Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Smith family!

We decided to forgo the irritating portrait studios and the stiff collared shirts this year (again)!

So, this is Christmas 2009's family portrait!

There are more pictures to come later, we have an appointment to do Emmie's 2 year portraits at four today. Hopefully she is amenable and we get a bunch of sweet ones. We are also going to decorate the tree, put up some Christmas-y things and get the house in order for our (military) family to be here on Christmas day. I'm so excited about our secret santa gift exchange this year!

Well, I'm out of here for now. I have to get some things in order so we can be ready for the portrait session!
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Sesame Fabulous

In addition to all the amazing things we did on our recent trip to Pennsylvania, we decided to pay a visit to Sesame Place.

Knowing that my mom, myself and now my daughter have Sesame Street to file in our memory banks as favorite childhood memories I knew we just had to visit.

The park itself was closed, save for the dining hall, the merry go round and the gift shop. Of course, this wasn't ideal in my mind.

We went for Breakfast With Elmo instead of the full park experience. I joke that it was the best worst food I've ever eaten. In fact, I only vaguely remember eating the "eggs" and half a sausage link because we were working that time with the characters. It turned out that Big Bird, Elmo, Ernie, Bert, Telly and Zoe came to eat breakfast too!

The day after Thanksgiving was the perfect day to go. I assumed there would be a zillion people there, what with kids off school for break. I couldn't have been more wrong! There may have been 12-15 other families there. Not more than 20 kids total. Talk about a dream!

Emersen met Big Bird first. She was terrified! I thought to myself "Grand. We paid all this money, drove all this way and I had so many hopes and she's going to be freaked this whole time." It was about that moment, Elmo came out from the doors behind Big Bird. Emersen practically threw herself at him, talking a mile a minute about his eyes and nose and ears. (She's very interested in body parts right now!) A rush of relief fell over my whole body! This trip was worth it! I cried. I was so relieved!

A mother has certain hopes and dreams for her child. Some may be fulfilled, many will not. One hope I've always had for Emersen, was that she would have the opportunity to have a dream of hers come true. I know she is only going to be two this year, and that she couldn't say "Mommy, I really want to meet Elmo!" However, her face and that day and her experiences and how she still talks about meeting Elmo and friends tells me that she had thought about how cool it would be to talk to them and see them in person.

As her mother, I want to show her that I am her most powerful ally in helping her achieve life goals and dreams. I was the proudest mama there. My baby was polite, she was respectful and AND! she was having the time of her life. Yes, all two years of it. My child's dream came true, and I made it happen. (With so much help from Aunt Traci, Uncle Joe, Nana and Papa. A huge heartfelt thank you to you guys. You rock!)

She beeped each character's nose. She tied Ernie's shoes. She danced with Ernie and Elmo. She got a jumping party started with all the kids and the characters. She clapped along with Ernie while Elmo sang a Christmas carol. She had a very passionate conversation with Zoe.

This is my 2 year old! She's incredible. I thank my lucky stars we live in the "Information Age" and can have things like YouTube to post videos that she still watches with utter glee.

We have probably no less than five hundred pictures from three different cameras on that day alone. I will pick my favorites, and post them to picasa soon. Right now, you just get these teasers!


In Celebration Of Emmie's 2nd Birthday

1. How long had you been married at the time of the birth? 4 years, 1 month and 13 days.

2. What were your reactions when you found out that you were pregnant? Over the moon excited, elated, worried, happy, concerned and just surprised!

3. How old were you? I was 24 when I found out and 25 when she was born.

4. How did you find out that you were pregnant? I took a series of home pregnancy tests, followed by two tests at the Naval Hospital.

5. Who did you tell first? Since I was out running errands when I found out I called everyone I knew except for Paul. I wanted to surprise him! (Funny story, Mattie and I were out and she practically dared me to take a test so we bought one at Dollar Tree and I took it in the Tuesday Morning bathroom. The employees did look a bit concerned when she and I started jumping up and down like idiots and crying!) I ended up bringing him a chinese food takeout box purchased at a craft store. Inside was a teeny tiny t-shirt with the test wrapped in it. I told him I brought him some leftover lunch, and when he looked inside he was shocked!

6. Did you find out the sex? I had to! From the very beginning, I knew in my heart of hearts that this baby would be a girl. So, if the baby ended up being a boy I would need time to adjust. Plus, I had to shop! What else was I going to fill my days with!

7. Due date? January 20th, 2008

8. Did you deliver early or late? Quite early. My body decided it could no longer agree with being pregnant and decided to shut down. Emersen entered this world 3 weeks and 2 days early.

9. Did you have morning sickness? Not so bad, only for about a month but I quickly learned that eating small amounts of food before I got hungry to eat would stave off the sickness.

10. What did you crave? Sandwiches! Any kind of sandwich anytime! I most craved Quiznos but if I would eat it I would feel sick! So, I stuck to homemade sandwiches mostly!

11. Who irritated you most? I didn't spend a lot of time irritated, but one day I did throw a box of ziploc bags at Paul for being sassy!

12. What was your first child's sex? The most girly of all girls.

13. How many pounds did you gain throughout your first pregnancy? Not much at all. The first half of the pregnancy agreed with my body and I actually lost weight and grew a healthy baby at the same time!

14. Did you have any complications during your pregnancy? None during the pregnancy, unless you count the delivery!

15. Where did you give birth? At Madigan Army Medical Center, which was one harrowing fifty minute ride in the snow, in an ambulance with the lights on. Yikes.

16. How many hours were you in labor? I'd been having some major contraction/liver failure pain from the 21st through my hospital admittance. I remember spending Christmas on the floor with pillows everywhere and a heating pad on my belly. In hindsight, I should have seen the clues! The hospital paper work says total labor was 80 hours!

17. Who drove you to the hospital? Paul drove me to the Naval Hospital, and my fabulous ambulance driver Mitch and his sidekick Dave flew my chariot to MAMC.

18. Who watched? Um, pretty much everyone was an active participant. Nicole F. held my hand through the crazy contractions. My mom massaged my poor super swollen feet and hands, and provided chapstick....a vital part of labor! Paul was there for moral support but the poor thing looked like a lost dog!

19. Did you take medicine to ease the pain? Yes I did. Paul and I had planned for a drug and medical intervention free birth, but that plan went out the window when I was diagnosed with Pre-Eclampsia and HELLP syndrome. Having to be strapped down to a bed with countless monitors for me and the baby, it was quite painful. I resisted medication to ease the pain, thinking I could do it myself. However, when the contractions became to painful to breathe through and since breathing was all I could do (could not walk around, take a bath etc) I decided it was time to get an epidural.

20. How much did your baby weigh? She was just a little peanut at 5 pounds, 1 ounce. The doctor's had estimated seven pounds, but that was strictly by my weight gain, and I had gained an extra ten or so pounds in fluid alone those last couple of days.

21. What did you name your first born baby? Emersen Lynn S****. Her middle name is after my mom, as my middle name is after my mom's mom. I'm hoping she'll continue that tradition.

22. How old is your baby today? She is a bouncy 1 year, 11 months and 16 days.


Apparently, photographing babies is a lot of fun!

This last week, I've had the pleasure of photographing Logan, a sweet patient baby boy who has endured a lot in his few weeks on this planet. He was an awesome little trooper, he let me move him all over the place! A select few of my favorite can be seen here.

This is week four of Miss Makenna's portrait "study." She was much more alert and aware of things going on this week! My favorites are here.

Pee pee on the pott-ay! I know one day, she'll probably hate me for putting this picture in the blog-o-sphere but I couldn't help it! Reading on the potty, she's totally taking after daddy and papa!
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Seattle Aquarium

I found Nemo!

He was here the whole time, at the Seattle Aquarium.

With a gorgeous day set before us, my little family and some close friends went on an adventure! We caught the 12:35 ferry at 12:33...just made it! Otherwise we would have had to wait until three o'clock and then it would have been pointless to try and go.

The ferry ride was uneventful, and I found myself wishing wishing WISHING that I had a telephoto lens for my camera. Ugh, photography is going to be an expensive hobby/career.

You can find more pictures from our day at:


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Pregnant bellies, newborn babies and adorable toddlers beware!

Armed with only my Canon Rebel and Picasa, I've set out to capture this moment. The elusive, beautiful, safe moment when a mother holds her baby before anyone else can for one of the last times.

And this moment. The one where the brand new mama lets her baby's father in on the secret she has shared with her son for nine months.

This is another one of my favorites. This little boy has no idea how much his new sister is going to change things. Although her existence will show him how much his parents loved him when he was born.

And this one, when splashing in the bath tub is second only to mommy and daddy kisses.

I love my camera!

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Congratulations have been in order...

Congratulations to my sister, and her wonderful fiance David. They are officially engaged! I'm so happy for them, because they fit each other perfectly.

Along with their enormous brains, they share a home in Boston, MA where they have amassed many friendships, books and one big ol' kitty.

I got the chance to use my new camera (you'll soon be tired of photos, I swear) and took a photograph of her gorgeous ring.

Nicole and I also had the chance to do some wedding talk, which gets me all atwitter and excited about Brides magazine, colors, themes, venues, flowers, dresses, food, music...I could go on forever!

But I won't. For now, this is for Nicole and her amazing engagement ring and for David who is the second luckiest man on earth. He gets to marry one of my parents daughters! (My husband is the luckiest, because he's the father of my daughter!)
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My Review of Princess Cozy Coupe® 30th Anniversary Edition

LIttle Tikes

Little girls will beam behind the wheel of this smiling new redesign! This cozy features colors and styling to please every little princess. 

Features include a removable floor for foot-to-floor powering or protected feet while an adult pushes the car with the cut-in handle.&#...

Adorably obnoxious!

seriouslymommy Silverdale, WA 8/11/2009


4 5

Pros: Fun, Durable

Cons: Difficult To Assemble

Best Uses: Toddler, Outdoors

Describe Yourself: Stay At Home Parent, First Time Parent

This is an awesome toy, and the fact that it is harder to put together than a scale version of the Eiffel Tower using silly putty and carpet fibers didn't matter once I let my 20 month old daughter loose on it.

The front posts are extremely difficult to put in. Following the advice of another reviewer, we heated the ends of the posts with our hairdryer for about thirty seconds. It worked, and went together quite easily after that.




So, instead of trying to remember all the things that have happened since I posted pictures on this thing, I'm going to pick random pictures from the batch I uploaded today and write about them. This should be good.

Oh yeah! We took a road trip to California, with our friend Kim and her daughter Annabelle. We pit stopped in Rogue River, OR to see Uncle Dave and Aunt Lisa and the kids. We also stopped at every.single.mall.playground from Portland to Chico because while Emersen did handle the drive beautifully, it was taxing on all of us.

While in Napa, we ventured out to PB&J's for some awesome playtime. Emersen LOVES this place so much. I thought it would be intimidating, because every bounce house in there is so enormous, but not so much for her! Even now when she sees an air mattress, she bounces on it for dear life if she is allowed! (Clearly, she's tortured here...)

Here, Emersen is getting ready for the Vallejo farmer's market. She always looks like a tiny celebrity with her sunglasses on. She even wears them in restaurants. When waiters/waitresses comment, I always say "Oh, you didn't know you were serving a celebrity today did you!"

They laugh, and she gets a kick out of it as well. She asks for her sunglasses in the car, at the mall and it's truly hilarious when I'm strolling her around the mall and she's talking to Nana on the phone with her sunglasses on.

Here we are on the fourth of July. This was before the barbeque we were invited too. I love this, because it shows how much she and I look alike! I believe those are my eyebrows, my nose and my cheeks!

In this picture on the right, Ben is riding in his kite buggy, while Emersen pushes him. It's only fair, I mean she gets to ride in it all the time! See!

We drive the twenty minutes it takes to get to Bainbridge Island all the time. They have a super clean park with a huge field for Paul and our friend Ben to fly kites while the kids play!

Eventually the sun hides behind the trees and we must gather the troops and head out, all of us starving because we've played so hard! Everyone sleeps so good on those nights!

Here we have Emersen and Jason, sitting down on the main road in Silverdale. No, they aren't being punished, we are waiting for the Whaling Days Parade to start! Emersen had such a good time watching everyone go by, and grabbing candy when it was thrown. Also, when the marching bands would go by, or anyone with music for that matter she would get up and start dancing! Shaking that cute booty all over the place! Completely, and totally adorable.

Well, that's about it for now. I have some other pictures as well, and they'll be on Picasa (and I'll post the link) if Paul lets me put the program on his laptop. SO much more comfortable to sit on the couch and write while watching Hell's Kitchen or what not.

A pirate says "ARRR"


Patience is a virtue.

Yeah, yeah I know.

"Kaci, it's been so long since you bestowed upon us your wonderous prose!"

"Kaci, when do we get to see pictures of that model-perfect baby of yours?"


I hear you, I hear you. I do.

Things have been hectic around here! A visit to California, and a precious (read: precocious) 18 month old don't make for a ton of time to write eloquently for longer than a minute, two minutes tops. What some people don't realize is, these things take time to write!

So, I leave you with this.

Emersen has now entered the potty training phase of life. Even though her doctor promised me it was too early!

Yesterday, she found Paul making his coffee. And this is how the conversation went:

"Yes Emmie?"

Followed by Paul setting Emersen on the big people potty and nothing happening.

We figured it was time to get her a potty. Her very own pink princess throne. (No, it does not have lame Disney princesses on it, although the seat cushion is so incredibly squishy, I'd like it for my own bum. It's no wonder she begs to sit on it.)

So, yesterday after nap we tried out the potty. She sat down for a good ten minutes, with her juice and the water running. (Hey, I wanted this to be successful!)

I was getting ready to leave for a baby shower, and when I absolutely had to leave she still had not gone. So, I kissed her good bye and left.

Paul says not five minutes later, she peed. ON THE POTTY!!!!!!!! (Excuse the over use of punctuation, I can see the light at the end of my diaper changing future!)

Not only had she gone the first time, but two times after that. AND, this morning when she woke up she asked to go potty and did it! She's amazing, incredible and has the brain capabilities of a genius.

So, I must bid this entry adieu because we have company coming and I still have to get the snacks together.

Please stand by for the next potty filled installment! *wink*


Where have we been? OUTSIDE!

Good morning everyone!

So you can understand why this blog has gone unnoticed for the last couple of weeks, I decided to post a few pictures of my sweet girl outside!

It's been gloriously sunny out these last few days, and we have been taking advantage of it! I even got a twee of sunburn on my face and arms. (Emersen was inside, taking a nap during peak hours so she was spared!)

This is her decidedly adorable wimple style bathing suit. Her Gigi and I thought it would be perfect, since the material has a sun protection factor of 50 and it covers a whole heck of a lot! I decided she would wear this one outside, and her bikini (adorable period) to the indoor pool here on base. I still slather the sunscreen on allover her body, but this gives me the feeling of having "insurance" in case I miss something, which happens to the best of moms. It even covers her ears!

Here she is playing with some buddies in the pool. They all had a blast. The huge bummer about it was the weather changed right after we got everyone swimming ready. It got windy and cold and all the moms had to run in and grab sweatshirts and hats for the kids. It was sweaty hot literally one minute, and the next it was fleece and boots cold. Washington, give us a BREAK!

This is Emersen doing her new favorite activity. She grabs the small boppy, intended for propping newer babies up for tummy time, and her baby. Then she pats the baby, and tries to give it the bink. She'll kiss it, rock it and give it a squeeze (hug, if you aren't familiar).

My heart just swells to a million times its size when I see her do this, completely on her own with no direction from anyone.

She's so sweet!

So, that's what we've been up to. Playing like crazy outside!

The night before I left for Napa, we decided to make our own cheese filled burgers. They were a hit, and this was the result:

Paul's burger had freshly sliced jack cheese in the middle, and my burger had bleu cheese!

They were so tasty, I've already had redo requests!


California Bound!

Exactly one year ago today, this is what Emersen looked like! She's still so cute, but man she was an adorable tiny baby!

This afternoon we are leaving for California! I super can not wait to be home, and in the sunshine! Apparently I will have to wait a day or two for the sun, but I'm okay with that! As long as I get some of it, that is okay with me!

We had an Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday with a bunch of the neighborhood kids. This is Emersen's "practice" Easter Dress. I didn't want to get her fancy one dirty before the actual day! She loved it, and now has one practice egg hunt under her belt. She had the best time putting eggs in her bucket and saying "Thank you!" She's so polite, even to Easter Eggs!

I can't wait for everyone to see her, and see how amazing she is. She's still pretty shy at first, but now that she can run around she warms up to people a lot more quickly.

Well, I hear her stirring in her crib so I'd better get ready to start my day!

See you Napkins so very soon!



Little girls and girls dresses from Shabby Baby

Emersen is such a girly girl. She loves chapstick, tights and hair bows. She literally asks for me to put bows in her hair. That is why I think she would look absolutely stunningly girly in this gorgeous green dress from ShabbyBaby.

Here is the link to the dress: http://www.shabbyapple.com/p-305-jardin.aspx. Oh, little girls and girls dresses from Shabby Baby are so cute!


If it's pictures you want, it is pictures you shall have!

Despite the sun on this day, it was still very cold!

Hats, mittens (and no, her thumbs are not in the thumb holes!) and jackets were a total necessity!

I know this is not of the baby, but I had to share our burger night feast! Sweet potato french fries and a mushroom swiss bacon and onion burger would be my last


If you click the picture, you can see the star border a bit better. Keep in mind, it's my first cake!

This is Emersen, sharing her lunch! She's such a great eater, and always has been. I really appreciate how well she eats, since I have a few friends with picky babies.

She just shovels in all the tasty morsels I've prepared for her!

Here she is, modeling for me! Just before her bath, I put her robe on and had her go find daddy! He thought she looked so cute, I had to snap a few pictures!


Where is my grace?

Something I've struggled with in my life is grace.

I never know who deserves it, who I should give it freely to and who to hold back on. (If such a person exists.)

Instead of saying "I don't have grace for _____," I've decided to say/think/do "I want to have grace for _____." Because right now, there are a few people in my life who could use my grace and I want to have grace for them, but it feels like I don't.

I have miles upon miles of grace for Emersen, yet not nearly as much for Cooper or Paul.

I have almost no grace for people who speed down my street, but when I'm in a hurry I hope someone (namely police officers) have grace for me.

I have marginal grace for parents who don't teach their children right from wrong, as evidenced in the previous entry.

Should I have grace for the parents who don't stop their child(ren) from terrorizing the playground?

This is where I am conflicted. I don't understand Grace. I want to, but I don't. Up until I became a Christian, grace meant poise and balance. Now it's a whole other ball game.

Did someone cut in the grocery line? Give them grace. They must be in a bigger hurry than I.
Did someone cut me off in traffic? Give them grace, they may not have seen me.
Is someone consistently taking from me? Give them grace, they need it.

The list could go on forever.

Now I'll ask the forbidden question.

Who gives ME grace? Well, the simple answer is, God. He should be providing all the grace I can handle. Some days I wish it were enough and some days it is.

http://picasaweb.google.com/thenavywife21 for new pictures of Emersen.



Motherhood Diatribe Number One

Mall Playgrounds.

Now, I will be the first to admit it. I take Emersen to the mall playground because it's the only indoor play area and it rains here a lot! It is also a wonderful place to let the kiddies get their energy out before having to sit still in their strollers while the mommies do their shopping!


There are quite a few drawbacks to the mall playground. And of course, since you all know me, I know you know I'm going to list them:

1. Cooties. Lots of cooties all over the place, especially during the winter/flu season. Runny noses, coughing and sneezing. Not enough hand sanitizer in the free world.
2. Psychotic children. I've only been there a handful of times, but I can tell you with some authority that the kids can run amok. Especially all hopped up on candy from the Sweet Factory or an Orange Julius.
3. Lazy parents. ("Ashawanda! Git over here...don't make me git up!") *die*
4. Unobservant parents. I had this experience today. A little blue shirt wearing boy was running around terrorizing the whole place. Now, typically you know which kid belongs to which parent but I was looking around and couldn't find this kid's mom for the life of me. Until he tried to escape the playground and his mom stopped him. No reprimand for terrorizing all the other kids, just "Don't leave the play ground." After the second time I personally told him not to push (In my mommy voice "Do Not Push Him") someone else's child I looked over at one mom and said "If I have to tell him not to push one more time, his mom's going to get an earful from my mouth and it's probably not going to be censored."
5. Parents who bring their sick kids. At one outing, Nicole and I were playing around with Emersen when a little girl started spanking a bunch of other kids. Not only did her mom perform number 3 on this list, but she committed the cardinal sin of bringing her daughter to a playground with a full blown rash all over her body! Now, I might have excused the incident if the little girl wasn't running and scratching at the same time. This gives me a serious case of the heebie jeebies! I informed the security guard of the situation, and he was shocked. He had to get on the walkie talkie to find out what the protocol was. They'd never had this situation before!
6. The Bribing Parent. "If you play nice, you can have a smoothie!" UGH! Shouldn't the reward be the act of playing in the mall to begin with? It's not a right, it's a priviledge. One that can and should be taken away at a moments notice. THE MOMENT the behavior becomes unacceptable, the child should be removed and reprimanded.

Those are just the basics. I could get in to the "Toughen up" dad or the "Cell phone" mom not to mention the mom who brings all her kids, despite the fact that three of the four are six inches too tall to play there anyhow.

Of course, these things demand a certain level of manners and courteousness out of the parent. Notice each type of downfall is really the action or inaction of the parent which causes the problem.

Parents I see around town simply don't pay enough attention. These kids grow up thinking it's definitely okay to push boundaries and limits.

It is definitely okay to allow your child to push their limits and boundaries when it comes to success in life or achieving a goal.

It is NEVER okay to let your child push the limits of socially acceptable behavior.

Here are my rules for Emersen: (None of which she has ever attempted, but once she does she'll know where I stand)

1. Never ever touch another child without their permission. (This regards tag, hugs goodbye and what not)
2. No bodily fluids will leave your body in the playground. (This is in regards to spitting and peeing your pants!)
3. If you hurt someone by accident, you must apologize and ask if they are okay without whining or an attitude.
4. Absolutely no crazy screaming in the playground. It's rude and no one appreciates it.
5. When it is time to leave, you will put your shoes on and walk out yourself without crying, whining or screaming (see number 4). I say how long you will be allowed to play, you determine whether or not you will be allowed to play for that time.

Kids need to know where they stand, and what to expect. If you can't predict the outcome of your actions, how will you know what is appropriate and what is not?

This concludes Motherhood Diatribe Number One!

Questions, comments and constructive critisism will be generously accepted!


We're so busy!

The past few days have been so incredibly busy! Flying home from Texas on the 4th, we got home and went to bed immediately since Paul was not granted an extra day off to recuperate from traveling. He went to work the next day. Friday was the 6th, and our tax money was deposited in to our bank account. (WHOO HOO!) I went to work researching and pricing out a new washer and dryer, since ours are just not good. The washer will only wash clothes in water a polar bear would shiver in, and the dryer's sole heat setting is "The Sun." Seriously, it melts buttons. (Sorry Nicole!)

So, now we are the proud owners of a matching set of Kenmore appliances that I will be recieving a whopping thirty percent off of, due in part to good timing and well applied research. (And some sage advice from a man on his lunch break in the middle of a hectic work day and who has been buying appliances for a good thirty years. You may know him as Ben but I call him Dad! Thank you Dad!)

While in Texas, we had a total blast. Emersen had a second 1st birthday and it was wonderful! Tons of family came, and we were very excited for Emmie to meet all the relatives who could make it! I know I had fun seeing how much growing my neices and nephew have done in the last few years. Emersen also met her first first cousins! Paul's brother Jamie had come to town, and his daughters stayed the weekend. Seeing him with his girls makes me want to have a few more of my own! We also got to go out to dinner with our friends, Jeni and Chris! They are so much fun! Jeni used to be Emersen's teacher at MyGym here in Silverdale. Since they moved to Texas, we decided it would be fun to hook up with them. The night went by way to quickly!

Okay, I got off track! Friday was the big purchase, plus our Secret Santa gift exchange between Paul and I and two other couples our very best friends. Ben, Nicole, Valerie and Mick came over for pizza and the gift exchange. Since everyone had pretty much figured out who had whom, we just handed each other the gifts and went about opening. My gift was the game Mad Gab. It was hysterically funny. Any game that can simultaneously make six different people laugh has got to be a good time, and it was! Paul got a movie and a t-shirt with a skull and crossbones on it that read "The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves" just in time for him to be assigned to the USS Emory S. Land! He can't wait to see the guys' reaction to that one!

Saturday was spent low key, and at home. We needed some rest from all the busy! Last night, Paul left here at six o'clock to get to the airport. His flight left so early in the morning, he made the decision to spent the night in the USO so he wouldn't have to get up at 2 a.m.! He slept well last night, and is officially headed to Jackson, MS where he'll drive the two hours to Meridian, MS and attend his school for three weeks. I can't tell you how happy I'll be to have him back home!

The pictures in the entry were taken by Paul's family friend Brandy. She was responsible for our wedding pictures, and now she's done Emersen's 1 year portraits. They are fantastic, I love them and I'm so glad she could capture my sweet baby's personality in just a short time! Thank you to Brandy for my wonderful keepsakes!


Finding my way

Taking time for yourself as a mother is a conflicting act. On one hand, to be a balanced person you must find more than one thing to fulfill you. On the other hand, you don't want to miss one minute of your sweet baby's life! What if she does something new, and you missed it!? This is something I used to wrestle with, but now I understand my time away from her helps me appreciate the time I do have with her, and I can focus on my self and my soul. It is perfectly acceptable and encouraged even to have interests outside of your spouse, and your children. So, I've found two things! One is painting pottery, and the other is baking! (Of course, the latter may have to go hand in hand with getting out to the gym three times a week too!)

Here is just one picture of the Cupcake Pops I attempted last night. Trial and error tells me that they need to be a lot smaller, and I needed to leave them in the freezer for at least an hour. (I could not stand waiting any longer than fifteen minutes...blast my impatience!) I will definitely try them again, as they taste DELICIOUS and are so very cute!

Every other Wednesday, my girlfriends and I try to get out and do something girly where we can talk to each other like adults! It's lovely, and I cherish those few hours I get! Of course, on the odd Wednesday the husbands typically will get together and play in a poker tournament.

My latest pottery piece is not done being fired yet, but I will show off the piggy bank my grandma bought me to paint! It turned out so cute, and I'm glad I had a while to think about what I wanted to do before I actually put paint to pottery.

There was one stipulation put on this pig, and it was the fact that she definitely needed a lady bug companion since Emersen is called LadyBug by her Gigi (great grandma).

As always, you can click on the pictures to see their full size. If you notice, this little piggy got into some mud, and now has some dirty playfully smudged on her little feet!

Now, for the pictures that I know you all come here for. Baby pictures!!!

This is proof positive that boredom plus stickers plus a curious baby equal hysterically cute pictures, every single time. We (Nicole, Paul and I) were all laughing so hard because she looked so cute, that she thought it was funny and started laughing uncontrollably too. It was so much fun, I can't wait to blackmail her with it one her first date. Although, that might be when she's thirty if Paul has anything to say about it!

This morning Emersen had somewhere to be! She grabbed her sunglasses and her Elmo purse and walked around the house for the better part of half an hour. The cutest part was when she would pull the sunglasses half off, like sliding them down her nose as if to say "Yes, can I help you?" Oh well, I can't describe it as well as a picture can show you!

Is that not so adorable? I'm also so happy she's walking around for the majority of the time. Why you ask? Because now she can wear dresses again! Crawling babies and dresses just don't mix!

So on another note, Paul (I know, I never write about him!) is getting ready for a couple of work related trips. He will leave Wednesday with his Chaplains and they will travel to Great Lakes, Il to the Naval Training Command. Once there, they will educate the Chaplains stationed there on how to run a Spiritual Fitness Center, like the one they run here. Then, a few days after he gets back, we'll take a trip to Texas, for Paul's family to meet Emersen! Then, just a few days after we get back from Texas, he'll fly to Meridian, MS to partake in some further education for his rating. They call it "F-school" and it's basically leadership training. Teaching him how to teach other Religious Program Specialists how to do their job, and do it well. That trip will take about three weeks, which will put us at the end of February! Phew, 2009 is already flying by!

I hope everyone has a nice holiday off tomorrow, and that the inaguaration goes smoothly on Tuesday! It seems like the whole world has put extreme resposibility on this one man's shoulders. It's a lot to expect of one man, but as long as we can unite as a country I think we'll be just fine.

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