Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Card

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Different Christmas

This year Christmas is going to look a little different for us. For the first time we'll be traveling to visit family for the holiday.
We found out in August the Phil's Dad was diagnosed with stage 4 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. We have decided to take a trip to Oklahoma for Christmas to be able to spend the holiday with him.
While we're glad to be able to make the trip out to see him, we've had to change some of our normal traditions so we can. We usually buy a fresh tree each year to hang decorations on and look at each year. It seemed silly to buy a fresh tree for just a couple of weeks before we leave that will sit here dark and lonely on Christmas day.
So we've done a bit of improvising. My Mom bought this little tree for me sometime in high school so I could decorate one in my bedroom. I've kept it and we usually put it in the boys room during the holidays. This year it will be in the living room instead. The boys seemed to have just as much fun decorating it up as a regular size tree.
To be able to enjoy some of our favorite ornaments that make an appearance every year I hung a garland that is usually used elsewhere in the house on the living room wall. I put most of our of pickles on it (15 in all now) then let the boys choose their favorite ornaments to put in between them. I think it turned out pretty well and the boys are very happy with it.
Most importantly, they are even more happy about being able to go to Oklahoma. They talk about it every day. It will be a very long drive there so hopefully the anticipation will somehow make the drive feel shorter.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


This year has been one for the books in our family! We have so much to be thankful for, so I thought I'd take a moment the day before Thanksgiving to list just a few of those things specifically... in no particular order.

1. Phil made Chief!
Most of our year had been spent worrying and doing our best to trust God over what the future would hold. We had no idea until the 1st of August whether we would even be in the Navy anymore by November. He was denied PTS over and over. It came down to the options of Phil making Chief his first time being board eligible, or we would be getting out. It was a mite overwhelming, to say the least. On August 1st, I received the unbelievable tear-inducing phone call from Phil letting me know he was on the list! Though, as Phil has commented, those anchors he put on do get heavy at times, I could not be more grateful for them.

2. This teeny baby in my belly.
We decided to wait on the decision of whether or not to have another baby after Jeremiah until we felt more certain about it. It took a few years, but I'm really glad we waited. It is all a new feeling again this time. The boys are so involved in the entire process. Not a day goes by that they aren't curling up beside me to watch a show or read a book that they aren't putting their hand on my little belly just to have it there. Joshua was even trying to sing a song through my tummy the other day. They say that by now our baby would only be about 4 inches long, but it's plain to see this baby already has a hold on all of our hearts.

3. My two loving and cuddly boys.
They are also brilliant, kind, funny, creative, talented and sincere. I could probably go on all day. They have their faults as well, of course, but overall I am so happy with my two unique little boys that I would be perfectly content to have another to learn from and watch grow.

4. Homeschooling.
This one goes hand in hand with #3. I am so thankful for the ability to be able to spend all day every day with our boys helping them to slowly the become these amazing men I sometimes see peep out of their little boy shells. They really genuinely enjoy learning and I really do enjoy teaching them all these new ideas and ways of doing things.

5. Food on the table and clothes on our backs.
This one so often goes without saying, but this year in particular we are grateful for a regular well-paying job for Phil that enables us to not have to worry too much about these things.

6. My Better Half.
I could not be more proud of Phil than I am this year. As hard as those PTS challenges were on me, they must have been 4x as hard on Phil but he never gave up. He kept putting in the effort as much as he was able. After his pinning for Chief I had several people tell me about how well he did in making it through the induction process (which was definitely another challenge in and of itself). Not only did he prove himself worthy to become a Chief to the selection board, he continued to do so by not giving up until the results came out and then again through the induction period that it seemed might never end. He has always been a great provider for our little family and a leader for us in many ways. I am so grateful for my decision early on to marry him. Every year he becomes even more the man of my dreams, though I never would have thought that possible.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Soccer and #3

Soccer is now finally in full swing! We had been set back by quite a bit of bad weather, but things have cleared up and games and practices have been fairly consistent.
This year Josh is in with the 7-9 year old group. Josh is now one of the youngest on his team. The competition is more intense and the players more skilled. So far he's doing great at trying to catch up to the other players.
Jeremiah is a Soccer Tot for the last time this year. He's doing really well with it, but is definitely looking forward to playing with the bigger kids next year.

While I'm putting up an update, I might as well mention that we are pregnant! We'll be expecting baby #3 sometime mid-May of next year. We're excited and nervous all at the same time. The boys couldn't be happier with the news. Almost every day they are coming up with a new suggestion for names. Joshua has been going over and above with trying to be helpful and Jeremiah is adjusting the idea of being a big brother. There will certainly be a lot more news about this in the coming months. For now, I'm right around 9 weeks and really looking forward to the 2nd trimester and the relief it should bring from the morning sickness!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Phil's Pinning

Over a week ago now was one of the most important ceremonies in Phil's career.
We were so proud of him when we first found out he had made Chief and did our best to support him through the induction season.
His pinning marked the end of this process and the beginning of his time as a Chief Petty Officer. I thought I'd share some pictures and things from that day.
Phil was able to choose 2 people to pin his new anchors on his collar. He asked me to do one of them and had the boys work together to do the other. Jeremiah put on the front of the pin.
And Josh had the difficult responsibility of putting on the back. We realized shortly after they had done it that it ended up being put on upside down. I think that only added to the cuteness of it, though. The boys did a really good job with it.
After we did our part, Phil's sponsor put his new cover on for the first time. 
After the ceremony was mostly done, each new Chief walked down the center aisle one at a time. It was so great to see each of them. It was such a proud moment.
Afterward we grabbed a few family shots with Phil in is brand spankin' new khakis.
 As proud as we have been of Phil this whole time, it has definitely been a difficult few weeks to get through and we're so glad now to finally be on the other side!
We did find out that because of all of this Phil will be transferring soon. We'll be staying in the area (so we don't have to try and sell the house yet) but Phil will now we working from a different base. I still have work to do on learning about this new command so maybe once I know more, I can share a little more. In the mean time, it's so nice to be done and settled and ready to move on after all those months and months of waiting in limbo not being sure if we'd be able to stay in the military or not!

All Sorts of Updates

This has been quite a couple of weeks for us! Things are just starting to quiet down today so I thought I'd get some pictures out for everyone to see.
The first big event was Jeremiah's 5th birthday. We spent the entire doing things Jeremiah wanted to do. Waffle House for breakfast, playing video games, Chuck E Cheese,

 chinese food for lunch, and a bounce house place. My Mom and Dad were coming in on a flight that evening so we went to soccer practice while we waited. They came in right after so we grabbed a pizza and enjoyed their company until bedtime.
That's when the rest of the family started getting here for Phil's pinning... which was the very next day! I'll put pictures together from this event on a separate post since I have so many.
The day after the pinning was Jeremiah's birthday party. It turned into such a fun day!
He had asked for a Hot Wheels theme. I had a car cake pan from when Joshua had asked for the same theme. We gave each kid a car cake and let them go to town decorating their own car. We had so much fun doing it!
We even had a guest appearance of a 3 foot Darth Vader at the end. :) This is him with his Uncle Adam. Notice the toes. Those are my favorite part!
After everyone else headed home, my parents stuck around for a bit. Because of work, my Dad had to head back Sunday evening, so we did our best to enjoy the last little bit of time with him by heading to a museum here called Nauticus.
It was pretty interesting and we had just enough time to get my Dad off to the airport and headed home.
My Mom was able to stay for a week longer so we tried to have as much fun with her as we could.
At the end of the week Phil and I were able to go to his Khaki Ball while my Mom watched the boys. We stayed overnight and had such a good time!
The day before my Mom had to leave, we all headed to the Children's Museum that has been completely remodeled since the last time we were there.
Wow! I had forgotten how fun this place was for the boys. The price has gone up since the remodel, but it is definitely a completely different museum now!
Only a few things were reused and the layout and design of the place now is spectacular! It definitely made for a memorable time for the boys and the adults as well.
We'll have to go back sometime soon.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Tip

Put a little dry erase board in your kitchen somewhere. It works great to keep the list of things you're running out of so you don't forget when you're making your grocery list or a place to list the things you'd like your rock star husband to take care of... and every now and then you might end up with something like this:
Translation of Joshua's: "Mom rocks! She's cool. Love: Joshua"

Worth every penny.

Monday, August 8, 2011

He Made It!!!

A week ago today we received the news we have been waiting over 9 months to hear. The results of the Chief's board came out. We had been doing our best to wait patiently. It's a difficult thing to do when it is an answer that will change forever the trajectory of your life's path. With a lot of prayer and effort we had waited. Phil would either be thrown very quickly into a 6 week induction process to become a Chief or into a process of transitioning out of military life altogether.
Phil was the first to find the news and after verifying what he saw (it was a little difficult to believe), he called me and quickly said, "I made it." I could hardly believe it! He had to say it again. I had to say it out loud. His chances had seemed so small and yet... he made it. Tears rose up and flooded my eyes but there was an irrepressible smile. He had made it.
Now we are in the middle of what will be a 7 week induction period where we will see very little of each other while he becomes a Chief. It will culminate with his pinning ceremony in mid-September. It has been an interesting transition going from such uncertainty into this. Most days he has been gone all day from before any of us are awake until long after the boys have gone to bed. As exciting as this change is, you can't help but looking forward to when we'll be able to have more time together again.
As far as everything else goes, we're not sure what will happen from here. After he is pinned we may be asked to move or we may be allowed to stay here. No one will know until it's over. So for now, we get through the next few weeks and be happy and grateful that everything so far has worked out better than we could have hoped for and trust that the rest will as well. A few times every day it hits me all over again that Phil made it and I can't help but smile and feel overwhelmed with gratitude and love.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. -Proverbs 3:5-6

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Reptiles and Bees

In the last couple of weeks we've had a couple of really neat experiences. 
Yucky long snake that Mommy wouldn't touch.
The first was at our nearest library. I just happened to see they had something going on at the library we were planning on taking our books back to one day and just barely got the boys signed up before we left for the morning.
Baby crocodile
We learned all sorts of things about spiders and snakes and mice and crocodiles. My personal favorite also happened to be the least threatening... the tortoise.
Then last weekend I heard about an even with the Beekeepers Guild of Southeastern Virginia. They were uncapping their hives to extract the honey. 
One way to uncap the honey.
Ever since Joshua was stung back in Illinois he has been extremely afraid of bees. To try and help with that this year we studied about bees. 
Another way is to use a pick from 1990, apparently.
We read several books on the subject and now Joshua is extremely interested in bees (mostly of the honey variety... as apparently all the other ones are just mean).
Hives full of honey.
The entire process was really interesting and the boys even got to try a couple of different types of honey. The volunteers there were more than willing to answer the questions the boys had about the hives, bees and honey. 
Empty after all the honey has been taken out.
I love it when the boys show interest in learning things on their own. I can't help but look forward to all the other things they'll want to learn as they get older.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Aquarium

We headed to the Aquarium today for the last time for a while. Our membership there expires tomorrow and since we don't know what'll be happening in 3 months... let alone an entire year from now, it doesn't make sense to renew it.
We had fun anyway. We've been able to go many times this year. A lot more than if we didn't have the membership, which was the idea.
Can you see Jeremiah teeny face trying to peep over? You couldn't see Jeremiah at all the first time we went to this Aquarium and Joshua was about Jeremiah's height. They've gotten so much bigger since we got here! 
This would be the boys perspective of the world if they were blue crabs. I'm kinda glad they're not, though. :)
So now we officially don't have a museum membership for the first time since right after we moved here. It's kinda sad but how life is these days. Glad there are a few free museums we can go to this summer to make up for it!