Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Story of Us: Girl Meets Boy

Today, my husband and I are celebrating 10 years of marriage.  We are many many miles apart, but our hearts are definitely linked.  In honor of our celebration, I will tell you "our" story.  Sit back, relax, grab your reading glasses if necessary... it's a bit of a long story...

I just finished 7th grade of Catholic School; Paul just graduated from the local public junior high.  Let's add two more characters: My sister, who just graduated from Catholic School and will begin freshman year at the local public high school, and my neighbor, who is also graduating from the local junior high with Paul amd will be going to the same high school as my sister.  They are my link to Paul.  My neighbor kindly invited her friends (Paul included) over to her house to introduce them to my sister.  I'm not sure if I met Paul that day, but I know I saw him.  He was amazing.  Blond hair with a little Beverly-Hills-90210-esque style with his bangs.  He was tan and oh-so mature.... you know... as a soon-to-be freshman. 

Paul claims we met on the bike path while he was out riding with one of his buddies, and I was out riding with my neighbor.  I claim we met at his buddy's baseball game.  I'm not sure, but we definitely met in the Summer of '93.  I instantly developed a HUGE crush on him.  He talked to me and included me while some of my sister's other friends did not.  We went to Six Flags Great America as a group... the sun was bright... I got a headache... he let me wear his baseball cap.  <Swoon> There was much talk of who liked who that summer.  Did you like him, or did you 'like like' him? Hands would touch accidentally, or maybe NOT accidentally? We played Kick-The-Can and Capture-The-Flag and volleyball in our neighbor's yard... all of which included strategicly picked teams.  We all went on bike rides; we went to the pool; we played more volleyball.  My heart was flipping during most of the summer. 

And then..... my family went on vacation during the end of the summer.   On the night before we left, Paul called into the local radio station and dedicated a song to me: UB40's "Can't Help Falling In Love."  One week later we returned and got together with the group.... but Paul wasn't around.  Apparently, he had started hanging out with a new girl and they were... dating.

After a year at separate schools, my crush faded a bit, but I often thought of that Paul Paul Meyer. I started my freshman year and happened to pass him a few times in the hall.  Again, he always said "hello" to me and didn't treat me like I was just Katie's Little Sister.  Homecoming was coming up and I was not planning on going with anyone special, probably just a group of girls from the Freshman volleyball team.  One night, my sister got a phone call from Paul and was talking to him in her room. Obviously, I was standing at her door listening to everything she said.  I heard her start talking about Homecoming.... oh my gosh, was he asking her to Homecoming?! That would be terrible. Traitorous. "Oh Paul, You HAVE to go!" "Well, I don't think Betsy has a date yet." NO WAY! "Yeah. You should go with her." HOLY HOMECOMING DATE! "Okay, I'll ask her. I'll call you back." 

A few days later, I was getting all dolled up in my Homecoming dress (a strapless dress that my mom sewed straps onto, of course; blue sequins on top, white bubble skirt on the bottom), fluffing my permed hair and making sure I didn't have any food caught in my braces.  My sister's group of friends were meeting at our house for pictures before we headed out to a pre-dance dinner.  Paul walked in with a bunch of guys looking as handsome as I'd ever seen him.  He was wearing a tie (with Mickey Mouse on it) and his barely-there goatee made him look so manly!  We took pictures as a group and as couples.    As we got into the car to head to dinner he looked at me and said, "You look beautiful."  I lost my breath for a moment, then recovered and said, "You do too... uh... I mean... not beautiful, but good. Handsome. You look great." Ugh.
I felt giddy and shaky and worried that my palms were too sweaty.
I made it through dinner without getting pasta on my dress and even solved the Wheel of Fortune puzzle (why was Wheel of Fortune on at a restaurant?!  I don't know) by guessing "Chicago Bears" with only the E on the screen.  Nice.  We headed back to the high school after dinner and I can still remember walking into the gymnasium that night.  I had never seen a gym decked out for a dance like that before.  It was the same place I had practiced volleyball for six weeks.  But that night it seemed truly magical to me... or maybe it was because Paul had grabbed my hand when we started to get jostled around in a big crowd of high school students dressed to the nines.  We danced, we talked, we laughed. Then we danced again to a BoyzIIMen song and he kissed me!  My first kiss ever.  Amazing and completely memorable.

After Homecoming night, we dated for four weeks.  When I say "dated" I mean we wrote notes back and forth a few times a day.  Met in the hallway after school and kissed a few times before we headed off to football and volleyball practices.  He couldn't drive yet, I couldn't drive yet.... I wasn't allowed to hang out with his older friends who could drive... clearly, it wasn't that great of a dating experience and we broke up pretty quickly.  But my heart still swooned.

FALL 1994 - SPRING 1997
Through my high school years, I continued to swoon over Paul Paul Meyer.  On occassion I thought maybe he liked me again.... then he definitely made it clear he did not 'like like' me.... for a few months, I made it clear that I did not even like him as a friend.  The years were filled with normal high school drama.  I wrote about him in my diary... I was smitten with him.  I was mad at him. I did not care about him.  I was friends with him.  By his senior and my junior year, we had finally developed a pretty good friendship.  I still swooned a tiny bit, but I knew it was better for me not to date him anymore.  However, I knew that I would know him for a long time.  In his Senior year yearbook, I wrote, "I'll see you in 30 years."  For whatever reason, I just knew that I would know Paul Meyer when he was a grown man and we would at least be friends.

SUMMER 1997 - SUMMER 1999
For the next two years, Paul and I kept in touch over email and an occassional phone call.  He had headed off to Annapois, MD, for the Naval Academy; I completed high school and headed down to University of Illinios, Chapaign-Urbana. When we were both home for the holidays or summer, we would go out to lunch and catch-up with each other. I had given up on my smitten-ness, and we had grown into good friends.  

FALL 1999 - FALL 2000
On a whim and during a moment of "I don't care if these seems completely illogical" I went to a Travel Agent's office (remember those?!) and bought a plane ticket to Baltimore for Labor Day Weekend.  I got back to my apartment, called Paul and said, "Guess what?!  I just bought a ticket to come out and see you."  My intention was that he would introduce me to some of the good-looking Naval Academy guys he knew.  Huh.  I flew out there, and he met me at the airport.... and all of sudden the smitten feelings came rushing back.  Oh my.  He had to take me to his sponsor's house and then get back on the Yard since Navy had a football game the next day.  We planned to meet-up after the 1st quarter.  I stood by the gate that we had previously agreed would be our meeting spot and I looked around at all the matchy-matchy guys in summer white uniforms with their black rain jackets and white covers.  Talk about Where's Waldo... except the 'Waldo' I was looking for wasn't wearing a stripey shirt and a stocking cap... he was wearing the same summer whites, black jacket, and white cover.  Eventually we found each other and Paul reached for my hand and we fell into step heading out for the tail-gater and his friends.  After the game, we walked around the Yard for a little while.  If you've never been to the Naval Academy, it is really quite fantastic (maybe not for the Mids who live there, but it is for a "girl friend" visiting for the first time).  The buildings are kind of stoic, the water is right there, and the sunset just happened to be beautiful.  We walked and talked and he gave me a tour of all the typical sites.  And then we sat on a bench and started talking about "us."  Remember, Homecoming 1994.... "I felt giddy and shaky and worried that my palms were too sweaty,"  that's exactly how I felt again. The weekend ended with Paul and I willing to see how a long-distance relationship might work for us.  We were pretty realistic that it might not be best for us... given our history... but it felt right and definitely worth a try. 

I came back out to Annapolis over Thanksgiving break and then Paul was home for Christmas break.  We had our ups and downs and normal challenegs for a long-distance relationship, but by the end of Christmas break, Paul had told me he loved me and I told him I loved him too.  From that point on, we spoke on the phone once a week and managed to see eachother every 6 weeks or so.  (I booked my flights out to see him during particularly busy flights and volunteered to get bumped, thus earning my next free ticket to Annapolis.) We spent a month together over the summer while Paul was on leave from the Academy and our relationship took a turn from serious to life-changing.  We knew we were heading toward an engagement... it was just a matter of time. Paul had a few opprotunities according to my calculations.... 1. Parent's Weekend at the Academy (I was coming out to visit too)in September, 2. His Sprint football game that I was coming out to see in October, 3. The Army/Navy game in December, and lastly, 4. Christmas. 

In late fall, after a lack of a proposal, Paul and I had asked our families to meet for breakfast on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  We wanted our families to meet eachother before we committed to joining them together forever. Paul had mentioned that he wanted to ask my dad for permission to marry me so I helpfully told him my schedule over break, emphasizing the time when I would be out of the house and my dad would be home.  Paul insisted on hanging out with me at all those times so we split the Thanksgiving holiday between our houses, and I spent a late night at Paul's house on Thanksgiving.  Surprisingly, my parents didn't care I was out so late... they must have realized we were getting so serious. 

Saturday morning rolled around and I was a nervous wreck having my family and Paul's family meeting over breakfast.  I didn't know what to wear... when I picked out a sweater and dress pants, my sister asked, "is that what you're going to wear?  Don't you have anything cuter?"  Ahhhhhh.... I'm nervous enough... leave my outfit alone.  As my family got into our car to head to the restaurant, my mom casually brings the video camera with her.  My mom was crazy about video taping things and making our friends watch embarassing figure skating videos.  "Mom. You are NOT video taping this meal." My mom just shrugged and said, "Oh, Betsy, relax."  I looked at my sister for some back up and she just said, "You know mom.  Just let her bring the video camera."  Geesh... Katie was surely not helping me out.

We got to the restaurant and we all said polite hellos.  Paul looked like he was going to throw up.  All through the meal he barely ate his food and was soooo quiet.  There was only one thing going on here.... He wanted to break up... His family hated my family.... He is so going to dump me after we eat breakfast.  See look... he's backing up out of his chair... oh gosh.... he's going to say something...... "Well, it's been a long time coming," holy cow, he's going to dump me right here in front of my family! "but I'm glad that we are all here together." oh no, he's getting choked up... I'm going to hold his hand under the table and give him some support even though he's breaking up with me... wait...a...minute...... what is that in his hands???? that feels like a small suede box..... I'm not even listening to what he's saying.... he's pushing his chair back! and getting down. on. one. knee!!!!!!! "Betsy, will you marry me?!"

Apparently after our late night together on Thanksgiving, Paul work up early and met with my parents while I was still asleep in bed!!!!  What a little stinker.  I had no idea it was coming (since I thought he was breaking up with me) because I was waiting for him to ask my dad.  My mom got some of it on video and I am so mad I wore such a dumb looking sweater.  Turns out my sister ALWAYS has my back.

I obviously said "YES!" and we were married 13 months later on December 29th, 2001.

Today marks TEN years as a married couple. I am often amazed that I married Paul Paul Meyer.  I am thankful that we have shared so many memories together, not only as a couple, but as goofy high schoolers.  And I am thrilled that I need not worry about what Paul will think of me when I am wrinkly and gray.... he loved me when I had braces and a perm.

Happy Anniversary, Paul!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Workout Update

Hey look at me... I am in ohio, visiting my sister and I have time to write! So it is about time to post some of my workout results. Weight loss: lameness. I have only lost two pounds. I am finally focusing on my diet and what I am putting into my body. I am confident that we will soon see some changes on at scale, because..... Inches Lost: TWENTY INCHES LOST!!!!! I have lost four full inches from my waist, and inch on each bicep, two inches on my hips, and an inch on each thigh, plus a few more here and there. It is awesome to see my body respond in a good way to all the hard work I am putting in at the gym. If you have been pregnant, you know the feeling of "holy that MY body?!" well, I have started thinking that thought again, but in a good way. I am by no means "skinny" or even near my goals, but the changes are happening and it feels good. Self-esteem: almost more importantly than anything else, I am most pleased with the increase in my self-esteem. I have completed fitness activities that I did not think I could do. I have made huge improvements on those activities and because of those successes I have found that I am much more confident in what I am capable of. I still give my trainer a dirty look when she tells me to run on the treadmill at the speed of 7 and an incline of 6.5... But I get on that treadmill and do it. I can lift more weight, hold a plank a full minute longer than when I started, and burpies aren't quite as horrible as before. It feels so good to feel stronger, and so good to be able to post that I AM STRONGER. Again, I am not claiming Superwoman status, but I am claiming to be on my way to SuperMe status.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

WEEK TWO: Another spare moment

***I started this blog yesterday, but didn't have time to finish... it's now 24 hours later, and I'm hoping to get it completed***

Merry Christmas, everyone!  I am officially thrilled that this holiday went smoothly at our house but am equally thrilled that it's over.  Now I just need to get through an Anniversary, New Year's Eve, and Valentine's Day and all the obvious "Day To Spend With Your Husband" celebrations will be over.  One down, three to go.  I'm hoping this one will be the most difficult for the following reasons:

Anniversary (this will be second-most-difficult): On our tenth anniversary, I will be hanging out with my sister, brother-in-law, and brand-new niece.  I bet it will be sweet and cuddley and that will make me happy!

New Year's Eve: I have pretty much always hated New Year's Eve.  I always wanted a movie-like New Year's Eve and it has NEVER happened.  Once, in college, we went out to a bar that had a huge cover charge and was trying to be "fancy".... we were downstairs and heard the countdown start upstairs so we tried to run upstairs for the big moment, but missed it.... by the time we got upstairs we realized they were counting down downstairs and we managed to miss that one too.  (What establishment hosts a fancy New Year's Eve party and doesn't coordinate the countdown?!  Who manages to miss both?!)  My best New Year's Eve was '05-'06... Paul and I at a friend's house, playing cards, toasting to "a baby in the New Year" (for them, not us) and we both ended up with new babies by the next New Year's!  So.... I don't think this year's will be too difficult, except for the moment of the kiss... but I've been missing kisses for 2 weeks, so that's nothing new.

Valentine's Day:  I'm also not a big fan of this "holiday" but still, to have Valentine's Day without the hubster will make it a little less exciting.  However.... I will either be celebrating with my Spouse Club for our half-way party OR visiting besties in VA that weekend.  Either will be exceptional.

So... now that the presents are opened and Santa is resting, I too can rest in the fact that I made it through Christmas without my favorite guy.

Below... if I can get it to work.... is a link to a bit of a video from Week Two that will be heading out to the boat in a few days.  Hopefully a weekly video will help Paul from feeling out of the loop. (It's 10 minutes long... which is long when we aren't your family... and you can hear me sing "Happy Birthday" which isn't very in-tune... but it's really for Paul and he's okay with a long video of bad singing.)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Week One: I found a spare minute

Week One is complete.  We have survived.  It's been extremely busy, but we have managed.
The kids waiting for Santa on the firetruck.

We spent Tuesday evening with friends on base and enjoyed seeing Santa touring the neghborhood in a firetruck.  I mean really... Santa AND a firetruck?!  That's pretty much the best thing ever for my kids! The evening was a huge success in distracting us from Paul's ovbvious absense.

Wednesday was a busy day of Christmas singing at the kids' pre-school classes.  They had a great time and were excited by a surprise visit from Santa (again) after the singing was sung. Wednesday afternoon added a little more excitement with their last gymnastics class before the holiday break.  Matthew mastered some flips on the rings and he was thrilled with that.

Grace's class
(She's in the white dress - on the left)
Thursday we had a special playdate with Grace's favorite friend from school.  Apparently the playdate was just too much fun and it wore out all their good behavior.  Thursday night was a challenge with over-tired kids riding high on emotions, probably from saying good-bye to Dad and seeing Santa two days in a row. The worst of the week came on Thursday evening.... Grace had been complaining that her tummy ached for a little while.  She finally came up to me and said, "It's not my tummy Mom... it's my heart.  I miss daddy!" OH, GOODNESS ME.  How could she come up with that?!  Broke my heart.  I offered her a hug and as soon as she was cuddle up in my arms she completely burst into tears.  "I miss him because I love him." Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh.  Matthew came over and rubbed her back with me.  I cried a little too.  Fearing that we would all be puddles of tears and runny noses if I didn't do something quickly, I mentioned to them that when Daddy comes home we will meet him when he lands his plane (either one he is flying or one he is flying in with the rest of the squadron) and we get to run out to him and give him the biggest bestest hug we have ever given him.  Two sweet little faces looked up at me with big bright eyes.  Matthew was smiling the biggest smile and Grace (a little worrier) asked, "What if we aren't at the airport when he lands his plane?"  I couldn't help but laugh and promised her we would SO be there.

Friday was a decent day and ended with a fun Pity Party with the other Spouse Club wives.  My scheduled sitter was unable to come over as planned after her son had to go to the doctor and was diagnosed with croup (Booooo)... so about 4 hours before the party started, I was looking for a sitter.  Talk about Navy wives stepping up and offering babysitter numbers of even offering to babysit themselves.  THANK YOU!  I had a good time visiting with the other wives and even starting to plan our Halfway Party.  You know it's a "short" deployment when you start talking about the Halfway Party at the Pity Party.

Standing like flamingos.
I was incredibly not looking forward to the first weekend without Paul.  The weekdays are one thing; Paul's usually at work all day long; often has night flights.  It's not entirely odd for us to go a few days without him home except for sleeping.  But the weekends are another story entirely.  That is our family time.  That is my alone time.  That is my catch-up on chores, errands, running around time.  No such luck without Paul Meyer.  So I decided we were going to start the weekend off right... we headed over to Eggs N Things for breakfast (the kids devoured their breakfast which is an added bonus).  Then I took them up to the Santa Barbara Zoo.  I had heard so many good things about the zoo, particularly that it is a great one for small kids and it is!  We had a great time.  Membership purchased!  By the time we came home it was naptime for Sam, followed by a little playtime and dinner, etc.

Sam trying to climb the sledding hill.
Today was church and I was so entirely greatful.  The kids enjoy time spent in the nursery/preschool class, and I get to spend sometime getting my mind focused on what/who it needs to be focused on.  I am blessed with an awesome church that has shown great support to Paul and I in the past few weeks, as well as great friendship in general no matter a looming deployment or not.  We came home, Sam napped, the big kids and I worked hard on cleaning up and folding laundry so we could play outside after Sam woke up.  Their behavior was awesome, so we headed out in the trusty Odyssey to see some Christmas lights.  It was a great end of Week One.

My house is a mess right now.  There is stuff - laundry piles, throw pillows, shoes, dolls - everywhere.  But I just can't do it all and I'm going to let it go tonight.  I got to write and that feels good. I will clean it up tomorrow and late tomorrow night by dad will be here!  Hooray for Big Al's visit!  Weeks Two-Five are going to be soooo fun.

P.S.  Come back tomorrow for an update on my workout results!

WEEK ONE: a quick review

THIS IS WAAAAAAAAY BUSIER THAN I ANTICIPATED!!!!!!!  Thought about blogging every single night... never got to it.  More later. Maybe.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Let the countdown begin!

(An old photo of USS Abe Lincoln)
See the funny propellor on the left side of the bridge? That's the E2-C
This morning at 7am we said our 'good byes' to Paul.  The morning was hands-down the most difficult morning I have ever had.  It is one thing for a husband and wife to say good bye and it is an entirely different thing for a dad and kids to say good bye.  The emotions for Paul and I were definitely running high; there was sadness and there was overwhelming love.  The kids handled it well since they didn't really understand what our good byes were for.  Matthew and Grace knew Mommy and Daddy were feeling sad, but Matthew just tried to be goofy (the people pleaser) and Grace was just quiet (the non-emotional one).  Sam just played football.  I'm sure in the next few weeks, particularly after Christmas, they will realize that Paul isn't home yet and perhaps that is when they will begin to understand what "deployment" means.

While we got ready for school, I vascilated between weepy and okay.  Grace's teacher gave me a hug and I turned to a pile of mush.  I got to the gym and forced myself to run a mile and started to feel a lot better.  Luckily today was a training day with Steph and she had planned a heavy workout.  For one hour I focused on making my body do what Steph told me I had to do.  There is such relief in spending time with my brain turned off and pushing my little muscles to do more than they want to do.  By the end of the hour, I felt pretty wiped out with not much more energy to give to weepiness.  But then, I talked to my mom, and then there were a few more tears.  Eventually, the kids were home from school, lunch had been eaten, Sam was down for a nap, and I could take a nice long shower.  I took a short nap  and woke up feeling like a million bucks.

Monday nights are Small Group nights, so fortunately I had a babysitter lined up and was able to take a few hours with some wonderful friends from church.  When you can't be with your hubby, it is pretty darn good to be with good friends.  We even blew off doing the Bible study and played board games!  When you can't be with your hubby, it is really darn good to be with good friends and board games! I tucked the kids into bed when I came home, emailed a "good night" to Paul (who did indeed make it safely onboard earlier today) and now have an hour or so to relax. Not a bad ending to a not-so-happy day.

I am feeling relatively confident in our family's ability to make it through this deployment with a minimal amount of tears and stress and frustration.  (Knock on wood.) Paul and I have done quite a bit of prep work in getting ourselves "set up for success" and our expectations managed.

Our Deployment Survival Kit:
X Arm pillow for Betsy (picture will be posted on Friday)
X Build-a-Bears with Daddy's voice message for each kiddo (thanks for the idea, Ash!)
X A t-shirt of Paul's for each kid to snuggle with at night
X Jar o'Kisses from Daddy for each kid each night
X Pictures of all of each of us with Paul (for us and for him)
X Digital photo frame loaded with photos for Paul
X Envelopes/paper and color-coded stickers so the kids will see the sticker and know it's a card from Daddy for them.
X Lots of videos of Daddy reading nighttime books to the kids
X New camera for Mommy to take video of kids for Daddy (Merry Christmas, me!)

Deployment Expectations:
We will email every day assuming the email is up and running on the ship.
We will Skype when Paul is in port.
We will get a handwritten note from Paul (hopefully once a month - Paul, are you reading this?!) hee hee.
We will send mail to Paul every week... hopefully the aircraft carrier made a weight allowance for lots of finger-paintings and such from the Meyer kids.

....only 142 days left!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A little juxtaposition.....

(Tonight's is a deployment post, tomorrow's will be also - I'm sure, then we'll get back to normal life.)


  [juhk-stuh-puh-zish-uhn]  Show IPA
an act or instance of placing close together or side by side,especially for comparison or contrast.
the state of being close together or side by side.

My husband leaves, signaling the beginning of the end of his deployment.
My husband leaves, signaling the beginning of the end of my friend's husband's deployment.

Butterflies in my stomach thinking about him leaving. 
Butterfies in my stomach thinking about him coming home.

Not wanting to fall asleep on the night before deployment.
Not being able to fall asleep on the night before homecoming.

The clock ticking by too quickly during our last hours together.
The clock ticking by much too slowly during the last hours apart.

Wondering how I'm going to make it through the months without him.
Wondering how I DID make it through the months without him. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

***The randomness of the writing will be off-set by random pictures taken in the past few weeks while we've been savoring some Daddy Time***
Generally when I sit down to write, I think I have something to say or a point to make.  Tonight I am sitting down to get my emotions out so I can hopefully lessen the queasy feeling in my stomach.

Sam's expression sums up how I feel.
(He was fearing Santa in this photo)
Paul leaves for deployment on Monday morning.  It is Saturday night. We have all day tomorrow, tomorrow night, and then "good byes" the next morning.  He is currently upstairs with the three kids doing bath/books/bed time; I've passed this job on to him for the last week or so saying A.) he needs to get as many chances to tuck them into bed as he can, and B.) I desperately want a break before I am on full-time.  So while he is juggling two in the bathtub and one in the shower, I'm going to take a moment and try to get my head on straight.  

First and foremost, I need to write a disclaimer.... We are facing a 4 1/2 monther.  In Navy standards that is short, short, short.  I have several friends who have completed or are currently completing year-long IA deployments, a friend whose husband was on the ground in Afghanistan and participated in gun fights that were acknowledged on CNN. I have friends who had babies while their husbands were gone (one will be doing so during this cruise), a friend who solo-parented twins and kept down a full-time job, etc., etc., etc.  This deployment is not a WORST.  I do not think I'll be dealing with the WORST.  But, it is 4 1/2 months without my husband, and so..... I will write about it.

Matthew is Paul's biggest fan.
Today was kind of a weird day.  I didn't really know what I wanted to do..... should I hang out with my husband like I'm glued to his hip since I won't get to do that for awhile?  Should I hang out by myself all alone with no kids talking to me non-stop, since I won't get to do that for awhile?  Should I insist we get stuff done around the house since I have someone who can help me and I won't have that for awhile?  Should we go on a date?  Should we hang out as a family? Can I just sit here and stare into space?  Well, I guess thinking back on the day we did just about all of that... although, the "date" was the two of us on the couch watching Navy BEAT ARMY(!) while Sam napped, and Grace and Matthew miraculously played together really nicely for an hour or so.  (They were playing with Christmas ornaments off the tree which is not allowed, but who can blame us for letting that go when a 5 & almost-4-year-old are playing nicely together?! In the other room?!)

Getting in the Christmas spirit and
decorating the tree.
I kept asking Paul what he wanted to do, anything special? wanna eat something in particular? go somwhere? He just said, "Uh, nah." Hmmmmmm.  That is my non-dramatic husband for ya!  I would certainly make everything a big huge hairy deal if I were heading off to a metally, gray, cold aircraft carrier for four months.  But that's just me.  The good thing is that when he comes home and I try to make everything into a big, huge, hairy, perfect deal for his homecoming he won't be disappointed if anything isn't quite right.  He's my calm Mr. Steady. And oh, am I going to miss him!

The thing is, during the build-up to deployment I was worried about how I would wrangle three youngish kids on my own.  I know it won't be easy by any stretch of the imagination, but I do know I can do it.  The thing that gives me that pit in my stomach is knowing that I won't get to share the moments with Paul.  I love love love him. (Which is really good, because we are married married married.)  We have had a bumpy patch or two in the past few years, nothing big, just normal-two-people-married-living-in-the-same-space-trying-to-raise-three-kids-yet-maintain-some-sort-of-individuality-yet-being-married thing. But we have sorted that out and I feel like the last few months have been so fabulous.  We've been on the same page, on the same team.  I just don't want him to go.  C'mon, really?! Do you HAVE to get on that boat????  I guess it's better than him getting court marshalled for going AWOL.  Which would probably lead to him getting kicked out of the Navy, which would definitely mean we would get kicked out of military housing, which would probably mean we would move somewhere else, and if you ask me pretty much NOWHERE is as pretty as here.  I would have to go get a job, the kids would have to go to daycare.... yeah, he should just go on deployment.

Feeling sleepy after dad came home
from work on Friday.

And speaking of "you should go on deployment" I can't really say this is a surprise..... You joined the Navy, go on a boat! Surprise!  We (yes, I mean "we," as in Paul and I) did make the choice for him to apply to become a department head which we knew would mean a deployment or two.  So, there really is nothing to complain about.... other that my husband not being home, not giving me hugs and kisses, not watching the kids learn new things, not spend time with our friends, not open Christmas gifts, not celebrate our anniversary with me, not take me on a date of Valentine's day, not drink green beer on St. Patrick's day, not help with the mess of dying Easter eggs with three kids.  Really.  It's fine.  NO IT'S NOT!

Whew. It's like a tennis match in my head.

Okay, but seriously, if this lifestyle is really so tough then why do I do it?  I've seen this answered many times, especially recently, on different articles and blogs.  But it all comes down to the fact that I wouldn't do this for anyone except Paul.  I love him more than dearly.... he is my very very best friend, and has been for a long long time.  The love I have for him when he is home, is a million times stronger than the loneliness when he is away.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Two Lucky Babies and Two Amazing Moms

Back to blogging.  It's been a few weeks since my last post.  I didn't really know what was worth writing about after my last post, and then life got busy and I just didn't find the time to write.  I'm back now.

I've been thinking a lot about MOMMIES lately.  Two short days ago, my sister had her first child, a darling darling little girl.  Two short weeks ago, my closest friend had her third child and asked my husband and I to be Godparents to their sweet baby boy.  What a joy to welcome these two precious babies into the world!  Unfortunately, I'm only able to "welcome" the two new bundles with flowers via FTD, phone calls, and texts.  My heart is sad that I cannot be there in person, but I know that my friend and sister know I would be there if I could.  We are family.

My sister and I have had a close relationship for as long as I can remember.  Sure, we had our fights and arguments; she drove me  up the wall a few times (of course, I'm sure I never drove her up the wall).  But we have never really had a rocky patch of any significance.  K and I are only 19 months apart; she being the older, yet shorter, sister.  For my entire life, I have had a best friend.  What a comfort to have her next to me on the school bus in grade school, across the ice during kicklines in ice shows, behind home plate while standing on the pitcher's mound, somewhere in the building during the drama of high school.  She's always had my back, including yelling at an ex-boyfriend of mine... who later became my husband! She was my maid of honor and the first extended-family member to meet my first baby.  She is everything a big sister is supposed be.  They say you can choose your friends but not your family.... I'm sure I would have chosen her anyway.

My friend, M, and I are not family by blood or marriage.  We are family by Navy.  Our history doesn't go way way back, but starts in 2005.  At the time we met, P was finishing up his first deployment and M's husband had joined our squadron.  We chatted it up the first time we met and I remember thinking, "she seems cool." (It was "buddy at first sight.") Over the next few months, we hung out with each other often and bonded over Spouse Club meetings/silliness/drama/wine. Our friendship grew even closer when we ended up pregnant just one month apart from eachother and our husbands left on deployment when I was about 8 weeks along and M was... well, she found out the morning the guys left.  Anyone lucky enough to have a best friend by their side and go through a pregnancy and a deployment at the same time and live about 5 blocks away from each other... wait, has anyone else experienced this?!... knows that God could not have blessed us more.  We both lost our highly-functioning brains at the same time and enjoyed those incredibley dumb moments together.  We missed our husbands together and planned theme parties to distract us.  We may not really be "family," but in the military-spouse world the difference between family and friend tends to blur.  She too is everything a sister should be.

So, my niece and godson were born just two weeks apart.  They both get to be surrounded by the love of an amazing woman.  They will grow up with a Momma who is strong, intelligent, opinionated, funny, loving, kind, caring, amazing.  I know those babies are going to grow up to be strong, intelligent, opinionated, funny, loving, kind, caring, amazing people.  I look forward to watching these tiny (and not-so-tiny-but-very-very-handsome) babies grow up and learn from my sister and "sister."  I wonder what the relationship between the children and moms will look like; I am confident they will be awe-inspiring.  I'm sure there will be trying times, but knowing the K & M like I do, I know they will sail through those storms with wisdom and genuine selflessness.  Motherhood is a challenge like no other, but there is no doubt my two best friends are going to succeed.  I am blessed to know these two incredible women.