Tuesday, May 31, 2011

More Videos for Jesse

Ellie's New trick on Daddy's chair

Ellie eating with a fork but being surprised by a tomato

Ellie eating her dinner with a fork like a BIG girl

Ellie eating her lime that she couldn't put down for a second

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Videos for Jesse

The best way for Jesse to see videos of Ellie is through my blog, so I'm posting a few funny videos of her recently.

Grammie's game of chasing the ball with Ellie

Ellie walking in Mommy's shoes

Ellie & Kinsley hugging

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Civil Affars Graduation - The Goodbye

My last visit to Ft. Bragg, NC was with Jesse's parents (Ellie stayed back in Knoxville with my Mom who so graciously watched her for 2 full days). We went over for Jesse's graduation from the Civil Affairs qualification course that Jesse had to take to be in this new branch and to also be able to go on the deployment. Jesse was 2 points away from being in the top 20% of the class, but he was totally fine with it seeing how he finished writing 2 HUGE doctorate papers for UTK during this class. We came in the day before the ceremony and had the afternoon and evening with him. It was great to have a double dinner date with his parents of adult time and just be able to focus on Jesse. I was able to spend the evening with him so we could have some quality time together and get geared up for this next year apart. The next day, we went to Jesse's graduation ceremony and saw him get his certificate. They also had a really good speaker, a retired Army Civil Affairs officer who had a ton of experience in this branch.

We checked out of our hotel rooms and did a few errands before going to Schlotsky's for lunch (a Cragwall favorite)! We took Jesse home and said our goodbyes and got back on the road to Knoxville. I'm so thankful Glenn and Karen were there because it forced me to not grieve for too long and have some support to move on. Jesse and I have said goodbye a lot to each other the last 2 months and it was one of the hardest things I've had to do when I had to leave him, but I know God has a plan for this deployment and our time apart. We have really talked about wanting to glorify God in this time away from each other and not just put our lives on hold for a year. I have a great support system of friends and family here and I know we will be taken care of. I worry more for Jesse's safety, but I have confidence in him as a soldier and know he will make great decisions when needed. He's a great leader and really wants to take care of the guys he is around. So, pray for his safety and time over there, but also pray for our communication as a family and for our time apart to glorify God. I LOVE MY SOLDIER!!!

17 Months Old

Yep - another month has passed! Ellie is growing up so fast these days. This past month feels like it's gone by faster than the rest with all the trips we had, goodbyes and visitors. With Jesse out of town for training, starting a routine hasn't been as easy with the trips we have taken to see him. Ellie has done really well at adapting to new places - I can't complain! We've had a weird eating spell and some toddler tantrums have begun, but overall she's such a happy baby girl and pretty easy to take care of. I do think that she knows that Daddy is gone and things are a little different. Ellie has added some new words to her vocabulary like "eyes", "ice cream", "cookies", "my ball", "bow", and a few others. Of course, they don't exactly sound like the way we would say them, but they definitely get the point across. It's been fun to look back at previous posts to see what changes she has made -so glad I've kept track of it. Until next month...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New Summer Job

During the school year, I teach College Success 1500 at Pellissippi State. BUT, I have gotten a summer job to fill the months I'm not teaching and keep me busy a few hours a week during Ellie's Mother's Day Out program. I have been contracted out to do academic advising for Pellissippi State! When I was job searching, my top job choice was to do academic advising at UTK, but that didn't pan out for me. That's when I started teaching part-time, but little did I know that I could also do advising! It's a job that I love to do, primarily because it is DETAILS, DETAILS and some more DETAILS! I have a lot to learn, but training started for me today and I am really looking forward to doing it. So, YAY for a summer job! :)

Visits to Daddy at Ft. Bragg

Jesse left right before Easter to go to Ft. Bragg for a Civil Affairs Qualification Course that he has to pass before being deployed as a Civil Affairs Officer (check out his blog that he revived for this deployment - http://www.realtnvolunteer.blogspot.com/). He only has had Sunday each week as his day off, so we decided that ANY day that we could spend with him, Ellie and I would be there. SO, I packed up the car for the last 2 weekends and took Ellie for a nice 6 hours drive to Ft. Bragg, NC. Ellie did ok the first trip down, but adjusted much better this past weekend. Sleeping in the same hotel room with us was a first and she wanted to stay up as long as she could to see what all was going on. Naps were tough for her to take, but overall she did pretty well for the short trips we made. Best purchase ever - a DVD player for the car so she could watch Boz videos. So, here are some pictures of our quality time with Captain Cragwall!

Tickle Time with Daddy

Playground Time Visit #1

Playground Time Visit #2

Friday, May 6, 2011

Easter Sunday

This year, we had to spend Easter without Jesse so my parents came up to celebrate! My parents dyed eggs with her on Saturday along with delivering some presents from the "Easter Bunny". Some of those gifts were some great books and a dvd of Boz, her favorite! Ellie wanted to put her hands in the dye so badly, but decorating them with stickers was even more fun!

Easter morning, mommy and daddy's "Easter Bunny" came to deliver some more Boz dvds and some books, but of course the bubbles were the biggest hit. We got Ellie ready for church in her adorable dress and got everyone to church on time. :)

My dad flew back to FL right after the service and mom stayed to help me host a luncheon for our small group families that don't have family close by. We even had a little egg hunt in the back yard and enjoyed visiting. Ellie & Kinsley Schaefer get along really well and had fun playing together.

What I enjoyed most about Easter this year is that the story was much more real in my mind from our year and half study of John at church and with our small group. The details of the story were so fresh in my mind of what happened to Christ and the appreciation of what He did for us was incredibly real and overwhelming. Thank you Lord for doing all you did to save someone like me. I am so grateful!


Lilypie Third Birthday tickers