Welcome Home Handsome

Welcome Home Handsome


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Why I Love This Military Life

Let me tell you a little bit about my world and why I love it so much.  Why the thought of leaving it one day not only deeply saddens me but scares the livin' day lights out of me. 

My life is filled with uniforms and codes of ethic.  Acronyms and standards.  Rules and regulations.  Stress and tears.  Love and pride.  Pride that can't be explained with words.  Deployments, FTX's, TDY's, fun times and hardships.  Anxiety and fear.

I am awoken every morning by the bugle calls for reveile.  I go to sleep by the sounds of TAPS.  And when I hear the the bugles for retreat I know that my husband "should" be home soon for dinner-given that they aren't deployed, gearing for deployment, or on an FTX (lol).

I step out my front door at any given moment int he day and I am always surrounded by uniforms.  Uniforms worn by our nations unsung heroes.  Uniforms to which I owe my life and freedom to.  Unless you live this life, you haven't the slightest clue how security and pride can envelope and overwhelm a person.

I can step outside and see moving trucks.  Either families departing to a new duty station or new comers who have PCS'd here-to their new "home".

I can step outside and see children and parents hanging banners and signs.  Decorating their homes and cars.  I smile inside, knowing that little boy down the street is about to get his daddy back.

I can go to the Commissary, where I see many women-"single moms"-like myself toting several children while she gathers her families weekly groceries.  The pure look of stress in her eyes as she fights the urge to break down into tears.  I see the childless wife with a cart full of frozen dinners and junk food.  Because we all know how pointless it is to cook for one.  I see the retiree's with their spouses and I shoot them a smile.  I see those who have been inured during war, proudly walking in his new pair of legs.

The advantages of being a Military Spouse vs. a civilian one is that I am reminded EVERY SINGLE day (sometimes more than once) how important my husbands job is.  I am also reminded of how thankless it is.

Words cannot even begin to describe the overwhelming emotion and pride that paralizes you when you to to a welcome home ceremony.  Words cannot describe the fear a spouse has and the sounds of an unexpected knock at the door.

You see, the reality of becoming a widow in my twenties is far more real than for any of my civilian friends.  Sending your husband to fight a thankless war that many Americans fail to educate themselves on, not knowing if that is the last time that I will taste his kiss, is almost unbearable.  Will that be the last time I touch his face or feel his embrace?  Is that the last time I will stare into his eyes?  Is this the last time I will see him swoop his children up in a great big bear hug?

But I keep going.  I know have the job of two.  I am the only one now.  I am on my own, 20 hours from family.  I am my own backbone.

Many wonder how we do it.  Us spouses have to rely on each other.  Just as our guys become family with their battle buddies, our fellow Military Wives become each others family.  We UNDERSTAND more than ANY other person will, what each other is going thru.  Even if we don't walk it at the same times.  I would be lost without that hand to hold, helping offer, or shoulder to cry on.

After living the Army lifestyle and learning to love it, I don't EVER want to go back.  This is where I belong.  This is where I belong.  This is where I feel at home.  Because "home" is where the Army sends us.  "Home" is where my husbands plants his combat boots.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Religion & Politics

If there are two things I HATE discussing more than anything else, it's religion and politics. 

Some may argue it's because I don't know much about either.  Everyone can have their opinions.  I will be the first to admit that I don't know much about politics.  Honestly, I don't care to.  I have my opinions and I prefer to keep them to myself.

Religion, I know about Christianity.  I was raised in that religion.  I know my fair share of it.  Yet, people still feel the obligation to shove their religion (Christianity) down my throat.  Throw scriptures in my face as though I'm naive and uneducated in this area.

I'm getting to the point in my life where I honestly do not know what I believe anymore.  Because the Jesus I was once, did not treat people the way that Christians do these days.  The Jesus, *I* believed in did not "Bible Bash".  In fact, there was no Bible when he was walking the earth.  I'm so sick and tired of being made to feel "guilty" for not attending church or for the way I am raising my children.  I'm so tired of being looked down upon for decisions I have made in my life.  Or for the fact that my husband has different views and lots of doubts as well. 

Christians have this way of knowing everything about everytghing and making sure that everyone knows it and that we are all wrong for not following their ways, opinions, etc.

I really don't know what I am even trying to flippin' say at the moment.  My laptop is about to die for good and I just don't have the time to get my jumbled thoughts into a proper blog.  So yeah...

...I really don't know what I believe at this point.  I still pray, read a devotional, and teach my kids about the God I was raised to know.  But in my heart and mind I have many many questions and doubts. 

I'd love to take some world religion classes and learn about other religions more deeply.

At some point I will continue on with this mess of a blog and organize my thoughts to make better sense.

So go on....judge me like y'all always do in your hearts...

Monday, April 2, 2012

Deployment Confession # 23476515

Today I was required to attend the Fort Carson Garrison Council Meeting.  So that meant leaving all three of my babies at childcare while I was gone.  My older two (boys ages 4.5 and 3) have been to hourly care several times, but I hadn't taken them until last month.  Well, I had to leave my 8 month old daughter at day care for the very first time.

I had never left my boys at day care that young.  In fact, like I stated, they had never been until last month.  Poor Alliebug has been dealing with separation anxiety since my husband deployed.  If we are not home (and I'm not with her) she refuses to eat, nap, and cries non-stop.  I was so anxious about leaving her for fear she would just scream the entire time.  My poor baby girl needs her mama (or this is my thinking!).

So I drop the boys off in their classroom and walk down to the other end of the facility to drop her off, for the first time.  After I have labeled and put her things up and signed her in, I had to let her go.  I took a minute to snuggle next to her, kiss her cheeks, the top of her head, and whisper to her that mommy would be right back and that she would be okay.  As  I set her down, I kiss her one last time-and then it happens!  The TEARS!  I'm bawling my eyes out as I stand back up.  I was so humiliated.  I had not expected to cry.  I have left her with close friends before and I was fine.  This was different.  I was leaving my baby girl with strangers, albeit trained strangers, but still strangers.

As I went back out to my car, drying my eyes, I was reflecting on the sacrifices my husband has had to make regarding our children.  I couldn't help but feel guilty and a little bit selfish.

When Wyatt was 2 months old Nathan left for Basic Training and AIT.  When Wyatt was 16 months old he left for JRTC.  When CJ was 2 months old he left for his first deployment.  In between all of these he's also been gone for weeks on end on FTX's (field training exercises), etc.  And now he's had to say good bye to all 3 of our babies AGAIN for his second deployment.  As a mother, I could not imagine leaving my kids for any length of time, let alone almost an entire year.

What an incredibly strong person it takes to answer the call of duty and leave behind the strings of your heart. I could barely leave my baby for 2.5 hours, how in the world do our Military leave their children behind for months/years at a time?

I have the utmost respect for our Military and the sacrifices they make (great and small).  I couldn't do it.  So to those of you that do, thank you!  And please forgive me for being selfish.


Saturday, March 31, 2012

This life is not a contest (oh and the newest care package!)

I've been reading a new devotional that I purchased specifically for this deployment.  Faith Deployed-Daily Encouragement for Military Wives By: Jocelyn Green.  I'm only about 6 days in so far but I love it!  If you are spiritually inclined and looking for a great devotional to deal with Military Life, I highly recommend this one.

Day 4 struck a note with me.  It was titled Comparing Trials.  One thing I've noticed and am often annoyed with in this lifestyle is that everything is a "pissing match".  Every other wife/significant other thinking that they have it worse, or that their Soldier has it worse.  Then they compare their trials, tribulations, and hardships.  Seriously?  Does our Military not all work to the bone (especially during deployments)?  Do they not all work together?  Do they not all have the same stresses and hardships?  Yes, they do!

We all face deployments, some more often than others.  But the point is that we all face them at some point.  My husband is currently on his second.  Aren't they all hard?  Yes!

Do some Soldiers have more ammenties than others?  More communication avenues at their fingertips than others?  Yes.  But we should not be knocking down the wives who do get more phone calls/emails/skype dates than we do.  It's not their fault, it just happens to be the circumstances.  Do some of our husbands have slightly harder, more demanding jobs?  Yes, but that does not give us the right to become bitter towards those who may "have it easier" so to speak.

The bottom line is we are all dealing with the same thing...deployment.  We are all dealing with taking on a double load at home.  We are all dealing with separation and everything that comes along with that.  So why can't we just be happy for our fellow sisters and be a shoulder for the ones who may be struggling a little more than others?

Jealousy is an ugly thing.  Our first deployment was very rough.  Communication was awful and care packages too an eternity to get down range.  But I tell you one thing, each time I was able to hear from him was a blessing.  It may not have been often and it may have been broken up, but it was a blessing nonetheless.

Back in the wars throughout history, families back home were lucky to get a letter every couple of months.  Think about that before you become resentful.  Be happy that you have the communication that you DO have!

Here are a few excerpts from the book I want to share.

"As I listened to her share with broken voice and many tears, I'm ashamed to admit I had no compassion for her whatsoever.  The first thing that jumped into my mind was, 'You call that bad?  Try being a Military wife!  We hardly ever get to live near our extended families.  We don't even live with our own husbands half the time!' "

"I carried my 'I have it worse than you' attitude home with me that day.  I snuggled up to it to make myself feel more virtuous or worthy somehow.  But the tighter I held on to it, the less Christ was able to use me. I used my own trials as something to be proud of.  What a ridiculous thing to boast about!"

"Proverbs 14:10 says, 'The heart knows it's own bitterness and a stranger does not share it's joy.' When I read that verse, it seems to tell me that each person's burden causes him or her a pain that should not be diminished just because someone else has it worse.  It is impossible and worthless to compare trials.  A truly humble person would have compassion and bear others' burdens no matter how they 'rank' next to my own."

"In Galations 6:2, Paul does not say, 'Bear one another's burdens only if you deem the burden of sufficient magnitude.  If it isn't a big deal to you, go ahead and let your sister in Christ figure it out on her own.  She'll get over it, 'We are to bear another's burdens.  Period!"

"Philippians 2:4-5 tells us, 'Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.  Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus."

So as I close the first part of this two part blog, my prayers is that we can all look out for each other.  Neither become jealous or bitter of another's circumstances but feel blessed for what we do have and reach out to those that are struggling.  The Army life should never be a "I have it worse than you do" scenario.  We are all here for the same purpose, so lets remember that. <3

Okay....so my goal this deployment is to spice up the care packages I send to my Soldier.  This one was all lovey dovey and I had a ton of fun with it.  I filled it with goodies, nothing too spectacular, but I wanted him to smile when he opened it up and know that I put a lot of love and thought into it.  It took forever, and I know that once he's emptied it's contents it will be burned (they have to burn all of their mail-envelopes, packaging, etc for security reasons) but it's still fun nonetheless.  I also bought heart shaped card stock and wrote random love notes on them and tossed them in there amongst the goodies.  Here's the pic's!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Mother's Work is Never Done

While I was doing my nightly chores (putting my house back together before my rugrats tear it all up again in the morning) I was reflecting on the words a sweet friend said to me.

How in the world do I do what I do every day.  Day in and day out?  Especially with a husband who is rarely around (and deployed at the moment)?  The answer...I HAVE NO CLUE!!

My boys wake up with the sun (sometimes before!) and my day starts.  Making their breakfast, getting them dressed and ready for the day (however we do have days where we stay in jammies all day!).  Then my 7 month old daughter is up and rearing to start her day.  Changing her diaper, getting her dressed, and making her breakfast.  Then I feed her, clean her up.  Of course before all this I have to let our two dogs outside and make sure they have fresh water.  Then I start on cleaning the kitchen, but not before I sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee!

During the day, I am preparing meals, doing laundry, answering a billion and one questions for my curious 4.5 year old, making phone calls, paying bills, keeping appointments, running errands, grocery shopping, preparing care packages for my Soldier, doing arts and crafts with the boys, playing with my kids, taking care of the dogs, bathing kids, putting them to bed, feeding the dogs, etc.  Once my kids are in bed I tackle the house.  I pick up, clean dishes, fold laundry, vacuum, clean the floors, the bathrooms, put the house back together again.

While doing all of this I am running two small home business, going to school for my Associate's Degree in Criminal Justice, our FRG Secretary, and the Village Deputy Mayor (for the on post housing village I live in).  I am not only the mother, but the fill in dad when my husband is answering the Army's call.  I'm 19 hours from our families and 17 hours from my best friend.

To be frank, I never thought of myself as anything special.  I mearly thought I was just doing my job as a wife and mother.  All of the above is what is to be expected, right?  I know I'm not alone.  I just go about my daily life with a smile on my face.  Truth is, I love my life.  While there are ups and down, good days and HORRIBLE days, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Would it be nice to be around family?  Would it be nice to have a helping hand once in a while?  Sure!!  But this is the life my husband and I chose.  With it comes many securities that I'm not ready to let go of.  So while I do have friends out there that look at me as some Super Woman, I am not.  I'm just an ordinary person.  I'm just a mother and a wife....who happens to have a husband/daddy in the Army.

I HAVE to live with this kind of perspective on life.  I spent the first couple years of my husbands career in the Army feeling sorry for myself.  We have, more often then not, been "out of sight, out of mind" when it comes to our family back home.  And due to that, I don't want to go back.  I refuse to live with that sadness in my heart and the bitterness.  This has been an emotional roller coaster of a ride for me the last several years but I've come to find my place, I've come to realize who I am.

I had often doubted myself and my capabilities as a mother and wife.  But I know that I am a damned good wife and mother!  But I also know that I do not "deserve" to be praised for it, nor to I expect to be held to any other standard than anyone else.

I guess I kind of got sidetracked here with my ramblings as I often do, but I just needed to jot all of this down while I had a few minutes to myself before I hit the shower and read my devotionals.

Stay tuned.  This weekend I should be blogging about our newest care packages we'll be sending out to daddy!!


Monday, March 19, 2012

Deployment #2: Let the Roller Coaster begin.

My husband, my hero, has departed on his second tour to Afghanistan.  It's hard to put into words the emotions that you feel during this time.  While at the same time you just want to send them off already (the quicker they leave, the quicker they return...right?) you're heart feels as though it's being ripped out of your chest and stomped on.  You're emotionally spent, often times can't seem to catch your breath or ease the nausea in your gut.  Yet, you're heart flutters with pride at the same time.

This isn't our first rodeo though, so I feel as though I was emotionally prepared the best that I could be.  While my heart aches for my husband's presence here, I feel as though I'm adjusting and coping well (especially in comparison to last deployment).

I have several friends who are on this roller coaster with me, yet it's their first deployment.  My heart hurts so much to see them settling into depression and anxiety.  I know how they feel.  I did not cope well last deployment.  It was EXTREMELY rough on myself, my marriage and my family.  I was not in a good mental state, I had a serious lack of a steady support system, I lived off post, and had almost no friends at all.  I was bound and determined to jump out of my comfort zone this time.

Not only have I been involved with our FRG for nearly 4 years now, but I have also taken on the position of Deputy Mayor for the village I live in on post, enrolled my boys in sports throughout the summer, enrolled myself in full time college to earn my degree in Criminal Justice, joined a wonderful company selling Scentsy (holla!!), made new friends, etc.

The key to making it through deployment is embracing it!  Yes, we are without our husbands, yes they are in war (very real, very VERY scary), yes we are sexually deprived.  But does that define us?  Surely they would not want us suffering the entire time they are gone.

One of my favorite past times during deployment is coming up with fun and creative Care Package idea's.  Themed boxes, shopping for things to fill them, packaging them up, writing love notes, taking pictures, recording video's, and sending them off to my love down range.  Not only does this let them know that you love them more than ever but that you are constantly thinking of them.  I'm a worrier.  I wonder if he's eating and sleeping, if he's healthy or sick.  My way of taking care of my Soldier is by packaging up my love and sending it to him.

Ladies, it's okay to be sad and it's okay to cry.  It's sure as hell okay to have bad days now and again.  But join with me, lets stand strong, lock arms, and face this deployment in the same manner our Soldiers are.  Brave and Strong.  We will NOT be knocked down and we will not be defeated!

My home is always open.  Chick flick's, popcorn, wine, spa treatments, care package parties, gossiping, and crying together!  We can do this.  Our men need us to hold up the homefront, to keep it together, and to support them and love them.  So let's wipe our tears and start smiling.  Each new day is another day down, another day closer to painting welcome home signs!

Many hugs to all of my fellow deployment buddies!

Here's my Easter package!  One of 3 boxes I'm sending in his first batch!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Judgemental Christians

The title sounds like an oxymoron, doesn't it?

Let's face it, I spend a lot of time on Facebook.  More than I should or would like to admit.  But as a spouse to a member of our Military and being so far from home it's my main connection to "home".

I was raised as a Christian, non-denominational to be exact.  So I have a lot of "Christians" in my family and friends circles.  But yet, I'm constantly seeing posts/pictures/quotes/status that are less than Christ like.

Two of the BIGGIES are the gays and those that are pro-life (and everything that comes along with that). Side note-I am not going to discuss my own personal beliefs because it is besides the point of what I am trying to accomplish here.

As a Christian, don't you think you should change your attitude about this?  Who's place is it to judge anyone's lifestyle choices?  Certainly not yours!  Christ taught us to love each other unconditionally, just has he loved the church.  UNCONDITIONALLY!!!  That means, you are to love the gays just as Christ loves the gays.  You are to love those who've had abortions, just as Christ loves them. You are to love the drug addicts and alcoholics, just as Christ loves them.  You are NOT the ones who are to judge them.  You may not agree with their life choices.  They may not match your morals.  But that doesn't matter.  Christ teaches us to accept a person for WHO THEY ARE!  To love them without discrimination.  No matter what race, religion, sexual preference, etc.

Remember the scripture in the bible that states that you shouldn't judge because you WILL be judged?  Everyone will have their judgement day in front of Jesus, and that's when they will answer for the things they've done in life.  Just the same as YOU will!  Just as we all will, equally.

So how about you save that for the big man upstairs to deal with.  If you're going to call yourself a Christian, you should act like one.  Shoving your beliefs or morals down someone throat is not Christlike.  But supporting someone, loving them unconditionally, and being there for them in tough times IS what you should be doing.  Showing others the same kind of love that Christ shows to you.

Why do you think so many people hate Christians?  Or hate the church?  Because they are some of the most judgmental people on the planet.  So what if you smoke cigarettes, is that going to send you to hell?  NO!  So why judge them?

My point is, open your hearts and learn to accept people for who they are.  Pray for them and love them!  Show them the love that Christ shows you.  Maybe one day, people will renew how they view "Christians".

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Review time!!!

So it's been a little while since I've made my DIY household items.  I'm happy to say that I'm about 90% satisfied!  Which makes me very happy as well as our bank account!

The laundry detergent was a HUGE success!!  I don't think our clothes have EVER felt as clean as they do now.  Not only that, myself and my kids skin is noticing a huge difference.  I will say that I do not care for the smell of the Fels-Naptha bar soap.  So with my next batch I am going to try using Ivory.  I'll be sure to let you know if that makes much of a difference in the cleaning power.  But my clothes are bright, whites are WHITE, and stains are still coming out with a breeze.  Super pleased and I don't plan to EVER buy a commercial laundry detergent again!  YAY!

My salt scrub was "eh".  I didn't care for the initial recipe I posted using the sea salt and lemon juice.  So I switched it up a bit.  I used Epsom salt and essential lemon oil, along with the sunflower oil I used initially.  WAY better!!!  I LOVE it!!  Not only do I shave with it, I scrub down with it at the end of my shower.  Voila!  No more moisturizers needed!  Plus I smell lemony fresh, haha.  I love it!  My dry skin has taken a drastic turn for the better. =D

As far as the cleaners, not much to say other than I am very pleased with them and I feel that they clean very well.

As for the dishwasher detergent...UGH!  I found it to be an epic fail.  I didn't use it until this week because we were trying to finish up the one we'd bought.  So when I went to use it a few days ago it was HARD!  Yeah...I had to take the hand of a spoon and break it back up to a powder.  The cleaning power is worthless!  I am pretty certain my dishes went in the dishwasher cleaner than they came out.  I *may* try again using vinegar as a rinsing agent before I toss it all out.  I am bound and determined to find a formula that does work though.  Once I do, have tested it to make sure it works, I will share will all of you lovely people.

Body Wash-I'm fairly pleased with it so far.  I am having to play around with the amounts of glycerin though.  I'm finding that different bars of soaps require different amount.  But over all, I'm happy with it.

I have yet to make the fabric softener because I have a large box of dryer sheets I'm trying to use up first, but I'm pretty confident it's going to be a WIN!

So there you have it.  Living frugally is paying off in the long run.  I'm so happy to be able to share this with all of you and more than happy to be your guinea pig.

Stay tuned!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Change of Seasons

The Army life is like a constant changing of the seasons.  Nothing stays the same for long.  People walk in and out of your life, but one thing remains the same.  As the spouse of a Soldier...you're often times alone.  Or so the case has been for me.

If it weren't for the Army I would have never met my dearest best friend in the world.  But as fate would have it, the Army took her away from me.  Sending her to follow her husband to a new duty station, in a new state.  I miss her more than I could ever explain.

I've met some great friends throughout the four years we've been here at Fort Carson.  But as you would assume, some have PCS'd, ETS'd, or the friendship in itself just dissolved.

As we are gearing up to start our second deployment, I'm finding myself in this funk....again...
I remember how hard it was last time.  How alone I often felt.  How I felt suffocated and trapped.

I am bound and determined to not let it end up the same this go around.  But not having a group of friends here makes that difficult.  I firmly believe that no matter what walk of life you are from or living...everyone needs to have a support system around them.  People to vent to, to cry to, to laugh with, to escape with, etc.

I'm really not sure where I am going with this.  Just have this urge to purge some of these disgusting emotions that have been eating me inside lately.  It's a way for me to cope with the wide range of emotions.  I'm just kind of all over the board here.

I have a list of "deployment goals", I have a couple trips planned out, I have things to look forward to (like sending my first born off to Kindergarten), etc.  I only pray that this will help pass the time and ease the empty feeling in my soul while my husband is serving overseas.  I also pray that God will place a few positive and genuine people in my life.

I will come out on top.  I will not feel sorry for myself.  I will stay positive.  I will keep pushing forward with a smile on my face.  I've done this before, I can do it again....and BETTER!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Another productive day!

Today I made body wash and dishwasher detergent!  Let me tell you just how excited I am about this!  For pennies I made enough of both to last me MONTHS!!!!!  How exciting is that?  I can hear my bank account thanking me.  =D

Body Wash/Hand Soap

What you'll need:

1 bar of soap (any kind, I used an all natural oatmeal and almond one and it cost me $0.97 at Walmart)
1/2 gallon distilled water ($1 at Safeway)
2 tablespoons of Vegetable Glycerin (I found this at Whole Foods, but you should be able to find it in the pharmacy are of any store, or ask the pharmacist, it cost just over $3 and I only used a teeny tiny bit.)
Large boiling pot
Container for storing

Grate your bar of soap with a cheese grater and pour into the water in the pot.  Add your glycerin (I used 3 Tbs. to make it a little thicker but it ended up being too thick, so just use 2).  Warm on the stove until all of the soap has melted.  Stirring gently as to not create too many suds.  Once it was done I poured it into a gallon size plastic container with a pour spout lid and Up-cycled an old body wash container that I will use to re-fill.  And that's IT!  It was so simple and fast to make.  Make sure to let it sit and cool off.  Cooling off takes several hours and it will continue to thicken up.  So if it's a little runny at first, don't worry!  This makes TONS of body wash that can also be used as hand soap.  Total cost for me to make it was about $1.60 or so.  It will last me months!

Dishwasher Detergent

This made 1.3 gallons of powdered dishwasher detergent.  Using only 1-2 Tbs. per wash load, it's going to last a lifetime (okay well not a lifetime but it'll sure feel like it!!)

What you'll need:
1 box Borax
1 box Washing Soda
24 packages of unsweetened lemonade (you need this for the citric acid, if you can find regular plain citric acid that works too, but I couldn't.  I used Kool-aid brand)
3 Cups Epsom Salt 

You'll want to mix this all together evenly.  You'll need a very large mixing bowl to do so.  Use 1-2 tablespoons per load.  If you have spots on your dishes you can use vinegar as a rinsing agent.  =)