Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Life is good

Derek's home. Life is good.

We picked him up at the airport on Saturday morning. His flight was only 15 minutes late, but it felt like an eternity.

Jackson and Derek are having so much fun playing together. Several times throughout the day I hear, "Daddy... come on!!" Jackson is adamant about having Derek around and watching everything he does. It's so sweet.

"Oh cool! A tunnel!" Derek said. 
Jackson simply can't be bothered by the Daddy in his way... he kept crawling through on top of Derek.

Until Derek ended up just plain stuck. Haha. 

Thanks to some awesome friends (including our awesome exchange student) who were gracious enough to bless us with gift cards and babysitting, Derek and I enjoyed a date night yesterday evening. First we had a fabulous dinner at the Hereford House and then headed off for our first 3D movie experience watching Tron on the IMAX. We even managed to get a little Christmas shopping done. It was SO NICE to spend some time together! (and Brooke managed to get Jackson to sleep without a fight and he got his first full nights sleep since Derek's been home- a spectacular gift on it's own!)

The best part is... is that it's only been just a couple of days! We still have several left to spend together!!!


Saturday, December 18, 2010

We're Ready!

Just plain ready! We've talked about Daddy coming to play all week. At the moment, Jackson's a little more excited to be going to the airport and seeing airplanes, but I know he is going to be so super excited to see Derek walk through the terminal!

And I have to mention the beautiful bouquet of roses delivered to my door this morning that Derek sent me with a message that says, "Can't wait to see you tomorrow." It totally made my day. In many ways, this last week has been one of the hardest yet. I feel like my will-power to keep going just gave up simply because I knew he was so close to coming home. Cleaning and being busy was my best attempt to avoid staying in bed all day, which is simply all I wanted to do! Being a wonderful husband, he totally picked up on my crazy mood (I blame the pregnancy hormones) and sent me flowers. I love flowers. He knows that. :)

He's heading out on a bus in about an hour (2:30am-ish) to head to the Atlanta airport and will arrive here in KC at 10:14am! Yay! He is sure to be super tired having only slept in short couple hour increments, but he is as excited to see us as we are to see him! And a family-nap sounds great tomorrow afternoon.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Who moved my cheese?

It all started here with realizing I had my work cut out for me to get ready for Derek to come home. I am happy to report that I tackled those tasks and got his side of the room in working order the very next day. Little did I know that it was only the beginning... Since last Tuesday, I (and by "I", I mean- "I, along with some very wonderful friends") have:

  • folded, sorted, put away the mountain of clean laundry (I may or may not be working on my second mountain. where does that laundry all come from?!)
  • organized Derek's dresser drawers (I was part responsible for the disorganization as I dug through to find a non-Nintendo t-shirt to wear).
  • filled one lawn and leaf size bag plus an additional two regular trash sized bags of stuff to go to Salvation Army
  • sorted through (finally) the boxes from when I cleaned out my car.
  • cleaned out the hall closest of the construction debris (yes, we've been moved in for over a year now and this is just now getting done)
  • cleaned off the kitchen counter, organized the pantry and some of the cabinets. 

It's possible that I disassembled my vacuum cleaner, ran the parts through the dishwasher, so that it wasn't quite so dirty either. Seriously, what is wrong with me?! In fact, I am fairly certain when my mom or dad reads this, that they will be very worried that an alien life form has taken over my body because this is totally not like me. At all.

I also did a major overhaul to Jackson's room. It started last Saturday when I was cleaning up toys in the family room, I decided to tackle relocate them all to Jackson's room. Which led to getting out every single toy he owns and sorting through a keep, save for baby, or a give away pile. Which led to cleaning out his closet. Which led to re-arranging and re-organizing his entire room. This was all in one evening. Jackson was hanging out with Derek's parents at the time and he went straight to bed when we got home.

It was Sunday afternoon that Jackson really started to be so incredibly cranky at times and lasted until about Tuesday-ish. And it was just so unlike him! He was getting up extra early, not napping well. Throwing unbelievable fits at the silliest little things and wanting to be held at every single moment throughout the day. I even told some friends and family that I suspected that he must have a little stomach bug and just wasn't feeling well. He just doesn't act that way!

A friend asked last night if I thought that maybe Jackson was sensing that things were about to change when Derek gets home on Saturday and I just don't think Jackson is even vaguely aware of Daddy coming home. But it got me thinking about the change in his room. His crankiness started the very next day.

And now I feel awful!! To me, I love to rearrange and make a room look fresh and new. It didn't even occur to me that changing his room around would be a big thing. But for a two-year-old, I can really understand how it could be stressful!
I moved his cheese! He is progressively getting less cranky. Not coincidentally, he isn't fighting sleep and is sleeping longer.

Maybe I shouldn't have changed is room the same week that Daddy is coming home. And just a few weeks before I thought we would introduce the toddler bed. The next few weeks will be full of cheese-moving experiences. Or the next couple of months actually. But at least I know that he really needs help adjusting when things do change. He does really well if we can just talk about it in normal conversation here and there. I will just need to do my part to be more diligent about preparing him for when things are going to be different. To offer more patience and one-on-one time when they are.

It really is so cool to learn more and more about Jackson's distinct little personality! Like how he is as stubborn as they come, but also loves to be the funny kid around! And it makes me eager to see what our little girl is going to be like! Parenting, though exhausting at times, is truly the coolest thing ever.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Spirit

We've been getting into the Christmas spirit around here- music, decorations, "chrissy-lights". Jackson's pronunciation and interpretation of words and phrases has added much humor to the season this year!

Video Evidence #1: Santa vs. Satan
This is pretty funny. Though, it proved to be a little awkward at the Jazz Concert at church tonight when Jackson felt the need to point out the drummer in the Santa hat between songs, like when it's all quiet. It's not every day the church-goers get to hear "Satan!" shouted with quite so much enthusiasm.

Video Evidence #2
Didn't you get the memo? Christmas lights = poop.

This video really caught me off guard. He really had been going "oohh!" at the Christmas lights. But I can explain the connection. Last Tuesday night, we decided to drive around town to look at all the Christmas lights. Julie and I were "oooooh"-ing at the lights. Jackson interpretted this as "ewww". So he would look at lights and say "eww." Well, eventually that turned into "yuck". And then once more, it turned into "poop." Very interesting train of thought, but at least I was able to follow the thought process instead of completely dumbfounded about how the connection was made!

Video Evidence #3
Lastly, this is just a cute video of the chatterbox that Jackson has become lately. He is sharing with us all about the tree! Be sure to pay attention when he speaks or else he gets very frustrated.

And just to make things interesting, Jackson's new way of asking to be picked up is to walk up and say "Up You." He says this at home, church, the grocery store. It just adds to the Christmas Spirit, right?!

Satan, Poop, and Up You! Sounds like a Hallmark card in the making.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Our Springfield Vacation

I have just gotten around to importing my pictures from our trip down to Springfield/Branson several weekends ago! We had a fabulous time escaping our typical routine and visiting some of my favorite things and people from my college years (which I just realized was a long time ago... I will celebrate my five-year college graduation next week.)

Our fabulous friends Jeff and Missy always open up their house to us when we travel in their direction. It's really brave of them to let a very active two-year-old roam around their house!!

Jackson helped Missy cook spaghetti for dinner. 

We went to the Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Jordan Valley Park (a favorite place from my college days!) and went over to the Cardinals stadium to watch some fireworks. Jackson's first experience with fireworks was comical. He watched the entire show on my lap without making a sound or moving a muscle... just stared. About two or three minutes after the show was over he looked at me and said "Boom! Boom! Fireworks!!" and he continued to talk about it all night long.

We headed down to Branson on Sunday. We spent the afternoon shopping at the outlet shops and then we went to the Dixie Stampede for dinner. Now, let me tell you I was really worried about paying so much for a ticket to a show that I bringing my two-year-old to. I had expected to spend at least half of the show back in the back letting him run around while I missed all of the good stuff... but really, Jackson was wonderful!! He loved eating the food with his hands and watching the animals! We all had a super fun time.

Jackson enjoyed getting to look at all the horses before the show started!

Jackson stole the heart of one of the lady-riders and she threw him a flower (which he promptly threw right back at her)!! She gave it back at the end of the show.

Before we left Branson, we drove through the Festival of Lights. The synchronized music to the snowman lights was really neat! We watched for almost three songs.

Some friends drove down from KC to meet us at The Home of the Throwed Rolls (Lamberts) for lunch on Monday. Even though I've worked there and know the vast amounts of grease required to make all of that yummy fried okra-- I can't ever stop loving to eat there. I was really craving a salad (stupid pregnancy) so I didn't get any of my favorite mashed potatoes, but I still had some okra, rolls, and fried potatoes. Delicious.

Julie and Jackson with Trey and Carter

Jackson had fun with the olives from my salad! He ate them off his fingers one by one.

I love this picture!! A roll was just thrown and even though he is completely ready with his hands out, it bonked him on the head. He laughed. :)

That afternoon, we went to the Palace (read: $3 movie theater) and watched MegaMind. Cute movie. Why can't we have a (non-disgusting) theater like that here in KC!? We had a nice relaxing night in on Monday night. It was fabulous! 

Tuesday for lunch, we met up with my friend Higgi (or as Jackson would say, "piggy") for lunch at Incredible Pizza. I seriously love that place. Unlike other nasty-tasting pizza kid places, this place has a great buffet and the play area is a lot of fun. With bumper cars and race track, it's fun for big kids too! 

Sarah Higgi and Jackson!

Playing the toss-the-ball-into-the-garbage-can game. 

Sarah, Me, and Jackson

I apologize that this post is so super long, but I wanted to get it all in here so I can move along to get back to blogging about current issues and not always playing catch up. I finished my class this week (woo hoo!) so that should help too!


Monday, December 6, 2010

Twelve Days... and counting

My Christmas celebration starts in 12 days when my much desired Christmas present arrives at the airport at 10:14am. Having Derek home is loooong overdue and I am soooo excited.

But I am quite overwhelmed. It's different from when we went to visit him in Georgia. It's not just a trip about getting to see each other for a few days. He is coming home.

A home that isn't quite the same. Furniture has been moved. A 16-year-old moved in. Jackson has grown. And routines have changed. It's not that he won't expect change, but it's the fear that he won't like it. That his much needed vacation will be somewhat stressful or a disappointment to what he has looked forward to for so long. I'm no stranger to the psychological issues that our soldiers deal with and coming home isn't an easy process. Just as our life isn't exactly how he left it, he is different now too. It's almost like an experiment, a waiting game, just to determine the reaction of the two worlds colliding.

Not that it's ever intentional. Not that anyone is to blame.

Can I ever truly understand the process he went through to become a soldier? Can I even begin to relate to the expectations and strenuous schedule that he is lives in? Can he dive right back into a chaotic life of a young family after being surrounded entirely by "grown-ups" for six months? Can Jackson understand how Daddy can simply show up one day? Even just the little things... he's used to getting up at 4am everyday. And he eats a huge breakfast now (I mean, wouldn't you if you had just ran seven miles?).

Wow, aren't I depressing!? It's not that I'm not excited. Just thinking about watching him walk down the terminal in just a few days can bring me to tears at any given moment. I'm just nervous! This may sound very silly. But have you seen the divorce statistics after active duty assignments!? I do not fear that fate for us, but it it does shine a light on the fact that it's hard. And maybe these aren't even issues for this little trip coming home, but for when he comes home for good in March.

Either way, I can't seem to shake this off today. I had to jump start my car this morning and my neighbor called out to ask if everything was okay. I assured him I had it all under control and was using every bit of my effort just to hold myself together so I didn't break down in front of him and say, "no, actually it's not!"

know that we will have a wonderful Christmas. And even though I know everything will be fine, it doesn't stop the apprehension. It's ridiculous to focus my energy on all of these things in which I have no control over. Instead, I will do my best to focus on the list of actual things can be done.

I will start by cleaning up his side of the bed/room.

His side of the bed has become an extension of my closet and convenient location for clean laundry. He hates the extra pillows on the bed, so they especially can't reside only on his side. I may have cluttered his closet while looking for the duffel bag and those boxes are full of stuff that doesn't even belong to him.

I also need to make sure his t-shirts/sweatshirts/sweatpants get put back in his drawers so I can pretend that I don't wear them almost everyday.


Saturday, December 4, 2010

It's officially Christmas time

I love, love, LOVE this time of year! We decorated our tree last week and Jackson has worked on un-decorating it ever since. We've danced around the house to fun Christmas music. I've gotten the chance to pick up a few presents, but have really enjoyed just focusing more meaningful aspects of the holiday!

This morning at our church, the women's ministry put together a Christmas Around the World brunch and it was fabulous. Two full-time missionaries came to speak about their life, the ministry opportunities they have, and how Christmas is celebrated where they serve. One serves as a Bible translator in Tanzania (I am still currently in awe about the work that goes into that process!) and the other was my cousin, Andrea who serves with the IMB in Prague, Czech Republic. They have been back in the states since the summer and it's been nice to visit and hang out with them at family functions, but it was really neat to hear Andrea speak specifically about their role as missionaries.

I spoke for a quick minute about shopping for Fair Trade products this Christmas. Not only will you be purchasing a nice gift for someone, you will be purchasing a product that allows a woman to live a free life and to not become a victim of sex trafficking. Really, you should check out this site for some great gift ideas: purses, jewelry, home decor.

Julie even sang Silent Night in Danish for the entire group! How awesome is she?! 

Jackson is a wonderful (most of the time) age. He picks up new things everyday and continually surprises me with his ability to learn. He loves Christmas lights, "Chrisy lights!!! Petty!" and he can sing along to Jingle Bells and The Little Drummer Boy. I've spent a good part of the week trying to figure out the best ways to teach him about the real meaning of Christmas and decided that a toy nativity scene would be crucial. Those suckers are expensive, so I made sure to browse Craigslist and found a set brand new set just waiting for us.

We got it out to play today. He can point out Mary ("Ma-mi"), Joseph ("Joset" aka "the Daddy"), and baby Jesus ("ssshhh, ni-nite"), all of the animals, and the angel too. It is so sweet. Even when he puts the donkey on top of the stable leaving the angel to eat from the troughs, I just love knowing that he's learning about the story of Jesus and he is capable of understand it all. I am hoping to get to the library to pick up some good books and will be sure to print off some coloring sheets and stuff to use over the next couple weeks.

I've decided that there is something about having a kid that really brings out the urge to focus more on the real meaning of Christmas. And it's so much more fun to look forward to Derek coming home than about opening presents. This really is a wonderful time of year!



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