Monday, May 23, 2011

Just trying to get through this pregnancy

Some days it's harder than others to get through this pregnancy and know that at the end of the day, there is no one there to rub my swelling feet, or make dinner for myself or the kids, or rub my shoulders when they are tense, or to get me some tums when I am nauseous first thing in the morning.

The phrase "This too shall pass" comes to mind a lot and I remind myself that it could be a lot worse.  My husband is coming home, for example, and my baby will have a dad.  There are some who do not have these simple blessings in life so when I start down that road, I try to remember there is always someone worse off than you.

It doesn't mean that I have to like it, or that I don't still miss my husband and sharing the process of this journey with him.  I take pictures of the ultrasounds and send them to him.  He asks how I am feeling on a regular basis.  It's all these little things that help us stay connected during this pregnancy.  I had told him I didn't want to go through a pregnancy without him, but here I am.  And I would not change it, because what a gift I have growing away inside me.

So it's one day at a time.  The time is starting to fly.  Some days seem like they last forever, and others are over and done with before I've woken up.  Keeping busy is key and surrounding yourself with friends who care to check in on you and help you out in life, are priceless.  It looks like he will be home for part of the pregnancy and I am really looking forward to sharing those moments with him.  Not having him around for these months will make those ones all that much more special and meaningful.

Here's a neat thing that a friend of mine shared yesterday, I thought  I would pass it along:

If you  have kids, check this out!!  I signed my kids up yesterday, it was great.  Nice to know I have a back up to do something with the kids on the summer days that are not all that great.  Bowling can be expensive!  Be sure to take advantage of this offer.

950+ bowling centers in 46 states & Canada are participating in the 3rd Annual Kids Bowl Free program
The "Kids Bowl Free" is a summer bowling program that is sponsored by select bowling centers across the country.
Kids receive 2 free games of bowling everyday during the summer. There is no cost to participate.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

R&R and New Editions

A while ago, my husband came home for his R&R and we all had a great time.  Perhaps he and I had a wee bit too much of a good time as about three weeks later, I started to not feel so hot.  So I took a pregnancy test, and .... it was negative.  So I went about my business adjusting to life without my husband again.

Still, I had a feeling I could not shake, so I tested again.  I didn't see anything right away, so I washed up and went to toss it.  I gave it a quick second look... and coulda have sworn I saw a faint pink line.  Perhaps it was wishful thinking, I was not certain.  So I took a picture and sent it off to a couple friends.  Shortly after I got two confirmations from friends... yup, they saw a faint pink line too.  I sent it to my husband who replied that he could not really tell.

On my way to work that day I stopped and got a few more tests, including a digital one, which also read in bold letters, PREGNANT.  That one, my husband reported, was quite clear.  So I squealed with a couple of my friends and then hung in tight there for a while.  I have a history of loss and one pregnancy that resulted in a tumor.

A couple early ultrasounds and a series of blood tests and everything seems to be going to plan.  After a little while, though it was hard to keep it from everyone, so I ended up telling my co-workers and my parents, as it was not fair to all of them if something went wrong.

Approaching ten weeks, another appointment and a happy, squirming embryo was seen... I felt it was safe to tell the kids.  I made copies about a ten week pregnancy from babycenter, and folded them up and put them in large plastic eggs, which I included in the kids Easter goodies.  They all went for the big egg first.  Silence as they unfolded the paper, then as they read it.  Finally, my daughter was the first one to understand what was being prevented and she cried out, "Mommy is having a baby!!!"  Then she cried and came over and gave me a big hug.  Sweet.

They had some questions which I answered and we talked about wanting a boy or a girl.  For now, I am trying to share my pregnancy with my husband who is thousands of miles away.  Recently, I was having a bad day and my husband happened to call.  I sobbed on the phone with him, the poor guy.  He made the comment , "Wow honey you are  really hormonal now aren't you?"  Good thing he was so far away, cause that's not the nicest thing to say to a pregnancy lady.  :)  I felt bad, I have not cried that like when talking to him the entire deployment.  But I've been told that when it's your first year of marriage, you're pregnant and your husband is deployed you are entitled to a few good cries.

I have an upcoming US and I plan on buying a little cam corder to record it so I can send it to my husband so that he can watch as well.  I'm doing my best to try to include him as much as possible.

Monday, March 28, 2011

This video reminds me of this post I wrote.

It's great!!!

And this one is great too!!!!  C'mon Military Wives, we know we want to say these thing!!

...You dumb poop head... awesome!

I needed a good laugh.  I get the question; "Does he get to come home for 'x'?"  ALL the time!!!   These are so fantastic.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Where's Revere?

When my husband was home on leave, he and my Dad were chatting.  My Dad is a Minute Man re-en-actor, and the two like to banter about what was done back then for national security and what is done today.  My Dad came and gave a presentation for our FRG, about how the Minute Men were the original National Guard.

My husband sent us a picture of his rifle.  My Dad sent him a picture of his musket.  Last summer, we took a family trip to the Minute Man National Park, in Concord MA.  We had a great time, saw the North Bridge, talked to a great volunteer guide and the kids got cannonball candy.

One of the last business trips my Dad took last year, my daughter was upset he was going.  She gave him one of her small (actually, one of my TY's that she has managed to secure) pink bunnies for company.  While he was abroad, he took pictures everywhere of the bunny.  Sitting on a facility sign at a plant he was visiting, on the conveyor belt, sitting next to some local cuisine, posing in the foreground of a skyline.  It was a very cute idea and my Dad thought something similar could be done with my husband.

So while he was home, he gave him a small pewter Minute Man.  We debated on a name, I suggested Paul, but someone (who shall remain nameless) said it did not sound very colonial.  Until I pointed out that the name
Paul', was very famously paired with 'Revere'.  The name Revere was much more appreciated and as such, the pewter man now had a moniker.

Every so often, we get a random picture from my solider, featuring Revere.  Here are a few examples:

We all look forward to these little glimpses into his day, and get excited to see where Revere might pop up next.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

You did NOT just go there.

Recently my husband was home on leave.  While he was home, we did all sorts of things together.  We watched movies, cooked together, hung out in our PJ's and went to family events.  One of those events was my stepdaughters cheer-leading competition.

They did great and while they did not win, their teams did great and didn't place too badly, although personally I thought they should have placed a little higher.  At the end of the championship we waited at the end for the girls to change out of their uniforms and turn them in.  While we waited, a lot of people passed by us and one in particular caught my husbands eye.

He was wearing a leather coat and on the front was a NG patch.  My husband asked him about it and he said he was former guard.  He then asked where he was out of and after he told him, the other guy stated, "Hey, that's where I was!"  They grinned at each other and an instant comradery was beginning to form.  Then after it turned out that this guy had the same MOS that my husband does currently, they clasped hands and shook.

He asked what they were doing now, as he thought the unit was supposed to be out.  My husband mentioned they were out and he was just home on R&R.  ...that's when it all went downhill.  Our new acquaintance said, "That's why I lied about stuff so get kicked out.  It's 'National' Guard, not 'International' Guard!  I signed up to protect our homeland, not go off to some desert for other people.  I wasn't going over there."   He paused, rocked back on his heels and added, "Yeah, those guys don't like me very much."

As soon as he said "..and that's why I lied about stuff to get kicked out.."  My husband and I stared at each other.  My jaw may have hit the ground, but thankfully I had two other kids with me to pick it back up for me and remind me to be proper.  After I successfully re-attached my jaw, I listened to the hoopla that my husband was saying, something about how it wasn't as bad as it was made out to be and sure, this guy was okay and so was that one.  Yes, he knew that guy, you bet he's a good guy.  After the pleasantries were exchanged, he shook my husbands hand again and headed off.

On the back of his black leather jacket was one of those oversized patches that take up the entire back.  It was an eagle superimposed over an American flag, with the Guard symbol in the mix as well.  Under this, it stated "Proud to Serve."  Once again, my jaw hit the floor and I turned my head sharply to look at my husband.  He had the same appalled look on his face that mirrored my own.

I pointed in the general direction that the man had gone.  I asked my husband, "Did he just say.." "Yup." said my husband, not giving me time to finish was I was going to say.  "Did you see the ..."  "Oh yeah." my husband said, "Proud to serve."  Then my husband said a couple things that I won't repeat here, or anywhere. Needless to say, I'm fairly certain that that guy was lucky that we were in a public place.

Now, just to clarify, one of the lines from the Soldiers Creed is as follows:

I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.

Now... someone point out to me where it says that you get to stay on American Soil to do all this?  Oh, that's right... it doesn't.  In fact, it specifically states 'I stand ready to deploy..."  So, boys and girls, does everyone know what that means?  Deploy?  Oh good, thought I was missing something there for a minute.

So here's the thing.  Don't sign up for something if you don't have the balls to carry through.  Don't stay in for three years and then bail on your team at the first sign of trouble or real conflict internationally.  Know what someone is who does that?

A coward.

I thought of my Uncles, my Grandfathers, my Brother, my Sister-in-Law, my friends and now my Husband who has willingly served both on the home front and overseas.  And I was sick to my stomach that this person lied to get out.  That he was not man enough to stand up for the oath that he took and let down his team.  They are likely better off without this man, but that is not quite the point.

That this person had the gall to say something like that to my husband was probably one of the insulting things I have ever heard in my entire life.  As if everyone in my husbands entire unit agrees with the official stand on the war?  Doubt it.  But they do what they are told because they took an oath.

And they are Man enough to uphold it, regardless of the sacrifice.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I'll get plenty of sleep when I'm dead

This seems to be a popular topic, this thing called sleep.  For some reason, sleep has been very evasive for me lately.  The other day, I went for over 40 hours without sleep.  I caught an hour nap while the family was watching a movie.  Amazingly enough, it was quite refreshing and I was ready to go for another several hours.

My husband has been home for R&R and I was looking forward to a couple of restful weeks with my husband and kids.  While I am very much enjoying my time with my family sleep has been very evasive.  Perhaps it is the change of environment and schedule.  Although neither the environment and schedule is really much different.  While he is home, we are staying with his Mom.  When we got married, we were not living together.  Neither of us felt it was proper to live together before we were married, with both of us having family and a deployment in the near future.

Staying in my parents in law apartment has been a godsend.  We retained support of my parents and that has been invaluable.  However, not having our 'own' place can be a pain in the butt.  My daughter and I are settled in the in law apartment and his kids and Mom are an hour away.  It makes weekend visits trying at times.  There is not a whole lot of room at the in law apartment for four kids.  Then that is four hours of driving to get them, get back, bring them home, get back.  So, in an effort to conserve gas and my sanity, my mother in law has been very gracious to let us all stay with her on the weekends and visit.  Win win, for us both, as she enjoys the company and seeing her grandkids.

So while he is home, we are staying here.  It's great for the kids, there is plenty of room to play, go outside and enjoy each other.   The property is large enough and the dog is well behaved enough to let her go outside and so her business and play with the kids.  Some of our stuff is here, some of it is in the in-law apartment and some more still is in our storage bin.  I am really looking forward to when he comes home and we can get settled for real.  In our own home, our own place.  That was one of the downfalls to him leaving so soon after we got wed... no time to get settled in our own place.

So this week, despite having slept here the majority of weekends since he and I started dating, I cannot sleep.  I've been having the hardest time.  The first night, maybe a couple hours.  The second night, after about 2am, I got up and took something.  The third night, I got some choppy sleep.  Yesterday and the day before, I went for over 40 hours without more than an hours sleep.  I got one short cat nap about an hour long.  And the oddest part is... I was fine.  Tired, sure.  But wide awake.  Ahh... insomnia, how I have not missed you at all.

Perhaps it's just having him around that makes the difference and triggers my on again, off again insomnia.  This is not the week/time frame that I would like to have insomnia again.  I am supposed to be getting rested, enjoying him and our family.  Not wrestling with sleep.  Story of my life... things happen at the least inopportune times in my life.

Soon enough, he will be gone again and a new countdown to Home Coming will ensue.  I'll start watching my phone like a hawk.. it's been nice not staring at the phone all day long waiting for a text or a phone call.  Some wives get a phone call from their husband and make the decision if they are going to answer or not.  I get a phone call from my husband once he goes back and if I miss it... I miss it.  There is no calling him back.  I am already dreading returning to this lifestyle.

Once he comes back, we have a lot to do.  Get settled in our home, which entails packing, moving, financial stuff... All stuff that is not fun, but at the same time, I cannot wait.

This is the first vacation I've had in a decade.  Someone asked the kids what we were doing this vacation.  Going to Florida?  California?  Neither, I replied.  My husband was home, I told him and we were just going to enjoy being a family.  So I am off to go enjoy my family and my husband while he is still home.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Live in the now

At some point during this deployment, my husband will come home for two week of leave, or R&R as it is commonly called.  Personally, I think R&R is misleading.  When he comes home, his life is going to be jam packed.  We have kids, parents, finances, doctors and all sorts of other things that need his attention.   A marriage cannot survive long term without both team players.

I am, on one hand, incredibly excited to see my husband.  Just to hold his hand or wake up to him in the morning.  Recently, I told him this and he commented; "It's the simplest things we look forward to. Isn't it? The longer we're apart, the more simplistic our longings become. Miss you Baby!"

It was a perfect response to my query and it is all too true.  Absence makes the heart grow fonder and in turn, the heart begins to long for the simple things in life.  A little reminder for a later time when I'll need a reminder of these times and remember to savor the little things, because those are what really matters in life.

On the other hand, I am dreading having to say goodbye again.  I don't want to, and it's hard.  I expressed this to a friend recently and their advice was memorable and a gentle reminder.  Live in the now.   That's all she said, and I translated it to the following;  While he is home, live in the now and don't be so consumed with a Goodbye again, that it ruins his stay.   If that's what she meant or not, remains unknown.  What matters is what I choose to do with it.

I will be ever mindful of the here and now when my husband comes home.  The feel of my hand in his larger one.  How his mouth creases when he smiles.  The twinkle in his eye when he pokes fun at me.  Instead of thinking, "Man, it's gonna suck when he is gone again and I won't be able to hold his hand again." I'll think in the moment, feel the weight of his hand and be thrilled that he is even that close to me.

So when I get ready to pick him up, (gotta get extra dolled up, so I live up to his memories) I'll recite that to myself.

Live in the now.  Powerful words, if you give them a chance.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Is it over yet?

I wish it were.  Over.  I'm tired of having to make decisions for the family on my own.  Or handle the finances the best I can on my own.  Or trying to narrow down with logic and try to make educated guesses on my own.  I was pretty sure, back in the fall, that this was a partnership.  It really does not feel that way sometimes, and I get angry about that.

Mothers do things that go unnoticed and we are supposed to just 'let' it happen.  Our roles are sometimes a silent one.  We facilitate family support and our reward is silence and no acknowledgement.  Sometimes by our spouse, more often by our children.   Sometimes, Moms wants to jump up and down and shout and point.  Hey!  I did that!  I helped!  I made it happen!  But instead, we are supposed to be content to sit by and watch while others reap the rewards or be so thrilled with others happiness that that should be enough for us.

Sometimes I feel bad for feeling this way and I know how much my husband appreciates me and there isn't a lot that he misses.  But that is hard to feel when he himself is not tangible right now, not here, with me.

So I'll wait.  Carry on my life and go through the day to day motions.  I do what is expected of me, as a Mother, A Wife, and for my career.   I'll do for others, because I want to, and I need to.

I'll admit.  It's not always easy to hold your head up high and smile.  I'm not even always thrilled that my husband is a hero and out doing things for this country that most men would not even dream of.  I'm always proud of him.  But I can't really say I'm thrilled about this whole situation.  I don't think I'm supposed to be.  Most spouses are not going to say how pleased they are their loved one is out there, risking it all for our country.  Incredibly proud?  Absolutely.   But I'd be fooling myself and others if I said I was happy about it.

I'd even like to say that I'll be happy when it's all over and life can go back to normal.  But it won't go back to 'normal'.  Does anything really go back to 'normal' after you've been apart for 400 days and you've both been stressed, pushed to your limit and who knows what else?  This year+ is going to be a defining point in our entire life.  I'll still be thrilled to death when he comes home.  So we can get on with our lives.  But I'm not fooled that anything will go back to normal.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Day Three

It's now Day Three of being sick.  Snow day, so the kidlet was helping to keep me company by playing cards, trying to stick the thermometer in my mouth and urging me to take the wrong medication for my cough.  She's cute.  She also wants to be entertained and that can be very hard while I am not well.  So we've read books, watched movies and I still cannot teach her how to shuffle cards.  The dexterity will come.  Jello is always good when one is under the weather and it appears it also doubles as a toy...

I got a couple phone calls from concerned friends, but typically when they hear me attempt to speak, they don't want to keep making me speak.  I appreciate that.  I'm starting to get restless, having sat on this sofa now for the better part of the past three days.  I hope my husband appreciates the new look of my backside when he gets home.

I have not heard from him recently, at least, not over the phone.  We were able to BBM for a bit today, but not too much.  I really want to talk to him, but I really would not be able to talk for too long.  And then he'd worry about me more, because... I -really- sound bad.  I have that deep down congestion that you hear from someone who has smoked for 80 years and their lungs start to shut down.  Hopefully I will start to improve over the next couple days and I will hear from him.  It always does a body good.

Right now the kidlet is reading over my shoulder and I had to explain what I meant by 'new look of my backside.'  Awkward...  The metaphor doesn't work as well when you have to spell it out.   Another thing we did today on the computer while we were hanging out, was to check out this site:

The site, sponsored by Xerox, allows you to send free printed post cards to military personnel stationed overseas.  There are a lot of hand drawn designs to pick from, designed by children all over.  You can pick from several options as your message, or you have 472 characters to write your own personalized message.  It's that easy to send service members a thank you and let them know that they are cared for and thought of.  We sent out several and had a blast doing it.  

It's really cute that my kidlet wants to take care of me while I am sick.  It helps me feel like I am doing a good job, despite my flubs.  I dread the day she stops telling I'm the best Mommy ever and starts glaring at me with her pre-teen or teen eyes.  So while I'm down for the count, I'm happy to indulge her in her doting efforts.  

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The start of 2011

So far, 2011 is not off to a good start.  It all started with a tickle and a small cough.  Being Asthmatic, I've had a lot of struggle and experience with coughs, lung pain, shortness of breath and inhalers.  It all started when I was turning 12.  I was getting ready for my birthday party, finishing up a few chores when it started.  The tickle, the small cough.  By the time it was almost ready for my party, I was coughing up things that no pre-teen ever wants to see.  I was determined to follow through with my party, however, so I convinced my parents I was fine.  Having never been officially diagnosed with Asthma before, the thought did not really cross anyone's mind.  We had moved recently, so this was a meld of Old friends and New Friends.  I was really excited and the thought of being sick was not appealing.

By the time the party was in full swing, I was sitting down and focusing on breathing.  Shortly after, I was in the ER, in a full fledged Asthma attack and having my first experience with a nebulizer.  They wanted to hospitalize me, but my Mom hates hospitals and I didn't want to miss my birthday party... which was still going on back at my house.  Without the Birthday Girl.  I was allowed to go home with one provision; that I come back in a couple hours for another treatment and evaluation.  Kinda of a bummer for a 12 year old.

Fast forward to an undisclosed amount of years, and there I sit, in Urgent Care, with my small, mini-me.  The diagnosis of Asthma was not a surprise, having been there, done that, and seen the signs.  My daughter was sitting there, getting her first nebulizer treatment.  I told her how when I first started to get them, I thought it looked like a peace pipe.  She thought it was really funny and erupted in a coughing fit.  Whoops.  My bad.

So when the tickle and the small cough started earlier this week for my daughter, I took it in stride.  Following Doctors orders, I increased the use of her rescue inhaler and made certain she was following through with her other asthma meds.  The wait over the next day or so was tenuous.  Alas, the effort proved to still result in a trip to the doctor.   The pediatrician also told me she suspected I had bronchitis...  Something my coughing fits had already told me.  However, being the dedicated human service worker that I am, I went into work anyway.  And was promptly scolded by my co-workers.  One of my co-workers and I were working on a problem solving model for our clients, and she turned the tables on me and we ended up troubleshooting my coughing.  The end result?  Calling my doctor.  It's always good to model the behavior we want to see in our clients, right?

I was asked to come in within a couple hours.  Greeaat.  It had not been that bad earlier that morning, but had rapidly advanced.  I had started out the day with a normal temp., and by the time I got to the doctors office, it was nearly 102.  Walking Pneumonia and Actue Bronchitis was my dx.  By the time I got home, I knew what it was like to experience fever chills and I have to say the experience of burning from a fever and being freezing cold is not at all pleasant.  Trying to sleep sitting up is really no fun at all, something I've had to do on and off for years.  It never really works.  You might fall asleep sitting up, but you eventually start to slid down the pillows and awake to a coughing fit, courtesy of the phlem that settled in there while being horizontal.

Starting off the new year with my husband over seas and walking pneumonia does not sound too promising to me.  I know my husband is worried about me, being sick and he's too far away to do much.  Thank god he has not called recently, I know he'd get more upset if he heard me try to speak.

So I'll sit and wait for the anti-biotics to kick in and my fever to break.  In the meantime, my daughter and I have bonded by watching too many movies and trying to sneak the favored blanket away from each other.  She's very cute, trying to mother me every time I cough too much, she shoves the thermometer in my mouth, and tries to feed me medication.  She's starting to feel better, for which I am grateful for.  But I do wish she would retain that I cannot speak very well.  Charades is not her strong suit.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Navigating the Airwaves

Recently there have been some important issues that my husband and I need to talk about.  We both have Blackberries, so we can BBM, but it's just not the same.  That's one of the big obstacles during a deployment.  Life still goes on, finances still have to be dealt with, there are still kids to bring up and somewhere in all of that, we have our brand new marriage to develop and grow.

Text messenging has been a life saver for this deployment.  He texts me good morning most of the time when he knows it's around the time that I wake up.  He sometimes says good night to be when he is heading down for the night. We send little kisses, hug and flirts to each other and that's very comforting during days that otherwise I would feel very alone.  

However, it pales terribly in comparison to real communication.  Be it the phone or in person, texting just doesn't come close.  The subtle nuances are lost that are typically conveyed with intonation, posture and inflection.   It's very hard to maintain life when communication is so limited.  I know, I hear it from people, I should be thankful, because 10 years ago it would have been different.  Cell phones were not as abundant and I would not have nearly what I have now with the communication.  That type of view does not really get me far.  To think that I may have had less communication with him doesn't help and of course I am grateful.  

Deployment is hard and having someone that is an integral part of your life ripped away for a year+, it's very hard to deal with.  The first year of marriage is hard enough, never mind trying to navigate the first year of marriage without the crucial other half.  Sometimes I think I text him too much, I don't want to overwhelm him with the day to day details of life, but on the other hand... isn't that what encompasses part of marriage?  So far he doesn't seem to mind, although I worry I am causing him to worry more than is necessary... And so on and so on.  I don't know how else to be married, though.  I'm fairly certain that he doesn't mind and he has said it helps him feel more connected to home.  

What I want most from all this is to come out the other end of this deployment with a stronger and more resilient marriage than when we started.  Now if the other end of this deployment would just hurry up and get here...