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.