Deployment thoughts

Oops, I did it again…

I lost my smile…

One of the many reasons I have been struggling with the absence of my husband, is that he makes me smile, daily.  The very presence of him, calms me, motivates me, inspires me, etc.  When I say, he is my person…he really IS. I don’t have a female “Bestie” or “BFF” like most women do.  Sure, I have girl friends but they’ve all got their lives and their friends that they are much closer with so without my husband, I get pretty lonely to say the least.

I was having lunch with my sister on Friday and we were talking about how when my husband talks to his soldiers, the room instantly lights up and you can FEEL how they respond to him.  The inspiration in the air is tangible. He is a TRUE leader.  He is where he is meant to be in life.  And then it hit me.  Like a ton of bricks.  He does all that for our family too.  For the last 5 weeks, you can feel the void left in the house so strongly that sometimes I dread going home after work.

And that sucks.

SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO because I am tired of these sad, Debbie downer sad posts, I am going to make a list of things that make me smile.  Because I need to find my smile again.  My kids need me to find it, too.

SnapChat.  I made an account a while back, but didn’t understand the purpose of this app.  I mean, are you supposed to take selfies of yourself over and over and send them to people? I don’t like pictures of myself, so there’s that, too.  So after last week’s YUCK fest I invited my teen to join me for my youngest daughter’s dance class.  We had a little fun with SnapChat and by the end of the 1 1/2 hours we were laughing so hard tears were pouring down our faces.

4.10.2
Cute, right?
4.10.1
Like my facial expression? ROFL!!!

My sister.  Last week I wanted to literally hole myself up and just forget the world.  But she won’t let me, and for that I am forever grateful.  She lets me be me, with all my faults and is there for me always. She had my kids spend the weekend with her because 1. I am working all weekend again and that sucks for the kids, and 2. They sure could use a break from reality for a couple days.  #sistering

4.10.3

Seeing my husband’s face.  I’ve asked him to try and send pictures when he can.  Yesterday while I was working, I got this picture to brighten my day.

4.10.4

Support. Between my Mom and my sister checking on me several times each week, to one of the Army wives who texts me every day, along with my friend Andrea who also texts me every night (for the last 5 weeks nearly!!!) “NNT” which has always been our thing (Night Night Termite) when we talk, I feel so very blessed.  AND, I came home last Tuesday from work to find my neighbor had mowed my lawn!  How awesome is that?While I may not have a female “BFF” I do have a lot of people who make the time to show they care.

4.10.5
That’s love right there, LOL!!! ❤

Running!  Of course!  I ran twice last week, and am hoping to get a few miles in tomorrow since it’s my day off!  I have concluded that I don’t like the Brooks Launch 3’s as much as the 2’s.  The toe box is just a little different, and they don’t have that same airy feel.

Doesn't everyone lounge around the house in their old marathon running shoes?
Doesn’t everyone lounge around the house in their old marathon running shoes?

With that, I bid you all a happy weekend!  Tell me something that makes YOU smile?!  Ready, GO!

Cheers! ❤

Michelle

 

 

Deployment thoughts, Uncategorized

Thinking Thursday

Since the news of my husband’s deployment I’ve gotten so many wonderful emails, cards, and even gifts sent to me by loved ones.
book
A daily devotional from one of my FB friends ❤
Out pouring of prayers, texts and phone calls have been welcomed with open arms on most days.  Because in all honesty even though I do get a daily text of “Love you” usually from my hubby, I have only gotten to talk to him a couple times as in “real conversation” talk in the last few weeks, and that makes my evenings very hard.  To say I am just hanging on by a thread or two pretty much sums it up.
Work stress is at an all time high, and of course parenting 2 girls one of which is a teen means my plate is over flowing.
Some days, I am ok.  Others…well, not so much.
Last night we had some window repair guys come to the door.  I begrudgingly opened the door to have them come in and give their shpeal about how my windows were old (duh, the house is 30 years old) and needed repair.  Would my husband be home later so we could discuss?  No, D-bag…My husband is deployed and I am the head of the household from here on out for the next year.  OOOOOOH.  Thank him for his service they said as they looked at my Grandpa’s shadow box on the mantle.
mantle
My Dad built this shadow box for my Grandpa, and it was given to me after my Grandfather’s passing.
How many tours has your husband done?   Two I said. I smiled and said thank you, and told them that I too, was retired military.  How many tours?  I didn’t go overseas…No comment from either gentleman.
myflag
Just a few of my accolades from over the years
They went on about the windows, and I could feel the fire burning in the back of my throat.  So often my service is disregarded, even by myself-but I’m allowed ha- because I didn’t “fight any wars.”  Not that they saw at least.  And that will always make me sad, because I joined the military in my junior year of high school on the delayed enlistment program TO GO TO WAR and fight for my country.  Yet here I am, almost 25 years later still working in a hospital job that was chosen for me by the military.
Miffed, I shook the man’s hands and bid them good night.
Several minutes later, my youngest tugged on my shirt as I cooked dinner to show me the card she and her daycare buddies made for my husband. As I pulled it out of the envelope and opened up the card I choked back sobs in seeing dozens and dozens of children’s signatures wishing my husband the  best on his deployment.
card
allthefeelsrighthere
And at that moment I realized that serving my country also meant sucking up all my stupid pride and serving proudly as an Army wife.
I may have not had the career I fought hard to attain, but God puts us where we are meant to be.  I have to have faith that this is where I am needed, at least for now. Every ounce of support I’ve received is just another thread in the rope I’ll be hanging on to this next year.  Thank you!!
Michelle
Military, Uncategorized

The return of the ‘other half’ <3

This post is part 2 if you will, to my last post about doing the single parent gig while the hubby is away.  This is the part about what happens when the other half, returns…

And while I was thrilled to have him return home last night, albeit it only for a brief visit, I realized something…something that I forget. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. he travels.

Sometimes his coming home, is almost as hard as his leaving. 

WHAT?!?!?!?

I know.  Isn’t it all rainbows and unicorns running through fields filled with spring colored flowers and butterflies flitting through the air? Isn’t it like the airport seen with the wife and kids holding the welcome home sign for the long-awaited return of their husband/Dad, in which he comes running off the tarmac to embrace his wife and kids in his arms?

pic credit: Imgarcade.com
pic credit: Imgarcade.com

Sadly…not always.  Sometimes the unicorn has had little sleep during his travels, and the butterflies have just had it with flitting, and need a nap. 

Sometimes…it’s hard to re-adjust at first, because you have a very set routine in which every moment is accounted for precisely because one mis-step could be a disaster in making sure the day is successful.  And the other half doesn’t always understand that routine, how hard it is to keep, and how deep down inside (ok not that deep sometimes) you have a bit of animosity towards him because while he’s off progressing in his career, you are home strapped with the kids and your job that can never truly BE a career because you must support HIS, first. 

Why I am I talking in the third person?  Oh, that’s right…because that was me thinking outside my head.  LOL

Let’s start again…

photo credit: Pinterest
pic credit: Pinterest

And now with tears in my eyes after a night of little sleep thinking about all of this, I will slap myself in the face and remember that I promised him I’d do this, I’d support him in good and bad…this is HIS time and he is serving our country.  I will stop being a selfish brat, and do my very best to support him. Because he would do the same for me.  At the end of the day, he does what he does for US…for our family.  #Unitedwestand

So while goodbyes can be tough, and readjusting sometimes tougher, I will count my blessings and be thankful for my awesome family. ❤

goodbyes

Rant…over.  Thanks for listening, I think I needed to just get that off my chest. 

How do you deal with stressful times? Are you able to rant and then feel better?  (I know I do! Thanks!)

Here’s to a new week, and week one of Marathon training starting TOMORROW! 

Thanks, y’all!

❤ Michelle

food, Three things

Three Things Thursday

1. I was tagged to participate in a pretty fun post, but will have to work on that this weekend. HAHA, way to keep you hanging, right?

I did however get THIS cool notification after just over a year of having my blog on WP.  🙂 A HUGE thank you to those who have taken the time to like, comment, and engage with my quirky little place in the world.  Mad love to you all!

YAY!
YAY!

2. After working 6 days in a row I realllllllllllllllllly wanted to come home and put my jammies on and…NOT. MOVE. But after work I picked up my youngest and ran a couple errands.  I knew once arriving home I would HAVE to change in to my running clothes and hop on the mill.  I texted my friend Maria, as we had another virtual running date, and got ready.  She was running a little late, so I started on my own.  Just after hitting the one mile mark (2 miles on deck) I really wanted to give up.  My legs were sore after my run Tuesday and I found myself questioning if I’d be ready for marathon training in just ONE month after nearly a month without a single run.  My legs were SORE from a 2 mile run…really?  But then I got this text…and I knew I could do this.  No quitting.  (Thanks, Maria…truly!)

YAY for friends!
YAY for friends!

1-15run2miles

3. I admittedly haven’t cooked at all since I’ve been on single Mom duty this week.  The kids are happy with left over, sammiches, and breakfast for dinner so it’s been pretty easy.  Tonight after my run I decided to make an easy homemade pizza with a little help from the store.  My friend Kristina from @Life laugh love run asked for the recipe, so I thought I’d share with you all!

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees, and line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil-set aside while you get your ingredients ready!

1 package of corn tortilla/gluten free tortilla/wrappers

1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce.  I am lucky to have an amazing Italian market just 1/2 mile away that makes their own homemade sauce that is totally organic/preservative free!

Your favorite toppings!  Here are some of mine:

1 pepper, diced

Several mushrooms, sliced

Garlic-minced

1 package of lean/low fat/low sodium pepperoni.  I get mine again, from my amazing grocery store so I know it’s “good” for my family.

Oregano/basil

Mozzarella cheese (I only use a little as dairy and I aren’t friends)

Line the cookie sheet with the tortillas, making sure NOT to overlap.  Take 2 tablespoons of marinara sauce, and spread evenly over the tortilla.  Add your veggies next, then the pepperoni.  Sprinkle lightly with the cheese, and season with basil and oregano.  Bake at 425 degrees for about 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

easy, quick, and healthy!  Can't go wrong!
easy, quick, and healthy! Can’t go wrong!

Enjoy!

Have you struggled with winter running or injury?  How do you get past the struggle?  What is your favorite healthy go-to meal?

Keep Movin’ forward, y’all!

❤ Michelle

Friday

Five things, Friday

Ah, it’s been a while since I did a five things, Friday post.  This week my 5 things come with photos of a few of my favorite things this week…because isn’t every good blog post filled with pics?

Here goes:

First…tonight I had a day off because I am working the next 6 days and IL law states you can’t work more than 6 days in a row.  What did I do?  I set my alarm to take my eldest to school so she wouldn’t have to wait outside in sub zero temps, I took a nap,  I cleaned my house, did laundry, my AB challenge,  and cooked this beautiful meal for my family.  Once I perfect the recipe, I’ll post it!

 

My deconstructed "Burger and Fries."
My deconstructed “Burger and Fries with homemade BBQ sauce.”

After picking up my mini me from after school care I checked the mail.  It’s been a while as our drive way is hella long, and well, it’s darn cold outside.  I received this beautiful hand made apron and pot holders from my dear friend Michelle who is the most self-less person I know.  While she battles her second bout of cancer, she sews me an apron because she is concerned about my thumb, and over all well being.  I couldn’t hold back the tears.  Wow.

A gift from someone who deserves more gifts than I can even dream of giving...
A gift from someone who deserves more gifts than I can even dream of giving…

And then there’s this guy…We’ve had our fair share of struggles.  He travels more than I’d like.  He plays too many video games.  But at the end of the day, HE supports me and loves me, even when I am pretty tough to love.  Which is often…lol

This dude...yeah...
This dude…yeah…

THIS day.  This.  The day I put off for over a year because I let self doubt win, over. and. over.  ALL THE DOUBT.  And none of the confidence. But this day I took a chance.  It may have not panned out.  But darn it I sure tried and will continue to do so.  #chefwannabe My life will be forever changed because I took this chance…

A reminder of a day where I chased my dreams full force.
A reminder of a day where I chased my dreams full force.

Lastly there’s this little fella…this dog, this FRIEND who hasn’t left my side in years.  True love right here.

My little prince, who's now 7 years old, but still a puppy in my eyes and heart.
My little prince, who’s now 7 years old, but still a puppy in my eyes and heart.

My point to this post, is to hang on to the things you love dearly.  I lost a friend from high school yesterday, without warning, and I am again reminded how short life really is.  So these are just a few of my favorite things that have touched my heart this week.

What keeps you going?  Do you have pets?  Have you stepped out of your comfort zone lately?

Keep Movin’ forward, gang!

 

❤ Michelle

 

goals, Holidays, moving forward

Post injury blues

Today as I laid on the couch watching football, and soaking my thumb in warm water to get the blood clotting bandage to dissolve, I found myself feeling…sad.

Meet my nurse maid and moocher, Sammy LOL
Meet my nurse maid and moocher, Sammy LOL

It’s Sunday…as most of you know, we have a Sunday supper tradition we started earlier in the year where I prepare a “fancier” dish to celebrate my awesome family each week and all that we accomplished in the past week.

But I still can’t cook.

And I can’t run.

Two of my favorite things to do to release stress…Someone I thought was a running friend said, “You don’t need your thumb to run.”  And I had to re-read that comment several times while choking back the tears.  If they knew the severity of my cut I hope they’d never say such a mean thing…I mean, really?  What happens when you run?  YOUR BLOOD STARTS PUMPING!  Right?  I have a freakin’ open wound on my thumb that could burst at any time.  Sorry…I DO need my thumb healthy in order to run.  So to this person, I say…thanks Capt. D-Bag.

12-28jerk

 

Our supper included take out from one of our favorite local Thai places.  This made me feel slightly better.  Spicy seafood over noodles.  Yes please…

Courtesy of Thai Town!
Courtesy of Thai Town!

And now, with my bandage changed, and still slightly handicapped I am found a bit lost in my thoughts.  Thankful for the amazing support from my family and friends, slight put off by people who didn’t bother to even ask how I am, and ultimately blessed at the end of the day.

Wound, post injury post 3 days
Wound, post injury post 3 days

This injury may set me back…but it won’t stop me.  And I will forever remember those who helped me during my dark times, vs. those who celebrate my sorrows.

Here’s to a new week.  I plan on walking this week despite working the next 5 days.  I have some steam to burn off.  What are your plans this week?

*Pardon any typos…I am fat fingering while typing.

❤ Michelle

 

depression

A Mother’s love…

I am sure at reading the title of this post, you expect beautiful pictures of my daughters and poetic prose sweetly written about the joys of having daughters.

But nope.

This post, is about being a Mother to a 4 legged creature.  A dog more specifically.  MY dog.

I gave birth to my second daughter in 2006, on August 5th to be exact.  After which I was overcome with terrible post partum depression.  I thought it would pass, but after nearly a year the depression stuck and my husband stepped in.  I had encountered many “life issues” and had had enough…even running wasn’t going to get me through this patch.

Quickly, I welcomed this handsome 4 legged creature who would do more for me than any medication could touch.  THIS dog, helped me find my smile again.   I’ll remember the sunny January day we drove to pick him up, gosh, for the rest of my life.  My husband did research, and found a local breeder that had a male Golden Retriever.  We packed the kids in the car, Sophia just a year and a half old, and Jordyn 8 1/2 years old, and went to meet our new family member.

We had many names picked out, but Samuel Adams was the name he responded too, so there it was.  “Sammy” as he is known to our family was welcomed with open arms.  And then things changed.

I found my smile.  Because this wonderful little dog followed me EVERYWHERE.  He knew I needed HIM.  And he was there.  And he still is…

Now, 7 years later, as we celebrate his birthday I can’t help but to get teary.  Because this guy knows…he knows when I have a bad day, and he takes the time to nuzzle me a little more, snuggle a little longer, and give me more extra wet kisses than I care to have sometimes, LOL.

And I love him.  More than I can even put in to words.  Some people tease pet lovers dedication and passion, but I bet you a million bucks they don’t have this sort of relationship in their life.  Many a morning I will lay in bed after a night of insomnia, and Sammy will jump up into the bed, and snuggle in with me, pressing his forehead into mine.  He wraps his paws around me, and he knows…Momma is tired…Momma is stressed…Momma needs some extra snuggles.  HE…is there.  It still amazes me how they know…when you need them. This morning is a perfect example.  I didn’t sleep well at all, woke up far beyond the moment when my alarm would go off, and I closed my eyes, wishing for Sammy to come upstairs.  Seconds later, there he was, ready for his summons up in to the bed.  And for 5 minutes, in the dark, my pup loved me.  In his own way, told me, “It’s going to be ok.”

And for that moment.  All was right in the world.  I was loved.  And I knew, as a Mother of a 4 legged creature, I had done right with the world.  Even if, for just a moment.

So I will sleep well tonight, knowing I have loved just a little more, lived my life just a little better, because of my amazing dog, Sammy.  Thanks, buddy…for truly making my life so much better.

THIS
THIS
He loved his boots as a pup
He loved his boots as a pup
Daddy love
Daddy love
Jordyn and Sammy
Jordyn and Sammy
Me and my bubs
Me and my bubs
Sammy and Sophia
Sammy and Sophia

❤ Michelle

dedication, Friday, goals

Five things, Friday…Contentment

Tonight’s word is something I have fought with for a long time.

CONTENTMENT

I often listen to Christian radio on the way to work to help clear my mind. One of the messages this week was to be content with what we have, for God provides what we need.  I’ve battled with this sentiment for a long time.  I’ve always wanted more, wanted a better career, a bigger bank account, better clothes for my kids, trips, etc etc etc…Yet hearing this message last week was like a slap in the face to get my act together and be CONTENT with what I have…Because in all honestly, I have a lot in life.

DEAR GOD

I have a healthy and happy family that battles the same struggles as everyone else.  I have a job in which I can come home from most days, smiling.  I have some pretty great friends, both near and far geographically yet all are close to my heart. I have an amazing husband, and 2 beautiful daughters who may test my patience, but that I love dearly.  And above all, we have our health.  Hearing the news of a dear friend battling stage 3 cancer today brought things full circle.  I need to be content.  End of story.

Our finish line photo...my biggest fan, and now running partner.
Our finish line photo…my biggest fan, and now running partner.

I have a husband who sacrificed months to train with me for his first half marathon, simply to experience this finish line feeling WITH me.

Brian dinner

And today, while he had a day off work, he prepared for me this yummy meal…just because.

Lady bug luck
Lady bug luck

I received this awesome reminder walking out of work today of God’s amazing creatures…I’ve always believed in lady bug luck, and this little dude accompanied me to my Jeep after work today.

And at the end of the day, I recounted my blessings, re-reading text messages and posts from my friends over the last several weeks.  These friends applauded my MasterChef journey as short as it was, and continue to cheer me on to help me find my motivation to run again.

But my biggest fans, are my daughters.  And this little mini still argues that the judges got it all wrong.  She told me, that this week she prayed after having a tough time at school, exclaiming, “Mommy, HE listened!” And a part of me melted…

My Sous Chef
My Sous Chef

With that, I leave you with the thought that moving forward is key…in life, in running, in friendships, and in family.  Hang on tight to those who lift you up…

dedication, food

The end of season 5, Master Chef

After work today I quickly took a shower, got my kids fed and swept my little one off to ballet class from 6-7 pm.  The season finale for Master Chef was TONIGHT, and I knew I’d miss the first 15 minutes but it was so worth while seeing my baby so excited to dance. So dance…we did.

Gotta get our reading done, Mom!
Gotta get our reading done, Mom!

We got home at 7:15, and I literally ran down to the basement to watch the season finale of Master Chef.  Thankfully I had an old pair of running shoes on…keep in mind, I am still wearing said shoes.  LOL.

My hubby had the wine ready, and we settled in quickly to watch the show.  One cool aspect was that Twitter was allowing you to ask questions to the Chefs…and yeah…Graham Elliot responded to my tweet.  Keep in mind, I suck at tweeting.

THIS just happened.
THIS just happened.

But I watched in awe as these home cooks did their thing…and I cried at the end, hoping, wishing, envisioning myself standing there in boots, and not heels.

The kicker was, having my husband ask me why I was crying…”You see yourself standing there, don’t you?”…Your darn right I do…because I know I have the passion needed to get where I want, need, to be.

At the end of the day, my husband said, YOU CAN DO THIS…and I will polish off my combat boots and try my hardest.

‘Nuff said.

Keep movin forward gang!

 

 

dedication, food, goals, moving forward

Sometimes you have to step back to move forward

I haven’t blogged in over a week.  There.  I said it. My computer is on the fritz, and to be honest I’ve needed to just unplug somewhat lately.  Less…well, is more lately.  Sometimes you just need a little support and feedback, and social media has more than disappointed me lately.  Bah.

But some key bullet points go a little like this…

We’ve remained nearly on point for our half marathon training.  We did our last super longish run on Friday night, despite the crazy rain, thunderstorms, and tornado warnings.  10 miles, done.  We will do our miles this week, and a semi-long run this weekend to keep consistency but embracing the taper.  Our race is less than 2 weeks away!

We went to Chicago last weekend to get some much needed downtime, and enjoyed some amazing food.

1-IMG_6352

This afternoon my eldest texted me a photo of a note that her “friend” wrote her asking her to homecoming.  My heart was so happy for her, yet sad for me as I see my baby girl growing up into a lady…please. stop. time. But I am thankful she shared this moment, with me…

1-IMG_6327

Tonight, my youngest started her first ballet class, and despite feeling very rushed after work to get home, feed the kids, get homework squeezed in, and a quick shower, (ack, holy commas) we made it to class by 6 pm.  I snuck quite a few peeks in the window, and was taken aback by my daughter’s grace.  She lacks focus, she has a hard time staying on track…but she would see me watching and all of a sudden her ‘position’ moves became seamless.  I couldn’t help but to smile behind my tears.  My parents were always too busy to put me in activities, and I find myself often in the same situation.  So making time for this one hour per week class is almost selfish for it’s for ME too…seeing her joy brings ME such joy.  It’s worth missing out on a run/workout to see her face light up.

tiny dancer

We watched Master Chef tonight…and although I may have sidelined my audition for yet another year due to financial constraints, I still get that pull to my heart watching the contestants compete each week.  Yet I know I don’t have the confidence or skill quite yet…but it’s coming.

So this year I will regroup.  Refocus.  And cook my heart out by recipe from world renowned cook books that sit on my shelf collecting dust.

I may or may not go to the casting call of Master Chef in Chicago on October 11th.  I need to dig deep.  And believe.  But I also know our family cannot sustain on one income.

Time will tell…