Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Merry Christmas/Happy New Year Part 1

Let me just say, life has been extremely busy lately so I'm a little late on posting anything holiday worthy.

I have just 2 thoughts on Christmas:

1. All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth. . .

No really. After spending almost $2,000 out of pocket for a front tooth root canal and to have all 4 wisdom yanked. . . and that's just this year. Basically the whole "Sarah's stupid teeth" saga started with my miss-matched teeny tiny jaws and really big teeth. So that meant about 6 years of braces, head gear, W wires, expanders, retainers... and a permanent retainer that I still have (and will have the rest of my life). Of course the lovely permanent retainer did not stop my top front teeth from shifting- and no thanks to the wisdom pushing my already crowded teeth out of their path.

And then there was the 4 molars being ripped out of my mouth (while I was awake- 8 years old. Felt. Every. Single. Thing.

Then, to top it all off, I severely chipped one of my top front teeth so very long ago. . . lets just say I don't remember (nor will ever feel) what it's like to bite into anything with my front teeth. Basically I get food all over my face because I have to bit into whatever it is I'm eating as far to the left side of my mouth as possible. (So fun!)

If that doesn't explain my extreme dental anxiety and 5 year hiatus from any dental services whatsoever, I don't know what does.

Now that all the braces are off, cavities from beneath the braces filled, and the wisdom teeth are gone pretty much everything is good, happy and normal.

Except that darn front tooth. It looks like a patchwork quilt because of all the shoddy work that's been done on it and due to it pretty much dying a painful and miserable death (abscess thanks to the shoddy work not holding up so well) it's also darker than the tooth next to it. AND it doesn't help that for some crazy reason the tooth next to it also has a big old stain on it. Except it's a bright white stain, which just makes the darkness of my devil tooth look even worse.

It's really a silly thing to be upset over, it's just the pressure of having that "perfect smile" from our society which caused me to seek out consultation which predicted a $10,000 cost to the "perfect smile". Ok fine, I'll settle for a halfway decent smile. . . well that consultation comes out to about $3,000 and includes 6-12 months of braces. Yay.

I feel horrible and vain for even being upset about it. But I cried after each of these consultations because I knew I just couldn't justify spending that kind of money purely on my LOOKS. I have had people mention my discolored teeth to me- heck once a "friend" even told me I should try some "whitening gel" to make it "look better". Thanks "friend"! Way to kill my already dying smile image!

So I am going the path of least resistance (and the one that leaves more money in my bank account). I am getting the recommended porcelain crown on my front tooth. The position of the tooth will still be a few millimeters in front of the rest of my teeth, the color will be better but still dark, and it will still be fragile so I have to continue my messy left-side-biting-into-my-food routine. BUT no more shoddy patch work quilt tooth and no more further complications until the tooth further disintegrates and requires an implant (probably in about 10 years). THEN perhaps I will be able to bite into my food normally.

So can I just say that I would honestly have asked Santa for 2 front teeth this Christmas. 2 brand spanking new front teeth, no stains, no dis alignment, just two beautiful pearly whites to give me a decent looking smile.

*sigh* I really need to accept my ugly smile the way it is and MOVE ON!

Less Vain Christmas ramblings:

2. Last Christmas was very sad. Adam was gone. . . and that pretty much sums it up. My family is so wonderful and they did their best to make it amazing and to make me feel loved (and they succeeded) but my heart still ached to be with the one that I love. Something about the holidays makes us yearn for that time with family- maybe that's the only time we get to see them. For the most part, it's a day we all know that we will not have to work and can just spend time with our family.

So not getting to be with my closest, dearest family member proved to make it a time of sadness. To make matters worse, Adam had no mailing address so the best I could do was a send him a Christmas E-card.

Needless to say this Christmas was incredibly wonderful! Adam and I had the time of our lives. . . No snow. . . no cold. My 3rd ever California Christmas, and his 1st. Let's just say I'm pretty sure he's sold on the California Christmas Concept!

But as I felt how lucky I was to have MY soldier home for Christmas. . . I thought about the thousands of soldiers away from their loved ones and the pain their loved ones would be feeling on this special day. I cannot even write about it without tears welling up in my eyes- because I KNOW that pain. I know how the joy of the holidays merely amplifies that pain (ok now the tears are falling, gah!) and to know that so many other people had to feel that way this Christmas. . . I felt almost guilty for getting to have my soldier home for Christmas. I yearned to be able to ease the pain for the soldiers and their loved ones. . . I told Adam "It should be mandatory world peace on Christmas- everyone stops fighting and gets to go home to be with their families. No one has to work, everyone gets to go home and be with their loved ones. Wishful thinking I know. . . but if you knew the pain, you would understand.

That concludes my Christmas ramblings.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

To Minnesota and back again

Whew.

It's super weird being alone right now. It kind of reminds me of the deployment except I'm missing one thing that was a great source of comfort to me while Adam was gone. . .

MERCEDES!

Fortunately I'm so insanely exhausted from trying to get home for 13 hours yesterday.

"Between noon and 8:00pm yesterday a brutal snowstorm hit central Minnesota resulting in 400 vehicle accidents, 50 injuries, and 1 fatality."

It started with leaving white bear lake at 2:00pm. Arrived at the airport close to 3. Roads were OK. . . I've seen worse. At least we made it there.

I thought I'd be ready to leave Adam for a few days after our 6+ weeks of reunion. . . but I really wasn't. It made me SO sad to leave- but at the same time I was DESPERATE to get back to California.

Of course I was randomly "flagged" at security (the sarcasm is because I accidentally brought a police baton through security on our flight TO Minnesota several days earlier. . . turns out they are illegal in California so everyone was in a tizzy and I was nearly arrested. Not fun). SO, I don't think there was anything random about being "flagged" while trying to fly out of MSP.

I guess I should be happy I wasn't strip searched, BUT at least that would have been done in PRIVATE. No, instead I had every inch of my body touched with loads of thanksgiving travelers watching as they went past. It was really wonderful. (Not).

After my super suspicious costco ugg's were triple tested for dangerous chemicals, every inch of my purse and bag checked and rechecked and re-x-rayed. . . I was FINALLY able to go to my gate.

Good thing I had gotten to the airport early!

Then the flight ended up being delayed for 3 hours. This is just one reason I hate the @#$@%(#*& snow. Call me a "snow hater" I don't care. Maybe some people don't mind growing up with White Christmases. . . thanksgivings. . . halloweens. . . even Easters. Maybe some don't mind shoveling, scraping, brushing, shivering. . . Maybe some don't mind having it hurt to breath because it's so @#$@#%(*& cold. Maybe they don't mind having plans be ruined, delayed, canceled due to weather etc. And you know what? That's awesome. I'm glad some (a lot of) people don't mind (maybe even ENJOY) these things. That's truly fabulous- I really do mean that.

BUT I AM NOT ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE.

And that's OK. God made us different. . . we enjoy different things. I think that's great and I'm happy for people who enjoy certain things even if I really do despise those things (a lot).

The point is it ended up taking forever for me to get out of Minnesota mostly thanks to the snow. Long story short, it took 13 painful hours before I was able to rest my head on my pillow and find sweet rest in my own bed.

I really did enjoy getting to see friends and family. Even though it was quick, brief visits since most of our trip was consumed with preparing the rest of our crap to be moved out here, it was really nice. And it was nice to have a good reminder of just what "cold" really is. I didn't even put on my coat to go get the mail today and I didn't even shiver. I have a refreshed appreciation for my new life in California and I'm quite happy for that.

Now of course I am sitting alone in our apartment. . . wondering if the road trip crew (Adam, Bryn, David, & Mercedes) have made it to Wyoming yet. That's about the 1/2 way point to Sacramento, so that should put them on track to make it here by tomorrow night. That would be awesome because that means that I only have to be alone TONIGHT. :)

I'm trying really hard to appreciate this time to myself. What sucks is that I feel like I've slipped RIGHT back into the "deployment" and that I do NOT like. :(

At least I worked today and I work tomorrow (the whole reason I didn't get to join the "road trip crew") so that will keep me busy. I think it's extra hard because I don't even have my precious baby to cuddle with :(

I will be SO happy to see them again! I really can't wait. . .

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Veterans Day

Here's a picture of Mercedes at the local Veterans Memorial, I thought it was very sweet:





This song I also found especially moving. Below are the lyrics:

West, on a plane bound west
I see her stretchin’ out below
Land, Blessed Mother Land
The place where I was born
Scars, yeah she’s got her scars
Sometimes it starts to worry me,
‘Cause lose, I don’t wanna lose
Sight of who we are


From the mountains high
To the wave-crashed* coast
There’s a way to find better days I know
It’s been a long hard ride
Got a ways to go
But this is still the place
That we all call home

Free, nothing feels like free
Though it sometimes means we don't get along
Cause same, no we're not the same
But that’s what makes us strong

From the mountains high
To the wave-crashed coast
There’s a way to find better days I know
It’s been a long hard ride
Got a ways to go
But this is still the place
That we all call home

Brave, gotta call it brave
to chase that dream across the sea.
Names, then they signed their names
For something they believed
Red, how the blood ran red
We laid our dead in sacred ground
Just think, wonder what they'd think
If they could see us now

It’s been a long hard ride
Got a ways to go
This is still the place
That we all call home
It’s been a long hard ride
And I won't lose hope
This is still the place
That we all call home.

I couldn't think of a better way to say what I feel. . . "Free, nothing feels like free, though it sometimes means we don't get along, cause same, no we're not the same, but that’s what makes us strong."

I whole heartily agree with this. . . free means that we are FREE to not get along. . . we're not all the same, we're not all MEANT to be the same. There is strength in tolerance and accepting that which is not identical to ourselves.

Also, "It’s been a long hard ride, got a ways to go, this is still the place, that we all call home. It’s been a long hard ride and I won't lose hope, this is still the place that we all call home."

It HAS been a long hard ride. . . our country still has a ways to go. But it's MY home and I will never lose hope that we will continue to grow and change and cultivate love and acceptance in the rest of the world.

<3 America

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Remember, remember the 5th of November. . .

November 5th, 2007

I held hands with the man I loved, looked into his eyes and said "I do."

I missed out on most of the frivolity that most american girls have when they get married, it used to bother me (mostly because of the reason WHY).

I won't get in to all of that now, but this past November 5th was our 4th wedding anniversary. Hard to believe it's been 4 years. . . harder yet to remember than 1 of those entire years was spent away from each other.

Someone said to us that this wasn't really our "4th" anniversary because we didn't get to be together for a whole year. That we'd really only been married for 3 years.

I don't think people realize the amount of work it takes to keep a marriage together with a 12.5 hour time difference, limited communication, and each partner retreating to a lonely bed at night. A frightening number of military marriages do NOT survive. . . and I can see why.

I count myself extremely blessed to have a husband who is so committed to our relationship. Not only did we survive the deployment, we've had a wonderful time resuming life together. So far, it's been far less difficult than I imagined it being.

Right now the difficult thing for me is to not let the anxiety of the scary unknown future get to me. What will happen with Adam's job? Where will we end up? Will bad things happen to us (again) ?

Just gotta relax, take it one day at a time, and enjoy the fact that hubby is here with me every day (easier said than done, to the first three at least!)

I have to say, waking up on November 5th with Adam next to me was the best anniversary present ever :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

1 week Post Deployment

Well that certainly could not have happened any better than it did.

Adam arriving home from his deployment ON his birthday? A week EARLIER than expected? Every once in a while the universe hands you these perfect moments or perfect coincidence. You might only ever get one, so you gotta fully enjoy it ;)

I really do have the best friends and family.

I showed up at work that morning and my coworkers were like "WHAT are you doing HERE?!" I insisted on staying until everyone had at least gotten a lunch break. Finally they convinced my to leave around 2:00pm. That gave me enough time to vaccuum out the car and finish the rest of the laundry.

My uncle Eddie arrived from his 6 hour drive from Long Beach around 5:00pm. Hanging out and chatting with him made time go by SO much faster. . . this was SO helpful! I had so much anxiety it was RIDICULOUS.

The rest of my friends had dropped what they had planned and showed up at my apartment at 8:00pm.

We hung out, ate pizza, obsessively checked adam's flight (or maybe that was just me?). . . signed his welcome home banner.



I got ready to go. . . the girls helped me pick which purse to use.

Before I knew it the time had finally come. We loaded up in our vehicles and headed towards the 5 (interstate).

I could barely contain my excitement. The drive there honestly seems like a blur. I remember I probably said at least 10 times "Oh my God, I am SOOO excited!"

Of course Adam would be flying into the recently constructed Terminal B. . . so that threw another interesting twist into our plan.

Some of my friends arrived first and checked his flight. . . which would now be arriving 23 minutes EARLIER than expected!!!!

Once we all met up, the girls and I headed off for one last bathroom trip. The guys figured out where we needed to be.

We went up all the escalators until we reached the shuttle drop off/pick up area. Uncle Eddie confirmed with an airport employee that Adam would be arriving at one of the two shuttle ports.

So we stood between the two and waited. It seriously felt like HOURS. Our little welcome home band, holding our sign, trying to entertain a tired toddler.

Every time a shuttle arrived I hoped it would be the ONE. Of course none of them were bringing any passengers, and it seemed like hours between each shuttles arrival.

I honestly don't know what I would have done without my friends and family right there with me counting down the seconds until the big arrival.

Finally we could see in the distance a shuttle coming towards the left port. As it got closer we could see passengers.

Mercedes grabbed my hand and we walked up to the front of the shuttle port. I could see two men in uniform right at the front. I immediately recognized the one on the right as Adam.

Mercedes waved and he waved back. We looked at each other and I waved excitedly.

We walked around to the side where the passengers would be disembarking.

There he was, walking towards us.

I took a few steps and for a moment remembered the sign glaring at us which stated "ticketed passengers only beyond this point"

I can't tell you how many times I dreamed about this moment. Wondering if I would freeze, scream, laugh, cry, run or even fall flat on my face.

I stepped past the sign and the steps turned into a run and I threw my arms around Adam's neck.

I started to cry, but no tears came. Just dry sobs as I clutched on to him.



Tears streamed down his own eyes, he leaned down and whispered into my ear: "I'm home Babe, I'm home for good."

It felt like we stood in that embrace forever. I suddenly felt horrible that I had no idea how long Mercedes had been standing there!

We scooped her up into a big family hug. And then we kissed. It all just felt so right! I felt like we could have stood there forever, perfectly happy and content.

Our friends and family hung out with us while we waited for Adam's bags. I was so elated- to be able to hug my husband, hold his hand, kiss him as much as I wanted. . . I honestly didn't care about anything other than being with Adam.

After the bags finally arrived we all said goodbye and headed back to our homes.

I had also wondered many times if it would be difficult getting to sleep next to Adam again, after becoming so used to living on my own and having our bed entirely to myself.

Suffice to say that when I did fall asleep that night, it was the sweetest sleep of my life. Nothing felt more normal or natural then waking up with my hubby right beside me and feeling like life was finally back to the way it should be.




video

Friday, October 7, 2011

So close, I can almost taste it. . .

My heart is pounding. I can hardly breath. I can barely remember being this excited EVER. . . I think the closest I have ever been to being this excited was in November 2006 when I was in South Carolina for Adam's graduation from basic training.

I remember my little outfit that I bought (which I still have, except the shoes! Still fits. . . just a little too conservative for how I am NOW!) and getting ready in the little loft I was staying in. . .

My heart had been broken the month before when I thought I wasn't going to be able to go see him graduate. I had played in a wedding that day in the Semple Mansion in Minneapolis and Adam had called me and we discussed the dates and airline prices... the verdict we reached was great disappointment to both of us. I sat in the corner of the entrance and just cried my eyes out!

Just a few weeks after that I received a call from my future mother in law informing me of the amazing airline ticket she had found. . . next thing I knew I was all set to go see my boyfriend the weekend of Veterans day! I was in the (second) kitchen of a huge mansion I was cleaning. No one was around so I took a minute to jump up and down and then collapse in a heap of happy tears!

After the graduation, on our way to actually see Adam, I thought I might pass out. I could barely breath! We had no idea if we were in the right spot, but Adams parents and I bravely climbed out of the rental van and approached the crowd of soldiers and civilians. Desperately I looked around hoping to see him. . .

A voice called down to us from above, "HEY! I'll be right down!"

There he was, up on a balcony. Turned in a flash and began leaping down flights of stairs and bolting towards us.

"VALSLER, DO NOT RUN! DO NOT RUN!!!!" The voice of the drill sergeant echoed through the air but had no effect whatsoever on the speed in which Adam ran towards me.

In a second his arms were around me in a tight and endearing embrace. . . pity we hadn't discovered kissing (or anything else) yet! If I could go back in time to that moment I would. . . well, I'll spare you that knowledge!


This time it will be different. I'll be standing in the terminal, surrounded by a few family members and my dear friends. . . we'll be staring at the escalator waiting for a pair of combat boots to appear and watching to see if Adam is revealed as the steps flow downward.

I'm not sure if I am going to run, freeze, cry, laugh, fall over or maybe all of the above. What I do know is that THIS time I will kiss the man I love for a very long time and there will be NO holding back any of the lov'n whatSOever! It's gonna be great :)

Will this happen tomorrow night? There's a chance. A good one. I'm trying to keep myself from hoping too much, but I can't. I really can't. I mean how can this NOT happen tomorrow? It's his fricken birthday! It would be the most amazing birthday ever! I seriously don't even know how I am going to handle the news if this DOESN'T happen?! I know I will make it those few extra days, but will I be able to function????!!!!!!

I hope this wave of adrenalin carries me through until I see him again! I simply can't help but be excited out of my mind!

Ok. Time to get stuff DONE!





Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Oct 5th

October 5th 2010 around 1pm Adam and I finally pulled up into our new apartment complex and stepped into the office to finish signing our lease. I can't believe it's been exactly one year since we officially became Californian residents!

We were SO exhausted. This whole "California" thing had only started 2 months prior and BOOM we were here. After 30+ hours in our teeny car we had FINALLY arrived. Wow. . . it was such a wonderful and exciting moment!

In other news, I've now been with Great Clips for 2 years. Time goes by SO fast!

Now why can't this next week just hurry up? ;)

Ok so here's my coping strategy. . . I am REALLY trying to keep a super positive attitude and enjoy each of my last few days alone instead of being miserable and wishing they'd pass by a little (or a lot!) faster.

I think the worst part is not knowing what DAY I'm looking forward to- I just know it's SOMETIME next week. . . ish. I HATE the vagueness! It's like. . . waiting to go into labor! You know it WILL happen. . . just not when. And the anticipation KILLS!

I keep procrastinating certain parts of my "list". I think that secretly I'm hoping that I'll find out he's coming home sooner than expected and I can rush around and get everything done real quick in one final sweep of energy and a major adrenaline rush. That would be a dream come true. . .

That being said, I only have about 4 episodes to finish the last season of "Buffy". . . like most TV shows the 4th season started a decline which unfortunately the last season did NOT improve at all. I'm literally just watching the episodes purely so I can see how it ends. Lame, I know. But this is my life!

I'm happy that my dedication to eating (relatively) healthy and working out has held fast! For someone who drank 1-2 sodas every day (that's right, I said SODA not POP!) I can honestly say I haven't drank an entire soda in over 2 months. And the two I attempted to drink I didn't even finish because I didn't like the taste anymore. . . CRAZY!

Working out is so boring (especially with Buffy becoming insanely blah as of late) so I've thrown in a couple of other TV shows and DVDs to the mix which helps. And I have to say the results I'm seeing are quite a motivation of their own! I'm REALLY proud of myself for sticking with this consistently 6 days a week!

I keep imagining what it will be like- standing at the airport and seeing Adam come down the escalator and towards us. To FINALLY feel his lips again. . .

Our life has really had it's share of ups and downs. But I feel like that makes it all the more worth it to get through such a massive hurdle and to be together again. It's like we know beyond the shadow of a doubt that we will make it through anything no matter what. . . We are bonded in a way that few people will ever experience. And the trials we've survived? Just make victory that much sweeter.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

October 1st

The end is near. Extremely near.

I did a little happy dance when I woke up this morning knowing it was October 1st.

Then I cried in the car on my way to work when the radio station I was listening to played "The Star Spangled Banner" and "Proud to be an American".

I was fairly excited most of the day. Talking to my coworkers about my hubby's current position, when he'd be home, etc.

But then I was so exhausted during my last haircut of the evening. It was a half hour past closing and I was finishing up the last customer and thinking about going home to my empty apartment. I thought about the fact that I still have at least a few weeks of work before that blissful trip to the airport to reunite with my lover. I pushed back the tears and carried on my pretense of happiness. . .

It really just feels too far away. How can I be THIS close and feel like I'm farther from his homecoming than I've been this entire year? It literally feels like these next days are never going to end.

Most nights I do my workout, pushing through the soreness as I dream about how excited my husband will be to see me and that I WILL be in the best shape of my life, tan, moisturized, long(ish) hair, pretty much as perfect as I can get myself to be. Tonight I lay there on the floor and feel like I don't want to move. The seconds just DRAGGING by. . .

It's hard to be excited when it feels like the moment I am waiting for is NEVER going to arrive.

Not to mention my fear of the future. What it will be like reintegrating our lives which we spent 3 solid years building together? We'll be starting all over. I'll steal his towel, he'll leave his socks on the floor. . . so on and so forth. I've REALLY gotten into my "groove" lately. It's become comfortable. I even have started to like it :( Of course I'm more than happy for it to be all tipped upside down with the homecoming of my husband, but I am scared of what it will be like.

I'm scared to see what happens with Adam's job situation. Of course something will work out. But I'm scared of the process of finding out what that will be. I'm scared of living paycheck to paycheck, scraping by with the bare minimum and stressing about which bills to pay. I'm scared of bad things happening and having to struggle through them.

There's so many options and so many new things coming my way. I'm excited but so nervous.

I'm a little bit discouraged in my "getting ready" process. I'm losing my motivation and I want to just skip through these next few days and get to the part where I can rest in the arms of my husband, lay my head on his chest, and be at peace.

I remember feeling this way 5 years ago when Adam was going through basic training at Fort Jackson SC. I can't believe that was 5 years ago. . . I look back and say, "Wow, look how much time has passed since then!"

Yet still it feels like I will never make it to a time when I can say, "Remember Oct 1st 2011 when I thought the next day would never come and that I couldn't make it through? Now I have 2 more babies, a house, and am FINALLY planning my wedding to my husband for our 10th wedding anniversary. . . "

And even dreaming of the wonderful days ahead cannot stop my tears from falling.

That was my October 1st.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

#6 Get Ready. . .

October gets closer with each passing day. . . I have named October 2011 the "month of bliss" for reasons which are obvious.

Now that my family has returned to Minnesota, I've recovered (mostly) from a horrible stomach flu bug, and the vertigo is easing up (for the moment). . . it's time to GET READY.

So here's a few things on my list to accomplish before "sometime in the month of October". . .

To be done the week he returns:

-Buy a dresser for Adams clothes (currently in boxes). Wash and put away all clothes so they are ready and accessible for when he gets back.

-Detail the car (yes I intend to do this all by my lonesome. It's going to be difficult and it's going to suck horrendously but I am still going to do it)

-Wash/Wax the outside of the car

-Stock the cupboards/fridge with Adams favorite foods

-Deep clean the refrigerator, oven, microwave

-Buy a table clothe for the table (Mercedes "decorations" have been permanetly etched/colored into the top of it)

-Deep clean the bathroom and vanity in my bedroom

-Reorganize all closets/cupboards

-Dust/wipe everything down

-Shampoo the carpets

-Wash the sheets on our bed (the day of, so they are super fresh!)

-Clean/organize Mercedes bedroom

-Shampoo the carpet

-Get a pedicure/manicure

-Do a body wrap on myself (gotta put those rusty esthetician skills to work!)

-Wax, wax, wax, wax EVERYTHING

-Buy a lot of candles

To work on over the next month:

Work out EVERY day. . . I've always considered myself active, but when I was a swimmer and regularly exercising I was in incredible shape. I'd like to get *close* to that so when Adam gets back I look, feel, and am as hot as I possibly can be. I know Adam doesn't care, but I do.

I was going to buy an entirely new outfit (that's not out the window entirely yet!) but instead I'm going to raid my closet and see what amazing ensemble I can package together from what I already have. We'll see

What I've already been working on:

Growing my hair out and keeping it blond. . . if you know me, you know how difficult this is. Adam doesn't care how I have my hair but I know that he loves it long and he has never seen me with long luscious blond locks. I might need to invest in extensions, but hey I've done a pretty darn good job just with letting it grow!

Getting all of our "affairs" in order. . . that's right, got my 2012 registration tabs already, oil change done, important paperwork sorted and filed, all bills paid, talked to our leasing agent about keeping our awesome great rent deal, found JFHQ and got my military ID renewed, etc etc etc. All important things that I want out of the way for Adam's return :)

Basically I want everything to be PERFECT. For him to come home to a home that doesn't need anything but for two happy people to live in it. No chores to do, nothing to put away, nothing to organize, nothing to set up. . . just perfection.

I know that might not happen, but it's my GOAL and that's what I'll be working towards over the next days, week, month. . . (love that singular term. . . MONTH! not m...oo...n...t..h..ssssss)

It feels really good to be at this point. REALLY good. Just to know that I'm getting things ready for his homecoming makes me feel all warm and tingly inside :D

But as good as it feels, it hurts that much more to crawl into my bed all alone. . . yes I've gotten used to it, but there's still a deep sadness that sets in every night before I fall asleep all alone. I just miss him so much. . . and really NOTHING can make that feel better :(

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Remembering

Do you Remember this?



I do. As a young teenager I was greatly impacted by this event. Little did I know that exactly 10 years later I would be married to a soldier who currently is continuing to wage the fight against terrorism brought on by that fateful day in 2001.

2,977 people died as a result of this attack.

My heart bleeds for the lives lost that day and for the lives that have continued to be lost through events of "Operation Enduring Freedom". . .

Here's my thoughts as plainly as I can put them:

I am proud to be an American. I feel this country has a unique beginning and we have a lot of wonderful things to be thankful for. This country is not perfect. It's inhabitants are not perfect. Collectively a lot of "not perfect" things have happened over the course of America's life. A lot of the people who live here do not agree on much with each other and there's quite a bit of hatred spat in all directions. I can't say that I know all the answers or what's best or even that I know much at all- but I know I live in a nation where people bind together in times of need and work together to accomplish a common goal. Somehow through all the "muck" of our world today we find a way to be a team, so to speak. We take care of each other and stand strong together, not as clearly and simply as that but that is really what it comes down to.



We were ATTACKED on September 11th, 2001. It was an incredible tragedy that rocked our world. But we stood together- we cried and prayed. . . others were there in the midst helping the victims and fighting the carnage. A month later our soldier's went to war. . . here 10 years later they are still fighting to protect us and to stop the people who did this from doing more harm. I know it's not as simple as all that, but for those of us in the military, it is just that simple.

I am proud of my husband for his time spent in Operation Enduring Freedom. . . and remembering what happened a decade ago helps me to find meaning in this deployment.

It is sad to remember this horrible day. But it is good to remember it. Reflecting on it helps put things in perspective and reminds us of the reasons why we make sacrifices and to be grateful for all the good that we DO have and to not take ANY moment for granted.

Thank you to everyone who serves to protect and care for the people of America, I am truly grateful.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

#5 It's OK to cry (a lot)

2 posts in one week, dang I'm on a roll!

Well life is somewhat back to "normal". . . after a 10+ day visit with my Mom and Sisters- trekking down and across the state of California- and wrapping it all up with a mini visit from my cousin Tony. So yes, I am back to working a full work week, scrambling to find a babysitter, and one of my daily highlights being watching the next episode of "Buffy: the Vampire Slayer"

It's the oddest thing, the closer I get to "the end" the more mixed my feelings become. Part of me feels like with the finish line in sight a burst of energy is going to send me sailing across it with no problem whatsoever. Yet, at the same time, I feel like I have used every last resource and I am going to collapse and never reach the end.

One day I feel like "Wow, this whole deployment thing has been quite a success! We've paid off some major debts, actually built a savings account, our relationship has remained intact and our closeness has not dwindled. Yay us! I could do this again no problem!" And the next I wonder how I have even gotten through this year. The pain of being alone is so extraordinary I find myself numb to it most of the time, but the times when I really TRULY feel it, it's so unbearable I can hardly breath. Literally there is a deep, physical pain in my chest and it aches so bad. . .

But as with anything in life, no matter what your pain- no matter what has happened to you that makes you feel like the world has stopped and life will never go on- the sun rises on time and the day just goes on. Minute by minute, hour by hour- it passes just as it always has and always will. It does not pause, it does not take notice, it simply just continues.

And so when you reach those days where you feel like you can't keep going, you focus on making it to the next minute. The next hour. . . half of the day, and finally the end of the day. You can't think about tomorrow or next week- let alone how the next month(s) are going to go! This has pretty much been my strategy for this year. I know Adam will be home and it will be amazing- but I can't take the burden of every day all at once- just one day at a time.

I find a way to be strong for the most part- I talk about everything without completely losing it. I retain my composure (for the most part anyway) and "stay strong" so to speak.

But the smallest thing, from a sad thought to a moving photo or an emotional climax in the TV show I am watching- will simply send me into a pathetic sobbing, blubbery mess.

Somehow afterwards I feel better. Of course I feel silly and like I have somehow lost perhaps even MORE dignity, but who cares?! It's OK to let those emotions out. . . it helps.

This coming Sunday, 9/11/11 is the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. I don't care what you believe or what you think the solution is, but the cold facts are that we were ATTACKED and there and those out there who are fighting to protect us and to stop the people who did this from doing more harm. I know it's not as simple as all that, but for those of us in the military, it is just that simple.

I'm sure it will be a day of even more tears for me (hopefully not while I'm at work!) and I hope that the rest of you take at least a moment to reflect on the day and to thank our servicemen and women for their protection.

Monday, September 5, 2011

#4

Take a few road trips. . .

Until recently the thought of a road trip only brought back terrible memories. . . memories of being squished into a 9 passenger station wagon with all of my siblings- later in a 12 passenger van- the fights, the car sickness, the vomiting, the break downs, the long hours, the jolty bumpy ride which seemed to endure for eternity- lets just say being in the car for more than an hour seemed like something I would try to avoid at all costs for most of my young-adult years thus far.

Of course, I was cured of that after a 35 hour road trip in a teeny Ford Focus jam packed with our belongings with absolutely ZERO comfort or sleep the entire time.

So far this year (including the end of 2010) I have made 6 trips to the bay area (San Francisco, San Jose), 3 trips to Napa (2 of which were on the WAY to the bay area, but whatever!), 4 trips to Santa Maria (home of my infamous video-game-playing Grandma!) 1 trip to Fort Bragg, 1 trip to Long Beach and 1 trip to South Lake Tahoe. And several of these have been just me and my little travel buddy Mercedes!

Not only have I (mostly) overcome my extreme fear of traveling to places I have never been (especially scary cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles!) I have THOROUGHLY enjoyed getting out and doing some mild exploration of California. I love the breath-taking mountain scenery, the coastal range, the magnificent hills, the variety of coasts and shorelines, the world renowned cities. . . heck even the incredible aqueducts bringing precious water to southern California are pretty dang cool to look at!

Looking forward to these road trips and the people I get to see at my various destinations has really brightened this year for me. Seeing the dates on the calendars, having a little countdown until I leave on my trip- it's all really helped break up the year into more bearable parcels. Those hours in the car just fly by as I gaze at the beautiful scenery and process all the crazy thoughts flying through my brain. . . as I daydream about each detail of my hubby's long awaited return. . .

I am SO lucky and wonderfully blessed to have such an amazing family- and even moreso that they live in so many terrific areas!

I simply can't wait for Adam to get back so we can go on road trips together. . . here's a few things on my list for this coming year:

Visit/Camp at Yosemite
Boat/Camp/Visit Lake Tahoe
Camp in the Sierra's
Camp on the beach
Visit San Diego
Visit Tricia in Pheonix AZ (in the winter! When it's "cold" here LOL!)
Visit Santa Cruz
Visit San Francisco, more of the bay area, and tour alcatraz!
Visit the Oregon Coast (possibly camp there as well!)
Visit Fort Bragg
And of course, a few trips to Long Beach (disneyland!) and Grandma's house in Santa Maria :P

Don't know if life will let us make it to all these places this year, but hey, a girl can dream! And they're all right here at my fingertips :D

I <3 life!

Monday, August 8, 2011

#3 Surround yourself with amazing peeps. . .

These "#s" are in no particular order btw, pretty much just random. Because in reality, this would have to be #1. . . . . . . .

This year has been the most difficult and yet the most amazing year of my life. Difficult, because being apart from my husband for this amount of time is definitely far from "fun" (the list of why is endless). Amazing? Because I have met some of the most amazing people this year. In the words of Anne of Green Gables, "Kindred Spirits".

I mean who comes to your aid when a bronchitis infection has ravaged your body to the point of being bed ridden, or stalks your apartment when you go missing after a trip to the hospital? Who listens to all the frustrations vented? Who gives you a great big hug when you bawl your eyes out during a "Thank the troops" display during a patriotic church service? Who spends time with you on all those lonely nights "watching" movies (more like staying up way too late talking!)?

Well if you've made some good friends, those bases are all covered!


This is a picture of just 2 of the wonderful people I have met this year so far. It all started with "New Life Community Church" who helped me find my amazing daycare lady, Linda. Her and her husband are basically like my long-lost Grandparents and they take amazing care of Mercedes while I work (as well as keeping an eye on me and my well being!)

Through them (in a round-about-total "meant to be" sort of way) I met Tricia. . . don't know where I'd be without this wonderful gal! She has made this year so much more pleasant, not to mention the emergency trips to urgent care when I got super sick!

The Church also introduced me to Lisa, an amazing lady who started/pretty much runs my small group! She's also partly responsible for stalking my apartment to make sure I was OK after I vanished! LOL!

That's where I met Cara. . . Not often that you run into a former ATI student with 6 siblings. . . SOUND FAMILIAR?! what are the chances that we'd meet up in Sacramento, both newbies to the area with such amazingly similar backgrounds?!

It's really kinda cool how things like this work out. I have to say I am SOOOOOO blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life, and to be introduced to so many new wonderful people while I build my life out here.

You guys are amazing and I truly could NOT make it through this deployment without you!!!!! So here's a shout-out and a great big "THANK YOU!" XOXOXOX!

<3

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Nothing TOO interesting today. . .

So I have some questions.

Is it normal to cry at any pictures of military members hugging their family members? Because I do every time. I looked at pictures last night of my brothers graduation from Air Force boot camp, and my parents hugging him- I just burst into tears. And then of course, for some reason, I decided to watch this video (if you don't cry when watching this, you have a heart of stone!)

Can we just say there was lots of tears last night???!!!!


And is it normal to get a panic attack every time you see someone in uniform? Because I get them. I can't breath, I feel like I'm going to pass out, and it just messes with my head in general. Pretty much nothing phases me, so when a couple of recruiters came in to drop off their business cards at my work, I could hardly force myself to speak and had to hold on to the counter to keep myself from falling over. And THEN I had to go sit in the back room for a few minutes and take some deep breaths.

At least I finally feel like I'm on the home stretch. I'm actually starting to do things to get ready for Adam's return and that feels SO. . . freaking. . . good.

Sigh.


Monday, July 25, 2011

The art of distraction

Today has been one of those days. . . I could really use a soothing hug from my sweetheart, some words of encouragement and just some good ol' therapeutic time doing something FUN together. Going for a walk, out for ice cream, watch a movie. . . it's true when they say you don't appreciate what you have until you don't have it anymore. Those little things I took for granted- I see what a wonderful and positive impact they had on my day to day life. Of course, things are never perfect. But having to live an entire year separated from my husband has definitely given me perspective on just how much I appreciate even the little things!

So anyway, moving on with my "theme" for this blog:

How to survive a deployment. . . #2

Find yourself a story.

Really, I think it's just being "invested" in a story- like reading a good book series etc. I have ALWAYS loved stories- I've been an avid reader, love watching movies/TV shows, and just hearing peoples stories in general (probably half the reason people like me as a hairstylist- I show interest in their random stories!).

Now a good "story" for me is preferably a long one (good book series, tv series etc). I like a story with good characters, ones you can almost believe truly exist (if they are fictional), who have good chemistry with the other characters- a story that makes you laugh, cry, etc. A story that makes that makes me think "what if?" A historical account of events from the past. A story which maxes out the imagination. . .

Yep, that's what I like. Pretty much any (good) story.

Seasons 1-7 of Desperate Housewives I found especially therapeutic- I laughed hysterically and cried my little eyes out. The little "truths" from Mary Alice and the lessons in each episode were really fun to watch and (at times) quite moving.

Seasons 1-2 of Dollhouse were also quite fun to watch- talk about maxing out the imagination- WOW! I was pretty unhappy with the ending, but it was still an incredible series to watch.

Seasons 1-4 of Brothers and Sisters- watched a majority of this show with my cousin Tony, was really quite a lot of fun. Season 5 proved to be pretty awful so we haven't finished it yet. . . but the first four seasons were really good. I enjoyed that this particular story was featured in southern California- it was very need to see and learn more about the area there- Pasadena, Ojai. . . (although the completely unrealistic frequent (short) trips from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles were a bit. . . well, unrealistic)- Just in general I really enjoyed the scenery of California! And of course, the story was incredibly intriguing.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel. . . I really thought these shows were stupid for the longest time (and I have to agree some parts are a stretch even for MY imagination) but after actually spending some time learning about the story- HOLY COW! It's so good. And I don't even like vampire lore!!!!

There's been a few other shows that I've watched but these were the ones which I really enjoyed the most. Funny because I find myself just a little obsessed with them now (ok, maybe a lot!) but as my cousin Tony pointed out to me recently- I probably won't even remember them once Adam is back! Which is so true. It's ALL about being distracted, and this is one very good way to keep myself distracted from missing my dear, sweet hubby!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A little late in getting started. . .

I probably should have started this ages ago. . . but here I am, coming up to the end of my husband's deployment overseas with the U.S. Army.

So anyway, I'm going to do some back tracking, some pouring my heart out, and just general ramblings. Consider yourself warned. . .

So here goes. . . how do you survive a deployment? Well I think that answer is different for everyone. The situation affects people differently so I would never assume that I speak for all (or even most) military wives when I talk about what this year has been like. This "how to" is more or less the things I have done during this time and how it has all affected me and my ability to cope with this situation. If anyone out there finds it useful, wonderful! Otherwise hopefully it will make for an interesting read. . . at any rate, it will be my outlet to rant upon in hopes of assisting the coping.

Anyway. . .

let's rewind to the beginning. . .

How to survive a deployment: #1 Move far away and start a new life.

Seems like a stupid thing to do right when you're about to go through a major life changing event- like you'd just be asking for more stress/trouble. For some maybe. . . for myself? It was the best decision ever.

Basically one little ad in a Great Clips publication, and my inquiries into the advertisement, lead to a complete alignment of the stars and bright green flashing arrow pointing to Fair Oaks, California.

Driving out here. . . what an adventure! It proved to be some good one on one uber bonding time with my husband. I mean, what else is there to do when you cram a 30 hour, 2,000 mile drive into- well- 30 hours? Quick pit stops to grab gas, use the toilet, and get some food (which we usually ate in the car, you know, to save time)- literally it was over 30 hours in a Ford Focus jammed pack with all of our stuff- oh- and an almost 2 year old- can it get anymore adventurous?

Somewhere between a cop nearly catching me peeing on the side of the road somewhere in. . . Nebraska- possibly Nevada- one of the "N" states with a whole lot of NOTHING for miles and miles (and miles. . . and miles), our trunk exploding at the California border inspection, and being so incredibly tired that hallucinations of a kangaroo crossing the road ensued- it was truly an adventure to be remembered.

Anyway. . . so after 3 blissful weeks in California it was time:

Time to say goodbye.

Driving back to Minnesota made me feel sick- no, not because I hate the cold winters and will take the ocean over a few lakes any day- but because I knew what was coming.

October 24th 2010, 6:30 am. The sun had not risen yet- it was dark, dreary and rainy. Downtown Saint Paul was quiet, which only seemed to intensify what us family and close friends had come to endure: saying goodbye to a soldier. One last hug- and I watched him walk away. I found myself watching him- drinking up the last few moments of actually seeing him- somehow hoping that a few extra seconds of seeing him would make things easier. Part me felt like I was just saying a normal "Bye, have a good day at work, see you tonight" goodbye, but imagining the reality of the fact that it would be a while until we saw each other again felt impossible.

I didn't have much time to sit and sulk over the situation, an hour later I pulled up in my parents driveway- car re-packed with a second load of belongings- and stepped out to greet my mother. The sun had finally risen, but the clouds blocked any ray of sunshine as they continued to spatter rain down upon us. We finished packing her things into my car and set out on our way.

I drove down 160th street headed towards Lakeville, must have driven that route hundreds of times, never once thinking "Hm one day I will drive this route and I won't be stopping until I get to California". Pulled onto interstate 35 headed south- and didn't look back.

By nightfall we had reached Cheyenne, Wyoming. We checked into our hotel. . . everything seemed so surreal. But instead of climbing into *our* bed and laying there alone thinking of the empty spot beside me, I was climbing into a cheap motel bed several hundred miles from the place I had called "home" for the greater part of my life.

My cell phone rang- it was Adam. We spoke for a while, Mercedes talked to him a little. . . odd because now I hardly remember what it was like- to be able to send a text to a cell phone which I knew he would receive instantly. And to receive multiple phone calls throughout the day to connect with each other, it almost seems foreign now.

And that was the first night alone.