts.  What a huge relief to not have to go out all by my lonesome and deal with all that heavy snow!

Here's our deck from our back door....  Thank you Dad for clearing a path.  And yes, Joel, I left the deck furniture out all winter.  Sorry!

View from our front door.  Oh yes, that's a very special sign in our front yard.  The Mr. gets to see it first and then I'll share it with all of you!!!

Grace on day #2 of the storm - Minnie Mouse ears are necessary to play games on PBS Kids.

Our very sweet, and very chubby Autumn enjoying the view from the back of the house.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wednesday Weigh-In

I'm enjoying a small victory today with one pound lost this week.  I really didn't expect to see that on the scale this morning, but I'll take it!  In 209 days, I've lost 23 pounds.  I guess there's a very slim chance of losing 2 more before Joel gets home, but I'm not going to kill myself over it.

We'll see how it goes...