Wednesday, January 26, 2011

2 Years

It seems just like yesterday....

jan 27 (35)
Back then, you were stubborn, just like you are now. You refused to come out and meet us in a reasonable amount of time, so we had to force you out.

jan 28 (29)
Throughout your first year, you did things when you decided to do them. You were on a mission…you had things to get into and you weren’t going to sit around and wait to do it later! You were pulling up on things and cruising before 6 months. You learned to walk at 8 months. Soon after, you were running. Mommy and Daddy’s world was rocked…and poor Austin didn’t have a chance. His toys were now fair game and you are a tough kid that can hold his own. You are a pesky little brother sometimes; throwing things and hitting and doing everything you can to bother Austin. You love him though and look up to him SO much! You’ll grow out of this stage soon and I just know that the 4 year gap between you two will not affect the close relationship I just know you two will have!

feb 16 (4)

april 23 (35)

april 26 (6)
You are a very smart boy. You don’t talk much right now, but the gears are constantly going in that head of yours. When you hear something, you go and investigate what it is.


You may not be able to say your colors, letters and numbers, but I know you have a grasp on some of it just by watching you answer questions. When you DO learn to talk, people will finally see just how much you really know.


Right now you are all into the boy toys. Baby toys don’t really hold your interest as much as they do some kids. You have an older brother and his toys are SO much better than the baby toys! You love Buzz Lightyear and Lightning McQueen. You love to play with cars and trains.

You are all boy….probably the grubbiest boy I know. I don’t think I have ever seen a boy get so dirty, but you have the ability to get dirty even when there’s nothing to get dirty with! I don’t know how you do it, but you do!



You are a great big brother. You may be a tough kid, but you have a soft spot for your little brother, Aiden. You could hug and kiss on him all day long. You try to take him out of my arms to hold him and get ecstatic when I let you. You say “hi” to him in the cutest voice and it makes me smile when you run to see where he is when you’ve been asleep or if he’s been taking a nap. You’re a great big brother. I know I will enjoy seeing you and Aiden grow up so close together.



We look forward to seeing just how much more you are going to grow and learn and change over this next year. Colten, you are definitely your own person. Don’t ever change that. Be happy with who you are. God made you special, Colten. Your Daddy and I love you for that and know you are going to do great things!

Happy 2nd Birthday, Colten!!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Personal Daddies!

A package came on the Saturday before D-Day. It was a gift for each of the boys from Daddy.

Do you see how excited Austin was? And Colten was so surprised. He hugged on his as soon as Brian gave it to him. SO sweet!
So happy to be getting an updated Daddy Doll. Austin has had one since the first deployment he went through, but it was decided to give him a new one. The old one is our "back up" in case something happens to one of the new ones.
Aiden likes to hug on his and slobber all over it. It's funny because he looks right at Daddy's face and then puts it right up to his mouth like a kiss. It's probably just a coincidence, but I like the idea that he knows who his Daddy is even by just looking at a picture.
Colten was SO glad to be getting his own Daddy Doll. He has been trying to take Austin's for a while now and now he has his very own to hug on!
Showing off his new Daddy Doll. This one is much better because it actually has "Daddy Loves Austin" on it while the old one didn't have any words on it. It's also nice that no one is going to argue over whose is whose. :-)
Such a special moment...I am so glad they came before Brian left so that he was able to give them to the boys in person.
Daddy Dolls is such a wonderful company. When we tried to order these dolls, I was having problems with their order form. There was some sort of glitch, so I e-mailed their customer service. They were so nice and replied right back, then called me so quickly when I said that I would just place my order over the phone. When we found out the exact day Brian was leaving, we wondered if they would make it to our house in time for him to give the dolls to the boys. I e-mailed the same wonderful woman and she e-mailed me right back and said that she was happy to tell me that they had been shipped and that the package would get there soon since it usually only takes 3 or 4 days to get them. We ended up getting them that day.
I HIGHLY recommend this company for any military family. {Oh, and since I have that ad banner over on the right side, I think I'm supposed to say something about this being said all on my own and that I wasn't compensated in the least bit by}
So, now our kids all have their personal Daddy to hug and love on while the real Daddy is away.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

These days...

It's been a few days since I've posted about Brian leaving. I'm sure there are some people wondering how we're doing...and basically, we are exactly how I thought we would be. It was a blessing that he deployed in the middle of the week so that we could get back to our regular routine of getting to school, etc.

I figured that Austin would have a meltdown this weekend, and he did. It was, of course, over something small at first and then just grew and grew. I have to say that it was one of those situations where it just stinks to be a parent! I had told him that if he didn't shape up, we wouldn't go out to eat and then had to follow through on that (even though I REALLY wanted pizza buffet). He got even more out of control and after a chance to calm down and refusing, he was sent to his room for the rest of the night (and even had to eat dinner up there). I'm hoping that it clicks in his head that Mommy means business. I'm sure it didn't though...that would just be too easy! :-)

Anyway, the weekends are going to be hard. Saturday and Sundays are the days that seem the longest since I have all 3 at home, Austin gets bored and Colten starts antagonizing him. We are at the point with Aiden that he really needs to nap in his own bed. He is taking a morning, afternoon and evening nap, so that makes it really hard to get out. Especially when things are all about 20-30 minutes away. I have to really figure this out soon because Saturday was pretty hard in the afternoon/evening!

We have been able to Skype with Brian twice now and that is such a blessing! Technology is just so awesome and is going to help this deployment go by a lot quicker! Brian has posted pictures of the area he is in already and I have to say that it looks like a pretty nice place. He was telling me about a pizza place they have there that bakes pizza in a wood fire oven and that they have fire pits outside for the Soldiers to have a place to relax, eat pizza and visit with their friends. There's a cigar club he's looking forward to joining (yes, he smokes cigars every now and then...that's all I'm going to say). The view from his office is pretty and the internet in his room is pretty good (although pretty pricey!).

So, I think we are all doing pretty well. Aiden is growing, Colten is more of a little boy than a baby and Austin is being a good big brother to both of them (you know, when he's not fighting with Colten). I am going to be adding a few activities here and there for each of us and seeing how we can stay busy without doing TOO much. Austin is looking forward to baseball season and is wanting to take some sort of martial arts class. I'm going to start Colten in gymnastics soon and Aiden is going to enjoy just going places with us. We have MOPS and play group and playdates with friends here and there as well.

R&R is going to be here before we know it. It's supposed to be sometime in July, so we are really looking forward to the summer!

I'll be posting some pictures of the days leading up to Brian deploying in the next couple of days. I want to document some of the things we did as a family. For now, I'll just post this picture of Brian with his boys and their Daddy Dolls that he gave them.


I'll be posting more of the Daddy Doll pictures tomorrow. Now, I am going to bed...and surprisingly, it is BEFORE midnight! Yay me!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

And So It Begins...

My heart hurts tonight. A little for myself, but so much more for Brian and our boys. Brian's deployment will have him missing so much over the next year. And our boys...they are really going to miss their Daddy.
Today was a hard day. It's one of those days when you wake up knowing that by the end of the day, you will have a headache and puffy eyes. We spent the morning in our pajamas, trying to get in extra snuggles, hugs and kisses. There just isn't ever enough time for that stuff. We were thankful, however, that we had the time this morning. Originally, Brian was going to need to be at the Battalion at 10:30am. They let him know a couple of days ago that it was at 2:30pm instead. 4 extra glorious hours. Those extra 4 hours were golden for us.
We were able to get Colten down for a nap so he wasn't a mess this afternoon. Brian did a few last minute things that needed to be done. You know, the really important things like calling the cell company, helping me move the trampoline and rotating our mattress and boxspring. We were about 5 minutes from leaving the house and he apologized for leaving with the house a mess. I love that man. I assured him that I would trade a clean house for quality family time anyday!
We ran to Wal-Mart really quick, then got McDonalds for a late lunch. Brian won't be getting any yummy McD's for a while, so it was fitting. We ate it in the parking lot at his Battalion Headquarters. While he went in for manifest and to draw his weapon (taking possession of his weapon), I took the kids to the library playground.
Everyone was meeting at the post theatre to see them off. Truthfully, it is the most depressing thing, but I just can't imagine missing those last couple of hours with him. It's a love/hate thing. We've done goodbyes both ways...with no fanfare and no meeting place. Just drop off at the company and say goodbye. And the other side of the coin...families everywhere, a "ceremony" so to speak, and drinks and snacks out for the hours of waiting. Both have their pros and cons. However, they both end in the same way...tearful goodbyes.
Anyway, the boys were excellent. Colten started getting a little antsy the longer we were there, but overall, he was excellent. LTG (Lieutenant General) Helmick spoke very briefly (love him for that!) and then we had just a bit more time before they called for final manifest. I was fine...really. Well, until our Battalion commanders wife (Jeanne) came and asked me how I was. Tears came and I got choked up. Yep, it just takes 4 words to get to me right now..."how are you doing?"
So, we say goodbye. It's a personal thing, so I'll just say that I love my husband and how he loves his family so much!
So, we had said goodbye before his name is called because when they are called they go out to the buses. We wanted to see what bus he got on so the boys and I could wave bye. Colten decides it's time to leave and heads on up the aisle. Silly boy! Jeanne grabs him before he can escape the building since a few people got in front of me before I could get to him. She picks him up and walks outside with me. I guess I either look like I'm about to lose it or people think I have my hands full with 3 boys...not only did (who I can only assume is) LTG Helmick's wife come up and talk to me, but LTG Helmick himself came up and talked to me. He asked me what deployment this was for us (3rd, each a year long or more) and we talked about how it never gets easier, no matter how many you go through.
It was a hard night, but I am happy to say that it's almost over. We got dinner on the way home and the boys did a great job getting ready for bed without complaint. We listened to Daddy read a book that he recorded (LOVE the Hallmark books) before he left and then put Colten to bed. Austin stayed up, helped me clean up the living room and then we snuggled until his bedtime. Aiden was just put down a bit ago and now it's time for me to head that way too.
I have some pictures on my camera, but I'm going to post them tomorrow or the next day.
This year is going to be challenging. I really have to stop thinking about how much growing up the boys are going to do because that just makes me tear up. We are going to make it though...and we are going to be ok. More than ok...we are going to thrive and grow and be a better family because of this. We will be more thankful for each other and will know what a gift it is to be together.
Tomorrow, we will be one day closer to seeing Brian again. And each day is better because of that fact. :-)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Army Friends

They are different than civilian friends. They are usually people that you normally wouldn't have ever had the pleasure of knowing if it weren't for the Army. They come from different states, went to different schools, and root for different teams (Go Hogs!). However, the Army brings them into your life for a while (hopefully more than once!) and you bond quickly. We laugh together, cry together, and "wine" together. :-) When the time comes to PCS, you say goodbye and hope that the Army brings your families together again down the road. If not, you still stay in touch, send Christmas cards, and visit when you're in "the area" (you know, in the same state or even just the same region!).
The other day, I got the pleasure of taking family photos for our dear friends, The Fleshman's. John will be deploying with Brian this month and they haven't had the time to go and get photos done professionally, so I told them I'd help them out.

John and Jen are awesome people who would help out in anyway they could. This was the family that Austin was with when he had his first seizure. I am thankful it was them and not just any other neighbors that he happened to be with. Even before that night, I trusted them with my kids and it became apparent that my trust was in the right hands.

Their kids and our kids play together. Sometimes just like they were siblings...which means that they don't always get along EVERY time they are together, but they are always happy to see each other! :-)

I am thankful for the Army. It has given us true friends throughout the years to add to the civilian friends we already had. While the Army brought us together, it doesn't have to be the thing that keeps us together. Even after the Army, we know that there are just going to be people that we love so dearly that we'll keep in touch, visit with and always call our FRIENDS.

Monday, January 10, 2011

I Heart Faces - Smile!

I know that it's been FOR.EV.ER since I entered a photo into the I Heart Faces contest, but I just couldn't resist entering this photo of Aiden. I also know that I just posted this photo yesterday in his 4 month post, but I saw what the contest category was after I had already put up his 4 month post and I was just too lazy busy to redo that post without the picture.


Aiden is so quick to smile these days and I just loved taking his picture this month. The string of drool just adds character to the photo, right? :-)
Go on over to the I Heart Faces website (by clicking the link or the button below) to see other fabulous smiles!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

4 Months

Aiden is 4 months old today!!! A third of a year old! Wow, it is going by WAY too fast!
I took his photos today and I think I might have to go back and crop his other comparison photos in to match this month's photo. When we switched the rooms around (photos to come soon!), we put the full size bed and the bedding into Austin's room and the light just isn't as good in there (plus, the bed is underneat a loft bed, so it's even darker in there!). So, I had to pull the bedding and pillows into the little boys' room to keep up the monthly photo so that it wouldn't be messed up! So, the black headboard isn't in the picture anymore and then Aiden decided he wanted to keep trying to sit up on his own instead of chilling in the pillows, so I had to stay close so I could make sure he didn't faceplant into the floor. :-) Silly boy!
So, here's this month's comparison picture:
I had a really hard time narrowing down the other pictures this month. I just really like how these pictures turned out today!
Yes, the kid is a drooling machine!
A few things Aiden is up to:
*He's still in cloth diapers most of the time. We use disposable every now and then. I've been experimenting to see if he sleeps longer with the cloth or with the disposables. I haven't seen a big difference, so I think he'll stay in cloth.
*He is such a smiley baby! He is really easy to smile and is pretty quick to laugh as well. There are a few things that you can say that he thinks is silly and will smile and then laugh at. A lot of it is nonsense words...but the other night he was laughing at "Rub a dub dub, 3 men in a tub."
*This boy is rolling over both ways now. Sometimes it takes him a while to roll from his back to his belly and then other times he does it in the blink of an eye. I'm not sure which he likes better...but he would really rather be in someone's arms. :-)
*He was sleeping through the night. Then we went and messed it up by switching rooms. The past week has been rough on me since I was getting used to a full nights sleep! He's been getting up at least once in the middle of the night, sometimes twice. I'm hoping he goes back to sleeping a full night again soon!
*Aiden is now 13lbs 12 oz and 25 inches long.

*He is grabbing at things a lot now. When he sees something he likes, he goes for it. The big brothers are on borrowed time with their toys! :-)

*Aiden LOVES his exersaucer. Santa brought it for him and he is already spinning around and playing with the different toys. You know when he's done when he starts getting really cranky though!
(I love this picture, but am a little disappointed that it's a bit out of focus. Still love it, though!)
*This kid is a talker! He just babbles all the time and I don't remember his brothers being quite as vocal.
*He's still nursing like a champ and had his first bottle in 3 months last week. He stayed with his Uncle Matt and Aunt Paula the other night for his first time with someone other than Mommy. He did great and was even fed by his cousin Anna! I don't think we'll be starting solids this month as he hasn't shown any interest in them. We'll probably start them around 5-6 months old.
*Aiden still likes to be swaddled. I don't think he has to be swaddled in order to sleep, but he just seems happier and more content when he's swaddled. Plus, he just looks so darn cute when he's all wrapped up!

We love this boy so much! I just can't imagine our life without him! He can brighten the day no matter what is happening. His big brothers love him and it's so sweet to see them give him kisses and for him to laugh at them. This little boy has completed our family like I couldn't have even imagined! It's fun to watch him grow and show his personality more and more each day.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Papa Visits! (Catch Up from November!)

At the end of November, Papa and Miss Lois came to visit us! We had a fun week, but unfortunately, it was just one of those weeks where I didn't pick up the camera a lot. Hence, not a lot of photos. I think I took a picture or two on my camera of the night we played Kinect. It was a lot of fun and I think XBox may have some new customers soon! :-)
Papa loves history and the military stuff. So, we went to the Airborne and Special Operations Museum one of the days they were here. It was a great museum and had some older veterans there visiting as well that we talked to. It's always special to be able to talk with them and hear them remember the past.
We spent quite a bit of time walking around and reading about the exhibits. Colten started getting cranky near the end since it was his naptime, but he really did great during the visit.
Papa let the boys pick out their Christmas gifts while visiting. He took them shopping at different times so he could focus on them individually. I really thought Colten would be easy, but I think he took longer than Austin did because he just doesn't make decisions very well! He wants it all! Austin ended up getting some Beyblades that he has been begging us for, so he was a happy boy!
{as a side note: he had gotten a hovercraft-type thing made by Air Hogs. We ended up taking it back because it would only work for 3-4 minutes before it had to be charged again. I called the company and they said this is how it was supposed to work. Seriously? They're going to make a kid wait for 30-40 minutes for a toy to charge up just so they can play with it for 3-4 minutes? Ridiculous!}
The boys playing with the new toys.
Happy with the new toy!
Playing with Papa.
Picture time!!! People always grumble when I do this, but if it wasn't done, we wouldn't have the pictures later! :-)
I couldn't decide which picture to put in because I love both of them. Colten really is a silly little boy. He makes me laugh on a daily basis, mulitple times a day!
We were happy to have visitors. The boys always have some much fun and it's nice to visit with them after the kids go to bed.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Wooooo Pig Sooie!!!

Let's go Razorbacks!!!

Our family is ready for the Sugar Bowl tonight!!! On a side note...not a bad family picture for deciding to do it just moments before taking it! :-) Brian went up and got the tripod and I set up while he got the kids wrangled.
Hope the Razorbacks bring it tonight!!!

Saturday, January 1, 2011


With today starting a new year, I think about what this next year will bring us. My first thought is that it won't be a very good one. I just want to get this year over with and see 2012 with our family back together again. Brian's leaving in just a couple of weeks and I just want to go to bed and wake up and it all be done.

But the very next thought is about all of the good things that will happen this year. The three best boys in the world will be growing before my eyes, providing endless entertainment (and yes, work as well!). I can't just fast forward a whole year of their life because of a deployment. I want to experience the little moments with them that I know will happen. I know that I'll look back and miss the days of them being little and if I had the ability to fast forward through the bad stuff, I'd miss the good stuff as well.
So, I'm torn. I want the year to go by fast so we can put this deployment behind us, yet I don't want to rush our boys to grow up. I know for a fact that I want the next couple of weeks to go by SLOW and whatever 2 weeks we get to see Brian for R&R to go by SLOW. It won't though...those are the times that will just fly by. Funny how that works, isn't it?
Normally, I try to change a thing or two for the new year. Resolutions or whatever you want to call them are sort of made in my head, but they aren't as concrete as some people make them. This year, this is what I want: I want to be a good mom and a good wife and get through this deployment in one piece. I want to yell less and hug more. I don't want to sweat the small stuff (although, I know that at times I will). I am going to try and accept help when I need it and not let pride take over as I try to do it by myself (this is a big one for me). I want our kids to know that they have two parents that love them to the moon and back and that no matter how far apart we are, our hearts are always together.
I think survival is key this year. There are things that I know won't get done. I'm not going to try and do a picture on the blog everyday like some people in the blog world. A friend of mine is giving up McDonald's for a year...nope, not a chance. I'm not going to make sure the house is immaculate, because who am I kidding? There are days now when it's not presentable! :-) My main focus is to get my family through this next year and try and enjoy it as much as we can even while missing a HUGE piece of our family...a HUGE piece of our hearts. That's my resolution...

A Look Back at 2010

Happy New Year Everyone! I know I'm behind with not posting Christmas pictures and I also haven't posted pictures of the boys with their Papa who visited at the end of November/beginning of December. I'll get to them...I really will.
Right now, I wanted to take a look back at some pictures in 2010.
This time last year, we were doing this:
We were traveling on New Years Day to go to Memphis to visit family and to go to the Liberty Bowl to watch the Razorbacks play. It was a great start to the New Year and we had so much fun. This year, we are doing things a little differently, but that's for another post (later today, probably).
So, here's the rest of the year, as seen in pictures: