Sunday, June 30, 2013

Jamming in June

Well making my mixed berry jelly is the one thing I have not done in June. I have no idea how I could have squeezed it in. This has been such a crazy busy month. Let me give you the Cliff Notes version (with pictures) of our June 2013.

We started June out in Florida with family celebrating my oldest niece's high school graduation.

Of course we had to sneak in a little beach time too!!

Yes our 10 year old is almost as tall as my 18 year old niece. ;)

We were home for less than ten days when we packed up again and flew to back to Bethesda. I went for work, Chaz went for legs. (Yes you read that correctly. More on that in a later post.)


We landed on Wednesday the 19th. Thursday was recital practice and I went to dinner to say "See you later" to three awesome Army wives that I have had the privilege of knowing over the years. Chaz and I pulled into the drive way at the same time as his Mom, sister, niece and nephew. They drove 13 hours to come up for a quick visit and see Ryann's recital.

Ry enjoyed getting help from big sister backstage at recital.

Daddy was quite proud of his dancing Stingray!

Of course recital was great, but boy was it exhausting. I had to take Saturday and Sunday to recover from all the go-go-go. The kids did not mind a fun in the water while I caught up on rest.


We loaded up for some Nashville fun on Monday. We treated the kids to a trip to build a bear and lunch at the mall. I was so happy to be a part of my niece and two nephews' first build a bear experience. It was so fun to see their faces as the reacted to the store.

Monday evening, Tuesday and Wednesday I crammed as much work in as possible so the girls and I could take a fun little Girls ONLY trip to St Louis. My fellow Army wives, my mom and I loaded up in two vehicles and surprised our cuties with a trip to the American Girl Store to see the premier of "Saige Paint the Sky" and several Saige activities. Can you believe American Girl does all these things for free? My goodness it was so worth the travel and hotel. The girls had such a great time.

My awesome Mom took the girls to the movie and my friends and I ran off to have some mommy time. I snuck in a interview with a newspaper for YRF and answered a bunch of emails during our time, but luckily I have great friends who are very understanding. (By the way, thanks again ladies.)

I was EXHAUSTED yesterday and to be honest was worthless, so I took the day off. Today I passed the Financial Counseling/Debt Management Exam. One more test and I have my AFC-Accredited Financial Counselor's license. You can say I ended the month on a very good note!

Boy did we have a TON of fun in June. I pleased to report July and August look to be a calm travel month. But with the way things go with us, who knows?! As long as it's fun we're in!!! ;)


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Caffeine and Cruise Control

This has been a rough week, heck this has been a rough couple of years. But this week I was able to process and download the over past two years of my life. The results: Two friends got to watch me cry on two separate occasions and Chaz got to watch me go into the ugly cry. It's been one of those weeks that you realize you are thankful for daily disposable contacts, because regular ones would have had to have been destroyed. This week I realized that since January 22, 2011 I have been living on caffeine and cruise control. I did what I had to do to get my family through all of this, but somewhere along the way pieces of me have fallen off and I had lost them. This week I got a small glimpse of them and it made me reflect on my life before and since Chaz's injury.

The day Chaz was injured, I went into survival mode. Once I received the call he was stable, I immediately went into robot mode. Then somewhere after that I just put myself on cruise control and consumed a ton of caffeine so I could hang on during this roller coaster ride. (Starbucks' brand Tazo organic Chai, concentrate, not bags. That's a very important detail. And no I don't live off of Starbucks. I buy it from grocery store and make my own. That saves a lot of money.)

For over two dozen months now my life has been back and forth to DC, dealing with surgery after surgery. I have held Chaz's hand during the ups and downs with medical and personal highs and lows. I have been forced into listening to people literally bark orders at me and try tell me what I should be doing even through they have NO idea what this journey is like. Throughout all of this turmoil, I have been trying to keep my sanity, trying to heal my husband, attempting to heal our family, trying to parent our girls when my hubby couldn't or just didn't have the energy to and trying to manage two households. I've done all of this while working my butt off for other families, only to be attacked by a few who were jealous they couldn't get things done. It has been a non-stop ride of insanity. I realized the other day that it truly is amazing I am not an alcoholic.

Before Chaz was injured, I was running my small tax business. I was a girl scout leader and highly involved in the community. I was working towards my EA and AFC. I also loved to bake, craft, read, scrapbook and was very rarely at home. OK the rarely at home part hasn't really changed. However I now don't have time to read (things I want to) or scrapbook. I really don't have time for me. By the time I hit the bed at night, I just pass out for 6-8 hours to get up and start again.

What started all of the tears? I have been purging our home. Chaz's pants and shoes are now all gone. The memories of his actual legs are only left in our pictures. He only needs shorts and his new legs come with shoes. Closets have been cleaned out of things we don't need and cannot use and to be honest it all has made me a little sad. Needless to say though, we will have one heck of a crazy yard sale this summer. In the past two years, I have been just cruising right along and I never had time to purge. At times, I felt our home looked like an episode of hoarders. Everyone who has seen it has assured me otherwise. But I don't like clutter at all. I thrive for organization. Yes I am OCD and it should be CDO, alphabetical like it's meant to be. ;)

Here's a picture I took of the inside of a bag I found in one of our closets. My family all met in Disney for Christmas 2010. I set this bag in my closet when we returned with the intentions of scrap booking some of the memories in here and letting the girls enjoy our Disney finds. I finally cleaned out this bag this week. I have no problems confessing all of this. (Mainly because there was no food in the bag. That would just be gross.) I know that other caregivers of wounded heroes have encountered the same thing. We put our lives on hold while we are healing our Heroes. My bag is pure evidence that I let it all go in order to heal my family.

See the adorable Mickey ears? They made me smile and then cry. That was such a fun trip. That was the last fun adventure the girls and I had (Chaz was deployed) before he was hurt. Then the phone rang days later and everything changed for us.

Now that the Army has released its control over our lives, I am finally finding time to get things organized and efficient again. Basically I am purging our house of some of our pre-injury life and it's hard. Some days I really miss the way it was. Some days I miss the Army, not the WTB, the Army, there's a very big difference. I miss the melting pot of friends that we were blessed to encounter over the years. Most of our Army friends have moved or will move away this year. Now we are retired and are now treated like "second class citizens" as Chaz puts it. It's the little things like the Mickey ears that keep reminding me, it is time to begin our new life. It's time to clean out the old, no matter how many tears come. It's time to get on with this new civilian adventure that we'll make just as fun and fabulous.

It will be a while before I get back to the books that I really want to read and the crafts I want to make. I am planning some adventures for us. I am going to make sure we have as much fun as possible. Our girls will be grown before we know it. We have to enjoy them while we can.

The most important part is that I have now turned the cruise control off. I have cut back on the caffeine. I guess just need to have a massive purge and a few tears to get myself there.