Thursday, November 7, 2013

#2 Daddy Gone and Back Again

We have put a huge amount of thought into deployments over the years, especially for our little miss Claire.   She has been known to cry for hours over missing Daddy and has a hard time understanding time; 19 more days, no, surly if I cry harder he will come home now.  Just a year ago (when she was 6) she refused to talk to him on the phone or Skype.  So glad she grew out of that and loves to talk to Daddy on the iPad now, such a little Daddy's girl. 

I think the "count down" has been the one thing that has helped the most.  Nate and the girls made a paper chain before the last few deployments and the girls took turns ripping one off each evening at dinner.

My friend Krystal's hubby is active duty Air Force and on his last deployment they got this super cool "flat Daddy."  The minuet I saw it I was googling how we could get one.  The girls love it!  I did have to strategically place it in our house though.  If you put flat Daddy in a spot a person could stand, it WILL scare the crap out of you passing it at a glance.  It took a while for our dogs to adjust to flat daddy.  Olive kept growling at it and looking at me like, don't you see that mom?!

Makenna was so excited to bring flat Daddy to show and tell at preschool!  When I asked her what she told her class about it she exclaimed "This is my flat Daddy and it's my Daddy because he is in Afghanistan.  He is helping people and keep them safe and keeping us safe because there are bad guys with guns that shoot fire!" Oh dear, traumatized four year olds at the no gun christian school. Not sure where the guns of fire came from.

They take turns sitting by flat daddy at dinner.

We have a family tradition that when you are two and Daddy goes away you get a build-a-bear.  They have sound boxes inside with messages from Daddy.  This is a pic from my phone of Alice getting her Puppy, Cupcake.  Makenna and Claire bring theirs to "take baths" and get free ribbons.  It's something special we can do as a family that is very low key, just swing by the mall.  We have decided that the big  exciting trips before deployment are not worth the stress.  Nate and I are both trying to get everything together and emotional already.  Trips are almost always a ticking time bomb.  We try to keep life as normal as possible.

We taped Nate reading books and when he is gone I'll play them back on the TV.  It's also really fun to see how they have grown.  They love watching the one with baby Alice.  This year I went to the library books and found all Daddy books.  Our favorite was Hero Dad.

Once Nate sent the girls a prerecorded book, My Little Princess with his voice reading every page and their names at the end.  It's very sweet and definitely on its last leg being one of the great treasures around here.  The book is nice because they can get it out any time and hear his voice.  

Face time is great when it's available. 

Coming home from Kyrgyzstan this October Nate got stuck in the fog after a 13 hour flight and could't land, a very long wait.

"Where is my Daddy?" 

He landed with just a few minuets of fuel left before they would have to divert to another airport or base.

And more waiting...

This is the first thing we saw.


Makenna got to go up with the customs officer, very special. 

Coming home is actually harder then leaving for a lot of reasons.  It's a big adjustment for Nate taking off the soldier hat and getting back into exceedingly patient Daddy mode.  I have been doing everything on my own for months and it's hard to delegate responsibilities.  We are both pretty tired physically and emotionally over not really knowing when he is coming home.  I have to cancel life because he might come home and then he doesn't day after day.  Oh and day is night oversees so Nate can't sleep for more then a few hours for days.

Not to complain, this was THE BEST home coming we have ever had! It helps that the girls are getting older.  I had super helper friends that volunteered one a week to came and mowed and did miscellanious jobs around the house, I felt so cared for.  Also, Nate and I had lots of grace for each other this time around.  Often when he comes home I will be so desperate for help and space that it's all I can do not to drop the kids with him and run. I was better at taking care of myself while her was gone by going to the gym, making fun cakes and taking my enormous puppy to obedience school. When Nate got home I felt rested and was able to let him rest.  Everything he helped with was a blessing because I didn't expect it.

We have learned to take it easy when Nate gets home as well.  We see our family and have a big party with our friends to celebrate and thank them for their wonderful support, I could't do it without them!

So good to be together again.

Monday, November 4, 2013

#1 Saying I'm sorry, then how can I help?

Okay my peeps, I really don't want to miss out on the blog this year.  I'm going to give it my best effort.  How about 21 posts for Down Syndrome Awareness AKA Trisomy 21 (not consecutive days or during Down Syndrome month)?  We do the best we can, right. 

#1 Saying I'm sorry, then how can I help?

 Look how big these beautiful girls are, wow! Makenna 4, Alice 2, Claire 7

My favorite thing is when they play together!  It fills this Mama's heart like nothing else to hear "I'm squishing up my baby bumble bee..." belted out on the other end of the house. "...Oh, Claire ate it! Claire, we don't eat bugs, yuck! Bring home your baby bumble bee..."

Play, play, play, play, crash is usually how it goes.  Nothing quite like calming down three hysterical little girl. It kind of makes you want to laugh and cry at the same time.  Laugh because it's so ridiculous that was are in full blown hysterics over an imaginary bumble bee being eaten and cry, I don't know why, hormones maybe?  Groups of three or more crying girls are like a black hole of tears.  

Claire loves anything with music.  Her favorite TV show is PBS's Daniel Tiger.  It's an updated Mr. Roger's Neighborhood.  Every episode has a little song that teaches a lesson.  I LOVE THEM. Yes, love, we sing them all the time.  "Stop and listen to stay safe," magical I tell you, just magical.  Alice sings a mean "When you have to go potty stop and go right away! Flush and wash and be on your way." Makenna uses "thank you for everything you doooooo, thank you." "Saying I'm sorry, then how can I help?" has been so helpful for Claire on those ate Makenna's imaginary bumble bee kind of days.

Because I to need to learn preschool lessons I've been thinking of "saying I'm sorry, then how can I help" a lot lately. What a great habit to get into!  This should probably become mandatory in my apologies to my ever forgiving husband Nate.  I will admit there have been some less then genuine sorries over the years.  Nate is so good at apologizing.  I need a little more Daniel Tiger in my life.

And when you are feeling sad hanging out with Olive (our 70 lb. 6 month old puppy) in her cone of shame will always put life back into perspective.  It's not that bad, poor Olive.

P.S. Don't forget to this is about answering questions and spreading awareness so ask questions if you want to here about anything, 20 installments left.  Thank you for your support.  Every smily face is appreciated.