Sunday, September 26, 2010

Strawberry Snuggle Bug

There are so many things that are the same day-in and day-out. Things that get boring and mundane. Unload and re-load the dishwasher. Change a diaper. Brush my teeth. Get the kids cups of juice and breakfast. Get C an afternoon snack....two packs of fruit snacks in a bowl. You know what I mean, right?

There is one daily ritual I do that I sometimes dread but never mind once I'm doing it. Each night I tuck in our little man. He always wants his mommy to rock him and be his final face before he heads to the land of nod. It's because of this that my husband always tucks in our 4 year old. He gets her snuggled into her big queen size bed (we had no place to put our old mattress set when we got a new one last month - just in case you were wondering why she has a queen size bed) with all her dolls and animals. He and I both head downstairs for a few minutes alone before we have to head to bed ourselves.

But then the inevitable happens....we hear the gate at the bottom of the stairs unlatch and C comes out from around the corner.

"I need mommy to sleep with me."

Sometimes we tell her just to head back to bed. But this rarely ever works. She is persistant and will hang out at the bottom of the stairs until I follow her back up to her bed.

So there I go. Up the stairs behind her. I usher her into her big bed and although she has two pillows and plenty of room, she and I snuggle on one pillow. Her hair is always in my face. I think she just loves to be as close as possible to me. Tonight she smelled like her shampoo - like strawberries. She was so fresh and clean. And so sweet and innocent. Within a minute or two she quickly flips around and faces away from me.

"Mama, can you scratch my back?"

She ALWAYS asks this as she is lifting up her shirt preparing for the scratching. This is near and dear to me since I used to always ask my grandma to scratch my back. She would always do it. She never said "no." I try and remember this as I scratch C's back every time she asks. Her back is so little that I can't do much moving of my hand before it runs right off her back, haha. She's still so tiny.

After this she flips back around for a few more snuggles before I kiss her and tell her that I'm heading back downstairs. She always asks me what we're going to do tomorrow. She's such a planner :-)

Truthfully, I do get tired of rocking and snuggling with D before laying him down (and then often having to redo it when he fusses) and then heading back upstairs to snuggle with C. So, I try and take in the sweetness of it all. It really is wonderful and awesome. I love to be able to soothe and comfort my children. I love that they need me and want me above all else. I do love the way they smell and the way their skin is still so soft and pure.

Here is a picture of my Strawberry Snuggle Bug from this morning in her new church dress. (from an awesome consignment sale yesterday!) She is still so little and sweet :-)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Far From Family

Today I was watching, "A Baby Story" on TLC and it got me thinking about how much I miss what I don't have. See, in this episode, the expecting family was moving to a new house a week before their baby was due to arrive. It was a crazy move since they were expecting the new baby at any time! The girl's family was there to help them get moved and settled. There was even a clip of the sister unpacking all the pots and pan into the cabinets! The mom-to-be said, "We really couldn't have done this without the help of our families."

That made me sad - but not sad for her. It made me sad for me. Since the day we got married, B and I have been "spreading our wings." Flying away from the flock. Soaring into uncharted new cities. Figuring out new roads, new Wal-Marts, and new places to shop. I have never regretted moving away or "freeing" myself from my hometown, but at the same time, I miss my family greatly.

One of the times that I have missed them the most was at the births of each one of my children.

When I had my daughter in TN, my mom came to visit and stay with us for a week. When we were in the hospital we had a tricking of our friends and B's coworkers come to meet our new addition. When I had my son in NC, my mom and my sister came to help. My mom was there to experience his birth and my sister watched my daughter. We left the hospital the next day. We had no friends come. Just one lone soldier sent on behalf of my husband's unit. I didn't even know him. I am not sure if my husband did either, haha.

I know that we are loved and cared about by our families, but it just seems like something is missing when you are so far away that those people that mean the most can't come and share in the excitement of our lives. Frequently when I have visited friends and cousins in the hospital after the births of their babies, there has been a "revolving door" of visitors coming to meet the new baby and congratulate the parents. I know this must be exhausting for the new mom and dad, but I can't help but to be envious of all the visitors and loved ones who make the trek to the hospital just to share in this special day. I have heard stories from friends who say that the waiting room was packed full of family members while they pushed the baby out in privacy. One friend told me her family even overflowed outside the waiting room, haha. What a blessing that must have been.

I know it seems that the grass is always greener on the other side. Perhaps some of my friends wish they could have had their babies in peace and quiet and then been able to rest all alone in the hospital followed by coming home to a quiet house like I did. But for me, an extreme extrovert, I wish I had the hoopla. I'd like to think that the "next" baby will be different. But now that we live even further from our family and friends, I have a feeling it may be even less than it was with the first two. I imagine we will have our "good" friends (I don't know who this is yet) watch the kids while I am in labor. Hopefully my mom can be here for the birth, but with an 11 hour drive between us, that may not be feasible. I can only hope that we make a lot of good friends between now and "then" so that we will feel the support and love that so many new moms and dads have when they live closer to home.

So basically, I have just come to realize that, "spreading our wings" isn't all roses and sunshine. Sometimes I want to close them and come tumbling back into the nest. :-)

And then have a baby and have everyone come to visit and bring flowers and balloons!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Oma and Opa

Dear Oma and Opa,

Did you see D and I at the cemetery this morning? We came and visited for the first time in a long time. I loved being there. Its probably one of the most peaceful places I've ever been. I imagine all National Military Cemeteries are like that.

Its hard for me to go there because I can't help but remember the days that we placed each one of you there. I remember the days so clearly - makes me just want to lay on top of the grass right there to be as close as possible to you. I can't forget the fresh dirt and all the beautiful flowers on those days. Now your headstone is one of the older ones in your section. You are 3 rows deep...I remember when you were in the front row.

It makes me so proud to read the words on the headstone. To me, you were always, "Oma and Opa," but to the rest of our country, you were heroes. Two wars and a whole career with the Army. That is something to be proud of for sure. I am so proud to be your granddaughter. Proud to be standing at your headstone.

Its been about 3 years since I've been there and of course, little D has never been. Isn't he beautiful? He is actually my youngest of two. C is 4 years old now. You would have loved her like crazy. She's incredibly hilarious and smart!

You wouldn't believe where the Army has moved us...just a mere 13 miles from your old house! I can't believe after driving 10 hours to come visit you for my entire childhood, I now live close enough to have lunch with you. Its crazy that God has placed us so close to you now that you're gone. I wish you were still there so badly. I'd be at your house all the time. I sure could use one of your home cooked meals every once in a while. I would give anything just for one fun filled day sitting at your house swinging on your back porch swing and visiting. I imagine my own children would have liked walking on the little "sidewalk" of pavers around your flower garden just like my sisters and I did. Or sitting in the dining room chatting with Opa while he sat in the back corner of the table - you know the spot. All wedged in between the china cabinet and the table. I wish I could use your tiny bathroom. C would have loved all the pink and roses in there. And of course, your favorite spot, the back patio. I sure do miss sitting out there with the heaters on in the winter. I remember trying on all your shoes lined up there by the door. My memories in that house are so vivid. I can't believe its been almost 7 years since I've been inside.

I don't mean to ramble. I just miss you guys. I wish you could see my children. You would love them so much. You'd be so proud of my husband for doing so well in the Army. You'd love seeing my parents as grandparents. They go by, "Omi and Opa."

I hope you hear me, somewhere out there. I like to think you're looking down on me, but truthfully, I don't know if that is how it all works. I will be back to visit the cemetery again sometime sooner rather than later. I am so glad that I am close to that too. If I can't have lunch with you in your kitchen, at least I can run my fingers along the words on your headstone and place my hands on the grass were you are buried. I love you more that you know. I miss you so very much.

Love Always,
Your Oldest Granddaughter

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Welcoming Dave into our home

Dave Ramsey. You know - the money guy. My hubby and I have decided to invite Dave over and to have him stay for a while. It started when B brought Dave's book, "The Total Money Makeover" home from work a couple weeks ago.

I have been reading it and realizing that getting completely out of debt is definitely possible with some very hard work and strong discipline. We only have one credit card but have 2 car payments. It doesn't really sound all that bad until you see the balance on the credit card. Yikes!! Fortunately our cars are not fancy so the car payments are not huge...combined they are what many people spend on one super cool car payment.

I decided to blog about this new venture because I like the accountability. In January when I started Chalean Extreme to lose nearly 40 pounds, I loved sharing my progress with you, my friends, because it held me accountable. Plus, I like your encouraging comments :-)

So, as of this week, my family is officially on a huge debt diet. We will be cutting back on expenditures wherever we can. I have been clipping coupons and am going to try and get our grocery bill down to a bare minimum. Fortunately, the kids love sandwiches and noodles because I have a feeling we'll be eating quite a bit of those in the coming months.

We are beginning with having a yard sale this coming weekend to sell anything we are not using and do not need to keep. Its going to be mostly big things since we sold/took to Goodwill most of our little things back at Ft. Bragg before we moved. This weekend it will be a twin mattress, a train table, a queen headboard, and a decent spattering of home decor that we do not need. I hope most of this sells as we are needing a couple hundred dollars to complete the first step of Dave's plan - a $1000 emergency fund. We have close to that in savings, but need a little bit more to top it off...the rest of our profits will go towards debt!

I would love to hear some encouraging words as we begin this new adventure in financial freedom. B and I are both overwhelmed each month with financial stress, so I know this is the right thing to be doing. Its just the "doing it" thats going to be tough. Maybe its just the "getting started." Either way, don't judge us for eating cheap foods and shopping at Fall consignment sales and please send me all your money saving tips and ideas! And super cheap recipes! I will keep you up do date as we begin making larger debt payments and work our way to financial peace :-)

Friday, September 10, 2010

That "at home" feeling

Some places just make me feel "at home." Certainly, being at home where I grew up gives me that feeling. I've also come to learn that going somewhere familiar does the same thing. I guess I kind of like going to places that are the same no matter what city I visit/live in - can we say Chick-Fil-A and Cracker Barrel? Each one looks exactly the same!!! Too bad the Chick-Fil-A here is about 25 minutes from my house and I still have yet to find a Cracker Barrel.

In the past, I have usually gotten good "at home" vibes when visiting a new church and singing songs that I sang at my previous church. I remember the first day I visited a church in Johnson City, TN, I bawled through the whole first song since they sang, "Holy Holy Holy," a song my church back in Atlanta had just sang before we moved. I took it as a sign to chose that church as our new home church :-)

Since moving here last month, I truly haven't felt very "at home." I have gone to the Chick-Fil-A and I have visited some churches but nowhere has given me THAT feeling yet. I even went to my new MOPS group and though I met two women that I believe will become good friends, it still didn't feel just right quite yet. I felt like such an outsider. I cried on the way home as I thought about my old MOPS group carrying on without me this Fall. I wished I was there.

I have faith that God hears even our unspoken prayers. He knew how I had felt in each new situation. He knew what my heart longed for...

This week He answered that unspoken (and rather even un-thought) prayer. I attended the Fall Kick-Off event with PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel). Since it was a Kick-Off event, I knew I wouldn't be the only new person there. After dropping D off in the nursery, I signed in and was greeted by a whole team of loving God-fearing women. They were so excited to have 47 new "sisters" in attendance this year. I loved that they immediately saw me as "family."

The moment I took my seat in the chapel sanctuary, I knew the feeling. I felt "at home." I sat amongst women off all ages, all shapes, and all colors. Each one was different and unique. Yet each one was a Military Wife (a Mil-spouse as my blogger friend calls it) and a christian. We sang songs of praise to the sound of a simple piano. Hearing all the female voices lifted in unison made me smile. Singing songs that are so familiar in my heart made me cry. I felt a bit foolish, but I knew that each of these women could relate to being new in town just looking for somewhere to belong. We heard the regional PWOC president deliver a wonderful message and then enjoyed a catered lunch (by CHICK-FIL-A no less!!) and some time of fellowship.

I believe I have found my place here in my new city. Its at PWOC every Thursday morning from 9:30-12:00. Thats where I will be...feeling at home. I'll be in worship, fellowship, bible study and prayer with these new sisters. Finally, Northern VA is beginning to feel "just right." At least I hope so :-)