I'm just an ordinary girl doing ordinary stuff.

I just happen to be a single mom in the military.

My kids are part of the military too.

When I deploy, their heart breaks too.

They're strong little guys.

Being their mom is the most humbling experience I've ever had.

Follow the adventures

See if you can keep up with me as I serve my country holding my kids in my arms.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Korea Prep 2



My neighbor was kind enough to hook me up with an old friend of his who is stationed in Korea.  It was really nice being able to have another single mom connect with me about her experience.  She told me about the room I'd probably be living in and gave me some tips on what to bring, what not to bring.  She also let me know about the base and what the dining facilities were like there, so I'd probably need a crock pot. 

My feeling about Korea today is ... okay.  It feels good being able to talk with someone who can actually let me see, mentally, what I'm getting into. 

I received a phone call from a good brother-friend of mine, J Guy.  He was so upset that I'd be leaving my kids to serve this tour.  I was pretty encouraged by him calling to comfort me and share his brotherly love for me.  I felt loved.

I'm trying to get a hold of my friend, Daniel, who is currently struggling with a divorce.  He and his family are a beautiful thing and I always admired them as a unit.  To know that they are suffering so much hurts me and I'm so concerned for them all.  He hasn't written me back in almost a month and the last e-mail he wrote expressed how frustrated, angry, and hurt he is.  I sent him another e-mail today.  Tomorrow, I will try to call him.

Patrick and I are about to Skype tonight.  I sent him part one of two Christmas gifts and I want him to open it tonight.  Partly because I was worried when he told me that the FedEx guy tossed it onto his porch.  It's a wooden humidor!  I'm worried it might be broken and I want to be able to have him return it in time for him to receive part two-- eleven very fine Dominican cigars.  I couldn't get Cubans.  Anyway, I'm excited to see how he'll react if the humidor is in good shape.  He likes cigars.

Lastly, I hate keeping this Korea a secret from the kids.  I won't break, though.  I don't want to hang that over their heads during Christmas.  I'll wait til after my oldest boy's birthday in January.  Sigh.  I hate thinking of leaving them.  If you're a parent, you know the feeling.

I wish I could bring Bruce with me.  He's my companion, my friend.  He may be a dog but he's my favorite person aside from my human-family.  He looks at me with giant eyes and I hate knowing I won't see them for a whole year.

Finally, I just want to say that I praise God.  For everything.  He never wastes a hurt.  He never wastes tears.  He is my Father.  And I love Him so much.

Goodnight, all.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Korea Prep

So far, I have A LOT of things to do to prepare for this remote tour.  I have four different checklists.  I just prepared about fourteen powers of attorney.  I have to get an anthrax and smallpox vaccine, which is gonna SUUUUCK.  I guess it's about time though, right?  When I deployed a few years ago, I had to get a rabies and Japanese Encephalitis vaccine.  I might as well get the rest of the crazy ones. 

I'm not telling the kids about Korea until after the holidays and birthdays.  I've decided to use the time I have with them to create some awesome memories.  So far here's what I've done:

I convinced them I'm a ninja. 
Been trying to do this for a year, but my kids are too smart. 
 
We went to our first college football game.
 
I took them to the top of a mountain
 
We made our first-ever snowman!
We didn't have enough snow to make a big one.
 
We have Grandma here!
 
 
I'm going to keep trying to make opportunities for cool memories.  But more importantly, I'm just trying to make sure that we're spending good, quality time together.  They're worth it.
 
More to come on Korea prep.

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Dreaded E-mail

So once every few years of an enlisted person's life, they will receive an e-mail that makes them hold their breath.  The "From" is usually "System Generated E-mail" and you know that's always some kind of official notification e-mail box.  Well, I got my own e-mail last week shortly after returning home from work.

"Congratulations!  This is to notify you of your selection for a Permanent Change of Duty Station (PCS)..."

What??  I immediately remembered receiving a call for volunteers for Korea, Spain, Germany, Portugal, and England two weeks ago.  So Big AF didn't get enough volunteers and now here I am with an assignment.  The e-mail is a teaser.  It congratulates you, but doesn't say where you're going or when.  So I was left with anxiety and worry.

If I got Germany or England, it would be a long tour and I would get to take my kids and pets.  But we'd have to stay for 3 years.  And if I got deployed from there, I'd have to spend thousands of dollars to send my kids back to the CONUS to live with my family.

If I got a short tour like Korea, Spain, or Portugal, then I'd only have to serve 15 months.  But I would have to leave my children, pets and belongings behind.

Needless to say, I would've been unhappy with either.

I got to work and logged onto my computer.

Korea.  I got Korea.  

And guess what, I leave in just a matter of months.

So here we go again, Combat Boots Mama is leaving home without the kiddos.  Ahhhh.... such is military life.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Journal- 9 Nov

Wow, it has been a while since I wrote.  Things have been really happening over the last few months.


In the Summer...
The boys took swim class this summer.
I was super proud of them!

My brother and I joined forces to do the 
**Dirty Dash 2014**
We got really ... gross.
But it was so much fun!
And I got to spend time with my brother.


The boys got bucked off sheep at the rodeo.

Caden did a great job at rock climbing!

They spent lots of time outdoors!

Bruce and I spent lots of time outdoors, too.

Patrick and I got to spend time together... also outdoors.


Fall Is Now Here




Patrick, my handsome man, will be here in two days!!





Monday, July 7, 2014

Journal-6 July

Life has taken such a turn in the past week.  My mom and stepdad flew in from Guam last Friday.  Yay!  They're just awesome.  The kids adore them.  Then Patrick, a friend I've made and whom I've been "talking to" for a couple of months now, flew in on Saturday last week.  He's amazing.  A good Christian who reflects what Christians should.  I'm a little smitten, but I'm being really slow and cautious because I fall in love fast and stupidly. 

Every day has been a blur.  Patrick's visit was amazing, we went out just to hang and talk a couple of nights.  In the day he hung with my family and me.  He's super sweet but also a little rough around the edges.  He has a soft spot for dogs, so if anything I know he has a good heart.  Dogs rock, just sayin.  He is super friendly, funny, and charming all at the same time.  And respectful.  And did I mention, Christian?  Same values, yay!  I was sad when he left, but so happy we got to visit and spend a few days getting to know each other in person.  He's a plane ride away, so we're kind of just testing our wings out here.

I've been coaching tee ball for 4-5 year olds since the middle of May and it has been the BEST thing I've led.  The kids are so much fun!  They crack me up and melt my heart.  The parents are great, they're good sports and I'm lucky to have them.  Coaching has definitely taken a toll on the kids and me since the boys are both in tee ball, different nights!  We're playing games Mondays through Thursdays and we get wiped FAST. 


Another thing that has kept us busy lately is the adoption of a kitten.  Yes, another friggin animal.  This one was dumped in a Petsmart parking lot and we couldn't just leave her there.  Sean's "Mommy Please" kind of got to me, too.  So far the addition isn't too much trouble.  She's getting along just fine with Bruce and the ferrets, but man I'm kind of running a small zoo here.  I guess I just have to keep myself in check and make sure I'm balancing everything well.

My mood right now is: Tired, happy, smitten, and filled with joy.  Even though I'm so tired lately (mentally and physically), I am so happy.  God is amazing, He's definitely keeping me in His arms.  I pray that He keeps my family under His watch and that my friends are building a relationship with Him.  I love my God.  He is my rock.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Mad

I'm lonely. And I find myself feeling angry sometimes. Not at the people who I've given up in order to ensure my children have a good life. Not at my parents for failing to teach me what a good relationship looks like. Not at my friends who stay in bad relationships just because it's better than being alone.

I'm mad at myself. For failing to choose a good person to spend my life with. I wonder why do I sabotage myself? Why do I go into a relationship hoping that maybe he's "the one" when I know deep down inside that he's not? I never answer these questions. I just ask them after each break up. Or when I'm lonely.

People tell me that the right guy will come along and I smile and nod my head and tell them how I agree and that I'm perfectly okay with waiting. I'm only half lying. I think deep down inside I want to stay alone. Not because I don't want someone else.

I don't want to fail again. My kids' dad was a horrible mistake. I'm not going to sugar coat it tonight and say "without him I wouldn't have had my children." I know that's true. But it was a horrible experience and I don't ever want to make that mistake again. I don't have just me to worry about. When I didn't have kids the only bad thing to come of a failed relationship was a broken heart. Now I have two additional hearts to protect. And theirs is more important than mine.

My 5 year old, Sean, had a rough week because his daycare class was so busy with making Father's Day stuff and having Father's Day lunch and sharing stories of their dads. He threw a plastic shovel and it hit a kid in the face. He told his teacher "I don't have a dad. My father doesn't know how to be a good dad."

How the hell am I supposed to heal that? People tell me "you just have to remind him that he has YOU and he has other family members who love him." Yeah, try telling a 5 year old that what he wants doesn't matter because everyone else loves him. When what he truly knows is that he needs a father and the only one he has is an asshole who doesn't know how to be a good dad.

And here I am at past midnight closing up the third episode of Orange Is The New Black I've watched since the kids have fallen asleep. And all I want is someone to share it with. Someone to talk to about how freaking awesome this stupid series is.

I put them in swim class and I put them in tee ball. So they can be kids and have fun and learn boy stuff. Hell I'm coaching Sean's tee ball team. And they laugh and have a good time. We throw the ball around at the park and we go hiking and collect rocks and get dirty. It's all good stuff. They enjoy it. But at the end of the day we're still just three. We're a damn good three. But they still ask me why God hasn't given them a good dad.

And that pisses me off. Because I haven't given them a good dad. I made the wrong choices in men. I chose to be alone out of fear of failing yet again.

And I wonder if I will always have no one. And if they will always only have me. I don't know that answer.

Someone asked me if I've prayed about it. And I do. A lot. But even while I'm praying I am doubting. I go on Facebook and see the posts of all my married friends and I know that behind those smiling couples lies bad marriages. Not all of them. But enough to stunt my hope.

Not sure what my point is anymore. I guess it's just a rant. No real need for answers or pity. Just some single mom ranting. I guess it's up to me. It's up to me to take risks and find that right guy. It's up to me to deal with the heartbreak after each failed attempt. Or just hold out for that right guy, if I can recognize him.

So if you're a single mom feeling lonely or angry, don't feel too bad. Under all this fake smile, head- nodding perfectly-fine-with-waiting single mom lies someone who feels your pain. I know it's hard. And lonely. And sad. But you aren't alone in that. Not really.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

I Was A Ninja, Really!


The boys were having a deep conversation today while I was driving. 

Sean: That car is going faster than us.

Caden: Yeah but we beat that white car. 

Sean: But that truck with the black falcon on it is getting faster!

Me: Black falcon! But I defeated him!

Caden: What?

Sean's face is showing disbelief. 

Me: I defeated him when I was... a ninja. 

Sean: A ninja?

Caden: No you didn't mom. 

Me: I did.  I didn't have a sword though. I had nunchucks. (Quick nunchuck super moves with sound effects)

Sean laughs. Caden stares at me through the rear view mirror. 

Caden: I can't believe that. 

Me: I was a cool ninja.

Sean: Whoa.

Caden: Well that truck passed us mom. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Regret

I was running late for work. It was a couple of years ago.  The kids weren't cooperating. Caden especially. He couldn't find the pants he wanted. 

I was chasing the hands of the clock. I was angry. My words were firm and impatient. I had to be at work on time. There was an important ceremony to host. 

I scolded them for sleeping late the night before. I rushed Sean into his daycare room without a goodbye. 

Caden had a scowl on his face and he was quiet. I was glad he wasn't whining. He walked slowly toward his classroom. Hurry up, I told him. 

I didn't say goodbye. Instead I rushed to the car and started it up. I hit the gas hard about to race to work. But something caught my eye.

A small open palm on the window of Caden's classroom. I slowed the car and squinted my eyes for a better look. Caden's face peered at me. He was crying. He had his hand on the window. 

During the ceremony, the music director asked me what was wrong. I choked back the sob in my throat as I told him. 

Don't ever sacrifice your children for this bullshit, he said. All of this? The ceremonies, the meetings, the stress. After you retire these people will forget you. But your children will not. Don't let their memories be filled with tearful mornings as you left them for this. Tell them you love them each time you part. 

They are the ones who matter in the end. So make them matter in the now. 

Since then I've not once let the morning be filled with impatience and frustration. Each time I think of that little palm on the window, I hug them a little tighter. As if I'm still apologizing for it. Never again will I make them less important than this job. 


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pause the Dating

I've decided I'm not going to do the whole dating thing for while. The last one was a disaster. I took a risk on someone who seemed legit and it turned out he was a snake in disguise. It's the nature of dating I suppose. Putting myself out there, taking risks, learning lessons.

I think I'm much better off pushing past the losers, seeing through lies, and being really intentional about choosing the man who is genuinely right. 

One thing I will remember about the heartache comes from C.S. Lewis:

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Getting Out There

I think it's time this single mama gets put back on the market.  I figure, I'm a pretty good date.  I clean up nice, have a pretty fun personality, I've got good qualities.  Why not put myself out there?  It would be nice to have someone to talk to and laugh with.  I just have to remember how to do this.

So I started talking to someone.  He's a single dad too.  Two kids who live with him full time.  He owns his own business and loves to be outdoors.  He seems very nice and I can't help but feel excited.  I'm not very quick to get hooked on someone, which I think is a good thing.  But it's still exciting to meet someone new.  So even if it doesn't work out or we're not compatible... or he's crazy... I know I can walk away at least knowing I gave it a shot.

I know how to look for the red flags, which used to be my downfall.  I think my biggest struggle is not running away before I get to actually know him.  So this will be an interesting adventure for sure. 

So for all you single moms out there who are getting your feet wet in that dating pool, I'd like to list some red flags that you have to be aware of and heed.  Plus, it'll help me remember while I'm out there, too!

How Do You Know When To Walk Away?

1.  He lets you know all about him by spilling his broken heart stories.  He's such a good guy, why can't he find the right girl? Everyone just keeps cheating on him no matter how good he treats them.  Aww, woe is him.  Nope.  He has issues he needs to work on and unless you're dying to mend someone else's broken heart, I'd turn the other way.

2.  He is super clingy.  If he calls or texts you to wish you a good morning, that's nice.  But if he is constantly texting you and gets annoyed that you aren't always texting right back even though you do have a full time job or are busy with kids, run fast.  This is not a good sign and is actually a sure sign that he has control issues.

3.  He glorifies his mother.  Now don't get me wrong, we all love a man who loves his mother.  But if he reveals either right away or somewhere down the road that he is totally committed to her ... kind of like one would be committed to a wife... just drop him.  And fast.  A mama's boy will never change.  She will always be at the top of his list and you will never light a candle to her.  You don't want a boy, you want a man, right?

4.  He can't wait for you to pause while you're talking so he can tell you what's on his mind.  Of course, during a conversation, it's a two-way thing.  You want feedback and you want participation.  But if he's biting his nails to get his two cents in all the time, it's a sign that he's not really interested in what you have to say and more interested in you listening to what he has to say.

5.  He quickly talks about sex.  He talks about how it's "all about you" and that he's a "pleaser."  Step on the brakes now.  In the dating stage, your focus should be getting to know someone BEFORE you hit the bedroom.  A man should be interested in you, your personality, your strengths and weaknesses, what makes you YOU and what makes you special.  He should actually like you as a person, not as an object.  You're much more valuable than that.  Don't give in.  Walk away.

6.  He's a little too private with his phone.  If he's constantly placing his phone face-down so you won't see the caller ID, I'd be a little suspicious.  But if he's really quick to pick up the phone and rushing to another room to answer it, red flag.  

7.  Speaking of phones, if he's a phone-a-holic, you will have to ask yourself if you think he's worth it.  If he's constantly on Facebook, texting friends, or checking e-mails, chance are he's not that into you. 

Now, I've listed red flags to look for in a man.  You've got to make sure you aren't doing any of those things, too.  If you're doing any of those things I just listed, you really have to work on them.  Guys look for red flags too and they run FAST.  In fact, they're much better at that than we are. 

I'll be posting a blog about relationships and the things we do to destroy them, intentionally or unintentionally.  Keep an eye out!