What I Did On My Summer Staycation

I’m writing to you in recovery mode, trying my hardest to type with sore hands and wrists from a very wacky week indeed.

this is me, enjoying some alone time

OUR CAR IS HERE!!!

Great news, huh?  Shipping the car from Hawaii to NY/NJ took about five weeks? Was it more? I can’t keep time straight anymore.  Anyways, we got an email that our car was due in, and then I was struck with a brilliant idea: why don’t you make it a boys’ trip to NYC to go get the whip, and I’ll stay here with the doggies and work, etc.

Are you reading between the lines dear friends?

As a Marine wife, going through deployments and all that long distance junk… you learn this wonderful appreciation for when your husband is actually home.  I feel like our time apart via circumstance has led to all the more cherish our moments together.

But like all things in life, there’s a flip side too: you learn to become quite independent and don’t so much mind some alone time.  I’ve always been pretty self-sufficient when it comes to the entertainment department, I can keep myself busy for days with all my hobbies, interests, books, projects, running and what not.  So it’s not like I flounder and freak out if left to myself for a bit.

And quiet? Oh I relish the quiet.  The peace.  Ahhh.

So yeah, I basically booked their airfare, schlepped them to the nearest plane harbor and said “don’t let the door hit ya…” as I gazed upon two-point-five days of sweet, sweet loneliness. Yes, I still had to work- but I’m calling it “my staycation” because I got to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.

Real Housewives of NYC, OC, and NJ?  I’m all caught up.  Don’t Be Tardy For The Wedding, too.  I even had time to squeeze in some documentaries AND watch the Bravo marathon of last season’s Million Dollar Listing LA.

Glorious, right?

I slept on the couch.  I stayed up very late, and then slept in – just the way I like it.

one man’s couch is another hippie’s bed.

I went running, did my yoga, worked out at home- all whenever I wanted to do.

I ate microwaved s’mores for just about every meal.

aww yeah.

You think I’m kidding?  It’s no joke.  (New diet starts this upcoming week, so I say s’more ’em if you got ’em).

I ATE AS MANY BANANA ICE POPS AS I WANTED. I enjoyed each and every one without the stink eye from Duggs-the-cheapo as he frets about the cost of my recent addiction to these crazy good popsicles.

i call it “chain popping,” it’s better than using your almost-done hot smoke to light up the next

i’m laughing because the joke is so funny. “why couldn’t the baker buy a new car? he didn’t make enough dough.” zing-er.

I am even so B.A. that I went out and bought another, secret, box – married the two – and went nuts.  No holds bar.

when two become one.

In college (and for a while thereafter) I used to always calculate things in beer-math, all money was divisible by $5.99 – the cost of a Natty Light 12pack back then.  Now a days, it’s ice pop math.  How many pops can I get for that? 

And the chores.  Oh the chores!!

This house is so clean, so spotless – I just went nuts.

my battalion of cleaning supplies. fret not at the chemical stuff – i’m home brewing some hippie stuff, and i’ll share about that next week when it’s all ready to go. i promise, promise.

I worked so hard yesterday that I did like three and half straight hours of work, and I was dripping with sweat and exhausted afterwards.   I literally went around the whole house scrubbing, washing, dusting every surface.

I cleaned the floor Cinderella-style.

oh sing sweet nightingale…

getting my scrub on

it’s really hard to take an arial shot of yourself cleaning the floor. like, really really hard!

I washed the walls! THE WALLS! I scrubbed the toilet and the tub, did the dishes till there weren’t any left.  Then I cleaned out the fridge and washed all of the tupperware.

yeah, we have a lot of junk – but at least it’s nicely arranged junk

cleaned out the fridge, all that mio lined up all nice and organized

clean tupperware is my zen

Oh how I love a neat and tidy home.  It just feels so calm.

i love the site of vacuum lines on the carpet. think it looks wacky and weird? rocky had an accident, so i also did some carpet shampooing by hand.

spotless, tidy, ahhhhh!

I had to work during the day, but because it was quiet I was super productive.  I worked on a weird schedule too, and I used every table in the house to spread out…

one lappy for shows, one compy for work, social media, blog drafts – you know. and yes, that’s the glee project. love it!

my “work table.” oy… hot pink clipboard, sudoko, coffee, juice, wallet (ebay, oops), meds… post-its everywhere, 25 to-do lists, hope chapel pen from hawaii ❤ i’m a mad scientist, what can i say?

The only downside?  My two and a half days of me-time came and went all too quickly, and there was still half a to-do list I didn’t even touch.   It’s probably for the best though, I’m whooped and tired as it is.

And even though I love my quiet and love being a reclusive loner when I get the chance… it is great to have the house full again and for everyone to be here.  Okay, I LOVE having my husband back home, and being the smitten little love birds we are, we both randomly woke up at 5am and ended up staying up for an hour, giggling and chit chatting as he told me about the fun they had in NYC… and yes, I ate that middle-of-the-night pop I had a hankering for.

evidence that a banana pop has been had in bed

Staycation is great, but having a packed house with a weekend of fun things to do is the best!  Speaking of- I do believe we have a Crazy-80 birthday party to get going to, so I’ll sign off for now.  Hope you’re all having lovely, happy weekends.

As always, thanks for reading!! xoxo, hhr

 

PS: Am I super lame that this is how I choose to spend my alone time?  I mean… it was the middle of the work week.  At least give me that!

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Moto Friendship Bracelet Making How-To

Dommie, one of my most bestest friendests and I looooove to make friendship bracelets.  It’s a rad craft that I’ve mentioned here a time or two before.  Back in ’09, Dommie and I invented these cute moto bracelets, we posted pics and then all of our forum pals wanted to know how we did them.  The how-to portion isn’t incredible, but it’s enough to get the idea.

I copy and pasted both of my own posts from 2009.  The original content was all mine, so why not re-use?  Go green.  I had to re-vamp the formatting and I used new links, otherwise the content is unchanged (hence the weird punctuation and grammar).

It’s easy-peasy to Google bracelet making instructions, there are even a few links in the second post.  While Dommie and I were missing our deployed boys, we made ourselves “moto bracelets” – some were desert colored, others patriotic (we’re all about the YRN: Yellow Ribbon Nation!) to wear while they were in Afghan.

If you make any of your own, share some pics, will ya?

Moto Wrists (post one):

so dominique and i have gotten a BIT carried away with the friendship bracelets …. we look like 12 year old girls who have been at summer camp for WEEKS.

but, its so awesome! we can’t stop… the ankles are next. what’s rad is we’ve learned and figured out all kinds of wacky stitches and ways to mess around with them. we’re getting pretty good at this.

dommie:

rosie (me):

what started as one deployment bracelet has turned into my MOTO WRIST. i got some USA patriotic action, some yellow ribbon stuff, desert digi, 550cord in woodland camo, and some random regular camo-ish in there too. dommie is trying to catch up on her moto wrist… we’ll see how far she gets.

The How-To (post two):

okay… so lotsa ppl keep asking “how” we (me and dommie) make the camo friendship bracelets. here’s a super detailed how-to thread just on this.

we just make regular kind of friendship bracelets… i found some sites to show you how to tie if you don’t already know. we get the string from crafts stores, and its a REALLY cheap hobby!

links:

http://www.how-to-make-jewelry.com/how-to-make-friendship-bracelets.html

http://friendship-bracelets.net/

http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Friendship-Bracelet

i used REALLY simple knots/stitches. i use variations of flat or twisting chinese stair cases (the stitch where you make a “4” and tie it around the other strings in your bracelet):

step one: choose a string you want to show. make a “four” on top of the remaining strings (these will get tied in the middle):

feed the end through the loop:

pull it TIGHT. holding tight the strings in the middle:

the only string that will be visible for that stitch is the one you made the four with. if you make the four in the same direction (point to the right for example) the subsequent knots will twist. if you alternate directions (right, tie. left, tie. etc.) the subsequent knots will be flat.

you can also do a double version of this stitch:

the green and the brownish strings on the side will BOTH show on this stitch.

the green is the first “four” on top. then make a four with the brown going under and feeding into the green’s loop:

pull tight and you have a double chinese staircase.

to twist, keep the same SIDE on top (the top string will alternate bw the two you are using, ex: one with green on top, one with brown on top – the result will look like green and brown stripes, one stripe is each stitch, the middle is twisty and harder to see) … to make it flat, use the same STRING on top each time (it will switch sides with every stitch, green on top every time – green will be on the outside of the finished stitch, brown in the middle, its flat so the middle is easy to see).

….

an idea i made up that i am in love with is braiding the string before i make a bracelet. instead of using just individual strings, i make braids and then use them as if a braid was one string.

to make desert digi i made several braids first.

1. tan, tan, brown
2. tan, tan, black
3. tan, tan, creamy beige

bc of the way a braid looks, just little specs of the black, brown and cream show, and the majority of the bracelet looks tan. it seriously looks EXACTLY like desert digi.

i’m pointing to the finished desert digi:

next to that is my red,white, blue and yellow.

for my red, white and blue… i also made a blue and white braid first, 2 blue, 1 white – so the white would be small specs like stars in the flag. then i used solid red and solid white for the stripes of the flag. the yellow is just a single string wrapped around after each “flag.”

for the woodland camo i made four braids first:

1. black, black, cream
2. brown, brown, green
3. green, green, cream
4. black, brown, cream

then i did a mix of flat and double chinese staircase stitches, mixing up the two visible strings all randomly.

finished:

my pic quality is kinda crappy bc its just my webcam that i’m using, but IRL the “camo” effect is pretty awesome.

As always, thanks for reading, and happy crafting!  xoxo, hhr

PS, they original posts were on good ole msos – the mil spouse craziness that i totes owe my life to!  (i should so blog about that someday).

something more important came up… pray for hmh-363

I was going to write a post today about something banal, like my diet or maybe about some silly story.  I don’t know.

Then something way more serious came up.

Pray for HMH-363

It was announced that six Marines dies in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan, yesterday. The crash is being investigated and notifications of family are happening now.  (by the time you read this, the families should already know).

The news story, here.

No, this isn’t my husband’s unit.  And no, I’m not personally or directly affected by this tragedy in a way that will shake every minute of my life.  But for so many people – this will.  I’m so sorry for them, and I offer so much respect for the six men who gave their lives.

It makes me sick to my stomach to think about being notified.  Just the fear of being notified is just too awful for words.  I can’t stand the idea of someone knocking on your door or calling you to give you the worst. news. ever.

When it happens in a movie, I can’t watch it.  I’ve been having a hard time even when there’s a military funeral on a TV show or movie, it hurts me.

This story broke BEFORE the families knew.  And that is not okay with me, it’s awful and it’s unfair.  To think of the families and loved ones, riding out this deployment, doing their best to manage day-to-day, they heard that six men from this unit had passed – and they didn’t know which ones yet.

I can’t imagine those minutes and hours.

I don’t even know what to type here.

….

The news of this tragedy makes me want to clobber my husband the minute he walks in the door tonight and thank my God so fiercely for all that I have.  The news of this crash makes me cry, and it makes me think of that ever-looming fear you carry with you during deployment, the one you push to the back of your mind and don’t ever give any thought to.  I refused to give that notion, that terrible fear ANY of my energy, to give it any power.

But even still, it rides with you all the time.

Silently weighing you down.  Subtly stressing you out.

I honestly didn’t even realize it was there.  That’s how good I am at pushing it away and going about my business.

Then, the second I knew my Duggs was home, safe and sound, that weight broke right off me.  It cracked and unleashed itself from me and I turned into jello.  Unbeknownst to me, It had taken so much effort to hold it down that once my husband was home, I felt like I was so out of strength.

It’s the weirdest thing, it’s hard to describe.

Yeah, I turned to mush for a while there.  I felt fragile.  I had used all my glue to hold myself together, to ride out that deployment with grace; so once I didn’t have to anymore, I came undone.

And slowly, you build back up again.

Probably all the stronger for having gone through it.  Probably a better person, now.

With the help of my loving husband and with my focus on so much to be grateful for, a really wonderful life, I build back up again.

But then the news of today’s tragedy knocks me down a peg.  It reminds me of everything we go through in connection to this war and these deployments.  My emotions are stirred up.

And I’m not trying to make a mountain out of a molehill, and play this out like I’m a hero or some amazing being.

I assure you I view myself as just a woman, a civilian lady who loves her husband, a U.S Marine.

But today’s news just makes me think, a lot.

There’s a common thread that ties so many of us together.  I know so many spouses, and girlfriends and boyfriends, so many family members, friends, best friends… and even acquaintances to some degree – if you know someone deployed, we all know that creepy little fear thought that has to be smashed down so life can be carried on.

And we’re all united by that feeling, that experience. Our common thread.

And today, that little sick feeling, that heartbreaking sadness ebbs at us – reminding us of its realness.  Reminding us of the preciousness of life and the seriousness of war.

For so many people, today, that fear will come true.  They will get a knock on the door. They will get the call they never wanted to.  And they won’t be able to un-do the minutes and go back to a time when it was okay.

For six men, their lives have ended in a hero’s death. 

To those men, I offer so much gratitude.  So much respect.

And to all the loved ones going through this, I just offer prayers, and love, and my thoughts are with them.

So right now I’m just tugging on that string, the invisible thread that loops through so many of us, and I’m giving it a little pull to ask everyone to just pray, or if you don’t pray to just send some kind thoughts, and as I tug a little … I feel like it somehow brings us all closer.

To everyone in the line of danger for our country, thank you. 

And for everyone who waits for a brave one to come home, thank you too. 

my 11 best of 2011

This past weekend Duggs and I have spent so much time going back and forth, asking each other: “what were your top moments of 2011?”  We tried to make a top ten list, but it was harder than you’d think.

What events were more significant than others?  What meant the most to us or had the most impact?

A lot happened this year.  Matthew and I were reunited after a seven-month deployment.  I grew my hair out long.  I tie dyed more garments than I could even count, and we hiked, climbed, swam and crawled all over this island.  2011 was a busy, crazy, strange year.   And here’s the best of it:

My Best of 2011

i LOVE those sun rays

I hope it goes without saying that certain things are the best in my life, regardless of the year, entities like my pooch, my family, my friends, etc.  So this list isn’t meant to be exhaustive of everything I’ve ever loved in 2011… it’s just the highlight reel of things that happened this year: 

1. Matthew’s Homecoming!

welcome home, my love!!!

Duggs came home from Afghanistan.  He came back, safe and sound, from his third and final combat deployment with the U.S. Marine Corps.  Homecoming was totes my favorite event of the year.  Having Matthew back here with me is just beyond words.

best. feeling. ever.

2. This Here Blog: happy hippie rose dot com

I started this here blog, yes! The very one you’re reading!  It’s been a very fun project, a constant in my life that I’ve really come to look forward to.   I enjoy this blog.

And more than any of my feelings – I LOVE when something I’ve written helps someone else, makes another person feel better, or informs someone.  The lovely feedback has just been so inspiring.

2011 hasn’t been an easy-peasy year; during the challenges and hard times (mostly talking about my health here) having a reader reach out and tell me what nice things they’ve gleaned from what I have to say – pushes me to get through it, to carry on, and to do so with a smile.  So, to everyone reading, commenting and being a part of this: THANK YOU!!!

3.  I got a job! 

This just came to be very recently, but it totally counts as a best of the year!  I am so grateful and happy.  I’ve been entrusted with this amazing opportunity and I hope to work really hard and to do a great job.

(If you want to check out who I’m working for, go here: http://www.icucmoderation.com  Just remember, this is my personal blog, and anything I say is just my opinion and nothing to do with ICUC.)

4.  Baptism (and Church in general) 

I was Baptised this year, in September, at Hope Chapel Kaneohe Bay.  It wa s decision that I stand by (Catholic family members reading this can speak to me one-on-one, I love you and I’ll always be Catholic-by-birth).   Waiting for Matthew to get home, and wanting his support: September was the perfect month.  Matthew took pics and participated by being there, watching, and praying with all of us, his love on that day meant a lot to me.

Being Baptized as an adult is a really public way to declare my faith, and to just go big with it!  A highlight of the year is certainly Hope Chapel, and the level of faith I’ve exercised in general.  From Women’s Retreat to teaching at Children’s Church, to just attending service with my husband every Sunday, Church has been a solid and wonderful aspect of 2011.

Giving back, community service, helping others, and kindness have been such outward reaches of the church, that we’ve found ourselves really doing good in 2011; many of the projects we participated in were church-related.

Baptism is that symbol of being part of the church, and I am so happy and glad for that.  Praise God!!

5. The Holidays

For the first time ever, Matthew and I were able to celebrate the entire run of holidays together.  From Halloween straight to New Year’s.   Being together made the holidays so much fun.  We both love Christmas, and this year we were able to get so into it and go nuts with decorating, and cards and just everything.

happy new year!!

Sharing that New Year’s Kiss was so wonderful, too. Half of 2011 was spent in deployment mode, me alone in Hawaii and Duggs all the way in Afghan.  Kissing that all away and starting a fresh new together year, was just amazing.

6. The Tanners!

Did you think I’d leave our Hawaiian besties out of the list?  This past year we’ve really grown close to the Tanners, and we’ve made so many fun memories with them.  From the Navy Day Ball to boating out on K-bay, crafting nights with Ashley and watching Jed and Duggs be utterly ridiculous together, we love the Tanners!  Thanks for so much fun in ’11.

bailey and jj, BFFs

this is not drunk knife throwing

duggs and jed

me and ashley

7. Tie Dye Business! 

me, hard at work

Yeah, this year brought into being my little homespun tie dye business.  There’s been a lot to learn, and it’s also been a lot of fun.  I’m not sure what the future of hhr is, as of now.  Regardless, it brought purpose, focus, creativity, and ingenuity to my 2011.  To all my customers, I am so thankful for your support!

Want to check it out?  www.facebook.com/happyhippierose

8. Family Visting

This year saw a lot of our family members out here in Hawaii.  First came my Dad and Stepmom.  A couple weeks later, my Mom came out to see us.  In the fall,. Matthew’s Aunt Anne and Uncle Jeff were out here for business, and we were able to spend some time with them.

my stepmom and dad, cheers!

matthew with my mom (kathy)

aunt anne and uncle jeff out to lunch at the shack

matthew with his aunt anne, on k-bay

Being so far away from family is hard.

So seeing those familier faces in the baggage claim was such a joy.  During their trips we were able to see so much of this island by playing tour guide, it was like being on vacation ourselves!

9. My Birthday

Duggs says that my birthday was a highlight of 2011 for him.  That he loved buying me presents and making the day (heck, the weekend) so special for me.  It was our first time being together on my birthday!  So I know that it was special.

I gave a tithing Testimony at church the weekend of my birthday.  So, in that respect, my birthday was a very important day to me too!!

10. HAWAII 

ahhh, amazing

Just being here is a constant amazement.  This is really the most beautiful place of earth.  All year long we explored, hiked, swam in the warm waters, and sighed at the neon sunsets.  I love living here, and I am forever grateful to have spent 2011 on gorgeous O’ahu!

the view from turtle bay

yeah, turtle bay is gorgeous

aloha!

When we leave, Hawaii will carry such a special place in my heart for a long time to come.

11. Overcoming

I was going to put climbing Stairway To Heaven as one of my highlights.  I mean, it was totally a highlight!  An achievement, for sure.

But there were a lot of metaphorical stairways to climb this year, and I’m proud to say I reached the top, or damn near close, of most of them.  With Duggs holding my hand, the climb is always easier.  And once at the top, the view, spectacular.

trigger point injections, my favorite way to spend a day

grrr, i AM tough!

Pushing through and overcoming the tough stuff is the sort of thing that builds character, and gives me that resolution to dig in and overcome the next time ’round.  You only become strong through opportunities that require strength.

2011 has been amazing in it’s own ways.  But it’s a year I’m glad to see behind me.  I’m so stoked for 2012 and all that it may hold!

As always, thanks for reading! xoxo, hhr

he’s home!!! -our homecoming 2011 story

HAPPY HOMECOMING!!!

My handsome husband is home from his very very last and final deployment ever!  Could I be any happier? No, not really.  Here’s our lovely deployment-ending story:

He came home in the middle of the night exactly two weeks ago.  The homecoming event went so smoothly: the plane was on time, we had a classic reunion moment, and I had great friends by my side to help me out with the night.  I wore a giant crazy red, white, and blue outfit, and it was all just way too fun and sweet.  Homecomings are such a joyous event, whew!

Even though I had been so sick before he got home, I was able to pull it together and prep for his arrival.  The house was super clean, his presents were all wrapped and ready for him, the fridge got stocked with all his faves, the bathroom has new toothpaste and razors, etc., and I just took care of all those little details that make “home” so comfy, cozy, clean and quiet.  I mean, I even gave the pooch a bath! Well done, right?

the desk i build for him = one present, and all the wrapped boxes on top are the rest!

i went a little nutty with the streamers and decorations, so fun though

My gal pal Nicole (who’s hubby was deployed with mine, but he came home with the first group/advon) came over and she was the bestest.  She helped me do my hair, my make-up and she totally kept my mood light and anxiety-free.

here i am getting ready for the big event!

Yeah, I did my own nails.  They look good, right?  I grew those bad boys out for like two weeks.  I was so fancy.  I even had on tranny lashes for a while (they fell off and it looked like I had caterpillars attacking my face for a min).

eye makeup by *monster baby* - my friend rain's business, she handmakes powder eye makeup and it is amazing stuff!

all dolled up! my friend ariana made the tutu i'm wearing, she has a business *boutique bella* and her products are amazing!

Business shout outs:

I know that Homecoming is all about my hubby.  The focus is on him, his safe return from a combat zone and welcoming him back home after a lot of hard work… and I feel like I tried really hard to make it all about him.  But… well, it’s kinda about me too.  And I hope y’all don’t take that as selfishly as it may sound.  But I’ve had a hard time during deployment too, and I’ve worked it out and held in tough – so it’s a celebratory and exciting event for me as well, one which I think I deserve.  It’s a big deal for us, as a couple.   And since this is our last homecoming ever, I went a lil over the top for it.
We got to the Hangar on base where his plane would be directly landing.  Amazing!  I get to see my hubby’s plane land.  As the Marines and Sailors de-plane they’re given Hawaiian leis, greeted by a buncha Brass, and then they walk through the crowd and find us: their spouses, girlfriends, family members.   The Hangar is decked out with a GIANT American flag, homemade banners and signs, music is playing, and people are waving lil American flags.   There’s just this tangible excitement and anticipation in the air.   Truly a one-of-a-kind feeling and experience.
I picked up my pals The Tanners (Ashley and Jed) on the way so I had even more support with me.  Having good people with me during such a nerve-jingling time is awesome.  They helped make it fun!  And I’m so grateful for all the pics they took, now I’ll have these memories locked down forever and ever.

at the hangar, waiting for that plane!

nicole, me, and ashley - so grateful to have them with me

Our timing was incredible.  Only a few minutes after we got there, the FRO whispered in my ear that the little tiny lights twinkling in the distance weren’t stars, but the headlights of my husband’s plane.  I started pointing excitingly and the understanding that the plane was visible spread through the crowd.  Everyone huddled up against the gate, preening to catching a glimpse of the arriving aircraft.

The plane safely lands and one by one the Marines and Sailors rush out.  The multicolored sea of women and kids has suddenly become a giant camouflage body with hundreds of cropped haircuts bobbing up and down in waves.  Let me tell you, it’s so insane-o.  You’re standing there eyeing each and every guy thinking, is that him?  Nope, close! Oh man, I thought I saw him.  Is he the last one on that plane or what? Why do all Marines look exactly alike?

Finally, I see him.

I get teary-eyed even typing it out.  I see him.  He is home.  He is here.  I can see him.  This craziness called deployment is really over.  HE IS HOME.

there is my man, walking right towards us!

He doesn’t see me.  So I duck down and hide behind the people in front of me.  My friends are going to tell me when to pop up… almost, almost, he’s five feet away, okay, now! 

I jump out and surprise him! His face instantly lights up and we embrace.

first eye contact

our first smooch

Oh what a happy occasion!

Wanna see the video?  Go here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4a5styZ0x0

reunited and it feels so good

After the big homecoming shebang they all have to go the Armory and turn in their weapons.   I went home and picked up JJ and this is where they got to reunite for the first time.  It was so sweet.  Jayjers knew his daddy right away!

the pooch in his patriotic regalia

matthew petting jj for the first time - but it's too dark to really see, doh!

man and pooch at home

awww!

What an epically happy homecoming!  I am just way too blessed and so very grateful.  Now it’s time to get to be a family again, and start to put down our roots and actually get to start our life together.

I just want to thank all of my loved ones for the tremendous amount of support during this deployment.   Matthew and I have had an amazing group of people who have loved us and given us support in so many different ways – be it care packs, emotional support, letting me call the east coast at crazy hours, friends to keep me busy and help me stay positive, just everyone around us who has wished us the best and all of you who have kept us in your prayers: THANK YOU!!  We did it! We all did it together and now Matthew is home, safe and sound… I’m right by his side, sweet and as sane as I can get.

we totally rocked this one out!!!

 

my homecoming to-do list

As my husband’s deployment is winding down the biggest thing on my mind these days is, of course, HOMECOMING!  The window for his arrival opens in less than a month.  Less than a month.  It feels surreal to even type it.

HOMECOMING!!! HOORAY!!! 

For those who don’t know what I’m talking about:  my husband is a U.S. Marine, and he’s been deployed to Afghanistan since last November; “Homecoming” is exactly what it sounds like, it’s when he comes home.

Crowds of eager and anxious loved ones wait and wait (and wait, right? haha) in a parking lot, field, airport, or what have you for their deployed loved ones to walk out of a terminal or get off a bus.  “Homecomg” is hearing the band play, celebrating a safe return home and a job well done.  It’s craning necks, excited tears, running and hugging and never letting go.  It’s loud and happy, camouflage uniforms meshing with brightly dressed loved ones.  Music, banners, American flags.

To me, homecoming is that moment when I figure out which one is him (because in uniform, let’s not kid, they all look alike) and we make eye contact and head towards each other.  It’s him in those cammies and me all dressed up and we hug and kiss for the first time in a long time, and as I finally get the insane pleasure of breathing him in, I then experience the most relieving exhale in the universe: I know that he is real, he is home, he is safe, and he is mine.

Here, on Marine Corps Base Kaneohe, we are privy to an amazing Homecoming.  The planes actually land right here, on our airstrip, and we watch out Marines deplane, and we reunite in a hangar.  The hangar is covered in banners, the Marine Corps Band is playing, there’s a red carpet rolled up to the plane that our Marines and Sailors will walk down.   As each hero steps off the plane, a lei is placed around his neck.   I’m getting that anxious butterflies-in-my-tummy feeling just thinking about it.  I remember last time, when I saw that plane land, I just kept staring at it in awe thinking, he’s really sitting in there, he’s really in the same place as I.  It’s so surreal and awesome.

homecoming 2009 - me and my duggs!

Banners and first kisses aside, there’s so much more to a successful Homecoming than one may think.  There is a lot to take into consideration, and once the fuzzy excitement of that initial moment has settled in – there’s a lot of reality to face.  Adjustment can be weird, change can be hard.  Reintegration is a whole process unto itself, and every situation will be different.  But for now, I’m pumped for the fun and pizazz of that homecoming day – so here’s what I have to get done in between now, and then to make my lovely day all come together.

My Homecoming To-Do List:

  • clean the entire house, every inch of it
  • stock the fridge and freezer with stuff he loves
  • have some loose plans for things to do, but don’t get attached to said plans
  • figure out what i’m wearing, hair, make-up
  • prepare some small surprises for him
  • banner making
(NOTE: There are a lot of things on this list that are pretty non-negotiable – like cleaning the house.  But the biggest deal about homecoming to me is more than banners and outfits:  it’s going that extra mile to be very thoughtful, to make his transition from front lines to living room all the easier.   The most important part is LOVE and a genuine smile to welcome him home.  So as we go through my list, I’m not telling anyone that these are things that “must” be done.  It’s just my thing, its just how I roll for Homecoming!)
Clean the house.
I am going to give this house a real deep cleaning before he comes home.  One, so he can come home to a nice clean house.  And two, so I don’t have to waste our first days together cleaning.   He’s been in a tent for seven months and even though they’re super strict on tidiness, that sand gets everywhere. Grime gets everywhere.  Luckily, this specific deployment seems to be much cushier than previous ones he’s been on and I don’t think he’ll come home terribly filthy.  He’s had access to good water and laundry.  In deployments past, not so.   Regardless, clean = calm.  Clean is peaceful. He will come home to a lovely and clean home.
Every sink will have soap and a clean towel by it.  Every toilet will have backup toilet paper in a place where it’s easy to find.   I don’t want him to have to scramble around to find the TP, or a towel.  I don’t want him to feel like he can’t find anything in his own home.
I like to think about things from his point of view.  He’s been going to the bathroom in portashitters, or worse (let’s not go there).  Coming home and using a real American bathroom is a luxury and a half.  It’s likely one of the biggest things he’s missed.  So I’m gonna make it nice, easy to use, just stress-free.  He doesn’t want to spend his very first luxurious bathroom use all annoyed that the roll is empty, or he can’t dry his hands.  (There will be no can you spare a square? moments, lulz).  There are so many changes he’s experiencing right now,  I don’t want to make the man rummage around five cabinets for a clean hand towel, just have it ready for him. Common sense, right?  Agreed!
Food. 
I read this book about returning warrior psychology and it said that returning warriors all want three things as soon as they get home: beer, pizza, and sex.  And not in that order.
(It’s funny because it’s true!!)
I’ll have ice cold beers in the fridge.  If he comes in at a weird hour, I’ll make sure to get his fav pizza earlier that day – so if he wants to, he can heat it up.  I want him to at least have the option to eat it as soon as he comes home.    He’s already mentioned it a few times during our recent calls:  Bob’s Pizza (from Kailua), extra cheese/garlic/spinach/red sauce with garlic butter on the side.    My mouth is watering just typing it.
Maybe your husband’s “pizza,” is actually your speciality pot roast, and his “beer” is a whisky neat.  Just know his faves, and have them at the ready.
Have a couple choices as well.
I’m going to make sure snacks that he likes are available in the house, and I’m going to do the prep work for a few different meals all ahead of time.  I haven’t decided for sure what I’m going to make…  maybe I’ll cook red sauce the day of homecoming.  We can use it in so many different things, and it will make the house smell amazing.
I’ll bake some treats for him too!
Plans
Much like the food options, having too many or too little plans can be no beuno.  In some transitions, the troops are given a fair amount of time to sleep and rest.  They may spend a couple weeks in transition even.  In which case, they get lots of chances to sleep.  Or, your returning warrior may be riding on two hours of sleep for the last forty hours.  You never know!
Last homecoming, Matthew said he was very exhausted and that he just wanted to sleep when he got home.  The plan was to order in, watch movies, he intermittently naps, and while he does I just stare at him in wonder and awe because he’s actually in my presence, snoring away in the middle of an action movie I have NO desire to see.  (did that make you puke?  it kinda should have, haha).
What really happened is that he got home, and got very antsy.  All of a sudden, he had no mission.  There wasn’t anyone telling him where to be and what to do.  Which, in many many ways is lovely, and in some ways – it’s unsettling.  It’s weird. To go from 60 to 0 is hard.   So we ended up staying busy for a couple days, we went out and did some major shopping, drove around, ate out.  Finally on the third or fourth day he was ready to rest, and then we had some quality do nothing/lounge days (with terrible action movies and delivered food).
Like I mentioned earlier about the sleep thing – every situation is different.   Every deployment is different.  Travel plans and the transition process vary so much, it’s very hard to know ahead of time how exhausted or how energized each warrior will be upon return, so I’m not really expecting too much.  But just in case he gets super bored with the idea of just “hanging out,”  I have some plans in mind: we can go boating out in K-bay, go hiking, I can teach him how to tie-dye, etc.   If he’s ready to get out and be active, I don’t want to be all stressed out over thinking up ideas on the spot.
My Homecoming Outfit
At this time… I’m working on something.  It’s forming, it’s in the process.  Last homecoming, I had a dress made for me out of some very patriotic fabric.  I loved it so much!  I still love it and I use it for lots of occasions.  This year’s outfit isn’t finalized, but it’s all in the works.   (And since this is a family-friendly blog, I’ll leave the unmentionables out of this – but uhh, know that there will be specially selected unmentionables on under my outfit, yeah? *elbow nudge/wink*).
I’ll have the outfit, the hair, the makeup all figured out and tested ahead of time.  I’ll have everything set out and ready to go so as the time changes, I’m able to get ready on the fly if I need to.   And the time WILL change.  A 3am welcome home is not out of the question.
Wearing an expensive or fancy outfit is not the point.  But, he hasn’t seen you in person in a while, and this is kinda of a big deal.  I want to make our reunion special (and I want the pics to look so great).  So I’m planning my outfit/hair/make-up so I can look my best for him.    When he finally locks eyes on me, I want him to see the best version of me that he can.  And well, just life you dress nicely for an interview or a fancy occasion – this is special!  This isn’t grocery shopping on a weekday, it’s welcoming home the love of my life from war.   I want the outfit to rise to the event.   And like I said, seriously, I want cute pics.  Cute, patriotic, really fun pics.
Surprises / Presents
I do have a couple little “presents” I’ll give to him when he gets home.  Just a cute little something for him.  Just to be fun.  I don’t know how important this is – but my thinking is that I just want him to feel so special.  This is his day, his event!
I want him to know that I didn’t just throw on a dress and show up at the hangar – I have planned and thought about this special time.  Basically, I just want him to feel like his coming back home is a big deal to me.  And well, it is a huge deal!  I’m gonna gussy up the entryway a bit (I hope he doesn’t read this and get a heads up, haha), have some gifts for him, and just make the day he comes home not a regular ole day.
Banner Making
My wonderful hubbs has deployed three whole times, and he’s never once had a banner with his name on it to welcome him home!  So yeah, this year I’m making sure there’s a banner or two around this base that acknowledges him.  You know what?  Banners are fun, and awesome, and make people feel important.  Could you imagine if there was a big ole banner or sign with your name on it, announcing your arrival.  How regal! The king of my castle is totes getting the royal treatment.  Consider a hand-painted sassy-sloganed banner to be my way of rolling out the red carpet.   Again, it’s all about making this even fun, memorablem, important, and telling of how much his homecoming means to me.
We had the Battalion banner making party BBQ today, actually.   So I went and painting a lil somethin-somethin for Ole Duggs.

me. painting a banner. today.

Also, Build-a-sign.com does FREE printed signs for military homecomings.  Free!  My cousin Heather passed this link on to me, and my gal pal Lauren out here told me about it as well.   Military Build-a-sign Link.
In Conclusion…
This is all what works for me.  Every single marriage has their own way of doing things, and other people will have their own to-do lists, methods, and ways of going about it.  No matter what you do to get ready – the bottom line is that you’re prepping for HOMECOMING.  It’s happy, it’s awesome.  It means your loved one is almost done with deployment, and the amazningess of reunion is right around the corner.   However you handle the final lap, congrats to you for coming this far, the end IS in sight.
In regards to reintegration (the time of settling in and getting used to having your warrior home again), I’m using a common sense approach to preparing. But in reality, I’m not sure how much preparation can really go into it?  I think it just has to happen.  I’m going to do what I can to set us up for success, but really we’ll have to take every day one at a time and see what happens.  Patience, understanding, empathy, and deep breaths will all be really important during that adjustment.   And hopefully, things we’ll go smoothly and we’ll get our groove back nicely.
What do you have on your list that’s not on mine?  Got any great tips to share?  Tell me, tell me!

hausfrau, and doin’ it with gusto

Seriously.  I am such a hausfrau.  And now that I work at home… it ain’t getting better; I spend a lot of time at home.

And what better day than on this glorious “Military Spouse Appreciation Day 2011” should I pipe up about my wants and needs as a housewife on the homefront?  It’s not all bonbons and scrapbooking, sometimes I bake or dust or rearrange the furniture – and for this I have fashion-related needs.

This morning I was supposed to go on a hike with my girlfriends.  I got out of bed and I was all dolled up in a great hiking outfit: my husband’s silkies (these little green USMC running shorts type things), some tie dye, and mah hiking boots.  I was wearing almost-real clothes; ya know, real enough to wear outside, but not real enough for a job interview.  That’s about the closest I’ll come to “dressing up” for a while.

Then, due to inclement weather the hike was cancelled.  As soon as I got word that I was staying at home, I got re-dressed in my housewife finest and set about my day.  I wasted no time to get back into my green sweat pants, blue cami, and a robe (yeah, it’s totally the 1960’s in my house, I really wear a robe, who wears a robe?).  And as I was setting about my day (drinking coffee on the couch while giving my to-do list the side eye), I started to think man, I really need some new slippers. I can’t believe I still don’t have some decent slippers. 

For Christmas this year I bought myself one gift: a nice pair of Isotoner slippers.  They were not fashionable but they were soft and on sale at the Exchange on Base.  They were the little bootie kind, ya know?  All fluffy and fuzzy.  I liked them.  A lot.  Then when the whole maggot situation happened…. well, I had to throw them out. (Living in “paradise” has it’s downsides too.  Waking up to find maggots in your front hall is one of the downsides that can happen.   We don’t have to get into that now!)

So for the time being, I’m back to my old slippers, which aren’t very cushy and they’re more like house shoes.

these are totally what my isotoners looked like. except mine were an oatmeal color: way more ugly and boring than these fancy purple-ish ones. and every time i think of "isotoner," i think of ace ventura.

so here's what i'm stuck with now. oh the horror.

I don’t hate my current slippers, they’re just literally falling apart and have holes in them.  And my big toes can sometimes touch the tile through them. So now I’m sitting here having some coffee and wondering where I can milk a few dollars from the budget to get some fancy slippers.  And wondering where one even buys fancy slippers from.  I’m literally fantasizing about some kind of magical fluffy awesome slippers.

AND I’M HAVING AN ELABORATE INTERNAL DIALOGUE ABOUT SLIPPERS.   THIS IS WHAT I’VE BECOME!

Okay. So maybe I am devoting a little too much time to thinking about my housewear… but hey, whatever you are, do it all the way, right?  Go big or go home?  I’m a housewife and I do it with gusto!  I spend a lot of time in my home – I work from home now, I workout at home, I don’t party or have much of a happenin’ social life – so I watch Netflix on weekend evenings at home.  I am a lady of the home, so… I need fashionable homewear to do all this in!  Just like when I worked in an office and I was always pushing the limits of “business casual,” trying to add as much panache and flare to the drab cubicles as possible – now I want to make sure I’m pushin’ the limits with my homemaker garb.

this was the first photo i tried to take to show the slippers. yeah, i was TOO lazy to even stand up at first, so i tried to take my feet to the camera, haha. and i'm making a totally awesome surprised weird face. lovely.

So yeah.  This is all probably a really elaborate ploy to convince myself that spending money on new slippers is a great way to celebrate my “Military Spouse Appreciation Day 2011.”    A nice gift of cushy foot comfort to tell myself, hey – great job!

Oh, to my Hawaiian pals – I mean slippers like the fluffy soft shoes, not slippahs – the Hawaiian term for flip flops.  But I’m sure you’ve gathered that by now.  Especially since there were photos involved earlier in this entry.

Well. “The View” is on, so that’s my cue to wrap this up and devote my full attention to my ladies for the next hour or so.  But I think I’ve made my point here, right?   If you’re going to be a hausfrau – be one with snazz!!  And today is a day to honor ME in all my housewife glory, keeping the homefront all tidy and cute for my hubs while he’s away at war.  The least that I deserve  is some nice fancy slippers, right?

osama bin laden is dead! GOD BLESS THE USA!!!

I’m (obviously) not a reporter, so this isn’t a news story.  This is just a way to bookmark my life, to post where I was in this amazing moment.

I’m on the phone with my mom.  She just said in my ear, “finally! Thank God. I’m so glad. Wow.”  <– and that’s been about the extent of our conversational skills.

This evening I was on my distance run with the pooch, we were about 30 minutes from home when my friend Ariana texted me, “have you seen the news?”  I got that pukey feeling.  My husband is deployed, and I know weird stuff has been happening in Afghan this past week.   I slow down to this weird jogging hobble so I can text her back, “no.”  I’m all nervous, not knowing what she’s about to tell me.  I start running again, and I hear the text message sound through my headphones.  I pull my running strap down my arm so I can see the screen of my iphone and I read Ariana’s text: “bin laden is dead.”

I just stopped right then and there.  I was stunned.

I finished my run, came home and put on the TV and turned on my lappy so I could catch up on all the hubbub.

HOW EXCITING!

Praise God, this is just so incredible.  I want to thank every service member, intelligence agent, every person who died on 9/11, and every person who’s lost a loved one either on 9/11 or the days since.  As a nation, so many people, in all walks of life, have been so dedicated to this cause.  And I am just so proud to have done my small part as a military spouse, and just as a citizen.  We did it, USA!!

A lot of my friends have been getting political on FB.  Dissecting Obama’s speech, being critical of the wars we’ve been in, speculating about retaliation.  I don’t care about those nuances right now.  I’m not letting anything tarnish this high.  We deserve this feeling of elation.  We deserve this victory, so I’m going to just revel in it and enjoy it.   I’ll come back down to the ground tomorrow.

I hope I never forget how this feels and where I was.

I LOVE THE USA, and I have never been so proud to be an American!!

stretching after my run, talking on the phone to mom with the news on mute

My mom just said, “I’d like to shake the hand of the guy who blew him away.”   Me too!  I’d love to tell him thanks.   I can’t wait to find out more details about the special ops mission that brought him down.  The vague details I’ve heard so far sound incredibly badass and awesome.   And for what it’s worth I loved Obama’s speech tonight when he broke the news.  And I found George W. Bush’s statement to be really eloquent.  From both sides, celebration is deserved!!

BIN LADEN IS DEAD!!!! HALLELUJAH!! 

whew, i’ve been so busy!

So I know I’ve been a total derelict about posting.  I’m a bad blogger.

I was so scared that when I started this I would come in all fast and hard, all excited with the newness of it and post, post, post… and then I would fall off, forget about the blog, etc.  I promise that is not what’s happening!  Promise!

I’ve just honestly been so busy.  Like, crazy busy.

My normal life includes:

  • working part-time as a babysitter, random/haphazard hours
  • lots of doctor’s appointments, which involves lots of commuting time and lots of sitting around waiting rooms
  • teaching Sunday school (volunteer)
  • participating in small groups associated with my church a few times a week
  • taking care of the pooch
Now, I’ve added some things to the mix:
  • I’ve started a business! Yes, I’m running my own business now.  I’m still in the “getting stated” phase
  • I’m teaching children’s church on Friday nights (volunteer)
  • I’ve started working out again, so I’m running almost everyday, doing yoga daily, group fitness classes
  • and just about every weekend has had some sort of event going on, it’s insane!
  • I’ve become a little more involved with my church’s women’s group, and that’s been a time commitment too =)
So a couple weeks ago was my church’s Easter Fun Fair.  It was on a Saturday, and my pal Whitni and I (wo)manned the facepainting table.  It was a really fun day and the kids had an amazing time.  Almost 100 new families came to Hope Chapel for the first time that day too, which is awesome!  The Fun Fair was a part of the Children’s Ministry, the group that also runs Children’s Church.  I’m now teaching First Grade on every Friday night.  It’s so cute and fun, and it’s been a really rewarding way to volunteer.  I love teaching the kids, doing crafts, just having a good time.  And well, it’s something that’s really important.  Educating the youth is a serious investment.   Praying with kids is so cute and sweet, I love their innocence and their honesty.  It’s so neat to hear them talk about God and how they understand religion.  Aww.

decorating at church for the easter fun fair (seems kinda reminiscent of hanging all those puffs at sasha's wedding, huh? someone must have gotten word that i'm a pro!!)

one of the many face paintings we did that day

rewarding myself for a job well done with a tasty shave ice!

The pooch keeps me so busy!  I mean, not really… but I make ways to stay busy with him.  He loves to run and exercise, so I’ve been trying to get him out more.  Health-wise, I’m not really feeling better at all – but I’ve learned that I feel the same if I stay in bed all day or if I’m on the go – so I’m choosing to be on the go!  A couple weeks ago I started running again.  Which is great for my spirit and attitude, and so great for the pooch.  He’s got lots of energy he needs to get out.

jayjers says: let's get out of bed and run and play!!

this is my awesome running outfit. it was the same day as the easter fun fair actually, hence the socks, haha!

the jogging jj is happy!

Speaking of pets – we have a new resident here!  Meet Doris, our Orb Weaver.  This pretty lady moved in several weeks ago, and she’s been spinning away, making an amazing web.  She helps to keep the flies out, hooray!  True, at some point millions of her babies are going to be crawling all over the place.  But uhh… we’ll see what happens.

doris the spider

Last weekend was Gabe’s second birthday (Whitni’s son).  John and Whitni had a sport’s themed party, and it was so very cute.   We were all asked to come dressed to the theme.  I think most people wore tees/jerseys of their favorite team.  Well.. we ain’t most people!  Carly, Chiffon, and I dressed up as track and field.  It kinda came out 70’s style, lol.  But we were cute!

track stars: me, chiffon, carly

the birthday boy and his awesome soccer cake, love!

So while we were at this birthday party, I discovered a new love in my life: BOUNCEHOUSE!  Have you been in one of those as an adult?  They are sooo fun.  I see them all the time, they’re super popular here in Hawaii.  People use them for pretty much any and every even involving kids.  So finally, I went in the one at the birthday party, and I was shocked at how much fun it is.  I didn’t want to get out!  I couldn’t stop bouncing!

i wish i had my own bouncehouse so bad. it's the most fun thing ever!!

Last weekend was also all of the Earth Day events out here.  On Sunday, after church, we went to the “I Love Kailua Town Party.”  Kailua is the town we live in (well, it’s right outside base so it’s the nearest town), and the “I Love Kailua Town Party” was basically a big block party with vendors and music, people selling art, all kinds of FOOD you could buy (it was like a “Taste of Kailua” kind of thing going on), and there was a whole village of bouncehouses (that they wouldn’t let adults in. what gives?).

here i am enjoying a shave ice at the kailua town party

(I’ve been pretty busy eating shave ice, lol).

Another thing keeping me busy: I started my own business.  Tie Dye by happyhippierose.  I’m selling tie dye!  So awesome, right?  I’m in the process of setting up a storenvy shop (it takes forever, you have to upload every piece of inventory one at a time – you can’t make albums like you can on FB), and I’m thinking about making an etsy store.  I have some opportunities to sell at some upcoming events, and so far I’ve been doing business from the FB page I started and through word of mouth. It’s so very exciting, and I’m so grateful to all of my friends and family who’ve been supporting me and getting the word out!

i make and sell totally rad shirts like this

i've been working so much on my craft, i feel like my skills keep getting better and better

The business has been taking a lot of time.  I really tip my hat to small business owners.  It’s crazy how much work goes into it.  I knew that there would be a lot involved, but stuff keeps coming up that I never even thought of.
The challenge of learning how to do everything has been great though.  It’s nice to workout my brain.  I’m proud of myself for how organized I’ve been, and how well I’ve been managing all of the money aspects.   And the creative aspect of it all has been so fulfilling.  I love making the tie dye and working on new techniques, new designs. I sell from an inventory of stuff I’ve just made, and I’m doing custom orders.  Pretty rad!
I have a secret line I’ve been working on too, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen done before.  You heard it here first: I’m ready to take tie dye to the next level!
I’m still getting my feet wet, getting organized and all that.  I don’t have business cards yet, I don’t have my own business website or anything.  But once I do, you know I’m going to post the info all over the place here.  For now, I’ll give y’all the address to my business FB page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tie-Dye-by-happyhippierose/159025650823206  Check out the photos of my inventory.  If anyone has any tie-dye related questions, you can email me: happyhippierose@gmail.com
……….
Whew!  I’ve been BUSY.  Staying busy is awesome though, it’s been making the time just fly by.  Deployment is starting to wind down, and my husband is going to be home so soon (a couple months from now).  Everyone always says that getting through a deployment is much easier if you stay busy and I really have to agree.  I miss my husband so much everyday,  but I’ve also had so much to keep me motivated, happy, excited, etc.
Having so much going on has been a great way to just keep my spirits up in general.  I’ve been investing my time in so many positive things, like volunteering at church, starting an awesome business where I get to be artistic and creative, working out and being so good to my body, etc., it’s just been generating a lot of positive energy in my life.   Everyday I’m spending my time doing things that make me smile – how lucky am I?

oh hay. how are you?

So when I first got the idea to start a blog I thought I’d post like every day or so and just kinda talk about what I did that day, what was going on, etc.  Like a journal that my loved ones could have access too, a more long-winded FB status.  (we all know I’m wordy. whew). I totally thought it would be like this lame thing that I just did so my family and friends could “follow along” with my life, and so I could have a sorta public self-dialogue about my comings and goings, my thoughts and feelings… just like a way to document my experiences for myself, but also share them with people I know (and love).

That sounds so egotistical, like my life is so fantastic that everybody cares.  But for a girl from the sticks of Central Flroida – living our here in Hawaii IS exciting and fancy, and all the cool places I get to see isn’t something to be taken for granted.  And when I’m old and gray I want to remember these days.

So those were my intentions.  And then it sorta grew on me overnight.  In a really good way!

But its funny how it is on my end.  Do y’all realize I’m just sitting in bed pecking away on my lappy and hoping someone is out there reading my ramblings?

me, right now, in my bed

i STILL don't know how to legit type. i hunt and peck, using two or three fingers. (and you'd be super surprised by how quick i can go with my lil pecking ways. i'm speedy!)

i'm enjoying a nice juice before bedtimes. (i flipped the image for y'all so the label was readable. i took these pics on my lappy's built in cam, bee tee dubs. photobooth ftw).

(betcha both my mom and mother-in-law, maybe others, just read that last photo caption and are totally raising a brow at “bee tee dubs” and “ftw,” going huh? what is she talking about?  bee tee dubs = B. T. W. = by the way;  ftw = “for the win,” its a slang for when something is good)

I mean, I don’t even own a camera right now, and I hardly know how to use wordpress.  (I used to own not one, but TWO, Olympus waterproof digi cams and both have utterly died on me.  Its so sad. And no I don’t have the receipts so I can’t mail them to Olympus – I ALREADY tried that! Trust me! So almost all my bloggin pics are iphone snapshots – unless I steal pics from someone with a better cam).

This blog o’mine has become way more than I expected it to, and quickly, and I’m so excited for that!

This blog… oy…

  • it’s my soapbox! (Which, if you’re a passionate person – having a soapbox is so relieving. It feels so good)
  • it’s become a way to relive group experiences (ex: the Arise and Shine Retreat, and Sasha’s wedding; mind you, from MY point of view)
  • its a way to shed awareness on issues that maybe people are afraid to talk about (I mean health-related stuff here, faith-based stuff too)
  • hopefully, its a way to help others live better: GREEN cleaning tips (more to come i promise), healthy recipes, craft ideas, HAPPINESS
  • it’s a witness to my faith – which is both scary and cool to be so bold about something i’ve never talked about publicly before
  • its documenting our current war experience, from the homefront perspective.  maybe one day kids in a history class will care?

Anyways, this blog has become so many things and I’m excited to embrace them and try and live up to them:

I just got home from the Women of Hope monthly Worship event, and I’ll be writing that up soon.  It was awesome and powerful for sure!  And in general, I want to talk about my faith and how I got to where I’m at, and why I’m happy to be here (really happy to be here).

I’ve had some brilliant beach days lately and I totally need to brag and talk about that.  And I’ve been doing some gentle yoga that is really lifting my spirits so much lately.  Oh I heart yoga.

I’m going to the North Shore tomorrow to hopefully try and catch this freakshow late season swell that we’re getting right now (I read it was 20+ at Pipe today, oooh eee!).

I want to teach people how to make friendship bracelets, and how to clean their houses in greener ways (did you know my household is papertowelless? amazing!).    I want to keep inventing weird recipes and posting about them. Healthy clean living is awesome.

In a few months when my husband comes home I want to document and share the amazing JOY that is homecoming.  I want to talk about the transitions we’ll face together: deployment to home life, and then shortly thereafter will be the transition from military life to civilian life.   And hopefully soon thereafter we’ll give the whole pregnancy thing a shot again.  I hope we will anyways.

Rose Right Now – A Personal Update

I’m doing great!  I love my life, and I really feel so overly blessed.  My husband loves me so much and he’s so good to me.  I live in a beautiful paradise.  I spend my days doing fun things, even on my stay at home days I’ve gotten back into my art and my crafting and I spend my time in all kinds of fun, joyful ways.  Its really awesome and I am really lucky.

My family, as always, is amazing (and that means my Duggan family too now!)  I have amazing friends – both here and far away.  I get letters and fun treats in the mail, as well as getting spoiled rotten all the time here (you ladies who buy my lunch, take care of me, send me care packs – oh I love you so much.  I am blessed and grateful!).

I feel like I live in a fairytale.  I hope my joy isn’t annoying, and that instead its actually contagious.  LIFE IS GOOD!

JJ (the pooch) is doing well.  He’s as cute and happy as ever!  He’s getting some shots on Monday, but he doesn’t know it yet.  Poor guy, but its good for him and I try hard to make sure he’s taken care of on all levels.  (he is the most spoiled dog in the universe).

my and the jayjers

Deployment: For right now I’m just trying to go one day at a time.

Matthew’s unit is getting extended by a short amount of time, but its just a couple weeks so its no big deal.

Matthew himself is doing well.  Sleep-deprived, but well.  He’s working hard and he’s keeping a great attitude about the whole thing.  He’s an awesome Marine and I respect him for how very hard he works.

I just… I sure do miss my husband.  I’m such a chin-up kinda gal I know I’m okay.  I just wrote a whole blog about the upside to deployments, and my views on how to cope.    But in practice, it gets hard some days.  Communication has been crappy – meaning, good times are when he can call every 3ish days.  The norm has been once a week, and there have been a couple stretches that got even crappier in the 11+ day zone.   (We haven’t Skyped since he was in Kurgystan, and I’m not expecting to see his face till homecoming; his ability to get online is sporadic and the connection they have is crappy).

But, the love letters keep a-coming, and when we do talk its mushy city…  I’m in awe of seeing our love grow and develop despite the distance and circumstance.  Our marriage is built on such a solid rock foundation because of making it through these deployments.  I love my husband so much! And I love our marriage!  Marriage is the best gift God has ever blessed me with.

Until he comes home, I just pray for his safety – and the safety of all the Marines with him.  Of all our deployed service members, actually.  (Shout out to my cousin who just got to Afghan himself.  Having fun yet, turd?)

Our 1st anniversary is in less than 3 weeks.  I just miss him.  I love him.  I want to live like newlyweds and just be together and be mushy.

And my feets need to get rubbed on!  Oh how I miss foot and backrubs.  And smooches. SMOOCHES!! gah. Good thing people hug each other at church: its the only human touch I experience other than doctors (and that’s not remotely pleasant).  And if you know how my husband and I are when we’re together – well you know we’re those annoying all-over-each-other hand-holdy types.

It’s one of those weird things you don’t think about until it happens to you… but it makes a big difference in quality of life.  Human contact is important.  Touch is a really powerful thing.  THANK GOD FOR POOCH SMOOCHES or else I’d have gone insane with untouchedness by now.

i just got some pooch smooches while i was trying to type - this is so gross, huh? i love it!

Health-wise I have good days and bad days.  I have good mornings and crummy afternoons, vice versa.  I’m up to the max dose of the gabapentin right now, and that seems to be helping.  I’m still using narcotics for pain control, which sucks – I’m ready to be drug free.  But I’m not there yet; on my “bad days” the pain is unbearable and even the drugs don’t help at all.  Moist heat seems to help, so does sleeping; I meditate, I pray.  Distraction helps a lot too: so I call up someone, watch some TV, play with the pooch, blog, etc.

(ya know… I used to be down to one prescription (synthroid) and vitamins each day, and now I take 38 pills most days. WOW.  Thirty-eight pills a day.   That’s no fun.  But they help me feel better, so I am grateful for them).

where we goin' to for breakfast?

I have an MRI coming up in about 10 days, and that should help us narrow down for sure what’s going on.  Most likely it really is “atypical trigeminal neuralgia” caused by the Porphyria making my facial nerve get all swoll, but they gotta rule out the brain tumor possibility.  So we shall see.  (Even though I’m confident my MRI will be just fine and healthy – the fact that I need one to make sure there ain’t no brain tumor, that’s well… creepy).

I don’t have as much pep in my step as I should, and that makes me sad.   I get tired easily and I have to take it easy.  Taking it easy is hard for me as I like to go, go, go.  The meds I’m on now aren’t conducive for babymaking, which is also opening up a lot of scary what-ifs.  Sigh.  Cross that bridge when we get to it, duh.

But I am OPTIMISTIC.  And I don’t feel anxiety over my health situation.  I have such awesome doctors, and I know I’m in good hands.  And well, I’m walking, talking, thinking, and still able to have so much fun and live my life.  I can’t run a marathon tomorrow.  But I can get out and go to the beach, I can wake up and do a nice yoga flow (which I’ve done EVERY day this week!!) – I can do things so many people can’t, and I don’t want to take that for granted.

Okay, so there I go being long-winded as usual when all I wanted to do was say “hi!” and mention that things had been good as of late.

So, hi!

Life is good.

Thank you all for reading… it’s my bedtime now, but there are many more fun things to come in the future.  Of my life and of this blog – I’m excited and happy about both.