Archive for February 2014

It Has Begun!

February 27, 2014

Chad left last Saturday. We dropped him off at his work around 6:30 in the morning. We said our goodbyes and sadly drove to McDonald’s for breakfast. It was hard but not as hard as Alaska’s was.

There we dropped Chad off early in the morning as well. However it was early December and the thought of Christmas without Chad was horrible. Lots of families had an early Christmas together, but it’s not the same. After we said our goodbyes, we drove slowly home through the darkness and snow. I had Christmas music on the radio and Blue Christmas by Elvis came on. I didn’t have an opinion of the man one way or another, but right then, I hated his guts. I still change the station when that song comes on at Christmas time.

Any who, we drove home last Saturday and got ready for a party up in Winston-Salem. Our dear friends, the Kruegers, daughter Emily had just come back from her mission in Guatemala.  They were having a welcome home party and it was an All Holiday Party. We celebrated all the holidays she missed while she was gone for 18 months. Leia dressed up like a vampire, Rachel wore her St. Patrick Day’s shirt, and I wore my 4th of July shirt. Elizabeth was going to go as Christmas, but at the last minute she decided to wear her Green Eggs and Ham costume in honor of Dr. Suess’ birthday.

I stole this picture of her sister's blog! Thief!!

I stole this picture off her sister’s blog! Thief!!

Side note: Emily came home last Thursday, February 20th and we accidentally went to the wrong airport. When we figured this out, I took this picture and sent it to her mom to show her.

Oopsie!

Oopsie!

The party was lots of fun and it was a great distraction from life. Sadly we had to go home and the whole hour and a half drive home I was dreading the moment when I would walked into an empty house. I even thought about taking the kids to see The Lego Movie again. However I was too tired and as soon as I made it home I took a nap.

After I woke up, I started to make the kids dinner. All of a sudden I could hear my phone vibrating but had no idea where it was.

This was our first deployment moment. What if that was Chad calling? I can’t miss it! Find it! Find it! FIND IT!

We didn’t find it. The kids and I looked all over the kitchen. We called the cell phone again and it sounded like the noise was coming frm the fridge. We checked, but it wasn’t in there. At this point Elizabeth confessed to putting my phone on silent. I not-so-politely told her not to do that ever again. We called the phone 3 times and finally Elizabeth found it upstairs, right above where the fridge is.

It was Chad. His phone wasn’t going to be turned off until Monday, luckily I could still call him back. In the next coming months, I won’t be able to. If I miss his call, I miss it. My phone is going to be charged 24/7 and on my person at all times. Nothing is worse than missing a call from Afghanistan.

Chad was fine and sitting in Maine waiting for his next flight. The airplane wasn’t full so the soldiers got to stretch out a bit. (When they got to Europe and switched to a military plane, they weren’t as lucky. The plane was packed and freezing cold. Chad was so glad to get into Afghanistan and off that plane.)

Chad sent us a few text on Saturday

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Here is Green Ramp where the soldiers wait to board their planes from Fort Bragg. The little guys there are for Chad’s comic books he makes for the girls.

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Under this text he wrote, “I’m leaving on a jet plane.” If you don’t know what song that is then we can’t be friends.

Chad called on Tuesday and he is well. He has horrible jet lag and can’t sleep. Right now all the soldiers are sleeping on cots in a big room as the people they are replacing haven’t left yet. This means soldiers are talking and moving all hours of the day and night. He can’t get a good sleep cycle going. The transitional stage is hard for sure. They need to get busy and start working. Chad is missing us but is trying to take his mind off of us by coming up with plans and schemes for the soldiers. He started a FB page with a daily devotion on it and helpful tips. He thinks by next week they will be in place and start to get things going.

I’m glad he was able to call us. I can’t help but think to even back to Desert Storm and how hard communications were back then. As much as I hate technology sometimes, right now I love it.

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Brutally Honest

February 18, 2014

When we first moved to North Carolina we were so worried about Leia finding a new friend here. Being a shy Autistic kid, it’s hard to make new friends.

The third day of school she ran to us off the bus and proclaimed, “I have a best friend!”

We were so nervous about this as we didn’t know this girl and if she would be a good friend to Leia.  Turns out her friend, Elizabeth, has an older brother who is severely Autistic and feels very comfortable around Leia. The girls get along great and have had many play dates and sleepovers.

The first time I took Leia to Elizabeth’s house I almost didn’t leave her there. Elizabeth’s parents are older and I don’t know their story, but the house was very messy. Lots of stuff stacked everywhere, almost like a hoarders house. It was dark inside with sheets for curtains. They are smokers but from the lawn chairs around a table of multiple ash trays in their carport, I could tell they only smoke outside. The house had a weird smell to it and I glanced at Leia to see her reaction.

She didn’t have one. Her face was deadpan as ever.

Elizabeth was super excited to see Leia and pulled her into her room. Leia went without freaking out so I figured I shouldn’t either. I chatted with the mom for a good while and she is very nice person. I like her very much and felt like Leia would be safe.

Since then Leia has slept over a 3 times at Elizabeth’s house and Elizabeth has slept over at our house 6 times. Usually when they have a play date, it’s at our house. Leia hadn’t said anything to me about Elizabeth’s messy house so I didn’t say anything to her.

Last weekend Leia didn’t mention to her father, in passing, “Elizabeth’s house is messy.” Chad didn’t agree with her just said we should work on keeping our house clean and that was that.

Weeeeeell, last Monday, something happened and Leia just snapped and told Elizabeth that her house was messy and that her family is lazy and a bunch of pigs. I recieved a phone call after school from Elizabeth’s mom telling me what had happened and that Elizabeth was crying her eyes out over Leia’s rude comments.

I was crushed.

How could Leia say that?

I asked Leia about it after school and she said her brain just had to get it out. We talked about what is socially acceptable and  how even though it is true, you don’t say it. This was hard for Leia to understand, especially since Elizabeth had talked about it in the past, just  how messy her house is. We talked some more about how much it hurt Elizabeth’s feelings for Leia to say that and after a while, Leia called and apologized to her.

We took Leia to the store to get a little box of chocolates to go along with her apology.

I was freaking out the whole time this was going on. I called Elizabeth’s mom and talked to her and I apologized like crazy. I felt so bad that this little girl who took our little girl under her wing, had her feelings hurt so bad. I also couldn’t help think about Leia and future relationships.

We have the same hope and prayers for Leia that we do for our other kids. Higher education, meet a wonderful man, get married and have a family.

I kept thinking about Leia and her future husband. Being brutally honest in a marriage is hard. If my husband came to me and said, “You are so lazy. Can’t you clean the house every day and not just do the dishes?” I would freak out and think he is the biggest jerk in the world.

It is true. I don’t vacuum every single day. I hardly ever dust what I can’t see. My knick knack shelve is probably covered in a inch of dust. Hold on, let me go check…..ok, it wasn’t an inch but I wouldn’t have passed a white glove inspection. I wait to do laundry until it’s a mountain of dirty clothes. Some days I don’t even make the bed. I do keep the kitchen fairly clean as there are too many bugs in the South, however the dishes aren’t always in the dishwasher and there are papers all over our dinning table. So it’s true.

I know that, he knows that, but we don’t talk about it.

Can you imagine what it would be like to live with someone who has no filter. Everybody has flaws and weaknesses and if we point out everything our most loved one does that we don’t like, they would hate us.

“You losing your hair. You are fatter than when we got married. This food taste terrible. That outfit is a no-go. You don’t make enough money. You smell bad after work. You yell too much.”

All those things can easily be true. In fact, except for the hair loss, I think all those things have been true in my marriage at one point or another.

Do we need to tell them to each other?

Nope. You can hug your stinky bald husband as he sends you up to your bedroom for a break from yelling at the kids and finish cooking the burnt dinner with nothing more said than, “I missed you and I love you.” and a kiss.

I just need to teach Leia, and my other kids as well, about this. Luckily there is a little country song to help me do just that. Thank you Brad Paisley. Enjoy “That’s Love.”

Here are the lyrics.

“That’s Love”

There ain’t a woman in the world that wants to hear the word yes
When she asks if you think that she looks chubby in that dress
And if she cooks all day you better eat it with a smile
It doesn’t matter if it tastes just like bad gravy on a Goodyear tireYeah, yeah, yeah all right so you bend the truth
Yeah, yeah, yeah that’s somethin’ that you’ll have to get use to[Chorus]
‘Cause that’s love you’ll see
We all commit a little bit of perjury
Ah but that’s no crime if you ask me, that’s love
You’re starin’ at a burnt steak
You bite the bullet and you clean your plate
And then you go on and on about how great it was
That’s not a lie, that’s loveWell it’s the very same thing that she does for you
When she doesn’t bring up the fifteen pounds that you need to lose
And every time she runs her fingers through your hair
And she says she kinda likes the way there’s not as much of it thereYeah, yeah, yeah well all right so she bends the truth
Yeah, yeah, yeah that’s somethin’ that you have to get use to’Cause that’s love you’ll see
We all commit a little bit of perjury
Ah but that’s no crime if you ask me, that’s love

Your bummin out so she says
“There’s sumthin’ kinda sexy bout a bald head
Aww and hunny it’ll make you look twice as tough.”
That’s not a lie, that’s love

Yeah, yeah, yeah well all right so you bend the truth
Yeah, yeah, yeah that’s somethin’ that you’ll both gonna do

‘Cause that’s love you’ll see
We all commit a little bit of perjury
You say I like it when your momma comes to visit us
That’s not a lie, that’s not a lie, that’s love

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Top Ten Worse Skating Outfits: Men

February 17, 2014

I love ice skating, I have been watching it since the mid 80’s, before Debi Thomas and Katarina Witt skated the “Battle of the Carmens” at the 1988 Calgary. It’s so beautiful and graceful and as a young girl I wanted to skate so bad. I didn’t realize at the time one must be able to do a split with one foot one the ground and the other above your head. I can’t even do a split on the ground. Oh well. It is a beautiful sport.

Once you get past some of the outfits. The men are especially bad. Some want to look manly, hard to do and some want to look….pretty, I guess. It can get out of hand pretty fast with the rhinestones and sequin. Here are the top ten worse outfits from Sochi’s Winter Games.

 

10)

Men's free skate

We are going to start with Denis Ten of Kazakhstan. He wore this little number while he won the bronze medal. It’s the tie that helps him make this list. It’s a bejewled wonderland of sparkles that he wore inside his shirt and tucked in. I haven’t worn a lot of ties but I’m pretty sure they go on the outside of the shirt but perhaps under a vest. Maybe he forgot his vest and panicked. Yeah…

 

9)

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Well hello there Brian Joubert from France. No medals for this see through number. He is French so maybe he thought he could pull it off. Well, ice skating is pretty much all in the legs, look at his thighs. Now look at his girly chest. Surprisingly a lack of muscles there. No, no on the see though shirt. This is a general rule for EVERYBODY on the planet.

 

8)

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Alexander Majorov of Sweden tried to really rock this number by doing some robot moves but I’m still confused by it. Is he a robot or just a skyline painting of some middle eastern country? Wait…is that silver shoulder pads? Did we learn nothing from the 80’s?

 

7)

Men's free skate Jasson

Who is this guy? Perhaps somebody from Spain with that outfit. Nope! It’s Jason Brown from the good old USA. He went with a bull fighter look or perhaps a wrestler from south of the boarder. It didn’t work, especially when you heard him talk in his higher pitched voice. Somebody should give let him know about the “less is more rule”.

 

6)

Sochi Olympics Figure Skating

Here is Canada’s Kevin Reynolds flexing his baby arm muscles. Isn’t he cute? I think he is some sort of Olympic warrior from the original Olympics, in Greece. Not only is his outfit bad, Kevin likes to spike his hair up so it looks like he just woke up. In the short program he skated to a heavy medal song wearing all black. I’m sorry elf boy, you are so not a rocker.

 

5)

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It’s our gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu from Japan! What we have here is a white top, bordered in red and green jewels with a ruffle collar that flows from the left shoulder under the right arm. The right arm is covered in a sheer white fabric while the body of the shirt changes every so gentle into black at the bottom. NO! You are a boy and quite frankly, a girl shouldn’t wear this either. (Congrats on the win.)

 

4)

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What the heck!? That cut out has got to go. It’s like they are trying to make a male risque outfit. Sadly Evgeni Plushenko of Russia wasn’t the only male offender. I saw this outfit a couple of times. Sigh…

 

3)

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Holy flames Batman! Once again Japan makes the list with Tatshuki Machida’s hot number. He didn’t medal so perhaps his heat melted the ice and he couldn’t get a good edge. I don’t know but I would like to ask him what he was thinking.

 

2)

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I wish I could have found a better picture of Yakiov Godorozha from the Ukraine outfit. It was so bad! First the orange shirt at times hurt my eyes. It was brighter than a hunter’s “I’m not a deer, so don’t shoot me” vest. It was opened in the chest in a deep V, lined with blue, once again exposing a male chest that belongs on a 12 year old boy. However the pants, oh the pants. Not only were they mom jeans with tiny pockets, and the worse color of blue for jeans EVER, he had sparkles on the butt. Not down the legs, or all over, just the butt like a teenage girl at the mall. Oh my…

And now the number one male skater outfit at the Sochi Olympic Winter Games…..

 

1)

Johnny Weir S

Johnny Weir! Sure he wasn’t actually skating, just talking about it, but he did not leave his costumes at home. Half the fun of watching the figure skating was to see what he and Tara Lipinski were wearing. Often they matched each other. Almost all the men fell in the free skate and I’m pretty sure Johnny’s shiny jacket had something to do with it. Bling, bling.

So there you have it. Lots of men trying to prove how manly they are or aren’t in a sport of ballet on ice. Awesome.

Olympics

February 10, 2014

The Olympics are awesome, Winter or Summer games!

The last Olympics were the Summer Games of 2012 and the guys were deployed. Bridget and I both LOVE the games and we decided to have her host an opening ceremony party at her house and I would host a closing ceremony party at mine. We rock.

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Go ‘Merica!

Now it’s the Winter Games and Bridget is far away in Georgia

No worries.

Thursday night I got a simple text from Bridget.

Are you watching?

That’s all she had to say. She knew I will be glued to the TV for the next 2 weeks.

We have been texting back and forth the last couple of nights. It’s fun to have someone just as excited for the games as I. Chad watches it with me but he doesn’t like to make fun of people talk about it like I do. Bridget and I texted about Bob Costas and his gross eye infection, the weird iceskaters costumes, how we liked the opening ceremony even though it was long, how beautiful the 15 year old ice skater from Russia, Julia Lipnitskaia, skating is and send each other links about the games.

Saturday night was Snowboarding Slopestyle. It’s a new event at the games. Here is what the course looks like.

Sochi-2014-slopestyle-course

Looks pretty easy, right?

They do tricks on the rails and then 3 giant jumps. The 2012 X Game champion is Canadian Mark McMorris. He was ready to win and so was his fellow Canadian Maxence Parrot. All eyes were on them.

Then they both crashed. I grabbed my phone and texted Bridget.

Are you watching?

Duh. Of course.

I can’t believe both Canadians crashed!

Yeah it’s crazy.

Sage Kotsenburg, the American, had already gone and was in the top spot. One more snowboarder was heading down the hill.  I texted Bridget again,

Here we go…

Can’t breathe…

We silently watched, phones held in our hands…..

WE WON! (We meaning the kid who did all the work and I just happen to live in the same country as him.)

We texted back and forth about the win and Bridget pointed out that Sage was from Utah. So fun!

If you aren’t watching the Olympics, you should be. It’s exciting and heart breaking. (Hannah Kearney made a tiny mistake on the moguls and ended up with a bronze medal. She was so upset, she was crying her eyes out.) The games have great stories about people working hard for goals, some sacrificing a lot to get to the games. It great for kids to see people who worked so hard, day after day to become the best. Let’s face it, our world is getting lazier and lazier. We hardly have to wait for anything anymore.

I was watching “You’ve Got Mail” with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks the other day. Here is a quote from Meg Ryan’s character.

What will NY152 say today, I wonder. I turn on my computer. I wait impatiently as it connects. I go online, and my breath catches in my chest until I hear three little words: You’ve got mail.

That movie is from 1998. Today I never wonder if I have mail. I glance at my phone and a little white number in a red circle tells “I’ve got mail”. I push it and in a second, I’m reading emails. It seems everything is right at our fingertips and we don’t have to wait for much these days.

So look up the Olympics schedule, find an event you wouldn’t mind watching (I love them all!), grab the kids and watch. If you don’t have TV, go online. Talk to the kids about what is going on and what the Olympics mean. You just might spark a little something in your child and they will catch that Olympic spirit, which is;

INSPIRING THE YOUTH OF THE WORLD TO BE THE BEST THEY CAN!

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P.S. Just for fun, I was looking for the picture of Bridget and I at the last Olympics games and came across this beauty of her. Enjoy.

Classy.

Why, is that Marilyn Monroe in the back ground of what I can only guess is your senior picture? Classic.

Chad and Deployment

February 7, 2014

Today is Chad’s turn. However he is not super excited about it. Too bad buddy! It’s go time!

Chad and light

This is Chad, age 38, after he forced our 13 year old to drive our van while she was sobbing her eyes out and then she proceeded to run over our solar yard lights. He thought it was hilarious.

What are you thoughts and feelings on this deployment?

I have no idea.

Elaborate.

I don’t know.

But if you did know, what would that look like?

Who cares.

I care.

It’s my job.

What does that mean?

It means I’ve got to go do my job.

How do you FEEL about doing your job.

I enjoy doing my job but I don’t like being away from my family. How’s that for ya?

Is that the end of this conversation?

Probably. 

That was the end of that. This whole interview was giving straightforward, with no emotion involved. Chad started to play a little basketball with our nerf hoop. I gave him a few minutes and then asked him how he was feeling right now. He waited a few more minutes and then said he didn’t know how to express his feelings. I asked him if he could kindly show me his feelings through interrupt dance. He giggled (a manly giggle) and said no. Turns out he had lots of plans for today, which I had no idea, but slept in and didn’t work out early this morning. This is my husband. He has lots of feelings and I just get to guess which one is on deck. How fun for me!

Now that he expressed his anxiety over having a day off and lots of things he still have to do, he is in a better mood. See, sharing your feelings is a good thing and not a weakness. Chad tells this at his marriage retreats all the time but it’s not always easy for a guy to do, especially a soldier. No man wants to be seen as weak, so let’s just shove all those feelings down. However wives don’t see it as weakness, only as a chance to grow closer together. Of course that is a generalization. It could easily be the other way around. Either way communication is vital in any relationship.

Chad and I have been talking about this deployment for weeks and he is calm about the whole thing. I feel like last deployment he was more revved up and anxious. He is currently working on a day marriage retreat and is enjoying the processed. Last time he didn’t want to do any work before they left. I’m personally feeling this deployment will be good for him as he isn’t a newbie.

That being said, I still would like to see some interpretive dancing.

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Brooke and Deployment

February 6, 2014

It’s time to interview myself about this deployment. I’m 41 (Oh my! How did that happen?!) and currently working as a fitness instructor at Carolina Trace Country Club. This will be our 2nd deployment.

Me

What are your thoughts and feelings on this deployment?

I have many! I am, of course, sad that Chad is leaving. I’m also excited, happy and jealous.

Jealous?

Yes, I wish I was the one going!

Why? You have never been a soldier. You don’t know what it is like.

True, however if I could live my life over, I think I would join the Army.

Why?

I love the structure, the format. I know it can get old, but I like knowing exactly what I should be doing and where. For some that is stifling but not for me. I also like that a person can move up the ranks and be the one calling the shoots! I’m pretty good at that. One of my favorite days in Alaska was when they had the wives play “Army”. We jumped out of a tower, drove Hummers, practiced rapid shooting and shot live rounds. Yes, I know it’s not all fun and games, but nothing in life is. However there is something exciting to me about belonging to a specific group that shares the same joys and pains. If you have been a missionary or on a sport team, you might be able to understand what I’m talking about. You become battle buddies.

You also mentioned you are feeling excited and happy about your husband leaving you.

Yes, but not because I don’t want him around, I do. However when Chad is gone, we have great talks over the phone. We just sit and listen and focus on each other. Often after work, the kids are needy, the dinner needs to be cleaned up, prep work needs to be done for the next day. We never just sit and talk to each other. We are usually doing something else at the same time. It’s nice to have 100% focus from your spouse. Also last deployment we would send each other packages and make the other person guess what was in it. We would watching the same show once a week and then email each other our favorite parts. It was fun and my friend Natalie told me it was just like we were dating again. I loved it! Would I trade it for a warm hug from him? Sure, but it was still really nice.

So that leaves you feeling sad.

I am sad, it’s nice to have that person around who gets all my crazy movie quotes, takes the kids out so I can get a break and picks up dinner when I have just had it. The hardest part is not having my heater in the bed with me at night. I’m super tempted to let Elizabeth crawl in bed with me. She would love that! However I don’t want to deal with breaking her of that habit when Chad gets home. I will snuggle up on her bed with her and sing her a night time song (Soft Kitty from The Big Bang Theory, a show I don’t even really watch.) and that works for both of us.

Do you think this deployment will be harder than the last one?

I’m not sure. I definitely don’t have the same support group on the Army side as I did last time. I will miss meeting with the ARC ladies every Thursday, early morning hangouts at the gym with Evil Friend and Wednesday Pier One/Michael’s/JoAnn’s day with Margene. However they are still there and I can call or text them anytime. My husband’s unit isn’t as organized and well put together as the last one. In fact the FRG advisor wants less meeting and less social gatherings. I would prefer more and get to know people. However I have met Jayne at church and we get together Tuesdays and Thursdays to run and Fridays to play. I hope she doesn’t get sick of me as she is going to have to play all 11 of my Alaskan Army friends rolled into one! I also have the Krueger family just an hour and a half away. They were here at Fort Bragg the last time we were here. They are like a second family to us and I know I could call them for help anytime. I think this deployment might be easier because we survived the last one and found some things that really worked to keep us going. Lots of Army wives say every deployment is different and as long as I keep that in mind, I should be fine.

Well thank you for chatting with us. You are quite fabulous.

Ah..well…(blush) thank you. I do what I can.

There it is. I went looking for a cute picture of Chad and I together and found a ton of us, in a dark theater, taking a selfie. Pretty grainy. I’m pretty lucky Chad loves going to the movies with me. Let’s see what else I can find. Ah, here we go!

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Rachel and Deployment

February 5, 2014

Last night I talked with Rachel, turning 14 in 3 weeks, about Chad leaving for Afghanistan.

Rachel

Rachel was the most talkative of all the kids. She was very calm through the whole interview.

What are your thoughts and feelings on Dad’s upcoming deployment?

I’m sort of excited and a little bit sad because he is leaving. I’m excited because when he comes back we are going to Disney World. I’m a little bit sad because he won’t be around and we need him around, especially with the two younger ones.

Are you worried about Dad?

No.

Why?

I have a feeling he will be safe and I trust my gut. I look at the positive in life so I won’t get worried so much and it affects the rest of my life.

What do you do to stay positive?

Two things. One, chat with my best friend online and two, play my (Nintendo) 3DS. It makes me happy.

How do you think Dad is feeling?

Sort of good because he knows it (deploying) is the right thing to do and a little bit sad because he is leaving his family. I’m going to make him comics, like he made us last time, to make him smile. 

She smiled at me and looked content with the conversation so I left it at that. Rachel has a good relationship with her dad but it’s not extremely close. She isn’t into sports like her father. She likes to draw and listen to music on her ipod. While they don’t share common hobbies, they do have similar personalities. They both have a heart and are very caring. They both like to follow the rules. I think they feel very comfortable around each other and don’t have to talk a lot. I know she will miss her dad but I’m interested in how that will present itself. It’s nice when the kids get older and can comprehend deploying a little better. However, with the older kid comes a lot more activities. I will miss her dad taking her to all that, including early morning seminary (scripture study). Oh vey.

Rachel and dad