Wednesday, November 20, 2013

That moment...

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to capture a truly once in a lifetime moment…the moment when a deployed parent comes home and meets their baby for the first time.  A wonderful friend of mine recommended me to another friend/neighbor whose husband was returning from a 9 month deployment.  I have been fortunate enough to slowly cultivate a little business for myself and was completely shocked when someone was willing to take a chance on me and trust me without even seeing a single photo I had taken.  I had always wanted to capture a military homecoming but would never volunteer myself for such pressure.  To say I was nervous is a complete understatement.  What if I miss that split second moment when he finally lays eyes on his baby?  What is the lighting changes right before he walks off the ship and I can't change my settings in time?  What is the picture is blurry?  What if someone walks in front of me?  What if I am crying so hard thinking of my own homecoming that I can't concentrate?  What if I pass out?  What if I think of a million excuses as to why I shouldn't do it?  What if I take a chance?  What if I challenge myself and actually do a good job?  So I did it and LOVED every second of it.  All I can say is WOW…what an experience and what a moment to witness!  It was incredible…I was nervous for Shauna, excited for Shaun, and so incredibly emotional…here are a few of my favorites…

If I had to pick a favorite it would have to be one shot of pure emotion.  Shauna told me that Sean rarely shows any kind of emotion…well, how could you not tear up at this sweet moment of happiness…

Welcome Home Sean!!!  THANK YOU for your sacrifice and for your service!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Sunday Funday...

For the past few months a couple of girlfriends and I have been talking about doing a day of boating on my best bud Tom's awesome boat "The Farm".  After a conversation about how nice the weather was going to be on Sunday I texted Tom to see if he was up for some Sunday boating…his response…YES!!!!
So we all hit the store for some yummy snacks and in true Teresa form, I went a little overboard!  We had it all…bloody Mary's, cheese, crackers, hummus, veggies, finger sandwiches, shrimp cocktail, apples and caramel dip, salami, pepperoni, proscuitto….I think we were all set for a good day!
Imagine 5 kids plus Easton and 6 adults…BLESS TOM for putting up with us…he was a trooper and the kids were so well behaved!  It was A BLAST…only 1 person missing but we kept him updated by sending him a silly video and lots of pictures…Here are a few snaps

Ready for some fun…is Jade eating?

Ahoy Matey's...

Just a few of the ingredients...

Enjoying the sun...

Some of the spread


The kids hanging out down below...

A little Mommy time...

The Crew

Getting crazy haha

My Love

They are keeping me going

Could kiss him all day


Had to plan my outfit accordingly

A little entertainment

They need another baby :-)

First Mate

Putting Jackson to work pulling up the anchor

Captain Aiden

What a beautiful Sunday!

She's a pro!

A little breeze on our faces!

Being Silly...

The Group!

THANKS TOM for such a fun day on the boat…next time I promise I will bring ALL of my girlfriends for a fun day on The Farm!!!
A little "Sunday Underway" was just what the doctor ordered!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Best part of the day...

Every night while putting Aiden to bed I ask him what the best part of his day was.  I love to hear the things that make an impression on him.  Some days are so jam packed that I really wonder what he may remember and I am often surprised and impressed by some of his responses.  Trust me, this nightly routine isn't anything unique or creative as I am sure many people have their own way of giving their highlights of the day but this is ours.

I thought I would document the best part of my day today.  Not because anything earth shattering happened but because I want to remember this journey and the ebb and flow of deployment.  The best part of my day was a phone call from Leif.  While a phone call is always nice, it usually consists of a lot of "what was that?" "can you say that again" "are you there" "hold on" "I can't hear you""can you talk louder"  "Aiden, please be silent, I can't hear daddy"...On one hand I often can't hear because Leif calls me between 1am-2am, his time when, he is ending his day and his roommate is asleep.  He has been known to wake up in the middle of a sleep just because it is easier to get a connection off the ship.  He wakes up, calls us, and heads back to bed...only to get up around 5:30 or 6:00 am...yes, his days are long!  I also have trouble hearing because the connection is horrible and that is only when he can get a connection which is also unreliable.  There is usually a 5-8 second delay which makes an actual conversation very tricky and filled with very delayed responses on both ends.  And lets be real...with 2 kids on my end, silence isn't commonplace!  But today Leif called while Aiden was in school, Easton was asleep and the ship was in port which meant a little less commotion.

So today we talked...I mean, we really talked.  Kind of like he was sitting right here but he wasn't.  We laughed, we had time to tell stories, uninterrupted, and without a rush.  I tried to give him a glimpse into Easton's personality through stories, shared with him some of my conversations with Aiden and his questions about Daddy.  Phone calls are tough...trying to figure out what is worthy of his short time...what do you say to your spouse/bestfriend when you aren't sure when the next time you are going to talk to them is or when the phone will disconnect you.  I usually try to spit out all of E's milestones, what A did that day and ask any questions that I need immediate answers to.  Today, we just conversed and I felt like we reconnected.  For me, that seems to be my silent struggle.  How do I feel connected to someone that is so far away.  I often think about what he is missing and what I am missing...what he is missing is without a doubt the greater of the sacrifices (our children growing up) but I am missing something that leaves me feeling unfulfilled.  While I am surrounded by the most amazing support system, I am also incredibly lonely!  I try very hard not to cry but every so often I almost can't choke back the tears.  I just miss him!
In some ways, our silly conversation today was like a filler...almost like a "fix a flat" doesn't repair the tire but it will do for now.  The moments we had today won't fix my emptiness, it won't put him next to me in bed tonight but it did give me a little boost.  I felt like I was able to just be me...Teresa...not mommy, not bill payer, "what can I send you" sayer, daily scheduler, problem solver, run the roads until its done woman, fix it, fake it, do as much as you can in one day momma...but Teresa.  I was able to tell him about me and hear about him.  His journey, his struggles, what's been good and what's been bad.  We talked about the "key" to our success.  How we are going to get through the holidays apart and how we will feel when all of this is over.  In Leif's words:  "If we can get through the next 2 months of holidays, we can get through anything"  I've heard that before...why would this time be anything different!  He's concerned about me, and what he can do for me and I am concerned about him not being concerned!  "I've got this" and I do...even if I didn't I wouldn't tell him...but really "I do"!   We talked about his homecoming and how awesome it is going to be to just hold each other....and realistically how hard it is going to one ever thinks of that...I have been the boss, I run this house, I make every single decision for all of us...I eat, sleep and breathe my children without his help...he can't parent over the phone and I wouldn't ask him to...he has enough going on...but when he comes home you don't just revert back to the way things were 9 months earlier...EVERYONE will have to adjust and it won't happen over night!  But talking today, it was so seamless.  I honestly felt like a kid in a candy store and when we got off the phone I felt different.  Reconnected to my man, reconnected to myself!  I needed it.  I needed that push.  I needed to feel connected to him and emails just weren't cutting it.  I needed to hear his voice loud and clear.  I needed to hear his perspective.  I needed to hear him laugh and be carefree and today, I did.  That was the best part of my day!!!

Manic Monday...

It's a manic Monday here mainly because that is how I would describe this's going to be all over the place but that is how I do it!

This morning while dropping Aiden off at school I realized 3 things:
1.  I couldn't get out of Aiden's classroom fast enough for I tried to say goodbye to him I noticed he was checking himself in while having a conversation with a little girl...pretty much ignoring my desire for another goodbye kiss.
2:  Every morning we walk into school with multiple cute little lady voices saying "Hi Aiden"...who is that I say..."I don't know" he responds.  I didn't realize it started so early!
3:  I am no longer Teresa...I am officially "Aiden's Mommy".  "Hi Aiden's Mommy"  "That's Aiden's Mommy", "you're Aiden's Mommy"...Yes, I most certainly am and I am proud of it!

I was a crazy women today...ok so that is most days but really off my rocker today...I had the ladder out, lightbulbs were being changed, batteries in the smoke detectors changed, Easton's crib was lowered...yes, his new favorite things is STANDING...bought blinds, rearranged furniture and then the usual laundry, meals, cleaning...and I had a sweet little helper...
I ate my whole lunch today while it was hot...THAT NEVER HAPPENS...this is what my boys were doing while I actually enjoyed my lunch...

I spent some time at the spa this weekend!  My amazing neighbor texted me last week with a simple message..."we are taking your kids next Saturday and you are going to do something for yourself".  So I went ahead and scheduled a massage...

It was very weird to be in a place that was so quiet...NO KIDS...hmmm I wasn't quite sure what to do with myself! 

If you know nothing about deployments and kids I will let you in on a little secret.  One of the many things that I am responsible for is making Leif look like a ROCKSTAR...I mean he is awesome but it is my job to make sure the kids feel like he is still involved in the day to day or even the week to week.  This is a lot harder than it sounds.  I make the rules, I enforce them, I plan the days, I run, I play, I snuggle, I provide physically...But Daddy still needs to be "here"...So every so often Daddy "sends" gifts...and by sends I mean Mommy goes to the store, fills a box with things that Aiden really wants and then I put it on the front porch...Add that to my list of things I did today...

I wish I were as cool as Daddy...He knows EVERYTHING!!!  Lucky for Leif I don't mind giving him all of the credit!  It's part of the "job"...although I had to chuckle when Aiden said "mommy, did you do this for me" boy!  One day he will read this but I doubt he will ever really grasp all that I would do for him :-)