Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

If Josh completed his flights today (depending on the weather), he will have two flights left to complete his training in the 53! Once he completes this training, he will attend SERE school and we will be headed for sunny San Diego! I think we will be moving out there in late January or early February, but like everything else in the Marine Corps, we won't know until it actually happens. The move is pretty exciting, partly because North Carolina isn't very awesome and partly because I can't wait to finally be settled somewhere for a few years! I'm also excited about seeing the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Route 66, Santa Fe, the Pacific Ocean, and California in general. I'm not so sure about the actual move and the drive out there with Gray (surprisingly, he isn't that crazy about his car seat for long stretches of time).

Other than looking at possible places to live and wrapping Christmas presents everything has been fairly quiet around here. Josh and I are planning the trip home for Christmas to see our family/friends before our big move to San Diego. We should be home over a week, so I hope we can spend time with everyone while we are there. Gray has plans to meet some people for the first time and show everyone all of his new tricks!

This year has flown by! I can't believe it's already December! Gray will be 9 months old in just a matter of days and Christmas is next week. Where has the time gone?

Hope to blog again before the new year but if you don't hear from us, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Gray's First Halloween

Gray and I picked out a huge pumpkin at the pumpkin patch the week before Halloween. Little did Gray know, I had big plans for our big pumpkin. Josh and I cleaned the pumpkin out, but before we carved it, we put Gray in it.  I took several shots of him thinking he wouldn't like sitting in a cool/damp pumpkin, but he didn't mind it at all. He was mostly concerned with chewing on the rim, so I couldn't get any smiles out of him. Needless to say, I think some of the photos turned out pretty well which is nice, considering this time next year he won't be able to fit into a pumpkin... 
After getting in the pumpkin, Gray needed a bath. He got a bath then got ready for Trick-or-Treating! Gray was a monkey this year and we think he was oh so cute with his costume on! I'm sad you can't see his tail in these pictures, because it was my favorite part of the costume! We took him to a friend's house down the street from us, where he was able to get his own candy out of a witch's pot! He was very excited! I think Gray had an excellent first Halloween!
Gray has changed so much over the last two months. At 5 months he was just starting to sit up by himself, but now at 7 months he is crawling all over the place.  We have learned that he is drawn to electronics (cell phones, remote controls, computers, etc) as well as the dog food bowls. They all seem so enticing to Gray that we can't keep him away from them. He will crawl past his toys to get to any of these items.

He is also pulling up on everything! A day or two after he started crawling, he was sitting in his Pack-N-Play playing one second and when I turned around he was standing up. Now he can pull up on just about anything in a matter of seconds. I am a little fearful that he will be walking (also know as unstoppable) in the next few months! He is also saying 'mama' all the time. It's actually it's more like 'mamamamamamama'. I tell Josh it's because he loves me so much, but in reality it doesn't mean anything (just don't tell Josh) yet.

He finally got his 6 month shots yesterday (long story, don't ask) and the pediatrician told me he was in the 50th percentile. I was a little shocked because he was near the 90th percentile when he was born! I guess that's about all of the Gray news I have to share at the moment.

As far as our California move goes, I believe we have been postponed until January (at the earliest). Josh should be finishing up his flights before we come home for Christmas. Well, that is if the helicopters don't have mechanical problems, the weather is good, he is scheduled for the flights, he does well on the flights, etc.  Once he completes all of the flights, he will be sent to SERE school (which shouldn't happen until some time in January). If you don't know what SERE school is, just be glad you aren't going. I don't really know what all takes place at SERE school but all the stories I hear don't make it seem glamorous or fun at all. It is a school that lasts about two weeks where you are taught survival skills. This includes sending the 'students' out with virtually nothing and making them survive for about a week or until they get caught by the 'teachers.' I think most people are sent to Maine to complete the training, and if you think about Maine in January that might help explain why it is no joy ride. If you want more information, Google it or ask Josh when he gets back. I think I don't want to know until then! And as of now, we will be home for Christmas!

On a sad note, last week was a terrible week for so many service member's families. There were 6 aircraft that went down for one reason or another and many lives were lost. Several of these accidents included Marine planes and helicopters. The aviation community is so small that many families have crossed paths at one station or another. To put it lightly, these accidents hit close to home. We did not know any individuals who lost their lives, but several of our friends did. My heart breaks for each one of these families, and it also reminds me of how dangerous Josh's career is. It is easy to forget that an accident could happen any time he is in the air. Last week really made me thankful for Josh's safety thus far as an aviator and as a Marine. Please pray for those families who lost husbands, fathers, sons, and brothers last week as well as the military service members all over our nation and the globe as they fight for our freedoms and safety.

I was also told about another families' loss. My good friend Stephanie knows the family through the flight community, as both spouses are pilots in the Air Force. The Sullivan family has had a trying year, to put it very mildly. They found out that Sara had breast cancer in February of this year and then quickly found out she was pregnant with their first child. After discussing options with their doctors they decided to treat the cancer and continue the pregnancy. Their little girl, Chole, was born about 6 weeks early and after a week or so in the NICU, she was sent home. After being home 2 days, Sara begin to have seizures and went back into the hospital. Several days later, she passed away.

Her husband, Brad, has been incredibly strong and if you read their blog (bandssullivan.blogspot.com) you will see that his strength comes from God. All I can say is that he has an amazing testimony. Several people have formed a group (Sara Strong) and are participating in American Cancer Society fundraisers in Sara's name. I think this family is amazing and I wanted to share their story with more people, as Stephanie shared it with me.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I'm a failure...

Gray and I were super busy yesterday with errands and cleaning, so I totally forgot to blog my Wordless Wednesday pic. I guess this week we can do a Worded Thursday. Is worded a word? I don't think so, but I'm going with it.

Here are some of my favorite pics from the pumpkin patch:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Obviously this isn't a wordless post, but let me explain before you get confused...

A few weeks back a friend of mine (Hi Megan! ) told me about posting Wordless Wednesday on our blog. It's fairly self-explanatory, but the basic premise is you post a picture only on each Wednesday. I'm fairly terrible at posting anything in a timely manner, but I thought I would try this whole Wordless Wednesday blog this week.
After my post earlier today, Gray and I went to the pumpkin patch right up the road from our house with a friend of mine from Pensacola (Lisa) who lives here now. She helped me keep Gray from eating the pumpkins, tried to draw his attention away from the traffic, and made my life easier while I was trying to get some good pics. Naturally, I wouldn't be able to tell you this in a Wordless Wednesday post, but since it's still Tuesday I can prep you for what you may see tomorrow!

Well, The Hills and The City have concluded for the week, so Gray and I are headed upstairs to bed. Let's hope I remember Wordless Wednesday tomorrow!

Off to Pensacola

Gray and I are home alone for the next few days, because Josh and Pallas (the male roommate) were sent down to Pensacola with some other students and instructors to show a couple of CH-53s off to the people at Whiting Field. Luckily, Josh is getting several flights done while he is gone, but he is also planning to visit McQuire's without us! I asked him to bring me some Corned Beef and Cabbage back, but I'm not holding my breath...
In the mean time, Gray and I plan to stay busy by running some errands, having lunch with friends, attending a book club meeting in New Bern, sewing some baby gifts, taking some pictures in the pumpkin patch, going on a hay ride, playing, and squeezing in time for a few naps! I also have big plans to upload some pics, order some for Gray's album, and finally clean out our office (if Josh is lucky).
As far as our move to Southern California, we are still thinking we will be moving sometime in December. I'm hoping Josh detaches from 302 in enough time for us to get our stuff packed up and in a moving truck before Christmas so we can be at home this year, BUT that we stay here long enough we won't have to report in California until after Christmas. We will let you know as soon as we know, which (as usual) won't be until the last minute!
Well Gray and I are off to the pumpkin patch!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Home again!

Gray and I arrived safely back home in Jacksonville just in time to pick Josh up on Tuesday. Everyone (Silas and Fletch included) was still in the car so it was a packed car ride home. Josh thinks Gray doubled in size in the two weeks we were gone, (which may be a little dramatic) but he is now sitting up VERY well and he was pretty wobbly before we left for home.

Gray is putting his bottom in the air and then putting his chest in the air, which I think means he is trying to crawl. Before too long he will be able to get up and take off and I'm scared there will be no stopping him then! We also have plans to trim his hair this weekend (it's getting a little wild) and to feed him for the first time! I'm working on teaching him to hold his own bottle, but we don't seem to be making any progress. Any tips?

Naturally Josh had to work Wednesday and Thursday, but his CO is such a nice guy he gave them a 96 this weekend! In military lingo, that means they got a 4 day weekend! Gray and I are always excited when Josh has a little time off, because his hours are so crazy and even when he comes home he usually has more studying to do! We are planning to spend some QT together and have a mini-birthday celebration for me!! I can't believe my 28th birthday is tomorrow!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Willow Grove and Baby Claire's arrival!

Last week, Josh flew up to Willow Grove (which I believe is in Pennsylvania) with about half of the squadron to get some flights completed. While he is there he is completing his first 'real' flight in the CH-53! We haven't had much time to talk since he left, but he apparently is spending most of his time studying for the briefs and flights he will have the next day. He said yesterday they practiced auto-rotations, which basically the pilots kill the helicopter in mid-air then turn it back on and narrowly escape death. Maybe that's not how Josh would explain it, but that's what I understood an auto-rotation to be. He has flown almost every day since he has been up there, so I imagine he will be a pro by the time he gets back!

Since Josh was leaving for about a week and a half, Gray and I decided to head home to meet baby Claire. We left Tuesday (after Labor Day) and drove all day to make it to Jackson. It was about a 14.5 hour trip with the two stops we had to make for Gray (in case you were thinking of visiting us). Gray was a trooper and even Fletch behaved himself and kept the whining to a minimum. Claire was born Thursday, September 10th at 12:33pm. She weighed 7 lbs, 3 oz and was 19 inches long. She is so tiny and so sweet! Gray promptly tried to poke her eye out, but I think it was all out of love.

He is very excited to have a cousin around that is close to his size at Maam's house. Gray and Maam have had a fabulous time and he even got to meet some of my friends that hadn't had the chance to see him yet. He has enjoyed our trip, but he keeps telling me how much he misses his Daddy! We will be headed home this weekend, giving us plenty of time to be on the flight line Tuesday to pick Josh up!

Baby Claire!
Our first meeting. 
Gray loves Claire!
Ma'am and her grandbabies!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS)

Josh is (finally) finishing the last step in his flight training. He is currently in a Fleet Replacement Squadron, where he is learning to fly the CH-53. He actually flew the helicopter in Pensacola, when some guys from here flew down for the day. He LOVED flying the 53 then, so I know he is getting more and more excited to fly it full time. He is learning the purposes all of the little button and knobs on the aircraft and has started flying simulators. I think he should be flying in a week or two. While we are in North Carolina, he is a member of the Marine Helicopter Training Squadron 302 (HMT 302).

The wives in the squadron are very nice and several of the more experienced ladies hosted a lunch for the student's spouses to discuss San Diego. They gave us TONS of great information about where to live, where not to live, fun stuff to do in San Diego, etc. Josh and I are so ready to move to California, because North Carolina isn't really that great PLUS everyone that goes out to San Diego loves it. Josh will deploy pretty quickly once we get out there, so I'm planning on several fun things for Gray and I to do to help pass the time. We hear the San Diego Zoo is amazing, as is Sea World. I also have a need to visit Disney Land, partly because I have never been but partly because I didn't have the chance to visit Disney World the whole time we were in Florida! You think Gray will enjoy these mini-trips as much as I will?

Other than thinking about California and Josh beginning to become familiar with the CH-53, not much exciting has been going on in North Carolina for us. The hurricanes are ruining the weekends for us with all the rain and thunderstorms they are bringing. Gray and I are spending lots of quality time together, and getting a little sewing done on the side. Which reminds me, while Gray is napping, I'm going to try to finish this quilt top. I still haven't uploaded pics, so I'll try to do that and post some new ones ASAP!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Still unpacking...

I'm working on putting up the rest of the things that are unpacked but don't yet have a home. Josh went surfing this morning and watched Gray when he got home (luckily he didn't have to study) so I got quite a bit of cleaning/putting away done. Josh is starting ground school Monday for the 53, so he will be studying like crazy once again. I've met several other ladies who's husbands are in Josh's squadron so spending time with them helps pass the time! Gray and I have also been antique shopping, to the aquarium, and to New Bern to visit pals.

I took several pictures of Gray boy the other day, so I could have some 4 month shots. It's wild how much he has grown and according to the doctor last week he weighed 17 lbs and is almost 26 inches long! I've got tons of pictures to post from the last month and a half, but most of them aren't even off of my camera yet... I will do my best to upload some pictures SOON!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Where does the time go?

Gray celebrated his 4 month birthday in the middle of our move. We had NO furniture, but Gray didn't mind. It is amazing how much our sweet little boy has changed over the last few months. He is constantly smiling or giggling. It melts my heart when his eyes shine and a big giggle comes out after he flashes me a big toothless grin. He has been labeled a "flirt" by no less than 5 different women (mostly strangers) after he turns on the charm. I am beyond grateful that he is sleeping through the night (and has been since he was 6 weeks old). Gray now reaches for things and he has discovered his feet. He started rolling over at about 3 months, and he is talking all of the time. Sometimes when he talks it turns into a laugh, then a scream. It is just so darn cute. I really need to video tape him...

These pictures are of Gray at 3 months. I promise to post more when I have a few minutes to sit down (still unpacking boxes and putting up things). I have been in the middle of posting this entry for more than a week if that gives you any idea about how busy we are keeping ourselves!

Monday, July 13, 2009

We are back!

We are moving to Blogger! If you want to check out our older posts check out our old blog, Gates Updates with WordPress!