Mark has been gone for over 2 weeks now, and he’ll be back in a few days. As much as I hate it when he’s gone, it hasn’t been as bad as I would have thought. I tried not to think about him leaving before he left, but now looking back on the past few weeks, it hasn’t been that bad. Sure I’ve had my fair share of tears over him being gone while he’s been away, and I don’t expect to ever get through a TDY of his without tears quite honestly, but the “I can deal with this” attitude has by far outweighed the “this completely sucks and I’m miserable and I just want Mark home” attitude this time around.
A VERY large part of that has to do with Brittney. I can already tell that Brittney is what I’ll remember most about our time in Italy. I have a few good friends – people who I turn to when I’m down, who I feel comfortable talking to about anything, who I trust completely, and who know me well, and Brittney is now one of those people. Monday thru Friday, Brittney and I spend at least a few hours together, if not the majority of the day. She is what makes my weeks go by quickly while Mark is gone, instead of them dragging on endlessly. She has not only helped me get my house together, helped me with Abbie NUMEROUS times, helped me run errands, kept me company, checked up on me and distracted me from Mark being gone, she’s become a good friend. We’re hoping that her husband deploys the same time Mark does so that we can keep each other company while the guys are gone and go explore Europe together. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, Brittney is a true gift from God. I know many of you prayed for me to find friends over here, and I truly, truly appreciate that and I’m happy to say, all of our prayers have been answered!
Another part of this TDY going so smoothly is thanks to my little pippers. Abbie has been a very, very good girl while her daddy has been gone. Every night so far, which the exception of one (knock on wood), she has slept for at least 12 hours unless I had to wake her up earlier to run errands. We have our routine down, and we’re pretty good about sticking to it. Naps don’t happen at the same time every day, but we have our “going down for a nap” routine down pat, and she’s been taking pretty good naps for me most days. Our bedtime routine is smooth sailing also. After dinner every night, we play on the floor for about an hour. We stack blocks and play with cups and ride her car (well she rides it, I watch), and play with her baby and her ball and read books. Yesterday we were reading one of her books that had a bunch of pictures on a page, one of those first word books. I was pointing everything out and then I asked her where the puppies where on the page. She looked at it for about 5-6 seconds and then she pointed to the puppies. I was so proud. You can ask her where her baby is and she’ll go get it and bring it to you, and the same goes for her ball. And she knows what her books are too. Last night I was sitting on the floor and she brought was crawling all over me like she does every night and all of a sudden she grabbed my hand and opened my fingers and then stuck a piece of lint she’d found on the carpet in my hand. That was the first time she’d done that. It was really cute.
Anyway, so after we play, it’s bath time, which we do every other day, unless she’s extra dirty. After her bath we get her pj’s on and then I usually nurse her in the living room for 10-15 mins. Then we get her bottle ready, and go brush her teeth. And then we go sit in the chair in her room and read books while we rock and she drinks her bottle. Since Mark has been gone, we’ve been reading a chapter of “The Secret Garden” every night. Then we shut the light off and rock some more and then I put her in bed and 9 times out of 10 she rolls over and goes right to sleep. It is SOO much easier than it was when she was younger. Hopefully it’ll stay this way.
So I’m very excited about Mark getting home on Friday. I’m so excited to see him I could about burst, but I think I’m even more excited for him to see Abbie and Abbie to see him. Last night when I was talking to him he said “If she sees me and gets excited I might just have to run to her and scoop her up.” Haha! I wouldn’t have it any other way! It’ll be interesting to see her reaction to him. I’m going to try to have her in the stroller so I can take pictures of her reaction to seeing him. If I get any good shots, I’ll post them on the blog later.