Monday, December 29, 2008

transparent moment

so i went to sleep early tonight. partly because i was feeling grouchy and not wanting to deal with my family who we've been visiting for 2 weeks anymore and partly because i wanted cayman in bed and asleep at a descent hour (you know the whole 'when at the grandparents' house, all the rules go out the window so you can have a great time trying to get them back on schedule once you get home' thingy). i was sleeping fine; peaceful, deep, much-needed sleep.

and then i woke up. irritate, restless, jealous, seeing green. i feel like i should be completely transparent with y'all, so i must confess this. as happy and over the moon as i am for all of my friends and their families that have returned after a deployment (not just the ones getting home now, but every time someone has redeployed while aaron has been deployed), i get jealous. i want it to be our turn. i understand that aaron has to finish his job and is in leadership and responsible for this and that and so on and so on.

but dang it! he was one of the first ones to leave! and i want him home, now! i don't want to wait any longer. i've waited long enough. i've waited over 13 long months. i've been there for my friends for 13 months of all sorts of craziness and i just want it all to be over with and to be home with my husband and our son and be one happy family again under one roof. and i want him home to play with cayman. i want him home now so that the two of them can start the whole 'getting to really know you' process. i want him home so i can finally go to the bathroom all by myself and not have a screaming toddler at the door or in the bathroom with me.

but, i have a lot to be thankful for, even as we wait for our homecoming. my husband is coming home, alive! he's going to get off that big white bus, on his own, uninjured. he's coming home as the man i married, no major surprises (we've talked everyday and in the recent weeks have started the whole 'reintegration thing' over the phone and webcam). heck, with him not coming up until next year, we get another month's hazard duty pay and separation pay. plus, january will be tax free. and, i'll be able to keep the kids for my friends so that they can have time alone with their husbands while i wait for my husband. and, i'll a few more days to run around like chicken with her head cut off trying to get things ready for aaron's homecoming.

so, i thank God that my husband is coming home, alive, under his own ability. and i ask God to give me the strength to be patient for just a little while longer. and to keep a positive attitude when i see others and their loved ones reunited. and i praise God because we could have other valleys to face that require much more then just patients.

ps, i love you

Saturday, December 27, 2008

the doorbell rang

so i'm on the laptop yesterday, just browsing through some websites when my messenger pops up and prompts me that aaron is online! so, i message him, asking him if he can talk. yes, i know it seems silly, but the man needs his sleep, he's coming home soon!

either way, we got to use the webcam for nearly an hour! however, suddenly the connection cuts out on his end. i wait, and wait, and wait for him to get back on, which he usually does or at least contacts me in some way to let me know he's okay. nothing.

so, maybe there was a sandstorm, maybe a blackout, maybe a million things could have happened. i put it away in my head and head to dinner with the whole family, including my little brothers! i try not to let it bother me through dinner; i'm sure there's a good reason. dinner wraps up and we head home. and of course cayman needs a diaper change first thing when we get home.

off to the bedroom, change the diaper, have some silly mommy-and-me time. and then it happened. the doorbell rang. just once. i waited, and waited and waited for what seemed like a hundred years for someone to answer it. all i could think was, 'no, i can't do this alone. no, he's this close to coming home. no, this isn't part of your plan for us. no, no, no!'

then walks my little brother in and i grill him: did you ring the doorbell? why did you ring the doorbell? are you serious, it was just you ringing the doorbell? it was.

the feeling stuck with me for a while, even while shopping for shoes for my homecoming outfit. i had to talk to someone, anyone. i called a few friends, all no answer. then i called papa keith to wish him a happy birthday, and somehow, he could tell i needed to talk to mama martha. they're the parents of aaron's best friend, ryan who is currently deployed to iraq flying the c 130. military people just get each other and know when and what needs to say.

i bought my cute homecoming shoes. i prayed, of course i prayed, that i would get to wear them to aaron's homecoming. the one where he gets of the big white bus, on his own. i just can't imagine a life without him. without my best friend. without my husband. without cayman's dad. without my dork. without my silly face. without him. and i don't understand why, with just a matter of days now, such a feeling would creep in. i pray it is a feeling that passes. not just from me, but from all of you. i would never wish such a feeling on anyone. and so i pray, not just for aaron's safe return, but for all our soldiers, all of our husbands, our brothers, our sisters, our fathers, our mothers, our cousins, our best friends, to come home safe.

ps, i love you

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

i'm sending you a little christmas

i'm sending you a little christmas, wrapped up in love... a little peace, a little light to remind you of how i'm waiting for you... praying for you... i wanted you to see. so i'm sending you a little christmas til you come home to me

i heard this song last night again on the radio and it's just so fitting for this year, again. last year it was just weeks after aaron left us. this year it's just weeks before he hopefully comes home to us. it's not the army's fault. it's not aaron's fault. it's no one's fault. we make the most of what we are given and should be thankful for that. so, until we can make the most of being together again, my thoughts, my prayers, my 'i love you' on the phone and webcam will have to be enough to carry aaron through this christmas.

and it's not about the presents. or the dinner. or the wrapping paper, tree, lights, parade, music, football games. none of that matters. it's about a baby that was born in a manager to save us all. it's about being with those who mean the most to you (and when you can't be with them, making the most of the other times you do have with them). so, as we wake in the morning with the excitement of innocent children looking for some proof of santa, we must remember that even without stockings, presents, lights, music and all the trimming, it's still christmas. so, it is our choice: send a little christmas until you can be together again or waste a beautiful opportunity to celebrate what's right infront of you.

may you all have a beautiful and blessed christmas and may God's blessings shining on you today as well as everyday!

ps, i love you

Friday, December 19, 2008

can my jerry be more jerrylike

so i have a lurker, okay, aaron reads my blog from time-to-time (thank you hunny for reading. i love you and can't wait for you to watch me from across the leaving type in my blog). and that makes this blog entry harder (i love you hunny, remember that).

i watched 'ps, i love you' tonight. i did much better then i had anticipated. i teared here and there and only started really crying at the last letter in yankee stadium. and of course as i watched it, all i could think about was my own 'jerry' aka aaron. however, my 'jerry' isn't very jerry, yet. and it's not why i married him.

i married aaron for a million and one different reasons: he's a hottie (come on, you've seen him, admit it), super smart and nerdy (okay, dorky), very calm, makes me see the big picture and all sides of things, can make me laugh when it's the last thing i want to do, makes me think, gives me butterflies, is super tall, we made a super cute kid together, balances me, is sensible and a million other things. but, i guess i had hoped and still hope and will always hope that he would come around and be more 'jerry.'

see, i'm the one to leave love notes, send cards and keep the ones i receive stashed (though i know he spends a lot of time and puts a lot of thought into the cards he gets), i do the little romantic things. i don't mind. i do them because i love aaron and i want to do something just because. so, i guess if i were a guy, i'd send flowers on tuesday just because i thought about you. and i do have to say in aaron's defense, i've never been a flower kind of girl, until now. marriage and motherhood mature you and it's those little things you really start to appreciate. and don't get me wrong, only i could love a 'message' in a bottle with the key to his heart or a crystal with our pictures etched into it or a wii for valentine's day. oh, and the spa gift certificate. but i long for those love notes too.

and it's just those little romantic things i'm starting to long for. and i know you can't change someone. but maybe time and experience (and lurking around and reading my blog) can ignite a small spark to consider working on that romantic thing, not that i would love him any less if he didn't. i thank God everyday that i'm blessed to have the love of a man who loves me unconditionally. and i love him, unconditionally, today, tomorrow and for the rest of my life. and as aaron would say, 'that's a really long time.'

ps, i love you

Thursday, December 18, 2008

they just don't get it

do you ever feel like some people just don't get it? they don't get that there are rules to driving. they don't get that there are ways of coping. they don't get that somethings just aren't important. they don't get that life isn't all about them and their small world.

i feel like i have someone in my life who just doesn't get it. they don't get that yes, life is tough and this last year has been tough for them with the loss of their beloved nephew and then their father. and yes, life is tough when your stepson is dealing with an emotional issue. but life doesn't center on you and your 'woe is me.' and life isn't all about shopping and bowl game tickets. life isn't about what toy you bought or how many toys or what clothes you bought. and i'm sorry the clothes you bought won't fit, but if it mattered enough to you, you would have called and listened when i gave you the sizes.

there are just some people so wrapped up in their own world and their own agenda that the important things seem to just pass right by and all they see are the sales and that new pair of boots they need to get to go with their new outfit for the bowl game.

when it comes right now to it, no matter how christian you are, the way you treat others is the way you treat God. see, we are all Jesus. and when you ignore those hurting or we ignore those closest to us or when we can't see beyond our own agenda, we are denying God. and we've all done it. but when you can't get beyond your own agenda and your own picture, you are denying God and those around you and to be honest, it would explain the mess God has given you. and though you neglect that mess, until you deal with it, you will not have a message, just a mess and a bunch of 'woe is me' to deal with.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

i did it!

so i haven't done this in months... in fact since june. i remember the last time i did it; in the parking lot of the newport news airport and poor cayman was buckled in his carseat in the back and had no clue what was going on. but i did have the a/c on. but last night i did it for the first time in a long time and it felt good but overwhelming all at the same time.

there was nothing good on tv last night so i turned on gac's 'notes from home' special saluting the troops. that should have been a clear sign to me that i didn't need to have the tv on; a salute to the troops at the most emotional holiday time of the year while my husband is still gone. well, as they started singing and seeing all the uniforms, i lost it.

the tears started slowly, just a little mist like when you hear the star spangle banner or God bless america. but then as the kept singing and seeing the christmas decorations and our son sleeping so peacefully in the bean bag (yes, i'm a bad mom. i let him fall asleep in the bean bag, but not in front of the tv), and knowing that my husband, who missed our son's first christmas, is going to miss this christmas too, the tears just built up. and just like the levees in new orleans a few years back, i broke and the tears just started flowing. and in the midst of those tears all i could do was ball up like a baby and cry.

and then in the midst of those tears, rather then begging God to bring him home now, i praised God. we have a lot to be thankful for. and through the tears, which now seemed to be happy tears mixed with those sad tears, i praised God because my husband is alive. my husband will soon be boarding a plane and heading home to us. and he'll get off the big white bus (rather then a big white horse) on his own, unharmed. and my husband has been able to communicate with us fairly regularly. and we have a healthy son who recognizes him and his voice and is starting to realize that he has a daddy who is coming home soon. and above all, i praised God for blessing us with those things and so much more. and then i prayed: please bring him home safe, and soon. and for all his soldiers and all of our soldiers here and there and around the world. not just for them but their families. for strength; not just to be 'army strong' but for strength to be strong mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

and so, i did it. and it felt okay. i still have a lot of emotion, 18 months worth of emotion to be exact (pre deployment and the whole deployment and such), but i figure i'll get to take a shower by myself soon enough and get it all out.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

always home and never helping or always gone and can't help

so i was reading some posts on the mommy board i frequent and got to thinking, which is tougher: having your husband home but always busy (whether it be work or the xbox) or having your husband always gone and not able to help?

as i thought about it as i was putting cayman to bed, i came to this conclusion: i personally feel that i have it easier knowing that aaron can't be here to physically help with things like taking out the garbage on pick up day or giving cayman his bath so i can have five minutes to pee in peace. see, if he were here and always busy with work or other things, i would be disappointed and honestly, i would feel cheated. having him some 7,982 miles away doesn't make the bedtime routine any easier or in the case of today of both cayman and i being sick any better, but knowing that he isn't just 3 miles down the road does.

see, we live in a great family neighborhood. however, i was talking with some of the other mommies and started wondering, how do they deal with the fact that their husbands aren't deployed but always in the field, sometimes day at a time, sometimes just really long hours, and can't come home to help yet aren't that far away? it would drive me personally batty if aaron was assigned to jrtc and ops group and constantly in the field training soldiers who are preparing to deploy. it's important job, don't get me wrong. but to know he's that close and yet can't be home with us.

either way, i believe God puts us in situations to make us who we are and who we will become. I have become strong in many ways, yet need aaron more then anything. and with Christ as my compass and guide, i know aaron and i will make it through anything.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

how does your garden grow?

so, as the new wife on the block, i've been eyed already and am doing my darnest to make sure that the true us shines through. from hanging our alabama flag, okay, my alabama flag, to squaring away the house to being cheery and friendly, 'we, the williams' are making our mark.

and so, the green thumb, the martha stewart, my mother has come out in me. i decided to rescue the said excuses of flower beds outside our front door and attempt to bring some life to them. and to make the others see our 'pretty flowers' and care for our home.

but come on, honestly. the outside of your house is just as important as your own personal appearance. admit it. you know it. we are all guilty of judging our neighbors based on the appearance of their house. so, i'm wondering, how does your garden grow?

do you let the appearance outside your house accurately reflect you and your home? is your outside and your home a place of warmth? of love? of peace? and would someone be able to walk by the front of your home and go, 'wow, that house is not just four walls and a roof, but a home full of love and God's blessings.' i hope our house, our home makes people thinking that about us. as shallow and materialistic as it sounds, it's the truth and the society we live in.

so, i picked my shovel and some pansies and cayman and i tackled our mud. hopefully the end product and just seeing us work in our flower beds will make our new neighbors sigh and think, 'they'll fit right in to our cozy little family here on pinehurst street.'

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

welcome to ft. polk, home of the heroes and us!

so, a little over a week ago we packed up and left sunny florida for ft. polk. the days since have whirl winded around and away and here we, cayman and i, are nearly a week after my parents left us, and we're doing just fine. yes, i miss them (and all of our florida friends) terribly, but as far as surviving ft. polk and the anticipation of aaron's return, we're here!

we couldn't have asked for a better house! our townhouse is beautiful and each day i'm finishing up little projects to make it feel more like home. i even hung the curtains, all by myself! i'd like to take credit for the towel bars in our bathroom, but for the sake of saving the wall, the great guys at maintenance have been called in for assistance. our neighborhood is great too! we share a wall with the post's catholic priest who is also a soldier! super neat-o guy! and since they arrange streets by paygrade, everyone on our street is about our age (or no more than five years older) and has kids ranging from cayman's age to elementary school. so we're always outside playing with the neighbors' kids. and cayman and i have decided to tackle our mud garden and plant flowers! pictures and stories to follow.

it feels good to be back too! sunday at church was tough though. the last time i really remember sitting in our church was the sunday aaron deployed. i remember attending the morning service and them asking all the soldiers who were deploying to stand and then asking when they were leaving. aaron said, 'tonight,' and with those words i thought i was going to die. but a year later and just a few weeks shy of homecoming, i sat there. sure there were a few tears in my eyes, some because it felt so good to be 'home' and some because i was remembering 'us.' sunday school class was good too. of course it was tough because i could see the flag pole with our yellow ribbons (each deployed soldier from our church has a yellow ribbon with their name on it and it's tied to the pole until the come home again). and seeing julez's picture from her last visit was tough. but then being in a room full of women, wives, mothers, spouses of soldiers, i felt like i was surrounded by people who understand me, who know me, who are me. and it was good.

and of course it's good to be back with my friends. and to be able to finally be able to participate in all those neat family activities the military has set up for us. more stories to come along with pictures! God is good, all the time!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

the day has come

so, i know i've been slacking in my posting this past week, but for good reason... i've been uber busy getting things in order for the big move back to ft. polk! between lining up the directv people and making sure housing knows we will be there monday, with bells on, and collecting the last of the things i want to take back with us and of course saying those awful, 'see you later,' not good-bye, my fingers and my thoughts have been exhausted.

but, as i glance around my parents' house, which seems so empty now, i can't help but feel an overwhelming amount of emotion, both happy and sad, excited but disappointed, bittersweet and blessed. when aaron left nearly a year ago, we decided it would be best for us, cayman and i and aaron's peace of mind, if we moved home with one of our parents. as much as i love aaron's parents, my parents in florida have a more similar lifestyle to ours.

so, last december my mum drove over and my little brother flew in (from alabama where he lives with my dad and stepmom) and they packed up our entire household, putting the majority into our 10x10 storage unit, but bringing back 2 jam-packed carloads. fast forward to now. as aaron and his soldiers have heard word that 15 months will be cut short, we figure we'd take our chances and move back now rather then later.

so, we packed up everything and it's all in a 10x6 trailer. my florida parents, our uncle ron and aunt bev, and cayman and i are heading out in the morning to make the drive back up florida and across the coast of the gulf of mexico and then northwest to ft. polk. it'll take us two days, but it'll be worth the trek! but, it's bittersweet too.

it's been amazing sharing this year and all it's held with my parents. from the joy they've had in their faces from watching cayman grow and discover this year to having someone to talk as an adult to our friends we've made in our playgroups and they tips we've shared with each other. but, if leaving them all here and heading back to ft. polk and its walmart and middle-nowhereness means that aaron's coming home, we'll do it. and there's nothing i would've changed about our decision to move here last year. it was definitely the right choice, for us. not anyone else, but for us.

God has blessed us this year and continues to do so. from the being close to our family, especially in those trying moments, to the friends we've made, to the amazing church home we found here, it's been a blessing. and the fact that we, especially aaron, have been so blessed with peace of mind this year is something you just can't pass up. so, prayers as we make the trek back across the coast and for a speedy next few weeks so that aaron and his soldiers can make a safe return home.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

people do do this really

so i'm sure y'all have received an email about a complete stranger going up to a soldier or a military spouse after eve-dropping on their conversation or noticing that they are military. and i'm sure, okay maybe i'm the only one, that you've thought that only happens in emails and to other people not in the normal world where i live and breathe and function day in and day out.

well... i'm here to prove you wrong. it does happen to everyday military wives just like you and me! today, we loaded up the wagon (cayman's new umbrella stroller is awesome but lacks the basket space that his travel system had) with aaron's last two care packages (whooo hooo!) and headed to the post office. after 60 some odd care packages, we're regulars now. as we made our way to the counter, i did my best to entertain cayman, swinging him, jumping with him, being his personal jungle gym (are you getting the picture that he's never still). we make it to the counter and have our usual chit-chat with the clerk.

apparently i was sharing my excitement about this being our last two packages too loud because the lady at the counter next to us must have heard about us and our packages. didn't bother me. it's kinda nice for people in a mostly civilian town to be reminded that even here in smalltown, usa, there are families touched by deployment. well, she tracked us down in the parking lot (kinda hard to miss the little lady with her monkey and red wagon) and asked me how much it costs to spend a package.

as i gather in my brain my speech about flat rate boxes and custom forms and stickers on the outside to make them personal, she whips out her wallet and hands me a bill! at this point the tears are welling up. she doesn't know me. i don't know her. but, she cared enough to care about us.

i told her that i couldn't take her money: a. i had just mailed off our last packages b. it just wouldn't be right. i insisted she take the money and use it for something good in our honor like 'toys for tots.' there was no arguing with this lady. as she glanced at cayman climbing all over the backseat, she insisted that i would know better what tots would like for christmas this year. okay lady, you win! i ended up taking the money and adding it to our stash for our toy shopping trip which cayman loved! look for pictures tomorrow!

it's people like this lady and the one wearing her red shirt last friday and my civi friends i've made this year that have reminded me that they don't have to 'know' me or aaron or cayman, they do what they do because they care. it's like paying it forward. so, to all those who have paid the price, thank you!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

fridays = wear red

so i got an email a few years back. sort of a grassroots type of movement. it encourages all those who support our troops to wear red on fridays. so, when i have a conscious moment while getting dressed on friday mornings, i try to grab my red, okay crimson or maroon, shirts. no biggie, i'm an army wife and i support my husband and all of our military. and grant it, i wear my alabama shirt (with great pride) or my virginia tech (in honor of aaron's alum mater) during football season and a red polo during the off season.

i don't wear them waiting for someone to say 'thank you' or anything about it. i wear my shades of red because i'm thankful for the brave men and women who make the sacrifices so that we may enjoy our freedoms, even if it means enjoying them without your soldier because he just happens to be one of those brave men. at anyrate, i have a point to this.

cayman and i went to the playground friday and then headed to auburndale. i needed to get the oil changed and have the land yatch checked before our big drive back to ft. polk next weekend. while in the waiting area i had a nice conversation with the ladies about aaron and our life as a military family (it seems like forever but we've only been 'us' since 2006). after the car checked out all good, we headed to wally world (i know, i'm not a fan of wal mart, but at least the auburndale one is clean and spacious) to print our thanksgiving and christmas card pictures and pick up a few things. as i'm dealing with my toddler who is dealing with his teeth coming in, yes, there are more making an appearance, we headed through the aisle. i was already a little emotional because i was picking up the last of the things i needed to finish the cookies for aaron and his soldiers and the pictures turned out so great for the cards.

well, as we're rounding an aisle i nearly hit her. she was me, just 60 years from now. she was petite. minding her own business. but she was cheery as we nearly ran her down. what caugth me and made her me, her red shirt. but it wasn't just any red polo, it has a yellow ribbon stitched on it and below it, 'thank you!' and as i made my apologizes for nearly running her over, i managed to get out, 'thank you for wearing your shirt.' as she turned down her aisle she turned back and said, 'thank you,' with the sweetest smile, knowing i was her some 60 years ago.

and then as i had managed to avoid for nearly much of the last 12 months, the tears started. right there, in the middle of the bake good aisle, the tears trickled down my face. no one else around me had a clue why. and why should they. so far removed from a military community, the only sign of military some retired snowbirds. and there, in the middle of the auburndale walmart, i was human, i was an army wife, i was the mother of a child who only been tucked into bed by his father 58 times, i was a woman with tears slowly making their way down my flushed cheeks. and, i was okay with it. because i'm okay with who i am. and i'm okay with God walking beside me as i gathered myself, prayed for our soldiers and those who support them and continued down the baked good aisle.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

good times with my baby boy

so i thought it would be fun to finger paint and bake together with my little man. wrong!

my sister requested an original cayman masterpiece for her birthday. so, i figured today, as i'm baking up a storm for aaron's last care package, i would strap cayman in his highchair, give him some paint and let him go to town. it would seem that most kids would love the excuse to make a mess. not my little man! a few hand prints, a little smearing, and that was it! but, he did make a lovely master piece for auntie necia's birthday!

and then i thought, hmm... let's try baking together. that wasn't a good idea either. what kid doesn't like making a mess! apparently not mine! don't get me wrong. he loves playing in the dirty, loves eating sand and dirty by the handful, but making a mess when he's actually allowed to, nope! but, we tried. and maybe we'll try again some other day.

it's things like finger painting and baking together that i love doing with cayman... and i love sending his master pieces to aaron. however, i hate that aaron hasn't baked a single cookie with cayman (or even snuck into the kitchen to steal one of the cooling rack) or made a mess with him. it's things like this that i hate that aaron is missing out on. grant it, the past 12 months cayman has been doing a lot of growing and developing to get to the point that he can finger paint and bake, and so aaron really hasn't missed much. but still. and so i wear many hats and play many roles as all aaron can do is take an active role from 7,982 miles away. and for that i'm grateful. i would rather him be an active, involved parent from over there then not even take interest. and soon, he'll be in the kitchen making a mess or on the back porch with paint all over his face too.

Monday, November 10, 2008

thank you

so this time of year is always hard... sappy music, lovey-dovey couples everywhere, special activities that dads are suppose to do with their little ones and then there's veterans' day.

i'm sure we all know a solider, a military spouse, someone who has served years ago, even someone who has given the ultimate sacrifice and laid down their live for our freedoms. and as many of us get the day off and enjoy a day of resting, running around, sleeping in late or watching a parade of cute, little old vfw vets march down main street and wave our flags, it's also a day to reflect upon those who can't enjoy the day with us: those stationed across the world, those who have gone before us, those who know watch over us.

it's been nearly 4 years since my grandpa died. he was my hero. and especially my little brother's hero. he served, briefly, but he served. it's been years since my dad and i have been close, though, he is coming around finally (cayman could have something to do with that). he served. he deployed when i was in elementary school, which makes me one of those rare finds in the military: a spouse of a deployed soldier, but also the daughter of a soldier who has deployed. then there's marcus, jake, mark, and the countless other thousands who have served and will never walk amongst us again. they made the ultimate sacrifice, laying down their lives us, their friends, their loved ones, their fellow americans. and then there's aaron and the countless other thousands of soldiers currently serving us, protecting us, being soldiers.

so, i'm sure we all know someone, in some way that has served. and as you say your prayers, remember them especially on veterans' day. and as you enjoy your day off, enjoy it for them too.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

the walls are coming down

so i know i'm not jericho, but i feel like this deployment is marching around me and my tough walls are starting to crumble down. i know, not the best example, but it's been stuck in my head since yesterday.

so, i love fall! the leaves change colors. alabama football (roll tide! #1!). the weather cooling off (and secretly i like wearing closed=toe shoes). and the holidays: labor day starts it off followed by halloween, veterans' day, thanksgiving, christmas and capping it off with new years. but these last three years have not made this time of year easy on me.

three years ago, when aaron and first started dating, he left me on labor day for afghanistan and didn't return until after thanksgiving. last year aaron left thanksgiving weekend. and this year, well, he's missed everything so far and may not make it back in time for any of it. strike that. we celebrate all of the holidays together, through care packages, but also when aaron gets home, no matter what time of year it is (halloween in december, christmas in february).

but this year is different. i guess i'm understanding of him missing one year. and i admit, cayman was too little last year to fully, or even partially, understand and enjoy the season. but this year, as we are already playing the christmas music and neatly packed away our jack-o-lanterns, it's tougher than before.

we walked through macy's yesterday to check out the sale (we got tons of gift cards to macy's when we got married and have yet to use them so we're going to be the proud new owners of matching towels!). sure, they had the holiday decorations out (by the way, i did not, i repeat, i did not take the mannequin's silver sequence skirt, yet) and that doesn't bother me. but when they're piping through the speakers:Because I miss you, Most at Christmas time
And I can't get you, Get you off my mind, Every other season comes along, And I'm all right, But then I miss you, most at Christmas time
, i lost it. and then this morning at church. i always lose it at church, today more then ever.

it's like i've been tough, not army strong but mommy strong, this whole year but as the one year mark approaches (and then marches on), i'm wearing thin. i guess it's because i can only handle so much. and who could do more? i know, God wouldn't give me anything i could handle (but i question that sometimes). and i know we have a mail stop date (a lot more than others have). but how do i tell my heart and my emotions and my son it's okay (sorry, tears making their way to their ducts to make an appearance) that aaron misses all of this, again.

i know they are just days on a calendar and that's what i tell myself to get through them. but how i can walk into a department store and not lose it (by the way, we've already written our 'dear santa' letters at macy's). how can i stand in church and praise God and not lose it (and not because i'm on fire for Him, but because i miss my prayer warrior holding my hand and encouraging me). how can i make it through another round of turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie and not feel cheated. how can i wrap presents and head to the post office to mail them and not feel like our son is being cheated. i know. i knew the day i started dating aaron that this is our life and that one day it would come to this... but still

God grant me the stregnth to keep my walls from falling until my support and repair man is home.

christmas in november 2007

thanksgiving in december 2006

Thursday, November 6, 2008

mountains and valleys

so i was reading another military wife's blog and it got me thinking, how easily do we let our faith, our trust in God take second place to life, to the good times, to the moments we get caught up in when things are going so well...

so many times we find ourselves clinching to our faith, our trust in God, His word when we find ourselves in a valley, in a dark moment, tested and in a mess. but how easily we forget about Him when we find ourselves up on the mountain, warm sunshine shining down on us, tears of joy flowing from our eyes.

of course this can be applied to anyone's life, but i find myself falling victim to this especially when it comes to deployments. the orders come and find myself start tightening my hold to God's word. as the deployment date comes and goes and the month go by, it seems that i'm hanging on God's every word, clinching so tightly to all my faith and trust in God, praying He'll protect my soldier. as the mail stop date approaches and we start making homecoming banners, it seems that our grip is loosened and as our soldier returns, we return to being on the mountain, praising God at first, but quickly becoming wrapped up in the celebration, the happy tears, the sunshine on our face.

i pray this time, as we continue through this deployment and as our mail stop date approaches and we start making our homecoming banners and the day comes to throw my arms around aaron's neck finally again, that i don't loosen my grip on God, but that i continue to cling to Him with all my might. for He has gotten me this far, and i know He'll carry me all the way home.

i love you daddy! muah! kisses for you!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

mail stop date

mail stop date... it's the date any spouse of a deployed soldier longs for. i started yearning for this date to be issued a year ago (and aaron hadn't even deployed yet)! and, now we have one! sorry, i can't share with you the date (opsec rules!), but know that aaron will definitely be home before my birthday!

it's funny the milestones you establish when your spouse, your best friend, you whole purpose for raising in the morning (5:35 to be exact) well, besides your bright-eyed ball of sunshine called cayman, deploys and leaves you on the other side of the world while he goes and defends our freedoms, protects us, does his duties. but these milestones are what get you through those long, drawn out months that separate you.

i find that weeks go by faster. so, each week we have goals: mail one care package to aaron, go to explorations at least once (hey, got to get my membership's-worth), work-out at least three times (i'm loving me some zumba and i started my couch to 5k this week), and go on at least one other playdate. on top of that, each month i have found finding other milestones, storage rent check mailing date, various functions, and such have made the months go by, sometimes faster then others. and of course, being so busy, i have missed a few things, but overall, the important things, taking care of cayman and loving aaron from a distance still seem to be on my mind at all times.

so, as the holidays are in full swing, i find that the weeks are flying by. this week we have this and that. next week a few of these and one of those. and then it's time for this and oh that. that's how our months have been going. but this month is even more exciting... this week we have to send out our 'gobble, gobble' playdate invites and sort through all of stuff in prep of moving. next week we'll hit up the stores one last time (all we have at ft. polk are the px and walmart), and then it's time to pack those boxes and the trailer and hit the road. then it's time for unpacking our storage unit back at ft. polk and turning our hose into a home again. and then november is gone and december will be here. so, as time marches on, and God gives me more to keep me busy, i can't help but thank God for trusting me to be so busy and all the opportunities He has blessed us with.

Monday, November 3, 2008


so i took up the cellphone again this morning and started calling every hour to housing. surely i would eventually get to talk to someone, not just their voicemails. it didn't take too long until someone called me back, but of course it was in the midst of cayman's story time at the museum so i missed the call!

but once i got the housing relocation manager back on the phone, it ended with mixed results. we've moved up our return date, just to be safe. she has me actually written in on her calendar to call back each week to confirm our return date and to check on available housing. which brings us to the sorta disappointing news. i hate to complain and i'm grateful to have housing available on base when we return, but... when you're coming from a 2-bedroom house with a yard and room and oh the stuff we have to fill all that room... it's tough to move back in to a small, apartment-style housing possibly without a yard and definitely limited storage and room. which, we knew this. we had accepted the fact that we would be in a townhouse on the north side of the base. however, when i called today, it seems like we may be moving into an even smaller single level (which is actually better for cayman) apartment. and if we're on the second floor, no yard. and it's on the south side, which is 'trashy' according to those who have lived on base.

but, i know i must keep an open mind, be flexible and have faith in God that he'll take care of us and provide. tomorrow i start sorting through all of the stuff we have here and getting things ready for our yard sale.
between all we've accumulated here this year and our 10x10 storage unit back in louisiana, it'll take some creativity to make it all fit and still feel like home. but, i'm up for the challenge and as long as aaron and cayman are somewhere in the house with me, we'll be just fine!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

you knew this day would come

so i watched 'army wives' tonight, mostly so i could just disagree with everything they were doing and saying, but also to see what they actually got right.

first, what they got right: can i say pamela couldn't have been more on the money then she was about your career when you marry in to the military. it's an awful reality, but the truth of the matter is this. when you marry into the military you aren't giving up your career, but you must understand that you are giving up the chance to build a career in an area for much longer than three years at a time. sure moving every three years or so makes it hard to establish a career of your own, but you knew that would happen when you married your hero.

which brings us to the moving part. i'm sorry if i seem a little less tearful about moving, but when you've moved all your life, every three years like clock work, you get use to it. it's a fact of army life. as a kid, i knew that every three years the movers would come and they would pack us up and it would be time to make new friends. and well, when we didn't move after being at redstone in alabama, where my dad retired, it was rather odd. and well, as we, aaron and i (and now cayman) approach our three year mark at our base, the moving itch is creeping in. sure, i'll miss my friends, my church, that great little mom-n-pop lunch counter. but let's face it, with today's technology, they're all a phone call, an email, or even a myspace page away. and always the perfect excuse for a road trip.

so, the day the movers bring those boxes to your new house, that's the day you start the countdown to the next move. it's a fact of army life. so, you make what you can of the three or so years you have at your duty station and remember that God put you on this pathway for a reason, so don't go cursing his name when the pcs orders come.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

let's play house

so i don't know your situation, how you met your husband, where in your journey of this thing called life you or your husband were when you met, or where you are now. i do know though where we were and where we are... and it definitely has never been playing house.

i attended a baby shower today (i'll post pictures of the gift i made for this shower and another. this really has been the weekend of showers). the father, 19 year old marine, seems to be very responsible and taking responsibility for his actions. he joined the marines, requested a job that wouldn't put him on the front lines, and has been working very hard to save money and get things ready for his baby girl due to arrive next month. the mother, a 17 year old soon-to-be high school graduate (graduating early in december) and army brat, seems to think this is all a game. grant it, the father is like my little brother, so i've seen him grow and ride the roller coaster of the teenage years and am very proud to see how he is handling this situation. the mother, whom i don't know well, i'm just basing my observations of the few times we've interacted. the problem here in lays in the fact that the father busted his butt to make it home from his duty station in mississippi (driving 10 hrs after getting off of work) to spend the weekend with his wife. mind you he's been in boot camp and then home for a few days before leaving for his duty station. this is the first time he's been home since leaving in august. so, it bothers me that the wife spent most of the weekend with her friends rather than with her husband. hello! he's 10 hrs away, you're carrying his child, and you're busy spending time with your friends who are here every single day! just seems like marriage and parenting aren't high on her list right now.

then we have our friends. our age. love them to death. however, it hit me the other day that the wife seems to forget that this isn't a game. being married to an air force pilot, he can get the call at anytime and have to deploy. something she knew when they got married. heck, she knew the day she started dating him in high school that he was going to college and then career air force. and she knew deployments would be part of their future. now that he's on altar, the reality is finally sinking in.

and then there's us. on our first date, which was 12 hours long for this very reason, we laid out all the cards and were completely honest with each other. aaron made it very clear that the military and maybe someday the fbi, are very much part of his life and factors he has no control over. and i made it very clear that i would support him in these endeavours. we discussed everything from deployments to kids to careers, all in that first date. and as our relationship became more serious, we discussed them all even more and laid out our plans. no surprises (well, okay. we planned on cayman, just not the timing).

i understood and understand the reality of our life. the fact that aaron has very limited control over his career and things like moving and deploying and how many holidays he misses, has never been a secret nor something i ignored. maybe being an army brat helps. but maybe because we have a plan, which is ultimately guided by God and actually laid out by Him, we're not playing house, we're living life. yes, it is upsetting when the call comes and aaron has to pack his bags, but it's not a shocker, it's reality. and i can't just take off my apron (which i bought a super cute one the other day. you can detach the top portion if you want just a half apron!)and say 'game over' or 'let's have a do-over.' all i can do is be honest and faithful to my husband and trust in God and not play pretend.

so, are you playing house or living life?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

i'm a second class jerk

so aaron and i get to talk and see each other fairly regularly on the webcam. and we love to share those silly rumors and laugh about them. it's our way of sharing and then stopping the mill.

well, a few weeks back he shared a rumor about the redeployment timeline being moved up possibly. no biggee... nothing in paper and because of aaron's job, he's most likely gonna be on the last flight. so, it went in one ear, hung in my brain for a few lingering moments: oh wouldn't it be nice to have him home early, and out the other.

today he shared another rumor. odd that he's getting more rumors these days than me. it's usually the other way around, but i'm guessing since we're so far from our base and new in our unit, i'm left with none to share. so today's rumor really moves up the redeployment timeline. and up that any other wife's response would have been: omg! are you serious! that would be awesome! when will you know for sure? oh i'm so excited! i know it's just a rumor (imagine me doing the happy dance here), but i'm so excited!

no, not me. what did i say: but hunny, if that timeline holds, our house won't be ready and we, cayman and i, won't even back yet. WHAT A JERK AM I! i was so worried about our housing and having everything unpacked that the fact that my husband who has been gone nearly a year now would be home earlier than expected. yes, feel free to give me the 'horrible, insensitive wife of the year' award now. and you know what my amazing husband said to this: sweetie, i can always get on a later flight. what? who volunteers for a later flight home so that his wife can unpack boxes?!?

so as i'm dialing picerne (army housing), it hit me... so what if we're in guest housing. so what if our house is full of boxes and we're eating off paper plates? so what if we move back earlier than planned? all that matters is that aaron will be home, safe, with us. at that moment i hung up the phone and sent aaron's computer a text message: i'm so sorry i'm a second class jerk. i want you home as soon as you can get on a flight. don't worry about when or the house, just get home as soon as possible. i love you!

geez! talk about having a brain fart! so, now i'll be emailing housing, moving up our return date and kicking my butt into gear so i can get the welcome home banners done. even if it's just a stupid rumor, i'm ready for my hubby to be home, no matter when or how many boxes are still packed.