A small, but big Thanksgiving

Good morning! Thanksgiving has come and gone and now it’s the 2nd biggest day of the Thanksgiving holiday – College Football Rivalry Day. Even though I’ve found that I haven’t had much interest in football this year.. if I’m brutally honest with myself the past two years… there’s not much I love more than a good rivalry. The games are usually close and entertaining, there’s trash talk just a flowing everywhere, cops are called, friendships are severed, you know.. the sport of it all. (This lessened interest in football is very disturbing to me. I noticed it last year, but uttered not a word to anyone. This year I just couldn’t even feign interest, so I came out of my shameful one-of-those-girls closet. It has to be really close.. like heart pounded, last-minute-drives-to-win-the-game-close.. for me to become interested. There.. it’s out in the open, but does not apply to today!)

Back to Thanksgiving! It was just the four of us and we were so much looking forward to that. We didn’t plan much. Just hang out together and eat. I couldn’t wait to watch the parade with Andrew. Experience another first for Wes with Trey. Eat a delicious dinner and chat about what we were thankful for. (yess.. we really do a lot of that on Thanksgiving).

It was good. It was calm and cozy and I wouldn’t change a thing.

But we missed our families. Everyone was together and it was loud and fun and there was tons of laughter and fires in kitchens. We were so adamant on spending the holidays with just us this year because we so badly were craving that time together as a family, and all-in-all, I’m glad we’ve done that, but I won’t lie and say that there weren’t parts of the day where I felt a big whole in my heart, missing everyone.

Andrew had almost ZERO interest in the parade. He just wanted to be in the playroom with Trey building Legos. He wouldn’t even come build in the livingroom. The only part they cared about was the Rockettes. Go figure.

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Wes was still clingy and cranky and teething. He didn’t take a break from all that just because it was Thanksgiving. So that’s hard. And frustrating at times. And made it a little more difficult for that perfect dinner to be cooked on time (even with my well thought out and detailed timeline).

So it wasn’t quite how I imagined it. It wasn’t a Folgers commercial. But we were together. We didn’t snuggle up and watch the parade, but we played outside with trucks and footballs.

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Wes was cranky and cried for the majority of the day. He is going through this super super clingy phase.. my favorite, let me tell you. But I have a really handsome helper here with me to take some of the pressure off. Plus, between cries, he’s really adorable!

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And even though dinner was a little late, and Wes was beyond ready for bed and asleep before we sat down to eat, we did have more than enough. And it came out really REALLY well.

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Even though Andrew had no interest in the parade, he did finally get really excited about Thanksgiving when we sat down to eat. “Looooook at allllllllllll this food”, he said while giggling. He thought it was great and funny and declared that he LOVED Thanksgiving. Another reminder that I live with all boys, I guess! And while we went around our little table and talked about what we were thankful for, Andrew didn’t miss a beat and said, “I’m thankful for God”.

That’s what it’s all about! We are thankful for our God, our family near and far, and togetherness.

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Snow

I may or may not be sitting here writing with a bowl of vanilla bean ice cream. Sorry.. I like full disclosure.

I’m also sitting here looking at this beautiful view:

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Now, usually I’m a strict “no Christmas until Thanksgiving Day is over” rule follower. I like to give Thanksgiving it’s due. It’s my favorite time of year, and I don’t want to rush the holidays.

I almost gave in simply because we missed Christmas together last year and I wanted to make up for lost time. But, no, I said. A month would be long enough. Then I realized that Thanksgiving was late this year, so no wonder I was getting antsy. Nope.. I was hanging in there.

Then… then.. I woke up Sunday morning to Trey acting like a 5 year old that just heard the ice cream truck. The man was the giddiest I had ever heard him, screeching around the house because there was snow on the ground. SNOW!! The ground was blanketed with a gorgeous white layer of snow. That was it. That’s all I needed. The Christmas music was busted out in full force and by 9am Trey had the tree out.

And now for the most part, it’s done. We.. ahem.. he.. still has the outside lights to string. But my job is over. And I just have to say, I think there’s something to the whole decorating right before Thanksgiving thing. I don’t know about y’all, but I’m dog tired after doing Thanksgiving. The last thing I usually feel like doing after cooking, cleaning, babies.. blah blah blah.. is decorating the house. I’m kind of excited to be able to enjoy the hubbub during the Thanksgiving Day parade and eat my hot apple crisp by the pretty tree at the end of the night. We made the right move, for sure!

And for your viewing pleasure, I give you Andrew in the Snow:

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I think we need to invest in some actual snow gear. Don’t laugh, we’ve never needed that before. Oh.. and Roll Tide.

And one more adorably sweet picture for good measure:

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Merry Thanksgiving Everyone!!

Trusting

Now that Trey is getting ready to start the Career Course, a frequent topic of conversation in our home is choosing our next duty station. For those of you that aren’t familiar, let me fill you in on a fun little game we like to play in the Army. Once you are finishing up at one location, The Army says, “hey.. buddy.. where would YOU like to go? If you could choose any place in the world YOU’D like to be sent to, where would that be? You know what? How about you really start dreaming and tell us your top THREE choices!!” So you sit down as a family and start dreaming of your favorite places possible. If you’re new at all of this, you get excited. You may foolishly even start planning. You maybe would like to go to places like Hawaii, or Colorado (or if you’re like me, you’re dying to get to Washington.. the state), or maybe you’d like to get as close as possible to your hometown. But wait! Wait… the powers that be are sitting at their desks, looking at your choices and laughing as they write your soldier’s orders up for places like Korea or Fort Huachuca or Fort Irwin! (In all fairness, I want to believe that they want to work with you. But really.. when it comes down to it.. they’re going to send you to wherever there is a need for you)

Anyways.. all that to say.. we’ve been coming up with our duty station list. I know we just got here, but the career course is only a 6 month stint, so theoretically, we won’t be staying long.

Unless staying makes in on our list. Which it’s very possible that Sill will go on our list. Maybe even as our number one slot. Trey wants to stay. I wouldn’t mind staying. We throw around the pros and cons. A big fat pro would be that we don’t have to do the moving dance all over again in May. (not quite as much fun with the kiddos). A con, for me, would be that I’m staying here. I like it here, but I was under the impression that I was going to get to see the world when Trey signed up. Not just Oklahoma and Texas! He names places like Hood (again, get me out of Texas!) and Riley (in the middle of absolutely nowhere). I want to go to places like Lewis (hello west coast and Seattle) or Carson (Colorado mountains.. yes please!). We go through this dance of discussions and we always end up frustrated because he’s looking at stations that will benefit his career and the route he wants to take it and I’m really just looking at the location and how it will benefit me, to be honest.

Then I went to PWOC this morning. This week we’ve been studying the story of Ruth. I won’t go over the whole story, but one verse that really pressed on my heart all week was Ruth 1:16. “But Ruth replied, Don’t urge me to abandon you, to turn my back from following after you. Wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.” And just today, after another duty station conversation yesterday, did it jump out to me as to why.

That was during class. After the first half we get together for a little worship. We sang a song with these lines,

“You and me, me and you Where you go, I’ll go too. I’m with you. I’m with you. Until your heart finds a home, I won’t let you be alone…” Okay God, Okay. I get the message.. haha!

I came home and made a deal with Trey. I let him know that our top three was completely his decision. I let him know that I fully trusted him to make the best choice for our family, and I won’t complain or sulk about any place he chooses to list. There was only once condition. I made him promise to pray about it every day. See, while my faith is strong, I’m nowhere near a perfect Christian. I know that no one is. What I mean by that, is that it isn’t yet second nature for me to pray about things. I have to constantly strive to remember to trust everything to God. I’m not as disciplined as I’d like to be. But obviously, God is working in me. I see it more and more every day. I’m seeing more and more all the time that where I am in life is never a mistake. Never a coincidence. All of that to say, it wasn’t a given to me that we would pray about this situation. I wanted us to make the conscience decision to do so.

So that’s our plan. Prayer. Faith that God will lead us to where we need to be as a family. And I feel good about it. I’m not worried about it anymore.. or concerned whatsoever. I have complete trust in Trey and our God. And that, my friends, is freeing. A weight off my shoulders.

Settled in Lawton

Hey.. long time no write!

I can’t believe how much has changed in such a short amount of time. Just a month ago we were days away from preparing for Trey’s return. Less than two weeks ago we were still in South Carolina. Since then left the kids with grandparents, got in our cars drove to Oklahoma in two days (including a stop in Alabama to visit with Trey’s grandfather and mom), Found a house in less than 24 hours, picked up Trey’s parents and our boys from the airport (yes, they are saints and flew with our boys so we didn’t have to drive with them. I KNOW), and moved right on in!

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Y’all.. things could not be turning out any sweeter. Well.. the kids could be napping.. but I’ll ignore that and let them continue to talk to themselves in their respective rooms. It’s still rest time, right?

But really.. There was almost no adjustment needed with Trey coming home. Sure it took him a minute to be Dad instead of Buddy, but that was to be expected. We all needed that, I think. Andrew is having the time of his life with him. Wes is a Daddy’s boy just as much as Andrew was a Mama’s boy. And well.. I love everything about having him home!

We are actually loving Lawton this time around. I know it has a really bad rap. I get it.. there’s “not much to do”.  Our last time around.. I would have agreed with its reputation. I don’t know what it is. Whether it’s me that’s matured, the fact that we have kids to keep us busy, our beautiful, spacious house instead of the tiny apartment, or the fact that there’s a TARGET now, but I really can’t find anything to complain about. At all.

I have a good feeling about this next chapter of our lives. I feel God’s hands all over it. We’re just settled and happy.. truly happy. I prayed and prayed over the house that we’d be living in and the way we found it, I’d say it was already picked out for us. I’ll be joining PWOC on Wednesday. I’ll just need the kids to adjust there. We’ve gotten to spend some time with friends that were stationed here with us before. I’m so thankful they are here with us again! Next up on the list is finding a church. I hope that will go just as smoothly! (hey God.. if you’re reading.. MAKE THAT BABY GO TO SLEEP. Please.)

So, yeah.. that’s it, really! Just happy happy happy and enjoying life. Well deserved, I’d say!

Oh hey.. MY HUSBAND IS HOME

So there was this one time, where a big significant life moment happened, and ME.. THE BLOGGER.. I forgot to blog about it.

Hey guys, guess what? My husband is home! He’s home. He’s safe. He was in my arms for about 5 seconds and now we’re separated again. But the important thing is that he’s home. I can call him whenever I want. We no longer depend on getting each others emails whenever the other person wakes up. I no longer have to worry about him. He’s home.

Unfortunately, he had to stay in Texas to do all of that out processing stuff. And I had these two cute kids that I had to come home to and take care of.

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We only have a week left. He’ll be here a week from today (I’m counting the minutes!) and he will finally, FINALLY be reunited with Andrew and meet Wesley. Our reunion was magical.. it was everything I hoped for and by far a top 3 moment in my life. But this.. him seeing these boys… it’ll be indescribable. But I’ll talk about that more after it actually happens. On to the goodies…

I got to El Paso way earlier than I needed to. But you know how Army timelines work (they never know what the hell is going on for those of you that have no experience dealing with such things. Times and dates change 546521687 times) and I had paid one nice little fee of $200 to change my flight once already, so once I had that second flight I was kind of stuck in it. Long story short, I flew in on a Friday, he got in late Tuesday night (as in damn near Wednesday) and I left Thursday.

I spend the majority of the day Tuesday in a state that I can best describe as dazed and confused. I wondered aimlessly, thankfully running into a few sweet girls to distract me in the morning, having lunch with a friend, and then spending the afternoon with my wonderful friend who, to my great benefit, just so happens to be an amazing photographer (Jaci) and Ashley.  I basically spent a lot of time pacing, cracking my knuckles, and squealing.

But at last, it was time to go. Of course, it had been pouring for days. Because only at the time that I need beautiful, clear weather will it be flooding in the desert. But I digress. I got all gussied up and we headed out to the field. We sat and sat.. and sat for what I’m sure was a good bit of time, but it really didn’t feel that long. That part is a little hazy. I feel like it flew by. Before I knew it, we were being ushered outside, all with electrified anticipation. We waited a few more minutes, but then I heard the sweetest sound. I couldn’t see the plane because it was so hazy and foggy, but I sure heard that engine. (This only intensified my love for planes and airports btw). Image

Oh the excitement.. I can’t begin to put it into words. The slow, built-up drama of it all. The plane slowly drives up. The band marches out and plays a song before anyone can get off the plane. Then finally they walk off one by one. Imagine what it felt like to be them. To step off of that plane and touch American soil for the first time in 9-10 months. To know that your loved ones are there waiting for you and you can hear them cheering. Ughhh.. I love it.

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I saw him walk by, finally, but couldn’t go to him quite yet. They have to go into the arms room to turn in all their weapons. Which takes roughly a year. So that’s torturous. Because we are just waiting again. And waiting and waiting. Okay so a year is a little bit of an exaggeration, but it really was like an hour I think. I don’t know…. I can’t be trusted with time frames.

At last, they came out, stood in formation, got a big Welcome Home and were told that they were released to their families. He had to find me. I couldn’t move, per strict orders of my lovely photographer 🙂 But he did end up finding me

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Look at that handsome man! Good Lord I missed that face!

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And THAT my friends.. that is the moment I’ve been waiting for for 10 months. And for him… I’d do it over and over again if I had to for the rest of my life. Only for him. Now bring your rear end home and help me with these kids before I end up in the loony bin 🙂

Home

I’m back in El Paso waiting for a very special someone to get here, and besides missing my kids so much it very literally hurts, I’m enjoying every second of it.

Since the moment Trey joined the Army, I’ve always sworn that South Carolina would always be home. I’d go. I’d follow him anywhere, but at the end of the day, home was where my heart was. Unfortunately, half of my heart stayed back in SC. But not the real SC. An memory of what SC used to be for me. I can’t really be blamed. It’s a beautiful place. Sweet accents, beautiful beaches, my family, friends, palmetto trees, boiled peanuts, the place I married my best friend, it’s green, it was home.

So imagine my surprise, when I stepped off the plane yesterday, and I felt more whole than I have since I left El Paso last December. My heart swelled and I felt.. you guessed it.. HOME. Like I could fully breath again. But wait.. this is El Paso. It’s the desert. There are no beaches, no trees, it’s in the middle of nowhere on the boarder of Juarez, Mexico. Never in my life did I imagine I’d call this place home! But there’s something to be said for this little corner of the country. It’s more than just a location.

This is/was our first “permanent” duty station. The first place we came to “settle” after Trey was done with all of his training. I came here as a 27 year old, petrified, very new Army wife. Just my husband, myself and my 6 month pregnant belly. We found a little home here and found our way in a place that was completely foreign to us. We had our first baby here and watched him fight for his life. We moved from that home to our fist home on post and discovered how wonderful it was to feel that tight knit Army community life. I made some of the best friends I’ve ever had. We watched our son learn how to crawl, walk and talk. I had a miscarriage and than got pregnant with our second/last boy. I watched as my husband prepare for his first deployment and went through that with these friends that I had made. We went through that together as all of their husbands left as well.

I’ve missed it so much, and I didn’t even fully realize it. I love it here. I love the mountains. I love the openness. I love the breeze. I love all the history of Ft. Bliss. I love the Army community. But mostly, it’s just the memories. And I’m about to add the sweetest memory of all to this place. Welcoming my husband home. Ft. Bliss will always hold such as special place in my heart.

But I think I finally, truly grasp the saying, “home is where your heart is”. I thought I already got it, but I didn’t. South Carolina will always be a significant place. Our extended families will always be there.. I think. But, at cliche as it is, it’s very clear to me that our home will always be wherever the Army sends us. Wherever MY family is together. I know we’ll have memories like this wherever it is that we move to. We’ll have memories like this from places all over the country. And I think that’s pretty cool. At the end of this long adventure, I hope we can look back with this kind of nostalgia at every place we’re sent. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us!

So excited and there is NO HIDING IT

When 100 people told me that deployments fly by, I didn’t believe them. Not a single one of them. But now we’re sitting here and I have only 6 more opportunities to get a class in at the gym before I take off to greet that gorgeous man I get to call my husband off the plane! How?!? My mind cannot even begin to comprehend that we’re are this close to finishing a whole deployment. It’s unreal.

I’m a complete basket case, however. I wish I could say that I was cool, calm, and collected. Not at all. My emotions are ALL OVER THE PLACE. I know. Most of you aren’t surprised.

Some of my favorite people have already been reunited with their husbands or are going to be very very soon. Just seeing their pictures… I ugly cry. I’m so incredibly happy for everyone. I can’t yet imagine what that initial feeling is going to be like. When I touch him for the first time since December 1st of last year. But judging by these pictures, seeing their faces, I don’t think there are going to be words to go along with the feelings. I don’t think words exist for that.

We did it. My girlfriends and I got through our first deployment. Some of us moved away, some of us stayed put. We got jobs. We met fitness goals. We had babies. We took on a temporary position of single parenting. We killed our own bugs. We laughed and cried together. We prayed for each other, especially when things were really hard or uncertain. (And there are a few that still have a few more months to wait it out. I’m thinking about y’all and praying for your continued strength. It’ll come. You’re almost done!!)

And my husband? My level of respect and admiration for him has gone up x 100. For the bravery, strength, and commitment he has shown. For the sacrifices he has made for his country. I’m beyond excited to have my hero home again with his family. I can’t wait to see him step off of that plane. To have that first hug and kiss. To experience all of the simple things couples experience again. To hold his hand. To talk to him without having to type it. (I’m so sick of typing). To make him a meal. To see him reunited with Andrew and introduce him to his youngest son. To have a cup of coffee together. To be able to call him anytime I want. To see his handsome smile and hear his goofy laugh that always makes me laugh instantaneously. I just can’t wait to have my best friend back. To always have someone to talk to that gets me. I think I’ll pinch him 50 times to make sure he’s really standing in front of me.

We’re so close. So so close, but time is not quite moving fast enough. August, you can be over now!