Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Deployment Life~Saying good-bye

The alarm clock rang and before I could even roll over I had to wipe away the tears already filling my eyes. I lay in bed for just one more minute wishing the day hadn't come. But it had. Jake was already out of bed his heart just as heavy as mine. I walked to the bathroom and wrapped my arms around him and now the tears pour down my face. There are no words to say, they have already been said. There is nothing that can make this moment any easier.
It is still dark outside as I wake my sweet little girl. She asks me if this is the day that Daddy has to leave. Of course she knows the answer but hearing the words out loud have a way of penetrating right through. She clings to me as we make our way through the house. Daddy scoops her from my arms and snuggles her ever so close. She reaches up and brushes his cheek with her tiny hand. He swallows the lump in his throat.
The morning wore on as we said our goodbyes. The sun never quiet came up rather just turned the deep black clouds to a dreary gray. Zoe told me as we drove home that morning that the sky was sad that Daddy was leaving and I couldn't have agreed more.
The days have now turned to weeks and time continues to pass. Our lives fall into a new type of routine and we find our footing once again. Our lives are far from normal with a part of our heart half a world away but we know that the love we share will somehow forge the gap.

We have prayed this prayer far too many times before but now we will say it yet again.

Protect us Lord as we're apart, 
Be our strength and our shield.
Teach us to grow as we press on. 
Strengthen our love, increase our heart.

Monday, April 4, 2016

And then there were....more.

Four months ago Jake and I began a journey that we completed today yet in many ways we haven't even begun. We sat in an orientation class and it was overwhelming hearing about the thousands of children here in San Diego county that need homes and the hundreds of them that are under the age of 5. It was eye opening to hear about the babies that go straight from the hospital to group homes where they are just another burden. As the statistics were thrown out and the numbers swirled around in my head the only number I could hear is one. One less. Next year there will be one less child that needs a home, one less child that is just a burden, one less baby needing just to be loved.
Jake and I made the decision to become foster parents.
Through some very special friends of ours (We love you Jordan & Chiara) we were introduced to the Angels Organization. From day one Angels has changed our opinion of foster care and really taught us that we can make a difference. They have taken the entire process and made it manageable and have been a great support every step of the way. I was nervous to start the process. There were hours of training, doctor visits, CPR certification, first aid skill assessments, and lots and lots of paper work, but today after the home inspection I knew that this is the right fit for us.
We have no idea what this journey will entail but we are beyond excited to have a baby in our home again.  Z has been begging to be a big sister for more than 2 years and she can't wait to practice some of her "big sister" skills. Chances are good that I will be less excited come July after our first placement when I'm sleep deprived and covered in baby puke but I'll know in my heart how precious life is and I'll thank God for whatever baby comes into our home and I'll love that little baby with all my heart.

Z made the artwork and I made the blanket for Baby's room.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Yr my hape Valntin!

You're my happy Valentine!

Zoe and I have been counting down days for a month. Often when Jake leaves we make little countdowns or chains to keep track of how long until he comes home. It helps Z to keep things in perspective and gives her something to look forward to or at least an end point to focus on. This time I didn't make anything right away because we are also working on getting everything packed in order to move to our new house when Daddy does come home. After about the first week of Zoe's constant "how much longer" I knew we needed to get a countdown going. So, we made a little calendar with all the important days marked out. There is a star at the end on the day Jake comes home, a couple smaller stars along the way to mark out play dates and other events we have going on, and a heart for Valentine's Day. 
Because of this, Zoe has asked me several times to tell her about Valentine's Day. We have talked about everything from St. Valentine to hearts and flowers and ways to show the people in our lives that we love them. One day we decided to make a trip to Michael's.  Zoe picked out a little box for her Daddy and lots of sequins and stickers to decorate it with. Since then she has told me 3 or 4 times that she is working on a surprise for daddy to go in his box. It makes me smile to see her create little things for him and there have been days this month that I have definitely needed a smile. 
This morning though, she absolutely made my day. When I went and got her from her room she gave me a great big hug and said Happy Valentine's Day. We ate girl scout cookies for breakfast and then she told me she had a surprise for me. It was a paper with the words, Mommy I love you. You're my happy Valentine. Zoe. Of course the words weren't all spelled correctly but she had made it all by herself just for me. 
I have felt several times this month that I have had to be such a mean mommy. Z has been super emotional and there have been meltdowns almost every day. I spend so much time trying to be consistent it's exhausting. In all this though my sweet little girl still shines through. She makes me want to be the best mom that I possibly can be. I love you Zoe, you're my happy Valentine too!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Breathe In and Breathe Out

My precious little girl is 4 years old and tonight I rocked her to sleep. As I sat there I kept thinking about how my thoughts mirrored ever so closely to those I had the evening I wrote my very first blog post. I didn't know 3 years ago that our life would be the same in so many ways yet so vastly different in others.
As I was tucking Zoe in I asked her if she wanted to rock for a little while. I knew the answer would be yes. She has long passed the days of needing to be rocked to sleep and she hadn't had a rough day or anything like that. The truth is I wanted it as much as she did. 
I wanted her to know that she is loved. She is more important to me than the kitchen that needs to be cleaned or the rest of the house that still needs to be put to right before I can call it a night. She is more important than catching up on emails in my inbox or the book on my nightstand that I have read the same 3 pages of several times now because I keep falling asleep. I wanted just for a moment to rock back and forth and breathe in and breathe out.
It can be overwhelming to look at this new year and all the ups and downs that I know it will hold. I can choose though to take the moments that are right in front of me and make the most of them. I can choose what I allow to be my priorities and what I allow to consume my time. My prayer tonight is that I will make wise choices. That I will choose love and not selfishness, and that I will slow down and use every opportunity that God brings my way. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

An Adventure

Mommy, I want to go on an adventure.

Those were the words that came out of my little one's mouth with only an hour left before bedtime. At this point I had options. 1) I could distract her and we could simply play until it was time to get ready for bed. 2)We could load up into the car and head to the grocery store to buy a box of kleenex since I've been out for the last 3 days and using toilet paper to blow noses. Or, 3)we could go on an adventure.

Many times I take the first route. It's easier. When it's an hour from bedtime I rarely have the energy to tackle an outing even if it's just to get a box of kleenex. When it's an hour from bedtime on a day when Jake is working late yet again after being gone on a cross country over the weekend and I haven't had a break at all, I really don't have the energy. Tonight was different.

Tonight, I stopped for a minute. I looked down at my girl and she looked up at me with all the hope and innocence I love about her. I knew then I wanted to spend the last hour of her day investing in her and showing her she is worth my time. God has blessed me with such a special little person I want to make the most of each moment we have. She said, "Mommy, hold my hand and let's just go."

I reached down and grabbed her little hand and out the door we went.

We were in the garage now and I needed a plan and quickly. So, I picked up a plastic bag and we each put on a pair of gloves. We began walking down our street. As we walked we talked. Okay, maybe we didn't talk exactly. She asked questions and I did my best to answer them. But it was great. We spent the next 45 minutes on our adventure. We filled our bag with all the trash we found along our path and talked about everything from brier weeds to butterflies.

As I was tucking her into bed she said, "Mommy, I liked our adventure and we even made our street a little cleaner for the next person."

Looking for some trash to pick up.

Yucky garbage

Loved our Adventure!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Life During Deployment-Today I Cried...Again

     We are well past month 5 of this journey that seems to linger on and on get the point. There are days that Zoe and I fall into our schedule and life seems perfectly normal and there are days when part of our world is simply missing.
     Yesterday Zoe and I slept in and had a lazy morning. It was fantastic. We feasted on doughnuts and chocolate milk for breakfast while we watched her favorite Minnie Mouse cartoon. After a while we decided to head into town to do a little shopping before making our way to her friend's birthday party that afternoon. My girl even chose In and Out for lunch which was a real treat. She chatted nonstop the whole hour that it took to drive up to the party. I loved it.
     We arrived at the party and Zoe wasted no time in joining the other kids on the playground. She spent most of the time sliding down the big grass hill rather than the actual playground equipment. I just smiled and watched. Every kid should have the freedom to get some good grass stains once in a while. We all came inside and ate pizza and cupcakes. In true party fashion the little ones got to take a turn at the pinata and then the mad scramble was on for candy. Everyone was having a great time. The birthday boy opened presents and the children played some more while the parents took turns sharing stories and laughing at each others kids.
     It was about this time that Zoe came over and crawled up on my lap. I told her to go back and play with her friends and let her know it was going to be time to go soon. She looked up at me with the biggest, saddest eyes and said she just wanted to go home now. Definitely not the response I was expecting so I took her aside to see what had happened. Once we were out of sight of the other children her tears started streaming down her little face. "I miss my Daddy." Followed by more tears and her sad little words. "Everyone else has a Daddy here but my Daddy is gone."  My precious Princess, it's so hard when a simple kiss can't fix your little heart and make things right in your world again. I held her close and we talked about Daddy and how much he loves her and everything she can't wait to do with him when he does come home. After a few minutes, she pulled it together and said happy goodbyes to her friends and we loaded into the car. I made it about as far as the end of the street before the tears started steaming down my own face. I miss him too sweetheart.
     It was a fairly quiet car ride home but you can bet that when Zoe asked me to rock her for a little while before going to sleep I didn't hesitate to say yes. It didn't matter that it was already past her bedtime or that I was beyond exhausted myself. We snuggled into the rocking chair and cuddled until we were both almost asleep. I whispered "I love you" as I tucked her into bed. She opened her eyes a little and said, "I know Mommy.  Daddy loves us too." Then she snuggled into her blanket and drifted off to sleep. So peaceful and so precious.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Heart of a 3yr Old

Having a 3yr old is a blast. I love the way my little one will tell me what she is thinking or how she feels about something. Of course, there is no filter on her so sometimes you get more than you asked for but I still love it. 
This morning I was talking with Z about today being Thanksgiving. We talked about what it means to be thankful for something and then talked about different things she was thankful for. From there we talked about what we were going to do, what food we were going to cook, whose house we were going to, and who the other people were that would be there. Our talk went much as I expected it would with the usual answers and comments from her. 
I headed off to the kitchen to begin the preparations for my part of the meal. I smiled as I heard her walk down to her kitchen and begin to play in there. I like hearing her playful sounds and it makes me happy to see her use her imagination. After a few minutes, I peeked around the corner to check on her. This is what I found.

It only took a minute for me to see what see had done. She set out a table cloth and then made a picnic for her family. There was a plate for Mommy with salad and a cupcake, a plate for herself with cheese and a cookie, and a plate for Daddy with the largest sandwich possible. I told her I liked the picnic she made and asked her what she was doing. Her reply was that she was feeding Daddy because she is just so thankful for him. She told me she knows that he is on his big long trip but she is still just so thankful for him and loves him.

I love my precious girl and her great big heart!