In the wee hours of Saturday morning, my facebook status was quoted to say, "It's 4:46am and suddenly I've decided I can't live one more minute without Snickerdoodle cookies. You know what that means...MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT BAKING!!! Boy oh boy." Less than an hour later, this photo hit the web:
My oven cranked out a little over five dozen of these babies, and nearly all of them have been devoured. One dozen went to work with Kyle (who has made a habit of distributing my baked goods), another dozen went to a friend, and about fifteen (give or take ten) have been consumed in this household. I blame Brinks. Husband has plans to take another set with him on shift tonight, and I don't think what's leftover will last until he comes home. I blame Brinks again.
Want some? Make some! They're easier than easy. They're cake...er...you know what I mean.
(makes 2-3 dozen, depending on cookie size)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, unsalted, softened
1/2 cup shortening (I like butter flavored)
2 large eggs
2 3/4 cups self rising flour
1/3 cup sugar
3-4 tsp cinnamon, or to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Cream together sugar, butter, shortening, and eggs. Add flour gradually, and mix until smooth and well combined.
3. In a small bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon well.
4. Roll dough into balls (about one inch), and then roll in cinnamon sugar mixture to coat.
5. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased, non-stick cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Don't overbake! These won't darken much.
6. Cool on wire racks or a flat surface, if you're patient enough for that sort of thing.
Way back in 2009 when Kyle left for BCT, I read every article and blog about military life that I could get my hands on to try and prepare for the long road ahead. Amid the heartwrenching stories and advice columns I came across a blog post about the differences between friends made in the military and civilian "worlds." Try as I might I can't find this blog now, but the gist was this: Once you're in the military life, your friends from the civilian world just don't cut it anymore. They don't understand your life and problems the way other military wives will. I've seen the sentiment echoed time and time again, and during my first year as an Army wife I've realized that this is both a very true, and astonishingly false statement.
When I first made the "big move" from Kentucky to Germany, I didn't know anyone here. It took me months to connect with the three "Army friends" I have now. This is partially because I don't go leaping out of my box willingly, and partially because Army wives have a tendency to separate into very defined cliques, and they don't welcome just anybody into their circle. But eventually I found a few women with similar interests and personalities, and because we face the same Army-related challenges, we bonded instantly in a way that is completely foreign to people outside the military. The three of us can talk about the frustrations of our husbands' jobs, the way it feels to be so far from our families, and the difficulties of living in a foreign country, and know without a doubt that the person listening understands, because she is in the same position. Try as they might, civilian friends cannot know how it feels when your husband tells you he might be deploying, or understand why he can't just "take off a couple days" at work so that you can be home for Christmas. How can they, when they've never experienced anything even remotely similar? Plus, there is the added struggle with military lingo to deal with. It's hard to have a decent conversation when you have to pause every thirty seconds to break down an acronym, or explain what a PX is. The sudden change from leading a "normal" life to filling the gigantic shoes of an Army wife is overwhelming, and sometimes it feels like your civilian friends just can't keep up.
However, after the initial relief of finding a person with whom you can rant about the many stresses of military life wears off, you start to realize the major differences between the relationships with these new friends and your old ones. While you bond instantly with a fellow military wife, the bond doesn't run nearly as deep as the one you share with your civilian friends. The civilian friends you keep are your best friends. Whether you grew up together, or you met in college, they're people who know you inside and out. They remember your birthday, know your favorite color, can order for you at your favorite restaraunts, and can sense from a thousand miles away when you need to be told "everything will be okay." Even when they don't "get it," they get you, and that's important, because in the military life, things change often and fast, and it's nice to be reminded that underneath the acronyms and heaps of camoflage, you're still you, a person with thoughts, dreams, and feelings that are completely independent of your husband's job. And most of the time, your military friends can't do that, because the part of you they bonded with is the part that's drowning in Army gear.
So whenever Kyle's work schedule is changed for the third time in two weeks, killing our weekend plans again, I send a message to a fellow MP-wife, and we plan a trip to the mall and talk things out over smoothies. And when I remember that I'm two years behind in my college degree and have a mental meltdown, I call up one of my besties back home, who patiently remind me that in the end, a diploma is a diploma, and if I'd stayed in Kentucky I'd have been miserable without my awesome husband. More and more I'm seeing comparisons between military and civilian friends online, and I can't help but think they're unfair. One set can never hope to replace the other. Between my two sets of friends, I have enough support to get me through just about anything. There's room for both sets of friends in my life. In fact, I'd say that they're both necessary.
(I'd love to hear what my mili-spouse readers have to say on this topic!)
Due to a schedule change (stupid Army) we nixed the Cologne trip and instead made a quick drive to Heidelberg to snap a few more photos of the castle. I wasn't really satisfied with the ones from my first visit. These turned out much better, and the time with husband was a pretty great birthday gift, even if it did come a few days late (stupid Army).