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?
2017 was a year we knew would be exciting... but we didn't bet on SO MUCH excitement!
We were able to travel a few times - to San Antonio for Dan's centrifuge training, to Dallas / Ft. Worth for a long weekend, and to Kansas City, MO for a week and a half! We didn't take any huge trips, but that's okay. Sometimes, less is more.
I'm a day (or three) late and a dollar short (what's new these days?), but I couldn't resist sharing our 2017 Christmas card... and while I was uploading it, I thought it would be fun to reminisce about the past few years, and I was right! I love putting together our card each year and sending them out to our family and friends!
I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate!) Happy New Year! 2018 is just around the corner!
Well, I'm only a whole MONTH late making this announcement... but our beautiful second daughter made her appearance on November 21st! We've been a little (ha!) busy since then moving across the country (more on that later), so I'll just leave you with this for now!
Welcome to the world, Josephine Jayne! We are so glad we get to be your parents and that we got an extra 20 days with you... if pre-eclampsia is good for anything, it's extra snuggles! :)
Where does time go? It seems elusive these days... or at least free time for blogging. I do miss writing. A lot. And I miss all the connections with blog friends, especially all you milso blog friends!
But my life has been crazy, hectic, and chaotic lately... if we're friends on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, you likely already knew that.
The last time I posted was in July... nearly four months ago. Oops. I'm not kidding when I say life has been crazy... but so many things have happened since I last posted!
I turned 30 and visited KCMO to celebrate.
Dan started (and finished) IFF (Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals).
Annabelle turned TWO, and we threw her a party.
I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia and put on "chill out rest".
Family has visited... twice.
We went to the pumpkin patch.
We celebrated Halloween.
... and so much more! I am going to try to write out a few posts right now and get them scheduled to post soon while I have a bit of time since Annabelle is at the CDC for daycare most of this week!
It's been rough trying to stay inactive and calm in order to keep my blood pressure down... but I'll talk more about that in a post coming soon!
And because every blog post needs a picture... here are Gilligan and Stormy lounging on Annabelle's bed!
Guys, did I promise to blog once a week LAST month?
I did indeed. And I have failed.
I don't really have any excuses other than that life got in the way again, I haven't felt like writing (despite having a lot to write about), and just trying to keep a certain toddler constructively busy and not tearing down our house.
I do have some upcoming things to share soon, such as new recipes, reviews of a few trips we've taken, a 2017 goal update, an Annabelle update, a new shop announcement (eek!), and just some life lately posts.
I've been super busy lately during Annabelle's nap time taking pictures of and listing her old clothes for sale. It's so sad when she outgrows pieces I've loved seeing her in. I am stashing away those really special pieces in the closet for now and will box them up when we move next, but it has felt really nice to sell a lot of her stuff. After all, we do need to keep buying her new, bigger clothes, so it's nice to recoup a bit of what we spent!
We also finally went through a ton of baby stuff and ended up donating to a local women's shelter so much of what we no longer need: three breast pumps (two electric and one manual), a metric ton of breast pads, milk storage bags, bottles, bottle parts, and more. It feels great to have that all out of the house since we no longer need it - hopefully it can benefit some other new moms and families! It is slightly bittersweet, though, since I spent so much time with those dang pumps! BUT it feels great to know we won't be moving those across the country again!
It's hard to believe she was ever so tiny! I ended up keeping a few of the outfits shown for myself because she was just so adorable in them, and I'm far more attached to her newborn stuff than the rest! How have YOU all been lately?
We're on the road to Missouri now, so I won't be blogging on Christmas. I just wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
As per tradition, I also wanted to share our fun Christmas card. We didn't get a great family photo this year, so we decided to be a little untraditional... but I'm loving how it turned out (and so are the recipients!)