31 January 2008

more grandpa & grandma g & some HOOAH news

We are having a good time with the 'greats' visiting. Here are a few shots from today...(Both boys were wearing more clothes earlier in the day)
Walker playing with Grandma G Walker trying to get a hold of Grandpa G's teeth!!!
Wilson and Grandpa G reading 'the word' (My First Message version)
After dinner snuggles and fun on the couch...just can't beat it!

some HOOAH news...

With an upcoming deployment, its important to look on the bright side, keep an eye out for blessings, stay positive, etc, etc. Today I had a meeting to see about extra childcare hours (at a free or reduced rate) so that I could work-out while Brad is gone. (We have a couple gyms here on post that are free, they just don't have childcare.) Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised to find out the following changes have been made for deployed family members and are effective on February 4.
  • 16 hours of free childcare, per child, per month (when he went to Afghanistan it was 5 hours)
  • 2 free team or individual sports per child ($30 value each)
  • 4 free instructional courses up to 8 weeks each ($35 value) (right now the only ones I know of are ballet...and the jury is still out on that)
  • reduced rate hourly care above the 16 hours per month
  • free registration (used to be $18 each annually)

Its good to know that the Army is working on the goal of taking care of their families. I am trying hard to do my part as well and am continually asking God to show me where He is working so I can join in. I am excited about the ministry opportunities ahead of me and as always appreciate ALL of the many, many prayers on our behalf!

grandpa & grandma g come to Lawton

Grandpa & Grandma G "snuck in" yesterday just after noon. They came in the back door and Muskoka held them at bay until I came in to let her know they were alright! (At least we know she'll be a good guard dog!) Wilson had been waiting for them since 7:45 am, so he was more than ready to see them. Walker took a few minutes to adjust and then he was busy passing out snuggles too!
Walker wearing Grandpa G's shoes
Brad greeting grandpa after work!


29 January 2008

bedtime

I love these pics of Daddy carrying his boys to bed...
As I said yesterday, our friend left for Iraq. Nicole was having a much harder time than she expected...this is his third trip. But this time is different because of Gavin. Nicole ended up leaving town last night instead of waiting until today, she didn't want to spend the night at her house. I know how she feels. I know that every hug she got yesterday felt empty and weak compared to the arms she would rather have hugging her. I know that sick feeling of walking into your bedroom and not wanting to be there...alone. I know how it feels to just cry when you look at your son. I know how time suddenly slows when just days ago it was flying by.
I don't think I knew what "gut-wrenching" meant until Brad enlisted. Sure, I cried when I moved to college, and when I moved even further to California, and even more when I went to Africa. But that was nothing compared to this. I know there are much worse scenarios in this world...believe me, I list them off in my head to remind me that this isn't so bad. But even so, I let myself express my emotions. I encouraged Nicole to do the same. I shared with her that the thing that carries me through is my faith. The hope that the same God that made the whole earth also knows each detail of my life. I am not sure how encouraging that was to her, but I pray that she will experience some peace. Quite honestly, I can't really comprehend walking this journey...I totally need God to carry me. Please remember Nicole in your prayers in the next few days...and if you think of it, other Army families as well. She's not the only one who's husband left yesterday.
Even though it's something that people signed up for, do not mistake it for something that is easy. Don't think that maybe these families love each other less because they 'can' be separated. Its hard, every time. You never know what you are capable of, until God walks you through it. I certainly never thought I could do this, and I know I am not doing it alone. I am thankful for His strength, in my weakness.
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful appointing me to His service. 1 Timothy 1:12
But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9

the last of the Grandpa Carl pics for a while...

the 'guys'...Sunday before we went to the airport the 'guys' (minus one)...Monday before we went to the airport
Wilson at the barbershop...
Walker playing in the sandbox
Wil and Grandpa

It was wonderful to have Dad here. I don't know if I've ever spent that much time with Dad as an adult. The boys enjoyed having him as well. So we have lots of good memories to treasure from the week! The good-bye was a little easier (for us) knowing that Grandma and Grandpa G are coming tomorrow!!!

21 January 2008

a couple random Kodak moments...

...before we take dad back to the airport AGAIN. I think he liked the extra day (his flight was cancelled yesterday because of weather in Dallas), but he's a little worried about getting another extra day today!
dad and Brad played dress-up when Brad brought his gear home from the field Friday
the top of Mt. Scott at the Wildlife Refuge...Wilson is still unsure about walking around up there Walker helping Daddy unpack (yeah, they bring their own) while wearing Curry's old BDU hat
Wil playing in the sand box(next to it, rather)
Here is a shot of "Gavin's mom and dad" better known as Aaron and Nicole - our neighbors. Keep them in your prayers, Aaron left this a.m. for Iraq. Nicole and Gavin are coming for dinner tonight and then headed to Texas for a few weeks to visit family.

I'll put some more pics up later today...if Dad leaves =)

just a note...

We are doing a study on finances in our Sunday School Class, and today during a video portion this passage of scripture was used. I really liked it and thought I'd share it with everyone.
- Brad


My son, if you have become surety for your neighbor, Have given a pledge for a stranger, If you have been snared with the words of your mouth, Have been caught with the words of your mouth, Do this then, my son, and deliver yourself; Since you have come into the hand of your neighbor, Go, humble yourself, and importune your neighbor. Give no sleep to your eyes, Nor slumber to your eyelids; Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hunter's hand And like a bird from the hand of the fowler.
- Proverbs 6:1-5 (NASB)

some of Dad's/Grandpa Carl's pics

I know some of these are similar to the other pics, but thought you'd like them anyway...


this one is taken by dad, I love this one!
I asked Wil if he thought we should start calling dad, "Grandfather Carl" instead of Grandpa Carl...he didn't like that idea one bit...
Hoping Brad gets out of the field early tomorrow...yes Rene, Dad will see Brad. There is no stipulation though...well except for changing the struts and brakes on Saturday...you got off easy with the cheesecake, huh? (Sandy, I am totally kidding about Dad changing the struts and brakes)

more museum...

one part of the museum was a replica of Main St in a turn of the century town...the US Marshal had a holding cell in the back room... Wilson made quick work of locking up his brother... ...and though you can't tell from the picture below, Walker didn't want to come out. I am thinking of building one of these in the garage...seems more effective than the naughty chair!
I just think they both look too stinkin adorable in this one...
Dad and Wilson are out for a walk right now. Its sunny and chilly, but not windy today. Walker is sleeping, he's worn out from playing at Bible study---without biting!! Woo-hoo!!! Let me just spend a minute telling you about how thankful I am that I found the bible study here on post. I have met some pretty phenomenal ladies and have been blessed greatly. I won't ramble on about them, but I'll just say this...today we sang, "He Knows My Name." It is a wonderful song anytime, but today I was filled with peace as I sang it with these Army wives. You could hear some sniffles around the room as some of us sang through tears; some with husbands that are deployed, some that will soon be deployed and yet we all have peace in knowing our Father.
I have a maker
He formed my heart
Before even time began
My life was in his hand
He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
And hears me when I call
What an amazing confidence that settles into your very soul...before even time began...He knew my husband would enlist in the Army during a time of war. He knew we would willingly sign up for long separations. And while it is a tough concept for me to understand at times...and harder still, I am sure for most of you... He will carry us through. He already knows the number of tears I will cry when Brad is gone. He already knows how often I will ask Him to hold me when I feel I am unable to make it. Thank God He knows my name!

two buckaroos...

Buffalo BillCowboy Wilson
Grandpa Carl cowboy-up'ing Walker
Two buckaroos...one who lost his boots
Wilson and Grandpa Carl by a statue of Ronald W. Reagan

what a fun day at the Cowboy Museum! Grandpa Carl really wanted to go there, so we drove up to the City today to check it out. It exceeded our expectations in every way. The boys were great too, we had lunch there then Walker took a nap so we could go through the art galleries without boring him to death. You might not guess it, but Grandpa Carl LOVES to look at artwork! Tonight before dinner dad asked Wil what his favorite part was, he said, "Ronald Wilson Reagan."

I've been tagged...

I think the last time I was tagged was like 4th grade, so why not??? Ok, I know the majority of you that read this are my family and/or newly blogging friends, but for the sake of Heidi, and a fun time I thought I would participate quickly tonight... So, this is what I have to do...
  1. Post the rules and link to the person that tagged me, which is Heidi from Soapaholics Anonymous. (Heidi and her husband, Tim, are old friends of Brad's from the Pilgrimage days and I now claim them as my friends as well).
  2. Share five random/weird things about myself.
  3. Share five places that I "want to see or want to see again."
  4. Tag five random people and link to them...and let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Five Random/Weird Things about me...

  1. When I wiggle my toes, the big ones crack/pop...while strangely calming to me, I have found this to irritate everyone else that I know. (except Walker who is slightly intrigued).
  2. I often yell at the TV when watching political news coverage...just this evening I yelled at Harry Reid...I mean seriously how hard would it be to come up with a solution rather than pouting and pointing fingers????
  3. I am not a good swimmer...might not be able to save my own life...especially in the ocean. I think drowning would be a terrible "way to go." Although recently a show about avalanches made me think being smothered by fast-moving snow might be worse...
  4. I love, love, LOVE cream-filled donuts, especially with chocolate icing.
  5. I can't come up with a fifth thing because I am so mainstream, run-of-the-mill, average Joe, etc, etc

Five places...I want to see or see again...

disclaimer...this is SUPER hard because I like everywhere that I've been...

  1. I would love to go anywhere in Africa with my husband. A portion of me is praying that Brad will fall for the 'dark continent' during his deployment and we will be stationed there one day... that is up to God (and I think these thoughts give Brad the heebie-jeebies).
  2. Colorado...Brad speaks very highly...as does the rest of the tribe
  3. Southern California...would love to experience it again with Brad and the boys
  4. The New England states...they seem interesting
  5. Flushing, I will always want to/hope to see Flushing again, as I imagine we will always have family there

Five tagged friends... except I am cheating and making it only 3 because as I said, my blog is mostly for family and new blogger friends...

  1. Julie...most likely to participate
  2. Rene...most likely to roll her eyes
  3. Joanne...check out her blog...she's a missionary from the Gambia, be careful you might fall for it too!

Grandpa Carl's arrival....

waiting at the airport (its only in the 20's here today YIKES!) by the way, Rene, that is the purse that I got from Aunt Pam... When I worked in CA we often had to pick one another up from the airport, so we started a joke of always making a sign with the person's name on it. I thought it would be fun for the boys to have signs for Grandpa today too...Wilson putting some last minute touches on his sign...
Dad and Wilson, yep, there's a tear in one of their eyes, can you figure out who??
Dad and Walker...Walker still adjusting to this idea...
When Dad walked over to baggage claim, Walker yelled to him so I told him to go get him. (Once Walker got behind all the passengers, he was a bit confused as to which one was Grandpa) That was Wilson's signal that he could go to... Dad may not get much time to himself this week!!! Its great to have him, especially while Brad is in the field...

a brief video of the boys greeting Grandpa, its not great, but you get the idea

video

Also, for the curious readers out there...Brad is in a building in the field, with heat. So not to worry, he isn't frozen! He said he won't be able to call much, but I have talked to him twice, so I am not complaining. He should be out sometime Friday am.

our boys are such blessings...

I know who doesn't feel that way about their kids, right? I was working on some stuff for the FRG (family readiness group) and Wilson walked into the office and says to me, "I can't get to sleep." I look at him and start to say... But he continues, "did you hear that sound?" I say, "No, what did it sound like?" He said (I'm doing my best phonetic spelling here) "krbunk" I said, "krbunk?" He said, "No, it didn't sound like that...it sounded like the letter x." Maybe hooked on phonics is taxing his little brain.

also, I am thinking about getting one of these t-shirts. I told Brad that I knew he wouldn't wear one, so maybe I could get two... what do you think? (I found the ad in a new magazine that I got...thank you Debbie!)

18 January 2008

new nicknames...

so the boys both earned new nicknames this week. Chatty VonChats-a-lot, and Chompy Chompchompermouth. Wilson turns out to be Mr. Chatty at church (I was in his class this week) and at school...he informed me in the car, "Mom, I was chatting with Justin during storytime." And Walker has emerged as the Bible study biter...AGAIN!

In other news, Hooked on Phonics was on clearance at WalMart so we picked it up. Wil and I started yesterday before naptime. He looked grumpy as he was crawling into bed, and I asked him what was wrong. "I thought I was going to read today!" he declared in a rather grumpy voice. Longing for instant gratification...

15 January 2008

POLL WINNER!!!

drumroll please....oops I have to tell my vote(s) before I give the totals!! I know this is going to sound weird coming from someone with a son named after Pres Reagan and a son named after Pres Bush, but, my picks are Hillary and Dennis K. They seem to connect with the baby. Ok...so that leaves a four-way tie...Dennis K, Hillary, Huck and Mitt. I guess for a tie-breaker we'll have to wait for SUPER DUPER Tuesday (can you believe serious journalists are actually using that term???) Thanks for voting!

In other news, Brad is home =) Here is a picture of Walker after an exhausting round with ravioli...not sure who won...With Brad gone (and not knowing when he'd be back), Wilson had an opportunity to try out the "Daddy Box." Its a place to keep things he wants to talk to Daddy about or mail to him (during the deployment). If you haven't noticed Wilson isn't always a conversationalist on the phone and this should help with talking points... He had fun decorating it and couldn't wait to show Daddy tonight.
another shot of Wally... watching patiently as Wilson decorated the box...
Walker is trying very hard to learn how to wink...it gives him a little headache I think =)
video

quick prayer request...

***THANK YOU*** Brad is home this evening (tuesday). =) The boys are in bed, Brad's in the shower and Muskoka is a happy pup. We appreciate your prayers...as always!


...and a praise too!

Last night around dinner time Brad called and said he didn't know when he would be home because some expensive equipment is missing...he said maybe as late as 8 or 9pm. My first thought was, "this is no surprise to God." Which is the praise because He is obviously working mightily in the way I think about my circumstances. So, the boys and I had a wonderful evening. Brad called again before bedtime and thought he would either have tomorrow off or be home around midnight...because if you work after midnight you get the next day off. I joked that he would be released at 11:59.

He's still not home.

He did bring the car home around 10 pm and got his meds. He said its pretty serious and the last time this happened the people were on lockdown for two weeks (he wasn't here then.) Granted the military is full of rumors and who knows how long this will last. I do know that Brad intended to video the bedtime stories for the boys this week...the camera is on the tripod facing the chair as I type! Its really our last "normal" week before the deployment. Next week Brad will be in the field mon-fri (so I imagine he wouldn't be on lockdown longer than Sun) then my Dad is coming Tues -Sat, then Brad's grandparents are coming; then my mom, Rene and Jack (!!) are coming...then starts block leave. And while block leave will be nice and relaxing and all of that, I was really planning on recording the normal parts of this week in my mind.

Anyway, all of this to say. Pray for both of our attitudes during this.... God is in control. He is not surprised. He knew all about this. Especially pray for Brad. I can only imagine what's happening behind the scenes there...

Oh, and if you haven't yet, don't forget to vote in my unscientific poll...remember the rules, you are voting based on the slideshow pictures =) It will brighten my day!!

14 January 2008

monday fun...SUPER unscientific poll

ok, for most of you "monday fun" is an oxymoron but nonetheless, lets give it a whirl.

In honor of the Michigan Primary tomorrow, I am conducting an extremely non-scientific poll. Brad and I both find ourselves a bit in the "undecided" category at this time...for different reasons I am sure... A couple in New Hampshire had their baby's photo taken with most of the major candidates. SOOO, if you had to vote based on this slideshow alone, who would you pick? I'll tell you my answer tomorrow, I would hate to sway my voters...

11 January 2008

congrats Chief Clements!

Wilson was really interested in the promotion ceremony we attended today... You can see Curry just over Wilson's shoulder. I was disappointed I didn't get better pictures, but Brad wasn't there, (he had to clean his weapon and didn't make it until after the ceremony) so I did the best I could...

Barbie and Curry's mom are "pinning" him (or something like that). Curry's mom and sister flew in yesterday (and are leaving tomorrow) so they could be here for his promotion**surprise even**. He was promoted to Cheif Warrant Officer 4. Which is a pretty big deal...they even get a reserved parking spot at the PX. WOW!

Their friendship has been a blessing to us in countless ways. Curry has been a resource for Brad in answering "higher-level" military questions. And Barbie has given me advice on being an army wife, a stay-at-home mom and a Godly woman. We are thrilled for Curry's promotion although it means they will be moving. Of course, we know they will bless those they meet at their new post...and besides we have a few more months left with them. (I'm going to have to go shopping at the PX with Barbie at least once...)
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bunk'd

Walker had to grab his blanket...

apparently, Muskoka spied something she needed to check out...

and finally, a fairly decent shot of the boys with their dog on their bunk beds. Yes, Walker climbs the ladder, Yes, he has made it to the top (more than once), Yes, he has fallen...the THUD...silence...crying/screaming kind. And Yes, even after that he has tried to climb again. But, for the most part, I think we have a handle on it now. Its nice because they finally have some floor space to play in their room. Wilson now refers to it as "The Play Bedroom". (He likes naming rooms, the storm shelter became "the reading room" when we put all the books in there. Next it became "his office" when we moved his desk in, so its only natural that the bedroom gets an updated name too).
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10 January 2008

if this doesn't brighten your day a little...

you might need to schedule an appointment with your doctor! video

Gavin and Alivia were over Tuesday afternoon/evening so the boys decided to dance. Alivia wasn't into it--even when I put the camera down and started dancing with them! Talk about a good work out! We had another dance party after Bible study today...just the boys and I. The best is when we get daddy dancing too...I'll have to keep the camera ready for that... Brad has a bit of a flu bug, so he'll probably be taking a few days off from the dancing...

We've had a busy week, I've had someone else's kid here three days out of four. Its nice being able to help out. If you've got a little extra stress in your day, find a kid and start dancing...wow. And if you don't have any little ones handy, just turn up the volume on this video and shake it with 'em. C'mon Dad, you know you want to... (and I am sure Wilson will make you when you get here, so start practicing your moves now =)

07 January 2008

good Monday morning, y'all...

We had a beautiful weekend here. Beautiful weather, laid-back schedule, fun with friends, what more can you ask for? Ok, Brad and Wilson are longing for the CA snowstorms, but I am filled to the brim with contentment thanks to the 80 degree weather yesterday! Here are a few snapshots from the park... Victory! He needed a little help getting to the top the first time, but spent the rest of the time repeating his conquest...
Awww...don't you just wanna kiss him?
Daddy helping Walker...who would really prefer no help at all...
And this little dreamy shot...well, this is how Walker has been waking up lately...naps, or all night, he has been clutching his little blanket. He goes to his door and knocks and there he stands with his blanket. I might be mistaken, but I think it was one we inherited from Uncle Colson which makes it that much more special. It was originally our favorite blanket because it is so soft, but now it has become Walker's as well. We are thinking we may have to buy a "back-up" (For those of you worriers out there, its really just a bedtime thing, it doesn't hang-out in his hands all day...)
God is good, all the time! Hope you have a good Monday!