Saturday, February 16, 2013

Here We Go Again - With a Twist!

Dan's in Afghanistan.  That's where none of us want him to be but it's necessary.  This is a recon mission because part of his battalion well be deploying this summer and will stay for 9 months.  Right now Dan and a few of his guys are looking over the area to get a feel for the process and the mission. This is not new.  He's been deployed many times before and we've been in this position before.

Prior to his leaving, his wonderful wife took this picture of him.  She's so sweet and said she took it for me.  She knows that I'll scarcely let anyone out of my sight without taking a picture before they depart.

And now here's the twist.  The guys are going to Afghanistan.  Again it's not something new but it's still dangerous and it's still necessary.   The difference is that this time, there's no funding for the training that is typically part of the deployment.  That's right.  Two scheduled rotations to the National Training Center for this battalion have been cancelled due to lack of funding.

The changes in our nation are wonderful - health insurance, extended unemployment, taking care of the have nots.  It's all good.  Except the money has to come from somewhere and part of that money is coming from the safety of the troops that we all support and that we're all so proud of  and that we all are grateful to for allowing us the freedom to live in a country like The United States.

And it gets worse.  Right now our military is the finest trained fighting force in the world with the latest technology to make their mission more effective and safer.  When the funding goes back to where it's headed now, we'll be vulnerable.  Every nation that respects us will be rattling its swords at us to see what they can get away with.  And then, if, God forbid, there is an unavoidable conflict we could see defeats and loss of lives like we saw in Korea and Vietnam.  Look what North Korea is doing right now.  Believe me folk, they're not playing.  And when we can't do the job with a smaller, better trained, sharply honed force like we have now, they might start talking about a draft.  Now take a look at your sons and daughters and grandchildren and see how you feel about that.

Cutting military funding like they're doing now could be sounding the death knell for a lot of peace of mind that we've all learned to take for granted.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Welcome, Wade Christopher!

Wade Christopher entered this world at 9:38 a.m. on February 8th.  His timing was off slightly since it was one day later than his Aunt Beth's birthday and a little over an hour earlier than his great grandma's arrival at the hospital.  Although I'm a little broken-hearted to have missed his birth, I'm grateful beyond words that everything else about him and his arrival was perfect. 

At slightly under 39 weeks, he weighed in at 7 lbs 14 oz, was 21 1/4 inches long, and, as you can see from the picture, every single thing about him was perfect.  Unfortunately, since we were late getting there, the first pictures we got of him looked like this.

He was already in the nursery for evaluation and a bath.  I used my zoom lens to get the best shots I could.
It was a relief when they finally moved him close to the window so we could not only see him but get better pictures.
 Finally he came back home to his mom's room and we got to be there as he got re-acquainted with her.
his proud daddy,
And his grandma.
And he finally met his great grandpa and great grandma for the first time.
 He wasn't phased at all by all these greetings.  
Just chilled and posed for as long as we wanted.
Then it was time for some pictures with Mom and Dad and you could see that he was right where he wanted to be.

 And right where they wanted him to be.
Finally it was time for Aunt Beth, his official photographer to head back to Indiana.  But she leaned in for one last look.
And then Grandma got up close with her daughter and brand new grandbaby.
Then, while Wade was finally relaxing on his own, some more very important visitors arrived.
 First came big brothers, Jack and Dane.
 Then big sister, Aubrey.
 Aubrey wasn't exactly sure what to think about this interloper.
But big brother, Jack, did what he could to help her relax and make everybody comfortable.
 Eventually Jack could come in for a closer look on his own.
 And a chance to hold him.
Then it was Dane's turn.
And finally the brand new foursome posed for their first group shot.
And I have to say it just doesn't get any better than this.  Chris and Amber made a decision to have a large family and to have their children close together and they've done exactly that.

I believe their family will turn out just like ours - with some challenges but mostly joy beyond measure.  Congratulations, kids!  We couldn't be prouder of you.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Happy Birthday, Beth

Today is Beth's birthday.  She's our 5th child and our 3rd daughter.  And she's the only one of our kids that lives within shouting distance - about 25 minutes away.
A little while ago I conducted a short interview with her.  Here's how it went.
How does it feel to be one more year older? It feels pretty good. I don't feel old at all, except that I'm always cold, my body aches, I only want to wear comfy shoes and my eyesight is getting poor but beyond that I'm as fit as a thirty-two year old.
Are you about where you thought you'd be at this time in your life?   Yeah.
Do you have any exceptional plans for the coming year.  I do but I have to keep those private for now.
What's your favorite thing about motherhood? Goodness. I enjoy playing and laughing with the kids. I love watching the siblings play with each other. My favorite thing is seeing Anna and Noah love and teach Eli and Clara.
What's your favorite aspect of daughterhood? I think that was a typo. I think you meant favoritedaughterhood. Oh, it's an enjoyable place to be. Right now, as an old wise lady, I can really see what an amazing job my mother did raising her six kids. Wow. What a tough job.
What's the best part of having such a large family?   The best part? Well, I love checking on my kids at night before bed, one after the other. Sometimes, I leave them alone, sometimes I pick up the babies and snuggle, sometimes I cover up Anna and Noah. Sometimes I take the Santa hat off of Noah. Other times I just leave it. Anyway, when I'm done checking on them, I feel such peace in knowing that they're safe and sound in their comfy beds and that they're there because of their parents.
The worst? Probably outings. For instance, Anna and Noah both need haircuts. I'm pretty sure getting a license to become a hairstylist is easier than that outing itself. 
Are you happy to be running your own business as opposed to working for someone else?  Explain. I am positively thrilled with my professional life. I can't believe that I'm actually doing it and not just doing it but thriving. I have a long way to go but I'm so thankful to always be learning and interacting with such amazing people. Working for someone else is not something I oppose, because I'm convinced I wouldn't work as hard as I work now. So it would probably be a bit easier. But not nearly as rewarding.
Where do you see yourself ten years from now? mmmm...drunk.

Oh wait. no. I'd love to still be shooting, maybe have a full-time assistant. (I love the idea of giving someone a means to support their family.) I plan to build a home someday with tons of windows on 10-15 acres. 
What can you tell us about yourself that I've not covered here?
I think we've covered everything. I have to get ready for dinner. My parents are taking us out to eat and I can't be late, okay? gotta go.
And that concluded the interview but I can tell you a few things about Beth that most people already know.  She's a wonderful mother and a wonderful daughter.  Her sense of humor is legendary.  She's one of the hardest working people you'll every know and she's unfailingly thoughtful, loving, and as big-hearted as anyone you could ever meet.
So happy birthday, Beth!  Here's hoping all your dreams come true!!

 (Some photographs were taken by Crooked Eyebrow)