Our middle son got his yellow stripe tonight in Kuk Sool Won tonight. He started at the beginning of the deployment with an Operation Military Kids grant. It has been great for his confidence this past year!
Some of you know, I have been working on my book. Here is the 2nd chapter. If you missed the first, you can find it here.
as we returned home, we immediately started with wedding plans. We called the
church, looked for reception sites, and set a date. We made our appointment
with the priest at the church that I grew up in. I always dreamed of a great
big wedding in my church, and walking down the long isle with my dress flowing
behind me. We met with my priest and immediately started our pre-marriage
counseling. We also took our compatibility test. The priest said that he had
never seen a couple so compatible! Everything was moving right along. Then, one
day during his leave we got a phone call that the priest just had “a feeling”
and couldn’t marry us. I was devastated. There was no way I was going to not
marry my Marine. If it meant leaving the church, getting married at the
courthouse, or calling the Pope… I was getting married! Well, we didn’t go as
far as calling the Pope, but the Bishop’s office was called and a meeting with
the Pastor was also called. After a fight, we were given permission to get married
in July in my church. The wedding
planning continued the rest of his leave. The leave went so fast, and I
couldn’t imagine saying good bye once again. But, the day had come and I
remember walking him to the airplane gate. (Yes, before 9/11 you could walk
your Marine to the gate.) I remember holding him so tight and not wanting to
let him go, but I knew that I had to continue to work on school and get our
July wedding plans finalized.
myself into every little detail. Everything was falling into place. We had
deposits down, invitations picked out, my dress had been ordered, the
bridesmaids dresses were picked out, we were moving right along. AJ was moving
right along in his Marine Corps career. He finished his training at the School
of Infantry at Camp Pendelton, CA. A week before graduation, we got some good
and bad news. AJ was getting stationed with Alpha ¼ at Camp Horno Camp
Pendelton. I was moving to California in July! The bad news was he was going to
an infantry unit that was on an 18 month deployment cycle. Six months were
spent on a deployment, Six months at home, and Six months training for the next
deployment. Well, the six months of training, which often meant time at sea or
the field, was in July. I was crushed. I was marrying my Marine in July and we
were going to live happily ever after in California. He was now not able to be
home for our wedding, and he was leaving me in California for 6 months after I
got there. As part of getting married in the Catholic church, you have to attend
premarital classes. My mom had attended Catholic Sexuality with me, but AJ was
flying home to attend the Marriage Encounter day with me the first week of
April. We had already bought his ticket to fly the red eye on Friday night and
spend two weekends at home. So, my first lesson in being semper gumby (always
flexible) began. We attended marriage counseling the first weekend, and pleaded
with our priest to squeeze us in the weekend after. That is exactly what we
did. The phone calls began. Some things couldn’t just be moved up. We had to
pick a new reception hall, picked up bridesmaid dresses off the rack at
JcPenny’s, and have everyone RSVP via phone. It was amazing that the plans went
so much smoother in those two weeks that we had to move everything up, then it
did the 6 months we had spent planning.
We had a beautiful 70 degree
weekend when AJ arrived. Our wedding was going to be on a sunny, beautiful,
warm day. When you live in Illinois, you can experience all four seasons in one
day. Well, that is just what happened. Suddenly the sunny 70 degrees in April,
turned to cool rain, and the biggest
snow storm Central Illinois had ever seen in April. The wildlife park we had
planned to have our reception in closed down. Roads were closed and covered
with snow drifts. The airport was shut down and flights were not coming in or
going out. Panic set in. Once again we were faced with having to be “semper
gumby”. I was getting really good at being “flexible”. If we had to ride in on
snow mobiles, we were going to get married and the reception hall was going to
be decorated! Luckily with all the weather craziness, no guests were stranded
and all worked out. We were married on a rainy cool day, April 12, 1997.
The day was absolutely
perfect. My handsome Marine was waiting for me in his dress blues. My Dad
walked me down the aisle, as I sobbed all the way down. All the emotions from
the past year had come to the surface, and I was finally marrying the man I
loved with all my heart. I honestly felt like there was no one else there in
those moments then us and God. It was everything I ever dreamed of. We partied
the night away, as the animals at the wildlife park watched us through the
window. We opened all of our wedding fits at the ceremony, because AJ was
leaving the next day to head back to his unit. We spent the night together in a
honeymoon sweet, and then it was off the airport in the early morning. I was
married, but I still wasn’t with my Marine. AJ headed back to California, and I
headed back to school. We had to spend another 5 weeks apart until we could
finally be together as husband and wife.
beyond nervous about AJ finding us an apartment. The base housing waiting list
was miles long, and AJ wanted to live off of base so that he could get away
from the Marine Corps when he was off work. He convinced me he had found us a
great apartment, that was close to shopping, had a walk-in closet, and a pool.
How could it not be perfect? On May 20, 1997,a few days after the semester
ended, my Dad and I packed up all the wedding gifts, the couch I bought off a
show room floor, the table I got from Sam’s Club, and my car and we were off to
California. I couldn’t wait but, didn’t realize how hard it would be to leave
my best friends, my Mom, and my younger sisters. The good byes were still
happening, just in a different way.
I have been missing my husband the past few days a bit more then usual. I think a lot of it stems from a needy 15 month old, who won't let me out of his sight. It does become exhausting. I am ready for someone else to be his favorite and more then a minute to skip off to the bathroom. I am seeing the light at the end, but now it isn't moving fast enough. Praying for patience this week.
My midterm was sent off... huge relief. Now I have another paper to start, and a week of homework to get caught up on as I put it all of working on the paper. My reward is the Dirty Girl this weekend in Chicago with my Marine gals and an IKEA and Cheesecake Factory treat. Ready set...
We were able to enjoy some pool time with another Marine family this past weekend. It was nice to let the boys swim and play and to have a few drinks and catch some rays. Marine kids are like Marine wives. They just instantly click. I have to admit that although this year has not been ideal, I am thankful for the women God put into my life to get through this year.
After church we went to Walmart and guess what we saw? The Wienermobile? A bucket list type thing! I of course had to rush over and snap some photos!
I have been praying this deployment that with the us changing churches and working on our faith, that God would touch AJ and make him excited about his faith as well. Faith has not been a strong point of our relationship, and I really wanted to be a couple that prays together. I got an E-mail form AJ's Co's wife the other day, about how he really has been a blessing for her husband. She said that AJ had been sharing his devotional I sent him. I thought maybe he "gave it away". But, when I asked him about his devotional, he said " I have been sharing it every morning at our morning meeting". I think I completely fell in love with him all over again at that moment. The look of pride on his face via Skype was priceless. I am so happy that God is also working in his life now. I can't wait to have our faith grown in our family.
There is never a dull moment at our house. Today, I was finishing my midterm and my puppy was laying next to me. All of a sudden she starts acting like she was going throw up. I pushed her off onto the tile. I heard a loud bang hit the tile. I couldn't figure out what in the heck she just threw up. I then realized it was a rock. Not a small rock, but a half dollar sized rock!
On to craziness number two.... We had just gotten bath done and were trying to unwind for the night. G kept walking into the dining room where we keep the dog dishes. I had just fed them and he was fascinated with what they were doing. He came riding on his little car with a mouthful of food. I quickly realized it wasn't his goldfish, but a mouth full of dog food. I did have that moment where I wanted to take a picture, but instead I fished the pieces out of his mouth and screamed. Oh what a day!!!!!!
After much looking and debating, I think that AJ and I are ready to book our Mexico trip. We loved Cancun. Loved the ocean, the sun, and relaxation. We also wanted to stay small. Our first trip, 5 years ago we stayed at the Sun Palace in Cancun! I have no negatives about the resort. It was exactly what we wanted. Adults only and relaxation. Because we don't get vacations by ourselves much, I hated to go back to the same place. I read and read trip advisor after I find a place I like. I probably read to much into it. I think it makes me dizzy sometimes. We have found a place in Tulum about 45 miles from the airport that will allow us to experience the jungle, ruins, and have a private beach. I can not wait !
This photo of Catalonia Royal Tulum is courtesy of TripAdvisor
This week has gotten away from me. I'm in the middle of my midterm paper. 3 out of 4 of us are sick. But, there is no time to be sick. Keeg is at a basketball camp this week and this mom doesn't have back up. I did have someone bring is dinner tonight and I hired a cleaning lady yesterday. I felt a little bit like a princess working on homework and having three people run around and scrub. Totally worth the money and I have them set up mid month from now on. I did get to talk to AJ on Skype. He called when I was getting my haircut and dried. I opted for leaving with wet hair and covered in hair to talk to him. He hasn't seen G walk yet, so I held the phone up so he could see him. What a nice treat for him! If everything goes as planned I am starting to see the end in site. Everything is on code when we talk , so not sure if I've figured it out 100% but think I have I pretty good idea when he should return . Never realize how much you appreciate asking questions and getting a solid answer until they go overseas. ;)
I had the best weekend that I have have had in a long time. I laughed so hard I cried at dinner and I made some new friends. Michelle is an Angel and she was so sweet. We talked a lot about getting my book together and the publishing process. I am so excited to make this a reality someday.She is only speaking at 3 events this year because her husband is also deployed. We were her 2nd of 3 for the year!
I certainly was motivated to continue being a victor and not a victim in this deployment! If you watch the videos above, I would love to hear your thoughts. I am off to tackle me to do list which includes homework, writing time (Michelle I put it into my schedule), and cleaning. I hired a cleaning lady that will start next week! Yeah! I didn't get to church today as I had two boys with stomach aches. Not sure if it was the father's day blues or really not feeling well. We all did pretty well. We got to have a nice afternoon with my Dad. Graycen is in bed early and I am going to take full advantage of my time tonight!
It is seriously like Christmas morning here today! Michelle Cuthrell, author of Behind the Blue Star Banner arrived last night and I had a fabulous time with her and my deployment husband, Kim. We laughed and laughed. I don't think I have had that good of a time in a long time. Michelle is also editor in chief of Good Book Publishing, and gave me lots of good tips and encouragement about writing my book. ( She also reads my blog!) I am determined to making this a reality after visiting with her!
It has been 2 days since I have had communication with AJ. I have to say, I am glad I am busy. I absolutely hate it. I found myself almost getting mad and not wanting to E-mail him. I guess I felt he wasn't going to read it for days anyway. I need to snap out of that. I know he will be waiting for those E-mails when he returns and would love an update of Mr. G and his walking. So.. goal for today is to snap out of it and write a few E-mails.
I have another dear Marine Wife staying with me today. I am super excited . I told her to please ignore my house. I did interview a cleaning lady last week. She gave me a good price for once a month, but had to "fit me" in if she could take me. Hmm... I know my house needs some cleaning... but I know it isn't that bad. * Sigh* So, I honestly anxiously wait. I had a friend refer me to a cleaning company that had offered to do some cleaning for free. I honestly think he was putting on a front. He couldnt' remember where my husband was, and always seemed so crazy busy when I called him. He never returned my last call. So... it is on to plan B. We will see.
Midterm week is this week. I can't believe it. I have a test this week, and my other class doesn't have a paper due for another few weeks. I can't believe the semester is half over! We finally got the post 9/11 Gi Bill transfer approved. They did say the would back date it. So, I should get to apply it to what I have already paid. It does pay to be persistent. $17,000 an academic year for 3 years, a housing allowance, and $1000 for books. Sold!
Well, it is time to get out of mommy clothes and get ready for my girls day. The boys are with my Mom tonight so I don't have to rush to get them. I can't wait to share about my day tomorrow!
I had an absolute fabulous day with some wonderful women. First, my sitter and friend told me of a plan to bring dinners to us once a week. ( Love it!) Maybe I will make my mom happy by not feeding my kids hot dogs three times a week. :)
Aj is on the move for the next week. I absolutely hate it. I got the email while at the zoo with two of my friends. I tried not to cry, but it all became to much. I hate knowing he is in harms way. I know all I can do is pray for his safety, but I hate not having some control. I will literally be holding my breath this week. I have been searching for a prayer today. This one from Psalm 25 stuck out to me.
15 I look to the Lord for help at all times,
and he rescues me from danger.
16 Turn to me, Lord, and be merciful to me,
because I am lonely and weak.
17 Relieve me of my worries
and save me from all my troubles.
This week has completely gotten away from me. I can't honestly tell you what day of the week it is. Brady has been at Bible School and Keegan has been everywhere. He turned 13 this week. Crazy to think he is a teenager and all that will come in the next few years. G started walking today! Finally! We were at the doctors office getting his ears checked and I guess he decided it was time. He was showing off for all the people in the waiting room and then walked around the house. He looks like ET when he walks. I had a sad moment realizing he is a big boy now. No more little baby. We are all just plugging away, and rumor is the light isn't to far away from the end of this long year. It does make me happy to think that in a few months this could all behind us. It seems a little unreal, because deployments never get cut short. So, I will believe it when I see it. Other then that, school is going great. I got an A on my first paper and a B on my second. I was a bit hard on myself with the B after starting with an A, but I convinced myself it was still good. I am hitting bed a bit early tonight. Not getting enough sleep for sure.
Have you ever had one of those moments that God is speaking directly to you at church ? Today I had one of those moments. I have been just plain tired. Tired of this deployment, tired of taking care of everyone, and just tired of doing everything on my own. Today I was reminded that I need to be the light for all those people. God gave me the light and I can not cover it. This song touched me.
I've been holding on
I've been holding on
All that is inside me
Screams to come back home
If you feel lost
If you feel lost
If you feel tired
If you feel tired
If you feel lost and tired
This is your song
I've been broken down
I've been broken down
I ain't giving up
Love will come back around
Shine Your light
Shine it down on us
Let Your rescue come for us
We long to love
Shine Your light
Shine it down on us
Let Your rescue come for us now
And if you feel lost, sing along
And if you feel tired, sing along
Oh my God
Shine Your light on us
That we might live
We are starting to see the light at the end of the deployment tunnel and I thought I would revisit my Visualization Board. I have just loved seeing things on my board, come to a reality! First, I had just applied to USC Masters in Social Work Program, and a few weeks later I got my acceptance letter and am half way through my semester! I didn't however get the Pat Tillman Scholarship I had hoped for, but I should have the Post 9/11 GI Bill transferred this month. My blog has just exploded and I have been on a few other military wives pages. My daily hits have sky rocketed and I have had a handful of sponsors and products to review or given to me. I would still like to see this grow. I started looking back at my book that I had started. I still have plans to work on that! As for exercise and diet, I have not been consistent. I have started running and I lift weights occasionally. I am doing a mud run with my marine wife friends in a few weeks. My kids seem to be happy and healthy. I have seen them all grow up so much during this deployment. I am working on getting our Mexico vacation planned and am working on the saving money and paying of debts plan. (I have to stop having tires explode on me first! ) The biggest growth has been with my faith. I made a huge jump to go to a totally different church. I have never felt so excited about my faith and love that my kids are also excited! I can't wait to share this with AJ!
My friend Shannon and I headed to Indiana last night and stayed in a hotel. We got in pretty late so the highlight of our night was a quick trip to Meijers and Skinny Girl Piña Colada(fab!). I slept awesome and was still up on G time. G is working on some more teeth ( the kid has 11) and was up a couple of times. Ugh!
Keeg had a blast. He said he didn't miss me, but I know he did. The first words out of my soon to be 13 year old's mouth was, " all the girls hit on me". He only showered 2 times but assured me he used deodorant and brushed his teeth most of the time. He was not impressed with MREs and was a leader the whole week. ( As if I expected anything else). ;)
We made it safely to my friends driveway when we heard a pop. Yep, AJ's car now had a flat! Both cars in 2 weeks. Luckily her husband is a fireman and was in the area. We finally got the refi done. Not before they got a big piece of my mind. It caused so much unnecessary stress if they would have had an ounce of client care. I was able to take my interest rate down a percentage, two months no payments (hello Mexico savings), and had no fees. So, I know it was worth my energy. Did I mention the 100.00 they gave me too? Oh well.. I'll take it! I did get my first grad school paper back and I got a fat A! I was so nervous! Just the reassurance I needed to keep on moving!
10 minutes into the ride!
Relaxing at home!
I found this on the fridge. I thought it was sweet!
Today was the first day of this whole year that I royally felt as if I was going to come unglued. We have been working on refinancing our house. It was suppose to be a 3 week process, turning into a 7 week one. I sat for 3 hours today, trying to help get it closed. First my power of attorney wasn't good enough (Um.. made by USMC JAG lawyer), then I needed a letter stating that my husband was still alive and/ or not captured. Excuse me, I would still have to live there??? I felt bad for my sitter having my kids so long and hated being gone all day. If anything this was confirmation that I do not need to be working outside of the house. I hated rushing home to get dinner and do a bath. Mr. G was asleep a few hours after. I felt like I didn't see him at all today.
After today, I have to go to the doctor then go try again. I requested to have my Mirena implant taken out. I opted to have it because I had trouble with bleeding after Graycen was born, not for birth control option. This has made it so much worse. I have been bleeding heavily for 7 weeks. ( I know too much info.) I was dreaming of 5 years of nothing. Well guess I am an exception. I demanded it be taken out. I don't know what the next step is as I can't be on any other hormonal option. My mom had similar problems and I seriously just wish that they would start talking about removing the problem. But, I know I am not yet 35 and it is probably not a good idea.
I was planning on having family over for Keeg's birthday this weekend. Then opted to cancel. Who am I kidding. I can't get the house spotless, yard done, shopping done, and us all where we need to go this weekend. So, we are going to do dinner somewhere next week and we will do something fun on his birthday. I know I didn't please a lot of people, but I am doing the best I can do right now.
I had to make a very difficult decision this week. I was offered a part time job last week, and was so excited about it. That was until I started trying to figure out the logistics of it all with the kids and school. I decided to pray about it and talk with AJ. When I wasn't sleeping at night and waking up panicky, I knew it wasn't right. It was hard, but I decided to not take the job. I need to focus on being a mom, a wife, and a grad student. I really got sad thinking I was going to have to give up the summer with the boys this year. They are at such fun ages and I didn't want to give that up. I can't say what a relief it was once I hit the send button to turn down the job. So, I know it is the right choice. I feel so honored that they came to me and know other doors will open when the time is right. AJ and I have our sitters lined up for a November Mexico trip. I have been making myself dizzy trying to figure out where we want to go. We loved the Sun Palace Cancun, 5 years ago. But, I really want to try somewhere else. Mexico is so cheap right now! We really want a relaxing place, adults only, all inclusive, and beach views. It is nice to have that reward to look forward to. Now to save the money! I hope everyone is having a good week. Still no word from Keeg. I am sure he is having a blast! I didn't realize I would miss him so much! It honestly has been kind of nice to not have all of his running this week. =)
I got Keeg off to camp. I think I am just finding myself wondering if he is eating ok, sleeping ok, and wearing sunscreen. They didn't let them keep their electronics, but at the last minute he asked to throw his cell in his bag. For emergencies he said. I couldn't debate that. Thought maybe he'd sneak a text to me, but taking it as a good sign I haven't. Brayden had the hardest time letting him go, and kept watching me to see if I'd cry. I never did ;). I enjoyed some fun times with the little boys today.
I have added a new blog to my favorite blog list. This blog is a true inspiration. It is called Dead Man Skipping and written by Elizabeth, a terminally ill young mother. I first "met" her through our pastors sermon last week. She has the most beautiful outlook on life and her relationship with God. If you get a chance, bookmark her and visit her often. She is just a beautiful person!
What a week! I was reminded that I am not in control of this life and that the Lord is in the driver seat. I can't give many details now, but I literally had something fall into my lap. I will be able to chat more about it in a few weeks. Just say a prayer that I make the right choice for my family.
On a side note, I have had some good conversations with AJ this week. His Marines continue to be out and about and he is able to chat with me before he goes to bed. We were talking yesterday how fast our 13 year old has grown up. I am taking him to a military kids camp today. I remember the day I was wishing he would just grow up a bit and get out of the toddler stage. Now.. I wish I could have stopped time. I never really understood what people ment about kids growing so fast. They really do. I felt bad because AJ told me that he really dreads not being around for much of his life. *Tear* I can't imagine how he can be away from us. I am hoping I hold it together when I pull away today.
The kids and I went out to dinner last night and to church. Our middle child, is literally "something else". I will call these the Bradyisms for the day. I told him we were going to church yesterday because I had to get out on the road to take Keegan today. He replied, "Will there be donuts there. If not I don't want to go.". Um.. then I had to explain to him that we don't go to church for the donuts. =) I guess the cookies that were there were a good substitute. The one thing I have enjoyed so much from this new church as that he is excited to tell me what he has done. He told me they played Bingo and talked about trusting in the Lord. He also told me he prayed for Dad. =) When we were out to dinner I let him tell the waitress what he wanted. He chose shell noodles, meat sauce, shrimp, and garlic potatoes. I did have to put my foot down on the garlic potatoes, as I wanted him to have some type of vegetable. It sure looked yummy all mixed together.
I will leave you with a song that touched me last night.