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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