Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Top 10 List of My Personality Traits According To My Best Friend

Whenever I see memes asking me to describe my personality traits, I run.  As fast as I can.  In the opposite direction.  It's not that I don't know my own personality.  It's just that sometimes I'm not too thrilled about parts of it.  And admitting to the more favorable parts would make me look like I'm bragging. 

So this week, I employed the help of one of my best friends to help me share a little bit about myself.  I appreciate her brutal honesty.  And if she wants to brag on me, well, they're her words, not mine. 
Here are my...

Top 10 List of My Personality Traits According to My Best Friend

10)  She only wants to do one activity a day (which reminds me of my mother)

9)  She's introverted, but once she gets out there, she has a way of grabbing people’s attention

8)  She's awfully damn hard on herself

7)  Self-deprecating

6)  Intelligent

5)  I wish she had more confidence in who she is

4) Honest

3)  Silly and fun

2)  Kind

1)  Loyal

What tops your list (or your best friend's list!)? 


Monday, June 28, 2010

A Military Love Story

Theirs is a story of love
That rises above.
Destined to be together
But too often forced apart.
In all its glory
Theirs is a true love story.

Theirs is a story of love
That fit like a glove.
First romantic interludes
Then a family of four.
In all its glory
Theirs is a true love story.

Theirs is a story of love
That needed a shove.
Deployment separations,
Homecoming readjustments.
In all its glory
Theirs is a true love story.

Theirs is a story of love
That most don’t speak of.
How do you handle it all?
How can your marriage survive?
In all its glory
Theirs is a true love story.

Theirs is a story of love
That rises above.
Once just a boy and a girl,
Now a strong husband and wife.
In all its glory
Theirs is still a love story.

I miss you Mr. Roller Coaster.  Come home soon.

Friday, June 25, 2010

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In

Wife of a Sailor is starting a fun meme called MilSpouse Friday Fill-In.  Every Thursday she's going to post a list of questions as a way to get to know all the mil spouses out there in the blogosphere.  All you have to do is answer her questions in a blog post on Fridays and link it up on her blog.  Simple as that!  Hope all you mil spouses out there will join in on the fun!

This week’s questions are:

1.How did you and your spouse/significant other meet?
 I usually tell people we met through a mutual friend because if I told people that the mutual friend was my boyfriend and my husband was his roommate, then I'd really look like the evil witch with a b that I was.  (To my credit, my then boyfriend and now husband didn't know each other before they became roommates.)  Let's just say my ex-boyfriend didn't live there very long, and he wasn't exactly the first in line to congratulate us when we got engaged 9 months later.

2.What is the best thing about being a MilSpouse?
There are so many amazing things about being a mil spouse.  But I'd have to say the best part is the community.  We are all strong, independent forces to be reckoned with, and I can't think of any other community that cheers each other on like we do.  I know that I could never get through my husband's current deployment without my mil spouse comrades, both in person and online.

3.What is the hardest thing about being a MilSpouse?
Oh, I could write a book on that one!  I'd have to say the loneliness.  Mil spouses get married and then spend a lot of time alone.  But absence makes the heart grow fonder, and I think my marriage is stronger because of our frequent separations.

4.What is your favorite dish?
Sushi, sushi, and more sushi.  After living in Japan for 3 years, I learned that I could easily eat sushi every meal of the day.

5.If you could change one thing in this world, what would it be?
Hatred.  I purposely avoid discussing controversial issues like politics on my blog, but I truly believe that hatred is the root of many evils in this world. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Dear Deployment

My latest Blue Star Families post:


Dear Deployment,

I’ve been writing letters to my husband, and I thought it only fair to write a letter to you as well. After all, you are currently the most omnipotent presence in my life. I can’t ignore you. I can’t escape you. Even censuring you with unladylike profanity doesn’t deter you from hanging around. Like a long-lost acquaintance in need of a place to crash, you have taken up residence in my life without giving me any indication as to your exit strategy. So I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s in my best interest to accept you. But before I can fully accept you, I need to ask you for a few favors. You have to admit you owe me.

Thanks to you, my cell phone is permanently attached to my body like an extraneous appendage. I can’t leave my house without worrying that I’ll miss a call from my husband. I learned my lesson the first time I missed a call while I foolishly took out the trash unaccompanied by my phone. But even when I’m home, I think you purposely orchestrate phone calls so they come when I’m least prepared to receive them. I’m cleaning the toilet, I’m preparing dinner and have raw chicken juice dripping from my hands, or I’m on the other line with Fios tech support after waiting 20 minutes on hold. Favor #1: Can you work on the timing of phone calls so (a) I’m able to talk to my husband without fellow Wal-Mart customers eavesdropping and (b) I’m not in the powder room when the phone rings?

You’re also forcing me to violate fundamental personal rules. I swore I’d never resort to fast food on those nights when cooking dinner for one adult seems too daunting. But my children now have an enviable collection of Happy Meal toys. I swore I’d never neglect my housekeeping duties. But you’ve made it so easy to let the house go when the only people who see it proudly vie for the title of messiest room. And I swore I’d never invite another man into my bed. But my 6-year-old son has somehow suckered me into weekly sleepovers. Favor #2: Can you please allow me to hold onto my vow not to cuddle with my husband’s pillow? I think he’ll be jealous when he gets home.

Furthermore, because of you, I have developed a rather unpleasant addiction. To country music. My family is well aware of my aversion to country music, a genre I’ve always deemed sappy and whiny. But the other day, I found myself pressing the #8 preset button in my car, the button my husband surreptitiously programmed to a country radio station just to irritate me. And when I lingered a little too long on preset #8, my son chimed in from the backseat, “Why are you listening to country music Mom? Is it because it makes you think of Dad?” Favor #3: Can you cure me of my spiraling addiction? No hurry. Just make sure I’ve completed the 12-step program before my husband comes home and pokes fun of me.

And then there are the weekends. Under normal circumstances, the anticipation of weekend family time and relaxation is enough to get me through the week. However, since your arrival, weekends are prolonged and tiresome. Without my husband here to entertain the kids, the house echoes with fierce declarations of, “Mom, I’m bored!” Favor #4: Can you find a way to skip the weekends?

Thank you in advance for your cooperation. And I thank you for the favors you’ve already granted me, such as teaching me that mowing the lawn can actually be the perfect opportunity for introspection and that putting both kids to bed isn’t a challenge, but a time of bonding I now look forward to. Although I’ve become accustomed to your presence, at some point you’re going to overstay your welcome, and I will gladly say farewell when you decide to leave us. I hope you don’t take offense when I don’t invite you back for a return visit.


Wife on the Roller Coaster

PS—One last request. Favor #5: Can you please send my husband home soon? A pillow is no substitute for the real thing, and my other man hogs the covers.

What would you say if you could write a letter to Deployment?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Top 10 Reasons Why I'd Love to Spend a Day in My Son's Shoes

My 6-year-old son has a pretty cool life.  Wouldn't it be fun to trade places with him for a day?  Here are my...

Top 10 Reasons Why I'd Love to Spend a Day in My Son's Shoes

10) He sleeps in a room protected by super heroes, evil aliens, and powerful robots.  Who needs an alarm system when you have an arsenal like that?

9)  He can befriend a brick wall.  I'd like to say he inherited that from me, but that's all Daddy genes.  I'd love to learn how to be that gregarious.

8)  He has a better memory than I do.  Maybe if we switch places for a day, I can actually win a game of Memory Match.

7)  He's spending his summer days at camp.  Swimming, going on field trips, and playing games.  Ahh, to live such a carefree existence.

6)  When I try to convince him to taste new foods, he not-so-politely declines, declaring that his taste buds are different than mine.  Maybe if I take over his taste buds for a day I can convince him to eat something other than chicken nuggets and PB and J.

5)  Well before he celebrated his 5th birthday, he had been to 4 different countries and lived in 5 different houses.  I'd love to know how these experiences have influenced his view of the world.

4)  I'd love to experience his sense of humor, partly so I can figure out why the words poop and butt are so gut-busting hilarious.

3)  He sleeps through his sister's zero dark thirty wake up calls.  Oh, how I'd love to sleep in.

2)  I'd love to know what he's thinking and follow his thought process.

1)  I think back to my own childhood with such fondness.  Basically, I'd just love to be a kid again.

Whose shoes would you love to spend a day wearing?


Monday, June 21, 2010

Baseball Reconsidered

Big C's baseball season is officially over.  After a disappointing loss in the championship game of the playoffs, he received his trophy, bid farewell to his teammates, and retired his cleats that will be too small the next time he'll need them.  No more late practices.  No more hot games.

When the season first started in April, I wrote about my dissatisfaction with the coaching methods, practice times, and favoritism.  I feared we wouldn't make it through the season, that I'd yank Big C off the team before the first game.  Although, I ended the season still resenting the practice times and the blatant favoritism toward the coaches' sons, I'm not only thankful we stuck it out, but I plan to request the same coaches next year if Big C chooses to play baseball again.

I don't know when or why my change of heart occurred.  Maybe it was the kindness of a third assistant coach and a volunteer father who took Big C under their wings. Maybe it was seeing my son's athletic improvements.  Maybe it was the fact that he didn't care about practice times or the lack of attention he received compared to other teammates.  He just wanted to play ball. 

As strange as it sounds, I think I did more maturing this baseball season than Big C did.  I'm proud to say I wasn't that mom screaming at her son from behind the dugout (although I was tempted to during those innings when Big C was sitting in the outfield playing with the grass instead of preparing himself for a grounder).  And I wasn't that mom complaining to the coaches that her son was bored in the outfield.  Sure I would have loved to see Big C get more action during games.  However, I knew it would cause him less psychological damage to be bored than to be clobbered by balls hit to the infield.

I tried my hardest not to be that mom who lives vicariously through her child.  I stifled my nerves when Big C was at bat. I bit my tongue when the scary assistant coach yelled at him.  I walked away when Big C got hit in the face with a ball (3 TIMES) so he could learn to shake it off without the embarrassment of Mommy hugging him.  And I ignored the fact that he got very little attention from the head coach compared to the better players. 

This season was my first taste of being a sports mom, and I never expected to go through such emotions.  And I'm in awe of my parents, who endured years of shuttling me and my brother to swim meets, baseball games, and the half a dozen other sports we attempted.  The older I get and the longer I'm a parent, the more appreciation I have for my parents, for all the sacrifices they made for me and for all they taught me.

I have to admit I'm relieved that we don't have baseball practice to attend tonight.  Now I just need to get over the new mommy emotions that hit me today as I dropped Big C off for his 1st day of summer camp.  Do we ever get used to these mommy emotions?  Does letting go of our babies ever get easier?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Support on the Home Front

My latest Blue Star Families post:
Support on the Home Front

Last week my in-laws visited to offer some relief from my deployment-induced single parenting duties. I took advantage of every second I had to myself. I practically skipped through the aisles of Wal-Mart as I dropped items into a cart that held no screeching toddler. I lounged in my backyard with my laptop, savoring the silence while my children savored Shrek at the movie theatre. But it wasn’t until I disrobed for my full-body massage that I finally allowed myself to admit how much stress the deployment has been piling on me. And as I felt the knots in my back being kneaded away, I realized that I haven’t been utilizing my support system enough. I can’t get through this deployment on my own.

When I first joined the silent ranks of military spouses, I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. Our first PSC move went smoothly, and we loved our duty station. My husband worked fairly regular hours and his travel was limited and short. Other than the trip that caused him to almost miss the premature birth of our first child, his military career wasn’t affecting my life a whole lot. Until he got deployed.

Within the first few weeks of the deployment, I got a taste of what being married to the military really meant. I felt I had finally earned my official initiation into the military spouse club. Unfortunately, instead of feeling like a member of a unified club, I felt alone. Besides my family, I had no support system whatsoever. I had no spouse support groups to turn to, and I had only a handful of military friends. My local civilian friends, who couldn’t empathize with what I was going through, gradually stopped calling. As a relatively new military spouse, I wasn’t aware of any organizations that could help me, and I was too overwhelmed and intimidated to seek them out. It was a lonesome, gloomy time for me, and I seriously questioned my ability to sustain this lifestyle for the long term.

Thankfully, this deployment is different. I’m older and more accustomed to military life. Most of my friends are fellow military spouses who can commiserate with my ups and downs and point me in the right direction for support services. I have a widespread support network in cyberspace through blogs and Facebook, as well as organizations like Blue Star Families and Military OneSource. And even though I haven’t attended any family support group outings, at least I know they’re available.

Although I’m more aware of where to seek assistance, my biggest obstacle is learning to use it. I don’t like asking for help. Sure I call my family and close friends when I need to air my grievances about the deployment. But what else am I doing to control my stress levels? I have to remind myself that I can’t wait for family to send in the reinforcements before I take time out for myself. I have reliable baby-sitters. I have free child care at the YMCA while I sweat out the stress. And now I have a magical massage therapist (whose fees I strongly believe should be covered under TRICARE as mental health treatment). There’s nothing wrong with pampering myself every now and then. After all, if I’m frustrated and tense, I can’t effectively do my job as a double duty parent.

As military spouses, we need all the help we can get, especially during deployments. While we’re on the home front supporting our service members, we need to make sure others are supporting us. My husband may be gone, but I know I’m not alone. I finally feel like a member of the elite military spouse club. Now who wants to volunteer to baby-sit so I can book my next massage?


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Top 10 Things That Made Me Smile In the Last Week

Sometimes life passes by so quickly that I forget to savor the moments that make me smile.  So today I'm taking the time to think about those moments.  Here are my...

Top 10 Things That Made Me Smile in the Last Week

10) Watching a women riding a bike while reading a book.  I couldn't figure out if she was the queen of multi-tasking or a tragic accident waiting to happen.  Either way, the sight was pretty humorous.

9) Watching my kids trying to fly kites in the backyard with no wind whatsoever

8)  Waking up to see that it had rained while we slept, which means I could go a couple more days without watering the lawn

7)  Witnessing a close friend's excitement as she stepped outside her comfort zone to pursue a dream.  Her motivation is inspiring.

6)  Eavesdropping on my 2-year-old daughter Little C "reading" in bed.  I knew exactly which book she was looking at because she was actually reading correctly.

5)  Seeing my 6-year-old son Big C pulling out his own loose tooth and his face lighting up with pride

4)  Talking with an old friend I haven't seen in 6 years and realizing we picked up right where we left off

3)  Listening to Little C sing in the bathtub as dramatically as if she were about to be crowned the next American Idol

2)  Watching videos of Big C's 1st couple of baseball games and seeing how much he's improved in one season

1)  Telling my husband about my new job and hearing his excitement as he congratulated me.  I can't wait to celebrate when he gets home!

What tops your list?


Monday, June 14, 2010

The Tooth Fairy Cometh

My son Big C lost his 1st tooth yesterday.  Weeks of light wiggling led to weeks of heavier movement, and finally last week it grew so loose that both of his grandfathers threatened to tie a string around it and yank away.  But yesterday he did it all himself.  My little man reached in and pulled out his 1st tooth.
I have the world's worst memory.  I don't recall my 1st lost tooth or what the tooth fairy left under my pillow.  But now I get to relive it through my son.  I watched as he tentatively twisted the tooth in his mouth and then stared in wonder as he turned it over in his hand, inspecting it like it was a precious gem. 
I hate that his daddy is missing this.  The excitement and joy on Big C's face as he insisted upon calling both sets of grandparents to share the news.  The delicate placing of the tooth under his pillow and his difficulty falling asleep because he wanted to see if the tooth fairy is a boy or a girl.  The shoving of the $5 bill from the tooth fairy in my face at 5:39 this morning.  The 7 AM trip to Wal-Mart to spend his treasure.  His daddy would have loved it all. 
I know that between 2 children and their 2 mouths full of baby teeth, the tooth fairy will be making many more visits to our house.  I just wish my husband had been here for the 1st one.  Occasions like these make me miss him even more.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Deployment Songs

I wrote this quite awhile ago, and I'm thrilled that it is still my most popular post and I continue to receive comments with additional songs.  Make sure you read the comments after the post because the list goes on long after the post ends.

I love music.  It helps me escape a bad mood and gets me through a tough workout.  It helps me relive memories and dance away stress.  That's why I couldn't live without music while my husband is deployed. 

My last deployment song was "Broken" by Amy Lee and Seether.  This time around, it's "Need You Now" by Lady Antebellum.  I also like "American Soldier" by Toby Keith, but that song is reserved only for those days when I need a good cleansing cry.

Thanks to my mil spouse friends and fans on Facebook and my Twitter cohorts, I've compiled a pretty good list of favorite deployment songs.  A special thanks to Christina over at Married to a Sailor: The Journey of a Navy Wife for sharing the "short" version of her deployment playlist.  (Keep an eye out for her future blog post of deployment songs, which will be MUCH longer than mine!)

Freeland ~ Miss Willie Brown
Until I Get Home ~ Zac Charles
Talking to the Moon ~ Bruno Mars
Sleeping to Dream ~ Jason Mraz
Never Alone ~ BarlowGirl
Sleeping With the Telephone ~ Reba McEntire and Faith Hill
The Longer the Waiting ~ Josh Turner
I Still Miss Someone ~  Martina McBride
Everyday ~ Buddy Holly
While the Night is Still Young ~ Billy Joel
Come Home Soon ~ SHeDAISY
Happy Together ~ The Turtles
Smile ~ Uncle Kracker
If You're Going Through Hell ~ Rodney Atkins
Lucky ~ Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat
I'm Already There ~ Lonestar
The Chain ~ Ingrid Michaelson
Lucky ~ Bif Naked
Bring It On Home ~ Little Big Town
Coming Home ~ New Found Glory (song and whole album)
On My Mind ~ New Found Glory
Far Away ~ Nickelback
Airplanes ~ B.o.B.
Bring It On ~ Steven Curtis Chapman
Held ~ Natalie Grant
Fix You ~ Coldplay
When I Look to the Sky ~ Train
Take This Job and Shove It ~ Johnny Paycheck  (LOL!)
All My Loving ~ Sara Mann or the Beatles
Haven't Seen for a While ~ Pat McGee Band
Miss You ~ Blink 182
Wait for You ~ Atreyu
Wait for Me ~ Theory of a Deadman
All or Nothing ~ Theory of a Deadman
Alone in this bed ~ Framing Hanley
Your Guardian Angel ~ The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
Never Gonna Be Alone ~ Nickelback
Have Faith in Me ~ A Day to remember
You Had Me at Hello ~ A Day to Remember
Far From Here ~ Alissa Moreno
Dear God ~ Avenged Sevenfold
Calling You ~ Blue October
I'm Missing You ~ Bobby Tinsley
I Don't Want Anything to Change ~ Bonnie Raitt
So Small ~ Carrie Underwood
Just a Dream ~ Carrie Underwood
As Much as I Ever Could ~ City and Colour
Comin' Home ~ City and Colour
Hello, I'm in Delaware ~ City and Colour
Let's Fall in Love ~ Diana Krall
If I Die Before You Wake ~ Dustin Evans
I'll Be ~ Edwin McCain
The Distance ~ Evan and Jaron
You Give Me Sometime ~ James Morrison
I'm Yours ~ Jason Mraz
Photographs and Memories ~ Jason Reeves
The Other Little Soldier ~ Josh Gracin
Never Alone ~ Lady Antebellum
Ocean Love ~ Leigh Nash
Need To Be Next To You ~ Leigh Nash
Everything ~ Lifehouse
From Where You Are ~ Lifehouse
Storm ~ Lifehouse
Home ~ Michael Buble
Come Home ~ OneRepublic
My Hero ~ Paramore
Cat and Mouse ~ Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
The Call ~ Regina Spektor
Right Here Waiting ~ Richard Marx
Have You Seen My Love ~ Rosie Thomas
Your Call ~ Secondhand Serenade
Nothing Compares 2 U ~ Sinead O'Connor
Kiss Me Through the Phone ~ Soulja Boy
One Thing is for Sure ~ The Spill Canvas
Letters ~ Stellar Kart
Boston and St. Johns ~ Great Big Sea
Dude (I Totally Miss You) ~ Tenacious D
Goodnight Moon ~ Jack Ingram
Feels Like Home ~ Chantal Kreviazuk
Life After You ~ Daughtry
Home ~ Daughtry
Seasons ~ Good Charlotte
Better In Time ~ Leona Lewis
Superman Tonight ~ Bon Jovi
Here Without You ~ 3 Doors Down
Start Saving Me ~ Mike Corrado
On My Watch ~ Mike Corrado
Stand ~ Mike Corrado

What's your favorite deployment song?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Top 10 Reasons Why I Won't Be Nominated For Domestic Engineer of the Year

I have been a domestic engineer for 6 years.  I'd like to think I'm good at what I do, but some days I'm not so sure.  Here are my...

Top 10 Reasons Why I Won't Be Nominated For Domestic Engineer of the Year

10)  Some days "making the beds" means using the comforter to hide the disheveled sheets.

9)  I don't know how to sew.  I'd rather buy a new pair of pants than mend a hole in the knee.

8)  I don't serve my children the recommended daily servings of vegetables.  If I did, I'd just be wasting food.

7)  My iron gets used only for my husband's uniforms.  Since he left for deployment, the iron hasn't seen the light of day.

6)  Sometimes I'm thankful for the rain that cancels my son's baseball practice.  He loves practice and I enjoy watching him play, but it's exhausting spending an hour and a half chasing after his sister as she tries to run onto the field to play with the big boys.

5)  What do you mean plants need water?

4)  I have never baked a cake.  I can cook a gourmet dinner, but I can't bake a cake.

3)  When the kids are with a baby-sitter, I don't think about them.  I'd like to say it's because I fully trust my sitter, but it's mainly because I'm selfishly enjoying my limited time as just myself, not someone's mommy.

2)  I hate cleaning.  With every fiber of my being.

1)  I have no problem telling little white lies to my children.  I see no harm in claiming the toy aisles are closed if it keeps them from throwing tantrums the second we enter Wal-Mart.

What tops your list?

 This post has been linked to Top 10 Tuesday at Oh Amanda.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Trading Sneakers for Skirts

I have a full-time job. But future employers won’t find it on my resume, and my current employers won't give me recommendations. I earn no salary, and I don’t get sick days. If I’m lucky, I’m allowed vacation days, but I have to bring my work with me. The job requires no formal education, no background checks, no prior work experience, and no dress code. It’s the most challenging position I’ve ever had, yet also the most rewarding.

What is my occupation? I go by many titles, but I prefer Domestic Engineer or Household Commander in Chief. Stay-At-Home Mom is false advertising because I rarely stay at home. And Housewife is antiquated and downright insulting. Clearly, I’m not married to my house. I’m also not a fan of Homemaker, Soccer Mom, or Mistress of the House. You can call me what you like, but don’t ever accuse me of not having a “real” job. This profession is real, and it isn’t for the faint-hearted.

Although I love my job, I feel it’s time to move on. With one child thriving in school and another more than ready for social interaction with age-appropriate peers, I realize my employers no longer require my services on a full-time basis. On a personal level, I have to admit I’m craving fulfillment in another venture.

The prospect of returning to the workforce is frightening. Although my current little bosses are demanding and their needs dictate my daily schedule, they are ultimately quite forgiving when I make mistakes or occasionally show up late for work still wearing my pajamas. They didn’t hire me, and as much as they may try, they can’t fire me. I can’t say the same for employers in the real world.

So what’s a Domestic Engineer to do when she’s ready to cut back on her hours and pursue a vocation elsewhere? She weighs her options, polishes her resume, and fights her nerves during interviews. And if she’s anything like me, she contains her mixture of fear and excitement as she calmly and professionally accepts a job offer from an employer who never questioned the fact that she spent the last 6 years wearing sneakers and ponytails, changing poopy diapers, and singing along with Dora the Explorer.

As I mentally prepare myself for my new job, I wonder how my life will change. Will I have the time and energy to give my loved ones the attention they’ve grown accustomed to? Will my weekends be spent playing catch-up as I use my days off to complete the tasks I normally do during the week? Will my time away from the kids make me a better mother? Will I have any time to myself?

I also think about how will my career shift will affect my family. Responsibilities that once fell solely on my shoulders will have to be shared with my husband, and the children's schedules will have to adapt to fit mine.  Everyone in the house will have to chip in to compensate for the hours I won't be clocking in at home.  It will be a major life change not only for me, but for all of us.

I value my experience as a Domestic Engineer. I’m certain that the work ethic, patience, and creativity I’ve learned through intense on-the-job training have prepared me for the new job I am about to start. I know that when my first day of work rolls around and I trade in my sneakers for skirts, I will embark on this new endeavor with the confidence that I did the best I could as a full-time Domestic Engineer and performed my duties with the utmost dedication and love. Will I miss it? Absolutely. But I remind myself that I’m not quitting my old job, I’ll simply be doing it part-time. This chapter of my life may be ending, but the storyline will continue through many chapters to come, just with a new character added to the mix. And I can’t wait to turn the page and find out what happens next.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Check Out My New Look!

Notice anything different?

Thanks to Mrs. Muffins, I got myself a makeover!  I'm beyond thrilled.  So if you're in the market for a new blog design, run don't walk to Mrs. Muffins.  She's absolutely amazing!  (She has an awesome blog too!)

I have a new button, so if you have my old one on your blog, feel free to switch 'em out. 

Have a great weekend everyone!

Communication Breakdown

My latest post for Blue Star Families:

Communication Breakdown

Communication during deployments has come a long way. I feel spoiled when I think about my fellow military spouses of a generation ago who didn’t have the luxury of the technological advances we have today. Nowadays, we have email, Skype, Facebook, and blogs. Even letters and care packages sent through snail mail arrive at their destinations at an alarmingly rapid rate. As difficult as it is to be apart from our service members, most of us can’t complain about our means of communication.

I often wonder if my conversations with my husband during his deployment would be different if we didn’t have such a vast means of communication. Thanks to email, I can tell him anything at any time. But sometimes I question whether I should tell him everything. I don’t know how much he wants or needs to hear about the life he’s missing at home. He should be concentrating on his job, not worrying about his family on the home front.

Should I tell him about the rough days even though I know that my hardships can’t compare to his? I don’t know if I should tell him about stepping on a rusty nail in the attic and my subsequent tetanus shot. I don’t know if he needs to know about our washing machine that kept stubbornly tripping a breaker and the electrician who offered no answers other than our breaker box requires serious reorganization. Then there are the trips to the clinic and the auto shop, the rumors about the family of foxes roaming our neighborhood, and his plants that I somehow managed to murder (although technically it’s manslaughter because after all, I didn’t plan to kill them). Does he want to hear these things or does hearing them make him feel helpless?

How do I handle phone calls when I’m in a bad mood? Most of the time, the simple hello on the other end is enough to turn my rotten mood around. But there are times when the atmosphere in my house is beyond recovery. When both kids are throwing tantrums and I escape to the backyard so I can actually hear his voice over World War III, I still have to deal with my 2-year-old daughter running outside after me. Naked. I can’t exactly call him back when I’m in a better mood or the kids aren’t stripping off their clothes to wrestle. And I don’t want him hanging up the phone thinking his wife has lost her mind.

Part of my indecision about appropriate deployment conversation is that I’m tongue-tied. My husband and I are both talkers. But because he can’t discuss much of what’s happening on his end, I’m responsible for most of the conversation material. And I tend to buckle under the pressure, blurting out the first thing that comes to mind, which unfortunately includes whatever series of small disasters Murphy’s Law threw at me that day.

So I think back to those military spouses of years ago. Did they waste precious phone calls talking about the electrician? Probably not. I imagine they used their limited time to share loving words of encouragement. Then why did I waste the last phone call with my husband talking about jumpstarting his car (yes, I managed to manslaughter his car battery as well) instead of gushing about how thrilled the kids were when they received the treasure maps he sent them?

After much deliberation and the consultation of experts (i.e., other military spouses), I’ve decided to share it all, but to keep in mind the importance of timing and delivery. This isn’t the time to be a drama queen. I’ll focus on the good days because I know he’s happiest when we’re happy. I’ll also continue to tell him about the not-so-good days. But if possible, I’ll wait until those minor catastrophes have resolved themselves and I can retell those stories with either self-deprecating humor or a sense of pride for fixing something myself. And how will I handle those calls that interrupt World War III? Well, even the best of us have our off days. As long as the neighbors don’t complain about my daughter streaking across the yard, then I’ll let her be the drama queen of the family.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Top 10 Reasons Why I Love My Husband

Yes, I realize this is one of my cheesier Top 10 lists.  But my 10th wedding anniversary is this week, and my husband is not here to celebrate with me.  So I think I have the right to be cheesy!  Here are my...

Top 10 Reasons Why I Love My Husband

10) He can fix just about anything.

9) He watches "Desperate Housewives" and chick flicks with me, and even though in return I have to watch war series and movies like "The Pacific" and "Das Boot," he makes me realize the value in watching in them.

8)  He is one of the most intelligent people I know.

7) His self-confidence and determination breed those qualities in me.

6)  He is my voice of reason when I need it, and my voice of adventure when I don't.

5)  He serves our country proudly.

4) He is supportive of most of the crazy things I want to do.  (Unfortunately, I don't think he'll EVER support my desire to own a ferret.)

3) He gave me our 2 amazing children.

2)  He is a loving, involved, wonderful father.

1)  He is the yin to my yang.  He balances me.  In our case, opposites truly attract.

What tops your list?

This post has been linked to Oh Amanda's Top 10 Tuesday.  Have a Top 10 list of your own?  Join in on her carnival and visit the other fun lists!

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