Thursday, July 31, 2008

Three-Month Pics

All right, technically he wasn't three months yet, that didn't happen for three days after these were taken. I took these on Friday morning while Gideon and I waited in a hotel room for Rob to pick us up for more Navy "fun" (i.e. paperwork). My impromptu photo shoot was more fun, I assure you.

So Gideon is now three months old. I have no idea how long he is or how much he weighs but I can tell you that he is all smiles nearly all the time. Gabe and Zion enjoy him SO much and that is immensely enjoyable to see. Zion mothers him whether he likes it or not and Gabe loves to get him to smile.

Gideon is a lot like Gabe in that he is content to stay where you put him. Not like Zion who rolled over for the first time at 6 weeks old and hasn't stopped moving since. However, Gideon did roll over from back to front today. It was quite humorous to see since I'm not exactly sure that Gideon really meant for it to happen. He did it on purpose but he still had this look of "what is happening?" on his face that made me crack up.

In case you were wondering, we stayed in a hotel because the base that is Rob's parent command is quite a drive from our home and we had a lot to do very early. Gabe and Zion stayed with my sister but my little nursling stayed with us. This is the day that Rob is officially reactivated. No longer a Reservist but, I'm told, he is now IA which stands for Individual Augmentation. This is what they call it when they yank someone, active or reserves, from their "normal" job and farm them out. Rob is now owned by the Army. I don't know why I'm adding this on to this post, I should start a new one but oh well. It's done and I have laundry to fold so I'm not starting over. Later.

A Message From Rob

Got an e-mail tonight:

Hi all – to Family and Friends,

Well, it’s been a very quick week in San Diego. So much so that we’re even leaving a little bit early to head to NC. I’ve cleared everything I need to do for the Navy before going and am now cutting over to the Army.

Some highlights of the week:
· Human pin-cushion – any of you who have had adult immunizations can probably relate to this, but I had several immunizations I needed to be updated on. 5 shots in one day and still a couple more once I get to NC!
· Free movies on base – I got to see both Indiana Jones and the Happening for free this week (with the exception of snacks that I had to buy)
· New uniforms – yep, that’s right. I now wear Army boots – and the desert uniform that goes with them. They’re hot, but they’ll do.
· New users of Skype – got to see Julie and the kids twice today online. What a gift!

Blessings and peace,

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Gideon's Dedication

The Sunday before Rob left we had Gideon dedicated. This has been an important day for us for all of our children. A day when we can stand up with family and friends and dedicate, as much as we can, our child to the Lord and ourselves, family and friends included, in raising them for the Lord. Rob and I understand that, while we are primarily responsible for bringing up our children, we are not alone in that endeavour. It is very important to us that our family and friends know that they are involved as well and that they agree with us that this is the case.

The dedication ceremony itself is an opportunity for us to pray over him and to proclaim the verse that we have chosen as "his" verse. Gideon's verse is Judges 6:12 "When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said "The Lord is with you, mighty man of valor." I love to think of my precious baby growing up as a mighty man of valor. My prayer is that we do all we need to do for that to become reality.

Jameson's Party - Pictures

As promised...
Within minutes of getting to the West Farm Gabe finds the sand table...
and Zion finds the craft table. Here she's trying to break into the bubbles, later she paints herself with the finger paints.
Soon after Gabe starts on the blow-up climbing wall which leads to the slide into a pool.
Zion finds a new addiction - a hula hoop.
"Tantie" Jamie shows her how she can roll them as well.
Jamie and Zion dancing away.
Gabe dons the Body Boppers which makes him look like a cartoonish rodeo clown.

Zion checks out one of Carol's miniature horses.
But decides that watering her dog is more fun.
Watering dogs makes one thirsty.
My beautiful nephew Jameson.
A board with a few of the articles written about him. There are three or four panels like this there.

After writing our messages and attaching them to helium balloons we wait until the time to let them up to heaven and to Jameson.
There they go!!! Miss you Jameson, see you later.

Minute By Minute

That pretty much describes how I feel right now and for the last few days. Most of my minutes since Sunday have been good. A couple of times however have been a little emotional. That is usually due to Gideon not napping and wanting to nurse or be held ALL day. Truth is, that situation can get me a bit down when Rob is not in another state but it is admittedly worse when I know I need to get the kids a bath but I'm stuck in the rocker for hours trying to get Gideon to the point where he is asleep enough that I can put him down. The good thing is the last few days Jamie and Abby have been here to lend a hand and play with the kids. Tomorrow they go home.

Tonight Jamie got the kids in bed as I nursed and rocked Gideon yet again. We finished about the same time though so I got to give Abby and Gabe good night hugs and kisses. I had to apologize to Gabe for a shortness of temper and told him that I was tired and missed Daddy. He said that was OK and that maybe we should pray about it and he does. I know I can't lean emotionally on my 4 year old for the next year but it sure does feel good to have him respond that way. He's so great. So I have a lot that I would rather blog about than my meager emotional state and I know it will help me feel better so I'm going to shut up now and blog on.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Victoria - Day 4

Our last day in Victoria lets us hit the town on foot. The main reason for this being that we want to get the car checked into the ferry terminal early so that we don't have to worry about doing that. Also, it's fun.

First off we head toward the famous and beautiful Empress Hotel. We walk around the garden and even go inside for a little bit. It really is beautiful but not stroller friendly. So out the back we head and down the street in search of Roger's Chocolates. With our sweet confections safely tucked into the basket of the stroller off we go again. This time in search of lunch. We really would like some fish and chips so we just wander about thinking we'll find some. Nope. Whatever part of town we were in had a fish and chips shop shortage so we find a map instead and look up Old Vic Fish and Chips. We had been told this was a good place to get nosh and discover via that map that it isn't far. On the way we spy Munro's Books and remember that a friend recommended that we stop there. In we go just for a look (because if allowed to spend anymore time than that I may not come out for a looooong looooong time). It is really gorgeous in there though and I don't want to leave. My tummy on the other hand is still wanting satisfaction and we head out. I don't recall who suggested we stop at Old Vic but they deserve a Klondike Bar - it's fantastic! And fast with good service and a neat atmosphere. Sadly, our time for walkabout is over and we need to head back in the direction of the ferry. We risk a few minutes to get some mocha cookie gelato at O Gelato and get it to go, the ferry is not too far. As we beat it to the boat we pass by a violin playing Darth Vadar. Don't see that every day. Might not even see that every other day.

We have another wait at the ferry terminal of an hour plus (we eat our gelato!) before boarding for the MV Coho take two. What do we do this time to busy ourselves? Gabe duels it out with Rob on the Nintendo DSes. He has become positively Mario obsessed. Rob and I take turns entertaining Gideon.

At one point Gabe and Zion enjoy their chocolate lollipops from Roger's Chocolates. Gabe chose blue which turned out to be dark chocolate (Rob's favorite) and Zion had red which was milk (my favorite). Zion also "reads" Find The Puppy (an Usborne book) and cuddles her dog.

Back on the US side we begin the long drive back to the house. After a busy vacation and half a day walking around Victoria and more time shut in the ferry the kids really have no interest in being strapped into their car seats. There's a bit of grumpin' going on in the car and when the restaurant that we stop at proves to be excruciatingly slow (I won't name it because it's a favorite of ours and it's not normally like that) Rob and I aren't too far off from being big grumps ourselves.

Eventually we make it and just in time to join our neighbors for fireworks because, if you recall, our little getaway started on Canada Day and ended on Independence Day (yes, I'm SO delinquent in finishing my story of our vacation). Zion is too tired to handle the lights and sounds and begs to go to bed. Who am I to argue with a 20 month old that actually requests bedtime. Gabe on the other hand really enjoyed hanging out with us and even invited himself to one of the neighbors lawn chairs.

The next day and once we're settled back in at home, all Gabe wants to do is play with the new clock tower that he got for his GeoTrax set. Remember the Canadian money that a friend gave him? From the second we told him what the colorful paper was all he talked about was getting the clock tower. So thank you A.M. for your generous gift! And thank you for sticking with it and reading about our fun vacation!

A Message From Rob

Hi all,

I got to realizing today that military life is not the norm for most of you, even if it seems routine to me. In case you’re wondering, here’s a little snippet of my life back on active duty regarding a favorite pastime for me – eating!

All 3 meals were eaten in the galley today – or the onbase cafeteria. I don’t have to eat there, but as a friend pointed out today, we got to eat all 3 meals today and spent a grand total of what was less than $10!

Breakfast included: strawberry yogurt, fresh cantaloupe, oatmeal, and some juice.
Lunch was 2 tacos, nacho chips and cheese, a red plum, 2 chocolate chip cookies (nice and soft, just like I like ‘em), and a Diet Coke (not my favorite, but the Coke was out and I preferred caffeine to supplement an afternoon full of PowerPoint briefs).
Finally, dinner was a turkey-based meatloaf, rice, green beans, corn, a piece of chocolate cake, and an iced tea.

Good to enjoy the food while I can – remind me to retell the story when I’m in Army facilities starting next week! I also have to fast overnight for a cholesterol check in the morning. Yippee.

In hometown news… we got a prayer request from our home church in Bonney Lake for Dan Packer’s family today. He was a firefighter there who was battling the wild fires in Northern California, but was overcome by the fire changing course. Still, you can read about him here:
As you think to do so, remember the Packer family and all service members this day – whether military or not.

Good night all,

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Send Off

Today was the day we had been counting down to for about six weeks. Today we drove Rob to the airport and said goodbye. I held it together better than I expected though I found myself unable to speak at times due to the knowledge that if I tried to talk I would cry instead. We had a lot of fun in the weeks leading up to today and that has been a true blessing. A lot of times it's too easy to get stressed and starting snapping at everyone but we pretty much just enjoyed each other and the kids and now I'm the lucky one that gets to keep enjoying the kids.

This morning I got a great picture (a real miracle) of Rob, the kids and even the dog. True it wouldn't win any photography awards but dang, everyone is actually looking AT the camera, even the dog!
After leaving him at SeaTac we got to come home and meet Jamie and our little friend Abby who are going to stay for a few days to take our minds off how much is changing with Rob gone. The kids are already having a blast with the two of them here.
On Friday Rob and I had to go to the base for more paperwork and updating IDs and for an orientation class that they should have made us take when we first got the news. It answered a lot of questions that we've had over the last number of weeks and provided resources and information that would have been very helpful to have, especially in preparing the kids for Rob's absence. Leave it to the military to provide you with what you need just in time for it to be practically useless. *sigh*
Well, I'm so tired and have to go but I know I have a lot of catching up to do. I've been way too busy to blog lately and now I'm all backlogged - or maybe it should be "back-blogged"? ha ha More to come soon!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Happy Birthday, Jameson!

I'm delinquent in posting this but if you've been reading my blog the last week you already know that delinquency has been a theme of late. So, July 19th was my nephew Jameson's birthday and the reason that I didn't wish him a happy birthday via the blog on the day was that I was away from my computer all day. First we headed up to meet with the photographers and then we went to his birthday party. Some of you may already know that we have celebrated Jameson's birthday without Jameson these last two years because he passed away shortly after he turned five (if you do the math that means he would have been seven this year).

Jameson was such a special boy, I could fill a blog about him alone. Tonight I got to talking about him at our Bible study and we were late getting back to relieve the babysitter. Jameson was the first person I ever loved so much it hurt. I remember distinctly the moment that first pang hit and I realized what it meant. I would never be the same again - thank God. Jameson had a way of changing people. I personally can experience a depth of love for people that I never thought was possible and I owe it to him. He had a way of teaching people about the value of life - all life, not just the kind of lives that The World seems to think is valuable. He had a beautiful life. Too short but beautiful. Sometimes when I picture him as he must be now I see him leaning over a creek with the reflection of his face in the water or running through a field of tall grass, things he did not get to do while here with us. The song Waiting On The Far Side Banks Of Jordan comes to mind (I guess I'll have to update my music again). He's just biding his time over there, drawing pictures in the sand, waiting for us to join him. Here's the lyrics (copied directly from a lyric website):

I'll Admit My Steps Are Growing Wearier Each Day
Still I've Got A Certain Journey On My Mind
Lures Of This Old World Have Ceased To Make Me Want To Stay
My One Regret Is Leaving You Be-hind

If It Proves To Be His Will That I Am First To Cross
And Somehow I've A Feeling It Will Be
When It Comes Your Turn To Travel Likewise Don't Feel Lost
For I Will Be The First One That You'll See

Chorus:And I'll Be Waiting On The Far Side Banks Of Jordan
I'll Be Sitting Drawing Pictures In The Sand
And When I See You Coming I Will Rise Up With A Shout
And Come Running Through The Shallow Water Reaching For Your Hand

Through This Life We've Laboured Long To Earn Our Meagre Fare
It's Brought Us Trembling Hands And Failing Eyes
So I'll Just Rest There On That Shore And Turn My Eyes Away
Until You Come Then We'll See Para-dise

When I have time I'll post pictures from his birthday party. It was a blast and more money was earned for Jameson's lending library at the Snohomish County ARC.

*ETA* Playlist didn't have a decent version of Waiting On The Far Side Banks Of Jordan so I added I'll Fly Away instead. This is one of the songs chosen for Jameson's memorial service and, honestly, the only way I can put it on my blog is that my laptop is usually on mute. I can't listen to this song or that darn rainbow ukulele song without shedding tears anymore. I still love the songs, it's just I love Jameson more and I miss him.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Deployment Update

Just 'cause lots of folks are asking. I've written a lot of the following already but it's a good reminder. I "get" to take Rob to the airport on Sunday. boohoo! He then spends a week in San Diego doing medical updating type stuff. Then straight to Ft. Bragg with him for 85 days of training. It looks like the poor guy won't even get a weekend of leave while there until the very end and then only maybe. Wow. But then when all that is said and done he gets to come home for about a week which, as it stands, will coincide with Zion's second birthday. Yeah! Then he's off to Asadabad, Afghanistan for 270 days. Blech.

I'm already trying to fill my calendar knowing that staying busy will help the time to pass. Speaking of calendars. I made one to demonstrate to Gabe how long Daddy will be gone. I made each page one month and together we'll check off the days so he can see the time pass. We'll also write little notes on each day of what we did so that Rob can see what we were up to while he was gone. I'm going to turn each month's page into a scrapbook page and scrapbook it with pictures of the events that we went to so Rob will have the whole year in a book when he returns. Right now the pages are all up on our wall so that we can see it all at once. If I think to I'll take a picture and post it here later.

So anyway, time is really slipping by fast now but I know that the sooner he leaves the sooner he'll get to come home.

My Baby's A Looker

Last Saturday Gideon and I were invited to be models for a photographer friend of my sister's and a friend of hers who would like to get into baby photography. I don't get real excited about having my picture taken but will offer up my kids any chance that I get so I was all over that for sure. Even just looking at the previews in the back of the camera I was stoked (yeah, I'm showing my age using the word "stoked") to see the results. Well, Kerri, wonderful, fabulous Kerri, posted some of her favorites on her blog today (I haven't seen the pics from the other photog, Jeff, yet). Go here - Kerri Kirschner's Blog.

Kerri also recently photographed my niece who is SO gorgeous anyway but Kerri's photographs really brought out her beauty and personality. Go here - Beautiful Girl.

And since I'm bragging about my beautiful family I'll just mention that a few years ago Kerri also photographed my sister and her son, Jameson. Her blog doesn't have the pictures (though her business website has a few, Jamie and Jameson's photo is #1 in the special kids gallery and Jameson is also #3 and #9 and my sister can also be seen a number of times in the individual gallery) but an article was recently written about her and her work with children with special needs. Go here for that - article. She rocks!

Learning To Swim

Gabe is taking swim lessons. I guess technically since I'm delinquent in posting this his lessons are over. We had decided to sign him up then found out about Rob leaving and thought he was going to miss it. Luckily, and by showing up at the pool first thing in the morning to get him signed up, we were able to get him in for a session that started and finished before Rob left. This was their special thing and Gabe even told him that it was his favorite part of the day - going to swim lessons with Daddy.

It turns out my boy is the class clown. More than a few times the lifeguard had to come over and remind Gabe to hold on to the side of the pool. I guess he's easily distractable. hmm, I wonder who he gets that from. Hey, what's that shiny thing over there...
He's getting the straight leg thing down pat.
Floating with the kick board.

Gabe got a certificate of completion at the end and a check list that shows he was good at everything but needs work on putting his face in the water (a little like me, too).

Victoria - Day 3

(So sorry about the lag in posting. We have been very busy readying for Rob's departure. But now back to my posts about our vacation.) Today we wake up in our new unit. Because of the short notice nature of our little family getaway we had to move to a new unit yesterday. The two units are identical except for a slight difference in the view. This new unit is on the seventh floor and a little bit back from the water, but still very nice. Today we decide to head to Beacon Hill Park to hit the petting zoo.

One of the first animals that we see are the bunnies.
Zion is thrilled by the chickens.
Then she spies the llamas. The brown one is getting down to roll in the dirt. It was really funny but so dusty that the other pictures didn't capture it well.
Every time one of the animals made a sound Zion would stop what she was doing, crack up laughing and then try to copy it. I can remember if she was trying to cock-a-doodle or baa here.
The zoo had a huge corral with tons of goats many of which were babies. At first Zion wasn't too sure.
Gabe decided it was funner to climb like the goats than to pet the goats.
I found out that they offer brushes for the goats. Once Zion had her little hands on one of those she made it her mission to brush every goat in the pen at least once. This took a long time.
Gabe made a little friend. I overheard him saying "So. You have Thomas trains, too?" Wow. What a lady killer.
Wandering around the farm.
Rob's favorite animal was this little guy whom he dubbed Party Chicken. Rock on Party Chicken!
Afterwards we walk around some of the rest of the park and then it's off to find dinner.
Gideon is hanging out in the chair and he must look hungry because Zion brings him a meal.
All cozy at the end of the day. Nothing better than a nice bath after dusting it up at the zoo.