Sunday, May 29, 2011

~Memorial Day Weekend 2011~

Check out what the littlest love got into!?!? We found Sophia's old walker and dusted it off for the little monkey! Hardwood floors make for a lot of fun with big sister and maybe a couple minutes of peace for Mama?

Happy Memorial Day weekend! This weekend is bittersweet for me. On a year Chris is home we'd probably be going to the pool, maybe barbecuing with some friends and in the back of our minds remembering how lucky we are to not be one of the one's sacrificing this year, always paying tribute to those that are overseas. Chris has been gone Memorial Day weekend for three out of the past four years. Does it compare equally with missing Thanksgiving's and Christmas's? No. Does it make my stomach flop like when I think about how many of Sophia's birthday's he's missed in the past four years? No. But I vividly remember this weekend every deployment.

Weekend 1...Who doesn't love a good Memorial Day sale right? You know I do! My first Memorial Day weekend alone, I decided to take a then four month old Sophia shopping. Bad idea. It seemed that every single person in Southern California had the same idea and I was swimming in a sea of FAMILIES whose Dad's were THERE and VERY present and I felt myself sinking thinking, why am I doing this to myself. Cut to this new mama CRYING and missing Chris more than ever. Weekend 2...I remember thinking...'No, this year I am NOT going to shop. I'm going to stay at home with Sophia all weekend and ride out the 'lonely' storm at home. Little did I know that every commercial on the TV, every song on the radio and then every single thought in my mind was related to Chris being gone and I remember feeling so, so lonely...again.

But with deployments comes knowledge and with knowledge comes power.

Then there's this Memorial Day weekend...this Memorial Day weekend, I did a pre-lonely weekend vent to my friend Tracy, a seasoned Marine Wife who gives the very best advice and knows exactly how to make me laugh (hence the whole knowledge is power thing for there is nothing more powerful than a fellow Marine Wife) ...and we made plans and I vowed to stay busy. And then today, while running errands I noticed that the local country station here was doing a tribute to service members and their families with little tidbits from military family members along with some really amazing patriotic songs. You know me, a sucker for anything military related but one Marine Wife's commentary hit close to home. She said that while her Marine is overseas, she is not looking for any one's pity or for anyone to feel sorry for all that she goes through while he is gone. For she is doing exactly what she wants to be doing...standing proudly beside her Marine supporting him when he needs her to would not have it any other way.

I think that if you ask most Military wives they'd tell you the same thing. I know I would. It was a little 'moment' for me.  A moment where I realized how much I had grown since that very first deployment. I don't write about my life as a Marine wife for pity. I don't vent because I want someone to feel sorry for me. I am so proud to be his Marine wife but I am passionate and emotional and on weekends like this, where I see so much gratitude for those in the Military...well, it tugs at my heartstrings and makes me want to hug Chris even more, to thank my very own Marine for his sacrifices. Do we at home sacrifice? Yes, absolutely but we've got it pretty good in comparison. I will say that although weekends like this make that seat at the table much more noticeable, I'm so happy to see that members of our Military are being acknowledged and appreciated by our fellow Americans. It's my love, my pride and my deepest gratitude for each and every sacrifice our Military families go through that get me through day to day. But yes, it is emotional for me to see this pride so publicly shared and to feel that my girls and I are a part of it. My tears are not tears of sadness. No, they are tears of pride.

We love you babe and miss you every day.  I know soon we'll be together and I can't wait until then.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Summer? Is that you?

Is it summer yet? Yes, yes...I do believe that we're coasting into the last season of this stinkin' deployment! The season where I believe is best spent outside by whatever body of water you can find (It's okay to imagine that your backyard kiddie pool is really your in-ground pool of your oceanfront home in Southern California...), with ice-cold fresh watermelon always at the forefront of every meal (Watermelon as an appetizer!? Heck yeah!) and lots of lovely, lovely snuggles from sunkissed beauties who are never short on smiles for this tired Mama. Ohhhh yes...summer in Huntsville is clearly on it's way, coming in with a bang no thanks to a few major storms and some significantly more humid weather. In my house these days, there's a lot of doin' what most military families do when they're two and a half months away from the end of a deployment...lots of waiting and lots of praying. And while we wait, Miss Alessandra has not only found a new love for carrots and sweet potatoes but she's ALSO found her voice which only means Sophia has also found her extremely LOUD voice. I sigh but I think to myself how it doesn't bother me in the slightest, this almost secret, louder than normal, language that the little girls have developed. It has warmed my tired heart seeing the bond that is forming between the sisters as I patiently wait until our Marine is lucky enough to return home. This past spring (or what Huntsville likes to think is a Spring) has brought with it lots of change...lots of good change. Alessandra is officially half of a year old coming right up on the age Miss Sophia was when her Daddy came home to meet her from his first deployment. I'm having fun watching my girls these days especially when I start to see Sophia in Alessandra's expressions and get a kick out of comparing the two when Alessandra plays dress-up in Sophia's old baby clothes. They're so different yet so perfectly similar. I tell you, it's really nice to see.

 It has been an interesting season this past Spring, a season that has tested me, challenged me and forced me to always try and find that brightside that I talk about so often...even if it seems like it's got the best hiding spot. I'd like to say thank you to all those who thought of my girls and I while the storms rolled through this time last month. I am overwhelmed by the kindness of my friends here and the comfort from those far away. As I'm sure you can imagine, I've been thinking a lot lately of the future, of a couple months from now when I can finally stop running on fumes and refill my tank with a little bit of lovin' from the guy I love so much. This last month has taught me that life is fragile and that it's way too short to ever take for granted so that being said I'll enjoy when I can and endure when I must. Because there are always things in life to enjoy, however small and no matter the circumstance. Just like a baby's first and a big sister's love, my brightsides are there and I am determined to enjoy them. So here is to SUMMER and the promise of hope it brings for my girls and our family. Go get yourself a watermelon and ENJOY!

Check me out! I'm practically a gymnast...Mom leaves me in one spot and I end up on the other side of the room rolling around.

Future pianist? I think so.

Really Mom?

Summer days on a blanket in the park!
Our very special visitor...Auntie!!!
Mmmmm carrots!!! And I must say...I'm madly in love with the BUMBO!

Sophia to Mom 'Mommy, take her paci out...I want to make her smile!' Ah, the love.

Here's to Sophia and Alessandra's first summer together and the fun that it brings!
Sophia and I's new love...gardening!

My big girl, growing up too fast.