Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I left my heart in California

Oh hey....
Summer is here, and it is HOT in TX.
We have returned from our trip back to California,
and officially put on our big girl panties to get over the depression that always follows a trip home.
We were able to fly back together as a family due to the generous support of Justin's parents,
and for that we are SO thankful!!!
Justin's best friend Jeremy was getting married in Chico, and Justin was part of the wedding party.
Jeremy is a very big part of our lives and I was so thankful to share in his special day.

The ceremony was beautiful.
It was also extremely HOT, and the groomsmen were positioned directly in the late afternoon sun,
making things very uncomfortable and SWEATY!!

The kids lost their patience immediately (hot, tired, sweaty, thirsty),
but sat through the whole thing without dying.

Justin looked so handsome in his get-up....

.....There was crazy amounts of sweat beading off their heads.....
Such good sports.  Love these guys!

 The sweetest couple....
 The reception was out at this family farm, and it was the most beautiful setting.
 We LOVE you Jeremy and Tasha.

After our quick Chico visit, we headed up to Tahoe to spend the remainder of the trip.
My camera battery died only after a few days, but I managed to get in a few shots.

This face is hard to figure out......
what could I possibly be looking at????
Oh, right...these two studs racing back from the bathroom.  Love them to pieces.
They had so much fun together....definitely  in their element together.
Although we loved spending time with friends and cousins,
we had to sneak away as our family of 4 a few times.
One night we went down to El Dorado Beach to watch a paddle boarding contest.  It was so fun to see people of all ages out there having fun and being active. 
Loved that.

We celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary while we were gone.
We were able to enjoy a great meal together, which is an incredibly rare occurrence....
and reminisce on the good times we have shared over the last 11 years.
We look forward to all our future adventures, and quiet times, as we navigate through life together.
We feel so blessed and lucky to be best friends through it all.
Lots of love....
Happy Summer to you!

Monday, January 28, 2013

The MAN Update

Can I talk about him for just a minute??

So Justin and I have been married for 6.5 years, and together for 10.5. We have truly grown up together, and our military experience has really put us through our paces these last few years.  We are at one of those turning points again, as they seem to come up when you are halfway through an enlistment, and we feel strongly that Justin should try and become an Officer.  When we joined, he was 27 (ancient to join by enlisted standards), and already had his Bachelors degree.  The job he wanted was only for enlisted members, and it didn't seem a problem at the time for either one of us.  He has loved his time as a SERE Specialist, and has learned so much over the last 6 years.  But, now that he has his Masters degree, it only feels right that he try and become an Officer.  So we are almost done with the grueling process of putting his application packet together....and will find out in May if he gets selected to go to Officer Training School (OTS). It's going to be a LONG spring!  If he gets selected, he will enter a 12 week program, where upon completion, will be an Officer.

In the mean time, the Officer job he is hoping to land requires a whole separate selection process.  He wants to become a Combat Rescue Officer.

This is the job description from the Air Force website:

Some of the most courageous Airmen in the Air Force are those dedicated  to the rescue and recovery of injured servicemen from the front lines.  Alone and immobile, the injured are often extremely vulnerable and thus  need a swift, effective rescue evacuation. Combat Rescue Officers  organize and strategize recovery missions, train and equip rescue  personnel and manage and develop survival skills programs. They also  deploy into direct combat as a team member, team leader or mission  commander or provide expert insights to plan and control special  reconnaissance, terminal control and recovery operations.

In order to have a chance to try for this job,he had to first apply for an invitation to the selection, which he did receive...and only about 40 people in the whole Air Force get chosen a year to do that.  He will go to the selection at the end of March for a treacherous week of hell.  In order to prepare for this, he has been swimming twice a day, at 5:30 am and after work, and working out in the middle of the day.  This has been mentally and physically exhausting for him.  He is up at 4 every morning, and in bed before 8 every night.  He always gives 150% in whatever he is doing, but this is some serious training.  I pray all of his hard work will pay off.

Need a peek of what I am talking about.....

If he can make it through this.....AND get selected to attend Officer Training School, then he will enter the actual program to become a Combat Rescue Officer.  This can take about 18 months, if he can complete it all.  You can imagine there are a lot of injuries along the way....
It would look something like this....

And as a side note, he is like "Grandpa" being that he is now 33. Most of his competition will be about 23. He had to get an age waiver to even apply!  You must be done with Officer Training School before your 35th birthday, so the clock is ticking and this is our only real shot at this.  He can reapply once, but would have to wait 6 months to do so.

The reason I am sharing all of this is that I need your support.  I have not shared this information with hardly anyone, because so many balls are still up in the air, and Justin is a very private person about things like this.

I would also like to point out that he may not even get picked up for Officer School, and may not make it through HELL week in March....But, I still need your support and prayers.  If these things don't pan out, we have some serious thinking to do as far as where we go from here.  And that scares me too.

Here's to living your dreams, and reaching for things that seem unattainable.  I believe in my man, but prayers help.  Just wanted to let you all in on where my head and heart are at.
It will be a big sacrifice for a potentially huge reward, and although I am no gambler, I believe Justin was born to do this.

Thanks for listening....and if you are still reading...
I love you!
xo, A

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

scenes from the good life

I put my point-and-shoot in my purse for the week...
here are some randoms.
Happy Wednesday!

Xmas present to myself; "J" necklace from HauteLook, purchased before the holidays...

The Daily Routine: Pick-Up Time
Favorite purse....ever.
 Car console staples...
Keeping up with resolutions...
Alphabet wall is half-full; River brings one home each week from school.
Creepy squinkies
Justin and I as Super Heroes, courtesy of River
You know you are getting old when.....

Snacks for the week...best ones I have had in a LONG time.
Polish of the moment; Fiji by Essie
Typically wearing...

Daily creativity....and subsequent messes...
Super CHEESE face...kinda overkill.
Hope you are having a great week.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Christmas in a nutshell

Probably my favorite Christmas photo this year. Love these two.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Each day I can Love.

I am working on cleaning things up around here, including what is on our desktop.  In the process, I came across a few videos I filmed, but never published on youtube.  This was probably due to a lack of time, or I simply just got distracted by something else.  This one in particular takes me back to one my least favorite times, when Justin was deployed, and I was trying to manage these two!

It's funny (and horrible) how much you forget about your kids, and wouldn't remeber otherwise had you not documented it, either by photograph or video.  It breaks my heart that I didn't savor the moment more when they were this little; that I didn't understand how much I would miss that time with them after it had passed.  I think that is the amazing thing about being a parent.  You are given this incredible responsibility of another human life, and through this experience you are permanently changed as a person.  Your heart grows infinitely, and is continually broken at the same time.  Justin and I have really been reflecting on how we want to parent differently moving forward, and to challenge ourselves as a team and individually to be present for these two little people.  He has always beat himself up over the fact he has been gone for half of Paige's life, but I know he is teaching her what it means to work hard, be responsible, sacrifice, and to make time together matter.  We are working on making memories, and this means trading nights out with friends for nights in playing Sorry and Twister.  It means unplugging on a Saturday to read books and watch them put on plays for us.  It means laying a foundation for the years I am really afraid of...and praying that our children will look back and KNOW that their Dad and I were there for them, and loved them, and were never too busy for a tea party, soccer game, or hug.

2013 will bring changes, I am sure, but I know that I will remind myself every morning when I wake up that each day is a gift.  Each day I get to wake up and start over.  Each day I can love.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013


We have enjoyed another year.
We have been blessed and challenged.
Justin earned a Masters Degree.
River had his Tonsils and Adenoids removed.
Paige learned to swim and ride a two-wheeler.
Both kids in school.
I finally opened Sprinkle and Dash.
Lots done.
Lots of fun.
Lots to be thankful for.
We are ready for the New Year, and all it holds.