onedayclosertohome

One day closer to my hero being home…

The Catastrophe Countdown! 3 Down, 49 to Go!

Well, I suppose none of them are truly catastrophes.  Maybe the the boat lift can be described as such.  But the others… well, maybe not.

Last week, The Ballerina was supposed to have her first gymnastics meet of the season.  It was being held about 75 miles away from where we live.  And it was at 8:00 in the morning.

Oh. My. Gosh.

I don’t do mornings.

So.  Up we got at 6:00 in the morning, and we were in the car by 6:30.  Should have been plenty of time to get there.

Not if your engine begins pouring out smoke.

Being wonderfully fiscally minded, and thinking My Hero would be so proud of me, I decided we would take his very uncomfortable car rather than my gas guzzling beast.  We were halfway there when I noticed a funny smell and the temperature gauge was all the way over past the dangerously hot section.  I slowed down and pulled in to the first gas station I saw.  I opened up the hood, and smoke poured out.  I checked the coolant level, and while it wasn’t BONE dry, it was pretty close.  I filled it up, dumped a few gallons of water on the engine to cool it off, and eventually headed back home.  By the time we made it home two hours later, the gauge was almost smack dab in the center.

So now this week.  My wonderful, amazing, comfortable car is having its own issues.  The speedometer is broken!  I noticed it when we were in the VERY slow moving traffic.  According to my speedometer, we were going 50 miles an hour.  If I had to guess, I’d say we were going about 10 miles an hour.  By the time we finished our errands, the speedometer was no longer moving at all.

As far as catastrophes go, none of these rate very high on the scale.  I can handle this.  Really, I know I can handle much more than this.  I have a Hero who supports me, a God who protects me, and great friends who help me when I need it.  I’m good.

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Them’s the Rules: Fighting Fair

I have an 11 year old daughter.  

 

She’s beautiful, talented, thoughtful, kind, sweet, silly….  She’s delightful.  She truly is a joy.

Except… She’s 11.  Almost 12.  And hormonal.  Moody.  It’s so much fun.

NOT!

Anyway, we’ve been having issues with her having blow ups.  In them, she says whatever comes to her mind.  She stop to think about it, she doesn’t censor in any way, and she doesn’t care if it hurts.  She has told My Hero that he’s “ruining her life.” I think she had to do the dishes or something.  It scarred her forever.  Never mind the fact that she does them every. stinking. day.

After today’s… battle…  I began wondering what we could do to maybe help her at least consider thinking about her words before she speaks.  Then I remembered.  Nobody has taught her to fight fair.

Long before My Hero and I got married, we set down a set of rules for fighting.  We listened to others who were married, read books, and discussed at length the best way to fight.  We wanted to be sure that when we did, we would be fighting fair.  We wanted to protect our marriage even from ourselves.  So if we, as adults, needed to establish ground rules, why has it not occurred to me before today that my CHILDREN need to learn to fight fair????

Our rules:

  • No name calling
  • No “always” or “never” statements
  • No ultimatums
  • No threats
  • No yelling
  • No putting words in the other person’s mouth
  • No comparing to other people
  • Keep the fight on what it’s about – no dragging previous baggage in!
  • Never, ever, ever say the D-word

We’ve done a fairly decent job sticking to the rules.  A couple of them have been bent, but we’ve not broken them.  They’re sacred.  I believe that one of the reasons that we have such an amazing marriage is because of these rules.

So today, I sat my children down, and I talked about the importance of setting limits and establishing the rules before you are in a situation where you need them.  I told them that learning to fight fair was skill they’d use the rest of their lives.  They needed to decide that they needed to commit to following the rules no matter how angry they get.  Following the rules will help to protect their relationships.

So perhaps we’ve crossed some sort threshold.  Maybe now we can move on from crazy uncontrollable emotional outbursts to learning to reign it in.  I don’t expect it to happen overnight, but maybe now that they know there should be rules, they will at least make an attempt to follow them.

Or perhaps I’m delusional.

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359 – Cuzi’s Back!

 

 

Cuzi is back!  The kids love him.

They love the kiss (or hug) a day while Daddy’s away.

I love when the bowl starts to look empty.  We have a ways to go right now, but eventually, this bowl WILL BE EMPTY.  Then My Hero will be home.

Cuzi hides in a new spot every day.  When I remember.

The kids LOVE looking for him.

I, however, am out of ideas.  I need suggestions.  Lots of suggestions.  359, to be exact.  Where should Cuzi hide next?  Give me your best ideas!

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363

Every little boy dreams of being a hero.

Some of them get to become one.

In all seriousness, this man is my hero.  He is brave, thoughtful, caring, loving, and most importantly, he is a man of God.  I love everything about him.  I love the way he plays with our children.  I love the way that he disciplines our children.  I love the way he works so hard for our family.  I love how good at his job he is.  He impresses everyone he works with by his professionalism and ability to solve problems.  I love the way he loves and takes care of me.  He makes me feel like I am the most important person in the world to him.  I love the way he prays and strives to follow the Lord’s leading, both individually and as a family.

I have a serious case of hero worship going on.

Which is why, when I found out he needed to provide his own bed stuff, I couldn’t resist…

I want My Hero to be reminded of how I feel about him every time he sees his bed.  He is my hero.  He ranks right up there above Superman.  Batman takes third.  So yes, while my husband is deployed, he gets to relive his childhood with his own set of superhero sheets.  Go ahead.  Be jealous.

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365

Or… Here We Go Again

So.  Here we are again.  It’s the end of August, and My Hero is deployed again.  This time, though…. it’s for a year.  12 months.   52 weeks.  365 days.  Oh my.

I don’t expect this year to be easy, but I feel ready for it.  Not because I think I’m superwoman or anything.  I know I’m not.  But I feel like even though we only had a month’s notice for this deployment, we’ve been preparing for this since the beginning of summer, and like God is trying to teach his very dense pupils about HIS provision.

Ever since we moved here, I have coached gymnastics.  The gym has two locations.  One 15 minutes away from our house and one 45 minutes away.  At first, the agreement was that I would only work four days a week, and only at the close gym.  Well, as other coaches quit or moved on, more was asked of me.  Last fall, while My Hero was deployed, I was working SIX days a week, and twice a week, I was in the FAR location.  I had to figure out childcare for my kids, I didn’t get home until late at night, I would drag the kids with me if they were sick… It was rough.  We survived, though, and truly loved coaching the kids.  However, when the summer schedule came out this year, I was on it for more than twenty hours a week, and twice I week I wasn’t even scheduled at the same gym as my son.  This was not what I signed up for.  All the hours were running my health into the ground, and I wasn’t getting enough time with my family.  After much heartache, we made the decision to leave the gym.

We found another gym 45 minutes away that has an amazing boys’ program.  I talked with the owner, and found that not only was she a Christian, she homeschooled her children all the way through high school!  HUGE blessing!  We signed The Gymnast up, and the owner told me that if I decided to coach again, I had a job waiting for me.  After six weeks or so, I couldn’t stand not coaching.  The owners hired me to coach their optional girls (my favorite levels) on beam (my favorite event) three days a week – the three days that my kids were already there.  Three weeks into being hired, we all got sick.  Our attendance was spotty.  One day in particular, I remember calling and telling her that the kids were sick, but I would be there to work.  She replied that it sounded like I was needed at home, and she would see me when the kids were better.

When we found out My Hero was deploying, I went in and told the owner I would need time off.  She responded simply with tell me what you need.  This was like a breath of fresh air!  At the other gym, they almost didn’t let me take a vacation to Disney World with my family when The Hero came home.  Here, all I had to do was ask, and it was given.  God provided me with a job that I love and hours that are convenient for my family.  I don’t have to worry about childcare or scrambling to find somewhere for the kids to hang out.  I DON’T have to go in when the kids and I are sick.  Total peace about working!  God’s perfect provision, and we didn’t even know it when we decided to switch.

Also, last year, I tutored for Classical Conversations.  I LOVED it, but it was tough to find the time to prepare every week.  This year, I was asked to be the substitute and assistant to the director.  It’s perfect!  There is plenty for me to do while I’m there, but it requires very little prep work on my part.  Hooray!  Provision again before we needed it!

Apparently, we hadn’t truly learned the lesson that God would provide for us.  Or at least, we hadn’t learned it well enough.  My Hero left on Monday.  Hurricane Isaac was supposed to hit here Tuesday.  Thankfully, we only received a bit of wind and rain.  However, we still managed to have a mini-disaster.  Less than 24 hours after My Hero left, the kids ran into my room, frantically shouting at me to look out the window.

Our boat lift collapsed!  Need a better view?

Something broke….

I was stunned.  Not even 24 hours before our first catastrophe!  But God had something to teach us.  As soon as I saw it, I called our neighbor.  He was at work, and unable to help.  I called another neighbor.  He didn’t answer.  I sent the kids to his house just in case.  I tried somebody who lived a few blocks away.  No answer.  I called his wife, who called another friend to pick up her husband and bring him here.  In the meantime, the first neighbor was making calls of his own.  Within TWENTY MINUTES of discovering the boat lift’s collapse, we had four men – two of whom I had never met – over here, working on the situation.  Within an hour, the boat was trailered and the lift was secured to the dock.  The men I didn’t know promised to come back after the storm to repair the lift.  The other two promised to come back and flush out the motor after the storm.  The icing on the cake was that not thirty seconds after all was completed, the rain began.  None of us got wet while working on the boat!  When I shared this story with My Hero, he said that he felt like God was speaking directly to him, telling him not to worry.

God STILL wasn’t finished.  The hardest part of the deployment for My Hero is getting on the plane.  It’s a long ride.  To top it off, because of the check out time for the hotel, he had to sit at the airport for 8 hours.  No fun.  However, because he was there so early, he was the very first to check in.  The ticket agent told him that because he was the first to check in, he would get a seat in the BUSINESS CLASS!   So instead of having to sit in the crowded, cramped space of the regular seats, he had (has – he’s still on the plane) a seat where he couldn’t even touch the seat in front of him.

I know it may seem like a little thing, but it made a big difference to My Hero.  On top of all of that, he also saw a guy reading The Case for Christ while waiting for the plane.  He struck up a conversation, and found out that the guy will be working in the same building as him!  So right of the bat, My Hero has somebody to talk to once he gets there.

I believe that this is going to be an incredible year.  I can’t wait to see everything God is going to do!

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So I Took a Loooong Blogging Break

My mother always taught me if you couldn’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.  Well, For a long time, that’s why I didn’t write.  My hero’s deployment was tough.  I think we had a total of 6 ER visits.  All three of us (The Gymnast, The Ballerina, and myself) had pneumonia, The Gymnast fell out of a tree, I had heart problems… it was rough.

But we’re through it now, and life goes on.  And now we have a new adventure.  

 

 

 

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12 Years Ago Today…

The man of my dreams asked me to marry him. Not a day goes by that I don’t marvel at the fact that I am his bride.

It was a Sunday afternoon that started like any other. We went to church that morning, then went to his dorm room so he could study. He had told me he wanted to knock it out quickly so we could go on the famous 17 Mile Drive. I just knew he planned on proposing. I was very impatient.

Then, the phone call came. It was about our good friend who had just broken up with his fiancé. Apparently he really needed somebody to talk to, and My Hero was the only person that would do. This is what I was told, anyway. The part of the conversation I heard was this:

“Hello? Really? That bad, huh? Okay, I’ll be over in a few minutes.”

I have been told the part I didn’t hear went like this:

“I’m supposed to call you. I don’t really know why… Huh? Okay. I’m hanging up now…”

Feeling rather generous, I “allowed” My Hero to go, knowing that soon enough, we would go on our date.

Then he called me. He told me our friend was really struggling, and felt the need to go to the beach and stew for a while.

At this point I was no longer feeling generous. Pouting, I reminded him that we had our own plans. He quickly reassured me that he had not forgotten, and implored me to come pick him up from the beach in about half an hour, and we would be on our way. I asked him how I would find him, and he gave me a general location, flippantly telling me to “just look for our friend’s car.”

I was not feeling very charitable or Christlike at that moment. So the half hour stretched closer to 45 minutes before I went on the hunt for our friend’s car. I was feeling fairly hopeless about ever finding it during daylight hours when I saw it. There was our friend’s car with a huge bouquet of daisies on the windshield, and a sign with my name.

I drove past and looped back around, parking behind the car. As I pulled up, I saw My Hero sitting in a gazebo that overlooked the water. I began to walk toward him excitedly, but he motioned for me to go back. That’s when I saw the rest of the sign. It said, “Kay, pick up all your presents, you messy little thing.” laughing, I grabbed the bouquet off of the windshield and turned to the path.

The whole path was strewn with daisies! Giggling and feeling a bit conspicuous, I scooped up the flowers as I hurried toward My Hero. A couple walking their dog passed by, and the man pointed out a flower I missed. By the time I reached My Hero, I am not sure I could have held one more flower.

I set the flowers down on a bench in the gazebo and ran up to give My Hero a kiss. That’s when I saw a single red rose lying next to a ring box.

“You have one more present,” My Hero told me with that charming grin of his.

I picked up the box and turned it over. It was empty. “It’s a box,” I said,very astutely.

“I know,” he answered tenderly. “And the thing that goes in the box is right here.”. He pulled the delicate ring out of his pocket. Then he spoke the words that I have cherished for the last twelve years.

“I’ve prayed for you and about you, and I’ve prayed that you would be mine. And I’d really like it if you would be my wife.”

I know that he still prays for me and about me. And I am so thankful that I am his. I will, until the day I die, be the wife of my Airman, My Hero.

I received these today. He hasn’t forgotten that day either.

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Feeling the Effects

Tonight will be an early night.  I am feeling the effects of the car accident even more today.  My neck and head hurt. Unfortunately, I think The Ballerina is also feeling it.  Yesterday, she came up to me saying her hip hurt when she walked.  Today, her shoulder hurt as well.  We’re used to her hurting, but usually it’s her ankles.  She’s never complained about her hip hurting.

Dear Lord, I just don’t know how to handle this one.  I can handle me hurting.  I’ve been doing it for years.  But navigating my daughter’s pain?  This is new.  And uncomfortable.  I’m not enjoying it.  I KNOW what it’s like to hurt all the time.  I know what it’s like to have trouble walking because of hip pain.  She’s 10.  She’s not supposed to hurt.  So how do I make this better?

 

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Traditions!!!

(imagine me singing this in my best Fiddler on the Roof voice)

Usually when you think of a traditions, you think of fun things, like how your family sets up the Christmas Tree, or how you always watch the Fourth of July parade at your grandparents, or other warm-fuzzy stuff.  We have those.  We have our Daddy Bear tradition, where My Hero makes a Build-a -Bear with a recorded message from him inside so the kids can listen to it.  We have our (new) hiding Cuzi tradition.  We have our Hershey Kiss tradition (my personal favorite).  Then we have one tradition I would really like to discontinue.

I call it the Car-Accident-While-Daddy’s-Gone-in-the-Fall tradition.  Not my favorite. And, for the record, none of them have been my fault.  Really.

The first of three accidents took place right before My Hero left for OTS.  My wonderful father-in-law was driving (see? I told you it wasn’t my fault), and we were stopped at a red light.  The driver of the minivan two cars back didn’t notice the red light, and they slammed into the SUV behind us, which slammed into our piddly little sedan, which slammed into the SUV (or van… I don’t remember) in front of us.  It hurt.  After My Hero left for training, I ended up in the hospital because my leg kept getting a tingling sensation, and they couldn’t get the pain under control.

Accident #2 happened while My Hero was in Alabama again!! We were on our way to see the man of my dreams, when the cars on the highway slowed down suddenly in front of me, so I slowed down as well.  The van behind me didn’t.  My little Mazda 3 had over $8000 of damage.  I had more.  One of my vertebrae was broken off at the tip.  I still have pain from that, but it is (was?) better.

Accident #3 took place yesterday.  We were stopped at a busy intersection waiting for a break in traffic, and a teenage boy slammed into us.

Thankfully, this one was not quite as detrimental as the other two.  I don’t think it will take much to repair the car.  I don’t ache all over, although I have been conscious of a dull pain in both my neck and head steadily getting stronger all day.  Neither of the kids was really hurt, although The Ballerina did have a headache.  I will be going to the on Monday, unless the pain gets too bad tonight.  Fortunately, because I deal with chronic pain, I have some medicine that will help a little.

So, that’s my tradition I no longer want.  What should I replace it with???

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Foodie Friday!

I’ve decided that Friday will be recipe day.

Stop laughing.  I can do this.  Really.  I do have some recipes written down.

Stop laughing.

Earlier this week, after a really long day of homeschooling, followed by four hours of coaching, I was hungry.  Really hungry.  And I was craving Panera’s broccoli cheese soup in a bread bowl.  So even though it was after nine and we had an early morning ahead of us, I headed toward that delectable diner with the thought of their scrumptious soup filling my mouth.

It was closed.  Panera, apparently, closes at NINE.  The nerve! Nobody asked me if they could close that early.  I needed them to be open until 9:30!!! So I went home, terribly disappointed and still hungry.  I vowed to never be forced to rely on Panera for good, crusty soup bowls and broccoli soup again.  I would make my OWN.

Yesterday, being my day off, I decided to try my hand at making my own bread bowls.  I used this recipe as a guide, then went off from there.

Bread Bowls

I have yet to master the art of making a sourdough starter, so my bread bowls are just a simple bread recipe with a few things that I’ve changed here and there.

  • 1 1/4 cups of hot water
  • 1 1/4 cups of milk
  • 1 tablespoon of yeast
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of butter or olive oil, or a mix of the two
  • 2 eggs

In a large mixing bowl, combine ingredients.  Let them rest for a couple of minutes while you scramble around for the rest of the ingredients.

  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • about 7 cups of freshly ground flour (that’s what I use)

Now, most recipes will tell you to combine your dry ingredients before adding them.  I find that I’m too lazy to do that.  So I add a cup of flour, then a teaspoon of salt, then another cup of flour, then the nutmeg (Nutmeg.  I can’t think of a spice I love more), then another cup of flour, then the salt.  Continue to add the flour cup by cup until the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl and is sticking together.  It should feel slightly tacky, but should not stick to your finger as you pull it away.  Once all the flour is added, mix for 8-10 minutes.  This amount of time is different for me every time I make bread, because I always forget to set a timer, and I get busy doing other things, so I come back to it when I remember.

Place dough in a greased bowl and cover.  Let it rise for at least thirty minutes, but no longer than an hour.  Punch dough down, and divide into eight.  Shape each clump of dough into a ball.  The the balls on a greased cookie sheet and cover.  Let rise another 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400*.

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon of water

Mix the egg white and water together, brush about half the mixture on the bread bowls.  Bake the bowls for 15 minutes (ish).  Brush the egg white mixture on again, continue baking for another 15 minutes.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

It is a known fact that my children do not like broccoli.  For this, I blame their father.  My Hero is not a vegetable lover.  Thankfully, however, he realizes the importance of eating them, and will typically choke down what I serve with a smile. Most of the time, he loves my cooking, but if I serve veggies as a side and not in something like Chicken Pot Pie, he doesn’t really care for the taste.  The one veggie he refuses to eat is broccoli.  The children, being incredibly fast learners, picked this up from an early age, and also refuse to eat broccoli.  However, as I’ve mentioned, I LOVE broccoli cheese soup.  So I decided to force my children to eat it for dinner last night.  They both ate the whole bowl.

  • 4 cups of chicken broth (I make my own, but a box from the store should work just fine)
  • 4 summer squash (or a mix of zucchini and summer squash)
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 butter
  • 1/2 cup of freshly ground flour

Cut up the summer squash and zucchini, and place in a pot with the chicken broth.  Bring to a boil, then let it simmer.  While the broth is simmering, finely chop your onion.  Heat a skillet, then add the butter.  Once the butter is melted, saute’ the onion for 7-10 minutes.  Remove the onion with a slotted spoon.  Add flour to the remaining butter.  If needed, add a little olive oil to make a thick paste.  Cook for 5-7 minutes, whisking constantly.

Place the squash and 1 cup of the chicken broth in a blender.  Puree.  Return to broth with onions and flour mixture.

  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 2 1/2 cups of finely chopped broccoli
  • 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1-2 teaspoons of salt (to your taste)
  • 1 1/2 cups of cream or whole milk
  • 1 block of cheddar or marbled cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper

Add remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil, let it simmer for about 20 minutes.  Puree half of the soup.  Add more salt or nutmeg as needed to bring the flavor to your liking.

There you have it folks.  I really can write down a recipe.  Hopefully I didn’t leave out anything important!

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