Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Shopping "Ally" style...

I have amazing kick arse shopping skills. Please take notes. I am going to teach you how to shop the right calm way. I will take you to through the steps of research, calculations and decision making so you make sure the next time you are faced with a big purchase, you wont regret it.

Let me explain my recent purchase so you can have an idea..

I have wanted a macbook for a long long time. For the last 6 yrs or so. When I got a laptop I wanted a mac but it wasnt in the funds, so I got an hp but continued on searching, drooling and admiring macs. I read all about them, their reviews, their specs, everything that I could get my hands on but the funds were never available so I continued on living with my laptop that drove me absolutely insane, frustrated me, and made me cry on a couple of occasions.

Finally a couple months ago stupid laptop started having a problem with the charging cord, this is the 3rd one by way. Enough was enough, I was going to get a mac. I allocated the funds to the checking account revised my search and decided I was going to go with a Macbook Pro and was all ready and set to go. Hubby asked me to wait until he got home. He is the computer nerd, he loves anything computer related and wanted to be there for the special occasion. No biggie.

I waited until he got home. Well he got home, we took a trip, he upgraded our TV (Oprah head looks humungous on a 47' ;) ) , he also got a blu ray player (to his dismay I dont really see the difference between a regular TV with a regular dvd player compared to an HD with blu ray. I mean its a bit lighter but all I see is $$$'s signs and I dont know if its worth it) and a wii. He was happy very happy and all I could see was our savings account dwindling and dreams of one day having enough to buy a house, fading.

So one night he reminded me that we still hadnt gotten my computer and the next day we were going to make a trip to the apple store. I freaked. No way can I spend that much on myself. Words were exchanged mainly him saying I never buy myself anything and that I deserve it (right there is the reason I still keep him around ;)) and me whimpering is too much money. After a while he gave up. I am very very stubborn.

He went back to sand land and I went back to dealing with my piece of shit laptop. Not only did I have to be plugged in all the time, it had to be at a specific angle and if I sneezed, moved, or even breathed too hard, it would stop charging and it would go to sleep. Also it took forever to do anything I wanted to do it. Since I am the most patient person in the world, that really wasnt a problem!!!

Finally 2 days ago, I went to use my computer and no amount of wiggling, playing with it, pulling it, was doing the trick. The laptop was not going to charge. I called best buy and they quoted me $100 to fix it. I thought about it and enough was enough. I was going to go the Apple store and get a new laptop.

Again funds were moved from savings to checking without even a second breath. I had reached my limit. I packed up Juliet, ran to the car (because it was raining) and drove to the Apple store. I sat outside for about 30 minutes. I calculated and calculated and calculated even more. We can spend 1k on a new computer for me, we just have to make sure we dont splurge anytime soon on anything else and we will be right on track to saving for a house in sept. Financially we were okay, mentally I was a wreck. I couldnt go back to the stupid laptop and I couldnt go foward. What to do what to do??

Finally I got the guts and went inside. The mob was crazy. Over 70 people were there. I looked around, found someone that could help me and from there we went. I told him I was just looking and wasnt going to buy anything but that I was interested in the pro, he asked me what I used a computer for , and after explaining that is basic stuff, he told me if I went with the Pro it was like buying a minubus when I only have one child. Not necessary. So we talked some more, he talked and talked and talked, and I tried to absorb as much as possible. I explained my fears about the mousepad he explained the new glass trackpad. I explained my 100 fears and he patiently explained them all. I am such a sucker for customer service I told him I wanted it. He told me not to make an impulse purchase and think about it for a bit. Gosh I love good customer

I explained to him my last 6 yrs with my pos laptop and he laughed and said this was no impulse. I was more than ready.

He set up the warranty for me, my email showed me the basics and assured me for the millionth time that if I didnt love it I could bring it back and get my money back. Feeling secure with my decision, I paid for my purchase and home I went.

Through the whole drive home, regret started setting in. How could I spend that much money on something for myself when we need.......?????? Wait a minute, we dont need anything, the kids wardrobe is full of summer clothes, there is plenty of food in the pantry, we are completely out of credit card debt, and its not even the end of the month and all bills are paid for and short of a major tragic emergency that would cause us to drop more than a couple grand on something, we were okay. Gosh what an exiting feeling. So my plans of returning the next day to return it started to fade.

I got home, Ju went to bed and I went to play with it. Fear started to set in. Connecting to our router will be a pain, I will have to download the driver, find the cd find the password. Urgh!!! Well I got home opened it and it automatically found our router and I was connected to the internet.OMG this thing is awesome. I did delete my applications folder shortcut and it took me a while to find it, sometimes I will click on the screen and nothing happen and then I realize I am clicking wrong but asides from that everything has been a breeze. This thing is so smart and so simple, if I am not figuring something out is because I am trying to make it more complicated.

I love it and plans to return it?? Yeah I dont freaking thing so. This is not going anywhere. You might think that this is a rebound since my divorce from my pc was so recent, and therefore this is a rebound, short summer romance and it wont last. Well you are wrong.

I have met my soulmate and he is not going anywhere. It was love at first sight ;)

So there you are, if you confused on any of the steps of this guide on how to reach a decision, please let me know. Just remember, calmness is everything ;)

ps...Hubby is irritated with me because I didn't do it while he was home but after I apologized profoundly, told him I regret not doing it 6 yrs ago even if it involved auctioning a kidney on a blackmarket to get the funds for it, he has kind of forgiven me.

Love A

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Tiny book worm...

If you have a tiny book worm in your hand, this post is for you :)

When my son was born, I wanted to instill my love of books in him. I had visions of us sitting down and reading together, swapping books over lattes, and just beaming with pride.
While still pregnant I signed him up for one of those Dr Seuss book clubs. I remember waddling to the mailbox once a month and waddling back carrying the current Dr Seuss hit and placing it carefully on his future bookshelf. My visions were slowly but surely starting to take shape.

Right before ds was born, I owned every single Dr Seuss book ever made. Many that I haven't even heard of it before but wouldn't dare read it now, because that was an experience we were going to share and I was so excited.

One day while browsing through Barnes and Noble, I suddenly freaked out. What if my son doesn't like Dr Seuss? Even though he is popular with kids, so is Tom Clancy with adults and I dont like Tom Clancy books. OMG!!! In a calm cool collected move, I waddles as fast as possible to the kids section, and picked up every single book I could get my sweaty hands on. Touch and feel books, light up books, books about animals, trucks, candy, plants, plants. You name it. It was in the kids section I picked it up. A couple hundred dollars later, I was feeling pretty good about this whole situation. We were going to be reading buddies and I was going to be a great mom because I had that insight and fixed it right away.
I still remember walking out of Barnes and Noble, 9 months pregnant, and thinking "I got this whole mommy thing down pat". <------DUMBASS ;)

Well my son was born and even though I was exhausted, I read to him every single night. Looking back, I now refer to that stage as "turn a pet rock into a reading buddy" stage. My son was the pet rock (he laid there for hrs and hrs wide awake) but I would just hold him and rub and caress him. Just like a pet rock and because I was reading to him, he was going to turn into a book lover.

As he got older, he decided chewing on books was better than listening to a story. He would never pick up a book on his own unless it made a noise and then he would try with great success to rip out whatever made a noise and pull it apart.
Things were not going good. I was raising a child that wouldn't care or love books. Chaos. Complete chaos.

We still read to him every single night. Consistency is key right?

By the time he was 18 months he started picking out his own books and giving it to us for reading. It was now his choice not ours. And his choice consisted of 3 book : "Bug House Snug House", "Good night Moon" and a book about Trucks. No amount of persuasion could get him away from those 3 books. We were either reading about ants who find a tennis ball and "build it" "plan it" "ink it" or we were seeing pictures of trucks and saying their names. That is a cement mixer. That right there is a car transporter. Every single other book set in the shelf untouched for close to a yr. But if ask the hubby about "Good night moon" , he will recite the whole book verbatim.

We allowed the insanity for too many months and it has stuck around. We cant drive by a Cement Mixer without ds pointing it out and calling it by its name.!!

When Ju was born, we took her to his room every night and read to them. At this point he started to notice the other titles in his room. We read "The big brother book","If you give a cat a cupcake" and so forth. Life became more flavorful and less bland.

Which brings us to present day and the whole point of this blog..I still dont know if we will be book buddies but they both still love reading and cant go to bed without a story or 2. A lot of books have been donated because they were never picked up. My kids know what they like.

Right now the repertoire includes:

1. the pigeon series. Which is a really cute book about this pigeon that wants what he cant have and the kids love saying No to him over and over again.

2.Brown Bear book

3. Marley and ME book which is absolutely not for his age, I dont know how he acquired and no I dont read all 20 long pages. I skip over and make up as I go.

4.Today I will Fly...cute book about a pig and an elephant.

and sometimes they will pick a Jesus book (just to make me beam with pride) or another dang truck book just to drive me insane.

Everything else was money wasted. So many books my kids never cared about..sniff sniff.

So if you are looking for some cute titles that wont get old pick these up and if you have any recommendations for me, please share. I am always on the look out of the new title that will make me "The best mommy in the world" or at the very least "The very best mommy right now" and that previous "Barnes and Noble" incident?? Yeah no more. I now only buy books that have come highly recommended from other parents or he can use his allowance to buy it himself...

ps: Juju will pick up a book through out the day and ask me to read it to her. She has never chewed on a book and sits down politely and listen. Maybe there is still hope for that book buddy in the future :)

Love A

Friday, March 25, 2011

The story of why I need a drink before noon..

The husband and I got into a huge fight.

I am still pulling my big girl panties up and trying to get my happy attitude back.

Last night I got barerly any sleep. I understand it will take a while for me to accept the body pillow as a replacement for a warm body, but falling asleep at 3am up at 4, 4:15, 5, 5:30 and then for sure at 7:30 will even sweet ol' me turn into a witch. So yeahh my attitude wasnt good to start with.

I spilled my coffee this morning, the kids were whining, I forgot to grab breakfast, and the coffee that caused so much hassle to pour.

The day didn't magically improve from there, on the contrary it just kept coming.
I couldnt find my shoes, phone, brain, good attitude. The kids were whining. They were acting bad because mommy was a wench. I know I know.

I drive Tyler to school, get stopped by a cop on the way, get a warning only. Hey maybe my luck is turning around??

Nope, Juliet cries almost the whole way back home for absolutely no reason other than to make my day even worse. I realize my parents left the country for 3 wks without saying bye, I guess we really are not speaking to each other anymore and being very mature about it.

All of this is excuses but sets the precedent for my mood.

I get home and let it rip. I start to sob and I complain and complain and complain. I cuss my husband for every single decision I have disagree with for the past couple years and even some that I have agreed with. Every little decision that have put us in this situation. This hell of him not being here when all I need is a hug. I whine and bitch and call him names. Dirty horrible little names. I start to believe he really doesnt love me and is screwing around my back with my best friend and promisng her to run away with her. This was by far one of our worst fights.

After feeling drained and just miserable. I stop. I cant even form a straight thought but I start to somehow feel a calmness wash over me and I start to realize that maybe he is going through the same thing as I am. Maybe just maybe he understands fully what i am going through and I am not alone and that he didn't conciouslly pick this life either to piss me off and hurt me. That this is the life we have been dealt and that we should live it to the fullest to the best of our abilities. So I started to love and adore him again and not really blame him for anything. We made up and were happy again.

Later on the day, he called me and I didn't even tell him about our fight or our make up. I felt ashamed of all the names and bad thoughts that went through my head. I didnt want to share. I just told him and I loved him very much and I forgive him. He paused for a second and asked me "what for?", I just repeated myself and he let it go. He has been with me too long to understand that one day when I am ready we will talk about it. We talked about the kids, and his long flight and made more plans for when he comes home for sure.

Life is grand and that is why I need a drink before noon because only me can have a huge fight with my husband and then make up without him even knowing anything about it ;)

Love A

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

So not cool but okay....

23 days is definitely not enough time to make up for the last 6 months that he was away and not enough to stock up on hugs, kisses and laughter that will carry us through the next 6 months. To be honest, I don't know what amount of time I would need, but definitely more than 23 days. Oh well. I dropped him off at the airport today with hopes and prayers the next 6 months will fly and pretty soon we will be all together under the same roof, where?? God only knows. Hopefully somewhere I want to be. One can only

This r&r was crazy. We had a ton of fun. We did a big road trip, the boys spent time together at the arcade, we went to dinner,a movie, the park, the beach, celebrated Juju's birthday, ate too much fast food & chocolate, drank one or many beers, and stayed up way too late just enjoying each other.

Sunday the mood was gloomy. I knew today was arriving too fast and the more you try to grab on to time the more it slips away from your hands. At the last minute we packed everyone up and headed to the beach. It was 81 degrees but a bit cloudy. The water was kind of cold but none of that stopped us from having fun.
I played for a bit with dh and the kids building sandcastles but after a while I retreated to my towel to bake for a bit. I didnt bake, but I did spend almost 2 hrs just stopping and watching them. There was nothing in my mind but observing them from far away interacting with each other. Very rarerly am I capable of just sitting down and "smelling the flowers". I am so glad I was able to do it on sunday.

Seeing a father have so much fun with his kids is a beautiful thing. Dh didnt have his father around, his step dad was so so, so this is a man that without no experience or training, learning through his mistakes is shaping up to be one amazing dad and I am loving him in even more way than I thought possible.

Yeah he is going back and will be away from us, 6 long months of doing everything alone, missing him every second of everyday is so not cool, but these are the sacrifices we now have to make. And thank God we are seeing the fruits of our labor. Guess who is out of credit card debt?? Gosh I want to shout up from the rooftops. It feels good and now its savings for a home.

So yep, not cool at all but okay. And besides I got over 50 books to read, and various levels of Angry birds to beat. Not a good enough substitute for enjoying everyday with my boo, but we will be okay.

Love A

Friday, March 18, 2011

No TV in the bedroom is our secret....

Dh and I have been married for 8 1/2 yrs together for 10+. We dont have the perfect or even most extremely functional marriage in the world. If we are under stress, to get anything done we will do it and do it well but with lots of bickering. We bicker and bicker and bicker. We are both cancers, strong tempered and passionate in a lot of things so of course it causes conflict when we are put under stress.

I am not one of those wifes that will say "okay darling you lead the way" and I dont think he would love me if I was like that. Our bickering is part of us. Its part of who we are, it has helped us accomplish everything we have, and has kept us in our toes. I have no deep dark secret or anything I wish to change in our marriage and neither does he. Everything that needed to be taken care of, argued, talked about it, has been done so when it happened. Never go to bed mad stay up and fight.

If you were to observe us from a distance and we were in a stressful situation (be whatever it is..mostly a move/trip) you would think we were on the brinks of divorce but if you were to put up your listening ears and listen more closely or even a bit longer you would realize that under the bickering, we were communicating, getting through to each other, accomplishing whatever task we had at hand and under our bickeriness, you would hear tenderness.

I am not stupid enough to say I have the secret to a perfect marriage. Heck, every couple of years a bomb goes off in our lives, and while the smoke is still settling, we kind of get lost and have our relationship tested over and over again and sometimes it takes us a bit to find each others hands and that period of time is scary. I do like to look of our marriage as a building. Our foundation is strong and sometimes one or two floors might explode and with one of lives very strong bomb, lots of floors might get anihalated and sometimes crack our foundation a bit. But so far thank God our foundation has not turned to dust. After the explosion we quickly rebuild everything and are happy again :)

Lately a lot of our friends are going through divorces. Its extremely sad for us to watch it and to be perfectly honest its scary. In the middle of the night I will stay up and think about it..Why are we able to hold it together and they didnt?? There hasnt been anything special or unique about our marriage. We bicker a lot remember. Some of our friends going through divorces had the type of relationship they could calmly sit down without raising their voices and discuss things. A quiet discussion in this house?? LMFAO..impossible.

In my darkest hrs I will cry and get scared. He is truly my everything. I don't need him to survive but my life is better because of him. I am a better person because of him. Not because he tried to control me or change me, because through his kindness and with all of his patience, he guided me slowly and softly through the right path. I know I have done the same for him. His family this last time, once again told me how good I have been for his life and he has told me numerous times. We take care of each other and want to see each other succeed. And we dont take each other too seriously. I can easily call him a jerk and he will respond with a big grin on his face in the middle of an serious argument and say "Jerk?? Seriously? that is all you can come up with?? Give me something better I know its in there". We will start laughing and through laughter and hiccups I will call him a slimy pathetic creature. More laughter later we wont even remember what the argument was in the first place. Deep down we know we love each other more than anything and there is nowhere else we want to be, than married to each other and doing this together, and we know if there were somewhere else we would rather be for whatever the reason, the other person would hear about it.

He has been so good for me that I of course want this for everyone else. I am not jaded. I believe in love and because even though extremely hard (well it was hard in the beginning now its easy. Even with our bickering its still pretty ,dare I say easy??)
Having just one person truly love you, support you, adore you and want your happiness, sometimes above theirs is such a beautiful thing and I believe everyone should have this. And sometimes on my most zen days, I will even tell you finding that person is lives purpose.

Now dont get me wrong. I joke that he is not my soul mate. I honestly dont know if he is my soul mate or not. To me a soul mate would fit you so perfectly you wouldnt need to argue or even say an unkind word. You would just flow through life in perfect harmony. Your steps would be so matched together and you wouldnt step on each others toes. And because through our marriage, I have stepped on his toes, him on mine, I have said hurtful words to him and him to me that have caused us great pain and also caused us to apologize later on to each other, I dont know if we are soul mates. Maybe we are and I have my definition wrong?? Who knows..

But anyways, many of my friends are asking me what is our secret, when we got married we were told we wouldn't last a yr and we were on a collision course to destruction, and so far we have proved all of our critics wrong. So what is our secret??

After talking about routines and lives, I can honestly say there is 4 things from most of the couples around us that are falling part, that we have done different.

1. Everything gets solved right away. There is no passive aggressiveness around here. I will call him in Afghanistan in the middle of the night to tell him I am not happy with a decision he made. He will wake me up from a dead sleep in the middle of the night to tell me what I did he is not happy with. Nothing has a chance to grow and spread.

2. We rather spend time with each other than anyone else. We know how to have fun together. Don't get me wrong..we also need time apart, we also enjoy our friends and going out with them, but we are each others best friend and we know how to have fun. The fun we enjoy is simple and all over the place, be watching movies, a picnic in the middle of the living room, or reeenacting operation dessert storm on each other with nerf guns.

3. We go to bed together (when he is in country of course). Maybe one night a month insomnia might hit me or him or he might have a game he is wanting to play longer or I might have a book going on that I just cant put down, but 99% of the time we go to bed together at the same time. I think its important.

and last but not least..

4. We dont have a tv in our bedroom. He always wanted one from the time we got together and I was always against one. We never had a tv in our bedroom and now he is thankful we dont have one. Our bedroom is sacred. Its our time together. We are plugged in to technology too much already during our days and not plugged in to each other enough (what I believe is the biggest problem facing this world today), so therefore not having a tv in our bedroom is major. Some of the most fun,interesting conversations we have had was right before we went to sleep. All of our decisions and huge issues have been solved during those talks right before bed. For us is magical.

So one might think this is bs..someone's grandma cousin sister has been married for 55 yrs and they have a tv in their bedroom. Hey more power to them. I am just answering what people have asked me =)

Love A :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St Patty's day.....

A couple weeks ago I made a mental note to buy something green. This past year I have tried to move on from wearing red or black with jeans and actually purchase more color for my wardrobe. Slowly but not fast enough I am getting there. Sadly, I dont have anything green. I have some black shirts with a little bit of green, but a full green shirt?? Nope and God only knows where that mental note went. Maybe replaced by more important matters, like shave your legs before your husband gets home. Who knows??

Tyty wore green to school today, Juliet is wearing green today and so is dh. Yep he got this bright green shirt. Dh usually is a dark browns/blues kind of guy but every once in a while he will purchase a bright orange/yellow shirt that catches his eye. I personally think they are ridiculous, but hey pick your battles right?? I just walk a couple of steps behind him ;)

So anyways my mental note slipped my mind and even though I love St Patrick's Day (whats not to love about Irish culture?? Green beer, shamrocks and gorgeous Ireland that I have google traveled many times..) but Irish culture also has given me Irish proverbs/blessings and I love this little couple of lines of wisdom. They are so sweet, short, easy to understand, and more than not, some of these blessings are hilarious. So without further ado, even though I am wearing red today, here are my favorite Irish blessings/Proverbs...

Always remember to forget
The troubles that passed away.
But never forget to remember
The blessings that come each day

As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction.

May your glass be ever full.
May the roof over your head be always strong.
And may you be in heaven
half an hour before the devil knows you're dead.

May the saddest day of your future be no worse than the happiest day of your past.

Happy St Patrick's day everyone =)

Love Ally

Monday, March 14, 2011

The most memorable road trip ever...

On Friday night after the kids were in bed, dh and I packed, loaded up the car to the brim, reminded each other for the 50th million time to grab the chargers and went to bed. Saturday at 4 am we were going to start our great road trip. After some oversleeping and grabbing last minute things we left for vacation at 6am. The first day our drive was awesome, various trips to starbucks and then to load up on red bulls, the kids were entertained , we were signing, dh was sharing with me all about Afghanistan tent politics he has to deal with on a daily basis (same as office politics in the US if you care to know), all in all couldnt ask for better conditions.
At around 6pm we decided we were done driving. We found ourselves in Charlotte, NC, as we were pulling up in the parking lot of the restaurant it started raining. No biggie. We go inside place our orders, get about 5 bites each and out of nowhere Juliet starts to projectile vomiting all over the place. Hubby quickly sent me outside to grab her clothes and took control of the situation. Thank God he remembers my absolute aversion to someone else getting sick. I have sympathy sickness with vomitting and my stomach decides to keep you company :(

Well we clean her up, take the rest of our food to go and get searching for a hotel. At the first one we stop, we find out there is a Hornetts (they are a basketball team in case you are as clueless as I am) game and some kind of festival going on in town. That means we wont find a hotel for another 60 miles. That started to put a damper in my spirits. We were tired, it was getting dark quickly, the kids were cranky, but we treked on. We drove almost 60 miles, found a hotel that had vacancies and spent the night.

On Sunday morning we started the 2nd leg of our trip. As we drive into Virginia and the temperature stars to drop extremely quickly. I decided to look into the weather channel to see what was going on..Well come to find out a huge snowstorm is moving in very quickly right on the path of where we are suposse to go in West Virginia. I freak out. I have a horrible fear of West Virginia. The last time we drove to PA back in Dec of 04, we missed the highway we were supossed to take and decided to take another road. With my awesomeness navigation skills, I took us through the mountains of WV. Extremelly high altitudes, huge drops, snow everywhere, fog, 2 lanes of traffic with no guardrail, deer crossing. The absolute worse trip of our lives. Many barganings with GOd were made.

So this time around I checked and recked the maps many time and was 100% sure it wouldnt take us through the mountains in WV. But with this snowstorm coming in our paths, I was still scared. Well we had no choice. We had passed the highway that if we took it would have taken us all the way east to Maryland and added about 4 hrs to our trip. We had no choice but to go foward. Lets just say if I can help it, I will never set foot again in WV for as long as I can live.

We finally arrive at his moms house right outside Pittsburgh at 5pm. Dh got the suprise of his life, his dad had driven all the way from Mississippi to see him and spend time with us. We enjoyed the family and after some sitting by the fireplace to warm up (I left 80 degree weather for the current 22 degrees in PA) some much need beer we crashed for the night.

On monday we took a trip the chocolate factory. My favorite place ever. All kinds of goodies.I spent hrs admiring this beautiful castle that took over 3 months to construct. A castle made of candy. Ladies and gentleman I have found my dream home =)
More time were spent taking pictures of adorable figurines of crocs, flip flops, fried eggs, pickles, all made of chocolate. Finally after wiping the drooling of my face for the 20th time and calling dh unfair for not allowing me to purchase one of each delicious truffle on display, we hapily left with our purchases. They even support our troops. I need to go back ;)

Monday night was family reunion. Another thing dh had no clue about it. Over 60 family members showed up to meet the kids and just enjoy us. The food was delicious, the conversation was flowing and while I knew about 50 of the 60 people that showed up, the names were hard to keep track of also my glass was getting refilled all the time. I must admit I got tipsy, but I was in my best behavior dont worry.
The kids were held by their great great aunts and there was nothing else this family needed more than some family loving. I was amazed at everything. Getting 10 of my family members in the same room is a task, making sure they dont kill each other is a miracle, so to see this was really awesome. His family, as dysfunctional as they are, they are extremely close and if I ever lose my mind, and decide to move there, you will know why.

Tuesday we drove into Pittisburgh and I met up with an online friend that lives close to there. This friend I met her some 5 yrs ago through a military wive website I was a member. We instantly clicked and have chatted nonstop. I already felt like I knew her. She is just as awesome in person. We spent the morning and part of the afternoon at the Carnegie Science museum in Pittsburgh. It was me, dh the kids, her her dh and her kids. Everyone clicked and got along awesomely. I had a really good time and miss her already.

Wed we drove back into Pittsburgh to meet up with my mil, fil, and sil to go have dinner at Primanti brothers. The original at the strip district of course. In case you never heard of this little jewel of a place, I have the need to share with you. Primanti brothers is a chain of sandwich shops opened in 1933. At the time the strip district was a growing area. Lots of truck drivers in the area who made deliveries to the local area 24 hrs a day but needed to get back on the road quickly. The brothers opened this sandwich shop to cater to them aka a good sandwich that could easily be eaten with one hand. Rumor has that on opening night they realized they forgot to order their to go boxes. Not wanting to loose business, they just slapped the coslaw and fries right inside the sandwich and a staple was born. When you walk into this place you are hit with various kinds of delicious smells. Dont expect to get a menu. Their very simple menu is posted on the wall. Asides from some soup, a side of cheese fries, onion rings, and some breakfast items, all you can get are their signature subs. Their flavors range from spicy sausage to cornbeef hash, to prime steak and so forth. They only accept cash, are open 24 hrs and after you place your order, they make it right there behind the counter, the waitress drops you sandwich right in front of you. Don't expect plates or silverware. They are served on a piece of paper. I am not a huge fan of coslaw but the mixture of the bread, meat, coslaw, fries and crack they put into it are to die for. I will eat there every single time I go back to PA :)

After that the mil, fil, and sil took the kids and dh and I drove to a little town right outside of Pittsburgh called Coraopolis were we had a hotel booked. We dropped the suitcases off took showers, got dressed and decided to catch a movie before dinner. A movie theater with a starbucks inside. How awesome is that??
We watched "The adjustment Bureau". Such a good movie and not just because I am a huge Matt Damon fan. Seriously a good movie.

Then we were on to our next adventure. We drove up Mt Washington, met up with dh's cousin and his fiance and rode the incline down into the city. Its a century old cable car that gives you awesome views of the city. And it creaks so its a task trying to just enjoy the views and ignore and creaking this car makes and hope and pray in a century they have done updates.
After getting to the bottom in one piece, we walked by the river almost a mile in 39 degree weather and after reaching dangerous stages of hypotermia, we reached our destination. The Hard Rock Cafe. I had never been inside one, so that was an experience itself. There was also some live band playing and their drinks and food were extremely delicious. We had such a good time and it wasnt just because of the 4 berry margaritas I had ;)

That night dh got sick as a dog. He caught some 24 hr stomach bug. Not good. On thursday after picking up the kids from the inlaws, promising everyone we will be back before 6 yrs, I feeling fine, started to drive to VA. Dh and dd were extremely sick. Not a fun drive. Once we got to Maryland I started getting sick. I was so sure I dodged that bullet. Nope ;(. After not being able to handle being in the car anymore, we decided to stop at around 3pm at a hotel in Maryland and spend the night.
Cold sweat, hallucinating, saltine crackers and gatorade is all I remember from 3pm thursday until friday morning when we finally left to again be on the road to VA.
The trip to VA was okay. We got lost a bit outside Washington but it was fine. I made dh promise one day he will take me to explore Maryland, Washington and more of Virginia. Just by being in VA I started to feel better. There is something special about that area.

We reached Newport News, VA at around 2 pm and after many tearful hugs and kisses, I got reunited with my best friend. I have know her for over 15 yrs but havent seen her in some 6 odd years (later I will talk about her more). We spend a good 3-4 hrs a day on the phone pretty much every day but its not the same. Seeing her was awesome. She got to meet her godchildren, I got to meet mine and more than ever I believe she is still a sister from another mother.
Our time was short but we stayed up until late every night just enjoying each other. It was awesome. On Saturday we even managed to sneak away for a couple hrs and the two of us just browsed Barnes and Noble. It was wonderful but it made me even more aware how much I love her, how wonderful it would be if we lived closer and just how mcuh I enjoy her company. I now have prayed to God everynight to send us to VA. We will see if HE responds ;)

On Sunday morning we left at 5am (because only the night before did my amazing husband realized it would take 15 hrs to get home...OOPS. But we left at 5am and by the time we reached South of the Border, clothes started to come off. The temperature started to climb, the kids were being good, and we realized that even with all the sickness and insanity we would have done it all over again just the same because it was a really good trip, one that we wont ever forget :)

Love A

Friday, March 4, 2011

Presents from over there ....

Getting presents from over there is absolutely awesome. I belong to a couple of military boards and the girls are always raving about the goodies their husbands have gotten for them from overseas. From expensive rugs, to scarfs, pricey jewelry and etc.

Not to be outdone I am going to rave about the stuff I get. To where they got expensive rugs, scarfs and rare jewelry, I have gotten ....MAGNETS. And I love it :)

(The kids also got some cool stuff but they are so selfish they wont even let me take a picture of it because "its from daddy and its miiiiiiinnnnneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee...")

This year my husband also got me a plate and some yummy chocolate. He knows me well and I love him for it.

*No my husband didnt go to Australia. His coworker did for r&r. Hey when you are single you go on a safari adventure to Australia for r&r when you are married with kids you go to Pittsburgh ;).
Anyways, hubby made sure to ask him to pick me up a magnet and he did :)

Oh and all these cool magnets is from airport travels (his connections are in cool places but oh so short he airport travels) But dont feel bad for me, I have gone to Australia, Tahiti, Madagascar, all the cool places through one of the most enjoyable forms of transportation nowadays.. Google traveling =)

Love A

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Aww homecoming...

I always said I wouldn't wish a deployment on even my worse enemy. But lately I had an epifani. I would wish a short deployment even on my best friend.

Let me explain before you start to rip my head apart..

Our first deployment sucked ass. I was young, had just given birth with my mother by my side, not my husband. Hubby comes home for 3 wks then leaves again and I dont see him anymore until 11 months later. Ouch. Here I am trying to learn how to keep a human being alive when before no plant or animal survived, trying to do it under the watchful eyes of my ever so criticizing parents, just a hard situation.
I was living at my parents for 8 months while he was gone and it was 8 months too long. Even after moving thousands of miles alone with a 8 months old and setting up housing in our base, I never felt like I accomplished anything. I was on survival mode and also I was worried about my husband all the time. Would I be a widow at 25 with a little boy to take care of alone?? Would my husband still love me?? Will he even care about our son?? He spent 2wks with him when he was a tiny little thing, he will come home (If he makes it. Oh please God) to a walking, babbling high strung toddler.This is a completely different child he is coming home to. What will happen? How are we going to adapt to each other?? Will he reoccurring nightmares, will he jump every time I say boo?? I was like a chihuahua on pcp.

Sometimes your lessons in life are learned in rewind. You don't learn them while life is playing, only when you rewind and pause and really think about each act, each scene.

To where I hadn't thought I learned anything before, I really did. I left my parents house at 19 and moved in with boyfriend who is now my husband. We started living together, working, paying bills and so forth. I never really been alone on my own. While it was extreme circumstances, I would have liked to dip my toes in slowly instead of being thrown into with motherhood to make it more interesting, I lived alone. Yes most nights I was scared and slept with every single light on including the tv, I have made tons of mistakes. Our house had 10 holes for one picture frame, I locked my keys in my car and so forth. But I learned so much about myself. I learned that I really can do this. I can pack up and move when I am not happy, doesn't matter how far away it is or that I have a child to do with it and its a nightmare logistically. I will seek my happiness. I can take care of our house, bill, and everything that comes with it. I am pretty strong. On top of it, I learned to cook, truly cook. Recipes from scratch, not just throw something in the microwave. I also learned I am okay with being alone. Before I use to surround myself with ppl I didn't even care about just for the background noise. Now I have learned its a lot better to be alone than in bad company. I learned life is too short and if you are not interested in sharing good things with me including my happiness, than I would rather be completely alone in silence. That was a huge lesson to me because being alone is my fear. But learning that even when I am alone I am in company of not only God but a wonderful person : MYSELF :) Was one of the most treasured lessons in my life.

I also learned to have extreme respect for single mothers. While the only difference between me and them is that I had a paycheck coming in and knew one day this loneliness would end, it was too close to comfort and made me realize just how strong these woman really are, to leave behind the comforts in pursuit of happiness. Even if it comes with so much sacrifices. It also gave me a huge appreciation for my husband and everything he does/did for us. I was blessed and didn't know.

This deployment on the other hand was an easy one. I was on my own, while extremely close to my parents, at my own place. They drove me nuts I said goodnight and went to my own place. I am older and wiser (with still a lot to learn) but thank God the lessons while still important ones are better received. I truly believe being wise doesn't mean nothing get thrown your way you just handle it better. If before I was a chihuaua on pcp, now I am closer to a zen budha. Yeah

No seriously, the reason while I wish a short easy deployment on even my best friends is because you learn so much from it. You grow, you learn to enjoy your company and most of all you learn to appreciate the little quirks of our partner, the ones that once drove you insane?? Yeahh you miss them. And without a deployment there would be no homecoming and everyone needs to experience a homecoming in their life. It sucks the anticipation (hello most impatient person around), the worry, the fear, and so forth, but as soon as you catch a glimpse of them and that first embrace, its above magical. So much worry, anxiety, fear, everything just melts. You remember why you are in their arms, why they are your significant other, and how much you truly love this person. Its such a wonderful experience, how could I not want everyone to experience it??

Love always