Friday, December 3, 2010

'Tis the Season...

For Thanksgiving and Celebration.

Unfortunately, there are many men and women who will not be able to spend the Holidays with their loved ones this year. One of the many causes available to reach out to Soldiers and their families this Holiday Season, is the Recovering American Soldier Project.

This year, when sending out your Holiday cards, please take a single moment to address one to:

A Recovering American Soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue
NW Washington, DC20307-5001

It will only take a spare second of your time, and in that second, you could bring light to even the most dim of circumstances during this Holiday Season.

"No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks."

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Oh Lord. It's a cold Sunday morning, 6:48am. My fur-babies are whining to go out and I am terribly comfortable and warm in bed. When I cannot stand the high-pitched squeals any longer, I get up, let the puppies outside and meander around the kitchen.
And then the high-pitched squealing commences.
I give it a minute, praying it will stop, and when it doesn't, I peek out the back door. Tank (our youngest furchild) is producing this ungodly sound at the edge of our closed pool.
Then I hear the sounds and see the splashing.
Caly, our older fur-baby, is flailing frantically in the middle of the pool. It's 33 degrees outside. What else would a fur-mommy do?
In the pool I go to pull Caly out.
My heart was fighting the freezing water by beating 19740898575 MPH. Caly and I get out of the pool, inside and wrapped in blankets. She's shaking, I'm shaking, and I don't think I've ever been more scared in my life!
I call Romeo, then the vet, then my Mom, then Romeo again. Caly is warmed up by now, and running around chasing Tank.
Thank God.
I have never been more sure that I am not ready or prepared to be a parent! I have never been more thankful for Tank and his obnoxious whining! I have never been more overjoyed to be whipped with Caly's lethal tail!
Happy Sunday!
Now that I've finally tamed my heartrate, I can honestly say that for at least awhile, I'm going to be a very cautious fur-parent. My Mom told me that you have to let your babies figure things out on their own, and sometimes they're going to have to hurt themselves to figure it out.
Reason #49586920 to wait to have children.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Goals for 22

Yesterday, I embarked on the journey into my 22nd year. It was a lovely day. I recieved some BEAUTIFUL flowers from my parents and from work, and a whole bunch of lovely birthday wishes. I spent the evening with good friends, who thankfully invited me to dinner for the big 2-2. I had a wonderful day, and I am so blessed.

My parents made mention to something that caught me a bit off guard, though. They had asked if my birthday wish came true, and to that, I replied, "It did, but it's held up in Texas and will arrive in xx days.", obviously referring to my wish that Romeo would be home with me. My Dad said something then, and you know, he really is the smartest Dad in the world, because he said:

"Don't be counting your days away. Even now, when you want your days to fly by, appreciate them, because soon enough, when life is back together again, and happier days are here, they're going to keep flying by, and before you know it, you're another year older."

Thank you, Poppy. You and Mom always know what to say to keep things in perspective.

Anyway, this all got me thinking. This past year has been the biggest whirlwind of my life. From marriage, to deployment, to home-buying and everything in-between, I've lost sight of a lot of things. This isn't necessarily bad, because I've outgrown a lot of hobbies, achieved a lot of goals, and grown into a better person than I was this time a year ago. It's now time to reassess the life I'm leading, and the person that I'm growing into, to better prepare for future success.
With that in mind, here's my life list for 22:
1. Go back to school, succeed, and step closer to your educational goals.
2. Pay off A LOT of debt. Build a secure savings.
3. Send cards, letters, packages. ON TIME.
4. Go to church.
5. Master a few dozen recipes, and come up with a few of my own.
6. Beat Romeo in a video game (without him letting me win!)
7. Run a marathon. Complete a p90x cycle.
8. Appreciate time with Romeo, be supportive and understanding, but true to myself and my feelings.
9. Continue to climb the ladder in my career, stay organized and focused.
10. Go skydiving.
11. Go on a vacation. Finally have a honeymoon.
12. Host a party or two (or three, or four, or five!)
13. Successfully cook Thanksgiving dinner.
14. Go hiking.
15. Run with Romeo.
16. Build something. Be crafty.
17. Volunteer. Coach a team.
18. Learn something about Romeo every day. Make up for lost time.
19. Keep in touch with family with more than just Facebook. Call, write, skype.
20. Always bring something when I am invited somewhere. Never show up empty handed.
21. Go to Biltmore Estate.
22. Be done with Christmas/Birthday shopping AHEAD OF TIME.
I'm sure as the year progresses and I (hopefully) start crossing these off of my list, there will be plenty more to add. I'm looking forward to a lot of things this year, but I'm not going to count down any more. I'm not going to count my days away, because when it comes down to it, aren't our days already numbered? Why waste precious moments wishing them away?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Protect and Serve

There aren't any combinations of words that could be even near appropriate enough to thank our Veterans for their sacrifices.

I know nothing of the sacrifices our Soldiers make. I can guess, I can be told, but I won't ever have a clue.

I'll never know what it feels like to walk away with such pride, despite how much it hurts.

I'll never know the fear or the rush of combat.

I'll never know the pain of losing a comrade.

I'll never know, nor have to find out, because our nation is blessed with brave men and women who are willing to sacrifice their lives so that the rest of us won't ever have to know how it feels.

I do know, though, how to love my Soldier.

And I do know how to support our troops.

And I do know, that without our Veterans, our lives as Americans would not be what they are.

Thank you, Veterans, past and present, for your endless sacrifice. You are the face of a True American.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Countdown To-Do List

With Romeo's arrival slowly inching towards right-around-the-corner, I have come to the realization that I have accomplished very little in the period of time that I've had to myself. With that in mind, I have concluded that I will be a very busy woman throughout the next few weeks. Adding all of the things to do at home to the chaos at work, I should be insane by Thanksgiving. Nonetheless, the time will pass quickly and my sanity will come back with Romeo.

So, without further distraction, here is the to-do list:
  • Clean/Organize/Paint/Decorate the office. Not necessarily in that order.
  • Shampoo the carpet, since my lovely furbabies decided to finger(paw)paint with an ink pen.
  • Touch up the base boards.
  • CLEAN- like fo' real.
  • Tidy up the back yard
  • Mow the lawn.
  • Wash/Clean the vehicles
  • Organize the man-cave

Ok, now that I actually documented the to-do list, it doesn't seem so bad. I'm sure there will be more to add to it in time, though.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Moments passed

Moments here. Moments there. In the most literal of terms, all of those moments happen, regardless of whether we're there for them or not. Moments of joy, frustration, content, angst, pain, pleasure. No matter whether we're participating or not, they're happening. That's terribly unsettling.

In my little world, all of those moments matter. They may not be a BIG deal, but they're a deal nonetheless. When I miss a moment that is not congruent with my universe, it's frustrating. And then, throughout Army life, where because of TDY's or deployments, we're nearly required to miss moments. I don't know that is something I'll ever get used to.

On Sunday night, Romeo was in an accident. I got the phone call at about 10:30pm, and from that point on, felt nothing but helpless. What a feeling. All I could do was think and pray. Hug a pillow. Cry and wait for the next phone call. He was fine, thank God, but the thought of not being there to go to the hospital, and the thought of him being alone was devastating. I know he's a grown man, and of course he was going to be fine, but that is part of my wife-ly duties! I'm supposed to be there to shower sympathy and support. It is possible, but it's really difficult to be a great nurse from 1500 miles away. I officially felt worthy of the worst-wife-ever award, and there wasn't a single thing I could do about it.

I guess the feelings that event provoked are ones to get used to. In this lifestyle, it's more likely that we'll be apart than we'll be together, and missing moments in each other's lives is common. Yes, it's what we all signed up for, but that's not a crutch I feel comfortable leaning on. How do we, when separated by miles and continents and oceans, still be as much of a wife as the woman who sees her husband every night and can make him chicken soup when he's sick? Every time Romeo has ever gotten hurt, I wasn't there. I wasn't there to go to the hospital or doctor's appointments. I wasn't there to make his life any easier. Isn't that part of our end of the deal?

Of course Romeo understands why I am not there, neither one of us has any control over the circumstances that the Army has dealt. I believe that my mind can rationalize why I couldn't be there, but my heart just hurts. It feels like I'm not doing enough, like I should be leaping and bounding my way to an airport to get to him, because that's my job. I'm learning slowly that being a milspouse is so much more than endurance. It is so much more than waiting out a deployment. It's so much more than sacrifice. I'm learning that it is the complete opposite of your every expectation, of yourself and your GI Joe. When Romeo and I were married, I was hell-bent on being the Stepford Wife of the year. I expected myself to keep a lovely home, make amazing meals, balance lives and schedules, keep it all together, and most of all, be there. No matter what. Well, my house is clean, but far from "lovely". The most amazing meal that I've made in the past few months is the stack of pancakes I made the other night. My life, and my schedule is a trainwreck, and now, I'm not there. I'm not saying that I am unhappy or disappointed in myself, because there has been a lot of things that I never thought I could do, but I can honestly say that I have become the complete opposite of my expectations. I'm no Stepford Wife. At this point, I'm closer to Bob the Builder.

So how do we get used to those moments passed? We vowed to be there "for better and worse", so how do we keep up our end of the bargain? Pictures? Letters? Emails? Conversations? Or do we just let them pass? This doesn't just go for you and your spouse's moments, this goes for family at home, or friends that have moved away. How do we continue to be the best wife/daughter/sister/friend from a distance?
How do we stay a part of someone's life when we miss so many moments passed?

It's a little late, but here's the weekend re-cap

I must preface this with saying that I had an AWESOME weekend. It was busy busy busy and just enough to keep my mind off of my countdowns. I spent time with some wonderful friends (even met a new one!), raced my little heart out, and even got some things done around the house.

On Friday, I was so excited to be taking a mini-roadtrip with J to Myrtle Beach to pick up our race packets and visit the fitness expo (and shop and carb-load). Well, in a not-so-favorable turn of events, work detained me (surprise, surprise) and I was unable to go. Luckily, J and her hubs M were able to head down and pick up both of our race packets (not without some coercing of the race coordinators, of course). After I FINALLY got done with my work-nonsense, I made plans with some other friends to head down-town for the local zombie-walk. I picked up M, and cut through base to get to my house. *Insert flashing lights and sirens here* ...and got pulled over by an MP. Eek. Sometimes, I feel like that is so much worse than being stopped by a regular police officer, only because the repercussions fall back on Romeo. Luckily, there was no ticket issued and we were on our way. We went down-town for the zombie-walk and met up with some more friends. Including Gumby:

We spent the rest of the evening strolling the streets and checking out the vendors and then, of course, observing the entertainment that is "Zombie-Walk".
As you can tell, it was a lot of fun for all ages. People were really creative and it definitely showed. The girls and I stayed for awhile, then went to dinner. It was a great night to get out of the house an spend with good friends.

On Saturday, I did some work around the house and then met up with Katie F from The Life of an Army Wife for the God Strong event at a local church. Sara Horn, the author, is a truly captivating speaker. I was so thankful to be able to spend the afternoon with Katie, as she is just as sweet as can be. We found that we have a lot of mil-spouse experiences in common, and it was wonderful just to sit and chat. I felt like I learned a lot from the event itself, and walked away feeling motivated and driven to be a more "God-Strong" individual. I definitely suggest this book to anyone, not just mil-spouses, as it provides a lot of strong motivators for all of life's tough situations.

That night, J and M and I grabbed a pre-race meal and settled in early because Sunday morning was coming awfully early.

Sunday was race day! We were on the road to Myrtle Beach by 3:30am, and I really couldn't contain my excitement as I dozed off in the backseat (note: sarcasm). Thank GOD for J's hubby M, because without him, I don't know that either J or I would've ever made it to the race! He's such a trooper- chauffering us around the east coast so that we can go run our little hearts out. Thanks M! (He's also a great photographer, all race images are thanks to him!) Anyway, the race began at 7:00am, and we were ready to go!

This was at 6am, and it was about 45 degrees outside. Don't worry! We warmed up fast!

The race was awesome! 13.1 miles of scenic Myrtle Beach- we ran around the local mall and "Broadway at the Beach", and we also ran through a few residential districts. We finished right on the beach! It was a great final push to the finish line with the ocean breeze at our backs. The run itself was tough, but we finished! We're both one step closer to competing in the Miami Marathon in January 2011. The best part of the whole race- the medals!

Please excuse my hot-mess-express-ness, I think I get a pass considering.
After the race, we were about as tired as can be, so we headed home. The night was relaxing until I got a phone call from Romeo- he and his friends had been in an accident and were en route to the local hospital. Needless to say, despite my exhaustion, sleep did not come easy that night. But, that I will save for another post. The good news is that all who were involved in the accident are okay, and are just a little sore. Thank God.

All in all, I had a fantastic weekend. I spent time with some really wonderful people, and accomplished one of my life-goals. I learned a lot about myself and my own strength, both physically and spiritually. I'm looking forward to this weekend because I will be heading home to spend some much-needed time with my families.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I'm counting Saturday mornings

That is my countdown method. I'm counting down Saturdays, I'm counting down trash days. I'm counting down mortgage payments, I'm counting down pay days. Every thing that there is to count, I'm counting. Grocery shopping days, breakfasts, laundry nights. Every single thing there is to count, I'm counting on. I'm counting on all of these things to keep me sane and to force the time to pass. And now, I'm just counting myself crazy.

There are so many compulsive comforts that we develop while we're waiting for something. Counting, excessive time consumption, landmarking moments. I don't know that it's healthy, often because those compulsive comforts carry over even after the waiting is over. Except once the waiting is over, the counting is exactly what does drive us mad. Counting down until the next time he leaves. Waiting for the next phone call or set of orders.

Spending time counting... what kind of life is that? Spending moment after moment counting down to something, and then once that something happens, a new countdown starts. It's an ugly cycle. But it is a comfortable and stable cycle, especially in a life of no stability. Counting is my security blanket.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

When the missing sneak in

Intriguing, right? I'm not talking about missing people. Well, actually, I am. Not "missing" as in missing-poster-face-on-a-milk-carton kind of missing, but the feeling of missing someone. And I'm talking about how it will creep up out of nowhere.

Somedays, it comes as a dull ache in your chest. Like someone has your heart in a vice, and is just ever-so-slowly turning the lever and closing tighter and tighter. The pressure builds and builds until you pop. Other days, it's like taking a bullet. It's fast and terribly painful and as quickly as it comes, it passes. Either way, it happens when it is least expected.

At times, I'm convinced that I'm losing my sanity. I could be putting dishes back in the cabinet and out of nowhere, I'm sobbing. All because I remembered the feeling of hating putting dishes away at my parent's house, and now, I would give anything to be standing in their kitchen. I was in the middle of a board meeting, and just like that, it was as if the hot-mess-express-train-of-agony just crashed into me, and I was fighting tears because of a ringtone. A RINGTONE! The pain lasts a few moments, and then it is gone as quickly as it came.

As the Queen of Composure (NOT!), I obviously have a million go-to-excuses for when these moments hit. Allergies are my favorite- it covers the cracking voice and the tearing eyes. Until I can train my free-willed emotions to control themselves, I will rely on my little white lies to get me through the day without people thinking I am an absolute basket-case.

It all comes and it goes. I'll have a few really great days, then a really not-good one. Then maybe just a few "okay" ones here and there. The whirlwind moments are what really get me. The sneak in and mess up your makeup, then leave without any ounce of remorse.

Those missings are awfully sneaky.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 6- Something I hope to NEVER have to do

Day 5- My Bucket List

1-Run a marathon
2-Visit Europe
3- Have a few babies
4- Go rock-climbing, on real rocks.
5- Sit on the beach for a full day and do NOTHING.
6- Retire
7- Cook Thanksgiving dinner
8- Mail an entire year's worth of birthday cards ON TIME.
9- Give a gift for no reason
10- Publish a book
11- Sing Karaoke
12- Fly a plane
13- Finish my degree
14- Make a speech in front of a crowd
15- OWN (And by OWN, I mean pay off) a home, or maybe 2.
16- Potty train Tank.
17- Scuba dive
18- Meet Jimmy Buffet
19- Renew our vows. ( I really like weddings!)
20- Sacrifice something for someone else.
21- Host a charity event
22- Be a Grandparent
23- Absorb all the wisdom I can from my parents.
24- Teach someone something
25- Build something
26- Cliff dive
27- Sky dive
28- See Alaska
29- Participate (and finish!) a triathlon
30- Prove that I meant "til death do us part".
31- Forgive
32- Pay off my student loans.
33- Coach my own children
34- Eat at a cafe in France
35- See Niagra Falls
36- Go snowboarding
37- Catch a REALLY BIG fish
38- Win a race
39- Try anything once.
40- Open water swim.
41- Visit all 50 states
42- Keep a CONSISTENT journal
43- Be a stay-at-home Mom
44- Go on a roadtrip
45- Learn to ballroom dance
46- Swear off fast food for a year
47- Plant a vegetable garden.
48- Actually grow something.
49- Get our entire home ORGANIZED. I mean REALLY organized.
50- Refinish a piece of furniture
51- Take a completely random class.
52- Spend an entire week without technology.
53- Beat Romeo in a video game. And not just because he let me win.
54- Visit Australia
55- Ease a broken heart
56- Inspire someone
57- Visit an impoverished country. Actually help.
58- Go to Disney World. Again. And Again. And Again.
59- Run a race while pregnant.
60- Run a race as a senior citizen
61- Go hunting. Get something.
62- Own a house on the beach.
63- Win the lottery.
64- Do a pull-up.
65- Do something I thought I could not.
66- Add a lot more things to this list =)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Day 4- Forgiving YOU

As a preface, I will not explain the situation surrounding this particular post, because it is of a personal family matter. I will, though, share this letter with you.

To you.

How could you? How could you walk away from your family? Who gave you the right to abandon the people who love you when they needed you most? What did it feel like when you wrote your family of 30-years off?

To me, you are a coward. You ran when things were at rock bottom. You weren't there when you were needed. You didn't want to stick around and deal with the heartache, so you left and created even more pain for those who you left behind.

Now, to me, you aren't even a sliver of a man. You were, at one time, but no longer. You were once a great man. You were such a huge part of my life, and just as quickly as she passed- you were gone. And for what? For the thrill of giving some other woman your last name?
You are heartless. Soul-less. Selfish. You cared not for all of those you left behind. You vanished as quickly as you could. You're spineless.
Nonetheless, despite these bitter words, I do forgive you. I forgive you for running in fear and in heartache. I forgive you for burying your relationship with your family the day you buried your wife. I forgive you for being scared of how bad it hurt to lose her, and how painful it is to live with the memories.
I don't, however, forgive you for the pain you caused your children. Or for the vacancy you left your grandchildren. Or for the questions you left us all standing with. You wanted to run- and you did. You left what was once your family, standing in the dust. I'll never forgive you for that.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day 3- Forgiving ME

I've never been big on regrets, and I do my best to not have them, but at the same time, there are always things that we may have done a little bit differently.
I can honestly say- I don't think that there is some big event in my life that I feel the need to forgive myself for. Everything, in my life, has happened for a reason. That is very clear to me.

Nonetheless, there is an event that I would've done something different.
Quite a few years ago, I lost someone very special to me. She was way too young to be gone- but as they say- only the good die young. She was the most glamorous woman I knew. She was elegant and classy. She was quick-witted and poised. She was, and always will be, one of a kind.
Before she passed away, she was very sick. She suffered a lot. She lost all of her hair, she traded her beautiful clothes for hospital gowns.
All during this time, which only lasted about 4 and a half months from the date of her diagnosis to her death, I wasn't there. I stayed too busy to think about it. I remained way too interested in everything other than should've mattered. I missed it.
When she passed, I remember gathering pictures, shopping for appropriate funeral attire. And I remember being told that there would be an opportunity to speak at her service. I admit that I tried to write something, and I think in the end, I had something prepared. But I didn't read it. I fought back the urge to stand up and say what I needed to say. And to this day- I'd re-do it in a heartbeat. If I could go back today and had the opportunity to speak in memorial of one of God's most amazing women, I'd stand up and scream what I needed to say.
So since I didn't do it then- I'm going to do it now.
When I had a head-full of golden ringlets, she may have been all-but gentle with that comb, but her soothing hugs were more than enough to cure any number of tears. When she walked, though she may have just tripped over her own feet, she stood as tall and graceful as a statue. To me, you were a Queen who lived in a castle. But to God, you were the Angel that he needed. I know that you're already making heaven an even more beautiful place.
There will always be times that Mom and I will need you, and I know that you'll still be there when we call, though now we don't need the phone. I know that you were watching when I went to prom, when I graduated and went to college. I carried you with me down the aisle the day I said "I do". You watch Mikaela and Evie and send your love through them. You stand by Sean as he continues to grow. You give Mike and Shannon the strength to be such remarkable parents. There are so many moments that I would've loved to share with you, though when I think about it, you were there watching.
I miss you daily, and I know I'm not the only one. You have touched a lot of lives. I know that I wouldn't be who I am without having known you. I would've never known that beer-drinking could still be classy. Your wordless life lessons have stayed with me, and I can only hope that I can share those lessons with my Goddaughter some day. Thank you for being the woman you were, irreplaceable.

9/11/01- The perspective in retrospect

I spent a lot of time thinking about this post yesterday. I thought about what to write, I relived those moments a few dozen times, I thought about how things have changed. Each year, my feelings are just a little bit different than the year prior. The anger remains, but the apathy is different. I feel like every year, I've been able to see a different sympathetic perspective.

A few years ago, a group of friends and I went to tour the FDNY. We were all studying in the Fire Science program at U of New Haven. This experience was truly a brand new perspective. We met with firefighters who lost 343 brothers that day. We saw their memorials, we even saw their tears. These men were fighting their own war here on our soil.

Mural at Engine 55

Mural at Engine 7

Accumulation of patches at St. Patrick's Cathedral

10 Truck en route passing Ground Zero

This experience opened my eyes to the struggles that ARE STILL HAPPENING. As the war in the Middle East continues to progress (despite what the media may coerce us to all believe), the families effected here, not only on the military side, continue to face difficulties.

343 Firefighters

23 NYPD officers

37 Port Authority Officers

2359 Civilians

184 People at the Pentagon

246 Passengers on the 4 planes

More than 3000 families lost a Mom or a Dad. A brother or a sister. An Aunt or Uncle. A daughter or a son.

3000 Families.

It amazes me that the days following September 11th, 2001 were some of the most patriotic, proud, somber and humbling in our nation's history.

Where has that gone?

As this nation continues to fight for our own freedom, where has that sense of pride gone? Where have all of the flags gone? The memorials? The patriotic music?
Now it is eclipsed by anti-war sentiments. By protesters. By people BUILDING MOSQUES ON GROUND ZERO. It's been surpassed by financial deficits.

If this picture isn't enough to make you angry, than this one should be.

God Bless America.

God Bless all that fight for her, both here and there.

And to all others- to those who cannot find it in your FREE hearts to support your nation,


Day 2- My Fav's

Some people have "trademarks"- characteristics that make them easily identified in a crowd. Some people still have theses trademarks- but maybe they aren't so easy to see. Either way, every person has a unique combination of attributes that makes them exactly who they are. Or who they aren't.

Personally, I've always valued my sense of leadership. It has helped me get through really difficult obstacles and still remain true to what I believe. As my parents would attest, I've never been too keen on the idea of taking orders- thus is why Romeo is the one in the military, not me! I've always needed to find out things for myself, instead of taking someone's word for it. I've questioned a lot of ideas, which may or may not have been the appropriate thing to do, and often I've made my own discoveries. I've never wanted to live in someone's shadow, which is why I've worked so hard to be my own leader.

Physically speaking, I've got to say- my legs take the cake. I didn't get the nickname "Mega-legs" for nothing! The running helps- but I'm also genetically blessed. Thanks Mom and Dad!

I'm almost glad that post is over- I'm not very comfortable talking about myself like that. Nonetheless, it's part of the challenge, I guess.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Day 1- My Flaws

Ok, I can honestly admit that I did indeed start this post yesterday... So in my mind, that counts.

Onto the purpose- I spent a considerable amount of time thinking about this post. Being the first of the 30-Day challenge, I wanted to start off giving this all of the effort that I could.
Flaws aren't anything that anyone ever wants to openly admit or discuss. Flaws, to me, are always that area that I spend time concealing, not sharing with the world. So this has proven to be quite the challenge.

Believe it or not, through my childhood and even until now, I've never really been a very independent person. When I was younger, I was always depending on my family to entertain me. I was tagging along with my brothers, or needing to have a friend to come over and play, otherwise I was a terribly bored, and often ornery kid. This has since continued to an extent. I still am not really content being alone. I've learned to adapt a bit, in that no longer do I need a girlfriend to go to the mall with, or someone to be spending every waking moment attached to. Though, there is an EXTREME difference (unfortunately for him) when Romeo is home. He is the one person that I will (for the lack of a better word) cling to. I hate that this is how I feel when he's here, but the sheer fact that we've only once spent more than a month together, I tend to suck up all of the time I can get. I know he feels it too... He feels like I am depending on him to entertain me, though that is certainly not my intention. I really just want to be with him. I'm more than happy just being with someone. Especially after months of being alone.

My best friend, N, will tell you, that I am way too quick to pass judgement. For the longest time, I fought with her about it. I thought she was outside of her mind. It wasn't until recently that I caught myself. I saw that ugly side that I had fought off for so long. I truly believe that I do not judge maliciously, but just to establish a ground. That may not make sense, but to me, it's moreorless a protective barrier. I judge to see who I can trust to open up to. And that, in retrospect, isn't the right thing to do. Who am I to judge? There is only one being that has the power to judge, and that is certainly not me.

Finally, my most predominant flaw, and the one that is the most frustrating, is the sheer fact that I cannot, no matter how hard I try, articulate my emotions. Romeo will tell you exactly how frustrating that is to listen to. I don't know what it is, but whenever I'm feeling something, I just cannot put into verbal words what that something is. I may know that I am upset, but not be able to pinpoint what exactly is upsetting me. I may be frustrated, but your guess is as good as mine what is truly frustrating me. I've gotten better with expressing my thoughts in writing. Usually, I can come up with some sort of a cohertant thought that way. But if I try just to spout out what I feel like during a conversation- whew. Good luck following that one.

Not that by any stretch of the imagination does that cover all of my flaws, but those are the ones I've concluded lately. They're flaws that make me- and sometimes they're flaws that will break me. I'm working on them, not that I want to change who I am, but I do want to be a better person. I guess that is what the next 29-days are for!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

30-Day ME Challenge

I've come to realize that every once in awhile, when life gets a little too chaotic, I forget to know me. I forget to think about what I feel like, forget to count my blessings, forget to work on my flaws. Every once in awhile, I have to revisit my goals and my dreams, because some days, I forget to think about them. Some days, the business of daily life is too much to include a few selfish daydreams. And that is why, when I stumbled on The Young Retiree's post about a 30-day blog challenge, I was hooked. The challenge encourages all participants to take a few moments, every day, for the next 30-days, to reflect on different facets of themselves, and in conclusion, hopefully learn something new.
So here it is- for the next 30-days, beginning on Friday, September 10th, and concluding on Saturday, October 9th, I'll be following the below posting schedule. I'm making a promise to myself to be completely honest. 100%. I'm making a vow to really reflect on me and my thoughts, without the fear of being judged by readers.
I'm doing this challenge for me.
And you're more than welcome to join me on my adventure!
I hope that this will provoke your thoughts as much as it has mine!
30-Day "ME" Challenge
(Please note that some prompts have been altered from the original)
Day 1-Something you dislike about yourself, or a flaw that you would change.
Day 2-Something that you treasure about yourself, something that makes you unique.
Day 3-Something you've had to forgive yourself for in the past, something you would change.
Day 4-Something you've had to forgive someone else for.
Day 5- A list of things you hope to accomplish in your lifetime.
Day 6- Something you hope to never have to do.
Day 7-Someone who has touched your life.
Day 8-A time when you have made a difference in someone else's life.
Day 9-One moment that you did not want to ever let go.
Day 10-One moment you wish that you could forget.
Day 11-Something people tend to compliment you about.
Day 12- Something you wish you got compliments about.
Day 13-A song that describes you today.
Day 14-A letter to someone who has let you down.
Day 15-List of somethings or someones that you couldn't live without.
Day 16-List of somethings or someones you could definitely live without.
Day 17-A book you've read that changed your perspective or opened your eyes.
Day 18-Your views on a popular news subject.
Day 19-Take a stand on religion. Or politics.
Day 20-Your thoughts on alcohol and drugs.
Day 21-What do you want people to remember about you?
Day 22-Something you wish you hadn't done.
Day 23-Something you wish you had done.
Day 24-Make a playlist to someone special.
Day 25-Map out your one-year-plan. Your five-year-plan. Your 10-year-plan.
Day 26-Write a letter to yourself as a teenager.
Day 27-Write a letter to someone you've lost.
Day 28-Pick someone close to you and tell them all of the reasons you value them.
Day 29- Write about a turning point in your life.
Day 30-Reflect on something you learned about yourself during the 30-Day Challenge.
My mind is already churning with thoughts for all of these posts. I am super excited to get started! I'm hoping that this will help keep my busy for the next 30-days- I need all of the busy-ness that I can get!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A little bit goes a loooong way.

After spending this past weekend surrounded by military families, I must say that I am honored to be grouped with such an amazing group of people.
As in every event of our lives, there are people who will impress, and there are those who will well, not impress. I was fortunate enough to spend the weekend both.
Most (and I am going to stress MOST) MilFams are just like every other. Courteous, kind, friendly, respectful and dignified. They are open to conversation, and are as welcoming as an old friend. This, I must say, has been a great relief. I have felt like most of the MilFams are just like neighbors! Always willing to help, and definitely there when you need them most.
And then....
There are others.
Now, to avoid offense and conflict, I will preface with this:
I truly do my best to reserve judgement at all times. I try to keep my comments and looks in check, and I try to seek good in all people.
With this said, if this post is offensive to you, I apologize. If you disagree, please let me know! I am open to all new perspectives!
Nonetheless, after this weekend, I have spent a lot of time going over the events. If you are interested, you can read the summary of the Strong Bonds Retreat here.
When Romeo told me that we would be participating in the Retreat, I was very excited. I was also a bit apprehensive. When I was packing, I was extra careful in packing outfits that would be appropriate for spending time with the mixed company of Romeo's peers. I made sure that I did not pack anything too revealing, or too tight, or that I did not pack anything that would make Romeo embarrassed to be associated with me. I did all of this very purposefully, thinking that would be the appropriate thing to do.
And thank God that I did.
Upon our arrival, and at our first session on Friday night, I noticed some people were dressed to go out for the night. Obviously, that is fine. I get it. It's Friday night and we're in Myrtle Beach, it's completely normal to want to go out. Some people wore skirts or shorts, and some wore dresses. NBD.
The next morning, when we walked into the session, I glanced around and was APALLED. There were women walking around in micro-clothes. Yes, we are at a beach resort, but YOU ARE NOT ON THE BEACH. When I say micro-clothes, I'm talking tiny. Sundresses that if someone needed to bend down to pick something up, the whole world would've known who your bikini waxer was. Shorts that were so short, that I swear I don't know why someone would even bother to wear them. Shirts that were so tight, that I could've told you the bra designer from across the room. I was shocked that 1) any woman could walk past a mirror wearing these outfits, and still be wearing them, and 2) that any husband would be okay with his wife dressed like that in front of a room of other men! Now do not get me wrong, most women were dressed appropriately. It appears to be the few that have branded themselves in my mind that are haunting me still.
Next, as brought up in my last post here. there was a bit of open debate during the weekend sessions. Couples were truthfully and honestly calling each other out in front of this room full of people. And please understand, when I say calling out, I mean seriously "he said" "she said" nonsense. Now, I am about as far from perfect as physically possible, but I know better than to pick a fight, especially with the person that I sleep next to at night, in public. First of all, how childish can you possibly be? To not be a big enough person to confront an issue in private, that you need to create a spectacle in front of strangers? And second of all, is there ZERO respect or dignity?
I am not one to judge any one else's relationship, and honestly, some of the arguements that were brought up were truly familiar. In the same breath though, I don't even like sharing positive information with new people, let alone something as personal and private as a family conflict.
Finally, when Romeo comes home from the range, or the field, or just a long day at work, I half expect to hear him talk like a soldier. I expect it, but I certainly make it clear that I am not okay with hearing an expletive between every word. Ladies, what on earth has happened? I heard more women swear this past weekend, than I have heard EVER. LADIES do not speak like that! I will not apologize for shooting dirty looks when I hear someone curse. It makes me uncomfortable. I do my best to keep those words off of my tongue, and I certainly expect that other people, especially in mixed company, can have the common courtesy to do the same. Even worse though, is that it seems that the men in the group this weekend had NO problem keeping their foul mouths at bay, but it was the WOMEN who sounded ridiculous!
In summation of this rant, I know that this may seem to attack MilSpouse Wives, but I truly believe that there is a standard to uphold. Not just as a MilWife, but as a LADY! When did we stop having the self-respect to represent ourselves in a dignified fashion? When did we stop clothing ourselves in a tasteful way? When did we stop treating others with the common courtesy that they deserve? When did we allow ourselves to become so disrespectful to not only others, but to ourselves? And most of all, where has all of the class gone?
Not to get on a feministic tangent, but we have spent years and years trying to build a foundation for ourselves so that we can be respected as equals. How on earth can we expect to uphold that standard when we have no respect in ourselves? After spending time observing far-too-many women who are either dreadfully uninformed, or seriously lack pride, I feel as though we need to step up and be responsible for who we are representing ourselves as. Especially as a MilSpouse, we are a portrait of the people who stand behind our Soldiers.
What would you want that to look like?

Strong Bonds

Last weekend, Romeo and I were fortunate enough to participate in one of the US Army's Strong Bonds Retreats.
Which, by the way, how awesome is it that the military will send families on all-inclusive mini-vacations?
Anyway, I digress. We were in lovely Myrtle Beach, SC at an awesome resort, and it was a BEAUTIFUL weekend. We were really blessed to be given this opportunity. At first, I was a bit skeptical of what the retreat really included, but once we arrived, I was fully reassured!! We checked into our suite,
(yes, I did say suite.)
that overlooked the beach,
(that's right, ocean view!)
and I took a moment to appreciate all of our blessings.


Nonetheless, we headed down to dinner, where we met up with a lot of really fantastic people. We sat at a table with other couples, and just exchanged conversation about anything and everything. Things were really shaping up to seem not-so-bad! We played a few getting-to-know-you games, and then we were done for the night!

After that, most people parted ways, and some, like us, ended up at the hotel bar, and eventually left for a stroll on the beach. We knew that the schedule for the following days' activities began a bit early (breakfast at 7am!), so off to bed we went.

The following morning arrived far-too-quickly, but I couldn't help myself.

Hello, sunrise!

And as such, we began Day 1 of the Strong Bonds Retreat. The first session started at 9am. It was about coping with deployments, and life after a deployment. All-in-all, it was nice to hear that everyone shares similar emotions and concerns. It was at this point, that the lector had each of us write down one thing about our spouse that has changed since the deployment began. It took a minute for me to think, but I wrote down that I felt like Romeo has become more responsible and appreciative since he left for earthquake-land in January. Romeo said that he thought I was more independent.

Well... then, of course, the speaker circled the room searching for people to share what they had written down. No interest. She then dismissed the session for a short break. When we returned, she again asked for volunteers to share what they had written. Finally, there were people who were willing to speak. At first, the observations were all pretty positive. "He's more loving" "She's more understanding" "He's more patient with the children""She's a better cook".

And then...

Things began to get ugly.

I don't remember what comment it started with, but all of a sudden, the "changes" were not good. Even moreso, couples began, in a way, calling each other out IN FRONT OF EVERYONE IN THE ROOM! I whispered to Romeo asking if he felt that this was appropriate, and he said that if I stood up and called him out IN FRONT OF HIS PEERS, he'd be more than just a little upset. The microphone continued to go around the room, and the madness continued until finally, the speaker interveined.

The speaker seg-wayed into the next session, which, SURPRISE!! Was conflict resolution. Hmm... now how interesting could this get?

We went over a few techniques, all of which were valid, but not really realistic in a heated-argument setting. The speaker then was out to prove a point, so OH! Let's invite a couple to argue in front of this room full of people. BRILLIANT.

Much to my utmost surprise, and somewhat dismay, a couple ACTUALLY VOLUNTEERED. They pulled up two chairs in the center of this huge and completely populated conference room, and proceeded to duke it out. They started with finances, then led into their children, then into social habits, and into every little personal nook and canny of their relationship! They had officially just aired every piece of dirty laundry that they shared.

Oh good lord.

Now, let me make this known- I AM NO MODEL WIFE, to say the least, and my husband and I are VERY happy with our relationship, though I know it isn't perfect. BUT, to share the inner-workings of our love with a room full of other people who 1) are mostly strangers, but 2) are some of the people that the Soldiers in the room see every day at work, is a bit awkward!

Needless to say, the weekend had taken an interesting turn. After all of that madness, things settled down. We were dismissed for the day and were able to spend our time doing what we wanted. We went downtown to spend some quality time sightseeing. That night, when we got back to the resort, Romeo and I grabbed a couple drinks and hit the beach. We sat, just talking, and it was just wonderful. The day's events had provoked a lot of conversation, and it was nice to be able to discuss some things that we hadn't really thought to talk about before. The moonlight and the frozen drinks made the evening just that much more fun.

Sunday came, and was a lot more tame than the prior day. We talked about personalites, and the languages of love. Both of which turned out to be rather dry topics.

All-in-all, the weekend was a success. We spent a lot of quality time together, and got to relax a lot. Strong Bonds as a whole was informative, and definitely eye-opening. Romeo and I both agreed that we would participate again, and that it is absolutely a valuable resource of Army life.

For my fellow MilSpouses, if you get the opportunity, I would suggest participating in a weekend retreat. They're fun, informative, and FREE!! So why not?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Skype Dates

Wing Night, BLOGGING, some reading are all on the agenda for this evening while Romeo is out playing GI Joe.
I'll be back later with something of substance

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Super Excited!

I am very excited that The Mrs. at Trying Our Best is hosting a fantastic giveaway!!

Her mother, the creator of bluebirdcrafting, has made some of the most adorable bags that are perfect for make-up, baby accessories, travel, jewelery and just about everything!

So anyway, head over to see The Mrs. at Trying Our Best and participate in this awesome giveaway!!
This one is MY favorite.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Out of my slump

Looking around, the house is a mess. The cabinets are empty. Dinner is not on the table. Laundry is piling up. The trashcan is full. The bed is not made. Yesterday's mail remains unopened and sitting on the counter.
And I am laying on the couch.
A million and a half things to do on my to-do list, and I don't have the desire or motivation to do any one of them.
Work is just work. After the news of my big promotion, in theory, now would be the time to be excited and enthusiastic about my workplace endeavors.
I'm not.
I don't even want to get up and go in the morning.
It's been days (possibly weeks) since my last good workout. I haven't really been running, lifting, or much of anything else. And hah... Romeo is starting to notice.
Welcome to my slump.
Anyway, all of this came to a bit of a peak last night. I can honestly say that I know I'm being overly-sensitive, and underly-active in any aspect of my life. I know that I need to step it up and get back into a routine and suck it up and stop being lazy. My slump is now not only effecting me, but Romeo as well. Nonetheless, my trip back up the hill to adulthood has begun.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Oh what I would give...

As I sit here slaving (and by slaving, I mean sitting at my desk and blogging) away at work, my wonderful family is basking in the beauty and excitement of the Jersey Shore.

I am glowing green with envy.

Look! You'll be jealous too!

Anyway, back to my being jealous and terribly envious of everyone else sitting in beach chairs, and me in an office chair....

I want to be in SIC!

Nonetheless, I am not. But, I have had some lovely evenings catching up on The Office with Romeo.

I really can't complain.


Thanks to my Momma for the lovely SIC pics.

Friday, July 2, 2010


Inspired by LMC at 'cause I don't know how it gets better than this, and her most intriguing blog post about fate, I've decided to make some of my own connections.

There is no such thing as accident; it is fate misnamed.

Fate, an often arguable topic, is the concept of destiny mixed with a touch of preplanning. True to form, it usually is exactly what we did not expect.
And such is life.

After feeling somewhat euphorically reminiscent while reading another blog this morning, I crept back into my memory bank about a few particular conversations that Romeo and I have shared about our own coincidences, and how perhaps there is such thing as fate, or in a more enchanted fashion, meant-to-be.

Here is our story, full of our own moments that were just too perfect not to be fate:

  • The night Romeo and I met, was just before the holidays. I was at a holiday party with friends, when I received an invite to another event that same evening. At first, I kind of disregarded it. I wasn't really up for going to party #2, but I casually mentioned it to a friend, and she wanted to go. So off we went.
  • When we got to the second party, there was this guy (who happens to be Romeo), who at first glance, I immediately wrote off (shallow, I know). Tattoos, a flat-brimmed hat, partially sagging jeans, all-in-all, not my type. Spoiler alert!! Obviously, something must've happened to spark an interest!!
  • During that night, Romeo and I talked a bit, but the things ended rather abruptly. We never exchanged numbers or information. I moreorless chalked it up to a loss. That is until coincidentally enough, there was going to be another get-together with the same crowd the following night. (Win!)
  • The next night, Romeo was convinced that due to some conflicts the night prior, I wasn't entirely fond of him... Well, I was. After all of that drama was cleared up, we immediately exchanged information. Good thing, because shortly, and when I say shortly, I mean within seconds, that night also ended. Eek.
  • The following day, after a few hundred text messages, and a whole lot of belly-butterflies, we met up again. Something was happening.
  • Mind you, during all of this, Romeo was on the last few days of leave. He was set to head back to Fort Somewhere on the day after Christmas. We first met on 20 December. In my head, I'm thinking that this GI Joe was just interested in being friends for the last few days of his time at home. Guess I was wrong!!
  • We met up the next night at a local place, we grabbed a few drinks and then snuck away from our friends for a few moments alone. We sat outside by a fire and talked. It was here that Romeo told me that he was interested in pursuing this new thing between us even after he headed back to Fort Somewhere. Though I thought in my head that he was just saying that, I felt in my heart that there was certainly something there.
  • Following that, I met his family, and spent his last evening at home with him. Even though my heart was going a million miles a minute, I was still preparing myself to never hear from this guy again.
  • I fought my feelings for awhile, but after a few more hours together (and some liquid courage) I gave in and flat-out just told Romeo how I felt. I thought that I was in love. And then I thought I scared him away completely. Little did I know...
  • I didn't. The next morning, off he went on a plane to Fort Somewhere. The next evening, I had my first of many sweet voicemails. He missed me already =)
  • So that's that. After 5 days together, Romeo had my heart, a whole ocean away, and fortunately for us, he held on to it until we could be together again.
  • The next few months, we talked all of the time (which my cell phone bill surely reflected!) and turned our few days together into plans and a future. There were a few rough nights, but never once did either one of us feel anything but right. Even though some people thought we were being ridiculous in even pursuing a long-distance relationship after only knowing each other a short time, we proved them wrong and made it through.
  • Sometime later, there was a big, sparkly ring on my finger, and in just a few months, we were at the end of the aisle saying with a big white dress and quite the audience.

So that is our story. A huge puzzle of moments and events that fit together to create our fairy tale.

After that, how could I not believe in fate?

A real-life fairy tale

For those who are fortunate enough to be able to witness a true happily-ever-after,
you understand what I mean when I say:
what a blessing.

Today, 33 years ago, a boy met a girl in her front yard.
Little did either know that day, 5 years later, they would become man and wife.
Nor did they know that 27 years after that,
they would have 3 (if I may say so myself, AWESOME) children,
and be counting the days down to retirement.

In today's world, a real-life fairy tale, with an honest-to-goodness happily-ever-after
is such a rarity.

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for being such role models for happiness.
You have given me such hope for what is to come.
I know, by watching you, that marriage is hard work.
I also know how important it is to be a team.
But most of all, I know how amazing it is to not just be in love, but to stay in love with your best friend.

Thank you for being so strong for each other (and for us) through the tough times.
And thank you for sharing all of the wonderful memories that you two have made through the years.
To me, you two are living proof that happily-ever-after truly does exist,
and that even in real-life, fairy tales do come true.

Thank you for your perseverance, your patience, your hope, your prayers
and most of all, your love.

Here's to 27 more!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Monster

Meet Calymonster.

She's a bit of a demon.
She's also the sweetest thing.

See what I mean?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Versatile Blogger Award!

Thank you so much to Ines at The Few, The Proud, The Wife for awarding me with:


Thank you!!

The rules of this award are:

  1. Thank the person who gave you the award!
  2. Share 7 things about yourself
  3. Nominate 15 newly-discovered blogs that you think are fantastic!
  4. Let each one of your nominees know about the award!

7 things about me

  1. I am terribly awful when it comes to horror movies. I usually spend the majority, if not the entire movie hiding my eyes.
  2. I love to bake. It is my guilty pleasure. My waist is usually the one to pay for my obsession, but it is usually so worth it!
  3. I am a relatively new resident of NC. So far, it is growing on me. Romeo and i just bought our first home! We're so excited!
  4. Blogging started for me when Romeo was deployed. It has been my sanity and my place to vent. Thank you all for listening to it all!!
  5. I love love LOVE country music.
  6. Fall is my favorite season because I love to watch the leaves change. Moreso, I love football.
  7. Romeo and I have been married for 6 months now. Unfortunately, 5 and a half of those 6 months were spent apart. We're working on getting back to being newlyweds again =)

I am going to pass this award on to:

  1. Jackie at exposed brick.
  2. Elise at notes.
  3. The Mrs. at Trying Our Best
  4. Birdie at No Model Lady
  5. MrsThomas at Being a Better Wife

Congratulations to all of the nominees!!

Back into wife life....

Amidst the time that Romeo spent in earthquake-land, I had gotten wife-life down pretty well.
or so I thought.
I had become accustomed to keeping house, cooking (somewhat), cleaning, decorating, laundering, and so on and so forth. I figured I was on the path to Betty Crocker's Housewife of the Year.
or not.
So Romeo arrived from home from earthquake-land, and my housewife-ing skills slowly deteriorated. As the days went by, the dishes began to pile up, the laundry was out of control and the house was just in shambles.
Now, we have embarked on our next journey- home ownership.
scary business.
And I see our pending move to be a refreshing possibility. New home, new rooms to organize and decorate, and a new opportunity to start over and work on being a better wife.
not that I think I am a bad wife.
I just know that I could be better.
Like today for instance, I have managed to ruin yet ANOTHER pair of Romeo's ACU's.
Note to self: Check pockets. Thoroughly.
I lost the laundry battle to a black-ink ballpoint pen.
See, every day is a new lesson on how to be better.
Now I'm going to make a list.
Things I've learned about (Army) wife-life:
  1. Don't bombard with questions about his day as soon as he walks in the door. If something truly exciting or awful happened, he would have called. Otherwise, allow breathing room.
  2. Don't wash ACU's without checking pockets. Thoroughly.
  3. Do not begin dinner until after you KNOW he is on his way home, if you start too early, prepare for cold food and disappointment.
  4. Clean. A lot. Often. Expect it to never be done. Don't put it off. Things will just get worse.
  5. Plan catch-up days. You'll need them.
  6. When stuck for recipe ideas, stick to simplicity. Basics never fail.
  7. Make lists.
  8. Don't get mad when the phone rings in the middle of dinner, or in the middle of a movie, or in the middle of the night. He's not happy about it either, believe me.
  9. Expect to need to wash PT's at 10pm. And expect them to need to be dry by 4:45am. Expect to have to wait up to move them from the washer to the dryer.
  10. NEVER, and I mean NEVER, let him crawl back into bed before he leaves for work. You both WILL fall back to sleep and he WILL be late and it WILL be your fault for not waking him up.
  11. Also, NEVER wake him up any earlier than necessary. This will create a very unhappy GI Joe.
  12. Have some kind of breakfast/snack on-the-go available. He'll want it.
  13. Expect houseguests. Possibly multiple.
  14. HAVE AN OUTLET. Something for you to do BY YOURSELF (or with girlfriends). I run, and believe me, it is the savior of my sanity.
  15. DON'T RELY ON HIM TO ENTERTAIN YOU. It's tough moving to a new place and not having friends, but FIND SOME. It will be a blessing to both of you. There's no worse feeling for you to expect him to be home at night to hang out, and then he's working late or out with the guys. And its no better for him to know you're around waiting for him. BE SOCIAL.
  16. Always be prepared to have to go fax paperwork at 9:30pm. (Thank you, J)
  17. Always be prepared to need to take Class-A uniforms to the dry-cleaners at 9:30pm. AND have them ready for formation the following day.
  18. Even though he may not always say it, GI Joe loves you completely.
  19. You may be at your wits-end, but it is all SO worth it. Always remember that at least he's there to drive you crazy, and not half way around the world.
  20. Finally, no matter what, no matter how awful you may be a doing laundry or organizing or cooking of whatever, he'll always love you anyway!

And despite the tough parts, I'm thankful for ALL of the lessons I've learned thus far!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Sometimes this life is bittersweet...

Life as an Army Wife is one that most of the time, only an Army Wife could understand. Today, its one that I hope everyone, especially those who this post is geared towards, will be able to put into perspective.
My days (180 to be exact!!) that have been spent married to the US Military, have been the greatest learning experience of my life. Each day has brought a new eye-opening moment, or a life lesson that I'll carry with me. There have been so many new tidbits of information and advice, and even more new questions that have prospered out of these past 6 months. Each day brought a new challenge, and in turn, a new lesson learned. Nonetheless, I can say that the woman I was this day, 6-months ago, would see who I am today and be proud. I'm really thankful for that.
Sometimes, though, the lessons that life as an Army Wife may teach you, are not the ones that you ever wanted to learn. Honestly, I never wanted to learn what it was like to say goodbye to Romeo for months at a time. I really didn't want to know how it felt to not see my friends on a regular basis. Most of all, I didn't ever want to learn to miss out on the lives of our families. But whether I like it or not, I'm learning.
Today, K and K (our younger siblings) are graduating from High School. We are so proud of them. Each one has grown into a truly remarkable young adult, and they both have such great potential in life. We are so blessed to have such amazing families, and we are so thankful for each and every person in our lives. This often makes it so much more difficult to miss out on these monumental events. We would have loved to be there to congratulate you in person, but sometimes, the Army dictates otherwise.
To KA-
You have worked so hard to be where you are today. Honestly, the road from here is harder, but we have no doubt that you will be successful in the endeavors that you pursue. You are kind, and caring and generous and there is no doubt that just being the beautiful person that you are will take you far in life. You are such a gift to us. Thank you for being who you are, and please know that we want no less that everything for you. Congratulations!! Enjoy your day and your celebrations, you have earned them!!
To KH-
The young man that you have grown into astonishes me. Your personality and smile is infectious, and your future is so bright. You have so many open doors in front of you, and I cannot wait to see which one you choose. You will be great at anything you decide to pursue, but please promise that you'll never lose sight of being "Happy Jack" and the truly amazing person that you are. We are so proud, and we know that this is only the beginning for you!! We can't wait to see where your life will take you!
We love you both and are so proud of who you are.
We wish we could be there to share today with you,
but please know that you are in our thoughts, and we're there in spirit!!
Congratulations to the Class of 2010!!
Romeo & Juliet & Calymonster
I don't think that it will ever get easier to miss these things, but one fact is true, we will most certainly appreciate the moments that we do have with our families. The most meaningful lesson that I have learned throughout my Life as an Army Wife, is that the moment you stop truly appreciating something, it will be gone. Whether it is by deployment, or move or something else, it will be gone.
Even if it doesn't get any easier,
I'll still be thankful for the lessons learned.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

My GI Joe is...

Thank you to Amber over at The Survival Guide for the Young, Fabulous and Newlywed for the inspiration of this post. It may be a bit different, but you'll see the pattern.

My GI Joe is my late-night-snack PIC. He's the one who whispers "Go get the chips and dip" ever so convincingly. He makes breaking my diet oh-so-worth-it.

My GI Joe is my support trellis. When I'm crumbling from stress or exhaustion or whatever other nonsense life throws, he's there to hold me up. Even from miles and miles away.

My GI Joe is my Channing Tatum, Mel Gibson, Josh Hartnett, entire A-Team, and every other war-movie character, all mixed into one handsome, charming, loving, ACU-wearing hero.

My GI Joe is a sunny day, in the Jeep with the top down, a song in which we can sing every word, and a hand to hold over the center console.

My GI Joe is undeniable in uniform. No, really. U N D E N I A B L E.

My GI Joe is a cozy pair of sweatpants and an old sweater, cuddled up in the corner of the couch, with a Harry Potter marathon and the cutest CalyMonster in the entire world.

My GI Joe is my shoulder to lean on when I fall asleep at the movies.

My GI Joe is my hero. My best friend. And the one man that I live to wake up next to. When the Army lets me, anyway.

Most of all, My GI Joe is mine. All mine. Lucky me <3

the update

It's been awhile...
I know.
Nonetheless, amongst my MIA-ness, I have been terribly distracted by keeping myself distracted- because....
Therefore, my mind has been wrapped around a whole ton of excitement and a glorious array or to-do lists.
I'll be so happy when this is all over and he's here and we're back to (normal) married life. I almost feel like none of it ever happened. I feel like when he was here and we were together, I was like a dream. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to re-making my dreams into a reality.
Funny story though, as forementioned, I am currently engrossed in a MASSIVE to-do list. Normal things like cleaning and laundry and whatnot, but then I am also trying to re-adjust my life to pre-earthquake-ridden-country-deployment. As silly as it sounds, Romeo and I share a closet, and I must say, in his absence, I may or may not have taken it over entirely. So now I am struggling to remember where everything was before he left and how things were situated. Who would've known how much of a difference 6 months could make? Closet aside, there are so many other things that I am slowly, but surely, working to adjust. My morning routine, for instance, has been down-to-the-minute (I'm a little OC) and I know once Romeo meanders back from the island, things won't be just so. I'm trying to prepare as best as I can for EVERYTHING to change again. How does one prepare for that? I'm doing my best to learn NOT to get set in any way, but at the same time, I need a little bit of stability. And now, with my own pending "earthquake", how can I get ready for so many things to change again?
I guess I shall soon find out....
Running has been going FANTASTICALLY. J and I are OFFICIALLY prepared. It is a wonderful feeling, but I'm feeling an impending addiction kicking in- we're already planning the next race! It's a great thing, of course, but yet another commitment on the horizon. Oh well. I love it and am having the time of my life preparing. I can't wait for race day!! (2 weeks tomorrow!!) We've also been hitting the pool a lot lately, which has served as awesome cross-training, and a great way to really stretch out during laps. The best part about all of this has been the twice-a-day opportunity to get out of the house, work out, and make time go by just-that-much faster.
Other than that, I've just been doing everything possible to keep the clock moving. Every morning is a great feeling because it is one step closer. And every night is hopeful because it is one more day completed.
Soon enough.
I'll be sure to do my best to keep the updates coming!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Running into a whole new time-consumer

Well hello!

I know, I know...

it has been forever...

But now I will explain why!!

Ok, so as of late, I have been running, running, running like crazy!! My favorite Miami-ian (J) and I are up to doing 2-a-day workouts and seeing TREMENDOUS progress. Starting cold at the beginning of May, both of us weren't sure we were going to make it to Race Day successfully, but now, J and I are more confident then ever, and heading towards Race Day, one mile at a time!

Now, I must say, I'm not sure either one of us would be this dedicated to our training if we had our lovely Romeo's at home, but since it is just us and our girls:

(They're besties)(And adorable)

... we've been a bit more inclined to do ANYTHING to be out of the house. We're both patiently awaiting a plane from Haiti, and hopefully it will be here soon!! (I'm not sure my patience could withstand yet ANOTHER extension)

So, as our countdown to Race Day gets shorter and shorter, the runs get longer and longer, and I must say, it feels great to be so close to our goal. I also know that if it hadn't been for mutual motivation (Thank you so much, J!!) I couldn't have come nearly as far as I have. Having a running partner is not only a huge benefit safety-wise, but it also keeps your mind moving as quickly as your feet, and the conversations DEFINITELY help the long-runs go by. As for the other benefits of running, not only am I sleeping better at night, curbing my appetite, hydrating appropriately, and feeling stronger, watching the inches dwindle right down to bikini-size is wonderful. So, between now and Race Day, I am hoping to maintain, if not exceed my motivation, and hopefully be more than successful on June 11th.

Other than that, all is well. We are not-so-patiently awaiting a homecoming from Haiti. Hopefully (fingers-crossed) we'll be celebrating come June 1st. We shall see..... But between now and then, I'll be a busy girl.

And I'm SUPER thankful for that.

Friday, May 7, 2010

From the Not-Always-So-Silent Ranks...

Happy Military Spouses Appreciation Day!

Now how to celebrate....

Send yourself flowers!
(or just go buy some!)

Treat yourself to a spa day!
(Even if it is in your own home)

Indulge in a decadent dessert!
(Ben & Jerry's!)

And know that we're all VERY lucky to have our very own GI Joe!

(That one is mine.)

Thank you to all of the Military Spouses who offer kind words of wisdom and experience!

The support network that each and every one of you provide is truly a blessing!

Thanks! And Happy MSA Day!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

the age of communication

To preface this appropriately, I must begin by saying how thankful I am for modern technology. The internet, cell phones, webcams, digital photos and so on and so forth, are all AMAZING additions to our daily lives. But as it seems, everything has its own consequence, and as such, communication technology has taken every excuse we have to be unreachable.

Sunday morning paper, browsing current events, coupon clippers, and the military section. Amidst another not-so-great day (Why have they been so prevalent lately?) I stumbled across an entire section written for me. First, the article titled Living with Superman written by the acclaimed author of Operation Marriage and fellow Army wife, Rebekah Sanderlin. Sanderlin explains the struggles of living with a superhero. The man who can do ANYTHING he puts his mind to, and how being his wife, and a competitor, often can be a really proud challenge. Now in contrast, Sanderlin's husband up and decided to run a marathon. The night before the race. Without training. All I can say to that is WOW. Now I have no doubt that if Romeo wanted it badly enough, he'd do it too. At the same time, I also know that Romeo can't rationalize running unless it was for his life, so I'm not too terribly concerned about a spontaneous marathon. Either way, spending everyday knowing that your man is a super superhero is a proud event, even if secretly, you'll do everything in your might to keep up.

Next article, entitled An Open Letter to a New Army Wife may have been titled "Dear Meg, READ ME". Brenna Berger, of Home Front, thank you. Thank you for prefacing your article as follows:
I'm sorry to hear that your new husband deployed
much sooner than you had hoped. You didn't get the
luxury of gingerly testing the waters of military life.
Instead, you have found yourself standing on the high
dive with no other choice but to jump right into the deep
end of the pool.
Hah. Oh hello best friend! Have you been spying on my life? How is it that you can read me like a book? Ohhhh, what is that you say? That nearly every new Army wife has to send her man off sooner than she had hoped? That anytime he leaves is too soon? Exactly.
Nonetheless, the article goes on with tips and tricks of the trade to passing the time. SUCCESSFULLY.
Some included dealing with the bad days as you see fit. There is no one procedure that we all must follow. Next, surround yourself with friends. THANK GOD for them. (Thanks ladies!!) And also, remove the excess drama from your life. You don't need it. You have enough.
Mostly though, the tip that I hadn't heard before, and the one that stuck out the most, is called the "Commo Check", and this is the one that has me thinking.
According to Berger, the Commo Check is a nod to the old "Don't go to bed angry." The updated version is "Never send an email/text angry."
Oh, I get it now.
And this is where the age of communication comes in.
I've had a lot (and by a lot, I mean just way more than usual) of bad days lately. The tears, and upset, you know the type. Anyway, as it would seem, Romeo has a sixth sense about these things, and with that, he always seems to call during break-down time. Now don't get me wrong, when he does call, hearing his voice makes things better, but the fact that he's hearing the tears is not what I want. He's been hearing the weakness, and I know that it makes things so much harder for him.
On a rather warm and humid run/jog/walk with friend yesterday, we got to talking about letters. About how letters just seem so much more personal than a phone call or an email, or a text. He touched the letter you're reading. That same exact piece of paper was in his hands, and now it is in yours. There is a connection so much stronger there than through a wire or a signal. Not saying that the same message couldn't be conveyed, but the attachment is just a little bit stronger.
Who ever fought through a letter?
Modern technology is a blessing, but the sum of all of the parts of this post is this: When it is a bad day, a letter, you can walk away from until you're feeling better. A phone call, unless you're strong enough to watch it go to voicemail, you can't walk away from. And as soon as you pick up that phone, if he's anything like Romeo, he'll know exactly what you're thinking before you can come up with the words yourself. There's no hiding. And even moreso, when you're upset, or worse, mad, about something, it is way too easy to pick up the phone, start typing, or start yelling into a webcam about whatever nonsense you're worked up about. Everyone is too reachable.
Romeo, if you're reading this, I AM NOT saying don't call. PLEASE CALL. Like I mentioned, THANK GOD for modern technology. What I am saying is this: Forgive me for my moments of weakness. Forgive me for showing you the bad days. Not that I was trying to hide them, but I would've rather you known about them when you come home, instead of while you're still there and can't see that I am okay. Because I AM OKAY. I can be a baby sometimes, and unfortunately, you've now gotten to see that. I'm sorry for that, because you've got enough to worry about. Please know that I AM FINE and that I appreciate your honesty. It is part of the reason why I love who you are so much. Don't stop being you because I'm being a big baby. It was just a bad day.
The conclusion of all of this is that being able to talk all the time is wonderful. It can be a great comfort. Just make sure you communicate wisely, and TRY to have it all together. Not saying to be dishonest or hide things, but rationalize yourself first. Observe the perspectives, and make sure you're saying what you mean. Don't convey something that you don't want to, and don't lead the other end of the conversation into thinking something different. Be strong for each other, and don't forget that despite the distance, you're still in it together.