Monday, November 2, 2009

We're Home! Together!!

Our first day back together - Frankfurt

Lunch on the Rhine River - gorgeous vineyards, hills and castles

We stayed in this castle on the Rhine

This one speaks for itself - Rhine river cruise

The castle we stayed in is in the background - Auf Schonburg Castle

Delicious beer!

Strasbourg cathedral

Strasbourg, France

BMW museum - Munich - first snow of the season on this day!

Lowenbrau Bier Garden - Munich

Neuschwanstein Castle

Edelweiss Lodge in the Alps - very cold and snowy!

Partnach Gorge - Garmisch

Hiking the gorge

Vineyards in Freiburg

Our ride home

This is just a sample of the 700 pictures we took on our incredible trip.

October was a whirlwind! I met my man at the Frankfurt airport on the morning of Oct. 8th. It was so wonderful to be back in his arms again. Our 2 weeks in Germany were amazing! We saw tons in Germany and a little bit of France, Austria and Switzerland as well. I loved my first flight in a C-17 on the way home. Travel was easy breezy. As incredible as the trip was, it's so nice to be home with my hubby.

The transition back to reguar married life has been pretty easy, though there were subtle bumps in the road that I noticed and of course, analyzed intensly (If you haven't noticed already, I'm quite a deep thinker - this can be good and bad, but it proves helpful with the lifestyle I currently find myself in.). I've learned a few valuable lessons from this first deployment that I will apply to those in the near future. Most importantly, I have dissolved my unrealistic views of life when we are back together. I had a very construed idea of how life should be now that we face frequent deployments and only have half of every year together. I imagined we would survive the separation periods and then come back together for 3 months of perfect harmony. Obviously, this is not how a normal marriage plays out. However, my logic convinced me that since our time together is limited now, we will never argue or get on each other's nerves when we are together. HA! What a silly idea. So you can imagine the disappointment when we got in a tiff while we were lost and trying to navigate through Germany's crazy streets on our second day of vacation. It took these first few weeks to snap me out of my unhealthy denial and now I'm seeing much more clearly.

Time for dinner with my man. How nice to have company at meal times again!

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Day Has Come!

Well it is just about midnight and I am leaving for Germany in the morning! I'm anticipating the longest day of my life, as I know the planes will not be able to fly as fast as I'll want them to. That's why I'm bringing Tylenol PM! ;-) I wanted to try staying up most of the night so I can sleep all day while traveling, but I'm way too exhausted. I spent the day busying myself with cleaning and last minute packing and errands. And I also had time to play around on this ridiculous site . Has anyone else tried this, or am I the lone dork here?

The past few days have been a whirlwind of excitement and impatience! I lost my appetite and couldn't sleep much. Now that the time is here, I am feeling back to normal, but still super excited! B is already in Germany waiting for me. We've been able to talk on Skype a ton the past few days, which has been awesome. It's great to actually be able to call him now, rather than always waiting for his calls! Technology really amazes me sometimes. He was able to pack with me, wake up with me in the morning and just hang out and talk to me while I cleaned and scurried around the house. It's been a nice precursor to when I'll actually have him in my arms for real.

I arrive in Frankfurt at 12am (my time, 7 am German time) tomorrow night! I'll post pictures as soon as we return. Thanks to everyone who put up with my crazy anticipation this week and for all of the incredible support these past few months!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Homestretch

With days left until I leave to see him, the excitement is clouded over with frustrations of the excruciatingly slow drag of each day, hour and minute. I'm finding this last part of the deployment hardest for me. Maybe it's my lack of patience, or the exhaustion and drain is setting in. It's a strange thing, because I am excited, but frustrated at the same time. I actually teared up on the phone with him tonight when he sensed that I was a bit down. It was the first time that has happened, which I think is strange, since this is the last week. But I'm pretty sure I understand what's going on - it's transition time.

I'm starting to subconsciously tear down the "wall," as I like to call it. For survival purposes, I naturally revert to my more independent nature when the hubby is away. This creates a harder exterior (the "wall"), which keeps my emotions under control. It's crumbling as the days grow near. This is a good thing, because keeping the wall up when we're together creates an unhealthy distance between us.

I'm beyond ready to get on that plane; although, I've strategically left important things to do until the last few days, so I'm not sitting around twiddling my thumbs. I've been completely one-track minded - daydreaming about jumping in his arms and spending 2 weeks in an amazing place - just the two of us. This has affected my ability to focus and accomplish even the most simple, routine tasks. Even my friends have noticed! As if I don't always rely on lists and reminders throughout the day, they are of vital importance at this point!

Impatiently waiting,

Monday, September 21, 2009


I've noticed that I have very intense emotions - whether happy, excited, touched, concerned or sad - when it comes to relationships. The other day I saw a friend out and about during my day, and she had the biggest smile on her face because her military man had returned from overseas. This kind of smile is unmistakable: it reveals excitement, relief and love.

Every time someone's husband/fiance/boyfriend returns to her, I get all bubbly inside. I don't know if it's because I can identify with their feelings and excitement or if I just relish in the idea of happy, harmonious relationships. I'm pretty sure it's a little of both. I just love seeing successful military relationships. I love seeing strong women who support their husbands when they're away and love them to the fullest when they return.

Speaking of husbands returning, just two more weeks and I'll be meeting mine in Germany! We were discussing some of the trip plans on the phone today and B said he could hear me smiling. He was right! Although, I'm almost always smiling when I talk to him on the phone. I want these last days to hurry hurry! I'm trying to fill up my schedule every day to make the time go by faster. I wish I could just take a 2-week long nap. Tomorrow I'll kayak the day away with my good friend whose husband deploys in the morning. It's always important to have a fun, busy day planned when your man heads off.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Poor B is sick and I can't take care of him! (I've decided to refer to my hubby as "B" from now on. It sounds natural, since one of my nicknames for him is BB..)

Oh, well that was nice! I just received a call from him as I was typing mid-sentence. And he is feeling much better! I'm so glad, because I hate the thought of him sick when I can't be there to make sure he's taking his vitamins and Airborne, and to bring him chicken noodle soup. I'm such a mother hen, I know.

Just three weeks until I leave for Germany. I am beyond excited now. Short post for now, more later...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Flower Trouble

These gorgeous orchids caused some serious stress today! My wonderful husband sent them to me, knowing that orchids are my favorite flower, and were the flowers from our wedding. What a perfect surprise it would have been if not for the delivery mix-up and rude florist. He arranged to have them delivered Monday. When I didn't mention anything on the phone, he wondered what happened. Finally, when I spoke with him today (Wednesday), he told me he bought me flowers and needed me to find out what happened. So I had to call the local florist, asking about my own flowers. When I explained the situation, the woman on the phone blamed my husband for the mix-up because he had placed the order online for a delivery on Labor Day, and they were closed. She said he should have called to confirm that he wanted them delivered the next day. When I explained that he is deployed and can't make phone calls whenever he feels like it, she still offered no consolation or apology for the inconvenience. Infact, she flat out denied that there was any inconvenience at all. Is it just me, or does failing to deliver an order which causes the customer to spoil the surprise by asking the receiver to inquire about her own gift, and then receive it 2 days late with no apology, refund or discount, have inconvenience written all over it?

I'm pretty sure my frustrations were heightened due to the circumstances right now. A sweet gift coming from my husband which is hindered by an inconsiderate third party brings an impatient anger like never before. Had the woman on the phone been sympathetic, understanding and apologetic for the ordeal, I would have been perfectly content. However, I think what really got me was that she could care less that these particular flowers were selected especially for me, by the love of my life who is halfway across the world, and just trying to make me feel loved and special this week.

I've gotten used to experiencing a general appreciation and heartfelt concern for what my husband does, and when people like this are aware of the circumstances and are just flat out rude and insensitive, it catches me off guard. I certainly voiced my disatisfaction in a lengthy letter to the owner of the company, as well as in a few online reviews of the business.

This is an example of how crazy circumstances can make dealing with crazy people an even crazier experience for everyone involved.

And now the day is done, I've blown my steam, and I can enjoy my flowers.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Black & White

This is a shot from our honeymoon. It's hard to believe that was over a year ago! Our first year together was so vibrant and exciting to me - from the wedding and honeymoon to moving, to buying our first home, facing the ups and downs of finding a job, quitting that job, waiting for new opportunities, making new friends, and building the foundations of our new life together.

Since this deployment, I've started viewing different periods in our life through separate lenses. Deployment periods are falling into their own life category, which I see through a black and white lens. My hubby said something yesterday that got me thinking about this. He said it's very hard to be happy when we're apart. My heart melted at his words, because I know them to be true for me, but hearing him express the same feelings brought both pain and reassurance. The pain because I hate for him to feel the same life-sucking sadness that I sometimes do, but at the same time, it reassures me of how much he loves and misses me in the same way.

His comment was not that we can't be happy when we're apart, but that it's difficult. Togetherness equals happy for me, but I'm learning to rely on my more permanent source of joy that fills me up no matter what the circumstances. My relationship with God is the key to every strength I've experienced thus far. Though it is more difficult to wake every morning with a smile and bright attitude when I feel a gnawing emptiness inside because my other half is across the world in a war, it is possible! I am doing it, but it's not me, it's Him.

So I'm finding that deployments are more about healthy survival for me. Life goes on, but it lacks luster - it's just black and white. I can function just fine, take care of business, laugh, smile and appreciate life, knowing all the while that I'm experiencing the black and white version. And when the time comes, boy will I appreciate the incredibly satisfying, all-encompassing, absolutely perfect full color version!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Soggy Sunday

Nothing beats a nap on the couch on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Well, I take that back. Had my hubby been here to join me, it would have been perfect. Needless to say, the nap was quite rejuvenating after a long Saturday night. I went out to hear a band play with some friends, but ended up frustrated and aggravated with society by the time we left. I haven't been on a night out without my husband since college, and I guess I forgot what it's like without a protective man by your side. Even flashing my ring around as much as possible was to little avail. I found myself struggling to keep control of my enraged feelings toward the completely intrusive, inappropriate, rude people. I don't care how much a person has had to drink. There are boundaries that should not be crossed, and frankly I'm sick of being a victim of such disgusting behavior.

Aside from my own experiences, I found myself contemplating certain generally accepted "nightlife behavior" in a new light. I think it's interesting how some men think it's appropriate to touch a woman in a bar or club just because he's passing by, and often encroaches on her space despite the fact that he has plenty of his own, or another obvious path is available. I see it as a convenient opportunity to touch something he likes. Also, why does speaking to a woman involve touching the small of her back? A polite gesture, or inappropriate advance?

I'm so thankful for the few gentleman out there and hope that the women who deserve them will find them.

I can't wait until my gentleman comes home! (Until then, I'll be a homebody on Saturday nights...)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Halfway Point!

One month down, one more to go! I've never welcomed Mondays more than during this deployment. He left 4 Mondays ago and every one marks another week down. I had lunch today with a friend whose husband is gone for 6 months. I couldn't help but feel thankful that my pilot only leaves for 2 months at a time. The days have been rolling by awfully slow lately. My plan to visit my friend in D.C. in a couple weeks fell through, so I'm hoping to make it back up to Nashville for a week or two, just to break up the month.

This weekend my friends and I went on a women's church retreat. We stayed on a lovely lake in Alabama, in the middle of nowhere! We didn't have cell service for about a 20 mile radius of the retreat center, which was a strange feeling. It's amazing how much we rely on our ability to communicate anytime, anywhere. I felt completely isolated out there where friends and family, and especially, my husband, couldn't reach me. For some people it was probably a nice relaxing relief, but for me, I think it created an additional stress that was a bit distracting. I was mainly concerned that I would miss a call from my husband, or that I wouldn't be available if God forbid, there was some kind of emergency. My cell phone has become the one opportunity to connect with my hubby and I am extremely attached to it these days. Even while showering, the ring is cranked extra loud as it rests on my bathroom vanity in plain view. But needless to say, I survived the withdrawal from society this weekend and had a nice time. My husband did call on Saturday, so I enjoyed a nice message on the drive home Sunday.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Home Sweet Home

What an adjustment from a week with my family of 6 to my quiet, but peaceful home. I enjoyed my week in Nashville. Being with the family provides plenty of distraction and excitement to keep me busy. I'm also finding that I love the opportunity to have this spontaneous, flexible schedule. I can spend a couple weeks home, a couple weeks elsewhere. So far it's helping the time fly by. This is one of the positive aspects of being currently unemployed. I like the idea of not being tied down when my pilot has to fly away. Sometimes I feel like I need to fly for a bit as well. I like the idea of a normal married life with routines and predictability, but I also like to see these deployment times as opportunities to do things that I might not, otherwise. The time that I've been able to spend with family means a lot to me. I have 3 younger sisters and often feel like I'm missing out on their lives because I'm married and far away. I like the idea of being able to spend more time with them during deployments. I'm also hoping to go on some missions trips and other travel adventures in the coming months and years.

The song "When September Ends" came on the radio twice today, which is strange for an older song. But anyway, I found these particular lyrics rather appropriate because I can't wait until September ends and my baby comes home. I think I'm finally used to this being alone, sleeping alone thing, though. By used to it, I don't mean I like it; however I can certainly bear it. I don't wake up every hour on the hour like I did for the first week or so. And my heightened awareness has calmed down a bit, so I don't react to every creek and crack.

Although I feel pretty adjusted and pleased with how things are going so far, I sometimes can't help but wish someone would just wake me up when September ends...

Friday, August 14, 2009

Attitude is EVERYTHING

This gorgeous new home and surrounding area is directly responsible for my lack of posts during the past week. My family is unpacked, somewhat settled and loving Nashville, their new hometown. Their house has a rolling back yard that meets a lovely pond. The stillness of this area resonates peace and serenity, which seems to have a direct affect on the people here. I have yet to encounter any rude individuals - even store and restaurant employees are exceptionally courteous and genuinely kind. This is a place where people wave or smile as they pass, whether they know you or not. I like that.
It's amazing how attitudes are contagious. A smile for no reason can turn someone's day around. I have a feeling this is an excellent place to learn how important positive attitudes are in life.
A few days ago I lost control of my attitude. I woke up feeling down and let myself dwell in sadness and frustration all day. I was conscious of what I was doing, but chose not to pull myself out of the rut. It's easy to let yourself travel down that road when your husband is away on his first deployment, just one of many more to come. Every frustration throughout the day is intensified by the underlying grief and sadness of missing your loved one. Anger, sadness and frustration are easy emotions to give in to. However, I've found that it is so much healthier and happier to remain in control of your attitude by making a decision every morning to make it a good day. The other day, I chose to make it a bad day. I certainly got it out of my system though, cause I haven't had one since, and don't plan to anytime soon.
Have a happy day! :-)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Sanity Check

It's official. I talk to myself when I'm alone. It happened for the first time today and I literally stopped what I was doing to take note and remember not to let it happen again! I know it's not a big deal, but when you're living alone for the first time, it's probably important to squash those issues before they develop further. So if I befriend a soccer ball named Wilson and begin confiding in him as my only companion, I'm relying on someone out there to rescue my sanity!

When the house is a bit too quiet for my taste, I seek the company of my TV friends. I'm afraid I'm forming unhealthy relationships with hosts of the Today Show, Rachel Ray and Ellen DeGeneres. They are quite reliable - joining me every day at the same time and place. And they don't require much from me. They're perfectly content to carry on, providing just enough background noise as I go about my business around the house.

And then my pilot calls! I usually get so excited when I see that weird number pop up on my phone that my heart starts racing and I answer the call in a jittery, high pitched voice, like a middle schooler who gets a call from her crush. I usually pace the house rather briskly as I talk. Today my hubby started laughing at me because he said I sounded out of breath while I went on and on about my day. It's hard to control my excitement sometimes! Even though I'm sad that he's gone, I don't let any negative feelings interfere with our fun phone time. I want him to know that everything is running smoothly on the homefront and I am doing well. I am comforted when we goof around over the phone like we do at home - telling silly jokes and phrases, and working in some of our "code words." Every call is monitored, so we created some sayings with alternative meanings that only we understand. ;-) I like the light-hearted nature of our conversations. It keeps us from dwelling on the obvious negative stuff - we already know how much it sucks to be apart and how much we miss each other. I think understanding that he misses me exactly as much as I miss him makes it easier. Those phone calls recharge me for the rest of the day.

I'm glad I have this blog. If anything, it will keep me from talking to myself. Please feel free to talk back!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A New Season

I am home after a nice week with my family. Their bags are packed and boxes full. The moving truck arrives bright and early tomorrow morning. I spent 13 years in our beautiful house and will certainly miss the warm, predictable comfort of my childhood home - the smells, sounds and feelings attributed. Though my husband and I have a wonderful home of our own now, there is a sentimental aspect of my original "home" that will never be replaced.

While this is a new season for my family, it is for me as well. The word "home" is changing for me - not just because my family is moving, but because I have a home of my own now. This is a concept that is finally sinking in, after this first 6 months in our new house. I sometimes catch myself referring to my old and new home as "home." But this week away confirmed that the transition is nearly complete. While I was at my family's "home," I found myself homesick for my own "home."

I'm up late tonight baking and experimenting with new methods for shipping cookies overseas to my hubby. The last batch I sent arrived in crumbs, so I'm attempting to individually wrap each cookie in bubble wrap this time. The things we do for the ones we love!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Fun

My youngest sister just turned 10. Tonight I surprised her with concert tickets to see her favorite singer, Demi Lovato. Yes, I spent my Friday night with thousands of screaming pre-teen girls, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I was waving my cell phone to the music along with everyone else. Being the oldest of four sisters, and 13 years apart from the youngest, I naturally spoil her rotten. Not only did I let her talk me into taking her to dunkin donuts for dinner, I also dropped $35 on a Demi Lovato t-shirt, bought glow sticks, concession stand food, a bottle of water for $4.50 and would have purchased some cotton candy had I not run out of cash. I'd say it was a pretty good night.

On another note, my hubby called me on Skype last night. I fell asleep with my computer by my bed and woke to the Skype ring around 1 a.m. I was happy to hear from him, but it was harder to say good-bye and fall back to sleep with a call in the middle of the night. It's been quite an adjustment sleeping alone since he left and I think late night calls and video chats make it a bit worse for some reason. Maybe it's just me. I prefer daytime communication because I feel less vulnerable to my emotions, I think. He was able to call me this afternoon as well, which was wonderful! He finally made it to his final destination, so he'll be able to settle in and start a somewhat normal routine.

A big concern and struggle for spouses during deployments seems to be having fulfilling conversations on the phone. Any way you slice it, a call from my husband recharges my batteries. Whether or not we have much to talk about, just hearing his voice fills me with joy for the rest of the day. However, I've heard from other spouses and experienced during our long-distance dating, that it's sometimes easy to run out of things to say. This is especially the case when the deployed spouse can't talk about his mission or work overseas. Also, the pressure of knowing you only have a few minutes on the phone with your man can make it harder to remember what you want to say. I'm hoping to avoid falling into these ruts with a few pre-meditated plans for successful communication.

1. Write down stuff throughout the day to tell my husband. Every time something funny happens, or something reminds me of him, or I have a random question for him, I try to write it down. I like to take notes on my i-phone since I always have it with me.

2. Come up with alternatives to the boring convos. Before he left, we started reading a series of books together. We are in the middle of this series now. We're reading at the same pace and discussing the books when we talk/email. This provides a great subject matter for conversations. Also, I'm planning on finding some good websites/books with random, fun facts and jokes. My husband loves this kind of stuff. So finding a hobby or interest of your husband's to take part in somehow and integrate into conversations can be helpful. I think everyone likes a good joke now and then. I know that when he calls he wants to feel a brief escape from reality and a breath of fresh air from his love back home. I'm going to try to provide this creatively.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Communication Woes

My hubby is stuck somewhere on his way to his final destination in the Middle East. Unfortunately, this means no phones, so I haven't talked to him since he was in the states. He emailed me last night to let me know what's going on. I realize there will be times during the deployment when he won't be able to call me for a few days, but today was especially frustrating. He told me in the email to stick close to the computer if possible today since he won't be able to call. While helping my mom pack up the kitchen most of the afternoon, I had my computer open and logged onto Gmail and Skype just in case. Sure enough, he tried to contact me during the 15 minutes that I left the room to take a shower. Oh well. He left a very nice message.

I think that will be one of the most frustrating aspects of communication over the next couple of months. I hate the fact that I can't call him when I want to hear his voice, and that there will be times when I'll miss his calls or attempts to contact me. I get so mad at myself when this happens, but can I really expect to be 100% available every minute of the day? Other than keeping my phone ringer on extra loud and keeping Skype on when I'm around the house, I can't spend every waking moment waiting. This is something that I'll get used to over time, I'm sure.

My mom has a cute spice cabinet in her kitchen with a chalkboard on it. Today it reads, "The only difference between a good day and a bad day is your attitude." I love that. I make a conscious effort to rise each day remembering that it's up to me whether or not it will be a good one. Even when the love of my life is halfway across the world in this war, I continue to thank God for his abundant blessings in our lives and marriage. Circumstances could always be so much worse and I am grateful - even during the difficult times. We are healthy, happy and in love. And very soon we'll be in each other's arms again.