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: