Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Oh, Captain, My Major?

That's right -- Major Merrill.
Can I get a "Whooo hoooo?"
Chris is being promoted to Major as of July 1st. While he might say that he only needs to be able to fog a mirror (promotion requirement to 1st Lieutentant), wipe it off (promotion to Captain), and fog it again to be promoted to Major, it is a major milestone in his military career. This means that he can stay in long enough to retire (yeay!). Unfortunately, this is the first promotion in Chris's career that I won't be front row, center for, but I think it'll be special that he is being promoted by men he respects in the field.
I am very proud of my hubby, and I thought that I should share the news with everyone.

Congratulations, Major (soon enough) Merrill!!!


Sunday, June 24, 2007

Avoiding the "P" Word

The "p" word being "packing". Thankfully most of the packing and moving will be done by professionals (Thank you, USMC!), but I still have to seperate out what the kids, Chris and I will need in the next four months. Um, yeah. Should get on that since the packers come tomorrow morning first thing. Except, I am a master procrastinator. Been honing and perfecting my skills all my life, and they are fine-tuned. Evidence -- I am posting on our blog instead of sorting through clothes, filling suitcases, shredding unneeded documents, and boxing all important papers.

That said/admitted, I am not sure when I am going to be able to post again. Worse, I'm not sure when I'm going to be able to check all the blogs that I frequent (yes, I have admitted my addiction, and hello to all of my fellow addicts :) ). I am afraid of what the potential withdrawal symptoms might be. Could be messy.

Since I don't know when I can post again, I thought I would fill this post with evidence of my procrastination. Here are a bunch of photos from throughout this week. My kids are just too darn cute -- I can't believe how big they are both getting.

Ah, the joys of a paper bag. Witness the Elena monster.

Um, you'll never get me in one of those things.

Rarrrhhh! Busting free of my bag. Wait, I want to put it back on.

A private moment of brother-sister play sans Momma.

Excuse us, Momma. We're trying to play here.

I'm going to type Dada an email -- I have to tell him all about this awesome movie. "Ahhh cool."

Bubby, we can type it together.

Garrett woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Hence, the "Cranky Crab Cafe" shirt. Did they design this just for me?

Just too cute in this dress Auntie Becky and Uncle Scott bought me in Hawaii.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm raising a daughter or a puppy.

Totally facinated with my new jumping shoes. I will figure out how to put these on.

Beautiful baby girl.

Excuse me, Mom. I'm trying to get the TV to work.

What? I'm not jumping on the couch.

Yeah, right. By the way, that first pad on the couch is 8" high. See why the boy is signed up for gymnastics this summer?

Yeay! The kitty is playing with me! (Felix decided to start playing with Elena this week since he lost his best friend, Luke.)

It's amazing what can entertain a one year old. Will the remote fit into the cup? I don't know.

Hmmm, I think this will make a good hat.

Sissy, this is the way it's done. What do you think of my new lid?

Yawn -- it's hard work to be this cute.

Heehee. Gotta love cherries on bloomers (and the back of the dress cut out to show them off).

Where did my baby boy go? He's all grown up.

Giggle monster.

Okay, that should be enough. Dada, blog friends, I hope that tides you over for a while. Hopefully next week, once we are up in Maine, I'll have more photos to post. TTFN.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Saturday in Myrtle Beach w/ Auntie Becky

Saturday morning the kids and I loaded up the car and headed south to spend the day with Auntie Becky in Myrtle Beach (a somewhat halfway point). We checked out Broadway at the Beach and all its sights, and then spent the afternoon at the Outlets before dinner and home. Below are some photo highlights of our fabulous day together.

Look, Mom, Fish!
Auntie Becky, Baby Girl Benninghoff, and Elena. Can't wait to meet the new princess this fall!
Ohhhh, sting rays! Garrett was mesmerized -- just didn't want to get too close.
Momma, those sharks are swimming awfully close. Not sure how I feel about that.
This is the coolest ever!
Can I get in the tank with all those feeesshh?
What is Bubby doing?
Tickle, tickle. Giggle, giggle.

Some fish photos for Garrett. The first is from the fish tank Garrett tried to climb into. The second are two of the sharks that swam all around, and over, us as we made our way through the aquarium. The third is a picture of the coolest fish I've ever seen up close -- a saw fish. Swordfishes might have a spear on their nose, but this guy has an actual saw -- think chainsaw. I think I know where Garrett gets his fascination with fish. They are all pretty awesome.

Mom, there are fish swimming over our heads. Cool.

Um, those sharks are a little too close for my comfort. You'll protect me right?

(Garrett learned a new sign on Saturday. Becky taught him how scuba divers signal shark. Except he had to put his own personal spin on it, so instead of a flat hand off the front of his forehead (like a fin, I guess), the boy slaps his hand on his forehead. Thanks for making us smarter, Auntie Becky!)

Wow -- that's a lot of fish.

Too much excitement. Better take a quick snoozer.

You mean I get to touch a crab? This doesn't look like any crabs I've seen at the beach.

Mom, we're hot. We're tired. We are going to let you know exactly how we feel about it. Let Auntie Becky see what she gets to look forward to in a few short months.

Yum. Ice cream. Ice cream cone. That'll do -- for now.
Flash forward to the outlets later in the afternoon. We've refused to get into the stroller. We've screamed our heads off because Mommy had to hold us both for two minutes and dared sit down. You think the food court will make us happy?
Wait -- there's a monster truck ride outside. This might be the coolest thing all day.
(If you look closely at Garrett's face you can still see the tears from the tantrum two minutes earlier. God bless the person who thought food courts need entertainment.)

You're right, Bubby. Monster trucks are the coolest!

Look , Momma. I'm riding with the Cat in the Hat!

Awww, wow! I can drive a fire truck! Woooo woooo! Yeay!

That in a nutshell was our day together. Leaving the food court created another melt down (smart move, Mom, planning a day where you kids couldn't take a nap!) because Garrett had to leave the cars. However, there was a quick-thinking Mom on hand who said, "Garrett, do you want to go buy some new shoes? Let's go to Stride Rite and buy you some new shoes!!!" Amazingly it worked, and the little boy spent the rest of the time at the outlets giggling and jumping up and down in his new "jumping shoes" -- don't ask, just accept. Becky and I were able to do some shopping. Me, outfits for the kids for the 4th of July, her just for cute clothes for her new babe. After shopping we went to dinner where the children entertained Auntie Becky while the two of us tried to have adult conversation. All in all, it was a fantastic day, even with the children's tantrums from time to time.

I also would be remiss to not point out to everyone exactly what our connection to Auntie Becky is. Becky and I met four years ago (is that all?) at the school where we both worked. We hit it off pretty well, but it wasn't until that spring, and a memorable trip to the malls in Raleigh, that it really flourished. Soon we were jokingly referred to as "The Beckys" around the school (think the Heathers, only nice). Her husband was deployed and Chris was doing workups to prepare for deployment, leaving us to basically live alone. There were weeks that we frequented the same restaurant so often the wait staff knew our beverage of choice. We ate Mexican four or five times a week. She signed on to be my assistant cheerleading coach, mostly to keep me sane and give me perspective when I went all crazy-coach person. Come the fall Sundays were at my house, drinking beer and watching multiple games of football while pretending to grade papers. When either of our husbands were actually home we joked that they were part of a Becky sandwich and played the part of our third wheel. We laughed a lot. Okay, almost all the time.

Unfortunately, the military doesn't let us live in the same place for very long very often and two years ago Scott got orders to South Carolina. Major bummer. We've stayed in touch as much as possible. Not teaching in the same school anymore meant scheduling long conversations was more of a trick.

However, Beck has remained a major part of my life. When Chris and I were deciding who should be our children's godparents there was never any doubt that it should be anyone other than Becky and Scott. We knew that they would help our children develop a strong sense of faith and God as they grow. Becky's only requirement for me was that Chris and I had to find a church family be regular members of it. She kicked my butt back into the church, and because of that I have found an awesome church family at St. Anne's for our entire family.

Even more importantly Becky has been there for all the major events in my children's lives thus far. When Chris was deployed last year, Becky is the one who travelled to Guatemala with me to pick up my son. She travelled back to Jacksonville to celebrate Garrett's first birthday last summer, again while Chris was deployed and we wanted to celebrate the big day with family. Becky and Scott made sure they were available to be here for Garrett's christening, even though we rescheduled it about a dozen times. Picking up Elena with Chris and my mom seemed slightly off since Becky wasn't there to share the moment. This spring Becky and Scott again made the trip north to celebrate Elena's first birthday with me while Chris was deployed again. They are planning to be here for Elena's christening this fall, just one month after their own precious daughter is due to be born.

Becky is an amazing friend, and I am super blessed to have her in my life. I am so excited that she is going to be home with her daughter and that we get to be mommies together. It's nice to know that when I need adult conversation in the middle of the day that there is a dear friend on the other end of the line to chat with. I am so sad that at the same time we are moving across the country and will not be able to make these weekend trips as easily. Of course, over the past two years we've gotten good at scheduling time for our friendship. We will just get better during the next two. I only hope that I can be as good of a friend to her as she has been to me time after time after time.

I love you, Becs!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Happy Daddy's Day


The kids and I put together this video for you. It was the best gift we could think of since you are on the other side of the world for the second Father's Day in a row. Bring yourself on home soon!

Nosotros le adoramos!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Another Goodbye

Today we gave our dog, Luke, back to the rescue society we adopted him from six years ago. We just couldn't take him with us on our cross-country move. Plus, with two kiddos at home he hasn't been getting the attention (namely runs and walks) that he deserves. So while the kids were having their morning nap today, a lady from the rescue society picked him up. I hated to do it, but I truly believe that he has a better home waiting for him. What stinks even more is that he was Chris's dog and he didn't get to say goodbye.
I'm going to miss my shadow, my guard-the-bedroom-door, let-me-know-if-there-is-anyone-anywhere-near-our-yard dog. However, I think that Garrett will miss his reading buddy more. Even more, I think our cat Felix will miss him the most.