Love, Marriage

Goin’ Courtin’

Well, today is the eve of my Valentine anniversary.  It’s been 17 whole years.  There have been days that have flown by and days when I felt every second of those years and then some.  In honor of marriage and all things love I wanted to share my little love story with you all.   Hearing about others courtin’ days brings me back a bit of my own and I hope you find yourself with a little love light burning. (I’m sappy and I make no apologies)

Well, to be fair it was the modern age that brought us together.  We met online.  I know, I know, if I was my kid I would have smacked the tar out of me too. But I was a college student at the time and somewhat out of the parental jurisdiction. So here I was dating an older man and a terrible commitment-phobe too.  Well, he persisted in his pursuit of me and I think he eventually wore me down.  Romantic, right?

Through our dating years months I was forever wavering between living the single life and being free or actually letting someone have my heart.  Both were equally scary to me.  Both had risks and chances to take. But then there was this man.  A man who let me decide when I was ready.  A man that was gracious to me and never pressured me.  I felt safe and cared for when he was around. I am happy to say that I took a chance on him.  I tried to tell him what he was getting upfront with me but he just wouldn’t listen.  I warned him.

Our first meeting was a couple of days after our first conversation.  He drove 2 hours to meet me IN HIS OWN CAR.  Very important detail for college students.  Anyhow, I thought he was nice but a major hick.  He was and still is and I love him so much for always being exactly himself.  At this time in my life I was looking to the bigger brighter things that the world held and I did not like anything that reminded me of the small country town that I called home.  I was going to reach those stars by golly!

So off we went on our first date.  Here’s a little tip.  Don’t go watch the saddest prison drama ever written that is a FULL 3 HOURS LONG on your first date.  It’s pretty awkward. But we made it through.  Thank goodness theaters are dark and I can sniffle pretty quietly.  You try invisible crying in front of a stranger for 3 FULL HOURS!  As you can see, blogging isn’t my only skill set 😉

So then we were off muddling though dating one awkward moment after another.  In the midst of that he taught me how to drive on the freeway and I taught him that girls are a lot of upkeep.  Basically.

After about 6 months of this nonsense we got engaged and then only 1 year and 2 weeks from the day we met we said I do.  It was awesome! And I ended up in the ER.  Loss of fluids.  Don’t ask. But when I came to I saw my new groom had never left my side.  He hauled his barfing bride in and slept by her with the possessive nature of a new groom.

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Us in our natural habitat

We ended up moving out of Tacoma and back to my hometown to attend Community College.  So much for city lights!  I lasted less than 1 year as a city slicker.  I just didn’t have it in me.  After our first 8 months as husband and wife we had a new joy to look forward to.  Our son was born the following year.

As the years rolled on and the jobs and houses changed we added two daughters to our family.  Now we have  a farm and animals that extend our fur baby tribe even further. As I look back through the years I can honestly say there were times I didn’t know how we would make it.  Physically, financially and even as a married couple.  Things just get tough sometimes.  But through it all God has been good to us.  Mistakes have been made and heartaches have happened and still God makes room for so much joy and blessing.  Matthew, you are one of the greatest blessings that God has ever given this world.  I love you.

Love, Marriage, Random, Things I find funny

True Love Wears Granny Socks

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This photo was taken at the airport.  My hubby had just finished his 2 weeks of R&R and was headed back to Iraq.  My husband and I were saying good-bye for another loooong six months.

Let’s be honest here.  Marriage is hard.  It’s not for the faint of heart.  We believe these happily ever after fairly tales and that is such a huge set up.  After that honeymoon phase it gets real.  Welcome to reality.

My husband and I are polar opposites.  He is more of a math/tech guy I am a craft/artsy gal. I love simple things but I want pretty things too.  He could care less what anything looked like- he is color blind so that kinda makes lots of things look the same.  I love to read and write and decorate and craft and take classes and learn new things and call people on the phone and meet old friends…and…the list goes on…  He likes to go to work and help people and occasionally sight see. True, those three things actually take up more time than all my ANDS put together but we couldn’t be more different.

I realized as we sat there waiting for the plane that both of us had socks and sandals on. How dorky! I also realized that neither one of us cared.  Like, not at all. We barely noticed that there were other passengers waiting to board.  Nothing else really mattered.  We had complete disregard for anything else.  We were focused on the one thing we both were dreading. Saying Goodbye.

As I stared at our sandaled and socked feet I realized that I had come to a point where my love for my husband had completely leaped over and above anything else.  I cared not for any stares pointed in our direction.  I wore this skirt because my husband bought it for me.  (I actually didn’t even really like it and it was always too big on me and it garnered way too much attention from TSA)  All that mattered was spending those last few moments with the man I loved.

I had to laugh!  Ordinarily I would have chosen a much cuter outfit to say good bye in and planned the hair accordingly.  The problem was, none of that mattered enough that day.  What mattered was that we simply wanted to hold onto each other a bit longer. So what if we looked a bit geriatric in the wardrobe department.

I snapped this picture to remind myself that love truly is blind. I can wear granny socks with sandals (and my hubby too) without even noticing. I’ve got bigger things on my mind! True love is forgetting how things appear and allowing yourself to be consumed with another person’s need.  I love this man, granny socks and all!

I can’t say we have had any “perfect” days in our marriage.  Since the granny sock episode we have had many trials.  We endured not only the deployment but years of manic work hours after the homecoming. Oddly enough, the hardest part about deployments isn’t the separation. (although that is excruciatingly tough at times)  The hardest part is learning to live together again when you both have become completely different people.  It’s like  you marry a new person but you already have this huge history with them.  Weird, I know.

Sometimes I get angry at Iraq for what it stole from us.  We were at the top of our marriage game right before the official announcement came.  Then we were tossed into the whirlwind of it all and bought a new house to boot.  I had to choke down the panic every day.  Push down the nausea like riding a wave until I could safely smile into the three little faces looking up at me.  They needed me – and I needed them. We were bound together in this strange little boat that we had to sail.  People could watch us float along and wave but nobody really understood the journey because they weren’t in the boat.

I get angry at how much that year stole from us.  But I am truly learning to see the good.  Like how much stronger we are now because of that year.  My kids are incredible. They are so much more stable than I was at their ages.  If my husband had to go again they wouldn’t waste a moment whining.  I remember the first training my husband had to go to after deployment.  The kids were going crazy running around the house and gathering items.  They insisted that we had to go to the store and pick up snacks and mail a care package to daddy.  It was a 2 week training and I had to explain that 2 weeks is MUCH shorter than a year! They didn’t hesitate, they were ready for action!

I have found that I can endure.  I can fight. I can hope for a better tomorrow.  I can love this new man beside me and I can make peace with the person I have become.  I wish I could say that I walked away from the experience a perfect woman but sadly that did not happen.  Instead I gained life skills and I discovered people who were very supportive to our service members.  I also found out that many could not understand my position so they were not comfortable talking about it.  I had to be OK with that and know that they just weren’t going to be on my support list.  I found that there was an “anti-support group” as well and I learned to avoid anyone who had a negative influence. I found that I could help others even in the midst of my trial because I had a story to share and I had time to lend an ear.  I found that my God is faithful.  When I woke up, each day I would put my husband’s safety in His hands.  It was like the panic and anxiety that rolled through my chest evaporated as I spoke these simple words “Today, I’m going to trust you God”.

 

Life, Love, Marriage, Things I find funny

The hubs

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The man who stole my heart and who now brings me chocolate

I thought was only fair that I include a post on the man of my dreams after talking about my kiddos. Ok, so this guy was really-kinda NOT going to be the man I married.  I was pretty intent on that. Yup, I was positive.  No small town boy for me!  I was going to find the cultured and well read man that would tell witty jokes and take me to the opera and art galleries.

And then the internet happened.  We ended up chatting online and the next thing I knew we had a face to face.  Mind you, this was when instant messaging was BRAND NEW.  I actually didn’t know how to use it and my friend was giving me my first tutorial when I met the man pictured above.  Ironic, isn’t it? I’ll just agree with myself right here and say yes, it surely is.

So, one date lead to another and soon I was sporting a diamond on my left hand.  I remember my college ceramics class discussing the horrors of online dating.  I innocently went about my work. Then I very quietly chimed in…”That’s actually how I met my boyfriend”.  They all stared at me with terrified/repulsed/indignant/ I don’t know what all stares.  Awkward.  Finally one asked, “So… how’s that going for you?” I held up my 1/3 carat round cut diamond for them to see.  “Um, pretty good actually!” *crickets*

That was our humble beginning and just a year and two weeks later we were married. It has been a ride people.  We have stuck it out for sixteen years now and I think I can safely  say we are gonna make it!

Anyway, back to the man at hand.  I think it is so funny that the idea of  perfection I had in my mind was the complete opposite of the man I married. What I got instead was way better.  Kind, humble, generous, gentle, long suffering, patient, hard working, loving… I could toss around adjectives all day and never cover them all.

What I thought I wanted was really just who I thought I should be attracted to.  Who I really am is a simple country girl.  God knew the man for me would match those things and that I would complement him.  I am proud to be a working man’s wife.  I am thankful for the food and shelter that he provides for us.

At the end of the day I may not have much in the bank account but I can call myself rich.  I may never get a dozen long stemmed roses delivered to my door but I can count on a chocolate bar finding it’s way onto my bedside table every now and then.

Health, Kids, Life, Marriage

Investing in myself

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Today is Monday.  Most of the working world treats this day as one big UGH.  I happen to have Mondays off so I’m in errand mode most of the day. I have to start off with a little pampering first though.

I decided a while back to do some investing in myself.  This was long overdue.  LOOOONG overdue!  Let me tell you a little story…

My baby brother (ok, he’s 30) just graduated from the lineman program.  BIG DEAL!! Like, REALLY big deal.  This guy struggled through school and it was touch and go that final year of high school.  To celebrate the accomplishment there was a shindig- Yay! My dear sweet hubs decided that there was no room in the budget for this big sis to attend 😦 So I sold the boat.  He actually sold it but i convinced him as we:

A) NEVER use it

B)it needed repairs and

C) I was NOT going to miss the shindig!

Off I went on my merry way.  Hubs suggested I take the kiddos. (he had to stay home and tend the animals)  I suggested they would be more help on the farm than screaming in a car for 7 hours only to return in a day for another 7 hours….so they stayed.

Upon my return I called a friend and as my family walked in the door I was chatting away to a girl having a rough time.  I was in the middle of the convo and waved hello.  The fam was not happy.  In fact, they were all completely mad at me.  I had got their goat without even knowing it.  I had dared to return and not bring them presents or give them every ounce of my attention.

I.WAS.FLOORED.  Clearly, we needed a change here.  When did I change from an individual to the chief gopher girl?  It was astonishing how upset everyone was.  I simply had a call.  It happens.  Apparently not to mothers and wives though.  Somewhere there is an unwritten rule that we are not allowed.  I missed that.

So, I decided that I am going to have to  work a little less around the house -DELEGATE! I will make a point to take care of important things first and to make sure my name is at the top of that list. I vow to not let myself down.  I want more out of life.  My kids will thank me later.  My husband will too.  He will have a happier wife for it.

At this very moment I have my head wrapped turban style as I soak in a DIY hair mask. I figured I toss on a face mask while I was at it.  Yes, its a small thing but it’s a start.  I think I’ll book a massage and check out the schedule for the local fitness group.

Oh, and my amazon packages should be arriving today….

Life, Love, Marriage

I’m going with NO today

Home sick today… not sure what’s up. Sore tummy, dizzy, yuck! Anyway, got the hubs to take kids to school so I could get dressed and sit in quiet for a minute to decide if I really had enough oomph for school today.  Um, no.  That didn’t happen.

I get a call from hubs about an hour after he drops kids off. Do I want to watch a 2 year old for a few hours? For his co-worker?

Um, let me think about it….. at home feeling crummy, pawned my own kids off so I could reserve a bit of sanity, skipped work so I could recoup….that’s gonna be a no!

I love my husband…

I love my husband…

I love my husband???

Oh, yes, I love my husband…

UGH!

Get Happy!, Health, Life, Love, Marriage

Lingering PTSD and your sanity

IMG_8677Hey there! I am well aware that this title is a bit foreboding but please don’t let that color me scary.  I am a milspouse and proud of it.  I have actually “graduated” as my hubby has since retired from the military. Adios Uncle Sam!!! So- you may think it’s over.  It’s done! No wars or deployments for this all American couple! From the practical side of things they are.  From the relationship side? Not so much…

First step is knowing the signs and sometimes that isn’t all that obvious.  I have a sweet tempered and relaxed attitude type hubby.  If he is strangely tense or irritable- something is up.

He is never one to be hostile but it can get lonely as he withdraws into his own headspace.  Kid dealing with a life struggle?  Hubby can’t help.  Overwhelmed with caring for home/work/kids/ect? Hubby can’t help.  Having an emotionally over the top day because your hangry and Aunt Flow is banging at the door-or just had a bad day? Hubby can’t help.  That’s what PTSD looks like at my house.  No angry outlashes but I feel as if I have lost my friend.  This is the heartbreak.  These things don’t stay constant. Thankfully!

We have good and bad days.  Here are my top tips to keep more good days happening:

  1. Pray daily for your spouse and your relationship *Daily* yes, daily! This is so important because all it takes is one harsh word and Mr. Strong and Silent is all clamped up again. He has to be able to trust you.  Show it with your words.
  2. Get out! Do your hair! Be gorgeous! Read a book! Get some me time.  Dealing with life gets hairy and you need to step away now and then.  I did not follow this advice and I fell into burn out.  Oh, wicked burnout- it’s ugly y’all!
  3. Confide in someone -ANYONE.  Well, not just anyone. Someone you trust.  Even someone who has no idea what you are facing will do.  You just need a good ear so you can release any built up frustrations safely.  *please* do not “DUMP” on your friends- use good judgement here. You want them to listen to you next time too so keep your friends happy and be an ear for them when they need it too 🙂
  4. Look for people who “get it”.  This might be joining a FB page or making contact with another milspouse.  I have only a handful of wives that I know well so I went online and listened to webinars.  Whatever you need to connect and feel understood. You aren’t alone.
  5. Be proactive about your marriage and your home.  Plan fun activities for your children.  Plan date nights.  Be the cruise ship recreational director! Your spouse may need the nudge to get out and do.  You may be exhausted already but getting a jolt of “something new” may just unlock a door or two.  You may end up with many happy surprises along the way.
  6. Seek wise counsel when needed.  Not your favorite Auntie who hates all men or your high school girlfriend three times divorced.  I am forever thankful for the mentors in my life.  Their lives have inspired me to live better and kinder.
  7. Finally, don’t be afraid to start over.  Sometimes we truly need a restart.  If you are really struggling-get that restart.  Get “remarried”, say those vows again –  they will have an even deeper meaning now than ever before.  You can’t avoid change so embrace it.  Commit yourself to marry the man that came home to you- not the memory of the man you remember. Best wishes and big love, Veronica