Friday, December 30, 2011

I've been MIA

The last 27 days (since I wrote) have been full.  Jason started back to work.  I have been working.  The kids have had Christmas plays, and Christmas concerts, and Christmas parties.  We've been BUSY.

Now that we are past Christmas, and getting ready to head back into school and work, I wanted to take a second to say thank you to everyone for your encouragement over the past year.

2011 has been a tough year, a year of learning and growth to be sure, but tough, and I am glad that it is almost over with.  Hopefully, as we adjust to a "new normal", and the new year, I'll be able to get on here a little more often.  For now, I'm going to go get some coffee....

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Because he's crazy like that...

...Jason ran 10 miles this morning...just for the fun of it!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Week (and month) in Review

Bullet-points, or I'll not get it all in...
This last week has been BUSY...
  • Thanksgiving, November 24
  • Heather's birthday November 25
  • Drive back to VA from SC on Saturday, November 26
  • Church on Sunday
  • Put the "not-boyfriend", 2 little girls, 1 neighbor girl, and the 14-year-old to work raking leaves...4 bags out to the street.
  • Kids back to school on Monday
  • Jason and Laura raked 10 more bags of leaves out of the back yard.
  • Laura finishing final projects on Monday
  • Monday also included kids to venturing, one kid to PT, and Jason to a birthday party.
  • Laura back to school Tuesday (ALL day)
  • Tuesday the dogs got out and wandered the neighborhood for 4 hours...lots of worry and tears...
  • Wednesday was a work-day, and shopping at the exchange.
  • One kid to PT on Wednesday.
  • Thursday was a work-day, and a relatively quiet evening at home.
November also included:
  • Jason completed his year in Bahrain and arrived home on November 5th.
  • Frances got her class ring stuck on her finger, and had to have it cut off. 
  • I had to get two tires replaced on our 2008 van.
  • We traded in our 2008 van for a 2012 van...2 weeks after the tire change.
  • We all survived another month of school.
  • We got the new Christmas tree set up...but no decorations on it...still need to find the box of ornaments.  
I know it's not November any more...we're going to a Christmas party tonight!!  And two kids are going to a Leadership seminary.  And Jason is running a 10-mile race tomorrow.  Whatever happened to calm and quiet weekends?!?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving in South Carolina

We had an amazingly relaxing few days in South Carolina with Jason's parents...we got to SLEEP, and to EAT (and deep-fried a yummy turkey!), and the kids went FISHING, and we DECORATED for Christmas....  Thank you to Nana and Papa for letting us come spend a few days at your wonderful retreat!!  (It was GREAT to see Papaw, too!!)

The homework still had to be done.

Nana getting the tree just right.

Jason and Jon wrestling the bird.  

Jon trying to get away with drinking MY Cheerwine.

Leah and Papaw spent *almost* every day fishing. 

We celebrated Heather's 14th Birthday.

Paxton family pictures...4 generations!

Penny, Robert (Papaw) Shipp, and Chuck

Nana and Papa with 6 Paxton grandkids!

Nana with the girls.

Great-granddad (Papaw), Granddad (Papa), Son (Jason), and two grandsons.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Welcome Home, LS1 Paxton!!!

I am SO VERY excited!  I just got our pictures back from Kiyomi Photography (Via Operation Love ReUnited) of Jason's homecoming, and I have to share!!  She did an excellent job....

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Senior Picture day in Richmond

Sunday, the kids and I packed up and drove to Richmond to meet with our friend and photographer, Jimmy Sadler, to have Frances' Senior pictures taken.  While there, I took a few pictures of my own....on my phone because I didn't bring my real camera.  Yes, it was one of THOSE days.

So, here are a few of MY pictures from the day...

The guest of honor...My pictures do not do her  justice. 

Jimmy's pictures of all of the kids are MUCH better than mine...but those will have to wait until another time...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

My first baby is a SENIOR!

Last night was Senior Night for Frances' Marching Band.  I got to go, and was able to (finally!) get pictures of her in her uniform.  

This is the child who HATES to have her picture taken.

Mom pinning on her corsage.    

All 16 seniors in the band. 

The seniors (Frances is on the very left with crutches!) with their Director, Mr. Tim Rossettini. 
I am so very proud of Frances!  With each student, they read off where they wanted to go to school, and what they planned to do afterwards...of the 16 Seniors, she was the only one planning to go to a Christian school, and she specifically said she wanted to go the mission field.  

Loving being a mom....

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Accomplished Much? (aka A Year in Review)

One of the themes of deployments seems to be staying busy.  Actually, when one talks to other military spouses to learns ways of coping with deployments, one of the frequent recommendations is to stay busy.  With that in mind, when I knew that Jason was going to be deploying for a year's time, we moved to a new house, I registered for grad school, and threw the kids into as many activities as was humanly possible to get them into.

Okay, not really.  We DID move, and I DID register for grad school...but the throwing kids into activities?  They did that all on their own.

So, since this deployment is winding down, I wanted to list (for myself, mostly) what we DID accomplish while Jason was gone...starting (somewhat) chronologically.

In August, we moved into our new home.

In September, I started Grad school, and the kids all started back to new schools for 5 of them.

In October, Jason and I went out to celebrate our 18th anniversary the night before he left to go to South Carolina for training.  We also had our family pictures done by a dear friend (see the header above).  I went to visit Jason for the last weekend before he left the country.

 I got a call from the insurance company that our insurance would be cancelled if we didn't install railings on the front porch and back steps, so we got that done.

In November, Jason arrived in his deployment locale...

For Thanksgiving, we had a friend from grad school over for Thanksgiving dinner.

We celebrated Heather's 13th birthday by spending the evening of her party in the emergency room, getting her broken wrist x-rayed, and then getting a cast put on it almost a week later.

In December, we traveled to South Carolina for Christmas, visiting with Jason's family and my family, and friends.  Jason celebrated with friends from the Chapel on base.  We also celebrated the birthdays of Frances (17) and Katherine (7).

We also got to celebrate with Jason's mom and a whole lot of friends for her 60th birthday.

In January, I started my Practicum, hired a girl to help out during that time, worked, and went to school....and kept the kids busy in their schools and other activities. We celebrated Justin's 11th birthday.  I also applied for my Passport...

In February, I got my Passport in the mail(!), organized, studied, worked at my Practicum site, celebrated my birthday (ha! like I'd tell you which one!!) and prepared a schedule of weekly/daily events for my mother-in-law...and then got on an airplane....

...oh, and we added another ball of fur to the house.

I started March visiting with my husband in the "vacation locale" where he is currently deployed...then flew back, took over the kids again, fought jet lag, and went back to classes and finished the semester.  We also celebrated Leah's 9th birthday.

In April, we celebrated Jason's birthday via Skype (and watched him open his box!), and Jon's 15th birthday.

May saw school performances, winding down for the school year...
...and a freak storm that took out a substantial branches in both the back and front yards.

In June, we had a farewell for some dear friends from church who were moving away, and I painted, and painted, and painted....the rails took me entirely too long (I'm a perfectionist!)

Isn't he good looking?!?
Jason came home at the end of June for his R&R...
...and during the time he was home, we had visits from his parents, two other friends from out of town, and Jason and the two littlest girls were in a wedding.  Jason and I also were able to get away for a couple of days before he had to head back.

August meant Operation Purple Camp for 4 kids, and Band Camp for the other two...and I headed back to school.  It was Ramadan in the "Vacation Locale"...which meant that Jason didn't do an awful lot for that month.

September meant school again for everyone....a total (for the family) of 1 elementary school, 2 middle schools, 2 high schools, and 2 grad schools.

And LOTS of school supplies!!

October ended up being one long band competition.  Or not.  But it seemed like it.  Oh, and I went and visited Jason for our 19th anniversary.  And did school.  And taxied children. And organized the world...or not.  Things are starting to get blurry at this point, since it's all winding to a close and I am just...soooo...tired....

So, We don't have much time left - less than two weeks now.  And my thing I am most proud of from this year of accomplishments?  I grew.  I did all of this.  I am doing grad school, and doing it well.  We had tough times.  Things (and people) broke, but we didn't fall apart (I had a LOT of help in *that* particular department!!).  The biggest thing has been how much I have grown Spiritually.  God has done tremendous things in my life over this year, which made all of the hardships worth it, in the long-run.

Yes, we accomplished a lot this year...but there is no way we could have come out of this so well without the prayers of friends, and the loving hand of our Lord on our lives the whole way.