Sunday, December 25, 2005

Day 351 - Merry Christmas!!

Well, you may notice (if you pay really close attention to this stuff, which I doubt that anybody does - lol!) that my day counting got messed up - so it is corrected with this post - I kind of knew that somewhere along the line that it got screwed up - but until I got closer to the end of our year - I wasn't going to take the time to fix it. Well, our year is almost up - I went and counted backwards and fixed the days. All better :o)

This is a very different Christmas for me, and to be honest, other than various holiday parties and us going to visit Al's son, Trey earlier in the month - and my Christmas bonus at work (yay!), I'm not celebrating this year. I love Jesus just as much as the next guy - but with Al due home 'very shortly' (all I can say for OPSEC reasons, sorry!) - getting all crazy about Christmas this year seemed kind of stupid to me because I would much rather get all crazy about him coming home.

I share visitation with Emelia's father - and we don't start doing Christmas visitation until next year, when she is three, but since Al wasn't going to be home yet, and I knew that fact would put a damper on the holiday anyway, I decided to let Em go with her dad up to his parent's house in St. Louis, Missouri to spend the holiday. She had never met her two cousins prior to this point - and she hadn't flown on an airplane with her dad before this either - so she has had a big holiday. Steve said that when the plane took off she said "Wheeee!".

Although it has been hard to have her gone, especially out of state, the freedom to get things done around the house has been absolutely amazing and it made it possible for me to kind of skate through the holidays without feeling loads of guilt for not getting all hyped up about them. The very most wonderful thing that this allows us to do though (can you tell I am a planner?) is that it makes it possible for all of us to be together as a family NEXT Christmas. That is our year to get Al's son on Christmas Day too - so it should be an absolutely wonderful time any way you look at it. I am so thrilled and excited to be able to pull my decorations out next year - and for us to start building new Christmas traditions all together as a brand new family - it's nice to look forward to next year for a reason OTHER than a deployment getting over with, you know? Em and I will do her Christmas this week after I pick her up from the airport - it gives me more time to wrap gifts anyway - lol.

Al is as wonderful as ever. He is still in Kuwait moving equipment - and he takes time to call me every day which makes my days go much quicker. He pays a small fee for Internet access too so I can still email him his nightly (and daily - lol!) emails also. I joke with him that I won't know what to do with myself before I go to bed when he gets home because I will try to go to the computer and send him an email still!!

He sent me this email today (one of several because the phone lines are so jammed up with calls (pooh!) - he is as lovable and crazy as ever . . .

Date: Dec 25, 2005 10:57 AM
Subject: Santa came to see me

Baby, Santa came by and gave me a present. He said I would be going home soon. I have been trying to call but still no luck. Every number is busy. I love you so much your Hubby

This picture was attached . . .
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Al and I send our fervent prayers that you and yours are having a very Merry Christmas and joyfilled Holiday Season! We love you!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Day 339 - 155 BCT News

There are lots of soldiers coming home. Not Al, not yet - but soon. I pray that everyone who has their soldier home from the 155 - or who will have them home in a matter of days - has a wonderful reunion and a great Christmas too. Thank God this almost over.

155th BCT soldiers expected the begin coming home on Saturday

Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. - About 100 soldiers in the 155th Brigade Combat Team are expected back in Mississippi on Saturday after nearly a year in Iraq, National Guard officials said.

The rest of the unit, including almost 3,500 Mississippi soldiers, is expected to arrive in waves through the middle of January. The unit is made up of soldiers from 49 different communities in the state and others from across the country.

"The members of the 155th BCT, not only provided professional combat power to the Multi-National Forces-Iraq, but developed and sustained a high level of stability within their area of responsibility by establishing agricultural cooperatives, building and supplying schools, conducting engineering work on Iraqi infrastructure and providing medical support to the local population," said Maj. Gen. Harold A. Cross, the adjutant general of Mississippi.

"They were very instrumental in training Iraqi forces to provide their own security for their Army. They are our heroes and we are ecstatic about welcoming them home ahead of schedule," Cross said.

The initial group of soldiers will land at an Air Guard base in Gulfport before loading buses for Camp Shelby, a sprawling, 136,000-acre training base just south of Hattiesburg.

"We strongly encourage the family members not to drive to the Combat Readiness Training Center on the coast but to meet their soldiers at Camp Shelby," said Lt. Col. Doril Sanders, a Camp Shelby spokesman.

Sanders said family members are urged to visit with the soldiers at Camp Shelby before they begin four to five days of demobilization, Sanders said.

The unit - with members from Pennsylvania, California, Washington, Texas, Puerto Rico, Virginia, Missouri, New Jersey, South Carolina, Vermont, Utah, and Arkansas - was attached to the II Marine Expeditionary Force.

The troops spent much of their time battling insurgents and rooting out clandestine weapons stashes in the so-called "Triangle of Death" in the Karbala, Najaf and Babil provinces of Iraq, the military has said.

Fourteen Mississippians in the unit were killed in Iraq, most by roadside bombs.

The majority of the soldiers arriving in the next few days are members of the 114th Field Artillery headquartered in Starkville. The rest of the flights will be mixture of different units.

Once they arrive at Camp Shelby, the troops will turn in their weapons and receive a mandatory briefing before they are allowed to visit with their families.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


I'm not sure how consistent my entries will be, but I am officially 'back to blogging'. I apologize for needing such a long break - I am really thankful for everyone that kept checking back - and for all the comments and emails.

This blog has seemingly gone so many directions since it's conception, that I'm unsure what direction it will take from here. When I originally conceived of this notion, it was to write updates about Al for his friends and family to stay in contact with him. From that point, it progressed as I progressed in my experience as a military wife to discussing deployment and other military issues. It has also served as a way for me to communicate back with Al - by posting pictures and events that have happened in our day to day life in the States.

As a National Guard wife, it is hard for me to know what to do with a military blog now that my soldier will be coming home soon. By the very nature of what we do as a National Guard family - hopefully our lives will have a very non-militaristic scope to it very soon now that deployment is almost done. For right now, I am leaving things open ended - and I hope to have things to post to everyone without boring everyone to tears. Above all, I really, really hope that my posting has NOTHING to do with another deployment ANYTIME soon!

I know that a lot of other military wives and significant others read this blog - so this next part is for them . . .



You know when you look at your own personality, it is hard when you see huge glaring flaws. One of the huge glaring flaws that I see when I see me is that I have a bad habit of going "Awww, that won't ever happen to me" and turning off my listening ears. When we went into this deployment, I attacked the situation with the same voracity as I give everything else, and I really tried to educate myself on everything. Well, pretty much EVERY FRIGGING thing I read said that REDEPLOYMENT was one of the hardest phases that a National Guard/Reserve family (and regular military for that matter) can face. Well, every time I read those words, I said to myself - "Awwww, that won't happen to US - I will just be so happy to be getting my hubby home that we won't have to deal with any of that yuckiness.".

Ummmm, yeah - famous last words there.

So, in an effort to educate all the other military supporters out there who are just starting their deployments ---- Don't kid yourselves! Their homecoming is NOT easy! Bliss doesn't just happen automatically when their days in the sand start to dwindle!!

The only thing that I have in my life to compare how I have felt this last month or so is to pregnancy. I'm sorry if that's a lame analogy, but that is the only other major life event that I have to compare this to. My pregnancy was a little different than most people's because I was alone for it. That time in my life was so isolating, but isolating in a good way, I guess, because it taught me so much about myself - and just what I was capable of enduring. In so many ways, I just had to put my hands over my ears and insulate myself from outside interference and just take care of me and my soon to be Emelia. During that period of time, I really learned that I didn't need to keep anyone in my life unless it was a mutually beneficial experience - and I also learned that just breathing in and out and making it through the day is sometimes the very bravest thing that you can do.

Well, I haven't felt like that this WHOLE deployment, but I have felt that way through A LOT of this deployment. And it has only gotten more intense during these final weeks. When life is it's hardest for me, I don't want to interact with anyone but people who live in my house (ie. Emelia and me and sometimes Al). It's a wonderful coping mechanism - but it really doesn't do wonders for one's social life - lol.

What have these last few weeks felt like? I could give you so many words but a few of them would be: exciting, nerve-wracking, busy, intense, fearful, anticipatory (is that a word?), sad, happy, good and bad. I have been spending the last week cleaning my house like some kind of nutjob - reorganizing and deep cleaning every single room - eight bags of trash so far. I am usually "Queen of Organized" - but I really have the desire for the house to be in tip-top shape for Al - even though he probably won't even notice - lol. This excitement is not the same as R&R though because that really was like a vacation - I knew going into it that it would last 15 days and then life would get somewhat back to normal.

Now though, I am anticipating this totally new thing - and to be honest - I am really scared crapless. It has been hard being a newlywed with my hubby in the sand - but now that he's going to be home next month sometime, I'm worried about transitioning to our new life together too. Plus, since we dated long distance our whole relationship - the longest that we have been around one another is like three weeks at a time. So, things could get really crazy, really soon!

Al has been very good to me though, and last week, he took the time to discuss a lot of my fears with me. I really needed that - and I feel a lot better about a lot of things. Now, 'just a little longer' and this crap will be over. I am going to pretend that I am a horse in a thoroughbred race - that I have my blinders on, my ears closed to outside influences - and I am just going to keep running around the track until somebody somewhere says I can stop. I really hope all of this has a happy ending. I believe in God, I believe in Al, I believe in me and I believe in 'us' - so hopefully, everything will be great - soon.