Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!!!

So I totally failed on mailing out christmas cards with a newsletter this year. . . so I'm doing my best with a blog post instead! ;)

2012 finds us still in Fair Oaks, California. This is the longest we have lived in one place and needless to say, WE LOVE IT! This Christmas marks the beginning of our 3rd year in California and so far and it's been a truly wonderful time.

This year has been an interesting life journey for us so far. We started off the year with Adam getting out of the Army and starting a job with his class A license, driving for Werner Enterprises. After over a month on the road with only 4 hours of home time, Adam decided he'd rather be home with his girls- especially having only recently returned from year long deployment.

After that he began working for a cable installation contractor. After a few months we decided to save some money by having Adam stay home with Mercedes while I continued my full time job managing the Great Clips salon in Fair Oaks.

Adam also joined an Army reserve unit for some part time income and benefits. He's been enjoying his time at home with Mercedes and she's been loving having daddy home full time! Meanwhile Adam has been busy testing and applying to various positions with California corrections/highway patrol/police departments. Perhaps 2013 could hold some amazing career advances for him! We shall see. . .

I've been busy as always continuing my job as a salon manager! This was a great year in the salon, due to the salons amazing performance I was able to attend the Great Clips 30th anniversary convention in Minneapolis 100% free. The salon received 2 awards which I had the honor of receiving at the convention. I also was selected out of thousands of managers to compete in a "Create The Cut" competition. It was judged by hair professionals who judge competitions around the world! Although I did not win one of the gargantuan trophies awarded to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place- I did advance through the first 2 parts of the competition and as part of the top 10 competitors I was able to participate in an on stage hair show in front of the entire convention! The competition involved cutting on a mannequin and role play interacting with a customer in the salon. I have to say it was loads of fun and also a huge confidence booster making it to the top 10!

Mercedes has been happy and healthy as always, growing amazingly fast and leaving toddlerhood behind her completely. She enjoyed our hot summer learning to swim and playing at Folsom Lake. And of course a few trips to the beach!

We also made a long awaited decision. . . to try for baby #2! On August 3rd we found out we were expecting, but unfortunately my pregnancy ended in Miscarriage on September 7th 2012. We were all heart broken. Thankfully my body healed fast and much to our surprise on October 13th we found out I was already pregnant again. We could hardly believe it at first but a few blood tests later and it was confirmed that a healthy pregnancy was just getting started! There's been a few scary moments, but every blood test and ultrasound has showed better than average results. I'm now at the very beginning of the 2nd trimester and while paranoia has been a struggle, I couldn't be happier that our rainbow baby (internet term for a baby conceived post-loss) is growing big and due to arrive by June 28th 2013!

While 2012 hasn't been without it's challenges, I'm so grateful for another amazing year of learning to truly enjoy life, even when things don't go as planned or desired. (More of that to come on my blog!) It sure is a relief to focus on all the great things in life! Needless to say we're very excited for 2013. There's some very exciting things coming our way and possibly some big changes. It will be interesting to see how the year plays out! Regardless of what happens I know we will be one thrilled family when our June bug arrives.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Lots of Love,

The Valslers

Friday, November 23, 2012

Miscarriage myths

Since my experience with both healthy pregnancies and pregnancy loss it has come to my attention (mostly due to questions and comments people made to me) that there's a lot of misinformation out there. I'm not going to go into too much detail but I'd just like to clear up a few things...

#1. Something is wrong with you/your body if you have a miscarriage

In every pregnancy, regardless of health or number of previous healthy pregnancies there is always a 25% change of loss (although it is higher with maternal age of 35+). This risk goes down with each week and with each milestone (HCG levels rising properly, heartbeat detection, etc etc). This risk applies to all women in every pregnancy. *SOME* women do have conditions which can cause *recurrent* loss (3 or more pregnancies in a row) but only 1% of women suffer from conditions which cause recurrent loss, and still have a 60-70% chance of having a successful pregnancy.

The fact is, miscarriage is unfortunately very common and is NOT an indication that something is wrong with you. If you haven't had a miscarriage, you are just lucky.

In fact, some evidence shows that women who miscarry may in fact be MORE fertile. The reasoning behind this? About 50% of fertilized eggs (only 1% for women using birth control) are rejected by a woman's body, for one reason or another. Yes, that's 50% In women who are not using birth control. These fertilized eggs merely get washed away when a woman has her period, no pregnancy ever occurs as the egg never attaches to the uterus. However, it could be that in women who miscarry, their body accepts a fertilized egg that it SHOULD have rejected. The (possibly) defective egg attaches to the uterus, begins to grow, and is eventually shut down due to its defects.

Basically, the risk is always there no matter what. It's just part of life.

#2 miscarriage is caused by stress

Think about it... If this was true no women would ever need to seek an abortion. I'm sure the stress of an unplanned/unwanted pregnancy would be more than sufficient to end the pregnancy. Not to mention its unlikely than any woman has had a completely "stress free" pregnancy.

Regardless, asking a woman if her loss was "caused by stress" is just insulting and hurtful.

#3 an early loss is "just like a heavy period"

In some cases this might be true, but telling someone "we'll it's just like you had a heavy, late period" is not only insensitive, but do you really think the poor woman wants to tell you "no actually I've been flushing chunks of fetus/placenta/gestational sac/fruit sized blood clots down the toilet and I'm having labor contractions." <--- this is why many women opt for a d&c procedure to end the process more quickly. Although this can be accompanied with its own potential risks.

#4 an embryo/fetus isn't a real baby so you shouldn't be so sad

Regardless of when you think life begins, even though some miscarriages are void of any embryo to begin with, it is still a loss. Once a woman knows that she is pregnant the idea of a baby is there.

I think I am fortunate that I did not see a fetus or heartbeat in the pregnancy I lost because in my mind that would have made it more difficult. However, I still dreamed of what that baby would look like someday. I was still planning and getting things ready. I was pregnant for over a month!!! About 8 weeks gestation. Of course I was starting to get ready and thinking and dreaming.

Well it's all those dreams and hopes that get ripped away once the worst happens. And it hurts. It hurts bad enough to make you feel crazy.

#5 god is the only one who can comfort you

While this may be true for some, I actually found that looking at it from a scientific perspective was more helpful. Instead of trying to figure out what lesson I was supposed to learn or why this was happening to me, I just realized that it was truly part of nature. My body was doing what it was supposed to do, that is all. It made it so much easier for me to cope. So please keep this in mind- for some of us the science actually can be more comforting. For some it may make the loss seem meaningless, but we all cope differently and it's important to remember this.

Also, what truly helped, was people's empathy. Realizing that SO many women have experienced this unfortunate situation and hearing their encouraging words really truly made a difference.


I've spent a lot of time researching this as it has helped me cope with my loss. I also asked my new doctor several questions about my case in particular. I suffered a very typical miscarriage, most likely due to chromosomal defects (very, very common). I had no influence on my situation as my HCG levels did not rise properly from the start and my ultrasound results were inconclusive. I was aware of my pregnancy for 5 short weeks and then it was all over. I couldn't have prevented it and had no control over the outcome.

Please be aware of these myths and how your comments/questions may inflict more pain on someone who is suffering a loss. Insensitivity can also be very hurtful :(

I hope this post helped answer some questions that many are probably afraid to ask and that the information is helpful in understanding this difficult situation that so many women face.

Friday, October 5, 2012


I recently was in Minnesota for the Great Clips 30 year anniversary convention. It was a great trip and there were several highlights, but there's one in particular I want to write about.

On September 8th a little girl was born. Her name is Amaya Beth :) a healthy beautiful girl brought into this world by my sister in law, Helen.

So on the last day of my trip I got to meet her and hold her :)

Little Amaya would be the first newborn I've held since experiencing the loss of my own pregnancy September 2012. I've experienced a huge range of emotions so I was nervous as to what my reaction would be in holding her. Would I feel happy? Sad? Overwhelmed? Would it be too overpowering for me?

Well all of that was put to rest when I finally got that sweet girl into my arms.

When my daughter was born, a woman held her and said it was such a joyful healing experience, I was glad that Mercedes made her feel that way but had no idea what she meant.

Well now I know. Holding that precious girl made me feel warm and happy inside. It's a feeling I really can't describe. I have never felt that way before when holding someone's baby. I wasn't sad- not even close. Her cute little face, eyes gazing up at me... It was really incredible!!! Nothing but happy warm feelings.

I know I still have a ways to go in dealing with this pain. It has shaken me so much more than I thought possible, but I have finally made progress towards feeling better and truly healing. Holding that little girl warmed my heart and gave me hope. Soon I will cuddle with my own sweet baby, but for now I have my precious 3 (almost 4!) year old and a great bunch of nieces and nephews. So glad I got to see them all and especially glad I got to meet and hold sweet little Amaya, in her short life so far she's brought me happiness and healing and I am so happy for that.

I hope everything will continue to get easier for me. It's been a really rough road, I've had a lot of issues dealing with the emotional pain. I wish it wasn't so tough for me, however i cant really control that so i know i need to just keep moving forward. Making progress and finding ways to heal are what makes it worthwhile :)


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Getting back in shape

For anyone out there trying to get pregnant or currently pregnant, you will find this interesting.

When I was pregnant with Mercedes, I ate crap, didn't lift a finger in the name of working out, did not even try to stay hydrated, drank soda and coffee. . . also my stress levels were through the roof. The day she was born we were so broke- Adam had to use some $2 bills I was saving just to buy food. So was I stressed? Incredibly.

But Mercedes arrived happy and healthy and has continued to be incredibly happy and healthy for 3.75 years so far.

This most recent pregnancy I went into with a great attitude. Back in March I started working out regularly. . . (if you know me then you know this is a big deal!) I slightly reduced my level of workout when I found out I was pregnant by sticking to hand weights, no impact cardio/aerobics, and yoga. I kept up on hydration, I kept my thinking positive and happy, stopped drinking any soda or coffee. I reduced my stress levels as much as possible (still stressed to some degree yes, but not nearly as bad as I was with Mercedes).

And this pregnancy did NOT end with a happy healthy baby.

I'm not saying it's not good to take care of yourself while you're pregnant, but I did find it somewhat ironic that when I tried to do everything right and REALLY take good care of myself that it didn't actually change the outcome of my situation.

That being said, I really do think the working out helped me recover from this miscarriage faster than I might have otherwise.

It's true when everyone says that you show much faster in consequent pregnancies after you have already carried a child full term. Here's a picture of me from April 2012 after working out:

Excuse the bad picture, but I was very proud of my level of fitness etc. However it all melted away pretty quickly by August 2012 when I found out I was pregnant. . . 

This is as big as I got, but it happened almost immediately. I could hardly believe it! I already had to rubber band my pants and wear different shirts. It was CRAZY! I could even feel the gap between my abs starting already! Absolutely insane how quickly my body changed. 

I guess I should be grateful, but as quickly as it changed during my short pregnancy, I found myself feeling and looking completely NOT pregnant in the matter of just a few days. Of course the Dr. also recommended that I take a break from working out until my body had finished healing. It's been awful waiting, especially last week when I was so depressed I couldn't even get out of bed. But I did manage to throw in at least a few walks for mild exercise after I started feeling better emotionally.

Well it's finally time for me to start getting back into shape! I'm excited to get back on track to keep myself healthy and prepare for another pregnancy (which will hopefully be successful!). I still have some hot yoga classes to utilize so I will definitely be doing that again and whip out my Cindy Crawford "Next Challenge" DVD to kick my butt! My hopes are to improve my tone by the time we leave for convention at least minimally. It's less than 2 weeks away so we will see! But I'm gonna try my best!

And next time I'm pregnant, I'm going to remember that I have little control over what happens. Yes I will still take care of myself and try to do things the "right way", but I will remind myself that this does not guarantee the results I want. Being healthy never hurts and will help me a lot in the long run- however it won't give me any control over the outcome. 

So those are my thoughts for now. . . keep me accountable for getting back in shape!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Think before you complain

Before I go off on my rant, here's a quick update on me:

My Dr. said that I experienced a very typical early miscarriage, 25% of all pregnancies end this way due to chromosomal abnormalities and the body ends the pregnancy before it continues any further. I just ended up on the unlucky side of statistics. I didn't do anything wrong, there's nothing wrong with my body, in fact she said my body did an excellent job of doing what it was supposed to do. I'm quite fortunate to walk away from this still perfectly healthy with no further complications (so. . . way to go body!). Of course this doesn't mean I have hurt emotionally any less. These facts have helped me process the situation, but honestly this is the worst emotional pain I have ever felt. It has been horrific (I'm sure any woman would agree) but I am surviving, so that's what's most important. I am glad that I am still healthy and that my body dealt with everything that was happening and that it won't be too long until we can try again. And hopefully next time we end up on the other side of the statistics. :)

Ok now the rant:

So yesterday I was doing a haircut on a mother of a 4 year old girl. She asked the 4 year old to tell me what "big event" was happening in her life. . .

Her answer?

"A baby!"

Anyone who has lost a baby knows what I'm talking about when I say that there is a sting you feel around all pregnant women or babies when your wounds are still fresh. I didn't want to feel this way, but I can't help it. It's a natural reaction and it only causes me more pain, so believe me when I say I wish I could stop myself from feeling this way.

But I did well. I didn't shed one tear or feel any pain- I congratulated the mother and she said. . .

"Well it was a BIT of a SURPRISE."

And made a few other comments:

"Yes I'm still getting used to the SHOCK." (she's 16 weeks so she'd had 4 months to get "used to the shock")

"Well we only have one other room in our house and it's small. And its set up as my office. And I use it."

"This is such an inconvenience."

She did not have one positive or happy thing to say about her pregnancy.

I smiled pleasantly and tried to encourage her, but deep down, I wanted to strangle her. Obviously she didn't know what I was currently dealing with, but this is just an example of why you should THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK.

Yes I've been hurting. I'm sad that I was pregnant for 8 weeks and then suddenly not pregnant anymore. I'm sad that I can't bring myself to do something with the pile of maternity clothes I recently washed and folded and put in my closet. I'm sad that people say things that hurt instead of help. I'm sad that people who don't really care offer up empty sympathy.

But this? This was too much. I don't know how I finished that haircut with out slapping that woman. True, she had no clue what I was going through, but how hateful of her to be so nasty about such a precious gift.

Little did she know I would have traded places with her in a heartbeat, because then apparently we'd BOTH get what we wanted.

So this situation made me wonder how often I've complained about something that perhaps caused someone to ache. It made me realize that I should be more careful about what I complain about and who I complain to- if I don't know them very well- for all I know I could be thrusting daggers into their heart and not even know it.

Life is short! I want to be more grateful and spend less time complaining. I want to make others feel good, not bad. So this experience was a good lesson for me. And I hope for anyone reading that you take it to heart too- maybe appreciate the things you have even if they seem like a nuisance because there's probably someone out there who would LOVE to have what you have.

Less complaining, more gratitude!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Positive thinking

I am more grateful now more than ever that I have had such a big thinking overhaul. Yes I have forsaken many of the beliefs and teachings of my youth... Which some may see as a bad thing. But now I can see how much it has helped me.

I am in so much pain right now. After 3 years of desperately wanting another child but life circumstances and other factors preventing it we finally had the opportunity to try to conceive the beginning of thus summer 2012. My body took a while to get back on track but it happened nearly immediately! I was thrilled. I would be due near my birthday, deliver before summer... The timing was perfect for us.

But it wasn't meant to be. I first got the sense something was wrong when i had my first ultrasound and the baby did not present a heartbeat. But it was just too early... However a few weeks later there was still no heartbeat and my hcg had barely risen. I still hoped I would be part of a small percentage of women who have gone on to have successful pregnancies after such results but that was not meant to be in my case.

One thing I have learned about myself is that expressing myself through writing and communicating with others is good therapy for me. It helps me greatly. Knowing this helps me understand how to cope with the pain of losing my pregnancy.

Anyway... I have spent a great deal of time revamping my thinking to become more positive and logical. I am seeing now how much that is also helping me cope. I am so thankful for all the people who helped guide and encourage me towards this path. It has made it possible for me to enjoy my life more and cope with difficult situations better than I have previously. I find myself more accepting of others and less judgmental of them and their life situations... Talk about enjoying life more!!! Getting rid of that negativity has helped tremendously. Approaching situations from a new perspective is so refreshing.... It has been incredibly beneficial to me!

Here are a few thoughts I am meditating on which are really helping me through this:

This is not my fault.

I am not being punished.

Life is just not fair.

There doesn't need to be a reason this happened. Sometimes bad things just happen.

I am not the only woman who has experienced this. (So many have shared their own experiences to comfort and strengthen me... You ladies have helped me so much!!!!)

I could not have prevented this.

I did not cause this.

I will survive this.

Others may not know how to help me. Even those closest to me. That is ok. It's not my fault or theirs.

Time can heal a world of pain.

Love always makes things better.

I have no control of this situation. I cannot fix it or change it. But I can learn to accept it.

I cannot thank everyone enough for their kind words and encouragement towards me. It's wonderful to be reminded of how many people care about me. I hope one day I can repay each and every one of you. Thank you for helping me begin this journey of recovery, I am so grateful to you all.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Updated Blog!

Alright, time to move on from "how to survive a deployment" !

Now my blog title is "Loving Life" and my posts will be following this theme :)

The new url is http://peacelovesunshinelife.blogspot.com/

New and interesting posts coming soon! ;)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I am so happy that Adam is home every day!!!! Life just isn't the same without him! Even though we sometimes make each other crazy. . . I absolutely HATE when he is gone.

I think the worst part of this year (2012) so far was February. It was like a deployment flashback! Adam was gone for almost a whole MONTH training as an over the road truck driver.

Meanwhile, the owners of my salon had purchased another store.

I don't like to talk about work stress on the internet, but it's relevant to this situation. Basically my job of managing a salon had it's stresses hugely magnified over that month, not really anyone's fault, just a result of the situation so I'll explain it the best I can:

Graciously, the owners re-hired every single employee who worked at their newly purchased salon under the previous owners. Unfortunately, most decided to leave their employment less than 2 weeks later- leaving only 2 stylists on staff.

With 200+ hours/week on the schedule to divvy up, obviously 2 people cannot run a store. But, if the store reduced it's hours, or even closed temporarily our owners are put on "restriction" and cannot open or purchase another store for 12 months. Since they plan to keep growing, we had to make sure this didn't happen!

So over the course of 90 minutes I took my staff- who all awesomely volunteered to work over time and travel to the new store- and the 2 remaining stylists and I re-wrote both schedules, stretching everything out to cover BOTH stores. It was a huge mental exercise that took almost all my brain power! (Sad but true!) it was like putting a puzzle together.

And from there, the rest of the month was chaos and a blur. Basically, one staff was keeping 2 salons open. Most of us were working 50+ hours each week, trying to keep up with the "bucking bronco" (which my store is known as due to it's ability to completely throw you as it grows and becomes insanely busy) AND get the new store back up on it's feet. Meanwhile, we were interviewing stylists nearly every day, watching them cut hair on models and mannequins and not finding anyone we could hire. It was true insanity!

While all of this was going on, My hubby was gone, I was still trying to balance motherhood/working, and going home to an empty bed just magnified my stress.

Without Adam around, I became so lonely and depressed. It was absolutely awful!

I guess it just confirmed the fact that we are meant to live out lives together- NOT apart.

(The work situation has since smoothed out and both stores are operating well now, just FYI!)

Now it's summertime here in Sacramento (well, by my definition anyway) and with Adam and I both working full time- the days are just flying past. We're typically off together during the week since we both work weekends and. . . life is GREAT! I love that it's hot outside, that we get to see each other every day, AND get days off together! Awesome, awesome, awesome!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Changes. . .

Sorry this isn't much related to deployment "stuff" but I wanted to talk about it anyway.

I've been thinking a lot about how different I am and how much has changed. Primarily how my thinking has changed. How my attitude has changed.

What I believe, my concept of life in general, how to relate to other people, how to deal with difficult situations, how I feel when someone does something "crazy"- perhaps even BAD- and how it affects me. This has all changed a GREAT DEAL since I was a prudish teenager who thought that you had to be living by Bill Gothards principles and teachings in order to be a "real" christian and I dealt with people and situations in the way that he promoted.

(If you would like to learn more about Bill Gothard and the extensive damage he has caused in Christian communities, please go to recovering grace where you can read more about his methods, how they ACTUALLY line up to the Bible and the many stories of the harm he has perpetrated. I urge you to visit this website so you can understand what I am saying here)

By living life HIS way, I not only incurred a lot of hurt and pain on myself- but on others. Even my friends. I am SO sad and ashamed by this! I know everyone is responsible for their own actions, but I didn't know any better! I thought this was the only way to live! I was a prisoner to these teachings!

As a result, I was often very- VERY unhappy by trying to live an impossible life. As a result of THAT unfortunately some relationships between myself and others were damaged to the point where they might never be repaired. I am very sorry for this and I'm sure I don't even KNOW of all the people I may have hurt and this breaks my heart. I can honestly say that I didn't know any better :(

I am happy to report that I am in a much better place now- mentally more than ever. I FEEL so much better about life. I FEEL so much happier. I can handle unpleasant situations (ha, mostly anyway!) and STILL feel happy and STILL enjoy life! FINALLY I am at a point where I feel like life is just so wonderful and enjoyable- I am seriously loving it!

Even though I am not "where I want to be in life" (yet), although finances are still a huge source of stress and worry for me, although I am far from having a lot of my goals achieved, I have made the conscious decision to fully enjoy each day for what it's worth, and to enjoy each good thing that I can right now! After all, it's not going to last forever! And why waste it being miserable?!

I'm young, I'm in good shape, I have a beautiful daughter, I have a young, (mostly) healthy husband and we all love each other VERY much. Sure we live in a small apartment. . . can't keep up with our chores. . . not sure how we'll ever buy a house or afford retirement. . . not sure how the whole health insurance plan is going to work out. . . not really sure how we're going to make life "work" longterm. . . But hey, we'll figure it out! For now I just want to really enjoy EVERYTHING that I have and absolutely LOVE living life!

Also when I see people- their lives- their choices. . . instead of harshly judging by holding them to the impossible "godly" standard set forth by Bill Gothard (which ironically and hypocritically I also never attained) I find it is MUCH easier to just accept them for who they are and realize- THAT'S OK!

I firmly believe that if God wanted all of us to live EXACTLY the same and to think EXACTLY the same and believe EXACTLY the same. . . he would have made us EXACTLY THE SAME. (This is the "gist" of it. But basically unless someone is intentionally hurting their self or others I really don't have a problem with them.)

There I said it. And let me tell you. . . what a RELIEF it is to be able to see people make decisions that perhaps *I* wouldn't make. . . or that the *typical christian* SHOULDN'T make. . . to see people think, act, believe, and be different than *I* am. . . and to know THAT IS PERFECTLY OK! Instead of criticizing differences, I celebrate them! How wonderful that we can all be so unique? Why on earth would we expect ourselves to be identical? It just doesn't make sense. . .

And again, I am a MUCH HAPPIER PERSON for this! And life is much more enjoyable! What a great thing???!!!

Honestly I haven't felt comfortable sharing these thoughts on the internet for fear or being attacked or having people change their feelings about me (I should know because I used to be one of these people). And the sad thing is, I haven't even gone into detail about the multitude of things I have changed my mind about! I have seriously gone through a HUGE "core" transition.

And since it has produced a happier, healthier me? Well. God can be my judge ;)

What caused all of this change?

Well it started over 6 years ago when I started becoming friends with a boy. His name is Adam John Valsler. That was when I experienced the greatest love- ok I'll be a sap and call it TRUE LOVE.

It was because of him and OUR relationship that conflicted with Bill Gothard and his "formulas" that I finally arrived at the conclusion- BILL GOTHARD IS NOT GOD, HIS BOOKS AND TEACHINGS ARE NOT THE BIBLE. . . therefore even as a devout fundamentalist christian (as I was at that time anyway) I came to the revelation that I did NOT need to align myself with his teachings.

That was my first step toward true freedom and to get where I am now has been 6 years of painful babysteps! But I have finally arrived at a point where life is happy and enjoyable, and not because of my circumstances, but because my thought processes have changed and this has allowed me to decide to BE happy and to ENJOY life! And to think. . . I still have decades of learning and growing to go through! ;)

Isn't it amazing how LOVE can change us? (after all. . . God is love, right?)

So I want to spend more time LOVING. . . and less time judging and feeling miserable.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A few things. . .

Ok here we are 6 months post deployment and here are a few of my major thoughts:

1. The military REALLY needs to do a better job figuring how to handle soldiers EXITING the military. Here's a few pleasures we've had recently:

Adam waiting for 7.5 hours at the VA emergency room since he was unable to get an appointment to deal with his potential TBI (traumatic brain injury) and also major joint pain (sometimes he literally cannot drive because his right knee is in so much pain. Both of his knees crack and pop and cause him extreme discomfort from time to time <---- this is thanks to jumping all around Afghanistan with 100 pounds of gear.  Pretty sad for a 24 year old guy to be suffering with knees that think they are 70 or 80 already).

Tricare dental can't seem to make up their mind about what to do with us- doesn't help that with United Concordia losing the contract to MetLife there has been more than enough confusion for everyone. Basically we just paid $300 for 4 months of dental coverage that we never got to use because they dropped us before I could go to my dental appointment next week. The person I spoke to with MetLife had NO CLUE whatsoever what was going on- TOLD me I was covered, and then called back 2 hours later to tell me that she was WRONG and that it was United Concordia's fault, something about my husbands change in  status blah blah blah (which is interesting because I had talked to United Concordia previously who told me that we had the option to be covered until 2014 and it was THAT option I was enrolled in.) So. . . I'd kind of like that $300 back I paid for covered that I never got to use- OR they could figure out the mess and update our coverage! After my phone callS with MetLife yesterday the possibility of anyone figuring out anything is looking hopeless. Thanks Military!

On the bright side the PTSD people seem to have their act together- of course they are completely separate from the actual military OR the VA.


Now onto other interpersonal issues. . . very tender subject but I want to get it off my chest and also make others aware ESPECIALLY if you have a friend or family member on a deployment!

I've come to the conclusion after so many months post-deployment. . . that everyone gets wrapped up in the actual deployment- everyone wants to send care packages, write letters, help take care of the poor lonely spouse. . . everyone wants to be there for all of that. And it's great! It's wonderful! The support is unwavering!

However afterwards most seem to drop off the face of the earth. I don't know if it's because they think everything goes back to "perfect" and "normal" once the soldier comes home. . . or if it's just not as exciting to be supporting someone on a deployment- or even if there's a solid reason at all.

All I know is that in the months after the soldier comes home- the family needs love and support more than ever! I feel like NOW I find myself looking around going "Wait, where did everyone go?" I certainly don't think anyone has meant to forget- but I definitely get the feeling that people are more willing to "be there for you" during the deployment. Is it more glamorous and therefore a more attractive and enticing time for supportees to make their way out of the woodwork? It's definitely easier to notice "Hey this person needs help, I should do something!" But it's much less easier to notice months afterwards.

I urge any of you with friends and family deployed- don't forget about them once the soldier comes home! You have no idea what a difficult journey lies ahead for them! The first month or two might seem angelic, but there are some struggles ahead where your love and support will be direly needed!

I am so thankful that I have great friends and wonderful family who've been there with me through everything. I certainly have never noticed a difference in your love and support! Thank you thank you thank you! 

My heart breaks for military families who don't have this luxury. . . I can't even imagine how they can handle everything alone. Please please please make sure this doesn't happen to someone you know and love!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

6 months ago today

Exactly 6 months ago today I was getting ready to go to the airport and experience one of the most exciting moments of my life :)

Seeing my husband again after a 12 month deployment with the Army National Guard.

I can hardly believe how quickly these last 6 months have flown past! I feel like time is finally moving again, as opposed to dragging on endlessly for ages.

Since my last post, Adam stopped working as a truck driver and is now employed with a communications company installing cable- he's home every night and gets weekdays off (like me) so we get more time together! Also he'll actually have a chance to go to the VA and get all of his issues taken care of (potential TBI, joint problems, & PTSD).

So many things have happened in the last 6 months, but I'm grateful that we are all (mostly) healthy, employed, and together! And we're loving this California sunshine! It makes my life so much more enjoyable to be in this climate- going on 2 years now and still loving every minute! We've already been to SF several times, so cal, and also checking out local state parks. Considering all that's been going on, we've enjoyed a lot of travel around this beautiful state and it's been wonderful!

Of course life is not without it's struggles, as I've learned it takes a lot more than an awesome homecoming to recover from a deployment. Slowly but surely, we're getting there!

Anyway, Happy Easter to everyone! Hope it was great for you all :)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Alone. . . AGAIN!

Good news: Adam is working for Werner trucking! He will be in the western region, so this means he will be home every few days minimum :)

Bad news: Training for the position requires hubby to be with a nasty, smelly, control freak "trainer" who refuses to take loads to Northern California, for a total of 275 hours, living in a semi-truck cab. :(

Since February 5th, I have seen Adam once for 5 consecutive hours. And that was about a week ago.

First week flew by. Work has been pure insanity lately due to being short staffed, so I've been working non-stop, loads of overtime, since he left.

Now it's really starting to royally suck. I feel like I'm right back in the deployment. . . of course there's a few things that are a little nicer- Adam has a cell phone (yay!) and he's in the same time zone- mostly- as me (yay!).

Other than that, it's exactly like the deployment. . . and I HATE it! Right now it looks like I won't be seeing my love until MARCH 10th! when his trainer goes on vacation.

I've been telling myself how wonderful it is that he has a job- ANY paycheck is a great thing right now especially as all other job leads of his are at a complete standstill right now. I keep telling myself how wonderful it is that once we get through THIS part he will be home so much more often- but it really just sucks, sucks, sucks. :(

I'm trying so hard to be positive- thinking about how lucky I am to be living this wonderful life of luxury in America (in California even!) that we both have jobs and can pay the bills, and that I really have NOTHING to complain about. . .

But this is just horrible and I'm sick and tired of having to live without Adam for such long periods of time. I know I spent a year alone and that this should be CAKE- but it's not. It's horrendous and I can't wait for it to be over!


Friday, February 10, 2012

Thank me?

I got a letter from the "United States of America" the other day.

Of course I began to panic, was this some sort of notification of money I owed in taxes? Was it some sort of fine? What could the "United States of America" possibly want with ME?!!!!

Inside was a thank you card, thanking me for being the supportive spouse of a deployed soldier. . . and a $5 gift card to starbucks (thanks starbucks!)

I was also invited to take a survey (of course) about my experience. Cool?

It was signed, "Thank you for your time and sacrifices for our county."

Needless to say I got pretty emotional, I mean, I know it's just a canned card that's printed and sent to everyone, but it was still pretty neat (and relieving that I didn't owe any money!)

I never really felt like I deserved thanks for anything, I mean, I didn't do much except watch a lot of TV shows by myself and spent a lot of time online. . . that's not especially amazing or heroic. It's definitely not easy living away from your spouse under such conditions for an entire year, but getting a "thank you" from the USA? I hardly know what to say.

Hopefully they find my feedback in the survey useful. I will most certainly enjoy the starbucks gift card!

Monday, January 16, 2012


I have come to the realization that I am an incredibly lucky person.

I've dealt with my fair share of crap, of things not turning out the way I want them to, etc. I've dealt with pain, rejection, fear, sadness, loneliness, horrible debt. . . being broke and nearly homeless. I don't have a perfect marriage and would never claim to. There is only one reason I feel incredibly lucky:

I have found THE person I want to spend the rest of my life with. Despite our troubles, we always stay together and love and support each other.

Right now, off the top of my head, I can name 5 people I know who's marriages disintegrated in less than 5 years. That's just off the top of my head (recent marriages). It's also not counting the long term relationships or engagements I've seen fall apart.

I'm not saying in ANY way whatsoever that I am better than any of these people or that they made wrong decisions/horrible mistakes, or anything of the sort. In fact, I am incredibly heart broken for their pain and wish they didn't have to feel it.

I merely have realized that I am very lucky. I am married to the man that I want to be with for the rest of my life and he feels the same way about me.

I have seen too many people who have been even more fortunate (or "blessed") than I have- they have a happy marriage and stable home environment yet they aren't satisfied. For WHATEVER reason all they can think about, talk about, and complain endlessly about is what they DON'T have or what they are missing to "complete" their life. Whether it's a baby, a job, more money, a better house, better parents, a degree, better circumstances. . . it becomes what consumes them. Even if they attain whatever it is they want SO badly, something else comes into the picture and it starts all over again.

I say this, because I am guilty. I have spent far too much time whining, complaining, and feeling sorry for myself because someone didn't treat me right, a family member or friend didn't love and accept me the way I wanted to be accepted and loved. . . because I didn't get the wedding "every girl dreams of", and because of all the stupid annoying road blocks that seem to keep popping up in my life (things that seem to cause the continuous postponement of getting baby #2 "in the works").

But heck, I have a beautiful family. I love my husband and I love my daughter so much. . . I'm so glad we have each other. Yes, more money would be nice. Yes a great job with guaranteed retirement to give us security through the end of our lives would be cool. Yes I REALLY really want to have another baby. Yes I want us to buy a home that can be all our own! YES I want to get my teeth fixed. . . this list could go on.

When I look around and see what so many have lost- that they have given love and lost it- that they have done this repeatedly and can't seem to find "the right one". That they started a life with "the wrong one" and hurt themselves and others very deeply when it fell apart. I see these things and it makes me realize what I have.

No matter what we will always have each other and no matter what comes our way, we will always be together. This makes life so much richer, fuller, and enjoyable. Yeah- our lives are missing "a lot" right now. But something as simple as watching stupid TV shows every night together, or just talking to each other until we fall asleep because we're too tired to stay awake makes life so much more fun and enjoyable.

And my daughter- I love her SO much! Being a parent is so challenging and can really show you just what a pathetic person you are (lol) but laughing with Adam about something Mercedes did or just cuddling together seriously has to be better than ANY drug, ANY activity, ANY thing in the whole entire world.

And so, I feel very lucky. I love Adam, we've been together through hell and back which only gives me the true 100% security of knowing that no matter what happens we will have each other and that's all I will ever need.

My heart breaks for those who are hurting because of a relationship gone wrong, a marriage destroyed, or those who simply cannot find someone to love them back.

I don't know why things turned out for me the way they did. I certainly do not take ANY credit for it! Sure, perhaps many would look at my life and scoff at it or maybe even use it as a reason to feel better about theirs! Maybe my life only looks good when I think about those who have it "worse off". . . But it doesn't matter because I am happy. And because SLOWLY, very- VERY slowly I am learning that happiness isn't about where you're at, what you have, how "perfect" your marriage or family is, but about being satisfied with what you do have and realizing what great things are right in front of you and to TRULY be happy and satisfied right where things are at.

That's a difficult thing, because I really do want more. Especially lately I feel like certain things "need" to happen for the rest of my life to get started. Well- what if I just take things as they are and say "I'm perfectly happy with every last bit of it. I don't need one thing to make me happier/more satisfied." ?

What happens is, I feel very very fortunate- and I am quite happy.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Merry Christmas/Happy New Year Part 2

Well here it is. . . 2012.

Last year was quite the year for us as 10 months of it was spent apart with very limited communications.

Needless to say it was a pretty rough year, but it certainly was not without some big positives as well:

  • Making new friends here in Sacramento and building my new life here
  • Mercedes was very happy/healthy all year
  • My health problems were resolved and we were able to afford it thanks to great health coverage, limited dental coverage, and $$ we had saved
  • We paid off lots of debt
  • The salon I manage broke record sales for one week 3 different times
  • I was able to experience being a full fledged adult and taking care of responsibilities by myself. Not that I enjoy "going it alone", but there's a self confidence you gain from having this opportunity and I am grateful for it.
  • I was able to spend more time with my family in California, specifically my cousin Tony, and I REALLY enjoyed being able to do so. Also getting to see my Grandma more in one year than I have most of my entire life so far was extremely fabulous. My grandma is very unique and special and I love being in a much closer proximity to her!
  • I enjoyed the best summer of my life (weather wise) and have truly fallen in love with Sacramento (but it only finds itself 3rd on the list in comparison to San Diego and Hawaii)
  • Last but not least, welcoming Adam home in October- it was so amazing and uplifting! Such a happy time for us and it was definitely my favorite part of 2011!

That's the quick list I threw together- I'm sure there is so much more, but I can't think of everything right now.

2012 is going to be a very different year- we are losing the financial comfort of Adam having a steady full time job and depending mostly on my income. It's a very scary position for me to be in, having such a big role in providing for my family. I think it's an especially difficult role for a woman to become the "bread winner" since we are physically designed to be less capable of handling such stress. That being said, I am glad that I have gotten to a place where I can support an (extremely meager) lifestyle for a small family.

Adam is no longer in the Army National Guard, having full filled his 6 year contract. He served nearly half of that as active duty including his initial training, full time temp tech position, AGR (Active Guard/Reserve) job at JFHQ (Joint Force Headquarters for the National Guard at the Capital in St. Paul Minnesota), and his 12 month deployment with OMLT IV. We became romantically interested in each other around the time that he joined the U.S. Army (in 2006), and so this has been our lives together since day 1. It's extremely weird to think that there will be no more drill weekends, no PT tests to prepare for, not one minute of our time will belong to the military.

(For me) it's very scary to accept this change, it's all happened so fast. There's a certain comfort and security that the military provides and it's frightening to no longer have that- especially in this economy. But Adam is thrilled to be returned to civilian freedom, and so I am happy for him.

And so we start off this year with him in school- one of the great benefits he earned with his time in the military. He's getting his commercial/Class A drivers license which has been a desire of his for quite some time. In the meantime he's preparing for a long and tedious application/interview process to become a law enforcement or correctional officer for the State of California. He will be working for a trucking company in the meantime, once he finishes school.

There's a variety of things that could happen so it will be interesting (and also cause me a great deal of anxiety) to see what will come to pass this year.

So here's my hopes/dreams/goals for 2012

  • Try not to worry so much about the unknown future!
  • Make as much money as I possibly can!
  • Really focus on completely removing all negative people/interactions from my life (not using Facebook has really helped me, but I need to finish eradicating my life from as much negativity as possible.) I need to stop wasting time/enduring any negative feelings with relationships/situations that provide me with nothing positive and do not help to further my goals and dreams. Moving to California and ditching facebook helped a lot, but I need to bite the bullet and finish the job and focus on enjoying life/being positive.
  • Explore as much of California with Adam and Mercedes as we can
  • Spend even more time with my family out here
  • Get involved in a musical group or start my own
  • Work out more consistently.
  • Not take Adam for granted now that he's home!
  • Do as much as I can to help Adam accomplish his goal and dreams, pursue a civilian career and recover from PTSD/other complications of being deployed to a war zone.

One thing I've definitely realized is that "surviving" a deployment doesn't happen just during the deployment, it's about surviving the stress beforehand and the aftermath as well. The effects of war will be echoing through the rest of our lives. That echo will become more and more faint, but it's a permanent scar that will never go away. It definitely puts things in a different perspective and makes me so much more grateful for everything and everyone in our lives helping us through it :)