Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Katelynn turns 9

Where did the past nine years go? I swear that Katelynn can't already be nine. I'm not ready!! OK, I guess even if I dig my heels in, I can't stop the world from turning. (Gee, think the girls get part of their stubborn streak from me?)

Today marks the end of Katelynn's 9th year here on earth. Before I blink again, she'll be into the double digits. Katelynn got numerous phone calls wishing her Happy Birthday, even a surprise one from Daddy! She had a great two-part conversation with her best friend Kaitlin (the one in Maryland). Two-part because my cell phone battery died in the middle of the call, and we had to get home to finish the call.

Katelynn requested that she take two friends to a local ceramics cafe for a time of painting, and giggles, LOTS of giggles. So, I picked up Rachel and Kaitlin (the one from California) and we headed to Day Dreams cafe. Katelynn picked a puppy and a cross to paint, Emily chose a puppy, Rachel chose a dolphin, and Kaitlin picked out a dragon. It took us close to two hours to get all our items painted and then clean ourselves up. (I painted too, a small platter.) Then we walked next door for Subway sandwiches, and ran home for presents and Oreo birthday cake.

My ears are still ringing from all the talking and giggling. Between the sugar and company, Katelynn was just whirling by the end of the night. I really don't know how long it took for her to fall asleep tonight. Fortunately, we have a field trip tomorrow, so there won't be too much intense book work for school.

I've said to many people how much I love this 8-11 year old age. Katelynn has become such a fun little person to be around. We share several of the same loves: reading, crafting, friends, so talking with her has become more interesting than the "I want" stage that her younger sisters are in. There is more give and take in our conversations now.

Katelynn has also begun to take on much more responsibility than I would have thought possible for a nine-year-old. For example, on Sunday afternoon I had several things that had to get done in order to get all of us out the door for a holiday party with our flyball team. Katelynn stepped in and chopped broccoli, put cookies onto the cookie sheets to bake, mixed up the spinach salad, packed a bag, and was continually asking how she could help. I'm so proud of her!

Katelynn relishes her spot in the family as the oldest sister. Once in a while I have to reign in her "enthusiasm" and remind her that it is my job to be the Mom, but for the most part, she is extremely helpful. She shares a bedroom with Hailey, which has helped those two cement their bonds to each other. Hailey adores Katelynn, and will happily jabber away in her crib while Katelynn reads or gets ready for the day. Our mornings will often start with me reading my bible downstairs, enjoying my first caffeine buzz. I'll hear the elephant feet stirring upstairs, then the sounds of Katelynn and Hailey "talking" to each other will float down. Eventually, bump, bump, bump... Katelynn and Hailey will come sliding down the stairs, Hailey sitting on Katelynn's lap, hanging on with a death grip, and Katelynn sliding from one stair to the next on her heiny. It never fails to make me smile.

I've been so blessed by God to be able to partner in raising this extraordinary girl. It is truly a joy to be able to be with her during the day. Her mind is so sharp, and quick to absorb whatever scholastic challenge I lay down. I pray that the Lord will continue to guide Scott and I as we raise her, teach her and love her.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Beth's Proximity Sensor

Anyone who has met Beth will remember her. She is such an outgoing, engaging kiddo with a very infectious smile! I should have known something was different about her when her red hair stood straight up for the first several months of her life. It looked like a small orange halo - kind of like an orangutan baby. *giggle*

Beth has charmed almost everyone she has met in her short life. People at church may not know me, or remember my name, but it seems like EVERYONE knows Beth. (This has been a bit tough for me, as I am basically a introverted person. There is a steep learning curve to parenting an extroverted child.) At just over 2 years old, we were on a homeschool field trip to Sea World, and Beth wandered away to join another family. It seems that I wasn't having enough fun, and the other family looked more inviting!

All of that leads up to the fairly drastic shift I've seen in her during the past week. Beth now has a proximity sensor - if I am 3 feet away from her, alarms, bells and whistles go off. I can not remember how many times today I've heard her yell "Mommy, where are you?" I don't think I've been able to get the morning paper, read e-mail, or even use the bathroom without her chubby little hands reaching out for me, or her voice calling to me. OK, ok. I know. It has only been a week since Daddy left, change is hard on a little girl, especially one so attached to her Daddy - as Beth is. However, it is really hard to cook dinner with a 3 year old on one leg, and an 18 month old hanging onto the other. Hmmm. Maybe the girls and I will just eat cereal for dinner from now on. :)

Alright, vent over - now for the good stuff. Beth's love of life and ability to make us laugh really helps us get over the bad times. She has the most interesting fashion sense...inside out bathing suit, swim cap OVER the face, green sweats, pink floral shirt, etc. There is almost always a remnant of her last meal hiding out somewhere on her shirt. One of her favorite things to do is to come up, touch my arm, shoulder, leg - whatever is closest - and then say "I touched you" with that full grin of hers.

Beth loves her family and friends with her whole being. Her best day would include a home full of everyone in the world that she loves, all ready to snuggle and spoil her. I know this "three-year-old-phase" of independence sliding right into utter neediness then back again will soon be over. Until then, I'll ride it out, sighing, laughing and enjoying the way the Lord has created little Miss Elizabeth Hope. (Her name means given to the Lord with hope. Remind me Lord to give her to you.)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Kisses & Hugs

As anyone with kids knows, the concept of time is very hard for them to understand. About a week before deploying, Scott told Beth that he would be home from his big trip before her birthday. So every night when he returned home from work, she quickly announced that it was her birthday!

In order to help the girls visualize when Daddy would return, we went to the local Wallyworld and purchased approximately 210 Hershey kisses (and hugs) for each girl. Those 210 pieces of candy will take us to Beth's 4th birthday. Now, after dinner, each girl picks out one kiss to eat as they are reminded that we are one day closer to Daddy coming home.

I was worried about the "littles" wanting their candy at times other than the end of the day. I guess I should have known that routine would take precedence over desire for chocolate. (Am I sure these are my girls? *grin*) Beth doesn't even ask for her kiss until she has eaten her dinner. Hailey would squeak and point at her container of kisses the first night, but now she eats her one candy and doesn't ask for more.

I'm eager to watch the contents disappear! Even after only one week, it is possible to see that there are fewer kisses. Thank you Lord that I happened upon this idea somewhere. Maybe I should get my own container of kisses?


This is Katelynn at 6pm tonight.
What do you think, should I make her get to bed a bit earlier than 1am?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

I am not alone

"God is striding ahead of you. He's right there with you. He won't let you down; he won't leave you. Don't be intimidated. Don't worry."
Deuteronomy 31:8

This verse, and it's companion in Hebrews 13:5, has always been one for me to hang on to. Now more than ever. The Lord is really showing me his presence through difficult times, my prayer is that I can help the girls find the peace that He gives. Jehovah-Jireh is the name of God the Provider, and I am continually amazed at how he provides for me.

Friday was a bit of a difficult day. It is the close of my first week alone with the girls. Melancholy has really been the mood of the day around here. I've had to be careful not to look at Katelynn wrong, or she'll burst into tears. Everyone just really seemed lethargic and apathetic. Then...the Lord provided.

God has truly blessed me with friends in times of need. Now is no exception. I was able to talk, vent, and share with two good friends on Friday afternoon. We may be thousands of miles apart, but the friendships are just as strong. Hearing comforting voices really calmed my heart and gave me hope. Plans for the cross-country trek were discussed, and I'm more eager than ever to get on the road.

Another funk was beginning to hit in the evening. I think I was just beginning to realize that this would be my first weekend at home without Scott - nothing planned, nothing to distract me or the girls. I was pretty down, when yet again, the Lord reminded me that he is HERE! Two friends came over, for a "Girl's Night". We watched a movie, and had a good old-fashioned gab-fest! Katelynn and Emily had their own "Girl's Night" upstairs with friend, Rachel, who had come over with her mom.

My mood is greatly improved!

I've enjoyed spending time together with the girls today, Saturday. Everyone is extremely tired, as we didn't get to bed until after 1am. (Katelynn and Emily included.) Katelynn has been under the weather with a tummy ache all day, maybe it is due to the lack of sleep? We've had fun through the tears and frustration though. Hailey is always good for a few laughs when we need them. Tonight she was playing with a piece of trash while sitting at her high chair. The rest of us were eating when we hear her saying "Hi!" Confused we look over. She had stuck the trash behind her cup, peered around it, and was greeting it with enthusiasm! What a goof.

God is continually providing for the girls and me, in so many ways.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Littles playing...Nicely!

Today has been an interesting day. It is really only our second day back into the school routine (Monday we unloaded the trailer after a weekend at flyball, and also attempted to straighten up the house). Hailey was real fussy most of the day - she never did fall asleep during her afternoon nap, maybe the 2 1/2 hour morning nap had something to do with that. *shrug* Emily came down with a fever around lunchtime, so she's been real lethargic. She did perk up earlier this morning when she and Katelynn were able to make models of the Eiffel Tower out of playdough for geography.

Having Alton Brown's "Instant" Buttermilk Pancakes for dinner really helped the mood. Hailey (my 21 pound, petite, picky eater) even ate 3! I don't think she's consumed so much in the entire past 3 days. Emily was able to sit vertical long enough to eat one also. Katelynn was a huge help, setting the table, getting drinks ready, and serving her sisters while I finished cooking.

I thought it would be a long shot, but I attempted to fold some laundry after dinner. I had no clue that Beth and Hailey would sit and play blocks together. It was fun to watch the two "littles" play together, lifting blocks, handing them to each other, and laughing at one another. I am still in shock! Usually, a playtime with Beth and Hailey involves screams and tears - sometimes from me.

I was able to get an entire load of laundry folded while Dirty Jobs played in the background, Emily vegged in Daddy's chair, and Katelynn rocked away in my rocker.

The girls are adjusting to the routine of Daddy being gone. Beth talks about Daddy's "hip" (AKA ship) often. She was very concerned the first night she helped set the table, because she didn't know where to put the fork she had gotten out for Daddy. When I explained that he would eat on the ship, she looked up at me thoroughly confused. Because how in the world would this spoon get to Daddy on the ship? Fortunately, her cute dilemma about Daddy's fork helped me not cry over the fact that I had just reached for 2 large dinner plates, temporarily forgetting that Scott wouldn't be physically joining us at the table. *sigh*

The girls and I covet your prayers. I know that even on fussy days like today, the Lord is right here beside me. It is so evident in all that I do that it is only God who sustains me. I began a bible study this morning during my quiettime in a book titled "Wives of Warriors". I was encouraged by reading the introduction, and look forward to what the Lord will teach me over the next several months. I am also excited to see what adventures will come as Scott travels westward, and soon the girls and I travel eastward. Won't we have so much to share when we are reunited???

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Saying Goodbye.

WOW! I knew it would be tough, but it was so different than I had anticipated. Scott and I packed up the four girls early on Saturday morning and drove down to the squadron. The girls and I listened as the pilots briefed their flights, and then we had some time to hang out with Scott. We helped carry his last few items out to the helicopter and then prayed together as a family for the last time for the next several months. It was so exciting to be able to pray next to the helicopter that has Scott's name painted on the side, the one that would carry him out to the Stennis. Maybe it is my upbringing, maybe it is my personality, I really don't know. But being able to stand together praying for God's hand to guide and protect all of us, near the helicopter that Scott flew only a short while later was really moving to me. I have such vivid memories of those short moments. Then, all too soon, it was time to walk back to the hanger, and kiss Scott good-bye.

We could watch the pilots crawling over, under and around their helos as they did their pre-flight checks. Soon tail rotors began to turn, then the main rotors, and the air behind the rotor mast began to shimmer with the engine exhaust heat. I LOVE the sound of those rotors turning. Unfortunately, due to a minor issue with the helo, Scott and his co-pilot and crew did not take off with the first set of helos, and instead I was given the opportunity to "entertain" 4 young girls while we watched maintainers crawl onto the tail of the aircraft. I don't think Hailey's PJs will ever come clean again - crawling around on concrete for an hour is not what they were designed for. However, God it great! Due to Scott having to leave with the later helo formation, he ended up being the lead aircraft, giving the girls and I a great view of him as he taxied by. We watched him take-off and disappear over the San Diego Bay.

I am so proud of my husband! He has the courage, integrity, and commitment to do what only a handful of others are willing to do. It has been an interesting few weeks and days as Katelynn and Emily have struggled with why THEIR Daddy has to go away. I've explained it to them in this simple way: "You know how strong and special your Daddy is, right? He has a very special job, not all daddies have this special job, but yours does. Daddy's job is to protect us, and our country from any people who would hurt us. Daddy is one of the strong, courageous men that help keep us safe." To some, maybe this is over-simplifying it, but I truly believe that my husband is one of a select few that are willing to sacrifice their comfort, so the rest of us can live the way we do.

As the girls and I go about our various adventures, homeschool, flyball, cross-country treks, I'll do my best to keep writing on the blog. I'm definitely not the wordsmith that Scott is, but maybe with practice I'll get a little better? :)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Homeschooling meets Flyball!

WOW!!! That is all I can say, Wow! Katelynn, Emily, Beth and I did our flyball demonstration for our homeschool group this morning, and I am so proud of ALL of them! I introduced the girls, the dogs, and talked shortly about the sport. I handed the microphone over to Katelynn, and she introduced the dogs. Katelynn ran Abbey, I followed with Eli (who refused to go down over the jumps EVERY time), and Emily loaded.

After only two runs, I let Katelynn talk about our trip to Texas, and Emily talked about loading. I looked behind me and all the balls were in the shagger already. Beth had quietly, and with no prompting, taken care of the loose balls. :)

Katelynn and Emily really surprised me with their ability to talk in front of a group of moms and kids (close to 25 moms, and over 50 kids). Katelynn was very calm, and spoke clearly about the sightseeing and even explained how we usually race outside, with 2 rings, 150 races, etc. Emily spoke about it is tough to keep up with the fast pace of loading the tennis balls for the dogs. I had not told them before the presentation that I would ask them to speak. They were speaking on the spot.

It was so fun to hear Beth get excited as we set up the jumps, she was very proud to get to "hag" the balls for the dogs. She floored me when she picked up every single ball without being prompted. What a funny character she is!

The dogs were a huge hit, and I just had to share with you how well the girls did. Once again, I am reminded at how blessed I am to be the mother of such wonderful girls. The Lord has truly given me a treasure!

Thanks for letting me brag! :)


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