Saturday, June 19, 2010

Who am I?

First off, my name is Leanne and this is my life story...well, sort of.

I grew up in Northeast Ohio, smack dab in the middle of Amish country. As a matter of fact, I actually grew up Amish. Amish life is hard! For those of you who don't know much about their way of life, let me give you a quick tutorial. Imagine doing everything you do at home but without electricity. That means no TV, air conditioners, computers, or video games. Think about it... How much more free time would you have if you couldn't spend your time on the internet or in front of the TV? Now, imagine having to run out the door for a quick trip to the store but instead of hopping in your car, you have to hook up a horse to a buggy first, then get in and go. Driving a mile or two down the road could take you 15-20 minutes! And that's if the horse cooperates and doesn't go at a snail's pace. My parent's left the amish community when I was ten years old and I am so glad.

I graduated from a TINY school. Only 19 graduates in my class. I always did pretty well in school and was in most of the school's sports. I really had no idea what I would go to college for, so instead, I joined the Air Force and in August of 2004, I left for Basic Training. I was only 18 and it was my first time being away from home. There I was on my very first plane ride heading to boot camp, scared out of my mind. But I made it through six weeks of Basic Training and then headed to my Tech School on the coast of Monterey, California at the Defense Language Institute where I was to spend the next year and a half learning the Korean language. The first few weeks were great. We were all so happy to be out of Basic and most of us spent our time at the Rec Center playing air hockey, pool, ping pong, watching TV or movies, or on the computers. Then one Saturday as I was trying to figure out what to do, my roommate suggested I go with her to a free swing dance class at the gym there on base. Little did I know that this would be the Saturday that changed my life forever...

The swing class included 6 girls and only 3 guys. I ended up dancing with this cute Army guy named Gabe who happened to also be studying the Korean language. We didn't get to talk to much but we hit it off. The next Saturday I sat debating all morning about whether I wanted to go back to the class. I really wasn't into the class too much but I did want to see that Army guy again. I ended up going and found myself dancing with Gabe again and got a chance to talk some more. Gabe and I ended up as dance partners and I really started to enjoy swing dance and shortly after, we started dating. Five months later, we were engaged and three months after that, married.

We graduated in February of 2006 and Gabe went to Army reserve status. We decided we didn't want to wait to have kids so we started trying. I knew I wasn't ovulating so we went to a fertility doctor and a month later, we were pregnant! In May I got orders to my first duty station but it wasn't good news. The orders were to Korea (I would've been 8 months pregnant) and unaccompanied which meant Gabe was not allowed to come. Everyone I talked to said there was nothing they could do. The only thing I could do was get out or wait it out and see if anything changes. We made the tough decision that I would get out of the Air Force and we would move back to my hometown because there was no way I was having our first child without my husband there. So we moved back home. A month later as Gabe was checking his e-mail, we got shocking news. Gabe was being deployed to Afghanistan and leaving in September. In the back of our minds we knew this could happen but it's still a surprise and sucks when it does happen. I moved in with my parents so I would not be alone after the baby was born. With a little luck and a note from the Doctor, Gabe was allowed to come home for the birth. And on a cold day in January, Alena was born.

Thus started my journey of motherhood. Alena was born on a Wednesday and on Friday morning we came home from the hospital. I was trying to breastfeed but all Alena wanted to do in the hospital was sleep so we never got off to a good start. Gabe's family ended up coming down to see the baby that Friday evening after we came home. I was exhausted, in a lot pain, and frankly was not ready for visitors. There were 11 people in one small house and it seemed like I couldn't get any rest. His family stayed for two days and a week later, Gabe had to leave. After he left, things just went downhill. I was trying to nurse her but it was so hard and my family seemed so against it, while Gabe's family was pushing me to do it. I'm pretty sure I had PPD but never talked to anyone about it. When Alena was 12 weeks, I went back to work part-time as a waitress. A month later, I gave up trying to nurse her and went to formula. This was probably the best decision because immediately I felt better. I didn't have the stress from trying to nurse although Gabe was not happy I made the decision without him.

Gabe came home for good in December and had gotten a job offer here in Arizona. Right after Christmas we made the move down. A month later we started talking about trying for baby #2. Took a pregnancy test and yay! I was already pregnant. We bought a house and then in September, Christian was born. His nursing experience was the COMPLETE opposite of Alena's. He did great right from the start. I was hesitant about it after what I went through with Alena but decided to just "go with the flow". I made sure that this time I wasn't letting anyone tell me what to do and what not to do. I loved not having any pressure put on me and it worked out beautifully! We are currently going strong for 20+ months.

Right after Christian turned one, I found a job at an after school program but it only lasted 2 months. Gabe was getting ready to leave for a contract job in Iraq and the babysitter we found was not doing a good job. I didn't really trust her and Alena kept saying she did not like her. We did find another great sitter but after Gabe left, Alena took it very hard. We are currently in our seventh month apart and am so excited because Gabe is coming for a three week visit in just ten days!!!

Well, that about sums it up. Hope I haven't bored you all. I just thought some background on me would help you understand better about who I am. Looking forward to more posts if I can keep it up.

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