Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Eve

I don't know what it is about Christmas Eve night that has such significance for me. Doing the same thing year after year has an affect on a person, I suppose. Every year we had a candlelight service.

Something about coming together as a church family to start off such a major holiday... drawing the focus in on where it belongs. It's about Jesus and what he's done before it's about Santa and what he might bring.

Whatever it is that makes it feel so special to me, I love being able to pass this along to the boys. This year, I'm especially grateful we were able to celebrate with a church that is quickly becoming a real family for us here. It feels like it took a long time after this move to find it, but we've finally found the right one for us.

So now that Christmas is behind us and we're looking toward the beginning of a new year, I just wanted to take time to verbalize a thank you to God that we've found a place that feels like home.
Hope you all had a great Christmas and find much to look forward to in this new year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas "Portraits"

We wanted to take a nice picture of the 4 of us for our family this year. A few problems prevented that. Phil has been gone... a lot. He's finally home on leave and who really wants to go jump into taking pictures? Certainly not us! That and we're not huge portrait studio people. We never have been. They're expensive and impersonal and just stressful all around! I've gotten a bit better at the photography thing over the years, so armed with a tripod and a self timer mode on the camera, we hit the Botanical Gardens in Norfolk (at the complete wrong time of year, I realize) to see what we could come up with. I hope you enjoy our favorites.

I told Phil this picture reminds me of the I Spy books I do with the boys.


In case I don't blog before, Merry Christmas, everyone!

Joshua's Winter Celebration

Phil is officially on leave so I was able to go to Joshua's "Winter Celebration" (aka Christmas party) on his last day of school before vacation. He was so excited to see me there. Probably not as excited as I was to see him, though.

These are a few of the kids from his class. The one directly to the left of Joshua is a little girl that he is very fond of. Just last week I had a visit from this little girl's mom. She informed me that Joshua had kissed her daughter on the mouth. She was very nice about it, but thought I should know. When Josh came home from school and I asked him he told me the whole thing. He even told her he's going to marry her!
We had the necessary conversation about appropriate ages for marriage and no kissing and all that. He cried but has completely gotten over it now. He and Julie are still buds in the class. Sometimes I wish adults were that easy...

I know I'm completely biased, but is he not the cutest Kindergartener around?? Seriously. Marshmallow snowman. He even put the raisins on for buttons.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

My Favorite Guest Blogger Ever!

     Here we are, an officially unofficial post from the Dad/Husband. This Blog has been going for quite some time, I know, but something happened just the other day that I figure would be best served as a confession from myself than through Nicole. As the majority of you know that know us personally or who follow on from a distance, my job has had me away from home a lot recently and for some time for that matter. Well, I am currently on my leave period from work for 2 weeks as of this past Friday. Yesterday, Saturday morning, we had a birthday party to attend for the son of some friends of ours that we've known since we were in Italy.
Turns out said party was at a local bowling alley and turned out to be quite fun.
       Enter the confession... So Joshua's name pops up on the monitor as being the next bowler up and I'm standing there looking around trying to find him. In the mean time, up steps this little boy with his back to me, grabs a bowling ball and starts toward the lane. I literally was about to reach out and stop him when it hit me that it was Joshua. As mushy as it sounds, my heart sank right there. Yeah, I've been away that much this year that it apparently takes a second to recognize my oldest son. I do enjoy my job, do not mistake that. I don't even terribly dislike the regular side of the Navy all that much. But for those of you that do not know what it's like to have to be away, or to have your Spouse away, or are even numb and indifferent to such a demand that the military requires (and yes, other civilian jobs as well), then from one of the ones that has to be away, it is hard! I do not regret serving and doing my part which requires that I leave my family behind in my very capable wife's hands, but that does not change the fact that it is difficult to be away not only from your Spouse and the “quality time” there, but also your kids. I do not always realize just how much I miss them until I'm home and take the moments to grab them up and hold them and tell them how much I love and miss them.
    Not too sure where I was headed with this other than to put this little story out there, but I hope that it can at least shine a slight glimmer on the other side with the one who has to be away. Life is hard, yes, work some times is difficult, yes, and it's not always easy have to hear and deal with the fact that your little ones are acting up in your absence, but I know that doing what I do is worth it for them. And with any sappy life lessons spiel, I leave you reading this with the good 'ole mantra of do not take for granted the time you have with your families. Yes, part of the Season is to take time and reflect and enjoy the time that you have with loved ones both friends and family, but what I'm talking about is far beyond that. Seriously take time to reflect on how much your family and particularly your kids mean to you and how serious you are about it when you comment things like doing anything for them. Beyond the gifts, beyond the stereotypical facade of the Holiday's of “you mean so much to me”, really take time and mean it. Really take a few moments within the next week or months and spend some time with those you hold closest in your hearts.
    Eh, and with that, not to be a Scrooge or anything, but I've got no other way at the moment to end this other than to say, Phil/ Out.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Today we went to a friends birthday party at a bowling alley. We haven't taken the boys before so it was a lot of fun.
Bowling has numbers involved so it didn't take much for him to fall in love.

As long as Jeremiah knocked one pin down each time his ball went down the lane he was good. He even got a spare!

Jeremiah has become a fan now of taking pictures with Mommy. Yes, I do realize that's completely my fault. I can live with that.
Happy Birthday, Tyler! Hope you had as great a time at your party as we did!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My Date with Jeremiah

Jeremiah has been going to storytime at the library since shortly after Joshua started school once a week. Since they don't have storytime during the holidays, we found something a little special to do. Pre-K Art Time at the Contemporary Art Center. We got there early and found some fun things to look at and do even though it was FREEZING!

Then there was King Neptune. I have been wanting to go see him since we got here. He's huge!

There's a park right there too, even though we only stayed a few minutes.

Finally! It was time for his class. He was definitely torn between excitement for this art thing (he loves to paint) and worry that he wouldn't like it.

He liked it. Worry for nothing! We drew and pasted and stickered and looked at some of the art in their current exhibit. What a fun program.

Jeremiah remembered this from last time. He went looking for it! Asked if I could take his picture even!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I Won a Giveaway!

I know! This never happens to me. I found out I won a few days ago (shocked and amazed even then!) Now this morning when I took Josh out to the school bus we found a box outside.You wouldn't believe what was inside! It was awesome! Here's the website I follow that I won this from:

You can see exactly what I won on that website. That's Jeremiah and me, by the way. Right now I'm off to the post office, but later today... it's all about the cookies and the new toys!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Getting Caught Up

Alright. I'm determined to catch you up on pictures tonight. Here we go! This is before we left North Carolina. This ornament we made when Josh wasn't even 2 yet. It was going on my sister-in-law's tree. I just had to take a moment because apparently I like to torture myself.
In the one day we had back in town before Phil had to leave again we were able to find a tree and get it all set up. Not really any great pictures of this event this year, but we did enjoy doing it as a family, even though there is no real photographic evidence.
Jeremiah has started to take after Josh in his interest in our camera. I think this is the first picture he's taken on his own. He said he wanted to take a picture of me. So, if you were curious, this is what I look like to Jeremiah.
The FRG (family readiness group) had a Christmas party and do you know who happened to show up? Santa.
I know. You're shocked.
Well, the boys kinda were! We had brought cookies to the meeting and the first thing they did upon seeing him was run to show him our cookies. It seems to them Santa and the Cookie moster must be related somehow. It's not really about the presents. It's about the cookies. Right, boys??
Sometimes it really hits you how much bigger your kids are getting. Every time I look at this picture I have one of those moments. So... we'll just keep moving along, alright?
This is at the Change of Command. At Phil's squadron his CO (Commanding Officer) moved on to a new job and a new CO came in to fill the spot. There's a whole ceremony that goes along with this. I got to go see it. The girls with me are the FRG President, Vice President, former President and my co-ombudsman. Can you tell I'm trying hard to not squat? I'm working on being proud of my height. Haven't gotten very far yet, though.
That weekend was tacky sweater Bunco at Adri's house. It was a really great time! I had never played bunco before, but now I'm sure I will again. I had a lot of fun and met some new girls in the area.
This Saturday we took the boys to "Breakfast with Santa" at Joshua's school. Santa rode in on a fire truck, which is very cool, however we didn't actually go talk to him because not only did we wait in line for a good half hour for an event we bought a ticket for weeks ago, but there was an equally long line to talk to Santa. According to my records Santa already knows loud and clear what both boys want. Josh says, "A wii", and Jeremiah, "a big box of everything!" Not sure how we'll accomplish the latter of those requests, but we're trying. We got to see Santa from a distance anyway. Josh and Jeremiah really enjoyed the cocoa. Can you tell? I think it's the marshmallows.

So I'm off to bed for the night. Phil is leaving in the morning again. Leave (or time off) is coming soon. I can hear it calling already!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Thanksgiving... In Reverse

Yes, I'm still catching up and totally added my pictures on here backwards so here is a look at our Thanksgiving from end to beginning!
Uncle Adam carving the turkey.
Phil and Adam worked on frying a turkey breast. Boy, was it good!
We took a picture for Nana and Papa. I always miss them so much on Thanksgiving. I know they miss us too and just wanted to let them know we were thinking about them.
I have no idea what Josh is doing. They were playing ring around the rosie, though. Somedays I think Josh is either going to be the class genius or the class clown. Not sure which yet.
I took a walk with the kids (that were awake) to appreciate the nice weather we had that day. They collected the leaves and "flowers" (read: dandelions) they found.

Phil and his Dad, Paul, setting up the fryer.
Josh would have been content to spent the entire weekend right here. The girls have a game cube and Josh was completely enthralled!
Jeremiah chatting with Auntie Dana over some cheese and sausage. It's a good place to be.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Driving to North Carolina

We've made this long drive down to Phil's family in North Carolina several times now. The scenery is really nice. It was really great this time of year too. I didn't have a lot of pressing things to take care of on this ride so I played a bit with our camera. I know it's all just landscape shots, but I really like how some of these turned out!
Cotton! I'm pretty sure I've never seen it actually growing on a plant like this. Very cool.

The ride home was much less fun. Most of it was in the dark.