Sunday, August 14, 2011

Busy, Not so busy-hurt, surgery, then Busy Again

I am admittedly a busy-body. This nature has served me well most of the time because I tend to get a lot done. But this year it earned me a herniated L5 disk in my low back. I did this while unpacking our house and because I don't know when enough is enough and when to rest. After months of doctor appts, countless phone calls to my doctor, 2 pain injections, a good deal of pain pills, I found a surgeon that took me seriously and I had surgery to fix it in mid-July. It was 2 months of the worst pain I've ever been in! I'm just so thankful that its over and I'm on the mend now. I started physical therapy last week and I'm starting to exercise again. So I'm just trying to get back in life and enjoy what is left of the summer. Oh, in March my husband made the rank of Major, very proud of him. While I was barely able to walk with my herniated disk I enjoyed a visit from my mother while my hubby was TDY for a week, she helped a great deal since I couldn't drive at the time. I'm looking forward to more family coming to visit soon. In Sept I'm really looking forward to a trip to Oklahoma then to Florida to visit our old home, family and friends. This is a picture of my girls enjoying sprinkler fun.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Well it’s been a really long time since I updated this blog. Not like anyone really reads this, so no tears have been shed during the hiatus. Well since October we have PCS’d – this is Military lingo for “moved because we were assigned to a new base.” We moved from Panama City, Florida to Albuquerque, New Mexico which was a big change for us. My husband accepted a job with the Air Force inspection agency which he seems to be much happier in opposed to work in a medical clinic. I really hated leaving Florida because I made such great friends in FL due to my MOPS ( group and I made a few really close friends that if I think too much about how badly I miss them I will start crying.
We moved into our house here in New Mexico in late March and the house is pretty well unpacked but we still have half of our garage filled with boxes and the last few weeks I have really lost motivation to finish unpacking. The house is livable and uncluttered and unpacking more will only bring clutter. In the back of my mind I am also running a little experiment…if I can live without needing to dig into those boxes for 6 months I don’t need them and I can throw stuff away. Of course that does not include the numerous boxes of my therapy materials which I have been collecting over the years. I can’t seem to bring myself to go through them until I go back to work.
Anyway moving sucked, unpacking sucked even more; I injured my back pretty bad. I was messed up for about 3 weeks but I am on the mend now. I started potty training Lillian about 2.5 weeks ago, got a West Highland Terrier puppy about 10 days ago, so I’ve been pretty busy. A sure way to put yourself in a constant state of stress=potty training a 2 year old and housebreaking a puppy at the same time!!!
Last Friday my wonderful, talented, humble husband pinned on the rank of Major! I am very proud of him, not just for making Major but for all the outstanding achievements that accumulated to him getting a DP-more military lingo for “definitely promote to Major.” His wing commander named him #1 of all the field grade officers in his wing, which is also a big deal in the Air Force. As an added bonus my husband’s step-mom surprised him and flew in from Minnesota to give him his deceased father’s Major pins for him to pin on and to visit for a few days. The ceremony was bitter-sweet, his father pinned on his first rank in the Air Force and we always pictured him being here to pin on his Major leafs as well. We believe he looked down on us from heaven and was smiling ear to ear that day.
Things are starting to calm down in my day-to-day life. Lillian is getting the hang of potty training and the puppy is now asking to go outside to potty instead of going wherever she likes. Yesterday, I finally joined a gym here and started back on a diet. I have been adding some poundage the last several months due to stress-eating (who could blame me?) but now that we’re starting to get into a routine and get settled, no more excuses.
I have been kicking around returning to work in the therapy field on a part-time basis. Some days, like the days when the girls are acting like wild animals and the puppy has been having more accidents on the carpet, I am determined to get my licensure paperwork mailed in that day and start pouring through the help wanted ads. Other days, like today, nice weather, the girls are being sweet angels and the puppy is walking past my shoes instead of sinking her teeth in, I think “nope I’m staying home with the girls as long as I can!” There’s also my new MOPS group, I have volunteered to be on the steering team and I’m not quite sure how to juggle a part-time job, motherhood, and MOPS steering team member, so that also keeps me from jumping into the world of work again. I know I am blessed to have a choice in the matter and I try to thank God for that daily.
Well that’s all the ramblings for now. I really need to try and blog more often then the entries won’t be so lengthy. TTFN

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fall has finally hit Florida Panhandle

Tonight for the first time is got cold enough (57 degrees) that I had to turn the heater on in the car on the way home from a MOPS social. So (with fingers crossed) I think I can finally say fall has arrived. Another way my family knows its fall is when I make Pumpkin Pecan Gooey Cake. I made it this afternoon to bring to the MOPS social I went to tonight. One of the best parts of having this decadent desert (besides the obvious~eating it) is how wonderful the house smells when it is baking. I think it actually made the girls a little more giddy than usual, I know it did my husband because this is his favorite desert next to cheesecake. Poor guy had to wait not just till it was done baking but until after I brought the left overs home. This is best served with warm with cool whip/whip cream or some vanilla ice cream. This is not my recipe and frankly I don't remember where I got it from but I thought I'd share it with you. Its not low-cal or low-fat but let's get real, how many really yummy things are???

Pumpkin Pecan Gooey Cake

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees
1 box yellow cake mix- reserve 1 cup from the mix for the topping
1 stick melted butter
1 beaten egg
Mix ingredients for crust and press into 9x13 pan and put aside
1 can Pumpkin
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
3 beaten eggs
1 cup sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
Mix filling and pour over top of crust
1 cup cake mix that was reserved
1 ½ cup chopped pecan
1 ½ stick melted butter
Mix cake mix and pecan until pecans are coated then mix in melted butter
Spoon topping over the filling
Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

I thought to make this entry more festive by throwing in our family fall festival pic. Happy Fall!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

6 Month Deployment Almost Over!

I haven't updated this blog in almost 6 months, guess I've been a little bit busy. This has been a very challenging 6 months. Being apart from your spouse is difficult enough even when life is smooth and uneventful but of course it wasn't all smooth. But it has all turned out well and my husband returns in 5 days, on his birthday!!! We are super excited and can't hardly wait. About a month ago my husband was informed that he has been selected for a job in New Mexico, so we will be moving at the end of January. This job is a blessing because this type of job is highly sought after in the Air Force due to the recognition and people he will be working with and also because this is a non-deployable position that lasts at least 3 yrs, sometimes 4. So we are happy we get to keep him around for a while.

As for my challenges~My 19 month-old daughter has been in therapy for several months now due to a delay in wanting to eat regular food, she prefers baby food. At first I thought maybe this was a sensory integration problem or some problem with her gag reflex since she tended to gag at anything solid. But after working with a speech, occupational and physical therapist for months now we have realized nothing is per say "wrong" with her, this is just a choice she is making. She is very strong willed for a child her age. About 3 weeks ago she began eating normal solid foods, showing interest in the food my 3 yr old daughter and I were eating and even stealing her sister's food. But this past week she has reverted again for some unknown reason. There has been no change in our routine yet she has gone back to crying anytime I offer her normal food and is requesting and crying for baby food. I have done everything I know to break this habit, getting her prayed for and even sometimes refusing to feed her the baby food even though I was advised not to withhold the baby food from her. With my husband returning in 5 days, I'm hoping things will once again improve once we get back to normal family life.
It is obvious she misses daddy since anytime we are at church she prefers the company of men that she knows are safe. She will go to these nice men in our church and then will refuse to let go of them, I have to almost pry her off of them all the while she is screaming. We just pray that this obsession with wanting male attention is satisfied once daddy is home.

So my husband returns in 5 days and we are busy preparing for his homecoming. My oldest daughter has had a jar of "daddy kisses" (Hersey's kisses) that started with 179 kisses in the jar. Since there was about 20 or so remaining she has been taking them all out every night, sitting them on the floor and counting them one by one, eating one (for that day) and putting them all back in. Today since there's only 5 days left I am going to replace the regular kisses with dark chocolate ones which have a purple wrapper, so she knows this is special because we only have 5 days left!

Meanwhile as I sit here and write this, in the back of my mind runs my "To Do" list which seems to be a mile long list of things that I have made up that I would like to get done in the next 5 days. About 90% of this list my husband will probably never notice or even care if these things were done or not done because I know all he wants is to be home with us. These crazy things I make up in my mind that have to be just so,...ARRRR.... I think I am writing this now to try to put all of this list back into proper perspective and to let God tell me what's really important because at this juncture I don't know how its humanly possible for me to get them all done without stressing myself out. Today's message at church this morning was about stress and letting go of it. So I'm trying to let go of all the unnecessary "shoulds" I put on myself as a wife and mother and focus on what's really important and let God take care of everything else.
I had a few goals that I wanted to achieve that I did not accomplish during this deployment (this is more of that shoulding on myself, as us therapists like to say). I have realized these goals were unnecessary and evidence that even a well-educated, self-assured woman such as myself is still susceptible to being brainwashed by society's lookism. For instance~wanting to lose all of my baby weight while my hubby was deployed since I stopped nursing right after he left and I could diet again. I did lose about half the weight but now I'm kinda stuck. I have come to realize the things I DID accomplish are what really matters.

During this deployment I hit more than a few low points in which I really allowed stress and worry to run over me like a mac truck and then back over me a few times. Thankful I ran to God and he healed me and took all of this from me. This caused me to grow more in my relationship with God and to understand his true nature better, this is one major thing I did accomplish. I truly learned that he is my source, I had never fully embraced that before now because I was not forced to. But God can use hurtful, depressing, lonely times to show you who he really is and show you that you can truly count on him. In other words, when my back was against the wall and I could do nothing else for myself, once again he showed up in BIG way. God sent others to minister to me and his spirit ministered to me by healing me of several health problems I was having. Accomplishment #2-my faith was stretched and as a result I and my family were blessed. I can count 4 chronic pains or physical problems that I have been experiencing for some time that I have been healed of in the past 3 months!!! Three of these problems I was on medication for, one I had unsuccessful surgery on, one had a doctor so confounded he didn't know what else to do, and the other two kept me up nights in pain. I have been healed of all of them thanks God of course ministering through members of my church that laid hands on me. I am on only one medication now to keep down inflammation and I think that within a month or so I will be able to stop taking that as well, this is more of a preventative measure. I do believe God can and does work through doctors so this one last medication I'm letting run its course to make sure I don't re injure myself since I am aggressively exercising 4-5 times a week. But just to tell you of my progress, 4 months ago I didn't know if I could continue to exercise and was even advised to totally stop exercising until I was back to 100% pain-free for months. But I didn't accept that because exercising has also been a coping mechanism for me and I knew dieting alone would not help me lose this baby weight. So I took this to God and he took care of my pains for me and I have been able to continue my exercise routine. To give you an idea of additional challenges I had and how I coped see my next entry.

Coping Tips for SAHM/Military Wives During Deployments

I was given a suggestion by a friend who knew a little of what I've been through that maybe I should write down some tips for other Stay-At-Home-Moms (SAHM)/Military Wives facing a deployment. Here are some things that I found helpful on a day-to-day basis that may or may not work for others...but for what its worth this got me through.
#1-God!!! Daily devotional times and prayer.~I usually did this right before going to sleep because my two little ones get up very early and I'm not good at getting up early and or going to bed early. But I so looked forward to reading my devotional "Faith Deployed" by Jocelyn Green that I always made time for it at the end of my day.
#2-Getting to church every chance I could get.~Our church has a fabulous nursery with wonderful people that volunteer their time there (including myself once a month) so not only did this give me a little space and time to just be with God and learn more about God but this gave me a break from my mommy responsibilities and gave my girls a break from me as well. This also gave them opportunity to learn about God's love and socialize with children their age.
#3-Belong to a health club with childcare and go regularly (several times a week).~ The health club I belong to also has great childcare. Again this gave my children a break from me and gave them socialization time in a safe environment. For me, this was time to maintain my health, relieve stress and even get in shower that I knew would not be interrupted by a short little female crying for something. I either took a group class or would strap on my ipod, crank the tunes, get on a machine and move until I was dripping with sweat and feeling more relaxed by the release. If you can't afford to join a health club like this then see if you can't trade off babysitting time with another mother regularly so you can get some uninterrupted exercise time, its so worth it!
#4-Did my ministry (or what others may call volunteer work). ~I am on the steering team of a local MOPS group ( If you're a SAHM of a preschooler and don't know what MOPS is, check this out and find a local group!!! This is an extremely giving wonderful, supportive group of ladies that all love the Lord and have become some of my best friends in this part of the country. I have belonged to this group for 2 yrs and this 3rd year I decided to volunteer by serving on the steering team (the team that helps organize the meetings). There a good deal of work involved in being on the steering team but its extremely rewarding work. So find something that is either your "ministry" or a volunteer position so you can do something for someone else. Selfless giving can really yank you out of a self-centered funk which is easy to fall into when you're missing your hubby and feeling overwhelmed by the sudden responsibilities of single parenting.
#5-When having a really bad day, emailing or talking with my support group. ~First person I usually tried to contact was my husband/best friend and luckily with this deployment he had almost constant access to the Internet so I could at least communicate with him in some way on a daily basis. I felt very blessed to have such access to my husband during this deployment, many wives do not. If I needed immediate support I then called my close friends or my mother. I did attempt to not wear their ears down too much so on particularly rough days when I really wanted to stay on the phone talking instead of taking care of my responsibilities, I went to God. I hope he is your #1 support, if not I hope you seek him, he can't be equalled!!!
#6-Early Bedtimes for my children. ~Some days when my daughters were fussy and we were just not getting along too well, they both went to bed by 7:30pm. Now my 19 month old's bedtime is usually 7pm and my 3yr old's bedtime is 8 or 8:30 but some days they were both just too fussy and non-compliant so they both went to bed about the same time because we were all DONE for the day! Early bedtimes were better than all of us crying which some days, did occur for a minute or two.
#7-Spent an hour or so each night just goofing off, trying to "decompress" from the day.~ Sometimes this consisted of me talking on the phone to my family or friends, playing Internet games, sewing, watching a movie/TV, or socializing on facebook. This was pure "me time" in which I was totally wasting time while my girls slept but also a time when I didn't think about all my responsibilities and I just entertained myself.
#8-Spent time in a playgroup or MOPS group at least once a week.~I belong to a local playgroup and I tired to get to a "meetup," or MOPS meeting or just an impromptu socialization time with other mommy friends and their kiddos at least once a week. This gave me and my girls time to socialize, have fun and break the isolation that can be felt during a deployment.
#9-Learned to prioritize on chores and meals.~Since both my girls eat very little most days I did not cook like I did when my husband was home. I made a lot of quick small meals, this gave me more time to take care of my children's needs and get my other chores done. I also did not stress on getting certain chores done (like getting the laundry immediately put away) because I knew eventually they would all get done. As I type this there are two baskets of laundry sitting in bedrooms, one that needs to go in the washer and one that need to go into the dryer, it'll all get done at some point in the next few days. =)
#10-Sought help when I needed it, instead of allowing myself to get overwhelmed. ~I mentioned my youngest daughter's delay in the area of eating earlier; after doing everything I knew to do, hours of research on the topic and getting no where I got her into therapy to get some additional assistance. On days rough days when I really needed time alone away from the house I got a sitter or asked a friend to watch the girls for me. Before my girls or myself got too sick I got medical assistance and of course sought healing from God. Basically when there something I or my girls needed I attempted to get the need met as soon as possible instead of delaying until it was a crisis (speaking to some of those procrastinators out there =}).
#11-Knowing when enough is enough.~Some women have a hard time saying "no" to someone in need, but when it comes at the price of appropriately taking care of my family, important responsibilities or my own sanity then I don't have a problem saying "NO, I can't do that right now." Yes, I volunteer my time but I also know there has to be a balance, I can not do all and be all to someone else if I have over worked myself to the point of sickness or exhaustion, so I don't do it. Know your limits, don't beat yourself up for not being able to get it all done and don't compare yourself to some other "super moms" because she's not really a super mom/wife, she's just good at putting on a front. I grantee you there's something that she feels challenged on as well and something that she has probably forgotten to do that week just like all of us.
#12-Forgiving yourself and others. ~When you do forget that thing you were supposed to do today, let it go, do what you can and move on to something else. When you have really messed up and said or did something to someone else, do what you can to apologize/make up for your mistake and move on. When someone says or does something hurtful to you, realize you've hurt someone in the past as well and no one's perfect. That doesn't justify what they may have done to you but holding onto hurts will only hold you back from the positive things God has in store for you. God commands up to forgive, its not an option, so not only must you forgive yourself for something you messed up on but you must forgive others as well. It doesn't mean you must let a harmful person back into your life to hurt you again but you need to let go of that hurt and give them to God and let him work on them. You can not change anyone but yourself. There has been more than a few occasions during the past 6 months where I felt hurt by someone that I loved (luckily not my husband) and sometimes even after I made attempts to resolve the issue there was still discord. I had to just forgive them, myself for my part in the discord and give the situation over to God. God has worked out most of the discord that has occurred these past 6 months and the few remaining, I have faith that he will work them out, its just a matter of time. Love them from a distance if you can't be or shouldn't be close to them and ask God to take it and work through it on your behalf. This is something I have learned from seeking God on these situations, seeking guidance from Godly people and the last few weeks this was solidified in my heart and the words to express this were given to me by our pastor who spoke about this last week.
#13-Lastly, but certainly not least, Maintained a positive connection with my husband every chance I got. ~When my husband did a year-long remote assignment to Korea we had more than a few disagreements but we were also new parents, and new to the experience of being apart. We learned from our mistakes. Unlike last time, I didn't cut off communication with him even for a day, when I got annoyed with him. I didn't blame him or expect him to do something that he couldn't reasonably do during his deployment. My husband tends to be an over-achiever at times, just like myself, this sometimes results in me thinking he could do all and be all I needed him to be, which was total unrealistic thinking induced by stress. I would get stressed out by something then I would want him to do or say something to make it all better (because at home many times he could) and many times during this and past times of separation he was just not physically able to do that for me even if he desired to. I found that even if he didn't act like he cared, he did, but in an email it can be hard to express that and sometimes hard for me to hear it come through, same thing applies to a web cam or phone conversation, especially when he is tired from his duties and just wanted to be home. I think this took work on both of our parts, we both consciously decided and said to one another "this will not weaken our marriage but this will make it stronger" before he left and I know this time apart has done just that. Many marriages fall apart during and after deployments for many different reasons. Two areas you can try to control in order to prevent damage to your marriage are trust and communication. If you are having problems in either of those areas it will only get worse if your spouse is on the other side of the world for a few months. So get counseling immediately for those two issues (and any other issues that concern you) before a separation occurs. Then when challenges occur during a separation you are not emotionally pulled apart but you ban together and decide "we will get through this as a family." Free counseling for military couples can be sought by contacting

Well that's all the knowledge I have to share at this point. I'm sure I'll learn more as time goes on and circumstances change. I know there are many books out there on this subject but I felt if there was even one little helpful nugget that I could impart that God has taught me through this deployment then it was worth my time to type this out, I hope it was worth your time to read it and I hope it encouraged you even if you are not a SAHM & or Military Wife.
Next time I write my husband will be home...YEAH!!!!!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

In Between Time

My hubby was able to come home for 2 weeks between a month of Combat Skills Training and a 6 month deployment. We got to do a lot of fun things and just spend some time at home together as a family. During this time hubby was able to help me wean our 13 month old, who has been a bit difficult through the whole process. We were able to get various errands done that we weren't able to do before he left for CST and we were even able to get some beach time in. Our last full day together we went out to Pier Park, had lunch, rode some rides with Annalese, took a walk out on the pier, did some shopping and had finished the day with ice cream. It was a fantastic day, gorgeous weather and the girls were really well behaved. Today hubby leaves at 3:45pm, thought I'd update my blog before he leaves. Following are some of my favorite pics from the past 2 weeks.

2 Wonderful Weeks In Between

<---Annalese holding her "kisses from daddy" 179 chocolate kisses for everyday he will be gone.

Last full day with daddy spent @ Pier Park...Annalese's 1st Ferris Wheel Ride: she said "Daddy this is awesomely cooooool!"

Fun, Sun, Sand & Surf

Beach Time!

Easter Morning Headed to Church

Easter Haul

My love and I @ our church's family fun day.

Bunny girls

Cuddle time with daddy