9.24.2009

Letter from a Military wife (title is link)


Normally I would have cried while reading this. Now, having the very distinct possibility of this being me in the near future, I started to cry before I even got through the first two sentences.

"Published June 11, 2009 03:02 pm -

Letter from a military wife

By Kathy Laffitte

“Honey, I’m deploying.” He states the words, slowly, quietly, waiting for the reaction. Will a book be thrown? Will there be door slamming. Will there be deafening silence? He waits … patiently … ready to duck. With a long, drawn-out sigh, heart pounding, the military wife’s questions come, “Where? When? How long?”

These separations never get easier, especially not the “missing him part,” but military wives learn to cope just like most of us learn to cope in stressful situations; in our own crazy way. The other option, falling apart, just doesn’t work too well.

New athletic prowess is discovered. We find ourselves running around neighborhoods, through fields, over hill and dale (well, if we had a hill and dale), trying to expend nervous energy from all the anxiety. Our knees begin to show signs of wear from all the time spent kneeling in prayer. And we have a strange fascination with closets, where we find ourselves at the end of the day, sitting or standing, trying to take in the scent left hanging on our husband’s clothes.

We also develop strong attachments to objects that ordinarily would make us shudder, like our husband’s old sweaty baseball cap. The one thing all military wives excel in is hope; hope that our husbands’ deployments will be “just another day at the office,” only with sand.

During the ensuing months, “busy” is the buzzword. If you are busy, you don’t have to think about those two guys that sometimes come to people’s doors bringing news no one wants to hear. You learn to play the guitar, speak Spanish, and visit long-lost relatives. You fold strange origami shapes or cut pictures out of magazines for no apparent reason.

Your cupboards get that organized Martha Stewart flair. If all the cans are placed in alphabetical order, from small to large, left to right, then surely the war will go OK.

Next comes the sloppy stage, who cares if the dishes get washed, there has to be some advantage to hubby being gone. You are often forgetful. You find yourself looking for the hairbrush in the laundry room, or the garage, because you know it is not in the pantry, that’s all organized.

New wardrobes are created; ugly flannel pajamas find new life, as you wear them repeatedly to watch old, black-and-white, romantic movies, three times in a row. There is always a new diet. You eat ravioli for breakfast, and cereal for dinner, just ’cause you can.

Children are an enormous help through this time. Loving military daughters make special homemade calendars, so mom can have the joy counting off the days until her man returns.

Grandma’s old adage “Don’t wish your life away,” slightly niggles at the back of our brains, as we gleefully cross off another day. It is important to note, that we cross off our days rather than tear them off, as we may have to recycle them for another deployment.

Our older sons and daughters impress us with their new ability to work on garage doors that won’t come down, find new ways into locked houses, or tackle lawns that grow at twice the rate than they normally would when dad is at home. Younger children delight us when they learn to go with the flow, by listening to dad read bedtime stories on tape, or learn to say “daddy” to the man in the picture frame that mommy keeps kissing.

Military wives teach everyone in the household to be on standby when the phone rings. Phone calls are tantamount to high hurdle Olympic events.

When the phone rings in a military household, leaps across tall buildings (or mounds of laundry) are not uncommon. You learn how to sidestep the dog, balance the plate in your hand, and keep the opened loaf of bread, and jar of peanut butter from falling to the floor, as you realize the kids have immersed themselves in your sloppy stage, to answer the phone for a telemarketer, whom you mistakenly thought was your husband.

When hubby does finally call, you’ve usually just entered the shower and lathered up your hair for a shampooing, or it is two in the morning, and you are barely coherent, when you answer the phone. But your heart still does a double take, when you hear his voice on the other end of the line, just like when you first met and fell in love.

You even learn to put up with the military operator who cuts into the conversation to say your call must end, just when you began an important story, and you always, always, end your calls with “I miss you, I love you,” while you wait for him to hang up the phone, because you don’t want to first.

You gently place the receiver back in the phone’s cradle, and you know without a shadow of a doubt that each day is a gift from God, not to be wasted.

One of the hardest things for a military wife to accept in every deployment is that her spouse has a second commitment — an undeniable love and commitment to his country. And while we may be jealous of this commitment at times, we are so very, very proud of him for answering our country’s call.

After the business, the sloppiness, the nights sitting in the closet, and the races to the phone, we do realize that our biggest asset is hope. Hope that mankind will someday learn to live with our differences, or maybe even learn to celebrate them. Hope that our country will someday be at peace again, and hope, and patient waiting, for our husband to call out, “honey I’m home,” and this time really mean it. Until then, I’m waiting, watching, praying, and hoping. Please join me.

Kathy Laffitte is a history teacher at Valwood School. She has been married to Greg Laffitte, who is in Iraq and regularly writes this column, for 27 years. She may be reached at klaffitte@valwood.org."


Support our troops everyone. Not just the deployed men and women either but the people stationed all over the US, the ones all over the world, the ones in training right now. All of them because what they are doing is sacrificing. They are sacrificing their time, energy, comfort, and yes their lives just so we can have a semblance of normalcy in our ever-bogged down, stressful, overwhelmingly busy lives. They keep us safe and free so even if you don't agree with the war or anything else going on in this country, support and RESPECT our troops. Each and every one of them.

9.16.2009

Mystery Solved!! I think....

So there was this guy in Cody's flight at BMT named Nix aka Georgia Peach. He has a tattoo. It looks like this.



Cody had no idea why he has this particular design or what is was for or anything. While in San Antonio, we started to see a lot of this logo. No words or anything, just the deer. We saw it on trucks, random signs, etc. When I got into Wichita Falls I noticed it everywhere too. I see it at least 5 times a day on all the Fords and Dodges that EVERYONE and their mother seem to drive out here. Today I got fed up with not knowing what it was so I googled "deer logo" and it popped up. Its the Browning logo. What is Browning? I am pretty sure its a gun or guns. Browning is the company/brand. Ha if my brothers or dad see this and that is what it is, they'll be shaking their heads that I'm this clueless. Either way, mystery solved!!

Shout out time!!

video

As most of those who know us well know, we are extremely close to my sister's family. We were always over there hanging out or babysitting and just love being there. It really is like a second home. We love all of our nieces and nephews so much but the ones who were the saddest when Cody left were the White kids. Cody and I made a quick little video yesterday for them kiddies. Here it is!!

9.15.2009

Here we go again!

We'll kick this post off with a photo. Why? Because I have tons of them. Mr. Airman First Class and I at the Community Center last weekend.



Hopefully this will be the last semi-over due large update post and I can return to my blogger roots. Hopefully.

Well the day, or rather evening, that I got back from San Antonio I started throwing things into boxes and suit cases but was so exhausted I quit and just went to bed. I woke up early, continued to pack, picked Kimmy up from the airport (she flew to AZ so she could drive with me to TX), finished packing, then we gassed up, prayed, and drove.


DROVE DROVE DROVE DROVE DROVE
DROVE DROVE DROVE DROVE DROVE
DROVE DROVE DROVE DROVE DROVE
DROVE DROVE DROVE DROVE DROVE
DROVE DROVE DROVE DROVE DROVE


It was lots of fun. It was lots of stress. It was pretty awful towards the end. We did have a pretty huge (ginormous) scare when just a little while after the New Mexico border, we encountered not one, but TWO tornadoes. We were freaking terrified I'm not going to lie. We had been watching this monumental storm building up for at least three hours then out of nowhere we see these two black clouds touch the ground and start spinning. Ha Ha, um... they weren't clouds. We hit this strip of the highway where cops had everyone pulled over. I about peed my pantalones. I can laugh at it now but man oh man I was a mess. Kimmy got some pictures but she is not here at the moment. I will have to get those posted. It was a super long drive and we stopped twice to try to get some sleep. I slept for maybe an hour total. I was so exhausted by the end of that drive. We didn't sleep when we got into Wichita Falls though. We got a shower and started apartment hunting. We were praying like crazy that we would get approved for this certain one because it was the nicest, cheapest, and best one suited for us. That was nerve racking but we got it in the end and moved all our stuff in before freshening up and heading to base to see our Airmen!! It was fantastic to see Cody again. We just talked for hours then he had to head in for curfew. The next few days were spent unpacking and seeing Cody as much as possible.

Now here is the rundown on Tech School. It's going really good so far. Cody aces all four quizzes every night and did his first test with no issue but that's not a surprise at all. He wasn't supposed to start classes until the 16th but started early. He did get stuck on swing shift though so that's a bummer. On Mondays and Fridays I get to see him from about 11 am to 4 pm and on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I get to see him just for 2 hours because those are his PT (workout) days and he has class Monday through Friday from 5:30 to 1:30 am. Weekends will be different because he won't be stuck on any details and he won't have class so I get him pretty much all day and up until tonight his curfew on weekends had been 10 pm. There are 3 phases in Tech School. Cody phased up tonight so he is now Phase two. Phase 1 he had to wear his ABU's all day and had an early curfew and just not a whole lot of respect. Phase 2 is where he can leave base with me, start driving, wear civilian clothes when not on duty and his curfew for weekends goes to midnight. Everything is a little different for him since he is night shift. Phase 3 is when he can stay the weekends with me and that starts sometime during the first week in October.

I've looked for babysitting stuff but there isn't much at all in the way of that. I am applying to a few places on Base but we'll see. I am also going to start donating plasma this week. That should bring in a good amount of extra cash every week. I figured, "Hey I don't mind getting stuck with needles so I may as well get paid for it right?" There is church on base but everything with the Military is non-denominational so there are just two standard chapels and the different churches meet there when its their turn. Its odd but good.

Here are a myriad of pictures. Enjoy!

Beautiful sunrise coming into Texas


Its so weird to see nothing but flatlands all the way to the horizon.


More nothingness.


Driving off base the other day there was a gorgeous sunset (nothing comparable to AZ of course)


Attempt number two at catching it. FAIL.FAIL.FAIL.


Cody's angry face. Ha ha he hates pictures.


His even skinner chicken legs. Cute right? :)


His paparazzi block


Sideways glance. I cannot get over how physically different he is. So flippin skinny!!


Clueless? Nah, he's Mr. ASVAB 99.


The last 3 days have been sunless. I.LOVE.IT. The clouds are thick, low, and fast. Black and gray are the skies colors of choice and the rain has been completely and totally endless. LOVE! This picture doesn't even capture it.


More of the same.


Ha he is actually really irritated in this picture. Probably moreso when he sees that I posted it.


The North Texas State Hospital resides just a mile down the road from me. Ha ha scary!!



Yay for genuine smiles!! *sarcasm*


Cody's BCG's aka birth control glasses. These are standard issue for PT and other hardcore training for BMT. Sexy much? Also present is Cody's downs syndrome face. He enjoys making that one.


These are his beautiful gas mask inserts aka frog man glasses.


Standard car photo.


Jenga in the library. Ha ha, the things we did to stay occupied on base. This is me demonstrating my master skills. Cody kept begging me to just let him give up because he was scared of it crashing down.


My new brown hair! Cody picked the color. My blonde was really grown out so it was time to give it up until we can afford extras like pretty hair. Ignore Cody's creepy face.





Here we go! A good smile at last! It was freezing and rainy so we had to pull out our hoodies. We love our hoodies.


So my battery died like 3 or 4 days ago. AWFUL. Every time we went to drive we'd have to hook up to Kimmy's car and jump start it. The very first time though, we jumped it and went driving for about an hour to try to recharge it. Just wanted to try everything before going in for a new one. We were on a main road and I see this flash of color in the pouring rain. I follow the road and this is what we see. I threw up a little in my mouth. EWIE.


Last but not least, finally a Steele Family 2009 photo. This is from like 3 weeks after my March surgery. Cody and I both look so different now. Crazy!!

9.11.2009

Major Catch Up Time!!

NOTE: Really Really Long!!

Alright alright, its time to have a fully loaded blog post. Hopefully Blogger photo uploader is having a good day today cause I got tons!!

My post-op went well and I was told to just take it easy, keep stress minimal, and not to work out until I got back from Texas. No biggie because I wouldn't have been able to find the time to work out. I did come down with a cold which was major bummin' but I was bound and determined to be okay to go to BMT Grad.

We had a family get together to celebrate the August birthdays which was crazy and loud and fun and packed full of kiddies (best thing ever) just like always. Good desserts, swimming, and conversation dominate the Organ Family get togethers. After the party I did some hanging out with friends.

Dinner with two of my all time favorite people in the world. Spencer & Erin!


Shaycee Marie bein her sassy self


Parker struttin (since he can now)


3 out of 4 of my crazy brothers bombing the kiddies in the pool


Cute cousins Shay & Aiden!



Aaron holding the newest addition Mr. Colton.


Parker opening his presents with the help of his oh so "glowing" (yep, she's pregnant!) mama Katie.


I thought this was cute, so I stole a picture. Justin and Gin cuddling.


A bunch of the cousins sharing in the excitement of birthday presents!!


Me & cute Colt.



The August Birthday Kiddies!! Parker's expression just cracks me up. Jalen turned 11, Bailee turned 7 and Mr. Parker turned 1!!


Most of the kids enjoying their fantastic cake and homemade ice cream!



Before Erin & I headed out to San Antonio there was so so so much to do and I was stressed beyond belief. I was also pretty sick and nervous and didn't have any idea what to expect. The day before we left, I stayed up all night and did laundry and packed. I crashed on Tuesday around 10 am, slept until 2 pm then crashed again around 3 until 8. I finished packing and got all the last minute things done. Erin and I took off at 11:30 and got on the freeway at ten til midnight. We drove and drove and drove. I had to switch with Erin twice for about an hour each time just to keep from passing out but I did pretty well. We got to our hotel in San Antonio at 5:15 on Wednesday.

I was a nervous wreck on Thursday morning getting ready. We attended an orientation at 7 that morning which is where I finally got to meet in person the two wives I had been corresponding with online. Kim is the one I am now living with and Libby is the other one. Libby's husband is Reserve and was in a completely different squadron than Cody. Kim's husband Alex, was in Cody's Brother Flight! Very cool. They also are both doing Munitions Systems aka AMMO. After the orientation everyone (thousands) line up along this road to wait for and then cheer for our Airman on the Airmen's Run. You try and spot yours but its so hard because they all look the same. Erin spotted Cody and I couldn't believe my eyes!! He looked so different!

After the Airmen's Run we had about 3 hours to kill on the bleachers waiting for the Coin Ceremony and Retreat. We met a really neat couple from Pittsburgh who had a son in Cody's same flight. It was so fun talking with them and getting to know the people around us. The Coin Ceremony is where they officially swear in as Airmen, receive their Airman's Coin, and a few other things. I had chills the whole time watching Cody, this whole new man, be apart of this ceremony. I bawled, of course, and when it came time to go down and greet them, I was so shaky. They have to stay in formation and you go to them. It was incredible guys, absolutely incredible to see him and hug him and kiss him after nearly nine weeks of separation. Phenomenal.

The first thing he says to me? "You're here!" Ha ha, yes ladies and gents, my beloved Cody doubted my ability to get to San Antonio. After that, we (Erin, Cody, and I) went to lunch and got to sit and talk. It was by far, the most awkward, stinted conversation I have ever been a part of in my entire life. You could feel the awkwardness in the air. Cody later apologized he just didn't know how to act. Ha ha, it was okay. After lunch we explored the BX (Base Exchange) for a couple hours and ran into a lot of his buddies. Getting introduced to these guys was for lack of a better word, weird. They already knew everything about me so I felt a little strange. They are all great guys though. Cody loves 'em. After the BX we went bowling. Now for anyone who knows me knows I DO NOT bowl. I have been bowling once in my life and was so awful my mom put the bumpers up. Ingloriously terrible. Well we bowled with one of Cody's buddies Sepanik and his family. I was dominating the entire time until the last two frames then Cody and Sepanik killed it. Oh well, I beat like 5 other people. Ha ha. We went to a mini BX eatery place after that and ate some more then we got lucky enough to meet Dibley aka Dibbs. He is the coolest kid ever. He hung out with us lots off base too.

Friday consisted of another very early morning then driving to a parking lot on base and walking about a half mile to get to the Graduation Parade Grounds. Erin and I sat with Kim, her mama, and her brother. We also got lucky enough to sit next to Fortunado's parents again and then Robyn and Matt came right before it started. It was a great ceremony and I was so overwhelmingly proud to see my baby with his stripes on!! He looked so handsome. After greeting them on the field, we took a few pictures then walked back to Cody's squadron where he was able to show us where he lived for 8 1/2 weeks and meet his TI (training instructor). That was kinda the point where everything turned from being surreal and detached to becoming this real thing. I was finally able to see where he had been sleeping and living and doing everything. Strange. After that we went back to the hotel for Cody to get a real PRIVATE shower and vegged out for a couple hours in civi's (civilian clothes). We met up with Robyn and Matt downtown and walked the Riverwalk which was pretty and ate and did some shopping. We ran into a few people we knew and just had a good time. After that we went back to the hotel to get changed and then back to the base to grab some umbrellas at the BX (it rained so its a good thing), then swung by another hotel to pick up Nix aka Georgia Peach and then headed out to a minor league baseball game. It was a fun time. We didn't watch the game at all, just enjoyed each others company and hung out with Dibbs and Nix and then later Sepanik and Langford joined us. Seriously those guys are hilarious. I'm glad those were the guys Cody aligned himself with. They are all a bit younger than us but a blast to be around.

Saturday was a major veg out fest. We went to breakfast with Dibbs and Cody then Dibbs and Erin hung out while Cody napped. Fun right? Ha ha. Later we went to Sea World. OH MY GOSH. It was so small and packed and dirty (like everything in San Antonio) and nearly all the shows were closed. I got sick and we left. Lame.Lame.Lame. We went shopping, had dinner, then took it easy on base. Sunday was more of the same. Food, Airmen, hanging out, and trying to soak up as much time with Cody as much as possible. It was really sad when we dropped him off. He had his duffel bag I had stocked full of civi's for him and it was awful just having to say goodbye again. His buddies were all there so I got some pictures of them then we drove off. SAD DAY. That night, Kim crashed with Erin and I, we ordered pizza, and acted like a bunch of crazy girls. On Monday early morning we left San Antonio. I was able to shave like an hour and a half off our time so it wasn't too horrible. Here are the pictures from San Antonio!!

Airmen's Run!!


Some of the guys during the Coin and Retreat.


More of the same.


Can you spot Cody??


Um... ha ha Sepanik being Sepanik?


Cody's Flight marching in review at the actual Graduation Parade.


Cody standing next to his locker and bed. His ABU's and exceptionally shiny belt buckle. His slice of heaven at Lackland. HA!


Me making fun of his ever present cheesy fake picture taking smile. That's one thing that didn't change.


Erin & Nix


Cody & Chelle


Cody with Nix and two other guys from his flight, I have NO idea of their names.


Cody, me, Dibbs, Erin & Nix


Erin laughing at Dibbs. Chances are, he just said something spectacularly clever and funny. This kid's the bomb.


Dibbs, Cody, me, and Erin trying to squeeze in


The one Sea World show we did see and it was fantastic! The Balooga Whale one.


Cody & I at Sea World


My bestie and I


Erin tryin to calm herslef down so she can make her crazy eyes


Erin's crazy eyes.


Erin & Chelle


Kimmy and her hubby Alex with Cody & I.


Last dinner together on Sunday night.


LOVE HIM!!


Aren't they so freaking good looking in their blues?!? Its Cody, Dibbs, Langford, and Sepanik.


Good looking men.


Kimmy!!


Sleepover!!


One of my favorite pics of Cody! He has a real smile and he's so handsome in his blues!!