Day Two

On day two, Fuzz turned 18 months old! We spent the morning running errands, and the rest of the day was spent playing. They are still trying to catch up on all that play and tickle time.


Day one

Tuesday, Stryker's first full day back, we went to the park for a picnic. Fuzz chased the birds, we ate lunch, played on the playground, and left when it started raining. It was a great day.

Just a part of the package

Wow, you guys rock! Thanks for all the well wishes on Stryker being home. We've read every single one. I think he finally understands the support you have all given me throughout this deployment.

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon in bliss at the spa in the fancy resort up at the north shore. It was, according to Stryker, my Valentine's Day/you never got time to yourself and you deserve it, gift. I have to say, I wasn't feeling all that worthy. I just considered going through this deployment a part of our life together. Not fun, but necessary if I want to continue to be with, and love, Stryker. He and our relationship, is more than worth it.

I told him after I got back my feelings about it. He took my hand, pulled me out of the chair, and started dancing with me right in the living room, as he started rattling off all the reasons why he thought I did in fact deserve it. No wonder why I missed him so much! It's easy to forget all those little romantic things they do everyday when they have been gone for so long.

We are not really having any of those reintegration problems that we did during R&R. I think we must have worked the bugs out at that time, and now it's smooth sailing. Fuzz is getting better with the change every day. I mentioned how hard of a time we were having at bedtime and naptime, and as of yesterday, she's going down without fighting it again. Loving it.


You mean it's real?

Finally, two days after Stryker got home it is beginning to feel like it's real. I felt like after 15 months of separation, the little ceremony (although exciting) just didn't do the whole deployment justice. Where was the parade, the confetti, the champagne spraying all over?

It's only occasional moments that I realize that he's not on borrowed time. I don't have to give him wholly to lady Army in two weeks. It's still hard to wrap my head around.

Fuzz is adjusting, but not as quickly as she did on R&R. Yesterday she fought naptime and bedtime like you wouldn't believe. This is a big adjustment for her. She's not used to sharing me. But it is cute, when Stryker kisses me she trots right over and watches and smiles. Cutest thing.

I am so relieved he's home. I'm incredibly blessed to be so in love.


15 months

He's home...he's finally home.

15 months in which we both grew as individuals. 15 months in which we went through things alone that we wish we never would have, but made us stronger. 15 months of our lives, over.


What I've been doing today...

And trying my hardest not to do this to Fuzz...

That girl was up at 6AM and would not go back to sleep. So she's been clingy and whiney all day. I just laid her down for a nap and she's fighting that as well. If you remember from a previous post, she has radar when something big is happening.

Hmm...I wonder what that "something big" could be?


Not so typical

*UPDATE* It's true, I talked to him this morning!!!

Seeing as how it's Saturday and on the weekends TV is crap and no one blogs much, I am bored and therefore incessantly checking the division website for updates. Updates that I know won't be there because they don't really update until they actually are on their flight back.

So imagine my surprise when I note that both, both "tentative" chalks that Stryker "could, maybe" be on have been bumped up by a day. Yes, you read that correctly. Bumped up, not back.

If that isn't unarmyish, I don't know what is.

What is armyish is that after the initial flutters in my belly of excitement, my brain told me to hold on and not get so excited. See...they don't just train our husbands, they train us too.



In anticipation of our guys getting home, we have been getting a lot of emails from FRG with information. On the division website, their ceremony dates and times are listed according to Chalk #. The FRG keeps reiterating that in order to find out our husband's Chalk #, we need to call Rear Detachment, and they will tell us. Then we can track their arrival on the website. Sounds too easy right? Apparently it is.

My friend T, whose husband arrived yesterday, got into town on Sunday night. I picked her up from the airport and she stayed with me for a couple days while she was getting their place set up. I was witness to her phone calls with Rear D, and they went something like this.

T: Hi, can you tell me my husband's chalk number?
Rear D: I'm sorry ma'am, I can't give you that information.
T: Well I was told to call you.
Rear D: Once your husband knows his chalk # I can tell you.
T: They don't know their chalk numbers.
Rear D: I'm sorry, then I can't tell you anything.

They went around and around in circles until eventually he told her that if she came in to the office and showed her ID he could tell her. So she went in the next day, and...you guessed it, they don't have that information. They apparently aren't telling anyone anything until they are actually on their way back to the island.

So we have FRG telling us to call Rear D, and then Rear D telling us they don't have the information. Of course this is completely expected, because, after all, it is the Army.

I called today just to see what they would tell me and he said, (without even asking me Stryker's name) that he is tentatively on either Chalk X or Chalk Z. Tentatively. Gotta love it.


Little explorer

Fuzz loves it outside. We went exploring today, and I had to bribe her with supper to get her to come in.

I'm baaaaack

We made it! Still no Stryker, but we are here. Fuzz was really good on the flights, although she slept for less than three hours between the three flights. Out of 10 hours air time. Yes, she was good, but that's a long time to entertain a little one. And let me remind you, she's busy.

Apparently, she's also entering the terrible two stage. It's wonderful. Shrieking, tantrums, biting, slapping, you name it, she probably does it. Yikes, I am so not handling this well. I am so happy Stryker is almost home to help me. I feel like nothing I do to try and curb the bad behavior works. Worse yet, when I do reprimand her, she smiles or laughs at me. You moms out there who have a baby AND one Fuzz's age...bravo. Bravo.

She is doing some fun things though. Starting to talk more. Her favorite phrase is, "good girl". Yes, she has high self esteem and praises herself regularly.

Completely unrelated - does anyone know how to do the equivalent of a right click on a MacBook? I just got one (yay!), and can't even tell you how thrilled I am to finally be connected again. Let the reading, commenting, and writing resume!


The end is near

Tomorrow morning I leave cold, wintry Wisconsin, and welcome warm, tropical Hawaii. I am both excited and nervous. I'm nervous about the long flight with Fuzz by myself. I know my nervousness won't make it any better though, so I'm trying not to dwell on it. I'm taking the approach I did with labor. It's one day out of my life. Even if it's horrible, it's only one day, and then I get to move on. With labor and with this flight, I have beautiful things waiting for me at the end of it.

I just have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that this deployment is almost over. We have done 14+ months apart. I have done 14+ months by myself raising Fuzz, and we've both lived to tell about it! Wow.

At the same time, I know that the end of my journey is just the beginning of other's. I know how they are feeling, but they will get through it, no matter how hard it often seems. Day by day, you just go through it and you do it. Usually you can't explain how you're doing it, you just are.

I attribute getting through this deployment on a few things. The Lord, Fuzz, and you guys. Let me explain.

When Stryker was on leave before the deployment, we were leaving a hotel in his hometown, and the TV was on. Neither of us were watching it, it was just noise in the background. It was one of those televised sermons. We never watch those, I don't even know why it was on. But like I said, it was background noise, and all of a sudden it was like the pastor was speaking just to me. He was talking about how people exercise and eat right, and think it's going to make them live longer. He said that of course exercising and eating right are important to make your quality of life better, but that your number of days are already predetermined. God already knows when your time is up, and all the exercising and eating right isn't going to change that.

This isn't the first time I've heard this message, but all of a sudden it hit home. What use is it for me to worry about Stryker while he's there, when his destiny is already written? I no longer worried about his death, because according to this belief, no matter if he was here or there, the day would be the same. This single thing is the difference between this deployment and his other two. Of course I prayed for him and his comrades, but I didn't have that deep underlying, debilitating fear like I did during the other deployments.

Fuzz's presence is pretty self-explanatory. She has given me so much joy and kept me so busy during this deployment. Yes, taking care of a child by myself was difficult, exhausting, and often frustrating. But oh, she is so worth it. And the sense of accomplishment I feel from doing all of this on my own is oftentimes overwhelming.

Finally, I have been reading blogs for quite a while. In April, I finally decided to start writing myself, and this community that I fell into has been so amazing. I did not know about the blog community during the first deployment. I didn't know that my feelings were normal, and expected.

Reading your stories, and getting so much support and encouragement from you all has made a huge difference. I feel like you are my allies. At times, you know me better than my own family, if only because you often feel the same ways that I do.

So thank you. Thank you for helping me get through this one journey of my life. Thank you for your support, encouragement, and love. You have become a special part of my life that I will forever cherish.


Your questions, answered

Loquita wants to know more about my family and my wedding (she's planning her own, go check out her ideas and help her with her dilemmas!)

Well Loqi, I don't have nearly as big of a family as you do! I have one sister (who is amazing) and that's it! She is two years younger than me and isn't married yet, and doesn't have any babies. Stryker has a brother, sister, and a half sister. His half sister has twin boys, so I have two nephews through our marriage.

My parents divorced when I was 17. My mom has seven brothers and sisters, so I have a lot of cousins. Christmas is crazy! My dad only has one sister, who has one son, who was born just one day before me. We've never been very close though, because they have always lived far away.

My wedding was amazing. Even if I could, I don't think I would change a thing. Traditional ceremony in the church I grew up in, pictures along the river, reception with mediocre food, fabulous friends and family, and lots of dancing.

The girls in the wedding party wore a dark pewter, even in the summer, I loved it. They each carried three long stem calla lillies. My bouquet was white calla lillies surrounded by pink roses. Our friend played the piano and sang two songs, "I Will be Here" by Steven Curtis Chapman, and "More than Anyone" by Sarah Kelly.

In a break from the limo tradition, we had old cars transport us from the ceremony to the reception:

Our first dance was to Stevie Wonder's, "For Once in My Life". It's a little jazzy, we rocked it.

And after it was over, we went to the hotel and ordered pizza. After pizza we took a bath and Stryker took every single bobby pin out of my hair. It was a wonderful day despite the rain.

KDwants to know more about Fuzz, what I wanted to be when I grew up, and my favorite meal to cook.

Yes, Fuzz was a planned baby. I think we practically talked it to death before we finally decided to do away with the birth control. I always thought it would be nice to have a boy first and then a girl because she could have a big brother, but when it came down to it, I didn't really care. From very early on in the pregnancy though, I thought she was a girl. In all of the dreams I had where I had a baby, she was a girl. And let me tell you, I had some WEIRD dreams while I was pregnant.

I was in labor with her for almost 24 hours, and she came into the world at 7 lbs, 8.5 oz, 19 inches long, with her daddy's mouth, and a ton of hair:

It is fun to dress her up all girly, but to be honest, she doesn't seem like a girly girl. She's a wild daredevil, she's tough, and she likes to get dirty.

She's starting to get sassy, and starting to throw tantrums, and I question my parenting many times a day.

When I was younger, I always wanted to be a teacher when I grew up. I still think I might. I made my sister play "school" in the basement with me where we had chalkboards, easels, and old school desks. I even gave her tests and homework. Haha, I am was a nerd.

My favorite meal to cook is a tough one. I love to try new things, but I love to make Shrimp Scampi because it is Stryker's favorite thing (so far) that I make, and it's so nice to make something that is appreciated and loved (and raved about).

Well, that was fun. I hope everyone had a great weekend. Only 4 days to take-off!



I have a few things to share. First of all, I'm still taking questions until Friday for my 200th post. If you feel so inclined to ask a question about me, Stryker, Fuzz, or our wonderful little life, please do!

Next, it's giveaway galore out there lately!

Sara is giving away her favorite perfume, and although I've never smelled it, it sounds amazing!

KD is doing a giveaway with options, imagine that! You can either choose a subscription to the CrossFit journal, or a Dior makeup set.

These ladies are spoiling us...or teasing us, I guess it depends if you win or not. Good luck!

Beautiful belly

I love pregnant bellies! While my cousin was here for a baby shower last weekend, we did a little maternity photo shoot. It was fun and awesome. It was pretty funny trying to improvise hanging sheets in different areas of the house to get different light angles. It would have been even better if we could have waited just a couple more weeks, but unfortunately, I'm leaving, so we had to do it now.

I'm sending her a disk with all the best ones, I hope she loves them. Here are a few of my favorites.



Ta da! Did you think I disappeared?? Well I did...kind of.

First things first, this is post 200! You know the deal, ask, and I'll tell. I would love to have you get to know me better.

The main reason I haven't written is because the computer died. How dare it?? Although it's a slight definite possibility that it's God's work, forcing me to get off the computer and start packing. Because after all, once it died, I got the whole house packed up, and today my sister, her boyfriend, my dad, and I moved everything into a storage unit. My journey to reunite with Stryker is beginning folks!

Let me tell you a little about the storage unit. I had been calling around looking for one when I saw the ad in the phonebook for the one I chose that said "heated". This was a requirement because, well, it's February in Wisconsin, and I have a pretty new washing machine that I don't exactly want to freeze up.

So I go, sign the contract, she give me the unit number, and I go and check it out. Yeah, it's cold in there. So I call and ask about the heat. Here's a recap of our conversation.

Kiki: Hi, this is Kiki, I was just there to sign the contract, and I'm at the unit and I'm wondering about the heat. Is there a place to turn it on, or how does it work?
Lady: Oh, I meant to tell you about that. It's not exactly heated...
K: Wha..?
L: Well, what did it feel like, because we've been having problems with that.
K: Cold, what is it supposed to feel like??
L: Above freezing.
K: Well that's pretty misleading, because the ad says "heated" right in it.
L: Yeah, sorry about that, I meant to tell you about that. So we're ok then?

Are you flippin' kidding me?? Yes, I'm glad you had me sign the contract and pay the money before I actually got to go see the unit and notice it's not really heated. By the way, how can a unit be heated without actually being heated? Does anyone have the answer? Because I'm stumped.