Tuesday, November 27, 2007

For Roe and all my friends....

Sandy, Kim, Peggie, Jenn - you guys have been TAGGED!

1.) Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot chocolate... no question.

2.) Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Santa wraps them very nicely at first, and then it becomes a mission to just get the damned things covered in paper of some sort.

3.) Colored lights on tree/house or white? Colored!

4.) Do you hang mistletoe? Oh yeah, and I make a point of kissing my husband, under it or not, as often as I can!

5.) When do you put your decorations up? As soon after Thanksgiving as possible; we love having the place decorated as long as possible.

6.) What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? I love ham, baked pineapple, and my grandmother's special rice!

7.) Favorite Christmas memory as a child? Sled riding with my dad!

8.) When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I think I was a late blooomer; I was about 9. I got an organ for Christmas and I heard "Santa" and his "elves" delivering it!

9.) Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Nope

10.) How do you decorate your Christmas tree? This won't surprise my friends, but it is very "funky eclectic" as my friend Jennifer would say! I have a little of everything - homemade ornaments from the kids, hallmark ornaments, gifts from friends, each ornament reflects a member of my family and each tells a story. My favorite ornaments hold pictures of those I love...

11.) Snow! Love it or Dread it? Love snow, dread the slush that follows shortly thereafter.

12.) Can you ice skate? Yes, but I'm not as good as my husband. He can even twirl!

13.) Do you remember your favorite gift? I loved my organ and I still have it!

14.) What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Being surrounded by family and friends. It's like the one time a year you can tell your friends how much you love them without sounding sappy.

15.) What is your favorite holiday desert? Christmas cookies!!!

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Decorating the tree - no question.

17.) What tops your tree? A star

18.) Which do you prefer giving or receiving? Giving!

19.) What is your favorite Christmas Song? No one does "Oh Night Divine" like Nat King Cole. Love "Holly Jolly Christmas" and of course, "Christmas Wrapping" by The Waitresses and Band-Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?", because I'm an '80s gal. I also love "Blue Christmas" by Elvis and "White Christmas" and "I'll be Home fore Christmas" - are you starting to see a theme here?

21.) Favorite Christmas Movie? I love the Grinch.

22.) What do you leave for Santa? It varies from year to year. He always gets cookies. This year it is going to be Rice Crispy Treats because they are my daughters favorite!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Quest for the Perfect Christmas Tree

Yesterday my family went upon our yearly search for the perfect Christmas tree. Finding just the right one is imperitive to the sucess for the rest of the holiday season, it is the event on which all future holiday events depend. After all, the Christmas tree sets the tone of your whole house for the holidays.

Last year, we had a beautiful tree. The idea was to go to the same tree farm but there was only one problem - I forgot the name of it. It was in an out of the way place and both my husband and I doubted our ability to find it again without the name. So, off to Plan B.

There is a farm that has all sorts of seasonal activities - berries in the summer, peaches and apples in the late summer early fall, pumpkins.... We realized that they also are a tree farm so we decided to give them a try. We didn't realize that it was one of those cut your own places, and let me just say that having spent most of our Christmas's together in the South - cutting our own tree down was a new experience for all of us!

They had rows and rows of absolutely gorgeous trees. Our most difficult decision was finding just the right one! But with time and effort, we finally found a tree that we all could agree on. It was the most perfectly symmetrical tree that I have ever seen and an absolutely beautiful shade of Emerald green. The smell of the tree is something that can only be described as divine - it is that crisp, clear scent of pine that permeates everything. It SMELLS like Christmas!

The moment of truth came and my husband had to cut down the tree. Well, in order to do so, he had to lay down on the ground. The other family that was in the field appeared to be having some difficulty with their tree, so we were all somewhat trepidatious about the cutting; however, we needen't have worried. In just a few short moments, my husband had quickly and expertly cut the tree. He was so good at it that my daughter told him he should consider a new career. ( I think she was just looking for something that would keep him home most of the time - wink, wink)

The farm workers then loaded our tree on the tractor and bundled it up for us while we enjoyed some fresh cocoa and christmas cookies in front of the fire at the farm house. It was a wonderful experience from start to finish. We found the perfect tree and best of all, built lasting memories for our family.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Saying Goodbye - Again....

This is my daughter (in the center) with her two best friends. They have been the best of friends since the girls were 2 and a half and the boy was 4. Their mom is also my best friend. We met their family by chance - and maybe a little divine intervention. They were on the same boat as our family years ago, when we lived in Georgia. My daughter and I received an invitation to a Valentine's day party, but we were unable to go because she was sick. When I called to give our regrets, I asked if we could schedule a playdate when she was feeling better. That was one of the best things that I have ever done. They came over - the children were like peas in a pod from the beginning and so were Jennifer and I. The rest - as they say - is history.
Jennifer and I have been best friends since and so have our children. We have been through illness, broken bones (Jenn, if you are reading this, I'm knocking on some wood!), 4 submarine patrols, 2 moves and so much more.
When we moved from Georgia, the only thing that I regretted was saying goodbye. It was so hard! I had just had a baby - well, she was 8 months old by then. Jenn was pregnant with their youngest. We both got through that move though because we knew that their family wouldn't be in Georgia too much longer either. We moved to Annapolis, and they moved to Connecticut.
Through it all we kept in touch. We visited several times. Kaylee and I went to Connecticut to meet their new baby, they came and visited for Emily's birthday. I even got to have Isabella for a week in the summer - that's the beautiful blonde in the picture above.
Finally it happened that it was time for us to move again and we got orders to Connecticut! We were over the moon!!! I knew that my daughters would love being near their friends again. We have had weekly playdates, sleepovers where Jennifer and I were able to keep up with our passion of scrapbooking, birthday parties, trick or treating... you name it.
Their family is Navy, like ours. We knew that the time would eventually come when one of us would have to relocate again, I guess I just hoped that it wouldn't happen so soon. We had only been here a few months when we heard that they would be moving.
We made the most of all of our time together, but unfortunately, the time finally came where we would have to say goodbye. I finally understand why the Navy came up with the lame saying of " fair winds and a following sea" because saying goodbye to the people you love over and over again is just too painful otherwise.
I knew that saying goodbye to Jenn would be hard. I knew that kissing Isabella for the last time ( for a while anyway) would rip my heart out. I knew hugging little Ana goodbye and missing out on so much of her growing up would be hard. What I wasn't prepared for was saying goodbye to Andrew.
I thought we would make it through it ok. I thought we could joke and laugh and it would be alright. I was so proud of how well I was handling the goodbying when it came time to say goodbye to him. He put his arms around me and the tears started to come for both of us. Then, he whispered in my ear, " Ms. Laurie, I love you and I will NEVER forget you." Even thinking about it now makes me cry. We made plans RIGHT THEN to see them next year. Until then, we will write, e-mail, call, share pictures....
People come in and out of our lives. Some stay a short time, some are friends forever, but all impact our lives. I know that their family and ours will be friends forever. I know that I didn't truly just say goodbye because we will see them again. Still, it was one of the hardest things I have ever done - cheerily waving goodbye....

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

My Smilebox

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Looking forward to tomorrow!

I don't know about you guys, but I am so excited about the holiday tomorrow. It is so wonderful having my family all together - well, at least my immediate family- and that is what I am most grateful for. It means so much to me to have my husband home. In our family, he is the one who usually handles the turkey! Not that I can't, it's just that it's evovled into being his job over the years.
I love every aspect of Thanksgiving! It seems fitting and right that this was the first offical " American" holiday, after all, we are by and large a grateful people. I love the idea of setting a day aside to focus on all the many good things that each one of us has in our lives - though I must say that I try to do that everyday. I love sitting around the dinner table with my family, sharing conversation, memories and delicious food.
I love to reflect on all those that I love who are no longer here. I think of Thanksgivings past. I remember my grandfather in his apron, my grandmother's smile. I think of my Uncle John who was so handsome, so quick with a smile, a joke and words of love or support. I think of my cousin Dana, who was so little when she passed and the brother that I never knew. Even though I reflect on these things, it is with love and happiness in my heart, not a sullen heart. I know that my loved ones are with me still, for those we love are never truly gone as long as we remember them. Every Thanksgiving I light a candle to let them know that I think of them and miss them still. My mother's best friend started this tradition and I liked it so much that our family adopted it too.
I look forward to curling up with my daughters on the sofa and watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. I have watched that parade every year since I was a little girl and it reminds me that though some things change, others remain the same. My daughters love it as much as I always did, and for me, the joy of seeing it through their eyes is twice as great.
Then of course there is the whole purpose of the day - saying thank you to God for all the wonderful blessings that he has brought into my life. I feel humbled and unworthy and so incredibly lucky. So I can't wait ....
I can't wait to cook my turkey.
Cuddle my daughters.
Look into my husband's eyes and tell him how much I love him.
Call my mom and dad and say thank you again for all they have given me.

Thanksgiving a day that should be every day, but certainly needs to be embraced, enjoyed and celebrated!

Monday, November 19, 2007


I don't think I have ever been so happy to fall into my husband's arms as I was yesterday. It was a huge surprise. They weren't supposed to be home yet. Then, on Saturday morning came the surprise news and my heart just leaped for joy!!! I am so thankful and so happy to have him home!
I drove with the girls to lower base to pick him up. I saw him walking toward me, I knew right away, even without seeing his face, that it was him. I love that thrill I feel when I see his face and I love feeling like I hang on his every word and he on mine. I love that even though he has been gone so long, it feels like not an instant has passed since last his eyes met mine. I love how when we talk together everything, even stupid things, sound like a secret just for us.
Right now I feel like I have to rush to get all the I love you's out.... I have to tell him everything and get him to tell me everything... because too soon, it will all be over. This will be just a dream that I had as I wake up, crying in the bed alone.
But for now, it's such a beautiful dream and I don't want to wake up yet. For now, I will take the time I have, savor every single second because I know it's a finite period of time.
Realistically I know that we all have only a finite period of time, but can you imagine that being your constant reality? Every second, every moment, is over way too fast. I wish I could just hold on, make the moments last, hold back the dawn.... but I can't.
For now, I'll be happy for today and happy for the hope of that tomorrow when he'll be back forever. No more Navy. No more mission. Just us. Someday....

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Remember that 80's song by Bryan Adams? Yeah, I know... bad 80's hair, that snarl as he sang, but say what you want - it's an awesome song in spite of it all. That song, describes exactly how I feel.

Oh - thinkin' about all our younger years
There was only you and me
We were young and wild and free

Now nothin' can take you away from me
We bin down that road before
But that's over now
You keep me comin' back for more
Baby you're all that I want
When you're lyin' here in my arms
I'm findin' it hard to believe
We're in heaven
And love is all that I need
And I found it there in your heart
It isn't too hard to see
We're in heaven

Oh - once in your life you find someone
Who will turn your world around
Bring you up when you're feelin' down
Ya - nothin' could change what you mean to me
Oh there's lots that I could say
But just hold me now
Cause our love will light the

I've bin waitin' for so long
For something to arrive
For love to come along
Now our dreams are comin' true
Through the good times and the bad
Ya - I'll be standin' there by you

You all know you were singing along.... All I can say is that mental message that I sent out a couple of days ago. He heard it. Somehow he heard it. And Roe.... It's OK - because it has to be...... and for now, that's enough.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Beam me UP, Scotty!!!

Yep, I am definitely in a Star Trek frame of mind today. That's sort of weird because my husband really is the Trekkie, not me, although I do enjoy the movies. This morning, I received an e-mail from Robert and I guess that, in part, is what brought on this frame of mind.

He tells me that they are working hard to get back home. My immediate mental response was: "Don't try, don't work - just DO it!!!! " Hence the whole visual of Captain Kirk yelling through the intercom at Scotty - "Mr. Scott, I NEED more power!!!" Oh yeah, I just NEED my husband home and I'm over this already.

It's hard to believe that we have only been on the "boat" for almost a year now. Only two more to go.... Oh joy. Thankfully, I love the ladies that are in the boat with me. They are a warm, welcoming and wonderful group and I feel lucky to have them. Together, I know we will make it through.

But right now, I just want to see my husband's smiling face. I want to feel his arms around me and hear him whisper in my ear. I want to feel him pet my hair as I fall asleep and know that everything is going to be ok. I have to find a way to get my balance, because right now, I feel like the smallest wind could capsize me entirely.

SO, even though you aren't the eng, I am sending out this mental thought to my husband, " Mr. Scott, I need WARP speed like yesterday!!!!! Come home soon......"

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I'm So Tired

of so many things.....
1. I'm tired of being so thrilled by an e-mail because that is all I have.
2. I'm tired of being alone.
3. I'm tired of sleeping alone.
4. I'm tired of raising my children predominantly alone.
5. I'm tired of fixing shit.
6. I'm tired of worrying.
7. I'm tired of too little time having to be enough.
8. I'm tired of feeling guilty because at least I have some time.
9.I'm tired of feeling like I can't really be honest.
10;I'm tired of pretending that everything is ok when it isn't.
11. I'm tired of not knowing who I am.
12. I'm tired of loving someone who is so far away.
13. I'm tired of sounding so emotional and pathetic.
14. I'm tired of feeling like chicken little - just waiting for the sky to fall.
15. I'm tired of living the life of a human yo-yo. The highs are awesome but the lows.... yeah, they suck.
16. I'm tired of my daughters fighting.
17. I'm tired of yelling.
18. I'm tired of moving and of having people I love move.

I really just want my husband to come home and I would really like to have him for more than 7 weeks out of the last 18. Yes, I know this is what my life is ... but every once in a well, I just need to get it out. Once I do, it will pass and somehow I will make this all ok because it has to be. So just bear with me. I promise, the pity party won't last long. In fact, it's already starting to pass. The carpet man is on his way and I'll feel better when my carpet is clean. Clean carpet has the same rejuvenation effect as a new lipstick. Weird, I know....

Monday, November 12, 2007

Censorship is UnAmerican

I hate the idea that if someone doesn't agree with what another person has to say - they run to big sister and "tattle." Get a grip people, geesh, I thought I had gotten over that was I was five. The idea of running and reporting something offensive is almost absurd. I think the only thing that I have ever reported is hate speech or name calling. I mean, as moms, don't we have enough problems and worries without belittling one another? I know I do.

So I was thinking about why some people are so sensitive, so quick to judge, so eager to stamp out anything that is different from their own beliefs. I finally came to the conclusion that the answer is actually quite simple. The fact is that in the league of IDEAS, they simply can't compete. They don't know how to address those that have other opinions and so they simply claim offense. Since they don't have any intelligent argument whatsoever, their goal is simply to "erase" the opposition.

How sad is that? I have to say that I have no problem sharing my opinion with other people - whether they like them or not. Additionally, I may not agree with what another person has to say, but I always try to listen respectfully and to maintain an open mind. Open mindedness is another problem of the thought police. There are no shades of grey for those with the moral imperative - only black and white. They mantra - "You either agree with me or you are wrong." I have news for any that hold that opinion, the world is full of shades of grey, and silencing voices doesn't change that.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Bereft of Anything Resembling a Social Conscience....

I am a member on a social networking site - Cafemom. I joined because this site was morphed from what used to be a wonderful site for women - Things certainly have changed in the past year that we have been at the new place. I have kept most of my old friends, made many great new friends. While some things change, other things sadly stay the same.

One of the most disappointing aspects of the new site is that it is completely bereft of anything even REMOTELY resembling a social conscience. I'll give you an example. The "team" that runs the site ignored Memorial Day. NOT OK. Then, they had the audacity to have the journal prompt for that day be " What is your child's favorite toy?" Talk about completely inappropriate!

September 11th, the anniversary of the largest terrorist attack on our country, the day the whole world changed, was also ignored. I'll give you that a journal prompt was not needed, but some commentary - a brief letter from the team - something - ANYTHING - acknowledging the day. But no. Sadly all we got that day was some survey on mayonnaise. Yeah, you heard me right. Mayonnaise. Way to go "team".....

Then on Halloween, the team changed the logo to reflect the holiday. I was excited. I thought that they were finally getting it. On Voters Day, I was encouraged further by the reminder to vote. Sadly today, those hopes have all been dashed. There was absolutely NO acknowledgement of Veterans Day whatsoever. Now, I grant you that Veterans Day is recognized tomorrow, so something is still possible... But considering - highly unlikely.

Now see if this makes any sense whatsoever to you. They have probably in excess of 9,000 members on this site that are in some way affiliated with the Military - active duty personnel, wives, mothers, grandmothers, girlfriends, etc..... And yet, every holiday like this one is ignored. The very individuals who fight for their right to lack a social conscience - ignored. Honestly it makes me sick. It doesn't even make good business sense pissing off at least 10% of your membership....

So I bet you are wondering why I am sharing this here? Well, the same " team" has made it against their policy for anyone to express an opinion about their policies anywhere on their site but the designated areas. Whatever. I am waiting until tomorrow.... giving them one more opportunity to grow a brain stem and then all hell breaks loose.

I'm breaking out the steel toes - kicking ass and taking names.....

Friday, November 9, 2007

What's Wrong with Hollywood?

Ok so Veterans day is just a few days away and it really has me thinking.... Scary, I know! What is wrong with Hollywood? Why are they so willing to portray the worst in our country? Why are they so willing to portray the worst about our military?

In my father's day, Hollywood actually supported the military and the war effort. That is nearly impossible to imagine now. These days we have movies like Rendition- New Line Cinema will release “Rendition,” in which Reese Witherspoon plays a woman whose Egyptian-born husband is snared by a runaway counterterrorism apparatus. Paul Greengrass, the director of “The Bourne Ultimatum,” in which the bad guys belong to a similar rogue unit, is adapting Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s book about the Green Zone in Baghdad, “Imperial Life in the Emerald City,” for Universal Pictures.Brian De Palma’s “Redacted,” focusing on an Army squad that persecutes an Iraqi family, is to be released in December by Magnolia Pictures. And Sony Pictures is developing a film based on the story of Richard A. Clarke, the former national security official and Bush administration critic. The love of anything anti- American in eclipsed only by the love of all things anti - American military.

We have certainly come a long way down. In years past, movie stars and movie studios considered supporting the troops their patriotic duty. They made many wonderful movies like A Bridge Too Far, The Longest Day, The Sands of Iwo Jima, Midway, Run Silent, Run Deep and even the Dirty Dozen. Headliners like John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, and Maureen O'Hara would never be seen saying something that was anti- American. Part of what made them stars was that they were emblematic of all that was best in American society, including the American Military.

For every terrible story about the war, there are just as many good stories. For every story about troops that do something wrong, there are a thousand more about those who are heroes. Yet, only the bad stories are portrayed by the media. We only hear about Haditha - not about how 2 out of 3 Marines that stood accused in this incident have been acquitted. Our media only wants to sell their medium and to do that, a story must be sensational, but sadly, not necessarily true. Is it any wonder, as the family member of an active duty military man, that I want little to no association with most civilians who the media and Hollywood claim to represent? I have no time for America haters... and I guess that means I won't be seeing many movies anytime soon.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Waiting for You....

Rattling around in our home,
It’s so dark and I’m alone….
Every room holds memories of you,
They aren’t enough to get me through.

I lay awake in our bed,
Dreaming of the days ahead.
Those days that you’ll be here with me,
Where we both want you to be.

I hate to kiss and say “see you tomorrow”
These goodbyes fill me with so much sorrow.
Tomorrow isn’t hours away
How long it will be this time, I can’t say.

It’s hard to live with half my heart,
It’s hard to bear so much time apart.
Despite that, I’m proud as I watch you go,
Just how much, I hope you know.

I watch you as you walk away….
I wish futilely that I could make you stay.
Tears stream silently down my face,
As I memorize your sweet face.

I know that the day will come,
When you will make your way safely home.
When your mission is finally through,
I’ll be right here, waiting for you.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Variety is the Spice of Life...

That is one of my favorite sayings and something that I always tell my family. Sometimes you just have to mix it up, you know? You can't have vanilla every night, sometimes chocolate, rocky road and even pistachio are preferred. Change and variety exposes us to new things and, at the same time, helps us appreciate our tried and true favorites.

What can be said of ice cream can also be said of people, opinions, food spices, religion and just about any other topic. When I tell my eight year old that the world would be pretty boring if we all liked the same things, I mean it. Life would be pretty dull if we all liked dragons, Harry Potter and vanilla..... Sometimes you need that person who likes pistachio to stir things up.

It is the same with opinions. Everybody doesn't see things the same way. We can't. We all have differing points of view because we all have different life experiences that shape the way we think and feel. That's ok because life would be pretty boring if we always agreed. I actually enjoy having friends who have a multitude of varying opinions on everything from politics to religion. I'm a curious person and I love to hear the varying points of view. I think that this helps me grow as a person. It exposes me to more and it challenges me to really test what I believe.

Some people though just don't seem to have any room in their lives for variety. I find that so sad. I mean, people aren't really connected by a single brain. Occasionally even friends have a difference of opinion. If your friendship can't survive that, how much of a friendship was it really?

Friday, November 2, 2007

I Refuse!!!!

I will do a lot for a friend, but there are somethings I just won't do.

1. I Refuse to be talked to like a three year old. I'm an adult and expect to be treated as such.
2. I Refuse to be held accountable for the behaviors of others that I am in no way responsible for.
3. I Refuse to be disrespected and verbally abused. Real friends don't treat one another that way.
4. I Refuse to excuse poor behavior for any reason whatsoever. There is no excuse for abusing a friend
5. I Refuse to be any one's doormat. I overlook a lot of things for the people I love, but that doesn't mean I will take mistreatment laying down. I won't, I can assure you.
6. I Refuse to be used.
7. I Refuse to tolerate gossip.
8. I Refuse to be any one's whipping girl.
9. I Refuse to have anyone define my ideal of what real friendship is. Friends are loyal and kind. Sometimes they reveal a hurtful truth, but always with love. Friendship is not bitter. Friendship is not hurtful for the sake of being hurtful.
1o. I Refuse to forgive and forget because it is expected. Sometimes an apology is not only proper but required in order for wounds to heal.

I'll take a lot for a friend, but these are where I draw the line.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

I'm Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Words....

Boy there has been a lot going on in my life lately. I guess the biggest thing is that my best friend is moving. Again. Saying goodbye is going to be really hard this time. I will miss her and the children terribly. But like my husband, hers must go where the Navy calls, and right now that is Georgia. So back to Georgia they go while we remain here in Connecticut.

We were able to trick or treat last night with the children so that was a lot of fun. We have gotten pretty good at taking advantage of the time that we have together. I certainly appreciate her strength and her friendship more than I have probably ever expressed to her.

So last night, I was feeling pretty down and well - befuddled for lack of a better word. I called another friend of mine who I hadn't had a chance to catch up with all week. I have never been sorry to have called her, but last night I was. I don't know what bee she may have had in her bonnet, she never bothered to tell me what was bothering her - at least not specifically. I listened to her complain about others that we know for almost an hour - berating them and their poor treatment of her. Fine, I have no issues with that at all.

Everyone should stick up for themselves and tell it like it is when necessary. Here's the thing though, in my own opinion, I have tried to be understanding and compassionate. I really have. I certainly don't understand her life because I can't. But I try to get what I can of it. I try to be understanding and considerate, and yet last night I felt like I was being lumped in with "others". Why? Well, I guess mainly because I was the one hearing it.

I don't mind having a friend vent. That's what friends were for. But her words were sharp and irritated and when I asked what the point of all of it was - she blew out her breath at me as if I was a first class idiot. Who knows? Maybe I am, because I surely didn't see what the point of all that was except to vent for her and make me feel bad. Especially about things that I don't really have control over or that happened in the past which I already regret.

I need a bubble bath. Calgon take me away.....

I hate to think that this has cost me a friend, especially when I don't really understand what was at the root of it all. ON the other hand, if someone is angry with me, I want them to tell me why they are angry with ME. I'm not a mind reader and I'm not perfect. I make mistakes, I can be selfish. We all are. I will do a lot for my friends, but one thing I won't do, I won't be mistreated.