Grady boy.


This boy. He has my heart. Every day he provides me with a new challenge, a new viewpoint, a new outlook. He is so very curious and so very observant. Simply walking from the house to the garage is not an option with him. It turns into a five-minute-long journey filled with bug observation, hopping, jumping, running, splashing (if there are puddles present), and many pleads from mama to focus on the task at hand.


His sweet smile helps me to forget my own hurting heart. We’re missing daddy pretty badly ’round these parts.

He still asks for daddy every day. I’m so happy that he is thinking about him! If I’m being completely honest, I fear that Grady might forget daddy a little bit. I am very concerned over how their close bond will be impacted by nearly a year apart. Grady worships the ground his daddy walks on and I am doing what I can during their time apart to ensure their bond continues to strengthen, despite the miles apart.

Sometimes, I feel like I am already raising a teenager – as this image illustrates. He can be quite ornery. Thankfully, the cuteness and the sweet moments override most of the contentious moments in our relationship.

For this session, I packed along one of Abe’s old toys. Grady is obsessed with this car! It’s just another tie that binds the two together while they cannot be together physically.

All things considered, I feel like we are adjusting well to our new normal. I sometimes wonder if Grady’s more emotional/challenging moments might stem from Abe’s time away from us, then I realize that I am raising a toddler. We will have our difficult moments through our parent-child relationship. I am just thankful that we have one another while we go through this deployment. He is my sweet little buddy. He warms my heart and makes my days bright!


raising a toddler is interesting.

I am not a typical “mom” type. While I absolutely love my own child (obviously) as well as my nieces and nephews, I am not a person that has a strong desire to be around other people’s children, herein referred to as OPC. I find OPC to be cute and such, but I don’t have a strong inclination to really spend time with them. The thought of being an early childhood educator gives me hives. I am not a person who enjoys being touched often. I have a tough time with the endless questions, the constant meeting-of-needs, the forced playing of imaginary/made-up games.

I don’t mean to sound cold or to make it sound as though I completely despise OPC. That is absolutely not the case. I am just saying that dealing with OPC has never been my strong suit. At all. I am most often awkward and, well, mostly silent around children I do not know.

Fortunately, having my own child has somewhat bolstered my ability to really appreciate OPC. I actually enjoy spending (limited amounts of) time with them, getting to know them, and interacting with them now. I’m not signing on to be a preschool teacher or anything, but I find that I am more often entertained and interested when having a conversation or otherwise interacting with OPC since having had Grady.

Becoming a parent has really helped me to remember what it was like to be a child. I really think that’s the key to appreciating your interactions with a child. Children aren’t jaded toward their world. Everything is new to them. Life is full of mystery, adventure, learning, discovery, hope… there are so many things children haven’t experienced. It’s no wonder children have so many questions about everything.

And I do mean everything.

A documentable moment occurred this evening as Grady and I were preparing for bath time. Now, Grady has just turned two-years-old and we often shower together. It is just easier that way. I am able to keep a close eye on him, we both get clean, it is efficient. I am single-mom-ing it right now so I will do what it takes to make my life easier.

I should also mention that I am teaching Grady the anatomically correct words for the parts of his body. I think it is important for a child to be able to use the proper terms when necessary. We do not use cutesy terms for our anatomy in this house, regardless of whether or not the anatomically correct term is widely accepted ’round these parts.

As I was saying, Grady and I were preparing to get into the shower, and as such, were both donning our birthday suits. It is commonplace for Grady to point out the parts of his body, which he had just finished doing when he looked upon my body and said, in complete and utter disbelief… “Mommy penis… all gone!” As though I had somehow misplaced it or used it all up.

Folks, I have to tell you I am still giggling over this hours later. I realize that some may find this story to be inappropriate but, guess what, when I find something a toddler does to be completely and utterly hilarious, I am going to mention it because it just doesn’t happen that often :) And while I am slightly mortified over the incident, I truly believe it was a good teaching moment for Grady (ooooh, the conversation that followed…) and I also truly believe it will be a story I share with his future significant other. I suppose I am like most other moms in that respect.

Children. They certainly are interesting. If OPC were as hilarious as my own, I bet I would enjoy their company even more.

let’s start counting down.

Today was the big day. It was the last day we got to see our Abram for many, many months.


To see that typed out is so, so difficult.


This morning, we attended a departure ceremony for Abram and the others deploying alongside him. It seemed much more emotionally charged than the ceremony for the first deployment. The entire time, I looked around at the other families. This unit is packed with families with children ranging from newborns to adults. To see so many families moved to tears, clinging to their mommies or daddies, not wanting to let go… it was rough.


Looking at my husband and our little son – that was the hardest.


Grady didn’t seem too affected by the ceremony or even our final goodbyes. I feel like my little buddy is a little confused but is otherwise cheerful. I know in the coming weeks and days he will wonder where daddy is and we’ll be endlessly discussing the fact that “daddy is at work” and that we won’t be able to see him for a while. We already look at pictures all the time and I love that he gets so excited to see one of daddy. I wish so badly that he had more of a concept of time so that we could eagerly count down the weeks and months with joy and anticipation together. I’ll have to get creative and figure out a way in which to show him that daddy will be home before we know it.


I’m trying my hardest to hold it together in front of him most of the time because I don’t want him to see mommy be too sad. Of course, we will be talking about daddy all the time and I know he is going to has already seen me cry. Several times, let’s not kid ourselves. I’m okay with that. I want him to know and to believe that it’s okay to be sad sometimes. We both miss Abram and we’ll both have our tough days, just as I’m sure Abram will have his tough days. As a military family, we are not immune to the hurt that comes along with separation. It is not something you ever grow used to feeling.


In an effort to prevent this post from being too much of a downer (hey, I told you I was going to be honest, didn’t I?), I have some positive news to share! Abram was promoted to Sergeant First Class on Saturday, August 25th. Grady, Sandy (Abe’s mom), Rob (Abe’s step-dad) and I were able to attend the ceremony. Grady and I were able to “pin” Abram with his new rank when he was promoted. It was a great moment. We are so very proud of Abram and what a phenomenal, hardworking man he is. It is fantastic to see him receive recognition for all that he gives to the military.



To my amazing husband – we are so incredibly proud of you. We miss you. We love you. You are very much the heart of our family and we are thinking of you always while we are apart. I know you have mixed emotions about this deployment, but please know that you are not letting us down in any way. Come home soon, love.

exciting stuff.

There’s a little something I haven’t been too outspoken about here on this blog, or anywhere for that matter. It is something that has been taking root and growing for the past year. A passion that has blossomed from a long-standing love of mine.


Beer. Yes, I am speaking of that delicious, liquid refreshment which is so diverse, so interesting, so full of character. I have been a long-time lover of beer but my passion for beer stems from our decision to begin homebrewing our own beer early last year (2011). It started as a hobby and quickly grew into an obsession. Abe and I, as well as my brother and sister-in-law, have been devouring information about brewing the good stuff ravenously since our first batch of “Doghouse Pale Ale”.


Since November of 2011, the four of us have been processing paperwork, building a system, ordering supplies and perfecting our recipes and we are now ready to introduce to you our blossoming brewery!


While we are not yet open for business, we are ever-so-close to peddling our first six pack. Needless to say, we are beyond excited.

If you are so inclined, we would love for you to check out our Hawcreek Brewing Co. website and maybe even “like” us over on facebook. We would love for you to follow along as we begin this incredibly exciting journey.

instagram photo dump

A day late, but here we are! Each week, I will unload a few of my favorites I have uploaded to my Instagram feed so that you may have a peek into our life.



1. arm injuries forgiven 2. found a heart in a tree in the woods 3. sweet new kicks 4. pretty keezer and beer fridges 5. kid face-plants peanut butter toast 6. mama made a fire 7. poor buddy wasn’t feeling well 8. painting in the tub helps a little 9. playing at the park with cousins