Monday, September 23, 2013

An arranged marriage...

At the hubby and I's rehearsal dinner my in-laws made a really sweet speech about arranged marriages...sounds so romantic doesn't it?  The story is long but goes a little like this...Back in our sophomore year of high school Leif's parents pointed me out to Leif while I was cheering during a football forward to the next year and we are smitten followed by love and eventually marriage and a baby carriage (or 2).  They jokingly said that there was something to this whole "arranged" marriage thing from other cultures and then followed it with some really sweet words about their future daughter in law.

Being a mom of 2 boys, I know that one day I will no longer be my son's #1 girl...while it breaks my heart, my goal is to raise my 2 boys to be respectful, kind, thoughtful and hardworking gentleman.  One day when all of the ninja turtles are long gone, when they no longer want mommy to snuggle, and when being cute is no longer an acceptable adjective, I want and insist that my boys know how to treat a lady and that lady better know how to treat my boys.  As my friend Tara and I were discussing today, wouldn't it be great if we could choose our kids soul mates?  We would know them, like them, and we would know where they came from and the kind of morals that were instilled in them.

We are fortunate enough to have some amazing little ladies in our neighborhood and Aiden is doing his best to treat these ladies right.  Miss Carolina (Roli for short) holds Aiden's heart right now...and I am pretty sure that the feeling is mutual!  To help Roli celebrate her Princess Birthday we delivered flowers to her at her Princess Party...

And a ball gown which earned ANOTHER hug...

They have already had their first date...chaperoned, of course!
Yes, he has his arm around her hehe

A romantic date at Busch Gardens...

An evening drive around the park...

Young Love...

Aiden is an equal opportunity gentleman....

Driving Jade off into the sunset!
I completely approve of these 2 sweet girls....

And you are never too young to start grooming a gentleman...or setting up your kids with your friends kids :-)

Easton is hoping that getting on Addi's good side early on in life will pay off in the future!!!

Truth is, I just want my boys to marry a kind, caring, honest, positive person who brings out the best in them...someone who loves them for who they are and inspires them to be their best self!  I certainly wouldn't mind it if their parents were my BFF's, that way I would know that they came from a good family ;-)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

You're the heart...

I shared a portion of this story with some friends this evening and knew instantly that it was a moment that I never want to forget...

Often times I really wish I could get into the head of my 4 year old.  Not just when he has thrown himself on the floor for no apparent reason but more so for the times where I see him staring out the window deep in thought.  On rare occasions Aiden will give me an insight into his complicated little 4 year old mind and he never disappoints.

I don't wear the same necklace everyday.  I like to switch it up every now and again.  Easton is a grabber so there are days where it isn't even worth the hassle!  Two days ago I wore a necklace that has a lot of meaning to me...the necklace and heart charm were the first piece of jewelry I ever owned and given to me by someone incredibly special who is now watching from above.  The other 3 charms represent my family...

Yesterday as I was about to shower I took the necklace off and placed it on the counter.  After my shower, as I was getting ready, Aiden asked me what the gold was on the counter, obviously insinuating that it was "treasure" and that he wanted to play with it.  Here was how our conversation went...
A:  "Mommy, what is all this gold for?"
"That's my necklace"
A:  "Why are there so many pieces"
"Well they are called charms and each charm means something to Mommy"
A:  "How?"
This is an "A", what do you think that stands for?
A:  "Aiden"
"Yes, and this is an "E" which is for Easton and then a "leaf" which represents Daddy because his name is Leif."

After he mulled over my response in his brain for a few seconds he looked at me and said "don't forget the heart're the heart because you love us all". simple yet so deep!  It is true...I am the heart and I need to remember that!  While Daddy is away, I find myself incredibly overwhelmed with everything that needs to get done by just little old me and often I am filled with guilt.  Guilt because I have to always be the disciplinarian, guilt because I can't "be daddy", guilt because I have to say no and create boundaries, guilt because every waking moment is not fun and enriching, guilt because I honestly don't have all of the answers and guilt because I wish I did!  But what I do have is heart...a BIG one!  One that is devoted to my family and to making this journey a successful one.  A heart that breaks into a million pieces when Aiden asks if Daddy is coming home tonight or when I think of Easton not "knowing" Daddy when he gets home.  A heart that can be repaired with the simplest of expressions from my boys or a kind and encouraging email from my husband.  I go to bed every night wracking my brain...trying to determine where I went wrong today and what I can do better tomorrow!  I can't read Aiden's mind everyday but yesterday I didn't have to...what Aiden said reminded me that despite the daily frustrations that I may feel or my criticism of myself, Aiden knows that I am the heart and THAT is everything!!!

Friday, September 13, 2013


Over the past few weeks I have received so many really kind and encouraging emails in regards to my blog and our "stories".   It really makes me feel good to hear that people actually look forward to my blogs and catches me off guard when I get an email requesting a new one or even more so when I meet a new person and they already know me from following through a friend!  I don't write about fashion, or celebrities, or materialistic things...I just write about life...our life.  Today my mom was talking about my recent blogs and she began to cry.  "Why are you crying about a blog" I asked.  Her response really made me think, "they are touching, heartbreaking, inspiring, and sad" she said...SAD???  Certainly not my intention.  I get it is all of those things and this is our life!

The stories I tell about us, our life, our experience, and our journey aren't meant to be sad.  They are meant to be real.  They are for me, for the future, and for my kids (and myself) to one day look back on this time and say "Wow, look how far we've come".  But they are also a real glimpse into a life that those who have never lived it, could never really comprehend.  There is a part of me that writes for that person who makes the one comment that causes my skin to crawl..."you knew what you were getting into".  I have heard this comment so many times that I have just learned to walk away but my hope is that maybe those who truly believe "I knew what I was getting into" when I married a military man, will read our daily experiences and sacrifices and understand that Military life, like any part of life, is filled with so many unexpected, unplanned for, and unbelievable moments.  Yes, we chose this lifestyle and I certainly do not want any sympathy for that...but much like I chose this life, I also chose to do so many other things thinking they would be one way when in reality they were another.  I could have never known what it would be like to hold my crying 4 year old because Daddy didn't show up on his birthday, or to live with a cell phone in my hand just in case our baby does something monumental that Daddy will not see first hand for over half a year,  to plan vacations and pregnancies in the same way... around the needs of the Navy.  To eat alone, sleep alone and parent alone day in and day out, desperate for a conversation with your other half because he is the only one who can tell by the sound of your voice that you are not ok.  There is not a book, Facebook page, or conversation that could ever tell me what I was getting into...and even if there was, would that prohibit me from ever expressing displeasure.  Saying "you knew what you were getting into" to an overwhelmed military spouse is like looking at an exhausted new mother and saying "well, you wanted a baby"'s absurd.

Maybe through our experiences people will see a different side to the military family.  Maybe they will feel like they have a better insight into the day to day life versus the good looking man in uniform kissing his family pier side because that moment, while so incredibly beautiful, was preceded by a lot of tears, fears, and sacrifices.  It was a culmination of so many missed moments, many many months of separation, and a lot of love.  I do this because I love my husband, not because I knew what it was going to be like, but because regardless of how hard you tell me it is going to be, I still love him and support him and a tough experience will never change that!

I hope people read because they can relate, or they can learn, or feel inspired, or just to get away from their thoughts.  Shoot, feel free to read just to be nosey :-)  But know that these experiences, although sometimes difficult, make us who we are and they are real and sometimes hard...they aren't for pity but more for perspective.  We are living a life that is sometime touching, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes inspiring and sometimes it's sad but it is always WORTH IT!!!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Football Season

From the moment we found out that Aiden was a boy, daddy has dreamed of today...his first day of football practice.  It was such a bummer that he had to miss this moment but with my trusty iPhone I was able to email daddy a play by play.  Aiden has been so eager to start football.  6 o'clock could not get here quick enough for my little man.  I just knew he was going to burst onto the field with his "super fast shoes" and possibly even "hit the turbo button" a few times...his words of course!  In true Aiden fashion, the moment he had to leave my side the life was just sucked out of him.  I was so upset.  Frustrated because he wouldn't stand 10 feet away from me, sad because all of the dads were there sitting on the sideline and I knew Leif would be on that field in a red hot minute, disappointed because he was SO excited just 5 minutes prior while telling me how fast he was.  I felt helpless because I had Easton with me andcouldn't  leave him and while I had tennis shoes on, I did not have the proper bra on...large breast feeding boobs, a nursing bra, and running do not mix!  TRUST ME!

After giving Aiden some time he decided to hit the field...the rest of the practice was amazing!  I was so proud of him.  He listened well, caught on quick, and really had a lot of fun!  

Daddy would have been so proud!  I may or may not have sent him 4 videos and a dozen pictures!

Surprisingly, I am THAT mom!  Cheering  from the sidelines at the first practice...I come by it honestly ;-).  First scrimmage is Saturday...Go Gators!!!!

School days

It's that time of year again...first day of school!  I had a mixture of emotions...I was excited and looking forward to a little bit of time to be able to run errands, give Easton lots of attention, and develop a more consistent routine.  On the other hand I was dreading Aiden's anxiety about Mommy leaving him, the tears at drop off and the inability to be spontaneous and travel like we have been doing since Daddy left!  But in the real world discipline and routine trump fun and travel which is precisely why I never want to really grow up!

Aiden was so excited about his first day of PreK...
Daddy had to be in the picture since he couldn't be here to go with us on the first day!  Of course we had to make a bunch of silly faces for the camera!
Aiden was STILL excited once we arrived at school...walked right in!
Once we were in the classroom his excitement diminished a little and he no longer allowed pictures!  He didn't want me to leave but once it was time for Momma to head out I asked Aiden for a kiss..."I already gave you one" he whispered in a sweet yet oh so grown up tone.  OK, point taken!  No kisses in the classroom this year.  While you would think the whole world could hear my heart shatter, the truth is I was much as I love kisses, this boy could "1 more kiss" me right into snack time!  I took my "already been kissed" cue and hit the ground running...all the way to breakfast with some other slightly drained, slightly nervous parents who may or may not have had Bloody Mary's with their eggs.  I, on the other hand, stuck to hot tea...I'll save my Bloody Mary morning for day 2 when the teacher had to pry a screaming kid off of me!  Here's hoping day 3 is a little better!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Just Aiden and Daddy...a world apart!

This morning we had an unexpected early phone call from Daddy.  Since he told me this information over the phone I assume I can go ahead and say it...he was in Saudi Arabia for an in-port exercise with the Saudi's.  This isn't a fun liberty port so he won't be able to go sightseeing, Skype or do anything at his own leisure.  However, he will get to leave the ship for a few socials at the consulate.

As usual, I let Aiden have the phone so that he could talk to daddy.  Normally he either holds the phone and talks or he paces the floor as he tries to re-tell stories and "show" daddy things!  This morning was a little different.  Aiden grabbed the phone from me, climbed up in the bed, got under the covers and snuggled the phone.  I couldn't help but feel sad for him.  He misses his Daddy, we all miss him, but he just doesn't really know how to grasp his absence.  He has verbalized his desire for Daddy to come home but I never really realized that he was probably missing Daddy snuggles and just Daddy and Aiden time.  When he was home at a reasonable hour, Daddy always put Aiden to bed.  I could hear them in the other room just talking (like they were best friends), laughing, reading books and saying prayers...Aiden obviously misses that and although it may not be the same, this morning with Daddy on the other side of the world, Aiden found a way to give himself what he was needing...a little "Daddy and Aiden" time...snuggles and all!!!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Happy Half...

Happy Half Birthday to my smiley baby boy!  

These past 6 months have literally flown by!  I really can't believe that we are on the verge of so many milestones...crawling, walking, talking...SLOW DOWN!

Easton is with out a doubt the happiest baby around!  He such a energetic, so patient, always smiling and laughing and always content!  The good Lord knew that I would be so appreciative and so thankful for an "easy" baby and he gave me just that.  This boy is cool as a cucumber!

The biggest shock about my boy is how BIG he is...unlike Aiden, I have to offer him food...otherwise he would just wait hours upon hours to eat...he latches for about 5-7 minutes and he is good to go until the next feeding.  Aiden would eat non-stop and was so small.  E (as we call him) eats a few sips and is over it yet he is a whopping 18lbs!!!  Look at those legs...

Right now Easton is sitting like a big boy...

He went on his first bike ride yesterday (his official half birthday)

He's spoiled rotten by his big brother...

He LOVES to swing...

Happy Half Birthday Happy Boy!!!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Happy 4th Birthday

It is really hard to grasp the fact that my boy is 4 years old.  I feel like it was just last week we were bringing him home...Leif and I reminisced the other night on the phone about that day...the one thing that we both remember is how we came home, introduced Aiden to Buddy and then we both cried...yes, we cried!  Happy tears, tears of fear, uncertainty....tears that said "what do we do now?".   Now here we are, 4 years far the most amazing 4 years of my entire life.
Aiden is really the sweetest, most compassionate, animated, smart and loving little boy.  There is not a day that goes by that he does not say something that completely amazes me.  Now don't get me wrong, Aiden can throw an all out temper tantrum with the best of them, but those moments certainly do not define him and thankfully are pretty rare.  He cares about peoples feelings, he is honest with his emotions, and he aims to please!

Here's what 4 years old looks like on Aiden Ellis...

He is a whopping 33lbs and 39 inches tall.

Some days he is a ninja turtle...

Others he is a superhero...


An adventurer...

Such a great helper...

Aiden's imagination completely blows my mind.  He thinks of the most creative ways to play, builds complicated contraptions, and will go on and on with the stories he makes up as if they are completely reality.

He is truly the greatest big brother ever...I couldn't have asked for a better brother for Mr. E!

Sometimes Aiden likes to make up his own words...right now my favorite is "hish'  which is push and hit morphed into one..."Mommy can I hish the button in the elevator"'s not proper but I just love it.
He is rambunctious, energetic, and incredibly tough.  But one thing he is not is a thrill seeker.  THe boy does not like things to go too fast...other than him in his super fast shoes after he pushes the turbo button.  Put him on a swing and do a really big underdog and he is OVER it!  He does not like the drop in his stomach!  He is also attached to me...some of that has to do with Daddy being deployed and some of that has to do with that fact that I am so much fun to be around...just kidding!  In all seriousness though he never wants me to leave for any reason...phew!

Clinging to my leg...

There are so many cute things about my boy...but the one thing I am most proud of is his's big and wide open to others feelings.  Tonight as I put him to bed he said "Mommy can I tell you something really quick?"  Sure...he whispers in my ear "you're my precious sweetie"....MELTS MY HEART!!!

My sweet Aiden,
My love for you is like nothing I ever thought possible.  You have taught Daddy and I what it means to love someone selflessly and unconditionally!  There is not one thing that I would not do for you!  Being your mommy (and Easton too) is my number 1 priority!  I am so proud of the little "man" you have become.  You have had so many unique and challenging experiences in your life and you continue to amaze me with your ability to just go with the flow, your bravery, and your willingness to accept change.  I thank God every night for letting me be your mommy!  You are with out a doubt the greatest gift of my life!  From the moment the doctor said "your pregnant" until now I have felt so incredibly blessed and fulfilled.  My heart is so full because of my love for you!  You literally grabbed a hold of my heart before you were born and now you have it tightly in your hand. You are my favorite ninja turtle, the ultimate superhero, and my best bud.  Mommy and Daddy love you more than anything in the whole wide world...and you, my love, make Easton smile bigger than anybody and belly laugh like no one else can...a true sign of his love and admiration for you!  I can't help but feel sad for every year that passes but incredibly excited for the journey to come!  Happy 4th Birthday Sweet Boy!!!  I love you!