Monday, May 31, 2010

Weekend Worship, Fun & Praises

Russell and I pass four churches on our way from home to base, so we've been interested in trying one or some of them out as our temporary home church. We went to Christ's Mission Church's website and were impressed. So, we visited this Sunday morning. I LOVED it! I enjoyed the teaching and message, meeting some very friendly people, and I was thrilled that Rhys enjoyed his time in the nursery with several other children and some great nursery care providers! We walked in the front doors to such FRIENDLY greeters, and it was like that until we left! The first lady we spoke to invited us to their annual luau. Then, everyone followed suit, inviting us. We went and had a great time! We got to fellowship with some of the locals, with some soldiers and their spouses, and Rhys had a great time doing whatever was at hand...

Rhys LOVES doggies, or "daw!" as he calls them. :) The luau was awesome! They had volleyball, horse shoe, a trampoline, a long water slide for the older kiddos, etc, etc. It was a treat for each of us to be there. Rhys was checking out the volleyball game...
He wanted to get involved! :)
He wouldn't get IN the water but enjoyed throwing the basketballs in there and then fishing them out.
He just looked so cute sucking away at his juice in this picture. Jenn, we LOVE this baby Nalgene! Thank you!! It does NOT leak, and I want MORE of them! We JUST started using it, so it was a GREAT gift for Rhys' b'day for ALL of us. :) Thank you!

We had a WONDERFUL weekend and start to this week TOGETHER as a family! Russell was off from training on Friday and Monday, so it made for a super long weekend and two short work weeks! :) I'm so fulfilled from the weekend that I'm actually READY to get into the week, even if Russell does start his training back up! I told Russell tonight, "One week down, and we're already into week two!" I also mentioned, "Honey, do you realize that we only have 11 weeks to go until Caleb is here?" :) That took him aback...Caleb WILL be here, Lord willing, before we know it!

Another HUGE praise from the weekend...we met a wonderful couple through Russell's training classes. We had dinner with Gabe and Amy on Saturday night, had them over for dessert and Joker :) on Sunday night, and then had lunch and played more Joker with them today! Gabe and Russell are working out together in the mornings, prepping for their first PT test, which will be next Tuesday, and Amy is my new walking partner! We speed walked together this morning and plan to do so again tomorrow morning. She's also WONDERFUL with children, so she comes to the playground with me and Rhys, and we just keep each other good company! We have been encouraged by the army to get to know other wives from our husbands' classes, so we're doing so, and it's been very encouraging! God has blessed my prayers to not only find a walking partner, but she's also follower of Christ! I praise the Lord for this answered prayer!

Date Nights

Sweet Russell has surprised me TWICE with date nights since we've been in our new home. The first was last Saturday night, just two days after we arrived. Russell came home with yummy dessert - Blue Bell pints of The Great Divide and Butter Pecan - and a movie, which was a sweet, true story {I cried but enjoyed the movie! What a sweet love story, and I appreciate that it's TRUE! I recommend the movie...what a fascinating story!}

Then, this passed Friday, Russell was OFF from training! That was a wonderful surprise, and it was a great start to a LONG Memorial Day weekend! We went to Aussie Jack's for dinner, which was delicious and another sweet evening together...with Rhys. :)

We shared their signature appetizer - a MOUND of onion strings {before I remembered to pull my camera out, we had already eaten HALF the plate! This may be TMI, but I was burping up onion taste for the rest of the night and, although I enjoyed eating it, I will not be ordering this again! :) I don't like to taste my dinner ALL night long!! :)} Russell ordered the Ribeye steak with potato wedges and fresh greens.

I had to go a bit more aussie-like in ordering the Toowoomba Chicken, a very tender chicken breast, smothered in melted Jack cheese, crisp bacon and sauteed mushrooms, and all of my sides were yummy, too! Rice pilaf, fresh greens, and Rhys was excited to help me eat my meal!

We started him off with the onion strings. Since we needed help entertaining him :), I just offered him some of our appetizer, thinking he'd probably turn down ONION, but he ate it up! The next few diaper changes told us to NEVER feed him fried onion rings/strings UNTIL he is out of diapers! He can deal with that mess when he is older! :)
But he did 'communicate' to us that they were finger-lickin' yummy!! :)
After we got home and Rhys down, Russell surprised me with a movie. Neither of us knew anything about the story line. He just picked it because it was under the genre of romance...for me, of course. :) It was an interesting movie, but I don't recommend it for pregnant, emotional, military wives. I cried my eyes out and couldn't stop thinking about how dificult military life has to be for the soldiers, their spouses and their families! Ugh! Russell and I agreed it wasn't necessarily the movie we would've chosen, had we known what it was about, but we believe that God led him to choose it, and we got to grow through the story.
Russell and I do not get to communicate much during the week, as he leaves sometime in the 4am hour and comes home sometime after 5 or 6pm, which is probably my busiest time with Rhys...feeding him dinner, bathing him, then playing with him, while preparing dinner for me and Russell. Russell has about an hour with Rhys after finishing homework. We put him down together. Then, after we catch up on our personal email and things we need to get done at the end of the day, we're exhausted and ready to crash. We're in bed as early at 8:00/8:30, so communication is sparse. I appreciate that Russell's been so intentional to surprise me with dates nights so that we have time to actually sit, talk, look at and be with each other. So, a BIG THANK YOU to you, Honey! Please keep up the spontaneity!!

And here is a picture of our soldier, just walking in the front door, after a day of training.

We love you, Honey, and we thank you for your commitment to us as your family, as you serve our country!

Happy Memorial Day to all and a BIG THANK YOU to all the veterans and soldiers who have served and are serving US! Thank you and GOD bless you!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Rhys' Favorite Activity

Climbing! On anything and everything!
Humor yourself with this 23 second video, and I assure you that Russell CAUGHT him at the end. He did NOT fall {this time :)}!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Happy 16 Months!!

Sweet Rhys, Happy 16 months!!

It's been such a busy and crazy month that I confess I've not taken any pictures of you or much else. Sorry! So, above is a picture of you from yesterday, while Daddy and I were wearing you out taking you in and out of the car seat and stroller, going from one building on post to another, trying to get acquainted with the base and getting all of our errands run before Daddy started training today. You were definitely ready for some running around time! Thank you for being such a trooper for us, sweet boy!

Notice the butterfly band-aid? Poor guy. You climbed up onto our sofa a couple of days ago, fell over one end of it, head first, landing with your forehead on Mommy's METAL free weights, and Daddy brought you to me, calmly saying, "Honey, Rhys is bleeding. I need you to get me our first-aid kit." My response was prayer {Help me, Lord Jesus, to have the grace to get through this!}, running to the first-aid kit and horror at the gushing blood down your sweet face. You didn't cry until you noticed the red wet stuff coming down your face, which was so sad. :( Anyhow, I praise the Lord that Daddy knows how {and is helping me to learn} to respond to these kind of emergencies with a calmness and knowledge on how to treat the 'boo-boo.' A good bath to wash all the blood away, a butterfly band-aid, some Neosporin, a regular band-aid and a good 3.5 hour nap later, and you were good to go! Such a trooper, yet again!

I don't know how to respond to your desire to climb on EVERYthing, other than to let you and just teach you how to climb down carefully and then BE THERE for you, in case you choose to be adventurous again. I pray that I will be there just before each of those 'boo-boo' moments, but I need to continue trusting that the Lord will protect you because I just cannot always be there. It makes me so nervous! Whew!

You are such a JOY, Rhys! I am excited about our days together, especially before your little brother arrives! We need to make the most of our time together these next few months...lots of playgrounds and play time together! You have adapted SO well, praise the Lord, to our new home, and that reminds me to be flexible and to embrace life 'as it is,' to God's glory. So, thank you for your model, sweet boy!

Daddy and Mommy LOVE you so much! We pray that you continue to grow strong and that we would continue to teach you and train you up in our Lord. We fall short, for sure, but we will continue to strive for that, by God's grace.

Happy 16 months and growing, big man!


Monday, May 24, 2010

A Letter from Missouri

We’re officially Missouri residents!

The last couple of weeks are a blur and were exhausting for me. I was so worn down upon leaving Birmingham that I got a sinus infection and had to get on an antibiotic this passed Tuesday while we were in Louisiana, and handfuls of hair are coming out of my head in the shower. I’m realizing just how stressed I was leading up to this life change.

However, all that {negative stuff :)} said, we have actually transitioned supernaturally well and only by God’s grace! The packing began with taking all of our stuff to a storage unit or setting things aside to be hauled by van, truck or u-haul to our MO home. Russell did an AMAZING job staying focused and energized to get it all done. I helped as much as I could between emotional breakdowns and bouts of lack of energy. Thankfully, by our departure date, May 17th, last Monday, we were packed and ready to go! I praise the Lord for giving us the grace to get that far…Russell, once again, was amazing at getting it all done and supporting me along the way. Pregnancy and keeping up with Rhys did me in on SEVERAL occasions, and Russell gets to see the worst of it, but he was WONDERFUL!

We drove off on Monday morning, heading for Louisiana…I couldn’t find Rhys’ diaper bag, nor my cell phone, so I was already off to a FRANTIC start! We were already on the road, but I had to turn around and go back home, to our neighbor’s home, to get the diaper bag (sweet Cindy kept Rhys for us that morning so that we could finish packing the vehicles and U-Haul), and we finally found my cell phone in my duffel bag with all my clothes…again, pregnancy forgetfulness at its best! That day was hard on me because I was not looking forward to four days of traveling, and since we were only at the beginning of that time frame, I couldn’t see the ‘light at the end of the tunnel.’ So, I was nervous the entire drive…I drove the van; Russell drove the truck, pulling the U-Haul; we took turns with Rhys in each of our vehicles, which was a great idea!
Fun with cousin Sierra!

We had a fun time with family and friends in Louisiana for a day and two nights…Russell’s sweet mom and sister took care of Rhys all of Tuesday so that Russell and I could just have some much –needed down time. Russell went four-wheelin’; I went to workout at a local gym; then, we had a date afternoon. The next day, we were “on the road again” to Arkansas, where we spent a day and evening with some wonderful friends, Chris, Tara and Crosby Kear. That night, we slept in a hotel room, and I have to include that Russell and I had separate Queen-size beds, and it was WONDERFUL!!! We slept SOOOOO well, and we were ready to get back on the road the next morning!
Fun with Crosby!
On Thursday morning, we were up at 6:00 and on the road by 7:00. It was a long drive to Missouri, but we got here by 1:00 that afternoon, went to all the utility places to get our electricity, water and sewer hooked up. Then, we made it to our new home! I broke down in tears immediately, just exhausted and uncertain of what we were ‘getting into,’ but I didn’t for one second lose faith nor trust in our Lord. I was just emotionally and physically sapped, and I needed a good cry. Once that was done, we unloaded everything, and by 11:30 that night, we were officially “settled.”
Following, you'll see a bunch of pictures of our Missouri home. I should mention that it was NOT furnished, so we had to transport whatever we wanted with us. As the packing continued and the time came closer to our move, we minimized and minimized and yet again MINIMIZED what we brought! We are living very simply and loving it! I hope that we can continue to live this simply in our next seasons of life!

Our home: (our duplex is to the left...see our swagger wagon?)

Our front view:Once you walk into the front door, our coat closet on the left:Garage on the right:Kitchen on the right:Walking into the living area:Our living area:Russell's work station:

My work station{Russell was SO sweet to set this up for me so that I can have an area to sew and keep up with ‘my world’ via internet.}: We had to buy a baby that Rhys doesn't fall down this... (Yikes! Steep!)
The master bedroom:
Like Russell's dresser?And mine? If it's not stuffed in a box :) or on the floor, it's hanging...Our restroom:
We gave it our 'personal' touch, bringing our towels! :)
Rhys' room:

We hung a tarp over his window as his curtain, and he's been sleeping GREAT b/c we get the room so DARK!!! :) I am thankful for that!
Rhys' restroom:
Our HUGE utility room!
I cannot tell you how THANKFUL I am for the washer and dryer!!! I was not sure we’d have this and was thinking that I might have to go to a Laundromat everyday with Rhys…that would’ve been a challenge:
We’ve been without internet until today! I told Russell that it’s been a nice, forced fast from internet, and I’m challenged to NOT get on my computer so much during the days, now! It’s been refreshing to realize that I CAN make it without getting on the internet and checking my email throughout the day…MULTIPLE times a day!!! Ridiculous how much that WASTES my time and energy!

We’ve been on Fort Leonard Wood army base every day to get a feel for what life is going to be like for us as a family and for me and Rhys, once Russell gets started on his training schedule tomorrow. We live about 10 minutes from the front gate. The base is AMAZING! It’s like a city! Anyone living on base would never need to leave for ANYthing! It’s got gas stations, fast food chain restaurants, a mini-mall, the PX {like a mini-Walmart}, the Commissary {a grocery store, and I like their prices!! :)}, Starbuck’s :), a great gym to work out in, miles of walking paths, which I’ve already been enjoying with little man in his new jogging stroller, various parks/playgrounds for every age…you name it, it’s there! The people seem very kind, and I feel safe there, which is important to me, since I’ll be in a new environment with Rhys as my companion each day!

It’s interesting seeing SO many military people around town…I’m used to only seeing Russell in uniform. I almost went up to a stranger in uniform the night we got here…we had to make a run to Walmart for plastic cups, plates, food, supplies, etc…and I almost said to this guy, “Hey, Hun...” then remembered, “Wait! Russell’s not in uniform!” I looked around and a good 95% of all men had a military hair cut and maybe 70% were in uniform! So, this is going to be a different life for me…I get to experience military life, which excites both me and Russell, but I admit, I had to physically get here and ‘see for myself’ before I could get excited. Now, I am. Genuinely. I praise praise praise the Lord for the joy in my heart and for where HE has brought us and for wherever HE is taking us.

We know that we will be here for four months, until the end of September. We look forward to living out our days here, soon meeting Caleb (mid-August) and going from there!Thank you for letting me share. Thank you for the prayers that have carried us to this point. I hope to do a better job of keeping our blog updated on our lives during this season of life, but pregnancy and keeping up with Rhys will surely continue to call for naps during my former blogging times.

Love to all of you!! Please continue to pray that we will walk in step with the Holy Spirit each day, that we will feed on the Lord’s Word and in prayer continually and that we will make the most of every opportunity {and get a better understanding of even what that means!} during this season. We also pray that the Lord will keep me and Russell united during this time, knowing that we will face trying, tiring and disappointing times because of our humanness.

Thank you for praying, and please please please keep in touch!