Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What A Year!

What a year this has been!!

Nicole starts taking cake decorating classes
The Pickle Family blog is introduced to the world (yeah, I know. Monumental, right??)
Phil spends a week in Virginia trying for a job at a small boat unit
We take orders to an HSV ship and are certain that's where we'll be heading in June
Josh turns 4 and starts writing letters all on his own
Nicole’s Mom and Dad visit. Phil has to get stitches from slicing open his hand
New drywall on the basement ceiling, new kitchen faucet, rip out carpet in living room
Josh starts soccer for the first time
We pay to have the hardwood refinished downstairs
We buy the supplies to start the siding on the garage
Phil breaks his foot playing basketball (the same day as we were doing the one above)
Nicole completes all 4 Wilton decorating classes
Find out our orders to the ship have been canceled and we’re back to square 1
Josh starts reading (before he's even 4 1/2)
Accept orders to Riverine Squadron 1... With much fear and trepidation!
Siding project officially starts
Jeremiah says his first word: cake! (yeah, that's my fault)
Phil gets his cast off- finally!
Dryer breaks and has to be replaced
Josh’s first soccer season wraps up
We finally get around to replacing the refrigerator that has leaked now for 2 years
Phil’s Aunt Verna comes for a visit
Nicole teaches her first Wilton course
Phil starts two college classes
We finally list the house for sale
Nicole makes her first wedding cake
Jeremiah's big birthday party
Trip to California complete with a few days in Disneyland (where Jeremiah turns 2)
Get news of an offer on the house while we’re in the park and eventually accept
Have friends come spend days helping put up the siding and remove an old oil tank
Close on selling the house on the 30th
Phil leaves just a couple days into this month for school in Mississippi
Halfway through the month the movers come and pack up everything over 4 days
Nicole’s mom flies out and we make a week-long road trip from Chicago to Virginia Beach
Nicole and the boys stay with friends Jim and Cheryl
A whirlwind of house hunting for Nicole and the boys
Phil graduates from his first school
Spend Halloween trick-or-treating with friends
Phil arrives in Virginia Beach
Spend this month between a couple of friends’ houses
Close on the house on the 21st
Move in and celebrate Thanksgiving in our new home
Set up the new house
Gratefully celebrate the holidays together

Overall, we have so much be to grateful for this year! Circumstances beyond our control changed so many times it was hard to know what to do, but fortunately Someone else was looking out for us, and everything worked out better then we could have ever planned for!
When Phil tried out for that small boats job in January, he was so disappointed when he didn't get it. Now looking back, he's so glad he didn't! He would not have even known about this job with the Riverines he had.
We weren't going to accept the offer on the house at first, assuming Phil would be in schools for months so we wouldn't be able to be together anyway. Long after we closed on the house, we found out there would be a large gap between his schools, so we'd be able to spend the holidays together since the boys and I were already in Virginia Beach (which wouldn't have been possible if we were still waiting for the house to close).
So with all that said, Happy New Year this year! May God be as present in your life this year as He was in ours in 2008.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Getting Ready to Leave Again

The Christmas decorations aren't even down yet and Phil is packing up to leave. We do have a few days left and are trying to make the most of them. Hope everyone has a great New Years tomorrow!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

This was a good Christmas for us. No money coming out our ears, but enough to get us by. The boys got more then they could have ever wanted and Phil and I got a few fun things as well. We were able to find a church with a candlelight service last night and were even visited by Santa while we were sleeping (he must have received our forwarding address notice).
Even with all of that, this time of year tends to make me homesick. I lived 21 years of my life in the same house, following the same traditions and then I went crazy enough for a guy to follow him all over the world. I've found that my homesick-ness now is not just limited to northern California, where I'm from, but also includes all the places we've lived. I miss driving through downtown Gaeta and seeing the Auguri sign lit up above the street. I miss massive fireworks all around the Gulf of Gaeta on New Years at midnight. This year I really miss snow and really cold weather that makes you want to stay inside and cuddle up on the couch with cocoa and a good movie (in some cases even a bad one will work). I miss the smell of our old house and the friends we left behind. I miss all those things just as much as I miss the high school Christmas concert where all alumni are invited to join in the Hallelujah Chorus or how the air feels through my open window on the way to Grandma's house on Christmas morning. When I agreed to this life I didn't realize I was agreeing to a life full of missing. We've tried to learn how to "miss" well by staying in touch a reminiscing, but this time of year seems to bring to the front of my mind all of those things all over again.
And yet here we've started yet another chapter of our life together. Each chapter has had a bit of a rough start unique to the circumstances surrounding it but we're getting through the adjustments and all the missing just fine. I'm sure someday we'll be missing this place just as much as the others. In the mean time, we wanted to let all of our loved ones from all the different places in our life know that we miss you terribly and hope you had a really great Christmas this year.
Merry Christmas, everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cake Wrecks

Here's an admission to my cake-y geekiness.
Tomorrow is Christmas eve, so if I'm blogging at all, should it not be about something Christmas-related? Probably, but it's not.
I can't stop laughing out loud (making Phil question my sanity) reading this other blog. It's all about failed cakes. Miserably failed. Monumentally miserable failures. It's hilarious! No, I'm not being mean-spirited to others trying to get into cake decorating or anything like that. Just look and you'll see.
Tomorrow will start the festivities for Christmas for us. We visited the boardwalk here in Virginia Beach tonight to drive through a whole row of lights that the boys really enjoyed. I'll be baking a few things tomorrow and we found a local candlelight service to go to. Even with all of that, Phil and I are dying with excitement this year for Christmas morning. Hopefully we can wait just one more day!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Cookies

It's that time of year again! One of my favorite Christmastime traditions from growing up is making cookies. Making a lot of them! If I remember correctly, one year we started just after Halloween. We would make hundreds of these little things, package them all up and freeze them. In the weeks coming up to Christmas, as they were needed, we'd pull a few out of each box and arrange them on a tray. Not making Christmas cookies ranks right up there with not having a Christmas tree.
The boys are big fans of this tradition, of course, and I love sharing it with them. Tonight we got out all my cookie books and talked about how some of these belonged to Nana and that's what those little notes are from. They had a great time looking at pictures and even got to choose which ones we'd make tonight before bed.
If you want to see the cookies we made tonight, I put the recipe on my other blog:

With some cookies in the freezer and a few more coming out of the oven, it's beginning to feel a little more like a normal Christmas for us.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Big Red Guy

Christmas is coming... whether we're ready or not. Currently we have friends with us who are waiting to move into their house here as well. There are still boxes to go through and projects around the house that need to be tended to. Most of all, there's no snow outside! I know. I grew up in northern California. I'm the last person who should expect snow to go with the Christmas season, but this year the lack of snow is definitely making it hard to sense that Christmas will be here soon. The boys haven't been nearly as affected, though. They're so excited and are counting down everyday! Hope everyone is feeling in the spirit of the season this year!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Heroes at Home

This year we found out about a program Sears was doing called Heroes at Home. Anyone in the military could sign up for this program. They collected contributions and are dividing them among the people who registered. I just happened to find out about it through this commands family readiness group.

The other day I opened email and found out how much will be on our gift card once we receive it. Suffice to say, it more then we expected! Then I just received another email from them letting us know they're going to give us all another gift card with money on it for Christmas decorations as well. Overall, I guess I just had brag on Sears a bit and let you all know what a great thing they were doing for us military families.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Frustrations of the Stay at Home Mom

Nothing novel here. Women all over the country go through this every single day. It's hard to feel motivated when there are no pressing deadlines for things. The work is never-ending. As soon as the laundry is finished, there is more being soiled. When I take the dishes out of the dishwasher, there are more ready to be loaded. The house could be immaculate, but two minutes later there will be some sort of mess, be it macaroni and cheese or boogers. I could busy myself all day and the house may still look like a mess when Phil comes home. If maintaining the house weren't enough, lately there is still the business of setting up our home to tend to.
Most mornings I miss having a job. I miss having the best babysitter around to watch the boys so I didn't have to worry about them for a few hours each day. I miss feeling like life had a purpose other then changing poopie diapers and feeding children who lately have been hungry again 2 seconds after they finished eating.
I know in theory that this work I'm doing here is some of the most important work of my entire life, but it's hard to keep that in perspective when Jeremiah has broken the 4th thing of the day that he wasn't supposed to have in the first place and Josh is asking again for the thing I'm not quite ready to get for him. Someday I'll have a job again... and maybe even finish college. For now it is back to the daily grind, trying to do my work for Father more then anything else and believing that this, too, is part of the Grand purpose for my life.

And don't just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you'll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you're serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible.
Colossians 3:22-25, The Message

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Decking the Halls

We got a Christmas tree up today so the boys had a really good time putting on the ornaments and just helping overall. Jeremiah had a hard time with the hook idea, but mastered all the ones with a loop.
Josh is much more coordinated at it all this year, which makes it much more fun. He's starting to understand that some of these were from when he was a baby and all.
Now that we're feeling a bit more settled, it is starting to feel more like Christmas is on the way. No snow but people are starting to put out lights, so it's reminding me more of Christmases growing up.