Another Goodbye

Sometimes, I feel as if every time I turn around, we're saying "goodbye" to this handsome guy. (Okay, okay, so it's been almost a year and a half since he left for his recruiter school... it just *seems* as if it wasn't that long ago!) 

One of the hardest parts is always the hugs and kisses before he walks out the door. Then we all dutifully line up by the screen, wave until the car is too far to be seen (or is it because my eyes are blurry with tears?), and then it's back to schoolwork and chores and whatever else needs to be done. Because life has to continue. Because that's what we have to do. 

The very first time My Airman left for a deployment {we had only been married for four months and had two weeks' notice! This military life can be pretty crazy sometimes...}, a friend informed me: "It never gets easier!" Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but now that we have a few more separations under our belt, I definitely agree. Oh, it is different each time, and I handle it much better than I did back then, but it's never easier. 
First Deployment: 2005
All right, so six weeks is waaaayyyy shorter than six months
And he's only going just a few states away as opposed to the other side of the world. 
Not to mention the fact that I'm not {prayerfully} having a baby while he's away this time
{We'll save that baby bit for July, ha! ;o)}
Yeah, this should be a cake walk in comparison, right? :o) 
Here's hoping time flies by so our family can be reunited again


{Almost} Picture-less

How are we halfway through the first month of the new year? Better yet, how have we been here in this recruiter life for an entire year already?

I don't have many pictures to show for 2015, even though it was filled with a lot of firsts and a lot of milestones... mainly because I lost my camera on the way home one day. In another state. After My Airman and I took a very belated anniversary trip to Niagara Falls to celebrate our tenth anniversary. *sigh*
Things like that really put life into perspective for me. Pictures are important, yes, but they're not the most important thing. The people. The relationships. The memories -- those take priority. I'm saddened that I've essentially lost all pictures from the last two years of our family's life, but I've realized that, in the grand scheme of things, they're just pictures. They're things. I have my family, and I'm so very thankful for them! :o)

If I could briefly go over the biggest moments in the last year, these are the ones that stand out the most to me...
::Uprooting our entire family and heading a little further East! It's been a tough adjustment, and we're still figuring things out, but we're together, and that's what really matters. Everything else is just "stuff," right? :o)
::Celebrating our tenth anniversary. We took a trip to Canada and saw the beautiful Falls. What a way to start a new decade together!

::Throwing a semi-surprise 40th anniversary party for My Airman's parents.
::Visiting with my parents (we also got to see my brother and his family, but those pictures were on the camera so...)
::Finding out a new little one will be joining our family this July! What can we say? We are truly blessed! :o)


Where is Home?

We've gotten over seven months of this recruiter life under our belts, and I have to admit, it's been a major adjustment. If I were to be completely honest, we still have a lot of adjusting to do. Life as a military family in a civilian world is miles different from anything I've ever known! Living without an air base nearby is something I've never done in my entire life. If I had a bucket list, I guess I could cross that off of it. {As a side note, I'm so glad to say that our boys have handled this moving business a hundred times better than we ever hoped or prayed they would! They are really growing up...}

When I was ten, my dad was given orders to Japan. I was devastated when my parents told me and my brother the news. Top it off with their pending divorce, and it was a very unhappy few months of preparation for heading overseas. I had thought of Maryland as "home" since we arrived there when I was four, so moving several thousand miles away across an ocean was not something I ever wanted to do. For a while, I clung to Maryland as my home state, but it didn't take long before I discovered that I was blessed to call two places my home.

By the time My Airman and I moved back Stateside, I only had one home: Japan. It was where I got a new mother, where I was raised, where I had lived the longest, and where I was married. I spent twelve years there, and it will always hold a special place in my heart. Nebraska was our next station {for eight years}, and it didn't take me long before I had been blessed yet again with a second place to call "home." The Cornhusker State will also always hold a special place in my heart. It was where we really began to put down "roots" as a family. We loved and learned so much while we were there, and it's still hard to believe we've moved.

We've been blessed with not having to move overly much in My Airman's career, so I have forgotten what it's like to be "the new kid in town." I'm remembering more as we keep settling in here. I'll blame it on being more introverted, which is a lame excuse to be sure. I truly want to make friends and know people, but starting all over is sometimes just exhausting to me. The thought of reaching out can make me feel overwhelmed. Once or twice I've tried to convince myself that we won't be here that much longer, so why bother? It's pathetic; I know. 

Sometimes I dread the seemingly innocent question: "So, where are you from?" And believe me when I say I've heard it more times than I care to count. 
Moving to a new place and meeting all sorts of new people tends to make one repeat one's life story. A lot. A few times I've found myself avoiding conversation if at all possible, because I just don't. want. to. explain. anything.

Having lived the military life this long, I find myself wondering, "Where is home?" By the time we move from here (just under 3 years to go), will this state be "home"? Will the next? 
These days, I've discovered that I feel much the same as I did when I was uprooted as a child... between two homes, trying to figure out which one is the "real" one.  

Then a still, small Voice reminds me:
"This world is not my home. I'm just a-passin' through..."

When we get right down to it, isn't it all just temporary? I'm so thankful to know that one day, I won't have to worry about packing up our things or trying make new friends or shedding tears because we said "goodbye" to yet another person. I'll be
home. For good. What a day that will be!


~The Big Ten~

Ten years ago this week, I was working an afternoon shift, and my best friend came in to cover me for an hour... so My Airman and I could get married. We drove down to City Hall in Misawa, Japan, signed our names in what seemed like a hundred different places, and the rest is history! 
There was no fanfare or hoopla. I wore a khaki skirt with white Keds. He wore his uniform. My parents tagged along to take a few pictures. Simple and no-fuss. The end result was what mattered -- I was his and he was mine! ;o) Yes, in case you were wondering, I did go back to work after the paperwork was finished! 
Sounds so humdrum to hear it put it that way, but that's exactly how it went down. :o) It's hard to believe it has been A DECADE since we signed the dotted lines. It honestly doesn't seem possible that much time has passed, yet here we are, celebrating our tenth anniversary!

In all this time, we've...

:: endured 3 deployments 
:: moved in and out of 5 homes 
:: welcomed 3 handsome boys
:: mourned the loss of 1 sweet baby 
:: survived 2 trans-Pacific flights 
:: completed 2 PCS moves 
:: climbed Mt. Fuji
:: taken 1 solo airplane flight (yes, he really talked me into flying an airplane!) 
:: purchased 3 cars 
:: cut up our credit cards
:: said "Goodbye!" to debt and "Hello!" to Financial Peace (Thanks, Dave!)
:: made it through 3 cross-country road trips (two of them with children, ha!) 
:: lived on separate continents for over 17 {non-consecutive} months 
:: and loved each other for {more than} 
     ::3,652 days 
     :: 87,648 hours 
     :: 5,258,880 minutes  
     :: 315,532,800 seconds
Somehow, by God's grace, we've managed to stick together and have fun through it all. I'm not sure why the Lord was so good to give me such a wonderful husband, but I'm thankful He did. I don't deserve the man that I married, but I'm so blessed to be called his wife. 

 ~*Happy anniversary, My Handsome Airman. I love you!*~


Getting Settled

Can you believe it? We've been in our new state for a little under three months now. It was a long (and somewhat difficult) move for our family. I know I've mentioned Murphy's Law of deployments, but I think I forgot about Murphy's Law when it comes to the PCS

Between car repairs (those weren't cheap), hotel troubles (there were A LOT of these!), rental issues (Fun fact: winter is the *worst* time to find a rental home), and a few other ordeals, we have been through our share of trials during this relocation. 

But, despite the problems, the Lord has been faithful. We've moved into a new home, joined a new church, and are starting to feel {somewhat} settled into a new state. 

Once again it rings true: God is good -- all the time! :o) And, to think it all started with The Wall.  On the left is The Wall as I originally posted it. The right is how it looked after I fiddled with it some more... and I still never got those pictures put in the frames. *sigh* 
I promised myself I would not wait so long to finish decorating in this house, and I am happy to report that {I think} I have found an arrangement I can keep. Yep, that's right. The pictures are up after less than two months of residency. That is definitely a record for me! :P 

Now to order those last five pictures... but perhaps that can wait a little longer. ;o) 


New Year, New Place

"Do you think... do you think you can change your mind in January and then we don't have to move?"

I don't think I'll ever forget the looks on the boys' faces when we told them we were moving. The older two started crying immediately, and the youngest cried because everyone else was crying. We felt like terrible parents for breaking such sad news to our children, but it comes with the military territory. 

 The hardest part about Air Force life is the deployments/separations. The second hardest part is the moving. Leaving behind people we have grown to love like family (because our own family is far away). Packing up and shipping out to a new place with new faces and new... everything. Also tied for second hardest part is explaining all of this to children. This is definitely a new experience for us; the last move only had one child involved, and he was a little easier to handle since he hadn't exactly made his world debut yet. ;o)

We didn't choose to move, but, for some reason, this is what God has for us right now. Some days, they are excited about what is in store for them. Other days, they are in tears over the friends they can't take with them. Most days are somewhere in between.

I remember dealing with the same thoughts and emotions when I was growing up as an Air Force brat myself. Looking back, I'm glad God moved us across an ocean -- because nine years later, I met the man I would marry (in that very same country that I had never wanted to move to in the first place). I remind our children of that when they have sad moments, too. But plenty of other times, I let them cry in my arms.

Despite the hardships and emotions of it all, I wouldn't trade life with My Handsome Airman for a minute. After all, I signed the dotted line all those years ago.

Here's to new adventures at our new home in the new year!
Happy 2015, Everyone!


Those Days

I've had {more than} one of those days. Those days that seem endless because My Airman has been away for a few weeks, but has still not been gone long enough to have reached the halfway point of our separation.

Those days when sweet friends bring dinner, and end up doing the dishes and getting children ready for bed because I slammed my fingers in the dryer door and am afraid I broke them (I didn't). The days that leave me cleaning up an entire box of cereal off of the floor because I left the toddler unsupervised for "just a minute" so I could change out of my church clothes. Those days I turn around to discover the little one playing with the plunger, and brushing his teeth... with the toothbrush I use for scrubbing bathrooms. The days in which I find my children resistant to doing schoolwork and it feels easier to just give up and try again later.

The same days that cause me to sigh in exasperation because the child I told to lie down and nap is up and about, playing with toys and building forts. The quiet evenings that see tears (from my face and theirs) unbidden, unwelcome. The moments I yearn for good conversation, and a sweet friend calls at just the right time. The times that make me head to my room wearily, only to toss and turn for hours because I can't get comfortable in the big, empty bed. The nights that greet me with fitful sleep and aching muscles and fussy children and bad dreams. 

Those days in which I feel so inadequate to do this job. These days when I sit down on the couch for a moment, only to be smothered with kisses and feel tiny arms reach around my neck. Those days when I tell myself I wouldn't trade this life for anything in the world... but a few hours of extra sleep are certainly tempting me to waiver. The days I spend a few extra minutes rocking the napping child because I can't (don't want to?) muster the energy to get up and place him in his bed.

Those days that give me headaches and heartaches because this little family I love so much reminds me of my faults. Of my failures. And then, I'm reminded of those days in which I have been given much grace. But still, I struggle to give my children the same.

Lord, help me through these days. They are long and wearisome. But they are also fleeting.