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Ever Joyful

Updated: 2018-01-15T10:33:13.612-06:00


Settling In


40 wks + 1 dayI've made some headway on that to-do list I posted a little while back. Pick a hospital  Choose a pediatrician.  Decide on name(s). {Narrowing it down, but still debating a few}Finish unpacking house. {We've gotten a bit more done, but still not completely unpacked yet.} Bake cookies for VBS. {6 dozen}Of course, more things have been added to the list, but progress is progress. Between packing, unpacking, and preparing to add another little person to our household, the last few months have felt a lot longer than they should have. Even so, we're starting to feel settled... mostly.  In our current rental, I'm trying to slowly-but-surely get things arranged and situated, and there's definitely been some shopping going on... new curtain rods and drapes (side note: why are windows rarely the same size from one place to the next??). A few picture frames. Some throw pillows. We even discovered a great find on Craigslist and purchased some leather furniture for the downstairs! Hardly exciting news, but it seems like a pretty big deal to us since we've never had more than one set of living room furniture. :o)Sometimes, I think the best and worst part of all this moving is the decorating and redecorating. I love it because unwrapping everything from the boxes makes it seem almost brand-new again. I get to start with empty walls and a clean slate. Oh, the possibilities and options! And yet I hate it because what works in one house never   hardly ever  doesn't always work in another. Ultimately, my end goal is to make each house feel like a home -- regardless of how long we plan to live in a place. It's been slow-going (in both this house and this new state), but I think we're getting there... I try hard not to focus on the fact that we have barely two years before we'll start the moving process all over again, but sometimes, it overwhelms me all the same. That's just military life, I guess, but I wouldn't have it any other way.[...]

Links. Life.


Hello, Friends! It's been a while... I guess an update is way overdue. :o)::Our Favorite Airman came back from his TDY with no problems. And we had dear friends from Nebraska visit that week, too. Plus, we got my first belly bump picture. (It only took 25.5 weeks...) What a great week!::Tried this recipe for authentic spaghetti carbonara from The Kitchn, and it was delicious! I've made it several times now, and tried variations (sauteeing diced onion with the bacon and adding in peas at the end), so it's a little less-than-authentic. I'm okay with that because I'm not actually Italian.::We had our last ultrasound shortly before My Airman left, and Baby waved at us. We stuck with not finding out the gender, but I'll admit, part of me is dying to know, like, yesterday! :P::The Wall was completed for a brief time-- and all of the frames had pictures in them!I finished just in time for us to move to a different house with LOTS more yard! Maybe it won't take me a whole year to get The Wall put up in this house so we can enjoy it a bit longer. ;o) {Only two years until the Air Force moves us somewhere else...!!}::I saved these earrings forever ago on my Pretties pinterest board and drooled over them occasionally. I finally used some money I had been setting aside and bought a pair. Looooooooove them!::My Airman discovered my pregnancy twin a while ago -- and she's animated! ;o) Left is me at 28 weeks. Right is Chicha from The Emperor's New Groove. Anyone else agree with him?::I recently remembered how much I hate making decisions sometimes. A few things currently on my to-do list...Pick a hospital {We're only 3.5 weeks out from my due date. I've got time, right?}Choose a pediatrician. {I'm thinking of playing "eenie-meenie-miney-mo" on the list of Tricare-approved doctors.}Decide on name(s). {Why does nothing seem to "fit" this baby yet??}Finish unpacking house. {At 36.5 weeks along, no one lets me move any boxes, but they had to be stored downstairs when we first moved in, so this process is taking longer than I had hoped.}Bake cookies for VBS. {6 dozen for tonight? Easy-peasy.}Procrastinator? Yep. That's me.[...]

Another Goodbye


Sometimes, I feel as if every time I turn around, we're saying "goodbye" to this handsome guy. (Okay, okay, so it's been almost a year and a half since he left for his recruiter school... it just *seems* as if it wasn't that long ago!) 

One of the hardest parts is always the hugs and kisses before he walks out the door. Then we all dutifully line up by the screen, wave until the car is too far to be seen (or is it because my eyes are blurry with tears?), and then it's back to schoolwork and chores and whatever else needs to be done. Because life has to continue. Because that's what we have to do. 

The very first time My Airman left for a deployment {we had only been married for four months and had two weeks' notice! This military life can be pretty crazy sometimes...}, a friend informed me: "It never gets easier!" Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but now that we have a few more separations under our belt, I definitely agree. Oh, it is different each time, and I handle it much better than I did back then, but it's never easier. 
First Deployment: 2005
All right, so six weeks is waaaayyyy shorter than six months
And he's only going just a few states away as opposed to the other side of the world. 
Not to mention the fact that I'm not {prayerfully} having a baby while he's away this time
{We'll save that baby bit for July, ha! ;o)}
Yeah, this should be a cake walk in comparison, right? :o) 
Here's hoping time flies by so our family can be reunited again

{Almost} Picture-less


How are we halfway through the first month of the new year? Better yet, how have we been here in this recruiter life for an entire year already?I don't have many pictures to show for 2015, even though it was filled with a lot of firsts and a lot of milestones... mainly because I lost my camera on the way home one day. In another state. After My Airman and I took a very belated anniversary trip to Niagara Falls to celebrate our tenth anniversary. *sigh*Things like that really put life into perspective for me. Pictures are important, yes, but they're not the most important thing. The people. The relationships. The memories -- those take priority. I'm saddened that I've essentially lost all pictures from the last two years of our family's life, but I've realized that, in the grand scheme of things, they're just pictures. They're things. I have my family, and I'm so very thankful for them! :o)If I could briefly go over the biggest moments in the last year, these are the ones that stand out the most to me...::Uprooting our entire family and heading a little further East! It's been a tough adjustment, and we're still figuring things out, but we're together, and that's what really matters. Everything else is just "stuff," right? :o)::Celebrating our tenth anniversary. We took a trip to Canada and saw the beautiful Falls. What a way to start a new decade together!::Throwing a semi-surprise 40th anniversary party for My Airman's parents.::Visiting with my parents (we also got to see my brother and his family, but those pictures were on the camera so...)::Finding out a new little one will be joining our family this July! What can we say? We are truly blessed! :o)[...]

Where is Home?


We've gotten over seven months of this recruiter life under our belts, and I have to admit, it's been a major adjustment. If I were to be completely honest, we still have a lot of adjusting to do. Life as a military family in a civilian world is miles different from anything I've ever known! Living without an air base nearby is something I've never done in my entire life. If I had a bucket list, I guess I could cross that off of it. {As a side note, I'm so glad to say that our boys have handled this moving business a hundred times better than we ever hoped or prayed they would! They are really growing up...}When I was ten, my dad was given orders to Japan. I was devastated when my parents told me and my brother the news. Top it off with their pending divorce, and it was a very unhappy few months of preparation for heading overseas. I had thought of Maryland as "home" since we arrived there when I was four, so moving several thousand miles away across an ocean was not something I ever wanted to do. For a while, I clung to Maryland as my home state, but it didn't take long before I discovered that I was blessed to call two places my home.By the time My Airman and I moved back Stateside, I only had one home: Japan. It was where I got a new mother, where I was raised, where I had lived the longest, and where I was married. I spent twelve years there, and it will always hold a special place in my heart. Nebraska was our next station {for eight years}, and it didn't take me long before I had been blessed yet again with a second place to call "home." The Cornhusker State will also always hold a special place in my heart. It was where we really began to put down "roots" as a family. We loved and learned so much while we were there, and it's still hard to believe we've moved.We've been blessed with not having to move overly much in My Airman's career, so I have forgotten what it's like to be "the new kid in town." I'm remembering more as we keep settling in here. I'll blame it on being more introverted, which is a lame excuse to be sure. I truly want to make friends and know people, but starting all over is sometimes just exhausting to me. The thought of reaching out can make me feel overwhelmed. Once or twice I've tried to convince myself that we won't be here that much longer, so why bother? It's pathetic; I know. Sometimes I dread the seemingly innocent question: "So, where are you from?" And believe me when I say I've heard it more times than I care to count. Moving to a new place and meeting all sorts of new people tends to make one repeat one's life story. A lot. A few times I've found myself avoiding conversation if at all possible, because I just don't. want. to. explain. anything.Having lived the military life this long, I find myself wondering, "Where is home?" By the time we move from here (just under 3 years to go), will this state be "home"? Will the next? These days, I've discovered that I feel much the same as I did when I was uprooted as a child... between two homes, trying to figure out which one is the "real" one.  Then a still, small Voice reminds me:"This world is not my home. I'm just a-passin' through..."When we get right down to it, isn't it all just temporary? I'm so thankful to know that one day, I won't have to worry about packing up our things or trying make new friends or shedding tears because we said "goodbye" to yet another person. I'll be home. For good. What a day that will be![...]

~The Big Ten~


2005Ten years ago this week, I was working an afternoon shift, and my best friend came in to cover me for an hour... so My Airman and I could get married. We drove down to City Hall in Misawa, Japan, signed our names in what seemed like a hundred different places, and the rest is history! There was no fanfare or hoopla. I wore a khaki skirt with white Keds. He wore his uniform. My parents tagged along to take a few pictures. Simple and no-fuss. The end result was what mattered -- I was his and he was mine! ;o) Yes, in case you were wondering, I did go back to work after the paperwork was finished! Sounds so humdrum to hear it put it that way, but that's exactly how it went down. :o) It's hard to believe it has been A DECADE since we signed the dotted lines. It honestly doesn't seem possible that much time has passed, yet here we are, celebrating our tenth anniversary!In all this time, we've...:: endured 3 deployments :: moved in and out of 5 homes :: welcomed 3 handsome boys:: mourned the loss of 1 sweet baby :: survived 2 trans-Pacific flights :: completed 2 PCS moves :: climbed Mt. Fuji:: taken 1 solo airplane flight (yes, he really talked me into flying an airplane!) :: purchased 3 cars :: cut up our credit cards:: said "Goodbye!" to debt and "Hello!" to Financial Peace (Thanks, Dave!):: made it through 3 cross-country road trips (two of them with children, ha!) :: braved 1 sky-diving jump together :: lived on separate continents for over 17 {non-consecutive} months :: and loved each other for {more than}      ::3,652 days      :: 87,648 hours      :: 5,258,880 minutes       :: 315,532,800 secondsSomehow, by God's grace, we've managed to stick together and have fun through it all. I'm not sure why the Lord was so good to give me such a wonderful husband, but I'm thankful He did. I don't deserve the man that I married, but I'm so blessed to be called his wife.  ~*Happy anniversary, My Handsome Airman. I love you!*~[...]

Getting Settled


Can you believe it? We've been in our new state for a little under three months now. It was a long (and somewhat difficult) move for our family. I know I've mentioned Murphy's Law of deployments, but I think I forgot about Murphy's Law when it comes to the PCS! Between car repairs (those weren't cheap), hotel troubles (there were A LOT of these!), rental issues (Fun fact: winter is the *worst* time to find a rental home), and a few other ordeals, we have been through our share of trials during this relocation. But, despite the problems, the Lord has been faithful. We've moved into a new home, joined a new church, and are starting to feel {somewhat} settled into a new state. Once again it rings true: God is good -- all the time! :o) And, to think it all started with The Wall.  On the left is The Wall as I originally posted it. The right is how it looked after I fiddled with it some more... and I still never got those pictures put in the frames. *sigh* I promised myself I would not wait so long to finish decorating in this house, and I am happy to report that {I think} I have found an arrangement I can keep. Yep, that's right. The pictures are up after less than two months of residency. That is definitely a record for me! :P Now to order those last five pictures... but perhaps that can wait a little longer. ;o) [...]

New Year, New Place


(image) "Mom?"
"Do you think... do you think you can change your mind in January and then we don't have to move?"

I don't think I'll ever forget the looks on the boys' faces when we told them we were moving. The older two started crying immediately, and the youngest cried because everyone else was crying. We felt like terrible parents for breaking such sad news to our children, but it comes with the military territory. 

 The hardest part about Air Force life is the deployments/separations. The second hardest part is the moving. Leaving behind people we have grown to love like family (because our own family is far away). Packing up and shipping out to a new place with new faces and new... everything. Also tied for second hardest part is explaining all of this to children. This is definitely a new experience for us; the last move only had one child involved, and he was a little easier to handle since he hadn't exactly made his world debut yet. ;o)

We didn't choose to move, but, for some reason, this is what God has for us right now. Some days, they are excited about what is in store for them. Other days, they are in tears over the friends they can't take with them. Most days are somewhere in between.

(image) I remember dealing with the same thoughts and emotions when I was growing up as an Air Force brat myself. Looking back, I'm glad God moved us across an ocean -- because nine years later, I met the man I would marry (in that very same country that I had never wanted to move to in the first place). I remind our children of that when they have sad moments, too. But plenty of other times, I let them cry in my arms.

Despite the hardships and emotions of it all, I wouldn't trade life with My Handsome Airman for a minute. After all, I signed the dotted line all those years ago.

Here's to new adventures at our new home in the new year!
Happy 2015, Everyone!

Those Days


I've had {more than} one of those days. Those days that seem endless because My Airman has been away for a few weeks, but has still not been gone long enough to have reached the halfway point of our separation.

Those days when sweet friends bring dinner, and end up doing the dishes and getting children ready for bed because I slammed my fingers in the dryer door and am afraid I broke them (I didn't). The days that leave me cleaning up an entire box of cereal off of the floor because I left the toddler unsupervised for "just a minute" so I could change out of my church clothes. Those days I turn around to discover the little one playing with the plunger, and brushing his teeth... with the toothbrush I use for scrubbing bathrooms. The days in which I find my children resistant to doing schoolwork and it feels easier to just give up and try again later.

The same days that cause me to sigh in exasperation because the child I told to lie down and nap is up and about, playing with toys and building forts. The quiet evenings that see tears (from my face and theirs) unbidden, unwelcome. The moments I yearn for good conversation, and a sweet friend calls at just the right time. The times that make me head to my room wearily, only to toss and turn for hours because I can't get comfortable in the big, empty bed. The nights that greet me with fitful sleep and aching muscles and fussy children and bad dreams. 

Those days in which I feel so inadequate to do this job. These days when I sit down on the couch for a moment, only to be smothered with kisses and feel tiny arms reach around my neck. Those days when I tell myself I wouldn't trade this life for anything in the world... but a few hours of extra sleep are certainly tempting me to waiver. The days I spend a few extra minutes rocking the napping child because I can't (don't want to?) muster the energy to get up and place him in his bed.

Those days that give me headaches and heartaches because this little family I love so much reminds me of my faults. Of my failures. And then, I'm reminded of those days in which I have been given much grace. But still, I struggle to give my children the same.

Lord, help me through these days. They are long and wearisome. But they are also fleeting.



The seasons are changing around here, and I'm ready for it! Outside, at least. I'm not quite sure how I'm feeling about the change of seasons coming for our family... it's bittersweet, for sure. Part of me is excited about what is ahead, but the other part {a much larger part} is uncertain and afraid and nervous and stressed and overwhelmed... but I remind myself often of Who is really in control. I know the Hands that shaped the world and direct the seasons are also placing us exactly where we need to be.

For once in the military, things seem to be moving about at lightning speed! We received our orders and a class date within two weeks of submitting our preference list. (This is seriously *not* the normal procedure in the Air Force, in case you were wondering!) The good news is, we'll be about an hour closer to My Airman's family. The bad news is, we're heading about twelve hours away from here... what has been "home" for the last seven and a half years... where all three of our boys were born. The other bad news is, we were mentally planning for a move late in the spring, but we were informed that our report date is January 30, 2015. A good four months earlier than we were first told.

My Airman is leaving next month for two months of training, so we will miss his birthday, but he will be home in time for Thanksgiving. What a blessing! Something to be thankful for already. :)

I'm feeling a little out of practice in this military life of uprooting and relocating, but like riding a bike, I think it's all coming back to me.
Image credit:

The Wall


(image) It all started with this wall.

We've lived in this house for almost two years, and I'd been putting off hanging anything up because... well, I tend to be somewhat of a procrastinator. I also might have problems with perfectionism tendencies. Possibly a bad combination, but I digress.

Anyway, this wall has been empty the entire time we've lived here. Until a few weeks ago, when I determined to *FINALLY* get this thing done. It took several hours of deliberation, but I eventually decided upon an arrangement I liked and got to hanging. {Actually, command-strip-applying. Anyone else a fan of these things?! LOVE them!}

It was completed! Picture frames hanging and looking oh-so-lovely (albeit a little crooked in this photo)! Only now I had to order a few pictures for some of the empty frames, but that's another project for another day... ;o) Afterward, I jokingly said, "You know what this means? We're getting orders soon."

Because, as every military wife knows, as soon as you get the pictures arranged (or curtains hung or furniture set up or...) just the way you want them, the military lets you know it's time to move.

Only I was JOKING! At least, it was supposed to be a joke. But guess what we learned less than a week later?

Yep. We're soon-to-be on the move. We don't have orders in-hand yet, but we're looking at late spring-ish.

Our Airman is switching gears and leaving his current career field to become an Air Force Recruiter. It's going to be different, but we're getting ready for the changes. {Side note: After My Airman told me about the job switch, I couldn't help myself... I found this picture and sent it to him. Good thing he has a *great* sense of humor. ;o)}
He'll be in this job for {at least} the next four years. If we decide to stay in this career field, it means moving every 36~42 months until he retires. Prayers would be greatly appreciated as we embark on this transition and have some major decisions coming up.

This family is packing up and headed... 
well, we don't know where yet.
And we don't know *exactly* when.
But it will be soon.
It will be an adventure.
And we'll be in it together.

P.S. Yes, I've learned my lesson. In our next home, 
I'll be sure to get wall arrangements completed in a timely fashion. 

Birthday Boys


We had our first double birthday around here recently.  A few weeks have passed (okay, a few MONTHS), and I still find it hard to believe it's been over a year since this speedy delivery!  And how is it possible that we've even been married long enough to have a seven-year-old?! 

We kept things low-key and invited a few close families.  I was smart this time, baked the cakes ahead, and just frosted them the morning of the party.  

Since my oldest has been enjoying Pac Man Party on the Wii, I wasn't surprised when he said he wanted a Pac Man cake.  I made it easy on myself and just used some sprinkles for a giant #1 on the other cake -- judging from the amount of frosting on his fingers and face, the boy didn't seem to mind at all.  :o)  

Blast from the Past


I was scrolling through my drafts today, and found this "gem" of a post.  I'm so glad we're not in the throes of deployment anymore!  I had forgotten about a few of these incidents... but thought I'd share anyway! :o)  In hindsight, I can laugh at {most} of these.  ;o)  Hope everyone is having a happy summer! ~~~Oh, that Murphy's Law {of Deployment}!!!~~~ Thought I would put together another Murphy's Law of Deployment List for you... with some random pictures thrown in.  Feel free to chime in in the comments!  I know I'm not the only one who's going/gone through this (including you non-military wives!)!  :o)  What deployment feels like...You might be a military wife whose spouse is deployed if...Your sister in law comes to live with you for a undetermined length of time.  {Thank the Lord for family!!!}A friend points out that you have a flat tire (within weeks of your hubby's departure, of course).  You had no idea it was there since it was on the passenger side (remember?  We don't get to ride in the passenger seat all too often).  You actually learn that you have TWO flat tires.  And you have no idea how long you've been driving around with them like that!  {Good news was that one was able to be patched, and since we had a full-sized spare in the trunk of the car, the other was able to be changed shortly afterward.  We have wonderful friends who came over and changed it out for us, so I didn't have to worry about any of that, thank the Lord!)You have to drive to the vet to have the family cat put down to sleep.  We don't give hubbies enough credit sometimes -- they really do handle the brunt of the hard jobs!  Your 2 year old, who was previously a very independent little boy, begins to act like a leech -- stuck by your side no matter what -- bawling when you go to take out the trash, check the mail, or jump in the shower.  We won't mention what happens when you try to drop him off at the nursery or leave him with a baby sitter when you have OB appointments.Shortly after your husband leaves, your 2 year old also decides he no longer wants/likes/needs to sleep alone (even though he does share a room with his older brother so he's not entirely alone) and wakes many times during the night to crawl into his brother's top bunk, Mommy's bed, or even Aunt Jessica's bed.  {Thank the Lord this seems to have finally stopped.}Watching planes before Daddy leavesYou invite your friends over for dinner only to end the evening with a broken mixing bowl, green beans spilled across the kitchen floor, a trip to the ER (for the friends' baby girl -- who is fine, by the way), and a 3 year old throwing up in your bed (again, the friends' child, not mine).  Your sister-in-law and the 2 year old come down with the same bug that hit the aforementioned friends (though thankfully, it never manages to infect you or your 5 year old!).The handle on the refrigerator breaks when your 5 year old goes to get a glass of water.You call maintenance and schedule someone to come over to repair it, but of course, there are no open appointments that day.  Maintenance schedules someone to arrive EARLY the next morning. (And of course, the 2 year old wakes up multiple times during the night so that you're bleary-eyed and well-awake by the time the alarm clock goes off anyway.)You wake up early to be dressed and coherent when the maintenance man comes... but of course, he doesn't come until nearly 9am (so you could have slept in).The maintenance guy is in your kitchen for less than 3 minutes because all he can do is take down the model and serial number so the new door handle can be ordered.  (But of course, this info[...]

What Children Want


While browsing Pinterest, I recently found a link to an amazing list compiled by a very wise teacher.  Each year, nearing Mother's Day, Erin Kurt would ask her students to write down the things that their mothers did that made them feel happy and loved.  After sixteen years of gathering mothering advice, she found that in every age group she taught, every country she visited, many of the answers were very much the same.  Top Ten Things Children Really Want Their Parents to do with ThemCome into my bedroom at night, tuck me in, and sing me a song. Also tell me stories about when you were little.Give me hugs and kisses and sit and talk with me privately.Spend quality time just with me, not with my brothers and sisters around.Give me nutritious food so I can grow up healthy.At dinner talk about what we could do together on the weekend.At night talk to me about about anything; love, school, family, etc.Let me play outside a lot.Cuddle under a blanket and watch our favorite TV show together.Discipline me. It makes me feel like you care.Leave special messages in my desk or lunch bag.As a mommy of three, I am realizing that, all too often, these simple gestures fall to the wayside because {I feel} there's just so many other things to do, or {I feel} there's not enough time, or {I feel} something else has priority right then.  What a great reminder (and wake up call!) this list has been for me!  What do you think about the list?  Looking back to your childhood, would any of these things have been on your list as well?The time goes by so quickly and each moment we have with our children is so precious... let's make it worthwhile and fill it with sweet, happy memories.  [...]

Top Ten of 2013


Top Ten Things of 201310.  Having a successful natural birth (with the help of a doula and a dear friend).9.  Welcoming sweet baby boy #3. 8.  Surviving a 6 month deployment!!!7.  Playing Pee-Wee T-ball (and enjoying a snack).  What could be better?6.  Getting to know and love his daddy.5.  Conquering his fear and getting baptized.4.  Turning 6 and starting 2nd grade -- where does the time go?!  3.  Completing his first marathon.  4 hours, 25 minutes, 43.5 seconds.2.  Finding out Our Airman will be our favorite Technical Sergeant (TSgt) in Feb '14!1.  Remembering that God is good -- all the time!Happy New Year!  [...]

Life in Pictures


I won't waste anyone's time with a lot of words... suffice it to say, it's been a while since our airman's homecoming, but better late than never.  :o)  We are *so glad* to be together again!  I thought it would be easier to post some pictures that summarize the last 4~5 months.  A picture's supposed to be worth a thousand words anyway, right?  ;o)  Hope you all are enjoying the last little bit of summer!  Together at last!Snuggled with Daddy right awayEnjoying some leave from workAmerica's favorite pastimeSuch a happy boy![...]

"Engaging" Photos


A "sneak peek" for the newly engaged couple.  
I even had more fun taking the pictures than I thought I would.  :o)
Hope you enjoy them!

{Still} Counting Down


We're still slowly-but-surely counting down the days until our favorite airman returns home to us.  We've passed the halfway mark (a big milestone!) a while ago and are well into the double digits.  The single digit weeks have also arrived, so we're definitely making some headway.  I thought I'd share a few things around our home that are helping us count the days...This jar has found a home on my kitchen counter.  Every day, the boys get to start their morning with a kiss from Daddy.  :o)  Little Guy always comes up to me afterward and says, "I get a tiss fum Daddy!"  Found the idea from this blog, and modified it to help the boys have a more visual count down of the days.  I liked this idea better than a paper chain, too, since 1) it was not very labor intensive, and 2) who wouldn't want to start the day with chocolate?  ;o)  As the jar empties, they know they are closer to getting real hugs and kisses from their daddy.  :o)  I waited until we were closer to the halfway mark before putting out the jar.  Seems a bit less overwhelming and a lot sooner of a return that way in my opinion.  Plus, I really didn't want to count that many kisses {too depressing!}, so this made things easier for me.  ;o)  My Airman and I have been reading a Psalm a day starting from the end and going backward. The numbers don't quite match up since he is set to be away longer than 150 days, but we've worked around that by breaking up larger chapters over the course of 2 or 3 days. Ideally, sometime around the time we finish, he'll be on a plane headed our way! Ice cream celebration!We also try to mark certain milestones with a special treat.  When we hit the double digits, Aunt Jessica made chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast.  At the 50 day mark, we went out to a local shop that churns fresh ice cream each day.  We haven't decided what we'll do for 25 days, but the point is that we mark it somehow so the boys can feel a bit more excited and less sad about missing their daddy.  {It definitely helps Mommy and Aunt Jessica feel good, too.  :o)}  And of course, you know about my special donut of misery. The donut is looking a little better these days, as you can see.  We're a bit further along than this picture shows, but you get the idea.  :o)For any military families out there, I've been pinning lots of great ideas and articles and freebies on my Pinterest board {Deployment is Inevitable}.  I also have a Homecoming Outfit Idea board (don't peek, Babe!)... one more way to fill the time while he's away.  :o) [...]

Early Arrival pt. 3


Part 1.  Part 2.We made our way through base housing, and after what seemed like an eternity, I opened my eyes and peeked at the spedometer.  Twenty-five.  We were going twenty-five miles an hour.  "Please -- pass these people.  We need to get there now."  I groaned through another contraction.  While we sped through the neighborhood, I tried to remember all of the things that were on my birth plan (the one I never got to give to the doctors to put in my file).  "No clamping the cord until after it stops pulsating...  No pulling on the placenta and no pitocin...  Just let it come on its own..."  The contractions continued to get stronger and I could really feel the pressure as baby continued to descend.  I was grunting and groaning through some of the contractions and was starting to feel the need to bear down... but Monica reminded me again (which annoyed me again LOL), "Blow -- blow!  Like the candle, remember?  Keep breathing!"  I'm pretty sure she started speeding even more, which was probably a good thing, because otherwise I'm thinking we would have had the baby in the van!We pulled up to the ER entrance, and Monica waited for me to breathe through the next contraction.  "Okay?"  "Yes...  just go!"  She ran inside.  "We're having a baby here!"  But no one behind the desk was helping her; they waved in the general direction of the wheelchairs.  She grabbed one and ran outside to get me into it.  I was freezing, and that made the contraction even worse because of my body tensing up.  "I can't do this anymore," I cried through chattering teeth.  "You can.  You can.  You're strong, girl.  Come on."  I remember thinking how tired I was of hearing that I was strong.  I'm not strong.  I'm just a regular, everyday housewife.  Without my husband, I feel incomplete, incapable of doing anything.  Why does everyone think I'm so strong?  I don't want to be strong.  I just want my husband.  Baby TitusShe pushed me into the building, but again no one helped.  "Just straight down the hall and through those doors to the elevator, second floor."  We were in such a hurry, Monica didn't even grab her keys out of the car.  "My car is still running.  Could you at least grab the keys out of the ignition?"  "Oh, it will be fine," they said.I know we must have looked a sight -- Monica pushing as fast as she could, hair flying behind her.  Me with my ponytail askew, green flip flops in winter, feet flailing in the air... "My feet.  I can't put my feet down!"  It was getting too hard to hold up my legs anymore.  Monica stopped and quickly pushed the foot rests into place so I could set my feet into them.  We flew to the elevators and up to the Maternity Ward.  "The last room on the left!" someone said.  In we rushed.On the phone with My AirmanOff with the pj's, on with the hospital gown.  They pushed me onto the bed, and it hurt to lie down.  "I don't want to be on my back!" I said.  Someone answered, "We need to check you."  I begged them, "Please.  I don't want to be checked.  I don't want to be on my back."  But the hands were so many, so restrictive.  I wanted to lie on my side, but I was too tired to fight anymore.    A flurry of activity as I breathed through another contraction and groaned as my body was starting to push on its own.  "Don't push!  [...]

Early Arrival pt. 2


Go here to read Part 1...After a minute or two of my pity party, I got up, dried my tears, filled my water bottle, and headed upstairs.  A week or two earlier, I had pulled out some old towels and stuck them in my suitcase... just in case my water broke at home.  I spread the towels out over my side of the bed and curled up under my blankets.  I started keeping track of my contractions with a timer I found online; they were about 5 minutes apart and definitely lasting more than 45 seconds.  And they were absolutely getting stronger but still not terribly unbearable so far.  About this time, I decided I should eat something to keep up my strength.  I had packed some granola bars and fruit cups in my suitcase since I wanted to have some snacks on hand for early labor, so I grabbed a granola bar.  {Last time, I only ate breakfast and then got so busy with all kinds of last minute things that I never did remember to eat anything else.  By the time I was being wheeled into the recovery room, the nurse noticed my lips were starting to turn blue, and I felt so light-headed and weak after all that hard labor.  So, I made sure to buy some easy snacks that I could pack and have on hand this time around.} I finally tried calling Monica's house phone instead of the cell.  This was just before 6am, and she called me back after that one.  Phew!  I had been starting to panic again that no one was going to be at the house with me except for Jessica... and... while I love my sister in law, everyone knows (and she will tell you) that she is not great with high-stress situations.  And labor... well, in her mind, that is definitely high-stress!  Monica said she would get ready as quick as she could and she would be over ASAP!  :o)  After a few more minutes, I figured I should probably let Jessica know what was going on.  So, I knocked on her door and tried to be very calm and collected.  "I'm pretty sure we're going to have a baby today.  I called Monica, and she's on her way.  I'm going downstairs to  call the doula again and let her know how things are going."  Apparently, I was so calm and level-headed about everything that Jessica was totally fooled into thinking I wasn't as far along as I was.  (Looking back, I was probably so calm about it all because I obviously didn't want her to panic and stress ME out, but also because I was still in denial about labor myself.  I truly thought I wouldn't be having the baby until late morning or early afternoon. I was so naive...)Jessica went downstairs with me to call the doula.  I let her know the contractions were about 5 minutes apart, but I really wasn't sure how things would be progressing.  She asked me to keep her posted, and she would make arrangements for someone to watch her children and she would come over later.  She was very excited for me, and she said she knew we would have a good birth.  While I sat in the chair, I remember getting very cold and asking Jessica to grab a blanket for me.  She also brought me a string cheese stick for me to snack on and up the stairs we went.The contractions were starting to pick up even more, and I remember seeing the timer say a few of the contractions were 2 and 3 minutes apart.  I also remember thinking there was some sort of a glitch with the timer or that maybe I had pushed the start button too early.  {I told you I was in denial!}  Jessica took over keeping track [...]

Early Arrival pt. 1


When the man in the pulpit talked about giving birth and paused to ask me "Has that baby dropped yet?" I should have known we were in the final days.  When my feet suddenly started swelling ridiculously after being up and about for a few hours, I should have paid attention to the signs.  When I couldn't go to sleep because I just *had* to clean my bathroom, I should have known labor was imminent. But I was in denial.  My "due date" said end of February, and Little Man had a birthday party coming up, and I really wanted their birthdays to be farther apart than just two days, and I didn't want My Airman to miss any more days with our newest Little Mister than he had to, and I had a thousand other reasons why I was not ready to have a baby just yet ... but all the reasoning in the world won't work with a baby on the way.  They come when they come.  And nine days before the "official" due date, this Little Mister was on his way...Wednesday night at church, everyone was asking me just when this baby was coming.  "I have another week and a half, people.  Stop bothering me!"  Okay, I didn't really say that, but I was thinking it.  ;o)  I had a few Braxton Hicks contractions during service, but I'd been having them off and on for a week now, so I thought nothing of it.  And, yes, at 11:00 at night, I was in my little bathroom, scrubbing away at the sink until it sparkled.  Little did I know...I awoke from a deep sleep around 3:30am to go to the bathroom.  Then a certain Little Guy came in my room, so I took him potty, got him a drink, and settled him back to bed.  After situating myself back under my covers, I noticed a slight tightening around my abdomen and briefly wondered if I was having a contraction.  I quickly brushed the thought aside and tried to go back to sleep... but I couldn't.  I was wide awake.  Then came another gradual tightening and releasing of the belly.  Not painful, but distinct.  After a few more of those, panic started to rise up inside.  Lord, I can't go into labor today!  Not today... it's the birthday party for our Little Man, and I can't cancel his party!  And then I went back to being in denial.  Stop worrying, woman!  No way I'm in labor now.  It is too early.  You are freaking out for no reason!  And back to stressing: Lord, please, please, please... even tomorrow would be better than today.  I really wanted to wait until next week, but please, could we just wait until tomorrow???This continued for another half an hour, I'm sure.  Back and forth.  Lots of tears.  Back and forth.  More tears -- tears for the birthday party that would be canceled (I was so afraid Little Man would resent his little brother for being the reason his party was postponed.), tears for having to be in labor without my wonderful husband, tears for the first moments of life that My Airman would miss out on, tears for the unknown.  The contractions didn't stop, and I could tell they were starting to last a bit longer and get a little stronger.  Finally, I decided I needed to quit blubbering and suck it up.  If I was in labor, then I needed to get moving if I was going to get anything done before this baby came!  Thankfully, I had packed my suitcase {mostly}, washed baby's clothes, and set up the bassinet.  All I needed were a few last minute things: the camera, kindle, my contacts/glasses.  Just lit[...]

Newborn Kisses


You may remember this first picture.  
The rest will be new to you... 
birth story to come soon. :o)
6 wks
36 wks
4 days new

Inspired by this post (pinned here).  



There have been many funny, cute little things our boys have said that My Airman has been missing out on... I thought I'd recap a few here for him.  {Hi, Honey!  I love you!} Little Man praying over dinner one evening:"... and please keep Daddy safe while he's away.  And please keep us safe.  And please keep everyone in the world safe, even the ones who celebrate Halloween..."  *~*~*~*~*~Little Guy sitting in my lap while I put on makeup.  Looking in the mirror he says, "Uh, yo know what?""What?" I replied.Shyly, "No, I talk-a to him!" pointing at the mirror."Who?  To you?""Yeah, Mitton!"  (that's how he says his name)Whispering, he starts again.  "Uh, do know what?""What?" (he replied to himself)"A muh-tee!"  (monkey)*~*~*~*~*~The boys were playing "Mr. Wolf, Mr. Wolf, what time is it?"Little Man: "Mr. Wolf, Mr. Wolf, what time is it?"Little Guy: "Um, one, foh, ei' cwock!"Little Man eventually takes enough steps so they can trade places.Little Guy: "Missa Wolf, wha' timesa it?"Little Man: "Eight o'clock.  So, you can take 8 big steps, okay?"Little Guy: "Uh-kay. Foh, sick, fife, nigh', sick."*~*~*~*~*~My SIL, Jessica, brought home some egg nog after her trip to the store one day.  "Aunt Jessica, can I have some egg nog, please?!" asked the 5 year old.  She laughed and said, "It's not egg nog -- it's 'gone ghee!'" (pronouncing it backward)  Little Guy came running into the kitchen just in time and didn't miss a beat: "Ca' I pease have gon gee?"*~*~*~*~*~Both boys love to lean over and give baby kisses.  Little Guy always says, "G'nigh' Baby" after he plants a kiss on my belly.  No idea why, but it's so stinkin' cute, I don't even try to correct him.  Also, any time he catches a glimpse of my belly button (it "popped out" a while ago), he giggles and reaches over to push it in.  *~*~*~*~*~Little Guy's favorite commercial shows a woman leaning over to a man while snuggled up on the couch.  "I like kittens and moonlight, what do you like?" as she reaches over and taps on his nose in a cutesy little way. He laughs every single time and says, "She say, 'boop, boop, boop," and taps on his own nose three times.  {I'm not sure I explained it well, but I think My Airman will understand what I'm talking about anyway.}*~*~*~*~*~   Little Man has been learning several different passages of Scripture in his Bible class.  He can now recite John 3:14-19; Psalm 34:8-13; and Psalm 34:14-19.  I am continually amazed at how much he soaks in each day during our homeschooling!  He reads very well and I love to listen to him as he reads aloud in his books every afternoon.  He especially loves to read to his little brother and they sit on the couch looking at different books together.  Little Guy will often get a book and sit by his big brother while he reads aloud and repeat any words he hears Little Man say.  [...]

The Donut of Misery Returns


Some of you may remember the first time I posted about the Donut of Misery.  
Well, it's back in our home, and this one is even better than the previous version because My Airman did some tweaking.  Yes, that's right, we have our very own personalized donut of misery.  

I found this little surprise in my email one morning:  
Isn't is sweet?  I was very impressed with how it turned out.  I didn't even know it was possible to do all that stuff with a graph, but I guess his time in an office has taught him quite a few things.  

Anyway, as much as I hate that we even have the need for a donut, I don't mind looking at this one {well, not too much anyway}.  I have tried to discipline myself and peek at it maybe every other day.  Any more often than that, and the numbers don't change and I start to get discouraged.  Looking every two or three days means that we're basically up a whole percentage, and I need those little milestones to help me endure!

Despite what the picture shows, we are thankfully over a quarter of the way through this deployment -- which means we are more than halfway to the halfway mark!  Baby steps... baby steps.  We're just taking it one day at a time and creeping ever closer to that homecoming day!  

Saying Goodbye


It seems I'm having to say too many "goodbyes" these days.  We put my sweet Abby-girl to sleep yesterday.  We recently discovered she had been fighting a very aggressive oral cancer that was rapidly progressing and causing her much pain.  We fought as best we could, but sadly, the ultimate answer was to end her suffering.  The vet said it was up to me whether we wanted to wait until after Christmas or do it before.  After much deliberation, we decided sooner would be better.  She was beginning to have trouble eating and was staying in hiding more and more as each day passed.  Not to mention the fact that waiting until after Christmas would mean there would be little to occupy Little Man (okay, and me too) and giving him more time to dwell on such sad thoughts.   I dreaded the conversation with Little Man, and although he cried long and hard, he took it surprisingly well (he amazes me with his maturity sometimes -- so strong for a five year old!).  A dear friend went with me to the vet, so I'm glad I did not have to go it completely on my own.  We were given our sweet Abby-cat shortly after we were married, and I have always teased My Airman that she has stuck with me even longer than he has!  Between two deployments (still working on that third one...) and a handful of TDYs, he has spent about a year away from our home.  {After this deployment is finished, it will be about 1 1/2 years apart.  It sounds crazy to think we've weathered through so much time away from each other now that I've actually added it up!}   I've always hated the big, empty bed at night, and Abby was always such a comfort to me, dutifully sleeping on My Airman's side of the bed.  She never tried to sleep there when he was home, but it was as if she knew she needed to keep me company.  Maybe she was keeping his side warm until his return.  Or perhaps she was just glad to have some extra room on the bed finally!  :o)  I'm happy for the seven years she was part of our family, and I will certainly miss her, as will our boys.  Little Man cried hardest when he realized the new baby would never get to meet his dear Abby and he wondered if it would be all right for us to tell baby about her.  But such is military life.  Our lives may seem filled with goodbyes and partings and hardships, but thankfully, there are many hellos and welcome homes, as well.  For now, we are waiting until we say "Welcome Home!" to Our Favorite Airman and then perhaps, we will say "Hello" to a furry new member of our family.  [...]