Friday, September 28, 2012

Our First Homecoming

After my husband learned of his (original) report date for our move to San Antonio, I put in my notice at work for mid-September in order to have a couple weeks at home to take care of all of the final things necessary for our move.  It then turned out to be the perfect date, as my husband returned back to the states just one day later!

The Army decided to fly my husband back commercial as they didn't want to keep him there the extra days it would have taken to get him on a military plane back.  So I got to meet him at the airport and greet him the moment he stepped off the plane (yay for gate passes!).  I was so excited about seeing him that my whole body was shaking from the moment I saw his plane pull up to the gate until well after I was back in his arms.  That first hug and knowing I had him back safe and sound was the best feeling!

My husband's deployment was part of a program where they deploy you after AIT and before reporting to your FDS to basically give you a jump start in your MOS.  Before he left, he had been on TDY at Ft. Bragg for a few weeks.  Since he deployed from Bragg, that's where he returned to in order to return gear that he had checked out from one of their units, so we spent much of the last two weeks together in Fayetteville.

After leaving the airport together, we immediately returned to the hotel I had checked into so he could drop off his bags, and of course see his babies Kiba and Saki.  The dogs were so excited to have their daddy back!  We're still not sure if Saki really even understood what was going on, but Kiba went crazy when she saw her daddy and was so happy to have her parents back together.

Sleepy corgis

Since he was on TDY status there with nothing to really do, simply waiting for his gear to return that was sent back after him, hubby and I got to spend practically 24/7 together from the moment he returned until earlier this week.  We ate out lots, spent time shopping, and I even managed to drag him to see Finding Nemo in 3D with me!  We lived out of suitcases in a hotel, dogs in tow, until late last week when he was approved for a pass to travel back home for a long weekend since we live just five hours away.

A happy Saki getting a mid-car ride head rub from his daddy

We got to spend a few nights at home in our own bed (which we seriously need to upgrade btw... after a week of sleeping in a king-sized bed at the hotel, it became even more apparent that we need something larger than the full we've had for years).  We got to visit one of our favorite restaurants/bars in town, got to visit some family down in middle Georgia, and also got to go to our church together for the first time since July 2011, all before heading back to NC on Monday.

Originally hubby was only supposed to be at Bragg for no more than a day or two, but since the return of his gear was unexpectedly delayed, it basically threw off timelines for everything else for us for the next month or so.  After hubby received and turned in his gear, he was then on the next plane out of Fayetteville to get back to his AIT location, as technically he was still attached to his old brigade there throughout the deployment and had to return there for meetings, briefings, and ultimately out-process for our PCS.

So sadly after a week and a half of being back together, we're now separated again.  But at least this time it's for a much shorter period of time!  Our time together was great and we pretty much fell right back into our natural rhythm with each other.  Before he left, I had people tell me that this deployment would change him and he wouldn't be the same person, basically trying to instill fear in me in hopes that I would/could somehow talk him out of going, however I pretty much see the same man I've always known.  The only difference now is he has a clearer picture of where he'd like to go and how he would like to advance his career.

After months of uncertainty, we finally have some dates for how the next month and a half are going to pan out and confirmation that we will actually be in our town about a month longer than originally expected.  Since timelines were thrown off and it was beginning to look as though I would ultimately be responsible for cleaning and checking out of our apartment and driving our car and pets out to Texas by myself, meeting hubby there with his early October report date, hubby's LNO from the deployment decided to help us out a bit to make our move easier and now hubby's orders have been tweaked so that he will now be coming home for two weeks of hometown recruiting duty before we ultimately, and FINALLY, report to our first duty station.

It has been a VERY long journey, with way too much time spent apart from each other since hubby originally left home for BCT August of last year, but we're now finally getting our time back together!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

While I Was Away...

I've been rather neglectful with my little blog here over the past couple weeks.  I also have been really bad about keeping up with all of my favorite reads as well.  But I'm sure everyone will understand given the fact that my husband arrived back stateside from his deployment in Afghanistan just over a week ago!!   So of course we're spending just about every minute of the day together that we can and enjoying being reunited!

I hope to be back soon to share a little about our homecoming/reintegration and posting more frequently again, especially as we go through some new twists and turns that the Army just gave us.  In theory this brief change in orders is supposed to make our upcoming PCS easier on us due to change in timelines... only time will tell if that actually turns out to be the case!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Six Months of Uncertainty

For the last six months, I've been walking around with this fear in the back, and quite often the front, of my mind, and the only person who has had any idea of what I have been carrying around with me is my husband.  And he hasn't been around for about 97% of that time (just a rough guesstimate on that little percentage...).

Back in early March, when my husband was finishing up AIT and was out of contact for several days for an FTX, I had my annual exam with my gynecologist.  It is a doctor's appointment I really don't mind one bit and usually I'm in and out of her office in no time at all.  However, on that day just over six months ago, my doctor felt something during my breast exam that she asked me to have looked at further with an ultrasound.

After the most agonizing three-hour wait of my life sitting in the imaging office's waiting room (thankfully they were able to squeeze me in the same day so I didn't have to wait even longer for an appointment), I was finally brought back to see the ultrasound tech.  She looked at me for a good 10 minutes, which of course felt more like 30.  Then after taking some images with the ultrasound machine, she said she was just going to show them to the radiologist, who instead actually came into the room to perform the ultrasound all over again so he could get a better look at me.  After another 10-15 minutes, he finally said that he wasn't too worried about what's there, especially since I'm young and all (umm, I don't care if I'm young, because young people can get cancer too you know!).

I was told to monitor myself over the next several months (umm, months?! Really?!) for any changes and then go back for another ultrasound in 6 months to be reexamined.  I then had to live with this bottled up inside of me for the next several days until my husband finally returned from the field so I could share the news with him.

Monday morning I went in for my 6-month follow up appointment.  It wasn't until Sunday night when nerves started to hit, and then Monday morning I was a complete mess with worry about how my appointment would go.  I had absolutely no appetite could hardly sit still.  My husband called me in the morning as I was driving to the doctor's office.  He could tell right away that I was freaked out and tried his best to tell me that it would all be okay.

Thankfully my wait this time wasn't nearly as long as I had a fairly early-morning appointment, but it still wasn't any easier.  After another agonizing 15-minute ultrasound session, I was then left to lie on the bed in the exam room with ultrasound gel still on me (you know, in case they felt the need to come back for another look) while the two ultrasound tech's in with me consulted with each other for about 10 minutes while referencing my earlier scans and radiologist reports from 6-months ago.

After they spoke with the radiologist briefly after he had had an opportunity to look at my new scans and compare them with my old ones, I was FINALLY given the GOOD NEWS that they are not particularly concerned about what they see and the radiologist believes it is just dense tissue.  Nothing on my scans makes him think it could be a tumor.

I have been told to still monitor myself regularly for any change, but this time my follow up report said that no imaging follow up is recommended.  I was so relieved after hearing the news that I practically had to fight an urge that bubbled up inside of me to hug the ultrasound technician!

After leaving the office to drive into work for the day, I still wasn't feeling like myself and was on verge of tears for much of my drive.  Thankfully my husband called me again shortly after I left to check on me and see how things went.  He was happy to hear the outcome, but definitely still worried about me given the fact that I was still very emotional and reeling from everything I'd been going through.  He could hear that there was still some panic in my voice.

Before hanging up, he told me that he would call me back shortly after I was scheduled to arrive at work to make sure I made it in okay (it was a 30-min drive from the imaging office to my work)... little did I know at the time it was also to see if I received a delivery of flowers he had arranged for me a couple weeks ago, knowing how rough of a morning I was going to have.  I certainly did not expect this sweet gift from him!  I'm just so thankful that he was so determined to make it to the phone to call me multiple times that morning to check in with me all along the way.  I really do love that man so much!

I've gone back and forth debating if I wanted to share this on my blog or just continue to keep it between just me and the hubby.  Ultimately I decided that if other women are strong enough to share their stories and struggles concerning things like fertility issues and other health concerns, then I can most certainly talk about this thing I've been living with for the past 6 months, something which will likely always be on my mind and on my radar to watch out for in the future.

Friday, September 7, 2012

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In #74

1. What's one thing in the past month you would have changed?  I would have pushed myself to continue to go to the gym and workout some of my frustrations, rather than just giving up and having a pity party that didn't exactly do me any good.

2. What was your favorite thing that happened in August?  Attending my future sister-in-law's bridal shower in Virginia.  I also got to see my father-in-law for the second time ever (he lives in Germany, so he isn't around much).  The similarities between he and my husband is a little scary at times, especially given the fact that hubby lived with his mom most of his life and didn't spend a whole lot of time with his dad when growing up.  There are some strong genes on that side of the family!

3. What did you do to celebrate Labor Day?  I spent Labor Day home from work, cleaning the house, dropping off items at Goodwill, and running a few other errands around town.

4. What do you HAVE to have handy by your bedside?  My cell phone is really the only thing I really have to have, though often times I'll have my iPad too for reading in bed at night.

5. What are you looking forward to in September?  Cooler weather (hopefully), college football, enjoying my Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes, and most importantly, hubby finally coming home!! :)

Thursday, September 6, 2012


As my final day at work is quickly approaching, I'm beginning to get more and more excited!  Most of the stress that has put me in a not-so-pleasant place for much of the last month and a half or so has been pushed aside as I prepare for my husband's homecoming.  Many things for us are still very much up in the air (thank you, Army), however we finally have a target return date for him!  And I think much of what has helped to allow me to be in a better mood is hearing my husband's growing excitement about coming home that he's finally begun to express over this last week.

My personal demons/issues are still hanging around for the most part, I'm just not dwelling on them as much right now.  I got so low that any and all motivation to continue on my workout plans went right out the window, and I haven't been to the gym in about two weeks now (and I've only worked out at home a couple times in that span).  I was hitting such a dark place of self doubt and frustration with things that I was even beginning to doubt my husband's desire to return home to me (which thankfully he quickly squashed after I finally opened up to him a little bit about some of what's been bugging me).

Lately I've been doing A LOT of cleaning and organizing around the house.  The other day I took what will probably be my last load of donation items over to Goodwill, and it all filled not only my entire trunk, but also the whole backseat of my car as well.  I have purged tons of items that we no longer need or want, and I hope that others will find good uses for them.  In total, I've donated about $500 worth of items, based on the lower-end estimates from Goodwill's donation value sheet.

I have also been putting together an in-depth home inventory of everything we own for both PCS and insurance purposes.  Currently, my Word document is at 9 pages long!  It was after typing and tallying it all up that I realized just how many DVDs we own... it's a lot!  I'm very thankful that much of my organizing came during back to school/college sales, as it allowed me to nab some neat little storage totes for really cheap.  They especially came in handy for organizing and storing my baking & decorating supplies -- one of my shoe box sized plastic containers is completely full of nothing but cupcake liners (yes, I may have a small addiction).

Lastly, I recently began watching The Big Bang Theory.  I had heard a lot of good things about the show, but hadn't ever seen it.  I fell in love with the show rather quickly!  After a solid week of watching several episodes a night while doing things around the house, I am near the end of season 4 and should have completed all five of them before the premiere of season 6 later this month.

Things are about to start getting all sorts of crazy for us, and after thirteen months of sitting back and waiting, waiting, and waiting some more, I'm more than ready to get this show on the road!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Liebster Award

I have received a Liebster Award from Kathryn at My Life as a Reserve Army Wife.  I also previously received this award from Liz at Liz's Diary (formally The Optimistic Army Wife) last month.  The Liebster Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.

I've been in a bit of a funk for much of the last month (more to come on that in a future post), which has put me in a place of not feeling like blogging as much so I'm not bringing everyone else down with me, but I have decided it is finally time to participate and thank the girls who have nominated me!  I will be participating by sharing 11 things about myself and answering the 11 questions given to me by both of my nominators to show my appreciation for their nominations.  Hopefully I should be getting back into regular blogging shortly!

11 Things About Me:
1. While I'm right handed, I throw with my left hand.
2. I learned to play the violin in sixth grade and was in orchestra for four years.  Pachelbel's Canon in D was my favorite piece to play.
3. I worked in a library for over three years, and for a while I pretty much had the entire Dewey Decimal system memorized (I still remember some of it).
4. I really do not like coconut.  I also don't like most peppers (I'll only eat red peppers, in moderation, and when diced & combined with cheese) or anything with a lot of spice/heat to it.
5. Super Mario Bros. is my favorite video game of all time, and I just love that Nintendo stayed true to classic Mario when they released the New Super Mario Bros. game for the Wii and combined the best elements of Super Mario 1-3 and Super Mario World.
6. For much of my life while growing up, I wanted to be a teacher.  I was definitely the teacher's pet kind of kid and loved helping my teachers out in the classroom, hoping to be them one day.  It's something I still think about.
7. While in high school I entertained the thought of being an interior designer after taking several art classes, but then decided it would be "smartest" to major in business in college.
8. The yellow sauce (or white or orange sauce, depending on where you go) they serve at Japanese hibachi restaurants is probably my favorite condiment.
9. I am so terrified of snakes that the sight or intense thought of them will make me hyperventilate.  This fear includes just seeing them on TV (I have to cover my eyes).
10. While in college, I had a management position where I was ultimately responsible for the supervision of around 70 of my peers (one of whom was my husband).
11.  Part of me would really love to open a bakery.

Answers to Kathryn's Questions:
1. What made you decide to start a blog?
I started this blog when my husband left for basic training last year as a way to document the journey and changes in our lives, as well as to become connected to the military community while not yet living in the middle of it.  It's now a place to pretty much talk about anything and everything I might be going through, thinking, feeling, or doing and share little bits of my life.

2. What have you learned from blogging?
I think that blogging (combined with having a husband who's been MIA from the house for quite some time) has helped me to spend more time thinking about me and what I want.  Even if I don't have many answers yet, blogging has allowed me to have the much needed time to focus on myself that I've been missing.

3. If you could travel anywhere (don't worry about money), where would you go and why?
Either Italy for all of the history, food, and wine, or to Australia & New Zealand for the amazing sites.

4. What is your favorite animal?
Other than my two corgis, my favorite animal is a monkey.  For some strange reason, my husband always shoots me down when I ask if we can get a monkey for a pet.  I have no idea why... ;)

5. If you could have your dream job, what would it be?
This is something I have really been struggling with lately, but if career mobility wasn't an issue I would most love to work in marketing research, likely as an analyst.  I'm very curious and like to learn about others and really enjoy the consumer behavior & research side of marketing & advertising.  Owning my own bakery would also be a lot of fun!

6. If your iPod/radio was turned on right now, what type of music would be playing?
The current playlist I was last listening to on my phone has lots of pop, pop-country, pop-rock, and alternative music on it.

7. What's your favorite movie?
Probably Finding Nemo, but I also love Love Actually and the Harry Potter films (Prisoner of Azkaban is probably my fav of the HP movies).

8. Where did you attend college?  If you haven't gone yet, where would you like to go?
I graduated from the University of Georgia with a BBA in Marketing and an ABJ in Advertising.  I hope to attend graduate school somewhere, if I can ever nail down what exactly I'd like to do that would actually move around with us.

9. If you could live anywhere in the U.S., where would it be and why?
I don't have an exact location, but my dream place would be in a suburban setting with low-to-moderate humidity, moderate temps with lows in the 50's and highs in the 70's pretty much year-round, and plenty of places around to eat and shop.  If anyone knows of a location that meets this criteria, can you please ask the Army to move us there permanently?

10. What annoys you most about milspouse bloggers?
This is more about all bloggers/social media users in general, but misspelled words in postings really bothers me, especially when it's habitual.  Spell check is a default feature in browsers now people, so please pay attention when you see that little red squiggly line appear beneath your words!

11. If you could have an entire day to yourself, what would you do with your time?
I've had entirely too many days to myself over the last thirteen months, but a good "me" day includes a Gilmore Girls marathon, with some yummy cheesy pasta and a glass of a good chilled white wine, and my husband around to take care of the dogs for me!

Answers to Liz's Questions:
1. Which animal print is your favorite?
I'm not a huge fan of animal prints, but if I had to choose, I'd go with zebra.

2. What was your high school mascot?
We were the broncos.

3. Are you an iPhone person or an Andriod user?
iPhone all the way!  I <3 my Apple products :)

4. What is your favorite song of all time?
It's hard to choose, but I think I'll have to go with "Bubbly" by Colbie Caillat.  That song was big when my husband and I first began dating in 2007 and quickly became a favorite as it made me think of him (it's been my ringtone for him on my phone for the past four years or so).

5. What is your favorite song at the current moment?
"I Won't Give Up" by Jason Mraz

6. What is the best part about summer?
I've come to find that summer isn't really as exciting as an adult as it was as a child when summer meant breaks from school.

7. What's one road you never took in life?
Since graduating from college with my first degree, I never really took the "traditional" paths you're "supposed" to take in my life, but I don't regret any of the roads I've taken since that time.

8. What is your favorite fast food restaurant?
Overall it is probably Chick-fil-A, but if I want a burger I prefer McDonald's over other burger places.  I also enjoy Quizno's.

9. What was your best childhood toy?
I think the toy I probably most enjoyed playing with (at least that I can remember at this point) was actually something one of my best friends growing up owned, a Skip-It.

10. What is your favorite holiday and why?
Probably Christmas-time.  Not necessarily just Christmas Day itself, but that time of year overall.  I just love the festivity of it.

11. If you could live anywhere in the world, money not a factor, where would you move to?
It's hard to say for certain given I haven't ever left North America, but I would have to say Italy to drink wine and eat pasta all day long, and be able to explore not only all that there is to see in the entire country, but also have fairly easy access to see all of the beautiful and historic places in Europe I'd love to visit.