Wednesday, January 11, 2012

a lot to cover!

I know it's been FOREVER since my last post. There are several reasons for this, with the biggest being a VERY mobile baby!
Another reason why I haven't posted is because there was something I couldn't really talk about yet. But now, I can tell you that......Brad ISN'T going to Afghanistan anymore! (And NO, I'm not pregnant like a lot of you thought with some of the posts that Brad and I made about this!) They cancelled the whole deployment for his squadron. We found out a mere 3 weeks before he was set to leave. (Hey, I'll take it!) It was a total shock! I was ecstatic, but it was a little bitter-sweet for Brad. Of course, he was glad that he wasn't going to be gone for 9 months. Now, he will be here to see Caroline's first steps, first birthday, etc. BUT- he has been training for the past 2 1/2 years. He didn't join the military to sit around here stateside. And an ironic part to all this: The day before we found out, we had family pictures taken. We did a lot of pictures of Brad and Caroline to have while he was gone. Oh well, they're awesome pictures and I wouldn't trade them for anything. Now, the next deployment scheduled for Brad's squadron is in 2013, and as of now, Brad's name isn't on that list. We shall see.
We spent Thanksgiving at the lake with Brad's family. It was really nice to see everyone and the weather was awesome! We were able to stay almost 2 weeks because Brad was on his pre-deployment leave (haha!)
We also did a VERY hard thing while we were there. We found a new home for our baby boy, Duke. It's a long story and it makes me very sad to talk about, so I won't go into details. BUT- we found him an AWESOME home and I feel like God placed the right people in the right place at the right time. We see pictures of him and know he is doing well (and has A LOT of room to run around!) Anyway, it is something we are still dealing with emotionally, so prayers are appreciated!
Brad's squadron had the annual Christmas party, where Santa usually flies in on a Huey, but didn't get to this year. It wasn't too big of a deal to us, but had Caroline been a little older, I'm sure it would have bothered me more. Brad participated in the "Polar Bear Plunge" AKA "crazy Marines who have no common sense..."

At least he got a t-shirt.....?

We had planned on spending our Christmas here in North Carolina because Brad was going to be leaving shortly after. As soon as we found out it was cancelled, we were looking to get to New Mexico to spend it with my family! (It had been summer since everyone but my mom had seen us/Caroline.) We had an awesome time, but it went by way too fast! It snowed while we were there, so Caroline's first Christmas was a white one! :) Here are a few pictures:
Napping with DADDY!
Loving time with my grandparents!

Snowman that Brad and Jess made

Caroline's great grandparents!

Caroline's favorite Aunts!

Gotta love the timer on the camera! ;)

Like I said, it was an awesome time and we were so glad to see everyone. We also got to do Christmas with Brad's family before we went to New Mexico. We were incredibly lucky to get the chance to see so many people over the holidays. Caroline got more toys than we know what to do with. We are now in the process of deciding if we want to set up a playroom or get some type of organization system for it all. ;)
Ever since we got back, my little angel has been going NON-STOP! She is sleeping about 7-8 hours at night and we're lucky to get her to sleep longer than an hour twice a day. (usually more like 30-45 mins.) I think she's just scared she's gonna miss something! We took her to her 9 month appointment this morning and she went from being in the 88% to 64% for weight. She's so active, all that baby fat is just falling off! She's also gotten to where she won't hardly eat off of a spoon anymore. She wants it all on her tray so she can feed herself, which means many more baths these days. ;)
Brad and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary last week. Time flies when you're having fun. :) We were going to go to dinner while some good friends kept Caroline, but she wasn't having that! Instead, we got sushi takeout and watched a movie. It actually turned out to be an awesome date! AND- Brad surprised me with a new wedding band!! I was shocked! He's so good to me. <3
I'm sure there's a lot of things I'm leaving out, but that's all I have for now. We are just working on getting back in the swing of things after all that craziness! I'll leave you with a sweet picture of Caroline and grandma from Christmas. As always, God bless you!

Monday, November 7, 2011

My Lil' Pumpkin

So much has happened since my last post!
Caroline is getting quicker everyday with her "pull-n-scoot." (Still have to figure out how to do video on here.) She gets up on her hands and knees and rocks back and forth, but when she decides she's ready to go, she drops on her belly and is gone! She is very curious about doggie bowls...that door will have to remain shut on a more regular basis, and I hope my dogs aren't going to be too dehydrated ;) Now that she is more mobile, we spent some of the weekend baby-proofing this house. Let's hope Mommy can figure out how to get into the cabinets!

We didn't do much for Halloween, since Brad was gone. I had planned on dressing Caroline up in her pumpkin dress and sitting on my front porch to hand out candy, but it was rainy and cold. I didn't want to have to deal with barking dogs every time the doorbell rang, so I was "that lady" who put her candy bowl out on the porch with a note that read "help yourself." I was very surprised to find a small amount of candy left after the night was over. Darn. I did, however, take some pictures of Caroline in her pumpkin dress to commemorate her first Halloween.

Brad left 8 days ago to go to California to do some stuff for the squadron, expecting to return last Thursday, the day before the ball. He called that Tuesday with news that not only would he be missing the ball, but not to expect him back for 2 more weeks. Gotta love it. My in-laws had already made plans to come here to watch Caroline while we went to the ball, so they came anyway. Guess that new dress will have to wait until next year.
It was nice to have the in-laws here, and I know they enjoyed the time with Caroline. She has a couple new tricks now! She is waving 'bye-bye" and can now get back up to a sitting position from being on her tummy. (Time to lower the crib even more!!)

She is also saying DADDA! and- Brad heard her say it for the first time! I was on the phone with him and Skyping with my grandmother at the same time she said it. So, I have two witnesses! I've showed her Brad's picture several times and she waves and whispers "dadda." Love it! We've gotten to Skype with Brad a couple of times, so that's been so nice! He isn't going to believe how much she has changed when he gets home.

Brad's squadron is having a pre-deployment brief for the families on Thursday. I'll be interested to learn more about the deployment, especially since the boys don't seem to know too much. (Either that, or my husband just doesn't pay too much attention ;)  ) Sucks Brad won't be here to go with me. AND- I didn't get Caroline's forms in on time for the childcare, so I'll be that lady with no spouse there and with a baby on her hip. Oh well, a couple of weeks ago I was "that lady" with a baby in a bar for Brad's "Hail and Farewell." (Where they definitely told the story of Brad puking in the Cobra...We'll see if he gets a call sign from that! :) )

Today is Duke's 3rd birthday! Happy Birthday baby boy! He got the royal treatment while my in-laws were here. Nails trimmed, furminated (AH-MAZING!), bath, ears cleaned, and several walks/ONE run. I am WAAAAY outta shape, that run killed me! Should I ask for a jogging stroller for Christmas??? Either that or an attachment for my bike for Caroline to ride in. I miss my road bike. While Brad is deployed, I get 10 hours of free childcare at the CDC per month. I may use each of those hours to ride. (or nap! hehe)

I got a new baby cookbook in the mail today. I'm really excited to get to start experimenting with more tastes for Caroline. It's also time to start introducing protein! I'm thinking chicken first? I'll let you know how that goes. :)

Well, that's about it! I'll leave you with a picture of my angel playing, just cause she's so darn cute. :) God bless you all!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

hello skinny jeans!

ok, so this post was originally going to be all about Caroline's "pull-n-scoot," but I can't figure out how to get the video on this computer, grrr. Like I said before, I'm not as computer savvy as I used to be. I'll mess with it more and see what I can come up with.
In other news, thanks to Caroline, I am in my skinniest of the skinny jeans! :) For those of you who have seen the SATC episode, you know what I'm talking about. Those jeans you keep in hopes that one day you'll be able to wear them again. Well, instead of that ONE pair, I have 3. And the skinniest of the 3, which I wore in college, FIT! Thank you Caroline! (I'm still nursing her, so I can't take much of the credit.) I always said that I was going to nurse for 6 months or so. But she's almost 7 months old...I just don't really want to switch her to formula and pumping is such a PAIN. So, I guess we'll do this for 5 more months or so. Definitely not nursing past a year old.
Brad has a definite date for when he's leaving, thank goodness. All I can say is that I'm really excited he'll be here for Caroline's first Christmas. Now we just have to figure out what we're gonna do about a tree. I really want to get one this year, but don't want to have to put a fence of some sort around it. And by then, Caroline will really be getting around and I'm not wanting to spend allll day keeping her out of it. But I guess if that's the most of my worries, I've got it pretty good. :)
Be on the lookout for a video of the "pull-n-scoot." I'll eventually get it figured out. God bless! I'll leave you with a few pictures!
how the heck does this thing work!?

enjoying outside time with mommy and daddy!

check out those two teeth! :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

what a trip!

WOW! We had such a great time on leave!
Before we even get started on when we leave, I'll fill you in on what happened BEFORE we left. On Monday evening, Dixie and Duke got into a spat over a bone. For those of you who know my Dixie, you know she thinks she's a lot bigger than she really is. It was kinda scary, Dixie ended up with 2 holes in her. It was very surprising, Dixie and Duke have always gotten along really well. Brad was flying that night and I didn't know what to do. I called a good friend and she was here quick as could be to help out. We ended up taking Dixie to the emergency vet that night, where they tried to charge me $1000 to fix her. I said no thanks, give me the antibiotics and pain meds and I'll take her to my vet in the morning. We took her in the next morning and she ended up with 6 stitches and 2 drains in her. Geez, she was absolutely pitiful. For a while, she was very scared of being around Duke, but now they are back to normal. We have a dog trainer coming to the house to asses the dogs this weekend. We want to make sure something like this doesn't happen EVER again, especially since Caroline is so close to crawling.
We were able to get down to Brad's parents house on Friday evening and spend the weekend with the family, as well as Brad's grandma and uncle, who were in town visiting from Missouri. We hadn't seen Brad's uncle in over 3 years, so it was great to see him. The boys spent the weekend fishing and getting their rifles sighted in for hunting the next weekend, while us gals hung out around the house and down by the lake. On Monday, it was time for Brad and I to head out for our trip....a little bitter-sweet.

Our first day there, we went on a horseback ride through the mountains, which was pretty cool. Brad had a really lazy horse, so we ending up making the group wait on us several times, haha.

We weren't able to check into our cabin until late afternoon, so we went to the grocery store to get some stuff to have around the cabin, most of which we ending up bringing back, we didn't spend near as much time at the cabin as we thought we would.
When we got to the cabin, we were a little surprised at how "up in the MOUNTAINS" this cabin was. I guess that's what you get when you request a "mountain view." Our cabin was at the end of a dead end and on a MAJOR hill. Brad almost got us in trouble when we first got there by almost driving the truck off the side of the was pretty scary. It was the first time we wished we had a 4 wheel drive. After that ordeal, we got cleaned up and headed in town for dinner. We went to the Dixie Stampede, which is a lot like a Medieval Times. It was pretty neat and we headed back to the cabin, which was TOTALLY different at night time. Even more scary heading up that last part of the hill, especially with wet roads.

the hill...the picture doesn't do it justice.

our cabin :)

the view from the cabin

another view from cabin

Of course, we called to check on Caroline multiple times a day. She did well, but Tuesday she had a rough day. We finally figured out when we got back that she cut another tooth that day. But all in all, she did well. (Thanks again Grandma and Grandma Dee!!)
The next day, we did the "touristy" thing. We went to the aquarium (which Caroline would have LOVED!), a moonshine distillery, a "craftsman show" at the convention center, and several shops throughout Gatlinberg. We cooked dinner at the cabin, where we also enjoyed the pool table, dart board and hot tub.
The next morning we woke up to trash being ALL over the back porch, thanks to the area raccoons. (How the heck did they even get up there?!?) We went to Cade's Cove that day. All I can say is AMAZING. Got to see a black bear up in a tree, several deer and a TON of wild turkeys. We did a 5 mile hike to see a waterfall, which was beautiful.

We really enjoyed Cade's Cove, and it made us wish we would have camped instead of renting a cabin. Maybe next time. We went to the Old Mill for dinner that night. We couldn't believe how much food we got with our order. The food was great, as well as the atmosphere.
The next day, we headed out to Bass Pro Shops before heading home. (If you know my husband at all, you know this is a MUST :) ) He got some stuff for hunting that weekend and then we headed back to see our baby girl. I was so glad to see her, she changed so much in the 4 days we were away. She is so close to crawling. Just cause she's such a cutie, I can't help but add a recent picture of her. <3

ok, maybe two pictures :)

When we got back to the lake, the boys spent the weekend hunting, while we went looking for a Ball dress. Yay! We found one and it isn't black! (Brad's request, haha)
None of the boys got a deer, but hopefully found some good spots for when they get to go again. Now we're back and trying to get back in the swing of things. I took Dixie to get her stitches out yesterday and she's doing just fine. Lots of unpacking, reorganizing, laundry and cleaning in my near future. As always, I hope all of you are doing well. God bless you.

Monday, October 3, 2011

kinda scary...

So, as many of you know, there have been 2 Cobra helicopter crashes lately, which have killed 3 of our Marines, all of which Brad had some sort of contact with over the past year. One of them was an instructor at the last squadron we were at, with whom Brad flew with multiple times.(who also had a baby about the same time Caroline was born.) The others were at the last squadron at some time during our time there, but they were both students there with Brad, so he never flew with them. One crash was at Camp Pendleton and the other was in Afghanistan, at the FOB Brad is scheduled to go to.
Any way you look at it, it's scary. This is what my husband does. There is a wife without her husband, a child without their father, a mother without her son, etc. I try not to think about this too often, as it just makes me too sad. I do pray for the families of these Marines daily. I pray for God to give Brad guidance as he flies. I pray that this coming deployment will go by quickly.
Brad's squardon is sending two Marines on WEDNESDAY of this week to Afghanistan, which they found out about on FRIDAY. Thankful that Brad was not one of the ones chosen to go early.

That's not to say that I'm sitting around sulking. This is what we signed up for. (And I do mean "we," as Brad and I made this decision together.) Sulking won't make it any better, but with these latest incidents, it does make me think about it more often.
Sorry for the sad post...Brad is flying for the first time in 2 weeks tonight, so I couldn't help but think about it.

On a lighter note, my angel is getting more and more fun each day. She has such a little personality and I absolutely ADORE her! :) She is eating very well. I have been making all her food and I have yet to find anything she isn't too crazy about. She is still nursing, although not near as much. Big girl food is so much more fun, mom! Geez!
She will be 6 months old tomorrow...time has gone by so quickly. Although, it seems like it was FOREVER ago that we were at the hospital with her. I guess that's just because we have been so busy since she was born. She isn't crawling yet, but maneuvers around pretty well on her belly and forearms. She LOVES our dogs, and we are pretty sure that she has started saying her first word...BUBBA! (a nickname for Duke.) He is her favorite, although she LOOOOVES her daddy! :)
Brad is taking 10 days of leave starting on Friday, which cannot come soon enough. We are going down to Brad's parents, which is about a 5 hour drive. Brad's grandma and uncle will be there visiting as well, which we are excited about. We will stay there through the weekend and then the two of us are going to Gatlinburg on Monday. Caroline is going to be left with Grandma until Thursday. I hope she does ok. She can sure be a momma's girl. Brad and I rented a cabin up in the Smoky Mountains. I am so excited for quality time with my husband! This will be the first time we've ever left Caroline for more than a few hours. I'll let you know how it goes.
 A friend invited me to take Caroline to a MOPS meeting tomorrow, which I am looking forward to. Hopefully I'll be able to meet more mommies so that I'll be able to keep busy while Brad is gone. :)

Lastly, please take a moment to pray for the Marines killed recently.
God Bless you all!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Not as computer savvy as I used to be...

Oh geez .This whole "blog" thing is a lot harder to make than I figured. Six or Seven years ago, I'd be all over this. I'd have it just the way I want it with only a few minor hiccups along the way. Not so much anymore. Please be patient, I'm sure I'll mess with it enough to get it where I actually like the way it looks, although it may take a while.
So, I thought I'd start a blog for several reasons...
1. To keep family and friends updated on our day to day life, especially since we have a precious little one, who I am sure 95% of the posts will be about. One thing about the military, you are definitely not as close to loved ones as you'd like to be...
2. For my husband to read when he's deployed. That way, if there are things I'm forgetting in e-mails, letters, etc., he'll know what's going on.
3. For my sanity, especially when he is gone. I'm going to go ahead and apologize now. I'm sure I'll have to vent every now and then, especially since I will be lacking in "adult conversation" time.

Speaking of delpoyment, I wish they'd let us know when to expect to see them leave. I know things change, but I'd like to know if I have 6 weeks before he leaves, or 12. To me, that makes a huge difference. Don't really know what we'd do differently, but I think it would help me mentally prepare.

Anyway, look to see more blogging from me, especially once Brad leaves. God bless you all!