Thursday, March 29, 2012

Survival Tips for Spouses of Deployed Soldiers.

Care packages are touted far and wide for their magical abilities. However, you will find yourself wondering what to put in these USPS delivered treasure boxes. Your soldier will be no help at all. There is even a chance that they will insist that they “don’t need anything”. Send snack foods… And baby wipes. Don’t expect a Thank you card. They may thank you in passing, while requesting that you send razors.

Everyone from family members to complete strangers at the post office will tell you to stay busy. After a while “stay busy” will begin to sound like “please hit me”. This goes away after homecoming.

Your soldier will never call at a convenient time for you. In fact the more important your plans are, the higher probability of receiving a phone call.
Case in point, I’ve considered making a doctor’s appointment any time I want to talk to Sweet Husband. It never fails, every time I’m in the middle of an examination, he calls. Every. Single. Time.

Don’t talk to other spouses about the frequency of phone calls. Seriously. Nothing good can come of this. If you are the one whose spouse has a hard time finding the Skype icon on their computer you will feel lousy that you don’t get to talk to your spouse that much. Feelings of bitterness, hurt, and distress may bubble up inside of you.
On the other hand, if you’re the one who gets to talk to your spouse every day…. Run. Your life is in danger. Especially if you’re having conversations that are hours long, everyday.
Don’t talk about it. It’s safer that way for everyone.

Don’t post photos of soldiers you know online without they‘re permission. And err on the side of caution, don’t post pictures of them in uniform with visible patches and name tapes. Familiarize yourself with OPSEC.

Don’t post your soldiers deployment information on the internet. Facebook does not need to know your soldier’s flight information or that the unit is stuck in Oz for the next seven hours. I promise.

Friends and strangers will try to make you feel better by telling you about the time they had to spend a week away from their significant other. DO NOT follow your instincts.
Though they mean well, They are clueless.

Don’t be afraid to take your friends up on their offers to help. I’m still working on this one. But I cannot describe the bliss of knowing that there are people able and willing to help you when you need it.

Deployments are rough. It doesn’t matter if it’s the first one or the eighteenth one. You will not finish it the same person you were when you started, and neither will your spouse.

Did I forget anything?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Three things

March has been a rough month for us.
Just when I started to think that we had found a groove of normalcy, both of the boys had health issues pop up. We discovered that Spain stopped gaining weight whenever Sweet Husband deployed.
We had a blood test run to check his iron levels, which turned into a horrifying string of events. The phlebotomist kept uttering "This has never happened before." and "I don't know what to do." Which is never reassuring, and even less so, when they have a needle inserted into your child's arm.
The tubing for the needle was defective, so his blood kept bubbling in the tube. Spain ended up with a blown vein, a deep seated fear of needles, and we never got the results of the blood test. The lab forgot to run the tests.

We scheduled another appointment for a few weeks later, and I turned on my "Jewish Grandmother" charm. I began to offer Spain food ALL. The. Time. I did "normal" things, like buying avocados by the case. And crazy things, like making breast milk yogurt, from our freezer stash. A pediatric dietitian I spoke with suggested I give Spain butter, just little slices of butter occasionally. Like a dutiful mother, I obliged. I discovered that Spain LOVES butter, as long as he can eat it directly from the package. Every time I gave him a slice of butter, he eyed it suspiciously and then would fling it behind his booster seat.

Finally our follow up appointment arrived. We gleefully discovered that Spain gained a pound. Unfortunately after a slightly less horrifying blood draw, we also discovered that Spain is currently iron defiecent. We've started him on an iron supplement, and I'm hoping that once we get his iron levels back to normal, the weight issue will resolve itself.

Not to be outdone. Alex has developed new allergies. We don't know to what yet, just that it's environmental. The poor child has been covered in hives for weeks. He doesn't even notice them anymore. Which does not leave me feeling warm and fuzzy.

During a particularly rough week, I decided I needed to choose happier thoughts to dwell upon. Three things. I told myself Find three good things that happened today.
At first it was difficult. I would strain to think of three good things that had happened each day, but now I'm finding it easier every day. The biggest perk though, is that I don't feel like a unwritten Edgar Allen Poe poem anymore.

Which is good. Because I'm surround by vibrant colorful scenery, and I really should stop and enjoy it. I'll only have this year once. Spain and Alex will only be young once, and if I'm only focusing on surviving this deployment, I'll miss it.

Today my three things are:
1. Alex lost his fear of water he can't stand in. We spent a couple hours at the pool. He kept swimming back and forth
2. We went on a nature walk, and spied flowers, windmills and butterflies.
3. I'm going to bed before midnight.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Fun with food

Sometimes, I wonder How can I bring excitement to our house today?

Then I glance down and see something like this:

No, he isn't laying on my lap bleeding.

He's enjoying a baked beet!

In hindsight, perhaps the high chair would have been more fitting area...

FPAD Finale

Day 17- Time

Day 18- Drink

Day 19- Something you hate to do

Put away laundry....

Day 20- Handwriting

Day 21- A Favorite photo of you

Day 22- Where you work

Day 23- Your shoes

Day 24- Inside your bathroom cabinet

Day 25- Green

Day 26- Night

Day 27- Something you ate

Homemade pasta sauce. It was delicious!!!

Day 28- Money

We bought Alex his first proper Bible.

Day 29- Something you're listening to