Friday, April 22, 2016

A FULL April 2016

WoW! I don’t know if we could’ve fit ONE more thing, physically or emotionally, into April 2016! This month was SO full and beyond crazy but I wouldn’t change one thing about it.

We started off the month with a going away party for my husband at work. He is deploying and will return to a new position. Hearing his coworkers talk about his dedication, his leadership, and his willingness to serve filled my heart! I’m SO proud to be his wife! Not sure how I managed to keep it together through all of that, but I did without a tear! (The kids were a good distraction as they were literally tearing things off the wall. Sorry about that!). And then hurried home to capture some precious moments of some friends and their sweet baby girl! I LOVE my job!

The next day we remembered all those effected by the Fort Hood shooting of April 2014. So crazy how that day is SO real and scary for me still after two years! Our hearts and prayers still go out to all those who lost a loved one that day and are still effected by the tragedy.

This April 2nd though we made good memories with family and friends who helped us celebrate our baby girl’s First Birthday! We had so much fun that day! The next day we worshipped together, as we always do on Sundays. This Sunday was extra emotional for our family as it would be the last time we would do it as a family for a while.

After saying our goodbyes to extended family, my husband and I secretly finished packing for our SURPRISE 10 day trip to Disney World! Our kids had NO idea, I mean NO idea, till we told them the morning we flew out. Spent the night with our brother and sister in Dallas before we left. We told the kids at 4 AM about our SURPRISE because we flew out SO early! They were tired but still SO excited!

Took it easy once we got there since we were all so exhausted, relaxed in the pool, grabbed some dinner and got to bed early. We love Disney and have been several times. We’ve learned a thing or two along the way, so we had a plan of attack for each park. We hit Epcot first, then Hollywood Studios, then Animal Kingdom and finally Magic Kingdom!

The surprises kept coming! Grammie and Papa and Mimi and Uncle Corey joined us at the hotel Friday after naptime! The kids were so happy to see them all and so excited they were going to have some Disney fun with us too! So with everyone we did Magic Kingdom first, followed by Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, and then Epcot. We hit ALL our favorite attractions, restaurants, and characters! We were so blessed to do all the little extras we’ve always wanted to do, made possible through my ThirtyOne business. Have I mentioned, I LOVE my job?

Our time in the place where dreams come true ended all too soon and we said our goodbyes to Mickey and friends and our family. We flew into Dallas and stayed the night there again. I’ve been asked to share more about how we do Disney so I’m sure you will see that sometime this summer.

We headed home…for a total of 21 hours! We went to dance class, ran some errands (including getting the car inspected and rounding up packages from the post office), told our kids about our next adventure, and did three complete loads of laundry (all washed, dried, folded and put away or packed again)~thank the Lord for my HE washer and dryer! I packed for a week away, my husband packed for 5 months.

The next morning, we packed up the car and made our way to El Paso, where my husband is deploying from. We chose to join him down there for the week before he left since he had done a lot of his training beforehand. I’m so glad we did! We were so blessed to have one more week with him!

Daddy’s adventure is taking him across the world, where he will help take care of sick and hurt people there. He has to go on this adventure alone. We are going to miss him so much and he is going to miss us so much but he will be back with us before we know it. We will get to talk to him almost every day and he will send us photos of where he is and what it’s like there. We will send him photos of our own adventures and packages of goodies from us too!

I’m sure there are some military wives and families reading this, including my sister and dear friends, that have been through longer and multiple deployments. I don’t know how you do it! Being a military wife or family isn’t always easy and the threat of family life interrupted is one you can’t be fully aware of until you go through it. You are SO strong and I hope some of you will help me as we muddle through this ourselves! The wait alone for it to be time to send Daddy off has been SO hard! This is how we are handling it all.

My husband is deploying for 5 months. This is not what had planned for this summer and definitely not what we had hoped for, but we are dealing with it. We are confident that God has had His hands in the whole thing from the beginning from the way everything fell into place. While we will all miss each other terribly, we know that we can make it through.

Leading up to sending him off has been hard. Thinking about this is the last time we will all eat dinner at the house together, this is the last time we will play at the playground all together for awhile has gotten the best of me a couple of times. I remember being in the middle of a restaurant on the Riverwalk on our trip to San Antonio this spring. My husband kept asking me what was wrong and finally our eyes met and I just lost it. There I sat, my tears spilling into my salsa, knowing that fun weekend getaways like this for our family would have to wait till it was warm again next year.

Saying goodbye to my best friend for the next 5 months is SO hard! We will get to talk to him often, which I’m so thankful for, but it won’t be the same as having him here. Like I said, I don’t know how other families and wives have done this, some of you multiple times! AND it’s already breaking my heart to hear my daughter (the world's BIGGEST Daddy's girl) say she just “wants her daddy back and for us to all be a family again.” She doesn’t “want Daddy to be a doctor anymore”.  I know sweet baby girl, me too! Daddy will be back, but he needs to help soldiers over there for now. We will make it through! 

One day closer, one day stronger!

I’m ending April purchasing my sweet baby girl’s cap and gown for her Preschool graduation. How in the world did this baby get big enough to head to kindergarten in the Fall? AND Daddy has to miss graduation!

We have crammed just about everything imaginable into these 23 days of April. The whirlwind of emotions from this month has been overwhelming! I even left some things out for personal reasons. Oh and there was vomit too, lots of're welcome for leaving that part out. We definitely had lots of tears, some sad tears and some happy tears. Some excitement tears and some I miss you already tears. We definitely shared excitement of our kids’ first roller coasters and joy while meeting favorite Disney characters. We shared sadness and fear of the unknown in saying goodbye to Daddy and sending him off on his adventure across the globe. We shared lots of smiles, embraces, and laughter! We definitely made LOTS of memories~from ALL our fun at Disney to ALL the little things here and there. We captured all we could in photos, they truly are worth a thousand words! And this summer those photos will be priceless for my family!

This summer is another adventure, another leg of our journey. This summer’s adventures aren’t what we had planned, but we know it is all part of a bigger plan!

April has been no exception: Our life is beyond crazy most of the time.

But it’s OUR crazy and we wouldn’t have it any other way! 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

We love to par-ty!!!

Growing up, my mom always made sure our birthdays were special. We may not have always had a huge party, but she always made it "ours" somehow. This is one of the many things I'm so thankful I got from her. I may go a bit overboard with our kids' birthday celebrations but they always turn out so well. We got SO many compliments and people couldn't believe I did them all for under $30. I'd thought I'd share what we did here.

Minnie Mouse: When my daughter turned two, everything in her life was Minnie Mouse.
I did most of the decor using my Cricut machine. If you don't have one, some craft stores allow you to rent them, you may also buy the shapes online. You can also find images online and use those to trace your own. I used my Mickey and Friends cartridge for these. 
I bought dollar store black plates, cut ears out of black cardstock and bows out of pink and white polka dot cardstock. Glued them on to make a MM plate.
These were the cupcakes. Pretty simple, just white cake cupcakes. I used two box mixes. Vanilla iced them and added full size and mini size Oreos. Then used pink icing to make a cute little bow. 

Favors and decor: Everyone got their own Minnie and Mickey Mouse ears. These were made with dollar store headbands, a little bit of recycling, some foamboard, and ribbon. I found an old t-shirt of my hubby's that he was getting rid of (washed it of course) and cut it into strips to cover the multi-colored headbands I found with a hot glue gun (I don't sew :) ). Then I used a circle stencil and cut out ears from black foamboard. Glued those onto the headband and added ribbon bows for the girls :)

Favor Bags: I found dimensions to Hershey's mini bars labels on pinterest. I used those dimensions to create my own in Word, with Minnie Mouse of course. I printed them off and taped them around the little candy bars (I bought a huge bag on sale at Walmart). I cut out little pieces of pink tulle, wrapped the bars in that and tied them together with a thank you note I made with my Cricut. 

Since she was only two, we didn't do much else besides play with the ears, eat our goodies, and open gifts. But we had a wonderful time and made great memories!

A Pluto Paw-ty:
This was my son's first birthday. He LOVED puppies and after our trip to Disney the month before, he was in LOVE with Pluto. 
Cricut cut out Pluto house and letters. Just attached them to some string for a great way Welcome sign on the front door!

The Spread: 

                          Again, I got the ole Cricut out for most of these decorations!
Used Pinterest and my husband's own wit for our snack names. Hard to see but Dogbone cookies, Pupcorn, and Puppy Chew Rings (Gummy Lifesavers). The big Pluto here is taped to a dowel rod, stuck in a piece of floral foam and into this little blue basket I got at the dollar store. 

Cupcakes are homemade Funfetti box mix. Used white icing, Milk Duds for the big paw pad and upside down chocolate chips for the small ones.

Dog Chow (Whoppers)  LOL. 
And this C--cut out with Cricut and freestyled ears and collar. 


I simply took 1/2 a box of Funfetti cake mix, poured it into a round cake pan, and carved out a bone. Iced it with blue icing to match our colors!

These Pluto hats were also simple. Just bought a package of regular party hats, freestyled some dog ears and hot glued them on. Made for a cute photo prop. 
We also had favors, but of course I didn't get a photo of those. It was a goody bag of Puppy Chow (Cocoa puffs), some little bubbles decorated with puppy stickers, and dog (children's) toys. 

All in all, we had so much celebrating the first year with this lil man! 

Time for your Check Up, Doc McStuffins Party:
Since my daughter was obsessed with being a doctor and watching her favorite one, Doc McStuffins, on TV, her third birthday's theme was a no-brainer. 

Guests were invited to grab their own stethoscope and a "patient" at the door. 
Stethoscopes were black dollar store headbands with ear plugs (also from dollar store) hot glued on the ends. Ribbon and felt completed them. 

We collected stuffed animals and put them on a small table at the front door.

 Little doctors could take their patients around to different stations. 
We had this growth chart and a scale here for kids to use. 

Coloring station

Time for your Check up :)

And then we put band-aids on all of Chilly's boo boos. 

The Spread:
I cut out scalloped circles, flowers, and letters on my Cricut for her banner. I bought a paper mache #3 from Hobby Lobby for $1.50 on sale and painted it purple to match our theme. 
Food included "An applesauce a day keeps the Dr. away"
Rice Krispie Treats with pink sparkles
Yogurt shots
M & Ms (my daughter's favorite)
Band-aid cookies--I bought vanilla wafer creme cookies and used pink icing to make hearts on them.

Cut scalloped circles and applied stickers to them. Taped them to a toothpick and had these cute cupcake toppers. 

This was an idea from Pinterest. I collected and cleaned medicine syringes. Used strawberry yogurt and placed them in ice in this little Dr.'s bag. Turned out cute I think. 

She LOVED it. She even made my whole day, year, lol. She came downstairs after we'd started decorating and said "Oh Mommy its like a dream come true!" 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A day that forever changed my life: A week later

Our hearts are heavy for the fallen soldiers and their families after the tragedy so close to home last week. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the families of the fallen, the wounded soldiers and their families, and all those effected by this event. I pray they all are getting all the support they need to heal from their physical and emotional wounds that I am sure are so much deeper than their surfaces are showing.

Thank you again for all your thoughts and prayers for our family during and after.

I can't believe a whole week has gone by since that terrifying afternoon that changed my life forever! This week has been scary, sad, meaningful, hectic, memorable, crazy, long and at the same time short, and more and more emotions that I can't put into words at the moment.

Probably most of you don't know about things that happened in our community in the days after the Fort Hood shooting.

On Thursday, April 3, the day following the shooting, there was a bomb scare downtown. Several city blocks were evacuated and of course fear filled the town. Bomb squads, SWAT teams, and police spent hours keeping the community safe and working disarm what appeared to be a pipe bomb. Of course people were glued to their computers and televisions to see what terrible event was unfolding that day. Obviously people were connecting it to what had happened at Fort Hood only 18 hours prior. After about four hours, they finally announced that it was a fake. I don't know what kind of sick person makes fake bombs and plants them in plain sight (it was on the hood of a car; a neighbor called it in) the day after such a horrible event and fear cripples a community, but I guess they got what they wanted.

Ok that was just a fake, you can breathe again! Friday, April 4, my kids were crazy; not listening to anything I said, unpacking boxes, throwing fits left and right. I had planned on running errands that morning but decided against it with my bad mood babies. While eating lunch, I heard a couple sirens go off. I knew they were close to the house but after they died down, I didn't think much of it. Got the kids down for their naps and finally got to sit down to eat my own lunch (around 2:00). All of the sudden I heard a TON of sirens; they seemed louder and closer than the ones earlier. I look out my windows and see a police car blocking off a nearby street, their sirens off but lights going. The sirens are still going but I can't see anything else. I check the local news station and they aren't saying anything about it. I run to my computer thinking, ok WHAT is going on? Are we safe? Do I need to go get my babies upstairs? What could it be now? And then praying...Lord I don't know what is happening but I just pray that you watch over us and keep us safe. Be with all who are involved in whatever is happening and help keep them safe as well. Please don't let this be another tragedy.

I finally find out that a man called the police (the first sirens I heard) saying he wanted to take his own life. There wasn't a lot of details about this story. I think with everything going on at Ft. Hood, everyone was trying to limit media sharing and oversharing. I still don't know about the timeline of the afternoon, but apparently the police talked with him for a long time. Eventually the man charged at a police officer with some knives, causing the police to take him down by force (with their guns). The man was expected to survive, he was taken to a nearby hospital in stable condition.

Our neighborhood, actually only a couple of houses down from our new house, was covered in yellow crime scene tape and littered with ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars. Oh my goodness...this week!!! That's a lot for me to take in!!!

I had the privilege of attending a Flag Walk in honor of our fallen soldiers with a friend and our kids later that night. It was so sweet to see all these families from our community come together for this, an event that wasn't really largely advertised except for on Facebook, but had a great turnout. It was really meaningful to see the support for the families of the wounded and fallen from our great community!

(Sorry for this not so great photo...we were mid-stride and I was pushing a stroller and corralling my 3YO).

I got to end this week spending a whole day with my wonderful little family of four and begin this next week with a wonderful time of worship with my church family. Oh God gives me peace!

I've learned several things from the events that unfolded late last week:

You truly never know what day will be your last or your loved ones' last. Cherish the time you have with your loved ones. Love them, make sure they know you love them, show them you love them, hug and kiss them!

I know my husband is where he should be, doing what he's meant to do! I never, EVER, imagined I would be an Army wife and raise a family in the midst of PCS(es), possible deployments, living on or near posts, etc. But I'm so glad C is the soldier and doctor that he is and that he can use his gifts to serve and care for the men and women serving our country.

There is A LOT of hurt in this world! There is A LOT of fear in this world! Hurt and fear that can only be cured by the love and peace that only God  can give! The world needs Him! I hope I can be a part of sharing that!

I run to Him! I ran to Him this week! I clung to Him this week! I know I wouldn't have gotten through this week without Him. I wouldn't be in the place I am now without Him!

I was able to watch a bit of the memorial service for the three fallen soldiers yesterday. It was very touching and I pray that the families of those soldiers were able to celebrate their service, heroism, and their lives along with grieving their loss. I hope they are beginning to heal and find peace.

To quote as best as I can remember Chief of Staff of the Army, General Odierno, "The strength of our nation is our Army. The strength of our Army is our soldiers. The strength of our soldiers is our families".

By far the scariest day of my life: An update

As some of you may have noticed, I removed my blog from the page in order to maintain discretion while officials conducted their investigation. I feel it's necessary to update and correct some things I said before. I apologize for my emotions jumbling up some of the details I got of that day.

First of all, my husband didn't go to the ED immediately, he remained in his clinic as ED patients were being moved there. He was there when some of the wounded first arrived.

I thought he only cared for one particular soldier, when in actuality it was two. I was never told clearly that he spoke to Lt. General Milley but have now been informed that he did. Lt. General Milley came by the rooms of the wounded to check up on their statuses.

I now know the story of at least one of C's colleagues who was called in to the hospital that day from off base. He was there ASAP and also jumped into action without really knowing what was going on.

Apparently, after the first 911 calls came in, police contacted only the ED (emergency Dept, in case I need to clarify that again). The hospital made the Mass Cal announcement not long after. The ED transferred patients from their dept. to the clinic where my husband works. The first two victims were brought in with active CPR and unfortunately didn't make it.

Ok, I think that's all I misunderstood from my previous post. Sorry again about the misinformation.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

By far the scariest day of my life! (Updated Version)

I know there's lots of our friends and family who have lots of questions about what happened with us during the tragic events of the Fort Hood shooting yesterday. I figured this is the easiest way to share our family's story.

First of all, our hearts and prayers are with all of the victims and their families as well as everyone else effected by the horrific scene on post yesterday.

I am certain there are several families out there with similar or more intense stories to tell about their experiences yesterday. This is ours:

No, we don't live on post. My husband works on post. He is actually a doctor at the post hospital.

It all started with a Facebook update I got, a notification from a group I am in. It said something to the effect of "Active shooter at Ft. Hood, whole post on lockdown, shooting began near medical building."

Medical building? Does that mean the hospital? Oh my gosh, what is going on?!!? I immediately text my husband saying "I need to know that you're ok...saw something about active shooter. Please let me know you're ok." He sometimes doesn't get to respond to messages, but I had to KNOW what was going on. I don't really know how I even got that out because my hand was literally shaking SO hard that my screen was hard to read.

A bit before this, on his end, he heard the "Mass Cal...not a drill" announcement at the hospital. He immediately texted me "Hey something's happened. I'm ok. Have no clue how late I will be". I never got this text. The hospital has terrible reception and this happens often. C (my husband) and his colleagues took direction from doctors who sadly had been through this before, only 4 and a half years ago. The clinic C works in quickly became full of patients from the ED (Emergency Dept) as it was cleared out for triage for the wounded coming in.

Back at our new house, we had the ADT guy here hooking up our new system. Both of our kids, 3 and 1, were awake from their naps. Poor ADT guy was trying to get me to sit down to go through details of our system. I looked at him and said "Look, something's happened on post, where my husband works. I can't do anything till I know he's ok." He was very understanding as I flipped on the TV to a local news channel who was covering it all live. I remember just praying and praying-God help him be ok, he has to be ok! But trying to keep it together for my babies and since the ADT guy was still here.

My sweet SIL (sister in law) texted me about this time saying "saw on news active shooter at ft. hood, don't know what's going on, hope yall are safe. Praying everyone is safe. We love you." I got tears in my eyes as I responded to her "I don't know much either. Haven't heard from C (my husband). Freaking out! PRAYERS needed!" Remember the screen shaking a bunch then too!

I thought, oh my goodness...this can't be happening. I needed to know that C and other friends were ok. I texted three other doctors' wives to see if they knew anything, anymore than me. Two of them didn't know anything was going on yet...sorry if I scared you friends!

News station was reporting that post was on lockdown. Information and details about the situation were hard to come by since for awhile no one was allowed on or off base, and afterward only essential personnel were. Military personnel as well as families living on base heard the "big voice" saying "Shelter in place. Stay away from windows and doors..." Someone on post recorded it on their phone and sent it to the news station. They were saying there were possibly two shooters and they were still at large.

About 20 minutes after I knew what was going on I FINALLY received word from C that he was ok! His text said "I'm safe. Helping wounded but safe". Thank you LORD! Ok those prayers answered, but was it over? They said still at large. The news then reported that a nearby community college was being evacuated. I think ahhh does that mean the shooters gotten off post? Are we safe here? Can't believe this is happening! Can NOT believe it!

Heard from a friend (another wife I contacted earlier) that she had heard from her husband and he was ok. Told her I finally got the word C was too. I texted another friend, who hadn't heard yet. We were all just SO shocked! And kept saying ok we will keep in touch if we get more updates. Praying it's over and no one else is hurt!

Many of the doctors and nurses at the hospital didn't know what was going on or if it was over, but they immediately jumped into action to help the wounded. So proud of the team at the post hospital! C saw most of the victims from afar and treated two of the wounded soldiers. One was a gunshot wound, one was shattered glass resulting from a bullet hitting the windshield of his car. Now that more information has been released by officials of the investigation, I can share a bit more of what I knew that night. One soldier seemed to know the sequence of events and what caused the shooter to "lose it". The shooter apparently didn't like what he was told about a leave form. He left and returned soon to open fire on them.

C's mom called~she saw on the news what was going on and of course wanted to know what I knew. Told her I had heard from him and that he was safe and taking care of wounded. She of course had a ton of questions that I couldn't answer. I could tell she was almost in tears and scared to death as was I. I held it together until we got off the phone.

Finally got ADT guy to leave...bless his heart, I have NO idea what he told me about our new system. After he left, for some reason, I just felt so unsafe. I locked all the doors, turned on ADT system (good thing it was similar to the one in our old house), and got my babies and kinda just lost it. I will NEVER forget sitting on the kitchen floor, in front of the pantry door, with both of them in my lap, tears pouring down my face. My 3YO looked at me and said momma ok? I said "well, baby, something really scary has happened at Daddy's work. We know Daddy is ok and his friends are ok, but he has to help some people that are hurt" Then we prayed and prayed. We still hadn't heard much about the situation~last I heard shooter or shooters still at large, no confirmed number of casualties.

Then my mom called...still in tears I talked to her, explaining what I knew. Felt so helpless. It was so good to hear her voice telling me it was ok, we were ok. Sometimes you just need your momma! I remember getting off the phone with her and thinking wow, our street is dead. We live in a neighborhood with several other military families. Our street is usually buzzing with the sounds of cars coming and going from post as people return to their homes for the nights or head into their shifts. But there was an eerie quiet tonight.

Texts and calls from great friends and family began pouring in~wondering if this is where we were? Were we ok? Was C ok? Did we live on post? Did we know anymore than what little was being leaked out into media? It became a lot to deal with. Yes, it was so wonderful to know we were in all your thoughts and prayers, I apologize if I was short with any of you. I didn't mean to be, just dealing with a lot.

Heard from C again, this time he said "I'm ok. Lots of wounded. Can't talk more. No idea how much longer I will be. Love you". About this time, they announced unconfirmed that one shooter was dead by self-inflicted gunshot to the head. Still speculation of second shooter at large. Someone hunkered down in a building on post near a lot of the action (who probably got into a lot of trouble afterward), called in to the local news station and  told everyone what was going on around him. He described seeing several soldiers, some civilians and even a few young children being escorted out of a building. He said it looked like they were maybe searching them. Can't imagine how horrifying that would be for those people, especially those children. The media hasn't said much about this. I still don't know what it was all about. Don't know if I ever will. Still shocked by all of this and wondering when it would end!

Finally it came over the news that the now sole shooter was confirmed dead. Oh thank you Lord that no one else was hurt and that everyone was safe. But really everyone wasn't safe. There were three soldiers who lost their lives. Lost their lives at their home post, during a typical day. There are 16 other soldiers injured, some in critical condition. Injured by a fellow a soldier, one of their own. There are over 60,000 troops stationed at Ft. Hood, add about 40,000 family members and vets to that and you get a good sized town. Everyone who has a connection to Fort Hood, whether small or large, was effected. Our lives are forever changed.

There were SO many speculations being made. SO many conclusions being jumped to. The media didn't know how to make sense of it, much like all of us. National news stations were speculating about Fort Hood being some kind of target for terrorist groups, etc. People were grasping at straws. It seemed everyone was shell-shocked. How could this happen? How could this happen here again? Why did he do this? Was it pre-meditated? Was it connected to terrorism? How could this happen? Press conferences were announced but delayed.

Around 20:30 (8:30 PM for all my non-military people), got an update from C. He thought they were finishing things up at the hospital but post was still on lockdown so didn't know how much longer he'd be. I responded to him and told him how much I loved him, that I would keep kids up till he got home if I could, figured he'd want to hug them!

Tried updating everyone that was texting/calling me with questions about what I knew and what C had just told me. Heard on news that lockdown was officially lifted and cameras showed vehicles slowly trickling back through the gates. That was a wonderful scene! Reports were coming in of victims: 3 dead, 16 injured.

At the hospital, Lt. General Milley came in to get updates on all victims conditions. C said that was intimidating. He gave him updates and was impressed at the way Lt. General Milley talked with the soldiers, showing his true compassion for them. At the risk of over-sharing, I will not go into more details about what C saw.

C finally made it home around 22:00 (10:00 PM). I met him on the porch and hugged him so tight and lost it again!!! I was SO thankful he made it home to us! We embraced on the porch for a couple minutes before the kids and the dog were out in the driveway wanting to play.

I am SO proud of C, always have been. I am SO proud to be a part of the post hospital family. I am SO proud of the medical personnel at the hospital who stepped up to help in the midst of chaos! I'm SO proud that Lt. General Milley commended the medical professionals at the hospital for their job well done! I am SO proud to be a part of the Army family!

The events that took place on Fort Hood yesterday were horrifying and terrible. Our hearts are heavy for our fallen soldiers and their families. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the injured victims and their families. Everyone who was effected by the tragedy yesterday are in our thoughts and prayers. You've all heard several people, President Obama, Texas Senators, Lt. General Milley say it: Fort Hood is a strong community, a resilient community. They have seen tragedy in the past and have overcome it. They will be strong and rally around each other to get through this too. They are Army Strong.

(I love this photo. It was taken at the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. I love the way the sun is shining over the flag. It reminds me of The National Anthem's lines "...and the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there! Oh say does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave o'er the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave!")

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Alma Mater factor

If any of you read my last post, you know I should be packing some boxes but since I ran out of packing tape...I'm done for the night. (right?).

I'm reminiscing tonight: SO I don't know how many of you returned to your Alma Maters for your five year reunion, but one of my besties from college and I promised ourselves we'd do it. And by golly, come what may, we DID!

Lucky for me, the reunion only meant a three hour drive for us. My friend had to fly (with her two kiddos), stop for a bit to see another friend, rent a car and drive for three hours (coming from an opposite direction of course or we would've just driven together :) ). She somehow toted two carseats, several carry-ons and only one (yes I know, impressive, right) checked bag~two toddlers in tow. And did I mention she was 6 months pregnant?!?

As I was making preparations for our trip, I somehow caught my pinkie toe underneath a door and broke it. It swelled and the whole foot was turning all kinds of purples and greens. I was also just barely 6 months pregs and my husband (bless his heart he works too hard and has the craziest schedule) was super busy with work. I'm a first born and often just do things on my own (I'm also stubborn I guess) so I loaded all our stuff up in the car and headed to see my friends! Luckily my in-laws live in the same city as the Alma Mater-we were all crashing there for the weekend.

I get a frantic call from my friend~she's at the ER! Her daughter was playing on a trampoline and ended up breaking her leg. Poor lil thing! Such a trooper, my wonderful friend (who is also a wonderful mommy) finally arrived at the in-laws house in the wee hours of the morning ready for a fun weekend.

We had the crazy idea we would take ALL the kids to chapel, a great tradition of our Alma Mater. My friend's sweet daughter couldn't walk so we needed a stroller for her, one for my then 20M old, and one for her 1 year old. My creatively inventive father in law helped us rig two Walmart bought umbrella strollers together with some rope and some 1x4s and some zip ties I think. This way I could push one and she could push one. It even folded, he did such a great job! :)

Of course we were already running late...we finally packed everyone and everything in the car. I have an Equinox with only three seats in the back. We packed all three carseats back there, two strollers, snacks (of course), and our bags in there and headed out! We made it to the Alma Mater, got out the strollers, buckled the kids in, stashed the snacks and bags, and made the hike to chapel. So here we were two very pregnant mommas (both of us were showing way more than we had in our previous pregnancies), a rigged double stroller, one kid in a cast, one of us with a broken toe across campus! This is dedication right?! We made it to chapel only to hear the very end of it before we could all the strollers in the door!!! Oh my!

We also had the great idea that we'd take them all to the Homecoming carnival-strollers, broken toe, broken leg, preggers and all! It was a task to get those stinkin strollers around the field but the kids had lots of fun. Got to see the mascots, play some games (I just found a hacky sack we won from a game there yesterday), ride a pony, and pet/hold some animals.

We had fun eating out and catching up with friends and family the rest of the day. Eating out with kids is always fun and we always leave our mark at unsuspecting restaurants! Oh and bonus, our husbands made it in that night as well. So now at least we had help :)

The next morning we headed to the Homecoming parade. Admittedly, we had never been as actual students in college, but figured it would be fun for the kids! The seats were already arranged in my car so the moms and the kids headed out in it, our husbands in my husband's car. Of course finding parking wasn't easy, running late again. AND the husbands couldn't find us till the parade was almost over! It wasn't too long and not extremely exciting but they did throw some candy...not toward us though. We obviously had three kids and one was in a hot pink CAST~throw some candy our way!!! Ok, ok, we got a couple pieces!

Next was lunch with another bestie/roommate. She had alluded to us through several conversations that her kids (daughter and son) were crazy, like really hyper and crazy. When we all got in to the restaurant, greeted each other with hugs and sent my husband back to pick up keys from the house, my daughter decided to show her what crazy was and literally took off on an obstacle course sprint throughout the restaurant! I'm talking in and out and under tables (where people were sitting, already eating...excuse me sorry about that), around and behind the bar, and almost into the kitchen. She's fast! And I was 6 months pregs with a broken toe!

We sit down, trying to catch up with everyone but with five kids 3 and under at the table let's just say there were lots of interruptions. My daughter, the star of the day, was in a mood and started screaming that she was ready to eat! After calming her down (yea, the food did take a LONG time to get there; guess that's why that place is closed now), the food finally came. My friend who had made the long trip and I still laugh~our other friend, who claimed her kids were SO crazy was actually enjoying her meal. We remember it like a slow motion movie playing in our heads: Our friend with the "hyper" kids were literally sitting, using utensils correctly, not using bibs and eating their food very quietly and politely. Our kids~well my daughter had not only thrown her cup several times along with random bouts of screaming but she was currently flinging her macaroni and cheese all over the restaurant, over her shoulder, across the table, on my husbands lap, etc, etc. Her kids~ I laugh shaking my head at my daughter's behavior and see my friends' kids~the sweet little girl with her broken leg has her cast literally up on the table, foot and all right by her plate. She's wearing a dress~legs wide open! My friend's cute little boy at the end of the table is chewing on the tablecloth! What a lunch that was! Crazy and hyper? No sweet friend, your kids were so well behaved and were like angels!!!

So many great memories came from this crazy weekend! Oh I forgot to add that my in-laws who were so gracious to offer their house for all of us to stay in had LOTS of plumbing problems at their house! We had a couple times where we had to wait a bit in between flushes and showers but it was all least on the inside. The side of the house where the line was exposed showed a different picture!

We all had so much fun that weekend!! We did make so many great memories that we will never forget! We kept our promise to each other and returned to the Alma Mater! No matter what happened that weekend, we were together. This friend of mine who came from so far, ordered me to be her friend only minutes after we met. The rest has been history! Our other friend/roommate had been my roommate the previous year and we all just clicked. We have seen each other through a lot! Through lots of laughs, tricks, some tears, crazy dances, singing in the shower, long nights of watching the Bachelor finales, nasty school projects, Miss America dress up parties, late night talks about our futures, dating, proposals, planning weddings, long games of nerds, being in each other's weddings~ GROWING up! I love those girls and I hate that we don't get together more often! But that weekend, we were together, our husbands were together, our kids played together, it was like old times~and THAT was completely worth it! All of it! I SO hope we all make it back for our 10 year reunion, but I am forever blessed by the memories of that weekend!

You can't make this stuff up folks! It's TOO crazy, but it's my crazy!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Moving boxes?!? And yes my baby boy is eating pink crayons

So we got an awesome letter in the mail today, didn't open it until right before dinner. My husband read it first and told me what it said...any of you who knows HIM knows he's always joking so its hard for me to take him seriously!!

Nope he was correct:
The owner of the house we are renting wants to either move back into it or sell it so we get the boot and have to be out in a month. ONE MONTH! How is this going to happen? We don't have time for this!! Don't they know we have two crazy kids and TONS of toys to pack up? Don't they know my hubby has an insane work schedule and is even traveling for work this month too? Don't they know I'm trying to get to my sister's house to spend time with her sweet family before they move across the big pond?!?

We've had lots of "trouble" with our rental company, including about a three month stretch where we were saying our AC wasn't working and they didn't do anything about it until water was literally filling up buckets on our second floor. Even though we live in Texas and it was over 100 degrees outside and at times 98 degrees inside and I have two children under 3, ACs aren't considered emergencies! I'd like the people at the front desk I talked to several times to come spend the day with me and my babies in the heat and then see what they think is an emergency! But I digress.

After the shock wore off, we had to laugh. YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS STUFF UP! We are military and will most likely be stationed somewhere else next June so another move now is just awesome (hope you're getting my sarcasm here) for us.

I eat dinner-hubby busy with work stuff. I wash dishes, play with kids for a bit, read a few books and start a double bath solo. Bubbles is the request from my oldest, so bubbles it is. I put in bubble solution and turn to see my son with pink crayon all over his mouth and a big smile. I clean him up and fish the remaining pieces out of those sweet chubby cheeks trying not to get bit! I begin bathing my babies, more pink crayon. I can't figure out where he's getting these pieces! We have bath crayons but I can't see them anywhere (I've fished most of them out already to prevent this AND there's Mr. Bubbles everywhere). I clean him up.

I rinse out my daughter's long hair. This is always fun because she's terrified of getting soap in her eyes. More pink crayon again! I clean him up and sweep the cheeks! I bathe him and begin the drying cycle! Take Mr. Cheeks into his room for jammie time. He smiles super big while we are singing Jesus Loves Me and MORE PINK CRAYON! I still don't know how he got so much or where it was coming from but

Moving boxes and yes baby boy eating pink crayons!
You can't make this stuff up!