Friday, June 26, 2009

Day at the Park

The girls and I finally took a trip to the Park up the road, it has some great memorials in it, the one above is the Kansas Vietnam Memorial Wall.
This one is so gorgeous, it is the memorial to all the Iraq war fallen soldiers from Fort Riley, each flag represents a soldier and has their name on the side. It was a nice day to walking through all the memorials (there are a lot more) with the girls, we had a good time together.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


So today was my birthday and it got me to thinking about my favorite memories over the years of my birthday, not presents over the years I have received wonderful gifts, but I was thinking more about the things that you remember long after the gifts are put away.
When I was little my Mom always made a big deal over holidays, Christmas, Halloween etc. and we loved them all, but our birthdays were our own day filled with wonderfully wrapped gifts, great homemade cakes, always reflecting whatever I liked that year, as I got older my cakes were always her famous cheesecake because it was and is my favorite.
Bonnie always remembering what day my birthday was on (it was the anniversary of the day she started at IRS)
The year I turned 7 my Mom was gone and I was staying with my Grandma in Morgan she put together a party for me with my cousins and all the kids in the neighborhood, I loved that.
Dad for years got me a new doll for my birthday and Christmas, and it was always so fun to see what one I got each new year (yes I know that is a gift, but it is the memory of each new one that is so special)
My recent message from my cousin telling me she still remembers my birthday every year and thinks of me when it comes along.
My dear friend Becky calling me to tell my her daughter Kandace had been born on my birthday (and the very next year my Levi was born on her birthday)
The yearly phone calls or text messages from my family saying Happy Birthday
Mom calling to "sing" me Happy Birthday
My Aunt June makes gorgeous cakes, and when I was little I got a doll cake every year, the stand up kind, I loved seeing what it would look like each year
The hand made card my kids made/make me when they were little
Dancing with Perry the first time, he was a vet from the VFW, I got to know him well over the years, but before I did he asked me if he could have a birthday dance the year I turned 39, he used to teach at some "Fred Astaire" or something like that school and dances beautifully.
The phone call I got from Richard's sister Kari before I had ever met her, but she still called to say Happy Birthday we love you.
Going with GrandmaNana and Aunt June shopping and to lunch when it was our birthday we got to pick where we went to lunch, I always chose the Tiffin Room at ZCMI
And the most touching memory so far was last year, it was a hard time we had just brought Dad home from the hospital we knew he was not doing well we were all worried and tired, anyway I had written off my birthday I was not feeling like any type of celebration I was sitting next to Dad's bed and in came Bonnie with a cake, candles and all my family that was there singing me Happy Birthday, what I found so touching was that in the midst of all that was going on, she found time to sneak away and bring me a cake and in the middle of all our heartache she took the time to make a special moment for me.
And last of all, the fact that I was able to spend my birthday with my Dad last year, I will never get to do that again, so that will stay in my heart forever.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

marriage retreat

We are home from our weekend away, we had a really good time, the whole weekend retreat was set up and run by Major(Chaplain)Manley, who is the Chaplain who married us, anyhow it was a marriage retreat with emphasis on TBI's and PTSD etc. since there are many marriages within the Army that deal with these added stresses. We had classes on all these things and also watched some video's called laugh your way to a happy marriage, I would so recommend anyone who is married either watch the video's or read the books, it was so insightful as to how men and women process information differently and we "hear" things differently. It had lots of tips on understanding each other and having a successful marriage. Truly it was one of the better "marriage" things I have seen in all my school classes etc.
We stayed at the Sheraton, very nice hotel across from both the Kansas City Royals(baseball) and Kansas City Chiefs(football) teams stadiums, we could see both from our room. The hotel had a lovely water park so during our free time on Saturday we played there for awhile. This is me in our room
Here is Richard relaxing before classes on Friday night.
View of both stadiums from our window, the Royals were playing so you can see all the people in the stands.
On our way home we decided to drive through Fort Leavenworth, neither of us had been there and it is just a few miles out of Kansas City. Of course this is the Post with the famous Leavenworth federal prison where all the military (and some federal) prisoners are housed. It is the only Post we have been on that actually took our ID cards and scanned them into the system as well, so they do appear to have excellent security. The picture above is the side view of the yard. We were reading about the prison, the original one was called the castle and was built in the 1800's and then later torn down and this new one put up. Way back then they still flogged prisoners, used ball and chains, and brained their faces with a D for deserter. They have since then become more "humane" and their motto now is our mission is your future, they encourage visitors to improve moral, have lots of rehabilitation courses in the hopes of setting them up to succeed upon release.
This is the front of the prison, the USDB is United States Disiplinary Barracks.
The Post itself was very nice, similiar to Fort Riley in the old brick building, very green from the moisture here and lots of trees.
It is nice to be home now, it is nice to get away, but I really end up missing the kids alot after a day or so.
To all of you Dad's out there, Happy Fathers Day, and to all of you lucky enough to still have you Fathers give them an extra hug and make sure to tell them you love is just so important.
Samantha I did get to read the post I missed, I am glad you pointed it out to me, I left you a comment there.
Kris tell me what her symtoms are I will give it my best shot at a diagnosis now, I of course can not give you medical advise or be 100% sure if I am right but I do like to try, I got all of Krissy's diagnoses correct before we got them from the doctor, and maybe I can point you in the right direction for help dealig with things for you all and for her, it is hard I know.
To all of you who left such nice comments on my Post about my Dad, I love you all and your kind words ment the world to me.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Weekend in Kansas City

We are going with Richards unit to Kansas City for the weekend, they are offering some classes one on TBI (traumatic brain injury) and one of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) both of which will be very insightful with my schooling. Then Sunday a marriage enrichment class, we provide transportation (about a 2 hr drive) they provide everything else...rooms at the Sheridan, dinner and breakfast and admission to the water park there, so should be fun, we are combining it with my birthday since it is the weekend before and the week of I am working a TON of extra hours, I am looking forward to the trip will be nice for us.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Death and Denial

So I have been told it takes a year to fully morn the loss of someone close to you.....this is a lie.

It has been almost a year since we lost my Dad, I remember it well, the phone call from my step mom telling me Dad was back in the hospital again, then the daily updates from my sister who was there for a visit, telling me things just did not look good. I was in Alamosa training for my job and debating if I could wait until the weekend to go home, knowing full well I had better get there soon, the day before my birthday my sister called and said they are taking Dad's breathing tube out, we are not sure if he will breath on his own without it, so I went to the company told them I had to leave got in my car and drove all night long, my sister called every couple hours to update me, and when I was not on the phone with her I was praying with everything I had, please do not let Dad die on my birthday, I already am not a big fan of my birthday how will I ever face it again if I loose Dad on that day, then I decided that was selfish so I just prayed he would live until I got home.( I wanted to believe he would get better and go home and live many more years, but something in me told me this was not going to happen) I pulled into the hospital at 2am, the nurses had agreed to let me into the intensive care no matter what time I got there, when I walked into his room he was sleeping and I remember thinking how will I ever live without him. When he woke up and saw me there he wanted me to take him home, of course no doctor will release a patient a 230am, so we visited for a bit and then I left him to go sleep for a couple hours, later that morning we were able to take him home with hospice, they came and set up a bed for him in the living room and we took turns watching him to make sure he did not try to get up on his own, that first night my step mother slept on the couch to keep an eye on him, the next night I told her I would sleep in there so she could try to get some sleep, by then I think she was just so exhausted and I was getting worried about her health, I watched him most of the night and finally fell asleep, the next thing I remember my step mother was waking me up to say something was not right, he did not look well, she touched him and her face just fell, he was very cold and barely breathing, the rest of the morning is a blur to me, I remember sitting on the edge of the bed holding his hand, at some point I called my sister to tell her she better get there now, and looked up to see my Aunt and brother were in the room with us, I guess Bonnie had woken them up. We sat with Dad until he took his last breath, I cannot tell you how that feels, I was with Steve's mom when she died and I remember how hard it was, but this was my Dad the man I thought ruled the world, the pain was indescribable. My Dad left us on June 26th (my nephews birthday) the next few days were full with arrangments and details to be taken care of, this is a good thing because it keeps your mind off of things, my brothers and sisters and I all came together to try and make things as easy as possible for Bonnie, she became our priority and this got at least me through, she needed us and we needed to make sure she was as okay as she could be.

A few days after the funeral I headed home to Colorado, I have not been back. I think I should go home, but in truth I know that when I go I will have to face the reality that my Dad is not there anymore, now I can "pretend" someplace in my mind that he will be waiting there at the kitchen table when I go home next, I can try to think he is only a phone call away, and I can continue to live in my state of denial.

However now we are aproching the a year since we lost him and I am planning a trip home in August. We are having a family reunion for my Mom's side of the family, I told my cousin whose families turn it is to plan it I would come home this year, and I know I need to go, there are still people I love there and if I do not go home I am passing up the moments with them that I will someday regret not taking.

I have signed up for every extra hour I can get at work next week, plus I have put off two term papers for school until then so I can stay as busy as I can then, trying not to dwell on things. If you are lucky enough to have your parents still take my advise and treasure every moment, do not put off a visit or phone call for any reason, trust me I am living proof that you will regret it when it is to late. And taking that advise upon myself I am trying to prepair for my first trip home, my Mom, my step Mom, my grandparents, one sister and some of my brothers as well as Aunts, Uncles, nieces and nephews are there, I love them and I know I need to see them. I feel everyday for Bonnie, Robert and Mandy, they have had to face reality everyday for the last year, they could not pretend because they were right there, faced with the reality of Dad being gone, somehow they have managed to go no matter how hard it has been, I think my Dad would be proud of them.
And back to the lie, it has been almost a year and the pain is every bit as real as it was that day, it has not gotten one bit easier, I miss my Dad, I want him back.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Home Again

Had a wonderful time on our trip, we took lots of pictures, but when we got home and went to put them into the computer the memory card broke, all the pictures lost! Luckily for us we had put them all on Richards sisters computer before we left Texas so she can send them to us, we will post some once we get them.
We started our trip in California at Richards brother Rusty's house, that was very nice, his wife Astrid is from Germany and they lived there for many years so the kids were raised there, you can still hear Astrid's VERY German accent, she is so fun to listen to, the kids Derrick and Natasha have a bit of an accent but not as strong, if I did not know it I would have never guessed that English was not their first language. They were all as nice as could be to me and I especially enjoyed the kids (not so young kids they are 22 and 23), at one point Natasha said to me...I am so glad you are part of our family, I love you, that about made me cry it was so nice.
From California we flew to Texas (San Antonio area) so I could meet the other brother LeRoy, his wife Janet and their kids Clinton and Samantha. Clinton graduated a couple days before we got there so we missed that, darn, but still got to spend some nice time with them all. Kari and Tony got there the week before us, they are living in the guest house at LeRoys, it is a very nice place, they live in a little town outside of San Antonio called Bandera, it only had 953 people in it, everyone is friendly and it has that small town feel I love so much. We went one morning to a open air market they have in the park, it was fun, I bought a wonderful Native American necklace ($60.00, on sale for $5.00) I so love a good deal! Also picked up some stuff to bring home to the kids. Then Rich and I drove in to see the Alamo, that was fun, lots of history there, it is pretty wild to see it right in the middle of town, with all these tall buildings all around it, there was lots more we would have liked to do, but this was a quick trip so we will have to do the rest on our next trip.
We got home and got up this morning, up to the door comes two Army guys, now as I have said before that is not to heart stopping as long as Richard is home, NOT something you want if he isn't. Turns out they did not get his message checking back in from Leave last night so they were just making sure everything was okay and letting him know the Sergeant Major wanted to see him. He wanted to give him an update on our place on the housing list it seems that even though the first Sergeant, the Sergeant Major and the Garrison Commander have approved our moving up the list at housing since it is now run by civilians they now have to wait for approval from the guy in charge there. I myself am having a problem understanding how the Army has to convince a civilian to put a active duty soldier in the Army into housing on a Army Post!?! Whatever, they still say we should be moving the first part of July so now we are just waiting to hear for sure which housing area we are moving in to, no matter where the house will be bigger so we are happy about it, we defiantly need more space!