Sunday, April 29, 2012

Hugs, Hammers, and Holding Hands

The girls got new matching nightgowns.
I did not instruct them to wave.

He wouldn't let go of my hand at the park.  I seriously love it.
A necklace, a whistle, and a water bottle. Great props.

Helping me build my new office desk.  The General was so excited by all the tools that he would randomly jump into my lap and give me a big, big hug.

 This series speaks for itself.  It starts with a spontaneous hug.

 But somebody feels left out. . . .


A triple triple-play

He's all boy.  He likes cars.  He likes swings.
He especially likes car swings. 
He kept making car noises.
The General also loves books.

And he loves himself, obviously. 

We found a baby jumping spider at Ikea. (It's on her finger.)
Jumping spiders are natural predators,
as well as competition, to other spiders,
like the infamous hobo spider. 
They're good to keep around.
We found what could possibly be a young queen ant, or a worker ant. Time will tell, although she does seem to be getting bigger.
We also have an ant hill.  Later, at the park, Rose brought home another giant ant.  When we put them together in our ant hill, they talked for a while by doing something that resembled making out.

Studying the anatomy of an ant in her garden hat.
A horse. 
She's a very diligent colorer.


Then and Now

While processing pictures to make last year's photo album, I'm amazed to see how my kids have grown.  It happens so slowly before my eyes.  This is what keeps me going as a mother: I enjoy every second of my children's childhood, because I will never get it back.  I might not be perfect.  Some days I might spend too much time writing emails to the Captain or partaking in retail therapy of the online sort, but I always make sure to pause and enjoy what my kids are doing.  We don't get out as often as we could, and sometimes homeschooling is more haphazard than not, but I really try to just hold my kids while they are kids. 

I wrote the Captain that this is also the biggest reason not to mope while he's gone.  I don't wish away the months, because when they are gone, my kids will be nine months older, and I can't get that nine months back.  I don't feel sorry for myself, because I get to enjoy these nine months and he doesn't (that breaks my heart).  And as much as I do not enjoy pregnancy, I don't wish it over, because when it is, my kids will all be a different age, and for now 1, 3, and 5 are the best ages ever.  Seriously.

I heard an interview on the radio, and one question was something like, "When was the last time you felt really alive?"  I can honestly say that I have moments (almost) every day where I just pause time and savor my children and feel alive.  I do it for the Captain, because he's not here, and I do it for myself so I can say I soaked up every second of their childhood.

That's not to say I don't waste time.  I'm actually better at that than I would like.  But, without further ado, here are the comparison shots between April 2011 and April 2012.

2011- My happy baby
2012- A year has made him stretch out a bit,
but he's still my baby.

2011- Just after she gave herself a pretty decent haircut. 
I love her expression.
2012- Notice the necklace is worn in
 the same fashion as at the fair last week.

2011- The hairdo that inspired Briar Rose
to cut her hair a year ago.

2012- There's no baby left in that face! :`(

Friday, April 20, 2012

Our Day at the Spring Fair

Today marks the first month since his departure.  I try not to feel guilty about going out and having fun with the kids while my husband's hunkering down during missile attacks (they had five in one night this last week).  I know I've got the better end of the deal.  Sure, I've got a lot on my plate, but I make sure to enjoy every second I have with my kids.  We all miss him.  I miss his laugh and his smile and the stupid jokes he makes.  I hope he doesn't lose that part of himself while he's there.  I think every military wife worries about that. 

Still, I am grateful that he's relatively safe, and that we have so many praying for his safety.  I'm grateful to have so many good friends who care about me and who have helped me thus far.  I'm grateful for my children, who always make me laugh, and they even seem to understand and forgive me when I'm frustrated.  I'm grateful for my comfortable home my husband works for and we are forced to enjoy without him.  And I'm grateful for my van, and Ikea's child care, and the nursery at the YMCA.  These things add to my life.  I've got it good.  My husband stays so busy, he frequently emails me (another wonderful thing) from eight in the morning until midnight his time, and he's learned to be content with one meal a day.  I have no reason or right to complain compared to that, only reasons to be grateful and feel so absolutely blessed. 

I'm also grateful to be able to make life as normal as possible for the kids.  One thing we do is go to the fair whenever possible.  It also makes for some great homeschooling opportunities.  So, here are some of my favorite shots of the day.
The roller coaster's always a hit.

I love this juxtaposition from almost two years ago.  Same roller coaster. 

Now that Daddy's gone, Briar Rose has decided blue is her favorite color, like it is his.  Normally, she's a pink girl.

This was later in the day; nobody's cooperating for the picture, but at least they're happy.  Daddy, expect to see some of these things in your next package.

We've been doing a bird unit study for homeschool, and she'd been asking to see a peacock. I was glad they had one.  This guy's plummage is probably five feet long.

Also, she wore her necklace like this all day.  I don't know why, but I love that she did it.

The fire truck ride.

Up in the air.
Her first solo haunted house ride.  She loved it.
Swings.  Last year, they kept calling to us that this was "The best ride ever!"

Also, I don't have it pictured, but I got a ceramic, old-style garlic grater.  I saw this a year ago and wished I'd bought it then.  I was thrilled and totally prepared when I saw it this year.  It's a tiny ceramic plate with rough scores on it with which to grate/shred garlic, ginger, hard cheeses, and nuts.  I'm totally pumped about it.  Seriously. 

Since the Captain's not around, though, I might have to get creative.  I don't use garlic that often when I cook for the kids!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

This one's for the Captain.

Briar Rose can never eat anything choclatey without unintentionally outing herself. 

After an hour long bath.

This picture is completely gratuitous on my part: I love those olive green eyes.

We have lots of sibling love.  This little boy loves giving his sisters hugs and kisses. (In the left background, you can see the Nativity my dad had made for me in Ghana. I just got it, that's why it's on display.)

Practicing a gymnastics move in the pool. She says about her teachers, "They've found out I'm super strong!"

My little fish who's tried drowning herself twice. 
She picked out this swimsuit because of the roses.

Lori, the best swim teacher ever.  She loved Daffodil and called her, "My baby."
Daffodil loved swimming lessons and was like a happy little fish during (most) lessons.

 I love these pictures of Daffy coming out of a daze.

This smile is so characteristic of her. 
Her cheery personality really does help us all.

Her beloved seashells I'd confiscated for a while.

This box house is a huge hit. 
They each have their own shaped window.  Where's the General?

Telling me, "On!"-- Come on, Mom!  I love how he waves to get me to come with him.

We attended the lamest Luau ever, but we did get free food.  The girls were so excited to go to a "Hawaiian party" that they dressed up.  Briar Rose wore the Hawaiian dress my mom got me 20 years ago, and Daffodil wore a dress up gown with a laie.  They were pretty disappointed.  We were expecting fire or at least dancing, but we got neither.

She's come down with my cough, and the General enjoyed a little snuggle with her when we tried waking her.