Hi! I’m Jenn and I am beyond thrilled to be one of your new ‘Loving A Soldier’ bloggers. Mainly because I do, in fact, love a soldier. A pretty amazing one at that. My husband is a member of the 1st Cavalry Division and is currently stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, which is a mere 1,200 miles from our home in Michigan, where I work and raise our very own mini-Army. A modern day Brady Bunch known as “The C Family” (both of the last names in our house start with “C”), we have four boys and two dogs between us. Oh, and a newly acquired 1920’s farmhouse that is keeping us all VERY busy these days. Despite the chaos, I live pretty simply. I say what’s on my mind, tell it like it is, and am not in the slightest bit concerned with what others think of me. My life is an open book, so those of you who read my posts will get to know me very well, very quickly. That said, I think we’ll start this particular ‘open book’ with some introductions.
Yours Truly: One thing you should know about me is that I’m slightly schizophrenic. Not in a “lock her up and throw away the key” sort of way, but in the sense that I jump from thought to thought and topic to topic and often can’t find my way back to where I started. So when I start to go off track, just bear with me….the open road is a lot more fun anyway.
I grew up in Mid-Michigan with my parents, who are still married (how rare is that?!), and one younger brother who I spent my formative years torturing. I met my wonderful husband when I was a freshman at J.W. Sexton High School (he was my very first high school boyfriend), although it took us sixteen years to figure out that we were ‘meant to be’. By that time, we had four beautiful little boys and two failed marriages between us. Oh, and I should probably mention that he was getting ready for his first deployment with the U.S. Army when we found each other again. We got married two months before he left for Iraq, and have spent almost our entire union living thousands of miles apart.
In addition to the long distance romance, the houseful of noisy, messy creatures, the full time job, and the upkeep of our farmhouse, I write a blog called One Army Wife’s Tale, which can be found at www.onearmywifestale.com. It began as a daily deployment diary while my husband was away, and has evolved from there.
When I’m not working, spending time with my guys, or ripping out my hair, I like to write (I currently have four unfinished novels stored on my laptop), read (loved Twilight, hated Fifty Shades of Grey), and sleep. Some might argue that sleeping isn’t a hobby. “Some” would be wrong. I love hard, laugh a lot, and blame the fact that I am gravitationally challenged on my head being in the clouds 90% of the time.
The Hubs: My husband, football loving, Nascar watching, lowrider building, all-work-and-no-play soldier that he is, has the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever met. He’s a family man above all else, and gives the best hugs on the planet. One of the many things I love about him is that he’s the only person I know who’s actually clumsier than I am. An oddity among men, the reason he never stops to ask for directions is because he never needs them. This guy seriously knows where EVERYTHING is. Which I guess is how he wound up as a driver in the Army. He spent most of last year in Iraq, and has spent the majority of this year in Texas, where he makes sure to get full use out of the word “y’all” despite the fact that he’s a native Michigander. He doesn’t get to come home nearly often enough, but when he does, the completeness of our family makes all the time apart worthwhile.
The Teenager: I was but a teenager myself when my oldest son was born, so it’s hard for me to reconcile that he’s now in his teens. Before there were brothers and step-brothers and long-lost loves, it was just the two of us. My baby boy and me. Despite the fact that I had no clue what I was doing, I think he’s turning out okay, with just the right amount of scarring and emotional damage to give him “character”. If he’s not playing sports, he’s watching sports, talking about sports, or at the very least, thinking about sports. Baseball is his favorite, and he’s really good at it. (And at football and wrestling and just about everything else he tries.) His blond hair and blue eyes have always made him popular with the girls, which gets harder for me to handle, the older he gets. He’s a huge help to me around the house when his step-dad is away. (When he’s not being a pain in my arse, of course.) He’s a straight ‘A’ student and one of the sweetest kids ever. (Again….when he’s not being a jerk. He is a teenager, after all.) Last, and in my opinion, least, I should mention that The Teenager has been battling epilepsy for the past three years. I’m sharing this information not because his disability in any way defines who he is, but because it’s something I talk about from time to time when he relapses and has a seizure. In spite of all of the challenges he’s faced in such a short amount of life, he’s an absolutely amazing kid, and I’m very, very proud of him.
E-Man: Before we became a “blended family” in which he is the second oldest of four boys, E-Man was the baby. He will always be my baby, but I have to acknowledge the fact that at nine years old, he’s growing up. With hair a little darker than his brother’s and eyes the same emerald green as his mama’s, E-Man is one of the most creative, imaginative children I know. His doctors call it Attention Deficit Disorder, but I call it awesome. Sure, he can be frustrating, and keeping him on task is often time consuming, but the things he says, and the way his thought processes work….he blows me away daily. He’s forgetful and spacey and gets confused really easily, but he’s also hilarious, intelligent, and the most kind hearted kid on the planet. He wants to be an author when he grows up, just like his mama, and spends more time writing than he does playing video games. Weird, right?!
C.J.: My oldest step-son, who is the spitting image of his daddy, is a super sweet, super smart lego mastermind. We are still getting to know each other, as he’s a little bit resistant to change, but we’re working on it. Any kid with OCD tendencies and attention to detail is a kid after my own heart, after all.
Little Dude: With squishy cheeks, constant giggles, hilarious one-liners, and the way he bounces rather than walks, what’s not to love about the youngest of our brood? The fact that he has three older brothers, all of whom are polar opposites from one another, means he’ll be learning from the best (or worst…depending on how you look at it). By the time he hits his teen years, me and his poor dad won’t stand a chance. His Angry Birds obsession rivals his brother’s affinity for legos, and is actually quite fitting since he tends to eat like a bird. (Pick, pick, pick.)
Sammy and Sophie: Our two adorable furballs complete our big, crazy family, and are by far the most spoiled babies in the house. Sammy, who’s just over seven years old, is as calm and well behaved as a dog can get. Which is a good thing, since Miss Sophie, who’s not quite six months old, is a holy terror. They both love to snuggle and bark at intruders, which are very important attributes for pets of a family that is patriarch-less nine months out of the year to have.
And that’s all, folks! Now you know a little bit about my wild brood and the chaotic life we live. I look so forward to telling you all about the epic love story of The Hubs and Yours Truly, the trials and tribulations of raising a superstar teenager with a life threatening disability, the beautiful disaster that is my precious E-Man, the challenges of trying to play Super Step-Mom to C.J. and Little Dude in the brief amount of time we get to spend with them, and, of course, the antics of the adorable duo, Sammy and Sophie. If you just can’t wait to hear more, come check out our adventures at www.onearmywifestale.com.