Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Reality - Check

Lately I've been making a lot of mental lists of things that I need to do. With two kids under the age of two I should probably be making physical lists...but I can't find my notebook (mental note - buy notebook). Knowing that I am going to be moving in a month makes things a little more stressful - and the lists more necessary. Unfortunately, most of the stuff on my list is still sitting there undone. It goes something like this:

  • Fold Laundry - Check
  • Wash Laundry - Check...oh, wait... there's already another load???
  • Fold More Laundry - how about just piling them on the chair for now?
  • Get Clothes out of dryer - (hmm, if I don't do that one I won't have to fold it!)
  • Pack things that I won't need before move - (but, I can't pack that because I might use it!)
  • Sort through clothes to decide what to take and what to pack into storage - Or not 
  • List things we don't want to put in storage on Craigslist and Lewis Yard Sales - Check
  • Make grocery list and two week meal plan - Check
  • Call TriCare - that can definitely wait
  • Set up 2 year appt for Ana - Check
  • Talk to housing about leave date - Check
  • Face Reality - Check (wait! I don't remember putting that on my list!)

Last night, after Jeremiah talked to housing about a move out date, it hit me. Approximately one month from now I will be headed for Wisconsin...husbandless. No matter how much I sweeten it with "I'm going to be spending the next year with family that I rarely get to see" it still hurts. Since I first heard the news that Jeremiah is deploying I've barely shed a tear. Some part of me has been refusing to face the reality that he's going to be gone.

But as our house has slowly emptied out of furniture that we have sold it's becoming harder and harder to ignore the obvious.

Last night it hit me full force. It felt like a physical hurt deep in my chest. And the tears came.

Watching my daughter snuggle with her daddy last night - grabbing a blanket and asking to "cuddle" then giving him kisses - makes it even harder. How do you explain to a two year old why Daddy isn't coming home? She is a total Daddy's girl and cries when he just leaves for work. He is her favorite play mate; her very best friend. She's going to be so lost without him for a whole year.

How do we fit a whole year's worth of family time into the month that we have left?

So here's my list for this weekend...

  • Put off everything on my to-do list except for good quality family time - Check (especially if that means no laundry!!!!)

Daddy and the Diva playing under the blanket

Our Family on Easter Sunday

Trenton and Daddy!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Pictures is Worth a Thousand Words...

I've seen a few people doing "Wordless Wednesday" - I thought it would be fun to do one myself :)

Daddy-Son Bonding

The Little Diva


Mt. Rainier

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

First I was like "huh?" then I was like "what?" then I got a little bored...

We are now going on Day Four of being sick...runny noses, coughs, interesting diapers, even a little throw up. Oh, and we can't forget the lack of sleep.

This is at least the second time this year that we have all been sick (together). But I won't even get started on why I think that is.

One of those not so happy moments!
Thankfully, Trenton is the happiest sick baby that you will ever meet...and Ana hasn't been the little stinker that she normally is when she's sick. Now, don't get me wrong, she's still been a stinker. Just not quite as bad as usual!

Did you know, they do not make cough and cold medicine for children under the age of six years old??? I After having sent my husband to the store...after having laid there and listened to my pitiful son (and his pitiful daddy) cough all night long. I even heard my daughter cough a few times.

There is a definite upside to sick children. It is not watching Bolt...five a row. Although, I do have to say, even after having watched it multiple times over multiple days (I think we might be going on to weeks now) - the movie still makes me laugh. Sometimes even before they say the line because I know that it's coming. It's the mark of a good movie!

Mr. Smiley even when he's sick!
Anyways, the upside of sick children - they sleep longer (ok, not by much) and they are SUPER cuddly. I don't believe that I've gone longer than about 30 minutes without cuddling one or the other of my children. And Ana has been handing out the kisses like they are candy. Kissing my cheek and my forehead and then my other cheek and then my mouth and then my chin and then my nose. It's really cute, actually. Other than when she starts sucking on my cheek. That's not so much cute as funny.

We now seem to be on the up-swing of this sickness - hopefully, in the next day or two we'll all be better. But, in the mean time, I'm going to enjoy bumming on the couch,getting baby snuggles, and watching Bolt.

Let it begin, let it begin!!!

All set to enjoy the movie!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Careless Talk Got There First...

Operational Security (aka OPSEC). I mentioned it in an earlier post. At one time OPSEC was a way of life for the American people. Those were very different days. Days when it usually took hours or even days before the whole world knew when a celebrity had their latest melt down, or the newest hit song came out. Days when instant gratification wasn't common and people believed that "good things come to those who wait."

Days when a person's safety was more important than everyone else's "right" to know what was happening. Days when the military was run by seasoned veterans and not dictated by pansy politicians who have never even donned a uniform much less served in a war. Days when the media understood the difference between a sensational story and the importance of a mission. Days when you would be considered a traitor for "leaking" information that would potentially put the lives of American Troops in danger. Days when the military uniform and the American flag were respected by the mass public. Ah, but those are all separate rants.

Nevertheless, some of the mottos that they had during both the World War I and World War II eras are still true. They said, and believed, things like "Loose lips sink ships" and "The battle-wise infantryman is careful about what he says and writes, how about you?" and "If you tell where he is going he may never get there." Back in those days OPSEC was something that the general public knew about and understood...but, then again, most of them had a family member in the war.

War, however ill-liked it may be, is still a part of the America we live in; but fewer people (if you look at the overall ratio) are called upon to serve. And, thus, fewer people understand the importance of OPSEC. But in this age of instant information via live TV and the internet it is more vital than ever.

As an army wife about to go through my first deployment I take this very seriously. One of my biggest fears is my husband coming home in a box...and having to raise my children on my own. I can't even begin to recount the number of nightmares I've had about that very thing since my husband joined the Army. This is no trifling matter to me. So here is my general run down of OPSEC.

What is it? Boiled down, it is keeping all "potential adversaries" in the dark. Making sure that they don't know about our capabilities and specific intentions (and often even general intentions) by safe-guarding all information that gives evidence of our planning and execution of sensitive activities. It protects our operations being planned, in progress, and completed. Military (and other Departments of Defense Agencies) success is depends on secrecy and surprise.

What most people don't understand is that even though something may not be a secret persay it can still be critical information. Examples of this are details about times and dates of a units deployment; references to problems with a units morale and security issues (any weak points that the unit may have); details concerning security procedures, etc. These are things that I will be extremely careful about sharing. Especially on a forum as public and unsecured as a blog. What may seem insignificant to the reader (and even myself) may be the missing piece of a puzzle for someone who wishes to do our troops harm.

What can I do? Here are a few things - DO NOT discuss:

 Current and future operations
 Travel Itineraries
 Operational Planning Information
 Readiness Status
 Building Plans
 General Morale
 Anything to do with the Mission, Equipment, Time Frame, or Destinations.

Our troops really are counting on you! 

I understand that most of those asking questions have only the best intentions at heart. They want to know specifics so that they can better pray for our family. But there are certain things that just are better left unsaid. On the internet and over "open air waves" you really never know who's listening or watching. It gives a whole knew meaning to "Too Much Information!"

For those of you who are out there with those good intentions, I will try to share as much information as I can without feeling like what I am saying may put my husband and those serving with him in jeopardy (following the "when in doubt, don't" philosophy). Thank you for understanding!!!

  "Even minutiae should have a place in our collection, 
for things of a seemingly trifling nature, when 
enjoined with others of a more serious cast, may lead
to valuable conclusion
              — George Washington, known OPSEC practitioner

Praying that this is never our family!

For more detailed information about OPSEC please check out this link.

***Images are from World War II Poster Collection from the Northwestern University Library***

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Little Bit Crazy...

"I can't talk to you imaginary friends don't think you're real." I still get a kick out of that bumper sticker I saw over 4 years ago. I understand someways its me.

I stated in my profile that I think differently than other people. I live my life on a completely different wave length and have been accused of having my head in the clouds. It's truer than I'd like to admit and I've been this way for as long as I can remember.

It started sometime between the time I could talk and about 4 years of age. I had imaginary pets. Some of them with superdog powers. Able to run faster than a speeding van. Leap tall buildings in a single bound. Slip through a window cracked open less than an inch. My family loves to give me a hard time about this. I really don't remember it very well.

How my horde of imaginary friends came about is a long story filled with details that most of you don't really care about. Lets just suffice it to say that by the time I was 8 or 9 those imaginary friends were my daily companions; and they weren't just animals - there were a few imaginary people too. I talked to them, played with them, vented to them, cried on their imaginary shoulders...somewhere around that age one of the neighbors saw me outside talking away to the air and asked my mother if I was ok. I guess her kids either never had imaginary friends or had outgrown them by the time they were my age. She thought that I might be a few french fries short of a happy meal.

I suppose this is the point that I should clarify one thing...I knew that my "friends" weren't real. They were figments of my imagination that I could morph and control to suit my needs. I think that's why I liked them so much. That, and they gave me entertainment in my otherwise boring and lonely life.

I'm sure my parents were repeatedly told that it was ok that I had imaginary friends so long as I outgrew them...but surely by the age of 13, when I was still talking to and playing with my imaginary friends, my parents had to be concerned. To their credit, the never said anything to me or criticized me for it.

As a matter of fact, the opposite is true. They saw my wild imagination as a good thing, a sign of creativity. They encouraged me to use it to write. Poetry, short stories, notes, journals. My dad is hoping for a book; so is my husband.

To this day my imagination still runs rampant. I can come up with a story out of thin air. And, while I have some control over my characters,  most of the time they kind of create themselves. Sometimes they say and do things that surprise even me. Occasionally I find that they are a bit reminiscent of close friends or family.

They are still my friends. I still vent to them and cry on their imaginary shoulders. They still keep me company. When everyone else has failed me they have been there.

Yes, I know that they are not real. I've never confused my imagination with reality. Nevertheless, they are a part of who I am. And if that makes me a little bit crazy...well, maybe I can blame it on my parents (hehehe)!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Ding Dong The Witch is Dead...

I was on Facebook when the news started trickling out - Osama Bin Laden was dead. There were varying degrees of shock, celebration and patriotic pride and just a touch of fear. I think my emotions ran the gamut.

Over the last couple days I've been watching the status updates. From the conspiracy theorists, who claim that Osama is either not dead or has been dead since 2002, to the critics who are wondering why everyone is celebrating a death to the celebrators who are thrilled that this evil man is finally dead.

And then there have been the status updates that surprised me: Bin Laden is dead lets bring the troops home. Some of this is coming from military wives! Really?

I'll be honest and admit that internally I did a little happy dance to "Ding Dong the witch is dead" when I heard the news. Bin Laden was an evil man that caused an untold amount of heartache to thousands of Americans. He is responsible for so many deaths.

Would I have rather he accepted Christ and become a changed man? Yes.

But he didn't. And as Proverbs 11:10 states "When it goeth well with the righteous, the city rejoiceth: and when the wicked perish, [there is] shouting." Yes, that includes me. And I'm not going to be ashamed of it.

I'm also enough of a realist to understand that this was merely a small victory and hardly the end of the war. It's a moral booster for the American people - for the troops - but little more. The only way this affects my husband's deployment is to make it slightly more dangerous for him in the threat of retaliation. And that is a very real concern.

Killing Osama stops the war no more than cutting the tail of a rattlesnake kills the snake. To borrow the status update from my friend Limatunes "This whole "Bin Laden is Dead" thing reminds me a lot of the movie The Kingdom. At the end the one FBI agent asks another what he said to calm his colleague and he recalls telling her, "We're going to kill them all." Then later you see an Arab boy grieving over his dead terrorist father and to comfort him another man tells him, "We're going to kill them all." This isn't over.... not by a LONG shot"  I think she hit the nail on head with that one. He was a leader in this terrible war - but not the one solely behind it. These terrorists are not motivated be a person but by a deep seated ideal. Few things are so difficult to kill as this type of ideal.

As an Army wife I am more concerned than ever. Already the threat levels have been raised on all military posts (and I'm guessing all government related facilities as well as airports, etc.). Operational Security (OPSEC) and Personal Security (PERSEC) are going to be even more vital now. Please be understanding if I don't answer when my husband is deploying, what unit he is with, where he is going, and when he is returning. This is too public of a forum and "Loose lips sink ships." I have no desire to compromise my husband and his Unit's security even to the most innocent of people. (I'll go more in depth on all of that in another blog).

Today I am celebrating the death of a wicked man, I am mourning the loss of a soul, and I am praying for the safety of my husband and all Service Members in this time of war!