Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: He's HOME!!!

Just a few pics from Homecoming Day - I'll post R&R pics after he leaves. Right now I'm just enjoying time with my soldier :)

Seeing him for the first time
First Hug!!!

Happy Tears

Not too Sure about this man claiming to be Daddy!

Holding both his kiddos


Happy to Have her Daddy!

Toys Daddy Brought Home From his layover in Ireland

THERE'S Daddy!!!

Ok, I'll let you hold me!

Daddy's Girl

Christmas Day

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I Don't Want to Miss A Thing

Yesterday will most definitely go down as one of the best days of my life. After six very long months (and this last week being long enough to qualify as three), I finally have my husband home. It was a long, hard day filled with emotional ups and downs but once my husband was in my arms again all the frustrations of the day meant nothing. The only thing that mattered was that he was home!!!!

I feel like a kid on Christmas morning who discovered they got everything on their Christmas list. Even the real pony!

My biggest concern was that the Li'l Diva wouldn't want anything to do with the daddy she hasn't seen in so long; that she would take a long time to warm up to him. All my fears were for nought! She was a bit hesitant at first ,though all smiles; within minutes she was quite happy to be in Daddy arms. For the rest of the evening she just wanted her daddy. She wanted to sit by him at the restaurant, she wanted him to change her dirty diaper (lucky for me, I've got a guy who doesn't mind being on diaper duty!), she wanted to hold his hand while he was driving. The role of "Daddy's Girl" was slipped back into as though he had only been gone for a few days and not several months. And Daddy is more tightly wrapped around her little finger than ever.

The Little Man is still not sure who this man is that is claiming to be "Daddy" (I thought he was just that man in the pictures???) but his friendly, easy going personality - and the fact that this new man is so much fun and feeds him lots of food - has made the transition an easy one.

Last night, after all the craziness of the day was over, I laid there next to sleeping husband completely exhausted but not wanting to sleep. My Soldier's time here is so short that I want to savor every moment of it. Floating through my mind were they lyrics "I don't want to close my eyes, I don't want to fall asleep, 'cause I'll miss you babe. And I don't want to miss a thing. Even when I dream of you, the sweetest dream will never do. I'd still miss you babe, and I don't want to miss a thing." The song embodied everything I felt at that moment. The sweetness. The happiness. The love. The desire to hold on tight and never let go again.

I want to remember these moments forever. The smell of him. The children's laughter. The feel of his arms around me. The smiles. The perfection of the night. For the next two weeks I plan to treasure every fleeting moment. My Christmas has come early and it is perfection.

Merry Christmas to you all and may you all have as wonderful a Christmas as mine!!!

Daddy's Girl 
Happy to be a whole family again!

P.S. More pictures to come later!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Daddy Picture Books Project

Before my husband deployed I asked some of my military wife friends for ideas to help my children keep daddy real, even if they don't actually remember them. I received some wonderful tips and have implemented several of them.

Scattered around the house are various pictures of Daddy, some of him in uniform and some not. We also Skype occasionally and talk on the phone frequently. I try to talk about Daddy frequently - anything I can to keep him fresh in their minds. We got them Build-A-Bears with a little voice recording inside personalized for each child (and my sweet hubby got one for me!). I bought picture dog tags personalized for my kiddos (and myself) that hang around their Build-A-Bear's necks.

The kiddos playing with their "Daddy Picture Books"

One of my favorite ideas, though, was a personalized picture book. I put it off for a while because the recommendation was to get the pictures laminated in order to hold up under the use of toddler hands. I wasn't sure where to get them laminated (and, being perfectly honest here, I didn't really put in the energy to look!).  

After much procrastination I stumbled across a laminator on sale and found myself without excuse! I ordered it, along with some laminating pouches to fit my 4X6 pictures; I used 20 pictures per book, placing them back to back which meant that I needed a total of 20 pouches. After I laminated the pictures I used a hole-punch and then stuck a key chain ring through the whole to hold it together. I'm thinking I might have to use two key chain rings per book but otherwise they are perfect. Each book contains pictures of that child with their daddy doing various activities (swinging, eating, sleeping, etc). Some are pictures of us as a family. It's absolutely perfect. Easy to make - I definitely recommend it! I'm planning on making another one of extended family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins) to keep faces familiar :)

The Li'l Diva's "Daddy Photo Book"
(her's has a flashlight attached)

Little Man's Daddy Picture Book
(isn't this picture the sweetest thing ever???)

Inside Shot 

The Li'l Diva with her Daddy Photo Book

Pointing and saying "Daddy" - totally melts my heart!

Little Man with his Build-A-Bear - complete with ACU's

The Li'l Diva with her Build-A-Bear (er, uh, Monkey)
She refuses to keep it's clothes on. She has also named him "Daddy George" in honor
of her love for daddy mixed with her love for Curious George

Thursday, December 8, 2011

All I Want for Christmas is You

Holidays are a big deal for me. It isn't so much about the holiday itself as it is the family time. It's about getting together and enjoying lots of food and laughs and quality time together. This past Thanksgiving I spent with my husband's side of the family. And while his parents treat me like a daughter, with the extended family I'm definitely "the wife" even after 4 1/2 years of marriage and two kids. So the family function that has always been  an awkward and uncomfortable situation when spent with his extended family was a triple reminder of how much I missed my husband. How much I wished he was home. None of this was made better by the fact that my children were sick and clingy and crabby. And very unfriendly.

It all made me realize how much I wanted my husband home for Christmas. Last year I was bemoaning the fact that the only ones I had to spend Christmas with was my husband and children...this year I would have lots of family and friends but no husband. And it was killing me. Nearly every Christmas song was just another depressor. From "I'll be Home for Christmas" to "Blue Christmas" to Michael Buble's version of "All I Want for Christmas is You." I was a veritable watering pot. It'd been over five months since I had seen my husband off to a war zone and I was ready to have him safe in my arms again. Even if just for our two week R&R.

Which made it so much worse when he called to say that the January date that he was supposed to come home on R&R wasn't going to happen. He had a required two week training which just happened to fall on the very date he was supposed to be back in the States. I was devastated. Suddenly less than two months went to over two months and no amount of positive thinking was working. I just wanted my husband. I wanted to kiss him and hold him. I wanted him next to me in bed at night. I wanted to cuddle with him on the couch. I wanted to watch him playing with our children. I wanted him home. I felt angry, depressed, sad - everything except a holiday spirit.

Then, in one phone call, everything changed. My husband called to let me know that he'd be home early...he'd be home for Christmas. Out with the anti-depression ::almost:: cure (aka chocolate) and in with the pedicures and mistletoe! My Christmas wish did come true. I've got the best Christmas Gift of all coming my way. 

This Christmas may or may not be white - to be honest, I don't really care - but it certainly won't be blue. We've got Christmas plans made, a cabin booked, and alone time scheduled. Oh, and lots of snuggle time planned. So, if you don't hear from me over Christmas and New Years...well, don't worry about me, I'm busy!

My new favorite Christmas song:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Kissing Cousins, Best of Friends

Sharing some McD's ice cream :-)

These few months here in Wisconsin have been wonderful. For me and for my kids. I love the fact that they have gotten to know their cousins and aunts and uncles. Watching the bond grow - especially between my Li'l Diva and cousin, who is a mere 2 months older - has been one of my favorite parts. Hearing their giggles and watching the silly things they come up with, from jumping on the bed to running around the house being monkeys, they are always putting a smile on my face.

This morning Ana peered out the window questioning "Where's Jackson? Where'd he go? Where is he? I don' know! Looking for Jackson, Mommy. Jackson lost?" It was cute and funny and sweet. And while I know that she will miss her new best friend terribly, I'm so thankful that my Li'l Diva has had the chance to form this friendship!

Kissing Cousins???

Who stinks??? I do!!! lol

Eating Cake Pops at Their Special Table!!!

Two Peas in a, uh, ON a pod!!! lol

Watching 'Curious George'

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Refusing to be Humpty Dumpty

To say that I have cried about missing my husband only four or five times in the last four months sounds harsh - to say that those times that I have cried the tears lasted only a few minutes and were never a complete break down sounds even worse. But it's true. I have shed few tears over my husband's absence and those tears have been tightly controlled. Oh, I've cried a lot since he's been gone...usually in exhausted frustration dealing with the Li'l Diva. But when it comes to crying solely about how much I miss my husband, those times are few and far between.

Do I miss my husband? Absolutely. I miss him so much sometimes I feel as though I am breaking inside. And that? That is exactly the problem.

I feel a bit like Humpty Dumpty perched precariously on a rather high wall. If I fall I will shatter and not even the most ingenious or powerful will be able to put the pieces back into place. I wonder if, once I start breaking down, I'll ever be able to stop. If I'll be able to find the strength, the courage, to go on. Or will I just be a broken mess doing my best to find the pieces much less put them back together.

Last night was one of the few times I allowed myself to acknowledge the hurt. The pain of missing him. It was Friday which meant date night. Had my husband been home the children and I would have been dressed in our RED shirts, as we are every Friday, and we all would have gone out for dinner. Maybe to Taco Bell or McDonalds; we might have even splurged a little and dined at Panera Bread. Or possibly eaten at the mall. Then we would have done a little shopping. Mostly window shopping but also picking up a few necessities such as diapers and the like. Then we would have headed home making a quick stop by Redbox to pick up a movie that we had yet to see. Once we arrived home we would have played with the kiddos for a little bit then gotten them ready for bed, tucked them in, and settled on the couch to watch a movie.

Friday nights are very routine and yet very special. It is the one night that is set aside to just enjoy each other as a family. We value that. We might argue every other day of the week but almost never do we fight or bicker on a Friday. It's too sacred. Too special. It's our own mini holiday every week. A tradition we started when we married and have continued even with the changes that children and military have brought into our lives. 

Which makes Friday the hardest day of the week for me. Especially when I see the status updates of my friends enjoying their date nights. I don't wish them any ill - I'm happy that there are those out there who are able to enjoy and strengthen their marriages - I just wish I could be a part of it.

Yesterday my children and I were dressed in our RED shirts and our remembrance included my husband. Still, despite feeling a little blue, I was ok. Until something came on the news about how the returning military was struggling with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and Sean Hannity made the comment that not enough was done to honor the sacrifices of those that have served and their families.

A little bit of my protective shell cracked. And I hurt. I cried for the sacrifices we are making. The date nights that we have missed. The special occasions that my husband is unable to be here for; missing our son's first birthday, his first steps, his first words, our daughter moving to a big girl bed, the many ways she has grown up and changed. The hugs and kisses we are all missing out on. The family we will never be able to get back. 

For a few minutes I allowed myself just to miss him.

And then I pulled myself back together, patched up the crack, and closed out the memories and the pain. Refusing to allow myself to fall, to break and shatter.

I don't know how much longer I will be able to remain on my perch. So many times the stress of this deployment has caused me to wobble. Only the miracle of God's grace and my stubborn determination coupled with my fear of the results has allowed me to stay strongly put together.

But, for as long as I am able, I will stay strong. I will not allow myself, my marriage, my family to become another casualty of war. Refusing to become just another Humpty Dumpty.

One of our last date nights before my husband deployed.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Fun at the Farm

A little over a month ago a very talented friend of mine did a photo shoot for me; the special occasion was my son's first birthday but we threw in some family shots and, of course, a few of my Li'l Diva! For those of you that don't know, my hubby was raised on a farm. I just had to do a farm theme (complete with the little red tractor AND the little red wagon!) as I knew he would love it. I just wish he could have been here to be a part of the shoot. Ah, such is the life of a military family!

Anyways, I have finally gotten around to putting the pictures on my computer. They are just way too adorable not to share even if I am rather late in doing so!


This just melts my heart every time!

My Handsome Little Man is ONE!!!!

Happy Little Family (minus Daddy)

My Beautiful Little Diva

Chasing after the kitty



Little Country Boy!

So sweet...

Mr. Smiley on his Tractor!

Too Beautiful!

Monday, October 17, 2011

My New Love Affair

Pinterest, oh, Pinterest, how do I love thee! How my heart quickeneth at the thought of you and my visage doth glow at the sight of you. You hath filled a void in mine life that I did not know existed until you entered my life. When we are apart I await, with bated breath, our next encounter. You are, to me, better than all the websites in all of the World Wide Web. Even the great Facebook doth not hold a candle to your wonders. You hold my interests, my fascination, my heart, and much too much of my time. You are my hero and I, your most humble slave.

All kidding aside - Pinterest truly is my newest and fondest addiction. I first heard of it a few months back but, after seeing how many of my friends claimed addiction to it, I decided I didn't want to get "involved." No matter how much toting of what a wonderful website it was could make me give in; I already have my too-much-time-consuming addiction to Facebook, I so did not need another addiction!

And then a friend sent me an invitation. I debated just deleting the email but after seeing a super cute project she had done with her son and finding out that she got the idea from Pinterest, I decided I had to check it out for myself.

It was love at first sight

A virtual pinboard to share ideas and recipes and personal styles and decorating ideas and craft ideas and funny sayings and awesome pictures and so, so much more - all in these perfectly compartmentalized labeled personalized boards. A way for me to save the websites and pictures of things that I adore without putting a bookmark on my computer toolbar and having to worry about losing it.  ::Insert hysterical squealing here::

The best part? They have an app for that!!! Thank you, iPhone. Now, I can spend hours on my phone browsing my friends pins and searching for anything and everything I can think of.

My poor facebook account has taken a back seat as my time is suddenly consumed with pinning. Within two weeks of getting addicted joining Pinterest, I had both of my sisters on and loving it and my mom even asked me to send her an invite. It is merely too wonderful to resist!

And now, I'll have to ask you to please excuse me as I see that there are new pins that I am simply compelled to check out!!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Wild Child's Moms Day Out

So today we, the Wild Childs Mom Daycare and Homeschool (ok, so I totally made that up), got several moms and kiddos together and went to a very hands-on children's museum, The Building for Kids and with 24 plus kids and 10 moms we were able to get in at an awesome discount. Total and absolute blast!

My silly Kiddos!

Playing around

Most of our group

Playing the nursery...with some rather "detailed" babies :-/

Going down the slide

Hiding in the Pumpkin

Happy, everyone???

Cousins :-)

Lunch Time!

My Beautiful Little Diva

They loved the falling balls!

Water Room!

They LOVE playing in the water!

One of the Favorite Rooms!

My oldest sister and my baby boy :-)