Monday, August 12, 2013

Year in Review

Well, I'm back.  Last year I unceremoniously gave up blogging for lots of reasons and for no reason in particular.  Now that we've vacated "the mainland," I'm finding it SO HARD to keep all of my people up to date on what's happening in our lives.  Not that that many people care, but for those who do, I've been a real slacker.

I'm excited to share our fabulous Hawaiian adventures with everyone, but before I begin with our new life out here in paradise, please allow me to walk you through the last year.  Let's be honest, this is more for me than for you...for posterity's sake.

In September  I started my new job at CCC tutoring students in the Writing Center.  Love, love, loved it!  It wasn't exactly advising, but I really got to help my students, and it felt great.  Evie was in school 4 days each week and completely thrived.  Her verbal development these days is off.the.charts. and I completely credit her school (MDO/daycare) with this.  Also in September, we went to the Air Force ball and got to dress up in our fancy clothes.  Doesn't Nick look handsome in mess dress?!
 AND we drove to Canyon Lake/San Antonio to celebrate cousin Lilah's first birthday!  While we were there, we visited Sea World with Grammy and Pops.  So fun!
In October we celebrated Halloween at the Cannon AFB fall festival and found out that we were moving to Hawaii in May.  Whew!  Evie chose to be a princess for Halloween and had a great time with our friends, the Hicks, at the carnival while I got to go for a ride on a C-130 and hang out the back in midair.

 Lighting is terrible, but that's me with the NM dirt far, far below. And here is EC at the carnival

 Also in October, we brought home this sweet girl, Macy, who is named after a bomb patrol dog Nick worked with in Afghanistan who was KIA during his tour there.
We kicked off November by celebrating my big 3-0 at Baylor Homecoming.  This is my only picture.
 We spent lots of November prepping our house to go on the market.  We wanted to sell ASAP because the Clovis market was not exactly booming.  It was quite a project.  We did, however, take some time out to celebrate Thanksgiving!  Here is sweet E ready for the party at MDO.

And here we are together at her party.  Love her pilgrim hat!
 This pic was taken on Thanksgiving.  Ugh, I don't miss all that red dirt!
 We began December by celebrating EC's second birthday with a little party.  Emphasis on little.

In the middle of the month we had open houses and house showings.  Then we finished up with a holiday Tour de Tejas.  We made stops in Waco and Canyon Lake, and had a blast!
Evie thought all the presents were really exciting.
In early January we accepted an offer on our house that required us to close on March 1st.  That's when life really got crazy because, also in January, we learned that Evie would become...
a BIG SISTER in October.  She can't wait!

January and February were a blur of packing and preparing for several months in flux.  We sent a big shipment of stuff to Hawaii on a slow boat, a small shipment of stuff to Hawaii on a (presumably faster) boat, set Nick up in a bachelor pad for two months, and shipped Evie, Finlay, Macy, and me off to Waco for March and April.

March 1st we closed on our house.  We were so glad to wash our hands of Clovis for good!  Over the next two months, EC and I enjoyed being around family, but we really missed Nick!
EC loved her little car at Nana and Grandad's house.
 She was there to cheer the Baylor Bears on to victory several times in basketball...
 Nick visited for Easter
 Jason's Deli after church every Sunday was a highlight.
 E had a blast at a few baseball games too.
 We got to welcome two new cousins, Liam (shown) and Wyatt.  So sweet!
 And we had a super fun Austin weekend with Grammy, Pops, Aunt Andrea, Uncle Drew, and Wyatt.  E loved the train in Zilker Park!

On May 1st we drove to DFW (it took 2 cars to get us and all our stuff up there), and flew to our new home in Hawaii.  We were soooo fortunate to have friends here to pick us up at the airport and help us acclimate.  We spent the month of May living in the Navy Lodge on Ford Island in a hotel suite.  That was an adventure!  On May 29th, however, we moved into our actual house on Hickam AFB.  It's smaller than we're used to, for sure, but Hickam is an AMAZING place to live!  We can walk to the O-Club, to the beach, to the doctor's office, to dinner.  We can even see the ships sailing into Pearl Harbor while watching an F-22 blaze by overhead.  So cool.
Here is E on her first Hawaiian morning!  
 She was crashed out in the car by 9:30 am.  The time adjustment is wicked!
 Our first trip to Hickam Beach
 Now she's a beach pro.
 She LOVED the tiki torches at night outside the lodge.
 Dog Park Beach - our fav.
 Our new place!
 Lunchtime with Daddy isn't complete without a lei!
Finally, in late June, Macy and Finlay joined us!  Hawaii has extremely strict quarantine requirements so Mom and Dad were kind enough to let them crash in Waco until they could head to Oahu.  Thanks, parents!
And thanks, United Petsafe, for getting our pups to us safe and sound.  

That should bring you up to speed!  I'm sure there's much that I forgot or neglected to mention.  One huge missing piece is all of our friends.  To enumerate everything they've done for us and everything they've meant to us this past year would make this post waaaay too long.  Our Clovis friendships were the one thing that helped us survive the past three years.  We miss all our friends more than I can even put into words, and you know you all have an open invitation to visit Oahu!  

Check back again soon, as I'll try to post some regular updates from here on out.  Thanks for reading!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

More Pictures

Ever since we took Evie's first day of school pictures, she is obsessed with being photographed!  Every day she points to my camera, strikes a pose, and waits for me to shoot.  Silly girl!  Here are some recent family pics.
Horsing around with Dad

A rare picture with Mom

Everyone is dressed up in our Baylor gear for church.  We had to represent the Bears in the heart of Red Raider country!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

First Day of School

Evie started Mother's Day Out yesterday.  These are the first of many "first day" pics to come.
Thinking hard about school

This is what happened when I told her to smile big

Last night she wanted to do another shoot.  Another big smile.

Who could resist that face?

And this morning's version of a big smile

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I make plans...God laughs.

First, a huge thank you to my sweet friends who commented on my previous post!  It is nice to hear such encouraging words about what was, admittedly, a tough decision. 

Now, for the funny part.  Guess what!  We are moving in the spring!  Up until 10:30 this morning I thought that we were moving next year, between October and January.  Now we are moving between February and May.  Aaaaahhhh!!!  For the last 2 years I have anticipated this day.  I have hoped for it like a 5 year old looks forward to Christmas morning.  Now it's here, and it is so out of the blue, that I don't even really know how I feel about it!

There are so many things that I don't know about this next move that I can't even begin to answer any questions about it.  We have a list of options. We will submit our "dream sheet" in a few weeks. ( For those of you not familiar with this process, it works a little bit like Rush).  We will find out the last week of October where we're going.  Unless something changes before then.  Which is unlikely.  (I know that's not the right way to punctuate those thoughts, but I want you to hear how breathless I FEEL right now. 

That means I will be putting my house on the market in a few months.  That means that I may only have one semester to work at my exciting new job.  That means that while I am elated to be leaving the desert and the geographic isolation here, I am absolutely devastated to be leaving my close friends before I'm ready to give them up!  It's really hard to put words to what I am feeling right now.

I'm going to tell you how I found out about this move.  It's a comic, yet real, illustration of what life as a military family can be like.  I went to base this morning to meet with Nick's commander about a new job I'm doing within the squadron (key spouse).  Nick was going to walk me to his commander's office.  When I called to tell him I was waiting in the parking lot he said, "Okay, I'm on my way and I have earth shattering news."  I asked if he was being sarcastic and he said no.  I stood outside in the drizzle (yes, it was really drizzling) and braced myself.  I was sure he was going to tell me he was deploying in a week or something.  He walked out of his building and told me that we have been bumped back to the spring move cycle.  And that we have the list of options.  And that we have to submit it in less than 2 weeks.  And that we'll find out before Halloween. 

Here's how you know this isn't my first rodeo.  My heart didn't even miss a beat.  I just said okay, and asked Nick how he wanted me to feel about it.  He said it doesn't matter because it's happening.  So I said okay again and we walked over to my meeting.  Wham bam thank you ma'am and that was the end of it.  After my meeting Nick handed me The List and asked me to look over it so we could talk about it tonight.  We were very calm, very businesslike.  After all, we are in the military.  Moving and adjusting is what we do.

I'd be lying if I told you that I'm not a ball of energy and emotion right now.  Swinging like a pendulum between the highs and the lows.  But what I keep coming back to is just, straight, laughter.  It took me two years to get to a place of relative peace about my life here.  But I finally did it.  I mapped out the next year and a half.  I had it all planned, how I would help Evie to grow and thrive, and how I would thrive here too.  And wouldn't you know, that's when God laid down his trump card.  PCS. (Permanent Change of Station).

So maybe one takeaway here is that next time I'll just jump in with both feet right from the get-go.  Or maybe there's no takeaway at all except that I am not in control here.  I've never really harbored that illusion, but this is a great reminder.  So whether in this moment I feel like shaking my fist at the sky or leaping up to give the Big Man a high five, I acknowledge that this is all HIS plan, HIS purpose, and I am just along for the ride.  Here's to figuring out the next stop on this journey!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Back to Work

***This is kind of a manifesto.  If you're just looking for pictures, scroll down to the previous post for June-August pics***

So, in a previous post I mentioned that I'm going back to work, very part-time.  As many of you know I never really anticipated working at all with small kids in the house so I want to explain my decision.  I don't feel a need to justify myself, so much as a desire to be honest and open. 

I love my daughter!  I love my daughter more than anything in this world, and my chief desire is for her to grow up to be a happy, healthy, whole person.  However, I cannot expect her to grow up happy, healthy, and whole if she doesn't have a happy, healthy, and whole momma.  Let me start by telling you that being a military wife was never a part of my life plan.  I thought I'd marry a nice guy, work for a while, have babies, and then begin my career as a full-time mom/professional volunteer just like my mom did. 

When I sought out a career I chose a "helping profession" because my highest calling is to help others.  I draw energy and self-worth from making a difference in the world around me, and so becoming a mom/volunteer seemed like a natural transition for me.  I always just assumed I'd join the junior league and be on my way when the time came.  Well, the only hang-up with that plan is that when you move every few years, those kinds of opportunities are closed to you.  After all, how can one leave a lasting legacy in a community you're never really a part of to begin with?

Last summer, I really felt like I had reached my wit's end.  You see, there isn't much to do in Clovis with kids.  I could give you the run-down, but that would just depress me and you so just trust me, it is a challenge to keep yourself and your child occupied.  So this past year I tried to get Evie and myself involved in some meaningful things.  We had a playgroup every Monday.  That fizzled by year's end, although those moms are still my closest friends (we just have divergent schedules and some have moved).  I also joined a Bible study.  I left the Bible study in March.  You don't need the whole story there, but for the same reasons it's been almost impossible to find a church here, I didn't fit in at the Bible study.  

By the time I left for Texas this spring I was not in a great head-space.  I don't have a natural talent for little kids.  I was running out of things to do with Evie, day-in, day-out, operating in relative solitude.  I was also having the hormone issues I've written about previously and major, debilitating shoulder pain (I'll cover that in a seperate post).  It was kinds of a rock-bottom time for me.

Then, something magical happened.  Evie started going to Mother's Day Out in Waco.  I realized that she was benefiting from the experience, and that I was too.  I signed her up for MDO here in Clovis for the fall, and I kept her enrolled at her day care center here too (previously used only for emergency drop-in care).  Realizing that I would have time on my hands to get out in the community I started to explore volunteer opportunities.  I didn't find any that were just right.

Then, I remembered that Clovis Community College was always hiring tutors.  I decided to apply.  While working as a tutor is never what I imagined for myself in terms of ultimate career path, I have learned that the Writing Center is staffed by people like me.  Almost all of us hold Master's degrees and have a strong desire to work with students in need.  In my interview we discussed a holistic approach to helping students, not just with writing skills, but with becoming successful in college and in life.  I'll primarily work with students whose reading/writing levels are well-below 12th grade.  These students need me, and I need them! I know, CCC is the place for me! 

Since Evie has been going to daycare (MDO starts next week) she has become a different child.  She was once relatively quiet, now she talks non-stop. She was once mostly serious, she is now often silly!  Much of this is regular development, I know, but I absolutely believe that some of it is also getting to be in a playful learning environment with kids her age and teachers who specialize in toddlers.

Life here can be oppressive and claustrophobic.  That is the nature of a small desert town.  While I know and trust there is a reason that God put me here for this season of life, I also know that this is not where I'll be forever.  My personality is not compatible with life here.  It's just not.  I've tried for over 2 years, and it's just not a good fit.  However, I've also spent 2 years railing against the negatives here without doing much to change my situation.  Now I am doing something about it.

4 days each week, for 5-6 hours each day, I am giving Evie a chance to be in a peer environment that supports her development.  For three of those days I will be working with students who are truly in need of my help, and I will be able to make a real difference in their lives.  One day each week I will have a few hours of "Mom-sanity time" to go to the gym, pay bills, do laundry, etc. without my little shadow.  1 day each week (in addition to each afternoon) is Evie's and my special time to hang out and have fun.  This is a good balance for both of us.

I have previously taken an all-or-nothing approach to working and motherhood.  I believed that I'd either be a full-time working mom or a full-time SAHM mom.  I think I've now discovered the best of both worlds.  I am excited about what this next year will bring.  I know that working will bring its own challenges, but I believe that being at work, even for just 13 hours each week, will ultimately make me a better Mom.  And that is why I am going back to work.

iPhone Dump

Here are previously unpublished iPhone pics from June-present.
EC got her finger shut in a bi-fold door in Florida and had to go to the Eglin emergency room.  Poor baby!

Loving on the "woof-woofs" at the squadron 4th of July party

Making friends with Daddy's new DO

Happy baby, crazy post-nap hair!

She loves to sit on Daddy's motorcycle. 

Super-excited about her Cowboys shirt.  She can say "Go Cowboys!"

Just letting it all hang out during some outside playtime

Hello Kitty visited Dillards this weekend.  E wanted to see her, but not get too close.

And then she got really mad when we had to leave.  Not too mad to wear her Hello Kitty crown, though!

Last night it was rainy and cool enough for jackets! 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Evie is obsessed with singing the ABC's lately! She never gets past D, but it's a start. Here she is singing them a few days ago.

YouTube Video

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