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

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Catching Up!

Okay, so I haven't blogged since we were in Florida last month.  Boo, me.  To my credit, I tried to post the zoo pics (below) over a week ago, but blogger wasn't cooperating.  Still, life has been a whirlwind for us these past three weeks, and I've just not made blogging a priority!  I'll clue you in on what's been happening, but first here are a few Evie pics.
 Clovis has a pretty decent zoo, and I took Evie to visit during our first week back home. I'm really trying to get us out of the house more since she seemed to love "going and doing" while we were away.  She wasn't sure about the animals here at first; maybe she had bad memories of the Gulf Breeze Zoo?
 She was mesmerized by the "ah-ah's" (monkeys). 
 Not the best composition here, but you can see both Evie and our Mommy giraffe.  Our new baby giraffe was there too!  She is soooo cute.
This pic is actually of Evie enjoying her favorite toy at the Niceville Children's Park.  It was a car on a spring that rocks back and forth.  She still talks about it! 

So at the end of June we made the 24+ hour drive back from Destin in 3 days.  Evie, Finlay, and I were in my car, and Nick was in his car.  Sound fair to you?  In fairness to him, I can't drive his (standard) car so we really had no other option.
Once we got home we got to work getting our life back to normal.  Evie is now going to "school" twice a week, which has freed me up to get some personal/household stuff taken care of.  It's so nice for me, especially after 4 months on the road with her, to have a little time to myself.  But the real bonus here is how much she is blossoming by being in school.  She clearly likes having the time to play with her friends, and she's learning lots too!
Last week derailed our "getting back into the swing of things" plans a bit, as Evie got a nasty throat virus AND cut her two bottom molars in the same week.  We're back on our feet now, though, and are moving full steam ahead.
Nick has started his new job in his new squadron.  Since he has lots more responsibility now, he is working longer hours, but it is an exciting transition. 
Speaking of work transitions, I have decided to go back to work too!  I'll be working as a tutor in the Writing Center at the community college here.  I'm excited about this!  I'll pretty much just be working while E is in mother's day out, which she starts next month.  I'm really, really excited to get back into the college setting and work with college students again.  Truthfully, when I had Evie I never imagined going back to work until she was in school, but I've realized that I need this outlet to use my skills and talents, just like she needs to spend time with her peers.
Our last piece of news is that we are getting a new puppy!  She is a sheltie puppy coming to us from a breeder in California.  She should arrive here sometime next month.  We've named her Macy, in honor of a bomb dog Nick worked with in Afghanistan who was KIA along with her handler. You can read about her and her handler here
Now you're caught up! 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Beach 2.0

Here are a few more beach pics. 
 Ready to head down to the beach.  Unfortunate about the red and purple flags - dangerous surf and Portuguese Man-o-Wars. Yikes!
 E mostly likes to play in the sand anyway, so not to worry about the water!
 A water bottle and a fish toy, what more could a girl need for a great beach day?
The whole family (minus Fin, who was not welcome on the beach) in Navarre Beach, just a few hours before Tropical Storm Debbie arrived.  The waves were wild!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Gulf Breeze Zoo

Yesterday EC and I made a 1 hour trek west to the Gulf Breeze Zoo.  I was super excited for this trip because it was supposed to afford a lot of up close and personal experience with the animals.  They had lots of petting/feeding opportunities for kiddos and a train ride through a wildlife preserve.  I was SURE Evie would love it.
 Here we are on our first stop, the train ride.  E is definitely unsure about the whole thing, but to her credit we did have to wait in line for 15 minutes to board the train.
 Eyeing her fellow passengers warily.
 We did see some cool animals!
 In the end, though, the proximity of the animals was a little overwhelming.  Evie spent most of the day telling each and every animal "bye bye" as she emphatically waved both hands above her head.  Honestly, the zoo day was a bit of a bust.  Here she is with some baby wart hogs, about as happy as she got the whole time.
We'll hit up the beach again tomorrow, and I'll try to get some cute pics for our next post!

Monday, June 18, 2012


Evie has been to the beach for the past four days, and she loves it! Our first week here brought record rainfall so we've definitely been enjoying the long awaited sunshine.
She loves to play in the sand and stand in the surf until it splashes her in the face. She also loves sunscreen! Every 10 or 15 minutes she'll bring over the bottle and ask us to put some more on.
She gets really excited at the mention of the word "sheech" as she calls it. She enjoys seeing the boats and will call out "boat boat boat" for minutes on end! We are pretty sure she also talks about "shawks" since she was introduced to them via Finding Nemo, her favorite movie.
I shudder to think about how sad this beach babe will be when it's time to head home, but for now we are definitely enjoying every second!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Evie at the Pool

On Thursday we took Evie to the Ridgewood pool. I loved this because it's where I learned to swim!

Fun on the splashpad with Dad

 Loved blowing bubbles with Mommy
The basketball was her favorite toy BY FAR!

Back to Blogging

Hello blog followers!  I'm sure that many of you have stopped checking in here since I have all but quit blogging since December.  If you've missed me, I'm sorry.  The reason that I haven't been sharing with you for a while is not that there hasn't been anything going on around here.  It is rather that there has been lots going on, but I haven't known whether or how to share it with you.  I've decided to go ahead and fill you in because it feels like I just have to in order to feel free to share anything else.

I'll stop you right there before you let your imagination run amock.  This has nothing to do with babies, whether Evie or future Hall babies - E is great and no others are planned in the near future.  Nick and I are still happily married and very much in love.  Nothing major or devastating has happened.  But I have been going through a little health-related thing.

As any of my mom friends, and especially those of you who have nursed your babies know, while you are breastfeeding you are constantly going through hormonal and weight fluctuations.  Then when you stop, things gradually return to normal.  Things were going swimmingly with me up until December when I weaned Evie.  Then my body went haywire!  I'll spare you the details, but suffice it to say that my body was NOT acting like it should, in many, many ways.

I went to visit my doctor who conducted a number of tests - drew 6 or 7 vials of blood, ultrasounds, and finally a glucose tolerance test - yes, I got to repeat that most wonderful pregnancy milestone - and it turns out that I am insulin resistant. 

Basically, in a totally oversimplified way, my body acts like it's diabetic.  My body won't absorb the insulin in my blood, which in turn leads to high insulin levels, which drives my blood sugar level low, which makes me crave carbs and keeps my body from burning its own fat for fuel, in fact it encourages my body to store fat.  It also throws off my other "female" hormones because insulin is a major hormone, which effects all those others.  In that way, it can lead to PCOS symptoms in women, which I have been experiencing.

I am now taking Metformin, a diabetes drug. which helps my body use the insulin I'm making and will, hopefully, decrease my insulin levels over time, which should help my body return to normal overall.

Why am I telling you all this?  Well, for one thing this whole process has taken from January through now and has been very distracting.  When I've had time and energy I've been researching insulin resistance and trying to learn what I can about how to best control it.  But energy is a whole other issue.  Because my blood sugar is always borderline low, and I take care of a toddler all day, I simply haven't had much energy to spare lately.

I've also just felt like this was the biggest thing happening in my life, and I didn't know how to talk about anything else without referencing it.  It felt somehow deceptive.  But now it's off my chest, and I feel like I can fill you in on the rest of our lives again! 

Before I bid you adieu I'll answer a few questions that I usually get asked when I tell people about my little issue.  First, insulin resistance is really a genetic thing.  You don't "get" it or "cause" it.  The two biggest risk factors for developing it are obesity and a family history of Type II diabetes.  (I have neither).  But if it's in your genes, you'll develop it.  I just got really unlucky.  Yes, it does mean that I have a  heightened risk for developing Type II later in life.  I'm not really sure how this will play out.  When you are overweight you can lower this risk by losing 7-10% of your body weight and beginning a regular exercise routine.  While I hope to lose some "vanity weight" I am already at a healthy body weight, and I already exercise regularly.  Maybe my lifestyle will stave it off into my old age, but maybe there's nothing I can do to stop it.  I guess we'll see!

If you have read this far, thank you.  I promise to post more uplifting information in the future.  If you know me well, you know that "full disclosure" is definitely my MO, and I really just couldn't keep this from you..  Next up, a beach post!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

RCC Easter Egg Hunt

If you don't already know, Evie and I have decamped to Waco until mid-May because Nick is doing some school in Alabama for 8 weeks. Since he's gone, I'm going to post a zillion pictures on here since it's an easy way for him to access them.  Sorry if it's picture overload for our friends!
Mom was nice enough to take us to the Ridgewood Country Club Easter Egg Hunt today.  They had a bunny, chicks, ducklings, the Easter Bunny, facepainting, balloon art, and more!  Here's how EC did at the festivities.

 Fun with bunny!

 Getting brave!
 With Bear, the therapy dog.  He was her favorite and she called him by making a "click click" sound all morning!
 Loading up her basket!
 Post-hunt meltdown
 Egg hunt aftermath.  She got a gold dollar coin!  So excited!
 Pics with the Easter Bunny are on a different camera and will be forthcoming shortly!