Published: March 30th 2008January 2nd 2008
Jan 2, 2008: The Girls Move in Together
We moved the girls into the same room on New Year's Eve with no intention of staying up late ourselves. (We've been battling a cold for the last week.) As it turned out, we rang in the New Year trying to get the girls to stop waking each other up. Selah, the little one, would wake up and cry because she was in a new room. Then, Jaeden would wake up and cry because there was an interloper in her room crying and waking her up. That would make Selah cry more. We had a run away chain reaction - similar to the chain reaction that occurs in a nuclear explosion only stronger.
Finally exhaustion overtook everyone and we were asleep around one am. Of course, they woke up bright and early! Then, with fear and trembling, I closed the door to their room after putting them to bed last night. Now doubly exhausted from being sick and not sleeping, I was ready for the worst. Much to my relief, they slept well all night. Praise God. I hope that was the end of it. We'll see tonight. Jan 15, 2008: Ha! I Should Be So Lucky
The following days and weeks turned into a constant battle to get the girls to sleep at night and during nap times. I can see qualities of myself in both of them, but Selah's stubbornness must surely come from Laura .
She goes to bed fine by herself, but won't settle down with Jaeden in the room. Finally, we figured it out. We put Selah to be in the girls room and put Jaeden to bed in our room. Once Selah's knocked out, we move Jaeden to her own bed. Usually, Jaeden's still up reading books anyway. This works well since the girls go to bed a couple hours before us. Hopefully, our next home will have four bedrooms (and two baths!!!). Weather's Warming Up
It's been pretty cold here, but the forecast says the weather should be warming up. Here's this weeks Lows: Tues -10F, Wed -6F, Thur -5F, Fri 0F, Sat 7F (break out the kiddie pools) What Next? Soldier?, Civilian?, STOP LOSS?!?!
"So what's next for you?" It's the question on everyone's lips. Even mine. None of us (soldiers) really know, but we throw the question around
like a game of dodge ball. Maybe we hope to find some direction from someone else's answer. Our wives have already stopped asking, but our relatives hit us with it from long distance like a sniper every time we're on the phone. Most troubling, my answer is always different. One week, I want to stay in and continue to serve. The week before, I wanted to go to Bible college. The week after, I want to get my master's degree in computer science. Next week, I'll look into becoming a lion tamer at the circus. I'm really that confused.
I have one more year in the army, and I don't know if I want to get out or even if I can. If I do get out, I don't know what I want to do once I'm out. The problem is that I have too many good options, I have a hard time choosing. Let's assume that I decide to stay in the Army, which is the easiest thing for me to do. I'm tired of the infantry. It destroys your body from overuse and dulls your brain from underuse. Oh, it certainly has it's exciting moments; but that
is about 1 percent of the time, which is good because most of the exciting moments have potential negative side effects - like death. There are some jobs to which I could switch, but I'm not sure that I am prepared to spend another 15 months away from my family even if I LOVE my job.
Becoming a civilian is a little more complicated. First, serving in the Army is rewarding because I feel like I'm doing something important with my career, so I would miss that. Second, what do I do? There are so many options. Third, maybe the Army won't let me go even when my enlistment is up. There is a clause in every enlistment contract called, "STOP LOSS." This permits the Army to refuse to let you go at the end of your enlistment because the nation is "at war." Technically, we haven't declared war on any country, but the Department of Defense selectively enacts the stop loss clause any time the your unit has orders to deploy to a combat zone within "a few" months of your separation date. This interpretation of the stop loss clause is somewhat dubious; but since no one has
challenged it in court, no one knows if it would stand up under legal scrutiny. The current plan is for my unit to deploy within "a few" months of my separation date, so the Army will likely refuse to let me go and force me to deploy again.
The closer we get the more Stop Loss rubs me the wrong way. There are 40 thousand active duty soldiers that have never deployed, and countless military aged Americans who have never even volunteered. How is it ethical to force a soldier who has already deployed to a combat zone to deploy again when so many have never been? The volunteer soldiers, like tired horses, are being run into the ground. The all volunteer Army cannot maintain this pace indefinitely, it will eventually break. Indeed, it already is. The best and brightest commissioned and non-commissioned officers are jumping ship. Meanwhile, countless young men are wasting their young adult years working dead-end jobs hoping to make enough to afford gas and beer. The Army would be great for them. I just don't agree with it. If we're not drafting men who have never given anything for their country, I don't think we
should "draft" men and women who have already given so much. Of course, I am speaking as a private citizen, not as a soldier or a representative of the US Army or government. My opinion is not intended as a political statement or a criticism of the US Army or Government.
I'm not in the position the policy makers are in and cannot see the big picture. All I see is one little picture, one family with 2 (almost three) children that lost their dad for over a year, almost lost him forever, and that might lose him again in a year. February - Complications
Laura started having complications with the pregnancy at the end of January. My platoon sergeant really helped us out. He told me that my place of duty was at home taking care of my wife and kids. I spent the entire month watching the girls, cleaning the house, and doing my best to take care of Laura. For her part, Laura soldiered through endless contractions, frequent trips to the doctor, and complete boredom. She fared bettered than I ever would have and almost never complained. February gave me a far better understanding of how
hard it is to run a household and gave me a new appreciation for the heroic efforts of our wives while we were deployed. I'm surprised she didn't pack up the girls, mail them to me, and run off to Bermuda. Military wives are certainly some of the biggest unsung heros throughout the history of our country. Go find one and hug her!
March's blog should be out very soon (hopefully tomorrow), but thing's are really crazy around here right now, so no promises.
There are more photos below