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.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

It's Prep Time for Thanksgiving LoL!

I love growing my hair long.  It's easy to keep up in a uniform and you can do so many fun things with it.  A few years ago, though, I found something REWARDING and useful about long hair.  I can donate it!  There are children with cancer or disorders that cause hair loss and believe it or not hair costs thousands of dollars!!  I learned that for one hairpiece, roughly 10 ponytails of donated hair is needed.  This hairpiece is super expensive.  Locks of Love (LoL) is a charity organization that collects donated hair and pays for the creation of hairpieces for children whose families cannot afford to purchase them.  Their website totally moved me and inspired me to donate my hair.
Locks of Love is committed to providing the highest quality hair prostheses (hairpieces) to every child suffering from long term or permanent medical hair loss. The hair prostheses provided are custom-made from donated ponytails and would retail between $3,500 and $6,000. Locks of Love provides them for free or on a sliding scale, based on financial need. These prostheses are different from synthetic hairpieces because they form a vacuum seal, and do not require the use of tape or glue. Only the wearer of the prosthesis may remove it, by breaking the vacuum seal at the temples. Children can dismiss insecurities about classmates pulling off their hairpiece, or losing it during sports. They can also swim and shower with it in place. Wigs do not provide these needs for every day activities of active children. This sense of security allows the children to get back their self confidence and be kids again. -- http://locksoflove.org/mission.html

After learning all about these little children who wait for their own full head of hair, I was deeply moved and in December 2007 I donated eighteen inches.  I walked into my shop the next day and the priest I worked with stared at me with a dropped jaw.  "What have you done!" He exclaimed.  "A woman's hair is her glory!"
I just smiled and shrugged my shoulders.  "Someone else will have my glory then," I answered, quite happy that I was able to give. 

I made a promise that I would donate everytime my hair got long enough.  It costs me nothing but a haircut.  And some kid out there is gonna have a bigger smile on their face when they get their finished hairpiece in the mail.  That is amazing to me.

So... the preparation will begin.  Right now my hair has lots of grays in it.  Although LoL accepts gray/white hairs, they don't use them on the hairpieces.  Those hairs are sold to help with manufacturing costs.  I'm thinking of dyeing it but not until I get closer to cutting day.  Also, my hair is layered.  The longest length is right at my rear end and the shortest is at my waist.  I think I'll have it cut straight across so they're all one length.  I've got a few things to do before giving my hair to someone else.  I want to make sure I give good healthy hair and not dry strands with split ends.  Which is why I've decided to prepare my hair months in advance.

My goal is to donate at least ten inches, if not more, on Thanksgiving day this year.  The hair will be shiny, healthy and soft.  I'm thinking maybe some multivitamins will help. 

Say a prayer for me!

Find out how you can donate your own hair!!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Mommy Needs A Break

Holy smokes.  I'm friggin exhausted.  Work has kept me really busy, going from one project to another.  People are pulling me in different directions, each asking why I'm not responding to them quick enough.  My new official boss gives me two tasks, both which have an ASAP suspense and both which have sat at his desk while I've been deployed and gone for about 9 months.  So of course I'm expected to swoop in and magically make them FINISHED so his name can shine on top of them.  The other boss in my shop is a chauvinist who insists that because I'm a woman, I should be taking better care of the kitchen in our facility.  Then I get home and ...

the kids need to be fed, they're thirsty, they wanna play, they want a snack, they're still thirsty, they need baths, Sean poops twice and both times his diaper explodes, Caden and Sean fight over a toy, Sean screams his head off because Bruce licks him, Caden finds some juice in the fridge and shows me that he can still have some more because we still have juice, Sean unrolls the toilet tissue in the bathroom, dinner is burned because I'm breaking up a fight, Sean brings me an empty coffee cup thanking me for my coffee, Caden wants milk before bed and he whines like a baby, Caden then whines because he's insisting that he is NOT a baby, Sean is screaming while in time out for hitting Bruce on the head with his Buzz Lightyear, Sean gets out of bed seven times, Caden calls from the bedroom "Sean's sleeping in my spot!"  Finally, finally FINALLY I lay down on the couch and put my feet up hoping to send an e-mail to a friend and before I know it I'm fast asleep with my laptop on my belly.

Anyone wanna be a live-in nanny?  I swear they're the easiest kids in the world!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Pups in Heaven

Today was a great day.  We took Bruce for a nice walk, went to the beach where we got mobbed by sea gulls, buried Caden and Sean's legs in the sand, played with Caden in the water, and just had a wonderful family fun day.  But when the kids hit the bed and Bruce fell asleep at my feet, my heart had a little bit of a throb in it.  Like it was missing something.  And that's when I remembered.  I don't think I'll ever forget.
Today is Boston's 3 year anniversary of going from "Mommy's Baby" to "Missing."  Who's Boston?  Just one of the few angels God had sent to me.  If you don't know me very well, you'll need to know this:  I love animals.  I love them like I love children.  I believe God has given us these wonderful things as gifts and we're responsible for appreciating them if not because we just love them, then at least in honor of His love for us.  So from time to time, you'll come across a blog post about a past pet or any animal that has touched my heart in some way.  In honor of his memory, I'll tell you a little story about him.  I think I need to write about him anyway.  It'll probably help me deal with it tonight. 
While I was married to X, I had two dogs: Prissy and Boston.  I had Prissy way before I met X and Boston was adopted maybe a year after we married.  Both were lost at the hands of X which marked the beginning of an extraordinary journey to departing my and my kids' lives from a life of abuse to one of victory.
Prissy was an American Eskimo Spitz and Boston was a Boston Terrier/Chihuahua mix.  They were both so different in personality, Prissy being well.. prissy and Boston being a bouncy little pup.  Like all dogs, they wanted nothing more than affection and love.  They gave me more than I could ever give them and in the end that proved true.
During my marriage life was very chaotic and I suffered from depression and anxiety.  The three of us (the dogs and I) endured abuse together.  Prissy and Boston not only comforted me when I needed a friend, they eventually gave their lives.  I won't go into the details of everything because this isn't meant to be a sad story.  But I will highlight that Prissy's death and Boston's disappearance opened my eyes to something I wish I had the courage to see earlier: LEAVE.  But if I left earlier, I wouldn't have two beautiful children in their place.  No, I believe I left when the time was right.  God already had things planned out for us all.
Three years ago today, Boston left.  But he left behind wonderful memories of life in his presence.  He always reminded me of Scrappy, Scooby Doo's nephew.  Remember Scrappy?  That little pup with all the spunk in the world?  That was my Boston.  When he ran, he hopped.  He could chase a tennis ball forever.  In fact he would be dead asleep and if I accidentally dropped his ball, he'd bounce outta sleep and come looking for it.  There were so many things about him that just melted my heart.
One of the sweetest things he did was carry this small, beat up teddy bear around.  It was like his comfort object or something.  He'd sleep with it or just want it near him.  He chewed a hole in the thing and still wanted it around!  I still have the bear but I keep it in a safe place where sticky toddler fingers won't reach it.  :P
When Boston left I was terribly sad.  My heart just sagged.  I remember even praying, "God I know you can do miracles, please bring him back!"  Foolish, I know.  But at the time I didn't care.  I loved him so much.  Losing him was like losing a child.  He was such a good dog.  He was quiet, followed me everywhere, loved anyone who would cuddle him and anytime I cried he was right there looking at me with his big brown eyes.  Both he and Prissy gave me so much love during the times I really needed it.  Losing the both of them was devastating.  And I struggled with my faith when I lost them.  A few Christians I asked told me that the Bible doesn't say anything about dogs going to heaven.  That not only pissed me off but it broke my heart!  But after speaking to a couple of chaplains about it, they both told me the same thing:  Just because it isn't mentioned in the Bible, it doesn't mean they don't go to heaven.  If you read through Revelations, you'll see that Jesus comes down on a white horse!  That itself tells me there are animals in heaven.  :)
So tonight, I guess my heart is just aching a little for them both.  Even though it's Boston's anniversary and not Prissy's, they both were lost to the same cruelty and both gave me such an incredible boost of courage.  I thank God for giving me these two little angels to comfort me.  I know that whether they're in heaven or at the bridge waiting for me, they're happy and healthy. 
Whenever the Lord decides to take me home, I know they'll be running to me at full speed.  So to the both of them, "Goodnight, babies."

Day at the Beach

What a gorgeous day it was.  At seven this morning it was already in the seventies.  The sky looked a little gray, so I checked the weather:  Morning clouds with afternoon sunshine.  Beach weather.  Ah yes.  Caden had been asking to go to the beach lately.  At eight this morning, I sat on my porch with a cup of coffee thinking how nice it would be to just go back to bed and lay down.  But I remembered Proverbs 6:9-11, "How long will you lie there, you sluggard?  When will you get up from your sleep?  A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest-- and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man."  I couldn't waste the day away.

We left home about ten o'clock, grabbed some corn dogs and a jumbo coney for me.  When we got there, there were hardly any other people around.  Just the way I like it.  Just us, the sand... and the birds.  I guess they were sea gulls or something.  They were freaking us out!  They spotted the food in our hands and were hovering over us as if they were waiting for one of us to pass out or something.  Caden was getting a bit nervous. 

That was before he figured out he could ROAR them away.

After the birds moved on we were able to enjoy the sand and water without worrying about getting pecked to death.  The boys had a blast playing under the sun.  Caden followed me into the water, which was nice and cool, as Sean played at the shore.  I was hoping all the running and jumping they did would've put them right to sleep in the car but they wouldn't be my boys now would they?  Nope.  It's nearly five in the evening right now as I type and our home is filled with screams of laughter as they play even more.  Bruce and I seem to be the only ones in the house who appreciate a nice relaxing time.  :P

Friday, April 8, 2011


He's my rebound dog.  Sweet.  Adorable.  BIG.  Bruce.  I don't know why he chose me but I think he knew I needed him.  When he was brought out of the kennel, he came up to me and gave me the most gentle welcome.  He put his paw up for me as I knelt down and petted him.  When I rubbed his ears he immediately slumped onto his back looking for belly rubs.  The workers that took him out said that he's usually shy, so it was odd that he warmed up to me so quickly.  He acted as if he knew me.  I knew then that I would be taking him home.

The humane society labeled him as Rottweiler/Shepherd mix because of his coloring.  But the vet said he looked more like a bloodhound mix.  I researched the Black and Tan Coonhound, which he resembles very much.  I'm thinking he's mixed with that and Lab or something.  He bays like a hound dog.  Walks with his nose to the ground trailing a scent with his tail up.  And he's got such a droopy face.  I don't care what he's mixed with, I love him.

He's great with the kids, super gentle despite his 77lbs.  And he actually loves kids.  Very patient.  And all he wants is to be rubbed on.  He's such a ham.  All this goodness aside, though, there is one thing that breaks my heart about him.  He has hip and elbow dysplasia.  The poor guy was in a lot of pain-- so much that his front legs shake when he sits.  So our vet, who is just wonderful, suggested some treatments for him.

We started laser therapy last week, we're 8 days into it, and he showed an immediate response to it.  He's able to jump into the hatch of my SUV without any help or encouragement from me.  He's walking better (his hind legs are a little more limber).  And he just seems so much happier!  The other day he picked up a toy from the floor and did a funny slow-moving gallop around the living room.  He seems to be very mindful of his size, though, which is a huge relief for all of us.  He's very gentle and doesn't push or shove. 

This week we started him on Adequan injections.  After a month of treatment, he'll go down to just once a month injections.  Poor dude.  I don't know how long he lived with his pain but I pray that God will continue to bless me with the ability to get him the help he needs.

So I guess he's a rebound dog with some baggage.  We're kind of made for each other in that way, I guess.  :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Weekend at Patrick's

About once a month, sometimes once every other month, we take a 3 hour trip to see Patrick.  And of course Patrick would be more than happy to come to our town, but his place is just so much nicer!  His home is in a really woodsy area.  He has lots of land, trees and ... nature.  Just outside his door.  Being at his place is like going away on vacation.
The kids had a great time, playing with sticks and rocks.  Oy.  Boys and their dirt.  :P  Sean couldn't get enough outside time.  At home, we have a nice walking trail on the apartment property.  It has a lake with ducks and turtles.  So we go outside every evening soaking in some fresh air.  But at Patrick's?  Ahhhh.  It's like going to a place where fresh air comes from!  And the boys sucked in enough of it to last a little while after we left.  :) 

A neighbor has a couple of young horses, both Quarter Horse colts.  They are super sweet and gentle.  As soon as Caden saw them by the fence, he hauled butt in their direction with me running closely behind.  Katy, the neighbor's daughter, came out to teach the boys how to feed and pet the horses.  She was so sweet to accommodate my guys.   She'll be starting the horses on saddle breaking this summer.  They've got a future of barrel racing ahead of them.  Can't wait to follow their training!

Patrick and his son Michael got to work on cleaning out their shed.  I forget what it's like having a man sometimes-- men come with so many gadgets and tools.  Patrick is an auto body man and he has all sorts of machinery in his shop.  His shed is FULL of guy stuff.  So.... I stayed out of it.  He and Michael seemed to be doing just fine on their own.  I'm better at making sure their bellies are full and they aren't dying of thirst.

Patrick is not from this little county.  He's from a big city where the pace is fast and the traffic is crazy.  But he stayed in the country to be close to his sons.  I tease him sometimes, telling him that he secretly loves the country life and wouldn't go back to the city if someone paid him.  Personally, I absolutely love nature.  I'm not and never will be a city girl.  I like the laid back stillness of a small town where deer can walk into your backyard and coyote cry at midnight.  There's just something magical about it. 

Aside from all those wonderful benefits of visiting Patrick, the real joy is just in his presence.  Everytime we're together, it feels like everything is as it should be.  We all just fit together.  All of us.  And the two of us are an awesome team.  Sometimes I struggle admitting it but today I have to just shrug my shoulders and agree with myself:  I'm totally smitten over this guy.  He just melts my heart.  Can't wait for another weekend at Patrick's.

The Golden Arches

"Look Mom!  I made McDonald's!"

I was busy with laundry when Caden ran up to me with sheer excitement on his face.  "You made McDonald's?" I asked.

"Yeah!  Look!"  He disappeared from my sight, calling me over to the living room.

I put the laundry aside, followed him and sure enough he made McDonald's.

Caden loves McDonald's.  What kid doesn't?  When I was a kid, just the smell of McDonald's made me happy.  It wasn't the food.  It was the fact that you could walk in and get a meal made especially for a kid.  It's called a Happy Meal of all things.  And it comes in a special little bag or box.  With a special toy.  And kid sized fries and a kid sized drink.  And in many McDee's restaurants, there's a really cool jungle gym/slide where all the kids can just go crazy.  It is great!  And you can spot this magic place from a distance because of its bright golden arches.  LOL

To a kid, places like this just make them feel special.  So, when Caden ran to me saying he "made McDonald's" it made me remember what it was like to be a kid.