My talented husband!

10 years ago if someone asked me or Hubby what our favorite hobby was we would have answered in unison, “SCUBA diving!”.  These days, we are more land-locked so we had to find some new hobbies for this season of life.  I’ve started sewing and embroidering again, and Hubby has entered the world of woodworking.  We are having so much fun!  Family business in the making, maybe? 

Rob got a router for Christmas, and shortly after we added a scroll saw.  The latter came after Emily and I found a book at the library about making natural wood toys using a scroll saw and we were filled with ideas.  Rob and Emily have had a great time picking out toys to make and we are getting quite the collection of little wooden animals.  Bunnies, squirrels, hedgehogs, a tiger, a kitty cat, and many more to come! 

I just have to show you a few of the things Rob has been making.  Isn’t he awesome?  I know, I’m biased.

A cross Rob made me for our anniversary

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A plaque for a guy at work (it was a joke because the weapon was broken while being cleaned…thus the rope sticking out of it)

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A wind-chime for Emily for Valentine’s Day

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A jewelry holder for Emily  (Rob cut out the stars and made the board.  Emily & I did the painting)

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An Easter decoration set for my parents – All stained NATURALLY using coffee, cocoa, berries, & spices!

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A plaque for some dear friends  (We made 3 for families of our House Church who have moved / are moving away)

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A tiger & kitty cat – Emily designed them using a stencil as a guide and making a few changes.  Rob cut them out, then Emily stained them with cocoa powder & paprika, and Rob burned the stripes on with a wood burning tool.  So cool!

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Our squirrels & hedgehogs still need to be sanded before we photograph them.  I have another of his awesome creations I can’t wait to share, but I have to wait until the recipient of the gift receives it so I don’t spoil the surprise!  So, stay tuned for more!

JRTC – Take 2

Yesterday at O-Dark-Thirty, I woke Emily up out of a deep sleep so we could buckle her in the car, take Rob to work and say goodbye for the next month.  He’s off to JRTC again.

My husband is the King of Packing! Seriously.  When we go camping, he always amazes me with his ability to make everything fit in the truck, but packing for his military trips just bring it all to another level.

Somehow he managed to get all of this (and even more stuff not shown)…

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…into this:

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That’s for an entire MONTH, folks!

Amazing!

This time, we don’t have a scheduled deployment planned, but his brigade will take on the role of the Global Response Force (GRF) starting December 1 so they are preparing as though they are deploying.  The Global Response Force is a military force in readiness, able to deploy at a moment’s notice to anywhere in the world for a variety of missions including defense and humanitarian.  In civilian terms, his brigade is “on call” for an entire year should they be needed anywhere to do anything.  The brigades rotate this responsibility and it’s their turn.

We’ve known this was coming for quite some time so we’ve been able to prepare.  Besides, after dealing with the deployment the thought of him going away for “only” a month seems pretty easy.  I know the time will pass quickly.  After all, it’s fall – my favorite season ever – so we’ll be spending lots of time outside enjoying the cooler weather.

The departure was a little hard on Emily of course, but overall she is incredibly brave and her faith in God keeps her strong.  She is truly an amazing little girl! She is super proud of her Daddy and totally understands that he is doing his job.  She also knows that God didn’t just call her Daddy to this life – He called our family.  That means we work together as a team to support each other.

The night before Rob left, Emily had trouble going off to sleep.  She needed extra hugs, songs, and cuddles from Daddy.  She finally went off to sleep with her Daddy Doll in one arm, and her favorite stuffed elephant in the other.  Isn’t she precious?

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(Yes, I am well aware we need to update the Daddy Doll! Emily tells me often that we need one with an Airborne beret. Working on it!)

Before we said goodbye, our family gathered around and we all prayed together for our family during this upcoming month.  We continue to say, “Here we are, Lord!” and we pray that we will see opportunities to serve Him and give Him glory even during these times apart.

On the way home I played one of Emily’s favorite songs – “Stronger” by Mandisa and we belted out the words together.

Hey, heard you were up all night
Thinking about how your world ain’t right
And you wonder if things will ever get better
And you’re asking why is it always raining on you
When all you want is just a little good news
Instead of standing there stuck out in the weather

Oh, don’t hang your head
It’s gonna end
God’s right there
Even if it’s hard to see Him
I promise you that He still cares

[Chorus:]
When the waves are taking you under
Hold on just a little bit longer
He knows that this is gonna make you stronger, stronger
The pain ain’t gonna last forever
And things can only get better
Believe me
This is gonna make you stronger
Gonna make you stronger, stronger, stronger
Believe me, this is gonna make you Stronger

Try and do the best you can
Hold on and let Him hold your hand
And go on and fall into the arms of Jesus
Oh, lift your head it’s gonna end
God’s right there
Even when you just can’t feel Him
I promise you that He still cares

[Chorus]

‘Cause if He started this work in your life
He will be faithful to complete it
If only you believe it
He knows how much it hurts
And I’m sure that He’s gonna help you get through this
When the waves are taking you under
Hold on just a little bit longer
He knows that this is gonna make you stronger, stronger
The pain ain’t gonna last forever
In time it’s gonna get better
Believe me
This is gonna make you stronger

When we got home, Emily and I crawled into my bed and just held each other as we fell back to sleep for a while.  When I woke up she was next to me just reading and she said, “I feel much better now that we got some more rest and I got Mommy cuddles!”.

God is good!

We are committed as a family to making the best out of this next month.  I know that God will grow each of us in His own way and that through this we will draw closer to Him and closer as a family as the Lord prepares us for whatever is next.  We already know the next several months are going to be a whirlwind of coming and going as Rob attends some schools, so we look forward to watching our family grow and thrive in this military life.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Paratroopers in the sky

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Earlier last month, Emily and I got a chance to spend an evening watching several planes of 82nd Airborne paratroopers (hubby included) do a night jump.  If you ever have the chance to go see a jump – you should go!  It is the most amazing sight!  I got some decent pictures, but it sure did make me wish for a serious zoom lens for my camera so I could get some better shots.  I *thought* I got one picture that had Rob in it, because I knew he was acting as a jumpmaster for this jump, but it turned out he was on a different plane than originally scheduled, so I was watching the wrong one.  That’s ok! It was still fun to watch as these paratroopers floated down from the sky.  These soldiers jump from only 800 feet above the ground, so they aren’t in the air long – gotta snap those photos fast!

 

Emily enjoying her time in the front seat while waiting for the show

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Hanging out in the back of the truck waiting for the planes

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Here it comes!

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There they go!

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82nd Airborne Song

Put on your boots, boots, boots

and parachutes-chutes-chutes

We’re going up, up, up

And coming down, down, down

We’re all American and proud to be

for we’re the soldiers of liberty.

Some ride their gliders to the enemy.

Others are sky paratroopers.

We’re All American and fight we will,

‘Til all the guns of the foe are still.

Airborne from skies of blue,

We’re coming through, Let’s Go!

Put on your boots, your parachutes,

Get all those gliders ready to attack today.

For we’ll be gone into the dawn,

To fight them all the 82d way, hey!

Our 10th Wedding Anniversary!

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Today Hubby and I celebrate 10 years of wedded bliss! An entire decade! Just 4 more decades to go till our Golden Anniversary! As I look back over the years, I am truly amazed at God’s glory.  We have been through some TOUGH times in our 10 years together, some really tough times.  Yet as I look back at our journey, it is so obvious that God was with us every step of the way.

Sometimes I just sit in awe as I look back at all we’ve gone through.

The year before we got married was actually one of the hardest.  6 months before our wedding my dad passed away.  The same day, Hubby’s grandfather had a life-altering stroke.  We literally drove from the funeral home after my dad’s funeral to the hospital to see his grandfather.  It was a very hard day.  That year we also dealt with months of unemployment due to companies shutting down, 9-11, and my aunt died a month before the wedding.

Needless to say, we were ready to say goodbye to 2001, and hello to 2002!

The trials didn’t stop though.  We went through much more in the past 10 years.

More death of family. Divorces of both family & friends. Illnesses. Unemployment. Major surgery. Infertility. Building a house. A miracle baby! A child with special needs.  Serious financial struggles. Lots of Ramen & beans. More major surgery. Early Menopause (& a very patient hubby!). Foster Parenting.  Adoption promises brokenA car totaledBeing separated for 4 months while Hubby worked in another country.  More unemploymentNew jobs. New dreams. Lost dreams. Hearing a huge, crazy call from the Lord – and answering it.  Becoming a military family.  Deployment.

I know many couples whose marriage has ended after dealing with just one of the things we’ve experienced, yet not once has our marriage been threatened (just our sanity!).  Not once have we ever discussed divorce, or even fought hard enough to consider it.  There has been no infidelity of any sort, and I can honestly say that I have not once been tempted in that area.

This is not our own doing!  I am human.  I am weak.  I am sinful.  I do not boast of my own strength, but of the amazing strength of Jesus Christ! I shudder to think about where we would be if Hubby and I had not been leaning on the Lord for the duration of our marriage.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Cor 12:9)

Right after we got married, we started attending a Sunday School class at our church.  The name of the class was called “3 Strands Woven”.  That class was a true God-send in many ways.  We made friends in that class that are to this day some of our dearest and closest friends.  Men who have walked with my husband through our life, strengthening his faith and encouraging him as he leads our family.  Women who have helped me to grow as a wife, a mom, a disciple of Christ and a leader of women.

The theme of the class was modeled after a verse in the book of Ecclesiastes.

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecc 4:12)

God is that 3rd strand in our marriage and we have made that a priority since the day we said our vows.  He is the one that holds us together.  Some days we are in a circle, each holding each others’ hands.  Other days, God has me in one hand and Hubby in the other just holding on to us and keeping us from falling until we can reach each other again.

It hasn’t all been easy, but I wouldn’t trade a single moment of it for anything.  We’ve learned a lot along the way, we have grown as individuals and as a couple through each and every trial and celebration that we’ve been through.  When those hard times come – and they will – you can choose to let them tear you down or you can let them refine you into something stronger.  Even pure silver first has to go through the fire in order to remove the impurities, but it’s so worth it!

Just look at how far we’ve come!

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2003

 

 

2004-2005

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2006-2007

2006 2007

 

 

2008-2009

2008  2009b

 

2010-2011

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2011  2011b

I am so blessed to be walking through this journey of life hand in hand with my best friend & the love of my life!  Where will we go from here? Only God knows.  We can only say, “Here we are, Lord!”.

Soldier Salute

Just a couple days before Veteran’s Day, my awesome Hubby was featured on a local news channel in their “Soldier Salute” program.  I submitted his information and some photos and was super thrilled when they notified me that it would be showing.  Thank goodness for DVRs, because they gave me a 2.5 hour window and it was super early in the morning!  Later that morning, I surprised both Granny and Lovebug when I played it on TV as they thought I was just looking at a regular show.  I was fast forwarding as I looked for it, and Granny started screaming “Go back!! That looks like Lovebug and Hubby!!”.  It was precious! I should have videoed THEIR reactions, but instead I was aiming my video camera at the TV so I could record it for Hubby.

The news people were on the ball though, and I didn’t even need to record it! Just seconds after I watched it, I received an email from them with a link directly to the video online. 

Here is my handsome hero!

Happy Father’s Day 2011!

(posting this a little early so Hubby can see it when Father’s Day starts on his side of the world)

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Like father, like daughter!

I still remember Hubby’s face when I found out I was pregnant. He was beyond excited! In the delivery room, he was mesmerized with bringing his baby into the world.  Once she was born, he didn’t want to leave her side.  In fact, he almost didn’t!  He went with her to the nursery for her to get cleaned up, while I rested, and when it came time to move me to another room, I had to actually have him paged in the nursery to come back to me.  He was in love!

He still is. 

I am so blessed to be married to not only an incredible husband, but an amazing father.  He truly loves being a Daddy, and she is a true Daddy’s girl! 

I wish we could be together on this special day, but distance doesn’t change the love my daughter and her daddy have for each other. 

Daddy - Daughter moment

Babe,

You are amazing!  You are everything I could have hoped for in the father of my child.  You love her without measure, and she knows that.  She knows that she is beautiful because “Daddy says so”.  She admires you, she trusts you, she loves you more than you can imagine.  She is the amazing girl that she is because of you (and me too!).  Thank you for laughing with her, teaching her, elephant rides, holding hands, camping trips, and all those things that we look forward to doing when you get home!

I love you! Happy Father’s Day, my love!

Your Bride

I get spoiled easily!

Hubby had to go back to work today after being off work for just a 3-day weekend, and already I miss him!  Of course, that might be because out of the last EIGHT months, I have spent ONE of those with him.  I love waking up with him, going to bed with him, staying up late laughing and talking about random things with him.  Everything!

I’m not looking forward to this upcoming deployment.  It’s approaching way too fast.   This 12 month deployment is going to be much different than the previous 8 months.  At least when he was in WTC & AIT, we were able to talk almost every single night.  I was even able to visit him a couple times for a weekend.  This past time at JRTC was probably a better preview to what deployment would be like since for the majority of the time we weren’t able to communicate.  My cell phone was having serious signal problems (I am now with a new provider – YAY!), so I missed most of his calls.  Even when he did call, we only had a couple minutes to talk.  But it was ok because I knew I’d see him in a month.

This time, I’ll have a whole year to wait.  I know I’ll be ok.  I know Lovebug will be ok.  We have both already made some great friends here that I know will be a huge support as we go through this.  Several of them have husbands that will be going with mine, and others have husbands going elsewhere or at a different time, or have already been through it.  I’m so thankful for the many many military spouses I have met in just the last several months!  I prayed for friendships, and God provided!

We also already have plans to do some fun things while Daddy is gone to help pass the time.  We’re going to travel to see some friends, explore fun things in the area, hang out at the pool, and do some schoolwork.  Yes, school 🙂  As a homeschooling family, I like us to get some schoolwork done in the summer when it’s crazy hot outside, so that we can take off more days in the fall when we want to spend more time outside.  We’ll also be busy with karate classes, swimming lessons, and camps.  I’m planning to work my way through a certain cookbook trying some new recipes, and see if I can find an online photography class.  Oh, and work on my scrapbooks! I’m so far behind, it’s like I haven’t started!

So, I know we’ll get through it.  It’s just that I’m going to miss my best friend.  We love hanging out together and enjoy doing just about anything together.  It’s going to feel odd doing some of these things without him, and I kinda feel a little guilty about planning to have so much fun while he’s gone working so hard.  Just a little guilty though, not enough to not do it 🙂

As we talk about our Pre-Deployment To-Do lists, I can see that the time is going to fly by and that we will stay busy.  We have most of the big things out of the way, emergency plans in place, Power of Attorney taken care of, finances in place.  But we still need to pick up some supplies he wants to take with him, discuss some “what if” situations (not all bad, just things that might come up so I can get his opinion ahead of time), and we are hoping to sell our van before he leaves.  No sense having a car payment and paying for insurance for a vehicle that won’t be used much.  We can put that money aside and buy a car when he gets back.  I’ll drive our (paid-for!) truck while he’s gone!

Well, I have a few piles of laundry to get back to.  I’ll be back later because I have some pictures to share.

Happy Monday!

My family is complete again!

Hubby got home from JRTC a few nights ago.  I know, I’m late in announcing his arrival (and behind on some blog posts…), but I’ve been soaking up the joy of having him home!

Friday night, he called me around 9 or so to let me know he was on post! The soldiers had a lot of work to do unloading their gear, so I didn’t get the call to go pick him up until midnight.  I woke up Lovebug, got her loaded in the car, and off we went!  She was so tired, but on the way there she woke up enough to be super excited when she saw Daddy!

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and a really bad quality phone photo of me & hubby in the dark! 

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It’s been awesome having him home! I missed him so much over the past month, I know his time here at home will go by all too fast, so I am cherishing every moment I can.

He’s been unpacking, washing all the camo, and will be re-packing to get things ready for the upcoming deployment.  I can’t believe it’s coming up so fast!  I’ve been making lots of lists in preparation…

* Things to do before he leaves

* Supplies to get that he needs/wants to take with him

* Care package ideas

* Things to do while he’s gone to keep me & Lovebug busy

 

It’ll be here before we know it!

I finally talked to Hubby!

For the last 10 days, I haven’t spoken to or even been able to text with Hubby.  Evidently there is one little pocket of space at JRTC where Hubby’s cell phone gets a signal.  Back here at home, my cell phone has had ZERO signal.  To say I am fed up with Sprint is an understatement.  We are seriously close to switching to another provider.  I have missed at least 5 calls from Hubby because my phone didn’t even ring, went straight to voicemail, and then alerted me to said voicemail over an hour later!

ARG!

We were doing fine, and really, it’s only been 10 days, so we were hanging in there.   I mean, once he deploys I can expect to have periods that long or longer, so I just figured it was a practice run.  At the same time, it’s incredible how much I missed just hearing his voice.  He’s my best friend, my true love – the one I talk to about everything.  I missed just being able to hear about his day, tell him about mine, and laugh together.

Today, we finally had SUCCESS!!

It seems that many people at JRTC were having cell phone coverage problems, so the MWR (Morale, Welfare, & Recreation) stepped in and helped out.  They are routing phone calls through the MWR so the soldiers can call through a landline instead.

Great idea, but it didn’t help since he was calling my cell phone – with no signal whatsoever.  I missed a couple more calls.

Today I had the idea to check out the Skype website.  We have Skype set up so we can video chat with the grandparents, computer to computer.  I knew I had seen something on the website about calling to/from a landline, so I checked that out.

Turns out, for just $18 for 3 months, I could buy a phone number that could be called from a landline or mobile phone.  It might sound like a lot of money, but at this point I would have paid $18 for one phone call with him!  So, I signed up!

I sent Hubby a text message with my new phone number.   He called from the MWR landline straight to my computer, and presto! We were able to talk…for 33 whole minutes!!

YAY!! It felt so good to hear his voice.  We quickly caught up on the last week and a half, professed our love to each other many times, then said goodbye.  Ahhhh, relief.  Hopefully we can do this again soon but even if he gets too busy with work to call, I think I could make it the rest of the way off this one call.  I don’t want to, but I could.

So, if you find yourself in the same situation missing call after call due to bad cell coverage, check out Skype.  It fixed our problem for now, but we’ll still be looking at getting new cell phones and a new provider.

Our favorite wedding anniversary tradition

9 years ago today I married my best friend, and we are more in love today than we were then.  We’ve been through some crazy trials over the years.  Things that would break a lot of marriages.  We came out of each one stronger, but only by the grace of God! Relying on Him through each and every one of those times, and allowing Christ to be the center of our marriage has allowed us to press on, hand in hand through it all.

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” ~ Ecc 4:12

9 years ago, after our wedding and reception, we went back to the hotel to hang out with out-of-town friends and family for a couple days before heading out on our honeymoon.  Once we were there, we realized we forgot our swimsuits, so we left our friends & family, jumped in the truck and drove home to get them.  Along the way we realized how hungry we were, so we stopped at Sonic.

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We were still in our wedding attire – he in a tux, and me in my dress.

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With the truck still decorated.

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The teenager that brought our food out to us said NOTHING.  Not a word. I had to wonder, is this something he sees often?

So it started a tradition for us – every year on our anniversary we eat at Sonic.

I love it.  It’s silly, it’s fun, it’s unique, it’s cheap, and most of all it reminds me of that day that I became his Bride.

This year, we couldn’t be together because he’s still finishing up his Army training, but that didn’t keep each of us from celebrating with our annual tradition…together…500 miles apart.  Except tonight I had to share my tator tots with my daughter.

I love you, Hubby! More and more every day! Come. Home. Soon.

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Wow, we look young!