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Monday, December 31, 2012

so long, 2012!

the close of another year always feels so bittersweet to me.. looking back on the last year makes me realize how quickly time passes. so much has happened for us this year! just a few highlights:

*fourth wedding anniversary; wedding anniversaries are more important to me than any other event (other than my kids' birthdays). a day that should be honored and cherished, as you celebrate your sacred union as man and wife

*Justin graduated his training and joined up with his team; that has been a huge learning experience for us both, and an opportunity for growth individually and as a couple/family

*Avery turned four! birthdays are important. Ave is getting so big and smart!! more beautiful every day

*Brooklynn's birth in May; she has brought us SO much joy! Brooklynn Mae is the sweetest baby I have ever known; she has a smile for everyone she lays eyes on

*we took a vacation to Hawaii! that was fun!

*I ran my first half marathon, on my 24th birthday.  that was a wonderful experience, and has me daydreaming of my first full marathon in June!

*Justin turned 30; a new decade for him. I am so thankful for this man. so thankful. and excited for many more birthdays!

the year 2012 has been a year of so many changes for us. our family of three became a family of four. we have all been adjusting and learning. Justin's job has had him in and out a lot; once again, adjusting and changing. this year has been a really tough one for me, as you all know. but it has had so many bright and precious moments.

2013 is going to be another year of changes for us. we will be tackling our first deployment as a family. that is the greatest challenge that we will face this year. I just pray that through all of the difficulties I am able to find joy; to show Christ to others; to get through it all with grace and integrity. I can't say that I am looking forward to 2013's arrival. I can't say that I am excited about it or glad it's here. but I will say that I'm going to try my darndest to make it a year to remember; a year of firsts, new experiences; a year of success and accomplishment. I pray that this year God uses all of the separation from my husband to bring us even closer together, and to draw me closer to Christ.

and with that I'll end with a scripture; one of my favorites :)

 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11


Friday, December 14, 2012

silent night

sometimes i just feel like being quiet. i don't feel like talking or laughing. just being silent. i don't talk a lot as it is, but when these moods strike i prefer to just be alone...or to listen to others. or to listen to God. sometimes i think he wants us to feel this way; so that we will just listen to him; bask in his presence; feel him. he wants us to feel his love.

today i felt like being quiet. i have been feeling sad and heavy and drained, so today i felt like just sitting and being silent and still. thankfully a sweet friend offered to keep the girls today, so i was able to treat myself to a pedicure. i sat in that massage chair and got my feet worked on while listening to asian chatter. and i didn't have to say a word. i didn't have to make small talk. i wasn't asked how i'm doing. no one asked me to do anything for them. it was lovely. it was perfect. it was definitely therapeutic.

when i heard the news of the school shooting in connecticut today, it just broke my heart. and my heart breaks still. for the families who are spending this holiday season in shock, grief, and devastation. for the gifts under the trees that will never be unwrapped. for the homes that are now void of childlike laughter and chatter. i cannot bear the thought... it makes me cry. my heart is so heavy and grieved for these families.

but also for the precious children who experienced such trauma in a time that is supposed to be filled with joy and awe. they went into that school innocent precious children. they came out scarred, frightened, traumatized. their innocence was stripped away from them today. they were subjected to images, sounds, and emotions that a child cannot possibly comprehend. it's just not fair. they're children. they should have had to witness no such thing. no one ever should. my heart breaks for them as they face difficult days ahead.

i can't imagine. i have no words.

the only thing i know to do is pray. i am so thankful that God is merciful. he is the peace giver, the heart mender. he knows what those families are feeling, and he's there to guide them through this impossible time of their lives. he's the only one who can. i pray that they all turn to him for guidance. i pray that somehow they find peace. i pray that he will hear their hearts when they seem to have no words.. i pray that they will feel his love.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

strength

some days are just harder than others. lately they're more often than not, but i'm making it..

i may not look like a strong person right now. i certainly don't feel like one. but strength looks a little different sometimes. to keep moving forward is strength. to smile and play with my kids, right now takes a lot of strength. to try to make this holiday season fun has taken a lot of strength. to homeschool avery while my heart is just sad, takes a lot of strength. to make learning fun and creative takes a lot of strength, when your head is filled with thoughts of missing your husband. to trust in God when you don't feel him close takes a lot of strength, too. to get out of bed when you just want to stay under the covers; to put on make up and real clothes when you want to stay in your pajamas; to get out of the house when you only want to sit on the couch; all of it takes such strength. to stay here and live this way takes strength. to leave would be the eas(ier) thing to do. but it's impossible. it's not an option. leaving is never an option. i would rather have justin only sometimes than not at all. that is strength. that is love.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

bah humbug

i do not like being a weak person. and right now that's what i feel like i am, a weak person. my goal is always to make life easier for justin so that he can do his job, and for our girls so that they can be kids and enjoy life. i have always tried so hard to hide from justin how hard all of this is for me, and i have always succeeded at doing so i believe...until now. i just hate that he knows i'm having a hard time. i hate it. i try to hide it but he hears it in my voice. 

you know, i never realized how difficult it would be to be away from your spouse during the holiday season. i always heard that the holidays can be a difficult time for people, but i never really thought much about that until this year. justin has been in and out for two months. i have been struggling through this holiday season on my own with the girls. it hasn't been easy...

friday we went to see santa with a few friends, and the parade afterwards. one minute avery was trying to climb a huge tree, i looked away for five seconds, looked back and she was gone. just gone. of course i panicked. completely panicked. i know i appeared calm on the outside, but on the inside it was like a tornado of worry, fear, and the worst thoughts you could imagine. i wanted to throw brooklynn in the grass and take off running until i found her. but of course i didn't do that. i enlisted the help of a few nearby friends to help scan the area. after walking a few yards i spotted her. talk about relief... disaster.

tonight we decided to head down to the bay and watch the boat parade and fireworks. first of all, i got the times mixed up. apparently the fireworks were later than i thought, so ave and i were disappointed about that. my bad on that one. then we're waiting on the parade to start...i'm trying to skype with my mom and sisters; ave is wandering around making me nervous i'll lose her (again); brooklynn is wailing at the top of her lungs; then ave tells me she has to pee, of course. i feel so stressed out. i want to go home. that makes avery cry, because she wants to watch the parade. now i have two crying girls. ahhhhh!! finally brooklynn calms down so we watch the first half of the parade. avery is satisfied with that and we head home. disaster.

not to mention...Christmas is a time for family and fun and being together. i have none of my family here. i have no husband here. when i see families happy together i feel resentment and bitterness. i don't mean to. i know it's ugly. i can't help it.

i have tried so hard to make it a fun holiday season for the girls. mostly for avery. but i feel like i've failed. everything i try to do ends badly. i don't want it to be Christmas anymore. i have no Christmas spirit, no matter how many carols i listen to or lights i hang up or presents i wrap. i just want it to be over...

Friday, December 7, 2012

Tormented Heart

Sometimes I miss you so much
It makes my heart literally ache
My eyes are tired
Red and swollen from tears of sadness
Tears of stress
Tears of exhaustion
Worry has etched itself onto my face
I don't know how this can go on
My emotions are all over the place
Sometimes up, sometimes down
But mostly down
I no longer feel excitement
Or joy
Or peace
Or hope
My heart cannot rest
Only when I look at our daughters
Do I feel an ounce of happiness
They keep me going
When I just want to stop
You're just a ghost in our home
Sometimes here, sometimes gone
But mostly gone
I can't feel joy when I look at you
Or hope
Or peace
Because it's too hard on my heart
I know you'll be leaving again
Leaving me
Over and over again
It never ends
And that makes me tired
And sad

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

lonely, not alone

i just...really am struggling. i hate to sound like a broken record. but this is my life. this is what's happening. it's just hard. every single day is a struggle right now. when i wake up i feel like i have nothing to look forward to. when i go to bed, it is always with a heavy heart. always...

i know it must sound like i'm just sitting here wallowing in my own misery over here. but i'm not. i really am trying. i am getting out of the house. i'm plastering on a smile. i'm exercising. i'm trying to spend time in the Word. i'm turning on my good music. i'm doing all the things i always do. but on the inside my heart is just crushed. demolished. broken. i just want my husband home. i want my daughters to have their dad be an active part of their lives. constantly answering the question of "will i see daddy tomorrow?" with a "no" is just really, really difficult. it's hard for me to picture the next four years of our lives being like this. but i know they will be. i'm trying to accept it. i'm trying.

you know, i think there's a big misconception out there that christians don't struggle. you love God, you have him on your side, so life is easy right? WRONG. i think that christians often struggle more, because when you're doing the things that God wants you to do, living the life that he has for you...that's what the devil hates. that's when he is going to come at you the hardest. i think there are high standards set for christians. we believe in God, so we must be perfect like him too right? people forget that christians, too, are human. human. humans make mistakes. we mess stuff up that shouldn't be messed up. we complicate things with our emotions, our egos, our selfishness.

no, christians struggle. i am a living example of that (thanks, Lord. ha.). the thing is, we have hope. we cling to the promise that we do have God on our side. and while that doesn't mean things will be easy--he never promised us life would be easy did he?--it does mean that he will guide us through it. he will never leave us, even when we feel isolated and alone. he will get us through it. i'm not doing any of this alone. i also have the promise that all i go through is for my own good. all of this--the separation from my husband, the loneliness and depression--it's not in vain. it is molding me into a godly woman of strength and character. it's preparing me to one day be  a support to someone in the same shoes i now bear. from these trials i will gain wisdom, insight, integrity. Romans 8:28 says "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." this is the promise i have to cling to. praise God!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

roller coaster

annnd he's gone again...

today is Justin's 30th birthday. I had planned to surprise him with a horseback riding adventure, he's been wanting to do that for a while. but instead we had to drop him off at the base at 8:45 this morning so he could catch a flight across the country. not exactly what I had planned...

I keep waiting on all this to get easier. everyone tells me it gets easier. but it's not getting easier at all. each time I have to say goodbye to my husband it is just as difficult as it was the time before that. the day he leaves I fall into some really dark feelings. I feel so depressed; lonely; hopeless; heartbroken. I cry that whole day. everything makes me cry. I try not to. but I can't help it. I just can't. I try to smile, to hold back the tears, to feel positive. I try to be strong.

 but then I started thinking...maybe all of that isn't really being strong. maybe sometimes strength looks a little different. maybe strength is when you cry and feel depressed and go on living anyway. maybe strength is just in pulling yourself out of bed the morning after you soaked your pillow with tears. maybe strength isn't in hiding the tears. maybe strength is staying here by my husband's side, while rarely ever actually at his side, when it would just be easier to walk away from it all. maybe to be strong is to face your feelings, give into them a little, then move forward. strength is moving forward. I'm moving forward at least. one hour, one day at a time. not always because I want to, but because I have to.

for the last three years almost the navy has just put me on this incredibly ridiculous emotional roller coaster. the last year things were great. Justin was home. he was home with me for a year, I didn't have to worry about him going anywhere. I knew this day would come, where we'd have to get back into the swing of things. I knew it would be hard. I dreaded it. and now here we are. I am riding this roller coaster that I just want so desperately to climb out of, but instead of slowing down to let me off it only gets faster, taking crazy twists and turns that make me want off even more...

but there's no escaping this roller coaster. this roller coaster is our life now. and I love Justin so much that I'm willing to keep on riding, even when I so desperately want off.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

i love being a mom

You know how sometimes you have moments (or even whole days if you're lucky) that make you really, really thankful you're a mom? Well, today was one of those days. The entire day the girls were so good!! We walked to the drug store with a friend and picked up some Christmas lights for Ave's room. Brooklynn had so much fun looking at them, her face was priceless. And I think Ave likes them too ;)

Homeschooling went really well, too. I've been praying that God will help me be creative. It's working I think. :) We did a few worksheets, a math activity, then made these stockings out of paper:

















Then we went for a 6 mile run with our neighbor friends. The girls were awesome and so patient in their stroller, and the weather was perfect; nice and cool. Not to mention spectacular views. Have I said lately how much I love where we live?!


After our run we went to grab some coffee and a donut (coffee for me, donut for Aves) and headed to the library for some fun. Our library is awesome. They always have awesome seasonal displays, but of course the Christmas one is best of all. They have skiing bears, Christmasy movie characters like Charlie brown and Pooh and Mickey mouse decked out in Christmas attire. Santa climbing a ladder, a train that goes round and round. Everything is all lit up and moving, so pretty. We admired that for a while then picked out some books to read, and finally enjoyed some play with puppets. As we were leaving Ave pointed at an older girl's shirt and said "That's a really cute shirt isn't it, Mom?" My little fashionista :)

Next we headed to the park. Avery had so much fun. I love watching her walk right up to kids and start talking to them. Over the last two years she has come out of her shell SO much! She never would have done that when we first moved here; she wouldn't even say hi to kids at the park.

Brooklynn was just along for the ride today. She is so sweet and precious, I just love her baby chubbiness! She is a loved little girl!







We did a lot today and walked everywhere we went (or ran). How blessed are we that we can walk everywhere?! Just another reason I love it here so much!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Moody Christmas

I have been in a weird mood for about a week now... I know it's my heart and head going into defense mode, so as to protect themselves from the constant emotional roller coaster that this military life has put me on. This has all happened before, during Justin's training, when he was coming and going often...although that wasn't nearly as difficult and didn't last as long as this is going to. Whew!

I have been trying to be in a happy mood and enjoy Justin while he's here. But it's hard, knowing that he'll just be leaving again. He says he likes it better like this, so he at least gets to see us some...but I disagree. I'd prefer he was gone for a few months then home for a few months. This is just pure torture! As soon as I adjust to him being home, he's gone again! I feel like my head is spinning sometimes.

In other news...we booked our plane tickets to fly back home to visit for Christmas, but had to change them. Go figure. It's not a big deal, we did have to pay more though. Ah well. What can ya do?

I can't wait to visit my big family. I can't wait for everyone to meet Brooklynn, and see how beautiful and smart Avery is getting. I am excited to spend time with some of the people I love most, doing fun Christmasy things together. I may even be excited to see some snow...maybe. But traveling at Christmas is always kind of bittersweet for me. I want to be with my family. I also want to be with my husband. But he (understandably) wants to be with his family, too. So I always feel kind of torn. This year is a little different, too, because he has been gone so much. And as soon as we get home from our trip we have a few days together, then he leaves for a month to train. Always training.

I'm hoping and praying with all my might that he will be home from his deployment next year in time for us to have our own Christmas. I'll miss being with my family; but I am so excited to have a relaxing Christmas in my own home with my husband and our sweet daughters. We never even get a tree because we're always leaving, so it will be really fun to decorate with Avery next year! Start some of our own traditions :)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

I have so much to be thankful for. I could go on for days. Mostly, I'm thankful for these three


A few pre-Thanksgiving activities :)

                                             My little Indian girl

                                            Avery loved eating our Tom Turkey

I had a lot of fun this year, teaching Ave about Thanksgiving and explaining to her some of the background of the holiday. We even threw some couch cushions in the floor and pretended we were setting sail on the Mayflower. So fun :)

And a few highlights from our holiday. We drove about an hour and a half north to a small country town, Julian, CA. Apparently they're famous for their apple pies. They didn't disappoint, we came home with a delicious apple pie. We went with a few friends and enjoyed a buffet Thanksgiving dinner at a local restaurant. Not a traditional Thanksgiving, but sometimes it's nice to shake things up a bit :)








                                            Little Brooklynn's very first Thanksgiving :)

                                                 Sweet little friends

Happy Thanksgiving from the McAfee clan! And now, on to Christmas!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

stay a while

i had a mini meltdown today. ok, it wasn't a mini meltdown, it was a major one. it consisted of me crying for hours unable to stop despite my best efforts, while repeatedly saying to myself "steel your nerve. stop it, anna, just stop it! get yourself together, woman!" needless to say, my pep talk failed miserably and i ended up gasping for air by the end of it, from trying so hard not to cry. ugh.

i always try with all my might not to cry in front of justin or the girls. i really, really try. but there are just times when you can't hold it in. you just need to sob on your husband's shoulder while you're safe in the circle of his strong arms. today that's what i did. i guess that's what i needed.

now i feel guilty. and i have a pounding headache. and tears still keep trying to spill over my eyelashes. and i just miss my husband so desperately.

justin will only be gone a few days this time, so why am i having such a hard time? the answer lies in the words this time. this time. this is only one time of many. my husband has at least two more trips before christmas break. and after that? you guessed it, more trips. i feel like this is how it's going to be for the next four years of my life. four years. here, gone, here, gone, here, gone. it all feels so utterly exhausting and hopeless. such a terrible roller coaster of emotions. you go from such a high to such a low. one week the love of your life is home, life is good, you're happy and full of laughs and love, nothing can bring you down. and then he leaves. and you're sad, and lonely, and depressed, and just so tired.

i usually am able to look past the separation to happier times. i usually am able to get excited for things, despite my husband's absence. thanksgiving with my little family, christmas with my big one. but right now i am really struggling. i am struggling to get excited. i'm struggling to be positive and to see the light at the end of the tunnel. i'm finding it really difficult to look forward to anything. when i look ahead i don't see happy times, holidays, birthdays, stolen moments with my husband. all i see is him leaving us, again and again. that's hard to look past. that's what is filling my vision.

i'm trying. i know i need to adjust my view and my perspective. but right now i just don't have the energy or the will to. right now i just feel sad. right now i just want my justin to come home and stay. i just want him to stay.

family is all that matters

this morning as i sit here in silence (a rare occurrence in this household), my heart is just so full of love and contentment and joy. i am just so thankful that i found my soul mate at such a young age, because that means we get even more time together. i look so forward to spending my life as justin's partner, best friend, team mate, wife. he is such a wonderful man, truly. so easy to love, so kind and gentle and patient, such a hard worker. i love him more every single day. i have come to appreciate the little things that make him him. he is just an incredible husband and father, and i count myself so blessed and honored to know him, and to know him so well. he is everything to me.

my sweet girls are another reason for my happiness. i have been  a mom for four years now, and have not regretted it for one single moment. i have changed countless diapers, made it through many sleepless nights, cleaned up vomit, wiped snotty noses, cleaned dirty faces, folded thousands of tiny clothes, prepared millions of meals, watched endless episodes of dora. i have played, i have laughed, learned, grown, cried. these two daughters of mine have taught me more than i could ever wish to teach them. they have made me grow up, yet reminded me what it is like to be a child. i have so enjoyed seeing wonder and curiosity on their faces as they study the world around them. avery has literally taught me how to stop and smell the roses. she has taught me to not take life too seriously. she and brooklynn have taught me how to love in a way i never thought possible. they have taught me how to serve, how to be selfless. i am so grateful to them for that.

being a housewife and stay-at-home mother is, i believe, the hardest and one of the most important jobs in the world. we are raising up the next generation. we are supporting our husbands day in and day out, in everything we do. we get no days off, no pay raises, no incentives for doing better or more. we do what we do out of love. pure love. our pay comes in the form of hugs, kisses, and happy faces. if we do our job right, the effects will be seen for generations to come.

i am so thankful to be able to fulfill these two roles. so thankful. in justin, avery, and brooklynn i have everything i could ever need. my life is so full of meaning with them in it. i would not change a single thing.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

enjoy the scenery

there are many life lessons that can be learned from running...

i have been training for a half marathon. because of this, i have been spending a lot of time pounding the pavement. which gives me a lot of time to think--in fact, being a stay-at-home mom, during my runs is one of the only times i have to think. God has used running to teach me several things here lately. perseverance, dedication, work ethic, etc.

those of you who run know that not every run is going to be a good one. sometimes you just feel 'off' or heavy or your head just isn't in it. one day i was experiencing one of my 'off' days. my legs felt heavy and the run seemed endless. i felt like it was taking longer than usual for me to reach my destination. i felt tired. and frustrated. i was focused on a pain in my foot and my slow pace and the sun on my shoulders. i was even looking down at the side walk, which isn't a very nice or motivating thing to look at while you're trying to complete a run.

then i had a thought: why am i making this so hard and miserable? why am  i staring down at the ugly, dirty sidewalk when there is a beautiful view right in front of my face? the sun is out, the waves are crashing, the ocean is sparkling, why am i not enjoying this more? i need to be enjoying this. i need to be taking it all in. i need to be in the moment.

and so i changed my attitude and enjoyed the rest of my run.

sometimes in life it's easy to just focus on what is right in front of you without seeing the bigger picture. it's easy to get distracted with things that are uncomfortable or inconvenient rather than being present and enjoying the moment. sometimes we just need to stop and put things into perspective; adjust our attitude; look at things through our eternal goggles. does this really matter? is that even worth getting upset over?

sometimes we just need to look away from our problems and enjoy the view.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

heavy heart

in light of yesterday's election results, i have had a lot on my mind today. i feel so heavy hearted and grieved for our nation. i am afraid for the future that we have chosen for our children. our culture is trying to undermine the value of human life with abortion, and the institution of marriage and family with homosexual marriage legalization. (if you don't like what i am writing, now is your cue to exit)

i am a Christian first and most importantly. being a God-fearing, Bible-believing Christian, i believe that it is important to vote as closely to Biblical principles as possible. to me this means voting republican. pro-life. preserving the sanctity of marriage, protecting my children and our family. i make no apologies or excuses for what i believe. there is no one who can change my mind.

i just don't understand why things happen sometimes. i know God allows them to. He gave us free will; it's just such a shame that many of us use it to hurt Him or not acknowledge Him at all.

one thing the election results have done is make me want to educate people more before the next election, and be able to point them in the right direction. i am praying about how to do this. i pray that people will see Christ's love shine through me. i pray that He will use me as His hands and feet.

i do feel really sad for America today. but all hope is not lost, thanks to a God full of grace and mercy.

Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Father, thank you for our country. Thank you for placing me here in the United States of America. Please restore our nation, touch the hearts and consciences of our people. Bring about conviction and compassion. Help us to see truth, Your Truth. Thank you for being a just and loving God.
Amen

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Avery

today (and every day) i am thankful for my sweet avery brynn.

God knew i needed her, and he knew when. i didn't think i was ready, but now i see that i was. she saved me. she has gotten me through some really tough times; a rocky start to a marriage, the adjustment to military life, a move across the country. i never knew when justin would be with us and when he would be gone training; but i always knew i would have my sweet ave. at least i have my ave. she has added so much joy to my life! how dull things would be around here without her. i'm so excited and honored to be able to watch her learn and grow from girl to lady. what a blessing she is...




i can't imagine life without her

Avery

So smart and so sweet
My brown-eyed little girl
I love watching you dance and play
Hearing you sing and laugh
Brings a smile to my face

You have taught me so much more
That I could ever hope
To teach you
You are my saving grace
You're my masterpiece

I love your seeing your imagination
I love hearing your thoughts
Sometimes calm, others wild
I love to be with you all day
You are my calling in life

My firstborn, my precious daughter
I'm so proud to be your mother
For years you have been
My best little friend
Always by my side

You'll always be in my heart
Even when we're apart
You're a part of me

And when my heart feels heavy
I gaze at your pretty face
Run my fingers through your silky mane
Wrap you up in my arms
And all is right with the world

Friday, November 2, 2012

husband

with november being the month to be thankful and celebrate what we have, i decided to write a poem a day about the things that i am thankful for...partly to remind myself of how blessed i am, and partly to challenge myself as a writer.

today the focus is on my husband


the father of my children; and an excellent one at that!
Justin is so patient with our girls. many times i feel my temper starting to flare and he just stays so calm. i admire that so much about him. he is a great dad to our girls, making sure to spend time with them. he took Ave on many dates while i was pregnant and exhausted! not only does he make time to spend with them...he enjoys it. they sure are blessed. we are blessed to be his girls.



Justin is a military man; honorable, so humble, brave, living a life of sacrifice. he is persistent and so hard working. such an example to our girls, to all those who know him.

can you tell i love this man? ;)

and now here is my poem; I'll just call it:

Husband

Manly, sturdy, strong
Handsome, courageous, brave
Kind, smart, and funny
My darling, my dear, my honey

I only have eyes for you
Faithful husband, doting father
I love to hear your laughter
The way your smile lights up your face

Your green eyes sparkle
I love your corny jokes
I love to watch you with our girls
I see you in their faces

You're so patient and so sweet
You're so laid back and reserved
Thank you for putting up with me
Thank you for choosing me

You make me feel
Loved and thankful and blessed
You give my heart a place to rest
Being with you is natural and easy
You tell me I'm
Beautiful, great, worthwhile
And I believe you
You make me laugh
You make me smile
You make me look forward
To an eternity with you


Sunday, October 28, 2012

God, help!

I just had some really great time with God in my living room. I am so thankful for Jesus' sacrifice, so that we can come to God in all of our mess any time and any place we want. How awesome is that?! We don't have to make an appointment, we don't have to do anything. Just call out and He's there waiting. That makes me feel SO good!

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16

I have certainly been coming boldly to the throne of grace this week; repeatedly. I have called on God so much these last seven days. I have come to him a teary, snotty, emotional mess because I can. Because I need to. I need Him. I have no idea how people live this military lifestyle without Him. I wouldn't even want to try.

Justin being gone so much gives me a unique opportunity to grow closer to my Creator. I tend to come to Him more when I am in need of something; encouragement, energy, joy, you name it. When Justin is gone I need all of the above, and then some. Many times during the day when the girls are giving me trouble or my loneliness overcomes me or I feel my temper flaring up, all I can say is "God, help me! I need Your help right now! I can't do this by myself!" What usually happens is things don't get easier; I just get better at handling them.

There is a quote from my favorite movie
Anne of Green Gables, which I love:
What we must bear in mind is that all these trials and tribulations that pop up in our lives, well, they serve a very useful purpose: they build character, as long as we can hold onto the lessons we've learned from our mistakes. 
I know that God knew I'd be living a military lifestyle before I was even born. I think the fact that my birthday is on Veteran's Day is just a humorous nod to that fact. I know that this is where I'm supposed to be. And so in the midst of these separations from my husband, these times that are really really hard for me, I try to see the bigger picture. I try to remember that all of this adversity is just a chance for me to grow as a woman, mother, wife, friend. All of this is working together to form me into a woman of character, strength, and dignity, if I let it.

I have been praying for God to give me a new perspective on all this, because I really have been struggling for a time now. It's been all I can do just to get through each day. I find myself constantly looking at the clock and the calendar, wishing time away so that my husband can be at my side again. But this is no good. I am to cherish the time that I have, because it goes all too quickly. I need to find joy in my sweet girls, even when other areas of life aren't how I'd wish them to be. And so this is what I'm working on. I'm practicing, learning, growing. Trying to truly live one day at a time and be grateful for what I have, rather than hateful over what I don't have. It's not a lesson I'll learn in one day; it's something that I certainly will have to work at. I'm thankful that I have a patient God ;)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

:(

I am feeling rather hopeless at the moment. Exhausted. Frustrated!!!!!!!!!!! Discouraged. And I just miss my husband. I miss his company. His help. Justin has only been gone two days. Two days. And I am already losing it. These girls are driving me crazy. Avery has decided to be extra emotional, weepy, pouty, and whiny. I cannot stand whining. Brooklynn is super whiny and fussy. She won't sleep well at night. I am at my whit's end. Already. And it's only been two days.

How will I make it six months?!

This month of Justin's absence is just looming in front of me, long and dark. I try to be a good mom. But I lose my temper, often. I cry when I want so badly to be happy and strong for my girls. But I fall apart. My patience is too thin. My joy is too fleeting. I am on a roller coaster.

This is what the military does to your emotions.

Being a [temporary] single mom is so hard. I have no idea how mothers (or fathers) live like this constantly. Because it is absolutely the most exhausting thing in this world. Physically, emotionally, mentally exhausting. And two kids is a whole different ball game than just one. I have written before, I'm having a hard time adjusting. It's been five months since Brooklynn's arrival and I'm still adjusting. It's so much easier to handle one by yourself than it is two. Oh my.

And so here I am, laying it all out. My mess of emotions. My tear-stained face and puffy eyes. My heavy heart. My anxiety, fear, desperation. I'm embarrassed, to be feeling this way after only two days. But I can't cover it up or hide it, I'm sure it's written plainly on my face and heard in my voice every time I answer the question "So, how are you?" I'll usually smile and tell you I'm fine, but here's the truth: I'm not fine. I'm struggling.

And I can't help but feel that this is right where God wants me. At the end of myself. Reaching out to Him in my desperation, acknowledging that He is the only one who can help me. He is the answer. He is my source of strength, joy, peace. Not Justin, not my girls. As much joy as they give me, they also give me grief. And frustration. The joy that stems from them doesn't rival that of my heavenly Father. The only question is: will I hold onto all of this and muddle through myself? Or will I hand it over to His waiting hands and accept His grace and His help? I'm going to try and accept His help. I need Him. I can do none of this on my own.

Monday, October 22, 2012

see you in a month

It's now 7 p.m. and both girls in bed...I'm sure I'll be following them shortly.

This morning we were all up at 6 to take Justin to the base and drop him off for his month-long trip. Our goodbye was fast and easy, no tears. It was still dark out and I was exhausted, so my emotions weren't fully awake yet. Today was actually a really good day. Or it would have been, if it weren't for Brooklynn's incessant crying. Whew. That girl wore me out today! I don't know if it's because she was tired from getting up so early or she could possibly be working on some teeth. Who knows, I just know she was fussy. Avery was good, though. We did our homeschooling, went on a jog, played at the park, had a lunch picnic, walked to the store, baked and decorated halloween cookies. Then we carved and painted our pumpkins, that was fun. I opened them up so Avery could see what was inside. She wasn't thrilled. She wouldn't even touch it :/ But she had fun painting her pumpkin and that's all that matters!

This evening all through our bedtime routine she was just whiny and teary, saying she missed Daddy and asking when he'd be home. My own eyes fill with tears every time I hear or see her missing him. This part of military life is no fun.

I have been surprisingly calm today. I'm sure it's all the prayers, and perhaps the fact that I've done this a billion times before...well sort of. I've never been alone with the two girls before, but I'm sure we'll manage just fine. However it is more difficult to do certain things like conduct Avery's bath time and pick up around the apartment with a baby on my hip. *sigh* I'm exhausted. Maybe that's why I'm calm. I'm just too tired to care about much.

I do miss my husband though... As I sit here in this silent apartment I do feel a little sad. This is always our treasured time alone together, sitting on the sofa side by side watching our favorite shows or movies and stuffing our faces (maybe while he's gone I'll stop the nighttime snacking and drop a few pounds!). He's just so much a part of my life, its impossible not to notice his absence. I love him so incredibly much. I'm thankful to have him as the father of my children; Avery's missing him proves what an excellent one he is.


                                                                       my soulmate

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

my love

With my husband about to be absent from our home quite a lot in the near future, I think God is really trying to teach me something... Well probably a whole list of things, but here is the lesson closest to my heart at the moment: it's not about the quantity of time I have with my husband, but rather the quality of it. I tend to get so bent out of shape thinking about all that Justin is going to miss and how much he's not going to be here.. He'll miss my birthday two years in a row, he'll possibly miss Brooklynn's first birthday, he'll miss a whole 6 month (or longer) chunk out of our lives; he'll have missed two of Avery's birthdays, our wedding anniversary, Thanksgiving. He's about to be gone for a whole month.
No matter which way you spin it, my husband over the next several years will be gone a lot more than he will be home. There's no denying that, no changing it, no wishing it away (believe me, I've tried).

"So", God says to me, "why not focus on the time you do have with him?" Duh. I mean, doesn't that make more sense? After all, wouldn't I rather have 10 really good, awesome, amazing love-filled days with Justin than 100 terrible, dull, mundane days? Of course. Although the days without Justin are going to be hard and lonely and sometimes downright miserable, I vow to try and focus on his return and on making the time that I do have with him really count for something. No pointless bickering, no silent treatments (these are my trademark), no complaining or nagging. I am going to do my darndest to write the best love story that I can for us, not with words but with my actions. It is my desire for our marriage to be a living testament that love can last; marriage can work, happily; it is my goal to show people the order that God intended for families. I hope to show people the love of Christ through my love for my husband. Putting him first, in his place, as the head of our home. Being a submissive and patient wife. Not judging him but extending grace at every opportunity. Being slow to anger, quick to encourage.

I know that I have a long ways to go, and much work to do on myself. But I gladly accept this challenge. While Justin is off on his missions to protect our freedom and country, I will be on my own to adjust my attitudes and create a closer family. It won't be easy, and we won't always get it right; neither one of us is perfect, nor will we ever be. But I'm sure we will both learn a lot along the way... :)

**www.wels.net :

SCRIPTURAL PRINCIPLES OF MAN AND WOMAN ROLES

In the Home
14. The role relationships of man and woman find their fullest expression in the close union of marriage. In a Christian home a husband and wife are partners and co-heirs of God's gracious gift of salvation (Eph 5:22-33; 1 Pe 3:1-7).
15. Since God appointed the husband to be the head of the wife (Eph 5:23), the husband will love and care for his God-given wife (1 Pe 3:7). A wife will gladly accept the leadership of her husband as her God-appointed head (Eph 5:22-24).
16. As the head of the wife and family the husband has the prime responsibility for the spiritual instruction of the family (Eph 6:4).

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Home

Home...
Where is home anyway?
Is it where I used to roam and play?
Near strawberry fields where horses stray?
Home such a nice word to say.

Is home where I took my first step?
Where Mom nursed me back to health after I caught strep?
Or is home where I grew up?
Where around a long table we used to sup?
Is home the Virginia mountains, so big and so green,
Where coal mines and railroads still can be seen?

Is home where from my first memory springs?
Or where you gave me my wedding rings?
Is home where we had our eldest girl,
Where she toddled about with a head full of curls?

Is home where I used to ride bikes?
My siblings and I, still just small tikes?
Is home where I used to roll down the hill
Or where I ran too fast and took a big spill?

Is home where I used to go to school?
Where I first saw your face, at the town pool?
Is home where we had our first date?
Where we stayed up talking until it grew late?

Is home the room I shared with my little sis?
Where we'd fight and dream in complete bliss?
Is home where I used to play in the snow?
Is it where my love for you started to grow?

Is home where I used to make mud pies?
Or where my sibs and I hid, pretending to be spies?
Is home in the branches of my favorite apple tree,
Where I used to climb high and feel so free?

Is home in the old white house, or the small brick one, or the tall one?
Or is home where I first lived with my husband?
Is home in the creek with waters icy cold?
Is home where I was young, or where I'll grow old?

Or is home where I am now?
In a tiny apartment here in socal?
Where we tuck in our girls and go to sleep ourselves?
Where there are toys on the floor and photos on the shelves?

No. No one place I can call my home.
My home is wherever you may roam.
All of these places hold memories dear,
But my home is wherever you are near.

Everywhere you go, you take with you my home,
That's why sometimes I feel so alone.
So while you're away I'll stay here with our dears,
And take care of them and soothe all their fears.

But I won't feel at home or at peace or at ease
Because my home is off somewhere overseas.
And upon your return I'll feel home once again;
Like a ship lost a sea who finally spots land.
As I gaze in your eyes and kiss your sweet face
I'll smile because I know my home is in your embrace.

*I started thinking about home, and what home means, and where my home is... And this poem just popped into my head so I had to get it out :) I hope you enjoy!

Monday, October 8, 2012

lonely day

I keep waiting on all of this to get easier... Three weeks later and I'm still waiting. Justin is just gone so much, home just long enough to tease me and then he's off again. Often he's not home when he says he should be, which is just heartbreaking on my end. I know that our time together is precious and fleeting. It's so easy for the disappointments and heartbreak to turn into resentment; towards Justin, towards his job. I know that's not fair. I know that Justin wishes he were home with us just as much as I do...but still sometimes resentment is what I feel.

I know that all of the training is important; I know that at the end of the day everyone's goal is to get our men home safely from deployments. The only way to do that is to ensure that they are trained as well as  they can be. Unfortunately for me, this means they must be gone a lot...traveling to new places to train in new areas. My head is so thankful for the training; my heart abhors it.

I'm so thankful for my little girls. I don't know what I would do without them; I love to have my house full of family. But right now the days are just long and lonely, hanging endlessly over my head. I feel like I always have a cloud over my head; I feel like Eeyore out of the Hundred Acre Wood. For now I look forward to the end of another day, so that I can just be alone with my thoughts...

Friday, September 28, 2012

tough times

I am really struggling right now. So much is piled up on top of my chest, so many thoughts twirling through my head...so I'll just start at the beginning...

Four and a half months ago our family celebrated a very important day: the birth of our sweet little Brooklynn Mae. The birth of a child is certainly a precious, special, treasured time, for babies are sweet little miracles sent straight from heaven...but this time can also bring with it many challenges. I'll just share my own. After I had her, I was running off of pure adrenaline and love for the first few days; then the exhaustion started to set in, and with it came frustration. Brooklynn did not start out a very easy baby; she suffered from some tummy issues which caused a lot of spit up and a lot of crying: from us both. After you have a baby, your hormones go nuts. Everything is rushing around, trying to return to normal, but your body has forgotten what normal is...I've read many times that it takes a full year for your body to recover; I'm thinking it may be something more like 18 years. Those crazy hormones do some crazy things to your head; I didn't have the baby blues too bad this time, but I definitely had my weepy, stressed out moments.

The transition from one child to two has been way harder than I ever anticipated. Before I had Brooklynn I asked a few friends if the change was a hard one to make; some said yes, others told me no...I'm convinced they are liars. I have honestly had a terrible time of it. I think one reason is, I don't adjust to change easily or quickly. It takes me a lot of time. For example, we have lived here in California for two years...and sometimes I still do not feel like I fit yet. It's just how I am. For over three years it was just me and Ave, best buds, together all the time. She was (and still is) my whole world, my reason for living. Then suddenly there were two little people begging for my love and affection...I've had a hard time trying to figure out how to divvy it out between them. Then that makes me feel guilty. I'm a woman, a mom, isn't this supposed to come naturally?! Everyone else makes it look so easy, what is wrong with me? You'd expect Avery to have a difficult time, but I truly feel like it is me who is struggling. Plus their ages are just sooo different. I can only play with Avery so much at the park when I have a baby in the stroller, or strapped to my chest.  I just can't do all that I used to with her. And that makes me sad. But it's just how it is, I know it's normal.. but still it makes me sad..

I find myself in the midst of all these changes and struggles, so what do I do? I workout. Two, three times a day even. I'm training for a half marathon in November, so I have been running a lot also. I, for a while, was obsessed with getting my body back. I had worked so hard for that six pack, I couldn't stand the flab that was my post-baby belly. So I worked out like a woman possessed. I worked out when I should have been in the Word, doing my devotions, talking to God. I put exercise at the top of my priority list because honestly, my brain was too tired to sit down and read and think...but a twenty minute workout or a four mile run? No big deal, because while I do it I don't have to think..

And so now my husband is starting six months of work-ups; basically, for the next 6-7 months he will be busy, traveling to train. I will mostly be seeing him only on weekends, and not even every weekend. This brings with it more stress... Really it's not fair to say that his deployment will only be 8-10 months, because in all honesty I feel like it is starting now...I feel like I am beginning a 15-17 month deployment. And that is discouraging and daunting and depressing. All of this is new for us, we have no idea what to expect. Plus I have never been on my own with the two girls before; I feel so tired just thinking about that. And then there's the fact that Justin has been home with us for a year, which is awesome and rare in this career. I am so thankful for the time that we have had, but I am also so spoiled and I know this. Justin for the last several months has been home from work by 2:30. This week he worked later, and I could tell a difference oh my... Avery asked for him every day, often. One night he didn't get home until almost eight and she was devastated that he wasn't here for our nightly routine. If she is acting this way now, how in the world will she be with him constantly in and out?! Avery and Justin have really bonded over the last year, more than ever. They spent so much time together while I was pregnant/in the early weeks of Brooklynn's life. I'm very thankful for their budding relationship, but I really feel like that will make all of this even harder on sweet Ave. I always thought that this would get harder as the kids get older, and I believe I was right...

And so, there you have it. Mix all that in with the fact that Brooklynn has been waking up 3-5 times every single night and you have on your hands a woman at her wit's end, who is at the brink of tears at any given moment. I have been snappy, I have been irritable, I've been overwhelmed. And no wonder, since I have been neglecting to make time for the single most important thing in life...my Creator. He is the only reason why I am good; without him I'm a mess (clearly). He holds me together when I want to fall apart. He is the only reason I am ever strong, joyful, peaceful, loving. He is all the good in me. So if I'm not making time for Him, of course I'll be a mess. Now, excuse me while I go read my Bible... :)

Monday, September 24, 2012

mom, play with me!

let me first say, i hate the park. i don't know why, but i do. i just don't find it fun to climb around on jungle gyms and scoot down slides that are five times too small for me. especially when it's hot outside, so the slide burns your legs. or when there's dew on the slide, so you end up walking around looking like you peed your pants. i don't enjoy playing tag really, or pretending i'm a princess stuck on a ship in the middle of the ocean. but i do all of that anyways, with a smile on my face (most of the time), because i know it makes my daughter happy. and i guess when you love someone that much, you're willing to make a few sacrifices...even if they make you look like a complete idiot :) 

"mom, come play with me!" we have all heard these words, a millionnnnnn times! but how do you react when you hear them? if you're like me, you could use some improvement...

while out with my daughter over the years i have noticed that there are three types of parents that you will find at the park: the oblivious parent; the spectator parent; and the participating parent.

you know the oblivious parent when you see one. they're the one texting, checking facebook statuses, or talking on their phone the entire time. their child either is used to this and acts like they don't care, going on their merry way; or he/she is desperately trying to get their parent's attention. "mom, look at me!" "hey, mom, come play with me!" "watch what i can do!" the oblivious parent won't even hear them...because they just aren't paying attention.

the spectator parent is the one sitting on the bench or talking with friends, watching their child play. their child too will usually try so hard to get their parent's attention, until they find someone else to play with...

the participating parent is the fun one. this parent gets in there and plays with their child, while looking at times sort of ridiculous. the child of this parent is happy, wearing a big smile and laughing, because his or her parent is interacting with them, which is all our kids really want right?

i am not judging any of these parents, because i admit at different times i have been all three...and that's ok. there are times when i have just been too exhausted or frustrated or whatever, and i have sat on that bench the entire time. it's ok to do that, once in a while. the important part is remembering that your child is a little person who craves your love and attention. your child will not be a child for very long; one day my avery won't want to play at the park with me anymore and when that day comes i'll be sad (and maybe somewhat relieved). but for now she enjoys pretending we're lions and gorillas stuck at sea...so for now i'll try to be the best darn gorilla that i can be.
"...even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:28

Friday, September 21, 2012

vacation time!

coming back from vacation is never fun, or easy. at least not for me. i am not a person who accepts change easily; it is always so difficult for me to go from one season to another. but our week in Oahu was glorious, and well worth the readjustment to normal life.

we were in Oahu for one wonderful week. we stayed in a condo right in the heart of Waikiki. my little family went, along with my sister and mother-in-law. the extra help was amazing. i feel like i was actually on vacation, and if you're a mom you know that's a big deal. so thankful for the help!

Waikiki was a bustling town, or at least the part we were in; lots of shops and eateries, and very beautiful but crowded beaches. don't get me wrong, the scenery was completely breathtaking and i enjoyed myself thoroughly...but it was a good idea to rent a car so that we could escape the business and venture into more laid back spots.

we took a scenic drive up to nu'uanu pali lookout; this spot on a mountain top offered awesome views of the valley below. we went snorkeling twice (my favorite). i had never snorkeled before; what better place to do it than hawai'i?! we saw so many gorgeous fish, of all colors, as well as a sea turtle one day! that was neat! and the coral was really neat too. the water was so warm and clear. perfection. i don't think there is anything more peaceful than swimming in the sea with beautiful fish and underwater seascape. one day we walked through botanical gardens up to waimea waterfall. beautiful plants and flowers along the way! we went out to eat every single day (justin's idea of a vacation) and of course visited some of the local shops. we also stopped by pearl harbor on our last day and toured the museum. sometimes i just love a good history lesson.

avery isn't sure about water right now, so she had a few meltdowns about the ocean. but thankfully our condo had a playground, which she spotted right away and frequented during our stay. that child loves playgrounds :)

brooklynn did awesome. i couldn't have asked for a better, more laid back baby. she just went with the flow the entire time, and did excellent on the plane! i was nervous to travel with two kids, but her and ave both did really awesome. i still can't believe how good they were.

all in all i would say our vacation was a huge success. no one got sick or sunburnt. nothing went majorly wrong. the condo was perfect for us all. everything was just great! i can't wait to go on our next adventure! i'm thinking next will be maui :)


Friday, September 7, 2012

busy week!

Well this week has been a busy one! The time just flew!

Monday Justin had the day off work in honor of Labor Day; an extra day with him was nice :) We spent the evening at the beach playing in the sand, at the playground, and enjoying time with our friends; there was even time for a beach volleyball game! Fun!

Tuesday our MOPs (Mothers Of Preschoolers) group had its first meeting. Wonderful! I am part of the hospitality team, so I was able to welcome the mommies and help them feel at home. I really enjoyed making new friends, and I love being part of a team; it makes me feel useful outside of the home (which is important!). Not to mention Avery had a blast; I love that her time there is filled with fun and some Biblical education also. Win-win!

Wednesday we finally had a rest day. I have been battling a cold since Tuesday, so I needed a day at home. Ave and I did some school work. We tried out this cool experiment with water and food coloring that I found on the internet. Ave enjoyed watching the water change colors, then I set her up with spoons, medicine droppers, and containers and let her mix the colors together. We did this activity for two days; she loved mixing the colors together to create new ones!





Thursday we were supposed to go to Bible study, but I had to take a sick day :( I hate being sick, it makes me so mad!!! Moms aren't allowed to get sick! Ave and I did some more school and the girls and I went for a jog.

Friday Avery's ballet and tap class started back, and she was so excited! After breakfast this morning she got into her new tights and leotard and we strolled over to dance (I love the fact that we can walk everywhere. Love. It.). After dance we had a snack and got crafty with our neighbor friends. So fun:


First we made a magic wand with paper, a pencil, and jewels glued on for extra pizazz. Avery loved the finished product and walked around outside waving it around :)



Then we headed outdoors for some fun painting time! We worked on a pretty craft in honor of dance class starting back (pictured below), then we let the girls finger paint to their hearts' content. Such fun!




                                                   B hanging out, happy as can be :)

The finished product! Turned out sooo cute!! I cut the leotard out of scrapbooking paper, and Avery's handprints are the tutu. I am in love with this one :)


We had a good week, other than me being sick. EWW. Somehow I'm supposed to complete a nine mile run tomorrow; half marathon training stops for no one, even moms with a cold!

Friday, August 31, 2012

just a little navy wifey list

A friend and seasoned military wife once gave me some great advice: make a list of things you look forward to while your husband is away. Example: control of the remote, cooking less, etc. I thought this was a marvelous idea and have since been mentally creating a list of my own. I am by no means excited for Justin to leave; but this list helps to soften the blow ever so slightly. I'll take what I can get :)

Things I look forward to while Justin is away:

1) Not having to cook dinner every single night. Chicken nuggets and salad sound good to me! Or cereal! Or pb&j!
2) A cheaper grocery bill (!!!!!)
3) Lots of quality time with my family and old friends
4) Less laundry!
5) A cleaner toilet (those of you with husbands or sons will appreciate this one)
6) Watching chick flicks whenever I want!!!! 
7) Putting the girls to bed super early and having the entire evening to myself to read, write, do puzzles, watch my chick flicks, take a bubble bath, or just go to bed! Oh bliss!
8) Lots of spare time to run/train for races
9) The opportunity to really lean on God and grow closer to him
10) More time to learn things! Like how to sew!
11) That sweet feeling of missing someone with my whole heart; it reminds me how much I love him
12) The anticipation/excitement of his return! If you're not a military wife you won't understand; we go all out when our husband's come home! We stock the kitchen with their favorite foods, dust off their favorite movies, replace our granny panties with sexy lingerie, pick out our outfit and how we'll wear our hair weeks in advance, decorate our home, buy welcome home gifts, make banners, shave our legs! It's kind of a big deal :)

So there's my list! It doesn't make me any more excited about Justin being gone; but it does give me a few things to look forward to. I'll be sure to come back and read this list many times in the coming months!


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Home school preschool: week 2

Well our second week of homeschooling went well! We did only three days though instead of four like I hoped. Life is just busy! And will only get busier as summer ends. I think the hardest part of homeschooling is making time for it!

This week we read the Creation story, and stuck with that theme all week with our activities, reading, and writing;




We made this little booklet about what God created on what days. I found the printable here







This was our fun new math game :) I like this one because it teaches Ave to count, teaches her about number order, and helps with fine motor skills. She enjoyed this one if we made a song as we counted; otherwise it can get a bit drawn out, since you have to count all the way to 18 :)
(just an egg carton and beans; I wrote the numbers 1-18 in order in the bottom of the holes)


I asked Avery to help me water the plants. This gave us a chance to talk about plants, how they need water to grow, and how God made all the plants! We also talked about things God made (plants, people, etc.) versus things people make (cars, clothes, etc.). She had fun with that :)




This lesson this week taught me a few things this week too. I was reminded to appreciate God's splendor and majesty in the flowers, plants, trees, sky. He truly is a great Creator! And this is one reason I love homeschooling: we learn together :)