Monday, May 30, 2011

I will not forget you, my brothers in arms.

Memorial Day, Armed Forces Day, Fourth of July, Veteran's Day...these are a few days of the year that I solemnly remember the heroes of our military, both those who have come home like my grandfathers, my dad, my friends Travis and Tom...and especially those who haven't, like Jason. 

John and I took the kiddos to the Memorial Day service at the high school today, where the local VFW and American Legion posts put on a very nice ceremony.  The key speaker wasn't a retired General or Admiral, it was by a chaplain who served in Vietnam (not yet then a chaplain).  The main point he was making was, "Freedom isn't free." 

Of course, we've all heard this phrase many times, and we recognize that, but the chaplain continued on, asking the audience what they thought of when they heard the National Anthem; saw an American flag; saw the Color Guard in a parade. 

He then told us what he thought of, or rather, who.

He listed the names of five men.  All of whom he served with in the jungle of Vietcong. 

And he told us the stories of these five men.  One was shot by friendly fire when a helicopter gunner didn't know the American troops were going to be where they were.  The artillery tore him literally in half.  Another was shot above the eye in a firefight, and the chaplain held him for 45 minutes until the life finally left him.

Another lost his right leg in an explosion...the chaplain stopped speaking to regain his composure after telling us of the horrifying screams of pain that came from him.  In the same explosion, another one of his fellow men had been torn apart.  The chaplain quietly added, "The heaviest thing I ever lifted was another man's arm."

The final man was a medic, who had to option of staying behind and working in an Army hospital after he had shrapnel removed from his neck.  He instead went back into the jungle, and later lost both legs and eventually his life, but not before bandaging himself up.

Later, as we stood in the cemetery for the 21-gun salute and the sorrowful cry of "Taps", I wondered why my grandfathers or my father never told us war stories.  I understand that it is hard to bring up those memories, that in those moments during a firefight you're not necessarily fighting for your country but more for yourself and the man next to you, but the harsh reality of war is so glamorized in the movies that I think the gut wrenching stories like the ones I heard this morning need to be told...they need to be heard by myself, my kids, and the following generations. 

We need to constantly be reminded that freedom isn't free.

Friday, May 20, 2011

This was NOT written on today's agenda....

Today started out crappy...I was tired, since Addison decided 2am was the perfect time to wake up...followed by 3, and not really getting back to bed for the rest of the night.  Plus my hubby and I went to bed mad at each of course I wake up crabby because of that, regardless of how much sleep I got.  And even though the sun was out and we apologized to each other before he left for 11 straight hours of work, I was still slightly irritated. 

Anyway, Fridays are my cleaning days.  I've had my three younger siblings here this week so they were able to help out.  But instead of helping by cleaning, they did so by watching Kale and Addison. Let the cleaning therapy begin.  In the middle of cleaning, I decided to make some sugar water for the hummingbird feeder.  I set it on the stove to boil and then went to get the kids' laundry ready.  I was changing crib sheets when I smelled this awful burning smell.

My sisters, Mimi and Liza, were at the dining room table doing their schoolwork (they're homeschooled and I got to teach this week), and just as I ran into the kitchen asking, "What's burning?!", Mimi jumped up and nearly dropped to her knees to crawl under the smoke billowing throughout the kitchen. 

I do not exaggerate.

The amount of smoke from the burned sugar water wafted throughout the apartment and actually surprised me.  I grabbed the pot off the burner and ran it outside on the balcony, then took the kids to our bedroom where, thankfully, there wasn't any smoke yet.  I shut Mimi, Liza, Crash, Kale and Addison in there and they spent the next ten minutes in there jumping on the bed, taking all the Kleenex out of a box, and "sorting" our dirty laundry while I fanned the smoke alarm, set up fans, and opened all the windows. 

We haven't had the windows open because of the pollen in the air...both John and I have awful allergies and so the AC has been on.  The moment I opened the balcony door, I started sneezing like crazy.  (Thank you for nothing, Clariton...) 

I.  Was.  Miserable.

I smelled like smoke.  I was sneezing, relying on the Kleenex that was now scattered throughout my room to keep me going.  Ugh.

I decided that we needed to air out the place for quite a while, so I packed the kids up and we went to the playground...where the day turned around.

Oddly, this HUGE interruption to our day turned out to be just what I needed.  I needed some time away from the constant cleaning that needs to be done, and the indoors...

Kale picking flowers for Mom

He stacked his dandelions on the bench before tossing them off...

I needed to stop and smell the roses (or dandelions), and to just be.  It was exhilarating to just let was as if God was telling me to just stop trying to be supermom/sister and while I don't ordinarily need to have a reason to go outside, today I did.  The weather was perfect (I was chilled just sitting with Addison until she fell asleep) and then I went swinging with Liza, down the slide with Kale, and watched Mimi and Crash build sand castles in the sandbox. 

Mimi's sand castle

Crash's sand castle...he later added a bridge.  

We went barefoot for a while, feeling the sand in our toes, which was an excellent feeling.  My siblings wanted to know all about the two stray cats they saw who live somewhere around here and eat out of the dumpster.  They affectionately named the two tabbys "Garr" and "Bidge".  We were just outside, carefree and having fun...

...then, as clouds moved in, I remembered that the girls had to get back to schoolwork and after 45 minutes, the apartment should have been aired out enough to breathe.  So we headed back inside (where we could, indeed, breathe quite easily!)  No sooner had we washed up and had a snack when a soft rain started falling, sounding absolutely refreshing and washing all the pollen out of the air. 

I thanked God...He blessed me with a soft rainfall so that I wasn't constantly sneezing.  I felt like He was thanking me for not being frustrated and upset about the smoke and burned sugar water, and for taking the opportunity to spend time with my siblings and children.

We kept the windows open all day, and I haven't needed a Kleenex since this morning.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

So excited!!!

Today I had an interview at a salon that I've had my eye on since we moved to this area.  The timing just never seemed right for me to get in for an interview before, or maybe it was more of me not being ready to find a sitter for Kale and Addison and head to work and help our financial situation a little more.  But now, after lots of prayer (and a not-so-great job currently) I finally felt the urge to really get serious, and when the salon owner contacted me last week, I scheduled the interview.

Anyway, I got offered the job on the spot!!!!  I'm so very excited...this is the type of salon I envisioned myself at when I started school!  Plus Joanie (the owner) seems like she will be an extraordinary boss. 

Now we just need to pray for a that I will be at ease leaving my children with while I'm away.............