Saturday, February 28, 2009

Josh's Big Party

Today was Josh's party. I'm 100% certain this was a bigger deal to him then his actual birthday. We had a great time and he loved every minute.
When we were all waiting to sing the song, Joshua folded his hands and bowed his head. He said he was making his wish. What was his wish this year?? He said it was a thank you wish to Mommy for making his cake. I know!! How did a child like that come from me??
Oh and yes. That's a sparkler in the shape of a 5. How cool is that?
He actually read his birthday cards this year. What a smart guy!

Here's the close up of the cake. I've been working on it all week. Our theme was from the show Phineas and Ferb. I've put the individual episode below. On the cake is a tree, tiki torches, a fence, sandbox and Perry the platypus.
We love this show! The boys can't get enough! They were both so excited about doing a party with this theme it made all the work worth it. Each morning Josh would wake up and see one more character on the counter and get so excited! This party was so much fun all the way around!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Josh is 5!!

Josh turned 5 yesterday. I can't believe it was 5 whole years ago he was born. We had a busy day to celebrate!

This is the first year we could actually do breakfast in bed with Josh. Usually he's up long before us. What a fun treat! No, his pancakes are not on fire! It's a car candle.
He even let Jeremiah up to eat in bed together.

Other then that, we opened presents, played at Chuck E Cheese, had lunch at Pizza Hut, went to see Bolt (the movie), and had dinner at a 50's style diner. By the time we were home and done with the birthday phone calls and stories, we were all pooped!
Josh's party will be Saturday and he's sooooo excited!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Welcome Home, Daddy!

It had been two weeks since we saw Phil. Friday evening we had a box arrive that was a replacement door to our entertainment center. The glass had been knocked out but an unnamed boy <----- so I ordered the replacement. I had it mostly installed that night and the box sitting against the wall waiting to be thrown away.
Phil came in really late Friday night so the boys were already sleep. Saturday morning Phil and I voted for more sleep and less supervision and this was the result. We were awake really, but weren't ready to drag our tired selves out of bed... and the boys sounded like they were having fun playing in the living room. Not too quiet, not too loud. When we finally got up, this is what we found.
They had found the styrofoam packing and were shredding it on the brick of the fireplace. It was now in a million white little beads all over the floor... all over the house!
Lesson learned: When trying to sleep an extra 5 minutes on Saturday morning, at least turn the TV on or they will entertain themselves!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I walked into the kitchen last night shortly before bedtime to find this:

Josh, of course, wanted in on the fun we were having playing peek-a-boo under the sink.
I would have never thought to play under the sink! They sure do keep my on my toes.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Abigail and I

From some inspiration I had from Abigail Adams before, I decided to look into this woman of American history again recently. She knew far better then I how to handle long and seemingly endless periods of separation. At a time when there was no phone or internet and even letters were few and far between, Abigail and John Adams kept up a strong relationship over years of uncertainty during the American Revolution. I'm pretty sure she would laugh out loud at my struggles with adapting to being apart again. I'm working on my second book with Abigail as the subject and am deeply humbled. How could a woman ever be this strong? She spent lots of time stewarding a farm, a while in France and even had to entertain not only as the wife of the vice president but then later as the First Lady. I have been keeping this quote with me in my purse these days. It seems to snap me back into reality when I feel like my life is rough:
"She managed the family farm, coped with food shortages, and raised and educated their children by herself... She hired farm workers, wove cloth, sewed clothes, and made soap. She also concocted herbal medicines from plants in her garden and fended off British soldiers who were invading Boston homes." Barbara A Somerville
See, I told you she would laugh out loud!
It's not that I find my life all that particularly challenging. We have struggles and difficult days just like every other family in God's creation. There are some things we have to learn to adapt to that others don't, but we do it because we have to then move on. Abigail knew that for her husband to be able to help form this new little country he would have to spend some time away from home. For her, even though it had it's challenges, it was worth the sacrifice. It is for us too.
I could reflect on this woman for much longer, but for the time being, if you get the chance, do some reading about Abigail Adams. She is amazing and an inspiration with how she coped under difficult circumstances. After all, not only was she married to a President, she was also the mother to one!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Lowe's Build and Grow

We've gone to this before in Illinois, but this was our first time going here and the first time I thought Jeremiah might be old enough to do it. The boys had such a good time even though they had to wait for their turn with Mommy to help. They made little jewelry boxes with a little kit, hammer and nails. Jeremiah was especially proud of his little creation!

James 1:2-5

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Virginia Aquarium

Today we took the boys to the local aquarium. It was a great trip! They loved looking at the animals and talking about them. There's a nice nature trail between the two buildings and everything. It was a perfect activity to do with Daddy before he had to leave for the week again.

Josh and Jeremiah looking at the sea turtles

Josh brave enough to touch the underbelly of a horseshoe crab!

Taken by my favorite photographer: Josh

Being blue crabs

As a side note, I've done a cake thing or two recently that I didn't put on here. If you're curious, they're always at my cake blog.

Friday, February 6, 2009

What Phil Has Been Up To

Phil's not in this picture, but these are the guys he was with. This is a hole you're supposed to sit in for an undetermined amount of time. Notice the water.

"Used to This"

I think one of the most common (and most maddening) comments I hear from civilian women is what shortly follows the, "how do you do that kind of life?" dialogue. She usually says something to the affect of, "Oh, well I guess you must just be used to it by now." It's usually referring to some sort of hardship that is common for military spouses like moving or living without your husband for long periods of time.
Last night during the family readiness group meeting, we stopped to talk about how everyone is doing. I'm the odd ball in this group. Everyone else has had their husband deployed since October. I had mine here through the holidays and now get him every weekend. Fortunately they have still accepted me as one of their own. Even with the difference, it was amazing how much our stories resonated throughout the whole group. Stories of waking up in the middle of the night scared holding your breath because you're afraid there might be an intruder in the house (alarm systems have turned out to be only a small consolation). Eating way more food that comes out of the freezer because you have no idea what to make when it's just you. The burn out with your own children even though you love them more then anything simply because there is no one there to share the responsibility of child rearing with. Catastrophes that always seem to wait until a husband can't be there to help. Turmoil over trying to make major life decisions when you are a world apart geographically and so much more!
As I was trying to get myself to sleep again I kept thinking about the women who have said that phrase to me throughout the years. I've grown accustomed to some of this military lifestyle and have learned how to cope with most of it. I have learned that overall I'm stronger then I give myself credit for if I would just pull myself up by my bootstraps and move forward. However, I have not, nor will I ever, grow comfortable with having my one true closest best friend, lover and soul mate out of reach. I will never magically learn how to be both a Mom and a Dad to my boys. I will never be happy about the fact that we live hours and hours away from even our closest family. I will never learn to enjoy leaving friendships behind that it took me years to find and cultivate just to start all over again from scratch.
Out of all the retired military wives that I have had the pleasure of knowing, they have all told me in one way or another that you never really get used to this life. You just learn to do the best you can with the circumstances you are placed in.
So, no, I'm not "used to this," I'm just doing all I can in spite of it today.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

God Made the Winter

I know! I know! Enough pictures already! I can't help it. I just can't. Sorry!
Last week we went to a preschool pajama party that was hosted by the church we've been going to more regularly. The boys had a BLAST! They sent me this picture from the event tonight. There's another one coming up this weekend for Valentines. Oh, and the theme for the night was God Made the Winter.

Children's Museum

Yesterday we took a field trip to the closest children's museum, about a half hour away. We had a great time overall only dampened by the hordes of daycare children running a muck making it hard to do some of the things occasionally. They had about half a city bus in there for the boys to drive and play in. Well, not really drive but the imagination is a powerful muscle for a 4 year old!

Learning about pulleys
We built a lego tower taller then Joshua...
then knocked it down!
Talk about a guilty pleasure! Look at that face!
I was most impressed with this because they came up with this one their own. I feel like I'm constantly trying to make them be friends, so it was really nice to see them acting like friends on their own.... even if it did eventually result in crying by the time they reached the bottom. Some lessons learned the hard way.
Can you tell our energy was drained a little bit by this point?
This ball floated in mid-air and Jeremiah thought that was the best part!
Joshua and Jeremiah 70's style
The part they both wanted to keep coming back to was the little store. I still have no idea how Jeremiah got that drawer to open!