Monday, January 25, 2010

More Like Crush

Watching your children turn into adults takes a huge amount of faith.

I mean huge!

No one tells you how to do it.

Those who have been there can help you prepare

by telling you their stories,

but they can't tell you how.

I think it's because

they don't really know how they got through it themselves.

I know how to protect and nurture a newborn.

I know how to guard a two year old from his own self.

I know how to teach a child the morals and values of our faith.

I even know how to enjoy the tween and middle teen years.

but I do not know how to confidently watch an 18 year old

run head strong into obvious mistakes,

without trying to cushion his fall.

I am learning though.

I am becoming increasingly aware that

to learn and grow, sometimes you have to

fall flat on your face.

Alot of us came to the places we are today

because we got up from that fall

wiser and more aware of how to survive in this world.

But still.....

watching it is easily the hardest thing I have ever done.

It's the letting him fall part that I find so difficult.

He's a great kid with awesome potential,

and I know that his stubborness is going to serve him well someday

if he learns to channel it in the right direction.

I know in my heart of hearts that he's going to be ok.

It's just going to be quite a ride getting there!

This clip from Finding Nemo has a nice little lesson in it for me.

Right now my "squirt" is struggling outside of the current.

Like Marlin,

I want to go grab him by the hand and pull him back to safety.

But, Crush is confident that his little guy will find his way back.

He's sure that all of the things Squirt has learned

up until now will kick in and Squirt will

know how to get back into the current on his own.

I think that the confidence that Crush has empowers Squirt.

Squirt's excitement and joy at conquering something difficult

would never have happend if Crush had gone to rescue him.

The joy is in the struggle!

So, at this stage in my life,

I am trying to be less like Marlin and more like Crush!

I can't wait for the day my struggling swimmer

bursts out of the deep and into the current

shouting, "Did you see that?! Did you see what I did?!"

I'm sure his dad and I will say what we already know about him

"You so totally rock, dude!!"

Because he does.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


So a few days ago,
I put on my facebook status
a few lines of a converstaion
I had with Brendell.
She had been looking through a book
with pictures of snakes and worms in it.
She asked her dad,
"What is the most flexible thing in the world?"
Knowing she was looking at books with animals in it,
David said, "Probably a worm."
I laughed and said,
"Bren, the most flexible thing
in the whole wide world
is a Navy wife!"
I am a mentor in a group called COMPASS.
We mentor young navy wives
and provide information, resources, friendship
and "been there" stories for those
just beginning to navigate this crazy life.
One of our visual aids is a stretchy figurine of popeye.
We'll hold him and bend his legs back,
twist his arms around and contort him
into impossible positions
to emphasize the fact that we always need to
keep an open mind, an open heart,
and an openess to change.
It's the number one quality
that gets us through
with the maximum amount of sanity.
This week I am popeye.
I am bending and contorting my plans.
About 10 days ago talk began about us transfering early.
There are several reasons for this and
there are lots of pros and cons to
going ahead with it.
David's career may or may not be affected by it.
We'll have to wait and see what happens over the next few years.
He will have to work a little harder to make up for
what he didn't get here,
but he's no stranger to hard work
and I think he really enjoys the challenge of beating the odds
and coming out on top.
He's done it on numerous occassions
so I have much faith that he can do it again.
Given the stresses in our family,
although it might be the harder road career wise,
is the only choice David felt right about making.
I respect him so much for choosing family
over chasing the dollar.
I am so proud of how far my husband
has come since enlisting
as a baby faced seaman.
He's now a commissioned officer
with so many honors and accomplishments.
He has done well....more than well
in his naval career
and while this choice certainly doesn't end his chances
of continuing to make rank,
it does present some new challenges.
We weighed all of this when making our choice
and family tipped the scales.
After coming off of 10 years of sea duty,
his presence in our home over the next three years
is going to be invaluable as our sons transition
into adult manhood.
The fact that we were given this choice
at this time in our lives is such a gift.
And so,
my flexibility comes into play again
as we speed up our time table
and prepare to make another cross country move in the
very near future!
We still don't have an exact move date,
but we do have a destination.
David will be working at the
Office of Naval Intelligence
in Suitland, MD.
So, Bren,
like I said before,
I bet I can out stretch a silly old worm any day!

365 project #11

Bren and her friends last night
waiting for a cooking class.
They had so much fun!

365 project #10

Five days of rain.
I miss my view!

Monday, January 11, 2010

365 project #9

This is what happens when
you send teenage boys
out to the store to
pick up a gallon of milk!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

the steps....

For those that asked to see the steps in the
previous blog post story....
here ya go!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

365 project #8

I once booked a session for a family
where the father was very much into photography.
He took me aside and let me know that he
had been all over the yard trying to find places
for me to take the photos
and gave me a list of areas he wanted me to use.
I wasn't feeling many of them,
but he was persistent,
so I lined his family up and shot at his suggested locations.
I felt....trapped.
I knew how drab and passionless
the photos were going to be
but I kept snapping away
waiting to be released.
Finally, when I had exhausted all of
his desired locations,
he said, "I hired you for your eye,
so do you have any areas where you want to shoot?"
Like a bird let loose from a cage,
I grinned and pointed to an old weed ridden
stone staircase that had caught my eye as soon as I got there.
He shook his head and told me all the reasons
why he thought it was not a good location.
It was damp and ugly.
Some of the steps were crumbling and
covered with dirt clumps.
It was not something that they saw any value in
and would certainly not want to see in a photo.
I didn't say a word but I smiled at him,
pointed to my eye and then to the staircase.
I was asking him to trust me.
He led his family to the stone steps
and I shot as they sat and cozied up to eachother.
I framed two giggling raven haired girls,
a pleasantly smiling mother
and a doubting, but grinning father
in my lens
and shot what came to be
their favorite family photo
of the whole day.
The rustic stone steps,
darkened a bit from a recent rain,
with bits of green weeds and newly fallen yellow leaves
strewn about proved to be an unlikely
but absolutely perfect perch for
a somewhat controlling father
and his gorgeous family.
In the end he saw what I saw.
In photography it's all about the eye.
The eye is what tells the story
through positioning all of the necessary components
in just the right way.
To the subject it might seems nuts,
but it's nuts with a purpose
if the person in control
sees the big picture.
And so it is with life.
Right now I'm sitting on some ugly, damp steps
wondering what in the world is going to come of a few situations in my life.
But I know that God knows the big picture
and if I just trust his eye,
I will get a beautiful family portrait out of this.
Even if I am sitting on weeds.

365 project #7

Multiple choices

Thursday, January 7, 2010

365 project #6

My boys just before kick off
of the BCS Championship game.
Go Bama!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

365 project #5

From my deck tonight at sunset!


"Wherever you are.... Debbie takes you home."
I read that on a real estate website this week
and it got me thinking.
That has been such a fluid word for
me and my family
over the past 18 years.
My story began on a tree shaded road
in Crownsville, MD,
where the Severn river was just a bike ride away,
where my friends and I built
countless tree forts in the woods behind our houses,
and where we sat on the fireplace hearth that
my grandfather built.
So many chapters have been written
in about a dozen dwelling places
since then.

My very favorite chapter so far
has been this old ridiculously old, high maintenance home
in Rhode Island.
It had so much character
and history.
It was built in 1897 on the site of
Rhode Island's only Revolutionary War battleground.
The squeaky, drafty old house
intrigued me and I wish we had had
more time there to really settle in to
her bones and get to know her better.
One short year was not enough,
especially since I spent the last four months
of that year,
recovering from a serious ankle injury.
Learning to navigate the steep, narrow
staircases while my non-weight bearing orders were in effect,
was very challenging.
We had the most fun out on the deck and in
the yard of this house.
Her spooky basement was a source of giggles
and screams for all of us,
and her fully finished attic held
many nights of family pool shooting
and drum practice for Michael.
With almost 6,000 square feet and lots of unique nooks and crannies,
this was the BEST house ever to play
hide and go seek in.

And now our current house
holds our laughter and tears,
and echoes noises of a growing family
inside it's walls.
Although not as alive as our Rhode Island house,
this house has the best view we've ever enjoyed.
Having lived in so many places
over the last 18 years,
when someone asks me where I'm from,
I am hard pressed to give them an answer.
Sometimes I say Maryland,
because that's where it all began.
Sometimes I say Florida,
because that's where it all unraveled.
Sometimes I say Georgia,
because that is where it all grew.
And sometimes I am short sighted enough
to say Rhode Island,
because that's where we just came from.
More often than not
I simply answer,
"We are from America...we are a Navy family."
So Debbie....where ya taking me?
I hope it's good!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

365 project #4

There's nothing like a best friend!

Monday, January 4, 2010

On Day ONE?? Seriously????

So here we are at the end of day ONE,
{you know that day that I said I was armed and ready for?}
Not NINE hours from this morning's post
and BAM!
I'm hit right between the eyes with serious 18 year old boy issues.
Because the offender has asked me not to share the details here on the blog,
and because I'm way too emotionally charged right now
and would probably type out an angry post that I might regret later,
I'm just going to say that
if this is day one,
I'm in for a long ride!
That's all I have to say.

365 #3

I once saw a program,
probably Oprah back when I used to watch her,
where this guy said that
he could predict what was in your pantry
based on just a few questions
like how many kids you have,
what part of the country you lived in,
and your income range.
He was pretty accurate.
Here's my (ridiculously overstuffed) pantry...
Do we stock the same things?

Gone is Gone is Gone.

I have friends whose husbands travel for work.
They are gone maybe three days,
sometimes a week.
My brother travels quite a bit with his job
and leaves behind his wife and two little boys.
Whenever these people speak of enduring their separation,
they always make note that it is "nothing like what you have to go through
being a Navy wife!"
I have fellow wives in several branches of the military
whose husbands are going through their second and third
extreemly long tours in Iraq or Afghanistan.
When I speak to them about the separation I endure,
I always make sure to acknowledge
that they have had it way worse than I do.
But the truth is gone is gone is gone.
Whether it be 4 days or 400 days,
it's still a change in your routine,
a challenge to your everyday life
and a hill to climb.
There is no competition when it comes to your own personal life
and how you and your family copes with any separation.
For some families, one week is traumatic,
for some of us it's chump change.
Likewise, some of us might freak out over 9 month deployments
while our counterparts who are enduring first or second
12 or 18 month tours in the middle east may scoff at that.
My point is that separation is personal and unique.
Life stages affect how you cope.
Financial situations affect how you cope.
Geographical position affects how you cope.
There are so many factors that are unique to each family
that I cannot have more or less compassion
for one situation over another.
Gone is gone is gone.
So if you are reading this and you are like my sister in law
who has to make it through a week here and there,
I feel for you girl!! It's not easy!
And just because my separations are longer doesn't mean
that I am not here to support you.
If you are reading this and you are well acquainted
with your sailor or soldier or even your civilian husband
being gone for abnormally long tours,
please know that I am in awe of your strength
and I hope that you don't think me weak for missing my sailor
for less time than you are missing yours.
When I look back through our career in the Navy
(and it is OUR career),
I am amazed at how much I've grown
through having to deal with handling things on my own.
When I add up all of the deployments David has done over the last 17 years,
his total time away from the family is almost 6 years!!!
Some of those deployments have been harder than others.
David started his deployments on boomer submarines
back in the day when there was no e-mail.
We were allowed 40 written words per week
that were transmitted to several people
before it ever reached my sailor.
Phone calls almost never happened during those first deployments.
David found out that I had given birth to our second baby,
that he was a boy
and that I had to have a c-section
all through a red cross message.
He wasn't even able to call home
to talk to me until Michael was five days old.
When e-mail became available,
we submarine wives were thrilled!
Finally we could communicate (sorta) with our sailors.
For us, the e-mail worked about half the time,
but that was so much better than 40 words a week.
David also did some deployments in the black ops world.
Those were hard because so much was unknown to me.
I had no idea where he was going, what he was doing
or even when he'd be back.
Phone calls were sporatic,
but there was really little or no communication during those deployments.
Now on the carrier,
it is a completely different world!
We have so much communication through e-mail and by phone.
Because these deployments are so much longer
than the ones we endured in the submarine world,
I am thankful for the added technology.
I know that many of my friends
whose husbands are on the ground in the middle east
really appreciate things like Skype and international calling cards.
We've come a long way since the days of 40 words per week!
As we enter phase one of "Operation Lone Ship" today,
I'm so thankful for technology!!
Today I have a "bring it on" mentality.
I know where my sailor is and I know when he's returning.
I can e-mail him whenever I want
and I will most likely get several phone calls between now and then.
I'm armed and ready.
Today anyway.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

365 Project #2

Today I made one of our favorite meals.
Better than Olive Garden
homemade Seafood Alfredo.
Soooooo good!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

365 project!

In addition to "Operation Lone Ship",
I'm also going to do a "365 project" here on the blog.
I've wanted to do this for a few years,
but never thought I could keep up with it.
I still don't think I can,
but for me 2010 is about breaking new ground
and not being so hard on myself
when things don't happen as I plan.
(because you know they never do!)
So, here's photo number ONE.
True to my life,
it's a day late,
but instead of sighing and saying I will try again next year,
I've decided to jump in and do it anyway.
Today was easy.
Bren lost her first tooth.
That tiny white pearl has been hanging on for two weeks!
She is beyond thrilled about her new smile.
But I, having watched each of those tiny teeth make their debut,
am a little sad that my last baby is crossing yet another
milestone that I will never get to watch again.
There is no back up plan with her.
No re-runs.
She's our last hurrah
our cherry on top
and except for milestone days like these,
I'm totally and completely at peace with that.
But today,
with that first tooth gripped between her fingers
and her eyes sparkling with excitement,
a teeny, tiny part of me
wishes that I could go back and watch more teeth surface
in the mouth of another rosy cheeked baby.
I know all you moms out there
understand exactly where I'm coming from.
So, it looks like the tooth fairy will visit us tonight!!