Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Family Dinner

Do you sit down to family dinner each night? We do, and it is a pretty important part of our family life together. Both Steve and I were raised sitting down to family dinner, and we knew when we had a family of our own, we would do the same thing.
I was thinking, just the other day, that making family dinner happen while Steve is deployed, will probably be one of my big challenges. I know in the past when he's been away, it is so much easier for me to just throw something together for the boys, and then just eat a bowl of cereal myself, guessed it...their leftovers. This time I'm going to try really hard to make sure the table is set each night, and that I'm still preparing a balanced meal for the three of us to share.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Freaky & Creepy

Steve and I attended a bunch of briefings over the weekend, more commonly known as a "Yellow Ribbon Event", in preparation for deployment. We were so excited to actually be going somewhere together, without children in tow, that we didn't really care that we were going to be spending that time crammed into a conference room with a ton of other people. Sad, I know. Anyway, the morning briefings were really helpful - - I found that it all really helped me get into a "deployment" frame of mind. Lots to do, not a lot of time to do it. One freaky thing I came away with was this:

Obviously, Steve has a will, but we were told that I should have one, too. Kinda weird to see it in print. After I finished signing and initialing the whole document, the lawyer handling it proclaimed, "There! Now you're ready to die!" Thanks Creepy Lawyer. You just creeped me out even more!

We also got a couple of these for the boys. I knew the minute I saw it, that Camden would love to have one, and I was right. He has carried it around all weekend. I was set to order something along the same lines for each of the boys, but was pleased that these were provided to us the the Yellow Ribbon Event. All Steve had to do was pose for a picture, and we went and picked them up later in the day. Steve made a comment that it looked like a spaceman of some sort, and the boys made the exact observation when we gave them to them.

Camden had a rough weekend, what with all the Army commotion, I think. Lots of tears and lots of questions. All we can do is keep him talking, keep him on a schedule, and do the best that we can to keep him feeling safe and secure. I don't know that Steve or I were prepared for how difficult it would be to navigate this uncharted territory.

Friday, July 16, 2010

An Update & Another Friday Fill-In

The boys at Black Canyon Park. We're so happy to have a season pass this year!

The summer continues to speed right by us, only now, reality is definitely setting in. Camden has had some struggles (with the idea of Steve leaving) over the past couple of weeks, but seems to be in a good spot at the moment. I think this is causing Steve and I to be more protective of him than we usually are - - it is so difficult to see all of this weighing so heavily on a 7-year-old's mind. We've also both been eating Zantac like candy lately, if that tells you anything!

About a week ago, I was sat down to organize our summer schedule and calendar, and saw in plain print that after company and a couple of drill weekends, we only have 4 weekends together as a family before Steve leaves. Yikes.

Tomorrow Steve and I have Yellow Ribbon, which is where we spend the day at a conference, filling out all our deployment paperwork, attend seminars, update Steve's will, power of attorney, etc. Fun, fun! I've looked at the agenda and am looking forward to getting some new information that I hope will be helpful to us in the coming weeks.

In other news, we are going to an Army Ball on August 7th. I haven't been to one in a couple of years so I can't wait!

Here is this week's meme, "MilSpouse Friday Fill-In". I have to admit, the questions don't really interest me this week, but here they are anyway...

1. What food reminds you of your spouse? Sushi, because we always use to go out for sushi whenever I'd come to Idaho to visit Steve, before we were married. Gala apples, because he eats one every day. Coffee, because he can't function without it.

2. Who would you rather sit next to in a cross-country plane ride: an irritating non-stop talker, or a quiet stare-er? Definitely, a quiet stare-er. I love to talk to new people, but since I'm usually travelling with two little guys, I don't have the luxury of gabbing cross-country!

3. What are your best tips on how to save money? Steve would laugh at this one because he thinks I am bad with money. I like to think I'm quite thrifty. If I need something, I usually check the thrift store first. You would be surprised what you can find there. It is great for finding new appliances because people get new appliances all the time, never use them, and end up dumping them at the thrift store.

4. What is your favorite summer memory? Probably going to the beach with my mother and brother. I think about that a lot these days.

5. Do you believe in ghosts? I wouldn't say I believe in ghosts, per se, but I've always believed that people who have passed away can hear you when you talk to them.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Positive Spin I've seen lists like this on a couple of other Milblogs recently, which made me wonder what would be on my own "top ten list" of positive things about going through a deployment. Here we go:
  1. No alarm clocks. We are early risers in this house by nature, but my husband can't seem to do without his alarm clock. It goes off at 4:00 a.m. during the work week, but then he also sets it on the weekends (usually to go off by 6:00 a.m.). If I sleep until 7:00 a.m. on any given day, then I have "slept in", so don't get the impression that I'm lounging away in bed until 10:00 a.m., making my wee children fend for themselves. However, my sleep is interrupted enough by said wee children, elderly dogs, noisy neighborhood animals, etc., and that darn alarm clock just seems to add insult to injury.
  2. Reading in bed. I often long to read in bed every night - - it helps relax me, I have a multitude of books I'd like to devour, etc., but it just isn't the least bit enjoyable when my husband asks every few minutes, "How much longer are you going to read" (i.e., 'when are you going to turn off the light so I can sleep??'). And no, I need my bedside light on...can't do those little book lights!
  3. Staying up as late as I want. No, my husband doesn't make me go to bed at a prescribed time, but I think married couples definitely fall into routines and that's just how things go. For me, night time (when everyone is finally in bed) is the only "quiet" time I get in my life, where I can get a few things done without interruption, where I can watch some mindless t.v., paint my nails...basically, not be on anyone else's schedule. Oh, how I love that time, and right now, it rarely occurs.
  4. Not putting on a big production at dinner. We are big on family dinner here - - wouldn't have it any other way as Steve and I were both raised that way, and it is important to us. However, there are those days where nothing seems to be going right, and I'd much rather throw on a pot of mac and cheese and call it good.
  5. RedBox binges. Steve and I have a difficult time agreeing on movies to watch. There are so many that I'd love to see, but we usually go for something we can both tolerate, rather than what either of us really want to watch. The last time that Steve was deployed, the movie store was my Best Friend, and I am giddy with excitement about rekindling our relationship. Heck, maybe I'll really go crazy and join Netflix!
  6. Rediscovering my passions. Again, another fact of married life, at least for me. I tend to put aside the little things I like to do (hobbies, etc.) in lieu of family responsibilities. Granted, if I were a bit more organized, then I could probably squeeze more of those things into my every day life, but at this point in time, the only time they really see the light of day is when my husband is out of town. Will have to work on this one. Just reread and it sounds a little pathetic/depressing!
  7. Me Time. I do a pretty good job of getting my little guys on a predictable schedule when Steve isn't around, which leads to more free time for myself. This is probably similar to number 3. While I hope I don't spend the next year staying up late every single night, I am looking forward to that daily opportunity to recharge my batteries, where the house is quiet, nobody is asking anything of me, and I can just "be".
  8. Building confidence. While I'd like to think that I am a relatively confident person, nothing shores up that confidence like being in charge of everything. Children, home, cars, family matters, etc. I did not wallow in self-pity during the last deployment, and I certainly don't plan to this time around, either. I love the reminder that I can handle all of these things, without relying on other people to bail me out.
  9. The Kindness of Others. In contrast to number 8, yes, but it is so heartwarming to see first-hand. I am not the type of person to ask for help or to act helpless (ick) - - it just isn't me. However, I am always blown away by the care and compassion shown by other people. My radar has been on for the past couple of months, and I am busy making mental notes of those who I can count on while Steve is away, those who will be good role models for my boys in their father's absence, etc. It is funny how these angels in disguise often show up where you least expect them.
  10. Beginning the countdown. I am really looking forward to the "pre-deployment" phase to be over with. Probably sounds kind of weird, since that essentially means I can't wait for Steve to leave. That really isn't the case - - pre-deployment is very stressful, and I think Steve will agree, this pre-deployment phase has been a doozy for us. So, as much as I hate for him to leave, I can't wait to begin the countdown for homecoming.

Friday, July 9, 2010

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In

Today I'm participating in MilSpouse Friday Fill-In, a weekly meme, hosted by Wife of a Sailor.

And the questions are...

1.What is your favorite household chore?

Washing dishes, which is kind of funny, because it is also my least favorite chore. I do not have a dishwasher (I AM the dishwasher!), so I probably wash dishes 3-4 times per day. Even though I dread it, don't like it, and many times procrastinate at tackling it, I have a massive sense of accomplishment whenever I finish a load and wipe the counters down. Strange, but true.

2.What is your favorite childhood memory?

I have a lot of great childhood memories...some of the best are playing outside in our neighborhood at night, swimming in our swimming pool, going to Bath with my mom and my brother, going to the beach, eating dinner together every is funny how the things that didn't really matter to me back then are important to me, now that I am a parent.

3.What is your most embarrassing moment?

Again...lots of embarrassing moments. Not going to single one out, but I promise I've had tons of awkward and embarrassing moments in life that I'd rather forget about!

4.What uniform of your spouse’s is your favorite?

Hard to pick one. I loved the old class A's (green) but now they just wear a black tie with their dress blues. Steve wears ACU's every day in the past would wear class A's once in a while. I am especially partial to the dress blues because Steve wore them when we got married, has worn them to Army functions, and he looks great in them. There is nothing like a man in uniform, and I love that I get to see my man in uniform every day.

5.What canceled TV show do you miss the most?

I would say Seinfeld, but it is on every day in syndication, so it is kind of hard to miss. I could watch every single episode over and over and never get tired of it. I don't watch much t.v. anymore, but when I do, I usually watch Food Network or reruns of Dateline so I'm not too exciting or hip when it comes to t.v. shows.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

On My Mind

Summer continues to speed by. I drove by my son's school the other day and the school sign read, "First Day of School: August 26th". That's next month. Steve leaves before then. He'll get a 4-day pass at some point in September, before he leaves the state, but as far as our little family is concerned, he'll be gone in just a few short weeks. For over a year. Reality is beginning to set in.

We've just returned from a 2-week vacation in Maine. While we had many fun times while we were there, I'm afraid the stress of our current situation got the best of Steve and I. Lots of arguing, stress, and taking things out on each other. Pretty sad, and not at all what either one of us had in mind for a vacation. The best we can do (and have done) is put it all behind us, and move on.

One thing I have been noticing as of late is that I just cannot handle other people's "stuff". I don't mean other people's issues per se - - I mean, other people's issues with me. Or my family. No room in my brain. I wish I had a t-shirt that said, "My Husband is Heading to Iraq Soon. I have a lot on My Mind. Please Keep Your Drama to Yourself." I know that sounds awful, and awfully selfish, but that is just how I am feeling right now. I mean, it isn't as if I am sitting around every day feeling stressed out and losing my mind. I'm going about my business as usual, but things are weighing heavily upon me. No room for extra "stuff" right now.

In other selfishness, I just don't feel like sharing right now. I sat down to organize our calendar for the next two months, and I seriously have no desire to hang out with the masses. Just want to stay home. I want our precious spare time to be spent doing the things that the four of us like to do. Again, not exactly realistic, but it is what is on my mind.

We are also preparing to complete any "loose end" projects that need to be finished before Steve leaves. Only the mission critical ones will make the cut at this point. I think we are in good shape. Just wish time would slow down a bit.