Wednesday, October 26, 2011

quick update

It has been 2 weeks since Chris has gone.

I've been busy, and the few moments that I haven't been busy, I've chosen sleep over blogging. Can you blame me?

Isabela has really been missing Chris. The past few days, she will say in the saddest little voice, "Sad. Sad Bella." She will also randomly say ask where daddy is, if he's coming back, and now says that she misses daddy.

She also has been saying that all her toys are sad, even disney princess Tiana is sad!

My poor sweet girl. She really is having a hard time missing daddy this week. She has been asking to sleep with me on some nights, and I'm definitely allowing her. I want to give her as much security as I can. We still have a long way to go before daddy comes back!

She also has been having some very extreme meltdowns on very tiny things! Like putting on her diaper before bedtime or even putting on her pajamas! Its SO frustrating....she absolutely has to wear a diaper at night. But I have tried to let her feel like she has a little control over her life by letting her wear whatever she wants to bed, even if it is nothing. I will turn on the heat, add extra blankets , and resort to waiting til she is passed out to sneak some jammies on her, if I have to.

Because at the end of the day, I'm incredibly exhausted. Its really not that important of an issue. Especially because we are in the South, and its still in the 60's at night, and will NEVER get as cold as Iowa did at night.

I have been trying to keep Isabela busy, but at least one day out of the week, I am SO tired, so we just end up staying inside, watching movies, coloring, doing crafts for the day. I feel bad on those days, and am going to try and push myself to stay active....even on those extremely tired, exhausting days.

It has been utterly amazing to have Dad and Even live so close. On the weekends, its just a great mental burden lifted, in a way, when they are here. Isabela loves her Lola, and Lola and Isabela will play for a while, and my mind just gets a rest from toddler play and all things toddler for a while!

Last week, I woke up on Sunday and Even had cleaned the bathroom and folded my laundry for me! Isn't that amazing! Also, Dad filled my van up with gas for me the other day, too. It is just so nice to have the support of family nearby! Dad and Even, Chris and I love you, and are so thankful to have you!

I am hoping that after halloween, the rest of the holidays come and go quickly. Christmas is my all time favorite, and Isabela loves it too! I'm excited to start decorating, when the time is right, and to have something new and fresh in the house for Isabela to enjoy.

More to come later!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Let it Rain!

It rained last night!

I am so thankful for the beautiful, nourishing, RAIN! We needed it SO bad!


So, Isabela has been waking up ALOT at night. This is her way of missing her dad, I think. Last night, she crawled into the bed with me, and just passed out right away! I think she definitely feels a void, wakes up feeling sad, and just wants to be next to mommy.

Since its been a while since we have coslept, I don't exactly enjoy it anymore. Little tot just takes up the whole bed, and she kicks hard! I don't sleep as well, but at the same time, I know she needs this reassurance during the night, so its ok.

So, last night was another one of those nights, except this time, she actually asked for some water, and as she was drinking it on the couch, she fell asleep. I carried her back to her room, and then it started raining. After the first thunder, I hear her jump out of bed, run to my room, saying, "mommy, whats that? whats that, mommy?"

It was so darn cute! I told her about rain, thunder and lightening, and around 0300 she finally fell back asleep.

And then, I couldn't sleep! I started to miss Chris and just thought about how this separation is SO much harder on him. It has to be. Poor hubs!

I had my alarm set at 0600, but I turned it off and let myself sleep in til 0730, which is what time Isabela gets up.

And, I'm SO tired!

Here is to coffee, an early bedtime tonight, and sweet cuddles from my cutey dreamgirl, Isabela. All of which I need....all of which will make this time away from hubs much easier!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

4 days later

The worst part of the deployment process, to me, is the in between.

Typically, you fly out of your home base, probably have a layover somewhere, then fly to a naval base, or army base, then fly to your port call, then fly out of the country.

And from there, you might stop in 1,2,3,4, or even 5 countries in between, picking up others who are deploying or pcsing, and dropping the other's off!

And whats more, your countdown can't even start until you sign into your deployment base.

Ughhhhh.

Luckily, my husband only has 1 stop in between this time. Last time he went, he stopped in Ireland, Italy, Germany, Bahrain, and somewhere in Africa before flying into Iraq.
But, also, last time, he deployed with the army!

So this time, should be a lot better, for all of us.

Isabela is doing well. She doesn't understand, although I tried my best to explain things to her. She has asked for daddy once or twice, and then she will say right after, "daddy bye bye. daddy coming?"

And then I will try to re-explain while giving hugs and kisses and loves. Luckily, I don't work, so Isabela is very used to spending all day with me. I think if Chris and I both worked and she came home to both of us at the same time, it would be a lot harder on her.


However, I know she is starting to experience some emotions, and she doesn't know what they are, how to deal with them, and how to communicate them. This has resulted in meltdowns from the tiniest things, a lot of night wakings, and even further regression with potty training.

Already. I am SO thankful for technology. We have so many videos we recorded of her and Chris, books with his voice recorded into it, pictures, etc.

Last night, we were able to video chat, and Isabela was happy, but not really paying Chris any attention. BUT, as soon as we closed out our chat, Isabela said in the saddest voice, "mommy!", and started crying, so I called him back really quick, and let them say love you's and miss you's and bye byes. I think it helped significantly, as she seemed a lot happier afterwards.

Today, we are going to keep with our plan of waking up early, early morning cartoons, playtime outside, art and crafts time, dance time, and maybe some park time before nap time. And we are gonna try and stay really busy, so little girl can be in bed early again tonight.

One thing I was a little fearful of was night times. I thought, as soon as Isabela goes to sleep, I would feel so immensely lonely and sad and would be unable to sleep. But lately, as soon as night time comes around, I'm SO exhausted. All I can think about is closing my eyes and re-energizing for the next day!

And I have felt such a peace in my heart. I feel all of your prayers, and I know my friend, Mandy, as been specifically praying for peace, and God has answered her prayers!

This past couple of days has been exhausting, but its been better than I thought. I am so thankful I have my sweet tiny tot to keep me company, make me giggle, and bring out the joy in me!

More to come later!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Gone.

And just like that....he's gone.

The moment finally came.

Yesterday, Chris and Isabela went on their final daddy daughter date. I was doing some light cleaning, and it finally hit me. I thought, "This is actually happening!"

It sucks so bad.

If we were childless, it wouldn't be so bad. I would miss him, and he would miss me....but somehow, it just wouldn't be so bad.

I don't fear being the lone parent for 6 months. I am not looking forward to future possible sick episodes. I pray that Isabela doesn't get sick for 6 months!

I fear the transition more. Knowing that Isabela will miss her daddy, but will be unable to communicate that with me. Trying to explain this in a way a 2 year can understand, but know that it's really impossible to do so. Knowing that the next time Isabela sees a man in uniform, she will get so excited, thinking that man might be daddy....

That's what breaks my heart.

What breaks my heart even more is knowing how hard this will be on Chris. This morning, I vowed to myself that I would be strong....that I would NOT cry until later. But as I watched Chris kiss Isabela goodnight. Not just once, but twice....

I just couldn't help but shed some tears. For what she does not understand. For what Chris will be going through the next 6 months. For the loss and separation we all will have.

The past several days, none of my blog posts were intended to make anyone feel sorry for us.
The only intention I have has been to vent the overwhelming emotions that have been consuming me.

In return, I have received so many responses offering support, encouragement, and love.
I am SO thankful for each and every person who went out of their way to email me and call me.


We will make it through! We will stay busy and hope that these next 6 months FLY by.

I will definitely be blogging more often, per request from my hubs and for my own sanity.


I still can't believe he's gone......day 1.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A new season

Today, Chris put a bunch of files on our laptop that he found in several thumb drives.

As I was looking through them, I found some mp3 files and video files of the LifePointe worship team I used to be a member of, and had some fun watching them and reminiscing.

Until....I saw this one video.

First of all, I absolutely LOVE Misty Edward's song, "You Won't Relent." Its beautiful, from scripture, and her voice, piano and guitar sound amazing.

Here it is:


Well, co-worship leader, Nick, and our worship pastor, Robby, also loved the song so we decided to sing it as an offering song.

The offering song is honestly one of my least favorite times to sing during the service. There is a huge difference in leading worship than in singing during the offering, for me. One feels like what it is, a coming together of people to sing praise and worship to God, and the other, while still praise and worship, feels more like a performance, which REALLY intimidates me!

Anyway, practice went great with the song. I felt confident. I knew I could never quite do it justice like Misty, but I'm me and I could only do the best that my abilities allow.

We started the song off great. And let me just say, that everyone except me continued to do great the entire song.

I felt it coming. Right during the first part of the song where you really have to sing out. My voice cracked, VERY obviously. And...from there, it ALL went downhill!

It was really like a train wreck! Horrible! I felt soooo embarrassed. I knew that the first mess up was what started my spiral, too. It was like that one little voice crack kept growing and growing, and before I knew it I was breathless and just out of control, and well....just sounding BAD!

After that song, the worship team usually would meet at the water cooler before going back in to the sanctuary. It's usually there where we would offer quick words of encouragement, a joke or two, etc. I quickly voiced my disappointment in myself, and my team mates quickly said they felt I did just fine, and they felt like the first presentation of this song went well.

With that said, I went straight to the bathroom and cried! Aghhhhh.

I kinda laugh now thinking about it. Until I watch the video again and feel sick to my stomach!


Does anyone know how bad it feels to mess up in such a visible position? Singing is such a vulnerable thing....and even in a church, people are quite judgmental.

There have been one or two other times when I have wanted to run off the stage crying! I suppose that happens to almost everyone. I saw an interview where Kim Walker, from Jesus Culture related a very similar experience, and she has such an amazing voice! I take comfort in knowing that even the very best can mess up, sometimes!


No one is perfect. Striving for perfection is futile, definitely. Especially, when that drive for perfection alienates us from the things that really matter, like our family....our children.....

A lot of times, the underlying cause for want of perfection is the desire to be in control. We realize that we cannot control everything, so we do what we can to control and perfect the things we can. And, then, when its too late, we realize that in our quest to be in control and perfect, we are really out of control and quite possibly...have lost our minds!

Frustrated..because we can NEVER be perfect all the time, we realize how our drive for perfection is so completely STUPID. My little sister once wrote a blog about this, and compared it to walking on a tight rope....so right she was.


Not everyone will get this, because not everyone is like me. Or my family. Not everyone is a neat freak, or obsessed with organizing and creating places for every little thing. My husband is not like that. My friends aren't like that! My sister is, though! haha

There are always situations that hit you hard. They make you, or I should say me, say, " wow, thats really not that important right now!"

I am SO thankful that God continually shows me my shortcomings, and how HE helps me to be honest with myself. Otherwise, I would be a horrible mother, more obsessed with cleaning and cooking than playing and loving my little girl. I would be a nagging wife, all the time!




Where I am right now.....let say this...


My hubs is deploying and other things just don't seem that important. Instead of worrying about tomorrow, I'm thinking about today. I'm thinking about being a family, doing FUN stuff, laughing, giggling, and being together!

I haven't really been attentive to housework, because at this point, I don't care. I just want to spend all the time I can with my family, together, while we can. Even if the kitchen is a mess, and the laundry is piled up, and toys are scattered around the house.

I always will have time to catch up. Right now is not the time.

Right now, I'd just rather not.

I wasn't really sure where this blog is going when I started. I'm still not!

But I do remember, from past experience, that deployments cause many a revelation. They reveal so much.....

I'll spend the next 6 months regretting lots of things.
dreaming of having a complete family again.
struggling to maintain the bond between daughter and father
waiting for that phone call....

When I look at those old videos, I feel warm inside. Even when I see the bad ones! They represent a very FULL time in my life. I miss that place, that church, the friends I made, and even our split level house, the first home Isabela knew. I miss the park down the street and the little day to day things we did to pass the time.

What a wonderful season that was!

I wonder what this next season will bring. I know what I HOPE it will bring..what I pray it will bring.


A stronger awareness of what is really important.
A renewed sense of how important verbal communication is.
A stronger foundation of trust.
A deeper love.
A closer, more emotionally intimate relationship with hubs.
A closer more spiritually intimate relationship with God.
A deeper sensitivity to the needs of my young tiny tot.

And much more.....

Here's to the next season of our life. Although I am not excited to be apart from my hubs, I welcome the challenges this season of life will bring.

I can do anything in the Lord.....the JOY of the Lord is my strength!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sometimes, you just gotta wear diamonds!


We rarely have a date night.

So, when we do, it's pretty exciting.

This past Saturday, we were able to go on one last date before Chris deploys. It was such a bittersweet feeling. Bitter, because he is leaving, sweet, because dates are always sweet!

As I was getting ready, I felt a little discouraged. Being a stay at home mom, for us, means we have to budget. And rarely does that budget allow for new clothing or accessories. However discouraged I can feel about that, I wouldn't give up staying at home with my tot for anything!

Even so, sometimes little things can make an outfit seem fresh, new and up to date, and I managed to find something that made me feel very pretty (:
And after I was done with makeup and doing my hair, I realized that I had a dilemma.


After having Isabela, I quit wearing most of my jewelry for about 1.5 years. I had certain, sturdier pieces, I would wear at times, but most of it was too delicate. And finally, when I felt like I would be able to wear some of it without Isabela ripping it from me, I realized that my taste had changed quite a bit.

No longer was I the childless wild child! I needed more classic, unique pieces, rather than trendy.

So, I gathered all my unwanted jewelery, and gave it to my bestie Stacy. She was VERY happy about this!

And after that, I kind of forgot that I was supposed to slowly accumulate more.

So, there I was, looking at the few , not so cute pieces that I have, and it hit me.....


I have diamonds!


Diamonds, that I have been fearful to wear for so long, knowing that Isabela, who loves all things sparkle, would immediately tear these diamonds from my neck, gleefully wanting them for herself!

My husband bought me my first diamond necklace. It was our first Valentine's day together, and I remember feeling blown away! No man had ever spent that much money on me - I hadn't even spent that much money on me before!

After that, my dear husband bought me another diamond, in the form of an engagement ring!
And, after marriage, there was even more!

Diamonds are ALWAYS the perfect gift.


And I as looked into my little jewelry box ( its not like I have a safe people, come on!), I thought what these diamonds mean to me...

Romance
Awe.
Sparkle.
A display and gesture of love, all wrapped up into a tiny box.

At the same time, these diamonds represent better, or lets say easier, financial times. When we were duel military, with no kids, and saving ALOT of money, way more than we can now.

But even more, these diamonds remind me of my husband. Who loves me and has sacrificed so much for our family. A man of few words, these were his way of expressing his love for me.

There are some occasions that are more special than others.
an anniversary
a wedding
a baby
deployment homecomings!

All special and significant. Moments in life that are captured and engraved into our hearts.

But there are other occasions in between. Maybe these don't get the attention of our families and friends. Maybe they seem silly or mundane to others. And, maybe, we, ourselves, don't even understand them.

But these occasions, like the date night, still hold significance in our lives. They give us a time to refresh. To re-bond. To remember why we love each other, and who we are, besides a mom and dad.

Sometimes, nights like this demand sparkle. Whether its diamonds, the glamor of a trendy restaurant, or the rarity of just being alone together.....

The sparkle is what makes it special.

And, this girl loves sparkle.


Sometimes, you just have to wear your diamonds. My bestie, Stacy, would say, "NO, Alicia, ALL the time!"

And, maybe she's right.

But for us "sometimes girls", this one is for you. May your frumpy ( your not, but just feel that way!) , mom to a toddler, ( making sure to wear print during an outing in case your tot spills something on you, wipes a booger on you ( yes that happens!), drools on you, or even worse, throws up on you, ) everyday practical clothes wearing ( because how else would you run, chase, climb on playgrounds with your toddler, and play jump on mommy), version of you be temporarily forgotten.

May we all have the luxury of date nights, please!

And lastly, may we all come home, completely refreshed, to sleeping children, who do NOT wake up until morning!

Yes, please!

Here is a video, in honor of date nights.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Memory montage

Sometimes, you come across old pictures, and cannot resist the urge to share them!

You think, " I can't believe I was that skinny! I was on a diet then!"

Or, " What was I thinking, wearing that outfit!"

But, especially, " Man, those were good times!"

Here is a collage I made from old photos I found on my computer:









Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A confession of vanity.

I certainly don't think I'm the most beautiful woman in the world.
I never have.

But, I've always felt that I was a beautiful person.

Inside. Outside.

And, I would like to say, that EVERY woman should feel beautiful in her own skin. Every woman should know that she is beautiful. Set apart. Unique. Worthy.

At the same time, we should know that our value does NOT lie only in our outside beauty.


However, in this world, its hard to remember that. Not only that, its hard to teach our daughters this, consistently.

A confession of vanity.

I confess, that with the emergence of myspace, facebook, google +, etc, that I have taken that picture.



You know what it is ladies. Oh yes, the one you take of yourself! Just your face. Looking fantastic, because no one puts the bad pictures up for everyone to see!

And with my self-promotion, I admit....

There's a little vanity involved there.



Last year, I began to have problems with my vision. It began happening shortly after our Portland family reunion. I started to see double vision AND started to have "floaters' in my vision.

So, I made an eye appointment. The doctor changed my prescription. But, it got worse. I went back, and since my left eye had gotten worse, the doctor changed my prescription again and referred me to an ophthalmologist.

Several months later, I was finally at the ophthalmologist. My eye had gotten even worse since then! The doctor informed me that this whole double vision thing had a name, one which I cannot remember. ( ***EDIT*** the name is "Binocular diplopia")


This is what happens when I see: I see double vision, floating vision, unless I cover one eye. It is very frustrating, makes driving to unknown places difficult, and did I say, um, frustrating!

Anyway, the doctor also told me that my left eye was starting to turn in a little. Yeah, turn in.

He asked to see a picture of my driver's license, so he could show me, but my picture looked fine, so obviously this "turning inward" thing was new.


As a temporary fix, the doctor put a prism in my glasses to help me see singularly. He told me that: my condition was hereditary, had been present most of my life (doctors failed to connect the dots), that the best option for me would be eye vision therapy, and that since I've had this condition for so long, eye vision therapy may not work.

He also said that there was a surgery but the success rate wasn't very good.

Then, he said that my eye would continue to turn inward, without eye therapy.

OH, and lastly, the prism would help me see single vision, but would make everything around my focal point blurry.


Out of all this, all I remember is thinking about my eye turning inward.

I was obsessed.

I kept asking Chris if he noticed, but since it wasn't happening all the time then, he wasn't noticing. I would notice it in random pictures, but it wasn't very consistent.

In the meantime, I felt so DOWN. My insurance will not cover eye vision therapy, we were in the middle of a move to our new base, and I just wanted to see normal again!

In April, it started to get really obvious. If people took pictures of me from a distance, it would seem as if I would be looking to the left, instead of at the camera. Because I delete all horrible pictures of me, I couldn't find an example, where it was really obvious. But here is a close up picture, where you can see that my left eye ( because its a picture, look at the right) is definitely turned inward.

It seemed that the prism in my lenses was helping me to see singularly by making my right eye more dominant.

And now, I can tell that people notice. My mother in law asked me what was wrong with my eye....and I feel embarrassed to say that this has totally screwed with my self confidence.

I feel like just hiding.

I don't want to see old friends. And have anxiety over meeting new ones......all the time wondering if they are staring at my crazy eye.

I feel like making my bangs cover my left eye, and pretending to be emo. Except my wardrobe is FAR from emo!

I feel like a freak.

If I actually let myself think about it, I cry and cry and cry.


Pathetic, I know.

Its this stupid vanity! The other day, I felt so stressed out. The vanity issue. Chris leaving. Not to mention, just driving, seeing, looking, is frustrating! Everything is either double or blurry.....

The other day, as I was reading the bible and crying, I kept praying that I would see myself as God sees me.

Beautiful, intricately and purposely made.


You guys, I realize that to some of you this sound SO stupid! I just need to get this all out!

I was reading online that people who have this condition experience depression and loss of confidence because of it.

Boy is that ever true!


I'm so frustrated with this though! I just want to wake up one day and NOT think about this. NOT notice that my vision is screwed up and not wonder how crazy my stupid eye is looking!

I'm tired of crying about this and wondering what the doctor will say next, how bad it will get.

Mostly, I'm tired of feeling insecure and depressed about it. I'm tired of letting my vanity in the way of my happiness.


I'm tired of playing victim.

I want to say that this is it. I'm done. I will never cry or be sad or be frustrated about this again.

But, I know that I will. I also know that I have to start dealing with this differently. I know that I have to talk about this with people. Ultimately, I know that I have to learn to love myself again...because somehow, along the way, I've stopped.



Also, I wish I knew how to turn this italics off, but I don't.


Last night, I was watching dancing with the stars. I wanted to see JR Martinez, a army veteran who was injured and severely burned in Iraq. I was stationed in San Antonio,during my years in the service, in 2003 and remembered hearing about him in the years following.

Here is a video clip from you tube. Please watch it!




His story brings tears to my eyes.

When I watched this, I just felt so dumb. This man is a HERO. He endured and survived through so much....I could never even imagine.

Honestly, veterans in similar situations can become alcoholics, drug addicts, homeless....BUT he refused to go that route.

Instead, he practiced a positive attitude, did NOT feel sorry for himself, and followed his dreams.


He is now, one of the most highly sought after motivational speakers in this country. I have never even heard him speak...but I don't have to.


His story speaks for him.

His life speaks for him.

His success speaks for him.




I cannot, in anyway, compare my situation to his or compare myself to him.

He is a real life hero.

I'm not.


But his story inspires me to stop hiding....to start living!

to stop being frustrated and upset over something I really just CANNOT CONTROL.


And, as I'm writing this, I feel ashamed. That this even matters. How.....in the whole scheme of things, can this even matter SO much to me?

For, I can still see.



I can still see.


Thank you , everyone who read this, for reading this. I have been very candid and vulnerable on this post. I know that in doing so, I am opening myself up for public judgement, and that is ok.

I love everyone of you, for taking the time to read this, for being my friend, for knowing who I am, who my heart is, where my emotions can take me....

for always telling me when I'm wrong, too bossy, and for loving me despite ME....thank you!