Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Horsin' Around today...

Some photos of us with the horses today. I rode John's horse, Charlie, for the first time ever! Tiffany (the trainer/friend) said that I needed to ride him since we have such a tremulous relationship. Ellie is my girl and I felt like a traitor being on Charlie and Sammi riding Ellie!!! But we did good, he is sooo narrow so it was weird for me, but all in all, a good morning!

Thursday, June 24, 2010


I put these on Facebook but have been having such a tugging at my heart strings that I wanted to share them here.

A quick story. When John was deployed the first time (December 2004-June 2006) he was able to come home on mid-tour leave in September of 2005. The kids hadn't seen him since he'd left the country in May of 2005. They were young...Cass was 13, the twins were 10, Sammi was almost 9, and Cili was 5. Just babies. Goodness how time flies. Just typing this makes me cry.

I picked John up from the airport and whisked him away to lunch with a friend and then to a hotel for some alone time. I hadn't told the kids he was coming. I had said that I was going to my friend's house to study for a big math test (something she and I did OFTEN!) and would be very late so I was going to stay with her and go to school the next morning from her house. Aunt Maggie would be staying with them.

John and I had a lovely day but at the hotel, his body clock was still in Iraq...he was asleep by 8 (I ordered pizza and ate alone, hehe) and up at 3 AM. He made nice with the girl at the front desk and convinced her to let him swim in the pool even though it was closed. Our friend Dorothea had put champagne, candles, rose petals, and a feather boa (wink, wink) in the room. We had a jacuzzi tub and chocolate...can't ask for much more. He didn't want to wake me, though, so he went swimming. It was cute

When we got up, he was so anxious to see the kids. I, of course, was not so much...after having been the only parent dealing with all their stuff it was a nice break for me. Also, I knew that our alone time would end as soon as we picked them up from school! But I understood his need to see them. He wanted to do something special and went to the store looking for a costume to surprise them with. Luckily, Wal-Mart does holidays WAAAAY too early so they had plenty of costumes out already. He found Spiderman and thought it was perfect. But he needed red socks. We drove all over the place...Hibbett Sports, KMart...couldn't find any. At this point, I'm irritated. If you know me at all you realize that I have a little OCD/ADD, whatever you want to call it. I get an idea of how things are "supposed" to be and when someone deviates from that it just absolutely killllls me! So, I had this image of John going in, hugging the kids, them being surprised, and all that happy lovey stuff. John, though, had some other plans. So, needless to say, I was being kind of bitchy about his little plan.
Stupid, silly me. Very petty. I'm still sorry for my attitude.

So John buys a bunch of gifts for the kids' classes, coloring books, posters, sticker stuff to give to the class. And then one gift for each of the kids. All related to Spiderman (teeshirts, etc.). We stop by Aunt Maggie's house and she has a pair of red socks...the kind they give you in the hospital with the grippy things on the bottom. Perfect. Angel was in the driveway making a sign on a sheet to welcome him back. It was awesome! Here is the finished product...

We head up to the school and walk in the front door. Russom Elementary has a big rotunda in the center of the school and the cafeteria has a whole wall of glass that looks into this area. Spiderman came walking up and the cafeteria was full of kids. You hear them completely erupt! He runs past the windows and then turns around, puts his hands on the glass and a he's going to climb up. The kids are cheering and applauding. It was so fantastic! We then go to each of our kids' classes, one at a time. I stayed outside so they wouldn't know it was their dad.

Spiderman proceeds to talk to the class, telling them he has brought them gifts. He things they are the best kids and he wants them to know it.

Then he says, "But, Spidey has a special gift for...YOU (pointing to my child)...because he thinks you are very special! And so does...your DAD!!" and he pulls off his mask to reveal himself.

Teachers were crying, I was crying. It was truly one of those moments you wished you could video because it would be shown on the news and internet for years...just a PERFECT thing.

This is why I am so sorry for my attitude. Because I would have been happy to have a normal reunion...but my goodness what we would have missed if John hadn't done something this incredible.

These are a few pictures. It was just at the elementary, Cass was in middle school and too "big" for this type of thing...maybe, perhaps we shouldn't have assumed that...but the little ones got a big treat. The photo of Keegan running and the one with John and Cili move me to tears every time I see them. Truly fantastic to see the love between a father and his children.

OK, so not really a "quick" story...but if you know me, would you even have thought it possible? I bet when you read the word "quick" before you even giggled a little bit...haha!

Miss you babe...hurry home!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Working with the horses again!

With the rain yesterday I was sooo happy to get back out to the barn today and work with the horses. Just a quick little video of Sammi and one of me working the horses. I am super impressed with Samantha, she is very good with Lady and really gets into what she's doing. She's confident and able and I can't wait to get her even more involved. She's going to be able to say that Lady is the horse she is because of the work she did with her.

Ellie needs some ground work because she gets a little stubborn so I thought it wouldn't hurt her to get some today while it was nice enough to be out. It was a good day with Samantha, just her and I. We don't get to do that often enough!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Horsin' Around

One of John's favorite things is to work with the horses. Obviously he will not be able to do that for a very long time. That doesn't mean, though, that the girls and I can't go out and play with our equine family members! Today we went out to the barn to meet up with a friend who is going to help train Lady so she's ready to hit the trails when John gets back. She is also going to help get Charlie chilled out and help me fine tune Ellie. I'm looking forward to throwing myself into horses this summer while I am out of school!! Here are some pics of the day. It's funny because when Cili rides Ellie, she can be a bit stubborn and won't do what she's asked. If I stand in the middle of the round pen, though, she will do what she's told. I have a whip handy to remind her that I'm serious but it's just to keep her alert.

Meanwhile, Samantha learned how to ground drive Lady today. Our friend and trainer, Tiffany, worked very well with her and showed her what to do so Sammi can work on her own this week. I'm excited to watch her really bond with and teach Lady to do what she wants her to do. Lady is a good girl, she just forgets she's a horse and we are people...she needs some manners! We've had her since she was 9 months old, so it's to be expected. We are her family!
Here's a little video of Cili making a course in the round pen.

Friday, April 30, 2010

He's gone...

Well, John left yesterday for a year-long deployment to Afghanistan. This is the worst time, when he first leaves. I think about all that will happen that he will miss, all that I will want or need help with that he won't be here for. He won't be around for conversations at the end of the day, or to wake up to in the morning.

A year is a long time, but I suppose as I get older they go by much more quickly. I think about how it was just a minute ago we were coloring eggs and then we did it again! He'll be home just after we color them again next year.

My eyes are burning from moments of crying. It's not a continual flow, just moments when I hurt and wish it wasn't really happening. I know he misses us when he's away, too, and that may hurt me more than anything. I can't stand to know that he is hurting. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers. We need him to come home safely.

Love you, babe, hurry back!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

John's OIF III Video

This is Operation Shoe Shine and other clips from John's work during OIF III. Our family group was able to collect 1,300 pairs of shoes and about $1,400 for the postage to get them all to Iraq. John made a little size board and sorted the shoes out by size. The kids and adults would come and have their feet sized and he'd give them shoes. It was an incredible experience for everyone. Meanwhile, while serving as a Medic he was able to make a big impact on those that he came in contact with. I am very proud of him!

John built the aid station that you see in this video, by hand (no power tools!). He put a red cross on the door and even built a little bird house! This aid station was about 20 miles from the city or Ur, where Abraham was born. This was during the last 6 months of his deployment with the Georgia National Guard's 48th Brigade Combat Team. That group just returned home from a year-long deployment from Afghanistan. My heart was with those families, as we knew so many that were serving again and even some whose soldiers gave the ultimate sacrifice.

As deployment to Afghanistan looms in the all-to-near future, I know that the people John meets will be better for it. Hurry back, babe! Love you so much!