Friday, January 30, 2009

God is Good All the Time

This has been an interesting week in our household. The Army has once again messed up our pay and so we are waiting until next Wednesday for our paycheck. However, through it all God has put people in our lives who have been a great help. Mary, was able to help me do a mental checklist and I was able to realize what few things I would need. Thankfully, Sheri and Damion helped me get eggs, laundry soap, and dish soap as well as they paid for my blood pressure pill so I wouldn't have to go without medication. Then on Thursday I was able to run to Wal-Mart and pick up a few odds and ends that I needed (you know silly things like milk, and stuff for the girls' lunches). Beka did very well throughout the store, until the check out line! Of course, they put so many things there that children can't help but want them. I had picked out a bag of Funyon's (chippy circles as Lizzie calls them) and was going to pick it up, but she began melting down. When the kind woman in front of us, picked up the bag and told the cashier she would pay for it, if she would please scan it so that Beka could have the chips. All I could say was, "God Bless You." And I hope he doubly blesses her, because had she not done that I would have been unable to purchase them - I would have been short. I had just enough money to cover the other items I'd picked up. So there really are angels all around us! I always thought so, but it was nice to be blessed with one in my presence this time.

Please keep the girls in your prayers. Elizabeth is starting to realize that Dad is not home and isn't coming home anytime soon, so she is becoming clingy and so is Beka. Sarah, is a little more mopey, but I think she keeps a lot kept inside. She is seeing a therapist, but I may need to find one for Lizzie next if she continues struggling.

I hope you all have a good week and a great day. God Bless you all. Thank you for your prayers and your support - it means a lot to us right now.

In Christ,
Maureen

UPDATE!

God truly is good. Cessna paid us this week for the vacation that Chris has accrued. And our taxes should be in by the weekend when we need to head to Nebraska! Praise God, truly - He is worthy to be praised. Thank you for your prayers and your support. I love you all.
Maureen

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Lunar New Year!

No I am not going astrological on you all. However, I live in a culturally diverse neighborhood. I live on the same block with Mexicans, Vietnamese, Colombians, and of course, my fellow native born Americans. Today is Tet, the Asian New Year and my neighbors from across the street who are very nice and have embraced Elizabeth and Beka, brought us some lucky money. I knew Tet was coming, but I can never keep it straight. I had planned to make them something like brownies or cookies, but honestly, with the crazy things happening here at home (Chris deploying, etc. . .) I forgot. So I was happy that I had some brownie mix in the pantry that I purchased on sale at the Commissary, so I was able to take a pan of brownies over to their home and wish them a Happy Tet.

It also got me to thinking. How even though I do not have a call to go to Africa or India (like my Aunt Chris and Uncle Frank) I do feel that I have a mission field here. God has been placing people in my path who I have opportunities to share about God with. It is scary and incredibly daunting. I am never sure what to say, but it's amazing how He always gives us the right words at the right moment when we need them. But realizing that God had answered my prayers that he would show me how I can help Him further the Kingdom, was a very cool realization for me. Why is it that I always have these great insights after Chris gets deployed? That is meant rhetorically, but it's a valid question nevertheless.

As I write about these enjoyable events, I also am listening to Sarah, Lizzie, and Brayden play Candy Land. Beka is watching a Veggie Tale video and I am about to play referee! LOL! The joys of a busy and yet cool household. I can honestly say that it has been a good week so far. Granted it is only Monday, but it really tends to start for me much earlier.

Thank you to everyone for your prayers and your support. It is making this deployment much easier. I hope you all enjoy your week and have a Happy Tet.

Love In Christ,
Maureen

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Cold Day at Home



As I write this, it is VERY cold! It is currently 24 but the wind chill makes it 12 degrees. So I decided we would be heathens today and stay in. We are having a jammie day and enjoying a quiet day at home. Beka is dancing and singing with her Little Einstein's video which arrived yesterday courtesy of Netflix and the big girls are playing together nicely upstairs. I love it when they get along. We have tea simmering in the tea pot and our pj's on and are just having a nice and uneventful day.


Chris will be in Nebraska February 13 - 18th, then he goes to Indiana. His brother, Jon is hoping to swing around that way since his trucking route goes through Indiana quite a bit. We will go up and meet him February 13th, but we have to return February 16th, because the girls have school the next day and I don't want them to miss anymore school than necessary.


And while I am still unsure if I am a glutton for punishment or inspired, I have decided to homeschool Sarah next year. She needs a few years of being sheltered, since she didn't get much of it during her younger years. Please keep her in your prayers, she is trying to hide it but she is really struggling. She's also been talking to me about why she thinks about suicide so much and that it is getting better. I am glad she chose to share with our youth pastor, Greg that she had been thinking about it. She is a little concerned that it will change how he looks at her, but I spoke with him privately and he's assured me that he doesn't. He doesn't strike me as that kind of man anyway, and I assured her that he didn't think she was a freak. Either way though, she is in therapy and she needs some major prayers.


I know that I usually have pictures up, but I am waiting for my new ac adapter for the laptop. Once I have that, I will be able to post new photos. I have been using the camera, but I can't download onto the desktop with the camera I have. I only have to wait one more week and then I should have received my adapter and I can post photos.


On a nicer note, Sarah has made 5th chair in the Viola section of Orchestra. That is 5th out of 14 other violists. She only was in the last chair last semester because she missed school the day they had their chair test due to an illness. So I am bursting at the seams with pride because she has been working pretty diligently at improving her viola skills. She put in three hours of practice last summer and puts in an hour a day at home during the school year. In fact, on Thursday this week, Sheri and I attended the Honor Roll breakfast at Mayberry to celebrate the kids who made honor roll this last 9 weeks. Sarah was one of them, she had a 3.8 GPA and is now at a 4.0. So we are proud of her. She also decided to surprise me yesterday afternoon by cleaning the living room and dining room. She did a very good job and decorated one the walls with art from her and Elizabeth. She is very creative and talented.


Beka is becoming adjusted to Daddy not being home a little at a time. And Lizzie told Mom yesterday afternoon (we were visiting) that she missed her Daddy. She has also told Mrs. Silveous her special needs teacher that she missed him . Oh and Mrs. Silveous told me that Lizzie is doing very well in Math. I had been concerned because she seemed unable to count to one hundred, but she explained she needs something to keep her focused, otherwise she gets to easily distracted. I was thrilled, because I was considering holding her back, but this helped allay my fears tremendously.


In summary, we are here and doing well. Trying to stay in the game and connected to the world around us. At this point I think we are doing well. I also think it helps that we knew this deployment was coming. Last time, wasn't supposed to happen, he was supposed to be a instructor and not be deployable, and it all fell apart and he was gone within a very short time after he joined the Reserves. This time we knew about 2 years in advance and we had discussed that it wasn't a matter of if he was deployed, but when he would be deployed. I think it makes a huge difference with how one is able to handle things.


I hope you all have a good week. Thank you for your love and prayers.


In Christ,


Maureen

Monday, January 19, 2009

Finally, this photo was supposed to last, here is Sarah being tortured by Lisa as she gets her hair done for the wedding. Beka was obviously sliding off of Sarah's lap but honestly, the little girls got off the easiest because they didn't need a lot done to their hair.

Okay there is no rhyme or reason to the order of these photos, I just kind of randomly chose them. So here is goes.


On top is Sarah December 2000 - her first visit to Wichita and the first Christmas of many we got to see her.


Below is Chris, Beka, and myself at the wedding vow renewal on August 5th 2008.



This is Chris' mom, Mary and myself at the wedding vow renewal August 2008. I am so glad they were able to come. I am still downloading photos onto the desktop, so not including anyone doesn't mean I don't like you, it means I haven't gotten to your photos yet.

Here are Sarah and Lizzie at P.F. Chang's Mother's Day 2008. Beka was there too, but I think she was sleepy so we didn't take a lot of photos of her.

I want to say this is 1982 or 1983. Me and Marjorie. I loved to play with her when I was little. Seeing this makes me think of Sarah with Beka a lot - only Sarah is a lot older than I was when Meg was born.


Here is Matt and myself playing doctor in Arkansas - it was when we were visiting Aunt Nina and Uncle Ed. I think it was 1983. Shortly before they moved to Wichita or Little Rock - it was too long ago to keep straight.

Here are Mom and Bud September 2008 - this was taken at Beka and Lizzie's Fancy Nancy birthday party. Hence the hats. There are more photos from the party on this too.

The front row is Kiernan Trotter who was a junior bridesmaid and is 9 yrs old and Saidra Trotter who was a flower girl with our niece, Xaria. Saidra is 6 yrs old here. On the back row from left to right are Lisa Aragon, Bridesmaid, Sheri Trotter, honorary bridesmaid (she was very pregnant with Davynn Joy), myself, and my Jaymi Smith, my Matron of Honor. I was so glad that our friends and family were able to come and join us to celebrate this great time together.

Here are Lizzie and Uncle Ed at the Fancy Nancy part. Interesting look for him, don't you think?! Uncle Ed is so cool and is great at being silly with children. We love him to pieces (he also officiated at our vowal renewal in August as well as our "family ceremony" in February 2001).

This is me February 17, 2001 at our family ceremony - a month or so after Chris and I were first married in our living room with a judge and Helen and Joe Lane as our witnesses.

Here is Chris at the wedding in August 2008. Doesn't he look wonderfully suave and debonaire? He looked so handsome that day. Even though I was ticked at him most of the day, I forgot it, when I started walking down the aisle towards him.


Here is Lizzie at the Fancy Nancy party. Grammy bought her the wand and she had a ball with it.

Here is Aunt Nina at the party in September. This was a busy summer for us. We had a wedding, family came in to town to help us celebrate it, which was great. I am glad Chris was able to see both Jon and Andy this summer before he deployed.


Here are Xaria Koeppel, and Amanda, Jon's fiance. We look forward to going to their wedding when the time comes. Xaria was one of the bubble girls, the idea was for them to blow bubbles instead of doing flower petals, but we forgot to open the bottle the night before. LOL! So they walked down the aisle clutching their bottles and looking wonderfully adorable.
I will try to update with more photos as I find them and once I have my new ac adapter for my Toshiba.
Love and Prayers,
Maureen

A Note of Triumph!


This is Lizzie on Mother's Day 2007 shortly after Rebekah was born. She loves this dress and I have to hide it from her so Beka can wear it someday.

We have made a huge breakthrough. After spending several weeks at home with Chris who has backed me up very well. Lizzie has begun to eat what I put in front of her. She balked a lot when Chris insisted that she had to eat her food. So I can't take any credit for this - he did it, he was more stubborn than she was and it worked. She is now eating her veggies and what I put in front of her. I told her tonight that she had eat her veggies and that she was going to eat spaghetti with the sauce. And she did. Thank you Chris! You are my hero.

Speaking of Chris, he arrived in California safe and sound and we were both pleasantly surprised to discover that he had cell service. He was there a few years ago and he couldn't get a signal, so this was nice. He even sent me a text message this morning to tell me Happy Anniversary. We've been married 8 years today. I thought I might be a little blue, but really we celebrated with a date the night before he left and we really celebrated in August when we renewed our wedding vows. So I'm okay with him missing this one, plus it isn't our ten year anniversary and I was able to prepare for this deployment mentally for a year or so before it happened. We also know that this is probably not the last deployment we are going to face. We've discussed that at length and I knew this was possible.

On a very positive note - Sarah has a 4.0 grade point average. She is doing very well and has really blossomed and is growing into herself. She is no longer as concerned with what the other kids think of her, she isn't completely comfortable in her own skin, but she is getting there. I am so insanely proud of her. She is growing into such a wonderful young woman.

I hope you all have a good week.

In Christ,
Maureen

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A scary thought

Chris and I were on a date a few nights ago and he raised a frightening though.

LIZZIE WILL BE ALMOST NINE WHEN HE GETS BACK!!!! That is the age where we began discussing more opening, the birds and the bees with Sarah. We have always talked to the girls about their bodies, but it generally consisted of answering their questions and telling them not to let other people except Mommy or a Doctor touch their privates and only for medical reasons.

But at nine we tend to begin discussing sex a little more openly (within reason of course, some things are not for a child to know about). That kind of stunned me, it seems like we only began talking to her about her private parts just a few days ago and when he gets back it will be time for him to talk her about not kissing boys. Although, we are already talking to her about that - because we are encouraging the girls to wait until their wedding day to share their first kiss with a young man. Also we aren't allowing dating - any young man who wishes to get to know our daughters can do so in our house under our supervision.

I already have nay sayers, but you know I would rather the girls not grow up knowing the heartache of breaking up and the pain that go with making poor choices. They have so much time to grow up, but they only get to be children for a short while. Granted Lizzie will probably take longer, but wow, so many children today are growing up so quickly - for what. To be pushed out the door and not nurtured and love, or to have the real world help them grow up. I choose to believe what God said in Jeremiah - that He knows the plans he has for us, plans for our good and not for our harm.

Anyway, I just thought I'd share those thoughts. Chris leaves tomorrow and we will hopefully be able to see him in Nebraska in February and possibly in Indiana.
I hope you all have a good week. Thank you for your words of encouragement and your prayers. We will persevere and the show will go on.
In Christ,
Maureen

Friday, January 9, 2009

It goes so fast

We are at one week from when we say goodbye to Chris. While we are fairly certain it isn't goodbye forever, it is tough to say see you later just the same. Chris finished his last day of work last night and came home at lunch. They wouldn't let him cash in his vacation at work after he goes on orders, so he decided to go ahead and use it now. The girls are happy that they will get to spend time with him before he goes.

On a happy note, this means we get to spend the next week with him. It also means it may be that much harder for him to go. He's been spending lots of time with Beka so she won't forget him - either way it will be difficult for her. She loves her Daddy so much and she smiles whenever he is around (okay and when she isn't in the middle of a temper tantrum. She is so hitting her two's right now).

Beka is growing so tall now. And while she may be taller than Lizzie was at her age - her hair is shorter and lacking as well. I have to laugh at how similar they look but how different they are at the same time. It is amusing, amazing, and wonderful to watch. Lizzie really is very good with Beka - she is incredibly patient with her. Although, Beka hates to be ignored - and is quite good at making her voice heard when she thinks you aren't paying enough attention to her.

I have plans for Sarah to go with Chris tomorrow and get in some quality time before he goes. She hasn't complained about anymore nightmares, but she may just not have mentioned them, or it is very possible I just forgot that she's told me. I think she is looking forward to him getting back.

Okay I have made a decision about school for Sarah. I have discovered that I can still allow her to attend courses at North High (such as JROTC and Orchestar) and be homeschool. I also think that she is incredibly bright and needs a challenge. And as much as she has her heart set on the idea of attending public high school - she has also thrilled at the idea that just because she doesn't attend there full time, it doesn't mean she won't be there. First for classes, but also so she can go and see her friends. I promised her that she can go up sometimes during lunch and visit with her friends. I also plan to go this week and talk to the school to find out what I need to do to get her enrolled for ROTC and orchestra next year. I think it will be good to keep us both busy and it will also allow some freedom in how quickly or slowly we take each subject. I have visited with several women who homeschool and have some good ideas about curriculum and what direction I'd like to take with her. I think it will be good for her and allow her to exercise her muscles.

I hope you all have a good weekend.
Maureen

Monday, January 5, 2009

Photos from December and Christmas Break

This was our month of December. I hope you all enjoy the pictures.
Sarah, doing the Cheesy-Cheesin Dance as she calls it. Of course, there little round white ball is our beautiful Sofie. Her favorite place to sleep is the couch. She is getting nice and filled out.

"You don't say?!" I love this pictures of Beka in early December 2008 - you can tell it's early, because if you look in the background the living room is unpainted.

Here are Beka, Saidra & Keirnan Trotter coloring in Christmas coloring books. Saidra and Kiernan are the daughters of my good friend Sheri Trotter. They moved just up the street from us in early December which actually makes Chris feel a lot better about going overseas because he knows there is guy he trusts nearby. And Damion promised he'd come over if I thought I heard an intruder! I don't think he knows what he's getting himself into. I tend to be extra paranoid when Chris isn't home.

Here is Lizzie waiting in early December for her bus. She loves having her pictures taken right now - it's a shame it doesn't last.

Lizzie here getting ready for Christmas. We started celebrating a little early this year (Nov. 30th) and put the tree up early so Daddy could be home to help us decorate it. The true irony in that is that Sarah ended decorating the tree with the lights. She did a great job. We started with Christmas videos from Netflix and popcorn and spending time singing Christmas songs and having a good time.
Lizzie right before school - showing off the headbands I purchased for the girls at the Dollar Tree.
Here is Beka showing off her headband and eating lunch. She enjoyed the headbands almost as much as Lizzie did.

Beka and Lizzie playing around on the couch. Early December 2008.

Beka, crashed and burned on Chris. This is late December/early January 2009. Eitherway, it looked to precious to miss. And last but not least, here is Chris with Sarah and Bekaboo. This was in mid December 2008. The girls were excited to see Daddy and we had a good Christmas. It was crazy busy, but good. Poor Chris, came back with pneumonia from Nebraska.

The good news about that though, is that the Army has put it in his file that he is no longer to receive the flu shot. I hope you all have a good week.
Love In Christ,
Maureen










Saturday, January 3, 2009

Bragging rights?!


Okay after the last few entries filled with drama, I have a drama free blog this time. This is about cutie pie, Bekaboo. We have been enjoying having Daddy home lately, especially Rebekah, who is all about Daddy AND Mommy these days. Gosh deployment is going to be so hard on her. Anyway, she has begun to discuss poop and potty and likes to take her diaper off. This usually happens whether the diaper is dry or not or poopy or not. However, today we had just finished changing her and she came to Daddy and kept telling him, "poop, poop." So I told him I thought she might be poopy. Nope, he checked and nothing, a few moments later, she was watching a movie with us and squatted a little and proceded to fill her diaper. Now if she potty trained on her own, I would be ecstatic. I love Lizzie, but potty training her about made me rip my hair out of my head. In her defense though, I did attempt to train her whilst Daddy was deployed the first time. But Beka hates to be wet or poopy and she loves to take off her diaper. The one thing that is going to hold her back I think is that she is afraid of the toilet. So I am going to let her sit on my lap when I go potty and let her help me flush the toilet so she can see it work and stuff.
I swore I was going to wait for Chris to come home before I trained her, but she may do it for me whether he's here or not. We are getting out the potty chair (which Elizabeth refused to use by the way after we shelled out good money for it) and let her see it and sit on it naked. I won't push it, but I won't discourage it either and we'll play it by ear and see what happens. Part of me, hopes it is easy this time and part of me wants her to wait so Chris can actually potty train one of his kids.
I hope you guys like the photo. I found the head bands at the Dollar Tree (I know I am so cheap), and I got a pair for each of the girls. I will try to put some Christmas photos on here soon. I hope you all have a good week.
Love In Christ,
Maureen

Friday, January 2, 2009

Christmas and New Years!

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Years. We enjoyed New Years more than Christmas this year. The company was great at Christmas, but Chris was fighting pneumonia. Some people need to get the flu shot, but he isn't one of them, because it makes him very ill. So the Army insisted he had to have a flu shot and now they have put in his record that he is not to receive it anymore because they decided to believe him after seeing how seriously ill he becomes from the shot. However, I have to say, that aside from him being ill, we had a good (if not bittersweet) Christmas. It was great to see my cousin, Dacia and her husband Ken with their little girl Arissa. Mom got out of the house for the first family get together for her since her knee surgery. She seems to be handling the pain better this time.

New Years was good - we spent the evening at my friend, Sheri's home with her family and with Chris' dad, Bill and his nephew, Dakota. It was a visit that sealed the deal that Chris will be visiting his Dad w/o the girls or myself and that Wendy (Bill's wife) is no longer welcome here. She is a pot stirrer who likes to cause trouble and she went too far when she tried to put Sarah in the middle. So we're done - because I am not in high school anymore, and I won't play games with her. She can stay in Iowa and I will stay in Kansas and she just won't see the girls anymore - it's not like she is their grandma really anyway.

Okay so other than that, the girls are all ecstatic to see Chris again. They have missed him a lot. It is going to be very difficult for them when he goes for deployment. However, on a positive note - he is going to talk to his boss about going to first shift. Which I really need him to do. I am a single parent right now, because he is gone when the girls get home and Sarah gets up too early for him to see her.

On several positive notes:

1. We got to see Daddy for Christmas and the girls all enjoyed their presents (okay except Lizzie who was not happy that she got a math video game, but she loves the jammies and her books).

2. We had two whole weeks with Chris alone w/o him going to work which was very nice indeed.

3. We are trading in our Chrysler LHS for a minivan and it should work much better than the Chrysler. I have been talking to Mike for quite a while about getting rid of our car and getting a minivan. I was not happy when I got stuck with the Chrysler, because I need a minivan for sanity reasons and cargo reasons. We have a lot of trouble getting our good stroller into any of our two cars w/o causing the tires to go flat. So I looked around and found a nice 2003 Chevy Venture minivan, it is 5 yrs old w/only 84,000 miles on it, so I am pleased.
They laughed at me at the dealership, because first, I came and brought the following with me:
a) Rebekah and her car seat
b) Sarah and her long legs
c) THE STROLLER!
d) my desire to find a good van that would work for me and the girls and run well whilst Chris was away.
Then I brought Chris and Bud with me to check it out mechanically. Mike laughed when I told him that the van passed my test and now it had to pass their tests. Between Chris and Bud, they checked; tires, brakes, under the hood, belts, hoses and anything they could think of and test drove it as well. In the deal, the mechanics are going to check out the a/c and make sure it doesn't need a new air compressor or new hoses and that it all works well, because I HATE BEING HOT!!!!! I cannot stress that enough, but even more importantly, Lizzie has asthma and allergies and we can't drive with the windows down and not have both of our allergies and her asthma not flare up. Finally, I prayed a lot about the van and asked God to give me wisdom to know which van was the best one for us. So the shocks are going to be fixed, the a/c gone over with a fine tooth comb and I think I will get a good van out of this.

Well I hope you all have a good week. We are doing doctor's appointments, check ups, and shots this week and I am meeting with Mrs. Shrout from church to talk curriculum for home schooling. Please keep us in your prayers and God bless you all.

Love In Christ,
Maureen