Saturday, December 02, 2017

O Christmas Tree

Day 117.

It's Saturday and boy did it seem to fly by!

We started the morning off with Hudson's golf lesson. He did really well today. My parents met us there and then after the lesson we dropped a car off at the house and went to go pick out our Christmas Tree. Yes, we still get a LIVE tree every year. I always get razzed for that, but this is one of my favorite traditions. We decided to go to a cute little family owned tree farm this year instead of just going to Lowe's or Home Depot because I had stopped by the farm and they had some beautiful trees and they looked so fresh. I knew they were going to be a bit pricier, but I just decided to go with it this year. Well, God showed up in that detail too....the 7-8 foot trees at Lowe's were $70 this year and the same size tree at this lot were between $110-$150. We didn't find "the tree" right away, so we asked if they had any more Nobel Firs (I'm a stickler for it needing to be a beautiful Nobel Fir) that were the size we were looking for. The guy saw that Alex was on FaceTime with us (thank you technology...yes, Alex was able to help us pick out our tree all the way from Kuwait), and when he came back he told us his brother was deployed and that the tree he found was 8 feet tall and that the price was $69.99. You guys....this tree fits perfectly in our home and it's perfect. There is one silly little branch that sticks out, but Madison was so excited to be able to hang her TinkerBell ornament on it because usually it's hard to find a brach that has enough space under it for this particular ornament. The guys at the farm tied the tree up on the roof and then we brought it home. I was very thankful that my parents were able to come and help with the tree, especially getting it inside the house and into the stand.

Once the tree was standing, we all went to have lunch at The Habit. Then my parents left to head to the Post Office, to mail Alex a care package and the kids and I went home to finish decorating the house as well as the tree. While we decorated the tree, we had our Christmas music blaring and laughter was abounding....I missed Alex terribly (especially as I pulled out the ornaments he usually helps adorn our tree with), but the delight in the eyes of my children brought me so much comfort and made me thankful that we were even able to have had Alex on FaceTime earlier as we picked out our tree.



We had a blast today and the kids finished decorating their personal trees too. They each have an artificial 3 foot tree in their room and they get to fill it with their homemade ornaments and a few others, that I share with them. ;) 

Tonight for movie night we watched Elf and the kids just kept saying how much they love our tree and how pretty it is and how amazing it smells. Before they went to bed, I snapped a quick picture of them in front of the tree. You can just see how much they love Christmas in this picture.


After the kids went to bed, I wrapped some presents and watched Christmas with the Kranks. Then I updated their Christmas lists a little more because I realized I needed to find a couple more items. 

Now, I'm sitting here at the computer with the only lights on the glow of our Christmas lights from the tree and the many different strands of garland all over the house. The Christmas music is playing, as I reflect on the fact that tomorrow starts the beginning of Advent. As soon as I finish up here, I am going to be reading and prepping for our first day of our family advent study. Alex and I are so excited to be doing this and I am super excited that we are going to do our best to do it in the mornings before school if Alex is able to be free. 

I pray that this Christmas season, whether you are entering it during a time of sorrow, a time of celebration, a time of loneliness, or another situation entirely, that you feel the love of our Father and are filled with the Joy that comes from knowing that the whole reason we celebrate this time of year is because our Savior was born. Because of this we can walk confidently and need to fear what is to come, for He is with us now and always. 

Friday, December 01, 2017

Where Are You Christmas?!?

Day 116.

It's Friday....


I'm back.


Sorry I had a couple weeks there that literally knocked me to the ground. Please don't mistake my lack of posting for not wanting to share and be real, I was just processing and dealing with a lot and trying to navigate through some things. Most of you know that I wear my heart on my sleeve, and because of this I just felt for the sake of everyone, it was better if I kept my journaling in my actual journal where I cried out to God and He walked me through those two weeks, along with a few friends that came alongside and made sure I was still alive.

Anyway, all is well and we ARE IN DECEMBER!!!!! Another month gone and I am another month closer to having my man back in my arms.

So tonight, Madison's sweet friend Mackenzie sang one of my favorite sentimental Christmas songs tonight at a special performance. We didn't end up being able to go because my kids were wiped out...Madison even asked to leave gymnastics early....that never happens. They were both in bed by 6:30 and Madison was asleep by 6:45/7:00.....and Hudson was not far behind her.

Anyway, listening to a recording of Mackenzie singing this song, not only brought tears to my eyes because she did a beautiful rendition of the song, but the words to the song struck a chord tonight.

Where are you Christmas
Why can't I find you
Why have you gone away
Where is the laughter
You used to bring me
Why can't I hear music play
My world is changing
I'm rearranging
Does that mean Christmas changes too
Where are you Christmas
Do you remember
The one you used to know
I'm not the same one
See what the time's done
Is that why you have let me go
Christmas is here
Everywhere, oh
Christmas is here
If you care, oh
If there is love in your heart and your mind
You will feel like Christmas all the time
Oh, I feel you Christmas
I know I've found you
You never fade away, oh
The joy of Christmas
Stays here inside us
Fills each and every heart with love
Where are you Christmas
Fill your heart with love

I can totally relate to the words of this song during the season I'm in right now. I LOVE Christmas. It's quite literally my favorite time of year. But, this year, with Alex being away, it's been harder to find the motivation to decorate the house. However, I have done a decent amount and will finish this weekend, especially after we get our tree, because Christmas is about JOY and the birth of our Savior who is so patiently walking beside me on this journey as I try to navigate all the feels that come with not having my love home with me right now. I want the kids to have a MAGICAL Christmas and to know the LOVE of Christ and that no matter what our circumstances, that love never changes. I LOVE that we have family traditions and while it will be hard without Alex here, I still have every intention of keep the traditions alive. The JOY of Christmas lives inside each and every one of us and we simply need to dig deeper if we are struggling to find it this year. We are surrounded by amazing people that love on us and pray for us. We also have friends who regularly text, email or message daily just to see how the day is going. These thoughtful gestures mean the world to me. Some days it's really easy to get swallowed up by emotion, but then I'll be reminded that God has us and He sends sweet little reminders in so many ways, all throughout the day. 

I'm excited for this weekend. We have some fun in store for the days to come. Hope everyone has a LOVELY weekend too!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

It's Been A Tad Chaotic

Day 98, 99, 100, & 101.

Phew. Looks like I've missed some days.

I have received several loving messages from people asking if I was okay, since I hadn't posted my blog posts in a little bit.

Yes. I am doing well. Thank you so much for your thoughtful messages and texts.

Last weekend rocked me emotionally from so many different levels, that on Monday I was just so stinking tired that as soon as the kids crawled in bed after gym, I did too! I can't remember the last time I went to bed before 9:00, although I'm about to go to bed soon again.

This week in general has just been filled with a lot of things that have kept me busy.

However, I did mean to post yesterday because we reached another milestone:

Day100!!!

We are feeling the length of time and missing Alex oh so much, but thankful that we have that milestone behind us. We are taking one day at a time and looking towards the light at the end of the tunnel, even if it still seems pretty far away.

We've had fun making care packages for Alex and sending them. We sent a Christmas themed one this week, as well as a coffee themed one. Alex is feeling the fell effect of the 100 days too, so we wanted to send him some extra boxes of love. :)

After Thanksgiving, I will be back to my consistent posting, but until them I am in full prep mode for our Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales AND we are going out of town for the first time and Science Fair is due almost as soon as we get back, but we're still gathering data. So, there is a bit of stress and chaos going on over here that will all come to a close once December hits, however I will say I am very much looking forward to several days with my bfry and I know the kids are looking forward to it too....they've been counting down the days since November 1st....well actually probably longer than that!

Sleep well everyone! Enjoy your weekend!

***Just a fun side note...today during volunteering, I had the privilege of seeing Hudson's super excited because they baked homemade pumpkin pies in his class today, that teased our noses as they baked in the oven. Then, in Madison's class I had so much fun helping the kids transfer corn they sprouted and grew on the cob, into their garden plot at school, as well as putting together their class Science Fair Board.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

After...

Day 97.

Today we accomplished a lot.

After church, the kids and I ran some errands and finished with Costco. Kids always love going there with me.....samples on the weekends are always in surplus.

After we made it back home, we had lunch and then we were able to talk with Alex for a bit. Always the highlight of my day.

After that, the kids each had a little bit of homework to do. Madison had a math test to study for and we are in full Science Fair mode right now. Last weekend, Madison did all of the work to get ready for the start of the experiment, so today we began the experiment to test her hypothesis. We will be conducting the experiment for 10 days and then she will draw her conclusion.

After she finished setting up the petri dishes and getting all of the swab samples. We placed the petri dishes in a box and then placed that box in my bathtub with a towel over it.

After this was completed, Madison eagerly gave Hudson his practice spelling test, which she was delighted to do.

After they were both finished with their homework I made dinner and then we snuggled up together and watch Akeela and the Bee. I will say that I was thoroughly impressed with this movie. It was fantastic, as I'd heard it would be. However, momma's there are a few choice words in this movie that I was not expecting. One of them went right over both kids heads because they'd never heard it before, the other one went over Hudson's head, but Madison caught it and just looked at me with a shocked face. She'd read it in a couple of books before, but it always is shocking when it's in a movie. That aside, it was such a motivational movie and truly inspiring.

After the movie, the kids talked to their Oma and Papa for a little bit and then it was time for bed.

After the kids went to bed, I spent some time in front of our "fire place"...aka fireplace app on our TV...it's still too hot for a fire, with Christmas music on and I journaled for a bit. I really love journaling my thoughts and prayers to God. Not only is it so refreshing, but I love being able to go back and mark when prayers have been answered, whether they are a yes or a no.

After journaling, I talked with my friend Kara, who was kind enough to check in on me today and we caught up with each other about our weekends in more depth than we'd been able to on Friday or Saturday. While talking to Kara, Alex called and I was able to talk to him for a little bit and now I am getting ready to go to bed with a big smile on my face because my man is seriously the best and always puts a smile on my face.

Love and miss you babe!

PS....anyone else super annoyed with the new iPhone update that doesn't allow you to write and "I"? Hoping the update to fix this comes out soon!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Heart of a Marine Corps Spouse

Days 95 & 96.

Yesterday was the USMC's birthday. Today is Veteran's Day.

This weekend has filled my heart with many emotions.

To my knight in shining armor,

You have my heart. You are in my daily prayers. You are in my every thought.

On days like yesterday and today, I am reminded just how filled I am with admiration for the job that you do willingly and so sacrificially. You have such a servant's heart. I am so incredibly proud of you and have loved every single second of being your wife and I look forward to all that is yet to come.

I miss you terribly and the emotions in my heart have been high these last couple of days as I see all of the social media posts, but our God is good. He's calmed my heart and reminded me we each have a job to do. It's always hard being away from you, whether it's for one day or for 270 days, each day I yearn for you. I long to be in your presence.

But while this time could be seen as dark and unbearable, God is faithful and is doing a good work in each of us and in our marriage. He is growing us and teaching us. I can feel God working in my heart and He's teaching me about grace and forgiveness, even though I still have a lot to learn. He's speaking to me through each of my devotions, my friends, my small group I'm in online, and through the messages at church. I can see how God is using you as well my love. You are being open and real with the guys you're deployed with and the way God has orchestrated you to lead a small group leaves me in awe. I love you. I love your heart. I love the journey God has had you on and seeing where you've come from and where He's taking you.

I miss not being able to go to the Birthday Ball with you and I miss not having you here in my arms to hug personally and to tell you how very proud I am of you, my sweet Veteran. But, I choose to find the joy in this situation and to see the good that God is doing in each of us and in our beautiful children that He's blessed us with. We will be stronger as a result of this deployment.

Our kids are so very proud of you. As Hudson joined his first grade class last week in honoring the men and women of the military and our great country, I could see the pride in his face knowing his dad was in the slide show of veterans. When Madison read the Veterans Day tribute over the loud speaker on Thursday morning, she was nervous, but because she is so stinking proud of you, she was able to make it through.

So my love, Happy Birthday and thank you from the bottom of my heart for your sacrifice. I know that it's not easy and I know that you'd much rather be here with us, but you've been called to do a very important job and we are here praying for you and are so very proud of you.

With all my love,

Your adoring wife
xoxoxo

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Encourage One Another

Day 94.

Happy Thursday! I hope that you had a lovely day! We have tomorrow off of school in honor of Veteran's Day, so it's sort of like Friday for us.

This morning the kids did the PA announcements. They were asked a few weeks ago, by the principal, to prepare a little something in honor of Veteran's Day. The whole school was asked to wear red to honor the veterans and then Madison (Hudson stood by her, but was a tad too nervous to speak over the PA system), share with them that R.E.D. stands for Remember Everyone Deployed. It was a sweet moment and coming after Hudson's performance last night and the Marine Corps birthday being tomorrow, it felt wonderful to know our family has so much support and encouragement out here.

I feel like everything I've been reading, studying, hearing, etc has been about encouragement. I've always considered myself a positive person and I LOVE encouraging others, but what I've been reading takes it a step further. When we take the time to encourage and lift others up, it takes the focus off of ourselves. So, no matter what we are going through, by putting our efforts and energy into encouraging others, our circumstances because lighter because they are no longer consuming our thoughts.

Madison has some very sweet girls at her school, that both happen to be in her class this year that have been such an encouragement to her during this deployment and I know it's really lifted her spirits and helped her to feel supported. I was able to snap a quick picture of this trio earlier this morning and then of course I had to get one of her with her BFF, Mackenzie.

    



So my challenge to you tonight is to make a point to encourage someone because you never know what they are going through and even if you're going through a tough time, focusing on someone else will lift your spirits too! 

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Hudson's Performance

Day 93.

We had a GREAT day today.

Had a killer workout and made a new friend at the gym.

Raced home and showered to get ready for Hudson's performance that was this evening...this was going to be my only time to get ready since Madison had gym after school.

I was able to basically see Alex just long enough to tell him goodnight because he'd been at work a crazy long time and was beat and needed to go to bed.

I ran and picked the kids up. We raced home. Madison changed for gym. We dropped her off. Hudson and I came back home to eat dinner and for him to get ready for his performance.

We picked Madison back up. She ate dinner. We got to school with perfect timing and ended up getting front row seats, which was perfect because Alex was able to FaceTime in and watch the WHOLE thing.

Hudson's performance was a tribute to America and Veterans. It was super cute. Here are a couple of pictures I was able to snap. Most of the time I was using my phone to FaceTime Alex, but my mom took a few videos and snapped some pictures also.

     

When the show was over, we came home and the kids went to bed. They are super excited about tomorrow because they get to share, over the loudspeaker in the morning, a little bit about Veteran's Day and what it means to wear R.E.D. on Fridays. I'm hoping to be able to record them and if I can, I'll be sure to share it tomorrow.