Thursday, December 31, 2009

Rated E for Everyone

We love our Wii! We have had it for a year now and just received a new game for Christmas called "Just Dance". The kids adore it (and so do the adults). Here was our house after Christmas dinner spent with friends. Anna has just gotten wacked by another kid but she gets into it again after a few seconds. We have so much fun with this thing as a family...we highly recommend it (and I am not even one for video games!).

video

Can you guess what we will be doing tonight to ring in the New Year?! Yes, besides enjoying progressive hors d'oeuvres with our neighborhood, we have Wii planned for the evening. Happy New Year Everyone!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

The 3 all decked out in their Christmas outfits. Aren't they the cutest! I know..it looks weird being outside in front of a beautiful garden, doesn't it?

Boy it sure is hard getting a good family shot (or even one of the 3 kids) once you have kids. We had to bribe them with candy canes but then we couldn't keep Jesse from eating it. This was the best shot we could get.

We were all busy doing other things and turned around to find Jesse like this. He found the hat, put it one, and was going after the candy canes on the tree as usual. It was too cute to pass up the photographic moment. We have had to move all the candy canes to the top of the tree to stop him from running off with them. Then I caught him stacking presents and trying to climb on top of them! He knows what he wants and doesn't stop. You have to admire that.


Enjoying chocolate fondue, our Christmas Eve tradition after church. The kids are now all tucked in their beds hopefully with sugar plums dancing in their dreams. Anna was very concerned about whether or not Santa was going to come into her room (she did not want him too!), but was still able to fall asleep. We have had a wonderful time preparing for Christmas day, seeing how the kids are more excited about celebrating Jesus's birthday and can't wait for his birthday party (yes we have cake and sing to Jesus!). but more than anything, we are thankful Joel made it home to share in this special time with us. We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and hope you find Jesus in the morning and always.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Home Sweet Home

There are no words to describe the emotions we are all feeling right now. We will let the pictures speak for themselves.






Wednesday, December 16, 2009

San Francisco

So these pictures are a little late in coming, but these are from our day in San Francisco. It was a wild adventure that the kids and I went on during our 4 day journey back from West Virginia to Hawaii. We were stuck in California for 2 days while waiting for a military hop back so what else to do!?! This journey required 3 bus transfers and a ferry ride (oops, I mean pirate ship ride according to Asher).

I love this picture for some reason. We look haggard, it was a crazy day, but it was memorable. The kids are eating chocolate fudge here while watching a pack of sea lions with the Golden Gate bridge in view. We sat there for an hour enjoying ourselves.

Asher with Alcatraz in the background. This brought up many questions about prison. and nowthey pretend they are taking each other to jail (Wonderful).

Oh how we loved riding the trolley!!

Seriously we could have ridden this carousel all day.
Too bad it was so much money to ride. We only managed 2 rides.

OK, so I know this picture isn't that great but that IS Golden Gate Bridge in the background and Jesse conked out. Our camera (may it rest in peace and so glad it was still under warranty!) was run over by a car in West Virginia (LONG story), so all these pictures were taken by a disposal camera. Remember how this used to be the way we all did it? I think these pictures are AWFUL! But they are memories I will cherish forever. An adventure I never imagined I would have done on my own with the 3 buggers but SOOO glad we did it.

DADDY COMES HOME ON SUNDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Our ballerina

Anna had her 1st ballet recital this weekend. She has been talking about it for weeks. This was her moment in the spotlight. However, our camera is having some issues so I borrowed a friend's camera...the pictures didn't turn out so well. She did awesome and was all smiles.

Anna is the one on the left in the front.

Anna is the blur in the front of the line.



Asher picked out pink flowers for her (her favorite). She lit up when he gave them to her. It was really special to see the exchange.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Eddie would go

I know I have many faithful followers of my blog out there who are wondering where I disappeared to. I am sorry for the lack of update. Right now we are just in the process of waiting, waiting, waiting. We had a WONDERFUL time on the mainland and quite an adventure traveling back. It is great to be home but it is agony. It seems like the end is the hardest because we are all so anxious for Joel to come home. As of now, he is "supposed" to leave where he is on December 18th. So we can expect him home who knows when! The whole traveling process is a mystery, so we are on our knees praying for him to make it home for Christmas. We have spent the past week frantically getting Christmas decorations up, attending Christmas parties, mailing packages, and getting everything ready for his return. As our lives our routine to the business of Christmas, Hawaii itself is experiencing something extraordinary.

This is a professional surfer riding the waves during the Eddie Aikau Memorial surfing competition. Eddie is a a Hawaiian hero and pioneer of big wave surfing. A legend who was lost at sea attempting to save his crew in 1978 stranded on a capsized canoe during a 30-day journey to follow the ancient route of Polynesian migration between the Hawaiian and Tahitian island chains. He was last seen paddling his surfboard out to search for help.

The Eddie surfing competition is only surfed when the waves reach a ridable (!) consistent 40 feet. It has not been held since 2004 and the waves were bigger than anything in years (50 to 60 feet).

Monday, November 23, 2009

Surrounded by Stars

Recognize any faces in this picture (well, besides mine and Jesse's!). In Hawaii I desparately wait to run into movie stars. Never in a million years did I think I would run into 2 superstars in the Grand Central Mall in Parkersburg, WV (where my mom works and I have been to upteen million times while growing up). This is Joanna Garcia who played Cheyenne on "Reba" (a show I adore!) and Nick Swisher, outifeld and 1st base baseball player for the New York Yankees (now a World Series winner)...boy that is hard to write as a Red Sox fan. My mom happens to work with Nick Swisher's mom, and these 2 are dating, so hence my fortunate run in while visiting my mom at work. While I was walking by them to my mom's office, Asher ran them over with Jesse's stroller. Talk about embarassing! Anyways, they were so nice and let me snap a quick photo (as long as I didn't mention the Red Sox again!).

Monday, November 16, 2009

Country roads, take me home...


Well, the roads didn't have much to do with the journey but a KC135, a military refueling jet, did! As I write this I am sitting in my childhood home in West Virginia, wrapped in warm blanket with my slippers on (REAL slippers, not flip flops), my beautiful german shepherd at my feet (who has not left my side since we arrived), and a roaring fireplace (alas it is fake). Of course it is midnight and I am bright eyed and bushy tailed, but HAPPY! I have often watched the space available flights out of Hickam AFB since Joel's deployment and there were 3 flights this weekend that could work for us. One on Saturday and 2 on Sunday. I made the decision on Friday (after making the descovery late Thursday night), frantically got paperwork together, winter clothes purchased, bags packed, and began the journey. We were unable to get on the first 2 flights (middle of the nights setbacks, ah, the joys of SpaceA), but made the 3rd. So began the 2 day journey. We had a "lay over" in Pt Mugu, CA where I didn't know a soul and there were no facilities to help Space A travelers at a small Guard base. I was terrified and we were exhausted from the flight and 2 previous nights of no sleep. But the Lord provided! 3 National guard folks adopted us as soon as we got of the plane (aka ANGELS), who fed us dinner, got us a hotel when all said they were booked, brought us breakfast in the morning, gave us a ride back to the base, and helped me load the kids and luggage back on to the place. I don't know how we would have survived without them-it brings me to tears just thinking of those folks I may never see again and their generousity. Then another 4 hour flight and 3 hour drive and here we are, home for Thanksgiving!! I won't lie, it was tough. I was terrified at the thought of it but the Lord enabled me to conquer that fear and reap the benefits. The kids did get to move around on the plane, lay out on sleepings bags, and Asher and Anna both got to sit in the cockpit for take off. But there were still many tears and arguements and frustrations. The kids did NOT want to play with a single thing I packed for them, the DVD player was not working, plus I packed the wrong baby for Anna (MAJOR DRAMA-Mommy this is not Gracie! Who is babysitting Gracie!!!) This was a journey that I NEVER imagined I would even attempt on my own, EVER. God is good. Now I am not sure how we are going to get back to Hawaii, but I will trust in Him and enjoy my time here. The first thing Asher and Anna said when they opened the doors of the plane..."It is COLD!" (YES, I get to wear a sweater I mentioned in an earlier post that resulted in the loss of a cell phone!). I still can't get Jesse to keep shoes or socks on! But guess what, I get to sleep in tomorrow!!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Life with Jesse


As I sit here looking at my now yellow keyboard (thanks to Jesse and a yellow high lighter), I thought I had enough evidence to blog on what life is like with 18 month old Jesse. Anna and Asher never kept me on my toes like this one does.

His new favorite place to be is dancing on top of the kitchen table. This use to be a safe haven for Anna and Asher to color or play with toys when they didn't want Jesse interference, but not anymore. Those are real apples in my centerpiece. One day I noticed there were a few missing and it took my a few days to figure out why...then I saw Jesse walking around the house eating an apple. I keep refilling it but they keep disappearing!

Once he gets into my bathroom, he goes straight for the Q-tips.

I can't tell you how many times this has happened to me. I swear, you turn around for 1 second!

If only I had a picture of the time I found him swimming in the toilet like it was his own swimming pool...literally sitting inside the toilet bowl splashing around with a whole roll of toilet paper having a grand ol' time.

Rule #1: If it is quiet, it is time to find Jesse and fast!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween Festivities

The weekend started with the annual Hickam Air Force Base Carnival (aka money grabber). The kids had the time of their lives (I might have enjoyed a ride or two myself). It is so neat to watch them laughing and thoroughly enjoying themselves. Do you remember what it was like to go to a carnival when you were young...the lights, rides, yummy treats?! I always loved it growing up. Of course, I can't go to a carnival without enjoying a funnel cake...YUM!!

Jesse watched most of the action from his stroller but the lights and sounds were enough for him. I was able to take him on a giant slide that I think he enjoyed. I was too busy keeping my grasp on him as we flew down.

These race cars were Anna's favorite last year and this year. She rode it 3 times.

Asher's first roller coaster! He is in the second row in the green shirt. I was very nervous for him and planned to ride it with him. As we were standing in line he asked me what I was doing. I said "riding with you", and he said "NO Mommy, I can do it by myself". Geesh, does the embarrassment of riding with your mother start at 5? So he went by himself and LOVED it. He told me he wanted a roller coaster for his birthday.

The Thorson family (minus Daddy...we wish you had been there!).

The next day was Halloween. Our block did a big barbecue before heading off to do trick or treating together. The kids loved seeing each other's costumes and going out with their friends. After 1 block they raced home to pass out candy (which I think they thought was more fun). Joel and I are really struggling with our beliefs on Halloween but with him gone, I decided to push it off another year and just enjoy.

Anna and Mommy at the barbecue. Wow, I think we really look a lot alike in this picture.

The beautiful mermaid. For those who don't know Anna, she plans on being a mermaid when she grows up complete with "mermaid boobs". What I asked?! Yes, mermaid boobs Mommy. "Sea Shells Anna?" Yes, mermaid boobs.

Jesse was too adorable walking around in this. When it got dark, he glowed and all you could see were the bones...so funny.

Asher and his best buddy Garrett. Asher is on the left. I think they have 2 admirers in the background.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Priceless Moment

The Setting: Asher's football game. It is evening and we are under the lights. Asher gets the ball and runs the wrong way!

The coach and me from the sidelines: "Wrong way Asher! Run the other way Asher!"

Asher looks at me smiling and then trips over his own feet. He immediately checks to see if his flags are still on. He proudly trots off the field after getting some nice pats on the back.

Asher to me: "Did I keep my flags Mommy?"

Me: "Yes, Buddy you did!" He hugs me and says "Yes!"

Me: "But Asher, why did you run the wrong way?"

Asher: "It wasn't wrong Mommy" like I missed the most obvious thing in the world. "I was sneaky. They knew I was going to run that way" (pointing to the right end zone) "so I ran that way!".

Well, how to you argue that?!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Joy


I found my joy again. As my blogs have probably revealed, it has been lost for awhile. Probably has been lost since Joel left 12 weeks ago. I have truly been struggling with anger and resentment for being left alone, and sadly have taken it out on the kids. My weekend away with God was amazing, refreshing, rest for the soul, and convicting. The Lord showed me that since Joel's deployment I had been trying to live my life as a woman without kids. It always seemed they were in the way. "I have to get a sitter for this and miss out on that and pour myself out every day". Yes, much resentment. God opened my eyes to it and told me to let it go and embrace motherhood and my kids again. I only hope it isn't too late! I feel my eyes have been opened up again to my 3 beautiful blessings and I pray to keep this eyesight.

Today Blessing #2, our little Anna Rosie, turned 4. She has been counting down to this day for about 6 months! She didn't go to sleep until 9:30 last night because she was beside herself with excitement. We had a wonderful day together and a great evening birthday party. The smile never left her face today. She got everything she asked for...a jump house, face painting, a butterfly cake, and friends to share in the occasion. I was blessed with neighborhood women descending upon the party to help set up, cook, and clean up when all was done. But before you see pictures of the party, I wanted to start with a reflection of our beautiful "caterpillar". Where does the time go? I certainly don't want to resent these moments and miss them as they fly by. May joy continue to overflow through my children into our lives.

Anna or "anna-naut" as we called her in her oxygen bubble during the first week of her life.

6 months old

Just after her 1st birthday.

2 years old.

My 4 year old beauty.

Face painting at the party.

Anna's butterfly cake. Yes, I made it (and am awful proud. This is the 1st cake I have ever made for one of our kid's birthdays).

The princess and her castle. She literally jumped in her ALL day. I spent about 10 minutes jumping with her and felt like I had run a marathon.

Happy Birthday Anna! Thank you for all the joy you bring to my life.

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Weekend Getaway

Yes, that is right. I am going on a weekend get way, a PWOC (protestant women of the chapel) conference downtown in Waikiki, with my girlfriends. A weekend of worship, bible study, and a break from the kids. I will get to eat my food when it is hot, sleep until I want to get out of bed, take a shower without a kid interrupting, no cleaning up after meals, have a whole conversation without stopping to discipline, no poppy diapers, no trains being lobbed at my head, and no chasing Jesse down the street for 2.5 days! I am beyond excited for this little break. I am praying that it will be a rejuvenating time in the Lord and refreshing time for me, to spur me on for these last 8 weeks. I have been SO exhausted and learned this past week in bible study the Lord can only renew our strength when we wait on him. When we wait on the "thing" (ex. the day when Joel comes home), we will continue to be depleted. I really reflected on that the past 2 days and realized I am totally waiting for Joel's return and not the Lord alone. So this weekend I hope to change my focus for "those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not be weary, they will walk and not be faint." (Isaiah 40:31)

On a side note, thank you to the dear friend who sent me fall in a box! The smell of those leaves...I can't even put it into words. The kids were amazed to see all the different colors. It made my heart ache. Thank you thank you thank you for that special treat. I am officially a leaf sniffer.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I Spy Something Pink...

And it's Asher's eye! Asher woke up this morning with his right eye swelled shut and crusty. Once he finally opened it, it looked like someone had punched him (maybe Anna did in her sleep?). Alas, the poor thing has pink eye. It was God testing my heart to change a very busy day and focus on my kids since Asher would not be going to school. I don't do well with sudden change to a schedule and it sent me scrambling and a bit resentful. Asher has already been home for close to 2 weeks due to "fall break" and now will be home for most of this week. "Lord, I have plans! Please give me a break" I found myself crying this morning. But it truly turned into an enjoyable day. I think the highlight to Asher's day was accompanying me to a sailing lesson I committed to giving where he laid on a blanket in the shade, cheered for me, and drew sailboats. He says he always wants to go sailing with me now! When we finally made it to the doctor, however, he had spiked a fever and fell asleep in my arms in the waiting room. This is a huge shock coming from the one who NEVER naps, slows down for a second, and would stay up until midnight if we let him. So instead of enjoying my normal Monday night out (I get a sitter every Monday night for some Mommy away time in Joel's absence), I enjoyed a nice evening dinner on our back porch with our neighbors. It was quiet and restful...no running to football practice, the commissary, shoving dinner down before the sitter arrives, trying to find a time to talk to Joel. We had a great conversation with Joel and it was a lovely and blessed evening that even the kids enjoyed. Asher had perked up with medicine but this was him by 8:00pm in our neighbor's popisan chair on their back porch. I probably could have left him there all night. Thank you Lord for helping me to slow down and enjoy my kids a little. May we enjoy another one tomorrow. I pray that Asher's feels better soon and that the other 2 don't get it!



Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Time Passes, Tomatoes Grow



It has been 10 weeks since Joel left. We are half way there! I expected some major relief or excitement when we reached this milestone, but it didn't really come. To be honest 10 weeks has seemed like a year and I can't fathom trudging through the time to match what has already passed. We have had good days. We have had GREAT days. We have had bad days. and there have been days when I didn't want to get out of bed in the morning. This week I have really been struggling with anger issues and have been on my knees in prayer trying to fight through it. I am tired and am starting to have a hard time remembering who is supposed to be where and when and what appointments need to be made. I actually forgot a major appointment for Asher until an hour after we were supposed to be there! Asher has had medicine sitting at the pharmacy (3 blocks from where we live) for over a week now and I keep forgetting to go get it! I feel control slipping out of my hands and am praying for peace and rest in Him.

We try to share as much of our lives as we can over the computer but there is still a hole in our lives. It has been hard finding times to sit and talk. The kids live so many moments and say "I can't wait to tell Daddy about this" and "we have to bring Daddy here when he gets home". They think of him all the time. They literally pray for him every night "Please keep Daddy safe while he is on his very long trip". Jesse thinks "Da" has turned into the computer screen. Every time he passes it, he looks at it, points, and says "da" or comes running when he sees me sitting at the desk. Anna and Asher have drawn upteen million pictures to mail to him. As soon as they see the box on the counter they frantically start drawing. He is so dear to them and to me. We miss you Joel. We are proud of you. We are hanging in there. We are trying to live every moment and not just survive.

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full".
John 10:10

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Big News

We are moving to Ohio!!! We just received word that Joel has been selected for a job at the NRO "national reconnaissance office" with the Air Force. This includes receiving his master's degree in Electrical Engineering at the Air Force Institute of Technology in Dayton, Ohio (an 18 month program) starting in August, and then a 4 year follow up assignment with the NRO in Chantilly, VA. We are super excited to be back on the east coast!! I seriously just went out and started buying winter clothes on sale for the kids...is that pathetic or what?! Dayton will be 3 hours from my parents and 7.5 from Joel's, not to mention how close we will be to many dear friends. Next fall I too will be enjoying the fall weather, leaves changing colors, apple picking, the first snowfall, looking forward to Christmas with family. I know you all think I am crazy being here in paradise but it is amazing what you miss. It is real life, not a vacation, and hard being so far away from family for so long. While we are VERY thankful for this time and will be living it up over the next 9 months, we are so so so blessed to see God moving in our future and overwhelming us with the desires of our hearts. I even bought a sweater at Old Navy last night!

Speaking of Old Navy...during the great sweater buying adventure I managed to lose my cell phone. Thankfully we had insurance coverage on it (cell phones and I DO NOT get along) so a new one is on its way to me. However, I may be unreachable for the rest of this week. In addition, my address book of numbers is lost so please please email me your phone number if you would ever like a call from me in the future. My number is the same so no worries there.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Friday Night Lights

Asher had his first football game last night. His team is the Cowboys and every Wednesday the parents get to make a banner for them to run through...so cute! The boys loved it. Asher still isn't the best athlete in the world but he is having fun, and we can see that he has made progress because he isn't on the ground crying or breakdancing this time (so far at least). It was so fun being out there on a Friday night cheering on the kids (we could almost pretend is was cold)..it was very reminiscent of high school football days.

The banner just before the kids ran through.

Warming up before the game. Asher is on the right.

Asher getting some defense advice from his coach.

Anna, the best cheerleader of the night!

Jesse is ready to join the team. I think I may have only gotten to watch about 3 plays of the game because I was chasing this little man the entire time. He ran off with the end zone markers, kept running on the field, climbing the bleachers...it was exhausting! I think he may have a babysitter next Friday, or a leash :).