Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A New School, A New Year of Learning

Hunter and Courtney started the 4th and 2nd grades last Wednesday, August 25th. They seem to love their new school and teachers and we all enjoy the walk to and from school each morning and afternoon. (We are looking forward to cooler temperatures for the walk, however!) Sweet baby Gray is bored out of his mind and ready for his school to start. On Thursday, we get to meet his new teachers and then he will begin next Tuesday, after Labor Day.
Chad continues to work hard and enjoys operating at Duke. We are adjusting to his new role as a fellow and are surprised that 2 months of training have already passed! I am enjoying taking care of our new house although there is a lot more to clean and a lot to balance with Chad's long hours and the kids' busy schedules. I would not trade what I get to do, though. We've enjoyed visits from both sets of grandparents this summer and look forward to the next time they come. We have felt the loss of not having my little brother and parents right around the corner, so any time we can see our family is a blessing!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

One look says it all..

So this year has not been easy. If you have been reading this blog for any period of time, you are probably familiar with the many changes that have taken place in our lives. Graduation from residency, active duty change of station for Chad (which meant a family separation), deployment to the Middle East, selling our family home of 9 years, and moving to a new state for Chad's fellowship at Duke. This year is just one of many that have we have survived by God's grace on this journey of Chad's training to become a cardiothoracic surgeon. I have often joked with Chad and asked him, "Are you sure you don't want to be a professor at a university with a 'normal' schedule?!?" or "Are you sure you want to be a surgeon?!?" If you know me, you know my heart is for my husband to use his God-given gifts and fulfill the purpose He has for Chad's life. But, my selfish side does wish some times that this road was not what it has been or that it was easier. I have recently been challenged to embrace the fact that we are not called to live a life of ease or comfort; there are sacrifices to be made in order to honor the Lord and follow His plan for our lives. For us, that means many nights without Chad, family separations for military duty, and saying goodbye to family and friends as we move to different locations for Chad's training and Navy commitments. Some days, I have asked myself if it is really worth it...While I know I will always struggle with what this calling requires of Chad and by default, our family, I was privileged recently to see the look on my sweet husband's face when he came home from work and shared his excitement about getting to "finally operate on the heart"! There is nothing like getting to see a dream fulfilled for the person you love most in the world. It makes the moves, the late nights, the last minute change of plans, etc., etc., etc. worth it all! This past year is just one small piece of the puzzle that God continues to put together for our family. I am so thankful I know He has a plan for us and our best interest at heart. I hope you enjoy the pictures of Chad with the kids...he is definitely a "hot" commodity in this house!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Adjusting to Civilian Life...

We are still hanging in there, adjusting to having Chad home, a new house, new city, new church, and new job. Chad began his fellowship at Duke with orientation yesterday. Although he is still on active duty with the Navy, he is enjoying being off the ship and having the freedom to walk outdoors, visit stores and restaurants as he chooses and of course, spend time with us. I thought the deployment was hard, but truly, adjusting to life as a "complete" family living under one roof has not been any easier! Plus, his first weekend back in surgery and he is on call...on the 4th of July, no less! We knew there would be adjustments to all the changes, but really had no idea how quickly life would unfold around us. From car problems to stolen wallets and paperwork delays with his medical license, life truly has been a struggle the last three weeks. The only thought that keeps me going is knowing that while many things that have happened caught me by surprise and "threw me for a loop", nothing happened that caught God by surprise and nothing throws HIS plans into a tailspin! I am thankful that in my non-emotional moments, I remember this. :-)
I hope that as our family comes to your mind, you will remember us in your prayers. The next three years will be a busy, intense time for Chad as he completes his training and fulfills his dreams of being a CT surgeon. I am proud of him and excited for the opportunities that are ahead of us. (I do hope, though, that those plans do not include another deployment or out-of-state move...hey, a girl can dream, right?!?!)

Friday, June 11, 2010

A hero returns...

Today is the day we have been waiting for...Chad is coming home! Although our plans have changed and he will not be here in NC when we thought, we have adapted and if everything goes smoothly, we will see him this evening in Virginia! I guess it is a good thing I have learned to "go with the flow"!
I know my posts have been lacking, but moving with three kids has taken all of my energy and time, but with great results. Every box is unpacked and things are put away except for the few boxes that have Chad's medical books, supplies, etc. in them that I need his help with. We have furniture in most of the bedrooms with more deliveries to be made next week. Things are really coming together and the house is beautiful...I am so thankful for it. We are really excited for Chad to finally see it.
This has been a long, hard year, and one that I do not wish to live again any time soon. I would have never made it without the "behind the scenes" help I received from some very special people. I cannot go another day without mentioning the people who held me up, supported me, and encouraged me along the way. While there are many people I could mention, there are a few people who were there at every turn for me, on a weekly and daily basis.
First, our good friends from church, Tim and Liz Myers, and their three precious kids: Carter, Emma, and Ben. The Myers helped get the kids to and from AWANAS each week, so I could have an evening break once a week. There were so many weeks when sweet Liz would have six kids in the van, with a smile on her face, waving good bye, so I could enjoy some quiet time. I am so thankful to the Myers for all the meals, phone calls, encouragement, and support during this year. Most of all, the sweet friendship we developed. And, I can't forget to mention Tim's help loading our moving truck a few weeks ago with my dad...He had worked an evening shift in the ER and had to work again the night he helped us, but he showed up and made things go very quickly. I know my sweet daddy was as relieved he showed up as I was!
And then there are my parents...there really are no words to thank them for everything they have been to me and the kids this year. People talk about military families, the men, women, and children directly involved with a service man or woman, but there are so many more "unsung heroes" who never get mention for all they do. I wish I had kept a list of all the trials my parents faced with me, but I will always remember, in my heart, their countless sacrifices, hours of support, love, and hard work for our family. They helped drive me back from Virginia when my heart was completely broken in January and helped me pack and move TWO times. There was never a hesitation or "no", but always a "yes, what can we do?" Mom and dad, thank you for everything...I love you and as the kids would say, "you're the best!"

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Wrapping our Nashville things up...

This past week has brought many things to a close for us here in Nashville. Dance is over for Courtney, AWANAS is over at church, Hunter finished jujitsu at his gym of 4.5 years, and today was our last Sunday at our church. There are lots of changes taking place and new beginnings are just around the corner!
Leaving our friends at Nashville MMA was actually one of the hardest things for me and Hunter. That gym has been a part of our family's weekly life for years now and Hunter learned some very important lessons there (me too!). We made friends we would have never made and we discovered the value of marital arts, which Hunter now loves! He does plan to continue his training in North Carolina and much to our surprise, a new gym has opened near our home (about 7 minutes away!) that has been highly recommended by our current Senseis. We are very excited about this opportunity for Hunter. (These pictures are from Hunter's last night. We will never forget Sensei Floyd or his family...good people!)
We have had several good bye dinners with friends in the last week and tomorrow evening, we are going to a special picnic program for Courtney's first grade class. She has a speaking part and a singing solo, so my parents and I are very excited to see the performance. I have been told it is precious and to bring my tissues...I will definitely be recording this for Chad!
The house is nearly packed and ready to go. The next few days will be busy, but knowing each day brings Chad one day closer to home keeps me going. The daydreams about seeing him walking towards us in the airport are happening more frequently...there is a lot of excitement in our house even though we feel sad about leaving Nashville. Daddy being with us is better than living in Nashville without him ANY DAY ;-)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Hunter's Brick for AR...

For those of you who have not seen this on facebook, here is Hunter's brick he had painted in honor of Chad. Granbery Elementary, Hunter and Courtney's school, encourages the students to participate in Accelerated Reader. There are various steps and incentives along the way to earning 150+ points and getting a brick painted anyway they like in the school's library. Hunter and Courtney have both earned free books this year. Additionally, Hunter has been to a pizza party and recently, was awarded his "brick" along with an invitation to the "AR Bash".
Earlier this school year, Hunter was convinced he would have the brick painted with the "Ghostbuster" symbol and a karate gi to represent two things he really loves. When he earned his 150 points, however, he changed his mind and came up with a design of an aircraft carrier and the America flag. This is his tribute to Chad and his time on the USS Eisenhower; what a legacy for Hunter to leave at Granbery as we prepare to move to North Carolina. Chad and I are very proud of Hunter's hard work and touched by his thoughtfulness towards Chad's service.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

We are safe...

Many of you have emailed, called, or written me via Facebook, so I thought I would take a moment to update here and let everyone know we are safe and dry. Unfortunately, much of our beautiful Nashville is not safe or dry, but submerged under several feet of water. The rains moved in so quickly that even my mom, Courtney, and I had a few scary moments getting home Saturday afternoon from a trip to the mall. This year has brought us weather conditions we have never seen and hopefully, ever will again. In January and February it was freezing temperatures, ice, and snow. Now it is rains, floods, and high waters. We have missed two more days of school and tomorrow will be day three from this weather event. There is no word yet on when or how we will make these days up; we just finished making up the snow days last Wednesday!
On a different note, I signed and mailed off the papers on our new house, so we are now home owners again! Three weeks from this Thursday, and the kids and I are NC bound. We are excited, but mostly about daddy coming home...the house is secondary!