Monday, August 24, 2009

Marks of a man

My two year old and I were talking this afternoon while I folded laundry. It was such a sweet conversation that will make me smile and cry for years to come, I'm sure. A small snippet of my little boys' perception of being grown up and being a man:

Isaiah: "Mommy... Joshua is your baby, and I'm your big boy"
Mommy: "Yes, thats right Isaiah, you are my big boy"
Isaiah: "...and I'm going to be big like Daddy..."
Mommy: "Yes, you are"
Isaiah"...and I'm going to drive Daddy's car..."
Mommy: "yep"
Isaiah: "...and I'm going to be strong like Daddy...and I'll go to work...and... Mommy?
Mommy: "Yes, Isaiah?"
Isaiah: "...and I'll go to Iraq."

I can't remember how I responded initially. I was so surprised that he thought serving in Iraq was part of what a man does. It brought tears to my eyes. The sacrifices of a military family...perhaps they stretch even bigger and wider than I sometimes think. But there is little Isaiah, in some small sense, aware of the service his dad did in Iraq. Thank God for our soldiers and our little boys who want to be like them someday. Where would we be without those who protect our freedom, our dreams, and our families.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Weekend trip to the county fair

One of Nick's favorite things is the roasted corn, yummy!!

Joshua petting the pigs

Isaiah petting the pigs

Isaiah riding a pony. Yes, we spoiled him rotten!!

Kathryn snacking on some of that buttery delicious roasted corn too

Joshua enjoying a orange sherbet push-up (and making a real mess!!)

Isaiah driving a cool red sports car

Those childhood days at the fair... priceless!! The sights, sounds, and smells of the county fair are unforgettable and the stuff memories are made of. I love it!! Nick and I have been to the fair many times together, but this year was the first time we took the boys. They were really delighted with all they could see and do-- not to mention all that delicious fair food. :)
We started by taking the boys through all the "boring" exhibits (you know, the kind that adults like and kids don't) such as the award winning flowers, quilts, baked goods, and photography. This was a brilliant plan of both Nick and I and I would highly recommend it to anyone with kids. We knew if we didn't see the boring" exhibits at the very beginning, by the time we made our way back to them, the boys would be tired and cranky and there would be NO WAY they'd sit quietly while we browsed the displays. Instead the boys, being not sure what to expect from this whole fair adventure, thought it was really exciting to look at lots of bright flowers and display cases (having no idea there were hundreds of animals, rides, and mouthwatering treats waiting to be had). Brilliant. Just brilliant plan. :)
Then we headed off to the animals and the boys reviewed their knowledge of animal sounds. I think Isaiah was quite shocked to actually hear a cow say "Moo" :) It was cute. They were very happy to get out of the stroller and go around to all the cages and pet the animals. Some of the signs in the children's animal area made me paranoid "Stand back, this animal may bite" but all went well, and we departed with all our digits intact. :)
We really enjoyed ourselves. It was a very hot day, reaching 100 degrees (with 70% humidity!!!), so we were very thankful for a number of air conditioned buildings where different groups and clubs were presenting. I felt a little bit bad about taking up seating and feigning interest in their presentations, just so that we could cool down. But I'll tell you, the heat was just wilting, and it was amazing to see the boys perk up as their internal thermostats cooled down. All in all, what a fun day. We will definitely do it again.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Learning to be an Army wife...again!!

Despite the fact that my husband was just deployed for 15 months and I had to regularly practice many elements of being an Army wife, I was really out of the Army loop. Nick deployed out of different post (as opposed to the post we lived by) and on a small 11 man team (as opposed to a brigade and all its attachments). This meant that he cut all his connections with our Fort, and by extension, so did I!! We were no longer attached to a local unit, so there wasn't a local FRG (Family Readiness Group, basically a support group made up of spouses in the same unit) to be a apart of. There were a few military gals/friends that I kept up with during Nick's deployment, but otherwise I didn't attend a single Army event-- not one FRG meeting, Army ball, mixer, Hail and Farewell, or coffee. And to be honest, we had so many close friends and family there to support us, I didn't really miss the Army side of things.

Now out here at a new duty station, I'm learning (or should I say re-learning) another side of being an Army wife; the social side. This week a coffee social at the General's home and a Commandant's Mixer at the club on post. Next week, classes on FRG's and Rear Detachment and other important things for a Company Commander's wife to know and be involved with. I know these events and classes are meant for people to get to know others as well as to learn how to be assets to our husbands. And I'm very thankful for that... but I can't help but feel intimidated as well. I am amazed with how much a Army wife does, particularly in the higher ranks. They organize and plan, they entertain, they own a ton of couches and furniture, they meet'n'greet, they run FRG's, they fix problems and answer questions. They really come along side their husband's and reach out to the soldiers and spouses that are under their care. I don't know if it always works this way, but it seems for many of the spouses, the title of Colonel or General's wife becomes a career in itself.

Does it seem a silly thing to be able to handle a long deployment and all that that entails, but then to worry about the other side of military life and being an asset to my husband in his career? Am I ready for it? Can I do it? And the bigger question on my mind: can I be a supportive military spouse, while also caring for my home, my kids, my husband and all that that entails?

When I expressed my concerns to my husband, he smiled hugely. He tells me I'm an incredible asset to him already in the way I maintain our home, cook him dinner, care for the boys, and keep our house running. He says God will give us the grace and strength we need to meet each challenge. He seems to have no doubts as to what we can handle or how we will manage all the responsibility. The only thing he DOES doubt is that he'll ever get promoted to General. :)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sunday afternoon at the river

Sunday afternoon, after church and naps, Nick, the boys and I headed off to the park. Being new to the area, we weren't sure what to expect of the town park, but we were amazed!! This must be one of the most beautiful spots around. I'm so glad that we like exploring!! We found a nice hiking path that led us down to the waters edge. It was an ideal spot for little boys, as the water was no more than 6 inches deep all the way across and there were PLENTY of rocks for throwing and splashing.
We put out the picnic blanket on the edge of the river bank and ate a simple meal with the sound of rushing water in the background. Oh, how I love the sound of water! It was such a treat to put our feet into the cool fresh water, and splash around to our hearts content. The boys threw rocks and attempted to get giardia by drinking river water... boys will be boys I guess!!! :) Nick attempted to teach Isaiah how to skip rocks on the water, but its kind of an advanced technique for a 2 year old :)
It was such a pleasant afternoon. It was one of those days where your heart just bursts with thankfulness-- the beauty of creation, the handiwork of our God in making the water flow, the grass green, the rocks splash, and then giving us such sweet enjoyment and pleasure in these things. Wow!! So I had to say outloud "Thank you, Lord!!" My sweet little Isaiah echoed my words with some of his own, "Thank you, Lord for the water, and for the ROCKS!!!"

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Happy Anniversary

Today is my parent's 30th Wedding Anniversary! Congratulations, Mom and Dad!! This year my siblings and I are sending our parents on a luxurious 4 night get-a-way to celebrate their wedded bliss. Us kids have been putting money away for such an occasion and are now very pleased with ourselves to be able to treat our parents. :) What great parents I have!! I am so thankful for them. For the years of training and discipline... for the years of paying car insurance and college tuition...for the years of grilling my boyfriend and now supporting me in my own marriage... the list could go on and on. Thanks Mom and Dad for your years of hard work! Thank you for maintaining a steadfast marriage and raising me in a Christian home. It's such a blessing to have grown up in a place where my parents lived and loved each other. I have learned a lot from them over the years. Here's a few tidbits:
1) Having 6 kids doesn't make you crazy
2) Shop at thrift stores
3) Rejoice in the Lord always
4) Stand by your spouse through thick and thin
5) Be honest
6) Weed eaters make great Mother's Day gifts
7) Always serve dinner on hot plates
8) Trust in the Lord always
9) There is nothing worse than Socialism
10) Children are a blessing

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Our backyard... sort of

Our townhome is in a brand new development. This is particularly nice when you're renting-- everything is new, clean, and functioning (hmm... well, mostly functioning, the list of repairs we've already needed to have done is a story for another time...). The other nice thing about the new development is that down the road from our home is a construction site--- this is particularly fascinating to little boys!! Right now they have the project on hold (waiting for financing) so there are many large bull dozers, back hoes, front end loaders etc. parked in the dirt waiting to start work again. So, as you can imagine our evening family walks have turned into "evening family climbing-on-tractor sessions." Oh well. :) The tractors were just too much for the boys (including Nick!!) to resist. There is something about big powerful machinery that is just so attractive to the boys!

After Isaiah worked up the courage to climb onto the back hoe, his first remark was "Oh!!! It has no keys!!" This was both an exclamation of relief ("phew!! This thing won't move and make noise!") and disappointment (because, of course, what little boy doesn't dream of driving a tractor?). Joshua was fearless, probably a little too fearless, and climbed up like a little monkey. He was glad to look over the edge and touch the big tires.

As a side note, I'm not sure why the boys both ended up wearing orange shirts... but fitting for my little construction workers, wouldn't you say?


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