So the last year or so of my life has been crazy.  A husband deployed for 12 months, my youngest diagnosed with ASD ( autism spectrum disorder), my older son who was already diagnosed with ASD and his full load of therapy appointments, doctors, school, etc…Looking back on the last year, after taking a breath and counting my blessings I can only say…WHEW!  It has been overwhelming a lot of the times, okay, most of the time.  There has been a lot of tears and gritted teeth, both mine and my kids’.  There were a lot of moments that I didn’t think I could persevere for one more second.  But I did, we did, and we are a stronger family because of it.

I grew up having an awesome auntie (who when I was seven found out wasn’t even related to us, she was just one of those people in life who become like family).  She has such an amazing heart and attitude, and one of her things is that you always have to find the “pearl” in life’s tough situations.  When you think about how a pearl is formed in an oyster, it comes from sand, something the oyster doesn’t like and finds irritating.  From that negative thing the pearl is formed.  So when life puts things in your path that you don’t like, that are hard, you can choose to make your own pearl.

One of the pearls of having gone through this deployment has definitely been a friendship that I have been able to cultivate.  She was my sounding board, my shoulder to cry on, the person who could bring me back to reality, and a constant source of support.  It was during one of our weekly meals/ rant sessions (much like the one where came up with the idea for this blog), that we came up with the idea for our Girls’ Day Out upon our husbands’ return from deployment.

We wanted to go to the mall.  By ourselves.  We wanted to eat wherever we wanted, not just where the most kid-friendly fare was served.  We wanted to go into stores where we didn’t have to worry about being able to navigate a stroller.  Where we could just relax.  Shop.  Oh and throw in a mani and a pedi please  🙂

Our husbands were on board right from the beginning and I am so thankful for that.  When our big day finally came, we met at a mall near our homes that has more dining and food options than you could ever need.  Both of our husbands dropped us off and we meet up outside of a Starbucks.  We kind of cautiously greeted each other and then realized we had several hours in front of us to do whatever we wanted!

We started with margaritas, bottomless tortilla soup, and salad.  We talked and laughed and enjoyed eating without hurrying.  We made appointments to get our nails done and went to check out some cool cosmetic and beauty stores.  The exact kind of store you would normally have to avoid if you were with your kids.  Awesome.  I got some awesome new make-up at Bare Minerals, and checked out some awesome new products at LUSH.  I will report back on the bath bombs that I bought there.  It was so fun to try different make up on, and smell yummy products that had nothing to do with anything except pampering myself.  We got awesome mani/ pedis (fun glitter accent nail included!) where we got to relax and feel pretty.  We got picked up by our husbands and went home.  All in all, it was exactly what I needed.  A perfect way to celebrate getting through the hard year together.  We did it and we made a pearl 🙂

*NOTE:  Now my husband’s account of the day was much different.  All I can say is that his version is called Dirty Water Pt. II, and will be making an appearance here soon!

If you haven’t yet, you can read The original Dirty Water story here!  Like many of the great parenting tales, it’s gross but funny!  Just click the link below, copy and paste the link, or meander back through our archives…

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