Thursday, May 24, 2012

Kick-off to Summer

Summer Kick off 01 blog

Tuesday was the kids last day of school.

Natalie went with her 5th grade class to Carter Caves.

She loved it.

Spencer had two finals on his last day of skipping allowed!

Katie went to school dressed to get wet with water games and run and play in the schools field day, but it ended up POURING buckets of rain. She ended up getting signed out with her best friend Emma and went to her house to play for the day.

That evening I picked Natalie up at six from her school trip.

Then I picked up Katie and Emma. Emma was staying the night.

Then we went and picked up Adam, Spencer's best friend, who was also staying over.

Then Natalie asked for Emily to stay over too.

Six kids.

Six kids, that is how many kids were staying over at our house Tuesday night.

We went to the dollar store to get some pool toys with our neighbor who recently put up a pool.

I called and ordered pizza, because there was no way I was cooking with six kids in the house and the busy day I had had.

Adam bought some little fireworks at the store.

We came home, all the kids ate pizza, then put their swim gear on, went swimming at the neighbors, Spencer and Adam let off their fireworks, then they all played spotlight outside in our yard.

Later that evening Spencer told me, "You know mom, this is the best last day of school ever. A good kick-off to summer!"

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Elementary Graduation And A Surprise.

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Yesterday was Natalie's 5th grade graduation ceremony.

She decided to get ready that morning in our bathroom and I couldn't help but notice as she was standing in front of the mirror putting her make up on how grown up she looks in the pretty dress we picked out together for her graduation.

The graduation ceremony began and in walked both 5th grade classes.

Natalie looked over and smiled at me.

The principal started his speech after the kids found their seat in the front of the church.

The ceremony was halfway finished when I saw Skype on my phone light up (yes I had it silenced), it was Jerome.

I was excited because little did Natalie know that her Daddy was going to be able to see her graduation.

 A few parents were standing in the back taking pictures. One mom was stooped down in the aisle up front taking pictures.

I quietly stood up from where I was sitting and made my way to the church pew that Natalie was sitting at. I stooped down at the edge of the church pew and thankfully Natalie was at the very end I was at.

I held the phone so that she could see her Daddy.

 He waved at her and she smiled a big smile and waved back.

 Her name was called shortly after that and he was able to see her go up and receive her awards and hug her teacher.

After the ceremony they were having cake at the building across from where we were. We were trying to talk to him but there was such a crowd and it was so noisy we couldn't hear, so we walked down away from the crowd and found a spot that we could hear him and talk to him.

I happily took these of Natalie as she talked to her Daddy, showing him her awards, telling him about her day and kissing him goodbye so that she could go join the rest of her friends for cake.

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Graduation Blog 02

This one is a favorite, a picture of her and her Daddy on her 5th grade graduation day (and me if you look really closely).

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She was beyond excited that he was able to "be there".

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And we always give kisses before ending the phone call.

I love this one.

It shows that even though we are on different sides of the world we are still a family and we are making this work.

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Our dearest Natalie,
You are becoming such an amazing young woman. You are beautiful and smart. You have a heart that is caring and sincere. You make me and your Daddy proud. I want you to know how much we love you and it makes us happy to see you become such a wonderful young woman that you are. We love you Boo. xoxo Mommy and Daddy

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Breaking Point.

Most days I can make it through just fine.

Then after a week of those "most days" I begin to think everything is fine.

I begin to feel like this deployment is going by fast.

I begin to think I can handle it all.

I believe I'm strong enough.

Then just when I think everything is going well, something always happens.

Murphy shows up to prove to me that I can't do it all.

We have had down pours of rain every night for the last week and a half it seems like.

Our land is wet all the time anyway, add a little rain and ducks can happily make it a home.

We haven't been able to cut our grass because our yard is SO SOAKED.

Today it was sunny outside.

I decided to spend the evening outside getting the yard cut.

The lawnmower was out of gasoline.

I took the kids out with me, grabbed some dinner, filled up the tank with gasoline to put in the lawn mower, run home and we all get dressed to spend the evening outside getting the yard caught back up.

The girls were arguing over who would get to do the push mower, they both WANTED to.

We head outside to get started.

I put gas in the push mower, try to start it and it WILL NOT START.

I keep trying but it decides it just doesn't want to cut that high grass in the yard.

I give up.

Then Spencer comes around the corner of the house to tell me that the weed eater isn't working. He explains what it is doing (like I really know how to work a freaking weed eater anyway) and tells me it won't work.

I tell him to grab the tank of gasoline, put it in the riding mower and bring it around so that we can AT LEAST get the front yard cut.

He goes to the shed to get the lawn mower out and someone who was in the shed tried to start it and left it on and the battery is now dead.

I give up.

I sit down on the front porch steps, looking at the tall grass in our yard needing cut, listening to our American flag up above me whipping in the evening wind, the sound of other lawn mowers in the distance cutting their own yards (probably by husbands who are home to help), watching Molly chewing on a stick in the yard realizing how hidden she is by the tall grass, the yellow ribbon around the tree blowing in the wind.......and I miss him.

I miss having a man here who knows how to get these things to work.

I miss feeling like it isn't all up to me, that all of this isn't all on my shoulders.




Sometimes like this evening, I never feel more alone than I do now.

I had my break down. I cried and then cried some more.

Spencer came up to the porch and sat down on the step beside me.

He put his arm around me and told me it would be alright, we would figure it out.

Then we both just sat there on the front step of the porch looking out at the yard, watching Molly chew her stick she found and we talked about how much we missed Jerome. We talked about how we knew if he were here he would know how to fix all these things.

Then he offered to go to the neighbors, Jay and Stacey's, and ask to borrow their mower.

Spencer came back home riding the mower and Natalie and Katie went running through the yard screaming, "Jay saved the day!!".

That is something that they have become quite used to saying. Since Jerome has been gone, when I needed a sitter because Spencer was sick and needed to go the hospital, or the tire on the truck went flat, the computer broke, the battery in the van went dead (I could go on and on).....our neighbor Jay has been there for us to help. The kids now just laugh and say, "Jay saves the day again!".

Spencer cut the front yard as best he could.

The grass was so high it was just shooting out.

Natalie came up to me and told me to just sit down and relax, they were going to pull the weeds and get the rest of the landscaping along the sidewalk finished for me, "For Mother's Day" she said. She and Katie grabbed a hoe and shovel and started doing....well....I'm really not sure but it made me smile anyway to see them trying to help.

I took a few deep breaths in and out.

Then about that time Spencer drove by Molly, who was happily enjoying chewing on her stick, and the grass shot all over her. She looked at her stick, sat up covered in green grass and looked at Spencer as if she were saying to him, "What did I ever do to you?".

I started laughing.

Spencer was laughing as he was mowing.

I laughed so hard I couldn't stop laughing.

It was funny, really funny.......but I think a part of it was just me letting out the stress and enjoying a good laugh rather than a good cry.

The grass will be there tomorrow....and the next day for that matter.

I will get through this, I always do somehow.

But for now I'm just thankful.

Thankful for kids who can make me laugh when all I want to do is cry.

Thankful for neighbors who are ALWAYS there when we need them.

Thankful that even though my husband isn't here with me, I know he is in a safer place than he was his last deployment.

Thankful for a nice hot bath that I am going to soak in this evening while I read a good book, as soon as I get these kids in bed.

And while our yard may not get "best yard of the neighborhood" award (trust me, it is very far from it right now), and our neighbors may begin to wonder if we still live here........I can assure you we are here.

We are doing the best that we can do.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Good Morning Sunshine!

I sent two other packages to Jerome a week or two ago.

One package was a nice soft blanket and sheet set. The other was just full of a bunch of goodies that I just put in a box to get out to him quickly.

For this package, Care Package #7, I wanted to do something special.

I knew he needed more coffee creamer and I had been wanting to bake him some cinnamon sugar monkey bread in a jar to send.

This package I decided to put it together with the thought of "Good Morning" in mind.

He was VERY happy to get this one, he LOVED the monkey bread.

GoodMorning 01 Blog
Good Morning Blog 01

I found several ideas from Pinterest.

The morning pill box I wrote a little note on paper and rolled it.

 One little note for each day of the week.

 One thing that I miss and something that I love that he does.

This one reads, "I miss our Friday night date night. I love how you still open the door for me".

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I wanted to include a local newspaper in this but I was completely out of room.

And.....he doesn't read the morning paper anyway.

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This Good Morning Sunshine care package included:

His favorite Dunkin Donuts Coffee
Two boxes of Land O' Lakes Mini Moo's Creamer (individual packets)
Two Quaker Oats Apple Walnut Oatmeal, single servings
Corn Pops Cereal
Four Jars of Cinnamon Sugar Monkey Bread
A jar of strawberry lemon jam I made and canned at Christmas this past year
Mio Orange water flavoring
Tic Tacs (for that morning breath)
A package of baby wipes (for the sticky monkey bread)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bedtime Stories From Far Away

Before Jerome left I found this book that I knew we needed.

I knew the kids would find comfort in hearing him read them a bedtime story even though he isn't here.

A few days before he left I watched him read this book, record his voice and make this book for our kids.

 January 2012 

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One night I found Katie snuggled in our bed and listening to her Daddy read her a bedtime story.

 March 5, 2012

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The Book Blog
The Book 01 Blog

This is her favorite page.

She told me she loves how he says, "I love you, you, you".

She sometimes will flip the page back and forth so that he reads this page over and over.

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Katie is really the only one who opens this book.

Natalie deals with the deployment by not thinking about it, avoiding the thought of her Daddy being gone at all costs.

Katie opens the book and listens to her Daddy telling her a bedtime story in our bedroom.

It makes Natalie break down whenever she hears her Daddy's voice.

It has been a comfort for Katie.

She will have him read her the bedtime story again and again and again.

The first time I gave it to her was the night he left.

We had said goodbye at the airport earlier that day.

That night we all went to bed.

I was crying in his pillow and I heard a knock at my door.

It was Katie. She was missing him.

She climbed up in bed with me and I surprised her with the book.

She loved it.

We listened to him read it to us over and over that night.

It just feels so good to hear his voice sometimes.

Easter Sunday

We all put on our Sunday best for Easter.

Spencer wanted to wear his uniform in honor of his Dad.

I think he looked handsome.

He gets it from his Dad.

We drove to the church my mom and dad go to.

It was good to be with family on this first lonely holiday without my husband by my side.

Easter Sunday Blog

We spent the afternoon with my family.

The kids all wore one of my dad's tshirts and played barefoot in the creek after dinner.

I hadn't heard from Jerome. I usually do.

I had a feeling he was in route, but not knowing for sure, I only guessed.

By that evening I still hadn't heard from him.

I decided I didn't want to go home to an empty house.

I stayed at my parents house that night.

I sat out on the front porch with my mom and sisters and enjoyed the day as it turned into night.

The kids made sleeping bags out of blankets and slept on the floor.

It was a great day and I enjoyed it. But there wasn't one second that I wasn't thinking about my husband and wondering if he had made it there yet.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tie A Yellow Ribbon.

I mailed Jerome a letter in just enough time for him to receive it before leaving his training and heading over to Afghanistan.

He read it on the flight over.

In this letter, I told him that we will tie a yellow ribbon around our old sycamore tree and not take it down until he returns home safe again with us.

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The kids tied the yellow ribbon around the sycamore tree.

They have proudly told their friends the meaning behind the ribbon when they come over to visit.

 Every time we leave the house or come home the yellow ribbon is there to greet us.

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The long yellow strands look pretty blowing in the wind.

Sometimes after getting our kids on the bus and off to school, I'll sit at the table, have my breakfast, watch the yellow ribbon blowing in the wind outside my window and think of him.

Jump Rope Performance.

Natalie had her jump rope performance at the mall.

She has had several, but this one was one of the big performances.

She did great.

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She finished her performance.

She introduced me to some of her friends.

She showed off her baby cousins that were there.

She showed me a few new tricks she learned with her jump rope.
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She stopped and watched a few men in uniform walk by, a uniform like her Daddy wears now.

She held her jump rope a little tighter, looked at me and said, "Mommy, I wish Daddy could have been here to see me".

 I reminded her that I recorded it for him to see and she told me that she knew but it wasn't the same.

I smiled, hugged her and told her that he will be here for her performances next year....promise.
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