Big news! We are moving again once Dan finishes his F-22 B Course... this time to...
Langley Air Force Base in Virginia!
We are so excited! We don't know ANYTHING yet, as in he graduates on August 24th and then has to go to SERE... and we assume we'll be moving AFTER his time at SERE (which I would prefer), so it'll likely be toward the end of September or beginning of October. This will be the 5th state we've lived in since getting married four years ago... it'll be Annabelle's 4th state to live in by age three... and, get this... Josephine's third state to live in before her first birthday!
It's a lot. But it's fun! We should be there for about three years, so it'll be our longest assignment so far. I'm excited to finally lay down some roots somewhere.
Can you believe that I never shared a single one of my weekly bumpdates on here the entire time I was pregnant with Josephine?! Crazy, right? I was diligent about sharing each and every one while I was pregnant with Annabelle. I feel a little terrible, but... second child syndrome, I guess. Sorry, Josie.
I do want to share them, though, but I don't want to bombard everyone with 30+ weeks worth of photos in separate posts... so I'll be sharing them ALL here today. I delivered at 37 weeks, so I'll be sharing weeks 5 through 36.
The pregnancy was anything but uneventful. The first half was normal... we found out she was a girl at 16 weeks, but then at our anatomy scan at 19 weeks, we found out she only had a single umbilical artery - or a two vessel cord! That happens in less than half of one percent of pregnancies, and we had to be monitored extra closely to make sure she didn't have any heart or kidney problems (she didn't / doesn't) and that she kept growing on track (she did) because those babies can be smaller. It also increased our chance of having a stillbirth by quite a bit, so I was going to be induced around 39 weeks anyway... but then at 30 weeks, I tested positive for pre-eclampsia, so the goal was to just get me to 37 weeks.
I had twice a week BPP ultrasounds. If she failed that, I had to do an NST immediately, which happened three times. I met with my OB once per week and the midwife on staff once per week. They did a growth ultrasound every three weeks. I had to go to the lab for blood work one time each week and 24 hour urine tests every three weeks. I was on modified bed rest, which my OB referred to as "chill out rest" because he met Annabelle at appointments and knew there was no such thing as bed rest with a husband in the military. It was so insane, and we utilized a lot of hourly care at the CDC during that time so I could rest.
I was induced at 36 weeks 6 days, and she was born at 37 weeks 1 day! It was a really tough second and third trimester due to stressing over those issues, but in the end, it all worked out. I was able to labor and deliver how I wanted for the most part (I'll share her birth story soon), and Josephine was born absolutely perfect, so all the craziness was 100% worth it!
Without further adieu...
Sorry about that! But I really want these to be documented here, even if it's just for my own personal benefit. Thanks for looking... or for pleasantly skipping over this post if it's not your kinda thing!
Josephine Jayne has been with us for a whopping five months now. That's crazy. One of these days soon, I'll share her birth story with you guys. But for now, I'll share the much shorter post about her name.
Just like Annabelle, we chose Josephine as a name that we just love. I'm particular and wanted a name with the same amount of syllables (three) that had a few good nickname options to match her sister's name. Josephine fit the bill perfectly, and it even has the same number of letters! Bonus! We can call her Jo, Joey, Josie, Pheenie, Sephie... lots of options! Right now, she's mostly just Josephine or Josie, but I really like Joey and JJ as well. We'll see what she morphs into as her personality changes.
Her middle name of Jayne was much easier for me. Dan took a little more convincing, but once he realized the significance, we went with it. My dad's name was Jay, and since we are never going to have a son, I realized we could turn his name into a feminine form and go with the normal "Jane" but add a 'y' into the middle. I'n not normally a fan of adding letters to names, but this just felt SO right. So perfect. I'm glad that Josephine will always carry her grandfather's name with her.
If you want to read about how we chose big sister Annabelle's name, click here. (Side note: we never call her Anna Kate like that post implies we would... we DO, however, call her Annie Kat sometimes!)
Somehow, I blinked, and my first baby turned 2.5 years old. This happened back at the beginning of March, and she's now closer to three than she is to two. And she sure has the attitude to show it!
Our little Annie finally has all of her teeth, but she is somehow STILL in pain. She has really struggled with those dang teeth, but we're hoping we're almost done dealing with them.
She's still super tall and super skinny! Lucky girl! But it's still tough finding clothes that fit her correctly. Thankfully, she's been really into dresses lately, so that's been a little easier. I just make her wear biker shorts underneath because she seems to always be upside down. I give her two choices every morning: first, she chooses if she wants a dress or shorts/pants and a shirt for the day. Then, once she chooses, I pull two of whatever she picks out, and she then chooses her outfit. She's can get undressed by herself completely, but she is just starting to be able to put her clothes on correctly. It takes her a while, but she's getting it.
Annabelle loves dancing, and she goes to ballet class once a week. She has a recital coming up in June that we are really excited about! She seems to be very musical as well - she sings all day every day and always asks for music to be playing if it's quiet in our house (or outside).
She is strong and quick and sassy. She throws tantrums like none other, but she also gives the very best hugs, kisses, and Ugga Muggas. She is still learning to follow directions quickly, but as long as we're not in a huge rush, she does okay. She likes baths again and asks for them daily. She is obsessed with Paw Patrol, Trolls, and Daniel Tiger. She colors with crayons or markers every single day.
Annabelle is the BEST big sister. She walks out of her room every morning saying, "Good morning, Josie!" and is almost always eager to give her kisses and throw away diapers for me.
We can't believe how much Annabelle has grown as a person lately. She's a little human with emotions (lots of them) and opinions (also lots of those), and we're hopeful that we can help guide her into the best person she can be.
I can't believe B Course is already about half way over. It seems like we just arrived in Florida, and now we *might* be getting ready to move again! We should find out around the end of this month (I'll believe it when I see it - ha!) if we are staying here at Tyndall AFB or moving to Langley AFB in Virginia, Hickam AFB in Hawaii, or Elmendorf AFB in Alaska.
Dan started B Course at the beginning of January, and he will graduate toward the end of August. He is really enjoying flying, but it is an exremely heavy workload. He is gone ALL DAY most days. If he flies in the afternoon, he isn't home until at least 7:00 but usually more like 8:00 or 8:30.
If he isn't flying, he's doing simulators or in class. He is ALWAYS busy. It's a good busy for him, but the girls and I wish he had a bit more time at home.
We love watching him from the front yard. If we know when he's taking off, we go outside and watch, and it is just really awesome knowing it's him up there! (See video at the end of this post for the view we have all the time!)
Dan has been able to take off with the afterburner a few times and always comes home so excited telling me about how amazing that is. He's also been able to refuel mid-air several times. To do that, they hook up with a KC-135 tanker. I'm hoping someday I'll be able to go on a spouse flight on the tanker and watch him refuel. Some squadrons do that, and I have my fingers crossed!
Time is flying by. I know how badly Dan wants to finish B Course and be a part of the "real" Air Force finally - he'll be deployable soon after, and with the way things are currently going in a certain part of the world, that makes me pretty uneasy... but it's what he's been training to do for what feels like forever!
Here's how cool his job is - and it's great being able to watch!
Dan Flying Over Our House - F-22 Raptor US Air Force - YouTube
Do you have any questions about pilot wife life? Or B Course? In general? I'd be happy to answer - just drop me a comment or send me an email!
On Thursday, February 22nd, 2018, Dan got to take the F-22 Raptor up in the air for the very first time! If you want to skip all the chatter, be sure to watch the one minute video of him taking off... it's at the very end of this post!
All flights are solo since it's a single seat jet, and let's just say I was terrified out of my mind. A friend took me up to the tower at Tyndall AFB (another pilot in Dan's class) so I could watch him take off, so luckily he was able to explain everything to me as it was happening.
As nervous as I was (and still am every day that he flies), I know he was more than prepared for this after all the simulated flights he's "flown" from the ground.
He had a blast and did well! He has since conquered a few phases of B Course and even refueled in the air with a tanker! So cool!
This is probably the neatest photo we have together - I'm obvious... but my stud of a husband is in that jet taxiing behind me! SO COOL.
Dan's First Flight in the F-22 Raptor B Course at Tyndall AFB - YouTube
Since it's been a while since I've given an Air Force life update, I'll write a separate post about that soon. It's hard to believe he's already about half way through B Course!
At the beginning of January, Dan FINALLY started B Course for the F-22 Raptor! This had been a long time coming, since he found out this is what he'd be flying last June at drop night! There are only two classes per year for the Raptor, though, and the last one started in July before he had completed IFF or Water Survival.
This is going to be a grueling nine months for him as he completes academics (now) and simulator training before finally flying the jet (probably in March) for the first time! Oh, and since it's a single seat jet, he'll be flying it completely solo for his very first (and every) flight! Ahh! I am going to be in panic mode that day, but hopefully I'll be able to go out and watch him take off!
Anyway, send good vibes for his training these next nine months and for my parenting ability for our two sweet girls since I'll be alone with them a lot of the time while he's busy training and studying!
(and in case you don't know what a Raptor looks like... here's one!)
Mid-December, when sweet baby Josephine was just two weeks old, we gathered what we'd need for two weeks and moved out of our home in Texas and into the TLF at Sheppard Air Force Base. We needed to get all of our belonging packed up and moved out so we could clean the house for our new tenants.
This is the first time we did not do a DITY move. In fact, we had people do almost everything for us, aside from Dan finishing up his home renovations - which turned out awesome, by the way, but that's a post for another day!
We had the movers pack and load up the truck, and we even hired someone to deep clean the house and another to clean the carpets - all things we've typically done ourselves. That just wasn't feasible with a toddler AND a newborn, though. Overall, our experience with the military moving us went much smoother that we imagined, but we still like that extra payout from DITY moves.
Half way through our TLF stay, the water heater leaked all over the laundry room, and we were forced to move into one of the MUCH older units across base. Lame. But it worked out okay... it was just a huge hassle to pack up all of our things (you have a LOT of stuff when you have two young kids, so I'm not exaggerating the hassle here), especially when we had plans to meet some people for dinner at a specific time. Yikes. That is a day I don't want to re-live.
Finally, we made it out of Texas, though, and started our trek to Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, Florida. Thank goodness for our camper because we were able to sleep in it each night instead of moving all of our stuff to a different hotel room each night. It was also nice for discretely nursing Josephine along the way. We could stop anywhere, and I'd just get in there with her and not have to worry about using one of our covers (that we actually LOVE, by the way, but we were still learning our breastfeeding relationship at this point - remember, she was VERY young still!)
On day one, we made it to Louisiana and spent the night. On day two, we drove through the rest of Louisiana and all of Mississippi and stayed in Alabama. We made it into Florida on the third day, had lunch with some friends along the way, and then made it to our home! It was late, and our stuff wouldn't be delivered until the next morning, so we actually parked our camper at the Fam Camp at Tyndall and stayed in it for one last night.
The next morning, our household goods arrived! (Quick - I know! It helps that it wasn't peak PCS season... and it also meant that we skipped our New Orleans adventure we had planned because they called and said it'd be there on Monday morning, and if we weren't there, it'd go into storage... that meant we'd be waiting for our bed (and more importantly, Annabelle's bed!), and it would have another opportunity to get lost or damaged... so we said okay and hightailed it to Florida, skipping our time in New Orleans.)
I really like our new home. We're just renting for the time being since B Course is only a nine month training. If we end up staying at Tyndall after he graduates, we'll want to buy somewhere in this area... but this house is totally great for what we need right now! And it's in the closest neighborhood to base (which is still a 15 minute commute for Dan each day... the city is weird).
I can't say that we're in love with Panama City... it's very different from what we assumed... BUT we're going to give it a fighting chance before we make that decision since the weather has been SO COLD (worse than it's been in 28 years, in fact, according to the news), and we haven't had time to go do anything fun... so we'll blame the "blegh" feeling on that for now and hope we end up enjoying it more once it warms up!
Now we wait to find out if we will be staying at Tyndall for Dan's follow-on flying assignment or if we'll be moving again this fall. We will put in our request in a couple months and find out hopefully sometime in May or June. He graduates in August and goes to SERE after that, so we'd be moving in October or so if we do!
Earlier this week, I shared with you all about Annabelle's second birthday party and how we spoiled her rotten on the day of her actual birthday (way back in September), but I didn't want to lose track of her two year old stats by combining them in that post... so here they are getting the recognition I think they deserve (and likely that no one else cares about, haha).
At two years old, Annabelle is standing 36 inches tall and weighs 25 pounds - still a string bean! It's tough to find clothes that fit her well because they either are too short or fall right off her waist.
She LOVES LOVES LOVES playing outside and asks to do so daily. She is a strong-willed, stubborn little girl who knows exactly what she wants. She is fierce and independent and could probably just raise herself if we'd let her. She is so much fun, too, though, dragging us along to play with her and color with her. She has a passion for books, art, and music, it seems, and we plan on letting her explore whatever areas she has interests in.
Annabelle has so many great friends at Sheppard AFB who she plays with at the library story time, Urban Air, and on play dates around the city of Wichita Falls! She is a social butterfly and LOVES seeing her "baby friends" (as she calls them). She loves animals, especially marine/aquatic animals, and she poses for me to take her pictures (usually).
She is such a sweet AND sassy girl, and we love her dearly!
*** Written after her birthday after we've already moved to Tyndall AFB in Panama City, FL, but her birthday was a couple months before we PCSed!
Annabelle turned TWO years old... way back in September! We are so glad we were still in Texas at that point because we got to have a big celebration with all of her friends! And my family was even able to drive down to spoil the birthday girl!
We had a children's book themed party for her - complete with all of her favorites! I hung up balloons to look like the very hungry caterpillar... we made snacks that matched several books, typed out cute book quotes to hang around the party area, and I even made little cupcake toppers to look like her favorite book covers! Our party favors were books with a bag of "book worms" (aka gummy bears). I loved planning this party for my sweet Annabelle, and I know she had a blast!
Oh, and I couldn't resist making her a giant 2 out of her photos from that year! Everyone got such a kick out of the huge 1 I made for her first party, and I just had to! Hopefully I'll be able to continue that (and do the same for little sister!) but we'll see!
(for reference... the 2 was a bit smaller than the 1!)
On her actual birthday (the following Tuesday from the party), we spent all day celebrating! I took her to a painting class for toddlers, followed up by a quick stop to buy donuts... which we ate in the backyard at her request and then played in the water table! We then had Whataburger for lunch, went to the bounce house and jumped and played in the ball pit, and ended the day with a trip to Chick Fil A and cupcakes in the backyard!
Do you do themed parties for your kids' birthdays?
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