Friday, January 29, 2010

final days

To say the kids are excited about a certain someone coming home is an understatement. I'd say they are downright beside themselves. This is good and bad as we are finding that with very high highs we also experience some very low lows. With each deployment as the kids grow older, the goodbye and separation become so much harder but the anticipation of homecoming just that much sweeter.

There is a big winter storm brewing for the weekend so it looks like we are going to be spending some quality time together in the house. There just might be welcome home signs plastered across every available surface by the time the freezing rain stops (it's that or four hundred rounds of Uno).
I'm going to sign off of my little space here for a short while but you can bet that the next time you see me, it will be in a photo with my whole, entire family.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

wouldn't you know it

She did it. She walked.
She was standing next to me at the couch and decided she wanted to be by the coffee table and three whole steps later, there she was. Ta-daaa!
We were at a friends house and I am so glad since a moment like that is meant to be shared. I told Shawn about it promising him that I tried so hard to make her wait. It's ok though, we are excited for our baby girl (and a bit sad to see her becoming a little less baby).
So now my task is to let her walk, let her walk, let her walk! Let's see if she can walk to daddy in a few days!

Monday, January 25, 2010

so close...

She wants to walk so very badly but I won't let her. I may have to start physically restraining her but I won't let her. Not yet. Just a few days more and I promise I'll release my hold. She can walk all she wants then...right into her daddy's waiting arms.

Friday, January 22, 2010

trying to believe it

Just a little while ago I got the call. There is an official homecoming date (which could and probably will change as it gets closer but at least we are at the point of setting dates!)
Shawn will be home in less than two weeks.
I took Tristan on a little date the other night to the squadron's "return and reunion" brief. They had some special projects for the kids while the wives talked emotions and paychecks and three a.m. homecomings and then we made welcome home signs. Tristan ate cookies while I drew letters and then I had cookies while I watched him decorate those letters with "camo stuff". Best welcome home sign ever.
This early homecoming has really thrown us for a loop. It's messing with the whole seven emotional stages of deployment or whatever it's called (I'm not kidding -Google it!) I realized that's why I'm having trouble working up the motivation to clean my house or plan meals or find someone to jump start Shawn's dead car battery. My brain isn't there yet. I guess part of me still refuses to believe he is actually coming home only three months after leaving.
But we got that call today so it doesn't matter if I get my brain wrapped around it or not. He's really coming home and we will all have our arms wrapped around him very soon. Surely my brain will catch up then.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

our drop in the bucket

*I am repeating Tuesday's post as a reminder to shop at Kojo today!*

My friend
Jordan and her sister over at Kojo Designs are hosting a fund raiser this Thursday, January 21st. They will be donating 100% of their earnings from sales to organizations helping in Haiti. You can read more about it on their blog here. It looks like they are getting some other Etsy shops on board as well which is awesome. These ladies create some beautiful things (remember those fun rehearsal dinner invites I showed you?) The beauty is clearly coming straight from their hearts. Let's help them fill that bucket!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

remains of a day

The morning was rocky, marked by grumbling and complaining, disobedience and bad attitudes...and the kids weren't exactly angels either. We struggled and fought our way through the hours but it was a losing battle. We all needed to escape.

The chill in the air was instantly reviving. The seagulls made us smile, standing there among shells that glittered in the setting sunlight. The waves washed our feet as they carried away the wreckage of our day, leaving us whole, healed.
We crawled back into the car, sandy and laughing and cold. We thanked God together for creating a world so full of color and beauty. We thanked Him for salvaging this day.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

our drop in the bucket

My friend Jordan and her sister over at Kojo Designs are hosting a fund raiser this Thursday, January 21st. They will be donating 100% of their earnings from sales to organizations helping in Haiti. You can read more about it on their blog here. It looks like they are getting some other Etsy shops on board as well which is awesome. These ladies create some beautiful things (remember those fun rehearsal dinner invites I showed you?) The beauty is clearly coming straight from their hearts.

Monday, January 18, 2010

carolina winter

Today I didn't have to mind so much that Kate refuses to keep anything on her feet.

Tristan and Kenna played all afternoon in shorts, snow boots and sunshine.

It can be (and has been) so cold here. Thankfully, we can always count on
at least a handful of winter days like this to make us love where we live.

Friday, January 15, 2010

the wedding

The historic and supposedly haunted Hotel Galvez in Galveston, Texas...

The socks...

The (finally!) kiss...

The little man with the laser gun. The light up toys seemed like a great idea at the time and kept all the kids at the reception very happy. Then we got in the car and found out they made noise...

The little girl at the window. A minute before this she had her fingers in the groom's cake so when she found this distraction I decided to just go with it (I didn't know Sharon was taking pictures!)...

The family...

The Days...

The end...?

Nope. Just the beginning.

The photos above of the Hotel, the Kiss, the Family and Kenna were captured by my cousin Sharon (thanks for sharing them, Sharon!)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

the rehearsal

the invitations were fabulous thanks to Jordan at kojodesigns...

the bride was barefoot and beaming...

the kids may have considered making a break for the beach...

the uncle/big brother Nate won them over with goldfish...

the parents were proud...

the father-in-law gets to take credit for setting these two up in the first place
and then won extra cool points for backing his soon-to-be son-in-law in a pre-wedding bar fight...

the bar fight happened because Nathan stepped into a situation to defend a woman's honor...
the parents are still proud...

the meal was delicious and shared with much laughter and love...

the wedding was destined to be perfect...

pictures of that tomorrow Friday.

Monday, January 11, 2010

thoughts on care packages

- It is good to get the kids involved in making care packages to send Dad but you have to watch them close. Dad probably doesn't need that half-eaten pb&j or the stuffed animal that fell in the dog water bowl.
- Bare Books have found a whole world of uses in our house and now a very special one is in Dad's hands. The cover art is priceless (seriously, you have to click on the pic and take a close-up view of Darth Vader) and the pages are filled with samples of Tristan's writing practice and math problems and his very own ideas of games and activities to keep Dad busy (the kid loves to draw mazes).
- Daddy dolls stayed here with us so it was only fitting that we should send Daddy a Family Pillow.
- When Tristan was three we mailed his pacifiers to Iraq in a care package. I think Kenna would mail her baby sister to Iraq before sending away her pacifier.
- There is a really sweet man that works in our local post office. He likes to joke (like the day I walked in with six packages and he told me with a straight face that new regulations only allow one package per customer per day. Ha-ha funny man, I almost cried.) but he gives my kids lollipops and praises their good behavior (now that's a day-maker for a mom!)
- I love sending care packages. I love knowing that Shawn's hands will take out each of the items I placed in that box with my hands, and I try to fill each box with bits and pieces of home that will sustain him until he walks back through our door.
-I usually stop sending mail once I know homecoming is about a month away. It may not make it in time so instead I start putting together some kind of welcome home package with things like new toiletries and clothes that aren't green or brown.
-I will not be sending any more care packages this deployment.
-Did you catch that?
-No more.
-Because Shawn is coming home in about a month.
-For real.
-I think.
-Well, so they are saying anyway.
-It is the Marine Corps, after all. You believe it when you see it...

(Shawn's homecoming in September 2005)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

nathan & amanda

Nathan and Amanda were married in Galveston, Texas on January 2nd, 2010. The wedding was beautiful! I took their engagement photos, a lot of pictures at the rehearsal and a few at the wedding. As much as it pained me to put it away, I just couldn't juggle my kids and my camera that day (you've already seen what that leads to). I'll post more soon but for now, these are a couple of my favorites.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

one big happy growing family

One fine day not so many years ago, two people fell in love and got married and had kids. Then a couple of their kids got married so they had more kids. Then those kids had kids so they had grand kids. Then another one of their kids got married and had kids while at the same time the others were having more kids and then suddenly their last kid got married and one day those kids will have kids too!!
They are truly one big happy family.
The End.

No wait -not the end! They are still having kids!
These crazy kids will be welcoming their next kid this year! Congrats, Lisa, Brian and big brother Josiah!
To be continued.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

kenna bear turns three

Today our Kenna is three years old. I remember her birth like it was five minutes ago yet I hardly remember what life was like before she joined our family. This little peanut of a girl with her big brown eyes and beautiful smile is a constant source of laughter in our house. Over the past year I've noted a few of my favorite bits of Kenna language...
*Wascoot - swim suit
*Pasico - popsicle
*Bingurs - fingers
*Why Wookie or Wild Wookie - fishing pole (this one still baffles me too)
*Pahcorns - popcorn or corn on the cob, all the same apparently
*We-weeeee! - t.v.
*"my feets is cold!" when you tuck her into bed...her way of bringing you back to her side for a moment longer to cover up the feet she has stuck out from under the blanket
*"how 'bout dat?"
*Alligator - Not the animal but the thing you ride in a hotel. You know, the alligator that takes you to your room.
*Hoop-a-loops - this word passes for hula hoops as well as fruit loops cereal.
*Tiny Little Tough! -as in, "mommy, I want to wear my tiny little tough!" Her favorite t-shirt that says "Tiny but Tuff- USMC" which would never be taken off or washed if she was in charge. Oh how this one would love to take charge!

Kenna Bear, you are one "tiny but tuff" little girl. We marvel at your boldness, your confidence, your clever ways and silly antics. You are one sweet sister to Tristan and Kate and a true joy and delight to us all.
Today we celebrate the gift in our lives that is YOU, sweet Kenna.

Happy Birthday! love, mommy & daddy

*top photo taken by Amanda

Saturday, January 2, 2010


It's that time of year when we tend to look back at where we've been and forward at where we are going...or think we are going...or hope we are going...
Today I watched my little brother get married. As I fed Kate one item after another from my purse in a desperate attempt at keeping her quiet, I tried hard to listen closely to the words of the ceremony. Words that I know were chosen carefully for this day. I thought of the similar words spoken on my wedding day and wished so much that my groom was sitting next to me so I could squeeze his hand to say I remember. Then Kate hit me in the face with my hairbrush and I wished he was there to take her from my lap. I missed him today. But I will keep looking forward, knowing that this year will bring us a joyful homecoming, third, sixth and first birthdays, our ten year wedding anniversary and so much more.
The year lies before us like a field of fresh snow and with faith, hope and love, we will step forward to make our mark on 2010.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Romans 5:1-5
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