Wednesday, January 18, 2012


When we started our journey to become parents, I always thought of all the wonderful things I would teach a child.  How to give hugs, kisses, wave, count, and many other things. I never dreamed of what my children would teach me.  I never really thought about it.  It was not until each child was brought into my life, that I realized how much you can learn from such a small heart. 

Jacob was my first born.  From the moment we first saw him on an ultrasound, he was laid back and calm.  He was the entire pregnancy.  My laid back child.  He taught me that sometimes we have to make sacrifices for others.  He taught me what it means to fight.  He survived 3.5 weeks, when none of our doctors expected him to.  Had he passed during those 3.5 weeks, I would have certainly contracted an infection.  An infection would have ended the pregnancy before Ethan would have been considered viable.

Ethan was just the opposite.  He was moving constantly, even in the NICU.  He was dancing on every ultrasound we had.  He was tough, and I don't think laid back would have ever described him.  As he fought in the NICU, he taught me strength.  He taught me that sometimes we have to let go, even when we don't want to.  Sometimes life is cruel, and we have to pick ourselves up and continue living even when that seems impossible. 

Blake is my take home baby.  I think he is a mixture of his two brothers.  He has his laid back moments, but when he decides it is time for a dance party... we dance.  He has taught me so much in the last year and half.  While I was pregnant, he taught me that it is OK to be scared.  Just because bad things happened once, does not mean it will happen every time.  His birth taught me that sometimes things don't go as planned, but as long as everyone is OK in the end.... it is OK. 

Blake has taught me the meaning of happiness, true frustration, pure joy, unconditional love, and how to be a mother.  Before I had Blake I never would have thought the words, "We don't stab our friends with a fork" would come out of my mouth.  It is always an adventure, although it's usually an entertaining one.  Blake has a way of making people smile.  He just does.  His joy is contagious.  He has taught me that life is short, and we should enjoy every second. 

Here is some joy.... compliments of Blake.  


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Welcome 2012!

Well, here you are 2012.  I have been waiting and waiting for you. 2012, I have high hopes for you, so don't let me down... OK?
2011 was a challenging year.  A friend did a year in pictures on her blog, and I loved the idea.  So, here we go! Hold on, it was a bumpy ride. 

This month was pretty uneventful.  Blake saw his first snow, and even played in it a little.  Joseph was in his job school.  The hours were nice, and it was somewhat stress free. 

This month was marked by Blake learning that he loves swinging.  The temperatures were mild, so we really enjoyed walking to the park on base.  This month was the calm before the storm. 

Oh March.  You rocked my world, in not such a great way. Joseph graduated from MOS (job) school on the first day of March.  His CO was nice enough to attend.  After graduation, he pulled Joseph away, and he explained that their scheduled deployment for July had been moved up to March 28th.  Enter panic.  The rest of the month was a nightmare.  Joseph had six months worth of work to do in 27 days.  He was working all the time.  Our "predeployment leave" consisted of a night in Wilmington.  Realistically, he left on his graduation day, he was just still here physically.    

 This picture was taken about 5 minutes before "the news" was told.

We had family pictures taken on a Sunday afternoon.  Thank goodness the photographer was my neighbor. 


This month was the actual month Joseph left.  He was put on remain behind for a week and a half, since he had so much work to do.  Sadly, he ended up working every second of that last bit of time.  He deployed in early April for a deployment that we were told would be 7-10 months.  Less than a week later, Blake had a surgery to correct a birth defect and tornadoes rocked the town we live in.  Not the best way to start a long deployment, but we survived.  I think this was the most difficult month by far.

 Deployment day
May was the month that I found my routine.  Things started falling into place a little easier.  I still had an infant by myself, but I had figured out what worked and what didn't.  Blake FINALLY started consistently sleeping through the night, which made life much better.  Blake also started crawling. 
 Thank you, thank you, thank you
There he goes
June was the beginning of our summer of travel.  I logged many miles, and June started with a trip to Miami for my college friend's wedding.  I left Blake with my parents, which I was quite nervous about.  It was my first time leaving him overnight.  We both did amazingly well.  He had a great time at my parents, and I was privileged to witness a beautiful wedding.  
We stayed at home for the 4th of July and enjoyed the fireworks on base.  We were also evacuated due to a large forest fire, which poured smoke into our town.  It was a scary evening.   Overall, we tried to enjoy time outside, when the smoke wasn't too thick.

August was a huge month for our family.  It started off with a trip to the beach with my college friends.  We had so much fun! Then, at the end of month, we headed off to Italy.  It was an amazing trip.  We got to spend four days with Joseph.  It was amazing, and the best decision we made during this deployment.  Blake spent his first birthday in Italy, which is a great story to tell.  While we were gone, Hurricane Irene came through.  We had minor damage, but it was quite stressful to deal with from another continent. 
 Someone had a lot of fun with his smash cake
Beautiful Italy

September was the slowest month of the year for me.  I felt like summer had so much going on.  We were going here and there... then September marked the end of all of that.  I started work on my master's degree again and also took a photography class.  The graduate class caused way too much stress, and we have a new family rule of no school during deployments for Mommy. 

Enter school madness and fall.  That was October.

November started with the Marine Corps ball.  A great event with the other spouses. I am so lucky to have had such a great group of buddies for this deployment.  A huge highlight of November was Blake FINALLY learning to walk.  He just started walking one day, like he had been doing it for months.  Once he started, he never looked back.
We spent the month sick.  Blake battled two ear infections and the flu.  Poor guy just couldn't catch a break.  I finished my graduate class, and felt the stress cloud lifting from the house.  We got a lot of family time in.  My sister spent a week with us, and we spent a week with my parents.  It was a quick month.  Blake was spoiled rotten.  

 Blake's new ride
 I love his joy
So, here we are in January.  I am hoping that this year brings less stress, more togetherness, and great things.  I can't wait!