Saturday, May 2, 2009

Mommy's Gone Wild!

There a few inalienable rights that military wives’ have, in regards to what tasks they get to do during a deployment. I say this rather tongue-in-cheek of course, but there are definitely some positives to a deployment. For instance, today I reorganized the entire playroom with not so much as a suggestion from anyone else as to how it should look. It was very relaxing! This day of cleaning was then topped off with a dinner for champions. The kids and I enjoyed cereal and fruit salad! Now, my husband would never mind if we had cereal and fruit salad for dinner. However, I hold dinner's to a higher standard when he is around. I like to please him. I like to cook meals that he says, "wow, this is delicious!" During my little cleaning escapade today I was talking on the phone with my sister. She was laughing at my zest for reorganizing the house. I am on a mission to get our house in ship shape before my husband gets back in T-Minus 20 some days. Today was great. I had all the kids in work mode, asking for jobs left and right. At one point Avagrace who is 4 and 3/4 and Violet who just turned 3, were fighting over who got to put the dirty clothes into the washing machine. Stefanie (my sister) was listening to this scuffle and to my response, only to add that it sounded like our house should be a reality TV show called Mommy's Gone Wild. Maybe I should call TLC. The life and times of a military family of 7, five children 6 and under, HA! Stefanie was also experiencing a day of cleaning and organization. She is newly married and experiencing the blending of "stuff". Her husband is an artist and is bringing all of his art "stuff" into their home. He also brought pee-brown towels (as Stefanie put it). She and my brother-in-law do not argue, they simply “discuss”. Well the pee-brown towels do not match my sister's bathroom. My sister, who has been a decorator from birth, must have matching towels in her very lovely bathroom. However, the fact that the towels do not match the bathroom decor does not bother Tremain in the least, he likes the towels and they are only two years old. So the towels are in a pile, all to their lonesome in a sort of limbo, until someone wins the discussion! This is the conversation that reminded me of all the naughty little things that I do on deployments. During the last deployment I ransacked my husbands’ closet, thus freeing it from all of the ugly clothes he refused to give away. Much to his embarrassment I found a pair of youth sized boxers that he had held on to since middle school! He is such a pack rat! I was able to clear out two trash bags full of old, ugly, and too small clothing. To this day he still doesn't believe that I did this because he cannot think of even one item that is missing!

Buying new things is so much easier and a lot more fun when my husband is deployed. You know the feeling you get when you find something amazing, that just knocks your socks off and so you just have to get it. You bring it home and you want to share your excitement with everyone. So you show off your treasure and share your thoughts but your excitement falls on the ears of one who hears in a different language than that which you are speaking. They smile and try to share your excitement but they just don’t understand. Then their voice of logic chimes in with a comment like, “Don’t you already have a pair of shoes like that,” or “Don’t we already have a pitcher.” You try not to let the comments bother you because you know that they do not understand how amazing the deal was. Nor do they understand that you do not have any shoes that are that shade of red with a peep-toe and ½” inch heal. Your other red heals are 1” and open toed! And the pitcher, well it is a vintage glass pitcher with a lid! He has no idea how hard it is to find a glass pitcher with a lid, let alone a vintage one! You see, it is much more fun when you can bring that purchase home and welcome it into your home without explaining how fabulous it really is. I just love vintage treasures that can be repurposed in my home and until Brendan see’s these treasures in use it is hard for him to find excitement in my paying for something that is “old” he doesn’t like “old” stuff. Now I do have to say that I have realized a common thread among us military wives that is not a good thing. It seems that our marriages suffer tremendously from the stressors of deployment, as if you didn’t know that. Unfortunately, our marriages also suffer from our spending habits. It is an easy thing to get caught up in spending when our husbands/wives are away. It is also a lot easier to make mistakes when one spouse is in one country with one bank card, and the other in another. This is especially a problem when you cannot speak to your spouse for several days at a time. Money can cause serious marital problems. It is a good idea for you and your spouse to determine ahead of time each others allotments for mad money. Then you can truly enjoy the luxury of buying without worrying about what they will say, hearing their opinions on your choice of expenditure During deployments it is also much easier to spend time crafting, writing, or hobby-ing. I often feel guilty if I am done doing chores and instead of spending time with Brendan, I am creating. I am sure he wouldn't mind. In fact this is an area of my life I need to put in the balance. I need to roughly schedule creative time in the studio, for works sake and for sanity sake. I need to make it a part of my daily life. I need to stop treating it like a guilty pleasure I sneak away to do. Hence my goal to reorganize my house and my life! I More over, I want to make it a point to allow and encourage my kids to be more creative too! I want creativity to just flow through our house like scripture, the Air Force, and air! Writing this blog though, makes me miss Bren even more. In fact, right now I am reaching for that shirt. You know the one that you wear when he is gone. The shirt that you spray with his cologne, or smear with his deodorant just so you can smell him and feel like you are next to him. In this shirt it is even easier for me to count my blessings. It is incredibly important to realize the things that help you to survive deployments. With the constant moves a military family makes, you cannot count on people to be part of your survival plan. Although it is important to get plugged in with people as soon as you relocate, you need to plan for when people aren’t there. My key items are the freedom to rearrange my home and the freedom to live without his clutter during deployment. Brendan is like Pig-Pen on Charlie Brown. I of course say that with the utmost respect and love. He is my husband, life partner, lover, and yes he is quite a mess. The day after he left the kids and I went on a "pick up daddy's stuff parade." We found four pairs of shoes, a uniform, three pairs of pajama bottoms, ear defenders, blousing straps, under shirts, PT Gear, etc. etc. etc.-all strewn about our living areas. While he means well, he just sheds stuff wherever he goes. Brendan also does not like rearranging or organizing at all! He wants everything out in the open, easy to see. I want everything in a box, cabinet, closet, or basket and put away until it is used. He wants to put a sofa in a spot and leave it there until we move. I want to change it up every few weeks. So our compromise is this....during deployment it's "mama's gone wild" in our house!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Help this family! Plus our deployment kick-off

As I was checking in with some of the blogs that I follow I cam across this story. I was planning on getting on here and telling you my hilarious kick off to our current deployment but God had other plans. He brought me to "little Tait's" website and I felt very compelled to pass it on. Here is an honest hard-working American couple. They have a little boy who was born very early, and instead of taking the free-to-them insurance that their state offers at every tax payers expense. They opted to work hard and take donations from those who truly do want to help. I don't know if I agree with them but I do know that I am impressed by them. I love to see people staying true to their convictions, especially when times are tough. I also love to see others step out in faith, and that is exactly what they are doing. So, if you can give.....Give BIG! Here is their site, pass it on!!! Oh and this is a family that is known by another family I know, so a true friend of a friend, not just some random so-and-so....

http://www.littletait.com/index.htm


Now for the deployment kick off.......

This morning I wake up to my husband gripping my shoulders and looking me square in the eye, "Virginia, you have to get up now and start breakfast it is 7:30" I am thinking, my goodness all that intensity for 7:30 eeeeeeee, "7:30????" YEAH he says in a shocked, dry humor sort of way.... The problem is that 1. he was suppose to report for his deployment at 4:30, 2. nobody in our house ever sleeps past 5 am so we were behind schedule on all fronts, 3. I had to get everyone up, dressed, fed, and to school in one hour, and 4. he was suppose to be there at 4:30! Well I jumped up, kissed him goodbye and watch as all of my little ones wander out sleepily saying their goodbyes amongst tears and confusion. I see my strong-wonderful-cool-as-a-cucumber, yet now frazzled, man running down the street, to the car, holding several duffel bags and wearing untied military boots. It was comical but nerve-racking all at the same time. To be late in the military is never good. To be late for a deployment is lethal! For the record it all worked out just fine, but man, this is not a way to start a day.

So I make breakfast, dressed the kiddos and started to do the girls hair, only to see that Avacake has a "pinky eye" as she calls it. So no school for her and now I have to juggle a doctors visit with four of them on the first day too...of course! We go to get into the car and alas, my lovely tulips that I love to see the progress of growth on each morning have been cut down by the weed-whackers that came by just minutes ago! Tears begin to well up as I think of all the hard work Bren and I did together (we are not natural gardeners-we do it out of reverence for God's creation and a desire to make our home beautiful). I stifle the tears because after all, they are just flowers. But I mull over if I should call the housing office to share the news about their current lawn people...ugh confrontation, my least favorite part of life!

Aidan makes it to school on time and I call the doctor to find out that she can call in a prescription and that no appointment is needed, HALLELUJAH! So just a trip to the pharmacy, oh and while out I might as well stop at (a home improvement store chain) for some light bulbs because we are out in so many rooms.

Thankfully this home improvement store has the carts with two seats up top so Liam and Breya share the space shuttle seat and Violet and Gracie hold hands and walk so nicely behind me. Until I stop to look at the light bulbs that is....Then in under two minutes (it was timed I will tell you how in a minute) Gracie and Violet decide that climbing on a shelf that is on display will be great fun. However, while climbing they knock down a Tiffany-style floor lamp, that quickly shatters, scratching a leather chair and breaking the shelf that the girls thought was a jungle-gym. Now I must say two things: 1. the look of fear on their faces when I turned around told me instantly that nobody was hurt and thinking back on it now I can almost laugh, 2. REALLY???? it was less than 2 minutes and I was right there, TRYING to decide if energy efficient-poisonous mercury light bulbs that cost twice as much were better than non energy efficient-non poisonous mercury filled bulbs for less.....That is what I get for trying to be green with five little ones LOL!

So to make the story even more Virginia-like, a sales person and a security guy call me back to the security room so that they can call the authorities for my 'vandalism of the store and neglect of my kids'. ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? Thankfully when the cop got there and 'witnessed' the tapes he noted that I glanced away for under two minutes all the while I was still talking with my kids and not taking my eye or hand off of the babies. He also said if i would have tied the big kids to the cart, which would have been the only other way to prevent this, I would have been abusing them according to current society. He also said that if they wanted to pick on me for bringing my kids into their store they needed to put a "not kid-friendly" sign on their door. I did however, have to pay for the broken light and shelf. So when we left there the cop helped me get the kids in the car and said he had five of his own kids and that I should not feel bad for anything that happened because he didn't see any error in my way. I thought that was really nice.

So after that we picked up the meds, went home for lunch and nap and then welcomed Aidan home. Unfortunately Aidan started this deployment off in typical Aidan fashion as well. The poor kid had a fire drill on top of Daddy's deployment start day. So Aidan chose to yell and jump around and act a fool during the fire drill. This upset some children and brought them to tears and it stressed-out his very calm teacher because she had 30 kids to worry about and he was crazy. So he was sent to the schools version of in-school suspension.

The evening went very well though. I got to talk to my hubby, we began our spring cleaning, and Lindsey came over to help get the kids to bed. While it has been a crazy day, it is definitely a blessing from God!

Monday, April 27, 2009

To Be Inspired!

To be inspired is one of the best feelings that a person can feel. Next to the amazing feeling of love, purpose and connectedness to Jesus Christ Himself, I live for inspiration. Inspiration from God, my kids, books, God's creation, my fabulous husband, and the crazy yet wonderful thing called life!

I love to put that inspiration into writing, into pictures, into scrapbooks, and into projects for my home. Those projects can be presents for my family, or pictures for my walls. They can be a blog on this fabulous website. They can also be things that I do with my kids or my Sunday school kids or the kids of a party that we have at our house. As of late my newest love and inspiration is fabric and the art of sewing and quilting coupled with an obsession with ribbon and making beautiful hair bows for my three little princesses. An inspirational partner to the fabric is my dear friend Lindsey, who loves to quilt. She is currently making her hope chest for she and her husband's future baby. In making that she has chosen to make a couple Winne-the-Pooh quilts. I have also stumbled across an amazing blog that I absolutely love to check in on everyday called http://www.soulemama.typepad.com/. This mix of inspiration has re-ignited the fire that use to burn within me to sew my own clothes for my children as well as making them their own quilts by hand. I thought that this would be so lovely and such an amazing gift to give to my kids but I never quite had the courage nor interest in making time to do such a thing. Well all of that is about to change! I am setting out on a sewing, "boutique-ing" journey (our family boutique will be at etsy and the name is of course seven swans a swimming). I am starting projects and looking forward to the next year as a way to lay the foundation for becoming who I really want to be. An amazing Christ-following, at-home, homeschooling-mom, who just so happens to be an artist and an author!

Along with this as a desire for myself I look forward to teaching my children all about the connection between ones heart and the work of ones hands. And for you the best part is that all you are all invited to come along for the ride. I will post about the different projects we are doing, the thoughts on my mind, and the life of these seven swans!