Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Distance has never once hindered that boy from making me feel special and loved! Flowers, small gifts, sweet emails. He hasn't missed a Christmas, birthday, Valentine's day, or anniversary. Gotta love a guy who doesn't let a silly thing like 7000 miles and a combat zone stop him from showing some love to his wifey!

Thank you, Baby!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Friday's Final Finale

On Friday night I tucked my dearest darlings in their little beds, kissed their sweet little cheeks, and sat down to write a blog all about my day. The long day I had getting the kids to dress rehearsal at 10:00 am, coming home to clean for a few hours, going back to the first show (with Hunter and two neighborhood kids) at 2:00, taking Hunter and the neighborhood kids to Burger King for an ICEE after the show, taking neighborhood kids home, taking Hunter to Louisa's best friend Echo's house so he wouldn't have to sit through the second performance, going back to the theater for 2nd performance at 5:00, picking kids up about 6:00, returning their costumes, going to pick up Hunter from Echo's house, going to Dairy Queen for a celebration dinner and ice cream...... {breathe in, breathe out}

After I got all that written out I.... I dunno, probably read a book and went to sleep. But when I woke up Saturday morning there was, sitting in my little comment section, an annoying comment that rubbed me the wrong way. In my annoyance, I deleted the whole thing and pouted.

See, the thing is, this here is my blog. I set it up for many different reasons, one of the most important is because I like to have a place to talk about all those frustrating parenting moments we deal with on a daily basis. Whether it's trying to get the house clean for my husband to come home in one week, or it's the fact that every time my toddler sits on his potty he tells me his boy part is broken and won't go, or even those frustrating times where people make a commitment and then don't follow through. Any way I look at it, this is my space to vent my frustrations. And after I saw my little annoying comment and deleted my whole blog, I wrote a long ranting and raving post all about how I have every right to write what I feel without criticism and blah blah blah..... I don't even remember! I deleted that one, too, since I realized it served no purpose.

Point is, I have to check myself in so many areas of my life. Watch what I say and how I act and who I'm seen with, that I like to have one place where I don't always have to watch it. Maybe I can say I'm frustrated with this issue without someone jumping down my throat accusing me of harsh things like belittling a 9 year old. A 9 year old who I've never even seen before, who was in a play along with my daughter and son, who just didn't have her lines memorized. If what she did up on the stage was her absolute best, then I totally applaud her.

What really truly matters isn't what I say about her, it's that I'm so proud of Drew and Louisa for getting up there and giving it their all! They really worked hard and it showed. I got so many compliments on their job well done. They had two shows in one day, they had about 4.5 days to rehearse, they had very hot and heavy costumes that they didn't get to take off all day long (almost 8 hours!), and I couldn't be prouder! That's what matters.

{My little Seahorse. He was so proud of what a good job he did!}
{Sea Scout. Like Girl Scout, but their leader is an ocean explorer.}

Monday, July 21, 2008

Please give it up for my Seahorse and Sea Scout! Hooray!!!

Every summer, the Missoula Children's Theater touring show comes through Fort Polk (and many other towns), with everything needed to put on a musical. We went this morning to auditions, and two hours later my little fishies were cast in a role! They are performing The Little Mermaid (original, not Disney). Drew is very excited to be cast as a Seahorse. He'll have a song and a dance, and the directors say the Seahorse costumes are the best of all!

Then we have Louisa. A disappointed Sea Scout. The Sea Scouts have even more songs and dances than the Seahorses do. A lot of the 9, 10 and 11 year olds were cast as Sea Scouts. But Louisa, Prima-Donna, was positive she'd get a starring role. She didn't necessarily want the Little Mermaid herself, but she was sure she'd get Queen, or one of the mermaid sisters, or something important like that! Problem was, when they were auditioning, she wan't very loud. And she didn't follow directions. They asked her to say "Everyone come get some ice cream!" with as much enthusiasm as she could muster. She said, "Hey, everyone! Everyone come get some ice cream right now!" That wasn't what they asked for. And although I haven't worked in theater extensively, I have enough knowledge that I know when directors are casting they want to do it efficiently. They want their starring roles to not only be loud, which Louisa wasn't, but to know they will listen the very first time they're told. Louisa is a great listener, but she was trying too hard. I saw her face when they called her name for Sea Scout. I knew she was upset.

One lesson about parenting I'm learning the hard way is that we can't protect them from everything. I'm the one who steps in when they are arguing with their friends to smooth is all over, I'm the one who whips up some hot cocoa (or kool aid!) when Drew gets his little feelings hurt, I'm always there to pick them up when something happens. I know, I know, I need to sometimes just let them be disappointed and get over it on their own. I'm getting there!

So this time, Louisa will have to live and learn from her experience. Next year when the theater group comes through, she'll know what to do and what they are looking for. And I know once she sees what fun the Sea Scouts have with their multiple songs and dances, she'll forget about being sad! She's usually pretty good at realizing what she does have, after that initial disappointment is over.

**UPDATE~ Right after I posted this earlier today I ran to pick Louisa up from her first rehearsal. She was so much happier with the part she'd been given (can I say I told her so?!) She said the Sea Scouts are like the comic relief, and that she had fun practicing. See, I knew she'd be fine!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Marriage and Deployment

Marriage and Deployment are not two words that fit well in a sentence together. They don't sound good together, you know? They don't roll off the tongue the way "peanut butter and jelly" does.
Do a favor for me. Take a few minutes and read this article I found: As wars lengthen, toll on military families mounts
It's a bit long, but it's so important for civilians to know what we go through. Throw what you see on Army Wives out the window. When we really get down to it, deployments suck. They don't last two months like they do on that tv drama so many people are in to. It's not romantic when he comes home. It's work. It's struggle. It's him looking around the house wondering why you spent money on that new chair that you obviously didn't need. Or the new bikes for the kids when their old ones were perfectly fine. After all, he didn't get to run around buying fun stuff with the money he was earning.
And it's not just money. It's the fact that the wife and kids kept moving on. The kids grew up (without his permission!), the wife cut her hair and lost a few pounds and started wearing nicer clothes. The kids and wife have their own routine down, and it doesn't include Dad. The chore chart on the fridge (that wasn't there before, mind you), doesn't have a place for Dad's name. The getting-ready-for-school-and-work routine in the morning has no room for Dad in it. And how come the 3-year-old keeps going to Mom for everything? Before Dad left they were best buddies. Inseparable. Now he acts like he barely knows his own dad!
On the flip side of that coin, the wife has her husband home. Who keeps asking her questions. About everything. Why didn't you pay off this bill like I asked you to? When did you start letting Billy go to the park by himself? Doesn't Sarah need her helmet to ride her bike? The wife thinks, "I've got this all under control! I've been doing this for 15 months on my own!" But all of a sudden she's got someone to answer to again.

Like I said. Struggle. The husband is changed from what he saw/did overseas. The wife is changed from a year of dealing with ALL household issues on her own. Instead of changing and growing together, like normal couples do, the military couple has changed and grown apart. The kids aren't used to listening to Daddy. There are mixed feelings about him being home.

What all this boils down to is repeated, long term deployments. Although this is "only" my husband's second, many many of our friends are going through #3 and yes, even #4! Since late 2001, these troops have been deployed over and over, sometimes living in horrible conditions, many times sleep deprivation is the norm, the sweltering climate with a hundred pounds of gear strapped to your back 24/7.... how can that NOT take a toll on you? How can that NOT stress a marriage? Even a normal marriage, sans deployment, has it's fair share of trials and tribulations.

Husband and I are lucky. We talk. A lot. We get our frustrations out. We don't keep much in. "Experts" tell us spouses back home not to overwhelm our guys overseas with our problems. We're told to keep somethings to ourselves and that there are plenty of outlets on our bases to get stuff out if we need to. I say "HA!" My best friend is 7000 miles away. The one I talk to about everything under the sun, and I'm supposed to clam up and not talk about my problems. Sure sometimes I get a, "What am I supposed to do? I'm too far away to help you". Most of the time I get what I need, a shoulder, a pat on the back, a "it's okay, honey". Then I'm recharged and ready to face the rest of the week.

The article talks about families being stretched thin from multiple deployments. Add in to that all of the divorces, domestic violence, and PTSD resulting from those multiple deployments and I say, well DUH! Of course we're stretched thin! The last time I checked, 15 months in a *combat zone* wasn't anyone's idea of a Beaches Resort vacation.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

It's About Time!

Yep, I finally did it! Finally took the boys to get their hair cut. I know it was a bit overdue, but I loved their long, blonde, surfer dude looks!

*Drew Before*

*Drew After*

*Hunter Before*

*Hunter After*

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Me for President?! Hmm.....

Press the little play button at the bottom and see this strange thing that's happening!

Monday, July 07, 2008

School Already?

The shelves in WalMart are packed with back-to-school supplies. I guess it's that time again. But I feel like we *just* finished school! There's no way this summer is three months long. Oh ya, that's cause it ISN'T!

Our school district finished on May 29, and starts back up again August 8. August 8!!! How is a kid supposed to enjoy their summer? What happened to the dog-days of summer? Long lazy days where you sit under a shade tree with your friends and trade Pokemom cards, or talk about the cool new Jonas Brothers movie? My kids will spend the dog-days of summer in school. Doesn't seem right.

Today we registered Louisa and Drew for school. Louisa will be going into 5th grade (how?!), and Drew.... well.... we're not sure. He didn't technically finish 1st grade since I homeschooled him. The new school he'll be attending told us that he has to be tested. That's fine. We don't mind. The funny thing is that the secretary made this test seem so hard. Like only kids who've actually went through a full year of 1st grade could pass it! hehe! I'm very amused by that. We'll show them, won't we?!

There are a few things I want to go over with Drew before he takes the test. We didn't really sit and do worksheets all year, so some things he might not realize he learned. I have a month or so to give him a few last review-type lessons. He'll do fine, though. And if for some reason he does have to start out in 1st grade again, I am confident they would move him up in no time. No worries!

Louisa is technically supposed to be headed to the local middle school, but I don't feel that's the right atmosphere for her. It's not the best run school in the area, and I don't think 5th graders belong in a middle school. She is fine with not moving forward with her classmates. She understands and knows she will know people at this new school. Plus, her bestest friend in the whole entire world will be going there as well (her mom feels the same way I do about the local middle school).

The new school has grades kindergarten thru 6th at the elementary level. The middle school and high school are also on the same grounds. I've heard nothing but good about this school and it has a large military population since it's right outside our army base. Today they had open enrollment and we were registered with no problems. That was a big relief to me! I was worried all the open spots would be full by the time we got there.

Louisa was excited because in 5th grade you get to choose from choir, band, and creative arts (which is *not* an art class, it's like creative writing and drama). Louisa chose choir. She told me that she felt like a grown-up, getting to make an important decision like that. I told her to stop that!

Here's looking forward to a new school year, at a brand new school. A new start for Drew will be good for all of us.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

We really weren't going to do much for 4th of July this year. Or, Independence Day, I guess I should say. On our army post they had a small Freedom Fest that we could have attended. Lots of carnival food (besides the fried Oreos, I'm sure there was nothing we needed anyway!), some kiddie games, bouncie things, and a concert with a country singer named Neal McCoy. And as nice as it is that he's giving us a free concert, I had no desire to see him.

So I called up my friend with the horses and said "Hey, whatcha doin' on July 4th?" She said she couldn't leave the horses because the fireworks scared them too much, but we could come out by her. And that was just what I was hoping she'd say!

We didn't ride the horses this time because she needed to keep them calm for when the fireworks started. Most of her neighbors had some pretty big fireworks displays going, and they were probably much better than what we saw on post last year. My friend also spent a small fortune on fireworks for us to shoot off. She had fountains and roman candles and sparklers and all sorts of fun stuff. There was a big area of land away from the horses and the house that we shot them from. Every once in awhile she'd go check on the horses and they kept creeping farther and farther into the trees until we couldn't see them anymore.

Hunter loved holding the sparklers. She had really long ones that he could hold easily. He didn't like the short ones. He'd say, "No, hurt me!" when I tried to give him a short one. Drew's favorite fireworks were fountains that shot a parachute guy out of them. He'd run and find the parachute. A few landed on her roof (and she was very greatful she had a metal roof instead of traditional shingles!)

We had a good time, stuffed ourselves with hamburgers, watermelon, German potato salad (that is actually supposed to be cold, not warm), and chocolate cake. Shot off some fireworks, and had a much nicer time than we would have if we'd stayed on post.
Also, please say a quick prayer for the Napolitano family. John II would have been 40 yesterday, and having lost a SIL who would have been 30 last year, I know how much those milestone days hurt!