Sunday, August 28, 2011

DD#290 Out of place

Being surrounded by couples is always hard for the wife of a deployed soldier. For me it's worse when it's an event that my husband would have enjoyed. I know had he been with me last night, that we would have been all over that dance floor two steppin'. Now on the tail end of our third deployment, I'm somewhat used to this feeling and so I just push it to the side and keep going. I still had fun with some good friends last night.

What really made me feel out of place though was my run in with a woman with no ties to the military. Our kids go to the same school. I probably never would have talked to her except that I was watching a friend play blackjack with several of our other friends. All of their husbands were on the other side of the room when this woman goes and sits down in the middle them and starts talking. She has a dress on that's way too short and of course she's showing some cleavage. Oh and she seems to be drunk. So I thought I would go distract her a little bit and strike up a conversation. I went over and introduced myself and told her our kids went to the same school. So we got to talking about what grades our kids were in etc..Then she asked me something that caught me off guard..."So what do you do? Or do just really support stuff like this?" At first I said something about being a stay at home mom, but before I could mention that my husband was in the army, she was distracted by her friends who had been trying to find her.

On my drive home that night, I realized she wasn't really asking me what I did...she wanted to know how I could afford to be at this fundraising event. It hit me then, she's seen me around the school and was obviously trying to figure out how we had the money to attend something like that. It's good thing she wasn't nearby when this revelation struck. I don't get all dolled up to go get my kids from school and we don't go to the country club. I'm still slightly reeling from the fact that she even asked that question! It's a good thing our kids aren't in the same grade. I love the school my kids go to, but I think some of the parents need a good attitude adjustment!!

Friday, July 29, 2011

DD#260 Refreshed

Well, it's been forever and a day since I blogged last. I've thought about it many times, but I really just never sat down to do it. I have to laugh as I look at the title of my last post "running log"...I was planning on logging all my runs on here, but May and June were one big blur. I was still running a couple times a week, but everyday was filled with something and blogging obviously wasn't one of those things!

I hadn't planned on running this morning. I'm still nursing a hamstring injury, so I was planning on taking it easy for another couple of days and just focus on stretching and loosening up my muscles. One of the kids woke me up around 4:45 and then between hunger pangs and a mind with too much to think about I never went back to sleep. For an hour I ate, stretched, and used a heating pad. As I did all of this I read a few more entries from Mile Markers by Kristen Armstrong. The last one I read really caught my attention. Here is the quote the whole entry was based on:
Do the same thing you have always done and you will get the same thing you have always gotten.
It hit me like a hammer. It pertained to so many areas of my life, not just running, but parenting, relationships, overcommittment, etc... The list could go on and on. After that I decided to get up and lace up my shoes and head out the door. I only ran two miles and two very slow miles at that, but it was one of the best runs I've had in a long time. Maybe God knew I needed a little refreshing because I walked outside and realized it had rained. It was really humid, but I set out anyway. Anyone who has run with me knows I love to find a sprinkler along the route. I'll run through them all day long. This morning God turned the sprinkler on for me in the form or a nice gentle soaking rain. It had almost a cleansing quality to it. As I neared the driveway I felt refreshed and excited.

So what is the rut in your life? What is that you do the same way over and over without achieving the results you are looking for? Maybe it's dropping the weight you gained over the winter or from vacation, spending quality time with your kids, clearing out the clutter in your house, or a problem in your relationship with your spouse or a good friend? I know all these things hit home with me or have in the past few years. The point is: Change doesn't come about from doing nothing. What are you going to change today?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

DD#179 Running Log

As I was struggling through my run this morning, I realized that not only should I keep my running log on paper, but I should start keeping track of it in my blog. So I might as well start with today...

Actually I'll backtrack a little...Sunday was my long run day. For me at the moment that was only 2.75 miles, but you have to start somewhere right? It was a really good run. I was at a Girl Scout camp with Megan's troop so I managed to get up before everyone else and slip out quietly. The camp wasn't very big so I felt like I was running in circles repeatedly, but all in all it felt good. Well except for the really steep hill to get back up to the Lodge.

I managed to wake up early to run this morning. I am not a morning person. Before kids I could easily sleep until 10am and stay up until midnight. I have noticed myself slowly changing and now I seem to wake up early, usually before the kids or alarm start making noise. I still struggle to go to bed earlier because at heart, I am a night owl. I am not looking forward to the summer months when I'll have to get up early to run before the temperatures get to hot. I felt really sluggish. I'm pretty sure it was because I was dehydrated and not prepared for the humidity. It really made me realize that I need to reach for water or a Lifewater more often during the day especially the night before a run.

I have 2 weeks until the 5K out at Milford and I'm not too worried about being able to run it. On Sunday I probably could have run 3, but I didn't want to run back down the hill! Wimpy, I know...Then it'll be time to start training for the 10K. It's all about having attainable goals...

Monday, April 25, 2011

DD# 164 Keeping my head above water

There are just some days when it feels like I'm good if I can keep my head above water. Trying to do all my normal things plus the things my husband would normally do. The yardwork seems to take as much time as the housework. The kids need to be everywhere all over town. And to top it all off I can't seem to say no, so I have my own commitments to see to as well.  I think we have something every night during the month of May. This wouldn't be so bad if there were two of me. Maybe in my spare time I'll work on cloning... Until then, I'll just keep treading water...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

DD#163 I'm a mess!

So I managed to get the girls all up, fed, dressed, and out the door for church at 8:15 this morning, but that wasn't the hardest part of the day. I think I cried for about half of the service this morning. I was a mess!

My tears came from a combination of things, both happy and sad. I'll start with the sad...

I have come to strongly dislike going to church without my husband. To the point that we have only been going maybe once a month. It's easy to find a reason to stay home, but it's just an excuse. I don't know why it's so hard on me this time around. I've done it twice before, right? I had my moments, but this deployment it seems that every time I sit down in that pew a sadness comes over me. I can get through the week and do all sorts of other things just fine, but going to church really makes me miss him.

So combine that with the guilt of not going to church and my heart just hurt this morning. My tears came as part of an apology to God for being disobedient. Like a child telling their dad what they had done wrong (I have never liked being in trouble and still hate confrontation).  My children have suffered because of this. I know I'm not the parent I could be, because my focus is not where it should be. I think a little part of me is angry about our circumstances and this deployment. And then when I quit going to church, I was angry because no one noticed. At least that's how it seemed...

And then on top of that, I tend to cry at communion anyway. The reminder of how much we are loved and what lengths God was willing to go to so that we could be with him in Heaven regardless of how selfish and sinful we have been. So today as I confessed my sins to my God and thought about the gift that He had given me, I cried even harder. In fact I'm crying now as I write this out. Who knows what the people around me were thinking, I was just glad I didn't have time to put mascara on this morning!

So it's time to climb out of this valley and get back up on the path, turn around and face God instead of trying to hide (because we all know how well that works!) and act according to His will and not my own.

Thank you God for being a loving, forgiving God. Thank you for the gift of you son, Jesus Christ. I don't deserve what you did for me, but I am grateful for the sacrifice.

He is Risen! Alleluia!!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

DD#154 Very Blessed

Recently I heard a audio clip of Michelle Obama as she talked about military families and wanting to bring attention to what we go through. She said that a study found that eighty percent of military families do not feel as though the civilian community understands what they go through or supports them. I am definitely not in that eighty percent in our current duty location. At the farewell for some of the senior spouses a few nights ago, all four of the women being farewelled talked about the high level of support we get from our community, both Junction City and Manhattan. They are completely right. I have more civilian friends here than I have had anywhere else we've lived and they are often the first to offer help when I need it.

Part of this comes from living here for almost 3 years and being involved in many activities off post, but it is also because this is one of the few communities that doesn't have an "us" and "them" mindset. They take us in and make us feel at home. Most communities don't do this because we only stay for a few years or less and we move on, but here in the Flint Hills they welcome us with open arms.

I have really felt this over the last couple of days after having a wisdom tooth out. I had several people offer to help the day of the procedure and many, many more make sure I knew I could call them if I needed anything. I had two different people bring me dinner on the same day. They have stocked me up with soup and food for the kids and just generally checked on me to make sure all was okay. I am overwhelmed with thankfulness for these wonderful women. The Lord has definitely blessed me with good friends and a great community.

The problem with this...this will be the hardest good-bye I've ever said. This is home and not just a temporary stop. They are going to drag me kicking and screaming from Fort Riley! It really is one of the best kept secrets in the Army!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

DD#149 Volunteer Appreciation

Volunteer Appreciation Week is coming up soon. April 18-24 to be exact. I've often heard it said that without volunteers our country would probably shutdown. Volunteers give countless hours and usually to more than one organization. On post we have numerous opportunities to volunteer our time from helping out at the USO, Family Readiness Groups, PWOC/MCCW, OCSC/ECSC, etc...the list could go on for awhile. And then you throw in the civilian are we supposed to choose who we donate our time to? A good friend reminded me that you need to pick one or two organizations your passionate about and go from there because it is better to focus our energy on that instead of 4 or 5 different organizations.

Volunteers don't often seek out recognition. I think we wonder about those who do. To be honest you probably don't realize just how much a person who is willing to volunteer really does. When asked they usually downplay it and underestimate the hours they devote to an organization. Volunteers don't do it for the recognition, they do it because they love what they are doing and who they are helping.

I had a lot of time to think about this as I was driving the 2 hour drive home from Kansas City yesterday. I had just attended a volunteer appreciation  luncheon for Girl Scouts. About 60 people and 8 businesses were recognized for their contribution to Girl Scouts in our council. Some of them were really amazing people, but to be honest, some of them had done far less than people in our own little Service Unit, but no one from our area was nominated for an award. I decided it's time to change that.

Volunteers may not seek recognition, but they need it. Everyone needs to feel appreciated for what they contribute. It's one of the keys to volunteer retention. Sometimes people quit because they have to, but you don't want people quitting because they want to.

So take some time and say thank you to a volunteer. I've often heard the phrase, "Money makes the world go round," but I think it's volunteers! So thank you to all of my friends who give up so much of their time to help others.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

DD#142 A wonderful two weeks

So, after Scott finally got to feeling better after his short stay in the hospital, we had a really nice R&R. We didn't do a lot or go on some big vacation, but just enjoyed the simply joy that comes with beind together as a family. Some may think that hanging around the house and playing in the backyard is mundane and boring, but when you only have two weeks together out of a year, those simple little things can create the sweetest memories. I loved watching Scott read books to the girls and playing games with them.

Sitting in comfortable silence around the fire holding hands, words weren't necessary. I think there is something to R&R being low key. We've always traveled to see family or they've come to see us and this time we were able to just be us. Scott and I were able to reconnect in a way that we haven't been able to in years with the chaos that comes with his job and having a family of six. Life isn't going to get slower any time soon, so I'm happy that we were all able to realax and enjoy each other, even if it was only for two weeks. Bring on the next seven months! I'm sure they'll go by as fast as the first five.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

DD#130/R&R Day #4 He's Home! Again...

What a long couple of days!! So the R&R gremlins have struck again. This time, my wonderful husband ended up in the hospital. Three of the first four days he was home were spent sick. Little did we know on Sunday that it was more than just the flu. The doctors were pretty sure that he had a bacterial infection in his small intestine. After a couple rounds of super antibiotics he was good to go. Of course he spent all of Monday on morphine for the pain, so he doesn't really remember much about what happened.

So now we find ourselves trying to salvage the 10 days we have left before he heads back to the sandbox. We had to cancel our plans to go to Oklahoma. Tomorrow we'll see what there is to do in the area that we haven't done already. This will give us plenty of time to go ride bikes and Rollerblade over the next few days and just generally hang out. While I'm disappointed we didn't get to go to OKC like we'd planned, maybe just laying low is really what we need anyway. Less is more, right?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

DD#116 A Look Back

It's hard to believe that we're 4 months into this deployment and its time for R&R already. As I get the house ready and make sure his favorite foods are stocked, I find myself thinking back to our two previous R&Rs.

Our first R&R during OIF 1, was interesting to say the least. He had been deployed for 8 months and we had barely spoken because of the poor communication systems. I was 13 weeks pregnant when he deployed and had a 6 week old when he came home. I was still dealing with post-partum issues and was a size 16. When he came home, it wasn't our home, but my parents home. He was exhausted and destressing. While we enjoyed our time together, we had both changed so much in those 8 months, both physically and mentally. It was not what either of us had envisioned, but we made the best of it. Scott later told me that I had gained so much weight it was like coming home to a whole different woman. In many ways I was.

Now fastforward four years to our second deployment. He came home 6 months after he left. We were both excited. I went and picked him up at the airport and then came home and surprised the girls. They had no idea he was coming home. The look on their faces was priceless. The first few days were great, but then life set in. A month before I won a free night in a local hotel so we had planned to use it while Scott's parents were visiting. Of course Scott and his dad were trying to fix some fence posts that had fallen down. In the process of that, they hit a pipe in the sprinkler system. By the time they finished it all, Scott had thrown his back out. We ended up cancelling our night alone. A couple of days after that my last living grandparent passed away, so I had to fly to New York for a couple of days. He had to fly back to Iraq about 36 hours after I flew home. Nothing went the way we thought it would. So while he was home and it was good to have him with us, it was not the relaxing "vacation" we thought it would be.

So now, as we are only days away from our third R&R, I can only wonder what this one will hold. I'm not making any honey-do lists and I'm trying to keep from having any expectations and I think he's doing the same thing. He hasn't said anything about lawn work or fixing things. Maybe the third time will be the charm!

Monday, January 31, 2011

DD#80 Ouch!

Why are projects never as easy as we think they are going to be? The wallpaper in the downstairs bathroom was peeling off the wall. There was also a section of wall where there wasn't any wallpaper. I think maybe the people who did it ran out or something. When I started this, I thought that it would be simple, just take the wallpaper down and then paint. Easy, right?

As I started taking the wallpaper down, I realized why they put wallpaper up in the first place...they did a poor job of putting the bathroom in. It was obviously a do it yourself project, that wasn't done so well. So now I'm scrapping wallpaper backing off and sanding down parts of the wall. Its taking a lot longer to get the walls ready for paint than I thought it would at first.

Now my back is killing me! I'd like to finish it tonight, but I don't see that happening. Gotta love home improvement projects gone awry...

Saturday, January 29, 2011

DD#78 Girl Scouts

When my oldest daughter was in Kindergarten and we heard there were Girl Scout troops on post for her age I was excited and couldn't wait to get her registered. It brought back memories from when I joined my first troop in 3rd grade as a Brownie. I only stayed in for 3 or 4  years I think. Really its all a blur. I remember going to Day camp as a Brownie and then resident camp a couple years later. By the time I was in 6th grade though, I started to get annoyed with the other girls in the troop because because they were afraid of bugs and I never got any sleep when we went camping! I don't remember much about our troop meetings. I'm assuming we had fun, but maybe not...then the dreaded 6th grade year came and I dropped like a fly. As a leader I now realize how typical this is. Actually I don't remember why I quite. Its possible that the troop disbanded and we never looked for a new one.

Now as a parent, I love Girl Scouts with a passion. What other organization is teaching our girls right from wrong, leadership, friendship, compassion, and that girls can do anything they want to do? Megan is now in her 7th year as a Girl Scout. It doesn't seem like it was that long ago that she was a little Daisy and now she's helping my younger Daisy's! In this house, there isn't a question of IF you want to join Girl Scouts, you just do.

I have been a leader for 4 years now and I have had some wonderful co-leaders. This year between the two troops my co-leader Melissa and I have 33 girls.  A girls experience in Girl Scouting is influenced heavily by several factors...parental involvement, the enthusiasm of the leader, and the attitude of the other girls in the troop. My best troops have been ones where the parents stay and help out when they can. They are prompt in their responses and turn things in on time. Most importantly though...they bring the daughters regularly. Part of the Girl Scout Law states that we will "Be a sister to every Girl Scout." We stress this with the girls and teach them to be accepting of everyone.

An enthusiastic leader though is infectious! She'll get the girls excited and make them want to come back. She will also get the parents excited about what their daughter is doing.  This has always been my goal as a make the girls excited about what we are doing and make them want to come back. The above picture is of me and some of my older Girl Scouts. I think I was the only leader out on the ice with the girls. 

Now the downside to being a military wife is that we don't get to stick around and watch our troops grow up, although with Facebook I have been able to keep up with some of the parents and see what the girls are doing. We are only here for a few years, so we have to do what we can in the time we have. And then pray that a new leader will show up to take over when we leave. I look forward to being able to stick around and make a lasting impression in a service unit somewhere when Scott retires.   

Friday, January 28, 2011

DD#77 Where did January go??

I feel like I've been missing in action for the last month! I can't believe I haven't written anything since Christmas. I haven't done much of anything besides studying Spanish since Christmas. Six weeks isn't a very long time to cover a semesters worth of Spanish! I'm definitely learning the language though and its made the last month of this deployment fly by! I can't believe we're already to day 77 since Scott left...that's 2 months and 3 weeks. It doesn't seem like that's possible, but I'll take it. It also means we have less than 2 months until R&R. Hmmm....that also means 9 months and 1 week left to go give or take some weeks.

My kids seem to have adjusted to the deployment. I know they still miss their dad, but we aren't having the meltdowns and continual arguing we had the first few weeks. I think I worry more about my husband and the toll that multiple deployments have on him. Its not just that he's far away from his family for a year, but the incredibly long work hours. Its often between one and two in the morning in Iraq before he logs onto messenger so we can talk to him a little. As Army families we don't normally sit back and contemplate the toll it takes on our soldiers and our families, we just keep going regardless of what the army puts in our way.

Scott will hit 16 years of service this June. I'm wondering how long past 20 he'll stay in. You can only ask so much of people and I know we're both worn out and tired of living apart. How can we expect them to miss 3, 4, 5, or 6 years of their kids lives? What's really sad is that after the first few deployments the kids become used to their parents being gone. I realize that for Megan this has become her normal. Mom does everything and takes them to all of their activities and Dad is off working halfway around the world. As much as I love Army life, more and more of me longs for the day he retires and we get to settle down and be a normal family again.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

DD#47 Happy New Year

So here we are in 2011! I love that I can say my husband is coming home at the end of this year instead of the end of next year! Obviously we still have many months to go, but it feels better saying this year.

As much as I love Christmas and spending time with my family, I think I'm ready to get back to our routine. The kids are ready for school and all of their activities. I'm looking forward to starting my Spanish class in preparation for our post deployment trip to Puerto Rico without the kids!! Can you tell I'm excited?

I don't really like making New Year's resolutions. Most people don't stick to them anyway. I do want to set some goals for this year though.

  1. Learn to speak and read Spanish. I'm working on this goal starting on Tuesday.
  2. Get back in shape. I'll be going to the gym everyday after class since Katherine will be napping when I get out of class.
  3. Finish taking all the classes I need to start working on my teaching certification.
  4. Take a big trip with the kids this summer to the beach and go to the Juliette Gordon Low house in Savannah, GA. We'll be visiting family and friends all along the way.
  5. Finish my Kansas Troubles Quilt. I started it January 2009 while Scott was deployed last time. I am almost done with it, but hand quilting takes a long time!
  6. Finish Katherine's bear blanket. I started cross-stitching it before she was born. All the other girls have theirs, but I'm having trouble with this one.
Those are all the ones I can think of for now. I'm sure there are more, but this is a good start.