What’s in a Name

Last night, while Xander was sitting on the couch with me, he asked, “how do you spell my middle name?”


“I…s…s…wait, spell it again.”


This morning on the way to school he asked again. “Mom, spell my middle name again, I forgot.”


“I-s-s-h-a-k. Ok. I remember now–that’s not how my friend Issac spells his name.”

I guess there is no time like the present to try and explain this one.

Your name is special. Dad had an awesome friend, and that was his name.

“He had a friend named Isshak? But they aren’t friends anymore?”

Ok, how do you explain this to a 7-year-old…

Daniel Isshak, KIA 3Oct2006

I met Daniel Isshak in December, 2004, on my first visit to Fort Benning, to see Justin. We had talked on the phone about a million times before that (I had talked on the phone to all of Justin’s friends–when you spend 2 hours a day talking on the phone with someone, you end up talking to a lot of random people along the way. Justin had picked me up at the airport and brought me to stay with a couple of his friends–Dan lived there, and was smoking outside when we showed up. I whined, “it’s Georgia! I thought it was supposed to be warm here.” Isshak laughed. His laugh was enough to make anyone and everyone around him laugh.

Over lots of other visits down to see Justin, I got to spend more time with Danny Isshak. There was a morning when Justin left for PT (and I was staying in the barracks–shh). A little while later, I heard the door open, and I watched a man who looked very  much like Justin (it was dark; I didn’t have my glasses on), came in, crawled into the bed on the other side of the room, and went to sleep. I laid there thinking, “why in the world would Justin not be crawling into his own bed with me?” But it was too early for my 22 year old butt to give it much thought, so I went back to sleep. A while later, the man I thought was Justin got back out of bed, and on his way out the door said, “I drank all of the orange juice–don’t tell them it was me.” It was Isshak.

At the first Ranger Ball I went to, Dan was there, being goofy and silly as usual. At that point, a bunch of Justin’s buddies were getting ready to PCS to Hawaii. He talked a lot about getting a new car as soon as he got there.

By the time I moved down to Georgia, in October of 2005, they had all PCSed and were living it up in Hawaii. I would ask Justin if he was bummed he didn’t also go. They all still talked on the phone quite a bit, and honestly, there’s always the hope that someday the Army will bring you back together.

Of course, then on October 5th, 2006, Justin called me while I was at work. Isshak had been shot in Iraq. He died.

How could this be!? It’s not possible. There must be some mistake. He was so young! It’s not possible. It’s not fair.

Daniel Isshak was the first person I knew personally, who died in war. Thankfully (knock on wood), he is also the only one. When we were deciding on names, it had already been determined that our firstborn would be named Shea (after another soldier, one I didn’t know, but who Justin had). Two years later, when we found out we were having a boy, we struggled to decide on a name. There were already a handful of Daniels in Justin’s family, and could we name our son Isshak, pronounced like Issac? A lifetime of people mispronouncing it: “Ish-ack?” It was quickly decided that Isshak worked better as a middle name.

So, my child, your namesake was a character, much like you are. He was ridiculous, and funny, and a troublemaker. Much like you are. Your name is special.

Teach Me to Hunt

Let’s get one thing straight: I have never, in my 35 1/2 years, shot a gun. I’ll give you a moment to gasp, or pass out, or shout, “wait, what?!” I know, I know, Infantry Husband, who shoots guns frequently, blah blah blah. Nope, no desire.

My disinclination to shoot a weapon has not stopped Captain SparklePaws from trying desperately to teach me, or anyone in this house, how to hunt.

In another case of stolen valor, you’re about to learn that Captain SparklePaws has not served a day in the military. He is an awesome, polydactyl cat (which, by the way, is a real thing and not a deformity).

I’ve lost count of the number of dead mice gifts this year, let alone ever. Thanks, Captain.

After Emma came along, Captain gave up on the pathetic humans in the house, and worked on teaching her.

Step 1: Introduce dead mouse; observe new cat’s reaction.

– New cat swallowed mouse whole. Success.

Step 2: Bring home mostly dead mouse and see what new cat does with it.

– New cat chased, caught, and ate mostly dead mouse, while human chased her shouting, “Emma, NO!” Success.

Step 3: Bring home live mouse and watch new cat hunt, catch, and kill it.

– Human keeps saving mice, but on the rare occasion she doesn’t get to them, the new cat has been 100% successful with mouse hunting. My work here is done.

Also, I’m not crazy (says everyone who is crazy, but isn’t willing to admit it)–Captain really is entirely unaware that Emma is a 50lb boxer. We probably should’ve had the older sibling talk with Captain: Yes, she’s smaller than you, and you can beat up on her now, but someday she’ll be bigger than you, and she’ll be winning these little wrestling matches. That talk should’ve happened a year ago–now it’s too late and it goes more like, “Emma, get Captain’s head out of your mouth.” Siblings.

Back to hunting–now that Captain has had so much success with teaching Emma how to hunt, he’s back to teaching the humans, because we’re still just the worst.

He also stares at me like I’m a total jerk when I throw the mouse pieces (yeah. I said pieces) over our fence. All while Emma bounces around, basically saying, “no wait, Mom, what are you doing! He brought that mouse butt for ME!!!” Then she stares at me like I am the meanest human on the face of this earth.

Last week, I threw a head-on-backwards mouse, left handed, in the dark, without my glasses on…the next morning I realized it was not only hanging from our fence (like some Vlad the Impaler-style warning to the mouse community: STAY AWAY), but it had frozen to the fence. Which took a bit of kicking, and a bit of apologizing (to the mouse).

Just a sampling of the delicacies brought to our patio.

Thank you for all of this, Captain, but I think it’s time you accept that I will not ever be impressed with your gifts.

Tonight, I found a head. I’m not sure if he thought, “maybe she’d like to try a different piece of mouse,” or perhaps he got carried away snacking and forgot that he promised Emma the whole mouse.

Or maybe it was a guilt thing: “you didn’t check to make sure I was in the house before you left for work, and I had to eat the entire mouse!”

Honestly though, is anyone else wondering what happened to the other mice heads?? Do you think he has some creepy mouse head trophy room? Do cats keep trophies? I’m putting way too much thought into this.

This Little Piggy has an Eating Problem

Self-sabotage is my name, and unhealthy eating is my game.

I have decided that, starting tomorrow and continuing through the month of February, I will be giving up complex carbs. I should probably go ahead and give up over-eating.

But first, I had to say goodbye to all of my friends:

Donuts, bagels, sushi…yes, sushi is pretty healthy, but when you eat until you’re full, and then take 3 more bites, it loses its healthfulness.

I’m sitting here right now, having just finished a massive sushi platter, and then followed it with a Panera At Home Broccoli Cheddar Soup. I was full before I even started the soup, but I had already heated it up. In fact, the sushi only happened because I’m at work, and Xander asked me to get him lunch. I ran to the commissary, and then foolishly let myself walk by the sushi kiosk.

Now, I’m too full, and while I’m sitting here thinking, “oh my gut,” I’m debating if I should just sit back and wait to digest all of this, or if I should have one more bite.

Because one more bite will definitely fix the situation!

It won’t. I used to do the same thing when I was pregnant, but with acid reflux. “Oh, my acid reflux! Maybe I should have ice cream, because the Oreos are killing me!”

Step 1: Announce to Terry the Torturer my plan, so that in 3 days when I walk past a bagel and cry longingly, I will be less likely to grab it and cram it into my mouth as fast as possible. Because, if he found out, ooh I would be in so much trouble–which really means an hour of burpees on top of everything else he makes me do that day.

Step 2: Also admit to Terry the Torturer that I have been sabotaging myself these past few months. I know, we had this same talk this summer, when Water Park fried food was working against me. His words: “You work way too hard to sabotage yourself eating that crap.” He’s right. Sadface.

So long, tasty snack friends. Ben, Jerry, I’ll miss you too. But you’re making it too hard to reach my goal. We need a break.

My mouth will miss you, but my waistline will thank me for kissing you all goodbye…and then immediately devouring you.

Ok, my waistline (and scale) can start thanking me tomorrow.

Talk Dirty To Me

I’m going to tell you a secret: every military couple has sent each other something risqué at some point in their relationship. During WWII, it was probably something along the lines of a sexy photo, and a saucy letter to go along with it. In 2018, we have smartphones!

This isn’t for the faint-of-heart–or my mother. Sorry Mom.

The downside of today’s ability to sext, is the ability to accidentally sext the wrong person. Up until yesterday, it had only been my biggest fear. Send something scandalous to Justin; check 47 times to make sure I actually sent it to Justin, and not my Mom (sorry Mom)!

Nearly 13 years of inappropriate, NC-17 text messages being sent to my husband while he’s been in war zones, or TDY, or now stationed in Korea. And then, while multi-tasking yesterday morning, I texted a co-worker to let him know I couldn’t teach Water Aerobics, because Shea had a doctor’s appointment at that time.

Two minutes later, I texted Justin, telling him I looked fat.

Then I sent a couple of wildly inappropriate texts, that shall not be repeated at this time (or at any time–sorry Mom).

Then another few minutes went by and I wondered why Justin hadn’t responded.

Then, the “oh shit” moment, where I whisper, “please tell me I didn’t send that to….oh my gosh, I did.”

After telling my co-worker I was looking fat yesterday, I proceeded to send him dirty, dirty text messages!!!

Where’s the undo button when you need one!?

Then, out come the outpouring of apologies, as I try to explain to him what happened. Yes, him. Ending with, “I can’t come to work today. There’s a hole I have to crawl into and die.”

I told Justin, all while freaking out. Because, who does that!?!? His response: “no way,” and then he told me he thought it was funny.

Funny?! He obviously didn’t have to spend a day at work with a guy he’d just awkwardly sexted, and then apologized to!!!

15 minutes later when I got to work, we laughed about it. And in my state of total embarrassment, I offered to teach Water Aerobics for him for the rest of eternity.

“Justin said, ‘it could’ve been worse.'”

“I don’t know Sam, that was pretty bad.”

I bet no Army Wife in 1945 thought, “gosh, I hope I didn’t send that to the wrong guy.”

Here I Go Again, On My Own

Today is the first kid-free day off I have had since December 8th. You can’t imagine the list of things that need to be done.

I can’t even count how many times I have sat down at my computer, moved the mouse and then internally shouted, “double A batteries,” while also (internally) shaking my fist in frustration.

Have I mentioned that I am crushing this whole “single working mom” thing?!

Just kidding–it is mostly crushing me.

This morning, while drinking my coffee, I wrote up my list of things to do. I took my giant 25-item list and chose my top 16–you will notice that laundry is on there 4 times. It could easily have been the only thing on my list, but I would probably get overwhelmed and give up.

25 minutes into my day, and I’ve already accomplished 3 items on my list! Of course, now I feel so accomplished, I might have to take a nap to recover from the stress of making four phone calls in under 15 minutes.

Wish me luck–this motivation might not last much longer!