Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas, Woohoo it's Finally Over!

Well, I admit it.  I'm so freaking glad it's finally over!  I somehow inherited this awesome gene from my mother that has me stressed big time over all major holidays.  The only saving grace is that I love watching my children's faces light up with joy around the holidays.  To know that they anticipate and enjoy Christmas so much makes me happy.

We decided to head to my hometown right after Elaine was released from school on Friday the 17th.  So over the river (and my river I mean mountain) and through the woods, to Grandma's house we went.  I decided to torture my parents with our presence for 12 long days.  I'm so generous, I know.

Anyway, we spent the week leading up to Christmas doing some extra shopping, trying to keep my parent's house in some sort of order and hanging out with my nephew Ashton.  I took Elaine and Miles sledding which, if you've never taken your kids sledding alone I do not recommend under any circumstances.  But alas, they had fun and cried when it was time to leave.

Christmas was, Christmas.  It wasn't the same without Ahron of course. And I almost broke down the day before.  But we made it through.  Elaine and Miles both received a lot of great new toys, and I'm so glad I made three Goodwill runs over the past year to make room for all of the new goodies. 

Another milestone on December 28th, my big girl turned six years old! We had a small family gathering at McDonald's and she was spoiled by our family.

Ahron, unfortunately did not have such a jolly Christmas.  They spent their time in Dubai and he had duty on Christmas Day, but I know homecoming will be like all of the holidays we missed rolled into one. 

Through all of these trials, I still know how incredibly blessed we are to have our health, safety, and a steady paycheck among many other things.  I'm looking forward to living in the moment this year and not wishing so much for time to pass me by. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Lovely Dinner Conversation over Tacos

E: Mom, who's the oldest?

Me: What do you mean?

E: In our family.

Me: Daddy. Daddy was born first. He grew in Grandma Diane's tummy. Isn't that silly?

E: How did he get in her tummy? (I seriously thought kids only asked that question in movies)

Me: Oh honey, Grandma Diane and Grandpa Mark were in love.....then Daddy was born. (Paused a moment, perfect parent avoidance tactic, answer a question with a question)
How do you think Daddy got in her tummy?

E: Mmmmm, they went swimming.

Me: They went swimming? (Trying not to laugh at this point)  Well sort of. I'll tell you more when you're older.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Oh boy, this past week...

Dance party in the living room to Laurie Berkner

Gym x 2

Speech, MOPS, groceries

Military Family Night @ Junior High

Chimes and Lights Festival

Gingerbread House Assembly

and in between

Meals, baths, books, lots of play and a little yelling and threatening Santa would not visit naughty children.  It was a busy week and I'm really grateful for that.  I'm reminded of a song tonight by Nichole Nordeman.  Her lyrics:

Your mercies are new every morning,
so let me wake with the dawn

Saturday, November 27, 2010

This part is hard

We had a sweet Thanksgiving.  It was a quiet day in our little home.  I didn't feel stress.  The kids were super excited. 

We were just coming off the tail end of an arctic blast storm that left us without power for the majority of Monday night, and about three inches of snow that fell that same day.  The snow was lovely.  It was soft and sparkling.  It was cold.  After I brushed it off of Ahron's SUV, I decided it was probably time for gloves.  My fingers burned when I went back in the house.

My children thought the power outage was the best night over.  I dragged their mattresses into the living room by the gas fireplace and we just hung out for the evening, talking, telling stories and snacking. 

For Thanksgiving, I made a small turkey breast in the crockpot, two pies (which turned out amazing, if I do say so myself), fruit salad, stuffing, rolls and green bean casserole.  Our neighbor came over to share in the holiday with us.   

The last few days I've felt a bit of sadness as Christmas time nears.  It's tough, it's bittersweet as we get the house ready for Christmas without Ahron.  As it also happens, we are about to reach a very important milestone in this deployment, timewise.  I told him on the phone that once we reach this milestone, hopefully time will start to move more quickly.

We have so very much to be thankful for.  We're healthy, we're comfortable.  God has shown Himself to me now, more clearly then before, and I need that and I'm grateful.

On to December.  

Friday, November 19, 2010

Defining Deployment

Deployment is:

Taking my daughter to school 20 minutes late so she could see Daddy on the webcam.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

We are floating along

We are moving forward in this tunnel of change and separation.  I find myself relating so much to metaphors and similes that have to do with the waves of the water, with a boat, lost and then navigating in the right direction.  A couple of blog posts back I shared a lyric from Blue October's "Into the Ocean." 

When did the mighty oceans begin to resemble our life so much? 
Another song that I absolutely love, Sarah Mclachlan's "Push."  The chorus goes like this:

You stay the course you hold the line you keep it all together
You're the one true thing I know I can believe in

You're all the things that I desire, you save me, you complete me
You're the one true thing I know I can believe

I so love that about my husband.  He stays the course, he holds the line.  He believes so fully in our marriage.  He believes in happy endings and has a vision past what is our current reality. 

The leaves are almost off all of the changing trees here.  It's a beautiful contrast to all of the trees that stay the same.  Ahron's not sick anymore and just yesterday he received our first care package.  It took more or less 30 days for that package to reach him.  He said the box was flat when it finally reached him and the candy corn we'd sent for Halloween was busted open and spilled but other then that it was in good condition. 

With that in mind, I've almost finished our Christmas package to him.  He's getting some pretty cool presents this year.  And copious amounts of treats.  He's using his free time to work out and I can already tell he's lost some weight.  So, the Christmas treats should fatten him right back up :)

I feel like the last few weeks I've really surrendered to this deployment.  I've admitted defeat in that it's really happening and there's not a damn thing I can do about it.  Everything is such a process for me. 

I remember about a year and a half ago he didn't tell me about an upcoming underway until two weeks before and I absolutely blew up at him.  Was it his fault at all? In retrospect, no.  But I didn't have the right amount of time to process him leaving and it hurt.  Sometimes I wonder if he knows how hard this is for me.  After thinking about that a couple of times, I've come to this conclusion about my husband of eight years: He believes in me.  He knows that deep down inside I have strength that can overcome this crazy lifestyle.  Thank God I married an optimist!  No telling where I'd be had I not. 

We're coming on Week 10 (14 weeks total with the previous underway right before deployment).  The paper boat on our wall is moving forward.

On Thursday, Veteran's Day, I took my children up to the fairgrounds to look at military vehicles and aircraft on display.  I wore my pink Navy Veteran hat with pride.  They are such amazing little beings in their own right.  They are perfect at this adapt and overcome thing, and I'm glad I can learn from them. 

I have to really put on my big girl boots and get through the next 12 weeks.  I think if I can just get through that, we will start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Heartsick and well...just sick

I'm the heartsick one.  Ahron is the sick one.  And because he's sick, I haven't heard from him in almost two days. 

Now, whenever I don't get my usual emails from him, I start playing out horrible scenarios in my head.  He fell down a ladderwell and broke a leg.  He's in medical, dehydrated, getting an IV for hydration.  It's silly.  He's probably already better, since it was a couple of days ago.  Communications are shut off again?  Maybe.  He's most likely trying to catch up on all of the work he's missed. 

This upcoming weekend should be a good one.  My mom and dad are driving up to hang out with me, yay!  I'm going to have my Dad help me with some little projects around the house, and then we are utilizing our military date night to go out and have some fun without the kiddos! Thinking the Clearwater Casino.  It should be a great weekend and just what I need to lift my spirits and stay positive. 

Our Halloween was fun for the kids, so-so for me.  I missed Ahron of course, but I tried to push through it and enjoy it for my children's sake.  I was really proud of my little guy, who won 3rd place at the YMCA's costume contest!  He was rocking the Popeye outfit.  Lainie, my little planner, looked sugary sweet as Barbie Thumbelina.  I say planner because she's had that costume planned since last year.  She is going to use the costume again for sixth birthday garden party (let the pre-planning stages begin). 

My next "keep me busy" project is reorganizing the entry and linen closet...and I may get a new computer desk.  The one we have now is small and practical, but I want something with a little more style, and a little sturdier. 

Now I must go live life.  It goes by too fast, anyway.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sharing With You

A touching story about Anthony Acevedo and his journey as a POW in 1945. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Into the Ocean

Where is the coastguard
I keep looking each direction
For a spotlight, give me something
I need something for protection
Maybe flotsam junk will do just fine
The jetsam sunk, I'm left behind
I'm treading for my life believe me
(How can I keep up this breathing)
Not knowing how to think
I scream aloud, begin to sink
My legs and arms are broken down
With envy for the solid ground
I'm reaching for the life within me
How can one man stop his ending
I thought of just your face
Relaxed, and floated into space

I want to swim away but don't know how
Sometimes it feels just like I'm falling in the ocean
Let the waves up take me down
Let the hurricane set in motion, yeah
Let the rain of what I feel right now, come down
Let the rain come down

Blue October, "Into The Ocean"

These are part of the lyrics to one of my favorite "deployment songs," as I like to categorize them.  These are songs that I choose that I can relate to during the daily grind, and the quiet nights. 

I've found music to be extremely motivating as we drag through this deployment, in the same way it was in 2002, when we were separated during our first year of marriage.

This past weekend I traveled with the kids down to my hometown.  It was awesome to be with family.  The weekend went much too fast. The children played with their Papa's 15 puppies!  We chose pumpkins and enjoyed some great Mexican food.  I felt overwhelmed when I came home for some reason.  But I got a chance to introduce myself to my new neighbor across the street, who is pregnant, with a 7-month old baby and two dogs.  Her husband will be moving up here in a couple months but for now she's on her own.  I wanted to reach out to her to let her know that she's not alone!  You can be lonely but not alone. 

I'm feeling grateful for many things lately.  One of the best parts about deployments is on the horizon.  That is...wait for it...the extra money!  It helps, it really does.  A little retail therapy is always a good thing.  I bought myself two new pairs of boots recently and it was a great feeling to have something pretty and new for myself. 

This week we don't have that much going on.   My big girl Kindergartner is out of school for conferences and today is the first day it hasn't rained in a couple of days.  We're all excited for Halloween on Sunday and tomorrow we're attending our local YMCA's harvest party.  This is a fun time of year for us.  Just need to keep our heads up.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Missing him at the most random of times

I'm missing my husband today.  The emotions caught me in between a cat nap and cleaning out my car.  It doesn't take much to make me well up.  A song, a memory. 

I'm beginning to realize how convenient it is for me when he's here.  Because then I don't have to let others in.  I don't have to to open my heart to deep personal, friendships and relationships.  I don't have to ask for help.  I am comfortable in that space.  Stepping out of it makes me scared, it makes me fidget like I'm dressed up for a night out and not in jeans and flats. 

Six weeks into it and I finally had to ask for help and I hated that.  I hate that I can't do it alone.  But I do appreciate everyone who's stepped up to be there for me.  It's just me being stubborn.

I am learning a lot about myself. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Defining Deployment

Deployment is...

Eating lunch standing up, next to the kitchen counter.  Thinking about the next thing I have to do. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Over the last two nights I've been having really strange dreams about my husband.

Once upon a time, I used to put a lot of stock into what my dreams meant.  I would scour the dream dictionaries on the 'net, looking for answers, not realizing it was probably because I ate one too many hot Cheetos too close to bedtime.

Now I take a more realistic approach when I have strange dreams.  I've often had this recurring dream when my husband is away.  I dream that we've broken up, and that I'm going around to all of my ex-boyfriends trying to figure out if we're supposed to be together. 

I always feel immense sadness that Ahron and I are no longer together and I feel confused and lost.  I feel like the little bird in Are You My Mother?
The strangest part of all is, I never know what Ahron and I are status-wise.  It feels like marriage, but in the dream we are only dating or engaged. 

When I wake up, I'm always so relieved that it's a dream.  I've shared this with Ahron before and he never fails to remind me how important our marriage is to him, and that he would never do anything to jeopardize that.  Even though it's just a silly dream I appreciate him taking the time to make me feel secure in our marriage, no matter how far apart we might be. 

Crazy as it seems, I've also woken up from a bad dream about him, and I feel anger toward him, even though he hasn't done anything to me.  I guess the distance can be a good thing in those cases.  Overall, I know the dreams are just an outlet for the feelings of loneliness and resentment I experience through the deployment. 

I know that in the end, in reality, he'll come back to me.  That's sweeter then any bad dream I might have. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Counting Up

So this is a project I've been wanting to do for a while since the deployment started. 

In 2008, we counted up the deployment (as opposed to counting down) with little paper hearts we taped in the hallway.  This was much to the chagrin of my landlord who was trying to sell the house we were living in at the time.  Counting up seems like a better deal then counting down for two reasons.

1) I like the idea of just taking it seven days at a time.  Each week is an accomplishment for all five of us.

2)Deployments aren't set schedules, and if for some reason it does get extended, we can add on more weeks as the time goes on.

This time around, I purchased some little foam cards from the Dollar Store, each just a little larger then the size of an index card, and printed out a little sailboat from a clip-art program.  Each week we complete during deployment, we move the ship over to that card.  Since I've been slacking with this project, we started out on week 5.  I have to say, it looks a little daunting being at the beginning, but I look forward to seeing that ship move forward!

In other news, we had a fantastic weekend.  My mom, sister and nephew drove up and the grown-ups shared lots of wine, good food and laughter, while the kids shared playtime with their cousin.   I'm so blessed to have family within driving distance!  I couldn't do this otherwise. 

My wonderful husband spent the last few days in Malaysia and it was nice for a chance for him to get some liberty after quite a few days at sea.  The highlight of his trip was having a foot massage in which he dunked his feet into a fish tank, and the fish proceeded to eat off all of the dead skin.  It sounds pretty gnarly, but when you wear those steel-toed boots every day for hours and hours, I'm sure it was Heaven for him.  Somewhere a PETA member is covering his ears and going, "La la la la la." 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sharing With You: Lucky Me by Helene Cronin

Not too many things can move me to tears about 1)Having served in the military and 2)Being married to someone who is serving. I try my hardest not to differentiate myself from other civilian families but then I hear a song like this and I'm reminded of what we do differently.

My favorite line in this song is, "Lucky me, that's right, freedom comes at a heavy price." For all the thousands of lives lost in this war, so much has also been lost. Marriages have fallen apart, veterans have lost their sense of normalcy and children have lost their security of having their parents around into old age. I hope, when this war is finally over our government will secure the best of the best veteran's benefits for our soldiers, sailors and airmen who have served their country.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


These friendly little guys start popping up everywhere in the fall. We usually have three or four on the porch at any given time, despite the fact that I knock down the webs a couple of times per week.

Sharing With You

Date Night

This blog title has two meanings. Last night, I watched the movie Date Night with Steve Carrell, and Tina Fey. I've been wanting to see this movie for awhile. I wanted to see it with Ahron when it came out in the theaters but life always gets in the way somehow and we missed it. I love Steve Carrell and I can honestly say, it's the hardest I'd laughed since he left almost one month ago.

Also, tonight is military date night at our local YMCA! I am dropping my children off so I can go down the street to get a haircut. Should be a great day.

I wrote in an email to my husband yesterday, "As our anniversary nears I can't help but feel a little bit of sadness that we're apart." Tuesday, October 5th will be eight years since our wedding day. Our wedding day was a happy, wonderful, perfect fall day in Yakima. I'm so grateful that I met him and despite the hardships of the life we live, we are indeed very blessed.

I'm working on a new project for our children and I'll post pictures of what it is in a couple of days.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Life Experience

Sunday night, I attended a concert by the great artist Jennifer Knapp. This is something I've been wanting to do for nine years, when I first began to know her music and she performed at King's Dominion in Virginia. At the time I was stationed in Fort Meade, Maryland and just beginning to explore Christian music. Jennifer no longer affiliates with CCM but when her new album was released this past spring, I was so thrilled she was back from her hiatus, I purchased it from iTunes with fervor.

As I listened to her music I was pleased to hear her familiar voice, melodious and rich with intensity and passion. Her passion is what makes her music, and her faith, and it's what makes her great. I feel as if her music has carried me through so many good and bad parts of my life.

Anyway, fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, I found out she was performing in Seattle at the Hard Rock Cafe. My wonderful cousin Corinne was able to watch my children for the evening so I could attend the concert.

When I arrived at the Hard Rock I had to use the restroom right away after that long drive from my neck of the woods. As I went in, I spotted Jennifer right away, just a couple of feet from the restrooms. Had to contain my excitement and not run up to hug her or shake her hand. So did not want to be super, creepy fan.

The concert began soon after and it was surreal. Seeing this talented musician was amazing, but most of all hearing her lovely notes and lyrics ended up being a night I'll never forget for the rest of my life.

Being a military wife can be difficult at times because it's easy to get so caught up in caring for others. So many times over the years I've passed up life experiences and amazing opportunities. I wanted this one time, this one concert and night to be different. And it was. I'm really grateful that I was able to go.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Today was not a good day. It began with promise, but ended poorly.

In the afternoon I had a bad interaction with a checker at Costco and I lost it. I managed to whisk the kids back into the safety and quiet of our car and then the tears fell freely. I've been on the verge of tears on and off again since that moment.

I don't know why. I guess the reality has truly set in for me. I've been mostly busy and sometimes emotions just hit you at the most inconvenient of times. I don't feel strong enough to endure this. I'm lonely but I'm not alone. Maybe tomorrow will be a better day.

Friday, September 17, 2010


So the ball is rolling on the changes in our household and that has been both good and bad for me. I like having a routine, but I honestly thought the hardest part would be helping my daughter adjust to the routine and I was surprised when I actually had to take a moment to adjust too. You'd think this would be like putting on an old hat for me, the whole "new routine thing," but sometimes it just sneaks up on me.

Somewhere on the third day of Kindergarten I started to get a little sad that this is our new normal. Shuffling out the door so very early to catch the bus on time, wondering what my daughter is doing, talking about, learning. I'm running errands with my favorite son or going to the gym, or straightening up in a much too quiet house. It's been a long week for all of us, as evidenced by the fact that my daughter almost fell asleep during circle time this morning. She was exhausted as we walked home from the bus stop in the early afternoon and I'm glad she'll get to sleep in tomorrow.

Last night she was obviously tired before falling asleep but she cried and cried for her Daddy. I promised we'd get right on sending his first care package and I'm hopeful for a call this weekend. We've been emailing a lot this week, working through some issues that he had at work. He also had a huge victory by finally earning his Air Warfare pin.

In short, I've felt an array of emotions this week, sad, scared, angry, proud, excited, nervous, lonely...but I guess that's part of it all. No one goes through a deployment with a permanent smile applied to their face. We fall, we bounce back and my mantra, we keep moving forward. I think I'll say that to myself before I drift off to sleep tonight.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Thoughts on cleaning

I admit it. I love that show Hoarders. Even though I feel sad for those individuals who clearly suffer from a mental illness, at the same time, I can't stop watching. It's like one of those car wrecks you pass by and you just can't help but strain your neck to look.

After I watch it, I always start to look around my house afterward wondering if I am keeping things that I really don't need. Let's face it, I have a junk drawer. But it's still functioning as a drawer, not just a faux cabinet. We have a fairly small house for a family of four, and so I feel like I'm constantly clearing out junk and organizing. From my children's bedrooms to the linen closet, there is always something to get rid of.

The past couple of months I've been working on my garage (also a good "to-do" project from my recent post) which has been a huge job of sorting, washing, selling and shipping. I try to remember that if I was able to live out of three shallow drawers in the Navy at one point in time, I'm quite capable of reducing clutter and living simply. Google Image "coffin locker" to see the inside of ship rack to see where you get to store your personal items on a Navy ship. Of course now I have two little ones and they come with their own things, but still, I have to keep that mindset.

Anyway, I'm having a bit of a tough time keeping up on the cleaning so far since Ahron has left. The dishes are getting done, trash is being taken out, lots of vacuuming going on but one of Ahron's big things was to pick up toys with our daughter each night before he put the little ones to bed. It was just one of those awesome things he did to make our night more relaxing and I miss that. I tend to pick up toys in the morning since I usually vacuum then. And it never bothered me before. But man, oh man, I tell you, when I got up to go to bed this evening I felt a little overwhelmed. I'm hoping that with my first-born now in Kindergarten the house will stay a little bit cleaner during the day.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Finding that pesky groove

It was like deja vu the other day dropping Ahron off at Target again in the early morning hours.
Now we're trying to establish a good family groove. This time, deployment comes with a really big change in the mix. My daughter is starting Kindergarten on Monday.

For the last couple of months I've felt okay about it. Then we attended her orientation yesterday morning and it all began to feel really overwhelming. I think for her, it will be fun each day to have somewhere to go. She seems excited. Later in the evening after the orientation, we picked up the rest of her school supplies. Note to self: Do not attempt to buy school supplies after all the other schools have started. It was slim pickens' out there and I had to go to three different stores to get what I needed. Packing her backpack made it all seem real.

Yesterday was a rough day for us. Somewhere in between the orientation and the trip to get school supplies the kids got in huge trouble for spilling yogurt on my very light beige living room carpet just two weeks after I had it professionally cleaned. One of our rules is no yogurt in the living room so I couldn't understand why no one listened to me and of course. it was dropped leaving a two foot streak of pink and yellow yogurt. I'm not sure if the week's emotions got the best of me, but I was seething, which transformed into yelling. which transformed to the kids getting sent to their rooms for one hour, plus, no snacks or dessert for the rest of the day.

After the whole incident was over and we came home from the store, things were much better and I felt slightly guilty for being so angry. Ahron wrote me from an e-mail and said I had a right to feel angry.

He and I have recently had discussions about ther term military brats as it applies to our own children. It is so hard to not want to give your child everything you can provide when the other parent is not able to be present. But any wise parent knows that you can't give your child things to be happy and substitute for lonliness. Instead, give them your time and attention and love. Remembering this, yesterday I played play-doh with the little ones and then we spent some time outside in the evening, playing fetch with the dog and trying to teach her a new command. The fresh air did us all a bit of good. I know today will be a better day.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Happy Thanksgiving!
Wait...huh? It's not Thanksgiving, you say? Well, in our home, today is Thanksgiving. We have a big, beautiful turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, rolls and stuffing. I'm on the hunt for a pumpkin pie after church.

I got this idea the other day while we were grocery shopping. Since Ahron is going to be missing out this year, what better day to hold our own Thanksgiving then today? It's his last day off before the big "D," the Puget Sound rain is at bay and the air smells crisp and like autumn. I'm going to dust off that beautiful wedding silverware and my mismatched set of china, set the table with a real tablecloth and pour the little ones some sparkling cider.

Remember God's bounty in the year. String the pearls of His favor. Hide the dark parts, except so far as they are breaking out in light! Give this one day to thanks, to joy, to gratitude!--Henry Ward Beecher

Monday, August 30, 2010

Projects To Do While Your Spouse Is Deployed

I thought it would be helpful to compile a list of projects to do while your spouse is deployed. If you're like me, you need distractions to keep your mind off of feeling lonely.

1. Buy and refinish an old piece of furniture.
I recently purchased a second hand dresser for my daughter's room. It's older and smells funny, but it's sturdy construction, and in decent shape. It's going to need to be stripped, sanded and repainted but once it's finished it's going to be a nice addition to her bedroom. The hard part about this is finding the time to work on a project like this without the kids, but with school starting again soon I should be able to work on it during my little guy's naptime.

2. Get a Netflix account and catch up on a television series
Let's face it...there's a lot of awesome TV out there that you don't always get to catch when your spouse is deployed. DVR has made it possible to record what you miss, but maybe there's an old TV show that you always wanted to watch or get into. For example, a lot of people started watching Lost but somewhere along the line of that epic series, lost interest or forgot to watch an episode and as a result were totally screwed by the story line when all was said and done. When it's late at night and your children are asleep and you have some down time, pop in a Netflix DVD and catch up.

3. Plan and carry out an event
Over the summer I became involved in helping to plan my 10-year high school reunion. It was great to reconnect with old friends and plan something other then meals and the cleaning schedule for myself and my children. I also felt a sense of accomplishment in planning and following through until the end result. Whether it's a community relations project or family event, don't be afraid to jump in the planning process and get your hands dirty.

4. Compile a reading list
Much like television, go over that backburner list of good books you've been wanting to read. A trip to your local library is free, and in your spare time or even 15 minutes before bed, pick up a good book. Again, another way to feel a sense of accomplishment when you finish a book, and you'll know what the heck everyone was talking about at that last party.

5. Set a weight loss or exercise goal, and stick to it
I've talked about this before in my previous posts but I think it's the best way to beat stress while your spouse is deployed. One time I made it all the way to our local YMCA, a good 25-minute drive from our home. I was unmotivated and tired and ready to turn around and go home, but one of the childcare ladies told me to go grab a magazine and sit on the bike for 30 minutes and just take a break. It wasn't the most sweat-a-riffic of workouts but it was a nice break and I caught up on all of my Hollywood gossip with an issue of US Weekly.

6. Become the Queen/King of Organization
Tackle one of those projects you've been saying you'll do forever. Arm yourself with a label gun, a bunch of those plastic bins and go clean out your garage/attic/closets. Studies show that less clutter=less stress.

What are some other things we can add to this list?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Crazy, busy month behind us!

I like to stay busy. Busy is good for me. In March I signed on the participate in the planning of my ten-year high school reunion. I figured it might be a good way to keep busy through the first part of deployment. As a side note, I swore up and down over the last ten years I would not attend my reunion. I was sort of a wallflower in high school. I was also a cheerleader, but it didn't really mean what it means now. I had zero self-confidence.

Yet I still got sucked into the planning process all the while, silently and internally kicking and screaming.

Unexpectedly, Tuesday night on July 27th, I was met by the news that my niece, Holly Elizabeth had arrived at the University of Washington hospital eight weeks early.
I was slated to leave on Friday and the so we packed up for a couple weeks stay in Yakima, Washington.

Did I mention I like to stay busy? I agreed to my sister-in-law's request of riding with her, along with our kids for a trip to the Woodland Zoo in Seattle. So back over the mountains we went.

The first week in town we kept busy taking my daughter to The Little Mermaid dance camp put on by the local dance studio. I tried my best to keep the house straightened up for my mom. Let's face it...three extra houseguests and a dog brings a lot more mess to the table, so to speak.

On Friday my daughter had her short recital, and on Saturday family and friends of Sonja (my brother's girlfriend and baby Holly's mom) came together for a baby shower. Already my second weekend in town and busy, crazy busy. The rest of the week was filled with seeing family and preparing for an even busier weekend. My Friday night was taken up with the reunion registration night. My Saturday was taken up with the family barbecue I was planning, my nephew's 1st birthday party, the evening reunion dance, and then Sunday concluded with a trip to Wenatchee, WA for a family wedding. It was insane. Absolutely insane, and I relied on energy shots to get me through. The reunion was a ball though.

Somewhere during the second week of our stay in Yakima, we received news that "our" ship would be returning to homeport. Although it wasn't completely unexpected, it threw off our schedule a little bit. Ahron and I both had mixed feelings about the return. It feels really ridiculous to start and then stop a deployment. After our previous, dramatic good-bye, we were expecting to be apart for quite a while. But we always try to remain flexible with schedule changes, and hey, that's just how it is in the military.

Ahron arrived home Tuesday evening, and I have to admit, it's nice to have him home and to have the help with the children. Right now, it's a very emotionally chaotic time in our lives. We are officially up to choose new orders in the spring. We're torn between staying here for an extra year, and moving on to a new location, most likely the East Coast. There's a couple of reasons we really want to stay here. 1)We just bought our house last year. 2)Daughter officially starts school on the 8th. 3)Family is here

For now the plan is to look into an extension and we're kind of just waiting to find out what's going to happen. Also, Ahron was up for Chief Petty Officer as I mentioned in a previous post, but he did not make the cut this year. But there's always next year. It's time for us to hold on tight, the ride is just about to get bumpy and scary. But somehow I know we'll come out all right in the end.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Seahorses slurp their food

Yesterday I finally made it to our local zoo. I've been wanting to take my daughter and my son since we moved out here. We used to take our daughter to the zoo in San Diego quite often, but as far as I can remember the only time my son went was when he was about two months old and my sister was down for a visit.

So, we packed up some cold ice water and sunblock (a day above 80, how exciting!) and headed out for a great day. I was able to find it fairly easy and we were considerably lucky finding decent parking. The sun rays shined down with considerable strength. My daughter kept calling them sun drops and made an attempt to stay in the shade. What I love about the zoo, at least the ones I've been to, is not only do you see some cool and exotic animals, but it always amounts to some level of exercise whether you were asking for it or not. We've recently ditched the stroller, so I knew that would make the trip more challenging but the stroller becomes a hindrance after a while.

Yes, I was the shameful mother who had her son in a harness, but don't be a hater. He is the perfect candidate for such a harness, since he wants to explore the world around him but has no understanding of danger or fear. He practically tried to jump into the water with the penguins, so that should give you an idea of his personality. The harness gave him a little wiggle room without getting too far ahead, and lost in the crowd, or one of the animal exhibits for that matter.

We made it in time for the wild animal show which turned out to be entertaining, and a smart way to wrap up our little excursion. My little guy giggled as the birds flew right over our heads. They also had a dog named "Harold" running back and forth across the stage which my son also took great delight with. When the dog made his debut, my son said, "Co-eee" which is what he calls our Australian Shepherd/Blue Heeler, Chloe.

On the ride back, I ended up utterly lost and since my phone died and I didn't have the car charger, I couldn't stop and find out where I was. I suppose it would have been smart to get out and ask for directions but because I didn't know what part of Tacoma I was in and since my mom raised me to be completely paranoid, I didn't stop. I ended up down by the water on Ruston Way which I recognized (thank you God for a great memory) because I had a birthday dinner out there two years ago. After just a couple of minutes I was back on the familiar I-5 route and on our way home.

I'm really glad I took the kids to the zoo yesterday. It helped break up the monotony of our routine, which is important for all of us. It's just the way we live life when Ahron is with us, and 10 days into this deployment I'm trying my best to keep things normal.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

It's getting easier every day

Today we are officially one week done with this deployment. My mantra is beginning to make itself known, loud and clear.
Put your big girl boots on!
Thank you, Jacey Eckhart

I have discovered something very helpful out here, shared with me by another mom I met at the Y.

The Child Development Center has drop off daycare.
It took me almost two years to learn this, but nonetheless, I am thrilled.

So, I'm making a movie date for my daughter and me to see the new Ramona and Beezus movie. These were some of my favorite books as a little girl. When I heard they were making a movie, I picked up a couple of the books at our local Goodwill (Goodwill is a fabulous place to find books from your childhood!) and I read them to her over a series of weeks.

I've asked my husband to contribute rules to a list I will type up and tape to the refrigerator. My daughter and Lord knows my son aren't able to follow them so well by sheer memory, so having a visual reminder should help.

A couple of things I've changed since he left. Bedtime is now at 9:00 since it is still completely sunny at 8:00. Very hard to go to sleep when the sun is beating down through the blinds. We've been cutting down on computer and phone time although we still have a long way to go. Once the computer's shut down it's hard to resist the urge to go look something up randomly, but I figure that will fade with time. Plus it forces the little ones to think of something (gasp!) creative and imaginary to do with their time.

Lastly I'm trying to change our eating habits again. The starter items are buying organic meat and dairy, and no soda. I'm taking a cue from something I caught on television the other day that said, "don't buy anything that has ingredients that you can't pronounce." I thought that was pretty sound advice. It's amazing how many things claim to have 0 trans fat and then you read the label only to find partially hydrogenated soybean, or various other kinds of oil. I'm not a health nut by any means, you won't catch me eating fruit for dessert. But I truly believe that small changes can lead to a healthier lifestyle.

Overall, it was a really quick week and I'm grateful that I've been fairly busy. That's one week closer to being done.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

On Edge

I am on edge for a couple of reasons.
1. The chief results will be out in about three weeks. Every year for the past three years, my husband has been given the opportunity to take an exam that makes him eligible for the E-7 ranking. For those that don't know how the enlisted military ranking system works, you start out as an E-1 and work your way up to E-9.

More info here

Anyway, this is officially his second time being eligible to have his record looked at by a selection board out in Millington, TN. The chances are slim this year. They are only advancing 16 people in his rating. 16 people who probably have more years in the Navy then him (though that's not the only thing that counts), more seniority and more experience. However, he's busted his butt to make it this far in 10 years. Wish I could be on that selection board and that how you rate as a husband and father meant something. He would have made chief long ago! I'm dying to know the results and trying to remember that patience is a virtue. If we don't make it, fine, onto the next year. I just want to know already!

2. I can't believe it's happening but starting next month, we are up for new orders. Ideally, we'd like to stay here because our daughter is starting school and we just bought a house last year that we love. So, if a spot opens up for us to stay here we will take it. If not, we have an open mind as long as we can stay in the United States. But, again, not much we can do until August when we get our look at what spots are out there and can submit our request.

Looking at the date, I can't believe it's only been three days since my husband left. Things are going okay so far. We're still trying to decide what to do to count the days. In 2008 we cut out hearts each week and glued them on our welcome home poster. My daughter is set on doing that again but I'm trying to convince her sailboats would be cuter. Looks like a trip to the craft store will be happening soon.

Friday, July 16, 2010


The sky above was clear and full of stars. Pretty unusual for Western Washington State. We lifted our sleeping children, warm from the comfort of their beds, and buckled them into their car seats. It was 3:25am. The drive there was mostly quiet, with a little bit of meaningless conversation. The fan blew cool air and we could still smell the saltwater from the Sinclair Inlet.

The drive seemed short in one way, long in another. Then, we arrived under the glow of the red Target sign. The carpool van grumbled to life, ready to make its' journey to Everett.

Ahron quickly loaded his seabag and sleeping bag into the van. He walked back to hug us. We hugged for a long time. After the moment, I sat into the driver's seat, and adjusted the seat and mirrors for myself and myself alone.

In their sleepy state, Miles whined, his feeble attempt at expressing his three-year old sorrow. Elaine's head dropped down, and she began sobbing softly. I drove home with blurry eyes. When we came home I put both of them in my bed and we talked about fun things we would do that day. Elaine sniffled every couple of minutes and Miles couldn't get comfortable. After about one hour, they finally fell asleep.
It was a sad good-bye.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Fit for Duty

A lifetime ago I went off to Navy's Recruit Training Command (read: boot camp) and transformed into the best physical shape of my life. Now it's ten years and two children later. Plus 25 pounds. I could cry.

25 pounds on my petite 5' 1" frame is a lot of extra weight. One of the biggest blessings about deployment is I always seem to lose a little bit of weight running after two children and a very wild dog on my own. And, let's face it, we eat much healthier when my husband is not around. For all of the wonderful things he's provided our family, healthy eating is not one of them. He loves food. Rich, decadent, flavorful food, and he's sucked me into the void of gourmet eating.

The difference between this being okay for him and not for me, is that he is required to meet the Navy's physical fitness standards every six months. I don't have a recruit training commander shouting in my face to push me anymore. It's just me.

Being a military wife is difficult for a lot of reasons. Many of us sacrifice our health to take care of home and family first. So it's vitally important for me to have high energy levels to get through each day.

I want this deployment to be different. This deployment, I want to lose the weight and maintain it when he comes back. My starting goal is to lose ten pounds. No deadline. Just ten pounds. Most of all I want exercise to be the one thing I can run to when I am stressed. Having a new dog in the house has also helped. I'm looking forward to taking her and the kids on some easy hikes.

If you're a military wife looking to lose weight and be "fit for duty," my own personal advice would be to join your local gym, or better yet, YMCA. Find a gym with great childcare and programs for children. We are worth it to take good physical care of ourselves.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Memories for the long haul

We had the most incredible vacation together as a family this past week.

We didn't do anything extraordinary, or travel anywhere exotic. We didn't blow thousands of dollars on airfare, lodging or food. It was me, Ahron, our two children and even our rambunctious dog Chloe.

This vacation was about us being together as a family, enjoying each other's company, seeing the ones we love and for Ahron, saying good-bye for a little while.
We spent our first 3.5 days in Yakima. Ahron and I planned to go see a movie together. We started out at the Second Street Grill and ended up doing a wine tasting event at Gilbert Cellars. I think it worked out better then the movie.
We laughed after the server brought us each wine sample (bless her heart for putting up with our wine naivete), trying to figure out how each different wine contains notes and hints of seemingly absurd flavors like stainless steel, oak, bacon and stone. In the end I felt like the people who actually decide how these wines should be described may be suffering from pica or something.
On the 4th of July we celebrated with a good old-fashioned family barbecue complete with my mother's infamous strawberry flag cake. Like every exciting life event, my five-year old decided to sleep through the fireworks. We could not wake her for anything, so instead I was able to enjoy the excitement of my four-year old nephew as the fireworks lit up the sky.

Tuesday we headed out across the state to Long Beach, Washington. At 28, for the first time in my life I finally traveled through White Pass in Washington. The drive, though a bit windy at times, was incredible. It makes me realize how lucky I am to live in the one of the most scenic places on this earth. Makes everything painful somehow bearable.

We spent two wonderful days at a cottage in Long Beach. The weather was amazing. Food and drink were plentiful. Running around after our children and our dog on the beach was exhausting, but happy-exhausting. I loved watching their reactions and the joy on their faces as we built our first beach campfire, roasted marshmallows and watched fireworks shoot through the cold night air. I'm pretty sure Ahron felt the same way.

Now the vacation is almost over. Ahron's begun packing and it's hit us that this deployment train is leaving full speed ahead in just a couple of days. Though it's scary to know that hard days lie ahead, I feel comfort in knowing that our children know they are loved and that we will still be a family.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Now that's entertainment

Yesterday had to have been the most entertaining car ride home from the YMCA ever.
My five-year old daughter was lollygagging her way to the car. My three-year old son was asking if he could ride in his sister's chair. I let him when she's not around. It's a five-point harness, high back booster, very safe. Since she was not listening to me, I let him sit there, and made her sit in his chair.

Now anyone who knows my five year old knows that she completely despises change. Which is kind of funny, considering we're a military family. So imagine the horror that ensued when I let her brother ride in her car seat for the 25 minute journey home, while she had to ride in her brother's car seat.

Now, a note about my son's seat. It used to be hers. It is spacious, cushioned, and has a headrest. She rode in it happily for two years. In fact, when we bought her this newer, high back booster, she hated it and cried for her old seat back. I didn't think too much of it.

So off we went from the YMCA in Bremerton and the tears started flowing almost immediately. First she tried to reason with me. Mine is better because because because, fill in blank here. Tears. Then she began asking me if we could stop and change seats. More tears when I told her no. I explained to her why she was in her brother's seat and what led her toward her punishment. Continued tears.

Then the worst of the worst things happened that could possibly happen in her little happy world. She noticed a tiny (and I mean tiny!) black and yellow spider crawling between the two seats. At first she thought it was a fly but when she tried to kick it with her shoe and she realized it didn't move, the fact came to light it was a spider. I flipped my rearview mirror up so I could watch this scene unfold.

Still tears, and then came a series of bloodcurdling screams.

The spider, which had beel still for a couple of moments, started moving.

We took the ramp heading toward Gorst and I was laughing so hard tears were forming in my eyes. I felt a little bit like the Cruella DeVille of Moms, but this was just plain funny.

Then Miles, who likes to imitate his big sister, began screaming too, adding to the hilarity.

"Pull over! Pull over!" She begged me. At this point the spider (did I mention how minuscule this thing was?) had crawled right above her head while she looked up in terror, still screaming. "Close your mouth!" I advised her above the screaming.

Driving around Gorst is really dangerous. It's one long continuous curve for about 10 minutes, and people tend to speed, so I didn't want to pull off quickly and cause an accident. So tears...more screaming. Finally, I was able to pull into a gas station. She calmed down as soon as I slowed down. Once I opened the door that dang spider jumped down from the ceiling of the car into the window, then jumped down behind the car seat. I couldn't kill it, but for the time being, peace was restored to the car.

As we continued the rest of the ten minute drive home, Elaine in her most dramatic fashion softly cried, "This is the worst day ever. First seats, then spider."

I had to admit, I didn't know my simple act of discipline was going to torture my poor daughter into hyperventilation for the ride home. But she definitely learned her lesson. I promised her I would never make her switch car seats again, and she seemed comforted by that promise.

Elaine, who is currently sitting on my lap as I type this, says this is how we should end the story. "When we got home, we felt better, and we had lunch, and after that, we got push pop ice creams." This is the truth and I can attest to it.

You know that old saying, "Life is about the journey, not the destination." That's the wonderful thing about parenthood. It was a silly little moment, but I'll probably remember it forever.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Thought it was time for a little update. Having Ahron home has been both wonderful and stressful. We have not had a lot of alone time together and the routine has been very busy with end of the year school activities, and since the weather's been a bit nicer we've just been planning more outings in general.

My wonderful husband. He's been cooking dinner, doing chores around the house, checking off the honey-do list, and being the best Daddy to our little ones. I'm very proud to be his wife, because not only is he serving our nation, he is truly the head of our household and we're really going to miss him when he's gone.

I always tell him when he's home his presence is so big, the home atmosphere changes. When he's gone you can really tell something is missing.

Right now we have a lot of preparation to accomplish before he leaves. We go through the motions, void of emotion. If we choose to wear our heart on our sleeves, deployment makes things much more difficult.

For the moment, we are trying to squeeze a date in, and it will be an early celebration of our 8th anniversary. Our anniversary is actually in October, but what better excuse to get a sitter, dine together, catch a flick, and get a chance to reconnect. We need to be our strongest now for what is to come.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Bittersweet Ending to a Near Perfect Distraction

There's not too many constant things in your life when you are a military wife. The locations change, friends change, houses and schools change. You find yourself somehow evolving whether you wish to or not.

One of my constants for the last five years, shallow as it sounds, is the television show Lost. I'm a die-hard Lost fan, something I am still surprised to hear myself admit even after having seen every episode. I'm not your typical sci-fi or mythological junkie. Never could get into C.S. Lewis' "The Chronicles of Narnia," among other things (LOTR, The X-Files).

Instead, I connected to each other characters and their back stories and/ or desire to find redemption on that mysterious island. I buckled up for the second season and enjoyed the thrill of the ride through the revelation of the DHARMA initiative, the Others, and ultimately the reveal in Season 6 that the island held the light that symbolized life, death and rebirth.

I can honestly say after watching the series finale yesterday I feel a satisfied sense of closure. As one reviewer put it so simply,"I would rather have closure then answers." I believe that's what the writers set out to accomplish.

My thoughts on the heart of the island: Life, Death and Rebirth
In the second to last episode titled "Across the Sea" Mother describes the light coming from the heart of island as life, death and rebirth. I found this to be very accurate to what each Lostie found on the island. Some, like, Shannon, Boone, Eko and Ana Lucia found death.

Few witnessed new life, Claudia, Danielle and Claire among the very few. I believe that is because the island wasn't primarily meant to be a place where new life could be given, and that is why so many pregnant women were unable to carry to full term on the island. For the few that did give life on the island, it was part of their own personal redemption.

If you think about it, redemption brings upon a kind of rebirth. This is what the majority of our beloved Oceanic 815 survivors found. Redemption before they faced their death. It was the final plot line for our leader Jack. He found redemption through his sacrifice to the island, by letting go and clinging to his new found faith.

For this reason, I felt satisfied with the ending where Jack finally reconnected to his fellow friends at the end of his life. All that being said, I admit I was a tad bit disappointed when I found out the alternate timeline was merely a creation of their imagination. Because there was a lot of redemption and joy there too. Although I knew there would be even greater things to follow in the light. I like to imagine they have all gone back to the island. The island is now free of malevolence and corruption. Now it is a place where they can truly be who they were meant to be.

That's where I am less then 24 hours after the finale. I plan on watching it many more times, because I'm sure there is more to process and to learn from this great television show. I will miss it.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Beginning of the End

In a couple of days, we begin the end of our pre-deployment period.

I'm happy and sad. Scared and not scared. There's so much to process. I'm worried about my children. The advice I was given was powerful, yet simple: If you are fine, they will be fine. But I sometimes think that well-meaning woman underestimated the awareness of my very precocious 5-year old. My 3-year old acts out in different ways. From throwing fits to ignoring me.

Though she understands Daddy is gone, she doesn't quite understand why he has to leave our family. She's not sold on the cause yet.

Through it all, I'm happy to have this training period come to an end. It wasn't just training for my husband and his crew. It was training for our family too. Towards the end of this thing, we've started to get into a routine. The children have begun to listen and obey me better. I'm finding it difficult searching for a balance between being loving, fun and the disciplinarian. Getting by is just not going to be enough for me as a parent over the next deployment. It needs to be more then that. There's more to it.

Right now the next few months will be quiet, heavenly. I'm wanting to make every day count.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Re-inventing Mother's Day

I had a great day yesterday. What made it great? Spending the day with the most important two little ones in my life.

In our present day and age, Mother's Day has been made into a day to have a break. To get away from the significantly overwhelming task of being a mediator; a chauffeur, a cook, housekeeper, a financial planner; everything that's rolled into the mom title. And that's okay. Nothing wrong with that. I love getting away as much as the next person.

But yesterday as I poured the strawberry waffle batter into the waffle maker, I had the chance to reflect on what is most important this year, about Mother's Day. That is to spend time being thankful for the purpose that God gave me. Right now, in this moment, that purpose is to be a leader for my family, and to hold it together until we are one whole again. The best gift I received yesterday was hugs and kisses from my children. They are the ones every day who give me purpose, and who love me as I am. For better or for worse, I am their mom and I will summon every bit of energy I have in me to show them that I can carry us through these lonely times.

Friday, May 7, 2010


Reflect upon your present blessings of which every man has many, not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some. -Charles Dickens

You can find support in funny places when you're minus your other half.

Yesterday I picked up my children from the play land at the grocery store. By the way, the only reason I shop here is because they have free child care while you shop.

I talked to the nice old lady who works there. She takes care of the kids every so often and she mentioned that her husband was in the navy but that he had passed away years ago.
Recently she was in the hospital for a bout of pneumonia and was taken care of at the local naval hospital. "What a blessing," I found myself saying to her, that she still has quality, free medical care even years after her husband has gone. I wasn't quite sure I believed what I was saying. In that moment, I felt like I gave my robotic answer for something I take for granted.

I was so lost in my own sorrow for my crappy week, I couldn't even be thankful for the blessing right in front of my face. After spending a bit of time at home playing with my kids yesterday, I realized how truly lucky I am. Two beautiful children. A husband that loves me. A secure, stable job. Family and friends nearby. Sunshine (finally!) and a beautiful home. And then, the act of kindness that tipped the scales. My neighbor came over and mowed and trimmed my front yard for me.

You can find support in funny places, when you're minus your other half. Today, I found plenty. From that sweet lady who helped me reflect. From my friend who offered to watch my children when I need a break. From my neighbors, who care enough to help take care of me. And from deep inside me. I know that it's going to be okay, and that we're going to make it through this.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

It's a Given

I had the privilege of getting acquainted with my Shop Vac today. It's a small one and it only holds two gallons. So I got to empty it about 10 times.

There is some kind of law that says things must go wrong while your husband is on deployment. Injuries and catastrophes abound. It just so happened the only day I actually had errands to run after I picked up my daughter from pre-school the bathroom flooded.

"Mom, where did those footsteps come from?" My five-year-old asked me when we arrived home today. I was setting the groceries down in the kitchen when she motioned to the hallway where footsteps from her and her brother saturated the carpet. My first thought was to check the laundry room, since that's where we had a problem just a couple of months ago but after a quick check, it was dry. I opened up the bathroom to the main door and stepped into water everywhere. Only about 1/4 of an inch but it had run down the hallway and into my bedroom.

It's funny how instinct takes over even when you don't know what the hell you're doing. I shut off the water behind the toilet and lifted the lid and looked into the bowl. It wasn't overflowing but I started throwing towels down to soak up the water on the floor. I called my Dad. He's the only one I can depend on for things like this. I'm considering making friends with my neighbor who seems quite handy. As I spoke with my Dad I noticed that the fill flush valve thingy he replaced last month when he was here had come loose from its position in the tank. Not sure how that happened.

After a big sigh (and okay, I scarfed three Ferrero Rocher in a moment of insane stress) I got out the Shop Vac we recently purchased and began to suck the water out of the completely soaked carpet. A musty, moldy smell filled the hallway almost immediately. Not sure if we are going to have to replace the carpet yet.

Unfortunately Ahron wasn't able to respond to my emails until later this evening. I felt myself wishing he had a different career this afternoon. I knew it wasn't the right thing to wish for, but I couldn't help myself. But my mom made a good point when I talked to her on the phone earlier. She said,"Even if Aaron had been here, he still would have been at work so you would have had to handle it yourself anyway." She had a point. Still it was a moment that made me feel alone, and I felt resentment toward him. But when he called me on the phone this evening and told me he really loved me, I nearly lost it. Because I know in a heartbeat he would have been here to help me if he could have.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Keep Moving Forward

It's funny, as you get older, how fast time goes. I remember when I went to basic training; watching a video on the bus of how it was going to be. I remember a female recruit saying "the days move slowly but the weeks go by fast." There was never a truer statement. The weeks, the months, the years, they fly by.

I'm working on appreciating the here and the now. It can be a challenge. Especially when there always seems to be something better around the bend. In our case, it's "oh let's just get through this year and in the spring he'll be off the ship." Sometimes even, "just 10 more years until retirement, yay, halfway there!"

But when that spring, or the next five or ten years comes, are we going to be any happier then what we are now and what we have now?

It can be hard to find things to appreciate now but I will look to the little things. Less laundry, and larger paychecks. My son asking so sweetly for bubbles in his bath. My daughter bonding with our new dog. Trips to Yakima to celebrate birthdays. And phone calls. These are the things I'm cleaving to.

Monday, April 26, 2010

I just called to say...

I love you. That old Stevie Wonder song is my ring tone for my husband. Getting a phone call or email from him is exciting. When I see an unread message from him on my email my heart jumps a little bit. Our phone calls are usually planned due to the limited phone connection he has out to sea, but I still look forward to those phone calls.

As difficult as it is now, can you imagine what life must have been like for military spouses before email came along, and before phones were common place? I have said it before and I'll say it again. I could never be a spouse of a service member back then. Call me a wimp if you will, but communication is a huge part of my needs as a woman. Fortunately, my husband feels the same way (although, man!) and he is lucky to be in a position where he has access to a computer on a regular basis.

In "These Boots: A spouse's guide to stepping up and standing tall during deployment," military life consultant Jacey Eckhart talks about the importance of setting up expectations for communication while your spouse is deployed. I couldn't agree with her more. This is one of the ways Aaron and I keep the peace while he is gone.

Now, on a more personal level, something that's been on my mind today. Our son will be turning the big 3 later this week. Even though we knew this was coming, unavoidable, to say the least, and even though we celebrated earlier in the month all together, I am still a little sad. This will be the first of many things he will be missing over the next year, but I am dealing. My son is too young to understand, or at least not think about it to much. But he knows his Daddy loves him more then words can say. And that has to be enough.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

And then there's this

We've had some bumps this last week.
It's setting in for all three of us that Aaron is going to be gone for a while.
Don't be confused. He is not gone yet. He is currently in training away from home. Every military wife knows that at some point before a deployment her love will undergo some kind of training. So, in addition to the "however many months they are gone for deployment," the solider/sailor/airman/marine undergoes training which also is done away from the family.

My daughter has been throwing massive fits this week. I ask her to do one thing and she explodes, screaming, yelling, crying, angry. I always joke that she's five going on sixteen. It makes me sad. Wednesday night she just cried in her room, "I want Daddy back! I want Daddy back!" It stings a little bit, but I try very hard not to take it personally. I really wanted to lie down and just cry with her but it is my job to hold it all together around here. I held her on my lap and told her, "I know you miss Daddy. I miss Daddy too. But while he's gone we're still a family and we need to work together and love each other." I was convinced we were on our way to harmony but she woke up and threw another fit.

Things have been fairly peaceful around here since then, but again, it's all a reminder of what we're going through and what is yet to come. I met our new veterinarian yesterday and she thanked me for my service. Another blink back tears moment for me. This is hard, and it's only going to get harder.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Phase I Begins

I like to call this part Phase 1.
We begin our countdown to our next deployment. Which involves me getting mentally prepared for what is to come. I've never dealt well with change. I always internalize it until it manifests itself into negative thinking and depression.

I have to find outlets for this negativity. A huge source of stress relief for me is going to the gym. Every time I think I can cope without a gym membership it always comes back to haunt me. I get agitated if I don't have a way to deal.
Going to the gym is my prayer time. It's my peace and quiet. I drop my son off at the child care area, and proceed to the cardio room. I turn on my music/podcast/radio and let the whole world drift away. I'm not a work out junkie or anything like that. Far from it, in fact, I hate working out. But when he's gone it's the only weekly time I get to myself. So it's worth it, to me at least.

I digressed! Mentally preparing for a deployment, for me, involves acceptance. To accept the fact that I cannot change it and that I will have to cope with lonely days and nights. To be able to reach down inside myself and summon strength that I'm not sure is there.

I reached this point just about one week ago. As my husband and I turned in for the night, it hit me that soon our bed would transform from being a spot of warmth and comfort to being a cold, empty piece of furniture. I began to cry. I couldn't even stop the tears from falling. My husband held me as I cried. The reality has set in. Deployment is coming and neither of us can stop it.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Into This Mess Part 4

In January of 2008, after we moved from San Diego to Washington, Ahron left for an advanced school back in Maryland, while I held down the fort (finally out of an apartment and into a rental house). He finished his school with honors on our son's first birthday and flew home to be with us for the party.

We knew after his school he'd be flying out to meet his ship in the Persian Gulf. During this time, my parents and family were a huge source of support. I stayed very busy through the summer and we were reunited in October.

At that time we also decided to make the move closer to base, so we could actually all live together while Ahron's ship was in port. That first deployment was the precursor to our current reality. In many ways, it set us up for what is about to come. In 2008, we spent a total of about 8.5 months apart.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Into This Mess Part 3

In the beginning, it was a friendship. We had so much in common. We'd talk late into the night about our past, our goals, our future. By April we admitted feelings for each other and began dating. By July, we were exclusive. By September, we had to say good-bye. My orders sent me to Guam, while his took him to San Diego.

The Navy told us we needed to get married if we wanted to be stationed together. We threw caution to the wind and took the plunge. We were married on a breezy October day in 2002.

From that point forward, everything was a whirlwind. I moved to San Diego in 2003. Ahron was sent to shore duty. Shore duty is different from sea duty, because you don't deploy. It's like a regular, daily job with consistent hours. That was a huge blessing for us as baby #1, our daughter, arrived, and then two and a half years later, baby #2, our son, completed our family.

My time in the Navy was over and I transitioned into a supporting role for my husband. The adjustment period of getting discharged had ups and downs. On one hand I was thrilled to be able to stay home with the children. On the other had, we lost an entire income. I also needed to reform my identity from an active duty sailor to a wife and mother, without losing interest in my own passions.

A little over two years after I left the Navy to take on the supporting role of a Navy wife, Ahron's time came to an end on shore duty and he needed to return to a ship. After going back and forth a bit, we chose to be stationed on an aircraft carrier in Washington. That way, when he did deploy again, I'd be close to family.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Into This Mess Part 2

Shawn arrived at my house on a Saturday afternoon to meet with me. He brought his Cruise Book. I flipped through the glossy pages of what resembled my high school yearbooks. Liberty port photo layouts jumped off the page. The book sealed the deal. I would join the Navy after high school ended.

In the last hours of September 26, 2000, I set foot onto the cold concrete that is the Navy's only recruit training command (RTC) in Great Lakes, Illinois. My exuberance for writing and reporting had landed me a spot at the Navy's Defense Information School. After the grueling two and a half months known as basic, I would head to Fort Meade, Maryland.

Fort Meade was a nice change of pace from the chilling fall wind that seemed to compliment the city of Great Lakes. I arrived on a Thursday three weeks before Christmas, and I would start school the following Monday.

My plan was to focus solely on school work, and to begin looking into colleges since that was one of the biggest benefits offered to those who joined the military. I remember telling my grandmother of this plan, and assuring her I was not interested in dating anyone. I felt brave enough to withstand the distractions that dating and relationships brought. Then I met Ahron, and my whole entire plan was thrown for a loop.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

How We Got Into This In The First Place

I often think about the events that lead me to this place. My place is a difficult spot to be, but I am not alone.

My journey starts in a small city just over the Cascade Mountains in Central Washington State. I spent my the entirety of my first 18 years there. Never traveled out of state, never flew on an airplane or spent summers in Hawaii/Mexico like some of my peers. Not that I minded. I was perfectly content to live in my little bubble.

At the dawn of my senior year I began to notice that many of my friends were beginning to map out their futures by applying and getting accepted to colleges. Some had plans to attend the community college. Some had plans to work after high school. This led to confusion on my part. College was not something I foresaw for myself. I felt like I needed a break from everything a higher education and the classroom setting offered.

One of my older cousins was joining the Navy. I didn't know anything about any of the military branches at that point. Clueless was the way I would describe it. It seemed exotic, in a way. It seemed heroic. I imagined her on the deck of an aircraft carrier walking around like Amelia Earhart, a woman in history I had always been fascinated with.

Somehow, word got back to the local recruiter and before I even knew what was really going on, a Navy recruiter named Shawn had called to arrange a visit to my house to meet me.

To Be Continued!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I've started this blog as a way of recording the ups and downs of a military family before, during and after deployment. It will be cathartic for me, and hopefully interesting for anyone who stumbles upon this.
It is my full intention to maintain the Navy's operational security, as well as my own family's privacy, so I will be vague about some details, to protect those who protect us.

This will be our third deployment together as a married couple, our second with children. Each deployment comes with its own set of challenges. Every family is different, and I can only speak for my own. It should be an interesting journey.