Hmmm…not so much right now. I have lots of pictures and updates to post but I just can’t seem to get it done. Now you’re asking, “well, if you can post this, why can’t you just update?” Oh, if it were only that simple.

Will is on his annual training for the National Guard. Two weeks? Hah. I laugh at you. One month. While I’ve always held a high regard for single parents, I have a new found respect for them. Warrior weekends are one thing but this is really tough. With my regular job, Olivia, contract work I do, laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, etc., I’m running on empty. I’ve worked a minimum of 65 hours a week (in addition to home stuff) and I haven’t been to sleep before 2 a.m. in a long time and I’ve caved just about every night to let her watch ” ‘rella” before bedtime. I guess I should be thankful the Disney Princess has such attention holding power so I can wind us down. This past Friday night she stayed with Shanny so I could get some of my contract work done. Other than a few tears along the way, they did great (O’s tears, Shanny didn’t say if she shed any or not 🙂 ).

I picked her up late Saturday afternoon and we had a delicious dinner and O and I headed off for some shoe shopping. The phrase of the afternoon, “oooh, Jia-Jia need shoes.” Will called and asked her what she was doing and she said, “shoes, daddy. Jia-Jia need shoes.” Along with knowing about shopping, she knows “monies” and counts it out. She knows the difference between cash and credit – not on purpose, she just does. While she is picking up the art of being a teenage girl at the age of 2, we are still instilling the toddler basics in her: counting, colors, animal sounds, alphabet, etc. I admit I love it. She’s a girly girl with a streak of mountain man in her so I’ve got the best of both worlds. She rocks out to Bon Jovi and knows to count to four when she hears the beginning of “It’s My Life” and since it’s the live version, she cheers with the crowd in the background. I will know it’s been pushed to far when she says that he’s one of the few who can carry off tight jeans and feather bangs. Until then, my girl knows good music and I love to see her boogie from the back seat.

Friday afternoon on our way home, we were passed by a guy on a motorcycle. She belted out, “PAPA.” My initial reaction was to tell her papa was at home and we would see him another day but then it hit me. She had been at my mom and dad’s a WEEK earlier and saw papa’s motorcycle and now whenever she sees a motorcycle she associates it to her papa. It’s the same way with a tractor trailer…she always says “daddy” when she sees one but then I ask her what color the truck is and she’ll say, “Oh, not red. Daddy red truck.” She knows that big trucks go “honk-honk” and little trucks go “beep-beep.” We were at a stop light and she did the arm gesture and said threw out a “honk-honk” and she got her first trucker honk. Scared her at first but then she wanted more. He was more than gracious to accomodate her.

Operation Big Girl Bed is going really well. I still have to lay down with her at night, which I don’t mind at all, but she pretty much sleeps through the night without any problems. She only vaulted out the first night. She fidgets for about 20 minutes before she goes to sleep and I lay there with my eyes closed pretending to sleep so she will go and I’ll feel an odd feeling…I open my eyes and there she is smiling in my face – almost nose to nose – telling me “mommy sleep now, okay?” I can’t help but giggle and she gives me more bunny kisses (nose rubbing) and settles back in. She’s such a little person and I love having conversations with her.

I’m still trying to finish my cookbook. I’m *hoping* to have it submitted really soon. I’m about a month behind on getting it done but it’s only a few little details to finish up. I can’t wait to tell you all about it.

I’ve gotten a few emails about this so I’ll go ahead and tell you what I know. In the news last week and over the weekend, it was announced that National Guard brigades are going to be called back to Iraq; three states were named with a 4th one not yet named. This is mainly troop rotation and not part of the ramp up. Yes, we are preparing for a second deployment to Iraq and we have been for quite some time. Although it’s not been formally announced and it probably won’t be for some time, it’s a matter of when vs. if and we’ve known this for quite a while. Will’s unit was one of the first ones to go in 2003 and while their readiness level isn’t quite where it needs to be, it’s coming. All roads have pointed there for many months and we are working hard to make sure we have our lives in as good an order as possible. I’ve gotten some comments from those who know he changed from the Navy reserves to the NG, “Wow. He should have stayed where he was.” Not true. They left in January. Am I concerned? Greatly. Am I scared? Yes. Am I ready for another deployment? As much as I can be. How will I handle it? The same way thousands of other families are; day to day. I am no different than them except you know me. There may be a chance it won’t happen and that would be great but we are living realistically and planning for it so we don’t get caught unprepared. The best of it: we’re ready if it happens. The worst of it: he’s got gear for his remaining guard career if it doesn’t. My yellow ribbon is still tied to the tree in our front yard and while it’s tattered, it will remain. I’ve added another one for Koli’s brother who is leaving soon. I’ve G00gled it, I’ve researched it and I know Will is tired of hearing me ask the questions. It’s going to be a long wait and it’s going to be a long year without him home. In the meantime, we are doing as much as we can as a family and just enjoying being together. Olivia loves her daddy and he loves her more than life itself. It’s going to be tough to watch him if he has to go but I’m proud of him and I will always raise her to be proud of him, too. He believes in what he does and I believe in him. That, with our faith, will get us through.