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Yep...He's Home

I would love to write something heartfelt and beautiful about the almost 3 months that C.J. has been home.  I can't.  It's not because things have gone horribly wrong since he has been home.  It has been great.  I'm just emotionally drained.  I don't know how to put into words what our lives have been like.

It was amazing when the kids ran to him in the armory.  I can't even begin to describe the smiles on everyones' faces.  Then the kids started getting a bit crabby because they were hungry so off to Subway we went.  The honeymoon was over, and life together began again.
We are both back at work.  I went back 4 days after he got home, and C.J. went back after being home for a mere 11 days.  We kind of never slow down.  I don't know if I could function if I wasn't going at full speed nearly all the time, and C.J. is worse than I am.
So that's it.  I'm sure it sounds like I'm not happy to have him back or that I don't really love him.  Th…

When He gets Home

As with any deployment plans have changed again.  This news is better than the last, but I am being cautiously optimistic CJ and the rest of his unit will be home by Mid-September.  While I am ecstatic CJ will be home and we can begin the next chapter in our lives, I am a little sad as well.  CJ coming home means some of the things I have enjoyed with him gone will come to an end.
1. I love bedtime with the kids.  Some nights it is stressful, but it is our time to cuddle, read books and really be close.  When CJ is home I will have to share the kids again, and I'm not sure I want to all the time.
2. There is a sense of pride that I get whenever I accomplish the littlest of things.  High-five to me when I go to the store with both kids, get everything I need and have no meltdowns.  Plus I'm getting better at this doing it alone stuff so there are more and more high-five moments.
3. The paycheck will be missed.  Let's face it a deployed soldier makes a lot more than a cop.  Goo…

How do You do it?

How do I do it?  I get asked this more than I get asked how I'm doing.  I think it is because people are afraid I'm just going to break down and sob.

I find the question funny.  How would I not do it?  This is my situation.  I'm alone with my kiddos while my husband is at war.  I don't have time to break down or feel sorry for myself.  I don't have time to drink my worries away.  I typically only finish about half a glass of wine between all my distractions.

Tonight I'm sitting on the one couch that isn't covered in unfolded laundry with my back purposely facing away from my sink full of dirty dishes.  I guess that's how I do it.  I don't stress the small stuff.  I will get to it eventually.....maybe, but I know my limits.  I'm exhausted, and I need to sit this evening.

I do it by not doing everything, and being content with not being perfect.  I still push myself to the very limits of my physical and emotional capabilities, but I know when t…

Forged by Fire

This Sunday I was at the church I grew up in.  While the preacher was new, nearly everything else remained the same.  It was hard sitting there with my parents and kids.  Church is supposed to be a family thing, and I am missing a huge part of mine.  It was in that loneliness and despair from learning of CJ's extension that God decided to speak to me through the sermon.  
Forged by fire.  What does it meant exactly?  When a metal is forged by fire it is placed in hot flames, shaped then cooled down.  The intense heat makes the metal playable and easily shaped by the right person.  As the metal cools it is transformed into a much harder, stronger and more pure piece of metal.
How does that pertain to a deployment or church one may ask.  Read the scripture below from 1 Peter 1:6-7.
So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies go…

Rolling with the Punches

I've gotten pretty good at rolling with the punches.  I've had a lot of ups and downs in life.  This deployment has shown me a handful more, but not much could prepare me for what I learned on Thursday.  It rocked me to the point of tears which does not typically happen.  I cried in front of coworkers for the first time ever.
I had been at work for a mere 2 hours when CJ asked me if we could FaceTime.  I knew it was going to be bad since he wanted to tell me as close to face to face as possible.  I found a quiet room and quickly called.  The news that followed made me want to puke.  His unit is being reassigned.  Instead of coming home in August they will go to Kuwait.  There is no word on what exactly they will do from there, and more importantly no word on when they will be home.  They may be released when their original orders are up in October, but there is a highly probable chance their orders will be extended.  This could push their homecoming back to next summer. 
We all …

Fireworks and Change

It's the little things that stop me every time.  Today it was fireworks.  I was listening to the explosions all around the neighborhood.  I have always loved the sound of fireworks.  They are the sound of freedom!
It was in that moment though that I realized my husband is also hearing those sounds, but they definitely do not mean freedom.  For him the explosions are a very real danger, and an all too common occurrence. 
I started to wonder what next year will be like.  Will he come back and love the fireworks as much as he used to?  Will we be able to shoot them off with the kids?  What other little things in our life will change when he gets home?

As much as I am ready for CJ to be home I am also a bit apprehensive.  I know we have both changed and grown this past year.  We had to to survive the situations we have been in.  I know we will make it through, but I worry about the bumps in the road ahead of us.  In short I worry about the fireworks.

The Dos and Don'ts

I am so tired at the end of every day that I can't even imagine how I will make it through the next.  My muscles hurt.  My bones hurt.  Thinking hurts, but I am still happy.  That's what I want people to know. Raising two toddlers, being a detective and worrying about my deployed husband all at once is the hardest thing I have ever had to do.  
With that in mind, I have though about some of the comments others have said or some of the offers that have been made.  I know people are trying to be helpful or empathetic, but most of the time it sucks.  Here is my list of dos and don'ts for your interactions with the spouse of a deployed soldier.
Don't tell them to call if they ever need anything. Let's face it if They ever were to call it would be because their world is falling apart and They need someone ASAP.  If (most likely when) you are not able to honor your offer it will only make them feel more alone.
Do stop by on occasion.  You get bonus points if you bring bring…

You Know You're A Working Mom When...Really?

I recently read an article by Rebecca Rose on http://rockfordparent.com.  Her article was entitled You know you are a working mom when.....I'm not so into her list.  It is far too negative for me so here is my own list.

You know you're a working mom when.....
You set really high goals for yourself, and you demand the best of yourself every day as a wife, mother, professional and friend.  You may have days where you can't be everything to everyone, but you have expertly learned to prioritize and make sure your goals are eventually met and all needs are met as they arise.

You know you're a working mom when....
You feel like you have to complete a marathon in sprint pace every morning.  (This I agree with her on).  Mornings are tough, and it seems like no matter how early I get up a curveball is thrown and I'm late.  Oh well...better luck tomorrow.  I also know this will change drastically when CJ is home from deployment.  A little help with dressing the minions is al…

My Bucket List

As any military member or spouse or anyone in law enforcement or their spouses will tell you our mortality is not taken for granted.  I am not only a military wife, I am a Trooper's wife and a Detective.  I haven't had any close calls nor have I lost any of my coworkers, but the shots fired calls have been all too close at times.  There have been many times where I was keenly aware of the fact that I was not invincible yet I didn't let it bother me too much.

It wasn't until 2011 when I realized just how fragile life is.  That was when a coworker my age was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of leukemia.  Although he fought, he understood this was not a battle he would likely win so he made a bucket list.  He got to do some of the things on his bucket list including a Boston Red Sox gam, but his cancer spread too quickly for him to do everything on the list.  I almost cried when we learned the Red Sox were footing the bill for him and his wife to go.

After he passed …

Squirrel!

I have squirrels!  At least that is what CJ calls them.  My "squirrels" are a direct result of my ADHD.  Every time I bounce completely unexpectedly to a new topic it is a squirrel.  Think of the dog in the movie up.
I like calling them squirrels instead of ADHD.  It sounds so clinical and so negative.  Because of my squirrels I am a random person.  I have a vivid imagination, and I am really smart.  When your mind never stops you take in all sorts of things.  Granted I may have spaced off something important and retained a lot of insignificant crap, but I still know a lot of stuff.
I was formally diagnosed when I was 28, and I have recently started taking medications.  I don't see this as giving up, but more as a way of controlling some of the less than desirable side effects of my squirrels.  I realized with everything going on in my life I needed to be able to concentrate a bit more.
Someone asked me what differences I could see after started medication.  The only way to…

Accepting When I Have no Control

Keeping my head up when things are rough is hard.  I will admit I had a pity party last night, but today I will keep my head up and accept that sometimes things are out of my control. Sometimes no matter how hard I work at something or how much effort I put forth things may not work out in my favor.
Two weeks ago I turned in a resume and letter for promotion to Detective Lieutenant.  I have been a Detective since 2008 with a 1 year leave of absence.  I also have a degree and 2 years of experience as a Patrol Officer.  The other person whom I considered my real competition started in investigations a year after I did, but has about 8 years of experience as a Patrol Officer.  He does not have a degree.  The job title says degree preferred, but experience can be substituted.  I kind of considered us somewhat equal going into the interviews.
Our interview board consists of 5 Lieutenants and a Captain.  We had the questions before hand to work on, and I rocked the interview.  I know I left s…

5 Great Things About Deployment

Yes, CJ's deployment is hard, but there are some positives to it.  Here is my humble list of great things about deployment.

1. Money!  CJ makes more when he is on orders than he does at his full time job.  I'm using this deployment to destroy our credit cards and stash a little money in savings.

2. Less mess.  My husband isn't disgusting, but he leaves a trail.  A soda bottle here, a candy wrapper there.  I don't have those to clean up, and it is so nice.  This also applies to the laundry.  There is so much less when he is gone.

3. No fighting over music.  I can listen to whatever I want whenever I want.  CJ listens to hard rock, and is listen to everything but that.  We typically have to turn off the car radio on any trip to avoid throwing punches.

4. The kids think I'm awesome.  With only one parent they have to forgive me when I have gotten after them.  There isn't the option to be consoled by another parent.  I also get a full year to brain wash them into likin…

My Miscarriage

I remember the feeling like it was yesterday, but it was nearly 5 years ago.  It was a stinging combination of physical pain, emotional pain and failure all wrapped up in one horrible package.  It woke me from my sleep and brought me to tears at 3:30 in the morning.  I woke CJ up, and told him I thought I was having a miscarriage.
CJ told me it was fine, and sat with me for a while while I called the doctor's office.  They told me to go back to sleep and see them in the morning.  Needless to say I didn't sleep. I knew what the pain was.  I had felt it once before, but that time I didn't know I was pregnant until I had already miscarried.  This time it was different.  This time I knew I was pregnant.  I had already seen the little heartbeat.  It was a beautiful little miracle to see a tiny dot beating on the ultrasound.  
When CJ woke up I was bleeding.  He tried his hardest to remain positive, but we both knew what the doctor was going to say.  It was an eerie car ride as we…

The Other Sexual Harassment

I had a conversation the other day with one of our new female officers.  She is a great girl and very eager to learn, but she has been having some problems lately.  Unfortunately they are problems many females in law enforcement face.  It's sexual harassment, but not by her employer or coworkers.  This harassment comes from "The Wives", and it is painful.

Law enforcement is a dysfunctional family.  I love the men I work with like I love my own brothers and uncles.  We have bonded, and we have a lot of shared stories and experiences. I can't explain this bond, and unfortunately many of the wives don't understand it or are jealous of it.  Especially when it comes to female officers.

When I first started I was 22 years old.  I was put on a crew with 3 really great officers who taught me a lot, but they had to be careful.  If they were seen stopped talking to me too much by their wives or wives friends they would hear about it.  If their wives thought they were helpi…

Bombs and Guns and War..So What

I'm not sure if apathy is the right word to describe how I feel about this war since I really do care especially with CJ over there now, but I don't know how else to describe it.  I almost feel as if war and terrorism have been so much a part of my life that CJ being at war is normal.

Maybe it is just me, but is have a feeling that many my age feel the same way.  Our first glimpse of war came as we were starting elementary school in the form of the Persian Gulf War.  Images of air strikes and reporters throwing on gas masks were permanently burned into my young mind.

Next was the Battle of Mogadishu.  I was in third grade, and I remember the pictures of the American Soldiers' corpses as they were dragged through the streets of a foreign country.  I remember the pictures of Mike Durante beaten, but alive.  I remember it was war.  It was horrible, but normal.

When I think of terrorism on American Soil there is not one image that pops into my mind.  There are a slew of images…

Deployment Book Review Part Two

I missed two books in my earlier post, and editing on an iPad is a major pain.  Both of these books are really good which is why I am taking the time to make sure they are added.

Hero Dad by Melinda Hardin
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0761457135/ref=oh_details_o01_s01_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
My kids like the idea of superheroes like most kids do.  This book compares what superheroes do and have to what their daddy does and has.  Like how their daddy doesn't have x-Ray vision, but he does have night vision.  I like it because the kids get to see what kinds of things soldiers have and do while deployed.

My Dad's a Hero by Rebecca Christiansen and Jewel Armstrong
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1595712097/ref=oh_details_o02_s01_i03?ie=UTF8&psc=1
While not as good as Hero Dad, I'm glad I have this one in the collection.  My daughter isn't much of a fan, but my son and I both like it.  I need to do a little cleaning and figure out where this one has run off to so I can…

Deployment Book Review

My kids LOVE books.  They are everywhere in our house, and I can't even count how many we read before bedtime on any given night.  I figure one can not ever read too many books.  With that in mind, I decided to write a small review of the deployment books I have for my kids.  These are all books aimed at preschool age kids or around that age group.

Daddy's Boots by Sandra Linhart
http://www.amazon.com/Daddys-Boots-Sandra-Miller-Linhart/dp/0984512705/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1391374997&sr=8-1&keywords=Daddy%27s+boots
This book is amazing for little kids.  It talks about how Boots have to take Daddy away, and other jobs where people wear boots.  I have probably read this every night this past week.

Night Catch by Brenda Ehrmantraut
http://www.amazon.com/Night-Catch-Brenda-Ehrmantraut/dp/0972983392/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1391375217&sr=8-1&keywords=Night+catch
This is another book that I highly suggest.  My son thinks it's ok, but my daughter loves it.  Sh…

I'm a Hypocrite

That's right folks.  I'm a great big hypocrite.  I have been so absorbed in my life and my worries over the last few years that I have forgotten about others.  One of my posts from earlier talked about a friend who wasn't there for me when she said she would be.  It hurt me, but I realized today that I have not been an emotional support to others much either.

I had a friend in college, Amy.  She was a beautiful girl, but struggled with her self esteem.  It hurt me to watch her in her struggle, but I had no clue how to help.  I was young and immature.

I should have just given Amy a hug and told her how amazing she was.  I didn't let her know that our friendship was what was important to me.  Only one time was I there for her when she needed, and that was only because someone had to call and tell me she needed me.

 I got a call from our cheerleading coach in the middle of the night.  Amy was threatening to kill herself.  I had someone get Beth, and I ran to Amy's roo…

Theme Song

I love music. When I'm alone at work I've got Pandora on all the time.  I listen to a random mix of everything.  Recently Lady Antebellum's song from Act of Valor, I Was Here, has been speaking to me.  You can listen to it here http://youtu.be/BosXKvWTK3g
The chorus says what I have felt all my life. I wanna do something that matters Say something different Something that sets the whole world on its ear I wanna do something better With the time I've been given And I wanna try To touch a few hearts in this life Leaving nothing less Than something that says "I was here"
When I was in high school doing something different was going to a college where I didn't know anyone.  I could have taken the safe path and gone where all my friends went, but I needed something new and different.  When I began college I was focused on going to law school.  I thought that would be a way I could help others, but I later realized they only get to work with what law enforcement gives t…

Wedding Vows

I, Maggie, take you, CJ, to be my husband; my constant friend; my faithful partner in life and my one true love.  On this special day I give you my promise to stay by your side as your faithful wife in sickness and health, in joy and in sorrow and through the good times and the bad.  I promise to love you without reservation, comfort you in times of distress, encourage you to achieve all of your goals, laugh with you and cry with you, grow with you in mind and spirit, always be open and honest with you and cherish you for as long as we both shall live.
I, CJ, take you, Maggie, to be my wife; my constant friend; my faithful partner in life and my one true love.  On this special day I give you my promise to stay by your side as your faithful husband in sickness and health, in joy and in sorrow and through the good times and the bad.  I promise to love you without reservation, comfort you in times of distress, encourage you to achieve all of your goals, laugh with you and cry with you, gr…

We Can Not All Be Winners

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  Do I need to say more?  I probably shouldn't, but I will.
My kids love Mickey Mouse.  They watch it in the car all the time, and during this week of sick kids I've let them watch it on my laptop as well.  I should note we do not have a television so movie watching is a huge treat for them.  Now back to Mickey.  I don't really watch them, but I am forced to overhear the annoying voices, and the story line.  In two of the movies they watch there is a theme of everyone is a winner.  In one, they have a road rally where nobody loses.  In the other they have a costume party, and everyone gets a ribbon.  They make a big point about everyone winning and no losers. 
I know lots of people write on this topic, but since this is my blog I get to write about it too.  Everyone wins is not teaching our children the important skills they need to survive in life.  It is teaching them that working hard and doing minimal work lead to the same results.  They don'…

A Little Less than Rock Star

As I have said before, I have had the poor me days. The ones where the littlest thing set me off into an hour or more of tears.  They suck, and it is the littlest things that can bring them on.  It seems to me like I am prepared for the big stresses.  It's the little ones that sneak up on me and slap me around.

It was my birthday, and the days surrounding my birthday that were my biggest blow.  CJ was leaving the day before my birthday.  He met with his guard unit that day, and on my birthday they flew to Ft. Hood for a few more months worth of training before they left the country.  I was supposed to take off work early the day before he left, and come in late the day he did leave since he wasn't going until around noon.

In my world you don't get your hopes up for a day off. When I got to work the day before CJ left I was assigned a missing person case.  I was told to find him before I went home.  That did not happen.  What did happen was I very quickly realized this gu…

Keeping Daddy Part of the Family

What if the kids don't know their Daddy when he gets back?  I'm assuming nearly anyone who has small children during a deployment asks this question.  My answer is that I make it impossible for them to forget.

First of all we talk about daddy every day, and we pray for him each night at bedtime.  It is the same simple prayer, "Dear God, keep Daddy safe so he can come home and see us. Amen." Something that simple is sometimes all it takes to remind my little ones of their Daddy, and teach them to focus on their faith in hard times.

CJ is around us all the time.  I copied a picture of him and laminated it so if one of the kids really needs their Daddy they can take him wherever they want.  I have found my son giving it a hut, and both of my kids talk to the picture ever now and then.  It has even made its way to dinner a few times.

I've found that my kids want and need different things to remind them of their dad while he is gone.  My daughter wants to know where …