Monday, November 29, 2010

I request a recount.

I request a recount, folks.

As much as I hate to say it, the jellybean jar has fallen a little bit by the wayside.

Let's just say Asher got a little bit obsessed for awhile.

The jellybean jar had to go out of sight.

And out of sight turned sometimes into out of mind...and well, somedays we ate no jellybeans, and somedays Asher got to eat 3. Or 5.

So, tonight was recount night. Ironically enough, today is 4 months to the day that Jake started on his official deployment orders. He's been gone for about 5 and a half months, though, with his pre-deployment training, but 4 months ago was the official start date of the jellybean jar. Essentially, we can look at today as 1/3 of this deployment down, 2/3 to go....and that looks pretty awesome, even from someone who hates fractions!

Tonight after I put Asher to bed, I recounted. We actually started with 400 in the jar, because although I prefer to believe Jake will only be gone for 365 days, his orders are for no more than 400. So, 4 months worth of days = 125 days of missing our Jake. And 400-125 days down=275 days to go.

Here's a look at the two jellybean jars side by side, the day before Jake left.

And here's what we're looking at tackling beginning on December 1.
Not too shabby, eh?
Let's do this.


Writing on the Wall

Somedays you just have to take the time to stop and smell the roses.

Or read the writing on the wall, as it were.

Today I stopped by my mother in law Chris' office to drop something off...I can't really tell you what it is at this point...because it's a surprise for Jake!

Anyway, as we were catching up, she pulled a frame from next to her desk and said she wanted me to have something.

My father in law Hugh was deployed to Iraq about 3 years ago. While he was away, one of Chris' coworker friends cross-stitched her a very special reminder that she hung on her wall at home. I have often seen it, hanging in their home, but have never taken the time to read it. Chris said it was something she looked at often to gather strength, and so, now that I am in the midst of our second deployment, she wanted to pass it along to me.

It says:

Give me greatness of heart to see,

The difference between duty & his love for me.

Give me understanding so that I may know,

When duty calls him, he must go.

Give me a task to do each day

To fill the time when he's away.

When he's in a foreign land,

Keep him safe in your loving hand.

And Lord, when duty is in the field,

Please protect him and be his shield.

And Lord, when deployment is so long,

Please stay with me and keep me strong.

She's a pretty wise and wonderful woman...and, she has a pretty fantastic and spectacularly handsome son...don't ya think?

I can't wait to put a new nail in my wall. I have the perfect place for it. Right across from my beautiful Christmas tree!


Sunday, November 28, 2010


Today, Erin & Justin stopped by to borrow Jake's truck.

Erin, of course, wanted to know how introduction to the tree went with Asher.

When his attention was brought to it, he decided he was really interested and wanted to go and touch it.

In an attempt to keep Asher out of trouble, Erin quickly said, "Don't touch Asher....just use your eyes...."

So what does the 2.5 year old do?!

He puts his EYE on the Christmas bulb.

Hey. At least he followed directions!

Now, instead of bothering the decorations on the tree, he just continues to walk up to it & stick his eyeballs into the glittery bulbs and bows.

Dear God, thank you for this beautiful, wonderful boy.



I was reminded (and justly so) that I had not updated my contribution to this blog for quite some time and there were a few questions that needed answering.

In light of the recent holiday, Thanksgiving, I felt I should share what my Thanksgiving experience was. Thursday morning started like any other day, here there isn't really much difference in what day it is, but what work has to be done. There are no days off, no weekends, just slow downs in work. The first meal I had was lunch at one of our "fine" dinning establishments. I had roast beef (a little dry but not bad), some corn and some stuffing. The stuffing was actually pretty good and not too soft or soggy. The interesting meal, however, was dinner.

Our brigade S-3 (Operations and Training officer, a Liuetenant Colonel) purchased a meal for almost the entire S-3 section...about 30 or so people in all. We had a very traditional Afghan meal, consisting of 4 different dishes. First was the rice dish. It is a long grain rice, that is cooked to be a little hard at time of service. Mixed in it are raisins, carrots (finely shredded) and several other ingredients that I can't really identify - but makes the dish very tasty! They also cooked lamb parts in with the rice to give it an added flavor.

Second dish was something that my Dad's side of the family would readily identify as my Omi's goulash. My Omi's goulash is is a stew like dish that contains potatoes, beef, onions, dough dumplings, AWESOMENESS and some broth and different flavorings (still don't have the recipe - need to work on that!). The difference in the dish that I had on Thanksgiving was that there were no dumplings or onions...but the taste was almost exactly the same! It definitely brought back some very vivid memories from my childhood, early adulthood...heck every "hood" from the time I was born to now!

The third dish was a kabob... the kabob's here are bits of cooked lamb or goat meat and bits of cooked fat wrapped in na'an (local flat bread) that is cooked over an open flame on a grill-like surface. It is very good, however I need to usually take out the fat bits just because of the pallet difference between our culture and the Afghan's.

The last dish was the bread... which seriously is a meal in and of itself. The bread is unleavened and tastes amazing... especially when it is warm and fresh!

Another experience Emily asked me to share with you all was the experience of Mass. As many of you know, going to church is a very integral part of our family life. The chapel here is called the Enduring Faith Chapel - which accommodates all denominations of faiths, except Islam (Muslim soldiers have their own worship space on Bagram). The chapel is very simple, with a lot of available seating. When you first enter the worship space (there is a very small entry way prior) you walk into a wide, but relatively shallow room. There are maybe 15 rows of seating in the main area, with wooden chairs surrounding that to complete a horseshoe like seating area. They have all he modern audio/video equipment for choirs, cantors, lectors and the presiding officials. There is a small area in the back, right behind the alter, where the priest and the chaplain assistant (a soldier whose sole responsibility is to take care of the chaplain, prepare for services and act as the chaplain's bodyguard because chaplains are not allowed to carry weapons) can prepare for Mass or whatever service is being performed. The Mass is usually kept well under an hour, no need for long pauses for greetings or exchanges of the sign of piece (there are usually somewhere around 30 - 35 people in Mass) so things tend to move along quickly. All in all, it is a very good opportunity to recharge and refocus while I am here.

I hope I have given you an idea of what my holiday (I forgot to mention that I did get to watch some pretty good football!) was like and answered some of your questions. If anyone has any questions throughout this journey, please feel free to ask - it gives me something to write about!!!

Love you all and again, to Erin and Jodi you guys are awesome and thank you for ambushing Emily and getting her back into the holiday spirit!! See you all very soon!


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Christmas Intervention: Ambushed

It's been a little difficult to get into the Christmas spirit this year. I know we just passed Thanksgiving, but I always enjoy listening to Christmas music and decorating with Advent and Christmas decorations, and baking yummy treats. With less hours in the day to do that, it seemed an impossible task. Additionally, Asher and a tree were just not a mix I could see working. 3 minutes at my parents' house while decorating their tree proved disastrous....Asher had a bulb broken! I had resolved to not put up a tree.

My dear friend Jodi had been asking me to make plans with her for Saturday, and I kept pouting and brushing her off. With no plans for my Saturday, this morning I sent her a text saying I'd be willing to do something. She said we could go shopping around 10:30. I, ever the planner, wanted to "know the plan." She brushed me off & said we'd figure it out when she got here. I told her I didn't want her coming in my "messy house" & she said "we won't come in too far."

At a few minutes after 10 AM, just out of the shower, towel wrapped around my head and in my bathrobe, I came downstairs to check on Asher...and there is a knock at my door....

My dear friend Erin was standing on my front porch...and as I opened the door, it was too late.

I had been ambushed.

Erin & Jodi were standing on my porch. With cleaning buckets and supplies. And boxes of decorations and ornaments. And wine. And Velveeta Magic dip. SERIOUSLY. Ambushed.

The dog was barking, the kid was running around screaming, and I was not wearing any underwear. WHAT were my friends thinking?

I was certain we were still shopping. "I'm not ready to go shopping! You said 10:30!" I protested.
"We're not shopping. YOU can go shopping. We're putting up your Christmas tree & cleaning your house," they said.


My sister was in on the secret. My mom was in on the secret. Even JAKE was in on the secret. Jake can't keep secrets...and he didn't let this one out of the bag! What?!

So...they set to work. They dragged the Christmas tree out of it's dark, dirty hiding place. And began scrubbing, on their hands & knees, my dirty hardwood floors. And vacuuming. And Swiffering. And a little wine was drunk. Perhaps before Noon. I helped by sorting through toys, and cleaning, too.

But then they decided to move upstairs. If it's not embarassing enough to have your friends take over and clean your house, it's completely mortifying to have them clean your bathroom. Seriously. Look. Proof.

And they're SMILING. CRAZY.
I was SO mad at them. Check it out. My mad face.
It's also my "I didn't have time to do my hair because you showed up at my house & I almost flashed you accidentally because I'm wearing a bathrobe" face.
This was next. The tree.
See, Hawks & Cyclones (respectively) CAN get along.
Look at that teamwork.
This is the part of tree-decorating that Jake & I are usually fighting about.
Erin & Jodi yelled at each other a little just to make it realistic.
It really felt like Christmas.
Aren't they amazing?
Here you can see the bows & photo frame ornaments they made special for our special tree.
Part of my hesitation with putting up a tree this year was
A) Asher will pull it over on himself
B) All the ornaments will get broken
C) I can't handle it if A and/or B happen!

"Taken care of!" they said. "If he pulls the tree over on himself, he won't do it again."
"Asher's in the remedial stage of things right now," I protest.
"Well," they said, "If he pulls it over on himself, the ornaments won't break. We got you non-breakable balls."

How could I say no to this?! Isn't it the most beautiful tree you've ever seen?!

Our tree is covered in special moments, special people, and lots of love.

It's purple & pink & sparkly.

It's perfect. What do you think?
Again, thank you seems hardly even utterable. I just kept laughing today, otherwise I would have been crying.
I've been blessed with SUCH good friends.

I think it'll be a very Merry Christmas.


Snapping out of it...

And....deeeeeeep breath.

"The boat will not sink, and the storm will not last forever."


Today is a new day.

We will get through this.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Breaking Point

Hit the wall.

Massive meltown.

The "Ugly cry."

Whatever phrase you'd like to use for it, I am pretty much working my way through these awful stages of deployment at this time.

Life seemed to be going along fine. Not ideal, but we were doing OK. We've got many family and friends helping and willing to pitch in when and as needed. Jake and I get to communicate on a fairly frequent basis. And most days I feel blessed to have the job and house and life that I have.

Not sure what little straw broke this camel's back, but about a week ago, I received, essentially, the ever-dreaded "call to the principal's office" by Asher's daycare provider. Our adorable 2.5 year old has NOT been acting so adorable lately. Whether it was the "falling back" of daylight savings time, the turn in the weather, the "when the hell are they ever going to actually come in" 2 year molars, or just general irritability because his daddy is half a world away....Asher's got something under his skin, and he's acting out. The daycare provider wanted to be sure we were "on the same page."

Sure, I've been a mom for 2.5 years, but I've never done this before. I've never done toddler, and I've never done single parent due to deployment with toddler. Add super high energy, high maintenance, dramatic, fearless, never stops 'til he drops, all-boy all the time, and we're getting pretty close to Asher in a nutshell. There's a reason I call his daycare provider a saint. So when she called and said she was running out of ideas...and patience, I knew it was very, very bad.

I, too, have been experiencing his bad behaviors at home....and it's ever-gnawing at the back of my mind whether this is typical for a two year old or if this is due, in part, to Asher missing his daddy. The other mothers and trusted, caring friends that I've talked through this issue with, have all agreed that it's probably a little bit of everything culminating into one big 2.5 year old mess.

Add to this the fact that for at least the first year of Asher's life, I had practically zero self esteem in my parental abilities. The icky feeling of "You can't do're not good're not even a real parent, you're only playing at it" is all seeping back in again, especially at this time. I thought I had worked through all my non-mommy guilt. I thought I had reached the point where I was OK with not being Asher's biological mother; had come to peace with the fact that I was out buying a big screen TV and dishwasher when he was taking his first breaths of life. I'm not sure I have ever been actually confident in my abilities to parent him, and I never believed I could parent him on my own. But now I am...more or less, being his 100% parent, 100% of the time. Sure the grandparents, aunt & uncle love taking turns at caring for him to give me a break...but I'm still never without that responsibility that it's me and only me at this time who is "in charge." Certainly Jake offers his guidance and support via cell phone, Skype, and email conversations. But it's never quite "enough" for me to get my empty tank back up to full.

So badly behaving 2.5 year old, doubting of parental abilities, and the holidays without your best friend all culminating at once into a nasty, messy meltdown. Complete with puffy face, stuffed up nose, and can't catch your breath sobs.

Trying to get to that place in my mind where I can say "I'm going to be OK" without my partner here. Trying to believe him when he says it. But I know that if I could just have his arms to hug and reassure me, I wouldn't even need his words. It's like I've told him...."There are just some things a casserole cannot fix."


Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Partner to Stand By Me

I can't honestly say I remember the actual conversation when Jake first talked to me about joining the National Guard...but that's probably because it consisted of multiple conversations.

It was also 13 years ago!

I do, however, recall bits and pieces of it. He was telling me things like, "It's just 1 weekend a month, plus 2 weeks a year....nothing much." And i'm pretty sure it included a statement like, "And worst case scenario would be going to war, but that will like, pretty much, never happen."

We were so naive.

When we had this conversation, we had been dating less than a year, and were just 16 and 17 years old. How could we have ever known the turns that our world would have taken just a few short years later and where we would be now?

We weighed the pros and cons as teenagers in love....and ultimately Jake signed. For many years his obligation was just one weekend a month and two weeks for annual training. We attended Christmas parties and "balls." We thought we had "made it" when we lasted through basic training and AIT. Of course, in those early years, he sacrificed things like not being at my Proms and in later years my college graduation. But I know he would have been there if he could have been there.

Now it seems funny to look back, but I have been doing that a lot lately. Not in a bad way, but in a reflective, look how far we've come and grown and learned way.

I've recently shared with you two "Looking Back" blogs, but today I share a short piece I wrote in high school as part of my AP English Senior Anthology project (which, by the way, I got an A on!)

Stand By Me
written in 2000

As I was driving along one night, thinking of what on earth I could write about someone who means more than words to me, the perfect song came on the radio: "Stand By Me." All I could think about was Jake, our relationship, and how true those words were to us.

Throughout the past two and a half years together, we've been through so much. We've endured the switch to college, a long distance relationship, adn basic training. Anything that gets thrown our way, we seem to be able to handle. Childbirth and skydiving seem like cake to this relationship!

We've been through the good times and the bad times, the sick times and the healthy times. We have fun no matter what we do, whether it's sitting down at the river at our spot or just talking to each other online to cut the phone costs down. We try making the most of our time together because we realize how short life is and how important it is to not take each other for granted.

We've learned so much from each other. We've learned the art of communication, the importance of trust and respect, and what true love means. We've learned that lasting relationships are hard work and that supporting each other's activities and choices is important to us. We've learned to make sacrifices and to appreciate each other as individuals. Our relationship has taught us so much about each other, ourselves, and the world that no matter where we end up someday, we've already got a lot figured out.

Looking back at what I've written, I laugh but I also applaud. I'm proud that we had a fantastic friendship from the start, and that we realized what was important in keeping a strong bond. I laugh at how cliche I seemed and that this was before cell phones were so common, so we had to use calling cards or our parents' long distance to connect....and that I thought I knew what "tough" was when talking about all the things we had endured together. Little did I know we'd face deployments and infertility and so many other challenges that are inevitable as you progess through life in your 20's.

Now I look back at the 13 years we've been together and I think how far we've come and how blessed I am to have Jake to face this life with. While he's not always literally by my side, he is at my side in spirit. As I face the challenges of life with a VERY independent 2.5 year old, he admits that there is nothing he can do from where he is thousands of miles away to help get our son to listen or behave better, but he does have just the right words to say to help me know he supports me and loves me and that I am doing a great job (even when I feel far from it). He can't be there to put his arms around me and melt my anxieties, but he has pledged to juggle his busy life to be available to me when and if I need him. How amazing is he?!

So, today I say to my beautiful, wonderful husband "Thank you, for standing by me...It's such an honor and a blessing to stand by you."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Very Special Mail

Today, we received our first "free mail" from Afghanistan!

Asher got a postcard from Daddy! It has a helicopter and a map of Afghanistan, so we can see right where Daddy is. It has some soldiers on it, and says Operation Enduring Freedom.

One awesome thing is that Jake can mail postcards and letters for FREE! It took 11 days for the postcard to get to us.

Jake's special message to Asher included:

"I love you buddy, I can't wait to get home and play in the backyard (gotta pick up the dog poop first!), go swimming, and go to the park! I will take you and Momma where ever you want to go, so be thinking Little Man!
Love you buddy,

Friday, November 12, 2010

A typical day...

First - it is kind of weird to think that any day is typical when you are deployed. I say that because during the entire train up process you are taught to not make any day typical and to always vary your "routine" so the enemy can not develop or establish any of your routines.

However, now that I am stationed at BAF and not a forward outpost, I am afforded the luxury of "almost normal". Let me say though - despite the fact that I am stationed here I do go on mission occasionally, but not nearly as many times as my last deployment.

My "typical" day starts relatively early at about 630 or so. I get up, shower and shave and get dressed. Luckly, I don't have to try to decide what to wear by how it looks...just sometimes by how it smells!! :) When I'm dressed, I grab my weapons and walk about 200 meters to the building in which my office is. I have three different computers that I track different information on everyday. Briefings on one, regular email on another, etc...and within a short period of time I am done with most of what needs to be done for the day. I then spend the rest of my day emailing and trying to track down information. I usually go to lunch mid-morning, walk back to my office and see if anything has changed in the short time that I was eating. I watch the clock like a hawk until 4 pm when its time for me to go workout. I workout with one other guy on very regular basis and another one not so regularly...but need to improve the regularity of that one because he is the one that pushes me on cardio!

After I lift its time for dinner then back to my office to see if there is anything that I need to be aware of for the next day. Some more emails are sent and then its time that I can just kind of surf the net a little and relax before I head back to my little room to get ready to talk to Emily.

Now, some might wonder what the food is like, what the weather is like...just what's it like? Well, the food is alright most of the time (besides - one plus to living on BAF is that there is almost always ice cream available)...think of cafeteria food in a high school...before they had food courts and selections! You get what they got, but they usually have a good amount to choose from.

The weather has started to turn chilly in the mornings...BAF sits at about the same elevation as Denver, but a lot dryer and a lot more dusty...A LOT MORE DUSTY!! The dust here gets into everything...even if it is covered, put aside, inside buildings - it doesn't matter!

Usually I will go to the PX (post exchange - little store to buy stuff) every couple of days, but (now that I have bought some small items) there isn't anything in stock that I would really want/need - except the same old junk...movies no one has heard of, womens' shampoo and body wash (cuz there's 25000 male soldiers here) and such. If I do go to the PX I sometimes stop at the GreenBean coffee shop that is pretty close and grab a cup of coffee or a mocha espresso smoothie (progressive I know!).

Life here is pretty routine even though we try to do it differently everyday. There are times when I go on mission and those days a little different...mission prep, departure, completion of mission and return to base...on this forum I don't want to get to deepinto the details, but you probably get the idea!

One good thing I have seen here is the progress that the ANA has made since the last time we were here. In that time, they were very untested and a little shaky when things went they are able to just do what needs to be done, but in a manner that respects all aspects of the issue. The corruption is why less than what I remember having to deal with and it seems to be a little easier to get along with the ANA...which is huge if we are going to try to turn EVERYTHING over to them. The police are a little further behind the military - we started with the military so the police are where they need to be for the amount of time that we have been mentoring them. I think they will make it to where they need to be, but that does not necessarily mean its where we WANT them to be...different people, different culture and different long as the PEOPLE are taken care of and they understand that - this country will be ok...and so will we.

So - that is a little glimpse into the "world according to Jake." I love you all and can't wait to see all of you when I get home and I can tell you everything!!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Looking Back: My Husband's Best Veteran's Day

This post, My Husband's Best Veteran's Day, was originally written November 13, 2007. Just this year, the I-280 bridge, which connects Iowa & Illinois, was renamed after this hometown hero.

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Some family friends of ours who are involved in a local Vietnam Veterans chapter organized a "Welcome Home" party to celebrate veterans and thank them. This was the 2nd annual, and there is a great band that plays 50's & 60's songs, the Mexican American Vets Association makes amazing tacos, and it's a very fun event.

This past weekend, we had a wedding to go to first, and Jake wasn't sure we'd have time to go to the Welcome Home party because it was his early night in to work. I told him we should still go - he should change his clothes into his work clothes & we'd just take two cars. So we headed off.

This year they honored a local man who is a medal of honor recipient, Sgt. John Baker (then Pfc.). What he did was nothing short of amazing. He is a TRUE American hero. There are only a few more than 100 of these men living. Many of the recipients of the Medal of Honor are awarded posthumously.

My heart leaped out of my chest when I got to watch my husband shake hands with this man. I know how proud he was to have even met & shaken hands with him. Jake was smiling ear to ear and when we stepped away he was shaking with excitement and said he had goosebumps. A few minutes later, one of our family friends took us back over to Sgt. Baker. I watched as Jake interacted with him....and then....Sgt. Baker reached into his pocket & shook Jake's hand, and as he did so, he passed Jake one of his Medal of Honor "coins."

For those of you not in the military, here is some history. It's part of a "game" where there is always a challenge to "trump" each other's coins...coins are awarded for different reasons, but as I understand, a Medal of Honor coin "trumps" ALL. It's a huge honor to receive one of these coins, and I am not sure of this, but I believe that people like Sgt. Baker has a limited number of these coins to hand out over his lifetime. After Jake was given this coin, he was even MORE thrilled. He had to turn away because he had tears in his eyes!

What a memorable Veterans Day experience for Jake! I think I got to experience him having one of the best moments of his life!


Monday, November 8, 2010

Looking Back: What I've Got

This post, What I've Got, was originally written October 31, 2007.

I share it with you as we approach Veteran's Day this week, and also as we've just passed the date when Jake would have been released from his military duties, had he not re-enlisted. I just want to reiterate how blessed I am to have Jake in my life...and now Asher's life, too. Little did he/we know that our son would be born just 3 short months later...

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I am terrified. Terrified of losing what I’ve got.

I have many nice “things” in my life. A beautiful, brick home. A job that makes me happy. A fabulous, red vehicle that gets me where I need to go on a daily basis. Money in my bank accounts. A church where I feel at home. Food in my cupboards and in my belly.

But these things are all just THINGS. I could live with or without them. In all essence, they mean nothing to me.

Let me tell what I’ve TRULY got.

I have an amazingly loving, loyal, dedicated husband. He’s funny, faithful, and kind. He is seriously the most handsome man I’ve ever met. He loves motorcycles, martial arts, and “kill ‘em up, shoot ‘em up” movies. He’s a “boob man.” He’ll go to a movie by himself on the first day it comes out in the theater just because he loves films so much. He can’t keep surprises. He drools over gun and ammunition catalogs. He loves to watch the Bears & screams at the TV as if they can hear him critiquing their messy plays and horrible passes. He’s easily side-tracked. He loves ice cream and peanut butter, separately and together. He always stands at attention when the National Anthem plays, and he reminds people around them to take off their hats to show respect. He loves a good German beer, but a cold Bud Light will do him just fine, too. He enjoys “angry” music, but he’ll listen to country, Christian, Rock…anything he can sing along to. And he has a wonderful voice, even though he’ll deny that to his dying day. He gets super excited when I cook good food. When he especially likes the way something tastes, he’ll want you to have some, too. He doesn’t understand why people clapped for him when he walked through an airport with his uniform on because he feels he did “nothing special.” He adores dogs and babies. He can be so gentle and nurturing. His cheeks are always rosy & his long eyelashes can melt you. He’ll admittedly tell you that he can’t put an outfit together to save his life, so it’s a good thing he wears a uniform most of the time. He wants to make a difference in the world, by making himself a better person, and by helping others make better decisions. He’s passionate about what he loves. And he’d die for what he loves…his family & his country.

On top of all of that, he loves me. HE. LOVES. Me. He LOVES me just for being my rotten self. He doesn’t care that I have gained weight, or that I am neurotic about silly things, or change my hair color too much. He puts up with my messiness and my bossiness. He endures my side-seat driving and my innumerable questions. Why? Some days I still think to myself, “What have I done to deserve such an amazing man who loves me so much?”

One can only speculate. :)

I never want to lose the feeling of someone loving me unconditionally for me and all of me. I always want his hugs, his laugh, his smile, his kisses. I want his arms to hold me forever, his fingers to run through my hair, and even just his company to walk the dog or watch a movie together. I miss him when he’s not with me…even if it’s just when I go to work, or he’s out of town for a week. I feel like even when I am old & gray that I will STILL feel like I haven’t got enough time in this life to be with this man. My heart truly ached while he was overseas. My chest literally hurt with love and pain. I would not wish that hurt upon anyone…and the ache is seeping back again.

Jake will sign papers again on Friday to re-enlist.


Monday, November 1, 2010

At a loss.

I'm practically at a loss for words. Well...practically...not actually. :)

This weekend was a rough one. I don't know why it was particularly difficult, but it was like all the feelings of missing Jake were overwhelming me...sadness, anger, exhaustion all wrapped into one ugly mess.

Asher and I had a good time swimming, running errands, and celebrating Halloween, intermingled with a few "good" 2.5 year old moments. I am SO grateful to those who understand 2.5 and assist in ways that go beyond helpful in my current state of mind.

For instance, first stop Saturday morning was the bank. I had a jar full of change plus some cash that I wanted to deposit into Asher's college savings account, so we had to go inside. Asher waited somewhat patiently, but when it got to be our turn he was done for, and so the lady behind the counter offered a sucker. Thank you Lady Behind the Counter for knowing just what works!

Next stop was the post office to drop off a care package for Daddy. I had everything on the declarations ready to go, package in hand, etc. I just should have known the line would have been out the door at 10 AM on a Saturday. While trying to juggle the package, and stand in line behind 8 people, and keep a hold of Mr. 2.5, he was also finishing his sucker. It is then that I realize that he's got the sucker AND half the stick in his mouth. As I am trying to wrangle these pieces out of his mouth so as not to choke, and maintain my place in the line, I believe the glimmer of sweat forming on my brow must have caught the eye of the man who was first in line. This man I would like to call Saintly Post Office Line Jump Allower. Saintly Post Office Line Jump Allower kindly offers for me to take the next open window. I, however, realize, that this means that I will also be "cutting" in front of the four other people who remain in line waiting, too. I kindly ask if they'd be OK with me going ahead of them, and no one grumbles loud enough audibly so I say thank you thank you thank you and try not to tear up and carry the kid in one arm with the purse slung over the shoulder and the 12 pound box in the other hand. When I lay it on the counter, Juanita, Post Office worker says "How did you just carry that one handed?! That was amazing!" I just smiled and said, "I'm doing a lot of jobs one handed these days...I guess I'm just getting used to it." She graciously stamped my declarations and got that package sent on it's way to our favorite soldier. And I humbly thanked Saintly Post Office Line Jump Allower once more as he held the door for me on the way out. There ARE still good strangers out there in the world.

And those examples are just the beginning. Remember how I told you about the friend who offered to help by getting some meals made up for us? Little did I know what a task Mandy took on....She found a website called where she has arranged a schedule for meals to be brought to us every Monday and Thursday night. The response has been absolutely phenomenal. I have been overwhelmed to the point of tears at the generosity displayed by Jake's coworkers & their families, and also by book club and bible study friends who have jumped onto the "schedule," too. Warm lasagnas, tasty enchiladas, meatloaves, casseroles, soups and even delicious baked goods...better dinners than I would ever make for myself! These meals have been so invaluable to Asher & I. We get to enjoy a hot, homecooked dinner together without the stress that making it up brings. I can spend time with him - playing, reading, or giving him the attention he seeks at the end of his day. I've been so touched by these "gifts."

My dad and brother visited the other day to climb up on our treacherous roof and clean out the gutters to avoid any water problems. I hate that high roof, and they both don't get "paid enough" to take such good care of me, and yet every week they've dilligently mowed, raked, or done whatever yardwork (or take care of any other emergency issue that comes up) is necessary.

The other night I flipped on our furnace for the first time, and it wouldn't kick out the heat. I made a few phone calls and asked to make an appointment for service the next day. Instead, they came out at 10 PM and didn't charge us, just so that Asher & I wouldn't go through the night without heat.

Then today I was given a check. Some very special friends offered to pay for Jake's online services while he is overseas, so that we can be in constant communication via Skype, and most of all, so that he can see Asher and so that Asher can see his Daddy. When I opened the envelope containing the check, I was floored to see not one month, but FIVE months worth of the cost of the internet connection. What did we ever do to deserve such amazing friends and family who are so willing to take care of us and comfort us and look after us?

Like I said...I'm practically at a loss for words. But...I just had to get that all out first.