Sunday, August 18, 2013

An Overdue Announcement

We're expecting baby number 3 in January!  This pregnancy has been very different from the first two, which were pretty mellow.  This time around, I spent the first trimester feeling perpetually car sick, I've been craving salty snacks as well as the sweet stuff, and I've been a psychopath noticeably hormonal.  Since the first two were both girls, I was convinced from early on that I had to be having a boy this time. We went in on the 9th for the anatomy scan, and found out that I'd been right!  

He seems to be doing perfectly well.  He's developing normally, and I haven't had any complications.  After the scare we had with Kaylie, this has been an incredible relief.  As a matter of fact, we didn't even tell the immediate family about the pregnancy until we were out of the first trimester, just in case.  And, obviously, we held off on a "public" announcement until now--partly so that we could share the gender at the same time, and partly just to be extra safe.  I'm at about 19 weeks now, so we're almost to the halfway point.  I can already feel him  moving around.  :)

As you can imagine, being pregnant has made Brandon's Selectee training a bit more difficult for us than it would have been otherwise.  Brandon, bless him, took the time out today to take these pictures, even though today was his only day off and he had a lot of other things he needed to be doing.

I snapped this one while I was trying to get the camera and tripod set up.  I think it's such a sweet picture.  :)

We're all excited about the new addition, especially Elora.  She is completely over the moon that she'll be getting a baby brother.  When we first told her that there'd be a new baby, before we knew the gender, she told us that she "picked a boy", because she already has a little sister.  I'm not sure whether Kaylie understands what's going on, or not.  She still can't articulate much, so it's hard to tell what she thinks.  I keep telling her that there's a baby in my tummy, but she always just looks at me like I'm crazy.  I think Brandon was hoping for a boy this time around, and I'm happy to be able to give him a son.  For my part, I'm a bit intimidated to be having a boy because it will be new and different.  Not to mention the fact that our children will soon out number us!!  So exciting/scary/wonderful.  :)

Monday, August 12, 2013


The list of those promoted to Chief came out on August 1--and Brandon's name was on it!!!  If I was proud of him before, I'm about to explode with it now.  It's such an accomplishment, and "proud" just doesn't seem to cover it.

In the Navy, Chief is not anything like the preceding ranks, where you simply assume the title (and all that goes with it) upon being chosen for promotion.  Instead, you become a Chief Select, and there is a six week Selectee Season of training, character building, and so forth, before the pinning ceremony and official ascension to Chief-hood.
The Navy Chief's anchor pin.
photo found here
So far, we are about a week into the Season, and it's rough.  His status as a Selectee does not excuse him from his normal responsibilities, so everything has to be done either before or after his normal work day.  And, the training itself is pretty intense.  Brandon keeps saying that they're being "Miyagi-ed", and it seems an apt description.  I don't think I can really share much more than that, because this whole process is kept pretty hush-hush to ensure that future Chief Selects have the same learning opportunity as the current and previous ones.
For my part, I've been helping him as much as I can.  They held a briefing for the wives at the beginning, to try to give us an idea of what we'd be in for, so I knew that he would be working a lot of long hours and need a lot of support at home.  I normally work two evenings during the week, but since he can't be home to stay with the girls without missing training, I had them take me off of the week-day schedule. Not only does this free him up to focus on his stuff, it allows me more freedom to help with whatever projects he brings home.
I hadn't initially given much thought to how all of this would effect things at home.  They kept telling me that we wouldn't see much of him, and while I knew that I would miss him, I didn't really give it much thought beyond that.  After all, I knew that I would get to see him everyday, if only briefly, and that all of this is for a very, very good reason.  I didn't realize how much he really would be relying on me, and I definitely did not think about how it would affect the girls.   It took only until the end of Week 1, Day 1, for me to recognize the oversight.  He didn't get home until just before the girls' bed time, and waited only long enough to eat some dinner before going to bed.  When she realized that he was going to crash without playing with them, or even without putting them to bed first, Elora just burst into tears.  It was a wake-up call for me: Brandon and I aren't the only people in the equation anymore.  The lesson has only been reinforced over the past week.  Not only are they really missing their Daddy, but I know they have to be picking up on the stress that he and I are under.  They're fighting a bit more, and are a little quicker to tears.  Elora has been having accidents again.  Kaylie's speech seems to have back-slid a bit.

I'm trying not to let the huge positive of his achievement get lost in the difficulties we're facing now.  I keep reminding myself that all of this is really a very good thing, and that the current situation isn't going to last forever.  Brandon will be officially pinned as a Chief in mid-September, and then things will slow down and pretty much go back to the way that they were--except that he will be a Chief.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Summer Visit with Oma, Part 2

We went to the Virginia Aquarium on Monday, the day before Momma had to go back.

Their changing exhibit is a butterfly garden, showing all the various stages of a butterfly's life cycle.  They had caterpillars crawling around in little terrariums, and a case full of cocoons in addition to all the butterflies fluttering around the garden.  The case is checked twice daily, and any butterflies that have emerged from their cocoons are released.  (I'm not sure when the exhibit ends, it just says "through August" on the website.  It's worth checking out, for the locals!)

We saw only 3 different kinds, though I'm sure there were more. I almost stepped on this little brown one as I was taking pictures of the others, he was so well camouflaged with the leaves.  Momma warned me that it was there, but I still didn't see it until she physically pointed it out to me.

We didn't spend any time looking at the informational exhibits,  focusing instead on all of the animals.  The girls enjoyed watching the harbor seals making laps around their pool right outside the entrance to the aquarium itself.

Personally, I had more fun watching my mom and the girls than I did the animals.

So many of the areas are so dark that it's really hard to get good pictures...

The turtle tank.  This one in particular was very friendly.  He (she?) swam right by us several times in a row, as if to say 'hi'.

The sting ray tank.  Both girls had their hands in all the way up past their elbows, and Kaylie's hair was falling in the water.  I'm sure she would have been happy to just get in there and play with the rays!!

When we left the aquarium, we detoured by the Cheesecake Factory in downtown Virginia Beach for some cheesecake.  I left mom in the car with the girls and ran in for a few slices to take home and share.  Man oh, man.  So good.

Of course, we did more than the zoo and the aquarium.  Mom and I went out for lunch, pedicures and shopping on Saturday.  Saturday night, Mom stayed with the girls so that Brandon and I could have a date night for our anniversary.  Sunday, we took the girls to see Monsters University.  Not to mention the down time, just hanging out at home.  It was all so much fun!  I'm so glad that Momma got to come up and hang out with us for a week!  One day, we'll live closer and get to see each other more often, but in the mean time, these visits are a treasure.  :)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Summer Visit with Oma, Part 1

My mom came up for a week in the middle of July.  I didn't take as many pictures as I should have--Of the 7 days that she was here, I have pictures from only three--but I do have some to share.  She flew up on the 9th, and we were very, very glad to see her.  Elora barely left her side.

Momma's been doing the superman thing with the little ones since I was a little one.  She also puts them up on her feet, and flips them from her knees over her head.  She said that Elora is the first one to ever try flipping backwards.

Unfortunately, I was not able to get the whole week off from work.  The annual inventory was scheduled for the morning of the 12th, and since mom was there to stay with the girls, I went in both that morning and the one before it, to help.  So, knowing that those 2 days would be out for going and doing, we took advantage of the days we did have free.  We went to the zoo:

The kids got to play in the water again, which was great.  It was really hot that day!  I should have worn a swim suit as well, so I could cool off too.

Our friends met us there:  Rebekah and "Big" James, and Lydia and "Little" James.

The girls were in rare form that day, especially Kaylie.  I could get Elora to stay put by one of the fountains, but Kaylie was all over the place.  I was going a little crazy trying to keep an eye on them both.  At least until Kaylie threw a tantrum over returning a toy to another family, and I put her in time out, over by Momma and Aunt Bekah, who had given up on the fountains in favor of the shade.

She ended up being distracted first by the birds fluttering around in the areas behind them, and then by all the fun games on her Oma's phone.  We went to get lunch not long after that, and then walked around to visit the animals.

Oma's phone was in high demand.  It got put away during lunch, and then it was Elora's turn.  Why the phone was more exciting than the zoo, I have no idea.  Miss Kaylie continued to be in her funk for the rest of the day.  Maybe she was working on molars?  Maybe it was the heat?  Or maybe it was just that she's two.

The baby giraffe was out and about with its parents.  It's so stinking cute!  Just like a tiny version of the adults, but brighter and fuzzier.

The last thing we did was to visit the tigers.  Momma absolutely adores tigers!  We only got to see one of them, being lazy in the shade, and I didn't get any pictures.  She had to settle for pictures of the statue.  :)

We went to the aquarium, too, but I'm thinking that maybe I ought to make that another post.  Stay tuned.  :)