Friday, September 30, 2011

A Little Anniversary Celebration

Steve and I recently celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary. Unfortunately, he was still at Ft. Lewis on the actual day of our anniversary, so we waited for a few days until he was settled at home. We like to cook together, so we decided to get the boys a pizza and a movie and send them to the family room, while we cooked up a storm. It was fun thumbing through some of our favorite cookbooks last week, trying to decide what we wanted to make. We settled on Julia Child's Coq au Vin for our main course, and it didn't disappoint. We'd planned to make a lovely appetizer from Bob and Melinda Blanchard's "Cook What You Love", but alas, those plans were spoiled by our local supermarket, who seems to have a problem stocking fresh ingredients at times. Boo!

Above is my corny little table display ~ the chapel we were married in, the inn where we spent our wedding night, and the picture of the boys that I gave Steve as an anniversary gift. Tin/aluminum for the tenth anniversary proved to be a bit tricky, so I went with a tin-ish looking picture frame and an impromptu photo shoot with Steve's best boys. I'm afraid Steve really out-did me when he gave me a beautiful strand of pearls ~ something I have always wanted.

When Cam and Griff's movie ended, Camden offered to be our butler.

Things got really crazy when we decided to dig out and try on our wedding attire. I would like to point out that Steve is wearing Camden's bow tie. I'm also pretty sure facial hair is against regulation with that uniform. I would also like to point out that my wedding gown is now too big for me. Not quite sure how that happened, but I'm not complaining. Ha!

We had a great evening that I will never forget. So glad to be blessed with such a great husband!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Bronze Star Ceremony

A few days after Steve came home, he held a little ceremony for the boys, to award them for their bravery while he was deployed. He cooked this whole thing up on his own, making up the certificates, and ordering the certificate folders and bronze star pins while he was still in Iraq.

Anyone who knows Steve won't be surprised by any of this ~ he is completely and utterly dedicated to his role as father, and he doesn't take it lightly

He missed his boys so much while he was away, and didn't waste any time at all, jumping right back into family life. He's been taking Camden to school every morning, and picking him up in the afternoon. During the day, he pretty much does whatever Griffin wants, which of course, thrills Griffin to no end!

I love seeing my three boys together, and I'm so proud that I married a man who sets such a good example for our children.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Griffin Turns Five

A certain little boy I know turned five recently. Griffin Peter has been counting the days until his birthday for about the past two months. Every morning upon waking he'd say, "Mom, how many sleeps until my birthday?"

We were really lucky that Steve made it home in time to celebrate with him. (As you can see, Steve is taking full advantage of the fact that he doesn't have to report back to work until mid-November, and therefore opting out of shaving).

Griffin wanted to put his Transformer "from Nana and Papa" on top of his birthday cake, so that is what we did. It was so big that I didn't have room to write his name. He proclaimed it his "best birthday cake EVER!"

Our dear Margaret spoiled him rotten, and he loved every minute of it.

Riley hasn't been feeling great lately, but he perked right up when he smelled birthday cake, and saw presents being opened. That dog loves a good party.

Griffin had a great time with his friends. I just can't believe my little Griff is five!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

At Last

Steve has been home for a little over a week now, and we are slowly settling back into a normal routine around here. The ten days or so before he arrived were a bit on the frantic side, and the time since then has been spent on lots of family togetherness and time away from the normal hustle and bustle of daily life. Now it is time to get back to our new "old" normal, as we are all craving some structure, so that is our goal for this week. As for my blog ~ it needs some work, and some catching up. So, I am hoping to have the opportunity to attack that this week. I fear my laptop is mired down with too many files, too many pictures, as well as feeling its age, so it hasn't been exactly cooperative lately. Hopefully it will allow me to eek out a few blog posts before it throws in the towel completely!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Done (okay, not really)

Back from Iraq ~ the first time ~ October, 2005

Oh my goodness...I am so done with this deployment. I just want Steve to be here NOW, so badly. You would think I could hold it together - - I mean, he's been gone for nearly a year, but this last little bit is just about doing me in. I am not a patient girl when it gets right down to the wire, and although it appears he will be coming home right around the time we've thought he'd be coming all along, all I can think about is, "why isn't he here now? why can't he come home earlier?" I seriously need to get a grip.

The boys (including Steve) and I have been through a lot this year. We were very lucky to have both my parents and my in-laws both come out for extended visits during that time. We've experienced kindness from the most unexpected places. The hardest parts of a deployment, though, are the parts that nobody else can help you with. Camden and Griffin have both struggled emotionally, in different ways. At times it has been so heartbreaking to watch, and really, there hasn't been a lot I could do other than listen. I really, truly was not prepared to deal with the effect that Steve's absence would have on the boys.

Long separation is rough on a marriage. Even a really good marriage. It is difficult to parent children from opposite sides of the globe, and to make decisions regarding your children. Stress certainly plays a major factor in making it more difficult, and I know that Steve and I both went through a period for a few months where our stress levels were so high that it was difficult to accomplish much at all. I think the worst time for me was after Steve had been home on leave, and it kind of carried on through the end of the school year. Never have I ever been happier for summer vacation and being able to have lots of fun with the boys ~ what a great distraction!

In the end, I'm proud of how we pulled through. Over the years, Steve has been gone a lot, so I knew before he left this time that I was completely capable of caring for the boys on my own. That being said, life is just a whole lot nicer with Steve around. Can't wait to have him back.

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