Monday, June 13, 2011

My Junebugs!

We've got Princesses with a little bit of 'kick-butt'...

And ballerinas with a whole lot of style. (Thanks Judy for Sophia's ballerina costume!)

We had a snuffly babe cutting teeth...

And a little love checking out something new...

We've had fun with our camera's self-timer!

And a little love catching a ray of light!

We've had lots of sisterly cuddles...

And a mini-photo shoot while mama was doing the dishes...

And check out what the littlest love tried...

Mhmm..that's a red pepper!

June's lookin' pretty good so far!


Friday, June 10, 2011

Houston...We've got a screamer!

We are happy girls here...yes we are. We do a lot of laughing, we keep each other smiling and we have a lot of fun. But there are times when we all need a good ol' scream and let me tell you...Alessandra's got a lot to get out. I've been doing some reading and researching, sort of brushing up on what babycenter believes it's like to be 7 months and then throw in a little comparison with what I remember of Sophia being this age (does every one's memory decline with each subsequent child or is it just mine, hence the need for the brushing up?),  I've knocked the screaming up to a couple of things. Alessandra is a little more sensitive than Sophia ever was to me putting her down when we're in the house..and so they call it; Separation anxiety. Whatever it little girl is smart. She knows what she wants and knows just what she has to do to get it. At times she is a  wonderful actress. Babies are smart like that. Man oh man, she'll scream bloody murder until this emotional mama scoops her up and she's instantly back to her happy go-lucky SMILEY self. Lately, I haven't been falling for it and nap time has become a battle of wills and by golly, I am stubborn when I put my mind to something. We've made huge, huge progress on the nap front but after a few minutes in a 'seat' of sorts be it her swing or her bumbo or her little recliner I call it...the little love is itching to be held which as you can imagine makes for a LOT of dirty dishes and around half of a clean house. *Sigh* And then we've got the whole 'teeth coming in process' which goes through my mind about as often as I think that she's got a future in Hollywood. Oh the poor little thing gums on just about everything in sight and drools like a champ leaving me constantly prying open her mouth to check for any little white buds. Combine all these with a completely unannounced summer cold and you've got a little love who's getting extra snuggles and a mama who's half losing her mind (in a good way, I promise! ;-P. In all seriousness, I've been thinking a lot about what it means to 'live in the moment' despite what the moment is like and I came across this quote....

Having spent the better part of my life trying either to relive the past or experience the future before it arrives, I have come to believe that in between these two extremes is peace. ~Author Unknown

My experienced mama's tell me that all this is just a phase and having gone through challenges with Sophia around this age, I agree. But when one says 'it's just a phase' one usually implies a bit of a struggle or an impatience for a different stage. I do struggle at times. I struggle with going at this alone, with never seeming to have enough time in the day to get everything done, with my own feelings of loneliness that are never really confronted and I struggle with not being able to measure up to the Mom AND Dad that I have to be while Chris is away. But of my struggles, the one I'm thinking and working on the most these days is my struggle with the very impatience I mentioned struggle with not stopping to enjoy this phase, just as it is. My little girl wants me. She wants me to hold her, and cuddle her and love on her. She sometimes wants me to rock her to sleep and other times like tonight, she soothes herself cooing herself to sleep as I listen outside her door. I make her feel safe and loved and you know...that's not so bad at all. The vacuuming can wait and the dishes will eventually get done. I've got a little babe to show that I'm here and if I have to go, I will not go far. The girls are growing. They are growing so much that I oftentimes think...where does the time go? I'm so busy waiting for Chris to come home and where yes, I will forever look forward to that glorious day...I'm here right now with two beautiful girls, able to stay at home and be that consistency they need while Chris is far away. I've got to live in the present and find the peace amidst the sometimes strenuous routine. As this deployment moves into it's final months, I'm feeling stretched thin and utterly exhausted but ready to do some more growing...the type of growing that you can only do when you've got no energy left to do it. I will work my tail off until the very end, I can promise you that.

I find it interesting how life ebbs and flows. Where these past few weeks have been more time-consuming with Alessandra, Sophia has grown and been an amazing relief in all the madness. She sure does love her little sister but more than that I'm happy to see her realizing that life isn't all about Sophia as life sometimes is to three year olds. She's recognizing the needs of others and trying to find ways to help. It's wonderful to see and warms this tired mama's heart.

I don't meant to complain and I definitely don't want to sound like I'm whining. I more than anything like to write to find clarity.  Writing helps me look at things from all perspectives and my mind feels at ease when I can make sense of my thoughts by putting them down on 'paper'. So much of my life as a Military Wife is marked by deployments; in other words, marked by waiting but I don't want to look back and find myself just waiting...just going through the motions until this deployment's over or that deployment's over. I'm going to look back one day and wish these days with my girls didn't go by so fast. Much like the Trace Adkins song 'You're Gunna Miss This'...I am...I really am. I'll miss all this when our girls are grown, teething and screaming and all. So here's to living in the here and now and enjoying every minute of the chaos.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

It's JUNE!!!! And true to form, I feel motivated and ready to dump May without thinking twice! And the girls and I tried something new this morning....'re seeing things correctly. My theory is Sophia's just making sure it's a-okay for her baby sis. 'One bite for bite for you.' And so it continued until Alessandra was covered in sweet potatoes and our little Belle over here had topped off the jar. Sweet you say? My OCD aside...yes, it was incredibly sweet as is everything when the two girls get together. Right now we live in a world full of sisterly love and I'm enjoying it while I know that I can.

See ya lata May!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

~Memorial Day Weekend 2011~

Check out what the littlest love got into!?!? We found Sophia's old walker and dusted it off for the little monkey! Hardwood floors make for a lot of fun with big sister and maybe a couple minutes of peace for Mama?

Happy Memorial Day weekend! This weekend is bittersweet for me. On a year Chris is home we'd probably be going to the pool, maybe barbecuing with some friends and in the back of our minds remembering how lucky we are to not be one of the one's sacrificing this year, always paying tribute to those that are overseas. Chris has been gone Memorial Day weekend for three out of the past four years. Does it compare equally with missing Thanksgiving's and Christmas's? No. Does it make my stomach flop like when I think about how many of Sophia's birthday's he's missed in the past four years? No. But I vividly remember this weekend every deployment.

Weekend 1...Who doesn't love a good Memorial Day sale right? You know I do! My first Memorial Day weekend alone, I decided to take a then four month old Sophia shopping. Bad idea. It seemed that every single person in Southern California had the same idea and I was swimming in a sea of FAMILIES whose Dad's were THERE and VERY present and I felt myself sinking thinking, why am I doing this to myself. Cut to this new mama CRYING and missing Chris more than ever. Weekend 2...I remember thinking...'No, this year I am NOT going to shop. I'm going to stay at home with Sophia all weekend and ride out the 'lonely' storm at home. Little did I know that every commercial on the TV, every song on the radio and then every single thought in my mind was related to Chris being gone and I remember feeling so, so lonely...again.

But with deployments comes knowledge and with knowledge comes power.

Then there's this Memorial Day weekend...this Memorial Day weekend, I did a pre-lonely weekend vent to my friend Tracy, a seasoned Marine Wife who gives the very best advice and knows exactly how to make me laugh (hence the whole knowledge is power thing for there is nothing more powerful than a fellow Marine Wife) ...and we made plans and I vowed to stay busy. And then today, while running errands I noticed that the local country station here was doing a tribute to service members and their families with little tidbits from military family members along with some really amazing patriotic songs. You know me, a sucker for anything military related but one Marine Wife's commentary hit close to home. She said that while her Marine is overseas, she is not looking for any one's pity or for anyone to feel sorry for all that she goes through while he is gone. For she is doing exactly what she wants to be doing...standing proudly beside her Marine supporting him when he needs her to would not have it any other way.

I think that if you ask most Military wives they'd tell you the same thing. I know I would. It was a little 'moment' for me.  A moment where I realized how much I had grown since that very first deployment. I don't write about my life as a Marine wife for pity. I don't vent because I want someone to feel sorry for me. I am so proud to be his Marine wife but I am passionate and emotional and on weekends like this, where I see so much gratitude for those in the Military...well, it tugs at my heartstrings and makes me want to hug Chris even more, to thank my very own Marine for his sacrifices. Do we at home sacrifice? Yes, absolutely but we've got it pretty good in comparison. I will say that although weekends like this make that seat at the table much more noticeable, I'm so happy to see that members of our Military are being acknowledged and appreciated by our fellow Americans. It's my love, my pride and my deepest gratitude for each and every sacrifice our Military families go through that get me through day to day. But yes, it is emotional for me to see this pride so publicly shared and to feel that my girls and I are a part of it. My tears are not tears of sadness. No, they are tears of pride.

We love you babe and miss you every day.  I know soon we'll be together and I can't wait until then.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Summer? Is that you?

Is it summer yet? Yes, yes...I do believe that we're coasting into the last season of this stinkin' deployment! The season where I believe is best spent outside by whatever body of water you can find (It's okay to imagine that your backyard kiddie pool is really your in-ground pool of your oceanfront home in Southern California...), with ice-cold fresh watermelon always at the forefront of every meal (Watermelon as an appetizer!? Heck yeah!) and lots of lovely, lovely snuggles from sunkissed beauties who are never short on smiles for this tired Mama. Ohhhh yes...summer in Huntsville is clearly on it's way, coming in with a bang no thanks to a few major storms and some significantly more humid weather. In my house these days, there's a lot of doin' what most military families do when they're two and a half months away from the end of a deployment...lots of waiting and lots of praying. And while we wait, Miss Alessandra has not only found a new love for carrots and sweet potatoes but she's ALSO found her voice which only means Sophia has also found her extremely LOUD voice. I sigh but I think to myself how it doesn't bother me in the slightest, this almost secret, louder than normal, language that the little girls have developed. It has warmed my tired heart seeing the bond that is forming between the sisters as I patiently wait until our Marine is lucky enough to return home. This past spring (or what Huntsville likes to think is a Spring) has brought with it lots of change...lots of good change. Alessandra is officially half of a year old coming right up on the age Miss Sophia was when her Daddy came home to meet her from his first deployment. I'm having fun watching my girls these days especially when I start to see Sophia in Alessandra's expressions and get a kick out of comparing the two when Alessandra plays dress-up in Sophia's old baby clothes. They're so different yet so perfectly similar. I tell you, it's really nice to see.

 It has been an interesting season this past Spring, a season that has tested me, challenged me and forced me to always try and find that brightside that I talk about so often...even if it seems like it's got the best hiding spot. I'd like to say thank you to all those who thought of my girls and I while the storms rolled through this time last month. I am overwhelmed by the kindness of my friends here and the comfort from those far away. As I'm sure you can imagine, I've been thinking a lot lately of the future, of a couple months from now when I can finally stop running on fumes and refill my tank with a little bit of lovin' from the guy I love so much. This last month has taught me that life is fragile and that it's way too short to ever take for granted so that being said I'll enjoy when I can and endure when I must. Because there are always things in life to enjoy, however small and no matter the circumstance. Just like a baby's first and a big sister's love, my brightsides are there and I am determined to enjoy them. So here is to SUMMER and the promise of hope it brings for my girls and our family. Go get yourself a watermelon and ENJOY!

Check me out! I'm practically a gymnast...Mom leaves me in one spot and I end up on the other side of the room rolling around.

Future pianist? I think so.

Really Mom?

Summer days on a blanket in the park!
Our very special visitor...Auntie!!!
Mmmmm carrots!!! And I must say...I'm madly in love with the BUMBO!

Sophia to Mom 'Mommy, take her paci out...I want to make her smile!' Ah, the love.

Here's to Sophia and Alessandra's first summer together and the fun that it brings!
Sophia and I's new love...gardening!

My big girl, growing up too fast.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

I'm grateful for fat, happy babies!

And at least a little bit of sunshine for my big girl itching to ride her bike!

And despite the storms, Sophia found reasons to smile!

My favorite photos of the week! Happy Weekend!

Friday, April 15, 2011

'A photograph is usually looked at but seldom looked into.'
 ~Ansel Adams

 I find this phrase fascinating especially given our generation's obsession with taking, showing and displaying pictures. To me pictures mean so much more than the desire to show off my pretty little ladies. Ask any father stationed overseas how much a single picture means to him. I bet he'll tell you it's worth more than a thousand words...that despite the distance between him and his family, a picture can make him feel like he's not missing as much as he beats himself up for in his head. I bet you he'll say that a picture is his inspiration to get the job done and come back home safe and sound to the smiling faces he misses the most. And there is not a doubt in my mind that he'll tell you that every time he looks at a picture of his loved ones he sees the reason why he does what he does and knows that it is worth every sacrifice. In my thinking,  I've tried to see pictures the way my Marine sees them and it puts things in a completely different perspective...a perspective worth thinking about. Every time I look at a picture I think, 'What if this was all I had of my girls?' and it reminds me that my job here at home is not as bad as it could be. So true to are the latest shots of life here at home as we wait for our Marine.

Mommy's most favorite possession...the double jogging stroller. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

Five months in and we've still got a little blue-eyed girl. I love it!

Representin' for my Boston family!

She's allllmoooossstttt got it!

Sweet big sister kisses.

Who needs toys when I've got my feet!