Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas around the world

Yesterday was not your Norman Rockwell rendition of Christmas, but it was an American snapshot nonetheless. Me, my boys, my brother and sister and Shannon celebrated Christmas together here on the East Coast. Three thousand miles west you would have found my mom and step-dad packing my OTHER two brothers off to my sister's house. And Terry of course was in Iraq. I have a sister in law in the Netherlands (working as a lawyer for The Hague, very proud of her!) Family in CO, WA, CA, and New Zealand... It's mostly through Terry's fam that we're spread all over the globe.

But we did have a bit of Rockwell in my house. We had tea and scones, ate off china and sat in front of a roaring Duraflame log fire. Thanks to Shannon's entertaining skills we actually had a beautiful day.

I've decided to start my New Year's resolution now. Running and writing. That's it folks. I actually drug my still-stuffed stomach out of bed this morning and ran on the treadmill. It wasn't as painful as I thought it would be. So I plan to do it again tomorrow.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas

Whew. What a difference a year makes. Last Christmas we were surrounded by snow in northeastern PA. Asher was just one and we had the WORST Night with the R's in history. Night with the R's is a tradition from Terry's family (everyone knows my family has no traditions). Each Christmas Eve we basically drink a lot and make fools of ourselves with songs, dances, poems such as "Dingle Balls" and other celebratory revelry. Now that the children outnumber the adults we mostly watch them. For example one year Gabe did a scene from Star Wars with Terry. One of the kids did a strip show when she was not quite one. That was cute but strange. Terry and I did "You're the one that I want" from Grease. That was a great year. Asher was born on Thanksgiving but that didn't get me out of an incredible Karaoke rendition of Billie Jean. Correction. Me as, Terry, as Michael Jackson singing Bille Jean. I have to say I felt pretty good dancing around making fun of my husband only four weeks postpartum.

This year, Terry called tonight to put on a smiley face for the boys even though he is totally distraught about missing Christmas with us. I took my brother and sister to DC to show them the sights. They'll be visiting me until Jan 4. I haven't decided whether or not to go out on New Year's since I have free babysitting though, hmm...

A blue Christmas without Terry

but happy with the boys (that's a Star Wars Tree you're looking at)

My sister in front of the DC Christmas tree

Today's shots; experimenting with black and white.



Us in DC

A very, Terry Christmas

Christmas in Iraq

Christmas in Iraq

Friday, December 23, 2005

I'm still here

If anyone is wondering, I'm still alive. My brother and sister are here from Seattle and it's great to have someone else around to talk to, help out, etc. But I'm also busy like everyone else getting ready for Christmas - not the holidays, Christmas! (I'm a Christian, I celebrate Christmas, not winter or Hanukkah or, even though I'm black, not Kwanzaa either :)

Terry's leave was delayed so I'm bummed that it will be an extra week before we see him. I think I'll set a new household record for length of time a Christmas tree is up :) I just can't wait until he's here and we can sit and sip mochas or catch a movie or watch our boys rough house on the floor in front of the fire. That's all I want for Christmas.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Editing myself

Thanks friends, Terry for the feedback. I took that post down because it was just a rant and it felt good but lordy I don't want it to last forever.


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Peace nook

One of the stages of the emotional cycle of deployment is Emotional Disorganization.
  • Despair
  • Loneliness
  • Overwhelmed by responsibility
  • Sleeplessness
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
I'm right in the middle of it, but today I got a break in the clouds. Terry called this morning at 6:30 am, not his usually calling time. I was groggy but shook myself out of the fog because I wanted to keep talking. He was all excited because he sent me a Christmas present over email. I was visioning my portrait made out of dashes and dots :) Instead I saw a movie made just for me. Pictures of him in Iraq, us from our honeymoon, of the boys, our trips, all set to what else but Here Without You by 3 Doors Down. He sent it to family and friends too and it was a very sweet tribute. Now, I can't wait to see him more than ever...

I have the family curse of pessimism and despair. My growing up didn't have a whole helluva lot of joy in it but my life today (yes even with this deplyoment) has improve dramatically since then. I have a lot to be grateful for, but lately I've been sucked into despair thinking of death and destruction, how I will die, what would I do if my husband died or my mom. I think about how much time I have with her a lot these days. I feel much older than my 28 years. But I'm sure it's all par for the course for a war time wife. So you can understand why today, hearing my husband happy, and my gift, it's a weight off my shoulders. Even if for just a minute, I'm cherishing peace, happiness and hope for my life with what's most important to me - my family.

Deployment Day - Mother's Day 2005

"Why is everyone staring at me?"

Asher stuffing his pockets


Asher taking a swing

Pinata at the party

Guys in our unit not deployed. Some have already been to Iraq.

Gabe putting his batting skills to work

Christmas party at the unit

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Enjoying the pancakes I sent him...

If you look closely, you can see the bidet is not being used by our soldiers!

I know that's the look of fear. He's getting an IV

Scary Terry

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

80th DIV soldiers get some press

I can't tell you how happy this makes me. My husband is a critical part of the mission to get us out of there and they are AHEAD OF SCHEDULE. Can I even hope that they'll be home sooner than we thought?

Richmond-based 80th Division reports progress training Iraqi soldiers
Rob Richardson
NBC12 News
Wednesday, November 30, 2005

President Bush's address Wednesday morning he spoke extensively about the
training of Iraqi soldiers by US troops. In large part, that job is being
undertaken by hundreds of soldiers with the Richmond -based 80th

The Richmond based 80th Division trains soldiers and for
the last four months, they've been in Iraq, making progress as part of the US
exit strategy, teaching Iraqis to protect their own country.
Since August,
more than 700 army reserve soldiers with the 80th Division including 80 from
Richmond have been training Iraqi troops. Col. Paul Benenati, 80th Division EOC
Commander says, “Progress has been significant and the morale of our soldiers is
very, very high."
The troops began their own training this summer in Indiana,
where they anticipated complications, like language barriers. So, they worked
with Iraqis supplied by the Department of Defense. In Iraq now four months,
training is ahead of schedule.In Iraq now, all eyes are on elections set for
December 15th. Then, sometime next fall, solders start coming home, where they
may eventually help train US troops. Now and over the next several months, 80th
Division soldiers begin cycling out of Iraq for two weeks of R&R.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Just for fun, what are your answers?

A: Area Code You Are In Right Now: 7??
B: Birthday: Oct. 17
C: Current Crush: I am currently in love with Clive Owen.
D: Favorite Drink: vodka CRAN!
E: Eating Currently: leftover cake from Asher’s birthday
F: Favorite Food: Michelangelo’s in Clarks Summit, PA: stuffed filet mignon.
G: Who Do You Go To For Advice: Terry, God and friends in no particular order
H: Happy or Sad: hopeful
I: I think: we all need a healthy escape from reality
J: Job: two kids, one parent, 24/7, 500+ days. Yeah. I got a job.
K: Any Kids: see J.
L: I Love: Sunday nights eating artery clogging nachos and chocolate chip cookies with my wife in arms, Shannon, while watching guilty pleasures DH, and Grey’s.
M: Favorite Movie: Right now Pride and Prejudice…
N: Your Phone Number: just call me crazy
O: One regret: Letting fear hold me back
P: Favorite Perfume or Cologne: this mix I made at Aveda, with lavender.
Q: A Little Quirk About Yourself: I am not shy about going to the movies alone
R: Last Road Trip: hmmmm what constitutes a road trip? I guess it would be Six Flags when Terry had leave from training last July.
S: Tell Us One Secret: This one time, at band camp….
T: Favorite TV Show: Grey’s Anatomy, but I’m a fickle TV fan.
U: Color of your Underwear: Pink and Red from VS’s Pink line. Love that stuff. Hate their ads. Damn those supermodels!!!!
V: Last Time You Were in Vegas: Never been.
W: Wishful Thinking: Terry home. World Peace.
X: X-Rays Taken This Year: none. Although Gabe had an echocardiogram when he was five.
Y: Your Favorite Year of your Life: If we’re just talking about me then 22 and 23 was pretty fun but that was fueled by a lot of alcohol.
Z: Zodiac Sign: Libra

Sunday, December 04, 2005

The holidays are upon us!

Our Christmas Card

So this will be our Christmas card this year. I don't even usually do them, but I don't feel like making out dozens and dozens of handwritten cards. I'll do a few because I ordered them from the American Brain Tumor Association, in honor of my mom, so I want to use them. But I like to send pictures of the boys to my family in CA that I don't see often. I took probably 15 shots to get this one and then I still edited it. I got these shirts in the mail from Terry the day I took the photos. He also sent me a dress, which I had to laugh at because I immediately thought of my Indian neighbor. And he sent a CD with 400, yes that's four-zero-zero, photos on it! I also got a bunch of video. Mostly random stuff, but some of my favorite clips were the Booger Documentary and A Typical Day. (giggles:) He's no Spielberg but he's getting better. I used to get seasick watching the video he shot of Gabe in his various sports.

Today we went to the unit holiday party. It was surprisingly fun. Santa brought presents for the kids and the USO sent books and stuffed animals for the kids. All the kids got to snag presents from under the tree from the USO. Not a single book was picked up! It was so funny. I took like three. Gabe has outgrown a lot of his books and needs more challenging reading so I'm on the hunt for harder books. He brought home Goosebumps the other day from school and I was really surprised to find it didn't scare him. (He's had a lot of fear issues since Terry left).

Speaking of Terry, we got to see him on the webcam for several hours today. I feel so bad for him because he was up till like 2am his time but he just didn't want to get off. He is very homesick right now. We talked about random stuff and even played checkers!

I have another holiday party this Saturday. I'm actually glad to be invited to some parties. I am a party girl, as Cheesecake Divorce knows :) And these aren't exactly the raging parties but hey, it's good to mingle with other adults for a couple of hours. The next one is with my MochaMoms mommy group. I've been forcing myself to get more involved because I think it's an incredible group of African American women who have for the most part stopped their careers to raise their kids. I think I could learn a lot from them, not to mention it's just great networking.

Well, Gabe is working on a Lego masterpiece. He is entering a contest and I always get so nervous for him because he gets too excited and I'm thinking, "please god let him win something!" No parent likes to see a child disappointed but I also know he has to learn to rise from defeat.

I'm sleepy and my shows are coming on in a little while. Gotta go tuck my Lego builder into bed.