Tuesday, September 11, 2012

then and now

Eleven years ago, I was checking out at Express. They were running a huge sale, had opened early and I had stopped there after spending the night at my friends. I bought two things. A plaid skirt and a pair of leather pants. For those of you who know me now you find leather pants to be in the same unbelievable category as yellow-blonde hair that was straight and halfway down my back. But yes, leather pants and a plaid maxi skirt were my purchase for the day. And I was excited about rocking the pants. My total was $211 and some odd change. I was swiping my debit card when another girl came out of the backroom crying. Hysterically crying. Transaction completed. I found out about the first tower. And then the second. And I stood there with the stupid leather pants and the now hysterical girl, dumbstruck. Thinking surely someone this hysterical could not know what she was talking about. No one accidentally flies airplanes into buildings.

And I got out of that store as fast as I could and found a TV and then I saw it. But they weren't little airplanes. They were jets. And the smoke and the fire was enormous. Little did I know how much I would see those two burning buildings that day. From every angle, from every news station. That I would actually later see the plane hit the tower. Again and again and again. Until I was almost numb from the shock. But I started driving. And trying to call my mom. And my brother. I was driving when the first tower fell. And still driving when the second came down.. And I called my friend, who was also sleeping in on her one day off and told her to turn on the TV and see if what I was hearing on the radio was really true. And it was. And we sat and watched the news forever.

And in New York, there was a soldier who watched it live on television, on a base. A soldier that was supposed to get out of the army and move home. Maybe get a job, get meet somebody and get married. In Oklahoma. And then those planes hit. And so he stayed. In New York. And was deployed with the first units that were sent over. And he was sent again and when he came back, again, I met that soldier and six months later I married him. And a year later, when he had a baby that was six weeks old, back he went..

This morning, at our school we held a small program to honor the lives of those lost and to support those continuing to fight for our freedom. To honor my sweet, humble and dedicated husband. Who has been on more deployments in eleven years than I like to say realize. I think of 9/11 more than most because, well, it affects our daily life. It has affected our daily life for the passed 9.5 years. This one act of horror made Jason's and I's paths cross. And while I am shocked and upset every year when I remember, I am also forever grateful. For the kind and humble and selfless man that I call my husband. For the greatest love.

Tonight I drove home with Isabella from dropping off Amelia at dance and we passed a local fire station. Two of the engines had ladders completely raised and crossed so that all cars had to pass under them as they drove. Bella said, mama look at the fireman! They remember too. Then she was quiet. And said, did you know that bad men flew airplanes into buildings mama? And people died. A lot of people died mama.

And I was quiet and for the first time today, at 3:45, I cried. It was longer than I have ever made it without crying on this day. And I certainly didn't think this would be the year I made it until the afternoon with dry eyes. I explained to Bella about the attacks. I explained about the firemen that ran, literally ran, into burning buildings to bring people out. And I explained what is her reality everyday.. that her daddy is away protecting us from men that fly airplanes into buildings. And soldiers have to keep going to keep fighting and keep going and it's a never ending job. It's always somebody's Daddy, somebody's job.

So we just keep remembering. We just keep praying. For peace. For freedom.

Until they all come home.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

a random post

1. I'm not sure how much time I have for blogging. I know, I know. I'm doing my best to get from here to there and everywhere.

2. We are back in school - Praise the Lord - and loving it.

3. Fall schedule is in full effect and I'm not quite sure what I was thinking when I signed up for all these classes. If you need me you're literally going to have to catch me until November.

4. Today I went grocery shopping and my cart was kidnapped when I leaned over to inspect some fruit. Really? Who walks off without checking the shopping cart you're pushing. I had to search the store for 5 minutes chasing Mr. Speed Shopper who was 4 aisles over.

5. We played three back to back soccer games today. Our typical Saturday :) The last one entirely in the rain. It totally reminded me of my running days.

6. Only two teams stuck it out on the upper fields, the rest called their games and literally ran for it. I'm not sure if we are just that die hard of soccer parents and grandparents or if we all believe what I grew up hearing "it's just rain, you're not going to melt"

7. Will scored three goals. I might sprinkle him with water every game.

8. Amelia has adjusted seamlessly to kindergarten. No tears, no drama. It's like she has gone her entire life. Now if I could just get that kid to read all would be well :)

9. Bella takes a big test every week. This week we practiced spelling words every day. On the third day, Bella said "I am tired of practicing these words all the time. You make me do this every single day." Second grade is harder than the previous two. Third grade scares me.

10. Amelia finally stood her ground with her little brother today. He wanted the beloved Bear Bear at bedtime and she said "No". He cried, she still said "no". She never, ever tells that kid no. He went to bed bawling and she felt terrible. I could tell she conflicted on what to actually do. Give away her bear or let Drew cry. I had to tell her that it's okay to sometimes look out for yourself. And this was one of those times..

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

ten on tuesday

1. Will went to play with his girl Addie on Sunday. For hours. When he got home he told me everything they did and how they are best friends. Forever.

2. My memory is ridiculous. I know a lot of people don't know this but I remember things and details from 1997 (and before) like it happened yesterday. If I don't remember something its because I really wasn't paying attention.

3. The girls are the exact same way. I am thankful that they did not get their Daddy's memory who on a good day can't find his wallet or his ID card to get on post.

4. I am doing my very best to teach these kids to treat every person they come into contact with kindness. To be kind. To be respectful. Regardless of class, color of skin, whatever. And above all else to have manners. Whether the star is present or if you deliver a garbage truck. Manners..it's a lost business. People in the world are more impressed with themselves than others are..

5. I do not sell Matilda Jane clothing people. I laugh a little to myself every time I am asked this. I sit in alleys to buy it but I do not sell it.

6. Yesterday we saw a snake at the pool. Finally. I knew deep down the day would come and BAM! Snake at the pool.

7. You all know that I hate a snake. And yet I remained calm. And requested a hoe to kill the snake. No hoe. Not even a broom.

8. Thankful for the answered prayer of our new children's minister - Miss Tracey!! Such a blessing to us all. We are thrilled and excited to see what God has in store for this awesome lady..

9. Drew turns three Saturday. Where has the time gone? I can't believe it..

10. I am in search of a key cake for his birthday. Yes, you read that right. A cake shaped like car keys. Have mercy..

Thursday, July 5, 2012

on being fine

We have made it to the one month mark. Finally. Praise the Lord. It is minuscule in the long term of this deployment but also huge.

I feel like we are maybe just maybe over the crying all the time stage. That we will be able to go to bed without crying every night.

That is if we ever actually make it to bed on any given day. Bed time around here is the hardest, most dreaded part of my day.

I am so close and yet so far. The end is in sight and yet it takes me forever to get there.

What used to take 15 minutes now takes over an hour. Bible story, prayers, bathroom routine. Tucking in. Times four. Except two kids repeatedly get out of bed. Over and over and over again.

Amelia cries every single night if I am not on the couch if she opens her bedroom door to check. I can't take out the trash, run out to my car for a forgotten cell phone, I am chained to the couch. She is terrified of being left behind.

So I sit. Reading, watching TV. Not doing laundry.

In the middle of the night Drew and Amelia wake up. Never at the same time. Throughout the night. I am like a hibernating bear.. do not wake me up unless there is blood or vomit or asthma.

There is never blood or vomit or asthma. Jason always did night time wake ups.

Yes, I really do get five hours of sleep. Combined sleep. Its like two newborn babies that walk and cry and repeatedly walking up steps all night.

Then Will wakes up for the day "starving" when the sun comes up. Always when the sun comes up..

One month down and so many more to go..

There are so many people to thank, I don't even know where to start. My parents, Tracey, Mike, Joey and Sammy. Theresa. My friends. You keep us going and I love you all.

Some of you understand that I just don't want to talk about this every.single.time. I see you. And I love you for that..

Others don't understand that I can't talk about it. So you keep asking. And I love you for your concern but I just can't talk about it.

You don't know that when I hear the words "I'm sorry" over and over and over again, I want to crawl out of my own skin because I'm so tired of hearing those words.

That for the first time ever, I can almost understand what it is like for someone that has lost someone they love. They hear over and over again "I'm sorry. What can I do?"

Nothing. There is nothing anyone can do and while "I'm sorry" is heartfelt it is claustrophobic.

I really do not know where Jason is. I don't talk to him every single day. Communication absolutely is terrible this time around. Terrible..

I have spoken to my husband 2 times for 15 minutes in 1 month. My emails get kicked back. Communication is terrible.

I can't explain this to you and hear "I'm sorry". I just don't want to talk about it.

I just want our lives to be normal.

I do not want to see pity in your eyes when you look at me.

I don't want my kids to have to hear about it every day. We are living it we can't keep talking about it too.

I am doing my best to feel normal when a huge, huge piece of me is missing.

Every move I make right now, I make for four little people.

That I cannot do all that I usually do. I struggle to find time to do what I am actually doing.

So that we will be able to walk in a store and see a soldier and not bawl our eyes out.

We will be able to go to our first day of kindergarten without our Daddy and it won't be a big deal..

I convince Will that peeing in the woods when there is no bathroom available is what soldiers do. Maybe a stretch but whatever..

We will come out of this still proud and patriotic in a country, that is, well not..

So that we will all sleep.

That this deployment is enough. That this will finally be enough. That it will be someone else's turn finally..

I wish that when you heard me say "I am fine." You would know that it's a fight to get to "fine" most days. That I'm not falling apart, I haven't lost my mind yet and that fine is good.

I don't expect to surpass fine given our current situation. I see "fine" as passing the course. And right now, I'm just happy to not be failing.

ten on tuesday

1. We have made it to July. Praise the Lord.

2. Bella attended her first swim party this week with church. She has been waiting to go for two years, since Halle and Naomi used to tell her about it. She rode the bus to the big pool and went to CiCis for pizza all by herself, with friends from church. She was so excited.

3. Amelia was not so excited about Bella's swimming experience. Can we say jealous pot? She is now counting down until it is her turn. In two years :)

4. Thank goodness Will does not have the same competitive streak these girls have.
He prefers to give me heart attacks by climbing on and jumping off of furniture. No drama with Will.

5. The past few days it has been a pleasant 108 degrees. Yes you read that right. ONE HUNDRED EIGHT DEGREES. Who is jealous??

6. Jason always tells me "it's not really hot until your sweat immediately evaporates when it touches the air" Well, last week I finally knew what he was talking about.

7. This week I told Drew he was a grumpy old man. He said, no, I am Drewby.

8. Chloe is here visiting this week. Will is in heaven with his two BFFs Addie and Chloe. The three muskateers are together again. I wish I could rewind the clock.

9. Swimming lessons were a huge success last week. Will is now swimming without his puddle jumper and all three of the bigger kids are working on freestyle. Drew swims with his face in the water all the time now.

10. We are scouting out a back pack for kindergarten. If you know the fashionista you know it has to be perfect.

Monday, June 25, 2012

for the love of MJC

This weekend, I traveled with two friends to good old Ft Wayne, Indiana. Home of Matilda Jane clothing. I am a little skeptical of sharing any information about MJ because I prefer they live in anonymity. They aren't sold in stores, you can't buy them online and its not mainstream. It's hard to get, I don't like that but the more people that know about it, the harder time I'm going to have..

But man do I love this little/big company that started six years ago in a town an hour away from where I grew up. In the last two years, I really haven't purchased anything else. In the beginning it was because it resells well. Now it is because, well, it's just close to my heart. It is close to my girls heart.

I worked in retail for several years before Jason and I got married. I was a store manager and always had an opinion on what little girls should dress like. Now, today, I think that image has gone down hill drastically. I don't know much but I can tell you my kids aren't wearing booty shorts and my washing machine isn't going to be coated in glitter. My girls, thanks to small miracles, have avoided knowing who Justin Beiber really is. But they can tell you who Miss Mimi is and where to get Matilda Jane. I know my days are numbered with it but I'm going to ride this wagon as long as I can. I'm going to buy from a company that gives back to the community. That builds houses for people that lost them. That periodically sends clothing, entire boxes of clothing to people "just to spread the love". I triple heart love this company and it's clothing.

So much love, that I drove 9 hours to Indiana, went to party and camped out in an alley for 11 hours, guarding the front of the line like we were holding down the Alamo, to be 3rd in line to purchase some clothing. Yes, I said purchase the clothing. They weren't giving the clothing away. I was buying it. But ohhh, it is beautiful and my girls love it. And I laughed all night and who cares if I slept 3 of 36 hours and had a perfectly good bed at a Hilton hotel? It was worth it and I will totally do it again next year with the rest of the people that completely think this is acceptable behavior like me.

My favorite part of the entire trip? I spoke to Denise several times, the first time introducing myself. I said, there are literally thousands of people here and you don't know me. Her response - to look at my name tag and say HI ERIN"
and I continued on, I live in Alabama and last year we were hit with tornados...
And she said "I remember you!! You wrote me a letter! About your friend! How is she? How is her house?"

I triple heart love this company and it's founder with the heart of gold and the friends I've made along the way. There's no one else I'd rather camp in an alley for ellie's with.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Ten on Tuesday

1. We celebrated Fathers Day with Poppy at the swimming pool Sunday. He still does the best cannon ball around.

2. So good that he tipped Drew out of the floatie he was in. I laughed so hard I cried just watching. I wish I caught it on film but I did not. It was priceless and Drew laughed the entire time.

3. The best watermelon is closest to the rhine, so says my mom. Ummm what?

No, no, NO.

I consider myself a bit of a watermelon aficionado. Taught by the world champion aficionado Marky B.. When this statement was made, immediate eye contact was made and disagreement was made all but quietly.

The best watermelon does not come closest to the rhine. It comes straight from the middle!!

4. My mom can judge a good brownie, we'll leave that to her. Bella as well. We have had brownie's twice this week and neither have come close to "the brownie's as big as your head".

5. Drew has terrible eczema behind his knees and now on the back of his neck. I mean if its not one thing its another with this poor kid :( I've tried everything and now ordered some organic goat milk lotion (I'm serious) that a friend of mine tried. Here's hoping it works.

6. Jason is building some good sandcastles and loving the 120 degree heat. What can I say he missed the camels.

7. Three weeks with no diet soda and I'm still alive. I hope to kick it for good this time people. I think I can, I think I can..

8. The real test will be when school starts back..

9. I need to do a good sugar detox in general (as do the kids) I just don't have it in me right now. That's when the whining and headaches will really start. Lead by the mama of the house for sure.

10. And probably against my better judgement I agreed to running with Sammy outside in the heat. I keep telling myself that Jason is surviving in 120 degrees, I can run in 90 degrees. But man it is hot outside. She'll eventually get too fast for me or I'll decide I really don't want to run cross country at 33 :)

because I've had enough..

So we have a neighborhood pool. A neighborhood pool that I pay $350 a year to use for three months. Not a bad price and not a price I mind paying. It was a one of my requirements when we moved actually - select a neighborhood with a pool.

And we chose this neighborhood. Because of the awesome school and the wonderful teachers and well, we liked the pool too. We had swam in it years before. But whatever...

So I come to this pool almost every day. We are water people and since there isn't a beach within driving distance every day, the pool it is. So we go. Always have. I took the kids every single day when I nannied and I take my own kids now. I don't care that there are four of them and that they were once babies, you go to the pool. If I gave birth to you, you learn to love the heat, the sun and the water. It's a right of passage and you're just lucky enough to do it in Alabama where it's 99 degrees and 75% humidity. Awesome.

Let me just say I love our neighborhood pool. It is not enormous but it gives me a chance to see people that I only see in the summer. It also gives us the opportunity to see others that, well, maybe we don't want to see. There's a certain behavior that's accepted and understood at the pool and certain behavior that, well, is not. If you're there frequently you understand.

- Pool toys that are on lawn chairs and are in bags are not free game. You have to ask the owner to use the toy. You also do not ever get into the bag of someone you don't know to get their toys out. No, no, no.

- If a toy is in the pool and the owner, even if she's 4 asks for her toy back, you give it to them. You don't act like throw mama from the train and say "my kid is playing with that fish right now. I promise we won't take it back to Cleveland with us."
You didn't bring the fish from Cleveland with you, give the fish back to Sally.

- smoking is gross. there is nothing i hate more than smoking, except poop, but I'll get to the poop. If you want to sit in a cloud of smoke great. The rest of us don't I like my kids lungs nice and pink without the risk of lung cancer while they are swimming.

- Just a reminder of where you are - you came to the pool. With water. Kids jump into the pool. Of water. You might get wet. If you don't want to get wet go sit by an empty pool. Without water.

- Same applies to squirt guns. You might occasionally get sprayed in the face. Its okay. Just water.

- iPhones are not for swimming pools. Don't yell at the kids because you're an idiot with your six hundred dollar phone in the pool. I sit with my iPhone in a plastic zippercase 6 feet away from water. Someone would have to require be rescued with an iCloud in the water.

- Dumpsters are for Trash. Every person has two hands and two feet and can make it to the dumpsters. No garbage collectors here.

- it is not so hot outside that you need to put the lawn chair in the pool.

- Swim diapers. I can't comprehend what is so hard about swim diapers. Some people do not wear swim diapers and we shut down the pool because regular diapers break the filters. Awesome. Other people to not wear swim diapers at all and there kids poop in the pool so the pool is shut down. Awesome. SWIM DIAPERS. $9.99 for a pack people. No one wants to swim in your poop. Not awesome.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ten on Tuesday

1. We are officially two weeks into summer and I might be the only person looking forward to school starting back in the third week of August. Thank you Alabama legislature for the extra two weeks of summer.. my kids love school, I say that honestly, crave a set schedule and will literally be spinning there wheels at "home schooling" by the time this is all said and done.

2. I can honestly say I will never home school my kids. Bella asked me about it once and I laughed. I love teaching other peoples kids but I'm not teaching my own. No way, no how. In the words of their dad, You go to school.

3. Amelia is in a lovely phase where her clothes can't be tight enough. She's tying them off with rubber bands and showing her belly if I don't catch her. I feel like she's a walking advertisement for Jimmy's some days.

4. We are still recovering from VBS. My kids love a schedule and now that it is clear we're in a bit of a free fall.

5. Tomorrow begins summer Wednesdays at church. I LOVE summer Wednesdays at church and am so thankful for this program. It lets the kids think for four hours, they get to go back to "school" once a week.

6. Hmmm..no one is sleeping in their beds here. I am so tired that some mornings I wake up to run and there is someone sleeping beside me. I then have to wait until the escapee wakes up to complete my run. Over and over again. Its an every night thing. Most mornings I feel like Frank Jr Jr, I'm at 8 years now though.

7. I am searching for another cowboy and new keys. If you know us you know why.

8. Bella has decided we do not have enough children and would love a new baby. Because four isn't enough and ours are too old. Ummm-hmmm.

9. Tricare.. oh Tricare.. I didn't plan on spending my entire summer talking to you on the telephone. When I say I'm free for the summer it's not to work in your billing department pro-bono.

10. The girls are getting their haircuts today. It will be Amelia's first since her Locks of Love donation. She want's to try and grow it out again but I'm not sure that I have the patience for that again!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Ten on Tuesday - VBS edition

1. I love that my kids memorized the music CD start to finish in two days.

2. I love that we get to the same part of our drive each morning around 7AM and the kids, turn it up. "It" is our favorite song, three years running. "Say Yes to VBS" even Drew sings along now. And turn it up means, crank it. Loud. If you're behind us sorry. That truck is loud when it pulls into the church. Yea, I know.

3. I love that my kids come home every single day singing and talking about Jesus. Their hearts are filled with His love for them and they can't hear enough about Him.

4. I love seeing the light in the eyes of all the children walking through the church halls. The smiles on their faces and the laughter.

5. The workers that sacrifice and give so much to be here. So many have been out of school only days and I know that they are tired. Yet they come.. true servant hearts. I am so, so thankful for the workers.

6. I am so thankful for our ministers. This is a huge undertaking and a huge team effort. Everyone is involved and I am so thankful for their love of VBS.

7. I love the snacks. Where else can you get a brownie as big as your head? Or a graham cracker covered in icing?

8. I love that our pastor asked for a pair of goggles and wore them into the worship rally every day.

9. I love that the kids are excited about raising money for the downtown rescue mission and race to bring it to the front of church every day.

10. I love seeing the youth of our church interact with the children. These are wonderful examples for our children to look up to and they did an amazing job all week!


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Ten on Tuesday

1. It's safely made its way into the 90 degree mark every day now.. nothing better than the pool and 90 degrees. I love summer.

2. We have spent almost every day in the water since school got out last week. Yes, we do wear sunscreen. We just live outside in the summer. If we could live at the beach, we would be there.

3. Sunday, Drew did a running jump off the side of the pool sans puddle jumper into three feet of water. All four adults were watching from the lounge chairs. It happens at least one time a summer with at least one kid. Here's hoping its over for the year.

4. Swimming lessons, round four, are scheduled for end of June. The girls are pretty good swimmers. Will needs some improvement. Drew still scares the crap out of me without the puddle jumper.

5. Daddy arrived on Friday. Will wakes up every morning with a bounce in his step and a smile on his face looking for him.

6. I'm trying really, really hard not to think about how hard Sunday will be for him..

7. Will is finally going horseback riding this week. It is finally warm enough. We finally found a place that does not require lessons.

8. Expecting the begging for lessons to begin upon his return. Along with the request for his own horse..

9. Drew is still chugging along at the potty. He is also still asking for skittles after every trip. Instead of pampers I may always have to purchase skittles now.

10. We are huge Duck Dynasty watchers. I started watching and got Jason hooked. Exactly the opposite of how odd television shows usually happens. Jason on one of his TDY stays started watching the RH series.. I still watch. He quit the train wreck long ago. Anyways, back to the ducks. Jason now talks like Phil. Not kidding. Kinda creepy. Thank goodness for military regs on the razor!!

giddy up

Will has been dreaming of this day forever. Finally the weather has been warm enough and he was able to go!

HORSE BACK RIDING!! He was in love! With the horse and riding! Jason took him and he loved it! He of course can't wait to go again! He was a real cowboy!! (and yes, I used a lot of exclamation points. Total excitement around here!!)

Change the World

So proud of this ballerina and her third year of dance. She was a pro this year. Excited, calm and not a tear anywhere. Next year she will have three dances!! She can't wait!

This picture makes me laugh. This is going into the VBC at 9AM for A's morning recital. We didn't leave that day until 3PM, after B's afternoon recital. It was a looooooong day. We even ate lunch there.. with the two little brothers. Who were troopers. Maybe. Or monkeys. Bella did not arrive ready and she wasn't happy about not wearing her stage face. It was just too long to sit in all that hairspray and makeup. Mascara and eyeliner are not a seven year old's friend. It was 90 degrees that day and it was HOT. This picture makes me laugh though because Amelia face is heavy outside and onstage, it was perfect.
And Miss Bella.. this is her 5th year of dance.
This year I honestly watched her with tears in my eyes. Last year was miserable for both of us. I wasn't quite sure she would ever get on stage again. I wasn't sure she would ever love dance again. I struggled week after week to convince her to go. She begged me to let her quit. This from a child that used to want to dance every.single.day. I convinced her to try again. Just give me one more year. This year, I watched her confidence soar because of her teachers. They were amazing and really made all the difference in her experience and outlook. I watched my child's love for dance come back a little week after week.
At recital she was ready and she delivered. I am so proud of this girl.

Singing In The Rain, not the best picture but the only one in her tap costume. We had a quick change this year, only six dances total in between dances. So fast that Bella doubled her tights. She wore the tan under the pink. She wasn't so excited about this at first until I told her I used to do this when I danced. Still not convinced. Then Mrs. Scarlett talked to her, she was sold of course :) She loves that Mrs. Scarlett..so thankful for the positive influences my girls have in their lives!!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

last day of school..

first day of school..

last day of school..

It always amazes me looking at pictures of the first and last day of school, side by side. The kids grow and change so much over the year but to see it side by side, wow. We had a great year of preschool and Bella had a fantastic year of first grade. We were blessed again with wonderful, loving teachers. I couldn't have asked for better teachers for any of my children. They loved them, taught them and invested in their education and their futures. I am so thankful and so grateful that we live in the district that we do, that we attend the schools that we do and that we continue to have the amazing teachers that we do. We are so fortunate because all of our teachers have been wonderful and it truly has been a blessing..

The girls are already asking me who we have next year. We have been out of school 24 hours. Bella has been praying about her teacher since August. It's like the #1 draft pick of second grade teachers. There is no second best.. she has had her eye on the prize since the second week of school. We have had many long discussions about God's plan for each of us. I have told her that sometimes God's plan may not mach Isabella's plan or Mama's plan. Isabella's response to this is simple: You tell me that if I am ever concerned or worried or need reassurance, I should just pray and God will hear my prayers. "Pray without ceasing Mama" that's what you tell me. aye, aye, aye..not quite sure how this is going to turn out but right now I too am praying my little heart out..

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

ten things I'll miss about them on Tuesday

1. You can't sing Miss Erin but you sure are pretty.

2. Can you hear me whistling at you Miss Erin? My dad says you whistle at a pretty girl when you see one.

3. What is your middle name? Baker. Baker? I thought it would be Alexandra or Ariel or maybe Belle. Not Baker.

4. I do not love your Christmas present Miss Erin. I wanted to get you a pink princess gown. My mama made me buy you a plate. You're not gonna love a plate!

5. Why don't you have any animals at your house? Everyone needs kids and animals. I don't think your house sounds like fun anymore. I don't want to live there.

6. Look Miss Erin, this baby is coming out of my armpit!!

Hello!? Have I not been saying this all along people?! One day..just wait..

7. I brought a cake pop today Miss Erin. Did you bring me one too? No but I still love you. But I'm not sharing my cake pop.

8. Are you bringing in cupcakes for your birthday too Miss Erin? That's a lot of candles on a cupcake!

9. Your hair is curly and crunchy Miss Erin. And your face feels like lotion. I love crunchy, curly hair.

10. It's summer now. What will you do? Where will you go?

Monday, May 21, 2012

PreK graduation

Well, today was the day. We are officially on our way to big school. We will have half the kids in big school next year and half in preschool. This really was it though, potentially we could move them all out the door 1,2,3 after today if I wanted to. I don't think I will but I could..

I am so proud of Amelia. I am proud of all the kids but Amelia always amazes me with her patience and generosity towards others. I guess that's what you learn from being stuck in the middle all of the time. I love this kid and know that she will go far and do great things.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Ten on Tuesday

1. Yes, I'm back. I'm trying not to make a big deal about it. Thanks to those of you that stuck out my absence. Your patience, errr persistent emails, finally got through to me.

2. I'm not sure how much time I'll have for blogging but it was nice to be missed. I promise to do my best.

3. I'm still running. KHorstman has pushed me to three miles in 29:38. I'm not going to win an Olympic medal here but I'm just happy to still have lungs and legs, here people.

4. If you're curious an actual grandmother, my friend Ute, would literally kill me in a road race. I'm talking an actual slaughter with a defribrilator. Good thing I don't care about grandmothers beating me these days. Even better we aren't racing.

5. Four days of school left. Woohoo. Let's revisit the woohoo around the end of July..

6. Thanks to political wonders that be, we have now increased summer by an additional three weeks. I love when a good idea for one area gets to affect us all.. Tricare anyone?

7. Will recieved an all clear from the ENT last week. We found out at his visit lab results came back that he had strep throat the day of his surgery. Of course...

8. All signs of baby have finally left my house. I'm trying not to be sad about it. Diapers left Monday and the crib came out Saturday.. Only big people live here now.. trust me they let me in case I get confused.

9. Our Sammy graduates Tuesday. I'm pretty sad that she will be leaving at the end of summer for college. Jason tells me she is only 1.5 hours away but we see her a lot and we love her. We're going to miss her.

10. The pool is open! The pool is open! we haven't been to our own yet but it's open. We're too busy swimming at Nene's and our friends.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

I hope that all the mamas out there had a Happy Mother's Day. Being a mama is the hardest and most rewarding job I have ever had. But there isn't another job I would rather be doing.

I am so thankful to be their mama.. they are a blessing every day.

meeting bubba gump..

Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.
Phillipians 1:3

Seven years ago we became eligible to PCS.. If you are in the military you know that a PCS is a major pain in the butt and selecting your choice of assignments is a migraine waiting to happen. Considering we were leaving the armpit of America and I had begged, literally begged for a year and a half to leave, I didn't really care where we were going. Anywhere was better than where we were.

I had a few requests and they had to be met. They must be met.

- The town must be more up to date than 1989. I know that makes me sounds like a snot box, whatever. I came from the big city, that I loved and moved to 1989. I could settle for around 2002.. but we had to surpass the 1990s.

- We had to have a Target and a Gap. If we had nothing else, I could survive with those two stores alone to shop in and order everything else online. Nothing but walmart but 18 months nearly killed me.. Driving 90 minutes to Target? For the birds.

- No snow. I had decided that I liked southern weather and was done with the cold.

- No tornados. Spending the night before I had Bella and a few other run ins with the sirens was enough for me. We'll revisit this later..

We studied and studied, the available jobs and "the list". I was in the States, Jason from Iraq. We finally narrowed it down and made our selections. Fort Campbell, Fort Benning, Fort Campbell again and Fort Bragg.

We waited anxiously to find out where we would move next. I was so excited I couldn't stand it.
Jason checked his email over and over again waiting for the assignment to come through. It didn't. One day his telephone rang, it was the assignments officer. "What do you think about Alabama? To an aviation unit?" What.the.crap. Jason is not even a pilot. We wanted to go to Alabama about as much as we wanted to stay in Arkansas.

The Army clearly doesn't like us although I have serious doubts that they like anyone..

I remember sending out the first email to my friends letting them know I was moving to Alabama. Roll Tide. War Eagle. What in the world did that mean? Blissful ignorance in those days let me tell you. You're going to go live with Forrest Gump. Oh dear Lord.. Are you going to come back here with an accent? I doubt it..

We arrived at the end of May, I was pregnant with baby number two and sweating out of my own skin. Seriously, the humidity somedays reached 90%. Ninety percent. And the allergies. They call this death valley and they aren't kidding.. there are months I can't even breathe through my nose. Jason left four months after we arrived and I raised two babies in a place that I could honestly have taken or left. No sign of snow though and still no sign of Forrest Gump.

Jason's first boss's wife was a lovely lady who continuously went out of her way to make me feel welcome and accepted and loved by all things Army. The life of a typical army wife is just not my style, I am up to my eyeballs in preschoolers.. And I get hives at the thought of meeting new people. You can believe me or not, it is true. Still, Lydia was persistent and continued time and again to ask us to visit their church. I always smiled and said I am sure it is lovely place but we aren't looking. She kept asking. I kept saying no thank you.

When Will and Amelia were both babies, I enrolled Bella in a gymnastics class. She went once a week and loved it. After much discussion, Jason and I decided that she would benefit from starting preschool also. I asked a few ladies at gymnastics for recommendations for school. And what did they say.. Lydia's church. That I had politely and persistently declined to attend. It was as if God was speaking to me.. We visited. We visited again. I never felt unwelcome because I wasn't Baptist. For 1.5 years we visited that church before joining. I needed to know in my heart that it is where I belonged. Without a doubt. I needed to know it was my church home.

A month ago, Will had his tonsils removed. We were in the hospital for 9 hours the first day. Our pastor and my friend sat with me during the surgery. I received texts and phone calls to check on us throughout the day. Friends spent the night with us the first two nights we were home. When we went back to through the ER because of complications, I was met there by my friend and our Pastor. Visitors came every day to sit with us, visit with us, bring us food. Text messages, telephone calls and emails. Food to the house. God speaking to my heart.. this is where you belong. This is why you are here. I never would have gotten through that week without so many of you..I never would have survived that in DC. It never would have been like that anywhere else. I know that.

There are days when I question the decision that Jason and I made.. to split up our family. There are specific reasons behind our decision. Medical reasons particularly. Two kids with asthma that are in and out of the ER, with no family near us again. It was hard. We know we made the right decision but still, I somedays have my doubts. The day of Will's surgery, we found out that Jason will be deploying for the fifth time. I heard God speaking to my heart again. This is where I wanted you to be..this is your home.

There are days that are longer than others. The road is often more uphill than down. And that's okay. While sometimes I think an easier path would be nice, I know that it doesn't do anything to build character. It doesn't do anything to teach us about ourselves. We learn about who we are and how to survive when we are faced with difficult situations. I don't know everything but I know this, we are survivors.

We have been here six years now and I am so thankful for my home state. I even converted my drivers license and residency two years ago. Huge for me because I still claimed Ohio even though we left years ago. It was huge. It was me finally admitting that we would never go back like I had always thought and hoped. It is okay. I am at peace with it. It is better this way. If you ask my kids where they are from, they say Alabama. They have even on occasion said War Eagle and Roll Tide. I try not to throw up when I hear it. We are Buckeyes, driver's license or not. I hear them speak and smile. I don't care who you are, there is nothing better than a southern accent. Especially on a toddler child. It literally makes my heart smile. Last year I saw my Ohio friends for a girls weekend, I hadn't seen them in a year. We went to Nashville so I'm going to blame the fact that we were still in the south but they said "do you hear your accent?! I love it!" I most certainly did not. But oh well..I'm surrounded by it so I suppose it is only a matter of time. I think of my pastor and what he says, "I'm not from Alabama but I got here as fast as I could." I think we'll stay awhile..I'm still looking for Forrest Gump after all.