Thursday, October 27, 2011
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
|Vodka Punch that started it all.|
|My tattoo will remind me I have the courage!|
|These guys were amazing acrobats. They just took off down the street with back flips, handsprings and whatnot!|
|Jello shot in a syringe... yup, good idea!|
|Notice the police car...|
|This was soon after sundown - and it only got more crowded and fun later.|
|Mississippi River - we missed the ride on the Tunica Queen.|
Monday, September 12, 2011
Friday, September 9, 2011
Saturday, August 6, 2011
It was a Wednesday morning when my phone rang with a number that meant someone was calling from Iraq. I panicked. I knew in my mind that if something happened to Brian they wouldn't call me, they would show up at my door, but it didn't stop my fear. I wanted to faint. I was getting ready to leave for school and I was trying to feed YaYa so we could leave. I was in a hurry because I had a big test in physiology that day. Brian never called me in the morning and that added to my fear. I answered the phone.
"I just want to let you know I'm alive," Brian said. I was relieved to hear his voice but I had no clue what he was talking about. How could he be anything but alive if he was talking to me on the phone?
"Ok," I said slowly, still trying to figure everything else out.
"I can't talk long, but there was an incident and I'm alive. I'll tell you later."
"Ok, but, what happened?" I asked, knowing he wouldn't tell me, but I had to try.
"We were in a helicopter crash, but everyone is ok. That's all I can say. I just wanted you to know I am ok in case you hear anything on the news."
I was shaken and shaking and more curious than calm, but I knew I couldn't ask more questions. We said our goodbyes and I headed down the mountain to meet my dad, who watched YaYa while I was in class. The crash was mentioned on the news all morning and I was grateful Brian had called so I didn't have to worry.
When I met my dad he asked me if it was Brian's helicopter that was involved. I don't know how he knew, but he's pretty smart like that. I confirmed and then rushed to class, to take a test I was in no way mentally prepared for. I proceeded to fail it miserably.
That night I went to dinner at my dad's house and it was all anybody talked about. To add insult to injury, that very same day I was IMing with an old high school friend and she told me that a friend of ours had died. I was in such shock from the helicopter crash that I didn't even realize she was telling me it was one of my best friends from high school that I had only recently gotten back in touch with. (fyi, I have a habit of dropping in and out of people's lives, it's just the way I am - I build a lot of walls around my soul) I didn't put it together for about a week; it took that long to process almost losing Brian. Then I started crying all over again. It was a rough go there for a while.
The next morning I looked for any information in the newspaper I could find and it was buried on the very, and I mean VERY, last page of the paper. I have the clip-out somewhere, but it wasn't very big. I figure it was because nobody died and it wasn't sensational in that way, but in a way I think it was more amazing that everyone survived. A brick falling from the sky is not a very safe thing to be in.
Upton and his crew emptied the broken Blackhawk of equipment and “sensitive” items while they secured a perimeter around the helicopter with guns drawn. Two OH-58D Kiowa Warrior gunships flew in within minutes after Wyatt Smith in Robb’s chopper radioed about a chopper down. The gunships allowed Robb to land his Black Hawk and cram aboard Upton, his crew and passengers, stacked like cordwood inside. Within about five minutes, or what “seemed like forever,” Robb’s helicopter arrived safely in Taji."
Brian would be happy to share his story, I don't know his side of it very well (kinda sorta mentally blocked it), only my part.
He did say to me later that when he realized they were going down, as he tightened his seat belt thing, that I was going to be pissed because he hadn't updated his emergency contact information when I had moved. He would have been right.
For his efforts in suppressing enemy fire, Brian was awarded the Air Medal with Valor. He doesn't like to share that with people, but I am very proud of him for being able to think so quickly and help save the lives of his passengers and fellow crew members.
I am lucky. I got Brian back. I almost lost him but I got him back. The families of the 31 soldiers and 7 Afghanis won't be getting them back. My heart goes out to them. My heart goes out to everyone who has lost friends and family members in the wars, those who still have loved ones in harms way, and those who may have someone over there at some point. My tears don't mean anything. I don't think I know any of them. I cry for the loss anyway.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Monday, July 25, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011
A toddler left alone will be rather destructive... in case you weren't aware...
Sunday, July 17, 2011
I have to admit that I have been in a bit of a funk the last few days. I think I am starting to pull through it, though.
The low point was when I was lying on the floor in the office, completely overwhelmed. I have a house that looks like a tornado came through and I had absolutely no motivation to do anything about it or any way to coerce/force my daughter to help me. She yells at me that she’s ‘not going to help me’ and I ‘can’t make her’ over and over and over again until I want to put my hands over my ears and scream.
I felt as if nothing was going to get better. Ever. You know how you can stand on the beach, right where the waves hit the shore, and every time a wave returns to the sea some of the sand is dug up from beneath your feet and you sink a bit? (sorry for the long sentence…) I felt like that, only I was sunk so far down that I could barely breathe anymore and the waves were relentless. I was being pounded down and down and down until I didn’t know how I would ever resurface.
As I lay there, gasping for breath, about to cry, my sweet little guy ran over with his blanky and started to rub my face saying ‘Mama, Mommy’ and I had to smile a little bit. Then my phone did that little sound thingy that meant I had a notification. I peeled myself off the floor and went to look for my phone. Low and behold, I had a text message from a friend! She said she missed me, and that was a big help to my shattered mind.
For the last few weeks I have felt as if I’m on this rollercoaster ride of parenting all by myself. I know everyone has challenges in parenting, and as far as that goes I am very lucky that everyone is healthy and mostly happy. (aside from when I do that parent thing and actually MAKE them do something they don’t want to do – see above picture) I don’t want to complain, because I generally am a very strong person, however, I have been very lonely. I don’t have many friends with kids, and since I am essentially a single parent right now, I have no way of doing the things normal adult people do.
My little guy has to be in bed by six or he turns into a holy terror, which means anything that happens in the evening is pretty much out. I make exceptions, but they are very few and far between. I don’t have the energy to keep up with him if I do try and keep him up any later, which leads to him walking all over me. Normally we have to leave within fifteen minutes of getting anywhere because he has become his terror-self. It’s not fun. At all. So I get lonely. Sometimes very lonely. Sometimes lonely enough to find myself in a puddle on the floor.
I’m not very good at asking for help. I know people would be there for me if I would just reach out and ask, but my pride keeps me from the help that’s out there – only a phone call away. People tell me that they don’t know how I do what I do, what with a husband constantly deployed, or gone for training, or something for long periods of time, and raising two small children while dealing with my stinking neuropathy. But I don’t think I’m strong at all. I’m just a really good faker. I look like I have it all together, but it’s just a front. Inside I’m a wreck, constantly wondering when my carefully constructed façade is going to crumble and people will see the real me. All my flaws will surface. I think, at times, I’m right on the edge of the precipice that decides whether I keep it all together or go down the cliff and crumple at the bottom. (guess my secrets out – not that it changes my ability to ask for help. yet.) I do what everyone does when faced with an obstacle – I put one foot in front of the other and plod along, even when I find my mind overcoming my abilities to stay in a straight line.
It all boils down to what I decide to let rule my life. Do I let loneliness and sadness and despair overcome the happy light I feel I have within me? I don’t think I’d like me very much if that were the case, which would lead to more bad feelings. That’s a downward spiral I don’t want to follow.
Today I feel as if the ‘real’ Lauren is coming back to me. I was worried I’d almost lost her completely yesterday. Even this morning it didn’t feel like she was very close to me, but I didn’t feel quite as bad. My hope was returning, and that’s what I really live on. It’s what keeps me able to face whatever comes next. I was afraid I’d lost my ability to hope. Without hope I really have nothing and no way to get through the day. I think that’s the same for everyone. So, hopeful Lauren is back, and hopefully I’ll be able to hold on to her this time.
In the end, I would like to thank my friends who called me Friday and Saturday, that seemed to know just when to call, just the exact moment I needed them, when I was too far gone to reach out for that help. Maybe the universe was sending some unseen, unconscious forces to them letting them know I was seriously drowning and needed them.
Maybe next time I’ll be able to ask for help. Maybe. Don’t hold your breath, though!
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Last night I reached a new low. I went to bed early, looking to catch up on some sleep I have lost recently, and hoped a bit of extra rest would be the answer.
Around 3:30AM I woke with a start and wondered what I was doing so wide awake. I then heard a noise from downstairs that sounded like someone in the house. There was a bang, as if a door was opening and shutting, and then silence. My heart started pounding and I immediately freaked out. FYI -I go to freak out mode WAY too easily.
It took about fifteen minutes to calm down before I heard the sound again. When I tried to listen more clearly, despite my pounding heart, it sounded as if someone was scraping rocks out of my front walk way - a weird sound, but not unlike the sort of sound the guy made in Home Alone who had the shovel who turned out to be harmless but everyone thought was a murderer and grave robber. I was more afraid than Macaulay Culkin's character. And he was how old??
I peeked out of my window, looked in the direction the sound was coming, and all was going good until I saw a movement. It took everything I had not to scream the most blood-curdling scream I knew how to let out. Then... I saw the flag come waving back to me in the breeze that had picked up overnight. Yeah - I had put that flag out earlier in the day and completely forgotten about it in my terror in the dark. Go Patriotism!! Nevertheless, my heart was pounding and I could hardly breathe.
I fell back asleep as the sun was coming up. The dogs barked to be let out at their usual 5:55AM (I don't know how they time it so well!) and when I went downstairs I noticed I was completely fastidious in my locking up and alarming everything and my terror in the night was for nothing. Freak attack abated this time, but I'm sure whenever that happens again my terror will leave me as white as a well bleached sheet. Until then, if anybody wants those landscaping rocks, feel free to take them. Please just leave me a note about it so I expect you so I don't have to be so afraid. Thanks!
We had her neighbor friend over today, and when said friend started to get mad about little brother playing in the playroom with them, my sweet child calmly explained that he was allowed to play in the room because it was for both of them. There was some resistance from her friend, who is an only child and I sort of expect it from her, but they eventually figured it out. I was surprised that my rules were followed, for the most part. The most resistance was from neighbor friend, but she eventually acquiesced to my wishes and that helped immensely.
Yesterday, DD's last day of grounding, I forced her (as she would say it) to clean the room we so fondly refer to as 'the exploded room' aka the play room. It took her hours, like she had predicted (but totally avoidable if she picked up more than she played - so her fault, not mine), but eventually it was finished. I was able to vacuum the room for once and tomorrow I will steam clean it. It feels nice to have a clean main floor of the house (aside from the foreboding piles on the tables which I must deal with soon) and hopefully after we tackle the upstairs it will all be more manageable and won't cause us all to fall to tears at the mere thought of picking up.
I think the fear of being grounded again may cause her to think twice about her actions. (pray for me) At first I felt as if three days was a bit harsh for a six year old, but the recommended six minute time outs were clearly not having the effect I had hoped for. When we canceled a play date Friday evening because of 'The Grounding' she was very hurt and embarrassed. I hope this will carry through for a while and I'll be able to maintain some semblance of peace in our household. Or at least until daddy gets home and mommy gets a weekend off... yeah right! (But if I do get it there will be tiny wines for all!!!)
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Being the sweet girl that she is, that little girl screamed at me that she wasn't going to do it and she didn't have to. I asked her again, and when she refused to pick everything up I told her to go to her room. If I thought the poop hit the fan before I was sorely mistaken. I didn't know the poop could fly as far as it did when it hit it the second time. I again told her to go to her room because she needed a break. She promptly backed herself into a corner, yelling at screaming at me that she hated me. When I went to grab her to remove her to her room she pulled a wrestling move of some sort and managed to get past me.
It was at that moment that I regretted this open floor plan that we have. She ran all around the house but managed to get stuck in the laundry room. I was trying to carry her up the stairs when she wrapped her scrawny, yet surprisingly powerful little legs around the rungs. I managed to pull her up the stairs, she was hanging on for dear life the whole way, and get her to her room.
Then the poop started flying at a completely new level... When I tried to leave the room things started flying at me. Literally. When I felt the shoe hit me that was it. I shut her in the room, holding the door shut to keep her from escaping. She told me she wasn't going to stop throwing things until I let her out. When she was younger I had to turn the lock around to keep her in there. I won't do that now, because she no longer needs to be locked in for her own safety at night, but gosh darn it, I sure want to!
After about twenty minutes she calmed down, and until I put her to bed she was calm in there, perhaps realizing why she was in there, and the rest of the evening progressed smoothly. I've decided instead of sending her away to a reform school, which would be the easiest choice, we are going to do some counseling. I hope that living in a military community, where people are experienced with deployments and the fallout left on the young children, that we will be able to get her some help. Until then she is grounded until Sunday. This will be WAY harder on me than it is on her.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
I have a little girl who needs to be constantly entertained. If we aren’t in the thick of utter action, always, all the time, every second of every day, she is pouty and angry and not fun to be around. If she doesn’t have something to do or someone to play with every moment she is awake she will throw a fit, be rude, and generally be unpleasant. We have tried to explain to her that we don’t need to be busy at every moment; that sometimes it’s nice to just sit around and do nothing or not have a plan of action every day, but it just isn’t sinking into that pretty little head of hers, which is not so pretty with her lips puckered into a frown-y pout with her eyebrows furrowed. We have tried begging and pleading with her. We have tried threatening her. We have screamed and stomped our own feet out of sheer frustration. None of it seems to work. I hope this is just a phase and she’ll grow out of it, but I’m worried she will grow up to be one of those angry, bitter adults that nothing will please and are absolutely rotten to be around. I hope with the right guidance she won’t become one of those. It’s very difficult for me to understand because I was, and always have been, a very laid-back, go with the flow kind of person. Gah. Double Gah. I guess I just have to keep pushing through, knowing I am not the first parent to deal with this sort of stuff. Let’s pray little brother doesn’t follow in her footsteps!
P.S... I purposefully made run-on sentences in this post. And no, I'm not correcting them. I was mad! I ramble when I'm mad. Deal with it! ;o)