Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Murphy has come to stay

It's inevitable. Murphy's Law grabs hold every time Sarge deploys or goes TDY.

Take for example the other week.

Monday - Facebook and email accounts were hacked, hundreds of 'please send money' messages were sent out to all I've ever known.

Tuesday - Alarm clock failure. Sky missed his school bus - 35 minutes to get him to the school and we live 3 miles away.

Wednesday - Failure to remember previous days alarm failure. Over slept. On the way home we got a flat tire. I had to change it in my pj's. I parked on top of a fire ant mound.

Thursday - 2 1/2 hours at the tire place and $500 to learn that all my tires were junk and needed replacing

Friday - Gracie and I took our lumpy basset hound to the vet to find out that allergies were not  the only cause of his sudden itchiness, apparently so was the flea she pulled off his butt. Everything his rotund little bottom ever touched was immediately scrubbed and washed.

Last Saturday - I broke my finger at 2 am because of a roach. Yes, I'm blaming the roach not my ineptitude.

Side note ... have you ever encountered a "palmetto bug"? If not, let me give you the low down. 2 - 3 inch long flying cockroaches! Sheer terror for this Alaskan grown gal who before moving to the south, thought mosquitoes were a horrible nuisance.

Anyways, it was 2 am, thanks to my ever present insomnia I was wide awake, and went for a glass of water. One roach was laying dead in the middle of the floor thanks to the spray I had laid down to make sure no fleas got to my sheets. I was hapily gloating over it's tiny little dead body (because they freak me out), when another darted out from under the trash can. I grabbed the nearest handy smashing object, and bringing it over my head I slammed it down on the floor killing the filthy little creature. I also broke my finger.

So this week I will be covering myself and all that I love (children, dogs, waffle maker) in bubble wrap and hoping that I don't suffer some freak accident. But hey if I do, maybe they'll let Sarge come home for a bit and he can run ol' Murphy off.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A move-friendly growth chart

Permanence. It's one thing that's hard to obtain while living this military lifestyle of ours.

When I was a kid, my folks would stand my little brother and I up against a wall in our home, and use a marker to chart how much we had grown. Inch after inch all recorded with a permanent marker. I loved that wall. No matter how often they would paint, those little hash marks and dates were always there to mark our passage of time.

I've wanted a wall like that ever since my Sky was born. We've tried the more mobile versions of a growth chart, but they were usually destroyed or lost during one of our frequent moves. I needed something more permanent.

I don't sleep much, so the other night I grabbed an extra 6 ft 1x6, did some sanding, added a quick pass with an ebony stain and 2 coats of Minwax's Bombay Mahogany poly-stain, and then added the details with a white paint pen and now I have a little permanent reminder of how my kids will grow. I used 3M Command Velcro picture hangers to attach it to the wall, so that when we move and move and move again - all I have to do is pull it down and then reattach it where ever the wind blows us next.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ways to help kids feel connected during a deployment

Deployments are hard.

No one to chase at the park, no one to sneak you candy when you've already brushed your teeth, no one to give you breath stealing hugs when you feel a little glum ...
And it's rough on the kids too.

Since we are in the midst of our 4th deployment now, with Sarge thousands of miles and many time zones away, I thought I'd put out a few ideas that have helped my kids feel more connected to their dad when he's a world away.

The kiss jar - Have the deploying parent fill a big jar full of Hershey Kisses (one for every day they will be away) and each night the child gets to pull one out, and get a "Kiss" from the one they miss.

Daddy Dolls - While a little creepy, this has saved my sanity more than once. My littlest one can still give her daddy a hug when she really misses him. We bring ours along when we go out and then take pictures with it doing whatever we are doing (similar to the Flat Stanley projects that kids do in school). The kids get to send the pictures to Sarge, and show him what we did.

Skype - Twice a week we get online at the same time, and we all get to see and talk together. The kids run around and play, tell him how their day went, or sometimes even eat lunch with him while he eats dinner.

Paper chain - They were fun to make in kindergarten and they work great to help kids understand exactly how long 6 months (or whatever you're dealing with) really is. There are many ways to do this. I've seen people add a link for every day the deployed parent is away - sort of a counting up till the big day. Or you can make a link for every day before they leave, and take one off each evening in a count down sort of way. That's how we do it. Before Sarge left, I cut 197 strips of colored paper and labeled each with the date it would correspond with. Different months are different colors, and special days (holidays, birthdays, etc.) are a special color. Then each night we take off a link, and the kids write or draw pictures to Sarge telling him what they did that day. Each week we put the links we've written on in the mail, and send them to Sarge so he can keep up to date on all their doings.

Video stories - Record the deploying parent reading some of your kids favorite books before they leave. Then the kids can watch whenever they want or get a bedtime story. If you're very lucky, some deployed bases have a USO location that can do this. They record the parent reading a story, and then send the DVD and the book they read back home to the kids. Gracie has books memorized word for word just because she likes to listen to Sarge tell them so often.


Monday, July 26, 2010


Hello. It's me Holly.

I have returned to the land of bloggerdom.

For today anyway.

It's been ... well months since I last tried to write a post. But I swear I have good reasons. For the first few weeks at least.  

Sarge deployed yet again. Another short notice one, and another long one. So June was spent preparing, and packing, and a quick vacation. 

Since he left however, I've had a nasty case of the dumps. Sleepless nights, added stress, eating dozens of cookies, super gluing my phone to my hand, attempting and failing to run off previously mentioned cookies ... you know how these things go.

Maybe the super glue took it too far?

No matter how many deployments we've been though, there is always that time of adjustment at the beginning. Trying to figure out how to parent alone again. How to start the lawnmower without swearing. Not getting dressed out of the dryer.

Thankfully I'm starting to pull myself out of these so called blues. I only ate half a dozen cookies last night. Wait my pants just caught fire. It was really 8.

I think I'll run away and join the circus. Or roll away.

P.S. Did I mention Sarge got orders finally? More on that later.


Friday, May 21, 2010


Life as a military spouse can be claustrophobic at times. Our husbands and wives go away for deployments, training, exercises, humanitarian missions, schooling, etc. Sarge has been away 8 times in almost 4 years we've been stationed at this base. 3 deployments, 3 tdy's, and sent to 2 different schools.

When we first arrived at this base I looked for work, with little luck as the surrounding area has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. I worked at a couple of places, and then went on bed rest with little Grace. I've been a stay-at-home parent ever since. Emphasis on stay-at-home.

Like many military spouses, a higher percentage than our civilian counterparts, I chose to stay home with my kids. We move a lot, we leave careers and friends behind, and it's easy for many of us to lose the social side of ourselves while we do our best to build up our families.

And somewhere in between midnight feedings, homeschooling Sky, many days without Sarge, and all the other joys in life - I forgot how to go out without children and laugh and have fun with other adults.

I had to rectify that. The other night, I went to my first spouses get together. No one tried to eat off my plate, I went to the restroom alone, the rolls were not gobbled up in minutes, and best of all ... we talked. In fact we stayed so late the staff had to turn down the lights to let us know it was time to go home.

 you see this group of ladies here - I may only be able to remember one name, but they are all great!

We all need a break now and again. If you are a military spouse, I hope you know that there is a group of people, just like you, who also want to get out and enjoy a few hours of fun. Look around your base, join a spouses club - or if your other is away look for the deployed spouses club which generally has babysitting services or kids activities at their get togethers.



Ahhh ... spring is in the air, sunshine, birdsong, and flower's blooming. And let's not forget about the now biannual Blogger's Quilt Festival hosted by Amy of Amy's Creative Side.

I participated in this last fall, and really enjoyed seeing all the quilts that fellow bloggers had either made or loved. So I knew I really wanted to join the fun again. Here is my entry - a sweet little circle quilt that I made this past winter for a fellow Air Force wife's new baby boy.

---original post from Jan. 8, 2010

I am in love with this quilt. Good thing the baby shower is on Sunday.
Or I might make up an excuse to keep it.

It wanted to be hand quilted.
Which took forever with all the holiday hubbub going on.

All worth it. A friend is due in a few weeks.
Her husband should be home from the desert just in time to help welcome their little Jakob into the world.

And this cuddly little quilt will be waiting too.


That little quilt was a lot of fun to make. It ended up being very soft and cuddly, and very early - as her little one stayed in an extra week before making his appearance.

Thanks for stopping by. Be sure to settle in for a few hours and check out all the other great quilts.


Monday, May 17, 2010


In our house, road trips are spawned from simple requirements. Either it's a holiday and we feel the need to be surround ourselves in family greatness. Or it's because if I don't get out of the house,
I'm likely to come down with a case of   
A gal needs some breathing room am I right? Sarge gets this often too, it's why he's not allowed to take time off.

Last Saturday was one of those days. So after breakfast I made the announcement - "We leave for the beach in 20 minutes. If you don't pack it, then you're stuck without it." Then I calmly went about washing off the dishes.

30 minutes later, we were backing out of the driveway and on our way. And 2 hours later we were sitting in the sunshine with a great ocean breeze to cool us down and get me back in the mood to adore my family.

Well it was actually 3 1/2 hours later, as finding a lunch spot was much harder in the midst of bike week - who could have known? A planner that's who.

The end.

P.S. - We all were sunburned well before we left the sand. Except my mutant golden child. Hopefully one of us remembers the sunblock next time.


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