14 weeks, and The Office


I have some wonderful friends and even more wonderful family. They are quick to respond when I need any help at all, but I’m really craving a person who really understands all of this. When we were stationed in Texas, I couldn’t wait to get out of there! I was tired of the crowds of people and being surrounded by a sea of ACU’s every time I left the house. I couldn’t stand the traffic coming out of the park at 5 o’clock or the fact that I had to stop the car if I was on-post during the reveille. I hated that the dry-cleaners wanted to tell me how the uniform should be cleaned, but never listened to what I wanted done to it. I wanted the BDU’s completely starched and pressed for preserving, he wasn’t going to wear them that way! Duh…BDU’s were swapped for ACU’s anyway, lady, get with the program. Sorry, but that lady didn’t speak English, and she really got on my nerves. I ended up buying the stuff and doing it myself, by the way. I didn’t like going to the hospital with my baby who had 103 fever, but waiting because a soldier “hurt his knee” and needed a doctor’s note so he could skip PT in the morning. Soldiers had priority in the lines at the store and at the doctor. Because of stupid wives who do stupid things, I had to have a power of attorney in order to get anything done on post, and that’s quite frustrating. I really couldn’t wait to get back to a normal, civilian lifestyle. Now, I’m really missing true military life. I miss the game that my husband and I used to play on date night. We would sit and watch the soldiers as they’d walk into a joint.  We’d try to guess their rank, whether they were officers or enlisted, and whether they were married, dating, or still hung up on that one girl that sends them hand-written letters from highschool (who totally isn’t wife material). I miss going to the gym on-post and having all of the girly equipment free, because the majority of people there were male soldiers, bulking up, still trying to catch that adrenaline rush they all miss from dodging IED’s down range. I miss watching the sun come up while sipping my steaming hot, non-fat, vanilla latte and listening to the sound of a cranky SSG shout cadence while his younger soldiers echoed in unison. I miss seeing a woman with 4 kids in tow, struggling to get her car door open and dropping everything because her phone is ringing an unfamiliar tone. It’s always the husband calling from deployment for his one-time-a week when it’s that ring tone. I miss catching her eye and sharing the excitement through a smile and nod, knowing that we both understand that exact same rush of butterflies every time the phone rings. I miss that 1SG in his uniform, in front of the running shoes at the PX that my son called Daddy. I miss how he responded and gave him a hug, because we both knew that it was better to embrace it and let him think he saw his dad than to watch his heart break by correcting him. We never spoke. Just choked back tears and smiled as he moved on to sporting equipment. I miss my group of Army wives. We used to get together twice a week at a mom and tots class and hang out afterward while the kids played. We would show up unannounced at each other’s houses, leave the kids with each other if necessary, and laugh, cry, or be angry together. I miss that so much. I miss people knowing, really, truly knowing and understanding how it all feels. I know that I can’t get that here, and I’m mad at myself for ever taking it all for granted.

  Last week, I searched frantically for some help for Cole. I definitely don’t think this is a discipline or disrespect issue. Yes, he’s having problems with respect and authority, but those are just symptoms of something that’s going on in his heart. I believe that in order to see results in his behavior, we need to get to his heart and find out what’s going on inside. I saw this gif on my facebook feed the other day, “A worried mother does better research than the FBI,” and it’s so true. I sent out messages, made phone calls, googled then entire cyber world, and then finally went to my husband’s old office on post. Of course, I came armed with red velvet cheesecake. People listen to you when you bring them food. I’ve learned this. I was just going over there to catch up with everyone there and to talk to soldiers with kids who understand all of this separation anxiety. It was so nice to talk and see heads nod in complete empathy. Another thing I love and miss about being surrounded by military folks is that when something needs to be done, people don’t sit around waiting to see who makes a move, everyone stands up all at once. They don’t have a meeting and take notes about at which angle to approach the problem. They move and talk about it on the way. You hear a bunch of  “I’ll go over here and do this,” “Okay, while you’re doing that, I’ll go to this person and say this,” and “Alright, since you have that covered, I’ll go over here and try this,” “Hey, if that doesn’t work I’ve got this on back-up.” There’s no time or room for any reaction, because they all swing right into action. There’s a problem, let’s fix it. I wore my non-waterproof mascara on Friday, because I didn’t want to go in there and be emotional. I had a problem, and I needed some help finding a solution. Straight military business. But, of course, the good soldiers who are parents too are parents first with a side of soldier. I talked to my soldier/mom counter-part, and she completely  understood every thing I said. she even got emotional, and you could tell it was bringing back all of her feelings that she went through when dealing with the same situation with her kids. Immediately, she said, “Okay, I’ll come pick up Cole tomorrow and see what we can do.” Boom. Action.

So, Cole talked with her 12 year old son who only sees his dad a few times a year since he is stationed in Texas while his mom is stationed here. She talked to him a little bit too, and reported back to me when she dropped him back off at home. He came home in the best mood and happy to see me. It was the best hug I’ve gotten from him in weeks. Needless to say, this week has been a lot better. He’s still a bit mouthy, but at least the discipline is working.

So, my activity this week….

I decided to get Netflix a try. It comes with a free one-month trial, so I figured, why not? There are so many movies and shows on there! We pay $99/month for DTV right now, and I watch the Today Show in the morning, and a couple of cartoons during the day. Cole watches a cartoon maybe once or twice during the week and on Saturday mornings. By the time my day winds down, primetime shows are over. So, the only way that Chandler and I have ever been able to watch a series is by buying it for $50 once the season ends. Then, we wait a whole year until it comes out on DVD. And Friday nights are kid/family movie nights over here. So, we rent a movie from pay per view for $6 a week too. Netflix is only $8 a month, and if you want to rent a new release, it’s $2 at Redbox. So, I tried it out, and I LOVE IT!!! I can start and stop shows whenever I want. They have like every single episode of Thomas the Train and Sonic, and I was able to catch up on How I Met Your Mother. Not only that, but it also streams live through HD! I’m a fan. Bye-bye directv, hello Netflix!

Click to try the free one-month subscription

I am also now addicted to The Office. I’ve heard so many people say that I’d love it, and they were right! I’m on season 3 now, and I am so hooked! Pam and Jim need to get together already! Aaaaaah! I have to admit though…I was kind of rooting for Roy for a while there. I mean, they were engaged, and I’m not a fan of shows or movies that have the audience rooting for infidelity. Now, I’m over him and I’m a Jim fan. Roy just destroyed the bar by throwing random stuff and breaking chairs…the guy might be crazy. But, now I like Karen for Jim…so I’m torn. ANYWAY, I tried netflix, like it, and tried the office, and I like that too. Cole is doing better thanks to some Army family stepping in, and I get to see my husband in a few days! 🙂 We’re going to see him before the deployment and be there for the deployment ceremony to say our “see-you-later’s”.  I’ve got the tickets for Sea World and Six Flags printed out, and I’m ready for a family vacation! I’m so excited and I can’t wait! So, next week may be brief if I remember to post at all.

A new home away from home for them

We had our 8th IHOP date this weekend! I finally ordered something that wasn’t breakfast! I had the Tuscan chicken sandwich, hold the bread…DELICIOUS!!! After Cole’s massive chow-down last time, I decided to let him order from the adult menu. I told him that if he finished it all, he could stay up til 10 o’clock. So he accepted the challenge and went to business!

"Let's do this!"
"My favorite syrup is butter pecan"
"I probably shouldn't have drank all that milk."
Stick a fork in me, I'm done!
"Wait! I have an idea! I'm gonna go to the bathroom!"
"I've got this!"
"I just need a little water to force it down my throat."
"I think I'm gonna be sick."
"Almost done..."
"I did it...I get to stay up until 10"
We chanted, "Coltrane, Coltrane!" during his last few bites

If the numbers seem off to you, it's because they are. The countdown is always changing, because that's how the Army rolls. Also our very first IHOP date was the day before Chandler left.

By the way, he didn’t make it until 10. He passed out in the car on the way home.

Until next week, send your crazy to me since I’m going there anyway!


13 Weeks and a Toe Cake

 I remember being 13, and finding out that I could, in fact, talk back to my mom if I really wanted to. I also learned that I could negotiate my punishments by blaming others. Back then, I knew it all, and my mom was dumb. If my mom punished me, then she obviously was crazy, and I didn’t deserve it. I remember talking back one time, and it happened to be the night of a dance at school. My little mouth cost me my $5 dance ticket (which my mom gave me the money to buy anyway). She was a bad mom for keeping me from doing something important to me….or so my shallow, inexperienced mind thought at the time.

As I begin tonight, I’m letting out a deep, long, drain-ridden sigh. It’s been over 3 months now, and my little boy is dealing with emotions that most grown men can’t wrap their minds around. Ever since my husband left from his short visit home, Cole has been slowly learning that sinful art of defiance. Of course, he doesn’t see how this is the sin that we are born with dating back to the garden of Eden. How can he understand that, right? He’s only 6. I keep telling myself that he’s only 6, but his defiance and attitude are telling me otherwise. He reminds me of the 13 year old me. This week, he went from bad to worse to something’s wrong. It was Spring Break, and we did so many fun things (like playing outside in the water with a substantial amount of bubbles, the aquarium, the coca cola factory, an easter egg hunt, dying easter eggs, eating easter eggs…etc), why was he losing his cool about doing his chores and eating his dinner? He has been talking back, rolling his eyes, screaming at me,  throwing things, and slamming doors. Spank him, right? If only it was that easy… I’ve tried various forms of discipline, and I’m still the bad guy. Nothing has kicked in yet to make him want to make right what was wrong. Usually, he hates to disappoint, but lately, he just hates. period. It’s like my silly, fun, happy, goofy little boy has just disappeared, and what’s left is this angry shell of a reminder of my little boy. He finally yelled at me, “Dad always has to leave, and you never do anything about it!” Ah, so that’s’ why he’s acting 13.

When you go from being a kid to being a teenager, your body goes through some changes…no, no, this is not a birds-and-bees talk. Just hear me out. Along with those bodily changes come hormones rocketing and zip-zapping all over the place. Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down. Growing up with a gazillion girls in the house (okay maybe just 5, sometimes 7 when the sistas were there), our “cycles” would gravitate toward each other. We all kinda bounced off of one another. By the time I turned 13, I already had 3 other women to compete with for emotional significance. I often won because I learned to be the most dramatic. It’s part of the hormonal changes mixed with a little survival of the fittest. Well, Cole is going through so many mixed emotions, and he doesn’t understand them at all. One emotion is bouncing off of another, and then another, and so one. Now they’re all going crazy, and he has no idea when he’s feeling what or what it’s even called. But, the easiest one to pick out of the bunch is anger. Think about it. It’s the easiest emotion to explain and the easiest one to justify, because we’re born with it. I wonder if it’s the first emotion we ever felt. What are babies really feeling when they’re screaming at the top of their lungs as they’re pulled from their first home in the womb to a cold, bright place with scary giants and objects being poked at them left and right?  Is it anger? Frustration? Fear? I’d venture to say those three are closely related. And that’s why Cole is having such a hard time expressing the one that fits most with what he’s feeling. He says that he’s angry with me. I get that. I’m always around, and Dad isn’t. Dad is gone, he wants me to do something about it, and I don’t. I don’t, because I can’t, but he doesn’t understand that. I wish I could buy him a $5 dance ticket and he could meet his dad there. I wish I could snap, and this would all be over for him. I hate that he’s feeling these feelings , and I hate even more that he doesn’t even understand them. I trust that God will use this to help define  character in him that is going to shine! But, I ache for him as he’s being sanded. Can you even sand wood when it’s still green? I wouldn’t ever attempt it, but God does, and somehow His artwork is far more beautiful than any I could even imagine.

As for my emotions, they’ve kind of taken a back seat this week to focus on Cole’s. The scary thing is that I’m feeling numb to emotion right now. I think I’ve hit go-mode, and we haven’t even had lift-off yet. This road to deployment is the longest runway ever! The dates keep getting changed as we continue to wait, and wait, and wait. He’s already been gone 13 weeks…and there are more pre-deployment weeks to follow until we even get to start the 12 month count-down. Being a Soldier’s wife is definitely something to be proud of. I know that my husband makes a difference in people’s lives every time his dusty combat boots hit the ground, but I wonder if I’m feeling a little anger myself right now. I’m not mad at him or God or my country…but I might be angry somewhere. I just don’t have anyone to point a finger at. Satan, maybe? Sin, hate, violence? Terrorists? I don’t even know. Maybe Cole and I are both screaming and crying because we’ve been taken out of our comfort zones, surrounded by giants, and we’re being poked around from left to right by the things of this world. I guess that’s the root of it all for all of our trials. I wish he could just be a baby again, and I could keep him tucked in nice and safe in my womb, and nothing would ever harm him. …BUT, I have no uterus anymore, so even if it was a possibility for some freakish project in the creepy science-driven world that we live in, my body would be a nay-sayer.

Onto my activity for the week! I know a few bakery owners personally including Andrea from Let Them Eat Cake in Killeen, TX, Aunt Loretta from For Cupcake’s Sake in Daytona Beach, and Jessica/Ashley from Flour Power in Stockbridge. All wonderfully talented ladies with an eye for art and the hands to make magic happen on all things edible and filled with delicious calories that are totally worth every single mouth-watering, buttery bite! Continuing with my theme of being a Jack of all trades, but an expert at none, I decided to decorate a cake!! I bought all of the stuff for it and tried to come up with a clever design…..nothing came to mind. Then, Brooke (Senior in highschool at church) told me she had to have one of her toenails cut off due to a fungus! Being the surgery queen that I am, I offered to throw her a party to say goodbye to her nasty toenail, that is always actually quite polished and pretty. Originally, I thought it would be genius to have the theme be “camel-toe” and have an all-out chick fest, but I know that not all people have my sense of humor, so I went with a more appropriate theme…the literal one. So… I made a toenail cake! Since Brooke always has her toes and fingernails painted so cute, I decided to do the same with the cake. Check it out!

marshmallow/vanilla fondant (melted marshmallows with a splash of water in the microwave, added a splash of vanilla, and mixed in some powdered sugar)
rolled out the fondant. that's powdered sugar underneath it, not flour
iced the cake (greenish brown icing for the fungus hehe) and laid the fondant on top.
trimmed the sides
got out all my handy tools for mixing icing and painting a toenail!










got started on the hour-long piping project. your icing has to be chilled a bit to do this...or else it runs and doesn't stick. I learned that the hard way. And don't be impatient and stick it in the freezer either. It clumps in the tip.
finished painting the toenail and added some sparkly sprinkles since Brooke likes all things glam
made the toe and a little flower on the toe nail















Toe Cake!
like the staging?

So, it was fun and funny at the same time, but it didn’t light a fire that made me want to do it all the time. I think I’ll stick to the occasional cupcakes for Classroom events. It totally looks like a toe though, right? hahaha Part of me wonders how a camel-toe would’ve worked out.



Until next week, send your crazy to me, since I’m going there anyway!