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. 

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