Deployment lessons: gift giving

I learn a lot during deployments. I learn a lot about my husband, our relationship, and myself. I also learn little things along the way that I wouldn't normally think about if my husband were home.

During Stryker's first deployment, I learned to be creative with gift giving during holidays and birthdays. Gone to the wayside are the "traditional" gift ideas. The guys aren't exactly wearing cologne and dress watches over there. There are few things they need, and toiletries don't exactly top the "best gift" list. I have found that sentimental gifts and baked goodies are the best gifts during deployments. I have also learned that finding the perfect card is nearly impossible. "And tonight, when we gaze into each other's eyes..." well that one's out. In a store of thousands of cards, why aren't there any for people who are still in love but not physically together during the special events in their lives?

So, for our upcoming anniversary, I decided to make Stryker a movie. I dug through all...all, of our pictures and found the best ones of us and the different memories we have made over the years. Most of them were actual printed pictures, either from before we had digital cameras or were deleted from the computer. I scanned them all, threw them together on the movie maker, then added some songs to play in the background while our love story floated across the screen.

I spent hours on this project, because when I finished it, the songs didn't play. After much struggle, the quick fix was just changing the song format.

The goodies are chocolate cupcakes with white chocolate chips, although they look more like brownies than cupcakes. The recipe says they keep for up to a month. Sounds crazy, but hopefully true! Not that they will last a month. I give them 3 days once they get to Stryker. I almost always include goodies when I send him a package, and apparently whenever he gets a package everyone stands around when he opens it. So wives/girlfriends/fiancees/moms...get baking! Just be warned that the goodies you send that are the most time consuming to make, will be the favorite, and then you get requests for said putzy goodies.


Memorial Day

Today as I was driving to the post office to mail a package for Stryker, I saw all the flags lined up along the cemetery, and it makes me so proud and thankful. Thankful that I am able to live in this wonderful country. Thankful for all the men and women who gave their lives so that I can enjoy the freedoms I have today. And proud that I am married to a man who is taking care of me in the same way as we speak.

He hasn't lost his life to this mission, and God willing, he won't. But while he is there, he is giving up his life here at home, for me...for all of us. And that makes me thankful and proud.

The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him. - G. K. Chesterton


The housecleaning fairy isn't REAL?!?!

Yes, by posting, I am procrastinating scrubbing the kitchen floor. I admit it.

Smarty pants

The other day I started up the garbage disposal only to hear a horrendous noise. Fuzz started screaming immediately. I admit, it always scares me when things unknowingly fall down there and I turn it on too. I don't do it very often, maybe only 2 or 3 times, ever.

I thought one of Fuzz's spoons fell down there, they are little, it made sense. I stuck my hand down there to dig it out. It was glass. A glass baby food jar had fallen down there. No good. So I did my best to get it all out but as I was digging around visions of my hand getting chopped to pieces overtook me and I had to quit.

Now mind you, I was no where near the switch to turn it on, but I kept envisioning a little button down there that possibly turns it on automatically (unrealistic, yes...but scary nonetheless), so I just couldn't do it. Besides, there were so many tiny pieces that I thought it was improbable that I would retrieve them all.

I was trying to think of what to do to get it all out. My mom suggested running it with some lemon peels, thinking the glass would stick in the peel and go down. Not bad, I thought. Then when I told Stryker about it he suggested the vacuum. Brilliant! It worked magnificently. What a smarty pants.



After a long soak in the tub, I feel much better. Renewed even. Now if only that housecleaning fairy would come along.....

Fuzz has insomnia

Had to drop Fuzz off at my mom's before I had a nervous breakdown. The girl does not want to nap! She almost fell asleep in the car on the way over there. I've realized it's hard for me to ask for help and admit that although I can do it by myself, sometimes it's better for both of us if I don't.


Get a new job

So...I got a beautiful tennis bracelet from Stryker for Mother's Day. Gorgeous. But it's a little too big. So I took it to the store he purchased it from to see if they could resize it. Here's how it went down.

I got to the store and waited for about 5 minutes for the sales associate to get off the phone. No "thank you for waiting", nothing. I explain what I want and hand over the bracelet along with all the paperwork.

"Oh you bought it online." As if I am an inferior customer because my deployed husband took time out of his non-stop job protecting her freedom to buy me a beautiful gift online. She mentioned this at least three times during our short exchange, always in the same uppity tone. They have the exact same bracelet in the store..why does it matter that it was purchased online?

She then informs me that because it was purchased online, he was unable to purchase some warranty, so resizing isn't covered. I'd have to pay it out of pocket to the tune of $60. Now this bracelet has links in it...why would soldering be necessary? Anyway, for $69.99 I could purchase the warranty and then the bracelet would be covered for life for the clasp, replating, resizing, etc. etc.

At this point I said "I guess I'm just surprised that resizing it wouldn't be included."

And here's where the really stellar customer service comes in.

"Well goldsmiths don't work for free."

"But it's a (insert company name here) bracelet!"

Needless to say, I left with my bracelet. I will be writing them a letter. If they charge a fee for resizing, fine, but the goldsmith comment just put me over the edge. I think it was totally uncalled for, especially after her superiority complex over it being purchased online.


Purple is my friend

These suckers just keep looking better and better!


Videos aren't the same

Today on the phone:

Stryker: Has there been any more crawling?
Me: No, but yesterday she was pulling herself up on the table, I got it on video.
Stryker: Aww...I'm missing it alllll

Breaks my heart..it just breaks. my. heart.

We knew this would happen when we decided to have a baby. It doesn't make it any easier.

Too much work

This isn't what I was going for, but it is staying.

Until I have another lapse in judgement and try it again...



I kinda screwed up my blog trying to change my template...I don't feel like fixing it right now. It'll happen sooner or later.

One day off in over 2 months...sign me up!

Yay! He finally got a refit day (yes...one) after over 2 months. They have been running those boys ragged. I'm sure one day doesn't eliminate all the stress and burnout, but it helps for sure. He is so strong and such a trooper and I'm so proud of him.


Our Story

Stryker and I met in college. We lived on the same floor in the dorms. We were friends. He always made my stomach do flip flops, but we both were in relationships. I never voiced my feelings. He never voiced his, but it was kinda mutual. So we were friends first. For about two years before we actually got together. I think that's the best. By the time we decided to be together, there was no point trying to pretend we were something we weren't. We already knew each other.

Then he decided that he wanted to pursue his dream. He wanted to join the Army right out of high school but his family encouraged him to try college first. So he did, and in the end he did what he wanted to do in the first place.

I am certain with everything that I am that even if he had joined right out of high school we still would have met and fallen in love. There are many crazy things that have happened that assure us that it was written in the stars for us to be together. God made him only for me, and me for him.

While he was between basic training and airborne school he called me. He had gotten a different phone so I didn't have it in my phone, but we talked. It was a strange thing. He had never called me before. Like a bonehead, I didn't save his number. But he called again. And again before I finally saved his number. So during these phone calls, we decided to get together when he got back from airborne.

And we did, and it happened, and it was amazing. I had never felt like this about someone before. I couldn't believe that "9th floor Stryker" liked...me! A Soldier's Wife quotes Julia perfectly.

So the sad day approached when his leave at home was over and he had to report to his duty station. I gave him a kiss, sent him off with some of my M&M cookies, and that was that. It wasn't long before he found out he'd be deploying. With that news, Stryker started to freak out a little. It was a new relationship. He didn't want me to sit around waiting for him. I was in college, I should be living it up, he thought. So he broke my heart. I asked him if that's what it was. He told me no. Why do people do that? Why do they think they know what's better for you than you do?

I was truly heartbroken. I just couldn't understand it. Days before he was telling me he was the luckiest man in the world. My world felt like it was falling apart. I was ready to pack up and fly halfway around the world to see him. Make him tell me to my face that's what he wanted. I refrained. I even refrained from calling him at all. It had to be one of the hardest things I've ever done.

About a week later he called me. He wanted to be friends. I wanted all or nothing. He continued to call me over the next month and then he started sounding like the feelings were still there. I knew they had to be. You can't just turn something off like that. But he made me feel like there was possibility. He wanted to see me. So I packed up and flew halfway around the world during my Thanksgiving break bound and determined to get my man back. And I did.


Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all my fellow mothers! It's my very first Mother's Day and I think Fuzz knows. She's being especially pleasant today. The new toys from garage sale-ing could be playing a part.

Today my sister and I are taking our mom out for lunch (Chinese, one of my favorites!) and then we are all going and getting pedicures. Truly a treat for all of us. Mom's never had one before and I'm pretty sure after this one she will be addicted. The footrub never lasts long enough in my opinion, but I don't think it ever could.

We are sure to have a good day, I hope yours is just as wonderful!



I love Taste of Home. They have great recipes, and I love that they show pictures with nearly every recipe in their magazine. It's nice knowing what it's supposed to look like so you know if you totally botched it and it shouldn't be fed to....well....anything or anyone.

This is the latest one I tried.

Slice 'n' Bake Lemon Gems

Oh so lemony, oh so delish. Unfortunately Fortunately, I will be sending them off to my lovely Stryker. Temptation? No thank you!



I love spending time with my sister. She always seems to brighten my spirits. Her nickname since birth has been Bouker (pronounced boo, like scary). I have no idea why my aunt always called her that, but it stuck.

She is two years younger than me and is my only sibling. Since we were fairly close in age we fought like crazy when we were younger. I'm talking "I hate you"s, nasty letters, and physical fighting. On one occasion she hit me over the head with an empty coffee can. No matter the things I've done to her, this is my blog and I maintain my innocence. *sly grin* My parents would get so mad at our fighting. Today we couldn't be closer. We are different in many ways but there is something about the bond of sisterhood. Everything you went through as a child, she did too.

Because I moved back by my family during My Love's deployment (we'll call him Stryker from here on out), I've gotten to spend a lot more time with her and it's wonderful. I missed her more than I realized...



This week flew by. Finally, a cheetah week. I like the cheetahs better than the snails.