Thursday, September 17, 2009

Monterey Bay

We recently took a trip to the Monterey, CA to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium. They have a new seahorse exhibit that I was especially excited about and I knew Kaitlyn would love it there.

These two little faces just melt my heart. I love early morning pictures, a new day...full of opportunity for mischief!

Here's Daddy trying to get some sleep with our two little ruffians making that a bit difficult.

She loved watching the divers feed the fish and sharks. She watched the entire time and at the end the diver waved right at her before ascending, she was thrilled.

Face to face with a seahorse.

You have to do something like this when you go somewhere fun. The quintessential corny souvenir photo is just plain fun. Try it, you'll like it!

Please note what's on her dress...otherwise all my efforts will be futile. Plus my husband didn't think it was that cool and I was thrilled, seriously. The life of a mother!

See that thing that looks like a plant? It's a seahorse. Who knew there were that many different kinds of seahorses? Plus, seahorse males carry and give birth. Now that's a world I could learn to live in!

Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11 (and the beginning of Our Story)

I posted on facebook this morning that not many words can express how I feel today...but that's not really true. After some reflection I always end up at the same place on this day every year. Reveling in the fact that this one day in history, changed my life forever in SO many ways.

I know this day changed us all, and the change is different for each. Some became more thankful for what they have here, in this amazing country, some vowed to protect our country from attacks from that day on, joining the armed forces or law enforcement and some made the ultimate sacrifice fighting for not only Americans, but people around the world.

I was 18 years old and had just graduated from high school that June. My friend Carrie called me at 9:30am and woke me up. I was 9:30am. Just thought I would mention I did that once upon a time. Anyway, she called around 9:30...


"The World Trade Center was attacked!"

"The what?"

"The Twin Towers just fell!"


"In New York City"


"Just turn on your TV!!!

"Ok bye"

This was when I had time to have long drawn out phone conversations. :)

Let me just take this opportunity to say I am a California girl born and raised and had no idea what the World Trade Center was. Call me sheltered if you must but it's the truth. Comprehending what was happening was a bit more difficult for me than other perhaps but it didn't take long. I went to work that night and the customers sat at the bar and just stared at the TV. It was like the world was moving in slow motion. I don't remember talking to my husband that day, strangely enough. I know I must have, but it was a big day. A day that changed our lives. For something in my husband was determined that day. Determined to fight whoever did it, and to fight all who would dare to try it again.

My husband had thought about joining the Marine Corps long before 9/11, since he was a child actually. And although he will be known, along with thousands of others, as a "September 11th marine" the Lord put that on his heart and mind long before that terrible day. His decision to enlist, while shocking to me in many ways, seems like what he was destined to do. The one thing in his life he would have always wondered about, and I think, regretted not doing. September 11th helped him to realize his dream of serving our country, and he did.

He signed the papers in September of 2001 and was in boot camp by October. I will never know everything he went through in boot camp but I will say he came through to the other side a different person, a man. Everything about him seemed different to me. He was one of many, they all looked the same, they all acted the same. As time distanced him from that training he became more himself, although something was forever changed. I will always remember one morning while he was in SOI (School of Infantry) watching him put on his boots. He was so precise it looked almost robotic, he didn't even notice me watching him he was so intent on this task. I cannot describe what I felt, except to say I felt devastated, as if the person I knew before had been replaced. I got in my car to drive, and cried most of the way home.

The next few years would be full of milestones for us. The day I turned 19 years old Ben asked me to marry him. The wedding was planned for nine months later. The day after the invitations were set to go out I called my step mom to ask if she had mailed them. She told me that she hadn't and that she was in the process of getting stamps on them and apologized. I told her not to send them; Ben was going to Iraq. After many months of dates coming and going the day really did come. I drove him to the base and somehow we said our goodbyes. When I got home from dropping him off I found a note written on the mirror in the bathroom. It read "I am coming home to marry you."

To Be Continued...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Kaitlyn's First Day of Preschool!

How is it possible that my baby is in PRESCHOOL? While I contemplate that, here are some pictures from our day...

Getting ready to leave

Her big girl backpack. It's huge. But it's princess and she loves it.

I love walking her to school. My dad used to walk me to school everyday. Isn't it strange when you do something with your children that your parents used to do with you as a child? That sense of nostalgia is enough to make me laugh and cry all at once.

As we made our way to the school she was running and screaming "Faster, faster, more, more!!!" Then she told me her stomach felt funny and she needed to stop running. Isn't that a nice story?

She obliged me long enough to hold still next to her Daddy and brother long enough for me to snap a picture.

I suppose the rest of my life will be filled with moments like these. Moments where I am smiling on the outside, and my heart is breaking just a little on the inside. I know it's going to be good...for both of us. I know why I am doing it. And I know she already loves it. But something about that independence, about that desire to explore her world and have new experiences, without me, makes my heart ache.

And there she goes. *sigh*