Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 at a glance

This year has been busy and looking back at it makes me realize how fast it all went!

Our year started with family coming to visit us in Alabama for Emmalyn's dedication and Caleb's flight school graduation.

Nice wings Wilkes!!!

Once all of that was over, we had to say our goodbyes to our beloved flight school friends.  There were so many!! These are the girls that got together for bible study/tea/yoga once a week!

Then we moved back to SC.  It was nice to be so close to family again, but we knew the deployment was coming up so we tried to spend as much time together as a family as possible.  We went to the zoo, picked strawberries, and watched a lot of movies!

Then Caleb left for training at Fort Hood.  But I had a lot on my plate with trying to find a job, visiting friends and planning Emmy's first birthday party.  

I spent my first real Mother's Day in Atlanta with Ashley.  

Our friend, Sarah, came down from Illinois to visit and help with Emmy's party.   And boy did I put her to work!!!  

The party was a success and Caleb even got to skype with us through the whole thing!

on July 2nd, Emmy and I took our second plane ride together (along with Crissy) to visit Caleb in Texas.  Seeing Texas was great, but getting to have time with Caleb was amazing!  I will cherish the memories from our first family vacation forever!

 A little while later my other bestie, Katie Beth, revealed that she was pregnant!  What an answer to prayer!

At the end of July Emmy and I joined my parents and brother at Myrtle Beach for family vacation.  Fun times!

About a month later Caleb got to come home for 3 days to visit before heading overseas.  I tried to enjoy the 3 days we were given without letting the eminent good bye overcome my emotions.  I savored every moment that weekend!  That was the last time we saw Caleb.

Then it was time to send him off.

Emmy didn't let the somberness last long though.  A few day later we took our first (and probably not last) trip to the ER when Emmy knocked her front tooth up into her gum after catapulting into my bedside table because she was jumping on the bed! 

A few weeks later my Aunt Cindy and cousin Maribeth came to visit us from Minnesota.

And on September 20 my parents had their 25th wedding anniversary!  I planned a big get together (with a lot of help from Crissy) to celebrate with all of their friends.  It was a blast!

Between all the chaos, we filled our time with play dates, time spent with grandparents while I started my new nursing job...

And watching Daddy reading books to Emmy that were sent via DVD.  I swear she's not going to know what to do with him when he is home in the flesh after seeing him on my computer, the TV and talking to him on the phone!

Finally fall came and my bestie, Ashley and her sister came to spend the weekend with us. I took Emmy to her very first Gamecock tailgate.  From the photo I'm pretty sure she had a good time!

And what's fall without the SC State Fair?  We went with Crissy's family one cloudy day.  Emmy loved the pony ride and elephant show!

Then we picked out pumpkins and carved them with Crissy!

And got all dressed up for a night jam packed with Trick or Treating.

Somewhere in there Katie Beth found out she and her hubby were expecting a baby BOY!  

In November, we got word that Caleb had been promoted to A Chief Warrant Officer!  HOOAH!!!  

And went to watch the Gamecocks beat up on the Citadel Bulldogs with some fellow 1-151st wives!

And we ended the year decorating our tree that we picked out with Crissy and having a fantastic Christmas with family!!

WOW!  What a year!

Now 2012 is just a day away and I could not be more relieved.  After ten years with Caleb, I'm more excited about what this year will hold for us than ever before!!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Our Christmas fun

Christmas for us is still going.  We will have family in town all week but the fun started on Christmas Eve. 

Emmy is so blessed to have both sets of grandparents close to us.  We spent the better part of the day at Ama and Bop's house making Christmas cookies.  Emmy loved it!  Ama had a child size apron just for Emmy and let her stir the batter for the sugar cookies and taste them!

That night we went to Ama and Bop's Christma Eve church service.  Emmy had not napped all day long and ended up walking into the church like this:

She tried so hard to be good, but the more tired she gets, the faster she goes even in church.  The service was great and Emmy really liked when we lit all the candles.  

After the church service Emmy and I headed to my parents' to spend the night and Christmas day.  Justin went with me to pick up Emmy's kitchen which was boxed and had to be completely assembled.  You know the uncle has to take over daddy responsibilities when daddy isn't around!!!

My brother was such a big help this Christmas.  We stayed up until 2am putting the kitchen together while laughing about Christmases past and watching The Santa Claus.  Good times!!!

I woke up around 8am on Christmas morning.  Once I woke up and realized what day it really was, I got the same feeling of excitement in my stomach that I did as a child on Christmas morning.  I was so excited to see Emmy's reaction to her kitchen I could barely stand it, so I not very quietly walked in the room Emmy was sleeping in and she woke up!

When we walked into the living room she looked a bit confused on why we were all so excited and crowded around a play kitchen that was clearly not there the night before.  So, I sat her down in front of it and started showing her all the bells and whistles on it.  She eventually got over the fact that it was all a little strange and started playing with it herself.  Then there was no stopping her!

Here she is talking on the phone while cooking.  She may have seen this done before : )

In addition to the kitchen and a ton of other amazing toys, she got a motorized Disney princess four-wheeler.  She will need some more practice with the steering!

After exchanging presents we ate an amazing dinner cooked by mom and dad and spent the rest of the day lounging around and having fun watching Emmy play with toy after toy!!!!  And this wasn't the end of our Christmas fun!!!  

The next day we went to The Wilkes's house to celebrate Jesus's Birthday!  We exchanged presents, ate a ton of junk food, made forts with all the cousins, cuddled, and enjoyed the crisp outdoor air. 

This is the first thing Emmy and Anna did when they saw each other!  

After watching some tv and cuddling with Anna, Emmy thought it was time to beg Uncle Jo Jo for a snack.

Every year, before we open presents, we read part of the Christmas story and the past two years the kids have been getting involved by acting out the verses.  This year, Micah was a shepherd.

Then it was time to open the gifts!!!  Our family got Micah a telescope (he is really fascinated about space).  He loved it!!!

Ama got all the kids a huge box of books and Great Ama got them all Christmas blankets.  Once Emmy opened both of those, she took them to a corner and cuddled up to read.  It was so darling!

Our Christmas fun isn't over yet!  The Wilkes family will be in town for a few more days so there is more fun to be had!!!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I'll Be Home For Christmas, If Only In My Dreams

This Christmas will be the first in ten years that  I will be without my better half.  Although it does sadden me to not have him here for such an important day, the past nine months (and the next four) have made our marriage so much stronger.  I think of how many marriages wouldn't make it this long being so separated.  

Anyway, with the almost 4000 mile distance between us giving presents to each other this year was a bit of a challenge.  

Caleb asked me numerous times what I wanted and I really couldn't come up with anything because all I really want is him home safely, but the thought of something special anyway.

After Caleb got home from basic training in 2008 I had a trip planned for us to go to the Biltmore for a weekend.  After not speaking for eleven weeks we really needed a trip together.  We got there on December 27th so all the Christmas decorations were still up.  It was the perfect weekend.  We toured the house, the grounds, went to a wine tasting, and ate at a few of the restaurants that are on the grounds.  

This is a photo taken while we were at dinner one night.  

 After our wine tasting, we purchased a couple bottles of our favorites.  We savored those bottles of wine  aka they lasted a while!

So for Christmas this year, Caleb ordered more wine (3 bottles to be exact) from the Biltmore for me and our family.  So thoughtful!!!  He told me to take one to Christmas dinner, keep one for Crissy and myself, and save one for when he returns home.  

Have a I mentioned that I love this guy??!?!

My gift was a bit more challenging because Caleb doesn't have a lot of space to himself to keep things, nor does he have access to a lot of technology so I had to get creative.  

After much thought and some guts on my part, I finally decided on a gift.  

Don't laugh.

Boudoir photos.  

I mean, what would be better for a married man who is 4000 miles away from his wife?

Then I had to choose a photographer - These aren't exactly photos I could take myself.  

I chose Jawnie Holsker.  She is also an army wife so she was very understanding and made me feel very comfortable.  Not to mention she's a great photographer!  

I can't show most of the photos, for obvious reasons, but here are a couple that I could. 

I will say that Caleb was very pleased with his Christmas present this year!

While we're on the subject of Christmas, I wanted to share some horrible snapshots of what Christmas looks like around our place.  

Christmas card display

Gotta love chalkboards!

And the Christmas tree!  

Now, if I could just sit myself down long enough to wrap the rest of the presents!!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

2012 = oh so sweet!

Well, after taking almost two full days off from all three of my jobs (mom, nurse, photographer) due to the stomach bug, I'm refreshed and back to the working grind!  I seriously do not know what I would do without my family being near!  My in laws took Emmy for a night so I could rest and so she (cross my fingers) doesn't get the stomach bug.  I missed her so much!!!  I kept hearing her calling me in my sleep. I'm oddly thankful for the pre-holiday crash diet though.

I also haven't worked at the hospital for ten days!  It has been amazing and I've loved staying with Emmy working on potty training and getting Christmas shopping done.

Editing has pretty much taken over my nightlife.  I'm so glad I took two days off though, because now I'm excited to edit the hundreds of photos I need to!  God is GOOD!

Since I was sick, Crissy and I could not go on our girls' night as planned, but tonight my parents kept Emmy while she and I went to see New Year's Eve.  It was AH-MA-ZING!!!  There was a "surprise" part in it that made both of us boo hoo like babies (if you've seen I'll give you one guess as to which scene it was).

The movie made me so excited about 2012 because...

~ The sweetest homecoming I'll know (until Jesus comes back!)
~ my best friend has her first child!!!
~ another move for our family (#7 in 5 years!)
~ our first family vacation - just the three of us!
~ My brother turns 21 - I can finally buy him a beer!
~ Terrible twos (at least Caleb will be around for this!)
~ half a decade of marriage
~ And who knows what else!!!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

18 months/1 1/2 years/closer to 2 than 1 year old!!

I now have an 18 month old.  That's crazy!!!  These days she is so fun!  I'm praying every day that Caleb's unit will be granted leave to come home for a couple of weeks so he can see first hand how amazing she is!!!

Emmalyn's 18 month Stats

Weight - 19lb (Not on the charts!)

Height - 30 3/4in (9th percentile)

Head - 18in (3rd percentile)

Size of clothes - 12 months

Eye color - very brown

Sleep - 8-10 hours a night

Food - Emmy likes lots of things, but we have been ordered to continue to push calories even more!  Some days are better than others.  I find it hard to increase her calories without sacrificing certain food groups like fruits and veggies.  I do have a few recipes to try in the coming week, so only time will tell if it will help.  
Some foods she's loving lately:
peanut butter
sweet tea
mac & cheese
ground burger
muffins (chocolate chip)
grilled cheese

Milestones - We are currently working on potty training.  I have to put her on it, but know if she needs to pee pee or not because she will stay on it or will walk up to it herself and open the top.  Once she is done she gets off and points to make sure I see that she pee peed or pooed in it.  So cute - I know that might sound weird.  My goal is to have to potty trained by the time Caleb comes home, but I'm not pressing the issue.  I'm proud of how much she does now!
She can point to every part of her body and will wash it if I tell her a specific part.  

Current words:
Bop (what we call Caleb's dad)
uh oh
thank you
Bubba (Uncle Bubby aka Justin)
She makes owl, cat, dog, cow, lion and bird noises

Favorite activities - 
 *climbing all over Huey (Crissy's chocolate lab)
 *chasing the dogs - she thinks it is the funniest thing when they run away from her
 *brushing my hair - she'll do it for about 20 minutes and is very particular about it!
 *bringing books to you and climbing in your lap to read them - she is getting more and more patient and now will sit while I read an entire story without rushing me
 *reorganizing the bottom cabinets in the bathroom and kitchen - Crissy and I often find things in them that don't belong there, like our shoes and her toys
 *running from me every time she needs her clothes changed
 *helping in the kitchen aka making a mess
 *helping me put the groceries on the conveyor belt at the checkout and then put them in the trunk of the car - such a big helper!!!
 *calling the dogs to come inside after being out for a while
 *looking at photos - both grandparents have photo books that she will bring to you and sit with you while you go through each photo.  She often brings me a certain photo of her and Caleb and one of Caleb and me from our wedding day to look at.  I've also caught her staring at it alone a couple of times and it makes my heart happy.  I really wonder what she thinks when she sees photos of Caleb - I'm not sure if she understands how to "miss" someone yet, but I'd like to think she does miss him.  
*She mimics everything anyone does!  The other day we were coloring and I was lying on the floor on my stomach.  Once she noticed, she proceeded to get on her belly and color right beside me in the same position.  Precious!
*She also likes to run and squeal at the same time.  Such a girl, but it is so cute!

These are the most recent photos I have of Emmalyn.  I've been rather slack with taking photos of her lately because I've been taking so many Christmas cards pics of other families, but will get to it as soon as I have some time.  


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