My sister gets here today!

On the schedule:
* Run with Stryker
* Shower
* Pick up lei
* Pick up one of my favorite people!

We don't have a lot on the agenda, although Stryker & I are surprising her with a dolphin swim on one of her last days here. She is going to flip. Should be a lot of relaxing, and quality bonding time. I can't believe how much I've missed her!


Take 2

I can't believe that my sister will be here tomorrow already! That snuck up so fast, and I am so very excited. When I think about what Fuzz was like when we left in February, and what she is like now, I realize how much she has changed. My sister is just going to eat her up. I can't wait!

Today has been a potty training day. Don't worry, it hasn't been nearly as traumatic exciting as last time. Not that I'm going to test it with piggy-back rides or anything. The last few days she's been wanting to sit on her potty a lot. Mostly right after she's gone to the bathroom in her diaper, so I think it's starting to click. So today, after I took her first diaper off this morning, she wanted to sit on it, peed, and I decided today would be a no-diaper kind of day. So far she's doing well with it. I've yet to get a decent picture, but she likes to read while she's on the potty. How funny is that?!?


She's on or she's off

Just got home from possibly the worst walk with Fuzz ever.

I found this training program in my Fitness magazine, 6 weeks to a 5K. Supposedly it's for a beginner. Anyway, I'm on day 2, doing the 3-5 mile walk, and Stryker has a PT test tomorrow, so he said he probably wouldn't want to do it tonight, so I thought I'd go with Fuzz this morning. She enjoys our walks. Her latest craze is flowers. Loves loves loves flowers, and wants you to pick one for her at every corner. Hibiscus are her favorite, but maybe that's because there are so many of them around here.

So at about a mile and a half, there is this beach. Fuzz was starting to get a little antsy, so I thought, we'll stop at the beach, dip our feet in for a little bit, and then head back. I thought it would be a nice break for Fuzz. Well, apparently, 15 minutes wasn't long enough, because when we left she threw a huge fit. Arching her back in the stroller and the whole works. About a block into the way back, I stopped to talk to her and she had snot all over her face, her sunglasses, her fingers. That is how hard she was crying. I'm walking past people who can clearly hear her losing it, probably wondering if they should call CPS, smiling and saying "she wasn't ready to leave the beach".

She settled down a little bit, but whined and cried the whole way back. Right now she's eating lunch like nothing ever happened.

I need a nap.


Fender Bender

There was one not so fun moment while my cousin was here. He and Stryker got into a little fender bender. After their shark diving, they were waiting to pull out of a driveway and some lady just ran right into them. It wasn't serious, but she did do damage to our car. Sounds like she was quite the person to deal with.

She was nice at first. They both parked and she got out of her (rental) car and said "Did I just hit you?" Um...no kidding Sherlock. She offered to pay Stryker a whopping $200, when the damage will probably cost more like $1000 to fix. He said no, and then she started getting all crazy. Tried to claim that the damage wasn't caused by her, even though she did in fact hit them. Said they were trying to screw her. Even told my cousin "F*** You", and my favorite "FYI, I hate you". How 5th grade is that?

Anyway, Stryker has been in contact with the rental company, and surprise surprise, she hasn't reported the accident to them yet. The rental company is going to take care of it it sounds like, but this lady was quite a trip!


No business like show business

Holy moly, I just had a busy busy weekend! My cousin arrived on Thursday, and left last night. He packed in a lot of excitement in four days. Waimea Valley, Luau, Pearl Harbor, hiking Diamond head, rock jumping at Waimea Bay, shark diving, and dinner out in Honolulu. It was so nice of him to come and visit, and we really had a great time.

Friday evening we went to the cultural center and roamed around there and then took in their luau. Best one I've ever been to. It was amazing and our seats were stellar. Fuzz loved it. She was dancing and doing the arm movements and grunting like the men were doing. It was pretty funny.

Between the dinner and the luau, she was standing outside an Elvis exhibit, listening to the music and dancing her heart out. Before long, Stryker is knocking on the window of the gift shop my cousin and I were in waving us to hurry and come out. We head out there and here's Fuzz.

You can see her crowd starting to develop on the right. On the opposite side of those people there were about 15 others watching her shake her stuff. Not kidding. They were cheering and clapping for her, and the more they cheered, the bigger she smiled and the harder she danced. One lady even gave her money. After about 3 songs we finally dragged her away, even though the crowd was yelling "again! Hana hou!" It was hilarious!

Afterward, some guy came up to us and said that when his son was her age he was the same way, and today he's a 29 year old musician who is very successful here in Hawaii, "so be careful, you're headed for show business!" he said. Yikes! I mean, I know I referred to her as a moviestar, but I didn't think it was actually reality.


My Moviestar

Not only am I her biggest fan, but she is apparently mine. Fuzz has taken to introducing everyone to me. As if she just believes everyone should know me. At least that's what I want to believe. Grocery store, park, parking lot, it doesn't matter. If there is someone around, she goes up to them, points to me, and says, "Mama!".

One of the best mom moments to date.


24 and a half

My sister loves her birthday so much that she even celebrates her half-birthday. Yes, my sister is 24 years old, and still celebrates her half-birthday.

Because she celebrates it, I made her these.

Happy half-birthday sweet sister!


Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all you hot mamas out there!

I feel so blessed that the Lord has allowed me to be a mom. And to be a mom to this little girl:

is especially wonderful.

You know those moments that make your heart sing when you first start falling in love? I have those every day, as I watch her grow and learn. I fall in love every single day. How awesome is that? Being a mom has also been a test in patience, but it's good. She's making me grow just as much as I am helping her do the same.

I can't wait to see what this next year in motherhood holds.


Bad connection

We are having issues with the internet and it's so annoying! Every page takes forever and a day to load. My complete annoyance is clearly a sign that I am far too reliant on the computer.

I'm ok with that.


A new definition

I think the Army was confused when they said PCS stand for "permanent change of station". I think they actually meant it to stand for "pretty crappy situation". PCSing..what a pain!

Poor Stryker. I mean, we're excited to start a new adventure, but are three different transportation appointments really necessary?? We do have a strange situation because we are in Hawaii, but our household goods are in Wisconsin, but it should be that difficult.

During his first appointment, the lady scheduled his unaccompanied baggage pickup (his army stuff that needs to be transported), but told him that he should get in touch with his next duty station to schedule the household goods pickup, because that would be easier. Easier for who? Yeah. Her.

So he called to see if they could schedule it from here or if he really had to call the next duty station. The woman on the phone told him that the lady at his first appointment should have done it and that he should come in to schedule it. So he went in last week and they sent him away because he didn't have yet ANOTHER copy of his orders. Wait, he's there to fix YOUR screw-up! Not to mention the fact that they already have 32ish copies of his orders. So he left, made another copy of his orders and went in there today. He sat in the waiting room for over an hour and they made him ANOTHER appointment to schedule the pickup. Nothing was accomplished today other than making him an appointment.

Really? All because the first lady didn't do her job? Wow.


Wordless Wednesday - A Day at the Beach

*Ok, so I screwed up and posted these a day early. Sue me...

One crumbles, one thrives

Sometimes when I think about the deployment, I wonder how we got through it. Not only did we get through it, but we got through it almost unscathed. 15 months is a long, long, time. Yes, it was hard. Yes, we lost a friend. Yes, we had reintegration issues just like everyone does. But we made it, and we are stronger because of it. We appreciate each other more. I enjoy being a mom more. We cherish our time together more. I could probably go on all day.

So many couples don't make it through one deployment, much less multiple ones. We are close friends with a couple who did not, in fact, make it through this deployment, and it still blows my mind daily. I can't believe they are in the situation they are. I'm certain there is more to the story than what I know...there has to be.

It brings me to the question: What makes one seemingly strong couple crumble while one thrives? Is it faith? Because I'm certain that during some points in the deployment there were only one set of footprints in my neck of the woods. Is it love? Is it personal strength? Is it determination and pure will?

I don't know all the answers, but I think it's a combination of all those things. Here are a few of the things that I think helped us get through our deployments.

#1. Realization and acceptance of the fact that you can't change it. He will deploy. It will be a long time. You can't stop it. Find a way to deal.

#2. Faith. I am a Christian woman. I believe that each of us has a set amount of time on this earth, and that it's predetermined. This was a huge thing in helping me get through this deployment. I believed that if Stryker's time was supposed to be up during the deployment, it would have been up whether he was deployed or not. This prevented me from worrying so much. Of course I still worried, but it wasn't as extreme as the first deployment, and thus, resulted in less stress.

#3. Faith. Faith in our marriage. Faith that despite the length of time apart, our marriage would survive, and we would be ok.

#4. Care packages. I wanted to make sure that Stryker knew I was thinking of him, and loved him, and sending care packages was one of the ways I could best show this. I loved sending care packages because I knew he and the guys enjoyed them, and it also helped me feel closer to him. I knew that I was touching something he would touch.

#5. Being understanding of weirdness. Sometimes while Stryker was deployed, he would go through periods of weirdness. He wouldn't have much to say while we were on the phone, he seemed down, he just was not himself. It's not a cause for panic. They go through ups and downs during the deployment just like we do. It's normal.

#6. Finding something to look forward to. When we started making plans for R&R, conversations were great. We smiled, we laughed, we made plans that involved us actually being together. It was fun.

#7. Living life. I kept on living life. It helped pass the time much more quickly. Yes, sometimes I felt guilty about it, but it was better for Fuzz, Stryker, AND me live life instead or wait for it.

These are just the big ones off the top of my head that helped me, and us, get through deployments. What is something that helps you get through a deployment?

*Here's what I was sending to Stryker one year ago today.


Family runs

My legs are finally on the mend. Yowzers that was rough. Must make sure I don't go that long again before doing lunges. Not a good feeling.

I did manage to go for a couple walk/runs with Stryker and Fuzz last weekend. Definitely loosened the legs up. And can I just tell you how much more fun it is to run with your family than it is to run by yourself on a treadmill or elliptical? The last time I went to the gym I seriously considered visiting a Dr. to see if I had ADD. I'm going on the elliptical, this is my thought process. "Only 2 minutes? This is boring. La dee dah... What? Only 4:25 minutes? I wonder what that paper on the bulletin board says, maybe I should go check it out." You get the picture. It wasn't pretty.

I will admit it. I'm not a runner. I have asthma, and pounding on the pavement doesn't agree with it. But I want to be a runner. Going out for a run, even if it's half run, half walk, with Stryker and Fuzz is fun. It's great family time, and it's great for Fuzz to see us being active. So I'm starting slow, seeing if I can build up some endurance. We'll see.

In other, completely unrelated news, we grilled pizzas on Friday. If you've never done it, you need to try it. Easy, fast, and so yummy!