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First... I do apologize for taking so long to take the time to journal. It's been a whirlwind since I landed. Some cool winds... some hot. It's been an emotional rollercoaster and I didn't even get to enjoy the cotton candy... or the carmel apple! Don't get me wrong... it is absolutely wonderful to be home... to sleep to sounds of my 'mutts' barking at a moose in the yard... or my teens being 'girly' and giggling loud enough to wake the neighbors instead of helo's and gunfire. To be able to hug n kiss my kids goodnight instead of touching my pillow with their handprints and praying they aren't angry with me for being worlds away for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and two Birthdays! (both which were missed during the last deployment as well~ : ( )
To NOT have to HOVER... yea!!!!.... but there are some adjustments and things we go through that you don't realize.... til you're in that place. Like trying to explain to your oldest that she's not the mama. That the responsiblities she's had over the past four+ months whether asked of her or taken upon herself (she's WAY to much like her Mom!).... weren't hers anymore... then trying to sort out together why she feels the need to 'fill in that void' with so much extra cirricular activities that it affects her sleep and her school work. The child is a God send... why can't she just be 15? Because... we find our selves at war and that was her 'post'. She fought it just like we do just on a different battle field. Then there is my middle youngen who thinks everytime I get near a door that I'm leaving... for a looooong time. She wants to be with me every minute... every second of the day and if she catches a tear in my eye whether it's an emotional tear.. or a bug flew in my eye... she worries. She fights too. My J... well... she's my J. She's handled things fairly well... as well as any female 13/14 year old can between tears, laughter, pouting, trying to please, boys and friends... a time when a mom really should/needs to be present... to help sort out all those 'weird' feelings and let them know they are beautful and worth while ALL the time... no matter what those silly boys with cooties say! She had her battles too. My youngest daughter had her moments... a weekend in hades leading to several counseling sessions. And the fact that she already had attachment issues... will our bond ever seal?? we can only hope. She will hold her 'post' for quite some time... struggling with more than one battle... And then there's the lil man... my warrior who only wants to bring the mama home. Although climbing under the couch... or punching little girls has not been on the agenda as of late... he still has some reminents of holding down the fort with all his might. It's been interesting. Not to mention the battles in an adult relationship... getting to know the 'new person' they've become since being left behind... addressing issues that were there before you left... that were put on a shelf to get dusty and become 'uglier'... addressing new issues that arise in your absence.... trying to figure out who you are and where exactly you fit in... now that you're back. (Not to mention getting ready to 'charge into' all the things that go into a move across country! (We will be relocating to Dyess TX in June!).... Now... balance all of that with strong emotions about leaving people you know behind in a place where the largest majority of the locals would just as soon shoot you as to look at you... locals that you've met that just want out... want to be in a better place and actually like you... but in liking you... risk their lives... DAILY. I've even found myself asking myself... did you really do enough over there? What could you have done more of... was there something I missed? I'm sure everything will 'even out' and finally get back to normal... whatever 'normal' is ~ all depends on your view I guess.
Well... it's getting late and my oldest should be getting home from her 'date' soon... I'll need to make sure I'm in the living room so I can press my face against the window and make sure everything is 'above par' with the 'drop off'... ! : ) Actually... he's a very nice young man and treats her with all the respect and attention she deserves and she does very well with him too. I'm very proud of them both. (though I'll still press my face against the window!!) : ) Take care... and stay tuned!
Hello all... I know... it's been a while... things have been just a little crazy! My flights home... being home and getting adjusted... and back into routine (what's that??)...! All is well! This will be a lenghty entry... the journey home was a long one!!!
I flew from Sather to Al Udeid via two stops... one being to pick up four retired football players who upon departing the aircraft... gave us all autographed pictures... they were doing a tour during the 'superbowl' season and we gave them a ride! Neat people doing good things! The cargo seats on the flight were ok... (til the next day... when I had bruises from the bars on my Hamstrings!!) We had plenty of room.. I held my rock (a story for another day!) the entire first leg... through sleeping and everything!! The take offs and landings were all good. We stopped at UAE and Baharain... at UAE... our Capt. got a couple of us a ride to a hover closet...! We got off the plane in the middle of the runway... with NOTHING around... but LITTLE BITTY bushes... one of the guys was like "will anyone mind if I go water one of these bushes?" My tent mate and I (the only females...) were like... yea.. that's all fine n good. what about us...!! She pipes up with... ok... everyone make a circle.. facing OUT... the Capt. asked one of the flight crew if we had time to 'race' to the nearest hover closet... we did thank goodness!! Bless that little airmans heart... he drove like he was in the Indy!! We got to the Deid and it was a cluster as always... Met up with some Contracting friends and had a nice time playing 'catch up'... One asked where I left the 'rest of me' at!! I went to bed around 2AM... then was up wide awake at 5 thirty...AM... ugh. I laid back down and rested for a while.. but then decided to go ahead and get up around 7:30AMish... Our show time for our flight was around 10PM (even though flight time was 4:00AM!!!) so we all go over there... and of course... hurry up and wait... for 3 hours... doing NOTHING... it was crazy... I was getting soooooo tired... you know that tired feeling when your stomach starts to roll and you start to get a headache?? That's how I felt.. but I didn't want to nap because I was hoping to sleep on the plane... I'm glad I waited! We FINALLY boarded... and took off shortly after. I was fortunate to have a seat empty next to me... then a guy in the isle seat (he was weird... ADD I think!!!)... so I curled up in those two seats and I don't even remember take off... I woke up long enough to change positions so I didn't cramp up too bad and that was about it. We landed in Germany and of course they made us get off the plane... another cluster... they called us into the waiting area too early... someone messed up on the announcement... so instead of being able to be out stretching legs and milling around with food places... we were back at the gate... with no food and drink cause they make you toss it at security... standing around staring at each other... duh... the next flight was pretty much the same... our Capt. from our office sat in the isle seat this time... ADD must have stayed in Germany... so again... I curled up and was out for most of the flight... I woke up long enough to eat something and was out again. I teared up when the pilot said "We are now in U.S. airspace... Welcome Home..." then again when the wheels touched the ground in Baltimore... but I did ok. My layover in Baltimore wasn't bad... long enough to get through customs and check in without rushing... the woman at the USO there was too cute.. I walked in and she was like... are you coming home? I said yes... she said I thought so.. you look sooo tired. Thanks lady... "hey you look like crap... welcome home!"... too funny... When I was leaving she gave me a little silver piece with an angel on it... she said sorry she didn't give it to me before I left.. I told her 'no worries'. and smiled. The next flight wasn't bad either... a little bitty plane... not very full... I made a comment on the way to my seat..."I hope this plane grows up to be a big plane someday.."...(I was tired ok...? : ) ) a guy that I was passing said "I just hope it lives to see St. Louis".. too fun! I wasn't tired... so I read a magazine n just looked out the window.... getting antsy... half way through... I'm looking out the window and there was a large plume of smoke. I lost it. 4 months of junk came flooding in on me. The poor stewardess didn't know what to do... she went and got me kleenex and sat with me... she was like... are you coming home.. do you want to talk about it.? If not... we don't have to we can talk about anything... just chat... poor thing she didn't know what to do!! It was way cute... so we sat and chatted for the rest of the flight... I was fine. I wrote a little note as we landed.. "to my angel on flight 5373" and told her what she had done for me in that hour... I wrapped up the silver angel and handed it to her on the way off the plane. She also had the pilot 'dip' the plane as we passed the arch in St. Louis so I could get a good view! TOO cute! My family (mom, dad, sister, brother in law, niece and some family friends) were waiting... very patiently! (NOT)...!! : ) at the security point in St. Louis.. There were several comments about the Deployed Mama always being the last off the plane!! : ) It's more like the Deployed Mama had to stop and use the facilities before she wet her pants after sitting on a 3 hour flight in the window seat and after three bottles of water and a cup of coffee!!! I was met with smiles hugs and tears... it was GOOD to be home! I met my niece for the first time... what a sweetheart! They had had their own troubles... two flat tires and our friends dog locking them out of their truck with the truck running.. while the three guys were trying to change the flat... with a broken jack and chilly weather! UGH!!! what a riot. The funny part (for me anyway...) was... everyone seemed pretty stressed and uptight.. so at one point... I just smiled real big... threw my arms out and said... "no worries... I'm just peachy... I'M HOME!!!!"... that seemed to help a little... We went and ate dinner... then the long drive home (about two hours.. not too bad),,, I slept most of the way.
It was good to be on U.S. soil... good to not hover... my first shower was taken in a rush because we had church... but... I didn't wear 'shower shoes'!! : ) I did the happy dance and proclaimed my new found joy... my mom looked at me like I was nuts! We went to mom and dad's church Sunday morning... The pastor and long time friend had me come up and he talked about me being home... then he had everyone come up &'welcome me home'.. it was neat... I cried.. go figure... then at the end of service I gave the church the flag I had flown for them. We went out to lunch ~ pizza!!! YEA!!! GOOD stuff!!! Then went to another church service... A wonderful woman who sent me goodie boxes, several cards and sent up many prayers is the wife of the paster at this church and a long time cherished friend of the family's. They had me come up and say a few words... I wasn't at all prepared for that... but through tears... thanked them for what they do for us over there... right here in their churches and homes... I gave them a flag I had flown over Sather... I presented it to the woman who did so much for me while I was over there... we've known this family for years ~ she was so touched by the flag... it was an awesome feeling... then she asked me to sing... ugh. I told her I wasn't sure I could... she winked and said "We KNOW you can"... so... Amazing Grace it was... I got all the way through it without tearing up.. completely anyway... Later, as the preacher was finishing up the service.. he told his music team to come up and start playing... he made a comment.. he said "Well... now we know why we didn't do "Amazing Grace".. and why we changed it last night... the girl in front of me leaned back to me and said.. 'yep... we had it on the list to sing and at the last minute he wanted to change the song and we all agreed.. goosebumbs... Then we finally went home... cooked dinner and I played with my new niece and my niece n nephew... after dinner I was absolutely whipped! But stayed up a little longer talking. WOW... what a hectic, frenzied, crazy, WONDERFUL first full day back in the states!!!!!! It was GREAT! The rest of the visit in IL was wonderful and fairly relaxing even though we were on the go almost constantly... I did a little shopping with my youngest sister... and my oldest sister (had to spoil the nieces and nephew while I was there!).. My mom, sisters and I went and had toeies and hair done... My mom had TONS of people over for dinner one night... THAT was absolutely wonderful... I got to visit with folks I hadn't seen in a LOOOONG time.. My mom, sister and I went and had lunch with some high school friends and had a GREAT time... our waiter didn't exactly know what to think of all of us (there were 8 of us girls total!!)... but he did a great job! And I got to just sit with my mom and dad at times... and talk... it was very very VERY good for the Deployed Mama!! and hopefully for them too! I greatly appreciate everything they did for me while I was gone... then making my homecoming... so welcoming!
Then it was off on some more flights! I'm telling ya... I think I sat by all the seven dwarfs at some point during my travels! There was Dopey (the ADD guy on the flight from the Deid to Germany ~ weirdo!!!).. Sleepy... who is AKA Snorie ~ middle name~Loudly... Grumpy and her five sisters were our flight attendents from the Deid to Germany... Sneezy couldn't make it.. but his cousin.. Sniffles... took his place (ewwwwwwww).. he was on the flight from St. Louis.... Doc, AKA Mr. Know it ALL... was on the flight from San Diego to Seattle... his family was just a barrel of fun! That's another story in itself.. I'll tell it later... this was after being delayed seven hours which in turn made us have a stay over in Seattle WA!! Happy was on the flight with me from Anchorage (where we were delayed due to a cancelation of our flight... for three hours) to Fairbanks... which was a good thing... because I was WAY happy by that point... and antsy as all get out... all he could do was laugh at me!! In a good way! Bashful was in the other seat next to me on that flight and didn't say a word to me the entire flight... til we landed... and my Fire Department was there... waiting AT the GATE!!! (Chief had some strings!! and they were all standing behind my department!! Thank you to the Fairbanks Airport Fire Department!!! for getting my guys up there... and for being there as well!) The station had a huge banner welcoming me home... with flowers... balloons and the cutest little stuffed elephant... and hugs galore! Everyone in the waiting area clapped as I came through the door... it was a very warm feeling. After I hugged everyone.. I wanted to get a picture of everyone standing there and the banner... Bashful took my camera and said "It would be my pleasure to take it so you can join them... and Thank you for what you did over there"... wow.. people never cease to amaze me.... I couldn't wait to get downstairs to the kids... so off we went... I took pictures coming down the escalator... there were my little angels... a beautiful banner handcrafted by all of them... flowers and the most beautiful warm loving smiles I've ever seen in my life... we bombarded each other with hugs n smooches... pats on the head (them patting mine... reminding me of how short I really am!!!)... then hugs again! D was standing there... bless his heart with such a look of relief on his face. My amazing friend A was there with my two 'adopted' nieces!!! Hugged them all!!! and my commander, supervisor and two office mates were there... hugged them all!! I took pictures... we got my luggage (we being them... : ) ) and headed for the truck. The weather was blamed on me... it was 30 below... the week before (and most of the winter this year from what I've heard) has been unusually warm.. and up around 20's and 30's most of the time.. but it was absolutely beautiful... the sun was shining.. the kids were chattering the entire ride home... and all I could do was smile. It's good to be home!
Well... I think I'm headed for bed... my fingers feel like they are going to fall off... and my eyeballs are completely crossed right now... as I'm sure yours are!!! If you've managed to stay awake this long!!! So... I'll close for now... I still have stories... but they can wait for another evening! I will continue to journal... it has been a blessing to me... connected me with friends and people I haven't even met... given me an insight to where I've been and where I'm going... and it would be a shame to turn it off now... So.... stay tuned! take care!

Back in the U.S.

Wow... what a feeling! I won't babble much today... I'll journal soon... telling tales of rough landings... delayed flights... canceled flights... rude people... and all the other joys of being back in the wonderful United States of America!!! My visits with loved ones was wonderful and I haven't heard a 'boom' in several days.... nor has any helicopters tried to snuggle up in my bed space with me... so... life is GOOD! I'll write more soon... just wanted all to know I'm safe! Stay tuned!

Aaahhhh almost home

Just a quick note to let everyone know I'm OK!!! : ) Things have been hectic... but all is well... the internet connection was HORRIBLE... or should I say the LACK of internet connection has been Horrible the last several days.... all should be well now. I will journal in a couple of days to tell the 'tale of my jouney HOME'!!! (Happy Dance inserted here!!!!)... I hope all is well with you and yours! Will write more SOON!!!! The Deployed Mama is headed HOME! Stay tuned!!!

last Friday in Baghdad!

Yep... ya read it right! Today was my last Friday in Baghdad!! The travels home will still take a bit.. but it's another day closer to getting home to my youngens! I did my last little bit of work today and now everything is in the hands of my replacement. Ok.. so I'm being told here... she can't/won't 'replace me'... but she is the new Contracting Officer and will do great things!
I had a migraine last night... so I didn't do an entry... I wanted too.. but my head and back had other plans.. rest. I'm not sure where it came from.. other than maybe a couple of days of stress (not really bad stress... just stress..).. and my back is out... I can feel it... one shoulder is higher than the other! I think it just had enough and wanted to complain to my head... so it did... LOUDLY!!! You know the headache... when the stomach rolls and every noise sounds like it's two inches from your ear drum and it's all like nails on a chalk board.. any way... 800mg of Vitamin M (that would be Motrin for those 'non military' types!! : ) and 6 great hours of sleep.. and I was much better this morning. I opened my 'window' in my tent space... I rolled it up on the outside and flipped up just a corner on the inside... to get some fresh air in and the breeze felt soooo good.
So... not much else going on... I have CMOC tomorrow... bitter/sweet... I always look forward to going... but since tomorrow will be my last visit.. it will be hard. I will take lots of pictures and share what I can. That place has been a true blessing to me.. I've learned a lot... not only about medic stuff.. but about people in general... our language to the ear.. is totally different... to the heart... it's the same. Last week one of the ladies came in with some issues... I may have told this already... but it was just sooo cute.. she had lots of stuff going on.... one being she felt lots of pressure on her chest... and it was hard to breath sometimes. I wanted to listen to her lungs and her heart... when I'm talking with the older ladies.. and the kids... I usually squat down.. so that I'm looking up at them.. or at their level... it seems to make them more comfortable... so... I take my stethoscope and try to warm it up a little... it's usually chilly in there... and normally I keep it inside my top shirt and over my T shirt and close to my armpit... nice n warm! but she was the first patient I was using it on... so it was still cold.. I put it on her chest and I saw her eyes get big... I took it back off... laughing and saying I was sorry... then I was trying to breath on it... and put it in the palm of my hand.. to warm it up... she was laughing too and must have understood the whole thing.. she told the interpreter to tell me it was ok... that it just startled her... I was still smiling and shaking my head... trying to warm it up and she put her hand on my head and pulled me close and kissed my forehead.. as if to say... it's ok silly girl... no worries. It was just so amazing the feeling you get from little things like that.. those are the moments I tuck away in my 'chest of memories' (pun intended!).. they will remain close to my heart forever... when I'm an old lady (older than I already am!!)... I will kiss a forehead someday... and will think of the smile on this womans face as she did the same for me! awesome stuff!
It will also be hard to leave behind a couple of the people I've met and gotten close to here. One being my tent mate... with whom I flew in with!! so we go WAY back! We've had a great time together... put up with each other... salsa'ed together.. complained together and were there for each other through this whole deployment... I will leave first.. and that just stinks! Then there's my 'rock' who has been there for me through some really rough times... shared some great times.. stories of family friends and old times.. and sometimes just a cup of hot chocolate.. been a sounding board and a shoulder a couple of times (for who... me..? I don't cry!) and has been a wealth of information in the job world~getting drug all over this camp to get to job sites I couldn't get to by myself! I hope we keep in touch... the foundation we've started here is what every good friendship could only hope to start with. The Chaplains explained it really good the other night... I'll paraphrase.... With every emotion we own at such a heightened state in a location and deployment such as this one... the things we do... the friends we make.. in the atmosphere we do it in.. it's no wonder we have a hard time letting go... and leaving... even though we sooo long to get home to our loved ones. that about sums it up.
Well... on that note... I really should get to bed... I have an early morning... gonna get up early to catch the youngens at home... before they all take off for the weekend... seems my lil man is having some nightmares about mommy... don't worry baby boy... the deployed mama will be home SOON!!! B - can't wait to meet S... J and C - I'm looking forward to having your birthday parties!! H - can't wait to get home to hear all your violin songs!!!! It won't be long now! TONS of hugs n kisses for each of you! For everyone else... can't wait to get home... A-Shift... look forward to seeing you all... have missed you tons too! Nilo.. I'm hurrying... I promise!! Take care... keep me in your thoughts n prayers as it winds down and I get ready to jump on that plane home! Stay tuned!

Another sun set!!!

I learned a new Arabic word a couple of days ago… trim; to whack the Deployed Mama's hair off so she looks like a boy. Really… it was in Webster's… or something like that… I'll send a pic later… Good news… hair does grow back.. And fortunately my hair grows fast… here I was just starting to feel sort of like a girl again… and wham! There it goes… I can't WAIT to put on a pair of jeans… maybe a shirt in any color OTHER than browns… and shoes… I want shoes… NOT tennis shoes… not boots.. Unless they have a heel on them… (and not a chunky heel either!!!)…. But… shoes… can't wait! And to sit.... instead of hover... to wash my hands instead of 'sterilizing' them with the clear goo that smells like rubbing alcohol (and feels like it in the chilly air!)... ahhh the simple things in life we miss!!
Our replacements are here! YEA!!! We'll have a few of days of turn over… then a few days to pack and tie up loose ends… then we'll be on our way. Give or take a couple of days.
I've received a couple of comments about writing a book… ok… I'm not that good… but… if I were to write a book… here's how it would start… So I'm in Southern Illinois visiting my family. We are at the park with all the kids, Grandpa, Grandma, my sister and her family and us. My cell phone rings and it's a friend from my office back at Eielson AFB AK. We had received our taskings and I was going to Baghdad International Airport, (BIAP)…. In Iraq. There were tears apprehension and maybe… later.. a little excitement. The next couple of months were a whirl wind of getting home and work ready for this deployment. As the Unit Deployment Manager I had to get 11 of us ready to hit the door.. Plus get ready to hand my stuff over for four months… and prepare for an inspection that was taking place right before I left. Needless to say… it was a very hectic time. Every sun set meant a day closer to leaving my babies for four months… again. As I sat with my kids the night I left… I tried so hard not to cry… had to show them the mama is strong… I bawled. Not only was I leaving for four months but I was going somewhere that the news had daily reports of death torment and torture. What was in store for me…? What was in store for my kids? One of my girls asked "Mommy, why can't we go with you?" I tried my best to explain that even if I could take them… I wouldn't. That where I was going there was a war going on… I tried to be somewhat gentle with my words… but honest too. My youngest (5) said "Mommy, I can fight ~ I'll go with you"… . I laid and watched Ice Age with them until they all fell asleep… then I gently kissed each of them… dropping several tears on their little faces… and left.
And now… here I am writing to you that's it's almost time to go home!! My time here at Sather AB, Baghdad International Airport, Iraq is almost up. I can't believe that it's time to go home already. I'm actually having a hard time with getting ready to hand my stuff over to someone else. If you know me at all… you know I take pride in what I do… and I give it my all… like all people… I have my ups and downs… but for the most part… it's 100% ~ give til it hurts… then give just a little more. I'm sure the new folks are going to do fine… but they aren't me… will they do the justice to the projects I've started… more importantly… will they do the justice to the customers we worked hard with to build a good working relationship?? I know… I know (I can hear some of you…. ) they will do just fine… it doesn't make it easier. Now… they day I am packed… and my plane is sitting on this runway… believe you me…. I will have NO problem walking out on that tarmac… and boarding that plane… gear on… along with a smile.. A mile wide. I can't say I won't look back though… because I will. I will look back with a smile and carry the memories made here.. The good, the not so good and the bad… and I will pass them on to my kids, my family and my friends.. I will treasure them forever… I have grown from what God has given me here.
I'm going to dinner tomorrow at one of our Contractor's... I've written about them before. They are an awesome group of people and I will miss them. I'll miss almost all my contractors... there were a couple that I probably won't miss to much... but most... definietly will miss.
I will lead Praise and Worship one last time next Sunday... even if I'm here a Sunday after that.. it's time to turn it over so the next crew can run with it. I sang "I can only imagine" last night. I love that song... and I think it's very powerful... You never know what you will do... until you are faced with th
situation... then... it's all instinct! Good stuff.
We had a sand storm today... ick! The wind last night... kept me off line and AWAKE! I loved the sound of the wind on the tent... it was actually very soothing... but.. the door of our tent kept slamming open.. .and shut.. and open.. and shut! geez... then of course... since we have day shift and night shift workers.. about the time the door decided to stay shut... the sun came on (translation: a tent mate came in and turned on her 700watt light that equals the sun!!)... then her vest came off... I swear she stands in there... I can see it in my minds eye (about as good as I can see me knocking her out if she doesn't stop doing it...)... she stands there... as close to my side of the curtain as possible and slllllooooooowwwwwwlllllyyyy rrrrrrrrrrrips the strip of velco open on her flak vest.... ok.. she's probably not THAT mean... but it sure seems that way at 1AM!!! then she goes back out for a while... then back in at around 4AM... then of course my alarm goes off at around 6AM!! Hey... maybe I can ask her to stay out just a little longer and then SHE can be my alarm clock... works for me!
Anyway.... speaking of alarm clocks... mine will go off way too soon... so I better head that way. I can't wait to get home to my babies.... I miss them soooooo much. I just missed J's Birthday... I know it's 'just another day' and we will celebrate hers and C's when I return... but still... I miss being able to make those days really special for them! I'm staying REAL LO Dad... almost there... do you still have to take off your shoes?? : ) I love you all... take care... and stay tuned!

My son... bless his little heart....

Ok... so those of you that know my sweet sweet young man... will NOT believe this one... I know I didn't... so... there he is at school... sitting next to this pretty young lady.. who apparently unwittingly makes him a little.. ummm... lets say annoyed.. so... he punches her in the arm. ok.. pick your jaw up off the floor folks.. I had too... now this lil man... other than an occasional sibling tif... doesn't have a mean bone in his short little body. So it baffled me when I heard this story.. he was sent home.. and when asked why he did it... not much response. Now...as if that wasn't enough.. shortly after... he was at the school age program... and decided it was the correct response to his day... to climb UNDER the couch.. and refuse to come out. ????? What in the world is this child thinking you may ask! (I did!!) So... thank goodness we have a great school age program manager... who.. knowing my sweet young man (I'm using that term lightly at this point in case you hadn't noticed...)takes him into her office (AFTER they LIFTED the couch off of him and called D to come get him...).. and asks him several times what was going on.. this is normally a well manned well behaved.. sweet sweet kid... not satan... So...after several minutes of questioning.. (get the tissues out... I did)... he looks at her with his big beautiful brown eyes and says "Maybe if I do something bad enough... they will bring my Mommy home"... UGH. stab stab stab... twist twist.. So... I had to call him and talk to him... I said... so... how are you doing at school... he replies.. a little bad mommy.. but a little good too! I had to explain to him that no matter how good or how bad he was.. Mommy wouldn't come home any sooner than she already could. I told him how much I loved him and that I would be home very very soon. He said ok and that he would try to be very very good for the rest of the time. Poor little guy. Now.. mind you... he was still in trouble for hitting.. let alone hitting a girl.. but how can you stay mad or reason with that answer? They are so honest.. and so innocent. He didn't do it to be mean... at the time.. he probably didn't even know why he did it... til he was faced with having to answer for his actions... I can't wait to get home and hug him... !!!!!! I gotta get to bed.. I'm tired after that!! Please keep us all in your thoughts and prayers as the time winds down... things get more hectic and everyone is antsy! I'll be home soon! Safe and sound! Take care... I'm stayin LO!!! stay tuned!
Tee hee... yes... I was singing that as I typed... just in case you were wondering!! I hope this entry finds you all well. I'm doing good. My days here are numbered.. and that number keeps dropping with every sun set! I have decided that although I can not WAIT to get home to my kids and loved ones... it will be hard for me to leave here.. it's not that I'll miss this place or even the people.. although I made a few really great friends here... and hope to keep in contact with them.. it's that I think it will be hard (maybe sad is a better word there... believe ME.. it won't be HARD to get on that plane outta here!!!) to leave behind all the experiences that I've had here... good and bad... I know I will carry with me the experiences in here (like you can really see me pointing to my heart right?!?!)... but that's different than being IN them... IN those experiences.. anyway.. just thought I'd share that. So... what's been happening in the past couple of days?? TONS!!! We had a change of command on Wed. and so far... it's not just a step up... but SEVERAL floors up from where we were before! God answered some prayers on that one! I did the National Anthem... that went well. You know you're doing it right when someone tells you afterwards that the hair on the back of their neck stood up and the eyes watered a little. Who cares what key you're in or if the note was perfect... from the heart... everything's perfect! I didn't get to go to CMOC last week.. so I went today and will go this Saturday. I was with a totally new crew over there... and it went well. They are going to do great things! I was the only medic today... with a dentist, a doc and a nurse... so it was busy!!! There always seems to be one or two that you walk away from the day shaking your head too... the young man with the stab wound from mom... the baby with the severly burned foot... today... mine was a two month old baby girl that I held... that probably won't make it to see her third month birthday.... she is going through heart failure and mom can't get her to a specialist because it is too dangerous. The baby's heart is not pumping well enough to get oxygen through the body to 'feed' all the organs.. so... essentially her organs are slowly being starved... she is not thriving and soon her poor little body will get tired and quit. She was beautiful! She probably weighed about 4-5 pounds.. soaking wet... she was so tiny and so frail. I held her... kissed her little cheek.. then handed her back to mom. After we talked.. I started to get up to go... had something in my eye.. needed to take care of it... and the interpreter stopped me.. he said she wanted to know if she could have eaten differently.. would that have helped. wow. so... I sat back down with mom and told the interpreter to tell her exactly... word for word what I said... There is nothing... absolutely nothing... that you could have done differently that would have changed the outcome of this baby's life. You are a wonderful mother and your baby loves you and she knows you love her. I kissed the baby's forehead.. then mom's forehead... and watched them get up and go. I prayed for a miracle on the way back from CMOC.. that her little heart would heal... or if that wasn't the plan.. that she not suffer... but fall peacefully asleep and let go. The young Doc that was with us today came over to me shortly after and asked me what we could give the baby to... and it was like he was looking for the right words... I finished for him "What can we give baby to treat MOM..?"... he said yes.. with slumped shoulders and sad eyes... She was ready to go and he just felt like there had to be something he could do... I reached for the infant Tylenol and showed him how much to give... it was sort of weird.. him asking me.. what to do... he made a comment about "I'm not a 'baby' doc.. don't deal with them much yet..." I thought about it later and I think he is used to treating the illness and not the patient... sometimes... that's all you can do. I told him later... as I watched him help some of the others and he still had that look in his eyes... "You'll figure out your own way to process those types of things.. we all do."... Someone asked me the other day... give me 5 things that 'ground' you ... so I can pass that on to my troops for this rotation.. this was after a conversation about my deployment here and the realization for this person that I had been here for over three months.. and was still smiling... and had a good outlook... I haven't responded to him yet... but here are some of my ideas... 1 - I have my kids pictures on my computer screen... taped across the top.. each one of them smiling down on me as I work through the day... if THAT doesn't ground you... not much will! 2 - find someone that's having a GOOD day.... when you're having a bad one.. smiles are contagious and help even if only a little... a heartfelt smile and eye contact can instantly let someone know that they are worth the time to make such a gesture and mean it. I have someone here that made a comment once.. about 3 months ago that 'a smile a day would keep the blues away' or something silly like that.. it was during a discussion about how bad things can get over here and what a smile can do to make someone feel better about the day versus a poor attitude.. everyday since then... I have emailed a smile.. something silly... something cute.. something really off the wall... Most of the time.. there's no response to it... but... every once in a while.. there's a 'thank you'.. a 'needed that'.. or a discussion starts about what's going on that day to make it rough.. and before we know it... things look a little better.... well worth the seconds it takes me to send them!! 3 - Do something for someone else... even if you're tired cold and cranky... mine? I ask every time I go through one of our entry points.. do you guys need anything..? I know I've told you this before... about getting the security forces folks hot chocolate.. candy.. or whatever... but that helps ME... the smile and appreciation on their faces.. makes my day... most of them call me mom now... I think that's a good thing.. one told me the other day.. he was adopting ME! I've had a couple of them start to talk to me.. about problems.. or issues they were having... here or at home.... sometimes it's hard because I'm tired.. cold and just want to lay down... or I'm headed to work to a million things I have to do... but I listen... and we talk.. and when I walk away.. we both have a smile.. THAT makes me feel great! 4 - Talk. You don't know it.... but YOU have helped ground me from day ONE!!!! Me getting on this journal and pouring out the heart and soul to you all... is very grounding... It shows where I've been... what I'm doing... and where I'm going... the comments to me... have been a blessing... a needed 'pat on the back' or just a 'someone is really reading this and getting something from it'... WOW... I started this just to be able to communicate with my babies (yes B and J.. you are STILL my babies!!).. but to have reached out to so many.... and have them reach back... WOW... and yes.. to answer a comment.. I will be continuing my journal!! I'm still a young pup (28 and holding!! don't laugh... : ) )... and have many more 'journies' to go through and I think my journal and all of you... will get me through each and every one! Hey A - I'm hooked!!! : ) I might change the icon a little.. we'll see! : ) I will however remain.. the Deployed Mama! The 'Now Home Mama'... not so much!
Ok... well... my fingers and wrists are cramped up now... my eyeballs are crossed and I'm sure yours are too.. ) and... my laundry is done... time for bed! Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for checking in on me... the prayers.... the thoughts... comments and support ~ YOU are my grounding points.. and I greatly appreciate all of you! I'm stayin' LO Dad (especially tonight... stuff gettin' lobbed in over us... way over.. but over...) Stay tuned!!!!!!

Ok... ok... I know... I'm late! WAY late

I'm sorry I haven't written in a while.. I have no excuse other than I've been tired and/or frustrated the past week and I didn't want that to 'jump into' my journal! I can only say "is it time to get outta here" so many times before you would all chalk it up to insanity and not want to read it anymore!!! : ) but.. I'm feeling much better now.... the transition between the 'old crew' and 'new crew' is almost done... just a few straglers and us left.. it's been interesting. There is a huge difference between the last rotation and this one... I'm glad I was on the last one! Although I've met some pretty neat people so far... and others... well.. attitude and personalities.. leave little to be desired. Anyway.. I'm sure once they get settled in... all will be well!
So… I'm in line for a sandwich at the DFAC (our dining facility…)… and this guy walks up and says "Foster?" like he knows me… I didn't recognize him at all.. And of course… with my half wittedness… I replied "Whatever it was… I didn't do it".. He laughed and explained that he is here at EMEDS… just arrived… before he got here he had heard about CMOC and he had googled it doing some research on it before he got over here and came across my journal. He said he ended up reading it all… so he 'got to know me'… when he got here he was asking everyone over at EMEDS… hey… where's Foster… is there a Foster that works over here… of course with all the new people over there… they didn't have a clue… then he sees me today in line… it was pretty funny…. But sort of eerie at the same time… small world eh? I went over to say goodbye to the outgoing crew and hello to the new crew. I stopped by and said hello to this guy and he seemed settled in already. I met a couple of the Docs and techs. It was hard to see some of the last group go... I didn't get to know them very well...but we went through a lot together! I learned some from them too. They were a great crew to work with! I'm sure the new crew will be good too.
We had a visitor today... Our Contracting Two Star was here.. he came to our humble little dusty office... sat and had coffee with us and chatted. He was great! I was very impressed. I got pics! I'll share them later... probably not here... didn't get his permission!!
Well.. it's getting later and later.. and my eyeballs are starting to cross... so I'll close for now... I promise to get here a little more often.... I'm doing good... starting to count the days... I miss u all! Take care... The Deployed Mama.... will soon be just... The Mama!!! Stay tuned!

Another day down!!!!

Wow… just when you think things will slow down… they don't! I won't complain… I think it will help like it has so far and will keep the days flying by… but wow… so much to do… I have to brag on the kids tonight! I got a box from them yesterday… it was awesome! Each thing I pulled out.. I teared up a little more! Then I got to the lil man's handprint and the water works rolled! I got a handmade potholder.. Some cards, a teddy bear, and some VCR tapes… I was so excited to watch them… but I knew I had to wait til after work.. I knew they'd really make me cry! They did…. But in such a great way. Brianna video taped some really neat stuff.. She walked around school with the camera and all the kids and some of the adults… said hello (almost all the kids called me mom… normal!!).. They said things like.. Come home soon… come home safe… we miss you… we're praying for you… and that they love me! It was such a great feeling! These kids are such blessings to us… they have great big hearts and smiles that will melt your heart! And they all said it with such sincerity! They really do miss me!! I can't wait to get home and hug em all! One of the girls said at one point… "Here mom… B said to give you this tissue, cause she knows your crying!'.. Yep… she knows me well! Then there was a violin concert… H… you were GREAT! Looking all dressed up and lady like! WOW!!! M - you're looking way too cute lil man… with the hair do and all… J - your singing on the tape was great… even in the shower!!! C… Mommy is ok… I promise! I'll be home soon! B.. Thank you so much for the tape… and your Christmas concert.. Your song… was great! There was some video of the kids making cards… it was neat just to see them do stuff. They stood in front of the Christmas tree Christmas Eve and all said a little something… again… water works… it was so sweet! Thank you all soooo much for sharing! That tape was just what I needed! I love you all so much and can't wait to see you… hug you… have some fun! And just hang out!

Just about everyone that was here when we got here with the exception of a few… and the Security Forces Squadron… is gone now… there are still some stragglers left and they should all be going with in the next day or so. It's weird to see all the new.. Unfamiliar faces.. You don't realize how different it's going to be… until you go through it. Nor do you realize just how small this place is… you 'know' just about everyone here after 3 months… either by face, by name, or know them well. Then to have all new faces come in… it's odd… of course.. Within a couple of weeks… we'll probably know most of these too… then we'll be getting ready to go! I couldn't tell you how many times I've been asked in the past three days… "so… when are you leaving?"… or heard the comment "Aren't you out of here yet?"…. Then you answer them and it's like… ohhhh…. Sorry… my answer every time is… don't be… you did your time… and it's time for you to go… I'll do mine… then I'll go! That's how it works!

I was given the Diamond Award yesterday. That was neat. I got an email requesting my presence at the 'glass house' at 1400. I had no idea what it was about. For those of you that aren't 'military literate'.. A Diamond wearer… is a First Sergeant.. They are the liaison between the Commander and the troops and if they are a good First Shirt.. As they call them… they take excellent care of their people… They have the First Sergeants group here… like at home. They were each asked to name a person that they felt has left a mark here during this rotation. I was one of those people. I was 'chosen' by a shirt that I don't even deal with a lot… but his comments were "TSgt F has touched every project, every event and every person here and left a positive fingerprint on them all"… wow. "She'll be remembered by all for her smile, kind words, extreme dedication and hard work"… wow. I sat there thinking… who are they talking about! When they called my name… it was just sort of 'warm' for lack of a better word. I truly hope those words are true… I like to leave a place better than I found it…. And if what he said has any truth to it… I think I will.

I'm outta here for tonight! I've rambled enough and tomorrow morning will come all too soon. Take care everyone… keep us in your thought and prayers and know I'm thinking of you all too! I appreciate the love and support I've gotten while I'm over here… and I hope that my journal has done something for you… whether it's been to check to see if I’m ok… or to shed some light on what's it's like over here… or just some everyday amusement! ~ I hope it's touched you someway. Much love, the Deployed Mama! Dad ~ I'm staying LO!!! Stay tuned!