Saturday, June 28, 2008

Update on life

I've tried to sit down and write a new blog about 5 times already. I get a paragraph or two in but it just seems to not flow well, or I get distracted and am no longer interested in what I was writing about... this is my 6th attempt and I'm hoping to make it all the way through. Just a disclaimer if you will :).

Things here are good, just VERY busy. Most people do not know this, (or likely care at all) but working in the camping industry is not really a job. Much like the military, it is a lifestyle. I live here, I work here, my friends are here, I eat 3 meals a day here, I. am. always. here. Don't get me wrong, I love love what I do. The people here are amazing. I truly believe in what it is that we do for children, wholeheartedly and without reservation. But often times, mostly during the summer, I feel very cut off and secluded from the outside world. I've talked to my best friends maybe 3 times since the beginning of the summer. My only source of news is what I can check online. I haven't watched TV (not that I watched it much anyway but still...) in months and I can't remember the last time I did laundry... although I did it at SOME point cause I still have some underwear left.

*3 hours later after walking away from my desk... I continue*

We got some more good news for Sgt.! He's been trying to get the command in charge of the ROTC he'll have to enroll in, in Tennessee to cut his orders so he can get out of Iraq. Hadn't heard back from them until yesterday morning while he was online with me (great timing!) - they said that they'd sign them and forward them on that day! (lets hope they followed through) He's been out again since then so I'm not sure if S1 got the orders yet or not, but they told Sgt. as soon as they get them they'll give him a date.

*5 hours after the last sentence... I WILL finish this post!*

I miss him a lot today. I'm almost cranky, in fact, over it. I don't have a bad feeling or anything like that... and I have faith that God is watching over him, but I think it's just that worry of something being too good to be true. Of course I thought the same thing about him and it turns out he's exactly who I thought he was :) Such a relief! I keep reading stuff in the news involving his unit or his AO and, well, lets just say it's not all good news. He's been out a lot lately too which adds to the anxiety. It's a good thing work keeps me so busy, and probably the same reason I keep myself in the office until after 9:00pm every night, that way I'm not dwelling on the time it's been since we last talked or since I last heard from him. We DID get to talk online Monday night, and he got to see me on webcam (I didn't get to see him). He was being incredibly sweet... as soon as the feed for the camera started working the "omg... I MISS YOU"'s began. It's nice to feel wanted and needed... especially from that far away.

*Pause for important phone call*

YAY!!!! That was him! I'm not kidding, it's freaky sometimes the way we are connected. All day long I was cranky and just really wanted to hear from him... and there he was. :) Poor man is exhausted... he didn't even know what day it was. I can tell he's tired. He said S1 gave him a tentative (meaning, it WILL change, no matter what they say) date for leaving Iraq and it's SOON! Thank goodness. He will still have to process out of Germany, but as long as he's not being shot at maybe I can sleep at night again. God I love that man. It never ceases to amaze me how just hearing his voice is all I need. No matter what I say, he always counters it with something like "Well if it does half as much good for you as hearing YOUR voice does for me... then I'm doing something right" I can't wait till he's HOME!!!

Having him home for leave was amazing... I wouldn't have changed it for the world. But I can't explain how thankful I am that he's coming home soon. I don't know what I would do if I had to wait another 4 months. ("wait" my conscience says) - leave was amazing, but it's such a tease. Having him here, sharing those moments together after so long, and then sitting in an airport terminal watching his plane disappear.

Here's to all of the women who have done this before, who will do it again, and who have certainly been stronger than even I could hope to be.

Quote for the day: "Whatever our souls are made up of, his and mine are the same"

Thursday, June 19, 2008

We are so blessed

I've been trying to write this post for the last two days. I just can't find the words. It still almost doesn't feel real. Our lives are changing before my eyes and I'm just looking at it, starring, in wonder.

He called me two days ago.
"Hey babe, listen to this" - Sgt. loves to tell stories, about anything really, so this is not an uncommon precursor to a conversation. "whats up?" I smile on my end of the phone and wait for the rest of his story, which I'm expecting to be something about the guys all wrestling at the COP or an Iraqi family offering them felafel's and chi again.

"Dear Sgt. Last name, First name Middle Initial, Congratulations! You have been awarded a four year scholarship through the Army's Green to Gold program...."

He kept talking but I couldn't hear him. The phone connection was fine, but I gasped and then started to tear up. At some point he stopped talking and said "are you still there?" to which I replied "I am SO proud of you babe!!" he said something else, again, not listening. "Congratulations! So what's next?" "Well they also sent a letter to my commander who recommended me so I have to go talk to him and they'll have to release me, I'll go back to Germany and process out, which will take about two weeks, and then I'll be back!" I think I'm just mumbling congratulations and cheesy things and then the phone connection started to go back so he told me he would try and call again later, that he was going to call his family to let them know.

I hung up the phone and just sat there with a huge grin on my face. HUGE! The kind of grin you get when you're smiling from your soul. He's coming home. For four years, no one is going to shoot at him. He'll be honorably discharged from the Army for four years, be able to accomplish a goal of his, and then get back to doing a job he loves. We will be in the SAME time zone!! Are you kidding me? We've been in different countries, on different continents for about a year and a half, and now he'll be an airplane ride away?

God has already blessed my life with this amazing man. He's given me a life that I love, surrounded me with people who have supported me and loved me and been wonderful friends... and now he's given me this. This gracious gift that is more than I could have ever hoped for. He answered our prayers. I am so beyond thankful.

A while later, he wasn't able to call but he was able to get online for a little bit. He was excited but cautious. "Nothing is for sure until I set foot on US soil" "I know, but just let me be excited please :)" "haha, by all means darlin', I'm excited too. I can't wait to come home to you!" He's out right now, but within the next couple of days I should get to hear if he talked to his commander and see what was said, when he'll get to leave Iraq.

Sgt. has already started talking about when I might want to move up to Tennessee. It's something we're thinking about and talking about. While I want to be close to him and am excited about this new chapter in both our lives, I want it to be a smart move. We won't be living together if I move up there, so I want to have a new job lined up, an apartment, everything settled before I get there. I don't foresee it happening soon, but it's fun to think about. :).

I am so unbelievably excited!! I'm so proud of him!! I'm excited about what this means for our future together. I am still in awe of how blessed we both are and so incredibly thankful.

Thank you for all of you out there in the blog world who said a prayer for him, or for us. It worked! Please continue to your hearts content!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A letter I'll never get to send.

Dear Mr. Sgt.'s Dad,

Happy Fathers Day! It may seem odd that I'm writing this to you, since you and I have never met, but I feel as though we have. From what Sgt. has told me you are in some ways a reflection of my own father. In the ways you aren't, I've listened to Sgt. tell stories that have painted me a picture. I wanted to thank you for the man that you raised. While I am not one to canonize any parent for the way their child turned out, (I believe a lot of times children turn out the way they do in spite of who their parents were rather than because of who they were, good and bad), I think that a lot of the decisions you made pushed Sgt. to be motivated and independent - two things which I love about him.

He is very similar to you in a lot of ways, he gets his flare for cooking from you, and might I add you would be very proud of the presentation he makes while doing so. I hear he also has your stubborn streak... I'm still working on it but if you have any tips let me know. He's not nearly as tall as you, but he's incredibly charming and handsome, so thanks for passing on those genes! Did you know that the man actually gets frustrated when I get in a hurry and don't let him open my car door? He tells me it's a habit you instilled in him from a very young age, I love it. If we have children together, boys in particular, I hope it's a habit they pick up from their father, who picked it up from you.

Sgt. and I grew up in very similar homes so I am not afraid to tell you that you made some mistakes, as my own parents did. However the older we've both become, and the more we've thought back, the frustration slips away and we have both realized that although you all weren't perfect (no parents are), we believe you did the best you knew to do. HE believes you did the best you knew to do. My heart breaks knowing the guilt he carries in not being able to get to tell you that himself. Somehow though, I know that you know. He doesn't say it much but I know that he wonders from time to time if you would be proud of him today. I think you are. He told me how you signed the release papers when he was 17 to join, and how proud he felt you were. Thank you for that. I'm not sure if it was a wisdom only a father has or if it just didn't matter much either way at the time, but you allowed him to follow his dream, and his heart. He followed it into something that he finds true fulfillment and pride in, and for that, I don't think "Thank You" is enough.

Let me tell you a little bit about the man that your son is these days. He smiles a lot now. As an NCO, the only time he isn't racing to talk to me is when he needs to take care of one of his soldiers. He loves looking out for them and in a way, I think it reminds him of your other son, his little brother, the Marine. I've met him too by the way and it goes to show that their depth of character is not just a mishap... they are both honorable and wonderful men. He's very competitive, I beat him in a game of canasta while he was home and I could barley scoot my chair back from the kitchen table in triumph before he was challenging me for "two out of three, two out of three." He still loves to tell stories and will talk your ear off if you stand there to listen long enough. He's so intelligent. Sometimes too much for his own good, but I love listening to him give advice. He's such an old soul. He wants two boys, and one girl, just like you. Right now we're waiting to hear back on his acceptance into an officer program, he's always striving to better himself. Tennessee is still home, and I can see why, after having visited. He still loves the mountains, which I think resonates a connection with you. He's an amazing friend, and partner. Sometimes I wonder to myself what I did to deserve him. He's so funny! His dry sense of humor fits perfectly with my quick wit and we have fun bantering back and forth. I hear he has your laugh. The man is stubborn, and if I know one thing, I know he gets that from you. The family has told me, but it's obvious from the last few stories he has of you. It's ok, I'm not upset, it's part of the package that is him, but like I said before, if you have any tricks let me know. He's respectful and courteous, traits I know were also passed down from you. Thank you for that. He bought a new car, which he loves. The stereo system is loud enough to blow your ear drums out but he loves playing the music loud anyway.

I know you are proud of him because it would be hard for any father not to be. I can see he still carries some guilt with him in all that happened right before you passed, so if you could visit him in a dream and let him know it's ok... that would be nice. He is so worried that something will happen to him before he gets to spread your ashes, I think he feels like it's the least he can still do for you, since there wasn't much he could do before. He's a wonderful man, and I wanted to thank you personally for helping bring him into this world. It couldn't have always been easy but you did just fine, and he's doing great. He misses you. I know you're looking down on him though, smiling and most likely laughing your butt off from time to time.

One final thing. From the woman who loves him and all, I don't like to think about the worst that could happen, however in his line of work it's not something I can really avoid. I've thought about it and we've talked about it together. You can never dwell on it, you just have to trust in God and know that he is looking out for him (I like to think you both are). But, if something should happen, if one day I find myself starring through empty, tear filled eyes at a folded flag, please greet him with open arms. Tell him you love him and that you missed him too. Please tell him you're proud of him. I think deep down he knows, but that question can never be truly answered unless it's from you.

Thank you for having a hand in who he is today, he is a son you should be proud to call yours. Happy Father's Day Mr. Sgt.'s dad!

Monday, June 9, 2008


I got nothin'.

It's strange to think that although the past two weeks have been some of the most hectic of this entire year to date, I have nothing to blog about. Sort of frustrating to think about.

Camp has started, and busy is an understatement when finding words to describe how things have been around here! Most of it is just the preparation leading up to the opening day... which was yesterday, but now that kids are here I think it'll mellow out the next few days.... Maybe. I hope.

I did have a couple days in there where it just seemed as though Murphy (ya know, as in Murphy's law?) had it out for me. I was e-mailing Sgt. nearly twice a day just to vent, and because I just wanted to talk to him. To tell him about my day. To hear him say "it'll all work out darlin'" He's my person. Ya know, the person when something happens, they're the one you wana tell, whether it's good or bad. And he was on a 4 day mission which made him difficult to get a hold of... but e-mailing helped.

When he came back in, he replied with even more encouragement than I could've hoped for. Something I love about the man is that he's very supportive and encouraging. Not in an enabling way, but somehow he finds a way to get me to be more positive or gives me what I need to go the extra mile, without ever coming off as pushy or insensitive. It's awesome! Especially during those times when you really need it.

I sent his birthday package the other day, along with the first "monthly" package since R&R. The birthday one was fun to put together. He asked me not to send a bunch of stuff he'd have to carry around since, if he gets GOOD news about Green to Gold it's likely he could be leaving Iraq very soon (soon as in, Army terms soon... so whatever that means :) ) and he doesn't want the extra stuff. So instead of sending things I sent food. I made cupcakes and cookies, which took up a large portion of the box. Then I turned it into a birthday party in a box! Complete with candles and icing for the cupcakes, balloons, a happy birthday banner, cards, confetti, tissue paper, and a present :). I was actually pretty proud of it! It looked pretty... and I love it when he calls to laugh at me for getting confetti all over the place, even in Iraq. (he's lucky I don't do glitter in the packages or cards cause that's not nearly as easy to clean up!!) I know he told me not to get him a gift, that it could wait, but I couldn't resist.

I wanted to get a voice recorder so I could send him a message but it turns out those things are kind of expensive lol. So I opted for the next best thing. I went to the toy section in the local store and got one of those voice changers. Ya know where you say something and then you can turn a knob and it alters the sound of the voice when you play it back? Yeah, that! Got one of those (under 10 bucks) and left a short and sweet message (short cause it only lets you talk for less than 30 seconds!) and then turned the knob to regular... no altering. This one even had a locking button so that way the message wouldn't get changed or distorted on it's way there!

"Happy Birthday baby! I miss you so much, and I'm always thinkin' about ya!" - I think it's as good a present as any :)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Mattresses and Messenger

"Sorry babe, it's just been a long day and I'm finally laying on a real mattress. This is the first time since I left home and it's niiiiicccccceeeeee"

He continued the sentence with something alluding to the fact that it wasn't nearly as nice as getting to fall asleep with me, but it was still pretty nice. Right when he got back to Iraq and eventually to his new FOB we were talking on messenger and the MWR was about to close. We were saying our good nights and goodbyes and I must've said "Sleep good" because his response was something to the effect of "well it'll be on a cot in a tent with only an airline blanket and no KJ so it won't be a good sleep but it'll be sleep" - I could feel my heart break into about a million pieces. I just wanted to fix it, to be able to take care of him, and I could tell he was experiencing some homesickness... but there wasn't much I could do except tell him how much I wished I could fix it and how much I cared.

After finally getting back into the swing of things we're doing ok. He's been gone for about 11 days now and I'm, we're, ok. We miss each other, but we're not the type to be sad and mopey. Truth be told, I'm pretty busy with work, thankfully, so during the day I don't have a lot of time to think about it or dwell on it. At night though, when I'm back in my cabin and alone, when I'm wearing his undershirt to sleep in, when I'm going through text messages I saved from when he was here... I can feel his absence. Just like I told Sgt., it's not that I can't do things without him here. I still make my coffee, laundry got done without incident, but it's just better when he's here.

The first time I went to the laundry mat after he left I was bummed. I was bummed because the LAST time I was there, I was there with him, and I sorted clothes while he got the washers set and started. Then he put the clothes in the dryers and I went behind him and put dryer sheets in each one. While we were waiting on laundry to get done we talked and laughed and did silly things like race each other back inside. We were together and we were an efficient team!

I'm ok though :). Sgt. has been incredibly sweet since he's been gone. Both of us were nervous leading up to his R&R. We didn't date that long before he left for Germany and the majority of our relationship had been spent apart. We both wondered how we would react to one another. Now that R&R is over, we both agree 100% it was amazing and better than we could have ever hoped for. He's even (and I say he with a lot of emphasis here because I'm a little cautious about this type of thing... however that's a different story) been asking me questions like "if you could have your dream wedding what would it be like" not that that would be happening anytime soon but it's fun to talk about with each other, it's fun to think about :).

I was thinking that this whole completely sweet, charming, adoring thing would end a couple days after he got back, not because he doesn't feel that way, but just because he would be back in "soldier mode." So far, it hasn't though. I'm suspecting that once mission tempo picks up, the frequent messenger sessions and little surprise e-mails (when he's got 30 min. back on the FOB coming in from the COP) will slow down but I'm enjoying every. single. second. of it right now :). How could a girl not?

"I'm INCREDIBLY grateful to have you!!!!! you're beautiful, wonderful, and I'm very blessed. i know you've heard it, and you'll hear it again, but you can NEVER hear it enough! I miss you darlin'"
e-mail in between missions