Thursday, January 31, 2008

It's 8:30pm and the kids are in bed ... for the first time this week!

Ok, to clarify, they're in bed at a decent hour for the first time this week. The rest of the week has been 9:30pm or later. Yesterday I did a lot of reminiscing. I forgot to mention that we did go to the Wednesday evening service and heard a good message by the pastor. Of course we didn't get home until late, so bedtime last night wasn't until close to 11pm for them. Yikes! We also put up some Valentine's Day decorations when the kids got home from school.

Yea! I have a flag!

Here's Vincent putting up a conversation heart

Karah putting up a conversation heart. She had some issues with the first one.

The house from the front after the decorating

Now if only they would be this happy all the time! :-)

Today we had a bit of a late start so I ended up taking the kids to school. I came home and did a little on here (made a new blog to keep track of my sermon notes) then went to watch a performance by Karah during her gym class. I guess they have been working on gymnastics lately, and the parents were invited to come and watch. Of course I came! They were warming up / practicing when I got there, so I was able to get some pictures before recording her. It was pretty cute as they planned their own routine.

Here is the video of her performance.

The rest of the afternoon was pretty uneventful until the kids came home from school. A box from my mother-in-law came with Valentine's Day and Mardi Gras stuff for them. They got a sweatshirt, some beads, a box of chocolate, a box of conversation hearts, and a card. (I also think that some silliness was packed in there with it ... thanks, Mom!)

I had planned on grilling for dinner, but it was a little too cold to do so. We ended up having leftovers, then I get the question. "Can we still roast marshmallows?" <:- Sure! Did you know that marshmallows don't have to be in fire to catch on fire? We found out, and how to put it our really quick, too! LOL Enjoy the pics!

We also found that cooking marshmallows over the stove works just about as well as over a grill / open flame. (And yes, mom partook in some, too! :-D )

We finished with a story, Proverbs 31, prayers, then tucks into bed. I love it when they're happy!

*Editor's note: I just realized I wrote Psalm 31 when I meant Proverbs 31. Ooops! I have now corrected it.*

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Reminscing - My life as a Marine

Today I didn't do a whole lot. Got the taxes done and grabbed some fruit from the commissary. Then really didn't do anything else except do stuff online. I ended up spending most of my afternoon at this site and looking through a yearbook ... so to speak. It is my memory book from when I was in boot camp. It all seemed to go along with Heather's post this morning, which you can read here. I guess it was just one of those days where my mind went back .... back ... back ... ... ... ... ...

I joined the Marines in July 1996, where I was sworn in to the Delayed Entry Program (DEP). I went to boot camp in June 1997, a month after I graduated high school. I was a little scared going, but I had been away from home before living with other girls, so it wasn't too bad. I had fun, for the most part. My biggest thing was being loud. Anyone that knew me prior to being in the Marines for some time knows I was not big into talking or being loud (unless I was fighting with my sister). I had always been shy and quiet. In boot camp you have to be loud. "MA'AM, YES, MA'AM" and "AYE MA'AM, ON THE WAY, MA'AM" for example. And I did what I could to not stand out. And though I had a few issues (I couldn't swim ... had to learn; and never shot a gun before in my life!) I did enjoy boot camp and gradutated with my original platoon. From there it was MCT followed by MOS school.

While I was in MOS school, I met and married a fellow Marine. I liked him, loved him even. But it was a young love and not grounded on a good foundation. I was away from home, away from parents and rules, I could do what I wanted and no one could stop me. And I did ... everything that I could think of to do and still be (mostly) legal. Wish I hadn't sometimes, but it's turned out I've been able to help others avoid a similar situation just by telling them my story, so it ended up working for good.

After MOS school, we both ended up with orders to Okinawa, Japan (1998). I found out about 2-3 weeks after I got there that I was pregnant. Thankfully, they didn't send me back to the states, and I had my beautiful Karah while I was over there (1999). After Oki, we were stationed at Camp Pendleton, CA. There is where I had Vincent (2001). While we were there, our marriage was on the rocks, we both did things we regretted, and it eventually came apart. I re-enlisted at the end of 2001, as I had always envisioned myself doing the full 20 years. I ended up with orders to 29 Palms, CA, while my soon-to-be ex went back to his home in IN with the kids (long story, maybe later).

When I first got to 29 Palms, I knew I needed to get myself back into church. By happenstance, there was a tract at the company office and I picked it up to read through. Seeing as all the verses were KVJ, I decided I'd give it a try. And that's how I ended up at Calvary Baptist Church. A choice I will forever be grateful for. I continued with my career progression course and ended up meeting the love of my life, although he wasn't in the beginning. He ended up getting a divorce while we were going through class, and he started coming to church with me. Eventually he accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour and became a member of the church. We didn't date for some time, as I was determined not to rush things the second time around, especially as his was newer than mine. I didn't want to make the wrong choice. During this time, we finished class and we both stayed as instructors at the school. We did end up seeing each other, as we spent a lot of time together and had a good friendship. He proposed when we were at the ball. He had written a poem and everything, and had the DJ read it while we were slow dancing. It was so sweet! Of course I said yes, and we were married a little over a month later at the court house (2003). :-D

Due to chronic medical problems that couldn't be fixed, the Marine Corps decided it was time for me to leave them. As I said earlier, I had every intention of doing my 20, and I probably would have been very upset if my mind hadn't already been set on getting out at the end of my term. Being a Marine is a tough job. It is very demanding, both physically and mentally. Add to that being a wife, being a mother, being active in church, something had to give. As a wife, I really didn't do a whole lot ... I was tired at the end of the day and didn't feel like cooking or cleaning. As a mother, after dealing with students all day, the last thing I wanted to do was look after more kids. As a Marine, I had to be at work on time, looking my best, giving my all, ... be a Marine. The toughest decision for me to make at the time was to get out. And in the end (2005), the Marine Corps made it for me, and paid me for it. (Can't complain there! ;) )

It took some adjustment to being a stay-at-home mom. What did you do with a 4-yr old all day? Karah was in 1st grade by this point, so she was gone most of the day. I was (and sometimes still am) flabbergasted on what to do with them. After getting used to being home, moving, being a hermit, then breaking out of the shell, I realize that sometimes the best things you have are right in front of you. Sure, I knew it before, but it took me being around it for more than a couple hours a day to really enjoy and appreciate it.

There are days when I miss it. I miss it a lot of days. I miss the paycheck, too! :-)
But then I look at my children, and I see how much they've grown. I think about how much of their young lives I missed when I was still in. I can never get that time back. I had many good memories of being a Marine, ... and a few not-so-good ones as well. I don't regret being a Marine, and I do wish there was a way for me to do all ... Marine, wife, and mother. I'm glad I'm out so I can spend time with my family and enjoy them.

When Vincent was younger, he was having problems constantly. No matter where he was, (daycare, church nursery, Sunday school) I would almost always get talked to about him. He's been a bit of a trouble maker from the beginning and I know I am mostly to blame. Even in kindergarten he was a bit of a handful. Thankfully, he has shown much improvement and is doing so much better this year, both at school and at home.

Karah I haven't really had any problems with, but I know she is thriving on mommy's love and attention. She's a wonderful daughter and is growing up beautifully. I can't imagine what either of them would be like if I were still in. If I had had to go to Iraq.

I know the Lord was leading me from being a Marine to being a mommy, and I am ever thankful. It's amazing how He will work in our lives if we just let him. Sorry for taking so long, and thank you for letting me share. There are so many memories after 8 1/2 years - some good, some bad - but it was time for me to do something different. Looking back, would I do it again?

In a hearbeat

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A good day

Yes, today was a good day. Vincent didn't really throw a fit, just a couple small ones. He's definitely improving. He got a little upset with me when I wouldn't let him take his DS with him to Carson's house. (Like he would have shared ... and if so, it wouldn't have been for very long.) Thought I'd give Joey a break since he was watching the boys while us girls went to Girl Scouts.

Karah had a tea party at girl scouts today. They were working on their manners try-it. They also practiced their phone etiquette. She had a blast, and had her candy bracelet gone before it was half done!

After picking up Vincent we headed home to get some food. Vincent hopped in the shower while I fixed dinner and Karah finished her homework. After he was done we ate, and then Karah took a shower while Vincent and I made his bed. He can be a good little helper when he wants to be. Once Karah was in her pj's, we sat on the couch to read The Trellis and the Seed. What a good book. We then read Proverbs 29 and knelt down to pray. It was late, so we had to hurry so Vincent wouldn't fall asleep, 'cause he was trying. We said our prayers, and then they went to brush their teeth. Well, wouldn't you know it, Brian called so he was able to say goodnight to them after talking to them for a moment. Karah had daddy do the "wiggly thing" (In person, he places one hand on either side of her on the mattress, then presses up and down really fast, making her jiggle like a jello jiggler. She loves it!) Obviously he couldn't really do it, so he made the sound that she usually makes when he does it to her, and she started giggling. So cute!

After tucking them in for the night, I finished talking to him on the phone, telling him about my day. I didn't really do a whole lot that would seem productive (a load of towels and Vincent's bed covers washed & dried. Oh, and the outside Christmas decorations taken down - finally!), but I did updated my blog. By update, I mean made it pretty and added some doodads. I'm sure there will be more, but I like what I have right now. We hung up, but shortly thereafter we were able to "talk" for a few more minutes online. Gotta love the internet. I was also chatting with my sister and helped her make her blog pretty. The joys of being the big sister! :-)

All in all, I say this was a very good day!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Out of the mouths of babes

Children can say the cutest things sometimes. It happened this evening. On the way there ...

The day was pretty uneventful until the kids came home from school. Then Vincent started throwing a fit, so we went into his room and had a nice, long talk. He got into a better mood and went to do his homework. Karah was done by then so I checked her homework and then sent her to do some chores. She took care of the cat's food & litterbox, put her bedcovers in the wash (with mom's help), and made her lunch for tomorrow by the time Vincent finished his homework. Then I had Vincent make his lunch while I gave Karah a piano lesson. Vincent was next. Once that was done it was time to get started on dinner. I started the oven and put water on to boil while Vincent got out the game "Sorry!" for us to play. We got a little immersed in it, but we were having fun. Brian called a few times - he was able to use his phone since he had to run out in town and get some parts - and then I got a phone call from a friend's husband, because they were lost on base. :-) They were trying to find the boy scout hut, and if you don't know where they are, it's easy to miss them, especially in the dark. That's when I realized we had boy scouts tonight. Uh-oh! Vincent, time to change into your uniform real quick while mommy changes. We made it out in record time and got there, but I was a little late. oops. The time had been 6:30pm since it started, but it was changed and I wasn't there for the change (and it was in an email, but I forgot to write it down). Granted the meetings usually run for an hour, but it was sooo cold in there, that they just did a couple of things and left. Well, guess we'll make it on time next time! We came home and I fixed dinner while Karah took a shower and Vincent put the game away. After eating diner, Vincent took his shower and I helped Karah make her bed with her now clean sheets. After it was all done we settled in on the couch to read a storybook, The Princess and the Kiss. We took turns reading, even Vincent. It has a Bible verse in it which is a different translation than we use, so I told them to get their Bibles so we could look it up. Vincent read the verse and then afterwards we read Proverbs 28. This is where it starts to get good.

It's already over an hour past bedtime. They're pretty tired. After we finish reading our chapter, we kneel on the floor and take turns praying. I started, then Vincent decided to go. It was so cute when he said "Lord, please take care of my dad and don't let him die. He's a great man." He also went into "and help me not to throw fits". AMEN! (from me)

Karah also prayed for Brian that he wouldn't die and that he was a great daddy. She also prayed that he would be able to contact us more, 'cause we missed him. I finished up the praying and then got them some water while they put their Bibles away. While they're drinking their water, lo and behold the phone rings and it is Brian. Talk about an answer to prayer! (at least I hope it seemed that way to Karah, which it appeared to do). They both lit up when they realized it was daddy on the phone. Vincent had just mentioned before we started reading that he missed his daddy. What a great good-night treat!

And a treat for me when I'm on here writing this and Brian shows up on im. :-D Yea! What a wonderful day it has been!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Special Lord's Day

As some may or may not know, I haven't been to church in some time due to my work schedule. As I no longer work, I was actually able to wake up (myself and the kids) this morning. And not just wake up. I woke up in enough time to make breakfast (eggs, sausage, and toast), eat, clean up afterwards, have the kids brush their teeth then get dressed, then take my own shower and get dressed, load up, and get to the church before Sunday school started. Wow! Happy day from the start!

When we first got there, Vincent was super excited about going to Sunday school and started running up the steps and I had to call him down, since we had to go into the auditorium first. We went in and sang a song once Sunday school started, then the little ones were dismissed. At this, Vincent decided he wanted to stay with mommy, so mommy had to pick him up and explain to him that Karah would be going with him, that she was a good big sister and looked out for him, and he would be just fine. Well, something worked, because he finally said okay and they went to class. I went back with the adults, and I thoroughly enjoyed the lesson. It appeared to be a continuation from the prior week, but it was about Drawing Nigh to God. It was a very good lesson and something I needed to hear. The final question was "What do you expect from God?" Something to think about.

The children rejoined me for the morning service and they behaved pretty well. Vincent has come a long way than when he first started sitting in a church service. Must come with age ... haha. During the sermon, I would find the reference and point to it in the Bible and have Vincent follow my finger. He seemed rather interested which made me happy. The message was about what parents need to do in order to reach their children {for/to the Lord}. With the initial verse of Proverbs 22:6, the summary is Parents need to be consistent, dedicated, and spiritual. "How do we want our children to turn out?" Once again, something I really needed to hear. It's funny - in a good way - how the Lord has things turn out sometimes. I am so glad I made it to church today.

And then there was lunch. Didn't do much for lunch. Vincent had leftovers and Karah & I had ramen soup. After that we finished up their valentine's for their respective classes. The only thing left for them now is to put in some hugs & kisses (of the Hershey's variety). :-) The rest of the afternoon was just relaxing.

We left at 6 so we could stop by Books-A-Million. I wanted to find a Bible for me, but they were a little expensive for what I had on me at the time. I ended up getting one for Vincent so he could have his own and he loved it! He didn't let go of it the whole time except for right before we left and once in the middle of the service (he had fallen asleep and it fell out of his lap/arms at which point he woke up, picked it back up, cradled it, then fell back asleep). It was good fellowshipping with others after the service. When we finally left, I got to the truck and realized I had missed Brian's call. I was so upset I started crying right away, then tried to call the number back. It's not his phone, as his doesn't get service down there, and there wasn't any answer so I checked my voicemail since it said I had one.
grrr. Technology nowadays. I got on and was going to listen to it and then it said the message was erased. ERASED?!?!?! I checked the phone to make sure no buttons had gotten accidentally pressed ... nope, all good. Well, whatever it had been was long gone now. Great, I didn't even get to hear his voice via voicemail. Talk about devastating. Well, I start driving but still ended up crying most of the way home. The kids didn't notice because they were engrossed in their DS games. (They had a choice at breakfast: they either got to play them at the house or in the truck, not both. They chose the truck.) I didn't want them to know I'd been crying so I stopped - crying that is. After we got home I ran to the answering machine thinking maybe he called the house phone and left a message. Nope. Rats. So I check the email. He had written saying he was going to call around 9:30/10. I replied saying I had missed his call and hoped he would call back. And in the middle of the email he called! YEA!!!!! It made me SOOOOOOO happy. Now I can go to sleep easier.

Well, since we didn't get home until almsot 10, the kids were kinda hungry - hadn't eaten since 2 except for a small snack around 5. So I heated up some pot pies and got them to eat, change, brush teeth, and be in bed by 10:30, which actually worked. So now they're tucked in and I'm writing this blog. Guess I'd better not stay up too much longer. I need to stay on this day schedule I seem to be on. It's nice being awake when everyone else is, too!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

My First Saturday ...

without having to work. Just a week ago I was at work, cleaning and getting ready to close the store. I think Brian was even trying to stay up for me (and he did if I remember correctly). Then comes today. Yes, I was up a little late last night, but not too bad. I slept in a little this morning, then got up around 1030. After having a bowl of cereal, I joined the kids on the couch where we changed the game they were playing on the Gamecube to Mario Party 7. We set it for 15 turns and commenced to play. Things went pretty well until the end. It's set up so there are 4 teams playing - since there was only 3 of us we had to have the computer playing the 4th one. We also have it to where bonus stars are awarded (randomly) at the end. During the game, Vincent managed to get 3 stars, the computer 1, me 1, and Karah none (she had one but during a game lost it to Vincent). He also had 60+ coins, comp had 12 coins, I had 5 coins, and Karah had 50+ coins. His last turn landed him on a Koopa Kid space where he ended up getting his coins switched with mine. At the end we had the bonus stars awarded. Karah ended up getting 1, I ended up getting 1, and the computer ended up getting 2 (he tied me for one). Because of the bonus stars and the coin switch, the computer ended up getting first place, since he had more coins than Vincent. Poor thing, he started crying because he didn't win, and Karah and I were quick to point out that he was the winner in our book; that the bonus stars was the only reason he won. He calmed down a bit after that.

Since the game was done, we got dressed then made lunch. While I was making lunch they helped to load the dishwasher and clear off the table. We ate lunch - finally - and then after it was done got ready to go. We went out through the garage (which is something we don't normally do) and left ... leaving the garage door up. I didn't realize this until I was already down a few roads so I turned around. Granted it was raining and I didn't think too many people would be about to want to try to take a bike or scooter or anything else in there, but why leave it open for temptation? (plus, the door to the house was unlocked!) After finally getting the door closed, we went to the movie theater. We went to go see "Alvin and the Chipmunks". I really think I like the cartoons better, personally, but it wasn't too bad. The kids enjoyed it, and I enjoyed being able to spend time with them on a Saturday afternoon and not have to worry about rushing to get ready for work.

After the movie we stopped by the exchange. Looked around for a bit and happened to find out about a sale on February 13th. I love sales! We then went into the little arcade and played for a few minutes. After that, we stopped by the picture place to make an appointment for family pictures. We're only going to have a small window in which to get them done in. We made a quick stop in the music store where I played for a few minutes. I love being able to play on a full keyboard. Brian has mentioned maybe getting me one when he gets back from Iraq. It is a digital keyboard, and though I don't like it as much as a regular piano, it would probably work better for us while we're still in the military.

We finally made it home where Karah jumped in the tub, while I cut Vincent's hair. Afterwards, I started teaching him a song to sing. Him and Karah, actually. I asked him if he wanted to sing higher or lower and he said lower so we went over the lower part of the song (at a level he could reach) and he did rather well. When he hopped in the tub, I went over the melody of the song with Karah. Once he was out, I had both of them singing, and they were doing rather well. Vincent stayed on his part ... and Karah kept trying to join him - lol. They'll get it, but I was impressed for it being their first time singing together like that. Maybe they'll learn something yet! ;-)

Brian finally called at around 2200 and we talked for a little bit. He was getting ready to go to bed after he was off the phone with me, and I was too (and will when I finish this). We are going to go to church in the morning, which is something I haven't really done since I was working nights. I miss it. I know it will help me a lot. The kids have their clothes out already and I can't wait. I love to see them dressed up! :-)

Well, time to get my beauty rest so I can wake up to the alarms in the morning. Happy New Week!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Internal debate

Do I go to bed or stay awake? That doesn't seem like too hard of a question until you see the surrounding facts. It is a few minutes before 4am; the kids have to catch the bus at 8am; I don't hear alarms very well - especially if I'm tired. Why am I up at 4am? Well, I've only been home for half an hour. Yesterday, after lunch, Brian found out he had to show up before midnight to go to Cajun Viper. He was originally supposed to leave Friday. Well, that made us get everything together much quicker. Granted, he had been planning on packing last night, but with the thought of leaving Friday instead of Thursday. So after the kids were done with their homework and Brian got some stuff together, we went out to grab a few small things and dinner. We went to Walmart and Target to try to find a small box of laundry detergent but to no avail. Since we were out that direction, we had CiCi's for dinner. (For those of you that don't know, CiCi's is a pizza buffet.) On the way back home we saw the Dollar Tree and figured "why not?" We didn't find a small box, but we did find a small bottle of detergent and it was only a dollar :-) So we finished up and came home and commenced with the packing while the kids took their showers and made their lunches for school. When they were done, I let them make Brian a card to take with him so he'd have something to remind him of home. Vincent fell asleep at the desk, the poor little thing. Thankfully, he had most of it done, I just woke him up enough to get him to sign his name, and then let both of the kids take a nap on the couch until we were ready to leave. Last minute packing leads to rushing, but it all got done (including the brownies which I'd made for him when we got home). He made it to formation on time, and then the kids (who were sleeping) and I stayed in the truck while Brian went to the armory to get his weapons. I was a little bored, then I started playing Karah's Nintendo DS - Super Princess Peach (pretty cute game). It kept me occupied until my sister got off work and then we started texting back and forth until she got home where we switched to instant messaging. When Brian got back, he came and sat with us for a bit and warmed up. Then the busses came so he joined the rest of the Marines after giving the kids and me hugs & kisses. The kids woke up for a brief moment, then went right back to sleep. After a little while, they finally started to board the busses. On the way to the bus, Brian stopped back by real quick for another hug & kiss and then he was gone. Off for a few weeks to Louisiana :-( He should be back shortly after Valentine's Day. We'll do our Valentine's then. After his block leave, he won't have much longer to be here before he heads overseas.

Well, maybe I will try to get a nap in. Brian said he'd try to call before he got on the plane. If I don't get any sleep, I know I'll never hear the phone ring...or alarm go off. :-s

Friday, January 18, 2008

It begins

We had our pre-deployment brief today. Even though we knew it was coming, it seems to make it more final now. Even though it could have been me, it doesn't make it any easier. Sometimes, I think it's harder, since I really do know what goes on, yet I still can't do anything about it.

I also found out that my friend's husband just deployed for a year. And another friend's husband is going to be deployed soon. Deployments have been going on for some time now, but it's happened with very few people that I knew.

Guess I'm going to find myself on my knees a lot. hmmm, maybe I'd better find a good pillow!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

just a little bored ...

so I thought I would write a bit. And I did. And somehow in the process of selecting it all, I deleted it. Maybe it was for the better. I'll not expand now, but for any that happen to read this, all I ask is please, will you pray for me? That is what will help the most right now. There are several things that I need to take care of in my personal, spiritual life so I can be of (better) help to my family. There must be something better to do than sit up late at night bored and crying. Oh my...I'd better stop now while I still have the chance.