Sunday, June 21, 2009

Photos, too many to post each one

I couldn't adjust the time on each slide. You may get bored, just try to click the buttons to go faster if it seems too slow.

Mike was so honored to have his parent's drive all the way up to Bangor, ME to see him for an hour during his layover. What wonderful parents! Big Dad, I hope you had a great Father's Day. Mike said it was the best Father's Day he's ever had, to get to see his Dad and come home to his sons --in the same day.

My mom and Retired Chief Weldon F. Mays (my grandpa) and Grandma came out just to see Mike in.

Thank you Care Group for coming to greet Mike. He loved it!

Ya'll are the best.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Mike's arrival
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Saturday, June 20, 2009

All set

He's on his way.

Final destination: Home.

ETA: After Church

The boys and I have been decorating. It's going to be a big day!

Here are some pictures of how we decorated the house:

Friday, June 19, 2009

Wait till you see how much he's grown


He's a man. Just look at the facial hair. You won't even recognize him. You leave when he's barely toddling around and you will come back to see a young man who can handle any step, put a couple of words together, loves cars, climbs on anything he can find and lives to annoy his older brother.

He's just all grown up.

Now if I could only convince him to shave.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Everyone's coming home

I'm getting the boys back in a few hours. I have missed them! I've got supper almost done so that when they get here I can just sit and play with them.

The report from my grandparents is that they've been wonderful.... I'll ask Chrissy.

Jack has been telling everyone who asks that:

"Mommy is home cleaning the garage for Daddy to get home."

Funny thing, I didn't even clean the garage. That was my goal then I talked to Mike and he wants some projects to do when he gets home so I am saving the garage for him :-)

What a guy!

I think he just wants to serve us. He has been so far from us for so long and has not been able to do anything tangible for the three of us. Interesting. He even asked if maybe we could break some stuff so that he could fix it.

Don't worry Mike, you will have plenty of "Hands on" time with the boys. They need you to roughhouse with them so bad! Be careful, they'll break your head off if you aren't careful.

I think I've got everything ready. I'm going to take a quick trip up to Pier 1 for new porch pillows (if they are on sale).

Then we just wait...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sam's club mistakes

Sam's Club.

I don't even know why I'm a member. Since when did a family of 3 1/2 need to buy food in bulk???

Must be something about America that makes me think I need stuff --and lots of it.

Or maybe it's because I grew up in a family of 10. I'll blame it on the latter.

I've been known to go into Sam's and come out with a three pack of the "Family size" dryer sheets. I don't know what came over me three years ago when I put that in my cart. I hardly ever use those things anyway. I was so excited last summer when I finally finished the first box. Now I'm halfway through box #2. I will probably be back on the market for another box of dryer sheets about Ty's freshman year of high school.

Then another time I came home with a HUGE bag of baking soda. You know how they normally sell that in the store? Yes. A little box that fits in the palm of your hand. The bag I bought? It's probably about the size of two bags of flour.

Soda? Yes. The good news is that there is lots of use for soda.

  • put some in your fridge to absorb odors

  • bake pretty much anything

  • brush your teeth

  • poor it down your drain to make the garbage disposal smell better

My favorite is that last one --it seems to use up the most. A lot of times when I clean the kitchen I throw a 1/4 of a cup down the drain just for good measure. Why not? I've got enough to last through the rapture.

That same trip I made my worst ever bulk purchase.

It was back when we were closing on the house. I wanted to leave paper towels and TP for the new owners because really. What's worse than walking into your new home, sitting down to use the potty and... nothing to wipe with. If it was your normal home you could grab a Kleenex or some paper towels from under the sink or in the worst case scenario a magazine....

but at a new house? There's nothing. I know. I've moved into a new house like 8 times. So... I wanted to be kind and leave bottled water in the fridge, TP, trash bags and paper towels.

I was at Sam's....looking for TP, then I see it....

cute individually wrapped rolls of toilet paper.

How perfect, now they new homeowners won't have to be concerned with the sterile-ness of the TP. This will be so cute sitting on the counter welcoming them to their new home.

I bought the package. I think there were probably 48 rolls of toilet paper total.

Think about that for a second. How long does it take to use up 48 rolls of toilet paper.

A LONG TIME -unless you are going wrapping, but that's another story...

Mike, my sweet, gentle, war-fighting husband, has a thing with toilet paper. He wants it to be as soft as the pillow he lays his head on at night.

One time, after discovering some less-than adequate TP in the bathroom, he came to me to "talk." We talked about the importance of the words "3-plye"and "quilted" and "extra soft". I agreed not to buy that kind again and to donate the remaining to Good Will.

It was serious.

That package of 48 rolls of individually wrapped toilet paper? It's like a super thin single-ply roll of sandpaper.

This will never work.

I've got rolls and rolls of it left and we've been trying to use it up since Mike deployed. I've had tons of people in my house and I've given them lots of liquids hoping to get rid of the toilet paper. It's still here. I don't know what to do. Only a few more days to get rid of it. I'd throw it out, but I just can't justify that in my head. I'd give it to someone but stories of people in the Bible who "gave the best that they had," keep haunting me.

There is really only one thing left to do with this poor quality toilet paper... if you know me very well, you will know exactly what that is.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Pace yourself

If I've learned anything about myself in the past two years it's that I pace myself.

I like to go hard. I like to get stuff done then move on to the next thing. I rest when necessary then get back up and keep going when refreshed.

I'm pretty decent about going to bed on time. I'm getting really good about getting up early. I take naps when needed.

I've become a runner. I now love to run. For the first time in my life I enjoy running. It's odd, I know. I've trained for three 5Ks and haven't actually competed in any of them.

I think a deployment can be easily compared to a 5K.

  • You prepare.

  • You start off with way more energy than you need for the beginning and you remind yourself not to go too fast.

  • The first 1/3 mile is a killer.

  • Then you get into a good breathing pattern and fall right into step.

  • Praise music/good sermons are a must. They keep the focus off of what you are doing and on the big picture.

  • Mile two you just want to quit. Mostly cause you are bored with the monotonous pattern of it all. You are tired and you want a change.

  • With a half a mile left your entire focus is on finishing. "I'm almost there. Just a little bit more." You're body is spent and you are saving just enough energy for the last laps.

  • You're chest is pounding, your lungs gasping and you face dripping sweat. You are almost to a stopping point and that's good because you can't go any more.

You are spent.

You've paced yourself.

You've given in all and there's no more left to give.

Then you get to stop.

About three weeks ago I was looking at my calendar. It looked something like this:

Emily and the girls coming for 3 days. Two days later, Amanda coming for 4 days. I head to Greenville, see Grant graduate, pick up Chrissy and she stays till Mike gets home.


I paced myself.

Two days out of the last 4 weeks would be spent without live-in help. I can do this. I started mentally relaxing. No more watching kids alone. I've got help. I'm on the last 1/2 mile.

Then. Plans changed. Chrissy was not going to stay the whole time. She had to head back early. Bad news, because I was done watching kids alone. I'd have 4 days to suck it up and go back to "full custody."

Eww. I was trying to convince myself that I had enough in the tank for that.

Next thing I know, plans change again. Now she (and Mom) would have to leave 8 days before V-E Day.

"I can't do it." I told them. "There's no way. I don't have anything left in me." I sat in the chair trying to come up with a way to psych myself up for this.

Put a fork in me, cause I'm DONE.

I thought, "I'll just call the babysitters and see if I can get someone to come live with me." I'll pay someone to clean my house. I'll hire a pool boy --I mean a lawn guy. Something. I just don't think I can do it.

I had paced myself.

So. Chrissy says: "You can just hire me. We'll take the boys home with us and I'll watch them."

I stopped. I looked off. I thought.

Could this really work? Will I feel like a bad mother? Will my boys come back all thrown off from the change? What would I do with myself? Will they behave? Would Mike think this was a good idea? What if they come home with ticks? Will they obey Chrissy?

We talked about schedules and fees and decided it would work.

They packed up and were gone.

First time I've been without child or husband since OTS -four years ago.

I think I'll find plenty to do this week. I've got a list.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Bueno heads

"Hi welcome to Taco Bueno, I'll take your order when you are ready."

"Yes. I'd like 23 party burritos and 3 regular bean burritos and 3 potato burritos and lots of hot sauce."
"...How many party burritos?"
"No. 23. T-W-E-N-T-Y T-H-R-E-E."
"You want 23 party burritos."
"Yes. I'm buying them for my brother in California. He loves them but can't get them out there. He's going to take them home with him and freeze them."
Repeats my order.
"We'll have the total at the window."
I pull up to the window, pay and wait for the food. They made it pretty fast. I usually count the items before I leave as there is often a problem when you order more than 3 items. This time I just looked at the guy who handed them to me and said: "Did you count them?"
He says "Yes. It's right."

My brothers stopped by to see the house on their way out to Cali. Grant is going to work with Stan for the summer. I picked up dinner and they ate with us before getting back on the road.
Mom and Chrissy are here helping out, will be leaving very soon. Probably tomorrow. It's been fun having them out here.

"Bye Uncle Stan and Uncle Grant."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Crunch time

No, I'm not talking about the cereal. I'm talking about how I need to get off my rear and make my house spotless for my war hero.

For some reason I have been satisfied with cluttered closets and a dirty garage. Usually I like to keep things organized. I'm not psycho about it, but I like to be able to find things when I look for them. Ugg.... I'm just not motivated right now. The garage: it must get done. Period. So I need to just buckle down and do it. Anyone want to come over and "fellowship" on Tuesday during MDO? We'll hang out in the garage.

It's getting SO close. My husband/best friend/backrubber/kid wrestler/companion/dish washer/comedian/helper/lover is coming back to me.

I can hardly stand it I'm so excited.

I'm more excited than I have been after any other deployment.

After having 4 1/2 months of the single life where you can come and go as you please without considering or consulting anyone else, it is a small bummer to have to change that. But I don't even care this time. I know I am going to have so much fun hanging out with him when he gets back that I don't care if I do have to have some sort of plan for supper or make sure I come home every night or put some restrictions on my "open door policy" with my friends. It will be fine.

In fact, I think it will be great.

I'm so excited.

You people who have husbands who are around all the time, as wonderful as that is, you don't get to experience the JOY I get to experience when my husband comes home to me.

Now that it is normal for me to live more of my life with him gone than with him home, the 3 1/2 months he is home are so wonderful. God has been (and hopefully will continue) refining us. The time away from each other is time that we can learn more and more to rely on God, to love God, to trust God.

The deeper out love for God, the deeper our love for each other.

God is love.

We learn how God loves us which means we have learned how to love others which means we love each other more.

It's beautiful.

It's perfect.

The roads God takes us down in order to teach us are roads that I would never have taken on my own. I'm so glad God is god. I don't think I would love and appreciate Mike this much if God hadn't taken him away so that I had no other "lover" than himself.

It's beautiful.


that's the best part. Now I get 2 months of him all to myself (then he leaves again...).

I can't post on here the date and time that he will be arriving, but if you call me I can tell you if you promise not to tell the bad guys. Isn't that right Mike? If not, tell me quick. Maybe I'll have to talk in code if we are on the phone. In person I can tell you I think....

Please keep praying for a safe return for our men and women. We've got another week and a half ish.

Technical difficulties

I have a new warning label idea for the people who sell thumb drives:

***Do not leave your thumb drive plugged into your USB port on your computer as one-year-olds could possibly use it as a step. This could result in ruining your thumb drive, bending the USB port inside the computer, and corrupting something on your hard drive***

Don't ask me how I came up with this suggestion.

Or do.

The answer: Ty.

How do you fix it?

The answer: Eric Hutchinson.

He took the whole computer apart trying to figure out the problem. Then he tested the power supply at his house. Wasn't the problem. He plugged my hard drive into his computer to see if it was still working. It had several corrupt files on it, we think his computer somehow fixed them, because when he put it back together for me and tested it (just for kicks), it worked.


It was a stressful afternoon.

Ty's name was mud.

The reason it was a little tense was because my Mom is here spending the week using my fast Internet (online class) and has lived on the computer. She was going to have to go home since I didn't have the computer.

But, Eric saved the day.

Thank you, thank you, thank you Eric for spending your entire evening helping us out.

First thing this morning I went to Walmart and bought an external hard drive. Now all my pictures and music and documents are backed up. Whew.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Grant's graduation

I'm a week behind. I know. Sorry. Well, almost a week behind.

Grant, by baby bro, graduated from high school this year! The boys and I went down for the party. Didn't see a ton of him but were really excited when we did get to hang out. Here are some pictures from the weekend.

Notice Jack's new hairdo? Yep. I did it. I couldn't resist any longer. Having to hold up the hair while I sunscreen his forehead was what did it. I thought how silly it was to have to do that when he would be more comfortable with it short.
So it's done. And I don't hate it. It's much better than I thought it would be.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Random thoughts

I'm beginning to understand all those cartoons where Garfield looks half-dead before drinking his coffee.

Staying up late with friends doesn't have the same "morning after" feeling, you know, the one where you wake up by the warm 10:00 sun shining in your windows and you lie there another 30 minutes talking about how you can't believe you stayed up so late.

College students seem young.

My ipod has "Bob the Builder" on it.

The first item of the day (besides make coffee) is switch over the laundry so as to make sure there is clean underwear ready for the boy in the pull-up.

My knee sometimes aches a little.

I am SO excited that Abilene just got a "Children's Place." I will practically live in their clearance section. They will know my name. I'll walk in and someone will say: "Hi Becca, nothing new is marked down less than $3, except for the graphic t's, and we pulled out one of each in Jack and Ty's next year sizes. They are here behind the counter for you. Do you want us to put them on your account?"

I'm far enough into raising my kids that I have very little advice on how to raise kids.

Yesterday I got a free minivan wash and it made my day. The sign on the VIP board said that if you were born in 1985 you get a free car wash. I was so excited when I saw that. I told the guy "Hey, can I get the free car wash!" He looked at me and said, "I don't think so...". Just kidding. I told him the chick sitting next to me was born in '85 and he said that would count. Awesome.

So this is what it is like to be almost 30.

I think I like it.

Mike's sons watching the Red Sox game. Ty went to his room, picked up the chair and lugged it all the way into my room. Jack is sporting his Red Sox pjs. No, I am not a Red Sox fan. Back when I had time to care about baseball I was a Yankees fan. Mike's the Red Sox fan. Why the event? Amanda, my Red Sox fanatic friend, was here and wanted to see the game.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Birthday surprises

When I was younger, let's say sevenish... I was aware that my birthday was coming. Being my humble self, I had few requests for the big day.

I asked for:

  1. a surprise party
  2. a treasure hunt
  3. a present that was wrapped up inside of may boxes (you know, you unwrap one and then there is another and another inside to unwrap)
  4. a cake of equal extravagance to that of a wedding cake... heck... let's just make it a wedding cake
I felt like that was the least anyone could do. I mean. It was my birthday.

My sweet, under-appreciated mom and dad lived up to my expectations. They delivered. It was one of the best birthdays ever. My friends jumped out of Grandpa's shed (he lived across the road) and headed over to the house for the big party.

Fun times.

Through the years I have realized that those sorts of parties don't happen every year. I'm now quite content with a card or two and a few phone calls. That's all it takes to make me feel special on the big day.

This year I was expecting a quiet day, maybe a friend would drop by. That would have made it awesome!

Sunday night (the night before "the big day") Dad calls and we talk for a while then he tells me that he is at the front gate waiting for me! He's driven all the way out here to hang out and take me out to breakfast! What a guy. I've got the greatest dad. He took off Monday just so I wouldn't be by myself taking care of kids on my birthday. He even watched the boys while I went out with a friend and got my toes painted.

Yep. He's the greatest, and he knows how much I like surprises.

Tuesday (day after "the big day") is MDO. I had made plans with Rachel, my friend, to hang out. I get to her house and


There she is along with seven of my very good friends from our Care group (small group at church) well, technically a few of them used to be in our small group before we got too big and had to split. But that doesn't really matter.

They planned a party for me. We ate lunch and had desert. It was so much fun. I can't believe I have so many people that are so important to me and that I am this important to them. I am so blessed.

Thanks Kerry for going home to get your camera. These are pictures I will treasure forever.

Front row: Regina, Me, Rachel, Sarah Beth

Back row: Kerry, Lacey, Kelsey, Taylor, Sonya and Eden (hiding behind SB)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I cannot hardly stop smiling.

I'm having to force myself not to smile right now because I'm trying to write. I can't write and smile at the same time. I have to have my "game face" on or I won't make any since.

It's been 4 days now.

Four days of relief.

God lifted everything off of my shoulders and renewed my spirit. It's so nice to have funny things pop into my head again.

Sunday at church one of my friends said, "Boy Becca, you sure are smiley today." I just grinned when she said that.

I think God let me feel all that weight because He wanted me to have reason to cling to Him. I forget I need God when I can handle it all. The pressure on me drove me to seek him out, to search his word, to find promises in the Scriptures and post them all over my house -so as not to forget.

I'm not trying to sound all super holy or something. I could have done a much better job through all this.

This verse came to mind today.

My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. Proverbs 3:11-12

The word DISCIPLINE usually has a negative connotation. It makes you think you have to have been disobedient to receive it.

But here is a definition I found of discipline:

dis·ci·pline : training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character

How cool is that?

How thankful am I that God loves me enough to discipline me, to perfect me. Wow. And how gracious is He that he didn't take me through some horrible situation that will leave lasting scars on me in order to teach me.

Our sins often precede discipline. Our sins ALWAYS precede negative consequences.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that God didn't let me wander off and leave him and do lots of foolish things to bring me to a place where I could grasp what he was trying to teach me.

Tommy's letter to the pastor

Tommy, my brother-in-law, wrote a letter to his pastor in response to his sermon.

Please check it out. You'll be glad you did.