About Me

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I am the mother to three beautiful little girls.
First and foremost, I love the outdoors! From hiking, gardening to taking care of our animals and exercising I love to stay active.
I moved to New York in 2008 after my husband and I met while both serving in the armed services. I served 6 years in the Air Force as an aircraft electrician. After the birth of our first daughter our priorities in life quickly changed. I left the military however my husband is still actively serving in the Air Force National Guard.
We love animals and currently own two parrots. We have geese, chickens, rabbits and two dogs.
In 2014 we bought a house off the foreclosure list. Our journey started full of energy and positive thoughts. The idea of working alongside my husband while picking out new light fixtures and choosing paint colors for our house really sounded exciting. It did not take long to realize how quickly our purchase propelled our lives into a doorway of growth, change and surprises. The experiences fueled me to start this blog and share our journey with others. 
Although our life is often hectic, we feel very blessed to have the life we live.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

MEN(tal) breakdown, MEN(tal) anxiety, MEN(stral) cramps: MEN -it all starts with men

      Marriages do not always run smoothly. They take work. A LOT of work. My husband and I started out with challenges even in the beginning. We deal with separation yearly because of his military career. However, maintaining a long distance relationship is nothing new for my husband and me. We were friends for a year before we ever started dating. We both met at the same military base and maintained a relationship while I lived in Southern Ohio and he lived in Upstate New York. Our lives were separated by hundreds of miles. I will never forget how important it was for us to keep communication and to stay in contact. We usually saw one another one or two weekends a month if we were lucky. It was by no means, easy. We shared our lives through communication and learned to build trust through the constant phone calls. During those moments I dreamed of going on more dates and spending more time together in person. Looking back I am beyond grateful that we learned early on how to talk and get to know one another through our conversations. I feel that we learned to love one another for the condition of our hearts. We never had to deal with being blindsided by gifts. Well wait, now that I am thinking about it, the reality is he had it easy. He never had to spend money on frequent dates. I never even got the razzle dazzle of a giant overpriced dinner. I did however get breakfast delivered to my front door when he came in town or there were the quiet nights we spent at my home watching a movie and eating a delivered pizza. Those moments we love remembering.  Each month we would value the time together knowing it would be awhile before we could meet again. Those beginning circumstances truly prepared us for marriage and the frequent separation.

             The separation has gotten more challenging with children.
Such as now. This time around my girls have swapped back and forth a respiratory illness. There have been numerous nights where one finally falls asleep at 1 am and by 4 am another one is waking me up. The littlest is 17 months and on numerous occasions she has pushed me away and wandered through our entire house yelling for her poppa. Two nights ago she refused to be comforted and found her way upstairs to check for her poppa under our covers. My heart felt like it could not take much more. It took me over an hour to calm her spirit so she could fall asleep. If we are lucky enough to have good Internet service, then she falls asleep peacefully by the sound of his voice while on speaker phone. Thank goodness for a sitter so that several days a week all I do is sleep for hours. I am always so tired. These are just a few examples of how challenging life gets. However, there has been so much growth over the years from these deployments. I have gained knowledge about myself and have been able to see the good in mankind because of others kindness. Ultimately I have learned so much about my marriage. Here I sit separated from him. He is deployed to the Middle East and all over again we are maintaining our relationship through communication. Can I just be honest? This sucks!!! I would give up so much to have him home especially on those rough days where parenting is a struggle. Where the housework piles up and I just do not feel like being an adult. On those days more than anything l miss the convenience of having him close by to hug for some encouragement. Those small things are the very things I miss the most and yet most spouses take for granted on a daily basis. The moments where I am frustrated but he is around to help carry the burden. Sadly, I won’t get his help for another few weeks. His deployment ends in about 20 days. Man do I miss my husband! Can we just hit fast forward?

             There has been so much growth over the years. This trip I have reflected about when he is home. During those long stays at home we get into a routine. It is so easy to take his presence for granted. When we fell in love I always loved the way he stared at me. It was so easy to see how everything about him was wonderful, amazing and I always openly told him he was a good man. What man doesn’t puff up and soak up those heartfelt compliments? It strokes their ego. It is like a man who has a healthy relationship with his daughter. She lights up his eyes and a man just stares at his baby girl in a very different way than he will ever look at his son. Have you ever wondered why? Think about it. Every daughter has a gleam in her eye the minute her father walks into a room. Little girls will suddenly bomb rush their father before both feet come through the door. Where he goes, they follow closely behind just chatting away. The whole time they look at their father like he is the greatest man this world has to offer. They always tell their daddy how great he is and they view him as their hero. They don't see his faults. In return a man will try to lasso the moon for her if she were to ask. We as women did the same thing when we first fell in love. Our husbands would conquer us the world if it kept us happy.  Ladies, but let’s be real. As time passes we forget and those pesky issues start popping up for us to see. Suddenly we forget those positive traits about our man that we fell in love with and admired. We then lived together, we learned more about one another and as women we suddenly began focusing on the negative qualities.
You know, those irritating habits that grind on our nerves and rub us the wrong way?! Argh! Did he just leave dirty socks sitting on the bed? Did he throw his dirty clothes on the floor again? Did he leave another mess behind? Did the honeymoon period wear off and we suddenly feel like we are caring for a grown child? Take a minute to think, but in the big grand scheme, does any of it matter?

            My husband leaves every year and honestly I never once think about the negative qualities(at least not hardly). All I ever miss is his presence. I miss his hugs and his kisses. I miss all those simple things. I miss him always sitting down to listen to me talk on and on. Lord knows I can talk into his ear for hours. He is a quiet man and willingly sits for as long as I need him. He may not say much but he sure can listen.  I would give up so much just to be able to fall asleep next to him. He has always made sure that I feel safe and when he is around, I sleep soundly. I miss seeing him driving through our gate after 14hours of work. I miss him taking me on long car drives. I miss him just sitting down eating dinner with us as a family. I hate waking up every morning and not seeing that he made me breakfast. Instead I am left home thinking about how much I miss my husband and all those precious qualities that he brings to our marriage. Every night we eat dinner and there our daddy doll sits in his absence. My heart hurts to see his empty chair.  I value that he wakes up every day and goes to work in order to provide for our family. I miss having him around to keep up on the maintenance of our vehicles or to fix all the things that break around the house. His absence constantly forces me to view life with a different perspective. His deployments allow me to miss all his positive qualities.

            When he returns home that is all he usually hears. I build up his ego with an ear full of all the things I appreciate and value about him within our marriage.
Hear me out. We do still have days where we just irritate one another but I try to stay focused. Oh, did he just help in the kitchen? You will hear me congratulate him like he just won the lottery. Those habits are worth encouraging. I have learned that compliments lead him to help in other areas. He loves the compliments and truly enjoys knowing how much I value him and his help. It has not always been this way. I have had moments and there are still times that I start to have some negative nelly days. However, I have learned that if I focus on all the negatives, his positive qualities will slip through the cracks and go unnoticed. After awhile he will stop helping. That huge heart that I fell in love with will suddenly get lost. The good will disappear among the piles of dishes or forgotten about after I see his power tools sitting AGAIN on our kitchen table. We HAVE been there. He has seen the ugly inside of me. He has heard the negatives plus been there for the times I openly mentioned I wanted to change him. It is then that I start to see that sparkle in his eye for me begin to fade. Do you know that not once has he EVER wanted to change anything about me? If you ask him, every time he will say he wouldn’t change a thing. Now that is a powerful thought for me to consider at times. That to me tells the character of my husband, regardless. I pray that my husband never loses that sparkle in his eye for me. When he started too, those were scary times. It was then that I realized that instead of trying to change him, I needed to correct MY behavior. I couldn’t change my husband but I could change myself. To my surprise, he went right back to trying daily to lasso the moon for me even if I didn't ask.

            I pray that other women learn to appreciate their man for all his GOOD qualities so that he does not get lost among the rubble of negatives. If we don’t build them up then chances are they will be tempted to find someone else who will stroke their ego. Honestly we all have problems and irritating habits. What if your spouse were to go away? What if you had to spend long periods of time separated? Would any of those irritating habits even matter? How much of the small aspects would you miss?  Marriage is not easy. It takes work every single day. I place my marriage as a priority over my children some if not most days. The kids will one day grow up and live their life. However, I am connected to my spouse for life. That means we had better figure this out. Maybe if more people would try to change their own faults instead of changing their spouse, the world would have a lot happier people. The moral of the story; despite the dirty sock you might find for the 15th time that was not in a laundry basket, be grateful for your husband. Appreciate what he DOES do around the house. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Diversity in Intelligence

              I hated school as a child. I felt recess and gym were the best classes. I have always been active, loved the outdoors and took a strong passion for animals. I never knew as a child that people can have different types of intelligence. I took a psychology class several years ago and it was there that I learned about Robert Sternberg.
He developed a theory that intelligence deals with three different types of intelligence: analytic, creative, and practical. Analytical intelligence is the only one measured by traditional intelligence tests. Although analytic intelligence is important for the success in academics and some other areas, Sternberg argued that school should not base people solely on the basis of this kind of intelligence. I agree with the man.
The phrase, “dances to a beat of her own drum” has been used on numerous occasions to represent my life. Some might call it free spirited or strong willed. I admit it. I own that whole heartedly. I was never a bad child. I just wanted to please people and always tried to do the right thing. However if I got pushed and had my mind set there was no going back for me. I will never forget the story my family has told from when I was about three years old. We were all at a family reunion and I had done something wrong. My mother tried to correct me and sent me to go sit in time out. I turned my back and over my shoulder stated in a long drawn out voice, “You asshole” Yep that was me. Of course my mother was shocked, embarrassed and utterly mortified. Children pick up on the dandiest things. It helps to give you some insight.

      I went through school as a child struggling. I was bored out of my mind and h-a-t-e-d school.
I always looked out the window and dreamed about anything besides being forced to sit, stay still and read from a textbook. I wanted to feel the dirt, hear the trees move and watch the water rush down the rivers. If I could maintain a passing grade I would wipe my hands and call it a good day. However, teachers and other adults were not so thrilled with my lack of motivation. My mother was a school teacher so I felt that she took it personal that I was not the honor roll student. It was not until I reached the age to play sports I had to take a different approach. School required athletes to maintain a minimum grade point average.

To this day, I still remember a turning point.  I had a biology or was it chemistry teacher? Anyways the teacher in high school pulled me in the hall one day during class. He wore glasses and always had these noisy cowboy boots with pants that went too far up his waist. He threatened me about my lack of effort in his class. He wanted me to do more and if I didn’t, he threatened my athletics. He insinuated that I couldn’t thrive in his class and that alternative measures might need to be considered. He openly admitted to not liking athletes. When that did not work he approached me again stating that maybe I needed to repeat the class over because he worried about my intelligence and my ability to comprehend. Whelp that pushed me. How dare him!? I had the minimal grade. I did enough to play sports. I lived and breathed them but to undermine my ability pushed me to draw a line. I had to take time away. I forced myself for over a week to study the entire material for the upcoming exam. I fell asleep nightly with an open text book and papers all over my bed and floor. I was determined to prove him wrong.
I took the test. He called me outside the classroom again after handing out all the exams. Out of all three of his biology classes I was the only one who aced his test. He took great pride in creating challenging tests and seemed to thrive off of students not receiving A’s. Therefore he accused me of cheating. I admitted to him of my constant studying habit. He informed me that he knew I actually had it in me all along and to keep up the good work. I never did. I proved my point and went back to my minimal efforts. I was not interested. The material bored me to tears and in my mind, why would I ever again use pipets, goggles and flaming torches to create some chemical reaction. I could have cared less.

My entire school years had been the same story, except college. College you choose, in some ways what to study. However, during the younger years I lacked motivation and the teachers had questioned several times if I needed more assistance. They never provided it because once the milestones crept up, I would achieve them and go right back to sliding through each school year. However, here is what teachers did not realize. I took a strong passion for animals. I checked out every book I could and read up on them. I became borderline obsessively interested in reading on one topic until I soaked up all the information I could and then moved on to the next subject. I had an old dog book that listed all the different breeds from around the world.  If you’re speaking sports or animals then you are speaking my language.
The book was bigger than most people’s bibles with full blown color pages and detailed descriptions on color differences, ear sets, origin and traits of each breed. I read that book forward and backwards. If I did not understand a word, I researched it in a dictionary. The book became so worn out it kept falling apart. On several occasions my mother had to duct tape the spine back together. Had anyone tested me on dog breeds, I would have looked like a gifted dog expert. Sadly that never happened thus most adults totally missed out on what areas I was gifted. I am a visual learner and being active such as sports has always come easy for me.

My love of animals has led me down some truly amazing adventures over the years. From horses and barrel racing, chickens running on treadmills, dogs pulling our children in carts to working with a friend at her pet sanctuary with the cute little wallaby named Walter and then to my own history of pets and funny stories.  My life has never been dull to say the least. I love them! They keep my life entertaining and fun. Even just yesterday a friend worked out the arrival of a new feathered creature. His name is Larry, you know Larry the cable guy? He is a goose. A very large goose who meets my 8 year old at eye level. His mate was run over. Apparently they chase car tires. Who knew that would be a death wish. However Larry came to our house to live. He is a Chinese crested goose and now gets to live with two female geese.

When Larry arrived and rightly so, he was scared and stressed. I carried him to our chicken coop where he immediately honked loudly for all to hear. I sat him down and he instantly went into a full blown straight up position with his chest fully puffed out to let the ladies know he has muscles, good looks and good breeding qualities. Poor Larry was rejected and got the cold shoulder. Typical stuck ups! Apparently he showed too much interest and was too eager to make friends. His ego was majorly deflated so he ran and hid between my legs like a frightened little puppy. He lost his confident composure and followed me all over the yard making sure to always be touching me. He is adorable. I am hoping that by the weeks end he will calm down and be less stressed. His constant honking broke my heart but unlike a puppy, he is too big to bring inside and sleep on my bed so I had to lock him up last night. The poor little buddy. Luckily he is the only male and the girls have another thing coming if they actually think they have options. To their sheer disappointment, he is the only male within our boundaries.
Knowing that gives me great confidence that in no time at all, Larry the cable guy will be the ladies’ man and the chaos here at our home will settle down. In the meantime his arrival has fueled my interest and just like my childhood, I am researching Chinese crested geese. I won’t stop until I feel I have soaked up all that I can. Sigh, I am a nerd!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

I'll be home for Christmas even if only in my dreams.

       My husband has served 22 years in the military. He left again on another deployment. This trip is over to the middle east or "the sandbox." I sit here with a few more wrinkles and a cloudy haze swirling around in my head. I have gone several weeks lacking sufficient sleep. Once within the past week I managed to snag a nap which brought me to a total of 9 hours worth of sleep. I wear a fitbit to help track my pulse for health reasons but one bonus is it tracks my sleep patterns. If I could win an award for little sleep, I would be killing that competition. Man oh man did I feel like a champion when I got a nap and yet I woke up feeling guilty after taking an inventory of my day only to realize very little on my to do list had been accomplished. Bills have to be paid. Errands need ran and children take up a lot of my already limited time. Ain't no one got time to sleep.

      I have stacked firewood and loaded it numerous times. I have gone grocery shopping, ran errands, cleaned and then cleaned some more. I plus the help of our girls have chores daily in order to care for our geese, rabbits, and other pets. I have dealt with a sick toddler and have been there to wipe away the tears as an attempt to guide our girls through the absence of their poppa. I constantly try to keep up on laundry but that feels like two steps forward and one back.Maybe burning half the pile would level the playing field.
I am playing two roles. One of the mother and then I sit attempting to compensate for the other role my husband normally plays. He is worth missing. He is actively involved in our lives. He dances with the girls in our kitchen and helps them build giant Lego cities.
He sees when I begin to feel deflated so he wakes up early to load the kiddos on the bus. I, in return get to sleep in.  He scoops them up when they start getting emotional and he sits down on their level to talk about what is troubling their little souls. Me, well normally I can only take so much crying and emotional girls for one day that I am the last one to jump to their rescue. I lack patience.It must be a Sarah thing. That attribute is still a work in progress. I normally make the jokes and keep the family laughing.

      We have survived. I and the kiddos have made it through 9 days without him. Luckily this time he drove himself to his base. The girls have school and other activities so we chose to stay home and not watch him board the airplane.
We did that a few other times. It always involved a days drive across two states where we all dread the inevitable. There were tears, sadness and the trauma of watching him fly away knowing it would be weeks before we see him again. Then we would turn around and drive back across two states all alone in the silence of our vehicle. That experience was probably the worst especially when two of those trips included projectile vomiting the whole trip home. Who knew kids would suddenly get sick at the exact time of it being inconvenient. Luckily this time he walked out, said goodbye and it seemed like his normal routine of heading to work. Luckily no one cried. It was a miraculous thing and I had the added bonus of not having to trek miles listening to crying, fighting or wishing kids would wake up so I could take a bathroom break. He left. The girls watched some movies and I extra cleaned the house to distract myself.  All in all I think the choice to stay was a major win for us all.

       Life is by far a struggle with my husband gone. We miss him. We worry an awful lot and we always jump the minute we hear the phone. Any email, text or face-time call feels like we just woke up on Christmas morning. The girls ask tons of questions regardless if they have already been asked or already answered. I always try to find ways to keep our family connected. He texted us pictures the other day about his dinner and how during a stop for their flight, he ordered BBQ pulled pork for dinner. I made the girls the very same thing the next night. We always compare time zones or distances apart as best we can. In the past we have even created a jar filled with Hersey kisses. Each day the girls would get a "kiss" from their poppa and it counted down until he came home. This year I found a company who makes Hero or Daddy dolls.
I submitted a picture of my husband in uniform and the company turns the picture of him into a stuffed doll. Therefore, prepare yourselves for every family picture to include a strange stuffed version of our Rodney. The company is even taking the picture and putting the image on a set of dog tags for each girl. His picture will be on one side while a scripture is on the backside that reads, "May the Lord watch between you and me while we are apart" Genesis 31:49. All these little things add up to the big things such as allowing us all to take each day as it comes and then successfully surviving the course of weeks and then months.

       The constant overwhelming amount of love and support through each deployment keeps us going as well. We tend to focus on that more then the emotional days or the days where nothing goes right. Thrown in sometimes is the added bonus of it feeling like everything breaks. We may eat more processed foods. We may not even get all of their homework done. We might even miss the bus (already happened twice) but we still manage to smile, laugh and cling together. We cling to our faith and praise our blessings despite the storms. People call. They stop by and drop off food or even watch the kiddos so I can leave and be an adult without snot boogies and milk stains covering my entire shirt. It is these people who understand that we are all just clinging on and attempting to survive that continue to keep us moving forward. Their support helps us trust in each new day we must push through. People have become the hands and feet that give us the strength to cross off another day. It all pushes closer to seeing our Rodney.For that, we are more than grateful. Even now sitting in the middle of our house is a tree that was donated by "Trees for troops."Yes it may be in a 5 gallon bucket and is leaning over daily despite the wire attached to the ceiling but it is a huge reminder.
It appeared one day with a knock at our front door. The tree lacks my normal fanciness of ornaments and is decorated with homemade paper chains and lights because I lack the desire to drag out a bunch of Christmas decorations. I dread the idea of fighting a toddler to not steal them but there it sits as a reminder of the true spirit of Christmas. For that I am beyond happy. This year is another year my girls get to value the idea that Christmas is not about getting an overabundance of toys. They understand that Christmas is about the gift of health, of life and being together. We have been forced to value the closeness of friends and appreciate the idea of loving one another during the good and bad times. Their wish for Christmas; having daddy home, won't come true this year but if he manages to call, I promise you that will mean more to my girls this year then any present anyone could buy them. They dread the holiday with him gone but we know he WILL come back home. This Holiday season we are so beyond lucky to have a daddy worth missing.

Merry Christmas to you all! Love those around you and may you find joy this holiday season.