Tuesday, July 28, 2009

One month

One month ago today, Andrew left.

In lieu of the weekly deployment picture as I had planned, I decided to do a monthly family picture - much more reasonable. So there we are a month ago, and here we are today.

What has changed? I have a newer haircut (which I love, although you wouldn't be able to tell from that picture of having just walked in the door from the gym). Unfortuantely, I weigh exactly the same...oops. (Good thing I have 3 more months until Operation Beautiful Wife comes to a conclusion.) I have a deeper appreciation for family, friends, and prayer. I have gotten back into the habit of reading and am currently devouring Jane Eyre. I go to the gym every day. I hate the hot weather and it makes me irritable.

Leighton is closer to walking and cuter than ever. He signs "dog" ALL the time. Yesterday we walked past a car in our gym parking lot with 2 dogs in it. Today when we walked past the same spot, he remembered and signed dog. He also signs "airplane" and waves hi and bye. I know, a little more of a limited vocabulary that his sister had at this age. But he is much more active than she was - he is always climbing into the dishwasher and getting into all the cabinets, which is new to me. He is a handful. He still adores his sisters and just stares at her all day. While he's sitting in his highchair, she'll dance around and talk to him, and he just soaks it up.

Eva's attitude is worse every day, and some days I feel like all I do is discipline and say no and try to teach her better behavior. But she is also sweeter and my best friend on days when I miss Andrew the most. She demands attention - when Leighton was whining at dinner the other day, she yelled, while pointing to her chest, "Bubba, it's about ME!" As incredulous as I was at her brattiness, I couldn't help but laugh - especially when Leighton tried to imitate her. The last couple days she has taken to tackling him and laying on top of him. I stopped it the first couple times, until I discovered that he likes it. So I let her wrestle with her poor, beat-on brother.

Andrew, as you can tell, looks incredibly handsome in his giant, nerdy headphones. Thanks to his current desk job, we have been able to talk to him every day, and sometimes twice. It won't last more than a few more days, so we have been taking advantage of the frequent contact. The kids LOVE talking to him on Skype.

We had a pretty eventful month. Almost 2 weeks in Houston and a week with the Webbs here, plus a few extra days with Mikael. (Eva misses Moochie!) We have had the hottest indoor weather we've experience in our lives so far. We've had a few awesome trips to the farmers' market. 4 Single-Mom Sundays, which I am surviving.

Here is a summary of our ONE month of deployment so far:

One group of visitors, one trip to Seattle, one trip to Northwest Trek, one go-round of the stomach flu, one horrendous plane ride to Houston, one LONG heat wave, one permanent-marker-on-the-carpet incident, one trip to the mall where Eva shoplifted a headband, one broken glass cup that shattered all over the kitchen, one first birthday, one day at an amusement park, one barbecue with friends, one messy house, one sweaty mama, one happy boy, one vivacious girl, one Skype camera, one month of missing Daddy...but still one happy family.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Back to business

I've spent the last 10 days hanging out with 15 of my favorite people in the world for Webb Girls' Week 2009. I was lucky enough to have them come party at my house, and I LOVED having them here.

But now the fun is over; I just dropped Mikael off at the airport this afternoon. I feel like I'm in shock, in a way. It's been so long since I've done my normal things like plan meals and grocery shop for 3 and clean my house. My house is empty (not to mention about 200 degrees. WHY didn't I put in AC again??) and it's just the kids and me. I'm feeling totally overwhelmed that, at least for another 2 weeks, my vacation is over and it's back to normal. Back to work. Thanks to everyone for coming; I miss you all. If you ever get bored of your own houses, come back to mine! It's boring without you.

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Monday, July 13, 2009


I am not a finisher.

There have been countless things in my life that I have left unfinished. Books. Diets. Laundry. Online classes. Dishes. Journals. Conversations.

A few things I've finished of my own choice. High school. College. A 5K. (Barely made that one.)

And then there have been a few things that I have been forced into finishing. Pregnancy, for one. (I was incredibly grateful for healthy babies, one in particular who WAY overstayed her welcome in my body.) Chores.

And now it comes down to this. The hardest thing I've ever done in my life: Andrew's deployment. Whether I will finish it, I have no choice. He will be gone the full 4 months whether I like it or not. My choice lies in what I do about that. I can kick and scream and complain and cry, or I can hold my head high and do with dignity what needs to be done. I would love to say at the end of this, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." (2 Tim. 4:7)

I'm now two days past our mark of the longest Andrew and I have ever been apart. And I have to say, I feel like I'm doing remarkably well. I haven't had a single moment where things got so hard with the kids that I couldn't do it anymore. I haven't cried myself to sleep or fallen into the depths of depression like I thought I might.

But it's certainly not due to my own strength; it's those ministering angels that I was promised would watch over me. I have yet to feel abandoned or helpless. Although we're only 16 days into this deployment, with plenty more to go, I'm feeling good. I'm living proof that "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Phil. 4:13)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Love at home

Another stressful flight was ending, and our plane was descending down over Tacoma. I could see the neighborhoods dotted with the beautiful green trees. Not a cloud in the sky as we circled around to land. As I looked out the window, I couldn't help but tear up as two words kept running through my mind. "We're home."

I love my home. I love my plants full of fruits and vegetables, and even my brown lawn that will, once again, need to be resurrected through alot of love and care. I love the smell of my house. I love the colors of my walls. I love being on a schedule. I love having things to do, like grocery shopping and playgroups and meal planning. I love my calling. I love my friends.

I love how Leighton was so happy to be back that he just crawled around, exploring and babbling and laughing to himself. I love cooking in my kitchen. I love the map on our upstairs wall with Andrew's pins marking all his travels. I love leaving the windows open at night. I even love my perpetually dirty kitchen floor.

I love that I found Andrew's laundry still sitting on the top of the dryer and the bowl to the ice cream maker still sitting in the sink. (If I move those things, then he's REALLY gone...so I may just leave that laundry there for another 4 months. Just kidding, honey...I'll put it away before you get home.)

I love Washington weather. I love my minivan. I love my clean, organized garage. I love the little hummingbird feeder Andrew hung in the backyard, which has yet to attract any birds at all. I love my bathtub. I love sleeping in my own bed with 2 body pillows, even if it is lonely. I love everything about where I live.

Leaving was fun, but coming home is amazing. I feel peaceful and whole again. It's good to be home.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Farewell, Houston.

We're about to hop on a plane and head home. I am praying the flight home will go smoother than the flight here. If only I could just snap my fingers and transport us back home with no traveling whatsoever. If you hear any screaming and crying coming from somewhere in the sky, don't worry - it's just us flying overhead.
We won't miss the sticky heat of this place, but we will certainly miss our family.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Happy first birthday, Leighton!

{Daddy wished his boy a happy birthday over Skype this year}
This boy is growing up faster than I can keep up with. Whereas many mothers feel sad at the passing of the first year, I celebrate the 12-month mark with enthusiasm. (As you may remember, babies are not my preferred type of human.) So as the infant and baby stages pass and the little boy stage approaches, I am thrilled.

However, I truly can't believe how fast it passed. The second year of life, from my limited experience, is my absolute favorite time. More personality with every passing day...Leighton is definitely not lacking in that department.

As I carried him up to bed tonight, he played a fake laughing game with me. He did his second real sign tonight at dinner (his first sign was "airplane," if you can believe that!) for "more." He makes us all so happy, and I'm glad he's ours to love. Happy Birthday, Buster Boonies. I love you like crazy.

Monday, July 6, 2009


-It's hot. Beyond hot. And with my intense hatred of sweating, I am having a grand time. UGH. I love WA all the more.
-The plane ride here was HELL. There is no other way of putting it. All my fears of flying with two kids alone were completely justified, and more. I am terrified for our journey home at the end of the week.
-We have now all 3 suffered from the flu. The throwing up kind, not the swine kind. I detest vomiting more than I detest sweating. All this laundry, and I'm not even at my own house.
-A wonderful, and probably my most meaningful, 4th of July ever. I felt especially touched (and bawled my head off) at the neighborhood's mini parade's presentation of the national anthem. I feel so proud to be married to one of our country's heroes. (And Ali, thank you for your sweet and timely email. I love your guts.)
-Watched Eva form her deepest friendship of her life with cousin Ty. She is so sad now that he has gone home. So am I.
-Have been eating horribly. My normally healthy eating lifestyle is gone. As I knew it would be - healthy food isn't really a part of the Andersen household. But I kind of like it that way. And Bluebell ice cream? Our reunion was sweet indeed.
-Spent lots of time at the pool. I got burned the first day and have worn a t-shirt in the water ever since. I guess I'm past the point of life where a nice tan is important to me. A good farmer's tan, though, is my new specialty.
-Got to talk to Andrew this morning on Skype and saw his face for the first time in 8 days. He is growing a mustache, which is ugly. But he is more handsome than I remember and it gave me butterflies to talk to him - just like the old days of dating. See, deployment isn't all bad. :) I miss him like crazy.
-Have lots of pics to post but no motivation to do so on my family's computer. But I'm glad to be with my family for a good visit. I especially love seeing them with my kids. My blogging time has been taken over by swimming, vomiting, eating high fructose corn syrup, and enjoying my favorite people. Not a bad trade, wouldn't you agree?