Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Bucket List

The last week was rough (it usually is, no matter how long the deployment) but we managed to start on our DC Bucket List. 

I drove the boys to Annapolis for coffee on a freezing, rainy day.

We also drove the GW Parkway to Great Falls on a different rainy day and hit the National Air & Space museum -Udvar-Hazy Center. 

Nothing huge, but it's a start AND we are on our way to a MUCH better week! 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Picking Up The Pieces

As a mom, I find myself always picking up: the toys, the dishes, the laundry... It comes with the territory. You get used to it and, somehow, you manage to find the humor in the day-to-day. 

What you don't get used to as a military wife is picking up the emotional pieces. I remember when John and I first got married, we moved out to San Diego and then to Japan shortly after. Half a world away, I had to pick up my own emotional pieces when he was gone 290+ days of our 14 months there. What if I wasn't meant to be a Navy Wife? Why the hell did I leave EVERYTHING and EVERYONE I knew? 

It took a lot of soul-searching to realize I was just becoming a full-fleged adult living away from anything and everything I ever knew. I picked up my pieces and moved on. 

Enter kids. 

Our first deployment post-kids wasn't terrible. I mean, I WAS pregnant with our third son (and may or may not have had an actual panic attack for the first time) while caring for two toddlers four hours away from any family. It was EMOTIONALLY exhausting. I found myself aggrivated. A lot. Not at my kids, but at the situation: 18+ months of no Daddy around had me feeling like I was a single parent. {John didn't even know Eli had learned to walk!} It's hard not to feel that way, but I was able to keep my emotions in check as realized I signed the dotted line when I married this man. The entire duty station left Turner angry and that was very hard to deal with. I picked up the pieces. 

Another deployment, another age group older. Each of the kids manifested different "symptoms" of deployment. One of the more difficult was Eli; he immediately stopped talking about John. Instead, Eli talked about his "grandfadder." John's dad is someone we never talk much about since death is hard for kids to understand. Eli, however, is a sensitive soul and understood more than we ever knew about his Grandpa. Eli completely eliminated John and talked, instead, about Jonathan. That was really hard -realizing that Eli's coping skills involved building an impeneratrable wall. I, again, picked up the pieces. 

We have moved now (again), and I feel like emotions are at a high (again). Turner is mad at me, Eli put up his wall (actually, he told our neighbor that John is dead) and Deacon is nothing short of violent at the mention of John's name. Monday evening, I picked up the pieces. Tuesday, I picked up the pieces. Wednesday, I had a big glass of wine and picked up the pieces. Thursday, I picked up the pieces. 

Today, I pick up the pieces and put them back where they belong. One day this will all be worth the time spent apart. Some times, I wonder...but in my heart I know that as hard as it is to watch my kids go through these big emotions our life is worth it.

Again, I pick up the pieces. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Derby Time!

Turner has waited his entire life (yes, really) to join Scouts. He was so happy this past September when the time had finally come for him to join our local pack! 

We've had a busy few weeks with my new business, John's schedule and then finding out deployment and our move is going to happen earlier than expected! We did make time for Turner to design and make his first ever derby car, though. 

Turner's design. He wanted a medical humvee. The next day, the handwriting
lesson involved properly spacing words...

cheese ball in the garage

John was great about letting Turner really do the work!

The finished product. Very unassuming, but it had great speed! 
The Scout was very happy with his 3rd place win! 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

School Update

Things are moving right along here at Full Sail Academy!

We did some school work immediately after returning from a trip to New Jersey just to try to get back in to the groove quickly. This week is supposed to be our week back to normal (whatever that is) but our Monday started off slow. Daddy's alarm clock mysteriously turned itself off at 5am so we all got up late! 

The big boys were very in to Legos so instead of interrupting that, Deacon and I cleaned up his room and played with cars. 

For the start of the new year, the plan is jus to continue on our current track. Turner is plugging along with Miquon (math) so instead of moving over to Singapore math like I intended, I'm going to let him stay with Miquon. I think by using that and reinforcing with fun games it's making more of an impact for a child with zero interest in math. 

Eli is fascinated with letters and sounds so I'm taking the opportunity to really dive in to this with him. He's a creative soul, so art and creating are a huge part of his day right now. 

That's all for now! This week is all about keeping it easy since I'm trying to balance the new job with this homeschool thing! 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Jumping In...To BUSINESS!

Yikes. I just said it out loud...

One of my goals for 2013 is to focus a little more. On life, on my daily tasks, being present with my kids, on my workouts and races...all of it! I had no idea that it would entail owning my own small business. 

About a month (or two?) ago a friend messaged me on Facebook. She told me about her new business venture and said she had thought of me. I thought "Yeah, right." A.) I don't do "business" B.) I'm kinda busy here C.) I'm not selling a dang thing and D.) I'm SO not having a "toy"/bag/candle or whatever else party! 

So I let it go! 

Fast forward a few weeks and I was in Arlington, VA, looking for our next home. I found our next home and as I was emailing back and forth with the current owners I noticed something. The woman's signature mentioned the same business my Facebook friend was trying to tell me about. 

Huh. That was weird...and interesting...

I email the Facebook friend back and found out about Rodan + Fields and the opportunity to become part of a very supported team. 

So I stewed on it for a few days. Could this actually work? I talked to John about it and did some research homework. With a money back guarantee, why not jump in for a bit? Wet the feet, give it a good row...

So, here I am. A stay-at-home-homeschooling-part-time-working-from-home-mom. 

Joining my team is easy and I have a feeling that it's going to be lots of fun. At least it's something all of my own and I'm quite excited about that! 

Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 In Review

2012 started off with old friends in DC. We rang in the new year old folks style (complete with early bed time by some) with the Halls. Just enough fun with three young kids. 

DC in January
We focused on school in January and February since John was busy at work. With deployment looming, his crew was busy with work-ups and all that stuff that goes along with leaving for months on end. 

A little bit of snow in February. 
Reading Night of the Moon Jellies 
We spent what little time we had together in March reading and playing together. The boys knew daddy was going to leave, but only Turner really understood what was happening. We enjoyed a quick little vacation to Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg and then it was time for daddy to lead his crew in Bahrain. 

Enjoying an indoor vacation in the winter!
Mid-March we said by for now to John for half a year. While it wasn't our first rodeo, it never gets any easier! 

The boys and their count-down chain in March
April rolled around quickly as I tried to get my bearings. We were lucky enough to spend Easter back up in DC with our friends, the Halls. For some reason, I thought it was a grand idea to wake up BEFORE the crack of dawn to go to Arlington for a sunrise service. It was beautiful, but freezing!

The boys and I in Arlington. 

Berry picking in Pungo weekly until the season was done! 
May was done and gone in a flash. Again, I had a grand idea to take the kids on a trip...alone. We went to Natural Bridge for Mother's Day and it actually ended up quite nicely! 

Natural Bridge, VA
In June we drove to New Jersey for a visit. I asked Eli several times what he wanted to do for his birthday and he kept answering "I want to go to Grandmas!" So, birthday wish granted. 
 We celebrated his fourth birthday with John's family and just spent some time visiting. 

Hanging with cousins!
Eli turned FOUR! 
July was another busy month with Deacon's second birthday. He grew so much while John was gone; it was bitter-sweet to see him turn two. 

The last day of ONE. 
One giant summer cake to celebrate with his brothers, the most important
people in his life. 
Again, in an insane state of mind, I travelled several hundred miles alone with three kids. This time we found ourselves in Florida in July. We were able to time our visit so we were able to visit with my cousin that was in from California. 

Dude time at Legoland with cousin Nelson
I trained for a finished my first Triathlon. It was a blast and I was instantly hooked! My parents hung out with the kids while I did some longer brick workouts and got to spend some time on my friend's tri bike (I later treated myself to a Felt bike). The kids spent a lot of time between all the houses down the dirt road and loved every minute. 

Building a ladder with Pop Pop
Using fun tools

Dunkles took full advantage of the back yard swing.
August was spent thoroughly investigating our back yard and just trying to pass the time until John returned. We celebrated Turner's SIXTH birthday and watched him lose some more teeth. 

Up-close and personal with a cicada shell
I'm not sure what's going on here...

Last day of 5

Another trip to DC
Beach day in the OBX with Grandma and some New Jersey family 
First day back at Homeschool Out of the Box
September was a much anticipated month! John was set to return home from deployment and Turner was excited to start Scouts...finally! He's only talked about it since he was FOUR! 

First Cub Scout meeting in September
 We finally said BUH-BYE to deployment and HELLO Daddy!!

All done with the kiss jars for this deployment
 It was a weird home-coming since we picked him up at the airport, but exciting nonetheless. 
Welcome home!  
"Hey Dad, read my sign!"
We are lucky enough to have some very generous friends and got to head off on a very quiet little vacation to Ocean City, Maryland. The kids loved it and we really had a great time not feeling obligated to run around and see everything since OC was "off season." 

The boys and I on the Ocean City boardwalk

October was still busy for John but we were able to go camping and spend some much needed time just quietly hanging out. There were a few date nights but we mostly spent time letting the boys readjust to life with dad. Deacon got his first haircut, Turner really improved in his reading and Eli received five staples to his sweet little head. It was a busy month! 


Deacon got his first hair cut

Eli at the hospital
In November we welcomed our first dog, James Ewell Brown Stuart (Jeb) to the family. No, I did not choose the name. Yes, there is some Virginia military history involved. John and I quietly celebrated our 9th anniversary and that was that. 
Tiny Jeb (he's a giant now)
December was spent making cookies, eggnog and gingerbread houses! We really looked forward to Christmas this year. The kids just enjoy the whole month and we had lots of fun decorating the hose and making crafts. For school we learned of different celebrations around the world and it was quite the hit. The boys were also baptized while we were in New Jersey visiting. It was a nice way to end the year. 

Turner, Eli & Deacon at their baptism. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas 2012

Another Christmas come and gone. I'm so thankful for a video camera, a DSLR and my smartphone. Between the three, I can capture every image, word and memory my heart desires. While I love just being in the moment and not taking pictures or recording video clips, having those digital bits to cherish later makes me happy! 
Grain free, artificial dye free gingerbread boys!
Christmas Eve, we were invited to a friend's for an open house. We have known the Brandt family for quite a few years now and are just now getting around to the same duty station for the first time since we met! It's so nice to have friends that are more like family because generosity like that always makes us feel at home, no matter where we are. 

Toby the Elf made his second annual appearance. 
After playing and eating with the Brandts, we headed home to read the Pajama Elf in new jams and scurry off to bed. We were a bit later than planned, so it was nice that The Night Before Christmas was read aloud at the open house. 

Reading The Pajama Elf. 
After the kids went to bed, Santa's elves got right to work pulling gifts from the woodwork. 

Thankfully, Turner and Eli were so excited Christmas morning that after running in to our room to tell us of the Jolly Man's arrival

Christmas morning 2012.

Deacon was obviously preoccupied! 
New bike!
Play-doh makes him happy. 
Cool Lego boards my dad made from this tutorial. 

Deacon and his car mat back pack that I made from this idea. 
Our first video game system that hasn't even been opened yet! The kids
don't even realize what it is at this point.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!