Sunday, January 31, 2010

What kind of police officer...

...stays in bed all day?

An undercover cop! Hyuk-hyuk.

Courtesy of Laffy Taffy.

We had a birthday party for my nephew today. Officer Hottie was working, of course, so he missed out on the "balloon room", piñata and birthday cake. As usual. He also missed my cousin's son's birthday party Saturday night. I really hate that he misses out on family functions. I know he hates missing out too. When I ran (literally...I was running) into church this morning, late (as usual) my friend Alison told me she'd been worrying about how she was going to make it to church by herself with one baby (due in April. Can't wait to meet you Samuel!) when I plopped my stuff down next to her before running back out to get the two I hadn't put in Sunday School yet, where they belonged. (Is that a run-on sentence? Sorry. Taking a breath now.) Alison is amazing and is going to do fine - you're going to do fine! - but I do hear that a lot. "How do you do it?" I do not know. I just do. That's how. I don't know any better? Is there another way to do it? Is there a secret someone hasn't shared with me? Is there a way to get around doing this? And while we're on secrets, does anyone want to tell me how to get anywhere, ever, on time with four children?
The truth is, I miss when OH isn't there. Life is so much easier when he is there to hold the baby and I can drink my coffee without having to figure out how to maneuver it into the diaper bag so it won't spill. It is nice to walk into church together and listen while teases me about how long it took me to pick out my outfit. That is not an admission of guilt in the whole 'getting there on time' dilemma. It sure is easier when he is at the birthday party to help get the kids' food on their plates and to help make sure they don't grab the new presents from the birthday boy. And to make sure the baby doesn't go into the balloon room and eat balloons.
I don't think I thought of these things when I signed up to be a police wife. I don't think I really put much thought into having to attend Thanksgiving on my own, not getting to sleep in on Mother's Day, not being able to celebrate Christmas on Christmas, having to get four kids ready (who decided we should have four kids anyway?) for church by myself on Sunday...
So what is it that bothers me? It's not really that he misses things, but it's that I miss him! I really like my husband and I want him to be there with me! All the time! I'm as bad as the kids. He worked a whopping three days in a row and I find that I am so eager to spend the next two with him by my side. A good sign I think as we're headed into our ninth year of wedded bliss.
And apparently I need him too. Because heaven forbid I make sure the baby isn't eating balloons in the balloon room.
I guess doing all the things I have to do by myself because Officer Hottie is working is good for reminds me of how much I like him and need him. And now he's I think I'm going to go tell him.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Blogs and more blogs

I found more police wife blogs. Lots and lots of blogs. And I decided to "follow" a bunch of them, a decision I may regret. I guess we'll see once I sit down and actually read through them. I have to admit I'm feeling pretty technologically challenged while searching for and reading through them. I kept thinking, "Wow! How did she do that?" I mean, over the simple stuff. Like putting a link to a video in. Or a picture. Ech. I'm sure I'll figure it out. If only I didn't have to feed my kids or take a shower. Or clean my house. Or go to the bathroom.
The last time I peeled my eyes away from the computer monitor I noticed the kids had pulled apart the bookshelf. We now have Mt. Library in the middle of our living room. It is surrounded by Sheets-Off-Our-Bed Creek and the raging Turned-Over-Hamper River. I feel a little bit better though, since Fuzzy is trying to sweep it all up with the broom that is four times his size. Such a helper.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Feeling the love, and other sorts of things

I have been blogging for all of a month or so and I've found that I love it. I really really love it. I enjoy having something to write about and the feeling (because it is really only a feeling and not a fact) that people actually want to read what I have to write. And I'm having fun. I have also found that other people really like to blog too, and that I enjoy reading what they have to write about. Not everyone. Some people are dumb (sorry...but they are). I have found some really fantastic blogs that have been really super great and have made me even more excited about blogging. I've run into some trouble finding blogs specific to the LE life but I've found a few and I'm thankful for them. They sure make me feel less freakish for wanting to talk about what Mike does and how it affects me and our kids.
One of the most fun blogs I've found, and it has absolutely nothing to do with law enforcement, is The Pioneer Woman. She loves to cook (so do I...when I'm not in weight loss mode), she loves photography (so do I! I just have no clue what I'm doing), she loves her husband ( too!) and she loves her four children (wait! So. Do. I.). Oh, and she is hilarious. I want to be her BFF ... and so does the rest of the world. If you haven't seen her site yet, you should check it out.
I've also found that some people I know have something that makes them super passionate...some are into saving money, some are into living green, some are into natural childbirth, some are just passionate about sharing their day. I didn't realize most of these folks had a "cause" or something that got them all fired up. It's cool to see that side of them! I feel like finding blogs is a really cool way to see the world and what is going on through other people eyes and I'm having a lot of fun doing it. I think I mentioned that more than once. Sorry.

On a totally random and separate note, it's been nice that we have had a reprieve from law enforcement deaths for the last few weeks. I know that nationally crimes against officers are still on the rise and just because nothing has happened locally doesn't mean it isn't going on, but it has been a very welcome and needed break for my heart and mind while Officer Hottie goes to work everyday. I feel less anxiety everyday when he kisses me goodbye. He, on the other hand, hasn't let his guard down at all. This morning we were on our way home from Home Depot when we passed a trooper who had pulled someone over. She was standing right in front of the driver's side window. It bothered OH; he told me he usually stands behind the driver's window so the driver has to turn to see him. It's less easy for them to shoot at him is what he told me. I tried to quiet the thought that are still people out there who may want to shoot him and just be thankful that he isn't taking any risks. I'm still proud of him ... even something small like him mentioning how he tries to be safe while issuing a citation makes me proud. I sure do love him.

Working on it

We've almost completed week four in our journey of weight loss. Tomorrow is our official "weigh in" day but we've been spending Thursday nights with some friends while the kids are at AWANA and you never know what kind of food may pop up...and we all need a little wiggle room, right?
Officer Hottie has lost 15 pounds and he looks great. I've lost 9 pounds and I feel great. My pants are getting loose and looking like I may need to go down a size. OH's shirts are looser around the belly. He won't get to go down a size since he is so tall and feels fairly strongly about exposing the lower part of his abdomen to the public. Also, a smaller size won't help the "Can you tell I'm wearing a gun?" issue, so he'll be sticking with the current t's. It's been good for him at work too since a few of his colleagues are also trying to lose a few. I'm proud of him, of us, for sticking with this. And after just one month's results I'm excited to see what happens during the next month. Maybe I'll be ready to try that 5k after all!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Getting Swept Away

Officer Hottie and I are celebrating our ninth anniversary in a week. So, naturally, I've been thinking about our past and wondering how in the world we even got here? How did we go from flirting in the bookstore to raising four children together? What just happened?
He swept me off my feet. In every disgusting, romantic, gushy, over-the-top sense of word. He was such a gentleman. He didn't hold my hand or kiss me. He didn't even put his arm around me. He was very careful. It drove me almost to the edge of insanity. After we'd been dating a month or so he put a stereo into my truck. I'd been driving around with a boombox and a case full of DD batteries for a year. My cousin, Melissa, was so excited for me she jumped up and down, told him thank you and threw her arms around his neck. "You are so incredible!" she gushed. I was ticked. "Get your grubby little hands off my man! He hasn't even hugged me yet!" I didn't actually say that...not in front of Officer Hottie. But I'm pretty sure something like that came out later when she and I were alone. She apologized..."I thought for sure you guys had at least hugged by now. I never would have hugged him if I'd known." I knew that but I was jealous, not quite sure why I couldn't just get up the nerve to just give him a hug myself. I mean was just a hug! His friend Kevin would tease us..."Oh, the looong fist." OH would give me a fist bump. Only it was more of a fist glue because his fist would touch mine and linger there for awhile. He told me on one of our dates that he didn't usually kiss a girl for a couple of months. I cursed him (quietly). Whatever. He was worth waiting for. Only, he teased me. A lot. He would put his nose to mine and close his eyes and just stay that way for a long time. I was NOT going to kiss him first so I put up with it. But I hated it. Actually I loved it. No, hated it. I think I loved/hated it.
One night we went to go visit a friend who was house sitting. We only stayed a few minutes before we left. As is customary I was talking. And talking. And not paying very close attention to where I was going. "Where are you going?!" OH asked as I walked right into some rose bushes. They were at knee height so I tripped, of course, and ripped my pants, of course, and looked like a total idiot. Of course. He picked me up off the ground, put his arms around me and asked if I was okay. I was better than okay. He had his arms around me. I put my arms around his waist and my face into his chest. My knees were killing me, and I was pretty sure I'd need to see a doctor about whatever had happened to my ankle but he needed to know how much I wanted that hug! When we finally started walking again he kept his arm around my waist, "Just in case" I fell again. So maybe he didn't sweep me off my feet, but he kept me on them, and sometimes I think that's better.

I kept the pants as a reminder of that first hug. My dear grandmother sewed them up for me. Also, I consider them "skinny" pants, so I keep them for motivation. But mostly for nostalgia.

The first kiss wasn't too far behind and I readily admit how thankful I am he threw his "two months" rule out the window. We were at my parent's house sitting at the dining room table. I'm the oldest of six and the only one, at the time, who wasn't living at home full time. My parent's house was small, much too small for eight people and in constant chaos. We had finished eating and my family was running around...finishing homework, cleaning the living room, going to the bathroom. For one brief second we were alone in the kitchen and he leaned over, grabbed me by my elbows, and pulled me in for the best first kiss I have ever experienced. I'm pretty sure there were fireworks going on. Or someone had flushed the toilet while someone else was in the shower...the power and passion of that kiss knocked my chair out from underneath me. That or I had a spastic, "OH MY GOD HE'S KISSING ME" moment and kicked it. I just about sat back down on nothing. Thankfully Officer Hottie had the foresight to be holding me by my arms. Protecting me from myself. Again. I wonder if he understood this was going to be a lifelong chore for him? If the hug had left me with any doubts as to my feelings for OH (which it didn't) the kiss blew them all away. It must have been all of five seconds because all of a sudden the kitchen was busy again and we were no longer alone. But my mom took one look at me and said, "He must have kissed you." Am I that transparent?
After nine years of marriage I often think of those two firsts...and how glad I am they were the last firsts I had to experience. Because nothing or no one could have topped them. And nine years later he's still sweeping me off my feet...or, more accurately, keeping me on them.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Why Daddy is NEVER home

I think my children are extremely spoiled. Let me rephrase...I know my children are extremely spoiled. Officer  Hottie has an awesome schedule. And he is home all the time. Apart from a few weeks of FTO he has been on day shift since he started with his current employer. He works 12 hour shifts, 6 a.m.-6 p.m., so they are long days, but the great thing is he is off just as much as he works. A typical two week block looks something like this:
Mon., Tues - OH works
Wed., Thurs - OH is off
Fri-Sunday - OH works
Mon, Tues - OH is off
Wed, Thurs - OH works
Fri-Sunday - OH is off
And then it just starts all over again. It really is ideal. He is home every other weekend and at least two days during each week. It is nice that he has weekdays off too - we get to do fun things like get Costco hot dogs and go grocery shopping in the middle of the week.
According to my children, however, OH is not home enough. "Where's Dad?" "When is Dad off again?" "Why isn't Daddy home?" "Will Dada be home after this day?" The thing is, Daddy never works more than three days in a row. Ever. (Ok, once a year when he has to go to refresher training, he works four whole days in a row. My poor children.) The way they talk about it you would think he's never home. Our daughter, quite literally, asks if men in the store are her daddy. Really? Does that man look like the guy who put you in bed last night? Who gave you three kisses. And a glass of water. And another kiss. Are you seriously asking me who your father is?
Daddy makes pancakes. Mommy does not. I only make boring ol' French toast. And lunch. Everyday. And dinner. So I understand why they want him to be home more often. I'm not complaining that my kids like to have their dad around. I really like having their dad around. I just think it's funny that they think he's never here...and I think it's funny they are so spoiled and they don't even know it. Childhood really is wonderful, isn't it?
This was taken on a Thursday. Because OH was off. So we went to the ocean to escape the heat of the summer. On a Thursday. When normal people are working. The kids just don't get it.

Life Changing Discoveries

I made two discoveries last night...
1) Sweeping and mopping after the kids go to bed is much more productive than sweeping and mopping when the kids awake or only napping. Why I've been a mother for 6 1/2 years and just now figured this out, I'm not sure...but I'm glad it finally clicked.
2) I have things I want to write about that have pretty much nothing to do with my husband's profession. But almost everything in my life revolves around the fact that I "heart" him so I'll still be staying true to what this blog is about...loving the man in blue. But I should probably add, loving his children, taking care of his home, folding his laundry, waiting for the UPS man to deliver his ( new TV, etc. I realized there is only so much I can write about his work life while protecting his and his colleagues' anonymity. There are also things that happen on the job or with other police officers that would get me into trouble if I chose to write about them. So with those things in mind, there may be a few changes to my future posts. I'm pretty sure you can handle it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

When I grow up ...

Do you remember why your husband became a police officer? There are many reasons people choose law enforcement as a profession; I think the big draw for Officer Hottie was the ability he would have to impact lives. I think in his ideal situation he would get to work with children, more specifically teens. His department does not currently have a school resource position, but if they did, he'd be the one to take it. He told me at the very beginning of his career that he felt like the best time to get a hold of kids was in their early teen years, before they make huge mistakes and can still make things right and turn their lives around.
I was reminded of this last night when a good friend, Kimberly, called and told me to look up Power Mentor and watch Lalo Gunther's story. She said she had recently connected with an old friend of ours via Facebook, and as the friend was filling her in on her life, told Kimberly she could watch her husband's story online. Her husband had been in a gang, in and out of jail, his last time for attempted murder. He was pursued relentlessly by a Christian police officer who ended up showing him true Love. The story is amazing; get your kleenex. First of all, what a great testimony to God and His ability to reach people no matter where they are or what they've done. Secondly, what a great testimony to the witness our husband's have in the workplace! This officer showed a kid what tough unconditional love looked like and ending up saving not only his life, but his soul. It really is such a cool story.
Lalo's story made me feel proud of OH all over again not only for what he does, but for who he is and for Who lives in him. A few years ago a friend told me that she felt like our husbands were lighthouses...shining a bright light into a very dark world. I love that word picture. I have often though of OH as a lighthouse in his work place but as I've said before, most of his colleagues are a lighthouse in their own right. After watching Lalo's story I am reminded that OH truly is a lighthouse to the entire world. The people he interacts with on a daily basis are being exposed to the Light that shines from him, whether he's talking about it or not, whether they want to be or not. And that Light has life changing effects. That Light takes murderers and makes them successful businessmen and husbands. That Light takes High School dropouts and makes them High School principals. That Light changes everything. So even if OH doesn't feel like he is impacting the world around him while he's writing speeding tickets or enforcing restraining orders, the Light he has in him is. And that, to me, is totally awesome.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I'll do it...wait, what?

It happened so minute I'm thinking about how I can start something that will help police officers and the next a cause is dropped right into my lap. You can read the whole story here but the gyst of it is that last year a police officer tried to break up a fight and the men turned on him. He was injured to the point that he can never be a cop again, let alone hold down any job. Since he is no longer working his medical benefits are running out and to maintain his same level of coverage it is going to cost him roughly $1300/month, which is impossible to maintain on a disability income. I consider myself fairly conservative, and also against government run healthcare, so I think it surprised Officer Hottie that I felt so strongly that this officer should continue to get medical coverage. I guess when I think about this situation, it bothers me that this officer did what he was supposed to do and because of that he no longer qualifies for medical benefits. I thought of all the reasons he could have avoided being injured and what the repercussions would have been. If he wouldn't have tried to break up the fight, someone else probably would have died or been permanently disabled and then he would have lost his job for "failure to act" or been sued or something ridiculous like that. But because he did what he was supposed to do, because he tried to do what was right, his life has been forever altered and he is not being taken care of. It is impossible for me to not put myself in his wife's shoes. How would we take care of our kids? How would I take care of my husband? If he were disabled, and I had to go back to work for income and medical insurance, who would take care of our children?
So here I am, totally desperate to help this family and in way over my head. I have no idea what I'm going to do, and I'm afraid that by the time I've got it figured out, it will be too late to help them. My prayer is that I can get a few people who know what they are doing to come alongside me; thanks to Facebook I've already had a few people offer. I prayed all night that the Lord would open doors for me if this is the direction he is taking me in and if it is Him leading me to get this thing started. I know if this is what He wants we'll be able to come up with something in enough time to help them so I just have trust that. Hopefully by the next time I post I'll have made a little progress...we shall see!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Combining Passions

There are a few things in life I'm crazy passionate about. First is my family. I am a homemaker and I love raising my family. People ask me often, "Will you go back to work when the baby is in school full time?" NO WAY! I love this job I have and just because the kids won't be here all day doesn't mean there isn't stuff to do! So, family, passion #1.
Secondly, I am passionate about finances. I know that sounds weird, but my husband and I just recently worked our way out of $27,000 in debt. We went from barely making ends meet every month to working our tails off and getting rid of the debt burden in 14 months. I am passionate about staying out of debt and never owing anything to anyone. I may write our story sometime in the future...we'll see. Our experience has made us fairly obnoxious when it comes to debt. I get a thrill from helping people make budgets and figuring out what they can sell in order to pay off a credit card. So, as bizarre as it is, I am totally passionate about finances.
Thirdly, I am passionate about law enforcement. Also kind of weird, because really it's just my husband's job, but I think it goes hand in hand with my first Law enforcement is a family and although Officer Hottie's colleagues don't get the same kind of care from me as our own family, I still feel passionately about respecting, protecting and taking care of them.
Which leads me to how I combine all of these things. So far, I haven't. This morning though, I was thinking about how great it is that Officer Hottie and I have been so committed to working out and losing weight. Which led me to wondering if I would be able to do a triathlon. My answer was no. But that led me to wonder if maybe, just maybe, I could do a 5 or 10k this summer...which made me wonder if there is a charity out there that I would like to support...which made me think that we really need a charity out there for law enforcement. So, I started thinking about how can I combine my passion for finances and my passion for law enforcement? I guess the answer is that I'm not totally sure. I just know that I want to. I'd like to help law enforcement families who are struggling financially, either because of poor choices (in which case I'd like to have the education to help them) or circumstances (medical bills, etc.). I'm  not really sure where to begin but I should probably start with prayer! Just like with the Cop's Wives Club I know I am getting ahead of myself, putting the cart before the horse so to speak. I haven't even tried to run a 1k yet, let alone a 5/10k! But I am excited about these passions that seem to be springing up in me and I can't wait to see where they take me.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Matt. 10:28-29, 31

Matthew 10:28-29, 31
"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father...So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." 

This was part of what I read in my Bible a few days ago. I have read or heard this passage countless times in my life, usually in reference to how God will provide for us. Today it seemed to hit me in a different way though, probably because of all the fears I have while Officer Hottie is at work. The part that really struck me was Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. It reminded me that God does indeed have a plan and nothing happens outside of that plan. It is hard to think that God's plan includes heartache and pain. I don't understand that and I don't expect to. I just fine extreme comfort in knowing that God already knows; He's never surprised by any of it. There is even more comfort in knowing that we are "worth more than many sparrows" to Christ. Even if heartache and disaster strike, He's got a plan to take care of us.

Just over five years ago my sister and her husband lost their first child to stillbirth. What a devastating time. Losing a child at any point is unthinkable, there is so much of your future that dies. It was difficult for all of our family but one thing God showed me over and over during that time was that He is good and that He does not change based on what my circumstances are. I don't think God wants bad things to happen to those He loves, I just know that they do, and  knowing that God is aware of my hurt and knowing that I am so valued by Him brings me so much peace. I can't really explain it except to say that no matter what is going on in my life, no matter what heartache or hurt I am experiencing, God cares and values me. I find such peace in that knowledge, and I pray you do too.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Police vs. Cops

Last night while looking at a Police Wives group on Facebook I noticed that some of the women said they were bothered by the term 'cop'. And I was recently invited to a Police Wives Club, which I am very excited about, and also jealous of because I never thought of just using the term 'police' with 'wife' after it. When trying to come up with a name for our group it went something like, "Do we call ourselves Police Officer's Wives Club? Law Enforcement Wives Club? Wives of Police and Deputies Club?" No matter what we called it we continued to become tongue tied and ended up with Cop's Wives Club. So much easier to say, plus, we can call it CWC for short and it sounds neat.

This morning at our monthly Cop's Wives Club I posed the questions, "Are you offended by the term 'cop'? Is your husband?" The discussion was really short lived and we all laughed at how easily we fell into naming our group Cop's Wives, but I wondered why the term was offensive to some. One of the gals said her husband told her he preferred police officer, but considering some of the things people call him, he'll take cop. Ha!

I decided to Google what the origins of the word "cop" were and found some interesting stuff. I guess years ago in New York sergeants had copper badges and that could be where the term comes from. Or it could be an acronym for "constable on patrol". Interesting, right? It seems the real reason the term cop came about isn't either of those reasons but instead cop comes from the slang verb 'cop' meaning 'to seize or take hold'. So, our police officer's 'cop' the bad guy. You can read someone's else's way more educational explanation here.

I never really thought of 'cop' being a derogatory term because really there are so many disrespectful things my husband and his colleagues have been called. During Officer Hottie's first few months on patrol he went to a call, and the teenager who answered the door was on her phone and said, "I gotta go. The popo are here." Seriously? This is young America? Obviously we need to teach our children to be more respectful (I could totally tangent here!) but I decided I'm going to be ok with the term 'cop'. Plus, I feel it is all encompassing. In our area we have Police officers, State patrolmen and Sheriff's Deputies and it is just easier to say cop and avoid the risk of calling one of them the wrong thing.

All that said, I love the Cop's Wives Club. What a blessing today was for me. We had three new women which was so wonderful. And we took the time to pray for our husbands, which was incredible. I love how open and honest our group is and I love that we all feel so safe together. The fellowship was sweet, the food was fantastic and I feel like we all went away feeling uplifted and even more supportive of our husband's role in the world. These cops of ours sure do have some fantastic women to come home to!

Friday, January 15, 2010

You know you're a Police Wife when...

I recently joined a Christian Police Wives group on Facebook. While looking through their page I found a discussion on "You know you're a Police Wife when..." I was cracking up. I thought I'd share a few that I can especially relate to...

You always have to answer the question "Can you tell I'm wearing a gun?"
* When you're in the car with a friend and she runs a red light, you hear yourself saying, "That would have been a $124 ticket"
* Your kids wave at every police officer they see and say "daddy!" even though it looks nothing like him (other than the uniform)
* You ask to go to a certain restaurant and his reply is "we can't eat there anymore, I arrested the cook last night."
* You let your husband sit down first in a restaurant or public place so he can see all exits.
* You know the phonetic alphabet and spell your name that way when talking to customer service
* You know what nystagmus is...
* On a holiday, you send food to the station for the rest of the crew
* You hear a noise in the middle of the night and your husband does a complete "building search" of your house, "slicing the pie" through every doorway as he goes
* Holidays are never celebrated on the actual day. Neither are birthdays.
* You encourage him to go to court (overtime!!)

Those are just a few that I could relate to. Do you have any you want to share?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Academy Sweatpants

I am taking a huge step this week. It is painful and difficult but it is something Officer Hottie has been asking me to do for years and I haven't been able to. He has been patient, kind and loving but I know he has been getting more and more anxious as I refuse to do what he has asked of me. This week I am finally able to find the courage to put OH's academy sweats in the Goodwill bag. OH hates those sweats and he especially hates those sweats on me. They were big and unattractive on him so he wanted to toss them the minute he graduated. I adopted them. When I had them on I had to roll the waist band three or four times and even then the crotch hung almost to my knees. But oh! the comfort!! I always felt super skinny while wearing those things. For my birthday last year my dear friend bought me a new pair of sweats, from Target, that she insisted were way better. She said I wouldn't have to pull them up all the time and I wouldn't look like I'd just loaded up my pants. She was right. They fit me perfectly. Last month while shopping at Target I saw they had gone on clearance so I was able to buy another pair. The two new pair of sweats, that actually fit, coupled with the fact that I'm losing weight and that OH loathes the old ones on me, spurred me onto actually getting rid of them. I wonder how long it will take him to notice I'm not wearing them?
Honestly I'm surprised I've kept them for so long. I hated Officer Hottie's time in academy. It was the most difficult time I've had in our marriage to date; that includes four pregnancies, four sets of post-partum issues, 17 months of trying to get pregnant, threats of a lawsuit, career changes, deaths in the family and major financial stresses. Academy trumps them all. I know every family's experience with the academy is different. For me, OH's time there represents a season on loneliness and insecurity on my part that has been unrivaled by any other point in our marriage. I do not blame OH for this; I think a lot of that was my own fault for my refusal to "burden" him with what I was thinking and feeling. Officer Hottie was very occupied and he tried his best to not bring the stresses of the academy home. But in his attempt to keep his stress from bothering me he was a bit distant, he was definitely occupied, and the fact that he had friends I didn't know and was doing something that didn't include me, led to a lot of insecurity for me. It took me a long time to finally get the courage to tell OH what I was feeling. In my mind we had grown so far apart that we were on the verge on divorce. This took him by total surprise. Looking back I know I was being dramatic but unfortunately that is a routine I fall into rather easily. Even though this was a difficult time for me I learned so much from it. I learned the importance of communication, which I know sounds cliché, but I realized there are things that happen between us, and I say it's fine, and it isn't (I'm not really helping the typical female stereotype, am I?). OH was very gracious to me; when I finally opened up to him he didn't get angry or defensive or accuse me of insanity (all of which I feared). He simply asked me, "What do we do to fix it?" It really was the perfect response. I felt safe talking with him and it was a turning point in our relationship. It was the first time our marriage required real work and the first time I really understood what it meant to not give up. I don't know... maybe I kept those sweats as a subconscious reminder of what life had been like then, a reminder to never let my thoughts get the best of me?
Officer  Hottie accomplished so much in academy and I am ashamed that I wasted so much time dwelling on myself. I cannot describe the feeling of pride that washed over me when I pinned his badge on him during his graduation ceremony. Although I was very supportive of OH during this time I just didn't know how to handle the different circumstances and changes going on. I'm sure it prepared me for what life with a police officer can be like and because of that time when things at work cause him to become distant or distracted I know how to approach it with him. God was, and continues to be, gracious to me and I am thankful, nearly five years later, for how He has blessed OH's career and our marriage. It's pretty cool to think back on.
So, goodbye dear old sweatpants. I will hold onto the lessons you brought with you, but I will gladly exchange your saggy butt baggage for something a little more attractive. I know Officer Hottie will like that!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Finding some support

Last week on one of Officer Hottie's days off we went to Home Depot. Last summer we repainted the living room and dining room. It's embarrassing to admit we still aren't finished. I haven't hung any pictures back on the walls, the ceiling hasn't been touched yet and our front window still has no window coverings. It's a long window that almost goes to the floor and our kids love to sit there and watch the street in front of our house. It's really a fun window and before we painted we had a curtain covering it, but we redid the trim and the curtain rod didn't look good anymore so we've been planning on buying blinds and have never got around to it. So there we are, at our local Home Depot, looking at blinds (which we did not buy.) As we were walking around the store we saw this huge display of blue lights with a sign that read "Support your local Law Enforcement". It was SO cool! Around Christmas there was a Facebook campaign that asked people to either put a blue light on their front porch, or a string of blue lights up, to show support for law enforcement. It was neat to see single strands of blue lights up everywhere. These are the lights that were up at our house.

Recently there was an interview done with some of the families of the four murdered Lakewood officers. One of the wives asked people to put a blue bulb in their porch light to continue showing support. It seems like the community listened! I think it is so great that even our businesses are showing support for our law enforcement and it helps to ease my fear a little, knowing that, generally speaking, my husband and his colleagues are loved and respected by the community. If you would like to to purchase your own blue light bulb to show your support for law enforcement click here.

Click here for the article on the amazing Lakewood spouses.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Weight is Over

Mike and I are overweight. Not morbidly obese overweight but we definitely need to lose a few. 
We have struggled with our weight since right after we got married. We were so thrilled to finally be living together and to be together all the time that we literally laid on the couch after work, made out and ate food. It was a really fun time. And when I had to buy a size 14 pair of pants I knew we had to do something. Maybe size 14 doesn't seem that big to some of you, but when I was used to wearing a size 8, it felt pretty giant. We had a trip to Mexico planned with some friends so I stuck a picture of an impossibly thin model on our bathroom mirror, joined Weight Watchers and got to it. I lost about 40 lbs. I did not look like the impossibly thin model, but I had to buy new size 6 pants, so I felt pretty good. That took me about three or four months to accomplish. Mike started the Atkins diet three weeks before we left for Mexico, dropped 30 lbs. and managed to keep it off for years. Are you kidding me? 
So then four babies and eight years later, here we are. After each baby I lost most, or all, of the weight, and even after our third I was down to a size I was very happy with, a weight that didn't bother me and I felt pretty cute in my clothes. After our fourth was born though, something changed. My motivation was gone! I did lose almost all of the weight, but after I stopped nursing the baby I gained 10 of it back. And now I'm in my 30's and I don't like what size I'm wearing and I look like I've had four kids. The biggest obstacle for me is that Mike and I are in a happy place. We are enjoying each other's company, our kids are a little more independent, Mike's job is great...there's nothing motivating us to get our act together. Since we have four young kids we don't have any major bathing-suit-wearing trips planned so my fear of being seen in one is sitting somewhere in my brain next to spring cleaning. It's a very dark dusty part of my mind that rarely gets a visit.
Mike has gained back the 30 pounds and then some. Where I need to lose 20ish pounds, Mike needs to lose around 40-50ish. On January 1 we started Weight Watchers again. I've been getting up early and letting Jillian Michaels kick my butt. It's been great. It has only been one week but I lost four pounds and Mike lost five. It was a very encouraging start and I truly hope we can keep our momentum up.
Mike's biggest challenge will be being at work. They are all friends and they eat lunch together everyday ("Like a family," he says.). If they aren't busy they can grab something at Starbucks. The wives like to make goodies to send in. (*side note...none of you will be getting cookies or cinnamon rolls from me until after I'm fitting back into my "skinny" pants so don't even ask!) During the summer they bbq and potluck. Not to mention the treats the public sometimes will drop by or when someone decides to "treat the office" to bagels or donuts. His sergeant makes this ah-maaazing pound cake. I have blocked from memory how many sticks of butter he says he uses. It makes my arteries clog just thinking of it. It is going to require a huge amount of will power on his part to stick with the plan. It's easier for me. I just have to avoid the fruit snacks, corn dogs, tater tots and gummy worms we have for the kids.
Hopefully the weight really will be over for us soon. I know we're both sick of it. Mostly I want us both to be healthy and to be around for our grandkids since I've been told they are the reward for having children. That's worth sticking around for!
(In case you're worried this blog will become our weight loss journal, don't be. I seriously don't want to share all our fatty struggles with you. I just thought it was cute that Mike was working out while I was writing so it was on my mind tonight!)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

"Be safe!"

Every morning when Officer Hottie kisses me good-bye I tell him to "be safe". I'm not sure when I started this, probably sometime around the time that Ed passed away, but it has become a normal part of our goodbye routine. This morning he crawled over the bed and kissed me, said goodbye, have a good day...all the usual. As he was walking out our bedroom door he turned around and said, "Tell me to be safe!" I hadn't realized how much this had become part of our routine until I forgot to say it. I always thought he must find me a little silly for saying it because of course he's going to be safe! He's not a kid after all, and I'm not his mother, so why the reminder? It must be because I want him to know how much I want him to come home. This morning I realized it must be accomplishing what I want it to; he likes the reminder. Isn't it funny how those little things can come to mean so much? My friend Becky said she started telling her husband "Don't be a hero". I like that one too, although I feel if someone heard me say that to him they'd think I'm rather selfish. I am selfish, I can admit it. I want my husband coming home; I don't want to be a single mom and I want my children to know their father and I hope someday we'll be old enough to have matching tennis balls for the backs of our walkers. Let the firemen be the heroes, everyone likes them anyway! Since I'm too chicken to actually ask my husband to not be a hero, I'll just remind him to be safe. And now that I know he likes the reminder, I'll never forget to say it again.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


I just finished watching a video montage of Deputy Mundell's funeral. There was one picture in particular that made me cry; he's putting ornaments on the Christmas tree with his son and he's wearing a t-shirt and boxers. That picture could have come out of my living room. It is rare that Officer Hottie is wearing pants when he's at home. If he's got his boxers on, it's good enough. Just a random t.m.i. tidbit I thought I'd share.
Watching the pictures takes me straight back to 3 1/2 years ago when Officer Hottie's co-worker, Ed Thomas, was killed while on duty. Although they say he died of natural causes, his death was preceded by a five minute fight with the ex-mayor of the city they worked in, so it has always been difficult for us to accept that it was "just his time". I didn't know Ed very well, but he and OH were pretty close. Hottie was on night shifts, and Ed was on day shift, so when OH was checking out and Ed was checking in they had time to visit. On the day Ed died Hottie had spent a good 30 minutes after his shift to visit with Ed, and I'm glad he did. His death was so sudden and unexpected and there are days that I think Hottie still gets caught up in the "what if's" and "if only's" of it all. Watching Deputy Mundell's funeral is ripping that scab off my heart and bringing back such raw memories of watching my husband's pain and heartache. That was so difficult for me. I didn't know how to help him, I didn't know what to say. I felt so helpless. I honestly don't remember how we got through it. He talked with our pastor and that lifted a huge weight off his shoulders and he has become close with some of Ed's other friends, and that has given him a place to remember Ed. There are a few things about Ed's memorial that I remember so clearly; the most impacting was when we first arrived at the funeral home to wait for the hearse. We were there waiting for a bit but all of sudden it sounded like an airplane taking off. I kept looking at the sky until I realized it wasn't an airplane but the motorcycles from the motorcade beginning to leave. At the same moment this was happening I noticed a building across the street from us that was under construction. On the roof were all the construction workers, standing still, with their hard hats covering their hearts. I can't even describe the emotions that brought up in me, but there was something about seeing those very masculine manly men saluting Ed and the rest of the officers, and the rumble of the motorcycles that still gets me.

These last eight weeks of loss have made me revisit those weeks following Ed's death quite often. Hottie's loss has helped me to better know how to pray for the officer's families and friends. I also pray that the Lord will use these tragedies to bring salvation to many. In the wake of Ed's death Hottie was left wondering if he had been bold and open about his faith. I wonder, in the aftermath of all this recent death, if we all will be more bold about our faith. I truly hope we will. The only thing that can get us through tragedy is the Hope we have for heaven and the only true comfort can be found in Jesus. As another hero is laid to rest I pray that the Lord will work in me so that I may be more bold in sharing the story of the one true Hero who made a sacrifice that would save us all.

If you would like to read a little about Ed, go here...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Dwelling in Safety

Where to Donate to the Mundell Family
Tomorrow is the memorial service for Deputy Mundell. It is so difficult for me to even fathom that there is going to be another funeral for an officer killed in the line of duty. Six officers in eight weeks; unheard of, at least locally. As sick as it sounds I was able to find two things about his death that comforted me; first, the fact that he was able to kill the man who murdered him. I am thankful there was no week long manhunt as in the previous deaths. Second, it comforted me that he was actually doing something when he died. Although he was taken by surprise he was not ambushed as Officer Brenton and the Lakewood officers had been. He was actually on a call and doing his job, not just filling out paperwork or having a coffee break. I'm sure these facts bring no comfort to his family or co-workers, I wouldn't expect them to. I just know that I always have felt that if something were to happen to Mike at work, it would be while he was doing something. That illusion was shattered as soon as Officer Brenton was murdered, and then my fears confirmed as soon as the Lakewood officers were gunned down. As I was reading in my Bible this morning I came across this verse, Psalm 4:8 "I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, Oh Lord, make me dwell in safety." I guess that brings me the most comfort of all. I don't think that's a promise, necessarily, but I love how the author is so confident that the Lord alone protects him. If you know anything about King David, who authored most of the Psalms, you know that most of his life was spent running and hiding from people trying to murder him. Literally hiding in caves and running from place to place and yet he was able to "lie down and sleep in peace" knowing that the Lord would protect him. It got me to thinking about how I can apply this in my own life.
Do I trust the Lord or not. Do I trust His plan? Do I trust His love? Do I trust His power? If something happens to Mike, or one of the kids, or my parents, or my brothers or sisters or their families, do I still trust Him? What if they aren't kept safe, has He let me down? My mind keeps spewing out questions like these, questions I don't know if I can answer, some I pray I'll never have to answer and somewhere in the jumble of thoughts screaming around my mind I hear this Voice say, "Shhhh...". When I quiet myself, and focus, I can hear the Lord telling me, it isn't always about the physical safety. It's about the emotional and spiritual safety too. That is a safety I understand, and a safety I need. With everything that has happened during the last two months, my mind and emotions seem to be a dangerous place. I am angry, doubtful and cynical to name a few. Letting go of those and letting the Lord keep my heart and mind safe, even from myself, I need that. It makes me so hopeful that I can quit spending so much time obsessing over my husband's physical safety (which I will of course still pray for) but start to focus on the more important things that God is protecting and keeping safe all the time. I know that's a little wishy-washy but God is meeting me where I'm at!
Tomorrow as the procession begins my prayers will be with the Mundell family, their friends and family, and all law enforcement as we are forced to, yet again, go through the process of saying goodbye to and honoring our fallen heroes. I will never get used to loss and when an officer dies I will never be able to think, "that won't ever happen to Mike." Perhaps as I grow in my faith I will be able to do what King David seemed capable of doing and quiet my questions and concerns and and remember to "lie down and sleep in peace" and let the Lord "make me dwell in safety."

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Need

This morning before church I was checking up on Facebook and looked at a group for spouses of Washington law enforcement. I was amazed, again, at the need these women have to find a place to get connected and to belong. It reignited the passion, which was never really dying, about our Cops Wives Club. It also has made me consider making this a public blog, although I honestly don't know how much wisdom or insight anyone can gleam from me, but at least there would be a place they could go to know that someone else out there understands them. I could hardly pay attention in church I was getting so excited about the potential aspects of where God could be taking our little group that I finally had to grab a pen and start jotting them down. Alison had said she felt bad for missing church; I honestly thought it was God's mercy on the people who sat around me because I would have been talking her ear off. Andrea was sitting one row away and I seriously considered, very briefly, trying to throw something at her to get her attention. Since she was sitting between her parents, her father being the head pastor of our church, and I was sitting next to mine, the thought was only fleeting, but it made me realize that yes, I am that excited about our little group.
I did nail down two things I would like to see happen. First, I want to talk to my friend Janice. She is the women's ministry leader at our church and has great ideas and will be a wonderful resource for helping me to focus and stay on topic. It's so easy for me to get ahead of myself...I'm already thinking about conventions for law enforcement wives when we haven't even taken the time to pray together yet. She'll be good for me. Secondly, and this still may be getting ahead of myself a little, I want to start feeling out women who are well established in other church's. Maybe any church, but I'll start with Calvary since that's what I know. I am feeling like we need to find women, who are well established and "safe", who can open up their home to a group of women and their kids once a month. Another area where having Jan's expertise will come in handy. I'm thinking that if we can at least have women who are willing, then when our group gets too big for my parent's house, and it really looks like it won't take that long, then we'll have a place where we can branch out and then start including more and more women. I am very excited about that prospect. So watch out...there may be a Cops Wives Club arriving in your area soon!!