Tuesday, August 31, 2010

When it Rains, It Pours (Pun Intended)

So it wasn't enough that Mike left three days ago.  Now there's a category 4 hurricane headed straight toward us!  I'm laughing at the irony...

Mike leaves.
Hurricane comes.
We are near the coast, almost in its direct path.
And Mike is in the friggin' ocean.

We'll be fine, of course.  Well I think, anyway... unless Earl decides to turn further West.  Then we might be headed further West!  Mike says they'll be in the clear thankfully.

So far we're doing well and hanging in there better than I expected.  Thanks to everyone for the emails, texts and phone calls checking in on us.  Makes me feel far from alone in this.  I've been emailing back and forth with Mike almost every day so far!  He's doing fine, already flying some.  Hopefully he'll send me some pictures so I can post them here.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


He's gone. There were countless tears and countless hugs and kisses.  The hardest part was watching him say goodbye to our precious girls.  Such a hard day, but we got through it and now we start counting down the days until his return.

I wish I could've gotten more video of Mike, but they wouldn't let us get close to film them or take pictures of them getting into the jets.  We were told it makes it harder on them if their family is standing right there and making it harder to concentrate on getting the jet in the air.  I understood, but I wish so much I could've gotten those pictures of him in his gear and helmet and all.

We are so proud of you, Mike!  We love you so much and miss you every minute.  Every second.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Leaving Tomorrow

Mike leaves tomorrow, but it's almost 3 p.m. and he's still at work doing simulator flights and preparing for their departure.  Having to wait to spend our last few hours with Mike before he leaves seems really unfair.  Yes, I'm pouting, and I'll admit it. :) I know he'll be here as soon as he's allowed to be, so I've tried not to call and bug him too much.

I was wrong about the deployment time frame.  Turns out he'll be gone eight to nine months instead of the standard six to seven.  They were called to leave early to aid in the humanitarian relief for the Pakistan flood victims. There's not much a Harrier can do for them, but they'll be going early anyhow to stay with their squadron and get on with their originally planned deployment after Pakistan.

USS Kearsarge
On Sunday, we drove to Norfolk, where USS Kearsarge is docked right now waiting for all of the Sailors and Marines to board.  Since Mike will be flying a jet on, he wanted to take a few things up there to set up his room like sheets/blanket/pillow/foam mattress.  He took some of his heavy gear and a TV as well.  I was kind of excited to see the boat in person. (Even though it's the very thing that's going to take him away!)  From the outside, it is beautiful. And ENORMOUS.  However, Mike's room is like a shoebox with four bunks and a sink.  I teared up at the thought of him staying there for so long.  There are no windows.  Just tiny rooms with loooooong, narrow corridors with pipes running all throughout.  The only way they are able to see out is if they go to the top deck of the ship, which is just a giant runway.

We spent some time helping him tidy up his bed and arrange a few things before going up to the top deck.  Up there, Mike showed me where the Harriers take off and where/how they land. 

Runway. Scary to think of flying off that!

I had a bit of a breakdown about the added months Mike will be gone, but I know we'll get through it fine and come out stronger as a result.  I really appreciate all of your comments here on the blog as well as your emails and phone calls.  It helps to know that you are praying for Mike and for the girls and me.  Tomorrow will be a very, very sad and hard day, but after that I hope we will get moving and cheer up and start the countdown!  I bought a giant map and put it up in AK's room so she can see Daddy's progress by using pinpoints as he travels across the world.  We plan to stay super busy to help pass the time. And each night, we'll listen to Daddy read a bedtime story! (He recorded an hour's worth of reading their books. I think it will be huge in helping Avery remember him... or at least recognize his voice/face when he gets back.)

Mike's bunk is on top.
The Ready Room.  Where they plan missions, etc.
Please pray for Mike's safe departure and joyous return!  I'll post pics of his fly-off if they'll let us get close enough.  Thanks again for your prayers and support.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


It's Wednesday night.  About six years ago I'd be spending this (and every other night) with my husband, watching TV or sitting out on the deck or patio, just talking about the events of our day.  I'd know he would go off to work at the bank the next morning, call me at my office at Lexmark a few times during the day. Maybe we'd meet for lunch.  And then later I'd see him walk through the door not long after I did.  We'd then spend our Saturday and Sunday together.  Enjoying our town or maybe taking a spontaneous weekend trip somewhere fun.

On this Wednesday night, I'm here in another town, alone, while our girls sleep.  I'm not sure when Mike will be home.  He works all sorts of crazy hours.  Never the same.  He pretends to have a "schedule," but it's so fluid and changing that I'm not sure it's the right word for it.  I haven't heard from him since he left today, but I'm assuming he's flying right now because that's the last I was told.

The doorbell rang a few minutes ago (around 9 p.m.).  A loud knock followed.  Of course I got nervous because I'm paranoid and would normally not answer the door if I'm home alone.  Junah was barking and I was afraid my girls would wake up.  I waited for the person to give up and leave.  Instead I heard loud knocking again and an attempt to turn the knob.  That made me think it was Mike for a second, he must have lost his key... then I heard a faint, "ma'am?" I went completely numb then because I remembered that Mike was scheduled for a night flight and why were these people so persistent?!  The thought of two uniformed Marines standing outside my door to deliver the worst of bad news is almost paralyzing.  Again, paranoia here.  Ends up it was some guy looking for our neighbor who recently moved away.

I'm sitting back down on the couch now.  My heart is still racing.  I'm always fearful that something is going to happen to Mike in those Harriers, but that's not what this is. The truth tonight is that I'm extra anxious and nervous because we just found out a couple days ago that Mike is deploying in ONE week, and I haven't really let it sink in until now.  He'll be gone for seven months, flying off a ship in the Mediterranean.  There will be next to no phone calls, mostly emails.  No Skype either unless they're in port. Seven months. That is daunting and very scary to me... that he'll be at war and we'll be at home without him.  That he'll miss the girls and that they'll cry for him.  That I'll cry for him.

I'll be blogging throughout his deployment, but this is why I had to make the blog private. That's why, if you're reading this, I've sent you an invitation to keep up with us if you'd like. Please pray for our family as Mike literally sails way beyond the sand and begins a challenging chapter of our lives.  Pray for all those who serve and for their families.  You may not know of all the small, everyday sacrifices these individuals make to protect our freedom.  Even when they're not deployed, they don't come home every night. Plans have to change constantly. They don't often get to meet their husband or wife for lunch. A spontaneous vacation is usually not a possibility. They miss their kids' birthdays. Holidays. They miss their babies' births and milestones. 

Lord, be with Mike and all those who serve!  Protect them and bring them home safely.  Quickly.  Please watch over the families of those who are serving overseas and at home. And I pray for peace for the families of fallen and missing military men and women.

We'll be enjoying Daddy Time whenever possible for the next week.  After that we'll watch him fly off while we wave our hands and American flags in support of our Marine.  Then I'll be back to post some pictures and give you plenty of updates on his progress and ours as the weeks and months go by.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sailing Over to Private for a Stretch

I hate to do this. Mainly because I don't know how much of a pain it is yet, but I'm going to make Sailing Beyond the Sand private for a while due to Mike's upcoming endeavors and security and all...

I'll still be blogging. Probably a lot more, so if you want to follow along our journey and I don't have your email, please let me know by commenting here.

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, August 12, 2010


We had Avery's birthday party a week early so Mike would be here. (She turns 1 on the 13th.) The party was great, but Daddy got called into work. :( He made it back for the last 10 minutes, thankfully, and I was able to delay her cake smashing until then.

Avery enjoyed herself and had no issue digging her fingers into her gooey birthday cake!

At a year old, she is such a delight. She is a happy, happy girl and loves to laugh, dance and clap her hands. She hasn't walked yet, but she's getting stronger by the day and is standing on her own for a few seconds at a time. She says a few words, including peekaboo, ball and banana. She's sprouting fast. If I didn't put an end to mealtimes, I think she'd eat for hours!

Thanks to everyone who came to help us celebrate our sweet girl!