twohundredseventy

Overcoming Deployment One Day at a Time

The Five Stages

*To all my readers, I apologize for my recent absence.  I have no excuse other than not knowing where to go next.  I think I’ve found more inspiration, though.  Enjoy.*

I haven’t had a lot of time to write in a few days.  In the time I have found, I haven’t actually written, though.  Instead, I searched high & low for inspiration.

Well…sorta.

Since I lacked motivation as well, I gave up on the inspiration search pretty quickly.  I just haven’t been in the mood, ya know?

Perhaps the blogging world frowns upon me sharing my lack of drive, but I’m too new to know any better.  At least that’s my excuse.  After all, I am feeling a lack of consideration as well.

This past weekend & early week have just been one of those uneventful, lazy, selfish group of days.  Hmmm…Maybe this is stemming from pre-deployment woes?

Ah ha!  Inspiration!

Everyone knows about the 5 stages of loss and grief, right?

1. Denial & Isolation

2. Anger

3. Bargaining

4. Depression

5. Acceptance

Go to this super informative psychology site to learn more about each of them.  If you haven’t already heard of these 5 stages, then read up!  It is always good to know you’re not alone in an emotional roller coaster when something terrible happens.

Motivation!  I want to know if everyone else goes through highs & lows during the weeks leading up to deployment.  I know I can’t be alone…and I’m not.

I found this blog entitled “Five Stages of Pre-Deployment.”  Well, that sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

In this blog the author delves into our inner struggles with denial, disbelief, anger, sadness and acceptance.  I’m certain each of us deal with these stages differently, and some (like myself) go back & forth through the stages.  Sometimes it happens all in one day; other times I get stuck in a certain stage for days.  Now I’m stuck in the disbelief & anger stages with a little acceptance thrown in.

I know from past experiences that when I’m in utter disbelief and/or angry I become uninspired, lack motivation and see the world through only my eyes.  A little sliver of me wishes I were out of the disbelief & anger stages and, instead, in denial.  When I’m in denial, I’m usually a little happier than normal and pretend life is great.  In denial, though, I have these constant, lingering knots in my stomach.  I know deep down that something is wrong.  Sadness usually hits soon after my denial stage; I come down like a ton of bricks.  Like with disbelief and anger, I become unmotivated during sadness.  I usually find myself sitting in front of the TV, ignoring the world around me.  As far as acceptance goes, well…I can feel hints of acceptance every once in a while.  There’s relief in acceptance.  There’s a peace that comes with that stage that I can’t explain, and it’s where I want to be.  I hope the acceptance stage hits me full on here fairly quickly since D-day is soon.

So that’s a quick overview of how I feel throughout these 5 stages of pre-deployment.  How do you feel?  What are your side effects of denial, disbelief, anger, sadness and acceptance?

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Awesome Ideas from 5thingstodotoday

5thingstodotoday.com has so many fun ideas to keep your days interesting & productive. Today, the author opened up the opportunity for his readers to contribute. Check it out!

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The Sweet Olympics & Their Spoilers

London Olympics 2012

Oh, how sweet it would’ve been to be at these olympic games, but sitting in front of the television (and computer screen) with my hubby cheering at every accomplishment and flinching at every mishap was so much sweeter.

A few months back, we were under the impression hubby may already be deployed when the Olympics started.  If you’re familiar with the military, though, you know dates change constantly.  Seriously, all the time.  We were thankful for this change, though.  His date got pushed back far enough to be able to watch all 2+ weeks of the games.

Together we saw Michael Phelps win his 19th medal, breaking yet another record.  We watched Jordan Wieber layout her emotions when (as the favorite) she didn’t qualify for the all-around in gymnastics. Hubby and I stood staring at the television screen as Misty May-Treanor and & Kerri Walsh won another gold and celebrated their last victory together as a beach volleyball team.  (Go to the official Olympic games website to see all the other amazing Olympic moments.  It’s worth it.)

I’ve always, ALWAYS enjoyed the Olympics, but this year they were so much sweeter.  I can’t even begin to express in words the joy I feel knowing I got to experience all of it with my hubby before he deploys.  I’m sure we would’ve still discussed it via Skype from thousands of miles away, but getting to see each others’ reactions at the moment something amazing happened was like nothing else.

Being able to share my grief over internet spoilers with him was also rewarding.  I’m so glad I had someone here to vent to about all the internet hype.  He made me feel much better, and even though we knew some results we continued to watch as if we didn’t.  Precious times.

Then there was this…

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Hot Mess

This will be short & sweet.

I learned tonight that I’m not only an emotional hot mess, but I’m not doing so well physically either.  Thank you, deployment.

I obviously need professional help because I just can’t do it on my own anymore.  My hair, that is.

You’re welcome, blogging world.

*****

I needed a good laugh after a rough few days, and when you can laugh at yourself, the world immediately becomes a better place…if only for a moment.

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Pre-Deployment Blues

Yesterday was by far the worst I’ve had thus far.

Two weeks, four days.

That’s all I could think all day long.  It was torture.  And I’m certain my babies sensed my stress and sadness because they were both overwhelmingly difficult yesterday.  Or maybe I just felt like they were being difficult.

Yesterday  morning I sat on the couch crying in hysterics as hubby got ready to leave for work.  All I wanted was for him to stay home with me, to help me with the kids, to be by my side.  Soon enough he won’t be able to do any of those things.  For the life of me, I can’t understand why in the weeks before deployment he still spends more time with the soldiers he’s about to deploy with for 9 months than he does with his wife & kids who he is about to leave for 9 months.  I just get so angry with him.

Anger is a defense mechanism, though.  If I’m angry with him, then maybe I won’t miss him as much.  Maybe I’ll be ready for him to leave.  Maybe I’ll just stop caring that he’ll be gone for so  long.

None of those things are actually true, but I try to trick myself into thinking anger could help the sadness go away when really it is only fueling it.

I spend so much time being angry with hubby that by the time I see what I’m doing I realize I could’ve spent that time telling him how much I love him, making sure he knows I’m proud of him or cuddling with him on the couch (after he’s home from work, of course).  When I come to that realization the sadness I feel over the deployment becomes 10 times worse because I’m not making the most of his time left here.

Two weeks, three days.

I’ll do all I can to make the most of the short time that’s left.

Today has been a little better.  I still haven’t starting packing, but I can almost think about making a packing list without bursting into tears.  Almost.

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Life with a Two-Year-Old

What happened to my sweet, precious baby boy? He turned two. That’s what happened.

I remember when my son started crawling.  My first thought:  “Oh, how I miss the days when he would just sit and play.”

In the blink of an eye, he started walking.  At that time I thought, “Man, he was so much easier to control when he just crawled.”

Then he turned 1.  That’s when I realized our lives would never be the same.  I told everyone – “He must be hitting his terrible twos early because he’s a wild child.”

But wait.  Then he turned 2.  Everyone has told me, “Just wait.  Three is so much worse.”  I don’t believe it.  It’s impossible.

Don’t get me wrong, my little boy can be SO sweet, charming and gentle…about 5% of the time.

See? He can be sweet, but don’t let that face fool you.

The other 95% of the time, I spend telling him to sit on his bottom when he’s on the couch…among these common phrases:

  • “The couch is not a trampoline.”
  • “Don’t hit people with your toys.”
  • “Your little sister is not a baby doll you can drag around by the leg.”
  • “Eat.  Your.  Food.”
  • “No, stop.  Don’t play with your food.”
  • “No, you cannot have a snack.  It doesn’t matter how cute of a face you make at me.”
  • “We cannot go outside for the 10th time today.”
  • “Don’t get out of bed again.  Go to sleep.”
  • “If you get out of bed again, you’ll get a spanking.”
  • “One, TWO…….Three!”
  • And my latest favorite, “No, don’t say that.  That’s a bad, ugly word.”

Yeah, let’s talk about his latest phrases for a minute.

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Peace and Quiet

Both of my babies are napping.  *Knock on wood.*

There’s peace and quiet in my house, so why do I find myself at a loss for what to write?  Perhaps my mind is stuck on needing to finish part three of my “A Bubbly 2nd Birthday Blowout” post.  Maybe I need the chaos of my 2-year-old running around, screaming in glee, and my 2-month-old fussing until I pick her up and carry her around for hours on end as motivation to sit down and write.  Most likely, though, my mind is too focused on packing.

I need to start packing for my 9-month vacation back to Louisiana during hubby’s deployment.  I have very little time to get everything together that the three of us will need for 9 months away from our current home.  I’m just not ready to face that reality yet, though.

I can tell myself all day long, “It’s just a vacation,” but the gut-wrenching feeling in the pit of my stomach knows better.  It’s telling me what is really happening-My best friend/love of my life won’t be going on this “vacation” with us.

While there’s peace and quiet in my house for now, my emotions won’t settle enough to feel the peace or enjoy the quiet.

–End pity party here.  Onto something more exciting-finshing my 2-year-old’s birthday party blog.  Now that’s the type of party I like!–

Update:  “A Bubbly 2nd Birthday Blowout [Part 3]” has been finished & published.  I just couldn’t bring myself to break up those posts with this random thought.  I need organization in my life, after all.  😉

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A Bubbly 2nd Birthday Blowout [Part 3]

**This particular post is more geared toward the do-it-yourself party planners with tips and ideas.  It’s part of my twohundredseventy blog because this is something very special my husband & family got to do together before he leaves.  Enjoy.**

Finally!  We’re almost to the party part of this blowout blog.  Preparing for the party was a much longer process than I expected.  Writing these posts about the party have proven to be the same, but I love being able to share how we did everything and the time we spent together.  Please go check out the 1st and 2nd parts of this post.  I think they’re fun.  🙂

Onward to the party & activities.

Again, I have to give credit to Beth Kruse’s Custom Creations blog for putting these ideas in my head. Y’all should go check her out!

First we took part in some bubble art.  (And that’s about as far as my rhyming skills take me.)  Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of how I set everything up, but here’s a final product.

This is my 9-year-old sister-in-law’s final product. All the kids really enjoyed blowing different colors of bubbles.

What We Used:

  • 4 Styrofoam Cups
  • 4 Bubble Wands
  • 4 Bottles of Bubbles (I used the leftover bottles of bubbles I had after making all the party favors.)
  • Food Coloring (Red, Yellow, Green, Blue)
  • Multi-purpose Paper/Printer Paper
  • Highlighter (Blue…To go with the bubble theme…)

How We Did It:

It’s simple.  I filled each of the cups with one bottle of bubbles then added one food color to each cup.  You can determine the amount of food coloring you put in.  It just depends on how light or dark you want the bubbles.

I made sure to take the bubble wands out of each bottle of bubbles, so each color would have its own wand.

For every kid who came to the party, I wrote his/her name on a sheet of white paper with my handy blue highlighter.  (Blue is a must at a bubble party.  😉 )  This way every kid knew which sheet of paper belonged to him/her.  I’ll do anything to avoid fighting children.

During the party, the kids took turns gathering around the table (OUTSIDE) and blowing various colors of bubbles onto their papers  until their little hearts were content.  There were so many beautiful pieces of artwork.  I wish I would’ve taken more pictures:  Another lesson learned.

I do have this great picture of my husband and son participating in the bubble art, though.  🙂

There were many precious moments like this one at this party that I’m so thankful hubby got to participate in before deployment.

Next activity:  Pipe cleaner bubble wands

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A Bubbly 2nd Birthday Blowout [Part 2]

**This particular post is more geared toward the do-it-yourself party planners with tips and ideas.  It’s part of my twohundredseventy blog because this is something very special my husband & family got to do together before he leaves.  Enjoy.**

My husband and I had so much fun hand making all of the bubbly party decorations together. (Go read “A Bubbly 2nd Birthday Blowout [Part 1]”.)  As two avid perfectionists, I was very proud of our ability to maintain composure at every slip of the scissor and not kill each other.  We even ran into a bit of a predicament when we tried to go to our local party store the morning of the party for balloons.  It was a Sunday, and I guess people don’t need party supplies on Sunday until after noon.  Fail.

As soon as I began to panic, my husband maintained complete composure, took me to Wal-Mart and found me my own little helium tank and almost every color balloon I was in search of.  Now that’s perfection.

With all these said balloons, we designed an awesome “bubble” wall and welcomed our guests with your go-to “We’re throwing a party here today” sign-balloons on the mailbox & up our walkway.

The “Bubble” Wall

What They Used:

  • Balloons (light blue, dark blue, silver and white)
  • Scotch tape

How They Did It:

My husband, who is full of hot air ;), father-in-law and sister-in-law blew up many, many, many balloons in different sizes and colors:  light blue, dark blue, white, silver.  Then my mother-in-law and father-in-law spent about half an hour taping the balloons to our back wall of windows.  I loved how it turned out.  Very bubbly.

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A Bubbly Welcome

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Out Floating “Bubbles” Walkway

What Hubby Used:

  • Store-bought helium tank
  • Ribbon (white and blue)
  • Party weights (blue and white)

How He Did It:

Putting balloons on a mailbox is pretty self explanatory and extremely common, so I won’t even bore you with the details there.  For the walkway, hubby blew up the balloons with the helium tank, tied ribbon to the end of the balloons then to the weights and placed the floating “bubbles” along the walkway up to our front door.  The only problem we ran into with this was the wind.  It took out these floating bubbles within an hour.  Otherwise, I thought it was an awesome idea that I can’t even take credit for.

While all the balloon decorating was taking place, I got to the good stuff- baking the semi-homemade bubbly cupcakes.

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A Bubbly 2nd Birthday Blowout [Part 1]

**This particular post is more geared toward the do-it-yourself party planners with tips and ideas.  It’s part of my twohundredseventy blog because this is something very special my husband & family got to do together before he leaves.  Enjoy.**

The days leading up to the dreaded 270-day deployment aren’t all bad.  This past weekend we celebrated my son’s 2nd birthday.  Thanks to Pinterest, Beth Kruse’s Custom Creations blog, a little imagination and my very helpful husband and inlaws, my son’s 2nd birthday party was a hit.  It was full of homemade decorations, semi-homemade cupcakes and activities all with the bubble theme.

 If you’re looking to make your own decorations for your next party, can I suggest not waiting until the night before?  It is very time consuming, but totally worth it to have some creative freedom.  Here’s some of the things my husband and I got to work on together-time I cherish right before the D-word.

Bubbly Party Favor Tags

ImageWhat I Used:

  • Card stock (Silver, indigo and powder blue)
  • Scissors
  • Printed notes (“Thanks for popping in!”)
  • Hole puncher
  • White ribbon
  • Bubbles and sunglasses (as the party favors)

How I Did It:

First, I found different size round objects around the house that I could trace onto the card stock.  Then I cut out 4 round “bubbles” in the various colors I bought for each party favor tag, and I arranged them in such a way to give them a little dimension.  Each tag turned out a little different than the last.

 My computer-savy husband designed the actual “Thank you” part of the party favor tag using a Microsoft software.  We printed an entire sheet of those on the powder blue card stock, cut them into oval shapes and placed them on the bubbly party favor tags.

I then punched a single hole into each tag, inserted the white ribbon and tied it around the favors.  Simple, cute and therapeutic to do yourself.

The homemade birthday banner was also very therapeutic.   Read the rest of this entry »

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