Sunday, May 30, 2010

Just Me and The Kids

I've been back at Fort Bragg for a few weeks now and the only other person I know on post has been out of town for all of it, and will be out of town for the next couple of months.  That means that there are actually zero people here that I know, that know me or that could help me out if I needed anything.  When I think of it in those terms it is actually amusing.  For example, I started wearing shorts this year.  For me, this is huge.  These gams haven't seen sunlight but for a few random occasions since I was a kid.  But guess what?  Go ahead and judge my fluorescent white legs - you don't even know me!  Ha!  It's very liberating to know that I'm absolutely not going to run into someone I know, under any circumstances.  There are a few other things though that can become a challenge that even I can't seem to find a solution to.  Things like this:

1.) Getting a haircut.  I love the girl that cuts my hair in Columbus so I know I'll just get it done next time I'm in town but damn.  I just need a trim and I can't imagine trying to do that with two toddlers in tow.

2.) A doctor or dentist appointment.  I can't even stomach the thought of trying to take the maniacs with me.  Let's hope I don't get sick before Gunnar gets home, in the meantime I'll just schedule all of my body maintenance for after August.

3.) Going out after 7pm.  Not that there's really a need for this but still, it's nice to know you can.  My kids crash hard and are pretty awful to be around after 7:30-ish

I'm sure there's tons of other things that we still do that I'm not sure everyone would try with two little kids.  I mean, when I'm in the mood for a tall, cold draft beer or some hot chicken wings, you can believe me and the kids are on a patio somewhere enjoying dinner.  They really are great company for the most part and we have a lot of fun together.

My next challenge is going to be how to take them to the beach myself.  I am nervous about how I'm going to actually corral the both of them at the ocean without one of them getting swept away or drown or something like that.  Oh yeah, and I need to actually find a beach to go to. 

Thursday, May 27, 2010


It has been exactly one year since Gunnar left for his military training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.  Those first four months felt like an eternity.  We had never been apart for more than a day or two in the eleven years we'd been together.  I wish I knew then what our future was going to look like.  I wish I had known he would be deployed to Afghanistan almost immediately after his training was complete.  I still don't have any regrets that this is the path we chose, but I think I would have done a few things differently if I had known this is where we'd be (i.e. I'd never have moved to Fort Bragg!).

In the last year I've spent 6 non-consecutive weeks with my husband.  I've become better at doing all of the parenting myself and all the crap that comes with that.  Like getting two toddlers in and out of the car and unloading all the groceries myself and being 100% in charge of the discipline.

I will never, ever get used to being alone.  And it never gets easier.  I will always be counting down the days till we are together again.  (80 more days until he starts heading home!)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Ha! Joke's on Me!

Gunnar called yesterday with an interesting offer.  He said the 1st Sgt that I had met at the FRG meeting was really impressed with me and would like me to consider taking a position as the new co-FRG leader.  (Apparently 1st Sgt Barber doesn't read this blog!)  He told Gunnar he appreciates that I speak well and am well educated and thinks I could really bring a lot to the Delta Company Family Readiness Group.  I am going to need a little time to think this one over.  The current co-FRG leader's husband is getting out of the Army in the fall, and that is when the position will be open.  I am so not involved with anything at Fort Bragg, this would definitely give me no excuses but I really don't know if I'm cut out for something like this.  Hmmmm.  I'll have to think this one over for a while. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

FRG Meeting

I went to my first official Family Readiness Group (FRG) meeting last week.  Every unit in the Army, Reserves and National Guard has it's own FRG.  I didn't know this (because why would I know anything about the Army?) but apparently FRGs have really bad reputations for just being gossip circles basically.  I realized this the first time my FRG leader contacted me to welcome me to Fort Bragg, and told me our FRG isn't like other FRGs because her husband is enlisted (not an officer) and somehow that was supposed to make a huge difference.  It was a weird phone call to say the least.

Anyway, I got an email inviting me to the FRG meeting with a note that this meeting was going to be extremely important.  I felt bad that I've been out of town for every single other regular meeting since I moved to Fort Bragg and since this one was going to be extremely important, I probably should go.  The meeting was conveniently located at my neighborhood center too so I really had no excuses to not go.

I was surprised that there were only about 9 wives there.  And 2 of them were my FRG and co-FRG leaders.  There were a handful of other kids there which made it really hard to hear anything being said.  Now, usually my kids are the maniacs in most situations but I was really trying to be a good mommy and I brought them quite toys, drinks, and even snacks to bribe them with.  So it was pretty frustrating to have other kids acting crazy, and the moms just yelling at them even louder to be quiet (how does that even make sense anyway?).

The Delta Company 1st Sergeant was there to speak with us as he was home on R&R.  I was catching little snippets of info here and there but the crazy kid next to me was banging his toys on the table and shrieking.  1st Sgt did say somewhere in there that the 2/508 (Gunnar's unit) will be deploying to Afghanistan again in September of 2011.  I swear I almost fell off my chair right then and there.  There were some rumors swirling around that they might be leaving 16 or 18 months after they get back.  It's called "dwell time" - the time in between deployments.  I know I got pretty close to crying when I heard that and 1st Sgt Barber came over and talked to me for a while.  He had tons of really great things to say about Gunnar.  And he said he'll likely be promoted to NCO (non-commissioned officer) within the next 3-4 months.  I can't even begin to say how proud of Gunnar I am but the thought of only having him home for 1 year out of his 3 year enlistment makes my stomach hurt!

I didn't talk to too many people at the meeting.  I introduced myself to the FRG leaders and did the polite nod and "hi" to the other ladies there.  I really couldn't see myself hanging out with any of them though.  I really completely feel like I just don't fit in all that well down here.  But I'm ok with that.  I hope the kids are okay with having very limited contact with other kids around here.  I'm glad they have each other and that we do a lot of things with just the 3 of us.  I don't want them to be socially awkward when they do eventually go to school, and I'm hoping these months of alone-ness don't do that to them.

I really doubt that I'll be going to another FRG meeting any time soon.  There were actually zero "extremely important" information bits at the meeting.  I fell for that line this time but I won't in the future.

Monday, May 17, 2010


I've been meaning to tell you all about how the rest of the R&R time was having Gunnar home.  For starters, R&R is short for The United States Rest and Recuperation Leave Program.  I have to disagree with calling it "leave".  They are coming home, we called it leaving when he left his home, family and life.  Anyway, semantics aside, R&R is granted to soldiers that are "in theater" aka deployed for 1 year.  I think soldiers with shorter deployments (6 months, 9 months) are not granted R&R. 

All that said, there wasn't a heck of a lot of rest actually going on while he was home.  Gunnar had a week of traveling just getting to Ohio, and when he finally did he was pretty jet lagged.  Right smack in the middle of the 15 days of R&R my sister got married and the preparations took up a good amount of my time.  We tried to get to all of his favorite restaurants and do lots of things with the kids, and also try to do some things just the two of us.  Heck, Gunnar probably wanted to do a few things on his own too but I feel like the time just flew by so fast, I'm sure we didn't get to check everything off the list that we wanted to.

There were a few things that were really fantastic about the time we had together.  Just some things that made me fall in love with him all over again, things I had desperately missed since he's been in Afghanistan.  Here's a few examples:
It was really nice to get dressed up and have an actual date.  A date involving red lipstick, a dress, dinner downtown and a hotel room with an amazing view.  It had been way too long since I'd had a romantic night out!

Seeing Gunnar sitting across the table from me = heaven.  Seriously, I didn't need to order food, I was totally just eating up the view.

To me this is priceless.  The kids are pawing all over someone besides me for two weeks!  It was so great to have them interact with their Daddy and he with them, like they've never even been apart.  They absolutely couldn't get enough attention from him.

Fun times paddle boating.

Please note that he again has both kids with him.  They really didn't want much to do with me once they got used to having Daddy around again.  And after 7 months mostly alone with them, I was totally okay with that.

Precious Father/son moments like this.  Could it get any sweeter?

He's laughing his butt off watching me trying to figure out the new camera.  (The old one was damaged when he jumped over a city wall in Afghanistan).

Gunnar seriously fed the kids brownies and Capri-Suns for breakfast the day of the wedding.  Please believe me when I say this would never happen on my watch.  He spoiled those kids rotten while he was home.

While I was on wedding duty, Gunnar was in charge of dressing the kids and getting them to the ceremony.  I'd say he did a pretty fantastic job.  The kids looked adorable!  He even did their hair.

Did I mention I got busy with wedding details?  Yeah just little details like making and assembling a cake to feed 150 people!! A collaborative effort between me and my mom of course.

I love this photo.  Just Gunnar and his buddies enjoying cigars at the wedding.  Finally a little Rest and Recuperation for the man.

I love this man.  I am so very impatiently awaiting his safe return. 

Monday, May 10, 2010

No, Really

I received a call Friday from my neighborhood center in NC.  It was a panicky, frantic call and they were calling basically to make sure I'm still alive and not dead and decomposing in their house.  I was pretty confused because I had called them way back when and told them the dates that I was going to be out of town.  Being away for a few weeks really isn't that big of a deal but over a month is a really long time to be away from your home.  I called the neighborhood office and asked them to please not deliver their silly newletters to my door, I set up a 'mail hold' through the post office.  I was pretty sure I had covered all my bases.  Apparently my nieghborhood office didn't take much notice of my phone call and the post office delivered my mail after holding it for one month.  The woman that called made it sound like there was mail and all kinds of debris and mayham surrounding my whole house.  Well, I changed my plans and decided to get down here as soon as possible (yesterday) to take care of the mess. 

This is what my house looked like.  Ok, aside from the lame newsletters in the door handle, right there is exactly how much mail I recieve in 5 weeks.  Not exactly a matter of life or death right??  Is it bad that I was actually disappointed that I didn't have a mess to clean up?

In other news, Gunnar is still making his way back to Afghanistan.  I had to drop him off Thursday morning at the Columbus airport.  He flew to Atlanta but his flight to Europe wasn't till about 9pm that evening.  I was so bummed.  I wish I could have driven him to the Atlanta airport myself - we could have spent an extra day together!  His flight finally took off around 11pm and they only made it about 2 hours in the air when they plan was having eletrical difficulties and had to turn around.  Gunnar had taken a few Nyquil to make sure he would sleep on the flight so he was pretty darned confused about what was going on.  By 5am he and 350 other military guys were checking into a Holiday Inn in downtown Atlanta.  We had already said our goodbyes at the point several times so I was shocked to hear from him again.  He stayed in Atlanta all day again and finally flew out Saturday night.  I got a call from him last night and he was in Kuwait.  We started to think he may never actually get back over there, which was totally fine by me. 
 Gunnar at the airport

I am having some major communication withdrawal.  It's just so hard to go from talking nonstop for 2 weeks and then texting and phone calls nonstop for a few days to absolutely nothing.  I hope I hear from him again soon.  I think these next 3 months are going to drag so slowly.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Too Fast

This R&R is going way too fast!  I can't believe it's almost over and I've got to say goodbye to Gunnar again so soon.  He leaves Friday morning to head back to Afghanistan.  I've had a wonderful and amazing time with him home.  It's been crazy and busy and stressful to have him here for my sister's weddding.  There was so much to do that I feel like I barely saw him for 2 days.  We are dedicating this week to relaxing and doing whatever it is we want to do though.  I'm completely optimistic right now that I can get through the next 3 months of him in Afghanistan but I'm sure I'll change my tune as soon as I get back to North Carolina and reality smacks me in the face again.