Monday, February 28, 2011

Jelly Bean Update: 152 to go!

I know. It looks like there are all but 30 left....but...there are actually 152. And, as of today, there are *hopefully* LESS than 152 days left of this deployment.
152 days until I can kiss my love again.
152 days until he can hold his little boy again.
152 days until we can sing and dance and laugh together.
152 days until we can be "normal" again.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Bedtime with Flat Daddy

Asher is usually a pretty good boy about bed time.

Sometimes, though, we need a little "reinforcement."

Daddy almost always was daddy on duty for bathtime at our house, and we often took turns at reading stories and putting the little man to bed. Sometimes I miss having Jake here to take on those responsibilities. Some nights I wish he were here so that our precious boy had his daddy to tuck him in. And sometimes I wish we could all snuggle into the race car bed and giggle and read stories together. Soon...very soon.

So, tonight, Flat Daddy made an appearance for the bedtime routine.

First there was some general silliness in the kitchen.

"You can't see us...we're camouflage!"

Then there were some kisses for the BEST.DADDY.EVER!

Next was a little jumping on the bed like two little monkeys.

And then time for Daddy to read a story...and he did.

This book is one of the Hallmark books I mentioned called Guess How Much I Miss You. Jake was able to record his voice reading the entire book to Asher, so almost every night, he "reads" this story to Asher before he goes to bed.

And finally it was time to settle in.

Night, Night, Flat Daddy, we LOVE you!


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ding Ding Ding: Round 2

Hear that sound?

It's the bell...*DING DING DING: ROUND 2. Bedtime. Mommy vs. Asher.

Asher has won the first round.
Actually, Mommy gave up.

After the screaming as if I was murdering him, and the "make my body as straight as a board so as not to be able to be carried through doorways" subsided, I ungraciously surrendered the first round to Asher J.
Asher=1. Mommy=0.

As my mom said after we said goodbye at the airport to our hero, "His world has been turned upside down again."

And I know that. And I hate that.

Our first attempt at bedtime ended in him climbing into his toybox and shutting the lid and me sitting on his race car bed and turning the pages in his "daddy book" just to hear Jake's voice.

I'm pretty sure we were both crying at that point.

He wanted more to drink. He wanted to watch a movie. Why fight it? Pick your battles... I wanted a drink and to watch a movie, too.

Asher hasn't asked yet where his Daddy is. We did feel it necessary to take him to the airport to see Daddy leave, so I assume he knows that Daddy has gone away again. As heartwrenching as it was, it needed to happen that way for him to understand. And although he can't tell me he's sad, angry, upset, mad...I know he is.

I'm choosing to look on the bright side. We just made an amazing two weeks of memories together to carry us through. Just 5 more months and then we are DONE with this journey....forever.

I'll be waiting, Love.


Two Are Better Than One

Two are better than one: they get a good wage for their labor.

If the one falls, the other will lift up his companion. Woe to the solitary man! For if he should fall, he has no one to lift him up.

So also, if two sleep together, they keep each other warm. How can one alone keep warm?

Where a lone man may be overcome, two together can resist.

A three-ply cord is not easily broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Sunday, February 13, 2011

My Boys

When Jake returns to Afghanistan, I'm definitely going to miss conversations like this:

Jake: "Asher, what's the deal? What's the dealio?"

Asher: "What's the deal ravioli?"

And their "nose kisses."

Oh....I LOVE my boys.


Friday, February 11, 2011


The last week and a half has been fantastic. Our family has needed this "recharge" - the time to be together and just soak each other up and put the memories inside our hearts and minds.

We haven't been doing much. We've seen friends and family a bit, but we've been spending a lot of time together, indoors. Besides the fact that it's been bitter cold outside, we've just been quietly hanging out...watching movies, playing, tickling, snuggling, swimming, laughing and hugging. We've enjoyed meals together, praying together, and just doing the things we like to do as a family.

The clock has been on our side. We've stayed busy, but not so busy that we haven't had the time to truly connect. There have been moments in the past where I can feel the "tick tick tick" and can't escape the anxious feeling of time running out. It's not been like that this time. This time it feels so normal. We're just together, as a family, the way we always have been. And it's good.

I don't want to think about next week.

Jake heads back to Afghanistan Tuesday.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Welcome Home Daddy

The true excitement was building for about a week. I was stressing, too, because a 4 week cough was still hanging on and had moved into my chest. Less than a week before my hero was to arrive, and I'm on my second round of 5 day antibiotics, an oral steroid, and an inhaler. Oy. Talk about stress eating + no exercise + Prednisone + sleepless nights. This could have gotten ugly.

Jake's journey home began around Wednesday/Thursday, and he arrived home on Sunday. I was attempting to wait patiently for the next email, next phone call, next message of where he was and what time it was and when he might be home. I was praying for safe travels and good weather.

When it was finally Sunday, Asher and I went to Mass as usual. One friend commented that my voice sounded especially beautiful that day. Maybe music sounds better with a huge smile on my face...I don't know...or I was mic'ed better than most weekends. Whatever it was, I was glad to be worshipping and praising God for all the blessings He's given us and for what He was soon to be bringing.

I was pleased that I was able to still participate by singing in a luncheon after Mass, and then got into my office for a few hours of work prior to Jake's arrival. It kept me busy all day, so by the time I got back to the house, I was wondering if I'd get everything done! My mom and grandma had decorated the doors, banisters, and tree out front with some beautiful yellow ribbons to welcome Jake home. My sister assisted with last minute cleaning (wiping down the dust in the man cave, running the vacuum, and throwing loads of laundry into the washing machine). I was sweating by the time we walked out the door to head to the airport.

Of course, on the day that really matters, Asher didn't nap. Great. This could get REALLY ugly. Jake and I had discussed numerous times how the reunion with little man may go. Thankfully, Jake is a wonderfully understanding man who knows that nearly 3 year old little boys can react any number of ways to a daddy he hasn't seen in months. Would he be standoffish? Would he cry? Would he be angry? Or would he smile & run into his daddy's arms?

About halfway across the bridge, Asher fell asleep in his carseat. Fabulous. When we arrived at the airport, he woke up, and like magic, he was in a good and happy mood. We had about 30 minutes to wait, and a nice group of family and friends had gathered to welcome home our favorite soldier. Lots of cameras and balloons, excitement and nervousness. My brother kept asking me, "Are you excited? How excited are you? Between a 1 and 10, what level of excitement are you at?" *SIGH*

We watched to make sure his flight was still on time, and as the digital clock flipped past his arrival time and there was no announcement of his flight arrival, I began gettng nervous. WHERE was he?!

Soon our group moved over to where you have a better view of arriving passengers, and within minutes some folks began heading towards us. We asked if they may have been on the same flight as Jake...and they WERE! With one false alarm sighting of Jake by his very excited mom, we stood there for what seemed like hours....and then we saw him. And he saw us. And he began running towards us. Someone snatched Asher and put him in his daddy's line of sight. And he began running toward Jake.

And I cried.

Jake knelt to scoop up our beautiful son and they hugged and kissed and it was one of the best moments of my life!

And then I got MY hug and kiss!

Welcome home, Daddy! We're so glad to have you back!