Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day 2005

Yesterday and today were rough. I don't know if it was because of the holiday or it's just been three weeks and now reality is settling in, but I finally broke down and had a good cry. But we tried to enjoy ourselves. We went to a friends house fro an incredible pool party. Gabe had so much fun and played in the pool all day with his new friend. I didn't realize until then how deprived I really have been of fun and adult conversation (even though I joked about it before). So I'm going to make more efforts to visit the other ladies. My sisters are visiting for a couple of weeks so that will jump start my new goal to socialize more often :)

So here are photos of our weekend. We also went to the parade downtown and had a really good time. We stopped in at the Air and Space Museum and played on the Mall for a bit. I was nervous about driving downtown, having never done it before, but it was a breeze and there weren't too many tourists. It was a perfect day - well as best we can get right now

hot tubbin'

Asher wants to join

a little bball

Getting brave!

mowin' the lawn

DC parade






us again

having lots of fun

Friday, May 27, 2005

Raise the flag

Well, the end is near. Asher has figured out how to climb over the gate. Unfortunately, I didn't discover this until I heard silence (which always means something wrong) walked over to the stairs and saw him sitting on the top step with his hands in his lap as if he was just waiting for me to figure it out - and then I brought him down again to take this photo.

We put up the flag in honor of daddy and all soldiers this weekend.

old glory

My repairanioa was warranted. No a/c this summer, guess I'll be cruising in the old Ford...

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Brad Pitt's baby blues

Excerpt from a celeb news website - "I'm interested in other things now. Like family," he told the mag, although he added that the rumors his baby fever broke up the marriage are "total bull****."

When asked what kind of dad he would be, Pitt posited, "I'll be able to figure it out when I get there. I have great faith in that. I'm just really aware of the responsibility of putting your life second, and your job is to show this little one around the world."

Soooooo you left your wife to have a family? Isn't that a little cart befor the horseish? Not that I'm one to talk, but really how did the conversation go.?

"Jen, I know you are one of the most beautiful, sought after women in the world. And you've had great success with your show, but I'm ready to have children now and well, if you're not willing to loan me your uterus, I'm going to find someone who is."

Can anyone, especially a child, really play second fiddle to an uberstar like Mr. Pitt? Celebrities kill me. ..

On a completely different note.

Bad news seems to attract me. The grandchild of someone at my old church in PA was killed a couple of days ago. Beaten by his mother's boyfriend. It was so disturbing I just broke down and cried when I saw it on the prayer list. Terry's aunt died on Sunday also. There's so much sadness in the world, I can't see the light sometimes. I've been reading Psalms, just because I have no other bible study "plan" and I noticed how often David is depressed, but then joyous in the same psalm or the next one. (Today we would have given him prozac or lithium) But I love it because it reminds me of my own highs and lows. Let me indulge the depressed for a minute with this:
Psalm 88 -
O LORD, the God who saves me, day and night I cry out before you.
2 May my prayer come before you; turn your ear to my cry.
3 For my soul is full of trouble and my life draws near the grave.
4 I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am like a man without strength.
5 I am set apart with the dead, like the slain who lie in the grave, whom you remember no more, who are cut off from your care.
6 You have put me in the lowest pit, in the darkest depths.
7 Your wrath lies heavily upon me; you have overwhelmed me with all your waves. Selah
8 You have taken from me my closest friends and have made me repulsive to them. I am confined and cannot escape;
9 my eyes are dim with grief. I call to you, O LORD, every day; I spread out my hands to you.
10 Do you show your wonders to the dead? Do those who are dead rise up and praise you? Selah
11 Is your love declared in the grave, your faithfulness in Destruction?
12 Are your wonders known in the place of darkness,or your righteous deeds in the land of oblivion?
13 But I cry to you for help, O LORD; in the morning my prayer comes before you.
14 Why, O LORD, do you reject me and hide your face from me?
15 From my youth I have been afflicted and close to death; I have suffered your terrors and am in despair.
16 Your wrath has swept over me; your terrors have destroyed me.
17 All day long they surround me like a flood;they have completely engulfed me.
18 You have taken my companions and loved ones from me;the darkness is my closest friend

Even though the sadness is not my own, I internalize it as if it was all happening directly to me. I remember when I was about 11 or so, our Sunday school class had ust do this excercise to discover our gifts. My gift was The Heart. I have the gift of empathy, compassion. I don't have a receipt, but can I exchange my gift, God? Sometimes it's just a burden.

Repairanoia and nanny envy

This is my berry good friend's blog, and I know that after reading it you may not ever read my blog again for hers is far more interesting and entertaining. So, adios to those who have clicked away.

To my loyal readers: how is it that I rise, toil and (kind of) rest each 24 hours without losing my mind while my hubby is away, yet taking my car into a stranger who I'm praying to ALL GODS will fix my a/c, sends me into mild hysteria? It's a geeeeorgeous 75 degrees here and this is my view

yet, I can't take time to literally smell the roses because I am dreading leaving the Black Stallion with The Mechanic, despite the fact someone referred me to him. But the thought of me and the boys shifting around in sweaty leather seats in Memorial Day traffic forces me into the arms of an equally sweaty, greasy, and sometimes smelly man who knows by my short-shorts, pink baseball cap and flip flops that I don't know crap about cars.

Speaking of referrals, there is something all the would-be parents should know. If you don't have family around to watch your children, be prepared for nanny hoarding. My new east coast pals have yet to offer up a name that might be interested in possibly watching my sweet babies so I don't commit suicide from lack of adult conversation. This is me trying to make conversation now:

Crickets in the background.
"Juicy Juice?"
Confused stares followed by slowly backing away from the disheveld woman wielding a small box of juice.

The following shows why...and why I would go a thousand years without a break if I have to!


Down time on the new chair

Please don't sit on the other side of the teeter-totter mommy

What a good brother

Staring at a dog


More play time...still staring at the dog

Probably Teen Titans or Fairly Odd Parents

Tony Hawk spews a lot of blood when he falls..thanks DAD.

Having fun

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

How much is too much?

An $80 million home.
A landing strip for a driveway.
A 22 car garage.
Diamonds for 30 of your closest friends.
Your own power plant.
A $2 million church - it's yours.

The people who boast these things mostly live in our country and I have to ask myself how much is too much?

We all want nice things. A comfy car, a house to host friends, family overnight perhaps. Vacations, cool toys for our kids, etc. etc. But REALLY who needs a 22 car garage? (Jerry Seinfeld for those of you who are wondering) But that's not the point.

I once heard of a study that found after $50,000/yr, people aren't generally any happier with more money. So the million and billionaires aren't any happier, but more comfortable? (I don't know, all Trump's gold looks pretty chilly to me.) Are they bored and don't know what to do with all the money? Do they not watch late night pleas from Save the Children? Or maybe they do but still have millions to spare after sponsoring a hundred kids.

Before I sound like some sort of "redistribute the wealth" psycho, let me say that if you've worked for it, more power to you, do what you will with it, you probably deserve what you've earned. I look at how money is spent, in percentages. x percent on food, shelter, giving etc. That's where the real measuring comes in IMHO. And I guess when you don't have as much you feel the percentages a little more. Whose really giving more? The billionaire who gives $1million, or the average American family who gives $1,000?

Having said all this, I will never work less hard just because the numbers go up. It's not the money I guess, it's what you do with it. And here's something else to think about, all that green manifested in big houses, and fast cars, easily bleeds to red - as in a big red target saying "please rob me blind" or a tantalizing treat for a pyro.

Is there ever really too much?

Monday, May 23, 2005

Photos of my guy

For anyone who wonders why I married him...exhibit A

Chow's good he says

Terry and Bryan BFF

Ok so I had some fun with these pics but I can't tell you how good it feels to see his face. I'm glad to see he is in good hands. (see them all at )

It's a strange sort of comfort, knowing he is with people that are like his family, so he's not alone by any means - and neither am I for that matter. I've enjoyed talking with all the wives and girlfriends who know exactly what I am going through.

This weekend, Gabe's games were cancelled due to weather. Can't say that I'm sad about it, it's nice just to hang out at home - because I never get to do that...

Can I complain about some people I know for a minute? I know certain women in my new surroundings who are the most catty, petty creatures I've met since high school. These women pick fights because it makes them feel strong to "stand up for their children" and get "offended" (I really hate that word) just to create drama in their boring lives. I, however, don't need anymore drama right now. Shakespeare couldn't add any more drama to my life. I won't get into details because it just gets me in an emotional lather, but I'm just so tired of it. Can't we all just get along and lose the attitudes?

Well, I'm sure my son is sneaking tv time upstairs right now. I caught him yesterday asleep, sprawled on my bed in just his Superman underwear, Cartoon Network blaring from the little tv - he didn't even try to cover his tracks! Usually he'll turn on the tv and watch it from his room, the door cracked just enough for him to see the tv but not enough for me to see him.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

WWII Medal of Honor winner dies, extraordinary story

You all have to read this story. I think way too much about the shortness of life relative to the life of the universe, and how many years it takes before you are completely forgotten, so what you do in life will obviously influence how long you are remembered. Anyway, deep thoughts. Here's a life we should never forget and not just because we're in the middle of war and so we think on these things, but because it reminds me of values that I hope to embody - courage, tenacity, loyalty, humility.

Medal of Honor Winner Jose M. Lopez Dies at 94

P.S. Today is Armed Forces Day.

Random thoughts

I'm trying out morning writing for a change. I usually end up with streams of consciousness when I write at night as you may have noticed. Speaking of consciousness, I had another high school reunion dream last night. It was me, Terry and 1Sgt Kubic (I suppose he made it into my dream because he is Terry's other wife) and we were all saying goodbye before they left for Iraq. We had to swim to the location where they would leave from, so we jumped in fully clothed. Meanwhile, my high school reunion was getting underway. I say goodbye to the guys and swim back to the hotel where the party is happening. I show up soaking wet and ask if there is a mall nearby where I can buy some clothes. Also, I didn't pre-pay and now I can't get in at all. I'm really pissed off and pull out the "my husband is fighting a war" card, but to no avail. They WILL NOT let me in the reunion. So I sneak in with my friends and find that hardly anyone showed up and so I go shopping in the hotel where scarves (I actually look at a price tag in my dream, how weird is that?) are $400. LOL, I crack myself up sometimes!

Like I said, that was my second reunion dream. The first was your typical "no one remembers me" dream. That was actually really disturbing I guess because it's so close to reality!! No, no, really, I know it's hard to believe but I was not the popular social butterfly you all know me as now. I was only asked to a dance ONCE and was forced to ask the boy every other time. In fact, I had at least one enemy every year of high school, one who went so far as to take a swing at me (the only person to slap me into stunned silence) but for some reason it didn't really mar the experience - although I certainly wouldn't do it again. If I did, I would only be more nerdy so I could be MORE successful today :)

I've been failing miserably at my attempt to create a visual documentation of our day for all you who care so much about what a single mom and her two rambunctious boys do all day long. I'm resorting to splicing days together to come up with a summary. I never have my camera around to get the good stuff (like right now, me writing in a ratty t-shirt and underwear - you know you look like that on Saturday mornings too!!) Asher is sending Gabe into fits of rage by turning off the Xbox while he is playing ObiWan. Gabe is reacting deliciously in Asher's view. What's more fun than sending your big brother into hysterics? Oh, update, Asher just moved on to the treadmill where - what is that I hear - a switch? THE switch. The power switch to the treadmill. AHA! I have solved the mystery of the broken treadmill. (Some background: the last two times I have mustered up the energy to run, the darn thing was mysteriously broken. After ten minutes of muttering and fiddling with the outlet I finally saw the on/off switch was off but couldn't figure out how the heck it got pushed. I thought it was God telling me I didn't need to work out - I am fabulous just as I am)

Terry sounded good yesterday. They got a break from all the training, which I was so glad to hear, but again, thanks to crappy cell coverage I only heard:

"Monique? (expletive) coverage sucks!"

I think cursing is actually listed on the LES (leave and earnings statement) as an active duty benefit. You're in the Army now BABY!

Ok agenda for today:
send Terry his boots
get dressed
take tube of yellow paint from Asher's mouth
gather and discard all 100 deadly marbles that Asher has strewn around the house
convince Gabe to write and read for 15 solid minutes
find a sewing machine (so I can complete my transformation to domestic goddess) at the community yard sale I was supposed to participate in but looked at my one, sad bag of children's clothes and decided to give them to the local church instead

Have a fab day.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Long time gone

Is anyone out there? cricket cricket

I wrote a beautiful message the other day and thanks to the wonders of technology - it was deleted. I've been too angry to write again until today. But the protest is over and here I am. Today, Gabe and I saw Star Wars Episode III. I damn near cried. It was actually pretty emotionally heartwrenching at some points, painfully cheesy at others, and R2-D2 may have a future as a comedian. I think George Lucas redeemed himself. Good thing. Millions of adults stuck in 1977 Star Wars bliss were going to attackhis house with sawed off light sabers if this movie was not at least BETTER than Episode II.

The other day I read a news article comparing III to the war in Iraq. (Bush is the evil Emperor waging a fake war to gain power while tearing down Democracy as we know it. "So this is how Democracy ends, to thunderous applause," says Padme. - apparently) And Lucas is the new Michael Moore. I guess he stoked that firey debate a little because he wasn't getting enough publcity from fast food kids meals, cereal boxes, Slurpies, potato chips, soft drinks, cell phones, and little boys like mine having light saber duals in their front yards. The only political lesson that should be learned from III is how to bring people together. That movie theater room was the only place in the D.C. area where you would find people who watch Jeff Foxworthy laughing along with fans of 50 Cent.

Terry is sounding more like he is adjusting to his new reality. Today he called frantic for new boots. His feet are blistering up and he already lived that hell at Air Assault school last month. Other than that, we only get to talk for a few minutes before the cell phone cuts out. Damn Sprint I hate those people! I can't even say how much ca-ching we have pumped into that telecom machine and in return we get to reenact Verizon's commercials for 15 mintues "Can you hear me now?"

We went swimming today. Asher loves bath time, but is apprehensive in the big pool. Gabe is trying very hard but not quite comfy in the water either. He burns 500 calories just treading water for 10 seconds, he's so nervous and excited.

I've started a website for the guys of D company. It's a work in progress so be nice.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Marathon obit

Alexandria - Harrisburg Marathon Dream (HMD) died Sunday, May 15, 2005 of Procrastination in the mind of Monique R. She was five months old.

A funeral will be held immediately. Ice cream and chocolate will be provided.

A native of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, HMD was immediately loved but proved too much a challenge for her loved ones. Indeed, she was born before her time. HMD was hailed as the pinnacle of athletic achievement, a path to pre-baby body form, health and energy.

HMD suffered many set backs in her short five months of life. Some say she was doomed from the start as the product of a New Year's resolution.

HMD was given all forms of treatment including partnership with Treadmill, Baby Jogger, and Weight Training before pronounced dead. Experimental treatment was also administered including self-deprecation and caffeine. The 10 Year High School Reunion defibrillator was administered as a last resort, but it was no competition for Starvation and Strategically Chosen Attire.

Survivors include the half-marathon who shall not be named (although she too, is fading quickly) and the 5K.

Friends may send trendy running attire, sports drinks and motivational music in care of Monique.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Saying Goodbye to daddy

Asher just deleted everything I just wrote. So here's the short version.
-new camera
-finally figured it out
-here's the results
-need help downloading video
-please call with expertise
-full stop

A recent tball game

Terry was assistant coaching Gabe's team this year. We made some great memories. Gabe is improving in play (not that it matters he's only six ;) But I think he might keep playing in the coming years. Although he's also going to try soccer and I hope he keeps on he can save me from drowning since I'm NOT a good swimmer.

I had a reality check this season though. Asher was my unforseen distraction at games. I used to cheer from the stands but now I'm chasing Ash around the playground, trying to catch Gabe up at bat every couple of minutes. It's an adventure and I'm more tired than Gabe after a game :)

Thursday, May 12, 2005



Wednesday, May 11, 2005

A conversation with my treadmill

"Why don't you just make it official?"
"Excuse me?"
"Yeah. You never even look at me anymore. Why do you drag this on? Just say you don't want me anymore so I can move on to someone who does."
"Please don't say that, I already feel guilty enough. I want you. I need you. I just don't have time right now. "
"You haven't had time for the past three weeks. Now, you're just using me as a laundry hanger and storage unit."
"That is so not true. Remember last week? We were together for 15 whole minutes."
"That means nothing. It was a pity run."
"What do you want from me?"
"Make more time."
"Sure. I'll just wave my magic wand and poof, create another hour."
"I'm serious. Get up earlier, spend time with me instead of the TV."
"Hey the TV just got here, be nice."
"Fine, but I've heard from heart and lungs . They want you back with me too."
"What?! They said that?"
"AND stomach, thighs and butt ."
(Gasp) "That's LOW millie, just low."
"See you in the morning?"
"Fine, but the TV stays on!"

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

When ants attack

The ants went marching one by one past my desk downstairs but I didn't notice until I was on my hands and knees looking for something and they were practically crawling all over me. (ew)Yes, I'm a city girl, I don't like bugs, would not eat a bug EVER, and especially don't want them sharing my living space - or a thousand of them for that matter. Finally I broke down and called my landlord (he knows Terry's deployed so I'm taking advantage of Terry's little, "help my wife out if she needs anything" speech ) But I made the mistake of calling him right in the middle of my frustration. I woke up late (8:00 am for those of you non parents is VERY late:) skipped breakfast and was dealing with this ant thing, spraying, cursing, etc. (I've been fighting this losing battle for weeks now). So, needless to say I was emotional. I call him up and he DOESN't KNOW WHO I AM. That doesn't help. Finally he recognizes me and gets all apologetic about not fixing the OTHER issues with our place you know doors, lights - the amenities. I could care less. I want to see a man in a hazmat suit spraying the h-e-double toothpicks out of my backyard where the ant party is going on, so my children can breathe something other than oh, you know, poisonious aerosol. Long story short, no hazmat team but a bottle of edible poison out back will hopefully stop the ants in their tracks.

I decided the boys needed a break from my ranting and took them outside to play. It reminded me of my old neighborhood in Kent, kids of all ages playing ball games and girls twirling on the playground bars. I even did a couple of flips to show Gabe what I can still do even though I'm his mom. He was impressed. He even did a couple himself! Asher loves slides! He likes to go down head first though. I'm not sure if that means he will be adventurous or irresponsible...:)

It's gorgeous out here. 80 degrees, but I have no A/C in my car. Karma I guess for my gas guzzling black beauty, but whatever - I'm getting it fixed and will continue to drive on with my head in the greenhouse affected clouds, at a comfortable 65 degrees.

Terry leaves for Indiana tomorrow. The first day of a very intense train up. I'm sure he'll at least be able to curse in Arabic by the time he gets back. Keep praying for him, and that he gets some time to see us before leaving for Iraq. Things keep changing...

p.s. forgive any spelling errors, no spellcheck here...and you get my point anyway

He's a soldier

Day 2

My friend told me something yesterday that helped get my perspective straight, "He's not a father or a husband now, he's a soldier." What an epiphany that was. He is a soldier, a full time devotee to the president. It's ok though I've already got another man of the house, so Gabe says.

Heard from a friend of Terry's who is working at Abu Ghraib prison. It was nice to get encouragement from someone who is already there. Terry called again today. It's almost akward. How do you squeeze in about a thousand emotions into 10 or 15 minutes? Well you don't. We just tell him how much we love and beleive in him and try not to cry.

Of course, everyday life doesn't stop when your partner's gone. Today was a good reminder of that.

I'm trying to get back on a running schedule (that marathon's looking like the Tour de France right about now) so I squeezed in a 20 minute "I'm back in the saddle again" run, and what do I hear above my wheezing and the blaring television? Glass. Breaking. Children. Screaming. Wonderful. I stumble off my treadmill and force my jelly legs upstairs to see if my kids are alive. They are. But Asher is holding a broken glass in his hand (happily I might add) and Gabe is frozen in shock and awe at what kicking a ball in a small home can do. Two of the glass covers to our very 1980's dining room hanging lamp are broken, shattered all over the carpet. I gently remove the lethal weapon from Asher's baby hands and as camly as I can, interrogate Gabe as to how this happened.

Holding his breath a little he says, "I just kicked the ball over there," he points about two feet past the light. "And then it came back," he rattles off quickly, as if he can say it too fast for me to understand. Of course, I live with Terry so mumbling, speed talk is my second language. Gabe is grounded for the day (he's been told many a time not to kick or throw balls in the house) and actually looks RELIEVED at the punishment. Hmmm. I'll have to remember that. Since the reaction was a bit muted, I ordered him to get his allowance from last week and give it to me. After school we took a trip to Home Depot to replace the light covers. Again, no reaction from the perpetrator - no thanks to the young, male, cashier who chuckled at Gabe, "Oh I broke many a lamp when I was a kid." Thanks buddy.

We also had tball tonight. Gabe's swing is amazing. Seriously, for only playing about three months out of the year I'm impressed. Asher precludes me from ever really enjoying the game like I used to, but I still had a good time wearing them out for bed. One more day down...

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Deployment day

I'm starting this blog to document our family's experience with deployment to Iraq. It's free therapy for me, news for you who know us, and maybe an education for those of you who don't.

Sidenote:Terry is Arthur, Arthur is Terry - just a nickname I've always called him. If you're lucky enough to be in our circle of trust, maybe you'll be allowed to call Arthur "Terry" also :)

Every day for the past two weeks has been like a timer, ticking away the days of freedom we had left. But we've taken Mrs. Sherbine's approach (Gabe's former Kindergarten teacher) and "made memories." We've taken a few family trips, ate out A LOT, and just hung around the house in our p.j.'s when we felt so inclined. But today had to come and between the tears, we saw him off with his men. Gabe had a harder time with it than I thought he would. He cried for a few minutes when the bus pulled away and kept asking "Why does daddy have to go? Can someone else do his job with the Army?" Asher sensed it too - he stopped squirming and just accepted the hugs and kisses from his dad.

I suppose it goes without saying that in the few hours since he's been gone, I have a new appreciation for all the men and women who have already served over there, and empathy for the families left behind - particularly for the Guard and Reserve families.

Terry is sad to leave his family, but proud to do his part. For the next several weeks he'll be training before he leaves to go overseas. He's such a horse (that's for you Mike). I'm going to try and work out a schedule for my days and just keep myself and the boys busy until I see him again.

p.s. thanks Uncle Sam for a great Mother's Day