Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Highlights Reel

As usual, I'll end my year with a reflection.  I know it seems cliche, but as I'm going on my fourth year of writing this blog in January, it seems only right to finish up the calendar year and the blogging year all at once.  Also, the OCD in me requires things to be tied up with a nice little bow before I can close one chapter and start the next...

2013 was a year with a lot of ups and downs for us, and I think even that is an understatement.

Let's go to the highlights reel, shall we?
  •  We survived our first North Country Winter this year, which involved more snow and colder temperatures than I had ever expected!
  • We spent the year getting to know some of our new best friends at Fort Drum, who have now become our Army family.
  • H reintroduced himself to fishing and filled our freezer with Pickerel and Northern Pike (which we still haven't eaten our way through - any one up for a New Year's fish fry?!)
  • I started grad school and successfully completed my first semester with a 4.0 and all of my brain cells.
  • We celebrated our second wedding anniversary!
  • Even from far away, we got to watch our nephew grow from a rambunctious two year old who only spoke a few words here and there, to an even more rambunctious three year old who is so smart and handsome with a great sense of humor.  Watch out ladies!
  • We celebrated both H's sister's engagement and my sister's engagement to some awesome guys.
  • I became more involved in both PWOC and the FRG, which has opened some doors of opportunity for me and taught me a lot about who I am
  • We finally had our first family camping trip, which we've been talking about doing for over 6 years now!
  • We got our first dog (and then gave him back when his owner returned from deployment)
  • H taught me how to change the oil in our Jeep (not sure if that's more of an accomplishment for me or him haha!)
  • I know there's a ton more awesome things that we did, celebrated, learned, and experienced in 2013 that I'm missing, but bear with me since I still haven't had my morning coffee yet ;)
I wish that I could end my list of things we encountered in 2013 there, but life isn't always sunny that way.  This past year also brought some sadness and not-so-awesome experiences to us.  Thankfully, God is awesome when life isn't, and He has used (and continues to use) our circumstances for His purpose.  We experienced the joy and loss of our first baby, but in that He taught us patience, trust, and strengthened my faith beyond measure.  We watched one of our dearest friends get diagnosed with stage four cancer, but He's allowed that to help us support and strengthen their faith and relationship with God.  H went through multiple moves to different units and companies that has not helped his plan for early promotion or getting into the schools he wants in the timeliness that he wants, but God continues to give us what we need when we need it and we're trusting His plan above our own.

We struggled with stress, anger, disappointment, sadness, fear, doubt, and worry this year, but God has been gracious and has seen us through every single circumstance that we've experienced.  He has let us experience the good and the bad, and blessed us for our perseverance through both.  No, it definitely wasn't fun going through the not-so-awesomeness, and there were times where we questioned every part of what was happening and why it was happening.  But you know what?  God is good, and He never once let us struggle without His presence there to guide us and keep us going.

How can we appreciate the good times in our life without experiencing the bad times?

It's something that I've tried to remember when things suck.  If life was always sunny and we never had to experience bad times, then the good times wouldn't matter as much.  I don't know about you, but I find that I appreciate the good things more when they are few and far between (extra money, good hair days, a properly made pumpkin spice latte, you get the idea).  When good times are abundant, yes life is awesome and the stress levels run low, but eventually I stop appreciating the little blessings and good days.

When you throw in a few bad days to mix it up, I can honestly say that those good days are suddenly so much better and mean so much more in the long-run.

What 2013 our "best year ever"?  Not by a long shot!
Did it give us an opportunity to grow, to learn, and to appreciate the good days when they came?  Absolutely!

So what does 2014 hold for us?  I have absolutely no idea but I know that no matter what it is, God's already there.  How awesome is that?!

Wishing you and your family a very blessed (and safe!) New Year's Eve and 2014!

Friday, November 1, 2013


I lost my baby.

It's been almost six weeks since our angel baby went home to be with Christ.  Six weeks of putting away the few baby items we had accumulated since finding out we were pregnant.  Six weeks of learning how to move forward and trust God.  Six weeks of watching friends and family who are pregnant hit milestones, get ultrasounds, and reveal genders that we don't get to experience right now.

And while that feels like six weeks of torture and pain, it's been a very enlightening six weeks for me.

God has spoken to me a lot during my healing time, and has opened my eyes to so much that He wants me to know.  He's shown me just how strong I really am, and how deep my faith in Him runs.  He's taught me what His timing means, and that when His time comes, the blessings will be perfect.  He's given me the opportunity to bless others and to be a witness of His provisions and strength.

One of the biggest things I struggled with through all of this was how I was supposed to praise God through this storm.  It's a song lyric I hear, a Christian sentiment that is passed on so often to remind us to stay strong through the dark times we experience.  But I quickly found it's much easier to say it than to do it.  How am I supposed to raise my hands and thank God for this overwhelming sadness?  What do I say in praise to Him when all I can do is cry and ask why?  How in the world am I supposed to be thankful that I had to fall in love with this little baby that I lost before I even had the chance to hold them?

It's not easy.
I don't even know if I did it right.
And at first, praising Him through all of this was almost as painful as the loss itself, especially when all I wanted to do was yell at Him for letting me experience all of this, only to have it taken away.

So I was honest with Him.  I told Him how I had no idea how I was supposed to praise Him and be thankful through all of this pain and anger.  I asked Him to give me the words of praise because I didn't even know what to say.  I thanked Him for letting me be a mommy to this little baby, even if it was only for 9 weeks.  For days, those few statements were all I could manage.  But that's all it took.  He began to open my eyes to the strength He was giving me, and the trust I was putting in Him to bless us in His perfect timing.  He reminded me that every tear I've cried, He's holding in His hands along with our Nugget.  And He showed me that through it all, He was my rock, my salvation, and my saving grace that knows the desires of my heart as I seek Him.  Eventually, my prayers became less about why this happened, and more about thanking God for His bigger plan, even if I couldn't see it or understand it.

Without a doubt, God has used this loss to not only show me how strong I am through Him, but to allow me to be a light to others who don't understand how I can find peace and strength through all of this sadness.

I lost my baby.
My heart still aches for the little one I will never get to hold during my time on this Earth.
But I know that God has used this loss for His glory and for His bigger plan, and I find so much security and joy in knowing that if even one person in my life had a clearer understanding of where my peace, strength, and comfort comes from, then I know that my loss is His gain.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Holes in our Heart

A small baby, but a big hole.

So far, that's the most accurate sentiment for what I'm feeling.  At only 9 weeks (but measuring 6), our baby was the size of a lentil when we went into the ER for an ultrasound due to cramping and bleeding.  That was four days ago.  A lentil.  And yet the hole it's left in our hearts and our lives is so much bigger.

I don't think anyone goes into a pregnancy expecting a miscarriage.  But everyone goes in with the fear of it.  Monday night, our biggest fear came true.  Too much cramping and bleeding.  Four hours, a pelvic exam, an ultrasound, and a lot of tears later, we were sent home with discharge papers and an informational handout on "threatened miscarriage."  I wish I could say that things turned around after going home, but God had a different plan. 

For the past three days, we have been processing our loss.  Last night (Wednesday) was when our fear finally came full circle and I fully miscarried.  There's no better way to say it, no way to sugar coat it or make it sound more poetic than it is.  I miscarried our first pregnancy.  Our first baby.  And the biggest thing I have had to overcome through all of this processing is blaming myself.  But that's for another post...

There is no right or wrong way to process this, from what we've found.  There's no right or wrong way to feel.  There's no prescribed length of time it takes to get through this.  It's all a guessing game for us.  We're learning each moment of each day what's right for us, for our family, and how we process it.  I don't know if it will ever truly "go away" or "get better."  What I do know is that this has brought H and I closer, and has given us a new appreciation for the child that God will bless us with when the time is right. 

We're finding that our love is strong enough to overcome even the greatest loss.  And that you can never take your partner's love and strength for granted.  I honestly have no idea how I would have gotten through any of this without him by my side through it all.

We're finding that our faith is stronger than we realize.  And that God's plan is always greater, even if we can't see it or understand it.

And we're learning that the support of our friends and family is crucial.  No one ever really knows what to say when this happens, unless you've actually been through a miscarriage. Thank goodness for the support of a friend who has had her own share of heartache from the loss of a baby.  She let me cry, ask questions, grieve, and move forward with an openness that I appreciate more than she can ever know.  Nothing was off limits, and that's what I needed to help me process all of this.  And the constant support of my mother, my best friend, and my sister is something that I can never truly repay.  The patience, the understanding, the reminder that it's not my fault and that God has a bigger plan - I don't think I could have made it through all of this without their constant support and love.

Have we given up hope of being parents?  Not by a long shot.

As soon as we're ready, we're getting back on that horse and trusting God's timing.

But I don't think we'll ever forget our first Nugget baby, our first love and loss.  God had other plans for that baby, and has other plans for us.  If anything, this loss has taught us to lean even more on our faith in God and on each other for strength.  It's taught us that everything happens for a reason, even if we don't know what that reason is or if it makes sense to us. 

It's taught us that even the smallest baby can leave the biggest hole.

Saturday, September 7, 2013


It feels like I'm waiting for everything right now!

I'm waiting to have my first ultrasound and hear my little Nugget's heartbeat.
I'm waiting to tell all of our friends and family (minus a few select secret keepers!) our good news
I'm waiting to start feeling morning sickness...okay, "waiting" isn't the best term.  But I know it's coming soon, so every morning I wake up expecting to feel sick and I'm waiting for the day it happens.

This part of the pregnancy is mentally trying! I just want to see Nugget and hear his/her heartbeat so that we can start telling the good news to all of our friends, and I can stop saving all of these posts as drafts and actually publish them.  The worst part is we haven't told our sisters yet, and I feel like I might explode not telling them!

Nothing much has changed in terms of symptoms.  Still no morning sickness, but I'm finding if I eat too much I get nauseous.  Still can't eat eggs.  Still eating Tums like it's candy and getting up three or four times a night to pee (probably TMI lol).  I just want to shout to the world that our family is starting and we have a little Nugget joining us in April!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Allergies, or is Baby K already trolling me...

My little Nugget is quite the troll and he isn't even here yet.

I've always had acid reflux issues, and Tums are my BFF.  But the heartburn I have had since finding out I was preggers makes my acid reflux look like the hiccups.  That, combined with the feeling like I need to take naps at the most random times, and the allergies that make it almost impossible to be outside, and I feel like my body is turning on me.

I'm not complaining, trust me.  I knew coming into this that these kinds of symptoms were commonplace for pregnancy and with how much we've wanted to start our family, I knew I was asking for this kind of stuff.  But I didn't realize how much my body would change with little things like this, or how quickly it would all happen.

I'm at five weeks, and I can already tell there's some ch-ch-ch-chaaanges (sing it!) going on.  Like the fact that all of a sudden, I can't eat regular-sized meals like I could 2 weeks ago.  For example, we had steak for dinner last night, along with mashed potatoes and cantaloupe.  Two weeks ago, I could have easily eaten the majority of my steak, all of my potatoes, and some melon without any problems.  Last night?  A third (maybe) of my steak, half my potatoes, and 3 small pieces of melon.  What the heck, Nugget, shouldn't you be hungry if you're going through a major growth spurt right now, especially for one of my favorite foods?!  And even after just that small portion of food, I felt bloated.  But you better believe about an hour later I could tell I was hungry again.  It's so weird; my body has never been like that, but I guess it's all part of the mommyhood territory.  Sometimes, I can't tell if I'm hungry or mildly nauseous, although I have to be thankful that I haven't experienced morning sickness yet (knocking on the wooden desk in the office as we speak!).  And I learned that scrambled eggs are a major no-go for me right now.

It's weird that two weeks ago, none of this was an issue.  I could eat normal, had my usual heartburn symptoms, and rarely felt bloated or nauseous.  In the matter of two weeks of Nugget growing, though, it's like my body has done a complete 180 and I don't even know it anymore.  It's weird.  And I know there's still more changes to come, but it's kind of like these little changes make the fact that I'm actually pregnant feel so much more real... and that I definitely don't mind :)

xoxo, M

Baby K Update

It finally happened - we're pregnant!!  It still feels very surreal, like it's all a dream and I'm going to wake up tomorrow and realize that we still have months of trying ahead of us.  I'm writing this on August 25, but I won't actually be publishing it until September 15 due to waiting until we're officially at 8 weeks before making the announcement public.  Here's our story...

Things around our house have been...stressful...to say the least.  I quit my job about a month ago to go back to school full-time, which has made money a bit tighter than usual for us.  We're doing just fine, paying bills and such, but going from two incomes to one is an adjustment to say the least.  I'm preparing to start my first semester of grad school tomorrow, which has me both excited and nervous, but I know that this is a door God has finally opened for me so I'm putting my worries in Him.  H is about to head back to his original unit as they return from deployment which is going to shake up his work situation more than he'd like.  He's had a great run at his current unit while his original unit was deployed and made a really good impression on a lot of his CO's, but with his original unit coming home and the transition back to that unit comes having to start back at square-one in terms of proving he's a squared-away soldier ready to take on responsibilities and start going to schools.

So, yeah, to say our household has been under stress lately is a bit of an understatement.

When I realized I was a few days late, I just chalked it up to the fact that I'm under stress and didn't think too much else of it, especially since last month I thought our timing for making Baby K was off due to my trip home for my cousin's wedding (H didn't come with me, and while we "took care of business" prior to me leaving, I didn't think we were close enough to my O date).  Then I caught myself crying while watching a touching segment on ESPN's SportsCenter.  Yes.  I cried while watching a piece about a Make-a-Wish kid and the Arizona Diamond Backs.  That's when I knew I needed to test.

Fast forward to about 12:30pm and I'm crying in the bathroom over the two VERY dark lines on my positive test.  H had just gone back to work from his lunch break, and I've had a plan since April about how I wanted to surprise him with the good news, so I went into "freak out, cry, happy dance, gotta get this surprise put together" mode.  Thank goodness for my bestie #2 up here who went through pregnancy/delivery at Fort Drum and knew how to direct me - calling the doctor, setting up a blood test, getting all goofy excited for me over the phone.  The usual.  :)  At 3pm I took another test, just for kicks and giggles (and to make sure I wasn't the fluke patient who would have a false positive test - do those even happen?!).  Again, two VERY dark lines.  Called the doctor and scheduled myself for bloodwork the following morning, and eagerly started putting together H's surprise:

To say H was shocked is an understatement.  I'm pretty sure he sat there silently, staring at the items in the box for a solid 10 minutes before anything actually registered in his mind.  (For the record, H is the third man in his family to have his name, so we have always referred to Baby K as "the fourth", hence the blue note).  In fact, I'm pretty sure it didn't actually settle in until the next afternoon when I got the call from my doctor's office confirming my two positive HPT's.

So it's official - Baby K (or Nugget, as I've been calling him/her) is due to arrive April 27, 2014!  I'm exactly 5 weeks pregnant as I write this, and my parents just left from visiting for the weekend.  It was amazing getting to tell them in person, since I really thought I'd have to do it over Facetime or Skype with us being 500 miles away from them.  We surprised them at dinner on Thursday night, and they are almost as excited as we are.  Tonight we'll be calling H's mom to tell her, which I'm a little more nervous about.  It's her first grandbaby, and my parent's second.  We've told a very few select close friends, but as for everyone else...well they have to wait until September 15 to find out :)  And chances are, if you're reading this, you probably just found out today, too!

Go have a celebratory drink (or two) for me, since it'll be a looooong time before I can have one, and remember to trust God in His timing - it'll all work out when He's ready for it to.

xoxo, M

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Momma's Day :)

It's that special Sunday where everyone remembers why they love the one woman who as loved them from the start - their mom.  I'm blessed to have a lot of really strong women in my life who have helped raise and influence me, so today I'll be taking time to talk about each one of them.

Being that it's Mother's Day, I'll start with my mom (of course!) and all the amazingness that she is.  The amount of patience this woman has is unfathomable considering all she's put up with between me and my sister over the years.  She's been the foundation that I've built my life upon and when I look at where I am in life, I know I wouldn't be where I am or who I am without her.  She taught me so much over the years: the importance of God in my life and always coming back to Him; how to properly plant a garden that actually looks good and lasts the summer; that sometimes you shouldn't try to dig up big bushes in the backyard if there's a chance a stick might stab you in the eye; how to cook a delicious meal using family recipes passed down through generations; that overdrawing your bank account not only causes financial problems but that it makes your mom REALLY mad; that even though she's REALLY mad forgiveness is still a part of loving someone; and that being a genuine, loving, compassionate person is more important that having every material item in the world.  She's my best friend who has been there for me when I've been overcome by sadness or needed to share something exciting in my life, she's been a role model for holding a marriage together, grounding yourself in God's love and truths, and having a heart for service to others.  I attribute my character, sense of humor, frizzy hair, and love of academics all to her, and I am so thankful to have her as my Momma.

Who taught my mom all this amazingness that she could pass on to me and my sister?  Why, her mother, of course.  My Grammy was an amazing woman, a true saint in her own right.  To this day, she is one of the strongest Christian women I have ever known, and was the true matriarch of our family.  She made birthday cakes for Jesus every Christmas, and kept oatmeal cookies on the kitchen counter at all times.  She could make you feel like the most important person in the world with her love and kind words, but wasn't afraid to put you in your place if you got out of line (and trust me, that wasn't something you wanted to hear from her!).  She spent her Sunday's watching NASCAR and TBN church services with her shotgun by her side, ready to take out any groundhog trying to dig holes in her yard.  She was the woman I called when I was home sick from school just to hear her tell me to drink water and eat crackers in my jammies till I felt better, the woman I ate pie and drank coffee with on Saturday afternoons when I had breaks and was home from college.  She yelled at me for getting a tattoo, then told me how cute the black ink butterfly on my shoulder actually was.  There isn't a day that goes by, even seven years later, that I don't think about her or see her influence somewhere in my life.  I know she's up in Heaven fussing over whether or not the angels have planted the spring flowers in the right spots of God's garden :)

I've been fortunate enough to have a few "adopted moms" growing up, too.  Joni and Kim, mothers to my best friends since we were just babies, have been there for me for the past 27 years.  From help planning secret parties for my parents, advice on everything from school to boys, even just keeping me in line when my own mom wasn't there and I felt like I could probably get away with something (so optimistic on my part, and yet so wrong haha!).  They both saw me as their own child, and made sure that if I needed something they would try their best to take care of me.  I'm beyond thankful for their influence, love, and guidance growing up and for seeing me as their own daughter.

I can't help but look at today with some optimism and butterflies in my tummy that maybe just maybe this will be my last mother's day without being a mommy.  One thing I know for sure is that I have had a lot of "lessons" over the years of what a good mother/mother figure should be thanks to my incredible mom and all the other amazing mother figures in my life.  If I can be even half the mother that these woman have added up to be, I know my child will be blessed beyond belief and will (hopefully) grow up with good character, strong faith, and a compassion for helping others.

My momma and me through the years!

Happy Mother's Day to all my friends who are mommies, mommies-to-be, have been an "adopted" mommy to another child, a role model, a teacher, or who have had any kind of positive influence on a child around them.  You have no idea how loved you truly are!


Friday, May 10, 2013

Love, Laughter, and Happily Ever After

H and I were incredibly blessed to have been chosen to attend a Strong Bonds marriage retreat this past week.  Let me preface this by saying no, I didn't have to convince H to go; he actually surprised me with it!  I've been telling him I wanted to go to one for a few months now, and with us starting the journey of trying to have a baby we thought it would be good to attend a retreat about strengthening the foundations of our marriage.  Plus, it's the closest thing we are going to get to a vacation!  Three days at Niagara Falls with all of our hotel stay and meals paid for, plus an amazing program run by the chaplains on how to improve our communication and understanding of each other?  Sign us up!

It was an amazing program.  If you ever have a chance to check out Mark Gungor's "Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage," do it!  It was incredible!  Mark is a great speaker and pastor who approaches marriage with the concept of God made us this way, so instead of trying to change one another, let's change how we communicate with each other to better understand our spouse.  His tone is extremely entertaining and makes you laugh while still tackling serious concepts, and (at least for us) he's pretty spot-on about how the male brain and the female brains work.  We both really enjoyed the whole retreat and the program that was used, and I can honestly say that I feel like we both got a lot out of it to apply to our relationship.

I think sometimes it's so easy to take advantage our partner.  Even having only been married for 18 months, we've been together for over five years and I know that I'm guilty of taking advantage of H at times.  I assume he'll be the one to take out the trash, mow the lawn, or put his dirty boot socks and PT's into the laundry so when he does it I don't think about needing to say a simple "thank you" or tell him how much I appreciate when he does little things like that.  Mark's program put a lot of emphasis on making sure your spouse knows how much you appreciate them, even for the little things, and doing simple acts of kindness to show how much you care for and prioritize them.  That's one of the main things that H and I are trying to apply right away.  Today, while at a rest stop on the NY throughway on our trip home, H got up to throw away our lunch trash and came back with an "I <3 NY" pressed penny (he knows how much I love getting pressed pennies on our adventures) just because he thought it was something that would make me smile.  It wasn't a huge gesture that cost a lot of money or required any big plans, it was simply a pressed penny that he knew would put a smile on my face.  And you know what?  It did!  It meant more to me than flowers because it was something special that he knew I loved to collect and he put thought into why he got it for me.  It's little acts like this that Mark was talking about, and I can't even begin to tell you how appreciative I was for my penny! :)  I love that H took what we learned to heart and already started to apply it to our marriage.

I'm excited, too, because I feel like we've found a new way to show our love and appreciation for each other, which Baby K will grow up and see.  They'll see a father who goes out of his way to be kind to their mother and show her how much he cares for her; they'll see a mother who supports their father's dreams and who shows genuine appreciation for their father's actions and kindness.  Baby K will see what a solid relationship should look like, and will grow up in a home where love and healthy relationships are a constant.  They'll know what love should look, sound, and feel like, and I can't imagine a better environment for a child to grow up in.

 We were given "practical application" time on Thursday afternoon, which was a chance to practice and apply the concepts we learned as well as have a date night.  It was great, because it gave H and I a chance to explore Niagara Falls and have some "vacation" time!  We explored the state park and of course the Falls - so incredibly powerful and beautiful!  We got to check out the fun touristy shops, learned about the history of the Falls, took a trolley ride around the area, rode the Maid of the Mist out to the Falls (and got incredibly soaked doing it!), and then got all fancied up and went to the casino where H won $50 on penny slots - high roller status!  It was so much fun to have a chance to get dressed up, go out to dinner, and check out the casino.  We're not gamblers, but it was fun to go play the penny slots a little and check out what the casino was like.  Just the whole vacation part of the trip was great for us, because we've never had a chance to go on a vacation like that and if it wasn't for the fact that the major parts of the trip (hotel and meals) were paid for by the Army, we'd probably never be able to afford it.  So this trip wasn't just a blessing to attend the marriage retreat, but was a blessing for a vacation!

On the Maid of the Mist boat ride at Niagara Falls, May 2013

It was an incredible week, for sure, and I feel so blessed and thankful to have been able to experience it.  The chaplain gave each couple a few books written by Mark to keep working on things outside of the retreat, and we're both (yes, even H) looking forward to keeping the growth and strengthening of our marriage going with this awesome program.

I'm just continually amazed at God's blessings for us, and hope that the blessings continue coming as we officially start the process of trying to conceive!


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Where has the time gone?!

We've been in New York for 9 months? REALLY?

Where has the time gone?  Seriously.  It definitely doesn't feel like it's been that long.  Maybe 4 months at most.  But we've survived our first fall and winter in the North Country, H hit his one-year mark in the Army, and I've been teaching my preschoolers for eight months.  Okay, I guess it has been that long.  Wow that went by fast!

I know it seems crazy, but it feels like in the past 9 months there really haven't been that many interesting things going on to talk about.  To be honest, it's almost felt a little stagnant.  Not a bad stagnant, but definitely non-moving.  Like I'm treading water.

As much as I've loved teaching at the preschool, it's not where my heart truly is.  It's been almost 2 years since I've been in a high school classroom as a lead teacher, and I can feel myself losing a grip on the idea that I'll ever be back in one, especially here in New York.  Up here, it's almost a requirement to have your Master's degree to be a teacher, which has put a damper on my ability to get back into a classroom.  Thankfully, though, it looks like I'll be starting my Master's degree (back at good old BGSU!) program in August which will definitely help with the treading water feeling - almost like I'm finally starting to swim towards the far shore instead of just stay in place while I watch it like a dream.

I've also had to deal with homesickness more often than I anticipated.  It's not terrible, but it's enough that every couple months I just feel like I'm missing out on everything back home.  I've had to miss one very important wedding already this year, and there are at least 2 more that I can't attend.  As the weather gets warmer, I keep feeling like "oh this is a perfect day to go grill and hang out with Krista and Abbie"; but of course, they're 600+ miles away.  I'll find myself bored on a weeknight where H is in the field and all I want is to hang out with my sister and watch a movie.  It usually only lasts a few days, and I do have some good friends who are up here that have been wonderful, but nothing beats being back home with my family once in a while.

Okay, enough with the Debbie Downerness of this post.  While I've been dealing with the whole "treading water" and homesickness stuff, some amazing things have been happening!  Both of our close friend couples up here have had babies in the past couple months! It's so wonderful to watch our friends' families expand and grow, and it's been an encouragement for us to try to start our own family.  We are trusting God's hand in all of this and know that His timing is perfect timing, but we're hoping that sometime this summer we'll get some good news about our family doing some of it's own growing and expanding!

Sharlot and I on Valentine's Day - one of my best friends up here!

H passed the one-year mark for being in the Army back in March, and it's been a very interesting year for him.  The unit that he originally got placed in has deployed, although he did not go with them.  His particular company was kept behind on Rear Detachment (rear-d), and he's been temporarily moved from his original unit/company (an all-infantry unit) to a new unit/troop (a cavalry unit).  While at first he wasn't excited about moving around like this, it's actually been a HUGE blessing in disguise.  He's been able to move to a unit that is much better in terms of professionalism and training, and it's opened a lot of doors for him in terms of taking on leadership roles, going to training schools, and being taken seriously as a career soldier.  He'll have the opportunity to go to the Soldier of the Month Board in a few weeks, which means he can (hopefully!) rank up sooner than anticipated.  He's been able to prove himself a lot to his temporary commanding officers, even so much as to have them telling him that when his original unit returns from deployment, they want him to fill out paperwork to be permanently moved to their cavalry unit.  He's really excited about that prospect, because in the cavalry unit he's got the ability to actually progress his career and get to where he wants to be a lot sooner.  Praise God!

We also got to go to our first Military ball this spring, which was fantastic!  

At the ball in March 2013

I've been able to start advertising and selling my cupcakes to friends up here, which has been amazing.  It's like a pipe dream of mine is finally starting to come through, thanks to the support of H and his love of seeing my dreams come to fruition.  It hasn't been anything crazy and big, but it's been enough to make me feel like I'm more than just a girl baking in her kitchen for free.  (Yes, I'm about to shamelessly plug by business...but it's my blog, so I can do what I want! haha) Check out Lovebites Cupcakes :)

Riley kitten has grown a lot, and is officially the queen of our house.  She's been so wonderful to have in our family, and it seems strange to think about our family before she was in it. 

Baby Riley Kitten - not so little anymore!
Okay, so I guess more has happened over the past 9 months than I'd realized.  God has truly been blessing us up here.  We've found a great church family where H gets to usher occasionally and I help with Sunday School. It finally feels like H's career is on-track and he'll have the chance to see some of his dreams come true.  I'm able to attend grad school (finally!) and will hopefully be in my own classroom within the next year and a half.  We've made great friends, gotten ourselves established and settled in up here, and are starting to work on growing our family.  God's got His hand on us and we are truly blessed!

My goal is to actually update more than just every few months from now on.  I know I've said it before, but with all the amazing things that are coming our way soon, I want to keep things updated more often.  In theory, we'll use the blog to track the progress of trying to conceive and our pregnancy so there will be lots of updates from that! :)  Hooray for blessings and change!