Lord's Prayer For The Military Wife - Author Unknown

Lord's Prayer for the Military Wife - Author Unknown

Lord, Grant me the greatness of heart to see, the difference in duty and his love for me. Give me the understanding to know, that when duty calls he must go. Give m a task to do each day, to fill the time when he is away, and Lord, when duty is in the field, please protect him and be his shield.

December 10, 2011

Just a little rant

Dear US Army,
I honor your values & traditions, I have the upmost respect for you as an entity and for those men & women who serve. I get that your needs come before mine & those of my family, that when Obi-Wan signed the dotted line, we agreed to put aside our desires so he could do his duty to you. However, tonight I REALLY am not liking you too much, I am struggling with your needs over my family's desires.
People ask me what the hardest part of Obi-wan being gone is, really it is not the lonely nights when I can't sleep for worry and do not have him to talk to, those times we have limited communication, missed birthdays, anniversaries or holidays. It is not even those little things in life he has to miss to be where you need him...it is the nights like to tonight when I have to hold one of my babies who is crying her heart out over missing her daddy and the fear she has for his safety. This is when I question: "Is it worth it?" Even so, deep in my heart I know it is, but for this night, this moment, I will not like you and maybe even be a little angry with you.
Just Another Guard Wife

December 6, 2011

Wow! Its been 7 months!

As you might have noticed, I am not the best at keeping up with blog posts.  I cannot believe it has been 7 months, so much has gone on during this time. I have been busy, to say the least...but that is to be expected.  Where to start? How about month by month (give or take), beginning with June.
June 2011: This month was full of lots of fun things the most important being Obi-Wan's 4 day pass. (Yes, GI Joe has had a name change, more about that in a moment.) I drove down to MS with another wife from the unit...we bonded to say the least, thanks to a broken air compressor for the AC and 'aliens in the cornfields.' 

This is my partner in crime & battle buddy: "The Mrs." as we begun our trip to see our men. What a fun drive we had yelling at each other, laughing, drinking energy drinks and being postively giddy to be with the love of our life's.  I would like to say we went through some beautiful country, but to be honest, I'm not sure, we drove through the night. However, I can say a beautiful friendship was born that night. These past few months would have been unbearable without her & the other wonderful women God has blessed me with.

Upon arriving on post, where we thought we'd catch a nap in the car until the guys were dismissed, we found out they would be let out early...so much for a nap, but the trade off was well worth it. We immediately left for Biloxi/Gulf Port.

Our motel was a block away from the beach. That evening we walked down there. Other than the wind, it was nice, not a lot of humidity like there was further north on Post, but warm enough to be comfortable in shorts.


"After You

One of the evenings there we met "The Mr. & Mrs." at their hotel, where they were staying with his parents who had come down to visit also. Dinner by the pool, followed by some good natured frolicking.


Another day, we took a boat ride out to 'Ship Island.' (*note to self* spray on suntan lotion, even sport/waterproof type doesn't work worth a hoot). We were on the Island from 10am until about 4pm. Even with several applications of sunblock we ended up burned, some of us worse than the other...nothing is worse than spending one of your few precious days before your husband leaves for months with 2nd degree burns that negate any type of touch, no matter how innocent!

We still had fun. The boat ride was about 50 minute and we saw some dolphins on the way over. Once there we were privy to pristine white beaches for the most part, there was some evidence of the oil spill. I am not sure exactly how close we were to actual spill site, if it was close they did an awesome job of cleaning it up.  We collected some shells, teased "The Mrs." about never being in the ocean before, exasperating her & freaking her out when "The Mr." would dive underwater and swim up behind her to grab her. Ofcourse the schools of fish that would swim right up to and around you or the 'jumping fish' did not help either.

Our last night, our men had to report back by midnight. We were able to go to one last dinner and pretend for just a little while longer we were just normal couples hanging out on vacation together.

It was hard to say good-bye that night...letting him go was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I know I had done it before but this time was different...I could not have done it without the strength of God. Bittersweet, my heart was swelling with pride even as it was breaking. For my husband, our children, our friends...all the families that have had to say 'good-bye' to their loved ones.

The next morning, in the harsh reality of day light, "The Mrs." and I were facing the long trip home. Her mother-in-law came to the rescue & gave us a gift and told us to stop and do something fun on the way home. We were returning via Memphis and where MUST you stop if in Memphis? Graceland ofcourse. Because this post has been long I will continue in another.

May 17, 2011

Catching up and other fun things Part II

     Here is an update on my New Year's goals, since we are almost half way through the New Year. (Can I tell you I'm happy we have a whole other half to this year!):

  • Return to a healthier lifestyle.
      *snicker, cough, cough* Do I really have to report back on this one?! Oh, alright, here goes...IT DOESN'T! Seriously, I'm a yo-yo with this one. I know it will take time, and I need to allow myself to unlearn and break all the bad habits I've learned/picked up these past 10 years or so. BUT I WANT IT NOW!!!! Don't we all, however, I know just working at it day by day is an improvement to not doing anything. And I have to admit, a couple of weeks ago when I was going through some clothes I was able to put on, zip & button a pair of jeans I couldn't even get up all  the way last year...just don't ask me to breathe!
  • Simplify, by removing, reusing or re purposing.
     This is going sorta...again its a new habit I need to try to learn. I have been better about going through & getting rid of stuff...or at least sacking it up to take to the thrift store or good will. I gave up the idea of doing a garage sale.
  • Increase my sewing skills.
     This one is on hold for the moment.
  • Increase my knitting skills.
     OK, if there is one area I am succeeding in, it is this one. As I noted in my last post I have completed my first big lace project. I have a pair of gloves on the needles for GI Joe, another new knitting technique. I have taught myself several new stitches, well to read & knit the patterns, in an effort to complete a project for a RAL (read-a-long) and swap I signed up for on Ravelry. Another first for me. Also I will be designing my handmade object fo the RAL/swap. I am seriously addicted and loving it. Also I have been working on knitting up some lace weight yellow ribbons for those wonderful women who support me.

     Almost half way through the year and I have had my successes and failures. I have six more months to succeed and as long as I keep moving forward I will succeed.

     In other news, the Diva & Prima Donna are doing great! They just finished the gymnastic team season a couple of weekends ago. They have improved so much over the past few months. Both girls will also be moving up levels on the team. The Diva to level 4 and the Prima Donna to level 3 next month. 

     Over the summer they will be participating in our chruches summer musical and activities...I do not know who is more excited. Them or me! Three hours, two times a week to myself...I'm positively giddy. Do not get me wrong, I love my girls, but when I am with them 24/7, I welcome their activty time that gives me some free time.

    I also have been doing some cleaning at my church on a temporary basis, which I hope will become permanent. It would be perfect. I can take the girls with me, it is part time and will bring in some extra cash. In all honesty, I would be bringing in the same amout I cleared when I worked fulltime, away from my girls 11 - 12 hours a day when GI Joe was deployed last time. After paying childcare, lunches, gas, etc...add the emotional stress of both parents essentially being gone, it wasn't worth it. However, under these circumstances, it would be very much worth it. 

     Finally for a wrap up I'll tell you a bit about a project I am working on for GI Joe. I realize that it's been done before, but I'm pretty excited about doing it. I am going to have some photo's taken for him to have while he's away. Something a little different than the typical family photos. I am going to do something a little more...fun. Think vintage WWII era calender girls type thing.


I know it's a NAVY uniform...but it's still inspiration

May 9, 2011

Catching up and other fun things Part I

     So this is late in coming...yes, I need to work on my scheduling a bit. Would you believe there was a time when I kept track of 3 different schedules and everyone made it to appointments on time and deadlines were met. That was before I had kids though and my husband decided he wanted to be GI Joe. Oh well, its the little things in life that are important.

   GI Joe has mobilized, he's off having fun shooting big guns & blowing up stuff.  He is still stateside for the time being, 

   In February we attended the going away ceremony for the Brigade. It was the first time I had attended one, on his previous overseas deployment the girls were young and we said our good-byes at home. This time the ceremony was held in advance of the Brigade leaving for mobilization stations and the girls are older so we decided to attend. Imagine my surprise the following day while standing in line to check out at Wal-Mart, I glanced at the newspaper and saw GI Joe in a group picture from the ceremony. Very cool.  

Unfortunately, he is not the soldier waving to his family. To be honest, he's up in the right hand corner & kinda blurry. However, it just goes to show how easily we can spot our own in a sea of green.

     We experienced the first major family event we were unable to attend. My sister-in-law was married last month. A beautiful wedding from all I have seen and heard so far. The girls were supposed to be flower girls, but unfortunately with the uncertainty of the Government shut down and how it would effect GI Joe's pay, we ended up having to cancel our trip (we were driving out of state), a couple weeks before. Thankfully, she had a third flower girl so she was not left without one.       

     I also finished my first major lace knitting project. A shawl for said sister-in-law's wedding present.  It took me several months to work on and finish. I did not begin it until after the first of the year and then was only able to knit on it a couple hours a week on average. The first picture is of the shawl still on the needles. The second of the Diva laying next to it as it is blocking and finally, a corner draped over my shoulder to give perspective of design size.

     Through out this time the girls and I have begun to play the "silver lining" game. We try to come up with things that are "good" about GI Joe being gone. So far #1 on the list: eating cereal for dinner! My girls LOVE that and the only time they are allowed to do so is when Dad's not home. There is also the fact that I am able to pick the movies for the Netflix que, we do not have cable. The amount of toilet paper I buy actually lasts until next shopping day, telling you its the little things. The left overs I put in the fridge for my lunch the next day, are still there when I go to eat them.  I can set my schedule according to my plans and be shelfish in not considering him...if I want to stay late at church talking with friends,I won't feel rushed. Finally, I can knit in bed, bwahahahaha. I'll share more as we rock along day by day.

May 2, 2011

Osama bin Laden is dead...so why the mixed emotions?

Osama bin Laden is dead.  As I do not have cable or any type of television service, I might not have known about this,well as long as it took me to check my facebook account, had there not been a breaking news banner on the Yahoo homepage. I have to tell you I am feeling a bit overwhelmed with mixed emotions.

My first reaction: "Why are we not in the streets celebrating the victory this is?" Ya know, the type that will leave us with iconal images of sailors kissing random women. Flags waving, etc. We cut off the head of the snake. Then reality set in. (*WARNING* DO NOT continue to read if you do not want to think about anything but the positive).

While this is a major victory, we must not lose sight of the fact that if he were as good a leader as we all believe him to be, he has other's trained & primed to take his place. We have increased their motivation of vengeance and retaliation, we have given them a martyr.

Do not get me wrong, I wholly support our military and their mission. This needed to be done, the man is evil. However, I am unable to ignore the trepidation I have for our service members overseas. Especially those in Afghanistan and those preparing to go. The realist in me sees an increase in not only attacks but also an a feuling of the fervor of the estimated 36,000 Taliban fighters in Afghanistan , and other Taliban around the world. I am not alone in this assessment, our government feels the same way. Warnings have been issued to all service members overseas for increased awareness and security.

I am not the only wife feeling this way either, over at SpouseBuzz wives are experiencing many of the same emotions and fear for their spouses, friends and loved ones. So we will do what we always do, take a deep breath, process the emotions, thoughts and fears and continue with our lives. To do otherwise would be giving victory to our enemies. I need the peace of God that surpasses all understanding at times like this...His strength is what keeps me going, on my own I would be a nervous wreck of tears going down many dark paths in my mind. "Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say on the Lord." Psalm 27:14(NKJ)

*Edit* Is it any surprise that within a week of their leader being killed the Taliban release a two-page report stateing on May 1 they will launch a spring offensive? A day before we as a nation knew bin Laden was dead, they show an need to prove that they are still a very real threat.

April 26, 2011

MIA and life in general

Yes, I know, I know. I promised to be better about blogging, that was um....ages ago! Seriously, though I do apologize as it has been CRAZY here at AGW HQ, (headquarters for all non-military personnel.) To be honest part of it is my paranoia for Op-Sec, the other is well, it really is hard to think about how my life could possibly be interesting for any other person, really it is not even interesting for me most days.

I will give you a quick rundown on the last couple of months with more detailed post's to follow. In the time between my last post and this one we have had:
  • One Brigade going away ceremony
  • I have achieved part of my new years goals
  • 1 knitted lace shawl complete
  • 15 pounds lost...then gained back
  • 8 pounds back off again
  • 2 date nights, including an overnight trip
  • 3 gymnastic meets
  • Several softball practices and 1 game
  • 1 two week A.T.
  • 1 four day pass
  • 2 trips to get I.D's done with another one coming up
  • 2 extra round trips to the Armory or surrounding area
  • 1 birthday apart
  • 1 major holiday apart
  • 1 Sister-in-law's wedding, which kiddos & I were unable to attend
  • At least 3 pity-parties/missing hubby
  • 1 angry child
  • 1 child doing okay (at least she's embracing the suckiness)
  • Countless replays of Kathi Tracoli's "Psalm 23" on iPod
  • 1 WONDERFUL group of ladies who may not be military wives are there for me anyway...they even listen to me whine!
  • An average of 3-5 hours sleep a night
  • 2.5 weeks with less
  • 1.5 weeks without internet access
  • 2 laptops, but only one WITH internet access
  • 1 broken power cord
  • Mobilization
  • 1 "Crap, that was a do not tell the wife topic" in a phone conversation
  • The beginning of what appears to be a great friendship with another wife
  • 1 lost voice (GI Joe isn't even here to enjoy it!)
  • Picking up some part time work
  • Over a dozen links in our countdown chain
  • Just as many pennies in our deployment pig
  • 2 dings in the hood from hail damage
  • 1 trip to the storm shelter
  • and a partridge in a pear tree! (Okay, the last did not happen, but it sounded good.)
I will post more in detail over the next week.

February 5, 2011

Finally a foot in the door

Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend a yellow ribbon workshop with GI Joe and his unit. Besides, the night away without the munchkins, the briefings were very informative. (These are open to not only to spouses and children but other family members of soldiers, so if you have a child, sibling, boy/girlfriend, fiance who will be deploying, I would encourage you to try to attend the one put on for their unit.) I have never been able to attend one of these before. The first deployment did not offer such an opportunity until reintegration and by then GI Joe was leaving on TDY orders. We are in a semi-unique situation, I say semi because it really is not that uncommon in the ANG; however, I believe he is the only man in his unit in this position...but I could be wrong. He is on loan to a unit that is not his home unit. Therefore, I know even less than usual, no names, no faces, notta.

However, last weekend changed all this. While there was a bit of information overload, there was more than enough useful resources to make up for it. Saturday was a general briefing and overview of different services available. Sunday was made up of break away sessions where you could choose which topics you really wanted to know more about.  I was able to meet not only my fearless FRG leader, (that would be family readiness group, again, open to anyone who has a loved one serving, not just spouses.), but also several of our state family support operatives. (No, that really is not their title, but should be.) I am excited, and my anxiety levels have already dropped. This group seems to not only have it together, but I also have other resources available to me if for some reason the FRG fails in its mission.

I AM NOT ALONE!!! I cannot begin to explain the waves of giddiness that engulfed me. One of the most difficult things for me in the first deployment was lack of information and lack of connectedness, since we were in a similar situation. I expected the loneliness of missing GI Joe, but was not anticipating the "alone-ness" of not having a support system in place, something I touched on with my introductory post. I was determined to do everything in my power not to experience that again. I refused to leave after general session until I was able to meet our FRG leader and offer my support, I hooked up with several of the family support operatives and am even going to attend some training. In general I have made a nuisance of myself and will continue to do so.  In short, I shoved my foot in the door and I am not going anywhere.

GI Joe was laughing at me on the way home as I excitedly talked about the information we learned and tried to sort it all out. Needless to say, he got "the look" during the following conversation:
GI Joe: "I don't know what you are excited about I have heard all this before."
Me:     "Um, really? You know my need for information and you didn't think it was necessary to pass it on?"
GI Joe: "Honey, I said I heard it, not necessarily retained it. Anyways, I don't know which parts of the information you want to know"
Me: "mmmm, try ALL OF IT!"
Yeah, I know, after 8 years of marriage we still have to work out this communication thing. However, another thing I learned was that I am not the only spouse who has to deal with lack of information. At least I am not alone.

January 26, 2011

I do not want your pity or your sympathy....but a little empathy might be nice.

As you know if you have been following, I am in the "reality has struck, give me a few weeks to be crazy before he goes" stage of deployment. I'm over emotional, highly sensitive, selfish, and totally lacking grace at the moment...so while most comments I get are of the "I don't know how you do it" variety, I have already gotten the "you knew what you were getting into, deal with it and get over yourself" type. (Insert what GI Joe affectionately calls "the look"...ya know, the one with the one raised eyebrow.) REALLY, you are seriously going to say that to me? (Which means you have probably already said it to some other military family member who might actually care about your opinion.) Everyone is entitled to their opinion, however, try to have a bit of sensitivity, I by no means want your pity, or even your sympathy, but a little empathy would be nice. I'm not perfect, I don't expect you to be, nor do I expect you to understand when you have never experienced this, nor will you, but if you ask how I am doing and I am honest with you just nod your head and pat my arm rather than berate me.

Let me clarify something; Yes, GI Joe did not join until after 9/11, therefore I "knew" he would deploy, probably multiple times before the end of his enlistment. I did a brief stint, before a knee injury took me out of the game, with the US Navy, my sister is retired Army, my father was a bubble head (Navy submariner)...while not a military brat, I am not completely naive to the military either. But you know something, it still sucks.

I've mentioned a military spouse blog I read, one of the contributing authors is a ANG wife also, she has a post that is a pretty good explanation of where I am right now. I am extremely proud of my hubby, I am not 'angry' he is going, but it still makes it difficult. The only reference point I have is a horrible first deployment which the girls & I 'survived' and a '1 year TDY' we tolerated. I want more than than that, I want to do more than just survive, I want to thrive. I know God will give me the strength to do what needs to be done, to be superwoman if necessary; however, the fact remains, my best friend, partner in crime, my confidant and lover will be leaving for over a year. He is the only adult interaction I have some days. I have to watch little hearts break as their daddy leaves, worry when they hear the news that we will have to have one of "those discussions" about daddy's safety. Its not easy. 

I know there are millions of single parents out there who do it everyday, who did not have a choice in the matter. Those parents are awesome, and I envy the ones who seem to have it down...I will never get there, I will always have chaos, no matter how many plans and back up plans I have in place. We will have to resettle our lives without GI Joe, knowing that whatever routine we get down will only be completely dismantled upon his return home as said routine will not click until just before end of deployment. There is always the fear of injury or worse lingering, and a new one this time around since both girls are a bit older: "what if daddy forgets us?" Tell me you know how to handle that one?

There are many things in our lives we think we"know" what we are getting into: marriage, kids, etc. We plan, we prepare, none the less, when reality hits we struggle. We have to readjust our perceptions, we reevaluate our plans and aspirations. Even when we have 'gone through it' before, every child, every deployment, every experience is entirely new. We may be going through it with others, yet it will be uniquely our own experience affected by our individual circumstances.

So in response to that wonderfully supportive comment: Yes, I 'knew' what I was getting into, no I am not whining about it, okay, maybe a little but then I'll be ok. I'll deal, just like I always deal, God will give me strength and wisdom and Lord willing, grace to keep my sarcasm to myself. I did not ask for, nor do I want your pity and I will try to be there for you if you ever need me, even when you 'knew' what you were getting yourself into. 

January 23, 2011

Marshmallows and other things with gooey insides.

Okay let me state this...I am not emotional (exception being my temper.), I am not a crier, I do not get PMS, I am one heartless, merciless, (seriously, 'Mercy' was my second lowest scored item on my spiritual gift assessment.), tough girl. I am the strong one, the one who has been known to laugh at someone crying in a movie. Yet somehow I have become a marshmallow! Maybe its having kids, maybe its getting older & hormones, maybe its having something worth fighting for with someone worth fighting with. Whatever it may be, I have become a marshmallow none the less. I share this with you for several reasons.

Today I experienced my first couple of 'emotional...situations' deployment related. The first being earlier in the day. You see the Prima Donna is in gymnastics, she is on the team and competes in recreational meets. After all the teams parade in and are introduced the National Anthem is sung or played. I teared up, I choked up, I HAD TO BITE MY LIP TO KEEP FROM ALL OUT BAWLING!!!!!!!! I did manage to pass my sniffles off as my head cold, the only time I have ever been grateful for one. Oh my gosh!!! I know I am not the only spouse who does this, especially while the service member is away. BUT good grief, he hasn't even left yet, pull it together girl!!!!

The second was the first of what will probably be several...spats, before he goes. This one still catches me by surprise. You see GI Joe's first overseas deployment happened so rapidly, we didn't really experience this, however, in preperation for year long TDY orders in another state after his return, we had this...the emotional distancing to make it easier to let go. Let me tell you, IT SUCKS! First there's the whole bickering/arguing over stupid crap and the guilt thing for getting upset/letting it get to me, but the worse for me is the "driving to the grocery store b/c its the only way to be alone to cry my eyes out then have everyone stare at you in the store or car next you" thing. A whole new level of suckiness, especially for someone who is not into public displays of 'emotional weakness.' Yeah, I know, get over myself, and I will...but it is this "I am strong" attitude that is the only thing that will hold me together some days in the not so distant future. What's worse, GI Joe proceeds to come up hug me, apologize and ask my forgiveness for being a jerk when I get home. What do I do?! Give him a salt water bath, all the while thinking, I am such a dork, (O.K. this is nothing new, I own up to being 'adorkable'). This is not the way to be a supportive wife...can we say "LOSER" with that big 'L' on our forehead. *Sigh* So if you happen to know me/live near me & see me crying in my car while driving down the road, really I am okay, its just the marshmallow in me getting out.

January 22, 2011

The countdown begins

I just realized the other day that my husband will be gone within 2 months.  While we have confirmation of his unit, we still do not have a report date. The reality of it can be enormous. This will be our second overseas deployment, this one so far is vastly different from the previous one. For instance: "I've had time to prepare" for it, I thought I was prepared, believed I had plan A, B, C and D in place. However, I'm not. I mean I SO AM NOT!!! All plans go out the window when you're rocking along in life and suddenly realize the day you thought was so far away, is just around the corner.

This is a bit of a schizophrenic time for me. I want it to slow down, want to be able to spend as much time with GI Joe as possible. I want our family to make as many memories as possible before he deploys. Then there are the moments when I about half wish he were already gone, after all, the sooner he leaves the sooner he will return, right?

Crazy I know. I have to keep reminding myself to focus on the here and now, something that can be difficult for a planner, to not worry about tomorrow.   Matthew 6:34 "So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today." (NLT).   This has caused me to become more protective of my family time. I'm going to be very selfish over the next weeks, especially as his deployment date draws near.

*Note* After drafting this last night for posting today, GI Joe received a drill letter stating all pertinent dates for the next 3 months. This includes going away ceremony and later the actual Mobilization date. We've been waiting on this for months, expecting it, yet as he showed me I felt that "punched in the gut" feeling. Ok, so now this is really real. Now we can begin the countdown in earnest.

January 21, 2011

Not a New Years Resolution but some goals for the year

I know this is late and I apologize, they say it takes a month to form a new habit...guess it will take me longer.

I decided not to make any New Years resolutions this year, not that I usually do; although I did decide to set some goals to accomplish this year. By setting goals over stating resolutions I have given myself some specific things to accomplish. I thought I would share the general goals with you as you will be hearing about them over the course of this blog.  I'll try to keep this short:
  1. Return to a healthier lifestyle.
  2. Simplify, by removing, reusing or re purposing.
  3. Increase my sewing skills.
  4. Increase my knitting skills.
1)  I have already implemented some successful changes. Since the beginning of the month I have lost 10lbs, simply by changing my eating habits and dietary intake.  I have accomplished this with 2 simple changes, an increase in fruits & veggies and eating 4-5 small meals of about 400 calories a day. I still need to increase my exercise, but because I have already seen results, I am motivated to keep at it.

2) This is a goal that will be the most difficult, in that one of the biggest things I need to go through and thin out is my library. I am a bibliophile, it is difficult for me to let go of books plain and simple. But the fact that there is not one room in my house that does not have a book...ok, maybe the laundry room, its going to be hard. All the jokes you hear about women and shoes, that's me & books. If I am interested in something, I find a book or two,(or three....) on it. The girls and I are going to have a toy sorting day, I promised any toys they decide to part with at a garage sale this spring they can keep the money. And finally clothes, not that we have a A LOT, but we have a lot! I mean, really, there is no reason we should have as many articles of clothing as we do. I know the girls grow quickly out of theirs, but seriously, there are clothes they rarely wear. I still have clothes that "I will fit into again"...*Smirk* I don't see that happening, and if it does, well, I'll have an excuse to hit the stores. Of course, GI Joe's gear going with him will help tremendously.

3) I sew, I enjoy sewing, I'm not bad at it. However, I could be better, and I could use my skills for good. I watch all these DIY reuse or re purpose shows, or read blogs. I could do that. Not to mention, my body type, no matter my size, has never made it easy to find good fitting clothes. I could remedy that. Again, waiting on GI Joe, as my machine is hidden behind his gear. However, once he deploys, I'll be setting it up permanently. I have a list of specific skills I want to improve or learn and will post about my learning curve as I go. I also plan on improving my hand sewing skills.

4) Finally, I want to increase my skills and knowledge of knitting. I took lessons for the first time last summer and am ADDICTED! I love it. There is something so calming about it, but I have a lot to learn and many skills to improve. Specifically I want to FINALLY learn to knit socks, the original reason I wanted to learn to knit to begin with. I have fallen in love with lace knitting and look forward to not only improve those skills, but knitting shawls, stoles and other lace goodies.

I have alterior motive to these goals. Last deployment I "survived," but this deployment I want to thrive. I have already warned friends I will not be ashamed to impose on our friendship, but I want to use this time to focus some energy on myself. (When its not being directed at the girls of course.) Having GI Joe gone will allow a little extra time and the perfect motivation to keep me busy. So hang on for what I am assuming will be a wild ride.

January 6, 2011

Christmas & other excuses

I apologize on the long break between posts, beginning a blog just before Christmas was definately not one of my brighter moments! My Christmas was wonderful and as usual a bit stressful, thank you OCD planning gene.  *As a side note, while I am a planner, my life rarely follows my plans and I often feel it is nothing more than controlled chaos; however, if I did not plan, well lets just say it would take all of GI Joe's unit activated to bring some semblance of order to our lives!*

This year we did not decorate, first off we were a bit late getting to it. I was just considering how much effort I wanted to put into moving GI Joe's gear, (the stuff he normally leaves @ the armory, but has to have for transfer), which is of course blocking EVERYTHING else, to get to the Christmas decorations, when I recieved a call from one of my wonderful sisters-in-law.  Our Christmas present this year from her and a couple of the brothers, was a trip out to see GI Joe's parents & some of the sibs for Christmas! Problem solved, we put up the 12" tree that is normally in the Diva & Prima Donna's room on the coffee table.  Nice...less stress, no mess. Did I mention that I was actually proud of myself for having our decorations down by Valentines Day last year! (The first deployment it was mid-march.)

Really, the most stressful part of this whole plan, was now instead of sending Christmas presents after Christmas, I needed to come up with something to take with us, at least for the youngest sibs. GI Joe is the oldest of nine, the 2 youngest are 5 (sil) & 7 (bil) years older than our oldest. Budget constraints as well as having not seen said family for 3 years, lead to a bit of stress of what to get. Brother-in-law, easy: he paintballs, get him a big box of paintball refills. In comes my new addiction for SIL3, for whom I decided to knit up a gift. Surely, I could knit up a pretty lace scarf in DK weight.  *insert sarcastic chuckle* WHAT WAS I THINKING! I was practically begging Murphey to visit, and visit he did. I have not had that much problem beginning a project since the first time I tried knitting with lace weight yarn. I would like to say, I finished said scarf in time to give it to her on Christmas.  Okay, Christmas evening, but hey it was still Christmas! And of course in the excitement forgot to snap a pic of it.

We flew out to see the family Thursday - Monday of Christmas weekend. While I wish it could be a little longer, I was thankful for what we got, and realized it was probably best as it wasn't long enough to make ourselves nuisances or to have any drama evolve. Other than my marathon knitting while trying to pack and get everything in order to leave, and anxiety attacks which now plague me when I fly, it was a stress free holiday. (As it is holiday season, we will exclude normal everyday stress from previous statement.) It was great to see the family again.

As I mentioned before hubby hasn't seen his parents & most siblings since just before his previous deployment. Come to think of it, it seems the last few times the whole or most of the family has been able to get together has been before deployment of one of the brothers, (hubby & one brother are both ARNG, another is a Jarhead Marine.) or funerals. Seriously, if it weren't for SIL2 getting married this spring, I would think we didn't know how to visit without some form of "cloud overhead."

My girls decided they adore their "Dedushka," (Grandpa in Russian.) and my oldest, the Diva, practically glued herself to him when she wasn't playing with the new husky puppy. She did learn to gather eggs from the chickens, which will eventually come in handy when we get our own. I had a great time visiting with my Mother-in-law & SIL1, (She is probably the one I am closest to, but is also 1 of 3 girls in the birth order). My MIL & I even made tentative plans for the girls & I to visit this summer/fall. Then ofcourse there was SIL2's impending marriage to discuss. So lots of visiting, lots of good homemade food, especially of the Russian variety which my dear hubby doesn't always get led to a very enjoyable Christmas.

I was actually thinking of what to write in a new post while visiting and upon returning home. I have to admit, it is hard sometimes. I began to plan out a New Years post, as I was thinking about goals I wanted to accomplish in new year, which will be following, I am still working out a couple of them. However, the tasks of returning home and then actually doing something New Years Eve and having a late Christmas with one of my sisters & her family on New Years Day, provided the "perfect excuse" to procrastinate.

This year for New Years Eve, we actually did something. Last year we went to some friends for dinner, the kiddos got to spend the night & what did GI Joe & I do? Come home and go to bed! We're getting SO old.  This year we went over to a couple's house from our church who we are friends with. I love "June", really she is a blessing. I tease her & call her "June" because when we first met she struck me as one of these "June Cleaver" women who have it all together.  I have since learned she is just as human (crazy) as me, but has the benefit of a couple more years of life experience, and peace of God to give her that "calm, collected" appearence. I believe when I grown up I want to be like her...ofcourse that would involve growing up.

We had a great time playing board games, and farkle, a dice game with "June & Ward". I was also witness to the dark side of June, she can be VERY competative, but in a fun way. Our kids played together, including a dress-up/play acting game, in which I gained a son-in-law as the Diva and " the Beaver" were married, which ofcourse upset the Prima Donna as there wasn't time for her to marry the Beaver. We rang in the New Year, then promptly headed home to bed.

Slowly we are returning to life as normal, such as it is. I will be finishibng my New Years post and getting it up in the next few days. For now let me wish everyone a  HAPPY NEW YEAR!