Friday, March 9, 2012

Life, upside down!

We have come upon a time when the house is a little bit quieter, fewer mouths have to be fed, the yard work gets done by yours truly, & we're overall just a little bit lonely together. Yes, Chad has deployed again. I've been asked by several of the other spouses who are going through their first deployments right now if it ever gets any easier. My honest answer is 'no', though that's usually not a good enough answer for me seeing as how I'm a 'glass half full' kind of gal & don't like negativity. I usually follow my 'no' up with, it doesn't get easier, it just gets different. Different meaning that the missing your husband part never goes away, but at least after the first time, you know what to expect. Like, how lonely you will feel late at night when your bed is half-empty, how best to keep in touch while he's gone, how to fill your four+ months with activity that keeps you occupied to make the time fly faster, & how much stronger of a woman you can become each time.

I, at one point in my life, was intimidated by mowing the lawn, maintaining the hot tub, building fires on cold days & hanging things on the walls, etc. Those slightly tedious jobs that are most often reserved for the man of the house are now on my shoulders when he is gone. I have to admit, it's kind of empowering knowing that I can still hold down the fort when daddy is gone because I'm not scared of any of that anymore. I've grown a whole lot as a woman through these past 6 deployments & I think Chad is impressed by my fortitude. Heck, I am too. ha.

This time is also different in that Kennady is old & smart enough to understand his absence a lot more. Both good and bad, I have to say. She asks about daddy & his whereabouts several times a day & will usually be satisfied when I answer, "he's on his trip still, remember?". We made a sweet paper chain as a family that is about 75 links long & we have been removing one every night after bath time to signify we've made it one more day without daddy & get to see him that much sooner. We feel so blessed that this deployment is a half-deployment & he is only going to be gone for about 2 1/2 months. It's never worked out that way for us, so we are taking full advantage & keeping our heads up because to us, 10 weeks is doable. We have withstood quite a few challenging separations throughout our marriage & this one is not much different. We've both decided that we're going to take this time apart to focus on ourselves, both in growing and physical improvement. Our goals for May are exciting & we have a whole lot to look forward to this summer. I don't think I'll lump pulling weeds or uprooting trees into that same category, but we do have plans to travel this year so we are stoked!

If you have some extra praying time, please keep us in them as we continue this current deployment journey. He has officially arrived at his final destination in Kandahar, Afghanistan & the amenities are much better than he had expected. The most important prayer would obviously be for their continued safety, but another good one to pray for is mission completion. When the mission is successful, that means all who are involved, both air crew & ground troops who are in need, have been served & are able to carry on with their important and dangerous missions. He is excited to fly some complex missions & be a part of Operation Enduring Freedom while he is there. The world really needs peace to return to the land, so that's always a good prayer too. Thanks for your thoughts & prayers!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bullets 'O Fun!

I'm lazy when it comes to this thing, so if there's anybody out there still even considering reading this post because I finally wrote another one since 6 weeks ago, I'd love to know it. It feels weird to 'write for no one' but myself. So if you feel like it, please leave a comment so I know what I write isn't just echoing off of a distant canyon. Thanks!
 
Here are some bullets to catch you up:
*We had a wonderful Valentine's Day. Chad had been gone for a whole week prior so he was rewarded with a day off & it conveniently landed on V-day...awesome! We had pink heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast, ate a yummy lunch at Bonsai, went to swing at the park as the sun was setting, opened our gifts to each other, grabbed a pizza on the way home & made mini-pink cupcakes while reading K's favorite book, Pinkalicious! It was a fun-filled day in which I received a multi-colored bouquet of roses, my favorite Raspberry candies, & chocolate. I got Chad an electric sander to add to his tool collection and we collectively got Kennady a couple of Pinkalicious reading books, a puzzle, a new Leap Frog movie for the car & her favorite, M&M's. We topped off our night with a couple of episodes of our faves and a good night's sleep. I hope everyone else had a Happy V-Day too!
*Kennady is 3 full days into being such a BIG GIRL when it comes to the potty. She hasn't tee-teed in a diaper (except for one at nap time and one at nighttime) AT ALL during the day. It all of a sudden hit her that she loves wearing panties and that taking the time to sit on the potty and get her business done isn't all that bad. She does get rewarded with a mini-candy every time she's successful, but hey...don't judge me, it's working and that's all that this mama really cares about at this point! :) We are so proud of her. We were in Kohl's the other day where they have a super cute mini-potty in the 'family' bathroom and we can officially mark that down as our first ever successful tee-tee in public! Again today, she used the BIG potty at Wing Stop & I was ecstatic! So.Big. & I love her.
*It's official. The movie "The Letter Factory" by Leap Frog is the bomb-diggity. It has (along with mucho repetition from her mommy) almost single-handedly taught my 2 year old every letter of the alphabet, both how to identify them & their phonetic sound. It's awesome & she is so smart. I have to get it all on video soon so we can prove to her one day that she was not just a singing star but SO SMART! :)
*We have plans to go to San Angelo for the annual stock show and rodeo here in a couple of weekends & I'm super excited. It's a tradition of my family & it's always fun to go out to the fairgrounds to smell the undisguisable FRIED everything. Kinda disgusting, but yummy all the same. Kennady had such a good time at the carnival last time it came to Abilene that I am looking forward to a similar experience on the rides and such. Should be fun!
*We have been enjoying the hot tub a lot this winter season. Since it hasn't been frigid like last winter, it's been really nice to get in (including Kennady) & swim around. Nothing beats a hot water massage every now and again. K's in heaven getting to swim year round! Spoiled...;-)
*We are involved with an awesome small group through the church that we've really enjoyed for the past year. It's a group of other 'newly married' couples (though we're 4 1/2 years into this thing so I'm not real sure we should still qualify, ha) & we have a great time with them. Next week we are going to begin exploring (re-exploring for Chad & I) the financial peace studies of Dave Ramsey. It'll be fun to do the material in a group & to see other people's strategies & methods. Not to mention getting the refresher on money-management that both Chad & I are in desperate need of right now. We just have sooo many wants & travel desires, haha. Trouble...;-)
*I am about to go buck wild on a new fitness regimen. I haven't completely figured out my whole strategy, but I've been self-sabotaging myself with bad-for-me foods & a really high intake of sugar this past 4 months or so & I'm tired of it. I have a weight-loss/tone-up goal that I'm REALLY determined to make happen by Mid-May, so it's about that time to START MY ENGINES!! :-) It's about to happen, ya'll.
*It's Tax season...yay.
*Chad is scheduled to deploy in about 3 weeks, give or take. We got really lucky this time around and he's only going halftime. Thank God it came down that way. It's our 6th round of deployments together, not including all of the time we've spent apart for schools & upgrades, so it's a huge blessing to only have to miss him half as much this time. It's going to be a whole new deployment situation now that Kennady is old enough to realize something is up & will no doubt, ask about him Every.Single.Day. I'll just have to rack my brain to keep us both busy & hopefully the time will fly by with fun!
* We officially have tickets to visit my family in Alaska this summer & we are sooooo stoked!! We have wanted to go up there since we got married, but Chad has been gone for the past 4 summers (which is the only sane time to go up there), so we're making it happen NOW! The timing works out perfectly for us to be able to attend my cousin Amanda's wedding! We are so excited and happy for her...PLUS, Kennady is going to be the flower girl too! It's going to be so.much.fun.

Well, I think that's it for now. Consider yourself filled in. ;-)
P.S. Is there anybody out there? ha.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Adele, through a 2 year old...

So, a couple of days ago we were driving along when Kennady decided to break out in song. What song you might ask? Adele's song, "Someone Like You" is the answer. For your viewing pleasure & for video proof that she's always wanted to be a singer when she auditions for American Idol in 13 years, I just so happened to catch a bit of it on video. Ignore the horrible key changes & riffs & appreciate with another mother (who knows this too well) that this little lady proves that nothing is missed in the midst of a 2-year-old. 
They.Hear.Everything. :) 

The REAL words:
Never mind, I'll find someone like you
I wish nothing but the best for you too
Don't forget me, I beg
I remember you said,
"Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead,
Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead."

Now, Kennady's version:

video


P.S. Prior to this episode, I knew that she knew a couple of the words, but didn't know she had it in her to nail her solo so well.  Ohhh, how I love her so.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cookie Exchange Goodness

After we returned from our trip to Vegas, the spouses of our squadron had a big ornament & cookie exchange Christmas party. It was my first ever cookie exchange to be a part of & I had such a good time. There were at least 30 women in attendance that all brought at least 2 dozen homemade cookies each. That makes a total of 600+ cookies, ya'll! Nothing about that could be a bad thing, right?! Well, okay...if we're really going to answer that question, the answer would be yes...there is everything wrong with a collection of 14,000 calories (pure guesstimation of course) sitting on a table for all in attendance to collect whatever their gluttonous hearts desired. We were all given a cute Christmas bag to fill up with at least one of every cookie presented. There were still quite a few leftover after we all finished grab-bagging & man were there some YUMMY cookies! Amazingly enough, not even ONE set of cookies was the same as the others. We had 30 completely different cookies and recipes presented which made it even cooler.

 
Can we say a little OVERKILL, but beautiful all the same? :)


I made Peanut Butter Blossoms & have to admit, I thought they were the BEST peanut butter cookie I have ever had. It may have helped that instead of the regular chocolate kiss, I use the white/milk chocolate swirl Kisses instead or that they were rolled in pure sugar previous to baking. Still, they were SOOO good. I actually made twice as much dough as I needed (accidentally on purpose ;)) & still have the other half calling my name in the freezer. I have put off making them yet seeing as how they are the total opposite of what I NEED right now, as I'm trying to recover from this cookie exchange party & all of the other calories I took in over the Holidays. I thought I would share the recipe with you because it was just.that.good.

Peanut Butter Blossoms (Cookie Exchange Quantity...7 Dozen...eek!)


1/2
cup granulated sugar
1
cup packed brown sugar
1
cup creamy peanut butter
1
cup butter or margarine, softened
2
eggs
3
cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1 1/2
teaspoons baking soda
1
teaspoon baking powder
Additional granulated sugar (about 2 tablespoons)
About 7 dozen Hershey's® Kisses® Brand milk chocolates
  • 1Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, beat 1/2 cup granulated sugar, the brown sugar, peanut butter, butter and eggs with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon. Stir in flour, baking soda and baking powder.
  • 2Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in additional granulated sugar. Place about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
  • 3Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are light brown. Immediately press 1 chocolate candy in center of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.
Here they are in all of their beauty: MMMM, MMMMM, MMMMMMMM...
 Have you had these or are you willing to try to make them? I wouldn't blame you if you did. They're pretty irresistible.  :) Sidenote: the amount can be adjusted via the Betty Crocker website to fit your needs. Happy Baking!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Feelin' Lucky...

Whew! I have a bit of posting to do to catch you all up on our crazy adventures this past month. Chad & I heard through the air force base grapevine that there was a plane flying to Las Vegas for a 4-day trip. It just so happened to be conveniently scheduled for the same weekend that our friends from Little Rock, the Webbs, would be there for a graduation celebration. It was perfect timing, really spontaneous, quite cheap for a Vegas trip, & we had a babysitter (my momma) all set up; so off we went & it was a blast! We stayed at the Flamingo again & still love it's location. It's perfectly situated for easy access to everything we like to do and see.
We had a wonderful dinner before the Jabbawockeez show at Cabo Wabo near the entrance of Planet Hollywood. Our friend Laura was our waitress, so that was an extra-cool bonus. She was also the awesome photographer who snapped this photo for us!
 Cassandra & I stopped getting our groove on for a second at Rok to snap a pic. So fun hanging out with her again!

Chad & I had a lot of alone time, got to eat some good food, see some fun shows, & spend some quality time with our friends in the city of lights! We saw the Vegas! Variety Show at Planet Hollywood & the Jabbawockeez, winners of America's Best Dance Crew, at the Monte Carlo. Both were fun and exciting shows with music and dancing. We also got to meet up with Chad's best friend from college, Joey, & his wife Laura who are temporarily (6 months) living there. We had a couple of late-night Blueberry Hill Cafe snacks with them & it was so great to catch up on each other's lives.  We walked A LOT, shopped through the awesome shoppes at Caesars Palace, explored the new City Center hotels & shops, gambled at Bill's Gambling Hall, went to the Rok club at New York, New York & really enjoyed our trip. It was a great getaway & we can now say that we have traveled 'Space A' on a C-130. It was a very laid back experience & one that I would definitely do again...especially since it's FREE! :)

More to come on how we have spent the last 3 weeks of December 2011!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I Scream, You Scream!

My sweet girl turned 2 this weekend & we celebrated in the best way possible...with an ICE CREAM BIRTHDAY PARTY! She was so excited about this party, she was talking about it for 3 weeks before it even happened. It was definitely a successful evening with friends & family, paint, presents & sweets. I realized later in the weekend that all of her special birthday treats all had sprinkles involved. Lucky girl! ha.

Her real birthday was on Friday the 2nd, so we started out the morning by surprising her with a room full of helium balloons. She LOVED that. I heard her say over the monitor, "ooooooh, pretty balloons!" before I even got to her room. As I went in & started talking to her she was all revved up & knew that it was her birthday. The excitement was too cute! We went to get her a birthday donut, chocolate covered with sprinkles of course, & it was delicious & hot off the rack. Yumm-Y! She liked the topping best...if that's not obvious. :)




We then went and met daddy for lunch at Red Robin. She had her favorite food for lunch...Mac-y Cheese! She thought it was great, especially when we topped it off with some frozen yogurt at Nikki's Swirl Shop. You pay by the ounce and can have endless toppings, so we loaded it up with her favorites (all of which she calls Nim-a-nims...Reese's Pieces, chocolate chips, M&M's, & a little toffee for mommy. It was very tasty & once again, she was a happy girl! 


When she woke up from her nap, daddy got home. Mimi showed up from out of town soon after & we all went out to eat at Szechuan, an awesome family-style Chinese restaurant. It was so yummy & Kennady sang the Birthday Song to our waitress every time she came to the table. The old lady was getting a  kick out of it. Right before we left, the waiting staff gathered around to sing her their special Birthday song & she ate it up. It was so cute. When we got back to the house, she got to eat some chocolate & practiced blowing out her candles. She did it like a pro!

When Saturday rolled around, we had a whole slew of people coming in town for the big event! Her party was from 5:00-7:00pm so that everyone could have time to get here. Car by car, everyone showed up & was ready to watch some football & party. We started out with a pow-wow in the living room, then headed out to the garage where the kids got to go nuts sponge-painting our BuildADreamPlayhouse Ice Cream Truck. They had a blast getting all dirty (with washable paint of course!) & decorating it to their own delights. It was fun, a bit messy, & super entertaining for the little (& big) ones. We then came in to wash up, light the candles, & build ice cream sundaes. It was all delicious, homemade goodness. Present opening followed once we had indulged & she really enjoyed getting all kinds of new toys (implied?, ha). What a great evening of celebrating our little angel & her first two years. She is so special to us & makes our lives more fun every day. 








Happy Birthday Kenna-Bug!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

My Baby Turned Toddler...

December 2nd, 2009 was the most wonderful & joyous day of our lives. That's the day that God decided to give our angel Kennady to us. From that day on, our lives have been so rich. The beauty of motherhood has been everything I expected it to be, because of her. She has taught me a new level of patience, to be a super-multitasker, to be more thoughtful, to love with my whole heart, to smile all day long, to forgive quickly, to laugh with everything in me & to always, always be prepared for anything...oh yea, and to dance like no one is watching! 

The most fun I've had has been watching this little mind take on such big things. From learning to cry for things to bossing mommy around these days, the growth is phenomenal. I can't believe she is old enough to speak in full sentences, use logic & reason, & memorize most anything I throw at her. Their brains really are like sponges that never get completely soaked. It's so cool & she has such a bright future ahead of her.

Kennady is the sweetest little girl who packs quite a 'knuckle sandwich' (thank you, daddy, for that). I remember when she first got here & she loved on me by nestling up to my chest. After her first birthday, she laid on my shoulder but sweetly picked it up- kissed my forehead for no other reason but to show me she loves me back- & laid her head back down again. Now as she turns two, she can say "I love you, Mommy"- give me endless eskimo & butterfly kisses- and deliver the best smooches & loving hugs I've ever had. She is my sweet little genius & I am so proud of her. We cannot wait to experience the rest of our lives watching her grow into a generous, loving, & mature little lady someday. What a blessing this little face has been to the lives of all who have met her. 

 Her one year after a cake induced comatose...ha.
An eager heart & mind...
 Ready to spread cheer to all who will let her...
 Touching lives with that tender heart...
We love you Kenna-Bug! Happy, Happy 2nd Birthday, my sweet baby girl!