Flight School ~ PCS ORDERS ~

The other big, important day while in flight school is the day you receive your orders for your follow-on duty station!  The aviators are allowed to maintain a list of the Top 3 places that they would like to go, and the Army (most of the time) attempts to grant it to you and your family.  As with anything in the Army, nothing is guaranteed, and it’s both exciting and nerve-wracking waiting for these to come through!

“They say” can often get you into trouble and for us it did.  We were told an average of 4-6 weeks from selection he’d receive the draft of his orders telling him where we’d be sent next.  4-6 weeks turned into 7, then 8….then the rest of his class (all but Ryan and 1 other) received their orders.  I’ll admit, I didn’t handle this frustration in the most graceful way!  I’ve moved around my entire life as an Army Brat turned federal contractor, turned Army wife.  Literally my first passport had my hospital birth picture.  However, we’ve been trying to get back up North for 7 years.  Ryan’s first duty station was supposed to be Alaska…then those were pulled for Ft. Bragg.  Ugh!  Our family is in Maine and New England will always be HOME, so we were so anxious to find out if our hopes would come true!

FINALLY, 9 weeks from selection and halfway through his advanced airframe training his orders came through!!

And our next duty station is….

FT DRUM, NEW YORK!!!!!!!!

Ft. Drum was our #1 choice and we were praying so hard that Ryan would get selected to go!!!!!  We are beyond excited for the next chapter of our story and to FINALLY be back closer to home.  It’s about 7 hours back to our home town in Maine which is the closest we can get.  We are so thankful for snow…and 4 seasons!

FLY TO GLORY!!!!!

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Truth behind the lies…

Allow me to tell you a story. I only wish that it wasn’t true…more-so I wish that it wasn’t ours. I have wrestled with airing our dirty laundry, but I feel that people need to hear our side of the stories rather than simply the lies being spread about us. We’ve remained silent for 7 years, but now that my children are being dragged into this and my family turned against us, I can’t stay silent any longer.

I’ve never understood why, but Ryan’s birth father did not want him to marry me. He went from being my biggest fan to hating me seemingly overnight. No matter how much we worked to get him to like me nothing worked. He told everyone that I was “stealing his best friend” and they began spreading lies about me, Ryan and our relationship. There were some things that I found “off” about them. They would walk around half dressed (and some not dressed at all), and his father/stepmom made inappropriate comments about their daughters. They’d curl up in his lap in just a thong and bra on and He even took pictures of them for them to send to their boyfriends at the time. Then his wife would make comments making fun of my family saying I’d never do that with my father…umm no, I wouldn’t. He didn’t see a problem with half naked models being pinned all over their garage around their teenage daughters and young adult sons. He and my oldest sister make jokes about having an affair together…in front of their spouses. Things became progressively worse up and through our wedding. Our engagement weekend his father sent him a series of inappropriate texts and pictures for anyone, much less their newly engaged SON. He and his wife (Ryan’s stepmom) refused to participate in anything for our engagement/wedding unless Ryan begged them or it was something to make themselves look good. At our Rehearsal Dinner his father gave a speech about “come what may” in our marriage and his family always being there for them “after” our marriage would be over. They did not speak to me at our wedding. Never brought us a wedding present or even so much as a card. They spread lies about my parents hating me and “apologizing for their son having to be married to me” and even deeply upset my mom. Why would someone make that comment about their own daughter on her wedding day? He sent his newly married son an email telling him he was a horrible son who was being controlled by his wife. He repeatedly told him that his family of origin should have come first over his wife and future kids. (Yes, we still have the emails.)

We did not speak to them for almost 2 years after our wedding. They continued to spread lies about our family, what type of mother Ryan’s mom was (who raised him) my father, his company and trying to hurt his business, my marriage, Ryan and what type of man he was, lies about our finances and convincing people we weren’t paying our bills. They even lied to the government and tried to claim Ryan on their taxes through 2013 when we were married. (Illegal considering he hadn’t lived at home or been supported by them since 2010 and was in the Army!). They ended up filing bankruptcy shortly after. Ryan cried to my father and had many conversations with him about how to heal this relationship.

One day they finally “apologized” to us for how they were treating us and we thought it was the answer to our prayers. My sister told me she had informed them that we were trying to get pregnant. Whatever the reason we were so hopeful to have our family whole again. They came to visit and his father even started to be almost nice to me. There were still problems and comments made, but we were desperately trying to have them in our lives since we were going through infertility and wanted our kids to have grandparents. Apparently, my parents and family took this as everything was okay. My Dad hired Ryan’s stepmother to run his HR department (after she quit before being fired several years prior). I didn’t find this out until the following morning and was never given a heads up. Ryan and I were deeply hurt by this, but we were told it was none of our business. Things progressively became worse. I caught his stepmom lying to my father, committing illegal actions on behalf of the company, and trying to get myself and another member of my family fired (even though I was originally a consultant). I reported all of this to my father and my boss did as well…including email evidence to back us up. Emotionally I couldn’t take it anymore. Shortly after, I was pushed out of my father’s company and a replacement hired for me. They and other members of RYan’s family made fun of our kids being test tube babies and us needing IVF to get pregnant. They told people I was a horrible mother and couldn’t even take care of my own children. Of course they say just the opposite around my family so that we look like the crazy ones.

The last time we saw them was the week of Ryan’s graduation from WOCS in November. I suggested Ryan have his Dad help me hold the kids to “pin” him to help heal their relationship. We asked them to come but told them all we had for them to sleep on was an air mattress since we’d just PCS’d and didn’t have a bedroom set up. his stepmom laughed and said they didn’t want to stay there anyway because our babies might wake them up and they wanted to stay with a friend of theirs and his girlfriend. Imagine my surprise when my sisters started texting me one day and my parents informed me that we “didn’t make Ryan’s parents comfortable” and were so mean to them when they were driving all the way down here. His father avoided us the entire time they were here unless my parents were around to keep face. It was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Again, he made a few inappropriate comments about my kids while we were changing their diapers so we started refraining from changing them in the same room.

For 7 years they had bad mouthed my family and said there was a reason all of us from Maine are called “Damn Yankees”. They hated northerners and we were a bunch of “racists” and making up stories about his one trip up there with the Golden Knights. He stated he’d never step foot up there again and wouldn’t feel comfortable. We got into a fight about it when I was pregnant and they had me in tears. During the WOCS trip, When Emma brought them books to read about New England, he made hateful comments about the North, our sports teams and downright refused to read the books to my one year old daughter. (Later, they would say he was just “joking”). Imagine our surprise when they brought up the subject of Maine and my parents inviting them to our annual 4th of July picnic with my entire family. They promised us they would not attend without us because it would be inappropriate and we told them we wouldn’t be able to go this year since Ryan was in flight school. We told my parents how hurt we were and were told it was none of our business because they were “friends” and they didn’t have to have our permission to invite MY in-laws to our one escape place with my family without us when all they’ve done is be hateful about the North and my family. We assumed the situation was resolved. My parents came to visit a few weeks ago and we tried to let them know that we weren’t speaking to Ryan’s parents and that we were still having issues. They just kept changing the subject and weren’t listening.

Other than an occasional “Have a nice flight” text from Ryan’s father to him and when I worked for my Dad and with his stepmom, we have not had any communication with them since Christmas. It’s repeatedly gotten back to us that they were still spreading lies about us. After much prayer and many tears we decided that we couldn’t have them in our lives anymore and we didn’t want our children exposed to any of this.

On Monday, Ryan received a text from his father stating that they were going to Maine next week with my family after promising us they wouldn’t. I confronted my family about this and told them how hurt we were. They proceeded to tell us how excited they were and how they were taking them to a Red Sox game and everything (Mind you, none of them have yet to attend a game with us while we’re home…even for our children’s first time). I felt like I was having a panic attack and was so betrayed. How could they turn their backs on us and do something that they knew would hurt us so much.

I finally urged them to see how important this was to us by telling them that they could be friends with these people or they could be in ours and our kids lives. They confirmed twice that they didn’t care if we chose to walk away from them because they couldn’t please us and they had a right to their friends…even if it hurts us or our children.

We’ve been left with no other choice but to walk away. We don’t want our kids exposed to all of this toxicity and abuse. And anyone who picks random in laws who aren’t even in our lives over their own family? I don’t even have the words to process all of this. My heart hurts…mostly for my babies that they’ve lost most of their family. Now that I’m a mom NOTHING is more important than my husband and children. I would NEVER choose anyone over them. I know the lies will continue and I’m trying to make my peace with the fact that some will hear and believe false accusations about us. However, we have to do what’s best for our family. This isn’t even the half of it, but I thought people should know at least part of our side of the story to make up their own minds.

Above the Best

In April, I had the privilege of participating in USAACE’s Spouses’ Aviation Day (SAD) here at Fort Rucker!  The day gave some of us wives (spouses) a glimpse into what our husbands endure while here for flight school.

TRAINING SCHEDULE:

LRC (Leadership Reaction Course): We completed 2 “obstacles” or challenges that we had to navigate as a team and get through.

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LRC Completion Pic

EST: Electronic Skills Trainer or weapons simulator.  First we had to “qualify” on the range with our M4s.  Then came the fun part. 🙂  Melissa got to break out the big guns.  I jumped on the MK-19 quick, fast, and in a hurry!  Haha, the second room was definitely the most fun and we were “downrange” shooting up bad guys on a life size video game.  This was a fun portion, but I definitely like shooting outside on a real gun better.

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Shooting Range

Dunker/HOST: Helicopter Overwater Survival Training.  We didn’t get to do the actual dunker…BOO.  (I mean, hey, we all signed the release, big Army!)  We did “suit up” though and had to swim under water through a door and back up.  I have a newfound respect for the pilots/spec ops soldiers that navigate this course every few years for the rest of their careers.

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Green Team: She Hulks!

Helicopter Simulators: We saved the best for last!  Finally I was given the chance to “fly” a helicopter!  We started out with our Pre-Flight Briefing (where I had to educate them that there ARE, in fact, black helicopters in the Army) and proceeded to our simulators.  I chose a Black Hawk (Chinooks weren’t available…lame) in the simulator and even landed on the back of an aircraft carrier down off the coast of Destin!  (We won’t mention the fact that I also “crashed” or red screened it to play around!  We’ll leave the flying to Ryan.

Finally the day concluded with our very own graduation over at the Aviation Museum!  We all walked across the stage to receive our completion certificates and “Flight” Wings!

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Family Graduation Pic

Overall, I had an absolute blast and i’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to attend such a fun event.  I can imagine how much work it was to put an event of this size on for the spouses and i’m so thankful to Fort Rucker and USAACE for giving us a day of fun (I mean, good – hard training!

Go Green Team – SHE HULKS!  “SMASH IT!!!!!”

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Thoughts from a Rookie Twin Mommy

So i’m a little over 10 weeks into this whole Twin Mom life and I have to say it’s definitely the greatest adventure ever!  I feel like so much has changed in my life already and we’ve only just begun.

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One Month Birthday!

It’s scary:

In the interest of honesty, i’ve shed a few tears, been completely overwhelmed when i’m alone, and wondered how on earth i’m ever going to be able to raise these two successfully.  I’ve looked around at other moms who appear to have it all together and wondered why I don’t look like that at all.  After all, i’m only human and it’s taken some personal reflection to admit that i’m not perfect.  Nothing like babies to teach you your weaknesses, am I right?  It’s a little intense to think of the pressure to raise them the way God would have me and to give them everything that I want to give them.  I remind myself daily that God chose to give me this life and He wouldn’t have answered these prayers if He didn’t think I could do it.  Wow!  That thought is even more wonderful…to think, God trusted me with all of this!

It’s beyond exciting:

I just love watching them grow and change.  Seeing them starting to take in the world and interact with me and Daddy more and more is so gratifying.  I’m so excited for all of the things to come: little laughs, crawling, walking and talking but i’m not taking a single moment with the little milestones for granted.  While it’s a little sad to see them getting bigger and changing from newborns to infants and beyond, it’s incredibly satisfying to see that they’re healthy and happy!  It’s even more exciting to watch their interactions with each other while they’re on the changing table, laying on the bed, or eating a meal and reaching for their twin’s hand.  I’m so blessed to have all of these moments and to able to nurse them…together!

I love that they’ll always have a friend in each other…no matter what.  It’s so neat to watch them together and to never be alone.  They have a very special life that the rest of us will never get to experience and I hope that they always love each other and appreciate it.  Family is special and I always wanted a sibling that was that close to me.

It’s bonding.

I feel like i’ve never loved their Daddy more than I do right now.  He works such long hours with his job in the military and I know how much it breaks his heart to be away from us.  It’s not always the big, romantic gestures that are important in a marriage, but the simple things he does.  It’s the way he takes the kids to give me a few minutes to myself or allow me to take a shower when he gets home.  It’s the way he wakes up several times a night to change diapers and get me set up with nursing when he has to get up at O-dark-thirty.  And it’s the way he loves them and plays with them and would give anything to make sure that we’re all happy.  He’s never been a “typical guy” and had to grow up much earlier than most, but we’re the ones who reap the benefits.  I love that we’re finally been able to create life together and we get to be the ones to raise these two perfect little miracles together.

The way that everyone talks about the birth of their babies, I expected my love for them to peak that day.  On the contrary, it’s grown in incredible ways since the day I found out we had embryos growing and getting ready for us.  I feel as if my love keeps growing anymore my heart is simply going to burst!  I’m so excited to be on this journey with these two and to get to be their mommy.  It’s an incredible privilege and I have to pinch myself to remember that it’s real!  I feel like God spoils me way more than I deserve and it’s mind-blowing to sit and think about the miracles in our life!

#TeamGrim #GrimTwins

~Melissa G, Proud Twin MOMMY at last!

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Our first day together with just the 3 of us when Daddy went back to work.

 

 

Grim Twins ~ 36 Weeks

How far along? 36 Weeks Pregnant (WE DID IT!!!!!!  We made it to our “Goal Week”)
Total weight gain: 41.3 lbs.
Stretch marks? They’ve spread a lot since week 30, but I think they’ll heal up pretty well.  Mama stripes!! 🙂 ❤
Symptoms: Contractions still, but none that did anything.  Nausea, seeing spots and dizziness.  Swelling has been constant now…and no more rings or jewelry. (Mostly from Preeclampsia)
Appointments: Maternal Fetal Medicine/Perinatology twice a week and my OB/GYN twice a week.
Sleep: Pretty much nonexistent at this point.  Thankfully I try to take a nap every day and that helps a little bit.  It’s funny, everyone says “Sleep now while you can…” LoL  That’s a joke! 🙂
Best moment this week: Moving up our scheduled c-section to Monday!!!!!  We are so anxious and excited for them to get here….tomorrow!!!!
Worst moment this week: This week has had a lot of ups and downs and unknowns and scares with the preeclampsia.
Miss Anything?  I still LOVE being pregnant and am so thankful that I get this amazing opportunity.  However, i’m so excited and ready for this next part of the journey!
Movement:  CONSTANT, but they’re definitely running out of room in there…poor babies.  I think they’re as ready as we are 🙂
Food cravings/aversions:  GETTING HUNGRY A LOT!!!!  Lobster, fried clams like CRAZY, fries, steamers from home in Maine. 😦  And sammiches 🙂
Anything making you queasy or sick:  The usual: Mornings as well as Cigarette smoke and cologne/perfumes.
Labor Signs:  Still having contractions off and on but no signs of labor.  😦
Wedding rings on or off? They’ve had to come off for good (during the pregnancy at least).
Happy or Moody most of the time: Mostly happy still:)  Feeling ALLLL of the emotions right now and probably driving Ryan crazy. LOL
Looking forward to:  We’re so incredibly excited to meeting our babies…TOMORROW!!!!  It’s crazy to believe that it’s finally here and it’s finally our turn.  We can’t wait for ALL of the excitement and experiences to come!  SO anxious to hold them, kiss them, love them, snuggle them and everything else!!

Grim Twins ~ 35 Weeks

How far along? 35 Weeks Pregnant (T-1 week until our minimum “goal week”!!!!)
Total weight gain: 37.3 lbs. (I’ve lost weight since last week so i’m going to have to ask my Doc about it…may be that some of my swelling has gone down from bed rest.)
Stretch marks? They’ve spread a lot since week 30.  Keep growing babies…Mama stripes!! 🙂 ❤
Symptoms: I’m officially on bed rest to try to keep these babies in for a little more time.  Contractions still. Morning nausea and dizziness.  Swelling has been constant now…and no more rings or jewelry.
Appointments: Maternal Fetal Medicine/Perinatology and my OB/GYN now twice a week.  Emma finally dropped head down!!!!!!  We learned that Logan & Emma are both estimated to be about 4 lbs. 13 oz.  Emma is more balanced in her measurements with a smaller head and Logan has a larger head but very small body according to the measurements.  I’m going to start being monitored even more closely now that the docs are concerned about preeclampsia.  My protein levels were EXTREMELY high for the 24 hour test (936 and shouldn’t be over 300) and my uric acid was high on my latest blood test on Thursday.  We’ll find out on Monday/Tuesday if that changes the game plan for this week but we are still praying to at least make it to next Monday!
Sleep: I wake up/roll around a LOT (at least every hour) and get up to use the bathroom a lot.  The pregnancy pillow helps, but there’s only so much it can do lol.  The babies are just sleep training me ❤️
Best moment this week: 1) We bought Daddy his new truck today!!!  We finally have enough room for all of us (my car is very tight with the car seats).  We’ve been saving for a long time and he’s been needing a new truck so we were so excited that we were finally able to find him the truck of his dreams!!  Now we’re both Ford people! ❤  2) We finally finished the nursery!  We may add a few little touches but it looks so cute and we are so excited to bring our sweet babies home to such a beautiful and relaxing room!
Worst moment this week: The bad preeclampsia news from my OB.  It’s a little scary and overwhelming to make sure that i’m taking it easy on bed rest and making sure I go in if it gets bad.  I’m just praying that they come before it gets too bad or dangerous for any of us, but that they don’t come too soon!  Every day is another blessing and praying we make it to Week 36.
Miss Anything?  I still LOVE being pregnant and am so thankful that I get this amazing opportunity.
Movement:  LOTS!!!  We’re glad to feel them moving and turning because it definitely keeps me from stressing too much :). It’s all going to be over so soon 😦  I love watching Daddy play with them and them kicking and moving in response to him.
Food cravings/aversions:  GETTING HUNGRY A LOT!!!!  Lobster, fried clams like CRAZY, fries, steamers from home in Maine. 😦  And sammiches again 🙂
Anything making you queasy or sick:  The usual: Mornings as well as Cigarette smoke and cologne/perfumes.
Labor Signs:  Still having contractions off and on but no signs of labor.  Now that preeclampsia is going to cause the babies to come early, i’m hoping it starts to kick in soon so that I don’t have to have a c-section.
Wedding rings on or off? They’ve had to come off for good (during the pregnancy at least).
Happy or Moody most of the time: Mostly happy still:)  I am getting more emotional and cry really easily (over sad and happy things).
Looking forward to:  We’re getting so incredibly anxious to meet our perfect babies, and now that we know that they’re going to be coming literally any day now we’re getting more and more excited.  Still praying that they are strong and healthy and that they get to come home with us.

Grim Twins ~ 34 Weeks

How far along? 34 Weeks Pregnant (T-2 weeks until our minimum “goal week”!!!!)
Total weight gain: 40.5 lbs.
Stretch marks? They’ve spread a lot since week 30.  Keep growing babies…Mama stripes!! 🙂 ❤
Symptoms: Contractions still.  I’m trying to put myself on bed rest more and more since I get tired easily and can easily overdo it.  Morning nausea and a little bit of dizziness.  Swelling has been constant now…and no more rings or jewelry.
Appointments: Maternal Fetal Medicine/Perinatology and my OB/GYN.  Emma is back up to my ribs and transverse again.  LOL  Come on, baby girl, flip around so that mommy can deliver you naturally! 😉
Sleep: I wake up/roll around a LOT (at least every 1.5 hours) and get up to use the bathroom a lot.  The pregnancy pillow helps, but there’s only so much it can do lol.  The babies are just sleep training me ❤️
Best moment this week: We finally finished the nursery!  We may add a few little touches but it looks so cute and we are so excited to bring our sweet babies home to such a beautiful and relaxing room!
Worst moment this week: Another trip to L&D.  After my blood pressure shooting up in the office this week, my doctor found that there was protein in my urine (signs of preeclampsia).  We spent another afternoon in Labor & Delivery when Mommy started seeing spots and getting wicked dizzy until they discovered that blood work was normal and the babies were tracing okay.  Still not fun, but we were glad that it wasn’t anything serious.  Also, I have to do the 24 hour urine test so that they can monitor how much protein i’m really losing in my urine to see if my kidneys/liver are doing their jobs or if preeclampsia/toxemia is starting to set in.  Mommy and Daddy also go their whooping cough vaccines and and Mommy got her 2 steroid injections to make sure Logan & Emma’s lungs are fully developed.  The shots made me sick, but only for a little over a day.
Miss Anything?  I still LOVE being pregnant and am so thankful that I get this amazing opportunity.
Movement:  LOTS!!!  We’re glad to feel them moving and turning because it definitely keeps me from stressing too much :). They love playing together at 1am and mommy thanks God for all of these little moments.  It’s all going to be over so soon 😦
Food cravings/aversions:  GETTING HUNGRY A LOT!!!!  Lobster, fried clams like CRAZY, fries, steamers from home in Maine. 😦  And sammiches again 🙂
Anything making you queasy or sick:  The usual: Mornings as well as Cigarette smoke and cologne/perfumes.
Labor Signs:  Still having contractions off and on but no signs of labor.
Wedding rings on or off? They’ve had to come off for good (during the pregnancy at least).
Happy or Moody most of the time: Mostly happy still:)  I am getting more emotional and cry really easily (over sad and happy things).  Hoping they stay safe and “baking” for at least 2 more weeks, but we’re getting more and more anxious/excited to hold them!
Looking forward to:  We  still need to get Daddy his new truck before the babies get here, but we’re waiting on NC to get off their butts and send us his title.  We’re getting so incredibly anxious to meet our perfect babies, but are still hoping and praying to make it to at least 36/37 weeks and for no NICU/Specialty Care Nursery!