>The Stylish Blogger Award

>I am thrilled and honored to show off my latest Blog Award from Kayla over at Stethoscopes and Dogtags. She has given me the Stylish Blogger Award. Thanks so much Kayla.  

The Rules are as follows:

1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award.
done; again, thanks Kayla
2. Share 7 things about yourself:
 – My best friend is my husband, my next closest friends are my brothers, other than that… I have you guys. I’m a bit of a loner but I’m OK with it. lol.
 – I love making Chex Mix without the wheat Chex. Corn and Rice only (extra seasoned salt).
 – I used to love playing the acoustic/upright/stand up/double (whatever you want to call it) bass. I started in 2nd grade. I wish I had time to play more.
 – I drink WAY too much Diet Coke; I hate the taste of regular coke.
 – If I could have any vehicle in the world it would be another Suburban. I LOVE my old ‘Burb.
 – I used to wish I had had a little girl, but now that I have three sons I wouldn’t have it any other way.
 – I prefer to sleep in a cool room rather than a warm room; I can’t sleep if I’m hot.
3. Award 10 recently discovered great bloggers
Jessica over at The Crow Family Blog
Julie over at When Your Feet Don’t Touch the Ground
Lauren over at Faith and Deployments
Sarah over at Adventures in Life
Shannon over at A Bit of Blue Sky
Erin over at Deployment Woes
Shelly over at The Mottos
Allisonwonderland over at You Win Some, You Lose Some
Kim over at Navy Wife, Navy Life
Chantel over at A Blog a Day While You’re Away

4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award
I will be sending messages to everyone on my list over the next couple days; but give me time since this is after all R&R. Can’t spend TOO much time on the computer!
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>Christmas Morning

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Christmas morning was great! We had a great time. The boys were happy and we were all together; it was perfect. Except for that dog situation; but aside from that the morning was GREAT!
We got two hours of sleep, and as much as I want to complain about that I can’t. In only a few short years, I will miss them waking us up at the crack of dawn. I will miss the excitement in their eyes. I will miss Santa. I will miss it all. So, with that in the back of my mind; I hauled my tired butt out of bed and into the living room.

Santa is pretty good; he always remembers to put C’s presents in blue paper, Z’s in red and B’s in green. It saves confusion on Christmas morning.

I had prepared breakfast the night before and I put the pan in the oven before they started opening their presents. As soon as they were done I was able to serve breakfast; it was a hit. They ate it all.

The rest of the day didn’t go as smoothly as I would have liked, but at least we had a good morning. Next year I will be sure not to agree to dog-sit for anyone over the holidays. 

>R&R Homecoming

>Last week I spent the better part of two days waiting by the phone. I was expecting a call from my husband to tell me that he was stateside. I didn’t want to get caught up doing anything because I wanted to be able to leave right away to pick him up if need be. Therefore the boys ate microwaved chicken pot pies for dinner.

Mommy Fail!
I finally got the call midafternoon the next day, I was beyond excited. I picked up the kids at school and we drove to the airport. Of course we were super early so we had time to take a a pic before we got out of the truck.
At first the boys were being good.
 
Then we found out the flight was delayed a half hour
and this, quickly turned into this…
Thankfully, the half hour was just that and nothing more. We finally saw him! I started to cry, and of course the kids starting making fun of me. Nothing like boys to make you feel silly for being emotional.

It was so strange getting into the passenger side of the truck. He insisted on driving which was nice but I have REALLY turned into a back seat driver.
“Speed Limit is 45, not 25”
“You don’t have to slam on the brakes; they work just as well when you are gentle”
“I think I’m getting motion sickness, can ya try staying in your own lane?”
“Seriously? You’re going this way?”
Anyway, our first night home was nice. We just stayed home and enjoyed being a complete family. I had forgotten how nice it was to share my bed with him. He is a furnace; no need for an electric blanket when he’s next to me. Anyway, this was homecoming. More to come later.

>The Perfect Christmas That Wasn’t

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Christmas morning was wonderful. The boys woke us up around 0700 (we had gone to bed around 0500; yeah, we were tired) and we watched the boys open their presents. I took still pictures while DH videotaped. It was great. The boys had a great time; they all got what they asked for; plus some. I had planned on having everyone over around 1700 so I figured I had plenty of time to get everything ready. DH played a little xbox with C, then he put together a robot for B, then he and Z organized all the parts in preparation for his RC truck that should be arriving back from the repair shop this week. I was so happy. Our family was whole, we were celebrating Christmas and I felt good.
Bro #2 asked me on Tuesday if I would watch one of his dogs while he went to New Jersey. I told him I had not had good luck the last time I watched a dog.
He insisted that he would give me the good dog; the young one, he said it was housetrained and crate trained. He told me that the dog wouldn’t bark if he was in the crate.
I told him that Christmas Eve was an issue.
We would go to pick up the toys at Bro #1’s house and we’d have to leave the front door open while we brought everything in. Opening and closing the front door would wake up the kids.
He said that was fine, put him in the crate.
I told him I couldn’t risk having the dog bark on Christmas Eve; there are no “do-overs” when it comes to kids and Santa. Once they see you with their presents; that’s it.
So, he assured me it would be fine. He dropped off the dog midweek. That also happened to be the beginning of R&R (perfect timing, huh).
The first night the dog stayed in his crate. We left the door open but he wouldn’t come out (new environment, understandable). After a while we noticed that the dog WAS coming out….. to pee, then he would go back in. He literally only left the cage to use the bathroom in the living room. That night the dog slept in the cage.
The next day the dog didn’t hide in his cage all day, but he proved that he was most certainly NOT housetrained. I must have cleaned up 25 small puddles and 2 land mines in the living room and the kitchen. That night the dog went into his cage around midnight and at 0300 it started barking. I finally got up and took the thing outside while DH cleaned out the cage (the dog’s butt must have exploded). After 20 minutes I brought the dog in. As soon as I closed the door the dog turned on the fire house and left a giant puddle in the kitchen. I brought him back out for 10 minutes and then put him back in the cage. We then lay there for about an hour listening to the dog bark and howl.
The next day was Christmas Eve, more of the same. The boys have started wearing shoes in the house because they kept stepping in puddles. It is disgusting. I have gone through more paper towels and clorox wipes in the past week than at any point this year. That night we put the boys to bed. It was exciting because Santa was going to be coming. The boys finally went down but we still waited a bit to be sure they were asleep. Around midnight we decided it was time to head to Bro #1’s to pick up the toys. The dog, however, did not feel that it was a good time. He started barking as soon as we put him in the cage. I didn’t know what to do. I was going to be so mad if he woke up the kids. We made sure that the kids had sound machines turned on in their rooms and we left; hoping for the best. When we arrived back home the dog was out. One of the kids must have gotten up and let him out because of the barking. Of course, we spent the next 15 minutes cleaning puddles. We then brought in all the presents and arranged them. Santa normally drops a whole bunch of miniature chocolate candy all over the toys and living room, I stopped myself just in time though. I realized that the dog was obviously not going to stay in the cage and chocolate is bad for dogs. Whew, that would have sucked. Dog Diarrhea on Christmas? No thanks.
So, we went to bed at 0500, the boys woke us up at 0700. We enjoyed our morning (I will post about it in more detail later when I have the pics uploaded). That afternoon the dog started again. He was totally messing with us. He would pee a couple ounces in different places but refused to pee outside even though we were taking him out almost constantly. DH and I were beyond frustrated; we had the family coming over, dinner and sides to make, toys to put together, etc. Christmas is a hectic day, we did not need this added stress. We started off early in the day, but as the day went on we were more and more off schedule. He went in to the bathroom to start cleaning it while I attempted to get dinner ready. I had to keep stopping to clean up the dog mess though. Bro #1 and his girlfriend got here first; I was on the verge of tears at this point. Then my Mom and stepdad showed up. I didn’t say hello at first because I knew that my Mom would see that something was wrong (you can’t get anything by her) and she would ask me. I can’t shrug it off with my Mom either. I am not usually able to just say “nothing”. I knew that if she saw me I would just start crying and I didn’t want to do that on Christmas. At this point, DH was still in the bathroom. I don’t think he wanted to come out because he knew that I would ask him to clean up after the dog every 15 minutes while I finished cooking, he would rather scrub the bathroom from top to bottom. The dog peeed three more times after they all arrived. The last time was in the study, I went in with paper towels and clorox and started cleaning. That’s when my Mom said, “Oh Lin, that’s not the spot we were talking about, he just did it over here”. I cracked, started crying, threw the paper towels on the floor and hid in my room. I cried and cried into my pillow. This was Christmas. The Christmas that I had been looking forward to and preparing for for months. This was R&R. this was how I was welcoming home my husband, by dog-sitting a dog that had mental issues. My house smelled like urine, dinner was late, I had not made most of the side dishes I had planned, my husband wouldn’t come out of the bathroom and I was running on almost no sleep for 3 days because if you remember, the dog started barking at 0300 the night before Christmas Eve.
Anyway, 20 minutes later Bro #1 came into my room and said that he wanted to take me for a drive; go get coffee or something. He said that it would do me good to get out for a bit. I told him that I couldn’t go, I couldn’t leave DH. It wasn’t fair.
The dog continued to pee throughout the night but Bro #1’s girlfriend kept taking him out. We went to bed almost as soon as the last guest left. We were both exhausted. I am not sure if the dog barked again or not; if he did I slept through it.
This morning DH let me sleep in. He cleaned up after the dog 5 times in a couple hours. Once I got up I was on Doggie Duty (get it? Doody? hahaha, I can laugh now because the dog is gone). I cleaned up 4 times, the boys cleaned twice. The brother finally called and said he was on his way. Thank goodness, I will NOT be doing this again, EVER. I am not a dog person, I am not a PET person, I am a kid person and that’s about all I can handle.
Anyway, I was thinking about it today and I really screwed up Christmas. The morning was great but Christmas Dinner was terrible. I burned the ham, forgot to add spices to the broccoli, etc. I had a melt down halfway through and I couldn’t get rid of the puffy, crying eyes for the rest of the night. I was just so upset that I had wanted this Christmas to be so special. I wanted to make it perfect for DH. I wanted it perfect for us. I wanted smiling pictures and memories to cherish. What I got was my husband in the bathroom, an unhousetrained dog and puffy eyes.
My aspirations were too high. I know that, but I couldnt’ help it. I wanted it to be perfect. Then, when the dog forced me to run  late I lost it. I cried because I wanted DH to know how much I loved having him home by setting up and giving him the best Christmas. I’m sure that part of my tears were exhausted tears but that doesn’t change the fact that I failed.
One of these years my family is going to refuse to show up because I never seem to be able to pull it off smoothly yet always insist on doing it. All in all, the morning was great, I got lots of pictures of the kids. It was just dinner that I messed up.
I guess, there’s always next year, right?

>Gettin’ Right Back Into It

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So, R&R is in full swing. The boys and I are really enjoying having him home. It’s funny how we can get right back into our groove within 24 hours. We actually argued today about whether or not we should chop the ice on the driveway or let the rock salt melt it. We then settled the argument with a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Actually, it’s a variation of that. We call it Odds or Evens. Very similar concept. We’ve used Odds or Evens to settle disputes since we were teenagers. OK, I am way off topic here, hang on while I get myself back on track.
AHEM.
As I was saying, we are back to our routine. Every Christmas Eve around 1600 he starts to get a little grumpy. He’ll start mumbling about not wanting to stay up all night wrapping and bringing the toys from storage. The first couple years were rough because he is SO not a night person. Over time we have learned to compromise and we’ve come to a happy medium. So, today, right on time, he yawns and says “so, you haven’t wrapped ANYTHING yet”? I laughed and told him to go take a nap. He looked at me and I could see the excitement in his eyes. I don’t know if he thought this year would be different because he’s on R&R or what, but he knew he better go before I changed my mind. He’s sleeping now and I will wake him up around midnight or so. Then we’ll go to Bro #1’s house where we have stashed all the goods. We will show up with coffee in hand and wrap until we can’t keep our eyes open any longer. Then we will drive home and unload everything under the tree, giggling about the annual prank we will pull (still don’t know what this year will be but we’ll figure it out at some point after we’ve hit that delirious point tonight). Then we will go to bed.
I am letting the boys stay up late tonight. The later they stay up the later they will sleep which is a very good thing for me. One good thing about the kids getting older is that they seem to wake up later and later every year. One Christmas the boys woke up as we were coming up the stairs. We had just set up the presents and we were exhausted; it was about 0330. We heard the baby moving in the crib and we hoped so much that he would go back to sleep. That was not to be though, the toddlers woke up about 10 minutes later and we began our Christmas day at 0400. That was a very longgggg day. Last year I think they slept until 0800, I’m hoping for 0830 this year. We’ll see.
This is a pic of us yesterday, we had just pulled up to Sam’s Club and I insisted that we take a picture so I could change my Facebook profile pic (yeah, I’m a dork like that).

I am about to go make breakfast. I found this recipe for a breakfast casserole online a couple months ago. I figured it would be perfect for Christmas Day because I can prepare it the night before, throw it in the oven while the kids are opening presents and it will be done when they are. This way I don’t have to deal with making breakfast and cleaning up all the dishes before getting started on Christmas Dinner; which I am hosting. Anyway, if it comes out decent enough I will put it up for you all to try.
We are getting to the rough part of the night, I’m tired and I want nothing more than to go crawl into bed beside my husband but I know if I do neither of us will get up. What makes it worse is that I started off the day tired. See, I’m dog-sitting for Bro #2 and his mutt started barking at 0330. I got up, took it out, it ran around for 20 minutes but apparently didn’t have to go anymore since it had relieved itself in the living room. DH was so good, he helped me clean up; oh it’s so nice to have help. We tried going back to bed but the dog barked for a good half hour after that. I am SO not a dog person.
So, I’m off to clean the kitchen from the cookie baking and prepare breakfast for tomorrow. See you all later and I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas.

>Things You Should Know About Me If We’re Going To Be BFF’s

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I don’t typically join the memes floating around cyberspace asking to name my favorite color, name of first boyfriend, boxer/briefs, etc. I don’t normally find them all that interesting to read so I can’t imagine anyone would want to read mine. When I saw this on multiple blogs I found myself reading every word! I tried to resist making one of my own but I just couldn’t. This is not the typical “fill in the blank” questionnaire; this is totally different. These are the things that I think are important for my friends to know. So, hop on over to Little Miss Momma’s blog and link up. Then tell us what we need to know if we want to be your BFF.

OK, so these are some of the things you should know about me if you want to be my BFF.

I am a military wife with three sons and I’m in Nursing School.
We moved back to New England two years ago to be near our families yet nothing has gone as planned since we got here; starting with DH’s reactivation to active duty.
I have lost 49lb since he left for this deployment. I am hoping to lose more before homecoming.
I don’t have a lot of time for friends, therefore I don’t have any (besides my three brothers). I find it more of a hassle/inconvenience to go out for coffee with a girlfriend from school. I will make study dates, but only because I can kill two birds with one stone: coffee with a “friend” and studying.
I don’t drink alcohol. I am not an alcoholic in recovery, nor do I have an allergy. I just don’t like the taste or the feeling of being drunk or “tipsy”. This is another thing that stands in my way of having friends. It seems that all the girls from nursing school like to go out and “have a drink” on the weekends; I don’t go.
My house is never entirely clean. I may be able to clean the living room, kitchen and bathroom but then the bedrooms are a mess. If I work on the bedrooms than the main house suffers.
I am always behind on laundry; I really don’t remember the last time I was caught up.
My Dad died of Leukemia when I was 14; I miss him and wish he could have met me as an adult or his grandchildren.
Christmas is my favorite holiday and I try to make each one more memorable than the year before.
I am scared of getting old. I feel like my life is just flying by and before I know it I’m going to be wrinkly and homebound because I can’t walk without a cane.
I hate shopping for clothes for myself but LOVE shopping for shoes or clothes for the boys.
I honestly believe I have the best kids in the world; but I am willing to admit that all moms feel that way.
During deployments I am not all that great about making complete balanced meals every night. I order take out probably once every other week; sometimes more often.
I like it when people tell me that I am “handling the deployment well” or I’ve “raised the boys with good manners”. Compliments are awesome even though I dismiss them. Outwardly I am waving them away, but inside I am saying “keep going, keep going”.
I never wear my hair down, it’s always in a half bun. Sometimes I don’t even brush it after showering.
I will go 2-3 weeks without shaving my legs during deployments (I have to do the pits though, gotta do those).
My husband and I started dating in 1995 when I was 16. I am now 32. That means I have spent half of my life with this man. I love him him more than I can express in a blog.
I regret not naming one of my kids after my father. I also wish I had pushed the idea of naming C after DH.
I didn’t have a perfect childhood (who did?) but I think I have adjusted quite well as an adult. Not talking about some of the things (while not healthy) works for me. It’s almost like “if I don’t admit it; it never happened”.
The people who comment on my blog are the closest thing I have to friends (outside of my family). It’s sad to admit that because I don’t even get many comments but the ones I do get mean so much. This is the only social interaction I have that I value because you CHOOSE to follow/comment, we aren’t forced to be lab partners in school or placed in the same clinical site.
OK, well, I know there are more things I will think of to add, but I just realized that this is getting a bit long so I should cut this short now. So, go over to Little Miss Momma and join the linky; I can’t wait to read more of these posts and hopefully meet some new bloggers to follow. See ya later, although keep in mind we’re on R+R so I may not be around as much. Take care!

>Update on Christmas Preparations

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Christmas is fast approaching and I am so far from ready I don’t even know if I will be ready for NEXT Christmas in 2011! I have ordered the majority of Santa’s stuff in the past 24 hours (thank you Amazon Prime shipping) although I haven’t kept track of who’s getting what so it is very possible that the gifts are uneven. That will pose a problem, of course but I won’t know until Christmas Eve when I start opening the boxes to wrap.
I bought the boys boots online last week. I was very excited to find exactly what everyone wanted at decent prices WITH free shipping. Z wanted “Fry Cook Boots”, the boys have referred to them as such for years; I think it started with a Spongebob TV show they saw. Somehow the name stuck and now at 12 years old he still calls them that. It’s kinda cute. The thing is, they are so ugly I tried to talk him out of it, but he insisted that they are the only boots that don’t get snow inside his socks when he’s playing outside. I gave in and bought him these:

When they arrived he was so excited. He put them on and immediately put his fingers through the side of the boot. A giant hole about 4 inches wide just below the logo. Great! I absolutely HATE returning online purchases. I went online to request an exchange and find that they are out of stock! Z refuses to get regular boots, so he’s going without until they restock.
My oldest, C, has the biggest feet I have ever seen. Really. At 12 years of age he was wearing a size 13 shoe, and now at 14 he’s outgrown all sizes sold in stores and we know have to shop online for his shoes. In September I bought him a pair of sneakers (14EE). He hasn’t been complaining about them so I assumed they fit. I bought his boots in a 14.5EE. Oops! He tried them on and his poor toes were scrunched at the end! So those are going back as well. Can you believe he just turned 14 and he’s wearing a size 15EE shoe??? This is ridiculous, if he doesn’t stop growing soon I’m going to have to buy a house with cathedral ceilings!
Luckily, B’s boots are fine. I managed to get to the post office today to return the boots and waited in line for almost an hour!
Bro #2 stopped by last night with his girlfriend. I never really figured out why. They called and said they were on their way (they live 40 minutes away). Why they drove all the way out here on a Sunday night is beyond me. They hung out while I baked Christmas cookies then they left. Weird. While he was here he asked me why I let the kids play with the paint in the bathroom after he had painted it. I said I didn’t. He told me that all the paint all over the floor, toilet, tub and sink wasn’t from him so the boys must have done it. I laughed and said ok, I didn’t want to start an argument. He then said that if he were me he’d be upset that they painted on my new shower curtain. I told him that that shower curtain wasn’t that new and that it has been up for a couple months. He said that it wasn’t there when he was painting. I said that it most certainly was and his girlfriend sided with him saying that she would have recognized it if it had been there. Something so silly, but it bugged me that they were so wrong. I finally realized that he was denying it because he didn’t want anyone to think he had been the one to get paint all over the new curtain. To be honest though, the curtain doesn’t bother me. I can buy another $10 curtain. The dark blue paint on my white toilet, sink, tub and floor is what bothers me. Whatever, all I can say is don’t hire my brother to paint your bathroom unless you like the splattered, fingerpaint look.
So, I’ve decided to make cookie baskets for each member of my family for Christmas. I am making all different types of cookies, I bought these little baskets at the dollar store today and red plastic wrap. I’m going to tie the plastic with green ribbons and attach notecards with their names in it. I’m excited to do this. I’ve been practicing with different recipes and I’ve found quite a few that came out pretty good.
I’m determined to make this a good Christmas. Despite the haphazard way in which I have been purchasing gifts for the kids I hope that it all turns out ok. I think they’ll be happy. I have gotten them all everything they asked for and then some so hopefully nobody will be disappointed.
OK, well, that’s what I’ve been up to. I am now off to clean my bedroom and put new sheets on all the beds.

>A bit of advice for my sons

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Everyone has a story. Everyone has made mistakes. Everyone has had the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and maybe one of the mistakes they made was NOT learning from a previous mistake. Some are huge and  life altering others are small and ultimately insignificant such as what to have for dinner. Either way, we all will inevitably learn not to order the steak at Denny’s or drink a large glass of iced tea just before jumping into the car for a three hour drive.
Passing on that knowledge to loved ones is something we do to protect them. We don’t want to see our kids make a bad decision and have to live with the consequences so we tell them our story. We tell them WHY it isn’t a smart idea to paint their bedroom red with black racing stripes, we advise them to choose friends based on mutual likes and dislikes rather than popularity, we try to teach them these things so they won’t have to live through the nightmare of trying to paint over a red and black bedroom. We don’t want them to find out the hard way that their “friends” weren’t really friends at all. We give them advice hoping that they will take it and learn from OUR mistakes rather than making their own.
There is a saying; “a good scare is worth more to a man than good advice” ~Edgar Watson Howe.
Somehow a story is less meaningful than going through it. People don’t typically learn from stories.
AN EXAMPLE

I tell a friend to always lock her front door when she goes to bed.
She understands that this is great advice.
She might even do it most nights.
But what about that night when she heads upstairs, gets all comfy in bed and then realizes the door is unlocked? Maybe she’ll just roll over and think “what’s going to happen”?
At 3am, she is startled awake by the sound of her front door creaking open.
That panic she feels, the fear she has will not soon be forgotten. She will always remember to lock her front door from then on, right?
She learned the hard way and doesn’t want anyone else to have to learn the same way. Now SHE has advice to give based on her own mistakes.
Some advice is harder to take than others. For instance, how many of us have had someone advise us to “ask for help when you need it, don’t go through the deployment alone”? OK, now how many of us have actually taken this advice and asked for help?
 
How many people told me to “study hard” when I was in high school? Did I listen? Unfortunately, no.
 
What about the little old lady at the pharmacy who tells everyone that drinking her morning cocktail of egg yolks, fish oil and coconut is what keeps her feeling young? Any one of us might just smile politely and walk away, never even considering the possibility that she might be on to something. What if she holds the secret recipe to the fountain of youth? Far fetched, sure, but you get my point.
So, today I have decided to compile a list of things I want to pass on to my kids. In a perfect world I would tell them each tidbit of wisdom and they would listen intently and follow each to a “T”. In reality, though, I will have to watch each of them make the same mistakes I did and hopefully they will only have to make them once before learning the wisdom buried inside.
Seriously boys, if you take my advice you will save yourselves a lot of stress. Please trust me?
“Be nice to your brothers, they will be your best friends when you grow up”
This is advice that my father passed down to me.
“Don’t stress about the holidays; sometimes the biggest disaster winds up being the most memorable and will bring laughs for years to come”
A few things come to mind when I say this.
1. The year your father was deployed and you all found every single present in B’s closet. It was Christmas Eve and you boys had opened every gift.
2. What about the year Z put the turkey in the freezer the night before Thanksgiving leaving us with 20 pounds of frozen bird at 10am on Thanksgiving day.
“Be nice to each other’s girlfriends. You don’t have to like her but you do have to be nice to her”
The potential that she will be your sister in law is always there and, whether you think it’s a good fit or not, it will only put tension between you and your brother if he feels like you don’t like his girlfriend/wfie.
“Fake it ’till you make it”
This advice came from Grammie. Initially she was trying to help me gain the confidence to get through Nursing School but I have since found that it is good advice to use throughout life. Having confidence is going to make every situation better; trust me!
 
“Forgive easily”
This pertains to family and close friends only!
Don’t make people jump through hoops for your forgiveness. One day it may be YOU who needs forgiveness. An apology is nice, but actions speak louder than words so don’t hold out for specific words “I apologize for ___”. The stronger the relationship the less you need the formalities anyway.
“Don’t take advantage of family”
On the flip side of the above bit of advice, don’t ever take advantage of your relationship with your brothers. You know they will always be there for you; letting them know how much you appreciate it every once in a while can go a long way. 
 
I know I will think of more as soon as I post this, but for now these are the important things.

>Good intentions falling short

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The boys and I went to my Mom’s for a sleepover last night. We had fun; the boys played video games (like they always do) and my Mom and I cooked. She made this chicken pasta thing for dinner (mmmmm, food always tastes better when I don’t have to make it) while I baked cookies with her new Kitchen Aid mixer. That 6 quart series is SO awesome I was able to mix 2 batches of chocolate chip cookies at once. By the time we left this morning there were four cookies left on the plate. I guess that’s what happens when you let three boys and my step father loose in a kitchen. Of course, it wasn’t me, I would never eat that much garbage (you do know I am lying right?)
I left this afternoon because my leg was acting up and that always puts me in a foul mood, plus C’s asthma was making a comeback because he is allergic to her cats yet refuses to stop petting them. So, anyway, we walk into our house and you can imagine our surprise to realize it is colder in my house than it is outside! The furnace is down AGAIN! Hopefully it starts working soon because nobody likes to take a shower when the temperature is 51 degrees.
I made a stupid mistake today, Bro #2 and my Mom are only just now starting to talk again after a long argument. Things are very tense and I am trying to ease the tension by going back and forth with them explaining things. I hate when my family isn’t getting along. Especially at this time of year because the holidays are about family and it’s awfully hard to have a Christmas Dinner if nobody shows up. So, I’ve been trying really hard to get them talking again.
Here’s the situation: A few months ago my mother sent an Edible Arrangements basket to my brother for his birthday. They were already arguing, but she tried to make it up to him by sending a very expensive basket. When it arrived my brother realized that he was allergic to most of the fruit and all of the nuts in it. He couldn’t eat any of it. He told me that he thought she was being mean by sending him stuff he couldn’t eat. He told me this last week. I said that that is absolutely ridiculous; who spends that kind of money just to be mean? Who thinks like that? I told him that more than likely the order had gotten mixed up and they had delivered the wrong basket or something like that. I told him that I really didn’t think she would send something to him just to be mean. I honestly believed that; so I decided to tell my Mom what had happened and I figured she would appreciate me telling her because now she could clear it up with the Bro.
Quite the opposite happened. I wound up looking like a jerk.
My Mom got sad and said that she spent over $100 and she had assumed that there would have been something he could eat. She then explained that she didn’t realize he was allergic to strawberries she thought it was just apples. Bottom line: he received the correct basket and she was still upset that he hadn’t thanked her for it.
My stepfather then made some comment about “grinding the axe in deeper”. At that point I realized that my good intentions had resulted in hurting my mother’s feelings and making me look like a jerk. So I just sat there and said nothing more. What could I have said that wouldn’t have dug my hole deeper. Ugh, all I want is for my family to get along but I guess I should stop meddling. It doesn’t always work out the way I want and sometimes (like this time) I make it worse.
So my mother in law just called me. She has decided that she wants to spend “one on one time” with my husband during R+R. That is perfectly fine, I understand that. I told her she would absolutely have time with him. She then told me that she wants Christmas Eve. She wants him to go to church with her and spend the evening with her; alone, no kids, no me. I want to tell her that’s fine, it is her son after all but Christmas Eve??? We have to go pick up Santa’s presents at Bro #1’s house and then bring it all back to arrange under the tree! How does she think there will be time for him to just hang out with her all night? I asked her if it would be possible to do it another night and she said no. Then she told me “well why can’t you just do the presents, you’ve done it before”. Yeah, I’ve done it alone when I HAD to but it’s something special that he and I do for the kids. It’s meaningful, it always results in us talking about past years and future years. It’s a really special time for us and she wants to take that night. Of the 14 days he has; she wants the most important one. Of course, I don’t want to upset her so I told her it was fine. She is his mother, I don’t fully understand what it’s like to have to share one of my sons with another woman. I can’t dismiss her feelings because I don’t honestly know what she’s feelings. Anyway, hopefully he will be able to get her to compromise somehow.
All right, now I’m off to study for my final exam on Tuesday.

>Last Clinical of Nursing 200

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Clinical is over for the semester! I can’t believe how FAST it went. Seriously, this semester flew by. It’s crazy to think that last semester I was considering dropping out because my teacher was so mean and now here I am finishing up my third semester. We only worked the floor until noon and then we went downstairs to the cafeteria to have post conference and final evaluations. My teacher had super awesome compliments for me. She kept telling me that my Care Plans are perfect and that she loves reading my journal and soap notes because I really pay attention to the patient and all the different factors that go into their care. She said that she has found that I have difficulty expressing my thoughts but on paper I have no problem. I kept waiting for her to say something bad but she never did. I FLOATED out of that hospital.
It’s hard to believe that I will be an RN in two semesters. Well, that is IF I pass my final exam on Tuesday. I sure hope it isn’t as bad as some people are saying. It makes me very nervous.
At clinical today I felt really bad for this one girl. I keep thinking about her and I wish there was something I could do. We’ll call her Helen. At the beginning of the semester Helen told me that her husband was in the Guard. As I’ve said before this is a non-military area so finding a fellow MilWife is rare. A couple weeks ago she appeared upset; withdrawn and even less talkative than normal. I asked if she was ok and she told me that they had mobilized her husband and that he was going over this summer. She was upset but it was obvious that she wasn’t ready to talk. So, I let her know that I was there and she could call me anytime if she wanted to talk. Even though we might not be close friends we have a connection that civilian wives don’t have. We have the same fears and pride for our husbands and we “get it” like only other milwives can.
Anyway, today Helen was having a really bad day. She had a very tough, demanding patient. He had her running like crazy. At one point during the day another student poked her head out of a room and asked me to call Respiratory for a breathing treatment asap. I went to the nurse’s  station to get the extension but the secretary beat me to it. I thanked her and went back to checking my meds. Helen was at the med cart next to me and said “that’s my patient” I said “oh, is it”? She said yes and then said “don’t be all confused, I’m just trying to get pain meds for the patient and she was watching him because he was on the commode”. I saw that she was on the verge of tears so even though I wasn’t sure why she thought I was confused I just nodded and said ok. Then she started talking about how our teacher was going to be upset because she wasn’t there with her patient but she couldnt’ leave the meds unattended. I listened to her and finally she said “I’m sorry, thank you for letting me vent”. I smiled and told her that we all need to do that sometimes.
At noon we all gathered in the nurse’s lounge to get ready to go downstairs, but Helen wasn’t there. She was with her patient who had been incontinent all over the bed and floor. She was incredibly upset and stressed out but refused to let any of us help her.  One of the other students was pretty ticked off. She wanted to get out as early as possible and hanging around for 45 minutes made her mad. I told her that it wasn’t Helen’s fault that her patient needed extra help. She replied that even though it wasn’t Helen’s fault, it WAS her fault that she didn’t accept help to make the clean up go faster. I dropped the issue because I didn’t want to start anything but I certainly didn’t agree. This is a woman who is going through a tough time right now. Independence is something that military wives HAVE to have. We have to be able to do things on our own, we have to hold it together even when we don’t want to. Accepting help when it’s offered is something that we ALL need to work on. I don’t know what her specific reason for refusing help was; maybe she was on the verge of tears and didn’t want anyone to see her cry, maybe she was embarrassed that she didn’t get the patient to the commode in time, maybe she thought that accepting help would look bad to the instructor, whatever her reason she didn’t want help.
We went downstairs to eat lunch and she sat at a table all by herself. I kept looking over and she was just the saddest person I’ve seen. I went outside when the middle school called and when I came back in she was sitting at out table next to my seat. While everyone else was talking about going out for drinks after the final exam she started talking to me very quietly; I’m glad I heard her because she was so quiet. She started asking me about the communication I’ve had with my husband. Frequency, quality of calls, duration. Then she asked about safety; has anything changed since 2005? I couldn’t answer that question because my husband wasn’t over there in ’05 and besides I don’t know that my husband would really give me any details if it HAD been unsafe. She asked me a few more questions and appeared to be a little calmer than she had been.
I am hoping that she and I stay in touch even though the semester is over. Probably not likely because she is a really quiet person but I think she could use the support of having a friend that is semi familiar with the military and deployments. I know I could.
Anyway, that was my day.