Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Playing Catch Up

Emmalyn and I have been two busy girls lately!  I guess while daddy is gone, busy is the best way to be though!  We had a great Thanksgiving with both my parents and then later on Thanksgiving with Caleb's family.  Emmy is now eating with forks and spoons by herself and loves it!  Here she is eating pumpkin pie and chocolate pudding.  I think that smile says it all!

On Friday we had a birthday party for the youngest in our family (on the Wilkes side), Abby.  We did things a little different and made cake pops for the occasion to have after lunch.  They we a hit!!!  Please don't judge the horrible icing job!

Yep... They were yummy!

Abby's official birthday is December 2, but her family will be moving to NC on that day so we decided to do the party early.  

On Saturday we played around outside at Ama and Bop's house (Caleb's parents).  They have a HUGE yard with a pond and their neighbors have a lot of exotic yet tame animals so it is perfect for kids!  While the men were seeing the animals, the girls went for a walk.

I started taking photos, and Anna got interested in the Camera.  She started hamming it up with the poses and I even let her take a few shots.

Image capture by Anna Karis Wilkes!

Total ham - so cute!

Then Anna asked me to take some photos of her swinging.  She made all kind of faces at the camera, but I liked this one the best.  This face is so Anna.  She is playful and doesn't get sad often.  She is very lively and adventurous.  I felt like this face expressed that - and love the fact that her mom and little sis are in the background waiting to push her higher!

And I had to add this photo of Emmy.  Taken on auto ( just as a snapshot), but I love her smile!  She looks so much like her daddy here.  Makes me happy and miss him more, all at the same time!

Yes, life is busy but grand indeed.  

Saturday, November 26, 2011

From Scrooge to blessed

Latley, I really feel like being a scrooge.  This is my favorite time of year, but I just can't seem to be happy about my life when half of me is in another country.  I know we signed up for this, but I honestly didn't think I would get physically sick missing my husband.

With that said, life has to go on and I need to count my blessings to realize that I have so much to be thankful for, even if it isn't all on the same continent as I am.

In an effort to count my blessings and not be mood killing scrooge I made a list of the things I'm most thankful for.  Here are my top five.

1. My salvation.  God's love, grace, and mercy continue to amaze me every year!  If it weren't for Him, I wouldn't have anything to be thankful for!

2. My husband.  I love that I've gotten to watch him grow to become a man.  I love that the majority of major events in my life include him.  I love how manly he is, but also how considerate loving he can be. I love how great of a daddy he is (even from Iraq).  I love how he knows me better than anyone else.  I love that he is a patriotic man and loves the country and the people enough to put his life in danger to sustain it.  I love that even though he is a man's man, he lets God take charge and trusts Him and obeys Him.

3. My daughter.  I love her more and more everyday.  She is the perfect combination of her daddy and me.  I love that she makes me stop and appreciate the little things in life.  These days she is my best bud, my partner in crime.  Her recent unexpected hugs and kisses make my day!

4. My Family - meaning my extended family.  I would not have gotten through the past nine months of having Caleb gone without their support and constant love.  My parents and in laws help keep Emmalyn any time I have to go to work or a photo shoot and even when I just need some "Kayla time" while not being "Emmalyn's mom." My sisters in law help to keep me sane without a husband around.  My brother has really stepped up to help with the things that Caleb would usually do (yard work, fixing things, lifting heavy things etc).  He is also a fantastic uncle to Emmalyn - and she loves him so much!

5. My friends.  There are so many to be thankful for!  Crissy, fellow army wife, Emmalyn's Godmother, and the person I come home to at night.  She allows me to talk about the frustrations of being without a husband, she cooks for me when I don't feel like it (which is more often than I'd like to admit these days), and she helps me with Emmalyn so much!  Living with her allows me to do things I wouldn't be able to do living by myself during this deployment and I was thinking the other day how I truly feel like living with her has been so much better than the alternative of living alone.
My best friends, Katie Beth and Ashley.  They call to catch up at least once a week and make sure that I'm doing well.  Even though most of my friends haven't and won't have to experience months without their husbands, they make it a point to support me by letting me know they are there for me.
Bethany and her son, Porter have been a blessing on more than one occasion.  Emmalyn and Porter love playing together (most of the time) and I can talk to Beth so easily.  We were hanging out the other day and as Emmalyn and I were at the front door to leave Porter ran over to Emmalyn, stopped about a foot in front of her, smiled and then kissed her... ON THE LIPS!!!  You should wish you could have seen the smile on his face after he kissed her!  #littlepimp.  (When I told Caleb this story, he was less than ecstatic, but I'm not too sure Porter will know what a rifle is for yet : )
Elizabeth and Ellasyn.  I've blogged about our play dates before.  Its great when we get together because our girls love to play and we love to hang out.  We've even managed to hang out without the girls some lately.  I don't think about how lonely I am when I'm with the Neal girls!
Kim.  Another fellow army wife who also loves Jesus and co led my bible study.  She is the cutest little momma and so sweet and real!  I'm cherishing this new friendship.
My small group.  This group of ladies makes me want to be closer to God.  They are amazing and so special to me!

I guess with so many people to be thankful for, there's no excuse for me to be a scrooge!!! 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Not a simple Saturday

This weekend was jam packed!!!  I've known for a while that Caleb's unit was being honored at the Carolina/Citadel game so I started looking for tickets.  A sweet college friend gave me two of her seats for FREE!  You can't get any better than that!  So on Saturday, Crissy, her dad, Kim and I headed to Williams Brice!!!

A fellow army (almost) wife, Staci and her family have an awesome set up for tailgating.  They invited us to join them and even gave us a free rock star parking spot.  All the food was amazing!  I didn't get a photo of the spread though (because I was too busy eating it!!!)

We decided some photos of all of us was definitely needed. 

If you notice in the photos below, we are all wearing yellow ribbon pins.  Crissy made them for all the army wives so we could show our patriotic pride for all soldiers (but mostly for the one that put a ring on our finger : )

Crissy did such a great job on them.  The photo of the apache is actually one from our husbands' unit!!!

Some of the 1-151st wives

More wives

Two of my favorites!!!

To start the game off, the 1-151st ARB's commander (Col. Davis) introduced himself and the soldiers before they started the "GAME     COCKS" chant.

Then the Gamecocks whooped up on some Citadel boys.

The halftime show was packed with patriotic songs, balloons, American flags, men/women in uniform and even an F-16 fly by!!

After the game, Crissy, Kim, and I ate some mexican and shopped a little.  

Then my time playing hookie from being a mom was up, so we headed to pick Emmy up from my parents' house.  

Apparently while she was with my parents and brother she got brave enough to go down the neighbor's slide by herself and she was pretty proud of herself for doing it!  I must get this on video for Caleb to see but it was too dark to get one at this time.  

At the end of a good day, coming home to this smile and a big "I missed you mommy" hug is priceless!

Sunday, November 13, 2011


My husband is now a Chief Warrant Officer!!!!  

I'm one proud army wife!

He looks so happy!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

as of late..

I've gone through four seasons of Friday Night Lights in about two weeks.  I'm in love with this show!  And I love that Netflix has the seasons on their instant que!  #howtowasteyourtime

I'm trying to not waste all of my free time by reading more.  I got this book (for free!) from Amazon and started it tonight.  I've been told to prepare myself mentally and emotionally before diving into it.  I'm hoping God is molding me into a magnificent wife while Caleb is gone. 

With all the work I've been doing lately, my back has started hurting again.  I really feel like an old lady lately!  I'm hoping to find some time (and a babysitter) in my busy schedule to get a massage.  I'm also pondering whether I should see a chiropractor.  Any advice?

The week ahead is my busiest of the month.  I'm trying to keep my head up and take it one day at a time.  

170 days till I see my hubby's face again!

The Four Ls

Emmalyn and I spent much of last week with Caleb's sister and her family.  They currently live in Tennessee, about nine hours away from us.  The trip there and back took about twelve hours.  We made many rest stops so Emmy could stretch her legs.  Some friends of ours also let me borrow their DVD player so Emmy would be entertained during the trip (it was a so great to have!).

I haven't been to Sara and Keath's since Lynsey was born seven years ago.  Caleb and I weren't even engaged!  A lot has changed in just seven years! 

Sara and Keath have four daughters.  Yes... FOUR!  

Emmy got to spend time with each of them, and I got to know my nieces better.  It was a wonderful four days!

Lynsey is the oldest.  She is incredibly smart and so sweet!  She's most like her mother.  She was very in tune to Emmalyn's wants and needs while we were there and helped me so much!  She loves horses, drawing, reading, and my favorite, photography!

Laurel is five.  She is a free spirit and was my little model for the visit.  She loves girly things like makeup, hair accessories, and getting her picture taken.  She reminds me a lot of myself when I was little

Liya is a hoot!  She speaks her mind and loves being the center of attention.  She gets all dolled up, but then runs outside to climb trees!

I've loved watching these three grow up!

Then, came a sweet surprise... Lidia!  
Lidia is quiet and tolerant.  She observes she sisters closely and seems to just enjoying being the baby of the family at the moment.

On our last night, the girls decided we should have a makeover party!  So, I bought them some E.L.F makeup and we had a great time making each other over. 

After our makeovers we cuddled up to watch Despicable Me.  I promptly fell asleep on the couch as every one else watched the movie.  Five girls is tiring!

I'm so happy to have had this time and the memories with my sister in law and nieces.  

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