Tuesday, July 25, 2006

MoViNg DaY!!

Well, I'm about to shut the computer down and get ready for a BIG TRUCK to arrive to carry all my worldly goods about 20 miles east and unpack them all again! :D Woohoo, everything came together at the very last minute and we have our house!

I'll see ya'll on the flip side! :D

Friday, July 21, 2006

One More Week!!!

Kevin leaves Iraq at the end of next week for his leave time!! He should arrive in Dallas anywhere from 2-4 days after that. I have butterflies! WOOHOO!!!

He has been gone for 7 months...in that time we have both changed and our relationship has grown, if you can believe it. All the extraneous things seem to fall away at a time like this and the core of our devotion to one another has just solidified even more, if that was possible. We have been reminded why we fell in love in the first place, and appreciate each other so much. What a happy reunion this will be.

I am so excited about our plans. The kids are going to stay with our good friends the Maxwells, and I'm going to pick him up at the airport in Dallas. They always have a big crowd of patriotic Americans to cheer the soldiers when they come out of the airport...I know that will be emotional. At least I will be able to find someone to take pictures of our reunion! Then for a couple days Kevin and I are having a retreat alone, while the kids have fun with the Maxwells.

Next we'll go get the kids and enjoy their reunion with Daddy, and head down to visit Kevin's family for a couple days and relax with them...wish it were crawfish season and we could have a crawfish boil! Oh well, a barbeque will be just as good.

After that, we're going to Galveston. Lie around on the beach, check out Moody Gardens, enjoy the fabulous hotel Kevin found that gave us a HUGE military discount!

Next we'll go up to San Antonio to visit one of Kevin's soldiers at BAMC (Brooke Army Medical Center) who was wounded in action. While there I'm sure we will eat at Mi Tierra, yum yum.

Then home. HOME. It will be Kevin's first look at our new home (provided the closing goes as planned this Monday). We will just enjoy one another and relax for the rest of the time until we have to bring him back to Dallas for a very very difficult good-bye.

Then we will have another 4 months of praying and waiting and this deployment should be over. It's all downhill from here.

And in the meantime, these butterflies just won't go away! Whee!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Muppets Sleep Tonight

OK, now you know what I do in the quiet hours of the night when I just can't sleep.

They should seriously bring back The Muppet Show. That was quality entertainment.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Evolution of Dance

Just for fun, see how many of these dances you recognize, or better yet, how many you have done! ;) Remember the centipede? Awesome. This guy totally pegs them!

Random thoughts on MMM

Well. I've been mulling over the Making Memories Master's contest for a week or more now. I had really hoped to enter this year for several reasons:

*I know several people who have won Master's who I would love to be associated with, and who have had an amazing experience because of being a Master.

*This contest requires only 5 layouts to enter (even though one has to be the original copy that potentially won't return home). This is far fewer than the other major yearly contest which I have had "close-calls" with 3 times but never actually won.

*The prize package and ensuing contract are great, as is the resulting exposure. I mean, there aren't many more prestigious things you could put on a scrapping resume than that.

*I have heard that the people at this magazine have been absolutely incredible to work with and though I never had the pleasure of being published by them, and my chances of winning are slim, I had hopes of getting my foot in the door.

Well, all that changed. The magazine was bought by a corporation that obviously does not know much about scrapbooking and apparently doesn't know much about how to treat their designers. They apparently dumped the faithful staff that had been raising the magazine to greatness and moved their offices, leaving these talented people out in the cold. Plus, from the snafu of their so-called "test balloon" regarding sending submissions to the circular file rather than back to the artists (of course that raised a hornet's nest and backpedaling ensued), to the implications of not upholding the contracts with the current team of Masters, to hearing through the grapevine that the newest issue is a far cry from the excellence which the former staff had achieved, it looks like this publication is just going down the tubes, and it is extremely sad.

For a while I held out hope that it was just growing pains. Transitional roadblocks. A learning curve. It seemed reasonable that the new people would need artists on their side that could help them navigate the minefield of obsessed scrapbookers that would be their contributors and readers. But there have been enough things happen to make me think that this is not just a transition, but is going to be the new norm for this publication. If by some slim chance I were to win Master's, is this the kind of company I would want to work for? A company that does not respect either the artists' work or the artists themselves?

I am very disappointed. I have layouts that I absolutely love that were set aside for this contest and now I'm not sure what to do with them. I suppose if I start now working on a Hall of Fame entry, by the time it comes up I will be able to put an entry together. And maybe this year wouldn't be just another "close call" but my year for something big. We shall see.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Time Warp

I've realized I am in a time continuum of some sort. The time I have to get the house packed and all the arrangements for the new house finished is flying by at the speed of light, but the time for Kevin to get home is dragging by at a snail's pace. How is that possible? It's all the same time, after all. Some genius scientist needs to look into this phenomenon.

Something occurs to me that will change my prayers for Kevin's unit. While he is gone, they will be without a regular Chaplain for several weeks. There will be coverage for emergencies and if, God forbid, there are any casualties, another Chaplain in the brigade will cover that, too. But the regular counseling, the day-to-day visits, the field services...no one will be covering these responsibilities for his battalion while he is gone. So I've begun to pray for the soldiers in his unit, for an extra measure of peace and strength, for an extra measure of safety and protection, and for them to be encouraged in their hearts from within and from one another and especially from God Himself, even though Kevin isn't there to bring the encouragement they have come to look to him for.

On the home front, Caitlin is not dealing with everything well at all. Her tantrums and clingy behavior are getting out of control at times. An instruction to keep her toys out of the doorway at the carwash waiting room turns into a huge ordeal and cries of "I want Daddy." A sore leg turns into a battle over which outlet the heating pad should be plugged into. As I type this, she is in time-out in her room until she calms down enough for me to speak to her and discipline her...at this point it would have no meaning while she is so irrational. She is stubborn and selfish, even more than any 6-year-old I have ever known. She is also sweet and loving...but I grieve to see that side of her being pushed below the surface more and more often as even her interactions with her brothers and friends becomes a battlefield. I thought we were doing better...she went several days without incident. But today she had two whoppers. I know she misses her Daddy...we all do. I know she struggles with how to express this and how to deal with it. But how do I help her? How do I show her that her behaviors are causing her to be more and more isolated from those who love her who are right here with her, ready to comfort her loneliness for her Daddy? I make sure that her wrong behaviors are not rewarded and I try to be very consistent...yet it goes on. I know she is not sleeping well and that contributes to it. But I can't let myself make excuses for her either. It breaks my heart.

Thursday is the last baseball game of the season. It's been a good season...Thomas has blossomed into a fine pitcher. The last game, out of 12 outs in the game, 10 of them were strike-outs from him. (Woohoo, proud Mom moment!) Kevin is also improving. I hope he doesn't feel too much like he is in his brother's shadow. I want to find ways to let him be in the spotlight...something all his own that he can shine at. He is such a bright, sweet boy.

Well, the quiet coming from Caitlin's room tells me it's time to go talk to her. God help me and give me the patience I need. Give all of us the patience we need to make it through the rest of this month and this deployment.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Cardboard Allergy

I just remembered I am allergic to cardboard. Not just any cardboard...I can handle chipboard (as in scrapbook embellishments) and cardboard boxes that come in the mail with wonderful goodies inside. It's the piles of large, empty cardboard boxes demanding me to fill them with all my worldly goods...these break me out in hives. And right now I'm surrounded by them!

I packed away my scrapbook goodies yesterday. My kitchen gadgets and gizmos are all hidden away in the bellies of the brown ravenous cardboard monsters. Many of the kids' toys and books are similarly devoured, empty spaces dutifully filled with crumpled packing paper. Yet, looking around me, it almost seems that we haven't even made a dent in the STUFF that needs to be packed away. (How does it all multiply like that in between moves?) And in the carport they sit...various sizes of square creatures, maws gaping open, ready to swallow up whatever remains.

It occurs to me that we are very blessed. Blessed with a family and all the associated stuff. Blessed to have so many fun and useful possessions. Blessed to have a new home to be moving them into. And even blessed with the boxes, which were given to us free by some new neighbors moving in down the street....

But I swear I saw her scratching her own hives and breathing a sigh of relief as she piled the beasts into our carport.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Little Bits of Life

Man, I didn't realize how long it had been since I updated my Blog! So much has been going on...

Before I start with my current events, I want to say a big THANK YOU for all the love and support of my friends. It means a lot to have friends praying, encouraging and lending a shoulder, and the advice was great, too. (Cindy, the 3 D's was priceless advice!) :D Life has some weird twists and turns, but friends help make the tough times doable and the good times even that much better!

Now for the news! First of all, we bought a house!! WOOHOO, we are finally going to be homeowners! It's a great house in Harker Heights, in a quiet neighborhood not too far from the boys' school. It even has a wonderful backyard, so I'm sure getting a dog is somewhere in our future!

Also, I recently had some surgery (no worries). My friend Melissa was an amazing help in the days immediately following, and now my mom is here helping me continue to recover, pack for the move and entertain the kids. They are going to be completely spoiled by the time we try to get back to some kind of normal life! LOL! Normal? What's that?

I have gotten my headaches under control! I went in for allergy testing and also had a CT Scan done on my sinuses, and when I went in the office to hear the results, he shocked me completely by telling me I have absolutely no allergies, and the CT scan was completely clear. I was dumbfounded and I actually burst out in tears! What a dork! I had just KNOWN the allergy/sinus route was going to be the answer to my headaches. But he diagnosed me with migraines and sent me home with instructions to lower my stress level (yeah, right) and with some new medication. I'm happy to say that the meds work, although they take an hour or two, but I have finally found some relief, thank God!

Kevin gets home for his 2 week leave within a month. I can't even describe the mixure of emotions I am feeling. Fear that he will be hurt sometime between now and then, joy at the thought of actually seeing him with my own eyes again, and a sickening dread that we will have to say good-bye to him again after only 2 short weeks. I am determined to make every second of that time count. The kids are totally excited about it, and we have some fun times planned as a family. In addition, the rumor is that they will be redeploying home again "for good" before Christmas! What a blessed Christmas that will be, if we can share it together as a complete family.

Tomorrow is one of our favorite holidays...4th of July. We love the patriotism, celebrating our freedom and rich heritage as a nation, and of course the fireworks! It looks to be a big day on post with lots of exciting events and demonstrations from the 1st Cav Horse Brigade, the working dogs, a parachute jumper and air force flyby---lots of exciting stuff going on! And best of all, being free to enjoy this celebration and the blessings we have received. God Bless America!

Well, enough of my random thoughts in the wee hours of this morning...off to bed. Happy Independence Day--hug a soldier today! Or better yet, call a soldier or veteran and say thank you! And if you can, consider donating blood in honor of those who have shed theirs to keep us safe and free.