19 November 2007


A friend past this on and I had to share.. Enjoy

18 November 2007

Countdown neurosis

In the interest of fairness and honesty I must confess that the ticker at the top is not when I will actually see 3M. It is when he will begin his journey back to the United States. His team's journey will be filled with multiple stops that are, of course, top secret. I don't know how many there will be or how many days each will consume. I do know that in six days my husband will be getting the hell out of dodge, as he likes to say. In six days I won't have to worry about him being wounded or worse. He will be (for the most part) extremely safe. I must also say that I do know about when he will be back into the base he deployed from (hint: it is in the single digits).

And now free of coherent transitions and thoughtful segways here are some of the things I have been wanting to post about but haven't gotten around to it..


I have purchased so many different pieces of clothing for the homecoming that it is bordering on absurd. I have something for if it is hot/cold/freezing/sort of warm/sunny/rainy/morning/noon/ middle of the night. What is particularly alarming about this is I have these combos for both LM and myself. That makes for a lot of luggage- and yes, I know that it doesn't really actually matter what I am wearing but that is SOOO not the point. Factor in the two weeks worth of clothes we will need while he finishes the Warrior Transition Program, the clothes we needed to bring for 3M's return to the land of civi's, the toys, pack and play, and seventy pound footlocker we have to bring with us and I might as well rent a U-Haul. I can't shake the vision of the Beverly Hillbillies arriving to town for the first time.


In a bit of horrendously annoying indecisiveness I emailed the amazing Whoorl because I could not figure out what to do with my hair. It is currently quite long and I have been toying with the idea of cutting it for so long, talking about it so much and changing my mind so frequently that my closest friends and family REFUSE to discuss it with me anymore. Amazingly, Whoorl agreed to help (sorry for the super close up shot of my large nose and unwaxed eyebrows (note to self: when submitting pictures of yourself they should probably be half-way decent)). Needless to say I was thrilled when she and so many of her wonderful readers (thank you by the way for commenting and stopping by) told me 1) that I had nice hair (it was a they like me, they really like me moment for sure!) and 2) that I should leave it long and bust out the curling iron. Thank goodness for Whoorl and Hair Thursday's. My hair and all of my friends thank you :)


If one more person says "are you so excited that your husband will be coming home soon" to me I think I may smack them. Now, before everyone thinks that I am a horrible, heartless person I must admit that if I were in their shoes I would most likely say the same thing AND I totally understand where they are coming from; it is a natural and reasonable question. In fact, it is so natural and reasonable that I believe I have answered "Yes, I can't wait" 584269723017832580 times since last week. I am so unbelievably tired of that question. Just once I want to say "Actually not really, it is going to substantially cut into the time I spend with my boyfriend and that bums me out". That of course, would be totally inappropriate but the looks I would get would be priceless and 3M would totally think it was hysterical.


Because I am partially insane I have decided to attempt a post about the things I have learned over the past year of this deployment. I am striving for 100 things and I think I may actually be able to complete it. My goal is to have it up by next Sunday. I can't promise that it will be funny or poignant but it will be honest. I hope that someone, somewhere will be able to laugh or cry along as I try to enumerate the countless emotions and experiences that have marked the past 365 days.

15 November 2007

One from the road

I am happy to report that after a long 20 hour car ride filled with screams for Blue's Clues, more water, and random flailing about in one's car seat we have arrived at my parent's house. I will write more about what is going on in our little homecoming world soon but in the meantime I wanted to share something I learned on our journey.

While driving down I-95 I discovered that it is a colossally bad idea to get a personalized license plate that reads 1BIGQT. The primary reason you should step away from this license plate is because from far away it looks like "one bigot" which is, to say the least, a touch disturbing. The secondary reason to avoid this particular monicur is that there are weirdos like me who will speed up next to you just to see who in the world would put that on their license plate only to discover that it does, in fact, say "one big QT" and that while the BIG is accurate the QT is, um, not.

10 November 2007

Jet noise

For the better part of three years the Blue Angels have been a consistent part of our lives. Several times a week they practice on their home runway which happens to be across the water from our home. At 0900 sharp the roar of the jets approaches, zooms past and back again at what seems to be lightning speed. The windows shake as we are reminded of the power behind these awesome aircraft.

I am not going to lie; when we first moved in it scared the crap out of me a few times. I couldn't decipher the tell-tale hum of the engines starting, that 3M repeatedly attempted to point out, indicating that things were about to get a little noisy. Frequently I would be shushed mid-conversation because he had heard that sound that he loved so much. I made fun of his super-power hearing, chalking it up to the fact that he flew the hornet and was all too obsessed familiar with the noise. But as time went by I found myself stopping when I heard the hum; silently acknowledging- here we go; it is about to start.

These days LM doesn't seem to recognize the hum but the beginning of the roar of the engines sends him running to the backyard to see the "ahpanes". He points and laughs as they roll and zoom through the sky. I watch as their diamond formation gets closer and closer to perfection and marvel at the fact that my husband flies that same aircraft. I smile to myself and wonder if my little boy will follow in his Dad's footsteps and learn to fly those amazing jets. I ponder how long hornets will be in our lives.

The past two days have filled our home with extra booms, windows shakes, and noise. The annual homecoming show is here; marking the end of another Blue Angel season. As I attempted to distract LM from the scary and unfamiliar booms that were occurring, while reminding him of his love for the "ahpanes" I realized this would be the last time we saw the Blues fly over our home. There would be no more Blues jet noise. It was time to move on. With every pass and maneuver I felt a twinge of sadness. This part of our journey, like the Blues season, is over. It is time to begin again.

I envision this sad, yet hopeful feeling, continuing as we prepare for our PCS. I wonder what will be in store for us in the next leg of our journey with the Marine Corps. What noises will mark portions of our days or weeks, which sights will remind us that life is moving on as it should? I suppose all I can hope for is that each new noise, like this jet noise, continues to mark the sound of freedom.

05 November 2007

Very important question- updated

Ugly or not?
Updated: I must confess that I ordered this very expensive dress and it is H.I.D.E.O.U.S. and saying that is actually being kind. Thanks for your opinions though :)

02 November 2007

Extra helping

Had lots of pictures of Little man this week so I thought I would share an extra to make you smile this weekend...

He and I wish you a fun and relaxing weekend.

29 October 2007

LM Monday #7

Little man received a package from Iraq. He was far more excited about the box and the paper it was wrapped in then he was about the gift inside.

Don't let this picture fool you. Little man's favorite things to do with crayons are 1)eat them and 2) walk around the house with them to see how many things he can narrowly avoid coloring while his Mom nervously follows behind him.

On a side note, can someone please tell me where my baby went? This little boy has been showing up in all of my pictures lately.

25 October 2007

Peek in the window

After getting rained out of our afternoon walk LM and I went to the package store to pick up some milk. We took three steps into the store and LM D.E.M.A.N.D.E.D. to be put down. Because he was screaming in the middle of the store and the only people besides he and I not in uniform was the cashier I obliged. He, surprisingly, took my hand and walked down the aisle. He walked straight down the aisle to the beer case and screamed his head off when I wouldn't allow him to open the case and, oh I don't know, take out some of the beer. After finally wrangling him back in my arms, he attempted to dive bomb straight to the floor and I was thisclose to dropping him all while the man in front of me took his sweet ass time figuring out if he was going to purchase the Marine Corps Times and which method of payment he was going to use on this very special occassion, where he found himself buying a soda and a bag of chips. Needless to say there was copious amounts of staring and probably an increase in condom sales at this particular package store this afternoon.

22 October 2007


As we approached home this afternoon I checked the front door to see if a small package had been delivered from UPS. I quickly learned that there was something else at my door. A large green footlocker with an airbill and customs forms straight from Iraq. There it sat, proof that this is almost over; 3M is almost home. Soon there will be no more packages, no more emails, no more phone calls, and sleepless nights. Soon we will again be a family. This glorious box in all of it's ugliness and heaviness was the best thing I have seen in a long time.

I can hardly believe that it has almost been a year. We have gone 332 days in this deployment. Just writing that is unbelievable. Sometimes it seems like a lifetime, others like a flash. The green footlocker sitting in my foyer is proof that we are almost safe, that my prayers are almost answered that my hero will be making his way home soon.

LM Monday #6

18 October 2007

Mother Nature

3M and I moved to our current duty station four months before a major hurricane made landfall. We managed to ride out that storm with little to no damage. As a result of our good fortune, we believed that we had paid our dues and would be disaster free for at least the rest of our tour here.

A year later we survived two more major storms. Again there was little to no damage. Again we were convinced that we had paid our dues and would be disaster free for at least the rest of our tour here.

The port-a-crapper did not fair as well as we did

Today our town was hit by a tornado. Our town has not been hit by a tornado in at least the last sixty years. Again this time we had no damage, as it missed our part of town. We have however received more than 14 inches of rain and plenty o' lightning.

I am starting to think that there is a distinct possibility that Mother Nature hates us.

Supporting a great cause

Notice the nice shiny yellow ribbon on the sidebar? You should put one up too because MilitaryWidgets.com has decided to donate $20 per every website that displays our Yellow Ribbon to the Fisher House. You can read more about their charity works on the Programs page of their website. All you have to do is email info@militarywidgets.com with your website when the ribbon goes up and theywill make the contribution.

16 October 2007

Holiday trauma

Not exactly the reaction I was hoping for when I put him in this Halloween costume...

What the heck am I supposed to do now, other than put him in it every day between now and the squadron Halloween party and hope that he.. ummmmmmm get's used to it??? Any chance that will happen?

I'll keep you posted and perhaps go buy another costume or 12, you know just in case

15 October 2007

14 October 2007

35 random things

Alicia posted this a while ago and I just got around to doing it. You should too!

You have to type the 1ST thing that comes to mind whenever you hear these 35 things. You can't think and go back and change your answers. Copy and Paste, then delete answers to make them your own.

1. [Beer] - fridge in the sunroom, complete with Marine Corps tap

2. [Shoe] - LM can you find your shoe please?

3. [Relationships] - are perfect when they are meant to be.

4. [Purple] - is a fruit. I love her blog!

5. [Power Rangers] - loved the pink one!!

6. [Weed] - gives me visions of Curly sitting on his front porch smoking it just because he can, even if he doesn't know if he'll like it :)

7. [Steroids] - bad college boyfriend

8. [Cartoons] - wish LM would watch them

9. [The President] - for good or bad is my husband's Commander in Chief

10. [Tupperware] - my Mom was on a tupperware-a-torium when we were kids

11. [Florida] - is my home

12. [Santa Claus] - will bring my husband home safe this year

13. [Halloween] - what the hell is LM going to be?

14. [Bon Jovi] - gotta love a Jersey boy!

15. [Grammar] - hides its head in shame after reading this blog

16: [Myspace] - is not for me

17. [Worst fear] - 3M not returning home to us

18. [Marriage] - is the best thing that ever happened to me

19. [Paris Hilton] - get a real job

20. [Patrick] - Dempsey

21. [Redheads] - bar in NJ

22. [Blondes] - bad idea when I was in college

23. [Pass the] - time until 3M is home

24. [One night stand] - no thanks!

25. [Donald Trump] - bad hair

26. [Neverland] - Michael Jackson's sick place

27. [Pixie stix] - yuck!!

28. [Vanilla ice cream] - not as good as chocolate

29. [Hooters] - the one in Cancun is S.C.A.R.Y.

30. [High school] - is something I am so glad is over

31. [Pajamas] - means it's almost bedtime!!

32. [Woods] - my neighbor's last name

33. [Wet Socks] - gross!

34. [Computer] - is how I keep in touch with 3M. keeps me sane

35. [Love] -can overcome anything

13 October 2007

Open Letters

Dear API students,
I am sorry that while you were in formation our stroller was being attacked by a killer dragon fly and therefore I was running and flailing in six million directions causing you to lose focus and laugh which caused you to get screamed at by a drill instructor. I hope that said drill instructor remembered to brush his teeth this morning. Sorry.

Dear Across the street neighbor,
I am very sorry that you are getting a divorce. It must suck to have your wife leave you with three children. However, do you think it would be possible for you to go inside once and a while inside of sitting on the weight bench in your garage watching TV with your friends who's cars have incredibly loud stereos that turn on right outside of LM's window? I am sure you have a perfectly nice couch somewhere in your house.

Dear neighbors who live next door to the across the street neighbors,
Hi, how are you? Good I hope. I know that you have very stressful jobs, what with being a stripper and a bartender at a strip club, but do you think it would be possible for you to mow your lawn, oh I don't know, sometime this year?

Dear check out lady at Wal-mart,
Yes, I do have a picture of my husband on my necklace. Yes, he is in Iraq. No, I don't want to hear your ridiculous opinion about the state of our government or how you think that Rosie O'Donnell says it best when she describes why we shouldn't be in the war; I want to pay for my stupid groceries and go home before I smack the ever-loving shit out of you.

Dear Forrest Gump of my town,
It is really nice that you run down the main highway everyday and give people the peace sign. That is a great idea. Just curious, don't you ever get tired and just want to take the bus, oh and what kind of sneakers do you where because clearly I should get myself a pair because they must provide excellent cushioning and support?

11 October 2007

Beep, beep

At 4:45 this morning I was awoken by the sound of a beep. It was a weird, not very loud beep. It didn't scare the pants off me or make me jump from the bed like the burglar alarm would but there it was again, a beep. I laid in bed in a semi-conscious state and listened for the noise again.

Crap, I know what that beep is! It's the stupid beep on the smoke detector telling us lowly house dwellers that it is time to change the battery. You know the beep, it is the one that doesn't turn off until you do as it requests. The last time this happened it was the middle of the afternoon and I was completely perplexed as to how to fix this problem; not this time though. Ha, stupid smoke alarm you thought you had me- how wrong you are I have learned lessons, I can solve problems. This time I shall go to the hall closet get a battery, change you and head back to bed.

I moseyed my way to the hall closet, turned on the light and got the package of batteries. Half way back I realized I had the wrong kind of batteries. That's right stupid smoke alarm I am smart, you need a 9-volt battery. So off I went back to the hall closet to get a 9-volt battery. I opened the door, looked around. No 9-volt battery!

As the beep continued I had a thought; one of LM's toys must use a 9-volt battery. So I traipsed myself into the sunroom, turned on the light and began sifting through the freaking toys. No, not you Winnie; no, you won't help either computer; no, blocks don't have batteries. Dinosaur toy... thanks anyway.

Okay, no batteries there. Ah ha, there is a battery in the keypad on the outside of the garage door. Shit, that means I have to go outside. That also means that I have to put real clothes on, you know, just in case one of my neighbors is out unscrewing things from the outside of their home at 5 in the morning.

I got dressed, headed for the garage to get a screw driver, opened the front door and ran like hell with the phone in my hand just in case I had to call 911 because someone was waiting outside my door because they knew that I would be unscrewing batteries from the wall at precisely 5:00am walked to the garage and unscrewed the face plate to get the battery. Battery in hand- Take that stupid smoke detector, I'll show you.

I hopped up on a chair, pulled out the beeping battery and put in the new one. I was now officially the smartest woman I know (clearly, I have very low standards). I walked back to get in bed, was two steps from hopping in,


You have got to be kidding me. This can not be happening. Ok, I can handle this. After all I am an adult who is facing a measly smoke detector. I have an idea; I shall unplug the entire thing from the wall. I grabbed the chair again, reached for the smoke detector, unplugged it from the wall, put it on the computer desk, walked to the bed,


Ok, seriously you are UNPLUGGED! How in the hell can you still be beeping? This is not happening. As I sat on the edge of the bed teetering awfully close to a meltdown I realized that I should just give up. I am an adult, a bona-fide grown-up. I have been raising a child on my own for almost 10 months. If I can do survive a deployment surely I can force myself to ignore the beeping and go back to sleep. Yes, that is what I will do; like a Jedi-mind trick.

I re-plugged in the smoke detector closed the door to prevent some of the beeping noise from infiltrating my room and climbed into bed. I was pumped, I could do this- I could will myself back to sleep because by God I was an adult.

No beeping.

No beeping at all.

Totally stopped beeping.


09 October 2007


07 October 2007

LM Monday #4- Video Edition

I finally finished the last video for LM's first year. Sorry it is four months late.

Little man from ERIN on Vimeo.

06 October 2007

No Go

The offer is a no go. After much discussion 3M and I have decided that we would both feel better moving after he returns; well really he would feel better and it is kind of hard to tell your husband, who is currently living in a bombed out building in Fallujah, that you don't agree.

We did make a counter offer to our buyer , who is a single man moving here from Atlanta (Hey Darrell, how are you???) in hopes of saving the deal. We asked him to wait until December and offered money towards his living expenses payable at closing. My realtor and his realtor said it was an "enticing offer" and they thought we would be able to work something out.

Darrell said no. He said he didn't want to wait that long.

Why, Darrell? Our offer is enticing!!!! Didn't you listen to your realtor (who by the way was slightly creepy and used a contract that hasn't been used in our county since 1995)?? Your realtor is a smart man; you should listen to him! You are a single man. You can live anywhere for a few months. We are going to write you a check, a real live actual check, just for waiting a few extra weeks. But no... you have to be Mr. difficult. Perhaps I really should call you Mr. WTF. Instead you are going to keep looking and see if you can find something else and if you can't then you will "re-visit" our offer.

Fine, be that way.

While you are out crushing my dreams of having a bigger house with a pool looking at other houses I would like you to remember a few things:

You can totally see the water, from the backyard. Dude, you will not find that in other neighborhoods. That and the grass is expensive as hell to maintain green, really green.

There are no stupid chick colors in this house, so as to prevent your stupid fragile male ego from having to pee in a pink bathroom. You are welcome!

I planted flowers!!! Do you have any idea how much I hate planting flowers?!?!?!

03 October 2007

Offer part two

Also known as currently Erin is having a panic attack because she is a TERRIBLE waiter and she is trying to talk to her husband about this while he is, oh in a warzone. Umm, so yeah.. feeling quite stressed out about this whole house thing and he is not answering emails; doesn't he know this is more important that what is going on in Iraq. Tisk, tisk.

We counter offered Mr. WTF and he came back with another offer. This new offer has a really good price but he wants to close November 1st.

Closing November 1st is giving my heart burn. Not hearing from my husband is giving me heartburn. Writing about this on the internet as if I will somehow jinx it.. you guessed it, giving me heartburn. (On a sidenote, I don't know if it is exactly giving my heartburn because I don't know that I have ever had heartburn but it is giving me something that isn't so fun).

So, currently we have an offer on the table, to which they want a yes or no. They do not want a counter offer. I am feeling a bit overwhelmed at the prospect of arranging and conducting a move all by myself and my husband is currently MIA. That and LM has been sleeping for almost three hours!!!

02 October 2007

Holy Sh*t- update below

My realtor is coming by with an offer for our house....

More to come


Change that to WTF were these people thinking. Over 30k less than asking price and they want to move in by the 15th... OF THIS MONTH.

Not so much.. wish us luck as we counter-offer.

25 September 2007

Leavin on a jet plane

Crap, crap, crap.. We are flying home tomorrow morning. Have I mentioned how much I hate flying with a toddler and how I really wish 3M was here with us? Oh, that's right I have.

Crap, crap, crap.

Wish us luck and good weather as we make our journey home...

Speaking of home, we had a Realtor preview our house for an out of town buyer and he said it was his favorite of all the homes he looked at. His buyers are going to be in town next week and he will be bringing them over.

Crap, crap, crap.

Don't they know that they should have looked at my house while we were gone, not now that we are back and LM can destroy a house in 3.5 seconds. Hrmph.

24 September 2007

LM Monday #3

Totally not impressed by my Mom's ability to take a picture of us or her attempts at getting me to make a surprise face..

Perhaps it is because she will not let me have coffee...

23 September 2007

Some gave all

Several months ago I posted about 1stLt. Travis Manion who worked alongside 3M in Iraq.Travis was killed by a sniper just minutes before 3M was to get on a helicopter and depart for 3 days of R&R in Qatar.

I vividly remember talking to 3M, on that day, and being excited for him that he would have the chance to get away and relax. Yet the response I received was very distant and unsettling. I didn't know about the attack and Travis' death. 3M hadn't shared but it was weighing heavily on his mind. After finally relaying the unfortunate events 3M immediately told me what a Great American Travis was and how it was an honor to serve with him.

I later came to find out that because of the help Travis provided on the day 3M was attacked and injured in Fallujah I am able to hear my husband's voice and countdown the days until his return. Beacuse of his brave and selfless acts our son will have the opportunity to grow-up under the watchful eyes of his father.

I am forever indebted to Travis and all of the Marines my husband serves with.

Bill from InDCJournal, posted a moving tribute to Travis that is remarkably touching and unbelievably heart-breaking. Please take a minute and read it.

19 September 2007

Truth in advertising

I know this doesn't actually count as a post but I just love LM's new shirt.

Come back tomorrow and I promise to tell you my horrible encounter with Judy, the ridiculously rude and horribly innapropriate post office clerk in my parent's home town. It was a good one.

18 September 2007

Light at the end of the tunnel

Today was one of those days. LM is still struggling with the one nap thing, also referred to as you were the one who decided to wake up when you are still tired so why are you taking it out on me thing. Most days he is still taking two gloriously long two hour naps and going to bed at 7:30. All is right with the world on two nap days.

Today was not a two nap day.

I was about ready to throw myself out a window after having to ask him to get out of the refrigerator for the eighty billionth (yes, that is a number) time in two minutes. Or wait, was it after the throwing himself against the cabinets while screaming "kaaakaah" (cracker for those of you non-LM speakers) six gazillion (again, a number)times. Oh no, it must have been one of the twenty hundred (amazing you with my math skills aren't I) times when he brought me over a book to read and then head butted me as he got up and walked away while I was trying to read the FIRST page to him. No.. it was one of the five catrillion (would it frighten you to know that I was once an algebra teacher) times when he kept throwing his food to the dogs and then screaming "nonono" when I took his plate away from him, and then giving it back to have him repeat it all over again.

Definitely one of those days when bedtime could not have come soon enough. In honor of his joyous mood and exceptional behavior he even went to bed a 7:00- praise the lord!!!

After I unwound and I stifled my desire to drink an entire bottle of wine I decided to look at the website for 3M's next assignment, which is a Resident PME program- short-version he is going to a military college in order to have the courses necessary to be promoted.

While cracking the hieroglyphics, also known as the academic calendar, I learned that 3M would not have to go to class for half of June, ALL of July, and most of August. How amazingly wonderful is that!!!

So, I am feeling a little better. Now, if you wouldn't mind could you please say a prayer that tomorrow is a TWO nap day that involves little to no refrigerate expeditions, cabinet raiding and food throwing.....

17 September 2007

LM Monday #2

If only I knew how this thing works...

A rare moment of quiet...

14 September 2007


I was randomly scanning through You Tube tonight when I came across a video that was made by someone in 3M's old squadron during their OIF 2005 deployment. We had already left the squadron by then but it is amazingly touching and reminds me, yet again, that I am so proud of my husband and all of the men and women he has stood beside, continues to stand beside, and will stand beside in the future.

12 September 2007


11 September 2007

Forever changed

Six years ago today I was a bright-eyed and slight overwhelmed, 21 year old PE teacher about to begin the seventh day of her first real job. My class was awaiting instructions when one of my co-workers came in and quietly whispered in my ear, there was an accident- a plane flew into one of the Trade Center buildings.

I tried to hide my cringe because I was teaching less than one-hour from New York City. My father's business was largely conducted in NYC and he often spent time in these towers, though I knew he was not there this day. As I gave instructions I wondered what had happened and hoped no one I knew was involved.As the lesson continued there was another message, it was bad.

We couldn't have known how bad it truly was going to be.

When my class was over I returned to the office I shared with three other teachers. We turned on the radio and instantaneously heard, a second plane has flown into the Trade Center; both towers have been hit. We all stood silent and shocked; then immediately turned off the radio. This was not news fifty middle-school girls should be hearing as they got changed to resume their day.

We pretended. We went about our day in stunned shock. The towers had fallen, the pentagon had been hit, and there was a plane down in a Pennsylvania field; many were missing, even more had been killed. Parents flocked to the school and pulled their children out fearing the worst was occurring. Students began to question what was going on; I could not answer. I so badly wanted to answer but, alas it was not my place. How could I; someone who barely considered herself an adult, explain to these children what had happened. I didn't understand it myself.

The day was over and we all rushed home. I sat glued to the television not able to understand why all of this had happened. I didn't have any students who lost parents but their grief and sorrow was still immeasuarable.

They had just learned that their world would be forever changed.
I did not know 3M on September 11, 2001 but I did know one of his friends. 3M's friend Brad was dating one of the girls I shared an office with and I remember her coming in to work the next day telling me that the squadron the guys were in may be headed, to the fight. At the time I was so upset for her. How hard it must be, how scared she must feel. I didn't understand what loving someone in the military was about. I couldn't grasp that fear.

Little did I know that I would have all to good of an understanding.
On September 11, 2006 3M began his MiTT training in preparation for his deployment to Iraq. It was the first day of a very long 15 months. He was preparing to go to the fight; I was scared.

This time 3M wouldn't be in a jet, he would be on the ground- in one of the most dangerous cities in all of Iraq. He would be fulfilling a mission I didn't completely understand but knew was extremely risky. I didn't know what was going to happen. I didn't know how to react.

I spent the day thinking of my students; those young faces who began their day, five years ago, carefree and by its conclusion were forever changed.

I truly understood how they were feeling on that morning. I felt as if I would never be the same. What if this was the beginning of the end of our fairy tale? What if this mission was too dangerous? Would my life still be my own this time next year?

I could not bear to think about 365 days from September 11th because I was so unspeakably terrified that my world would be forever different.
September 11, 2007 began with a "mama?" from my little man. He was awake and ready to start the day. He did not know that so many would be grieving on this day. He doesn't remember that his Daddy was not here this time last year. He wanted to smile and play with his dogs. His world had not changed at all ; it was the same wonderful adventure as it had been the day before.

We have made it 365 days. We have survived the training, the hotels, the tears, the laughters, the attack, and the triumphs. We are still here. We have begun our countdown and I finally feel like I can truly move forward without being fearful of changes that life may bring.

Undoubtedly my life was forever changed on September 11, 2001 and again on September 11, 2006. I have learned to be stronger, love harder, and believe that no matter where this road takes us or how this journey unfolds, forever changed is not always a bad thing. Forever changed means there is still time to begin again- to learn, to grow, to love.

10 September 2007

Little man Monday #1

Welcome to take six thousand four hundred and fifty two of this blog. I have decided that with the remaining 76 days we have of this deployment.. GO AHEAD AND READ THAT AGAIN... the part where it says 76 days I'll wait....

Ok, so as I was saying. I have decided that I have lots to say and lots of things going on so I am going to start posting on a... wait for it... regular basis. Shocking isn't it...

So in honor of this new beginning I have created Little man Monday's..

Discovering that everyone in the family has teeth...

Perhaps not the best choice in playmate


02 September 2007

For the love of all things holy

Dear someone/anyone who may be listening,

Please return to me the little boy who used to take 2 naps that lasted 2 hours each. You may return him as a boy who takes 1 nap, if you so chose, but please, for the love of all things holy, make that nap last longer than one hour.

The wife who's husband has been deployed for nine freaking months and is about to lose the last piece of sanity that she was clinging to

p.s. do you think you could also advise my dog that it is, in fact, possible to bark in places other than right in front of the little boy's room, or perhaps not at all.

13 August 2007

He speaks

As little man hits 14 1/2 months old he is really starting to talk- or at least his version of talking. Some of the words commonly found in his vocabulary-

* dada
* car
* cracker
* cat
* dog
* pool
* diaper
* shoes
* banana
* apple
* truck
* ball
* bubble
* all done
* peek- a- boo (pronounced a-booooo)
* uh-oh- which can be dragged out many, many times- uh,uh,uh,uh, ohhhhhh
* hello
* bye- bye
* pretzel
* outside
* close

Notice anything missing from this list?

11 August 2007


Little man and I have been taking advantage of our backyard quite a bit this summer. We spend lots of time outside on the patio in his pool or his sandbox.

Yesterday I did not have him in a swim diaper or bathing suit so when he decided to take matters into his own hands and climb into the pool I decided a little skinny dipping would be a better solution than going back inside for a swim diaper while carrying a wet toddler.

LM found this newfound freedom wonderful. He ran around the backyard pointing out all of the things he saw that he recognized.. bah-ble, ball, bahd, pewl.

After proving his prowess with words he decided it was time for a swim. He climbed into his pool, stood up and grabbed his package. That's right my little 14 month old son stood in his baby pool grabbing himself.

I turned to get the camera figuring this would be a funny thing to send to 3M and before I turned back around I heard "uh-oh, uh-uh-uh-oh". I turned to see his little hand is raised towards me and there is #1 flowing into the pool.

Yes, little man "uh-oh" is right.

10 August 2007

Operation Fitness Continues

All is going well on the stop eating crap, exercise you lazy woman plan. I have dropped 4 of the 6 pounds I gained while 3M was home and only have seven more to go to reach my goal.

ExericseTV is still one of my favorites and I have been doing it often. I am also going to take a few Pilates classes at the studio I used to go to before 3M and I got married, while I am visitng my parents. LM and I are also going to join a gym for the month we will be up there. I figure the daycare room will be good for him and then exercise will be good for me, as will the break having him in daycare will give me.

I feel better and I am proud that I have stopped procrastinating and started moving again.

3M is also proving to be great motivation. He has finally decided that during his 18 hour work day he is going to stop, no matter what is going on, and get a workout in. If he can find time to workout in 140 degree weather, with his weapon by his side, I suppose I can hit the gym before going to Dunkin Donuts for an Iced Gingerbread Latte.

06 August 2007

He just wanted to share

3M often sends emails venting about some of the cultural differences that he experiences while operating inside Iraq.

Today he sent me this email about his day out in the city. Warning you do not want to read this while enjoying a meal or even a snack:

I have seen something today that will scar me for life. I have had the luxury of witnessing a lot of things since arrival in this place last December. Today however, takes the cake.

We were on the last leg of our patrol today and were making our way to a checkpoint on the east side of the city that we were going to check out. In this particular ECP there are usually a lot of cars and a lot of pedestrians in the area, and today was no different. We stop our vics
and dismount everyone that needs to get out and conduct the visit. I was on the gun today and was obviously doing my scan crap and trying to check everything out for threats and stuff, when I noticed this guy ahead of us on foot kind of walking circles. Walking circles like a dog that's sniffing around. He found his sweet spot and in front of God, us, all the people around and all of the vehicles around, oh and his family right across from him watching - pulls his man dress up, squats down and commences to taking a shit. WOW.

05 August 2007

Anxiety.. It's what's for dinner

LM and I are flying to my parent's on Wednesday.

There are many, many things about that statement that are giving me anxiety, in mass quantities.

1. The last time LM and I flew there was copious amounts of mind-numbingly loud, gawd-awful embarrassing, want to jump out of the emergency exit screaming.Only some of it was coming from me. And, no I am not exaggerating.
2. Our flight is at 0630. What in the hell was I thinking, signing us up for a flight that early.
3. I have no choice but to drive us and all of our stuff to the airport at the butt crack of dawn.
4. Do you have any idea how much stuff I have?
5. I have way too much stuff (little man, suitcase, car seat, wheel attachment thing that makes the car seat a stroller, carry one bag, my sanity) that I need to figure out how to get out of the car, into the airport, through security, onto the plane, off of the plane, through the Atlanta airport, onto another plane, off the plane, and out of the airport.
6. re-read number 5.
7. No seriously, did you re-read number 5.

Hold me...

30 July 2007

Amazing Web Discoveries

The other day I was watching TV and saw an advertisement for FREE In-Demand programming through our cable company. I looked at it and saw that there were some Nick Jr. shows and such and was mildly amused at this discovery, but since the LM will not watch TV for more than about 35 seconds at a time it wasn't something that made my day.

During nap time I returned to the free programming and saw that their was a Health and Wellness Section. I selected it and found that it was a multitude, a plethora really, of exercise videos. How cool is that- free exercise for my stop being a fatty plan. I was quite pleased. Then at the end I saw that the programming also had a website so of course being the big loser that I am I went to the site- Exercise TV- and what did I find there.... Free videos and programs and all kinds of videos that will help me in my quest, I am quite the pleased girl.


Today while LM was napping I was on the computer looking at something totally pointless and I came across an advertisement for Marie Claire's website. I have no idea what made me go there, I don't even read Marie Claire, but there I was.

On the site I found the Virtual Makeover.

Warning- do not go to this site unless you have a bunch of time to waste. You can upload your picture onto their site and then try a multitude of hair colors and styles, makeup, etc. Some of them are God-awful, you will laugh so hard your sides will hurt. Some of the do's are not so bad and even managed to give me an idea of a possible new haircut.

I highly recommend it if you are having a crappy day.

Go ahead, check them out I know you want to...

23 July 2007

Operation Fitness 2.0

When 3M first went on deployment I decided I was going to get my butt into gear and lose the extra weight I had gained when I was pregnant and never got around to losing. I was pretty good about it for a while and then I just got lazy. It was so much easier, and far more fun to eat frozen yogurt and goldfish then it was to watch what I was eating and dare I say it- exercise!

I was fairly happy with the way I was looking prior to 3M's return home but once he got here things went downhill fast. I am pretty sure that we spent the majority of our time eating way, WAY too much yummy and terribly bad for you food. I was sure I had gained back some of the weight. I just didn't want to get back on the scale to confirm it.

Unlucky for me I didn't need a scale to confirm it. The night before 3M returned to Iraq we had professional beach portraits done. I was feeling somewhat uneasy about my general appearance but was sure that my choice of clothing would "mask" my sins.

I got the proofs back today.

Holy crap was I wrong!

Wow, I look terrible. I flipped, open-mouthed through these photos, sad that I am way less than thrilled of these precious family photos.

I have been eating crappy foods and not exercising- a far cry from the Phys. Ed. teacher who people used to go to because she was "so healthy, and always eating great and looking good".

So here we are.. Operation Fitness Version 2.0- this time without the lame-o excuses.

I have decided to start Weight Watchers again and am counting my points accordingly.

I am also doing the Couch to 5K running program and some of my favorites pilates videos.

I am excited.I need to do this for me. I need to take the time to take care of me and be proud of the way that I look.

I have 4 months to lose 12 pounds and the flab, oh the flab...

Not to bore you half-to-death but I will be updating with progress on Monday's.

I know you are on the edge of your seat waiting for it...

22 July 2007

The new countdown

We had an amazingly wonderful two week R&R.

Little man did a great job at the airport of welcoming his Dad home...

We took lots of stupid self-portraits...

3M gave LM his very first haircut. No tears were shed and look at the adorable results....

The Purple Heart Ceremony was perfect and we are so proud of 3M...

Our final ticker is up. We are 129 days away from an amazing homecoming...

19 June 2007

So lucky

I finally was able to get the pictures together from little man's first six months and turn them into a movie. What a journey it has been...

little man the first six months from theteds on Vimeo

14 June 2007


1. I just got a $126.83 water bill. Perhaps I shouldn't have set the sprinklers to stay on quite so long. Crap.
2. Little Man had his very first temper tantrum; soon after he graced us with temper tantrums 2-7. Almost all were due to the fact that I will not allow him to sit on our bed unsupervised because it is freakishly tall and he has almost rolled/fallen/stepped/hurled himself off about 87 gazillion times. Such a horrible Mom I am.
3. 3M called today and told me that as we were talking he was standing on the roof of a house in the middle of the city of Fallujah. Ok, really, didn't need to know that you were standing on the roof of a building in the middle OF.A.WARZONE. Nope didn't need to hear that one. Thanks for sharing though.
4. 3M leaves Iraq to come home in exactly two weeks. 14 days. 336 hours. 20160 minutes. 1209600 seconds. Not that I am counting or anything. Seriously, it's okay you can check my math.
5. I desperately need to clean the closets, bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchen, garage, outside, cars, before 3M returns home.
6. I have not shown you pictures of LM in a little bit so here you go.. just a small fix...

Update: Not only did he tell me about the roof he has given me photographic evidence.

06 June 2007

For Sale?

When 3M returns from Iraq we will be PCS'ing. Since we found out that we would quickly be departing after his return and we know that the real estate market here is terrible we agreed to put the house up for sale when 3M comes home on leave at the beginning of July. We both talked about this decision and the only concern he and I had was about the price we would be able to sell at because of the terrible market.

Today I began my "get the house ready to sell" cleaning. I took a break from the cleaning so LM and I could go to Gymboree and on the way home I had a mini-meltdown.

I realized that I don't want to put the house on the market when 3M comes home on leave. I am afraid that the house will sell and if heaven-forbid anything should happen to him I won't have our home. I won't have the place where we started our life as husband and wife. The home we painted, tiled, decorated and furnished. The place where we started our family. The place where I cried on the floor when I found out he was leaving. The place where he came home to and told me about his day.

This home is part of our family and I have never been happier in any place. I can't help but feeling that I need to hold onto it if the unimaginable occurs. I can not bear the thought of not having this house if something happens. Is this rational?

I know that choosing whether or not to put the house up for sale is a huge deal. The market here is slow; houses are sitting for longer periods of time. Yet, I can't help but feel like if we put it on the market in July it will sell quickly but if we wait it won't sell for quite sometime. Keeping the house will not kill us; it will significantly lower our spending ability; we could swing it but it definitely is not preferable.

I don't know what to do. All I do know is that right now the thought of not having our home is really upsetting me.

Do you have any advice, dear Internet?

05 June 2007

The Week of Milestones.. Part Two

Originally posted March 30, 2007

On Wednesday I got a call I hoped would never come; 3M had been injured as a result of a Suicide-Vehicle Bourne IED. He is okay and has already been released from the hospital. It is still too fresh to really talk about, I don't think my thoughts and feelings would be anywhere near logical but suffice it to say I am so incredibly thankful that he and the members of his team were not seriously hurt. There are so many families (too many) of our brave men and women who don't get to hear from their husbands that something terrible has happened but they are okay, so I feel so fortunate to have been able to hear 3M's voice and know that things are going to be alright.

Here is the story of the attack from the journalist who was embedded with them. Thank you Bill, for sharing the stories of our brave Marines during this difficult time!

Please keep 3M and his team in your thoughts and prayers.

I am a firm believer that lightning rarely strikes twice.
Two Months later....

The 28th marked two months since the morning when I received the phone call from 3M. I haven't talked or written much about the attack and his injuries because it somehow feels like it never happened if I don't think about it or talk about it. But it did happen.

3/26/07- 3M told me that he was going on an extended mission and would not be in contact for several days. He assured me what he was doing was "no big deal" but he would not be by the computer or phone for a few days.

At 0920 I put LM down for his nap and heard my cellphone ringing. I ran to get the phone and heard 3M's voice on the other end. I thought it was strange that he was calling and he didn't sound right. I immediately panicked and started asking him over and over is he was okay and if something was wrong. There was a lot of noise in the background. 3M told me that he was just fine but something big happened where he is in Iraq and I might see things on the news. He told me not to worry about it because he was fine. He has said that sentence to me several times before so it calmed my fears- a little. He then asked how our LM was, told me he loved me and said he had to go.

I knew something was wrong, something just didn't sound right. I called my Mom and told her about the "weird phone call" and then googled to find the story he was talking about. It didn't take long to find out about the attack on the government center. I was sure this was what he was talking about but had the feeling that if something was wrong he would have told me.

LM woke up from his nap and my worries were sidelined by our little boy's need to eat and play. He and I went about our day until the phone rang again. This time it was another wife from 3M's team. She was calling to see how I was. How I was??

And then it hit me...

I was right, something had happened. The poor wife told me what she knew since she was the KV who had been told everyone had notified their spouses and referred me to the local Family Resource Officer (a Marine tasked with most things family related including notification of injuries of fellow Marines). He told me what he knew and apologized profusely. Apparently 3M was adamant that no one call his wife, he would take care of it. They didn't know that he didn't tell me. I didn't know what to do.

So there I sat. I didn't cry. I was mad. Actually, I was furious. How could he keep this from me? Why would he not tell me that he had been hurt? Didn't he think I wouldn't find out? Did he not think I was strong enough to handle the truth? I played the scenario over and over in my head. Did I miss something he said? Was he really alright? He sounded alright. What did I miss?

Slowly my anger turned to fear. I realized it was easier to be angry. If I was angry I didn't have to process how unbelievably terrified I was. Then the tears came.

3M was finally able to call and told me what had happened and explained why he didn't originally tell me what had occurred. I was never happier to hear his voice and confirm that he was alright.

On the morning of the attack, 3M and 5 of his teammates where sleeping in their temporary room. This place was in the center of town. At 0600 a Suicide vehicle bourne improvised explosive device (SVBIED) was detonated at the front gate of the compound. They awoke to the sound of the explosion and mortar fire. They decided to get up and get dressed, just in case, and that is when it happened. A second SVBIED detonated just feet from their room sending the concrete wall of their room in on them.

The SVBIED contained a chlorine gas. They didn't have their gear on, they couldn't see, the gas was so thick. 3M told me later, that he initially followed light to what he thought was the way out. When he got there he realized it was the back of the building where the explosion had occurred. He would have to go back and find another way out. He was worried, he thought maybe something bad would happen or he wouldn't make it out. Hearing him say that was the hardest thing I have ever heard. My Marine, who makes light of so many things, was scared. I could have lost him.

He found his way out. Actually, he helped two other Marines out of the building and then established cover so that two of his teammates could go back into the building and get his roommate, who did not make it out because of some more serious injuries. After several hours of fighting without shoes and through sickness, 3M was finally medivac'd out to Balad.

When he arrived in Balad he was handed a phone. As they stripped him of his clothes, inserted IV's, poked and prodded he was on the phone with me. That was the background noise, that was the source of the strange sounds.

Thankfully, he is okay. He spent several days in the hospital, receiving breathing treatments, recovering from his concussion, and healing the avulsion on his foot (from fighting without shoes for several hours). He returned to work and is doing much better.

I was so scared. I kept telling myself that lightning rarely strikes twice. The stupid line I kept telling myself in order to forget how dangerous 3M's job truly is.

Last Tuesday, 3M went on his first extended mission since his injuries. When he told me my heart hit the floor. Not again.

LM's birthday kept me busy on the first day and Mom's return home occupied the second day but my stomach was in knots. There was a Suicide bombing at a Iraqi Police recruitment center in the town where 3M is stationed. Not again, I kept telling myself. Not again.

At 0345 on the third day my phone rang. 3M was safely back inside the wire. He was on scene for the bombing but military was injured. Thank God.

Never in my life did I think that I would be faced with the stone cold reality of 3M's job. I always knew there was danger but I tried not to think of it. I refer to the attack as "the incident". I talk about him "being at work". I live in denial but it is the only way I can continue. I can't bear to think that I might lose him. I can't fathom LM not having his Dad teach him how to ride a bike, drive a car, or simply watch him turn into his own little person.

Even after explaining what happened I still can't accurately put into words how I feel about the attack, his injuries, and how terrified I am that I could lose my husband. No words can describe it, no feelings seem adequate. It just isn't possible, it just can't happen.

Until he comes home I will continue to count on my belief that lightning rarely strikes twice.

04 June 2007

The Week of Milestones... Part One

Last week was a very busy one in our little house. It marked little man's first birthday, two-months since 3M's SBVIED attack, his first extended trip/mission since the SVBIED attack, and one month until he comes homes for his R&R. I am happy to report that we survived each of the milestones relatively unscathed and in some cases pretty darn excited.

LM's birthday began with huge amounts of rain. Rain that I must mention we have not seen in months. I can't help but believe that it chose to rain on this day because I had taken my procrastination to epic levels and needed to go to the store ASAP or our party guests would learn that I am actually a terrible hostess. So off I was to Wally world while my Mom, who was in town just for LM's birthday, stayed with the LM and enjoyed all things grandson. I managed to survive the rain and the strangely creepy people that inhabit Wally world on a rainy Wednesday morning and got home in time to get everything done.

I haven't shared but I was feeling very conflicted about how to celebrate LM's birthday, since his Dad would not be here to mark such a huge occasion. 3M and I finally decided that I would invite over our neighbors and closest friends here for dinner and birthday cake. I thought this was a good solution since I am confident that LM didn't understand that all of the people in his space were there in celebration of his day, though he LOVED having everyone here.

LM had baked ziti for the first of what I am sure will be many time considering that I grew up in the Northeast where Italian food in mass quantities is pretty much mandated at social functions; really there must be a law about it- google it. He loved it; though really what is there not to love- pasta, cheese and more cheese!

The cupcakes were not as big a hit.
He took a few bites and then decided that this red (red velvet, his Dad's favorite and a condition for throwing the party) thing was not all it was cracked up to be. Thankfully his guests did not agree.

Also not a big hit was the present opening. LM had little interest in ripping through the paper and even less interest in seeing who gave him the presents. The presents themselves, however, were HUGE hits.

I am glad that we celebrated LM's day but it felt like a big part of the celebration was missing because 3M wasn't there. Hopefully this will be the last one of LM's birthdays that he misses for a while.

03 June 2007

Birthday Boy

I have a rather long post about Little Man's birthday, the two month anniversary of 3M's SVBIED attack, his first extended mission since the SVBIED attack, and officially having only one month until 3M comes home for R&R but I am tired and lazy so you will get that post tomorrow.

Today you will get some pictures of our adorable little boy who is know officially a year old!!!

28 May 2007

due date times 365

I was due May 28, 2006. 3M and I spent the day at the beach and then went out for dinner. LM did not believe that this was to be his birthday and alas it was not.

I am amazed that it has been 365 days since that day. It seems like just yesterday and like a million years ago all at the same time. I wonder if that is how I will feel next May 28th? Will I be sitting in our new home getting ready for a picnic or a trip to the beach? Will things be back to normal? Will we once again be a happy and complete family?

3M's deployment is 365 days. A year, just like this one. Will we look back on this deployment year and think "wow, do you remember how fast the time passed" or will it forever be the longest year of my life?

I don't know the answers to these questions. I suppose I will have to wait another 365 days until I can be sure.

To all of those people who have lost loved ones in the fight for our freedom I say thank-you. Thank you for your sacrifice and thank you for loving those brave man and women. They and you are truly my heroes!!

26 May 2007

The stories of 3M

Since I erased the original blog I started when 3M left I decided that I would link to a few of the stories about him and his team.

Take a Walk in His Shoes

The Day Our World Stood Still

Some of the Men He Serves Beside

21 May 2007

Weclome to our world

I must shamefully admit that I have been watching the Bachelor. I will preface it by saying that I have a weird Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon thing with this Bachelor. He is a friend of a childhood friend and for that reason, and the fact that he is military, I was hooked. Needless to say I have been glued to my television.

Tonight the Bachelor picked his bride-to-be (who I thought was the best choice, not that anyone was asking me).

As I sat and watched I found myself wanting to tell this woman what she is getting into by marrying the military. I wanted to share all of the things that you don't understand or don't think about before you are the wife, before you are the Staff Sergeant's wife, the Major's wife or even the General's wife.

So here goes...

Dear Tessa,

You are beginning a journey that many of us forged through, and for that reason I say welcome. I could give you advice or tell you the secrets to success but the truth is I don't know them because I don't think there are any. You have just found the man of your dreams and you are embarking on the most difficult yet rewarding journey of your entire existence.

Your life if forever changed. This man who has walked into your heart and made it his home is one of the bravest and most dedicated men that you will ever know. He is fiercely loyal and unbelievably determined. He will strive for things that you couldn't even imagine. He will walk into a building because everyone else is running out. He will be your rock. He will be your sanity. He will be your everything and you won't be able to imagine a second of your life spent apart from him.

The things is those seconds apart will come. Unfortunately, they will turn to minutes, hours, days, then months. You will have to say "see you soon" and pick the pieces up as he goes and fights for something he believes in. You will have to stand, helpless as you watch him walk away, not because he wants to but because he understands why he is going and that understanding and belief gives him comfort and strength. He understands that they are protecting you, us, our children, our future.

You will sometimes go to bed at night with tears in your eyes. There will be mornings when you wake up and the tears will still be there. You will walk into a party and feel alone because you are the only one there without a husband to lean on. You will get frustrated when you hear "I can't tell you that" or angry when the phone doesn't ring. You may even find yourself jealous of other couples walking through the mall holding hands and talking to their children; wondering why they are together while you have to be apart from the man you would lay your life on the line for.

Life will be hard, there is no denying it. The secret is; it is totally worth it. To see your husband climb out of that jet, or walk down that field wearing that uniform that melts your heart every single solitary time you see it; that is worth all of the struggles, the loneliness and the tears. You see we are truly blessed, we are married to the most amazing men that will ever walk this earth.

So while it may not always be easy, it is always worth it. I wish you luck but I don't think you need it. I think somehow these men of ours know that we will be alright and that is part of the reason they have chosen to spend their lives with us.

Welcome to our world!