Monday, March 28, 2011

Sweet, Sweet Sounds

Lately, I have been really focusing on the goals/plans I wanted to accomplish during deployment.  As I have mentioned before, some of my goals are of course the usual get organized, loose weight, re-decorate etc.  But the goals I really want to accomplish that will have a much more lasting, meaningful purpose have really been on my mind lately.  One of those goals was to have a daily devotional time with the kids and to teach them scripture.  We try to read a bible story at dinner when it is possible or as we wind down at bedtime. In addition to this, another goal I had was to help the kids memorize scripture.  We have been working on a couple of  scriptures and they have done really well memorizing them.  I know how important it is for me to memorize scripture and pull on that knowledge during times when I need encouragement or strength etc.  So, I want the kids to have that same knowledge.  I am so proud of what they have learned so far and I wanted to share a couple videos of them saying their verses.

*you may want to pause the music player at bottom so you can hear the kids better ;)


Friday, March 25, 2011

Missing Him

Ever had a week when you just felt an overwhelming sense of loneliness???

Ever had a week when you would give anything to come home to a hug???

Ever had a week when you would love to wake-up and your husband be right person...not a picture or an image on the computer???

Boy, I sure have had one of those this week.
Don't get me wrong, I miss J terribly everyday.  Not a moment passes that I don't think about him.  Not a moment passes that I don't wonder what he's doing, then proceed to figure up the time difference and try to imagine what he may be doing.  He is never far from our hearts and our thoughts...I just wish that he wasn't so far from our arms.

Not sure what brought this all on...maybe I do...who knows...

I am not the only one missing him though, the kids are missing him too.  Jack has been really great about verbalizing how he is feeling and letting me know when he needs to talk about daddy.  Of course, he asks me daily how much longer...that number is still not getting small enough fast enough, ha.  Madeline is a different story though.  She does not say much about missing daddy, though I know she does.  She has had a few pretty intense melt-downs that just down right break my heart.  She had one of those this week.  (Didn't help with my already missing him terribly feelings)  It breaks my heart to look at my children hurting.  To listen to them talk about missing daddy.  To know how much they just want daddy to come home.

While Madeline was having her melt down I just held her and reassured her, but the sweetest thing happened.  Jack sat with me and put his hand on her and said "mommy, we need to pray for sissy, God will help her feel better"  (yea, if I was not already crying at that point, I was for sure by then)  So Jack prayed a sweet little prayer for Madeline to feel better and it was just perfect and sweet and to the point.  How thankful I am that God has chosen me and Jason to parent these children.  How blessed I am.

After is was all over and everyone was in the bed, I was talking about it with my friend trying to process it all and she made such a wise observation.  She pointed out that last deployment Madeline did not have these meltdowns since she really did not understand, but when daddy came home she did not know how to act and the reintegration process was tough (ok, tough is an understatement) BUT as much as it breaks my heart to see Madeline have these meltdowns, they probably are a good thing because it means she is thinking about daddy and showing how much she is missing him...and maybe, just maybe, reintegration will be "easier" this time. 

This week, as I was basically having my own little pity party, I was thinking about just how much I miss J.  Not just miss him, but things about him and things we would be doing as a family if he was home.  So I came up with a little list of "What I Miss"...
- doing his laundry  (did I seriously just say that??? yes, I do.  I really do )
- cleaning the "splatter" off the mirror every morning where he has shaved and brushed his teeth
- cooking real meals (I love to cook, especially our "Friday night fun night meals" aka can not be a casserole on Friday night)
- sitting next to him at dinner
- holding hands
- watching a movie after the kids go to bed and eating popcorn and/or a bowl of ice cream
- hugs
- watching "his" shows on tv (for the most part we do not have the same taste in shows, but it did not bother me to watch those shows because it meant we were together...and I find myself from time to time watching shows that I think he would be watching if he were at home)
- a shoulder to lean my head on
- help with bath time and bedtime
- being able to pick up the phone and call him
- sound of the garage door opening
- the anticipation of him coming home after a long day
- packing his lunch
- grilling out (this is completely his job, the last time I tried to light the grill it did not end so well)
- fighting him for covers (I always tease him that he is trying to keep the floor warm because that is where the covers end up)

I could keep on with the list, but I think the point is made...I miss my hubby.

I came across this picture of him a little while back on facebook and I totally swiped it ;) 

Then I came across this one on my phone from back last fall when we took him to the airport to begin this long deployment journey.

But, as much as I have been feeling really blah this week, God has been so faithful to send me comforts with reminders of His strength and grace in scripture and through the reminders of friends.  I know it is not a mistake that when I was feeling really low this week, I would get a text, call, or message from a friend letting me know that I was being laid on their hearts...yep, no mistake...just comforts and reminders.  Thank you, God, that my lines have fallen in pleasant places.

and much thanks to my sweet friend for the goody bags for my children and this basket full of goodness...I am enjoying some (I will not tell how much) of the chocolate as I type this blog...they are spectacular...I will be using the new water bottle and towel next week when I am working this off, but for now, I am enjoying this yumminess and thanking God for the sweet friends He has placed in my life....again, all I can think is how grateful I am that my lines have fallen in pleasant places (Psalm 16:6) 


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring Break 2011

Last week was spring break for Jack.  Madeline's pre-school follows a different school calendar and her spring break is not until next month, but we did not let that stop us from having a great time.

The weather was wonderful!  We stayed outside everyday.  We had play dates and lunch dates.  We had t-ball practice and I went to zumba.  We had a great time!   Below are some pictures of our week:
Jack and Madeline before we went to church:

Jack and Madeline dressed and ready to go on a lunch date with mommy.  I let the kids choose where we could go, they chose the local pizza buffet (oh the things we will do for our kids)

Madeline and me (photo by Jack) before we left for lunch:

Jack and me (photo by Madeline) before we left for lunch:

Another day we had a lunch and play date with our friends Hannah Grace, Hope, Noah, and Lily.  The kids had so much fun!:

We also had a picnic and park day with my brothers and stepmom.  Below Madeline and Chase are inside the tunnel:

Jack having a fun time at the park:

This week also wrapped a bible study I have been hosting at my house.  We had our last lesson of Tour of Duty on Friday night.  I have really enjoyed this study and getting to know the ladies in the group so much better.  We are going to start another study soon ;)

We celebrated with a Girls Day out over the weekend.  Unfortunately everyone could not be with us and they were greatly missed.  We got pedicures and went to lunch at one of our favorite Japanese restaurants.

Kim, Angela, Pam and me:

Pam and Kim:

Angela and me:

Our fresh pedicures:

Spring break is over and its back to the hustle and bustle.  I am going to try not to complain about that too much seeing as how time sure does seem to go super fast when we are this busy. 


Sunday, March 20, 2011

T-ball Practice

The team Jack plays on had practice on the brand new ball fields and he was soooo excited!  I made the videos below of Jack taking his turn at batting.  The players will get 3 tries to hit the ball off the catapult, then the tee will be brought out for them to hit.  I was so proud of my Jack hitting all 3 balls that were pitched to him. (sorry, mommy-braggin moment)

This is Jack's 2nd year to play t-ball and he has improved so much since last year.  It really amazes me how much (Of course he did watch the bugs fly around him and he did need his name called a couple times to bring him back to attention, but hey its t-ball)  I am so excited to watch him play this season and watch how much he is going to improve. 

So without further a-do, below are 3 videos of Jack's 3 hits.  I made these so his daddy can see how great he is doing...I wish so much his daddy could be here, I know that J and Jack wish that too)


Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Trip to the Zoo

Today's post is courtesy of Jack and his wonderful photography skills.  =) 

A few weeks back, my in-laws took Jack and Madeline to the zoo.  The kids had a BLAST and are still talking about it.  Jack took his kid camera with him to the zoo so he could share the pictures with his daddy. 

So without further a-do, here is "A Trip to the Zoo" as seen through Jack's camera:
Jack is buckled up in the car and ready to go:

Madeline is buckled and ready to go as well (who are we kidding, this child is always ready to go):

First stop: the snakes (yuck):

Looks like its mealtime in kangaroo land:

Not sure which exhibit this was, but the kids seemed very intrigued by it:

The big gorilla.  The kids loved seeing the gorilla.  They said he was "thinking" and love to show me the pose he was doing:

Can't go to the zoo and not ride the train.  Pops and Jack on the train:

Granna and Madeline on the train:

The zoo also has a wonderful play area.  Of course Madeline has to go up the slide the wrong way:

Jack climbing the ropes:

Time for another photo opportunity:

And of course Madeline gets in on the action (I think this is probably one of her better smiles):

Getting up close and personal at the tiger exhibit:

The kids said some of the exhibits were closed (due to construction) and some of the animals were not there right now because it was still too cold for them.  Even though that was the case, they had a blast and are ready to go again!  I promised them we would go again when it warmed up so they could see all the exhibits. 

We are on spring break this week and are loving our time!  I've tried to plan a little something for them each day that will be fun.  We have been blessed with great weather so we have stayed outside pretty much the whole time.  I will share pictures soon.  But for now, we are off to get ready for a picnic at the park.  I can not wait.

Hope everyone is enjoying their week!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Who does not enjoy looking at pictures of homecomings???  I know I do!

Shelly at Our Motto is Patience created a linky.  So head over to her blog, link up your posts, and check out the other links.  (I am sure we will need to grab some tissues)  (=

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Out Of The Blue...

Ever have one of those days when everything is actually going pretty good? 

One of those days when your trucking right along in the deployment journey and although you miss your husband, your "ok". 

One of the those days when the kids seem to be doing pretty well and although they ask their usual daily questions about daddy, it seems like they are "ok".
One of those days that seems like actually one of the "good" days during a deployment....then...boom out of absolutely no where, one of the kids has a breakdown that leads into a ripple effect and then suddenly everyone is not "ok"???

Well, we had one this evening.  Took me by surprise.  It was so out of the blue.  I was not expecting it at all.  I mean usually you can just tell or sense when it is going to be a tough day, but I really did not think that this was going to be one of those days. (just goes to show that I do not need to be over confident and serves as a reminder that everything about this deployment is challenging what I thought) A reminder that the reality of this deployment is not always what I expect.  And most of the time, it is not something I can not control.  I can not control when mine or my children's emotions change.  Can not control when one of my children has a breakdown because he misses his daddy so much.  I can not control those situations.  I can not prevent them.  Because the reality of it all is that we all are missing J and want nothing more than for all this to be over and have him home with us....but I can not make that happen. 

Instead I must trust in our sovereign Lord who is in control and knows what is best for us.  I must trust in Him during those times when I have to hold my 6 yr old wiping tears off his check while he asks me repeatedly why his daddy can't come home.  How I wish I could bring his daddy home, how I wish I could make this all end, how I wish I could...but I can't.  And I know I can't.  BUT I know without a doubt that there is a reason for this deployment.  A reason why we must be apart again.  A reason why I had to hold my child while he longed for nothing more than to see his daddy in real life (not on a computer screen) I know the HE has a purpose for this.  I know that HE is in control of all this and is caring for and loving us during every step of this journey.  I know that.  I wish my child did.  I pray that my child does.  I pray that one day my son will look back at this and know that.

 I wish I could take my child's hurts away...I can comfort him and reassure him, but I can not take it away.  What I can do though is tell him about the ONE who can.  I can tell my child about a loving Father whose intentions for this deployment are not to harm us, but instead are to grow us into a closer relationship with Him. (even if the process of bringing us closer to Him is hard)  I can tell my son all about the characteristics of God and reassure him that our help and our hope rests in Him.  I can do those things because it is all I know to do...but oh how I wish I had control in this I wish I could give my son what he wants.  But I know I can not and I must trust that even in this situation, He has our best in mind.

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."  Romans 8:28

Tonight was mommy wants to see their child hurting.  But, as quickly as it came on, it also passed.  Though my mind has not left the could it??? 

We talked about daddy and all the things we have to look forward to once daddy comes home.  Jack talked about getting to go to his favorite restaurant when his daddy comes home.  So I encouraged him to draw his daddy a picture about going to his favorite restaurant.  So he did...

how sweet is that???  He drew himself and daddy wearing bow ties and Madi and me wearing flowers in our hair.  I love it.  I have not ever worn flowers in my hair and to the best of my knowledge J and Jack have not ever worn bow ties out to dinner, but I love it in this picture...and who knows, maybe I will pick up some bow ties for my guys and a flower for my hair so when daddy does return we can head to our favorite restaurant looking like this picture (though there would be one difference, Jason will not be taller than me hehe)


Winner Announced

Thanks to everyone for participating in the CSN stores $30 gift certificate give-a-way! 

With 16 comments submitted, using the winner of the $30 gift certificate is Mrs. L!! 
Congrats to you!! 


Monday, March 7, 2011

The Bedroom Redo ~ Need Your Opinion

I wonder who else out there gets the notion to redecorate or redo rooms in your house during deployment?  I have a couple things in mind that I wanted to do during this deployment and one of them was our master bedroom.  There was nothing wrong with it, I just wanted a change.  I've had the same red/gold bedding for nearly 5 years in there and I just wanted to do something different.  I have been looking for over a year now and nothing has really stood out to me.  I would find myself at looking at sets that were white, but I knew there was no way I would use white (until the kids were grown and off to college,ha) I have come across many things that I liked but was afraid I would get bored with them after a few months.  So I have just kept looking hoping something would stand out.

Then out of the blue I got a suprise pkg from Jason and it was a beautiful throw with 2 shams.  I knew I had to use it somehow, so I set out to find the perfect spread and accessories for it.  Last week I was able to get a couple hours of shopping in with a wonderful friend and we came across a duvet cover and several pillows that we thought would work.  So I brought them home and put it all together.  I can not decide which way I like the best so I posted pictures and I am asking for your help in deciding which way to arrange the pillows.

See the pictures below and let me know what you think (please)  (=

The bedroom BEFORE:

another view of BEFORE:

And the AFTERS:
I put the duvet cover over the existing spread. I put the shams that came with the cover behind the shams that Jason sent and put the throw at the end of the bed. 

So here is PICTURE 1:  Just standard shams that came with the duvet (in the back) and the shams that came with the throw (in front) on the bedding:

close up of the throw:

PICTURE 2:  standard shams with a light blue throw pillow

PICTURE 3: standard shams with gold pillow

PICTURE 4: standard shams with one gold pillow and blue pillow

PICTURE 5: all the pillows

Next I am considering painting...maybe...but it would have to be after baseball season is over.  Then I would have to think about a color (maybe the light blue/grey in the throw)  And I need to come up with a window treatment...its so boring right now. 

So which way do you like best???  PICTURE 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5


Friday, March 4, 2011

Week In Review

We have had quite the BUSY week...busy being the understatement of the century.  But busy is good...busy makes the time go fast and for that I am not complaining.  So here is our week in review:

It is feeling and looking like spring in our area more and more each day (complete with weather in the 70s and flowers blooming...simply beautiful)  With spring weather comes spring season.  Jack loves playing baseball and has looked forward to the season starting since the season ended last year.  I love that he loves it so much.  I am so glad that he has something that interests him and that he enjoys.
This week Jack started practicing.  Each morning this week he has awakened chipper and ready for the day (where he is usually sluggish and quiet)  In the afternoon when he gets home from school, he is ready to do homework immediately when he walks in the door.  We have enough time to get homework finished, change clothes and head out the door to practice.  Below are some pictures from a couple practices this week.

It's been a great first week of practice and I look forward to watching all the children on the team learn the game.  Can't wait till games!

This week at Jack's school, they have been participating in Read Across America activities.  Each day of the week had a different theme for the children to dress as and the children were encouraged to read for a certain amount of time each night for a chance to toilet paper their teacher. (of course Jackson wanted to read books so he could do that)  (=
As soon as we got the paper for the daily themes, I (with a lot of assistance from my mother in law) got to planning what Jack would wear.  At the beginning of the week, Jack was so excited to dress up and participate .
Day 1: Grinchy Green Day (wear camo or anything green)  I knew exactly what he needed to wear that day.
Day 2: Hats Off to Dr. Suess (wear a dr. suess hat or hat of any kind)  Thankfully my mil had a Dr. Suess hat and Jack wanted to wear it.
When Jack came home from school this day, he made the comment he did not have to dress up, it was not required.  I was getting the feeling he did not really want to dress up, so I gave him the option and he chose to go ahead and dress up the next day.

Day 3: Wild West for Wacky Wednesday (wear anything cowboy or western)  luckily we had these items already
This day, Jack came home from school and said that kids were not dressing up for the themes and he no longer felt like it was "cool"  (can you hear the thoughts in my head???? cool??? are you kidding me, your in kindergarten, this should be so exciting)  But I kept that to myself and let him choose whether or not to dress up the next day, he chose not to (much to my disappointment)

Day 4: Book Character Day (dress like your favorite book character)  No picture...No dress up

Enter Day 5:  Vocabulary Day (dress up like a word)  I thought on this for a while...had no creative ideas. Luckily, my mil came up with a word and great idea on how to dress up for it. 
Jack dressed as the word "Organize"  We used J's fishing vest because it has a lot of pockets and Jack labeled cards which I pinned to the vest.
I thought it was perfect.  Jack was not really excited to dress up, but agreed to do it since so much work had been put into it.  As I dropped him off at school this morning, he commented as other students got out of their cars "see mommy, they are not dressed's not cool"  I told him that this was supposed to be fun and encouraged him to enjoy his day.  Out of the car he went and off into the school building.  I felt like a proud mommy.  A moment of "yea, I got this single parent thing...I can take care of 2 kids, all their homework, shuffle them to all dance and sports practices, and still participate in the theme week at school all while the hubby is in Afghanistan...yea, I got this"  
So the day ends, I get Jack from school.  He looks happy, vest is still on and fully in tact...again, I'm thinking, "yea, we did it"  So I talk to Jack while I drive and ask him the usual how was your day questions...then I ask him about his vest and what others wore.
Here is a snippit of the conversation:
Me:  "Jack, what did your classmates wear?"
Jack: "Mommy, only like 3 people dressed up"
Me: "Oh, well thats too bad"  "Did anyone say anything about yours?"
Jack: "Um, no not really"
Me: "oh, ok...well, what about your teacher, did she say anything?"
Jack: "uh no"
Me: starting to get confused by his remarks "Jack, no one said anything?"
Jack: "Um mommy, I need to tell you something"
Me: "Yes, buddy"
Jack: "Mommy, I took my vest off when I got in class and left it in my cubby till time to leave"
Me: laughing uncontrollably at how my 6 yr old just had the upper hand and pulled an "I'll show you I don't think this is cool"

He is so his father's child.

This week was also a big week for Madeline.  She was the "Super Kid" at school.  The Super Kid gets to bring their favorite book to read, their favorite snack to share and pictures to put up on the classroom board.
Here is Madeline ready to head to school with her favorite book, Olivia, and her favorite snacks, Dora.

Here is Madeline posing with her picture board.
Close up of the pictures Madeline chose to share on the classroom board.  My favorite picture is her muddy face picture (=

In addition to all this I had to keep up my regular zumba exercising. (Can't wait to share my results from that with you)  And today, I got to go shopping with a wonderful friend and found some new bedding for our bedroom (can't wait to show the make over)

So, like I said, busy week...and it will be followed up with a pretty busy weekend.

Don't forget to enter my give-a-way if you have not already. 

Hope everyone has a great weekend!