Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Last night Declan was bringing me piles of books to read, and one of them was Happiness by Charles Shultz. Here's my version:

Happiness is iced coffee at 6:45am.
Happiness is spending days with my husband.
Happiness is reading books with my 2 year old.
Happiness is Declan on one side and Abigail on the other, for naptime.
Happiness is lunch with my best friend.
Happiness is driving a stick shift.
Happiness is the view from my parent's kitchen.
Happiness is the feeling I get when Steven is logged on to google chat.
Happiness is when Abigail smiles at me like I'm the most important thing in the world.
Happiness is having friends who will answer the phone at 2am.
Happiness is knowing that 15 minutes with Grandma makes her week.
Happiness is getting kisses from Declan every time I ask for them, even if its five times in a row.
Happiness is cuddling on the couch with my kids.
Happiness is talking to my siblings on facebook, when 3 of us are in the same house.
Happiness is watching Declan play with his golf clubs while he tries to remember which one is the driver.
Happiness is getting packages in the mail, when its not my birthday or Christmas.
Happiness is German beer.
Happiness is watching Declan and Abigail play together.

Happiness is knowing the right answer on Jeopardy before Steven.
Happiness is going to bed at night knowing I had a productive day because I spent it with my kids, even if the laundry isn't done.

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Peaceful Morning, Eventually

This morning did not start out peaceful. Declan was awake and loud in my bedroom by 6:45, clamoring for milk, wanting to cuddle (take up the whole bed) and babbling incessantly. After 15 minutes, I gave up. We all headed downstairs and the morning began. Breakfast, two loads of laundry, clean dishes, two changes of clothes and a large glass of iced coffee later, we are all playing outside. Declan alternates between the red car (see picture), his golf clubs, and an empty toilet paper roll. Abigail is content having a front row seat to Declan's antics and is busy blowing bubbles.

I am sipping some more iced coffee and catching up with the world. Its a gorgeous morning in the Shenandoah Valley. The sun is out, the front porch is still covered by shade, the birds are singing, and all is quiet. Except for the occasional rumbling of a truck passing by or the whining of a table saw in the basement.

I am cherishing this time, as I know colder weather and rain await me in Germany in just a few days. As I go home to my wonderful friends, I leave behind the unconditional love of my family. I return to my apartment, with my things and my bed and my (gasp!) husband, I leave the comfort of my childhood home and the spaciousness of a house. I adore the cobblestones and the atmosphere of downtown Wiesbaden, but I will miss the familiarity of my college town, and the ease of asking for directions at the corner store. All in all, it has been an amazing summer. I have discovered a lot about myself and who I want to be.

Here's to the rest of the year. Only four months left in 2010, but I intend to make them fabulous!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Lifestyle Changes: Week 1

I've decided that my life is not how I want it to be. Therefore I have made a list of changes and have decided to implement them one at a time. This week's change was a daily devotional. I have decided that if I have time to watch TV or be on Facebook, I have time to give 15 minutes a day to God. Granted, I frequently multi-task during those 15 minutes and read my daily devotional while feeding Abigail or watching Declan play with his trains. But I don't think God minds. He understands that I am a mother 24/7. In fact, I do not think He expects any less of me.

This morning in church, Pastor Dave mentioned giving God credit for all we have. He spoke of positive things, our money, our relationships, our house; but I thought of the challenges that God brings us to, and through. I am grateful for the things I have learned through the hard times, particularly through these deployments. I have learned to live on my own, to raise my children on my own, to rely on family and friends when I need help, and probably, one of the most important things, to ASK for help! I have learned that I can survive this army lifestyle. I have been fortunate to spend most of these separations talking to my husband online. We have grown stronger as a couple despite the distance between us. I thank God for the good things He has brought me and the challenges He has brought me through. I strive to keep up these daily devotionals, and to bring them into my family's daily routine.