>The Right Kind of Distraction

>As I’ve mentioned before; I’ve had a hard time readjusting to life after R&R but things are going better. In fact, I am pretty sure I’m back to “ok” status now. They say the trick is to stay distracted. That is good advice; advice that I have given out on many occasions. “Keep busy”, “distract yourself with fun activities”. While this is still good advice, there is an element missing from those phrases. I think I have found that the BEST distraction is the one you are unaware of. The situation/event that takes up quite a bit of your thoughts leaving little time to sit there and think about missing him.

As you probably already know, I am in New England. We have been hit with a conveyor belt of snow storms over the past few weeks. It started with a storm in December that they called a Blizzard. It’s funny to think about that now, because that was the smallest of all the storms. I think we got about 10 inches, if that.

We then had a storm come shortly after R&R that dumped just under 3 FEET of snow. Since then it has been one after another. The schools in the area have cancelled or delayed more often then I can count. In fact, this is week 4 of my semester and I have only been to class once; and this week looks like it will be cancelled again. We have about 4 feet of snow on the ground, with snowbanks taller than my truck.

I love weather, I love snow, but at this point…. it’s getting dangerous.

I have learned how to read the NOAA maps and all that; GFS, NAM, SREF…. I know what qpf, zr and the 850’s mean… I know just enough to scare me.

About a week ago the news started talking about the importance of getting the snow off the roof. The next day I went out to check my roof, and I saw over a foot of ice beneath a couple feet of snow. As the week went on I heard more and more stories about collapsing roofs. Two in my town this week alone!

We are forecasted to get another storm starting tomorrow into Thursday. I have been watching this evolve and I have gotten more and more scared. To the point that I tried to stop looking at the models. I was like an addict though, waking up at 0300 to get the latest runs.

Anyway, the local mets have finally started talking about the potential for a lot of ice which is a problem because everyone has hit the stores with the intention of buying EVERYTHING. You cannot find a shovel, ice pick, snow blower, sheer pins for snow blowers (mine is broken and I need a sheer pin to fix it), even gloves and hats are a rarity. I was lucky, I did find salt, but that was the last of it. Most people are sold out.

So, here I sit,, with a roof full of ice and snow, a broken snow blower sits in the garage and a single shovel sits next to it because all the other shovels are buried under four feet of snow.

I am worried about my roof, I’m worried about the ice taking out power, I’m worried about shoveling the driveway, I’m worried about falling on the ice…. I’m concerned that this is going to be a really bad storm.

I’ve been concerned for a few days now, but you know what I realized this morning as I drove home from the 4th store that had no shovels??? I haven’t been sad. I’ve been stressed, but not sad. The weather has been my distraction, and I didn’t even realize it.

Wish New England luck getting through this storm unscathed. We’re in for a monster storm.

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>Cookie Care Package

>First, I’d like to encourage everyone to head over to the Marine Parent’s page and link up. She’s hosting the Military Monday blog hop. It’s a great way to meet other MilSpouses and loved ones. Hope to see you there!

So, today was nice. The boys and I decided to make cookies to send to DH. Of course, after the first couple minutes I was left alone in the kitchen to finish up, but it’s ok; it’s the thought that counts and they DID want to do it. They are boys, there is only so much baking I can expect them to be excited about. They did decorate the boxes though which is good because I am not a very good artist.
We started out with the Pecan Bars, they came out great. It was my first time making these and I think it was a successful venture.
Then we made the Snickerdoodles. They came out great; as always. I don’t remember where I got the recipe, but it is good.
We then made Oatmeal Raisin Cookies which are DH’s favorite. I don’t like raisins but he says it’s a good recipe so I’ll take his word for it.
He wants photo paper but he said he doesn’t want me making a special trip to the store just for him. I told him I already had some at the house (not true) so I planned on going to the store today to get it. Well, I forgot some stuff at the grocery store so I decided to just get the photo paper tomorrow when I go out. That means I won’t ship this out until Tuesday. It also means I have more time to bake some different recipes.
I have to read a couple chapters for Peds but I think I should work on my care plan tonight rather than reading. It’s due Thursday but I always put it off and then stress out the day before. I want to try to avoid doing that if at all possible.
More snow coming this week. The kids have had more snow day in the past two weeks than we did the past two years combined. In fact, I don’t think we had a single snow day last year. Crazy!
Things are looking better. I have had a rough time since R&R. I have missed him so much that I have been less than functional. Today I feel better. I am not completely out of my funk, but I have made a significant improvement. I haven’t cried today or even felt like I was trying to hold back tears. That’s a good thing. Let’s hope I’m finally adjusting; I can’t keep going through my days like this. I have to get back to normal.

>How I Became a Red Head

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I have been told, more than a few times, that I look like Kate Winslet. My mother in law was the first person to say it. Since then my husband reminds me periodically. I have been told by complete strangers at the grocery store or the mall. I don’t see it but perfect strangers have stopped me to tell me that I look “just like her”. I don’t see it at all.
It’s funny though because Titanic is my favorite movie. I have always been interested in the ship; the story of the sinking, the impressive size (for the time), the collection of people (high class all the way to steerage), etc. When the movie came out DH KNEW that he had to take me.
Funny side story: There is a scene in the movie where an older couple (most likely 2nd class) knew they weren’t going to get off the ship so instead they lay down in bed and held each other till the end. I started crying at that point and did not stop. I literally could NOT stop.
The movie ended, the credits rolled, we waited for me to stop crying but those pesky pregnancy hormones were in full control.
The lights came on in the theater… still crying.
We made our way through the lobby and to the parking lot…. still crying.
A few minutes into the drive home DH started making jokes… it didn’t work, even though I was laughing at how stupid I was acting the tears continued to stream down my face.
I cried for a grand total of three hours after the movie ended. It was ridiculous.
So, here’s how I wound up a redhead over R&R.
We had just put the boys to bed. DH turned on the TV and while he was flipping through the channels he found the movie Titanic. He called me over and we started watching it. He turns to me and goes “you really do look just like her, all you need is the red hair”. We watched for a few more minutes and he says “let’s color your hair, I think it wold be hot”. 
Now, I am not a fancy girly girl, I don’t color my hair, I don’t ever “do” my hair. In fact, there are days when I get out of the shower and put it in a scrunchie WITHOUT EVEN BRUSHING IT. I know that’s bad, but I just don’t have the time or patience to play with my hair everyday (especially during deployment, who am I trying to look good for?) This is my original hair color.
So, I asked him if he was serious, he said of course and I began looking online for pictures of Rose. I showed him a few different pictures of her with different shades of red. Of course he chose the DARKEST red. 
I asked him if he was sure and he just smiled. That was a yes.
So, the next morning I called and set up an appointment at the salon in the mall. I didn’t know if this place was any good, I don’t even know what makes a place good! I’ve never done this. In fact, years ago my mother took me to have highlights put in my hair. I wound up choosing colors that were IDENTICAL to my original colors. She spent over $100 and I came home looking exactly like I had before I left. DH didn’t even realize I had done anything. That’s how cautious I am. I am scared that any change will be too drastic and I will look stupid.
We went to the mall the next day, he dropped me off in front while he and the boys parked the truck. I told the stylist that my husband wanted me to have red hair. I showed her the picture and of course she told me that I look just like her (maybe she was just kissing my butt for a bigger tip, lol).
She explains to me that red is very hard to maintain; I’ll need to go in every 4 weeks and if I let it go I will turn either orange or pink. When DH arrived I explained that this could get expensive if I have to go in every 4 weeks. He told me to just do it.
The stylist pulled out the swatches for us to choose from. Wouldn’t you know it my husband picked out the darkest color on there. I wanted to go with the second to the lightest. I looked at him and his smile was huge; he was actually excited! That made me really happy, most guys aren’t into this stuff. He doestn’ ask for much, he doesnt’ tell me what clothes to wear, earrings, etc. He says he doestn’ care if I ask him which outfit looks better. For the first time he actually had an opinion, and it was strong.
I looked at the swatch one more time and finally said “let’s do this”. He was so excited he waited with me the whole time. He took 100 pictures. It made me so happy to know that I was doing something that he wanted. I would never have done this on my own. NEVER.
 
I was not prepared for how much the chemicals would sting. My eyes were burning, the top of my head felt as if it were going to melt right off; it was rough. Through it all though, my husband grinned from ear to ear. He was SO excited.
I don’t know how to flip this picture, but it was my favorite part of the day. If I have to go back once a month I will not complain about this part. Ahhhhhh, my hair getting washed by someone else; best feeling in the world.
The stylist said I should cut my hair because of split ends, I wasn’t happy about it but I agreed because she said she could curl my hair to look like Rose and that was obviously what my husband wanted. She didn’t though, she made my hair super straight. i don’t know if she forgot or what, but I did not look like Rose when I left. Anyway.
So, jokester that he is, my husband decided to take a picture of my hair to show me what it looked like. He must have played with the settings because I almost screamed when he showed me this.
When she was done the stylist told me that she had known beforehand that I had the skin coloring to pull it off, but she was surprised by how well it came out. She said that a lot of people try to go red but it comes out looking unnatural. She said “you came in here simple and boring; you are leaving sexy and hot”. LOL. That made me feel awesome.
On the way home he couldn’t keep his eyes on the road. He kept looking at me. I felt like a princess. I felt so good knowing that my husband liked the way I looked. I was on Cloud 9. He grabbed the camera and kept taking pictures of me.
My face doesn’t look too good here because all my makeup had come off. My mascara had started running down my face when my eyes were watering so I had to wipe it all off.
When we got home we tried to take a few more pics. He was totally in love with my new hair. I love that I made him happy. He doesn’t ask for much; but he knew he wanted my hair red.
So, that’s the story of how I became a Red Head on R&R.

>R&R Advice

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R&R is over, I don’t even need to tell you how fast it went. It seems like just yesterday I picked him up at the airport. It was great, not everything went as planned but fortunately I didn’t MAKE many plans so everything worked out. 
Despite the fact that we have been a military family for 13 years and have been through our fair share of deployments and separations, we have never been through R&R. The Navy only goes out for six months at a time; work ups and schools never lasted more than a couple months each. I had heard of R&R of course, but until this deployment never truly understood it. Sure, it’s two weeks of leave in the middle of the tour; yeah, I got that. What I didn’t get was how impossible it is to fit everything in, visit with everyone who misses him and adjust back into having him around – just to turn around and repeat the tearful good bye all over again. Don’t get me wrong, I would never even consider NOT taking R&R but it’s also not as easy as I thought it would be.
I hope we won’t have to go through a year long deployment again, but just in case, I want to remind myself of a few things before our next R&R.
Things I wish I had known/thought of before R&R

Plan something for right after he leaves.
 – now you have to be careful here; do not make plans WITH anyone because you don’t know how you are going to feel and if you just want to be alone then having to go meet someone is only going to make you feel worse. Instead, plan something for yourself, something that you ENJOY doing, something that you look forward to but don’t usually allow yourself to do. Maybe order dinner from that super expensive Chinese Food restaurant, veg out in front of the TV and watch that Adam Sandler movie you’ve been meaning to watch, go to the spa and get a massage, whatever you wouldn’t normally allow yourself to do. This way, you will look forward to it.
Decide AHEAD of time who you are going to tell.
 – two weeks may sound like plenty of time but let me tell you; it’s not! Everybody is going to want to see him, of course family will want to visit, but friends will expect to see him too. Even if you give each person one day/night it adds up quickly and before you know it the time is gone and you haven’t spent much time together as a couple. People can be pushy and some people are really good at making you feel guilty. It’s important to remember that this is leave (vacation), it’s supposed to be relaxing and fun for him. Running all over the state to see this person and that person may prove to be more stressful than it’s worth. Instead, visit with family and maybe just a few close friends. You may not even want to tell some people that he’s coming home, that way they won’t feel neglected. Be sure to allow him to make this decision himself though; you can voice your opinion but make sure he has the final say.
Don’t make too many plans.
 – Planning to go to the museum, a concert, the mall, etc may sound like fun and he may typically enjoy doing these things; but R&R may not be the time to do them. I’m not saying not to plan ANYTHING. Just don’t plan too much; don’t fill up the days with this and that. Leave plenty of room for spur of the moment decisions. If you guys wake up one morning and decide not to get out of bed until noon…. then go for it. You might find yourselves sitting on the couch watching a movie and eating Dominos Pizza rather than getting all dressed up to go to a restaurant. Allow yourselves some wiggle room, don’t plan too much.
Take pictures every day.

  – you can’t have too many pictures. Take candid shots though; posing for the camera is fine once in a while but if you spend the whole day asking him to “say cheese” it will become quite annoying. Rather, grab pictures during conversations with other people (that way you’ll get your smile AND it will be genuine).

 Make a few dinners ahead.
 – a nice homecooked meal is great. He will thoroughly enjoy it, although spending two hours in the kitchen every night wastes a lot of potential quality time you could be spending with him. Early in the R&R make a few dinners that can be doubled (ziti, enchiladas, lasagna, etc). Prepare both pans, bake one for that night and wrap the other one up for another night. Ta-Daaaaaa. This way if you don’t feel like cooking one night you can just throw the pan in the oven and you’ve got yourself a home cooked meal without all the mess.

Make a list of things that need to be done.
 – he’s been gone a while so there are BOUND to be things that need to be fixed. Make a list of things that HAVE to be fixed while he’s home…. then cut it in half. If he gets around to doing more, great; but don’t make him feel like he’s nothing but a handyman.

Drop him off at the airport and then go.
 – this is a very hard good bye. When he comes home from deployments the “honeymoon period” typically lasts up to a month for us. R&R is half that time. This means that you will still be in the mushy, hand holding, not arguing stage. Letting him go again DURING the honeymoon phase is really hard. The good bye is going to be hard no matter what you do; dragging it out by going into the airport with him is only going to make it harder on BOTH of you. Instead, drop him off, hug him and kiss him, then get in the driver’s seat and go. Trust me. I know it feels like you want to spend every last second with him, but crying and snotting all over his uniform is not quality time. Just go.
Find his civvies BEFORE he comes home.
 – I completely take over the closet when he’s gone. C wears the same size clothes so most of DH’s clothes end up in C’s closet, other stuff gets shoved in drawers. He probably won’t be coming home with any civvies at all, and if he does it won’t be much. Make sure his clothes are ready for him; smell them, after a few months in the closet or in a drawer they may not smell fresh.
And that’s my advice to me. I will think of more as time goes on and maybe I will update but for now, these are the things that come to mind.
Do you have anything to add to the list? I’d love to hear your ideas. Everyone’s R&R is different just as everyone’s marriage is different; I’d like to hear what works/worked for you guys.

>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!

>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.