Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Perfect Christmas with Abe

Since Abe was still in mobilization training in TX, Abe was able to fly home for 3 days for Christmas. We are so very thankful that we were able to spend Christmas with him. We picked him up at the airport late Wednesday night. The girls worked on Welcome Home signs for him all day. They literally screamed and ran to him when they saw him at the airport. They missed their daddy so much and were thrilled to see him again.


We really didn't do much while he was home- which made Christmas so relaxing. This year, we decided to just do Christmas Eve with our little family. It was so nice to just focus on our family and do our own little traditions. First we made a nice dinner and ate in the dining room. We made Shepards Pie, Grapes and Cheese (for wise men), bread and cheese, and Angel Food cake for dessert.

After dinner, the girls acted out the nativity as we read it from the scriptures using Gigi's homemade nativity scene. It was the same nativity set that Abe and his siblings played with when they were young.

Then, we popped popcorn and watched "Joy to the World", the nativity story on DVD.

Then the girls made reindeer food, put cookies out for Santa, and went to listen for Santa's bells on the front porch. They heard them and started screaming and running as fast as they could for their beds. Elle was screaming "hurry Santa's coming! We have to be asleep!" All the screaming and commotion scared Lily Kate and she was so scared to go to bed. I guess she was scared that Santa was going to get her! So, I had to lay down with her till she finally fell asleep.

Christmas morning was perfect. The looks on the girls faces were priceless. We spent Christmas morning playing and opening lots of presents.

For lunch, we went to Maw's house where the girls got new bikes and a really cool horse that actually walks!

When we got home, snow was everywhere. It was like a dream Christmas! So we got on our snow clothes and played in the snow till dark.
Marley LOVED the snow. She kept running away with our snowballs. She was fun to watch.

Christmas came and went too fast. Before we knew it, it was time for Abe to leave. So we headed to the airport to say our goodbyes once again. Abe will be at a training in Alabama in 3 weeks, so we might go down and see him for a couple days while he's there. So, saying goodbye was not as hard this time. I was already used to having him gone and I was able to focus on the fact that we'd see him in 3 weeks. We cried when we said goodbye, but I was okay after that. The people at the airport were so sweet and supportive. People would just stop and watch as we were saying our goodbyes. As Abe was kissing the girls goodbye, several people came up and patted Abe on his back and thanked him for his service. It really fills my heart with joy to see the kindness and appreciation of complete strangers. It makes you have a deep sense of pride for your husband and all the soldiers who leaves their families to serve.

Abe called later that night and I was so excited to tell him that I haven't cried once since he left....he laughed-didn't know if that's good or bad. It's good, because the last time he left, it was almost unbearable. I'm so thankful that I get to see him in January. That goodbye will be the hard one for us, because that's the last time we'll see him. Ugh. I don't even like to think about it.
We had a beautifully perfect Christmas!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Abe's Deployment

Abe's deployment began right after Thanksgiving. He is deploying to Iraq for one year. He hopefully will be home before next Thanksgiving. His last weeks at home were really emotional for our family. The anticipation of him leaving and just knowing everything was a "last" was almost overwhelming....Our "Last" FHE(Family Home Evening), our "last" dinner together, the last time we said prayers as a family, the last time he would tuck the girls in.....etc. We cried a lot. The last time we knelt down to pray as a family was really hard. We barely made it though the prayer, but as sad as it was, it was a very sweet moment. I will always remember that bittersweet moment. It was a reminder that we are so blessed to have our little family and it was a reminder of how we loved each other. The next time Abe would live at home, our girls would be another year older. They will change so much by the next time they see him. A year just seems so long not to see your 2 and 4 year old. They will have to get to know each other again- I think that's what makes me the most sad.

Abe's last night at home was actually his 30th birthday. He was supposed to leave on his birthday, but due to bad weather, it was pushed back a day. We were so thankful we got to celebrate his 30th with him!! We went to our favorite sushi restaurant and came home and ate cupcakes.

This is Abe's last night to tuck the girls into bed. It's funny how life's routine's can become so sentimental when you know they are about to end.

The day of Abe's departure is a blur to me now. We woke up early and got to Dobbins by 6:30am. It was freezing outside. When we got there, there was a waiting room packed full of all the other military families. Abe went off to work and get everything ready, and we sat in the waiting room. About an hour later, they announced that Abe's helicopter was not working, and that him and the other pilots on that helicopter wouldn't be able to leave till the next day. It was crazy, but of course I was so excited thinking that I got to go home with Abe and spend one more day together. So we called our families and told them not to come to Dobbins that he wasn't leaving yet. Abe had to leave to go do some test flights on the helicopter, so the girls and I just waited in the waiting room till he got back. At this point, I was so relieved to not have to say goodbye just yet. I was already planning our night at home. Waiting on Abe to finish his test flights seemed to take FOREVER. Finally, a couple hours later, he came back in the waiting room. It was such a relief to see him and I just wanted him to take us home. Then the bad news came. He said that they actually fixed the helicopter and that he was going to 30 min. He had to leave again to finish doing last minute stuff, so we had to continue to wait in that small and cramped waiting room. It was at this point that I couldn't hold the tears back. I HATE crying in front of other people. So, I quickly got the girls and ran to the car and cried. I was trying so hard not to mess up my make up, but I couldn't stop the tears. I was stunned and felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster. I missed him so much and just wanted to talk to him, but he was so busy working and getting ready to go, that I barely even saw him before he left. Since he found out he was leaving only 30 min. before he had to leave, we quickly called his family and they were able to make it up to Dobbins before he left. My mom lived too far away and couldn't make it in time.
Because my mother raised me the way she did, I quickly ran to the bathroom to freshen up before I had to say goodbye. We got a few last minute photo's. Don't let the pictures fool you, I was falling apart inside.

The girls were waving bye just as happy as they could be. They have no idea how long he will be gone. We waited outside in the bitter cold and watched him fly away.

This was the worst day for me. I did not expect to be so emotional. I knew we were going to see him in 31/2 weeks at Christmas. I tried to focus on that, but somehow it didn't matter. I guess it was just knowing, that this was the start of a year without Abe. Don't get me wrong, I knew I was going to cry, I just didn't expect it to hurt as bad as it did.

The following few weeks, I was an emotional mess. Every time Abe called, just the sound of his voice, made me do a big cry. Abe learned to just give me a few minutes to say hello every time he called. The tears were uncontrollable to the point of embarrassment. So, I finally asked for a blessing. I should have asked for a blessing a long time ago. It reminded me that Heavenly Father is always here with me and He mindful of my needs. That I am not alone. He is always with me. That if I rely on Christ, He would give me the strength I need to get through the days and to be a good mom to my precious girls. The blessing calmed and comforted me and reminded me to rely on Christ.

Since the blessing, I am doing so much better emotionally. Right now, Abe is in TX doing mobilization training. He will go to Iraq sometime at the beginning of the year.

Trials stink and are never fun to go through. But they also make us stronger and better people. As much as I don't want to go through this deployment, I know that we have a lot to be thankful for. We have two healthy kids and one on the way. I have an amazing husband who loves me unconditionally. I am thankful that he is able to serve our country and I am so proud of him. So proud. He has worked so hard to be a pilot and he loves doing what he does. I have felt so loved from my friends, family, and strangers. It's so heart warming to know that other's are praying for our family and our soldiers.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Thanksgiving Holiday

We were very busy during our Thanksgiving Holiday. Abe's sisters came into town, so we were able to spend lots of time at the Owen's home.
Papa Tom had a cute idea to have a "Thanksgiving Day Parade" in our driveway. We dressed the kids up in cute costumes- whether they liked it or not. They were under strict instructions to have fun. We sang cute indian songs and we gave them cute indian names.

On Thanksgiving Day, we all ran the Jingle Jog in Marietta. Elle was very excited to run in her first race.

That afternoon, we ate Thanksgiving at The Owen's.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Halloween 2010

This year was Abe's first year to spend Halloween with the girls. He has always been away with military trainings, etc. So we were so excited to be together as a family on this Halloween.

The girls dressed as a "pink cowgirl" and a horse. They looked so cute together!

We were to The Pumpkin Patch Farm in Adairsville.

We(actually just Abe) carved our pumpkin.
We went trick or treating on the coolest hayride EVER on Halloween. We had so much fun riding this thing.

We made crafts sent by Gigi. The girls get so excited to do crafty things!

Fall 2010

We went to Disney World with my dad and Emmi's family (Abe's sister). We stayed 8 days and had so much fun!!

Abe and I also took the girls to SeaWorld one day. We were SPLASHED by the Whales- which was the highlight of our trip.

While I was serving in Young Women's, Sharon and I earned our Young Women Medallions.

I have also been doing Joy School with Elle. Since this is my first year to stay home, I didn't want her to leave everyday to go to preschool. Joyschool is a group of moms who alternate teaching each week. You just buy the curriculum online and it's very easy to prepare. Elle LOVES Joyschool and the good friends she has made.

She usually wants friends to come over afterwards or to go to play at someone else's house. This particular day, we invited all five girls over to play. They had so much fun!

Lily Kate's 2nd Birthday

We had a family birthday party for Lily Kate's 2nd birthday. We've decided to only have "big birthday parties" on big birthdays- such as 5, 8, 12, 16, etc. Big birthday parties are too stressful and expensive, so we decided to keep it simple and sweet. And it was! My dad, Maw, and my sister's family came to help us celebrate. Abe was away at a training in Savannah and sadly has to miss her birthday.

Lily Kate is such a beautiful and charming addition to our little family. I am so thankful she is in our family. She has brought spunk and laughter into our home. She is as stubborn as a mule and has a smile that will melt your heart. She is generous with her affection and is a girl who knows what she wants. She is so funny and she knows it. She'll do anything to get a good laugh or a good reaction out of people. She loves her big sister and does and says everything Elle does. I love my baby girl with all of my heart!!