Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Sad Day

Today has been a sad day for the Strike Eagle community, as word quickly spread that a pilot lost his life in a crash yesterday while on deployment.

I don't know him personally, though the community is small and we have many mutual friends.

I know that there is a 4 year old boy and a 2 year old girl who will grow up without their daddy. I know that there is a wife who recently said goodbye to her husband, much the way I did to mine in September, who never expected that he wouldn't be coming home. And there is a squadron from Idaho that has to stay the course for the next 6 months while knowing that the "welcome home" at the end will be very bittersweet indeed. 

The F-15E community will come together for the family. There will be scholarship funds for the kids and meals that arrive to their kitchen. But their lives will never be the same again.

There is a house I can see out of my window where this family used to live, and there is another home around the corner in our neighborhood where a few years ago yet another wife received that dreaded knock on the door.

Most of the time I don't think about what Josh does as being dangerous.
But on days like these I remember.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I can't use numbered days anymore.

Today was Josh's first day back to work. He had a PT test.
PT= Physical Training
You know, like situps and pushups and running.
And the ever-strenuous abdominal circumference measurement.

He passed.
You may have noticed in his homecoming pictures that he came home less of a man than when he left.

And he returned to more of a woman.
Life can be unfair, no?

Did I ever tell you about when Josh accused me of shrinking his jeans?
It happened a couple of years ago in Idaho. He insisted that my laundry skills were sub-par and were the reason his jeans were a little snug. If I recollect, he asked me to stop drying on high heat.

Then we went to the Bed, Bath, & Beyond one day and he hopped on a scale. Then he said, "Oh this one's broken, let me try another."
"Huh. This one's no good either."
By the third one he began to understand that I really hadn't shrunk his jeans.

Middle age. It'll get you every time.

Until you go to war and work out all the time and come home skinny.


We got all the cleaning done before showing our landlord around the house this morning, so that's another thing to scratch off the list.
We're mostly ready for the packers to come, which will happen a week from today.

In other news, I forgot for the third day in a row to mail my father's birthday card.
Dearest Father, your card shall be late. I blame your grandchildren, mostly because they cannot defend themselves.
Your Daughter.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Hello out there!
Remember me?

It's Erin! I used to blog here.

It's been a little bit nuts lately in the Maple'hood.

Josh and I took off for an overnight getaway this past weekend. We have great friends who were willing to take in our kids for the weekend.

That might actually turn them from "great friends" into saints. Because, have you met my kids?

Alex and Derek had the time of their lives having a sleepover with their friends. When Alex spotted us at the door coming to retrieve her she literally ran off, hid under a bed, and cried.
It was kind of an underwhelming "welcome home" but at least we knew she wasn't distraught without us.

Josh and I didn't go too far, just to Raleigh for the night, but it was lovely to get away just the two of us. We shopped at a nice mall, and ate at Maggiano's.
Have you heard of this place? We had never eaten there before, but several friends had recommended it so we thought we'd try it out.
They had warned us that we'd need reservations for a Saturday night, and when we tried to make them we realized they were right. The only time available was 4:45.
But we enjoy eating with senior citizens so we were down.

There was a lot of food.
A lot.
And they have some strange thing in which they send you home with more food. Not just your doggie bag, but extra entrees "for tomorrow."


We are not the type to say no to extra food, but we weren't exactly sure when we were going to have time to eat it since we were staying in a hotel and not going right home the next day.

I would tell you how it all turned out, but I'm afraid if I use the term "post coital lasagna" I might lose a few readers.
So I wont.

We saw a movie on Sunday and then stopped in at the outlet mall on the way home. I had been there the week before and I'd seen a dresser that I really liked, but decided I shouldn't get.
You know, because we're supposed to be getting rid of stuff, not accumulating it.

But I was still thinking about that dresser and decided that if it was still there, I should get it.
Because there was only one, and surely it would be gone already.

Except it wasn't.
Maybe it's not as nice as I think?
But I still wanted it.

And we were driving the Corolla.

Josh wasn't so happy with the fact that
1) I wanted a new dresser.
2) We don't have room for a new dresser. And
3) That he had to try to fit a dresser into a clown car.

But he still loves me.
At least for now; but when we're tripping over each other in a much smaller house in California that love might run out.

Anyway. Our getaway was fun, but then we were back to reality.
Tomorrow morning our landlord will be here at the house, and since we're also moving, like, next week, it was a good motivation to start going through things room-by-room.
So we've cleaned and cleared out, and taken a vanload of things to goodwill.

And today, as my friend Amy put it, was the 8th anniversary of my 25th birthday. My husband interrupted our cleaning plan with a surprise 1-hour massage.
For me, not him.

It was lovely.
I am oily.

That is all. 


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I know, I know

I've been neglecting my poor little blog these days.
And all of my Words with Friends games are about to be forfeited for lack of playing.
I am a poor excuse for an inter-amiga.

I blame my husband.
First he left for, like, ever.
Then he came home, but didn't go back to work. And so all I do is sleep in and go shopping and go out to eat and...
Well, I guess I can't really complain, now can I?

He'll go back to work sometime next week, and life would start getting back to normal.
Except that it wont.
Because, in news of the holy-cow-we're-moving-soon:

Holy cow! We're moving soon!

In 2 weeks we will have packers in the house boxing up all of our worldly goods; they will be hauling them off on April 6th. Which is really quite soon when I pause to think about it.

Next month at this time, I'll be curled up on the couch blogging on my laptop with its broken backspace key, from some house in California of which I know nothing.
Because we haven't found it yet.
Kind of a strange feeling.
But exciting, too!

Currently our plan is to have me and the kids fly to California, ship one vehicle, and Josh will drive the other.
Note to self: Buy plane tickets.
Another note to self: Distract movers while they carry the TV. Hope it breaks.

We're hoping to find a rental house close to Josh's school, and get settled in enough time to do a little traveling in California before his training starts.
Read: Disneyland

Josh spent most of today on the phone, arranging for our utilities to be cancelled, trying to get a PO box for forwarding mail, reserving a room in the TLF (temporary lodging facility), making other miscellaneous move arrangements, and...

talking to my grandfather.

When Josh got off the phone he told me that he had just taken a ride on the crazy train.

(Don't worry about my grandpa getting hurt feelings; there's a better chance of me hitting the lotto jackpot than my grandparents figuring out the interworld. And I don't even play the lotto.)

My grandfather was in the Army Air Corps back in the day. He was at Pearl Harbor for awhile, and he apparently had come across a postcard that Josh had sent him from when he was in Hawaii while en route to a deployment.
About 3 years ago.
So he had to call to ask him some important questions about Hawaii.
Like, is the old dormitory still standing.
Very important questions.

And my husband loves me, because he endured the conversation for at least a half an hour. 

He didn't even give me a guilt trip about it, which is good, because I had three little letters up my sleeve in case he even tried.


'nuff said.

So now you have all my excuses for why I am a sorry excuse for a blogger.
Can we still be friends?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

We've been tootin'

Reconstitootin' that is.

Josh is on his 2-weeks of "reconstitution" time. Meaning he doesn't have to go to work, and he doesn't have to use his leave.

It's been so so so so so so so so so good to be together again!

Thanks for all of your sweet comments on his homecoming! :)

We've spent lots of time doing nothing.
Because we all know that doing nothing is what I do best.

In between hours of nothing, we've taken the kids bowling, played outside, gone to parks, hit up Taco Tuesday as a family, and done lots and lots of snuggling.

And possibly some grown-up snuggling, too.
But we don't need to discuss that here.

Unfortunately our nothing has been interrupted by...something.
Moving, to be exact.
Tick-tock-tick-tock. The clock is winding down on our time in North Carolina.

We've gone through boxes that we never actually unpacked when we arrived here, weeded through the garage to get rid of old toys and trash, and done some yard work.
Our pile of trash and goodwill donations is getting huge.

Funny thing.
The Monday before Josh got home I was awakened by the sound of the garbage truck going by and remembered that I had forgotten to take the trash down to the curb the night before.
No big deal, we had some room in it still, and could probably make it another week without too much trouble.
Fast forward another week, and with all the excitement of picking up Josh at the airport and being back together, we both forgot that it was trash day, again.

Which actually isn't as funny as it is smelly.

Today is St Patrick's Day.
So I got up and made green colored pancakes for the kids before they set off on the leprechaun scavenger hunt we set up for them last night. And then we make shamrock crafts that I found on Pinterest...
hee hee.  snort.
Sorry, I can't even type that with a straight face.

Naturally I did nothing of the sort. I usually don't even remember that a holiday is here until it's already arrived.

I don't know how so many of my mommy friends manage to be crafty and fun all the time and manage to take pictures and post all of their accomplishments to Facebook.
But can I just say, Stop it already! You're the reason my daughter has a list of preferred mothers!

Here's another shot that the photographer took last Sunday. I'm so glad she was able to come and get some pictures. 
It was such a fun day for us!

After we left the airport we ate linner at the Olive Garden.
(Yes, linner. It was too late to be lunch, and not quite dinner time.)

About 10 minutes after we sat down Derek had to go potty.
Guess who took him?
Not me!

Then about 20 minutes later he had to go potty, again.
Guess who took him?
Not me!

The kids were all-daddy, all-the-time for the first couple of days.
Mama was chop liver.
No one wanted me to wipe their booty, brush their teeth, or put them to bed.

Hot diggity dog!

Josh is the resident childrens-game-player in this house, and I can't count how many card games and board games he's played in the last week.
And there's been a whole lot more football and wrestling in our living room.

Oh, and the weather has been incredible!

This is what Alex did the morning after Josh got home. He had to go to his briefings, so Alex helped herself to his uniform.

The family who rolls together, bowls together.

Or something like that.

And now back to tootin'...

Monday, March 12, 2012


Wow! I woke up to an e-mail from Beth, our sweet photographer, who had already put some pictures up on her blog.

She is part of Operation Love Reunited, in which professional photographers volunteer their time to come take photos for returning troops. What a neat program! We are so thankful that she was willing to come out and document our big event.

Here is a link to see the pictures...

Now I just need to work on getting my husband home, again. 
Dang that protocol that makes them attend briefings the morning after they get home! 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Day 180


He's home!

We had a professional photographer with us today during our homecoming, so hopefully we got some good shots of all of us reuniting. I'll share them as soon as I'm able!

But for now, Josh and I have some catching up to do...

Thanks for celebrating with us!

Saturday, March 10, 2012


That's my excited noise. :)

To the best of my knowledge, Josh is currently on a flight over the Atlantic, and will be touching down in the good 'ol U S of A in less than an hour!!

The only thing that could make it better is if he were landing at an airport in the same state that we live in. But alas, he'll be spending the night about 5 and a half hours away. So close, yet so far away!
He'll fly into the local airport tomorrow, where we will be waiting with loads of hugs and kisses.

I am so, so excited! I go from nervous to excited back to nervous again.
Then I start making lists.

I'm finishing up the last load of laundry, so I'll be able to get started on his dirty, sandy stuff right away.
We have fresh sheets on the beds and the kids have all the things they need to make their signs to welcome Daddy home.
I went grocery shopping today and got all of his favorite things to eat. I even splurged and got him some Cocoa Krispies, despite the fact that they were not on sale.
Do I spoil him, or what? ;)

I think this will be the 5th night since he has left Afghanistan, and for all that time he has been either sleeping in a tent with literally hundreds of other people, or sleeping on airplanes or in airports.
So, he really hasn't been sleeping at all.

I think he planned on staying in the USO tonight, but I checked online and it looks like it might not be open overnight. So hopefully he'll be able to get a hotel room, so he can get some good rest, and maybe even a shower.
But don't worry, shower or no shower-- I wont let a little smelliness come between me and a welcome home makeout session kiss.

(I guess I should keep it PG for the airport.
But no promises after that.)

If all goes as planned, when we get him back tomorrow it will be exactly 180 days since he left! We are lucky that he was allowed to leave a little early because of our pending assignment. The rest of the guys still wont be home until later this month. 

We are so, so, SO ready to be together again!
I might even give him a few days to recuperate before digging into the honey-do list...

Random pictures:

We took Alex out of dance when we realized that she wouldn't be here for the recital. It didn't seem fair to have her rehearse for something she was so excited about, but didn't get to do.
So we started going to open gym at a little gymnastics center.

They have a good time.

Derek was nonstop motion and couldn't be bothered to pause for a picture.

I used to bend like that.

Used to.

Oh my goodness I could eat him up...

Okay, that's all! I'll try to pop on with an update when I get a chance.

And Joshie, if you're reading this tonight, I love you sooooooooooooooo much and can't wait for tomorrow!!

Also, I didn't get around to cleaning the van.
It's now on your honeydo list.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Day 175

Tomorrow (Wednesday) will mark 25 weeks since Josh left.
That's a long time!
No matter how hard I fight against it, there is always a part of me that feels like life is just "on hold" until he gets home.
Something feels off, and incomplete, without all four of us together. 
But it's not just all good things that must come to an end, but the not-so-good things as well!

There is a chance that tonight was our last Taco Tuesday without him!!
:) Yippee Skippee!

I can't sleep.
I've got butterflies in my tummy.
I'm all nervous, like I'm going on a first date or something ;)

As if he isn't the same guy he was when he left.
The one who searches youtube for clips of people hurting themselves.
And eats fig newtons out of the carton.
And riles up the kids right before bedtime.

As if he wasn't the one who knocked me up a couple times.
And witnessed the least attractive moments in my life.
You know, like pushing his kids out. 

But now I'm cleaning the house, getting a haircut, and planning the Big Shaving Event of 2012.
My legs wont know what hit 'em.

It's just like nesting, only without the baby.

It's my favorite part of military life.
This will be our fourth honeymoon in our ten year marriage.

The first was the traditional one. You know, when Josh was just a baby.

The next was after the first deployment. 4 months apart.

Then the second deployment. Only 3 months for that one.

And now we are waiting for the longest one to end. And it's almost here!

(You are permitted to say anything in response, except to remark on how quickly it went.)

I actually am not easily offended. You can pretty much speak your mind without bothering me.
For instance, I was able to chuckle about this conversation with my well-meaning dental hygienist:

Oh, your husband is in Afghanistan? 
My brother was there. Yep, he was in Iraq, too. He said Afghanistan was much worse. Much more dangerous. 
You know, he just came back home different somehow. The things he saw there really changed him.
*sadly shaking her head back and forth*

Um. Yeah. 
That's too bad. 
Did I mention that my husband is there right now? 
Gee, I hope he doesn't come back "different."
Thanks for giving me something to think about while your lead fingers gouge out chunks of my gums.

Except I didn't really say that.
Because the lead fingers were in the way.
And, like I said, things like that usually just roll off.

But if you say this time went quickly, I might hunt you down like an animal.

Hee hee.

No, really.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


I'm convinced that my children are showing early signs of the mental condition known as hoarding. They can think of a reason to keep everything that comes their way.
Case in point-- they are both tenaciously hanging on to a small plastic cup that they got yesterday at the grocery store. It was from a sample table, and each cup had one flavored marshmallow in it.

Yesterday afternoon, the cup became Cowey's birthday party hat.
Cowey has lots of birthdays. He might be older than I am.

Today it's Doggie's cup that he drinks out of.

In actuality, it was, is, and always will be-- trash. I will sneak it away to the trashcan and then 2 weeks later I will be asked to help locate Ellie's lost feeding trough.

Sometimes my children surprise me. 
Derek asked me today:

Mom, what is leprosy?
Is it a disease that's very rare?

Um. Yes, Derek. How did you know that?

Dan and Louie* always says that.

Do you know what rare means?


Other questions he could also answer "nope" to:

Do you know how to take your own shirt off without falling down?
Can you go to the bathroom without telling me first?
Do you ever really know what's going on? I'm not going to lie, you always look like you're in your own little world.

I love him.

*Dan & Louie tell kids Bible stories on CD. We love them. The kids are learning a lot and they laugh like crazy. Louie is quite the comedian. He is also a dummy. (Literally.)

Today upon dragging myself from the blissfulness of my Saturday morning bed, I threw on a sweatshirt, grabbed a cup of coffee, and took my pajama-clad children to the doughnut store.
I did not pass go, I did not collect $200, in retrospect I did not even brush my teeth.

I've very grateful that I did not run into anyone I know.

Watching the doughnuts being made...

Hooray for sprinkles

Alex took this picture right before we left.

Do you appreciate the irony of me being glad that I didn't run into anyone looking like this and then turning around and putting a picture of my frumpy-ness on the internet?

Visiting the doughnut store was probably not in line with my desire to look like a supermodel before my husband gets home.
Then again, my genetic makeup in general is not consistent with looking like a supermodel, so maybe I should become a realist.
But you see, he's been working out a lot for the last 6 months, and I've been...not.

Do you know what I think would be awesome?
If chubby were in style.
I could do chubby. Easy. Piece of cake.

A big, big piece of cake.
Alex's two front teeth are loose. I can't wait. There is nothing as funny as a kid with two front teeth missing.

Also, last night I was "mean" and Alex half-jokingly made a list of people she would prefer to have as her mother.

I was number 5 on this list.
What can I say? I have really nice friends.
I'd pick them over me, too.
Also, they cook!

Maybe they will adopt me...

Friday, March 2, 2012

Day 171

I haven't been keeping up with ye old blog much of late. My sincerest of apologies.

It's not that I've been busy; hermits generally aren't.
It's just that I can't think of anything to say that doesn't involve whining about missing my husband.

However comma.
There has been good news in that department, and our time of missing each other is closer to being over than I had previously thought. Holla!

In an effort to think positively for the remaining time, lets cover all the good things there are about deployments:

1) Less laundry. Self explanatory.
Though to be honest, Josh doesn't actually require all that much laundry. Other than a t-shirt, socks, and unmentionables for each day, he wears the same flight suit for several days before throwing it into the wash. When it smells so strongly of jet fuel that it can practically stand up on its own, that's his cue that it might be time to wash it.

2) Less cooking. Cereal for dinner? Why not.

3) Bed hogging privileges. I enjoy the middle of the bed. But I'm not too upset about having to share it again.

4) No one makes me go to bed. This is both a positive and a negative. For I like to be a night owl, but tend to regret it in the morning. Josh is anal scheduled. He shall get his eight hours, and he shall take me with him.

5) Cleaner bathrooms. I probably don't need to expound on this one.

I was teasing Josh the other day saying that while I would love to welcome him home with some of his favorite meals, we'll be a month out from a move and you know what that means.

Dum dum dum duuuuuuuuum: Pantry Meals.

Yep, that time before a move where you clear out what's in your pantry and freezer, even if it means having a dinner of plain pasta noodles with canned corn and an Eggo waffle on the side.
And if we run out of syrup or ketchup, you just have to deal with it because we're not buying a new one. 

He said no way, he doesn't care how much food we have to give or throw away, but he's adamant that after 6 months of cafeteria food, he's got to have something fresh.

Well I say he should have thought of that before he married me, but I will do my best.

And more good news, the kids and I are getting a visit from Miss 'Cole (my friend, Nicole) this weekend. It will save me from the depressing weekend phenomenon! Yea!
She's a real go-getter, so I'll have to teach her the finer points of hermithood.

If anyone can do it, it's me.

Oh, and Happy Birthday to my brother-in-law John, who was also crazy enough to marry into this family. Although unlike me, he was generally well-accepted because his name starts with a J.

Jason, Josh, Jessica, John......and Erin.

I'm pretty sure they hate me.