can i get a witness

Kevin relayed an illustration he heard in a sermon to me the other day: A kindergarten class was celebrating Sally's birthday, the chairs were circled around a table, each chair with a balloon and party favors attached. Joey wasn't thrilled to be celebrating and would give out a little "umph" every now and then. He became louder and louder until the teacher addressed him simply, "Joey, it's not your party."

Simple story with a profound lesson. Much of our frustration and anger in relationships comes from our feeling of entitlement or getting attention (and even celebration) for something we have acheived. So the lesson? It's not our party. The entitlement, attention, and celebration can and should always be given to Jesus.

That being said, I have been around friends and family for two and a half weeks. It has made me aware that while it's not our party, it doesn't mean we don't need recognition. We need those around us to testify to the goodness of God in our lives; whether that is pointing out blessings we take for granted or ways that we have matured. Both are credited to Jesus, yet it encourages us to hear it. Strange isn't it?


Christmas quote

Tonight, after the presents had all been opened and Christmas dinner was gobbled up, we all played some games. My Nana and Papa made the drive from Texas to be with the whole family today and Papa loves games. Nana is aging and prefers to sit on the side and just watch.

After several grueling rounds of Bendomino, Nana gets everyone's attention so that they will get Papa's attention (they are both deaf, a simple "Hey!" just won't do). We do, he attentively turns to her, and signs, "What?" She responded, "Hi....I just wanted you to look at me so I could say hi."

It was beautiful. A smile and hello. Little things that so many of us take for granted. I thought about how much I would love a smile and hello face to face with my dear husband.

To answer your questions: yes, it's hard to be without Kevin for another Christmas, yes, we're ready for this tour to be over, yes, our sons miss their father. However, God has been supremely gracious to us during this time and we are thankful. So please, don't pity us, rather consider the things you have taken for granted: maybe it's a smile and hello, but perhaps it's something much greater like a King in a manger 2,000 years ago.


Christmas Season Favorites

It is nearly Christmas so I thought I would share some of my favorite things about the Christmas season:

  • Wrapping presents
  • Making new memories with old friends
  • Hot chocolate, Peppermint Mochas, and Spice Tea
  • Being with family
  • Addressing cards (but not licking the envelopes)
  • Eating my mom's cooking
  • Hearing the story of Jesus' birth again and again
  • Singing Christmas songs (as loud as I want)
  • Decorating the tree

What are some of your favorite things about this time of year?


time to carol

How often do we listen to the Christmas songs mindlessly? I know I do it all the time. A couple weeks ago I was putting up our tree after the boys had gone to bed and was listening to a Christmas CD, because there were no distractions I could listen to the lyrics.

The series that our pastor is doing is called, "Carols of Winter". He defined carol for us as involving song and dance. And illustrated through Mary's Magnificat that God beckons us to sing and dance in the midst of times in our lives that are as dry and cold as winter.

Here are the lyrics to the first verse of a carol which since that night putting up the tree has left me in awe:
Oh come, Desire of Nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind
Oh, bid our sad divisions cease
and be Yourself our King of Peace
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emannuel
shall come to thee, O Israel.
Jesus, Emmanuel, did come to Israel!! I forget, despite what I teach our son, that the Bible is more than a story! It is reality. Therefore, any time is a time worthy of rejoicing!

ready or not

Hide-n-Seek might be one of the best games ever. It has versatility because you can play it anywhere, anytime, at any age.

A few years ago a dear friend of mine sacrificed her Tuesdays and Thursdays so that I could finish my Bachelor's degree: she watched Davis nearly all day long. During that time Davis became good friends (even if they were only wee babes) with her daughter who is about the same age.

Last night we had the chance to swing by their house so that Davis and Sage could play. They watched part of a Scooby-Doo movie, dressed up like super-heroes, and then with ten minutes left until we needed to head home, they started playing Hide-n-Seek.

Sage hid first, and before Davis's eyes were even closed, she was hidden and shouted to him,
"Count to one!!!" The beauty of being young: the fun of hiding, the anticipation of waiting, and the sheer joy of being found!


Ronin's first real haircut

Ronin's hair was looking a little shaggy, and in the past I have cut his hair, but I thought it was time for him to get some professional treatment. There is a place I have driven by several times called Snip-Its. It's a place just for kids to get their hair cut. They don't even take appointments; I was amazed at the interior of the place as well as the skill of the stylists!When it's all said and done, they push their little card and a piece of hair into a machine and a surprise comes out, Ronin got bubbles. But his stylist also gave him a sucker, his first one ever. It was obvious that this was his first time, because Papa leaned over a little and when he did, all the saliva produced from that sucker came right of Ronin's mouth!

a heart-felt prayer

A few nights ago it was really windy, in Colorado we don't have to fear the wind quite like the folks in Oklahoma. However, Davis came to our room in the middle of the night to tell me it woke him up and it was scaring him.

I snuggled with him and reminded him that the wind couldn't come inside and that it wouldn't hurt him. He suggested that maybe we should pray, and so he did, eyes to the sky he sincerely asked, "God, can you make it not be so windy?" Then laid back down beside me, I asked if he wanted me to pray for him too and he did. I prayed that he would get good rest and that he would know that he's okay even if it's windy. Moments later, the wind died down and Davis looked at me and exclaimed, "God heard our prayers!"

Indeed He did hear our prayers and I was humbled. God doesn't need for us to pray what we think we should, He wants us to pray honestly. Isn't that what David did? It's God that changes our hearts and even our prayers to be what they should, we don't have to pretend with Him.


scared of the dark

What is it about the dark that is so scary?

Davis had a friend over to play, and inevitably it came down to picking sides: who would be the bad guy and who would be the good guy. The neighbor friend finally resigned to being the bad guy and he explained in vivid detail what his side looked like and when it was night and very dark, that's when the bad guys would come out.

The darkness is unknown. There is a sense of uneasiness when you are in the dark. You are not in control in the dark. You cannot see in the dark. Hence, the fear.

One day Davis was talking about the sun and how cool it is, I took the opportunity to tell him about how the Bible tells us Jesus is called the Light of the world. I began to think about all of this in elementary terms: being scared of the dark, and explaining to my 4-year-old why they call Jesus the Light of the World. Our hearts are filled with darkness, and nothing we conjure up can bring light to it, only the Son. Only the Light of the World.

out of the mouth of Davis

This past week has been a little difficult with the boys at bedtime. They have laughed and played and laughed some more every night. As each day passed, I had less and less tolerance for them both. On Friday night, I laid Ronin down first, waited until he was asleep then sent Davis up. All it took was hearing his voice from downstairs, and I was up there in a hurry. I walked with purpose into his room, and just as I approached his bed, he says to me, "I was just talking to God."

"Can you talk a little softer?" And I walked out of the room, deflated of every ounce of steam.


a real haircut

Davis mentioned wanting to cut his hair like Daddy's (take a look, he has no hair), and kept asking for the haircut. I have a soft spot when Davis wants to be like his Daddy, so...he got a haircut. We didn't shave it to the scalp, but we used the #1 guard with the clippers. He definitely got what he wanted: he looks just like
Daddy now.


an anonymous quote

I tried to find who said this, but wasn't able to come up with anything. I'm not the most patriotic girl on the block, even though my husband is in the Army, but I found this quote to be pretty profound:

"Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you.....Jesus Christ and the American Soldier. One died for your soul; the other for your freedom."

first family drawing

There is a contest right now by the ASYMCA (Armed Services YMCA) I didn't read the full instructions before telling Davis about it, so he drew his "Military Family" before I realized it's really for grade-school kids. It is fantastic, to me at least, so I couldn't help posting:That big guy in the middle is Daddy. The big guy on the right is Uncle Patrick (notice he's the only guy with hair), on the left is Grandpa. The little one on top of Daddy is Davis himself. Everyone else is too little to point out. But those included are: Ashley, Jayden, Kenzi, Brantley, Deacon, Ronin, Mawmo, Papa, Jackson (my friend's new baby), Rocky (Grandma and Grandpa's dog), and me.


my first Christmas present (this year)

There is a group of friends that has grown into a beautiful community. I lovingly call them "the Crew." Because of holiday travels and exciting adventures taking place in the coming weeks, the only time we could have a Christmas party was tonight, December 1st.

We drew names for gift giving, which can make someone (me, maybe) a little nervous. It's something like this that tells you if people really listen when you're talking or if they're the least bit observant of your interests.
This is what I received. Yes, I realize that this is a picture of a picture, so my amateur Nikon isn't going to capture the glory of this photograph (and I do mean glory, look at the way the sun is shining through the trees), but I had to try.

defining my unique-ness

A friend and I are trying to challenge our writing skills, so last month we wrote the number of blessings corresponding to the number of day it was (on the 12th, write 12 blessings from that day). Since it's December, we are doing something different using as our inspiration, the One Minute Writer blog (I have also put the link to her blog under the "people" label on the right). She posts a daily prompt and has a countdown for you to write just one minute. It's brilliant really. Today's prompt was to write about one thing that makes you unique.

I found that initially the traits I thought of were unique because of the relationships I have with others. I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend; and I do all those things in a way that is unique to me. Indeed, God has made each of us and in the same way our fingerprints are one of a kind, so are our personalities, but it is in being with each other that those differences come alive.


for the record

November is almost over and that means our countdown to end of tour is looking a little brighter. Tuesday marks a year that Kevin has been gone, which just seems crazy. An entire year. 82 days, give or take (it really is a rough estimate), until our family is together again! Since when does 82 days seem like a small number, you might ask? When you've been counting down from 402, that's when.


a pastor, a shepherd, a leader

Someone who isn't afraid to speak Truth to himself or to others.
Someone who genuinely cares for the people in his congregation.
Someone who listens intently, no matter how many people are waiting.
Someone who really talks to Jesus when he prays at the pulpit.
Someone who walks and talks like a real person.
Someone who loves his wife and sons deeply.
Someone who grapples with the deep truths of the Bible, and encourages me to do the same.

The responsibility of being a pastor is undoubtedly challenging: the tasks are numerous, the issues are eternal. I am thankful, grateful, and appreciative of our pastor, because while to many that list looks idealistic, those are traits of the man who gets up to preach nearly every Sunday at our church.

La'au's Taco Shop

If you live in the Springs, there is a place tucked away on Cache Le Poudre between Tejon and Cascade that you must try! It's called La'au's Taco Shop (it's Hawaiian). I ate there for the first time about three weeks ago and loved it! Today I got to share it with a friend, which made it even better. This morning I took advantage of the free childcare that the Army offers spouses of deployed soldiers, it was wonderful, a much needed four hours. Started with coffee at Rico's, then some shopping downtown, and topped off with two wonderful tacos from La'au's!


a self-haircut

This morning I worked in Ronin's room at church, so the Childcare Director picked Davis up for me and brought him to our room while we cleaned. She told me some FYI from the teacher, Davis had given himself a haircut with some safety scissors, just a little bit. I didn't really notice anything until he sat down for dinner, that's when I saw this:See that patch of white, that's where he cut his hair...to the scalp. I'm not quite sure how this is achieved with safety scissors, so I say "Kudos" to Davis.


certain about one thing

I was listening to Music Choice last night (the Adult Alternative channel). Michael Franti came on singing a song called, "Say Hey" it's got a good beat so the boys and I were grooving a little bit, but then I started to listen to the lyrics.

Part of the chorus says, "the more I see the less I know, but I know one thing, I love you." He intends it to be a love song, and so I obviously thought of my husband: there is so much truth in that single lyric. We have had an adventurous five years of marriage, many times not knowing what the next step of the journey would hold for us. Despite all the challenges and unknowns there was one thing I was certain of and still am: I love him.

I've found that often things in our relationship translate or parallel to my relationship with Jesus (because I am part of the Church and the Church is the Bride of Christ). Franti's lyrics were true even here: the more I see, it is truly the less I feel that I really know, but the sure thing for me, the constant is Love Himself. And it is His love in Kevin and me that enables our love to be consistent. Thank you Michael Franti, for a lesson in loving.


pushin' out turkeys

Last night there was a townhall meeting for 3 BCT (Brigade Combat Team) done Video Teleconference style. This means that the leadership in Iraq from our BCT was on video and all the spouses in the room were on video for them on the other side of the globe.

So the colonel briefed everyone on several issues at hand: the return dates of the Soldiers, reintegration training, block leave, etc. then opened it up for questions. Someone was really concerned that our Soldiers weren't going to get turkeys on Thanksgiving. He assured them that they have guaranteed every Soldier will get some real turkey on Thanksgiving. Still in concern, someone asked specifially about those on the smaller posts. He said the Dining Facilities of the larger bases (FOBs) will cook the turkey and push them out to the smaller posts.

Get ready Soldiers, turkeys will be pushed out soon!


the airport and communion

After picking up Davis from his Sunday School class, we wandered back into the sanctuary to meet up with some friends. He was checking out the set on stage for an upcoming presentation of Scrooge when something caught his eye: the gold container for the communion cups. He lifted the lid curiously and my two friends and myself harmoniously but gently told him to put it down.

"But what is it?"
"We can talk about it later, okay?"

Later was only ten minutes when we were in the car on our way home. Communion is incredibly symbolic and therefore difficult to explain to a four-year-old who understands things literally not symbolically. We have had to go to the airport a few times and each time Davis watches for the blue and white sign to know which way to go. This was my starting point: a symbol. After understanding this concept we moved to the very special dinner that Jesus had with his disciples before he died on the cross.

In the end, he actually understood that the bread and wine are symbols of Christ's body and blood. I explained that Jesus told us to eat that same special dinner often to remember all that he did on the cross. He asked when the special dinner was and when Jesus died. I gave him a rough number and he was amazed that the Church (which is God's people) has been eating that same special dinner for that many years.


snort like a pig

Ronin has learned the sound for a pig and I think it is pretty hilarious, so I thought I would share it. Also, we have a print of Starry Night in our dining room and recently Davis taught Ronin how to say Van Gogh, only it comes out "ee-oh." Both are captured on this short video. Enjoy!


slanted media coverage on the IA Soldier

If you watch TV or keep up with the news, you've heard about the recent shooting of the two American Soldiers by the Iraqi Army soldier. This incident actually took place in the city where Kevin is patrolling.

Some media sources are saying that there was a fight, or altercation with the IA soldier and one of our own prior to the incident, while this gives reason to believe in a tension between our Soldiers and the Iraqis, and supports the wave of negativity running through the news about the war in Iraq, it's just not true.

It was an isolated incident with a disgruntled IA soldier. Our Soldiers were on a dismounted (not in vehicles) patrol when the Iraqi approached and opened fire. Some people just don't like their jobs. How many times have we referenced the phrase, "disgruntled postal worker"? Too many. Yesterday at Target, Davis and I both were very friendly to our cashier yet she didn't crack a smile, she didn't even make eye contact.

The difference is, soldiers have weapons. Instead of pounding his fist, he pulled the trigger. Was he held responsible for his actions? Yes. Will our Soldiers be alert for other situations that may arise like this one? Yes. Is this something we should expect to happen on a regular basis? No.

lunch & a table full of four year olds

Yesterday the boys went to the "play place" (child care center) for a couple hours. I arrived to pick them up and they were all just sitting down for lunch. Davis is rarely a fan of any meal time so I didn't think there would be a problem leaving. He wanted to stay. It must have been some great lunch special, right? Nope, fish sticks, broccoli, canned plums, and rolls.

So, I pulled up a chair to the tiny table and had lunch with eight 3 and 4 year olds and one of the teachers. To my amazement I had a great time, and learned a few things too. Nothing profound, in fact, they were all really simple things. However, when you do this job called motherhood 24/7 sometimes you get caught up in behavior and forget about life, even for your four-year-old.

the things I learned:

  • less scolding and more laughing
  • if you're not eating, put your hands in your lap (brilliant!)
  • you've gotta eat either a fruit or a vegetable
  • no seconds until you've finished what you have
  • talk positively about food
  • treat mistakes as mistakes, not as grounds for discipline

Those are just a few. Thank you SW Childcare Center, and more specifically, Mister B for reminding me of the joys of meal time.


Davis wrote his name

Tonight we went to an FRG (Family Readiness Group) Meeting and the entire purpose was to sign Christmas cards for the Soldiers in our company. I thought maybe if I worked with Davis he would be able to sign his name. We practiced a lot this afternoon, and for the first time ever he wrote his name all by himself!!! I took a picture because I was so proud.It's in red because that is his favorite color, and I wrote his name at the top so he could look at the letters when he wrote them. Someone asked tonight what grade he was in after hearing of his accomplishment. He's not even in school, that's what makes it so impressive!


mister mommy

Occasionally Davis calls me, "Mister Mommy." And while I laugh and correct him assuring him that I am not a mister, I seem to fit the bill.

One of the challenges of being a spouse of a deployed soldier is you are responsible for two roles. For me that happens to be mom and dad; Disciplinarian and Nurturer. It was amazing to see the difference in Davis during the two weeks that his Daddy was home, and now that I'm taking over that role again, I'm seeing the decline in his "boyhood" and an increase in his shrill screams. Overall, he really does well, but some days are just harder than others. Today has been a hard day for Mister Mommy.


even Spiderman gets thirsty

Though Davis's time being sick wasn't pleasant, it did provide Ronin and me with a little quality time. I found this old Spiderman costume in a box and Ronin wanted it right away. For some reason, he calls Spiderman "Money" or at least that's what it sounds like he's saying. Anyhow, here are some pictures of the great Spidey:


my friend Sunny

Back in the day I had a great friend named Sunny. She moved away and we lost touch until she found me on Myspace and now we follow each other's blogs. She just posted a "Shout Out" entry that has some pictures of the two of us from our much younger days.

sick and singing about Jesus

About a week ago, Davis and I somehow started talking about when Jesus will come back. I ended up explaining that when He came the first time He came as a baby, but when He comes again, He'll come as King. Davis then told me what he thought Jesus would look like, and said that Jesus wouldn't be King of all. I obviously corrected him, telling him that Jesus would indeed be King of all and that everyone would bow to Him (even the people who didn't want to). Davis got really excited about the idea of everyone bowing to Jesus and the conversation soon turned to who (and what) all things would bow. I think we ended on, "Even the cars will bow!!"

This morning, Davis was awakened by having to throw up. He was screaming and finally came into my room with puke on his neck and part of his shirt. Consequently, he's spent a lot of time on the couch and in the bottom bunk sleeping. After a nice nap, he tried to come down and play, but he said, "I think I still need to be upstairs." And up he went. I thought I heard something so I started for the stairs, when I heard him singing, "And the grass is green and bow to Jesus, bow to Jesus, bow to Jesus." I stood quietly and listened to his song. Too often Davis is an example to me of the attitude I should have: singing about the greatness of God despite how I might feel.


the rotomill and repaving

We received a notice last week that our parking lot and street in our townhome complex were going to be repaved. Each section was scheduled a couple days and we were instructed to move our cars. Yesterday was day one for our section, but no work was done. So for today I was a little hesitant to move my car, but did it anyway.

This morning when we opened up our blinds, they were towing cars out of our parking lot. Davis and Ronin watched intently as all the big trucks moved in and out of our lot. Even though we've had breakfast and cartoon time, both the boys end up at the window watching the big trucks. I think it might be that way for most of the day.


i voted today

Well, today is the big day. I scheduled today for my four hours of free childcare for the boys just in case there was an extraordinarily long line to vote, but it turned out I didn't have to wait at all. However, am I the only one that was surprised by how many candidates there were for President? I'll be really honest, I almost voted for Ralph Nader.

If it's not enough that we have the freedom to vote, take yourself and your "I Voted" sticker to Krispy Kreme today and get a free doughnut or to Starbucks for a free tall coffee or to Ben and Jerry's tonight from 5-8 for a free scoop of ice cream! Happy voting!


will we be content with "change"

As I'm sure everyone knows, the election is tomorrow (don't forget to vote). This year's election has been more weighty for me than any other, it seems there are so many issues that are close to me either literally (the war in Iraq) or emotionally (abortion).

In America, everything is within reach: a new car, a promotion, a new house, a vacation, and because of it so many of us seem to be discontent with where we are. Nothing is ever enough.

It seems that we love to claim our nation has a democratic system until there's something we don't like, then we have a dictatorship and there's only one person to blame: the President.

Pride is a terrible thing, C.S.Lewis calls it the great sin. It is pride that feeds our discontent with the current status of our lives and at times our government because we feel entitled to something or someone better, when in fact we deserve nothing.

Change is inevitable and constant; so it will come, regardless of what candidate takes office. What kind of change are we prepared for? Is it possible to turn away from pride and put our emotional energy into supporting a nation which has given us freedom millions cannot even fathom?

a funny face?

Davis still hasn't mastered wiping his own rear after a poop, so after he's done he hollers and tells me he's finished. Today, I went to do my duty as a mom and he's singing what's on the counter: "Little clippers, toothpaste, soap," while I'm wiping his bottom. I was cracking up and I tell him, "Davis you are so funny."
"My face?" Which made me laugh even more.
"No, just you, I love your singing. It makes me laugh."
"Oh, yeah."

let's celebrate...putting on our socks

Lately, Ronin gets excited about lots of things. The best part is, he proclaims it with an excited, "Yay!!" everytime so you don't miss it. And so it goes, "Yay," we parked the car. "Yay," my diaper's changed. "Yay," my shoes are on. "Yay," we're eating. And really, the list goes on and on. I can't complain though, it's definitely made me appreciate the much smaller things in life.


understanding the concept of "boo"

Peek-a-boo is one of Ronin's favorite things, but now it has transformed into a game that is more like hide-and-seek. He likes to hide behind the chair, sneak around the corner, then pop his little head out and say, "Boo!" He likes to do this in the morning when he wakes up too: I will peek my head around the door and when he sees me, he says, "Boo!"
This morning, I was sitting in the chair that Ronin likes to hide behind, so he must have been a little frustrated that he wasn't finding me when he peeked around the corner. From the chair I hear him yell, "Mommy! Mommy!" Once I looked down, he smiled, extremely pleased I had found him and then said, "Boo!" Not quite how it works, but he's getting there.


and then...the disconnect

First of all, I want to publicly say thank you to the friends and family who have been so intentional in caring for me (for us) in this past week. It has been challenging in many ways, but we are slowly adjusting to the "everyday" of deployment yet again.

Davis is doing his typical form of adjusting and that means lots of discipline, several spankings, sneaking downstairs after bedtime, testing his limits and my authority, blatant disobedience, stealing toys from Ronin, and the list goes on. However, in the midst of all his rebellion, Davis has moments of poignant sensitivity; when he detects that I am sad, he is quick to comfort me. Ronin is still his typical self: laid back, always seeking adventure (without caution), but now he is ecstatic to see Kevin on TV reading a story.

At 4:43am, Kevin called. He will be heading out soon to start patrolling again. We had a wonderful conversation, and it wasn't until after we hung up that I realized it is exactly that: the disconnect, that creates the ache for all of us. Eighteen days was enough. Enough to settle into what is normal: waking up together, eating together, talking together, laughing together, playing together, sleeping together, everything together. And in a moment at the airport, it's just like hanging up the phone. Family (and even more so, marriage) is so much like a constant conversation that separation breaks apart. There is still union and cohesion, but it is strained and a challenge to maintain.

So, we pick up the journey again of staying connected despite the disconnect.


creativity even kids can love

I have been trying to think of things that I (or we) could make for Christmas that are still good gifts (or additions to gifts). I came across Martha Stewart's holiday magazine while in Borders and it has a lot of fun things to make, even cookies! My favorite were the beaded letters and stars. I made some of them yesterday and Davis made a star and had fun doing it! Here are some pictures of the turnout:


Ronin misses Da-da

Someone asked me if I had noticed a change in Ronin since Kevin has been gone (it's been three days). And I was honest with the friend and myself when I answered that I really hadn't. I explained to myself that it's because he's still so little, etc., etc.

Today, when he woke up, he quickly let me know he wanted down by leaning over to the point he almost falls out of my grasp and saying, "Down, down, down." I usually shut all the upstairs doors as we head downstairs, so they were all still open. Ronin rushed into our room, looked at the bed, and said, "Da-da?" A brief pause, then again, "Da-da?" That's where he had met Kevin most mornings that we were home, but not this one.

In that moment, my heart swelled, how can sorrow and joy mingle so easily? I miss my husband, and the boys miss their Daddy, yet in the same breath, I am overjoyed to know even our littlest is aware of his absence.

biased media coverage

I am not usually a political post-er, however, a friend recommended this article to me and I thought it was brilliant. It's called "Media's Presidential Bias and Decline". It might be a little long for the average internet reader, but it's worth it.

a blog invasion

I checked my email this morning to find I had 49 new comments on my blog, I was shocked, who would comment that many times in one night? nbalike, that's who, and they weren't commenting, they were invading my blog for their own purposes, to post links to some video games or something like it. This person posted around 45 comments on separate entries to post links to different gaming sites. So, I'm in the process of removing his/her comments and trying to find out what to do to report them. If you have insight on this issue, please let me know.


my favorite (little) boys

One of the days that Kevin was here, we went to America the Beautiful Park. Since he was there, I was able to sneak around and take some pictures of the boys, these are some of my favorites.


a hand to hold

Ronin was itching to go outside today, so we put on our sweaters and headed out the door. He was already holding my hand, but was having a little trouble with the steps, so he just reached out and grabbed Davis's hand for help.

Early this morning (4:45 am) we took Kevin to the airport to say goodbye, again. This time only for three months (give or take). Davis attempted to make himself feel better, he said to me in the car, "Maybe something silly will make me happy" and then he started spouting off nonsense words and we shared a soft giggle, but then he said, "No, silly things aren't making me happy, I just want Daddy."

I shared the sentiment, and later when I saw Ronin instinctually grab his brother's hand for help, I prayed that I would be the same. Not just today, but as I walk through life when I know I can't make it down a steep step, I hope that I will instinctually reach out and grab a hand for help. Sometimes it means you won't fall, but sometimes it means you fall together.


Fitz fam round 2 (more from Bryce)

thank you Bryce!!

There are so many more of these that are wonderful moments captured by the talented Bryce Bandy (see his link Squint Studios), but I wanted to give you a taste, hope you enjoyed them!


a stroll in Manitou

If you know Ronin, you know he doesn't like to be held for more than about two minutes. On a whim, we went to Manitou last week and walked around for a bit, Ronin started to get a little cranky, so Kevin took him to walk with him (the picture) but Kevin ended up carrying him around for about a half hour! The boy loves his Daddy.

mature tastebuds

Last night, Kevin looked at Davis and asked him where he wanted to eat dinner (this was surprise to me), and affirmed that he could pick any place he wanted. After a long pause and several "umm"s he answered: Red Robin. I glance at Kevin and know we're thinking the same thing: he is four right? We just asked our four-year-old where he wants to eat and of all the places (McDonald's?!? Chuck E. Cheese? Burger King?) he picks Red Robin.

a new kid...or old kid

The first day Kevin was home, he and Davis were grappling within the first fifteen minutes that we walked through the door. As I watched, I noticed something I hadn't seen in such a long time I almost didn't recognize it: a smile. Now Davis smiles all the time, but there is a smile that only comes out when he's playing with Daddy, and it was there, beaming.

A wonderful and gracious friend has watched our boys twice already and she noticed that Davis was incredibly well-behaved (even better than normal). The second time was even more obvious. She hesitated telling me at first, because she didn't want to dishearten me. However, it did quite the opposite. His behavior is a direct result of Kevin being home.

Kevin had to spank Davis once: for outright defiance, Davis was anticipating only having Daddy as a pal and not as an authority while he was home. It fills me with joy to know that nearness to his Father produces in him better behavior. I'm sure you can already see the parallel, right? We are the same with our Father in Heaven, time with Him, nearness to Him produces in us right living.

Davis will no doubt go through another difficult season once Kevin returns to Iraq, and I'm not excited about that, but we are making plenty of joyful memories to hold onto through the next three and a half months.


together again

For now, just know we are together...our family, and we are enjoying every minute of it. More pictures to come.


our little buckaroo

We went to Target yesterday and I let Davis pick out a new shirt to welcome Daddy home in. He picked out a flannel button-down shirt. Last month we were in Lubbock for a visit and had the chance to go to the Cowboy Symposium, where Davis received his first ever cowboy hat. The shirt was intended to go with the hat. Once I saw the hat and shirt together, I mentioned he needed some boots.

Well, we got some. I called all around town and found a store that sold children's sizes for a decent price. A friend saved the day and picked them up for me because the store closed at 4, and the boys were napping. She brought them right over and Davis wanted try them on immediately. He naps in his undies, and he didn't want to try everything else on, just the boots.

In the end, we had to take the boots off so he could put his jeans on and the boots back on and he put on his shirt too.

And there you have it, our little buckaroo. He was so excited about the whole thing he had to go show our neighbor, who shared in the excitement and put on his own cowboy hat that Reagan gave him.

This one is just for fun, because I like it.


sobering statistics

Due to some recent conversations, I've been searching for some statistics. Specifically for the total deaths of military personnel and civilians in the World Wars and for Operation Iraqi Freedom. The civilian count for World War II is staggering because of the number of lives lost in concentration camps. I found myself disheartened when it was clear a number was merely rounded up or down. For all the websites that I looked at for the World War I and II statistics, none had names listed.

Then, I found the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, which gives extensive lists and graphs for the casulaties and fatalities of the Iraq War. I was trying to find something that was accurate and comprehensive, and it was there, complete with names, dates, causes of death, and the places they died. Names have faces and faces have families. As I scrolled slowly down the list I wondered what they tell us in the heat of this political mess. But they can't speak, instead, thousands of others will take the liberty they paid for with their lives to talk about the war, to ridicule it, to blame our leaders for it, to say it's unnecessary, or we shouldn't even be there, and on and on. Making a mockery of their service and at the same time making it harder and harder for those still on the ground, still risking their lives, still trying to protect the lives of innocent Iraqi citizens. But too many of us can't see beyond the small scope of our own individual lives and consequently we don't foresee the reprucussions of the things we say or do.


excited about clean sheets

Kevin and I were discussing a week ago the things we're excited about. Just being together is the obvious answer, but we were thinking much smaller. The initial answer for Kevin was clean sheets. For me, getting to go the bathroom alone.

halloween season=frustrated grocery shopping

Today we went to the grocery store; it didn't help that we arrived close to lunch time and on the second day of the month. Long lines and candy everywhere. Little kids love candy, and somehow, no matter how it's packaged, they know exactly what it is even if they've never had a particular kind before. I'm amazed by this with Davis. There is a large display immediately when you walk in the door for Halloween and every possible space is filled with bags of candy. Every five seconds I hear, "Oooh, Mommy, I like this kind," or "Oooh, we should get this one." An answer for all these comments came to me in a moment of brilliance: "You have to go trick-or-treating to get that candy." And like magic, we were done with the candy conversation.


too many days to count

This calendar has been on our wall for 9 months now. We have faithfully marked off the days, and now, there are so few until Kevin finally comes home (for leave, 18 days, then he goes back). We have actually been apart now for 10 months because he was gone all of December (and that's not included on the calendar), which means we are just 2 months shy of a year.

Many people say to us, "I don't know how you do it." My response is usually, "I don't either." But if I'm really honest, it's the grace of God. Because of who He is, we can have peace despite the many challenges that come with deployments. Right now, looking back, it seems incredibly overwhelming, yet we're here--and we're all still mentally stable! In fact, our marriage has grown, our dependency on Christ to meet our needs has been strengthened, and my trust in Jesus to take care of Kevin, me, and our boys is deeper than it has ever been.


the Davis version of worship songs

Davis really likes the song "Blessed be Your Name" by Matt Redman . For a few months now, he will occassionally sing it, only he sings it like this, "Listen to the Name of God" if you're familiar with the song, then you know the chorus says, "Blessed be the Name of the Lord, Blessed be Your Name." So imagine Davis emphatically singing his own version, which I think functions really well. We also like the song, "Come and Listen" by David Crowder. A few nights ago, I was talking to a friend and Davis started belting out his version of the first song (while he was supposed to be sleeping), but then, he bridged the two songs together. This works particularly well when the Davis lyrics are "listen to Name of God." I quietly went up the stairs so that maybe my friend could hear Davis singing via the phone. She did, and enjoyed it just about as much as I did. I tried to capture it on video, but the screen is black, since he should have been asleep.

the ways I'm like my dad

No, my Dad is not a big fan of Thomas the Train. Today, this book came apart. We have had it since '06-ish. Davis fell in love with the book one day at Borders, I read it to him several times there, we bought it (it's only $3.25), and then I read it many more times to him through the course of the past couple years. Some would have said it was time to say goodbye to a book that falls apart, some would have given it away or maybe just put it away. Me? No, because tucked away inside me are traits of my father that you cannot see, like the habit of not giving things away, or throwing things away because you just know you can fix it. Such is the case with Thomas's ABC Book. When Davis realized that Ronin had torn it apart, he looked at me with such a sad face to deliver the news. I didn't even flinch, "No worries, Davis, we can fix that!" Out came the packing tape (the beauty of packing tape is that it's clear, so you can't always tell that something has been repaired) and I fixed it up. Thanks, Pops.


you know you're a mom when...

You go to a meeting and while taking notes, you catch a glimpse of a Chuck E. Cheese sticker on your shirt.


just to see his face

With Kevin's return being so soon, the whole house is excited! I have been doing small and big things to prepare for him being home, we have made countdown days to tear off each day, and there is a weight that seems to have lifted just in knowing he's coming soon. I was up later than usual last night because I was visiting with a friend. I have a routine of checking my email before I go to bed no matter how late it is, so even though it was around midnight, I was checking my email, and Kevin was online! The computer he was on had a webcam and so for the first time in six months I saw his face.

In all the joy, I have been convicted: is this not the picture of how I should be waiting expectantly for the return of Jesus. The promise of His coming should enable me to walk through life with a joy immeasurable. The thought of seeing His face should excite me to no end. And I should be living in such a way that I am always preparing for That Day. For too many of us the day-to-day grind of life fills us with apathy, we forget our purpose, and live without a joy that is available and abundant. I also know that there are many of you who have never been away from your spouse for ten months and can't imagine what a reunion after that amount of time must be like. I encourage you...imagine. He is coming, and it will be a more beautiful reunion than any other!

hangin' out at the house

Our neighbors gave us this house and we've been having fun in it ever since. Davis likes climbing around on top and Ronin likes saying "Hi," "Eh-oh," and "Bye" to whoever he's imagining is on the other end of the phone. Davis also pretends to make ice cream and serves it out the side window. If you ever come by, be prepared to pick up your order.


can't wait!!

We finally got a somewhat definite date to when Kevin comes home for leave. Obviously I can't post that date on this ever so public forum, but it should be sufficient to say it's less than two weeks!! Thanks to those of you who have endured so much of this time with us, it is almost time to celebrate!


real phones, real Life

Ronin likes to play; right now, it's the only thing he likes to do, he doesn't like to sit still for anything. Lately his favorite toy is a phone that a friend gave us. It is a real phone, it is completely functional: the keys work, the sounds work, the camera works, it even will make a call--but you'll only hear an automated voice telling you your service cannot be validated. Ronin has since lost interest in his "play" phones. None of them make him happy quite like the real one.

I am pretty amazed at his affinity for things that are "real" that he can play with, it doesn't matter what it is, it's better if it's the real thing. It didn't take too long for it to hit me that I am no different. To me it's better to have the real thing: Dr. Pepper is better than Dr. Thunder (the Sam's choice version), Sugar is better than Splenda, a haircut at a salon is better than at Supercuts, and the list could go on, but the point is the same I have a sense that there is more value in things that are genuine (it's even true of non-tangibles). It's also true of life in Jesus, that is where real life is, it is where we will feel truly human, because only in Him will we be fully functional.

Jones Soda

We've had a bottle of Jones Soda in our fridge for a while now and I felt like today was the day to drink it. I'm a fan of Jones Soda, you can probably guess why if you check out their website. We don't drink soda very often though, I'm assured of this because I let Davis have a little taste in his own cup. He said it was "spicy" apparently carbonation is spicy. A few minutes later, he says, "Ooh, I just had a spicy burp from my spicy drink." Thank you Jones, for adding a little spice to our life today!



Davis loves Transformers, even though he has only seen part of the movie. I caught him pretending to be Bumblebee at the playground once, actually buzzing around. But a couple weeks ago, he gets this really cool Transformer voice and says, "I am Octopus Pride!" While I laughed hysterically, I corrected him. He could suffer horribly on the playground for that one.


pantheism v. omnipresence

The distinction between pantheism and the omnipresence of God is something very important to explain to children, specifically Davis. I realized just how easily the transition of thought from God is everywhere to God is in everything could come if you weren't aware of the very significant difference.

Ronin's first big ow-ie

I'm surprised that this hasn't happened sooner, a scratch like the one you see on his forehead. The boy has no sense of caution: he only knows not to jump off the couch because it's a "no-no"; he has learned how to make his body like a surfboard so he can glide down the stairs as fast as possible; he bangs his head on our front screen door, and these are just a few of the things he does.

Ronin was walking down our small front sidewalk and lost his balance, he partially softened his fall with his hands, but obviously it wasn't enough. Also, the scratch looks worse now than it did when I took the picture.

new car and new shoes

I made a commitment not to purchase any shoes in 2008, but I gave myself one allowance, and that was to buy a pair of shoes to welcome Kevin home in, these are the ones.

While in Oklahoma last week, we got a new car, obivously there's a story/explanation, but maybe that will come in a later post. For now, here's a picture (thanks Nissan) of our new car--except ours is black, the Nissan Rogue, it's definitely a step up from our Honda, which served us well: it had 223,500 miles.