Monday, April 15, 2013

What We've Been Up To

I know that I have a lot to catch everyone up on, so I will do my best. I picked some of my favorite pictures from the last month or so and posted them below with little stories to go with each of them. 

Alex and I had the wonderful chance to get away for a couple of days. We went down to Temecula and stayed at Ponte Inn. It was beautiful and I highly recommend it to you all. We did the GrapeVine Wine Tour and had a blast. We stopped at five different wineries and had a picnic lunch in the vineyards of Mt. Palomar. 

I also had the chance to meet up with my dear friend Stephanie! We have known each other since we were 18. Stephanie was a bridesmaid in our wedding. We also taught together. Anyway, since moving back to California (6 years ago) our schedules have just been nuts (we've also lived pretty far from one another). Well, we were able to meet up at the San Diego Zoo and Steph met my kiddos and I had the chance to meet her sweet Sydney girl! We had so much fun and it was seriously as though no time had passed at all. Love how God has blessed our friendship!

Madison's school had a sweet little Volunteer Appreciation Tea. Below are close ups of the things her class helped make to decorate the room and tables. It was a very sweet morning and so very thoughtful!

There has been much bike riding and outdoor playing at the park and around the neighborhood! 

There has been fun time with friends!!!!

There, as always, has been gymnastics!!!! Madison is still loving gymnastics and she especially loved having daddy home to show him all of her moves.

There has been a lot of baking and cooking! It's so much fun having my love home to spoil with new recipes!

There has been wonderful fellowship time with our lovely Life Group. This is our whole Life Group (minus one)! Love these guys to pieces! Their love and support was huge while Alex was away!

There was a sweet Father Daughter Dance that Madison and Alex had a blast at. Their little stories about it all were just too cute!

There was more fun at the zoo!!!

There were birthday celebrations!

There were several Easter celebrations!

This was Good Friday!!!

Well, that is my summary! God is so good! Our transition back to a family of four has been very seamless!!! Thank you again to all of you who showed us support (whether it was through text, email, cards, phone calls, visits, packages, or prayers)! All of it was very much appreciated!!!! 

***Please keep Tori in your prayers!!!! Thank you!!!***

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Still Here

Hi friends,

Thank you for your patience as I figure out my new blogging routine! I intentionally took some time off to just soak up all that time with Alex I could. He started back to work this week and so I'm working on getting my new routine of when would be best to post. I appreciate all of the texts and emails I've received asking when I'd start posting again!

Hope you are all doing well and having a lovely weekend! I will leave you with our family picture from Easter Sunday! :)

***Please continue to pray for Tori. She is home now. We are still covering her in prayer for a complete healing! Thank you all!!!***

Friday, March 08, 2013

He's Home!!!!

Thank you all for your wonderful love and support!

Madison and Alex are at a Father/Daughter dance and Hudson is in bed, so I thought I'd take this time to write a quick update on Alex's homecoming! I posted all of the pictures I have right now, on my facebook page. When I get my professional set, I will post a few of my favorites here, and all of them will be on my facebook page as well.

Okay, so on to the day of homecoming:

Friday, March 1, 2013:

We all got up, like normal (the kids did not know that Alex was coming home today). April came over to watch Hudson. I took Madison to school. I volunteered in her classroom that morning. After I was done, I came home real quick and then picked up Alex's car and took it to the car wash.

Hudson and I went to pick up Madison from school and we had our normal Friday night routine, I just started everything a little bit earlier so that the kids would be in bed a little bit earlier. We ordered pizza (didn't want to mess the freshly cleaned kitchen up) and had our movie night. The kids went to bed right after the movie around 6:20/6:30. Once the kids were in bed, I began checking the final things off of my "to do" list. I finally was able to lay down and rest at about 10:30, which gave me about an hour. I slept until 11:30 and then I got up and began prepping our breakfast casserole (which went in the crock pot). If you need something like this, where you prep it the night before...I highly recommend it! My friend Jess, sent me the recipe and it was a huge success. Anyway, so while I was finishing the casserole, I received a phone call from Alex around midnight (he wasn't suppose to even land until 1:30am). When I answered the phone he asked me if I'd received the new itinerary, which I hadn't. I then called my Family Readiness Officer (FRO) and asked her if things were being bumped up. I hadn't even showered yet and still had a 45 min to an hour drive ahead of me, plus I had to get the kids up and get them ready, as well as call everyone who was coming to the homecoming to make sure they were all on the same page. The FRO didn't even know that they had landed yet and so she told me she'd look into it. She called me back about a half hour later and said the time would still remain the same (which was that they'd be arriving at Pendleton at 5:30am). Then about ten minutes later she called back and told me that it was going to be 4:30am since that was the time they'd asked all of the family members to arrive anyway. So, I was operating off of that time frame and was still confident we'd make it. I continued getting ready and attempting to reach everyone that needed the update! Then, at about 1:20am, I received another call from the FRO letting me know that they'd bumped their arrival time up to 3:00am. I was still calm, but knew I needed to get flying. I was just starting to curl my hair and needed to wake Madison up, do her hair, get her in the car, get Hudson up, get him in the car and still try to reach everyone, which had been unsuccessful. I had only been able to reach my parents at this point. So, I finished doing my hair and getting dressed. I then grabbed my phone so that I could record Madison waking up to the news that we were going to get Alex. She was in a dead sleep and a little disoriented, but below is her reaction to finding out Alex was coming home!

As I was finishing getting Madison ready, I finally was able to reach all but one of the people I needed to contact. Hudson woke up, while I was getting Madison ready and he was chipper and ready to go, so he was easy to get dressed and loaded up! We left the house just before 2:00am and headed up to Pendleton. We arrived at about 2:40. My parents were only minutes behind us, so we all went into the air hanger that we were going to be waiting in. They had a lovely breakfast spread that kept the kids entertained. Eventually everyone showed up and the waiting began :) Alex had his phone so he was able to text me updates while we waited. :)

At the ten minute mark the Senior FRO stood up and asked us to all go line up outside to welcome the buses. It was such a magical moment. We could see the Freedom Riders (who had met the plane as it landed at March Air Force Base) come around the corner as they were leading the buses. The band was playing and the freedom riders entered the gates followed by the three buses. The kids were so excited. The buses ended up being much closer than I had anticipated, which made it a little bit harder to find Alex because as everyone was exiting the bus, families were rushing them. I decided to stay put until I saw Alex. I was holding Hudson, so that he wouldn't get lost in the shuffle and Madison was by my side. Brittney spotted Alex and pointed him out (he happened to be blocked in my line of sight do to a lovely family reunion happening right in front of me). I saw him and my heart skipped a beat. He was home. I ran with Hudson in my arms (I thought Madison was right behind me) and he swept me up in his embrace as we enjoyed our first kiss in five months. I realized that I didn't feel Madison next to me, so we turned around and she came running to Alex and jumped in his arms. She was all smiles and then the emotion hit her. She began to sob and when she finally spoke, she told us they were happy tears! It was such a perfect moment. Hudson was glowing at the sight of daddy and kept shouting his name. (In fact, he pretty much does this on a daily basis. If he doesn't see Alex, he'll just keep saying his name until he sees or hears him. He wants to make sure he's still here).

Once the craziness settled down, Alex said hi to everyone who joined us that morning: my parents, his parents, Brittney and Matt and their kiddos, Kami, and Kristine. Then we found all of his gear, loaded up the car, and headed home! Oh, what a glorious feeling!

We arrived home around 5:30am. We worked really hard to keep the kids awake on the way home. Once we were home, both kids were practically falling asleep standing up, so they fell asleep rather quickly once they were in bed. We all ended up sleeping until about 8:45/9:00am. When we woke up, the breakfast casserole was ready and it was glorious to be able to just enjoy breakfast with my handsome prince.

We have had a wonderful week of spending time together as a family and things have picked up right where they left off. Alex and I have had many wonderful conversations and are just in awe of all that God did and continues to do through this deployment. Upon arriving home, Alex found out that he's going to have an awesome new job. As a result of this new job, we'll be able to stay here an extra year on top of the year we already had been extended, which puts us here until at least the summer of 2015. Such a blessing!!!!

Anyway, Alex and Madison are at their father/daughter dance tonight. Then, tomorrow night, Alex and I are going on our first date, since he's been home! We are so excited to spend that time together! Thank you all again for everything!

***Please continue praying for Tori! Pray that God would fully heal her and that He'd give her a way to communicate with her family and doctor's until the healing takes place. Thank you!!!***

Friday, March 01, 2013

A Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Today I woke up crazy early....I couldn't help it! :)

I spent this morning in Madison's classroom and running some final errands. The day went buy super quick, thankfully. Hudson and I picked up Madison from school, ran a couple more errands and then had our usual Friday night movie/pizza night. It was perfect!

Now I am just running around finishing up little odds and ends. I think I am just about done. I will finish the evening with a nice quiet time, thanking God for all He's done during this time and just reflecting on all that has taken place! Then, I will go to sleep and wake up to my alarm to start getting ready.

This is my final post of the deployment. :) We did it!!!!

My next post will be full of wonderful pictures and stories from homecoming! Thank you all for your amazing support and prayers throughout the last five months of this journey we've been on! God is so wonderful and faithful to provide exactly what we need when we need it!

***Please continue praying for Tori! Thank you!!!***

Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Day of Relaxation

Today was a busy, busy day!

Hudson and I dropped Madison off at school. Then, we went and ran some errands until my nail appointment. Hudson was amazing...he sat in his stroller like a perfect little angel for the entire time while I got a deluxe pedicure, manicure and my eyebrows waxed. :) I definitely was pampered this morning! It felt wonderful! And ladies, if you've never tried gel nail polish, man oh have to try it! I don't know where I've been this whole time, but it's revolutionized getting manicures for me. There is no chance of smudging or chipping (which I always do within the first 24 hours, thus the reason I never get manicures). Anyway, it's a little bit more expensive, but it's worth it to me since it's suppose to last 2-3 weeks :)

After getting my nails done, Hudson and I headed home so that he could play for a little bit before having to pick up Madison (it was her early day). He ran around and got all of his energy out! After picking up Madison, I rushed home to get Hudson down for his nap, since the house cleaner was suppose to arrive around 1:30. I wasn't sure how long he'd sleep with all of that going on. Thankfully he got a good solid two and a half hour nap and then we all picked up and went to the mall and walked around for a couple of hours.

By the time we arrived home, we had about a half an hour until bed time, so we played. Madison did some art. Hudson and I read some books. Then, the kids went to bed! It's been a run around type of day, but it's be a wonderful day!

Hope you guys had a beautiful Thursday!

***Please keep praying for Tori, however God leads you!!! Thank you!!!***

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Another Full Day...

Today was another full day!

After dropping Madison off at school, I rushed to the Y. I only had about 25-30 minutes until I needed to be back on the road again to Trader Joe's. I set the treadmill for 25 minutes and I ran 3.2 miles in 25 minutes! I was super excited. I am aiming to get to 22:00, which I believe is the perfect score for the 3 mile run in the PFT...ladies, do I have that right? Anyway, today's Trader Joe's shopping trip was extra fun because all of the meals I was shopping for were for once Alex is home! :) Yahoo!!!! After Trader Joe's I had to rush home because our housing area is updating all of our home alarms and I needed to be here by 9:30. I was here at 9:25! Perfect timing!

I had a little bit of a chance to facebook message Alex while Hudson was napping. So much fun getting to message with him and to be so close to actually talking in person! What a concept! :) I miss that man so much! I am so thankful that my days leading up to his arrival are full and will keep me occupied because I am getting a tad antsy. Every day this week, I've been waking up earlier than the day before!

Once we were home from picking up Madison, I finished prepping for bible study...just had a few things left on my "to do" list for the day! Tonight for Bible Study, I made an Apple Fritter Cake. I found this recipe on Pinterest and thought it looked rather tasty! This cake was a huge hit with my Life Group, so if you like apple fritters, it's a winner.

Our topic this week for Bible Study was prayer! We had a great in depth look at The Lord's Prayer and then we had a great time of praying with and for each other. Afterwards we broke up into our accountability groups! It was a wonderful evening!

***Please keep praying for Tori. They took her Trach out!!! Praise the Lord. I am including the LINK to her Caring Bridge Page, because today there were a lot of updated prayer requests. Thank you to all of you who have been faithfully praying! God is so mighty and He can heal sweet Tori!!!***

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Oh Happy Day!!!

I received some of the best news ever today: Alex is officially out of Afghanistan!!!!!

We are getting so close! Every day brings us one day closer to having him back home with us! What a glorious day that will be!!!

Today was a fun day! I had a good workout today. I pushed myself hard! One of the trainers there came up to me after I was done and asked me if I'd been a runner all of my life because he thought I was flying on the that always makes a girl feel good! It sure was fun! I like to race myself and what I did the day before. Anyway, all that to say, it's nice to know that a trainer thought I was running well! :)

After the Y, Hudson had his 2 year check-up. Everything went well and he only had to have one shot, plus I was able to see Devan and give her, her baby shower gift that I wasn't able to give her over the weekend!  At 2 years old, Hudson weighs 29lbs (68%) and is 34 inches long (50%). I sure do love my little boy. I love how everyone in our doctor's office (not sure my friend and our nurse) know him and talk to him from the moment we arrive to the moment we leave. He's already such a little people person!

When we arrived back home, Hudson was more than ready for his morning nap. Later, when we went to pick up Madison, Kristyle and I had "volunteered" to help our kids' teacher man the silent auction table at school. This week there is a fundraiser going on where the parents can bid on different teachers and the winners get to go on a special outing with the teacher. The kindergarten teachers are taking the kids to Islands and then to see the new movie The Croods.

After school, we headed to gymnastics. As always, Madison was super excited. Today in addition to practicing the things they've been learning, they started learning the basics of a head stand! It was super cute to watch Madison get down on her head and practice balancing her knees on her elbows! I wasn't able to get a picture of it, but you can trust was pretty stinking cute! :)

Well, I am off to go make some yummy popcorn and relax a bit! Hope you all had a lovely Tuesday!!!!

***Please keep praying for Tori! Thank you for your faithfulness to this beautiful girl!!!!***

Monday, February 25, 2013

Happy 2nd Birthday Little Monkey!!!!

Today was a very special day!!!!

Today my little monkey turned 2 years old! These past two years have added so much love and laughter to our home. It was no secret that when we found out I was pregnant for the 2nd time that I really wanted another little girl and that I was more than disappointed when we found out we were having a boy. Oh man, how I think back to that time and laugh now, because I wouldn't have it any other way. The love I have for my baby boy is so special. I know that he was the missing component to our family, that I didn't know was missing until the day he was born. This was definitely a time where God knew best (as He always does) and I was happy to be proven wrong. I am blessed by the sweet relationship Hudson and I have. There is a bond there that I just can't explain. I am also very blessed by the sweet friendship Madison and Hudson share. Those two bring me so much joy, especially when I see them interacting and playing together. Oh, the love this little guy has for his daddy!!! It's priceless. At least once a day, he walks around our house and points out every picture, blanket and doll with his daddy's picture. Any time my phone rings, he starts saying, "Hi Dada!" Hudson may not have been talking much when Alex left, but that hasn't stopped him from expressing now, just how very fond of him he is! I can't wait to see those two back together.

Here are some of my favorite pictures of my sweet boy:

This morning, Madison and I woke Hudson up by walking into his room singing Happy Birthday to him. He was all smiles!!! Hudson went and ate breakfast, while Madison finished getting ready for school. Then, while Madison was eating breakfast, Hudson started opening his presents. He had so much fun. Thank you to everyone who mailed gifts to our sweet boy and to those of you who dropped them off at our house today! I think Hudson was overjoyed by how many people called, sent video messages, and just showed him they loved him today! 

Here is a video of Hudson (bed head and all) telling me how old he is now:

After dropping Madison off at school, Hudson and I went to the Y. All of the workers in the child care center were so sweet. They knew it was his birthday and they sang him Happy Birthday and made a big deal out of it! It was super sweet. Once I had finished my workout, we went to Jamba Juice for a little mommy/son date. We both had smooties (although Hudson quickly finished his so he finished the rest of mine). Then, we went across the street and hand selected a dozen buntinis from Nothing Bundt Cakes for his little evening celebration. 

Once we had finished getting our buntinis (and Hudson was done with all of his yummy samples), we headed home so that He could take a nap.

We went and picked up Madison and then came home. The kids played with Hudson's new toys for a little while and then went into their quiet time. After quiet time the kids played together once again until dinner was ready. Hudson's favorite dinner right now is pretty much anything pasta, but he really loves elbow macaroni pasta with just a little butter, salt and pepper, so that was what we had tonight. After dinner, our sweet friends Seth and April came over to help us celebrate Hudson. We sang Happy Birthday to Hudson and enjoyed some of the little buntinis. The kids each had two...whoa, talk about a sugar high before bed! Seth was so sweet and got down on the floor and played with the kids for about an hour and helped to wear them out!

It was a very special day! Again, thank you to all of you who contributed to that! It means the world! Hope you all had a very special Monday as well!

***Please continue to pray for sweet Tori! Thank you!!!***