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.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

oh commissary, oh commissary

so i must say i want to retract my previous comment on jessi's 'military mom' blog (you must check it out sometime). *side note: i love that all of us, the blogs i follow, are at different parts of our lives, part of different branches (or none at all) of the military, are husbands are at different points in their career and yet i find such comfort and guidance and support in each of your blogs. this is the great thing about the sisterhood of being a woman, a wife, a mother, the biggest cheerleader and bestest care package packer for your soldier.* okay, back to my commissary story. i posted the other day that shopping at the commissary, just cayman and i, has been a breeze. in part because i basically do all my shopping for us: cayman, myself and mum and dad (we've been staying with them while aaron's been deployed), what little i do buy, at the local publix (shot out to the plantation publix and their kick-butt bakery!) and save the commissary for aaron's groceries (yes, i do grocery shopping for my deployed husband. he is the best-fed soldier in iraq between my weekly packages and the bi-weekly packages his mother sends him packed with korean food). so, no big deal, right?

not today! grant it, we had a busy day, between my zumba class this morning (i'm determined to lose my baby belly. i've lost the weight and then some, now to lose the flab) and then our playgroup's halloween party, we had been on the go all day. but that has never caused the utter chaos and tiring workout we had today as we 'quickly' ransacked the commissary. by the time we left, i wanted to make a pa announcement and apologize for the experience.

cayman was great until he wanted out of the shopping cart, which was at the toothpaste (about three aisles in). so, i gave in. took him out and let him toddle down the aisle with me. you had to see it... cayman in his superman shirt, complete with cape and his jeans and all stars picking up random things and putting them down four aisles over (i'm so sorry commissary workers). so, it was cute, adorable, cayman made friends with every retiree in the store. well, until we got to the snack aisle, the mecca of all of aaron's care packages. and because i was raised clipping coupons, i had to check them and make sure we got the right brands and number.

and that's when chaos hit. between my checking of coupons and cayman rearranging snack boxes and hard candy and dodging shopping carts as he took on each with his 'i'm the baby of steel' pose, the phone rang! oh no! it's nearly 5pm, that means only one person could be calling! aaron was calling and we were answering and then there was nothing... the call connected and then nothing... the phone rang again and again and again and again i opened it, shouted 'i love you' (the first thing i say when answering his call, i know the number) and yet, nothing.

i had texted aaron's computer earlier to let him know we were at the commissary. and i can only imagine the frustration setting in for him... two days in a row that we weren't able to see him, but i know he also understands that the laptop is bulky and a pain to carry everywhere. nah. he understands that we are keeping busy and not always at home. but still... not to be able to even talk on the phone... stupid iraqi internet. okay, wait, i take that back. i appreciate the internet and access aaron has to it, i don't like the fact that it's not very reilbe.

so with a screaming superbaby tucked under my arm, a shopping cart full of goodies to be mailed to my hero, and a cellphone that kept ringing with no voice on the other end, i had a total workout. and so, i look forward to taking on the commissary next month again when we make our return to ft. polk. until then, it's to publix we go.

side note: it's these challenges that test us, but also make us who we are. funny how God uses tests to give us great testimonies. case and point, if i can go to the commissary with a wiggly and giggly superbaby and save over $20 thanks to our coupons, you can do it too... why, because you need a great testimony too.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

it's been six months

so, it's almost as if it were yesterday. seriously. i logged on to my myspace account, checked the friends' status section and had to re-read it several times. but it didn't seem real until the news came on and my mom said, 'hey, isn't that julez, heather's sister?'

she was so posed. so put together. the black ribbon with marcus's name and his dates seemed so out of place during the interview. it seemed like a bad dream. but when i got the text from aaron about the black out, a world of emotions came flooding in.

i didn't know right away what or how, all i knew was that there was a blackout and that marcus was gone. i figured it was a patrol causality, not a direct attack. but months later when i saw the footage on aaron's computer (they had posted it to their version of youtube), the emotions came back. those few days to follow were one of the few out of the last 340 something days that i cried.

when your husband is deployed, you dread the knock on the door. you dread closing your eyes sometimes. you dread the thought that you might never get to put your arms around him, have him pick up your son or even smell him again. and when it happens to someone else, a little piece of you shakes with fear. but when you can put a real familiar face and voice and family with the name and the dates, the reality of war hits you face on and all you want to do is curl up like a baby and cry. and that's how i felt that day and the days to come after.

the day they buried marcus was one i hope to never relive and you never have to experience. to watch your friend collapse in the arms of her sister and brother-in-law (who literally picked up his brother). to hear the guns fire.
to watch the people of small town, usa line the streets with their flags and signs. to cry uncontrollably because he isn't coming home, but your husband is. to have all this and every other sound, taste, sight, feeling and smell overwhelm your body is unbelievable and nearly unbearable.

had it not been for julez and heather's faith, i know they would have struggled even more. and because of my continued faith and trust in God, i make it through each day. and when the memories of that day come flooding in, i pray an extra prayer for strength and trust that i won't have to pick out a casket, i won't have to receive a flag, i won't have to be posed because i can't.

as military spouses, we know though that this is always a possibility. and for that moment there are no trainings, there are no briefings, there is nothing to prepare you but your faith. so hold close to your faith and know that God's plan is way better then yours. and He knows what He's doing. because of His plan, we have another beautiful angel to watch over us. thank you sgt. marcus mathes for all you've done and continue to watch over our soldiers and us.

Monday, October 27, 2008

the things you'll do

so with halloween fast approaching, the mommy in me is super excited to dress our little man for his first real halloween. yes, he was around last halloween, but much for dressing up (plus, he was too cute, and still is, for a costume at 2 weeks old). but of course no store-bought costume would be good enough for our little man. nope, mommy has to make his costume. here starts years of home-made costumes.

this year is simple. since aaron is superman (not just any hero, but superman), cayman would naturally be superbaby! and that leaves me as louise lane. which is fine by me. since aaron can't be home to attend the fall festivals and playgroup parties with us this year, we settled for a few webcam pictures of him in his sueprman shirt (i love the one of him ripping off his jacket like clark kent does as he becomes superman). but a superman t-shirt wouldn't do for cayman.

no, no. he'll be wearing superbear's cape (aaron made me a build-a-bear when he deployed to afghansitan in 2006). red shorts we bought at walmart (yes, i actually bought stuff at walmart, but it's because it was cheaper than target and we're on an one-income budget). red socks that he got for his birthday (it's a korean thing to give socks and underwear as gifts). and his very own made-with-mommy-love dyed and ironed-on long sleeve superbaby shirt as well as his dyed tights (yes, my son, my all boy son will be wearing tights). oh and to top it off, ,his black converse all-stars.

but that's just halloween. our local children's museum is having an ancestor and heroes day in november. and of course we could wear our well-woren out t-shirt i made six months ago (can you believe it's already been six months since marcus left us for a better place) in honor of sgt. marcus mathes, a hero taken home early so he could watch over us and aaron. it's an awesome shirt with the faded combat boots as the background and inscribed with: some heroes wear capes, but my heroes wear boots. nah, for this day i feel something crafty coming on. i figure i'll start on it after halloween passes and the sugar rush wears off.

oh, and costumes and custom shirts isn't the end of the things i do for my guys. nope, all invites, thank you notes, postcards and even christmas cards are made with mommy love. it's the things you'll do to make them special, especially when you know life isn't always easy for them.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

army wives, the show

so when lifetime started the series 'army wives,' i must admit, i was over the moon! so thrilled to have a show i thought i would be able to relate to. but of recently, it's become more of a screaming session with the tv then an enjoyable escape.

see, i have no problem with the fact that it's a drama and drama brings viewers. duh! and maybe it's the fact that i must live a very boring army life, but i can't find much to relate to anymore.

from the cheating spouses (yes, it seems that the sherwoods should just cut their losses and move on, heck they have already in the bedroom), which yes does happen, but it's not uniquely army. and the thought that the general/ base commander's wife is best buds with a specialist's wife/ hump (jody) bar owner, which i have no problem with this, but come on. i want to know at what base this is happening. and i must say, my husband wears the rank, not me, so the whole 'no fraternization within the ranks' rule shouldn't and doesn't apply to me, but still.

i must say though, i do from time to time find something to relate to. i know how it feels to finally have your life as the army brat finally all fall in place and then have that talk with dad. it's crushing to have to leave your friends behind and suddenly pick up your whole life again. but, with technology as it is today, it's a lot better then it was 10 years ago. and i can relate unfortunately to the emotions and actions of burying a friend's husband. it's not something i ever wanted to experience again and one i hope you never have to.

so, yes, it's just a tv show. but this show is what many build their ideas of an 'army wife' on and then assume that i simply fit the character bill of one of the four wives. well, i don't. and to be honest, i have yet to find anyone who does. i see a little of this friend or that friend in each of the characters, but i can't say that my friend from ft. campbell is like roxy, and the ltc's wife is like claudia joy and that i've made friends with anyone who comes even close to denise's extracurricular activities.

so, i guess it's like doctors watching er or police watching nypd blue or even athletes' wives watching bbc's footballers' wives. but still, i don't want anyone to confuse me for a tv drama character. when you look me up, you'll see me, not some stereotype. and that runs true for nearly every military spouse.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

military discounts

so one of my army wife friends and i took our sons to the local aquarium the other day. she's still fairly new to the whole 'army' lifestyle and discounts for having an id card because our spouses are defending our country. so we approach the ticket window and notice no mention on the pricing sign about military discounts. as she tells the ticket agent that it'll be her and her son, i remind her to ask about a military discount. now this aquarium, like many zoos i've come across this summer, does not offer a military discount.

now, i have to admit that from time-to-time, i have spoken in a loud enough voice for all to hear to my son about how disappoint i am in an establishment that they do not offer a discount. the dialogue usually goes as so: 'that's awful that they don't offer a military discount, especially since daddy can't be here to enjoy say zoo with us.' of course by the time i'm done, i have the whole line of moms staring down the agent with the whole, 'come on, her husband is deployed and she's taking their kid by herself to the zoo while the rest of us are here with our whole families. give her a break.' now, i must say, i've only it done it while aaron's been deployed. i'm not brazen enough to even consider it when aaron comes home.

back to the aquarium. before i could finish my whole dramatic speech about us being military spouses of deployed soldiers trying to take our children to the aquarium so that they aren't sitting at home missing daddy, the ticket agent simply said, 'the aquarium may not believe in military discounts, but i do.' and with that, we had ourselves free passes in! many thanks to the awesome gentleman!

so, that leaves me thinking though. what entitles us to discounts at various establishments including stores, hotels, amusement parks and such, while those in other lines of duty do not receive the same discount? not that i'm complaining, i'll take 10% at the converse store and a discounted hotel stay at the double tree hotel anytime. but do firefighters get discounts? what about emts? i know teachers, being a former teacher, receive many nice discounts, especially when it comes to items for the classroom. but, what makes teachers and military different from others?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

this is us

a little about 'us.'

aaron: he was born in south korea to a army civi contractor and a beautiful south korean. the same year that my parents moved stateside from germany, his family, including an his older sister, moved stateside too. after graduating high school, he attended virginia tech and was a member of their corps of cadets and the hightie tighties. upon graduation he was commissioned to the united states army and attended obc school in arizona. his first duty station was mac dill afb. while at mac dill, he deployed with his soldiers (as all good platoon leaders do). upon his return to tampa, we met!

we actually met online, through an online dating service. i know, gust, it actually works! i stood him up for our first date and had it not been for his cwo, he'd probably wouldn't have given me a second chance. but, on april 7th, 2006, we had our firt date. it lasted 12 hours! and the juiciest detail came at 4am when he kissed me on the beach. he's a true gentleman ladies! a year to the date later, we were married on that very same beach that he first kissed me.

but a lot happened in that year! just three months after we started dating, aaron received orders for ft. polk, la. it was a long three weeks while we deliberated and hemmed and hahhed about whether i would go or stay. well, i went with him! and just a few weeks after reporting to ft. polk, aaron received his deployment orders (if you're keeping track, that's two deployments in one year). labor day he left. but the guys came home early! i stuck out the three long months in leesville, la and it was well-worth it! after spending christmas with is parents in virginia, we came home and unwrapped the rest of our gifts, including one very shiny ring that would send our lives into overdrive (but that's because God's plans our better then ours).

we had our eyes set on a labor day weekend wedding in tampa. that all changed when aaron called from the field in march, 'hunnie, i could leave for iraq as early as april.' and i said, 'well, that will make it hard for you to be at our september 2nd wedding.' now what! in three weeks, with the help of our friends and family, we threw together our wedding! and it was the wedding we wanted.

on that first date aaron and i had discussed already the notion of children someday (i had a feeling he was a keeper). we had said we would want to wait and spend the first year of marriage just the two of us. but with a long deployment looming in the future, we agreed to try on our honeymoon. well, with four days to go until our wedding, i started feeling sick. thinking it might be the stomach flu, i went and saw the doc. no stomach flu for me, but she said i might be doing a lot more throwing up in the next few months... we were going to be parents!

on april 7th of 2007 we were married on the very beach where we had our first kiss. we had our reception at the same restaurant we ate at on our first date. and we even managed to squeeze in a honeymoon cruise. and, aaron's deployment orders seemed to disappear, for now.

half way through my pregnancy with our son, which was going like a breeze!, aaron got orders for a november deployment. so, we welcomed our son, had thanksgiving and christmas all in the same weekend and then we put aaron on a bus with his soldiers and started our weekly trips to the post office with care packages.

so, that's us, in a nutshell. we aren't your typical army family, but we're not one on end of the other of the extremes either. we're just us, and we like it that way.

this is me

so i decided i want to put myself, my thoughts and fears, a glimpse into my life out there for you to peek at. i am a strong and faithful believer in God. i am an army wife. i am a mother of a child born just weeks prior to a deployment. i am a daughter of an army soldier who deployed while i was in elementary school. i am a sister to a brother who goes back and forth with the idea of joining the military. i am a friend who has had many friends deploy, who has lost two friends, and who watched one friend bury her husband. but at the end of the day, i say my prayers and put our son to bed and lay my head done just like any other believer, wife and mother.