Monday, December 17, 2012

November 2012


Me and a pretty fantastic Chaplain I found at the Chaplain Corps Anniversary Ball. ;) I was 32 weeks prego here and I didn't even have to go dress shopping. Lucky for me, I was also pregnant at the last Ball we attended in 2010. lol Stephen was deployed last November so we were thankful to get a date night out of this year's Ball and have a fun time with our Chaplain buddies. Who says you can't cut a rug on the dance floor while prego? :) Many thanks to those who organized such a fun event and all the Chaplains and families who love getting serving our military!


The next day we headed up to MD and got to spend time with family. Tpot was exploring at Grandma and Grandpa Griffins.  


Stephen- after speaking at a Men's Breakfast on Andrews AFB while in MD. He was honored to have the opportunity.


Grandma and Grandpa watched all 5 grandkids so that we could go on a triple date with two of my sister and brother in-laws. I don't think any of us cared where we were dining, just getting to enjoy a meal without needing kids menus, sippy cups, diaper bags, and high chairs was so relaxing. :) Thank you, Bruce and Linda! I might add that the 3 preschoolers and 2 infants were fast asleep when we returned...that is talent. lol


Tierzah was the 1st cousin awake in the morning. We heard her chatting through the monitor so I went to get her out of the room before she woke up the other two. She was saying, "Hi Ca-yub! Hi Ca-yub!" lol I tried to sneak in but Caleb was already awake, sitting on his bed, pointing at Tierzah as if to say, "please do something with this girl, doesn't she know it's the weekend!?" :) He was nice enough to shut the door behind us and went back to sleep. Haha! At a more godly hour, the two woke up and this was them trying to teach Tpot how to play their games on the iphone. Such smart kids!


We've had some rare days in the 60's this Fall/Winter so this was us taking advantage of the weather at the Botanical Gardens. T was so excited to run through the forest! I love this picture...they're two peas in a pod. 


I believe she was still singing a song from The Sound of Music when I snapped this pic. 


Stephen taught Tierzah to "fly" like the airplanes we went to go watch take off and land at the airport. 



Sushi! Our eyes are always bigger than our bellies when we make this goodness. No raw fish for me :( so I tried to sniff Stephen's Tuna to get a fix. T wasn't interested in it but had fun saying, "What's that? Shhuuushiii!"


Thanksgiving was spent with family in Richmond. Here's T with 5 of her cousins. She loved their Christmas tree and spent time "decorating" it in many little pieces of paper. :)


After a much needed nap, T had to get acclimated to all the beautiful faces around her again. ;) The only person she wanted to go to was her Grandpa. Such a sweet picture!


All the fellas doing the "man's job" of frying the Turkeys. ;) These are some great men! Proud to know them.




The two oldest niece and nephew seeing how strong uncle Stephen reeeaaallly is. Won't be long before they are taller than him. :)


My Chaps at Chesapeake City Hall Veterans Day ceremony. He got to pray at the event and felt humbled to be apart of remembering those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. The freedoms we either take for granted or enjoy are so precious for they have been bought at the highest price! Reminds me of One who came many years ago to give up His life for us so that we could spend our eternity in Heaven. We did nothing to deserve His gift of freedom from the bondage we were in being born sinners. Jesus paid the ultimate price of death on the cross out of His unfathomable love for us. He was buried, rose from the grave victorious, and is now in Heaven awaiting our final homecoming. He is my Hero, Champion, Example, Savior, and Friend. If you have never felt the peace that comes with knowing where your soul will rest when your time on earth is up...consider these verses:

"There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends." John 15:13

"For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him." John 3:16-17

"If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved... For "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Romans 10:9-10, 13

"But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners... For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God." Romans 5:8, 10-11

"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." John 14: 26-27


Thanksgiving continued with Stephen and his lovely mama.


We had already eaten our Thanksgiving feast when my sisters-in-law, mom-in-law and family friends ushered me into a room with set up in a circle. I wasn't sure if we were about to play a game or what was going on when I realized everyone was looking at me! I don't do well with lots of attention and I started getting nervous. I definitely was not expecting a surprise baby shower! Suzanne, my SIL on my left, handed me the first gift and I just felt overwhelmed with emotion. My introverted self was really hoping that I could hold back the tears and not 'ugly cry' in front of everyone...but that was all I felt like doing! I am so grateful for such wonderful women in my life. God has surrounded me with a HUGE support group with people scattered far and near. It's humbling to know so many people care about me and my family! Thank you to everyone who has invested in us...we're forever grateful.


Here's my "deer-in-the-head lights, not sure what's going on, but I like to smile" look. lol
35 weeks prego


4 doz dinner rolls...first time making them in the breadmaker.


I was already up in bed when Linda took this pic, but had to share. It's the Griffin Family Poker Tourney. Stephen was the previous champ and that's why he's lookin mighty fine in that Cowboy hat (the prize along with the loot). However, he was dethroned by his sis, Suzanne, later that night. :) Way to go, Suz!


Soon after we returned to Norfolk, we drove down the VA beach boardwalk to see the lights and listen to Christmas music. No, it wasn't even December yet...we're thooose people who love Christmas time. lol ;)


Stephen's 32nd Bday gift from his parents. :) This boy keeps me young. I'm certain the world wouldn't be as bright without Stephen in it. I love you, babe.


I mentioned to Stephen how nice it would be to have a recliner in our room to read, journal, blog, or just sit my ever expanding body on. So one night, I came home from having coffee with a friend and found this in our room. He's so stinkin sweet! This is where I have my quiet time...I think of it as "mommy's time out chair." :) It's where I am sitting presently while Tierzah naps. Thank you, Stephen, for being such a thoughtful hubby!

Well, Tpot's nap time and Mommy's time out is now over...back to work! Love my job. :) I'm hoping to blog again soo as Baby Boy is due next Sat! Woo Hoo! Prayers appreciated.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Three Years Ago...



"You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed." Ps 139:16 (NLT)

...we traveled across the country and began our east coast journey. We had no idea what laid ahead of us but had faith it was what we were supposed to do. Our house in CA sold in November '09 and Stephen was accepted into the Navy in December '09. He flew from DC to San Diego, had his swearing in 'ceremony' in a taco shop parking lot near the airport, because he was literally on his way to Officer Development School in RI which began the next day in January '10. As a brand new Navy wife (who also just found out she was prego), I was devastated when we were separated for that month of training! Thankfully, I was reunited with my sweetheart in Feb '10 and was able to live with him in a hotel while he trained at Ft Jackson in Chaplain School. During his training, we lost our baby (#2) in a miscarriage. That shook our core but also deepened our relationship with each other and also with God. It was by His grace that we were able to spend those rare 2 months together at Ft Jackson, because neither of us knew what was coming up next. Stephen graduated Chaplain School on March 31st '10 and we drove straight to our new duty station in Norfolk, Va. We were in our new home and town for 7 weeks before I found myself waking up at 0400 with a positive pregnancy test AND getting ready to hug and kiss my best friend for the last time before he sailed away on the USS Elrod for the next 6 months. God was more than gracious in bringing irreplaceable friends and family into my life to support, pray for, and love on me! Thank you all!!!

"You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head." Ps 139:5

November '10 Stephen came home and January '11 our vivacious, beautiful, baby girl entered the world. :) Life as we had known it was amazingly changed forever. We enjoyed our time as a family for 3 1/2 months before we once again were waking up at 0-dark-30 to kiss and hug Stephen as he left for a 9 month deployment to Kuwait. One thing was different, as I drove away and looked in my rear view mirror, there was a baby sleeping in her carseat. :) I had no idea what it was going to be like living as a solo parent. Easy, no...worth it, yes. I had many days when I melted down, was fed up, exhausted, or was envious when other couples/families were enjoying the holidays while my most loved one was living in another time zone. But I also got the opportunity to grow as an individual being stretched to my limits, was encouraged by God-sent people just when I needed it, went to new levels of vulnerability and openness with Stephen through our long distance marriage, and humbled by the way God faithfully provided, protected, and loved on us. He is SO merciful!

"Give thanks to Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the world know what he has done." I Chron 16:8

January '12 our Tpot turned 1 yrs old and February '12 we picked up our fearless leader from the airport! She took her 1st steps for him that very night and she's been toddling after him ever since. ;) April '12 we found out that we are expecting again and this time it's a boy! July '12 we moved across town to be near the base and avoid traffic which has meant more time together. Having Stephen in the same country for the past 8-9 months has been SO wonderful. He works at the ministry center on NOB and also as the Chaplain for three of the ships at the pier. Baby Boy is due in December '12 and we are looking forward to what the next 3 yrs or so has in store. :)



In September we visited family in Southern Maryland and got to meet our newest nephew, Jacob.
In this pic we were getting yummy seafood with the family on St. George Island, MD


Ten days later we were flying to San Diego, CA for a Chaplains Conference/vacation. It was SO wonderful to see family and friends again. We left the land of fruits and nuts feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. We are pretty stinkin blessed to have amazing people located all over the world who love and encourage us constantly.
Love you all!!

Main Gate at Camp Pendleton, CA
Since we have orders here July 2013, we spent some time getting on the list for base housing and meeting with Stephen's future bosses. It was exciting for both of us to drive through our old stomping grounds. :) My dad was stationed on CP many years ago so my earliest childhood memories begin with living on the base housing. Stephen was stationed there as a studly, young Marine over 10 years ago too. Just thinking about all that God orchestrated to make our paths cross is incredible.
 Coincidence? I don't think so..."Ain't no body got time for that!" :)

 

I was SO excited to go to the Pumpkin Patch this year. For the past two years, Stephen was deployed during this season so I was stoked to finally experience it as a family. On the way there, Tpot was not a happy camper but Stephen and I were determined, "we WILL have fun and lots of it whether she liked it or not!" lol :) Of course, she loved it and couldn't get enough of the pumpkins, play ground, hay ride, and especially the animals.


 

30 weeks and some change in this picture.
We were at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens

Marine Corps Marathon!
(This is a picture of Stephen running a race while in Kuwait)
 This past Sunday he drove up to DC to run the Marine Corps Marathon. He had been training many months for it so Hurricane Sandy or not...he was running that race. I was extremely nervous for him because the weather was scheduled to rain throughout the entire race. In Norfolk, we already had strong winds and heavy rain so I was just praying that Stephen would make it through the marathon...alive! lol I wanted to be there with him SO badly but Tpot and I both already had colds and traveling this prego through a tropical storm is not ideal. Thank God, the rain in DC held off and not only did he finish the 26.2 mile race, he then hopped in his car, drove 3 1/2 hours back home, wanted to help put his baby girl to bed, and snuggle with his wife! God has given me an amazing man. Spartan warriors got nothin on Stephen! Proud of you, babe! ;)



Griffins in Nags Head, NC
We got to spend time with Stephen's parents and our Hawthorne family this month. It's been so great living  within driving distance of them for the past few years. I know God was favoring me when he gave me such loving extended family. Love you guys!


I'm sure I have lots more to share but I think it's quittin' time for now. :) Hope everyone has a great holiday season!
 
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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Up Early, Reflecting

The house is still fast asleep and there is one hour to go before hearing The Colors. :) We live less than a minuet from Joint Expeditionary Base LC and every morning and evening the trumpet echoes down the street to our home. I actually love it. Hearing the song fills me with gratefulness for our country and the men and women who have sacrificed so much for her. Maybe I was just brainwashed really well as a young girl by my father... "once a Marine-always a Marine." ;) I can recall walking on Camp Pendleton with my dad and as soon as the first note was played he snapped to attention like a private in boot camp and I grabbed his hand and froze. I remember looking at him, seeing the pride in his eyes, and how much he cared about those who served in the military. Another more random fact that just came to mind, one of the only songs that I remember how to play on the Ukelele (my dad's favorite instrument to play growing up) is The Marine Corps Hymn...words and all. :)

Wouldn't you know, God introduced me to the most handsome Marine I had ever laid eyes on back in 2002-2003. Our paths separated for 8 months in 2004, but through many divine appointments, we just happened to be in the same city, the same building, on the same night and "ran into each other" again. Perfect timing. I knew the moment I saw him again that I still had never met anyone as good looking, charming, wise, and one who also shared my passions as, Stephen. This knowledge actually terrified me because I knew that if he asked me to date him, I would and already knew I'd want to marry him too. January 2007 our lives were joined together and it has been an incredible journey ever since.

Today we get to minister to military men and women and, God willing, make an impact in just one life who may be debating ending it all, one marriage that has just weathered yet another hardship and can't see the future together, maybe one whose dreams of retirement were just cut short and the uncharted civilian world awaits, others who are about to receive news that their loved one thousands of miles away is slipping into eternity, or maybe there is another one who wants information on how to become a Chaplain too. I am grateful for the opportunity to support my Chaps and raise our little girl and boy at home. This life may take us all over the world, picking up and replanting many times over, but with all the challenges there are even more blessings. I'm trying to remember that there is no place like Home, for me that means Heaven. :)

"Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them.
Those who are wise will take all this to heart; they will see in our history the faithful love of the Lord." Ps 107

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

SINnamon Rolls!

Oh. My. Goodness! I have been craving a good cinnamon roll and the stale Dunkin Donuts roll I had a couple weeks ago definitely did not cut it. So in a moment of desperation, I turned to Allrecipes .com and found a "Clone of Cinnabon" recipe. Since it had 5 stars and over 4,000 reviews, I figured that I couldn't go wrong. :) The best part was that all the hard work that goes into making the delicious dough is done in the bread maker. Sweeeet!

These turned out SO stinkin tastey that biting into one made me feel like I actually was doing something sinful. Lol ...Or maybe it was just the knowledge that they are 500+ calories each. :D The rolls turn out huge and the cream cheese icing is just insane.

So that we wouldn't eat all of these ourselves, we shared half the batch with the RP's in the Chaplain's office. They asked that next time we wait until AFTER their Physical Readiness Test (PRT) to bring more goodies into work. Lol







Get Some!! Here's the link: http://m.allrecipes.com/recipe/20156/clone-of-a-cinnabon


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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

It's...A...

BOY!! :-)



We are still in disbelief! I really didn't think we were going to have a boy even though I was hoping we would. Stephen has been saying "It's a boy!" since we found out I was pregnant. Lol But as the technician announced to us the gender this morning, we both said, "Really?!! No way!!" :) Then I cried a little bit when she showed us the picture above. Ha! Now it makes me laugh.

We are SO excited and thankful for this precious gift. Honestly, I'm really nervous still, but it is comforting to feel HIM :) practicing his kicking and boxing throughout the day. I appreciate prayers if you think of us! It's a whole new world. God has been so gracious to our family...we really don't deserve this kind of favor.

Here's more pics:



Profile pics :)




Me and Tpot...I'm 18 weeks here and she is 18 months :)









Wearing Grandpa's shoes




Me and this cute guy I found ;)



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Monday, July 30, 2012

Mac Going For a Run :)

Stephen taught Mac Mac to run on the treadmill! :) Now every time Stephen goes for a run, Mac tries to cut in front of him to run too. Lol He'll stay by the treadmill and stare or cry until Stephen let's him have a turn. So funny!

YouTube Video







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Sunday, July 29, 2012

The New Place

As I mentioned in my previous post, we moved across town to the Norfolk/Virginia Beach area. So far, we love it! I know there's been some folks wanting to see pics of our new digs (hi family! :) so here we go...





Our criteria for the new home when searching was that it needed to be within 10-15 mins of base, no tunnel traffic whatsoever, three bedrooms on the same level, garage for the motorcycle and storage, a small yard for Mac Mac and Tpot, affordable, and it would be a bonus if we both agreed on it. ;) 

We had gone to see several several places that all seemed to be nice but not exactly what we were looking for. Then we came across this "Luxury Condo" (I think it's just a townhouse lol) that had recently been posted on Craigslist. As we read the details, we laughed because it sounded perfect. The landlords got back with us quickly and said that they'd love to have us rent their home. 

Above is the outside of the complex. 





Kitchen and Backyard


Cute pic of my people enjoying the ocean :)


Living Room, Dining Area behind it, Sliding Door to Backyard, Mac Mac, and yes...that is a treadmill. lol What you are seeing is compromise in marriage being lived out. :) We usually keep it in the garage but seeing as it has been in the 90's with a heat index of 105-110 degrees...the garage just will not do. I honestly don't like it there, but I am very thankful for the sexy hubby that I get to see running on it and the daily reminder it brings to use it.  


More Living Room and Kitchen is to the Left.


Mac Mac 
A lady recently told us that she believed Mac was a Mountain Cur and not a Pit Mix. We are not so sure about that but Stephen liked the part about Mountain Curs being able to kill a bear. ;) lol 


View of entrance. Downstairs bathroom to the left and kitchen to the right.



Entrance

 Upstairs at the top of the steps, Tierzah and Guest/New Baby's Room to the right, and Guest bath in front.
 Guest Bath. My friend, Amanda, gave us that beach photo a few years ago and we've been wanting to frame it since then. So when Stephen's Mom and Dad came to visit, Stephen put Linda to work and she graciously framed it. :)


Baby #2's Future Room
Right now it's being used as Tierzah's playroom and Guest Bedroom


Master Bedroom
My handyman built those awesome shelves for us. :)


Master Bath


...

She just woke up from a nap in this picture :) 
Our little Butterfly's Room


...


We love that it's only a 1.3 mile drive to get to this wee beach by our house.
Tpot with Daddy and Grandpa


Linda and Bruce


Another bonus is that we live about 5 mins from the Commissary, Exchange, Beach, and Water Park on Little Creek base. SO awesome! We took our water baby to the pool and she only managed to almost drown and scare her mommy half to death one time. :) 





Tpot began stacking all the DVDs into that box but I guess she decided it had a better purpose.





Mac has been such a good dog with Tierzah lately. She loves to hug him and use him for a pillow constantly these days. lol 





:) Can't believe another pair of tiny sandals will be added to this row soon!





Little Miss always wearing my shoes...





Went for a walk down the pier. Tpot is wearing her beloved "puppy backpack" ... a leash just doesn't sound as nice. :) Trying to run after a toddler in a store or public can be dangerous so this gives her freedom (and exercise!) and she doesn't have to be strapped in a stroller. Before I had a kid, I thought these were a bit ridiculous. It's amazing how incredibly humbling parenting can be, though. ;) Constantly learning.





My favorite mornings start with a family breakfast and this couple devotional. Always learning in our marriage too! I love discovering new things about my hubby. I've known him for about 10 yrs now and it never gets old.  





Watching The Incredibles with daddy. After watching this movie, she went through her little library on her own and found The Incredibles book that her cousins had given her. I didn't even know we had it! She is so brilliant. ;)





At the water park!





Stephen signed us up to attend the Navy's CREDO Marriage Retreat this month. My sis-in-law, Cheryl, was very kind enough to watch Tierzah for us. (Thank you, Reynolds!!) We weren't sure what to expect at the retreat but just being alone to focus on our marriage was definitely worth it. We had a blast going out pass our curfew ;), learning good ways to communicate and conflict well, and discovering the ways we best receive love where we are at now in life. When we were engaged, The Five Love Languages and the Myers Brigg Personality Test were things we studied and went over in premarital counseling. I wasn't expecting much of a change when they had us retake these tests at the Conference. It was SO interesting, though! I guess becoming a parent, getting old ;), or maybe going through 2 deployments in less than 2 yrs can change a person just a bit. lol Anyway, it was fun to study my hubby's personality, what makes him feel desired, and use the knowledge to love him mo' betta. I definitely would recommend a marriage retreat if you haven't been on one in a while! I know it can be a hassle to organize childcare, dog care, finances...but it's worth investing in the maintenance aspect of any relationship.   




Breakfast was served at 7am and guess who was one of the first people in line?! :) As you can see, I had to try everything they had to offer. I guess some things never change. lol




Since I woke us up sooooo early, we had time to go back to our room and start the prayer journal Stephen brought for us. 




Love you, babe!
He was on his way to pray for a retirement ceremony. 


That's all for now folks! I am listening to Tpot talk through the monitor to the butterflies
 (she calls them, butt-flies:) on the walls in her room. Better go and start breakfast...I'm starving, as always! :)

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