Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Up Next on the Home Front

God has crazy timing. And I mean crazy.

Three weeks ago as Jake was making his way back into the country from Kyrgyzstan, he called me from Ireland. He was stuck on a layover through the night, and would be arriving back in the USA sometime early morning on Friday.

A year I had waited for that moment to hear his voice from American soil again. Oddly enough, on this very same day, as I am awaiting his arrival into this beautiful country, I was contacted, seemingly out of the blue, by an attorney.

This attorney was a gal we had been in contact with during Asher’s adoption, and I had not really had any contact with her since then. And then, BING, she contacted me. Her words were simple, direct. She was to meet with an expectant mom on Tuesday, and, was our family interested in having our profile presented to her?

Um, yes!?

I had one weekend to whip my house into shape before my husband was coming home. The same house that I had barely kept manageable for an entire year….and was going to polish from top to bottom in one weekend was now being pushed to the back burner. I had a profile…essentially a scrapbook portraying who we are…to whip up!

I gathered together the paper supplies I had purchased two years ago when we were thinking about updating our profile. I found the book where I was going to lay it all out in. I scrambled to find the most appropriate and attractive (read: no double chin shots) photos of our family, and ended up making several trips to WalMart’s One Hour photo after making numerous orders.

I fretted and worried about what I was saying, and what photos I was choosing. My mom reminded me not to overthink it. It was “us” and whatever we said, whatever pictures I chose, would be the “right” ones.

I finished the 12 page profile, made a few color copies of it, and got it to the attorney at about 2:00 PM on Tuesday…with two hours to spare before she was meeting with the expectant mom. Nothing like sliding in under the wire!

Tuesday was also the day we got the official confirmation of my husband’s homecoming…in 48 hours, a week after the initial contact from the attorney, I would be in Jake’s arms.

Of course, the night before Jake’s homecoming I should have been putting away laundry, cleaning my floors, or doing something constructive at home. Instead, I was getting a manicure/pedicure. I needed to feel pretty, and, well, vacuuming wasn’t going to help my self-esteem.

After some fabulous pampering at the spa, I got into my car. I hadn’t pulled out of the parking lot when my phone rang. The attorney’s number flashed onto my caller ID. A cool sense of peace washed over me. “Whatever she says,” I told myself, “is fine. Stay cool.”

I was cool. I was staying cool. I was fine even when she said the words…

“She picked you.”

Woah...wait a minute...what?! She PICKED us?! She picked US?!

"She's due...in late October....with a little GIRL!"

A GIRL!!!!!!!!!

I got some details from the attorney, and finished up the conversation with her...knowing what lay ahead. In less than 24 hours my husband was coming home...but I just HAD to call him and tell him the news.

Welcome home...and you're going to be the daddy of a little girl...in 3 months time! Talk about homecoming and readjustment! WOAH.

When I called Jake, the first words out of his mouth, after a half-choke, half laugh...were, "Uhhh.....uhhh.....a girl!?" Then more giggles....followed by, "Uhhhh....uhh....hairbows...and...uhhhh bobbypins! And....uh....I'm gonna have to remember to wipe front to back....ughhhh..." More nervous/excited giggles. "A girl?!"

This is the man who will be THE perfect daddy for a little girl...so perfect because she will be wrapped around his finger...and the "front line" in his future will be to NOT be hiding in the bushes with his teeth camoflauged the first time her prom date comes to pick her up. LORD, help us all.

So, the night before my husband was coming home...when I was already excited out of my mind, and now we've just been delivered the ridiculously exciting news that we're going to be parents again! How was I to sleep?! My day had gone from pretty amazing to tremendously surreal in about two seconds. Thank goodness for a nice big glass of wine, or I may not have gotten any shut-eye!

On Thursday we drove to Boone, Iowa, and after much waiting, were happily reunited with our favorite soldier. After the long, tiring day, we arrived home around 6:00 PM. And just a quick 16 hours after that, we were driving to the attorney's office to meet up with "A," the expectant mom who had picked us to someday, hopefully, be the parents of her baby girl. When the attorney said "A" was interested in meeting us in real life, I asked if Friday would be too soon. The attorney said, "I don't think soon would be soon enough for her. She's very excited to meet you." So, there we were.

When we arrived at the office, the attorney had not yet arrived. We took a seat in the waiting area, and shortly thereafter, from around the corner, "she" came. Skinny arms and legs, and a basketball belly. "A" saw us....and she put her hands to her face and said, "Ohmygoodness!" and began to cry. She walked toward us with her arms wide, wishing for a hug....and we walked into her open arms and embraced.

And so, the adventures for our family never end. We go from one chapter to the next, seemingly without a breath. But so it goes. And so it goes.

That weekend, I saw these and I just couldn't pass them up. Every girl needs a pair of ruby red slippers, and no one is too old to remember that there's no place like home.

"There's no place like home...there's no place like home. "


Thursday, July 14, 2011


Irony at it's finest.

All year I've waited to receive a letter from my beloved in Afghanistan.

Today, 3 cards arrived in the mail.

And he's standing in our living room.


Best line from today?
As the group of soldiers stood at attention with a huge flag draped from ceiling to gymnasium floor, Asher said, "That's my daddy?" And we said, "Yes...that's your daddy." and he said, "That's a lot of daddies!" Yes, and mommies, too.

Welcome home HHC 2/34 ID.


Offical Jellybean Countdown: ZERO!

Today's the day!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Something STINKS!

The smell of rotting animal was emanating from my dryer.

Oh yes. As if I could put up with one more small, dead animal during this deployment, this was, as they say, the "icing on the cake."

I don't go down in the basement often. Jake's Man Cave is down there...and, it's a bit lonely to hang out in that space without him. Additionally, the couches have been covered with clean but unfolded laundry for....pretty much the entire deployment. The washer and dryer reside in the basement, so, again, I try to spend as little time down there as possible!

Upon emptying the dehumidifier the other day, a sickingly nasty smell wafted past my nostrils. Having a pretty good sniffer, I smelled around for the offending odor. The inside of the dryer was definitely malodorous.

This was not exactly a surprise. Last weekend, as I moved a load of laundry from the washer to the dryer, the dryer "died" as I tried to turn it on. There was a big "thunk" noise as I attempted to start it, and then it made a buzz/click noise like an engine that won't start. I took the load of wet laundry and dried it at my sister's house, thinking I was dealing with a dead dryer on a holiday weekend.

On Tuesday morning, I went back to the basement to try the start button again so I'd know how to explain the buzz/click noise to the dryer repairman. I was determined to fix the machine rather than go out and buy a new appliance. When I turned the button on, miraculously the dryer started. Problem solved! Or so I thought...

A few days later, the smell began. Ever the "hometown hero" poised to rescue me at a moments notice, was my fearless Dad. He descended, plugged in the wet/dry vac, and set to solving my problem. He fished the hose around inside of the dryer vent, but found nothing but lint. "Sorry, Em, there was nothing in there," he told me.

This weekend, the smell was overwhelming. I was CERTAIN there was something dead, and definitely rotten...rotting IN my dryer. EW.

So, again, I made the phone call - calling in the fearless reinforcements....this time Dad and brother Dylan. Armed with flashlights, tools, and a wet dry vac...they went in. Clanging, banging, suctioning, pounding....they were certain to find the cause this time!

As I was pulling weeds outside of the house, I heard....yelling? Screaming? Not uncommon with my family...but this was more of a "OhmygoshthatstotallygrossIcantbelieveyoujustpulledsomethingsodisgustingfrommysistersdryerdadwithawetdryvacewwwwww!"
16 year old teenage boy scream.


Dylan emerges from the depths. "Oh my gosh, Dad just got something...I don't know if it's a rat...or a bird...but... UGH. Give me some gloves."


Of course I was not going anywhere NEAR the basement, hence the hilarity of this ridiculously raunchy situation. I handed my brother the pink gardening gloves, and a few minutes later he emerged again....claiming it was a tiny, decomposing "Chip and Dale Rescue Ranger" chipmunk.

Such a tiny thing emanating such STINK!

Phew. Problem solved. Again. Such hometown heroes have I, in my fear(less?) Daddy and brother.

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for rescuing me (again!)