October 23, 2012

Strung together

Oh dear. The only reason I'm writing here is that it's my last-ditch attempt at procrastinating grad school readings. Yes, I'm back in school! And so thankful to have that on my plate again. I'm easing back into the program with a course on power theories, which is fascinating to me, but I won't worry with that for the next few minutes.


Here are Emmy's first few sentences from the past 8 weeks or so.

(on FaceTime): "Daddy, you funny."

(stroking my hair): "Mommy is good girl."

(impatiently crying for her too-hot meal): "I see my dinner!!!!!"

I am blown away by the little person she is.

She's charming and loves orderly arrangements and peanut butter on apples. Her hair is a mess and her shoes are more stylish than mine. She reminds me to read her her Bible story at bathtime when I forget, and she angrily threw a snack pouch in Wal-Mart tonight, splattering pureed sweet potatoes all over me and all over the styrofoam-packaged eggs as she screamed. She is in love with her daddy, who sends her the most thoughtful presents and postcards and sings and dances with her during their online afternoon talks. She is crazy about Winnie the Pooh, and she makes her stuffed animals kiss each other before bedtime.

She gives me a lump in my throat and she makes these days so full of joy and exhaustion.

I am honored to be her mama.

August 24, 2012

Hey-o! It's August. Can you believe it? Football season is days away, and the light outside is fading faster at bedtime. Where has the year gone?

I don't really have a reason for this blog post. Seriously. I just wanted to note that I know a great peace lately, even with Anthony gone. God is sustaining me emotionally and physically, and I've been surprised by all the different opportunities lately to serve my friends and church. I think that this is the "hitting my stride" period of deployment; I am comfortable with our new routine and have a feel for the pacing of the next few months.

Here are the blessings I'm counting before I forget them:

a great birthday and a fancy new camera
the drive to keep a clean house
a good guard dog
cooler weather
friendships with older, wiser women
family that pesters me until I call them back
starting back to school in October
love at PWOC
my girlfriends
pecan pralines

July 29, 2012

Energizer Bunny Mode

Whew! The thought of writing itself has seemed exhausting these past few days, but I want to leave a reflection here of what the recent past has been like.


Man alive.

Emmy girl's got some stamina. This weekend she... climbed atop the dining room table to empty the salt shaker, climbed up her high chair, wedging herself into a sitting position upside-down on the footrest, crawled up my leg onto my hip like it was a fireman pole, climbed atop Petey and held his extra neck fur while gripping his back legs with her knees, and shimmied underneath a restaurant table and out of my grasp, losing a shoe in the process.

Hot toddler mess.

But it's fun, so so much fun, and I'm so glad and grateful that she is growing and healthy and strong and vivacious.

That said, I want to reflect on a sentiment that I've heard before about handling deployment with kids at home: "You have to be mom and dad... you're a single parent for a few months...". And this is what I've heard from other military spouses.

Frankly, I completely disagree, and it could just be that, in my experience, I don't HAVE to be. This may be different for other families with limited communication, and I don't doubt that many spouses have felt like they had to be both.

We have been very blessed to be able to stay in consistent communication with Anthony, and we even get to Face Time with him! Emmy is still connected to her daddy. From the bottom of my heart, I am so glad for that. I can let go of the pressure of having to be Emmy's be-all, end-all. She has baby friends and family and grandparents and an overlarge puppy to keep her occupied. I know that she misses Anthony because she talks about him and says his name, but I feel confident that all I have to be is a good mother. There's no replacement for a father, and God is more than gracious enough to keep that spot in her heart warm while Anthony's away. He is faithful in all things!

I don't have to be in Energizer Bunny mode emotionally. Physically, I am aching from a little bit of insomnia, running in too hot weather, and trying to lasso a bronco of a toddler, but my soul and spirit can rest in the thought that God is sufficient, for me and for her.

June 20, 2012

Week 1

Hello blog! I'm back from summer vacation. It was long and luxurious and the saltwater taffy gave me Beyonce hips, without all the awesome toned muscle. And now here I am again, back in the swing of things back home.

Anthony is now in Kuwait, safe and sound, and we have months of separation ahead of us. It's hard to believe that he's only been gone a few days... it seems like an eternity already! Emmy and I are doing well. Staying busy every other day is key for me. Friends and activities and storytime and keeping discipline and a happy, clean house fill the hours.

I've been thinking for days that I should blog on what it's like to start a deployment back home. After all, I started this blog to document the transition into military spouse life. It's rather practical: packing, waiting, saying goodbye and waiting for the phone to ring.

What stands out the most is how much time I have to think. What I do is completely up to me. It's weird and at the same time, I know that God sees our situation, and planned for us to go through this time. He has a purpose to it, and I need to be a wise steward of this time I've been given.

Faithful. That's it. That's my word for this season, faithful. Faithful to maintaining and supporting a healthy, loving marriage. Faithful to teaching love and discipline and the ABC's to Emmy. Faithful to loving other Army wives and their families. Faithful to the opportunities to serve I've been given at church. Faithful to going to bed on time and taking care of my body so I'm not a broken-down wreck in a couple of weeks. Faithful to a dog that needs baths once a week and a ball thrown to him every day. Faithful to Him.

Psalm 119:30 - "I have chosen the faithful way; I have placed Your ordinances before me." (NASB)

March 22, 2012


I'm sitting curled up with lots of pillows and Sprite in a wine glass with lemons. You could put old bottled water from under the seat in your car into a delicate wine glass and - bam - pretty enough for Pinterest!

C-SPAN is telling me about the future of the war in Afghanistan. I'm going to change the channel pretty soon, because politicians looking bored while commanders present their plans are about to make me cry, and Amy Winehouse already did that last night for no good reason.

I recently finished Laura Bush's Spoken From The Heart, and it resonated deeply within me. First Ladies have a certain elegance and slight celebrity from their spousal association, and I can't help but love them... (except for Hillary Clinton... partly because my mom disliked her and partly because I am wildly jealous of her career).  I think that Michelle Obama is charming and beautiful and stylish and oh-so-smart, no matter what her politics are. And Mrs. Bush has a special place in my heart, because her husband is my forever-president, despite his flaws. If I ever wake up from a coma with memory loss, I'll probably be in 2006, with ol' W still in the Oval Office. Anyway...

Laura Bush's memoir flows like a river. You can almost hear her speak the words in her slow, soft drawl as you read them, and I was moved by the motif of sight/blindness that she used as metaphors for many life experiences. I cried as I read about how her mother lost many unborn and newborn children and how she longed for siblings to play with. I smiled with nostalgia as she mentioned her college days and her small apartments. She was gracious toward political opponents of President Bush, although she never missed an opportunity to defend his biggest decisions, a sure sign of the hurt inflicted upon her as she witnessed the man she loved the most lampooned, mocked and misunderstood.

Most of all, she made me happy to be who I am. She affirms military families, wives, homemakers, mothers, daughters, and Texans. She gives hope to the reader, which is good, because she recounts 9/11 in such a personal and sharply sad way that I sat up in my in-laws bed one night with tears streaming down my face. It felt so fresh and painful still to hear it from her perspective.

She could have crumpled at such a time. Instead, she stood beside President Bush and threw herself into serving the nation. I won't spoil for you all her adventures in the Middle East and Africa, but I will say without exaggerating that her initiatives and personal visits to dignitaries have helped thousands of women who would surely have died without her intervention.

And now, I'm off to find the Bush Crawford ranch address, because I need to say a little thank-you to the writer who inspired me to keep going.

March 21, 2012

Spring Break 2012

Get bat colony in attic.
Flee to Florida with dog and baby.
Visit favorite city, site of engagement, and fancy food market.
Spend the weekend with best married friends and their boy.
Have yummy brunch with girlfriends. Dive into that dairy.
Pack a Saturday with a neighborhood walk, the junior museum, and kiddie pool baby nakedness.
Get truck washed -- for free!
Go to home church. Get hugged by my pastor before I reach the door.
Introduce my mother-in-law to Mad Men. Forget about the risque scenes and stare straight ahead in embarrassment.
Have lunch with Emmy's 3rd, Filipina grandma and Auntie Nessa.
Walk my hometown for hours with the jogging stroller.
Pull a Laura Bush and talk to a kindergarten class about the Army.
Get seen by Anthony's old classmates. Feel vain about my looks at said moment. Be glad I dressed up.
Play hookie with high-school sister.
Watch Emmy throw a royal fit at Super Canton. See rice fly.
Applaud same sister at poetry contest. Try to steal her prize money.
Eat homemade tortilla.
Wash dirtiest dog in the world back to a pristine white coat.
Devour a Piggly Wiggly lunch plate with father-in-law. Listen in to him softly picking and humming "All Creatures of Our God and King."
Pack the truck.
Drink a Mr. Pibb.
Return to (so-far) bat-free home.



March 13, 2012

One Year

It's been one year already with our beautiful daughter Emmy.

Since we had her birthday party a few weeks early, I've already been through all the feelings of elation at seeing her arrive at this milestone. Today will be a little quieter, with some small festivities, but special just the same.

It's been one year since Emmy was revived to life by a team of nurses and doctors before my eyes.

It's been one year since we became parents and realized that love meant giving of yourself until you were spent, and then more.

It's been one year since I first held my baby close against my body and wondered who she would become.

It's been one year since I saw Anthony turn into a father who loved his daughter more than he loved himself.

It's been one year.

And in this year, we've watched her grow into the most amazing biglittle bundle of crazy happiness.

Emmy is 22 lbs and a little over 31 inches tall, with four teeth and the tip of a molar to her name. She walks, says "mama", "dada", "done", and a few more half-words that we recognize as conversation. She loves turkey, peas, bananas, raisins and nursing. She cries when Petey has to go outside, and waits for him at window of the back door. She waves to babies in the grocery store, but acts shy when grown-ups say hello. She loves to grab the pillows off of the couch so that she can throw herself onto them and roll around, giggling. She opens books, turns the pages and jibber-jabber reads them to herself (books with pictures of puppies are her favorite). She loves wagon rides and bumpy jogging stroller adventures on the park trails. She has a sweet temperment, and is a happy baby.

We knew that having a baby would be good, but were caught by surprise by the waves of steady joy that she brings to our life. We simply love her.

Happy birthday, Emmy!

How wonderful life is when you're in the world...