We have reached the top of the mountain…but the climb to the top is still very vivid.
Here is my recap…
HIGH: Having several great college friends visit. My POG girls and Katie here were great treats for my soul.
LOW: After potty training Sam before Aaron left, he had major regression and went back to diapers for a full 4 months.
HIGH: While I doubted he would ever use the potty, he decided mid-September to start wearing underwear. We still play too hard sometimes and don’t keep the undies totally dry…BUT he tells me when he needs to go. We’ve come a million miles, my friends.
HIGH: We have not been really sick or had to be hospitalized for any major thing (other than Sambo’s tonsillectomy). Thankful.
HIGH: Gwenie’s little personality has been a joy to watch. She is funny, full of expression, and adores her brother. She has been a huge source of joy for me.
LOW: Gwen stopped nursing and wouldn’t take a bottle soon after Aaron left.
HIGH: She finally figured it out and chugged down that almond milk once we finally offered it.
LOW: I miss cooking real meals. Quesadillas and breakfast for dinner gets old.
HIGH: Celebrating our kid’s birthdays with family and friends. Fun parties both times.
LOW: Celebrating those birthdays (and mine) without Aaron.
HIGH: Those birthdays won’t be celebrated without him next time.
HIGH: Receiving a wonderful birthday gift from Aaron…a trip to NYC to go check out Hot Bread Kitchen and see long-time friends. I leave in 10 days!
LOW: Single parenting doesn’t give you the option of letting your spouse put the kids to bed while you go get some coffee with friends. You must pay a sitter to do that.
LOW: Birthday parties with two little kids are usually disastrous. Don’t take it personally if we don’t come to yours. Most of the time it’s just easier to stay home.
HIGH: I’ve taken lots of pictures and videos of our kids this year.
LOW: I’m in maybe 4 of those pictures.
HIGH: I’ve found about 13 new recipes I like…37 more to go to hit that Det-list goal.
HIGH: Having a sitter that comes at 6am so I can go swim. In the dark. In a large 25yd pool. Usually all to myself.
HIGH: Having that same sitter stick around so I can meet with my Thursday morning scripture girls at Starbucks.
LOW: Having the AC go out for 9 days. In the middle of August. After returning home from being in OK for 7 weeks.
HIGH: Spending the summer in OK and being with family.
LOW: Being away makes you really miss your normal life, your normal bed, your normal routine.
HIGH: Having parents that will watch our kids for two weeks so I could visit Aaron. Bliss. Such a needed break.
LOW: Having the ceiling fans go out in the playroom when we had no AC.
HIGH: Calling a friend to come install new ones the same day.
LOW: Sleeping in the same room as my kids for 9 nights. Even worse…Sam was in my bed. No bueno.
HIGH: Seeing how fast kids pick up on concepts and that we might have a reader really soon.
LOW: Aaron hasn’t been able to
try not to laugh when he sees witness the pouty attitude Gigi can have.
LOW: Sam loves tools, cars and trucks, and all things boy…and the other male isn’t here to bond with him in that way. Gigi is picking up the slack, though, in her interest.
LOW: Sitting in church by myself.
LOW: No one to help with the laundry, dishes, or any other maintenance/care of this household.
HIGH: The lady that cleans our house every two weeks. Bless her.
LOW: Sam struggling with biting at school. He has to stay home this week in ‘detention’ for biting last week. One more bite and he’s kicked out. Let’s be honest…the pain of him getting kicked out of school is more painful for me than him. I’m the one needed the break here.
HIGH: God knows all this…knows Sam’s struggle with anger. I am trying to believe God can really help him. The selfish side of me is fearing/doubting he can make it til Christmas without biting. I’m learning so much through all this…
HIGH: Having guy friends come over to hang out with Sam, or take him on little manly playdates.
LOW: Being the only parental option to get up in the middle of the night when someone awakes.
HIGH: Grateful I will not always be solo-parenting. Empathic heart for single parents…it’s not for the faint of heart.
HIGH: I cut my hair off and I am really starting to like it.
HIGH: Fed by Bread is growing and starting to take a new shape in this community. Excited. Blessed to watch God move.
HIGH: Facetime and all the conversations that have occurred over wifi. The fact the kids know and see their daddy every day is such a gift.
HIGH: The beautiful surprise expression on Gigi’s face when she sees or hears Aaron. It’s quite priceless.
HIGH: She was 10 months when he left and the way she knows him now is quite incredible. I hope their reunion is as sweet as their interactions now.
LOW: I have sat down once to play piano. Gigi wanted to play with me the whole time.
HIGH: I have a ‘new’ dishwasher and oven, courtesy of my in-laws kitchen remodel. Grateful for the update.
HIGH: Seeing what great friends we do have here that help and encourage us. I’m left speechless so often. They enrich my life.
LOW: Seeing that some people still write us off because we’re military and we’re going to eventually move. It’s sad. No one wins…they miss out and we miss out.
HIGH: This blog still exists and I somehow find a few moments to record the craziness of our lives. I hope our kids read this chronicle one day to understand who we were and what following Jesus looked like at this time.
HIGH: My understanding of God and his mercy and love is much more real. I am humbled by how graciously he reveals the dark parts of my heart…and nudges me to pursue righteousness.
LOW: I can waste a lot of time on crap that doesn’t matter.
HIGH: Setting time limits to do stuff…both tasks and times of play.
HIGH: Doing laundry for myself and two littles is significantly less than doing it for all four of us. Tall man = big clothing.
LOW: Having to sleep in the middle of the bed since there are two dips in the mattress.
LOW: Having my oven catch on fire and not having an extinguisher in the house.
HIGH: Kids slept through the whole fiasco and the fire eventually put itself out.
LOW: Having large water bills.
HIGH: Enjoying the green backyard.
HIGH: We still go walking every morning…because it never snows or really gets cold here in Corpus.
LOW: It’s October 22 and it’s 92 degrees outside. Bleh.
LOW: Our yard contains a small pond of sewer water…the line did not get unclogged after the roter rooter came out last week. Hoping to get it fixed soon…we kind of live in our backyard.
HIGH: Having the means and resources to fix all the things that break.
HIGH: Being a part of a community that helps, fixes, loves, surprises, blesses, feeds, and encourages during this season.
HIGH: Bible study with college girls on Wednesday mornings. Loving that time.
HIGH: Being a part of YoungLife here in town and spending time with one specific leader. Thankful for her.
LOW: Seeing a discrepancy between what we believe and how we live. Always wanting those two to be closer than they are.
HIGH: The direction FBB is headed to aid in projects for vulnerable children and orphans. Pumped.
LOW: The unexpected disappointing news of Aaron’s promotion board this summer. Grieving is a process.
HIGH: Thankful God doesn’t answer all our prayers as yes. Where would we be if He did? Yikes.
HIGH: Sam’s drooling problem is mostly solved. He can breath out of his nose and he doesn’t snore anymore!
LOW: I had to endure the horrible recovery of the adenoidectomy and tonsillectomy to reap the benefits of dry chins, closed mouth breathing, and unstained shirts.
HIGH: There are people that read this blog so they can know how we are and how they can encourage us.
LOW: I have no idea who most of you are that read this. Wanna come out?
HIGH: We start the adoption process in 6 or so months. Unbelievable.
HIGH: We are going to BAHRAIN for Christmas. Tickets bought. Just gotta get there alive. Or get there with alive kids.
HIGH: We get close to 6 weeks with Aaron…enough said.
HIGH: It won’t be 137 degrees when we’re there.
HIGH: Journeying through this deployment with two other spouses. Deepened friendships. Grateful.
HIGH: My kids took a long enough nap for me to mostly finish this post.
LOW: I still ache and miss living life with my best friend. Case in point: I dreamt last night I was at a party and couldn’t find Aaron…and I went through the whole night obsessed with finding him somewhere in that house.
HIGH: It’s good to wake up knowing I still need him by my side and that he soon will be. 6 more months of ‘boots on ground.’
And like most of my favorite hikes (Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland to Kahurangi of Southern New Zealand), the way down is often more difficult. It probably won’t be easy and that’s okay. But here’s to hoping we can run down the mountain! Here’s to the last 6!