Finishing The Race

It is 11:35pm. The boys are asleep and I am stretched out in my big, blue, bloggy chair swiping tears.

I feel like a marathon runner who has just made the last turn.

The finish line is in sight.

Some days, I have sprinted.

Some days, I have walked.

Some days, I felt like quitting.

It’s been a long race.

Today, was a very good day. Today was a straight-up sprint.

Since rolling out of bed this morning, I have not stopped.

The floors have been swept and mopped. The bedroom has been dusted. The bathroom is sparkling. The hall closet has been cleaned out. Our walk-in closet is organized. The kitchen cabinets are straight. The little green bench in my room is clear (cue the violins). The laundry is done. The living room has been dusted. McDaddy’s office has been partially remodeled. The van has been cleaned out (yessir, I’m serious about this!) The garage has been swept out. The tool benches have been wiped with windex (I know, I know!) The heap (ahem!) I mean JEEP is out of storage and thanks to my daddy and his friend, the front of our house has new vinyl siding.

I could go on and on.

I’ve been busier than a raccoon in a trash pile doing my best to pass the time.

As I put away laundry this evening, tears rolled down my face.

It is so hard for me to imagine that I made it through this thing.

If you had asked me back in January, I would have told you that I had no idea how in the heck I would make it to the end. Seriously. I! had! no! idea!

What I can tell you is that I did not go it alone! Not one day of it.

First and foremost I am thankful for God’s sovereignty.

There were many nights that I knelt down beside my bed and cried out to God.

Dramatic? maybe. But so very true.

God is faithful.

And I am thankful.

Lots of prayers have went up on behalf of my family. I know that because countless friends, family members and blog readers have told me so. McDaddy and I appreciate you all so much.

Your kind words. Your prayers. Your thoughts. Your cards. Your calls. Your gifts. Your prayers.

We appreciate each and every one.

As we run the last 21 hours of our six-month deployment race, I want to say from the bottom of my heart that I we are thankful.

My heart is rejoicing and I feel like a high-school girl getting ready to go out with that guy that she’s had her eye on for months.

Or like a nervous bride standing at the back door of the church preparing to walk down the aisle and pledge her love.

I am a wife who has missed her best friend. Her hero. Her husband.

I am in the home stretch and I will cross the finish line with a thankful, grateful, overflowing heart.

Today, we will finish the race.

Doing The Math

It’s been exactly 180 days since McDaddy left for the incredibly long 6-month deployment. Remember the M&M bowls? The bowls that Stevie and Alex made for themeselves and McDaddy that were filled with 182 M&Ms. One M&M for every day that they would be apart?

So much has happened since that day. Y’all know that numbers are not my strong suit, so please be easy on me as I break the figures down.

1 – Number of embalmings I’ve watched.

1 – Number of nieces born into our family

2 – The number of pregnancies in our family that have been announced as of 11:52 pm ET. The time is of importance because at any given minute another sister-in-law could announce. Seriously, there are 12 babies under the age of 7 on McDaddy’s side with two more on the way. That could change at any minute.

2 – The number of times I’ve threatened to use my wooden majorette rifle to protect our household – against hose nozzle thieves and mice.

2.4 – Number of times I’ve taken the iRobot Roomba apart because of erratic behavior.

3 – The number of times I have successfully resuscitated the laptop.

5 – The number of times I’ve taken pictures of our checkbook register, scanned them in and e-mailed them to McDaddy so that he could balance our household finances. Sweet mercy, I’ve done pretty good keeping it all straight.

6 – The number of remodeling projects I’ve started or completed

11 – The number of Doctor’s Appointments our boys have had

12 – The number of times McDaddy’s friend, Justin has cut our grass.

14 – Visits made to the McResidence by the Suddenlink man to fix our supposed faster, more reliable internet service.

36 – Approximate number of cards I’ve received from friends letting me know I was being prayed for or thought about

42 – Approximate number of times I’ve cooked  (Oh, I kid!)

70 – Approximate number of times I’ve cried

78 – The approximate number of church services we’ve attended without McDaddy.

82 – Approximate number of days it has rained. Seriously.

180 – The number of nights I’ve crawled into bed thinking I had no idea how I would make it through.

302 – Approximate number of times I’ve seriously considered heading to the Saturn dealership to purchase a new Sky to help ease the stress.

546 – The number of M&Ms consumed by Stevie, Alex and McDaddy as they counted down the days!

583 – Approximate number of e-mails exchanged between McDaddy and Me

1,440 – Approximate number of hours I’ve slept

4,837 – Number of times I have whined about deployment.

Seriously, its been a L-O-N-G six-months, but we are almost there!

Almost… as in less than 48 hours.

Or 2,880 minutes, but who’s counting?

Enjoy your weekend internets. I know I will!!!

Thursday Thirteen – The Letter Y

Can you believe that we have made our way through the alphabet all the way to Y?

When I first started through the alphabet 25 weeks ago, I knew that eventually we’d make it to the end and that EVENTUALLY the six-month deployment would be over.

I did the math and figured that if the military stars aligned, we’d be ending with the letter “Z” the same week, McDaddy would be returning home from deployment. It APPEARS that will not be the case and as far as I can tell, my math is not to blame. By this time next week, McDaddy should be back at home where he belongs.

I will keep you posted!!!

And now, on with Y.

1. YESTERDAY – Was a good day. The boys and I had lunch with Stevie’s kindergarten teacher and aide from the last school year. He mentioned to me that he missed them and I suggested maybe he should e-mail them and invite them to lunch. They both agreed and he talked their ear off. After that, we ran a few errands and then visited with my mom and dad and my two nephews. We went to dinner and then headed to church where Stevie shared the news of his salvation. 

2. YOU – are appreciated! Whether you are a friend IRL (in real life) or in URL (Bloggy friend, actually it means Uniform Resource Locator – who knew?), I appreciate you taking the time to pay me a visit here at From Inmates To Playdates everyday. It is especially exciting to find your comments in my inbox (hint, hint!)

3. YOUNG – This is me when I was 18 months young with a skinned-up knee. It seems my klutzish tendancies started way back when. Wasn’t I a cutie?

4. YARD – When McDaddy first told me that he would be leaving for six-months, one of my first thoughts after the initial OH MY GOSH HOW WILL I EVER SURVIVE? was regarding our yard. Fortunately, one of McDaddy’s friends from the Jeep Club, Justin, offered to take care of our yard work during the deployment. We have become friends and I appreciate him so much!

5. YEAR –The year was 1992. McDaddy’s parents and I travelled to Bilouxi, Mississippi to visit him at Tech School. If you can get past the bangs, the braces, the glasses, the earrings and the bedazzled shirt, you might notice my cute Airman in his uniform.

6. YUMMY – is what I say when I eat any of the following….

Olive Garden Spaghetti

That Little Debbie sure knows how to make a fabulous cake!

 

In case you can’t identify it, that is a house salad from the Outback. Their croutons are the bomb! I would top this, and any other salad I was eating with blue cheese dressing. My mouth is watering just looking at it!

Mint Chocolate chip ice cream from Baskin Robbins

No words necessary.

Oh my word! Okay, I’ll stop now.

7. YOUNGINS – My sweet youngins. This picture was taken three years ago during a walk “out our street!” They both still really love the Power Wheel  Jeep.

 

8. YUCK – These foods cause my mouth to make yucky noises. Or, I might  just say YUCK, that’s nasty. Straight-up nasty.

 This is the second nastiest thing I’ve ever put in my mouth – Escargot

Here is the first.

Seriously, it is the nastiest food on the face of the planet. I don’t get it.

 9. YELL – I am typically the quiet type, so I don’t know much about this one. (ahem!)

10. YAMS – Not a big fan, but I eat them occasionally, usually with ham.

11. YAWN – What I’m doing right now because it happens to be 12:24am. Must. get. to. bed!

12. Y’ALL – Part of my everyday vocabulary. I use this word a lot. What can I say, I live deep in the hills of West Virginia.

13. YELLOW – I like the color yellow, especially when its showing off on one of these.

You knew that was coming, didn’t you?

Okay. That’s it for another week of Thursday Thirteen!

This week’s YOU CAPTURE challenge is Friends.

Friends. This should be easy!

Okay, I need to make a disclaimer before I post this one. Obviously, I didn’t take picture, but seriously we are friends. Meet McDaddy’s four siblings and their spouses. We are family and FRIENDS. (McDaddy and me, sister Bridget and hubby Billy, sister Angie and her hubby Mike, brother Dave and wife Stephanie, brother Bill and wife Michelle.) I was not blessed with a sister, but I have four of the awesomest sisters-in-law in the whole wide world. And yes, before you ask, awesomest is most definitely a word.

 

Here is Stevie with two of his special friends (and cousins) –

Stevie and Alex with more friends (who are also cousins)

And finally, no post of mine about friends would be complete without a photo of me with my best friend.

And no, I am not talking about me and my second chin. I’m talking about me and my hot hubby, McDaddy who happens to be coming home in a few days…

That’s it for me this week.

Hop on over to I Should Be Folding Laundry for more YOU CAPTURE challenge participants.

Next week’s challenge: YOU.  Oh yes, take pictures of YOU.  In the mirror, in a window, a self timer, however you want, spoil yourself with your camera, don’t be shy and think of it as a gift to your children and great grandchildren…and us!

Me + Camera = Craziness

It’s sure to be a great time!

http://frominmatestoplaydates.com/2009/07/meet-my-friends/

My New Friend

I had a little trouble deciding whether to write about the great sales at Kohls this week, the fabulosity of the Snickers Ice Cream Bar or my new friend and mop, the Swiffer Wet Jet.

I’ve spent the last hour mopping my kitchen, my foyer and my bathroom. I have been a cleaning machine trying to get this place in order for McDaddy’s homecoming in a few days.

Until today, I hated to mop.

The whole soaking, mopping, rinsing, wringing, repeating thing is boring.

The Swiffer Wet Jet is a wonderful friend to have around when you have dirty floors. I bought the mop today and had the gadget together in less than five minutes. Sadly, I had no idea it needed batteries until my six-year-old said, “Hum, maybe the battery needs to be charged!”

A bottle of cleaner slips into a holder on the handle and the quick press of a button delivers a squirt of cleaner in front of your mop. The even better news is that the cleaner is wiped up with the disposable pad on the bottom of the mop, so there is no need to wait twenty or so minutes for your floors to dry.

I love this little thing!

I will be mopping more often because it WORKS FOR ME!

Visit We Are THAT Family for more Works For Me Wednesday posts.

What I’ve Done This Week

I am sitting in my big, blue, bloggy chair listening to the ladies of The View talk over top of each other.

It is frustrating, but its a full day of hot topics and for the sake of the blog, I tune in so I can be up-to-date on the drama surrounding the Jackson family, the Spelling family, Sarah Palin, and today, Mary Jo Buttafuoco who by the way still has the bullet inside of her head.

At any rate, it’s late and I need to share everything I’ve learned and done this week. So, with the TiVo blaring in the background, I’ll share with you…. Things I’ve Learned and something stupid I did This Week, in no particular order –

1. If you have little boys around the ages of three and six, there is a really good chance that they will love the movie, G-Force.

2. If there is a “set” mouse trap on your kitchen counter, it is probably not a good idea to get close to it while cleaning your counter tops or else you might accidentally catch your finger in the thing.

3. If by chance your finger gets caught in a mousetrap, it will make you want to say words you don’t normally say.

4. Telling your six-year-old about the whole “finger-in-the-mousetrap” thing will prove to be a big mistake because he might decide to share the story with complete strangers.

5. When your house looks like a hurricane passed through, it will be difficult to concentrate on blogging.

6. Forgetting to add water to a cake-mix until you have already started mixing it will render the cake a waste.

7. When the local Mart of Walls decides to remodel, it will likely take you weeks months to learn your way around the new digs.

8. When you read a blog post like thisone, it will certainly put things into perspective. MckMama, you and your family are in my prayers.

That is all.

Good Night!

Oh, don’t forget to visit Musings Of A Housewife for other What I Learned This Week posts!

Just So You Know

To: Stevie and Alex

From: Your Mama

Date: July 26, 2009

RE: Just So You Know

Dear Stevie and Alex:

I don’t have any idea how old you will be when you come to realize that I’ve been “writing some stuff” here at From Inmates To Playdates – some of it about you. It is my hope that you will find it sweet and interesting.

The past 24 weeks of deployment have not been easy for any of us. The two of you have been wonderful. I know you miss daddy very much and I know that he misses you, too! When you are grown, I hope you remember the important role daddy played in your lives. I also hope that you realize how blessed you are to have him in your life. He is a strong Godly example. He is quiet, patient and compassionate with you guys. He is a hard-worker and he is dedicated to his employers, his family, and our God. He is kind and thoughtful. He protects us and he provides for us.

His work takes him about of town more than he would like, but when he is not working, he is fully involved in your lives and in parenting you. He treasures your strengths and your talents. He teaches you and enjoys spending time with you. He adores you both and treasures all of the things you do together.

Just so you know…. We are blessed to be so loved!!!

Love, Mommy

 

Dear Stevie:

Wow!

Just last night, I sat beside of you in a church-pew and explained communion to you. You had many questions regarding salvation and couldn’t explain why you had tears streaming down your face.

You talked to Pastor Al before leaving church and stated matter-of-fact that you were going to be saved when we got home. Thankfully, the web-cam worked and daddy and I were both able to talk to you about salvation. We were both confident that you understood exactly what salvation was. We listened as you prayed, “Dear Jesus, thank you for the chance to be a Christian!” Stevie, I cannot tell you how proud of you I am. Daddy and I are thrilled that you have made this decision. I will never forget hearing you ask, “Is it okay if I pray different than what you said?” You said your very own prayer to the Lord and I know He smiled down on you!

It is my hope that you always seek guidance and direction from our Lord. I am so thankful to be your mom. You are a joy to parent.

Happy Spiritual Birthday, sweet boy!

Love, Mommy

PS – You did a great job during your music camp performance. I enjoyed watching you sing praises to Jesus.

 

Dear Alex:

You have been such a great boy this month. You are doing such a great job on the potty. Daddy will be so surprised when he returns home.

You learned to wink this month and it is one off the cutest things I’ve ever seen.

You enjoyed playing with lots of cousins this month. You are a good little traveller who loves to visit new places. I enjoy watching you “be a big boy!” a fact that you continually remind me of. You really are a big-boy. You love shoes, poptarts, shoes, Tom & Jerry, picking mommy flowers, the jeep and “the McDonalds with the play-park.”

Oh, and did I mention that you love shoes?

Not sure where that comes from.

I enjoy being your mommy. You have been such a trooper the past five months. Daddy and I appreciate you being such a great boy! You give the best kisses and hugs a mommy could ask for.

I love you very, very, much!

Love, Mommy

Just So You Know is a monthly letter I write to my two boys, Stevie and Alex.

He Must Get The Drama From His Mama

I feel blessed that we have made it through 24 weeks of deployment without a major sickness or injury.

I thought our streak had ended on Tuesday.

The boys and I were outside. I had just finished cleaning the windows in the van and had started clearing debris from McDaddy’s workbench when Stevie screamed at the top of his lungs.

After catching my breath, I whirled around to see him (and his scooter) sprawled out on the garage floor in tears.

When I got to him, he said, “I think my legs are broke!”

Alrighty then.

A bit dramatic, dontcha think?

I was hesitant to pick him up because what if his legs were broke? I was confident things weren’t as bad as he thought they were. I picked him up and sat him down on McDaddy’s workbench. His little legs were battered, but not broken.

All the drama reminded me of an incident that happened back in 2001.

When I had a stroke on the way to the hospital…..

I woke up just before 6 am in the worst pain of my life. I woke McDaddy up to tell him that I was pretty sure my appendix had ruptured.

He responded with something like, “Honey, if your appendix had ruptured, you would know it!”

Ahem. “Have you any idea what kind of pain I’m in?”

For ten minutes I sat on the side of my bed in complete and total agony. I got myself dressed and decided I was going to the ER with or without McDaddy and his limited medical knowledge. He thought it best that he drive me to the hospital.

He was driving like a bat out of you-know-where and for once I didn’t nag him about his driving speeding.

In fact, I could not have cared less about how fast he was going because quite frankly my hands were drawn and  OH MY GOSH I WAS IN HORRIBLE PAIN!

He slid into the ER parking lot and before I knew what was happening an ER nurse was at the side of the car questioning me about the source of my pain.

With every ounce of breath I could muster, I responded, “Um, I’m pretty sure I’ve had a stroke!”

And I was pretty sure I saw her roll her eyes before she responded with, “What makes you think you’ve had a stroke?”

Duh. “My hands are drawn!”

She unloaded some technical terminology about strokes and speech and whathaveyou, but all I heard was blah, blah and blah.

She diagnosed my condition on the sidewalk.

To my surprise, I did not have a stroke.

And my appendix had not ruptured.

I had a kidney stone.

As it turns out, I came dangerously (a little dramatic perhaps) close to hyperventilating which in turn made my hands drawn numb.

The ER Doc sent me home with some serious pain medication and a stack of paper funnels.

I wasn’t sure the funnel would be big enough to catch the boulder that had found its way into my kidney.

You can imagine my surprise when the “boulder” that I was watching for looked more like a grain of sand.

Seriously.

How a grain of sand could wreak that much havoc is beyond me.

Looking back on it, I probably am was a bit dramatic.

What can I say? That’s just how I roll.

And apparently the apple didn’t roll far from the tree.

The Crazy Is Free…Take All You Want!

BlogHopWelcome to From Inmates To Playdates.

I’m so glad you are here.

If you are one of my eight loyal blog fans, I appreciate you and thank you for stopping by to pick up your daily dose of crazy each day. If this is your first visit to Inmates, I would like to welcome you. Thanks so much to Robin over at Pensieve for hosting this shin-dig! Did I mention that I love a good shin-dig?

Pull up a chair and grab a Dr. Pepper from the fridge.

I began blogging in June, 2006 for myself and 200 of my closest friends on mySpace. Back in November, 2008 I decided to take the bloggy plunge and join the blogosphere. That whole Inmates to Playdates thing up there, that’s all true. Before hanging up my handcuffs to be a stay-at-home-mom, I was an inmate counselor at a Regional Jail. Oh, and just for the record, I did not find love in the jail, I only worked there.

I am 35 and I am married to McDaddy who happens to be the most patient man on the planet. He is a control systems genius engineer and also a member of the WV Air National Guard. He is currently deployed for six months where he is diligently protecting our butts, our freedoms and whatever else needs protecting at his current location. I talk about him often here at Inmates and I am so proud to be his wife. I miss him terribly.

Oh, and did I mention he is hot!

I have a six year old son named Stevie. He is a cool kid who loves Thomas, Lightning McQueen, Monster Trucks and his beloved DS. He is one of the sweetest kids I’ve ever known and I’m not at all just saying that because he is mine. He is thoughtful, polite and loving. (He’s also very smart but I don’t want to sound like one of those mothers).

I also have a three year old son named Alex. He has two speeds. Asleep. And wide open. It is comical to watch him in action. He loves to run, jump, climb and bulldoze. He also likes Thomas, Lightning McQueen, Monster Trucks and his Leapster. He is sweet, independent and cute as a button.

My boys are the joy of my life and I am thankful for the privilege of being a [stay-at-home] mother. Even though I always thought I would have a daughter, I am thrilled that the boys are the best of friends and wonderful playmates.

As my tag-line, I am a self proclaimed princess who gave up a career in corrections for stay-at-home-mom royalty. I have a truck-load of quirks and I am gifted in the art of conversation. Just ask anybody. I enjoyed my time in jail very much but I enjoy motherhood even more.

 I love the Saturn Sky, shopping, Dr. Pepper and Reality TV. I am also a Longaberger consultant and scrapbooker.

This blog is like a bag of chex mix. Sometimes you get a boring ole raisin and sometimes you get the M&M. Either way, it is my life.

I have talked at length about my funeral, the fun I had while riding in a police car, watching an embalming, and even pap smears. Some days I talk about my sweet boys, my hubby or my Jesus.

Feel free to look around and enjoy my daily dose of crazy. Believe me, there is plenty to go around. Thanks for hopping by.

Party On!