Monday, February 28

In Non-deployment News: No Media Mondays

I have noticed with my kids that when they have free time, the first things they want to do are technology based toys: TV, DSi, Computer, Wii, etc.  I was sick of it, because when I asked them to turn it off, it would take them 30 minutes to finally come up with something else to do and before long they would be asking to watch TV again. 

So last week I announced No Media Mondays!  No computer.  No hand held games.  No Wii.  No TV.  It's a beautiful thing.  (Although now I'm wondering why I choose to start this just before Matt leaves, but oh well.)  Today was our first day.  Payton begged for media from the time we left school until the time I told him that if he couldn't handle not asking anymore I would remove all media for tomorrow too.  That worked.

When we got home from school, the boys each found a project to start.  Payton found some fun activities to do in his bible and Maxwell tagged along and found something similar to do.  I cooked dinner in peace with only the radio on.  It was a beautiful thing.

I look forward to more No Media Mondays!  That is until school lets out in June...

All Day Long

All day long, I've been on the edge of crying.  That's ok when I'm home alone and can actually cry, but not so good at work...especially around students.  During my lunch, I actually contemplated crawling under my desk to cry.  But then a co-worker showed up and I thought I'd look silly talking to her from under my desk.  It's coming...I can feel it.  And it's gonna be a good one when the dam finally breaks!!

Sunday, February 27

Told the Boys

After several close calls with friends yesterday and today, Matt and I decided to tell the boys about the deployment this evening.  We really wanted to avoid them hearing about it through a conversation between adults.  We wanted them to hear it from us.  In kid friendly terms.

We sat them down on the couch and this is how it went:

Matt: You know how I'm in the military and that means I have to do what they military tells me.  I have to go away for awhile.  I'll be leaving in a few weeks and I'll be gone for a long time.  It won't be easy on anyone, but we know you can handle this and we'll all be ok.

Payton (with a shaky voice and tears in his eyes): I'll miss you a lot.  How long will you be gone??

Matt: About 6 months. 

Ellisa: He'll be gone the rest of this school year, all summer and into the next school year...almost until Halloween.  But we're going to go out there and see him in Washington, D.C.

Payton (with a shaky voice and tears in his eyes): That's long time!

Maxwell (who's been sitting quietly on my lap this whole time): YAY!! 

That's about the extent of it.  From there out, P had a few questions.  He wanted to know how this would effect his daily life.  He also realized that he has a friend who's been through her daddy's deployment and connected that.  And was excited when he realized that where Matt will be is where the president lives and is the nations capital.

Max, on the other hand, will not get this is really happening until Matt is packing to leave, goes away and doesn't come back. 

Saturday, February 26

The Planning Starts

It's starting to sink in that he's going.  It's been 72 hours that we've known now and I'm starting to be able to make plans.

We've figured out the basics of the finances and we're talking about taking a trip out there in July.  I have a list of "honey-dos" for him before he leaves (I refuse to have the Christmas lights on the house all summer!) and I've started a list of what we need to purchase for him. 

Friends are pouring out their love and support.  So many friends have offered to watch the boys when needed.  I hope I get to take advantage of it all!  I got a great message from a friend who's been through this; all the things to do and expect.  It was exactly what I needed...and brought me to tears.  In a good way - kind of. It's hard knowing what's to come, but was so great to know she's been there and took the time to share it with me.  Another friend and I are working out a weekly appointment where she'll come here so that I can go grocery shopping.  Yes, I could take the boys, and I will for quick trips, but I really, really dislike shopping with two kids in tow if I can avoid it.  Besides, this momma needs alone time! 

One of Matt's co-workers offered her husband for his husbandly services: house maintenance.  (Geez!  Get your mind out of the gutter!)  It's nice to know that I can call on him if something breaks or needs done.  This girl's pretty handy, but I can't do everything!  Now...if I could just find a neighborhood boy to mow my lawn a few days a week...Hmmmmm....

My inlaws came up to visit today.  We didn't talk much about the topic because the boys were always around, but we were able to speak in code a few times and got a few things worked out.  They'll be taking the boys the weekend tied to the first Friday of every month so that I can keep my girls' night!  It's so badly needed - even when my husband is home!

My mom has offered her loving services, too.  I hope she'll be able to come up one of the first few weeks Matt is gone.  And then once a month for a few days until school lets out... ugh.  This is going to be so long. 

I haven't let my emotions get the best of me yet.  I think it will happen soon though...I can feel them welling inside me.  Between the boys' birthday party in a few weeks and planning all this deployment stuff, it won't take long, I'm sure.

Friday, February 25

The Time Has Final Come: Deployment

First, let me start by saying I know, and fully recognize, how blessed Matt and I have been regarding deployments in the past. In fact, in the 10 years he's been in the military, he's had none to really speak of. I can't imagine the women who's husbands are gone for a full year to a combat zone...

But, this is still a change and difficult for us. On Wednesday, Matt was told he will be leaving April 1st to go to Andrews AFB in Maryland for 180 days. Six months. That's a long time. We hope to make a trip out there this summer, but it will have to wait until school is out.

We knew this was coming and we even agreed to it. But now it's here and it's happening and it's overwhelming me. Thirty-five days and then he'll be gone. We have a LOT to do in that 35 days; shopping, preparing, planning, and spending time together.

The boys don't know. Please don't be the one to tell them. We will be telling them mid March, a few days before their birthday party. Payton doesn't deal with stress well, so this will be hard for him. He'll be extra emotional and probably a little extra needy. Maxwell will need lots of cuddles and hugs. It will be extra hard for him because he's going to require full-day care five days a week. That will be a BIG adjustment for him.

A lot of changes will be happening in the next month. Please pray for Matt, for the boys and for me. Thank you in advance for all the love and support I know you'll give me and my family.

Monday, February 21

THE Surprise!!

It's hard to keep a secret when I'm so very excited about...even if I'm the one planning it!! 

Matt and I had this great plan laid out for 2 of the 5 days we were on  break from school.  We would wake up the boys Thursday morning and just load up the car and go. But, of course, with kids, nothing ever goes as planned.  Sure enough, Wednesday night, they both have fevers of 102 degrees.  Of course!!

We talked it out, made a plan and went to bed.  If they were better, we'd go.  If they were sick, we'd stay.  If one of them was better and the other wasn't, we'd go.  We woke up Thursday morning; Payton was fine.  Max was less than fine.  Load 'em up!!

We dropped the dog at Matt's parents house (they love Ringo) and continued on our journey.  Payton thought he'd had it all figured out, but Max was the closest when he asked if we were going to the pool.  We let them guess along the way, but we never answer 'yes' or 'no'.

We finally arrived at our location at 3:00pm.  Castaway Bay, Sandusky, Ohio  Their reactions?  Payton: YES!  Thanks, Mom & Dad!!!  Maxwell: I don't wanna go in the water or down the slides!!  (insert tears here. Yeah, he was still sick.)

We met up with my parents who'd planned to join us and found our rooms.  We headed down to the waterpark area, enjoyed the slides and the play areas.  Matt and I had a good time, my mom enjoyed herself in the hot tub and Payton was loving the slides.  (Max only wanted to use the hot tub.  And my dad didn't leave his scooter, but took pictures.)  We had a decent dinner in the waterpark and just hung out for awhile.  Later in the evening, we went to hear a story from Snoopy and that was super cute.

The boys slept well and the next morning we did it all over again with Matt's parents added in.  We all had a great time and the boys thoroughly exhausted themselves. We heard "Thanks for bringing us here." often, which was a great bonus.  We'll probably go back again sometime, but I think Kalahari is our next waterpark adventure.

P.S. Payton was fine and never got sick again.  Maxwell is still sick 6 days later, but was able to enjoy the waterpark for a few hours of the 2 days.

The Best Android App EVER!!!

A few days ago, I was browsing the Android Market on my LGAlly looking for an application that would give me some unique "live wallpapers". (That means an image on the main screen of my phone that changes throughout the day at set intervals.)

I came across this app and thought it looked cool. I'd love to travel more, but with my income and two kids, it'll be years before we get to go anywhere really impressive. The app, World Tour, takes pictures from various google cameras throughout the world. Every hour the image on my screen changes to one of about 75-100 locations.

Yesterday, we saw Times Square, the Vatican, Palm Springs, California, and a few other places. Today I saw the Eiffel Tower, Ground Zero, St. Peter Cathedral, San Diego, Seattle, and a few other places. Some of them are ordinary, like the giraffe exhibit at a zoo. Others are very cool, like a view of Earth divided into day and night.

The time stamp is on every image and so is location of each image. I've enjoyed my recent tour of the world; and so have the boys!

Monday, February 14

Surprise in the works...

Matt and I often do these "mystery trips" or as Max says, "We're goin' on a 'prise trip!"  Sometimes they are short; just up to the Dairy Queen for ice cream.  Other times they are bigger deals; Toledo Zoo or to visit family. 

This Thursday, we'll surprise them again with a bigger trip.  We've been planning it for awhile, and I hope I can keep it a secret a few more days!  I can't wait!!!  I know they will be so VERY excited!  Now...if I can pack their bags without them knowing...

Tuesday, February 8

Longest. Day. Ever.

**WARNING: This post may contain whining!**

Early this morning, the day was already slated to be a busy and chaotic one.  I knew I had a big event for the Scholastic Book Fair going on after school and I wanted to make it perfect.  Plus, I've been sick for the last 4-5 days.  I'm just feeling worn down.

But at 7:45am, the school's fire alarm went off.  So we had to evacuate the building.  It was 12 degrees outside.  Some of our students didn't have coats on because they were eating breakfast.  Without gloves, my fingers were REALLY REALLY cold.  I held students in my coat with me hoping to keep them as warm as possible.  In the end, we were able to get them into an administration building run by the city school district which is just across the street.  But we stood outside for at least 20 minutes! was freezing!! 

The school day wasn't anything out of the ordinary, except setting up for the event.  But wow, was the set up after school a lot of work!  I had a great crew who was willing to help, thankfully.  But even when the event ended at 7:30pm, I had a lot of work just putting the finishing closing details together...with both my boys in tow. 

It's now 9:00pm.  The boys are finally asleep.  I am sipping a mug of tea and hoping that the pain relievers kick in soon.

My back hurts. 
My feet hurt.
And I think I'm still slightly frozen.

Saturday, February 5

Snow, snow and more snow...

I think I'm done with Michigan. I would rather live somewhere where they get one big dump of snow, it lasts a few days or weeks even, and then it's gone. This year, it just keeps snowing...and snowing...and snowing. I don't remember the last time I saw the grass.

To at least make the most of the snow we have, Matt and I took the boys sledding today. I know Payton has been sledding before, but to the best of my recollection, Maxwell never has been. If he has, I don't have pictures of it anyway.

So off we went. We all bundled up...two shirts, pants, two pair of socks, snow pants, boots, coats, hats, hoods, and gloves. Getting dressed took just as long as sledding! But it was worth it. The boys had a great time. Matt and I kept them busy for over an hour. And they are tired enough they'll sleep well tonight!

Wednesday, February 2

Snow Day!

We did a little of this

Then a little of this

And a lot of this

And a lot of this

Even Ringo got in on the action

It was a good day...and it's not over.