Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas time 2011!

We've had a wonderful time building up the excitement and anticipation to Christmas this year. 

I feel so sad when I think about our shipmates and families on the USS Abraham Lincoln who will miss yet another Christmas together. 

Still, many Army Soldiers are coming home to their families and it's a joyous time for them.


The past couple of weeks we've been busy shopping and preparing for Christmas in my hometown of Yakima.  It will be nice to visit family and eat lots of amazing food.

I'm sure it will be even more fun working off said amazing food after vacation. 

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  Peace and Goodwill to all!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sharing With You: USS Abraham Lincoln coverage from HeraldNet

The Herald, the Everett and Snohomish area newspaper did a lovely farewell piece on the USS Abraham Lincoln leaving its homeport after 15 years in the area. 

Please think of all of the families on the ship that will endure another Christmas apart for the second year in a row.  Our hearts go out to all of them, and after 3.5 years assigned to this ship we are ready for some shore duty. 

Good-Bye Lincoln

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sailor-of-the-Year and Stand down is finally here!

We have had an absolute whirlwind couple of weeks. 

It all started when Ahron came home announced that he was up for Senior Sailor of the Year and his board would be on Halloween.

For Senior Sailor of the Year, Ahron competed against six other amazing, stand-out Sailors.  He was nervous going into the board, where he was asked certain questions by a panel of various Chiefs, as well as required to recite the Sailor's Creed.  But, in the end, he felt he did well and spoke honestly and from his heart.

Shortly after the board, he found out the results would be announced at the upcoming holiday party that Thursday.  Monday to Thursday.  And since he told me when Monday was almost over, I went into panic mode. 

We hadn't planned on attending the holiday party for three reasons.  One, the tickets were $50 too expensive and we're trying to save for Christmas.  Two, the drive is long to Everett (2 hours) and three, Lainie had school the next morning. 

But two days, a new dress and a haircut later, we were ready to go on Thursday afternoon.  The holiday party was fun and I'm really glad we went.  The food at Tulalip Casino was amazing as usual.  We had a couple of drinks and I taught Ahron how to do the Cupid Shuffle, ha!  The time came to announce Senior Sailor of the Year.  By this time we were exhausted and we wanted to get going for the long drive home, but it was worth the wait.  Ahron was chosen as the Senior Sailor of the Year for his aircraft carrier!

It was definitely a surprise for him.  MC's rarely get awarded this.  I was absolutely beaming inside and out, I was so proud of him.  This award was really a reflection of all of the hardships of the last 3.5 years at sea. 
Here's a photo taken of us:

And then this one of Ahron accepting his plaque from his Captain, John Alexander.

It was a great moment in his, well, I consider it "our" career.  Being a military family is truly a group effort.  The arms of the group stretch from my parents, to his siblings, to our children (among many others) and of course, the great God we serve.  God has truly given us the greatest of all blessings, and now as we look forward to this stand down and family time I hope we can share blessings with others around us. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Almost Done!

Well we are 26 days into our final underway with our ship.  It has been a long 26 days and I miss my husband so much.  I'm so glad we're almost done. 

This past weekend we traveled down to my hometown to celebrate my Dad's 50th birthday.  Road trips alone with two kids and two dogs are often stressful but I'm lucky they are such great little travelers.  I decided to take Ahron's SUV.  I always feel a little safer in a bigger car.  Despite a little rain and wind, it was smooth traveling.  I've done so many trips alone it has become like a second nature but I always prefer to be the passenger on road trips.

The party went off without a hitch and I was really pleased with the turnout.  My grandma's neighbor provided a giant bouncy house for free and the kids absolutely loved it. 

This week I'm mostly going to be staying home and hiding out from the rain.  Fall is definitely upon us and I'm craving lots of comfort food lately.  Anyway, the wait is almost over.  I can't wait to have my best friend home where he should be.  Then it will be time for lots of fun Halloween and fall activities! 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Happy Anniversary

Nine years tomorrow.  It's been full of joy, sorrow, love, loneliness, laughter and fun among other things. 

We won't be together tomorrow, but we'll be thinking of each other.  And maybe I'll even make myself a cake.  And then we can celebrate when he gets home. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

This post title is inspired by the song off of Sara Groves' new album, "Invisible Empires"

Well, here we are.  On the first day of our final underway with our ship.  It's hard to believe we began this journey in January of 2008!  By the time it's completely said and done, it will have been almost four years we've been assigned to the ship. 

When we started, Lainie had just turned three and Miles was only nine months old.  Now I have a first grader at six and a half, and a Pre-K student, and almost four and a half.  Oh, how the years go by.

We are looking forward to the fall and holiday season.  It will be so nice to have Ahron home for so many special occasions this year!  There will be a separation period in January and February as Ahron heads back to the East coast to complete another school, but after that we have shore duty to look forward to! 

In so many ways we've all changed and grown as God carries us forward.  I may be lonely, but I'm never alone and that thought is comforting to me.  I'm looking forward to pumpkins, a chill in the air and remembering all of the blessings we've been given. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Summer Roundup!

Wow, I have to say this summer is going by very quickly.  It seemed like Elaine just got out of Kindergarten.  Now she's less then a month away from starting first grade!  My little guy, Miles, will be going to a different preschool this year.  Though I dearly loved the one he was in last year, with so many new things on the horizon for me job and school-wise, it will be best for him to be in a non-co-op school. 

Having a child in all day school brings upon all sorts of new options for us.  Hot or cold lunch?  Bus or car rides?  Elaine absolutely loved riding the bus last year.  I'm a little excited and nervous for her to be gone all day.  It seems like a very long day for the both of us, but I'm sure we'll manage and get used to our new schedule. 

Speaking of schedules, our schedules were absolutely packed the first week of August.  I met my Mom and some of my cousins at the Seattle Zoo on July 30th.  We took the Southworth Ferry over to Fauntleroy (aka West Seattle).  This is officially my favorite ferry.  It's a beautiful and short ride.  Fauntleroy is this tiny little residential area with all of these charming little houses.  It's where I would live if I was ever a Seattlelite. 

The next day, Sunday the 31st. we decided to drive home to Yakima instead of waiting until Wednesday.  So in a rush we packed for the week, including lots of extras for my brother's upcoming Saturday wedding.

 In my hometown of Yakima, there is always so much to do.  Most of my family still lives there and we all seem to get together quite often during summer and holidays.  So between coach pitch games and shopping trips, movie nights and lunches out we A)went broke and B)were completely worn out emotionally and physically by Sunday night!  The wedding was lovely though and I'm so glad my brother married someone who loves him so much.  They both deserve happiness and good things.

On Monday we came home and since then, we've been getting ready for Ahron to come home.  He's been out to sea for one month today.  The Chief results came out while he was at sea.  It was another no-go for us this year.  Although it was disappointing, we are relieved that we can stay in our house for another year!  We love our house, and we love being just a couple of hours from family. 

Since we hardly have had any time together this summer, he put in for a week of leave in September right before Elaine starts school, and I am thrilled to have him all to ourselves for a week. 

Well, that's our summer round-up!  I worried we'd be too bored at the beginning, but it's been a great summer so far!  I'm really looking forward to having Ahron home, and now just 3.5 months until shore duty.   

Monday, July 18, 2011

One Day at a Time

I had not intended for this underway time to be so overwhelming.  It kind of just snuck up on me.  Obviously, we're fine.  The sun is shining in Western Washington today and that seems to make things better. 

But it feels like we're on deployment again.  Last night I pulled up my Bible verse-a day app on my iPhone.  It was the one about it not being good for man to be alone.  This is part of the reason God created marriage. 

Then I wonder, if God knows it is not good to be alone, why are we separated like this?  Why must we endure this?  Ahron has the most logical answer, "Because I'm on sea duty." 

I'm always over-thinking things.  Once my daughter drew a picture of our family, with me, her and her brother on one row, and Daddy down below.  I couldn't help but notice Ahron in his own row, separate from the rest of us and I questioned her about it.  All kinds of thoughts swirled in my head.  I'm damaging my children with our lifestyle.  She will be scarred for life!  Yet, without hesitation she answered, "Because I ran out of room on the paper." 

Sometimes things just are as they are and we must accept them for what they are.  I can honestly say I don't take for granted the time we are together. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

New Look

Thought I'd try out a new look on the blog.  Hopefully it's not too bright!

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Bleak Reality For Our Nation's Finest

I came across this article in The Los Angeles Times this morning:

Veterans and Unemployment

I am included in the "Gulf War era-II veterans."  Though I'm not technically unemployed as I'm not actively seeking employment at the moment.  But that should change within the next 6-8 months and I look to jump back into the workforce. 

The statistics are intimidating.  The US unemployment rate was 9.2% in June 2011.  According the the article, for military veterans it was 13.3%.  The article states that one of the problems is that most military veterans don't have the degrees that employers are seeking. 

The degree issue is a tough one.  I can say with all honesty that when I was enlisted ten years ago, there was a high importance placed, not on working toward a college degree, but on standing out among my peers and excelling among things like making rank and earning qualifications.  These ranks and qualifications mean very little to prospective employers in the civilian world.  This proved very frustrating for me as I knew all along that I was getting out of the military.  I wanted to start working toward a degree but I wasn't able to start until 2005, at the tail end of my service.  Even then, saddled with two young children and a dwindling GI Bill, I was only able to earn my Associates Degree at the time. 

The military made some strides toward amending this.  The Post-9/11 GI Bill enacted recently, added 12 additional months of paid tuition toward my college education.  That's great news for me! 

But here's where I differ from most veterans seeking employment.  My husband is still active duty.  We can survive off of one income, and we have for the last five years.  I don't have to work and we are very blessed in that regard. Our medical expenses are completely covered. I can't imagine being an E-3, 4, or 5 and trying to support my entire family, without a college degree and only a few years of military experience.

Some military experience can count toward college credits but not all, and it doesn't replace a degree.   

Within the comments section of the article, Gogogto said:
Let's start by giving veterans preferential admission to all public universities. 

Agreed!  Why are public universities not greatly lowering the cost for a veteran's tuition?  Why are there not more distance classes offered through these public universities?  Why are most distance classes offered only through expensive private schools that rob veterans blind of their precious GI Bill funds?  Yes, there are some public universities that offer discounted rates but that's just not enough.  Most veterans need to work some hours to supplement income while they are in school.  I believe if there were more laws for public universities to offer better programs to veterans we could equip these former Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen with the education needed to succeed in the civilian job sector.  With college tuition higher than ever, it often feels impossible to enroll in college and work at the same time. 

It might be easy for mainstream civilians to say, "Well, just stay in the military and don't get out!  Get to that 20-year retirement."  Here's the problem with that:  The Navy is downsizing.  They are kicking people out left and right.  These are people serving honorably, top performers even.  Not every service member has a choice as to whether they are currently seeking employment.  Veterans with PTSD and other medical issues have an even greater stress on them as they battle through the system to get coverage for physical and emotional problems. 

I am not one of those people who feels personally entitled to the easy way out.  I'm not saying all veterans should be entitled to every benefit and grant money under the sun.  But let's prioritize the needs of veterans and their desire for a good education.  The GI Bill needs to be more easily accessible for military members while they are still serving so they can get a leg up before they transition out.  There is no easy answer for this problem.  It's going to take a lot of money (of which there is little) time (of which most people don't have a lot of) and cooperation on the veteran and civilian companies part to fix this. Sadly, the sacrifices don't always end with service and a lot of veterans are learning this the hard way.  Our nation's veterans deserve so much better.   

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sharing With You: Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band.

Yesterday our USO and Triwest health care put on an amazing summer concert on base.  Best part of all, everything was free!  Free food and free activities for kids.  That's my kind of party. 

Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band came to perform for us.  Gary Sinise plays bass in the band.  It was great!  Family-friendly, dance-worthy, very, very fun.  He is one of those actors you feel like you'd want to sit down and have a beer with. 

Anyway, here's the link to his website.  I am so grateful they came to perform for us!

Someone please tell me why we extended again?

Because I'd sure as heck rather be on shore duty in Japan again then getting ready for more sea time this summer!

I know, I know, the grass is always greener on the other side.  It's just really hard to see through all of this muck right now. 

This is a very stressful time for us.  We have upcoming Chief results, hopefully by the end of this month and we are always biting our nails in nervousness and anticipation.  This is Ahron's third time up for this promotion.  It's a big one for the Navy.  Being an E-7 and Chief Petty Officer completely changes his role in the Navy.  It's like the civilian equivalent of moving into a management position.  But it's a tough and competitive road to get there.  It starts with an exam in January, then a package submission in May.  The selection board usually convenes in June/July, followed by results and a 5-6 week induction of the new Chiefs in August and September. 

Also, the long commutes are really starting to wear on Ahron.  When we moved out here in 2008, we did so knowing that he would be out to sea more than in port.  He takes a vanpool to commute but it's just over 2 hours each way.  Which means he has to leave at 3:30am every morning and then doesn't walk in the door until 6pm. 

So yes, a very stressful time for him, and then trying to mesh that with all of me and the kid's summer plans isn't going so well.  I want him to be included and there for the kids but he's too exhausted to do anything.  It causes tension. 

Of course, we'll work through it, we always do.  I find it very interesting though that whenever we get ready for long periods of underway time, we fight in order to build respective walls around us.  Then it's easier when he leaves because silly emotions don't get in the way. Oh, the life of a Navy Wife.  

AT LEAST the sun is shining bright this week. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer, very loose tooth and more

Yesterday was officially the first day of summer and we couldn't have asked for better weather in Western Washington.  The sun was warm and bright and the sky was blue.  Perfection.

We have a lot on the horizon for summer, and unfortunately most of it will be spent without my better half as Ahron head back out to those familiar Pacific waters.  In short there will be two family weddings, family visiting, trips to Yakima and hopefully this year the big E-7 promotion we've been waiting for. 

Exciting news in our household, my daughter officially has her first very wiggly tooth.  Actually she has two loose teeth.  I suspect the tooth fairy will be visiting 'round these parts soon. 

Speaking of teeth, I finally took the plunge and got braces!  It is pretty humiliating for now but the payoff will be worth it to have a beautiful smile. 

Defining Motherhood

Note: I thought this would be fun twist in Defining Deployment since in addition to being a Navy spouse, my first job is to be a mom

Motherhood is:

Walking into your bathroom and seeing Spongebob Squarepants band-aids stuck like stickers all over the floor.  Cue me yelling, "Who got into the band aids?"

Friday, June 3, 2011

Do you ever think in poetry?

I do. 
I wrote my first poem in second grade.  Mrs. McKeown, my teacher at McKinley Elementary, assigned us a poem after we read a poem book about the ocean.  I remember writing it, carefully choosing rhymes that would make sense, and sound nice, and also tell a story.  I wish I still had it.  I remember it was very clever and funny too. 

From that very first poem I wrote, my love of poetry took off.  I read it voraciously.  In the beginning, Shel Silverstein was my absolute favorite.  He still remains one of my favorites.  I loved his innocence in the poems he wrote. 

When I was 10, my Dad encouraged me to write a poem for a contest at U.S. Bank, his place of employment at the time.  The poem had to be in the theme of African-American History Month.  My limited knowledge of the struggles of African-Americans  and civil rights in general led me to write about Rosa Parks.  I knew her story well from Women's History Month presentations put on at my school.  I submitted the poem and was selected as one of the winners from the Northwest.  This encouraged me greatly.  One of the other winners, a kindly older gentleman at the reading in Seattle, shook my hand afterward.  He told me something that still affects me deeply.  "Never stop writing," he said to me.  In all of my ten-year old meekness, I took his advice to heart, and very seriously. 

Through my teenage years, poetry acted as a buffer between my very dramatic emotions and the scenes unfolding around me.  I felt very out of control in my teenage years.  Our family dynamic was changing a lot at the time, as my older brother grew into an angry teenager and fought a lot with my parents.  I buried myself into the social escapades of junior high and high school as all teenagers do, and wrote poems about relationships that I thought I was having with boys (I wasn't, it was mostly in my head), about my family and the things that were important to me.  My poems became somewhat angst-filled and occasionally idealistic about the future. 

It always came very naturally to me, writing and poetry.  As I came of age in my high school years and began to become very aware of my internal thinking, I noticed that a lot of times I would think in poetry.  The way I describe a scene in my head sounded poetic.  When I walked alone under the stars in Guam, poems swirled in my head.  When I married my best friend, when we looked into the eyes of our first born and then second, poems and words from poems I had read came to me and I formed my own.

Over the last six years since my first child was born and I became immersed in the busy life of a stay-at-home-mom, I've found that the urge to write is largely missing.  With the exception of a few moments over the last few years I haven't written much beyond these blog posts.  I am mostly indifferent to it, but sometimes feel a twinge of sadness for my dwindling gifts.  But the blog posts have helped to awaken a part of me that I believe is a permanent part of my soul.  It gives me a place to put something out into the universe, whether it's read or not by anyone, I don't care.  But at least it's coming out of me. 

So, here's my thoughts for this morning as I drove back from taking my daughter to school.  Every time I drive down this main road in town called Mile Hill Drive, I think this.  So now it can come to the light. 

Descending from Mile Hill Drive,
I can see far into the valley of the Olympic Mountains. 
In winter, the gray rocks rise and give way the white snow that covers her range.
Now it's the end of spring and the deep shades of green fill the valley and make the
mountains appear darker somehow. 
Each time I drive down, I enjoy it so much. 
The view gives me an idea of just how small we are in this universe.   
But I feel lucky to be part of it.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Spring happenings

Our lives have been on overdrive this spring amongst the wind and rain that seems to flow endlessly into the Puget Sound area.  I'm not really sure we had a spring this year, even though there's not been much snow our weather has been awful.  Rain, wind and storms are pretty regular here and we've only had a couple of days of sunshine. 

It makes me miss growing up in a sunshine climate but I also really appreciate it when we travel home.  

At the end of April, we traveled home for Easter and also celebrated our son's fourth(!) birthday.  

Last Mother's Day weekend, my mom and I finally made it to Las Vegas.  We had a fabulous weekend, I wish we could have stayed a little bit longer.  I just kept thinking how nice it was to be able to eat without kids eating off my plate.  It was amazing to sleep in a bed all to myself without kids in the bed with me. 

After six and a half years of being a mom, this was my first real break for more then a day.  It was nice.  And when I came home, it was nice to be home again.  That is exactly how a vacation should be.  I felt refreshed to come home and I felt missed.

We finally also got some indication of where our next duty station would be and it looks like
(drum roll.................................................................................................................................)

We will be staying here for the next four years! 

We are very, very happy by how this came to be.  First of all, there are only two positions on this side of Washington.  Just two.  For this to happen, someone has to be leaving at the same time Ahron will be arriving.  As Christians, we feel it really is an answer to prayer for our family.  Our praise goes to God for giving us this blessing.

The main reason we are so thankful is because we bought our house here in 2009.  The thought of already having to leave our home and find a renter was a daunting one.  In retrospect, when we bought this house we were betting against the odds that we could stay here.  I wish I could have had that good of luck in Las Vegas, I would have came home with a lot more winnings!   

We also are happy to provide some stability for our children over the next four years.  For them to get to stay in the same location for six total years is also fantastic.

The caveat (because there is always one with the military) is that if Ahron moves up in rank this year, we may have to move after all.  Or maybe not.  So there's always that level of uncertainty that we've come to live with in the military lifestyle.  Also, he will head back to the East Coast for the first two months of 2013.  But we can't focus on all the "What Ifs?"  I'd much rather focus all of the positive blessings in our life. 

Speaking of blessings, we are going to be taking one of my parent's 18 puppies in just about a week and a half.  Adding another dog to our family is going to be a very interesting transition for our family.  With this new addition, our family is now officially complete on the child and pet front.  I think our home has reached capacity :)

Stay tuned for more changes in our lives to come. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

April, the month of the military child

Just the other day Ahron and I were discussing the term "military brat." 

It's somewhat foreign to us, because neither of us grew up in military households, though both of our grandfathers (his maternal and mine) were enlisted in the Navy and Army, respectively. 

We've never thought of ourselves as different from the civilian family counterpart, but now that our daughter is six and our son almost four, we're starting to see a few differences emerge in our family dynamic. 

Our babies, born into the military lifestyle by no choice of their own, are officially considered military brats. 

I have to admit growing up the term military brat seemed like a negative word but I've since learned (thanks to lengthy Wikipedia page) that it's generally regarded as a term of respect and admiration for all of the children and teenagers that are a part of the sub-culture. 

I'm grateful there are lots of Navy families in the region that we live.  Our children attend school with many other military children and they almost always have someone they can relate to.  I am excited for my children.  They will have some beautiful opportunities in their life as military brats.  And I pray every day that they will be better for it.

As part of Michelle Obama and Jill Biden's outreach to military families, here is a listing from United We Serve website on ways to honor military children in your life.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

March 24th

My stomach felt as if it was turning like a clothes dryer that morning, flipping and turning uncontrollably.  Contrary to my regular behavior, I'd actually prepared snacks and outfits the night before.  If only I could prepare us like this every day.  Our mornings would be much more peaceful.

I woke the children and we quickly ate a small breakfast and dressed for the day ahead.  At the last minute my friend Jessica advised us it might be smarter to take the Seattle ferry.  We drove in anticipation.  Every time I started to feel tired, the cold morning air brought me back to reality.  The ferry ride seemed to fly by for once.  All five of our children pointed out the seagulls and ducks as we crossed Puget Sound.  It's funny.  No matter how many times we ride the ferry, it's always like the first time for the children. 

After a couple of wrong turns into downtown Seattle construction, we found our way to the main highway and headed toward the city of Everett.  By the time we arrived at the base we found out the ship already pulled in one hour ahead of schedule.  We knew it'd be a while before our sailors actually got off of the ship.  So we set up our chairs and blanket amidst the crowds of friends and family that came to welcome home their respective loved ones.  You could feel the energy of excitement and anticipation in the air, emotions were running high. 

I chased my three-year old around on the pier.  Three times he tried to get into the water.  "Mama I go swimming," he kept saying.  Oh dear.  Three-year olds.  I called Ahron.  I called my dad who rode the ship back with Ahron.  I waved from the pier and he said I looked beautiful. 

After one very long hour, he was finally off of the ship.  The children hugged him first.  My dad stood to the side.  I could see the pride in his eyes.  I hugged my dad, and then Ahron.  It felt surreal.  But he has this amazing way of making me feel comfort and wiping away any awkwardness. 

We finished up our day by having our homecoming dinner at Applebee's in Renton.  Nothing fancy, but it was good to get a substantial meal in after a long day.  When we came home, we exchanged gifts.  Ahron brought home some incredible coffee from Hawaii.  He added three new beautiful pitchers to my collection.  We gave him a new coffee pot to brew said coffee. 

The children were thrilled to have their Daddy home.  Just like that, it was like he never left and we were a family again.  Pictures to follow soon. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Homecoming 2011--A Success!

Well, well, well, we did it.  We survived our deployment and homecoming!  It's been a long process with every emotion through every missed holiday, and every missed day. 

I can't even express how grateful I've been for the incredible support system I have in my family, my friends.  I decided I'm going to send out some thank-you cards because well--I couldn't have done it alone. 

I'm going to be blogging all the details of our homecoming day.  It ended with a severe migraine lol....but by the time we got home I was feeling much more relaxed and now after a couple of days we've settled into leave time quite nicely.  

Hopefully this will be the last deployment for the next four years. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Today's to-do list!

Here's my list for today.  I left some cleaning items so the house would look really "fresh and clean" for Ahron tomorrow.
1)Straighten up my room, closet vacuum, make bed.
2)Mop bathroom floors, do a general wipe down
3)Dust and clear table
4)Mop kitchen and entryway
5)Do today's dishes
6)Fold laundry
7)Lay out clothes for tomorrow and pack snacks bag
8)Clear toys out of car, hook up DVD players.

Now my non-cleaning list
1)Hang sign in morning
2)Purchase red balloons from Dollar Tree
3)Purchase nylons, miscellaneous groceries and card
4)Get nails done
5)Charge camera and cell phone

So that's it!  We're almost ready.  I feel really bad already but I think I'm going to leave my dog Chloe outside for the majority of the day tomorrow.  She hates being outside but I desperately want to keep the house spotless and I can't risk the chance that she might pee inside.  Besides I can't wait  to see her reaction to Ahron when he comes home! 

Tomorrow is going to be a long day. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Here it comes

The last week has absolutely drained every ounce out of me, emotionally at least.

First, it started with the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.  If you know me, you know I spent part of my time living in Yokosuka from 2001-2003 and also visited various parts of the country with my ship at the time. 

My heart goes out to the people of Japan.  But I know the character of the Japanese people.  Their sense of quiet strength is different then those in other countries.  They will overcome this disaster with strength and grace.  Many commentators have mentioned the minimal amount of looting and crime going on in the wake of this tragedy.  That comes as no surprise to me.  One time I walked back to my ship around one in the morning and felt not even the slightest hint of fear.   

As it happened, Ahron's ship, which is now on course to be homeward bound, was stopped in Hawaii the morning of the earthquake.  Just hours before, Ahron checked into his hotel on liberty.  He called me at one in the morning with tsunami sirens blaring in the background.  He was fine, and I knew deep down he was going to be fine, but at the time I was absolutely nauseous with worry and anxiety.  The tsunami made its way through the Hawaiian islands and finally hit the West Coast, I felt relieved that it wouldn't go any farther then that but almost feel as if the world has changed and will never be the same when events like this happen.  The most terrifying thing to me, is that this kind of natural disaster can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime.  Maybe not a tsunami, maybe not an earthquake...but a hurricane, a tornado, a wildfire.  Life is so precious and it's a reminder to not even take one single day for granted. 

As we near homecoming day it's been difficult to even function on a normal basis.  Getting out of bed is a challenge each morning and I fear I've been struggling with depression with everything that's going on in the world.  Or maybe it's just the fear and anxiety of having a husband again.  I've been trying very hard not to dwell on it but it's almost impossible not to. 

I do know that every day my children need me, and so I'm trying my very best to be attentive to them, to show them that I'm still in control and holding it together.  Sometimes it feels like the weight of the world is on my shoulders.  Talking to Ahron made me feel so much better last week.  In regards to the disaster in Japan, he said this, "Babe.  You can't do anything about it.  You didn't cause it, and you can't do anything about it.  The only thing you can do is donate money at this point." 

It's so true and just what I needed to hear.  You can sit and dwell on the horror of it all, or you can take the opportunity to be proactive about it and do something to make this world a better place.  Really, that's a good lesson for this homecoming too.  Instead of being so worried/anxious, I can focus on all of the wonderful things that homecoming will bring to us.  And we all know that better days are ahead. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Homecoming prep and other things

This past week had a nice balance of keeping steadily busy but not overly busy.
I feel strongly about maintaining balance, but things, life, I should say tends to get off-kilter more often then not.   A couple of months ago at our MOPS group, we had a guest speaker named Sara share that instead of balance, we should be striving for peace.  Peace with God, peace within ourselves and those around us.  That seems to be sound advice to follow.  It's really hard to have balance all the time.  It's much easier to find peace. 

Monday I took my dog Chloe to the vet for a simple rabies shot which turned into a $126 appointment after it was discovered that she had a yeast infection in her ears and some waxy build up.  She truly is my dog!

Thursday we had our first t-ball practice.  It was cold, it was wet, it was muddy and okay I'll say it... miserable.  My poor kids.  They were like fish out of water with the whole sports thing and I found myself feeling really guilty because Ahron's not here on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis to teach them about our passion and love for the sport of baseball.  Or heck, I just want them to learn to play catch together. 

After watching my very busy three-year old run around like a madman, jumping in mud puddles and obsessively trying to bat, I realized I would have to pull him off of the team and wait another year until he is old enough to sit and listen to any other authority besides me and his preschool teacher, Miss Ellie.  Let's all pray I can get a refund.

Last night I decided to take the kids to Red Robin for dinner but since everyone else in Kitsap County had the same idea we ended up foregoing the wait and heading over to Chuck E. Cheese (my worst nightmare restaurant but the kids' dream restaurant).  They had a blast though, and it made them both crash before 9:30 so I was happy.

During the course of the week I received their custom made "Welcome Home Daddy" t-shirts for homecoming.  That was a nice thing to get.  It's truly a reminder that this is all about to be over.  Onward with the homecoming planning.  I need to get that small gift and check out the pricing on the other big gift.  Also, this week will be the start of the reorganizing in the house.  Cupboards need to get cleaned out.  Excess toys need to get donated.  A little pre-spring cleaning if you will.  Plus my house needs it.  We're about to have four extra houseguests at the end of the month and I don't want to look like a hoarder. 

People keep asking me if I'm excited or when they hear we are getting closer to the end, "Oh you must be so happy." 

I am definitely excited and happy but also nervous, anxious, terrified to have a husband again.  When you're with your spouse you are different.  Just as when you are with your family you are different. 

Have you ever said to your spouse, "When you're with your friends/brother/dad, you turn into a different person!"
The difference may only be slight, but it's still there. 

My biggest concerns right now are over menial things like actually having to plan a dinner beyond chicken nuggets and having an increased housework load but in the back of my mind I'm scared so many bigger issues will come up later as we work through the homecoming process (and it is a process). 

I guess I should start thinking about ways to keep our home peaceful and balanced during this process, especially for our children who deserve to have peace and balance, because let's face it, this lifestyle can be very stressful for them.  They are such brave little ones and I'm proud to be their mom. 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ho Hum

Dang, it's been a rough couple days.  Some night last week, I unexpectedly went into the ugly cry.  It was after I put the little ones to bed and the emotions came forth quickly and then they were done. 

I went on with my night and I felt better. 

Tonight, wishing Ahron was here to watch the Academy Awards with me.  Instead I turned to food (oy) and ate pizza for dinner. 

Yesterday I finally sat down and watched The Social Network.  I loved it.  But I love Facebook, so that wasn't much of a surprise. 

The weather's been nasty this weekend.  Rain battering the skylights in the bathroom and the wind causing those tall trees behind my neighborhood to sway back and forth.  I'm actually quite surprised we didn't have a power outage this weekend.   Just for the record, I really dislike winter in Western Washington.

I'm ready for the next big life change. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I just booked a trip to Las Vegas for my mom and I. 

We've been talking about this for three years since I moved up to Washington. 


Sunday, February 13, 2011

I Love Love (Happy Valentine's Day!)

Happy Valentine's Day!  This isn't the first Valentine's Day I've spent away from my husband, and probably not the last.

In all honesty though, I'm not that torn up about it. Though it's always fun to give and get presents and maybe go out on a date, we recognize the commercialism that goes alone with the holiday.  Plus, I think it's way more romantic to give and get gifts and go out on a date on say, a random Wednesday night.  This day just holds too much pressure.   

I can hardly believe last Monday we moved our little paper boat to the last row of weeks for this deployment.  It's not quite over, but I realize we're almost there.  My mind has begun to swirl with anxious thoughts and worry.  I wonder, "What will it be like when he's here again? How are the kids going to deal?"

I've also been slightly nauseous for the last few weeks, and I  wonder if it's a side effect of the emotions I've been dealing with.  Oddly enough, the emotions I feel resemble the beginning of deployment with the unstable moods and feeling like I could cry at the drop of a hat.  I have too much on my plate and I need to prioritize what's important and what I can let go of. 

So here's my checklist for homecoming, bear with me!
1)Order homecoming shirts and banners
2)Make homecoming signs
3)Spruce up our bedroom so it doesn't look like it does now--the kid's toy box. 
4)Clean out the dresser drawers and cupboards I've taken over that used to be his.
5)Make more room in the bathroom (boo).
6)Buy and wrap his homecoming gift
7)Take his car to be cleaned/detailed as second homecoming gift
8)Beautify myself (hair cut, color, waxing, manicure, the whole nine yards)

That ought to be keep me busy for a while.  I can't wait to be together again!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Oprah Today

Oh boy, what a tearjerker!  The entire episode was about military families and the sacrifices we (and by we I mean ALL military families) have made over the last 10 years in this war.

What I thought was most interesting, was the discussion that there is a disconnect among most of the people in this country and the 1% who are actually in the military.  Most Americans don't even know someone that is actively serving.    First Lady Michelle Obama, along with Tom Brokaw and Bob Woodward came on Oprah to be an advocate for us and our families.

This website, is set up to provide people with volunteer opportunities in their area.  I typed in my own zip code and was surprised at just how much actually came up.  Spurred into action, I immediately emailed the volunteer coordinator at our local state Veteran's Home that is just around the corner from us.  It doesn't have to apply to military families, there are tons of organizations that need volunteers. 

My point in this post is this--We can all help out in ways to support our active and veteran military and their families.  I also believe we as military families should pay it forward and help out in any way we can.

Over the years, I have often heard the phrase, "The Navy takes care of their own, the Marines take care of their own," etc.  I think we as military families need to break out of that line of thinking and be able to ask for help when we need it.  I'm very happy to see Mrs. Obama step forward and ask regular, everyday people to help take care of us too!  We are not looking for freebies, and the needs of every military family are different.  Some need a lot of support.  Some need little, some don't need any at all, and can help out other families. 

I am very fortunate to have an incredible support system while my husband is gone.  I also live in a town that is very, very good to our military families and I'm grateful for that.  Not everyone is as fortunate as myself though and it's disheartening to me to see our bravest soldiers and their families isolated from the love and support they need. 

I know that there are a lot of problems in this world and I know that people have their own worries, concerns and struggles to deal with.  But I really, truly hope with all my heart and soul that something (okay, many good things!) will come of this Oprah episode that aired today.

If nothing else, take a moment and visit the website

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Communication Rant

One of the truly disheartening things about being a family in the Navy is that the communication from the ship to the homestead is often challenging to obtain. 

Please don't get me wrong.  There are lots of perks to being in the Navy and having your loved one stationed on a Navy ship, as opposed to being in the the other services.  I would never say that the Navy life is harder or easier than being part or the Army, Marines or Air Force.  Each service has its own challenges and benefits. 

But lately, the communication capabilities of this large ship in the middle of the ocean can really wear down one's patience.  One of the things that bugs me most, is that the AT&T Sailor phones onboard, provided for Sailor's to be able to keep in touch with their families are very poor quality indeed.  From the cost to use these Sailor phones, to the amount of static you have to talk through (I mean, it is ridiculous to have to strain to listen to hear words of your deployed Sailor, even with your phone on its highest volume) is really sad. 

In the meantime, what we generally rely on to communicate is e-mail.  And when that goes down for whatever purpose, it can be very frustrating.  Your spouse, your best friend, suddenly becomes this far away person who you almost have to emotionally forget about, just so you can get through your day. 

With all of the gains in the technology world in recent decades, there's got to be a way to allow better communication between families for our sailors that don't have access to computers and phones out there.  Within the Navy, you also have to consider that any type of outside communication can be a security risk. 

What I do know for sure, (and I'm trying to say that without sounding like the end of a O magazine) is that when my husband steps off that ship and back into our lives, I fully intend to share a cup of coffee with him and bask in the glorious revelation that we get to sit down and have a conversation and communicate.  And I promise to appreciate that simple task that so many people take for granted.

Now I'm curious.  What are the challenges with communication during deployment in the other military services? 

Monday, January 17, 2011


The light at the end of the tunnel.  I can see it.  I give myself permission to get just a little bit excited.  Just a bit of hope. 

We've been so busy lately.  I haven't even had time to reflect or write.  This last week was filled with visitors.  First, our neighbors went into the hospital to have their second baby.  We had the privilege of watching their 11-month-old daughter, and that kept all of us on our toes for two days. 

On Saturday, my brother, his girlfriend and their baby came to stay with us. 

They are in the area looking for apartments and/or condos since he just landed a job on this side of the mountains. 

Ahron got horribly sick with a nasty case of viral gastroenteritis.  It him "like a ton of bricks," as he described it.  He had to have an IV drip and nausea shots but he is now on the mend.  I know how much it sucks living in close quarters with so many people.  Those viruses are incredibly contagious. 

My son Miles also started preschool on Friday!  That was a big milestone and so far he seems to really enjoy it.  I'm looking forward to getting a break every Thursday and Friday.  My friend and I already have a bowling and breakfast meet up planned since both of us are kid-free on Thursday mornings. 

One of the things that's been bugging me lately is the time difference between my husband and I.  The distance alone is hard to deal with, add to that, it's his night and my day, and it makes for very long days.  We only get to email each other in passing.  As I wake up and get to respond to his email, he's on his way to bed. 

I can't even express how glad I will be when the ship starts heading home and time zones began to align a little better.  When our little boat on our count up wall gets to the last row of weeks, I'm going to be ecstatic. 

This past two weeks has been very difficult for my daughter.  She recently turned six and though it was a happy time for her,  she has also been extremely emotional.  For a couple days in a row, she was crying a lot for her Daddy, and breaking down over the most silly things.  It's painfully obvious to me that with the end of deployment coming sooner rather then later, she  feels changes coming that are out of her control.  Homecoming can be a confusing time, especially for children, and I don't think most people know that it can be both happy and scary/sad/confusing time.

We'll see how it goes, but most importantly, provide love and support to our two little sweeties, who endure so much and are probably impacted by deployment more than we know.  I also know they are incredibly strong and resilient, and they will come out okay through all of this.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Lessons for 2011

Here's what I've been hearing lately that's struck a chord with me.  I'm going to try to live by these this year.

1)Live below your means, but within your needs.  --Suze Orman

2)All you need is love, love is all you need.--John Lennon

3)What have you done lately for your fellow man?--More acceptance, less judgement in 2011.

I want this year to be different.  I spent a lot of last year at a crossroads.  I questioned many of my beliefs and felt the need to define them and explore them, and I tried my best with this ongoing crazy, busy life of mine.   

I have this thing.  I want to be 100 percent me by the age of 30.  I want to know who I am, and I want to be confident about that, be my best me.  I want to find the peace I feel I've lost over the years. 

Lots of good things to look forward to this year.  I'm trying to go forward fully trusting in God's plan for our family.