Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Portsmouth Adventure

For some reason our school district decided to give us 4 half days. For us that makes for half half days. Josh goes to school for about 2 hours then comes back home. Honestly, it's pretty irritating. I hope the school district has a good reason for doing it.
Either way, we've decided to make the best of it. This week we headed back to Andalo's Clubhouse before our annual membership is up next month.
Here's Joshua adding up the bill.
Jeremiah showing me what we need to get for Daddy
It was a big bill!
And what's more fun than building something up??
 Well knocking it down, of course!
I think poor Jeremiah got the brunt of that fun.

Since it was a nice day we stopped by a couple of other museums in Portsmouth that are covered by our membership. First was the Courthouse Galleries in Portsmouth that are in the same building as the Clubhouse. I didn't take any pictures since there wasn't a whole lot there and my hands were otherwise occupied helping to cut, glue and color cards for kids with cancer. Sacrifice easily made.
Next was the Lightship Portsmouth. It's a ship that was from 1916. You can only walk around one level of it, but I still found it fascinating!

 No, this is not a part of an officer's body. It's a potty... and we know that now. Good information to have, I think.
Who has the biggest room on the ship? The Captain, that's who.
This ship's job was to go out and help other ships. Unfortunately in spite of it's light, it was hit by other ships 7 times in it's life. 
I'm really glad we were able to get out a see a few things Thursday because the snow has kept us in all weekend long! I just got a call a few minutes ago saying school tomorrow will be canceled as well.  Hopefully the sun will be warm enough tomorrow to melt it off the roads so Tuesday things will be a little more back to normal!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Stay-at-Home Mom, Dreams, and Never Being Good Enough

I had dreams when I was younger. Big ones. Not the ones that pass through your imagination as you sleep. The ones that make you excited to be alive and think that one individual person can do anything if they set their mind to it. Things have changed since I have gotten older. I still have a sense that we can do much more than we settle for but my dreams seem to be on a hiatus.  I was reading Pioneer Woman the other day and something she said somewhat in passin resounded with me. She was referencing having taken over a dance studio years ago.
The only reason I decided take over the studio (which had only opened the year before) was not because it had been a dream of mine to run a ballet school. I lived 25 minutes from town, after all, and had three small children—oh, and a fourth on the way. I had no business having any dreams.
"I had no business having any dreams." That's part of what has squelched my dreaming. I have tried on several occasions to  continue on with some dreams I've had but between Phil's job being so demanding and changing constantly and the realization that raising the boys is my top priority right now, those get set aside. For me it would look more like.
I have two growing little boys and a wife to a Navy man, all who need all the love and support I can give. I have no business having any dreams.
Nowdays dreams seem to get in the way more than they inspire. There are so many other things that need to get done between laundry and homework and meals to prepare. Dreams are only a burden to my to-do list, our checkbook and my heart.
There is a possibility that all of this comes from a deep-rooted fear of mine (that I certainly don't believe is mine alone) that I could never possibly be good enough at anything I pursue. I will never be loving enough, patient enough, strong enough, fit enough, my cakes not straight enough, my house not clean enough, my pictures not clear or artistic enough, the boys' teeth not brushed enough... I could honestly go on all day. This fear is a constricting force that binds me every single day.
So what can be done, then? Do I give in and never try anything? Do I settle for being unloving, impatient, weak, flabby...?
My resolution is to write this idea from Paul on my heart and carry it with me throughout my life to remind myself that it is not about me and what I feel I can or cannot do.
I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan's angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn't think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,
   My grace is enough; it's all you need.
   My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. (2 Corinthians 12:7-9ish)
Quit focusing on the handicap. Begin appreciating the gift. That's the plan, Nicole. Get to it!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Photographing a 5 Year Old

Here's our handsome oldest monster:

Good lookin' guy, am I right?
So why is it every time I point the camera in his general direction, this is what I get?

Seriously, buddy? You're going to regret this when you're older. Just fair warning.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

7 Years Ago

7 years ago today Phil and I got married. Our wedding had been planned for May 2 years prior but things were a bit different then. 2 months after we got engaged the Sept 11 attacks happened. The rest of our engagement was spent learning to live life differently because of what happened that day. It was even more exaggerated for us because Phil was in the military. Phil made a full 6 month deployment during our engagement. After he returned we thought he would be home for long enough to be at the wedding without complication. Unfortunately, we found out that Phil would be going out to sea with no definite knowledge of when he would be returning. We thought there was a good chance he'd miss our May date. So I flew out to Virginia less than a month after we had just parted and a couple days later we got married (had to wait for the right offices to be open).

The next morning we woke up super early in the morning. I flew back to California and Phil returned to the ship and headed out to sea.

Believe it or not, he came back in a few weeks. Life returned to "normal" and we proceeded with our May date for the wedding.
And then the best part. Happily Ever After.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


A couple of minutes ago Jeremiah was being quiet. I called down the hall to ask him what he was doing. He comes into the room buck naked and says, "I'm in my room hangin' out."
Do you realize you're 3??

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Impending Deployment

I couldn't figure out why I wasn't as excited about Christmas as I usually get during the holidays. I did whatever I could to try and help but I just wasn't feeling it. One day I was finally able to own up to what was keeping me down and it had nothing to do with the holidays and everything to do with what came after them.
Phil will be deploying later this year for a while. We've known it was coming but since it was in the next year it was easy to put off thinking about it. Whenever the thought crossed my mind I told myself I'd deal with it after the holidays. I didn't really want the holidays to come this year because I knew after they were over there would be so little between us and another longer separation. Once this realization finally hit me I was able to cope with it and enjoy the season a little more. Now that the season has passed, I'm feeling a bit more prepared to handle the mental preparation that has already begun.
After Christmas I picked up a copy of Jane Eyre. It's a book I've been meaning to read for a while now. Several chapters in I ran across a quote that has definitely stuck with me.
" I, that evening, shut my eyes resolutely against the future: I stopped my ears against the voice that kept warning me of near separation and coming grief."
I could never have put it so eloquently but that is exactly what I had done and what I continue to do in part. We deal with what needs to be dealt with and process it all a little bit at a time. But for the most part, that flood of emotions gets held at bay by exactly that: "shutting my eyes resolutely to the future." Well, at least for now.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


We have a new addition to our family tonight. His name is Arthur Dug Pickle (the boys, of course, helped to name him).

The Arthur part comes from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (author of Sherlock Holmes) and Dug comes from the movie "Up."

So far he's fitting right in. He's still recovering from his surgeries today and will be for probably the next week or so but the boys are so excited to have him around.

 Arthur is a pure bred basset hound we found at our local SPCA. He's a gentle guy- the first one we've visited with independently that didn't scare Jeremiah. We're pretty sure Jeremiah must smell like bacon because a lot of dogs seem to give him way more attention than he wants.

As you can see, things with Jeremiah are going swimmingly so far!
Arthur is 6 1/2 already but bassets live to be around 10-14 years on average so we still have lots of time left. We've been waiting for him to be ready for us to pick him up for over a week. We visited him several times in that time so he already feels like part of the family. At the moment, he's actually sleeping right behind the chair I'm sitting in.
I'll leave it at that for now, but I'm sure you'll hear more about our adventures with Arthur... or as Jeremiah calls him "Arfer."

Friday, January 1, 2010