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47 Weeks

10 months and 3 weeks…It feels like it’s been forever. This week was Thanksgiving, and I really have so much to be thankful for. Other than some allergies and ocassional asthma attacks, we really are healthy. It’s been a surgery-free year, finally! Our finances are in a controlled state, and God’s used this deployment to show his love to us through so many people. I really am thankful and grateful for every single silver lining! I had a really hard time making plans for Thanksgiving Day though. I knew I didn’t want to make any long drives, and although I had weak moments where I almost hopped in the car and drove all night to have some of Grandmama’s Upside-down Apple cake or Mama’s DELICIOUS stuffing, I kept my promise to myself to stay in town. I wanted to do something different this year. I didn’t want to stick to the regular family traditions, because it would make it even more apparent that someone is missing from the dinner table, karaoke couch, or appetizer counter. I decided to make a few of the traditional foods, and then go all out on the deserts. So, I baked, and baked, and baked some more. Before I even thought about sitting, I had an Apple Pie, Sweet Potato Pie, and a Pumpkin Pie. I had the crust made and the Pecans chopped for the Pecan Pie, and I had the filling in the food processor for the Pumpkin Cheesecake. I stopped to check my facebook while the filling was churning, and I opened it up to see this:

My friend, Lily C, tagged another military wife and me in this picture. At first sight, I thought, “Aw, that’s sweet,” and then my eyes glanced around at the turkey, the 2 children, the heads bowed, and Dad’s picture taped on the chair. I just happened to be standing at the kitchen table, and I looked up to see my own Soldier’s chair…empty, with his framed, wallet-sized photo propped up on top of Idan’s handmade puppet of Hermey, the Dentist Elf. I couldn’t stop them once they started…tears all over my flour and pumpkin-splattered apron. I usually have my house decked out in fall leaves and scarecrow statues. The scent of apple-cinnamon puts you into a Thanksgiving trance every time you open the door to enter. Every other year, I dyed my hair red to match the leaves on the maple trees, but this year I really have been slacking on my holiday cheer. I’ve really been beating myself up about getting into the spirit of things. I have not allowed myself to be whiny, and I keep telling myself, “I have way too many things to be thankful for to get down in the dumps.” I kept wondering why the heck I haven’t been able to get myself to strap on my happy pants and spread some cheesy holiday smiles. This picture reminded me why I’m such a bore lately. It’s because I’m missing the best part of me. It’s like eating a hot dog bun with no dog, an ice cream cone with no ice cream in it…I’m like a cup of hot cocoa with no marshmallows! I feel like my heart has been in the right place – trying to make it fun for the boys – but I really haven’t been feeling it.

Anyway, I wanted to do something fun and memorable. So, I accepted my friend, Angie’s, invitation to Thanksgiving lunch with her mother-in-law’s family (and extended family). Her husband, who is a fire fighter, had to work too. So, we were a couple of misfit wives with our misfit kiddos (hers are in high school and college), fighting the attitude of being stuck on the island of misfits. We were not going to have an ordinary Thanksgiving! Angie came up with the idea for my activity for the week, which was to make a music video for my husband. I had just recently posted Nicole Westbrook’s Thanksgiving Song video, and since it was Thanksgiving Day, I thought there was no better time to take advantage of the song. So, after having food with a dining hall full of strangers, dying Biff’s hair (well, half of it anyway), and chasing my horndog Ace (who was on the prowl for a lady friend) through the neighborhood, we turned on the video camera and let the magic happen. For your enjoyment folks, I give you

Activity #47: Thanksgiving Song for the Troops

As an added bonus, scroll to the bottom of this post for our Blooper Reel and deleted scenes! I’m so glad I was surrounded by positive and goofy people on a day that could’ve otherwise been gloomy. They helped me to direct my attention toward something fun, while keeping my favorite solider in mind. This just goes to show that a bad mood is a choice, and it’s not a good one. There’s always a bright side, and there are always good times to be had. I’ve already got a Christmas video in the works for you guys, and if plans come together…it’s gonna be good! Don’t forget to add me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter. Until next week, send your crazy to me, since I’m going there anyway!

2012: The year I had a good time on Thanksgiving.

Blooper Reel

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46 Weeks and a Homemade Remedy

While most families have spent the past week prepping for travel or guests, I spent it cleaning my house for no apparent reason at all, other than the fact that it’s something I can control. No one else can tell me that I have to stop and move to a different room in the middle of mopping the floor. No one can tell me which direction to vacuum the carpet in. No one can tell me when to start and what time to be finished. No one dictates how my house is cleaned, except for me. The Army has no control over what detergent I use or when I decide to toss the sponge and get out a new one. There isn’t a chain of command, uniform, or rank system with my appliances. Each one does its job when I say so. I have power in my house, and no one can take that away from me…usually. Until last night, when our Kirby (bought at $1200 7 years ago) decided to fall out of line and start smoking in the middle of vacumming an area rug. NOT COOL! Complete with smoke, sparks, and a horrible smell, that thing completely flipped out on me. I put myhands on my hips, stared that machine down with my best “Oh-no-you-di’in’t” stare, and shouted, “SERIOUSLY?” Naturally, my nosey children came running into the room asking, “What happened? Is someone here?” To which I responded, “That vacuum cleaner didn’t listen to Mommy, and so I’m kicking it out of the house! That’s why you always have to listen to your Mom.” Idan looked concered, but Cole said, “Okay, you say crazy stuff like that all the time. I’m going back in the other room.” My mom threats just aren’t what they used to be. I’m gonna have to work on that.

Activity #46 Homemade Decongestant

Since I tried the home remedy of a detox bath for my asthma, and hated it so much, I decided to try another home remedy for congestion. This fall air has been horrible, and viruses have been in full swing lately, so we’ve been taking medicines around the clock. I went to the drug store earlier this week, and wanted to buy some Mucinex, but I forgot my license at home. Apparently, I look like I’m under 18, so they wouldn’t let me buy it without an ID. I almost spent $45 on the box, and I’m so glad that I didn’t, because the home remedy decongestant works like a charm! It doesn’t taste the greatest, but it doesn’t taste the worst either.

 

2tbs water, 1tbs apple cider vinegar, 1tbs honey, 1/4tsp cayenne pepper, and 1/4tsp ginger.
Stir it up…Little Darlin’, Stir it up!
1tbs for Adults and 1tsp for the kiddos
It didn’t smell delicious.
It didn’t taste delicious either.

So, this stuff is awesome. I was totally skeptical after my sucky detox bath, but this home remedy delivered! Within minutes of taking my dose, I was grabbing the tissue box. So nasty on the TMI, I know but if you’re suffering from a cold, sinus pressure, or ridiculous allergies, then this stuff is the ticket. Now, don’t try using this as an allergy remedy though. It’s not good for that. It won’t prevent or treat allergies. It’s just good for clearing the sinuses or helping your coughs to be more productive. I’m actually thinking about making some little jars of this to go along with my Christmas gifts this year! I’m also definitely planning on making some for my soldier man! God knows that dust over there is horrible on the sinuses. Try this out! Let me know how it works for you!

Add me on FACEBOOK or feel free to follow me on TWITTER.

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

 

(btw, sorry I’m a little late in posting. The hubster got me an awesome iPad for my birthday, and I haven’t figured out how to WordPress on it successfully yet.)

 

 

 

 

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45 Weeks and Wheelchair Handball

What a week it has been! I started off another year older, followed by taking the kids with me to vote, ringing in a new-old president, learning that my husband’s R&R has been pushed back a month, giving a friend a hair-makeover, refinancing the house, enjoying my activity for the week, and today, I celebrated all veterans (including my own) by watching a local playhouse put on an interesting musical about World War II and Girl Scouts, starring my boys’ babysitter, Lehren. Okay, so maybe she only had a few lines here and there, but she was the star in my eyes. I have a few things I’ve been really thinking about a lot  this week, so I’m going to try to get through them in a not-so-lengthy way. Wish me luck!

First of all, I know there are times on here where I tend to go all emo on my current situation. During those weeks, I’m sure you imagine that I’m walking around staring at the ground, mascara streaming down my face, and blaring Eric Carmen’s “All by Myself,” but that’s the exact opposite of how I am in person. I don’t like to make people uncomfortable with my struggle, so I put on “the face” in order to keep things around me appearing as normal as possible. I wind myself up in the morning, as every mom does, and go, go, go until sundown. Then, I pick up the toys, do the dishes, fold the laundry (sometimes), and netflix myself into a relaxed state before having my night time devotion, followed by a game of sudoku on my phone, and falling asleep somewhere around 1am. I keep trucking along, holding in my frustrations until Sunday night when I let it all out over a cup of tea or coffee, writing it all on wordpress for the world to experience with me.

I have been married to my soldier for 8 years now. Wow…8 years! It looks pretty typed out like that. Turn that 8 sideways and you’ve got infinity! Super Marriage! Okay…anyway, I’ve been a military wife for 8 years now. We’ve been separated more times than I can even try to calculate, and we’ve definitely spent more days apart than together. I’ve done too many holidays alone, blown out candles without him, celebrated our anniversaries by kissing his picture goodnight, and have done almost every major milestone with our kids by myself. This all sucks, for sure, but I have something that most civilian couples will never have – gratitude for every single holiday, birthday, anniversary, and milestone that we DO get to spend with each other. Some couples never know what it’s like to be without their spouse on these occasions, so they take them for granted.

Another thing that I have, because of the military, is pride. Not the bad kind either. Military pride is one that is actually a humble kind. I have a pride for my country, despite its worldwide embarrassment, uncountable debt, and many political flaws.  I have a pride for our president, no matter who he or she may ever be. I have a pride for our flag, no matter how torn or faded it becomes. I have a pride for my husband, no matter how he walks, talks, or if wears socks with his sandals. My husband is an incredible man of integrity who believes in what he is fighting for. He makes a life-or-death difference in people’s lives  every single day, whether he is stateside or overseas. He really is a genuine, true-blue guy, and I do wish that I could see him more often, but that’s just not the straw that I drew when I married such a decent man. When you get the pick of the litter, you have to share it with the world. How selfish would I be if I fought against sharing one of our nation’s finest assets for the good of the country? Sure, I whine about missing him, but I really am proud, and I really would much rather have him using his talents then burying them in the sand. So, next time I get sappy on you, please know that I probably just had a really big missing-him day and just need to rant about it. Either that, or I’m ovulating out of the one ovary that is hanging on for dear life inside of my otherwise empty reproductive system.

Before I go on to my activity for the week, you’re probably wondering who I voted for, right? I’m sure you have your own guesses like:

  • She’s a Christian, so she’s definitely a Republican, which means she definitely voted for Romney.

  • She’s married to a man of color, so she probably voted for Obama

  • She’s a military wife, so she already has free healthcare. She isn’t concerned about those things. Romney

  • She works with teenage girls. Probably helped them get abortions before. Obama

  • She went to a private school growing up. Romney

  • She has a boy dog who likes to hump other boy dogs. Obama

  • She lives in a “red” state. Romney

  • She eats a lot of dark chocolate. Obama

  • She celebrates Christmas. Romney

  • She wears an afro sometimes. Obama

  • She is right-handed. Romney

  • She gave her son a middle name based on the Hawaiian language. Obama

Now, all of these thoughts and guesses are perfectly valid, but I actually did a lot more thinking with this election and actually separated my faith from my thoughts on the way that this country is run. So now, you’re probably thinking:

  • She’s turned against Jesus! Obama

  • She’s a Mormon now. Romney

Neither of those thoughts are accurate.  Here’s the way I think before I vote:

  • The president is more of a representative of America to other countries than anything else, in my opinion.

  • Who do I feel will best represent what America is all about?

  • How will this president blend our forces with overseas allies?

  • Will this president force any religion practice into the law or the law into religious practices?

  • Is this president going to make education an important priority in our country?

  • Is this president going to keep law-breakers accountable for their actions?

  • Is this president going to keep the freedom of choice, one of the foundations of this country, a priority?

  • Will this president maintain humane boundaries on the freedom of choice?

The above questions  have probably completely thrown you off on your original guess of who I voted for. And they should have, because I may or may not have voted for either candidate. There was also another name on the ballot, as well as a write-in spot. Who knows? Maybe I voted for Lord Tubbington, Britney’s cat, from the show Glee. The point is that it doesn’t matter who I voted for on Tuesday morning. Our president is our president, and that is that. I don’t want wrinkles in my forehead from any of it. For the next four years, I plan to honor President Obama, because that’s what a God-fearing person, like King David should do. I plan to respect his authority, because that’s what a woman of faith, like Esther, should do. I plan to show my support for him, because that’s what a patriotic citizen, like the Apostle Paul, should do. I plan to pray for him, because that’s what a person who has Jesus in their heart, like Cathi, should do.

Activity #45:

Volunteering at the State Wheelchair Handball Tournament

A little over a year ago, we had some friends who were in a tragic car accident that took the life of their precious daughter and left their little boy paralyzed from the neck down. Their family has been through a whirlwind of changes, and has been so open to sharing their new life with anyone who would like to understand it. Two of their other daughters were badly injured, but have been able to return to their normal activities like running, swimming, and dancing. Their son has had several surgeries since the accident, is wheelchair-bound for the time-being (we all believe in miracles), and is otherwise a regular 4-year old boy. Since the accident, our family has been very involved with praying for Owen’s complete healing, and we’ve seen amazing progress through his physical therapy. This family has been an inspiration to so many other families, including my own, and especially to Cole. Cole prays for Owen constantly, and he cries when he thinks about the fact that Owen can’t walk or play sports like “regular” kids. Recently, he prayed for the opportunity to help kids like Owen. God does cool things sometimes, because he hooked us up with a volunteer slot, through my small group at church, to help out at a Wheelchair Handball tournament that was being held in our own town. Our t-shirts alone made Cole so proud to support kids that are handicapped. We enjoyed being a part of the games, serving the kids lunch, and helping with ordinary meal-time affairs, like putting a straw into a cup and ketchup on your hot dog. These kids were not asking for an ounce of pity though! They were grueling, hardcore athletes, and they wanted to crush their opponents. They smack-talked in a totally offensive way, just like your average teenage sports fanatic, and they rolled through the high-five line after the buzzer mumbling, “good game,” just like every other kids’ team is forced to do after winning or losing. There were no ties, and there was no mercy. I loved every second of it! And my kids got to serve the community and learn a valuable lesson about people who chose to rise above their disability, rather than those who complain and blame their weakness on the government.

(not a clue as to who I voted for, btw...get your mind off of that already ;) )
The boys played Slap-Jack during the breaks.
Idan said that all the people in wheelchairs “matched” his shirt.
these kids were serious about the game!

If your county has a handicap sport team, I urge you to get involved or at least go watch a game or 2. They’re so cool, and pretty neat to see how some of them flip their chairs into some sweet maneuvers. I can kinda compare it to a really good soccer player’s fancy footwork. I’ll never be able to do either, so I commend both athletic types!

BONUS VIDEO! Here’s a look at an ordinary evening after dinner, before bath time, at our house. This is not rehearsed. It’s just what we do, folks. Enjoy!

Don’t forget to “like” me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter 

Also, feel free to add your suggestions for my weekly activities in the comments section on the suggestions page.

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

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44 Weeks and Welcoming Strangers muahahaha

Top 10 Things NOT to say to a

Wife whose Husband is Deployed

“I guess you’re used to this by now…”

Yeah, that’d be a big fat NO.

“I wish I could get a break from My husband too.”

Well please, send him down to your nearest Military recruiter, and I’ll show him where to sign. Oh, you didn’t mean THAT type of break? Oh, okay. Shut your mouth, fool. Go spend time with your husband instead of complaining about him.

“I bet you’re enjoying all of this free time that you have.”

Free time? I have to pay a babysitter just to get a pap-smear. None of my time is free.

“Well, at least they pay him extra when he’s deployed.”

Oh, THERE’S the silver lining! Gosh, can’t believe I missed that!

“Woah! Girl, your lawn is out of control!”

Thanks for the tip. The half-a-dozen letters from the HOA didn’t really speak loud enough.

“Yeah, you should probably get that looked at by someone. I know all about it, and it’s not safe.”

–Slow blink followed by a fake smile.– Yup…probably should.

“Your kids have been acting super whiny lately.”

My kids have been acting like kids who are lonely, stressed, afraid, and missing their father. I’ve been trying to figure out how to handle it, and you’re definitely not helping any.

“I understand completely! My husband went away on a weekend conference once.”

Yeah, it’s basically the same thing.

“They should just bring all the troops home. We have no reason to be over there.”

Glad to know that the country that my husband is fighting for is filled with people who think he does nothing all day.

“So, what do you think of our president?”

Oh, you mean how he controls the weather? Cause, yeah, I’m pretty pissed about it! Seriously, can’t we just talk about football?

 

Activity #44: Scare Tactics! 

     Have you seen the show, Scare Tactics? If not, you should head over to youtube and check it out sometime. Hil-ar-i-ous! Inspired by this show, I decided to have my own Scare session the night before halloween.  I sent out a couple of text messages, bought some snacks from Publix (click here for an awesome coupon blogger), and gave my prankster kids a pre-scare pep-talk. I ordered the movie, The Strangers, put on a haunted house soundtrack, and let things flow naturally. It was legendary! Idan played along so well! My sister, her fiance, and my friend Jason T. did awesome at being my “strangers”. Right at the climax of the movie, they made noises outside of the house and then entered slowly, wearing masks and suits. The girls were screaming, furniture was moving, and they were fidgeting for their cell phones. By the time I turned the lights on, one girl was in fetal position on the floor and the rest of them were basically on top of each other.

(BTW, I made sure that no one had weapons before this started. If someone ever tried to scare me the way my team and I scared them…my always-loaded shot gun would’ve made a glorious debut.)

My cutesy snacks made it look innocent enough. 😉

add the creepy window with curtains opened…
a creepy door with a scary man about to walk in…
And BOOM! Scare of the year!

Idan did so well! He screamed when I told him to, and he was completely silent when I told him to be!

He wasn’t afraid. The flash made him make this face.
My Scare Buddies and Me. Good times.

If you ever try to do anything like this, please be sure that you know the people you are about to scare. Make sure there aren’t any weapons around, because this could very easily turn into a disaster. Don’t let the scare go for more than a minute or two, and make it borderline, “Is this real or fake?” You don’t want people thinking they’re really about to get whacked. That’s sick. As soon as someone says, “I’m calling 911,” that’s probably a good time to call it quits.

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