The Baby Shower

I am feeling pretty darn good right now.

I have been stressed to the max about today and now it’s finally over and I can say that I honestly feel like I pulled it off well.

I successfully threw a Baby Shower.

My sister-in-law is pregnant. She had a baby shower out-of-state with her family a couple months ago, but apparently it didn’t go well. Her mother invited all of her own friends and only a couple of my SIL’s so it wound up being a flop from what I hear.

I felt bad and decided that I would throw a shower here for two reasons.

  • One: it would make her happy, and
  • two: our family (my brother’s family) could be a part of it.

I never had a baby shower, nor have I ever attended one so I had NO idea how to go about this. My knowledge of showers consists only of what I have seen in movies. Of course, I had my moments of “it’s not fair that I should do all this when nobody did this for me” but I tried to avoid the Pity Party thoughts and focused on what I WOULD have wanted had I been given one. I was young when I had my first so obviously my brothers (being younger than me) couldn’t do anything, my mother was dealing with her own issues at the time and I didn’t have many (any) friends so… Anyway, we are all older and in a better place right now and if I were pregnant I’m sure they WOULD do something for me. So, that is how I came to be  throwing a Baby Shower in the middle of my second to last semester of Nursing School while my husband is deployed.

My brother was beyond excited that I wanted  to do this which made me very happy since we haven’t always had the best relationship. Fortunately, he has a lot of friends because I don’t, and the party would have been a real flop if invitations had been left up to me. He invited a whole bunch of people who I didn’t know, but I trust his judgement so I wasn’t worried about any weirdos coming to my house.

In theory it was a great idea, but when it came down to it I may have bitten off more than I could chew. Well, I was starting to think that. As I said, I pulled it off so apparently I can chew a lot.

Here’s how it went down, of course, in true Me fashion, I waited until the last minute to do everything so I basically started yesterday afternoon.

First thing I did was the Diaper Cake, now, I had never even HEARD of a Diaper Cake until I googled “Baby Showers” to get ideas for decorations. It’s a neat idea, and everything but the ribbons can be used later. This is the final product.

diapers are rolled around bottles for strength and held together with ribbons and rubber bands.

Her color scheme for the baby’s room is pink, green and black so that is what I tried to go with for the party.

I was lucky because Valentine’s Day is over and now all the stores have the stuff discounted. I found milk chocolate roses 75% off! I bought a dozen! I also picked up a 2 liter bottle of every type of soda I could find because I didn’t know what everyone liked.

After I finished with the diaper cake the kids and I worked on cleaning the house while I started baking the cakes for the 3 tier that I had decided to attempt (for the first time EVER).

First problem of the night: I thought I had 2 dozen eggs in the fridge. WRONG! I had 6… eggs, not dozens. It was already getting late and I didn’t want to run to the store so I decided to work on decorations for the rest of the night and just head to Sam’s Club early in the morning.

My boys were totally grossed out by all the pink decorations; they said I should have just used the black tablecloths, lol.

of course, every single bottle was opened yet less than half of each was consumed. Can we say "flat soda"?

 

This is what I had accomplished as of about 8pm. Not bad, but not nearly done. I was already getting tired because I had been up all night the night before (that’s another story, geesh). The boys were arguing at this point and I was starting to lose my patience with them so I began working on the first tier of the cake since that was all I could make due to the egg situation.

That’s when C told me that the toilet was “still clogged”. Yeah, that’s right, I had forgotten that he had told me it was clogged hours ago.

Problem #2: I have no plunger. After the last incident with a clogged toilet I put the plunger outside; we then had a snow storm that dropped 3 feet of snow and I haven’t seen the plunger since.

I wound up having to go to the hardware store to buy a plunger. I walked in, found the nearest associate and (with what I can only imagine was a crazed/stressed out look on my face) asked him to point me toward the “biggest, baddest plungers” he had. He laughed and walked me down to them. I asked him if there was something I could pour down the drain just in case the plunger didn’t work (past experience told me that I can’t always rely on a plunger with three boys in the house. We’ve had to have the septic company out here more than once). He said the next best thing would be a snake.

Now, for all of you girly girls out there (such as myself) a “snake” is a long piece of metal that you shove down the toilet to free up a clog. It is the most disgusting thing EVER!

I bought it, all the while crossing every finger I have that I wouldn’t have to use it.

Well, you guessed it, the plunger didn’t do a damned thing. I wound up snaking my toilet and I am not ashamed to admit that I was practically crying, screaming and dry heaving all at the same time, but it worked. When that toilet flushed I wanted to shout it from my rooftop!

After scrubbing my hands until they were almost raw from the hot water, I allowed myself to take a short break from cleaning and baking. I jumped on the computer with my feet up and began typing up a shopping list for the morning. I decided to buy premade appetizers rather than making everything from scratch. That would save a lot of time and stress. That’s when I realized problem #3 of the night. It was Saturday, which meant that I was planning to go to the store on Sunday morning. Woops! Nothing opens early on Sunday! It was now too late to go to Sam’s Club and they weren’t opening until 10am (3 hours before the festivities were scheduled to begin).

I spent the rest of the night cleaning and preparing everything I possibly could because I knew I would be rushing today to get everything done since I couldn’t even BUY the ingredients until 10am.

I wound up crawling into bed around 3am. I set the alarm for 6:30, but hit the snooze until 7:45am.

Problem #4: SNOW!!! Will somebody please tell Mother nature that I’ve had enough of winter this year? I woke up to 5 inches of snow on my very steep driveway. Great! That’s just one MORE thing I have to do before 1pm. Nobody is going to get up my driveway unless I clear it and salt it. I decided to wait until it had finished snowing before even attempting to snowblow. I cleared off my truck, jammed that sucker in 4 wheel drive and backed down the driveway; packing that snow down as I went.

I headed to WalMart and picked up some last minute decorations, then decided to go to the grocery store for the appetizers rather than waiting for Sam’s even though I knew I would spend more.

Luckily, the temps rose quickly and the snow was easy to shovel. I salted, and by the time everyone arrived the driveway was almost clear.

I baked all the cakes and managed to put together my very first double layered, three-tiered cake.

I tried to put a "G" on the cake for the baby's name, but it didn't come out well.

the cake, before I put it on the pedestal

Leaning Tower of Cake

Yes, the cake is leaning. There are wooden pegs supporting it, so it is sturdy but lopsided.

frozen appetizers and turkey sandwiches

I think I did pretty well, considering I pulled it all together in such a short amount of time. I was running like a crazed woman right up until the last minute, in fact, I was still running crazy even after the guests arrived but luckily everyone was very understanding. Not everyone showed, and that was fine by me because fewer people meant less food. Enough people showed that the party was successful though, so all is well.

When my Sister in Law showed up, she was so surprised. She started crying and hugged me. Totally worth all the stress, well, almost, haha.

chocolate fountain with fruit and Bar-B-Q meatballs

I’ll leave you with a few pics from the party!

There were also cars on the street up the road because I live on a curve so it wasn't safe to park in front of the house.

The saying on the mirror is something my Dad used to say.

Z got a little out of hand so my Bro had to put him in his place.

 

>Answering the Difficult Questions

>

I have had so many ideas for posts over the past few days but I haven’t had time to sit down and actually write so of course, as always, the ideas got twisted in my head and disappeared.
I guess the underlying theme with everything that is going on is the fact that we are approximately 3/4 of the way through this deployment. We are on the downhill finally and it feels so good but at the same time we still have about a quarter of the deployment left to get through. Sometimes it feels like Homecoming is so close I can taste it, while other times I sit here saying “we still have X number of months LEFT“??????
We were in the truck today driving home and B asked me how long until Dad comes home. I told him not too much longer but that we don’t know exactly. He asked me to guess, so I responded with the best answer I could come up with that didn’t sound like too long but didn’t get his hopes up only to be let down. His reaction caught me off guard. He said “why does he have to be gone so long, I miss him, I just want him to come home now”.
For the most part our kids are used to him being gone; deployments, training, even his civilian job had him away on travel. The kids don’t know any other life and it probably wouldn’t be such a big deal if they didn’t have to constantly explain it to their friends. The boys don’t normally ask me to give them specific dates, typically they are OK with an answer such as “he will be home before so-and-so’s birthday” or “we are hoping he will be home before this holiday”.
Tonight was different, B needed something more definite. He needed to know exactly how long he had to wait and I couldn’t give that to him. It is so up in the air (as it always is with the military) that I can’t even begin to speculate on a homecoming MONTH!
I decided to tell him how many days it’s been since he left. I thought that hearing that number might make him feel better. I then told him that when I get sad and miss him I try to think of all the things I want to do BEFORE he comes home; that way I can look at it as “I only have X number of days to complete this task”. He asked me to be more specific so I gave him my goals for the remainder of the deployment.
1. Learn how to make a Topsy Turvy Cake with fondant icing.
 – the practice cake will be used at Bro #2’s baby shower and the real one will be for DH’s bday. This is an example I pulled off the Internet. I will be sure to blog about the baking experience as it is sure to be quite a fiasco.
2. Complete/Pass my OB/Peds semester of nursing school.
 – after this semester I only have one left before I graduate with my RN. Then it’s off to the BSN program.
3. Exercise more and lose more weight.
4. Organize all of DH’s clothes and give him back his side of the closet.
 – I have taken over the entire closet and most of his clothes have ended up in boxes and shoved into the back of C’s closet.
I explained to him that I have a lot to do in a short amount of time and if I think of it like that it doesn’t seem so bad. He then asked me what his goals should be. We came up with quite a few ideas but narrowed it down to a more “do-able” size. His list was a little more fun than mine.
1. Learn to count to ten in Spanish.
2. Organize all of his toys in his closet so he has a separate bin for each activity i.e. Lego’s, art supplies, etc.
3. Get to level 30 on Farmville
 – yes, he does have a Facebook account but he only uses it to play Farmville and post pictures for his Dad. 
4. Grow an inch taller.
5. Get 15 A’s on spelling tests, vocab tests or math tests.
After discussing all this he seems to be feeling better. It’s just so hard to see the kids struggle to handle a deployment because I know how hard it is as an adult and time moves even slower for kids.
How do you all handle these questions from your kids?
How honest/vague are you about length of time?
Are there any goals you can think of that would be fun for all of us to try to achieve before homecoming?
I was thinking of making a Family Goal; something we can all work on together but I can’t come up with any ideas that will interest all of them. What the 14 y/o wants may not be what the 9 y/o thinks is fun and the 12 y/o is just plain hard to please.

>MilSpouse Essay

>The other day I opened my email box and found this:

I would like you to consider submitting an essay for my latest project. More information can be found here: http://militaryspousebooks.blogspot.com, and on the FB page “Military Spouse Books”. I’ve read a bit about your military experiences, the deployment, and especially your R&R tips. I’m working hard to gather essays from Army spouses, combine them in a book format, so that we can share our experiences with spouses who may follow in our footsteps.

First thought: “whoa, really? She thinks I have something worthwhile to say”?
Second thought: “it’s too good to be true”, nobody would spend money to publish an essay written by me. I mean, it’s not like I talk about controversial topics or blog for world peace; no, I talk about my boring mundane life. So, why me?
 
So, I sent her an email with some questions I had. I wanted to get a better understanding of this project. I wanted to know if it was real! I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. Here are the questions I asked:

First off, I need to tell you that I am not an Army wife, I’m actually a Navy wife although my husband is working with the Army now during deployment.  

Assuming you still want my input I have listed a few of my questions to help me make a decision.


Have you written other books? If so, what are the titles, I would like to take a look (if I haven’t already read them).
No, I have not written other books, only articles and columns. I think there’s some info in my bio (posted on the website), but I’ve been doing print work for many years, editing newsletters, etc. I’m working on this project now under mentorship of a few folks. It will be reviewed by them before it is ever printed. Last week I changed my focus based on some amazing insight from a few ladies. They started this project a few years ago, heard about my project through their spouse club, pretty much have handed me their stuff and said, “Run with it!” My original plan was okay, but I’m honored to have their efforts behind this, as well.

Will you be using our real names or can we remain anonymous?
You can use your real name or choose to remain anonymous. That’s up to you.

Are all the contributors from the blogging world? If so, will you publish the name/link to our blog? Can we opt out of that if we choose?
No, not all of the essay contributors are bloggers. While bloggers like to write, and can be very good at writing, they can also be younger in age and experience. I’m looking for a wider range of experiences as military spouses. I’m getting a good number of contributions from my friends, their friends, etc. But the response from bloggers has been amazing. Then it hit me, DUH, bloggers already write and share their experiences! I’m interviewing a bunch of my friends BECAUSE they don’t want to write, aren’t in the practice of writing. I’ll have to transcribe and edit their responses, with their approval, before publishing. But it will be worth the work. 😉
I wouldn’t have a problem listing a contributor as anonymous. Contributors can also opt in or out of listing their blogs (with or w/o description, in addition to their biography). I know a few bloggers who wish to remain anonymous, and will only list their bio w/o their blog info. That way they feel more free to keep blogging. Photos, headshots, are also optional. To be honest, I don’t even like having my picture taken, so I can absolutely understand why some may not want their photos attached to their biographies.
If published, do the contributors receive a free copy? 😉
Essay contributors absolutely receive a free copy of each book that contains an essay of theirs. Depending on the number of essays collected, there will be one book, or three, based on the stated categories. I also plan on donating free copies to Army libraries, and to all military libraries if we actually sell enough books. I would also like to offer a good number to bloggers to giveaway via their blogs, if that’s something they would like to do.
Upon receiving your responses I will plan to blog about this opportunity; may I share your responses to the above questions?
Thank you for your interest in this project. You are welcome to share whatever I’ve posted online, and in this email.

She also gave me some additional info aside from the answers to my questions.
20 years ago I was a scared, new-to-the-Army wife, felt very alone and nervous about everything. I didn’t grow up in the military and didn’t know anyone in the military. When I tell people now that I was shy and afraid to talk to others, they don’t believe me at all. My strength has come from my faith, family and friends, and in that order. The Army life has been a tremendous rollercoaster, and it’s also been a huge blessing. My goal is to gather stories from others so we can ALL share what we’ve learned, and reach out to others who may follow in our footsteps.
Write from your heart, what matters to you. Look at the three categories, the writing suggestions, and see where you might fit in w/your essays. I find it helps to take a notebook with me to write down things as I think about them, so I don’t forget. And then you can help fine-tune the writing, make an outline maybe. I suggest you write about what is familiar to you first. THEN maybe pick a topic that is less familiar to you and share your feelings and thoughts. Survival during deployment is relevant now, but it could also tie into survival overall, being flexible, independent, and how that has helped you in other areas, too. What resources (military and civilian) have helped you get through the deployments? What is life like between deployments, when the unit is at home? What differences have you noticed between Army and Navy living, family support, functions, etc?
I have a general outline of the direction I would like the books to take, but it will depend really on what people have to share.

So, what do you all think? Sounds like a neat idea. I think I am going to start putting together ideas. The link to her site is near the top of this page, so if you are interested go ahead and contact her. She’s very nice, trust me. She is also very quick to respond to emails which is nice (I hate waiting around for answers, lol).
 

>Sanity Intact… For Now

>You know the term “emotional roller coaster”? Or the phrase “deployment is an emotional roller coaster”?

I’ve heard these terms and I had an idea of what they meant. It’s not like I’m new to this life, but for whatever reason this is probably the hardest deployment we’ve gone through.

Recently I have felt like my face should be next to the definition of these terms in the MilWife Handbook. I have been on the verge of tears, I have been determined to accomplish things during this deployment, I have been excited to start planning for Homecoming, I have wanted to punch the calander for having so many pages left until Homecoming…. and that was just today!
I have so much I want to talk about but I don’t have time now. I am making dinner and then I have to read my Nursing textbooks. Maybe if I can get enough done I will be back, but until then, I’m just letting you all know, I’m here, sane, and somehow making it through. You all have no idea how much you help me. You are my friends, and it’s so good knowing that you are out there. I’d give you all hugs if my arms were long enough. But for now, virtual hug!

>I don’t have a reason

>I’m having kind of a rough day. Not sure why. Not bad, just blah.

I’ve paced the house all morning, I’ve picked up a few toys here and there, I called the cell phone company and took care of an overage charge. I kind of feel like I’m walking around in a haze, although I did break into tears while I was on hold with AT&T when the St. Elmo’s Fire theme song played. Don’t know why; it’s not like the movie has any sentimental ties or anything.

I guess I’ve been on the verge of tears for a few days now. I’m trying to act normal in hopes that I will start to truly feel normal eventually but once I’m alone…. I get this lonely, sad, aimless, unmotivated feeling back.

Yesterday I got my truck stuck and couldn’t get out of my driveway to get to clinical. My brother had a friend come over to drive me, then he picked me up and brought me home last night. After I ordered pizza he snowblowed my driveway for me and freed my truck. I was so grateful but at the same time I felt like such crap. I HATE depending on anyone like that. I don’t want to be needy. I don’t want people to have to go out of their way to help me.

I want my husband home.

I guess that’s what it boils down to.

I miss him so much.

We’re on the downhill now, the back half of the deployment, this should be the easy part right?

So why can’t I be happy? Why am I sitting here typing this with tears streaming down my face? I have nothing to be upset about. NOTHING. Nothing happened, nothing broke, my kids are healthy and happy and my husband will officially be home this year (2011). So why am I moping around the house unable to really do any chores or run errands?

>2010 on Facebook

>

Looking back over 2010 I can’t really say it was an easy year. The main theme? DEPLOYMENT!
I only started blogging in March so I began looking at old Facebook statuses and I decided to list some of them. I think it gives a good overview of how my year went. I was going to start in 2010, but I found one from last Christmas Eve that was just way too funny; so I’ll start there. I don’t really expect people to read this; it’s more for me to refer back to.
December 24, 2009   So, my mother in law attempted to put on a fancy evening but my boys would have none of it. They wrestled her 6ft nutcracker statue, pretended to get drunk on spring water, ate the jubilee roll before she had even brought the dessert plates to the table and then looked out the window “for Santa” with their pants sagged so low they all had plumber’s butts. DH and I laughed so hard our sides hurt.
January 4, 2010  WARNING TO ALL POTENTIAL GUESTS: do not attempt to visit me without 4wd. Snow chains are preferred but not required if you have a full tank of gas for weight. It’s gonna be a lonely week for me. My driveway is really steep and I am just not a very good snow blower. DH had already begun predeployment training so he wasn’t home to help me.
 
January 5, 2010 so, I’m realizing just how much is contingent on me NOT screwing up. Sucks, cuz I’m not all that reliable.

January 19, 2010 B will be performing at a benefit concert for Haiti this weekend. His idea, I’m so proud of him. B used to play the viola before I became such a lazy, overworked stress out Mom and pulled him out of lessons.
January 25, 2010 Please be okay, Mom. We love you!!!!!!!!!! My mother was in a bad accident. She was helping a woman who had slid off the road in ice. The car was on it’s side; a van came over the hill, hit the car and it landed on my Mom. She was in the ICU for a long time.
February 5, 2010 things are finally calming down… DH is home for a few weeks before deploying to Iraq, Mom is making an amazing recovery after having a car flip over and land on top of her, I passed my first Nursing Exam and did I mention DH IS HOME! Having help with the boys is something I will never EVER take for granted again.
February 16, 2010 so I’m sitting in the hospital with C. He was admitted last night for asthma. Hospital food rocks! He spent a week in the hospital.

February 20, 2010 is the first person in recent history to successfully break a Kitchen Aid mixer. I could screw up a wet dream.
March 6, 2010 trying to deal… longing for the “good ole days” when I had friends going through the same things… not having anyone to relate to makes things harder.
March 31, 2010 on my way to viola group class, Over an hour of driving for 30 minutes of play time, half of which are spent listening to the teacher lecture the other kids about the importance of practicing and showing up on time.

April 19, 2010 almost 4am and I can’t sleep cuz my mind keeps thinking off all the things I have or will screw up in the near future. Wish I had an off button.

April 20, 2010 is holding it together for the kids but it’s getting harder by the day. Deployment sucks.
April 22, 2010 Picking DH up at the airport in T-8 hours. We are lucky to be getting a few days before he deploys. Saturday we are celebrating a 3 in 1 birthday party for the kids. Saturday is technically Z’s bday but since he’s going to miss the other’s we are doing it all at once. Gotta love military life, celebrating Xmas in May, and birthdays … whenever. It’s a life like none other.

April 24, 2010 Today is our 3 in 1 birthday party for the kids. Technically it’s Z’s bday but since Will will miss the others we are celebrating all the kid’s bdays today. Happy Birthday Boys.

May 2, 2010 sitting on back deck, grilling burgers and eating shrimp cocktail. I am loving this, acting like a NORMAL married couple. Pretending that Iraq is the furthest thing from my mind.

May 3, 2010 What a friggin’ morning. Will wants to get me organized for the deployment. He seriously handed me his Living Will, Advanced Directives and a book on coping with PTSD before my morning coffee! Are you kidding? Geez! The nerve of some people.
May (hidden due to OPSEC), 2010 how do I decide on a suitable way to spend our last night before he goes to war, I mean seriously, the magnitude of this hasn’t yet hit me.
May (hidden due to OPSEC), 2010 talk about making a scene! I couldn’t hold it together at the airport. Then when one of his bags set off security and they had to open it up and go through all the battle armor… yeah, seeing it all made me cry like 4 y/o without Hot Wheels cars. I snotted all over his uniform.

June 3, 2010 IDIOT ALERT: I sent Will a father’s day/bday present. A digital photo frame. Not realizing that he can’t plug it in cuz it has an AMERICAN cord. Great. Completely wasted.
June 8, 2010 My good deed of the day: generously gave my blood to a shaky-handed phlebotomy student. That’s gonna leave a mark!

June 12, 2010 Gotta keep looking at the bright side. Approximately 10% of this deployment DONE! The only thing that has fallen apart thus far that I can’t fix is a cabinet door. No problem, easy access!

June 19, 2010 Bulk trash day on Monday, making my backyard look a little less like something Jeff Foxworthy would use in a joke.

June 24, 2010 since I am a devout “keeping up with the Jones'” type, maybe I should have moved to a town that would have made that a bit easier….. a trailer park maybe. The kids friends all have inground pools and my boys have a 3 foot kiddie pool, talk about feeling inadequate

June 25, 2010 attempted to drink tonight, but only got down one Mike’s Lemonade before cracking open a Diet Coke to chug. Apparently I’m a crappy alcoholic.

June 29, 2010 our mousetrap just caught a Lindsey. swollen index finger makes typing difficult, and I have clinical tomorrow, let’s just hope I don’t have to perform any digital disimpactions. hahaha

July 7, 2010 my patient was a former nurse, as was her daughter who was visiting. Talk about intimidation. I had to be on my A game!

July 17, 2010 dinner with the mother-in-law. We survived. And that’s all I have to say about that.

July 25, 2010 Happy Birthday, Dad! I miss you and love you. It’s hard to believe it’s been 17 years. You’ll never be forgotten. My Dad died of Leukemia when I was 14; we had no warning. By the time we were notified he was already in a coma. I miss him a lot.
 
August 5, 2010 deployment SUCKS, I want him home

August 12, 2010 clothesline snapped…. with a full 3 loads of laundry on it. GREAT! And I just mowed. Grass clippings on everything. Have to rewash. Just might go insane by day’s end.

August 15, 2010 Just spent an hour in the truck listening to my sons tell Yo Momma jokes.

August 18, 2010 note to self: choose wisely for Family Movie Night. Any movies with Dads giving up demanding careers to spend more time with kids + deployment = really sad kids. Watched Old Dogs tonight and 2 out of 3 kids wound up in tears. Spent the next half hour talking about how much they missed their Dad and want him to come home. It said it was a comedy, I thought it was a good choice. Another Parenthood Fail.
September 3, 2010 I’ve hosted sleepover parties before, but I’ve never allowed my boys to ATTEND a sleepover! BIG step in the whole Parenting Adventure.

September 5, 2010 cleaned out the fridge and found 2 dozen eggs underneath the shredded cheese!!!!! For a grand total of 4 dozen eggs set to expire in a little over 2 weeks. Not to mention I have a lot less cheese than I thought I did. Anyone know of any good recipes that call for a lot eggs???

September 6, 2010 off to throw away the laundry I don’t feel like washing…. shhhhhh, don’t tell DH. This was BEFORE he got his own Facebook account.
 
September 17, 2010 Seriously embarrassing moment today. Fell out of my chair during post-conference. And it wasn’t like I was sitting down and MISSED the chair, no. I had been sitting there for 10 minutes, writing…. and then fell. We’re talking, chair went flying, I hit the ground, grabbed onto teacher (who happened to be sitting next to me), yeah, bad. See, I never grew out of the awkward phase.

September 19, 2010 Stuck on the phone with the Monster In Law…. I’m getting lectured on how bad of a mother I am. Seriously, I’m getting tired of the lectures which are made 10 times worse after she’s consumed multiple boxes of wine.

October 3, 2010 I’ve blown the spider gears in a Dodge Van, the transmission in a Caddy and now the brake lines on a Tahoe. Oh by the way, does anyone have a vehicle I could borrow for a couple days?

October 7, 2010 Dear 8th Grade Bully, please leave my son alone; you are meaner and more hurtful than you realize.

October 23, 2010 you know you live in a rural area when your kids get lost in the woods while herding the pigs back to the pen.

October 25, 2010 just realized why the van is so much more comfortable to drive than the ‘Burb. The seatbelt doesn’t lie across my neck choking me like in the truck. Blood flow to the brain makes for optimal comfort

October 31, 2010 driving down 84 with the boys waving a bloody, severed arm at the cars passing by. 75% of them laugh and wave back. the other 25% have a new disgust for Virginia drivers It was a Halloween decoration and we were in CT driving a ‘Burb with VA license plates.
 
November 4, 2010 got the birthday boy an xbox kinect. holy moly is this thing cool. wayyyyy better than wii or that ps3 motion thing.

November 8, 2010 Bought a pork roast for dinner tonight. The label said Roast Pork Butt. While they ate, they made sound effects and discussed who’s butt busted the worst grumpy. Now comes the jokes regarding “eating butt”; oh how I love being the mom of boys.

November 18, 2010 When will my mother in law stop being so mean to me? I’m sick of trying to prove my worthiness. Anyone know of any good M.I.L trade in programs? I’m looking for an upgrade.

November 22, 2010 Grandma calls to talk to the kids, I give them the phone and go back to running the mixer making cookies. I turn off the mixer and I hear the boys making FARTING sounds with Grandma on speaker saying “HELLOOOOO, HELLOOOOO”. Man, I’ve gotta watch these kids, I am gonna hear about this one. She was NOT happy.

November 23, 2010 I have had a very productive day; I surprised myself by making the best darn chicken salad this side of the Mason-Dixie, I finished all my grocery shopping, did 5 loads of laundry (clean sheets, mmmmm), learned to speak a few lines in Arabic and read a chapter and a half of Med/Surg. My pillow is calling already.
December 8, 2010  furnace is down AGAIN! currently 53 degrees in the house. thank goodness for space heaters and electric blankets
December 14, 2010  That was one of the hardest exams so far. No amount of studying was going to make me prepared for that test. And now to sit it out and wait for the results, fingernail biting begins NOW!!!

December 17, 2010  can’t wait to be a real life wife as opposed to his Skype Wife. Not too much longer now. I guess it’s time to get used to remembering to heat up his side of the electric blanket at night not just my own.
December (hidden due to OPSEC), 2010  On my way to airport!

December (hidden due to OPSEC), 2010   How long have I been talking about the furnace turning itself off??? Approx 3 weeks. Will just found a busted pipe in the garage, I’ve been pumping water through the garage and outside for 3 weeks. That’s why the furnace shuts off periodically. Welcome Home and Merry Christmas, Will, now fix my pipes!

December  25, 2010  Went to bed just before 5am, right back up at 7am. Two out of three kids claim this is the “best Christmas EVER”; and two out of three isn’t bad. I’d call this a successful Christmas!

December  29, 2010  don’t remember the last time I laughed this hard. Best late Thanksgiving dinner ever. Now it’s time to clean up, I’m outta here, it’s Will’s turn to do dishes.

December  31, 2010  in 16 years together we have either been separated courtesy of the US government or too tired as new parents to celebrate New Years more than a couple times. I need ideas to make this one special.

Wow, that was longer than I expected. Reviewing my year in Facebook I learned something. I learned that I am a lot more honest here on my blog where I have some anonymity. I made jokes about a lot of the rougher times throughout the year; yet the blog posts that coincide with the status is much more truthful. I suppose that is because MilWives typically put up a facade during deployments. We try not to let people know that we struggle and aren’t always happy. I let it out sometimes, but not nearly as much as I felt it. I suppose I just don’t want to look like I’m whining. Anyway, here’s hoping that 2011 brings happier, less stressful, non-deployment times for us. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

>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.

>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.

>It’s Christmas Time at our house.

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This deployment has been hard. I didn’t realize how hard it would be. After going so many years between this one and our last one, well, I guess I forgot a lot of the things that make deployments suck. This summer was the hardest; it dragged on FOREVER. The school year is flying by though, and while that’s great because it means I’m not watching the countdown timer it’s not so great because I don’t have any time to do the things I used to do.
My youngest son used to play the viola. We quit around June or July. That’s really too bad, he had been playing since he was 4 years old but we just didn’t have the time to go to lessons twice a week and practice 30 minutes every night.
The kids and I used to play board games. Nope, not anymore, no time. Homework and laundry take precedence.
The boys and I used to laugh a lot, but even that has been limited lately. Stress, lack of time, etc.
As I mentioned yesterday I decided to go ahead and decorate for Christmas early. I LOVE Christmas and I figured it would help my mood.
This morning the boys and I rearranged the living room to fit the tree in the window, we dug out all the boxes from the attic and discussed outdoor lighting colors. It was a nice morning; we all worked together because we were excited to be doing this.
I went to the store. $266 later I am home with more lights than I’ll ever need, but hey, at least I won’t run out. Right?
I have a giant living room window. 12 feet by 6 feet, divided into thirds. I used single color rope lights to outline each third of the window in red, white and blue. With the thermal backed curtains pulled closed they light up the entire window in color. How patriotic. I bought the candle lights for all the bedroom windows. I put up prelit multicolored garland in my entranceway and started putting out all my Christmas knick knacks. B wanted a mini tree to decorate himself, so we also have an 18″ tree under the TV with over 100 lights on it. It looks like a giant lightbulb, but he’s so proud of himself. It really is kinda cute.
Anyway, as I’m working on getting the last of the candle lights secured on the window sill I hear a familiar sound coming from the hallway. It’s B, playing his viola. I almost cried, it’s been so long since he’s played, but he said that all the Christmas decorations made him feel like playing. Afterwards, we all went out into the front yard to admire our work. We laughed and made jokes and everyone was getting along. ALL THREE BOYS! It was amazing.
We went inside and I told them that I was so happy because I had no idea how a few lights and candles could do so much. B read me a story, then Z read a story. We took turns playing Connect 4, and I taught them a new card game; 52 card pick up. Big hit, let me tell you. I will probably be finding cards for months to come in very odd places.
At bedtime C told me that seeing me happy made him happy too, and that he will help me put up the lights on the roof this weekend. What a kid he is. I guess I didn’t realize how much of my emotions were actually affecting the kids.
Decorating early was a good idea, one of the few that I’ve had recently, but a good one nonetheless.

>To decorate or not to decorate…. early.

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I love Christmas. It’s always a fun, exciting time of year. I wish it were Christmas all year long, although that would take the excitement out of it. Which brings me to my current dilemma. I am SUPER excited about Christmas this year because even though we may not be celebrating on the exact calendar date, we are hoping to have R+R at some point during the winter. That makes this year super great.
Another thing is that the boys and I have decided not to celebrate Thanksgiving this year because he’s not home. We are going to have a nice dinner and spend some family time playing board games or maybe watching a movie but we are not going to do it with extended family. Just us skyping with their Dad.
So, typically I wait until after Thanksgiving to start decorating for Christmas, but due to our current situation I am seriously considering starting early…. like…. now. I am certain that it will help me not miss him so much because seeing the decorations will make me super excited about seeing him soon.
In fact, I’ve already put snowflake stickers on the living room windows. I just couldn’t help myself. Thank you Amazon.
We have two fake Christmas trees in the attic, even though we always get real trees because I LOVE the smell. Not really sure why/when we got them, but we have them. So, I want to temporarily put up the fake trees until we can buy a real one.
What do you think?