Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday Night Leftovers (McDonalds Kind of Night edition)

Friday!  Friday!
  • I was in heels today for approximately 8 hours today for the first time in a year & half.  I'm pretty sure that my feet look as bad as they feel right now.
  • Despite how my feet feel, it was was wonderful to get my professional brain working again today.  Seriously.  The cobwebs are dusted off.
  • If day 1 is any indication as to what I will be observing, leading, practicing, developing & implementing in the coming months as I prepare for the next step in my career... I'm in for an incredible experience with some very good leadership as my mentors.
  • Although I knew Thomas was having a blast at school & the girls would be well-taken care of... I couldn't help but think about what they were doing all day long without me.
  • Speaking of school, for the last 3 days when Thomas has gotten off the bus in the afternoons... I have gotten a huge hug & kiss from my baby boy when he sees me. *sigh*
  • The kids & I can't wait to make a middle-of-the-night-airport-run tonight to pick up Daddy from his trip.
  • With Brian home tonight & this emotional week behind me, I feel like by tomorrow I will be able to take off my game face, exhale & relax {at least a bit}.
  • It doesn't happen very often at all in my house, but tonight just had to be a McDonalds kind-of-night for dinner.  We topped it off with 3 M&M McFlurries... just because we could.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

1st Day of School

1st day of school:
(2011) PreK and (2012) Kindergarten

 Someone requested donuts for a special breakfast this morning - so I obliged yesterday when we were shopping.
 Liz & Thomas {and Abby close by}
 Look close.
Yes, this is a sweet moment that surprised me.
Thomas has his arms around Abby & they are just waiting together at the bus stop.

 Another sweet moment with his little sister

... and there goes my baby boy.
I was all smiles {for his sake, of course} while we were waiting for the bus & even when he got in line with all the kids.  But as soon as I opened my mouth and said, "Have a great day at school, Thomas," I felt the tears swell up in my eyes & my voice start to crack.  I didn't dare say another word as I watched him climb up the stairs onto the school bus.
The girls and I crossed the street and stood in our yard as the last few kids boarded the bus.  I searched the windows looking for where Thomas was sitting, but couldn't find him anywhere.  I had no idea where he was or who he was sitting with.  Here I was, watching my baby boy go off to school for the first time, and I couldn't even find his sweet face anywhere in the crowd on the bus.  My heart ached.  Seriously.
And then, to my surprise, Thomas showed his face through one of the center windows & started waving goodbye to me.  He was smiling.  He was happy & looked excited.  Oh my.  I won't even lie... the tears started falling down my face.  I was so happy to be able to say goodbye to him as he rode off down the road in the yellow school bus.

Copy Cat

It is expected to happen.
We knew it would happen.
It was sure to happen.
In almost everything she does, Marilyn copies what Thomas & Abbigail do.
Face it.  She's a copy cat.
The bathroom routine.

 Climbing on the bed...
 ... and then jumping & dancing!
 And even sliding down the stairs (like they taught her) on her butt because she thinks its hilarious to go, "boom, boom, boom" all the way down.

At the ripe old age of 15 months, she is exploring, doing, imitating, and learning every day.
But, yes, she's a copy cat.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Big Man on Campus

In honor of this week's big do'ins in our house.
Wednesday here we come!

On the Inside

Despite having grown up as a military "brat" myself, I didn't know when I married this wonderful man, me & my family would be a part of his sacrifice, as well.  I didn't know this military life would be so painful, so joyful, so difficult --- and yet so meaningful.

As I recently got news from some dear friends about upcoming deployments their spouses will be on and also a PCS to a new base, I have thought about what it has been like for the last 8 years as a military spouse, being on the inside.  My heart is with those friends and their families that will have to endure many, many months of separation from their loved ones and those who will also be starting over & starting fresh at a new duty station.  It is the camaraderie of military spouses, like these ladies, that has been one of my saving graces as me & my family have endured these same experiences in these last few years.
   - Me & Laura visiting, 2010 (stationed together at Lajes Field, Azores 2004-06)
  - Me & Nicky, 2010 (co-workers & military friends) Hurlburt Field, FL

 - April 2010, Welcome Home!
So many things come to mind that are unique to being a military spouse and/or living the military lifestyle - "first kisses" over and over after TDYs and deployments, losing weight while your spouse is deployed & debuting your new self upon return, the sense of accomplishment that comes with "holding down the fort," being able to "read" another military family's house immediately when you walk in for the first time, watching your children glow with excitement during a Skye call on the computer with Daddy, watching your spouse so carefully roll their uniform pants leg around those blousing straps, attending the Annual Air Force Ball, knowing your spouse's "last four" without hesitation, always stocking up on flat-rate shipping boxes to send overseas, and flying Space-A on military aircraft. 
 - Air Force Ball, 2005

There are just so many memories, experiences, and daily happenings that have shaped how our family is, what are values & priorities are, and how we live each and every day wanting to make the most of it while we are together. 

You know you are a military spouse when…

·         You’ve been in a house for one or two years and start to think it’s time to move.

·         All in a week’s time, you can pack up a household of furniture; pile 3 kids, 12 suitcases into truck; drive all the way across the country continent; and still greet your spouse lovingly.

·         People say, “I don’t know how you handle the military lifestyle,” and you say, “I couldn’t imagine my life any other way.”

·         Your husband just left for TDY and the radiator blows up on the car and the washing machine dies.

·         You start to tell the movers the correct way to pack your moving boxes.

·         Your heart races when you hear the doorbell ring unexpectedly during a deployment.

·         You just spent your second wedding anniversary in a row alone.

·         You have five different address changes in eight years, and you are not running from the law.

·         If you have a power of attorney, you USE IT, and freak out when it expires.

·         You know all of your spouse’s co-workers by their last name and rarely know their first name.

·         You write only in pencil because EVERYTHING is subject to change.

·         Military homecomings on TV bring tears to your eyes because you can relate so well.

·         You don’t bat an eyelash at 2245 and 0300 duty times.

·         You check your email multiple times an hour in hopes that your spouse has e-mailed you, and you know how horrible email being “down” is.

·         You wouldn’t dream of going anywhere without your cell phone.

·         You can hold down the fort while your spouse is deployed or TDY.

·         You know better than to shop the Commissary on the first or fifteenth day of the month.

·         You’ve slept with a laptop.

·         You refer to everyone not in the military, married to the military, or dating someone in the military as a “civilian.”

·         You have a large collection of different size and color window treatments (from all of your PCS moves).

·         You remember milestones by duty stations.
 - July 2005, our military dog, Booker T.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Float Planes @ Lake Hood

With only a few beautiful {and pretty warm days left in the season}, the kids and I headed over to Lake Hood today to see the float planes landing & taking off and to also enjoy a picnic lunch! 

 The kids and I were there for about 1.5 hours and I was amazed at how many planes we got to see.  I guess I'm not surprised at all that operating continuously and open to the public, Lake Hood is the world's busiest seaplane base, handling an average of 190 flights per day.
 Not only were there running/walking trails almost the entire perimeter around the Lake, but there were also some great little pull off areas every few hundred yards that were convenient to get out of the car, sit by the water {or throw some rocks into the water in the case of the 3 youngest Hecks} and take in the action happening out on the lake.  The kids really loved the whole "little" plane thing, especially on the water.  It certainly reminded us of Grandpa Mike flying his Cessna plane.

 We also found a small park that was perfect for waving & saying hello to the pilots as they motored by, enjoying the swings, the water and our picnic lunch.