Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Updates All Around

Wow.  Where to begin?  So much has been going on and life has really just seemed to have gotten away from me here lately.

For starters, TJ has been gone for 194 days now!  I can't believe it has been that long since I have been able to hold and kiss the love of my life!  Luckily R&R is coming up right around the corner and I can't wait!

I've also been working way more than I had planned on working; but it's helping to build our savings account for our vacations scheduled post deployment :-)

I have still been working with our 7-year old on getting some sort of official diagnosis.  We are getting closer but there have still been some set backs.  (Like for instance when he puked in the psychiatrists office last week during his psychiatric evaluation.)  It seems like we've had many appoints; with another major one coming up at the end of this week.  I'm hoping for a better outcome than last week.  On top of the ADHD and ODD that I discussed before, we are still exploring the possibilities of dyslexia and also a mood disorder.

It is all very tiring and never ending.  He (and the process) has really been draining all the energy out of me lately.  Because of this, I have contacted Military OneSource and have started seeing a therapist myself (my husband and I had joint counseling before he left as a proactive approach to deployment and it helped immensely) in order to deal with all of the stress associated not only with this, but with deployment in general.

Also on top of all of this, I've been scheduled for surgery on November 17th.  It's nothing too serious really, but I'll be out of commission for 6-8 weeks while I recover and hobble around on crutches.  I'm having another bunionectomy done.  I had the first one on my right foot when I was 17, the second on my left foot when I was 20 and now the 3rd again on my right foot.  (And in case you're wondering - yes, that's my driving foot and I won't be able to drive during the 6-8 weeks: it only complicates things a little bit). I'm really hoping I'm done after this one!

With surgery pending next month, I have also been kicked into high gear on trying to get some things done here around the house that I've been putting off but definitely won't be able to do while on crutches; like cleaning the gutters, raking leaves, power washing the house, etc.  Unfortunately the list seems to be never ending and as soon as I finish one task, I have to add two more.

I guess that's it really.  I figure I'll wrap it up here as my eyelids are getting very heavy and I would hate to fall asleep before I got to hit publish.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


My youngest is at the stage now where he comes up with some hilarious things.  I really need to start documenting these better but tonight was one of those moments.

**background:  Friday evening the high school homecoming parade came down our street and the kids were super excited**

As I was getting him out of the shower tonight he said something about Christmas.

Me:  Slow down, we need to get through Halloween and Thanksgiving before we can get to Christmas.
Him:  Mom!  We do thanksgiving already!
Me:  What are you taking about?
Him:  You know.  When the fire trucks came down and threw candy we say thanksgiving!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Joys of my Life

 Yea so, my night.....

I *allowed* my six (almost seven) year old son to run away.  He was in the midst of one of his "episodes" tonight (which lately happen ALL the time) when he screamed at me that he wanted to run away. I simply told him that was fine and he could get his stuff when we got home and go.

We get home and he runs to his room to pack his bag.  Within minutes he was back at the door with his suitcase.  I meanwhile had already moved on to trying to get dinner started.  He stood at the front door for a few minutes telling me over and over again that he was leaving - just waiting for a reaction.  When I didn't react, he opened the door and yelled that he was really leaving.  I still said nothing.  Finally after some more yelling and asking me if I really wanted him to leave and some more ignoring on my part - he walked out the door; where I promptly shut and locked it.

**And before anyone goes and gets all upset and calls social services on me - I watched him the entire time he was outside and was ready to go get him if I needed to**

I went and watched him from the window.  He stood in front of the door for a couple minutes, I assume waiting for me to come after him.  When he realized I wasn't coming he started to walk away but continued to look at the front door.  Within seconds he came running back to the door.  He realized the windows were open and yelled for me that he forgot something and wanted to come back in to get it.  I told him no, he ran away he couldn't come back in to get stuff.  (apparently he said he wanted his coat because it was cold, but it was really 70+ outside).

So he began walking away again.  This time he got to the neighbors sidewalk before he got freaked and came bolting back to the house.  He yells through the window again that he's ready to come back now and was sorry for running away.

When I finally let him back in and he was finally out of his "mood", he was ready to sit down for homework time.

Meanwhile during all of this, I was just dying to know what he had thought to pack and what was in his suitcase.  I didn't want to make a big deal of it but I did notice he left his bag at the front door.  Normally I would have requested that he take it back to his room; but because I wanted to know what was in it, I let it stay.  Are you curious to know what an almost 7 year-old would pack to run away?

Why, duh....doesn't everyone pack their Daddy's to run away!

And yes, his Daddy doll is the only thing that he packed to take with him.  
I sure hope his plan wasn't to go far!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Challenge #6 - Use a White Board

I know, you're probably thinking just yesterday I was saying that I needed to slow this process down a little bit and not make so many changes at once.  But this is actually something I started using several weeks ago and it's been working - it was later in my list of challenges but I decided to move it up since we're already using it.

You may also be asking, what does using a white board have to do with parenting an ADHD child.  Well here is a picture of our white board:

(Sorry for the bad quality but I took the picture in the pitch black with my phone because my son is currently sleeping.)

As you may be able to make out, it hangs right next to door/light switch so he can see it multiple times a day.  His board is basically his list of things that need to get done over the course of the day.  It is split into both AM and PM so he is able to distinguish when he needs to do each item.

Every night after he falls asleep, I go into his room, take the board down and write the new items for the next day.  That way, when he wakes up in the morning he sees it before he even walks out of his room.

He also loves that I draw pictures to go along with each of the items.  I originally started out only with pictures of words that I didn't know for sure that he would know but thought he could probably figure it out with a picture.  He was quite upset one day that there were no pictures on his board though, so now I draw them for each of the items.  (It takes a little longer, but it makes him happy and so I do it.)

I have also been able to figure out that I can't just write "shower".  He has no idea what I want him to do with that.   I must write "Take a shower" for him to understand.

What I just realized you can't see at the bottom of the board in this picture are the smiley face magnets.  After he completes each item he moves one magnet next to that item to signify that it is completed.  This results in him gaining a sense of accomplishment and me not having to hound him to do things or ask constantly if things are done.  I simply say go look at your board and I can also look at the board and see what has or has not been done.

Along with this challenge, has come the use of consequences as well.  He knows that if items are not completed either before we leave for school in the morning or before he goes to bed, than there are consequences for not completing them.  Tonight he lost dessert because I had already reminded him twice to complete the tasks on his board and he choose to play with his toys instead.  Another night he lost TV time.  I've tried to simply explain to him that it isn't really a punishment - he made choices to do something besides what I told him needed to be done.  And now that it's time to do "XYZ" (dessert, TV, video games, etc) he can't participate because he must now do what was expected of him.  Some nights he gets it and is fine with it and other nights he losses his shit (like tonight).

So is all of this time consuming? Yes, very much so, but so it parenting a special needs child.  This is however working for us right now though and that's all that matters.  The plan is, as he gets older that some of the routine things can be left off the list (take a shower, brush your teeth, etc) and it will only be used for non-routine things.  And as he gets older still, the idea for him to write out his own board (with my final approval) is an option as well.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Deployment Update

So in the midst of the my parenting posts, I wanted to give you all an update on deployment as well.

We are currently 24 weeks/170 days in.  Which means we are 42.5% done with this stupid deployment.  Almost to the half way point!  

I'm really starting to look forward to R&R - I just don't know if it can possibly get here soon enough!

Challenge #5 - Don't Argue

I have not fallen off the band-wagon of my parenting a child with ADHD challenge.  What I've discovered though is that I need to take smaller steps and implement new things slowly.  My son thrives on routine and changing so many things at once was putting him on edge; so we've had to slow it down a bit.

As for an update on where we are:

Challenge #1 - I started back to the gym today and am excited about it and I have been trying harder to watch what I eat.   I also laid around on Saturday when the kids were gone and did nothing but watch movies.  It was just what I needed.  I'm also still looking into taking Annoyed Army Wife's suggestion of meditation - I'm very intrigued by it.

Challenge #2 - I'm honestly still working on this one.  I have all the rules written out but need to get them printed and laminated for his room and the fridge.  We've been slowly talking about them at dinner time too.

Challenge #3 - This has been going well too and it helps that he has begun asking me exactly what I mean if he doesn't understand something.  It helps me to know what I need to say the next time so he "gets it" (although that's not to say that he'll "get it" the next time either).

Challenge #4 - I have been really trying my hardest on this one.  Just today I sent him out of the room so I could have 5 minutes to recompose myself so that I didn't yell at him.  I'm not gonna say that there haven't been days where I have "lost my shit" because there have been but they are becoming few and far between.

So on to Challenge #5:

Do not argue with a child, let alone a child with ADHD.  As soon as you begin arguing with a child, it puts you on their turf and with an ADHD child they seem (at least my son is) most comfortable in conflict.

I have realized that I tend to be an argumentative person when I'm trying to get my point across.  I often find my self going back and forth with my children (and even my husband) to the point where I snap and end up yelling at them. 

I need to say what I mean and stick to it.  If the direction is not followed, there will be consequences.  I am the parent and when I make a request it needs to be done, not debated as to how/when/if it needs to be done.

One of the first steps is to sit down with children and explain that there is normally a good reason that you're telling them to do something.  It's not because you're mean.  However, keep this explanation short and sweet because a long winded conversation is sure to loose them.  Next, explain to them that you will no longer argue with them and that they will be expected to accomplish whatever task it is that you've stated.  They don't have to be happy about whatever it is, but it needs to be done.  Finally, kids need to know what the consequence is if they insist on arguing with you.

At dinner tomorrow tonight this is what we will be talking about.  What do your dinner time conversations sound like?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Challenge #4 - Remain Calm & Friendly

As difficult as I know it is,  you need to stay calm and have a friendly disposition.

When an ADHD child can sense anger, they will likely match (if not top) that anger.

As much as I find myself raising my voice with anger (mostly because he isn't following directions); I need to step back and practice those breathing exercises we have been working on with him in therapy, and try to remain calm.

It is very easy to just start yelling when put in a situation where it seems your requests are being ignored.  I need to realize that isn't normally the case.  Most times he doesn't intentionally ignore me (although sometimes I'm sure he does) and if I start off by yelling at him, it's only going to make things worse.

This is honestly probably one of my hardest challenges.  I grew up in a house where as soon as my father raised his voice - we obeyed immediately.  I have tended to use that same practice with my children - although it doesn't seem to work very well; especially with a child with ADHD who will only turn around and match me.

My goal is to not raise my voice or yell at any of my kids for the entire day.  There are other ways to get to my point across and I need to work on them.  I know one day isn't much, but it's a starting point which will hopefully take off with time. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Challenge #3 - Give Clear Commands

Start every command by stating his name in attempt to get his attention.  If I walk into his room while he is watching TV and simply tell him to clean his room - it's NEVER gonna get done.

I must first ensure I have his attention and he is looking at me.  Saying his name, generally does the trick (but not always).  Then begin with the first simple direction.  Saying clean your room (even if I have his attention) is NOT gonna result in a clean room.

I must say, "Please pick up your football gear of the floor".  In the ideal world, I would stand there and wait for it to be completed before moving onto the next step.  However, with 2 other kids in the house, this doesn't and can't happen.

After the first direction is complete, he is either required to come see me for the next instruction or I will check on him frequently to ensure it is getting done.  I then give the next specific instruction.  "Please put your shoes away in the closet".

This process continues until his room is clean.

My goal is to ultimately be able to give him a list of specific items he needs to do in order to clean his room and eliminate him having to come get me or me having to check on him every few minutes.  But for starters, this works. 

This works the same for all commands.  As a general rule of thumb most ADHD kids can only remember/process 1 or 2 step instructions at a time.  If given more than that, they are only being set up for failure. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


In this post I mentioned that one of the diagnoses with my 7 year old was ODD.  What is ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder) and what does it entail?  I have had this question asked on more than one occassion so I figured it was worth a post of its own.

While again, I am no expert, here is what I do know about it.  It is when a child is routinely uncooperative and defiant towards authority figures.  Yes, you're probably thinking almost all children act in this manner at some point in time. This is different in that it is ongoing and is severe enough that it interferes with the child's normal social, family and school life.

Some of the symptoms exhibited include:
  • frequent temper-tantrums
  • excessive arguing
  • deliberately attempts to annoy others
  • blames others for mistakes
  • frequent anger
  • mean and hateful/hurtful talking when upset
  • easily annoyed by others
Also, 40% of ADHD children also are diagnosed with ODD.  They seem to go hand in hand in many cases.  It is very rare for a child to be diagnosed with only one form of a psychological/learning disability.  

I am open to questions.  Please continue to ask them.  I will answer all of what I know.  And if I don't know, I'm sure I'll be asking that same question in his next therapy session (I'm sure I would have thought of it eventually) in order to figure out an answer.   :-).  

Challenge #2 - Make Rules He Understands

Post clear precise rules that he understands.  And go over them frequently.

General rules like "Be on Your Best Behavior" mean nothing to him.  He needs to know exactly what behaviors he needs to be exhibiting.

If he going to a friends house, I can not say "be on your best behavior", I must tell him:

- Remember your manners (please, thank you, etc)
- Follow directions the first time they are given
- Do not talk back
- It is not your house, you do not always get to do what you want to do
- It's okay to lose if you're playing a game.

General rules that would mean something to a typical 7 year old boy, mean nothing to him.  Unless it is spelled out for him, it's only setting him up for failure.

Also, he needs to be reminded several times, as many times he is probably not paying attention to what I'm saying, even when it appears I have his attention. 

This week we will be working on posting clear house rules, not just for him but for everyone.  Both the older kids will have a copy for their desks and they're will be another hung on the fridge for the whole house.

So far this is what I have:

Be respectful.
     No talking back.
     No screaming, yelling or arguing.  (parents, siblings or friends)
     Use your manners (thank you, please).
     Treat others as you would like to be treated.
     No name calling.

Be respectful of others property.
     No jumping on furniture.
     No door slamming.
     Walk, do not run.
     No ball playing inside.
     Wrestling is only allowed in the basement.

Use an inside voice.
Listen.  Do as you are told.
Clean up your belongings.
No tattle-tailing.

Do you have known house rules?  If so, am I forgetting anything?  Any other suggestions?

Challenge #1 - Stay Healthy and Positive Yourself

The first and most important step before being able to help your child is to help yourself.  You need to eat right, exercise, find ways to reduce stress and get adequate sleep before you will be able to fully function in the level needed to be able to successfully parent a child with ADHD.

It is my goal to start going to the gym again on a regular basis or if my schedule doesn't allow it, to at least walk around the track/field during sports practices (cause we all know I'm there enough with 3 children!).

I will be trying to more closely watch what I eat.  While I have been doing decent with this, I still crack under pressure of fast food when it's more convenient than going home to cook something.  I have recently started doing freezer cooking and this works wonders for our family.  It's mostly during my lunch or the weekends where I'm exhausted or we're between games that I tend to resort to fast food.  I need to better plan lunches and weekends to avoid this.

Since I've been working full-time since the school year started, I haven't had too much trouble sleeping like I was during the beginning of deployment.  We'll see if that continues as I begin to cut hours over the next few weeks.

As far as relaxation.  I need to come up with a plan for this one.  I try to get the grandparents to take my kids at least one weekend a month with ideas of pure relaxation in my mind.  However, I generally seem to fill up that time hanging out with friends and constantly being on the go - fun, but not very relaxing.  I need suggestions on daily relaxation techniques.  How do you relax after a long day?

Monday, September 13, 2010

A New Challenge

Several months ago, I spoke of some issues that we were having with our middle son, who will be 7 next month.  I am finally ready to discuss this in more detail.  It has been a very long and drawn out process that is still not complete but I am confident that we are seeing some of the best doctors in the area and we will continue working on solutions.

While our school district basically told me I was crazy and there was nothing wrong with our son, I'm glad I followed my maternal instinct and continued to seek help through other options.  Over the summer, our almost 7-year old was diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder).  While these diagnoses are not yet finalized and we are still undergoing further evaluations for some other possible issues, we are fairly confident that this is a good starting point.

I unfortunately, have found myself having a hard time dealing with and adjusting to this information.  Not that I'm in denial, because I'm not; but more so with having to adjust my parenting techniques in order to better fit him.  I'm finding myself frustrated and with little to no patience left at the end of the day; which only results in worse behaviors on his end.  And then, because I work with special needs 3 and 4 year olds, I get even more irritated with myself for not doing things "right".  Of course dealing with all of this in the middle of a deployment doesn't help anything either. 

In my attempt to become a better parent to him as well as my other two children, I will be starting a new challenge for the next month (give or take) featuring a tip, suggestion or activity on how to more effectively deal with ADHD and/or ODD in children.  

I am by no means an expert in this field, these are simply things that I will be attempting to incorporate into our lives in hopes of a positive outcome for our family.  I think many of these things can also work for other special needs children and even for children without special needs.  

I hope you all will join me in becoming a better parent and/or supporting this new challenge. 

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Life of a Grass Head

Gone are the lazy summer days of not working.  

I was not suppose to be working full time this year, I was actually not even suppose to work part time.  I was simply suppose to substitute.  Mostly on Tuesdays.  

So far this school year, I have worked EVERY single day.  

I have found myself in a long term sub slot in my classroom from last year.  Mind you, I'm not really complaining.  

I love what I do and I love the kids I work with.

But it sure makes for a hectic, crazy night when I get home.  I normally have a little over an hour to help two kids get homework done, get dinner cooked, get kids fed, dressed for practices and out the door.  

Housework has fallen to the wayside these days.  But everyone seems happy and they're still alive so that's all that matters to me right now.

My oldest daughter made this grass head during summer camp.  It has taken up residency in an older potter on the deck.  While I'm sure she has long forgotten about it, I have not.  Every night I look at Grass Head and just smile.  Smile wishing I had his life, smile remembering the lazy summer days but most importantly smile loving this hectic life we have created.  

Friday, August 27, 2010

Mil-Spouse Friday Fill-In #10

I never got around to doing Mil-Spouse Friday Fill-In's last week since I was in Pittsburgh.  But I'm back this week for week #10.

Here are the questions for this week:

  1. What secret indulgence do you act on while your spouse is away? (from Devil Dog Darling)  Blogging and excessive use of the internet.  Although it's not really secret, I guess.  When hubby is home my internet time is limited so we can spend time together after the kids go to bed; when he's not home, I have ALL night!
  2. If you were a spice, what would you be? (from New Girl On Post)  Hmmm....this is a hard one.  Part of me wants to say Old Bay because I'm from Maryland and I like a little spice in my life.  The other part wants to say Thyme because I'm always giving my time to my children, family and friends.    
  3. Where do you go for support when your significant other is deployed? (from Texas Meets Washington)  My family and maybe a few select friends.  I thought going into deployment that I had a strong support group of mostly friends, I have learned in the past several months who my true friends are.  I've also learned that my family (my dad, mom & sis) are going to be there no matter what happens.  
  4. What is the oldest thing you own? (from A Troop’s Girl)  The oldest thing I own, is actually older than me.  It's my baby blanket which I apparently stole from my big sister when I was a baby.  I've always had it close over the years and would cuddle with it if I was sick or sad but right now it's serving time in Kuwait with my hubby!
  5. How did you vision your future pre-military? (from Daddy’s Duty)  There never was a future pre-military for us.  Even when we first started dating in high school we knew he would be in the service - back then we thought Navy and not Army but the service non the less.  I couldn't what our life would be like without the military even if I try to think about it now.  I have no idea where we would be living or what we would be doing for careers either.  

I hope you guys join in and link up over at Wife of a Sailor, if you don't already.  Have a great weekend!


7:  The number of days since I have last been on blogger.  I've taken an unannounced/unexpected break from blogging and the internet in general this week (okay, really - I did read a few posts from my phone while waiting at various places over the course of the week) and have been trying to be productive.

558:  The number of unread posts in my Google reader.  (See above).  My break has been a success but I miss reading everyone's blogs and feeling like I have some sort of adult interaction.  I'll be back soon but please excuse my lack of commenting (or perhaps even reading altogether) as my Google reader is scaring me and I might just be tempted to hit the "mark all as read" button.

5.5:  The number of hours I spent in the Pittsburgh airport on Sunday trying to get home.  The flight was delayed numerous times due to weather (or so they say - when I spoke to my parents at home they said it was sunny and the birds were chirping...)

20:  The number of weeks my husband has been gone.

2: The number of times I was puked on by my lovely 3 year old at the football field on Monday night.

48:  The number of days since I've spoken to my (supposed) best friend.  There will be a post coming shortly about this and really just friends (or the lack there of) in general so far during the course of deployment.

139:  The number of days my husband has been deployed. We are more than half way to R&R!  Yay!

4:  The number of nights I spend on the sports field every week between football and soccer.  Not to mention the 5 1/2 hours I'll spend on the field this Saturday for the actual games.

1:  The number of times we ate out as a family this month.  After spending a ton of money last month, I challenged myself to stop the frivolous spending (which included eating out).  And even this one time, was a stop at McDonald's for lunch last Friday before I dropped my kids at my parents house on my way to the airport.  To celebrate, we're going out to dinner tonight!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Day 128

I seem to have missed my 125 day countdown.  I'm not entirely sure how that has happened, but I guess it's not a bad thing.  I guess it signifies that the days are moving fairly quickly - or at least busy enough that they all seem like a blur.

As I've mentioned to several people recently though, the days seems to drag on but the months seem to be flying by.  We are almost to our half-way mark for R&R and I can't wait!  And only about 8 more months before this stupid deployment is over!

Obviously since, I didn't realize what day it was, I'm not planning anything special to celebrate the passing of another 25 days like I normally do.

What I do have planned though is attending the Family Program Academy in Pittsburgh this weekend.  Have any of you attended the same thing or similar for your FRG group?  And are any of you located in the Pittsburgh area?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Homecomming Video

I'm sure most people have seen this video on Facebook.  But in case you haven't, it is a must see!  
I think I was crying not even a minute into it and cried until the end.  Very touching.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Mil-Spouse Fill-In #8

 Wow!  I can't believe Mil-Spouse Fill-Ins has been going on for eight weeks now!

I've been saying since the beginning that I wanted to participate.  But like I've said my life has seemed to have gotten away from me lately.

Anyway, I finally get to participate!  Yay!

This week’s questions are: 

1.  What is ONE thing you’d like civilians to understand about being a military family?
That the "extra" money we get during deployment is not only not enough but doesn't even begin to make up for the fact that my husband is gone for.a.year!  Yes, the money is nice but I'd much prefer to have my husband home than a few extra dollars.  
2.  What is your favorite mistake?  
Mine would have to actually be a favorite mistake of my husbands.  See my husband and I dated on and off in high school and then split up for several years.  During this time he was married and had my two oldest children.  Without his "mistake" I'd never be blessed with my oldest children. (This really is the abbreviated version of this story - maybe I'll have to tell it one day.)

3.  What indulgence could you give up for a year?
I honestly can't say that I have an indulgence.  The only thing I can think of is my Dunkin Donuts Iced Coffee.  and I am NOT giving that up!  I've already cut myself back to one a week but that's as good as it's ever gonna get :-)
4.  If you could be a winged animal, what would you be?
 I would be a fly.  Originally I was thinking some sort of bird because I didn't want to be a fly and sit on poo all day; but I think I'd like to be a fly so I could visit my kids at daycare and see what goes on everyday.  Even though my kids are in daycare on post, I still always worry about what happens when the parents aren't there.  (And it's not that I'm not comfortable with our daycare, I actually love them, it's just always something I've thought about.)   
5.  What is one question you’d like to see asked in a future MFF?
Do you set goals for yourself during deployment?  What are some of them?  (Oops, sorry.  I guess that's technically two :-)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary to the love of my life!  
Since we can't be together, I thought I'd post pictures of us together during our honeymoon in Hawaii! 

Love you honey!  Hope you enjoyed our trip down memory lane!

More Catching Up

Another crazy thing that has happened since I've been gone.

  • I had an unexpected visitor show up on my doorstep last Tuesday night.  At 10pm.  

Here's the story:

I hadn't been feeling good the few days prior to that.  I suspect I had the early stages of an ear infection that has since thankfully cured itself.  I was planning on getting a little bit of work done on a paper and going to bed by 10:30 that night.

The dog starts barking outrageously crazy around 10 o'clock.  He has been doing this more and more recently (Which is super annoying when you have three kids sleeping!) and generally for no good reason what-so-ever.  Normally it's a dog walking down the street or some kid on a skate board or sometimes I think maybe just a leaf flying by.  Who knows.  The point is, I've either been ignoring him lately or calling him downstairs to get him to shut up.

That night though, something told me to get up and see what he was barking at.  Under normal circumstances, I use the window upstairs to look out and see what is going on.  See I'm short - and the peep hole isn't always the easiest for me to reach.  However, again that night for some reason I was inclined to stop on the landing and use the peep hole.

I stand on my tip-toes and peer out the peep hole and Oh.My.God. there is someone there!  I had a thousand thoughts run through my head as I came down off my tip-toes.  (Of course as a military spouse of a deployed soldier, you always have a fear of your worse nightmare coming true with that unexpected knock at the door.)

Within a split second I'm back on my tip-toes looking out.

And within the next second I'm throwing the door open.

Open to my big sis!

Who was supposedly in New Zealand.  On the other side of the world!

See my sister left last October for a round the world trip.  She was not due to be back in the States until late September/early October.  (You can read all about her adventure here.)

After ten months of traveling she was tired of being on the go, homesick and running low on funds.  So she came home early.  But conveniently failed to mention it to anyone in the family. 

It was definitely a nice surprise that brought a rush of emotions and tears to my eyes!

She ended up spending the next four days with us hanging out.  It was as if she never left and we picked right back up where we left off.  I couldn't mention it earlier because I'm not sure who reads my blog these days and she still had more people to surprise.  The surprises are finally all done though and you can read the story from her perspective here.  

 I'm so, so glad to have my sis back home.  Now if only I could hurry up and get that damn husband of mine home too!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Another Excuse

Where have I been?

Well, I've been sitting at my desk.  Writing.  For a week straight now.  Seriously.

I wish I could say that I was coming up with something awesome.  But I can't.

Remember that I'm in graduate school?  And I'm taking two classes this summer.  (It's okay if you forgot, I'd like to forget right about now too.)

Well those two classes have royally kicked my ass recently.  And really, it's my own fault.  I'm a procrastinator.  It's just who I am.  Always have been.

So yes, I've known about the THREE papers that were due (essentially all at the same time) back when classes started in June.  And I didn't do anything about it.  Until last week.

I've written a total of 26 or so total pages.  Which seriously is not that many.  But not only did I wait til the last minute to write the papers.  I waited til the last minute to actually do any research for the papers too!

I'd like to think that maybe I've learned a lesson about procrastinating.  But I'm sure I haven't.

I'm getting ready to enroll is fall classes and I'm a gluten for punishment.  I'm taking two classes again.  But this time instead of having off during the summer like I am now.  I'll be working back at the elementary school  part time, my oldest daughter will be playing soccer and practicing several nights a week, my middle son is playing football and practicing several nights a week and I must be crazy but I'm contemplating putting my youngest in the Start Smart program this fall too.  AND - the semester end craziness likely be coinciding with R&R.

I know.  I'm crazy.  You don't need to tell me, but feel free if you must!

Giveaway Winner

I am super sorry about not posting the winner sooner for my giveaway.  Life has just gotten the better of me these past few weeks (which I'll be explaining in posts coming soon) and blogging has obviously been put on the back burner.  I'm trying to get back into the swing of things - please be patient with me.

But without further excuses...the winner selected using was:

Sara at Welcome to the Blog of an Army Wife

Congratulations Sara!  I'll be sending you an email with instructions on what to do next.  (And I promise, I'm doing it in a few minutes, it won't be weeks.)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Is There Anyone Out There?

I'm still here.  I know it's been a week or something like that since my last post.  It's been quite crazy around here.  I know I still owe you all the contest winner as well, which I will get to, I promise.  But before I can do anything I have two papers that need to get done for school.  One by Saturday and one by Monday.  I'll be returning - promise.  Just a little overwhelmed right now.... 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Calling All Mouse Experts

We are in the early stages of planning a family vacation to Disney when my husband comes home.  We are planning for the mid to late May time frame. 

I need help!  I absolutely hate having to plan all this stuff by myself and stress that I'm going to forget something.  Can you all please give me all the advice and suggestions you have to make this a successful trip?


Oh yea, and my giveaway is still open.  Go over and enter please!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Several days ago, I mentioned that I had a little surprise for all of you.....

It's my very first giveaway!

I was recently contacted by Paperspring to review their products and host a giveaway.

Paperspring is about sharing and celebrating the important moments in life. In our fast-paced world of e-mail, text messages and other virtual communication, it's still nice to stop for a moment and feel something. The texture of matte paper, the beauty of printed materials, and the portability of paper products make paper a timeless and cherished technology. Our purpose is to bring life to paper and paper to life!

What I love:
They use eco-friendly paper.
They have SO many options to choose from.
The customization process is very simple and straight forward.
You get to preview your order instantly.
The cards come on quality paper.
The website is easy to navigate.

I ordered the picket fence stationery in salmon (of course with my name):
And I ordered the catching snowflakes cranberry labels (again with my info removed):
Aren't they absolutely adorable!

I can't wait til the holiday season approaches and I can order their DNA cards for the holidays!

Now you have the chance to get your very own $50 gift card to Paperspring.  

In order to enter this giveaway you must:
1.  Be a follower of my blog AND
2.  Visit Paperspring and let us know what your favorite item is. 

**Giveaway ends on Saturday, July 31st at midnight.  Winner will be chosen via random number generator and notified via email.  Please ensure I have a way to contact you or I will have to select another winner.**

If you don’t win then you can still enjoy a great discount.
From now until August 31st they are offering a special discount of $10 off orders of $50 or more plus free shipping with code PSAUGUST.  

**I was not compensated by Paperspring in order to write this review or host this giveaway.  I was given a $50 gift card via MOM magazine and Paperspring offered to do a giveaway on my blog.

Project #2

Wow!  As my sister so kindly reminded me, it's been 5 days since my last post.  What a slacker!

There are many things that I can blame my lack of posting on but I'll spare you all the details and blame it on the fact that I had another kid free weekend (you can see the first one here) where I worked on redecorating projects around the house.  (Remember I mentioned that here).

This go round, I was redoing my oldest daughters bedroom.  Here is what it looked like before:

And here are some after shots:

It's amazing what a little bit of paint can do for a room.  And my daughter absolutely loves it - she feels so grown up.  One of her favorite parts is the chalkboard.  As you may be able to see, I still need to finish the trim around it, but that will come eventually.  And I still need to get some tie-backs for the curtains and hem them up but that too will come in time. 

Of course my oldest son is a little jealous now and while I'm pretty sure I'm done painting for a while, it looks like he's in store to at least get some new bedding and curtains.

**Sorry about the lack of picture quality.  They were all taken with my phone.  I just grabbed my camera to go take actual pictures...opened the door and went right back out because it's a disaster already and I refuse to clean it!


This Blog is my outlet. It's where I share my thoughts and feelings. It's a place where I can vent. Not everyone thinks alike. People don't always share the same religious or political views. Some people (like me!) occasionally think in more “colorful” terms than others. Sorry, but I'm a big girl and can use cuss words and talk about not-so-mainstream stuff if I want to. If you find that sort of language offensive / shocking / annoying, you may want to stop reading now. Life as a military wife ain't always pretty. It's my life, though, so don't say I didn't warn you.