Thursday, January 27, 2011

For the family...

Gabe had his first Karate/Shudokan class last night. He insisted that is was to be that, and no other form of martial art. He wants to be exactly like his Daddy and "Uncle Reggie".

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

fever: resolutions

I came across this today, because one of my followers also follows a blog titled Fever.

I'm not sure who the author is, but when I have time, I will definitely check her out. Below is a link to her latest post.

The post is about her son, who is under the age of 5, and he has some things to say about God, and his relationship with God.

All I can say is "WOW!".

fever: resolutions
(just click on the blue writing above, Dad...;))

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A little shopping and Seasonal Affective Disorder...

I feel the urge to shop for semi-needless things. Well, I can't spend too much money since I did the major once-every-few-months grocery/supply shopping on Monday. And we did spend a good amount of money on our trip home to Louisiana last month (though the money we spent there on all sorts of needless stuff was still less than the cost of living out here).

I've been saving money and snow-balling bills since we've moved to Alaska, and it feels good, so every bit of extra money that I do spend, sends me down a guilty path. But, right now, I'm thinking that I "need" to go onto (Sarah needs a new pair of Keds). FYI, there are not many places to shop out here for the things that we were used to in the Lower 48, so becomes another best friend to a lot of people who end up living out here.

I'm in a funky mood this week. If you refer to the post below this one, you'll know a major reason why. Phillip is out of town for a few days, and I'm having deployment flashbacks (I hate it when he's not home). I'm also starting to look forward to the Spring/Summer.

My close friend, CW, calls this the "frozen hell I live in". To me, it's not so bad. I almost prefer the winter here, because the snowy scenery is absolutely beautiful, and you have genuine darkness to sleep in (getting up to use the bathroom at 2 am to see sunny bright sky can freak a person out). As for the cold, you just have to dress warmly, and give yourself time to adapt (to the cold in general, but I don't suggest standing out in subzero weather to try to get used to it!).

But then, if you talk to a lot of people here, they will gladly admit that they are more than ready to get out of here. After 3 years here, I'll be ready to leave too, but for now I can live with it. Still, even though we just came back from a wonderful trip back home, I hear of people going off on vacation to all these interesting places, and I get a wee bit jealous. Hey, I LOVE to travel!

One downer is that because there is not much sunlight at this time of year, we are all pale like vampires, and all we want to do is sleep. I'm always tired (for numerous reasons). Gabe and Sarah are always tired. How much Vitamin D can you pump into a system without overdosing?

This won't last too much longer though (4-5 months, but I'm trying to be optimistic), and then we'll have so much sunlight that our body clocks won't want to shut us down until about midnight.

C'est la vie. It is what it is. I'm still glad to be able to say I've "been there and got the t-shirt".

Friday, January 21, 2011

Another Angel has gone back home.

There are times when being away from your family can really be hard to bear. I was told earlier this week that my uncle was given his Last Rites. I could have flown home for the funeral, but what really mattered to me was to be able to look him in the eye one last time, while he was still alive, and he KNEW that I was there, to tell him that I Love Him. I knew that even if I'd hop on a plane right after the phone call, I'd be too late.

I've been praying really hard this week; and today, especially, my heart hurts.

Last night, after my Mom called to tell me that he'd passed on, I had another deep session with my higher power. As my brother put it this morning, if ever there was an Angel to walk this earth, it would have been my Mom's brother.

I cannot begin to tell you how much he was loved for the man that he was. He was a spiritual man, and so very patient. There was not a selfish bone in his body. He was always there to help anyone in need.

It all started a little less than 3 years ago. The last time that I saw him in good health, was when Sarah was baptized (we are a Catholic family). No one knows for sure on how or why he got sick, but after a while, we all realized that we were past the point of getting answers.

When I was a little girl, I'd wait for his white Ford Fairmont to come around the curve, and then I'd run next door to greet him, and ask about his day at work. He'd always have his hands full of papers etc, but he was always happy to see me, and would bend down, point to his cheek and tell me to "plant it right there."

When we went home for the Christmas holidays, I was able to say my final goodbye, and remind him that one of my favorite memories of growing up was giving him those kisses on the cheek. I thought about how I used to sit with him outside on Saturday afternoons watching cars as they drove past, listening to his police scanner (he worked with tv's and radios), and watching him drink his Coors while he ate a from a wedge of hogshead cheese.

I adored that man.

I think we all agree that today is a day to rejoice though. Of course, we are all grieving, but we know that with whatever ailed him, he's finally at peace. He is no longer trapped in that body. It was pure torture to see such a man in the condition he was in.

After I last saw him, he took a turn for the worse. In the past few days, he was having trouble breathing because pneumonia had set in. I talked to my younger cousin earlier this afternoon, and asked him if he'd suffered much more in his last hours.; she told me that he went quietly after everyone was tucked in for the night.

I'd like to think that he waited for the right time to let go. It seems that up until the very end, he was thinking of others. That's just the type of man that he was.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Homecomings and Re-Intergrations

Being a military family has it's benefits; it really does. We get to travel to many different places, and learn new things, and make new friends as we live in an area.

We chose to come to Alaska for many different reasons. From a pilot's perspective, you'd be crazy not to pass up the opportunity to be here, especially if it's outright offered to you, because some wait their whole lives to get here, and some never make it. As we were making our decision on which Post to PCS to, we took into account that the world is changing, and that Alaska in all it's beauty might not be the same years in the future, as it is today; the natives are saying that the winters now are not like they were, due to global warming. We wanted to give our children a chance to see it for what it is NOW. And the fact that my husband's Branch Manager told him that there were no expected deployments while we would be here, was bonus!

But...this is the military folks! Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, is ever a promise. (The pessimist in me just knew that this was going to happen, so I was a tad mentally prepared.)

Because everyone else is out in either Afghanistan or Iraq, our guys were sent out to do humanitarian aid, and heavy cargo lifting in Pakistan for the four months leading up to Christmas.

And here is where I jump off, and rant. And use run-ons. And begin my sentences with words like, And, But, and Because; with lots of parenthesis...
(My high school English teacher would really be so proud. While I'm at it, let me give a big shout-out to my college English 101 teacher too.)

Separations are never easy. Especially when they are unexpected. So, imagine my surprise when Phillip came home one afternoon and poured himself two finger fulls of Glenlevit (we are not "drinkers"), and told me he had "something to tell me". Enter expletive...HERE.

I'm not a woman who accepts change very well, and moving to Alaska after living in Texas for 5 years (close to family, close to THINGS TO DO) was a huge adjustment for me.

And so, there goes the husband...again.

As a military wife (and family), you have to learn to adapt to whatever comes at you. And it can be very taxing when too many changes come your way in a short time. But, you do what you have to do, and it is what it is.

I often remind one of my close friends that one day, we'll have our reunion in some beach resort somewhere, and while our husbands are sharing stories on flying, we'll share ours on how we coped with it all, etc. etc. Someday, we will smile at this. At times, I already do.

It's empowering. It's exhausting.

When they're gone, the ones left behind are dealing with many things. We know that they would give almost anything to not be there, and we know that being here is better than being there. I try to keep that in mind, as I play the many roles required of a military spouse and mother.

There's always the encouragement that they will be home soon; whenever that is. Because nothing is ever written in stone (I believe I've said something like that already in this post), and the roller coaster ride of rumors is always just a "blast" to be on. "When" is a major question. And I'm not going to depress you all by mentioning the constant worry that looms over your head on "IF" they're coming home (oh, I just did).

Here's where things start to speed up...

But, Alas! You get the official notification (after weeks of rumors) that your husband will be home for the Holidays! Joy! And a bit of guilt. Because, you have friends out there who's husbands won't be home to open presents, eat the cookies, put the toys together. But you know that they are happy for you, as you will be for them, when their time comes. (We're all in this together, us military wives.)

So, you've received word that he's coming home. You start "nesting" like a pregnant woman expecting that brand-spanking new baby to arrive. You want everything to be just right. The house. The kids. The linen closet. YOU.

I might be speaking for only myself here, but when he does come home, I fight that constant inner battle to "give up" and let him do everything that he's missed doing (like taking out the trash, gassing up the car...), because I know that eventually he'll be gone again, and I don't want to have to struggle to get myself back into the Be-the-Independent-Woman mode again. So, I try to stay in it. (The whole coming home thing is like a gumbo pot of emotions and experiences, for everyone; even the cat.)

And, he's so excited to be home. He's able to take a hot shower, sleep in his own bed, wash his own clothes, and able to cook his favorite meals (to eat bacon!). He's having fun with being able to do everything that he couldn't for so long, and for me, it can be a bit hard to watch it all happen, because I know that I take it all for granted. We tend to spend all sorts of money on having fun, eat at all of our favorite restaurants, get that new iPad, etc, etc. Because DADDY'S HOME! You get it? There goes the checkbook, Sally!

He also sees that he may not be "needed" so much around the house anymore. Mom's got it. That, I'm sure, can be a bit damaging to a man's ego. But, I can assure you that he's definitely wanted. And Mom just needs to let go, and let things happen; let go of some control, and hand it over to someone else for the time being. Because, Darn It, it feels so good to have my best friend home!

For now, all is right in our household.

We're all excited. A new chapter has begun. The next deployment looming over our heads (we're never sure where or when), is not gonna slow us down.

As with anything in this world, it's all in how you roll with it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Shorts to String You Along...Episode 2

On the Friday that we came home from our trip down South, I picked Sarah up from daycare at about the same time that they were getting ready to play outside, so she was upset with me. When we got home, Phillip and I went outside to let her play, wait for Gabe to get home from school (he walks through the back yard to get to and from), and to shovel snow. Hours later, we'd made a snow hill out of the wooden picnic table that we have on the back deck. The kids had a blast!

It's times like this that make me really love, and appreciate Alaska for what it is.

You will witness my small act of defiance when Phillip tells me something...

(When I finally got back inside the house that night, my thighs were red and felt like leather...shoulda worn snow pants...just another example of how the cold can get to you without you even realizing it.)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Shorts to String You Along...Episode 1

You've got to watch until the end, where Sarah gets frustrated and yells "Ah, Come ON!".

(the video was taken at my Dad's house just after New Year's Day, and "He touched the butt!" is referring to a scene in Finding Nemo)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A quote for today...

"A goal without a plan is just a wish."
- Antoine De Saint-Exupery

Happy New Year, Everyone!

We came in late last night from a very nice, and very busy trip home to Louisiana. It was a great way to start our new year.

I hope that this year brings positive changes, safety, health, and happiness to all of you!

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