Friday, June 19, 2009
Well, it is official. Pete has submitted his retirement packet and we are now in the official countdown toward military retirement next March. Twenty LOOOOOOONG years, five deployments, twelve moves (not counting in-town moves from one address to another), and more headaches than we care to admit, and in nine months it will all be history. That's a big WOW to both of us, and the reality of civilian life looming on the horizon is both scary and incredibly exciting all at the same time. Could it be that we can actually plan to stay PUT for a while? Oh, how nice that will be. Paint on the walls (okay, COLORED paint), being able to buy address labels....oh, the simple pleasures!
I did have to giggle more than just a little bit at one of Pete's transition classes this week--dressing for success--the transition office had a rep from Men's Wearhouse to come out and teach the been-in-cammies-for-way-too-long soldiers how to dress (ie., how to MATCH your clothing). What was funny was that the whole week, Pete had to wear civilian attire instead of a uniform, and he was a bit at a loss for what to wear! I guess that class really was a necessity! Maybe I need to take a better look at his closet and plan for more than just Sundays now? YAY!!!
Monday, June 1, 2009
Soo.....here goes. I s'pose the "biggest" addition to our family as of late (since the kittens aren't kittens anymore and Shelby is most certainly big, but not the new-news) was Moby, our 15-pack Ford van. Gone are the days of mini-vans, we've now moved into maxi-van territory. It makes driving so much more......what is the word......TOLERABLE now that everyone has her own space back in the back. And while getting four littles strapped into car seats in this giant whale of a vehicle isn't what we'd call easy, it certainly is easier than climbing in and out of the back of the Sienna to do all that buckling and unbuckling! Even with Kelsey, Morgan (yes, she IS in a booster seat, I promise) and Shelby sharing a row, they're not shoulder-to-shoulder like they were before in the Toyota. See how roomy, even with the rear seat taken out for extra cargo space? I love it!
Okay, now on to the actual members of the family...we don't have any new photos of our firstborn to blog about--pretty much the last time we saw him (other than the quickie trip down for Mother's Day....and to pick up the mis-mailed parts for his car) was when he graduated from training here in March and left for Fort Campbell. He's an adult now, doing his own thing and not including us--we have to check his Facebook to find out anything, and I'm not liking what independence is doing to him....but I'm his mom, it's my job to overanalyze and panic about everything, right? His news for us recently was not what we'd hoped to hear, but it was inevitable, and I'm glad I have time to process it before we actually have to DEAL with it--he's going to Afghanistan sometime next Spring. I'm not a happy mom...but I knew this was coming. In the words of Forrest Gump, "That's all I have to say about that."
Pete is nearing the end of his Army career...and that end is approaching faster than we ever imagined it would. In fact, it may even be by the end of this year, considering it will be his best chance of securing a stable (and not DoD contracted) job with a future. Unfortunately, that future may mean that we have to end up leaving our beloved Huntsville in a couple of years when the missile maintenance school here transfers to Fort Lee, Virginia; but in this economy, we're thankful to have a good job prospect, whatever that means. We also know that Huntsville will still be here when we're ready to move back! Thankfully, though, Pete has had the Army pay for his shoulder to be completely repaired, and he's doing wonderfully under the care of a great orthopedic surgeon who handled his recovery with kid-gloves. What could have otherwise been a life-altering disability is now just an occasional ache, and that's something to be VERY grateful for! Kelsey turned 17 three months ago, and has gone through a TON of changes in that span of time. Hmm....she's gotten a driver's permit (we don't let our kids get their actual license till they're financially ready to take on their own insurance policy and the expenses of owning their own car), a job at Church's Chicken here on base, and has finished up her junior year of high school. She also, um....dismissed her beau for issues that her heart blinded her to in the past and has moved on to the getting-to-know-you phase of another young man who has been waiting in the wings for several months. We shall see....at any rate, Kelsey is indeed growing UP. It is actually getting easier to talk to her, and we're working on her reasoning skills, so things are improving relationally speaking. She's still a teenybopper, though, and when we go out as a family, she still wants to step aside and be seen as the martyred older sister, forced to tolerate the silliness of her younger sibs. Oh, the horrors.....can't you just read the disgust on her face while the rest of us were giggling and having a great time at the Botanical Gardens yesterday? How embarrassing is must be to have family enjoying things while there are so many reasons to be bored! At least Mom got a good picture out of it...Next in line is Morgan. Never the shy one, Morgan's very thin "shell" has become nearly nonexistent, and she's just come screaming out of the toddler phase straight into kid-dom. She never walks anywhere--she runs, skips, or twirls. She has NO inside voice (much to the chagrin of her father's poor ears), and relishes getting into every mess known to mankind. If there's a puddle, expect her to go swimming; if you give a Morgan a cookie....well, she's going to have chocolate smeared from one end to the other. Show the child a calm, bubbling fountain, and you get this:
Jamie continues to be our introverted thinker. She doesn't do all that well in "big" social situations, much like her mother (and father, even though he's a much better faker than I), and is more at ease by herself with a strange project of her own design than some sort of group activity. She tries to be cuddly like her sisters, but you can tell it makes her a bit uneasy (again, a lot like her mom) so we let Jamie dictate when she gets snuggled with. Her hyper toddler nature is ever-so-swiftly giving way to the gotta-do-it-all, can't-miss-a-thing, just-try-and-tell-me-I-can't four-year-old will of steel. It is so neat to see how quickly their little personalities develop! Jamie is also the only one of our girls with truly straight, golden-blonde hair. How'd THAT happen?Danica, now two and a half, is just chock full of spunk and individuality. She's not like any of our other kids, except that she's just as much a "ham" as all the others have been. Dani's speech is still lagging behind, but I'm not worried--she still gets her point across loud and clear (well, loud, anyway)! She's got to do everything her older sisters do, even if she's not quite got the motor skills to keep up, and woe be unto the crazy person who tries to offer Dani help when she is convinced she can do it "mylelp". She may have enough energy (and temper) to put the Tasmanian Devil to shame, but when she cools her guns and focuses....wow. I have gotten some of my best kid shots from just following behind Dani! Check out what I snapped yesterday as she followed behind Kelsey, who went through two rolls of 35mm film in just half an hour....
Shelby, our not-so-little almost-ten-month-old, is growing faster than Georgia Kudzu! She is crawling everywhere, picking up speed, and is standing and cruising along the furniture at a pretty fair clip too. Her fifth tooth just popped through yesterday (explaining the three-hour crying fit night before last), but the lack of chompers hasn't kept her from eating everything in sight. It should be....interesting....to see how she is going to react when her baby sister is born in several weeks, because even now, there's no substitute for Mama. Funny how much more clingy each successive little one is in our family! Shelby's little personality is starting to shine through, and it's becoming clear that she will be quite the performer. She's already learned the value of a goofy grin to woo her intended audience's affections. Oh my...
If there's one thing we look forward to with each additional child, it's finding out what their little character is going to be like. God never duplicates anyone, it seems, and He certainly has outdone Himself with our group of girls! Our house may be overrun with pink and purple and hair bows and frilly dresses, but our daughters are anything but a bunch of cookie-cutter girly-girls. We're already wondering what little 'Kasey' will be like!