Saturday, July 26, 2008

He DOES exist!

Look what Ian has been working on... You can see by the look on his face that he isn't super confident yet, but I don't think it will take long. He is figuring it out.
It was actually his idea to try riding without training wheels, so we went with it. He thought that David was holding on the whole time, but I quickly showed him this picture to prove that he was doing it on his own!
And of course no lesson is complete without Daddy showing you how it is done!
We were laughing at Ian because he rarely wears his bike gear when he goes out to ride, but apparently he felt it was neccessary now. So, when he came out with the helmet, elbow pads and knee pads on, one of our lovely neighbors hollered, "What, no eye protection?" So Daddy got Ian some eye protection. That didn't last though. Poor kid!
When the lesson was over, Ian quickly joined in the game of baseball that was taking place in the culdesac, while Isabelle continued to ride around the game. There is always something to do with all these kids around here!

Friday, July 25, 2008


Okay...because I know that some of you are wondering if Isabelle is my only child lately, let me just tell you that I promise to post about Ian soon! He has been insanely busy playing outside with all the neighbor kids, riding his bike and jumping on the trampoline. He barely stops long enough to get a drink of water and then back outside he goes, but I promise to try to get some pictures of him today!

How does she do that?

When Isabelle gets up in the morning, this is the face that greets me: But when she turns to walk away, this is what she looks like:
How does she do that?

Pony World

This is Isabelle's favorite way to play...completely surrounded by all of her ponies and their accessories! She loves those ponies. Every once in a while she can even convince her brother to come play with her!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Power Lab

Last week we had the opportunity to be involved with the VBS at our new/old church. We attended the same church when we lived here before, but now they have spread out to many campuses and we have one much closer to us. So it is in a new building, but it feels like the same church. We used to drive nearly 45 minutes each way to get to church.

This year's VBS was called Power Lab. The kids had a great time with science experiments, great music and all sorts of crafts and activities. I think the program was awesome! I volunteered throughout the week and David got to join us on the final night for the little program. Isabelle didn't hesitate to jump up on stage to lead the praise and worship for all the other kids. There were nearly 200 kids in attendance and so they didn't all go on stage, but a few were selected to join the leaders on stage to lead the songs. I don't think Isabelle was actually selected, but she didn't care. She is quite an entertainer! And yes, I am aware that her tshirt is about 20 sizes too big, but that was all they had left and she didn't mind. She prefers dresses!
I know this picture is dark, but I had to share it. After the entire program was done, I heard one of the leaders say that they had someone special that wanted to close us in prayer. I looked up to see none other than...ISABELLE...again. What a funny girl. Normally this little girl will pray FOR.EVER. But she suddenly suffered from a bit of stage fright. All she could get out was, "Dear Jesus, Thank you for our day. Amen" It was still pretty cute!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

4th of July

I am the first to admit that I am behind. Here we are at the end of the month and I am finally posting about the 4th! But better late than never, right?

Well, let me start by saying that I hate goodbyes. I HATE them. I am not sure that hate is a strong enough word. I don't handle them well. I never have and I am not sure that I ever will. So, even though we were so excited about our new house in SC, even though the kids were excited about the adventure, even though we knew that God had prepared a new place for us and was leading us there, it meant we had to say goodbyes. The last two days in VA were awful! We had to make our rounds, saying goodbyes. It is one thing when I just have to say goodbye, but when I have to watch my kids deal with the same emotions that I am, I just lose it!!!

When we moved to VA Ian was almost two and Isabelle wasn't even born. That is when we started hanging out with our best buddies! These kids have grown up together (I know I have told you this before, but deal with is my blog and I can write what I want!)They are more like family than friends. Jayden and Ian love being together and Isabelle is destined to marry one of the boys! (We had her arranged to marry Kolby, but there are five boys in this family and I would be happy with any one of them!!!) So, separating the kids by a seven hour drive was not the easiest move.

Luckily, the morning that we were leaving VA, Mike and Deb let us know that they were going to bring the family down for the fourth of July in lieu of having birthday parties for the youngest two. That gave us three weeks from the time we left to be ready to host this family of eight! It was great motivation!

It was so much fun to be able to have them all at our house! The kids played and played and played!!! The screened porch was their favorite place to eat! On the fourth, we followed the same routine that we have with them. The dads hand out all the stuff to the kids. The driveway was covered in Pop-it paper!
A picture of Isabelle and Kolby...just because they are so cute!
When it started to get dark, David backed his truck into the vacant lot next to us so that we could give the kids a seat to see the show that was going on in the culdesac. You can tell by the way that they are looking out the side, the fireworks were going off all around us! I am so glad that we didn't battle the crowds to go out and see some big display, because we had quite a show all around us!
The visit was a good one...a lot of friends in one house means that there is a lot of fun to be had. Here is a glimpse of one side of our front door (because we don't wear shoes in the house).

Thanks for coming guys! We had a great time and we can't wait to see you again soon!


Let me tell you a story about this crazy lady that I have the privilege of calling my friend!

About 3 1/2 years ago, I walked into a meeting full of other military spouses from David's ship. Isabelle was in a carrier carseat and I didn't know a soul in the room. Well, actually, I had met a couple of the women at an event, but they weren't the most friendly people. You know how you can meet someone and know if you are going to get along well or if you are better off not getting to know them better...I know that sounds mean, but military spouses can be an interesting breed. You have to choose carefully who/what you are involved with.

Anyhow...back to the meeting. I was very interested in being involved with this group. I had figured out that if I went to these meetings, I often knew more about the ship's schedule than David did. The CO and XO's wives attended the meetings and there were all sorts of activities that I could be involved in with the kids. My motivations were fairly selfish. Okay, they were completely selfish. I wanted to know more about this Navy life and about this crazy schedule and about why it was that my husband was gone so much. I figured the more I was involved, the more I would know.

There were a few positions open on the board, but that would have required me to work with those ladies that I mentioned before. I was trying to avoid that. The other option was to become and ombudsmen. For those of you that don't know, Navy Family Ombudsmen are volunteers appointed by Commanding Officers who serve as the primary link between families and Commands. I thought this sounded like a great way to get involved. Plus, one of the ombudsmen for our ship was named Parys. I thought it was a cool name and I thought she might be someone that I could work well with. I know that is a lot to assume about a person's name, but really, that is what I thought.

So, when asked what position I was interested in, I informed them that I would like to be an ombudsmen. Turns out, this Parys girl was at the meeting and she promptly replied, "We don't need anymore ombudsmen right now." So I thought to myself..."that is what I get for assuming that because she had a cool name, we would get along. I don't know who this girl is, but I am not sure I like her after all."

Long story short, I ended up volunteering for a position on the board that I didn't really care about, but it got me involved with the group. And by the way, I was right. I didn't get along with those other ladies at all. To put it nicely, we were VERY different...age, values, daily grooming habits (or lack thereof)...

As the secretary, I was in charge of writing a newsletter page on behalf of our group that would be included in a monthly newsletter distributed to all of the families attached to the ship. I had just taken over this position and had to attend a meeting with all of the other women writing contributions to the newsletter. Turns out the person in charge of the whole newsletter was none other than Parys... great. What have I gotten myself into???

Really, I couldn't tell you anything that I didn't like about Parys other than the fact that she obviously didn't want to work with me. And I don't take rejection well.

Well, to spare you all the details, let me just tell you that many of the women ended up leaving the board in the following months and I found myself surrounded by women with whom I had much more in common. That fall our ship deployed and these women became my family. They became my support, encouragement and my friends. During these times you get to know people on a much deeper level than you normally would. Among these women was one of the most amazing friends I have ever had...Parys.

I still give her a hard time about her rejecting me. I won't let her forget it! But, I am glad that I still had the opportunity to work with her and learn from her. She has taught me so much about the military life!

Parys helps anyone that she can in any way that she can. It is just what makes her the person that she is! So, when it came down to the wire as we were preparing to move this summer, she was helping me clean my house, talking me down from my "freak out" moments and reminding me to take one step at a time as we tried to get everything done.

And to top it all off, she was at my NEW house a mere 10 days after we moved here, ready to help in any way she could. The intentions were to decorate, paint, finish unpacking, etc. Mostly, it was just great to have a friend around. The kids all had a great time playing together while we stayed up until all hours talking, did a little shopping, walked around the market downtown and enjoyed a little Wii Fit. I can say that if you ever need a good laugh, this is the girl you need to be with!

So thank you Parys, for the help! Thanks for teaching me so much and most of all, thank you for being such an amazing friend! I can't wait to see you again soon! And I totally forgive you for rejecting me!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Is this my reality?

I have been wanting to get back to the blog for some time now, but we have been just a teeny bit busy. It is so hard to justify sitting down at the computer...or just sitting down at all when there is so much work to me done!

You might be wondering in your head how much work could be done on a brand new house. Well, there is a lot. It isn't like we are having to replace carpets or tear out walls, but we have been trying so hard to make this house our HOME! David has organized the garage and built a work bench. He has converted a small closet into a computer room. He has built me shelving to house all of my fabric for my handbags. We have painted the bedrooms and I have started to paint the whole downstairs (more pictures to come!) We love it! It fits us perfectly. It is simply another confirmation that it is just where God wanted us to be. I still need to tell you the story about how we (by that I mean my mom and I) found this house and how I put a contract on it without David because he was out to sea and I KNEW that this was exactly what we had been hoping and praying for! But, I will tell you about that later.

For now, I am settling in, adjusting and defining our new reality. I feel like I have spent the last few weeks trying to make this house fit our reality. But something was not right and it just wasn't working. I mean, everything within the home was fine, it was the feelings that I couldn't settle. I have had this sense of urgency about how we accomplish things because I was so thankful that David had so much time off when we got here and I was loving having his help. I wanted to get everything done before he had to get back to work because who knows what that may bring.

But last night it dawned on me. We don't live the same reality here. For the last four and a half years we have spent so much time without David home. Between shipyard periods, workups and deployments, he was gone more often than not! It became our reality. It was just how we lived. I can't say it was always easy, but we learned to handle things! We learned that if something bad were going to happen (like the transmission going out on your van) it would happen simultaneously with the ship pulling away from the pier so that I would have to handle it without David. We learned that holidays can be celebrated on alternate days if he was going to be gone for the real one. We learned that whatever time we did have together was to never be taken for granted because it would come to an end soon! Sometimes other women (non military wives) would ask me how I did it. I was never really sure how to answer them other than to say, "I just do. I don't have a choice."

So when we moved, I carried on that feeling. I had time for David to help me with big projects, help entertain the kiddos and just to share in this experience with me. It has been wonderful. (Don't get me wrong...moving= stress=irritability...we have had our moments!) Overall, it has been great.

Yesterday, however, David went back to work. While we were at home working on projects and registering Ian for school, he was finding his new "second home." He was meeting the people that he would be working with.

He called me during his lunch break. He couldn't hide the excitement in his voice. He was having a good day. I had to laugh when he said, "I am 'ONE OF THEM!'"

You see, eight years ago this month, David and I met on the same campus that he is teaching at now. We spent hours within the confines of the building that he is now teaching in. We spent months walking the paths around the buildings, talking, laughing and falling in love. We shared our first meal in the galley that he will eat lunch in today. But back then we were new to the Navy. We were learning from the teachers in the school that had already been to sea. They had worked on real nuclear plants and they were sharing this knowledge with us. At that point we had no idea what was in store for us. We looked at them so differently then we looked at our peers.

But, now, eight years later, David is "one of them." One of the ones sharing his experiences, his knowledge and his humor with young people just starting their Navy careers. He has an opportunity to be on of the people that we most looked up to when we sat in those seats! It is fun to see things come full circle.

I feel the same way when I look around us, within our own home. Just as David's career has progressed, our lives, too, have progressed.

When David and I met here in Charleston, we were both 20 years old. It was the first time either of us had been away from our hometown. It was a new beginning. We were engaged three months after we met and we were married a short five months after that. Only 2 months after getting married, we found out we were pregnant! It was completely unexpected, but we couldn't help but be excited. We both continued on in our schooling and tried to figure out our next steps as newlyweds, as parents, as Sailors. Ultimately, we decided that it would be best for me to get out of the Navy so that we could be sure that one of us would be home with our new little baby. It was a scary step. Our paychecks were not very large to begin with, but now we were going down to half of that pay! It was crazy. But we made it. We were even able to buy our first little home a few months after Ian was born!

We transferred to VA just before Ian turned two and we were blessed with Isabelle nine months later!

I believe that our time in VA may well have been the most amazing time of growth in our lives. We learned about being a military family. I learned about being a "single mom" while David was gone so much. We learned about extreme budgeting and sacrifice. We learned about the importance of communication within our marriage, whether that may be in person or through an email. We learned what a military family is. We learned to set goals and to strive to reach them together.

We made VA our home for the time being, but we never really felt at home. It was always our stepping stone. We made lifelong friends and took away experiences that may never be matched, but we were ready to make our next step and come back to SC. Maybe it is because this is where we began our life together. I am not completely sure, but I do know that we were happy to come back.

I just wish that I could have the same opportunity that David has right now. He gets to take his experiences and knowledge and share them with those that are new to all of this. I wish that somehow I could go back and whisper in the ears of that young couple that married seven years ago and let them know that the road may not be smooth and there may be times that it seems impossible to keep your head above water. I want to give them a sense of peace and let them know that they will make it! I wish that I could give them a quick glimpse of where we are now. I want to show them what they are working so hard for.

So, here is our new reality. David is working in a building. And it isn't a floating "building" like he worked in before. This building doesn't require him to have a bed there in case the hours get too long. This building won't take him away from us from months on end. Our reality is much more like the lives of the stereotypical family life now. He will be home for dinner more often than not. He will be able to be at school programs and soccer games. He will be able to help with homework and projects. He will be able to join me in a small group at church and to be at church with me on a regular basis. I know this starts to sound like I am only talking about his reality, not ours. But the truth is that his reality defines ours in a lot of ways. We are happy to have this new reality.

While I am still realistic and I know that we will encounter our share of obstacles, I can't help but feel a sense of excitement as I look around at our new home, our new life, our new reality. We are blessed beyond measure!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Living Room

I am happy to report that we are one step closer to being settled! Our living room is just about complete. We are debating about casing the windows and adding a chair rail. Once we decide about that, then we will decide about painting. I can hardly stand these walls! I need color!!!At least for now we have a functional space!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Progress goes! Let me start by saying that my house is by no means perfected yet. There is still a lot of painting to do and some organizing and decorating too. But we have all the boxes unpacked and I feel like that is a pretty good start considering they only arrived 10days ago! So here is where we are so far:

Ian's room was the first to be painted. He had his mind set on painting the walls black. For some strange reason, he is convinced that he has trouble sleeping. His thought was that black walls would make the room darker and he would sleep much better. However, I was not about to paint the walls black in my little boy's we took him to the paint department our local home emprovement store (which has been a part of our daily routine for the last couple weeks!) and let him take a look through the paint colors. He was pretty indecisive, but I found this great color in the OOPS pile of paint and we got it for only $8!!! In person, it it a mix between grey and blue. Of course, Ian found a way to relate it to Transformers. He told us that it was in between the colors of Megatron and Starscream. He was happy with it. It dried a little bit more blue than we had anticipated, but it it a nice color for him! We still have to get his pictures hung up and we are on the search for a desk for his room. He needs a space to do homework and build legos. Until then, he is just happy to have all of his toys back!
Next was Isabelle's room. From the time we knew we were moving, she has been asking for a pink room and I was happy to oblige! It turned out pretty cute. I was trying to pick a more vibrant pink color, but she informed me that light pink would just be good. So we went with her request. What you can't see in this picture is the little Princess wording and tiara above her bed. It is really cute... that is if you are standing less than one foot away from her bed and you can see it. It isn't that it is small, it is just very fine writing and it is hard to see. So I have to figure that one out. But overall, her room is pretty cute and she loves it!
Their bathroom was completed this weekend. I found some great accessories in downtown Charleston and I think it turned out pretty cute. I still plan to paint in here, but it is a start.
So...more to come...promise!


I am so happy to be back in South Carolina! Here is one of my favorite things around...the hibiscus plants. There are new blooms everyday and they are absolutely beautiful!!!

Back in the World

Oh my, oh my! What a whirlwind this journey has been. I promise to put up some pictures of the house, but, first I am going to spend a little bit of time catching you all up on our last few weeks! It has been a fun and eventful time!

The last week of our time in Virginia was full of goodbyes. The kids started to catch on to the reality of it all and started telling us things they needed to do "one more time." One of the important things that they wanted to do was to visit Daddy's ship. We hadn't been there in a while and the kids always loved going!

So, we hopped in the car after school one day and drove to base. We took advantage of David's front row parking spot at the pier. This may seem like a silly thing to you, but it is one of the "perks" to being named Sailor of the Year (SOY). For those without the parking spot, there is usually a significant walk to your vehicle.
I know that it isn't a big deal to David anymore, but I find it amazing every time I am reminded of the size of the ship. I just think it is amazing that it floats, let alone that it is a floating runway and houses up to 6000 people!!!
For those of you that don't know, Theodore Roosevelt was an avid sportsman that loved to hunt. This is what he considered conservationism! (this one was donated to him, not killed by him!) And did you know that the teddy bear was named after him also? The ship has several pieces of neat memorabilia from Teddy Roosevelt. it is a neat piece of history!
When we reported to the ship in 2004, Ian was not quite two years old and Isabelle was a wee speck within me! David thought I was crazy for taking so many pictures while we were on the ship for the last time. I tried to explain to him, however, that this meant a lot to me to see our kids climbing the ladders on their own!
The first time we actually visited the ship, Ian had to be carried up and down the ladders and Isabelle was in a little carrier sling. We slowly progressed to a point where Isabelle was able to walk down the passageways, but this is the first time that both of the kids were able to climb up the ladders themselves. They were a little more weary of going down the ladders on their own, but they were able to do it with a little help! Oh my, how times have changed!
Ian was giving us a lesson on how the arresting gear cables work to catch the planes on the flight deck. Thank you Andrea for the Aircraft Carrier video!

If you look closely, you will see the giant "71" on the end of the flight deck!

Here are the kiddos crawling into David's spacious and luxurious rack! If the kids were this cramped in it, you can imagine what it must feel like for David to crawl into bed on the ship! I don't think he is going to miss that much!
And finally, we left the ship and took one final picture of David with the kids. This picture reminds me so clearly of the picture I took of David holding the kids when we were saying goodbye to him before deployment nearly 3 years ago. Ian was three and Isabelle was almost one. It is amazing how time flies by!
We filled the rest of our week spending time with friends as much as possible! The weather was so hot and miserable, the only way to make it tolerable outside was to play in the water! So that is what we did! At our house...
and at theirs! We made the rounds, said our goodbyes and we were able to meet up with Andrea for lunch!
It was so nice to spend that time with you, Miss Andrea! We can't wait to see you again!
After our tearful goodbyes, we got to spend one last night in Virginia with friends and we got on the road to South Carolina the next morning! You might feel like I have left out some key things, but the whole part about the movers and packers and how they showed up late and worked at the pace of a turtle and lost stuff and broke stuff, well, I am trying to forget it and find the positives in my life! So, really, it was much more important to see our friends, and have fun together before we left then to dwell on all of that. What I will say about that, is that I am glad it is over. Well, kinda...other than the open claim we have with them for the damage and lost stuff! But, mostly, it is over!
The day after we arrived in South Carolina, we closed on our house and immediately started painting and planting and making it our own. I will do my best to get some pictures taken today so that you can see the progress so far, as long as you promise not to judge or criticize! It is a work in progress and I am sure there will be plenty of pictures along the way!
Stay tuned...