Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Not Goodbye

Nearly two months ago my husband left on his first deployment. I keep telling myself that this is not "Goodbye" merely a "See you Later." It's still difficult!

Here are a few pictures of our last hour together (unfortunately I didn't think to get any of him and me)

Mr. Smiley and Daddy! (flag background done by Close at Heart)

The Little Diva and Daddy chilling at the PX

Playing with Daddy's PC while we ate our last meal together

So happy boy with no clue as to the changes that were coming

LOVE the expression on my Little Man's face!

Last Kisses

Last Hugs!

WE MISS YOU DADDY!!! Hurry home safe and soon!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Toothbrush Safari

Bed time routines...they make my life easier. Most of the time. Snack, change the diaper and into jammies, pick up toys, brush teeth, cuddle time, and into bed.

Only, brushing a two year old's teeth isn't always easy. Especially when she gets bored about 10 seconds into the brushing. And then she wants to do it herself...which means most of the toothpaste winds up on her cheeks instead of her teeth.

Now, every night, we have added a Safari to our bed time routine. A special jungle safari in her mouth. The Little Diva starts getting bored, I get excited and tell her that I see an elephant in her mouth and I have to brush it out. A few seconds later I tell her to say "AH!" When she opens her mouth I tell I see a monkey. Or a Jaguar. Or a Crocodile. With each animal we brush really fast to get it out. And she loves it. 

After I feel her teeth are fairly well brushed I let her brush the animals out of her mouth herself. And she comes up with her own set of animals to brush out. Brushing the teeth is no longer a battle but now a fun adventure.

I can't remember where I read this night saving tip...but to whomever it was that came up with the ingenious idea. Thank You!!!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

RED Fridays

Today, as I have almost every Friday since sometime in 2005, I donned a red shirt. I dressed my daughter in a cute red top as well, and my son had red stripes in his outfit. The majority of people seeing us out would thinking nothing of it beyond that we all sort of matched. But for me it holds a special significance.

You see, back in 2005 I received an email encouraging all American's to wear RED on Fridays. RED standing for "Remembering Everyone Deployed." The e-mail stated that it didn't matter what you're political standing was. Or even if you agreed with the war that we found ourselves entangled in. The vast military force doesn't have a say in where they go fight or what they do. Their Commanders say go and they go. It's their duty. And they sacrifice their lives for the safety and freedom of their fellow countrymen. So, whether or not you agree with the wars, our military still needs support - morale boosters - to know that their country that they love so much they are willing to die for it is behind them. One way to do that is to wear red.

The email touched a soft spot in my heart. I've heard the stories from countless Vietnam veterans, my parents included, on how ashamed they were made to feel when they returned home. Just for doing their job. For serving their country. At the time that I received the email, I had no loved ones serving in the military. But I knew that I never wanted to make any Service Member feel ashamed for their time in service. For doing what their leaders asked of them. And so I made it a point to wear red on Fridays. (On a total side note - if you do have an issue with the wars we are in, don't picket or protest at military posts/bases. Don't aim your protests at Service Members or their families. Go picket and protest at your state capitol. Or, better yet, in Washington DC - maybe even the White House...the military has long ago ceased to be able to make their own decisions. We are now forced into wars of politics and dictated by politics. Too frequently by pansy politicians who have never served a day in military boots or on a battle field!)

::OK, rant over::

For six years now I have worn red almost every Friday. Now that my husband is not only in the US Army but  is also deployed the gesture has so much more meaning to me. I want to remember all of those deployed. All of those that have served. I want to honor them. To let their families know that I am thinking of them. To let them all know that they have my support.

Recently I came across an organization known as They're mission: The mission of is to show support for our servicemen and women. We are not a political organization. We do not care whether or not one supports or does not support the war. We care only about making our support of our servicemen and women known to our fellow Americans and the world.  We are a silent majority that does not wish to remain silent anymore. We need to let our servicemen and women know we support their sacrifice and we will not forget them and we will do this by wearing red on every Friday.
I don't know a whole lot about the company but they seem to have a great organization and really want to support our troops.

It is truly selfish of me but I would love to see this spread like wildfire across America. To go out on Fridays and see an ocean of RED everywhere I look. Our troops do what is asked of them, they give up time with their families - time they can never regain - they all too often give their very lives for us. This is a simple way to honor and support them. To let them know that we, as American citizens, recognize their many sacrifices and are behind them! 

Mr. Smiley with his RED Stripes

The Little Diva with her RED Shirt and BIG bow!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Sleeping Beauties

I love to watch my babies sleep. There are few things so innocent or sweet - or, sometimes funny - as watching a baby sleep. Here are a few of my favorite recent pictures of my sweet "sleeping beauties"

Love her chubby little cheeks!

My Sweet Little Man

"Play Date" with the back of his eyes

Already the little mother!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pregnancy Tests, Stress and a side of Phlegm

For the last few weeks I have been feeling under the weather. Not me. Unusual. Ok, so I am unusual - this is not the point. My appetite was off. I was having cravings. Sometimes I would feel light headed. I would all of a sudden become so hungry that I felt if I did not eat right that minute I would pass out.

The last time I felt that way...I found out I was pregnant with my son.

The thought niggled at my mind. I couldn't be. It wasn't possible. There was just no way. God would not play such a cruel trick on me.

But, my family is known to be a bunch of "Fertile Myrtles" as evidenced by the 16 grand kids split between my four siblings and myself. And the close age range between many of those babies. More than one of my family members has gotten pregnant at a time when it shouldn't have been possible.

I found myself staring at the pregnancy test I had tucked away in my make-up bag. I told myself to wait. I couldn't possibly be pregnant. I just wasn't giving myself long enough. But...what if I was?

Curiosity and nerves finally got the best of me. I pulled out The Stick That Changes Lives. And then I waited...and waited. And stared as the little line slowly made its way across the screen. It was negative.

But. There was another line. Or was there? It was so faint I couldn't tell! So I pulled my mom in the bathroom to have her look at it. She told me she couldn't see the lines without her glasses. Thank You, Mother. I can't see the lines if I set it on the other side of the room. That does not mean they aren't there.

She agreed with me. It probably was just a faint shadowing. Not enough to be considered a line. But still enough to cast a doubt in even her cynical mind.

My oldest sister came by the house later that evening. I showed it to her. She looked and it and declared that I should get a digital test. None of this "is this a line?" stuff for her. Just a clearly printed "pregnant" or "not pregnant" statement.

Mom suggested that I wait it out. I thought about it. But the stress and curiosity of the test left me begging for an answer. I managed to wait just a little over 24 hours. And then, I broke down and ran to Walgreens and bought the digital pregnancy test that they had advertised on sale in their flyer.

I briefly thought about taking it there at Walgreens. I made myself drive the 3 minutes back to the house. And then the waiting game started all over again.

As I watched the "thinking" light blink...and blink...and blink. And then blink some more. A million thoughts were racing through my mind. What if I was? I could be having an April baby. Happy Birthday to me. But. My husband would miss the whole pregnancy. And the birth. And the first couple months of Baby H's life. Could I handle three kids less than three years apart? Could I handle having my husband missing so much of another of our babies' lives? How would this affect us as a family?

After what seemed like forever the answer appeared on the screen.

Not Pregnant

I breathed a sigh of relief. It was one more stressor that I just don't need right now. But, some small part of me - the part that loves being a mommy - was sad. That part had already fallen in love with the baby I wasn't carrying. It confirmed what I already knew. For all the frustrations that I have with my babies, I love being a mommy and I want more babies. I feel like I have so much love to give. I am far from a perfect mother and I have learned so much of what I have been doing wrong as I've spent time with my mother. But I can love my babies. With everything I have in me. Even when it proves that they are not even there.

Nevertheless, I still had symptoms of something that now had no explanation. I decided it was just the high heat and humidity that I was not used to after Washington's moderately cool temperatures. And the stress of dealing with a two year old who was not adjusting well to the changes that had come into her life as well as me not having my main support, my best friend, here to support me, to cuddle up to at night, to share life's special moments with. And of course the wake-up's in the middle of the night as my poor insecure daughter would scream in terror weren't helping either.

By the end of the week I had chills, a fever, some vomiting and a cough. I was sure it was the flu. It had to be the flu. I did not want to think that there could be a possible alternative. It just couldn't possibly be bronchitis. Or pneumonia. Or any of the other horrible sicknesses that I had been exposed to.

But after a week of family reunion with my large crazy family here in Wisconsin several people went home sick. One with Mono, six with Pneumonia, and four with acute bronchitis/upper respiratory viral infections. I was thrilled that I was not among those counted sick. It turned out that my immune system just held out a little longer.

By Tuesday, after my daughter had also started running a fever and had a cough hard enough to cause her to throw up, my mom convinced me to go in to see a doctor - if not for me than for my daughter.

The Little Diva turned out to have bronchitis/an upper respiratory virus and an ear infection. I had acute bronchitis. The Little Monkey (aka my son) had a new tooth - he did not go in to see the good doctor. The doctor told me to alternate Tylenol and Ibuprofen and take some cough medicine. He gave me a prescription for antibiotics for the Little Diva.

A week later I sound like Oscar the Grouch when I talk. I now understand the phrase "a barky cough."  I know what it feels like to cough so hard you feel like your stomach is going to come up through your lungs. I found out coughing gives you a great ab work out. I know why my husband hoks loogies - really, there is nothing more disgusting than to have that phlegm hit the back of your throat, cling to your tonsils and then slide back down into your lungs. I have discovered what it really means to feel exhausted.

The Little Diva is back to her normal, mostly, cheerful self. The Little Monkey has another tooth. I am finally on the road to recovery. I was even able to hold a fairly long conversation with my husband without sounding like I was hacking up my intestines.

And? I'm not pregnant!