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We've reached the halfway point of Jim's deployment. Wow, five months down. Here's a little rundown of how we're all doing, really. (You know that conversation. "How are you doing?" "Fine." "No, how are you doing really?" Well, here's the answer.)

Gabrielle: This girl is amazing. Of all the changes in the kids, hers are the most amazing. She is the one Jim is absolutely not going to recognize when he gets back. When he left, she was a girl. When he returns, he will find a young lady in her place. I'm serious. To have had some anger issues at the start, she has adjusted well and has really stepped up. Sure, we butt heads from time to time, but for the most part, she is incredibly helpful around here and is able to maintain a healthy father/daughter relationship with Jim through skype. She has been given more responsibility around the house and has graciously (most of the time ;) ) accepted it well. She is well-adjusted and happy.

Madelyn: This girl is a riot. Maybe it's her age, or maybe it's her personality, but not much really seems to affect her. She misses her dad and is ready for him to come home, but she has accepted that this is a season in life and is rocking along in typical Madelyn fashion. I have seen some atypical moodiness in her over the last week, but she's going to have her tonsils removed on Monday and she's a little nervous about it. I believe that when Jim gets back, there will be no adjustment required on her part; she's typically a "go with the flow" kinda kid.

Brendan: Right now, Brendan is having a hard time. He's gone through several stages of separation anxiety in his life, but the past month or so has been incredibly difficult. It's kind of interesting; I can leave him with a person, or a person can come get him without any problem. When I leave him at co-op or mother's day out, or even Sunday school, he completely freaks out. I'm really not knowing how to handle it. I've always thought that if you just firmly do it and reassure them that you will come back, it would take care of itself after a couple of weeks. It seems to be getting worse though. The thing is though, once he does get settled, he enjoys his activities. On Tuesday, he cried and cried when I left him at MDO. When I picked him up, he cried because he didn't want to leave. He has also perfected the art of the tantrum, and has many every day. I know part of that is the age, but it wears on me when every. little. thing. is a battle. He really does miss his daddy, and I think he really doesn't know how to express that. Or something like that. I'm sure a lot of it is typical four year old boy stuff too. (btw - just after I typed this, he came up and put his hands on my face and told me I was his "fazorite". LOL)

And for me ... I have good days and bad days. I notice that the really bad days happen somewhat cyclically. Imagine that. ;) I'm trying harder to relax in some areas (ahem, under the beds) and to relax a little less in other areas (like schoolwork. If I get up thinking "I don't want to do this today!" that doesn't necessarily mean we should take the day off!) I'm generally DONE for the day at about 7 - 7:30, and the kids aren't done for the day until 10:00, so the main "bad times" in our house happen right around bedtime. I still crave that quiet time, even more than I crave sleep, so I'm still up too late at night. I was hoping with the time change, we might could move bedtime up a little, and that has happened a couple of nights. I still need to come up with some kind of bedtime solution.

(As an aside - bedtime has always been something of an issue here. I'd love to institute a 9:00 bedtime, but even when Jim is home, that doesn't work because he's after 9:00 getting home two nights per week, and it's tough to send them to bed when daddy is going to be home in half an hour.)

So, I guess that's it. That's how we're really doing, all of us. I can't believe we're halfway through this now!

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