Thursday, August 15, 2013

From East to West

Get cozy ya'll...I've got some serious catching up to do! :)

This past Monday marked 3 weeks that we have been checked in at Camp Pendleton, Ca, and moved into our new home. I have been trying to write a post for a while now but "free time" has been spent unpacking and cleaning during the kid's nap and bed times. I remember moving quite a bit growing up and LOVING it but the responsibilities were not quite as exhausting. Lol I still enjoy the new adventure and challenge, though!

I am going to start with our last month in Virginia. Below is a picture of my handsome stud and just a few of our boxes. Oh ya!! He might also be holding a Commendation medal! :) I'm so proud of you, Stephen. This was awarded to him for meritorious service/achievement before he checked out of his command in Norfolk. This Chaps truly loved the sailors and their families that he had the privilege of getting to know. He was blessed with an awesome command to work for and I don't think he could have asked for a better first tour! He'll be the first to tell you that being prior enlisted in the USMC made it difficult for him to put on a Navy uniform at first (the Marines do a fabulous job of brain washing). ;) However, he would then tell you that he gained much respect for our sailors and the tedious jobs they perform for our country. We love and miss the friends we made in Norfolk courtesy of the Navy! Hopefully our paths cross again soon.

My sister, 3 nieces, and nephew drove out all the way from TN to say "farewell" to us. During our 3 years and 8 months on the east coast, we got to make sweet memories with all of Stephen's family and my two sisters who lived within driving distance to us. Above is a picture of my sister, Shantell, and our kids at the Botanical Gardens. She was super thoughtful and offered to watch all the wee ones so that we could go on a date. We took her up on it and ended up at Fort Story beach watching the sunset.

One of our last sunsets we watched together on the east coast.

We got to visit with our Hawthorne family before leaving Norfolk as well. Here are some pictures of Tpot with her cousins.

Stephen's cousin asked him to officiate her wedding in northern VA the beginning of June. It's pretty handy having a Chaplain in the family. ;)

We slept on an air bed in an empty house our last night in Norfolk. A big "thanks" goes to our friends who made our life easier with the kiddos during the pack out! Love and miss you guys!

After we got loaded up, we set the cruise control and headed to southern Maryland to spend time with family. Thank you all for housing us and making it extremely hard to leave! We can't wait until Thanksgiving. :)

A moment we had been looking forward to was the opportunity to dedicate our children to the Lord. A few years ago, my sister-in-law and I shared tearful prayers to God petitioning Him for babies of our own. We had different paths of hardships and heart aches in our journey but the desire remained the same. I absolutely love these pictures because God's answer to prayer and His favor on our lives is evident in the 3 precious children we got to dedicate back to him! God is so good. Sure, some days I feel overwhelmed and exhausted. For instance, Micah literally just projectile-vomited all over me and Tpot is in a fun stage of saying "No, tomorrow!" to almost everything. But it helps tremendously to remember the BIG (eternal) picture.

Stephen's dad, Bruce, lead the dedication, Linda took these awesome pictures, our Griffin family was the audience, and we even got to have Tierzah and Micah's Great Grandma Corl there!

Stephen also surprised me with a Military Spouse award and medal. How precious is that? I cried. The award talks about the many lonely nights and the light of the home fires that are kept burning by the spouse. I had just mentioned to Stephen the day before that the feeling of being unappreciated or respected as a SAHM and military spouse is a definitely a struggle of mine. He told me later that he was smiling inside listening to me because he had already been planning this surprise. If you know me, than you know that I am truly so thankful for my life and know that there is nothing I'd rather be doing! But getting this incredibly thoughtful "award" from Stephen made me feel so loved. I know a lot of you spouses out there who have weathered much more than I have or ever will so...I'd like to share this award with you too!
"Always Remembered-Never Forgotten!"

After the baby dedications, our niece's 1st birthday party, and the wonderful farewell party Bruce and Linda had for us, it was time to make our cross-country trek. Bruce took time off work to help Stephen drive the 3 day trip that started on July 4th. Meanwhile, Linda took me and the kids to the pool where Tierzah decided to take my iPhone for a swim! Linda went out the store right away to get rice to try drying it out but it had already given up the ghost. The next day we headed to Bowie, MD, to spend the evening with our Reynold family. At 4:30 the following morning, Cheryl took the 4 of us to the airport to begin our 20 hour trip with a 2.5 yr old and a 6 mo old. :) With all things considered, it went really well! I think we only had 1 super stressful meltdown with both kids crying at the same time on a flight. Lol Thank you, Linda, for all your help! It would have been quite a challenge without you! :)

SO Beautiful! We finally made it to Oceanside, CA, and this was one of many west coast sunsets we captured.

We originally thought that we would be moving into base housing by the time we arrived in CA. It would've worked out well to have extra hands while moving into a new home. However, God had other plans. Instead, housing did not open up and we just vacationed while we searched for a place to live.

We took the train to San Juan Capistrano where we had a yummy lunch, visited the mission, and Grandma took Tpot for a horse ride. She loved it!

Stephen's uncle Karl and aunt Dee came into town in their amazing home-on-wheels to vacation with us too. Here we were having a BBQ, enjoying the weather, and putting together puzzles.

Stephen and Grandpa took turns wearing Micah in our put-put game. :) Of course, Tierzah found "her" castle. She is a princess in case you weren't aware.

My lovely mum came to visit and we were spoiled to have an amazing dinner right on the beach.

Stephen went sailing with his dad and uncle in the San Diego Bay.

We got a few date nights courtesy of Bruce and Linda. Here we are at the Oceanside marina.

From the pool at the resort you can see the pier and beach where we spent a lot of our time.

As soon as we could, we got passes to LegoLand. It's the closest amusement park to us and the pass includes their Aquarium and Water Park as well.

Finally Home. As I mentioned earlier, we had every intention on waiting for base housing to open up. Our plan was to stay at a hotel or find a furnished monthly rental to live at until then. One night, Stephen was working on his JPME (Joint Professional Military Education) courses and I was browsing for rentals and properties for sale. I came across this home and it seemed perfect for us...too perfect to be coincidental. We needed a place to live ASAP and it just so happened that the previous tenants were in the process of getting ready to PCS to Virginia. My mom let us stay with her for a couple days and then we were able to move right into this home. Perfect timing. It is less than a mile to the base and just a few more miles to get to the Air Station and Chapel where Stephen will be working. Perfect location. The owners allowed us to rent the 1st month while we worked on getting everything together to purchase. They are also selling it to us for less than what it appraised for but exactly what we get for Basic Housing Allowance. Perfect price. God's blessing is all over this place and daily we praise Him for doing "exceeding and abundantly above" what we ever imagined. Our hope is that we get to use it to serve others and love on those who come through our doors. So... If you are ever in the area... :)

Bruce and Linda got us these chairs as house warming gifts and they were our only pieces of furniture (besides the air bed) for a few days until...

The Mayflower arrived!! We were so excited to see this truck coming down the street that we literally were jumping up and down. It was hard to "play it cool" when we realized that the guys had been watching us the entire time. Lol :)

Tpot wanted to have a Tea Party as soon as her toys were unpacked. :) She said, "Sit down, Mommy!" "Mommy has carrots an Tiewzah has pancakes!" "Cheers!"

Stephen has officially "Gone Green" in his USMC uniform. This was his first day heading off to work.

My lovely mum and Tierzah outside the Marine Memorial Chapel on our first Sunday. My mom has been coming with us and helping with the kids which has been a HUGE help. It is awesome having Granny's visit to look forward to every weekend! We honestly feel spoiled being this close to family. Thanks Mum!!

Two months ago, this adorable 7.5 month old started getting rashes all over his body. Of course, it flared up during our move so we took him to 2 different Doctors in Maryland who both said it was viral and should clear up within so many days. When we arrived in California, it looked worse so back to the Doctors we went. He has been seen by 4 different Pediatric Docs who have agreed that he actually has eczema. So the little fella has been taking hydrocortisone cream, anti itch meds, and aquifor for several weeks now. Tierzah thinks the hospital is our 2nd home because we are always there (the Corpsmen actually know us now) lol. She shouts as soon as we see the building, "We made it!!" Anyway, it breaks my heart seeing him flare up so badly! He now has been referred to a dermatologist who we haven't seen yet but hopefully will have some good recommendations for us. If you could keep him in your prayers that would be awesome!

In a nut shell ;) We absolutely love where God has put us out here...cherishing dearly our memories, family, and friends on the east coast...and also looking expectantly at the next 3 yrs ahead of us. Ooorah!

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