Monday, October 7, 2013

7 months


Ok kids, we are in the home stretch!!!

I can count on ONE HAND the number of weeks that stand between me and this guy:

That's a big freaking deal, if you didn't know that.  

Month SEVEN highlights:

-I did some gardening.  Much to my surprise, out of the 26 mums that I planted, I believe I have only lost one- and I'm blaming that one on the lawn people that come in weekly- I'm pretty sure they trampled all over it.  Oh well.  

-We booked our post-deployment cruise! 5 days to the Bahamas sounds pretty good in January! 85 days and counting....

-We had a flea issue.  Grrrr.  Still not thrilled with that little episode, and I really wish I would have known it was a problem in North Carolina regardless of the treatment you have been using on your pets for 6 years... but it's under control now and we are flea-free.  Once again, Randy is away when there is furbaby drama!

-Our 6th anniversary!  This is about as good as it gets for a picture together when the boy is deployed-

-Plenty of FaceTime! The boy is currently hanging out in Rota, Spain.  He is off the boat for a while, and in his own room with WiFi.  It has been a really nice way to end this deployment- but it does make me miss him that much more each time we hang up.  

-Homecoming outfit found, and ball dress purchased!  I am feeling WAY ahead of the game this time!!

Next stop- 8 months complete, and HOMECOMING!!!


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Life Changing

It's amazing how one moment can change your life.

(I know, it sounds very profound and deep.)

9 years ago today, (seriously?? nine?) Randy returned home from his very first deployment, and one moment essentially changed my life.

I remember every single detail about this day, and I honestly hope I never forget.  I remember the drive down to North Carolina, and the excited energy, the constant chatter to stay awake, the VERY early morning breakfast on the road, me getting changed in the Burger King bathroom on base, and then not-so-patiently waiting and reading a book in the rental car.

I remember a Marine wife passing out tiny yellow ribbons for us all to wear.  

I remember the screams of delight as the buses drove towards us... then away from us to make a stop at the armory... then towards us again... and past us when they missed the entrance to the parking lot.

I remember seeing one smiling face through the dark tinted windows of those glorious buses.  

Then, this.

I immediately knew I was right where I belonged.

For better or worse, this one moment- this one hug- has defined who I am, and who I have become over the last 9 years.  It has taken me on a journey that I had never even considered, but somehow is exactly the journey I am meant to be on.  

Saturday, September 21, 2013

200 days

200 days.

6 months, 16 days.

28 weeks, 4 days.

4,800 hours.

Essentially- a long freaking time.

In the last 200 days I have:

-Redecorated my living room

-purchased an iPhone

-survived Easter with a stomach bug

-flew to California

-traveled home to Pennsylvania twice

-decided to move to North Carolina

-successfully completed a solo PCS move in the middle of a deployment with 2 cats, a dog, and my mommy.

-lost 15 lbs (I still have 5 freaking more to go.)

-saved enough money so I could be unemployed and incredibly bored until a good job comes along

-Unpacked 136 boxes in the new house.  (I left the one labeled "Hats" for the boy to take care of.)

-Exchanged lots of emails, letters, packages, and pictures with my guy, and received many calls from an "unknown" caller.  

It has been a long 200 days.  Not as long as past deployments- I've said it before, but this non-combat deployment aspect makes a HUGE difference on my stress levels- but still long enough that I can feel myself slowly going crazy with anticipation.  I am very ready for this deployment to be over- mostly so I can see if my husband and I are actually capable of living under the same roof again.  After 3 years of doing the geo-bachelor thing- we are taking bets on how long before we both get sick of each other!

I am ready for him to be home to see where he lives- I sort of feel bad that at the moment, he needs directions to get to his own house.  I am ready for him to see his dog.  I am ready for him to take out the trash, walk the dog, clean up the kitchen after I cook dinner, help me with laundry, help me with cleaning... the list goes on and on.

I am just ready for us to be a team again.  I am exhausted, and really ready to hand off some responsibilities.  As easy as I make it seem as I manage every aspect of both of our lives, I'm tired.  I'm ready for him to make me crazy because he seems like he's not listening- then repeats every word back verbatim when I yell at him about not listening.  

In a few days, it will be October.  Then I will finally be able to say that my guy will be home NEXT month!



Friday, September 6, 2013

6 months

I'm going to be honest.

I'm bitter and cranky.  I am not so happy about the 6 month mark this time around.

Let me explain.

For the last 4 deployments, 6 months down would mean leave dates, mail cutoff dates, and some sort of beginning of hints of return dates.  At this point, we would be a handful of weeks away from homecoming.

And now I still have two freaking months left.  It doesn't sound like a lot- especially because at this point, 6 months is a pretty decent chunk of time- but right now it feels like a lifetime.  Especially with everything happening in the world right now- I just want my guy home.  Now.  

BUT- at the end of the day, we are 6 months closer to homecoming- so I will try to stay focused on that.

I'm still bitter though.


Highlights of month 6:

- road trip to Florida for our cousin's wedding!  We had a fantastic time playing tourist, and of course seeing family.  I got to spend a lot of time with Emma- so it was definitely worth it.  Next time though, I need to factor in the next day drive when I am drinking and dancing the night away!


-I completed 250 sit ups a day for the entire month of August.  This was to help raise money and awareness for my favorite organization- Hope for the Warriors.  In total, I did 7,750 sit ups.  For someone who does not work out, I am pretty proud of myself! (I am also working on another guest blog for Hope for the Warriors- so stay tuned for that!)

-Day trips, beach time, and dinner dates with friends- I am still so happy to be back!

-I UNPACKED THE LAST BOX!!! 41 days after our household goods were delivered- the last box was unpacked, and everything inside was put away.  I'm also just about done decorating and organizing the house overall- I just need to pick up a rug for the dining room, and a TV stand for the boy's "man cave".  

-FaceTime!  The boy was FINALLY in port- so we were able to chat, and he was actually able to take a tour of the house.  Have I mentioned lately how grateful I am for technology??

I also got a lead on a job, but the downside is, the company is still waiting to hear if the contract is approved, so I am also waiting... In about a month though I should know either way what's going on.  Good thoughts and positive vibes are appreciated- not just for me, but that the contract is approved!!

Whew- it was a busy month.  I am glad to see it go though.  I am continuing to focus on the positive as much as I can... and hopefully my bitterness will go away soon.  

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

5 Months Down and the Big MOVE!

It has been a crazy last couple weeks- so crazy that I am about a week late with my "month five in review" post.  I am still settling into life in North Carolina- but I am just so incredibly happy to be back.  Every day I wake up and I still feel so confident about this decision- and so thankful for everyone who helped make this move easy and stress free!

So, August 6th marked 5 months down in deployment number 5. I'm still not sure how much time we actually have left- and I of course am thinking worst case... because well, I've been doing this long enough and I know better to believe anything until the boy is standing in front of me.  We shall see.

Month 5 highlights:

     -Lots and lots of "see you laters".  Not really a highlight- because I HATE this part of the military life- and I suck at it!

     -My last day of work at the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation.  So bittersweet- but I am so proud of all that I accomplished and learned during my time there, and incredibly thankful for the people I met.  

     -The big move.  Holy moly- was that stressful!  It turns out that PCS-ing is stressful, but then to throw a deployment on top of that, plus moving 2 cats and a dog for the first time- all I have to say is God bless my mother for volunteering for that crazy mission.  I'm sure she never really thought she would share a hotel room with her daughter, grand-dog, and grand-cats.  It was interesting- but I have some pretty awesome furbabies who handled the move better than I could have ever dreamed.  They are completely adjusted to life in North Carolina- and really loving having a bit more space to roam around.  

All in all, month five was jam-packed.  The move took exactly one week- and while it was stressful, I know that I am incredibly lucky that I got a door-to-door move, and all of my stuff arrived safely and in one piece.  I seriously had the best movers EVER- who went so far above and beyond to make this easy on me.  The second I told them my husband was deployed, I really felt like they took care of me even more- from taking my live plant on the truck with them, to delivering my stuff at night and staying pretty late to make sure everything was placed where I needed it.  I could not have had a better group of guys!

And while my movers were awesome- my friends were even better.  The second the moving truck pulled up, I was handed a glass of wine.  They brought dinner, and more wine- and made sure that I had everything I needed.  I am still amazed with how many friends offered to come help me unpack and get settled- I love you ALL!!!

Now that I am settled, I am already getting restless- so now starts the job search!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Halfway... and Halfway?

Shew... this picture kinda takes my breath away.

Yesterday, July 6, was the 4 month mark in this deployment.  Which... hopefully... is the halfway mark. (But I'm not holding my breath- it seems that the world is just on the brink of something- and I am none too thrilled about it!)

Today, July 7, means that Randy has been in the Marine Corps for 10 years.  

10 years down- 10 years to go.  

Double. freaking. digits.  

How in the WORLD did that happen?  I've had conversations with girls whose husbands have been in for 2 years.  I remember when we were in for 2 years!  That was just yesterday wasn't it?  I remember talking to wives whose husbands had been in for 10 years.  They were OLD, weren't they?!

But then I remember:

     -5 deployments
     -4 homecoming hugs (waiting for number 5!)
      -3 PCS moves
      -A wedding planned in the middle of deployment number 3 
     -A geo-bachelor duty station (finally coming to an end!)

     -3 sweet furbabies

And enough friendships, experiences, fabulous trips, tears, and lessons learned to last a lifetime.  

And yet... that's only the first 10 years.  It has been quite a ride, and I am so excited to see what the second half will bring us.  


This past month has been a bit emotionally exhausting.  As usual for this deployment though, it really had nothing to do with the actual deployment.  It turns out that the right decisions are usually the hardest to make, and this month I made a right decision.  I am moving back to North Carolina. 

I'm slightly terrified... but overwhelmingly excited.  As are all my friends and family- who have been incredibly supportive, which made me feel so much better about everything.  I have been in Stafford for 6 years now- so making this decision to move smack in the middle of a deployment and leave all that is known and stable was a bit of a crazy move on my part.  But my gut- and my heart- are telling me it's the right thing, so here we go!  I apologize in advance for those that might already be sick of the pictures and posts concerning the move- but since Randy is out of the loop these days, I will be documenting this as much as I can so he doesn't feel completely left out.  Although- I think secretly he is happy he is on a boat and doesn't have to help me move.  Ha!

Month 4 highlights:

     -decisions made!  Whew- what a relief!  The plan going forward is to move to NC, then wait for orders.  We are still hoping to go recruiting next summer, so there is a strong possibility I will be in NC for less than a year!

     -Road trip home to PA.  Lots of time spent with Randy's family- which was fantastic.  It is so nice to be welcomed with open arms- even with the boy halfway around the world.  I also got to snuggle my sweet little niece- who is all smiles- all the time!

     -Housing chosen, move arranged.  (In 2 days- which I do believe is a USMC miracle of sorts!)

     -Randy got a new job!! I am super proud of him and so excited- this is definitely a long time coming, and so well deserved.  He is now the CAAT 2 section leader- whatever that means.  I do know that he is excited, and learning a lot himself.  He is responsible for Marines again- which is all he really wants!

Whew- it's been a pretty busy first half of this deployment.  Month number 5 will certainly fly by- and I am really looking forward to that!  

Now I can officially say that we have MORE time behind us than in front of us- now THAT is a great feeling!!


Monday, July 1, 2013

A Leap of Faith and a Big Decision

I am a planner.

I am logical and organized.  

I research, and carefully plan my next step... then I over-analyze and doubt my decision.

But this time, for some reason, I'm not doubting this decision.  I am taking a huge leap of faith, a shot in the dark... whatever cliche' is appropriate.

In just about 3 weeks, I am moving back to North Carolina. 

My trip to California 2 months ago made me realize that I am just not happy right now.  I tried everything to break myself out of my funk, but nothing worked.  I felt stuck, trapped, and I needed to find a new direction.

When Randy and I made the decision to do this geo-bachelor thing we've been rocking for close to 3 years, it was because I was happy here.  It made sense for me to stay, because I loved my job, had a great support system, and back to back deployments were looming on the horizon.  

But then a lot of things happened all at once, and my next steps became crystal clear.  I needed to do something quickly so that I could be happy again.  I did some research, made some phone calls, had many conversations with my closest family and friends, and cried.  A lot.  

The more I talked, and the more I cried, the quicker I realized that I was absolutely, positively making the best decision for me at this point in my life. Like I said last month, and as I've been told- it's hard to find happiness during deployments.  This decision will allow me to find some happiness.

Luckily, because we've had great communication during this deployment, I was able to talk this all over with Randy- on the phone- like practically normal people do.  He has been incredibly supportive, and has done SO MUCH to help me make this move- and he's done it all from the middle of who knows where with a crappy phone connection.  He got special powers of attorney at a moment's notice, he called base housing, and the transportation office, and got everything filled out and taken care of so all I needed to do was sign and fax some paperwork.  

That just confirmed this all in my mind even more- it has been SO easy.  I thought it would be next to impossible to arrange a move 3 years after we were actually supposed to use it, then get a house on base.  But both things happened and were official and taken care of within 2 days of me signing the papers.  In the military- things just don't move that quickly.   

It is my sign.

My sister told me this is very unlike me- it sounds much more like something she would do.  It's a big risk... because I am giving up a job that I enjoyed... but the risk right now to me is so worth it.  Once I made this decision and told Randy, he was so excited to know that I would be down there in a house with his dog when he got home from this deployment.  We have both sacrificed a lot in the last 3 years to make this work- mostly for me.  He has been amazing- and allowed me to stay and work because he knew it would make me happy.  Now it's my turn to make a sacrifice for him.

So, on July 18th, I will allow a bunch of strangers to come into our house and pack all of our worldly possessions.  I will watch them load our stuff onto a truck a few days later.  Then, with the help of my fabulously awesome parents, I will pack 3 cars with 2 cats, a dog, and the stuff the movers rejected, and attempt a PCS move in the middle of a deployment on my own.  

I must be insane.  Truly.  But I am so excited for what's to come.  Stay tuned... it will be an interesting ride.