Sunday, December 14, 2014

Officially official.

Yesterday was the big day. The culmination of it all; boards. Sean killed every one of the practice tests, I didn't have a doubt in my mind. Well, I didn't until I realized how nervous he was. He doesn't get nervous. About anything! I've seen him a little stressed, but never nervous. He meets me at the coffee pot talking about, "I threw up this morning." 

This was the picture I waited for all morning/the last two and a half years. 
 I was so antsy I had to do something, so I jumped in the shower. Simon yelled to me from the dining room, "Dad passed!" 

"Wait, what?! How do you know? I can't hear you! SIMON!" 

We mumbled some more through closed doors and the shower running, but I gathered it was good results. I quickly had the kids make up some signs. Titus, the non-conformist, couldn't just write "Congrats." This is so much better, really. 
Felix spelled "Congratulations" with a D. 
Simon spent a lot of time working on his card. He looked up the hospital on base and printed out a picture of it to attach on the inside of his card. Overachiever. 
 On the eve of this whole gig. Looking rough. It was an afterthought and half of us were in jammies. 
THE. END. Sean's got a different kid on his hip and my little boys became big boys. Thank YOU, JESUS. It is over! 
Now that that stress is gone, we just have moving to tackle. Tomorrow, the strangers with boxes move in. Tuesday, they load it all up on a truck and we clean the house. Wednesday we do a final walk-through with our homeowners and have one last hurrah with friends. Thursday (Simon's 12th!!!!!) Sean does his final out  and we hit the road. Crazy times. Life is fun. Stressful, chaotic, and fun.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

This one & That one.

This one found his pockets, 

 because that one helped. 
 Which is awesome as he refuses to wear gloves. 
 This one lost his coat, so we bought him a new one. 
 That one sustained a head injury while we were shopping. Stinking empty sock bar was sticking out and he ducked behind the rack to dodge a brother and it gouged his bean. 
 This one will stop a tantrum in a fraction of a second for a "bop. BOP! MOM! BO-O-OP!"
 I'm pretty sure his teeth are going to rot straight out of his head, because
 That one, that one, and that one offer him "bops" constantly. 
 This one and that one had a discussion about how they should stand for pictures. 
 It's so funny to watch birth order at play. The monkey listens and rarely bites the hand that feeds him "bops."

 This one has the tiniest, little lip dimple. 
 This one is obsessed(!!!!) with coloring all of the sudden. All day long he colors. He got a hand me down DSi a few months ago. Sean took the advice of GameStop man and bought him a Pokemon game. We're a few years late to that fad, but I offered to look up Pokemon coloring pages online. I printed one and a beast was born. He now has an entire binder full of coloring pages. I've looked all over God's green earth for a Pokemon coloring book so I don't have to keep printing them off. I found a Japanese coloring book online, but told him I wasn't paying $6 for a coloring book that's not even written in English. Would you believe it showed up in our mailbox two days later? I never put it in my cart, didn't even add it to my wish list. There is no receipt in my amazon acct or my bank acct. Totally bizarre. 

Anyways, he has crayons and markers and colored pencils and coloring pages all over the place.
Which explains this one's blemish. If he's quiet for more than three seconds, he's found a writing utensil and will use it on any surface except paper. I managed to wrench the purple marker from his grip just in time, but he had the lid and intended to use it. He stuck his grimy little digit in the lid and came up with just enough purple to last two solid days on his cheek. Washable markers my...ha. 
 This one is still all about animal noises. His face when he's barking: 
 That one still does his shifty eyes, but not as often as he once did. 
 This little monkey has phased out of the innocent, cute, gets-away-with-everything age. The brothers are equal parts aggravated and smitten with him, but it's a fine line that he oversteps every day. 
 There are days I can't wait til he's five. 

 This one is going to have an emotional meltdown when we move. I can feel it coming. 

This one, that one, and the others indulged my camera in some of my favorite places around our house. I'm glad I have these. I can't wait to find all the hidden corners to take pictures at our new house, but for now...I'm glad I have these. 

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

The whole story.

Because not everyone knows the whole story. Also because I've spent days collecting these pictures from almost four years worth of files. 

Sean joined the Air Force with the purpose of going to school. Becoming a nurse anesthetist was his goal after nursing school. Travel nursing was supposed to set us up for that, but by the time we figured out the financials of school, we already had two kids. Thus, the military. Sean joined in 2009 when Titus was just a wee bitty thing. 

We moved to Texas and Sean deployed the following January. He started working on his packet for school as soon as he got home. By the time the call came out to turn in his packet, he was also up for deployment again. The race was on: deploy or go to school? It all came down to which piece of paper could be processed first. The deployment won, so we packed up our stuff and moved into the motorhome for the remainder of our time in Texas. 

That was August of 2011. August. In Texas. In a motorhome. With three children. 
If you can't fathom how we managed, you can see more of the living space here.
Once Sean deployed, our plan was for me and the boys to move in with my parents in SC knowing we'd be headed for Maryland as soon as Sean got home from deployment. 
As the time approached, we put our motorhome in storage and packed up all of our earthly belongings for long term storage. Moving out of our house in TX and into the motorhome, we'd already stashed 95% of our stuff in a local storage unit. 
The truck had not left the parking lot of Uncle Bob's Storage(no...really) before Sean got a phone call. There was a chance his deployment could be canceled as his acceptance to USU had come down at the same time as his deployment letter. He'd been preparing for them both simultaneously not knowing what would come of it all in the end. 

We decided to stick with Plan A and headed for SC. Half way there, while celebrating Thanksgiving/Christmas with Sean's family, he got the final call: Deployment canceled. Plan B was that I'd still go to SC with the kids and he'd bunk with a friend(Mark, pictured below) for a few months. 
It worked out okay in the end, but it was rough on this guy in particular. Sean sent him George Brown, Class Clown books and they read them together via Skype. 

 Sean was also able to visit for his 32 birthday which broke the five months up a bit, but the good-byes were still rough. 
Tito's third birthday marked the end of our time in SC. 
And his face marked how I was feeling inside knowing I was going to TX to pick up Sean. He and I made the trip from TX to SC, just the two of us. It was awesome and much needed. We had no idea how little time we'd have together for the next two and a half years.


And then we moved into the cutest, little house in Rockville, MD

We were so amped to get started. Real life hit pretty quickly. We saw very little of Sean that year. Yet, going back through the pictures, we did a lot. Sean studied harder, read more, and slept less than ever before.

I got up with the man every most mornings and made him breakfast and packed his lunch. The smell of Trader Joe's garlic aioli mustard will now forever take me back to Phase 1 days in my kitchen in Maryland. 

 Because he was gone so much, the time that we did get to spend together was pretty special.

 He didn't stop being a dad. He didn't "make time," he gave all that he could to the boys...and then some! Through the entire program, he was dad first, student second. I can't think of a single Sunday that he missed taking us to church. 

Obviously there was still time for some things...

 We managed to go on a few dates; 

 take in a couple of the sites in & around DC;
 and even hang out with friends/fellow students. The extras were seldom, but they did happen. 

 Sometimes the extras were just a walk around the block or a picnic up the hill, but they sustained us.
& then Jude was born. This picture sums it all up beautifully. 
 We were all drained, but Jude's arrival didn't make life any more chaotic than it already was. 
When he was a week old, we traveled to Ohio and found our house.

When he was six weeks old, we left MD for OH. 
Phase 1 ended on a pretty high note. 
Our family the day before his first day of class(Phase 1)

 Our family on his last day of class(Phase 1).

Entering Phase 2: 
Well, we found an awesome house in a not-so-awesome area in Dayton, OH. We thought we could breathe a big sigh of relief. Sean had made it through the hard part and we could coast down the hill towards graduation. And then reality hit for a second time. Phase 2 brought care plans and putting into practice everything he thought he knew. For the first several months, Sean was staying at work until 7 or 8 p.m. Then coming home and writing care plans until 2 or 3 or 4 a.m. Then going back to work at 5. By the time he was on out rotations, life had settled down a bit. No more care plans meant getting at least a few hours of sleep. 

His first day of Phase 2.

I had to take him something at work one day and he popped out of the OR in his scrubs. This was the day that it all felt real. 
During the second phase, the students are allowed twenty days of leave from the program. Given the fact that they took ZERO during the first half, twenty felt huge. We used them all and used them well.

I have so many more pictures to share from the last year and a half, but I'm tired. 

Looking back, it did not go fast. It was not easy. It was not without it moments of panic and strife and struggle and anger. 

 I'm thankful we're done. He's done. He ended this getup with a 3.73 GPA, an extra kid, and a wife that still shares his last name. 

 Was it worth it? Yeah, I think so. 

I couldn't be prouder of the guy and I am so, so excited about what the future holds!