Thursday, March 31

4 days and counting

I've survived day #4.  But I wasn't sure I would.  It's been a long four days.

The boys aren't sleeping well.  Lots of nightmares and waking up crying.  I know my body doesn't react well to stress, so I can only what their little immature minds are going through at this time.  Not having the words or understanding to explain what you're really feeling, even with Payton at 8 yrs old, has to be difficult.  There have been a lot of tears and fits that last few days.  Often, we deal with the issue at hand, and then when I say "What's going on with you today?" I get, "I really miss Daddy!" as the reply.

I know it's hard for them, and having this week be so busy and be our first week without Matt hasn't helped.  I hope tomorrow night can be a movie and cuddle night on the couch.  Saturday, we'll have a nice brunch and then head to the hamster derby at the local pet store.  I hope to keep them busy most of the day Saturday and then Sunday have another "chill at home" day. 

We're doing ok, really.  It's hard, but we'll be ok.  We have a lot of amazing support and have been blessed with friends who care and love us in so many ways.  Only 90ish days until we get to see him in DC!

Monday, March 28

Good-byes Suck

That is all.


From the moment of the news of Matt's deployment, I knew that we'd have to do Daddy-Bears.  I needed a way for the kids to do an activity with their daddy that would be a comfort to them when he was gone.  These bears would be (hopefully) the comfort they needed.

Friday, after recovering from Great Wolf Lodge, we headed out.  When we arrived, the boys each picked out their bear; Payton picked a "rockstar bear" that can plug into any audio device and Maxwell picked the softest bear he could find (he's all about the softness of things).  Matt took them over to the stuffing station.  The young lady, after being informed why we were there, had special plans in store.  Matt recorded sound for each boy and placed it in their feet or hands (whichever the boy chose).

She then had each boy stuff their bear.  They then each chose a heart and Matt took two. She said something like this:

Hold them to your head so you know Daddy's always with you.
Hold them to your ear so you can remember Daddy's voice.
Hold it to your cheek so you can remember Daddy's kiss.
Spin around so the love doesn't get lost.
Now give Daddy a hug.

I'm sure there was more and I'm sure the words were different, but I was too busy staying composed and trying to take pictures.  They then placed the hearts into their bears while Matt placed one into each boy's bear.  From then on, it was standard Build-A-Bear routine; the bath, the clothes, the registration and the box.  The boys LOVE their bears and they haven't gone anywhere without them yet.  I hope they will bring them great comfort through the next difficult weeks and months.

I almost wish I'd had him make me a bear. :/

Saturday, March 26

Great Wolf Lodge AKA Family Time!

Another one of our famous "surprise trips"!  The boys were excited when we pulled in and it wasn't long until we checked in.  The boys were thrilled with their "own room".  It had a bunk bed set on one side and another "daybed" on the other side.  They had their own TV and desk and were very happy with their own space. 

It didn't take long and we changed into our swimsuits and headed down to the waterpark.  At first, the boys were tentative.  Maxwell wouldn't even let go of one of us in the water and Payton wouldn't do anything without his lifejacket on.

But by day two, both boys were much more independent.  Payton went down every slide available all by himself.  He was SUPER brave even when he wasn't sure he wanted to do something.  Maxwell finally realized he could touch and swim without holding onto us and ventured out on his own.  He did great!  (That boy needs swimming lessons!)

Every night, Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky, OH has a musical performance at the clock tower and then a character comes to read a story.  It was really cute and the boys loved it!  Compared to Castaway Bay, where we went last month, Great Wolf Lodge is bigger, has more to offer and is nicer, while the price is comparable.  Next time: Kalahari!

Tuesday, March 22


Today was the day.  Ringo got "snipped".  Matt was the one who dropped him off early this morning, and I didn't think much about him all day, but when I went to pick him up this evening I felt really sorry for him.  The poor little pug-let was having trouble walking, and was obviously uncomfortable.

He's been moping around the house the last few hours and seems to be doing better.  I feel sorry for the little booger.

Birthday Party Success

I always worry about the boys birthday parties.  And they always turn out just fine.  Always.  So why do I worry?  Someone remind me of this post next January when I'm stressing again.

Having the boys birthdays together was great.  We may do that again in fact.  So many of our family and friends came and we were (as always) truly blessed to share the celebration with such amazing people. 

Maxwell loved helping with his cake.  Matt and I got to spend quality time with most of siblings.  Even the weather cooperated enough for outside playtime in the backyard! 

Tuesday, March 15

Birthday Party Prep

These two monkeys are so VERY excited about their birthday party.  We ususally have two seperate birthdays for the boys, but this year with payton's birthday falling on Easter Sunday we decided to do one party between the boys' actual birthdays.

They (thankfully) agreed on a Toy Story theme.  I have the cake idea in my head.  And I've picked out the color scheme.  And the menu has been planned.  That's it.  I am lacking the creativity and pizzazz that most of their birthday parties seem to have.  Almost 40 people coming to celebrate the births of the two most wonderful beings in my life and I can't seem to get in the mood.  :/

I hope it comes to me soon.  Really soon.  Like before Saturday at 3pm would be nice!

Tuesday, March 8

Payton's Letter to Daddy

I just got home from my first meeting with my new support group; Heroes on the Homefront.  It was nice to sit and talk with people who have been there and get it.  I have a lot of great friends in cyber-land who have offered me a lot of support, but being in the same room with other ladies was really nice.

When I got home, I was doing the "mom thing" and packing lunches and snacks, organizing shoes, and going through paperwork in Payton's backpack.  As I was sorting papers, I came across this.  I love my kiddo.  His grown up word choices, his lack of spelling corrections, the way he wrote a message for Max because Max can't do it himself.  He's such an amazing little man. 

Sunday, March 6


In the last 24 hours I have had a TON of emotions. I started the afternoon doing the picture frames with the boys for Matt and it all went crazy from there out. Sad, confused, worried, one point I was even excited about the adventures we might have in our travels to Maryland this summer. I ended up with a pretty bad headache around 4am. I love when I do that to myself.

I feel like I should wear a sign so people know my emotions are out of whack. I hope they stabilize sometime. Hopefully soon. Probably not tonight. Army Wives is on.

Saturday, March 5

Picture Frames for Daddy

I got two items off my checklist today! The Blue Star Banner (see previous post) was ordered and I convinced the boys to decorate picture frames for Matt. We went to Michael's craft store and purchased plain black frames and I let each of them choose a few favorite decorative "thingies".

When we got time this evening, I plugged in my glue gun and we went to work. The boys each set up their picture frame as they wanted it and I would glue things on. It's interesting to watch them work independently. I didn't make any decisions for them and Maxwell spelled all his words right! I was pretty impressed!

Sometime in the next week, I'll put together a collage of photos for each picture frame for Matt to take with him. I hope it will be a nice reminder of home. And every few months I send him a new collage so that he can update the pictures.

Blue Star Banner Ordered

Another item has been checked off my list. I wanted one of those "blue star banners" that I see in people's windows, serving as a proud reminder of someone in the home who is serving in the military.

I didn't think it'd be a big deal; just hop online and order the thing. But there was something emotional about doing it. It made me proud and sad at the same time. I'm so proud of Matt giving of himself for six months to help injured soldiers. He's proud of his assignment and I know he'll do amazingly well at it. But the pride was accompanied by sadness. Just another step closer to his leave date...

Thursday, March 3

Preparing the Boys for Deployment

It's becoming real now. We have dates. We have ideas. We have shopping to do. We have plans to make. It's so very real...and I'm sure it will only become "more real" (if that's possible) as we get closer and then finally pass the deployment day.

To help ease the pain and hurt of being without Daddy, we have a few things planned for the boys. I'm working on creating a book of memories and photos of each boy with Matt. When they are missing their daddy, we'll get our their "Daddy Books" and they'll have pictures and memories to remember him. This weekend, I will be decorating picture frames with each boy. Then I'll make a collage photo for each of them to give in the frame to Matt before he leaves.

Before Matt leaves, we're also going to go to Build-A-Bear to create a "Daddy Bear". Matt will help each boy stuff them and then he'll record a saying to put inside. Each night when the boys go to sleep, they will be able to hug their bear and say "Good Night" to their father.

The last thing we're doing before Matt leaves is spending time, just the four of us, at a waterpark. Had we known Matt was deploying, we wouldn't have gone a few weeks ago to Castaway Bay. This time we're going to Great Wolf Lodge. We got a special room (at a great military rate) so the two days/night should be very special for them.

While their gone, I have a few things planned to help mark each "one-more-month-down day". The 28th of each month, we'll be sending Matt a package. It will be filled with his magazines and mail that comes, cards and notes from me and the boys, his favorite snacks or treats, and photos. Then we'll go do something special to mark that day; a special dinner out or a trip to the bowling alley or Chuck E' Cheese. I can already see the awkwardness as the hostess asks "Are we celebrating anything special today?" and Payton replies "YES! My Daddy's been gone 3 months!" Hmm...I may have to talk to him about that.

I've been blessed enough with so much support and a few great ideas on how to ease this transition for them. Now if anyone has any ideas for on how to make it easier on me, just let me know...