Anchors Aweigh : October 2017

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Pumpkin Patch Bliss

I would start off this post saying something cliche like "I just love Fall", but really, doesn't everyone love Fall? Temps are cool but not yet cold, it's finally football season, and Fall scents of apple and pumpkin are the bomb.com. It's the best!

I love love love the pumpkin patch and have been so excited to take Preston to the pumpkin patch this year! I had two Fall pregnancies and took both my babies in utero to the pumpkin patch, so getting to take my cute, chubby baby in person was so sweet. My parents were in town earlier this month, so we decided to all go and make it a big family outing. I was in heaven!


This pumpkin patch had so many pumpkins and so many fun things for kids- a petting zoo, pony rides, and carnival rides. Super cool for toddlers and kids, but obviously there wasn't much our baby could do to participate. We couldn't stay too long (#napschedule), but we were able to walk around the patch, take photographic proof that we made it, and of course pick our pumpkins. Both my boys were dressed in maroon since the Aggie game was on later that evening!


Even though Preston had no clue where we were, he still seemed to think the pumpkins were cool to touch and play with. He is just getting to that age where he is discovering every little thing. It really is the most magical thing to relearn the world through your child's eyes, and I know it is only going to get better.


I picked a pumpkin for both of my babies before it was time to go. This was my third year in a row picking a white pumpkin for our angel baby, and it is one of my very favorite traditions. Like I said, I had a Fall pregnancy with Taylor and with Preston, but before I knew about baby Preston, I dreamed of taking Taylor Grace to the pumpkin patch. I won't ever get to do that here on earth, but I will always pick a beautiful white pumpkin just for her. The pumpkin patch was so special this year, and as cheesy as it sounds, a dream come true getting to experience it with my perfect, healthy baby. God is good all the time, all the time God is good. 


The Struggle To Co-Parent Is Real

I've mentioned on the blog before that coparenting was a struggle in the beginning for Parker and me. Good grief, it was the struggle of all struggles. Quite frankly, we were terrible at it. Something clicked around month six, and although we aren't perfect (who is?), we are finally a team and able to do this parenting thing together well. 

In the interest of oversharing, I thought I'd open up today about why we struggled so much with coparenting and how we learned from the experience. I have had a couple of people email me asking how we handled the struggle because they too were having a hard time. If people are being totally honest, I doubt there are many couples that don't struggle with coparenting to a degree. I mean, think about it. You take two people raised two different ways, give them a tiny human that they love more than life itself, throw in sleep deprivation, and you have... a recipe for disaster. 

Let's start with why I stunk at coparenting. Simply put, I was (am) fiercely protective of my son. My parents were very protective of me growing up, and I am that way with my child. I joked (but seriously) that I had a very short list of people I trusted with our baby, and sometimes Parker wasn't even on it. Basically, it was a piece of paper with my mom's name on it, because she really was the only one I gave him to and then didn't immediately feel anxious the second I stepped out of the room. Here's one small example that comes to mind of how I was in the beginning: I was told that infants are not allowed to have water, so when Parker washed the bottles, I made him carefully dry every last drop before filling it with milk. If there was even the tiniest drop of water in that bottle, I bit his head off. It's embarrassing to type now, but hey, it's how I reacted and I have to own that. In a nutshell, I needed to C H I L L. 

Now let's go to why Parker was less than stellar at the whole coparenting thing. Parker struggled with the loss of our freedom to do things as a couple. When you have a baby, you can't just go to dinner on a whim, and you typically don't leave the house much those first couple of months. The week our son was born, Parker reorganized the entire kitchen and filled our dining room table with kitchen supplies to donate to Goodwill. A.) That was my stuff. B.) He was going that stir crazy after a whopping three days of parenting. Parker very often talked about how hard it was not getting to go on date nights and how much he missed our old life. He hated being woken up in the middle of the night if I needed help breastfeeding (that's like a five person job in the beginning, no joke). He did whatever he could not to hold the baby because he hated when the baby cried and he didn't know why. Sometimes I would ask him to hold him so I could have a 5 minute break, and he would give the baby back 3 minutes later because he was done. In a nutshell, he needed to suck it up and realize he was a dad now. 

I say all that not to make my husband sound like a bad husband or father, because both couldn't be farther from the truth. Parker is the best husband and the best father to our son, but he struggled in the beginning just like I struggled in the beginning. We just happened to struggle in different ways. Around month 6, something clicked, and it has really been smooth sailing ever since. I chilled out, and Parker rolled up his sleeves and started to fall in love with this new stage of life. 

If you're struggling with coparenting, the best advice I can give is talk it out. We were very open with each other about how we thought the other one was acting, and while it may sound harsh, open communication is how we got through it. Bottling it up is never the answer. We talked it out, encouraged each other, gave the tough love when it was needed, and eventually we made it to the other side. 

Parenting is a team sport, and we are getting better every day. Nobody's perfect, but I am so thankful I have this guy to figure it all out with. 




Our 10th Navy Ball Together

Parker and I have officially been to TEN Navy Balls together! Good grief, how did that happen? Since Parker was in the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M and contracted to go into the Navy after graduation, we attended the Navy/Marine Corps Birthday Ball each year in college. Our first ball together was in 2007! We were 18 year old babies! It was one of our first dates, and we were both so clueless and awkward that I am sure it was a disaster. Obviously it wasn't a complete disaster, because here we are 10 years later. ;)

We were really excited to go to the ball this year! We missed last year because Parker was deployed, so it had been 2 years since we had gotten dressed to the nines and ready to dance. Parker's parents were in town to watch our little man which was so appreciated! It was nice to be able to take a night off knowing he was safe and in good hands. 


The ball we have attended the past few years has been the Hawkeye Greyhound Ball. It's a ball for E-2 and C-2 pilots which I love because we know so many people. It's always fun to go to parties with your friends!


The ball always consists of a dinner with a speaker and then a themed after party. We all typically hope the speaker is short-winded, if we are being completely honest. This year it was all great, and we were excited for the after party.


This year, the theme for the after party was "holidays", and each squadron picked a holiday to dress up as. Our squadron voted for Oktoberfest. I am the first to admit I was bummed the theme wasn't Cinco de Mayo (because how easy is it to throw on a sombrero and a fake mustache and call it good??), but Oktoberfest actually turned out to be a really fun theme. Thank you Amazon for having Liederhosen for sale at a reasonable price!


Ball number ten is in the books, but it sure was a good one! Just for fun, here's a picture from each ball we've been to together over the years.

A few fun facts...

1. When Parker picked me up for our first ball in 2007, I was wearing a pink dress. He had to go to the bathroom or something, and I decided I didn't like that dress anymore and instead borrowed the blue one in the picture from my sister. What was wrong with the pink one? Who knows. 

2. I've repeated dresses a couple of times (hello, 10 different balls!), but apparently I love the little black number because I wore it in 2009, 2010, and 2013. 

3. I was about 14 weeks pregnant with Taylor Grace at the 2014 ball. 

4. The dress I wore in 2015 was both mine and Parker's favorite dress I have worn to a ball, and we both know there is a zero percent chance I will ever wear that thing again. It was a bridesmaid dress from his sister's wedding. The dress had to be ordered online so I didn't get to try it on, and I ordered it way too small. I had to practically starve myself to fit into that thing, so we joke that it's the prettiest dress I'll never wear again. ;)

5. 2011 is the only ball where Parker didn't wear a uniform. He was out of the Corps of Cadets but 2 months away from commissioning, so he couldn't wear a military uniform yet. A suit it was!



The World We Live In

I took a couple of weeks off from blogging again, but this little blogging break felt different. We have had friends and family cycling through and staying with us for the last 3 weeks, so I have been enjoying life and trying to spend as much time with each of them as possible. But, I also couldn't seem to put words on a page with all that is going on in this world. 

This latest shooting in Las Vegas is something I just can't wrap my head around. How can someone be so cruel to take 59 innocent lives and ruin hundreds more? How can such evil exist? This is not the first mass shooting this country has seen over the last few years, but this one has hit me harder now that I am a mom. This world seems to be getting worse, and as much as I want to, I can't protect my baby from all the evil that exists in today's world. 

I look at my sweet, perfect baby and wish more than anything I could make this world perfect for him. He's still so innocent. He doesn't know hate. He doesn't know violence. He doesn't know pain and suffering. He only knows his own happy, love-filled world, and I wish there was something I could do to keep it that way forever. 

Another thing I've been meditating on lately is just how much trust we have in the complete strangers around us. I trust that the person at the stoplight beside me isn't going to pull a gun and shoot me because I have no option but to trust them. I trust the person in line behind me at the supermarket not to pull a knife and stab me because I have no option but to trust them. How awful is that? I went to church this past Sunday, and I didn't feel completely safe. Parker and I had a rare-but-amazing date night this past weekend at the movies, and I didn't feel completely safe in the theater. It's depressing, but it's the truth. 

So where do we go from here? Where is the hope in a world that seems so grim? The only answer I can come up with is Jesus. He is close to the brokenhearted, and He is the only one that can redeem this broken world we live in. I am praying for all affected by the Las Vegas shooting. God is bigger! Jesus, be near!

Hug your loved ones and be kind today. Tomorrow is never guaranteed.


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