Tuesday, April 30, 2013

We Are Not in Kansas


When Dorothy was in Oz and she wanted to go home, she clicked her ruby red slippers and was immediately back in her bed, in her room in the mid-western state of Kansas. Well, Honey and I recently found out that we are moving, curtoesy of the Department of Defense, to Kansas. As much as I’d like to click my heels and be transported to my bed, in my room, in my new-to-me home in Kansas, our move will not be nearly that easy.

Why Kansas? Good question! That’s exactly what I said when Honey told me that was a possibility a couple of years ago. My husband is a Major in the Army and one of his job requirements is attending General Command College required by all military Major’s at four locations around the country. And our location will be Kansas.

How do I feel about this? Well, mostly, happy! Because:
Honey will be HOME every day and night of every week of every month for a whole year! No deployments. No top secret missions. No work trips. No travel of any kind. Unless it is a trip we take as a family!

Also, this will be our first “adventure” together! Sure we’ve each traveled the globe (not together but we’ve each been to far flung places), we’ve had some wonderful short adventures as husband and wife. But this? Is different because it’s a big adventure and our first big adventure as a family! Not to mention, my first Army adventure. Ever.

Another positive is that this is only for one year! This assignment has a definite end date. We will be in Kansas for one year. And that’s that.

Are there any downsides? Well, of course.
We are no longer less than 4.5 hours from both sets of parents. No. This is a super long drive or a plane ride away from family. Which will certainly change the dynamic for the holidays and other occasions this next year.

As for other cons, there aren’t any that come to mind. That’s a pretty short downside list!

Aside from that I understand that the weather is extreme. Where we are going to be is very hot in the summer and buried under snow all winter. The snow thing will be new to this southerner.

Honey and I hear over and over again from those who have been there that they love it. Absolutely love it! We will be living on post, on the actual army fort, in new housing. We will be living among others who are there also for school, which is great because they will totally get our situation.

We will be near Kansas City, which although I realize it is Kansas, is supposed to be wonderfully cultural and full of fabulous restaurants, shops and things to do.

When are we moving? We are moving whenever the Army tells us. We believe that will be late June to early July. We are planning to have our house completely packed up by the end of June, celebrate the fourth of July here in the south and then hit the road headed west.

I look forward to this new adventure in our lives. And of course I look forward to keeping you all updated along the way!


Monday, April 29, 2013

The New Cousin

For exactly ten months and two days Parker Bear was the "baby cousin" on Honey's side. Then on March 14th a new cousin was born! At first Parker was upset that he wasn't the baby anymore. Then I think he realized how cool it is to be a BIG cousin!


Although we couldn't be there when we was born, we hurried as soon as we could to Birmingham to meet our new nephew, Baby Shipp. Parker's baby cousin!



The two boys took to each other right away and I loved holding that tiny bundle!!


Parker got to visit with his big cousins, Olivia and Ella Grace. He also got filled in on what his big cousin Olivia has been up to in kindergarten. He was very intrigued!


We had such a great visit!





















Saturday, April 27, 2013

Barely Getting Away

Honey and I were so excited to plan a fun little family get away for the three of us in Chattanooga! Well it almost became the family get-away that didn't happen.

It was last month. We had planned to leave on Thursday morning to enjoy a four day extended weekend. But then Honey found out he had to attend a meeting on Thursday so we shifted our plans and left Thursday evening.

When we got to our hotel in beautiful downtown Chattanooga we quickly discovered that there was no bathtub. The bathroom was quite nice and certainly perfect for Honey and I. But with Baby Parker along we needed a tub! Fortunately Honey had specified that we needed a tub when he made the reservation, so after a brief chat with the front desk we were moved to a different room.

The combination of leaving late and having to move rooms made for a late bedtime for Parker! But he was a total trooper!



That night around 2 AM Parker woke up crying. This is very unusual for him so we knew something was wrong. Since the only thing that makes him cry is an ear infection, we administered numbing drops to both ears. As soon as they took effect he went right back to sleep.



That, however, sealed our fate. We knew we would be at the ER first thing the next morning.

As expected the ER took most of our day Friday. We finally got the medicine we needed and were on our way at about 2 PM. We were able to salvage the afternoon with a visit to Rock City. After such an eventful night and day Parker slept during most of the time we were there.





That evening we enjoyed a wonderful seafood dinner at a fun restaurant overlooking the river!



The next day, Saturday, we enjoyed the Tennessee aquarium! What a wonderful place. Parker was so cute looking at all the colorful fish!




That night honey treated us to a fabulous dinner at a nice restaurant. Parker was certainly the youngest patron there but he was extra good. We had a wonderful time!

The next morning, we considered visiting two other attractions on our way home but ultimately we just wanted to get back. Parker was still not 100%. We took our time on the drive back which was nice and got home at a decent hour. The next morning we woke up to this!!



Despite everything it was a wonderful family weekend! We enjoyed the chance to get away and have some family time together. A few days after we returned home, Parker went to the ENT and we would plan to get his tubes.







Friday, April 26, 2013

High Five for Friday

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It has been a while since I've linked up with Lauren Elizabeth to say High Five for Friday and I have to admit I've missed it!! With so much to say HIGH FIVE for I need this post this week.

1 - First of all, the beach. Ahhh, the beach. If you read my post yesterday then you already know that I've just returned from beach crashing for a week. This trip ended up being so therapeutic for me! The weather was sunny some days and a bit chilly due to wind the other but we didn't mind one bit! It was so great to relax and just enjoy it.

2 - I can't have a high five post go by without mentioning that I had my favorite pizza ever, shrimp pesto pizza. Twice. Oh yum!



3 - Best part of this week? Being reunited with my husband after two weeks!! My love has been working 15-hour days that start around 2 pm and end at 5 am for two weeks, weekends included (can you believe that?!). He is exhausted! And we missed him!

4 - With so much downtime at the beach I got SO MUCH done for Parker Bear's first birthday party!! I can't wait to share more about the plans for his upcoming birthday party soon!

5 - Finally, I blogged every day this week. Every day! That hasn't happened since, well a long time, let's leave it at that. But it feels so good to be back! I hope I can keep this up.

What are you saying High Five to? Happy Friday!





Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Beach Crashers

This is the story of the time that Parker Bear and I crashed my parents beach trip. My parents go to St. George Island a few times every year. They take the whole family for a fabulously fun family vacation, usually in August, but they go by themselves for a few long weekends throughout the year as well. Twinkle & Bing (my parents) always rent a private beach house on the beach with a pool. It. Is. Paradise. !!

This year when they planned their trip I found out that my husband was going to be out of town for work at the very same time they were going on their trip. How convenient, I thought. So of course Parker, Cash Dog and I packed our bags and we accompanied them to the beach!

If you read my post on Tuesday then you know that I lost my beloved Daphne Doodle last week. The beach was good therapy. Even Cash Dog has been looking for Daphne since he is so used to "helping" me take care of her, so it was good for all of us.

Parker went to the beach last year when he was only three months old. On that trip he mostly slept. This time around we loved watching him really experience the new sights and sounds of the beach. His favorites? Watching the waves, watching the birds and watching the dogs! He would kick and squeal with excitement and his little head was just turning from left to right as he tried to take everything in and watch everything!! 

We had a wonderful time relaxing, laughing, and just being together. I enjoyed the time to be with my two boys and reflect on the loss of our sweet girl. I also enjoyed having some time with my parents since I don't get to see them as often as I'd like now that I'm four hours away.

Without further ado, here is our beach week in pictures:


















































Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The End of The Day Job

I totally quit my job. Ok, that's not true. Not even a little bit.

The truth is I was going to quit my job. Was totally on the get-me-outta-here-my-baby-is-growing-before-my-very-eyes plan.

But something happened that made quitting my job so much better than quitting my job.

I analyzed for weeks over what day should be my "last day" at work. What day did I want to close that chapter in my life. After an abundance of analysis and probably too much thought I decided that Friday, April 12th would be my last day. I would give my boss my two-week-notice on Friday, March 29th. Exactly two weeks before April 12th, my last day.

I was so excited! Honey and I had already decided that I would quit my job either when baby number two was on the way, we were moving (courtesy of the Army of course), or Parker turned one. Well two outta three are happening very soon so we began the countdown to me transitioning to a full-time-mommy!

Then a peculiar thing happened. Four days before I was to give my notice, my boss wanted to drive 4+ hours one way to meet with me. Immediately. His email was short. Honey and I analyzed it together. The message was clear. We read between the lines. They were laying me off. My boss would have no reason to drive to meet me in person for any other reason. 

A lay off? That sounded so much better than a quit. Honey and I were intrigued. 

The next day I packed up my work computer and my badge to the office that I hadn't stepped foot inside of in over a year and I headed to the local coffee shop to meet my boss. With my equipment in tow.

When I walked in I spotted him and he introduced me to the man who had accompanied him. The man was from HR. Honey and I were right. On the table lay a folder. I knew what was inside. I began to feel a buzz of excitement.

Their faces were somber. Their tone apologetic. With his head down and after a deep exhale, my boss informed me that the company was eliminating my position. I tried to contain my excitement but I could not possibily wipe the smile from my face. 

I stopped him from going any further. I told him this part of any management job just plain sucked. I reminded him that I'd been in his shoes before at this very company. I also told him and the HR rep that there was no need to make this a depressing conversation. 

I quickly explained that I already knew that was why they had come. I told them I was very happy. I shared that in only four days I was planning to give my notice! But instead of me doing that, they had brought along a folder. And I knew what was in that folder lying on the table. It was my severance package. Lay offs always mean severance packages. And if I'd given my notice any earlier, I wouldn't be getting that. 

My boss looked at me. The HR rep opened his mouth. He closed it again. My boss said - wow, well this is going to be so much better for you!

I tried to say without too much excitement - I KNOW! Let's get started!

Their tones relaxed, the mood instantly lightened. Of course they were happy to have an upbeat conversation about something that is usually tragic! I even unloaded the bag I brought with me containing all of my company-issued computer equipment. My boss looked at me again and said, you weren't kidding, you really did know why we were here. 

Of course I can't disclose any of the details of the severance package and I don't want to. But I am over the moon excited! Honey and I were thrilled with how this unfolded. I loved the years I spent with this company and always thought they were fabulous to work for. They are! And even in the end they treated me wonderfully!

My position was considered a luxury position (not luxury for me - no - luxury for the company). What I provided is deemed as a nice-to-have in a company like the one I worked for but not a necessity. Combine that with my two-years-working-exclusively-from-home-status and it's clear why the position was eliminated.

Once we finished going over the contents of the folder we chit-chatted a while. Turns out the HR rep went to the same college as my husband (West Point), turns out he has friends stationed where we are stationed. I shared our upcoming plans with them and more about why we had already decided that I would leave the company on April 12th. After a few minutes I shook their hands and headed for the door.

And I never looked back.

Honey and I danced around our kitchen that night! Our plan turned out to not be our plan at all! It turned out to be way better than our plan!

Cheers to me trading the laptop and conference calls for snuggles and playtime! Our days will be full as my new eleven-month-old boss and I close this chapter of my life and sharpen our pencils to write the next one!

And this mommy couldn't be happier!


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

My Daphne Doodle

My first baby, Daphne Doodle, passed away on Tuesday, April 16, 2013.



Daphne was diagnosed with kidney disease about a year ago. My veterinarian explained that there is little that can be done other than daily medicine which basically helps with bladder control. Depending on their age at the time of the diagnosis many animals can live for quite some time with the disease.



Daphne was twelve when diagnosed, already quite old for a black Labrador. While she remained in good health otherwise, old age combined with this debilitating disease eventually took it's toll on her little body.



I got Daphne when I was only 20-years-old. Think about that for a second... About how much your life changes between the fourteen years that span the ages of 20 to 34. That's a lot of years. That's a lot of changes. 

Daphne was with me when I bought my first car, graduated college, totaled my first car (literally, she was IN the car with me!), went through a series of boyfriends, bought my first house, got her brother Cash Dog, met Honey, got married, and had a baby. She and I went on road trip after road trip together. We even have a collection of awards we worked for and achieved together. She raised me just as must as I raised her.



I miss that sweet girl every day. I'm thankful for the years we shared together. I'm thankful that she got to meet my love. Got to meet my baby. I'm thankful for the late night talks we had on my couch or snuggled under a blanket on the bed. I'm thankful that I had her in my life.

I'm blessed that she spent her years with me.

I know I'll see her again. I know dogs are in heaven. It would not be heaven if they weren't.

I love you sweet Daphne Doodle! And I miss you all the time. I know the hurt will eventually ease and in it's place cherished memories will live. In my heart. Forever.


 If you want to see more pictures of sweet Daphne and her antics with me over the years you can do that here

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