Friday, December 13, 2013

Deck the halls...

I have really worked hard this year to be in the holiday spirit full force.  It is hard to feel "jolly and bright" when your heart isn't whole!  This isn't a sad poor me post by any stretch but there have been a few of those moments in the preparation of the holidays.  I am trying to do it all, make everyone happy, and see everyone but unfortunately some people are impossible to please!  One person that is very pleased is ME!  I am very pleased with myself and my ability to get all of my shopping done, most of my wrapping done (thanks Mom) and all of my Christmas decor up with out the Hubby's help or input!  Although I love Christmas and Christmas decorations, those who know me know that I am not a fan of "stuff".  I don't like clutter and I don't like a lot of extra things to clean or store, therefore I really do not do a TON of seasonal decorating.  Don't get me wrong, I love it…several of my neighbors decorate seasonally and their homes are absolutely beautiful but my self diagnosed OCD can't take it!  So…I decked my halls in my favorite style…simple and classy…

I was super pumped when Leif noticed I had installed a spotlight all by myself!!!

Last year we realized that our tree was too small for our new home.  So this year I was in search of the perfect real looking fake 9ft tree…I LOVE HER…
I finally bit the bullet and ordered stockings from Pottery Barn (on sale, free monogramming, and free shipping of course)

Aiden did almost the whole tree himself…I only moved a couple of things…

He was so bummed that he couldn't put the Angel on the tree…I tried and tried to get him up there but he informed me that "if Daddy were here he could do it"…I guess we have ANOTHER thing to look forward to next year!

Easton decorated the bathroom…
After 2 weeks of non-stop visitors I took a little "me time" and by "me time" I mean I cleaned my house BIG TIME…I put everything back in order and made her look just the way I like it…free of "stuff".  I snapped some pictures and sent them to Leif for a little taste of HOME during this holiday season…

She is all ready for Christmas and so am I.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Lego lies...

So I have a confession to make…I lie to my kid!!!  WHAT???? You don't!  OK, so maybe I don't lie..maybe I just divert the truth!!!  Does that sound harsh?  You know those games at the front of stores, or those rides that cost a fortune for a 20 second disappointment?  Well it just so happens that they are always "broken" when we pass them!  It's a shame but that is just the way the cookie crumbles!  Another unfortunate piece of information is that, sadly, legos are for children 5 and up.  Poor poor Aiden, he is only 4!  I have tried and tried to avoid those darn legos…seriously!  If you know Aiden you know that he gets attached to small things…really small things…think tiny tiny tiny allen wrench…YEP, I have searched my neighbors garage for that darn thing.  I AM CRAZY!!!  So the thought of Legos, and hundreds of them really gave me anxiety and I had devised a plan to never have them in my home!!!  That was until we went to Aiden's buddy Matthew's birthday party at a lego center….Aiden sat for an hour and created a ton of different things…he was having so much fun…in fact he didn't want to play any games, eat or do anything but build….

This one had to be hooked up to a battery pack…really?
After the fun he had…and the freedom I had I realized that I was going to have to reevaluate my strategy…once Santa gets my updated order Aiden is going to wonder how he miraculously turned 5….hmmmmm???  At least the games at Walmart are still broken!

All aboard...

So when I heard the Botanical Gardens had a Polar Express night I knew that Aiden would love it.  My boy could watch The Polar Express year round.  We reserved our spot right before it sold out and braved the cold and rain for what I thought was a train ride…WHOOPS, it was actually a reading of the Polar Express but they did serve HOT CHOCOLATE and cookies…no complaints from my little man...

Our Sweet neighbor Erin brought our group some bells which were a huge hit….and came in handy when the narrator needed some "jingling" and the cheesy bells they passed out just didn't do the trick!

After the story we bundles up for a fun and COLD tram ride around the gardens to check out the lights…

Like me, Aiden was a little disappointed that we didn't actually ride on a train haha…we are so hard to please sometimes.  Despite the rain, the cold, and the absence of train tracks, it was a really fun way to spend a Monday evening!

Christmas Illumination

In an effort to stay incredibly busy these last few months of deployment, I have vowed to attend every Christmas function in town…..OK, not really!
The weekend after Thanksgiving we kicked off Christmas at the Founders Inn for their Grand Illumination.

 BRRRRR  its was a bit cold outside…but the lights were beautiful!!!

There was a lot going on inside which made for a very fun day...

Singing Santa and dancing rudolph…oh my!

Pat Robertson told the story of Christmas

Easton chilled :-)
 Once Aiden's buddy Connolly arrived, Mommy was chopped liver!!!
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Hanging with my mommy!

My little nutcracker soldier

Balloon "art"

Free face painting…yes, please!

Duck face???
We really had such a fun time at the illumination…the bonus was that it was free!!!  It was the perfect way to jump start my mood and get me into the holiday spirit!!!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Here's how...

I share a lot on my blog, I share a lot in my life…it's just the way I am.  I am not a super private or reserved person because I feel like life is what it is…the good, the bad, the crazy, the embarrassing…I am an open book and that is the bottom line.

I believe that Leif and I have a pretty solid relationship…one that took a lot of work to build…one that isn't perfect by any stretch but it is perfect for the two of us.  I never envisioned, dreamt, or even wanted to be a Navy wife.  I fought it for a very long time.  Sometimes, when I am overwhelmed and tired, I still fight it.  But I am in it for as long as WE are in the NAVY and I am in it with all that I have!

Throughout this deployment I have heard this one question/comment at least once a day.   "How do you do it" or "I don't know how you do it"…One day, when I have the time to really write and reflect I will try to give all of my reasons, secrets, tricks or whatever you want to call it…but for tonight I will share with you one of the biggest motivations that I have.  This is a personal email from my husband on the night before Thanksgiving.  I wrote him about a comment that Aiden made that went along the lines of "I wish daddy were here so that he could…".  I told Leif that I immediately welled up with tears and I am sure that those words stung Leif in the same way….here is the email I received back along with the attachment he sent.  I share this only to give a little perspective to those who may not understand, to those who wonder how I do it, to those who wish they could read the mind of a service member who has "chosen" to leave their family...or to those who have absolutely no sense of duty and are completely selfless, take notes (yes, I said it)…THESE WORDS and RAW EMOTION are what keep me going and make me so incredibly proud of my husband!!!

Hey baby,

Have a wonderful time!  I wrote the attachment tonight while thinking how much I wanted to be home with you and the boys!  Sometimes I have to put it into perspective to make myself understand.  I love you so much!  Eat some turkey and drink a couple cold ones for me.  But most importantly, hold our boys.  Hug them as tightly and kiss them as much as you can for me!  I will be home soon! 

Love you!




I am thankful…

As I sit here and type on the eve of Thanksgiving, I have many thoughts running through my mind.  I really want to be home with my family!  My beautiful wife, and my 2 wonderful young boys.  But I cant.  I am here out in the ocean, thousands of miles away from home.  Thousands of miles away from putting up the Christmas tree with you and Aiden.  This was Aiden’s first time really helping and I missed it!  Thousands of miles away from the Thanksgiving eve preparations of making sure everything is ready to go for the next day.  Thousands of miles away from sitting and holding hands with you.  Thousands of miles away from playing with the boys.  Thousands of miles away from my parents who will come to visit.  It hurts not to be there.  But, as I look into it further I am reminded of why I am here.  I am here with many of my shipmates, thousands of miles away, so that the every day threats to our great country, that many take for granted, are not in our own backyards.  We are out here executing the maritime strategy in order to keep our loved ones safe and happy and safe on Thanksgiving.  And for that, I am thankful.

The Navy conducts its mission every single day regardless of weekend or holiday.  When war breaks, the Navy is the first on the scene pave the way for our other brothers in arms.  The Navy continues to provide support for the mission in Afghanistan.  When Syria gasses its own people, the Navy is there, as a force to ensure further acts of disgrace do not happen again.  When Mother Nature strikes, the Navy is first on the scene to provide humanitarian relief.  When Iran threatens to close the most critical strait in the world, the Navy is there.

The Navy supports not only America, but many of our allies and assets around the world.  To support this mission we are required to be so far away from home.  I have navigated the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, English Channel, Dover Strait, Strait of Gibraltar, Mediterranean Sea, Suez Canal, Gulf of Suez, Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea, Bab al Mandeb Strait, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, Strait of Hormuz, and the Arabian Gulf.  I have been to Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, Oman, Djibouti, Yemen, and UAE.

I have sat in the Red Sea waiting to exercise the right of freedom.  I have patrolled the Gulf of Aden, Horn of Africa, and Arabian Sea ready to engage pirates and smugglers.  I have operated off the coast of Iran conducting missions unsaid.  I have operated a US Warship and worked together with the likes of the Russians, Germans, Saudi Arabians, Chinese, Japanese, Italians, French, Pakistanis, Jordanians, Israelis, British, and the list goes on.

While I would give most anything to be home with you and the boys celebrating, I am celebrating here, thousands of miles away.  I am celebrating because I know that my family is safe.  I am proud and honored to serve America and my family.  Today and always I am thankful…

I love you!  Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!  I will be home soon enough.


And THAT is how I do it!  What an example he is to me and to our boys!  I know, I know…LUCKY ME!!!!


Although our family was not complete this Thanksgiving, we were surrounded by so many wonderful people who we consider to be family.  Leif was physically absent but definitely here in our thoughts and throughout our daily conversation.
A few snaps from the day...
If your wondering how Thanksgiving is on a warship, Leif said that as soon as they sat down to eat someone thought the saw a man overboard... They all had to muster for a count and then once everyone on the entire ship was accounted for they were able to eat...I guess that is just business as usual for those serving throughout the holidays!

I keep telling myself "just get through the holidays". The truth is that I am so Thankful for the people around me who will not let me "just get through", rather  they insist that I enjoy it, have help and will not let me be alone.  They reach out with kind words, invite us over, stop by or check in to make sure we have solid plans...most of them aren't family by blood...they are family by know who you are and more importantly, so do we!  Thank you will never be enough!