Archive for the ‘Home’ Tag
In a previous life, I was a Naval Officer’s wife….and all that comes with that. I was in my early 20’s the first time I experienced this thing they call deployment. Now I was no “Mama’s or Daddy’s girl”. Far from it. I had been involved in a scouting program from age 15 in national leadership which took me from my Georgia home to locations all over the US. So by age 19, when I met this charming and charismatic Navel Officer 8 years my senior, I was smitten! He was like no man I had ever met (and remains the holder of that title to this day). We met actually during a state-wide conference that I was running where he was there representing the US Navy in his job as a recruiter. What can I say about him… Funny… Sweet…and very unlike the “good ‘ol boys” that I was typically around in Macon. GA. So within 3 months of meeting and beginning to date, we were engaged. I know that seems quick! Realize that it was 1975 and the world spun a bit slower back then. Or so I’d like to think. Three months later we were married on a HOT Georgia August day with not a cloud in the sky. There I was in my pretty white puffy wedding dress, you probably know the style if you lived during that era! And there was my groom… in his white “Mess Dress” Naval Officer’s uniform with his gold Navy wings, all his “dangle metals” ,with his sword at his side and those Paul Newman blue eyes. Who would not have swooned?
As we made our way in life we continued to live another 2 years or so in Georgia and then one day, as it is inevitable, the detailer called! That is the person who is in charge of determining your destiny as I quickly learned. They assigned him to report to an air carrier for what they call a disassociated tour of duty. Basically as a P3 aviator, with the rank of LCDR, there is no place for you in a squadron. So they place you on a carrier…. Yeah a BIG ship that is gone more than it’s home! In the process of preparing for his tour of duty on CV 63 USS Kitty Hawk, there were interim schools to attend to prepare him for his work and ship life. We were headed to San Diego but not before a 3 month intermediate stop in Virginia Beach for training. Life is an adventure in the Navy. My husband went to Virginia a few weeks before me and I will never forget the look on my sweet dearly departed Mother’s face as she watched me pack my 1976 Audi Fox to the brim with a microwave, linens, all the household items I could muster, my clothes, his clothes and 2 blonde cocker spaniels. It was a 12 hour drive and I was doing it all by myself. She thought I was CRAZY! It was definitely the longest journey I had ever made by myself but as I would come to find out as a Navy wife…by no means my last! Three months came and went very fast. He was to meet the ship on deployment in progress right after Christmas. We drove cross-country to California and left the car with his best friend for the duration of the cruise. Then it was time to say goodbye. If you are a service wife you know how this goes…the sadness is just too much so you typically pick a fight the day before thus making the departure actually a relief! Well you may not actually do that by design, but more times than not, it works out that way. It’s a form of survival I suppose. I headed back to Georgia where I lived for about 5 months until it became time to pack up and move…. to San Diego. You know how most couples who are moving to a new city go on a home searching trip together and determine where they collectively would like to live? Well, no can do in the Navy. I flew to San Diego where I stayed with Navy friends of my husband’s whom I had never met and proceeded to pick out our new place. A few days later it was done. New condo, new address, new friends and new life. Then the day arrived. Now I was raised in the South and not on the ocean so I had never witnessed a Navy ship come home from deployment. I hope I can do it justice and describe the scene in case you haven’t ever experienced it yourself either.
Cool, crisp, salty sea air. San Diego’s majestic views. Excitement that you can feel in the air. Coming over the Coronado Bay Bridge that early morning in May with my loved ones that had joined me for his arrival… so early that ship was not in sight yet! Good …. we had time to get to the pier and post our signs and wait…. and wait… and wait…with about 5,000 other family members! As the carrier came in sight the crowd became joyous with excitement. Jubilant anticipation! Remembering that my wait had been about half as long as most of the wives with my husband’s joining the cruise in progress. I marveled at the fortitude that it takes to endure 10+ months without your partner. It is something most civilians will never have to experience and may not comprehend. There were newborn babies whose lives had begun since their dads left many months previous. There were reunions of the sweetest kind just getting ready to unfold with Daddies meeting their babies for the very first time! Get out the kleenex! As the ship drew nearer…. the faint outline of sailors on the deck came into focus. They were positioned all around the rail of the flight deck at parade rest… it was a sight to behold. These men (in those days only men on the ship) were so glad to be coming home after so many months of service. There were officers and enlisted men alike. The one thing that tied them all together was that ship, that deployment and that homecoming! It takes literally HOURS for a ship of this magnitude to dock. Then the moment arrives… the first men disembark. You’d think the Captain of the ship might be first off…. Not so. There is a special line for “First Time Dads” and the men who had not had the pleasure of holding their precious little ones are the first off…. then the tears start to fall! There are over 5,000 men in ship’s company. You can imagine the sea of happy reunions going on around you as each sailor finds his special ones that have been waiting on his arrival! By the time my husband disembarked and got to me I had cried off all the makeup that I put on that morning. That was a wonderful feeling to have him back home! Indescribable really. A feeling that is tough to explain but something I can remember vividly even 35 + years later!
During subsequent deployments I learned these truths: Your toilet only backs up when the husband is gone. The car is fine until the ship pulls out at which time there is something so wrong with it that they send a mechanic to Sweden to learn how to repair it! Meanwhile it stays in the shop for 6 months gathering dust! Washing machine repairs go up exponentially during deployment. Maytag loves that! Basically if it has moving parts it will either break or disintegrate while the husband is on deployment. This is Murphy’s law at it’s best! Being a Navy Wife was both frustrating and rewarding. This is why I say “Navy Wife….Toughest Job in the Navy”! My hat is off to all of you ladies who are out there standing that watch! I say press on and know that this Ex-Navy wife respects and applauds you!
Photo by https://www.navypictures.net/products/CV_63_USS_Kitty_Hawk_Photograph_2-2395-63.html
Info on the USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63) Contribution: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Kitty_Hawk_(CV-63)
Other Navy Wife related blogs to visit:
I invite you to read my post from last Halloween as I celebrate my one year in blogging!
This Halloween spend some special time with the little one. Here’s some ideas on how to make your holiday a little more fun!
1. Carve some pumpkins
I have listed some links below that have free pumpkin carving templates. Just practice safe knife skills while watching little fingers! Also tips on toasting the seeds are also available online. This teaches resourcefulness to kids and gives you a treat to eat!
2. Decorate some mini “pumpkins”
Here’s a simple trick if carving is not possible. A visit to the grocery store then the fabric shop for a few ribbons …
a little glue and you have your decorations (which will keep til Thanksgiving!)
33. Let them help you decorate a table
See this quick and easy tablescape above using the same cute “pumpkins” and some hurricane globes with pins to hold in place. These items can easily be found at many local craft store!
4. Go candy shopping
Find some coupons for Halloween candy in your local paper (lots of them this time of year) and look at the store ads… like Walgreens, CVS, Rite-Aid. Then match them to your coupons for the most bang for your buck! Let the kids help scout for the bargains. You have to buy candy if you are going to participate in “Trick or Treat” so you might as well make it a fun experience while saving money and teaching the little ones to save too!
Whatever you do… have fun and be safe! These meaningful times together will never be recreated so please spend it wisely!
Some articles I like!
What can you do for free with your kids this weekend?
Now that Fall is here you might be looking for a way to spend some quaility time with the kiddos… but since it’s the end of the month (and the month ALWAYS seems to last longer than the money) I thought you might enjoy knowing about some free things to do together!
1. Build something with your kid!
This Saturday (9/24) take the kids to Lowe’s! No they aren’t paying me to say this…. 😉 They are offering a free “Build and Grow” workshop where your kids can build a firetruck! All supplies are free and kids get an apron, goggles and a completion patch at the end of the workshop… only catch… you have to register! So go HERE and get them on the list for this fabulous free even!
(If you miss this week… check the schedule at your local store! They offer these free events almost every month! Other home centers do as well….)
2. Take a walk!
A walk is free and priceless at the same time. It is a perfect time to walk and pick up beautiful leaves which could open up all types of topics. You might ask (unless they ask first) “How do the leaves turn all these colors?” or “Can you name the colors you see?” My daughter used to love to collect leaves in the fall and we would press them between wax paper to preserve them. She is 30 now and I swear I believe I STILL have some of those leaves!
3. Teach your kids to use a camera!
I recently heard of an idea where your child is asked to find something to photograph that begins with the letter A, B … and so on. If this idea initiates a conversation then I say give it a try. Otherwise, with todays digital technology… they might just like to go out and take pictures of things that they like. Again you might be amazed at what they find interesting and you might just have a budding photographer on your hands!
4. Let’s have a cooking lesson!
Photo Credit: http://cooking724.wordpress.com/2010/07/12/kids-cooking/
Pick one fall treat that you enjoyed as a kid (mine is homemade popcorn balls….yummy) and teach your kids to make it. Or let them suggest something that they want to learn how to make. You may be surprised at how creative they can be!
5. Involve them in your football watching!
Whether it be your favorite college team on Saturday or your NFL Fav on Sunday… let the little ones get involved too! This is a great time to answer questions about sportsmanship and how to be a team player. Please remember to be patient and watch the explatives … they are little carbon copies of you!
6. Teach them one thing that you learned from your Grandparent!
Photo Credit: http://www.lilsugar.com/Family-Ties-What-Call-Grandparents-1134034
In my most recent blog post I wrote about my Grandmama Bessie (https://dsgnmomonline.wordpress.com/2011/09/20/on-being-a-mother-and-even-better-a-grandmother/). She taught me some amazing “lost arts” like sewing and cooking. What type of things did you Grandparents teach you? How to whittle? Make a bird house? Master the yo-yo?
7. If you blog, ask each of them to write a guest post
If they aren’t old enough ask them to draw a picture which you can feature on your “guest blogger’s” day! This will bring them such joy to be “published” and who knows what budding writers we have hidden in our own families!
8. Storytime at your local bookstore!
Check out the scheduled free storytimes at your local bookstore. Doesn’t cost a thing and they may just fall in love with reading!
9. Check your local museums for their “free” day!
We are so fortunate in Memphis to have an array of fabulous Museums available and many of them have free or greatly reduced days for kids! So while you may not have the Cotton Museum (shown above), the Civil Rights Museum or even the home of Elvis in your city… There are wonderful museums everywhere just waiting for you and the kids to explore! *Ask them about a yearly family pass to save money all year long.
10. Google your city then go explore a site that you have not visited yet!
Find out what untapped resources you have in your city. In Memphis we have trolleys to ride and Beale Street to see. Do some digging on the computer and see what your city has that could be fun for a free fall afternoon!
11. Farmer’s Market exploration!
Photo Credit: http://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/836245/things-your-kids-can-learn-at-the-farmers-market
The Farmer’s Market is a wonderful place to share your knowledge of different types of fruits and veggies. How many vegetables can they find? Make a game of trying to fill in the blank A-Z. Then let them pick one vegetable that looks interesting to them that they have never tried. Who knows, maybe their involvement will make them more interesting in eating it.
12. Check out your local “Kids eat FREE or CHEAP” for Saturday and Sunday
In Memphis the following restaurants offer cool deals for kids and parents on weekends!
Texas Roadhouse, Piccadilly Cafeteria, Firehouse Subs… just to make a few! Check out your local area online to see what you are missing!
Please remember that the meaningful conversations… the ones that lead to stories and lessons of life… often come from the small quiet times that we spend with our kids one-on-one! Doesn’t have to be an elaborate day out or an expensive event… just you and them sharing life and making lasting memories!
I read and enjoyed this quote recently:
“Being a mother is one of the highest salaried jobs in my
field, since the payment is pure love.”
~Mildred B. Vermont
It’s fitting that I write about my only child’s only child on the occasion of her second birthday!
Honestly… before I became a Grandmother, I thought “What is the BIG deal?” When my friends who had become grandparents prior to me would go on… and on… and ON about their kid’s kids… again I would say “What is the BIG deal?” (if only to myself!). I now know what the big deal is. It is joy at it simplest. It is unmeasurable happiness. It is a vulnerable love that opens your heart and reminds you of the sweetest memories that are tucked way back in your mind… twenty… thirty years old or more.
When Marissa was first born I would sit and hold her, looking deep into those beautiful brown eyes. One day I just began to weep as I held her. The love overflowed and came out in the form of tears… guessing it had to go somewhere! This immense love washed over me and I felt that I truly “got it” that day.
I remember the beautiful connection I had with my Grandmama. Having lost her some 28 years ago at age 27 I should have to dig deeply to pull up the memories of my times with her… but I do not have to dig at all. They are here on the surface of my soul. I was lucky enough to spend many summers with her in her small rural town…even though we lived about 400 miles away in a big city. She taught me the lost arts of quilting, cross-stitch, and crocheting. We made clothes from the left over Pajama Factory remnants that she inherited from a close friend. She taught me to cook, bake and canning. I learned when and how to pick beans and other vegetables from their small but bountiful garden. I had cold biscuits and gravy (cold by my choice) which my Grandmama had made from scratch every morning at about 4 am prior to my Grandaddy’s departure to work as a carpenter. She let me sleep until I wanted to get up which as I recall was typically about 9 am. My memory of bedtime is amusing. Since my grandparents arose so early… they would literally “go to bed with the chickens”! So before the sunset had time to sink into the night… I was expected to be asleep. What? It’s light out…. I’m 12! Nobody I know goes to bed that early! So I chuckle as I re-live the memories of TRYING to go to sleep before 8 pm.
Grandmama Bessie –
She would say “If it don’t love… don’t make it eat it” (we -the grandchildren- were the “it” she was refering to… so spoiled WE WERE!)
The tight bond between Grandparent and Grandchild. Is it because the years of parenting make us more grateful for the little things? I know that since I have become a grandmother, a “Gigi” to be exact, I have enjoyed precious moments with my granddaughter… as if I really didn’t know how to enjoy them the first time around as a Mom. I guess God gave me a “do-over”. I think I did pretty good the first time… kind of like taking a class and getting a “C+” or maybe a “B-” the first time around… then re-taking the class like 25 years later and getting an “A+”. Funny how a little life under your belt helps your perspective. Maybe realistically I have a Degree in Mothering and a Masters in Life 101. That is the “it” that I needed to get to…
So I hope when Marissa Gray turns 25 she will be blogging (or who know WHAT they will be doing by then!) about her crazy “Gigi” who she has shared many countless wonderful fun filled days with and from whom she has learned much. I hope that I can impart some of my wisdom in her so that maybe her road to happiness will have less bumps and more downhill coasts! One Gigi can only hope.
I love you Marissa. Happy Birthday angel. And to my daughter Alissa, I love you and thank you for giving me this precious gift. Being a “Gigi” fits me JUST RIGHT!
My new friend who is a blogger, husband and 31-year-old father, T.J. Brown, has written a post recently entitled “The Sad Story of My Creation” http://thomasjohnbrown.wordpress.com/2011/09/12/the-sad-story-of-my-creation/. I was heartbroken for him as he told of his parents decision to have him and then tell him (his whole life) that he was a “mistake”! I was so appalled by this that I was compelled to comment on his post and that has resulted in the development of a sincere friendship. My respect for him is enormous as he works through the pain that this has caused him to this day. He blogs to air his feelings and “get it out”. This is a brave journey that T.J. has accepted and I am very thankful that our paths have crossed. His very supportive wife, Amber, comments on his every post and I can tell that there is much love and support for him through their relationship.
We as parents have an IMMENSE effect on our children and the kind of adults they will be! Words are weapons. Words are powerful especially being uttered by one’s own parent. The harsh words of “you were a mistake” can only serve to debilitate a child from developing in any sort of normal way! Why would a parent want that for their child? As I said in my response to him (in part): “I am so appalled that parents could describe a child’s creation as a “mistake”. Honestly adults need to own up to their actions and stop the blame game… it was not the car load of people (regardless of race) or the missed birth control which is at fault here. The truth is, it seems, that your parents chose to have “divorce sex” as you call it and created another precious human being. I believe that God allows the people that are suppose to be born to be conceived and are allowed to live. Each life has meaning and teaches us lessons as parents. Your attitude is commendable. Please keep believing that you are special and NOT a mistake. You have the touched my life with this post and that is no mistake!”
I went on to tell him about someone who I worked for many years ago. She was told by her parents that she should have been aborted! Just knowing that her parents wished that she had never been born affected her daily existence and made her a very bitter and angry individual. It seemed to me that she was always looking to hurt others the way she was hurt. I may not be a Psychologist but I am smart enough to know that what we say to our children is carried throughout our lives. Unless we go through the long and arduous process of “reprogramming those tapes” in our minds… that is what plays over and over…. and over!
My story is a different from T.J’s as daylight is from darkness! My parents were married 13 years before my birth. My oldest brother was born about 13 months into their marriage and then there were 11 years of unsuccessful attempts to get pregnant with a second child. Eleven long year of being told that she was barren and may never have another due to complications that arose during the difficult birth of my brother. Imagine the happiness that they felt as they were finally able to tell their 12-year-old son that he was FINALLY going to be a big brother! That May my mother attended a local festival featuring a beautiful Queen and her court riding the “Strawberry Festival” float (a very big event in 1955!). Someone on that float had the name “Janiece”, I assumed it was the Queen but have never been able to confirm. I was told that my mother said “Oh if I have a girl I’m going to name her “Janiece”. I never met the person for whom I was named but always wondered if I could someday tell her that story. I was born about 4 months later… I was 3 weeks early and my parents had to travel from a rural Tennessee county about 90 miles away from Memphis to get to the hospital. Because of her complications she had a special doctor. They made it in time… No two parents were ever more proud to welcome their new baby girl… after over a decade of waiting.
When I was 18 months old their Christian strength was tested. I became very ill and was admitted to the hospital. The doctors told them to prepare for the worse. They said they had done all they could and that it was in the Lord’s hands. My mother used to tell me of how they kneeled at the foot of my hospital crib and prayed that God would spare my life if it was “His will”.
I was one sick little girl but the antibiotics and fluids that they administered had given me the strength to pull out of the sickness. Iwas a fighter. Never gave up. My parents, both devout Christians, dedicated my life to the Lord then and there. I have scars in my forehead and my ankle that remind me of this story. As a huge happy surprise they welcomed another addition about a year later… my little brother! I have what I like to call a “brother sandwich”! 😉
MY BROTHER SANDWICH
(Left – Johnny, my oldest brother, me and my “baby” brother David – right)
Both my parents are no longer living but I can still hear my mother’s voice as she would recount how eternally grateful they both were that the Lord had spared my life. I always felt VERY special knowing that my parents desperately wanted me and then almost lost me…and then gratefully dedicated my life. They were wonderful examples of what a parent should be. I thank God daily that I had them in my life as shinning examples. And of course I miss them both terribly… Mom for 25 years and Dad only this year gone. You can read my memorial tribute to them here: https://dsgnmomonline.wordpress.com/2011/05/03/its-been-25-years-today-mom-i-still-miss-you/ and https://dsgnmomonline.wordpress.com/2011/02/21/holding-daddys-hand-forever/.
It occurred to me that the story of my creation could not be further from that of T.J. We had very different welcoming committees. Mine was very much like a ticker tape parade and his was vastly different. Yet be both ended up blogging and sharing. We ended up having our paths cross because of these differences. We ended up as friends. Thank you T.J. for your inspiration. I wish you all the best on your journey.
Photo credit: http://iamachild.wordpress.com/category/wilbur-lawrence/
I have my very first Guest Blogger! I’m so excited to share George with my readers. He is a gifted writer, dad, granddaddy (“Tah”-his nickname) and all-round funny guy.
He serves our country as an officer in the Georgia Army National Guard and did a tour of duty to Iraq in 2005. I am proud to know George and hope that through his writing you too can know this man who is my friend.
Here’s his letter to his oldest daughter as she left the nest recently flying off to start her life with her brand new Marine Corps husband…taking the only grandbaby with her. This is priceless and SO George! See the note at the bottom explaining the nicknames for his kids… it will help if you have that information first. Thank you, George, for sharing your heart and showing us that your daughter is “Holding Daddy’s Hand Forever” just like I am! http://wp.me/p1aeRt-9L
FIRST BORN MOVING DAY by LTC George L. Fisher
Sorry I got something caught in my throat when I was talking to you on the
phone…it must have been the chicken biscuit….
I will call you later because I know you are busy on MOVING DAY……
When you were born they threw your goo-covered butt in the warmer thing at
the hospital–you were squawling to beat all getout. I went over to where you
were and held your tiny little hand–you latched onto my pinky finger and
held on–in just a few seconds you stopped crying and the new parents had a
I was hooked from that moment on—proud as I have ever been—as was your
Mom—and as a result you “may” have been a little bit spoiled…
So for the last 20 years or so you have been right there with us, thru thick
and thin..good times, bad times, and lots of just regular times.
Amanda “Booger” Fisher was there.
Along came Joe, then Winnie….. The tank of tropical fish, the cats, and
everything else—and the Booger was still there…
Then there was himself–your baby boy, aka “The Pottamus”–not exactly the
best timing in the world, but inasmuch you do things your own way, it all
worked out–Mom and God both knew this and as usual I was the last one to
figure it out– but eventually I did. (I’m not as big a heathen as folks
And the Booger…. like the Flag–like the mortgage–and like the
everlasting pile of laundry— was still there.
Our Booger AND our Pottamus, who is just as much “ours” as any of you kids,
even if he is a GRAND…. And he has been just that…GRAND—and
incidentally has a window into my soul and I’m powerless in his clutch.
Your Mom loves her babies—all of them–unconditionally. That means no
matter what. (I do too, but you kids aren’t supposed to know it)…
AND That means—while no matter that Moms’ babies are 20 years old and even
has a baby of her own, who is moving away–and regardless that there are
still two remaining kids , three dogs, and yet another round of trips to the
orthodontist and teenaged drivers pending to break our butts and our bank
account—the reality is our Boogs and our Pottamus won’t be there…..and
that, Dear Boogs, is what makes things get caught in ones throat.
And that’s why Mom and I wish we had a pinky finger to latch on to right now.
George and his daughter Amanda on her wedding day
George’s Nicknames for his kids–
Amanda (oldest) is Booger (because she’s so fun to pick at)
Joe (middle) is “Mans best Friend” in my stories because he is and has been the most loyal to me especially when he was small because we were so tight..most other times I call him “buddy”-which is for the same reason…
Lyndsay (youngest) is Winnie just by default and she was into Winnie the Pooh so she got winnie poops and other variations (nothing spectacular on her nickname) but primarily
Tah and Pottamus
And the Pottamus (grandson) —well, he was 2 days old and was having tremendous gas–Amanda called and said I have a name for him-Poot. So Poot became “The Poot” then Pootie then Pootiepottamus which morphed into a prehistoric animal called the Pootasaurus, or Pootipottamus Bunkus Rex (his latin name) which translates to little brave scout. Ha ha.