Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.
~1 Timothy 4:12

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Alex P. Keaton, circa 2008

Two nights ago, my brother-in-law proposed to his girlfriend and she said yes! I'm not surprised in the least; he is an amazing guy and she is equally so. I'm thrilled that they have found each other and that she makes him so blissfully happy. He has that look on his face (probably permanently) that just sings of complete contentment. So yesterday when he called to talk to The Kiddles, I kind of knew what was up...

Devyn started right in and asked if she could be their flowergirl. She's been doing that for the past three months I think and I've been trying (fruitlessly) to impress upon her that she doesn't just ask for such an honor! Although apparently her boldness worked in her favor because they did ask Girlfriend if she would be so inclined. You know that cartoon where the cat in on the ceiling, hair sticking straight up it's so wired? That was Girlfriend. She was screaming. Then, my brother-in-law asked to speak to Aiden. What follows is an account of how that blessed event went down (keep in mind I'm just hearing one end of the conversation):

Aiden: Ring Bearer? (pause) Ring Bearer? You want me to be your Ring Bearer?
Wow! Cool! Yeah, I can do that.
Wait. Wait. How much does it pay?
(Brother-in-law: How...How much does it pay?)
Oh, I don't know. I don't like pictures so much.
Oookkk. I can do thaaat. Thank you for asking me.

As soon as we hung up, Dude looked at me and said,
"I cannot do this job".
(Me: Why not?)
"Because. I'm not a bear"!
(No, no Sweetie, you don't have to BE a bear or dress UP like one!)
"Well, what do I wear then"?
(You'll wear a tuxedo).
"Ohhhhh NO"!!
(What's wrong? You'll look great!)
"I won't be a bear, but I'll be a penguin"!

So when I told Mike this morning on the phone about Dude's comments, he said, "Oh my gosh. You know who he is right? He's Alex P. Keaton with that 'How much does it pay' remark"! It's actually not a bad idea--both he and Devyn are so darn cute I'm thinking about renting them out for weddings as the Ring Bearer and Flowergirl. It could work!

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Original Lindsay...

Eleven years ago, a dirty, cleat-wearing, adorable athletic chick walked into a dorm room to find a spastic, prissy southern girl lighting up a lightbulb in a microwave. These two girls were introduced to each other and each was thinking, "Oh. My. Lord. This is my soon to be roommate? You've got to be kidding".

Four months later, these two girls moved into their apartment together, not really knowing each other at all. The bonding didn't happen right away, but one afternoon, the adorable athletic chick (no longer dirty) asked the spastic prissy girl if she wanted to go to WalMart with her, so they rode to the only Wal-Mart in town into the adorable girl's Volvo (appropriately named Swedish) and thus began a friendship that the likes of which has not been seen since, and will probably never be seen again.

The adorable girl is my Lindsay. We have been through a POO LOAD of shtuff together and she is and forever will be the closest thing I have to a sister. There are two women in this world I truly consider my "soul mates" and she is one of them (Amber, my lovie, you're the other!).

Lindsay is one of those people who will answer the phone at any time of day and listen to absolutely anything I have to say, gripe about, yell about, yak about or just whine. We have a lot of differences, but she must be my yin and i must be her yang. I really don't understand the yin and yang thing ,but I know that they're opposites ( I think) but that they balance each other ( I think). Either way, we're sometimes very opposite, but we balance each other greatly. She has stood with me at the most important moments of my life:

1. She held my head and hair back the one and only time I got a little drunk (or a LOT drunk) in college when I was praying for my death over the toilet and promising my Lord and Savior I would never drink to that extent again.
2. She celebrated with me during a most intense academic situation my senior year and had chicken nuggets and a frosty with me and my parents the day it was all resolved.
3. She was my Maid of Honor and cried more than I did on my wedding day.
4. She was the first person I called (after our parents) when I found out I was pregnant--I still can hear her VERY acute screams over the phone.
5. She held me and let me cry profusely in the days prior to us moving to London because I was going to miss her so much--and she was the strong one, telling me it would all be ok.
6. She fed a squirrel some Icee off a spoon in Regents Park in London when she came to visit.
7. She survived a looming hurricane with me in Miami and only told me to "Shut your Pollyanna mouth" once when I was being a bit TOO positive about "at least having 42 hours of vacation" as opposed to 4 days. I totally needed to be shut up. Love her for that!

We have been through so much more and she honestly (I think) saved my butt this Spring by doing a most amazing thing for me when she witnessed me at the end of my deployment rope. I will forever be grateful and indebted to her for that. There are just a few things that I look back on my life on when in times of crisis, people have selflessly and unbelivably bailed me out--she did that for me.

Last night was one of those moments at 10pm when I called her about something that was bugging me and in no time she had me laughing and realizing how insane the situation is. She just gets me in every way. I am so very thankful to my Lord for her and what she has brought to my life. She is a gift in every possible way and I hope she knows how much I treasure and love her.

Lindsay. I hereby promise to never buy you a bird as a pet. I promise to never sneak orange flavoring into any food or drink you may consume. I promise to defend your right to think that a cat's tounge is gross (even though you're wrong). I promise to always sit with you however long it takes for you to pick out a Burberry hat. I promise you that you will forever and always be The Original Lindsay and to take our little silly secret stuff to my grave. I promise you that even though we don't get to see each other as often as we like, that you will always be my sister and I will love you til I die and beyond. Youdabest Baby!

Thursday, July 24, 2008


I'm not jewish, however, I firmly believe in the power of the oy. The kiddles and I spent five lovely (HOT) days in Florida and got back to our lovely home tonight. OH! My ear just popped from the last flight--love that! We spent one day with the Mouse--one day because I honestly think that's all we could stand from the heat. We did get to do the things we missed out on last year including:

1. Stitch's Great Escape
2. Monsters Inc Laugh Floor
3. Aladdin's Flying Carpets
4. Mickey's Philharmagic
5. Cinderella's Golden Carousel
6. Tom Sawyer Island
7. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
8. The Haunted Mansion

Now, it should be noted that The Haunted Mansion is, hands down, my all-time, whoop-it-up, shamalamadingdong, slap your mama favorite theme park attraction. EVER. I love the kitchiness of it and have since I first rode it when I was seven years old. Last year it was closed for refurbishment (funny how something that's "in shambles" needs refurbishment, but I get it) and I missed out on taking my two little sweeties to my most favorite thing at WDW. This year, however, I made SURE it was open. We got off the monorail and made a BEELINE to the back of the park to blissfully find that it only had a ten minute wait! I nearly cried with glee. The Girl and The Boy went in and throughout the ride, Aiden was stonefaced. Not an expression, not a word was muttered from that child. Devyn was a little more vocal, but seemed to be enjoying herself. THE MINUTE we stepped off the ride and into daylight, Aiden had a total meltdown, screaming and crying about what I had just "made him endure" according to him. I will say though, that that special moment I will always remember as one of the worst (but a little humorous) moments of my parental life was when he looked at me and told me, "You've actually ruined my perfect life"! Oh, the humanity...

The rest of the time spent in Florida was spent at the pool at our hotel and one day spent at the Downtown Disney Marketplace, where upon leaving said Marketplace and returning to where our shuttle would be, I realized that our shuttle had LEFT US, an HOUR AND A HALF EARLIER THAN THEY SAID THEY WOULD. Here's what was going on to make THAT moment even better :

50 mile an hour winds
sheets of COLD rain
CRAZY Lightening
Black skies

THANK GOD for my friend Lisa who informed me that the shuttle had abandoned her and her husband too. We managed to hail a cab, but only after my two sweeties were quite literally shivering and trembling and all of us looked like we had just jumped in the Seven Seas Lagoon. And what's better? Her sweet husband paid our cab fare ($40!!!) because in his words "Your husband is fighting for our country. It's the least I can do". Love him!

All in all, it was a good trip. We are beyond tired and spent, but I am so thankful that I have two little good travellers who listened and paid attention to me, and beyond thankful for a husband who supports me doing crazy things like taking two small children to a crazy place by myself. I'll end on a funny note: everytime I've gone to the Magic Kingdom, I've seen some mad crazy stuff. This time was no exception: the first was the man in front of me at the entry gate who had his head shaved into the silhouette of The Mouse several times over, and the other was the dude riding the Teacups wearing a shirt that said "I'm in love with a stripper".


Friday, July 18, 2008

Me, Two Kiddles, and A Mouse...

No, we did not have a mouse in the house. Tomorrow, the kiddles and I will leave for five days in Orlando, hence "a mouse" being THE Mouse. Since we did Disney last year with the family, the kiddles and I will spend one day at the Magic Kingdom doing the things we did not get to do last year for one reason or another. Normally, I wouldn't undertake something of this magnitude--a vacation with two children completely on my own--BUT...I work for an amazing company that offers the reward of a paid all-inclusive vacation for hard work and I earned it in April! So...that brings in the decision to take the kiddles with me to Florida. The only thing I'm really worried and concerned about are the flights. The kids will do fine--they've flown several times before and Devyn's an old pro at flying by this point, but my concern lies in transporting two children by myself through three airports. Yeesh...

It will be fine. I've got good little travelers with me. The house has been cleaned, the last load of dishes is in the dishwasher, I managed all but one load of laundry, the cat is taken care of, the bags are in the car and I'm finally relaxing by watching Project Runway (a rerun from the other night, but it's always better the second time around). 7 am will come early!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

35 minutes...

Today the kiddles and I spent 35 wonderful minutes in an office at the base talking to my amazing husband through a video teleconference. I was a little hesitant about this whole thing because I felt like it would be like it must be in a prison--in that we would have a pane of glass between us and we would just not have a connection. I couldn't imagine what we would have to talk about for 3o minutes because it's been so rare that we've been able to talk that long in the last five months. I was apprehensive but excited. I didn't know what to expect...

I walked into that office today at 11:20 and saw my precious husband sitting 6207.90 miles away. I didn't make a lot of eye contact with him initially because, in all honesty, I had to compose myself. I didn't want to cry in front of him, or seem sad at all. That's not what I was there for. The only thing I wanted to do was somehow morph myself into air and travel through that tv screen to where he was. Even though that wasn't possible, I was determined to make those few moments we had the best few moments we'd had in the past five months. It went too quickly. It seemed like almost as soon as it began, I was told we had two minutes left. How do you convey the love you have for someone in two minutes? How can you tell the person you love more than anything in the universe that you're miserably sorry that you argued yesterday? How do you apologize and not close it by hugging that person so tightly that you can feel their breath on your hair? How do you let your eyes speak what's in your very soul and somehow let them know that nothing else in this world matters except being with that person? How do you show the joy in the moment that you're with that person and not show signs of the constant stomach ache you carry until that person returns? I suppose it's impossible not to. I can only hope that Mike saw the sheer bliss I had at seeing him for the first time in five months.

Five months tomorrow. One hundred and fifty some days. One hundred and fifty days in which I have slept alone, fixed an alarm clock, drank over one hundred and fifty cups of coffee, shorted out the microwave about five times, gotten my hair cut twice, hosted friends and family in our home four different times, sat through two nights of projectile puke with Aiden, sat through three different fevers through the night, finished two school years (one with each kiddle), attended two soccer parties, one ballet recital, been nearly killed on the interstate by crazy drivers four times, hired a lawn guy, earned a trip with my company, had three doctors appointments, washed approximately 18,000,000 loads of laundry and painted and redecorated one bathroom. Through all that, I have grown more in love with my husband, questioned my own strength and sanity and managed to not get liquered up every evening. It's been a long road thus far, and I don't expect it to get any shorter quite honestly. It's going to be a long road even though (hopefully) we're more than halfway through at this point. The end result is what's important and that's all that matters right now...making it through the next four months and watching a plane carrying my husband land and feeling his breath on my hair again. That's the goal. One hundred and twenty days...

Sunday, July 13, 2008's a vicious circle...

So. The littlest kiddle had two birthday parties to go to this weekend, and his big sister was invited to the one today, which gave me a nice two hours to scarf down a sandwich and a cup of coffee and go back and get them. Big Sister and I had a nice time out on our own yesterday while Aiden was at the first birthday party. Now, let me tell you...this birthday thing is getting a tad out of control. It's like the ante is up and you never know what you're going to get when you walk into the home where the party is being held, which has likely been transformed into a five year old's dream come true on crack. It's madness. And then you travel to the backyard. Walt Disney wouldn't have even come up with something like this. Everywhere you look, there are bouncyjumpyhouseythings and bouncyjumpywaterslidethings and swingsets and a freakin smorgasboard of every possible food imaginable--everything from gummy bears to macaroni salad, ribs and a kegger for the parents (because let's face it--that's the only way most parents get through these things--good and liquered up)...children are running manically around in the accepted uniform of swimsuits and swim masks and everyonce in a while a child will randomly launch him or herself off the top of the blowupwaterslidethingy to the shreiks of the parents who scream through the kegger induced haze "HEY! WAAATCH IT!". I kid you not. It's a sight to behold.

Now, because I'm one of "those" parents (read=annoying), I drop off said kiddles at these parties so as not to lose what's left of my mind. It just ain't my thing. And I fully expect when it's my children's parties, that those other parents will feel free to drop off their children for two hours and go maintain some sense of adulthood.

So, after my two hours of sandwich scarfing and coffee guzzling, I returned to said homes to pick up the kiddles. What IS it about the "gift for coming" thing? I'm all about the goody bag--you get like a Twizzler, a sheet of stickers, a punch balloon and a whistle. Heck, when I was a kid you didn't even get that. You took your gift, ate some cake, pinned a tail on a paper donkey and left. Now, it appears, things have changed. Drastically. Yesterday, Aiden came home with a baseball bat and a ball. At first I thought he had nicked them off the birthday girl's big brother, but, um, no. They were his. GIFTS. Um. WHAT? Seriously? Geez. Fast forward to today. Upon leaving, Aiden, my polite, uber-good with manners says to the Mama Host, "I'm leaving now. Thank you for having me. Can I have my present now"? I nearly puked in the macaroni salad. As I was leaning in to tell him "Sweetie pie, we don't ask for gifts. You have a very nice lollipop right there", Mama Host says "Oh! I almost forgot! Here you go, Doll". A beach towel. A Brand New Beach Towel from the Disney Store. Was she kidding? I was praying she was kidding. But no.

Now, don't misunderstand, I'm not being ungrateful. I just don't understand where this is coming from--this "thank you gift" bit. It's like the $30,000 gift bag the celebrities get who present at the Oscars. We're now in the Gift Bag Game of preschool, and if you ask me, it's out of control. Who sends the thank you note in that case? The kid who got the birthday gift or the guest who got the gift for coming? And then where does it stop? Do we, as the receivers of the bat, baseball, and beach towel now have to reciprocate with a more mamajamma gift? If that's the case, by the time they're twelve, we'll have basketball hoops and jacuzzis in our back yard. Maybe it's not such a bad idea after all...

Either way, both my kids guests at their birthday parties this year will get gifts as well. A little goody bag, complete with Twizzler, a sheet of stickers, a punch balloon and a whistle.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Glitch...

There's now a glitch in the plan. The original plan was that Mike would be home in the early fall, putting this at a seven month deployment. Scratch that. I found out on Monday that the plan is now that Mike will be home closer to the holidays at the end of this year. Mike was the most upset I've heard him while we were on the phone talking about The Glitch. I, while not surprised was definitely sucker-punched by this news. It was something that I knew was a strong possibility, but I couldn't think about it. I had to get through the moment at hand, although an extension was always in the back of my head.

So. In all honesty, I've spent this week being slightly sick at my stomach. The kids took The Glitch remarkably well--they honestly taught me a lot about faith and grace in the moment. They were much more concerned that Daddy would come home safely rather than when he would come home. I thank God for those two every day--they are the sweet in what has been a very bitter week.

I am very blessed with wonderful friends. As soon as I sent out the "FYI email" to our close friends about The Glitch, I got a phone call from one of my dear friends--her husband is currently deployed also--and she was honestly sick at the stomach FOR me. She's just too sweet! My best friend was angry and just very clearly ticked off at the government and I love her for that. I know that I could call her in the middle of the night if I needed anything from her. She's amazing. Our families are just upset. There's no other way to describe it. My daddy told me the stories of him praying every day not to be extended during Vietnam, my mother-in-law was speechless, my brother-in-law was angry, and my aunt-in-law was just over it. It's so nice to have people who are sad for us, as well as for themselves.

So, the reason I refer to this majorly annoying moment in time as The Glitch is because it's just that and only that--it's a glitch and glitches get worked out. Mike will come home. Through all our deployments, we've now gone the longest amount of time without laying eyes on each other. I find myself waking up in the middle of the night thinking about him, wondering what he's doing. I'm a nightowl, so at 11:30 every night, I'm thinking of him waking up about then. The fact is, I will continue to think about him every minute for the next 120 (or thereabouts) days. I think I'm babbling I've said to myself many times over the past five months, this too, shall pass...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Holding on...

When I walked into Aiden's room last night to kiss him goodnight, this is what I found:

The giraffe's name is Zeebee (courtesy of Aiden) and the night Mike left, we put Aiden's favorite picture of him and his daddy in Zeebee's tummy. That giraffe has seen more love and affection in the last 5 months than I think it ever had before. He's never far from Aiden' side and you can see how lovingly Aiden hugs him every night. It warmed my heart, but pricked it a little too. I noticed last night for the first time how worn the picture is, the cracks that are in it and how many times it's been loved on and quite obviously talked to...

Mike, I know Aiden doesn't talk a lot on the phone when you call, but you can rest assured you are talked to every night...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A better day...

I am happy to say that today has been a better day. I'm very tired, but it's more from actually having a productive day than being emotionally worn out. The kiddles and I got the bedrooms and the den cleaned, I completed their July chore charts, and they got a play date with our neighbor's daughter when her mom and I went to dinner. Her husband is deployed as well, and it was so nice to sit down and talk to someone who just "got it". I got to talk to my dear husband, who was experiencing the worst sandstorm they've had there and ended the day reading to my sweet kiddles before bed.

More good days will follow this one, as will more difficult, trying days, but we can do this two and a half more months. We've done nearly five. How strange and bizarre it is to think that I haven't seen my husband, my best friend, in five months. How crazy is it to say that I have no idea of what my husband's living conditions are like? That's just nuts. It may be nuts, but it's our life. It's my life. As much as it's sucked, it has done several very key things for me and my family, and my marriage:

1. Mike and I appreciate each other (I believe) so much more than other couples might.
2. We have a level of communication that we might not have had if we didn't have the life we have.
3. We value the time we have together and with our children more than we might if we didn't spend substantial time apart.
4. We know, perhaps better than anyone what "alone time" actually is.
5. We know, perhaps better than anyone, that "alone time" is completely overrated.
6. I know that if everything I own on this earth disappeared this minute, as long as I still have Michael, Devyn, and Aiden (and yes, our kitty Tux), I would have everything I would ever need to make me fully content, and I wouldn't look back.

Here's to the next 2.5 months.