Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I wanted to share some of my favorite pics from Christmas Eve. I love the one of the kids with the IMAGINE sign! The first pic is of my kids be goofy-showing their love for each other-LOL. The other photo is of my nephews, Ethan and Zach, as well as my kids. We had a wonderful Christmas Eve with family, yummy food and a white elephant gift exchange. We also spent some time together as a family watching a "Christmas Story". A little sad because Carley left for her Dad's at 10pm for Christmas with him-hard to have her away during the holidays but know I have to share :) I need to get some shut-eye or Santa will be really grumpy! Merry Christmas and Keep Imagining!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

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An Important Day in Our History..

December 22nd was yesterday-I know you all knew that but did you know the importance of that day in our journey? Last year-Dec. 22, 2006 at around 9 PM Rodney was on the ground at KCI airport finally home for the holidays and home for good after a long few months. We were all so thrilled and had the house decorated inside and out, all the gifts bought and wrapped and ready to celebrate not just Christmas but him finally being home. Little did we know that the year ahead would bring many more challenges and frustrations with the system but looking back it has taught me so much about myself, my family and what true appreciation is. We have been blessed so much more than we have lost...Yesterday was another one of those days of blessings and kindness more than we could have imagined!
We had special visitors from the American Legion Riders. They came bearing gifts..of the material kind but also those of genuine caring and kindness that warmed my heart and re-newed my faith in others. It made me realize that even though so much negative lives in the world that we are exposed to day in and day out-people are good as is our Father God-who obviously sent these angels to us.
The kids received amazing gifts and they were so excited! did I say Excited!!!!
We had an early Christmas (especially since Carley is leaving on Christmas Eve to go to her Dad's we are trying to squeeze it all in!). I was just as excited to see them open their gifts especially picked out for them-it brought tears to my eyes but good tears:) Connor received the LEGO's set that he had only dreamed of, Dallas Cowboys gear-his favorite team and a gift card to Target I think he already has spent in his head; Carley received more than one pair of PJ pants which she loves, gifts cards from Old Navy,Kohl's and Border's (she devours books), the Harry Potter DVD and Victoria Secrets Perfume-she was beyond thrilled; Taylor received pj pants also and being a college student I am almost sure she will wear them to class :),VS perfume, gifts cards to Old Navy and a $100 gas card (we all know how much gas costs so that was beyond amazing!) We received an entire basket of food including a turkey! Rodney and I were given gift cards so we can have some date nights-we could use the time alone :)
We have so much love for the group and the members that did the shopping and came out in nasty winter weather to deliver and visit! Our dog Beau even made Friends with each of them-I think he thought they came to see him-LOL.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts! We are blessed and the 22nd of December will continue to be a special day in our history for more than one reason!

God Bless & Merry Christmas to Everyone!
Keep Imagining!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Saying Good-Bye to Georgia and Welcome Home! 2006

Photos of WELCOME HOME on Nov. 1, 2006
I need to finish what I started and get back on track with the original reason for this blog-at least catch up or I will forever be in 2006 and we are only a couple days away from the NEW YEAR-2008! I will just try and hit the highlights and describe some of the feelings and situations we find ourselves in during this time.

October 30-Nov. 1


  • Started off the day by visiting the Medhold Company that Rodney is attached to here in Georgia. The medhold company seems pretty unorganized from my civilian eyes but obviously I am not the one in charge :) Rodney's platoon leader has been very nice and visited us in Rod's hospital room throughout the stay. We sat in an over-crowded office for over 30 minutes waiting to meet with someone who could tell us what was supposed to happen next-not a new place for us but one that does tend to involve some stress. We did finally find out some info.- Rodney will be able to come home for about a month (the days he spent at the Fisher House are considered part of his convalescence leave) and then return to Fort Gordon. He will basically be going to formations, maybe doing some office work, going to Dr. appt.s and live in the barracks (basically like a dorm). We are not sure how long this will go on but hopefully he will be eligible for a program (CBHC) that is new that allows the wounded soldiers to be at home and go to local doctors -we will have to wait and see.

  • We then headed over to the Hospital to begin the out-processing so he can be released to go home. We met with his case manager and she gave us the list of what needed to get done. When at Fort Gordon the case worker will be working closely with Rodney and making his dr. appts. and following up to see how he is doing.

  • Rod then had an appt. with a primary care physician whom he had never met before, but it is part of the process. She just basically gave him a quick look over and his records etc.. then made a few comments and let us leave. Kinda strange.

  • We went to records to get his medical records-long wait so will have to pursue that another day-but very important.

  • Met with social worker-not sure why? She wasn't very informative or didn't offer us anything new to take with us on our journey to the unknown.

  • Went to the office for travel. We are still struggling to get on same flight-he needs someone to travel with him lucky for him I don't give up without a fight. They seem to recognize my name in this office which means I have made a name for myself-not one they probably want to share with me. I know they are just doing their job but not sure why things have to be so difficult and so much red-tape. I go into everything Army related knowing it will be more work than really necessary.

  • We did speak with a VA rep. which was very helpful and insightful. She told us not to allow them to release Rodney from Medhold until he was completely well-even the smallest thing get it taken care of.

  • Went back to Fisher House to separate Rodney's belongings into what is going home and what will go over to the barracks.

  • Went to get Rodney a new uniform jacket at the PX uniform shop-the one they sent with him-the zipper is busted. This is our dime not the militaries-that is messed up.

  • Set up things with Fort Leavenworth medical facility for the time when Rodney is home. He will be able to go to Munson Hospital to get his labs drawn for the blood thinner issues and have his leg wounds monitored. The Fort is about an hour away from where we live in Kansas.
He also had some de-briefing by a Chaplin as well as a mental health provider. I am concerned what is going on in Rod's head a great deal-he has been through a major traumatic event physically and emotionally-but right now they have said they are dealing with healing the physical first. That concerns me-I feel both can be dealt with simutanoulsy and worry about how things will be with the stress of home. We already have our moments where we are butting heads-but hopefully with a lot of love, patience and me helping to keep things less stressful we will make it thru all of this. Maybe...
WE are just wanting to get done whatever needs to be done-jump through whatever hoops we need to-so that Rodney can go home to see all the family including the kids and to be honest-as much as I like Georgia I am getting homesick for good old Kansas!

Rodney doesn't know but I have had some of our good friends at home planning a "small" welcome home when we arrive. I know he will be tired so I am putting the emphasis on "small"-Right now we don't have the ok on our flights together nor do we have a time for a flight-so hopefully all will work out on that. I know there are so many supporters back home who just want to say thank you-as well as our families that just want to see in person he is ok!

next day... Oct. 31, 2006-Happy Halloween! It feels strange to be away from the kids today especially Connor who still enjoys dressing up and going trick-or-treating-he is a vampire this year and I know Mam-mam (rodney's mom) will make sure he has a good time. Carley is going over to a friends house for a party and may-be some trick or treating. She is 13 so most likely the last big Halloween for her as a kid :(-it is hard but they understand (amazing kids)-and we are learning sacrifice is part of being a military family! Our last full day here in Georgia. We finally got the travel situation taken care of-we will be flying together! We will have a connecting flight in Charlotte so hopefully all will run smoothly. We should arrive in Kansas City on Nov. 1st around 5:00pm-so I am making phone calls to get the homecoming reception going now that we have a time of arrival! Last night we went out to dinner with one of the couples (they are from the San Diego, CA area) in the Fisher House and their son-we ate Italian. Fun and good food! It was good to be out-we just cannot move real fast with Rodney's leg injuries-but we can deal with that no problem! Tonight we are going out to eat with another couple to Red Lobster. Adam and Lisa-from North Dakota. We had a good time but it was strange to see all the little kids with their parents dressed-up for Halloween. Kinda a funny-we left the Fort to go into Augusta, so when we returned we had to show our military ID-Rodney didn't bring his. Luckily the guard let other vouch for him and we were let back on Fort. Another fun day of the journey :) Tomorrow we get to go home so packing and last minute details and we our homeward bound!!!!

Nov. 1st, 2006
Rodney went to his last minute appt.s and I packed up. Lisa was kind enough to take us to the airport so I was able to return my rental on the Fort. We flew out of Augusta which is a really small airport-our flight was late taking off but we made it to Charlotte in time for our connection (actually with time to spare but we went and ate and almost missed our flight because Rodney moves slower and wouldn't use airport assistance-but we made it). I will have to say thought that the flight from Charlotte to KC was the most uncomfortable flight I have ever taken-the seats were hard and wouldn't lay back at all-I was miserable and know Rodney had to be...Just a long day of travel after a long couple weeks in Georgia. We arrived in KC and were the last ones off the plane..Rodney's parents and sister brought Connor and a family friend, K, brought up Carley (Taylor was working)-it was so good to see the kiddos!
A surprise limo awaited to take us HOME! Connor's cub scout Pack had paid for it-the kids were so excited! I could tell Rodney was is pain and tired but he was also surprised when we got back to Gardner and headed to the High School-the total opposite direction than our house-he finally got it when he saw all the people with signs! Welcome Home Surprise courtesy of friends (Tina Vega & Keith Moll) and all our family! Thanks to you all!!!!

Finally Home...
Keep Imagining!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

It is Finally Starting to Look a little Like Christmas...

Connor putting on an ornament on our Christmas Tree

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas Time Blues

It is about 18 degrees here in Kansas today!!!! We have had icy weather and are due for more tonight. Did I ever mention I dislike Winter Weather!!!!
I have been meaning to get on here and update for a few days now, but to be honest I just haven't felt much like doing it. I don't feel like there is much worth writing about that is upbeat and positive. I have had more good days lately than bad so hopefully I will get in my "groove" sooner than later. I feel so out of the loop and forgotten. We have only received 2 Christmas cards so far. I really don't want the season to be just about gifts and getting together on Christmas with extended family-I want to feel joy! I look around and see that it is the holiday season but I don't really feel it. I do miss the excitement of Christmas through a young child's eyes-I feel like I am forcing my family to enjoy any aspect of the season and it is only a little more than 2 weeks away. Rodney did get the tree up but it is still undecorated and the boxes with decorations and ornaments are just sitting in the living room. A pretty sad sight. I hope it doesn't come down to me doing all the decoration. I have tried to express my feelings about how much it means to me that we all do it together but I think my expectations are too high. Anyone else deal with this with older kids? I have really been trying to feel better and do what the Dr. says but I still feel bummed by the holidays and I feel like I am the "ringleader" in the family-so if I don't suggest it or do it-it won't happen. UGGH!

So what has been happening with us:

  • Taylor made it home safe from college for winter break after her last final Saturday. It is nice to have all my kids in the same place for awhile again.
  • I did get some shopping done last week with my mom and then Rodney and I went out one evening. So I have a start on that task but I worry about being able to afford the rest with only one salary and me being unable to work.
  • I did get a facial and eye treatment last week that was so amazing and I loved the results. I had a gift card from my birthday from last December that was about to expire.
  • Carley has had TONS of homework over the last week. She spent most of the weekend on the computer writing papers. She is such a hard worker and always strives to do her best. I do love the fact she still comes to me to proof her work at 15!
  • Connor is doing very well in school still which I am so proud of him for. He is starting to spend a great deal of time on the phone sometimes even with girls!! I don't like that at all but he has always been a "ladies man" :)
  • Rodney will be out-of -town most of the week for some classes to prepare him for when he is released from med-hold. I will admit I was pretty upset when I first heard about it. I think mainly because we spent so much time apart when he was deployed last year and the last month or so I have had such a difficult time with my emotions and just dealing with stress. It does help that Taylor is home and I know we will be fine...I did it for months last year I can do it for a few days.
  • I have been cooking a lot, which for me is something I enjoy but is not something that happens with our busy schedule and picky eaters. We all actually sat down at the table yesterday morning for a Sunday family breakfast. It was so nice! I guess it is the little things.
  • My birthday is the 18th-not looking forward to it but it will come. It does every year!LOL

I better go get ready. I have a dentist appointment this afternoon. I lost a filling a few weeks ago and finally I am going since it has been causing me pain and I am only able to chew on one side. Did I mention I dislike going to the dentist as much as I dislike winter??

I hope my next post is more positive and I can say we are enjoying the holidays. Continue to keep us in your prayers as we muddle through this crazy journey.

Keep Imagining!


Sunday, December 2, 2007

Ideas to Help Troops and their Families

I have been checking the websites I list on the sidebar of this blog to see if their were any updates and I thought I would mention that if you are looking for a charitable organization to make a donation to each and every one of them is an awesome choice.

The military assistance organizations we have been helped by and still continue to receive aid from are all non-profit and run solely on donations. They make up for what is not provided( in our case wounded soldier still on med hold) by the government. I cannot say thanks enough to the groups that provide these services-we would most likely be homeless without them.

So please take a moment and check them out and if you can make a donation during the holiday season-It will very much appreciated by these hardworking groups as well as the service members and their families it impacts the most.

I did come across a really cool site if you know a family who is in the military and you would like to gift them with GROCERIES-something they can always use. The site is www.commissaries.com and the go to gift of groceries.

Thanks for being a supporter of the Troops and their families.

Tracy Price

Army Wife

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Beginning of December Already ???

Happy December to everyone-

I cannot believe we are in the last month of 2007 and Christmas is less than a month away now.

I apologize for not posting in the last week or so. Things have been in a survival mode here mostly due to the stress finally catching up with me from everything that has happened over the last year and 1/2. My counselor explained it the best for me to understand-and that is that my cup just became too full and I have been trying to empty some of it out so it won't continue to happen. Not a good place to be but it is where I am at so I will slow down and try to stay away from stress as much as possible. I am visiting my counselor more often for awhile as well as getting my meds adjusted. I am trying not to freak out about the house being a mess or this and that not being done. It's not easy especially when my job title is "house manager"! My husband, bless his heart, is trying so hard to take care of so much as well as me-he has been great. I am so proud of him. Tonight he didn't completely lose it when the macaroni for mac and cheese went down the drain as he was trying to drain it for me at the same time was in the middle of cleaning the turtles tank. It was one of those moments-but we got thru it and moved on. (I am almost sure it will be a funny in a few days-cause after it hit the sink and he had been draining the old water out of the tank into that sink-yuck-I wasn't sure that for a second he wasn't going to spoon the noodles up and putting it back in the pan???) LOL

So where does that leave me with the list of holiday stuff to do...not sure yet. I do have some shopping done and have been doing some online. My oldest Taylor will be finishing her 1st semester up at college this next week or so-I am hoping to enlist her assistance as well as scaling back on some of the things I normally do-there may not be Christmas cards sent this year, as many gifts bought or the elaborate decorations but that really isn't the reason for the season, as it is said. I hope to take something "good" away from this and not always look back on it as the period where I couldn't do it all. For those that know me-I do try and do it all especially at this time of year, and what usually happens is I get so exhausted and caught up in the buying I miss the joy. So more Joy is what I am hoping for this Christmas! (...and maybe a tropical, relaxing vacation????LOL)
This is also the 1st year I don't have a "believing"child in my home-kinda sad but opens up a whole new way for us to celebrate. We are doing a white elephant gift exchange with my family and mom, step-dad, sister, brother-in-law and nephews-so it should be fun. My 10 year old son Connor is a little confused about the concept but we still have a few days to help him to get it. :) We will still have our traditions of Christmas Eve-the kids get to open 2 gifts (1 is always an ornament and the other PJ's). They know this but are always excited to see. They change into their PJ's, place their ornament on the tree and we sit down and read the real Christmas story together. We will continue these traditions because it is something they have always known and feel comfortable with and hopefully start some new ones this year. I would love to do something to make them aware of others needs, so a donation in their names to a charity is one of my thoughts.

I hope to have a less stressful Christmas season full of unexpected JOY and not have such high expectations-ask me on Dec. 24th how it went???
Thanks for reading and checking in on us. We appreciate your thoughts and prayers for healing-because we are still dealing with the wounds of war-even if it isn't always in the most obvious ways.Leave me your comments and encouragement- I could really use it these days!

Keep Imagining!!!!