We moved to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas when I was newly pregnant with Olivia. She was born when we were about midway through our time there. The eleven months we were there were quick, but memories and friendships were definitely made. We lived in Infantry Barracks. Basically these huge three and four bedroom quarters (apartments) that used to be old Barracks. They were built in 1900 and in all honesty were very neat. Looking out the windows that lined the front of our apartment was Pope Avenue. I liked to joke that it was the closest I'd ever get to Fifth Avenue:) and I was certain that with a little elbow grease our quarters could resemble The Plaza Hotel easily. (you learn in the military to have a great imagination!!) From the windows that lined the back of our apartment you could see our courtyard area where we put up the girl's playground and which we shared with four other families. At one point there were 18 kids between us all! Good times, definitely. One of those families is actually in the Fort Bliss area. I look forward to Richard linking up with them before he deploys.
Easter Sunday is this Sunday. It stinks that Richard had to report today. Tomorrow is the start of the four day weekend in honor of Easter Weekend. So, I guess he'll spend the long weekend in his hotel room. Poor guy! I wish he could have been here with us, but I am thankful for the time he did have off prior to his leaving.
Our Easter Sunday in Kansas was one of my most favorite Easter Sundays. The Saturday before Richard got up and went across the street to the Main Post Chapel and hid all of the girl's eggs. We woke them up, threw shoes, hats and robes on them and told them to grab their baskets! They were delighted at their private, surprise hunt:). I'm thinking I'll do my best to reenact that event this Sunday. I think they will love another surprise hunt. I'm also going to show them these images. I don't think they've seen them, so that will be a treat! I wish we could follow it up with a sunrise service outside like we did there. Singing hymns and hearing God's word outside in the cold snuggling with all of my little people and Richard was just about as perfect an Easter as I could have had. (and the girl's are still talking about the mini donut machine the Chapel rented for that day!)
Do any of your children get this geared up to play in the sprinklers? My girls have always been more than prepared when it comes to just about anything. I recall Hanson Ellis wearing her bike helmet once when flying kites with her Gran. Momma told her she probably didn't need that helmet. She argued that the kite might fall down and hit her on the head, but submitted to her Gran and took it off. Sure enough as soon as she took off the helmet, the kite literally did a nose dive and hit her right on the top of her head! Momma and I still laugh about this, and Hanson Ellis still says, "See, I told you you never know what might happen. It's always best to be prepared!" And prepared they all are ... even when it comes to running in the sprinklers. I found this photo today of Parker from 2007. It just cracks me up!
Even though it is just the first day of this separation, I am already focusing on seeing Richard again. I went to the YMCA today to work on getting prepared for Richard's block leave in July. We're hoping to find an affordable beach house somewhere (suggestions??), as we've only been to the beach as a family ONCE ... as in just for the day. So, I want to prepare the best I can for that. Although somehow, I don't think I could ever look as cute as Parker does here:).
I was so blessed to have an extra cup of coffee with Richard today before he left.
We sat at the kitchen table with our cups full of O'Henry's Southern Pecan Blend. I don't really remember all that we were talking about. I'm not sure there was really a theme there ...
I just remember looking at him and the thought of "I fell in love with a soldier" crossing my mind. I suppose I could have fallen in love with a doctor, someone in construction or even anyone from an athlete to a politician. But, I fell in love with a soldier.
A steady flow of tears just started pouring from my already swollen eyes at this point. If I had fallen in love with just about anyone else, I probably wouldn't be in the situation that I was. Yet all that doesn't matter. I don't know why I never really thought of it in this way before, but at that point I realized that that is just the way life is ... a series of choices and unexpected outcomes. That's what makes life, life. And that is what makes the day to day so wonderful.
My brother and his family lives in Mountainbrook, Alabama. The few hours I spent there Friday night and Saturday morning just made me wonder, as it always does, what it would be like to live there. The houses are unique and beautiful. The neighborhood is old and new all in one and it is perfectly quaint. How I would love to live there and for us to raise our girls in a place like that.
But ... I fell in love with a soldier. No, I fell in love with Richard and if being in the Army is what his calling is, then I'm more than okay with that. How blessed I am to have him in my life. Separation comes with the territory. And you're all right, we are "used" to this, but the knowledge of the reality only makes it a whole lot more dreaded. All the same, if I had to do it all over again ... even knowing what I know now, I'd do it all the same and I'd only hope to be so blessed to be sitting at the kitchen table sharing one more cup of coffee before saying goodbye.
May God keep us all safe, and keep us close. May His light shine in our lives, and may the glory be His.
I know I've mentioned the zip-line we have in our backyard before, but I don't know if I've mentioned Kate on the zip-line before. I've updated my FB status many times with notes of my hearing her squeal and giggle while her Daddy throws her around on that thing, but I don't know if I've ever mentioned that here. Tonight as I was making an early dinner so Hanson Ellis could eat with us before heading out to dance, I heard that famous squeal and giggle. Knowing this would be Kate's last ride on the zip-line with her Daddy for potentially a very, very long time, I grabbed my camera and headed out back. I didn't even take time to get my shoes on. I just went. Here are the images I captured. I hope you can see what I see and maybe almost hear what I hear. Richard doesn't just let the girls ride down the zip-line, he throws them up with all his might and catches the little ones on their way down (or at least brakes their fall as they slam into the tree that is padded down with, what else, an old boppy pillow).
Oh, how I'm going to miss the squeals.
Oh, how my heart will yearn to hear "Daaaaaaaadeeeeeeeeeee!"
But I am thankful my heart will hurt. It will hurt because of a good memory ... a sweet moment between a little girl and her Daddy.
Richard and his crazy "WHOOOP!" noise:). Parker off in the distance enjoying the little swing she made.
Olivia ... taking it all in as only she can.
Holding on tight as she spins ...
I'm going to miss my husband, but my heart will long for the girl's Daddy. To me, my girls are the faces of war.
Resting tonight in Jeremiah 29.11
Praise God for the plans He has for us and for His word that reminds us that they are good.
We went to Birmingham and Tuscaloosa this weekend for a very quick trip home.
The weather was stormy Friday, but wonderful yesterday and today. Cool, crisp and low humidity. Not characteristic of Alabama, but welcomed by all. The cool weather along with the sunshine was sort of an extra blessing after the storms that came Friday night. It gives me a lot to ponder upon.
We took the girls over to campus today to see the new statue of Coach Saban that was unveiled yesterday at the A Day game. We had planned to be one of the 92+ thousand people in attendance, but the storm on Friday sort of put us behind on our schedule a day and we were not able to make it over until today. I was okay with that until my SIL mentioned seeing Greg McElroy yesterday (just kidding!! well, maybe not ...).
I took this image of Olivia there. Look at that face! Sweet little freckles coming through ... getting to be such a big girl now. She's come a long way from the little baby that turned our world upside down.