Saturday, December 31, 2011

Two Years... Almost!

So on January 2nd is our two year wedding anniversary. I am so glad that his "boot leave" (the 10 days of leave granted new Marines after boot camp) fell around this time so he would be home, and on top of that because it is around the holidays they got 7 days added as recruiter's assistance so he really got 17 days! It's so awesome to have my best friend back. It's crazy that we have been married for 2 years. I truly have such an amazing husband. So my in laws and my parents took us to dinner last night. We ate at The Columbia Firehouse in Alexandria. It is one of me and Jon's favorites. My Mom's short rib stroganoff...

My Dad's diver scallops and risotto...

My pork chop which was served with the best saukerkaut I have ever tasted...

Of course Jon got a burger! He love burgers from anywhere. It's crazy I know!

My Father in Law actually got the prime rib, after looking at this picture I have to say that I was a bit jealous!

Overall it was great to be with all four of our parents. We haven't done that in a while. On the way home I was talking with Jon how blessed we truly are to have both of our parents together and they have shown us how to build a strong marriage. I am so excited to see what the future holds for me and Jon, but right now I am just so excited to celebrate 2 awesome years with my very best friend.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Home at Last!

So to say the last 3 months of my family's life has been taxing would be an understatement. Watching my husband that we love to much leave to boot camp in Parris Island almost 13 weeks ago was almost unreal at the time. We have been through an amazing journey but at last we are home with our new Marine in tow! Graduation and Family Day were awesome. Coming from me with no military background at all I was impressed to say the least. So just a few pointers for those out there that will be attending the festivities at Parris Island soon or maybe not so soon. First off you do want to arrive at 5:30 am for family day. I know I was so not in the mood to wake up that early but I got on base and parking so easily that it was worth waking up that early. Next, the motivation run is a must on family day. It was so cool to see all the platoons running through the crowd. I will say though line the street don't sit in the Parade Deck bleachers. You will see them run by twice if you stand on the street. Jon was in Platoon 1102, the last male platoon in the group and even though they ran by twice I still didn't see him they all look the same! So moving on to what everyone wants to know about, Liberty!!!! I was so excited to see Jon. After the run they have to go back and change so you wait for them in what they call the "All-Weather Training Facility". It was torture to have to wait that long to see him. But, finally they all marched in and it was really cool to see everyone in such uniform lines.

So after they give us a speech on what we can and can't do during their liberty they released the Marines and we were able to find them. As soon as a I saw Jon I ran to him. Words could not describe how happy I was to finally hug my husband after all this time. During liberty we had a picnic which was so much fun.

Even though Liberty was 4 hours long it was so short! Before I knew it they had to leave for graduation practice. So I gave my husband back but, then again graduation was tomorrow and I was going to be able to take my husband home with me! So for graduation, please note that it is a casual affair in the was of dress. Now don't get me wrong there were people dressed to the nines but please wear something comfortable, it is outside, and get there early I mean like 6:30 am early because the bleachers fill up and you will have to stand! Graduation was great as well I was so proud of my husband. He was in 1st Battalion, Bravo Company, Platoon 1102.

All in all this was the best weekend I have had in a while. Bringing Jon home was a breath of fresh air after 3 months of some pretty stale air. God has been so good through all of this. I can't wait to see everything that He has in store for us, but right now I am enjoying my husband in uniform!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Check, Please!

Have you ever been eating dinner somewhere and the experience is not what you thought it would be, so you find yourself wanting to ask for the Check, please only 15 minutes into the whole ordeal? Well that was me about 2 days ago. With all that has been going on in life these past couple weeks I was so ready to get up from the table and leave! (Or at least run for solitary cover under my bedspread!) I had to turn in all my "wonderful" group and individual projects that turned out pretty well if I do say so myself. I was really stressed about my group project that dwindled from 5 members to 3 in about 3 weeks then down to just me and one other person in the final weeks. Whew! I am so glad that was over. Then came finals and all that studying not to mention keeping up with Landon's new medication, Masters Club, and all the little surprises I have planned for Jon when he comes back. I was so tired! Then I got a letter from Jon saying that he would get to call on the Sunday after the Crucible which is their final practical exam. It's called Liberty Sunday where they have free time and can call home. I was so excited! So Sunday came and.... just that Sunday went. No phone call. I was so dumbfounded as to what happened. So needless to say my stomach was in knots on Monday and Tuesday at work and I just couldn't seem to settle. So as I was waiting for my Dad to pick me up from work today I got a phone call from a blocked number. It was Jon! I was so excited I had to keep from jumping up and down in the lobby. He sounded so different. I know God always comes right on time, but let me tell you He came right as I was motioning to the waiter for the Check, Please on this week. We leave tomorrow for South Carolina and I could be happier. I will have lots of pictures to post so stay tuned!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Giddy with Anticipation

Almost there. I honestly thought I would never make it this far. I have been running at a hundred miles an hour staying so super busy that December kind of snuck up on me. With one week of class left before finals and Landon asking every other second if tomorrow is Christmas I am so content. When Jon left for Parris Island almost 3 months ago I was very unprepared. Even so we began this journey. So of course he had to put a perspective on the time for Landon. He promised him he would be back for Christmas. So now since all the stores and music is about, of course, Christmas he has been beaming. We even have switched to Christmas stickers on his behavior calendar. AC Moore had a great selection I couldn't help myself. So yesterday Landon and I had a very candid conversation. "Is tomorrow Christmas Mommy?", Landon asked. "No but very soon Landon" , I answer smiling. Watching Landon's childlike anticipation of his Daddy homecoming makes me think of  my relationship with my heavenly Father. He has always been so faithful and I anticipate everytime he speaks to me through His  Word and I to Him in prayer. So as I wait for my husband I get a kick out of knowing each and everyday I get to anticipate the arrival of God in my life.

Monday, November 28, 2011

My 4 Unfailing First Loves

Love.... such loaded four letter word right. Now every girl at some point in thier life imagines falling in love with the most amazing guy and riding into the sunset of course. Okay and then what? I'll tell you life sets in and drawing on my past experiences of love has helped me to build a marriage that I hope will be just as unfailing as the previous ones. So what are my 4 unfailing first loves you might ask? Number one on my first loves list is my Dad. He was the biggest, strongest, smartest man I knew. My Dad has definitely shown me how to love someone lets you down, how to lean on people when you need it, and how to love the Lord. I could never thank him enough for the wisdom he has given me over the years and how he has shown me love was an verb not a noun. We must work towards making a loving relationship work. My next first love is God, my Savior. I accepted Jesus as my Savior as a 7 year girl after a Vacation Bible School meeting at my Grandmother's house. In my relationship with God he has shown me the importance of loving someone unconditionally with no strings attached. He also taught me how to see people where they are and how to love them because that's how he loved me. He takes me each day with all my faults, attitudes and shortcomings and just loves me. That's an unfailing love that surpasses anything I could ever have with anyone else. That makes this love all the more special and life falling in love for the first time all over again. My third, first love was my husband. Now I can tell you is was not love at first sight. Don't get me wrong I was interested, but no clue that I would meet the man I would marry my senior year of high school. Fast forward 5 1/2 years and I am so in love with him. Jon has taught me how compromise even when I didn't want to, how to listen (I mean really listen!), and how to be in love without blinders. That last statement is so important. Often times we are blinded by love we don't see the relationship for what it truly is. It's hard to look at sometimes, but once you see a clear picture you can fix the problem. Hard to fix a crack with no light right? And last but not least was the first love of my son, I never understood how you could love someone with no conditions no matter what, but I do with my son. Landon teaches me patience, innonocence, and how exciting life can be. I am so blessed to have 4 instances that God has given me the experience of 4 unfailing first loves. Each one is different with it's own battles and circumstances, but they are all so very precious to me. With my husband coming home in a little over 2 weeks I am so excited to tell him just how much our marriage means to me in person. Love is a lot of hard work, but well worth it's weight in effort.

Monday, November 14, 2011

When your plate is too full

This weekend was crazy so when I finally got a breather I began to think. As mothers, daughters, co-workers, friends, sisters and every other hat we wear we get so busy. I sometimes equate my life to a thanksgiving dinner plate. How many years do we go to the Thanksgiving buffet line and say I’m just going to take a little of everything and then at the end our plate has mounds of food that we can’t finish. So many times we take a little of “everything” in our lives, a class here, a project there, a responsibility way over there. It’s so easy to take all these little things and have them create a problem bigger than us. We only have so much time in a day, week, month, and year. I love my church and one reason I love it so much is the easy to understand and practical messages our Pastor gives to us from the Bible. Each year our Pastor preaches on stewardship and one of the things that he explained to us is that God has made us stewards or managers of the time he has given us. The verse we all know so well is 1 Corinthians 4:2, “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” God expects us to manage the time he gives us by balancing what we need to do, have to do, and want to do. As military spouses or anyone that finds themselves without their spouse for any length of time prioritization becomes even more important. I have found that by taking on so much with Jon gone has caused me to miss out on some things that I really need to be doing. God entrusts us with time, we need to learn to portion our plates so that we do get everything we need, and still leave space for a little bit of what we want because lets face it we all want a little dessert on our plates. That thing that we do just for us and the great thing is with God’s guidance and a little time management we can have our cake and eat it too! I suggest taking a piece of paper and folding in half. List all of your responsibilities on one side and some things that you would like to incorporate into your life. By looking for little pockets of wasted time you would be surprised what you can fit in your life. I noticed by taking my lunch break and packing something easy to eat in 10 minutes I would have 35 minutes left to study. Little things like that can save you tons of time and leave more space for the important things like reading bedtime stories and checking for monsters under the bed! So break out the planners, your plate so to speak, and start to fill. With the correct portion control you will be well on your way to a great meal, or life for that matter….

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Family Matters

I know it's been a while since I've posted, but in my defense I have been super busy. I was kind of freaking out the past week when I didn't get a letter from Jon. He has been writing me pretty consistently so I thought it was strange I hadn't heard from him. Then one day after a week had past I got a letter. He's been really busy with everything down there (which I forget sometimes, hence me freaking out) and hadn't had anytime to write. He has just entered Phase Two and now we have gotten to the point where we are counting down the days instead of counting the days that he's been gone. It was at this time I am so glad to not only have one family, but three amazing families praying for me and Landon. My immediate family has been awesome during this time. My Mom is forever doing things to help and just making the burden seem lighter. I couldn't ask for a better Dad he has moved furniture for me, I've consulted him on more than one home improvement project and just been there to give me the sound advice I know Jon would be giving me if he was here. Then there are all my siblings, I have 6 of them. Three sisters (one of whom we've "adopted" from Las Vegas) and 3 brothers (Two of which had the pleasure of marrying into our wonderful family). My sisters have talked, laughed, and prayed me through these past 7 weeks. Then my brothers, they have watched out for Landon, picked him up from school, and even went with me to pick up furniture. They are awesome in so many ways and I don't know where I would be without them. Then there is my in-law family, which I hate to use because they feel to me just as much as a part of my family as anyone else. They are always supportive just calling to check on me and I love to spend time with them. Landon loves his cousins and it's nice to be with them knowing they know Jon just as well as I do. Last night we celebrated my sister in law's birthday and it was great to be in a house where kids were screaming and playing. The silence is sometimes deafening. I know that with Jon gone our house noise level has decreased considerably. It was great to feel a part of something. Not just a wife missing her husband and a son who can't wait till daddy comes home. Then last but not least is my church family. In Hebrews 10:25 the Bible says, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves, together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." I can't begin to tell you the kind of support that a good church family brings. There isn't a day that goes by that someone hasn't told me that they were praying for me or Landon or Jon or all three of us! I have some great friends at my church and quite literally they keep me sane. I would probably be crying every night if it wasn't for their texts. I actually have even gained an even stronger relationship with one of the other military spouses in our church. Her husband is about to be deployed so we are both going to be without our spouses for a while. She has been a great support for me and it's great to have some one to talk to. All I'm saying is that God knew what he was doing when he created families. It doesn't matter how they came about or what you might have in common on the surface. You will always have your families back and I am so glad that I have three in my corner. It's amazing what it takes for you to be reminded, but I am so thankful that I now truly know how much family truly matters.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

3 Pump It Up Parties and a Pumpkin Patch

Being a mom is hard work! I love being a mother. I'd like to think that I am taking a good shot at being super mom, you know full time career, full time college student, doting wife, cookie baking mom, but you want the truth? I may do all that but I am lousy at making it all work seamlessly. That's right I have lots of help. Up until around 5 weeks ago my husband Jon and I shared the responsibilities pretty evenly. If I cooked dinner he cleaned the dishes, if I had to study he played with our son Landon. Jon was great at seeing when I needed help and filling that spot so I could keep up this charade as a so "put together mom". So enter left stage Marine Corp boot camp and here I was left holding the bag quite literally. I now became the beginning, middle and end of the play and I was so not ready! The first weekend after Jon left Landon had a party at Pump It Up for the son of my co-worker. That Saturday I had everything all planned, chores done, homework completed, and Landon dressed and fed. As we were leaving the house I felt like I totally got this under control. Okay, so fast forward to next weekend. The son of one of my good friend had a party at Pump It Up. I was thinking, "I got this under control I so did this last week." The only thing I didn't factor in was the party was earlier so I needed to get a start on the day earlier. Didn't happen, I was lucky to get Landon clothed, fed and one assignment done before we hurried to the party. Two weeks past and yet another Pump It Up party for another of Landon's neighborhood friends. I didn't even try to fake the charade. I fed Landon, dressed and hauled my more than weary self to our 3rd Pump It Up party in 5 weeks time. At least Landon had fun! I was exhausted!

So after that weekend I was looking forward to the week. I know who wants to go to work? Go figure. Then it hit me.... we hadn't gone to the pumpkin patch and time was running out. So on Wednesday before church we hit the pumpkin patch. Landon was so cute that I couldn't help but enjoy myself. It's times like these that I think where has the past 4 years gone? We had a great time picking out a pumpkin for Landon, myself and of course Jon. Even though I was tired how could I resist this face?

And our pumpkin selection actually turned out to be very accurate to the size of everyone, well at least the height!

So with all this out the way I can't wait to look forward to how everything will be changing and evolving. God truly has a plan for our little family and I can't wait to see what it all will entail, but just like Galatians 6:9 says, And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. And there are times that I grow weary, but God is too good for me to let what he has planned for me to do to make me tired. Am I super mom, apparently not, but God is a Super God and with that I can't lose. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

When I feel helpless, God is...

Letters are always awesome to get in the mail. There is just something about receiving something that they held and wrote just days before you get to open it. With my husband at boot camp I have a new found love for the United States Postal Service. Yes, I am having a love affair with the mail. I can't wait for it to arrive to see that little envelope addressed to me from my husband. It's what keeps me informed and close to him when I haven't heard his voice in over a month. So, I got a letter last week and he told me he's feeling really sick. Now my husband is not one to get sick and if he does he doesn't complain or even tell me about it unless he is really sick. I have only had to take care of him once since we have been married and once when we were dating. Needless to say I felt helpless with him so many miles away. Add in the fact that letters are coming way after the date they are written I was really feeling down. As a wife I want to be there for him when he is down and weak. Not knowing how sick he was or what was really going on made me feel as if there was nothing I could do. After about a week of sweating it out I got a letter from him telling me he is feeling a lot better. Only after reading that letter did I hear myself release the breath that I had been holding. Thinking back to the many times I have "held that breath" I searched God's Word and found 2 Corinthians 1:3, Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;. God will always be there to comfort me and any of His children in their time of need. This got me thinking about my own helplessness. Too often it's easy to just focus on what we can do on our own and when we can't do it on our own we feel helpless. It's at these times I think God wants us to depend on Him to fill in the blanks. We will never have all the answers to life's fill in the blank questions. If we rely on what we know then we will fail every time. I have learned through this experience if God can and wants to take my life's test for me why don't I let him? In this situation I thought, When I feel hopeless, God is____________. That was my fill in the blank lesson. This time I had a large selection of answers to pull from. When I am helpless God is my best friend, When I am helpless God is my advocate, When I am helpless God is my everything. You see you can put whatever adjective you need at that moment of need and as His child God will be there to see you through. Now that doesn't mean you won't feel the burden along the way, God takes us through some things to make us stronger, but he can fill that spot so you won't have to go it alone. So what will you fill your blank with? That's for you to decide. Right now, I'm just excited that I can say, When I am helpless, God is.... and boy does that do something for your spirit. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Going It Alone...

So there I was standing alone about to do this by myself. What may you ask, just take my son in for procedure. As I stood there signing him in I was thinking okay this is just like any other appointment. Then we got taken back to the procedure room I was like this is so not like anything else. It was at that moment I wished my husband was back home. Throughout our relationship of 6 going on 7 years there hasn't been much he wasn't there for, especially when it comes to our son. So as I was waiting for my son to come out of his test I was thinking of how truly different things are going to be from now on. There will be many more of these instances, and as much as I wanted my husband there to hold my hand, our son's hand I knew that I could do this.  Okay, so one procedure isn't much to write home about, but hey you got to start somewhere. As I look back on how many things I have had to learn to do by myself I just smile. You see God never gives you more than you can bear, and on top of that he gives you a way to bear it. Man, I mean isn't He just so good at being God?! As I was leaving the hospital I just kept thinking about that. This time my way to bear it was my amazing Mom. Truly there through anything and of course what Grandma would come running for their one and only grandson. Even so, I thank her for the sweet spirit that she has. So as I look forward to all the things that I might have to do alone, I say bring it on, because that way to bear it God sends could just be a golden blessing in disguise.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

One, One, & Three!

So, my husband is gone to start a new journey on his way to becoming a United States Marine. When we first approached the issue I had all the obvious questions, "Are we going to be moving all the time? What happens when you're gone? Can we do this?" Through the entire recruiting process I have learned that God is truly in control of everything. I can't find the answer every question and to be honest I don't need to. (Though I often drive myself crazy trying to.) So on we went through the paperwork and physical and MEPS. The entire thing. Then there was the time to wait. Well the wait was up on September 20th, he left to go Parris Island. Then the waiting started again. You see I was very apprehensive when I hadn't gotten any letters in the first week. No communication but that first phone call in the night, which I still can't get out of my mind. So of course my overly prepared self kicked into high gear. I searched every discussion board high and low to see when I could expect my first letter. Then it came, October 3rd I got my very first letter. It was great to hear how he was adjusting life in recruit training. Then the wait began again for the next one. It came one full week after the third. He seemed to be in high spirits so I was so looking forward to the next ones. The next came in much shorter succession. Only 4 days after and not only did I get another letter I got three! As I saw them on my dresser I couldn't wait to open them. I am so proud of my husband, he is an amazing man and the spirit of him is so encouraging. It's funny how we often picture ourselves in moments we know we will have to face. How many times have we had that "When that happens I will do this....." moment. Let me tell you it's nothing like that. I have learned too many times that situations prepare you for circumstances but they will never dictate your emotions in the moment. I have been on a roller coaster ride for the past four weeks, one I never thought would happen. Would I change it for the world, never. This is an experience that I will never have again no matter how similar the circumstances might present itself. I am now waiting for the next batch. Counting the days and letters...