25 July 2009

Surprise News!

I probably should have blogged about this a while ago, but I have been feeling, well, lazy, I guess you could say. And I seem to be pretty busy too.

Anyway, Mike and I are going to have another baby!! Yep, Sophie and VB baby #2 are going to be Irish twins (they'll be less than one year apart.)

For the most part I am pretty excited. It will be pretty weird having two little ones in backwards facing car seats at the same time . . . I'm still trying to figure out how that will work getting little ones into the car . . . it will work out okay though. I won't be able to drive my truck anymore :(.

It will be really cool that every year they will be the same age for about a month. I can imagine someone asking how old my children are and I say "oh, they're two" and then getting a strange look as that person tries to figure it out . . . and then I can say, Sophie is about to turn three or [Edward or Charlotte] just turned two. Good times (to borrow Nikki's phrase)! :D

So far this pregnancy is going a lot smoother than Sophie's. I've only had a few times of morning sickness, and only one whole day of morning sickness - that's a whole lot better than months and months of it!

I don't actually know how far along I am - I figure my due date is anywhere between February 22nd and March 8th. I go in for my first OB appointment on Aug 13th, and I'll find out then exactly how far along I am.

A lot of people have been asking how we got pregnant if we practice Natural Family Planning. Well, the bottom line is that we weren't practicing it after Sophie was born - at all. I did know when I was ovulating and I told Mike and, well, when asked later, he said "I didn't think you'd get pregnant." So now Mike knows that when I'm ovulating, there's a pretty darn good chance that I'll get pregnant. Sometimes I wonder about Mike . . . :)

I've been getting a lot of mixed reactions, which really doesn't surprise me. For the most part, close friends and family are pretty excited. Other people have been like "oh, you're pregnant, again? Didn't you just have a baby?" Yes, I just had a baby. I'm okay with having another baby so soon and I am not worried about it. I prayed and trusted the Lord to give us another baby when He saw fit, and He has decided that time is in late winter. The Lord knows what He is doing - He knows me and my body better than I do and He knows what the future holds - I have no idea what the future holds. I know there will be some pretty tough times, but I have the most Awesome and Powerful God to help me get through them - isn't that an awesome blessing?!?! Children are the most wonderful blessing a person can get in their life and I am being blessed with another baby! I am so excited! :)

It seems to me the more I go through life I see that Satan has really brainwashed our culture a whole lot. He has people seeing children as a curse and not a blessing and has made it possible for people to control/stop their fertility; it seems that even some who think that children are a blessing will stop at two or three - why? The Lord commands us to be fruitful and multiply - I think that is on two levels- physically and spiritually (making disciples). Why can't your children be your disciples too though? I hear Ruth talk about the way Carla and Pam raise their children and I really look up to them. Carla teaches the kids a new Scripture verse every week - how awesome is that! And what a wonderful way to grow up - knowing Your Savior intimately and seeing your mom model that! I really hope that I can do the same with Sophie and this 2nd baby, and any other children the Lord chooses to bless us with.

I have learned the hard way that if I insist on doing something in my timing, instead of the Lord's timing, then I miss out on an awful lot of blessings. If I trust in the Lord in everything though, and don't lean on what I know and what I have learned in this world, then He blesses me beyond imaging. (Prov 3:5-6, Jer 33:3) I want to lean more on the Lord - it's so hard to do, but I need Him in my life, in everything that I do, every day. Why in the world would I want to stop His blessings and say that I'm good with two kids or three or four because that's what fits into my version of a good life? Or I think that I can't handle any more? What if I just trust in the Lord in everything day in and day out and allow Him to bless me? What if the Lord wants to bless Mike and I with six or eight children? I say Awesome!

Speaking of not being able to handle anymore, that reminds me of when I was in labor with Sophie. I was dilated to about a 9 and my water had just been broken. The pain was so great, I screamed out that I couldn't handle it, to please give me some pain medicine. Of course, it was too late. So I continued to pray (I prayed during just about every single contraction), and got in the position to push and deliver Sophie. When Sophie was delivered, the feeling of relief of her coming out was so incredibly awesome - not like anything I have ever felt before. I had been exhausted, in pain, nauseous, wanting to eat and sleep and suddenly I was wide awake, feeling great, wanting to see my baby daughter who had entered the world. The reason for that change is a series of hormonal releases in the body that bring about the intense euphoria and the sudden alertness, despite the intense work of laboring and giving birth. Had I gone through with my decision when I thought I couldn't handle it, I would have missed out those feelings (because the pain medication would have numbed my body to the signals for their release) and I would have been drugged up the first time I held my daughter - I might have missed out or not remembered those incredible, magic moments of holding my daughter and gazing at her beautiful, tiny face for the first time. The Lord brought me through that situation - He knew better and had a better plan for me. And the reward for trusting in Him to give me strength was so awesome! It brings tears of joy to my eyes even now thinking back on those moments. What I am trying to say is that we can be brought to the brink of that breaking point where we think we can't handle something, and then if we pray and cry out to the Lord, He gently brings us back from there and helps us get through the situation. So having a lot of children may be hard, and I may be brought to that breaking point, but I know that I will always have the Lord Jesus Christ with me, no matter what.

"If you remain in Me, and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given to you." John 15:7

22 July 2009

"Could you Survive with No Money?"

Wow is all I have to say. I do admire him for living like I wish that I could.

From: http://men.style.com/details/features/landing?id=content_9817&mbid=yhp&npu=1

In Utah, a modern-day caveman has lived for the better part of a decade on zero dollars a day. People used to think he was crazy
By Christopher Ketcham; Photograph by Mark Heithoff

DANIEL SUELO LIVES IN A CAVE. UNLIKE THE average American—wallowing in credit-card debt, clinging to a mortgage, terrified of the next downsizing at the office—he isn't worried about the economic crisis. That's because he figured out that the best way to stay solvent is to never be solvent in the first place. Nine years ago, in the autumn of 2000, Suelo decided to stop using money. He just quit it, like a bad drug habit. His dwelling, hidden high in a canyon lined with waterfalls, is an hour by foot from the desert town of Moab, Utah, where people who know him are of two minds: He's either a latter-day prophet or an irredeemable hobo. Suelo's blog, which he maintains free at the Moab Public Library, suggests that he's both. "When I lived with money, I was always lacking," he writes. "Money represents lack. Money represents things in the past (debt) and things in the future (credit), but money never represents what is present." On a warm day in early spring, I clamber along a set of red-rock cliffs to the mouth of his cave, where I find a note signed with a smiley face: CHRIS, FEEL FREE TO USE ANYTHING, EAT ANYTHING (NOTHING HERE IS MINE). From the outside, the place looks like a hollowed teardrop, about the size of an Amtrak bathroom, with enough space for a few pots that hang from the ceiling, a stove under a stone eave, big buckets full of beans and rice, a bed of blankets in the dirt, and not much else. Suelo's been here for three years, and it smells like it.
Night falls, the stars wink, and after an hour, Suelo tramps up the cliff, mimicking a raven's call—his salutation—a guttural, high-pitched caw. He's lanky and tan; yesterday he rebuilt the entrance to his cave, hauling huge rocks to make a staircase. His hands are black with dirt, and his hair, which is going gray, looks like a bird's nest, full of dust and twigs from scrambling in the underbrush on the canyon floor. Grinning, he presents the booty from one of his weekly rituals, scavenging on the streets of Moab: a wool hat and gloves, a winter jacket, and a white nylon belt, still wrapped in plastic, along with Carhartt pants and sandals, which he's wearing. He's also scrounged cans of tuna and turkey Spam and a honeycomb candle. All in all, a nice haul from the waste product of America. "You made it," he says. I hand him a bag of apples and a block of cheese I bought at the supermarket, but the gift suddenly seems meager. Suelo lights the candle and stokes a fire in the stove, which is an old blackened tin, the kind that Christmas cookies might come in. It's hooked to a chain of soup cans segmented like a caterpillar and fitted to a hole in the rock. Soon smoke billows into the night and the cave is warm. I think of how John the Baptist survived on honey and locusts in the desert. Suelo, who keeps a copy of the Bible for bedtime reading, is satisfied with a few grasshoppers fried in his skillet. HE WASN'T ALWAYS THIS WAY. SUELO graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in anthropology, he thought about becoming a doctor, he held jobs, he had cash and a bank account. In 1987, after several years as an assistant lab technician in Colorado hospitals, he joined the Peace Corps and was posted to an Ecuadoran village high in the Andes. He was charged with monitoring the health of tribespeople in the area, teaching first aid and nutrition, and handing out medicine where needed; his proudest achievement was delivering three babies. The tribe had been getting richer for a decade, and during the two years he was there he watched as the villagers began to adopt the economics of modernity. They sold the food from their fields—quinoa, potatoes, corn, lentils—for cash, which they used to purchase things they didn't need, as Suelo describes it. They bought soda and white flour and refined sugar and noodles and big bags of MSG to flavor the starchy meals. They bought TVs. The more they spent, says Suelo, the more their health declined. He could measure the deterioration on his charts. "It looked," he says, "like money was impoverishing them."The experience was transformative, but Suelo needed another decade to fashion his response. He moved to Moab and worked at a women's shelter for five years. He wanted to help people, but getting paid for it seemed dishonest—how real was help that demanded recompense? The answer lay, in part, in the Christianity of his childhood. In Suelo's nascent philosophy, following Jesus meant adopting the hard life prescribed in the Sermon on the Mount. "Giving up possessions, living beyond credit and debt," Suelo explains on his blog, "freely giving and freely taking, forgiving all debts, owing nobody a thing, living and walking without guilt . . . grudge [or] judgment." If grace was the goal, Suelo told himself, then it had to be grace in the classical sense, from the Latin gratia, meaning favor—and also, free. By 1999, he was living in a Buddhist monastery in Thailand—he had saved just enough money for the flight. From there, he made his way to India, where he found himself in good company among the sadhus, the revered ascetics who go penniless for their gods. Numbering as many as 5 million, the sadhus can be found wandering roads and forests across the subcontinent, seeking enlightenment in self-abnegation. "I wanted to be a sadhu," Suelo says. "But what good would it do for me to be a sadhu in India? A true test of faith would be to return to one of the most materialistic, money-worshipping nations on earth and be a sadhu there. To be a vagabond in America, a bum, and make an art of it—the idea enchanted me."THERE ISN'T ENOUGH SPACE IN SUELO'S cave for two, so I sleep in the open, at the edge of a hundred-foot cliff. No worries about animals, he says. Though mountain lions drink from the stream, and bobcats hunt rabbits under the cottonwoods, the worst he's experienced was a skunk that sprayed him in the face. Mice scurry over his body in the cave, and kissing bugs sometimes suck the blood from under his fingernails while he sleeps. He shrugs off these indignities. "After all, it's their cave too," he says. I hunker down near a nest of scorpions, which crawl up the canyon walls, ignoring me.
The morning ritual is simple and slow: a cup of sharp tea brewed from the needles of piñon and juniper trees, a swim in the cold emerald water where the creek pools in the red rock. Then, two naked cavemen lounging under the Utah sun. Around noon, we forage along the banks and under the cliffs, looking for the stuff of a stir-fry dinner. We find mustard plants among the rocks, the raw leaves as satisfying as cauliflower, and down in the cool of the creek—where Suelo gets his water and takes his baths (no soap for him) —we cull watercress in heads as big as supermarket lettuce, and on the bank we spot a lode of wild onions, with bulbs that pop clean from the soil. In leaner times, Suelo's gatherings include ants, grubs, termites, lizards, and roadkill. He recently found a deer, freshly run over, and carved it up and boiled it. "The best venison of my life," he says. I tell him that living without money seems difficult. What about starvation? He's never gone without a meal (friends in Moab sometimes feed him). What about getting deadly ill? It happened once, after eating a cactus he misidentified—he vomited, fell into a delirium, thought he was dying, even wrote a note for those who would find his corpse. But he got better. That it's hard is exactly the point, he says. "Hardship is a good thing. We need the challenge. Our bodies need it. Our immune systems need it. My hardships are simple, right at hand—they're manageable." When I tell him about my rent back in New York—$2,400 a month—he shakes his head. What's left unsaid is that I'm here writing about him to make money, for a magazine that depends for its survival on the advertising revenue of conspicuous consumption. As he prepares a cooking fire, Suelo tells me that years ago he had a neighbor in the canyon, an alcoholic who lived in a cave bigger than his. The old man would pan for gold in the stream and net enough cash each month to buy the beer that kept him drunk. Suelo considers the riches of our own forage. "What if we saw gold for what it is?" he says meditatively. "Gold is pretty but virtually useless. Somebody decided it has worth, and everybody accepted this decision. The natives in the Americas thought Europeans were insane because of their lust for such a useless yellow substance."He sautés the watercress, mustard leaves, and wild onions, mixing in fresh almonds he picked from a friend's orchard and ghee made from Dumpster-dived butter, and we eat out of his soot-caked pans. From the perch on the cliff, the life of the sadhu seems reasonable. But I don't want to live in a cave. I like indoor plumbing (Suelo squats). I like electricity. Still, there's an obvious beauty in the simplicity of subsistence. It's an un-American notion these days. We don't revere our ascetics, and we dismiss the idea that money could be some kind of consensual delusion. For most of us, it's as real as the next house payment. Suelo doesn't take public assistance or use food stamps, but he does survive in part on our reality, the discarded surfeit of the money system that he denounces—a system, as it happens, that recently looked like it was headed for the cliff. Suelo is 48, and he doesn't exactly have a 401(k). "I'll do what creatures have been doing for millions of years for retirement," he says. "Why is it sad that I die in the canyon and not in the geriatric ward well-insured? I have great faith in the power of natural selection. And one day, I will be selected out." Until then, think of him like the raven, cleaning up the carcasses the rest of us leave behind.

12 July 2009

I won! I won!

I won! I won! I'm so excited! I won Swan Lake, and it's on DVD too! I've already paid for it and I can't wait until it comes in the mail! Yay!!!! I won! I won!

(This is why Ebay can be addicting for me - I'm competitive.) :)

Tick Tock Tick Tock

So right now I am waiting for an ebay item bidding to end. I have 11 minutes 11 seconds left. Right now I'm in the lead, okay, I'm the first and only bidder. It's for Swan Lake, a 70's anime movie that I loved as a child. I bought one on Ebay a few years ago, but it only played once. :( I really hope that I win. I'm so excited that I found one. And there was only ONE for bid.

We'll see what happens . . . Wish me luck!

10 July 2009

Pics of me and Sophie for Mom

This first photo was taken when we went out to eat with the Bible Study on April 25th. This was well before Sophie was sleeping through the night.

My Mom wanted some photos of me with Sophie, so here you go Mom. :) I love you!

This is at Sarah's house at the going away cookout - this was "the exhausted weekend" when Mike was TDY in May. (9May09). Sophie is in the sling.

This was rocking Sophie to sleep last night (9July2009)

Giving Sophie a bottle 18Jun2009.

Sophie pics from this week

Sophie today playing and talking on her play mat.

Rocking Sophie to sleep last night. She sleeps with her hands up by her face like this - it's so adorable!

Sophie finally pulled her toy elephant! (It plays a song when you pull the red ring.)

Sophie napping in the glider. She has gotten into the habit of holding onto a blanket or burp cloth when she naps - I love it! She's so adorable!

The 100+ degree heat has really been getting to Mike and draining him, so he's been taking a lot of naps. Sophie likes to nap with her Daddy on the couch. :) So safe and secure in Daddy's strong arms.

First time in the highchair

Sophie's first time in the highchair. It looks like it has swallowed her - she's so tiny. I'm not really sure what she thought about - she has a pretty funny expression on her face. :)

4th of July

So the plans for the 4th of July were to go to Dave Grandstaff's parent's house for delicious food and fireworks like we did last year.

However, the weather had other plans . . . it was only partly cloudy in Midwest City when we left for Tuttle, however on the way . . .

. . . we noticed some very dark clouds on the horizon to the west. This was the most dramatic shot of the clouds I had of the several that I took from the car while driving there. As we pulled onto their property (in the country, obviously), it started raining and there were numerous lightning strikes to the southwest.

The rain only got heavier and heavier, so we hung out on the porch, all clustered together trying to stay dry. Sophie didn't mind the storm one bit, not even when the thunder was right overhead and quite loud. (That's my girl!) Here is Brook holding Sophie. I wish I had gotten pics of Beth and Tom as well.

Tom was going to do his Elvis show like he did last year, but the rain only got heavier. Everyone was checking the weather on their mobile devices, via the internet through their phones, and they all had different reports. I found it a bit humorous and pretty neat at the same time.

In the meantime I was on the phone with Abby and Michelle, who were planning on joining us as well. Abby and Asher had driven up from Texas just for this. Because of the storms, which was apparently a long squall line spreading to the Texas panhandle, they decided not to come out. Since Abby and Asher were up visiting from Texas, and the rain wasn't likely to let up anytime soon, we decided to leave and go over to Joe and Michelle's and hang out with everyone there.

As you can see from this photo, we had quite a bit of rain in the hour that we were there - Mike and I both got completely soaked getting Sophie back into the car (she, however, stayed quite dry and happy). Walking Sophie back with the stroller through ankle deep at times water was interesting, I'm just glad the stroller didn't get stuck in the mud. It really was a beautiful storm to watch . . .

So we arrived at Joe and Michelle's where Michelle had layed out dry clothes for us, which inadvertantly matched! I really wish I had gotten a picture of that! We both had on kakhi cargo shorts and black shirts!

Michelle offered to feed Sophie, who is wearing actual shoes for the first time. Behind her is Caylee and Justin, James' friend from Vance AFB.

Joe and James were hanging out in the backroom playing on the keyboard. I was just going around taking random pictures of everyone (which is why I'm not in any of them). :) It is normally still light outside at this time of night, so as you can see from the glass window behind James, it was quite a dark storm outside.

Asher was busy checking out stuff on Joe's computer, while Caylee looks on.

Josh is getting so big and handsome. He's just over 19 months old in this picture, and had naughtily been getting into the dog's water dish when Michelle wasn't looking . . .

Abby and Sophie posing for a picture. Abby couldn't wait to hold Sophie - it was so wonderful to see my best friend holding my daughter. :)

Abby's hair is frizzled because she and Sarah had gone out to get pizzas for everyone and gotten soaked in the process. The heavy rain didn't let up the whole night.

Sarah and James in the kitchen - such a cute couple! :) And they look so happy!

Bethany apparently just loves Sophie. We're planning on going down to TX to see Abby and Asher tomorrow and Bethany has been asking if we're bringing Sophie with us all week. Bethany will be three in the fall (I remember when she was six months old!)

It's pizza time! Mike and Michelle sat with the girls and Josh at the table. (That's Macy in red - I can't believe how tall she's gotten!)

After dinner we all played CatchPhrase. I love that game! This picture was taken during a break in the game. James on left, Luke (Jason's brother visiting from SC) center and Marilyn who is five-six months pregnant with baby Sammy (due in October).

Michelle and Mike didn't participate in the game. Michelle volunteered to watch Sophie for me (she's got baby fever) and Mike doesn't like to play games, especially fast-paced competitive ones. It was still really fun though.
All in all, it was a really great 4th! I didn't see any fireworks, but that's okay. (I'm not that big into fireworks). I wish I had gotten more pictures, that's for sure! Next year . . .

Marilyn and Tegan's Creation

So I had this idea last week to make one of those boards that you can put pictures in from scratch. I had wanted to buy some more from WalMart after getting the idea of putting up pics of friends/family from my friend Karol. But I thought that might be expensive, so I thought about getting some fabric to cover my corkboard (the one I've had since I was a little girl).

Marilyn and I went to Hankcock Fabrics (when we were getting fabric for a wrap) and I picked out this fabric and some ribbon and buttons.

Marilyn put it all together and this is what was created! I think it was pretty easy - although I have to be honest, Marilyn did all of the work. She made it look easy anyway! :)

So now it is hanging up on the wall above one side of the desk and I've got pics up on it. I'd like to do one for Sophie's room as well.

Comments? Questions?

Bearing fruit

My tomato plant in a pot has produced fruit!! I hope it will continue to produce throughout the summer. Anyone have any tips on how to get it to do that?

08 July 2009

In other news

In other news, the weather has cooled down quite a bit. I think the high today was only 95, which is a lot better than 103 or 101 like we've had in recent weeks!

Sophie is doing really well and growing growing growing (like she should be)! We went to the doctor today and she weights 10 # 1 oz. Yay for Sophie! She's also starting to outgrow her 0-3 months onsies long ways. She could definitely fit into them around the middle, but she's getting so long that they get tight when they snap at the bottom. She probably can only wear most of them maybe one more time. I know the one she wore to bed last night will probably be her last time wearing that one. She is also currently in the 0-5th percentile (less than 5th percentile) for weight. She hasn't been measured for height in a while, but last time she was in the 25th percentime for height (she takes after Mike that way). I get a lot of comments that she looks like a little doll. (She is really beautiful, if I do say so myself!)

She is very playful and talks quite a bit. She loves to talk to the characters in books when I read to her. I sit her in my lap and hold the book in front of her so she can see them, and she just coos and coos and talks while I read, especially if the faces are really big. It's so adorable!

She sucks on her fingers a lot more and sometimes she tries to talk with her fingers in her mouth! She holds her head up pretty well. We sit with her on our laps a lot and she can sit like that without her head having to be supported for quite a while. She can't sit on her own yet, but she sure tries to sit up so hard. I put her on the boppy pillow a lot so she can start to sit with assistance.

When Mike and I go out to eat at restaurants, we don't leave her in the carrier. We hold her on our laps at the table the whole time. That way she can see what we're doing and be apart of the whole experience. I like to think that she also learns appropriate table manners and how to conversate by observing what we do. I know it will be months before she can conversate, but I like to think that she'll learn in the meantime. We pass her back and forth over the table throughout the meal so we can both have time with her. I really love that we do that. I want all of our children to be apart of everything that we do - at least as much as possible. I realize that some things they won't be mature enough to take part in, but I like to try. :) We also have her sit on our lap during church (if she's not asleep) so she can learn to be apart of church to. She's really good so far about being quite during the sermon, although sometimes she talks during the singing, which is so cute - it's like she's trying to join in. I'll let you know how all of this turns out. :)

I went to Michael's, a fabric store here in Midwest City, yesterday to get some material to make a wrap, and I finally picked out a pattern that I liked. Marilyn went with me and had to show me the difference between cotton twill and regular cotton, (thank you Marilyn) and then we went through all the fabric isles together. I also picked out some material to make a board to put pictures up on of family and friends (like Christmas cards, etc). When we got to Marilyn's later, while Marilyn was working on the picture board, I got so excited about the wrap, that even though the material wasn't cut in half yet (to make it 24-30 inches wide instead of 48), I wrapped it around myself and discovered that I didn't get enough! I was so disappointed. I had gone to a baby wrapping class a few weeks ago and the teacher had a 5-yard long wrap, which just swallowed me up, so I only got 4 yards of material - and it wasn't long enough! By about 2 feet! So I spent all that money and I can't make a wrap with it. And it was so pretty too. I think I might just buy a wrap online because I think in the long run that will just be less expensive.

I really can't wait to get a wrap so I can wear Sophie again. The sling I have now is too hot for the summer (it's all black) and I don't want to get another store-bought one. A wrap is so much better. You can actually wear your baby until they are about 3 years old or 45 pounds, whichever comes first. Sophie loves to be worn and it's easier to do housework and when I go out, it's a lot easier than carrying her around in the carrier (and she likes it a lot better!). With the sling, I would just slip her inside in the truck and off I would go. And you also can wear more than one baby at a time (older in the back, younger in the front), so when we have our next child, if he/she and Sophie are really clsoe together, I can just wear both of them at the same time. You can also wear a child in a wrap in so many different ways (i.e. front, back, hip, etc). If you want to learn more, go to www.wearyourbaby.com.

Mike started his first class at Strayer University this week. He's taking Introduction to Business - an online class that goes until October. They must be on quarters schedule instead of the standard sixteen week spring/fall schedule. He said that so far it's a lot easier than he expected (yay!)

Mike startes ALS (Airman Leadership School) here next week. He doesn't seem nervous about, but I am nervous for him.

We had a good 4th of July, but I'll post about that in a separate blog because I have pictures. I'll also post pictures of Sophie in a separate blog.

I really love being a stay at home Mom. I don't think I have ever done something that is so fulfilling! :D I am so grateful to Mike that he allows me to be a stay at home Mom. (I'm a Mom! I love it!)

Linette passed her RN boards! Go Linette!! Yay for Linette! She's officially an RN now. I'm so happy for her! Christine will find out later this week if she passed her boards or not. Linette took her boards earlier than Christine did.

Nikki and I have been hanging out on Wednesday afternoons and I'm really having such a great time hanging out with her. Most Wednesdays we do a Bible study together on being a better help-meet, and some days, like today, we just visit and fellowship. She has two boys, 21 months and 8 months. They are interested in Sophie, but she's not quite old enough to play with them yet.

Please keep Marilyn's friend Crystal in SC in your prayers. She was in a car-accident and lost both of her children. She's in critical condition with a broken back plus other injuries.

I think that's it for right now. Until later . . .

Saved by the Belle

The Michelle-Belle that is. I was in a bit of quandry about my fall classes, so I called Michelle for advice. I was enrolled in Social Automaticity (Psy), Evidence-based Psycho Therapy (Psy), Childhood Development (Child/Fam Development) and History of Rhetoric Since 1700 (Eng). The first two are intersession classes and so will be over in less than two weeks total before school officially starts. Childhood Development is a 2000 level class that I didn't need and was taking for interest. The Rhetoric class is a 4000 level 8 week class, which means I would have three big research papers in eight weeks as well as two journals per week plus reading. That equals stress! SO, I enrolled in Technical writing, a 4000 level 16-week online class, so I could "hold my spot" so to speak. In order to graduate in the spring, I need to take only 3000 or 4000 level classes from now on. My quandry was: do I stay in the really intense, however extremely interesting-sounding class or take the not so intense probably easier and not as interesting sounding class? Mike didn't have any suggestions. So I called Michelle. She suggested I drop the Child Development class since it was extra and I didn't need it and just read books on child development (which I already do). And actually, I have taken at least two other classes where child development was a major topic, so I guess I really don't need it from that perspective either (espeically since I kept the text books and notes). She also suggested I take the low road so as not to stress myself out. That way I could spend more time with Sophie. So I dropped those two and am staying in Technical Writing. It sounds kind of interesting. I guess we'll see. :) Thank you Michelle! :D

01 July 2009

Military Dads Article

Too true and I knew all this when I married Mike. (I love the fact she met her future husband before her dad and her future husband met her dad before she did. It's like a storybook romance.)
Father's Day the Navy Way
Sarah Smiley June 22, 2009


I was born soon after my dad left for his first six-month deployment onboard USS Franklin D. Roosevelt. Mom was alone in the delivery room, which wasn't unusual in the 1970s. Dad received word of my arrival through a Red Cross telegram while he was in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and relatively speaking, that wasn't normal for new dads, even in 1976. It would be seven months before I met Dad.
Twenty-two years later, when I was about to leave home, Dad's LES (Leave and Earnings Statement; the military's equivalent of a pay stub) reported that he accumulated 11 years of sea duty. He had literally been gone half my life. That's a lot of missed piano recitals and first days of school. Because of this, when I was little, I said I would not marry someone in the military. (Enter Fate and his good friend Irony.)
During that first deployment, there was another new family in the squadron. They had a 1-year-old son named Dustin. Dustin and his mom, Robin, flew overseas to meet the ship when it pulled into port in Europe. That's where they met my dad.
"When you get back to the States, you should look up my daughter who was just born," Dad told Robin and Dustin.
A few months later, Robin attended a belated baby shower held for my mom. Meaning, my future husband met my dad before I did, and I met my future husband before I met my dad.
Dustin and I were married in 1999, despite the fact that he had just graduated from the Naval Academy and was headed down to Pensacola, Fla., for flight school and a career in the military. I overlooked those small details. And in 2000, our first son, Ford, was born in the middle of Dustin's new squadron's "work ups."
See, when a military person says they'll deploy on a ship for "six months," what they mean is, "I will deploy on a ship for six months, but first I will spend a year doing training exercises that will have me out on the ship for two weeks, home for one, back out again for a month, home for three days." By the time Dustin left for the actual deployment, when our new baby was six-months old, he already missed most of Ford's short life. In fact, by the time Ford celebrated his second birthday, I would guess that Dustin had only been home for maybe six months total (and not consecutively).
In the middle of the chaos (did I mention that we moved across country, too?), why not have a second child, right? Owen was born, and six weeks later, Dustin left for another deployment.
I'm preaching to the choir with military families. This is all standard stuff. Indeed, many families have had it much worse. But I think it's important for other people not familiar with the military lifestyle to see just how much these families sacrifice, and how most of it can not be measured in dollars. When we look at family scrapbooks, Dustin is absent from a good portion of the pictures. If Ford wants to know what he was like as a baby, his dad can't always answer.
And yet, I think it was easier for my dad's generation to miss these things because society as a whole did not expect as much from fathers then. Even dads who weren't on deployment didn't always make it to every recital. However, in today's world, fathers are expected to be just as involved as mothers, which makes leaving on a ship for six months more difficult, if only because of all the unknowing but well-meaning relatives and friends who will say, "How can you leave and miss your child's birth?" and "Can't the military send you back in time for your daughter's first birthday party?"
At a spouse group meeting when Ford was almost 1 year old and the ship was supposed to return any day, Ford unexpectedly stood and took his first steps. Twenty military wives stuck out their foot to trip him. "No, wait for your dad," they yelled. Ford got up again and walked across the room. (Kids, of course, grow up whether Dad is there or not.)
Funny, my dad missed my birth in 1976, but it was considered "all part of the job." My husband now has the same job, but it seemed unthinkable for him to even miss Ford's first steps.
But, a dad is more than a collection of shared recitals and first words. And this Father's Day, when Dustin and my dad are both home, all the moments they've missed don't seem to matter. That was true then, and it's true now. Once a dad is present, it doesn't really matter how long he was gone.